Category Archives: Travel

Review Reviews Tech Travel

Anker Powercore Fusion 5000 – Review

My latest video review is of the Anker Powercore Fusion 5000. This is a pretty cool hybrid powerbank and AC Adapter in one device.

If you are interested in purchasing you can do so with this link http://amzn.to/2mWTE58

This has been a popular seller so if it’s out of stock on Amazon make sure to try back in a few days.

Photography Travel

Steel Wool Photography

Friday night I went to Omaha to join some photographers doing night photography. One of the highlights for me was steel wool photography. This is something I had always heard about but never tried, well Friday was the night and here are the results.

The process is very easy, we unrolled a pad of steel wool, placed it inside a wire whisk that had a string tied on the end. You then lit the steel wool on fire and moved it around while your camera’s exposure was going.

Lincoln Music Travel

Fall Concerts 2014 (The Glitch Mob & Skrillex)

The Glitch Mob

The roommate and I drove to Des Moines, IA to see The Glitch Mob on a Thursday afternoon. The venue was different, much like a big community center. They had about half of it marked off with a big curtain for the concert. Parking was great though about 15 feet from the front door and free. The Glitch Mob (Soundcloud) sounded great during the entire show. I was worried that with just the 2 large stacks of PA speakers on either side it would not be loud enough but it was. Sound quality was not up to Bassnectar level but still better than most concerts. Lighting was pretty good for a small venue too. The controllers they were using to que the sounds were pretty cool. All touch screen based, with segmented areas it would be interesting to know more about them. Behind the large turbine looking props were digital drums/triggers too.  Summary I would drive 3 hours to see The Glitch Mob again, especially for a $20 ticket. I may come back and post a little video if there is interest please leave a comment below.

 

Skrillex in the Streets

Love him or hate him, Skrillex is a a pretty big name in modern music. I am admittedly not the biggest fan but decided to go to support a bigger show like this in Lincoln. It was unique because they closed down a intersection in downtown Lincoln and had the concert outside in the streets. Weather ended up being clear but pretty cool for early October. Opening acts were a few local DJ’s that did a good job and then Waka Flacka Flame who played a lot of his older rap songs and had a lot of stage energy to get people going. Skrillex came on and played a lot of his bigger songs but also a lot of mashups from others. I had pretty mixed feelings about it expecting some more of his original content. We did get to hear a exclusive to a new song he did say.

The concert was not physically setup very well which this combined with the crowed kind of ruined it for me to a degree. The front of the stage was about even with where the crosswalk would be, and the sound booth was set across the interesection just past the other crosswalk. This left very just the middle of the middle of the intersection for people who wanted to be directly in front of the stage where the best viewpoint, best sound, and best lights were. There were just too many people for this, and that left people spilling over the sides where sound and lights deteriorated a lot. There were also beer carts in the major walkways forcing people further into these pinch points to get from one side to the other. The crowed was more rude and rough than I have experienced in a while, even with a large police presence. You expect some of this but not to this extent. The next day the comments in the local newspaper’s online article was a great laugh with people complaining about noise for blocks etc. The promoters did a good job of announcing the show in advance and it ended at the reasonable time of 11pm sharp. I hope they can continue to offer this type of outdoor show in the future and make some improvements in setup and layout.

All photos taken with a Samsung Note 2.

Cars News Travel

My Experience Driving the Nürburgring

I am a fan of European cars, so to drive a lap on the Nürburgring has been on my bucket list for a while.  On a recent vacation I was able to tick this one off on the list.  For those that don’t know, the Nürburgring is one of the most famous, complex racetracks in the world.  It is 13 miles long, and has 73 corners, many off camber.  The track elevation changes often, and a dense forest runs on both sides of the track. All of these complexities earned it the nickname of “Green Hell” in 1968 after British racing legend Jackie Stewart won the German Grand Prix there and coined the term. Today the track is used by automotive manufacturers from around the world to test their cars and fine tune suspension, as well as set lap times for bragging rights.  Most of the time the track is open (for a fee) to the general public to to lap their road legal vehicles.

