Journal Entry 370 – Linville / The Last Dance

Took a family trip down to Linville, North Carolina. When I first heard it was going to be in North Carolina, my first thought was, “Oh nice, a quick trip.” Unfortunately, it was a 6-hour drive since it’s pretty deep into the state. However, the mountains in this place were incredible. We stayed in a mountain house that overlooked the mountains and had an incredible view. Due to the elevation, the temperature dropped down to the 70s from the 90s that we are used to seeing in July. Anyway, one day we went hiking for a few hours on the Appalachian Trail. This is a 2000+ mile mountain range that extends from Georgia to Maine. We obviously hiked a small part of it for about an hour and a half and then had to return back the way we came, so it took about 3 hours or so. It was not nearly as tough as the Three Sisters Mountain in Scotland and you were able to walk the whole time. Still a good workout though. We also went to a fireworks show that was definitely the best fireworks show that I’ve ever seen. It had the “big-bang” fireworks and the show lasted over 20 minutes. Overall, a very nice place and trip.

I finally watched The Last Dance about Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls. This documentary was incredible. I’m not a huge basketball fan anymore but I was in the past. Michael Jordan was a legend for as long as I can remember and for good reason. What he did statistically and his ability to win championships against very strong opponents is something we are not likely to see again. The Chicago Bulls literally owned the 90s. They won in 1991, 1992 and 1993. Jordan then retired in 1994 for a year and a half and came back halfway into the 1995 season. They reached the Finals but did not win the Championship. They then won in 1996, 1997, 1998. Let that sink in though. Had Jordan not retired, you can not tell me that they wouldn’t have won 8 years in a row haha. Impressive.

The Last Dance title comes from the 1998 season because the team was going to being rebuilt following that season. Why the hell would anyone rebuild a championship team? Are you insane? – The documentary suggests that all 5 starters of the Bulls contracts were up and they would require too much money. Phil Jackson who was the coach for all of those championships was told he was not coming back. This rubbed the players the wrong way and they felt like they were not wanted back. There also seemed to be a lot of ill words towards the General Manager, Jerry Krause. Jerry was not a popular guy and I got the vibe he didn’t know how good he had it. After the 1998 season, Michael Jordan retired and the rest of the team went elsewhere.

The documentary also focuses on Scottie Pippen, Dennis Rodman, Steve Kerr and Phil Jackson. Pippen was a great teammate and was instrumental in the Bulls success. Seems like an all-around nice guy. Rodman was party animal and would frequently binge drink and party til the late hours of the morning. However, he never missed games, rarely missed practice and his performance did not suffer. So the Bulls were not huge fans of it, but credit where credit is due. Phil Jackson won 2 championships as a player and 11 as a coach. The documentary mainly focused on Jordan though. I don’t want to go into too much detail, but his mindset was to be the best and to outwork everyone. If he saw someone that challenged him or if someone happened to get the better of him, he wouldn’t stop training til he not only surpassed that person but humiliated them. This mindset worked great for basketball but got him into issues with gambling. Jordan was arguably the world’s first iconic athlete and had immense popularity. He also made basketball more popular all across the world. I could go on and on about this one. Highly enjoyable. 10 out of 10.

I also finished the book No Self / No Problem. The book largely focused on the difference between the left side and the right side of the brain. Your left side is dominant most of the time. Especially, when you are awake. It’s responsible for categorization, facts, logic, language, math, and your ego or “sense of self.” The left brain may be a bit overactive though for us westerners. Meaning we may rely too much on the left brain and are dominated by our ego vs relying more on our right brain. The right brain is responsible for creativity, intuition, imagination, emotion, and could be regarded as subconscious. It’s also more active for people that are spiritual. Priests, monks and individuals that meditate for long periods of time are associated with being more right-brained and less concerned with the ego.

He brought up a good example about the “sense of self” that I really liked. To summarize, our sense of self changes. How do you feel when in a large group? At work? Around a group of close friends? Around family? Around strangers? I bet the answer is you feel a bit different in all of these situations. This is also comes up when people act out of character. Sometimes when we expect someone to act a certain way and they don’t act that way, it can cause somewhat of a mental disturbance.

