Volbeat @ Broomfield

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Volbeat

I saw the last Volbeat show they did in the US back in Las Vegas last year. Since then, then have been on hiatus. Tonight, they returned to the US for their headlining tour and the first stop was Denver. Do I have rock karma or what?

Volbeat

They played in Broomfield which means it is an all ages show unlike those venues downtown. So my concert buddy joined me. This is actually her 2nd time seeing the band and she was pumped to go and watch them once again. However, I knew it would be a bit different. I usually get her seats but for this show it was GA. She had to go on the floor with me. So we started up front after finding a spot. Stayed there for several songs before I had to move. At her height (hell, at mine!) it is hard to see sometimes down low. So I figured that was enough of the bumping up front, so we retreated to higher ground.

Volbeat

As always, Volbeat called kids up on the stage. We hustled back down but the kid in line before Sydney to go up got cut and so she was too. Bummer. Too far away. The kids get to rock out on one song on stage with the band. Would have been cool. I messed that up. The good news was that instead of staying on the floor, I noticed some 2nd row vacant seats. So we popped in those and finished out the show just a couple heads higher than the floor on stage left.

Volbeat

Sydney had a great time and added to her concert t-shirt collection. Oh, the opener was Anthrax. Yes, Sydney has now seen Anthrax. The list is getting longer by the year. I am so proud as a father.

They even played a new song for us that they were working on for a future album. It went for about 60 seconds then they killed it. Sounds like they hadn’t finished it. Might I say we were the first ever to hear this given they just came off break? I had my camera rolling. It is the 3rd song in the video.

Setlist:

  • Hallelujah Goat
  • A New Day
  • Dead but Rising
  • Lola Montez
  • Danny & Lucy
  • Sad Man’s Tongue
  • Mary Ann’s Place
  • Guitar Gangsters & Cadillac Blood
  • The Lonesome Rider
  • The Human Instrument
  • The Garden’s Tale
  • Heaven nor Hell / A Warrior’s Call
  • Doc Holliday
  • The Mirror and the Ripper
  • The Hangman’s Body Count
  • 16 Dollars
  • Pool of Booze, Booze, Booza
  • Fallen
  • Still Counting

The Chipotle Assembly Line Nightmare

Rants2 Comments

chipotle

Dear Chipotle,

I am increasingly frustrated when I visit your establishment. I am a 15 year veteran of the place. I know exactly what to say and how to get through the line using the minimal number of phrases required to efficiently order my meal. However, sometimes your side seems like some Three Stooges skit taking place. Take tonight for example. I wish I would have just recorded the whole thing so you could see it from our side of the glass.

The mother in front of me was ordering for her and two teen boys. I think the boys probably have been there before but she seemed like a rookie. Now, this is fine. We need new blood to continue to grow the franchise. But I always get a kick out of the process. The lady was trying to order three burritos at once. Actually, one was a bowl but she kept calling it a burrito. Then she would tell them which different type of rice goes in each. Then which type of beans. The Chipotle worker behind the counter was in utter confusion. Turns out he was new on the job too. Finally someone told the lady nicely, “Ma’am, it is easier if you just order them one at a time”.

They were then trying to wrap their burritos and ripping the shells. This is another Chipotle classic screw up. Burritos are supposed to be shaped like tennis ball cans. You can eat those. Chipotle seems to have developed the football shaped burrito that nobody can eat. It is a spectacle. I haven’t eaten a true burrito there since day 1. Nobody wants their food to fall apart.

Chipotle seems to have pioneered this type of fast food assembly line. I mean it sort of happens at McDonald’s but you don’t see the magic happening. Here it happens right in front of you on display. Like a thing you participate in. However, when it breaks down, it almost turns comical.

Now, that lady had the end of the queue in a tizzy because something was going on with the salsa choice. I was now at the front of the queue where I told Mr. Newbie that I wanted a salad. He gave me a blank stare. Almost as if to say, “Sir, this is a burrito place and you want a salad?”. Now, any veteran knows this is on the menu. It even got put on the big board years ago. But he was dumbfounded. He asked the guy to his right in the queue what he should do. The guy pointed at the secret lettuce bin they keep behind them and the kid started filling the bowl. Then he just stared at me. The kid helping the newbie prods him along by saying “Ask him what he wants on it”. Then the newbie turns to me and asks “what do you want on it?”. Are you kidding me? Don’t you know the script here, kid.

