Tag: Food

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Too Much for Some, Not Enough for Others

Today, while walking with my wife along Meade Avenue in San Diego’s North Park neighborhood, I was reminded about the food giveaway still going on at Garfield Elementary. Four full cartoons of skim milk littered the sidewalk and, later, a twist-tied bag containing unopened cereal and other sugary breakfast eats that would appeal to children.

In mid-March, California Governor Gavin Newsom ordered the closure of most businesses and all schools. While the state is now reopening and adults return to work, kids remain home—many with parents who are still furloughed or fired. San Diego County’s unemployment rate is a staggering 15 percent, up from about 3.5 percent before the lockdown precipitated by the SARS-CoV-2 (severe acute respiratory syndrome Coronavirus 2)—also known as COVID-19pandemic. Select schools offer free food to needy families, and they are many.

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Amazon Across America

My first reaction to Amazon buying Whole Foods is “Huh?” Few brands could be any more different. The online retailer is all about giving customers the most for the least amount spent, while the grocer is the pricey purview of the alt-organic lifestyle elite. No moment is better metaphor for Whole Foods’ clientele than the exchange I heard between a thirtysomething couple standing at the deli holding chicken luncheon meat. “Is it free range?” the women asked her husband. It had to be, or she wouldn’t buy. They argued. I silently chuckled: luncheon meat—not a bird! It’s all pressed meat, Honey. You do know that?

But from another perspective, and one transcending retail store presence, are other considerations, like brand affinity and buyer demographics. For the first, Amazon may be all about value, but in an increasingly middle-class and well-to-do demographic kind of way, particularly among city dwellers. Despite sharing similar cut-throat margin, expansive business philosophies with Walmart, Amazon doesn’t carry the same stigma among the socially conscious “better-thans”. For the second, who do you think plunks down 99 bucks a year for Prime membership or can’t wait for two-day free delivery or is too busy to go to the store to buy groceries? Without hard numbers to back the supposition, I’d bet there is lots of existing and potential regular shopper overlap among these customers and those who walk Whole Foods’ aisles. 

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This is Me Then and Now V

My past personal photo comparisons focused on a decade’s separation. Two years can make a difference, too, in terms of weight, health, and appearance. Both pics are self-portraits—the left from Jan. 11, 2015 and the other Jan. 7, 2017, shot using iPhone 6 and iPhone 7 Plus, respectively. In the older photo, I weighed 63.4 kilos (139.8 pounds). The newer: 15 kilos (10 pounds) less, or about the same as 40 years ago, during my senior year of high school.

Occasionally, someone locally who hasn’t seen me for awhile will with concern ask if I’m ill, for being so skinny. Not at all. I tightened up my diet, cutting carb consumption by 80 percent-plus—and sugar by even more, when aware of its presence. The sweetener is in everything, and it is not so easy to expunge from the diet. Before changing my eating habits, and weight-loss was a byproduct not the purpose, I tipped the scale to 82.6 kilos (182 pounds). 

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A Taste of Maine in San Diego

My wife and I walk around Liberty Station, in San Diego’s Point Loma neighborhood during some weekends, because the open pavilion with dirt paths around grassy center reminds us of the National Mall, Washington, D.C. The arts, entertainment, and shopping facility feels oddly constructed, for it is. The destination was once the Naval Training Center San Diego, and the architecture and vastness between buildings is homage to the heritage.

The military base closed with many others, as part of vast downsizing two decades ago, during Bill Clinton’s presidency (I wonder if his wife won’t wield the closure hatchet yet again, should she be elected later this year). The complex shuttered in 1997, and like many others underwent redevelopment. Something similar happened to Loring Air Force Base, located about 16 km (10 miles) from my hometown in Northern Maine. Loring’s redevelopment was nowhere nearly as successful as the San Diego training center. Location. Location. Location. 

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This Is Me Then and Now IV

I am not quite as chubby in this fourth installment of my “then-and-now” series compared to the first, or second. Each shows me (to the right) today against a portrait nine or 10 years old. In the previous, posted August 2015, I weighed 59 kilos (131 pounds) clothed, same as the image above, despite appearing to be thinner seven months ago..

The Me to the left is a selfie shot with Nokia N95 cellphone on May 13, 2007. Anne, my wife, took the other using iPhone 6s on March 8, 2016. Different this time is what’s the same: the eyeglasses, which I pulled out of storage to wear again, to give more striking comparison with the Me today. I weighed nearly 98 kilos in the older pic (about 200 pounds). My pajama weight straight out of bed this morning: 58 kilos (128 pounds). The spectacles are quite the spectacle when closely examined—how much larger they look on my thinner face and how roomier the space along the temples. 

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Two Years Later

I begin with a nod of thanks to my wife Anne for struggling with the Fuji X100T, which she handled for the first time yesterday, to shoot these photos of me and several others. We couldn’t go outdoors because of heavy thunderstorms, which are quite unusual for San Diego. Finding a good wall in the apartment with adequate ambient light proved difficult. I turned 56 one week earlier; these are the first pics at my new age.

You see me here at 131 pounds (59 kg). That’s down from 182 (82.6 kilos) when I cut my carb consumption by more than than 90 percent starting July 15, 2013. But my weight is up from 127, or by more than 2.2 kilos, since late June. The long decline reverses as I carb cheat. That behavior stops after today—not so much to lose weight but to be healthier. The massive weight loss is but a side benefit. 

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Amazon Brews Unexpected Coffee Deal

I best be watchful, for my wife is smarter than she pretends to be. If not, she’s the mother of all coincidence. Because by all appearances, the woman used the vendor online tracking everyone suspects to snake a great discount from Amazon. Maybe you can turn to advantage persistant invasion of your privacy.

Our story starts on Feb. 11, 2015, when following days of price comparisons she ordered a 12-pack of one pound Café Bustelo from the Internet retailer. Price: $52.90. As we consumed coffee, she returned to Amazon on March 17, when a shocker waited: Same item cost $69.31. Ah, yeah. That’s a 31 percent increase. But by apparently gaming the system, she later purchased for 19 percent less than previously paid.