Sunday, March 1, 2015

What I’ve learned since moving to D.C. (some of which should be obvious):

3401.  First impressions are tied intimately to positive body language.  Strong posture, a firm handshake, smiling and opening your shoulders to the person you’re talking to will help ensure that your first impression is a good one;
3402.  The University of Virginia’s men’s basketball team has only won seven games in Chapel Hill against the University of North Carolina;
3403.  On February 2nd, 2015, the University of Virginia’s men’s basketball team beat a ranked University of North Carolina men’s basketball team in Chapel Hill for the first time since 1981;
3404.  You can’t give away what you don’t have. . . . If what you give out is self-respect and love, the universe will return the love and respect you’ve been radiating with increased abundance, happiness and opportunity. . . . If you want happiness and hope to give away (and more of the same to bequeath to your children), make sure love and respect are present in all your dealings with the world;
3405.  Stop focusing on the obstacles and start focusing on where you are going;
3406.  Tony Bennett is the only active (men’s college basketball) coach to have a win over all five active Hall of Fame coaches (i.e., Syracuse University’s Jim Boeheim, Southern Methodist University’s Larry Brown, Duke University’s Mike Krzyzewski, the University of Louisville’s Rick Pitino and the University of North Carolina’s Roy Williams . . . obviously they can’t beat themselves);
3407.  According to Dave, I’m not as shy as when we first met . . . progress;
3408.  Perfection is not attainable, but if we chase perfection we can catch excellence;
3409.  Mousse is basically a fluffier version of pudding;
3410.  Studying alone does you no good.  Study that does not motivate action isn’t useful.  It’s intellectual vanity.  It’s just something to make you feel better about yourself without taking any risk.  You must better yourself through action;
3411.  Six seconds of hugging is the minimum time necessary to promote the flow of oxytocin and serotonin, mood-boosting chemicals that promote bonding;
3412.  The White House has its own beer;
3413.  The Obama presidency is the first time alcohol has been brewed in the White House;
3414.  Aside from official state functions, the president pays for his own groceries at the end of every month;
3415.  By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail;
3416.  Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing;
3417.  The Constitution only gives people the right to pursue happiness.  You have to catch it yourself;
3418.  Well done is better than well said;
3419.  Never confuse motion with action;
3420.  Jim Morrison (the lead singer of “The Doors”) graduated from George Washington High School in Alexandria (in 1961);
3421.  The first organized act of civil disobedience (of the Civil Rights movement) was a “sit in” in 1939 at the segregated Barrett Library on Queen Street in (Old Town) Alexandria;
3422.  In 1909, Orville Wright flew back and forth from Fort Meyer in Arlington to Shuter’s Hill (now the George Washington Masonic National Memorial) in (Old Town) Alexandria as a flight demonstration for the U.S. Army;
3423.  The Wright Brothers were awarded the world’s first military airplane contract (in 1909);
3424.  The Happy Hour Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon (i.e., both Canyon Road) at Virtue (Feed & Grain) are (actually) pretty good;
3425.  If you're dining out on a budget, avoid ordering (inexpensive) pasta dishes.  It's almost always a better value to order a chicken or pork entree that has substantial ingredients.  The only exception is if the restaurant specializes in pasta;

Sunday, January 18, 2015

What I’ve learned since moving to D.C. (some of which should be obvious):

3351.  Be specific about what you want and take action.  Decide on one thing that you would like to work on and do it today.  Work at it daily rather than making it a long-range objective;
3352.  You are unique.  But the key is in knowing what makes you unique;
3353.  New Year’s Eve gets confusing when your school’s fight song is set to “Auld Lang Syne;”
3354.  I can now say that I’ve been to a Winter Classic (hockey) game;
3355.  Eric Fehr (of the Washington Capitals) really likes playing outdoors;
3356.  The Winter Classic has a playoff feel to it;
3357.  Apparently, you can make a banjolele out of a Danish butter cookie tin;
3358.  (Prime rib) au jus isn’t a bad steak sauce;
3359.  Be wary of playing Pictionary against Kelsey (Muka) and Kristen (Cunningham). . . . They’re telepathic;
3360.  “The Sheppard” (i.e., “Spike” Mendelsohn’s speakeasy) is named after Senator Morris Sheppard, who sponsored the Sheppard Bone-Dry Act (of 1917) that banned alcohol(ic beverages) in D.C.;
