Everywhere I Go

Everywhere I go I seem to run into someone I know. This morning I saw a woman at Curry Honda who runs at George’s and sits at the “Reserved” table in the back. If she recognized me she didn’t let on to that fact. (I know if I showed up to George’s more often then she would have easily recognized me.)

Guy Fieri And I Finally Have Something In Common
On Saturday morning I ate at the Silver Skillet. Much to my surprise when I turned on Food Network on Sunday afternoon they were showing Guy Fieri’s Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives, and were was he going? The Silver Skillet.

I had originally planned to eat at Java Jive, but there was no parking remaining in their lot, so from there I headed over to the Silver Skillet. I was also going to practice my food photography with my point-and-shoot, but the blinds were drawn and the place was so crowded I felt a bit intimidated.

Have We Been Together For 90k Already?
Well, almost. The Jackmobile is about to rollover its odometer to 89k and with a pending trip out of state on the calendar I thought it was high time I get it into the shop for its 90k (read “at least $650”) maintenance. June 2009 will some how mark the seventh year the Jackmobile and I have been an item (well, save the six weeks that the bad guys had it back in 2004). Hard to believe that it’s been so long since I paid off the black 1996 Nissan 240sx and got new car fever a mere five months later. I have no such desires with the Jackmobile, hell it’s been payment-free for about four years now. And if you are wondering, I’m hoping to be typing up a blog some day when good-old-Jack and I celebrate 190k miles.

As it stands now my relationship with the Jackmobile is my longest relationship to date.

ITP Flickr Pic
On Friday I joined a handful of hashers for lunch at Tasty China in Marietta.
Green Beans, Olives, And Pork
This was the green bean, olive, and pork dish that I ordered. Man was it delicious!

Introducing The “Seven Day” Project
I have been kicking an idea around in my head for a little while. The idea centered around spending and unemployment. While at the art auction last week I was in a really interesting conversation with Tami who runs the incredible food blog Running With Tweezers.

The conversation was about food, more specifically the cost of eating well. She mentioned that she was going to make an effort to budget $30 for an entire week of eating (apparently she discovered that $23 is the national average for a person receiving Federal assistance.) I mentioned that I was thinking of doing something similar, and lo and behold the idea was consecrated.

If you remember some time back I used to watch a show called 30 Days, which was created by Morgan Spurlock. The premise of the show is that a person would change his/her lifestyle drastically for thirty days. I cannot commit to such a long period of time (and forget that Lent starts Wednesday) so I have decided to commit to a lifestyle change for seven days. I have registered the domain name Seven Day Project (don’t go there yet as I’ve not set up the blog yet. I’ll announce that later in the week); sadly SevenDay.com, 7Day.com, OneWeek.com, and 1Week.com were already claimed.

Each Monday on Seven Day Project I will announce the task for the week and each day I will post my progress. This website could be really intriguing or really boring, only time will tell.

This week’s Seven Day Project is to eat for $30 this week. I will admit that this is going to be incredibly hard for me to accomplish.

The Amazing Race : I Hope She Never Tries Hashing
The Oscars? Pish-Posh! Week Two of the The Amazing Race was on last night.

It’s evident which teams have been observant views of past seasons as they request a cell phone from their cab driver and make plane reservations as they travel to the airport. The teams are headed to hang-glide off the side of a mountain and I’m assuming that this season will be all about scaring people like me who are afraid of heights. The caveat of this Road Block is that if they wind doesn’t cooperate, the contestant can bail on the hang-gliding and run down the mountain trail instead. All teams but one choose the “run” option, and somehow Linda gets lost running down the path. This is going to cost them, I’m sure.

Once down the mountain the teams head to the next Road Block where they choose to either trow pies in each other’s face until they find one with a cherry filling, or maneuver a Segway through an obstacle course. Once completed they must find a little which slices a piece of wood which alerts them to head to the Pit Stop. This brings about the best part of the night when the two flight attendants misinterpret the challenge and wind up in a stable where they find a piece of wood that they intend to cut. HA!

The hardest thing for most teams appeared to be driving through Austria. The major frustrations of the night were between team members who argue about directions, as well as when to stop and ask for help.

