Jack3d: First Impressions

I picked up a tub of Jack3d from GNC the other day for 29.99.  It was on sale, and I wanted to give a pre-workout drink a shot.  I chose the Grape Bubblegum flavor, for no particular reason, but it sounded pretty good.  I decided to give it a try last night before my workout. No sugar, creatine, caffeine, and a few other stims make for a good mix with minimal calories = good.

The scoop is extremely school, because as USPLabs says the formula is ultra-concentrated.  I waited roughly 30 minutes before I started to get the tingling feeling to let me know it was time to go workout.  I got in the gym and immediately ran a mile, which is pretty good for me, since I usually do not do much cardio work.  I was still fairly sore, so I skipped squats, which is usually the basis of my workout and went straight to the bench.  I felt pretty strong, focused and motivated.

You can definitely tell this is a stimulant, and there is a decent amount of caffeine, but I felt good in the gym, and there was a bit of a crash after the shower, but not too bad.  I was not up any later than normal, and my workout started at 8:15, so I was surprised with that.

I will finish off the tub, and make another post before reupping with Jack3d or switching to another preworkout supplement.

End of the Year

I had a great 2011, looking forward to 2012.  I picked up several good habits over the course of the year, most important being working out and eating well.  I also made a big change in my life, moving to a new state and starting a new job.  With 2012 looming and me heading to NYC for New Year's Eve (this post coming via Megabus' free wifi), I wanted to take a moment to highlight some of the best posts of the blog and address topics I want to cover going forward.

My most popular post is this one on the Barbour Bedale jacket, tons of great images and an excellent jacket.

My review of Chris Herren: Unguarded has been popular as well, I still recommend tracking down a copy of this documentary, if you haven't seen it yet!

Old LL Bean catalogs are always popular on the interwebz

With the Celtics season starting off quite poorly, lets take a moment to remember the best Celtic of all time, Bill Russell

My favorite book of 2012 was Chris MacDougall: Born to Run

Although Christmas has passed, check out the trad shopping list and staples posts along those lines check out Heavy Tweed Jacket while it is still around!

As far as my focus for the future, I am going to continue bringing news about my favorite sports teams, and sports in general, working out/paleo updates, clothing, craft beer, and anything else I find interesting.  Thanks for following my blog, and feel free to contact me with any further suggestions.  Aaronpkirsch at Gmail dot com


Basketball is upon us

ATerrificLife readers all know that the NBA is by far my favorite professional sports league, and that I love basketball!

I had my first Fantasy Basketball draft with my Fantasy Football league and a few other buddies on Monday.  I had second pick, and took Lebron James, and then proceeded to grab a number of bigs, my team is fairly risky, since there are a number of injury risks, but I have plenty of backups, so it should be fine.  I do not have any 3 pointers, but I hope to counter that by dominating FG%, Points, Rebounds and Assists and hoping that Tony Allen and some of my other guys can come up with steals and FT% get myself into the championship.  Looking for Ty Lawson to have a breakout year as well!

As far as real basketball, my Celtics are in pretty tough shape this year.  They failed to acquire Chris Paul and recently lost Jeff Green for the season (hope you are alright man!) which means our 5th best player is Brandon Bass, who will be coming off the bench.  I think the C's are going to struggle regular season, and sneak into the playoffs, where they will probably do some damage for the last time.  The lack of depth and athelticism of our star players, and New York, Miami and Chicago all young and bound to improve on already impressive seasons last year, and the surging Indiana Pacers and Philly 76ers are going to present a number of challenges.  In the West, it is going to be exciting to see the Clippers and Thunder who are being touted as favorites to win the Conference.  Scrappy Memphis, quiet Portland, aging San Antonio and the angry Lakers are all going to be in the mix as well.

I can't wait for Christmas day!


Heavy Tweed Jacket - Available for limited time

Heavy Tweed Jacket is a one man blog who employs a unique strategy of posting fairly regularly for a month or two, then going dark for 6 months, leaving no trace of the traddy menswear blog.  His archive of trad catelogs (and Grateful Dead mixtapes) is quite impressive, and I am sure he will send the Vintage Brooks Brothers ebay market up more than a couple basis points!


Book Review: The Rule of Four

The Rule of Four is a puzzle novel, in the same vein of the Da Vinci Code or the National Treasure movies.  The book is set in the final semester of Princeton senior' Tom Sullivan.  The plot of the book centers around a real text from the late 15th century called the Hypnerotomachia PoliphiliTom's father spent his academic career studying the book and looking for a deeper message.  In fact, he spent so much time in the book that he alienated himself from his family, until his death several years before.  Paul Harris is Tom's roomate, who has spent the past four years studying the Hypernotomachia, and has discovered a series of clues and riddles hidden within the text.

