I had a great lunch at ABV Public House in Hillsboro with a great friend and mentor the other day. As I usually do I tried a seasonal special rather than eating from the standard menu.Read More
Over the last few weeks I've started to write this article quite a few times and then have to wait when another new bluetooth audio device shows up for me to review. From tabletop speakers to truly wireless earbuds, and over-ear headphones to ultra-portable speakers. We've received devices at every price point and quality level. $250 on ear headphones from European manufacturers that launched via Indigogo and $70 special edition travel speaker sets from newly established powerhouse Anker.Read More
In the category of "it's a small world" we have today's lunch.I was out for a walk exploring downtown Columbus, Ohio and spotted a food truck in a parking lot down a side street.You know how I love food trucks, so I had to at least see what they had to offer.
Turns out the truck is owned and run by a Portland native who graduated from Western Culinary back in the last of the classes before it was sold to Le Cordon Blue. He calls his truck "Broke Johnny's" and he just bought it a few weeks ago, but if he keeps serving breakfast like this he's going to have to change the name because he won't be broke for long.
I had a chance to try two items from his menu today his breakfast sandwich and what he tells me has become his signature dish, the Ham and Cheese waffle.
The breakfast sandwich is simple perfection. Thin sliced ham is thrown onto the flattop to heat up and get some caramelization. It's thrown onto toasted sourdough or marble rye, with a nice medium egg and American cheese. The beauty is in the quality of the ham and a perfectly cooked egg that is just a little runny making mayonnaise unnecessary.
The master stroke though was the Ham & Cheese Waffle. A perfectly crisped waffle is spread with whipped butter then topped with cheese, chunks of fried ham, and then smothered in Johnny's bacon-bourbon sauce with big chunks of bacon. The combination is truly amazing. If I hadn't already had the breakfast sandwich he tells me that it's even better when you have a nice egg over the top of it (and what brunch isn't).
If you're in Columbus, track him down and give his brunch truck a try.
There are days that are important in life. Days that matter. Days that stick out in our past that we will never forget no matter what else we experience in the future. Today didn't feel like one of those days when I woke up, but as I'm writing this I know that it is.
Some of those important days in my past I had to endure rather than celebrate, like the first time I celebrated a birthday without my dad. Some of them I didn't know were important milestones until weeks or months after they had passed like the day I met my amazing wife. Rarely but thankfully some of them I have recognized as special as they were happening, and that meant I could capture them in detail and save a piece of that day forever.
As I sat with my wife and family watching my son enter the gym of his High School in his cap and gown this afternoon the importance of the day hit me full force. I experienced something that connected me to what my parents felt 22 years ago when I made a similar journey into a similar gymnasium 60 miles from here. I flashed back in that instant to the moment eleven years and fifty-one weeks ago when my son walked with my daughter out of their foster home to our car for their first overnight visit to our home. I recalled all the visits to school principals, counsellors, IEP meetings, and case workers. My son has come so far from the lonely broken little boy we adopted that some of those memories shocked me to think about.
When we met with his first grade teacher we were told our son had severe learning issues and radical social interaction problems. We were cautioned that he was more than 18 months behind his peers academically and he might never catch up in a traditional classroom environment. Carrie and I agonized over what to do, but after a lot of prayer and counsel decided we would hold him back a year but not let them give up and move him into special education classes.
There are many of those moments from my past I'm proud of, and many more I'm not. There is nothing that gives me more pride than seeing what my boy was able to accomplish today. It wasn't easy for him. He had to work hard and find his own ways to make sense of the world around him. He had to study harder than I did at his age because things didn't come as easily to him. He never backed down. Never quit trying. Never let anyone tell him something was beyond his ability. And today that little boy they said needed special education graduated with honors.
So it's one of those days, and I couldn't be happier.
