Euro 2012: Spain Defeats Portugal

Spain v. Portugal on 6/27/2012 was a very slow game.  The Euro 2012 Semifinal match was extremely well played.  The first and second halfs showed very few opportunities and the game seemed destined for overtime and beyond.  Beginning in the first extra time period, Spain really turned up the heat on the tired Portuguese side, who surrendered many shots to the attackers.  They held on to the 0-0 draw which brought penalties.  Excellent saves by each goalie on the first two shots, but a few Portuguese shooters ended up missing shots sending the Spaniards into the Finals on Sunday in Kiev, Ukraine. 

Think, Act, Prosper: 20 Ways to Go Green That Make a Difference

My other blog is Think, Act, Prosper.  The topic is environmental concerns and discussions of how to go green and live in sync with environmentally friendly practices.  The name of the blog is a very accurate representation of the philosophy.  It is incredibly important to think before acting, as if you don't then you are simply reacting.  By thinking, we can consider multiple strategies or methods to accomplish something.  After thinking about a topic or idea, we can then act in accordance with these plans.  Finally, if we think through problems, then act accordingly, we are certain to prosper.  Prosperity is the goal of every human, and without thinking before acting, especially in regards to how we interact with the environment, this will not happen.

In September 2011, I penned a list of 20 Ways to Go Green That Make a Difference. This list was supposed to be 20 ways that people could effectively make changes that would have an impact.  There are many ways to go green which barely make an impact on the grand scale of things, but these changes were targeted because they require small time and money investments, but pay large dividends, to use a financial metaphor.  I have finally completed this list with 20 blog posts on the various topics. Please check it out below.

Think, Act, Prosper
20 Ways to Go Green that Make a Difference


Euro 2012: Semifinal Previews

I have watched a bunch of this Euro 2012 tournament.  I was in Brazil for the beginning of it, watching with my brother in law and the other soccer-crazed fans. Predictably, it is only the blue chip countries left in the tournament.  I watched the England v Italy quarterfinal match Sunday, which was quite uneventful, with Italy controlling possession but failing to convert any goals. A 2-0 result was equally likely as the 0-0 result with Italy winning in PKs.  England's woeful control of the ball, and few scoring opportunities, in spite of an average Italian backfield are definitely not re-assuring for supporters of the Red and White. 

Looking forward to the Semi-finals, we have two similar matchups.  The heavily favored Spanish and German teams go up against the Cristiano Ronaldo's (Portugal) and Italy, respectively.

Spain's dominant side, led by their flashy offensive scorers, are the favorite to win the tournament, but Germany's methodical wins in the early rounds may signify that they have a chance.  I like both favorites to go through to the final, but the are certainly not locks.  Spain has a better chance of getting an unlucky exit from a red hot Ronaldo, as Germany's offense has looked unstoppable and the feeble defense and inconsistent offense of the the Azzuri are unlikely to cause them much trouble. 


Begrudging Congratulation to the 2012 NBA Champion Miami Heat

I watched all the finals games, even while I was in Brazil.  Lebron James dominated and deserves his first championship ring.  I really expected OKC to take it by their superior team focus, but LBJ/Bosh/Wade were too much, and support from the rest of the cast propelled MIA to the win.  Congrats Miami.

Mad Men Season 5 in the books

Mad Men Season 5 was extremely well made.  It ended with a perfect scene, in which Don is confronted by two lone women at the bar, and the shot ends as he turns to give his response.  The central question Mad Men explores is change and whether individuals are capable of changing.  Don has clearly changed, but will his old habits and history come back to bite him.  The shots of his brother Adam, triggered by the recent suicide of his co-worker, and the nagging tooth ache, a sign of his aging, suggest that he is changing, but will he revert to all habits. 

Megan and Ginsberg really starred in this season.  Megan's character is at times grown up and at times acts younger than Sally.  It's hard to blame her based on her degenerate parents.  Ginsberg is an odd duck, although he seems to be quite adept to the copywriter position.  He achieves a modicum of success at the job, and SCD sans Price has had one of its most successful quarters.  Pete has really started to turn into a Don Draper, cheating on his wife and despising time at home with his family. 