3361.  The Corvette engine in the Cadillac CTS-V has a nice roar/sound to it;
3362.  I can say that I’ve gone 105 mph on the Whitehurst Freeway (in Georgetown);
3363.  Corn Chex is a decent substitute for croutons;
3364.  You know it’s (freezing) cold when you can feel the biting wind through your gloves;
3365.  According to Scott Shane in his book, The Illusions of Entrepreneurship: The Costly Myths That Entrepreneurs, Investors and Policy Makers Live By, people who dealt drugs as teenagers are between 11 and 21 percent more likely than other people to start their own businesses in adulthood.  And their higher rate of self-employment isn’t the result of wealth accumulated dealing drugs, a greater likelihood of having a criminal record or lower wages;
3366.  In entrepreneurship, you’re the boss.  So it requires leadership.  And some research shows being super-smart actually makes you worse at being a leader;
3367.  According to Shane, studies have found that people are more satisfied with their jobs when they are working for themselves than when they are working for others.  In fact, the studies show that to be as satisfied when someone is working for others as s/he is when s/he is working for herself/himself, the average person needs to make two-and-a-half times as much money;
3368.  I need to work on my posture (when I’m sitting down);
3369.  I’m not a fan of button fly jeans(. . . . They’re so hard to button and unbutton);
3370.  (If you want) to get rid of (a lot of) the grease in your pepperoni, place them between a couple of paper towels and microwave them on high for 30 seconds;
3371.  I know someone whose taken photo(graph)s for Scott Weiland;
3372.  What do you need to do to be the 1st star of the game?  If you’re John Carlson, the answer is: Score the game winning goal against the (Detroit) Red Wings on your 25th birthday;
3373.  Tia is from (just) outside Raleigh, North Carolina;
3374.  Ariane is a morning person;
3375.  Ariane has relatives in Pennsylvania and Belgium;
3376.  Ariane is a rower;
3377.  Don’t find fault, find a remedy;
3378.  If you think you can do a thing or think you can’t do a thing, you’re right;
3379.  You can’t build a reputation on what you are going to do;
3380.  Most people get ahead during the time that others waste;
3381.  As President, Thomas Jefferson was the first person to stock the White House with wine (and he spent a third of his salary doing so his first year);
3382.  To do something really great, there requires a long obedience in the same direction;
3383.  (Fruit) preserves make pretty good yogurt mix-ins;
3384.  If you like oysters, go to Meridian Pint (MeridianPint.com) in D.C. on Mondays or Tuesdays for Happy Hour.  From 5 o’clock to 7 o’clock, they have a half dozen oysters with a pint of Founders Porter for $10.00;
3385.  I can now say that I’ve seen a top 5 (men’s) college basketball upset in person (specifically Georgetown beating then 4th ranked Villanova 78-58);
3386.  According to research from Gallup, companies fail to make the right person manager 82% of the time;
3387.  The people who find a way to succeed don’t make excuses;
3388.  Arctic char is like salmon;
3389.  I can now say that I’ve (inadvertently) been to a “March for Life;”
3390.  Don’t make lunch plans in Penn Quarter/Chinatown during the “March for Life;”
3391.  Glass covered, (ceramic) baking dishes (i.e., CorningWare) work well for storing cupcakes overnight;
3392.  Nothing says classy like using Dawn dishwashing liquid for hand soap (i.e., Mac’s Club Deuce in Miami);
3393.  “Area 31” (Area31Restaurant.com) has a great view of downtown Miami;
3394.  Apparently, a plane can be too heavy to land (specifically at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport);
3395.  On Monday nights, it’s ½ off (pork spare)ribs at Sweet Fire Donna’s (SweetFireDonnas.com) in (Old Town) Alexandria starting at 5 o’clock until they’re gone;
3396.  Pork spare ribs can be rather fatty;
3397.  Apparently, storing cupcakes in the refrigerator is bad (i.e., it dries them out), but (oddly enough) storing them in the freezer is okay;
3398.  Dr. Wasink recently conducted a study in the Atlanta and D.C. metro(politan) areas that suggested nearly 60% of grocery store purchases happened within 12 inches of eye level.  That being said, most of the cheapest options are on the bottom shelf;
3399.  Alexander Ovechkin is (only) the 5th NHL player to score (at least) 30 goals in each of his first 10 seasons in the league;
3400.  Research shows (that) most people decide whether or not they like you within the first seven seconds of meeting you.  Then they spend the rest of the conversation internally justifying their initial reaction;

