26 January 2008


It was last Sunday when I posted my comments regarding b.good burgers in Boston, MA. To my surprise, when I returned home from a date on Tuesday evening I had an e-mail waiting from one of the founders and co-owners of the b.good company - Jon Olinto. Jon graciously expressed thanks for my comments on my blog.

Among other things, he said, "I can’t tell you how much it meant to us to read your amazing blog... In fact, your writing was some of the most beautiful customer feedback we’ve gotten in our 4 years of grinding burgers. Truly, it’s hard to explain just how good your entry made us feel over here on Monday. So, thanks a lot. We really appreciate the love."

Not only did he send a kind e-mail, he sent me four coupons for free burgers to be redeemed during my next visit to Boston! So, reluctantly (not really) I am planning another trip to Beantown.

Thank you, Jon.

20 January 2008


What does a town like Boston have to offer? World class universities, museums, national historical sites, Fenway Park, lobster, clam chowder. Certainly it has all of these. But when I decided to make a weekend trip up the Eastern seaboard to this New England city, none of these attractions are what excited me most. No, it wasn't the prospect of visiting Paul Revere's house, walking the halls of Harvard University, nor enjoying the charm of the brownstone streets that prompted a countdown of the days to my arrival in South Station. Instead, it was a hamburger. Yes, a patty of beef sandwiched between a whole wheat bun which stimulated my excitement.

Now, let me make one thing perfectly clear. To relate to my readers living out west I must communicate my 100% loyalty and satisfaction with In-N-Out Burger. Anyone who has eaten at one of their many establishments will agree with me that their burgers are delicious, fresh, and worth driving several hundred miles from Salt Lake to Vegas to enjoy.

But if In-N-Out Burger is like the prime rib of burgers, then b.good burgers is the filet mignon. If In-N-Out is a Mercedes Benz, then b.good is a Rolls Royce. If In-N-Out is a deluxe ocean-front suite, then b.good is a private beach bungalow. That is how good a burger from b.good tastes.

Located on Dunster Street near Harvard Square, it is only a short walk from the T. Upon arriving in Boston, I immediately found the Red Line and went directly to b.good. My order - an el guapo with fries and a drink. What is an el guapo? Well, b.good uses ground steak for their burgers. The el guapo is a patty of said beef with strips of all-natural bacon, lettuce, tomato, and a unique jalapeno ranch sauce - wow, I want another one as I sit here writing about it!
My 1:00 feeding

Being utterly satisfied with my lunch, I set off to see some of the secondary sights. Although I was satiated and nourished as needed for the remainder of the day, I certainly could find room for another burger a few hours later. At 5:00 I found myself passing through Harvard square again. I stopped a second time to enjoy another succulent el guapo.
el guapo, the 2nd round (5:00)

During the evening hours I attended a reception for a friend who is marrying a girl from Boston. I traveled by bus to Belmont where the reception was held. I stayed until about 8:45, after which I quickly found a bus returning to Cambridge. And where did the bus route terminate? Yep, Harvard Square. With b.good closing at 10:00 I had just enough time to make another order. Now, if my second burger was an indulgence visit, my third was an I-don't-know-when-I-will-ever-be-back-so-I-better-enjoy-it-while-I-can visit.
My 9:30, and final, visit (am I any fatter?)

At my third showing I decided to try a different burger. This time I ordered the maple apple turkey burger. It is ground turkey with a maple glaze topped with a sliced apple, bacon, and grain mustard. Different, yes, but quite good. However, next time I will stick with the fail-safe el guapo!

Notable quote: "I adore things like that... food you can't do without... It comforts you" (Susan, Meet Joe Black).

The self portrait

It is an odd phenomenon. When traveling alone I end up with a dozen copies of essentially the same photograph. The only difference among the many pictures is the background.

I made a one-day trip to Boston this weekend. A round-trip ticket on Greyhound buses - only $40! I left New York early Saturday morning and arrived in Boston at Noon.
Aboard the bus - a new way to travel for me (the first of many self portraits)

My first stop upon arriving in Bean Town...? b.good Burgers in Harvard Square of course. (I would expound upon this, but b.good deserves its own posting (see here).
Is your mouth watering yet? Mine certainly was - just standing outside the place!

