Z/28

Some might call this purchase a mid-life crisis. Maybe it is, but I know it’s fun.

I don’t like this picture, but don’t have another yet.

Z/28

If you don’t immediately recognize, it’s a 2015 Camaro Z/28. It’s a relatively expensive limited edition race car that’s just barely street legal. It technically seats 4, although the lucky people you allow to sit in the back seats may need some experience in extreme body contortion.

What you really need to know is that it’s just a absolute hoot to drive. At least when it’s sunny and dry outside. The LS7 engine has the power to put a huge smile on your face, and the exhaust note is like Barry White serenading you.

Did you know it’s faster around the famous Nürburgring race track in Germany than the current Porsche 911, Carrera S, and the Lamborghini Murcielago LP640? Did I mention they did the lap time in the rain? No?! I should have, BECAUSE IT’S FUCKING AWESOME. Go ahead, watch the official video below.

Z/28 around the Nürburgring on YouTube.

I bought this 505 hp beast as my daily driver. Yes, I know that’s not what it’s intended for, and quite possibly stupid. Fortunately I have a job where I work from home so I don’t need to drive a lot. I drive by choice. Now that choice means the drive is even more fun. I plan on writing a little bit about living with a race car as a daily driver, and the engineering that went into making this special, special car. I’m just so thrilled it’s in my garage.

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Amazon Echo

Amazon announces Echo.

My take is that it’s basically a dedicated Siri type device anchored to a room. Available “in the coming weeks” to those that probably fit a certain profile in your Amazon history.

Gruber on Daring Fireball says:

“Your phone is in your pocket all the time.”

John’s referring to the “Hey, Siri” or “Ok, Google” commands in current phones. In a household of 4 the “Hey, Siri” thing isn’t practical. Everybody’s device that’s plugged in goes off.  If you could customize “Hey, Siri” to a unique name, this product would be less attractive to those people. However, for kids or others not always carrying a device this sounds like it could be useful.

  1. Ask homework questions out loud.
  2. Add timers for homework, reading, screen time, cooking, etc…
  3. Add things to a to-do list.

All without having to launch an app, or change focus from what you are doing. That’s good automation.

 

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Texas Trip Day 3

Monday morning I realized how much I needed that hotel bed. I felt so much better and invigorated, even though the city itself didn’t seem to like me. I really didn’t want to ride any longer than the previous day, it’s just too much work to be considered “vacation”.

I started off bright and early and headed west on 149 from Yazoo City. A few short miles later was the turn off for 16 that would take me to my first destination of the day. 16 isn’t much of a “highway”, more of a country road with slightly less pot holes than the gravel roads that T into it.

This is the deep south, and this area seemed to be well below the poverty level. The living conditions looked pretty rough among the cotton fields. Soon the forest swallowed up the landscape and I was in the Delta National Forest. There wasn’t any signs of fall here from what I could see. No leaves were changing colors or falling off yet. Just a few miles of majestic oak hardwoods, and the first few southern yellow pines. I sat on the side of the road parked for a while and didn’t see another vehicle the entire time, I got to enjoy it all to myself. Great little piece of nature.

Delta National Forest

After relishing the Delta, I headed south on 61 and stopped in Port Gibson, MS for lunch. Port Gibson is a very charming typical southern town you could imagine seeing in a movie. Huge historic victorian homes, wraught iron fences, HUGE live oak trees, and some brick streets. The downtown area looked like it hadn’t changed for at least 50 years if not more. So where to eat in this charming historic little town? I stopped at McDonald’s of course. Well, in my defense I saw a couple of Harley’s parked there and I decided to say hello. I met Bob, from Atlanta, and his riding buddy from Gulf Shores. The were cruising north along the Mississippi as I was heading south. They had camped a few nights, and were taking things slow. I was curious to ask how many miles they had done yesterday and they told me just over 200. It made me slap myself in the face for going 450 the day previous, I was pushing too hard. Still, there’s only so many vacation days I can take.

