5 Random Things I Did This Weekend

With the weather deciding to normalize a bit for the weekend (down from the near 100°F/38°C temps), we were able to enjoy things a wee bit more, and have actual energy to do stuff beyond laze on the couch staring into a fan. Here’s what we were up to!

1) Run around the lake

I headed out Saturday midday for a loop around the lake nearby. Technically it’s more of a bulge in the river, but most people here call it a lake.  I suppose it’s bracketed on one end with the locks – so that might make it more lakeish.

In any case, my plan was about a 7.5ish mile run.  I roughly sketched it out in Easy Route before I headed out, and it seemed pretty straightforward.  I’d run both sides of it, and ridden all around it numerous times.  As with everything I do in/around Amsterdam, it was pancake flat.  But totally quiet and without a single stopping point:


Except one little problem. Turns out where the mapping software had assumed a bridge would be was actually a boat crossing.  Not a far crossing – maybe 30-50-meters in distance on a little boat with an operator.  But I lacked any money on my run, so I had to keep on going down to the next bridge crossing a mile or two later (and then backtrack said distance as well).  Doh.



It didn’t really matter too much in terms of running distance, it was more about the time I had allocated before I had to be back for people showing up for a BBQ.

DCIM\102GOPRO\GOPR2823.JPG DCIM\102GOPRO\GOPR2833.JPG Processed with VSCO with fp4 preset

Luckily, the weather finally cooled down and thus my paces were nice and consistent throughout – so I got back in good time.  Woot!

2) Shooting A Suunto 9 Video

Despite getting back a bit late, our guests hadn’t shown up for the BBQ – so that gave me a few minutes to knock out the intro to a video I’d shoot.  I’d then finish the video later on that afternoon after folks had left.

It was a simple user interface video of all the menu options and things you can poke at within the Suunto 9 GPS watch.  For whatever reasons these videos tend to do fairly well for me on YouTube, and have for a number of years.  I meant to do this Suunto one early, but I tend to like to do them either immediately following a workout, or when I’ve got some clean data to show/look at.

That also means I need to do them during normal daylight so the screen looks acceptable (shooting these indoors is really tough in most cases due to screen reflectivity or lighting).

This one ended up at 18 minutes and 59 seconds, which is about normal for these.  They tend to be kinda long, but most of them end up with 100K views or more within a year.  Heck, the Fenix 5+ variant I shot just over a month ago already has 56K views.  The Suunto Spartan Ultra one I shot two summers ago has 167K views.  Which of course on YouTube means I made like $3.28.

Thankfully, my goal is to shoot these in a single cohesive shot with almost no editing – so my work-effort is pretty simple…in theory.

3) A Birthday BBQ


Saturday afternoon we had a gaggle of friends over (along with their kids the same age as ours) to celebrate my birthday. The Girl whipped up the above cake, and decorated it with said candle layout. Thanks…I think?

I apparently only took a single photo during the party – of this champagne and a birthday card with some half-eaten guac in the back.  Also, there are two children’s Ikea bowls and a kid’s smoothie cup from Australia in the background.

2018-07-28 16.36.54

We lit up the grill of course and simply enjoyed the afternoon outside.  But again, all I’ve got for it is this photo above. My bad.

4) Working on a Pizza Oven

Last week while scrolling through Instagram (you know I actually have an Instagram account, right?) I got an ad for this crazy cool portable pizza oven (which is actually even cheaper in Europe somehow).  I’ll give Instagram cred that it’s incredibly good at figuring out what I might be suckered into buying.  I also got an ad last week for this camera thingy, that I might procure for the studio.  Given I only follow real-life friends/family in Instagram, and no companies/organizational accounts*/peoples, it’s impressive that it can figure out what I do and don’t like somehow.

(*Actually, I follow the donut shop and breakfast place…because, donuts?).

In any event, while the potential purchase of the camera thingy doesn’t need to go through The Boss approval system (as it’d be considered a ‘work expense’), the pizza oven must follow a very different purchase approval system. Namely, The Girl’s system. A system for which there is no defined process normally. It exists purely in the abstract, thus to allow the rules to be changed at any point in time.

Most such food-related device/book purchase requests get rejected outright, with no system or process for appeal.  But this time I must have done something right as I instead got back an approval contract. Albeit one with contingencies.

Said contract includes a bunch of things I have to do – almost all of which are related to boxes and crap we haven’t unpacked from the move still, or, connect the cable box that’s in a different room to the TV somehow.


But again – the important part is that I’ve at least got a designed path to pizza oven success here!