I made a quick stroll through the campus of Harvard University (Note: it doesn't hold a candle to Columbia's campus. Can I say that or is there a conflict of interest?).
Harvard Yard - a lot of red brick here!

The Harvard Law School library

Now, my visit took place in January - a cold, wintry time. Everyone in town was pumped for the upcoming AFC Championship game pitting their beloved Patriots against the visiting San Diego Chargers. But what was on my mind? FENWAY PARK!
That is Fenway! The best ballpark in the country. I am standing on the famed Yawkey Way. This entire road is closed during games and essentially becomes part of the stadium - you must be a ticketed fan to gain access. Awesome!

From Fenway I decided to make a trip down memory lane. I walked the final mile of the Boston Marathon. I was so emotionally and physically distraught the last time I made my way through these streets that I hardly recognized them this time.
I do remember this short tunnel. There is a small hill on the other side. It probably climbs only 10 feet over a distance of 100 yards, but it almost killed me at the end of the marathon!

The homestretch down Commonwealth Ave. At this point I was ready to punch the next fan who yelled, "you are almost there!"

The finish line!!! I really did not recognize this. I thought I was in the wrong place until I saw the painted yellow finishing line on the pavement. On race day this street was lined with people, bleachers, advertisements, etc. It was a madhouse.

The motivation for my trip to Boston was a good friend's wedding reception. I attended the University 40th Ward in Salt Lake with Dave Moss. He became a close friend as we shared similar experiences. He is engaged to a girl who grew up in Boston. They had an open house on Saturday evening in her childhood home - a nice spread in the hills of Belmont.

Cousin Shelley was kind enough to let me crash at her pad. They live in a quaint apartment. To illustrate how quaint it really is - we tripped the the master circuit for the entire apartment that evening when I was ironing my shirt and Shelly was using the hair dryer. Wow! I guess Boston really is colonial.

My picks

Go, Pack, Go!!!

Although I am not highly invested in any particular professional football franchise, if I were to pick my team it would be the Green Bay Packers. My inclination to them has slowly increased over the years, with this year being significantly enjoyable. When I was very young I was not too fond of the Pack. I hated the cheese heads and I thought their colors were ugly. However all this changed on Monday 22 December 2003.

In the fall of 2003 my cousin, Brett, and I decided it was time we attend our first professional football game. After looking into various options we decided we would see the Packers play the Oakland Raiders in a Monday Night Football match-up at the Oakland Coliseum. The Raiders were defending AFC Champions, and Green Bay always fielded a decent team - we thought it would be a good game.

Unfortunately, the previous season's success was short-lived for the Raiders. By the time our Monday Night game came around, the Raiders were bottom-dwellers in their division with only 4 wins and no hope of making the playoffs. Nonetheless, we made the road trip from Salt Lake to Oakland excited to see an NFL game as well as one of the all-time great quarterbacks - Brett Favre.

The day before the game we heard the unfortunate news that Brett Favre's father had passed away. There were rumors that Favre would not play in order to be with his family. Now, this may sound very cold-hearted, but although I was saddened to hear of the death of his father, I was now more concerned that I may not get to see Favre play!

Fortunately, when we showed up at the stadium on Monday night, number 4 in the mustard yellow helmet was suited up ready to play. What followed was incredible...!

Favre played like a man possessed. He threw deep pass after deep pass and his receivers reeled in each one of them. In the first half alone, Farve totaled 4 touchdowns and nearly 400 yards passing - numbers rarely seen for an entire game. I was impressed!

It was an historic night. Favre battled through emotional turmoil and turned in one of the best performances of his career. In fact, even wikipedia.com (yes, wikipedia is the source of all truth!) called the the evening, "One of the defining moments of Favre's career and arguably his greatest game ever." And I was there to witness it all!

Anyways, ever since that wondrous night, I have cheered for the Pack.

