Masacotes 2018

We won the championship, once again. Unfortunately I missed the final this time due to travel commitments.

Well done, team.

Voting

Here we go again, voting for a President, although this time it’s Mexico’s. I was pleasantly surprised at how easy the whole thing was. Let’s hope I’m pleasantly surprised at the results too.

Childhood dream moments

I grew up in the eighties. Like every other healthy kid who grew up in the eighties, I like Star Wars and Back to the Future. Last month there were two moments that made my inner kid happy. I share below.

Captured by the Evil Galactic Empire. At Alamo Drafthouse Village after watching Solo.
Sitting in the DeLorean from Back to the Future. Even got to put on the orange vest. This is at NIWeek 2018.

Ruskipolla 2018

To the excitement of millions of soccer-loving The MKX® readers out there, I want to formally announce:

Ruskipolla 2018

Ruskipolla 2018

The best World Cup pool / game ever anywhere!

This follows a long tradition of awesome “quinielas” started all the way back in 2006.

The system is 100% custom and written from scratch by me, with a bit of help from a few others. It’s all for fun and for my friends and friends of friends. I really think it makes the tournament more fun for everyone involved.

It all started as a bunch of furious all-nighters writing code twelve years ago. On every subsequent polla there have been many improvements. This year, I’ve added the ability to play for free through referrals. We’ll see how it works out.

To be honest, since the last Polla a couple of little kids have taken all of my free time and I wasn’t thinking of launching it. But enough people asked about it… so what the heck.

Join now and spread the word. There’s only two weeks until kickoff!

Book of Mormon

We went to see this last Saturday at the Bass Concert Hall. It’s extremely funny and pretty insuling, although a lot of those insults apply universally to all religions.

I honestly wonder what my mormon colleagues think about it. I’ll ask around.

2018 Panini World Cup Sticker Album

Once again, the World Cup is coming. Russia welcomes the world in a message of peace, love, and sportsmanship <ahem>.

Nevertheless, the game must go on. The sticker collecting game, that is.

I’ve dusted off my trusty little PHP script and, just like in 2006, 2010, and 2014, set up the…

2018 My Panini World Cup Sticker Album Progress TrackingIt’s been a lot of work involving a lot of people in several countries. I still need your help completing my album. Contact me if you’re ready to trade.

Sticker sorting sweatshop.
Sticker peeling operation.
Sticker trading operation.

Cap10k 2018 Results


Another year, another Cap10k. I trained hard, and I kicked ass. Well, I kicked my own 2013, 2016, and 2017 ass. But I couldn’t kick my 2014 and 2015 ass:

I trained really hard using the RunKeeper app’s subscription only training programs which asked me to run an insane amount of miles. I ran more miles in the last few months than I had ever run in a similar time period before. And yet… it wasn’t enough to beat my own record which I thought I could and was a little disappointing.

The weather was perfect. I slept well the night before. What could have possibly slowed me down? Possible factors:

  1. I’m old
  2. I skipped my traditional pre-race porta-potty visit
  3. A week of Passover food binging and run skipping the week before the event

Alas, it was not to be.

But here are the positives:

  • A great result
  • 140th place in my category
  • Had the race been a month later, I would have been 108th in my category!


  • I won the famous Cap10K Kirsch Challenge. Take that, Fin!

Will I run again? My legs, at the moment, say no. Ask me again in a few days.

Eating in Shanghai 2

…continued from Eating in Shanghai 1.

We went with a large group of colleagues to a pretty good dumpling place. Unfortunately, I don’t remember the name. It was in yet another large mall but this time in the financial district.

It’s like kreplach, but with soup inside. How do they get the soup in there?! How!?!?
Intel bunnies at a chip factory? No: dumpling sweat shop workers. I’m into this whole extreme hygiene thing.
After over a week of starving because of my poor chopsticks skills, my coworker gifted me with these purple bunny kiddie chopsticks. I feel no shame rocking them in public.

