Tuesday, December 27, 2011

The Tower of Babel

Quick Blog note - follow this blog on twitter for updates and stuff.  @tmbdead

Now that we’re plastic free, omega 3 boosted and fit, lets move on to something else.  If the first three topics for you came out of right field, then this next one is going to come from the bleachers. 

Go learn a foreign language.

Newsflash – English isn’t the most widely used language in the world.  Different languages are used everywhere, literally.  On you next trip – you’ll run into something that knowledge of another language will help you with.  Learning another language will help you in your workplace, with your friends, with friends that you haven’t met yet, and will help you understand different cultures in the world.  Language is really an incredible thing and it will open doors for you that you didn’t even know existed. 

Learning another language is tough.  What you’ll notice as you dive into this new world though is that a lot of languages are linked together.  For instance two of the biggest language groups are Germanic Languages (Danish, Dutch, English, German, Norwegian, and Swedish) and the Romance Languages (French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, and Romanian).   Each of these languages have similar words, context, sentence structure, etc.  On the flip side if you take The English language and compare it to Japanese, you’ll get a lot things confused.  A quick example would be the Yoda principle (yes, from star wars) – in English you say “you are right” but in Japanese you actually say “right you are”.  You think this would be so confusing, but in reality the sentence and word order of Asian languages are much easier than English.  The more you learn about different languages the more appreciation you’ll have for other countries, and the easier it will be to learn more and more languages.  This won’t be easy and it’ll take some time.  Sticking with it though will yield practical results that can make life a lot, well, cooler.  

Choosing a language is fun and tough.  You want to choose one that will keep you entertained, but you also want to pick one that is practical in your life.  I grew up 4 hours away from Mexico, so Spanish was one of those languages that I tried to learn as much as possible.  Surf trips, shopping, eating, and asking for directions were all made easier because I applied myself to the language.   What’s even crazier is that 10 years down the road half of my “co-workers” speak Spanish too.  Who would’ve thought, right?  Maybe you choose a language for a trip you know you’re going on soon.  Maybe you choose a language that your best friend speaks.  Maybe you choose a language whose culture intrigues you the most.  It doesn’t matter which one you choose, as long as you choose one.       

You’ll create more value to yourself when searching for new jobs, and you’ll make more jobs available to search for.  It’ll make traveling to a foreign country extremely easier.  You’ll be able to strike up a conversation with someone you think is cute because language will no longer be a barrier.  New cultures, backgrounds, and traditions will now be understood, and in return, it’ll make foreign countries not so foreign. 

You don’t have to go out and spend tons of money on classes or language learning software.  I’m not even saying that you need to become fluent in languages you choose.  First, you need to make sure this is something you want to do.  There are tons of free introductory lessons available.  Podcasts, websites, and even going to your local bookstore are ways to try for free.  Watching movies with subtitles, or a foreign news station, or even listening to foreign music can be a fun way of learning.  Get a good grasp of the language and make yourself comfortable with certain, practical conversations.  You don’t need to spend 3 years learning a language so you can discuss politics with someone.  You just need to know simple things that everyday life consists of. 

It really is a lot of fun and will open your eyes to a world of new experiences.   

Saturday, December 24, 2011

20 minutes, 3 times a week

Ok so we got 3/5 topics so far

1.     Drink water out of filters and reusable containers
2.     Eat Meat that is naturally raised
3.     Workout

The third one is pretty simple.  Go workout.  I’m not speaking though in terms of the way the majority uses this word.  I have no desire for you to have a six pack or to have a body that you are proud to show in a bikini in the summer.  I just want you to be healthy.  Not everyone is meant to look like WWE wrestlers or Victoria’s secret runway models.  Not to mention, I would tend to question their tactics anyway. The good news is that working out tends to make our bodies look better.  You really have no excuse here.  You don’t need a gym membership, a personal trainer, or a workout partner.  All you need is a little motivation and a very important thing called action.  I have a couple things to say first…