I think he went a bit too far in demonizing the left brain though. He praised the right brain to no end but constantly implied the left brain was a bully almost. I don’t think it’s quite that simple haha. We need a blend of both and while over-relying on one may be bad, this is still largely subconscious anyway. Most people “meditate” for 8 hours a night when they go to sleep. You typically lose your ego when you sleep and your brain is not relying on outside output from your senses and can “relax” so to speak. Exercising has also been shown to quiet the ego/ left brain and brings obvious benefits to your mental health. I have never tried meditation and have a really hard time with it. I’ll just stick with exercise/sleep for now.

Overall, it was a good read and was on the shorter side. I did learn a lot about the brain and how we derive our sense of self. There were parts that I really didn’t grasp though. He seemed to suggest that the left brain creates an illusion to who you are when in reality we are all the same. Maybe? – But I look different than other people around me. I’m 6 foot tall, 175lbs, have brown hair and hazel eyes. My wife is 5 foot 4 in, 125lbs, blonde and has brown eyes. Is that an illusion? – Is my mind playing tricks on me about the way I look compared to other people? – Call me crazy, but I don’t think so haha. Regardless, I would rate this book 7 out of 10.

Journal Entry 369 – Cobra Kai / Attack on Titan

Been a while since my last entry. Virginia has finally lifted its “Stay At Home” Order, but not much has really changed as a result. We are both still working remotely, restaurants are still really limited and most stores require a mask. However, Sarah and I did travel to South Carolina to head to the beach during Memorial Day weekend. Basically went from driving zero times in 2 months, to driving 6 hours one way haha. Not going to lie, it feels a little strange to drive when you have not done it in awhile. It was good to get out of the house though.

Work has kept me busy recently. That is for sure. I have not been reading much this month, since I’m a little exhausted mentally after work, but I did buy another book on Kindle. It’s called No Self, No Problem: How Neuropsychology Is Catching Up to Buddhism. It’s about a neuroscientist who lost his father and became very depressed. He wanted a way to escape his negative thoughts and this prompted him to become a brain expert. However, he also took an interest in meditation and Eastern Religion/Philosophy during this time and noticed that there were several parallels between the two. Almost as if Science is catching up to what was already known from Eastern schools of thought. I have only just begun reading it, but it certainly sounded interesting to me.

I’ve also finished two more shows. Cobra Kai and Attack on Titan. Both of them immediately became integrated into my favorites. Cobra Kai is about the Karate Kid characters, but 34 years after the movies. The show focuses on Johnny Lawrence (the bad guy in the movies) and shows things from his perspective. He has fallen on hard times and decides to open a dojo named Cobra Kai to teach kids karate. His rival and the hero of the movies, Daniel LaRusso, is very successful and has a family. He becomes inspired to open his own dojo after he sees that Johnny opened one though. The two then re-open their rivalry and the kids they teach frequently get into fights. The character interactions are great and it was highly enjoyable. 9 out of 10

Attack on Titan is an anime that was very well done. Great animation, soundtrack and characters. It was a much more serious anime than most, which I like a lot. However, it was also pretty brutal as well haha. Essentially, humans are on the verge of extinction as they are being hunted by massive humanoid looking titans. Humans are forced to live behind huge walls as the outside world is too dangerous to explore. However, humans have a military unit called the Scouts, which is what the story focuses on. Scouts are incredibly good fighters and are able to fight back against titans very effectively. This show is very action-oriented and has some of the best fight scenes I have ever seen. Levi is hands-down the best character in the show. 9.5 out of 10.

In terms of working out, I do pushups one day and chin-ups the next and then repeat. I’m able to get 40 pushups / 15 chin-ups in a row without a lot of effort. Definitely seeing improvement. I also throw in some squats and stretching every day as well. Sarah and I also still try to walk with Luke at least once a day as long as the weather holds out. Weight is around 175-176 lbs, which is right where I want to be.

