Barcelona was crazy

Viewed from above, Barcelona presents a stunning grid of asymmetry. At street-level the city seems far less uniform, with hidden treats to be found for any traveler: ocean access to a warm Mediterranean, successful sports teams, all night clubs, and stunning architecture consisting of Gothic and roman ruins, ultra modern builds, and considerably more chic than one can handle.  

Our co-contributor, Darrin, documents his travels around the world. This week he visits the beautiful, cultured city of Barcelona.

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By the time we touched down in El Prat on Sunday night I’d already been going hard for 6 hours. The flight attendant must have taken a liking to me, as he had slipped me two plastic shot bottles to go alongside the canned Modelo I had ordered shortly after take-off. Add that to the Jack I had managed to sneak on in my sports drink bottle (my own version of the infamous Tucker Maxx ‘Death Mix’ and I was lit in no time at all. I didn’t remember much of the taxiing or shuttle to the hostel, and while it was only 8pm when they dropped me off, I crashed immediately. Jet lag’s a bitch! Continue reading

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Three days in Tokyo blew my mind

Tokyo is the ultimate juxtaposition of old and new, a place where ancient temples squat in the shadows of neon-lit, contempo skyscrapers and riced-out, glowing Lamborghinis scream past ambling tuk-tuks. It might sound jarring, but when viewed at night, somehow it all meshes in a stunning fever-dream of lights and activity. Our resident travel guru, Darrin, is spending his gap year from Uni hitting as many countries possible. This week he documents his three-day visit to the extraordinary city. 

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Have you ever seen Lost in Translation? I touched down at Narita airport and I kid you not, I felt just like the guy in that movie. Floating through the city jet lagged as hell, neon lights everywhere, I could’ve been in that ASAP Rocky video with the Asian chick.

This was a work trip, and in Tokyo that can only mean one thing: Heavy drinking. I met my father’s business associates at the super sick hotel bar and of course we started drinking right away, as is custom at these meetings. By the time talk turned to business I was honestly in no state to negotiate, but I tried my hardest to keep my wits about me. They were pretty cool guys. Shortly after midnight I finally peaced out of there and went to my room. I’ve always been the guy with the iron stomach, but the whiskey had done me in, and this meant spending most of the night huddled near the toilet. Continue reading

This digital nomad lived out of a single bag for 3 years

May 5th of 2009 is a day that Jim Wilmer will never forget. A systems engineer by trade, Jim had spent the previous 3 years working night and day on a touch-to-pay payment system for a well-known Silicon Valley tech company.  A pre-cursor to Paypass, ‘Swyp-it’ had a strong buzz in tech circles and was supposed to disrupt the credit card industry in coming years.

Like so many others, Jim had lost his nest egg during the housing crisis, but he remained optimistic. Jim did have equity in the rising company, and he daydreamed of the day a 7-figure payout would allow him to leave the cramped office behind for an early retirement spent traveling the world. So when the app was abruptly shelved and Jim found himself without a job, he decided to forge ahead and chase his original travel dreams, finances be damned. Jim bought a cherry red Jansport backpack from Target, filled it with just the bare essentials necessary to make it through a weekend trip, and hit the road.  

Over the next 3 years Jim embraced the nomad life. He taught English in Vietnam, labored in Japanese rice fields, and eventually started a successful export company based out of Singapore. But never did he allow his possessions to outgrow his tattered backpack. 


In May bluehighways met up with Jim at an expat conference in Malaysia, and there he shared with us his tips for traveling (and living) light. 

BH: Why just a backpack? Surely that’s a bit extreme, no?

JW:  Extreme, yes. And I guess it was the whole point, you know- to show people more is not always more, I guess. Your possessions will grow to fit the space. This never changes. Backpack or mansion, this is true, and I’ve certainly felt that while living on the ‘other side of the tracks’ during my tech days. 

BH: Do you miss the corporate world?

JW: Well I did. I tried to run from it, but try as I might, I still found myself in a similar role (with NeXports) that utilizes my skillset. 

BH: Could you give us a list of your essentials?

JW: Certainly. Like I said, I don’t need much…. 

Continue reading

Does getting arrested make you a better basketball player?

The NBA has done an incredibly successful job tidying up its image over the last 15 years. There was a time the league represented suburban culture shock. Back then mainstream media consisted of athletes choking coaches and players brawling in the stands, and a du-rag donning Iverson had my uncle throwing around the ‘thug’ title in a worrisome tone. These days the two most popular players in the league, Lebron James and Steph Curry, are morally-docile family men who have ditched cognac-fueled all-nighters at the club in favor of netflix and the occasional glass of fine wine.