Dudes –

I have a couple of rules before we talk about getting off your couch.  Don’t wear affliction shirts to the gym – you’re not an mma fighter.  Cut off shirts are acceptable when used in moderation, God gave us sleeves for a reason.  Stop talking – if you want to use an excuse that you don’t have “time” to workout that’s because you spend half of your workout looking at lulu lemoned bottomed females and holding conversations that are worthless.  The chick on the treadmill next to you wants to run, not figure out a way to make you stop talking to her.  Stop getting your workouts from Men’s Health thinking that a six pack is in your near future.  Bigger is not always better.  And just because your biceps are bigger than the guy’s next to you doesn’t mean your opinion on politics is more pertinent. You don’t get to cut to the front of the line or wear a shirt size smaller than necessary.   Oh yea, and Newton told us that F = ma.  Force equals mass times acceleration. So size doesn’t equate to strength. 

Chicks –

All working out doesn’t make you big.  No bigger than ice cream at 10 o clock at night will. (don’t get me wrong, I love ice cream).  Having muscle isn’t a bad thing.  Yes girls are feminine and have a different body structure than dudes, but you can still be “fit” too.  If you’re at all worried about this, do more running and body weight stuff.  Flat stomachs aren’t relative to the amount of sit-ups you do.  Unfortunately, if it were that easy we wouldn’t have any fat on our stomachs.  Diet will get you abs before sit-ups will.  I’m not a girl, but I feel like a woman’s body can be either a huge confidence boost or the exact opposite.  Listen, wherever you are at right now is fine.  Make a goal, make a commitment and stay on a course.  Don’t desire a better body because people will look at you different; make a better body because you will look at you different.  If you are working out for someone other than yourself then you are wasting your time.   You are placing a Band-Aid on an issue that a better body will not help.  You don’t need to go from being out of shape to being a model over night.  Being in shape and working towards a body you’re proud of is way sexier than starving yourself and throwing up.  And stop purposely distracting us at the gym.  My rule at the gym is that your articles of clothing and self-esteem are directly proportionate.  Practically no clothing at the gym, means practically no self esteem at home. 

Ok now on to what you can do! No money? You don’t need a gym membership.  The ground is earth’s treadmill.  Exercises like squats, pushups, pull-ups, and crunches require space, not equipment. No time?  One hour.  One hour a week is all I ask for.  Three workouts, no less than twenty minutes each.  I don’t really care what you do as long as you do something.  There is no all-encompassing “perfect” workout.  A lot of working out has to do with what keeps you motivated.  So pick some exercises (cross fit and the 4 hour body is a good place to start, google it).  The Internet is full of information on how to workout out.  No motivation?  Working out does a lot more than make your body look cool.  It’s a good stress reliever.  It’ll help you sleep better. It helps you clear your head.  It makes you take time out of your day to be selfish and focus only on yourself.   When done the right way, it can build camaraderie with friends.  It’ll actually give you more energy.  You will get stronger.  Our bodies are amazing.  You would be really surprised what we can put them through and the way they respond.  They actually like when you use them instead of spending 30 mins sitting on your couch watching American idol.  Still no? ok, forget “working out”.  Choose from the following: Go on a hike, swim in the ocean, take a bike ride, play with kids, help someone move, do yard work, play a sport, take time after dinner to walk around the block, spend time running around the beach.  There are a lot of everyday activities that be construed as working out.  Changing the channel, however, does not count as one.  Once again, working out isn’t all about making yourself look good in those self mirror pictures you send to your significant other.  It’s about having the confidence of being a healthier, more able person.  It’s about asking your body to do certain things, and have it respond in a way that creates joy happiness in your life. 

 Just go do it.    

Friday, December 23, 2011

Grass Fed Friday

Eating healthy is a very important topic in everyone’s life.  With heart disease at an all time high it might be time to take a look at our diets rather than our genetics.  I’ve picked a subject that I feel is very crucial to this – meat.

