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5 Random Things I Did This Weekend

It’s officially summer! And while it’d be easy to say that’s now including weather here in the Netherlands, the reality is that it’s basically been hot since late March. No kidding, it’s been amazing for outdoor-like activity. However, this week it’s gonna get legit hot. More on that in a second. First up, here’s what I’ve been up to the last few days!

1) Stand-up Paddle Boarding

For those following along on Instagram Stories, you’ll know I recently bought a stand-up paddle board (SUP). Actually, so did The Girl. With so many waterways in Amsterdam and beyond, it just seemed silly not to be able to enjoy them. Heck, the DCR Cave is literally surrounded by a moat that connects to all the waterways.

So I’ve been floating my way around the area the last few weeks. And so I decided to go for a meander through the forests of the Amsterdam Bos. I’ve fashioned a way to put the inflatable SUP on the side of the Urban Arrow cargo bike. I know I could just inflate it wherever I’m going. But realistically that takes like 5-7 mins. This takes 10 seconds. I used a bungee cord to attach one end to the kids’ seat, and then used a dog-leash to attach the other end to the front of the bike. Seriously, it’s brilliant and works incredibly well.

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After finding my random spot near the end of one of the waterways, I plopped in. I was testing out the Casio GBD-H1000.

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The first part of this journey was a giant dumpster fire. Turns out this section isn’t maintained, so lots of downed trees and such just under the surface. However, about 800m later, it opened up to actual marked waterways, and was great!

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The entire loop was 5.5KM long, and pretty darn quiet. Somewhere out there you can also rent water stuffs too, but it’s not just to plop in and get paddling. After I was done I simply hooked the SUP back up to the bike and paddled back to the office.

2) Trying out the Karoo v2 Interface

Ok, technically speaking I’ve been doing this for like a month or something. I just finally got around to taking photos of it and writing about it. So, late Friday after I went out for a quick loop to get some final photos/screenshots for my post.

What’s semi-unique about the Hammerhead Karoo is that it runs Android, and as such I can run screen recording tools on it. This makes my life a heck of a lot easier for capturing the screen and what’s going on, because I can just record a screen capture of my entire ride, and then take screenshots from that video file quickly and efficiently. I end up with a roughly 500-750MB file, versus a gazillion GB’s of GoPro/phone/etc footage that isn’t as readable.

In fact, if you look at this photo closely, you’ll notice the small red dot in the lower right corner, that’s how I can start the screen recording. I forgot to hide it for this photo.

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Albeit, getting the Karoo setup that way does take a little bit of work, but it’s not too bad. I wish there was some way to screen-record (video) a Garmin or Wahoo unit. You can screen-capture individual screenshots (configurable in settings), but nothing to do real-time video capture of the screen that I’m aware of.

3) Returning camera gear

When I lived in the US and even occasionally when I travel there, I rent camera gear. Historically it’s been longer lenses for certain vacation trips, but also sometimes specific cameras I want to try out. Renting them for a week to use is much cheaper than buying them and finding out they suck.

However I haven’t done that much in Europe. Actually, ever. But last week I ended up finding out about a camera gear rental place that’s just a 10 minute pedal from me. Massive selection online, crazy simple pickup nearby. Boom…get out my credit card and things are gonna get dangerous!

I ended up renting the Laowa 24mm probe lens. Camera geeks will have seen videos on it for sure (if not, watch this one from MKBHD). I had a few specific video shots I wanted for a handful of reviews coming up. I didn’t really want to buy such an expensive lens for what is undoubtedly minimal use cases. So I rented it instead. Plus rented a Metabones Speed Booster to adapt to my Panasonic GH5 camera that I use for video.

I don’t have any product-specific pictures to share with you right now. But here’s a silly photo I took while learning the lens.

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Though, the cool part is that I had put that entire board on a slider, so rather than the camera moving backwards in this shot, the board actually moved. Super slick.

I’ll note that the amount of light you have to throw at the lens is unreal. My main studio here is fairly well lit these days. I have a ton of light in there. But I ended up having to move two 5-bulb soft boxes directly on top of the objects I was filming (about a foot/30cm away). It was insane. Super glad I didn’t buy this lens, cause frankly it’s a pain in the ass to work with.

But, it was fun to try out for a few days. Which ultimately, meant I pedaled back Friday evening just before closing to drop it off:

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Through the woods, past the fuzzy cows, and over to their rental facility on the ground floor of a popular co-working space here in the city. I actually looked into that space initially. Cool spot, though, super happy with the space we have now.

