Wednesday, February 27, 2013

New Lays Flavors --- Yuck.

Never, since my days studying abroad where I had the misfortune of stumbling upon the "spicy pork" variety of Lays' across-the-pond cousin Walkers, have I found such an abomination.

I did a taste test with some of my friends, for my other more food-centric blog, and the short of it? They all are pretty nasty.

I had SUCH high hopes for Sriracha... but at best it was only okay. Chicken and Waffles tasted like maple syrup cardboard, and while the cheesy garlic bread started off tasting good, eventually the chemical aftertaste got to us.

We won't be voting for any of these, sorry Lays.

Friday, February 8, 2013


Apparently Finding Nemo is going to kill us all or something.

But no seriously: be smart today. Stay inside and stay warm!

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Worst Fear Experienced Abroad...

So, Mere and I went to Iceland. It was pretty freaking awesome. I fully intend on writing a detailed account of it over at my other blog, but in the meantime, I'd like to share a gripe. Actually, it's less of a gripe and more of a horror story.

That's right. My worst nightmare, lurking right under the surface: hair. in. my. food.

Shown above is a serving of Puffin from a tapas bar in Iceland. Upon stepping foot in Iceland I had one goal--eat a puffin (and maybe a whale). Despite being a cute and cuddly poor man's penguin, puffins are a staple food in Iceland. While it's not totally Andrew Zimmern-worthy, it seemed a safer bet than Hákarl, though I fully intended on sampling that as well.

Sadly, puffin was not featured on the tasting menu I had ordered, so I decided to get it in addition--making my bill go from expensive to astronomical but it was our last night, and I didn't totally care since I pretend I'm a foodie or something. Tapas are small portions, I wanted to try a lot of stuff. After eating a nibble or two of Puffin, which tastes kind of like wet beef jerky mixed with odor de catfood, if you were curious (whale is fantastic though, I had no complaints on that one), I dug into the salad. In retrospect, perhaps it was a garnish and not a salad, but as the waitress walked by I pulled a long thick black strand of hair from my mouth with a leaf of lettuce dangling below it.

I immediately began to gag as the waitress looked on in horror. Thankfully, the puffin chunks stayed down.

She took the hair from my hand and told me she'd be right back. When she returned she asked if I was okay, and apologized but kind of was like "these things happen..." so I assumed I was SOL. However, she then proceeded to tell me that not only was my $15 Puffin removed from my bill, but my tasting menu had been upgraded, and I was getting a "surprise" for dessert.

I went from tiny bites like this:

3"x3" squares of tiny food

To full side dishes, like this:

5"x9" plates of food plus sides!
When dessert came, I assumed I'd get another full sized portion. I got this:

FIVE FREAKING DESSERTS. Each one more delicious than the last. SO MUCH WIN. And the waitress apologized each and every time she stopped by the table. I wish it was customary to tip there, because I would have given her a huge one--I probably would have anyway, if her shift hadn't ended before we were done eating!

While this was the best customer service I've probably ever experienced, it was just a big example of how NICE people in Iceland are. Could you imagine what would have happened in America? At the least you'd get a free app or dessert--something you probably didn't want anyway--at best maybe the meal would be comped. In Iceland, you get your meal upgraded, your ruined food comped, plus FIVE DESSERTS. Seriously, everyone was so friendly and willing to help. Cars would even stop in the middle of the street to let us take stupid pictures like this:

 Yeah, we're all in traditional Icelandic sweaters, looking like silly touristy fools here.

Anyways, Iceland was amazing. It was one of those places I never had the real urge to visit until someone offered me the opportunity to go, and now it's a place I want to return to as soon as possible. The landscape was so gorgeous it was hard to believe it was on Earth. The food was exotic and wonderful, and as I said, the people were amazing.

Friday, January 18, 2013

What am I even paying you for?

Stumble to the local Starbucks.
Order coffee.
Order bagel.
Can you please toast it?
You don't have a toaster oven?
Can you spread on the cream cheese?
Well damn, what am I even paying you for?

