I GOT A MOVIE PASS!

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A few weeks ago, I signed up for Movie Pass!

I love movies and I love going to the movies. What I don’t love is paying $15-20 to watch a movie in the theater. Gone are the days when I would go to a morning matinee for $4 and sneak into a second movie afterwards, bringing the total cost for each movie down to just $2.

With this movie ticket price surge I have become way more selective on which movies I “need” to watch in theaters. If I’m not 100% interested in seeing a movie (meaning it’s not a Star War, Pixar or a Marvel movie aka anything owned by Disney) then I can probably just wait until it’s on HBO. Blu-Rays now cost the price of one movie ticket. And, after buying a Blu-Ray I own that movie, plus special features and maybe even a digital copy, for life. This is why I decided to check out and ultimately sign up for Movie Pass.

After signing up I was instantly eligible to see one movie every day, but only at Merrick Park (until I received my Movie Pass card in the mail). I don’t understand how these people make any money. They charge only $9.99 a month, that’s less than the price of one movie ticket. If I see just one movie each month, which I plan to see way more than that, I’m already beating the system with my Movie Pass.

The only problem is that I can’t go to the Cinepolis in Coconut Grove, which happens the be the movie theater with the best popcorn in all of Miami. I guess I will have to sacrifice the “best” popcorn for “pretty good” popcorn just to save tons of money on movie tickets each year (and I’m fine with that). AMC Sunset Place now has cheesy and caramel-y popcorn. I can give those a shot (put them together and you got some Chicago-style popcorn. Chicago has to reinvent everything!).

Signing up for Movie Pass means that I have to get rid of one of my other monthly subscriptions. And that’s why, it’s time to get rid of HULU. I’ve already achieved my goal with HULU which was to watch Life in Pieces (Season 2), plus I finished Atlanta (Season 1) and Last Man on Earth (the entire series). It’s time to move on.

I’m fine with just Netflix, I don’t need both. Sorry HULU, but Movie Pass is way more worth it, plus I was paying for commercial-free HULU and that’s about $3 more than a Movie Pass. The only thing that HULU has over Movie Pass is that I don’t have to leave my house to use it.

MP Update: Movie Pass sent out an email last weekend stating that they were adding a few features, one being Peak Pricing. Starting soon, if I want to see a movie on opening weekend I may have to pay an extra fee. Movie Pass is becoming the new Netflix, changing their pricing and rules on us. Sure, we’ll get mad about these new features, but then we’ll realize it’s still better than our other option (which is not having it) and we’ll just pay for it anyways (as we do with Netflix).

One problem I have with Movie Pass is that they say you can “Watch one movie each day, as long as you’re subscribed to Movie Pass.” This is a lie, since multiple viewings of the same movie are not allowed. I’m pretty sure that 30-31 movies don’t come out each month.

Sure, at first you may be able to watch a movie each day for about a week or two, but once you make it through all the current selections, you’ll have to wait until each Friday to see what else comes out. Then you’ll only get about 3 or 4 more days of movie-watching each week.

Unless you have an indie theater that plays a different movie each day, you won’t really be able to watch a movie every day. And, if I lived closer to Sunset Place, I would actually test this theory. But I don’t have the time or will to test it out right now, so I’m fine with it. I’m just saying, “Don’t lie to me Movie Pass!”

So, since I don’t have the time to go to one movie each and every day for the rest of my life, I think Movie Pass is a fine investment. I will continue to subscribe, until they either go out of business, ask for too much money or start taking stuff away from me. Then I will go back to watching only Disney-owned movies in theaters, and maybe joining HULU again.

Thanks Movie Pass!

 

If you or someone you know has a Movie Pass and would like to be one of my Movie Pass buddies, please comment below.

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WHAT I LEARNED DURING WHOLE30 (PART I OF III)

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Last month, I took part in the Whole30. Many of you already know this because I posted everything I ate during the Whole30 online. If you didn’t know or have no idea what the Whole30 is here is my short description.

