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Sunday, March 27, 2011

March Madness >> Workout Edition

I recommend this workout to anyone who wants that added kick in the butt. Because it definitely will kick your a*$!!! My goal is to go all 16 minutes of this circuit without completely conking out. I started yesterday and made it though three of six rounds of this madness without passing out. I pridefully went through the other three rounds, but struggled during each interval. Even though the workout zapped most of my energy for that 16 minutes, I felt quickly reinvigorated within the hour. My energy levels were high throughout the day and I even had the urged to work out again in the evening.

The warm up that Zazana has on her site is great because today I feel very little D.O.M.S. effects. Just slight soreness, which is expected when you start any new exercise routine, especially one of this level of intensity.

I've drastically changed my diet over the past week as well because of the recent knowledge that I have a slightly high LDL level. In all, I hope to lose a total of 15 lbs. And looks like I'm off to a great start because i've lost 3 lbs. already. It's probably just water weight I've lost so far, but it leaves only 12 to go!

I currently track both my diet and workout progress on Despite the somewhat clunky way in which each of the different tracking tools record your progress, the site has everything you need to keep a detailed diary of my results.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Pharoahe Monch W.A.R. 3.22.11 #wearerenegades

liveatbestbuy on Broadcast Live Free

I Dig This! Vol.1 Ep. 7 -- iPhone Excursions

Win three city walk iPhone applications to cities of your choice, courtesy of Correctly answer all ten questions about Chicago below and e-mail them to for your chance to win. It's that simple. Good luck!

1) Chicago is known under several names. How isn't it called?

a) the Windy City

b) the City of Big Shoulders
c) the City of Lights 

2) Chicago’s downtown area is known as ... The nickname refers to the area encircled by the elevated train tracks.

a) the Loop 

b) the Hook

c) the Ellipse

3) Chicago is the birthplace among others of McDonalds, the chewing gum giant Wrigley’s and the cell phone giant Motorola. What sport has been invented here:

a) 16-inch softball
b) baseball
c) squash

4) At the time of its completion in 1974 the Willis Tower was the tallest building in the world, surpassing the World Trade Center towers in New York, and it held this rank for nearly 25 years, How many states are visible from its roof?
a) 3
b) 4
c) 5

5) Chicago is the third largest city in United States, its metropolitan area, commonly named "Chicagoland,"being the 27th most populous metropolitan area in the world. What American cities are more populous than Chicago?
a) New York and Houston
b) Los Angeles and New York
c) Philadelphia and New York

6) Chicago is home to the largest population of ... in the world, except Warsaw: 
a) Poles
b) Czechs
c) Serbs

7) In 1900, Chicago successfully completed a massive and highly innovative engineering project. Since then the Chicago River is the only river in the world that:
a) flows North in the Northern Hemisphere
b) flows backward
c) the only river in the world that flows both northwards and southwards across the line of the Equator

8) Each year, the Chicago River is dyed green to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day. St. Patrick is the patron saint of what country?
a) Ireland
b) Scotland
c) Poland

9) The Art Institute of Chicago has one of the largest and most extensive collections of Impressionist and Post-Impressionist paintings in the world. Which of these painters was not an impressionist:
a) Monet
b) Cezanne
c) Dali

10) The University of Chicago is the site of the world's first:
a) atomic reaction
b) unmanned flight
c) extraterrestrial encounter

Sunday, March 20, 2011

I Dig This! Vol.1 Ep. 6 -- REDRUM
Hot Release from DJ SPK


Redrum is the junior release from DJ SPK. Her sensual touch takes you through a mystical journey of 21 murderously delicious tracks. You'll be mean muggin' and proper head noddin' from start to finish. And for us ladies, there's definitely a hip shaking factor. Download Here

