Life Hacks: Health Edition

Life hack-noun. informal. a strategy or technique adopted in order to manage one’s time and daily activities in a more efficient way.

I have a confession, I have not always been as wise and all knowing as I am now. I have assimilated a wealth of knowledge that will become useless the day I graduate, so here is my gift to you underclassmen and incoming students; l present the most time saving and headache curing tips and tricks. This post shall concern general health, well being and fitness related advise.

Here’s the scenario, it’s winter (I know that we are closer to summer, but bear with me) and if you are a man this means one thing, its bulking season.

How to bulk like a boss:
Step 1. Lift heavy things.
Step 2. Eat lots of (healthy) food so you can refuel muscles to repeat step 1.
Step 3. Sleep an adequate amount so you can return to the gym, refreshed and ready to repeat step 1.
Step 4. Repeat step 1.
Step 5. Repeat this whole cycle.

But how do you maximize on calories so you can improve on step 1? Using this recipe a close friend of my mine has come up with:
Bulking Shake:
1.5 cups milk (chocolate if you can)
1 cup pre-ground oats.
2 frozen bananas.
1 scoop protein.
2 tbs peanut butter.
Throw all these in a blender and voila. If my calculations are correct (They always are), this will come out to approximately 1300 calories and 64 grams of proteins. Have one of these between meals and one after you work out, your muscles can thank me later.
Broke and can’t afford things? You can get peanut butter, chocolate milk and bananas from the cafeteria (Disclaimer- I do not condone nor condemn these actions. Sodexo do not come after me).

Of course you have to supplement this with a quality diet high in protein. But Ghedion, what foods have a high protein content and are delicious you ask? Lean meats like chicken, turkey and fish are a staple in bulking diets. However things like peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, and mixed nuts and eggs don’t get as much attention and should also be included in any serious amateur body builders diet.

Fast forward 6 months later and you are a behemoth of a human being and could stand to lose a few (a lot of) pounds. The new recipe and regime:

Cutting Shake:
1 cup low fat milk.
1 scoop protein.
1 banana.

Step 1. Lift lighter things, a lot more times and more intensely.

Step 2. Do cardio.

Step 3. Recover, drink plenty of water and eat a minimal amount of carbs and skip the burger/fries/ice-cream/soda combo.

Step 4. Repeat previous steps

Step 5.  Say thank you Ghedion 🙂


Tips for Incoming International/Foreign Exchange Students

Seeing as I will be graduating in approximately ten days- I would like to share some helpful tips on making friends as a foreigner.

Diversity, yay!

1. Join clubs- This is an awesome, or probably one of the easiest ways to meet people with similar interests.

2. Join a team- If you are skilled in a sport then playing on a collegiate team will be one of the most enriching things you can participate in. You will meet a lot of people, come to love your teammates and travel and see a lot of places in the Northeast.

3. Play in Intramural Sports- This is a great way to meet people and socialize if you are fond of sports but not so athletically gifted. Intramural sports are always fun, and a little competition is healthy.

4. Befriend Americans- There is a tendency among international students to form clique’s and stay with each other 24/7. This is a sure fire way to isolate yourself from a lot of people, so go ahead and befriend that friendly kid in your English class or your roommate and improve your English and learn about American traditions, culture and food.

5. Ditch the laptop- I know super-fast WiFi 24/7 may seem like a blessing but it can be a curse and a crutch. So take a break from your 32 hour binge on How I met Your Mother and go outside, attend events on campus and socialize.

6. Socialize- The main theme here has been to socialize. Most American’s will be absolutely thrilled to learn about your country, your language and cultures so start a conversation, it really is as simple as that.


Brazil 2014: Players to Watch

Here is my pick for the players to light up the World Cup this summer.

Neymar da Silva Santos 

Brazil’s darling, Neymar da Silva Santos has blossomed into one of the best players in the world. Backed by a soccer crazed nation, he’s one player who can change any game with a moment of personal brilliance. Agile, fast, tricky and an excellent finisher he’ll definitely be one to watch.

Cristiano Ronaldo

The Portuguese super star is coming off one of his best ever personal seasons. His goal scoring record speaks for itself, he has struck 49 goals in 44 goals for Real Madrid this season, more than a goal a game ratio. He also recently broke the Champions League record for goals in a single season and seems to just keep getting better and better. All rounded and incredibly athletic, Portugals’ World Cup dreams rest on his broad shoulders.

