Saturday, January 16, 2010

A Fast Food Day

This morning I met a couple of fellow jail volunteers at McDonalds for breakfast. The three of us try to get together once a month for breakfast and we did that last Saturday. But this morning we had an official bi-monthly meeting at 9 am so we met at 8 am for breakfast.

On the months when we don't have a meeting we usually go to a coffee shop. We get to talking and drinking coffee and lose track of time. Before we know it we've been there 1-1/2 hours and we start feeling guilty about hogging the table.

So we go outside and finish solving the world's problems. We thought we would try McDonalds for a couple of reasons - we don't have to tip (we're sort of cheap) and we can stay as long as we want.


I have to confess that I have a Saturday afternoon ritual that I've been doing for the better part of a year. If nothing else it's a good reason to go for an errand on the bike.
Amber and I have been hooked on TCBY yogurt for many years. In fact, we probably qualify to be part owners of this store. Hey wait, that also applies to the local Home Depot. Anyway, this store is owned by a really nice Korean family. They're the sweetest family and they have all of their teenage kids helping them. We've developed kind of a familiarity with one another but not a friendship; I think because of the language barrier with the parents. They're all extremely polite.

Almost every Saturday afternoon between 3-4 pm I ride to the store. I walk in with all my gear on and my helmet flipped up. I walk over to the reach-in freezer and get two pint tubs of non-fat dutch chocolate yogurt. As I'm doing this, whoever is behind the counter automatically gets the bag ready and starts ringing up the sale. It's all choreographed so well with very little change from one week to the next.

When one of their teenage daughters is working she'll usually giggle at some point. Not the kind of giggle that's offensive just a cute giggle. As I left this afternoon I couldn't help but wonder if they have a name for me in Korean. You know, a name for, "Tall guy on a motorcycle who comes in every Saturday and gets two pints of non-fat dutch chocolate".

Well I'd better wrap this up and get started on the yogurt.


  1. A Cheap Meal? Not according to author Raj Patel:

    "I mean, you know, if you go to your local burger joint, you will find, what, a $4 hamburger. But researchers in India did some calculations a few years ago looking at what would happen if we started to include the environmental costs that are part and parcel of the production of that hamburger. If, for example, that burger is produced on land that once used to be rainforest, well, then you’ve lost the rainforest, you’ve lost the ecosystemic services that that rainforest provides, you lose the carbon, you lose the biodiversity. And all of a sudden, when you start imputing those environmental costs, it turns out that the price of a hamburger should be nearer $200 rather than four. And that, of course, is just one element of the costs that are squeezed out of our food and pretty much everything else.

    But sticking with that hamburger for a moment, I mean, if that hamburger is consumed in the United States, then the chances are that the tomatoes on that hamburger will come from southern Florida, where, since 1997, over a thousand people have been freed from conditions of modern-day slavery and where the Coalition of Immokalee Workers, of tomato pickers in southern Florida, have been campaigning for a living wage for quite some time. And, of course, the cost of slavery doesn’t feature in that hamburger, either. And that’s, of course, just on the production side.

    Of course, there are consequences to the cost of consuming junk food. And in the United States, one in five healthcare dollars is now spent on taking care of someone who has diabetes. And the rise of diabetes, in no small part, is related to the fact that we don’t pay the full costs of the way we consume when we buy our food. Of course, we pay those costs in the end. But the corporations that sell us that food are able to exclude those costs out of the price. And it’s important for us to have new ways of valuing things other than the market."

  2. Gee, Mike aren't you glad you had breakfast and not the hamburger? :)

    I really like the 3rd photo (feet), now that tells a story! I like the angle of view on the fourth.

    I like Burger King better than McD's...excepting that king fellow. There's something exceptionally creepy about that dude...worse than clowns!

  3. Anonymous,
    Thanks for responding. I hate to put a kibosh on the Coalition of Immokalee Workers but tomatoes in the west come from California.

    This is Oregon where we hug trees and embrace the spotted owl so no need to worry about a McDonalds being on rainforest land.

