Journal Entry 368 – Quarantine Continued…

It has been about two months of quarantining so far. For some strange reason, “cabin fever” has not really hit me too hard. I think it’s because I’m still working full-time during this period of time. If I had been laid off, then I likely would be getting a bit bored by now. But with working full-time, I almost look at this period of time as an opportunity I don’t want to waste. Working from home for me has been really nice and I likely won’t get another chance like this again. Going on walks, sitting on the deck, and yardwork has gotten me out of the house, so I don’t feel like I have been “stuck in the house” all the time.

Last week, Sarah and I took a couple of days off for our Anniversary. We didn’t go anywhere due to the quarantine, but we had a nice meal at Red Salt which is Sarah’s favorite. It was also nice just to be off from work and spend more time relaxing.

Knocked out another book called The War of Art by Steven Pressfield. 2 out of 10. Not good. I heard about this book from Joe Rogan, who loved it. I’m not really sure why. It had a really strange format and really seemed pointless with tremendous amounts of fluff. The main point was basically to figure out what you are meant to do in life and avoid resistance which is almost anything or anyone that is keeping you from your goals. The author started talking about Professional vs Amateurs. Professionals being regarded as much higher in his opinion. He used an example of Tiger Woods as the utmost professional in professional Golf, which is so dumb, I literally laughed when I read it. Tiger Woods has cussed people out, snapped his clubs in half, thrown his clubs across the golf course, made several enemies, ruined his career by cheating on his wife, and was also diagnosed with sex addiction. His former caddy wrote a book about him and it was not a favorable one. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t hate Tiger Woods and I really enjoyed watching him win the Masters again, but to use him in that example was hilariously bad. The author then continued on with some pointless ancient literature references and some new-age religion talk. It seemed like the book could have been finished in like 20 pages but was over 170 pages long. I don’t know man haha. This book was weird and contradictory.

Recently beat God of War on PS4. Another good game for sure. Besides some slightly annoying puzzles you need to complete and a bit of repetitive fighting, the game was very well done. Kratos is a likable hero with a really deep back story and it’s fun to fight with his son Atreyus who shoots enemies with a bow and arrow from a distance. I’m a story mode player and not a “completionist” meaning I don’t need to do everything the game has to offer to enjoy it or consider it complete. The cutscenes and graphics are also really great. 8 out of 10

Been tipping the scales at around 177lbs recently. Diet has been pretty balanced with probably less protein than usual and WAY less processed food from protein bars, protein chips, etc.. Peanut butter has cured me of my protein bar addiction haha. Sarah and I have gotten good at keeping dinner interesting each night and eating at home way more often has been another benefit of the quarantine. We usually rotate between Asian style, Mexican style, Italian style, etc… each night so we don’t get bored. Lunch for me is almost always a chicken and avocado salad or eggs and toast. Also, been working out daily with bodyweight movements consisting of pushups, chin-ups and squats.

 

 

Journal Entry 367 – Show Time / NFL Draft

The last couple of weeks at work have been crazy busy. My stress levels have seen better days. I’m not entirely sure what is causing the spike in traffic, but we do see certain waves throughout the year of highs and lows and right now we are certainly on a high. Hoping it slows down soon.

During this Quarantine, I have luckily been able to watch several shows that normally I tend to just blow off. I have really enjoyed catching up on Animes, which have the added benefit of amazing soundtracks as well. There also seems to be a ton of content on Netflix that has come out recently. Here is a quick list of some of the shows I’ve knocked out so far:

Quarantine Accomplishments:

Shows:

Hunter X Hunter

My Hero Academia

Parks and Recreation

Tiger King

The Midnight Gospels

The English Game

After Life 2

One-Punch Man

Games:

Final Fantasy VII Remake

Books:

Everything You Need to Ace Science

 

Hunter X Hunter, My Hero Academia and One-Punch Man were the anime’s I watched. All of them have amazing soundtracks and intense fights. Would highly recommend if you are into it.