Monday, December 29, 2014

What I’ve learned since moving to D.C. (some of which should be obvious):

3301.  At Lands’ End, a price ending in .00 or .50 is full price.  A price ending in .97 or .99 is a marked down price often a clearance or a temporary sale item;
3302.  At Best Buy, a price ending in .99 is full price or on sale.  A price ending in .96 is adjusted to beat a competitor’s price.  A price ending in .92 is a one-time price drop at or below Best Buy’s price;
3303.  If you don’t stick to your values when they’re being tested, they’re not values.  They’re hobbies;
3304.  If we amplify everything, we hear nothing;
3305.  The Sedins (i.e., Henrik and Daniel) are phenomenal passers;
3306.  (I can say) I was at the game that Joel Ward scored his 100th point as a (Washington) Capital;
3307.  Late at night on a weekday, you might want to double check when the last train leaves the Metrorail station. . . . At some places, the last train goes by a half an hour before the station (actually) closes . . . like at the College Park-U of Md (Metrorail) station;
3308.  Worcestershire sauce loses some of its flavor and potency after a couple of days;
3309.  Molly Galbraith’s 7 recent food epiphanies that set her free: 1.  Food is abundant in my life and I can have almost any food at any time that I want if I really want it.  Nothing is ever off-limits; 2.  I should stop eating an indulgent food at the point in time that the “payoff” (i.e., the taste) is no longer greater than the price (i.e., the calories). . . . I started recognizing that I would eat an entire pint of ice cream even though I couldn’t taste the last 2/3 because my tongue was frozen! . . . I make sure that everything I eat is utterly satisfying; 3.  I make sure that I’m only eating foods that I truly enjoy (even healthful foods).  When I do this, I find myself craving other things less (i.e., if I have buttery, garlicky, Brussels sprouts at dinner versus dry broccoli, I’m less likely to crave something more indulgent after dinner); 4.  I no longer stuff myself to the point of major discomfort/pain.  I just stop eating when I feel myself starting to get close to full. . . . I got used to stuffing myself on my “cheat day” because at midnight I had to stop eating and I was so scared of midnight hitting that I’d stuff my face from the time I got up until then; 5.  If I know I’m going to have an indulgent meal, I’ll fast a little longer in the morning (I don’t always fast, but I do enjoy waiting several hours to eat in the morning) or stretch out my time between meals to make sure that my overall caloric consumption is lower.  I also try to do a strength training workout that day, but I don’t stress too much if it doesn’t happen; 6.  I eat much more slowly when I’m indulging. . . . I’m an absolute fanatic when it comes to chips and queso and one thing I started naturally doing is breaking my tortilla chips into 2-3 pieces and taking smaller bites instead of mindlessly stuffing the whole chip in my mouth.  I eat more slowly, I eat less overall and it gives me something to keep my hands busy.  I also put my fork down between bites, drink water and engage in conversation; 7.  If I’m at my house and I really want something like ice cream or something, I’ll have a few bites and then stop, and I’ll tell myself that if I still want more in 20 minutes, I can have more.  I almost never want more(, but if I do, I have more!); and Bonus: There is no value judgment placed on food.  You’re not “good” for eating one thing and “bad” for eating another.  You’re not “on” or “off” the wagon.  You can have salad and cupcakes in the same meal . . . it’s not against the law;
3310.  I’m not a big fan of peaty Scotches (specifically Laphroaig);
3311.  I can now say that I’ve been to a Georgetown (men’s) basketball game;
3312.  Kangaroo (meat) is very lean . . . and dry;
3313.  The sweet chili butter (with jalapenos and English curry) for the mussels at the Red Star Bar & Grill (RedStarBar.us) (in Baltimore, Maryland,) is pretty tasty;
3314.  How do you take a tequila shot when you hate (the taste of) tequila?  The answer is: Take a lemon, douse it in hot sauce, bite it and then down the shot. . . . You can barely taste the tequila;
3315.  You learn more from your losses than from your gains;
3316.  Mary Lambert is pretty funny;
3317.  Heather Thomas (i.e., Mary Lambert’s drummer) is rather attractive;
3318.  According to Matt (Nathanson), playing someone else’s guitar is like masturbating someone else. . . . You know how to do it, but it feels weird;
3319.  Pat Monahan (the lead singer of “Train”) likes taking (audience) selfies;
3320.  Columbia’s “Omni-Heat” thermal reflective lining actually works;
3321.  Thinking of how she’ll feel about something is always a safe move to make sure your thoughtful gestures are received in the way you intended;
3322.  Bartenders don’t like it when you drink the random whisky shots left on the bar. . . . Apparently, they’re a dead man’s shots;
3323.  Lyon Hall (LyonHallArlington.com) (in Clarendon) has Happy Hour every day from 3 o’clock to 7 o’clock;
3324.  The “SJF” (i.e., Sobieski vodka, Barritt’s ginger beer & fresh squeezed limes) at Lyon Hall is pretty tasty . . . and so are the Thai curry mussels (i.e., rice vermicelli, coconut, lemongrass, chilies, spinach & basil);
3325.  Why would you (ever) make and/or wear ugly, holiday sweaters? . . . It’s another of the great mysteries of the world;
3326.  The 9:30 Club used to be (at 930 F Street, NW) in Chinatown;
3327.  I think a sign of how well you know someone is how easy or hard it is to buy presents for him/her;
3328.  The (mini) cake balls at Whole Foods (Market) are deceptively small.  They’re bigger than they look . . . and very sweet;
3329.  Megan likes Taylor Swift;
3330.  Some days, I really hate my job;
3331.  This thing called life is a miracle, each and every particle of it, and the holiday season is a celebration of the miraculousness of it all;
3332.  Live in the now and enjoy life one moment at a time;
3333.  The “holiday turkey and stuffing panini” (i.e., turkey, gravy & herbed, cranberry stuffing) at Starbucks is pretty tasty. . . . It’s (like) Thanksgiving dinner on a ciabatta roll;
3334.  Megan likes power tools;
3335.  According to Megan, she has stinky sweat;
3336.  Ariane is a hockey fan . . . and a (Washington) Cap(ital)s fan at that;
3337.  If you’re wondering if any place is open in (Old Town) Alexandria, Murphy’s Irish Pub is open every day.  There’s never a day it’s closed;
3338.  I (always) thought Stephen Hawking was American (after all his voice emulator does have an American accent), but he’s actually British/English;
3339.  Alan Turing was gay;
3340.  Apparently, you should flush with the (toilet) lid down.  Polluted water vapor erupts out of the flushing toilet (bowl) and it can take several hours for these particles to settle. . . . Who knew?
3341.  Get to a place of gratitude and you will experience peace;
3342.  Be in a state of gratitude for everything because there is something to learn in everything;
3343.  Be grateful even for pain because there are lessons to be learned from it;
3344.  When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change;
3345.  When you forgive someone, you let go of the resistance that is keeping you from your alignment;
3346.  Any resolution that involves making decisions about future behaviors is a waste of time.  It reinforces the self-defeating notion of living in the future. . . . Live in the moment.  This day that you’re living right now is the only day you get;
3347.  You are using up your present moments to worry about the future, constantly reviewing the past to come up with how you should have done it differently or contemplating disaster, remind yourself that you are wasting this particular present moment;
3348.  All of your thoughts about what you should have done or how terrible things were in the past will not change one tiny slice of the past;
3349.  Habits are changed by practicing new behavior;
3350.  Do an honest assessment of your “problems.”  You’ll very likely discover that almost all of your problems are really in your head and not located in reality;

Sunday, November 30, 2014

What I’ve learned since moving to D.C. (some of which should be obvious):