That doesn’t mean legal trouble no longer exists, but things are currently ages better than in America’s other favorite sport.  Currently the NBA averages around 5 arrests a year, down from it’s 1999-2003 haydays, a time period in which there around 5x the current number per year.

In fact, if not for two active players* (can you guess them?) the league would have about 20% less arrests in the last 5 years.


It’s summer, the season is over, and it’s that time of year when players like to get a little loose. Sometimes they get a little too loose. Imagine your favorite player is arrested this August. Will he play better or worse next season?

Let’s look at some before and after numbers from players arrested for driving while intoxicated in the last 6 years. Why DUI? Much like domestic violence in the NFL, NBA teams simply don’t seem to care about driving violations all that much. Post-arrest, most players stay with the same team and see their minutes maintained. Therefore, many extraneous variables that would otherwise effect our stats disappear.

Each player listed below has the stats from the year prior to and then following his summer arrest listed, except for Ty Lawson, who was the only player to be arrested mid-season, and who had no real listed stats due to low minutes played. Continue reading

Kyrie’s Quotes, a Sampling

Humans are by nature hypocritical beings, seething masses of sometimes conflicting and contradicting opinions. For example, War Hero and questionable human, these terms are not mutually exclusive, despite our attempts to argue them as such. Truth is murky, but that doesn’t mean we can’t loudly tout our complete knowledge of a man’s inner and outer workings  after skimming 5 minutes of condensed interviews with them.

With that being said, following are some quotes from the chakra-wearing, Bible-toting, Instagram-Conspiracy Subscribing, cold-blooded killer on the court, Kyrie Andrew Irving, via Sports Illustrated, Road Trippin and yes, even Brainy Quotes.

On Music:

  • “I’ve been musically inclined since I picked up an instrument in the fourth grade. I just really appreciate music. I love to listen to it; I love to sing…I just developed it over time, honestly, just listening. I’m a great listener to music.”
  • ” ‘Grease’ is an awesome movie. I wish they’d make a new one, more for our time. The graphics are terrible when you look back on it.”

On Lebron, Cleveland, and Championships

  • “That’s the type of guy that I want to be with every single time I’m going to war. … You move to the front line with a guy like that, and you want to bring your game up to another level. I know that if we continue to be with one another and keep utilizing one another, man, the sky’s the limit.”
  • “My eventual goal is to win a championship. And before I retire, I just want to win a championship. That’s it.”
  • “I do feel like a Clevelander. Every time, when people ask me, I automatically say, My home is Cleveland.” *
  • “When it applies to the Olympics and making a decision, I have to claim Australia as my country.”

On a Singular Focus, and, well, also other focuses

  • “My focus is basketball, and that’s it.”
  • “I want to be on the cover of GQ.”
  • “I went to my agent and told them, ‘I want to be on another Disney show.’ “

On His Movie

On Necessities

  • “I don’t leave home without my Skullcandy Crushers. I don’t leave home without my Bible, without my phone, and without my computer.”

On a Flat Earth We’ll keep this one short

  • “This is not even a conspiracy theory. The Earth is flat. It’s right in front of our faces. I’m telling you, it’s right in front of our faces. They lie to us. What I’ve been taught is that the earth is round. But if you really think about it from a landscape of the way we travel, the way we move and the fact that, can you really think of us rotating around the sun and all planets aligned, rotating in specific dates, being perpendicular with what’s going on with these ‘planets’?” (Road Trippin)
  • “I’m asking you like this. Do you know they filmed the actual spacecraft leaving from the moon, right? Who the hell is filming that? You tell me.”

On SMARTS and ENERGY

  • “It was all an exploitation tactic. It literally spun the world—your guys’ world—it spun it into a frenzy and proved exactly what I thought it would do in terms of how all this works. It created a division, or, literally stand up there and let all these people threw tomatoes at me, or have somebody think I’m somehow a different intellectual person because I believe that the Earth is flat and you think the world is round. It created exactly that. It became like, because I think different, does that knock my intellectual capacity or the fact that I can think different things than you?”
  • “I feel absolutely amazing. My energy, my sleeping patterns, just my intellect and everything that I’m awake to now—I’m very much aware.”
  • “I think that the most important thing that I strive to live by is extremely by truth and by consistently giving others the truth, without any judgment, without constraints, without anything extra except the understanding that I see you. I have family members who come from knowing energy, and it was passed along to me.”
  • “Just a lot of heart, you know, being protected by some incredible energies.” (in response to a win)
  • “I see you. I see everyone. More than just your physical presence, I see your energy. I feel it. I know it.
  • “Oh, if you’re very much woke there’s no such thing as distractions” (Directed toward Steven A)
  • “I have a presence and aura about me that’s very reality-based. It didn’t come in the form of living in this false world and not being able to tell the truth to somebody.”

