My fraternity brother from college, Pete, is running a hundred miles this weekend.
Your first question is probably, ‘Why??’
Because he is a crazy person and he runs ultra-marathons for fun. But this time, he is running to support the Mendiburu Magic Foundation, a non-profit organization to help local children and their families that may be facing cancer and/or other catastrophic or life threatening illness.
I want to poll my readers to see what your opinions are on this subject. (This is just based on situations that have come up in the past and will come up again in the future, but not based on a specific scenario in mind):
If you were invited to a bachelor/bachelorette party but you weren’t in the wedding party:
- Would you feel obligated to go?
- Would you want to go?
- Do you think you would feel a little excluded?
My general take is that if I’m not important enough for someone’s wedding party, I’m not going to
waste spend a ton of money on them for their bachelor party. When you factor in airfare, accommodations, meals, other “stuff and things” and alcohol, it really adds up. I could see how you can see this is as me simply crying over sour grapes, but no, I understand that weddings are a big deal and it’s all about the bride and groom! I just don’t like being put in a position where I’m expected to go to these things!
This blog post is super Denver-centric, sorry if you get lost trying to keep up!
My commute to work from where I am involves driving on two stretches of terrible freeways:I-25 north between Evans and Santa Fe and US-36 between Federal and McCaslin. It is a 30-mile stretch that takes 35 minutes with no traffic and double that with usual rush hour traffic. Of all the freeways I’ve had the dubious pleasure of regularly driving, US-36 between Denver and Boulder takes second place only to CA-17 between San Jose and Santa Cruz, the most poorly designed freeway I know of. Nonetheless, I have grown to accept the commute and traffic, but some days are just unbearable.
Despite the absence of snow or ice on the ground this afternoon, eastbound US-36 was a veritable nightmare. Everybody quickly accelerated from a standstill to about 15 miles an hour, just to violently jam on their brakes to a screeching halt, just to repeat this entire exercise over and over. So as I was approaching the 36/25 interchange and saw that it was completely backed up, I was in no mood to sit in any more traffic. I blindly exited Broadway and was initially thrilled to be driving on a relatively clear frontage road. But after the road came to a T, I proceeded to spend the next hour aimlessly driving in a southeasterly direction through
rough neighborhoods the Globeville neighborhood.
So that was my hour and a half commute today. I cannot wait until I can take surface streets all the way in to work!
I invited my parents out to come out to Colorado last month to check out the aspen leaves turning up in the mountains. Our original plan was to drive out to Maroon Bells Lake out near Aspen, but we decided that that much driving was way too much just for a day trip. Our next option was the Peak to Peak Highway that extends from Estes Park to Central City/Blackhawk, but because of the tragic flooding that happened last month, the main roads (US-36) that connects Estes Park to Boulder/Denver was washed out.
My mom, dad, Sara and me all piled into my car and decided to do part of the Peak to Peak Highway, starting at Central City and going as far north as our schedule allowed for…we had dinner reservations at The Fort to make after all!
I reaaaaally liked Central City! It reminded me of a wild West/frontier town, which it essentially is/was. But sadly, it felt like a ghost town…most of the buildings there housed casinos and even those were empty, as people flocked to the glitz and glamour (relatively) of Blackhawk right down the road. I want to go back there one day soon and spend a day walking around, taking pictures and taking in the atmosphere.
We ended up going past Nederland and then past Ward. I think we were a week or two early on the leaves changing, but the views were beautiful nonetheless.
It was a fun day with good pictures and great memories!
Cuisine: Korean BBQ
Food: I’ve been here three times in 8 days. The first time Sara and I went there, we ordered off the menu since it was just the two of us. After reading the menu and talking to the waitress, we learned that Dae Gee Korean BBQ is the only all-you-can-eat Korean BBQ joint in the state of Colorado. I’ve been to a handful of Korean BBQ restaurants in Aurora and they were good (really good actually), but the price is almost prohibitively expensive for the amount of food you get.
I think the fact that I went there three times over a period of 8 days gives you an indication of how this review is going to go.
When we ordered off the menu the first time, I opted for the soon dobu (soft tofu spicy soup), Sara was adventurous and got the ttukbaegi bulgogi (glass noodle soup with thinly sliced ribeye beef & mushrooms) and we shared a seafood Korean pancake. The ban chan (side dishes) were on point as well. Everything was delicious and as far as this Taiwanese-American’s taste buds were concerned, California-authentic.
My second and third trips were with friends for a post-race celebration and birthday party. Both times, we opted for the $18.99 all-you-can-eat Korean BBQ. If you’re not familiar with the concept of Korean bbq, sit down, because I am going to blow your mind. You sit down at a table with a small grill in the middle with your friends; your servers bring the ban chan, rice, dipping sauces and a huge plate of assorted meats (rib eye, flank, pork belly, marinated short ribs, chicken and more) to the table, throws on the first round of meat on the grill.
