Crystals, Witchcraft & Wizardry

Last month, my girlfriend and I moved into a new apartment. We both agreed that it would be a good idea to “Sage” the new place, since it was something we both had only heard of but never tried.

“Do we just order some sage from Amazon?” she asked me, but I thought that didn’t seem right. I told her we had to find a real witch or visit a Witchcraft & Wizardry shop to pick up some proper sage. Who knows where Amazon sage comes from?*

*Side Quest: I later searched for “Sage” on Amazon and it turns out there are many small businesses (possibly small witchcraft shops) providing it.
Still, nothing beats actually going to a witch store yourself.

After some light googling, I found a couple of options for Witchcraft (aka Metaphysical) shops all over Miami. I decided to visit one on US 1, right next to Grown (Ray Allen’s healthy food restaurant I have yet to visit). I really liked this shop, but I’m also excited to visit other local stores in the future and see what kind of vibes I get.

*Side Quest: Before visiting the witchcraft shop I had talked to a friend who is sort of an amateur witch herself about what exactly we needed to cleanse our new
apartment. She recommended both Sage and Palo Santo, one to reset
and the other to invite positive vibes. It was nice to show up to the
witchcraft shop with a little bit of knowledge.

After figuring out what we needed, I visited the shop. I chose this store due to convenience, after leaving a check up at the doctor (my first ever, but maybe you’ll hear about that in another post), this was on the way home. I spoke to a nice lady and learned a lot about Sage, Palo Santo and some other stuff too.

After figuring out exactly what we needed for the new apartment cleansing, I came across a whole section of crystals and elements. I began asking questions about those, and now I am somewhat of a crystal person. My journey began with purchasing a few crystals for my girlfriend and I to carry around in our backpacks.

The cool thing about becoming a crystal person is that you get to choose what to believe and what not to believe. It’s sort of like being a horoscope person.

*Side Quest: Horoscopes are funny because they just state a bunch of information hoping that you will see something you like and say, “Hey, that’s me!.” They also have
different variants, like sun and moon signs, that give you even more
options to choose from.

Crystals are kind of like horoscopes because each crystal has multiple “uses” or traits (or powers). I chose a few based on particular traits, while ignoring others. I recently talked to a friend about her crystal necklace, and she told me it’s not about believing in the crystals magic powers, but more the idea of it — like a positive thinking thing.

Here’s a character sheet I created for my portfolio
site back when I graduated the Miami Ad School.
Now, with the power of crystals, everything can be modified.

Being a crystal person is sort of like creating your own D&D character, but in real life. Carrying around (and wearing) crystals can add a few points to your daily Dexterity, Charisma, Insight, Wisdom and other character traits. It’s a fun way to edit your life’s character sheet.

*Side Quest: When it comes to religion I always thought it would be way more fun to believe in Greek Mythology. How cool is it to have a different god for each concept.
It’s almost like having different superheroes as your gods. Poseidon is like
Aquaman (DC) or Namor (Marvel). Thor is a god from Norse mythology —
another fun collection of gods and rulers.

Another thing I like about crystals is that I can make up any theory about my crystals and make it a real thing. I can even tell others about it (as long as they are not a certified witch or wizard).

I went back to the store last week and picked up a Lava Stone bracelet, because (1) I want to start wearing my stones to absorb more power, and (2) I’ve always wanted to become more of a bracelet person. Now that Johnny Depp vs Amber Heard is over — and Johnny won — it’s still cool to wear a bunch of bracelets like a pirate, right?

Yesterday, I went for a kayak ride on the open water. I would usually not wear any jewelry, other than my Apple Watch for kayaking, running or working out. I decided to keep my Lava Stone bracelet on to “recharge” it with the ocean water. That’s a thing I possibly made up, but now I feel like my Lava Stones are giving me more powers, so it also worked.


If you are another amateur crystal/stone person who would like to come up with cool facts and ideas about these things let me know. If you aren’t a crystal/stone person, have fun living your boring life.

