Friday, July 30, 2010

Some Updates

I'm making this blog instead of working, so don't be surprised if it's a little more brief than usual. I just want to give some updates on what's happened the last week and a half, and update everyone on the charity drive.

Last week I went to a shooting range in Dallas. You know what? Guns are cool. They are scary, but pretty cool. To quote Seth Rogan, it really is like having a second dick. I shot an HK 9mm. The only thing that really scares me is the fact that for someone having no experience with weaponry outside of my XBox, I was given a 10 minute lesson on guns, then told to go have fun. Seriously. Literally it was, clip, load, slide release, safety, shoot. That's it. I paid $40, then got my gun, bullets, goggles and glasses. Overall though, it was pretty awesome to shoot. I chose a target that looked like a zombie. It's pretty safe to say that if zombies do exist, I'll take out a few w/ a 9mm.

After that, the most exciting news is that Nigerian hackers broke into my Gmail account and spammed everyone I know. 2 things upset me about this. 1.) I lost all of my contacts. I have to basically start over with email addresses. 2.) the thought process of some people I know.

While I appreciate the love I got from people texting me and making sure I was alive, since it is pretty probable I would be in London, and even get mugged (the angle the hackers used). What gets me is that fact people didn't fully digest the email. People I unfortunately haven't talked to in months/years got the email and thought I could be in real trouble. No offense folks, but if we haven't talked in months, the chances of me hitting you up for money are pretty slim. On top of that, London, UK isn't exactly the middle of nowhere. If I have access to the internet, then there's a good chance I can get in touch with my bank, explain the situation, and get some kind of short term loan, or new credit card. If that's not an option, then I can contact my parents. If that's not an option, I'll reach out to my current roommates. After that, after I've exhausted all other logical possibilities for some quick cash, then MAYBE I'll reach out to some people I've been in less contact with. I'd have to be pretty desperate to do so though.

Anyway I could go more into how bad of a scam it was, but alas, "with tears in my eyes" I must continue.

Here's the update for the weight-loss charity drive. As it turns out, the weekends and lunch time are where I screw myself over the most. Either because I'm wasted, or because I want a quick lunch and unhealthy food meets the mark. So after a week and a 1/2 here it goes.....

Cheeseburgers $1
Milk/Cheese (I'm not including skim milk) $4 (1 quesadilla, and pizza)
Taco Bell $1
Fried Food $4 (mostly french fries)
High Fructose Corn Syrup. this is an interesting one since I figured Coke was the only thing. Unfortunately for me my roommates decided more research was required. Ketchup and Caesar Salad dressing also come up with this. I have to re-think the whole thing now. $6
Smirnoff Ice $0 (thank God)
Alcohol $8.50

That puts the total to $24.50. No weight loss as of today, so I need to work a little harder on this. Keep in touch everyone, and remember to change your passwords.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Account Was Hacked

My Gmail was hacked this morning. Don't respond or send money.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Trying something new

Ok everyone, this isn't really going to be a long post, but I had an idea. Those of you who followed this blog from the beginning may remember that during Lent, I said that I was going to donate money for every soda and beer I consumed during the 40 days. When it was all said and done, $150 will be going to 'Hockey Fights Cancer.' My dad had cancer several months ago (it's gone now) and after playing hockey all my life, I feel like this is a great organization to give to.

So, what now then? Well, with 5 weeks to go before my triathlon, I would still like to lose more weight. Currently I am fluctuating around 237 (which is about 5lbs for me). Here's my pledge: I want everyone who reads this blog to choose a food or a item that I cannot consume in the next 5 weeks. Every time I break down and eat one of those foods, it will be $1 to charity. All alcohol will be $0.25. For every pound I lose, it will be $10 to charity. Whoever chooses the food that I break down and eat the most, I will cut a check for whatever the total is to a charity of your choice.

Please, let's keep the food to junk food, things high in sugar, high in fat, etc. I will accept food places as well, for example "Sarpino's" or "Mr. Gyro's" however, be aware you'd be better off just saying pizza, or cheese steaks. I will maintain my current workout schedule (3-5 times a week) and nothing else will fluctuate. I will do a final weigh in the weekend of the triathlon. I'll be on the honor system, and keep track on the blog.

Thanks everyone!

Monday, July 19, 2010

So I'm actually making a post within a month of the last one. Who's excited? All 10 of you I'm sure :)

I'm taking advantage of the fact that I receive per diem on my trips down here to Dallas. Every once in a while I get to treat myself to a fine meal that is overpriced, but makes up for the salads I normally eat. Tonight I had my second experience at Tom Colicchio's 'CRAFT.'