 

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 365 – Quarantine

Due to the Coronavirus, I have basically been a hermit for the past week as I have been working from home and had no real reason to go out. Time has somewhat changed meaning a bit for me. I go to sleep later, wake up later, save money on gas (although all of it went to food), but it almost just feels like the past week was just one really long day haha. I have enjoyed working from home though for a change. I’ve been working for the past 6 years of my life and never had the experience of working from home daily for that long of a stretch of time.  The whole situation still feels a bit unreal. Almost like its a movie or something. The more people that quarantine though, the less it spreads. This basically means the duration of this virus is really dependent upon people doing what they are supposed to.

I will admit though, one thing about this whole situation has been really annoying. Celebrities are getting tested with ZERO symptoms. These tests are hard enough to come by already and they are wasting tests on the famous elite for literally no reason. It’s like why are you getting tested if you’re not sick? Why not save for it the people that are checking into the hospital with it? – LAME

Sarah, unfortunately, had to go into the office a few days last week, because she is the only one that can do a particular function. She has been racking up the OT in the meantime. She actually went to the grocery store on Friday after work and stocked up. Luckily most everything we were looking for was in stock. I’ve been eating a lot healthier at home than I normally do haha. I eat way more fruit and have been eating salads or eggs every day for lunch instead of those convenient protein chips. I actually have time to do a short workout on my lunch break and then have enough time to make lunch right after for the latter half of my day. Since the gym is closed, I have been doing home workouts. Mainly just calisthenics but it has been enjoyable.

In my free time, I’ve been watching Hunter X Hunter. This is the first anime I’ve watched in awhile and after a slow start, this show has been GOLD. Some of the best and most intense fights that I’ve seen. My friend did not let me down on this recommendation. I’m almost done with it though and once I finish, plan on knocking out another book.

Journal Entry 364 – Coronavirus / Youfit

A lot has been going on in the world recently. Coronavirus has spread across the globe and turned into a pandemic from its previous epidemic status. It has caused all major professional and collegiate sports to suspend and as you might imagine, this causes billions of dollars of lost revenue. The market has also been tanking, schools have shut down for 2 weeks to a month, universities have shut down and moved all course material online, stores are running out of supplies, especially toilet paper (not sure why). It really reminds me of a scene out of a movie. People that are unsure of what the Coronavirus holds are freaking out and apparently taking all of their money out of the market. They also turn to financial advisors as to what steps to take next.

Most office workers are also allowing their employees to work from home. This is to prevent the spread of germs and limit close contact with others as much as possible. Personally, I think its a good idea. If you are able to work from home, why risk it? The vast majority of the year you are at the office so taking some time to wait out the storm to die down and prevent as many people from getting sick as possible should be priority at this point.

Some people are saying its all a hoax and stating that its fear-mongering by the media. Also, saying that only a small fraction of people have died from it. However, I’m not sure this is a good idea to hold. People like to act like experts when in reality they have no clue about the implications of this sickness. I think it does need to be taken seriously. Some experts predict it to be far worse than the flu and others think its a politically motivated scare tactic. The truth is usually somewhere in the middle.

I also ended up quitting Gold’s Gym. A 7 year run (about) but I needed a change. The gym was getting insanely packed, the equipment was all thrown together, it smelled bad and honestly started to become a chore to even go. So I ended up joining Youfit instead. It’s certainly a different type of gym and attracts a different audience. However, it pretty much has everything I need. It’s much cheaper at $12.99 a month instead of $30 (which is one of lowest rates possible at Gold’s), has plenty of room, machines, dumbbells up to 90lbs, benches, squat racks, etc…. 12-4 is their slowest time, so perfect for myself.