I haven’t worked at Chipotle but I am pretty sure you could put an apron on me and I could fill orders. Bowl? Yes. Here or to-go. White or brown? Black or pinto? Was that double meat or half and half? I know the lingo. I think they got this kid off the street and put him behind the counter. He didn’t know what to ask. I know you can mathematically build 4,123,456 combinations of things off their menu but the questions are easy. Worse yet, each person helping you in the queue only asks you a subset of questions. Usually limited to about 3 things. Could it be simpler?

Now, as I am going through this comedy in slow motion, a problem occurs. One of those wicked faster workers appears at the front of the queue with a web order due at 8PM. However, it is 7:45 on my watch. But the order guy is standing there waiting. Oops, he came early. So the staff starts leapfrogging between me and the lady with the teens to hurry out this order. She starts enlisting the help of the other folks in the queue and this totally messes them up. The system is such that the worker asks the person standing on the glass directly in front of them what they want on the item in front of them. So they start asking me what I want on these tacos. The ones that are not mine. So you start pointing and learning what everybody in front and in back of you ordered because you have some fear of not getting your food right.

I start directing them about who’s food is who’s and they seem even more confused. There are like 8 tacos being made and 3 humans here. Total chaos. The system is broken. Each worker passing the item down requires them to sort of relearn everything about your order at times. I feel like I am repeating myself. With the salad, they slapped the foil cover on it but the marker guy wasn’t on task. So then it becomes the guessing game. Who’s is this and what is in it?

The manager was standing there and I felt annoyed. This isn’t the first time. I almost expect it every time now. So I decided to make a stink. Yep, I was that guy. In my older age, I do save these outbursts for when I actually give a shit. And it was tonight. It went something like asking her if she was the manager and if she manages. Telling her their line is a disaster and nobody knows what they are doing. The staff just looked at me strangely. Not in a way that showed that they had any empathy for the customer.

I asked the manager what meal I had and she didn’t know. I had to identify it. And by identify it I mean I had to pick it out of the bag they were packing for Mr. To-Go behind me. Now it was unmarked so I asked her what was in it and she didn’t know. She went to the cash register and started to ring it up. Thought this might be interesting given you don’t know what to charge me. I see zero dollars as amount due. She hands me my meal and wishes me on my way. A decent move, but not what I wanted.

I told her I wanted to pay but I was more after an acknowledgement that they are clueless. She said there is a new guy on the line tonight. He was that first dude, who never has eaten here I swear. I don’t get the training cycle. Can’t he just be on beans? All night your job is to ask “Black or pinto?” and you are done. Tomorrow you might step up to meats. Then salsas. Your career could be huge.

That was a lot of words to describe what was probably a five minute visit standing in line. I wish it was on video. We could play by-play commentate on it like a football team watching game tapes. But it is lost.

I will be back soon. It is a staple for me based on location. But I swear that if some of the other local smaller places (Big City Burrito) would open up next door, I would switch. Qdoba pulls the same crap from time to time but frankly not as much.

Have your team get it together. Sometimes the system works. But mostly, it seems to fall on its face. When you ask me what I ordered, I feel like you didn’t care. I already told ten people on your side of the glass.

Sincerely,
Me

Closing Day

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While our usual Ski Cooper closed weeks ago, other Colorado resorts stay open longer. Usually post-Spring Break, I have no interest in skiing. I am waiting on warm weather! But this year, I had a desire for one last run. So with a large snowstorm dropping a lot of powder, we headed up to Cooper Mountain for their Closing Day! Never been to one of those.

Closing day

We had a good time even though many lifts were already down for the season. But a 60″ base with fresh powder was nice. You can ski other spots in Colorado until June if you are really in the mood.

Closing day

I think the kids might need a change next year. So we might trade in our Cooper passes for Cooper. See how that treats us!

