May Updates

  • I succumbed to temptation and bought a smart watch.  It is the Samsung Gear S3 frontier, which is really the first one that caught my eye.  It’s gorgeous, full-featured, has good battery life, and integrates well with my phone.  After discovering it, I researched many others, but ultimately I came back to this one.  I avoided this watch at first because it is based on the Tizen OS, rather than Android.  A couple of the apps I’ve wanted to develop for the Android would actually be better suited to a watch, but with Tizen that would mean I would have to learn development for yet another platform.  However, now that I’m getting into it, I’m finding the learning curve is quite easy, and I’m already up and running with my first app (a watch face).  When I first looked into Tizen, I found that app development is generally in HTML, CSS, and JavaScript.  I thought that sounded kind of kludgy, but now that I’ve gotten into it I can see that it’s actually quite sensible and even almost elegant.  I’m definitely looking forward to more development.
  • I have a new camera day-pack, which I plan to use primarily at Glacier National Park this summer, and I’ve been planning what I can fit into it.  On my list of things I’d like to pack are binoculars.  I’ve been hiking with binoculars in day-packs for a while, but because half the space of this pack is taken up by camera gear, there is less space available.  My binoculars are full-size 10x42mm binoculars that I use for hunting.  The large objective is useful for low light conditions, which are common when hunting, but I don’t need such massive optics if I’m only using them in daylight.  Compact binoculars are common, and I don’t know why it didn’t occur to me until now to get some for backpacking.  I went to Cabela’s and tried out a few pairs, and I settled on a pair by Nikon, their Trailblazer 10×25.  They are much smaller, 40% of the weight about about that much smaller dimensionally.  They aren’t as bright as my larger binoculars, but in normal light they are plenty bright enough, and the clarity is excellent.
  • I checked out Don Robinson State Park and hiked the longer of the two trails.  It is a new state park, having opened sometime this year.  There’s an old cabin, which looks like it might have been turned into a museum, and a big patio with a scenic view.  However, the hiking trails are the main attraction.  Several little streams that join together to form a deep canyon in the sandstone, and it is both interesting and beautiful.  I went on a wet day, having had storms the previous day and night, and apart from mud on the trail, it was a really gorgeous experience because the streams and waterfalls were fully active.  The longer Sandstone Canyon Trail is a moderate 4-mile loop.  I will have to return sometime to check out the shorter 2.4-mile LaBarque Hills Trail (also moderate).
  • My new favorite grilling food this summer may be meat on a stick.  It appears that my local grocery store has replaced the in-house butcher with some meat packaging company in Canada.  The packaging is rather robust, and I don’t like that it feels that much more industrialized.  However, there are some interesting products, and several of them are meat kabobs: chunks of meat on skewers marinated in various flavors.  However, the interesting thing is that they are individually packaged.  They come in four-packs, but they are packaged in such a way as to seal each kabob individually.  Using scissors, I can cut out just one, peel it open, and place it on grill.  And the purpose of the industrial-strength packaging is to preserve it for a long time, which means I have a couple of weeks to eat them all.
  • Some time ago, I bought Payback on Blu-ray as an upgrade from the DVD.  I either didn’t notice or didn’t think much about the fact that this was a director’s cut.  Recently, I brought it over to a friend’s house to watch, and … ugh.  I’ve never seen a more badly butchered edit of a good film.  The theatrical release includes a really tight montage during the opening credits that is an impressive example of characterization.  Gone in the director’s cut.  The start of the film was all turned around, apparently to avoid the flashback later, and it lost a lot of coherence.  Kris Kristofferson’s character is cut out completely, along with the torture scene and the nice, tidy wrapping up of the conflict.  He is replaced by some woman who we never actually see.  The “fat boy” scene is gone.  The last quarter of the film is a purposeless foot chase where Mel Gibson shoots a couple dozen anonymous bad guys, all footage that never made it to the theatrical release.  The climax is evidently that he ran out of anonymous bad guys to shoot, and he’s not completely dead.
  • If I’m going to Glacier National Park, it seems reasonable that one of my goals should be to see and stand on a glacier.  However, I am beginning to question whether it is even a possibility.  The easiest glacier to reach from a road appears to be Sperry Glacier.  However, it is evidently a 10.7 mile hike (each way), climbing 4800 vertical feet, at altitude.  As a day hike, that would be impossible for me.  To do it practically, I would have to plan to stay at Sperry Chalet and make three days of it.  However, I have only allocated two full days at the park.  I’ll want to see other things than just one valley.  I think I need to go back to the drawing board.  In any case, I need to train harder.  I should start doing some sort of hiking or bicycling every day between now and August.