Friday Findings 11/3/17

Daylight Savings Time Folks!

I’m two days late on my Friday Findings, so thank you all for waiting. On Friday, I attended the Caribbean Wedding of my dreams – Congratulations to Andre and Anielisa! Live long and prosper

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Dancing in the clouds

What’s On My Mind? 

On Halloween, my great city of New York dealt with another deranged ISIS sympathizer who killed 8 innocent souls and injured a dozen more. The terrorist previously struggled financially with his trucking business and did poorly as an Uber driver. Instead of making adjustments to his life, he took out his frustrations on others. In America, we have a constitutional right to due process. In my opinion, the clear evidence of his actions and his confession are due process enough. I refuse to spend another dollar of my money to support his livelihood. We should skip Gitmo and send him to hell, where he belongs. 

What I’m watching/reading/listening to:51acdmwwg1l-_sl500_

“Ready Player One” by Ernest Cline and narrated by Wil Wheaton on Audible

I’ve been listening to the audio version of this novel and I’m enjoying it A LOT. For all my gamer/nerd friends, you will love the constant references to the 80s, various gaming consoles, dungeons and dragons etc. Wil Wheaton does a great job of bringing the characters to life and this one is absolutely worth your time! 16 hours listening, but only 12 when played on 1.25x =)

Publisher’s Summary:

At once wildly original and stuffed with irresistible nostalgia, Ready Player One is a spectacularly genre-busting, ambitious, and charming debut – part quest novel, part love story, and part virtual space opera set in a universe where spell-slinging mages battle giant Japanese robots, entire planets are inspired by Blade Runner, and flying DeLoreans achieve light speed.

It’s the year 2044, and the real world is an ugly place.

Like most of humanity, Wade Watts escapes his grim surroundings by spending his waking hours jacked into the OASIS, a sprawling virtual utopia that lets you be anything you want to be, a place where you can live and play and fall in love on any of 10,000 planets.

And like most of humanity, Wade dreams of being the one to discover the ultimate lottery ticket that lies concealed within this virtual world. For somewhere inside this giant networked playground, OASIS creator James Halliday has hidden a series of fiendish puzzles that will yield massive fortune – and remarkable power – to whoever can unlock them.

For years, millions have struggled fruitlessly to attain this prize, knowing only that Halliday’s riddles are based in the pop culture he loved – that of the late 20th century. And for years, millions have found in this quest another means of escape, retreating into happy, obsessive study of Halliday’s icons. Like many of his contemporaries, Wade is as comfortable debating the finer points of John Hughes’s oeuvre, playing Pac-Man, or reciting Devo lyrics as he is scrounging power to run his OASIS rig.

And then Wade stumbles upon the first puzzle.

Suddenly the whole world is watching, and thousands of competitors join the hunt – among them certain powerful players who are willing to commit very real murder to beat Wade to this prize. Now the only way for Wade to survive and preserve everything he knows is to win. But to do so, he may have to leave behind his oh-so-perfect virtual existence and face up to life – and love – in the real world he’s always been so desperate to escape.

My Photo of the Week

Marching in the Halloween ParadeIMG_3919

Great Recent Purchase Taiyaki Ice Cream Cone (assorted flavors) $7

Drea finally got me to try Taiyaki NYC, a hole in the wall ice cream shop known for their customized “cones” which look like fish and have red bean paste in them. We picked up a matcha/black sesame flavored cone, and it was awesome. It’s pricey for ice cream at $7 bucks, but worth trying once.IMG_8125

 

What’s Biggie Smalls Up to?

His favorite dog park attraction shut down for the season, and he’s not pleased about it…

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Friday Findings 10/27/17

Happy Friday everyone!

What’s on my mind?

Catalonia Declares Independence! Shortly after Catalonia formally declared independence, Madrid fired the government, dissolved the regional parliament and ordered new elections, escalating the biggest political crisis for Spain in decades.

As an outside observer, I sympathize with the people of Catalonia who feel that the Madrid-centric government takes more than it provides to the region and views them as second class citizens. I also think that people are taking the Barcelona/Real Madrid rivalry too far…

Anyway now, how will the EU deal with Catalonia? What happens to visas and passports for EU citizens working in Catalonia? Who now represents the voices of those who don’t want to “leave” Spain? I have a feeling that things are about to get a lot worse before they get better.