Whole30 = No added sugars in your diet. You eat meat, fish or eggs for protein. A whole bunch of veggies. Also, some fruits for natural sugars. Nuts, oils, ghee and other natural fats. Every meal should consist of these things. (No dairy, legumes, grains or non-gluten grains included).

After thirty days I had lost about fifteen pounds. The problem was once I finished my Whole30 I did one week (instead of two weeks) of reintroducing non-compliant foods: Beans/Legumes, Corn/Non-Gluten Grains, Dairy and Gluten/Grains. After that I went full rage mode and ate all the things I wasn’t able to eat during the Whole30: Pizza (twice), Burgers, Ice Cream, Cake, Cookies, Chips, Cheese, Tacos and everything else. I think I re-gained about five of those fifteen pounds. (It is now two weeks later, and I’ve slowed down on full rage mode. I weighed myself and was back where I was on Day 30).

Now, I’m hoping to find a healthy balance of Whole30-ish eating and my regular diet. The point of Whole30 is to eat using basic ingredients to reset your body, next you reintroduce the “non-compliant” foods to see how they affect you. You are basically turning your body into a walking science experiment (Whole30 made me a scientist!). Once you’re done, you may continue to eat whatever foods make you feel good, but no one is perfect so you also eat the foods that don’t make you feel good from time to time.

So, what did I learn during my Whole30?

[1] I DON’T HAVE A “SUGAR DRAGON” IN ME. I HAVE A SUGAR DEMON!

Melissa Hartwig, creator of Whole30, talks about our “Sugar Dragon” a whole lot in her books and on her website. The “Sugar Dragon” is basically when you eat something sugary, your brain wants more and more sugar until there is nothing left in the house. It’s a whirling dervish of sugary delights.

I was extremely strict and faithful to Whole30, not eating any added sugar during the month of April. All the sugar in my diet came from fruits, and I didn’t have many cravings other than “Sugar Nightmares” (on a few nights I dreamt that I was eating sweet treats and other non-compliant foods. In one of my “Sugar Nightmares” I ate a whole pizza from Papa Johns). However, once April was over and I did finally eat sugar I went back to full-rage mode a few times. But since then I’ve calmed down a bit.

Once I eat one Oreo cookie, the rest of the Oreo cookies aren’t safe. I will eat all the Oreos I can find (or at least one row at a time). And once they are all gone I will move on to the next sugary treat until nothing remains. And that is why my SUGAR DRAGON is actually a SUGAR DEMON.

[2] NO TV BEFORE BED, BUT YES TV WHILE EATING.

Some Whole30 habits you are encouraged to practice aren’t entirely diet related. In her Whole30 books, Melissa says don’t watch TV while eating. She wants you to enjoy each bite of your food. Eat slowly and kind of meditate while you eat. I do yoga and stretching for meditation and there are way too many TV shows on my list to not watch them while I eat. I even watched Ugly Delicious on Netflix (a pizza documentary with David Chang, while eating my Whole30 meals. I watched it three times in April).

Another Whole30 “rule” is no TV before bed. Before Whole30 I would leave my TV on until I fell asleep (That’s why the gods created sleep mode). This made it harder to fall asleep, and harder to wake up in the mornings. In the beginning of Whole30 I would even wake up with a headache, which I’m still not completely sure if that came from having the TV on at night or if it was my SUGAR DEMON telling me it needed sugar. One of Melissa’s tips is to read until you get tired. I started doing this most nights, and now I’m continuing that habit.

Reading before bed is like an even more natural form of Melatonin. I read until my eyes become heavy, then I turn off my lamp and fall asleep almost instantly. With the TV on it would take me much longer to fall asleep.

[3] SLEEP. A LOT.

The main problem I had was not sleeping enough. I always try to do too much before bed, whether it’s writing, drawing, reading, watching shows or trying to beat God of War. I end up getting into bed at eleven or midnight even though I’m trying to wake up at six or six-thirty to write or run. One thing I need to get better at is going to sleep early when I want to wake up early.

