Category: Blog Posts
It’s true (and you can stop judging us) – Pulley and I love playing pong. And we make no apologies. Pulley is a particularly good player. He seems to have a great eye, even at great speeds and in difficult conditions. I suppose that’s why he found me as a friend.
I, however, can confess that I’m not a ping pong player. This is also why I ended up with Pulley as my bestie (joking of course)! This is why when we play ping pong, I need a few accessories to help me play just a bit better – some sunglasses, a pair of gloves and a lot of water.
I always enjoy our ping pong adventures. We had a particularly great time playing ping pong in Rhode Island last summer. They hold a contest every year where members of the public can compete with top ping pong players just for the fun of getting their butts kicked! I was so desperate to finally see Pulley lose, and he was just as eager to show that he could win.
What happened surprised us and and everyone else around us.
Pulley played 3 top players in a row and beat each and every one of them. The players actually started getting angry and became very competitive, whereas before they were hardly even trying and were still winning.
When they actually started trying however they quickly kicked Pulley’s butt. Success! For me anyway.
Everyone congratulated Pulley on his ability and informed him that had he started when he was young he could have been a top player. Unfortunately, his time has passed and it’s no longer on the cards for him, but I do remember him being very good at ping pong in college.
Perhaps you’ll all hear about Pulley the marvellous ping pong player in the future!
The other day I was reading about something, I think it was hunting binoculars at www.bestgunsafeinfo.com when an ad popped up (it’s creepy how we are targeted these days!) about taste aversions. Funny, I thought, because I was just researching them the other day. And now an ad pops up promising the answer all my unanswered questions. How convenient, I thought. So naturally I clicked straight through.
What I learned was that a taste aversion occurs when we eat something and have a negative response to it. Basically, when you eat something, it makes you feel sick. Why was I researching this you may ask? Well, here goes my attempt at explaining it.
Back when I was about 5 years old, I went for a walk to the shop with my cousin. We weren’t suppose to go – my parents had a fear that something terrible would happen to me the moment I stepped outside of the house, but we were young and wild, so off we went.
When we finally arrived at the golden arches, all I could think about was one thing – a McFlurry. Oh how beautiful they looked on the commercials, I thought.
This is something I would later regret.
About an hour later, when we were walking home, I vomited. It wasn’t a normal amount of vomit either. It was like my whole body was rejecting the liquid gold that had just been ingested.
When we arrived home, my parents were frantic. I forgot to add, but perhaps you could of gathered, this was before the age of cell phones so there was no way of contacting anyone. Oh what a time to be alive!
Anyway, until this day I can no longe eat McFlurrys. I can’t even look at them.
This happened with beer too but it seemed to go away by itself after a while, or maybe i just pretend it’s gone away.
Want another story? Read about Pulley’s first flight here.
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We are back! We had a wonderful time and want to thank all of you for your suggestions. We actually ended up going to all the places we asked advice for! We managed them all in to 4 weeks by choosing the places that interested us most and sticking to them.
I always had this idea that to see a country you need to see the entire country, and that just is not the case. When you arrive somewhere new, there seems to be an overall feeling in that country that makes them individual to the rest. Once you experience this feeling, you will know what I mean.
Something I did not know until we were already on our flight is that this was to be Pulley’s first time flying! I had already traveled several times for work so I was well adjusted to flying, but Pulley had not experienced this.
The bad thing is that he did not alert me to the fact that this was to be his first time flying until we were already in the air! If I had of known, I would have started making jokes months ago. Luckily he was not nervous but incredibly excited. It was like a kid in a candy store. Every noise made him turn his head and he was intrigued by the feeling of gravity.
Pulley actually wanted to be a airline pilot when he was younger so it was a shock for me to learn that he had not flown before. I guess this is why I did not give much thought to it before we left.
So what was our favorite place? We loved Italy, especially Cinque Terre. We had never seen anywhere like that before, and found the people to be so inviting. It also helped that I knew how to speak basic Italian. I had learned Italian at high school and it surprised me how much I remember. It also renewed my interest. I think I will go back and learn Italian again!
We had a great time and can’t wait to plan the next trip. If you have any suggestions where we should go next please let us know!
We have some exciting news. We have decided to take a trip together to Europe. We are still in the process of planning but will likely be leaving in December. Both Pulley and I have some time off and we have been wanting to go to Europe together for a while. Whilst life is still relatively easy going, I think now is the perfect time for us to get away.
We are summing up our options and want some advice. As this will be our first time away, we can only go off what others are telling us. I though it would be a good idea to list the places we are thinking of visiting below and getting some opinions on what you all think. We have 4 weeks to have the best vacation of our lives.