    I agree with you on the diatary aspects of fast food. We do consume too much of it in this country. When I grew up there was no such thing as fast food... it was slow food. My parents called me in for dinner and we all ate together around the same table, slowly. If you didn't like what was for dinner, you didn't eat.

    Take care!

    It looks like the footwear in the third photo reveals only one of us rides a motorcycle.

    I agree that the Burger King guy is a little different... so is the Jack in the Box guy for that matter. When I do eat fast food it's Subway. I figure it's the freshest and lowest in fat.

    I like your comment about the Burger King dude and clowns - very funny!

  4. Mike:

    Looking at the "feet" photo, I conclude that the guy on the right has very long arms to be able to take the photo from your perspective. And to Kari, the fourth guy rides too, you can tell by the scuff marks on top of the left shoe where it contacts the shifter lever.

    bobskoot: wet coast scootin

  5. Bob,
    Welcome back to the mainland! Been enjoying your pictures, videos, and commentary. Looking forward to more when you get it organized.

    The shift mark is on my boot! :)

  6. Mike, very cool post. It's interesting how much business can get done at a McDonalds, Dennys or Starbucks - a nice warm place sharing a meal always helps a meeting. I like TCBY as well.

  7. Mike:

    thanks for the welcome back, but I would rather have just stayed there. The roads are made for bikes, lots of slow speed twisties everywhere.

    I was having a bit of trouble uploading to YouTube yesterday night using my new Toshiba laptop. With the large HD files it takes about 90 minutes per video and my Toshiba kept going into sleep mode thus aborting the upload. I finally got fed up and used my slower Acer, started the upload and left it on all night. This morning it was done.
    I have to figure out how to stop the Toshiba from going into sleep mode when on AC power. I went to the control panel and didn't know what to select.

    I didn't want to do back to back videos. So I may first do one with still images then put the link on the next post.

    It took me over 3 hours to put this video together, you can get a preview here -->

    be sure to click the HD button, and perhaps full screen too. It is HD 720p30 with bitrate lowered to 6 Mbps

    I have lots of stories to tell, just pondering how to present it all

    bobskoot: wet coast scootin

  8. Bob,
    Very nice quality on the video - thank you! Saturday my wife and I were at Costco and I was hanging out in the computer area. I saw the Lumix camera that you have. I like it!

    To get ride of your computer hibernating - right click anywhere on the desk-top. Choose "properties" then the "screen saver" tab then click the "power" button. Where it says "system hibernates", choose "never" from the drop down menu then "OK".

    Thanks for the preview on the video!

  9. That's funny... I put "to get RIDE of your computer hibernating." Shows you where my brain is. :)

  10. Mike:

    I have Windows 7 so it works a little differently. Even the options on the control panel are arranged differently. anyway, I figured it out and changed it to NEVER.

    I always carry at least two cameras while away. I decided to travel with two P&S, and since I wanted to take more HD video without taking a dedicated camcorder I decided to purchase the Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZS3 which has 720p30 AVCHD, also 10 MP with 12x zoom. It is sort of fully auto with NO MANUAL options, but that is OK as I have my Canon G10 as the backup camera for night shots and wireless remote control.
    There is no perfect camera. If the G11 had HD video mode then I would have purchased one. AVCHD codec is more efficient than .MOV motion Jpeg. for example as a reference, a 2 gig card with .MOV only captures 8 minutes, with AVCHD it will go 20 minutes or more, with better color and dolby stereo. Sony and Panasonic jointly developed the AVCHD codec which is the same codec used on blueray players. I doubt whether any other company will pay royalties to Sony/Pana to use the AVCHD for their movie mode. I find that with the 12x zoom you have a lot more creative options, and sneaky photos are easier to take. Also the 25mm wide angle is available in video mode. There is not one camcorder on the market that has 25 mm wide angle with purchasing an aftermarket lens adapter which would also degrade the image, and I also noticed that most 1080p camcorders only have around 15x zoom which is not much different than the 12x zoom of the ZS3. I considered the Canon SX20is but it was not pocketable and I didn't want the .MOV video format. The ZS3 goes into my pocket and you hardly know it is there. The G10 is in my waist pouch. Most of my photos were taken with the ZS3 . I took a total of 1,006 stills, with lots of HD 720p30 video . 90%+ was with the ZS3. I only used the Canon for the "family" photos using my radio wireless shutter release, or the time exposure night shots, or the shots with bright hot spots. The only downfall with the ZS3 is that it cannot handle the "Brights" and washes out the details. I tried to use exp comp -1/3 or -2/3 but didn't always work, that's where the G10 comes in.
    Sorry to ramble on, you may not be interested in purchasing the ZS3. Go to dpreview and look at the 10 camera super zoom comparison, the ZS3 and ZS1 came out on top, better than the SX20is .

