THAT’S NOT OUTSHINED

If I know anything, it’s the intro to ‘Outshined’ by Soundgarden.

I was out running errands recently, and was in the mood for some 90s grunge, and of course went back to ‘Badmotorfinger.’ I asked Siri to play ‘Outshined’ via my Apple Music subscription, and for some reason it played the studio outtake version from the Super Deluxe Edition that came out whenever.

Fuck that.

That got me to dig into an external hard drive and look up the album of my ripped music, and there it was – an MP3 rip of the album I owned in the 90s, and that was the version I needed to hear.

That got me thinking – maybe I should get back to getting my old, ripped MP3s out and listening to music that way. I downloaded Swinsian and kicked the tires a bit.

That was fun for about 20 minutes, but then tracks were missing. Albums were split up because of different words being capitalized. Art work was gone.

Then I remembered what I love doing around 4 or 5pm – not being on my computer.

I’m on my computer most of the day everyday for work, and I don’t want to spend more time in the evening fixing fucking album spellings or artwork mismatches.

That got me looking at CD players again, and I found this amazing beauty; the Yamaha MCR-040, though I’ve seen it named the CRX-040, too.

It’s from 2010 or so, and I love it, and I need to get one, I think.

Via Gadget Guy

I’ve been feeling like I need to own more physical media, and I don’t really want to do vinyl, so I think re-building my CD collection is what I need to do.

Yeah, Whoop Changed My Life

From my recent newsletter:

“The runs got so soft in the past few months that they stopped. They all felt hard. I ran all winter, but every effort started to feel like I’d taken the last three months off.”

Turned out I wasn’t sleeping great. After I got my Whoop band in April, I was sort of shocked at my sleep scores. Like, hmmm… maybe it’s wrong. But then I tried a sleep mask, and seriously, my sleep has been fantastic ever since (see how dramatic the change was here).

I’m paying more attention to the timing of my runs or bike rides, as they relate to dinner, as it relates to bed time; the shower, doing dishes, winding down.

SLEEP.

If we don’t recover, we don’t build. We don’t get stronger, wiser, smarter. Our brains need the rest, our muscles need to rebuild.

I mean, maybe the Whoop changed my life.

I was demoralized, bummed… the thing I enjoy so much (running) was now dragging me down back in April. Now here we are, early June, and I just had my first 20 mile week since mid March!

I tried out Whoop from a friend’s recommendation on Twitter. It was a free month, with a six month commitment (at $30/mo). If you want to try it out, use my referral code: https://join.whoop.com/#/B37605

You can also sign up for my Substack newsletter, The Soft Run, here.

Any questions – get in touch!

Healthy Gadgets

Whoop: I’ve had this on for about a week, and I love the recovery numbers, in that they show me for real, with lots of numbers and reasons, why I might be tired, or why a run might feel like junk – because I’m not rested. It’s also fun seeing there strain score for each activity, and reminding me, “oh yeah, that’s why I’m tired today.”

Yes, it’s $30/mo, but hey, I’ve owned a FitBit, Apple Watch, and currently use a Garmin. All of them were a few bucks up front, right? And all of them just sort of give you numbers of what you did, but never give you any guidance beyond that. Sure, my Garmin watch tells me “rest for 20 hours” after a good run, but ummm… okay. That’s not giving me much. Whoop offers insights, and information, and I really like that. (Get a free WHOOP strap and your first month free when you join with my link: https://join.whoop.com/#/B37605)

Saris M2 Smart Indoor Electromagnetic Resistance Bike Trainer (link): Setting this up with horrible – shit just didn’t go together like it was supposed to, I didn’t know I needed a different (extra) axle for it to work with my bike, the yellow turn dial thing doesn’t click at all like it says it should… but… once I got everything up and going, and connected to the following health gadget, yeah… it’s pretty damn good.

Zwift: Being immersed in a virtual world is just part of it. Seeing other riders is what gets me going, mostly passing other riders. I mean, I’m no super-fit biking athlete, but since I haven’t passed any human on a bike in the past YEAR, biking with Zwift is very satisfying. And, so far I have not been able to do “just a nice easy ride.” Every time I get going something clicks and before I know it I’m hitting 180 watts (which is something new to me), and my glasses are covered in sweat. Oops.

In all, three fun new health gadgets to help keep me healthy and fit. I turn 45 this year, and I wanna make sure when running races come back this fall (or whenever) I can get some top 10 finishes in my age category.

Daily Loop #11

Seriously started out this Daily Loop with just a few hours to go, but got it done. Even with a new piece of hardware.

I ordered an Akai Professional APC40 MKII Pad Controller about a month ago, and it finally showed up today. I’ve been messing around with Abelton Live a bit for the past few years, and well, it’s come to this, I guess.

Broke out my bass for the first time in a long time, too, inspired by a conversation I had earlier in the day with a friend about Victor Wooten. That just got me thinking a bit about chunky chords and odd phrasing.

Also thought about how there’s so many things I could do to this track, adding effects and all that, but wanted to just get this out there. Perfection is the enemy of done, and I just wanted to make sure I stuck to my daily schedule.

Dedicated Devices

My Garmin 235 has a solid, physical button for starting and stopping runs. For selecting items, there are buttons for up and down. No screen gestures, no inadvertent swipes, no random locked screens. It syncs with the Garmin app on my phone, which then syncs to my Strava account.

I wanted to take more photos on my runs. While I have an iPhone Xr with a fantastic camera, it also comes with a big screen loaded with notifications for emails, messages, calendar events, and a jillion other things. And not to mention that if I ever drop or damage this device, then my GPS, phone and everything else is damaged, too. The GoPro is rock solid, fits easily into my hands on runs (it came with me on my recent 18 mile run), and takes great footage.

Running is an absolute passion of mine now, since 2016, and I just want to track it efficiently, and document the journey. These two devices help me do that.

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.