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 353 – New Split, Giants Pre-season, Stranger Things

Another week in the books. I was off this Monday because Sarah and I went to visit family in Greensboro, North Carolina. Always good to see everybody.

I have once again adjusted my routine in the gym so that I’m really only expecting to lift 3 days a week. I only have two workouts: Workout A and Workout B. Check it out:

  • Workout A
    • Bench Press 3-4 sets of 6-8 reps
    • Chinups (Weighed)  – 3-4 sets of 6-8 reps
    • Cable Crunch – 3 sets of 8 reps
  • Workout B
    • Dumbbell Incline Press 3-4 sets of 6-8 reps
    • Trap-bar Deadlift 3-4 sets of 6-8 reps
    • Cable Crunch 3 sets of 8 reps

Getting back on the progressive overload grind. These workouts are rotated every other workout. Meaning: A, B, A, B, A, B…. I have already run both of these workouts and it may appear simple, but the heavy loads are not easy. The trap-bar deadlift made me brutally sore for the next two days. Mainly my upper back more than my legs which surprised me. The trap-bar deadlift works every single muscle in your body, except maybe chest. Love it. The heavy cable crunches at the end are for core strength. My rest days will be the weekends and Tuesday and Thursday. Rest days I plan to do 100 pushups, stretching and light cardio.

I have watched both Giants pre-season games so far this year. I like what I see. The defense is still a bit of a concern, but not all the starters have been playing. Eli looks good and so does Daniel Jones. A lot of fans are jumping the gun and are all over Daniel Jones, but I think he needs to sit at first. Only if Eli is really playing bad (not likely) would he start. Without Odell (Drama Queen) Beckham, I think this team is much better off. We have Saquon Barkley, who is literally amazing at running back, a really improved offensive line (the most important upgrade) and average wide receivers. I think the average wide receivers is kind of a good thing though. You don’t have to force the ball to these people, which creates turnovers and awkward experience for everyone. Without Odell on the team, this is not going to be an issue.

Sarah and I have also been started watching Stranger Things recently. I really like it so far. It is kind of hard to describe though. I think it has something to do with LSD experiments, mind control and contact with aliens. It is a darker show, than I thought it would be and certainly has that overtone when watching. The show also focuses on kids, which is a new one for me.

Journal Entry 352 – Company Party

Another couple of weeks in the books. Missed my post last weekend because we had our annual Company Party in Downtown, Richmond. My company goes all out for these parties and spends a lot of money. This year was an 80s / 90s theme and there was no shortage of food or drinks. I would say a good 80% of all employees show up to this party each year. This year there were a ton of games set up including Flip Cup (drinking game), Ping Pong, Arcade Games, Jenga, and many others. My favorite game was Flip Cup and my favorite feature they had there was a Speakeasy setup, where you would order your drink from an IPAD and 15 seconds later, a bartender would slide the drink out to you behind a wall. We all had a lot to drink and were up til about 2 AM.  I did try to preempt my hangover by chugging a huge container of Pedialyte, but it did not help the next morning. 😦 We drove back Sunday morning and Sarah and I went to IHOP to get some pancakes, but it was so crowded we couldn’t even park. We decided just to go home and make something instead. Sarah and I never go out for breakfast, so the one time we did, that had to happen. Not fun.

Other than the party, things have been pretty normal over the past two weeks. My desire for alcohol dropped to almost zero after the party until this Saturday afternoon (So literally an entire week). Sarah and I went back to Cooper’s Hawk for the monthly wine tasting and honestly, this month was not that great. We were walking around the mall before we went and it was really hot yesterday, so I don’t know if the dry wine just wasn’t doing it for me at that point in time. The White Sangria was really good though, so we ended up picking that for the bottle.

Workouts have been about 3-4 days a week. It varies every time I go though. My bench press is still roughly 225lbs for a solid 6 reps on average over 3 sets. I’m still trying to do Push/Pull in the same workout. I have not been incline walking as much after though because I just sweat too much now. I think this has to do with the very hot temperatures outside.

Diet has been very consistent. I pretty much eat the same way every day and then my dinners vary each night, eating whatever I want. Dinner is always the bulk of my food.

  • Coffee
  • Orgain Superfoods Powder (It’s a protein and superfood powder)
  • Our Little Rebellion Chips (No preparation snack before and after the gym)
  • Snacks – Carrots Sticks / Egg Whites / Hummus
  • Dinner – Anything I want / Biggest meal of the day
  • Orgain (Chocolate) with berries

That is my diet almost every single day except for the weekends. I like the idea of eating “Superfoods” powder every morning. I get Orgain from Costco and its a really good deal. To consume on a daily basis (5 out of 7 days anyway) I think its better than slamming down normal protein powder as I’m getting a billion Probiotics and thousands of micronutrients.