I’m going to attempt to not gross you out as much as possible, but it’s kind of a gross subject.  First of all, I eat meat. I have no problem with vegetarians and vegans, if that’s your conviction.  I support responsibly killing animals, but I don’t find a problem with killing animals so that I can grow big and strong.  Do I think that big business is to blame for this? No.  You are.  Population grew. Demand grew.  How can we make twice the amount of meat in half the amount of time for half the price? Corn and Soy.  Both of these two ingredients were fed to cattle to fatten them up in half the amount of time.  Antibiotics and drugs (including growth hormone) were also pumped in them to make sure the process went smoother.  Steers that were killed at ages 4-5 are now killed at 16 months.  Grain fed cows are fatter and fat tastes good, right?  On top of all this, businesses plop them in feedlots where they sit in their own piss, poo, farts, and disease.  They have no room to graze and live.  That’s why they need antibiotics.  Oh and just in case you didn’t know – Corn – isn’t a vegetable.  It’s a grain.  And you know what else? You ever notice when you eat corn and then poo? Whole kernels- I’m talking undigested, whole kernels show up.  We don’t digest corn properly, and neither do cows.  Last thing, giving cows an “organically grain fed diet” gives cows indigestible, unnatural feed “organically”. Giving cows a corn based diet gives the big companies exactly what they want and what you don’t need – weight gain, and fat accumulation.  

Cows eat grass.  Cows eat flowers. Cows eat shrubs. Cows eat vegetation, naturally.  They walk around pastures and use their muscles.  They rest in the shade of trees. They’re happy.  Happy cows that eat a natural diet don’t have as much fat stored.  They produce more omega-3 fats (those are good), vitamin E, and CLA.  They contain less omega 6’s than grain fed cows and don’t contain the half the amount of saturated fat or cholesterol.  Red Meat can actually be good for you, but like anything don’t over do it.  If they situation arises, chose lean cuts of grain fed beef like filets.  From personal experience, because grass fed beef is leaner be careful not to overcook it.  Yes, it’s more expensive – but with all the money you’re saving by not buying bottled water anymore you’ll be set.  Lastly, the same rule applies for dairy products too.

I’ll hit on it briefly but the same situation applies for chickens and eggs.  Chickens don’t just eat grass.  They like bugs, worms, grains, fruits, and compost piles.  They need to be outdoors too.  The conditions that “normal” chickens live in are more disgusting than the cows.  Some literally can’t even walk.  There is no sun, no exercise, and certainly no cleanliness.  So What did companies start to do? They started throwing out words like “cage free” and “free range”.  When you see these labels take them literally.  Cage free means the chickens don’t live in a cage, nothing more.  Free range means chickens have the availability to go out doors if they want to.  The feed stations are indoors though and they aren’t allowed to go out doors until much later on in their short life.  The doors to go outside are usually small and often unused.  They key word to look for when buying chickens and eggs is “pasture”.  This is the only true version of chickens living in their natural environment.  Natural means healthier chickens with better sources of omega 3’s and vitamins.  They also contain less cholesterol. Oh, and Just in case you didn’t know – egg yolks are supposed to be orange, not yellow. 

These two subjects have tons of more information on the benefits of each.  Google is a good starting point. 

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Quit Drinking...

No, this isn't about quitting booze.  Although you should probably cut back on that too.  

The first five topics are a response to what you can you do better your life in the event that you don't pass away tomorrow.  Number one is, go buy a water filter, and a reusable water container.  

If a commercial came on and said – “Would you like to save money? Would you like to help keep the oceans clean?  Would you like to eat fresh fish free of environmental contaminants?  Would you like to keep cancer out of your body? Perfect, go buy a Nalgene bottle and a Brita filter. 

