Journal Entry 360 – New Decade 2020

Another year in the books. 2020 marks the beginning of my 4th decade, which is kind of insane to think about. 2019 was a good year overall and certainly went by fast. A lot of coffee was consumed, certainly had its fair share of stressful moments, made my first trip to Europe, had several gatherings with friends/families/parties, completed several workouts, listened to way too many Joe Rogan podcasts and endured a long year of watching subpar Hokies/Giants games. Eli Manning turned 39 years old yesterday and will likely retire this offseason. 😦 The Giants have moved on to Daniel Jones, there are several great QBs coming out of college and there is simply a very limited if not non-existent market for Eli. Wished his career would have ended differently as I thought he deserved better. The Giants organization is really frustrating and really think they need an overhaul. I digress though.

New years typically bring new goals. Most people have great motivation to start the year and then it fizzles out pretty quickly. At the end of the year, they never really end up achieving anything. To quote Will Smith “If you stay ready, you don’t have to get ready.” I think this is a good way to look at it. I already have habits in place that are beneficial and don’t feel the need to do a complete overhaul to become a healthier person. That being said I do have a couple of things I would like to focus on this year, that would help make me a better person.

First, would be to read a book a month. Now this book isn’t going to be an easy read. I typically go non-fiction and also research a lot about the topics that the book mentions that I’m not overly familiar with. I think a book a month is a good starting point with all of the other factors I need to balance in my life. This is a great tool for building knowledge about a certain subject and just increasing overall intelligence.

Second, would be to simply stress less. I think anxiety is built into my genes and was always something I’ve battled with. Anxiety is usually a negative term, but it can actually be very useful as well. A double-edged sword if you will. It helps get things done, but can also be a nasty source of unneeded stress. I take zero medication for anything other than my Psoriasis. This is the way I prefer it. It’s on me to fix the root cause. I do think several things can be improved upon though to help battle stress/anxiety. Have a bit more patience with things, leave 10 minutes earlier for work (I leave early anyway, but I mean really early), so traffic does not play a factor, be more understanding about new advisors using our software (newbs), spend less time reading toxic Social Media articles or posts, continue my really good grasp on personal finance and find ways to get better without overwhelming myself.

I do have a workout routine in place to start the new year and it consists of 2 workouts on the weekend (more time off) and two workouts (Heavy) during the week at the gym. This gives me 3 lunch breaks off during the week to relax and likely just read whatever book I’m doing for the month. It also helps me avoid the new crowd of the gym. Diet will continue from last year. I like the way I currently eat and don’t really see a need to change it.

Until next time!

 

 

Journal Entry 359 – Month Update – Birthday, Football, Diet, Gamechangers

Been a while since my last post due to several busy weekends in a row, which is pretty common with the end of the year. (Holidays, Birthdays, Football, Work Stress, etc…)

I turned 29 on November 14th and Sarah and I went to Charlottesville for the day. We went to 3 wineries on a Hop-On / Hop-Off Tour and two of them were good and one was pretty mediocre:

  • Pollack was great. Nice view, great wine and great staff. 9.5 out 10
  • Valley Vineyards was average. Nice staff, but location was pretty lacking and the wine was average at best. 6 out of 10
  • Veritas was about the same this time. You get a very “snooty” vibe at this place. I still like it, but the pours were stingy as well. I do really like their logo though. 7 out of 10.

After that, we stayed the night in a hotel in Charlottesville and went to a place called The Whiskey Jar for dinner. Again, pretty good but not as good I was hoping for.

For my birthday, I also got a game called Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order. Basic rundown is about a young Jedi who is on the run, shortly after Anakin becomes Darth Vader and all the Jedi are being hunted down. Don’t want to get into a detailed review, but the game was very fun and the combat was awesome. The other characters were okay, but the main character was good. The Darth Vader cameo (Spoiler Alert) was a great addition as well. 9 out of 10. The only reason I didn’t rate it a 10 was because there were certain physics with the game that was frustrating to deal with. Other than that it was really fun and by far one of the best Star Wars games ever made.