If you don't know what I am referring to, than you are lucky. I know this sounds like a first world problem, but how difficult is it for a Dunkin Donuts or Starbucks employee to spread the cream cheese on my bagel. I'm not spoiled, just disappointed that in many locations you are given a cold bagel with a small package of cream cheese. If I wanted to spread it on myself than I would have just made it at home. This is a pet peeve and I must not be the only one who wants a little extra service when it comes to my breakfast.

What really sparked this post was my experience at a local starbucks by San Diego State University (SDSU). When asked if they would toast the bagel they promptly responded that they don't have a toaster and we can blame the university. My colleague suggests they have heard this request for months with no regard to what the customers actually want. Some middle manager is dropping the ball and not reporting customer needs properly. This example shows the poor management structure associated with SDSU Dining Services and the employees unhappy feelings towards their place of work.

This is my gripe, and i'm sticking to it.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

You just can't win with Drunk A$$holes

I'm 24, but still feel like i'm playing in the kids sandbox.

A common saying in rap culture is that haters gon' hate, and often I find meaning to these simple words of advice in my day-to-day life. I attempt to surround myself with people who are going to push me up and help me get to a higher ground. But sometimes those bullies just come out to play and they are not satisfied until hurting someone else to provide validation for their own worthless lives.

Now some of these bullies will grow up as they learn that there are other ways to enjoy life, and others will just keep leading a life of anger and pushing friends away. The latter is who I gripe about today. Here is my example of the constant double standard and utter irony I must deal with from a hater. 

If y'all have read my past posts, we have a house dog. It is owned by the hater, but not necessarily taken care of by its master. So myself and other roommates will pitch in refilling bowls of food/water, taking him out for walks, and the like. But when the dog ran out of food, I simply put the old bag by the front door as a symbol that the dog's owner should get him some food. Eventually another bag of food was purchased within days, but the old one was never thrown out. So this hater decides a week and a half later when the bag is still sitting there, that he will pick up the garbage and yell about how it is stupid that the bag was not thrown out. Granted he was drunk, so maybe he didn't understand that the one who gets the new bag of food should kindly throw out the old bag, keeping the system flowing and moving forward like a well oiled machine. But no, the hater has to make a big stink of something that was his own responsibility, attempting to put it on me that I was stupid and should have moved the bag sooner. (As I write this, the small replacement bag is almost empty, let's see what happens next)

This kind of attitude clashes very hard with my style of life, because I like to use the pay-it-forward method. But when I run into someone who does not give back to the greater good, than I end up getting the short end of the stick. Since my stick is getting very short and I have resorted to minor communication to minimize conflict with the aggressive roommate, I've started looking into other options of how to handle an adult bully. (25 is considered adulthood, right?)

Tactics of the adult bully
As this case illustrates, emotional bullying occurs when someone tries to gain control by making others feel angry or afraid. It is often characterized by yelling, and name-calling, sarcasm, mocking, putting down, belittling, embarrassing or intimidating.

Bullies often have personality disorder
Many bullies have a deep sense of insecurity about themselves, completely lacking empathy or the ability to perceive how they are negatively affecting others. They honestly don’t see themselves as the problem and are constantly dismay when others around them are devastated or offended by their behavior. This is known as “narcissistic” personality disorder, where one is only capable of interpreting events from their perspective. Pre-occupied with themselves, with little regard or understanding of the feelings of others.
Can bullies change?
While research shows that most bullies are unable to make deep changes to their personality, they are sometimes able to modify their behavior to the extent that they are more tolerable. Usually, the motivation to change is inspired by outside influences such as employers, spouses, or children. Other bullies decide to change at the threat of losing their job.
Four Ways To Cope written by Tony Fiore, Ph.D, a practicing psychologist and anger management trainer in Southern California these tips are used from

  • Focus on the positive attributes of the bully and try to ignore the negative parts. For instance, Bill had a very sweet and generous side to him when not being a bully— a side Ann could learn to focus on to survive the unpleasant times.
  • Be confident and look your bully in the eye. Speak in a calm and clear voice while asserting yourself by naming the behavior you don’t like and state what is expected instead.
  • Create a distraction or change the subject. Try using humor or a well-chosen word to disarm the bully.
  • Give the bully’s ego what it needs. For instance, Ann learned to praise Bill more and give him more credit and acknowledgment for things he did do well. While this tactic is a little manipulatory, it never- the- less worked well to decrease the number of times Bill bullied her. And it allowed Ann to survive a difficult situation.