 

What I’m listening to/watching/reading

“Mindset” by Carol Dweck. I’m 64 pages in – this book is topically fascinating and reads like a page turner, not a graduate level dissertation.

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From Amazon: 

After decades of research, world-renowned Stanford University psychologist Carol S. Dweck, Ph.D., discovered a simple but groundbreaking idea: the power of mindset. In this brilliant book, she shows how success in school, work, sports, the arts, and almost every area of human endeavor can be dramatically influenced by how we think about our talents and abilities. People with a fixed mindset—those who believe that abilities are fixed—are less likely to flourish than those with a growth mindset—those who believe that abilities can be developed. Mindset reveals how great parents, teachers, managers, and athletes can put this idea to use to foster outstanding accomplishment.
In this edition, Dweck offers new insights into her now famous and broadly embraced concept. She introduces a phenomenon she calls false growth mindset and guides people toward adopting a deeper, truer growth mindset. She also expands the mindset concept beyond the individual, applying it to the cultures of groups and organizations. With the right mindset, you can motivate those you lead, teach, and love—to transform their lives and your own.

 

My Photo of the Week

Special of the day: Tuna Collar @ Au Pied De Cochon Montreal.

This tantalizing plate features the tuna collar of a 465lb Bluefin Tuna and a ponzu sauce made with bone broth from the spine of the fish. More importantly, there is akami and chutoro nigiri, foie gras & peanut butter nigiri w/ bonito flakes, eel nigiri, and tuna tartare with creme fraiche and sturgeon caviar. Also, the “foil” is edible silver. Life is grand!

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Great Recent Purchase

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Bogle Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon ($11). I appreciate wine at all price points, and I’ve been buying multiple bottles of this one lately. It’s a great value, has a bold mouthy flavor profile and finishes quite smoothly.

 

What’s Biggie Smalls up to?

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His first play date and sleepover party with Carol! Thanks to Carlos and Ellyn for taking care of these two souls while Drea and I were out of town =)

Friday Findings 10/20/17

Happy Friday my dear readers,

The Yankees are ONE victory away from the World Series- LET’S GO YANKEES!

What’s On My Mind: I’ve been a long time fan of the Total War Series for PC, and the latest game, Warhammer 2 is no exception. Post launch, a new campaign has been added free of charge for owners of Warhammer 1+2 called the “Mortal Empires” campaign. I’m excited to play this mega-campaign featuring all the legendary lords from both games, which will offer increased racial and play-style diversity. Here is the campaign map!

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What I’m reading/watching/listening to: Jocko Willink‘s new book: “Discipline Equals Freedom Field Manual” We are the average of the five people we spend the most time with, and I’m working hard to improve myself physically and mentally with guidance and inspiration from Jocko Willink. His life’s work and living principles are a north star for me, and I hope you guys can take in even just an ounce of his wisdom. I’m certain that listening to his podcast and reading this book will improve your ability to negotiate business, relationships and life.

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My Photo of the Week:

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Drea crushes some delicious BBQ Chicken Feet at Jing Fong Restaurant during Saturday Dim Sum in Chinatown, NYC ❤

Great Recent Purchase: Nespresso Essenza Mini (Ruby Red) I picked up this wonderful compact little espresso maker in the Nespresso Soho NYC store over the past weekend for only $105 (30% off $149.99 price). I think it’s listed for higher online but the $150 price should be obtainable if you guys look online. It makes amazing espressos (1.35oz), americanos and lungos (double sized espressos) for less than $1/capsule, and it’s a great bit of affordable luxury to kick off your day. It takes less than 10 seconds to heat up and start serving, so I’ve saved quite a bit of time as well.

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What’s Biggie Smalls Up To? Happy Howl-o-ween!

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Friday Findings 10/13/17

Happy Friday Readers!

