Tag Archives: college

What’s in the Box: Nomadik August 2017

This month’s theme may be “summer adventure” but I am going to go with flashback.  Seriously, the stuff that came in this month’s box takes me back to an earlier time in my life.  How so?

Consider the Mountainsmith Cooler Tube:


Do you remember when these were all over your college campus in the 1990s?  Granted, the earlier versions were usually made of black nylon as opposed to eco-friendly hemp but the idea was the same.  Load a six pack of cold beer into a tube, sling it over your shoulder, and enjoy the great outdoors with a few beers.

For me this meant spending the better part of a lazy weekend afternoon playing ultimate and sharing cold Pabst Blue Ribbons—before that beer became the choice of flannel clad hipsters—with my fellow disc chuckers.  Now we have better options.  Soft sided coolers hold more beer at a colder temperature for longer for not much of a penalty in weight or comfort.  Other than hiding a six pack in a golf bag what purpose does the cooler tube serve anymore?

You want another flashback?  Check out the Chums:


I thought these were only used by river guides and people at theme parks.  Now, the good folks at Nomadik do admit that these are the choice of water sports enthusiasts for retaining glasses in all conditions.

Combined with the final item of Surface Face Stick I cannot help but tell a few river guide jokes:


What do you call a river guide who just broke up with his girlfriend?  Homeless.

How do you find a river guide in the dark?  It’s hard.

What is the difference between a river guide and god?  God does not think that he is a river guide.

Sorry, river guide jokes just tend to roll off the tongue this time of year.  You could substitute ski instructor for river guide and get about the same impact.

I said in prior posts that Nomadik was going to have to come on strong to get me to consider renewing my gift subscription.  I am just not feeling the need.  The problem is that I am not exposed to new things as much as I get things in the mail that I just do not care about.  It is kind of the same problem I see whenever I visit an REI or Sierra Trading Post.  People seem enamored with buying stuff that seems cool in the store, but that they will rarely if ever use once they get home.  Come on, how many of those cool shaped bottle openers by the cash registers do people every actually use to open a bottle of beer?


Taking on New Challenges

What keeps us alive? I do not necessarily mean what keeps us physically alive—that can be done externally by machines—but rather what keeps us feeling alive. Alive, as in, the feeling we would get as kids when we first conquered riding a bicycle or when we were teenagers and the acceptance letter for our dream college arrived. Alive, like when we knew we met the person we would love forever and the feeling when we held our children for the first time.

What happens when we hit the major milestones? What breaks up the monotony of the rinse and repeat routine of work and home?

We fall into the routine because it is efficient. We eat the same types of dinner and go to the same restaurants. We watch the same television shows and go to bed at the same time. Before you realize it a couple of weeks have gone by or an entire month has expired or, god forbid, a whole year passes.

We keep telling ourselves that we are saving for retirement so that we can pursue our passions when we are done working. Why? Why do we have to wait until we are sixty five or older to do something that excites us?

The way we can feel alive again is to break out of the cycle of monotony. We need to make ourselves uncomfortable again. Do you remember the first time you walked into a college classroom, sat down, and wondered if you were really ready for the entire experience? If that was acceptable at eighteen years old why isn’t it acceptable to be that uncomfortable at forty?

It’s being uncomfortable with doing something and conquering that discomfort that allows us to feel like we are growing and changing. It’s the reason that at the tender age of thirty six I took up skiing with my seven year old daughter.

Do you know what is difficult to watch? A middle-age father of two trying to make it down the bunny hill without “yard sale-ing.” Or, having your daughter ask, “Daddy, why did it take you so long to get down the hill?”

In the end, however, I feel better about the day I spend struggling to learn to ski than I would about any other activity I might undertake during the winter. I come back sore and, hopefully, not bruised although I have returned with different parts of my body an unnatural blue color. I may be cold on the lift and scared when I tip over the lip of the run, but I drive home with a smile on my face and something new to work on the next day. Isn’t that what being alive is all about?

Bush Signature Copper Lager

During my childhood there were two consistent beer memes. One was the whole “Great taste, less filling” battle of Miller Lite. The second was the tag line “Head for the mountains of Busch…beer.” If you were a child of the 1980s you know what I am talking about.

Busch moved from being a fond childhood memory to the beer du jour of my college days. We did not drink Natural Light or Keystone Light. Nope, my house was a Busch Light house. Keg after keg of Busch Light came in through the back door and served up ice cold to all comers. The almost non-existent flavor of that beer is still in the back of my throat.

