James Folding Blade Pocket Knife (Stuff I brought with me into isolation [part 1])

For the month of April I have given myself an objective: to write a little something each day about an item that I brought with me into “isolation,” while we weather the effects of this pandemic. Some of the items are essentials; others, less so. I have not planned out the whole month yet, but I have a solid mental list. Some of the items are brand specific. Other items, not at all. That is the gist of it. With this explanation out of the way, let’s get to it!

James Folding Blade Pocket Knife. This gem was found in the toe of my Christmas stocking last year (thanks Britt!). Since then it has basically sat in the valet tray on my nightstand, except for the occasional use breaking down Amazon boxes and the like. That was, of course, until I decamped to the Catskills two weeks ago. Since the day we arrived, this piece has lived clipped into the corner of my back pocket and used multiple times per day. It is dangerously sharp. I have used it to cut everything from wood to aluminum cans. Though I haven’t resorted to whittling yet, I have found that the clip works as a bottle opener in a pinch. This is hands-down my favorite blade I have ever owned (except for sentimental reasons, maybe the buck knife that my dad gave me in preparation of our first hunting outing)  😉

Isolationist Vibes

This month has brought some strange times, for sure. It is hard to say what life is going to look like after all of the dust settles. I have been lucky enough to be spending the past 1.5 weeks in relative solitude, away from other humans (except one other human, and one dog). In that Thomas Pink book, I mentioned a while back, a topic he explores is the science of humans being around nature. I’m very loosely paraphrasing here, but essentially Pink cites a study where the findings suggested that humans who are regularly around nature have generally improved moods compared to those who have no exposure to greenery. I have always thought this to be anecdotally true based on personal experience, but now I’m having a chance to really put it to the test. The levels of fear and anxiety that we are all experiencing as New Yorkers seems to be almost unprecedented. I’ll admit that I need all of the help I can get. For that reason I am especially grateful to be in my current day by day situation, greenery included.

Craving Spring

Bella in Harriman State Park – Spring 2019

It’s that time of the winter when the holidays are in the rear view and I’m basically just waiting for it to warm up. These sentiments especially acute this year based on the fact that I have to sit out on all the usual winter sports that I like. There have been a few warm days where I have seen people out on their motos. It makes me jones a little.

I wrote about the glamping ride I did with Union Garage last fall. They subsequently put together a vid of that ride (some of the footage by yours truly). I’m embedding it here below in anticipation of it being riding weather again very soon!

The 2019 Union Garage GBGR from Union Garage on Vimeo.

Winter Walks Cont’d

I made it to Tarrytown again for a walk around the reservoir. It is an easy place to be able to walk through the woods without having to go too far upstate. This time I brought a real camera. There was no fog this time. But there was plenty other cool stuff to look at, including a couple of bald eagles. I had never seen them in this part of the country before this. I did some unscientific internet research when I got home and learned that they are pretty common around here, you just have to keep your eyes open.

New Decade

It was kind of cool to wake up to the sounds of fog horns on the East River Saturday morning. It was one of those days where it never really rained, but everything was wet all day. It has officially been three weeks since surgery. I’ll be starting regular PT week after next. I have enjoyed the steady return of my mobility, and decided to capitalize on it Saturday after spending some time with PJ. I drove to the Tarrytown reservoir and took a lap on the reservoir trail. I wished so badly that I would have brought my real camera with me. Instead, all I have are these mediocre-ish cellphone snaps. The fog transformed the depressing dead-looking winter woods into a nearly silent ethereal dreamscape. I felt like I was walking through an Isabella Stahl photo.

Switching gears completely — One of my 2020 goals is to get back on the horse creatively. As a part of my end-of-year and end-of-decade reflections, I became painfully aware of  how drastically my time spent being creative has waned over the past several years. One decision that I have executed to proactively kickstart said goal, is taking a break from Instagram. I disabled my account shortly before midnight on Dec 31. It was an idea that I had been leaning toward for a while (since the app was acquired by F@#$book).

When the app first came on the scene, I feel like it actually may have helped my creative juice via the inspiration I gleaned from the photographic works of my peers and acquaintances. In the past couple of years it seems to have devolved into the same torrent of internet diarrhea that is F@#$book. Having so much additional down time lately while recovering from surgery has intensified my awareness of how much time can be wasted mindlessly scrolling absolute nonsense (yikes!). Some people do dry January. I’m doing ‘gram-free January. So far I don’t miss it at all. I’ll re-evaluate on Feb 1. In the meantime, perhaps I’ll find the juice to expand the content on Jake.News beyond monthly playlists and the occasional book review, hehe. I realize that the ‘blog’ as a format has been dead for a while now … oh well.

For now, please enjoy this set of photos from my walk through the woods in the fog.

 

Q4 2019 Running Update

Me waking up from anesthesia vs. me waking up from anesthesia.

For the more punctilious readers of Jake.news, it is probably apparent from the photo above that I was not able to achieve my 2019 goal of running 1000 miles. No, indeed I fell short by exactly 181.3 miles. For those who perused this update, the injury that I mentioned ended up being a core muscle injury coupled with bi-lateral inguinal hernias. So, yeah, it took more than an little PT to fix that problem. I opted for a surgical repair, which occurred mid-December (a/k/a six days ago). I’m very glad to be on the other side of that event, and on the way to recovery. I still won’t be able to run for a while. But by the time the weather warms up, if all else goes according to plan, I should be able to start logging some easy miles again. I have guaranteed entry to the upcoming NY Marathon in November. I’m told that it should be a possibility. So that’s what I’ll be working toward … from scratch. Happy New Year!

Costa Rica – Winter 2019

Playa Avellana

Nothing like spending the holidays with family. It just so happens that we have some family in Costa Rica, and had the pleasure of spending Thanksgiving with them. It was my first time setting foot in the country and I cannot wait to get back there. We flew into Liberia, which is a chill little airport to the north of San Jose. We spent a week eating, swimming, golfing, surfing and relaxing. Even though I brought an SLR on with me, most of the photos I took were with either with a GoPro or my Fuji range finder (FujiFilm X100-s). Here is a short list of places I can recommend:

  • Sentido Norte— Excellent sunset views from this place (see image directly below). The food and drinks were also top notch. I recommend the tuna sashimi.
  • Patagonia del Mar— We actually ate here twice. It is a newish spot in the area (although the owners have two other similar restaurants in nearby towns). It was bumping both times we ate there. They had a fantastic selection of locally caught fish and Argentine beef. I was impressed by both the surf and the turf offerings. Supah affordable, as well.
  • Playa Avellanas— Delicious waves, offshore breeze and surfboard rentals right on the beach. This beach is also home to Lola’s Bar, which on its own is reason enough to visit. The bar is home to a giant pig named Lola, giving the joint its namesake. Seating is right on the beach under a manicured group of mangroves. Food and drink were tasty and affordable.
  • Reserva Conchal— This is where we stayed, and it is also where we golfed. The course is the prettiest one that I have ever played.
  • Frijoles Locos— Awesome little surf shop near Playa Grande. Believe it or not, I forgot to pack board shorts. This shop saved the day.

Some additional photos-

Sunset from Sentido Norte

GoPro Selfie at Playa Avellana

Playa Brasilito

Playa Conchal

Sporting my best Gilligan look (photo by Britt)

Typical Costa Rica: brainy babes reading on the beach and beautiful sunsets.

Another sunset shot from Sentido Norte