Review: Scott Jurek’s North

Amazon tells me I bought Scott & Jenny Jurek’s North on July 3, 2018, shortly after I finished Eat & Run. Oops, didn’t mean to wait this long to read it. Linking up with Kim and Zenaida for Tuesday Topics to discuss this book.

Mom & I, on the AT in Western Mass, August 10, 2014

Let’s start with the ways I am not and will never be Scott Jurek:

  • vegan
  • ultra runner
  • champion ultra runner
  • willing to live out of a van for ~50 days

That said, I really enjoyed this book. Coming off a hike in the Anza Borrego section of PCT and needing a new challenge, Scott and his wife Jenny decided to go for a Fastest Known Time (FKT) on the Appalachian Trail. In the interim, this journey took on a lot more significance as he struggled with who he was at a time when he was no longer a competitive ultrarunner and he and his wife struggled to start a family.

The crux of the journey begins with their drive from Boulder, CO to Georgia in the van that would be their home for the next 45+ days as they chased the record. Factoring out a record as that is just not within my ability, I’m not sure which would be harder: hiking or living in a van for two months. They had occasional nights with real beds & showers, but ick. No. Can’t do it.

The photo above is the only segment of the AT that I’ve knowingly walked, although I’ve walked the Long Path near Harriman/Bear Mountain on a number of occasions and probably walked part of where the two intersect. On the Western Mass segment we lasted about twenty minutes and had approximately the same number of mosquito bites. While I love running, I am so not outdoorsy. I have no idea how Jurek dealt with a mystery rash, poison ivy, and smelling like apple cider vinegar as his muscles broke down despite eating 7-9K calories a day.

Both Jureks touched on the contrast between the AT, PCT and Continental Divide Trail being that so much of the US population lives within a day’s drive of a segment of the AT and as result, it has higher hiker (or hicker) volume and all the pluses and minuses that go with that. While they didn’t paint a rosy portrait and acknowledged the possible dangers to Jenny waiting for him or Scott hiking based on the trail’s grim history, they did realize that the access to vegan foods and other staples might not have happened in the past on the AT and/or now on another trail.

While Jenny was his main crew chief, the two of them were joined by other running friends on their 2000 mile journey from Springer Mountain to Katahdin. Horty and Speedgoat were the two who spent the most time, with El Coyote a close second. As Scott and Jenny alternated sections of the book, it was interesting to see both sides of the journey and their individual opinions of the friends who joined them. I smiled when Topher was mentioned as I always enjoyed his antics with Dean Karnazes. I also enjoyed the trail angels they met along the way: the ones who sought them out as well as those who greet all hikers throughout the season. I found it good that Jurek acknowledged others’ opinions on his quest, moving at an overall average of roughly 1.77 mph to set the record, when others took five – six months. For me personally, it was the running angle that made this book interesting – I’ve had no particular desire to read other peoples’ accounts of their trips on any of the hikes. For the same reason I’m intrigued by the Netflix special on Speedgoat’s quest.

I didn’t know going into this whether he was going to set the record, so I’m not going to spoil it for other readers. If you do know the outcome, I still think you’ll enjoy his physical and psychological journey from Georgia to Maine.

  • Did you read this book? If you posted, happy to link to it below
  • What are you reading now/planning to read this summer?
  • Are you a hiker?
  • Have you hiked any of the major trails?

Other Reviews:

Review: Alyssa Mastromonaco’s Who Thought This Was a Good Idea?

I don’t consider myself a political person, in fact I generally don’t enjoy discussing politics. Somehow, this has translated into reading three political books this year with one more on #20BooksOfSummer. That said, if you’re looking for a discussion of the 2016 election cycle, or an in-depth look at the Obama presidency, this book isn’t either of those.

Alyssa Mastromonaco’s Who Thought This Was a Good Idea?

I first spotted Alyssa Mastromonaco’s Who Thought This Was a Good Idea? at the physical Amazon Books store on E. 34th Street last summer. Sometimes you can judge a book by its cover as it seemed funny and intriguing, but I didn’t buy it at the time. I was headed somewhere and didn’t have room to carry a book with me, but I added it to my wishlist. I was happy when it came up on a Kindle Deal of the day in November and jumped on it, after which it sat on my digital Mt. TBR for six months.

