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 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.

Journal Entry 360 – New Decade 2020

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

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

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

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

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

Until next time!

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Random Tidbits:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

Random updates.:

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

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

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

 

 

Journal Entry 357 – VA Tech Round II

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

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

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

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

Journal Entry 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 349 – Clean House

Another week in the books. This week at work was much better than it has been and felt far less busy and stressful. I actually missed my post last week, because I had a really strong urge to “Clean House.” I was looking in the kitchen and realized that some of our cabinets were absolutely packed. Considering we don’t use that many kitchen items this didn’t really make sense. I decided to go through and organize everything as well as trash some stuff we no longer use. It turned out to be a really good idea. All of the cabinets are organized and I got rid of a decent amount of things, that was literally just taking up space. I extended this cleaning to the closets, the utility room, and the bathrooms. Had about 4 bags of trash worth and the house looks much better now. The main thing I want to add to the house is a liquor cabinet. We have a lot of liquor currently and it would be nice to have something to organize it all.

Anyway, that house cleaning ended up taking the entire weekend, but again I think it was worth it. Sarah and I did end up having a date night last Saturday. We went to Cooper’s Hawk and then got Grapevine to go. Both were great as always. This weekend is going to be a bit more laidback.

I’ve actually hit the gym almost everyday last week. Literally just hitting full body every day doing higher reps and lighter weights. I wanted to take a break from heavy lifting for at least a week, so decided to more or less just “play around” in the gym with no real goal or priority. As for diet, been keeping carbs low this week. I started bringing some hardboiled eggs to eat with me each day during the workweek. This past week, I’ve been eating about 6 whole eggs a day for lunch. Super easy and cheap meal.

Next week is a short one. Only three days for me due to the July 4th Holiday, so really looking forward to that!

Journal Entry 344 – SCOTLAND

For the past week, Sarah and I decided to go to Scotland for our First Anniversary Trip. It was really an awesome experience! Scotland looks and feels like “Lord of the Rings.” The landscapes have mountains, rolling hills, green grass, flowers, lakes, rivers, livestock, small houses and huge castles strewn across its land. One of the most picturesque places I have ever been to. That was also my first trip to Europe, so I think we picked a good place.

We were able to see a pretty decent sized piece of Scotland for the time we had, which was about 6 nights. We started in Edinburgh for the first two days and toured the entire city. Edinburgh has a ton of history and very old building structures that are still in use today by several pubs, restaurants, and stores. We walked everywhere in this city and even did a “Harry Potter” tour. Apparently, J.K. Rowling wrote the first 5 books in Edinburgh and also got much of her inspiration from the city. Edinburgh Castle was also massive and nice place to visit.

After Edinburgh, we went to Hertz to rent a car. It was a relatively painless process and for four days with insurance cost us about 364 pounds or $473. Unfortunately, the pound in the United Kingdom is worth much more than the U.S. Dollar. This meant Scotland was not a cheap place to visit, but it was a vacation so I didn’t let it bug my frugal mind too much. I will say though that driving in Scotland (or Europe) is an eye-opening experience at first and not to be taken lightly. You drive on the other side of the road, the signs are different and it can be pretty scary. Driving is largely a subconscious activity once you know how. I consider myself a talented driver and driving over there will take some getting used to. This trip was based on driving though as we wanted to visit several places. It would not have worked without driving, so I mastered it pretty quick.

After we got the car on the third day, we went to Stirling Castle. Stirling Castle was an awesome place with a rich history. A very important Stronghold in Scotland. Later that day we also visited William Wallace Monument. A huge and very steep tower dedicated to the Scottish Hero. It had both his Claymore (two-handed sword) and Robert the Bruce’s Sword. Really cool to see. Once you made the very long and steep climb to the top, you were treated to a pretty awesome view.

The fourth day we went to Loch Lomond and then hiked (or should I say climbed) a mountain that was part of the “Three Sisters” in the Glencoe area. After a 3 hour hike, we drove to Corran and stayed at a hotel that was right on a lake. It was a really nice place, but the restaurant near it was closed so we had to drive about 15 minutes to the next closest town to eat dinner. Scotland has a lot of small towns and windy roads. It is very easy to get lost. I do want to mention that before hiking we stopped at a cafe for food and I got a Smoked Salmon Sandwich with Cream Cheese. Not going to lie, it was one of the best things I ate there.

The following day we left and headed up North to Inverness, which is the city you can reach. Before Inverness, we stopped at Urquhart Castle. A castle that was a ruin, but had a great view. Many castles are positioned on the very edge of a cliff for defense purposes. It also gives a tremendous view of the area. After purchasing a decent amount of gifts from the shop here, we passed by Loch Ness and then finally hit Inverness. A much more moderate city than Edinburgh, but a nice one. It featured some pretty nice shopping centers that we went to and had a more modern castle in the middle of the city. We did visit this place as well. For dinner, we went to “The Castle Tavern” which was built in the 1700s. We tried Haggis for the first time here and I honestly thought it was good. Haggis is made from sheep intestine or stomach (gross I know), but its a local delicacy. It tastes kind of like sausage. We also went to a bar afterward for some drinks.