4) Getting DCR Cave A/C Re-Installed

One of the great things about the DCR Cave is that it’s under a 4-5 story building. As such, it tends to stay a fairly constant temperature for about 9-10 months of the year. Last year, that was closer to 10-11 months, as it was a cooler summer here in the Netherlands. We’ve got some water-fed radiators that the building at large pumps the water from, so that helps top off the heat in the winter.

The other great thing is that through the magic of weird building design, we’ve actually got a skylight too. So as I sit here right now, I’m both under a 5-story building and with a skylight. Yes, it’s special. See, The Girl is actually wearing sunglasses inside right now sitting at our desk. For realz, picture not staged. In another 30 mins, I will too.

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In any case, all this is great except for one minor problem: We get baked all summer.

No, not in the typical Amsterdam way. But rather the more universal sunscreen application way.

But back in Paris I earned my certificate for installing portable air conditions (in the least professional manner possible). We had to for both the CupCakery and the Cake Studio, otherwise things would melt (literally). Give me a hammer drill and a concrete wall…and I’ll solve any ventilation problem. Thankfully, in the Amsterdam DCR Cave it’s much easier. So Saturday afternoon I went down to the DCR Cave to get it all set up. A calm before the storm. I connected it up to some outbound air ventilation, and as long as the bathroom fan stays running, it’ll push the hot air to the outside world. And then the outbound water simply goes via hose into our kitchen sink.

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Of course, this portable A/C unit is most definitely not rated to cool this big of space well. But the one thing I learned in Paris cooling spaces is that given enough time and persistence, you can eventually cool almost anything. Mostly.

However, the upstairs area of the DCR Cave also has a gigantic open stairway thing from upstairs to downstairs (we have two stairways). You can see it in Lama’s video here towards the end. So, I fashioned a cover for it this morning, and I’ll make a little door for it later on. That way we can still go out it, but it’s not a car-sized cold-air escape hatch. A quick buzz to make the sheet shorter, add some paint, and done:

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With that, we’re ready for the nearly 90°F/32°C weather expected this week. And given how hot the spring as been, I’m sure it’ll continue all summer.

5) Fathers Day Fun

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With Sunday morning being Father’s Day, I got the bestest present ever from my three Peanuts: Sleep.

Lots of it.

So much so that I woke up around 12:30PM. Which, was amazing – about 11 hours of sleep. Though, somehow the Whoop band thought I was the least recovered it had ever recorded (12%). Because of course it did. Mind you, the next tab tells me to note “How good this feels”.

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In case you’re wondering why I’m still wearing that thing, I’ve been meaning to finish shooting a YouTube video about it, and just haven’t had the chance to do so. So I want to have ‘live’ data for that. Hopefully I’ll finally knock that out this week.

Though inversely, the Garmin Fenix 6 didn’t catch me falling back asleep after quickly feeding the baby around 8AM. This is where I really think Garmin needs to focus on finding a way to account for extra sleep (aka naps). While I could (and did) tweak the stated sleep to the correct end-time, it doesn’t re-calculate all the under the cover bits like tweaking the Whoop sleep times do.

In any event, after that point I just relaxed and enjoyed the rest of the sunny day with the kiddos doing absolutely nothing except playing in the backyard. Perfect!

Oh, and eating the cookie cake. Some little Peanut fingers may or may not have poked the icing a few times prior to that photo.

With that, thanks for reading!

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24 Comments

  1. Corey W.

    Have you thought about installing an (even lightweight/non-blackout) shade for that skylight? My parents did this to the skylights in their house a couple of years ago and my initial reaction was, “Where were these when I was younger?!”

    • Yeah, we’ve pondered it a bit. The ‘problem’ is that the sun only directly hits us on our desks from roughly early June till July sometime. And even then, only a few hours a day. Of course, it’s heating the space almost all day, even when it’s not hitting our desks.

      The other thought was honestly just putting up an umbrella. Which, might make for a fun summer vibe. 🙂

    • JD

      How warm does it get if run a ladder up there and hold your hand near the glass?
      I assume the skylight is Low-E glass but adding solar film could lower the SHGC significantly if that is an issue.

    • Hmm, I’ll have to try tomorrow. It’s 5PM now, so a bit cooler.

