Random Thoughts and Quick Hits from Florida

Sorry for the lack of updates this week. I have been visiting family in Florida for the holidays and have busy with that, plus I have not had internet access for most of the time. I managed to break away for a little bit to check my return flight information so I’d thought I’d spew a few snippets of randomness from the past week.

1. Family. It has been a nice trip and I love getting the chance to see everyone and spend some time together. The older I get, the less I seem to see my family but the more I enjoy it. At 25, I’m proud to say that my mom is my best friend, so it’s great to spend an entire week just hanging out and catching up. It hasn’t always been like this so now that it is, it feels pretty damn good. I’m a bona fide momma’s boy and wouldn’t trade family time for anything.

Well, almost anything.

2. Weather. Isn’t Florida supposed to be warm? It always has been in my experience anyway. Apparently I missed the memo announcing the change because it’s fricken freezing here, literally. The last two nights we have experienced record low temps in the 20’s and we’ve woken up to a beautiful frost on the grass. It feels just like home, which in most cases is comforting, but in this case it just sucks. In my infinite wisdom, I failed to pack any warm clothes, so I actually feel colder right now than I do when I’m back in the Northeast because even though the temperature gets lower, I’m at least prepared for it.

For my cold weather readers here: you know that guy that always walks around in shorts no matter how cold it is and just looks like a fool? Yea, I’m that guy.

At least I don’t look as foolish as the natives who are all bundled up with thick jackets, scarves, gloves, boots, and balaclavas (sidenote: it is never cool to wear a balaclava). Seriously, they look like they are dressed to hit the ski slopes. Come on guys, it’s not thaaattt cold.

3. Good reading material. As you can probably tell if this read blog with any regularity, I read a lot. I am always on the lookout for good new stuff to read and learn (got any good suggestions?) and I just came across some great stuff. Jim Kielbaso recently came out with a new product called Ultimate Speed Development, and I am almost finished reading all of it (tons of content). Jim is widely known as an expert in all things speed related, and speed development is something I am very interested in learning more about, so when I saw this product came out, I knew I had to check it out. It is well worth it. What I like about it is that Jim addresses the finer points of running mechanics while also providing clear and simple plans to follow. This makes it great for coaches and athletes alike and makes it well suited to people with varying degrees of knowledge. I will write a more detailed review once I finish the last little bit and have some more time, but I strongly recommend you check this out. You can check it out here.

4. Buyer Beware. I had put the Power Pushup on my Christmas List, and I guess I must have been a good little boy this year because Santa came through and got it for me. Problem is, it was not nearly as cool as I thought it would be. The pictures make it look awesome and the testimonials make it sound great.

You already know where this is going. In reality, it was a few flimsy bands and some thin and uncomfortable handles. Plus, the tension apparently goes to 180 lbs, but I’d be curious to know their method of measurement because it did not feel very hard at all. To be honest, I think the one I got may have been missing a few pieces, so perhaps that was the issue, but I sure as heck wasn’t going to brave the holiday lines to exchange it. Instead, I just sent it back to the North Pole (aka Sports Authority).

This highlights the problems with buying something before you see it. I’m not normally that stupid consumer that buys loads of junk off TV infomericals, but in this case, I guess I sort of was. What’s next? The Shake Weight?

I kid, I kid. Of course I already own the Shake Weight! Kidding aside, the Power Pushup wasn’t complete garbage, but it didn’t seem like something I would really use a whole lot so it wasn’t worth keeping it. In the end I got my money back, so no harm no foul. You win some and you lose some. The lesson: try before you buy.

The big wins: 2 gift certificates to Chipotle (my favorite place to eat) and a gift certificate to Marshalls (my favorite place to buy clothes…gotta stay classy). Score!

5. Ice Cream Disposal. I set a personal record yesterday in the ice cream parlour, polishing off three large ice cream sundaes in one sitting. These were good-sized cups too, complete with whipped cream, hot fudge…the works. I went with vanilla ice cream on the first, chocolate on the second, and chocolate/vanilla swirl for the third (yea, I’m crazy like that). This was all unplanned and done on a whim right after a pretty big lunch. I think I could have taken down a fourth if I had to, but, well, I didn’t have to. I had the first one and it was delicious, so my mom asked if I wanted another one, not thinking at all I’d accept. “Thanks ma, don’t mind If I do.” After number two, we were laughing and my mom bet me I couldn’t take down a third. Here’s a lesson for you. Never make a bet with an Italian when it comes to food. You will lose.

That was fun. Good times. I rarely consume a whole bunch of junk food like that, but when I do, it’s ice cream. That’s my favorite treat by far. You think Kobayashi does ice cream eating contests?

6. Movie Reviews. I saw two great movies this week. I have been largely disappointed with the movies that have come out in 2010, but I guess we’re ending on a good note.

The Fighter. This is awesome. I can’t really talk about the plot without giving it away, but I’ll just say that you have to watch it for yourself. It’s based on a true story, and it take places about 10 minutes from where I live, so it was especially coo for me. Here’s a cool fun fact for you. In the movie, there is a guy named O’Keefe that plays the role of a Lowell police officer. Well, that guys’ real name is O’Keefe and he is really a Lowell police officer. How cool is that? He had no prior acting experience but did a great job. Check out the trailer.

The Little Fockers. Hi-freakin-larious. Ben Stiller, Robert de Niro, and Owen Wilson are at their best here. This is good for lots of laughs. I have been unimpressed with the newer comedies as of late but this was really funny.

Next on the list to see: The Black Swan. Anyone seen it already?

7. Pats Nation. At 1pm on Sunday, almost out of habit, I went to turn on the Patriots game. Much to my dismay, they were showing the Jaguars and the Redskins! WTF??? Who wants to watch that? Judging from all the empty seats in the stands, not even the people in Florida.

Still, that is little consolation when you want to watch the game. Thankfully, my mom had the idea to go the local bar in town because the owners were from Boston. Sure enough, when we walked in, we were greeted by the game being shown on a giant projector screen and no less than 25 people wearing Pats jerseys. I kid you not. It was so beautiful I almost cried. It is great to see Pats nation spreading its wings across the country. I take great comfort in the fact that no matter where I go, I can always find a strong contingent of Boston sports fans supporting their teams and being downright belligerent. Home sweet home.

8. Popeye Eggs. I am admittedly not the most creative person when it comes to cooking (understatement of the century). For me, simplicity is crucial. Unfortunately, simple often means boring and bland. This week though, I picked up a great new egg recipe from my mom (geez, mom really came through this week) using spinach. It’s a great way to add flavor, texture, and nutritional value. Be sure to write this down because it’s a bit involved.

Step 1. Scramble eggs and put them in a pan
Step 2. Throw in a handful of spinach.
Step 3. Continue to scramble eggs as usual
Step 4. Eat

I told you it was complicated. It tastes really good and doesn’t take any more time. Plus, spinach will make you strong like Popeye. Do it.

I guess that’ll do it for this time. I’m off to go enjoy my last day in Florida (aka curl up in a blanket and shiver by the fire). Weather permitting, I will be returning home tomorrow and should be posting more regularly after that. I hope everyone had a nice holiday weekend and got to spend time with the people that matter most.