Friday, May 23, 2014 - I'm a potential match!

May 23rd, 2014

Yesterday, got a very interesting email. contacted me as a potential donor for a patient who might need a bone marrow transplant. In doing some additional research, I found out just how unlikely a potential match might be. The transplant itself is usually only considered after a physician has exhausted just about every other treatment option available for the patient. In essence, it may be another person's last chance.

The odds of a patient finding an exact match are pretty low - only about 1 in 20,000 - even with over 11 million people currently on the registry.  The odds of becoming a donor once you join the registry are not that high.  Only about 1 in 540.  I'm in the first stages of finding out my compatibility as a potential donor. About 2.5% (1 out of 40) of the people on the registry will be contacted to undergo further testing.

Hopefully, as you guys follow me through the process, it will encourage others to get their bone marrow tested and added to the registry.

Just got the latest email, and moving on to step 2, which is filling out their health questionnaire.  Here's a copy:

Dear JEFF,

When you joined the Be The Match Registry®, operated by the National Marrow Donor Program, you did so knowing that one day you could be a donor for a patient. Out of a registry of millions, you were recently identified as a possible match for a searching patient. You might be the donor this patient is hoping for.

Now that you’re a possible match, we need to ask you some questions about your health to determine if you’re medically able to donate. Please click here to complete our online health questionnaire within two days from when this e-mail was sent.

We also want to help you understand what’s being asked of you and what to expect. Please click here to visit In the Know: A Donor’s Guide, an interactive website that will answer many questions about the search and donation process. We recommend you review the introduction and then select the Preliminary Search and Match and Donation sections from the course menu. After you’ve visited our website, if you have additional questions, please give me a call at 888-298-6375.

Thank you for helping us save lives!

So get registered! It's Painless and Free. Join The Bone Marrow Registry!

Here's an overview of the process and what you can expect:

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Rollin to the beach and iT'S a bOY!

Things have been biiiizzzahhhhhh, but the fam was able to find some time to catch our breath with a week at Ocean Isle here in NC. Too much food and good family times complimented a long week of dipping our toes in the sand, sleeping 16 hours a day, and just kickin it Notorious L.E.V. style :D
The annual Dipietro family trip to the beach was missing a few faces, but we did get to enjoy some other things we'd been missing from other beach trips. We typically don't catch the full moon at night while the men typically sit out on the porch and discuss politics with scotch and cigars in hand (an absolute requirement). Nothing like enjoying a 12 year old Dalmore or Balvenie and enjoying a fine Nub cigar with a view like this:
That's not the only thing that was different about this beach trip. Adriana went shopping on more than one occasion, ending up in the maternity section. We were fortunate enough to find out that we are having a boy this winter! Little Noah John Lever weighed in at an (estimated) whopping 1/2 lb. I would have been very happy to learn we were having a girl, but I'd be lying if I didn't say I had all my fingers and toes crossed for a little boy, and my prayers were answered :D I snapped this picture of Ad just before we left for the beach, and she's got a cute lil belly bump.
We were able to break away from the beach for a few hours to hit our favorite restaurant - The Boundry House. The scallops were tops, the steak was delicious, and the bombay sapphire martini with blue cheese stuffed olives was the icing on the cake! DE-Licious!
Alas...all good things must come to an end, but there was a silver lining! The pups were ready to welcome us home along with my sister and niece. It was good to get a warm homecoming! Hosey and Casey were both happy to see us (and Ava was a little more than over excited!) :D

Sunday, March 25, 2012

My First Long Drive Competition

Ad and I got up at 7:30am on Saturday - typically a cardinal sin in our house - and headed to Little River Golf Course to compete in the Sandhills Shootout. It was to be my first long drive competition after working for a few weeks (well, 3 lessons).

Not knowing what to expect, I was pretty nervous. To boot, the weather in the morning was pretty crappy. For the last few days we'd had storms, and the morning was no different. So the grid was completely soaked, meaning your ball was going to roll no where. When we got there, it was raining on and off. I went ahead and decided to hit some golf balls to warm up...even though I wasn't going to hit until around 3 and it wasn't even 11am yet. I was hitting the ball fairly well which helped my confidence.