Just south of Fayette, MS I got onto 33 south which took me into the Homochitto National Forest. As soon as I got on 33, I saw logging trucks. Not one, or a couple, or even a few, but a steady stream of them about a thousand feet apart. They were carrying southern yellow pine logs, and they smelled fantastic. It seemed I had found the heart of the construction timber industry. They were hauling through the national forest, but didn’t seem to be logging inside it. There were logging plants on either side of the forest they were hauling to. The vast majority of Homochitto was southern yellow pine, but there were still a few oak trees mixed in. I found the sign for my picture at the Woodman Springs Shooting Range. A small unmanned 4 stall shooting range for pistols and rifles that cost $3 on the honor system to use. A few berms were built up to shoot into, and looked to be 100 yards max. I got a few pictures, stretched my legs, gave my butt a rest, and headed off.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

WoodmanSprings

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Heading north west out of Homochitto was Liberty Road, and it was an amazing road for a motorcycle ride. Gentle sweeping curves, shady and cool. Can’t recommend it enough. This road got me to Natchez, MS, and the historic “Colonial Trails Scenic Byway” highway 84. A short hop over the Mississippi River and I was in Louisiana. I followed 84 west for a long time, and it’s a great road, mostly 4 lane. There were historic sites every mile or two it seemed all begging for attention, but I needed to get my last stop while it was daylight. That stop was the mighty Kisatche National Forest, a huge forest. I didn’t see much water on my route through it, I wanted to see some bald cyprus groves, but mostly it reminded me of Homochitto with huge, old growth southern yellow pine.

KisatcheNF

Just on the other side of the forest was my stop for the night, the historic city of Natchitoches, LA. As I later found out, it’s the oldest city of the Louisiana Purchase. The house that was used to film the movie Steel Magnolias is here. Old brick streets lined the historic downtown section and they had a river walk that was very well maintained. I asked the hotel clerk for a restaurant recommendation, and she pointed me to a place called Momma’s Oyster House. I was so excited by the menu I ordered two things. A fried shrimp Po-Boy, and a special that was a mouthful. Local river catfish served over angel hair pasta, and smothered in a mushroom-crawfish-shrimp-bacon-cream sauce. Best meal I ate at a restaurant the entire trip. Highly recommended.

Mama's Oyster Bar Natchitoches

Just one more General (*wink wink*) note, there isn’t any shortage dollar stores in the south. I saw towns on my route that didn’t seem to even have a gas station that had a Dollar General, or Family Dollar. We have them in Indiana too, but not the density I saw in the south, they were EVERYWHERE.

Day3Map

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Texas Trip Day 2

After an easy and gentile day one, it was obvious day two was planned by a damned lunatic.

I had multiple failures in my plan. The worst was driving by Lambert’s Café in Sikeston, MO far too early in the morning to stop for lunch. I will rectify this issue later in the trip, but I was very disappointed at the time.

Secondly I rode a bunch of boring interstate 55 south in the name of efficiency. Interstate has a purpose, but it’s not a particularly enjoyable ride for me. It did, however, get me west of Memphis and onto Mississippi 79 south in good time. Just south of Marianna, AR was the St. Francis National Forest, and adjoining the forest is the Mississippi River State Park. I didn’t get to ride through much, mostly because there’s only one paved road, and not a lot of it. A sign noted it was Bear Creek Loop, but I never did see a map of it. There’s not many instances I felt I had the wrong bike for the trip, but this was one of them. There were a bunch of gravel roads that went back to the St. Francis and Mississippi rivers and I could have got some more pictures and sight seeing done. I made the best of it, and stopped by the visitors center. That gave me a nice break from the saddle before it was time to head south again.

St Francis National Forest

NF Centennial 1891-1991

I should also note that here is where I noticed the temperatures climbing out of the “cool fall” range and higher into the “late summer” range. I swapped out my leather jacket and went for mesh, it was mid 70’s and perfect.

As I got back on the bike and headed south via 49, I rolled into the cotton fields of the Mississippi Delta region. This got my attention for a brief while as a fella that lives out in the corn fields of Indiana. Farming is farming, but the machinery is specialized. Not much to say beyond it was interesting to see, and it looks like a very inefficient harvest. Lots of cotton balls all over the road.