3251.  (I think) Tristan Prettyman’s drummer looks like Ron Howard. . . . (I think) she looks like Ellen Pompeo;
3252.  Eric Hutchinson is from Takoma Park, Maryland;
3253.  (Except for banana bread,) I don’t (usually) like anything mixed with bananas, but I’ll make an exception for the banana and chocolate dessert panini at barmini (minibarByJoseAndres.com) in D.C.  It’s pretty tasty;
3254.  The George Washington Masonic National Memorial in (Old Town) Alexandria (actually) has a theatre for hosting concerts. . . . Who knew?
3255.  (Carl Orff’s) “Carmina Burana” has 25 movements;
3256.  The ting from a triangle can be rather annoying;
3257.  The bass drum sounds like a cannon;
3258.  BRABO (BraboRestaurant.com) in (Old Town) Alexandria has a Sunday Happy Hour.  From 5 o’clock until close, it’s half off the bar menu and $5.00 for house red and white wines and Tecates;
3259.  Celery meringue . . . sweet tasting celery just seems odd;
3260.  Be open to everything and attached to nothing;
3261.  If you’re shopping for fresh beets, choose smaller beets over larger, tougher beets and pass over any beets that are cracked, shriveled or look very dry;
3262.  If the beet greens are still attached to the root, they should be crisp looking and not at all wilted or slimy;
3263.  Beets should be cooked with their peel on to preserve nutrients and to prevent their deep red color from leaking out, which turns them brown, making them unappetizing in appearance;
3264.  When cooking beets, you should leave about half an inch of the stem on so that the pigment doesn’t leak out of the top;
3265.  Once your beets are done cooking, peel the skin off while wearing gloves, unless you don’t mind (having) your hands stained a deep red;
3266.  People say everything happens for a reason.  I don’t think that’s necessarily true.  I think some things can just happen.  But I do think you can learn something from everything that happens to you . . . good and/or bad. . . . Of course, some lessons are harder to learn than others.  Some might require you to take a long, hard look at yourself, face the truth and be willing to take responsibility for your actions and not blame others for what’s happened to you;
3267.  The Glenlivet distillery is the oldest, legal distillery in the parish of Glenlivet;
3268.  Bourbon is whisky made in the U.S.  It has to be made with at least 51% corn and aged in new, charred, oak barrels;
3269.  I (still) haven’t gotten over Robbie. . . . I know she’s not perfect. . . . She has her faults and her vices . . . being human, we all do. . . . But sometimes I wonder if I can’t get over the “real” Robbie or some idealized version that I’ve made up in my mind;
3270.  (Your) looks get you in (the door).  (Your) personality determines if you stay;
3271.  It’s interesting how our tastes can change (over time).  After not eating a lot of sugar for three to four months, fruit, desserts and even some vegetables taste so much sweeter to me (now);
3272.  Failure isn’t (necessarily) bad as long as you learn from it and don’t make the same mistake over and over again;
3273.  Teddy Roosevelt used to live in the row house that’s (now) Eighteenth Street Lounge (in D.C.);
3274.  Almonds are packed with tyrosine, an amino acid that helps your brain create dopamine – a neurotransmitter that stimulates the brain’s pleasure center;
3275.  Broccoli contains chromium, a mineral that helps increase the levels of serotonin and melatonin in your brain.  That means a more level head and even mood.  In fact, chromium is being studied as a possible treatment for depression;
3276.  Spinach and clams are good sources of folate also known as vitamin B9 and vitamin B12, a known depression-fighting duo;
3277.  Saffron is believed to help make serotonin more available, much in the same way that Prozac does;
3278.  Vitamin D activates genes that release neurotransmitters like dopamine and serotonin.  Sunlight is a great source of vitamin D, which is why during the winter many people experience a drop in vitamin D levels and, subsequently, depression.  You can help replenish your vitamin D supply with eggs – specifically egg yolks;
3279.  Studies have found a connection between low levels of omega-3 fatty acids and depression, and though they are an essential part of brain health, the body cannot produce them on its own.  You can get them by eating fish like salmon;
3280.  Chocolate contains anandamide, a neurotransmitter that acts a lot like T.H.C. (the most important component of marijuana).  The sugar in chocolate also helps boost endorphin levels;
3281.  When our brains detect capsaicin, the compound in chili peppers that make them spicy, they release endorphins in order to calm the body down.  If the peppers are spicy enough, the result can be almost euphoric;
3282.  You can get married in St. Peter’s Basilica (in Vatican City);
3283.  There’s a truly magnificent side to the unknown, but we aren’t taught how to welcome it, let alone explore the breadth of its possibilities;
3284.  Ube ice cream tastes like (Danish) butter cookies;
3285.  The fish B.L.T. (specifically with salmon) and the apple slaw at Harpoon Larry’s (HarpoonLarrys.com) (in Newport News) are pretty tasty;
3286.  Apparently, there’s such a thing as a tattoo party;
3287.  At Gap, if the price ends in .47, .49, .97 or .99, it’s a discounted or clearance price;
3288.  At American Eagle Outfitters (“A.E.O.”), a price ending in .95 is full price and prices ending in .00 or .99 is a clearance price and your best bet.  Your single best strategy for holiday savings at A.E.O. is to wait until Black Friday/Cyber Monday weekend.  Go in to the store on that weekend or shop online and head straight for the clearance rack and look for items ending in .00 or .99.  Why?  Because they always offer coupons on clearance items that time of the year which will help you Christmas shop at close to 80% off the original price.  You’ll save 20-30% more than any other time of the year;
