"For an occurrence to become an adventure, it is necessary and sufficient for one to recount it." ~ Jean-Paul Sartre

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Who Is?: Dave Cornthwaite

Who Is Dave C

I am Dave Cornthwaite, and this is the strangest thing I've ever been asked to do. How can I sum up who I am in just a few words? I'm not sure it's possible but I'll try, because that's what I do.
Although my life, my personality, my lifestyle, my ambitions and my temperament (which wavers) intertwines completely with my work I hope I'll not be defined by the things I have done, so I won't mention them here. I am not an adventurer nor an author, a motivational speaker or a world traveller. I am simple. I travel light as often as I can, although I will always carry too much. Where once I talked and didn't do, now I do things and then I talk about them, but usually only when asked to.
I find myself funnier than others think I am, although sometimes people laugh at my jokes out of sympathy. My worst habit is tickling my nose hair with my tongue. Yes, I can reach my nose with my tongue. I'm still trying to work out the meaning of life, but have got as far as understanding that my interpretation will belong to nobody else. I struggle with the value of what I do because my life is unconventional, but shards of light appear when I see folks embarking on adventures for which they claim a meeting with me was the catalyst. If that's all I can offer it's enough.
I dislike doing something I don't enjoy just for money - happiness is more important. I become impatient when people believe in something enough to preach or vote for it based purely on inherited expectation. We live in a time where sitting on the fence is unnecessary, we have no excuse to base our opinions just because we read or heard somebody else's.
If I had to sum myself up in three words, they would be Say Yes More. I am Dave Cornthwaite, who are you?
To find out more about Dave go to DaveCornthwaite.com.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Sunday Fear

As each weekend draws to a close I always find myself stricken with Sunday Fear.  I have suffered from this condition for as long as I can remember but it wasn’t until recently that I learned it had a name.  Sunday Fear is the anxiousness that builds with the approach of the coming work week  as the sands in the hourglass of the weekend run out.  The symptoms include restlessness, irritability, depression, nervousness, and  helplessness among others. 

Every Friday we are presented with two days of freedom from the workplace.  For those suffering from Sunday Fear this can mean two things, it can make you want to jam pack as much activity into those two days as possible or, it can make you want to do as little as possible because as we all know ‘Time flies when you are having fun’, and the last thing a person suffering from Sunday Fear wants to do is hasten the approach of the coming work week. 

For me the Sunday Fear begins with a feeling of dread.  Then the mental list of all the things I wish I had done over the weekend that I tell myself that I will do the next weekend begins.  It is not uncommon for me to complain of boredom.  I am often heard saying “I want to do something”.  These last two symptoms directly led to me going kayaking for the first time.  Beth got tired of my self-pity and pretty much forced me to go and I had a great time.  Resisting the Sunday Fear is not impossible but it takes so much effort that sometimes it is just easier to give in to it.

"Only the rush hour hell to face"

There are thousands, dare I say millions of sufferers.  A simple solution would be to quit our jobs and find something we love.  Unfortunately some will never discover this simple solution and go on thinking this is the way life is supposed to be, work at an unfulfilling job until most of your life is gone and if you are lucky have a modest retirement.  There are even common sayings that are meant to reinforce this idea.  “That’s why it’s called Work, it’s not supposed to be fun”.  I think work can and should be fun.  Spending most of your life on toil and drudgery is no way to live.  How many lives do we get anyway?  That’s right just one.

Others, like me, see the answer clearly enough but because of the decisions that led to this point are stuck until they can dig themselves out.  Some are fortunate and see things sooner and therefore have an easier time finding a way out.  Whatever stage you find yourself in, know that there is a way out.  Everyone’s path is different but there is a path, you must however, make the decision to take it.

I am moving down my path with an end in sight but I still struggle with the Sunday Fear.

I was firmly locked into the career path with head down moving day by day toward my retirement age.  With 15years to go I had a countdown clock running on my desk top ticking away the seconds until it was time to be free.  One day I realized the absurdity of being a square peg in a round hole for the next 15 years and decided to make a change.  I am still at my job for now and for how long is a difficult question to answer as I get some affairs in order, but there is one thing I know for certain it won’t be another 15years.  It is an extremely frightening decision but living the next 15years with the Sunday Fear is far worse.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Review: Guerrilla Tags

