25 August 2010

Jambu Shoes Review

My new Jambu Shoes review is now up on thier blog.

Info about the SS Red Oak Victory ship is at:
The first review of Jambu sister Co, J-41, is shown below. The link to the review on their site is:

Happy sailing and walking.

17 August 2010

Abercrombie & Fitch

When I was a kid, Abercrombie & Fitch meant hunting and fishing. I knew this because of my dad, the outdoorsman. I think maybe he had an A&E fishing creel but I can’t be certain. What I am sure of is that we always had A&E whistles that were always around my dad’s neck or on my parent’s key chains.
I grew up with hunting dogs that were trained to a whistle; four short blasts was their signal to return. When we’d go camping, high in the Sierra’s, one kid always had to wear a whistle around our neck to be blown in the event of an emergency. I, for one, adored the booming sound produced by that little piece of metal but was as well trained as the dogs; blasting it for kicks was out of the question.

Years passed, I didn’t become a hunter or angler, so Abercrombie & Fitch pretty much went out of my vocabulary. And then one day I saw an ad with a half naked man advertising A&E. I wasn’t exactly sure what they were selling although it appeared not to be anything my dad would ever have bought.

While recently sorting through the basement in the family home I came across boxes of clothing that had not been unpacked in decades. In the piles of clothing I found two dresses and a pair of women’s slacks that appear to be circa 1950’s. They had never belonged to anyone in my family but had been picked up by my grandmother who collected cast-offs from wherever she could find them. She’d then pack them up and ship them from the east coast to California.

I particularly loved the trousers and could not believe the superb craftsmanship. I have always been disappointed with women’s pants when compared to men’s; their construction is shoddy. Whenever I look at a pair of women’s slacks I wonder why they aren’t the same quality as their male counterparts. But not these vintage A&E’s; they were constructed just like men’s pants. Unfortunately, the waist is about a half an inch too tight for me. I can button them but then can’t breathe. Since I don’t think I can bear to part with them, I think I will have to make some minor adjustments.

Somewhere in the house, there are at least two Abercrombie & Fitch whistles; I am on a mission to find them.

30 May 2010

J-41's in Vallarta

The following is a review I wrote for J-41 Footwear. It is published on their Facebook page.

What a gal needs when navigating the rough terrain of a foreign port is a decent pair of shoes. I was set to find out if my bumble-bee, J-41 Intrepids were up to the task.
For years I’ve tried to come up with shoes that are good for airplane travel; i.e. easy on/easy off, yet something that is supportive and does not slip off while one wrestles with baggage and treks through miles of airport terminals. My Intrepids did the trick; they easily flipped off and on going through security and once again when I was on the plane.

Sure, they worked well cruising the urban streets of California, where the sidewalks and streets generally aren’t too bad, but how would they do on the cobblestoned streets of Puerto Vallarta, Mexico? The answer: amazing. In fact it wasn’t until I stupidly stepped out one evening in thin flip-flops, (grimacing with every step and praying to Aztec gods that I wouldn’t break an ankle), that I could fully gage the extent of comfort and support afforded by my J-41’s. Not only that, they are so light on the feet that I’m not even aware of their solid foundation.

In the mornings I like to walk down to the shore and stroll along the water’s edge. The Intrepids handled the sand with ease before I kicked them off. (Walking in sand barefoot will remain preferable to walking in even the best shoe). Leaving the beach and returning to the pavement I simply stepped right back into them without having to sit in gunk to tie and untie shoelaces.

I climbed up 100 steps to get a look at Elizabeth Taylor’s house high on the hill overlooking the Bay of Bandeiras. My feet didn’t register any complaints going up and I felt secure negotiating the steep, cobblestone streets on my way back down the hill.

In the Vallarta Botanical Gardens I confidently hiked up and down narrow, often damp trails, feeling at one with the earth. My Intrepids were so quiet and unobtrusive that I barely disturbed the birds and lizards along the way.

On most days I put in at least four hours of walking. The third day I was here I discovered something astonishing; even in this tropical heat and humidity, and even when not wearing socks, my feet never sweat in these shoes!

I still have lots more to explore so will Adventure On with my trusty J-41’s.


16 February 2010

What Olympics?

Frustration, anger, high blood-pressure: just a few of the results of NBC’s lack of coverage of the 2010 Winter Olympics. You know it’s going to happen, you know that it has been the same since the start of televised Olympic coverage, yet you hold on to the belief that this time it will be different. Four years ago I told myself that the internet will be so advanced by 2010 that surely I will be able to stream love coverage. And again, my dreams were dashed.

I live in California, the same time zone as Vancouver, yet there is no live coverage. You have to be on the East Coast to get that. Worse is that coverage starts late, with broadcast of high-interest events, like ice skating, at the end of the show in an attempt to force viewers to stay tuned-in. I missed most of the finals of the pairs competition last night because I couldn’t stay up to 11:00 pm to watch it. And what about the kids who really are the ones who should be able to watch and be inspired? The lighting of the Olympic torch at the opening ceremony was broadcast at midnight. When most broadcasts start past the bedtime hour of young children, something is terribly wrong.

But even if you do make the sacrifice to stay up late, you won’t see much of the athletic events. Even though the Games are going on all day, for two weeks, NBC has chosen to use their air time showing you broadcasters learning how to snowboard, boozing it up in nightclubs, or plugging the food in local restaurants.

A little bit of athlete-background might be acceptable, but not at the cost of missing the actual competition. How many times a day do we need to see The Story of Apollo Ohno, or snowboarders signing karaoke? As for coverage of anything other than The Best American Athletes, you’re out of luck. You would think that the USA, and possibly Canada, were the only countries involved. What about the stories of all the others? 2623 athletes and over 80 countries are listed on the official Vancouver 2010 site, yet we will never hear about most of them.

Having lived abroad, I know decent coverage is possible. I remember, with joy, watching Eurosport coverage of all international sporting events and being absolutely gob-smacked that they actually showed non-stop action and covered athletes other than those who had a top 10 ranking. Their announcers were well-spoken, stuck to the program and didn’t segue into inane conversations about the clothes of their colleagues or where they’d had breakfast.

I want good coverage. I want proper announcers. I want to remember the Olympics with fondness, not aggravation. It will never happen unless, of course, I am in some other country than my own next time they come around.