Come To My Senses: August 11

  • Sight: I made it to my first Carolina Panthers’ game this week! When I found out that Deshaun Watson was drafted by the Houston Texans and that they were playing Carolina in Week 1 of the preseason, there was absolutely no excuse to not go. My brother came up, so it was really good to spend some solo bro time too. The Texans lost (Go Panthers, am I right?) but Deshaun looked really good in his first professional game. The highlight was him taking a 15 yard run up the middle of the field for a touchdown and the masses of Clemson people who came out went nuts, which was soon followed up by the non-Clemson Panthers fans boo’ing. Too funny.

    It may be my first Panthers game... but go Deshaun!

    A post shared by Matt (@clemsonnanu) on

  • Sound: The lyrics to this song are perfect to me (I won’t come back to you broken/I won’t stay away too long). Josh’s voice gives me chills. The video legitimately made me tear up the first time seeing it because these are just genuinely good dudes.
  • Taste: Last Friday, our social butterfly coworker thought we work hard but don’t play hard enough. So she got a group of us out of the office to Vida Cantina. I put down an Asian Shrimp taco and a Buffalo Chicken taco that were both very good. Lunch Roulette was Eddie’s Place. This place is excellent but I almost never go there because it’s next door to Leroy Fox which may be one of my favorite places in Charlotte. I’ve only ever had the Country Fried Breakfast. But I’ve had it like four times and have never had a reason to change it up. So good.
  • Feel: Life is really good right now. I’m really happy. That’s all.

Have a good weekend, kiddos!

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Come To My Senses: August 4

  • Sight: Let me paint you a picture… Monday night, I’m watching the last few episodes of Season 3 in Game of Thrones. I get to The Rains of Castamere, which I find out later is the Red Wedding episode everyone loves talking about, and quite frankly, shit hits the fan. Plots twist. People die. Minds are blown. I need a few minutes to take in what just happened. Completely digest the events. So I’ll take the dogs out and ponder in the back yard before coming back in and firing up the finale. Ha. Just kidding. Because this bad boy (or girl?) wrecked my night.

    And Lucy’s.

    I’m just now getting the smell out of my living room. What a miserable start to the week!

  • Sound: Up until yesterday, I was totally planning on reppin’ Hold On by Wilson Phillips (thanks to a lil bit of grits!) (Also… I’m super excited about that new nickname) ALL week long. It’s a good song. Maybe even a great song. But damnit if that thing NEVER leaves your head. But I found out that one of my current pop punk bands (As It Is) is coming to the US (via England) to tour at the end of the year! They’re touring with Waterparks, Chapel, and Sleep On It. Ticket’s already bought and paid for. So listen to my favorite song of theirs.
  • Taste: It was a BUSY food week! Friday night, I did up Restaurant Week at Capital Grille with some old coworkers. I rocked a pretty decent NY Strip. Saturday, I met another old coworker at Paco’s Tacos. I tried a Paco’s taco and a Chicken Fried Steak taco, both of which were excellent. Sunday, I took my favorite fake cousin (<3!) and her husband to Bang Bang Burgers. Destroyed a cheeseburger egg roll and a pimento burger. That place is legit. Lunch Roulette took us to Hwy 55 on Tuesday. I had another pimento cheeseburger but the service was AWFUL. May be awhile before I’m back there. And to round out the week, a group of my coworkers went to Mellow Mushroom yesterday for lunch. Got a pepperoni cal zone and stuffed my face. Maybe I need to slow down a bit?
  • Feel: Content. Very content. Aside from the skunk episode, it’s been a good seven days. It was great to catch up with my old buddy Saturday. Another friend just bought a house and returned the “new home tour” I gave her a few weeks ago, so I’m happy for her. Then it was great spending time with my (fake) cousin Sunday, who I don’t see nearly enough. Then she may have helped me set up a dinner date. And the rest of the week has just been good, quick, and quiet. Also, my brother sent me this video of my nephews FJ and DJ, which I cannot stop watching.

    Can. Not. Stop. Laughing. #FJandDJ #nephews #prouduncle

    A post shared by Matt (@clemsonnanu) on

If you hold on for one more day, things’ll go your way. And it’ll be Saturday.