We have both wanted to go to Italy for a long time, ever since we saw a special on the Amalfi Coast. We would also be interested in going to Cinque Terre. I think we would consider doing a tour around the country. There seems to be a lot to see in Italy itself and I am sure we would have a wonderful time here. The cities that interest us are Rome, Florence and Venice.
Both of our families backgrounds are British, and so it would only be fitting to see the motherland! We know there is plenty to see and do in London but are a bit worried about the cold and lack of daylight in the winter. Does anyone have any knowledge on this? We would also like to go to the countryside and see an old traditional English town.
We have heard some amazing things about Croatia from friends, and although we wouldn’t have considered it before, it is now on our list. Dubrovnik looks really amazing from what we have seen and heard, and I’m sure we could spend our entire 4 weeks here alone.
What do you think? Where should we go?
Weird title, I know… but hear me out.
Lately something has been keeping me up at night. I was letting my mind wander reading some random stuff when it hit me again.
Those of you that know me well won’t even know this, but I have a deep intense fear of eternity. The actual scientific name is Apeirophobia, but let me explain how it affected me.
It started when I was about 8 or 9 years old. I remember waking up in my bedroom in the middle of the night. It would be able 3am in the morning. We lived in a pretty creepy house. It was big and there was a lot of noise, yet I still felt alone. I had recently moved to a room away from my sister. That, coupled with the fact that I’d just gone through something pretty traumatic (a car accident) was perhaps the precursor to what transpired.
Anyway, as I would lay there, awake, alone, I would feel this sudden fear come upon me. It was the fear of death. I didn’t want to die. Well, no one really wants to die. But the more I would think about the concept of death, the more it became apparent that death wasn’t actually the thing I feared – it was the aftermath of eternal nature of death.
I remember explaining my fear to some friends and family. “But when you die, you’ll go to heaven for all of eternity. You’ll live in happiness and love forever, and ever, and ever…” This did nothing to settle the fear inside me. It only made it worse. It pointed towards the very thing I was most afraid of, that no matter what the outcome, no matter what happens after life, it is forever.
This would lead to me hyperventilating and screaming into my pillow. It had to be dark for this to happen. And you know what, the fear hasn’t subsided. To this day, I still suffer occasional panic attack at nighttime when my mind wanders to the concept of eternity. The only thing that differs now is that I’m not scared of dying, I’m more scared of the fact that we are living in eternity. We don’t have to die to experience it, we’re already there. We’re stuck in a loop.
I don’t know what happens next, but I’m damn terrified to figure it out.
I can officially report that we have moved. I can also report that moving is low at the top of my list for one of the most stressful things I have ever had to do. Not only did it seem to take forever, but there was issue after issue that each needed an equal my attention.
I can’t imagine how stressful it must be when you are moving to another state. Luckily, we were only moving house. After this experience, I don’t see us moving again for a very long time.
Before we began moving, I felt prepared. I was reading up on tips to cope with moving and felt that we would handle it quite well. Let me go through each of these points and tell you how I failed at each of thing.
Firstly, I had to rid of excess clutter. Has anyone noticed that the more clutter you remove, the more there seems to appear? It is like some rip in the space-time continuum. If I threw something out, I seemed to find two more. I never saw myself as a hoarder, but the evidence is stacking that I may be just that.
Next I had to pack with a plan of what was going where. This involved labeling boxes. This was made more difficult by the fact that I could not remember the layout of our new house. I boxed things according to my current house. This turned out to be a massive issue. The layout of our new place is so different than our last that everything ended up being moved at least twice.
Then the truck broke down. My one way of transporting my stuff was gone. I had to be prepared to leave the house that day by 12pm as the new owners were getting the keys, and my house was still full at 11am. This led to a massive rush to put everything outside on the pavement whilst we waited for a new truck. Not only was this incredibly stressful but I was terrified that some of my stuff was going to get stolen!
When the new truck arrived, it was a massive operation to put everything into the truck and head off to our new house. During this time, I had a mini breakdown. When we arrived, I just wanted it all to go away, so I instructed the group to just leave everything outside so that I can handle it later. Why did I do this? Because I am stupid. This turned out to be a massive mistake as I then had to cart everything inside myself. Luckily they had already moved all the big furniture earlier, but bending over for small boxes is a pain in the back (literally).
I am just glad it is over. I could not have imagined a more stressful day. We are settling in well and enjoying the area. After this experience, I think we will be enjoying this area for a long time to come.
I was recently reading about gaming from the 1990’s and it really made me consider just how far we have come. I know video games aren’t the best of our achievements but they are one of our most impressive… I mean take a look at the video games from the 90’s compared to today. There is a world of difference.
Pulley and I did a lot of gaming when we were kids. We actually bought our first gaming console together. When we were about 15 years old, we saved money from our summer jobs and combined it to buy a Play Station One. We used this right up to our days in college.