I am excited for Season 6, this is my favorite show of all time.


Natal Part 2

We had some down time and were in the neighborhood of Lagoa Nova.  Rodrigo suggested a local cafe, Vanilla Caffe, as there are not yet any Starbucks in Natal.  I was looking for simple black coffee, but the best they had was espresso.  It was pretty good, but not quite the same as an American cafe.  Brazilians prefer the sweeter Espresso drinks which are also popular in the USA, but not my personal preference.  Marina had a bowl of ice cream, with caramel and M&M's.

For dinner, we went to another restaurant in Ponta Negra, called Mazzano.  They have a rodizio, all you can eat, of pizza on Monday nights. There were a number of delicious pizzas and pastas, and I definitely ate my fill!  It was finished off with the chocolate pizza above, extremely sweet, but I loved it.  I definitely got my R$26 worth of food.

Sign outside Gringo's cocktail bar, pretty funny.

Final stop of the night was at a local specialty restaurant, Casa de Taipa, their specialty is tapioca.  Not the tapioca pudding we are familiar with in the US, this is much closer to an omelette, except made with tapioca flour.  There is a wide range of fillings, I chose a calabreza sausage with onions and cheese.  Delicious with tabasco sauce.  Not the cheapest food, but a good snack for R$16. Washed down with a Kaizer Summer beer.

Right next door to the Tapiocaria is the Lua Cheia hostel.  It is designed like a medieval castle and is one of the best hostels in the world.  Very cool design and features a medieval pub.  If Marina didn't have so many helpful and welcoming family members, we would definitely stay here.

At home, we played some Mexican Train dominos.  A favorite of ours in the US, that we taught to Marta (left) Luiza (middle) Rodrigo (right) when they visited my family.  Helena (pink) has picked up the game as well, and we brought her a set of dominos to play at her home also!


Brazil Part 1

I am down in Brazil, visiting with Marina's family and enjoying her lovely city of Natal.  Located on the northeast coast of Brazil, the weather is perfect and the natural beauty is amazing.  The city is developing at an impressive rate, and one of Marina's brother in law's cousins told me that it is considered one of the "hottest" real estate markets on the continent.  There is construction everywhere and the city is modernizing at a ferocious rate.  With that said, it is great place for both locals and the numerous tourists.

We took a tour of the Parque das Dunas, a large urban park in Natal, in fact it is the second largest urban park in the country.  There are several paths which lead from the entrance out towards the ocean. Here we are rounding the last corner of the dune.

Not mean mugging, it was just so bright out there.  Ponta Negra and the the beach are in the background.

Drinking a well-earned fresh young coconut afterwards.  Vita Coco ain't got shit on me.

Afterwards, we were hungry for lunch and Rodrigo suggested a local sushi place.  You paid by the pound, and it was roughly $25/kilogram, which works out to like $11.36/lb, not bad for sushi.

Grabbed a couple random sashimi pieces and my favorite was at the top, left.  Salmon, cream cheese, with a shrimp on top.  Whole plate cost R$24.50, so like $12 USD.  Totally worth it.  Washed it down with a beer.

Was feeling a little tired after, and grabbed an "energetico," made by Coca Cola and sponsored by David Guetta, pretty cool.


Grenadine Ties


If I could only own one tie, it would definitely be a grenadine.  It goes with everything, since it is plain, but it has enough texture due to the way that it is made, that its not boring.  They are made by various makers, but I prefer mine to be about 3.5 inches in length, as with most of my other ties.  Plain colors match with everything and you can even keep a bright stripey Etro under control with one.  Looks great with suits or sportcoats. 

J.Press has some on sale in the skinny and normal length variety, a bargain at under $65.

Paul Stuart offers them for $98.60

Sam Hober offers them for $80

There are a number of other higher end retailers who offer this fine neckwear option such as Brioni, Drakes, (pictured above) Turnbull and Asser if you have more money to spend, then go one of those routes.