3289.  Prices ending in .99 are full price at Costco, ending in .97 are a discounted price and an asterisk (“*”) in the upper right hand corner of the price tag means it’s a clearance item.  So when shopping for Christmas gifts at Costco, always start by looking for items ending in .97 or with the * on the price tag.  The .97 and/or * always provides the best value.  Let’s say you’re buying your mom a coffee maker and they have three different brands for sale.  By buying the coffee maker ending in .97 or with the * on the tag you’ll end up getting the item for 20%-30% cheaper than anywhere else. . . . Be sure to start looking for deals now, don’t wait until Black Friday or early December as the more time you have the better your chances of finding a deal.  Costco notoriously carries quality brands across the board so stop being a brand loyal shopper and instead use the price tag code and shop for the best value. . . . Also, while at Costco, look for items that end in .00 (i.e. $25.00).  It is either a returned, unopened item that has already been deleted from the system or a one-of-a-kind item and is always the lowest price;
3290.  At The Home Depot, a price ending in .06 and on a yellow price tag means it is a clearance item and has six weeks until the next markdown.  After that six-week period, it will be marked down to .03, which means three weeks until the item is liquidated. . . . You’ll find some good Black Friday deals on tools at The Home Depot but few of the deals will be as good as the yellow tag deals ending in .06 and .03;
3291.  At JCPenney, .00 is the full price, .99 is the first clearance markdown price, .97 is the final clearance price and then the price will be cut in half every two weeks.  The absolute lowest price an item can get is $2.97. . . . JCPenney keeps its clearance section in the far back of the store and it’s usually stocked with great gift ideas like housewares, dishes, apparel, heating blankets, silverware, linens and pillows.  Look for items ending in .97 and, if they have a bunch of any particular item, wait a week or two, come back and the item’s price will be cut in half;
3292.  Look at the digital shelf tag at Kohl’s, particularly in the upper right hand corner.  If you see a “NM,” it means new markdown and the item will go on sale that night or the following morning.  “GV” means great value and is a limited time price drop.  “S” is simply a sale item.  While the NM can be somewhat elusive, the GV can be found fairly easily.  Look for the GV and only Christmas shop in those sections of the store.  By doing so you’ll save a minimum of 25% off your purchase. . . . Also, be aware that you can use a Kohl’s printable coupon on all clearance items.  So be sure to stack a coupon on top of your clearance purchase to save close to 50%;
3293.  At Office Depot, a price ending in a 1 (i.e., $18.21) is the first clearance markdown, ending in 2 is the second clearance markdown, ending in 3 is the third markdown, a price ending in 4 is the “holy grail” and represents the final markdown price and the absolute best value. . . . Office Depot marks things down every 7-10 days.  So if you’re shopping for gift ideas and stocking stuffers and they have an item at the first or second clearance markdown, wait and come back.  By Christmas shopping early you’ll have plenty of time to come back and get items only when the price ends in a 3 or a 4. . . . Items that present the best buying opportunities are as follows: basic office supplies, small electronics, printers, software, packing supplies and desk organizers. . . . Office Depot is notorious for unloading some great clearance deals on Black Friday.  Shop on Black Friday and instead of fighting over the door-buster deals, head for the clearance sections of the store for better savings;
3294.  At Old Navy, prices ending in .47, .49, .97 and .99 denote a clearance item. . . . The single best time of the year to shop at Old Navy, for both gift ideas and the ability to stock up for the following year, is Black Friday weekend.  You can easily save 65-80% off the original retail price on pants, sweaters, dress shirts, outerwear and dresses. . . . The real value of shopping on Black Friday at Old Navy is taking advantage of the clearance deals. . . . In-season styles are typically not that great of a deal. . . . Plus, Old Navy typically offers some great clearance coupons on Black Friday that you can stack for even more savings;
3295.  When shopping at Sam’s Club, check out the letter in the upper right hand corner of the shelf tag and look for the “C.”  This means the item is cancelled and is a clearance price and, thus, provides the best value. . . . Similar to Costco, Sam’s Club stocks quality brands and products across the board.  So if you’re Christmas shopping for your sister and she needs a new crock-pot, go to the one with the “C” in the upper right hand corner of the price on the shelf tag.  The “Cancelled” item almost always provides savings in the 25-35% range. . . . A price ending in 1 is a sale price and on clearance;
3296.  At Sears, .99 is full price, .97 is a discontinued item on clearance and .88 is the final markdown price. . . . Where in the store should you look for items ending in .97 or .88?  This works best in the tools section as well as in electronics and appliances.  The price will typically be close to 30% cheaper than Amazon.com. . . . Take advantage of additional Sears coupons and clearance deals on Black Friday for maximum savings;
3297.  At Target, a price ending in .99 is full price.  .04, .24, .88 or .98 is a clearance item. . . . Check out the upper right hand corner of the clearance sticker for the tiny little number.  It will say 15, 30, 50, 75 or 90 and that represents the percent off the original price. . . . Clearance items get marked down every 10 to 14 days. . . . When Christmas shopping, the best departments in Target are: electronics, apparel, shoes, small kitchen appliances, housewares and linens. . . . When looking for bargain gift ideas, always look for items where the store has many in stock.  By doing so, you’ll be able to start shopping early and use the price codes to your advantage;
3298.  At BJ’s Wholesale Club, a price ending in 9 is full price.  .00 or .90 is a manager’s special, discounted 10% per week until gone for a maximum of 60% off;
3299.  At Pier 1 Imports, a price ending in .95 or .00 is full price.  .48, .95 or .98 is a clearance or reduced item;
3300.  At PetSmart, a price ending in 9 (i.e., .09, .49 or .99) is full price.  A price ending in 7 (i.e., .07, .27 or .97) is a clearance or reduced item;