It’s not that I suddenly thought I wouldn’t enjoy it; I was just utterly burnt out on anything related to US politics. Then I read Joe Biden’s Promises to Keep and absolutely loved it. His second book, and the book I intended to read, Promise Me Dad, is the fourth one still to come. I followed that up some months later with Beck Dorey-Stein’s From the Corner of the Oval from NetGalley. That was a fun memoir, and I found myself mostly surprised by a woman younger than me working as a stenographer during the years of the Obama administration. I truly thought that was a dead profession. Spurred on by my enjoyment of those two, I put this on #20Books figuring that was as good an incentive as any to push it to the top of Mt. TBR. When I finished Rise Up! I wasn’t sure what I was in the mood for, and this finally seemed as intriguing as when I first saw it. I proceeded to finish it in four days, and would have been less given more reading time. ETA September 8: followed this up with Dan Pfeiffer’s book, which his a wonderful complement to this book.

While on the surface this is the memoirs of a woman working on the Kerry and Obama campaigns, as well as in Obama’s administration, and attaining high level positions in both while under 35, it’s much more than that. There are a lot of life lessons here for professional women working in any field. Among my favorites:

  • you can’t completely sacrifice yourself for your job, you have to find a way to prioritize yourself. While going prematurely gray can be treated easily with hair dye; Mastromonaco suffered from IBS and at one point was so sleep deprived she feared she was suffering from a brain tumor due to the side effects. It is possible to excel professionally, and rise to the level of being the President’s Deputy Chief of Staff while still taking care of yourself.
  • Fear of raising an opinion, despite being qualified. While working to be re-elected, Hurricane Sandy wreaked havoc on the East Coast. In a senior staff meeting, she wondered whether anyone had considered recording a PSA to offer advice on how to contact FEMA. After (over) thinking it, she raised the question and it was unanimously agreed that it was a great idea and they did it.
  • There is no bigger compliment than being intellectually curious about what someone else spends his or her days doing” YES. So many people fear it will be perceived as nosy or threatening, but it isn’t. And by the same token, you shouldn’t feel offended if someone asks about your job.

What wasn’t as prevalent in Dorey-Stein’s book that I enjoyed reading about in Mastromonaco’s was the “softer” side of Obama and the administration:

  • The lack of tampons in the West Wing bathrooms due to the relative lack of women of child-bearing age working in the White House
  • Obama arranging for the author to join him at Buckingham Palace before they flew out because he knew how much she admired the royals; and the important lesson to always carry a pair of dress pants on you.
  • Jack Lew, the White House Chief of Staff, arranging a hello from Bruce Springsteen because she’d been unable to attend the performance.
  • Obama calling from Air Force One after she’d left the White House to express his condolences on the loss of her beloved cat.

And of course where the book itself drew its title from, Obama asking this of his staff when they had a plan he wasn’t sure he was on board with.

There’s also the side you don’t know; such as:

  • if you’re an administration staffer looking to get married but without time or inclination to plan a wedding due to the stress of your jobs, you can get married by a Supreme Court Justice.
  • When traveling to a war zone, all is synchronized including when cell phones can be turned on so as not to create the opportunity for someone to interfere with POTUS’ travels or sabotage them in some way.
  • When traveling for a state function or other meeting with foreign dignitaries, the guests aren’t just a who’s who of American glitterati. In the case of the 2011 trip for Queen Elizabeth II’s Diamond Jubilee, they wanted “ a group of dynamic Americans the queen might enjoy meeting”, which came to include Kristin Chenoweth once they learned she enjoyed Broadway musicals.

All in all a really enjoying book that read more like a novel than a non-fiction book of the self-help/memoir variety. This was way less of a political book than I expected, and I’d actually say it’s of interest to most professional women regardless of your political leanings unless you’re someone who just cannot tolerate Obama at all. In the early chapters I didn’t care for Mastromonaco as much and found her an underwhelming narrator, until I better realized the purpose of this book: it wasn’t a memoir of working in the White House, it was a memoir of personal and professional growth while working there. And then I really began to click with her.

My only real struggle with the book was the author’s choice to use a lot of nicknames, which didn’t appear to be out of a need for anonymization.  She mentioned a lot of friends, colleagues and others she met in the course of her job, and it was sometimes hard to remember whether Moose, Shrummie and Possum were family members, pets or colleagues.