The next morning we had breakfast at the “Rona’s House”, which was the B&B we were staying at. Funny enough the owner of the house has a daughter that lives 20 minutes away from where we currently live in Virginia. The B&B was very nice and I had a Full Scottish Breakfast here with some of her homemade bread. Sarah had Museli with yogurt and fruit. This started the last day of our Scotland trip.

We drove down to a distillery called Dalwhinnie and did a tour of the Whiskey they made there. Interesting process. We also bought a “Game of Thrones” themed Whiskey there. Apparently, 8 Distilleries in Scotland each have a house from the show. Luckily we got the best House, “House Stark” from this distillery The reason they were House Stark was that it is the coldest Disterlly in Scotland, which is fitting of the North the Stark’s are from. After this, we hit a Chocolatier run by a French couple, which was too expensive and not great, unfortunately. We then hit our final castle tour, which was called “Castle Menzie.” This was referred to as a “Tower House” and was literally in the middle of nowhere. The closest town was Aberfeldy, which we randomly stumbled upon once leaving. The owner gave us a pretty interesting History lesson, about the Clans of Scotland and said most of the Castles in Scotland were actually called Tower Houses. These differ from the more well-known Castles because their location is more centrally located inland, not surrounded by huge walls and were mainly Clan houses that acted as defense from other Clans. Scotland as a long history of warring Clans (different families) that fought over pretty much everything.

After the last Castle, we drove back to Hertz and turned in the keys, which marked the end of the trip. We stayed at a Hotel near the Airport for our last night and paid for some overpriced food from the Hilton Hotel restaurant. It was just far too convenient not to stay there because we could walk to the airport. We had a shuttle flight to Dublin, then the main 7-hour flight from Dublin to Washington DC, then a 3-hour drive home. We got home around 7:00 PM. However, that would have been 12:00PM Scotland time. Scotland is 5 hours ahead of us, so we lost that time on the front of the trip and gained it back at the end. This meant we were pretty hungry when we got back as we had been up for a very long time.

Here are some final points I will end with:

  1. My favorite part about the trip was the scenery and history. It really was an amazing place to see. Some places look better in photos than when you are actually there. Scotland looks better in person. It just has a different “feel” to it than the U.S. probably due to the very old history.
  2. Driving is essential here. If you really want to see the country, then you need to get out of the major cities and not spend too much time there. That being said, driving is NOT FUN at first. You will need some time to adjust and it can be scary. Once you do get the hang of it, driving and seeing the country is a pretty rewarding experience.
  3. The travel there and back was not fun. The 5-hour time gap can mess with you big time and you can expect to lose a full day from travel from the U.S. Unless you are lucky enough to get a direct flight there, which would be IDEAL. It would cut travel time and headache in half.
  4.  The food was good, but not great. Sarah and I both agreed it would be rated 7 out of 10. We stuck to local places and really tried to order local Scottish fare. Haggis was good, but not amazing. The Meat Pies were both of our favorites. I think I had some form of potato every single day. Scotland also has a ton of Oatmeal bars. It has very few “high protein products”, such as protein bars, protein powder and stuff I normally like. This is very different than the U.S. Also, the coffee was horrible. I will come out and admit it. Toward the end of the trip, I just stopped drinking it and I drink A LOT of coffee. You basically had to brew your own and I really didn’t care for it. Also, this country does not have Ranch dressing haha. Dear God what a sin.
  5. The Local Beers were excellent. I had at least two beers a day from the draught menu and I really looked forward to those each day. I drank way more beer than liquor (hardly drank any) and almost no wine. This is mainly because Scotland certainly doesn’t specialize in wine and I was trying to get the “Local Fare.” However, still rare for me as beer is usually the lowest on my totem pole.
  6. Scotland is expensive. There is no getting around this one. The country uses pounds, which are more valuable than the dollar.
  7. The internet is spotty here.
  8. The countryside was my favorite by far.
  9. Some people say Scottish people are really nice. I certainly noticed that in some cases, but nothing out of the ordinary. I think it’s pretty similar to America in that its mainly based on the personality of the person and not a general rule.
  10. Certain peoples accents were so thick, I could barely understand them.
  11. Would I come here again? Absolutely. I would prefer to visit Ireland or England as well though and maybe even first. I would certainly do some things differently the second time around, especially with the travel piece, but would certainly revisit. We had a blast and time FLEW BY.

Sorry for the very long post about I had a lot I wanted to get down in this post!