Sunday, November 9, 2014

What I’ve learned since moving to D.C. (some of which should be obvious):

3201.  Weltenburger Kloster is the oldest monastery (existing) in the world still brewing beer;
3202.  “Mezzo Mix” tastes like Coca-Cola with a slight orange flavor (to it);
3203.  There’s (an) Oktoberfest “cocaine” made from sugar and menthol;
3204.  I need to work on my snorting skills;
3205.  Germans don’t like to use credit cards.  They prefer (using) cash;
3206.  Apparently, “schwein schnitzel” is code for “schweinshaxe;”
3207.  “Huber Weisses Original” beer is pretty tasty;
3208.  Cuban cigars (specifically Habanos S.A.’s Guantanamera Minutos) are very smooth;
3209.  You shouldn’t put your (Cuban) cigar ash in your compost bin. . . . It stinks;
3210.  When (you’re) wandering around Munich, watch (out) where you’re walking . . . (like in the Netherlands, )they have designated bike paths, where they have the right of way;
3211.  Cola-Weizen isn’t half bad. . . . It’s like a shandy made of Coca-Cola and Hefeweizen;
3212.  Europeans (sure do) love their wafer cookies;
3213.  Coaching is making players/people do what they don’t want to do so that they can become what they want to become;
3214.  Success is not final, failure is not fatal: It is the courage to continue that counts;
3215.  You have enemies?  Good.  That means you’ve stood up for something, sometime in your life;
3216.  The price of greatness is responsibility;
3217.  We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give;
3218.  However beautiful the strategy, you should occasionally look at the results;
3219.  In 2006, being over the NFL salary cap could have been a million-dollar-a-day fine.  For something very minor, it could be a five-thousand-dollar slap on the wrist.  If it’s something really egregious, they could take draft picks away and fine you even more than the million;
3220.  I didn’t realize how much of your “core” you use (for stability) when you’re exercising muscle groups like your chest and back;
3221.  Nick Saban was an assistant coach at Syracuse (University);
3222.  It’s interesting that we can mourn people we barely know.  I wasn’t (particularly) close to my (paternal) grandmother.  I think I may have met her (only) twice (in my life), the last time when I was eleven years old.  I can’t remember her having said a (single) word to me (in either English or Cantonese), but when I heard that she had passed, I (genuinely) felt sad about it;
3223.  According to Luisa, I have muscles (now);
3224.  Cristina Scabbia (the lead singer for “Lacuna Coil”) is rather attractive (in person);
3225.  According to Varnia (i.e., “Nadia”), I have nice hands;
3226.  Tell people what you feel and what you need.  Be honest about it.  They might dislike you for a moment, but if you’re honest, they can never fault you;
3227.  In every baseball draft year, some 1,500 players are given the chance to see which half-dozen will emerge as undeniable major league stars and which 20-30 will survive as legitimate professional ballplayers;
3228.  Things do not happen.  Things are made to happen;
3229.  As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them;
3230.  Once you say you’re going to settle for second, that’s what happens to you in life;
3231.  Chris Bukowski (from “The Bachelorette”) (actually) hangs out at Bracket Room (in Clarendon) . . . sometimes;
3232.  (I can say) I was at Nicklas Backstrom’s 500th (regular-season) NHL game. . . . Too bad, I didn’t see him get this 500th (regular-season) NHL point;
3233.  After all this time (i.e., almost two years), my heart still beats faster and my mind still goes blank when Robbie’s around;
3234.  Why are (all) sweatshirts so ugly and/or boring (especially college sweatshirts)? . . . It’s one of the great mysteries of the world;
3235.  Apparently, I need to work on my annunciation. . . . When I say “boots” (some) women think I’m saying “boobs;”
3236.  Under certain lighting, I can see the bottom of my belly button;
3237.  If you want to stick to your healthy eating regimen while eating fast food/out, follow these three guidelines: 1.  Control your calories by avoiding breaded and deep fried items and excess dressings; 2.  Get as much protein as you can; 3.  Opt for vegetables over grains;
3238.  I used to think (that) I hated to cook.  But when I thought about it, the shopping isn’t (so) bad and the cooking (itself) isn’t all that bad (either).  What (really) sucks is the cleanup.  So I really don’t hate cooking.  What I (actually) hate is doing dishes;
3239.  There are (professional,) freelance, opera singers;
3240.  (I can say) I’ve done a shot of Everclear;
3241.  Drinking a martini from a plastic cup (specifically a red, Solo cup) just seems wrong;
3242.  Megan said I look “dapper;”
3243.  Fortune favors the bold;
3244.  I don’t want to just revolve.  I want to evolve.  As a man, as a human, as a father, as a lover;
3245.  Nobody likes rejection, but you can’t be afraid of it or you’ll never move forward;
3246.  It’s not a hill, it’s a mountain as you start out the climb;
3247.  For some reason, when it’s around Halloween or Thanksgiving, I’ve got the urge to try anything that’s made with pumpkin, . . . but, at any other time of the year, I (really) couldn’t care less;
3248.  No matter how bad you may feel, get up, show up, dress up, and never, ever give up;
3249.  The Sixth & I Historic Synagogue in D.C. has a bar (downstairs) in the basement;
3250.  (I think) Nick Howard (kind of) sounds like Jason Mraz;