On this excursion I had a Wagyu Skirt streak with sweet corn, and for desert a chocolate bread pudding with cherries jubilee and vanilla ice cream. Let's start with the steak. The meat was well cooked (medium), very tender, and was truly a great cut of meat. Unfortunately, the meat was served a little cold and the sauce that accompanied the dish wasn't my favorite. I should stress that neither of these factors was enough to make me not finish the whole dish, so obviously it wasn't that bad. Again, for the second meal in a row, I felt that the side dishes really shined. The sweet corn was magnificent. I want to say some thyme and other spices were added, but it was a great compliment to the meal.

With desert, I was expecting some kind of soaked bread in chocolate, but instead was met with a sponge of chocolate bread (almost cake) that melted in my mouth and with the touch of cherries that was added, really thought I was in eating cake. Overall the meal gets a 3.5/5, mostly brought down by my meal being served slightly cold. I can't say I blame the chef or staff though as they had to time a lamb dish and my steak, which I'm sure through them off a bit.

Enough about the meal though. This past weekend my older brother, his fiance', one of my cousins and his wife all came in from NYC to Chicago for the weekend. A few bumps met them along the way here, but once they arrived I had an amazing time with them. They caught the Cubs game Saturday (unfortunately the only loss in a 4 game home-stand against the Phillies) and then sampled the local Goose Island Brews. Our waitress wound up being one of the most knowledgeable people on beer and was quick to give us all a recommendation on what to try based on what we had already consumed. Unfortunately for me, when I said, "I would love a surprise." she greeted me with a Bomber of "Demolition" which, while tasty, set me up for a constant state of being buzzed for the remainder of the night. \

After Goose Island I met up with a friend for her a BBQ she was hosting. I played some corn-hold with some folks and was quickly eliminated in my first game. It can be such a frustrating game when you get matched shot for shot each game, then make an error that gets capitalized on. But, that's how the breaks of the game go.

It was actually funny, but I now have a large scar on my shin, caused by a mishap in my training for the triathlon. So while at this party, the scab opened up a little due to drinking, and I got to answer what happened to me about every 10 minutes. I really love it when someone who's had one too many asks you a question you've answered several times already. In those situations, I feel like you have three responses.

1.) Give your truthful answer, be patient and just deal with it. After all, I chose to wear shorts during a 90 degree day in Chicago.
2.) Provide a large outburst about how I'd already answered several times already
3.) Make up a story.

My personal favorite is number three. Every once in a while you get someone just gullible enough to believe whatever I say and it makes for a good laugh.

Anyway, back to center Hanging out at the BBQ made me remember how important it is for me to take advantage of being home when I am to see everyone. I feel like I've been losing touch with people, and it's actually very important for me to make sure I don't lose all of the connections I've made over the years. It also reaffirmed for me that summer is quickly fading, and that I need to take advantage of every single day I'm not in Texas.

To wrap up tonight's post, shout out to Hamster. His birthday is this Wednesday. There will be a party Saturday for all who want to partake. Come join and be merry.

Good night!

Monday, July 12, 2010

Sad Sad

Well I'm sorry to say that this is my first blog in over a month. I've just fallen out of the habit of writing on a nightly/weekly basis. It might be that I feel like I have nothing to talk about, or just a lack of motivation due to my new job (still at the same company I was).

I'll start with some random tid-bits and factoids, and then proceed to my regular posts. Currently, my favorite song is "From now on we are enemies" by Fall Out Boy; hopefully the link works. In addition to my daily work outs....I'll let that sit in again, yes, daily work outs I am not experimenting with eating totally healthy. My dinner is on the way, salad, grilled chicken, dressing on side, skim milk and side of fruit. Honestly I think it sounds horribly boring. You might be able to guess that this whole attempt to eat healthy (despite the fact I ate Mr. Gyro's this weekend) is because I am still training for my triathlon. It's a little over 7 weeks away now. I think my goal of 1 Hour 30 Minutes is looking attainable. What's funny is it looks like my 2 weaker events, the run and the swim, will be where I make up time. It's taking me about 32 minutes to bike 20k. That's with a small warm up, and my last meal hours beforehand. I'm hoping with proper warm up, adrenalin and a good meal I can be even faster. Anyway, enough about that stuff.

In case you all forgot, I'm currently staffed in Dallas, TX. Overall, it's really not too bad. The biggest hassle is getting into a routine of it. I have developed some wonderful travel habits because of it. Rather than have a string of posts that involve my travel experiences, I'll do one large post to chronicle my adventures, and hopefully leave it at that, but I'm sure new events will pop up.

-To the family of 20 traveling together on the same flight: I think it's a wonderful thing you are all getting together. Really. I just want to drop some knowledge on you. When it's Thursday at 5:30pm, and you see 100 people with roller-boards getting on the same flight as you are, that is going to mean you have 100 people desperate to get home after being gone for a week who want to get back to family and friends. Most of us are experienced travelers (i.e. we know to take off our shoes at the security check in) and will get annoyed quickly by your ignorance and lack of worship. That being said, do not take the boarding time as an opportunity to continue conversations you could have had in the terminal. Please take your seat, sit down, shut up and get ready for a 2 hour flight. The aisles are generally for one way traffic, so you walking 10 rows up to say hello to your mother-in-law is not acceptable. I blame the 20 of you for making a 30 minute process take 45 minutes and causing us to be delayed by weather.

