Altra Instinct 2.0s

Altra Instinct 2.0 Review

2 years ago Altra announced an update to their cushioned-but-still-zero-drop model, the Instinct, dubbing this version 2.0.

A year ago I bought my first (green) pair and LOVED them!

A month ago Altra announced another update, dubbed 3.0, and discounted the 2.0 models, so I bought two more pairs – one green, one blue.

All told I’ve run in excess of 700 miles in these three pairs of the same shoe. I’m incredibly late for a formal review since you’re likely not able to pick up a pair for yourself, but it’s so rare for me to find a shoe I’d buy 3 times that I finally felt compelled to share it here.

The difference between this Altra model and most other “barefoot” or zero drop shoes is the cushioning. The Instinct 2.0 has a decent stack height and plenty of cushioning, like traditional running shoes, it just eschews the normal heel-to-toe drop for a zero drop. They also have a fantastic, roomy foot-shaped toe box, giving your toes and foot more room to spread out as you run.

What this means is that you get all the benefits of good form, mid-foot strike running plus the cushioning so your feet don’t suffer the abuse of road wear & tear.

Personally, I could never wear Vibrams because of my bunion and my feet got too tired and sore from running in my New Balance Minimus Roads. The Instinct 2.0s are the perfect compromise – all of the form benefits without any of the cushioning or comfort sacrifices.

Both of the new pairs have under 100 miles on them (barely) so I’ve likely got another year and a half before I need a new pair, but the Instinct 3.0 will be at the top of my list when I go shopping.

Miles run/Price paid per pair (L-to-R):
Green – 554/$105
Blue – 81/$75
Green – 75/$55

So not much of a review but one Hell of a shoe. People may comment on the wide toe box (my wife says they look like Moon boots), but they’re the best shoe I’ve ever run in. I don’t have to sacrifice anything & I’ve strengthened my feet & calves.

See you on the run!

TCM Kermit Logo

A TCM Tipple

Since yesterday was the 21st birthday of Turner Classic Movies (a previous stop of mine), I figured a little alcoholic tribute was in order considering TCM is now the legal age to imbibe.

Here, then, are a few potent potables and their movie pairings/appearances to broaden your palette & your film intelligence.

Cocktails:
French 75Casablanca(More info on the French 75 & Casablanca) – a truly classic film and a powerful champagne cocktail with a great backstory.

ManhattanSome Like It Hot – What’s not to love about men in drag drinking a concoction out of a hot water bottle?

Old FashionedIt’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World – The only Old Fashioned more dangerous than Don Draper’s is one made by the pilot of a plane while he should be flying!

Whiskey SourThe Seven Year Itch – Another Marilyn Monroe mention.

Dry MartiniThe Thin Man series – If these films or this classic cocktail don’t make you thirsty, you’re doing it wrong.

Here’s Nick & Norah Charles (William Powell & Myrna Loy) enjoying some Martinis, to give you a “taste”

A Shot & a beer:
Narragansett (You may still be able to find the throwback cans in New England) – Jaws – You may need a bigger glass.

Nicholson’s WhiskeyThe Shining – Bourbon vs. Tennessee Whiskey

Honorable Mentions:
White RussianThe Big Lebowski – A caucasian with a lot of ins, lot of outs, lot of what-have-you’s

Vodka Martini OR the Vesper – Any James Bond film, though you’ll only find the Vesper in Casino Royale (and not the 1967 version, the 2006 version). – Shaken, not stirred.

Here’s the wacky Herb Alpert-licious trailer for the 1967 Casino Royale which is “classic” in it’s own way.

I’m not suggesting you do a marathon of watching these films OR drinking these drinks (the latter might be especially dangerous), but if you’re inclined towards a tipple and good movies, you could do a lot worse than sampling something from either column if you haven’t already.

Cheers!

Stan Lee Excelsior
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iBrave

I’m not very precious about my iPhone but maybe I’m the outlier.

Despite the negative coverage around “bendgate”, including another article published just today, I happily tote my 6 Plus in my back pocket (I just don’t sit down with it still there).

My previous iPhones – a 4 that went to a watery grave at the local pool & a 4S that I shattered in a moment of extreme anger – both went caseless. Sure they had some nicks but no screen scratches or cracks, just normal wear & tear from average usage.

