Sunday, November 13, 2011

Weekend!

What a great weekend!  Right now, I'm watching a good game between my Giants and the SF 49'ers.  Later tonight, one of my favorite TV shows, The Walking Dead airs a new episode and my girlfriend and I are about to cook a delicious dinner.

I attended the Gamecocks game this weekend against the Florida Gators.  It was my first college (D1)/professional game I've been to.  The game itself was great.  It came down to the last play of the game and the Gamecocks won.  Our seats were high up, behind the goal post and opposite of the student section.  I had a great time.

The tailgating was great too.  We joined a great group, organized by parents.  The food was terrific.  They served appetizers consisting of dips, meatballs, stuffed mushrooms and deviled eggs.  I tried most everything and had a few beers before entering the stadium for the 1220 kickoff.

After the game, we went back outside to the same group where they had been all afternoon.  Most of them didn't even go into the stadium.  They set up satellites and TVs in their vehicles and sat around watching the game on TV.  The food after the game was more like dinner.  There was ham and crab legs and a shrimp dish.  It was delicious, except you needed to peel the shrimp, which was a pain and hard to do when not sitting at a table.  Afterwards, we all had some delicious cake.

I wonder if all tailgaters are this friendly.  Was it just because we were in the South that we could just join a party and eat their food?  Or, would we have been just as welcome to tailgate with a random group at a Giants game?  I'll have to try it and find out.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Back in Charleston

And I am happy to be back.  I love it down here.  The weather is my favorite part.  And my girlfriend is here too, which is great.  I don't know how I ever lived for so long in the Northeast.

I enjoy driving, especially when I'm in no rush and I don't care about traffic delays or getting cutoff.  I just go with the flow.  No pressure.  Whenever I am stuck in a car for a while, like during an 18hr drive, I just think.  I think about a lot of things.  I listen to the radio, sometimes music, sometimes talk.  I heard a very interesting comment on a Christian talk show.  I wouldn't usually listen to Christian talk radio, but, in this case the hosts were covering about the Penn State sex scandal.  After that ended, they began taking listener's phone calls.  One caller said the following:

"The US has surpassed over 50 million abortions.  It has been proven that most people who get abortions are Liberals.  Therefore, it is safe to assume that a majority of these 50 million aborted babies would grow to be liberals like their parents, had they not been aborted.  Is this God's way of purging the world of Liberals?"

I could not make this up.  And the host's reaction was equally surprising, but, polite and professional.  They laughed and said they had never heard that claim before.  To answer the caller, they simply said that it was not God's will for any unborn babies to be killed.


Something crazy, at least to me, also happened.  I was driving down 95 in NJ when I began seeing electronic billboards warning me of an accident ahead and to expect delays.  As I came around the next corner, I saw lots of break lights and cars stopped.  I made a decision to try and exit the highway and get back on after the accident to avoid the stop and go traffic.  Well, once I got off the highway, I had a hard time finding an easy route back to the highway and for a little while I was lost.

I was trying to find my way back to the highway, taking all sorts of back roads and shortcuts.  Finally, I knew I was heading the right direction when I stumbled across the same exact deli that I had stopped at when I was headed North from Charleston.  It is probably one of the only places in NJ I have ever been and I accidently went back to the same spot.  Because of that random accident, I got off at some random exit and randomly found myself someplace I'd been only a month before.  Isn't that crazy?

Finally, I was in Northern Virginia when I decided to take a dinner break and let some of the rush hour traffic subside.  I was leaving a delicious dinner at Chipotle when I took a wrong turn.  I was mad about it because of all the traffic around and now I had to turn around.  I was headed in the correct direction again when I went through a big intersection where there had just been a 3 car accident.  It didn't look very serious, just some smoking engines and everyone was getting out of their cars to check on everyone else.

I couldn't help but think that I may have been in that accident if I hadn't made that wrong turn.  Maybe it was divine intervention, maybe it was not my destiny and maybe it was just luck.  I do like to believe that everything happens for a reason.  That is how I stay stress free.  I tend to let things play out because I believe they will play out in my favor.  I don't sweat the little things because I feel that if they are supposed to happen they will, good or bad.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

On the road again

Headed back to Charleston.