South Of The Border

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Mexico 2015

After an 8 year hiatus, it was finally time to return to Mexico. My Mom, sister, and her boyfriend were joining us so we felt like revisiting a past trip to the Riveria Maya was a solid choice. Staying at Iberostar, we had a great time there with the little kids because there is a lot to do. The weather didn’t disappoint at all. Plenty warm with a nice tropical breeze all the time. We spent many days at combinations of the beach and the pool. My kids could live the rest of their lives doing that every day. However, we did get off the property a couple of days and visit some of our favorite local attractions/parks. They have some neat adventure park/swimming/zoo like things down there. You go spend the day and for once price they feed you, give you equipment, and shuttle you back and forth. It is all inclusive, just like the hotel. Feels nicer than a US-based experience to me as you are constantly take care of and you aren’t faced with signs and rules all day.

Mexico 2015

The all-inclusive nature of these resorts is a nice change. No cash or credit cards on you. Just a bracelet and you are off. You can eat and drink 24×7. The food is great — and it isn’t all Mexican. They have a healthy selection of different flavors at each meal. You could go the entire week without ever eating a burrito. Actually, Mexican food is almost hard to come by sometimes!

Mexico 2015

Nothing better than a beach vacation where you live in your bathing suit and get to lay on the beach. Or in it.

Mexico 2015

Being animal people, my family always is attracted to the wildlife. These guys in this next video are called Coatis. Kind of like a racoon. The locals might not love them but the tourists sure do. They are real cute. But you don’t feed them as they have a strict diet of bugs and stuff. Watch them climb and dig!

Xel-Ha remains our favorite attraction in the region. It is probably the only bay on the coast and the wildlife know that. The bay is full of fish, stingrays, and more. They have a great “ride” where you get in tube way back inland in a mangrove forest and swim through it until you reach the bay and sea. There are activities along the way like cliff diving, rope courses, and zip lines that all start or end in the water. You are wet all day!

Mexico 2015

Mexico 2015

Reagan wanted to do a manatee encounter so I did it with her. Pretty neat. Not like those pesky dolphins swimming fast and jumping. These guys are gentle giants.

The manatee and I getting some lunch. He took a full stalk of lettuce out of my hand.

Mexico 2015

She doesn’t ever pose for photos but Sydney must have gotten this one on her. Thanks to Kim for organizing the trip. She is our built-in travel agent!

Mexico 2015

Some day this will be a permanent view…not necessarily here but you get the idea!

Mexico 2015

I could probably find a job. This guy has it figured out.

Mexico 2015

View all photos from this event.

CrossFit Challenge

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This past weekend my gym hosted a CrossFit challenge. Coming from the running world, I compared it to a race. But more of a test of how my fitness and strength were coming along. Folks from other gyms came as well and competed alongside us. It was a healthy sized group of folks.

SPD Challenge

The exact workout isn’t announced until the hour before. So you can’t cheat and be all practicing the week before. You have to come well-rounded and see what gets thrown at you. There were to be 4 different workouts that day. It ultimately took about 6 hours to get all those folks through all these workouts. We went in heats. CrossFitters will know what that all means below. For those not familiar, you can probably figure a few things out and google the rest.

Crossfit SPD Challenge

The first 3 workouts took good effort so by the time the longest and last round came along, I was a bit more tired that I expected. Trying to keep yourself fueled and rested through the breaks is a new one for me. In running, you just start and finish. Here it is more like a swim meet where you compete, wait, compete, wait. Memories of years ago. There is me doing my kettle bell swings in the last round. Those followed the run. They were brutal.

Crossfit SPD Challenge

I expected the run to be my best part but it isn’t that long where you can really make up a lot of time. So I used it by running steady so I was ready to go upon re-entering the gym for the next set of weight.

Crossfit SPD Challenge

There are 2 divisions: Scaled and Prescribed/Rx. Rx is the prescribed workout — the standard. Scaled is a lesser workout that is tailored towards beginners. It takes time to master all the different skills and movements required to do Rx. I am not there yet. For example, I can’t do a handstand push-up yet. Can you? So if I was in Rx and that would have been on the list, I basically would DNF or get no points in that round. So scaled for me for now.