Back then, this was the gold standard of video gaming. It could play video games from CD’s as opposed to cartridge units of the past. We felt like we had the most high tech piece of equipment that would ever be known to man in our hands. Little did we know that just 20 years later CD’s would even become defunct…
Here are some of the best video games from the 90’s that we played.
Final Fantasy VII
Yes, we were Final Fantasy fans. Actually, we played every game on Play Station One. By far, VII was our favorite. I remember when we first played it we could not defeat the first boss. Looking back, this was actually the easier boss of the entire game. We lost interest and did not play again until about 6 months later.
Once we defeated the first boss, we were hooked. When we got to the point where Aerith died, we were completely beside ourselves. We could not eat for a week. It really did have an impact on us.
Another cool thing about the game was that in came with 4 disks. This shows you just how in depth the game really was. It had an amazing story line and was completely relatable. I think now more than ever the message of that game is clear. The world is dying and it needs us to save it.
This was probably the weirdest game was played in the 90’s. I can remember pressing a button and Abe would make a certain noise. One button even made him fart! You can imagine how fun that was for two 15 year old boys.
This is one game that I actually never finished. I can remember a lot about the game, but there were many more exciting games out there to play that I could never fully devote myself to it.
Crash Bandicoot 2
Okay, this was probably the funnest game of the 90’s. Crash Bandicoot 2 was like a revolution. A massive improvement over Crash Bandicoot the original was that he could now do several things that he could not do previously. I think a belly flop was one of those things.
The actions were also more responsive and the graphics were a lot better. Not to mention the game set up. Crash Bandicoot the original was set up on an island, whereas Crash Bandicoot 2 was in a warp where you would stand in the middle of the room and be brought into the next room. You would also jump through a hole to enter into the level.
The bosses were also challenging but fun, and everything just felt so enjoyable.
PaRappa The Rapper
We first played PaRappa The Rapper off a demo disk. Demo disks used to be great as you would get a taste of what all games had to offer, and this is actually where we first learned about Final Fantasy VII as well.
We first found it pretty funny. There was a song and you had to press certain keys to kick, punch, chop and block! These instructions were provided by a very strange looking man. Actually, he was an onion.
I was definitely the better one at this game. Pulley couldn’t take it seriously as he thought it was a big joke. It was, but I am competitive and I needed to beat him. I always did.
Spongebob Squarepants: Supersponge
The reason I am including this game is as follows. I got sick one year and my parents wanted to get me a video game to help cheer me up. I said to just get me anything and they came home with this. I was 17 years old and this game was recommended for 5 year olds.
Having said that, I actually really enjoyed it. I finished the game in a day, it was easy to play and I did not have to overthink. It also took my mind off of being sick.
I think that is the great thing about video games. No matter what you are feeling at the time, they can transport you into a different place where your thoughts change. Although technology has definitely improved, the power of video games still exists.
Fall happens to be my favorite season of the year, but not for any particular reason. I know that the weather starts to get cooler and the days start to get shorter, but for some reason I love it. When the weather starts gets cooler here in Minnesota, there is always things that we find to do. I guess I just find that I get out more in Fall than in other seasons. I find that in Summer it is too hot and winter is too cold to do all the outdoor things I love. And spring, well… I have allergies in Spring. You can find great ideas online including at Huffington Post. Here is my list of things I love to do in Fall.
Believe it or not, fall is actually a time for us to take advantage of the extra time we have to clean. We are pretty traditional in a way. My wife likes to take care of the inside of the house and I like to take care of the outside. It has become a passion project over the years the attempt to keep the lawn as tidy as possible! I use an electric mower basically because I was sick of paying for gas.
Tree felling is one of our favorite things to do in Fall, and it almost makes sense to see the trees fall in fall. The love of wood chopping was inherited to me from my father so it runs deep in my blood. Whether we are using an axe of a chainsaw, its just great fun. If you’re going to buy one make sure sure you have the proper certification before attempting this in your own state/county. It is also worth reading about how to do this safely. There is an art to tree felling to ensure you get the best cut.
Ahh. Fishing. One of the great pass times. We have our own boat that we have had for years. It is noisy but it runs well and gets us to where we need to go. There is a lake near Pulley’s house that we have been going to for years. With a couple of beers to warm us up, some good rods and a radio, we can have a great time all day. There is also some great fish to catch in the area, and even when we don’t catch anything we still enjoy our time on the lake.
Open mic nights
Now, I can admit I am not much of a singer. That is one thing I openly admit defeat to. But Pulley has great vocals, and whether he sings or not, we always enjoy going along to an open mic night at one of our local clubs. The talent can range from pretty average to outstanding, but half the time this isn’t the point. It’s just a great place to relax, eat, listen and enjoy the company of friends. We get our inspiration from Yelp, and try to go somewhere new every week.