Since then I have grown up and abandoned the drinking habits of an 18 to 22 year old college male. Imagine my surprise when I saw that AB InBev was releasing the first new beer in a long time under the Busch brand name, Busch Signature Copper Lager:

Copper Lager

You may not have seen this beer yet because it was initially rolled out in 12 Midwestern states that probably correlate quite nicely to the markets that quaff high quantities of the mainline Busch products.

Regular Busch and Busch Light clock in at 4.3% and 4.1% ABV respectively, while Signature Copper Lager comes in at 5.7%. This is a decent jump from Busch Light and will probably end up kicking some fool in the rear who is used to drinking can after can of the nearly water beer.

The primary difference, save for the alcohol increase, is the addition of copper malts to the brewing process, hence the name. The extra malt in the body of the beer does enough to support the extra alcohol and the beer drinks really easily. Actually, it drinks really easy and would be a great beer for a tailgate when you need beer that is in cans and you are not really going to be spending the morning discussing the finer merits of dry hopping. There is a time and place for cheap American lager.

With all that being said, I was pleasantly surprised by Busch Signature Copper Lager.

Two Mug Purchase

The beer’s advertising is probably the most honest I have seen in ages. It’s billed as the beer for “Slightly More Special Occasions.” That just slays me.

I don’t know what this means, but the website for Busch and Busch Light do not mention Signature Copper Lager at all.

Friday Linkage 10/5/2012

October is here!  It’s really not a lot different than the last week of September, but the turning of another calendar page makes it seem different.  Casseroles in the oven, apple pie scents wafting through the house, my daughter sneaking an extra marshmallow for her hot cocoa…

The next couple of nights are supposed to bring temperatures below 30 degrees Fahrenheit for eastern Iowa.  Yippee!  A lot of people do not appreciate the changing of the seasons—hoping for the mind numbingly consistent weather of the sunbelt.  There is something about the change of the seasons that is revitalizing to the soul.  Break out the fleece!

On to the links…

Debunking the Supposed Decline in Clean Energy—Republicans and their media minions—yes, I am looking at you Fox News—have never let the facts about clean energy get in the way of a good sound bite.  It’s all Solyndra, all the time.

Solyndra Hypocrisy Illustrated—Speaking of Solyndra, just take a look at the relative magnitude of the loss that the loan program endured:

Clean Energy Showdown in Arizona—Why Arizona has not whole heartedly embraced solar photovoltaics is beyond me.  Why it is even a discussion is beyond me.

How CAFE Killed Compact Pickups and Station Wagons—The guys over at The Truth About Cars have done an excellent job showing how the complicated mechanics behind the CAFE rules have killed entire classes of vehicles.

Mississippi River at its Healthiest in a Generation—Success stories like this need to get more publicity.  When I was a small child growing up near the Mississippi River we treated it like it was a Superfund site.  You did not swim near the river.  You did not eat fish from the river.  Heck, you felt scared to even look at the river for fear of some toxic river monster leaping out to grab you.  Not so much anymore.

How Food Justice Starts at Home—The intersection of environmental and social justice is best exemplified in any movement to improve our food—including the quality of the food and the conditions under which it is produced.

“Pink Slime” Lawsuit May be Frivolous, but it Could Chill Speech—The people behind everyone’s favorite gross meat additive are suing ABC News for airing a story about pink slime.  Never mind that the specifics had been in the press for years and it was just a moment of cultural zeitgeist that propelled the issue to the forefront.  Nope, these guys are going to court.  Good luck.

New Breed of Hunter Shoots, Eats, and Tells—It’s funny that this is a new trend because I knew people growing up in southeastern Minnesota who had freezers full of meat that they had personally “harvested” from the woods.  I guess if Mark Zuckerberg does it, it’s a trend.

Repair Still Rules in India, Can America Bring it Back?—Repairing things in the U.S. is a non-starter.  You can barely find parts to repair something, let alone find someone to actually do the repair if you are not so inclined.  When my stove broke a few years ago all it took to complete the repair was a new heating element, a Phillips screwdriver, and about fifteen minutes of time, most of which was spent unscrewing the plate that hid the heating element.  Cost?  $50.  Friends were shocked that I did the repair rather than looking for a new stove.  Huh?

Greenest College Campuses—Because I cannot get enough of infographics: