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 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 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 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 355 – Return to Virginia Tech / Nadal is the GOAT

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Journal Entry 354 – Labor Day / Football Returns

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

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

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