We also had Thanksgiving last week as well. It was nice to get a 4-day break from work as its been really busy recently. This year we just stayed in town and went to my parent’s house. Pretty laid back. Used the other days to get stuff done around the house and just relax. I didn’t really buy anything for Black Friday or Cyber Monday. I’m a simple man and looking around at most of the deals looked like a bunch of crap. I already have everything I need right now anyway.

Last night, Sarah and I went to my yearly Holiday Party in Richmond. It was good times as always. It’s very much geared towards kids, but its still fun to hang out with people.

Random Tidbits:

The Hokies lost to UVA for the first time in 15 years. Felt a little sick to my stomach after that game, to be honest. The last drive was pathetically bad for the Hokies. Still mad haha. At least Clemson SMASHED UVA for the ACC Championship (as expected). If anyone is going to take the title back, it certainly is not going to be UVA.

The Giants have lost 8 straight games and have changed titles from trash to a straight-up dumpster fire. Clean House. Use the next few years to build through the draft and get a new Head Coach and Defensive Coordinator. Especially the latter. I don’t hate Shurmur (the Head Coach), but he just has not done anything to keep his job and makes some questionable decisions. In the NFL, if you don’t win, you’re out. Sorry but that’s the way it is. Need to move on. Also, Eli Manning is starting on Monday (HELL YES). In a weird way, I think it was good they benched Eli. And the only reason I say that is because now everyone can see how much of a shitshow this team is without using Eli as a scapegoat for the multitude of problems this team has. If anything we are worse without him.

My shoulder still hurts from tweaking it on the bench. I have gone to the gym about 2 times in the last month. However, I’m still doing short range of motion chinups, (stretching full extension hurts my shoulder), Squats, Abs and lighter stuff. That being said, I still look almost exactly the same as before I left the gym. My appetite has actually gone down a lot since not working out. Recently this is my diet in a nutshell:

  • Weekdays (Workdays)
  • Breakfast
    • Coffee and Protein Pudding
  • Lunch
    • Enlightened Beans
    • Iced Coffee*
      • This is a recent addiction and an expensive one. I need to find a place with cheaper black iced coffee
  • Dinner
    • 2 Whiskeys or some type of liquor drink
    • Dinner is whatever I want. Its usually meat, starch and vegetables. But is a large amount of my calories for the day.
      • Chipotle, Panda, Mezeh, Kickback Jacks are still staples when eating out.
  • Dessert
    • Protein Pudding
  • Snacks**
    • Our Little Rebellion Protein Crisps (A lot of volume for these)
    • Fruit
    • Protein bar

Weekends are “kind of” similar, but breakfast is usually paleo pancakes and I usually eat 2 protein bars for lunch with a big dinner. I always eat lighter during the day and bigger at night for a multitude of reasons.

The last thing I wanted to talk about was the recent podcast I heard on Joe Rogan about the Gamechangers Documentary on Netflix. The Gamechangers is essentially a vegan propaganda film on Netflix. It may be described differently from others, but let’s be honest here, the shit is vegan propaganda. Anyway, I’ve watched it and it reminded me of a lot of other vegan films I have seen in the past. Some good points were made, but the claims are usually way overblown and then the whole thing just gets weird. After watching, you’re left with the impression that if you eat meat, your death is imminent. STOP. Long story short … Joe Rogan had a nutrition expert, Chris Kesser, come on his podcast to “debunk” the documentary. I watched it and he made a lot of good points. However, the person that made the film, James Wilks, wanted to come on the podcast and debate the nutrition expert that “debunked” the film. I will admit that James Wilks did a brilliant job of backing up his evidence and sources that he used for the film. He CLEARLY WON the debate. That being said, he came off as arrogant a$$hole the entire time and looked like he was more interested in personally attacking Chris Kesser than actually just defending himself with his clearly well done personal research.