 

Journal Entry 363 – Silicon Valley / D&W Update

Sarah and I recently finished a show called Silicon Valley on HBO.  It’s about coders in Silicon Valley that are trying to make it big, based on their idea of middle-out compression. This basically allows data to be stored in way less space and also makes software faster.  The idea comes from the show’s main character, Richard, but his buddies are also very talented in their own right. This group of friends constantly encounter ethical dilemmas and try to navigate a largely corrupt industry where the rich corporations buy out any innovative ideas that these young geniuses come up with and add it to their own company. (This is basically how it works in reality.) Richard and his friends, fight back and try not to sell out, so they can be both ethically sound and successful with their own company Pied Piper. Long story short, it was a hilarious show and very enjoyable to watch. However, I did NOT like the ending. It was rushed and the ending, while maybe being a metaphor for the entire show, was not good. Not going to spoil it, but personally, I didn’t like it. My favorite character was Erlich and Gilfoyle. Erlich left the show in season 4 😦 and man it just was not the same. Erlich was not the smartest guy in the world but was hilarious and really made for some great scenes.

Recently, I’ve been reading a book called 21 Lessons for the 21st Century. Certainly, been a slower read and I have found myself checking out a bit reading it. The author is very liberal, which is fine, but he seems to be an idealist as if everyone in the world is nothing but angels being manipulated by evil governments. Come on man. Let’s get back to reality here. While your ideas sound great in theory, we don’t live in fantasyland. So far I’m not really impressed, but I do want to finish.

As for Diet and Workouts, I did want to provide an update. My workouts have been great recently and short and sweet as well:

Current Diet:

  • Coffee / Protein Pudding
  • Our Little Rebellion Protein Crisps
  • 2-3 drinks of Kraken
  • Large Dinner – Varies
  • Chocolate Protein Pudding

High Protein / Mod Fat / Low Carb (around 50-150g a day)

Current Workout:

  • Push Workouts (Twice a week)
    • 3 sets of 10 reps each move
    • Dumbbell Incline Bench Press
    • Dumbbell Lateral Raise
    • EZ-bar Skullcrushers
  • Pull Workouts (Twice a week)
    • 3 sets of 10 reps each move
    • Dumbbell Rows or Chins
    • Smith Machine Shrugs
    • EZ- bar Curls
  • X Workouts (Optional)
    • Legs and AbsSquats or Lunges
    • Weighted Crunch
    • Weighted Obliques
  • Cardio
    • Light Jog
    • Incline Walk

Journal Entry 362 – Kobe / Vick Documentary / Reading Frenzy

Since my last post, I feel like a lot has happened in the world. My favorite basketball player, Kobe Bryant, was killed in a freak helicopter accident along with his daughter, two other young girls, and a few other people. They were on the way to his daughter’s basketball game. Terribly sad. Kobe had a big and positive influence on players and he was one of the good guys. Well-spoken,  clean-cut, family man and was doing a lot to help with basketball’s image. He was only 41 years old. I’m not a huge basketball fan anymore, but when I was younger, Kobe was my guy and the Lakers were my team. Kobe was my generation’s Michael Jordan and it was certainly fun to watch him play. He will certainly be missed.

I also watched the 30 for 30 Michael Vick Documentary which was about 4 hours long over two episodes. Vick was a Quarterback from the Newport News area in Virginia. He played at Virginia Tech since it was close to his family and quite literally put our university on the map. He almost won the National Championship in 2004. (Sidenote – The National Champion Game that year was the same day my Grandfather died :()

Vick was then drafted to the Atlanta Falcons after they traded the Chargers for the first overall pick. Vick became a superstar due to his unique ability to be dual-threat. At the time, nobody could stop him because this type of talent didn’t exist! He really did change the game and you can see SEVERAL teams who want their QBs to be dual-threats (pass and run effectively). Vick had lighting fast speed and agility and it was really fun to watch him play. Unfortunately, several sources say that his friends quite literally took advantage of him in every way. Vick really does seem like a nice guy and wanted his family/friends to enjoy his success. He also became extremely popular in pop culture, especially black culture, and made a lot of friends with celebrities, rappers, etc.. Long story short, Vick bought a house in Virginia, where his friends were bullshitting around whether he was there or not and they started a kennel for Pitbulls. They were setting up dogfighting arenas and then introduced Vick to it. Vick did not stop it. One of his friends got busted for weed and the cops raided his house with a warrant. This lead to finding 8 dead dogs and of course several Pitbulls that were still alive. Vick went to prison for 2 years. Largely due to his dumba$$ friends. Vick’s successful career was put on halt.

