Saturday, February 28, 2009

American taste for soft toilet roll 'worse than driving Hummers' (from the Guardian)

Very interesting article:
American taste for soft toilet roll 'worse than driving Hummers' (from the Guardian)

Interesting facts from the article:
  • More than 98% of the toilet roll sold in America comes from virgin forests, said Hershkowitz. In Europe and Latin America, up to 40% of toilet paper comes from recycled products.
  • Americans already consume vastly more paper than any other country — about three times more per person than the average European, and 100 times more than the average person in China.
  • Barely a third of the paper products sold in America are from recycled sources — most of it comes from virgin forests.
Thanks to M for sharing this!

Currently in Portland

I've been in Portland since Wednesday (for work). Leaving for Seattle (via train) in 3 hrs.

I've been blessed with mostly good weather during my stay - it only rained one day during my visit!

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Harvey Mackay at Thunderbird

This past week, I had the opportunity to attend a presentation by Harvay Mackay, the bestselling author, syndicated columnist, and founder of a $100M dollar company. He mentioned that he speaks at one business school per year, and this year it was Thunderbird.

Among his many achievements, he was named as one of the top five speakers in the world by Toastmasters International - that's impressive! I completely agree. I've attended numerous speaker events in the past (we have many at Thunderbird), and this was by far, one of the best. Right up there with seeing the Dalai Lama speak in 2005.

Read more Mackay's talk here:
Your name matters to "Swim with the Sharks" author (from Thunderbird website)

Friday, February 20, 2009

Sweet O Wine & Chocolate Lounge - I do NOT recommend

For dinner tonight, we tried Sweet O Wine & Chocolate Lounge. The "lounge" is located in Westgate City Center, in Glendale. I've been curious about trying this place since it opened.

To summarize our feeling of the ambience in two words - cold and noisy. Two walls are dominated by glass, the ceiling is exposed, and the floor is tile. Not a good combination, resulting in a very noisy environment.

We ordered a Smoked Speck Ham Panini ("Speck Ham, Artichoke Hearts & Fontina Cheese with a Homemade Pepperonata Sauce" - $15) to share. $15 for a panini!!!

The panini was served with a side salad. The panini was "ok", but a bit on the small side (even for one person). In my opinion, a reasonable price for this item would be $8-$10.

For dessert, we tried the Lava Chocolate Cake ("A Dense Chocolate Cake topped with a Chocolate Ganache, served warm" - $8.50). The cake arrived about five minutes after we ordered it. The "lava" part of it was cooked through, but overall, the cake itself wasn't bad. Again, I think the item was overpriced at $8.50 and a more reasonable price would be $5-$7.

Not quite sure how this place is surviving - unless they have some very favorable lease terms (which is very likely).

There was a group of about five staff chatting away throughout the majority of our meal, and on our way out, we didn't get a single "thank you" or "good bye". Not cool.

Quoting a review that I just saw on Yelp:
"Horrible service, overpriced, awful atmosphere!"

That about sums it up for our experience as well.

We will not be going back to Sweet O.

Places mentioned:

Sweet O Wine & Chocolate Lounge
9380 W Westgate Blvd., Suite D101
Glendale, AZ 85305

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Spring travel schedule

Here's my travel schedule this spring:

Las Vegas - Sat. Feb. 14 - Mon. Feb. 16 (this one's for fun)

the rest are for work...
Trip "1":
Portland - Wed. Feb. 25 - Sun. Mar. 1
Seattle - Sun. Mar.1 - Tue. Mar. 3
San Francisco - Tue. Mar. 3 - Wed. Mar. 4
San Jose - Wed. Mar. 4 - Thu. Mar. 5
Sacramento - Thu. Mar. 5 - Fri. Mar. 6 (back to PHX on the 6th)

Trip "2":
Pittsburgh - Sun. Mar. 8 - Tue. Mar. 10
Cleveland - Tue. Mar. 10 - Wed. Mar. 11
Columbus - Wed. Mar. 11 - Thu. Mar. 12
Indianapolis - Thu. Mar. 12 - Fri. Mar. 13
Chicago - Fri. Mar. 13 - Tue. Mar 17
Milwaukee - Tue. Mar. 17 - Wed. Mar. 18
Madison - Wed. Mar. 18 - Thu. Mar. 19 (back to PHX on the 19th!)

Friday, February 13, 2009

Monday, February 9, 2009

Handy Andy (Part 2)

My last home improvement project - Handy Andy posting

Time for another DIY project!

We spent most of the day today painting. We've been thinking about doing some accent painting since we moved in (nearly two years ago) and finally got around to it today!

Good thing Lowe's is less than two miles from our house - we made three trips there to buy paint samples, paint (the final color choice), and supplies. Total cost: ~$50. Satisfaction: priceless

Here's a before...

and after:

another view (before):

and after:

Massive basil!

Check out these HUGE homegrown basil leaves:
homegrown basil
We used it this morning for a tomato and basil omelette. Very tasty!

Saturday, February 7, 2009

First Friday artwalk

I've been living in Phoenix for nearly 12 years now and have never been to a First Friday artwalk. Yesterday, we decided to go for the first time!

We went with a friend (D) who had never taken the light rail before, so we decided to park and ride to the Central/Roosevelt station. Here are some pics (notice the "crowds of people" riding and the wrapped rail cars...for next week's 2009 NBA All-Star Game, which is being hosted in Phoenix):
Phoenix light-railPhoenix light-rail
There are two "main" areas of the artwalk (on Roosevelt and Grand). We headed to the Roosevelt area, which was a few blocks east of the light-rail station. The "epicenter" of the artwalk is at the intersection of 5th St. and Garfield St. There are vendors along 5th St (between Roosevelt and McKinley) and Garfield St (between 4th St. and 6th St.). Since you rarely see people walking out on the sidewalks of Phoenix, I was surprised at how many people were there. It was almost like being in Chicago or New York. There were a few food vendors, but I definitely think there should be more.

After doing a complete circuit, we were all hungry and headed back to the car to go eat. On the way back, at the light-rail station, we starting chatting w/ a complete stranger and ended up eating dinner with him (one of the benefits of mass transit - you have the opportunity to meet new friends!). More about dinner in the next posting...