Nutrition research is notoriously difficult to measure because it relies on a lot of imperfect measurements. I mean think about it, unless you put someone in a lab and monitor EXACTLY what they are eating then a lot of the data is left up to chance. Epidemiological studies are used for red meat to show that is bad. But this research also has several other variables that could be causing the problem (smoking, lack of sleep, other drugs, fast food, etc…) They also lump meat into one category. So salami, lean chicken breast, McDonald’s burger patties are all the same thing, with the same health outcomes? – I think not.

Nutrition also relies on anecdotes a lot and can be EXTREMELY variable for each person due to genetics, digestive health, pre-existing conditions and so on. So to say that vegan diets will work for everyone and that all meat is bad is a false assumption to make. I’ve seen a lot of fat vegans and vegetarians. To assume everyone on the planet, is going to eat 100% whole foods plant-based diet is almost as realistic as Utopia. It’s not going to happen.

 

Journal Entry 358 – Sarah’s Birthday, Gym Hiatus and Random Updates

Last Monday was Sarah’s birthday. Not going to lie we actually celebrated it more like a week than a day. 😉 We both took off that Monday, so we decided to go out to eat that Sunday before instead. Went to Sarah’s favorite place called Redsalt Chophouse and Sushi. We always get the sushi and it is by far the best sushi I have ever eaten. The size of the sushi is much larger than what you normally see. Afterward, we went to Gelati Celesti, which is always good times. For her actual birthday, we hung out in the morning, then she wanted to go to Panera for lunch and then shop at the mall. Panera was $8 for half of a salad (YIKES), but its what she wanted it, so it’s all good. Personally, I just don’t see it with that place haha. Anyway, after that, the mall was actually pretty fun. It was a nice day and the crowd was way down since it was a Monday. Most weekends there are almost intolerable with the crowds. After that, we just got some Chipotle and hung out the rest of the night.

We also had a Halloween Party, last weekend as well. We went as Flynn Rider and Rapunzel from Tangled. One of my good friends had a party at his place. As for actual Halloween, we had about 50 or so kids come by our house. Pretty busy neighborhood for it. Sarah also had about 10 pieces of candy. 😉

I actually haven’t been to the gym in 2 weeks. I have lifted at home probably twice in 2 weeks. This was on purpose as I tweaked my shoulder on the bench press. I thought it was going to be a minor annoyance that would just go away, but it is still there. I feel it more in certain angles than others, but I don’t want to injure it more either. I’m sure when I do feel better and workout again, I probably will have lost a fair amount of strength. 😦 It has been a nice reset period though that I have not taken in a long time. I’m going to give it a bit more time before heading to the gym.

Funny enough my weight has dropped to around 178-180lbs, which is a bit lower than what I have been recently (on average). I don’t think it’s muscle loss as I’m certainly eating enough protein. Last week I ate like crap, but recently I have been focusing more on digestive health. This for me means LESS fiber. This also means no Quest Bars in the time being. I have switched to Quest Cookies which have way less fiber or other Keto style bars that have a lower fiber intake. Protein is still high, carbs are always on the lower side (usually around 50-150g) and fat is where it is. I really don’t care about fat to be honest. It always averages out to where it needs to be. My average seems to be around 55-70 grams for the week. I do enjoy some alcohol as well. Mainly on the weekends, but I do have a couple drinks after a long day at work some nights. My favorite recently is a White Russian. 1.5oz of Kraken or Vodka, Diet Dr. Pepper, top with almond milk and then 1 splenda pack in a tall glass. I also recently did a week of no caffeine. I literally felt no different. No withdrawals, no benefits. I did, however, really miss the taste of coffee. I also noticed a very interesting benefit, which was my psoriasis seemed to get worse on my arm. It was extremely irritating. The day I drank it again it felt better within a day and as of writing this blog it still feels WAY better with more caffeine. Coffee is a very dense source of antioxidants that can lower inflammation and even cancer. I really think people like coffee for more than just caffeine. It has some interesting health benefits.

Random updates.:

Giants are trash! Daniel Jones looks good provided the team he is on currently. He does make some very questionable plays, but this is the learning curve for a rookie. He also seems like he is going to be very streaky. I still miss Eli Manning though. 😦 Giants games are just not the same for me.