Cotton Fields of the Mississippi Delta regionCottonCombine

(combine isn’t my picture, but it shows an example of the wasteful harvest)

The third fail of the day was Yazoo City, MS. I don’t know if it was the timing of a Sunday evening or something else, but I don’t recommend a visit. Everyone there seemed pissed off or depressed. This Best Western wasn’t motorcycle friendly either. Just park out in the lot, and screw your concerns. On top of that no tamale restaurant was open, so I had to settle for mediocre “Mexican” food. It probably wouldn’t have been so disappointing if the Paducah Best Western wasn’t so damn awesome from the first night. Oh well.

Not so much a failure, but more of a note to self, 450 miles of mostly 55 MPH roads is a long ride. I was a bit sore after that. This enabled the rest of the trip being more manageable, so it was mostly worth it.

Mostly.

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Texas Trip Day 1

It was time for a ride.

If you ride a motorcycle yourself, you already know the feeling. If you don’t, well you’ll just have to take my word for it. Something about the breeze, the road, and a bit of freedom are all addicting. My last trip was August of 2013 when I toured up through the Upper Peninsula of Michigan and around Lake Michigan. That was a great trip, and I hoped to replicate those good vibes. This time I was going solo and riding southwest though as many National Forests as I could. Late October is full of vibrant fall colors in the midwest US, prime and ready for some photographs. I also wanted to visit my riding buddy in Hewitt, TX. So those were the goals, it was just a matter of connecting the dots on the way down.

The problem was, there were a lot of damn dots.

If you look at the map, there’s a lot of forests between Indiana and Texas.  I decided to head west and south to follow the Mississippi river, trying to stay off of much of the interstate so I could slow down and enjoy the trip. Day one targets were Hoosier National Forest, and Shawnee National Forest. You can see my route on the map at the bottom of the page. I really kept the plan open, and booked hotels a couple days in advance just to make sure I could get a hotel room on the weekend days. First day was around 315 miles planned, pretty easy and allowed us to ease into the grind of the road.

Hoosier National Forest is the closest National Forest to my home. I know it well. I’ve ridden it many times, hiked it, and camped in it. The rolling hills provide excellent riding, and the fall colors just make it candy for the eyes. If you ever get down that way, 37 and 150 are both nice rides through there. I didn’t stop for a sign picture on this trip as I already had one, so this is a slightly older picture.

HoosierNationalForest

Just off the side of HNF is Martin State Forest. I stopped there and took some pictures at Martin Lake. It was a perfect day, and this made some great pictures easy to get.

Martin State Forest

Martin State Forest Pano

Between my targets was a brand new stretch of Interstate I-69. My wife and I work for a civil engineering firm and have worked a bit on different parts of the I-69 project through southern Indiana. Neither of us had driven some of the new construction that was opened, so I took the opportunity. It’s rare for me to get excited about interstate, but this was years of work and I got to see it all shiny and new. Not quite complete, but getting closer. A few more decades to go!

After crossing the Wabash River, Illinois welcomed me via a large sign on the bridge. A small drive south lay the Shawnee National Forest. The fall colors of the SNF were gorgeous. Much like the HNF, the rolling hills provide a fun ride. Tucked inside SNF is a treasure called the Garden of the Gods.

ShawneeNationalForest

Very basically, the Garden is a bunch of rock formations. They provide some breath taking views of the forest, and combine that with the fall colors and you have some magic. There’s a campground there as well, I plan on coming back to enjoy it further.

Garden of the Gods - Shawnee National Forest

Finally it was a short drive over the Ohio River into Kentucky for the first hotel of the trip. The Best Western of Paducah, KY. I can’t recommend this hotel enough. The hostess new exactly what a motorcyclist wants. A secure place to park the bike under the canopy and under the gaze of a security camera. I unfortunately didn’t catch her name as she was training another lady, but she was great. Clean room and a hot shower hits the spot after a good days ride.

