Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Questionable Decision: A strange adjunct to the LC immigration resolution

DirecTV subscribers in League City Texas can see a bizarre case of art echoing life on their very own TV sets right now.  Bear with me for a moment while I set the stage for context.

The debate over the League City immigrant resolution rages on, both within City Council meetings and in the press, largely in Galveston County Daily News, where the comment count is now among the highest I've ever seen.
Front of the proposed resolution.  I re-published the original text in this July 2014 post
The resolution's reference to Islam has long since eclipsed the original debate about whether or not to receive Latin American immigrant children in League City.  Some League City Muslims are still actively opposing the reference, but the people who support it have also been vocal.
Based on the current reporting, it doesn't seem like either side exhibits a clear majority at this point.

Screengrab courtesy Galveston County Daily News.  
It's immediately apparent from reading the GCDN comment stack that many of the resolution supporters have taken their positions out of what they perceive (rightly or wrongly) as an abundance of caution.  That stance appears to arise because many people simply don't feel like they have a reliable lens through which to discern what Islam means on a local scale.  This perspective was quoted in a GCDN piece as having been stated in a Council meeting:  “During (the public comments two weeks ago) of the individuals who spoke, representing the Muslim community, never once did I hear an allegiance to this country, to our flag, to our Constitution, to anything about the American way of life,” Russell Fielder said during the public comment portion of council to a round of applause from many on the council.  In a similar vein, one commenter on GCDN noted, "It is long past time that normal, moderate Muslims speak out against radical Islam."

What both of those communications suggest is that residents simply lack a coherent framework for parsing any of this.  What they expect or hope to see doesn't exactly match the reality that has manifested.  Thirteen years after 9/11, this is apparently where we still are socially, for reasons that I'm not sure anyone really understands.

Case in point where such confusion and discrepancy is concerned - the oddness of what's currently offered in juxtaposition on your DirecTV service: two versions of the same classic American movie, but one of these things is no longer like the other.
I'll get to the explanation in a minute.

Screengrabbed from this site.   
Executive Decision has always been one of my all-time favorite movies.  It was made 18 years ago, "back in the day" when suspense films were still built primarily on plot and character development rather than on mindless ADHD-inspired computer graphics.
The film also showcased Kurt Russell's unparalleled work ethic as an actor.

Image screengrabbed from this site.  
Not only was the film a gutsy depiction of a very difficult subject (that being "radical Islamist terror groups"), it was also noteworthy for having featured a 747 aircraft that actually was bombed by such a group, that being the following:
In 1982, a bomb was detonated on PAN AM Flight 830, resulting in the death of one minor child and the injury of 16 other people.  Despite the resulting damage, the plane was able to make a successful emergency landing in Honolulu.  The aircraft was apparently re-painted for the movie with the fictitious airliner name "Oceanic".  Either that or they just used it for interior shots.

Screengrabbed from Wikipedia.
Executive Decision was a stunning portent of 9/11 five years before it unfolded, and as far as I'm concerned, it's a creative work of national significance.  But prior to being released on Blu Ray, Executive Decision was "edited", or, some would say "censored", for reasons that are not clear.  Furthermore, I can't find a single source on the internet which describes the full extent of what was done to eviscerate the film.  Most references such as this one and user Iceboy's Amazon review primarily cite digital alterations to the imagery, including removal of certain religious references and deleted scenes.  But I believe that the most significant changes actually involved extensive dialog dubbing throughout the movie, dubbing which changes utterly the character of the film and manifests most strongly with this scene.
A suspicious glare indicating a sea change of attitude 1 hour and 24 minutes into the movie:  When the leader of the terrorist group finally reveals his plan to utilize the jet to strike a deadly blow against countless innocent American citizens, his second-in-command revolts, stating, "This has nothing to do with Islam.  This is not [the Deity's] will.  You are blinded by your hatred and I will have nothing to do with your plan."

But the same lines in the censored version are spoken very differently, indeed.

