Fast and Loose

One thing about using a “for-real” camera, is that it’s a little easier to be daring with some shots. As you can see below, I dangled some digital point-and-shoot cameras over the years when I was biking all over the US.

I was using a Canon PowerShot SD940IS when I snapped this photo in New Orleans (same bike, above).
Loved my Canon PowerShot S95, this one in Miami, FL when I had my Brompton folding bike. This was me cruising with kids I met off the internet after I rode an Amtrak Train from NYC all the way down to Miami.
Night time cruising in Tampa, FL.
Happy biking way outside Savannah, GA.
Biking with a Tumblr friend in Charleston, SC.
Somewhere near Selma, NC.
Riding up through Williamsburg into Greenpoint, in Brooklyn.
Riding over the George Washington Bridge, from New Jersey into Manhattan.
My last crack at the NYC Century, in 2011 (below). Made it “just” 70 miles, and was pretty much my last, “on the bike, moving, and taking a photo” sort of shot.

I don’t really ride much anymore, so I’m a little slower, but pulling out my iPhone Xr – the indispensable tool that I need to perform my job and make a living – just feels too risky.

It’s cold, or I’m covered in sweat, and the smart phone is the device I rely on for GPS directions to get back home from a race (one time my phone locked me out for 40 minutes because the “raise to wake” setting wasn’t turned off). Trying to handle my iPhone like I did for any of these photos above would have gave me a heart attack, even with some heavy duty phone case.

I think I want a real camera again, for the very purpose of documenting more of my running adventures.

Finally Bought a Monitor

After staring at a 13″ laptop screen since about 2003, I finally invested in a monitor; the $450 LG 27UK850-W 27″ 4K UHD IPS Monitor with HDR10 with USB Type-C Connectivity and FreeSync.

What the heck does any of that mean? Eh, I have no idea. The biggest feature is the USB Type-C Connectivity, which is kinda handy, as it’s one less single-purpose cable I needed to buy. Oh, and it charges the computer, which is nice.

The biggest feature? It looks enough like a retina screen, and at 27″ that’s pretty damn good. I admit I bought a cheap $250 big monitor from BestBuy before but the resolution was garbage, so it was just a bigger image, but with actually not that much real estate on the screen. I returned it.

With this new set up I can have two full size browser windows side by side, with room to spare. This has helped me be more efficient with my work, as I’m not cycling through tabs all the time. Time saving is a good thing.

Funny story: I went to the Apple Store ready to buy the LG UltraFine 4K 23.7″ Display, which is $700. See, I didn’t want to buy another monitor, set it up, plug it in, and then see that it’s garbage. I went to the Apple Store, played with the monitor they had on display, and was like, sure, let’s do this.

The person who helped me out asked me some standard questions, like what I’d be using it for, the work I do, and then basically said I should do some research online and find something that’s bigger and probably cheaper. Woah! And they were 1000% correct. I compared the resolution and other specs of the LG UltraFine to this one, and they seemed about the same. Sure, I bet side by side there’s some diference, but I spent a lot less and got a bigger screen (27″ vs 23.7″).

Less Waste

In the world of running there’s a lot of waste. Lots of plastic water bottles, papers, “swag” that is generally garbage, styrofoam, and that’s just what the race provides.

One of the other things is waste from the food products we bring along. The gels, and “powerbar” types of foods. Single serving food items wrapped in plastic that usually just ends up in the garbage.

My buddy Jesse (one of the key people who inspired me to start running) has started making his own foods for running, and storing them in re-usable food pouches, which you can find on Amazon and probably elsewhere.

Sure, it’s a drop in the ocean as far as waste, but it’s something, and I think it’s awesome. You should try it out!

Wireless Ear Buds

It’s 2019, and I hate cords. No matter what, they’re always getting tangled, snagged, or in the way. Sure, they always work, and never need recharging, but wow, the reviews of the AirPods Pro are great.

I forget where I read this, but someone was saying how this is ushering in an audio augmented-reality. Instead of wearing weird glasses that display images and such, the voice-controlled nature of Siri, especially when you’re out and about, is really something to think about.

Staying Alive Hopefully

In typical 90s kid fasion, well, most of my wardrobe is black. Usually not a problem in terms of safety, except when that usual afternoon stroll to the coffee shop turns dark because of Daylight Savings Time doing its thing and then you’re walking home dressed entirely in black, with a dark green umbrella in the rain. Oops.

In the spirit of not dying I bought a bright neon green “shell” jacket (a North Face Men’s Resolve 2, to be exact) to wear over my more fashionably adept wardrobe, all in the hopes of not being dead anytime soon. Yes, I thought for a minute to just buy one of those safety vests, to save some money, but really, would life really be worth living at that point?

Saving Lives with Cameras

A camera changed Devin Allen’s life, and he’s using that to better the lives of kids in Baltimore, MD.

One camera, an encouraging word, $5 thrown at a GoFundMe; if a camera can change one person’s life, could it change another? Could it help change 10 kid’s lives?

We can ponder and debate but we’re wasting our time. Devin is just doing it, with or without your help. Will your $10 matter? Who knows? But letting go of a few dollars (right here) could unlease something in the cosmic soup and make the world a better place.

Bags

When I hit the road back in 2010 on my bike I used a Chrome messenger bag. Eventually, I switched to a Chrome Yalta, and that was my go-to bag for many years. I’ve got a Goruk GR1 which I really don’t use enough, but it’s a great bag for day trips or hikes in the woods.

Then I started running in 2016, and could finally run longer distances, so when I traveled I wanted to be able to run once I got to my destination. Packing extra shoes, shirts, shorts, and jackets… running gear takes up some serious space.

I purchased a Patagonia 60L Black Hole Duffel Bag in February of 2017, so almost a year now. It’s big enough for an extra pair of shoes, running gear, regular clothes, and a small Timbuk 2 laptop sling (I usually check this duffel when flying, or throw in the cargo hold of the bus, then keep the laptop bag with me). In between buses and trains I can throw it over my shoulder with the hand straps, and if going extra distances I break out the straps and carry it on my back.