1. Intro - Redrum

2. Snoop Dogg Millionaire - Snoop Dogg

3. The Mayor - N.A.S.A feat. Ghostface, The Cool Kids, Scarface, and DJ AM

4. Ready Set Go - Killer Mike/Mike Bigga feat. DJ Drama and T.I.

5. Killa Flow - Ray Cash feat. Fitty

6. Wavin the Magnum - Ray Cash & The Notorious B.I.G. x Fki (Wavin the .44 - The Kickdrums/Magnum - SMKA)

7. Giant - Nikki NTU

8. Jacnthebeanstalk - Tyler the Creator 

9. Interlude - i AM crazy

10. I F*cking Hate Rappers - PackFM

11. Knock U Out On Mah Momma - Picaso

12. Tightrope (Wondamix) - Janelle Monae feat. B.O.B

13. Work - Wale

14. Let's Start - K'naan, J.Period and Fela Kuti

15. Interlude - Mase and Tazers

16. Exhibit A - Jay Electronica

17. ¢hutes & £adders - Black EL x Durkin

18. New York is Killing Me - Gil Scott Heron feat. Mos Def

19. Once A Week - Black EL x Durkin

20. The National Anthem - Lupe Fiasco

21. Outro - Follow the Leader (bonus track: Nino Bless - Murdera)

Venus also digs...

Friday, March 18, 2011


SKIBEATZ ON KARMALOOP TV: KarmaloopTV catches up with hip hop producer Ski Beatz to discuss working with Jay-Z, Curren$y, and making 24 Hour Karate School.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

I Dig This! Vol.1 Ep. 4 -- Venus' Metaphysical Reading List

My journey into the metaphysical realm continues from the days of studying the Bible. As a Catholic school kid, I was exposed to Christianity early and quickly learned that even amongst Christians there are divisions between what particular sects believe within it, as well as between it an other religions.

When I read the Bhagavad Gita "The Song of the Lord" and the Upanishads my mind was expanded even further. Foreign to me in terms of their more whimsical nature they enchanted me as I learned lessons reminiscent of those told in the Bible and Koran. Same principles, just different stories, tales, fables, parables.

Whenever I read ancient texts it takes me deeper into the practices and principles of not only the religion, but the culture surrounding that particular religion, because what unites us is the source - our spirit. Hence, I delved into meditation and yoga, which is a means of connecting with the source and remembering one's true self - the soul.

Here are some of the texts that made me think much differently about my life's journey and how to connect to the essence of me. I hope that you will find them helpful on your journey as well.

Om Shanti


Sunday, March 13, 2011

I Dig This! Vol.1 Ep. 3 -- The Countdown Continues > 3.22.11
W.A.R. (We Are Renegades)

I'm going to continue to add to this post leading up to and after the release of Pharoahe Monch's latest project W.A.R. (We Are Renegades). This independent release arrives 3.22.11. I've heard 4 songs from the album, and each one has astonishing lyrics and beats reminiscent of the organic hip hop that real headz crave. I can't wait to cop it on vinyl cause it has all the makings of a classic.

W.A.R. (We Are Renegades) 

1. The Warning (feat. Idris Elba)
2. Calculated Amalgamation
3. Evolve
4. W.A.R. (feat. Immortal Technique & Vernon Reid)
5. Clap [One Day] (feat. Showtyme & DJ Boogie Blind)
6. Black Hand Side (feat. Styles P & Phonte)
7. Let My People Go
8. Shine (feat. Mela Machinko)
9. Haile Selassie Karate (feat. Mr. Porter)
10. The Hitman11. Assassins (feat. Jean Grae & Royce Da 5’9)
12. The Grand Illusion [Circa 1973] (feat. Citizen Cope)
13. Still Standing (feat. Jill Scott)
14. Clap [One Day] (short film)

More from the man behind the mask >>>

Friday, March 11, 2011

Universal Playground: Part 1 - The Sun

In lieu of today's devastating events, I have decided to devote some blog space to Mother Nature. In this series of posts I'll explore the oddities that have and will happen in 2011 across the World and the Universe. So I shall start with the most magnificent of all the celestial bodies - the Sun

2011 Jan 04: Partial Solar Eclipse
2011 Jun 01: Partial Solar Eclipse
2011 Jun 15: Total Lunar Eclipse
2011 Jul 01: Partial Solar Eclipse
2011 Nov 25: Partial Solar Eclipse
2011 Dec 10: Total Lunar Eclipse

In 2011, there will be 4 partial solar eclipses and 2 total solar eclipses. Scientists say that this 4:2 combination is pretty rare, so what does this mean and why is it happening now? Since eclipses happen so rapidly it is not quite known what the overall effects are if any on the Earth.