Epcot International Food & Wine Festival 2022: Vol I • It’s A’Bao Time

The Epcot International Food & Wine Festival has been a part of Walt Disney World for over 25 years (according to some light internet research). In the early years, the festival lasted about a month. Today, it spans from July to November (or five months) — that’s almost half of the year!

Epcot has also held new, seasonal Food & Wine-style festivals — Flower & Garden, Festival of the Arts, Festival of the Holidays — so now there’s pretty much some kind of food and drink event happening at Epcot, year round.


Epcot Events: Learnings & Tips

For the past ten years, I’ve attended these food and drink festivals multiple times each and I’ve learned a few valuable lessons along the way.

[1] Pace Yourself

Don’t attempt to eat and sip all of the food and drink in one day. It’s better to visit a festival more than once — if you’re able to — this way you can focus on a few items each trip. Make sure to take breaks throughout the day. If you plan to be in the park until close, it’s a good strategy to break up your eating into a day and night session. If you enter through the back entrance of the park (near France) you can even visit Spaceship Earth for a mid-voyage nap.

[2] Weekdays over Weekends

If you can swing it, visit Epcot on a weekday over the weekend. In fact, that should be a general Disney park rule. On most weekends the Food & Wine festival becomes the Food and Line festival. The lines can get long pretty much any day, but you can always save a busy stop for later. It will become less busy later on. If you have to go on a weekend, I find that Sundays to be a little less crowded than a Saturday.

[3] Too Hot to Handle

The Epcot Food & Wine Festival just began in mid-July — or mid-summer. I find the perfect Disney park days (weatherwise) always lie somewhere between October and April — you just have to get lucky and choose the right day. Instead of hitting up the Food & Wine Festival early on, it may be preferable to wait for the final months, or even the following festivals — Festival of the Holidays.

[4] No Sit Down Meals

I’ve attended Epcot Food & Wine with large groups in the past. The biggest mistake I’ve seen is when we spend the whole day eating and drinking, only to make our way to a restaurant for a 9pm reservation. Who wants to go to a restaurant after all of that? Plus, I don’t want to miss Harmonious (Epcot’s new firework and water projection show).

[5] Buddy System

Speaking of big groups, a great way to save some money (and room in your belly) is by developing a buddy system. Find someone with similar taste to share certain items with. If a country has two snacks you want to try, you can each purchase one and share.


It’s A’Bao Time

So, what did I eat during my first visit to the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival? This trip, I focused on the Steamed Buns and Baos of Japan, China, and Flavors of Fire. There were some other bonus snacks, but I definitely did not overeat this trip. Let’s talk a’bao(t) the three steamed buns first.

Item #1 – JAPAN Teriyaki Chicken Bun

The first steamed bun I ate was the Teriyaki Chicken Bun from the Japan market. This bun was soft and pillowy, and fully closed as opposed to the open-style, bao buns at my other stops. The bun was filled with a blend of chicken and vegetables in Teriyaki sauce. The filling was thick and saucy, instead of soupy (like a soup dumpling). I would have liked to see a second option for a steamed bun.

ITEM #2 – CHINA Mongolian Beef Bao Bun

The Mongolian Beef at Epcot Food & Wine Festival has been one of my favorite flavors over the years. I remember it being a closed bun at some point, like the Japanese one, but I may be wrong. Either way, I would love to have these delicious flavors inside of a closed steamed bun.

The open bao was also perfectly fluffy and doughy. I could have used some extra veggies or maybe some sort of spicy thin-sliced spicy peppers or crunchy topping. Still, that Mongolian Beef flavor is great with the onions.

ITEM #3 – FLAVORS FROM FIRE Bahn Mi Bao & Smoked Corned Beef with Crispy Potatoes

At this stop, we tried two items, the bao bun and the crispy, cheesy potato chip nachos. Of all three buns, this was the most complicated flavor-wise. The bao featured skirt steak, chicken liver aioli, pickled vegetables, and cilantro. The Asian skirt steak had a fire-roasted quality, which came from the fire grill. In fact, the whole area smelled amazing, like smoke and fire.

