Category Archives: Hobbies

EDC in a Post-COVID World

Some time ago, I wrote about my Everyday Carry, or EDC. I encourage you to check it out here.

In a nutshell, your EDC is the stuff you carry with you everyday – keys, wallet, phone, headphones – whatever you’ve deemed important or useful enough to take with you when you go out. I also wrote about how I look at EDC in terms of concentric circles: the stuff you carry on your person, the stuff you carry in your bag/backpack/purse/briefcase, and the stuff you keep in your vehicle. They should all compliment each other.

I was thinking of writing a follow-up a while back but when the pandemic hit, I realized my (and my wife’s) EDC had changed in response to our new post-COVID world.

I’m going to through my EDC using those concentric circles, starting with on-person EDC and working my way out. Some items are the same or, in the case of my Apple products, newer versions than last time. For these items, I won’t go into great detail but will provide a follow-up to my previous statements about the items.

On-Person EDC:

iPhone 11 Pro: I’ve been an iPhone user for about a decade. At this point, I’m all-in on the Apple ecosystem. Is is perfect? No, but they are reliable and at least try and respect user privacy. The main draw of the 11 Pro is it’s camera. It truly is amazing, and night mode is a game changer.

Apple Watch Series 5: We jumped from Series 2 to 5 when we got these last September. It looks basically the same with a lot of changes under the hood. Working out, buying stuff without touching anything, haptic alarm clock, and Maps (which has gotten good enough that I’ve stopped using Google Maps) – all good.

Rogue Front Pocket Wallet: This replaces my Ridge Wallet. I still like the Ridge; it’s compact and virtually indestructible, but I was having a problem with the hard metal edges making marks in a couple of my pants. Plus, I wanted something less industrial looking. The Rogue lies very flat in the pocket – creating virtually no silhouette – and is even shaped to fit the pocket’s contours. It has six card slots, a spot for bills, and is RFID-blocking. I’m a gadget guy so in an ideal world, I wouldn’t have to carry a wallet at all but we’re not there yet.

Kiel’s Lip Balm: Got to keep those lips moisturized…and this lip balm is my favorite. Works great without being shiny.

Maui Jim Sunglasses: These are my favorite sunglasses. They’re very light, remove any glare, and are styled to be good in most situations. As I wrote before, these are my second pair; my first are enjoying a second life with someone in Italy…

Here are the new additions as a result of the pandemic:

Face Mask: Are they here to stay? I don’t think they’ll be as prevalent once there’s a vaccine, but I also think some people (including me) will wear them in some situations going forward (much like it was in Korea and Japan, for example). We have several types of masks – some made by companies that pivoted to masks at the beginning of the pandemic; most bought from Etsy; and a few homemade. Adjustable and comfortable are the names of the game here.

Handkerchief: As paper products became a hot commodity, my wife and I realized how much tissue, TP, and paper towels we went through in a week. We’ve been looking for ways to live more efficiently and produce less waste so she found reusable “paper towels” and decided to also get some handkerchiefs. So, yeah, like grandpa used to carry a handkerchief in his pocket, I now carry one in mine. Anjali found a pretty ingenious way of folding them to create little pockets to keep things…contained and sanitary. It’s great for when we’re out – no worrying about what to do with used tissue.

Keysmart CleanKey: When you think about all of the surfaces we used to touch that hundreds or thousands of people touched before…yikes. The CleanKey is made by the same company as the Keysmart keychain. Never pull open a door or use a store touchscreen with your hands again.

Fisher Space Pen: This is the pen I carry on my uniform when I’m at work…remember those days? It’s a great pen, of course. If we’re going out for dinner, for example, I try to remember to bring this small, light, and discreet pen with me so I’m not signing the check with a pen a thousand other people have used (still a new habit I’m trying to form)…and if there’s a requirement to write under water or in zero gravity, I’m prepared.

My main on-person EDC: Maui Jim Sunglasses, Fisher Space Pen, Kiel’s Lip Balm, iPhone 11 Pro, Rogue Wallet, Apple Watch 5, Face Mask, KeySmart CleanKey, and Handkerchief.

Two optional items:

Schrade Tactical Pen: I trade off between the Fisher and this tactical pen, depending on the situation. What makes it “tactical?” As I wrote before…It’s built like a tank, has a flat surface on one end for good thumb purchase, and a rounded point on the other end. In a hand-to-hand situation, it won’t puncture skin – it’ll just hurt – hopefully enough to extract myself from the situation. It’s the perfect “get the heck off me” self defense tool.

Olight S1R Turbo Flashlight: Having a small, powerful flashlight at your fingertips can be very convenient. I don’t always carry it but if I’m going out in the evening, it’s nice to have. Walking in a darkened garage or down a street with limited visibility? This little flashlight is both practical and signals to any would-be bad guy looking for a soft target that you aren’t one.

EDC with optional items added: Schrade Tactical Pen and the Olight S1R Turbo Flashlight.

EDC Backpack: This is the bag I take to work…when I go into work. Currently, I use an Osprey for everyday use.

Apple AirPods Pro: I use these whenever I’m on the phone. They’re especially nice for meetings (from home). The AirPods Pro are extremely comfortable, have very good sound quality (and getting the update for Dolby Atmos in the Fall), and charge quickly. The noise cancellation feature works quite well as does the “transparency” mode, which allows you to hear what’s going on around you.

