Friday, August 26, 2016

Items of Want 039

Shinola Smokey The Bear Watch

This Shinola x Filson collaboration watch has a simple and understated look that makes it an instant classic in my opinion. It also ships with a ton of awesome extras. In honor of the National Park Service's 100th birthday, I feel like they should issue one of these to a Park Ranger at each National Park.

Note: If Smokey Bear isn't your style, let me recommend the Shinola Rambler 600. Completely different look but still awesome.

Rambler Notebook

“Keep a notebook. Travel with it, eat with it, sleep with it. Slap into it every stray thought that flutters up into your brain. Cheap paper is less perishable than gray matter, and lead pencil markings endure longer than memory.” - Jack London

I carry Field Notes on my person at all times but in my everyday carry bag, I pack something a little larger. Currently I'm working through the Shinola Large Paper Journal (in orange) but I hope to replace it with this Public Supply notebook when it's time.

Roots Field Toque

This cap is for those times you when need to go full "Steve Zissou" or more recently, full "Chris Hadfield." To be honest, I think this red toque speaks for itself.

Taylor Stitch Map Handkerchief

I live by two rules. 1. You can never have too many hankies. 2. Never get lost.

Ok, that's not 100% true but now that I've seen this handkerchief, maybe I should make those my two rules...


If these buttons aren't cool, I don't know what is. I'm not even sure what I'd put them on but trust me, I'd find a place.

— Check out past Items of Want

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Dispatch 152

  • Choose Your Own Adventure(mobile) » Huckberry
  • On 'Fear Disguised As Practicality' » Semi-Rad
  • Famous Writers’ Writing Shacks » Smith Journal
  • When you do work that matters, the crowd will call you a fool » Seth Godin
  • "The way you do anything is the way you do everything.” » Tom Waits

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Answers to Random Questions: 01

As an exercise in transparency, I thought I'd share some insight into how I think and operate. It may sound like a job interview at times and that's because of where I found some of these questions. Please enjoy.

What's your expertise? What's your weakness?

The term is undesirable for many but I can't keep from describing myself as an expert "Swiss Army Knife." I pride myself with having a multitude of abilities and skills while being teachable in the areas I'm unfamiliar with.

A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects.
-Robert A. Heinlein

My attitude towards anything can be summed up as this: "It won't fail because of me." I believe that saying originated with NASA though I found it recently through Tom Sachs. Just one example of my dedication is through my use of the 1 Second Everyday iPhone app. I try to do something interesting enough to make a quick one second video snapshot and then mash them all together at the end of the year. Here's 2015 (with links to 2013 and 2014).

My weakness? Being concise. And while I'm constantly working on that, I make up for it with passion. I also suffer from a touch of imposter syndrome. One way I combat the feeling is by looking back at what I've accomplished. Especially looking at tasks or roles I previously labeled as impossible because they were unlike anything I've done before (leading weekly group activities, training volunteers, etc.).

What makes you tick?

I like a challenge and constantly working on making things better, no matter what it is. I'll go the extra mile because I set my own bar high. I don’t do well with monotonous tasks just for the sake of them but I do enjoy getting into the rhythm of a task with a decently paired soundtrack.

My professional resume may not be as full and polished as others so I created more of a "life resume" I call my Walter Mitty Resume. I feel it's a much better representation of me as a person.

Where do you consume content?

There's always the usual "checking the pulse" of people I know by surfing Facebook and Twitter for a few minutes, just to get a feel for things. I’ll frequently check out Reddit to see any big news things I’ve missed though I end up just saving funny stuff to share later. As far as podcasts go, I have a variety that I keep up with: Hello Internet, Still Untitled: The Adam Savage Project, The Talk Show with John Gruber, The Tim Ferriss Show, G.O. Get Outside Podcast, and a good many others actually. I use the Overcast iPhone app to listen to my podcasts and I’m quite proud of my “smart speed” savings which is a little over 30 hours.

For blogs, I often will go just to certain sites when I need something. Wirecutter/Sweethome for reviews, The Verge for tech news, stuff like that. In my Feedly list, I’ll skim through blogs such as A Continuous Lean, Adventure Journal, Huckberry’s Journal, Seth Godin, Semi-Rad… I like more of the “adventure” (in any loose variation) flavor of posts.

Oh and I’ve actually been really enjoying BuzzFeed’s News app. It’s surprisingly well done and helps keep me updated on true current events (because I don't watch TV news very much). Digg also has a great selection of both “real news” and fun stuff and their copywriting is well done. When I can, I’ll check in on Their copywriting is impressively hilariously and they do it on a daily basis.

I also look forward to getting my email newsletter from The Hustle. Great updates on news I’m interested in (tech/business) and like the other examples, great copy.

What’s your favorite ice cream?

If I have to pick one found everywhere, it's going to be cookie dough. If I can find it, a new favorite has been the Double Dunker from Turkey Hill. But I also have deep rooted childhood memories of the Reese's Peanut Butter Cup Sundae from Friendly’s. The absolute best of the best I've had? The classic hot fudge sundae from Ted Drew's. If you're in St. Louis and don't swing by Ted's, you've wasted your time.

Have a question you want answered? Let me know and I'll add it to the list.

Friday, August 19, 2016

Thoughts on Travel Priorities

I’ve been lucky enough to have traveled a good number of places since I was a kid. My parents made it clear to us that the world was a big place and more than just our small town. I’m sure it wasn’t easy but they gave us kids the valuable gift of experiencing different cultures and seeing firsthand how people lived, both in the States and abroad.

“Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one's lifetime.” 
- Mark Twain

More recently, I’ve been able to visit parts of the United States that I haven’t seen before, Wyoming specifically. And no, it wasn’t Yellowstone or even the Bighorn Mountains (both of which are on the list), but Casper, where I was in town for a best buds wedding.

I drove up from Denver with my kid brother and while we wanted to make good time and were eager to hang out with a friend we haven’t seen in years, we also share an adventurous spirit and are easily distracted with stopping to check out anything that catches our eye.

The best stop of this trip was the Oregon Trail Ruts. We stood in ruts literally carved out over the years by hundreds of thousands of horse, oxen, and wagons as emigrants traveled West. A seriously historic place that we had all to ourselves.

Ok, that last part isn’t entirely true. There was one other person besides the two of us, an older gentleman* with a Dodge truck and giant camper who was traveling all along the Oregon Trail. Hats off to that guy.

I apologize for the long winded post but I’m basically saying this: it’s ok to take the highway but don’t be afraid to venture off and see what you see. I can be a strict planner and even I know how important it is to remain flexible and allow time for whatever may come up. Don’t rush to make the 3 PM check-in at the hotel, it’s not worth it.

*Fun fact: We ran into the Oregon Trail Ruts guy at the laundromat in Casper as he was passing through. Small world and fun to catch up with a fellow traveler.

Friday, August 12, 2016

Wilderness Collective Review: Sequoia to Yosemite

More and more I've been choosing experiences over material things and lately I feel completely confident that I’ve made the correct decision in thinking this way.

Since watching the first videos of the Wilderness Collective's motorcycle trips, I knew I wanted to do one but it always seemed a bit out of reach financially, even if it's sort of a bucket list type of trip for me. Side note: I don’t really like the term “bucket list” but I don’t have an alternative at the moment.

Long story short, the Wilderness Collective Sequioa to Yosemite Dual Sport Motorcycle Tour called to me and on September 29, 2015, I answered the call and booked my trip. The best part is, I pulled the trigger during their Kickstarter campaign and got the trip for $1,000 off. Way too good to pass up.

Let me offer a spoiler though as you’re probably about to ask me, “is it worth the money?” and I have to say, yes, it most certainly worth it. But remember, I'm a believer that experiences are worth more than “things." This trip is truly something to experience.

Look, if you're used to roughin' it on your own with some ultralight cuben fiber stuff sacks and eating dehydrated beans while hitchhiking on the cheap, this trip just may not be for you. But what this trip provides is so much more than that. Stop wasting your time planning potential routes, leave your camera behind (they have a professional photographer and videographer riding along), and don't even think of packing your titanium spork for meals. Did I mention they've brought in some of the best chefs of the LA area (at least on my trip) to cook breakfast lunch and dinner for you?

Being able to sit back, relax, and enjoy the moment isn't something I'm used to doing. I usually sit on the planning end of things and I never get to be treated like the "guest" or "client" and I have to say that I really enjoyed it. Their spartan but top quality crew handled everything that needed handling and left the riding to us riders without being weighed down by the minutiae of the day to day.

I planned on on this review being a lot longer than it currently is but I'm going to end things early. I even planned on breaking down the cost of the motorcycle rental, insurance, gas, maintenance costs, spare parts, use of the Icon Variant helmet, Elsinore boots, and body armor, or the Icon gloves, backpack, and hydration bladder you get to keep, or the use of the Poler tents, Snow Peak chairs, professional photographer, and chef but I've simply decided to ask if you would take my word for it when I say this trip is worth it.

At the end of the day, you'll know if this trip is for you and nothing I can say will sway you in either direction.

Buy the ticket, take the ride.

Photos by Steve Dubbeldam and Jay Gullion

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Items of Want 038

Apollo 11 Flight Plan Re-Issue

I'm not sure what I would do with this but it reminds me of playing "pilots" with my kid brother as we would run through the process of starting up and flying around (by adjusting fan speeds on the box fan in our room) and talking through walkie talkies. Maybe I'll get this Apollo 11 Flight Plan so him and I can do some more make believe when our wives are out of town.

Field Notes Byline Edition

Field Notes does it again. I'm really digging the color, size, and style of this notebook. This edition tugs on my nostalgic days of being a detective in elementary school but the simplicity of its lie flat design makes it great for modern note taking as well.

Coleman National Parks Edition Steel-Belted Cooler

I don't know if I'm a fan the big NPS stickers on this cooler or not but I can't deny how much I'm into the brushed aluminum and classic look overall. This cooler also doubles as a seat, has a built in bottle opener, and can keep ice for 4 days at temps up to 90 degrees fahrenheit. Sounds like a winner in my book.

Wawa Gift Card (for Hoagiefest)

It's currently Hoagiefest and trust me when I say that I've had my fair share of Wawa Italian hoagies to take full advantage of this special holiday. I don't know what I'll do when it's over... It'll be a dark day indeed...

DDC "Fire! Fire! Fire! Lighter." No. DDC-166

This isn't for sale online but if I find myself anywhere near the DDC merch table in person, I'll be sure to pick up one or two of these bad boys. I'm not a smoker but the classic Bic lighter seems to have an infinite amount of fuel which makes it an essential item for your survival kit or even EDC.

— Check out past Items of Want

Tuesday, July 05, 2016

Dispatch 151

  • Weekend At Camp » Peak Design
  • Don't Worry About Your "Platform" » CJ Chilvers
  • Why Mount Washington Kills » Outside
  • The 24 Best Lucille Bluth One-Liners » BuzzFeed
  • “A river cuts through rock, not because of its power, but because of its persistence.” » Jim Watkins