My buddy picked up the cheesy corned beef potato chips, which were like a smokey, cheesy potato nacho plate with smoked corned beef, cheese curds, pickled onions, and beer-cheese fondue. Flavors from Fire’s bun may have been my favorite due to the extra toppings and smoked flavor.


Bonus Snacks

BONUS #1 – GERMANY Roasted Bratwurst & Schinkennudeln

The Roasted Bratwurst is a great treat because although it comes in a smaller, slider-sized pretzel bun the bratwurst itself is still the size of a regular hot dog. So, it ends up being a pretty filling snacky. You also get some german mustard for dipping.

There are a bunch of hot cheese treats featured throughout the Food & Wine Festival. These are usually not something you want to eat while walking around in the hot sun. Most of them are delicious and the one that we did try was the Schinkennudeln, which is a cheesy pasta gratin with ham and onions. Other stations have hot cheese soup type snacks (like Canada’s Cheddar and Bacon soup), which would be better suited for the Winter.

BONUS #2 – HOPS & BARLEY Hot Beef Sandwich

I took a break from Food & Wine due to rain, and went over to check out Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge in Hollywood Studios. When I returned to Epcot it was almost time for the 9PM show, Harmonious, which also happens to be when everything closes.

At 8:55 PM I was able to visit my final station in America (Hops & Barley) to grab a Hot Beef Sandwich with horseradish cream, and topped with extra veggies and crunchies. I’m not sure if I got extra, extra crunchies for being the final order of the night or if that’s just how they do it. 

I also picked up my first drink, a small Kentucky Pumpkin Barrel Ale which paired well with the hot beef sandwich. I’m sure each beer option pairs well with that hot beef sandwich, it’s just nice to have any beer with a spicy sandwich.


My Food & Wine Misses

There were two things I did wrong, one that was my fault and the other I blame on the festival. (1) I did not have the chance to visit Brazil for their Feijoda (Black Beans and Crispy Pork Belly) and Pao de Queijo (Brazilian Cheese Bread). This one was my fault. I wasn’t ready for it earlier in the day, and due to the rain and visiting a second park, I returned too late to make it to Brazil before Harmonious began. I do remember that crispy pork belly being my favorite thing when I first tried it.

The second disappointment, and this one is Epcot’s fault, is that the Hawai’i station is not opening until August for some reason. The Kalua Pork Slider has been one of the top favorites at Food & Wine for a couple of years now. I was also excited to finally try the SPAM Musubi Nigiri, which is like a Spicy Tuna Roll with SPAM instead of Tuna. So, I guess I have to go back.

I plan to return to the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival some time before it ends in November, but if I don’t make it out there I will definitely return to cover some of the other festivals that follow. 

Do you have a favorite Epcot (or Disney Parks) snack? Share it in the comments, messages, email me, text me or any other way you’d like to tell me about it.

Stay tuned for more Ferdi’s Learnings coming soon.

Urinals & Bathroom Humor

This first question is for the dudes. Have you ever found yourself in the middle of a pee in a public restroom and you hear female voices coming from outside and immediately think you may be in the wrong bathroom? Then, you look down and realize you’re peeing at a urinal and they don’t have those in women’s bathrooms — or at least that is what we’ve been told.

Do women even know what a urinal looks like in real life? I guess from TV and movies, right? But I bet they would look weird in real life if you weren’t used to seeing them all the time.


I remember back in middle school the boys thought it was funny to lock each other in the girls bathroom. It was like the scariest thing that could happen, because that is exactly where you would go to catch the cooties. One day our teacher got annoyed and split the class into two groups: girls and boys.

She then took the girls on a field trip to the boys bathroom and the boys on a field trip to the girls bathroom to show us they were basically the same. I think one boy asked, “hey, where’s the urinals?” I remember the girl’s room having pink tiles on the wall, while we had blue — like a gender reveal party.


Here’s another bathroom thing I hear all the time lately. Any time the line for the Men’s bathroom is longer than the Women’s, I hear about seventeen different people say the same thing, “Wow, the men’s line is longer than the women’s? That never happens.”

