Best Burger: In-N-Out or Five Guys?

Yesterday on Twitter and Facebook I mentioned that I’d had my first Five Guys burger.  I’d heard from a couple of folks that this burger rivals and even surpasses the famous In-N-Out burger.  I spent my high school years in Southern California consuming In-N-Out hamburgers, fries and shakes so I take any claim of burger superiority very seriously.  Though it was a tasty burger with above average fries, I can now conclusively assert that In-N-Out makes the best burgers in the country.

I mentioned this to a friend this morning and he emailed me this infographic a few hours later.  It’s an attempt at objectivity, but I think the evidence points towards the west coast.

Burger WarsI’m a bit nervous to ask- not wanting to start any turf wars here- but does anyone want to weigh in on the Five Guys VS In-N-Out debate?  Or is there another lesser-known burger joint we should know about?

July Tomatoes

Our small vegetable and herb garden is coming in nicely.  Tomatoes and green beans are just now making their appearances; basil, mint and the other herbs are heavily featured in our recipes.

Any other amateur gardeners enjoying the fruits (and vegetables) of your labors?

Vegetable and Herb Garden

I know that a few of you have been working over the past few weeks to get your garden in the ground.  Since this is our first summer in our new home in Hyde Park we’re taking a bit of a risk that our little back area will get enough sun for the tomatoes and other veggies we planted a few weeks ago.  We’re also taking a chance that the local raccoon has plenty of other ways to fill his belly.

Here’s a quick video of what the garden is looking like thus far.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Those of you with gardens, any tips to keep the raccoons and squirrels away?

How to blog

Earlier this week I wrote about why you should consider blogging.  If you’re ready to jump in, here are a few things you might want to consider.

  • Write regularly. Whether it’s once a day, week or month, posting new content somewhat regularly will be helpful for those who are interested in what you have to say.
  • Don’t tell anyone you’ve started a blog… for at least a month. Avoid the temptation to email everyone in your address book about your new blog before you’ve built up some content.  You’re more likely to have return visitors if the first time folks visit your blog they’re greeted by more than the ubiquitous “So, I’ve decided to start blogging” post.
  • Write about what you know and care about without being a narcissist. We know you care about this idea/thought/question; show us why it could matter to usKathy Khang consistently does this very well.  She writes about her interests while inviting her readers to consider our opinions on a variety of topics.
  • Be provocative.  Don’t be a jerk.  The internet has far surpassed it’s jerk-quotient but that doesn’t mean you can’t push and provoke, encouraging your readers to consider an old issue from a new perspective.  A post from last year, “Immigration?  No.  Torture?  Yes.  Christian?  For sure.” is an example of my attempt at this balance.
  • Don’t spend a lot of time on the technical stuff. WordPress and Blogger are two free blogging platforms that allow you to be up and running in a matter of minutes.  Take an hour or two to learn the basics and then begin posting content.  It’s tempting to spend time making your blog look pretty, but many of us will read your posts via an RSS reader and only rarely visit your blog.  Your initial efforts are best spent creating interesting content.
  • Capture ideas when they come. Most of us don’t have the luxury of writing when inspired, so it’s a good idea to jot down that brilliant thought or provocative question before it disappears.  I generally create a new post, type the idea as the title and then save it as a draft, a process that takes less than a minute.  The next time I’m able to blog my initial idea is waiting to be expanded and published.
  • Find your focus without being too narrow. It will be helpful for your readers to know what kind of content they can expect from you.  However, don’t be so specific that you’re unable to write about interesting things that don’t fit within your blog’s stated theme.  The Signs of Life umbrella has served me well in this regard.

There is much more that could be said, but I’ll stop here.  What would you add to this list?

If any of this blog’s readers begins a blog, I hope you’ll let us know about it… one month after you’ve begun.

Why blog?

In the span of a few days two different friends asked my opinion about blogging, specifically how to blog consistently.  I’ll get to a few thoughts on the “how” of blogging, but it makes sense to start with the “why.”  Here are a few reasons you should seriously consider blogging and I’d be curious to know what you’d add.

  • Writing is a reflective process, one that helps you see things otherwise missed.
  • Blogging your thoughts, observations and questions is a way of inviting distinct responses to your own limited perspective.  Signs of Life has been a way for me to learn from an incredibly eclectic group of folks; the comments on “On being a white man in leadership” being just the most recent example.
  • You have interesting ideas and observations to share and blogging will help you distill and critique these things.  Remember, what seems commonplace to you will be completely foreign-and, thus, fascinating- for many of us.  For example, one of the blogs I link to is kept by Stanford Gibson who sometimes writes about his vocational interests and expertise, scientific matters I  just barely understand but find genuinely interesting.
  • At its best blogging will connect you with others who are interested in similar questions and ideas.  The trick- in my opinion- is to keep your blog from becoming a members-only club visited only by those who agree with each other.  This isn’t hard to avoid though, and after blogging for a while you’ll find yourself “conversing” with folks you never would have connected with otherwise.
  • What begins on your blog will quickly spill into face-to-face conversations.  A friend will read something you wrote and offer their own thoughts and questions on the subject.  Given the significant limits of virtual communication (i.e. comments on a blog), these in-person conversations may be the best reason to begin blogging.

What other reasons would you add?

I’ll get to the “how to blog” question later this week.