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Come To My Senses: July 28

  • Sight: Lucy learned “down.” Kind of. Assuming saying “Lucy, down. Down. Down. Down. Down. Down. Down. Down. Down. Down. Down. Lay down. Lay down. Down. Down!” while also trying to tell Harper that she’s a good girl for perfectly laying down for 45 straight seconds of commands means she has learned it. But eventually, she lays her stubborn butt down. That brings her number of tricks up to “sit”,  “down”, and “stay.” We’re slowly getting there.
  • Sound: I bought Paramore’s new album, After Laughter, the week it was released. But I’m just now getting around to listening to it for some reason. And I love it! It’s a very calm, relaxing album. Definitely one that will stay on repeat on the work iPod. It’s also very 80s-tinged, like seemingly everything else lately. But that ain’t a bad thing. Huge fan of Forgiveness, so give it a listen!
  • Taste: Rant time! I have a Bojangles $8.99 coupon for an 8 piece chicken box with 4 biscuits. I went to pick one up Saturday, so that I could stretch it into a couple nights’ worth of dinner. But when I get up to order, I was told “We don’t have anything but wings and thighs right now. Sorry.” Uh. What? How does a chicken fast food chain not have… chicken? No one’s ordering 8 thighs. Get the F out of here. So I stubbornly went to Cookout instead. Watermelon milkshakes are my jam! Side note… Lunch Roulette this week was Pollo Royal. It’s a super sketchy place with delicious fried chicken.
  • Feel: I was all prepared to write about how conflicted I’ve been lately. With dating. With coworkers. With finances. With my house. With Lucy. But Thursday evening changed that. Something I had planned worked out really well. And I took Harper to Park Road Park (…nope, not confusing at all) because it finally wasn’t a million degrees and to walk around the lake where there was a saxophonist jamming out. So it was a good day. We’ll save the #emo stuff for another week.

And with that, we say goodbye to July!

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Come To My Senses: July 21

And we back!

    • Sight: Guess who started watching Game of Thrones? This guy! I’m only seven episodes in, so I still have a ways to go but I’m enjoying it so far. I’ve never been a big high fantasy fan but somehow, I’m loving the most high fantasy, high profile TV show (Game of Thrones) and video game (The Witcher 3) right now. Arya is my favorite. She’s a little badass.
    • Sound: So any concert I go to, I try to make a playlist of the setlist the show so I’ve got a good feel for what’s coming up. Last November, I saw Yellowcard on their final tour (RIP) and I’ve been FEELING that playlist lately. Believe. Lights and Sounds. Rest in Peace. Light Up The Sky. Sing for Me. October Nights. Hang You Up. Nearly every song from that setlist is just hitting the right spot right now. This one still gives me goosebumps
    • Taste: Lunch Roulette this week was a classic, Mr. K’s. So cheeseburger and chili cheese fries it was! I also whipped up a batch of oatmeal raisin cookies last weekend. I’ve never been a huge oatmeal raisin fan but adorable white girls and coworkers enjoy them. And sometimes, you just gotta give the people what they want.

A white girl's favorite… Oatmeal raisin cookies coming in hot! #thecookiebachelor

A post shared by Matt (@clemsonnanu) on

  • Feel: Currently, I’m miserable. Before taking Harper to the park, the vision got spotty in my left eye. So I popped some quick Excederin, downed a large McDonald’s sweet tea, and buckled down for the oncoming migraine. Fortunately, I caught it quick enough so I didn’t completely die when walking Harper. But they’re still not very fun and I’m feeling the after effects now. By the time you read this though, I should be all good!

I’m still not sold on the format of this bad boy yet. It feels a bit cheesy. But I’ll stick with it for awhile and see what works and what doesn’t. Any suggestions or things you’d like to see?

Have a happy Friday!

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Come To My Senses: July 14

In my last post, I mentioned how I wanted to get back into a routine of writing regularly again.

I have a feeling this is going to be a work in progress. I asked San Diego (who’s actually now San Francisco but whatever… don’t care! Nicknames don’t change) for some advice. But one of them was legitimately a weekly account of trying to keep a plant alive.

So here we are.

For sure, not doing that.

  • Sight: Chris D’Elia’s new special, Man on Fire, came out June 27th and it’s hilarious. If you’re a fan of stand up comedy and have an hour, give it a shot.
  • Sound: A couple of weeks ago, my Nashville BFF pointed me Jordan Davis’ way under the premise that his new single is “country pop punk.” Uh. Say no more, please. Just listen.
  • Taste: Bar-B-Q King was the Lunch Roulette roll this past Tuesday. I had the 1/4 bar-b-q chicken tray. Delicious, as always. I also met some coworkers at Carolina Ale House Wednesday night and had the Buffalo Blue Burger.
  • Feel: The last couple of weeks have been incredibly frustrating. I got an awesome new puppy Lucy… who’s incredibly stubborn and isn’t doing a great job listening to training. I love my job… but up until about Tuesday, it’s been kicking my butt. I’m totally into an adorable girl… who only wants to be friends. Maybe it’s time to take the Jessica Day approach and be overly optimistic? Lucy kinda sits on command if I’m holding food, the job has finally settled down a bit, and I may have promised the girl homemade cookies this weekend. What can go wrong?