Earlier this month when Amazon announced that they were releasing a new addition to the Kindle lineup current owners were worried rather than excited. Never before have I seen a group of owners so rapidly insisting that their devices were perfect the way they were.Read More
In August of last year a group of former Holga camera employees from Hong Kong decided to launch a Kickstarter campaign to launch a digital version of the beloved asian toy camera. The original Holga debuted in 1982, and has since become a favorite of many artists due to the lack of complexity and flexibility. Their goal was to get the $50,000 dollars needed to begin production, but demand was so great that they exceeded that goal in just 4 days. Ultimately the project exceeded $300,000 and more than 2500 backers during the 60 days it was active on Kickstarter and they continue to get orders via Indiegogo here.
The camera is as low tech as a digital camera can get, owing very much to its roots as a toy camera. With a manual shutter lever, exposure time is as flexible as possible and hard to gauge. In addition, the only selections possible are a switch on the bottom to toggle between BW and Color modes, and the power dial on top allowing you to select between simulating 135 or 120 film. You additionally have the option of attaching the flash or not via the hot shoe on top. Everything else is done by feel and experience alone. As you can see from the sample images below even with very little automatic control the camera provides decent quality and good dynamic range.
The second camera I received is the Lytro Illum, an extremely advanced camera using what is called Light Field imaging to capture all of the available light in each pixel. This not only provides superior dynamic range, but allows for what Lytro calls "living pictures" because by capturing all of the light in the lenses field of view you have the ability to change the depth of field and point of focus after acquiring the image data. In addition, the technology allows the camera to export 3D images. With manual focus, 8x optical zoom, and dynamic range equivalent to 80-3200ISO it is perhaps the most advanced still camera ever built with a single lens.
As you can see from the linked pictures below, you can share images that the viewer can choose a point of focus in on demand, a feature unique to Light Field technology. At an MSRP of $1300 this is an amazingly expensive camera, but incredibly fun to use. If it could shoot video as well it could be the perfect all around camera. Fortunately, Lytro has moved on to trying to change cinematography and as result the camera can be found on Amazon for $387 dollars from some vendors.
Last year when music gear giant Marshall announced their first line of headphones music lovers took notice in a big way, and weren't disappointed by the quality of either the construction or the sound. This year they announced that they were going to release a Bluetooth wireless version of the same Major design and I knew I had to give them a try.Read More
The one accessory we wear to make a statement is a wristwatch. Sometimes flashy if dressed up, sometimes monolithic and durable if worn daily for work. We wear different types of bands to match clothing or environment. So I guess it isn't surprising that one of the biggest categories of new Kickstarter projects is companies trying to reinvent something that was invented in the 1800s.Read More
I received a box that I wasn't expecting from Amazon this morning, and opened it to find three new Bluetooth headsets inside. One of them, the Mini from Rowkin I have been wanting to check out since it was announced, but the other two I had never heard of before.Read More
They say a picture is worth a thousand words, so these are worth a few days worth of writing I guess. Some great stuff this month, and some things that will be going to the kids too. Have a look, and make sure to subscribe to these great services if you like what you see.
Sometimes a kickstarter project comes along and just makes you say "How the hell do people think of these things?". The SharkTooth was initially one of them for me, but now that I have it in hand it makes total sense. A simple laser cut pendant at first glance, upon closer inspection it is easy to see how useful this tiny tool could be. Besides the ten wrenches cut into the center it is easy to see the saw blade on one edge and knife edge opposite. Harder to see until you hold it is the shape of the point besides being able to sharpen into a spear or arrow point also has a diamond shape which makes it usable as a Phillips head screw driver.
Designed by the minds at Archwing LLC. in Madison, WI as part of what they are calling their Tactical Apparel venture, it really is a marvelous design. They will soon be available for order from this website.
Portland native Carra Stasney launched a Kickstarter project to fund the most original album idea I've seen in a long time, and I am so impressed that I have to get you all to help.
The idea is to reimagine Willie Nelson's amazing "Red Headed Stranger" from the standpoint of his mother. I can't wait to see what she does with the idea, and am amazed that no one tried it before this.
You can find her project here, please think about helping it along.