Review: Joe Biden’s Promises to Keep

Surprised to find this review here? Me too. I’m still semi surprised to find this book on my Kindle.

I was a late convert to Joe Biden, but quickly fell in love the night Joyful Heart Foundation honored him in 2016. It wasn’t that I didn’t like him as VP-I did- I just don’t have a great love of politics or politicians. Biden was an exception and when I heard he was coming to NYC on his American Promise tour, I knew I had to be there. Promises to Keep is not the book Biden was promoting when I saw him on that tour in November 2007 and while I could say I read this for background, I’d be lying. I just didn’t pay attention to the title of the book I requested from NYPL and it was only as I got toward the end and was still in the thick of the Bush administration I knew there was no way this was going to cover his eight years as Vice President, let alone Beau’s illness and death. Oops.  Still, this was an amazing read.

“Joe Biden represented Delaware for 36 years in the U.S. Senate before serving as 47th Vice President of the United States from 2009 to 2017. As the Vice President, Joe Biden addressed important issues facing the nation and represented America abroad, traveling over 1.2 million miles to more than 50 countries. He convened sessions of the President’s Cabinet, led interagency efforts, and worked with Congress in his fight to raise the living standards of middle class Americans, reduce gun violence, address violence against women, and end cancer as we know it.” ~Goodreads Bio

I went into this book knowing the Biden of the last few years of the Obama administration. I definitely didn’t know he’d run for president in 1988 and I’m not sure I knew of the 2008 campaign either. I still remember “voting” for Dukakis in a mock election in elementary school. On some level I knew how long he’d been in the Senate because I knew the stories of his first wife passing just after the election, but I don’t think I realized just how long he’d been “Senator Biden from Delaware”. As he said, so much has changed in that time.

“Things have changed in my six terms, for better and for worse. I served with the last of the southern segregationists, but I was there to see Carol Moseley Braun and Barack Obama sworn in. There was not a single woman in the Senate in 1973. Today there are sixteen, and one of them has a real shot at the presidency.

I love the storied Senators who he worked with throughout his tenure. Because I didn’t yet realize when he’d written this book, I didn’t realize that the Senator he was talking about was probably Hillary Clinton. While he talked a lot in his intro about the decline in decency, I don’t think I realized how common that was now until I found myself surprised at the degree of bipartisan discussion and debate that marked his time in the Senate. Or how the Bork senate confirmation hearings went. I really like how he interwove his speeches and those of other colleagues in to fill out the stories he recounted in this book.

Part of this book that I found most interesting was how much different campaigning was. I loved the inside look into how he ran for both New Castle County Council and Senator in a time where campaigning was physically much harder. I feel like his sister Val, who ran every one of his campaigns, would make for a fascinating biography.

While the story of how he survived his first wife & daughter’s death is well known, I don’t think his survival of the aneurysm is nearly as well documented. I said to a friend while I was reading this that his wife Jill may be the only reason he’s still with us today, it is truly amazing what he survived in 1972 and again in 2015. I love how this book also included so much about his first wife’s family, and how divisive marrying a Catholic Democrat would have been in the late 1960s, yet Neilia‘s parents supported him and them throughout.

“Neilia’s parents came to town in the last days of the campaign to help out. Actually, Mr. Hunter had been helping all the way. The hardest thing in the campaign, I can say without equivocation, was being able to run and eat. I was getting a little share from my new law firm, but things were tight. Neilia’s father, a good Republican, became a quiet provider for the Joe Biden Jr. family. If we were down to nothing, Neilia would reach in her pocket, and there’d be a hundred dollars. “Where’d you get a hundred dollars, Neilia?!” But I always knew. Her father’s faith in me actually flattered me. Six years after he stood trembling at the door of the Catholic church in Skaneateles, Mr. Hunter was still ready to take a chance on me.”

I am too young to remember Biden’s work in the 1970s and 80s, but he played a key role in one of the international news stories that I followed intently: the breakup of the former Yugoslavia. While I remember the Berlin Wall falling and the fall of communism and the USSR, the Balkans was a major news item throughout high school and college and I followed it closely. Sarajevo to me was what the battles of WWII, Korea and Vietnam were to the older generation. I loved reading about Biden’s meetings with Tito-and later his trips to Afghanistan and what a Senator’s role is in such negotiations.

