Category Archives: Life

New Bike

I’ve got a new mountainbike. It’s my primary means if transportation, and also my new hobby. I’ve taken it for a few trips to the MTB single tracks in Hareskoven, and it’s really fun! It’s close to Copenhagen. The tracks are more challenging than I thought, the builders have been really creative in finding the steepest possible routes. Denmark is, if you didn’t know, one of the flattest countries on earth. You can bring the bike for free on the subway (s-tog), and they even have special bike stands for MTB. So pretty nice for a country without mountains.

I bought the cheapest bike I could find with disk breakes, the Trek Marlin 5, on sale because it’s from 2017! The fork is just with coil springs and weighs a ton, so if I get serious about mountainbiking I might want a better one. But I’m pretty sure I won’t bother. Maybe when it’s worn out?

The wheels are 29″, which means they roll pretty well on the road as well. Suddenly I feel like everybody else is really slow!

It works equally well in the forest and when I just take it to the local bakery!

Trek Marlin 5 (2017)

The Red Track at Hareskoven

First time on a mountainbike!

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Signed up for the Hamburg Marathon

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The Wife talked me in to signing up for the Hamburg Marathon. It’s supposedly a very nice marathon, which seems like an oxymoron to me, but hey: at least the name rocks! I’m sure with proper training and low ambitions it will be a tolerable experience, and then I can impress non-joggers for the rest of my life.

Of course I’m running in my mininal running shoes. In the videos above you can see it looks a lot like regular running, only with soft shoes that don’t have all that… stuff which regular running shoes have. I’ve been doing this for over six years, so it just seems like the natural way to run for me. My innov8 shoes look normal enough so I don’t get the questions and advice from fellow runners. They are also crazy comfortable, even if they are a little long and narrow for my feet. I just went up one size. My wife has also crossed over to the dark side of forefoot running, and seems to be doing OK. It’s going to be an adventure!

I forgot to follow up on my backpack post. It turned out great, and it’s now my most loved travel bag. Will post pictures.

Happy trails, everybody!

Kids’ backpack

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Made this one for my daughter, on request. I am making a backpack for myself. My backpack is going to have an opening on the side facing my back, like a gym bag, but otherwise just be a plain 40l backpack. I discovered a few years ago that soft bags are practical when flying with handluggage only, beacause you can cram it in under the seat if the plane is full. It only takes up the space your packed luggage does. I also prefer backpacks to trolleys because they give more freedom of movement. Inspiration:

Screenshot_2017-06-06-21-41-00

My daughter loved the moss green fabric that I bought, and she hates her Kånken Mini backpack so much, because it’s uncomfortable and small. So I made her one based on the Eastpak Padded Pakr and JanSport Right Pack. It’s a bit longer in the back, and I’m adding a chest strap so it stays on.

The hardest part was doing all the seams on the front pocket from the inside. I had to bend the stiff fabric to get in through the opening with my sewing machine. Basting by hand first really helps. The Kånken/EastPak style zipper placement is also difficult to align with the bottom part of the backpack, because you have to add in the width of the zipper. The maths is simple, but the chance of ending up with crooked seams at the ends of the zipper is big. If you do the opening in the style of the Right Pack, it’s a lot easier to sew. (It’s the way that is shown in the video below.) It makes it a bit less waterproof at the top, that’s why I still bothered. You can see the different zipper placements here:

I don’t sew well, so I need to think about construction more than more talented seamsters and seamstresses. The backpack is done apart from the chest strap, which is required equipment in kindergarten.

It’s also my first attempt at machine embroidery. I used regular paper and printed out a drawing of a unicorn. (Turns out regular paper is water soluble too.) Then I just followed the lines as well as I could with my regular foot. Embroidering was boring, but my daughter likes the result. Now she wants butterflies swarming around the unicorn. No way I’m doing those. She can add them herself in a few years.

I’ve used these sources for tips and hints:

And BTW, I’m still running around in minimal shoes. My wife has become a bigger running geek than me, and we are going to run a marathon next spring.

DIY jeans update

More blurry pictures of my self made jeans. My phone has the crappiest camera ever, but it refuses to die.

They’ve been hand washed a couple of times. I’m very happy with how they turned out. I modified them a bit, but it’s easy to tell they were modeled on 501.

I am planning to make a light backpack which fits as handluggage on planes, and I’ve bought some heavy polycotton for a winter parka. Right now the fabric just takes up space in our tiny apartment. Somehow it’s easier to buy fabric than to actually start cutting and sewing.

 

H&M jeans, 2007, repaired

Bought some very dark jeans from h&m eight years ago. Have used them a lot for the last two years. They’re not my favourite pair, but they fit me well and I’ve worn them since they were perfectly dark blue. I have repaired the crotch, both front pockets, one back pocket, right thigh, left knee. I am experimenting a bit with mending techniques. One of the great things about sewing is you can always rip it up and try again.

