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5 Random Things I Did This Weekend

Back home in Paris!  Here’s what I was up to over the weekend, which was actually somewhat calm (and filled with lots of sleep, finally!).

1) Riding with the Mavic

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With the GoPro Karma review behind me, it was onto what most people are interested in – which is the DJI Mavic.  This unit does have follow-me modes (though not as useful as Airdog), but it also has vastly more cinematic modes than the Airdog does.  It’s just a better all around drone than Airdog, whereas Airdog is better at pure sports action (without a secondary pilot).

So I got that all unboxed, which you can find here in The Queue (yes, it lives again!).

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I then went for a bit of a ride outside of town.  Drone laws in Paris means drones are a no-go within city limits.  So I head out to a few different places in the surrounding area to fly.  Thus I rode along the river a ways to one.  I wasn’t really shooting much else here, so it was mostly just basic flying/testing.  If I was doing review shooting, I’d go somewhere else.

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What is most incredible is really just the size of this drone.  It easily fit in my jersey’s back pocket.  All of it.  The drone, the controller, my phone, keys, a credit card, and even the GoPro 3-Way selfie stick with a Hero5 Black attached.  All of it fit.

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The drone itself was awesome, as you’d expect.  I was in the right target range for battery life (on target for about 25 minutes flying), and the video was super crisp assuming you remembered to focus.

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After I was done, I headed on home.  I’ll do some more flying this week out of the city.  While I had hoped to get the DJI Mavic review out this week, The Girl needs some assistance in the bakery for some bigger orders this week.  So I’ll be pushing the Mavic review to next week, and knocking out some watch reviews this week (which don’t take as much time away).  Still, look for some stuff on YouTube over the course of the week.

2) Moving lots of trainers

When I returned last week from Colorado, it was with a whole crapton of stuff in tow.  One of the benefits of flying a million miles on United over the last few years, is I now get three 70 pound checked bags.  Oh, and The Girl gets matched status.  So that’s six bags each.  And technically, The Peanut also gets some number of bags too (it’s complicated figuring that out).

When we landed, we took up every bit of space in the van that picked us up.  Had we been thinking a bit more, we would have simply had the driver stop first to drop off the trainers at the DCR cave (it’s on the same street we live on, just 150m earlier), and then continued onto our house.  But after a sleepless redeye flight, nobody was thinking.

Which meant this week I had to finally get not just the two trainers I brought back down to the Studio/Cave, but also the Kurt Kinetic Smart Control trainer that showed up.  So first, it was down the stairs to the elevator:

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Then into an Autolib I grabbed:

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Then out of the Autolib:

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And finally, sitting in the doorway of the Studio.

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I’ll deal with getting them unboxed tomorrow.  And yes, I also had to take down some Halloween decorations, from our party a few weeks ago, to long term storage.

3) Zwifting away

Sunday afternoon I had about 90 minutes to escape the house and get in a ride (plus get back).  With it raining sideways and chilly, there was approximately zero chance I felt like going outside.  Not so much because I mind the rain, but because with the amount of time I had, I’d largely be city riding – so it would not have been that good of a workout.

So I headed down to the DCR Cave to knock out some time on the trainer.  In this case, the Tacx NEO.  I generally gravitate towards it versus others, probably just because of the entertaining road pattern/feel stuff in Zwift.

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Of course, as is always the case when I return from trips – none of my stuff is properly charged up.  So I burned a bunch of time getting a second Edge to record the new dual 4iiii power meter data.  Then spent more time figuring out which ANT+ ID was which, since I’ve got a bazillion broadcasting as power meters down there with trainers plugged in.

All of which left me with about 40 minutes of actual ride time.

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I continue to love the KICKR Desk, simply because it holds the iPad and iPhone upwards.  I know there are far cheaper solutions, but this just works well for me.  I do really wish it had a way to lock the wheels though, since the DCR Cave floors aren’t level, so I have to use random weighted objects to keep the cart in place.

