When Atkins attack

I love Slate’s shopathon/critique articles, and today’s Meaty Issues – Are the new low- and no-carb breads, beers, and sweets any good? is no exception. It confirms my belief that I will not be going on the Atkins diet again any time soon.

I do, however, like the way writer Kelly Alexander ends the article: “As for me, if I wanted to Atkins-ize myself permanently (highly unlikely), I would simply eat pork-chop-wrapped duck breasts for every meal.” Hear, hear.

Leaving Madrid, Paulette Style

So, I went back to Madrid for my last night in Spain. This makes sense, right? Since my flight was from Madrid, and sure, Toledo was only an hour away and I had a primo parking spot and a really nice hotel room that I could have kept for an extra night. But I thought to myself, hey, Madrid, yeah, cool city, gazillions of hotel rooms, no problem.

Parking, on the other hand…Not so much.

So, I timed things perfectly. Spent the day in Toledo going to the museums and such that had been closed on Monday, working a bit more on my tan, enjoying the city in general, and then heading back to Madrid at rush hour. Yeah. Well, the good thing about that was in stop and go traffic on the highway, changing lanes and all, I realized that I hadn’t stalled once. I’m like total expert stick shift driver. Yeah, I rock in small ways.
Continue reading “Leaving Madrid, Paulette Style”

Final dispatch, in the world’s oldest giftshop

Otherwise known as Toledo. Actually, it’s gorgeous here, all windy roads and old stone built on a hill and when cars pass you have to squish yourself into a doorway to not get smushed on their front bumper, or sideview mirror. And you thought it was ridiculous seeing Hummers try to park in compact parking spots? But there are more shops selling damascene and mallorca pearls than there are drive-through coffee shops in Seattle. But the town os gorgeous, it’s sunny and warm, my hotel is so cool (and amazingly still only 60 euros a night, though the most expensive one I’ve stayed in by far) with this elaborate medieval courtyard with fountains and gardens and such, and I might buy a few trinkets, because really other than wine, Ihaven’t bought much here that I could bring back in any way other than as stored fat.
Continue reading “Final dispatch, in the world’s oldest giftshop”

Dispatch 4, eating my way through San Sebastian

OK, first off, I’ll apologize if anyone is getting tired of my constant talking (yeah, you all thought you could get rid of me for a few weeks–fat chance!), but I’m kind of getting into this travel journal thing.

So, since I’ve gotten to San Sebastian I’ve done very little other than eat, and walk to places to eat, and drink, and walk to places to drink. Today, I drove somewhere to eat.

The amazing thing, though, is that my clothes still fit. Let’s hope this keeps up, but with the amount of food I’ve put away in the last four days (not to mention sidra, tzakolis–literally ¬®”green wine” a local product not unlike a light, fruity prosecco) I should be looking like a Macy’s Day Parade balloon. But my jeans actually seem a little loose. It would appear to be some weird perversion of the miracle of the loaves and fishes, where I eat plenty of loaves and fishes, and yet there is no more of me than before. Very odd.

.
Continue reading “Dispatch 4, eating my way through San Sebastian”

Okies spared

The Nonfamous Mother of Us All, a/k/a The Judy called me last night to tell me she and the family were all unharmed before I knew what had happened. What’s terrible is that this is the same area that was traumatized by an F5 storm 4 years ago this month, just a couple of weeks after I moved here. But what is really amazing is that despite 300 homes and many commercial buildings were destroyed, there were no fatalities and few major injuries. Relatively miraculous, really. And that part of OKC needs all the miracles it can get. One of the biggest areas of damage is the GM plant– especially the paint facility, which is a big customer of my Dad’s industrial hygeine business. But if that’s the closest to home it hits, we’re all thankful.

Airplanes as Art

There’s a nice article in Salon today. It’s the latest installment of my favourite Salon column, in fact: Ask the Pilot. I was sad when this column moved into Salon’s premium section. Hey, I like Salon, but I don’t actually want to pay for it. But the new daypass feature means everyone can read it, as long as you’re willing to sit though a 30-second commercial for the Mazda 6. And you know, as much as I hate popups and the like, this type of advertising doesn’t bother me for some reason. And, I can read my email while the ad plays. It’s a win-win: bravo, Salon!

But I digress. Ask the Pilot is a wonderful column, written with wit and insight by an ex-Pilot. Now, for some reason I don’t quite understand I have a deep-seated (and, many would say, macabre (see my book on airline crash black box transcripts for example) interest in the airline industry) so I just love the little anecdotes that Patrick comes up with. See his story about an encounter with an exploding loo at 30,000 feet for a good chuckle.

This article is about the aesthetics of the various airline liveries, rather than the usual technical or process-oriented fare. A nice comparison of the domestic carrier’s paintjobs, and a rather scathing assessment of Landor’s work (were you involved in any of these, Jay?). I was disappointed Qantas didn’t get a mention (they’ve stuck with the flying kangaroo logo as long as I’ve been alive and almost certainly longer), and I quite liked the old British Airways “World Image” look, although I can see the point about it being more like a wallpaper catalogue. But an interesting article nonetheless, well worth a read.

Dispatch 3, The Short, Unhappy Life of Toro the Opel

Well, since leaving Madrid, I just take the opportunity when I happen upon an Internet cafe, because, well, you never know when I’ll find another.

Excuse the awful typos in yesterday’s post. That keyboard was weirder than most, not just oddly placed letters, but sticky keys and I was trying to type too fast.

Anyhoo, so I might as well tell you the sad saga of my rental car, a cute little Opel Corsa–a very new car but without air conditioning or a radio. The former doesn’t really matter, since it’s been fairly cool and overcast or raining since I left Madrid. The latter might be both a blessing and a curse. No radio means fewer distractions, and it’s probably a really good thing that I pay as much attention to the driving, as I’m going largely without benefit of a map and still not that good at the whole driving thing. On the other hand, no radio leaves me a lot of time to think. And I mean a lot. Which is probably dangerous. When I picked up Toro, he had a mere 6000 kilometers on the odometer. I’ve managed to add another 1200 to that. Poor thing.
Continue reading “Dispatch 3, The Short, Unhappy Life of Toro the Opel”

Dispatch the 2nd, El Pais Vasco

Some technical glitch, which I’m choosing to blame on the ETA (Basque country’s answer to the IRA) has left me completely unpable to access the authors’ portion of nonfamous, so big thanks to Jay for posting this in my stead.

So, I’m in Pamplona. You know, the place with the running of the bulls and all that? Well, it’s kind of cool. I mean, I came here for two reasons, right? Food and Hemingway. So I’m in exactly the right place for that. Except, I gotta say, Pamplona, as pretty as it is, sort of leaves me cold. The monastery where I am staying, on the other hand, is quite cool. And it’s a two mile drive up a mountain to get there overlooking Navarra and the Irati river.

Now the Irati excites me. I was actually fairly thrilled to spend the morning walking around Saguesa, a town straddling the river that I am almost certain was where Hemingway had n mind when he wrote the scenes where Bill and Jake stay before heading off to the feria in Pamplona, where they fish the Irati and have the last moments of peace before Brett and Mike et al show up and begin turning the whole thing into a mess of drama and tensions. That was always my favorite part of the book, the one I came to this part of the world for, and recent history being what it has been, I guess it’s no real surprise that I would connect to that part of the story, is it?
Continue reading “Dispatch the 2nd, El Pais Vasco”