Tuesday, August 24, 2010

So Many Bikes, So Little Time

There aren't many bikes that I don't want, but every now and then a bike comes along that just sticks in the back of my head longer than others. I don't claim to be a cyclist by any means, but I commute pretty often on my Schwinn Frontier hybrid that my parents gave me on my thirteenth birthday. I love my green monster, but it's a bit heavy and is surprisingly rough on hills. This year I bought a Schwinn kickback with a pedal break that takes hills better than it does. It weighs a ton though, which doesn't work when you live or work anywhere with stairs.

Which is one of the reasons I really like the Allant from Trek ($550). It's an cruiser and aluminum: lightweight but steady. It can handle potholes and the "bike lanes" that are really just areas of the roads that get no attention from street cleaners or urban planners. Though I wouldn't mind a guy's bike, I also like that Trek makes bikes designed for women. Plus the Allant comes with a front rack standard. Check it out. In the meantime, I drool on one at my local shop every time I go in to get my bikes fixed.

Trek Bikes website (US)
Allant page

Saturday, August 14, 2010

The iPad: yes I want one

Should anyone be surprised that the iPad ($500) is on this wish list? I love Apple products, I want an e-reader and have been holding off purchasing a reader/iPod/smart phone. The product that I had been waiting on was cancelled so the choice is really between the iPad and Kindle. Full-sun readable eInk vs. full color and Apple apps. I wouldn't get the 3G option because I don't want to be dependent on AT&T.

I'd write more, but I think enough people have expressed their desire for an iPad that we should just assume it's really neat and move on. (OMG it's so pretty! And SHINY!)

Apple iPad at the Apple Store

Friday, August 13, 2010

Friday, a good day for Oysters

I am moving in a couple weeks and that means another housewarming party. I don't want to have just any party either, I want an oyster bar. Thank goodness this is possible to throw together thanks to Island Creek Oysters. You can order 100 oysters ($100) and have them at your door the next day. I already have a shucking glove and can make my own ice, why not shoot some oysters to celebrate a new home?

The Island Creek Oyster crew is awesome. Check a few of them out on Twitter:
Owner Skip Bennett
Shore Gregory (main ICO Twitter feed)
CJ Husk (Oyster Dude)
David Grossman
Erin Murray who also has a blog delightfully named Shucked

They offer oyster in many different combinations: dozen, three dozen, 100 count, plus they sell t-shirts, hats, shucking knives and gloves. If you eat fresh oysters in a local restaurant, there is a chance that Island Creek Oysters provided them with their seafood.

Headphones: What You Said

Okay, so I asked what you recommended for headphones: 

Within 24 hours, Thrillist.com recommended Skullcandy Aviatar ($150), which seem awesome. 

My friend over at Of Cider and Knitting Needles sent me some good stuff: 
"I highly recommend Sony MDR-7506 headphones if you want great, high-fidelity listening.  They run ~$100, but are the base standard for studio mixing and are damn-near bullet-proof besides.  I carry a pair with me from show to show.  They don't have very much isolation (ambient room noise will intrude somewhat) but if you want more isolation, the JVC HA-FX35 Marshmellow earbuds you can get from Walmart are about as good as you get before spending ~$250 on a pair of Sennheiser or Shure in-ear monitors."
Fortunately, I already have some Marshmallow earbuds and I love 'em. So these Sony's are verrrrrry interesting to me. 

Thanks for the feedback! 

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Books: Hunter S. Thompson

I'd never read Hunter S. Thompson until being pointed towards his article "The Kentucky Derby is Decadent and Depraved." After that I hit up his Wiki page and discovered that he wrote for Page 2 on ESPN.com (some archives here). I lost a few hours there and now I want to read his entire catalog of books and articles.

So I guess that my wish list now includes everything on this list:

  • The Rum Diary 
  • Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas
  • Kingdom of Fear: Loathsome Secrets of a Star-Crossed Child in the Final Days of the American Century
  • "Fire in the Nuts"
  • Screw-Jack
  • The Gonzo Papers: Gonzo Papers, Vol. 1: The Great Shark Hunt: Strange Tales from a Strange Time 
  • Gonzo Papers, Vol. 2: Generation of Swine: Tales of Shame and Degradation in the '80s
  • Gonzo Papers, Vol. 3: Songs of the Doomed: More Notes on the Death of the American Dream 
  • Screw-Jack & Other Stories 
  • Gonzo Papers, Vol. 4: Better Than Sex: Confessions of a Political Junkie
  • Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail '72 
  • The Fear and Loathing Letters, Vol. 1: The Proud Highway: The Saga of a Desperate Southern Gentleman 1955–1967
  • Fear and Loathing in America: The Brutal Odyssey of an Outlaw Journalist 1968–1976
  • Hey Rube: Blood Sport, the Bush Doctrine, and the Downward Spiral of Dumbness: Modern History from the Sports Desk 
  • The Mutineer: Rants, Ravings, and Missives from the Mountaintop 1977–2005
  • "The Battle of Aspen" 
  • "The Kentucky Derby Is Decadent and Depraved"
  • "Strange Rumblings in Aztlan"
  • "The Temptations of Jean-Claude Killy"
  • Hell's Angels: The Strange and Terrible Saga of the Outlaw Motorcycle Gangs · Gonzo: Photographs by Hunter S. Thompson
  • The Curse of Lono · Mistah Leary – He Dead