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With the ride done, it was quickly back to the house to give the Girl a hand with the babe.

4) New Gadgets to Unbox

Coming with much of that same box of stuff from my US trip was also a slew of gadgets to unbox.  Some of them, like the DJI Mavic, actually arrived direct to France and were waiting for me upon return.

While others were things that were sent to me in the US, either from companies or items I bought.  For example, Apple shot over an Apple Watch Series 2 Nike edition in there:

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And then I bought the Nikon Key Mission 360° Action Cam.  Maybe it’ll suck less than all the other 360° action cams I’ve tried.  Plus I picked up things like SRAM RED eTAP for my road bike (going to convert that over).  It’s funny, the entire massive eTAP box contents (seen here) fits into one tiny box when consolidated.  And that still has room left over.

Also in there was my retail VIRB Ultra 30, after sending back the media loaners.  Then the Pebble 2 HR, which I picked up on Kickstarter.  Along with a super-old Kickstarter order of an extra Airdog battery.

You’ll also see in there the RunScribe’s new Gen2 units too.  I’ve actually run quite a bit with RunScribe over the last year, I just haven’t quite caught up on posts there for a review.  I suppose sometimes that’s the case for lots of products that I’ll try out but may never make review status.  However, I find that having tried so many products is useful for everyone, even if it never makes the full in-depth review limelight.  I can then speak about the product, versus just shrugging my shoulders without an answer.

5) Breaking out the Sous Vide Circulator

It’s been a while since I used the Sansaire sous vide circulator.  I guess I’m less inclined to use it in the warmer months, plus, it’s been a bit busy around here.  But now in the cooler months it feels like a better time to do more hearty dishes.

Tonight I just went with a simple warm-up of doing steaks this way.  I had grand visions of something more creative out of the Modernist Cuisine at Home book. But alas, our collective wake-up time on this Sunday put the local markets out of reach.

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I’ll experiment with more complex dishes over the coming weeks.  I know the company recently did a Kickstarter for their new Delta circulator, but a spring delivery just seems too far away to be logical for me.  Plus, I already have a gizmo anyway.

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I made a bit of a mushroom sauce to go over it, nothing fancy.  And then roasted some butternut squash and sweet potatoes with brown sugar and butter.

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For the non-cooking portions, The Peanut helped out (including a trip to the grocery store).  Once the front burners were lit though, she headed off to play with her light-up turtle.

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I think next time I’ll definitely be doing ribs. We’ve gotta hit up the restaurant supply store tomorrow night for a bakery supply run, so I figure I’ll pick out something good while perusing the meat department.

One Year Later

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So there’s six items this week.  I wrote everything, and then realized I didn’t make room for something that’s pretty important around here – which is the first anniversary of the attacks last year on November 13th, 2015 in Paris.  There were a number of special events going on around the city, though even on the streets near us many of the normal advertising spots were converted into remembrance posters.  The signs read “Fluctuat nec Mergitur” – a Latin phrase which means “Tossed but not sunk”.

I wrote about that day here.

I’ve talked at times about how things have been different since then.  If you were to watch the news in the US or Canada, you’d probably assume it was a war zone here.  But in reality, it’s pretty much life as normal for those of us fortunate enough to not have been directly impacted by the attacks.  For the many who lost loved ones, it’s no doubt still a painful nightmare.

But everyday life in a city as large and vibrant as Paris goes on.  Sure, there’s a bit more security now when entering areas people congregate, albeit many people incorrectly see the occasional soldier around the city and assume that’s a response to the attacks.  They’ve actually been doing the rounds since around 2006.

Cafes, restaurants, events, and numerous other aspects of life in Paris have long since returned to normalcy.  The only element that hasn’t?  Tourism.

It continues to be incredibly hard times for tourism here in the city, impacting everything from hotels to small restaurants, tourist activities like cooking classes, and even we at the bakery have seen a dip.  So if you’re thinking of visiting the city – there’s no better time to enjoy it than now.  The summer crowds are gone, and all of the holiday aspects are starting up. The best thing we can do to honor this city is to keep moving forward and not holding up inside. So I sincerely hope to see you soon visit the city soon!