For the first time that I can remember the show makes mention of how long it has been since the day started. At one point the show flashes up that it had been fourteen hours since the race started that day. More than that I am amazed the time duration between the first team to finish the leg (Tammy and Victor) and the last team to finish (Linda and Steve). Of course this only being the second leg of the race Linda and Steve are eliminated from the race.

Tammy and Victor blew away the competition in this leg, which should provide them a big advantage next week — at least until they hit a closed park/business or airline issues.

Stats & Goals
Current Mood – scared, things don’t seem to be the way they should with me
Current Music – listening to Leo Laporte’s “The Tech Guy” podcast
Website Of The Day – Ever struggle to remember a word? Try Tip Of My Tongue to see if it can help you out.
Mode Of Transportation To Work – my car / service van
Exercise (b)Log – nothing
Monday Morning Weigh-In – 199 pounds

Foot Mileage – 0 miles, Wheel Mileage – 0 miles
Consecutive Days Of Bed-Making (Longest Streak) – 23 (23)
Vegetarian Days – 1, Carnivorous Days – 22
Marta Rides – 0

February Goals
– Complete all necessary work on my bed room
– Lose no fewer than one pound
– Run no fewer than 30 miles
– Completely read Softbox Lighting Techniques for Professional Photographers, and Conceptual Blockbusting: A Guide to Better Ideas

2009 Goals
– Reduce my weight to 190 pounds (today’s weight was 199.5 pounds)
– Completely read the book 1001 Paintings You Must See Before You Die
– Earn at least $150 through photography sales in order to cover the cost for the renewal of the Jalapeño Beach SmugMug account I opened the other day.
– Save $500 for the sole purpose of donating to charitable organizations of my choice
– Attend at least one professional photography workshop

The Unmeasurable
– Continue backing up all data, including the off-site storage
– Become a proficient programmer in Objective-C (iPhone development) and Ruby on Rails (Black Sheep web page concept)
– Do not create a solution for something which is not a problem

Paulie [eatl/ga]

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26 Responses to Everywhere I Go

  1. Martha says:

    My girl and I have been together for over 8 years, we ‘met’ in November 2000, and just hit 100,000 last Friday. Like you this has been my longest relationship to date.

    I keep thinking about a new, younger model but the old girl asks for so little …

    $30 a week, it can be done…no eating out, is beer included in that total?

  2. I figure that if today’s Jackmobile service costs me $1000 (since it’s estimated to cost $650) it’s still cheaper than the cost of getting a new car.

    $30 is for everything this week, beer included. If nothing else I should lose weight. πŸ˜‰ More than likely I’ll bust the budget some time around Friday. I know myself and with a week full of social activities planned keeping my expenses below $30 will be nearly impossible. I suppose I should head to a store today to purchase some cheap staples to spread out through the week.

  3. Barb says:

    My CRV is now 11 years old, almost 170,000 miles on it. If you ever get tired of wasting money at a dealership, you can go see my Vietnamese mechanic over at Peach Auto Service on Shallowford between Buford Hwy & Chamblee Tucker. Lam is a great guy. Until we get rid of the Subaru that is living at our house, I don’t feel the need to get another car, I just drive it. Allan’s truck only has 2 payments left, so we will go for a while with no car payments again. Dave Ramsey would be so proud.

    As for Amazing Race, I am SO GLAD that the VA couple is gone, they both really irritated me. The blondes need to be next, at least they admitted on camera they were acting like dumb blondes. These challenges have made me want to sign up again, the last few years were lame, but this year bungee jumping and paragliding inthe first 2 episodes? Very cool, Allan & I would be fighting over who gets to do the challenge. (instead of just fighting on camera in the car πŸ˜‰

  4. Well I knew not to be optimistic. The call just came in and today’s service is going to cost more like $2100 instead of $650 thanks to timing belt replacement (to be done at seven years or 90k), rear brakes, and power steering resealing on top of the “normal” maintenance.

    Also, there appears to be a small oil buildup where the engine meets the transmission. Whatever happened to Hondas being incredibly well built and lasting forever?

    Needless to say, I’m not pleased.