The tournament started. After watching 22 other players hit, it was my turn. The furthest ball hit to that point was 361 yards. In my group of four hitters, the top 2 distances advanced. I'm pretty sure the first ball I hit was my best. I didn't try and hit it hard just wanting to get it in the 60 yard wide grid (balls that landed outside the grid were out of bounds). Straight as an arrow, and good contact. 349 yards with my Alpha 8.5 loft driver! Holy cow, I thought I was hitting balls around 310...not FLYING them close to 350 yards. Another huge boost to my confidence.

Then my nerves started to get to me. My hands started to shake. They shook so bad, I could barely put the ball on the tee! My next few drives, I didn't make good contact. The final ball wasn't bad, sailing about 330. It turns out that I, and a Canadian named Gabriel (who's obviously crazy for driving 16 hours from Canada to compete!), had tied. Both of us had a 3 ball shootout. He hit one 350, and all three of my shots went OB. I learned a good lesson. It's important to get the first one in the grid, even if it isn't that great a shot. It puts a bunch more pressure on your competition - as I found out! That put me into an elimination match with the event coordinator, Lance.

I learned another valuable lesson. Don't practice too much or you'll wear yourself out! I hit too many balls on the practice range prior to and during the event. I was exhausted during my elimination match. Probably a combination of the adrenaline wearing off from the first match which was 20 minutes before, and over practicing.

For my own benefit, I decided to list a few tips and issues with my mechanics that I need to work on before next months long drive competition.

1) Quality not Quantity. You can have a 155mph swing, but if you don't hit it on the sweet spot, it doesn't matter.

2) My hand position in my backswing was pretty low. I think coming down on the ball with a higher angle of attack will help with distance.

3) Keeping my head up will help prevent fighting against my front side.

4) Most of my power comes from hip turn. I had very poor hip turn, and need to work on my flexibility.

5) Listening to my ipod was a huge help. It helped to relax me, and keep me focused.

6) Warming up. All you need is just enough to get you warm. The rest of the time is about relaxing and having a good time. You should feel like you want to hit a bucket of balls at the end of the competition.

Here's a complete slideshow of the event...

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Beer, Beer, Beer, Tiddley, Beer, Beer, Beer

Brewing is in full swing at Hob Knob Brewery. To say this has become an obsession would be an understatement. Knowing me though, I've had numerous obsession's in the past, so we'll see how long this one survives! Still, this one has had a pretty firm hold on me over the last year I've been brewing, and I think it *might* be a safe bet to say that I might be starting a nanobrewery sometime next year that I can run out of my garage on the weekends. A nanobrewery is a 1-2bbl system, with 1bbl (beer barrel) being 31 gallons. I figure I already brew 5 gallon batches on the weekend, so won't be much difference between that and a 31 gallon batch - just bigger equipment.

I'm reading a bunch of stuff on brewing, including "Starting Your Own Brewery", by the brewer's association, which has loads of great information. I just started my own hop garden with 7 plants - 2 cascade hops, 2 fuggle english hops, 1 jumbo nugget, 1 zues, and 1 golden. Besides that, every new trinket I find for the (now upgraded to 10g) brewery, opens up a new world of wonderment and curiousness. This Saturday, I'll be stewarding the local US Open Beer Championship for my local home brew club, the Carolina Brewmasters.

The beers I've been brewing have gotten better and better looking - especially now that the system has a complete 5 to 1 micron filtering system. Here's the latest - a golden ale:

I'm working on a honey brown ale right behind the golden ale. Here's a shot in the brew kettle!

After fermenting, she sits in the secondary to clear and age. By the way, that born on date b.s. the big box breweries put out...complete hogwash. A good beer needs to mature. So I'll leave most beers around 4 weeks in this secondary 'carboy' (unless the kegerator is running low! :D)

And last but not's time to enjoy.