      The fun part though: I can charge the Casio watch at my desk. 🙂

    • Nuno Pinto

      Hi Corey,
      I also have a skylight roof and I having the same issues has Raymaker, what that blackout shades a DYI ? Interior or exterior mounted ? Can you please share some details ?

  2. Andre

    Your cave looks very cool.

    Slomo guys released a video few days ago shot with the same probelens. He also mentions it needs a lot of light. Here it is: link to youtube.com

    • Indeed, an awesome video. Meant to include it in my Week in Review this weekend. Doh! Next weekend!

      Yeah, it’s utterly insane how much light you need. Of course, you can compensate some on ISO depending on your camera. The GH5 is no slouch, but the image entirely fell apart pretty quickly as I went beyond 3200.

      I suspect it’s also a lens that you could spend a week really learning and optimizing. In my case I probably spent 5 hours in total dorking with it trying to nail the right settings to get a halfway decent shot. Way more time than I should have. I couldn’t really find any guides for the GH5 + Probe that would have sped up that process, in terms of settings. I found the exact resolutions/file types I recorded it had a dramatic impact on usability of the footage (which, I’ve never really seen before on the GH5).

  3. I was looking at SUP boards the other day… and specifically that same AM Fusion of your pictures. Funny.

  4. Mike S.

    Yo, SUP?

  5. Paul Appleyard

    I used to work in a building that had automatic fire vents that leaked during heavy rain they never got it sorted. In the end I’m not sure if people were issued or bought in big umbrellas that were permanently at the ready. You could stick a couple of parasols up! Bring the outside in.

  6. jww

    Please tell me I’m not the only one that was served a Whoop display ad RIGHT below point #5.

    • That’s weird. You shouldn’t have been served any Whoop ads, they’re on my block list. Any idea what URL it pointed to?

    • jww

      I don’t know the URL. I do remember Whoop’s ad copy showed something like “$0 for your first 30 days” I think.

      I was more speaking to the irony than calling anyone out. Forgot about this site’s policy.

      FWIW. I actually have a “G shock move” ad in that space right now.

      Google DSP open web display ads are the Wild West.

    • Thanks.

      Sigh, now to track down that Casio URL…

  7. Dr Nick

    Very nice! But surely you pedaled rather paddled back with the SUP on the bike? Unless you put the bike on the board and floated along – now that could be fun….

  8. Quick question please Ray: what is the rest of your camera rig in that pic – looks intriguing!

    • The camera is atop an Edelkrone HeadPlus unit, which normally sits on an Edelkrone slider. At the moment it’s on a Jib instead. I was trying to do a shot with the camera moving up as the slider moved outbound. Didn’t work out due to reflections on the screen from various lights, and running out of time to find a way to cancel all the reflections.

  9. DvD

    DC, could you please share some pictures on how you attached your board to the Urban Arrow? Much appreciated!

    • In the sketchiest way possible!

      On the rear of the board there’s a metal ring. So, I took a short (roughly 30cm) bungee cord, and hooked one in there, and one end into the upper portion of child seat (one of the vent holes). Looking at the picture that part is easy to see.

      Then, for the front there was a spare dog leash in the bike box at the time. I simply hooked one end to the front mini metal d-ring (seen on front of board where the ropes are), and then looped it through the ‘vent’ holes in the Urban arrow on the opposite side. Basically I just made a loop. You could also connect it backwards towards the seat too. Again, nothing fancy here.

      However, it turns out it’s brilliant! I can connect/detach the board in about 10 seconds. And then just leave everything there (I toss the bungee cord into the bike box). For the dog leash I’m sure other solutions would work too, but the leash is adjustable, which was handy. I initially tried a bungee cord up front, but found that it bounced too much and would touch the ground when I hit speed bumps/etc, whereas the dog leash had no give. But a simple piece of rope with a caribeaner would also work great.

  10. Steven Olander

    Hi Ray
    Since I lack a lot of the SoMe platforms I thought this was the best way to share a little kudo for you, from a YouTube runner:

    link to youtu.be

    Kofuzi, have a test video and a run club talk with your awesome t-shirt on.

    All the best from CPH, Denmark

  11. Tom

    I have the same SUP board! It looks like a really nice environment you are going to for paddling. I like how you attached the board to your bicycle, I always take it in a backpack and inflate it at the location. Doesn’t the board bump into your leg all the time during cycling?