Melissa talks about “Tiger Blood” a whole lot (It’s something Charlie Sheen said in that interview where everyone thought he was a crazy person. I think his “Tiger Blood” came from cocaine and drugs, but Melissa’s version is when you’re eating super healthy so you feel awesome in your mind, body and soul). I don’t think I ever fully felt the effects of “Tiger Blood” and that’s probably because I didn’t sleep enough.

I did have way more energy throughout the day while eating Whole30. Before this I would eat sandwiches and bread-y things for lunch which would make me want to lay down after work. With Whole30 meals I would get home with enough energy for boxing, yoga, stretching, biking or some other activity.

[4] EVERYTHING HAS SUGAR IN IT.

During April I learned that everything has sugar in it. Every sauce, every frozen meal and most things you would order at a restaurant have some form of sugar or fake sugar in them. That’s why I had to cook about 98% of my meals from scratch, which I don’t really mind, because I enjoy cooking.

Even my Ice Breaker mints (and pretty much every type of mint or gum) were non-compliant with the Whole30, because they have some kind of “science sugar” in them. (A “science sugar” is something that’s made in a lab to sweeten foods without adding calories so people think it’s healthy. Coke Zero is full of science sugars that haven’t yet been discovered, and also probably contain tons of cancer and other diseases which we will find out about in the year 2020).

Thrive Market was a good place to find special Whole30 versions of sauces (Just make sure to cancel your subscription before you get charged the insane monthly fee. Also, they are real annoying about letting anyone cancel their membership. I had to chat with some dude who kept trying to throw in another free month, until I finally told him, JUST CANCEL IT MAN!).

It took me until week two to finally find a bacon with no added sugar. I had to go to Whole Foods in Downtown just to find some bacon. Early on, I found Prosciutto, Jamon Serrano and some other Italian and Spanish deli meats with no sugar or other non-compliant ingredients. The trick is to find deli meats that say, “ingredients: pork, sea salt.”

[5] FRUITS TASTE BETTER WHEN YOUR SUGAR DRAGON/DEMON IS ASLEEP.

In the Whole30 books I read that my taste buds would change from not being overwhelmed by all these sugary and processed foods. This is true and I know this because before the Whole30 I couldn’t eat a whole orange. The flavor was too strong and I could only handle about one slice. But now I love oranges, grapefruits, kiwis and tons of fruits I’ve never even tried before (I had only tried the artificial versions or flavors of most fruits. The fruits in my diet used to come from Starburst and Skittles).

Before Whole30 all of my dessert and sweet choices were all made with chocolate, peanut butter, nutella and milky/sugary goodness. I hope I will try more fruity sweets (or just straight fruits as dessert). Even just cooking some apples and pears in ghee (or clarified butter) with some cinnamon is a delicious (and nutritious) treat.

If you are someone who had Whole30 questions for me, I hope this helped. These are just some of the things I learned during my Whole30. My next post will be my TOP 5 Whole30 DISHES (recipes included) for people who are on the Whole30 or those who would like to test drive some recipes before committing to the program.

LOW BATTERY

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I don’t know if anyone else feels this way, but any night that I go to sleep with my iPhone’s battery life at over fifty percent is a good night. I think I actually sleep better, and that’s not because of the Melatonin. I feel like I deserve a prize for not spending the entire day playing on my phone.

I’m not one of those people who is constantly looking for a place to charge my iPhone. I don’t carry around a portable battery pack, either (although I hear those are pretty nifty). I do keep a charger and wall plug in my backpack, but that’s more for my iPad. I also have an Apple cable in my car for emergencies, or road trips when I’m running maps, Waze, podcasts and all my apps at once.

I try to only charge my phone in the morning. Once I wake up, or my first alarm goes off, I plug it in until it’s time to go to work. That usually gets my phone to 100% (sometimes I only get to 90%). I used to charge my old phones overnight, every night, but I did notice the battery life getting worse and worse over time. One of my phones ended up having a ghost battery that would jump back and forth between numbers (90% to 30% to 60% to 10% to dead).

Why am I telling you about my iPhone charging habits? Am I some sort of Apple spokesperson?

