April 13, 2010

(Upright Tri) + (Double Down) + (B1 Around) = Invincibility

Dear Reader,

You know how some days things just are a little out of kilter and nothing goes quite right? Well, the reason I'm writing you is that yesterday, exactly the opposite happened ...

I was astonished and anxious to see the Double Down (DD) released nationwide -- especially in a self-proclaimed health hotbed like California. While it's true that the Double Down doesn't have any more calories than a Big Mac (both have 540, with the DD having 30 more of those calories coming from fat), the fact that you just go out and scream to the public that you're building a "sandwich" made with fried chicken instead of bread is a little much. I knew it would never sell well to any of the self-denying, maladjusted, mentally infirm or Canadians who would boldly say the DD is evil out the left side of their mouth, while extolling the virtues of other fast "food" easily holding 1.5 times as many calories from the right. So I figured the feast in your fist would never get nationwide exposure.

It wouldn't have surprised me if the thing were pulled at the very last minute -- especially since KFC announcement was made on April 1.

My previous DD experience has done nothing but make me crave more. I suspect, but can't prove, that the sandwich holds methadone as one of its ingredients. Nothing else really can explain why both I and the person who shall never be named have been obsessed with it since that fateful day last September.

Special K was already giddy with excitement and even the sociologically slothful ZZ was showing signs of interest, so when I woke up (after 14 hours of sleep -- having not slept the night before), I was rip-roarin' ready for the day.

(I even dressed for the part with my Mountain Dew boxer shorts -- those are skaters to look like camouflage.)

For the last several months I've been holding my daily caloric intake around 1500 with a weekly regimen of aerobics and weight lifting. At first I had steady weight loss (down about 30 pounds from my max) but in the last few weeks my weight has plateaued -- even though my physical shape continues to change.

With a few very special exceptions, I've all but given up on soda, but considering that I've got a coupon for a freebie with a DD, you better believe I'm gonna be deep in an empty calorie fest this evening ... And that can only mean one thing:

The Almost Entirely Indoor Triathlon

The normal circuit order for a tri is swim-bike-run, with the idea being that you're ultimately less likely to kill yourself as you get exerted; but my sequence will be aerobic step-run-stationary bike. The stationary bike goes nowhere and that's easily my safest "event."

As an aside, I may well be the World's Best Armchair Athlete. You can pretty much put me through any sort of punishment at any time and I'll endure. I'll never be the fastest in any given endeavor (in fact, the first time I swam from Alcatraz, I was the slowest), but you can bet me to finish and make all the pocket change you'll ever need from your pals and your enemies.

Normally I just do whatever the exercise of the day is before I eat my first meal, but if I'm gonna stretch the effort a little, it's a good idea for me to get some raw fuel intake first.

I pull out an old Gatorade Energy Bar (about 10 years expired -- when I called Gatorade to ask about it, they said the barcode I had was no longer in their system). 280 calories of mixed carbohydrate goodness can't be the wrong answer here.

Unfortunately as I chomp on it I can tell that some of the oils have turned and are a tad rancid -- a taste and smell that I'm particularly sensitive to.

Normally I wouldn't let this bother me. I'd just mow on through it -- the problem, though, if it ends up putting me down some chowderhead like ZZ will give me a nearly infinite amount of abuse along the uncreative lines of, "Hey! That Double Down must've been GREAT! Har. Har. Har. I'm so fuckin' funny." And I don't need that in my life. Again.

So I stop at half a bar, but I still need to top off the body-fuel gas tank. I have two obvious and immediate choices involving nothing more complicated than boiling water (which is about all I want to do when I first wake up). One is oatmeal, the other is some crazy Japanese fancy ramen. Even though I'm a shareholder in Pepsi (Quaker Oats is owned by Pepsi), I figure the oatmeal is out if for no other reason than being too healthy. Besides, I'll be having lethal amounts of Pepsico products later today.

I opt for my swanky three-packets-to-add ramen.

I always forget, though, that you are what you eat. So when I head over to the aerobic step ...

... I can't help myself but to put on the DVD of Gamera the Invincible.

How good is the movie Gamera the Invincible? How 'bout this ... You get a cold war Soviet air attack (resulting in the first non-war nuclear bomb detonation), crazy screaming Japanese scientists, Japanese Eskimos, and US polar servicemen sexually harassing a secretary ("I know you've got yourself marked 'No Trespassing,' but baby, it's cold outside!") ALL BEFORE THE OPENING CREDITS.

Gamera's first screen appearance

90 minutes later I've walked up the equivalent of the Empire State Building and, thank merciful Buddha, Gamera's been launched into space. The world is safe.

On to my run.

Even though I probably have 100 10K's under my ever-widening waist band, I sort've hate running, so I'm doing 2 1/4 miles at 11 minute/mile pace with seven intervals of 40 seconds at a nine minute/mile pace. Intervals are a great way to get into shape quickly without suddenly blowing guts out the side of your knees, or spending enough time on the path that you become homicidal.