-The airline industry has turned into a caste system: There are those with varying levels of status (usually varying by some sort of metal or words like, "Exclusive" or "Executive"). These people (myself included) look down on the rest of the travelers around us. We can conduct the security check in like an orchestra, each piece of our travel-wear seamlessly removed and replaced without a moments hesitation culminating in a magnificent crescendo when we execute a laptop-to-bag||shoes on feet||one-handed belt back on pants without missing a beat. It's truly a spectacle to behold.

We can recognize which "upper class" tier each other belong to by the quality of dress, the type a breakfast being consumed (the highest usually bring their own herbal blend of teas or fancy coffees because Starbucks is so 2 years ago) but mostly it's in the salty looks thrown about. Next time you fly, find the saltiest person you can find, glaring at weaker travelers like a hawk. Odds are they have the most status, and are bottling up their anger at how these minions will ruin the flight. The upper-echelon people will also arrive to the airport solo, but will run into other uber-elite and being small talk to secure loose allegiances should the lower folk up-rise. Much like a game of asshole, everything flows downward, however, there is always that hope of climbing up the ladder.

Then there are those who have traveled in the last 5 years and know how the system works, but have yet to achieve true status. These are the middle-class of the travel system. These people will sometimes arrive together in smaller groups, but can also be found alone. They know the routines ("You mean cell phones CAN'T go through the metal detector?!?!") but are casual enough about the whole process to take their time and just enjoy the fact they are leaving wherever they are coming from. These folks are prone to simple mistakes like forgetting the 3oz. rule, or wearing too much jewelry, but make up for these mistakes by keeping to themselves and not making a scene.

Below them are the inexperienced travelers. These people will set off the metal detector several times before realizing they have a belt on, or will look at the security guard with sheer disbelief that shoes must be removed. They are also the people who will take 20 minutes at the self-help kiosk, call over someone for help, and then realize they aren't even in the correct terminal. With a preference to just go to the desk and have someone physically print out a ticket for them, arrive in a Hawaiian shirt even though they aren't going on vacation, the upper classes can't help but feel pity for these people sometimes. Occasionally a middle-class or bottom of the upper class will offer a sympathetic hand to these travelers, getting them through the confounded new technology, or pointing the way to the tram to the next terminal.

Finally, we have the bottom of the traveler caste system. Families with children. These travelers are frowned upon by all who see them. Carrying no less then 5 carry-ons for a mother, father, and anywhere from 1-3 children, plus the kids backpacks makes even the most battle-hardened road warrior cringe. Strollers in tow, these peons delay security with a frantic attempt to fold a horribly designed mode of transportation, walk 3-5 wide blocking the isles, and take up no less than 1 row of seats at the gate to accommodate their damn kids. Sometimes, an upper-echelon father (or mother) can be seen desperately trying to ferry his family through this labrynth of delays, and high tempers. You can see the sweat on their face, worried one of their allies will catch them in the act of transporting these refuges to safety.

The contempt all travelers have for these people....I wish I could convey it in words. Teenagers should be subjected to hours of sitting on a plane to the sound of a crying baby to be used as a tool against teen-sex. 20 minutes of that god forsaken noise in an air-tight compartment with no hope for escape can crack better people.

That was longer than I thought, I wish I had more time to give true justice to each traveler, but alas there isn't enough time.

-Most of my other rants involve carry-on bags, the weather, and overweight people, but just go by the idea that if you don't want someone to do it to you, you shouldn't do it either.

While on this project, I've actually eaten a lot of Indian food. I'm still not quite used to the spice, but I really have a new affinity for the genre after my experiences that started this blog. I had Malai Kofta the other night, and it was truly delicious. That and Biryani are going to be my 2 new stand bys.

Several weeks ago my roommate Sweet-Tea got "Settlers of Catan" for a birthday present. We've played twice so far and I am hooked. It's a well balanced game that's easy to learn, yet difficult to master. I personally would like to play the expansion edition, as I feel the current format (which lasts about 30-45 minutes) is a little too fast, and doesn't allow for enough wheeling and dealing to see who is truly the best settler. Just my opinion though, although if the game is good enough to win "Game of the Year" then it's good enough for me.

Sweet Tea also got me turned onto a book I purchased today called "Soccernomics." I would say it's a cross of "Money Ball" and "Freakanomics." It truly is amazing what we can learn from data and information. This book makes me want to go back to school for the sole purpose of doing more with statistics.

All right everyone, that's been quite enough blogging for one night. I don't want to over due it. In the spirit of giving the customer what they want, feel free to leave comments and let me know what you like, and don't like about the blog. Let me know what you want me to blog about, or stop blogging about. I always like input on this subject.

Until next time....