VT Hokies look like a different team with Hendon Hooker. Last game Qunicy Patterson, who is a BEAST, took over for the injured QB and played really week. This guy is 6 foot 4 inches and 250lbs. He looks like a linebacker and has great speed and a good looking arm as well. Definitely reignited hope after that 6 OT win against NC. We sit at 5-2 vs a highly ranked Notre Dame, who we play today.

Joe Rogan has released some great podcasts recently. He had Edward Snowden on Skype for one and it was probably one of the best I’ve heard.

 

 

Journal Entry 357 – VA Tech Round II

After a three and half-year hiatus from visiting VA Tech, I have already gone back there twice within a month! This time was for my dad so that he could finally see a football game.

We drove up early on Saturday morning. Before the game, we went to Cabo Fish Taco for lunch which is a REALLY good Mexican place on Main Street in the middle of Downtown, Blacksburg. Good eating. After that we went to the Blacksburg Wine Lab. This was a wine bar created by my old Geography of Wine Professor, John Boyer. Hands down my favorite professor, but unfortunately he was not there when we went. Nevertheless, the wine bar was really nice, so we had a few drinks before the game.

The game started at 4 PM and the matchup was VT vs Rhode Island. Not a blockbuster matchup by any means, but on a down year for our team, it was an easy win with lots of scoring. The final score was 34-17 so not exactly what I was expecting. I was thinking more like 50-0, but it’s still a win. The game ended around 7:30 PM or so and my parents dropped us off back at the Air BnB that we were staying at. My parents drove separately because they were staying in Roanoke that night. Sarah and I wanted to go Downtown, Blacksburg, so we picked a local house that was really close to Downtown. The house was interesting for sure. It was bout 1.5 miles away from Downtown, but it was in its own world in what felt like the middle of the country. Anyway, the first stop was TOTS (Top of the Stairs) and we got a couple of famous “Rails.” A “Rail” is $10 drink with about 5-7 drinks worth of alcohol in it. Obviously, a hugely popular drink with college students on a budget. Besides the drinks, I really love the second floor outside balcony on TOTS. It has a pretty good view and its nice to stand there instead of inside the crowded loud bar interior. We left TOTS and then hit a new place called The Coop, which was a nice interior but the service kind of sucked. I wanted to see the end of the LSU v Florida game, so we watched the rest of that and then finally went to Benny’s for a HUGE slice of pizza to end the night.

The following day we woke up early and parked on Campus. Sarah had never been to VA Tech before, so we walked around I gave her the grand tour. VA Tech is a huge college to walk around and the Hokie Stone makes it look like Hogwarts. It’s a really nice Campus and Sarah liked it a lot. For me, it was a long  walk down memory lane. After visiting VT twice in the past month, I really want to return at least once a year for a football game. It’s not that far away (about 3 1/2 hours drive) and always makes for a fun weekend.

Journal Entry 356 – 10 Year High School Reunion / Daniel Jones Era

This weekend I had my 10 Year High School Reunion. We went to a building in Scott’s Addition called The Hofheimer Building and it was probably about 40-50 or so people including significant others. I will admit, I was on the fence about going at first, but I’m glad I did. I was able to catch up with a lot of people that I was friends with at one point in my life. The main event was from 6-9 PM in the “Dark Room.” It looked like a 1950’s style room with a bar in it. Time flew by in that room, so we went up to rooftop bar after our time was up. We ended up staying here for a couple hours and then finally went to local brewery named Bingo. Scott’s Addition is a Brewery Wonderland by the way. By the end of the night, Sarah and I were pretty toasted, so we got uber back after the brewery. My tab at the Hof was not cheap at $92. This was drinks over a 5 hour period for both me, Sarah and a few drinks for some friends. We took turns paying for drinks. Not a bill I like to see, but since its a special occasion not really worried about it.