After that, it’s a huge free for all as everyone jockeys for position around the grill, throwing their favorite meats on the grill and snatching up cooked pieces the second they’re finished cooking. Once you clear off one plate of meat, you order another one to the table, get more beer, rice and ban chan. Add in ice cold beers*** and soju (Korean liquor…kind of similar to sake) and you’re in for a long, gluttonous night.
The quality of the meat was good and with the all-you-can-eat option, they give you lots of different choices of meat so you won’t get burnt out on one cut of meat.
Atmosphere: I really liked the design and layout of the restaurant. Everything felt very…modern. Sara remarked that it felt like a restaurant in California while i thought that the restaurant wouldn’t look at all out of place in Asia. Whether you sit down for Korean BBQ or just to order off the menu, prepare to smell like your food for the rest of the day.
This is a KBBQ (this is the abbreviation…now you’re in the know) so expect it to get loud and possibly rambunctious.
Service: Service was good all three times I went. If you want to get the attention of a server, you can ring the doorbell on your table (yes I’m being serious) and someone will show up…or the servers walk around frequently enough for you to ask them for any requests.
**Note: The last time I went there, their liquor license was temporarily revoked for serving minors. Oops! I believe it was a slap on the wrist though, so by the time you’re reading this, the license should be reinstated.
Verdict in 140 characters or less: 9 out of 10. All you can eat KBBQ for <$20? Hell yeah! Entrees were awesome. Ban chan is on point. The price is right & its worth the drive
Dae Gee Korean BBQ
7570 Sheridan Blvd
Arvada, CO 80003
Another year, another Rock ‘n’ Roll Denver Half Marathon in the books!
The race organizers pushed the race date all the way to Oct. 20th this year…it was Sept. 22 last year and Oct. 9 the year before that. I wish they had stuck with the September start date because it is starting to get reaaaally cold here! I think we got really lucky with the weather yesterday. Even though it was still pretty chilly when the race started (in the high 40s/low 50s I believe), it wasn’t too unbearable. But this morning, 24 hours after the race start, it was only 20 degrees out!
On the flip side, the day before the race was beautiful; the weather was in the 60s and it was clear and sunny out. So I guess it could’ve been better, but it also could’ve been far worse. Next year, I hope it’s on September again!
We went to the expo on Saturday to pick up bibs and it felt a little smaller than years past, with fewer exhibiters and merchants, but it still had a great vibe. I wasn’t able to buy the gels I wanted, but I did get a sweet Colorado running shirt from Pearl Izumi.
Per usual, the race was a fun one. There’s always great crowd support on this course since it goes through a lot of the hip areas of Denver: downtown, uptown, City Park and Cheeseman park. Along with the bands on the course, there is always some sort of external stimulus to keep your mind off the grind; I haven’t ran with headphones the past two races and I don’t regret it one bit. [Last year, I had Eric as a running buddy so we talked most of the race and this year I got used to running with no headphones because of Ironman 70.3's no-headphone rule.]
My race was decent. My body mostly felt good all race, despite my hip tightening up on me a couple days before the race. One of my knees was really starting to feel it around mile 9-11 so I took a couple extended walk breaks through the water stations. Unlike my first attempt at Rock ‘n’ Roll Denver 2011, when my knee completely gave out around mile 5 and I had to walk/run to the finish or Rock ‘n’ Roll Denver 2012, when my calf got some crazy cramps towards the end of the race, my body held out!
Time-wise I did okay! I think I maybe could’ve gone a little faster if my knee hadn’t bothered me a little towards the end, or if I had some more quality long runs, or if I had done more speedwork…but I didn’t and I’m happy to have finished mostly pain free, so there’s that.
Eric didn’t run with me this year because he decided to tear his ACL. Sui ran the race but we didn’t meet up before the race…Sara didn’t get her training done on time so she opted for the Mini Marathon (3.8 miles) with one of her sisters. Sara’s brother-in-law Matt ran the race too, so Sara’s entire family was there cheering us all on! Luckily I didn’t have to make them wait too long this time! Sara’s wasted countless hours waiting for me to finish races, so I was happy to not make her wait forever for once.
Bring on the Rock ‘n’ Roll Denver Half Marathon 2014! But first…a Thanksgiving turkey trot, Surf City Marathon 2014, a triathlon or two!
Food: Chicken kabob plate for me, beef shwarma plate for Sara. Both entrees came with a side of rice, hummus and pita. We also ordered stuffed grape leaves. The hummus was some of the best we’ve had, very tasty. The chicken was moist and well-seasoned. The kabobs a couple small pieces of peppers and tomatoes thrown in as an afterthought. I had a bite of Sara’s shwarma and it was also very tasty, but I didn’t try enough to make a judgement call on whether or not I’d order it from there myself. Some of the rice was a little overdone or it had been sitting for a while.