Crossfit SPD Challenge

Done! This was after 18 minutes of work. I was exhausted. You go for time so you can push as hard as you can through these sets. Found myself really pausing to breathe much more than I wanted to. My family was on hand and they were having fun watching my struggle through the final minutes. Doing these jumps over a bar and some burpees where I was totally moving slow. From a spectator’s perspective, you are like “man, I could go way faster than that”. But when you have been moving through the set, it isn’t that easy.

Crossfit SPD Challenge

It was fun having the family on hand. Unlike a running race, they don’t have to follow you by car around the mountains in the dark of night. Just hang out in a gym! Here is my surrogate daughter/neighbor, Maggie, and I doing a pull-up challenge. She won.

Crossfit SPD Challenge

At the end of the day and after a little scoring snafu, I ended up in 2nd place in the scaled men’s division. I will take that! Only 3 months on the job so far. I am gaining weight, which I hope is muscle. Learning new skills. Meeting new people. Basically training a lot differently. We will see if it translates back to my roots in ultramarathons when the time comes. But for now, I enjoy being more of an athlete and less of a runner.

Crossfit SPD Challenge

Your Monthly Dose

A Day in the Life7 Comments

Some people continue to mock my new CrossFit hobby. But we know he is just afraid. However, the meme seems to state that CrossFitters love to tell everyone about CrossFit. So I have tried to keep to myself. Ultimately, I hope the fitness I gain and the run race results to come will be the best story. But maybe, I should indulge you now and then into some chatter so you can either learn or just continue to poke fun. Your choice.

Today’s “Workout of the Day” (WOD, in our lingo) was a pretty cool one. And it really is the sort of thing that I like doing because it utilizes some endurance and brings in that burning sensation in your muscles when you just want to quit but know you can’t. Feels very familiar to what happens in a short race — the battle. And maybe the little victory helps you prepare for a 100 miler — the war.

This workout was devised for MMA figther, BJ Penn. When I watched MMA for a few years, I saw this guy fight. So it hit home. I have always loved watching MMA fighters workout. It is not all weight lifting. And it is not running. It is a combination of disciplines or functional movements. Requiring strength, coordination, endurance, aerobic ability and more. These are exactly the things I got into this for. So let’s see what this workout is all about that we did today.

Titled “Fight Gone Bad” the workout simulates a 3 round MMA fight — without getting punched in the face or being choked out. The physical demands if you will. Five exercises done for one minute each. 1 minute of rest. Repeat for 3 rounds. Keeping score along the way of the number of reps you get for points coming up with a total score at the end. The nice thing is that about anybody can do the workout giving its composition. It is more about how fast you can do it. But it takes pacing. Start too fast and you blow out during your minute and end up wasting valuable time. So slow and steady is key. You also don’t get rest between activities so you need to plan your transitions because they are on the clock too.

Watch the video for the live action (not my gym) and a nice explanation from the CrossFit creator. Here is the routine:

  • Wallball Shots: 20 pound ball, 10 ft target. (Reps)
  • Sumo Deadlift High-Pull: 75 pounds (Reps)
  • Box Jump: 20″ box (Reps)
  • Push Press: 75 pounds (Reps)
  • Row: calories (Cal)

Depending on your skill, people rack up different points in different places. This was my first time through it today and pretty much had the same scores in all rounds. Basically hitting 30 wallballs, 15 sumos, 20 box jumps, 15 push presses, and about 15 calories on the row. My score, 265, seemed pretty good for a first time through this. A few places I could improve. But everybody was gassed at the end of the workout. Never seen so many people laying on the floor when the clock stopped.

And that is another reason why CrossFit is fun for me. It is group suffering. You can’t hit that intensity by yourself without some serious conviction. If you run, it is like being in a race. Sure you can go do that tempo training run but there is nothing like actually jumping in a race for that training run to really push yourself. Something about the race atmosphere in the moment charging with other competitors. With CrossFit, we simulate that daily in group workouts. I run a lot but it is all by myself. Enough alone time. It is fun to suffer with others at the gym….I mean Box.

Until next month.