Monday, September 16, 2013
I live in a beautiful part of New Jersey that few people know about. The Ken Lockwood Gorge section of the South Branch of the Raritan river is absolutely breath taking, It's here where I fish, walk, run on occasion, and think, in general, of my life and where it's been and where it's going.
When I started running in February I was running towards a goal. Losing weight, getting healthy, doing my damnedest to stave off heart disease and diabetes. My thoughts floated towards eating better, feeling better, and in due time looking better.
My life has taken some crazy turns since then and my running focus shifted from looking forward to running away from my past and my problems. Trying to clear my head every other day, miles crunching beneath the soles of my sneakers. It's not easy trying to outrun your issues, it's almost a moot point. As soon as you stop, like a bad dream, they run right back into you. Still there for you to deal with
I'm not a "live in the now" type person. I'm always shifting between the worlds of past mistakes and hopes for the future. But I've learned while running that the best way to keep moving is to focus on getting one foot in front of the other. To focus on the beauty of your surroundings, not to dwell on what you could have done, but what you are doing.
Your life will catch up with you whether you like it or not. The always shifting rubik's cube of your reality will keep clicking into place until all the colors match and your time is up. So it's important to step back now and then, and realize that it's okay that yellow is next to green and red is next to blue, to be happy you're here, and that the puzzle isn't finished.
Wednesday, September 11, 2013
|This stuff will get you drunk fast and it tastes really good|
I was looking for a strong beer that evening. Bypassing a few of my usual favorites I grabbed a 4 pack of Fegley's Hop'solutely because it seemed interesting to me and got an "Al's pick" at the store I procure my libations at. Al is a very tall, bearded Hagrid type that I trust with all things beer. He hasn't steered me wrong yet.
Walking up to the counter I saw that the enlightened giant was standing there chatting with the cashier. I propped up the 4 pack and I got a smile from Big Al. "Be careful with that stuff, it's hot" referring to the 11.5% alc content of the highly hopped brew. "It's really tasty, great reviews, but it'll put the hurt on you" Al cautioned again. I threw it to the wind, I can handle four beers, I thought.
"Should I be sitting down for number 4?" I asked, and with a giant guffaw he said "...you won't make it to 4" like Gandalf telling me that " I SHALL NOT PASS!!". Ok Al, challenge accepted.
The beer pores a nice orange amber and as soon as you open the bottle the hops pop out at you in the form of a citrus bouquet. First sip, ok, hops, taste those, there is some alcohol heat, but it's not overwhelming, and it finishes with a really nice malt sweetness that balances out the bite from that double hopping process. Something that I've found in very few IPA's and never in a DIPA.
But Al was right, this beer is strong, almost three in and I had to wave my white flag as I felt the warm wash of 11.5% beating me like waves on the shore.
So if you only want to have a few really tasty beers and feel like you had a whole bunch of tasty beers, then Fegley's Hop'Solutely is a must try, and you better run out and get some soon, because after the run is finished it's gone for good.
Wednesday, September 4, 2013
Working out of Chop's Barbershop in Harrisburg, PA., The American Gentleman Soap Co. crafts handmade pomades, shaving creams, and soaps for discerning consumers that are seeking out American made quality tonsorial and grooming products. Give you the warm and fuzzies? Good, me too. Today I'm reviewing their Heavy Hold Pomade that I purchased from Royal Shave a great site to grab a plethora of amazing products to help your ugly mug.
The first thing you notice when opening the 4oz tin is the smell, it's by far one of the best smelling pomades out there. A cross between bay rum, beeswax ( it is a beeswax based pomade ) and spicy citrus, it's a clean waft of manly Caribbean breeze meets English gentleman at a pugilist match. Very manly, very clean, very not your typical pomade right from the start.
One look at the pomade and it's clear to see the beeswax base, it's hard stuff. I scooped it out with the back of my thumb to get a nice size dollop to get the hair party started.
I've seen some reviews that say to warm it with a hair dryer, I don't think that's necessary. I worked the dollop in my hands ala Mr. Myagi rubbing frantically to get this stuff nice and warmed up, the smell got a little more intense, very nice.
Pushing it back into my hair I confirmed my notion that this is some serious stuff. More serious than some of my petroleum based stuff that haunt my medicine chest. But that smell, man, it's really amazing. And after a few minutes of working it though my hair was held and had a nice but subtle shine to it. If you're looking for shiny, this might not be for you, or you could always apply a topcoat of something greasy to get the gleam you want. I'm not into shiny and I don't normally run a comb through my hair, I have really think hair that I work into a messy pomp of sorts, and for that this works perfectly.
The scent stays with you too, lingering like your grampa's pipe tobacco in the den. The American Gentleman Soap Co have a winner in this pomade for sure. It holds like a petroleum based but isn't as greasy, it has a more natural matte finish with some shine, but not doo wop shop over the top. And the smell alone is worth giving this stuff a try.
Keep it beezy!
Thursday, August 29, 2013
|Here's me with a fish|
Time spent in the woods with a friend, or even with ones own thoughts for company is time well spent. Focusing on the task at hand can be hard for some people, especially me. My brain likes to take all of my current problems and challenges and then stream them out into a million different and usually catastrophic outcomes. For those like me this horrible internal fireworks display of worry and speculation is not only time consuming but unhealthy, tying knots in your upper intestines and sizzling your nerve endings.