    If you lived closer, I could have showed up at the McDonalds and you could try the camera out and been the 4th set of feet

    bobskoot: wet coast scootin

  11. Wow, thanks Bob! I'm copying and pasting this into a Word file to keep. I don't do much video because I like still photography so much and you can only do one or the other. Having said that, there are times when I have wanted video. My Lumix DMC-FX9 does it but not HD. If I were going to spend money on a peice of camera equipment I might upgrade my DLSR. I have a Canon 30D which is only 8mp. The new 7D with 18mp has me intrigued. It happens to have HD video too but it's the .MOV. Anyway, I use the G10 so much and it does fine for now.

    Thanks again Bob.

  12. Mike:

    I briefly considered upgrading my dSLR, perhaps to a Nikon D700 for the full frame as I have lots of older lens' that can use the full sensor but I find the I am moving more into video. The problem with all the dSLR's is the problem with the "Rolling Shutter" when you pan too fast. I was specifically looking for the compression of AVCHD codec which all the dSLRs don't have, unless they are Sony or Pana. Perhaps you should look at one of those new Panasonic GF1, or GH1, with adapters you can fit nearly any lenses. I also have leica "M" mount and others use cheap Pentax "K" mounts on them.
    When you consider the cost of a long lense for the dSLR, say even the 18-200 this works out to approx 11x zoom . which is comparable to the 12x zoom of the ZS3, and the ZS3 is physically smaller than the lens, perhaps less than half the bulk. for only around $300. (give or take). So for a fraction of the cost of the lens alone you have a full functioning camera to go into your pocket with 12x optical zoom, with the HD AVCHD video mode 720p30 as a bonus. As far as I am concerned it is a win win situation.
    There are so many times where video would be the shooting choice as you will see on my next video. Stills don't always convey the movement and the experience of being there with me.
    I did purchase a new camcorder Canon FS200 but I find that people shy away when they see you holding the camcorder in the traditional fashion with your hands up, screen open and pointing their way. With the ZS3 you hold it at waist level and point their way with the 25mm wide angle lens and they aren't really sure you are videoing or not. It is more like having a Stealth mode. You will see this on my next video where I have taken lots of music action with the subjects hardly noticing.

    bobskoot: wet coast scootin

    ps: I do not own shares of Panasonic, but if you go back to my posting on Granville street (mid December) most photos since then are with the ZS3 and the image quality seems to have more "SNAP" and the colors appear richer than normal (set to vivid)

  13. Bob,
    Thanks again. Your points are well made and make sense. I like the fact that the ZS3 can be stealth and has the wide lens and is small. I've been really happy with my Lumix. As you say, the photos come out really sharp. Sometimes the delayed shutter gets in the way and with the G10 and my DSLR I shoot in manual mode 98% of the time. I miss that sometimes with the Lumix. I like to have some control of the exposure and the end result. I guess we'll have to keep waiting for the perfect camera. :)

  14. Mike:

    Even with all this technology, there is NO perfect camera. I would like a G11 with articuilating screen, a full size sensor, at least a 12x zoom and 1080p full HD video mode using AVCHD codec & perhaps with 18 MP, and pocketable

    bobskoot: wet coast scootin