More coming up…

MapDay1

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Apple Watch at Fashion Week

Apple Watch Sneak Peak

It’s fashion week in Paris, and Apple is displaying the Watch for one day only at Colette boutique. Patrick takes some very nice pictures.

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Apple Watch, Thoughts Part 2

Apple Watches

So I’ve had some more time to reflect on the Apple Watch, and it still fascinates me. It’s an exciting new product, much like the iPad in 2010, but in also completely different. In the iPad event Steve Jobs gave us many examples of where the iPad was better than a laptop, or an iPhone. Web browsing, portability, interaction were all things that made the iPad better.

During the Watch reveal at the keynote (about 57 minutes in), there’s not so much about what it’s better at, but more about what it’s capable of. Often the video references the challenge of navigating a small display, and the emphasis on not blocking the display with your fingers. (Of course, the first thing Kevin Lynch does in the live demo is swipe around the app screen.)

The video never really emphasizes actions that are easier to do on your wrist versus doing them with your iPhone. I think this is because Apple isn’t even sure what kind of workflows we are going to come up with. Developers working with iOS do amazing things every year, and this should be just as exciting as they start playing with watch kit. Year one will see development and ideas trickle out, but year two is probably going to be huge, from fitness to glanceable information and everything in-between.

There is at least one obvious area where this could be better than using your iPhone, the convenience of quick replies. This should appeal directly to people that carry their phones in bags or purses, and the size of the 6+ magnifies this even more. Involving these quick replies will be finding a notification balance that each user will have to figure out on their own. Most likely you won’t want every notification to show up on your wrist, but if it doesn’t show up you can’t reply to it. Some people will probably like twitter replies on their wrists, others who get hundreds of mentions will definitely not.

Another immediate function of the Watch is the heath and fitness tracking. There’s a little debate on whether or not the heart rate capture can be 1) truly accurate, and 2) contain useful information. Either way it should provide some feedback that could help you hit fitness targets. Apple also showed off the ability to share ones heartbeat, which with a loved one seems romantic. At the same time having a stranger share theirs with you sounds outright creepy. Hopefully that has been considered.

I was trying to see if anything can be revealed with the product naming…

  • Apple Watch Sport
  • Apple Watch
  • Apple Watch Edition

From that it might be surmised the Apple Watch is their intended “standard” version, or in other words where they want to sell the most. To support that theory, in the Apple Watch introduction video they say that it has a sapphire screen. Only towards the end of the video when they detail the Sport Edition do they say it has an Ion-X screen that’s lighter, and presumably less durable than the sapphire version. I’m not sure if Apple thinks they will sell more Sport or “standard” editions, I guess that will depend a lot on the final price.

So speaking of pricing, this is a hot topic, and got even hotter when Gruber recently posted his thoughts on price.

Apple Watch Sport (aluminum/glass): $349 (not a guess)
Apple Watch (stainless steel/sapphire): $999
Apple Watch Edition (18-karat gold/sapphire): $4,999

Most everyone agrees that the $349 starting price is for the aluminum version with the sport band. In the “standard” version the stainless steel Apple used is 316L, which is commonly used throughout the jewelry industry. It’s not particularly expensive, but does take effort to machine. The 18K gold Edition is a little bit more of an unknown. Apple said it’s an alloy that doubles the hardness of regular 18k gold, but we don’t know the exact percentage contents. If Gruber is right about the “standard” Watch being $999, that would make it $50 more than the most expensive iPhone offered this year. I don’t think it will will come with the matching stainless steel bracelet. I’m under the impression the customer will purchase the base watch with a sport band, and bracelets are extra. For just the Watch alone, a thousand dollars seems high, I’m going to go in at $749. When you start to purchase something in the 4 digit range it starts being less of an impulse purchase, and more of a thoughtful decision. When talking about the Edition, this is where the price starts to not matter. It could be $5k or $10k and I don’t think it would really make a difference. The people that are going to spend $5k on a gold watch with depreciating software don’t care what it costs. Jason Snell at his new Six Colors site got to look at the box the Edition comes in… 

Yes, there’s a special box. It’s covered in leather. Inside is a magnetic charging cradle, and on the back of the box base is a slot into which you plug a Lightning connector. That’s right: The Apple Watch Edition is so fancy that the box is its own accessory.