Lionel Messi

Widely considered one of the best players to play the game- he has won virtually every personal and team accolade possible, save for one; the World Cup. He will be hungrier than ever now that his rival Ronaldo has eclipsed him in the last season. His slalom runs, incredible touch and lightning speed coupled with his unparalleled finishing ability have made him a force to reckon with.

Radmel Falcao

El Tigre is a clinical finisher and an absolute menace in the air. He is a prototypical striker and the mere sight of him will have defender’s and goalkeepers shaking.

Yaya Toure

A criminally underrated soccer player who is currently Africa’s finest. He pulled the strings in Manchester Cities midfield all season and is poised to lead them to another Premiership title. He is a strong, box-to-box midfielder that commands possession and dictates the tempo of the game. When on form he is a real treat to watch.


Things I’ve learned from Hollywood

Very recently I sat down to watch the thriller Taken starring Liam Neeson. I was amazed at how many action stereotypes were packed into that hour and a half.

This is a list of things I have noticed while watching Hollywood’s finest and most predictable action films.

Disclaimer- Not an actual quote from the movie.
  • Every punch is a knockout punch.
  • Flammable materials are always near a source of fire.
  • Cars are always left unattended with the keys in the ignition.
  • If not, then remember that cars are also extremely easy to hot-wire.
  • If you shoot at a car, one of two things will happen A.) The bullet will strike the tire or the axle and the car will then perform acrobatics as it flips majestically through the air or B.) The bullet will hit the gas tank and the car will explode.
  • If you wake up in a strange place with no recollection of how you got there, do not fret- wait until you have a flashback and all will be remembered.
  • When a dead body is found, it is almost always by a woman who will then shriek in horror and drop whatever it is that she is holding.

Brazil 2014: The Teams

The Teams:

Group A

1. Brazil- The host nation and strong favorites to win the World Cup. They are the tournaments most successful team with 5 previous World Cup’s under their belts. They completely dominated during last summer’s Confederations Cup Tournament and dismantled the current World Champions, Spain, during the process.  Known for their flair and highly entertaining style of play, they have recently been able to balance that with a defensive stability that makes them a force to be reckoned with. My personal pick for the winners of the tournament.

2. Croatia- Boasts a strong spirited side comprised of many hardworking and talented players. Luka Modric is the marquee player of this team, the midfield maestro looks to bring other players into the game and looks to dictate play from deep.

3. Mexico- This nation breathes soccer, with a highly talented and technical side lead by Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez.

4. Cameroon- The African giants are led by an aging Samuel Eto’o, and will look to progress as far as they can in the competition.

Group B

5. Spain- The current World Champions and strong favorites to lift the trophy come the end of the tournament. The Spanish gave birth to ‘tiki-taka’ soccer, a style characterized by technical, rapid, one-touch passing. They look to monopolize possession of the ball and make the other team run themselves into the ground. They boast the most deep squad, with any given player on the bench capable of making an impact.

6. Netherlands- The previous tournaments runners up, The Dutch have a wealth of world class attacking players but will need to get ego’s and their defense in check in order to have a successful tournament.

7. Chile- One of the smaller teams in the tournament, many have this side picked as their dark horses. An exciting mix of lightning fast counter-attacks and strategic possession, this team has everything needed to be a huge surprise. Lead by Barcelona’s Alexis Sanchez, they’ll be one of the teams to watch.

8. Australia- Another small team that will be happy just to be present. The Socceroo’s go to Brazil with no pressure or expectations.

Group C

9. Colombia- The South American side, led by their talisman Radamel Falcao could pack a surprising punch. I tip South American sides to do well on home soil, fueled by proud supporters and home conditions. The key this side doing well is the support cast around Falcao, simply put- make sure he gets the ball in dangerous areas and he will score.

10. Greece- The 2004 Euro champions are the epitome of a hard working, defensive side. Going to the tournament with no expectations they will look to grind out close games in order to progress. Goal scoring and creativity out of the midfield will be an issue that they should address before heading to Brazil.

11. Ivory Coast- This may be the last chance for Ivory Coast’s ‘golden generation’ to put together a meaningful assault on the World Cup as their leaders Didier Drogba and Kolo Toure are approaching the twilight years of their careers. Key to their campaign will be the form of Kolo Toure’s younger brother, Yaya Toure. Perhaps the most important issue facing this team is mentality, they need to rally together and not choke at crucial moments (As has happened so many times before).