What I noticed lately is that this does happen, often. Usually at places like the movies, after watching a big action movie. Something like Top Gun: Maverick or any new Marvel or Star Wars. It happens at sporting events and at rock concerts. It even happens at casinos (last time I was at the Hard Rock).

I’m pretty sure the men’s line is longer than the women’s line in most bathrooms, other than bars. And even there, lately the men have had a longer line. It was in college when women’s lines were always longer.


That’s all the bathroom thoughts I’ve had lately. I hope you enjoyed them. Thanks and I’ll be back later this week or next week with a special new post if everything goes as planned.

ANIMALS = MACHINES (birds are planes)

You know what’s crazy? Birds can fly. Think of any time you ask another human this question, If you could have one superpower what would it be? Most people say the ability to fly. Creepy people say invisibility so they can be peeping toms and get away with it.

Birds have that ability (Not the peeping tom one). Birds can fly. Birds are basically living, breathing planes. The whole idea for planes was definitely stolen from birds.

The Wright Bros Conversation

(A super long time ago)

Joe Wright: Yo bro, how can we get to North Carolina, but like real fast.

Greg Wright: I don’t know Joe.

(GREG looks up to the sky. Sees birds flying.)

Greg Wright: What if… Naw, never mind. That’s stupid.

Joe Wright: The only stupid thing you can do is not tell me what you just thought, bro.

Greg Wright: Well, what if we could do… that?

(GREG points to the birds)

Joe Wright: Oh my god! What???

Greg Wright: I know I told you it’s stupid.

Joe Wright: Stupid? Greg, you’re a genius.

*And that’s kind of how we got planes. Because of the Wright Brothers and birds and one day thinking about transportation while in an open field.

**No research was done to make sure this is how the Wright Brothers history went down. This is just a hypothesis.

This got me thinking, can humans do anything cool like that? Birds can transform into planes (even though birds came first). 

I guess humans can run, but that’s just like walking — but a little faster. Birds can do both of those things, and FLY!

What we can do is turn into boats, or submarines. Humans can swim. And swimming is pretty cool, because it’s not just moving through the water like walking or running under water. You have to become sort of a machine. You have to propel yourself through the water, using one of a few different techniques.

There’s also many different ways to swim and that’s very groovy too. We have the freestyle, the breaststroke, the backstroke, the froggy one (like Tom Cruise in Mission Impossible). 

Birds only really have one, well, maybe two ways of flying — flappy wings or gliding.

How do you think swimming was invented? Who was the first human to swim? Was some human stuck in the middle of open water with nowhere to go and just started trying some different techniques out? Did someone fall in a pool and swim to the edge, and then everyone was like, “Yo, what was that? Are you a machine?”

I don’t know the answer to these questions, but I guess I was just trying to say that “Swimming is Cool!”

I Beat Amazon!

For the past several years, anytime someone has asked a friend, “Hey where can I buy one of those?” The answer has been, “I don’t know man, check Amazon.” Everything is cheaper on Amazon, you get FREE super fast shipping (especially since we are all Prime members now), and you don’t have to bother any live humans — you just click a few buttons and your stuff will arrive either later today, tomorrow or the day after (anything longer than that is not worth your time).

The other great thing about Amazon is if you don’t like something you ordered you can easily send it back. And, if they try to make you pay for the return shipping, you can just change your answer to, “it’s your fault, not mine, Amazon!” and now your return shipping is FREE.

Beating Amazon

So, how did I beat Amazon? Well, I have beaten them before in a different way, and I have shared that story, but here’s a quick refresher. I had ordered a Nintendo Wii U (on Cyber Monday), but I wasn’t sure if I wanted to keep it or not. Next, I received a “lost in transit” message about that order, but it still somehow showed up to my door. So, I canceled my order and got to keep the Wii U for FREE. This is a totally different way of beating Amazon, and I’ve beaten them with “lost in transit” items a couple of times before. That just happened to be the biggest one.

This time I beat them on pricing. I was searching for a Kayak Captain’s hat (or straw hat). My sister has one that she always wear by Avid, so I first looked at those. When I asked her about her hat she told me that it had a tear and she had ordered a new one from a different brand, Hemlock Hat Co.