Reminder – DCR Cave Annual Open House!

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Just in case you missed it before, we’re precisely a month from the 3rd Annual DCR Open House, here in Paris!  You can read all about it here, and get signed up as well.  It’s shaping up to be an awesome weekend. Between the DCR (and The Girl) group runs, the evening party, as well as the Santa Clause 10K the following day – should be a blast as always!

Again, all the details can be found here.

With that – thanks for reading and have a great week ahead!

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65 Comments

  1. Kevin

    I don’t know if you can get short ribs in paris, but I sous vide’d some for 48 hours and they were amazing. Didn’t shrink at all like when you cook them conventionally.

    Pro tip: For anything that takes more than an hour (most things) I recycle the reflective bubble wrap that comes with blue apron boxes to insulate my cooking container to maximize cooking efficiency.

    I use binder clips to hold the ziplock. Makes it easy to wrap a sheet of foil over the top to minimize evaporation.

  2. Ian Grant

    Does that mean a RunScribe v2 review is on the cards, or not…?
    (Nice baby carrier action, btw, don’t they look cute in those things!)

  3. Gabriel

    Maybe a better word than anniversary would be remembrance / commemoration?
    Cheers!

  4. Gunnar

    Thanks for the Paris update.

    Now that we have moved from D.C. to London we get to Paris fairly often, I just wish the Parisian’s would lighten up a bit more and be more friendly. I would think that might help out tourism a bit more too.

    • Steven K.

      Part of the “Paris experience”.
      Has always been like that, will never change.
      It is the Parisian way and you better like it and shut up.

    • True, to the outsider the Parisian customer service ‘experience’ can seem a bit ‘short’. No doubt about that.

      I think there’s actually a lot of reasons for that, some more deeply cultural, and some more simplistic: Such as language skills. Unlike many Northern European countries, the French by and large aren’t as comfortable speaking English – and thus will shy away from it. Which can often give the appearance of not being interested. If you switch to French, those elements generally go away. Though, I’d say that Parisians are generally less likely to be overly helpful than other regions in France (smaller towns, etc…).

      On the cultural side, some of it comes from things like ‘No is no’, not a negotiation point. And the acceptance that things are the way they are, without further prodding. Obviously, those are super generalizations, but I think after 4+ years living here, I’ve got a good grasp on generalizations.

      Just like generalizations that one can find amazing fromage, baguettes, and saucisson. Yet at the same time, there’s quite a bit of horrendous variants of those things served to tourists every day, passed off as great that locals wouldn’t touch.

      I suppose every country has their quirks (the US included obviously). Some are more obvious when travelling to them, yet others take a bit more time to suss out.

    • gingerneil

      #miserablebastards

    • David Hogan

      Well said! You clearly put a lot of thought and understanding into your response. Paris is a great city and Parisians are wonderful people. Accepting the culture and people we are visiting is imperative to our enjoyment and understanding of wherever we visit. I find it hard not to visit your site every day regarding my training, but I now also appreciate your insight and understanding of cultural issues.

    • Cayman

      Actually sometimes it is just the locals here are a little overrun with tourists who are being accidentally rude to the French.
      The French are very big on saying hello and goodbye. Infuriatingly so. When tourists just enter stores/restaurants and snub the staff by not saying hello they often unknowingly set the wrong tone. I also see people worried about language who then resort to stabbing one word commands at staff (some of my friends included). Simple phrases (subject, verb object) are often easier to understand than individual words out of context. And in central paris more french people understand english than you’d expect, though they are hyper critical of themselves and super afraid of making a mistake and looking silly so keep quiet about their english abilities.
      With very little effort you can win them over.
      Having said that, there are definitely happy and grumpy people in any city

    • Roady

      Very well put, Parisians can seem very cold at times – especially to English speakers. As a visiting tourist you often feel ignored, even greetings of “Hi” will go unanswered. It’s just the Parisians way. If you attempt to speak any french to them (no matter how poor) they seem to immediately warm up – same could be said for most European cities, a poor attempt at the local tongue will usually be answered in perfect English.