And thus, my picks for the Super Bowl...

Today the AFC and NFC Championships will be played: Chargers vs. Patriots and Giants vs. Packers respectively.

Who I want to win: I will be cheering for the Packers (of course) and the Chargers (I am a big Eric Weddle fan. Did you see his awesome interception in the Divisional Playoffs against the Colts?).

Who I think will win: I think we will see a Packers vs. Patriots match-up in Super Bowl XLII. This would truly be an awesome Super Bowl. What could be better than watching two of the greatest quarterbacks ever face-off in the biggest game of the year - with the additional intrigue of the possibility of the Patriots completing an undefeated season? It would be great!


15 January 2008

To the races...

Last night I signed up to run the National Half Marathon in Washington DC. The race in on Saturday 29 March. I am pumped!!! Apparently the race is through the metropolitan DC area - strategically planned so the runners see many of the notable federal buildings/monuments during the race. I have never been to the nation's capitol; this will be a fun way to see the city.

Since moving to New York, my efforts to run regularly have been mediocre at best. There was a two month period when I did fairly well - getting out on the road three times a week. However, at other times I was only getting out once a week. Trent and I have talked before about the psychological influence of goals. Take, for example, the goal I have set before - to run three days a week. Certainly it is motivated by good intentions. But what happens after the first week when I accomplish said goal? I must motivate myself again to tackle the same goal the following week - and again the week after that. The problem is that the goal is very short term. Consider now having a running goal spanning several months - such as a race. I have found that when I sign up for a race and carefully construct a feasible training program, my ability to get out and run on a daily basis is significantly increased. Why? Because running each day and each week is not the end in and of itself. It is a building process. I am working towards a larger end. There is no need to continually re-motivate myself every day or every week to accomplish a new goal. Even though I ran yesterday, and the day before, and the day before that, my goal yet remains unfulfilled. I must run again today to keep myself on track to realize the ultimate goal of finishing the race in the desired time.

This provides an interesting lesson in the importance of both long-term and short-term goals. The above paragraph provides sufficient detail as to the necessity of vision (a long-term goal). Essentially, it keeps us focused on a bigger, greater end. However, if we set these long-term goals without making plans and bench-marks (i.e. short-term goals) to reach them, we likely will find ourselves disappointed in the end.

In other words, I am excited to have a tangible long-term goal to help me exercise regularly. Not only do I intend to run in the National Half Marathon, but I am looking to set a personal record - I want to finish in under 1:30:00 (that is a 6:50 minute/mile pace). The last half marathon I ran I finished in 1:31:57. So close!!!

13 January 2008

Introverted Red

Some time ago I was wasting time on the internet when I stumbled across a personality test. There are many tests out there. Each has a different formula and method used to succinctly describe an individual's personality. The one I am most familiar with is the color test - i.e. red, yellow, blue, and white. I have always tested as red. The first time I remember taking such a test was in the seventh grade. I tested red then. I test red now. However, I have always felt that although the red personality describes me better than any of the other colors, it is not a completely accurate assessment of me. That is, until I found the following write-up. Apparently I am not simply a 'red,' but I am an 'introverted red.'

NOTE: I only feel comfortable sharing this description because it addresses both strengths and weaknesses. It is not my intention to boast - only to share what I believe to be an objective critique of my psyche.

"INTROVERTED RED: Introverted Reds are quiet, introspective, serious, matter-of-fact, reserved people who are reliable and steadfast. They are patient and painstakingly systematic in their approach to solving problems. Unlike their extroverted counterparts, introverted Reds will not exert themselves any more than they have to and they do not enter into things impulsively. They do not see bulldozing ahead or butting heads with people as a good usage of either time or energy. They are methodical in their approach to both life and tasks. Life is what you see and nothing more. They live in the present.

"No other type is more thorough, hard-working or patient with facts and details than introverted Reds. Their perseverance and quiet presence tends to act as a stabilizer for others. They will not do anything that does not make sense. They enjoy solitude and prefer working by themselves rather than working with people. For introverted Reds, people are a distraction. They need an environment where they just bury themselves in the tasks at hand. They produce results." (see Red Personality...)