Sounds nice, and Apple appears to be aiming this squarely at the celebrity fashion market. That’s how you build interest, seeing these on the wrists of people who are considered stylish. It’s all trickle down from there.

So lets talk about us normal folks that care about price. Do you really want to spend close to 4 digits on a watch that could be obsolete in 3 years? That’s a tough sell, it might even be a tough sell at $349. Apple is calling the encapsulated S1 a “miniaturized computer system on a chip”. If this is upgradeable in the future, this would help ease the purchasing pain. But will they? I think it’s very unlikely. There’s no such upgrade plan when it comes to iPhones, iPads, or iPods. New models come in every year, and old ones die off. It would add complexity to the system.

Small note about the bands, they look beautiful with excellent craftsmanship. It also appears with the band swapping mechanics Apple has locked themselves into that particular shape in case design for the foreseeable future. Probably the first 2 years at least. I think the case could get thinner of course, but the rectangular shape is probably going to be here for a while. Which will be a disappointment to those that wanted a more standard circular form factor.

Having a wrist mounted computer could possibly be the first step in changing your “information hub” from the phone, to your watch. Often you lay your phone down somewhere, and wander somewhere else to do a task. The watch, however, is connected to your body, and you have both hands ready at all times. Obviously we’re not anywhere close to leaving our iPhones at home. There are many things to work out, namely battery life, component size, and limited device input. Technology is already racing to solve the first two of those problems, the third is something that will have to be worked on in time. Apple said the Watch was made for lightweight interaction with apps, but I expect we are going to push that boundary as fast as they let us.

I view this as the first step to something truly exciting and completely fascinating.

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Thoughts on the Apple Watch

The Apple Watch was announced Tuesday during Apple’s iPhone event. Due sometime in 2015, it’s an interesting and curious piece of technology. Sure it tells the time very accurately (+/- 50ms), gets notifications, but the real power is what else can it do.

  • Glanceable information
  • Apple Pay
  • Health and Fitness
  • Fashion

Glanceable information is something Android has done better, for longer. Widgets on Android can be customized on almost any screen to give you quick glance information. Without unlocking the phone you can have limited access to weather, email, twitter, messages, the list is almost endless. Limited information, but that’s the point, you just need a glance to get what you need. This doesn’t require you unlock your phone, find the app, launch it, then power down. There’s a nice convince factor there, but more importantly those actions take battery power. Now Apple has a chance to help improve two areas on the iPhone, most importantly that all so precious battery life. Using the Watch to display this information gives the iPhone a virtual second small battery. There’s still some power used in the bluetooth connection, but it should be less than what it takes to power up the iPhone screen.

Also announced at the Tuesday event, Apple Pay is a secure way using NFC to make mobile payments from your iPhone, Apple Watch, and eventually Mac. Mobile payments are nothing new, Google Wallet has been out for years. The problem Google had with adoption was tied to carriers, banks, and handset manufacturers all wanting their own cut of the transactions. It had a lot of potential, but just never could get needed customer base to push it along. Apple is throwing it’s massive weight behind Apple Pay and has a huge advantage to their deployment. They make the hardware, the software, and sell enough phones they are making the rules. Five major banks are on board, as are several stores like McDonald’s and Subway. The Apple Watch appears to interact with the Touch ID on the iPhone to generate a token for the Watch to use as long as it maintains skin contact. This adds some convenience and utility to the device. We will have to see how much in real use.

With Health Kit, Apple is trying to get lazy bastards off your asses. You know who you are, the ones that sit in front of the computer all day. With a heart rate sensors built into the back of the watch you are going to get a good look at your daily activity levels. I currently use a Fitbit to monitor steps, flights of stairs climbed, and active minutes per day. It’s a great little device to help you track your daily life. Health Kit + the Apple Watch is going to significantly increase the amount of data you collect. This should help you get healthier, if you choose to do so.