But try thinking about your issues while carrying a 9ft fishing rod while crossing a beaver damn on a creek, or while trying to cast out enough line in thick brush, or while watching and waiting to see where fish are rising and jumping...not so easy.
Throwing my Chernobyl ant into the murky pond I sat and watched, slowing stripping in line, then jerking to mimic the distressed movements of a bug in the water. Casting out again, repeating, and while zenning out in this process catching a few fish.
Your problems will always be there, daily issues, love lost, financial problems...all there waiting to eat away at you. Let them wait. Take some time for yourself and really concentrate on something you enjoy doing, or are just learning to do like myself. Go for a hike, learn a new hobby, or go talk to some fish.
Tuesday, August 27, 2013
I haven't watched the VMA's since Silverchair played "Wait till tomorow" during the venue.
Needless to say no one should really be impressed with the mass produced, auto-tuned, fast food, more shock than talent state of the music business today, mostly because artists can't make it by just selling records anymore. Everyone downloads a few songs, or listens on youtube, pandora, or spotify.
It a sad state for real musicians that are out there trying to create something wonderful.
This is Kat Edmonson a relatively new jazz artist that makes incredible music with an ensemble of really talented people. It's great music for a backyard party or just sitting around relaxing with a cocktail by the pool. I normally don't plug artists like this, but I thought I'd make the exception. She really has a wonderful voice and it needs to be heard by as many people as possible.
Wednesday, August 21, 2013
No, we're not talking about the stuff that sprays out of a can or even worse, oozes out like some mentholated eel onto your hand. We're talking about quality shaving soaps that come in bars, bowls, and discs, and rich, thick shaving creams that will stick to your brush and face like pillowy dollops of man scented marshmallow.
On one hand creams are very easy to use. I wet my brush, pick a little up out of the container and lather right on my face, now of course you could use a mug, that's just fine. Either way you'll whip up copious amounts of lather that will protect your face from your double edged or straight razor. If anything creams offer a bit more scent and protection than soaps. Soaps also take a little practice, but not much, to lather up right.
Soaps in general have a more mild scent, but pleasant. That won't conflict with your aftershave or cologne. They're hard and require a few minutes of whipping up with your brush, but when you've got your technique down you're rewarded with a very slippery substance that is perfect for gliding your razor down. I've tried both, and like both. And you should too.
Royal Shave has an incredible selection of soaps and creams to choose from and has been my go to spot for sometime. I've review plenty of the products that they stock, because even though I like some more than others, they all happen to be pretty darn good. The also happen to stock other tonsorial items like pomades and mustache waxes. A pretty convenient site to grab some better quality products than your local drugstore carries.
In recent years men got the short of the stick when it came to taking care of themselves, products were limited, and not very good. Then the metrosexual movement tried to push the same products that women use onto us, and it just didn't turn out too well. Too many sculpted eye brows for sure... But our luck has changed and really great products are hitting the shelves, things from yesteryear than should have never gone away. Straight razor shaving and double edged shaving are back not just because they're cool, but because they're cheaper than buying cartridges for your overpriced piece of plastic. So the next time you grip your stubble in the mirror, take a minute to think about how you want to take care of your mug, the one you're going to have to look at for a long time to come.
Monday, August 19, 2013
Carved into Apollo's temple at Delphi, "Know Thyself" is the most famous of the Delphic maxims found there. It's meaning is simple, be truthful to yourself, about yourself, and don't give too much clout to the opinions of others about you.
Socrates and Plato used it to motivate their dialogs. Ben Franklin said " There are three things extremely hard, Steel, a Diamond, and to know one's self." And Emerson likened the maxim to knowing the god that is within all of us.
It's easy to point out the things that we truly like about ourselves. I think I can be pretty funny at times, I enjoy making people laugh. Sometimes I'm a good listener. I like to think that I'm a pretty good dad. It's not so easy identifying what you don't like about yourself, but if left unchanged those hot coals of negativity will start to eat away at you like a cancer. Slowing burning away at the fabric of your being.
You could say the issue isn't knowing yourself, it's if you WANT to know yourself.
To know one's self is to be honest with yourself. And that's not an easy task either. To pick yourself apart with the chemistry set of truth. I like to make people laugh, but why? Motives are the tell tales of what makes you tick. Am I the world's most manly guy?...of course not. I wish I was handier around the house, but I am pretty handy in the kitchen and the yard. The goal here is to self improve, not self implode into a pile of mush that was once a person. Trust me...I've been that pile of mush. Picking at myself with the precision of a dynamite flinging monkey. Blowing myself to bits, the good and bad, only to sit there and watch my molten core ooze out onto the floor. It's not fun.
We're all great, and we can all be assholes.
We're all compassionate, and we can all be manipulative.
We're all loving, and we can all be hateful and fearful
We're all amazing self realized flesh and bone creatures, with wired nerves more complicated than any computer, hearts stronger than any machine, and brains that process a staggering amount of information in an infinitesimal amount of time .
So while it's very important to know thyself, it's also important to give thyself a break.