Sunday, October 19, 2014

What I’ve learned since moving to D.C. (some of which should be obvious):

3151.  Apparently, I should wearing size “small” t-shirts;
3152.  It’s amazing how much better your clothes look when you wear the right size;
3153.  You (really) can’t run/jog when your calves are sore/hurting;
3154.  The Fillmore in Silver Spring is (like) the modern day version of the 9:30 Club. . . . It’s what I’d imagine it’d look like if it were built today;
3155.  Robert Zakaryan (the lead guitarist for “Adelitas Way”) looks like he’s having (a lot of) fun playing the guitar;
3156.  Your leg can fall asleep while you’re standing up. . . . Who knew?
3157.  Taylor Momsen (the actress and lead singer for “The Pretty Reckless”) has a set of pipes on her.  She can (really) sing;
3158.  Color can give an indication of the wood used to mature whisky;
3159.  Darker shades are not necessarily an indication of age.  Generally, they’re a giveaway that the whiskey was aged in a sherry cask.  The tannins that darken the clear liquor also dry it out, creating a richer, fruitier taste;
3160.  Lighter whiskeys, on the other hand, tend to show more vanilla and creamy characteristics associated with Bourbon cask maturation.  If you can see through your whiskey, expect oak lactone flavors, which are actually sweeter smells that – if you could separate them out – would resemble toffee;
3161.  To taste whisky: Take a small sip then roll it around your mouth like a mouthwash.  Then swallow the whisky and let your palate get used to the alcohol.  Repeat the process, but on the second go-round, open your lips slightly and draw in some air.  The intake buoys the flavor up the esophagus to the epithelium.  You’re now getting the entire effect of the drink.  Try to locate the areas of your palate most sensitized and the four primary tastes.  Once you’ve got a handle on all of that, you’ve basically drawn a taste map.  You’ll (now) know how you got to enjoyment and you’ll know how to get back (there);
3162.  To thaw thin cuts of meat, simply place them on a cast-iron or steel pan at room temperature – they will thaw in about an hour.  Or simply place chicken breasts, steaks or chops in a zipper-lock bag and submerge in 140-degree water.  The chicken is defrosted in 8 minutes; the others in just 12;
3163.  (I can say) I (now) own leather pants (specifically lederhosen);
3164.  Six ways to make the most of not so stellar wine selections: 1.  Chill it down.  As temperatures drop, flavors become muted.  Most of us drink our worthy white wine too cold, but just above freezing is the perfect temperature for lesser bottles; 2.  Adulterate it.  That is, make it a spritzer.  Or sangria.  Or the Basque specialty kalimotxo (i.e., red wine and Coke); 3.  If it’s red, drink it with mushrooms.  For reasons that wine-world pseudoscience hasn’t yet ventured to explain, umami-rich mushrooms tend to make ho-hum reds taste better.  If your wine’s specific problem is a sandpapery mouthfeel, add red meat: Fat and protein both neutralize rough tannins; 4.  If it’s sweet, drink it with something spicy.  Sadly, assertive cuisines like Thai and Indian tend to obliterate the delicious nuances of great wines.  Happily, they’ll also obliterate the unpleasant nuances of bad wines.  If your palate is busy dealing with garam masala or another intense spice combination, it’s not going to notice that your low-rent Riesling is lacking a bit in acidity; 5.  If it’s oaky, drink it while you’re grilling.  Does your cheap Chardonnay smell like a burning 2-by-4?  It may have been subjected to a process whereby big teabags full of charred wood chips were dunked in it prior to bottling.  No matter.  Smoky foods work well with smoky wines, and a charcoal-grilled burger is the best kind of distraction for your palate; and 6.  Drop a penny into it.  This won’t work on any old not-so-great wine, but if you have a bottle that smells like struck matches or rotten eggs, adding a penny to your glass might actually help.  Certain sulfur-related compounds can cause these smells and copper makes them dissipate.  Clean a coin, drop it in, swirl, remove and enjoy.  When it works, the difference is amazing;
3165.  To extend the life of an open bottle of wine, you need to a) expose it to less oxygen, b) slow down time or c) both;
3166.  Slowing down time is the simplest method.  All you do is put the cork back in the bottle and put the bottle in the fridge.  Chemical reactions happen more slowly at lower temperatures and oxidation is no exception.  This is true for reds as well as whites.
3167.  Exposing an open bottle to less oxygen is more complicated, but there’s a whole world of gadgets out there that purport to do this task.  There are two main approaches: pumps, like the Vacu Vin, which ostensibly suck air out of the bottle, leaving a partial vacuum; and cans of tasteless, odorless, nonreactive gas, like Private Preserve, that you spray into the bottle displacing the oxygen that’s there;
3168.  Putting the half-finished bottle of wine in the fridge is best.  Gassing it is second best.  The pump is the worst, and in some cases actively detrimental, as the vacuuming process seemed to suck out the aroma of the wine too (several models of pumps were tested with the same negative results each time).  But the most effective method was a combination of gassing the wine and putting it in the fridge;
3169.  Older wines oxidize (very) rapidly;
3170.  Mathias Kiwanuka( of the New York Giants)’s grandfather, Benedicto Kiwanuka, was (elected) Uganda’s first prime minister (in 1961);
3171.  Vince Lombardi coached the (Washington) Redskins;
3172.  Joe Paterno and Vince Lombardi were good friends;
3173.  You’d think the terminal your gate is (located) at would be printed on your boarding pass . . . nope, not when your (connecting) flight is through Logan (International) Airport;
3174.  It’s kind of hard to make your connecting flight when your boarding pass doesn’t say which terminal your gate is at;
3175.  Logan (International) Airport is the strangest airport I’ve ever been in.  It’s the only airport that I’ve had to exit so I can take a bus to get to another terminal only to have to go through security again to get to my (connecting) flight;
3176.  Don Shula coached the (Baltimore) Colts;
3177.  It’s kind of hard to make your connecting flight when your boarding pass and the departure boards don’t say which gate your flight is at;
3178.  If you’re flying (on) Iberia from Adolfo Suárez Madrid-Barajas Airport (in Spain) and your boarding pass doesn’t say what gate your flight is at, go to one of Iberia’s customer service stations and check the departure boards (located) there;
3179.  John Elway’s dad, Jack, coached at San Jose State;
3180.  Bavarian food is very “heavy.”  It includes a lot of meat (especially pork) and dumpling (either potato or bread) dishes;
3181.  Germans tip between 5-10%;
3182.  They don’t have vanity plates in Germany;
3183.  In German(y), an “eagle” (spelled “igel”) isn’t a bird.  It’s a hedgehog;
3184.  In Bavaria(, which includes Munich), stores close by 8 o’clock and don’t open on Sundays except for restaurants, bars and gas stations and bakeries on Sunday morning(s);
3185.  Leberkäse (i.e., Bavarian meatloaf) tastes (a lot) like a hot dog;
3186.  I find it interesting (that) for a society that’s such a stickler for following (the) rules, there are certain laws (that) Germans will even break . . . like speeding;
3187.  Oktoberfest (in Munich) is one big tent city and a carnival mixed together;
3188.  The dirndl must’ve been one of the world’s first push-up bras;
3189.  Most houses in Germany are made using cinder blocks;
3190.  In Germany, don’t turn off the switch with the red light.  It’s the switch to the water heater;
3191.  In Germany, there are no right turns on red unless there’s a specific sign (present) indicating it’s allowed;
3192.  At first, it seems like dirndls and lederhosen are all the same, but if you look closely, you’ll notice they vary quite a bit in (the) details, (the) materials and (the) quality;
3193.  Some kinds of sauerkraut taste like coleslaw;
3194.  The “Kaiserschmarrn mit Apfelmus” (i.e., a cut pancake with almonds, raisins and mashed apples) at Zum Augustiner (Augustiner-Restaurant.com) (in Munich) is really tasty;
3195.  What do you get when some (random) drunk guy (dressed) in lederhosen tries to stand (up) on your table?  The answer is: Four broken masses (i.e., mug glasses), a bleeding (random) drunk guy (dressed) in lederhosen and a cut (index) finger;
3196.  Bavarians (do) love (their) pretzels;
3197.  German vanilla sauce is delicious;
3198.  The beer they serve at Oktoberfest (in Munich) is a special brew with a higher alcohol content (than usual);
3199.  The Germans (sure do) love their John Denver (especially “Take Me Home, Country Roads”);
3200.  German “Getränkemarkts” put U.S. beer stores to shame;

Monday, September 15, 2014

What I’ve learned since moving to D.C. (some of which should be obvious):