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Coffee: it can do more than just wake you up

I worked in a coffee shop for three years and during that time I grew to appreciate coffee in all it's forms: hot, cold, black, frapped, three shots, watered-down and even decaffeinated (Swiss water process only!). So it should come as no surprise that I'd be willing to try Fitness Coffee: coffee developed specifically to encourage weight loss.  According to its website, this blend of coffee has many advantages:
  • A healthy way to start the day
  • The most functional all natural fitness beverage on the market
  • Naturally rich in antioxidants with over 3.5x the antioxidants of green tea and significantly more than red wine
  • Known to help consumers lose significant weight by naturally enhancing metabolism
  • Gourmet Italian blend for a rich and full taste
  • 100% all natural product with gourmet coffee and 16 of natures finest supplements
  • Does not contain any artificial additives, sugars, flavors, GMO or MSG
With claims like these, I'd like to try some while training for my next 5k. I'm not necessarily looking to lose weight, but a coffee targeted at athletes seems like a great idea. Plus, it's from Italy, and we all know that food products coming out of Italy are usually tasty. I just hope that my standard teaspoon of sugar won't negate any of the positive aspects of this drink. 

Monday, August 9, 2010

Daniel, Fred & Julie: The Laziest Folk Trio Ever

God bless NPR. They and Daytrotter are the only way I am introduced to new music like Daniel, Fred and Julie, a Canadian folk trio. They released an album "Runner" in November 2009 and I hope they come together again.

It's kind of a weird storHy: so here's a guy who wants to record an original album, but doesn't want to write any lyrics. He grabs a book of folk songs that are too old to be subject to copyright (think O Clementine), picks out the lyrics that are easiest to write music to, and then shows up basically unannounced on his buddy's doorstep to record a full record in the garage using only one microphone for three vocalists and two guitars.

For something that is so low-tech, these three really put together a great sound. Listen for yourself here.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Delicious Library is Tasty.

But Trish, you're thinking, you talk about tasty things on Fridays! Well yes, but in this case an awesome piece of software also happens to be delicious. Delicious Library ($40) that is. I've been admiring this program for years, and it just keeps getting prettier. I've always been a bit collector of books but have never taken the time to catalog them. Delicious Library would make this task a snap. Using the built-in iSight on my MacBook, I could scan in my library in no time (well, a couple days). Books aren't the only thing this app can keep track of. It also recognizes music, DVDs, tools, clothing.... basically a huge list of items.

Delicious Monster is the company behind the Library. Wil Shipley is the man behind the Monster and is entertaining to follow on Twitter.

Update! I finally broke down and bought DL. I haven't had the opportunity to scan in many of my books yet, but it's only a matter of time. I like that I can keep track of who I've loaned books to without taking them out of my library. Screenshot below.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Salt: NaCl in a World of Flavors

I have a sinking feeling that many of my posts will start out, "So I was dating this guy who .... and he taught me about..." You'll catch on pretty quick that they aren't all the same guy, but at the very least I am hanging out with interesting people who I can learn from. Also, welcome to the first edition of Food Friday. I figured that along with Mondays and Sundays, Fridays can have their own theme (while due to some strange laws of time and space, Thursdays don't really exist).

So! I was dating this guy who wanted to become a chef and he taught me about salt (the guy before him taught me about pepper, but we'll save that for another day). Salt, it turns out, is way more than the iodized stuff with a girl and an umbrella on the front. Sea salts are great for seasoning and garnishing, and there are a variety of tastes to choose from. We tried some smoked sea salt on prosciutto-wrapped asparagus and I loved how the salt brought out the meat's flavors while adding a bit of texture.