Fashion is where there’s going to be a bit more controversy, version 1.0 at least. There’s no denying Apple has studied horology and applied what they learned with Apple level details. The case is rectangular with perfectly rounded and smoothed edges. Sapphire glass is amazingly thin and polished completely smooth. The back is stamped with traditional horological details; case size, construction materials, and serial number. Not ignoring the bands, they are designed with the same level of detail and finish. Overall it’s an engineering project worthy of high praise, but it’s obvious a few sacrifices had to be made.

The design appears to give a subtle nod to the original iPhone. It’s a bit chubby, and also looks heavy. Both complaints probably due to component/battery size needed for all day use, and even that is in doubt. If this can’t go all day on a charge, it’s going to get a lot of negative attention. It’ll get thinner over time, Apple is very good at progressing hardware design. The iPhone has evolved quickly as they get better with power management, and component pieces get smaller. No doubt in 4 years this will get even more stylish as Siracusa alluded to above. But this raises another series of questions.

What is the hardware upgrade schedule for a device like this? My original iPad from 2010 still functions, and gets used a lot by my son. Over the 4 years of ownership, it’s got slower and several apps won’t run on it at all. Officially the original iPad couldn’t upgrade to iOS 6, which was released in September of 2012. That’s the nature with yearly software upgrades to iOS, some devices just get left behind due to hardware restraints. The Watch will have the same problem. I have no idea if it’ll be better or worse compared to that, but 2 years of software updates is not a long time when it’s competing with watches for your wrist. I asked John Biggs, writer of tech and watches…

A designer watch is typically bought once, and held forever if of sufficient quality. Something in the $3-$4k range such as an Omega Seamaster can often be passed down to your children. It was announced these would start at $350, most likely the aluminum version with a sport band. I would guess the stainless version will be roughly $500, with a matching strap. Biggs thinks the gold version will be north of $1200. The added functionality makes it hard to compare it to a traditional watch, but it’s clear you aren’t only going to buy one if you like it. Since it has to be paired with your iPhone, most likely it’ll need to run the exact same version of iOS. This could put you on an every other year upgrade schedule to keep up with your iPhone. If you aren’t thinking about this yet, you should.

Is it underwhelming? Maybe. Apple anticipation is so high it’s difficult to live up to expectations. We wanted something “magical” and they did the best they could with the available components and technology. I think it’ll be interesting and I plan on getting one for both the wife and I. If I find it adds value to my life, I probably won’t have a problem upgrading often. If it doesn’t, it won’t be because Apple didn’t try.

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Aphex Twin – Syro

Syro

New Aphex Twin music! To electronic music fans, these are words we feared we would never hear. Instead I would expect to hear some rumors that Richard D. James had made music under another name, but not reviving the Aphex Twin moniker. Druqs came out thirteen years ago, and it’s time for a new lesson in music. A lesson he’s apparently pretty excited about. To me, RDJ is the grandfather of intelligent electronic music. He’s inspired many of the current popular electronic artists; Skrillex, Afrojack, Zedd. So having granddad back to school some youngin’s is something to get pumped about.

The first track has been released, minipops 67 [120.2][source field mix]. It’s got a familiar RDJ feel to it, but updated. The synthesizers are sharp, layers upon layers, strong beat, and something a bit rare – his voice. You can listen to the first track on YouTube.  [minipops 67 [120.2][source field mix]

The album release date is 09/22/14, but here’s some RJD track selections to warm up your ears.
[Windowlicker]
[Come to Daddy]
[Flim]
[avril 14th] Don’t like electronic music? Try this piano piece.
[Crying in your face]

When you are ready to buy, I suggest Bleep where you can get 24-bit lossless .wav files. 