It goes fine, with the expected number of Indians (dot, not feather) on the route.

This leaves me with the exercise bike (forgot to take a picture of it and I'm writing this away from home), an arms-and-legs Schwinn Airdyne (my Dad was recommended one by his cardiologist, after his heart attacks and I liked his enough that I bought one myself). Here too the regimen was intervals -- 30 minutes at 60rpm with seven, 40 second, intervals of 75rpm.

All of which means I'm now ready for the full-on DD experience.

A quick shower and I get to our pre-scouted KFC on the stroke of 19:30. The Instigator, Fat Paulie, Special K, Radioactive Dave, Mr. Milk Run and the person who shall never be mentioned are already lying in wait.

After the very briefest of hellos we head in. I'm pumped up enough that I don't even act like I'll let someone else order first.

I thrust my coupon in the cashier's face. "We're all here for Double Downs ...," he gives me that well-practiced look of boredom, so I push ahead, "... and I want something special." He gives me a sideways glance. "You're also a Long John Silver's too, right?" He nods. "Okay. And you have tartar sauce on tap?" He smiles and nods again. "Great. I want a Double Down and I want another sandwich that is exactly like a Double Down, but uses tartar sauce and fish fillets instead." I'm frothing. I can say this in Spanish if I have to. I might anyway, just for practice.

He pipes up. I can see that crazy steel dental work that they do down in Mexico. "And you want the bacon in that too?"

"Of course!" I'm a little shrill. Gotta settle down. "Oh and no pepper jack cheese on either of them. Just regular jack."

"One minute. I need to explain this to the back." And he walks around the counter to talk to the cooks in the back. In Spanish he says to the other cashier, "Do you want to ring this guy up?" and she recoils slightly.

I act like I'm talking to the back and say, "No, as a matter-of-fact I don't want to ring this guy up. Thanks for asking."

This emboldens her. She laughs and steps up to the register. "I'm having a Double Down and a sandwich just like a Double Down, but with fish filets. I call that sandwich a 'Two-Deck Shoe.'"

Without batting an eye she says, "Okay, I'll just charge you for two Double Downs." No questions to the back. No trying to figure out what the hell to do. No stuttered panic. This woman gets paid something very close to minimum wage and she can just single handedly pull out a decision like that.

Now is America a great country or what?

Who the hell cares if the receipt mentions fish twice?

Try doing that in England. Or Spain. Or Japan. Or any other "first world country." (Notice I don't mention Mexico, because anything can happen there, but just like the Middle East, it'll be associated with either drugs or a bribe.)

I shuffle around and by the time my order is up, we've added Solid Goldstein, ZZ (and his spinner), and the Assassin to our gay band of poultry gypsies.

My sandwiches are perfect. Exactly as ordered, including the never-before-made-on-the-planet-Earth Two-Deck Shoe (call it a "Fish Double Down" if you must).

I notice two striking differences right away from my other DD experience: one is that the DD isn't inner wrapped (a second time) with wax paper; the other is the cheese isn't melted.

The non-melty cheese bothers the person who will never be mentioned enough that s/he/it goes up to the counter to get it melted and gets the response, "there's nothing we can do."

Not exactly what the Chinese would call "auspicious."

But I take a bite and all fears are allayed. (It's only then that I remember to take the picture above.) It's every bit as good as I remember.

The person who shall never be mentioned takes a bite and smiles with satisfaction.

One by one I get to watch people take their first bites ever of the DD, and to a person the look is one of either raw enjoyment, or surprise. Of all the people present, Mr. Milk Run is easily the most impressed -- but that's not surprising, because of all the people present, he's the one whose true inner being is closest to mine (no offense, Milky).

My Two-Deck Shoe is actually really good. I tell no one this, but I might actually prefer it to a Double Down.

The enjoyment level of the group as a whole rises -- everyone is jabbering and laughing. We've essentially taken over the entire back-half of the super-cool, ultra-modern, but by-God-we-adhere-our-tables-to-the-floor KFC/LJS. With the exception of Solid Goldstein and the person who shall never be mentioned, I think it's the first time I've ever seen any given subset of these people having this much fun around something that wasn't computers, cell phones, iPods or movies.

The consensus on the DD is that it's well-above average. A couple of people show regret over the fact that it isn't just chicken ("I don't like the breading touching my mouth to meat ratio"). Z doesn't think there's enough bacon taste. (Me: "Well, you can always add more bacon." Him: "NOW YOU TELL ME!") But there are many who think it's an instant Fast-Food Hall of Famer.

Is it working for the Colonel? Of the ten people in our group, six haven't been in a KFC in the past year -- and if it wasn't for the DD being in RI, that number would be eight.

I would've loved to have stayed and talk to my pals -- especially Solid G who traveled all the way down from the city, and the Assassin who stopped by on a whim -- but the San Jose Giants were playing their opening Bay Area Game and that meant fireworks.