As for yesterday, we didn't catch any fish to bring home.  Caught a total of 5, but, nothing spectacular, therefore no pictures.  Still fun and not that cold.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Fishing

Pumpkin Pie

Going fishing today.  I'll post pictures.

Yesterday, I did some cooking.  I was anxious to start cooking again because I haven't been able to for the past 2 months, living in a hotel.  I went out and bought ingredients to make Emeril's She Crab Soup and The Nourishing Gourmet's Pumpkin Streusel Pie.  I've made the She Crab Soup once before, with my girlfriend.  It turned out amazingly.  Today, without the oversight of my girlfriend, it didn't come out as perfect.  It was still well received but I know it wasn't as good as the first time.

The pie I made was delicious; to me.  I thought it hit the spot and my parents each said it was good (but they didn't get seconds like me).  They described it as "earthy" and I think that is a fair assessment.  I used about a half cup of honey for the entire pie so it wasn't sweet at all.  I was also pleased how it held together and looked like a classic pie.

Recipes here:
http://www.emerils.com/recipe/2284/She-Crab-Soup
http://www.thenourishinggourmet.com/2011/11/pumpkin-streusel-pie-grain-and-dairy-free.html


When I went out last night, I met up with my two best friends from high school, Matt and Louis.  Both of them are in masters programs at their schools.  Of course, we did some reminiscing.  I was surprised at the different memories we had.  I had completely forgotten about some things and was happy to be reminded of them.  Likewise, I chipped in some memoriesof my own that they had forgotten about.  We laughed a lot.

This is also why I'm keeping this blog.  So that I don't forget these little memories that were so much fun.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Last night was a blast.  Dinner was great.  None of us had been to this particular restaurant before and it was delicious; exactly what I was looking for.  The three men in the group all got the veal chop special.  It was a bone in 16 oz cut.  It was extremely tender.  We all loved it.

Today, I have a few things on my schedule.  I want to vacuum out my car and clean my computer with compressed air.  When my parents return from their wedding I know we will be having a steak dinner on the grill tonight and I look forward to that.  I was hoping to do some hunting or fishing today but it's not going to happen, but, I will try again tomorrow.

I have been having dreams of performing my own weather balloon experiment to get my own pictures of near space.  After I blogged about it last week, I have thought about it more and more and I am going to try it.  I should have a couple of weeks to get it done once I get back to South Carolina.  My budget will be $200.  I will need to purchase a Canon camera because they can be easily hacked.  I will also need a prepaid cell phone with gps capabilities so that I may track the location of the payload.  Other obvious items to purchase are a weather balloon, parachute and stryofoam box.  I'll keep you updated.

Interesting stat:  I just read that 30% of Americans less than 40 years old, have a tattoo.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Home Sweet Home

After my graduation in Groton, I b-lined it for Cheshire, CT, where I spent the evening with my Aunt and Uncle.  They had some company over and we had a nice dinner together.  I spent the night there, woke up this morning and was on the road by 1030, headed home.  It was an easy trip and I made good time.

Once I got home (home alone because my parents are at a wedding in NH), I unloaded some stuff and wanted to work out.  I jumped rope for 10 minutes to warm up and then went for a nice run around my neighborhood.  I like running around my neighborhood because it is safe, picturesque, and a good workout.  I like to see that it still looks how I remember it.

I'm going out tonight with newly-wed friends of mine.  They have been a couple for as long as I have known them, since high school.  I went to college with Steve and we joined the same fraternity.  Needless to say, Steve and Elyse are some of my best friends.  I couldn't make their wedding reception (it was a destination wedding) this summer because it was to close to my final exams.  I have been telling them for a long time that I would treat them to dinner as a wedding gift.  That is what were are doing tonight.