The Hokies also played Friday night, so I was unable to see the game. Honestly, it was probably a good thing I missed it because Duke absolutely ANNIHILATED the team. I looked up the highlights and our defense looked like straight trash. Almost as bad as our offense which put up an amazing 10 points. Not happy with that team right now. All of the games this year looked concerning. Recruiting always gets hurt when your team looks this bad. 😦

The Giants started Daniel Jones last week over Eli Manning. The Giants were 0-2 and were looking for a spark. I’m not a fan of the team using Eli as a scapegoat here for their overall weak team, but I do like Daniel Jones though. I mean in my opinion, he’s hard not to like. Very athletic, humble and reminds me of Eli Manning in lots of ways. Anyway, Daniel Jones played AMAZING for his first game. Saquon Barkley got injured (The Giants best player) and Jones literally put the team on his back and won the game. Granted, we should have lost and got lucky because the Buc’s missed a 34-yard field goal but I’ll take it. The only reason I do not want to get too excited here is that I’m a realist. The Bucs are not that good. Our first two games were Cowboys and the Bills who are both far better teams. The defense is still TRASH although they finally made some good plays last weekend. We do play the Redskins this week, so I think we will win as the Redskins may be worse than we are.  However, once teams start to get some film on Daniel Jones and we start to play “higher caliber” teams, I think it will be interesting to see how he plays. It’s not all sunshine and rainbows and people are way too quick to dismiss Eli for all he has done for the team and really too quick too assume he was the reason we sucked. I assure you it’s not him.

There is one thing I really love about Daniel Jones over Eli though. Speed. It was awesome. Daniel Jones is fast and it REALLY HELPED us move the ball, especially with a subpar set of receivers.

Journal Entry 355 – Return to Virginia Tech / Nadal is the GOAT

Last weekend was awesome. My brother, two friends and I went to Virginia Tech (VT) for a football game and a weekend of drinking and hanging out. I actually took both last Friday and Monday off for a nice long weekend. I drove up before anyone and picked up my brother from the airport. We got there first and took a driving tour around VT. It had changed a lot in terms of adding new restaurants and new campus buildings. Downtown still looked the same, except for a couple new business’ that were there. After picking up some stuff at the grocery store for a very early tailgate the next day, we met up with our other friends and went to El Rods downtown for some Mexican food, “jumbo margaritas” and $2 house shots. El Rods also puts a “floater” on their margaritas. This is basically a shot added to the top of the drink in addition to the alcohol that is already there. We then finished the night, by revisiting TOTS (Top of the Stairs) which is the most popular bar at VA Tech. It’s also nationally recognized as one of the top college bars in the nation. (At least it used to be) TOTS is famous for their Rails, which is basically a different version of the Long Island Iced Tea. It is loaded with alcohol (I think around 5 drinks) and then topped off with some sugary mix to make it taste good.

After a long night of drinking, we went to bed around 2:30 AM that morning and got up around 7:00 AM for the game, which started at 12 noon. Our tailgate spot was a 2-minute walk from the stadium. We had some Mcdonald’s biscuits, Jim Beam and grilled some burgers and sausage towards the end.

VT was playing ODU (Old Dominion University) and the game was good. It got a little slow in parts, but overall it was a good game and most importantly a win. The weather was damn near perfect, other than feeling a little hot during the game. There wasn’t a ton of room in between our seats and the sun was on full blast.

After the game and dealing with a lot of traffic, we went back Downtown later that night. Started at Cabo Fish Taco for some really damn good food and drinks. We hit up a couple more places for drinks and to watch football. My drinking abilities at this point were shot haha. My esophagus was almost burning. A clear message from my body to stop drinking. I slowly drank for the rest of the night, but I needed a break with little sleep and little stopping of drinking.