The person who shall never be mentioned and I hot-tailed it down to Municipal Stadium, got a Hollywood parking space immediately in front of the gate, handed in our free tickets to watch the last three innings of a losing baseball game.

Not that it mattered, because the fireworks after were spectacular -- including a nice mid-display pre-barrage.

And no, I'm not trying to make reference to Robert Duvall when I say that no smell makes me happier than spent gun powder. I associate only pure, unadulterated, joy with that aroma.

After fireworks, we made our way back to my place, but not before stopping to pick up an in-season fresh pineapple.

Chased with a handful of peanuts as we watched my $1 Red Box choice, The Men Who Stare at Goats.

Really, honestly and truly, days almost never get better than this. I've had, maybe, 100 days this good in my life.

But I know what you might be thinking ...

...How did all this caloric stuff for the day turn out?

Caloric values are really hard to determine for reasons of biochemistry, nutrition and basal metabolism (even more so when I don't know my basic rates, nor my true Body Mass Index -- which has to be determined by immersion, not some goofy height/weight formula). And all calories are not the same. Complex carbohydrates, for example, require more caloric burn by your body to be converted into energy than fat does.

So, contrary to what may seem to be intuitively obvious, the body is not a simple calories-in/calories-out machine. You can diet and not exercise and your body will figure out a way to run on fewer calories. You can exercise, but without the right biochemical changes in your body you may just sweat off water, or actually burn off the protein in your muscles. And once you're buff, you can do nothing and still burn more calories than the fatty sitting next to you because muscle burns ten times more calories -even at rest- than fat (and that, right there, tells you that height/weight/calorie formulas are off if for nothing more than musculature differences).

The reason you exercise is not to burn calories, but to instead change the biochemistry of your musculature ... What you're trying to do is create more fat burning enzymes. And once you do that, everything starts working a lot better -- you get a true systemic response.

But let's ignore all that and try to answer the fricken question.

I can list all the food I ate for the day. The breakdown is pretty easy:

Half an energy bar: 140 calories
Ramen: 360 calories
Double Down: 540 calories
Two-Deck Shoe: 800 calories
(the fish filets have double the calories of the chicken filets in a DD -- no wonder it tasted better)
Soda: 600 calories (four glasses at 150 each)
Pineapple: 225 calories (78 cals/cup -- I had three thick slices)
Peanuts: 250 calories

In round numbers (because it's senseless doing this to the exact calorie), this is a 2900 calorie day. The biggest day I've had in at least half a year -- probably the biggest since I made the world's best macaroni and cheese last American Thanksgiving.

Conservatively speaking my exercise calories burned are:

Step for 90 minutes: 1000 calories
Running: 400 calories
Bike: 400 calories (according to bike calorimeter)
For a total of 1800 exercise calories

The Base Metabolic Rate (the number of raw calories you burn from simply being alive, without doing anything, in calories) for a man is:

66 + (6.23 x weight in pounds) + (12.7 x height in inches) – (6.8 x age in years)

For all my current stats, this number is, funnily enough, 1800 calories. In other words, I burn the same number of calories just by breathing and thinking in 24 hours as I did with the Almost Entirely Indoor Triathlon in two and a half hours. (A good example of how little direct caloric burn there is from exercise.)

This means my exercise and being alive combined burned about 3400 calories (you can't double count the being-alive calories during the amount of time that I was exercising -- gotta love that applied math degree) ...

... But I ate 2900 calories.

One pound of human fat is 3500 calories.  Since I ran a 500 calorie deficit for one day if I did this exact diet/exercise program every day for a week, I would lose one pound. Weirdly enough, this is the theoretical deficit I shoot for roughly on a daily basis -- although I focus far more on my exercise than my exact dietary balance. I didn't know this was going to be the result here until I worked the numbers just now.  (Honestly, I didn't care.)

Putting it another way (and ignoring the significance of the fat calories side of the equation), I shoveled all this crap in my pie hole and still lost weight today.

Remember that I had a Two-Deck Shoe and a Double Down -- washed with a jacuzzi's worth of Mountain Dew. If you wanted to write this as a National Enquirer headline you could say:


And if you've read this far, you're either dedicated or insane. In either event, you should go and sign the petition to give the Colonel his own postage stamp.

And do yourself a favor -- if you haven't gone out and had a Double Down, do so before they yank the sucker from production (although I bet you'll be able to order it "secretly" for a l-o-n-g time to come). Remember, not everyone is as fortunate as you Americans -- you can't just order these at any KFC around the world.

If you decide to exercise as part of your DD diet, and you're only going to do it once, it's better to do so before than after -- you'll need all the fat burning enzymes you can get.

Thanks for reading.


Blogger b1-66er said...

in los gatos, CA, I just tried to order a double down, but couldn't.

a truly sad day, indeed.

Thursday, August 15, 2013 1:19:00 PM  

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