In conclusion: I will use these methods to help cope with the bully, looking him in the eye, changing the subject and blatantly ignoring his attempts to aggravate me or get a rise out of my emotions. It would be hard to do #4 since there are very little opportunities to give credit, but who knows, maybe I will walk downstairs after this and see he has cleaned up for football Sunday.  My mother always tells me, everything happens for a reason and I guess there is some great purpose why I am put in this position to test my nerves. Maybe I just have to learn that not everone will be there with positive reinforcement and learning to deal with Drunk A$$holes will help me become a better, stronger man.

Haters gon' hate, but I got work to do!

Friday, January 11, 2013

20-Something Stuff I Like

I would like to share with you all a handy-dandy little app that is helping my lazy butt get motivated to lose some weight*

My Fitness Pal. It's somewhat of a social network for fitness, but the app itself has lots of handy-dandy helpers to keep you on track.

This thingie is awesome. It calculates how many calories you should be consuming in a day to lose what weight you want to lose, and has a food diary that you can type in what you're eating and it will deduct those calories. You can even search chain restaurant dishes, there's over a million entries in their database!

Me, being a foodie, eating my weight in what is actually goat
right here.

BUT, it's not just about dieting, it also gives you MORE calories if you exercise!

To make this work, I've turned the entire thing into a game: have at least 100 calories leftover in my day, but only IF I've also exercised (don't want to starve myself or not get a healthy amount of calories). If I want to drink two beers tonight, but I estimate I will have most of my calories used by dinner, how many minutes should I spend on the elliptical? It's like a word problem, and you'd think that as a hater of both math AND exercise I wouldn't bother myself with it BUT when I have 100-200 calories left in my day it's a great feeling! Plus, you can add friends and such on there who are updated of your status and being held accountable in that way is very helpful to me.

I'm even trying to get those calories to be full of GOOD things rather than just be empty sugar-filled calories. So far this week I've actually eaten breakfast that wasn't just coffee (grapefruit, Greek yogurt, banana nut muffin), huge salads for lunch, and dinners such as kale and sweet potato swiss cheese quesadilla, baked chicken with roasted asparagus, and roasted veggies with vegan cheese sauce and a turkey burger with roasted red pepper pesto. I want to get rid of bread and baked goods unless I make them myself, and cut down on processed food in general.

Are you also trying the cliche'd "Lose Weight, Get Healthy" resolution like me? Here are some more helpful tools:

-Can You Stay For Dinner? -- This has got to be my absolute FAVORITE food blog. The blogger, Andie, lost 130 pounds all on her own with diet and exercise. However, she is a big proponent of eating for your SOUL, not the scale, and not depriving yourself. I love her suggestion of starting every meal with a hefty salad and making half your plate veggies. Her blog is packed with tons of lighter versions of your favorite recipes and I can say first-hand that you would never guess they were light.

-Livestrong -- Similar to MyFitnessPal, but with a bunch of articles on various health things. I was able to find out how to exercise off my NECK FAT, so you know these guys know their stuff.

-Stupid Easy Paleo -- My former high school science teacher runs this blog. She is very into fitness, CrossFit, and the Paleo diet. However, her recipes here look so tasty, you don't even have to be paleo to enjoy them!

-Mark's Daily Apple -- For those who like the idea of paleo but don't want to follow it strictly for whatever reason. I'm likely to try this diet to maintain my weight once I lose what I want to. He allows for a bit of flexibility, and really goes into the Primal/Paleo diets and what they do and mean for your body.

-Women's Health Best Packaged Foods -- I discovered this yesterday and it is amazing. If you must get something that comes in a box with too much packaging, these are your best bets. I will definitely keep some of these in mind next time I make a grocery trip!


Note: I am aware that calorie-counting is not the best way to lose weight. My plan is to hopefully drop the initial weight I've gained over the holidays and then try to slowly make some lifestyle changes to