My main phone use case, the one that really defines me, is running with my phone strapped to my arm so I can log all kinds of data via iSmoothRun. Part of my excitement over the new iPhones was their dedicated M8 processors for tracking motion. It’s definitely a boon for battery life as I’ve never drained more than a percentage point or two during my average jog (5-7k).

But new hardware means new accessories, new routines and new challenges. Case in point: there’s not yet a running armband on the market for the 6 Plus. What that means functionally may shock some of you: I’ve been holding my phone in my left hand during all my runs over the past month.

Before you call a mental health professional on my behalf, I am using the silicone RED case from Apple. I’m brave but I’m not completely stupid. The combination of “bendgate” and a lack of any armband options (though I hope to buy one soon) made me just a bit more overprotective of the current phone than the last two. Also, despite feeling emotionally satisfying, smashing a phone like I did makes you realize just how fragile they are. I was just really lucky before.

No other phone has left me feeling like it’s about to jump out of my hand quite like this one, so a case is about function (peace of mind) as much as fashion. I’m thinking maybe a leather case might be more my aesthetic but the current case screams “Go Dawgs” and I’m ok with that.

Ideally I’d use something that was either malleable and slim enough to fit in an armband without me removing it, or I’d go completely in the opposite direction and get a Twelve South case for maximum ostentatiousness. I’ve always liked the exposed Apple logo as my hipness signifier but I could change my mind.

Whatever my choice, I’m committed to using the new phone as my primary computing device. I even typed this post using iA Writer and the suggested text feature in iOS 8. I still wish the 6 Plus had the iPad-style split keyboard in landscape orientation, but maybe I’ll find another solution.

For now I’m just excited to be using my phone more often. Where before my 4S had started to feel like the participation ribbon in my daily technology race, I really feel like I’ve won first prize now.

Until next time, I’ll be the one bravely toting my phone like a red relay baton.

Fatherhood v4.0

Fatherhood isn’t Motherhood mostly because Dad isn’t Mom, despite the fact that our two younger girls still call me “Mom” from time to time.

On Tuesday, with Election Day in full swing and the older kids home from school as their schools were polling places, I had a moment of parental clarity in dealing with our son.

He ran inside from playing with his friend.
He raced upstairs to his bedroom slamming the door to the Jack & Jill bathroom.
He hollered downstairs to me with explicit instructions that his friend not come in & not come upstairs.

Now I’m no genius but even I could tell something was up.

Despite repeated efforts by myself & his older sister to talk to him, he shouted us both down and we relented. She went back outside to play & I went back to working from our home office. 7-year-old boys will be 7-year-old boys, after all, and I didn’t feel the need to get up in his bathroom business.

Turns out I should have been more proactive in my fathering.

30 minutes later, having gone back outside with his friend, he careened through the front door and made a screaming beeline for the downstairs bathroom.

As I rushed to meet him there I heard the twin yawps of a son claiming his big sister wouldn’t let him come in despite the fact that he NEEDED to “go” and a sister alerting me to the fact that her younger brother was currently defecating all over the floor.

Fatherhood, man.

I’ll spare you the more graphic details of the rest of my evening but suffice it to say that parenting – Fatherhood – of a child is (apparently) a lifelong lesson taught to fools by the insane.

Much disgusting cleanup in BOTH bathrooms, physical & emotional, ensued.

At the end of the day I wasn’t angry or upset – the poor kid had a tummy ache and needed my nurturing fathering – but I was more than a little surprised he hadn’t sought out my assistance. I’m there to help, after all. I’m his dad not a babysitter or a teacher. He shouldn’t feel emberrassed or ashamed or scared when he’s around me.

But he thought I’d yell at him and so he hid his discomfort and then both of us were literally in deep shit.

How do you console a sick kid who doesn’t enlist your help for fear of retribution? Let me tell you that trying to answer that question will make your head and your heart hurt.

Most of all I just wanted to hug him (after washing my hands & he washed his).
I wanted to tell him it would all be all right, being sick & being apprehensive of me.
I needed to hold him & comfort him in all the ways he needed my comfort during his discomfort.

I don’t know that I’m always the best dad in the world, but I know that my kids always challenge me to rise to the occasion. They constantly surprise & delight me, sometimes in terrifying & frustrating ways.

At the end of the day we’re intertwined on this journey together and I can only hope their memories & expectations of me aren’t of yelling & screaming threats to pull the car over, but of all the times I cleaned up their messes.

I don’t mind getting my hands dirty and I think that’s the part I hope they learn about parenthood: that Mom & Dad will be there for them, always.