Screengrabbed from my TV set.   
The bizarre part is that, if you so desire, you can currently watch both the censored and the uncensored versions at the same time.  If this situation is of interest to you, it's an opportunity for you to compare and see for yourself what's been done to the film.
The Encore HD version is the Blu Ray version available for instant access.  The Encore Suspense ("ENCSUS") version is the original uncut version.  I recorded both versions within 24 hours of each other this past weekend.

Photo from my DirecTV list with intervening screen space eliminated for clarity.  
The resulting existential questions are as follows:

Why was the movie altered in the first place?  The original version was arguably quite responsible to Islam by forming an explicit distinction between Islam and that which has "nothing to do with Islam" but is instead driven by "[blind] hatred".  This is much the same distinction that the GCDN commenter was seeking in referring to "normal, moderate Muslims" as opposed to "radical Islam".  What benefit to understanding is derived by obscuring this essential distinction in this film or in any other context?  Clearly, we need more of that distinction, not less.

Why are Americans provided primarily with the censored version?  I can understand Warner Brothers / Warner Home Video wanting to change the tone of the movie in certain restricted distributional regions where such actions might be expected, but they only made one Blu Ray, that being the censored version.  In general terms, most Americans are probably going to default to the Blu Ray as their obvious choice (audio and video quality are both superior to the DVD). Given the age of the film, most present-day watchers may not even know that an original version of the movie exists.  In more specific terms, why am I sitting on my flat American butt in my house built on American soil accessing an American content provider streaming an American-made classic movie which has effectively been censored?!  What the hell is up with that?!

The whole thing doesn't sit well with me, and it is an example of what is working against those people who are honestly trying to put Islam into an appropriate social perspective.  "Censorship" is one of the dirtiest words we have in America, provoking immediate defensiveness and hostility in those who sense that they have encountered it.  What's been done to Executive Decision is just going to raise even more suspicions and questions and confusion about perspectives and allegiances where Islam is concerned, both locally and elsewhere.
At least the "editors" had the guts to admit what they had done.

Screengrabbed and annotated from this site.  

Saturday, August 30, 2014

League City newspaper, Part 2

Where's Woolsey?

Search hint:  Even without red and white stripes, publisher Leonard Woolsey does bear a bit of resemblance to Waldo, especially in the glasses.  
That's the large-format portion of the pile of "mail" that I excavated from my box late yesterday afternoon, viewed as it was tossed unceremoniously onto my home office conference table.  Knowing that the League City - Kemah Connection newspaper was supposed to have been launched yesterday (paywalled), I was initially disappointed - I thought my address had been passed over (not an uncommon occurrence given the young age of our subdivision section).  I almost threw the entire stack into the recycle bin, but then I spotted it.
It looks like this.  Don't throw it away without first looking at it.  
I was a bit disappointed at the mode of presentation.  I'm afraid that people really are going to have trouble distinguishing this from the constant onslaught of junk mail with which we all must deal, and I fear that a lot of folks are going to toss it without even realizing what it is (particularly true because its launch was not well advertised, so many local residents are not expecting it and did not know in advance what it was going to look like).

It may, in fact, be the case that GCDN arranged for delivery on days when typical advertising flyers were not scheduled to be avalanching.  But here's the issue with that:  Most of us no longer check our mailboxes every day.  What's the point??  Particularly for those of us who receive all of our important correspondence, bills, bank statements, etc. electronically, plus we have the security of a USPS-issued clusterbox, checking the mail is something we often do only on trash or recycling days, and only for disposal purposes.
This postal worker hit the nail on the head with this response.  If not for eBay and Amazon, I would not traipse to my mailbox at all.  I would attempt to close it and not accept hard-copy mail delivery, period (which would be the Final Solution for the junk mail that I haven't been able to control even though I paid for a service to have it stopped).  Perhaps when Google gets its delivery drones airborne, we'll be able to take that logical next step and be done with residential USPS delivery once and for all.

