Friday, October 23, 2009

Ohhhh those Golden Arches

So I gotta admit, I'm a McDonald's junkie. One of my favorite times of the year is when McDonald's does Monopoly. I end up doubling or tripling my McDonald's intake. I was thinking about this recently because I realized almost by accident I have a new travel activity. At least once per trip to a foreign country I have to try and sample their McDonald's. So far I have of course had it here in the US. I pretty much lived on McDonald's while I was in Taiwan, after having an allergic reaction to something I ate there. I had to go with something I new wouldn't mess me up (isn't that the most ironic thing ever written?).

When I was in England we were walking around London seeing the sites and by the time we were going to catch our train up north, we realized we had no time to get normal food, and there was a McDonald's next to the station. So of course I had to partake.

Recently when in the Netherlands I needed breakfast prior to flying back to the States, so I hit up the McDonald's and snagged a London breakfast. I thought it was fun that instead of numbering meals they had given names of European cities based on how the meal related. The London breakfast was two bacon sausage egg Mcmuffins, coffee, and orange juice.

So far the only country I have been too that I have not eaten at McDonald's was when I was in Italy. Possibly Canada as well, but I have no recollection of where I ate while I was there since it was when I was a lot younger.

So I have:

The Netherlands

Where will it end?

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Routines, Good or Bad?

I tend to be a person of routine. I like to go to sleep and get up around the same time. When I go to a restaurant its probably one I've been to before, and I probably know exactly what I am going to get before I ever sit down. I like to sleep on the same side of the bed every night, and sit on the same part of the couch. In fact our couch now has what we affectionately call "the hole" from where my butt has worn a groove into the cushions that you can almost fall into.

Is there anything wrong with having routines? It makes me comfortable and gives a steadiness to life that reduces stress. I don't have to worry about new things. It can be a blessing; but it can also be a curse. It can allow you to stagnate, and make life boring. As much as I love routine, I realize it is important to get out and do something differently every now and again.

As I tend to be a creature of habit I try to use occasions where I am forced out of my routines to really try and do things differently. For example, when I was overseas recently I try and eat the local food as much as possible. I had venison steaks, a trio of quail including poached quail egg, I had rabbit stew, haring (see previous post), and I drank new kinds of beer (which can be very rewarding). Its not a big thing, but those are definitely I do not eat routinely. It is fun to try new things. At the very best you can find something new that you really like, and on the other end at least you can say you tried it. It can make a good story. I drank snakes blood and bile once. Was it good? No. Does it make an interesting story? I think so anyway.

It's easy to break routine when forced to and it can have a lot of rewards. It's important to remind yourself this when stuck in a loop at home. Maybe go out and try that other restaurant, or play a board game instead of a videogame. Read instead of watching that television show. Even better, get outside instead of staying in doors all evening (of course living in Texas typically can make the outdoors a miserable experience).

Maybe sit on the other end of the couch and not in the hole, gain a new perspective on things.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Home again, home again, jiggity jig

So I just flew in from the Netherlands and boy are my arms...yeah. Boy am I tired. It was a long week but a pretty good time. Five days of meetings interfered with the fun, but otherwise I would not have been there. Highlights of the trip.

-Arriving at the airport and finding out my rental car is a manual transmission. yeah, I never learned how to drive stick, and learning in Europe was not on my list of things to do.

-Getting to my hotel at 9:30am and not having a room ready until 2:30 am. It gave me time to wander around the beach and see the town a little bit. Besides the bitingly cold wind, it was a good thing, because I couldn't go to sleep.

-The Wednesday social dinner where we realized after we had paid for the meal, that half the wine that was included in the bill had not been drunk...and we just couldn't let it go to waste.

Thursday morning was not a highlight.

-Lightning tour of The Hague on Friday afternoon culminating in eating this lovely Dutch treat.
What you are looking at is haring; it consists of raw herring
and raw onions. mmm...mmm...good.

