Category: Shopping


2021 Week 45 – Tech Upgrades & Tacos

I’ve been absolutely loving the new iPad Pro since I purchased it a few months ago. In fact, It’s my primary computing device when I’m home. Paired with a Lap Desk from Amazon, I can crank out all kinds of work and keep up with my reading from the comfort of my couch (while watching Soccer & Football).

The Apple Watch Series 7 arrived last Monday & I’m thrilled with the upgrade from the Series 4 I was using. Apple offered a $100 trade-in, and my company provides an annual fitness reimbursement of $60 for wearable devices, which brought the overall price of the device down to something a lot more reasonable.

Speaking of reasonable, Amazon just released the new Kindle Paperwhite for $139. I have an original one from 2012 that has gotten very sluggish (and stopped receiving software updates). I was able to get 25% off the price of the new Kindle if I traded my old one in. I think this trade-in option is something I’m going to start looking for when upgrading electronic devices. Otherwise, these old units end up taking space on the shelf with no benefit to anyone.

In local food news, Chris’ Ice Cream (and Tacos) has relocated across 86th Street from its old location, just east of Total Wine and next door to Subway. They haven’t put a permanent sign up yet, so it’s a little hard to find. I had lunch with a former colleague the other day, and the food is just as good as it was before at the old location. The new site isn’t any larger than the old one, so I think the relocation might have been landlord or rent-related. Either way, this is a great little hole-in-the-wall with some excellent Mexican food.

And finally, this video is a few years old, but it’s hilarious. There is NO WAY I would ever try Noodling, but it sure was fun watching these guys do it. Have a great week, and we’ll see you next time!

2021 Week 41 – iPad Pro Upgrade

I’ve been completely integrated into the Apple ecosystem for a while now and have always wanted an iPad Pro, but the price has always stopped me from making the leap. Because of that, I’ve purchased several iPad Air models and was generally happy with that decision. Well, I finally broke down and bought my first iPad Pro last week.

I opted for the 11″ model with 512GB of memory. Priced at just under $1000, it was not a cheap purchase, but compared to the Air model it replaced, this thing is an absolute beast when it comes to performance. I’ve been blown away by the responsiveness and power of the 2021 iPad Pro. I should have done this a while ago.

2021 iPad Pro with Magic Keyboard

I’ve always used an external keyboard with my iPad, and I had a few choices for this one. I ordered both the Apple Magic Keyboard and the Logitech Combo Touch so I could try them both out and return the one I didn’t want. Initially, I was leaning towards the Logitech option because of its flexibility, but once I tried the Apple keyboard, I was hooked. Both add a considerable amount of weight (and cost) to the package, but the Apple Keyboard is rock solid, and the keys are almost identical to my MacBook Pro. My only complaint is the trackpad is smaller than the Logitech keyboard, and it costs more. However, it DOES have a dedicated charging port to free up the USB-C port on the side of the iPad Pro.

I’ve had an Apple pencil (V1) and didn’t find myself using it much because you were pretty limited in what you could do with it, so it stayed in my bag. Now, with iPadOS 15, the pencil is a lot more capable, and it’s always available since it can be docked (and charged) on the side of the iPad with some impressively strong magnets. Unfortunately, I had to upgrade to the new V2 model as the V1 is not compatible.

Apple Pencil V2

Restoring from a recent backup of the old iPad is all it takes to be up and running. Apple has made upgrading to a new device about as simple as it can get. iCloud keeps everything synced between devices, and the whole ecosystem just works. That’s what’s so nice about the Apple environment.

I took the iPad Air I’m replacing and mounted it to the refrigerator to use while cooking. I had an older model on there for years, and it comes in really handy to have an iPad in that location for recipe reference and multimedia controls of the stereo in the other room.

If you’re an Apple iPad user and considering an upgrade, the Pro series is worth looking into. It’s more expensive than the Air options, but the performance jump is noticeable, and the screen resolution is nothing short of amazing.


In other news, Netflix just released the entire Seinfeld series. I remember watching the show, off and on, in the ’90s and always enjoyed it. Now that I’m re-watching it, I realize what a well-written and acted show it really was! I’m only 3 episodes in with 176 left to go. I hope Netflix keeps this available for a while because it’s going to take me a while to get through all of the episodes.

That’s it for this week. I have a software review on deck & should be ready to publish it in the next week or two. Enjoy the wonderful fall weather & we’ll see you next week!

Gear Review – Altra Lone Peak 4 Trail Runners

I’m back!  I kind of lost interest in the blog over the winter and made the (mistake?) of purchasing Red Dead Redemption 2.  That game is a HUGE time suck but amazing and I don’t regret it.

I also got hooked on some new YouTube channels* over the winter and it’s rekindled my desire to be outdoor more often.  I already enjoy cycling and kayaking but haven’t really been camping/backpacking/hiking since I was in Scouts.

