22 June 2014

Book Review: An Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth

Category: Reviews — Posted by Michael at 1755

I never typically write reviews for Amazon purchases, but Chris Hadfield’s book warrants special attention.

This book is fascinating on several different levels. First it provides a biographical look at Chris Hadfield’s life. He explains his childhood and everything that led up to his becoming an astronaut. It’s a great story of someone who knew what they wanted their entire life and worked exceptionally hard to achieve it.

As Hadfield tells his own story he uses his own experiences to give some really good advice on how anyone can think like an astronaut in their own life as a means to achieving their goals and focusing themselves on being prepared for whatever life throws at them. This is certainly not a self-help book but it leaves the reader with a lot to think about regarding how they handle events big and small in their own life.

The third angle to this book is the inside look at the space program. Hadfield provides a firsthand account of what it takes to become and astronaut plus a detailed description of what it’s like to be an astronaut when you aren’t riding a rocket into outer space. People generally don’t think about the training and everyday work done by astronauts in the he months or years between going into space but this book paints a great picture of it.

Of course, it also describes in great detail the exciting part of being an astronaut, launching into space and living in space (Hadfield was the commander of the International Space Station). From the most mundane tasks that become complicated while living on orbit to performing space walks, he describes experiences that most people will never experience for themselves.

Regardless of which of the above facets of this book interests you the most, it will keep and hold your attention. Chris Hadfield comes across as a totally honest and genuine author and if you’ve ever seen the cover of “Space Oddity” that he performed aboard the ISS, then you that’s probably an accurate depiction.

02 June 2014

Review: Lumpy’s BBQ – Gloucester Twp NJ

Category: Reviews — Posted by Michael at 1925

I love good barbecue, but it can be hard to find it in the Philadelphia area. This isn’t the south. Here cheesesteak and pizza places are on every corner, not BBQ joints. Lumpy’s BBQ can be literally hard to find. It’s easy to accidentally drive right past because it sits in a nondescript shopping center and isn’t all that visible from the road. I’ve passed it a thousand times and never noticed it. I only found it because I was looking up some other local restaurants on Yelp.

However, I can happily report that Lumpy’s has the best barbecue that I’ve ever had north of the Mason-Dixon Line. It’s a simply decorated place and operates much like most barbecue restaurants. You go the counter to order and you get your own drinks. Your food is brought to your table when it’s ready. When we first walked in and saw we were the only diners in the place, we were concerned, but they clearly do a booming take-out business. I was also really excited to find out that they deliver.

We ordered pork ribs, pulled pork and burnt ends. They were all delicious and served with 2 sauces (hot or mild). The burnt ends were especially delicious. The sides we chose were good, although the mac and cheese was not as good as I would have hoped for.

In doing some research on my phone on the way home, I read that the owner competed on the BBQ Pitmasters TV show, so when we got home, I immediately bought that episode on iTunes. It made me want to go back for more right away or, better yet, get some delivered!

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