12. Japan- The Blue Samurai are a technically sound team, perfectly comfortable in possession with a wealth of young, home grown talent at the managers disposal. Keisuke Honda and Shinji Kagawa will look to combine in the midfield to unlock teams.

Group D

13. Uruguay- Tactically flexible and tough, the Uruguayans will be a tough team to beat. Especially if the enigmatic and controversial Luis Suarez manages to have a decent tournament.

14. Costa Rica- A small, defensive side. The Costa Ricans will be hoping that their star player, Bryan Ruiz is on his best form.

15. England- The key to England’s success at Brazil 2014 will be their ability to remained focus and cope with the pressure of their home media.

16. Italy- The Euro 2012 finalists are regarded as strong favorites for the title. They will be hoping that Andrea Pirlo will be on form and marshaling possession

Group E

17. Switzerland- The Swiss national side is ranked 7th in the World and features a tight-knit squad that boasts a large home base of players. This will surely be a huge advantage as these players are used to playing with each other, whereas start studded teams have their key players playing across Europe. Tough from set-pieces, they will look to score many goals through their aerial superiority.

18. Ecuador- The tragic death of Christian Benitez, a regular in the starting line-up has seemed to spur on the South American team. Many have tipped these smaller sides to exceed expectations during this tournament as they will have a large contingency of home support helping them out. Statistically speaking, no one was scored more from headers than the Ecuadorians and one suspects this might be key in their progression.

19. France- The French national team has always been blessed with incredible talent, however this means nothing when the team cannot rally and play together. The team’s shameful showing as well as the subsequent mutiny and removal from last the World Cup will still be on the minds of some player’s . If they can rally together and play for each other, they will be one difficult opponent to match up against.

20. Honduras- A relatively unknown team that boasts lots of homegrown talent. Few expect the team to go far.

Group F

21. Argentina- Perhaps the team boasting the best forwards at the tournament, the key for Argentina to do well will be making sure to balance all their attacking talent with defensive discipline. And of course, Lionel Messi might have a word or two to say for himself, with his feet that is.

22. Bosnia & Herzegovina- This will be the first time these nations are represented in the World Cup. Their team has an array of attacking talent, Edin Dzeko in particular, that will likely be undone by the team’s weak defense.

23. Iran- Coach Carlos Quieroz is the star in this team with a wealth of knowledge coming from coaching for years side by side with one of the game’s finest, Sir Alex Ferguson. He has taken this knowledge and constructed a defensively sound team.

24. Nigeria- The super eagles swept aside all competition and were head and shoulders above the rest at the last AFCON tournament. The current African champs have a wide selection of players to choose from with Emmanuel Emenike looking to impress on the world stage.

Group G

25. Germany- The German team has impressed and continually improved over the last few years. The core of young players has grown together and will be one of the hardest teams to beat at this year’s tournament. They have a fine blend of team ethic and individual talent. From Mesut Ozil to Toni Kroos to Marco Reus- the attacking talent speaks  for itself. Many have the German’s picked as their favorites.

26. Portugal- Led by the current best player in the world, Cristiano Ronaldo. Portugal is essentially a one man show. This might be a weakness for most, but when Cristiano Ronaldo is in the form that he has been in over the course of the last few years- then this is simply not an issue. If Ronaldo is playing well, then Portugal has a chance in the tournament.

27. Ghana- Ghana never fails to impress or entertain. The heartbreaking moment when Asamoah Gyan’s last minute penalty struck the crossbar and their subsequent loss to Uruguay in the penalty shoot-out still is fresh in the memory of players and fans. They will look to undo this perceived injustice and accomplish a lot at this tournament.

28. United States- Jurgen Klinsmann’s team is playing some fantastic soccer but disappointing results in friendlies have undercut the American’s confidence. They will be looking to prove the naysayers wrong.

Group H

29. Belgium- The Belgian’s are considered by many to be the dark horses of the tournament. With a golden generation of players, the true question remains whether they can play together under pressure. We will find out.

30. Algeria- Considered one of the weakest team’s at the tournament, their presence is an honor.

31. Russia- The squad boasts a defensive solidity that has been missing in recent years. Goalkeeper Igor Akinfeev’s return to form following a broken leg will be a huge boost.