In case this comes as any surprise to you, you should probably sit down. (if you’re not already).  Plastic is not good for your body.  This fact becomes more of a reality when the plastic is heated or reused.  Plastic bottles are formed from PET or polyethylene terephthalate.  PET is linked to causing problems with our endocrine system (hormones).  I’m sure we have no clue what our endocrine system does, I sure didn’t.  It basically means that PET is indirectly linked to cancer, cognitive problems, birth defects, learning disabilities, etc.  Will one plastic bottle hurt you? No. The issue here is that we use plastic out of convenience.  Its not that difficult to go to your local supermarket and buy a water container that isn’t made from plastic.  This means that you have to buy a water filter too, fill up the container and lug it around with you where ever you go.  Super difficult right? Naaaaaaaat.  A BPA free bottle could be anywhere from 5 to 25 bucks, and a water filter will save you tons of money in the long run.  The EPA is very stringent on tap water in America, and the FDA is less stringent on bottled water.  40% of bottled water is filtered tap water anyway.  So instead of paying a dollar for Dasani water, go buy at 25 dollar filter and save hundreds of dollars a month. 

Oil is used to make plastic.  Oil is used to transport plastic.  A lot of oil.  So if you complain about war while drinking water out of a plastic bottle, save it.

Recycling is a huge issue regarding plastic bottles.  Plastic can be recycled but the problem is that it doesn’t (haha).  So where does the plastic go? The ocean.  The ocean has currents and those currents pick up the bottles and they all go to the same spot.  Google the Trash Vortex or the Great Pacific Garbage Patch.  Most of this stuff is “out of sight out of mind”, and if that’s the case for you then think about this.  Fish.  You eat them, right? Well if there is contamination in the ocean, specifically plastic, then what do you think winds up in the fishies bellies, on our plates, and then in our bellies? 

So, just in case you’re not dead tomorrow, go help your body, your environment, and your wallet.     

Post before the Posts

Over the course of the next couple of weeks I’ll be doing a mini series on 10 topics. The 10 topics are divided into two categories.  The first one will be called – “but what if I’m not dead tomorrow”, and the second one – “five things you can do just in case you are dead tomorrow”.  

Just a quick precursor before I start these posts.

1. I’m not a tree hugger.  We were put on this earth to be responsible though.  I eat meat, I’ve littered, and I’ve spit my gum out on occasion.  I’m not some crazy protestor that is going to picket for world peace and recycling.  But I believe that as human beings and people that occupy this earth we are to be responsible for ourselves, the generation after us and to protect the things that we give the distinct title of “beautiful”. I just am attempting to help out your quality of life and open up eyes to serious environmental problems that can be helped by the individual, individually. 

2.  I’m not an educator.  I believe that some of the best education is self-education.  So I’ll give you some information and if you feel inclined to further research it on your own, awesome.

3.  If you have further questions, leave a comment. 

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Eddie Would Go

In lieu of my recent expedition abroad for the Marlins Visit the Troops tour, my last stop has landed me in Hawaii.  A very special surfing tournament in the winter is held here and I'm not talking about Pipe Masters.  "The Eddie" is an invitation only surf contest held in Waimea Bay.  It features the worlds top riders and only happens if the waves reach swell heights of 20 feet.  To put this in perspective, the contest has only happened 8 times since 1985.  

The man, whose names bears the contests sole purpose, is Eddie Aikau.  Eddie was just your everyday Hawaiian kid who grew up in Maui and moved to O'ahu at a young age.  He worked at a Dole pineapple cannery and bought his first "real" surfboard at 16.  He started off charging the beaches of Waikiki and later on graduated to the epic swells of Hawaii's North Shore.  His job at the pineapple plant had run its course and he convinced the city and county of Honolulu to appoint him as North Shore's first ever lifeguard.  Eddie started his job saving foreigners and marines out of the water in huge swells that they had no point being in, and continuing to surf some of Hawaii's biggest waves.  He was living his dream winning big wave surf contests like the Duke Classic in 1977 and saving countless lives in the water.  Something was missing though.