Atmosphere: The location is in a very weird location on Colorado/Evans, next to a creepy 18+ nightclub. When you first walk in, it looks like an old, semi-deserted deli. Once you get seated in the main dining room, it felt a little
dingy dated. We could hear the restaurant employees/owners kids playing video games…it wasn’t obnoxious or loud, but this definitely isn’t a romantic hot spot.
Service: The service here was adequate. The food took a while to come out. The servers here were fairly attentive and visited our table often. When they forgot the drink I ordered, they promptly took it off our tab when we brought it to their attention.
Verdict in 140 characters or less: 6.5 out of 10. Mostly good food at a reasonable price and decent service. Next time we want to eat here, will get take out.
Ya Hala Grill
2100 S Colorado Blvd, Denver, CO 80222
Great customer service is usually never shared with others, which is why I wanted to share the good experience I recently had with Polar:
I was at REI a few months ago at their used gear sale, browsing the well-picked over selection of returned, used and abused merchandise. I was in the market for a GPS computer for my bike, but I wasn’t actively shopping for one since I was able to track all my rides with Map my Ride for my iPhone.I happened upon a sad-looking GPS watch from Polar…3 out of the 5 buttons were missing and it was lacking any documentation, cables and heart-rate monitor. I looked up the model number of the watch on my phone and read a few reviews of the watch.
My needs for the watch were simple:
- Able to cycling
- Waterproofed for swimming (wishful, but not a must)
The reviews and product specs all showed that the watch met my two major needs (it wasn’t waterproofed for swimming.) I was a little to hesitant to buy another GPS watch because my preference would’ve been a bike-specific and bike-only GPS computer; I already own a Nike+ GPS watch that I wear running and I’m already tied in to the Nike+ ecosystem. But the watch felt comfortable and it was a killer price: $44.00 used and abused vs. $200 brand new. Despite the physical buttons being missing, I was still able to work all the functions by directly pressing in on the buttons. I took a chance and bought the watch.
After using the watch for my Ironman 70.3 (it worked great on the bike portion by the way), I checked Polar’s support website on a whim, just to see what the warranty was on the watch. I saw that the watch was covered by a 2-year manufacturer warranty and my watch was within the 2-year period. I assumed that the warranty was voided for me since I wasn’t the original owner and I bought the watch used, but I submitted a ticket anyways. I explained the problem with the watch (conveniently leaving out the minor detail that I bought it used) and they issued me a RMA and I mailed the watch in to their New York factory.
I half expected them to reject my warranty claim because the watch has a giant silver ‘X’ on the back of the watch sharpied by REI. I didn’t even have a receipt for the watch. In fact, I was even willing to pay for some of the repair cost since I figured my warranty was voided out. But two weeks later, my watch came back, repaired and as good as new. No questions asked.
I am now in the market for a daily activity-tracker and the market is saturated with offerings from nearly every company…FitBit, Jawbone and Nike all have great activity trackers. And since I’m already tied into the Nike+ system, I almost automatically purchased a Nike Fuelband. But I remembered that Polar took care of me and provided me great customer service and while browsing their website, I saw that they are releasing an activity tracker of their own, the Polar Loop.
After some more research and comparisons, I decided the Polar Loop would fit my needs better than any other activity tracker on the market. I wouldn’t have even taken a second look at Polar if they hadn’t honored my warranty!
So to all you future customer experience or operations managers, here’s another case study that proves that treating your customers right results in customer loyalty. And here I am, being a consumer advocate for Polar! Treat your customers right!!
If you haven’t been to the Pepsi Center this year, go check it out…the new JumboTron that they put in is HUGE!!! I happened to go a couple times this month (once for the Ducks/Avalanche game and once for a Nuggets preseason game) so I got a couple vantage points of the screen: one from the cheap seats in the upper bowl (300s section) and one from expensive seats in the lower bowl (100s section.)
Looking at the screen while sitting in the 100s section of the Pepsi Center was really overwhelming because it’s so damn big. The brightness of the JumboTron is so much brighter than the actual court itself that it actually bothered me a little bit.
But sitting in the 300s, the screen was the perfect size and right at eye level. It was still a little bright though, especially since the ice was much more brilliant on the screen than in real life.
The bi-partisan posturing by Congress disgusts me and personally, I place 95% of the blame on one political party…one that is known for its leathery skin, ivory tusks and ability to delight children at circuses.
But the longer the government shutdown continues, the more fodder there is in the news. This one is via the Huffington post:
“While Congress was able to edge out Lindsay Lohan, the Ebola virus, the Kardashians and North Korea, it failed to best other items on the list, including Genghis Khan, NFL replacement referees, used car salesmen, lice, and the band Nickelback,according to Think Progress.”