03/17/14

I Have Learned A Lot

I have traveled these past couple days. Started at home, traveled north through Detroit into Canada on my way to Toronto, Ontario Canada. I had planned on stopping in Detroit to take some photos of the abandoned skyscrapers and whatnot. Well, Thursday morning I just woke up way to late and subsequently got on the road way to late, about 3 hours, to do this. So instead I passed by my stops in Detroit and headed directly for my border crossing at the Ambassador bridge. Got there, and well I guess I meet a profile but I got invited to the secondary search area. So after CBP spent 30 minutes going through my SUV and looking me up on the computer and asking if I had any guns with me, I finally got through the border.

This is when my schooling started.

First of all I am not completely naive and understand certain differences between the US and Canada. Understanding this and actually dealing with this though are two different things. One of the first things I notice is the 90kph speed limit. After a few moments I remember that there is actually is basic KPH readings on my speedo. The metric system, I know it, not well but after a little thinking I was able to convert in my head. Road signs are different and look different.

Next is kind of related to the first, distances, specifically in kilometers. That one actually was nice. What I mean is that I have a sign saying “80 km to Toronto.” In theory that sounds bad because my brain is thinking 80 miles traveling at 55mph. Where as what was actually happening was that I had 80 kilometers to go while traveling 120kph. That is a much better, and faster, ratio of travel time and speed.

Then was my cell phone. I do not own a standalone GPS system for navigation. So I did not have easy communications or navigation, because I use the Google Maps app. I incurred some, probably expensive, international roaming charges because of a little data use. I have a Samsung Galaxy S4. Out of the box it is an unlocked international phone, supposedly. Mine is a Verizon Wireless version. All I should have to do is plug in a new SIM and probably change a few settings. This I will be testing out in the next few months.

This is a more related to just generic travel anywhere, but it was the “little-things.” Specifically parking and toll roads. In this modern world both things required cash. Well I do not carry cash, have not for a long time. That is going to change. Not a lot needs to be said about that. I am going to start keeping cash in my wallet and glove box 24/7. Plus when traveling my personal bags. I might even add a coin to the mix ass well. Now that I think about it I have coin in my backpack. About a $1.35 USD, enough to get my through my first toll to an atm. O well.

Finally I see that my old fashioned American plastic cards in my wallet need to be upgraded. What I mean is that most of the rest of the world no longer uses magnetic strips on cards. They use something called the ‘Chip-and-Pin’ system or EMV. These systems are much more secure. Remember Target and the other retailers at the end of last year? Yeah that would not have been possible with the newer system. Frankly it is just what the rest of the world is going to. While I was able to transact everywhere I went, it was not as smooth or easy as it could have been. Especially when I was purchasing gas this morning at the Canadian Petrol and breakfast at Tim Hortons. Plus that way I can have that new technology first, haha. The US is converting over to the ‘Chip-and-Pin’ system. Just slowly because of the amount of systems and vast cost.

Recap:
Navi
GPS/Communication Tech
Money/Commerce
03/16/14

I would like to travel

I recently went on a road trip by myself. My wife was with her sister on their own trip. By myself sounds weird to you, well I work well with others and by myself. Sometimes a little alone time recharges my batteries, so it actually was nice. I had a lot of fun and really enjoyed traveling. I really never enjoyed traveling quite as much before. I have been on plenty of trips as a kid with my parents. I have actually been all over this country and a little bit international. This time particularly though was so much fun. I look forward now to doing it more, and with my wife as well!

There are so many places off the top of my head I would love you to go and photograph. Because ultimately I traveled this time to take tons of pictures.

US:
Hawaii
Alaska
I have other states I need to capture all 50, but those are not quite as exciting as the ones listed above.

International:
Scotland(A Tour of Various Cities)
Ireland(A Tour of Various Cities)
London, England
Paris, France
Brussels, Belgium

Cruise:
I would love to relive the route that was planned to be taken by the H.M.S Titanic.

Now I could keep going but I think you get the picture here. I am very interested in starting to visit eastern Europe. Past that though I do not know. There are a few beautiful place in Asia but I could not name them by name without a little research. I suppose this could be part a bucket list series of posts. Might be a good idea for me to write about. I like to think I have a pretty cool list.

Here is a link to my Pinterest Board “Places”
Follow mattinindy’s board Places on Pinterest.

03/8/12

Ham Radio & EDC…Part 1

Ham Radio is now my biggest hobby, definitely spend the most money on it, but it’s not my only one.  Let me preface a little. I am a person the has a particular mindset; it lightly paranoid, very prepared, willing and strong mindset. While yes, that all does sound like I’m really tooting my own horn and maybe I’ve got a “hero” complex or something, it’s all true. I have no complex. I guess it’s hard to be 100% definitive until those things are really tested but I’m can say that I am 100% willing. With all that said, I a person who believes in being prepared, but not in a weird way like “dooms-day-preppers” or anything.