      I’ll never forget one incident in a patisserie – a queue taking up half the store but one of the guys serving could see we were probably after a couple of small cakes and waved us past the queue (great!), a brief nod was returned to our greetings but he answered “Non” to our “Do you speak English?” (not so great!). I then proceeded (in my poor pigeon french) “Avoir un et avec un de ceux la, pour manger a la mason s’il vous plait”. The whole place erupted in laughter and smiles, I could only guess what laughing french comments were directed to the guy – I’m guessing it was a regular trick to provide some amusement, which back fired on him that morning! ;)

  5. David E.

    Amen to locking wheels on the Kickr desk. My solution is to have the mat under my Kickr lined up just right so that the lip of it provides barely enough resistance to prevent the desk from constantly rolling toward me.

  6. Giles

    Another good update thanks Ray.

    I’m looking forward to the Nikon 360 camera review. Things that I am interested in are sound quality (it will be replacing what I consider to be very good sound on a Virb XE) and how good the view behind will be if it’s on top of my helmet and I am “going for it” and keeping my head down whilst cycling.
    Also battery life (as always) and how many hours of footage you can fir on the card (currently I only need to wipe SD cars after 2.5 days of commuting. It will be a pain if I need to wipe every day).

    I hope you find that useful. Looking forward to the review.

    • Mika Övermark

      Nice, I’m also looking forward for your Nikon keymission 360 in depth review! Any schedule when you will have the review available?

    • So I went out last night and did a shot with it, and it was horrible. Thus, I re-did the shot today with it during the daytime. Just a quick one.

      You can see both videos here: link to youtube.com

      Overall the quality isn’t horrible during daylight. And even night the quality is OK, just that the exposure is terrible. Also terrible would be the app, without question the worst camera related app I’ve ever used. Though, I kinda already knew that because I have to use virtually the same app for my Nikon DSLR.

    • Giles Roadnight

      Yay! Lucy stars in the night video!! :-)

      I was I see the impression that the 360 used 2 4k sensor stitching together to make an 8k image?
      The resolution specs on the website seem to support this.
      I’ll be disappointed if I’m wrong.
      Thanks for the vids

    • Giles Roadnight

      Ant chance of a download link for a raw 360 file straight off the camera?
      My editing software (premier elements pro) supports 360 videos and I’d like to see if it’s really as horrible as you say!
      It can be just a few seconds and of the inside of a cupboard (or dcr cave) for all I care.
      In fact a few seconds in the cave might be quite interesting! I’d love to have a poke about in there! :-)

    • Total resolution of the raw file at highest possible setting I can find is: 3840×2160 (aka 4K).

      Here’s all three: link to dropbox.com

      I included a much shorter non-talking test clip I did before I shot the outdoor day video, as it’s probably easier to load.

      I’ve edited in both Premier and FCP for 360* video. The main tip I’d offer is ensure the resolution is right from the start. Then, once done you’ll need to use YouTube’s tagging thingy (just Google it) to insert the metadata to it. This is the part where things can go wrong. I always upload injected videos as ‘non-listed’ first, since I find about 30-40% of the time, something will fail there and it’ll come out looking dorked up on YouTube. So you reinject, re-upload, and hope for the best.

      *Note: My Dropbox says it has 20 minutes remaining to finish uploading all the test clips, which totals about 3GB. I suspect I’m being throttled today.

    • Giles Roadnight

      Downloaded those. Thanks very much.

    • Mika Övermark

      Uuh, make me also re-consider to purchase the keymission 360. They have separate remote also for the camera? Any experience of that? If the app is so bad could the remote make it usable until Nikon fixes the app?

    • I haven’t looked into a separate remote (not sure if they have one). I’m not entirely sure it solves things though.