08 January 2008

Riddle me this...

One of my 'Dodee toys' this year is a calendar with a new riddle/mind game for every day. They are fun when I have a spare moment or two. I have decided I will share some of my favorite puzzles on my blog here. But this is my rule... I will only share the puzzles that I figure out on my own (i.e. without someone else's help or peeks at the solution) .

Here is the first:

You have six six-packs of soda. Each can should weigh 30 ounces. However, due to a problem in manufacturing, one of the six-packs was incorrectly filled. Each can in this erroneous six pack contains the same amount of liquid, but they are all either one ounce too full or one ounce short. It is your job to identify which six-pack is incorrectly filled and determine whether the cans are too heavy or too light. You have been provided a scale, but it can only be used for one weighing. How can it be done?


The holiday season is to the year as the weekend is to the week. I suppose that is more the case for a student (like myself) than working professionals. Nonetheless, it is a time for everyone to play and relax just a little bit more than usual.

This year provided more of a vacation than I have ever experienced before. My last final exam was on Wednesday 19 December. Early Thursday morning I was on a plane headed for Salt Lake - arriving in time to watch the Utes eek past Navy in the Poinsettia Bowl. Regarding the Ute football team, I enjoyed the satire of Salt Lake Tribune columnist Paul Rolly when he predicted that in 2008 "a contingent of University of Utah boosters [will] file a petition with the NCAA rules committee requesting that college football games be shortened by two minutes" (2 Jan 2008).

Anyways, the holiday parties quickly ensued upon my arrival in Salt Lake.
Dec 22 - the Jensen party at Dodee and Papa's (of course I left with the ever-appreciated Dodee toys!)
Dec 23 - the Johnson progressive dinner where I find company to grieve and grumble with due to another disappointing Ute season.
Dec 24 - Christmas dinner (Mom made a great Turkey meal - it is good to have home-cooked meals again!)
Dec 25 - Christmas morning bedlam at the Jensen home (the best part of Christmas!!!)

The fun did not stop there. Early Wednesday morning (26 Dec) I found myself back at home in the mountains. Seldom do I find greater happiness than when I hit the trail with my snowshoes tightly fastened, poles in hand, and sleds upon my back. Today's hike - Mill D North Fork (a.k.a. Desolation Lake/Dog Lake from Big Cottonwood). Snow softly floated down throughout the day. Temperatures kept the snow from softening and thus preserving a slick trail for the sled ride out. It was beautiful day enjoyed with a former roommate and a new friend from New York - Chris Eyring and Adrienne Martin respectively.

After a day of exercise, I needed to rest a bit. December 27 was spent glued to the couch in front of the TV. Dad bought the sixth season of Fox's hit TV series 24. Now, I can honestly say I am
not a TV watcher. I enjoy sports, news, and movies. But rarely, if ever, do I watch an episode of even the most popular television series. However, 24 is the exception. I have seen all six seasons. In fact, it has almost become tradition every December when the most recent season is released on DVD that Dad and I will waste several days watching all 24 episodes.

There was another snowshoe on 1 Jan 2008 - a good way to start a new year! I hiked one of my favorite winter trails - Church Fork trailhead to Grandeur Peak. It was a beautiful day - cold, but beautiful. I brewed some hot chocolate at the top before the 3 mile sled ride to the bottom... AWESOME!

My final weekend in Utah included yet another snowshoe - this time to the cabin. Some old friends from my student ward at the U. (40th Ward) got together for and overnighter. What a time! We left on Friday afternoon. The last mile of the hike was in the dark - very fun! Additionally, the wind blew quite hard. A storm blew in so that in the morning all our tracks were covered.

My trip was filled with perhaps one of my favorite past times - evenings with Trent, Amy, and family. I always enjoy having dinner with them, playing with their kids, then watching a movie after the little ones go to bed. They are my best friends. It was great!

Now I am back in the big city. Back to normal life. It was sure a treat to spend so much time with family. They treat me so well!