Back From Vacation

This past week I have been staying at the lovely Rebstock in Obereggenen in the Black Forest region of Southern Germany. Obereggenen is situated in a small valley amid apple groves, vineyards, lush meadows and dark forests.It doesn’t quite compare to a New England Indian Summer but the scenery is still quite beautiful this time of the year. Anyway, the fresh air and everything is quite a welcome change for someone who spends most of his time indoors (either at home or at work) in front of a computer screen.

Even though many things have changed over the years, it still feels very familiar whenever I come here; almost like coming home. One thing that has changed substantially over the years is what they serve for dinner. While it used to be exclusively local cuisine, one now sees more varied influences reflected in the type of food offered and its presentation. Dinner is now a five-course, two-hour culinary festival (or ordeal depending on the circumstances). Quite nice for a week a year, but definitely not something you would want every day.

Stuff White People Like

Stuff White People Like is truly a hilarious book. I picked up my copy in Boston last year and couldn’t stop reading. I don’t know whether that is a good or a bad thing, but I fund myself liking amy of the things described in this book: Arrested Development, bicycles, The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, The New Yorker, The Simpsons, to name just a few.

One of the themes of “white people” in the book is that they like to do stuff that involves purchasing expensive, activity specific equipment (cf. chapter 31 Snowboarding). Consequently, I didn’t just go on a hike, but I had to do it with special hiking boots, my GPS logger and a jacket I had purchased for this vacation. I had high hopes for the GPS logger to record our hikes so I could see where we had been on my computer, but alas that was a disappointment. I don’t now whether the tree cover interfered with the GPS signal or whether I was carrying the device wrong, but the track it recorded was for the most part unusable. I’ll have to do some research next time to figure out the optimal way to use this device. One thing, however, did not disappoint and that was my new jacket.

Travel Companions

This jacket is now my favorite travel companion: the Scott eVest. I became of their version 3.0 vest (isn’t it cool when clothes have a version number?) several years ago when I was in college. Back then, they they cost way more than I could afford spending on a piece of clothing, but last month I decided it was time to get myself one. I originally had my eye on their Signature System, but unsure whether the sleeves would be long enough for me (they usually aren’t) I settled for an Evolution Jacket (which has removable sleeves) and a Travel Vest, as they would not be completely useless even when the sleeves wouldn’t fit. It was a pleasant surprise, though, that both items fit me perfectly. I don’t think I have ever had a jacket that fit this well.

Anyway, the great thing about these jackets is their utility. The people at Scott eVest have obviously given a lot of thought to the functionality of their products. As I prefer function over form (another reason I’m a Windows not a Mac person), this is the perfect jacket for me. I know longer need to bring a back pack, as everything I could possibly need  comfortably fits into this jacket. There are pockets everywhere, but it’s not just that there are so many of them, they don’t overlap, such that even with a lot of stuff stowed in the jacket, it doesn’t show. Last week I was carrying a scarf, gloves, a hat, the GPS logger, my cell phone and 0.5l water bottle without any sacrifice in comfort. Awesome!

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