After serving his time and increasing his maturity and humbleness exponentially, he joined the Eagles with his buddy Donovan McNabb, who brought him in. McNabb got traded and Vick got his chance. Vick dominated and got a 6 year / $100 million deal. He was able to pay off his debt (after somehow running through $100+ million from his initial contract and endorsements) and due to the fact that he is changed man, lived a better life. He now actively is involved in the Humane Society and likely has already done more good than the harm he did by bringing greater awareness to preventing dogfighting like this to continue. I think Vick does have a good chance at the Hall of Fame as well. I like Vick and glad he was able to redeem himself after his mistakes and being taken advantage of by some shady friends, who clearly did not have his best interests in mind.

The Underdog Cheifs also knocked out the 49ers in the Superbowl. Happy for Andy Reid, who very much deserved to win the Lombardi Trophy.

In other news, I have knocked out three more books this year:

The True Story of Fake News by Mark Dice

This was a good one. He takes a look into the massive influence that News and Social Media play in shaping public opinion and how easily those news stories can be fake and a play on words. This manipulates millions that don’t look further than the headline even if the article is complete trash. They also inflate the importance of certain events that align with their agenda, while ignoring more important events that don’t align with it. Behind the scenes, Social Media companies can manipulate search results and control the flow of information. The power of these companies is actually in the hands of very few people, which is the top 1%. The people that own these companies can control everything we see. 9.5 out of 10

Drink this Now! by John Boyer

This was a re-read from college days. He goes into how to taste wine, the nose of wine, the equipment, the components of wine and covers several different popular wine varietals in a very simple and entertaining to read format. Wine has 4 main components: sugar, alcohol, tannins and acid. The interaction of these four factors can dramatically change how the wine tastes. Also, New World wines (wine not from Europe) tastes great young (a few years after being bottled depending on the type) and on its own. It also has a more fruity taste. Old World wine is very much intended to be consumed with food or it will taste harsh.  8.5 out of 10

100 Deadly Skills – Survival Edition by Clint Emerson

This was an interesting book written by a navy seal. He goes over several different scenarios that may be of use to you if it were to happen. Each skill has a small picture outlining what to do in certain situations. It spans from how to survive if you get stuck in the deadly cold, how to fight a bear and how to use a pen as a deadly weapon. Some of the skills were completely useless though and were more for entertainment purposes. 7.5 out of 10. (I definitely skimmed parts of this)

I need a revamp of my workout routine. For a very organized person, my workout routine is currently in a state of chaos with no real order at all. Diet has been consistently high protein, but I was thinking about leaning towards the Keto side here soon. I also got sick this week out of nowhere and needed a day off from work to recover. Thought it was the flu but just a small viral infection. Symptoms were painful joints, nausea, headaches, weakness, chills, and lightheadedness. Not fun, but luckily it did not stay around for long.

 

 

 

 

Journal Entry 361 – New Treadmill, Book Recaps: Waking Up, A Brief History Of Time, Change Your Mind, Eli Retirement (Long One)

Sarah and I decided to get a treadmill for the house. I haven’t really done legit cardio with any consistency since we moved into the house about a year and a half ago. We got one that is about 165lbs assembled. After researching treadmills, you either go really small and it will likely fall apart soon or you go with the BIG ones that are very expensive, fancy and take up a whole room. Luckily the one we found was in the middle. It has all the same features and look of a bigger treadmill, but it’s like a fraction of the size. Personally, I used it 5 days in a row last week and then got super burned out the last day. I have always enjoyed running but just like anything else, when you do it too much, you get burned out, bored, etc… So as of now, my routine will be balanced between 2-3 days of cardio, 2-3 days of lifting and 2-3 days completely off. All of these different days have benefits and ensure I don’t burnout towards any one way of training.

As I stated in my previous post, my plan was a book a month. I have already read 3 books. These are not easy reads either. I write down important notes, look up words/topics/people I’m unfamiliar with due to the fact that the authors have a very advanced vocabulary. (Not sure if it’s just to show off or they genuinely use those words.) I’m also trying to change the subject of the book each time, so kind of like exercise, I don’t get burned out on reading similar topics even when I find that topic very interesting.