Unfortunately for my spice cabinet (seriously you should've seen his paprika), we broke up. While I immediately bought a sea salt grinder, what one of my friends has that I really want is a block of salt. Specifically, a Himalayan sea salt block. I could grate it over dishes and it would be fun just to lick every now and then. It is apparently a bit sweeter than table salt, and I think it would look cool in my kitchen.

Artisan Sea Salts have a great range of salt flavors
The block is sold at Sustainable Sourcing
The Cook's Thesaurus Salt Page is a good resource
As is the What's Cooking America? salt page

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Vornado: a personal wind machine

It is 86° Fahrenheit right now in the office where I work. The A/C unit apparently will only work if the outside temperature is below 90° F.  I thank my stars that I wore a sundress today, and that my employers provide cold filtered water.  Even so, I am still quite warm (and perhaps even a bit shiny) (because everyone knows that girls, even grown-up tomboys, don't sweat). This is why instead of a blender, today I am adding a Vornado Flippi V10 Fan ($50) to my wish list.

While any fan would probably help my current situation, Vornado fans are superior for two reasons: power and quietude. I was recently blow away by the breeze created by their Flippi V6  ($20) when I visited my brother a few weeks ago (pun intended). He was working an outdoor festival on a sunny, breeze-less afternoon, but his little fan quietly generated enough wind to keep both of us comfortable.

Here's hoping that I can find some kind of fan tonight.  The A/C should be fixed by next week or else I'm going to politely request that I work the rest of August from home.

Vornado website

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Hats: I wish I could wear them better

Caps in all flavors! 
I like biking though I confess that I'm more of a commuting biker than a road or adventure biker. There are a few things that are important to own when biking: a bike (ner), proper lights (especially at night), a helmet (this is debatable, but I think they are essential), clothing (naked biking is rarely permitted), and a strong bike lock. What I don't need is a hat. But what I want is a cycling cap. Specifically a Walz Cycling Cap ($15-23).

Unfortunately, I look funny in hats. It might be because I have too much hair. Maybe it's because the hats I've been wearing are made of the wrong stuff. Maybe it's because hats just look better on guys sometimes, which I think is the case with these hats. I found them through the Yehuda Moon web comic and really want to buy hats for all my guys friends who bike (and maybe one for myself). The next time I'm on a team, this will be the first place I go for team apparel. They customize at a crazy low price and use high quality materials. I just hope that my indoor co-rec flag-football team will want to wear bike caps on the field.

Walz Cycling Caps website
Walz Caps on Twitter

Monday, August 2, 2010

Mondays are for Music! Eef Barzelay has a funny name.

So the lovely thing about Daytrotter is that it introduces me to all kinds of new bands, or reminds me of bands that I've been meaning to try. I found Eef Barzelay through twitter when someone posted his ukulele cover of Journey at the AV Club in Chicago. He's the lead singer of Clem Snide, which never has the same band members with the exception of Barzelay.

The reason I like this guy is both because Ben Folds could allegedly listen to him all day and he reminds me of my friend who traveled India once with a guitar case that had a ukulele in it wrapped in his clothing. My friend is incredibly musically talented and someday I know you'll all know of him. Until then, he is the best bassist in Indonesia and one of my best friends.

Second Daytrotter Session
First Daytrotter Session

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Wish list with a purpose: Do you like dawgs?

Murphy and Cooper!
Something that has always been on my wish list is a puppy. I spent a few hours of my Saturday night driving five puppies from one parking lot to another. These little guys are heartbreakingly adorable and thanks to volunteers across seven states they and their mother Lacey are on their way to new homes. In related news, I no longer want a puppy. But I do enjoy helping transport dogs through the various Humane Societies and could use a few items (as can your local Humane Societies).

I got involved with the dog transportation through No Kill Louisville. My cat would kill me in my sleep if I fostered homeless dogs, so instead I'm on their transport email list, which comes out weekly. This led me to the Kentucky CENTRAL (Communicate Educate Neuter/Spay Transport Rescue/Foster Advocate Lobby/Legislate), who posted the transport that let me hang out with Abby, Potter, Murphy, Cooper, and Max for an hour between Versailles and Williamstown, KY.

Abby and Max
This was my first time transporting dogs and had to borrow a medium sized crate. If I'm going to do this again, I need to get my own crate that folds down flat, can hold at least a 40-pound dog, all while fitting into the back of my Alero. Also on my wish list are a couple clip leashes, pee pads and a waterproof sheet.

However, it isn't my wish list that matters. Humane Societies everywhere rescue dogs, cats and other cute'n'fuzzies on shoe-string budgets. You can help by contacting your local shelters and seeing what they need. If you're lucky, they might even have a wish list posted online, like the Lexington Humane Society does.