It also turns out that tonight is my fraternity's formal.  The formal is called "3 to 3" because it begins at 3 in the afternoon and ends at 3 in the morning.  Basically it is 12 hours of drinking, which gets difficult.  The funny part is, tonight is also daylight savings, so it becomes 13 hours of drinking.  This happened to my formal a few times.  Most partiers will not be able to stay awake until 3am.  Only my senior year did I make it until 3am and that was because I had a game plan.  Pacing yourself is a must.

All this writing about my formal makes me wish I was going again.  These were always great times... I think.  After all, we have this motto:  "It's the times you don't remember, that you'll remember forever."

Friday, November 4, 2011

Free the Animal



One of my favorite bloggers, Richard at Free the Animal (retired Navy Surface Warfare Officer, hang glider and visionary) writes: 

"You're at Free the Animal, but what kind of animal are you?
You're less strong, less fast, and less a tree prodigy than almost all other primates. And yet, you rule the Earth. Importantly.
...After all, do you have envy of wandering into the forest, trying to strike up a conversation?
Of course not, because you're so far removed evolutionarily that you can even imagine that a space alien created you, rather than that you are of some similar evolved lineage, and that they behave in mysteriously similar ways, both individually and social..."

I like this statement because it points out that, although we rule the earth, we are inferior to wild animals.  We are no longer wild animals.  We are all domesticated, especially in America, which isn't all bad.  I do think that it's important to remember and appreciate where we came from.  

On a side note, notice how the only fat animals are domesticated animals.  You never see a fat deer or a fat lion in the wild.  However, how many people own fat dogs and cats?  There are two reasons for this.  One, our pets do not need to fend for themselves anymore, aka we have removed "survival of the fittest."  Two, most of our pets get fed cheap GRAINS which causes obesity and other problems.  My uncles beloved dog has diabetes?!  

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Fake Food

I was working out yesterday when I randomly began thinking about what food could look like 100 years down the road.  As it is, I don't think someone from the 19th century would recognize a majority of today's typical groceries.  Funny how what we think of as "healthy food" didn't even exist a hundred years ago.  Now that these healthy foods are readily available in every grocery store, are we more healthy?  I think not.

In my day dreaming, I thought of artificial food.  I was thinking of a green pepper.  It was made out of edible wax and then "painted" green.  The paint contained the nutrients to imitate a real pepper.  I thought that this could be practical in case society has problems providing vegetables for the 7 billion people on the planet.  As it is, most conventional fruits and vegetables in the grocery store are coated with an edible wax, for a number of reasons.  I was only thinking of the inverse, a vegetable made mostly of wax, coated with nutrients.  Is this the future of fresh?

After these dreadful predictions, I then realized these products already exist!  I thought about Cool Whip, which is a whipped dessert topping that imitates real whipped cream (although Cool Whip now does contain some dairy).  I thought about vegan food; specifically vegan "meat."  They use fake food such as soy protein or cornstarch to create a meat imitation product.  That kills me.  I wouldn't touch that fake food, yet it is widely considered to be the healthiest option.

I also thought about juice.  Juice is very misunderstood.  While it can provide a lot of vitamins, it also provides a lot of sugar.  Sometimes sugar is even added.  Drinking juice results in an immediate, large spike in insulin because there is no time required to break it down.  At least when you eat an orange, your body must process the meat of the orange to access the nutrients.  This slows the absorption of the sugar, a good thing.  When you drink orange juice, there is no processing needed, hence the immediate spike.  So many believe juice to be healthy and important to drink throughout the day.  I think juice is a joke and just another vehicle for sugar.

What about all the different cereals?  I could write pages on the sins of cereal and how they are currently marketed.  Breakfast in general is dumb idea.  Why do we even need to eat breakfast?  The standard American breakfast is pure carbohydrates, aka sugar.  I don't care what cereal it is.  It is all sugar.  Now they make calcium infused cereal, high protein cereal... these foods are fake.

Fiber, sugar, grains and "low fat," are jokes that I would be laughing at, except I pity all those innocent people who try to do the right thing by eating "healthy," when in fact, they are doomed for failure and a life of full of problems ("Follow the Money...").  I will touch on these subjects again in the near future.