Screengrabbed from this "Ask a Mailman" site
But there's good news in all of this, too.  My initial fear that this newspaper would be a simple post-shelf-life content recycling mechanism was apparently unfounded.  The articles are largely original.  Furthermore, they are picking up on the types of issues I've been hoping to seed on this blog (good news given that I don't reach 30,000 homes).  Cover story?  Five Corners, for which I commenced a post category earlier this year.  Additional content?  Information on the fact that there's a $200 million TxDOT project to improve SH 146 in Kemah and Seabrook, which I also screamed bloody murder about.
Perspective such as this is intended to wake up our local politicians, who arguably are not doing their jobs in getting our practical issues resolved.  The Five Corners fiasco has been lingering for far too many years now.  Screengrabbed from this April 2014 post
So there's the potential for the transmission of issues and ideas with this thing.  Write to the editor and publisher of this new newspaper if you have local concerns (editor@lcconnection.com; publisher@lcconnection.com).  Write to me (centerpointe.blog -at- gmail) if you think that bellowing needs to be done on a particular issue.

And incidentally, for those of you who engage in only periodic USPS mailbox excavation mostly for disposal purposes, I found a really neat product that might be of assistance to you.
It's the Barnes and Noble felt tote.  It's a very heavy but small bag.  And oh, the style is divine.  Very modern, just the way I like it.  Comes in three colors.  I like the gray.  They are available at the Clear Lake (Baybrook) Barnes and Noble on Bay Area Blvd. (at least they were as of August 29, 2014).
I think it was designed to be a "book bag" of sorts, but the size almost exactly matches the size of my USPS mail clusterbox.  Typically when I do excavations, I'm struggling with an armload of miscellaneous paper and at least one of the pieces will need to be chased madly down the street as it escapes my control and gets blown by the wind.  With this thing, I just scoop all the junk mail into the bag, which stays open by virtue of the stiffness of the thick polyester felt.  Much easier than trying to use one of those floppy re-usable canvas grocery sacks for the same purpose.  And given that this bag stands upright of its own accord, it is an excellent small receptacle for in-house paper recycling, too.  Nice stylish convenience for ten bucks.

As always, this is a noncommercial blog presenting personal opinions only.  I accept no compensation for recommending any particular product or service.  

Saturday, August 23, 2014

New League City newspaper

Actually it is touted as a League City - Kemah newspaper (paywalled), but given that LC's population is forty-seven times that of Kemah (2012 Census per Google), I'm betting (hoping?) that it will be weighted in favor of LC despite Kemah's outsized local economic impact.
For this one, apparently you won't have to subscribe - the first issue is scheduled to be delivered into mailboxes (? an interesting approach unlike those that currently prevail) on August 29, 2014.  The paper will be a project of Galveston County Daily News.    
I have long wailed about the abysmal state of local reporting; in fact, I have a blog post category devoted to that subject.
This dearth of coverage is not a local phenomenon but rather reflects the overall decline in conventional newspapers as a social institution.  This is the latest version of Dr. Mark J. Perry's famous newspaper free-fall chart, courtesy of this Carpe Diem post.  It's worth reading his analysis if you have any interest in what's happening with the industry.  And also this HuffPost article with an embedded slide show titled "Top 10 Dying Industries".

Update:  Amusingly, seven days after I posted this diagram, GCDN ran a story titled "Newspapers are still here and still making money" (paywalled money).     
I have no idea how the new paper will be structured and what degree of quality will characterize it.  When I read that it will be published only once a month, I immediately became concerned that it will largely amount to a content-recycling effort.   In other words, a vehicle by which paying subscribers will receive paywalled content in real time via GCDN, and non-paying subscribers will later receive that same content for free after its shelf life has effectively expired.  But do you know what??  Even that much would be a darned sight better than what we've got right now, where the majority of our population doesn't have good opportunities to receive local news at all.