Sarah and I have recently started watching “The Boys” on Amazon Prime. Really awesome show so far. It’s about Superheroes that basically commit crimes and a large corporation called Vought, basically sweeps it under the rug. The Superheros also do some good, but collateral damage and hurting innocent people largely get ignored by the media and public opinion. The Superheros are also insanely selfish and don’t really care about people. They mainly save people to make themselves look good in front of the public. The Boys are a group of rebels that lost a loved one to the careless actions of the Superheros and are now fighting back against them in a careful and controlled way. Only one season out so far, but has been great so far.

Journal Entry 351 – Stony Point Wine Festival

Another week in the books. Very stressful start of the week, but a really nice end to it. Yesterday, we went to Stony Point Wine Festival with a group of friends. Most wine festivals are outside but luckily this one was at a mall and they put it inside. Considering it was 100 degrees yesterday, we were all pretty happy to learn that once we arrived. We got there about 1 PM and it ended at about 5 PM, but dear god that day flew by. Directly after we went to Mexican to sober up a bit and Sarah and I shared some Chicken Fajitas. After this we went back to our place to pick up Luke, then we all went over to a friends place. Busy day and a lot of drinking, but it was a lot of fun.

In terms of or working out, I have really been enjoying incline walking recently. Something about the blood flow just feels really good on my lunch break. Most days I also lift doing 4 sets of 10-12 reps for a Push movement (any move I feel like) and 4 sets of 10-12 reps for a Pull movement (any move I feel like) then I just finish off with incline walking. I also do 100 Pushups a day almost every day in addition to these workouts.

Diet has beeen more of an intuitive approach recently with a balance of all macros. More or less just eating how I feel based on the day. Protein has probably been on average a little over 100 grams each day but nothing super high. During weekdays, I was always like eating light during the day and then having a big dinner. My dinner is always different but I like the flexibility of having whatever for dinner and being able to pretty much eat whatever. Weekends are not structured at all. Again pretty intuitive overall.

Next weekend, we have my annual company party in Downtown Richmond, so definitely looking forward to that.

Journal Entry 350- Pigeon Forge, Tennessee – Big D’s Retirement Party

Last week my family celebrated my dad’s (Big D) retirement party over the July 4th weekend. He worked at the Post Office for 32 years before retiring. My brother rented a cabin in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee that was literally in the middle of the mountains. It was a really nice place with plenty of room for my parents, my brother’s family and Sarah and me. It had a pool table, which I believe I had the best record. 😉 My dad was actually the best skill-wise, but there were a few games I managed to win regardless. We actually ended up cooking in the 3 nights we were there instead of going out. Saved money and we could just chill at night and drink vs worrying about everyone going in the same car and trying to find somewhere to go. The area was actually CROWDED beyond what I was expecting. It is certainly a heavy tourist attraction. The roads around that area were also insanely steep and windy. You couldn’t drive much more than 20 MPH over certain roads.

During our two full days there, we went to Dollywood one day, which is a really massive amusement park there created by Dolly Parton. A quick aside, Dolly Parton is like a hero in this area. Personally, I was looking forward to going but quickly realized there was not a whole lot to do there because I don’t like roller coasters haha. It was a nice place to walk around and there was a ton of food, but it was also about 100 degrees. Appetite just doesn’t really shoot up in those conditions and everyone was sweating A LOT just walking around. Sarah and I did get some dipping dots though which were on point. Abbey, my little niece, was also too small to ride most rides without supervision and she was even turned away from certain rides even with a parent. My brother and sister-in-law (Justin and Rebecca) were nice enough to pay for everyone’s tickets, which were not cheap. That night when we were chilling at the cabin, I saw a black bear walking down the street. My dad also saw it and at the time we were on two different floors. Neither of us got a picture because the woods blocked our view. Really cool to see though. Another quick aside, Black Bears are a BIG DEAL in these parts. Clearly, they are numerous in this area and are seen as somewhat of a mascot in this area.

The second day we were there, Sarah and I went to the Titanic Museum. That I enjoyed. It was a nice place with some really interesting features. Not the cheapest museum though at $30 a piece, but we had fun. Later that day, my brother busted out a surprise for Big D. A Post Office Pinata, that my dad got to smash to let out years of frustration for a poorly run organization, which is sadly only getting worse. Unfortunately, my dad did not really enjoy most of his time there and dealt with a lot of BS during his time there as well as long hours. That’s one reason why we wanted to have a big party for him and then certainly allow him to smash the hell out of pinata representing it!

Sunday we had to clean the house before leaving at the early checkout time of 10 AM. We drove through Downtown Gatlinburg before heading back and it was a cool place. Luckily traffic was not bad so early. We also stopped at a really nice viewpoint of the mountains before officially leaving. The drive back was not fun though. It took about 9 hours to get home for a trip that should have lasted about 6 and a half hours. Traffic was INSANE. Luckily, I took the next day off as a chill day at home.

Overall though, the trip was really fun. I can definitely see doing a trip similar to that each year, where everyone can meet up for a few days being a really a good idea.