Finally, I have been watching a lot of the food network lately and noticed something.  The fattest, most unhealthy looking chef's, use the most sugar and/or eat the cheapest food.  There is no denying Rachel Ray, who prepares some of the cheapest foods, has ballooned in recent years.  I enjoy Barefoot Contessa, but, she cooks with a ton of sugar, and she is a big lady.  Then there is Giada De Laurentiis, who cooks a lot of real food (she was cooking with lobster meat last show), and she is very healthy looking.  Chef Bobby Flay, is in decent shape and he cooks with real food.  I just noticed some correlation there.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Understanding Islam Extremists

In order to help me grasp terrorism I know I need a better understanding of Islam.  I am almost finished with the book Inside the Jihad, My life with Al Qaeda.  It is about an Arab Muslim, Omar Nasiri, who becomes a spy for the European secret service and infiltrates Al Qaeda training camps and sleeper cells.  It is a great book provides insight into the justifications of terrorism.  Here is one part I found particularly interesting.

I learned that there are many types of Jihad.  These include "inner jihad (prayer), the jihad of knowledge and scholarship, jihad of the tongue (speaking out), jihad through actions and the ultimate jihad, the 'holy war.'"  The ultimate jihad is the one that justifies terrorism.

Of course, the laws governing jihad, as described in the Kur'an and the hadith, are open for interpretation.  Omar points out that there varying degrees of interpretation (hence the terrorists being labeled as extremists.  Their interpretations are extreme).  For example, there is an interesting interpretation comparing "innocent" people and the "enemy."

Extremists view the "enemy" to include the entire supply chain supporting the enemy.  In other words, the people with the guns are not the only enemy.  Anyone who provides money, food or water, moral support (journalists writing in favor of the enemy), to the enemy is also the enemy.  Wives/children who pray for the triumphant return of their husband/father from battle, are the enemy.  Clearly, in their eyes, every American is the enemy.  Everyone, can be their enemy.

I've also learned that, for the most part, extremist's are incapable of innovation, which is what they prefer because anyone who innovates is an infidel.  As history has taught us, time and time again, anything that fails to evolve, dies...

I'll post more on this topic as think up more interesting points.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Back to Charleston

I'm moving back to South Carolina in about a week (and I'm pumped).  I will be there for another 6-8 months.  I need to find a place to live.  I loved living on Daniel Island when I lived their last.  My previous roommate and I are now stationed in different places and none of my other friends want to live on Daniel Island.  They would rather live in downtown Charleston, within walking distance to the bars.  I have a couple problems with this:
1.  I'm not into the bar scene as much as I used to be
2.  Parking downtown can be terrible.  Where can my girlfriend park?
3.  It's a long commute to work
4.  No community pool or grill
5.  Busy/Noisy
6.  I have always lived with a roommate and never tried living alone
7.  Downtown is pretty, but, old

On the other hand, there would be some pros of living downtown:
1.  I'm good friends with the guys who invited me in
2.  It is the closest I could live to my girlfriend
3.  We could car pool to work everyday
4.  Having roommates is fun
5.  We can buy a grill
6.  Close to the bars so that when I want to go out, it's easy.
7.  It's cheaper living with others than living in a single
8.  I don't have to furnish a living room because they have furniture

If I choose not to live downtown, then I would probably live by myself in Mount Pleasant.  I need to makeup my mind quickly because I have found some nice single apartments in Mount Pleasant that I don't foresee lasting long.  Damn, this is tough.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Believe in Passion

Side note: Last night, I won $116 playing Craps at the Mohegan Sun.  I had a good time and everyone profited from the shooting of newbie Jordan.  I'm not nearly addicted to gambling, but, it is a good way to kill some time with some friends.


People need something to believe in.  People need a passion.  That is what keeps people going and enjoying  life.  When people perceive they nothing to believe in, they lose the will to live.  However, that is only a perception.  There is an infinite number of ways to believe and I'm not talking about religion.  The key is to continue educating yourself.

