The Annual Delaware Road Trip

For the second year in a row, three friends and I saddled up a Honda Odyssey for a pilgrimage to what could be considered the microbrew capital of the world, Milton, Delaware, the home of Dogfish Head Brewery.  OK maybe capital is my personal opinion, Denver might be able to truly call itself the capital, but for my palate, Dogfish is just about as good as it gets.  Think Dogfish just cranks out good IPAs?  Take a trip to the Weekend of Compelling Ales and Whatnot to really see what they can do.

It’s a long trip from Columbus to Milton (technically we stay in Rehoboth Beach, close to the brewpub) so it’s best to break up the roughly 525 mile trip.  Along with beer geeks, we also happen to be history nerds and our road trip takes us right through Civil War battlefield country.  In 2011 we visited Gettysburg and for this past year we visited Antietam National Battlefield in Sharpsburg, MD.  Antietam is home to the Battle of Sharpsburg, most well known as the bloodiest single day battle in the Civil War.

The trip was a blast and I could write for hours but you know what they say… so enjoy the pictures below.  You can browse all my shots from the trip at my flickr page.

Indy!

Road Trip entertainment consisted of Indiana Jones and South Park

Dunker ChurchDunker Church, Sharpsburg, MD

Burnside BridgeBurnside Bridge

Bloody LaneSunken Road aka Bloody Lane

Tasting glasses at WOCAWTasting Glasses at WOCAW

Beer List at the BrewpubPart of the Beer List at the Brewpub

Breaking for OystersBreaking for Oysters in Rehoboth Beach

Meeting the legendMeeting the legend, Sam Calagione

Completed tasting card from the tourMy completed tasting card from WOCAW

Getting Organized – Klein Tool Bags

Organization is one of those tasks that I have to constantly remind myself about.  I’m always more satisfied when things are organized but it is not always my first instinct.  My tools are a perfect example of this.  My current tool storage and organization consists of an old plastic tool box that I purchased in high school and a shoe box that has become my “picture hanging” tool kit.  Unfortunately both are a mess.

old tool storage

The latch on my red tool box doesn’t hold the lid closed as securely as it once did so I’m wary of carrying it from the top handle (yes, I have had everything fall out before).  The shoe box is filled with enough hardware to hang three times as many pieces as I own and also will not stay closed on its own.

more tools that I need

My goal is to consolidate, organize, and get everything into one container.  Luckily I remembered my Dad having some old tool bags from Klein Tools and I thought they might have a solution to my problem.

Klein Tools close-up

You can read their website to learn more about Klein Tools but there are only two things that matter:

  • People that use tools for a living use Klein
  • Everything is Made in the USA

On top of the functionality, I also find their designs aestetically pleasing.  Maybe aesthetics aren’t the first consideration for most and I can understand the appeal of a simple red tool box but canvas and leather just feels right to me.  The bags from Klein are also quite affordable (definitely more so than the leather roll-up I originally lusted after).

my Klein Tools purchase

I purchased the Klein 5102-16 16″ Canvas Tool Bag, Klein 5139 12-1/2-Inch Canvas Zipper Bag, and Klein Tools 5140 Canvas Zipper Bags, 4-Pack (colored).  My plan was to use the pouches to organize my screwdrivers, sockets, wrenches, and other loose hardware.  Once the pouches were filled, my main tool bag would just be filled with the pouches and any other large items.

Klein Tools Pouches

It took a little wrangling but I was able to fit everything.  The 18″ bag might have been a better choice but in reality I should probably make another pass get to rid of more tools and hardware that I don’t need or use.

The finished product

What I Carry – Filson briefcase

I received my Filson briefcase, style #257, as a Christmas gift in December of 2008.  I carry it with me everyday to work but it also swallows up my laptop and travel accessories when I hit the road for work.  It’s been with me to Detroit, NYC, Chicago, Atlanta, LA, Zurich, Austria, and several other places in between.  I just made my third January trip to Detroit with it and surprisingly it still looks new.

Filson 257 briefcase

Filson

Might as well have the best

“Might as well have the best.” Sounds good to me.

Detroit

Why the Detroit Autoshow is in January and not May or June has always puzzled me.  Despite the usual miserable weather, Detroit during show week is always entertaining in a way that is better told through pictures.