I started my What I Learned entry back in July 2012 (what?!?!) and I thought it’d be appropriate to try something new for the next five years. So what do you think? And how was your week?

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2nd Quarter Report – 2017

Welcome back for your quarterly visit!

As always, it makes no sense how 2017 is already halfway over. The good news is that I’ve got some resolution updates for you. The better news is that I want to start bringing back some weekly content. Maybe not exactly the same format as the “What I Learned” stuff I’ve done before but something similar.

But that’s for another day! So let’s jump right in!

  • 15 Books:
    • 2Q projection – 7.5
    • 2Q actual – 7
    • I’m slowly catching up a little bit. Three books the first quarter and now four this quarter. I finished The Fireman by Joe Hill, The Dry by Jane Harper, Harry Potter & The Cursed Child by JK Rowling, and finally wrapped up Halo: The Cole Protocol by Tobias Buckell Sunday morning. I really enjoyed The Fireman. I feel like there was a big gap this quarter where I didn’t get a lot read. I also wasn’t crazy about the Halo book, so it drug on a little long and I didn’t prioritize finishing it up until this weekend. Next quarter, I want to do better. I’ve started The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin. My mom’s new book Edisto Stranger is on my bookshelf. And I want to try to reread The Gunslinger and maybe The Drawing of the Three by Stephen King before The Dark Tower movie comes out in August.
  • 365 Miles:
    • 2Q projection – 182.50
    • 2Q actual – 64.80
    • This goal is dying a slow death but I’m keeping it on life support for the time being. I’ve put more miles in this quarter than I did last, so I’m moving in the right direction. Just not fast enough. It also doesn’t help that I hate… no, loathe… summer. I’m a hot-natured person, so running in the summer is the worst. But I’ve been a little more disciplined lately. So breaking 100 miles by next update?
  • 4 House Projects:
    • 2Q projection – 2
    • 2Q actual – 3
    • I’m going to fudge this one a bit. My periwinkles were delivered and my dad came to help plant them. It wasn’t a failure, as they’re not dead yet. But I wouldn’t chalk it up as a success quite yet since they’re still roughly the same size when I planted them. Grow please? I also have nearly all of my pictures up on the wall. I have three posters left and I’m debating on whether I want to leave them in a bedroom or let them spread their wings and fly in the foyer/hallway. Somehow, I also managed to buy two rugs that work really well with my furniture and a doormat that’s more awesome than yours.
  • 83% LTV:
    • 2Q projection – 84.0%
    • 2Q actual – 83.0%
    • This quarter has been eye opening at how big of a difference a little extra money on a mortgage payment goes. I’m lucky enough to have the freedom at the moment to put about $200 extra on my payment. If I did that for the entire life of the loan, I’d pay off a 30 year mortgage in 13 years. $200 more a money more than halves how quick you can pay a house off. That blows my mind. I should be able to remove my mortgage insurance in January, less than a year after buying the house. By then, I should be rolling off the balances of some of the appliances I bought on credit, so if I really wanted to get aggressive, the opportunity’s there. I’ve also been able to build back up my savings enough to finally open an Ally Savings account. I feel a little bad that it’s taken a year since working there to finally open an account. But hey… I’ll take 1.05% on my money instead of the 0.05% I’m getting at Bank of America. Financial goals are fun!
  • 1 Website:
    • 2Q projection – An “Under Construction” 1990s HTML jpg?
    • 2Q actual – …Crickets
    • Yeah… about this… Probably not gonna happen…
  • 12,000 Gamerscore:
    • 2Q projection – 6,000
    • 2Q actual – 2,040
    • Maybe I don’t have plenty of time. I have played a lot of The Witcher 3 but it’s a huge game, so the achievements don’t pop very often. At some point, I may replay through TellTale’s The Walking Dead seasons when the 3rd one eventually goes on sale, which should net me an easy 2,500 or so. I should pick up a few in Destiny 2 before the end of the year. Life is Strange, Tacoma, and Cuphead (seriously… watch the video below) are smaller games coming out I may pick up. So realistically, we’re looking at something closer to 6,000 points than 12,000? But I’d be happy with that!