Because he wrote this on the eve of his 2008 campaign, September 11 (which served as an intro as well) and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan were fresh in Biden’s mind. There was a lot from Bush/Cheney/Powell that was news then and is history now… it’s amazing how much ten years and the Trump election could change the lens. With Biden’s disappointment in Bush’s defeat of John Kerry, I can only imagine how he took Trump’s defeat of Clinton.

There’s no question that Biden’s life has impacted American history: his perseverance after Neilia’s death, and his decision not to run for President a third time after Beau’s. Overall, I think we as a society are lucky to have had him in office for so long. This book is a really insightful look at the first thirty years, now I look forward to reading the book I intended to. Two politics books from me in the space of a year? It could happen.

Preliminary Review: The Black Widow

Cari with Daniel Silva, July 2016

Sweet 16. The Black Widow, published on July 12, is the sixteenth Gabriel Allon book. It really seems like just yesterday I fell in love with the Prince of Fire/Arcangel while in Kagoshima over the New Years holidays.

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Review: The Story of Sushi

The author has no affiliation with the California Sushi Academy. He paid for all sushi consumed in the course of his research

This book made me crave sushi for the entire week that I was reading it. I’m a sushi fiend so this isn’t surprising, but it was a little odd when I was reading at 8 AM. This had been on my wish list for a long time. According to my Library Thing I got a copy in 2009, but I have no recollection of owning it. I know I didn’t read it. So I was happy to find a copy on Amazon for .99 and it also hits “Z” on the ABC Challenge.

As much as I enjoyed the info that I learned about sushi through Zoran, Kate, Marcos, Toshi and the others, I enjoyed the people. Although this was a work of documentary non-fiction, it read like a novel at times and the central figures were key. Toshi, the pioneer of American sushi; Kate the unsettled student; Zoran the teacher who is disappeared back to Australia midway through the semester; Takumi the former JPop singer.

Luckily for this sushi fiend, little beyond the author’s explanation of mold’s role in miso and sushi rice made me think twice about the food I devour. I fell in love with sushi at the tale end of my first stint in Japan but never really had a huge interest in its creation. I don’t think I’ve made sushi since a friend’s obon party in August… 2002! This book made me curious about some of the behind the scenes and probably made me a more educated consumer at the sushi bar.

Disease isn’t the only problem. Humans like to eat yellowtail, but yellowtail also like to eat yellowtail.

Of the author’s comments on fish that’s the one I loved the most. I’m picturing carnivorous yellowtail on the sushi bar. I really enjoyed the background on the rice as its status in the US is so different to its standing in Japan.

I’m glad to see the Toshi’s California Sushi Academy is still going (despite an awful website) and to “see” Kate and company on Corson’s site.

Review: 101 Most Influential People Who Never Lived

On the one hand, I’m thrilled that I’m finished with one book and actually reviewing it less than two days  in to 2015. On the other hand, I’m tempted to call this book at least 91 people too long, although that’s probably not fair.
I once overheard  someone I work with say that a website designed by a committee is a camel. I think the same can be said for a book about a subjective matter written by this many people. The more I think about it, I think “influential” might be the wrong word. To me, influence means they inspire people to act like them? Did some have an impact? Yes. But does anyone actually want to *be* Godzilla?
The 101 Most Influential People Who Never Lived by Allan Lazar, Dan Karlan, Jeremy Salter. A library book I started eagerly on December 31, 2014 and I finished today at the gym. Normally when I’m adding time to a workout it means I’m hooked into the book and want to finish it. This time I just wanted to finish it.

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Chubster: where reading and weight loss intersect

Part of the reason for the increased number of book reviews here is simple, an increase in reading. It’s partially the iPad, partially more down time, but whatever it is, I’ll take it. It has led to this blog being a bit disjointed but, to be honest, it always has been at heart.

Anyway, Chubster, a “hipster” weight loss guide from a self-called hipster in Phoenix.  I’ve really lived here too long if I think his hipster habits are completely normal and anything super hipster-ish, except talking at length at how the Chubster non diet is better than every other diet out there. Oh, and everything is ironic. No one ever just does something, they do it….ironically.  That said, it was a fun, light, two-day read.