I am a bit perplexed, however, at GCDN's initial positioning statements, which include the following:  "While not always sexy, keeping residents informed about taxes, property values and the decisions by locally elected officials is critical to a healthy community."  Geez, guys, be careful not to fall all over yourselves with your marketing exuberance!  With promotional representations like that, who needs enemies?!
:-)

Anyway, stay tuned for more analysis on this one.
It remains to be seen what that is.  

Thursday, August 21, 2014

How to fix a dimly-lit refrigerator

Answer:  As near as I can tell, there is currently no practical solution to this predicament.  Let me explain our attempted workarounds in the sections below so that you won't waste your own time trying the same approaches.

Do you find it a bit odd that everyone acknowledges this issue but no manufacturer has seen fit to correct it??
Yes, yes, I know what you're going to say - this falls squarely into the category of "first world problems".   
It's a first world problem but you might be surprised at how much food (and therefore money) I waste because I can't properly see what's in our fridge.  Our kitchen is in the center of our house and has no windows - it isn't very bright to start with, and light coming from our unusual kitchen skylight and our standard pot lights doesn't illuminate the fridge.
I think what happens is that manufacturers design the lighting without accounting for the food load.  In this example, there is no light whatsoever getting to most of the shelves in the fridge on the right.  
Here's the source of all this aggravation:
Each of us homeowners pays upwards of a thousand dollars for a refrigerator, but a lot of them only come with these crappy little bulbs.  Unfortunately, those obsolete bulbs make retrofitting very difficult, especially because they are so small, with correspondingly small sockets and low wattage.  
My first instinct in dealing with this problem was simply to wait until our 10-year-old refrigerator eventually died of natural causes, because surely a newer replacement model would be brighter??  But I recently went on a pre-purchase shopping trip to look at new fridges, and found that none of the models currently for sale would be bright enough for my dim-kitchen, severely-myopic needs.
Our fridge takes three of those 30-watt incandescent miniature atrocities.  Sigh.  
So upon discovering that new fridges are not significantly better than the one we've already got, we set about trying to resolve this.  We first looked at specialty bulbs.
Don't laugh, but I actually do use a flashlight to search our fridge!!  We could find no specialty bulb on the market that was measurably better than what we've already got.  This is a sampling of Amazon reviews for an LED fridge bulb model that sells for $15 apiece.  Given that I would need three, I could spend $45 on these things and still be no better off than I am right now.  
We initially thought we could achieve partial relief through adaptation of a compact fluorescent in the largest of the three bulb sockets.  
The CF bulb on top, is an "instant on" 14 watt, 900 lumen bulb (intermediate base), so it actually is compatible with the fridge.  You can see here that it looks brighter than the lower two 30 watt bulbs combined.   EXCEPT...
...CFs don't do well in the cold!!  The "instant on" feature did not save it from dimming out as soon as it got chilled.  It ended up being worse than the original incandescent.  
So here is the fridge light summary of failure:
  1. The incandescents are not bright enough
  2. The LED options marketed to replace the dim incandescents are not bright enough, and
  3. The CFs start out being bright enough, but cannot maintain their lumens at 38 degrees F (not while operated only intermittently, at least).  
So where does that leave those of us who are fumbling around in the dark?  Pretty much screwed until technology improves.  Once again, I've essentially written a place-holder post here, a post that I'll come back and update when a better product hits the market, when I discover a reasonable hack, or when someone drops me a comment or email relating a solution that finally will put me out of my half-blind misery.
How about a danged light bulb that is actually fit for purpose?  That would be enough to satisfy me.  

Monday, August 18, 2014

Dog park doldrums (Act 2)

We've been waiting patiently for further announcements on the possibility of a League City dog park (blog category here for a recap of developments to date).  After a great flurry of initial excitement about four months ago, there's been even more radio silence.
O dog park, dog park, wherefore art thou, dog park?!