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Blue Apron

For the past 69 weeks (purely coincidence, ahem) I’ve been a Blue Apron subscriber. They are a mail order grocery service that deliver 3 meals per week complete with recipe, cooking instructions, nutritional information, and ingredients. Even pre-measured spices and sauces needed to prepare each dish are in the box. The only things not included are salt, pepper, olive oil, and water. The recipes use in-season produce and do a great job at providing a variety of different cuisines. In 207 recipes I’ve received from them (wow, time flies), I believe only 2 have been repeats. One was the 4th of July meal. A couple more have been pretty similar to a recipe delivered in the past. At least 200 have been unique dishes.

Being based out of New York gives them an opportunity to get a vast variety of ingredients. Some of which I’ve never heard of, or couldn’t easily get on my own in Indiana. I can get plenty of corn here, but getting Chayote squash takes a lot of effort. That’s what I think is special about these boxes of fun delivered to your door. The chores of finding recipes, getting the ingredients, measuring… it’s all taken care of, and delivered right to your door. All you have to do is prep veg, cook protein, and eat. The basic plan costs about $10 a meal.  I get 2 meals per recipe for my wife and I, so I’m spending a couple coins under $60 per week. Nutritionally the meals are mostly between 500-750 calories each. After MOST meals I feel comfortably sated. There have been a couple that I needed to find something else to supplement my returning hunger.

I always claimed to be a picky eater, so I thought when I began I’d have to pick out a bunch of stuff I didn’t want to eat. This couldn’t be further from the truth. I’ve eaten 95% of the recipes as is, the only exceptions have been tomatoes (I just can’t eat them in any chunky form). I have been so pleased with the recipes I can’t say enough. The team there really puts together some great dishes. They claim the average prep/cook time is 35 minutes for each recipe, and from my experience that’s about right. I’d say more than half use a single pan, which is nice if you are the one doing the cooking AND the dishes.

A few favorites:

  1. Arroz con Pollo
  2. Beef and Bulgur Stuff Squash
  3. Salmon and Cauliflower Steaks
  4. Ginger Soy Glazed Salmon
  5. The Gramercy Tavern recipe was particularly good.

This Cod with Szechuan Sauce, however, wasn’t very good to me. Fortunately there’s only been 5, out of 207 random recipes, that did not please my wife and I.  That’s 98% if you are trying to do the math.

Back in the old days when I started, they only had Vegetarian or Omnivore diets. Now you can exclude any of the following in the Omnivore plan: red meat, poultry, fish, shellfish, lamb, and pork. This helps fulfill a wide range of dietary needs. They also could only deliver east of the Mississippi way back then. Now they’ve added a distribution point out in California, and get all of the west coast. The current delivery map is here. Sorry folks that live in Kansas. I imagine they have plans to expand to Texas and that will probably serve the middle of the country. My delivery day is Thursdays by Fedex, and I have the option for Saturday deliveries as well.  Delivery days vary by address. I’ve had one shipment not show up at all, and one more that was late. Those are disappointing, but it rarely happens and their customer service is very helpful. Going out for vacation one week?  No problem, you can skip a week, or two like I did when I moved to a new house. I will offer one bit of advice from my own experience. Cook the recipes as soon as possible after delivery. I try to always cook my seafood dish on Thursday evening right after it’s delivered. I’ve found the fresh herbs and some fragile produce tend to go bad kind of quickly.

Not interested in the food delivery part? That’s fine, they provide the recipes for free on their website. Heck you can even sign up for an email and get them automatically sent to you. If you happen to use the Paprika Recipe Manager app on the Mac, you can directly import the recipes into your database. They also blog about various things, and have some instructional videos. I’m working my knife skills every week, but I’m still not as good as those damn videos.

My only complaint is the abundance of packaging that I wish could be recycled back to them. I imagine that’s a common complaint, and hope they have a solution for us at some point. The boxes were great for moving, and I’ve given ice packs to the local chicken farmer to keep eggs cool. Still, after almost 70 weeks there’s only so many ways I can be creative with recycling.

All said, I can’t recommend them enough. Blue Apron has helped me eat better, with reasonable portions, and at a competitive price. Not to mention all the cool new ingredients I learned about. If you have the time and passion to cook, I think they are worth the effort.

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