We are lucky to have a great range of places to play golf here in Minnesota. Most of these places offer 18 hole courses, and many offer over that, which just shows what a great amount of open space we have here. There are also a few smaller golf courses that we enjoy to play at for a quick game (and because they are near home).
One thing I will always love about Minnesota is the nature. Mother nature has been kind of Minnesota. Many of our golf courses are surrounded by lakes, nature trails and hills. This can mean a challenging game of golf awaits! But it also shows how diverse the landscape is here, and I guess that’s why we often end up playing a game of golf to end the day when our intention was never to play golf at all! We have that flexibility here and it’s not only Donald Trump that can’t play a game of golf 😉 or not!
What follows are what we believe to be the best golf courses in Minnesota. Although they are spread out over the state, Minnesota is a state that is well within traveling distance (in our perspective anyway). So get your clubs, bring the best golf rangefinder you can find and get ready to play!
Minnesota National Golf Course
Perhaps the best in Minnesota, the National Golf Course is huge! It has 27 holes and stretches out over 600 acres. The setting is beautiful and there is always people around. The golf course also features 18 holes of a more challenging Championship course. I have attended a few functions here, and one of my good friends even held their wedding here.
On some of the most beautiful land that Minnesota has, this golf course is popular among all golfers in Minnesota and features 3 of the best 9 hole courses around. About a 2.5 hour drive from the Twin Cities, this golf course is worth a day trip too if you are ever in the area!
Cragun’s Resort and Legacy Courses at Cragun’s
Cragun’s Resort is where we go when we want a 5 star experience! This resort is amazing and makes for the perfect relaxing getaway with our families. Set out over a huge 45 holes (including Bobby’s Legacy and Dutch Legacy Championship courses), the resort also features a pool, dining and kids club. It makes for a beautiful and relaxing weekend.
Although not a new course, the golf course has experienced changes over the last few years and has become a great 27 hole course. The course has a great atmosphere, the staff are friendly and there is an emphasis on the traditional social atmosphere that golf offers. It can also be a great introduction for new players, and I often bring my son along. It’s close to home too, which helps!
Hoyt Lakes Country Club
With a traditional energy of a country club, the Hoyt Lakes Country Club offers more than just golf. The course itself it wonderful, with a challenging 8 hole, par 36 golf course. But the club definitely offers more than this. Surrounded by lakes and beautiful scenery, there is a nearby fishing and bike riding tracks that offer a great escape. This is usually the reason we head up this way, golf is just an extra!
Silver Bay Golf Course
Silver Bay Golf Course may not be on everyone’s list, but it is on mine! It has been a favorite of my families for a while now and for no particular reason. We just feel comfortable there. The golf course is not anything special, there is a 9 hole course with a driving range. There is also a great shop where you can pick up some accessories and sandwich bar where you can fit in lunch. The price is low and they offer cart rental. Other than that, I guess it just shows that the golf course does not have to be perfect to be loved.
I think when God thought up the USA he designed it with taking road trips in mind. We have a fantastic stretch of country here that must be taken advantage of! So many of the best places to take a road trip in the USA are underused. Although this may not be good for tourism, it’s good for us because it means more room for us!
We had a think about the road trips we have taken over the years, especially during our years at college, and we narrowed it down our favorite destinations.
We took a dive here in about 2010. It was just far enough from a major center to feel isolated but not far enough to make you feel alone. I really loved it. The landscape reminded me of what Mars would be like. We actually went here for a festival and found that there were many people around. This is probably why we enjoyed it so much.
Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, Michigan
Not too far from home, the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore is beautiful. It is what I would expect from a town centered around the water. I had read many times about the beauty of this place but could not grasp it until I saw it myself. Just last year, my wife and I headed that way for a weekend alone. It was well worth it!
For the lovers of outdoors Glacier National Park is like heaven. The park features a snowy mountainside with a lake, and plenty of walking tracks nearby. The learning center was also a great place to pick up on some local knowledge. This was a trip between Pulley and I that we took in college. We headed back there a couple of years ago, and all that had changed was our energy levels!
If you want one of the USA’s best country coastal towns Falmouth is at the top of my list. The town is great because of its art scene, and it has many local galleries and fairs held that show local favorites. We stayed a night here on our way to New York, and it turned out to make for a wonderful stay and so we stayed on the way back too.
Definitely not the best known, but with some of the best drives I’ve taken. Pikeville is beautiful, with a windy mountain drive, some beautiful architecture and a small country feel. They often have local fairs and markets held here, with the farmers market offering some of the freshest produce in the country.