Parks and Recreation was great. The characters were extremely likable and the show continued to stay funny. Favorite character was a tie between Ron Swanson and Andy Dwyer. 9 out of 10

Tiger King was an interesting one. I thought it was a bit overhyped, but good nonetheless. 8 out of 10

The Midnight Gospels was a trippy show created by Duncan Trussel. Duncan is a close friend of Joe Rogan, so I knew him through several podcasts. He created a strange animated show about he multi-verse and traveling to different planets through a simulator machine to discover the meaning of life. While each episode can feature some really strange things going on, the actual words spoken about eastern philosophy, meditation, and “deep” concepts were really good. 9 out of 10

The English Game is about the beginning of the European Football League that started in England. It started as an upper-class game only that head a death grip on it. However, the working class (industrial workers at the time) also formed leagues and were actually very talented. The shows explores the struggle to make a league that allowed more teams to join that was not just limited to the privileged upper class. The two main characters were good as one was in the upper class and the other in the working class, which showed two different perspectives.  8 out of 10

After Life 2 is another great show. The show is about a man that loses his wife to cancer. The after-effects are hard to deal with. Ricky Gervais is an atheist in both the show and in real life. The show explores the depression and suicidal tendencies that his character has to constantly deal with. The atheist philosophy does not believe in an after-life and assumes once you die that’s it. This philosophy makes it even harder for his character to deal with. That being said the show would be a “Comedy/Drama” and isn’t all dark even though that is the underlying energy of the show. 10 out of 10

Final Fantasy VII Remake was amazing. Not much else to say here. It allowed me to play a nostalgic game that came out when I was age 7 and should be one of a few games to come out before the final storyline is finished. 10 out of 10

This post is already longer than I wanted it to be haha. I do want to get out some thoughts on the NFL Draft though. I thought the Giants had a solid draft. They drafted 3 offensive linemen that were desperately needed. We also drafted two cornerbacks and four linebackers. It’s clear that the Giants came into this draft with a goal. Draft a new offensive line and draft some defensive talent for speed and depth. I thought we should have drafted at least one wide receiver and one defensive end, but didn’t happen. I would say 8.5 out of 10 though. Even though we really addressed three positions only, we should be much better next year. I’m hoping this new coach can pull this team out of the hole we have fallen into.

Journal Entry 366 – Low Key / Final Fantasy VII

Coronavirus is still in full effect in the U.S. and is still causing a nationwide Quarantine. We usually check it every day and the numbers just keep rising, especially in the U.S. Our local county has also been hit pretty hard as well, so I’ve been keeping it pretty low key and really have no need to leave the house. Sarah and I have still been working from home and have enjoyed doing so. This quarantine has allowed us to spend much more time together and we usually try to go on a daily walk just to get out of the house and away from technology.  I predict the quarantine to be and stay in effect for at least 2 more months.

This quarantine has also upped my entertainment game. Been into a variety of shows recently. One show I’ve been watching is an anime called My Hero Academia, which I have almost finished. It is not nearly as good as my other favorite animes (Berserk, Hunter X Hunter and Dragonball Z), but it was still a really good show. Also, been watching Parks and Recreation on Netflix. This show is great and I’ve certainly been enjoying it. Also, one of my childhood favorite games, Final Fantasy VII, was just remade for the PS4. It originally came out on the original Playstation about 23 years ago. The game has been amazing and I have some serious nostalgia playing though it. It’s nice to see what characters and settings look like in real-time now that technology is powerful enough to show it.

I’ve also been working out every single day. Day one is 50 squats and 50 chin-ups. Day 2 is 50 squats and 100-200 pushups. I rotate these each day. It gives a good energy boost and helps to maintain strength as much as I can at the moment. We usually go on a walk with Luke at some point as well.

As for diet, if anything the quarantine has improved my eating habits. I have more time to make food and been throwing together meals will cheaper foods. Since we don’t really have the option to go out, it forces you to be more creative with the foods you do have. I would say a quarantine favorite is peanut butter and banana. Peanut butter is one of the few foods to cure me of my addiction to protein bars, which we are not eating a ton of right now. I was also getting a ton of “protein chips” which I’ve recently replaced with food. Feeling good. We just stocked up at Aldi for two weeks worth of food.

I’m also sticking to my book a month goal for the year. I’m in the middle reading this book called:

“Everything You Need to Ace Science in One Big Fat Notebook: The Complete Middle School Study Guide (Big Fat Notebooks)”

Now, why the hell would I read a study guide for middle school students? – Don’t let the title fool you, it covers way more information than what is covered in middle school. The point of this reading project I started at the beginning of the year was to learn more. This book is a giant review of everything I have ever learned in school (including high school). It covers almost every single topic you can think of in Science and is highly enjoyable and easy to read/comprehend. It also kind of shows, how information that you don’t use, you lose. There are large parts of the book, where I remember learning topics in school, but have long forgotten about. These book types also have one for American History, World History and even Coding. Since I’ve enjoyed this one so much, I plan on reading these other titles as well. Highly enjoyable and would rate a 10 out of 10.

 

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.