Ragnar Trail North Shore Oahu

Ragnar Trail OahuLast weekend (April 21–22), I participated in a Ragnar Trail race on the Hawaiian Island of Oahu.

The setting on the North Shore near Turtle Bay was very nice. The weather, however, was not nice. It rained the whole time (off and on). Sections of the trails were covered with puddles and ankle-deep mud, especially the yellow trail. Although the conditions weren’t at all what I was expecting when I signed up, the event was awesome.

READ MORE

Review: 311 – MOSAIC

311 – MOSAIC
311’s MOSAIC album cover is a mosaic of fan-submitted images.

311’s latest album, MOSAIC, is a patchwork of different styles, producers, and songwriters, but, at its core, it is still very much a 311 album. The quality on 311’s last album, Stereolithic, was very even; that is, the highs and lows were within a narrow range. This album is quite the opposite in that there are superlatives among both the best and the worst material. Overall, there is enough quality and variety on MOSAIC for anyone to find something to enjoy on this album. This album really is a superlative effort even though I think they missed the mark by involving John Feldmann and his production team on five songs. MOSAIC is a solid addition to 311’s discography.

READ MORE

311 – “Perfect Mistake”

311 released a new song from their upcoming album, Mosaic, on Friday. It’s called “Perfect Mistake” and it’s one of the five songs produced by John Feldmann (Goldfinger, The Used, Story of the Year, Blink-182, etc.) that will be on the 17-track record.

The song has an early-2000s pop-punk/nu-metal vibe. Feldmann’s writing, production style, and overbearing influence are all over this song. It’s not a bad song, per se, but it’s overproduced, in my opinion, and it’s not a pure “311” song. It’s 311 performing a song with significant writing contributions by Feldmann and his team.

With that said, the bandmembers’ performances are excellent and the more mainstream production style might hook casual listeners.

Backpacking PocketMod

Backpacking PocketModI designed a backpacking PocketMod (2.5MB PDF) that I think is a useful addition to your backpack. It features:

  • Compass instructions
  • How to start a fire without matches
  • How to “make” water
  • Lists of the ten essentials (both the classic and updated versions)
  • A two-inch ruler
  • Graph paper with 0.125″ × 0.125″ squares to help with measurements
  • Length, area, capacity, weight, and temperature conversions
  • Room to specify emergency contact information and emergency medical details (allergies, medications, etc.)
  • A magnetic declination map (on the back of the page)
  • A table of USGS map scale conversions (on the back of the page)

Print the PDF with the “actual size”, “print on both sides”, and “flip on long edge” settings selected and then fold the PocketMod. To learn more about PocketMods, and to create your own, visit the PocketMod Templates section of my website.

How to Be a Baseball Fan

May 17, 2017 – Reds vs. Cubs at Wrigley Field
May 17, 2017 – Reds vs. Cubs at Wrigley Field

Despite its measured pace, baseball is not boring to most true fans of the game. With that said, I do think that being a baseball fan is more challenging and takes a little more effort than some other sports because of its pace, its frequency (almost daily), and some of the game’s almost imperceptible nuances.

With a little bit of effort, however, it is possible to appreciate baseball more. Baseball has endured for so long precisely because it is a worthwhile pastime. Without further ado, here are some humble suggestions for how to become a better baseball fan.

READ MORE

Review: Salomon XA Pro 3D Trail Shoes

Salomon XA Pro 3D

Despite having recently ran a Ragnar Trail race, I don’t normally do much trail running, but I’ve always been intrigued by the possibility of using a trail-running shoe as a lightweight hiking shoe. I needed a shoe with enough traction, stability, and support to justify setting aside my trusty hiking boots. The Salomon XA Pro 3D satisfies all those requirements, and more.

READ MORE

Death Valley National Park

Furnace Creek Temperature
It was hot at Furnace Creek Visitor Center

Last weekend, I visited Death Valley National Park for the first time. We were in Las Vegas for the weekend, but we wanted to get out of the city, so we extemporaneously decided to go to Death Valley.

I wasn’t sure what to expect in Death Valley, except hot temperatures. What I found was an incredibly vast and varied landscape. The colors and textures of the terrain are striking.

The park is also replete with superlatives. The hottest temperature ever recorded on earth (134° Fahrenheit) was recorded in what is now Death Valley National Park. The lowest point in North America (Badwater Basin, at 282 feet below sea level) is also located in Death Valley National Park. The highest point in the contiguous United States (Mount Whitney, at 14,505 feet) is also visible from the park (on clear days).

READ MORE