Keysmart Keychain: At this point, the only keys I have are for work but I keep them in this compact and convenient keychain.

Victorinox Jetsetter: I still have the Nite Ize Doohickey, and have used it from time to time, but the Jetsetter is more versatile, and as the name suggests, is TSA compliant. It has a bottle opener, scissors, wire cutters, tweezers, Phillips screwdriver, and a toothpick. I keep it in my bag and take it with me when we travel. I always have these co-located with my Keysmart Keychain.

Gunnar Blue Light Glasses: I bought these computer glasses six years ago after getting headaches from all of my time in front of the computer. I couldn’t be happier with the purchase. They’re sturdy and work great in eliminating eye strain. I keep these at work (…or home for now) and take them with me when we tour.

Hand Sanitizer: During tour, I keep hand sanitizer in my garment bag (all that shaking hands after concerts…I can’t imagine doing that now, even when we go back to performing in front of audiences!), but now I keep one in my EDC bag all the time.

There’s one more circle to address, and that’s what we keep in our vehicles. This is a little more involved because there are two avenues – one is the vehicle EDC; the other is the “Get Home Bag” we keep in our vehicle, which I’ll address in a separate post. We keep face masks, hand sanitizer, wet wipes and napkins, and quarters in the vehicle. Some items that you might think are missing, we keep in the Get Home Bag so they’re there if we need them (like a first aid kit).

In the end, see what works for you and as always sorry if I just dented your wallet!

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Peloton – Six Month Review

In December, I gave a one month review of the Peloton stationary bike / fitness company. I talked about the pros and cons from my perspective, and gave it a positive review. I also said that I would report back in a few months and let you know if I still thought the hefty price tag was worth it. Well, it’s been six months since we purchased our Peloton and the verdict is in.

Bottom line: For us, the Peloton’s price tag was and is worth it. We continue to enjoy the wide variety of workouts available both on-demand and live (there was a short period when their studios were shut down due to COVID; but soon their instructors began filming from home – tremendous job by the company to keep their people employed and new content coming).

The bike itself has performed well and held up during the last six months. My wife rides five to six times per week and I ride three times per week; we’ve really had no issues thus far with how it operates.

Since I first downloaded the digital app prior to Fall tour, then purchasing the bike at the end of November, I have done over 400 total workouts – most using our bike – either cycling or casting to our TV for floor workouts (strength, core, yoga, etc.). Since we received the bike six months ago, I have missed a total of eight days working out, and when I look back on which days I missed, they’re all easily explainable. None that I can remember were because I just didn’t feel like working out. That hasn’t happened since we got the Peloton.

As I said in my previous post, the workouts themselves are really good. The cycling workouts are quite varied as are the instructors’ styles. I have my favorites, but I try to give new instructors a try from time to time and am rarely disappointed.

Over the last few months, my wife and I have done a few of the four-week programs available – all have kept our interest and been effective. We both did the strength training program with Andy Speer. He’s my overall favorite strength workout instructor. He’s very technical and science-based in his approach.

Weeks 1 and 2 of Total Strengh

We’ve both also done a couple of rounds of the core program with Emma Lovewell. They’re short – between 5 and 15 minutes, and are a great add-on to the end of another workout. Emma is one of my favorite instructors. In her core workouts and on the bike, she’s very clear and provides excellent guidance and motivation. Be warned – her cycling workouts are tough!

Weeks 3 and 4 of Crush Your Core

Another program I got a lot out of is Discover Your Power Zones, a cycling training method based on current level of fitness. The method breaks levels of effort down to seven zones – Zone 1 being minimal effort and Zone 7 being all-out. The cool thing about the Peloton bike is that you take a 20 minute test to discover your current level of fitness as it relates to these zones. At the end of the test, the Peloton bike automatically calculates your zones, making it super easy to know where you are as the instructor calls out zones. At the end of the four-week program you take the test again to see how much you’ve improved. The difference in my performance between the two tests was impressive.

A few other instructors I like:

Jenn Sherman was Peloton’s first cycling instructor and also the first instructor I rode with when we got the bike. She’s motivating, doesn’t mind swearing to make her point, and sings a lot.

Christine D’Ercole races on the track and brings that expertise to her classes. She’s down to earth, has tough, varied classes, and is always motivating.

Matt Wilpers has a similar approach to building workouts as Christine in that he approaches it from the perspective of an athlete. His low impact workouts are a great way to sure up your technique.

Along with Andy’s, I do a lot of strength workouts with Jess Sims. While Andy always provides a balanced, tough workout, Jess often just smokes the crap out of you. Both are great.

My favorite yoga instructor is Anna Greenberg. She explains each pose really well and keeps the overarching goal of each workout in mind as you progress through it. Very helpful for a novice like me.

As far as results, all I can say is that both my wife and I feel like we’ve gotten in much better shape than we’ve been in some time. I’m looking forward to seeing how we’re looking and feeling in another six months.

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Review – Peloton

A few months before the whole Peloton commercial controversy blew up, my wife and I decided to purchase a Peloton Bike.

Screen capture of the now infamous Peloton ad.

Why spend that kind of money on a stationary bike? Good question. Continue reading

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