On Brad Stevens

  • “Brad fits perfectly in terms of that because he has an intellectual mind and is an intellectual human being. It was something I was unbelievably craving in terms of what I wanted for my career.”

On Cows not Being Real

  • “Steak? Nah, I don’t eat that. It doesn’t come from anything natural, so why would I eat it?

On Aliens Being Real

  • “The fact that they can make all these movies with alien descriptions. They’re not just going on strictly brainpower and this is just creative things that we’re going to put out to everybody. For what? All to put an alien movie out, for what?”

Lubricating the brain: Nootropics, pt 1

Sometimes you just need an extra “kick” to get things moving. Here are my results with various “nootropics” or cognitive enhancers.

Caffeine

I didn’t try coffee until I was 22 and didn’t drink it regularly until a year ago.

At the time I was having problems with a recurring, rather annoying spasm in my right eye-lid and nose. I had read that low doses of caffeine was could treat this and began to use it.

I’m not 100% sure if it did the job, but the other effects I read about during research intrigued me. In particular among them were caffeine’s ability to help the body recover post-workout when taken with carbs/protein, its anti-aging effects, and finally, as a jump-starter.

I’ve since experimented with coffee naps and caffeine-aided workouts, among other things.

My experience: 

Caffeine kicks in within 3-5 minutes of my first sips of coffee, usually signaled by a rather intense wave of what I can best describe as ‘positivity’ flooding over me.

I had caffeine’s effects explained to me as ‘taking the breaks off’ one’s brain, where now dopamine and glutamite run free. Which in a way makes sense, given that my energy levels don’t change during caffeine consumption.

I think its important to note that I definitely don’t achieve or do more when ingesting caffeine; rather, my thoughts seem more focused and optimistic, leading me to believe that progress is occurring, despite normally not acting on said thoughts. I still have much more success brainstorming and writing when ingesting alcohol than caffeine.

Lion’s Mane (+ caffeine & chaga)

A favorite of Buddhist Monks, this mental-growth promoting “bearded mushroom” has experienced a huge surge in popularity recently thanks in part to Tim Ferriss and his glowing praise of affiliate Four Sigmatic’s mushroom coffee, which according to Ferriss, “…lit [him] up like a Christmas tree.” Continue reading

30 days of Burpees

Pertinent background info

Not too long ago I came across an article entitled something along the lines of “Top 10 Worst Fitness Exercises”. Burpees were at the top of the list. The article’s author referred to the move as “ineffective” and even “masochistic”. I let Google auto-fill a search for me and the results spoke likewise.

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I don’t know about the “masochistic” labeling of the burpee. There is absolutely a difference between masochism and stoicism. In the mind of the do-er, at least. More on that later…

But there is some truth to these health concerns. Burpees, like any other repetition-based exercise, can cause problems over time, especially with beginners. To avoid problems I planned on not locking out at any portion of the movement, and keeping my weight square over my shoulders and away from my knees and ankles during the kick-back portion of the move.

That and a proper warm-up should in theory keep the do-er healthy while attempting them. Joe De Sena, the god-father of the burpee, practices as much, and from what I’ve seen also lays on his belly at the bottom of the movement. He once did 4,000 burpees continuously, so if the movement works for him physically, well, you and I should be okay in moderation.

Continue reading

30 Days of Videogames

I’m still a week out from finishing my first challenges of the year, so in the meantime I thought I’d give you a glimpse at some of the tasks I took on last year. I recorded each of them throughout, but for various reasons (very un-scientific and crap writing being two of them) didn’t publish them. The following is the first of them.


I grew up in a conservative household. How conservative, you ask?  In our living room, where most families had couches and various love-seats for sitting and watching TV, we had a CHURCH PEW. A wooden, straight-backed, mahogany-lined church pew with room for at most 2, maybe 2.5 people at a time.

Needless to say, my brother and I were a few years late to the video-game train.

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History Channel’s ‘The Selection: Special Operations Experiment’

I’ve been trying to embrace a new thought process over the past year, one focused on challenging myself in new ways in hopes of fostering growth. Comfort, for me at least, is the antithesis of positive change; therefore I’ve been trying to simulate the lack of it as much as possible.

So when I was given the opportunity to fly out to LA and participate in a new show for the History Channel, I jumped at the chance.  Continue reading

2016’s Top Earners-Takeaways

Later this week I’ll be counting down 2016’s highest-earning Obstacle Course Racers. While I wait for final numbers to be confirmed I’ll post my initial 6 takeaways.


1. Lindsay Webster had a fantastic year. She won $5,000 or more in 5 different races, making her the most diversified athlete on our list in terms of winnings.

2. TV is where the big money is. Despite a small sample size, OCR athletes have had Continue reading