It is just uncanny to me how catastrophic occurrences seem to surround major solar and lunar events. For instance, two days before the first eclipse of 2011, approximately 5000 birds fell dead from the sky in South America. A day later thousands of birds fell dead in Arkansas. Two separate locations in the World, yet these anomalies occur only a day apart in the days leading up to the solar eclipse. Since the beginning of the year, millions of dead fish have been washing up on shores all across the United States and abroad. The latest occurrence of this kind happened this Tuesday, March 8th (See this related news story.) Some sources attribute the deaths to frigid waters, other reports site "natural events" as the cause.

Whatever the cause of these oddities, I believe it is just the beginning of more to come. I won't go so far as to say it is the "End of Days" or Armageddon or  government conspiracy. However, I will say there is definitely a shift in the balance of nature which is having violently dramatic effects on the environment, the planet and the Universe.

Stay in the Universal Playground series - The Super Moon Cometh (March 19th)

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Adventures in Food - Sunda #Chicago

Sunda · 110 West Illinois., Chicago, IL
Me at Sunda with my lunch buddy Chris G.
Spicy Tuna Roll

Sunda's Signature Roll
Spicy Sea Bass and Shrimp Curry

Signature Cookies - the lemon square was my fave from this plate.

Molten Chocolate Cake with Creme Anglaise and Rice Crispies

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Adventures In Food - Hop Haus #Chicago

Hop Haus · 646 N Franklin St., Chicago, IL

Today's adventure takes me to one of my local faves - Hop Haus - Chicago. My friend Chris introduced me to this place about a year or so ago, and every time I crave a burger it pops to mind. Back then they had a kangaroo burger which was amazing. Since, some of the wild game selections have been switched with others, but it never disappoints. 

This sports bar has a sleek elegance, yet appeals to the man's man as well. The space is warm with dark wood accents, cushy booths and is perfectly lit for a comfortable meal.

While your watching "the game" make sure you have some game. Their wild sliders menu features a robust line-up of exotic fare including boar, ostrich, buffalo, lamb, blackened tilapia burgers and more - always cooked to perfection. There are also the traditional beef burgers and chicken sliders for the faint of heart. And for our vegetarian friends, the veggie slaw, mac n cheese and waffle fries will not leave you feeling left out.

There wine and spirits list includes many excellent beer choices on tap. The service is always attentive and knowledgeable. And the desserts are fabulous. So, the next time you're in the mood for some great burgers, make your stop the Hop Haus.

Sliders: Boar Burger and the Ostrich Burger
Turtle Sundae

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Adventures in Food - Bistro Zinc #Chicago

Bistrot Zinc · 1131 N State St., Chicago, IL
A colleague and I dined at Bistro Zinc this week and were presently surprised at the symphony of delicious food and flawless service that we experienced.

Since escargot is one of my most favorite things in the world, Bistro Zinc had me at hello. Our server couldn't keep the bread basket filled fast enough for all of the sopping of decadence that ensued. The calling card of any great bistro is its french onion soup, and the Bistro's soup did not disappoint. The depth of flavor in the broth was pleasantly complimented with a rich molten layer of gooey frommage.

Salmon Chive and Chevre Quiche
I recently watched an episode of "The Best Thing I Ever Ate," and scoffed at the fact that Donatella Arpaia declared quiche, from an eatery in NYC, as her most guilty pleasure. Quiche? How can quiche be a guilty pleasure? And then, I met Bistro Zinc's quiche of the day.

Let me pause for a moment of silence...Oh yes, it was THAT GOOD! The crust must've been layered with butter and angel's tears. And the custard, chock full of salmon, chives and chevre > indescribably scrumptious.

It was insane how this food made my colleague and I chuckle with delight. Two people over 30 acting like utter fools over this food!
Chocolate Mousse with Creme Anglaise

At this point, there was no more room in my belly...but, I simply can't resist chocolate. Not only was the chocolate mousse a winner, but the almond butter cake was moist and tender and slightly chewy, and buttery, and complimented with light and airy whipped cream and macerated berries - divinity on a plate!

After my first bite of dessert, the sounds that came from my mouth were reminiscent of the famous diner scene in "When Harry Met Sally."I'm sure our fellow patrons were thinking, "I'll have what she's having!"

In all, Bistro Zinc is a pleasant way to spend any afternoon or evening. A true haven of comfort and exquisite cuisine.

Photos by: Chris Gray