Germany2013-00128

I did lots of research online about what I needed to know before going to the track, how best to approach it, and what car to rent.  I learned many european rental companies will ban the driver for life if the standard rental cars are taken on the track (GPS verified).  Too many burned up brakes and worn out tires.  Many forums suggested renting from RentRaceCar.com, and they happened to have a car that fit my needs.  I choose a VW Sorocco Cup+.  It was advertised as beginner friendly, it had a DSG gearbox, and had 2 seats so I could take a passenger.  The car had a stock 220hp motor, Bilstein suspension, semi-slick tires, racing brakes, and a half rollcage.  It was perfect.

My Car for the day

Before coming to the track, the internet suggested I practiced on a simulator.  I was very lucky to find a friend who let me borrow his PS3 for a few weeks to practice the track.  (Thanks Frank!) It made a huge difference.  While I didn’t have the track memorized, I at least recognized all of it and knew what to expect in the tricky parts.  Gran Turismo 5 did a good job of representing the track.  There were differences though.  In real life the track was pretty narrow and the elevation changes were much greater than I expected.

 

Early on a Saturday morning we set off for the track, driving from Cologne, Germany. The weather ended up being perfect: sunny, 55 degrees, and low winds.  When we got to the track it had just opened for the day, and was still a bit damp with dew and fall leaves.  I filled out the minimal paperwork, was briefed on operating the car, and rules of the track.  After that I was handed the keys, and off I went for my first lap.

 

I rented the car for 2 hours, and did a total of 4 laps.  My first lap was by myself, no one in my family wanted to be a passenger and I was ok with that.  Since this was my first track driving experience, on one of the most complex tracks in the world, and the track being damp in some corners I took things pretty cautiously.  On the track you keep to the right, and signal with your right side blinker to let faster traffic pass on the left.  Keeping a constant eye on your mirrors became pretty important.  The first lap went without a problem,  I was surprised when my mom said she wanted to be the first passenger.  I never expected it, but I said yes as long as she didn’t say anything.  Her lap was pretty exciting as an Aston Martin passed us in a corner and nearly ran into us. Eventually the entire family went on a lap as a passenger.  Traffic did increase a lot as the morning went on and the track dried out.  I was glad we got there early.  On the track, you encounter just about every type of car imaginable.  On the same lap I passed a Porsche 911 GT3 briefly, and got passed by a Chrysler Town and Country minivan.  There were lots of 911s, and M3s that were pushing hard.  In addition to sports cars, there were 7 Series, SUV’s and even compact cars packed full of people making laps.  The famous karussell lives up to it’s reputation, definitely fun.

Below is one of my laps from the ring.  Remember this was my first time on a track and the track was damp.  To me it looks pretty slow to what I remember.

 

The paddock was truly a car lovers delight.  We pulled up in our rented Hyundai i40 estate.  Parking next to us almost immediately was a modified 997 Porsche GT3.  After my first lap on the other side parked next to the Hyundai was a new Aston Martin with a lady in the passenger seat, dressed the part to be in an Aston.  There was also an Aston Martin club from France that was at the track for the day.  The Porsche 911s and BMW M3s in the lot were too numerous to count: new, old, stock and modified were all represented.  There were also a handful of Ferrari F430s, a 612, and a couple of Lamborghinis.  The BMW Ring Taxi M5s were also making lots of laps too.  On the more rare side of things, there was a Mercedes Mclaren SLR with duct tape, and a newer Radical getting lots of attention.  I could have spent a long time taking photos of all the comings and going.  We did meet family from Florida who was in the military at the track doing laps.  One of their children was lucky enough to get a flying fast lap from someone in the lot who overheard.  It sounded amazing.

I am so grateful for having the opportunity to be in the area and visit the track.  It really was the highlight of my trip.  I would recommend it to anyone who had a love for cars and wants to drive on a track.  If you have any questions leave a comment below and I will do my best to answer them.

Life Photography Travel

Yellowstone 2012 Photos

In August of 2012 I visited Yellowstone National Park with my family for a short vacation.  The weather ended up being great and it was really a photographers dream trip.  There was a lot of people but we really did not have to wait in line much around the park.  I took a ton of photos but narrowed them down quite a bit to my favorites. I have 5 photos posted below and then more in my Gallery Link.  The new gallery is HTML5 so it’s compatible with all of your mobile devices!

 

Life Lincoln News Travel

Bill Nye – Science!!!