I did make significant headway on one item on the list – the worst one of all, but it’s not likely to be done for a few more days, as it requires making probably 4-5 trips back and forth with the cargo bike to the home supply store getting 25KG bags of sand (4-5 per trip).

The others won’t take long either – so hopefully I’ll get a pizza oven in the next week or two.  I’ll keep you updated!

5) Holy Ravioli

Sunday afternoon we rounded up the kiddos and tossed them in the bike for a loop around town, ending up at an Italian spot called Hello Ravioli. As you might surmise, they make…raviolis.

2018-07-29 14.39.37 2018-07-29 14.25.132018-07-29 14.43.42

You can sit there and eat, get the food as take-out already cooked, or get it as take-out to cook later – which is exactly what we did.  We picked up a forest mushroom ravioli, and a veal ravioli.  Along with a bit of sage butter sauce for later.


Overall they were quite solid. We’d go back again for sure, though, we’d probably just make our own sauces as usual.


With that and the kids in bed it was off to watch the latest season of Orange is The New Black…which, two episodes in is moving rather slowly. :-/

Have a great week all!


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  1. Amelie

    Ooooo, “DigiD” is a good one!

  2. Dave Lusty

    I told you about the Uuni about a year ago, it must have slipped down the list until only the ad machine remembered :)
    You should join Ooni community on Facebook for lots of great tips about dough and sauces as well as how to get the most out of the oven – they can be finicky to get right but are amazing when you do. Any ENplus1 pellets work so shop in plumbing/heating stores. Here in the UK Balcas Brites are exceptionally cheap fuel. FYI the manufacturer recently changed name from Uuni to Ooni which may help find info.

    • Doh, definitely must have gone in one ear and out the other! Will check out the FB group for sure!

      Good to know about the pellets and basically anything of that type working. Any variances there in terms of quality/taste/etc…?

    • Dave Lusty

      Enplus A1 marking basically means no bark and nothing but wood (aka no glue). There are variances in quality but generally not taste so don’t waste money on fancy smoking pellets your pizza will cook in 90 seconds including time to turn so no time to take on flavour. Hardwoods are better than soft but cost more, as long as the wood burns cleanly you’re all good. Light with a blowtorch to reduce smoke for the first 5 minutes but any firefighter will work if you don’t mind a bit of smoke.
      Invest in a laser thermometer to measure stone temp if you’re at all worried about mistakes, I never have I just watch for the smoke to go clear and hot then wait 5 mins. The FLIR doesn’t cope at these temps so while pretty it’s not useful!
      To cook, slide the pizza in and count slowly to 15 or listen closely for a sizzle noise then check the pizza. At 30 seconds it will be burned at the back, not kidding!
      You’ll also want a stock of 00 flour and instant yeast (a jar not sachets), sea salt (kosher in US terms) and one of your digital scales set to grams as salt and yeast will be 1-2% of flour by weight, water about 65%. Also some semolina/corn meal or similar to help pizza slide off the peel.
      Italian sauce is just san marzano tomatoes and basil and doesn’t need cooking just blitz. I use passata because I’m lazy and can’t tell the difference.
      Don’t try to use fresh mozzarella unless you cooked it fresh, it’s usually too wet.
      If you’ve not heard of it, find Nduja and buy some for toppings. It’s like a better chorizo :)
      Never leave the stone outside to get damp, it’ll crack. It will get black but a hot cook will clean it, just turn it over each time you use it so the clean side is up.

      Probably more info there than you needed, but that’s the short version of the forums!

    • Awesome, much appreciated!

      I’m hoping my extensive (or probably, excessive) pizza-stone experience translates over well!

  3. Fausto Copy

    Isn’t ‘ravioli’ already plural? If you have only one, it’s a raviolo.

  4. David

    30m across? Sounds like time for an impromptu swim!

    • I did indeed consider it. The only thing that made me re-consider was I didn’t really want to drench my shoes mid-run. I probably could have managed to hold them above my head…but, figured I’d just keep running. I knew eventually I could cross as I’d done it on the bike, I just didn’t remember if that was a mile or three miles away.

      Obviously, as logic as simply doing an out and back run would have been, that’s no good for a pretty Strava map.

  5. gingerneil

    Making the pizza oven by shamelessly copying the ad, or buying it ??
    I’d love to have a go at building one… amazing for so many things.

    • Definitely buying it!

      Thus, working on the acquisition of said pizza oven!

    • Oh, and to be clear – if we weren’t just renting, then I’d definitely consider building a legit pizza oven.

