Dispatch 158

  • I Drove A Vintage Audi 4000 S Quattro And I Get It Now » Jalopnik
  • A Brief History of the Pencil, as told by a Pencil Aficionado » 99u
  • Walt Whitman Is Not Impressed By Your Expensive Gym Membership » Bloomberg (via Huckberry)
  • There’s a $2 million treasure chest buried in the Rockies. We set out to find it. » Vox
  • My heart has followed all my days, something that I cannot name. » The Door by E.B. White

Thoughts on Specialization

At times I find myself wishing that I was really good at one specific thing but I’m coming to grips with my versatility and how to use it as an advantage.

A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects.
— Robert A. Heinlein

Items of Want 045

On looks alone, Shinola knocks it out of the park. And I can only comment on the looks as I haven't heard the sound quality in person but I'm sure it doesn't disappoint. This would be a welcome addition to any home office for sure.

Bellroy All-Conditions Essentials Pocket

Already a believer in the "pouch" system, this is a perfect way to protect my true EDC essentials from the elements. And since it comes in orange, I'm hooked.

Wilderness Collective Alaska Backcountry Motorcycle Tour

I've been on a couple Wilderness Collective trips and as an introduction, the Sequoia to Yosemite trip is highly recommended. But I'm ready to step it up a notch. This Alaska Backcountry Tour is going to be a true adventure in every sense of the word.

Mountain Standard Glyphs Camp Mug

Aside from being practical, I think this mug is just plain old cool. I have a miiR water bottle and I'm continually impressed with the fit and finish and I have full confidence that this mug will be of the same quality.

The Great Outdoors Book: A User's Guide

If you're unfamiliar with Brendan Leonard, check him out. Then get this book.

Photo by The Field

— Check out past Items of Want

Items of Want 044

I can't think of a better gift to give to someone who has everything or is hard to please. While small, these specimens aren't just bits of random fossils or rock samples, they're truly a part of history. My personal favorites from this collection are the pieces of an SR-71 Blackbird, first transatlantic cable, and a “slice” of Charles and Diana’s Royal Wedding Cake. How crazy is that? 

J.L. Lawson Tempus Spin Coin

While not a true fidgeter, I always carry a few things in my pockets to mess around with when I get bored. J.L. Lawson makes some cool and useful stuff (for fidgeting or otherwise) and this is the latest to come out of their shop. I'm especially a fan of the art and style. Reminds me of something a member of a secret order would carry as a key or something. And yeah, as crazy as it sounds, I actually liked the National Treasure movies.

$2 Currency Sheets

I want this sheet framed and hanging on my wall. Why? I think it just would look awesome. And maybe add a "break glass in case of emergency" plaque or something.

Together is Better: A Little Book of Inspiration

I'm new to Simon Sinek but I really like the way he thinks. Here's an interview with him about millennials in the workplace and here's a quote I recently stumbled across: "The single best machine to measure trust is a human being. We haven't figured out a metric that works better than our own sort of, like, 'There's something fishy about you.'" His book on leadership is supposedly scented in the scent of "optimism." I need to check this out.

Photo by I Lead, Therefore I Am

Stay Wild Magazine - Adventure Seeker Subscription

A fancy magazine focusing on adventure bundled with some extra goodies? It’s like they made this package just for me. I like that they understood a flask doesn’t just have to hold alcohol. “Fill your Stanley flask with booze, spring water, hot tea, or tears of joy. Whatever you like to have 8 ounces of, it's your call.” I just recently discovered these guys but we’re off to a great start.

— Check out past Items of Want —

Recommended Christmas Gifts - 2016 Edition

Below is a list of various items I bought over the past 12 months that I feel I can recommend to others. I don't like wasting money and neither should you.

Arcade Belt Co. Adventure Belts

I've had a couple of flights out of the country in 2016 and paired with Global Entry, this belt is a lifesaver. Its simple design has no metal parts and weighs next to nothing, making it perfect for traveling through airport security as well as being comfortable while on the flight. I went with the Midnight (all black) belt but the Green/Navy Blackwood belt also caught my eye.

You can also buy these at a small discount through Huckberry.com and if you’re a new customer to Huckberry, sign up through my link and get $10 in free credit.

Cost: $23+

Apple Watch or County Comm Maratac Pilots Watch

If you're technically inclined and in the Apple ecosystem, go for the Apple Watch. There's also some deals on Craigslist to be had if you look. I got my Apple Watch (1st Generation) for $180 in the summer, well before they announced the new models. I talked the guy down from $250.

New Cost: $269+

Used Cost: ~$175+

But if you're a horological fan, go with the Maratac Pilot Watch from County Comm. It's a solid design with a true automatic movement, and you can easily swap the straps out for any number of nylon or leather styles. I prefer the Large size but they make a Medium if that's more your fit.

Cost: $419

Note: I initially paid under $200 for the Maratac Pilot Watch but after checking the price for this article I realized it’s now listed a bit higher. If I were in the market again, I’d be more interested in going for the Lum-Tec Huckberry Combat B33 GMT ($498). Or go on the budget side and consider the Standard Issue Instruments Pilot Mission Timer ($134). Yes those are both quartz but they seems pretty solid to me.

America The Beautiful Park Pass

This is a great gift for that outdoorsy person in your life. If they don't live near a National Park and they don't have plans to visit one, it may not be an awesome idea but it might also jumpstart search for adventure. I've been on a few trips this year where I just brought it with me and it's saved a ton of money. 

Cost: $80 (annual pass)

As a bonus, or even an alternative, pick up an REI membership. It's only $20, good for life, and you get 10% back on most things in the form of an annual dividend. And that's in addition to fairly frequent member only events and discounts throughout the year. 

Draplin Design Co.: Pretty Much Everything

You don't have to be a designer to appreciate good design and I'm speaking from experience. It's no surprise that I'm a fan of Field Notes and I certainly appreciate a lot of how Mr. Draplin thinks. I can't pinpoint it but for some reason, I enjoy poring over this book. Even though I don't plan to "design" anything, I'm inspired by the graphics and stories throughout. And if it's still available, I recommend getting the DDC “Everything Else” Enhancement Kit to go along with it.

Cost: $27+

"Fancy" Magazine Subscriptions

I've always had a thing for magazines and I've been stoked recently since they've made a huge comeback. But these aren't the ones you're used to with ads on every other page, these are much better. Well, to be honest, a couple of the ones I like are almost completely made up of ads but it's a much more tasteful presentation. Here's a few that I recommend:

You can buy them individually (around $15-20 per issue) or through a subscription. From the photography to the stories, you won't be disappointed. Oh and they’re more like coffee table books than anything else. The physical material is top quality.

"A Walk in the Woods" Audibook

I saw the movie first and instantly loved it so I scheduled some time to read the official book version next. You know how movies based on books can be, often never stacking up to the book version. But surprisingly enough, this audiobook pared quite well with the film. I think seeing Robert Redford and Nick Nolte in action helped me visualize the characters in the book form. I highly recommend reading or listening to this book. And watch the movie too.

Cost: $15.75