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Aug. 3 2009 - 9:08 pm | 1 views | 0 recommendations | 13 comments

T/S Survey: What’s your favorite non-digital toy?

As August slides into September, I usually have to do a bit of gear inventory: What got too banged up in summer to work properly in the fall? Which led me to wonder what my favorite piece of gear is. The answer came pretty quickly: My binoculars.

epoch-top_l2I have a pair of Brunton Epoch X75s in 7.5×43 power. I use them constantly. I’ve even suffered a bit of paranoia about using them, for fear I’ll drop them, or leave them someplace. I think I’d cry if I did. Being able to see details clearly, with a lot of light-gathering, across distances, can make or break certain kinds of outings. Confession: I have studied hatching mayflies at about 50 yards so I didn’t spook the trout. Humans evolved as highly visual creatures, and this extension of my sight goes right to some deep atavistic appreciation for the Brunton glasscutters, whomever they are. I got these binocs a while ago, second-hand, and one draw-back to the brand is that they tend to be way pricey, new, and have a lot of worthy competition. Still, they’re my fav’s. 

And I know what I’d like next (but it’s a long ways off): A Redfish Kayak Spring Run “brunette,” one of the most beautiful wooden kayaks made in America these days. (Full disclosure: I wrote about Redfish for Fortune – Small Business magazine in 2008. That doesn’t change anything — I still want this kayak.)



So I put it to you, True/Slanters: What is the one piece of non-digital gear or equipment you just can’t live without? This can be anything for anywhere — kitchen, outdoors, laboratory. And which one do you not have but covet, drool over, and occasionally weep about? 

As a treat, here’s one to think about for Christmas: A paintball minigun!



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    Not a toy, exactly. My sweetie — who came home tonight to find me snuffling and bleeding from a bike crash and patched me up very well. Then, my Filofax.

    I,too, treasure my binoculars, used for everything from hawk-spotting to seeing architectural details better.

    Drooling over…a Boxster. Not likely to happen and not exactly official outdoor gear. But yes, I want one. (Working for The North Face part-time, I can get a lot of outdoor stuff at insanely discounted prices, so there’s not much way out of reach in the way of basic equipment.)

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    If you swapped mustard with the paint, the minigun would come in extra-handy at next July 4th’s Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest, allowing America to combine its love for heavy firepower with that of overeating.

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    Non-digital eh?

    I would have to say my golf clubs. There is no better way to get away from the computer than to spend a few hours at the golf course.

    Although, times change, my buddy just got an ipod and just got an app that will follow his ball placement and judge the distance to the green for him… so my non-digital golf day may be over.

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    I’m OK and so is the bike, thanks. I slipped off the dirt path, distracted, and was going pretty fast. Luckily, wearing gloves, long workout pants and helmet. I’m mostly sore and tired.

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    Thanks. It’s still better than getting doored!

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    Scott, Found your blog, thought I’d post my favorites:
    1. Old Town Canoe – bought used in like-new condition. I know where almost every scratch came from.
    2. Rifle – Seiko 270 with Nikon Scope – purchased for me by my father. Nicer than I could ever afford and far more than I deserve.
    3. My bow – bought second hand, so used that all evidence of a brand has long been worn away.
    4. Galvin 2 1/4 View Camera – I love old cameras. This one has the benefits of a studio view camera in a compact, light-weight, hike-able camera.

    If I were to include digital I would have to say my Sekonic L558 light meter and my Nikon 400yrd. rangefinder. Gear I drool over–well, that photo of the Brunton binoc’s is why I read your post. And, of course, while she’s not gear exactly, I couldn’t go anywhere without my dog.

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    My iPhone….wait.

    It’s hard to remember back that far when I had favorite toys that weren’t digital, seeing as I don’t even have a car anymore living in NYC. I think I’d have to go all the way back to X-Men action figures and Nerf guns.

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    Because most of my adventures these days are urban, I’m going to say my Canondale M300 hybrid bicycle. It’s strong, fast, and light enough to carry up a flight of stairs to the El platform without much burden.

    I love the Redfish kayak, but I think it would be a shame to put it in the Chicago River. Something as industrial as the river would seem more appropriate. I’d love to be in a Redfish on the Kootenay, though. I once had a Merriman Tadpole for rowing about Morro Bay.

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    I could never do without my bike. Diamond Back something. Not big on specifics really. I’ve put in slime tubes, changed to a more hybrid tire, and found the perfect gear combination. Aside from that, it would probably be my physical body. I can do things that are so much fun. Couldn’t do without it.

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    About Me

    I've worked as a ghostwriter, a magazine editor, and an acquisitions editor in publishing, and lived for quite a while in NYC. Now I live in the trees and am a freelance "content provider" for print and digital media and for broadcast programming. I also rep the work of angling artist Ernest Schwiebert. I published a short story collection, "The Midnight Fish," in 2001, and the satires, "The Vampire Survival Guide," (2008) and "The Vampire Seduction Handbook," co-written with Luc Richard Ballion" (2009). My novels are represented by Harold Ober Associates, NYC.

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    Spring ‘10: Going fishing, making stuff up, fooling my friends, trying to find an illustrator for a graphic-novel project. Other than those things, the usual: Working on a new long-form project while trying to sell the others.