    • gingerneil

      Of course!! :)
      Just thinking… isn’t The Girl now formerly DCRainmaker CEO/CFO/Chairman ?! I’d love to see her sign-off process for the business side! I work for a telecoms company with ~80,000 employees – I imagine our’s could easily be less complex! ;)

    • Dave Lusty

      Do bear in mind the Uuni/Ooni is ready to cook in 15 mins. A “real” wood oven can take hours before you’re ready for pizza. If you’re doing one or two pizzas the big ones are a pain but for a party they are very cool. Obviously the big ones can also do bread and slow roast meats…

    • I don’t believe her title has been elevated to CEO (and if it has, I’m taking a vacation!). I believe on paper she’s a shareholder. Perhaps I should find out…

  6. David Chrisman

    The Girl’s system for home expenditure approval–brilliant!!!

  7. Benedikt

    The pizza oven is great and worth a lot of compromises. We did some work in an climbing park in a forest and they were able to put enough pizzas out to feed 25 hungry woodworkers in no time. I also want one.

    • That’s good to know on being able to feed people quickly. I had wondered exactly that (assuming you have pizzas lined up), as to how realistic the 60-seconds was. Perfect for parties then.

      Maybe the DCR Annual Open House (wait…I wonder if that makes it a biz expense and thus I can avoid the The Girl’s approval process???).

    • Benedikt

      We didn’t measure time, but it was blazing hot and fast (in my opinion).
      The pizzas where prepared while the others where baking. Time was just enough to prepare one while the other was baking.
      For shure faster than a pizza stone in a Weber kettle.

    • DC D.

      As CEO and majority share holder (?) just go buy and expense it…

    • Claus Jacobsen

      With her being the CFO/CEO – You still need to report back with the biz expense. :-) or have you been given your own budget for the tech department? (I’m guessing Your title now is CTO/CIO ?)

    • Dave Lusty

      Regarding the 60 seconds, I’ve dug out an old video (920XT it’s THAT old!) of lighting and then cooking. The whole video is 15 minutes as I wanted to prove it was real time with no shenanigans. Pizza cook starts at 12:50 and wasn’t quite as hot as I’d usually have it these days so took 2 mins but you can clearly see how fast it cooks and what the outcome is.

      link to youtu.be

      also check out this guy’s dough stretching video which shows good technique for a proper crust. You don’t want to use a rolling pin :)

      link to youtube.com

  8. praveen

    Hi ray, Do you know of a bike rental place that rents, bike with toddler seat or carrier? planning to travel with a 2 year old and a 6 year old, would like to see paris on bike. Appreciate your work.

    • In Paris there’s a place called Holland Bikes (oddly enough), that rents bikes with some form of kids seats I believe. It was at the end of the street where the DCR Cave was and while I didn’t go in there a lot, my understanding is that they do rent bikes with kid transport options: link to hollandbikes.com

      I believe they have a few locations in Paris too.

      Here in Amsterdam, pretty much any bike shop will rent them, and there are bike shops everywhere on every corner!

  9. David

    Ohh – get the pizza oven and report back with the usual in-depth DCR report!! I want one but face a similar gauntlet before purchase.

  10. Richard

    Returned Suunto to the store – steps calculation – even it says steps on the watch face it counts a wrist movement. I sat at a local brewery, drinking beer and generated 300 “steps” ;-)
    Other people are confused as well – this one is for Suunto 3 but uses the same calculation – link to bestbuy.com

    I couldn’t use Moveslink software on my Mac since I have MacBook Pro with 4 USB-C ports – even using USB-C to USB adapter I couldn’t use it.

    • Sorry Richard – I’m unclear on where the issue here is.

      Can you explain how I activate the beer-drinking step feature? It’s missing on my watch.

      (In all seriousness, any chance your USB-C adapters aren’t legit Apple ones? I ask only because it’s a common issue I hear a lot with many accessories.)

    • Richard

      1. Tried 3 non-Apple adapters only. Maybe it would work with an original Apple one.
      2. Each slight wrist movement (while sitting still) generates “steps”. I understand that their calculation is based on accelerometer but they shouldn’t call it “steps”. Actually Suunto replied to my inquiry via Twiiter:

      That’s actually a very good question. counting is actually not measured through the actual steps but based on the wrist movement.
      It is gauged by the use of the Accelerometer and even if you are stationery it would still give you readings due to your wrist movement.
      It is RPM or revolution per minute, not SPM or steps per minute. And if you want to get the SPM, just double the value of the RPM result.