Books read so far:

Waking Up by Sam Harris – This is a book that explores the various religions of the world and its main focus is on meditation and the author’s experience with it. He explores Eastern Meditation more specifically a couple forms of Buddhist meditation. These people try to transcend through meditation leaving the ego (the self) and all of the worldly pleasures behind. Transcend being a spiritual term, something that happens to you mentally through intense effort and when you pass away. He stated that most westerners have likely achieved a similar state when on LSD or Psilocybin. If taken responsibly with a guide/expert/therapist/etc.. (not the way they usually are) they can be a very transformative experience that quite literally help to interconnect your brain.  I don’t want to go too indepth here as the topic was complex and the book was long. To say the author’s vocabulary was impressive would be an understatement. I would recommend it if your interested in mediation. I myself have not ever meditated on purpose, even though it is rapidly growing in popularity. A bit slow, but I like the author. I would say like 7.5 out of 10.

A Brief History of Time by Stephen Hawking – Holy hell this book was insane. He presented it in a very simple to grasp way, but I had to take a lot of notes on this one. He goes into various topics of evolution, God, Physics (Obviously), the future of our race, etc.. The Universe is made up of Matter, Energy and Space. Mass and Energy essentially being light and living organisms. Space is a vast store of empty negative energy. The Universe is actually in perfect balance between positive and negative energy. The Universe likely started about the size of a proton and Quantum Mechanics may explain the Big Bang. At the beginning of the Big Bang, Time began. If you traveled back in time, the universe would collapse in on itself being reabsorbed to a tiny singularity (huge mass of energy and gravity in a tiny amount of space) beginning point. Similar to what you would expect a black hole to do. A Black Hole is a star that collapses in on itself with gravity so powerful, light (the fastest thing in the universe) can not escape.

Hawking, does not believe in God. His main argument as I understand it is that time started when the Big Bang begin (a singularity). Which means God would have had to been around before this event took place. But based on the laws of nature and matter nothing could have existed before this time, as there was no time or nothing to exist in. Just reading this gives me a headache, but personally, I don’t feel this is a strong enough argument to disprove anything. If you believe that the universe was created out of randomly appearing protons through the very confusing nature of Quantam Mechanics, you can’t rule out a supreme power either. (I take a very agnostic approach to all of this.) This book is WAY too dense to cover it all here. These reviews or recaps if you will are just to provide some really interesting takeaways I got from each book.

A few other interesting tidbits were M-Theory. A Complete Unified Theory – which suggests that the universe may have a very large number of possible histories. A multiverse theory if you will, where everything that is possible may have happened in an alternative universe. Kind of a scary thought if you think about it. That means I could be contemplating suicide in one universe after a terrible life and a multi-billionaire in another. Not sure how I feel about this theory.

Consciousness likely is tied to intelligence somewhere in our evolution. All conscious beings have a huge percentage of processes that happen subconsciously, but the ability to perceive our environment and surroundings is a conscious activity. Millions of years ago we had to pass down intelligence through DNA. In the last 10000 years, we haven’t actually gotten any smarter from an evolution standpoint. However, due to written language and passing down knowledge from one generation to the next as well as technology to assist, our intelligence as a species has increased dramatically. Genetically modified humans (DNA alteration) will be a thing in the future. This means humans that have no diseases and can potentially live hundreds to thousands of years among other favorable traits. We will not last long as a species if we do not stop destroying the planet, however. Due to the sheer size of space and our current technology, we are on pace to destroy ourselves faster than we are to travel space with any real success.

I will finish with this interesting statement, wormholes are still poorly understood and not likely to be a method of travel (as of yet) so the fastest we can go is the speed of light (670,616,629 mph). This means the nearest star is 8 years away at that speed and to reach the center of this galaxy, which is a tiny speck in terms of the size of the Universe, it would take 50000 years. You’re head hurt yet? Mine sure as hell did. I don’t think I have ever had my mind blown so many damn times in my life. HIGHLY RECOMMEND this book. It’s not too long either, but you will likely need to look up stuff, write facts down and re-read statements a few times. I would rate this book 9.5 out of 10.

