Why Does Watermelon Always Taste Better at Work?

 

Anytime I bring a watermelon to work for lunch, my quality control diminishes. I can’t quite get a beat on why.

At home, I savor the best pieces of watermelon and then leave the remaining edges of the melon in the fridge, where I hope they will be eaten by others. Sometimes, while I am throwing together a quick Screen Shot 2018-09-07 at 12.52.27 PMlunch, I humor myself by packing a baggie of the factory seconds that I abandoned earlier.

As hunger ensues, I head to the office fridge, grab the baggie, proudly walk with it in plain view back to my desk. Then it happens, the party starts. The watermelon pieces that I discarded as not being good enough are now prime pieces of fruit and I am enjoying them possibly more than the gluttonous party the night before.

If you can help explain this anomaly please do tell!

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Walking Tall

Last week I was at the Jack White show at the WaMu (Century Link) venue. These day’s Jack White’s shows are hit and miss. Don’t get me wrong, Jack is special and you are going to be blown away when you see him, but when he went solo, he started to get a little soft. He was playing a more of a country/bluegrass style than the raw rock he was playing when with The White Stripes and Dead Weather. The Raconteurs were great, but again, not hard rock like the aforementioned bands. So when you see a Jack White show, it is hard to know which Jack will show up. On this night in Seattle, the raw, Detroit fueled rocker took the stage and played a solid and hard rock show.

My senses were a bit more alive at this show because Jack does not allow cell phones at his shows (he is using a super cool start-up product, Yondr, who has created a locking cell phone case that you keep with you). Additionally, Jack’s sets are usually monochromatic and industrial. Tonight it was all blue and very visual.

 

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Christ the Redeemer who might be the tallest of them all.

The other element that completed this experience was that I had a clear view of the stage all night. I was midway back from the stage and literally, every person in front of me or within my view was shorter than me. Of everything I experienced, this was the thing that I reflected on the next day, which is how grateful I am to be tall.

 

There are not too many cons to being tall. A bumped head here and there. Planes and seating can be a little uncomfortable, tee shirts are never long enough (can someone please make a decent XLT tee shirt please?), but for the most part, being tall is awesome. I am on the low end of “tall” at 6’2″ and the past year or two I have been noticing more and more how tall I am compared to everyone else, especially in crowds. According to my Daddy, only 3.9% of U.S. men are 6’2″ or taller.  That is not a lot of people and the number gets much smaller the taller you are.

I am grateful for my height. It is not something that I could have developed, it was in my cards and I just got lucky. And for Jack? He is 6’2″ and also happens to be a badass so no hard feelings about you getting soft OK Jackie?

 

 

How Do You Motivate Yourself To Exercise?

Working out is not easy. If you are like most humans, you are met with a constant stream of internal discussions why you should skip exercising, “You need a rest day” “Your going to hurt your back” “Don’t worry, you will get it tomorrow,” I could go on and on, to infinity (Shinehead reference), but you get my point. In addition to overcoming mental roadblocks, there are also physical blocks (family, partner, wine, Netflix, sleep, etc) that are a constant battle.

If that were not enough, once you make that commitment to exercise, you then have to struggle with fatigue while working out, “You don’t need to do all 4 sets, 2 is fine,” I’m telling you, the struggle is real! When I am hitting the weights (especially when bench pressing), I pretend I just walked into a prison yard filled with shady characters who are sizing me up as I approach the bench. As I position the bar and get my hands aligned I can feel their eyes on me, in disbelief that I am getting ready to press so much weight. As I successfully finish my set and get up from the bench, the thugs part and I walk away unscathed.

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For the most part, I have overcome most of the demons that show themselves when it is time to exercise but it has not been easy. Probably my biggest motivator is my attitude and how I view exercise. For example, I don’t have to exercise, I get to exercise. Imagine how many people in the world who are not able to exercise that would love to be able to. If you can change your mindset to really appreciate that point, it will help a bunch. You will start viewing exercise as a positive versus a negative. Lastly, if you have children they are also great motivators. My 7 year old would often accompany me working out before she went to school in the morning. Having her in the room with me motivated me to have the best form, and to model the best habits that she will hopefully follow when she is older.

 

The Elusive Calzone

Newport Beach, California, 1987. I had just finished a surf at 54th street and starvation ensued. We parked by the famous Frog House and sauntered into an establishment that served up what would be the best Calzone I have ever had in my life! I am sure that my starvation played a key role in my fondness for the iconic meal I was about to have. It could have also been that we were in Orange County, in the mid 80’s and just finished surfing Newport Beach. There were a lot of stimulating elements at play. As for the Calzone, I remember a perfect overdoing of cheese, pepperoni’s, sauce and dough that would satisfy my hunger in a way I had not previously experienced. Everything was in sync. The proportions and each ingredient complimented the other (kinda like all of Kanye’s albums).

Fast forward to 2018. Last night I had dinner at La Vita E Bella in Seattle. As I was browsing the reviews online, I saw that a customer posted a picture of their Calzone for all the internets to see:

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At that point, I had already decided on another entree, but, the waiter had not yet returned to take our order. I immediately started to have flashbacks of that elusive Calzone I had 31 years earlier. All of the emotions and senses alive in me on that day in 1987 were returning as they had never left, only dormant until the right opportunity presented itself. I ended up ordering the Calzone and enjoyed the anticipation and endorphins that were flowing until my entree arrived.

And? Well, it looked exactly as the above picture illustrates but I was quickly let down. As with all other Calzones I have had since, none would match the intensity of that experience I had years ago. I immediately nicknamed it “doughball” and braced myself for the gluten express that my body would soon accept, albeit begrudgingly. This has nothing to do with you La Vita E Bella, you are great. This is internal.