Maybe you can learn a new language.  Learning a second language is a major goal of mine.  After my experiences abroad, I realize how ignorant it is that I only speak English.  Many Europeans speak at least 2 languages.  Part of that is out of necessity because of the relatively small size of European countries and the need to communicate in multiple languages when traveling.  In Europe, English, has become a universal language.  In that regard, traveling through Europe is easy for Americans (assuming they speak English...).  I already have a background in Spanish from high school, but, I think the better choice for me would be to learn Chinese, albeit far more difficult.  I think I would begin with Rosetta Stone.

One of my inspirations to learn another language is Benjamin Franklin.  I recently finished reading his very interesting autobiography.  I am extremely impressed in Franklin's intellectual discipline.  At a time before electricity and reliable information exchange, he was able to teach himself several languages.  He could read and write fluently in English, German, Latin, French, Spanish and Italian.  Obviously, he was a brilliant man but, the fact that he could teach himself these languages, in this time period, removes all excuses I have for not learning another language.

Recently I saw a commercial advertising a car.  The commercial featured the tracking of a weather balloon.  That weather balloon took images of earth from space.  How cool would that be?  It can't be that expensive an endeavor and is something I would love to try.  See here http://space.1337arts.com/

Believe in travel.  I love to travel.  That is one of the reasons I joined the Navy.  Often times, traveling is accompanied by amazing experiences and lead to personal growth that cannot be otherwise attained.  I'm currently reading The 4 Hour Work Week, by Timothy Ferriss, in which the love to travel is a theme.  I will do my best to see all that I can.

The ability to view Earth from space and easily travel far distances are desires of our earliest ancestors that only became feasible in the past hundred years.  Why not fulfill these natural instincts?  As far as learning another language, that may facilitate your travel's and lead to more grand opportunities. It literally opens up a whole new world of possible friends and experiences.  Our ancestors would have given anything for some of the opportunities I listed above and yet, many of us do not take advantage of them.  Instead, we play videogames.

These are only a few things, of MANY, that I believe in.  If you find yourself in a rut, try something new.  Pledge to learn a new language and then travel to a region where you can employ your new skills.  Who cares about money?  You cannot put a price on a genuine experience.  Your kids/grand-kids/great-grand-kids are not going to respect you for the money you may have left behind.  Instead, they will respect you for the passion in which you lived your own life.

What your passion is, is not the point.  The point is, to have a passion.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Living link to the Civil War

My brother and I with our grandparents, spring 2010

My grandfather, whom I believe is 93 years old (and still in great health), has a neat recollection.  He remembers seeing a parade in NYC, where he grew up, composed of veterans of the civil war.  He was a boy at the time and I wonder how many people are still alive that have seen authentic civil war veterans?  It cannot be many.  How cool is that?

The war ended in 1865.  There are accounts of very young men serving in both the Confederate and Union armies.  These boys, some as young as 10, were drummer boys or message runners.  They were not usually enlisted for combat, but, sometimes that came with the territory.

For example, lets say we have a ten year old boy who served during the civil war.  If this boy grew up and fathered a child at an older age, perhaps at the age of 60, that child would be born in 1915.  It is now 2012.  That would make their child almost 100 years old.  I wonder if anyone is still alive today whose father was in the civil war.  It could be possible.

Friday, October 28, 2011

New blog- New Rules

Originally, this blog was about my travels through Europe in the fall of2009, when I studied abroad in Denmark.  Now, I want this blog to take a different direction. 

I want this blog to become a diary of sorts, where I have the freedom to comment on a variety of topics i.e. the daily news, ideas, my personal musings, experiences, sports and life in general. 

This blog will also serve as an intellectual tool, improving the transformation of my thoughts to writing.  I will make every attempt to write something of significance every day of the year, for the next year. 

I will define "something of significance" as an entry that takes some amount of original, creative, intelligent thought.  It may only be a sentence long, a haiku, or the first four chapters of my book.

I hope you enjoy

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Apartment 3-- Get this one!

it's beautiful and Elizabeth is cool. video

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Thursday, March 10, 2011