People Mover - Library Stop

People Mover - Broadway stop

Acura NSX Concept

Old Schallelagh

2012 Goals

It’s a new year so of course everyone is busy making goals and resolutions and I’m no different.  I usually set some sort of goal for myself or make a mental resolution but I rarely write things down or attempt to track them.  Unfortunately, this is one of the best ways not to achieve a goal.  I want to change my approach and hopefully achieve my goals.

I’ll start the broad concepts or ideas I want for 2012:

  1. Read more
  2. Spend less
  3. Write more
  4. Better health

Not the most original goals, I know, but I have to start somewhere.

These vague concepts are great but they are only a starting point.  If you subscribe to the SMART system then you know that goals need to be specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and timely.   I like this approach because it requires the goal setter to really think about each goal before just throwing it out there.   With a little more thought I can turn my vague concepts into actual goals.

1) Read more

This one is simple.  I don’t read nearly enough.  Why do I want to read more?  I enjoy it and it has other positive side effects such as improving my vocabulary, writing, and exposing me to new ideas and concepts.  Worst case it just gives me more topics to talk about with friends.  So, read more, but how much more?  I’m lucky if I read three books a year.  Last year was an exception because I rolled through the Harry Potter series over the summer thanks to Jess.

Rather than read more, my 2012 goal is to read 1 book a month.  It’s specific.  I can measure it throughout the year.  It’s definitely attainable.  It’s relevant to me and there is a measure of time tied to it.

2) Spend less

I’m betting everyone has this on their list.  Looking at my expenses last year I spent a lot of money on dining out.  Correction, I spent way more than I should.  So rather than simply spending less, I’ll target my excessive eating out habit.  I’ll spend $100 less per month on dining out.  I could make this more specific and say I’ll pack my lunch instead of buying it at work but I know myself.  I’ve tried that approach in the past and I get burnt out or end up eating odd lunches when I haven’t gone grocery shopping for the week.  I’ll keep this goal slightly vague on purpose to give myself the flexibility to achieve it.

3) Write more

This one is similar to my read more goal.  I want to write one blog post a week.  I have a feeling this one will be the most difficult to achieve.

4) Better health

Improved health is another common goal.  For this I’m taking a slightly different approach.  I like to focus on exercise to maintain health and specifically running.  I thought about setting a weekly or monthly mileage goal but I decided instead to focus on two key events: the 1/4 marathon in May and the 1/2 marathon in October.  I ran both of these races last year and I’d like to improve my health by improving my race times.  I’d like to finish the 1/4 marathon in May in 55 minutes and the 1/2 marathon in October in 1 hour and 45 minutes.  Notice that the 1/2 marathon goal is a little more aggressive since it takes place later in the year.  An achievable 1/4 marathon goal will hopefully give me the motivation to push harder for the more difficult 1/2 marathon goal.

To recap, my 2012 goals are:

  1. Read 1 book a month
  2. Spend $100/month less on dining out
  3. Write 1 blog post a week
  4. Finish the 1/4 marathon in 55 minutes and the 1/2 marathon in 1 hr and 45 minutes

Thanks for reading.  I’m not sure how entertaining it was but it was certainly helpful for me to write it.  It even helped me get started on one of my goals for 2012 (write more!).

Happy New Year everyone!

Movie Style – National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation

Two of my favorite bloggers, Skip at Alex Grant and Christine at N’East Style, have an ongoing series called “Date Night” where they highlight a classic look from a classic movie. I’ve always enjoyed reading these posts and after watching Christmas movies for this past week I was inspired to my own for one of my favorites: National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation.

Clark Griswold

The Look

Be safe and stay warm while tackling all your “exterior illumination” projects or however you chose to channel your inner Clark Griswold.

Merry (belated) Christmas!

New York and me

It’s no mystery that I love New York City.  I was fortunate enough to recently spend a weekend there and the next trip has already been planned.

I came across this video on the Urbanophile and despite several trips I’m just as excited about the next as I was about the first.

A Year in New York from Andrew Clancy on Vimeo.

New toy

eBay can be a dangerous place if you have a few extra bucks

20111020-202416.jpg

20111020-202716.jpg

20111020-202732.jpg

Half Marathon

Nationwide Half Marathon complete.  I can do better.  See you in 2012.

Simple Organization

Sometimes the simple tasks are the most rewarding.

before... messy

Needs some work….

mason jars may help

Mason jars may help.

cleaned up and organized

That looks better.