The Midnight Snack

snc11871I have always loved ramen, pronounced ramyun in Korean. It is a corruption of the original Chinese lo-mein. Other cultures, including the Bukharan Jews of Central Asia, enjoy noodles in soups (they call it lagman). I have seen people eat these dry -I confess as a kid I used to do that too. Back in the day, my favorite was Sapporo Ichiban Ramen from Japan. It was basic -ur Ramen. Though the Chinese created these noodle soup dishes, and the Japanese made it a snack food by frying and drying the noodles for packaging, it is the Koreans who have created the perfect flavor -hot and spicy.

As a kid -the way to pep up the relatively bland Sapporo Ichiban was to add some kimchi into the boiling water. But kimchi is sometimes not available, but the food scientists at Shin Ramyun have recreated the perfect salty/spicy blend. It is the best Ramyun on the market. A close second is Neoguri (pronounced nuh-goo-ri).

The way I prepare it is boiling it the usual way, but I add two eggs which become poached in the soup. One egg i will break up to create kind of an egg drop effect, but the other I will leave to make a perfect poached egg within the spices. It is the real center of this dish. To this, I will add chopped green onions cut long (about two to three inches). Maybe some spinach leaves from the giant Costco packages.

If you’re really hungry, adding some cold rice to it is an easy way to increase the deliciousness. It is incredibly satisfying in a way that soul food satisfies. Water boiling now -must go.

Golf on the Muni’s

img_0164With Wakonda still healing from the face lift, I’ve been playing the excellent public courses around Des Moines. Picture above was taken about this time, last year, good friend, JH addressing his ball on #9 at Sugar Creek. Every small community in Iowa has its 9-hole course. This one, Sugar Creek, is a municipal track, operated by the town of Waukee. Growing golf turf is very close to growing corn, and the greenskeeper here takes particular pride in perfectly green fairways and putting surfaces. It costs less than 20 bucks to walk around 9 holes, rarely do you need a tee time -they’ll fit you in. Though distance challenged, it makes up for it in quality of the grass and accessibility. And that is it -access is what will keep this sport, and my nascent belief system, growing.

The Husband Keeper

Login and face the music like a man

Login and face the music like a man...husband-man

One Monday on Facebook,

Me, status update: Working for a living.

My Sister-in-Law, comment: yes but at least you get paid for it.

My Sister-in-Law is an out of work Yale MBA currently staying at home with two small children. They live on the west coast with its inherent expenses.

Me, comment: I’d rather get paid for my thoughts on golf, technology, and the future. Or for thoughtful, heroic roles in important epic feature films. Or for inventing something on the scale of post-it notes. By the way, your work is not gratis.

  • Cook- 2000/mo
  • Chauffeur -2000/mo
  • Nannyx2 2000/mo
  • Sugar baby 1500/mo
  • Consultant -1000/mo
  • Cleaner -1000/mo
  • Gardener -1000/mo
  • Tutors 2500/mo
  • Room/board for all these people 3500/mo

I can go on. This is with no benefits -health or retirement.

My Lovely Wife, J, comment: Do you want a bill?

Me, comment: Yikes!

Sister in Law, comment: kee kee…

Guess now that you’ve convinced me I’ve earned it, I can afford to redecorate, treat myself to those spa treatments, and toss in that Marc Jacobs handbag I’ve been eyeing. I think we may also need to add Psychologist, Nutritionist, Hair Stylist and Health Care Professional to the list…

Me, comment, exeunt: You go girl. It doesn’t apply to J because she employs me.

This exchange made me think, which is the first step into getting into big trouble. Why do do women want to get married and stay married? If you look at the job description, the housewife takes on at least 5 or 6 essential jobs, goes through great deal of risk to have children, and starts having incredible headaches after about five years of marriage.

