First Person Bike Trail

I’ve done a little mountain biking in my time. This is definitely what it looked like from my perspective. I can’t say I was ever up to the level of these guys who make this look effortless. I got a great rush through the first half of the trail and then just simply enjoyed the rest. If you don’t ever think you’ll mountain bike on singletrack but really want to know what it’s like… well… here’s your chance!

Jocks and Jills Fries – Superb

French FriesI frequent (OK not so much frequent as just get there when I can – it’s kind of out of the way for me these days) the Jocks & Jills restaurant at the Galleria on Cobb Parkway (near I-285).

My favorite meal is their “Boneless Buffalo Bites” which has exactly the right amount of chicken and exactly the right amount of their wonderful french fries. Never mind the fact that their Buffalo sauce is perfectly tangy and just a little spicy, their french fries are worth writing home about too!  These wonderful fries rate a 5 out of 5 for me. Slightly crunchy exterior, just the right texture on the inside. mmmm… that’s good eating!

Jiffy Lube Scam and why you may be better off just driving your car into the ground

Back in October of 2001 I had a radiator flush done by Jiffy Lube. Problem was, the geniuses there forgot to tighten the hose clamps and a couple of days later one of the radiator hoses just fell off, spewing radiator fluid everywhere!

Fortunately I was near a strip mall where I could get some more radiator fluid and continue on my way.

But it’s always been a concern for me. Too many uninspired people too isolated from the customers to feel any responsibility for their actions. You seldom see or meet the people working on your vehicle anymore. I often think that the risk of the damage they are doing to my car through carelessness might outweigh any good I’m doing by following my car’s maintenance plan.

I’ve had someone forget to tighten my oil pan screw and had the oil literally flowing out of the oil pan onto the garage floor. I always open the hood and inspect the work that’s supposedly been done, but who can tell if the valves have been properly shimmed (I used to be able to tell when I’d adjust my tappets on my motorcycle – apparently car valves make just as much noise after they’ve been shimmed as before). Anything other than newly replaced oil filters, or wiring is pretty hard to spot when you’re anxious to get on your way.

I once brought a car in because there was a strong smell of gasoline in the passenger compartment when I would brake hard. After a full servicing, the mechanic said he could find no cause for the smell. Getting off of my butt I went over the engine and found… the PCV valve was just sitting loosely over its rubber seal. Pushing it properly in place made the smell go away permanently.

I could go on and on, but I *hate* taking my car in for servicing. I have no problem paying the money but I want to feel confident that the car will be somehow improved afterwards.

One of my friends’ folks used to buy their cars and just drive them until they stopped working. The last little while with those cars was simply miserable (I recall when their little car only had 3 cylinders firing). OK if you’re a starving student, but not if you’ve got a family to haul around.

Anyway, here is Jiffy Lube being caught red-handed. I especially liked the chickens#!t district manager who kept pretending he wasn’t himself. Those unethical buggers need to be slapped upside the head and then forced to work for minimum wage for the next 15 years with all proceeds from their work that would let them enjoy life taken from them and passed back to the people they bilked.

Dolphins Play with Bubble Rings

There is a real level of sophistication in the way these dolphins interact with these bubble rings.

Probably it’s a matter of primate bigotry, but I’ve never really subscribed to the notion of dolphins being one of the more intelligent beings on this planet (aren’t they supposed to be 2nd or 3rd in line after Homo Sapiens?). But watching them at play can be pretty compelling…

Dolphin Play Bubble Rings The most popular videos are here

Swiss Chalet Fries – Possibly the best in North America when done right

French FriesSwiss Chalet is a franchise available almost exclusively in Canada. There are a sorry few (3 as of this writing) stores in the United States, but generally you need to travel to the GWN to sample the Swiss Chalet cuisine.

As of late, the past 5-6 years, Swiss Chalet has become less and less dependable for good food or service. But when it’s good it’s *really* good. Their strip fries are slightly greasy with crispy portions on the outside and wonderfully greasy inside. They hold their own against ketchup or their wonderful Swiss Chalet sauce (both at the same time if you are adventurous) and rate a solid 5 out of 5 on Marc’s french fry scale.

Are airports destined to be the bus terminals of the future?

Airport to Bus TerminalI was discussing airplanes with my father earlier today and how the advent of smaller, more affordable jet aircraft will likely affect air travel of the future. Right now such aircraft are so expensive that only very wealthy folks or corporations can afford to take advantage of them. But with new “air taxi” services starting to come online hosting fleets of smaller, much more affordable aircraft, and with our wonderful TSA with all their extremism, I can see a stratification of air travel on the horizon.

Right now we have the big, stuffy common carriers – who fight tooth and nail to ensure that there are no laws to protect the rights of the traveling public – and the more agile economy carriers – who work hard to keep air travel at reasonable prices.

The Achilles heel of both carriers is that they must operate out of airports that are governed by, with all due respect, unimaginative, pandering dolts. There is a tremendous potential market growing out there as America’s super-affluent middle class decides that it would much rather not be caged in airplanes waiting for delayed flight slots or trapped in airports after having surrendered dignity and just-as-valuable time to get past the uninspired, callous, rude and ineffective security systems.

I am predicting that regional airports in America need to gear up for a boon in business as America’s middle class begin to discover affordable air transportation alternatives in their local cities while the poorer classes become relegated to the airports for long-distance travel much as the current underclass are today relegated to bus terminals for their travel needs. Just as with the bus terminal class, poorer folks do not have options and cannot exercise their power to shop elsewhere. But many Americans have more money now than they know what to do with. It will be interesting to see how much dignity is worth in airfare price premium.

*Update* Just saw this story about folks being kept on a Delta plane for 7 hours on Friday… *sigh*