Most of us are spending too much time on our phones. It’s fine if you’re waiting in line at the DMV or maybe if you’re at lunch with someone you don’t really like. But you definitely don’t have to whip out your phone while at the movies. You just paid over ten dollars to watch this movie, plus popcorn, drinks and other snacks (unless you’re a sneaker and you bring in your own snacks), and now you’re about to spend the whole movie playing on your phone?

Guess what? That bright light is annoying to everyone. Put your phone on silent, do not disturb or just turn it off. No one’s going to call you. And if they do and you answer your phone in the middle of a movie, I will want to grab it and throw it across the theater. Instead, I may just ask, “Is everything ok?” I set my Apple watch to theater mode, just so the light won’t bother me or anyone else.

Of course, any time my phone reaches 20% or less I do have a panic attack on the inside. Also for some reason, I catch myself unlocking the screen over and over for no reason at all. Maybe I want my phone to die.

Although it is scary to have your phone die and be unreachable to the world, it’s also very liberating when your phone dies. I love my Apple Watch, because I can go running with no phone (I have the model 2, so no cellular). I can listen to my music and have no one bother me while running. I am completely free.

A new thing I recently tried was turning off my phone while I sleep. Of course, I don’t recommend this to everyone because some people are doctors, or may receive important phone calls late in the night. I have no important matters happening late at night, so I am fine to turn off my phone while I sleep. I’ll find out what stupid thing the president did in the morning. I don’t do it every night, but if you can afford to do it, you should definitely try it. You may even sleep better.

What did we learn today? Stop playing on your phone all the time. Leave your phone behind sometimes and go do stuff. Leave your phone in the car while you explore, unless you’re exploring the great wilderness and there’s a chance you might get lost or attacked by a wild animal, because you may end up needing your phone in these situations. There was a time when no one had cell phones and guess what?

Most of us survived.

WEIGHT GAIN & RUNNING

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One thing I learned this week was that it’s much, much easier to gain weight than it is to lose weight. Since the end of November, I’ve been running three times a week (Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays). I started a running program that would hopefully get me to run TEN miles (all at once) over this coming weekend.

After making  it to SEVEN whole miles (all in one run), two weeks ago, I decided to take a week off from running. I don’t know exactly what I did, but it felt like I broke my back. After the SEVEN mile run, I had to lay in bed for two hours with a heating pad on my back just to be able to leave my house that night. During the whole week that followed I also used the heating pad at least twice a day, once when I woke up in the morning and once again before going to bed (sometimes somewhere in between those two times).

Each day, for about a week, I woke up with back pain. That’s why I decided to take one week off. I didn’t run or do any exercise for a whole week. I even abandoned my semi-healthy eating diet (Which wasn’t really a diet at all. I just sometimes would tell myself things like, “Hey, maybe I shouldn’t eat a whole calzone for lunch today.”)

In that one week of eating whatever I wanted and not doing any physical activity at all, I gained about ten pounds (It may have been only five pounds, but it felt like ten).It’s crazy that in one week alone I gained five to ten pounds. However, in the eight weeks of running prior, I had probably only lost less than five pounds (I don’t really know. I haven’t been keeping count). Of course, if I was on a strict diet, I may have lost more weight. But just running and eating whatever I want allows me to remain at the same weight (or lose some weight, very slowly).

This week I got back into it. I did some kettlebell exercises on Monday morning. Ran FIVE miles on Tuesday morning, did some yoga and stuff on Wednesday and Thursday I ran THREE miles in the freezing cold Miami weather (It was like 40 degrees out there). Friday is supposed to be a day of rest, but I will most likely try to do some Runner’s Yoga with Adrienne to get ready for Saturday’s EIGHT miler.

EIGHT miles will be the longest I’ve ever run in my entire life (all at once), and if I succeed it’s not over. I will have to attempt TEN miles next weekend, that’s if this EIGHT mile run doesn’t put me in the same position as the SEVEN mile run did (taking me out for an entire week).

All I really wanted to share is how I learned how much easier it is to gain weight than lose weight. If I really tried I’m sure I could easily gain ten or more pounds in one week (But I am not Morgan Spurlock, so I won’t test this theory).