32. Korea Republic- Coached by legendary former player, Hong Myung-bo the Koreans have got to the tournament by playing soundly defensively and getting goals through direct play. Their star man Song Heung-min will need to be at is best for his nation’s side to progress.


Brazil 2014: The World Cup Dissected.

The World Cup is the most widely watched sporting event on the planet. Last time around, an estimated 3.2 billion people watched the World Cup Final- roughly about 47% of the earth’s human population.

For those of you not so versed in the affairs of international soccer I have here a dissection, a series of posts in which I will do my best to: Explain the tournament, describe the teams and the key players to watch.  Without further ado…

Teams will be fighting for the chance to bring this home. Beauty really is in the eye of the beholder.

The World Cup

32 teams take part in the World Cup. These teams are picked based on a 3 year preliminary period, in which teams play for qualification and the right to represent their country at the World Cup. These teams are then randomly sorted into 8 groups of 4 teams each. This stage is called the group stage; the goal of which is to finish with as many points as possible.

But what are points Ghedion, and how do you go about getting them? Points are awarded for wins and draws, with 3 and 1 point(s) being rewarded respectively. Losing will give you a whooping 0 points.  After each team has played each other, the top two teams advance to the next stage. So the winner of Group A plays the runner ups of Group B, and so on so forth. The next phase is called the knockout stage, it starts with 16 teams each playing to stay in the tournament. There are no draws in this phase, with games going to extra time and eventually penalties until a winner has been decided. Penalties are shots taken from a dead ball position from 12 yards away and whomever gets the best of five shall be declared winner.

Like so

The losing teams are knocked out, with the exception of the losers in the semi-finals, they stick around to play for 3rd and 4th place. The winners of the final are crowned World Champions and get major bragging rights.

Last year the Confederations Cup was held in Brazil. In this tournament, each continent sends its champion (From its respective continental championship tournament) and the host of the next World Cup as well as the past champions into a mini-World Cup style championship. The final saw the hosts, Brazil, take on the current world champs, Spain. The result was an emphatic 3-0 victory for Brazil, Spain were well beaten and will be itching to at the possibility of redeeming themselves.  The purpose of this tournament was to act as a teaser, but it has done more than that- it has stoked the appetite of soccer fans everywhere.


My Top 13 Tracks of 2013

2013 was a great year for music. Here are songs that I danced, raved, procrastinated, studied, and stayed up way past my bedtime to. This list is ranked in no particular order.


This song makes the list purely for its effect on hip hop.  Kendrick elegantly proclaims his importance,

“I’m important like the pope, I’m a muslim on pork. I’m makaveli’s offspring, I’m the king of New York.”

And with that rap was never the same. Many will see his verse as an attack, rather than the call to arms that it really was. It was a rally cry, an attempt to wake up rap from its drug-induced coma, to spur on his rivals to reach greater heights. It also showcases Kendrick Lamar’s lyrical ability and skill.


If you enjoy this song, chances are you’ll love the album which is full of other super chill gems. This song in particular was my anthem of chill. Whether that was mellowing out while studying or hanging out with my friends, this track carries nothing but good vibes.


Need your dose of audio adrenalin? Look no further. Whether looking to you amp yourself up during a workout, or up the energy during your pregame this song is perfect.  Excuse me while I dance and jump around for a little bit.


On the note of amping yourself up, this track will stop short of inducing homicidal mania. And Jeb Corliss is one bad dude.


If you listened to that last one, step away and cool down for a moment so you can enjoy this wonderful track by someone whose name I have no idea how to say.  For best results, listen to in a room with your friends with the lights off. And no, I won’t explain those oddly specific instructions, but trust me and make like a nike commercial and just do it.


Childish Gambino or Donald Glover, is a multi-talented entertainer. This is just one of the many bangers off his recent album, Because the Internet. It’s extremely well put together and has a little bit of everything on it.


No list would be complete without Drake. His album was one of the huge success stories of 2013, and could be heard blaring out of cars, emanating from every set of Dre Beats, it was everywhere. That catchy hook and the universal nature of his lyrics cemented his spot on this list.


Chance the Rapper embodies conscious rap, self-reflection and psychedelic mushrooms all colliding and producing something wonderful. This album was the playlist of my summer.


I don’t think I’ve ever listened to this song earlier than 3 A.M. This was the anthem to my all-nighters and played throughout some spectacular late night moments. Perfect tune for night owls.


