Home Base

December 12, 2013 Comments Off


There are very few occasions that cannot be made better by the inclusion of attendance at an Irish Pub.

I’m downtown tonight, as Sasha and Katya are out at the Macklemore concert, which will end sometime around 11pm to 1am. We can’t be sure, as it has been tweeted, apparently, that since tonight is the final day of a three-day set, that he plans to run some kind of mega-encore. We shall see.

Since I didn’t want to leave the girls outside after the concert, I chose to stay nearby so once they call I can pick them up right away. My default location for hanging out in downtown is our boat. I have free parking, and it is nearby to most of the city center. Unfortunately, it is fucking freezing out here, and even with heat on the boat, it is just too damn cold to get comfortable.

I went out, fixed the cover on top of the boat (which is coming apart, and I need to build a new one) and made sure the place was ok. Looking down the lake, I remembered that a new pub “A Terrible Beauty” has just opened this summer, and that sounded like a much better home base for the next few hours than a freezing boat.

While I like going out anywhere to drink, few things beat an Irish (or British) pub. My first main hangout in college was the Unicorn pub. When I moved to Russia, I had Rosie O’Grady’s, and Irish House. My former test manager at Microsoft retired and opened a pub/microbrewery just off campus. When that was sold, We found Three Lions in Redmond was our best source for Premier League Football, with a good dartboard to boot.

We literally lived in Pubs on our trip through Great Britain. (Note: I mean literally in the literal sense. Our first room was above a pub called The Blathwyat)

I’m not sure, but I imagine that a lot of Americans enjoy sports bars in the same way that I love pubs. Perhaps growing up with British Cars influenced my bar tastes as well. In any case, I’d rather avoid the bright, loud American bars and burrow into the dank, dark pubs. A smell of boiling cabbage and bangers, and perhaps a baking kidney pie doesn’t hurt either.

Guinness is always on tap. Guinness for Strength.

What cut of meat is pizza?

October 12, 2012 Comments Off

We were watching Anthony Bourdain’s travel show the other day, and I was really hit by a comment that he said. The show was a tour through the Burgundy region of France, and if you have been to any part of France outside of Paris, you can really appreciate the beauty of the provinces. But Bourdain’s show is about Food, and also, his reactions to food. So this comment erupted after a tour of wineries, shops, all the usual places, and he and his traveling companion were in some side market, tasting vegetables from the region. After tasting some random – whatever, he said:

“If vegetables tasted like this in America, people would actually eat them!”

I was floored.

This comment reactivated ideas that had been swimming in my head for a long time since I have started eating a “Paleo” type diet.

I went today to get my Flu shot at Microsoft. It is one of the cool corporate benefits that we get, and they will also to a quick health screening as well. A mail get sent around to everyone to click a link that takes you to the internal wellness site, where you can pick a time to get your shot, and even take the spouse along for free.

When you sign up, the tool also walks you through a short series of questions about your health habits, do you exercise, how many hours, what do you eat, etc. The one that made me pause was, “Do you eat fatty red meat such as Hamburgers, Pizza…”

I stopped right there.

I’m not sure where you eat, but the last time I saw a hamburger, the “meat” was the smallest part of it. And most of the “red” on the last pizza I saw was sauce. The next choice was eating “Lean” meats such as chicken breasts. Third place is you’re fired.

My eating habits, of eating “fatty” cuts of meat that aren’t wrapped in a great blob of gluten isn’t even a choice. How about the quality of meat that I eat? Do they really think that the source and feed or hormone profile makes no difference?

If you have ever read any paleo blog or book, a common refrain is the poor quality of studies that claim the benefits of whole grains or the dangers of fats in the diet, when confounders in these studies wipe out any chance of getting valuable data. Calling Pizza a “Red Meat” happens often. Not controlling for food quality is common.

If you talk with someone who advocates a “Low Carb” diet, it will be uncommon to find two people who agreed what “low” exactly means. And virtually none of the studies out there, pro or con, state this clearly.

We frequently hear about how a ratio of macronutrients will give one he alt benefit or another, vs how many calories are needed per day. But does your body treat 100 calories of cake the same as 100 calories of spinach? How about 10 ounces of cheap, feedlot beef vs 10 ounces of prime, organic grass-fed bison? Are carbs the same in apples and bread? Is fat the same between Soy oil and avocado? How fresh are the ingredients?

If I buy a tomato from the store, even from the organic pile, and eat a slice, it’s pretty good. But its just a tomato. We get freshly picked tomatoes delivered each week ripened on the vine, and cutting into one release smells of the vine and soil, and with that I can remember being 12 years old, running in my grandparents yard and brushing against their tomato plants, potted in wine barrels, releasing that same smell when I hit them.

If the quality of food can impact my memories so much, how is that impacting my health? How is the lack of that quality impacting our health?

The whole concept of eating high-quality, clean, natural food is such a novelty in our culture now. We look to packaged, enriched foods and expensive drugs to make up for missing basics in our diet. We want simple, easy numbers to track (100 calories! 50 carbs!) so we can check them off of a list.