A couple of weekends ago I was able to see Bill Nye @TheScienceGuy speak at the Homestead National Monument in Beatrice NE.  It was a beautiful fall day for 300-400 people to sit and listen.  I was expecting a few basic experiments similar to the TV show, but instead it was more of a speech lecture.  The topic varied but some of the main points were sustainability, and the future and importance of science.

At the end there was a long Q&A session, and the topics were all over the place.  Controversial questions were asked and they were handled in a dignified way. Bill Nye did not try and stay in the middle of the road, instead voicing his strong opinion on some topics such as global warming, nuclear energy’s future, etc.  He did keep stressing finding a way to store energy efficiently and that it could “Make you Rich”!

I took several photos during the speech, and a few are below.  I was glad I went.

Life News Review Travel

How to make Tinto De Verano

Tinto De Verano is a traditional Spanish summer drink. Its name translates to “Red Wine of Summer”.  The drink is similar to sangria but much simpler to make.  Everyone I have made the drink for love it. I was first introduced to the drink on a trip to Spain in high school by the local kids I was with.  They explained that in Spain only tourists order sangria, local order Tinto De Verano.  The drink is very easy to make and it only really as 2 ingredients. I will explain more below.  On my return visit to Spain in 2010 I noticed that they even sell this in the grocery store now, premixed in large liter bottles.  I did not end up trying this as the real thing is so easy to make and I would guess tastes better too.The list of ingredients to make a Tinto de Verano  is very short and simple.  The main ingredients are red wine and a carbonated lemon soda.

The Wine:
While in Spain I asked about learning to make this and it was explained to me that any red wine will work to make the drink. They also said the cheaper the wine, the better usually.  In Spain we bought Liter boxes of wine for just a few Euro that worked great. This is a great way to get rid of red wine that you don’t care for is just cheap. Shiraz, Malbec, and blends containing Merlo and Cabernet Sauvignon also work well. The wine variety is really unimportant. I have found the Trader Joes famous Two Buck Chuck works pretty well.

The Soda:
In Spain two of the most popular sodas are La Casera Gaseosa which is low sugar lightly carbonated lemonade type drink. The other popular choice is Lemon Fanta.  The problem with these is that they are not widely available in the United States.  For example Lemon Fanta in the USA is not made with real cane sugar.  Anyone who has had a Mexican or European Coke will tell you there is a huge difference, the same is true with Lemon Fanta.   I will explain what I use to make the drink in the US below.

What I use to make Tinto De Veranos myself are Trader Joe’s wines.  The store recently opened in my area and they sell a couple varieties of house red wines under the label  Charles Shaw.  It sells in my area for $2.99 a bottle so it sure fits the cheap criteria.  For the soda I have found that Sunkist Lemon soda works really well.  They also have a diet variety that tastes good too.  I have read that a lemon lime soda like Sprite or 7-up also works but since these are sweeter and have lime with them it changes the flavor a bit.  I have not tried these as much.

If you want to make the drink a bit stronger you can easily add a shot of white rum. Be careful as this drink does a good job of masking alcohol so things can get out of hand pretty easily.

So now that you know about the drink here is how you make it.

Instructions:
Using a high ball glass fill the glass with several large ice cubes.
Fill the glass about 1/3 of the way full with red wine,  add optional rum.
Fill the remaining glass with the Sunkist lemon soda that has been chilled.
Stir and enjoy.

The drink should be light, refreshing and bring the fruit flavors out of the wine.  Depending on the wine being used it is acceptable to use a little bit of simple syrup or sugar to make the drink a bit sweeter if desired.  Optional garnishments include a slice of Lemon or Orange.

Below is a photo of a Tinto De Verano I made last year.

Life Photography Travel

Washington DC Day 1

I made it to Washington DC last night after both of my flights were delayed. The good thing was we made up almost all of the delayed time over 1.3 hours. Today Ryan and I went to the Bureau of Printing and Engraving where US Paper money is printed. Sadly photos are not allowed inside the building. We then spent the remainder of the day at the Smithsonian Air and Space museum where we saw tons of great aircraft and space craft.


US Capitol Building

German WWII V2 Rocket

Apollo 11 Module

X-15

Washington Memorial at Sunset

Be sure to check back tomorrow for more.