I used to be mildly intrigued about the spookiness of Friday the 13th, but now I’m just excited for the weekend

What’s On My Mind This Week: The highs and lows of sports

This week, the New York Yankees overcame a 2-game deficit and won three in a row to eliminate the Cleveland Indians and advance to the ALCS. Cleveland was the best regular season team in the AL and won 102 games this year, following last year’s World Series appearance. Over the summer, the “Windians” rode an epic 22-game winning streak, the longest in baseball history. By contrast, The 2017 Yankees were a rebuilding project with muted expectations. Hats off to Joe Girardi and the nucleus of young ballplayers (Judge, Sanchez, Severino, et al.) who defied the pundits. We are now 4 wins away from the World Series– go Yankees!

https://www.mlb.com/yankees/video/share/yanks-advance-to-their-16th-alcs/c-1862763183?tid=8878548

Also this week, the US Men’s Soccer National Team failed to qualify for the 2018 World Cup in Russia, losing to Trinidad and Tobago. What an epic fail… this loss is the defining legacy for the current generation of players on the USMNT. Now it’s time to CTRL+ALT+DEL

What I’m reading/watching/listening to:

Residente’s new self-titled album “Residente”. Residente ( René Pérez Joglar) is a rapper, singer, writer, producer, film director, and, with his stepbrother Visitante (Eduardo José Cabra Martínez) co-founder of the award winning rap group Calle 13. They have won 24 Latin Grammys, the most awarded to a single group in Latin music history. Residente possesses a Fine Arts degree and is known for his social and humanitarian work on behalf of UNICEF and Amnesty International (Thx to Drea for the find)

Album Background (Wikipedia)

A few years before the album’s release, Residente took a DNA test that revealed his roots trace back to 10 different locations around the World, including Armenia, Ghana, China and his homeland Puerto Rico. Such diversity inspired him to produce what would later result in a solo album, a documentary and a book released via Fusion Media Group (Univision Communications) under the same common title Residente. He signed a five-year production deal with the label.

The album was written and recorded over the course of two years and saw Residente travel around the world to the places where his roots are, including Siberia, Moscow, China, the Caucasus, France, Spain, England, Armenia, Ossetia in Georgia, Antigua, Ghana, Burkina Faso and Niger, aside from Puerto Rico.

In all those places, he worked with local, mostly amateur or unknown artists, some of which poor or affected by war. Despite this, Residente rejects the idea of it being a world music album because he “wanted to do something new”. All of them will be paid for their royalties. He also said:

“I collaborated with talented artists, artists that the musical industry doesn’t know of because they don’t pay attention to them, artists that make music without expecting something in return, artists whom I share DNA with, just how they shared their stories with me.”

About the album’s general sound, he said “at a sound level it is not the most organic [album he’s ever made], but the most real and precise. All sounds are from those countries, the drums, the voices, anything that sounds comes from that place.”

Parts of the pre and post-production of the album were done at Loisaida Center in New York City. Residente also worked at Electric Lady Studios in West Village.

The album deals with themes such as equality and unity. Though Residente’s initial approach to his trips were mainly musical, he was inspired by his conversations to focus on the subject of race. Despite being produced much before Donald Trump won the 2016 United States presidential elections, Residente admits its themes could relate to the scenario of the time of its release: “I think that… the topic now is even more relevant because of what is happening with Trump and not only Trump, because there’s a lot of racism around the world. […] We all came from the same place, even though we are different, we are equally different”.

Residente intends to release an English language version of the album and has already translated all lyrics with the help of Puerto Rican poet Urayoán Noel, associate professor at New York University. The effort will be put out depending on Residente’s satisfaction with it.

Great (not so) recent purchase:

Nevados Men’s Boomerang II Mid Hiking Boot ($32)

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Do not overspend on branded hiking boots that can cost up to $200! I got a pair of these boots 3+ years ago and they have served me superbly on my hikes in the northeast. This is not a paid advertisement, and I do not get paid for these links.

My Photo of the Week:

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Hiking Mount Mansfield – 4,393 ft (VT) – Sunset Ridge Trail to the “Chin” of the mountain

What’s Biggie Smalls up to?

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Chewing on his bone, forever

Friday Findings 10/6/17

To my dear readers,

TGIF! What a sad/crazy week it’s been. If there is any silver lining from the Las Vegas mass shooting, it’s that we are finally talking about legislating “bump stocks” which can turn semis into autos for as little as $99. On Thursday, the NRA endorsed tighter restrictions for these devices. But talk is cheap, let’s get it done. What is a Bump Stock and how does it work? (interactive)

The Coolest thing I saw on RedditGas station worker takes precautionary measures after customer refused to put out his cigarette

What I’m watching/listening to/reading:  Comedian Anthony Jeselnik’s “Thoughts and Prayers” Netflix Special, about how people run to social media after a tragedy and make it about themselves

Great recent purchase: “Faturday” came a day early this week, courtesy of La Bergamote in Chelsea. Located on the corner of 9th Avenue and 20th Street, this Parisian inspired patisserie/bistro has a comfy neighborhood feel and offers an excellent assortment of croissants, pastries and desserts. I think it’s a great spot for a casual breakfast/brunch. I recommend the pain au chocolat, the croissant aux amandes and assortment of fruit tarts. The cappuccino and coffee are well made too.