But our bodies don’t run on checklists.

We are what we eat. We are what our food eats. We are where our food grows.

Those are first principles. Eat real food.

After that, we can discuss eating more of one thing or less of another. But discussing and arguing over how much garbage and chemical by-product we should eat isn’t the answer.

Once first principles are correct, we can move to the next step.

Downhill from here

September 7, 2012 § 1 Comment

I had a great discussion with Yulia this evening about exercise, health and food. anyone who has read anything that I write or post knows that I am obsessive about trying to be, at least, generally healthy. Growing up as a “skinny kid” I never thought about health growing up. I had a super-fast metabolism all the way through college, and didn’t gain weight, and even when I exercised a lot, never really built muscle.

So I never looked at what I ate. It didn’t matter. I ate entire cakes, drank endless beer, whatever. I just never gained weight. and the problem is that if you don’t get actually fat, you never think about if you are actually healthy or not.

Eventually, my metabolism shut down, or I became insulin-resistant, whatever you want to call it. and I started to gain weight. You don’t notice it when it creeps on slowly. But eventually you change from a 175 pound guy on your wedding day, to 240+ pounds several years later.

The chest and back pains come at no extra charge.

Whatever you want to do to correct this, it takes time, and persistence. Generally, things get worse before they get better. Starting to change diet, failing, and starting again are not easy. Add in the massive misinformation about what it takes to lose weight, then you need to start the process of gaining muscle. Being “Skinny-fat” is not any better than being regular fat. and changing diet will slim you up, but you need exercise to balance your fat percentage.

I started and failed at this many, many times before I figured out what started to work, and the effort to start was far greater than what it takes to now just maintain. It reminded me of the story of Enrico Fermi at the B Reactor in Hanford.

When firing up the reactor the first time, they loaded fuel according to the calculations made, then waited for the reaction to start. It would start, then die after a few seconds. They would try again, and it would die again. Eventually Fermi figured out that a by-product of fission kills the reaction as it starts. it takes more fuel to start the reaction, then once started, it doesn’t take so much to retain.

I actually remember being in a radiation suit, on a private tour of the B Reactor when hearing this story. We were standing in front of Fermi’s office, looking at the desk where he figured this out with a slide rule.

But the same principal applies is almost everything in life. Making major changes, whether in your job, or diet, or activities all need more effort to start than to maintain. We all have to follow rigid diet patterns to start a diet, and we will see ourselves get heavier first (we gain muscle before losing fat) then the weight comes down.

It is hard to get an exercise routine, or learn a sport. We fall, get hurt, feel sore, and have to practice complex moves for a long time before we get the benefit in strength, agility, or cool stories about being the best in something.

In so much, we have that same energy “hump” that we need to overcome to start something. But once past the hump, it can be hard to stop. You don’t want to stop, because at this point, the benefits are addictive. You gotta run, or lift, or eat the way that works for you. If you are staying in balance, and not burning out or getting hurt, it is a pretty amazing feeling.

But getting up the curve is really steep.

Poor Thag. Always picks rock.

January 2, 2011 Comments Off

Well, another year with no Heart Attack. I declare that a success.

Fitness wise this was a pretty good year. I was able to press the 70Lbs Kettlebell with one arm, Make 100 snatches in 5 min with the 44 Lb Kettlebell, Hit 17.8% bodyfat on the 31st (that won’t stick, but it’s good anyway), and attended a class with Pavel which rocked (I had wanted to do the HKC training, but I can’t pass the pullups test yet)

I also participated in a six-week pushup contest at work, where I doubled my ability to do continuous pushups (25 to 50). That hurt.

I also took my fist ski lesson and succeeded in actually figuring out how to get down the hill. (Go that way really fast, if something gets in your way – turn.)

For this new year, I am starting with the diet and lifestyle plan from The Primal Blueprint. (primalblueprint.com) This dovetails in nicely with my kettlebell workouts, and seems to be very well thought-out and evidence based.

I finished reading 4-hour Body for fun. it’s a blast of a book with lots of cool body-hacks and thought-provoking ideas. That book led me to read Gary Taubes’ Good Calories – Bad Calories and Why We Get Fat. Both are insanely detailed and go through the whole Fat/Cholesterol hypothesis vs Carb/Insulin hypothesis for fat accumulation. It’s pretty hard to argue with the good research that Gary details, especially when it matches the frustrations that I have had with my workouts and stalled fat loss.

In any case it will be a fun experiment for the new year. That and it is hard to argue with anything that tells you to eat more bacon.

Worst Meal In America – Men’s Health Mag

July 28, 2009 Comments Off

 I’m Just glad it wasn’t In-N-Out.



Carl’s Jr. Double Six Dollar Burger with Medium Natural Cut Fries and 32-oz Coke

2,618 calories
144 g fat (51.5 g saturated)
2,892 mg sodium

Of all the gut-growing, heart-threatening, life-shortening burgers in the drive-thru world, there is none whose damage to your general well-being is as potentially catastrophic as this. A bit of perspective is in order: This meal has the caloric equivalent of 13 Krispy Kreme Original Glazed doughnuts, the saturated fat equivalent of 52 strips of bacon, and the salt equivalent of 7 ½ large orders of McDonald’s French fries!