      To me, the app is such an important part of it, and the constant crap-outs are just super annoying.

      That said, from a picture quality standpoint, it’s actually the best single-unit camera I’ve seen (for 360* stuff).

    • Mika Övermark

      Thanks Ray, Hopefully Nikon solves the mobile App problems soon.

    • Hassan

      I wouldn’t hold my breath! Nikon are NOTORIOUS when it comes to mobile apps. Even in desktop, their once redeeming Capture NX 2 hasn’t really had any major updates for quite a while whilst Photoshop has seen several iterations in the same time frame. Software is such an integral part of the user experience that Nikon cannot afford to view itself as a hardware manfuacturer only.

    • Giles Roadnight

      You can use it without the mobile app though right? I assume the camera had a start and stop button on it and a removable SD card?
      I am planning on mounting it on my helmet and using it as a dash cam/ safety cam when commuting through London. Won’t need the app for that.

  7. David Manley

    Cute kid

  8. Martin

    What size trainers do you wear. I have a pair of DS Trainers size US11 that I’ve only worn a few times but are too small. Happy to donate them to the cause so to speak given yours are looking a bit battered.

  9. Thomas

    I think it’s time to get a new pair of running shoes ;-)

  10. ekutter

    Any chance you’ll check out the Nikon Key Mission 80? Seems like it would be the perfect camera for taking along for a run or ride for getting quick snap shots. Not quite as sexy as something like 360, but could be very a good at what is designed for.

    • Honestly, probably not. The main reason is that I already know how hideous the Nikon Snapbridge software is (I use it every day with my Nikon D500 DX DSLR), and unfortunately it’s the same software for the Key Mission series. So given that, I’m less likely to find much interest in it, since I think one of the most important pieces in an action cam is the software platform and being able to get those action shots off the camera and onto other mediums quickly (i.e. at a lodge during a lunch break while skiing).

      I’m semi-willing to look past that on a 360* action camera, if it can do more and make up for it in other ways. But for a non-360* action cam that’s tougher. Not to mention at $20 more than the Key Mission 80, you can pickup the GoPro Hero5 Black, which seemingly has better specs on virtually every front.

      Just my two cents.

  11. Bob Goodman

    Lol…..where’s the Fenix 5 box?……;-)

  12. cycloscott

    Just made brisket over the weekend. 24 hours in the sous vide, then 4 hours on the smoker. Long cooks go in the beer cooler with a foil cover.

    No pictures from last night, but here’s the previous version…

    • Looks awesome. I love brisket. So much. So much love.

      Though, in this equation I still lack a smoker. Or even a place to put the smoker. Our mini elevator courtyard would likely royally tick off the neighbors if I put it there. :(

    • We have a window vent out of the bathroom in the roof, that I can squeeze cameras up, but I can’t get my whole body out of it.

    • cycloscott

      I made an Alton Brown style smoker from a couple of terra cotta flower pots and an electric hot plate. I can easily fit a couple of pork shoulders or 4 racks of ribs (stood on edge), and it’ll hold 250 degrees nice and steady. Doesn’t take a lot of space, but does still crank out a fair amount of smoke, so yeah, you’ll still have the neighbors to think of. Or invite them over.

  13. marklemcd

    We need a picture of that steak cut into so we know whether you truly enjoy steak or not.

    • I like my steak as rare as you can get it. Bleu, specifically. I’d lower the temp a bit next time to about 47-48*c.

    • Sylvester Jakubowski

      But the fat doesn’t render! 132.5*F is where it’s at. I use my anova constantly.

    • marklemcd

      That’s dang rare, you’ve become french.

      Couldn’t tell from the photo what cut that was exactly, but I’m more of a 128 degree steak kinda guy for strip, ribeye, etc.

    • Yeah, I couldn’t get a good pic in the dark of the cut, so i skipped it. Our dining/living room is increda-dark once the sun goes down, with only three $7 Ikea lamps. It’s nice for a romantic dinner, but less so for photos.