  5. Barb says:

    oh yeah, on the $30 for the week for food, there is no way to do that going out to eat as much as you do. You are going to have to eat at home. Turkey breasts were on sale at Kroger last week, bake one of those and you would have lots of options for many meals.

  6. Martha says:

    Why don’t you hold off on the repairs and take it to Barb’s guy for a second option?

    He’s good, he fixed an issue I had after another mechanic ‘fixed’ it.

    He’s over by my office, you could drop it off and we could go to lunch sometime.

  7. B-Bob says:

    $30/week including beer!! It’s not impossible. Carlings Black Label is $11.99/case at the Toco Giant Package Store…. That’s right $11.99 per case, not per 12 pack.
    By doing it for just one week, you may lose the economy of buying staples that would last more than a week. So, if you buy a case of Carlings, but you only drink half the case, how do you count that?

  8. Yep, eating out will virtually cease this week.

    I’ve already given the go-ahead. I just want life to stop beating me up all the fucking time. Seriously, I can’t remember the last time there wasn’t something causing me want to shrivel up and die.

  9. We’ve decided that the accounting is only for what is consumed this week. Therefore if I only drink twelve from that case I can claim a $6 hit against my budget.

  10. Sal says:

    My Honda is a 97…and I must admit I have never taken it in for any of the “scheduled miles” maintenances…..they usually are a rip and not required……the only thing I took it in for was when the timing belt should have been replaced….and I have had no problems with my car! It has 160,000 miles on it. I do change the oil regularly. And I would never take my car to a dealer!!

    This $30.00 a week…is this actual money spent on eating the week or do you have to calculate the value of the food you eat that is already in your house?

  11. Barb says:

    $2100 seems awful high – I’d personally call them back and say never mind, and do some price checking.
    I don’t know about the Power Steering thing, but a timing belt, brakes and tune-up, etc. shouldn’t be anywhere near that much. Timing belt I think would be $500 tops, but when they have the engine torn up for the tune-up, it shouldn’t be as much for labor. And unless you brakes are totally shot, they shouldn’t be all that much either.

  12. I take my car to the dealer because of the convenience to transportation. I have no one to take me to / pick me up from another mechanic and I am not one to impose on friends for this service. It could cost me more money in the long-term to take time off from work in order to go elsewhere. The timing belt is goddamn expensive, but within the replacement time frame of seven years or 90k miles so I gave the go-ahead.

    We are given the leeway for stapes such as salt, pepper, and other standard spices that we might already own. Any other ingredient should be factored in whether or not it was purchased this week. The cost per serving is what is being tracked. This is not an official contest, so guesstimates are okay.

  13. $2100 is high, but I’m fucked if I do and fucked if I don’t.

    – Timing belt over $800
    – Resealing Power Steering about (can’t remember)
    – Rear Brakes about $150
    – New Battery about $70
    – Original 90k work about $600
    – Don’t forget Uncle Sam gets 7% sales tax on all parts

    At this point it’s all a non-issue. I’ve given the go-ahead, I have no desire to call back and cancel, I’m not going to spend the time and effort to take the car somewhere else today. I need the car, and I need it to transport me reliably. Case closed.

  14. Steve says:

    This is complete BS. New battery? Have you had any problems starting your car on the coldest days? Power steering seals? Seen any leaks?

    I seem to recall my timing belt was done at 80k, and was in the range of $200.

    Just say no.


  15. Battery is questionable, but seems minor in light of the rest. Yes, I have seen leaks occasionally but could never identify the source. I’ve just looked the other way and hoped it was condensation from the air conditioner.

    Too late, I’ve already said yes.

  16. Martha says:

    This talk about eating cheap has convinced me today will be a black bean and rice day. Yummy and good for you.

    I think I spent about $100 or so every two weeks, not including booze. I could spend less, soy milk, veggie burgers/fake meat, etc. are a bit more expensive than the real stuff. I buy the bone-in chicken breast (I think they taste better than the boneless ones), two will get me through a week of meals.

    There won’t be much eating out …but $30 a week is totally do-able.

  17. Stacy says:

    Wow! So much to talk about today!