On the evening of March 16, 1978 he and several others started out on a journey to retrace the ancient Polynesian migration passage between Hawaii and the Tahitian Islands chain - 2,400 miles south of Honolulu.  Headed up by the Polynesian Voyaging Society, Eddie and crew took a double-hulled replica canoe called the Hokule'a on a journey of  a life time.  The crew set out with no backup vessel and no modern day navigational instruments.  By midnight the vessel had sprung a leak and eventually capsized.  In the morning, the crew was hanging out for dear life while caught in a serious south flowing current and trade winds.  Against the captains wishes, Eddie had volunteered to paddle back to Lanai for help which was guessed to be 12 miles away.  By 10:30am Eddie had convinced the Captain and stated off on his journey.  At 8:27pm a Hawaiian Air jet pilot saw the crew and had relayed for help saving them all.  Eddie was never found.  A memorial was built at Waimea Bay where Eddie spent his days saving lives and surfing waves that most Hawaiians wouldn't dream about.  

In an effort to save his crew, Eddie will always be remember as a man who risked his life for the service of others.  The mantra "Eddie Would Go" captivated the surf culture and still remains as a popular saying today.  So if you ever find yourself on the fence about an adventure at hand just think, Eddie would have gone.  

Thursday, December 1, 2011

April 22, 2004

I'm about 10 hours away from hoping on a plane, flying over a huge body of water, and landing in a foreign country.  I'm pumped. I'm psyched.  I'm getting my passport stamped. This is what get's my heart beatin'.  New sights, new faces, new perspectives, new lessons - but this time around, theres a greater purpose.  

The purpose of our trip is to simply serve.  The military does so much for us, and this is our feeble two week attempt and giving something back.  Here's a little quote from a famous movie that I think of, "I have neither the time nor the inclination to explain myself to a man who rises and sleeps under the blanket of the very freedom that I provide, and then questions the manner in which I provide it. I would rather you just said thank you, and went on your way, Otherwise, I suggest you pick up a weapon, and stand a post."

Thankful? Yes I am.  I am thankful to the men and women who serve our country and provide me the security to lay my head down at night and wake up with the freedom to pursue any dream i choose.  

The first person I think of is Pat Tillman.  After reading up and watching the documentary about him, I know that Pat would cringe at even the thought of me mentioning him in this post.  He would balk at the idea of calling him more of a hero then the comrades that served next to him.  He turned down millions of dollars because he felt the duty to put his thoughts into actions and serve the country he loved.  That's a guy i commend.  That's a guy that i look up to.  That's a guy I call my hero.  For Pat the words "tomorrow might be dead" were a reality that he had to live with every day he went to work.  Most of us who sit at home can even begin to comprehend the level of dedication he made through his choices.  I hope I can be half the man Pat Tillman is.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Red Bull might give you wings, but not a parachute!

Let me introduce you to Travis Pastrana.  If you don’t know who this guy is, well then you need to crawl out from under your rock.  In any case, I’ll run down a quick bio for you.  Travis started riding on two wheels when he was four and has never looked back.  He actually started out mountain biking, but quickly moved on. He finished high school early, and became a world freestyle champion at 14.  Life has always been in the fast lane for him amassing countless first place finishes, motocross championships, X Games gold medals, and even a sport change into rallying.  Oh, I almost forgot to mention, he was the first person to do a double backflip on a motorcycle. Injuries have been a part of his career too though.   He’s endured the following:  a dislocated spine, torn ACL, PCL, LCL, and MCL in his left knee, bucket handle meniscus tear, broken tibia and fibula, surgery on his left wrist twice, left thumb once, two surgeries on his back, one on his right elbow, nine on his left knee, six on the right knee, but only one shoulder surgery.

To me this dude is a poster child for the saying “tomorrow might be dead”.  Every time he leaves a ramp, comes off a turn, or jumps out of an airplane it could be his last.  On top of constantly being referred to as a down to earth, cool guy, he does a bunch of work for charities too.