Type in harlem shake into youtube, and you’ll have to scroll down to find the original song sans any ridiculous shenanigans. This song was huge and spawned an entirely new genre of viral videos.

Here’s a collection of some of the better ones:


Robin Thicke, Pharrel and T.I. with the most playful, misogynistic tune and video of the year.


Those visuals, that hook, that beat, that twerk (Or lack of). Miley successfully breaks her carefully curated disney princess image with a wrecking ball by declaring that its her house, and these are her rules.


I can’t listen to this song without getting vivid and colorful flashbacks of Electric Zoo 2013. I’ve been raging to this song ever since.



How to Kick Butt At Presentations

Talking has always been my thing. Ever since I was a kid, I’ve always been talkative. I had a penchant for the dramatic, so if you gave me half the chance, I would undoubtedly talk your ear off. Naturally this got me into a lot of trouble early on. I was constantly being reprimanded for my chatty nature and it even earned me a special table next to my first grade teacher (Despite her best efforts, my new position in the classroom now allowed me to address everyone at the same time).

The one place where it did pay off though was when it came to oral presentations. I’ve never been fazed by speaking in front of a group so here are my tips for success.

Dress for success. Throw on your snazziest outfit. Not only will you want to look good while everyone is paying attention to you, it will do wonders for your confidence.

Have a small bottle of water. In the case that you lose yourself or go blank, you can always take a long drawn out sip while you figure out exactly where you are, what class you are in and what it is you want to say. Seriously, this one is a life saver.

Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. And when you’re done. Practice some more. Nothing will set you up for success more than knowing your material through and through.

Use your friends. If you have any friends that are in the same class as you, give them questions to ask you at some point during your presentation. This will make you look extra intelligent, and help to break up the monotony of hearing one persons voice for too long. Be sure to return the favor.

Fake it till you make it. If you are feeling nervous, fake confidence. Even if you feel shaky and fragile, it is very hard to see nervousness in others as long as your voice is stable and you are not too fidgety.

Use the podium. Again, if you are feeling nervous, grasp the podium like your life depended on it and do not let go until your presentation is done. This will help to keep you standing up right and tall and it also keeps your hands preoccupied.

Use these tips to get the best out of your presentations and make the best of finals. Happy studying.


Mythbusters: The Know It All Edition

I have been told that I am somewhat of a know it all. I will admit to this particular flaw of mine but, I, ever the educational optimist- will use this as a moment to impart some of my wisdom for the betterment of mankind.

Most of these facts were researched for the sole purpose of this article, but let’s just pretend I have an arsenal of impressive trivia and myth debunking experience.

Myth 1: Guy Fawkes was the epitome of an anarchist.

Ask your local aspiring anarchist who their idol is, and chances are they will mention Guy Fawkes.

Guy Fawkes is the inspiration behind these awful masks.

Guy Fawkes is accredited with the cunning plan of almost blowing up Parliament in England in 1605. What a revolutionary, going as far as planning on destabilizing an entire countries government for his beliefs.. What were his beliefs again? Oh, it was that the government was too liberal. England at that point in time was undergoing an egalitarian Protestant revolution, Guy Fawkes planned on blowing up parliament in order to establish Catholic rule and dominion over the country.


Myth 2. Silencers will turn your gunshot into a silent whisper of death.

If you have learned anything from Hollywood, it is that if you want to take out a ruthless drug dealer/dictator/tyrant in public your best bet is to sneak up on him and shoot him with a silencer on your gun. Then you can make your stealthy escape while his bodyguards stand around befuddled yelling, “Did anyone hear where that came from?!” Poppy cock.

An un-silenced gun will register at an average whopping 150 decibels, loud enough to cause deafness with limited exposure. While a silenced weapon will register at 130 decibels, loud enough to cause deafness with repeated exposure and let everyone know exactly what it is you have done and foil your plans.

Myth 3: Scorpions, Sharks and other animals are just waiting to kill you.

Look at how much dying is happening here. Dead.

For whatever reason, animals tend to get misaligned in the media. They are often portrayed as blood thirsty killing machines with an assortment of stingers, venom, teeth and claws that have one purpose; to painfully and excruciatingly end human life. This could not be farther from the truth. Simply put, your odds of dying from a scorpion bite are one in three million. So roughly the same as being killed by lightning.

Keep an eye out for the mythbuster series, there are more myths that will be debunked.