I was curious, so I checked out both Amazon and each hat makers site (Avid and Hemlock). Amazon has a terrible user interface (UI) when it comes to switching between versions of the same item — It opens a new page for each style/color, instead of simply changing the image. Because of this I stuck with online shopping on the Hemlock site, just to find the right model.

I found one I really liked and it was on sale. That’s when I stuck it in my cart. I went back to Amazon to check the price and the same style was almost fifteen freakin’ dollars more expensive. I thought that the difference may be added in shipping costs. Luckily, shipping was less than fifteen dollars ($9.00). In the end I purchased my hat from Hemlock’s website, and it came in a nice box with lots of cushion.

Some Cool Captain Kayak Photos

What We Learned

Not only did I beat Amazon’s price, or better yet Hemlock did, but I was happy to support the actual store and not give Amazon more money (we all give them enough money). Amazon is great for the consumer, but I don’t think it’s so great for the seller all the time. Sure, it gets their product out all over the world, but I’m pretty sure they take a big cut of sales. Plus, Amazon is always changing prices on everything and I’m sure when the prices go down it’s not great for the seller. 

Either way, whether you’re supporting Amazon or someone else, the world is full of a bunch of evil faceless corporations. So, does it really matter who you support? I guess when you can it feels better to support the smaller faceless business.

Using Disney Genie+

In the beginning of April, I visited Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom for the first time in over two years. This also happened to be my first time in the Magic Kingdom Post-FastPass, during the Pandemic and all by myself. It was sort of a “business trip” to gather some content for upcoming posts here on Ferdi’s Learnings — starting with this one.

I decided to pay the extra $15 to see what Disney Genie+ was all about.
Here’s what I learned:

Fast Pass vs Genie+ | Ride the Lightning

When I first heard of Disney Genie and Genie+ taking over for FastPass it just sounded like WDW was attempting to monetize their FastPasses.

For so many years FastPasses have been free, plus they were a way for Disney employees to make disgruntled guests happy:

Sorry, your Disney Hotel room isn’t ready? Congratulations! You just scored some extra FastPasses for your day at the park tomorrow.

The quality of your meal didn’t meet your expectations? Have a FastPass on us.

It was basically a way for Disney employees to fix any problem without losing any money.

There are two parts to the new Disney Genie service. The first (and FREE) part is more of a personal park concierge that plans out your day at the park, according to traffic and other changing factors.

The second part, Disney Genie+, is the paid version that gives you access to the new FastPass — now known as the Lightning Lane. Genie+ means shorter lines for Lightning Lane guests, but longer Standby lines for everyone else. I walked right onto my three Lightning Lane rides — Haunted Mansion, Jungle Cruise and Buzz Lightyear. I also noticed that many of the Standby lines (for popular rides) had long waits all day long.

Since I was only in the park for about half a day, 9:00 am to about 4:30 pm, I was only able to book two Lightning Lane reservations for myself — Haunted Mansion and Buzz Lightyear. My third reservation was a gift — from a Magic Kingdom cast member.

SideQuest:
After talking to a Disney Guest Relations representative about renewing my Annual Pass and the Disney Genie+ service I now had a better understanding of the service. His advice was,
“If you want to do the most in one day at a Disney park, it’s best to pay for the Genie+ service and mix it up with waiting in standby lines while also using the lightning lane. It’s all about finding that perfect balance.”

My day was not spent finding that perfect balance. Instead I made my way from Land to Land, visiting some of them multiple times. I knew exactly what I was looking for, I just didn’t plan out my strategy beforehand. I found myself in Tomorrowland at least three separate times that day.

While Lightning Lane reservations only grant you an hour window to get to the attraction, a cast member gift pass lasts all day (single use) — from park open to close. That means I could have jumped onto the Jungle Cruise at any point in my day. I ended up going straight there since it happened to be right by where I had talked to that cast member.

I wouldn’t be surprised if WDW is encouraging cast members to give out these all-day (single use) Lightning Lane gift passes to guests trying out the Genie+ service for the first time. This will encourage us to pay for it over and over again.