Recently I responded to a poll in a LinkedIn group I belong to about how often I carry a form of ID while out riding, running, etc.  The truth was not very often.  When I do carry something it is usually my driver’s license with Beth’s phone # written on the back.  The guy who added the poll was the owner of a new company called Guerrilla Tags.  He asked if I would be interested in trying one out to see how I liked it.
I went to the website and made my selections.  G-Tags come in two varieties, the wrist band and the dog tag style that you wear around your neck.  I wore dog tags for eight years so I new that style wasn’t for me.  I selected the wrist band and added the information I wanted on it and hit submit.  This seems like a good time to say that Kyle, the owner sent me a code that made the G-Tag free of charge.  A week or so later my G-Tag arrived in the mail.
I was eager to try it out and while I was getting ready to go for a run I showed it to Beth who said, “It’s pretty cool but the information is wrong.”  At first I was upset but then remembered when I ordered it thinking I should double check the information for accuracy but being in a hurry I didn’t.  I went back and checked the receipt and sure enough the mistake was mine.  Kyle and the  Guerrilla Tags team engraved exactly what I told them I wanted.  Shame on me for not being more careful.  Let this be a warning to anyone ordering a G-tag!  Luckily the mistake was minor and fixable.
The Guerrilla Tag is a leather bracelet that has two snaps for fastening and an engraved tag with your information.  Being a vegetarian I had to think long and hard about using a leather strap, but ultimately came to the conclusion that if I was so concerned about it I wouldn’t have leather work shoes and a leather belt (also for work).  They offer different types of leather, brown was the most durable according to the website so it was an easy choice.  The amount and type of information you can have put on your tag is fully customizable.  I chose to keep things simple with a couple emergency contacts and that I suffer from asthma.  I only have attacks when I am around cats but I figured if I were found unconscious on the trail that information might be medically relevant.
                                               photo (4)                                                            photo (5)
The size of the wrist band was perfect for my wrist (your wrist size may vary) and the leather was soft and pliable making it comfortable to wear.  Out on the run I didn’t notice it at all which is good.  The G-Tag seems very durable and made to last.  My only concern is that the leather might get nasty constantly being exposed to sweat.  I will have to wait until it gets warm again to find out though. 
G-Tags are a good alternative to other items that serve a similar purpose.  Whether you choose a G-Tag for this purpose or another product comes down to personal preference.  I like my G-Tag, and I will continue to wear it, and if it wears out or the information changes I would likely buy a new one.
Here is a link to a video of a G-Tag being made!
           photo (2)

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Who Is?: Patrick Albert

In the introductory post of the Who Is? feature I will be placing myself under the microscope for a little inward reflection to determine Who Is?: Patrick Albert.  First though an explanation of this new feature seems in order.
I find people interesting.  The idiosyncrasies that make us different are what makes us interesting as individuals.  If we were all the same everything would be boring, and there would be no need to dig any deeper than the surface because what we would find underneath would just be more of the same.  Thankfully, we are all different and it is a worthwhile endeavour to see what is below the surface, sometimes we might be shocked by what we find or even horrified but in the end it was worth a look because we  also run the risk of being pleasantly surprised or overwhelmed by compassion and that is a risk worth taking.
Who Is? is an attempt to get at a little something below the surface by simply asking the question, Who Is?: "insert your name here".
I will pass this question around and all I ask is that it be answered in a meaningful way.  That is my only guidance.  It can be answered in any manner, words, video, photograph, painting, etc.(all of the work should be your own though).

Without further adieu:

Skate100  crop

I am a person full of ideas, and half finished projects.  The Avett Brothers song Incomplete and Insecure starts out with this line, "I haven't finished a thing since I started my life, I don't feel much like starting now".  This lyric hit me like a lightning bolt the first time I heard it.  It made me think about many things in my life.  Just a simple turn of phrase and yet so powerful.
I don't know why I am this way, but I'm sure years of therapy could yield an answer.  It's not like I have never finished anything but there are many ships yet to sail into their bottles because of me.  Having come to this realization has really helped cut down on the projects though.  The other day I heard someone described as a "thinker, not a tinkerer"  and although they weren't talking about me they easily could have been.
Perhaps the string of unfinished business in my wake is what draws me to adventure.  When you announce an adventure to the world it is a declaration of self, a bold statement that I WILL______!  You can fill in your own blank.  Skate100+, the first of the 100+Projects started with a pit in my stomach.  This was the first time I ever announced anything to the world.  The first time it ever really mattered if I finished or not.  The truth was I wasn’t sure if I could ride a skateboard 100+ miles.  I couldn't back out though.   I made the announcement and the world, or at least my small corner of it was watching!   I was prepared to do whatever it took.  I skateboarded 107miles that day and felt a great sense of accomplishment.
I am still a person with unfinished projects and unrealized ideas but I realize that some projects just don’t fit and some ideas are never meant to be realized.  Just like things, ideas can clutter your life, and I have made a good start at getting rid of that clutter.  But just like the raft, the musical, the comic strip, the canoe, and the silicone impregnated nylon, all I have so far is a good start, only time will tell if I finish.