If the husband was the first domesticated animal (link), the husband-keeper was the first pet owner. Some husbands are useful and clever like the sheep dogs in that Samsung commercial (link). Others are more like those giant dogs people get when they’re small and cute, but are horrified soon to find that the dog eats food bought in fifty pound sacks and lays turds bigger than theirs. They’re messy, they’re high maintenance, and they’re horny.

So what do you do about a problem dog? You “fix it.” And that is what the husband keeper does to the problem husband. The fix involves:

  1. limiting access to non-family activities with the guys (hunting, fishing, golfing!) that increases testosterone driven pack behavior
  2. letting them overeat (to make them less appealing to other women and by increasing body fat, increase relative estrogens and brooding behaviors while tamping down on demon testosterone)
  3. making them drive ungainly automobiles that have the profile of pregnant women (minivans, Priuses, Lexus anything). Through  about a million years of monogamy, the original savage brute is transformed into the domesticated house-husband.

Being married, I clearly benefit by not having to employ an army of assistants while getting a leg up on unmarried people with the help of my wife. I am presentable because of my wife. The unattached, middle-aged man has the shelf life of a can of anchovies -more than a few years, but not more than about five to twenty. Being unmarried, unattached, or sadly widowed in your sixties or later is a formula for showing up sallow, unshavened, unpressed, and unwashed -a homeless man. There is good data to show that longevity is associated with marriage. Most guys who run off on their wives and families immediately turn around and get married and start another family -what were they running from?

What benefit does a woman get? Pride in ownership? Someone to kill varmints? I have very little insight into this question. I did kill a mouse in my NY apartment in 2003 -last time I did something tangibly useful for my wife. It is shocking to me that we are nearing our 15th anniversary and I look at my wife and nothing has changed about her and us. And maybe this two-happy-bugs-preserved-in-amber-for-a-billions-years thing is it: it is not one person’s benefit or the other’s, but the sum of the whole. By getting married, we enter a time compression bubble where one year can feel like seven but fifteen can feel like one. For better or for worse, in sickness and in health, I am hers and she is mine.

Now about that Porsche.

Golf Psalm

RC and E, new golf friends down in the valley below

RC and E, new golf friends, down in the valley below

The Lord is my playing partner, I shall not want for weekend morning tee times

He makes me lie safe in green fairways, he leads me safely outside water hazards

He restores my mojo, he guides me down righteous cart paths in his name.

Yea though I slice into the valley of the shadow of double bogey, I will fear no rough for thou are with me. Thy hybrid and 7-iron, they comfort me.

Thou preparest a match for me in the presence of my competitors, thou anointest my head with sunscreen, my cooler overflows.

Surely pars and birdies will follow me all the days of my life, and I will be scratch into the clubhouse of the Lord forever.

New Putter, New Life

snc11807

Got a new putter after perseverating with classic shaped putters. I just couldn’t bring myself to get a 2 or 3 Ball putter, but the pro shop at my club had these in various heights. After testing it out -it felt so good, and visualizing the line is made much simpler. It resists twisting better.

The proof is in the improved putting I had yesterday despite a steady rain. I averaged 2.1putts/hole down from 2.7 last year. If the manner in which you manage the course reflects your intellect, then the way you putt reflects your temperament.

Saw Happy Gilmore for the first time last night -enjoyed the humor but found the stretching of golf rules too much. Far and away, Caddyshack is the golf movie of record.

The Error of My Ways

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The View Ti Golf’s strength is as much in its scorekeeping functionality as in the yardage by GPS. The round I played today at The Legacy in Norwalk, IA, was an evolutionary step. First -the front nine was a better round on several measures – there was only two three putts, and I putted 17 times -under the 18 putt goal. The back nine was another story. The last three holes were played in 8 over par. This is in distinction to the first six holes played in 5 over par. Overall, I was striking the ball purely and was in fact made seven of 18 GIR’s which is pretty good. I had three or four up and downs -these aren’t tracked explicitly in View Ti, but hinted at by the one putts. The things I have to work on can be summarized by the stats screen to the right: img_00171

I drove pretty well -in fact, I missed four fairways into the first cut of rough, and had one out of bounds. I played the par fours at bogey but suffered on the par 3 and par 5′s. 