How does Genie+ Work?

Back in the day, you were able to book up to three FastPasses per day, up to one month (maybe a little more) in advance. Once completing your three FastPasses, you were eligible to pick up some extra ones, if any were available.

With Genie+, guests are able to book one Lightning Lane pass every two hours. That means if you get into the park at opening (9am), you can pick your first pass and by 11AM you’ll be able to pick the next one. If you claim your first pass before the two hour mark, you may be able to pick your next one a little earlier. This gives the possibility of more opportunities for Lightning Lane as long as you start early and stay on top of it.

From what I saw, I believe that only one member of a party needs to purchase the Genie+ service. So, if I pay for Genie+, I could take a friend with me on my Lightning Lane rides. What I’m not sure of is, “What if two friends purchase Genie+? Can they end up picking up maybe 6-10 separate Lightning Lane rides and sharing them?”

My Genie+ Theory

Here’s how I believe this whole Genie thing got started. Let’s go back to before March 2020. Disney Parks had giant crowds almost every day of the year, up until parks, sports and everything had to shut down (for the first time in forever), right after Tom Hanks got COVID. Once Disney opened back up, they started off with a park reservation system to control crowds and cap the maximum number of park guests (in an attempt to not spread more COVID).

SideQuest 2:
I didn’t visit Disney Parks in the height of the pandemic, but even when I went in February of this year (2022), they were still doing a good job of enforcing the indoor mask mandate. Although when I went this time they were only enforcing mask wearing on the monorail and certain areas, but now that’s over. It’s back to the wild wild west like the rest of Florida.
(Thanks for being a big dumb COVID denier, Gov. Ronald Dion Desantis!)

Back to the reopening. The park reservation system was doing great, not only were they able to control crowds, they also had an idea of how busy or empty each park would on any given day. With all of this new data and info, (in this age of collecting data and info), WDW created this new digital concierge system “Disney Genie,” which could now give park guests recommendations for their big day at a Disney Park.

This also opened up the new possibility of changing up the “FastPass” system and making it a faster, paid system — The Lightning Lane!

Is Genie+ Worth it?

This all depends on your goals. How often do you visit Disney Parks? If you’re trying to do as many rides as you can (especially the most wanted ones), then you should probably pay the extra money for Genie+. You also need to be diligent and stay on top of it. Make sure your phone is charged and bring yourself an extra phone chargy bank.

Where it gets complicated is the “surge” pricing. For a Lightning Lane pass to ride the extremely popular rides, you may have to pay a premium of an extra $5-15 dollars (maybe more than that). The surge pricing is only for a handful of rides (brand new and very popular rides). Most rides are included within the original $15 upgrade.

As an Annual Passholder I don’t think I will purchase the Genie+ service for every visit to Disney Parks. For now, I may just save it for my next visit to Epcot, just so I can ride Remy’s Ratatouille Ride. Maybe I’ll purchase the pass for Rise of the Resistance in Hollywood Studios.

Overall, I think it’s a good service and I’m sure it will continue to evolve. Of course I did enjoy my “FREE” FastPasses from the before times. However, I do think they added some extra value with the concierge system, I just wish it was still FREE, or you could at least pick up a few FastPasses/Lightning Lane rides for FREE.

Now that I’ve renewed my Annual Pass I have to go back as many times as possible this year.

Ferdi’s Learnings 3.0

Back in 2020 during the height of the pandemic, I launched Ferdi’s Learnings 2.0. I changed up the style and look of the site. I got back into posting a couple of times a month (sure, I planned on one or more posts a week, but things happen). I worked on my photo editing skills.

It is now 2022, and time for something new…

Ferdi’s Learnings 3.0 

What does that mean exactly? This year, I’m going to try all kinds of new stuff. This time it’s not about changing the look and feel, but instead it’s about adding more content.

A couple of weeks ago I added the “Events & Entertainment” category to the site, when I wrote about attending my first Live WWE event in over 20 years. And I will continue to add new “Events & Entertainment” posts (not just wrestling). In fact, I will be working on some later this week.