 

I really liked his start with calorie counting. As I mentioned, I decided to break from Weight Watchers this time and it’s always interesting to see others facing the same internal debate. I truly don’t understand the national fear of calorie counting, especially with the umpteen smart phone apps that will now do the math. I lost weight more quickly when I was doing WW, but I also had a lot more weight to lose then I do now. Of course I was going to lose more quickly. I also shared his issues with Points Plus. I don’t like it when weight loss methods change with the latest fads. If you stick with science* you understand what causes weight loss and how to “fix” it if you go off track.

You don’t have to worry about a company changing a formula or deciding that the old program (under which I actually lost 50 lbs) suddenly “wasn’t right” and needed blowing up to attract new members. Weight loss as a business is infuriating and, I believe, contributes to the nation’s inability to keep weight off. It’s OK to teach people about the current hot trend, but if they don’t understand the basics… the science, they’ll regain and spend more money on a company’s product.

The fact of the matter is, there’s nothing wrong with being fat. Or, at least there’s nothing wrong with you because you’re fat…  It’s not a character flaw … But “happily fat” is not a sustainable…There was little chance I could plan to be indefinitely overweight and keep that little pink heart on my Facebook relationship status intact.

This was the part that resonated the most with me. It wasn’t a slurpee that got me — or someone pointing out the calories in a slurpee, but rather thinking I’d gained 5 lbs in four days. It wasn’t so much an ultimatum as a realization that I didn’t like that me. I look back at my Whys? and realize how different that person was, yet I still see some of her in the current me. I see some of Shauna in me. That won’t change. It’s how to get past that part of me.  Oddly? when I refocused in January it was some of the same position — I felt horrible in my skin. I was done talking about finishing the weight loss and was ready to just do it.

Four doughnuts with coffee or one bagel with cream cheese and a skinny chai: your choice. Obviously I’m not saying that four doughnuts is a good breakfast for someone trying to lose weight; I’m just saying that a bagel and cream cheese isn’t any better.

The forbidden food thing he said he wasn’t going to do? I agree with him in the silliness around Weight Watchers’ “free” foods, but he’s doing the same thing here. Forget his silly gingerbread ban, but he’s saying avoid bagels because they’re high in calories — but go ahead and eat the frozen food that’s just as bad? It’s not that he (or WW) are right/wrong, but I think that in trying to prove himself “better” he also acknowledged the inexact science/”black magic” behind even calorie counting. He returns to his anti bagel quest later when picking the good/bad choices at a number of restaurants: No: The multigrain bagel is on the “DD Smart” menu, but it has 390 calories plain. Is a dry multigrain bagel really what you want for almost 400 calories? I doubt it. That’s the same as their eclair, and it isn’t anywhere near as delicious. Actually, I disagree, bagel > eclair any day, but also a bagel with peanut butter will actually keep you full longer than a sugar bomb of an eclair. Does a bagel compare to a more balanced breakfast? Maybe not, but to compare it to an eclair while arguing about the merits of Super Size Me? Come On.

One of the great things about the Chubster plan is that it lets you choose between Hi-Fi and Lo-Fi options, from the iPhone to an old-fashioned Moleskine notebook. Chances are, you cringed a little when reading either “iPhone” or “Moleskine.” That’s normal. Most of you will find one of those things indispensable (or at least desirable) and the other useless, annoying, and overpriced to the point of being