    • Richard

      This is the watch face with Steps Today and that can be really confusing for people because it’s a number of wrist movements not steps.

    • JimL

      This is the way just about every activity tracker in the world works.

  11. Richard Elliot

    The Ooni / Uuni is designed by someone from my suburn in London and seems to be a good piece of kit. The Roccbox is another solid option.

  12. matty b

    seriously, what’s up with OITNB? It’s going down a weird path…

  13. Tosin M. Akinmusuru

    I think I stopped watching OITNB with 4th or 5th season. Was getting stretched out. I might come back.

    • We’re not 4 or 5 episodes in this season, and it’s definitely the most stretched we can remember.

      The Girl commented last night:

      “If we had anything else to watch, really, anything, we’d probably watch it instead.”

  14. Doug

    I can’t believe Dutch ferrymen don’t take Garmin pay yet? What century are we in?! :)

    • Dave Lusty

      The same century when Garmin Pay supports almost no banks outside of the US? Payment with a watch is cool, but it’s not worth opening another credit card for :(

    • Randomly: After your comment I went to check what the current bank list looks like. Still nothing for the Netherlands, and not my bank for France either.

      But I did notice a new French option which I hadn’t seen before, which is them using a 3rd party to provide “All French Debit cards” the option to load into Garmin Pay. That’s pretty fascinating and something I hadn’t seen before.

      I might even give it a whirl if I get excessively bored this week. Gotta look at the fine print though first.

  15. Wesley Matthee

    Great to see you’re in Amsterdam, I am planning a 3-day bike trip from Amsterdam to Gütersloh next week and needed to load courses into my old but trusty Garmin Edge 500.

  16. Davie

    Any thoughts on the new giant power pro power meter released on 31 July?

    • Curious.

      A bit bummed I didn’t see any power meter comparison data in the reviews I saw. Perhaps I’ll reach out at some point on it, but I’m honestly not in a huge rush at the moment on that one.

    • John

      Interested in this as well, though from what I’ve read online so far, it may be available only using mid-compact (52/36) chainrings.

  17. marvin

    Good to see there is already some dutch on the yellow card “Gefeliciteerd!!!!” meaning happy birthday!!!

  18. John

    Where’s the Suunto 9 review?

  19. 8

    for once I have something to contribute !

    I’ve got the Uuni (now Ooni) 3 !
    It’s the bomb ! Super happy with it !

    And the Uuni pro which is even better (though not portable…)
    bigger, adds wood/charcoal/gas…

    It pretty much has to be a two-men job because they bake so fast…
    Had good results with Jim Lahey’s recipes…

    Well…that’s it !
    Enjoy you’re pizza,man !

    • Definitely sounds like I’ve gotta get on with moving some boxes.

    • Claus Jacobsen

      Have to admit Ray – You got owned by the missus in the newsletter! ;-) – just suck it up an do those tasks and get the reward!.
      (and what’s up with that new TT/Tri bike thingy she was talking about??? a p5x would be cool though :-) )

  20. Ah sorry about that. I already noticed this since the switch to Mapbox that using foot mode in EasyRoute might include ferries as well. Not much I can do about it at the moment, but I’m going to try and mitigate it.

  21. Brian saul

    I have an uuni, I like it but it takes a bit of trial and error with regard to the dough. If you put the raw dough in the oven with all the toppings on it the toppings tend to cook rapidly but the dough can get burned around the edges but be raw in the center. I use the uuni pellets and this thing really heats up! I typically “par bake” my 6 to 8 inch crusts slightly in the oven, then let people topthier own pizza , I place it in the oven and rotate it every 20 to 30 seconds and they’re done in about 2 minutes, good luck , right a review!

  22. JimL

    I have an Arsenal on order (and has actually shipped–just anxiously waiting). I got in early on the Kickstarter and think it has promise. They have had a relatively smooth crowdfunding trajectory. (Unlike my Spinn coffee maker I am still waiting on).

  23. Stuart

    I was in the exact same position as you re the pizza oven. We also have 2 girls (2yrs and 1yrs old) similar in age to yours. With being so busy with them our social life disappeared. Our oldest has moved out of her cot and we managed to sell it for, exactly the same as the pizza oven’s cost! Too much of a coincidence! Since then we have used it multiple times and it has been brilliant. Pizza is able to be eaten one-handed while chasing toddlers.
    It is also very social, everybody designs their own pizza and then it takes about 3mins per pizza to cook so they roll out constantly. Good luck with the list!

  24. The road is beautiful and the air here is so good, I really want to go there

  25. jenny

    This is good