Sunday Breakfast

December 15, 2008 Comments Off

Inherently, I reject the "foodie" label. I don’t see why there needs to be some label to signify those in the world who prefer to enjoy their food and require some minimum level of quality in it. In fact, I have my own label for those who do not seek quality in their food, and eat as nothing more than pigs at the trough. I call them "Americans"

I note this because I made Crepes on Sunday. We have a crepe maker similar to this one here. It takes some getting used to, and it also requires that you get the batter right. The batter is the hard part. I worked through several recipes before landing on a simple one containing only flour, milk, eggs, oil and salt. But the trick to making the batter correct is mixing it well, then straining the batter to remove all lumps. mix that again, then leave covered in the fridge for about an hour for everything to set. This needs to be a smooth, slightly runny batter, much thinner than normal pancake batter.

the twisting action to spread the batter takes time as well. I will probably need to get a better spreader as mine came with the unit and isn’t that great, but it works. But after all this work, and a lot of practice, I have gotten quite good at making true french crepes.

For breakfast, we prefer a crepe, with Ham and shredded Gruyere cheese, folded in half and toasted on each side. when ready, you slide it on a plate, and top with a fried egg, sunny side up. For the kids, either a plain ham crepe, or bananas with Nutella.

It is very slow to cook, as I have to start the batter early, and I can only make one at a time, but nothing compares to the taste.

That’s Breakfast. 

NOW who’s a Suffering Bastard

August 26, 2008 Comments Off

Trader Vic’s in Bellevue closed this weekend. Fuckers. At least I have two of the Bellevue tiki glasses. These are specifically for the suffering Bastard, my favorite drink. That will have to do for the near future.

Suffering Bastard – Trader Vic’s

From The Webtender Wiki

The Trader Vic’s Version of the Suffering Bastard contains Rum, Orange Curacao, Orgeat Syrup, Rock Candy Syrup and Fresh Lime Juice.



Trader Vic’s Pacific Island Cookbook (1968)

In a Double Old-Fashioned Glass with Shaved Ice.

  • 2 oz Dark Rum
  • 1 oz Light Rum
  • 1 dash Orange Curacao
  • 1 dash Orgeat Syrup
  • 1 dash Rock Candy Syrup
  • Juice of 1 Whole Lime – save 1 shell.

Fill glass with Shaved Ice. Top with Metal Shaker and hand shake drink. Decorate with lime shell and fresh mint. Serve with a malt straw.

Retrieved from "http://wiki.webtender.com/wiki/Suffering_Bastard_-_Trader_Vic%27s"

Suffering Bastard – Trader Vic’s – The Webtender Wiki

First commercial trip of CTMV – Wine by Sail

August 25, 2008 Comments Off

I’ve heard about this for a while, this company is shipping wines by sail, first to the UK, then to Canada next. There are a few things about this I like, it’s clean, it should be better temp controlled and less expensive than container, and it’s just really cool.

Hopefully it is a commercial success.

18 juillet 2008 BREST : CTMV-FairWindWine load 22 pallets of South Of France Wines onboard Kathleen&May Schooner. Destination : Dublin. Unloading for Gilbey’s and Obriens importators the 25th July. 25, 26, 27th July, wine tasting onboard the ship in the center of Dublin.

First commercial trip of CTMV FairWindWine onboard Kathleen&May – Wine by Sail

Absinthe’s Mind-Altering Mystery Solved

April 30, 2008 § 2 Comments

Yeah, after serving this at a party a while back, I can concur, it’s just really damn strong. And it goes down too smooth (if you like the taste). The other side effect that some say is there is a stimulant, but that may just be the sugar that you add in serving. I

From Yahoo:

An analysis of century-old bottles of absinthe – the kind once quaffed by the likes of van Gogh and Picasso to enhance their creativity – may end the controversy over what ingredient caused the green liqueur’s supposed mind-altering effects .

The culprit seems plain and simple: The century-old absinthe contained about 70 percent alcohol, giving it a 140-proof kick. In comparison, most gins, vodkas and whiskeys are just 80- to 100-proof.

Absinthe’s Mind-Altering Mystery Solved – Yahoo! News

I shall wear my cholesterol at half mast

March 26, 2008 Comments Off

Sad fucking news. As much as I try to eat healthy and everything. I really like a "eggabuffin un jubbo jaba" if I am out early in the morning. (that’s "Egg McMuffin and Jumbo java" in morning-speak.)

Herb Peterson, who invented the ubiquitous Egg McMuffin as a way to introduce breakfast to McDonald’s restaurants, has died, a Southern California McDonald’s official said Wednesday. He was 89.

Peterson died peacefully Tuesday at his Santa Barbara home, said Monte Fraker, vice president of operations for McDonald’s restaurants in that city.

Herb Patterson, Egg McMuffin Inventor, Dies At 89 – Business on The Huffington Post

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