The book's strengths are the intriguing puzzle hidden within an age old text and the plausible answers based on Rennaisance-era knowledge that reveals a number of clues the author attempted to hide from contemporaries.  There is also the intrigue of murder and theft all caused by the book.  The scenes that display life at Princeton are also very interesting.  Unfortunately it devolves in to a treasure hunt at the tail end, and the tired relationship between Tom and Katie (a paralell of Tom's mother and father) and his struggle to extricate himself from the Hypernotomachia's pull is a bit of a snoozer.  The ending of the book is quite eventful and leaves open the possibility of a sequel, although the mystery is mostly solved, thus creating less interesting story lines for the future.

My overall verdict is a solid B.  This was definitely a page turner and the excellent portrayal if Princeton as well as the main puzzle were very redeeming.


Recent Beers

Port Brewing: High Tide "Fresh Hop" IPA - This beer is extremely hoppy, even though it was brewed early October.  It's been over a month, but the fresh hops are still extremely noticeable.  The color is quite light and hazy, with an aggressive head.  First whiff of the beer is pure piney hops.  The beer is bitter, as it is an IPA and the alcohol is noticeable although it is only 6.5% ABV.  A delicious beer for sure.

Sixpoint: Diesel -  This is a seasonal offering from Brooklyn based Sixpoint.  It comes in 16oz bomber 4 packs, and I paid $8.99.  Although they consider this beer a stout it is 62 IBU's and uses fresh hops.   This beer is nearly a Black IPA it is so hoppy, but there is a solid stout backbone to it as well.  The beer looks great, extremely dark with a foamy head.  The smell is roasted coffee and piney hops.  Very drinkable.

Trader Joes: 2011 Vintage Ale - This delicious Belgian Strong Dark Ale is brewed for Trader Joe's by Unibroue in Quebec, Canada, the famous makers of Belgian style ales.  This corked and caged 750ml bottle is a bargain at $4.99 while supplies last at TJ's locations.  Although the beer clocks in at 9% ABV it is approachable.  The beer is very dark and has lots of spices and dark fruits like other BSDAs.  Not the most amazing or complex beer, but a bargain at this price point.
Harpoon: Munich Type Dark - An excellent Munich Dunkel Lager from local brewer Harpoon.  This came in the Winter mixed 12 pack and was my favorite beer.  Don't have tasting notes, but I enjoyed it!


Fantasy Basketball Preview

I am extremely excited for the NBA season. I am a huge NBA fan, and my Celtics are my favorite team in the league. The Rondo trade rumors are a bit hyped this week, and I hope that he stays. I think Rondo is great for the other guys and he truly can be a difference maker in many games. He is also fun to watch, I simply wish that he could shoot better. His FG and FT percentages are extremely poor, which brings me to fantasy basketball. I am doing fairly well in my Fantasy Football league, and have a crucial matchup this weekend to determine playoffs (more on that later.) I play with a similar pool of friends for NBA and I am pretty hyped for this year, beginning on Christmas.

I am going to go avoid injury prone guys this year, since we are going to have a shortened season, and people will be playing more often. With a higher frequency of games, the edge will definitely be on the well conditioned guys who will play more minutes. I am going to avoid Derek Rose, Arame, CP3 and others. I am targeting Carmelo Anthony fairly early, and hope to get him, since I think under D'Antoni he might score 10,000 points this season! Drafts for this and hopefully one or two other leagues will be held fairly soon, so I will be prepping even more.

My draft strategy is to read a ton of fantasy analysts predictions and projections, since I respect these guys who do this for a living. I like to indentify players who have a lot of upside, think Jimmy Graham and L. Blounte in the NFL. I also like to identify non-sexy players like Matt Forte in the NFL who can really make a difference, although fairly quietly. I make power rankings for the first 4 rounds, then decide on a few guys that I am interested in during later rounds. I do consider team needs, but not until later rounds, since trades are always a way to pick up some positional pieces later on with a trade offer.

Another interesting aspect for this year is that we are going to be instituting a "keeper" option. We are each going to hold onto 3 players for next year, which means the players we are picking early on are going to be extremely important. For this reason, I am going to try hard to get Kevin Love, since he is a young, tough player who puts up a ton of stats. This rule means 30 players will be held out of the draft next season, which will make things extremely interesting. It will also have a big effect on trades, since they must be considered in the long term as well as the short term. I think there should be a penalty for holding onto certain players, but I do not have a great system.

I will add more thoughts over the next few weeks leading up to the season, but I can't give out too much, because other league members could definitely be ghosting my site!