I am Patrick Albert.  Who are you?

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Review: Ultimate Direction Access

I’ve been using the Ultimate Direction Fastdraw Plus for years and have found it to be the best handheld water bottle for runners on the market.  A few months ago I did a review of it for the Red9Runners monthly newsletter.  I sent the link to Ultimate Direction thinking they might post it on their Facebook page or something.  A week later I received an email from Buzz Burrell letting me know that they liked the Fastdraw Plus review and would send me one of their waist packs to review.  The timing was great because I was planning a 12hour run as a fundraiser for the AAFAStL and was looking for something to give away as an attendance prize.  I agreed, and a week later the Ultimate Direction Access arrived at my door.

                                                                                 Ultimate Direction Access                                                                    

I was excited to try it out because I love the Fastdraw Plus but sometimes when I am running I want my hands to be free and a belt made to carry the same great UD bottles really appealed to me.  My excitement was tempered with a touch of anxiousness because the last time I used a belt (from another company) having  it around my waist made me nauseous. 

The Access holds one 20 ounce bottle (included) that is positioned at an angle that makes it easy to remove and replace the bottle without stopping.  The UD bottles are BPA free and come with the Kicker valve which does not leak.  Seriously, with the valve in the closed position the liquid stays put.  The valve itself is soft rubber which unlike some other hard plastic valves is easy on the teeth.  If you have ever smashed a water bottle into your mouth while trying to get a drink then you know what I am talking about.  It is sort of like a baby bottle only better because baby bottles don’t fuel 20mile trail runs.photo (11)

It also features a bungee loop that when placed around the top of the bottle prevents it from falling out due to excessive jostling.  I never had to use the loop and the bottle stayed in place just fine.  Perhaps as the belt gets older and more worn in the bottle might come out so the loop is still a nice feature to have in case you need it.

Next to the bottle is a small storage pouch.  Overall I was not to impressed with this feature.  It could hold  a decent amount of stuff as long as that stuff didn’t include my phone.  My IPhone 4 in its protective case and Ziploc bag really pushed the storage pouch to the limit and when I tried to add my car keys (one key and a FOB) it took some real effort to close the zipper.  The pouch could be a little bigger in my opinion.  People are using their phones more and more to record their workouts, play music and as a safety measure if they need to call 911 so a pouch that accommodates today’s smart phones is a must.  If  you have the IPhone 5 or Samsung Galaxy (both larger than my phone) I doubt they would fit at all.

photo (6)     photo (5)     photo (8)     photo (12)

Like I said though the Access holds a lot of stuff as you can see from the pictures above, and it even has a a slot for your headphone cord.  The tethered key hook is also a nice feature if you, like me, worry about dropping your keys out on the trail somewhere only to find out when you get back to the car.  

photo (10)The belt is fully adjustable on both sides of the buckle and has an elastic band to keep the tail end of the belt from flapping around while you run.  I just wish I had more of a tail piece to really test out that elastic band with but that is to blame on my waist size not the waist pack.  Getting the belt adjusted for you takes a bit of fine tuning and in my case I had to really cinch it tight.  I found that if it felt comfortable just standing around it would shake like mad when I was running.  Using a belt is something I haven’t done for a long time so until I got the belt adjusted correctly, which for me felt almost too tight standing still, I hated it.  The first run with it on was torture but I stuck with it and after I realized the belt was too loose I found that I barely noticed that it was back there and it didn’t shake around very much at all as you can see in the video below.

Black is slimming yo!

Overall I was happy with the Access.  There were some shortcomings though  so if you are the type of runner that likes to bring a lot of accessories when  you run then you might want to consider a belt with more storage, but if all you need is room for a couple gels, your keys, and an MP3 player then I highly recommend it.  Also it comes in 10 colors so you’ll be sure to find one to match your shoes!  Stop by the Ultimate Direction website and check all of their great products.

Tomorrow I will be running a 12hour training run as part of the 100+Project.  I have invited a bunch of friends to come out and run with me and I will be giving the Access to one of them.  FYI, I will be giving away a new bottle, not the one I have been using.  Truth be told I have enjoyed using it so much I hate to give it away!

If you are interested in joining me for the 12hour tomorrow details can be found here:


Facebook event page

Disclaimer: Ultimate Direction sent me this product free of charge for the purpose of this review.  There was no guarantee of a positive review.  If I thought it was garbage I would say so.