I can't say I was all that impressed with there food overall. It was okay, but it is not a country I would tell you to go to for the good eats. I will say that there fries are really good. The use of mayonnaise although off putting for me, was actually pretty tasty.

-Discovering Gulden Draak.
Now I just need to find a place in the States that sells it. Spec's don't let me down.

Hopefully, if I get to travel like this again I will be able to get a bit more organized before the trip so I can actually go and see more places. This time being the first trip, there was a bunch of different things to get used to. Particularly expecting to have a car, but then not having that work out. I wasn't ready to travel using public transport. This limited where I could go and when since I was relying more on other people. It was a fun trip, met a lot of good people over there. Hopefully it won't be too long before I can do something like this again.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Off to the Netherlands

So on Saturday I am flying to the Netherlands for a review for work. I'm not gonna lie...I'm a little bit nervous. The first thing is that I am going to be driving around in a rental car in another country. I can't say that I have ever done that before. So that will definitely be a new and interesting experience. I'm hoping I am not spending my time there driving lost around the countryside.

Secondly, I am going to be the end all be all representative for my group at a major review in another country. I only recently started supporting this role within my group and now I am THE man. Its a little bit disconcerting. I really need to make sure I know my stuff for this.

Lastly, I will not really know anyone there. As I said I just started in this aspect of my job recently. I don't know the folks that I am working with all that well as of yet. The good thing about a trip like this is that you do tend to get to know the people your working with better.

All in all it should be a lot of fun, and I'm looking forward to it. I get to cross another country off my list of places I've visited in the world. This will be my third European visit now, but my first for a job related trip. So it will be different, but should still be cool.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Next plans for movie night

So we seem to be getting rolling on movie nights now. The original was the Star Wars marathon. That took place a while ago; almost two years now. Six movies in one day, three boxes of wine. We made it through four movies and two and half boxes of wine before it degenerated into video games.

Then came B movie night. A night of Zardoz, one of the most ridiculous movies of all time. Obviously someones attempt at being deep in the 70's, probably highly inspired by drugs, and with all of its budget in getting Sean Connery to run around in a loin cloth. All in all a pretty entertaining night. I finally killed the bottle of Patron I had started a year earlier during a N64 game night (a majority of the bottle was polished off during that first night...Oh to be young and reckless).
Then the mildly successful LOTR marathon/wine tasting. Maybe we will get on a roll now. Suggestions are going out for a old science fiction movie night. Candidates for films were Logan's Run and The Forbidden Planet (in my eyes one of the greatest science fiction films of all time). Both good suggestions though I have seen them both within the last two years. The other suggestion was to do a Greek mythology night. The old Hercules flicks, or Jason and the Argonauts.

I think that I am leaning towards the Greek mythology genre since I haven't seen those ever or in the case of Jason and the Argonauts, in a very very long time. Either way it will be fun; even better I will not be the host. So no pressure on me. Sometimes you can't get better then that.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

The Lord of the Rings Marathon

So this past weekend we had a Lord of the Rings marathon at my place. The goal was to watch all three extended edition movies in one sitting. There was an added twist that each group coming to the show was supposed to bring a bottle of there favorite wine, so we could do a wine tasting as we watched.
We made a bunch of different food to go along with it. I think we put out a pretty good spread. We made a double tomato bruschetta which I thought tasted fantastic. I made a chipotle and cilantro chili. The chili is a work in progress. I have made two different versions of it now, and I continue to try and figure how much cumin should go into the chili. This was definitely the better version of the two. We had several cheeses, chips, guacamole and also had brownie mix, and the fixings for a spinach and artichoke dip if necessary.

Unfortunately, it was not necessary. Earlier departures and no shows plagued the evening. It was still a good time, but this was a keen example of why I do not like to host events. We put a lot of money into getting this setup. Yeah maybe the concept was a little much...Come and watch 11 hours of movie! but the people who left early or didn't show were big proponents of the event, so why bail?

I don't know; it will probably be a while before I host another event. We had good food, good entertainment, just would have been nice to have good company.