Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Sun Days

It has been getting warmer in Graz, along with chirping birds and bursting blossoms. To quote a recent editorial in the IHT, "Spring is its own metaphor." Still don't understand exactly what that means, but it sounds nice.

Sun is also forecast for late May and most of June, when I will be in California. Two weeks in San Francisco, and three weeks in San Diego. About one week of each phase of the trip is work, and the rest looks relatively free. Effectively, I had to trade Easter Break for one of the vacation weeks, but that is OK. I traded a week in the Pacific Ocean for a very long weekend when everyone else in traveling, clogging the hotels but leaving the laboratories quite peaceful.

When booking my flight to SFO and back from SAN, I came across an unprecedented option in my airline meal preference options. Preceding the more conventional choices, like "Kosher" or "vegetarian," was "bland:"

Click on this picture and look in the middle of the screen to see the "Bland" option.

No fooling!
This really changed my attitude about airlines. I mean, I thought they were trying to scrimp and save by being insensitive bastards, but this seems really thoughtful of them. They really care about all those overflavored customers. Or perhaps they thought I was a food critic, and we all know how much United wants that third star from Michelin. Indeed, I did complain to them, the last few times, that their meals were so bursting with flavor that I was nearly possessed by happy feet. I mean, we all know Duck a L'Orange should have only a couple tablespoons of FINELY minced shallots, and I thought they overdid it. I spoke to the head chef in the middle of the plane, running Kitchen Stadium there, and he said that I was right, one of the tablespoons had a few extra bits on it, and he and his crew were deeply sorry, and would order all team leaders to instruct their staffs to measure more carefully next time.

My personal culinary efforts have gone well lately, and I decided to go to the huge strip mall on the edge of town, Murpark, to try to find more enchilada sauce. Going to the big strip mall on the edge of town is an American tradition, and Sunday afternoon is a quite reasonable time for it. You don't have to work, and most businesses are open, except govt. offices like the Post Office. So, I boarded the portuentously numbered line 13 and headed to the end of the line.

Sadly, the quirky Germanspeaker obsession with resting on Sundays even overcame the capitalist impulses of a modern strip mall. Murpark was abandoned. One of the most potentially profitable times of the week, and they couldn't even round up a few high school students to take my money and support my cheerful and obedient consumerism. I wondered why they even ran the streetcar out there, since it required a human operator. I took the 13 back to Hauptbanhof. The Post Office was open.

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