This is an outline showing the proposed location on West Walker Street near the city municipal complex.  
In late June of 2014, I asked winged messenger from heaven Kristi Wyatt what the status was, and she informed me in an email of two developments:

  1. While the on-line survey did, indeed, show overwhelming support for a dog park, it was not a "scientific" poll and therefore LC followed up with a separate survey (why they did the on-line poll in the first place I did not ask).  To my knowledge, those results have not yet been released publicly.  
  2. Reportedly, further discussions about the dog park were due to take place "during the upcoming CIP process".  So sayeth the City Manager.  

I haven't pressed the issue to date for a reason that should be obvious to anyone who follows League City politics:  The dog park prospect was re-invigorated by Councilman Andy Mann, whose term is up this year.  For the past few months I have been assuming, duh, that there would be a positive announcement whose timing would show an uncanny correspondence to a re-election bid.  It would be a classic political abracadabra, a municipal misdirection (but a welcome one), a revelation orchestrated to suggest that City Council actually accomplishes more than incessant culture warring (most recently regarding immigrant children) that results in much squandered time and energy and occasionally in lost taxpayer money, too (what they wasted on the Jornaleros lawsuit alone could have paid for TWO new dog parks).  Not to mention that this behavior attracts national scrutiny of the wrong kind, discontent among minority residents (paywalled but this other piece is not paywalled), and no net benefit for any of us.
The New York Times quote of the day from July 17, 2014.  Dallas County effectively speaking to League City and Galveston County (and possibly others) via the NYT.  It was one of those "I thought I'd seen it all" moments for me.  
This dog park announcement scenario outlined above is what I had expected, BUT, as is so often the case in League City, things took a bizarre turn last week when Mann unexpectedly dropped his re-election bid (paywalled) in what appears to be yet another flurry of purely-political bullpoop (more on that in a subsequent post).
Andy Mann's political career, at least temporarily.

And no, this is not a "threat" that purportedly needs to be censured (paywalled link).  This is just satire.  More on that later, too.

And yes, I know that I'm mixing Shakespearean metaphors, which is in extremely bad taste.  But it's just a blog post, hastily done to boot.  It's not a work of literary art.  
So where does that leave those folks with dogged determination where the dog park is concerned?  At this point, I don't know.  We will know by close of business today who is actually running for which Council positions, so that will potentially help to constrain who we should be talking to.  If nobody steps forward to discuss the issue in an election context, I will file a FOIA request to obtain the results of the subsequent survey that League City conducted, because too much time is passing without any action on this issue.  Stay tuned for more.
Hint, hint.  If Council could kindly and momentarily tear itself away from all of the special interest political crap in which it engages, we might get some actual work done around here. Maybe.  

Saturday, August 16, 2014

A common weak link in home security

It's often the master bath window, or a similarly-configured window in another ground-floor bathroom of a home.
The increasingly-bizarre case of Houstonian Theresa Roemer's burglary illustrates this very well.  According to published reports, approximately $1 million worth of jewelry and consumer goods were stolen via the breakage of a window that, from looking at this photo, I estimate might have been worth about twenty bucks.

Image courtesy of this Houston Chronicle piece.  
Bathroom windows are very often the weakest link in the residential security chain for the following reasons:

  1. Most of them are fixed panes of glass and therefore they cannot be outfitted with alarm sensors designed for windows that can be opened.  
  2. Most suburban homeowners with standard-configuration lower-end security systems do not have glass break sensors, motion detectors, or security cameras installed in or near their master baths.  Those implements tend to be found in the main areas of the house such as in hallways, near entries, or in great rooms.  
  3. Even if there is a glass break sensor nearby, it is possible to penetrate typical bathroom window sheet glass without setting it off.   
  4. Most of these windows are single panes of glass and therefore easier to break through discretely than the coated double-paned energy-efficient windows typically found throughout the rest of the house. 
  5. As well as being single panes of glass, many tract home master bath windows are inexpensive and thin, making glass removal even more straightforward.
  6. Many tract home master bath windows are also large and situated close to the ground, allowing for efficient personnel ingress or egress.
  7. Master baths are typically located on the side or rear of the house, so they can be accessed without burglars being seen from the street.  