My Photo of the week: “THE ONLY MAGIC I STILL BELIEVE IN IS LOVE”

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What’s Biggie Smalls up to? It’s October, and Biggie is ready for Halloween! Even though I can’t reveal his costume yet, I’ve included a preview of how he’s (usually) feeling:

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Friday Findings 9/29/17

Happy Friday!

  1. What I’m reading/watching/listening to: Admiral William McRaven’s 2014 University of Texas Commencement Speech – Make your Bed. A few years old at this point, but absolutely worth listening to. This is 20 minutes of pure inspiration. McRaven also published a book this year that still is on Amazon’s top read list. Make Your Bed: Little Things That Can Change Your Life…And Maybe the World
  2. Coolest Thing I saw on Reddit this Week: Woman Rescues Cat From A Storm Drain (“IT” Style)
  3. A Free and Essential Google Chrome Browser Extension: Hoverzoom. Hoverzoom let’s me preview videos and pictures from thumbnails and links. This prevents multiple tab bloating and is an incredible time saver.
  4. My Photo of the Week:IMG_3627 Paws Chicago is a spectacular organization dedicated to building No Kill Communities, ending the overpopulation of homeless animals, and developing sustainable solutions-based models to transform animal welfare. Their great work has been recognized and is most prominently reflected in the proliferation of super cool dog statues in Chicago (particularly along the Magnificent Mile). Specifically, they have a no kill mission,
  5. What’s Biggie Smalls Up To? A new crate pad for my bruiser + a Camo harnessIMG_3633

Friday Findings – 9/22/17

My dear readers,

Thank you again for taking time out of your day to read about my ordeal from so many years ago. I’m blown away by your sincere and compassionate reception to my “Suspended From College” post earlier this week. The catharsis that I’ve felt these last few days from sharing my story is dwarfed by your collective gratitude and words of encouragement.

We’ve all had our share of embarrassing, uncomfortable and dark times in between the Facebook worthy moments of pleasure, happiness and fulfillment. I know that there will be more of all of the above for us; let’s acknowledge and embrace these moments of imperfection, failure and vulnerability as a sign of our humanity. We’re alive and kicking!

Also, zombie walking (faces glued to our phones) is strongly discouraged.

Love, Jimmy

FRIDAY FINDINGS for the Week of 9/22/17

Hey readers! I’m introducing a regular column on my blog called Friday Findings, where I will share with you quick bites of content from the internet and from my life that represent my personal voice. I hope you find the content easy to digest, insightful, and funny.

I don’t get paid for any of the links I share, btw.

  1. The Coolest Thing I saw on Reddit: What’s the worst thing you’ve ever done in the Sims?wdi07txqyzmz
  2. What I’m Reading/Listening To/Watching: New Series on PBS by Ken Burns documenting the Vietnam War. http://www.pbs.org/kenburns/the-vietnam-war/watch/  This took 10 years to make, has 18 hours of content spread across 10 episodes. I’m only 2 episodes in, but the depth of conversation, media from both sides, and the political intrigue and complexity has eerie parallels to the present moment. Strong recommendation in limited doses (or as a bingefest if you are a military history nerd). Bonus: Sam Harris had a fantastic conversation with Ken Burns and co-producer Lynn Novick. Consider it director’s commentary.
  3. A Great Recent Purchase – Osaka 1.5 Liter Electric Quick Boil Gooseneck Water Kettle . $40 on Amazon – this mundane purchase has reduced my morning routine by 10 minutes. I no longer burn my hands clumsily making drip coffee – the long spout is great for making brewing teas as well when precision is key.
  4. My Photo Of The WeekIMG_3591
  5. What’s Biggie Smalls up to? Biggie went to the Vet this Thursday and learned that he’s 5 pounds overweight – time for some portion control! He’s a one-year old 55lb bruiser with diaper rash (from peeing on himself constantly) and a swollen left eye (from roughhousing with others, now better). Love my little man!IMG_3499