Burton Bluetooth Speaker

This speaker is a collaboration that Burton did with Braven. It was made during the early days of bluetooth speakers, and as such is pretty basic. It has four buttons: Power, Play, Up, Down. I have used it almost every day since the day I bought it (over 7 years ago), and it is still going strong! It has been with me on three different continents, so it is only fitting that I have it with me now. It holds a charge for several days, and can be used as a backup phone charger if needed. The sound is pretty decent for its size, and it is basically bulletproof.

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.

Good Reads: Phil Knight’s ‘Shoe Dog’

I have been sitting on this one for a long time. “Shoe Dog” by Phil Knight came recommended by several friends back when it was first released. I finally knocked it out on flight last summer, but am barely getting around to posting this eightish months later. As a person who enjoys college sports, running, history and sneakers, this book checked a lot of boxes for me. Before reading this book, I had only known bits and pieces of the Nike story. My knowledge was mostly based around Prefontaine and Bowerman, but I didn’t really know much about Knight. It is a great story, and Knight is a pretty good story teller. I highly recommend checking this one out.

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.