What I really wanted to talk about though, was a stunt Travis pulled off in Puerto Rico.  In his search for adrenaline, he decided to jump out of a perfectly good airplane. Oh, with no parachute… with NO PARACHUTE.  How someone can jump out of an airplane - placing their fate in the hands of others and knowing that there’s a giant possibility that this could be the last 5 minutes of their life… is hard to grasp.  

So here you go, if you think you did something big today - think again. 

Monday, November 28, 2011

Cool Idea

Towards the end of the baseball season, a buddy of mine (Clay Hensley) put a shirt in my locker that featured four letters on the front. "NDCQ" - this stands for Not Dead, Can't Quit.  Extreme? Yes!!!

I did some looking into the company and found out that it was created by an Ex Navy Seal named Mack. Mack has a very long history and you can check out his story on the website.  This dudes incredible, and I don't even want to spoil what he's all about so you'll have to go check him out.  

Back to the slogan.  Not Dead, Can't Quit is a pretty straight-forward saying that states you aren't going to give up until your body doesn't allow you to.  It encompasses what would be the ultimate dedication mantra in life.  This stuff is right up my alley.  I figured the website to be a online shop for their shirts, pants, and other clothing ideas they offer.  But what I found out was that it was more a community that was dedicated to information on how to get the most out of life.  To take a quote from the website, "NDCQ.com is website community of committed individuals who wish to make the very most out of the incredible gift that is their lives."  I couldn't even begin to say it better.  

So go check them out, I read two articles that talked about being unreasonable - which basically means when life says its reasonable to give up, go a step further.  The second one I read, was about getting your lazy butt off of the couch! Insert smiley face.

Their shirts are super comfortable and message is awesome.  Look 'em up at NDCQ.com and follow them on twitter @NDCQ.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

100 bucks for some fun, no problem

Here's a conversation I had on top of this rock in Kenting, Taiwan.

Friend - "Do you think maybe we can just jump tomorrow"

Me - "Tomorrow.....? hahaha.....Tomorrow might be dead!"

I really, really don't like excuses

Everyones got one, and they never get you anywhere. So lets just do ourselves and everyone else on this planet a favor and get rid of 'em.  I don't want to hear why you can't do something, I just want you to do it.  Busy, sick, tired, girlfriend, boyfriend, not strong enough, not enough money, scared...not good enough - don't care.  Dead... dead might be a good excuse but that's about it.  If you have a desire to do something - do it.  One of the most common sayings I hear is "Oh, I'd love to but I can't". Listen to yourself, you'd love to? But you can't? No, if you'd love to then you would.  Love makes us change our whole entire being to facilitate action.  Think about what you love, and what you do for love - and then see if you ever make that statement again.

That rant comes from the chains people shackle themselves in during their everyday routine. Our weekdays look like this: Wake, coffee, drive, traffic, work, lunch, tired, energy drink, work, traffic, tired, microwave dinner, tv, tired, pass out on couch, repeat.   Our weekends are spent trying to escape the reality of our routine lives with booze, dinners, errands, and making our couch cushions become entirely too familiar with our rear ends.  

In a sense, i'm the pot calling the kettle black.  From March 1st to October 1st my life is chalk full of routine.  I sleep in, have breakfast at lunchtime, practice, play, and repeat for a 190 plus days.  While it's difficult for me to break up that routine during the baseball season, I still do.  That part of my life though makes October 1st to March 1st look like a miniature hide and seek game for me.  Sometimes adrenaline is hiding at the top of a cliff in the middle of the ocean, or at the bottom of a rocky hill - but i guarantee you I'm going to find it.

So that's what this blog is going to be about.  If you want help getting out of your routine and maybe finding a little fun in your life. Come here.  I'm sure i'll get off topic, and i'm guaranteed to confuse you a lot.  At the end of the day though, we'll be having fun.