The next day we headed back. That weekend was the most fun I’ve had in a while. Haven’t laughed that hard in a while either. We all left pretty early Sunday Morning and it was a beautiful drive home. Blacksburg is in the mountains and has some picturesque scenery when you are driving. I went straight highway driving through Blacksburg, Roanoke and then through Charlottesville, which I think is one of the best looking places in Virginia. (Actually a lot of places for that matter)

After driving home, it was time for some more Football and Tennis. The Giants were playing the Cowboys and got absolutely ANNIHILATED. It was embarrassing. I really don’t even want to talk about it. It was mainly our defense that I was ashamed of. The Offense while not great, looked like it could be pretty good if the get it together. Anyway, it was the first game of the year on the road, I’m not going to be a super negative here. It’s a long season and I’m hoping it was just a bad game that does not represent our actual talent. We have several more games to go.

The real gem was the US Open. Nadal has been my favorite Tennis Player for a long time. He’s had sort of a renaissance in his career recently. Federer and Djokovic were both out, so the path to victory just became A LOT easier for Nadal. He was playing a relatively unknown and young Russian player named Medvedev. The match started as expected. Nadal won the first two sets and was cruising to victory. Then Medvedev just caught fire and literally could not miss. It was insane. Medvedev then won the next two sets on Nadal, which set up the fifth and final set. Nadal really looked like he was worried (almost in a panic) at certain times, as he was playing his normal game and couldn’t seem to break this guy. I’ve never really seen Nadal look that concerned before. He also looked like he was getting very tired. Medvedev did not look tired at all and was very stoic. However, Nadal is the GOAT (Greatest Of All Time) for a reason. The great’s find a way to win when the odds start to stack against them. Medvedev “cooled down” a bit and was playing on more of a normal level vs superhuman. Nadal then broke his serve to go up two games in the final set. Nadal finally won after Medvedev hit it out of bounds on Nadal’s serve. 5-hour match that was a literal deathmatch. It was personally one of my favorite matches I’ve ever watched and felt extremely rewarding to have my guy win.

Nadal now has 19 Grand Slams at age 33 and Federer (the previous GOAT) has 20 Grand Slams at age 38. I think we can expect Nadal to at least win 5 more slams before he reaches that age. Nadal is the king of clay, so worst case scenario he wins at least 1 slam  (very likely the French Open) out of the 4 each year before reaching that age. This would suggest that Nadal will hold the most Grand Slams of all time by the time he is done. I do hope Federer wins some more though as I really like him as well, but Nadal is still my boy and I pull for him first. My prediction is around 25 slams before Nadal hangs it up as the GOAT. Never to be reached again unless superhumans start to play tennis. I think the big 3 in tennis (Federer, Nadal and Djokovich) is a very unique time in Tennis and will never be seen again. It really is awesome to see.

Journal Entry 354 – Labor Day / Football Returns

Another week in the books. Been a long week for me to be honest. I was just itching for the weekend to start and now its finally here. Virginia Tech (VT) Football finally comes back today at 4 PM EDT against Boston College. I expect a win here. Next week, my brother and a couple of friends are meeting in Blacksburg to see our first actual game in years. Should be an easy one, but it’s the experience that counts. I just hope my liver is ready! 😉

After the game today, Sarah and I also plan to have some friends over for Labor Day. Technically, the holiday is on Monday, but no one wants to throw a party then haha. It’s nice to have some days to chill and relax and since you have to go back to work the next day, I think Saturday is a much better choice.

I’ve been sticking to the my workouts outlined in my last post, but I’m not sure I’m feeling it anymore. The trap-bar deadlift is ALWAYS begin used OR there is nowhere to set it up in my gym because the squat racks are constantly being used. Let me put it this way, if 5 total people were in the gym, 4 of them would be in the squat racks. These people don’t like to leave either. That makes programming anything in the squat rack a real chore. I also wasn’t a huge fan of the 4 rest days. I actually almost forced myself to do ZERO lifting outside of those 3 workouts and I hated it. My workouts were almost too heavy and the second movement was considerably weaker than my first movement. I decided to shift it once again to daily bodyweight movements. The energy and mood boost I get from these moves is incredible. Honestly, feel like a zombie coming back to life after a pretty quaint set of pushups and squats. I don’t really have evidence to back this up, but the energy boost between doing heavy moves for low reps vs high reps of bodyweight movements is really different. The higher reps feel therapeutic.