3101.  Body fat (really) isn’t a very good source of energy (at all).  It could’ve been stored there for years.  So it’s not a fresh energy source;
3102.  (I think) I might’ve witnessed a first . . . (I think I saw) a bicep vein popping out;
3103.  An Alice Cooper concert is very theatrical.  It’ll probably be the only concert you’ll see someone get his/her head cut off with a guillotine;
3104.  Vince Neil looks old (and fat);
3105.  A (beach) towel makes a decent (makeshift) poncho;
3106.  Tommy Lee can play the drums upside down;
3107.  Cayenne pepper and ginger increase your metabolism and (your) core body temperature;
3108.  (It sounds crazy, but) green peppers, mushrooms, pineapple and jalapeño peppers (actually) make a (pretty) good pizza combination. . . . Who knew?
3109.  Mini sweet (bell) peppers may be my favorite new (healthy) snack;
3110.  You can have any life you want.  You can persevere.  Anything you want, you are entitled to it.  There are no limits on you if you don’t put them on yourself;
3111.  A(dding a) little peanut butter will give your (quick, one-minute) oatmeal some flavor;
3112.  What does it mean if you’re wearing a white mask in Chinese opera?  The answer is: You’re (probably) the bad guy;
3113.  The guban (i.e., a small, high-pitched drum and wood clapper) used in Chinese opera is pretty annoying;
3114.  It costs about 2,000 euros to get a driver’s license in Germany;
3115.  Leptin is a key signaling molecule that controls the relationship between fat reserves, appetite and energy expenditure;
3116.  Decreased leptin signaling in the brain leads not just to hunger, but also to increased metabolic efficiency;
3117.  People who eat fish regularly tend to have lower levels of the hormone leptin in their body.  Since higher levels of leptin have often been associated with a decreased rate of metabolism, fish has become an essential food for anyone trying to lose fat;
3118.  Most people get fat from eating too many carbohydrates, eating carbohydrates alone and eating them late at night;
3119.  What people should do is eat carbohydrates in combination with complete proteins and good fats;
3120.  Eating carbohydrates alone will lead to an increase in blood glucose.  This increase in blood glucose causes an over release of insulin and then triggers a fat storage response by the body.  This triggers the body’s hunger mechanism as well as its sugar craving mechanism;
3121.  When carbohydrates are combined with proteins and fats, glucose in the blood stream is buffered by the metabolites of the consumed proteins and fats.  This will not lead to an over release of insulin and, thus, not fat storage, hunger or sugar cravings;
3122.  When you are sleep deprived, your body reacts in different ways on a hormonal level, which can impede weight loss;
3123.  During times of sleep deprivation, your body is on high alert thinking that there is a danger (or else you would be sleeping), so your metabolism slows down to conserve energy.  Second, your appetite is higher (due to elevated levels of cortisol) looking for food for more energy.  Third, your food choice becomes effected in that your body tends to crave high carbohydrate, high fat foods because they help produce serotonin, which helps calm you down from this aroused state;
3124.  To make size gains, you need at least one gram of protein per pound of your body weight to support optimal growth;
3125.  To get lean, you may increase your protein to as many as 1.5 grams per pound of body weight;
3126.  If you feel like you’re not recovering from training or you’re losing muscle, up the protein (intake) fast;
3127.  The best protein sources are eggs, chicken, fish, lean beef, turkey, quinoa (for vegetarians) and protein powder;
3128.  A three-ounce portion of lean meat or fish is about the size and thickness of the palm of your hand and contains 20-25 grams of protein, 5 grams of fat or fewer and 0 carbohydrates;
3129.  Research, including a study at the University of Washington School of Medicine, has found that exercise – particularly strength training – increases insulin sensitivity in the muscles.  So if you’ve just worked out, more of the carbohydrates you eat afterward will be carried by insulin directly to your muscles for replenishment.  Incidentally, this goes for protein too, which is why it’s helpful to consume a mixture of protein and carbohydrates after training;
3130.  According to John Meadows, C.S.S.N., a nutrition coach and national-level bodybuilder, if someone is in fat-loss mode, s/he should limit carbohydrates to pre-, intra- and post-workout meals, when they’ll go to where you want them – that is, to muscle tissue;
3131.  For muscle gain, Meadows prefers to add carbohydrates (shakes included) to meals around training time first, before adding them to other meals;
3132.  Carbohydrate foods include potatoes, sweet potatoes, rice, oats, fruits and vegetables;
3133.  Fruits should be consumed in their whole-food form and limited to two or three pieces daily (excess fructose, the sugar in fruit, is stored as fat);
3134.  Green vegetables can be eaten steadily regardless of the goal;
3135.  Eat one gram of carbohydrate per pound of your body weight when dieting and two grams per pound when you want to put on muscle;
3136.  A fist-size portion of cooked rice or potatoes is about one cup and gives you 40-45 grams of carbs and negligible protein and fat;
3137.  Fat, particularly the much-maligned saturated kind, helps in the creation of testosterone, which does everything from getting you big and lean to keeping your “little friend” ready to say hello;
3138.  Contrary to popular opinion, when dieting, you don’t need to drop your fat intake much, if at all; fat loss comes fastest when carbohydrate intake is reduced;
3139.  Most of your fats should come by way of your protein foods, but avocados, nuts, seeds and a small amount of oil like coconut and olive oil can be included as well;
3140.  Aim for 0.4 grams of fat per pound of your body weight daily to start.  One tablespoon of any oil is about 15 grams of fat and one cup of almonds or peanuts has 70 grams of fat.  Two tablespoons of nut butter is about the length of your thumb and contains 15-20 grams of fat;
3141.  Research hasn’t yet clarified the optimal amount of protein or carbohydrates you should eat around workouts for the maximum benefit.  But it is clear that some is better than none and the presence of both is crucial;
3142.  A 2006 study in the European Journal of Applied Physiology gave male subjects one of the following to consume after weight training: a 6 percent carbohydrate solution, six grams of amino acids (components of protein), a combination of both or a placebo.  Those drinking the carbohydrate and amino acids shake experienced greater muscle gains than any of the other groups, which the researchers presumed was because the concoction did the most to reduce muscle protein breakdown after training;
3143.  Meadows recommends taking in 25-50 grams of protein, 25-35 grams of carbohydrates and 10 grams of fat before training.  Afterward, consume another 20-40 grams of protein and 40-80 grams of carbohydrates – you can begin chugging this shake during the workout as well to limit muscle breakdown even further, though this may not be necessary and could upset your stomach;
3144.  It’s recommended to make shakes with whey isolate or hydrolysate as the protein source and Vitargo or highly branched cyclic dextrin for the carbohydrates;
3145.  If powders and shakes aren’t in your budget, you can go old-school and eat fruit pre- and post-workout.  One or two pieces should provide enough carbohydrates to halt muscle breakdown.  And a lean three-ounce slice of protein to accompany it is fine;
3146.  I can do a pull-up (five actually);
3147.  Thomas Jefferson is credited with bringing the eggplant to the United States;
3148.  When a hard-boiled egg is difficult to peel, it means it’s very fresh;
3149.  A cloudy egg white means the egg is very fresh; a clear egg white indicates aging;
3150.  Apparently, I’ve been wearing the wrong sized t-shirts all (of) this time;