Typical greater Houston tract home master bath configuration, screengrabbed from a real estate listing chosen at random.  Behind those 2-inch blinds appears to be a thin sheet of plate glass.  Many homes in our area are constructed similarly.  
So what's the work-around to this potential point of weakness?
One of the easiest improvements is glass block.  While not foolproof, block presents a much more stubborn structural deterrent to would-be burglars.  Image screengrabbed from a real estate listing chosen a little less randomly. 
When I announced to my husband that we would be building our home with glass block in the master bath, he cringed.  "But I hate glass block," he lamented.  "It's so 1970's."  Which of course is true, especially given that our builder offered only one out-dated style of it.
I agree with my husband - it's out-dated.  As far as I'm concerned, the only thing that glass block is good for aesthetically is abstract macro-photography.  This is a photo I took of a blue clapboard home and its sunlit driveway with landscaping vegetation out in front, as seen through an inner-loop friend's glass block wall.  
So I gave my husband a choice.  I said, "Either we go with the builder's glass block option, or we let the builder install the usual flimsy plate glass and then we do our own custom overhaul of the window after we close on the house."  For simplicity, we went with the builder's option.  And of course it's not a foolproof security solution, but we also have brick facing on all sides of our house, so the glass block is set into the frame and the brick rather than into wood alone with a pressed board / Hardi siding surround.  It's possible to penetrate it, but not without a sledgehammer.  And if someone is ever dumb enough to try a sledgehammer, our entire cul-de-sac will become alerted to their activity pretty quickly.

Thus sayeth the previously-burgled blogger who has no desire to go through that kind of recovery process ever again.  Nothing is ever guaranteed, but an ugly window is a small price to pay for a bit of added protection, in my opinion.
Too bad this analysis doesn't break it down by which first-floor window is most often used for entry.

Screengrabbed from this Protect America info site.  No endorsement intended or implied.  

Thursday, August 14, 2014

How to manage a special diet on a long road trip

Conversely, this post could be titled "How to enjoy a week at the cottage without having to cook".

Answer:  Consider incorporating the following simple equation into your vacation food management strategy.
A diet that is largely freezer-based (see this humorous post and this other post) PLUS a Yeti Tundra cooler to keep items frozen over an unprecedentedly-long duration of time EQUALS a whole lot less hassle for the traveler, especially if the traveler happens to be their family's chief cook and bottle-washer.  
As we found out during a recent 3,000-mile (one way!!) car trip, the Yeti is a game-changer for consumers.
That is one loaded-down minivan, but stuff-dragging is inevitable if you're driving your family cross-country.  Retrospectively we realized that we should have put our Yeti 50 (at upper left) squarely above the rear axle, because it was very heavy.  In this photo we had it pushed too far toward the rear of the van.  
In our case, it wasn't a special diet per se that prompted me to try this food management approach, but rather the following two considerations:
  1. We were rendezvousing with other family members for the proverbial cottage-by-the-sea vacation, and I wanted everyone to be able to sample some of the home-grown goodies that I harvest from my gardens here in Houston.
  2. More importantly, I was looking for some relief from my aforementioned chief cook and bottle-washer status.  Does this ever happen to you?? -- You travel to some lovely cottage in an idyllic remote location only to spend half your "vacation" time mired in the logistics of how to feed everybody.  Typically, 'idyllic remote' means two things:  not many services to start with, and those few that are available are extremely expensive.  So it is with our annual cottage destination, which largely caters to the resort crowd rather than to middle-class travelers.  Your options in that scenario are as follows:
  • Pay sky-high prices daily for nutritionally-unbalanced restaurant meals (unacceptable)
  • Admit defeat and eat chicken nuggets and french fries most of the time (unacceptable)
  • Take your own home-made food along for the ride (ideal if you can find a way to preserve it long enough)
We had heard about the Yeti's superior cold-retention capability but we'd had no previous experience with it, and Yeti itself hedges its bets where longevity guarantees are concerned.  Here is how we tackled our food transport challenge, and the results:
  • A few days prior to our trip, we bumped our freezer temperature down to the lowest it would go, which was minus 10 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • About 12 hours prior to the trip, we packed the Yeti with ice to "pre-cool" it because we had read somewhere that this would help with cold retention.
  • On the morning of departure, we dumped out the pre-cooling ice (which had partially melted), quickly loaded the cooler with our food, and then carefully packed new ice (cooled to below freezing) into the void spaces.  
Here is an ice-free view.  Most coolers are elongated, but I chose the Yeti 50 because it is closer to being cube-shaped - maximum volume for minimum surface area.  As I described in this previous post, I only use Pyrex ware for food storage, and by this time we own approximately 120 Pyrex pieces of various sizes.  The Yeti 50 can hold about 12 to 16 one-quart Pyrex containers and perhaps 4 to 6 of the 2-cup size, depending on your desired ice-to-food ratio.  That's a whole lot of food!  

