Monday, November 8, 2010

Personal struggle: backpack or messenger bag?

Today I posted a Buzz about the items I carry on a daily basis. I always find it interesting to see what my friends consider essential or how little they can carry.

Personally, I carry a lot of stuff. I feel as though I am stuck in an eternal quest to find the best way to transport it all. For the past several months I have been using a Timbuk2 messenger bag that was given to me as Google schwag. I am not sure what model but it appears to be an earlier (1.0?) version of the commute 2.0. The only noticeable difference is the lack of TSA compliance which would be very useful.

There are very few things that I dislike about the Timbuk2:

  • The side bottle holder fails to hold my water bottles (Nalgene or Camelbak, 650ml+)
  • There are very few (only 2) zipper compartments for organizing items.
  • There are zero external access pockets for storing quick access items (such as my camera)
  • My bag is customized to read "Google Atlanta" which is simply asking to be stolen.

Before the Timbuk2 I carried a Swissgear Synergy backpack. This is easily the best backpack I have owned. There is plenty of storage, great organization, and it's comfortable to carry. Mine is over 4 years old and just starting to fray.

Every few weeks I find myself switching between the Timbuk2 and Synergy backpack. Why?

  • I love the design, size, and feel of the Timbuk2. It feels more refined and stylish.
  • The Timbuk2 stays close to your body and is easier to carry in crowded, or cramped, environments.
  • It is more difficult for anyone to take an item from the Timbuk2 unnoticed.
  • The Timbuk2 is easier to travel with due to it's size and luggage support.
  • I am more comfortable putting my DSLR in the timbuk2.
  • The Synergy feels more organized.
  • The Synergy is capable of carrying more (at the compromise of size and weight).
  • The Synergy is more comfortable to carry for extended periods of time.
  • I can quickly grab items from the Synergy by slinging it over one arm and unzipping the appropriate compartment.
  • I feel awkward carrying a backpack in public places (slightly more comfortable with a messenger bag).

So which bag is right? Both feel like a compromise in at least one aspect. For now I plan to stick with the Timbuk2 but I'm constantly searching for the bag which fits me best.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Front yard clean up

Last weekend Jenna and I decided to improve the appearance of our front yard. After three days of work, and a lot of help from my parents, our front yard is looking better than ever.


Our front yard has two large flower beds which span the front of the house. They were filled with overgrown bushes, shrubs, and small trees which completely obscured the house. Jenna and I wanted to start over and achieve a clean look.

Using my Dad's SUV we ripped each bush from the ground. Once removed we cleared the area of bark and tried to plant flowers. After a futile attempt at shoveling the compacted Georgia clay I rented a tiller. The little machine made quick work of the terrible soil and we were ready to plant flowers.


We originally anticipated one to two days of work to complete the project; however, weather kept interrupting our work. The right side still needs flowers but we have decided to take a break for a few days.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Bike update

Biking is still a painful exercise but the difficulty is decreasing each day. So far I have biked approximately 3.5 miles over three sessions. Hills are currently my enemy but they are becoming less challenging each time I ride. My goal is to be capable of traveling 6 miles without too much effort. I am finding it difficult to practice during the week because it is normally dark once I arrive home. I am tempted to ride before I leave for work; however, I really enjoy my sleep as well.

I am still unsure about riding on the major roads outside of my neighborhood. Many of the drivers, soccer moms driving over sized SUVs in particular, believe that they own the road and show a terrifying amount of hostility towards bikers. I hope this is due to living in the suburbs rather than the city.

Yesterday I discovered that my rear will is slightly warped. The brake is lightly touching in one spot and needs to be addressed soon. I have thought about purchasing a second bike when I travel to San Francisco this April but I'm not sure about shipping it back to Georgia. I will be staying a half mile from the office so I will probably just walk instead.

Monday, February 15, 2010

New bike: Giant Rincon

Last night I was given a slightly used Giant Rincon bicycle by one of my previous neighbors. I had been researching commuter bikes, like the Trek PDX, anticipating to spend several hundred dollars so this was perfect timing. The Rincon is an entry level mountain bike that will be excellent for getting me back into cycling; however, I will probably purchase a road/hybrid bike in the future.

Today was the first day I biked in approximately two years. It was painful and really showed me how much work and practice I need. I only lasted about 15 minutes on the hills of my neighborhood before I returned home gasping for air. Hopefully tomorrow, and the following weeks, will be better.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Weekend photo

IMG_1017, originally uploaded by schrierc.

This weekend Jenna, Logan, and myself went to Zac's house to celebrate his birthday and watch the super bowl. One of our friends arranged Logan in this position which I happened to capture. I think this is one of my favorite photos of Logan so far.