    1) I hadn’t realized the Jack (and now I’m FINALLY putting together the Jack-and-Jill connection…I’m slow) was so young. Yeah, with that few miles, I wouldn’t be rushing off to replace him that quickly either. Sorry he needed such extensive surgery though. It’s times like these that I wonder if those “car maintenance insurance” plans are worth it at all.

    2) $30/week? Is there a plan out there that shows how best to do this (and still do it healthy; I can’t imagine the recommendation is Dollar Menus each day)? πŸ˜‰ As one who is watching said (lack of) income, I’d like to give it a go, too!

    3) Amazing Race: I’m so glad you reminded me to get back into this this year (and yay for no football delay)! Linda and Steve didn’t bother me so much. Actually, my least favorite team got eliminated the first week. I haven’t found a team to really ‘hate’ yet (so far, they’re all pretty nice to each other), so hopefully week 3 will show something promising there.

  18. Actually Stacy the Jackmobile was so-named for the carjacking. Jill was a nice coincidence since that’s the name associated with the voice I’ve chosen within the GPS.

    I’ve not had the time to look for a healthy plan. Tami believes she can accomplish the task shopping at the DeKalb Farmers Market so she can eat healthy. I’m not sure of that, except perhaps buying grains and vegetables-in-season may help. Meat and fish seem to be off the chart, unless something like a meatloaf or whole chicken which can be spread over multiple meals can be made.

    Did anyone else LOL when Phil raised an eyebrow when the father/son team couldn’t get through the gate?

  19. Terri(SW) says:

    The guy on EW who blogs on Amazing Race calls Phil’s eyebrow “Browsie.” Browsie needs his own show.

  20. Martha says:

    If you are really interested in eating on the cheap you could try out Angle Food Ministries.


    You can buy a box of food (they say enough to feed a family of 4 for a week) for $30.

    It isn’t a ‘food bank’ anyone can buy from them.

  21. Barb says:

    I wonder what all is in that box…….. I heard on the news they got raided by the Feds, but didn’t say why.

  22. Martha says:

    They have the ‘menu’ on line (This Months Menu on the right side), you may be surprised.

    Some of the leaders are being ‘investigated’ for some loans made to family members?? Don’t know what will come of that. The church a few blocks from my house is a pick up point.

  23. Rats, I was hoping they were handing out Angel Food cake. Hey, isn’t this the place at that church near you Martha? I vaguely remember using that joke a long time ago when I used to run.

  24. Shari says:

    Re the $30 budget for food – if you’re doing this to see if you can live on what those who’ve had to deal with food benefits deal with, you need to know that (at least in Indiana) you can only use your food benefits to buy actual food in a grocery store. No alcohol, no paper products, no toiletries, no eating out. No alcohol. πŸ™‚

    I did accidentally discover at one point that you can buy prepared food (like deli sandwiches) w/ EBT, but that definitely wouldn’t fit into your $30 budget.

    As far as eating healthier, remember that the worst foods are the cheapest (a leading theory as to why so many poor people are overweight, and illustrated by the fact that organics and such are more expensive than “regular food”). Not saying you’re going to subsist on pork rinds and generic soda for a week, just a caution πŸ™‚

  25. If I spend part of my budget on alcohol then that’s okay by me (read “Hello, Two Buck Chuck!”). I understand the limitation for those actually using EBT, but I’ll save the “No Alcohol” Project for another week. πŸ™‚

    I agree that most of the cheapest foods are the least healthiest. I’ll be avoiding the fast food $1 Menus, as well as the temptation to buy Ramen (which is usually deep-fried). I believe that I can eat healthy by eating grains, legumes, vegetables (the ones in season), pastas which I buy in bulk. Another thing that this will “force” me to do is eat in moderation, which again is healthier for me. For example I’ll try to stretch a meal into two, effectively cutting the price of each in half, rather than eat an entire thing just because it’s in front of me.

  26. debbie says:

    I hang my head in shame at how much we spend on groceries each month (damn Quicken breaks it out so clearly). I’ll be really interested in how the week goes.

    Thank God it’s 5 and Steve won’t see this as I can just hear the rant about how we could not buy groceries for the next two months and do just fine! πŸ˜‰

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