Change Your Mind by Michael Pollan – This book was somewhat off the coattails of Waking Up. The author looks into the history of psychedelic drugs, how the stigma around them was created and their use today. The history piece was pretty interesting at first, but some of it felt it dragged on too long. Psychedelics have been around for a long time and used in cultures all across the world in various forms through Peyote or Mescaline (American Indians and Mexican Cultures),  Ayahuasca (South America), LSD (literally from a fungus called Ergot) discovered on accident only 100 years ago and made popular around the 60’s. If there are any Hippies reading this, you are likely familiar with this one. Psilocybin (Magic Mushrooms) this one has been around a LONG time. Most researchers say in the BC period. Made popular to Westerners in the 60’s through Tim Leary, a Harvard Professor who started taking a lot of drugs and started the counterculture movement. This drug was just legalized in Colorado and California. Believe it or not its almost impossible to overdose on LSD and Mushrooms from a physical standpoint. That being said people should proceed with EXTREME caution when taking these. They are not to be taken lightly and while they can be transformative to people in a positive way (more loving, less selfish, more creative, stronger spiritually, even increased intelligence if used correctly) they can also incite terror while the subconscious parts of your brain come to the surface and force you to deal with things that you may not be ready for. Time is distorted, which can make the experience endure for much longer than you would like.

He basically then goes to say there is an underground network of therapists who use these drugs intelligently to help transform the lives of people with mental issues, PTSD, Depression, Cancer and there seems to be a very promising success rate to cure these people. He also cautions that if you have any history of Schizophrenia, stay the hell away from these things. The brain has a Default Mode Network. This is quite literally your ego and “normal reality” that everyone is used to. When this goes offline (through the use of drugs) your brain becomes more interconnected and your perceptions can change drastically. A good read. I obviously do not use these drugs as they are still highly illegal in this country. However, he presented a good case for them to be used appropriately given a certain situation.

I have a theory about the powerful effects of these drugs. Especially about one he mentioned called 5-MEO-DMT, which is from the venom of a specific Toad native to Colorado and South America that you then have to dry its venom in the sun and then after the venom has been removed, you smoke the after-effects. (How the hell do people figure this out, am I right?) I think these drugs may have somewhat of a Near Death Experience to them acting as short-acting poisons. Not enough to kill you if you get the dose down (again there is almost no amount of LSD or Mushrooms that can kill you from physically taking the drug) but affecting your brain in a similar fashion to those that pass away. However, since you are not dead, your ego is still fighting to hold on to you. This creates an interesting interaction between your brain in this reality and the “next realm/reality/spirit world” if you will.

Overall a good read. May have been a bit slow, but the author did a LOT of research on a subject that is not easy to research at all. He did a great job presenting it over the 400 or so pages. I also learned a lot from this book. 8.5 out of 10.

My main goal of this reading frenzy project is to simply learn a lot. Especially about things that I’m unfamiliar with. You can only read so many nutrition and exercise books. 😉 As I finish a book I will write up my recap, so that I don’t have 3 books in one MONSTER post.

Eli Manning – My favorite player of all time and personal hero Eli Manning retired yesterday. To say I’m happy for him would be a massive understatement and I’m really glad he decided to retire. His contract was up, there was no market as there are a LOT of young QBs coming up through the draft, and he can finish a New York Giant. It’s rare for a player to spend his entire career with one team. The Giant’s have also retired his number 10. He has nothing left to prove to anyone and won his team two Superbowls in a 16-year span. Understand that this is more than half the teams in the NFL have ALL TIME. Winning a Superbowl is no small feat. I have watched literally every single game Eli Manning ever had in the league. Certainly had some ups and downs, some good Giants teams and bad Giants teams and rode the waves of the angry media and fans that Eli took on full force. Eli’s is 7th all-time in passing yards and 7th in touchdowns. When other players talk about him, it’s nothing but overwhelmingly positive. Eli made a lot of players better. Especially receivers. He was a great team player and will certainly be missed.