But again, to accentuate the positive -I took an average of 2.1 putts/green which is better than 2.7 putts per green which was my season average based on the cards that I kept. I kept a positive attitude through the round and for the first time in a long time, could see the line. The line was not the problem today -it was the strength with which I hit the putts -I missed two birdies by overrrunning the hole. 

It was a great round played in bad weather -for most of the round, we had steady light rain and cool winds which kept the balls on the green  -I stopped a hybrid 4 at 176 yards dead on the green thats how soft it was. My playing partner, DH, who also toughed it out, agreed that it was a fine day for golf.

I mean, would you miss church because it was raining a little?

Where To Golf -A Golfist Review

The video is a demo of the capabilities of Where To Golf. I will give it a spin and give my two cents. It is currently on sale for a special rate of 0.99 USD. I once thought, well, for free or just under a buck, what’s not to lose by loading the program and trying it out?

For the most part -free stuff is hit or miss. Both categories -cheap and free, do annoy me when they take up valuable space, not do what they are intended efficiently, and worst of all -crash the iPhone which for me is “mission critical.” Being on AT&T in Des Moines is dodgy enough. Having to reboot the phone is really bad -something that I associate with Windows Mobile phones.

The worst free app -the NY Times App -I really hate it. Every few months, I reload the dang thing on my iPhone and try to love it but become stupefied by its slowness and tendency to freeze up the phone.

Because I am willing to go long crazy distances for good golfing experiences, having quick access to a formatted database such as this is potentially useful. So here are a list of my expectations based on my personal needs before I even try the app:

  1. good user reviews of courses -no one line flames and h8trs
  2. ability to upload reviews from non-app sources not typed on iPhone of which the entry method lends itself to one liners
  3. ability to easily request courses
  4. broad database of at least the major public and accessible private courses in every burg and county -Doral is a no brainer, but knowing that a small farm community has a nice 9 or 18 hole track is useful information in planning your life around golf
  5. speed and efficiency
  6. stability
  7. beauty
  8. course layout/scorecards
  9. course slope, handicap, and USGA number for posting of handicaps
  10. posting of handicaps -please someone make this a smooth process when playing away from your home course

So there you go. It’s suppose to rain today, but barring a tornado, I’m playing. I have great Nike rain gear that lets you get hosed down and still stay warm and dry.

Addendum 4/17/2009

Launching the application gives you four methods of searching the database:  course name, city, zip code, and GPS location. Choosing location, img_0001I get the search list to the right. It has most of the public courses around here, and also includes Ponderosa which no longer exists having been turned into a modern village/pedestrian community of condos, shops, and community meeting places. It was actually the first course I played in Iowa in 2004, but hasn’t been around since 2005. This screenshot was from earlier in the day, and listed courses within about a half hour driving distance but was missing The Legacy which was where I played today. Now, it shows up -I’ve also just started getting followed by WhereToGolf on Twitter. It’s a strange coincidence. My wife tells me my favorite song goes, “Me, me, me, me.” But this is evidence that when it comes to golf, strange things do occur.

Choosing The Legacy, options to call the course, find the course on Google Maps App, and review. You can write your own review which I will do. Launching Google Maps quits you out of Where to Golf, but that is a feature of the iPhone OS.

It is a nice database client -I wish electronic medical records could be as straightforward with their user interface.

It competes with View Ti’s course finder feature, but at least as a start here in Iowa, Where To Golf is more comprehensive, and seems to update before my very eyes.

Given its 0.99 cent price, you can’t beat it because the cheapest flavor of View Ti goes for around ten bucks (the View Ti crew change the price frequently, and have about five to seven different versions -they must be getting their clues from the Windows Vista marketing people).