 

What’s the most you’ve ever run (all at once) in your life? Comment below or say it to yourself out loud and maybe someone nearby will hear your answer.

UBER DRIVERS aka THE WORST DRIVERS

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This week I learned a valuable lesson, and it’s not just that all Uber drivers are horrible drivers. I also figured out why all Uber drivers are horrible drivers. I don’t ride in many Ubers (I’ve probably ridden in less than ten Ubers, and zero of those were by myself). I prefer to drive my own car. Key Biscayne is way too far from anywhere in Miami to ride through all those mangroves in the back of a strange car with a stranger. It’s not that I wouldn’t feel safe, I’m a boy, I feel safe pretty much anywhere (except for rollercoasters, parasailing, shark infested waters…). It’s not a question of safety, I just don’t want to talk to a creepy driver — it would be a very awkward situation.

I enjoy driving myself around, unless I’m stuck in traffic. I like to listen to my podcasts or music while driving in my own car. When someone else drives me around, even a friend, I get annoyed by whatever they’re listening to (I may even like the music they chose, but I’m annoyed because I didn’t pick it myself). I love being in my comfy car with leather seats and even bum warmers, if needed (which I don’t because I live in Miami). That’s enough reasons for why I don’t use Uber, but I’m not trying to tell you not to use Uber, just that the drivers suck at the one thing they should know how to do — drive!

Back in the day, (B.U.) Before Uber most cars on the road that drove too slow, didn’t use their turn signal, slammed their brakes in the middle of traffic or did any other stupid thing all had one of two things in common. (1) They either had a UM license plate or sticker on their car, or (2) they were an elderly person, and sometimes they were both.

Lately, there are two new signs that may indicate you’re dealing with a horrible driver. (3) They have a Trump bumper sticker, or (4) they are an Uber driver. And some of these horrible drivers are UM-lovin’ Trump-huggin’ Elderly Uber Drivers. If you fall under all four categories you should have never been given a license to drive.

The other day, I started to thinking to myself, Hey, why are Uber drivers are so bad at driving? And I realized what the problem is. Uber drivers are so bad at driving, because they have no idea where they are going (Think about it!). Imagine if you just got into your car and started driving to no specific destination, because you were waiting for your phone to tell you exactly where to go. Most Uber drivers don’t know where they are going 90% of the time. They are just driving aimlessly, staring at their phone for a clue on where to go. Their phone that’s sticking to the windshield by that silly suction cup holder.

Uber drivers don’t know where they are going until you request them. And any time they receive a request they are either headed the wrong way or on the wrong side of the street. Picking up or dropping off the person to get a good rating is the most important thing in their life, so much so that they don’t pay attention to anyone else on the road. They are always in our way.

Uber drivers will instantly stop in the middle of traffic to drop off their passengers, and I have no shame honking at them. I have no problem giving them a good old-fashioned “Fotutazo*” for blocking my way. There are two types of drivers I don’t respect, (1) children in golf carts and (2) Uber drivers — Because they both don’t belong behind the wheel.

If you’re a LYFT driver, this also applies to you. I just used Uber because it’s like the Kleenex of driving companies, however LYFT may take over, like the whole Oreo v. Hydrox thing (If you don’t know about Hydrox, google it!)

 

*FOTUTAZO: Coming from the Cuban word Fotuto, meaning car horn.

**ADDITIONAL NOTE: Did you see the Uber driver in the title image? He’s not even watching the road, he’s laughing with his passengers. Look at the damn road, driver!

MY THOUGHTS ON JIMMY BUFFETT

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This week’s learning isn’t about something that I recently discovered. This week I’m talking about something that I’ve known for quite some time. Before I go any further, let me just tell you that I am only expressing my opinion on this particular subject. If you do not agree with me, that is fine, you may just be an idiot.

What I’ve known for a while now is this:

Jimmy Buffett’s music is garbage!

It’s basically “The Wiggles,” but instead of being created with children in mind, he’s catering to a much different crowd — Drunken older white people (A.K.A. Parrotheads).