After a long winter of watching these channels I could not help but be ready for better weather and a chance to get outside again.  Several of the YouTubers are through hikers and have either hiked the Appalachian trail or are in the process.  While I think that would be an amazing accomplishment It’s not something I see myself doing in the near future.  I’m just fine with shorter adventures.

A piece of gear that’s critical when hiking is footwear.  I’ve always worn traditional hiking boots.  They provide great ankle stability but they’re heavy and, if waterproof, make your feet hot and sweaty.  They also really suck if you happen to get water IN them.

A new category of footwear called the “Trail Runner” was introduced to me over the winter.  These are a hybrid between a boot and a running shoe.  The most popular appear to be from a company called Altra and the model mentioned more than anything else was the Lone Peak 4.

Altra Lone Peak 4

After a few hikes around Indy in my traditional hikers and a pair of low rise boots I realized my feet were going to be an issue.  I already have a pair of custom orthotics that I wear in some of my shoes but they’re not very comfortable to walk in for miles at a time.

A review in Outside Magazine help me decide to purchase these shoes and then it happened…  REI had one of their big sales & I was able to pick up a pair of Lone Peak 4’s for 30% off!  I wasn’t the only one taking advantage of the sale.  REI was selling these things like deep fried Oreos at the State Fair.

In the store the Lone Peak’s felt a little weird at first because the front (toe box) of the shoe is very wide and they have what’s called a “Zero Drop” which puts your foot level with the ground vs raised in the back.  They also fit different and I ended up going 1.5 sizes larger than I typically wear.  I was a little concerned this was going to be an issue and worried about blisters which I got a lot in Scouts with traditional hiking boots.

Altra Lone Peak 4

Following the advice in the Outside review I ordered a couple of pairs of Merino Wool Socks for breathability and the ability to keep your feet warm and dry.  I’ll detail it more in an upcoming trip report but let’s just say the combo worked better than anything I have ever tried.

I decided to try the Altra’s out on a 6-mile rugged loop at Turkey Run State Park (I’m planning on a trip report soon).  As soon as I started walking I could feel an immediate difference.  The Merino Socks were a little slippery and the shoes were “Squishy” (technical term).  

After the 2nd mile on the trail I was a fan.  My feet felt amazing and the rock guard build into the sole kept the bottoms of my feet protected and comfortable.  I usually have issues with rocks (gravel especially) bothering the balls of my feet when trail walking.

Then came the ultimate test.  Time to get my feet wet as the trail went up, through, and along a stream (several in fact).  The Outdoor review was totally right.  As soon as you leave the water the shoes pump the water out and the wool socks help you feet dry out and stay warm.  I’ve NEVER had so much FUN getting my feet wet!  Normally this is something you want to avoid when hiking but I was stomping through the water like a little kid and enjoying every minute of it.  

Traction was excellent and after finishing the loop my only complaint was some knee pain which I later found was a result of descending the numerous hills, and something I can help with some more conditioning and maybe some better insoles.

I’m pretty much sold on the Trail Runner concept and I look forward to putting a few more miles on these shoes this weekend. If you’re looking for an alternative to the traditional hiking boots you should give these a try. They make different versions for different situations but I’ve found the Loan Peak 4’s to be a great all around shoe for my needs.

*The YouTube Channels that hooked me (in no particular order):
Outdoor Adventures
The Outdoor Gear Review
Dan Becker
Homemade Wanderlust
Darwin on the Trail

Amazon Prime Benefits You Might Not Know About

Found this video on YouTube the other day and learned about some features of my Amazon Prime subscription I didn’t know I had!

I use the unlimited photo storage (offsite backup) and it’s one of the best deals out there. Hopefully you’ll learn something about your Prime Subscription or get one after seeing what all is included!


Weekend of Activities

If you know me you know I have a lot of hobbies.  Some would say I have too many…

This past weekend I took the boy to Ohio and introduced him to Briarwood Sporting Club in Bellefontaine and a really amazing  Loose Meat sandwich at the original Maid Rite sandwich shop in Greenville.

Briarwood is located on almost 500 acres of immaculately cared for property and offers 16 lakes with 11 different fish species as well as hunting opportunities in the fall.  I was the lucky winner of a discounted 1-year membership at a Ducks Unlimited auction last fall.  It’s not a cheap membership but after spending some time there I think it’s going to be a place we escape to many times a year.

Greenville Ohio is the home of Kitchen Aid and it has an amazing store that carries just about every make, model, and color the company currently makes in its factory down the road.  It also has a little museum in the basement that helps tell the history of the infamous mixer the company is known for.  I always have to stop in and usually end up bringing a new product or accessory home.  This time around I picked up some replacement parts for my stand mixer as well as a cold-brew coffee maker (future review in the works).

The Maid-Rite restaurant is about as old school as it gets.  Loose Meat sandwiches, chips, and drinks are the only things on the menu.  Somewhere in its history people started sticking gum on the building and after all these years it’s practically covered in it.  A little gross but it’s a tradition evidently.

Although the weather wasn’t the most cooperative we really enjoyed our day-trip to Ohio and are looking forward to the next one!

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