The 2nd Quarter is where goals start separating themselves into the “gonna finish early”, “made a valiant effort”, and “never gonna happen” buckets. And mine are falling into their respective lanes nicely with three on pace to be done on time or early, two that I should get about halfway finished by the end of the year, and one that’s hopeless. Which I’m okay with.

How’d you do? Was the first half of the year good to you? Or is procrastination the thief of 2017 so far?

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1st Quarter Report – 2017

Hey strangers! It’s been awhile.

Even if I am a couple of weeks late, I still wanted to get my 1st quarter update in. This is as much to keep me accountable as it is to selfishly update you on how I’m doing this year. Better late than never, right? So let’s check in on our new homeowner!

  • 15 Books:
    • 1Q projection – 3.75
    • 1Q actual – 3
    • Just a tiny bit behind schedule. I started the year with The Chemist by Stephanie Meyer, the author of the Twilight series. The story was surprisingly good. I followed that up with The Passenger by Lisa Lutz. It’s a book I picked up on a whim at Barnes and Noble that I wound up really pleased with. And my last of the quarter was A Dog’s Purpose by Bruce Cameron. All worthy of 4 stars on my Goodreads page. Right now, I’m reading through The Fireman by Joe Hill. The good news is that since the weather’s nice, my lunch break shifts outside to a park bench with my book every day.
  • 365 Miles:
    • 1Q projection – 91.25
    • 1Q actual – 30.05
    • So… about that goal… After spending the holidays at home, my disease dumpster of a 1 year old nephew gave me a virus cocktail of sickness. So throughout almost all of January and February, I didn’t put any mileage in. Fortunately, I was able to run in March to be ready-ish enough for my 10th consecutive Bridge Run on April 1. I didn’t have a great time (1:15:50) but I did much better than I thought I’d do with little training. I’ve also signed up for a 5K this coming Saturday to help keep my motivation and feet moving in the right direction.
  • 4 House Projects:
    • 1Q projection – 1
    • 1Q actual – 1
    • So far, so good! A week ago, I had my backyard fenced in. I ordered 200 periwinkle plants to cover the slope of my backyard a while back too, so next quarter looks to be on track too, as long as I get them planted before July. Painting the house may be on the back burner until my 12 month walk through. I’m still debating on sodding the backyard vs. seeding it some more. And my next project is going to be hanging pictures. My bank account needs a break.
  • 83% LTV:
    • 1Q projection – 84.5%
    • 1Q actual – 84.6%
    • To be perfectly honest, I’m not sure why I set this goal at 83%. I closed on the house January 23rd and put my 15% down. So this is officially my first post as a homeowner. I didn’t have a February payment but I’ve put a little extra into my monthly payment for March and April. I’m still a little behind but I’m not worried about this getting out of reach yet. Once I get some of my appliances or furniture paid off, I’ll have some extra money to put towards my payment then as well. For now, I’ll just keep plugging away.
  • 1 Website:
    • 1Q projection – Something, anything…
    • 1Q actual – Nothing
    • The early indication is that this is the goal to slowly get away from me. The bad news is that by moving into the house, I’m almost never on my computer anymore. The good news is that in the move, I found a couple of binders (of notes… not of women, Mitt Romney) from online classes I took several years ago on websites and databases. By the next entry, I’m going to try and have a log in screen that at least works for my brother and I.
  • 12,000 Gamerscore:
    • 1Q projection – 3000
    • 1Q actual – 1235
    • I’m not on pace after the first quarter but my game playing has gone through the roof since moving into the new house. I beat Gears of War 4. I beat Watch Dogs 2. I’ve beat about half of Halo Wars 2. I’ve picked up almost 200 points from Ryse: Son of Rome. I snagged a few achievements from Destiny I was missing. Going forward, I picked up the Witcher 3 from Microsoft’s Spring Sale. I want to finish Halo Wars 2 and Ryse. I want to pick up Mass Effect: Andromeda when it goes on sale. Destiny 2 comes out this September.  I’ve got plenty of time.

 

Not a great start to the 1st quarter of 2017 but it’s not terrible either. With the exception of the website, I’ve at least put forth some effort into every goal. Nothing’s completely out of reach yet, which I haven’t always been able to say in my previous 1st quarter entries. So I’m optimistic heading into the spring and summer.

How are your goals shaping up?

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