Any time Jimmy Buffett writes a new song, he uses the same formula as Barney, the Wiggles and all the other musical children’s TV shows. He asks himself these questions:

1 What does my audience like?

Cheeseburgers, Margaritas, Not Math

 

2 How can I make a catchy song about this subject?

Cheeseburger in Paradise, Margaritaville, Math Sucks


Two of these three songs became global restaurant chains.

Jimmy Buffett’s music may suck (like Math, according to him — I actually think math is awesome, and knowledge is power), but he is a killer business man. He has restaurants, bars, hotels, books, beers, blenders, drink mixes, sauces and all kinds of swag. He’s in Jurassic World (Spoiler Alert!) and there’s even a fake Margaritaville in the fake park in the movie.

Buffett is neither an “artist” nor a “musician,” he’s an entrepreneur who enjoys drinking, chilling outdoors and drinking some more. I just wanted to share my opinion about his music being for simple children who grew up to be simple adults. But you gotta give the man some credit, he is a genius who lived through a plane crash.

To demonstrate my point, watch this video for Fins.
What a dumb song…

JIMMY BUFFETT – FINS

 

Ok, maybe it’s not that bad, and it is kind of catchy. Look how much fun the drunk old white people are having. And the song comes with it’s own cool and easy-to-follow dance moves, like Soulja Boy but way simpler.

Maybe I was wrong.

Maybe Jimmy Buffett doesn’t suck so much.

DOGS @ DISNEY

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This past week I realized something. I haven’t been to Disney in a long time — like three or four months. That isn’t very long to a non-Florida resident, but when you’re only three and a half hours away, that’s a long time. After opening my 2017 with four or five visits to Disney, it feels like I haven’t been there in half a year.

My pass is “Blacked Out” during the summer time, meaning I’m not allowed to use it from June to mid-August. And that’s fine, because, “Who wants to go during to Disney during the summer when it’s so hot and crowded,” which is something all Silver and Gold Passholders say. I do intend to return to Disney some time this month or next, definitely for Food and Wine (a.k.a. Food and Lines Festival, because all you do is eat food and wait in line, for more food).

In my last visit to Disney, some time in April or May, I noticed something. I saw a blind person with their guide dog. At first I thought, Aw, cool. That dog gets to go to Disney, but later I thought about all of the other dogs. The ones who don’t get to go to Disney, and that made me sad. Plus, this dog who does get to go to Disney doesn’t get to enjoy any of it because he or she is at work.

Imagine a dog in Disney. A free, non-working dog in Disney. They would love it. But, the only dog that gets to go to Disney is one who doesn’t get to enjoy it at all — the service dog. They walk their owner back and forth and all around the parks, and have to wear a huge sign on their back that basically says, “I’M NOT HERE!”

It’s nice that some dogs get to have jobs, other than filling our hearts with joy and loving us forever no matter what. Some dogs get to be police, others get to be mascots and still others get to be basketball players (Air Bud). It’s cool that guide dogs are helping out a blind human, but it’s probably a depressing life for the dog. And why don’t any of these dogs get paid for their work?

Enough about equal wages for dogs, let’s get back to dogs at Disney. It’s also sad that the dog owner doesn’t get to truly experience Disney either, since they are blind. They just get to walk around and listen, but they don’t get to fully experience the attractions. The rides must be terrifying when you’re blind, everything must feel like space mountain.

It’s too bad that the only dogs that will ever get to enjoy Disney parks are Pluto and Goofy, and both of those are humans in sweaty dog costumes, because this is Florida and it’s super hot every day except for maybe one or two days of the year. I’m not even going to get into the fact that Mickey owns a dog while also being best friends with a dog.

Also, why are there so many ducks in Disney? Ducks get to enjoy the parks, terrorize the children for leftovers and eat all of the fallen turkey legs, ice cream and garbage people leave behind. The ducks are like the biker gang of Disney Parks. So, the ducks are allowed but man’s best friend has to stay home while we go visit the happiest place on Earth.