The call function is a killer function! You figure out what courses are nearby and then call them for tee times -can’t get much better.

As with View Ti -I will keep addending as I come up with thoughts but at least on the first day of use, it does have a reasonable database of local courses (but not all -will check later today and see what else new comes up).

I suppose the next thing to add that no one else has is a way to search for practice facilities, golf shops, and teaching pros/schools.

Addendum 4/22/2009

Got that powerful golfing jones and I booked out of work to get in 9 holes as it hit 78 degrees today in Des Moines. As I was tooling down the expressway, I couldn’t remember the exit. My car’s GPS only has eateries. I open up Where to Golf, press “location” and find Waveland -my destination. I choose map and voila -came up on Google Maps app -it took one more button click to get a route and the exit. Amazing!

The Sugar People

Jean Harlow, Sugar Baby

Jean Harlow, Sugar Baby

The NY Times Sunday Magazine featured an article (link) which I’m sure raised eyebrows throughout married households on East Coast. Or at least I thought it would. I tried to bring it up with my long-suffering wife, J, this past weekend. Trying to stir outrage, I asked, “Did you read that article in the Times about the website young, attractive women can go to sign up as sugar babies?”

Refusing to rise to the bait, she clacked away at her keyboard of her Macbook. I pressed, “I read this and think, why didn’t I come up with that?” I think I was meaning to say, “why didn’t I come up with that?”

Click, clack, Facebook post, clickety-clack, email, clickety clack, google search -”getting rid of pests.” No joy for me.

In medieval times, there was a spectator sport called bear baiting where you put a bear in the pit of a theater, and audience participants would jump in and poke the bear with a stick.

I poked, “Women can sign up for free and they get matched with a sugar daddy. It strips dating to its essentials.”

Every once in a while, I play this potentially fatal game of bear…I mean wife-baiting. It lets me push boundaries, probe for any weaknesses (absolutely none found so far, 15 years in May!), and bargain for man-stuff. Motives for this Sunday afternoon shenanigan?

  • Boredom from lack of golf
  • Desire to show that 15 years of marriage has not left me slowly turning gay (okay, so I use moisturizer, exfoliate, and watch What the Buck on YouTube -but it’s manly now because Esquire and Dr. Oz say so…….okay – show tunes are not gay).
  • Create an alibi for leaving http://www.seekingarrangement.com on my browser history
  • Final push for my next toy acquisition
  • Because I love her

I decide to invade Poland, “It’s outrageous! What do these guys think they’re doing, purchasing the attention, conversation, and comfort, of attractive young college-age women? It’s a terrible thing to see, America being turned socioeconomically into a third world country where middle-aged men with money can take advantage of women in need of college tuition (and Fendi purses).”

Clickety, clackety, click. The focus of this woman, my lovely wife, is mind-bending. I give up. She wins. Love, set, match – Sugar Mommy. I go to play with my son and his Lego Star Wars models.

The iPhone is the Master

img_0002Exclusive to iPhone, the Master’s app available only for iPhone is amazing. It features a live leaderboard and video feed from Amen Corner, 15 & 16, and video from the broadcast. The video over 3G, is superb, and it really highlights the iPhone’s versatility. img_0003This tournament is always beautiful to watch, and to be able to carry the whole tournament in your pocket is amazing. img_00021The picture to the left is live video!

The program is responsive, fast, and stable. I don’t know how Apple got the nod, but I suspect that quality has a lot to do with it.

I recently purchased the MLB app as well -I listened to the WCBS broadcast of the Yankees/Orioles game last night on the drive home. The 3G network shows its strengths and weaknesses. It streams fast, but its coverage is unreliable.

I get the feeling that tower to tower handoff is poor with my current iPhone. Just as phone calls drop while on the move, 3G coverage is dicy in a moving car.

On Wifi, the app is unbelievable. This is going to be a very unique Masters.