  • We continued to monitor the ice throughout our long journey.  Here's the kicker - we weren't going directly to the cottage.  We spent 9 sight-seeing days on the road before we even got to our final destination.  By Day 7, some of the ice had begun to melt and the frozen food was beginning to thaw, but we re-packed any void spaces with new ice daily to keep the temperature as low as achievable (properly refrigerated frozen food generally has a shelf life of 7 to 10 days after initial thawing).  Then, as soon as we arrived at the cottage, I cranked down the refrigerator to its lowest possible temperature in order to maintain the thawed food as long as possible.

And the strategy worked very well, indeed.
Mexican pork and squash stew (recipe here) and Cuban black beans (recipe here) three thousand miles from the point of preparation and ten days after having been removed from our freezer.  Served with brown rice.  
OMG - I WENT ON VACATION TO A COTTAGE AND FOR THE FIRST TIME IN MY HALF-CENTURY LIFE, I DID NOT HAVE TO COOK!!!  All I had to do for each day's main meal was to prepare fresh rice or pasta, warm up my home-made food, and set the various dishes on the table to be served.  In this way, I fed 5 adults wonderful meals for 7 consecutive days with almost no effort.

And here's the added bonus that I neglected to consider at the outset:  What would the corresponding price of 35 high-quality restaurant dinners have been in an expensive area?  Or conversely, cooking 35 person-meals from scratch by buying ingredients at substantially inflated local pricing (not to mention the incredible amount of time and energy that would have sucked out of my vacation time)?  Yeti coolers are not for the financially faint of heart - our Yeti 50 cost almost $400.  But if you do the math on this scenario, what you'll conclude is that the money saved by bringing food 3,000 miles substantially offset the purchase price of the cooler.  Effectively, the thing almost paid for itself in one trip.

Marvelous, I tell you.  I had no idea at the outset whether this scheme would work, but it was successful beyond all my expectations.  And I have never enjoyed my own cooking more than after a succession of absolutely grueling, miles-long mountain hikes.  It tasted twice as good as it normally does.
:-)

The additional possibilities are substantial:  Gluten allergy?  Medical condition?  Losing weight and don't want to experience the type of inevitable set-back experienced from being forced to eat whatever crappy food is typically available while traveling?  Try a Yeti - it might work for your situation.

As always, this is a noncommercial post expressing personal opinions only.  I receive no compensation from any referenced source.  In those cases where cited manufacturers have felt compelled to furnish me with products, I donate them to charity.
An average rating of 4.9 out of 5 on more than four hundred reviews?!  That kind of phenomenon almost never occurs in the consumer universe, but I can see why it did with this product.  Five stars, indeed.

Screengrabbed from this Academy website.