  14. Yannick

    Hi Ray,

    Like many, I’m finding your ” random things” posts very interesting, especially as you describe your everyday life in Paris, a place I love.

    Anyways, I would love to hear your opinion on the Scribe 2nd generation unit. I am currently waiting on a Stryd foot pod unit but the Scribe unit was also a contender, so the more I know about it, the better.

    Keep up the good work!

  15. Mike S.

    Hi Ray,

    Do you have a rough idea when your Apple Watch Series 2 will be out? I’m noodling getting one for day to day use and using my FR 235 for running only versus upgrading to the Fenix 3 HR. Just finding the dim backlight on the FR 235 a bit hard to read in low light conditions indoors.

    With the 25% off sale, the Fenix HR is about the same price as an Apple S2 Watch.

  16. Reed

    Of interest to Canadian drone flyers:

    “[T]he government is working as quickly as it can to pass new legislation governing how drones can be used, especially as more Canadians begin flying them. Some potential changes, according to Transportation Safety Board documents obtained by CBC News, include requiring drone owners to register their devices, pass a knowledge test and pay for liability insurance.”

    Source: link to cbc.ca

    • Sounds similar to US rules for commercial operators. US of course requires registration (easy/simple), but commercial requires test/liability.

      I don’t actually have a problem with the other requirements, assuming there’s give and take there. Meaning – if you want to require liability insurance and testing, then you should in turn allow it in more areas (i.e. some national parks, etc…).

      I also don’t have an issue with drone apps enforcing altitude restrictions (which already exist in laws) for drones, in the same way that airport restrictions requires override system with DJI. I think that’s great, and would minimize the issue noted above. There’s no valid reason for a consumer drone to be at 9,000ft AGL. None. Zip, zero, zilch.

  17. Ari Konikoff

    Please tell me you’re gonna have a full review of the Tacx Flux before the Clever Training VIP sale ends. Was the Flux part of your trainer delivery???

    • No, not yet. They were hoping to ship it out early this week, but I haven’t heard anything yet. I noted somewhere else that if I don’t hear by EOB tomorrow, I’ll check in again. That was to effectively be the first production unit off the line.

      The good news is that shipping from the Netherlands to Paris is a one-day affair.

  18. Ruben

    Nice post, you got me with that photo of autolib! I’m verry curious at your thoughts about the rock and roll kinetic trainer. Is it as special as is looks? Will you be able to generate more power because of the more natural movement?! Will it change your mind about ‘road feel’?
    You don’t see them verry much and most reviews are from older models, so I’m looking forward to your verdict!

  19. Oscar P

    We visited Paris just a couple of months ago and had a wonderful time! Great recommendations on your Paris corner of this blog. We walked past the bakery but sadly (mostly for my 3yr old “cupcake eating machine” daughter) we didn’t have an appointment ;) Maybe next time we get to try some cupcakes. We hope to be back soon and maybe time it with a DCR Open House!

  20. brett

    110v or 220v for your Sous Vide cooker?

    • 110v for the version I have, though I think they make models in both variants these days. I got it on Kickstarter years ago. Obviously, there are also 220v options out there too on Amazon/etc…

  21. Wojtek

    Isn’t the micoach on the first picture installed upside-down? :)

  22. Chris

    To solve the desk moving issue I think you need some grip bags. There’s a bag to solve every problem, you can see a few examples at http://www.sandbagstore.com/lighting–grip–and-display-sandbags.html

    • It’s funny, i did nearly exactly that. When I had to install a prototype WatTeam power meter, it came with some gigantic industrial Ziploc bags, which filed with water and even have a nifty handle. They now keep the desk in place.

  23. Richard S

    Certainly cant wait to go back to Paris myself, I would never let something like last November put me off

  24. William

    Looking forward to your Mavic review. I’m curious of how to set the Mavic to follow my bike ride for 10-15 minutes as I can’t really hold on to the controller while riding. Thanks!