At some point in each of our lives, we are all introduced to a “Calzone” that blows our minds. We may spend our entire lives trying to reproduce that nirvana. Some of us are successful in our search, and some of us are not. The key for me is to never stop searching. No matter how many bad “Calzones” I stumble upon, it is important to not give up hope and to keep searching.

I am still searching for that elusive Calzone and will gladly accept any recommendations you want to share!

 

Dropcam vs Nest Cam IQ Outdoor Camera

Ten years ago, security cameras are something that I would have never considered for my home (due to the complexity of installation and the expense). When Dropcam came along, it solved the problem of hardwiring a security camera and made it simple. I purchased a Dropcam (now Nest) a few years ago so I can keep an eye on the entryway of my home. The image quality has been pretty good and the alerts have been helpful. With my Dropcam, I can see when I get deliveries, visitors, and the random cat prowling around at 3am. This is especially helpful because I live by myself. In any case, having a security camera for your home is no longer a novelty item, it is a necessity.

There is nothing really wrong with my Dropcam, but I have heard a lot of chatter recently about the all new Nest Cam IQ Outdoor Camera so I set out to learn as much as I can, and investigate the possibility of upgrading. The first thing I learned is that they are much more expensive than my existing Dropcam which I think was less than $100. The Nest Cam IQ Outdoor are $ 349 each or $ 598 for a package of two (not an affiliate link).

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The second thing I learned is that IQ Outdoor comes with advanced features. One of my favorites is the facial recognition feature. You can read the overview of the features here. The third thing I learned is that they were sold out and unable to ship for 5-6 weeks at the time I was considering upgrading. This posed a problem as I was planning on heading out of town and having an upgraded security camera all of sudden became urgent. While searching the internets I stumbled on an eBay listing for the Nest Cam IQ Outdoor from a dealer and immediately bought it (especially because at the time they were sold out everywhere).

The first thing I noticed when I received the product is that the camera is noticeably bigger than my Dropcam and looks really nice. Everything it says it does, it does really well. The Nest Cam IQ Outdoor is a huge upgrade from my original Dropcam. What really surprised me is the quality of the image. Most reviews said there was no difference in the image resolution (from Dropcam). After I installed the new camera, I still had the old one installed so I can compare them side by side:

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That is a pretty noticeable improvement! Another bonus is that it integrates with my Google Home. All in all, the Nest Cam IQ Outdoor is a huge upgrade from my trusty old Dropcam. They are not cheap, but they are definitely worth the extra expense. They are super easy to install. It took me about 30 minutes tops. No hard wiring necessary provided you have an electrical outlet within 25′ of where you plan on installing it. I highly recommend that you add these camera’s to your home too.

What I am Thankful For Thanksgiving 2017

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Happy Thanksgiving! It has been three beautiful years since I posted about what I am thankful for. One of my biggest gifts in life is being grateful. Being grateful for me is akin to being the richest person on the planet. Being grateful is happiness. Being grateful is love. Being grateful is free.

Being grateful is not easy, it is something that you have to actively pursue. The good news is that if you work hard enough, eventually it will become second nature and you will begin to see beauty in things that previously were oblivious to you. Bad days will soon disappear and your friends will start calling you Pollyanna (this is a good thing)!

I have many things to be grateful for. My health is excellent. I have a great career. I have lots of choices each day. I have friends who genuinely care for me. The list goes on and on. But this Thanksgiving, what I am most grateful for is being grateful. No matter how challenging my life can be, I can always find something to be grateful for. That is a gift that will always bring me joy. May you also find the gift of gratefulness and may it bring you as much happiness as it has for me.

 

I Agree With Marshawn Lynch

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Former Running Back for the Seattle Seahawks (current RB for the Oakland Raiders), Marshawn Lynch, has gained notoriety for dodging the media. Time after time he would ignore the media’s self-serving questions and remain silent. The few times he would speak, he would often say, “I’m just bout that action boss.”

His statement says a lot about who he is as a person. In his world, talking about achievements, performance, etc. have zero value. Marshawn values action. Let’s take a look at some of his actions:

  1. His 67 yard run against New Orleans caused a small earthquake in Seattle (Now known as the Beast Quake). He plowed through tackler after tackler with an epic straight arm in the end as he launched himself into the end zone for a score. Marshawn Lynch is tough, and he does not give up.
  2. After an epic performance in High School, Marshawn Lynch was interviewed after the game. Rather than focus on himself, he applauded his linemen for their contribution and said if he had enough money he was going to take them to Sizzler. Marshawn Lynch is humble.
  3. Early in 2016, Marshawn Lynch retired from football. When he learned that the Oakland Raiders were moving to Las Vegas, he came out of retirement to join the Raiders roster in 2017. Lynch said he was inspired to come out of retirement by the team’s impending move to Las Vegas saying that he wanted children currently growing up in Oakland to be able to see a home-grown football star play for the Raiders before the team is gone. Marshawn Lynch cares about his community.

Now before you light up the comments section with a list of the things he has done that were not desirable (Hit and run, etc.), that is not the point of my post. The point is that you can get insight into who a person is by paying attention to their actions.

Personally, I strive to be kind to everyone. I am sure that there are times that my actions do not support that trait for whatever reason, but I am positive that the majority of the time I am kind to people, mostly because I genuinely love most people. When I am not kind, I am aware of it because it is important to me. An argument can be made for my definition of kindness vs yours and if you find yourself going down that road (especially in a relationship) then you are self-serving because your focus should be on your partners’ needs versus your own. Don’t believe me? Then read it for yourself.

I’m with Marshawn. I don’t want to hear about how great you are. I don’t want to hear how nice you are. I want you to show me, consistently, with actions.