A highlight for me throughout the trip are steamed buns. It’s a genius concept: instead of sticking bread in an oven, steam it in a little basket! Delicious.

Why doesn’t anyone steam their buns around here?

One interesting cultural difference is that on this side of the world, we remove the face of the things we eat. No such thing in China.

That face looks familiar.

Hot Pot. Kind of like Chinese fondue. I am not a fan of fondue but mostly because I don’t want to dip my food where others dip their food. Fortunately, we each got a personal hot pot so I got to awkwardly fish pieces of food out with my poor chopsticks skills for minutes without bothering anyone else. You order a bunch of food (lamb was a favorite of mine) which they bring raw. You dip, wait, take the food out, wait for it to cool down to a reasonable temperature, eat. Impatience is not your friend. I know because I got to chew a lot of half-cooked stuff and burned the roof of my mouth. The genius of the whole concept is that if you don’t like the food, you only have to blame yourself (the cook) for it!

Hot pot.
Make your own sauce.
Raw cow stomach.

Here’s something I didn’t eat: Turtle soup. I was told that if you feel sick, you should eat it. I think what they meant was: if you eat it, you will feel sick.

Turtle soup. Delicious. Allegedly.

Another pretty good drink I had: Black rice drink.

Black rice drink.

There was a little wooden duck in Ilan’s toy box for years. I finally learned what it was: a chic chopstick holder. Ironically, it eventually got decapitated and was thrown away. I say ironic because at this particular restaurant the duck is served with its head firmly in place.

We had one of those little ducks lying around the house for years and I never knew what it is for. Mystery solved.

Last, shoutout to my uncle Isi and cousin Rafa who heard I was going to be in China and flew halfway around the world to buy me dinner. Happy birthday Isi!

Isi, Rafa, Marcos.

Eating in Shanghai 1

In the time I spent in Shanghai there was a lot of eating. My colleagues at work did an amazing job taking us out to eat. Below I share a few notes from the extensive eating we did.

Only one subway stop away from the hotel was Chamtime Plaza – one of seemingly thousands of restaurant-filled shopping centers around the city. This is a big, fancy place and we probably ate at ten restaurants there. There was one that specialized in Beijing Duck, and while I’ve had that dish before in the US, it definitely doesn’t compare. I think this is the only place we went to twice, on my first and last day.

Beijing ducks and me.

 

Beijing duck

In China they use ingredients that aren’t common in western cuisine. This can be a little challenging to a visitor. Things are made worse when said visitor limits himself to ingredients that aren’t intrinsically treif. Helpfully, most menus are fully illustrated and some are even translated.

Here’s a dish that ingredient-wise I could have technically tried but I decided against:

Donkey meat burger.

The hotel had a wonderful breakfast buffet with local food but also your typically Western breakfast. So you could get seaweed salad, made-to-order Ramen, with some corn flakes; all at the same place.

Glorious breakfast buffet at OneHome hotel.
No ramen in this photo, but do notice the rice thingie filled with sweet beans.

Our hosts took us to a lot of great restaurants. When trying things on our own, we didn’t fare so well. One place that was a total success was Lost Heaven in the Bund, a Yunnan-Style restaurant in… wait for it… the Bund.

Lost Heaven In The Bund

One thing I saw in lots of convenience stores was these white glass bottles that people drank out of using a straw. I couldn’t help but be curious. It turned out to be: yogurt. Good tasting for sure, maybe not the most refreshing thing after an arduous workout.

Yogurt in a glass bottle.

The biggest challenge for me was that I suck at using chopsticks. Everyone else in the country seems not to suck at it. I could have starved, had others not felt pity for me and chopstick-fed me.

I could have not done this better myself. Really.

Honorable mention: tea. Especially milk tea. Especially matcha milk tea.

Matcha milk tea.

This post is getting too long for the limited attention span of my readers, so it will have to be continued…

Eating in Shanghai 2

No ugly people were hurt making this website.