I plan to post more food stuff this year. Last year, I started my “Apples in Review” posts, where I was going to review every flavor of apple I could find. I did eat a bunch of apples last year, and have many photos of me eating apples now. I just quickly abandoned posting about apples. Yes, there are many different types of apples, but I learned that they mostly taste the same — or my apple palate isn’t very advanced.

Don’t worry, I will do something with those apple photos. Here are some pictures of me taking a bite out of some juicy apples…

I do however have a great love for “Sweets & Treats.” Hey! I think I just discovered another new category.

In the coming weeks I plan to start adding a few more, so stay tuned. For now, you can enjoy this post that talks about what I plan to do in the future. (This is what is called a filler post).

I will continue to write my regular learnings about dumb stuff I learn some weeks, but I’m also trying to grow. Aren’t we all? It’s important to continue to evolve. I’m not the same person I was seven or ten years ago when FerdingsLearnings began as a one off weekly post on a blog featuring a few of my Miami Ad School classmates.

Special shoutout to Wallace Cruz for creating this site as SCnA (Super Cool n’ Awesome people). And, for later handing it over to me for Ferdi’s Learnings when everyone else got too busy with their real work.

I will continue to write and post and explore and more just to make Wally proud!

Thanks, and see you real soon with some new stuff!

High-Level Biblical Names

I’ve never been close friends with anyone with a high-level biblical name. I’m talking about names like Jesus or Angel, maybe Judas or Abraham (I actually do know of an Abraham who is a terrible criminal). Those old school, main character in a story or proverb type names.

What I’ve learned from Movies and TV is that anyone with one of these high profile names is usually bad news. They’re always criminals or up to no good.

Side Quest:
In college, I met a dude named Michael Jordan who was my same age. His parents probably named him right before MJ became the biggest name in Basketball. By the time I met him, there was only one Michael Jordan (even Michael B. Jordan, the actor, uses his middle initial to make sure people don’t think he’s THE MICHAEL JORDAN). 

The point is, I’m sure everyone who met this average Michael Jordan that I met in college made some kind of joke about him being great at basketball. And, what if he sucked at basketball? How embarrassing would that be?

People might say things like, “Hey man, I thought you were Michael Jordan.

Of course, he could have answered them with,
“I never said I’m THE MICHAEL JORDAN, I’m just A Michael Jordan.

Maybe Movies and TV are right in this case. Imagine being named after THE JESUS. Everyone would expect greatness from you. Sure, they know you’re no Messiah, but even when your parents named you, they may have been thinking we are blessing this baby with this great name to go on and do great things.

What if your parents named you Luke Skywalker or Peter “Star-Lord” Quill or Bruce Wayne. You’d be expected to be some great hero, or to help those in need and stop bad guys. Of course, these kids would end up being outlaws or criminals (and probably made fun of all through their school years).


You know who’s the best person to be friends with? Someone named Damian or LuciferBeelzebub?

These are the kids that are expected to be pure evil. The kids you’re supposed to stay away from on the playgrounds. They have no expectations to be a decent member of society, which will most likely push them towards proving their crappy parents wrong for giving them evil names.


Maybe I’m reading into this too much and our names don’t really make us who we are. Most of us are named by our parents as tiny baby humans who can’t even talk or do anything yet. Names are basically based on the first time our parents see us. If you want to know who a person really is, don’t ask them for their name, ask for their nickname.

What do people call you?

Obsessed with Coconuts

There’s something really weird going on in South Florida. Maybe it’s been going on for a long time and I’ve never noticed until recently. For my entire life I’ve lived on a small island connected to Miami — Key Biscayne (aka Island Paradise). You may have heard of it in the original Bad Boys movie, where they are told to go to Key Biscayne, but don’t actually go there.

Bad Boys (1995) • Not the exact scene where they mention Key Biscayne, but I had to include something.

Key Biscayne has also been featured in Christian Finnegan’s stand up comedy about Florida and Albert Einstein.