I plan on doing a lot of brewing, especially since I just got my all grain system and filtration system. To all my buddies, I'm looking for honest feedback (I might even create a feedback form lol), to identify recipes that are good and bad. You won't hurt my feelings if you say the beer sucks, but it's important that I get a general feel with how well my brews are received. Finally, make sure you guys come on up for a good brew! :)

Monday, February 21, 2011

Long Time, No Posts?!?

So my last post was around the time I started to get sick. I'm still trying to overcome a lot of the complications from the illness. All signs point to it being a combination of stress, anxiety, panic disorder, depression, and ADD. I can tell you guys that that stuff, especially the panic disorder and depression is no joke. It's seriously some of the hardest stuff I've been through in my entire life. Some days it was a battle to just get out of bed. Thanks to all my friends and family who showed a tremendous amount of support.

Stuff is getting better and better by the day. I've been reading books like it's going out of style that have been helping. In fact, I truly recommend "Self-Coaching" by Joseph Luciani. Great book. I just bought a copy after finishing the one the library let me borrow. All...yes ALL of my relationships have improved. Family, friends, even strangers.

Enter the BRN (Big Red Nose). One of the books I recently absorbed in a matter of days(I'm patting myself on the back, because honestly, I used to hate reading), was Patch Adam's "Gesundheit". One of his recommendations was to simply clown around. It was a bit out of my element, but I took his advice, and ordered a simple clown nose. The reactions it got were the most heart warming thing I'd had in months. One girl laughed so hard, I got a free dinner out of it at Boston Market. Other people did everything from crack a smile to bend over laughing. Making other people happy was a key to overcoming the anxiety, and the depression.

It was so much fun, even hoser got in on the action ( all seriousness, it took like 20 tries to get this pic!)

Hangin with the fam has been great too. Last Friday was a beautiful day in the park with my sis and niece. Cute as cute can be!

That kid has a limitless supply of energy, and she can wear out 10 adults before she will. Not sure how Karen keeps up! Props to being a great mom! I consider myself to be in 'relatively' good shape, and I was worn out in 30 minutes between playing "BOING!" and "Airplane" and "Tree Climber"!! Great times though!

Don't worry,

to come!!!! I plan to keep up to date with the blog on a more consistent basis.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Jeff's Hilarious Images Thread


Tuesday, September 28, 2010

My First Brew Is Almost Done!

I really haven't posted much in a while because I've been so busy! First batch of lakeside ale is set to come out of the fermenter, and age a bit more in the carboy. Phil, at the elks, was nice enough to outfit me (albeit a few months ago...sorry it took me so long to get started!) with about 50% of the stuff I needed to start brewing. Phil was nice enough to give me some kegs, tubing, cooling tubs, kettle, and a bunch of other stuff. From there, I took about a 30 minute trip over to Belmont, and picked up the remainder of the things I needed to get started from Alternative Beverage. I picked up my CO2 tank and regulator, along with my tap. I also got all the ingredients for my first batch which I affectionately dubbed, "Lakeside Ale"! It's supposed to be very similar to New Castle if you've had that beer.

I was surprised at just how easy the entire process was (save the sanitation). Alternative Bev provides you with these ingredient kits that include all of your grains/hops/muslin bags/and other odds and ends. From there its as easy as making something from Betty Crocker, and waiting.

You start out by "mashing" your beer. Mashing is the process of soaking malted barley, other grains, etc., in order to convert starch into sugars as part of the brewing process. The concoction that is produced provides both the flavor and the sugars for the yeast to eat and live out their amazingly short life span.

Mashing the grains in my kettle:

After chilling the concoction that is produced in the mashing process, you are left with wort. Wort is basically young (unfermented) beer.

From there, I added it to my fermentation bucket. After about 10 days, it's almost done fermenting.

Just look at that color!

Next, the beer went into the carboy to age and settle for another 2 weeks. I'll be starting on my second brew (a sierra nevada!)

Aging to Pefection

From there, I force carbonate using my CO2 tank from alternative beverage, and wait about a week.

And last, but certainly not least, the final product!

Even hoser took a break from her normal scotch and enjoyed a bit of ale...

The consensus from a few friends and family is in: 8/10. Let's home my sierra that's in the fermenter right now, makes a jump up to 9 or even 10/10!!