EDC = Everyday Carry, all the stuff you have set aside to carry on a very consistent basis. I believe in being prepared like I said and I do have a very consistent and defined EDC. I actually would say I have 3 versions that sometimes I must alternate through. Just because of school obviously being gun free and I can’t carry into work either. So here’s how it breaks down:

  1. Full EDC – Lethal and Non-Lethal + food, backpack and pocket carry
  2. Work EDC – Non-Lethal + food, backpack and pocket carry; **Lethal in truck** 
  3. School EDC – Partial/Non-Lethal + food, backpack and pocket carry

That probably seems like a lot and it might sound to be difficult to control and deploy, but it’s not. Over time my kit/s have evolved. I’ve added and weeded out plenty, gone through several bags and improved quality of the tools I carry.  Quality improvement meaning that I started with, lets say a, Maglite LED flashlight, but a while back I upgraded my primary torch to a higher-end 4Sevens Maelstrom X7; which is a beast of a light. Things like that, I didn’t through out $1000 dollars at once to put together my EDC, over time I’ve built a nice kit.

I’ve also segregated gear easy to access micro kits inside the pack. Zippered bags, clam-shell kits and organizers. This way transferring stuff from bag to bag is easy and quick. The prime essentials; pens, weapons, navigation, hydration, knives, flashlights and things of that nature are always mounted in the bags, there’s a set in each full time.

This a multi part series…

02/1/12

My HT and it’s new Case

So I have not really covered it yet, but I own a HT, handheld ham radio. And I’ve found a basic, good and useful storage case for it. First, let me tell you, briefly, about rig I have a Yaesu VX-8DR and I love it! It has multiple features; operates 6 & 2 meters and 440mhz, supports APRS with GPS dongle, tough as nails and compact. I run the stock battery just for slim-ness of it, I have the shoulder mic and a upgraded antenna. Normally when I carry, which with it’s size is a lot. Most of my backpacks are molle compatible, so I normally carry it in a 5.11 Tactical Radio Pouch. Some times when all I have is my side bag I’ll tuck it in a side pocket of that.

But on occasion I do pack it in something, it might be luggage or it just might be, actually, inside my backpack. And that’s what I’ve got today. A little back-story first. With this school semester I am transitioning back and forth between 3 bags. Well when I carry a bag, whether it’s one of my 2 backpacks or my messenger bag, there’s a certain set of tools and things I like to carry. No matter what. So after switching 3 times a week for 3 weeks now I’m tired of it and I have been researching smaller bags to keep the actual things in. So instead of moving 20 things, I move 5 to 6 pouches. Much better.

Well I picked up the Zeikos IR-NEO36 Black Neoprene Carrying Case. It’s a nice little case and when I ever pack my little HT in something I will use this little case for it’s protection. It’s got a nice padded feeling to it, the inside is lined with a nylon fabric, the outside is neoprene and it has a solid feeling zipper. The best part is that the total with tax and shipping, out there door to mine cost me $1.09. I will b buying more. I will probably buy several more for other radio parts, cables, and etc.

At a later date I’ll do a more detailed review of the radio and case but for now info can be found at the links above.

01/31/12

My HT and it’s new Case

So I have not really covered it yet, but I own a HT, handheld ham radio. And I’ve found a basic, good and useful storage case for it. First, let me tell you, briefly, about rig I have a Yaesu VX-8DR and I love it! It has multiple features; operates 6 & 2 meters and 440mhz, supports APRS with GPS dongle, tough as nails and compact. I run the stock battery just for slim-ness of it, I have the shoulder mic and a upgraded antenna. Normally when I carry, which with it’s size is a lot. Most of my backpacks are molle compatible, so I normally carry it in a 5.11 Tactical Radio Pouch. Some times when all I have is my side bag I’ll tuck it in a side pocket of that.

 

But on occasion I do pack it in something, it might be luggage or it just might be, actually, inside my backpack. And that’s what I’ve got today. A little back-story first. With this school semester I am transitioning back and forth between 3 bags. Well when I carry a bag, whether it’s one of my 2 backpacks or my messenger bag, there’s a certain set of tools and things I like to carry. No matter what. So after switching 3 times a week for 3 weeks now I’m tired of it and I have been researching smaller bags to keep the actual things in. So instead of moving 20 things, I move 5 to 6 pouches. Much better.

 

Well I picked up the Zeikos IR-NEO36 Black Neoprene Carrying Case. It’s a nice little case and when I ever pack my little HT in something I will use this little case for it’s protection. It’s got a nice padded feeling to it, the inside is lined with a nylon fabric, the outside is neoprene and it has a solid feeling zipper. The best part is that the total with tax and shipping, out there door to mine cost me $1.09. I will b buying more. I will probably buy several more for other radio parts, cables, and etc.

 

At a later date I’ll do a more detailed review of the radio and case but for now info can be found at the links above.