“If Albert Einstein Was From Florida” • Christian Finnegan

Key Biscayne is a wonderful place to go for a run. I have multiple routes that I run depending on the distance I’m traveling that day. I can run the loop around the residential part for 3 miles, I can run towards the lighthouse for up to 5 or even 6 miles, but lately I have stuck to running through Crandon Beach. That run can be anywhere from 2 to 10 or more miles (10 is my longest run, back a few years ago). During the entire pandemic I have stuck to 3 or 4 mile runs.

My run from earlier in the week.

***Side Note: I usually run with no glasses or contact lenses on. So, if you’re a fellow Key Biscayne resident who has seen me and waved at me or tried to get my attention on a run, I’m not ignoring you. I just didn’t see you. The loud music in my ears doesn’t really help the situation either. When running with no glasses all of your faces look like I’ve just been sprayed with Scarecrow’s Fear Gas (Batman Begins).

Batman Begins • Fear Gas

Let’s get back on track and talk about the strange thing I noticed lately. The weird thing I noticed lately is that people (most likely tourists) love trying to get coconuts to fall from trees. And they love trying to break them open to drink some coconut milk (or coconut water). I’m not even sure what’s inside of the coconut. Since they’ve always been around me, I don’t even think about them. I kind of forget they even exist.

This leads me to my main question: Do they not have Coconuts on trees in other cities, states, countries? Are we the only place with coconut trees? Palm trees? Are coconuts indigienous to Key Biscayne or South Florida?

This past week I saw one kid filming his friend trying to break a coconut open and drink from it. Is that that interesting? Last week, I saw a bunch of dudes trying to throw objects at hanging coconuts. Attempting to get them down.


Side Story: My Coconut Experience
I guess as a kid I had a friend with a machete once. Why? I don’t know, we were kids and we found a machete. We found a coconut on the ground and tried to break it open with our newly acquired machete. Once it was opened we saw there wasn’t much liquid or anything useful inside. After that, I was never really interested in a coconut again.


Maybe it’s a macho thing. It’s only dudes that I ever see trying to pull down and break open coconuts. Sometimes it’s a group or two guys. Most of the time it’s a guy trying to impress a girl. Don’t you know how stupid you look? Has any girl ever been impressed by a dude opening a coconut? Maybe on a remote island where there is nothing to eat or drink.

In Moana the people of Motunui depend heavily on the coconut.

“Consider the coconut (The what?)
Consider its tree
We use each part of the coconut
That’s all we need

We make our nets from the fibers
The water is sweet inside
We use the leaves to build fires
We cook up the meat inside

Consider the coconut
The trunks and the leaves
The island gives us what we need
And no one leaves”

from “Where You Are” • Moana (Original Motion PicTure Soundtrack)

But I did not grow up in Motunui (as much as I wish I had). I grew up in Key Biscayne. And we have a Winn Dixie, so we don’t need to live off of the wild coconuts and all of its parts. It’s more of a decorative thing for us. So, stop messing with our coconuts you tourists!

Bye Bye 2021. Hello 2022!

2021 was a weird year, right?

Remember back in March of 2020 when everything shut down and we thought, Ok, in a couple of weeks things will be back to normal. I could still go to that Elton John concert in May. Sports won’t be canceled. And all those other silly thoughts we had.

Now it’s 2022 and another COVID infested year has passed us by.

Things started to get a little better for a minute. We got our vaccines and now our boosters — unless you didn’t for whatever reason. Then all of these variants started to come out of the woodwork and ruined all of our progress. 

Now, everyone is testing positive (with the Omicron) but mostly not getting sick. It just ruined their holiday weekend plans and made them stay at home for a few extra days.

Will we ever get rid of this?


But now it’s 2022 and we all have the same question — What’s next???

The answer: I don’t know. 

What I do know is that in 2021 I posted an average of about two learnings per month (maybe a little more), and I plan to be more consistent this year. 

Whether it’s a good year or a bad year. Whether you’re stuck at home or at the office, at least you will find some comfort in reading my stupid posts.

So, I guess I just wanted to say Happy 2022!

Also, stay tuned for more learnings and stuff…