Thursday, December 31, 2009

2009 Recap

Allright, so evidently my end-of-the-year goal didn't work out so well. I'm okay with it if you are. I did have some ideas for posts though:

Post 37 would have covered The Great Long Beach Taco Off (part 2).

Post 38 was going to talk about places I've been while Post 39 would have discussed the flip side of that coin (place I want to go).

And finally post 40 was going to be New Year's Resolutions. Summary: become happier with life and job (ideas: spend more time with family and friends, move, or get a new job), volunteer more, keep my room cleaner, throw out junk, ride my bike more, hit the gym, etc. Garden variety stuff.

And for me, 2009 was a solid year. Not the best, but by far not the worst. Definitely top ten. Here's looking forward to 2010!

Sunday, December 27, 2009

The Great Long Beach Taco Off Part 2 (2009)

Last year around holiday time I went with some fam (mom, sis, aunt, uncle, cousins, their kids) to the Aquarium of The Pacific in Long Beach. Before we went I had the BRILLIANT idea of having a taco off. Cousin Dave, from Ohio, loves him some Mexican food, especially tacos. So we went to King Taco and Tacos Don Chente in the LBC. It was awesome. His kids liked it, we LOVED it, and we all proceeded to have a wonderful day watching fish (and stuff).

For those interested in how the gringos differentiated: KT had better Asada (which was especially a hit with my little cousin), but we (I) liked Chente's Pastor and salsa bar. Also Chente had a little nicer decor and was less crowded (good for our group) plus we had REALLY REALLY COLD beers (mom's fave). KT is much more of a landmark so I'm suggesting we go there again. But we might to go El Gallo Giro and I'm really going to push for El Taco Loco No 3. More to follow.

And, of course, the obligatory map:

View The Great Long Beach Taco off Part 2 (2009) in a larger map

Oh, and don't think I haven't started thinking about next year: Taqueria La Mexicana and Hole Mole are both on 4th Street - maybe I can get someone interested?

40 posts to freedom

I just took a look at the number of posts I had this year and this is post 35... four less than last year. Even though I basically took a two month break I hereby vow to break my 2009 record utilizing a 5 day posting countdown, ending on New Year's Eve with (hopefully) 40 total posts. A small feat to be sure but it's a start, right? RIGHT?

Mexican Hot Dog?!?!?!?!?!?!

Email I just sent to my cousins:

Allright guys, I couldn't find a Mexican Hot Dog stand in Los Angeles. I am VERY familiar with the more traditional 'Heart Attack Dog' which is similar and sold, among other places, outside the Rose Bowl after UCLA football games - it's wrapped in bacon but has more 'American' condiments (mustard, mayo, ketchup, grilled onions and peppers). Basically we have 1 year to either A) find a Mexican Hot Dog stand B) start a Mexican Hot Dog stand.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Maps Show Data Good

As you may or may not know, I think maps area perhaps the great information communication medium the world has ever seen. Not that I'm given to hyperbole or anything. From Matthew Yglesias comes this series of color coded maps that explains on a state-by-state basis how different age groups and income levels feel about the public option in the current raging health care debate. (Quick aside - a public option is a good thing but I won't write anything more because I don't want to have to tag this post as a rant).

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

What I Did On My Summer Vacation

As the year comes to an end I've been taking inventory of the old blog and noticed that during the Summer my posting fell from my typical inconsistency of ~1 every 7-10 days to 1 in July and none in August. Well it turns out that I was taking 2 classes (1 each at UCLA and USC) and working and not posting. The USC class was my last class in the GIST Certificate program (I'm certified!). A week in Catalina that include lots of hiking, playing with GPS units, and a night snorkel (yeah, it was a-freaking-mazing). The UCLA class was equally awesome - Geography of Los Angeles. We explored a ton of themes and did a bunch of field trips (a trip to the LA River led by nature writer Jenny Price, Westwood walkabout including this apartment building designed by Lautner, and taking a Metro bus up and down Sunset Blvd.).

My partner and I did a final project on the LA River. We had to create a tour, make a google map (below), and then do a short presentation in the Pecha Kucha style (Wikipedia). Pecha Kucha limits your presentation to 20 slides and 20 seconds for each slide. So you have to choose images with maximum impact, choose your words carefully, and practice. It's great, I wish that my work presentations had similar constraints.

View LA River Map in a larger map

Monday, December 7, 2009

US Interstate System as London Tube Map

Awhile back Matthew Yglesias linked to this picture (from the Good Blog) of the US Interstate system made to look like the London Tube map (Wikipedia).

For those who have never been to London, go. I was only there for a bit but had a great time. Getting around on the Tube is intuitive, in no small part because of the ground breaking Tube map. Additionally you can sit back and see all sorts of slices of life because EVERYONE takes it. Whatever ethnicity or occupation that can be imagined will be on the Tube. Including jet lagged pasty American tourists.

Thank you Spammers!

So I'm getting a bunch of spammers on Nacho Lovers. I don't really know why since this is not really a place with a lot of users debating nacho policy (subject for a future post). Anyway, the comments have been rejiggered so that I now moderate comments on posts that are > 5 days old and you have to do the jumbled word thingy. So yeah.