This is exactly why I don’t understand why people have such an aversion to calorie counting. You don’t need any tools, but if you are the type of person who prefers tools, there are a metric ton of apps for the various devices with which to do it. That’s part of why I don’t understand one of the primary criticisms of the Up. While an instant readout can be nice, syncing to phone isn’t really an issue and if you’re not the type of person who carries a phone regularly, these smart phone enabled devices probably aren’t the best fit.
One of the best thing about this book was his insight into the calorie counts for some foods. Some I knew, but for some I had the same challenge as he did in a) making healthy choices, b) finding the NI for non chain foods. For example, I still cannot find the calorie count for my occasional indulgence – a glass of Stella, so I was grateful for his type by type analysis.
  • the inability to eat 10 oz / 1500 calories of blue cheese dressing in one sitting vs. absent-mindedly consuming about the same as a dip is frightening, and eye opening. After a (tracked!) indulgence tonight it was horrifying to see how many calories are in so-called  “appetizers”. No wonder the country has an obesity issue.
  • On the Americanization of food: Rollatini isn’t actually a type of pasta. It’s not even an Italian word, but in the American version of Italian food it means something breaded and baked. This is also the case with sushi — which in Japan lacks things like cream cheese and fried chicken – takes otherwise healthy or semi-healthy food and turns it into complete rubbish. Which is why you have to read what you’re eating, or as close of an approximation as possible. And speaking of reading, and tracking.
  • People bash McDonald’s, but they’re the motherfucking Gandhi of chain restaurants compared to the Cheesecake Factory. Now, taking the Cheesecake Factory back to the woodshed is the bread and butter of the Eat This, Not That series … so I won’t rehash all that, but it’s absolutely true that they sell salads with close to 2, 000 calories in them and you should avoid eating there on the Chubster. People assume salads are safe and McDonald’s, evil. While I don’t blame Spurlock as much as Cizmor does, I do think the media has gone after fast food in a way they haven’t gone after family style restaurants — but maybe they should. 2,000 calories for a salad?!?! That’s ridiculous and irresponsible.
  • Maybe Pollan’s credo ””Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants” and avoiding anything his grandmother would not have recognized as food” would be an effective weight-loss plan, but I haven’t heard of anyone succeeding that … Instead, Chubster is all about taking advantage of every modern convenience afforded us. In my unapologetically innovationist view, technology got us into this mess by making it possible to consume so many cheap calories while being so sedentary, and it’ll somehow get us out of it. … I have very little interest in killing any animal myself or getting up early on Saturday morning to schlep down to a parking lot and pick out vegetables I can purchase for a similar price at a nearby grocery store, even if they do have the best arugula ever. Sorry, but that’s just not my scene. Maybe people like Pollan are right that the stuff we eat today isn’t even “food” and that it’ll eventually poison us; however, life expectancy seems to be on an upward trajectory even if the light sour cream we now eat doesn’t fit an organic dairy farmer’s definition. Maybe I’ll be proven a fool, but I’m putting my faith in common sense and scientific

I’ve read some of Pollan’s stuff and while I like the idea of eating cleaner, I also agree with Cizmar, there’s limited practicality to it today – or need. We’re not meant to subsist entirely on processed foods, but I think there’s a reason we’ve also evolved from hunter/gatherers.

That’s not to say I always agree with him, in some cases I think his premises, especially on what constitutes a “grown up” drink are ridiculously off base. Tequila shots are “the grownup way”? No, shots belong in the frat house along with the other wisdom he’s trying to throw up. Are sour apple martinis not ironic enough for him?

You can still enjoy everything that plumped you up, you just need to do it in moderation and mix in more activities. Hey, as it turns out, even an evening Slurpee isn’t off the table. Remember the Slurpee that changed my life? The one I had on the way from that awful Dave Matthews concert lo those many moons ago? The one that prompted the stern lecture from my girlfriend that, in turn, launched my weight-loss project? Turns out, that Slurpee was the last one I had for nearly two years. Not that I stopped wanting them. I’m a sucker for pretty much any frozen confection and have always had a soft spot for the sweet, slushy treat favored by Bart Simpson. Since losing 100 pounds, I had allowed myself occasional indulgences of most types on limited occasions (see above), but never a Slurpee. Then, one day, things came full. … On my stop home I was lured into a 7-Eleven for a giant diet fountain soda. Instead, I found something I hadn’t seen before: a Diet Slurpee. Now, the Crystal Light Slurpee isn’t calorie-free. There are actually 80 calories in a 16-ounce serving. But after hiking 7 long, steep miles, I was certainly willing to allow myself such a splurge.  …  This is what I’ve come to realize: There are two ways up the mountain. You can drive up with 600 calories of sugary ice in your hand, or you can walk up and drink the artificially sweetened version. One route is wide, paved, and busy; the other, narrow, a little rocky, and far less crowded. One will give you little tastes of life as we were meant to live it from time to time; the other will immerse you in it fully. We all choose a path, consciously or not.

But he redeemed himself… and ended the book on the strongest note. I haven’t yet gotten to the point where I can have the “diet Slurpee” (or, for me, diet Sour Patch Kids), but I understand the feeling the wanting to prove your dominance over food. I can do that now with chocolate chip cookies (but not dough). I can do that with Subway. One day I’ll do it with Sour Patch Kids… one day.

* speaking of which, Gary Taubes’ Good Calories, Bad Calories  and Why We Get Fat are on Mt. TBR. It’s not that I think he’s completely wrong, but there is something to be said for the basic math of calories in, calories out vs. trend hopping.