The short rise looks very out of style in 2016, almost like women’s jeans. They used to be straight, but I’ve tapered them. The old look was almost like a slim bootcut, but now they are more like regular 80’s jeans.

Not worth the work I’ve put into it, but I like the fact that they’re so worn out.

Factory distressed jeans look ridiculous to me, and I’ve always felt this way. I bought a pair of designer jeans from the Red Cross thrift store with fake wear on the knees, and I’m going to give them to my brother, because I just can’t wear them.

I’ve ordered some olive colored cotton canvas to make a parka, so someday I will post how that goes.

But first I will post an image of Marty McFly’s inside out jeans. The movie is set in 2015. Somehow that never caught on. Even though G star tried.

Sustainable fashion – an oxymoron?

Just learned from a very interesting newsweek article that there’s a global crisis in second hand clothing. Fast fashion is leaving so much low quality second hand clothing that even the African market is getting picky, and 80% of what we give to charity is just burned or discarded.

Too much of what we buy is too impractical, or not durable enough, even for some of the world’s poorest. It really gives a refreshing view on the window displays at H&M and Zara.

Whenever my wife buys something from the Swedish brand Monki, it typically breaks after a few weeks. Which makes me think that these clothes aren’t really clothes, they’re just fashion. You have the textile industry, and the fashion industry, and their products are fashion textiles, but are they clothes? Some of these clothes are simply trash, and too bad to be of any use to anyone in the world. To me that makes them less pretty.

Maybe fashion, at it’s very core, is impractical, vain and wasteful? Maybe fashion can never be sustainable, because the idea of style implies you discard something perfectly usable, just because it’s out of style.

On the other hand I know a few old baby boomers who wear the same parka and Wrangler jeans for 20 years, and I don’t strive for that look either…

I think fashion can be sustainable, but it has to be slow fashion. Also we shouldn’t let the high street brands confuse us as to what fashion is. If you get a camouflage three-piece suit, a shirt with flamingos, or a big hat, wear it twice and then sell it, that’s fashion. It’s silly, it’s wasteful, but at least it’s fun. But you don’t need 6 boring grey shirts from a chain store, that you might never wear. That is not fashion; that’s just clothes. And it’s not a luxury, it’s a necessity, so treat it as such. Which means basically, you buy something nice and new, wear it until it’s become a little less trendy, and then wear it some more, and then you treat yourself to something nice and new again when it’s worn out.

I know it sounds like preaching, but I’m just thinking out loud here…

On a side note I think that any clothes bought second hand are far more sustainable than sustainable fashion can ever be.

I’m not sure about recycling. If I read this article in the Guardian correctly, it’s still some time before it’s actually effective… The thought that my polyester parka could be around for hundreds of years after I’m dead makes me think that maybe it’s worth a try.

I could probably get by for the rest of my life just on clothes discarded by family members. After I started not throwing clothes out, I cant even get rid of the stuff I get for Christmas or inherit.

Jeans done

And here are the honest pictures. I’m not big on selfies, so excuse the blurry pictures. To sum it up they are a pair of size 34 Levi’s 501’s, but I’ve omitted rivets, yoke, watch pocket, and contrast top stiching. The hem is not done yet, but as they are so long I will just wear them folded up, and hem later. Can’t wait to see what a bit of wear will do to these. The fact that I have made the waist a couple of inches smaller means they look more Cowboy and less slacker, but that might not last, as I suspect they will give a little. I didn’t wash the fabric before cutting, so I need to wear them for a long time before eventually washing them very carefully. Will definitely make my own pants in the future! But I won’t use french seams on the inside legs like in the picture below. French seams are for thin fabrics IMO.

 

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Aloha, fellow humans.

20161014_171619Haven’t been blogging for years, but WordPress seems to just leave things online forever, so I’ll just pick up where I left… I have been blogging at flatsoles.wordpress.com for a while after I quit this blog, but I’m just going to leave that and go back to my original blog again.

First off: I’m still running around in minimal shoes, although I feel like I don’t have much more to say about it. It’s great, it’s the natural way to run, and that’s fine. Haven’t been in a race for a couple of years, and I’m still not planning to run a marathon. I would rather like to rock the 800m distance, but I mostly just run for fun and to keep back pain away.

I’ve been freelancing as a musician for seven years now, and I’m in a bit of a rut, career-wise. I’m still making money, but I’m not having as much fun, and my ambitions have sort of faded. My friends are performing at Glyndebourne and the Met, and I’m still singing Bach in Copenhagen for symbolic wages. This year I started working part time as a life guard at my local pool, which means I can afford to say no to the singing jobs that pay the least. I also like the regularity of the job. I can tell you that as a life guard I spend most of the time cleaning tiles and windows. I never let my daughter touch shop windows anymore.

the-lifeguardBut ultimately, being a life guard is like a symbol a midlife crisis. I would call many of those who work there drifters, and I don’t mean in a bad way, more like they have found Zen. But I would rather do something that pays more, and something I can do until I’m old, since I’m probably going to have to work until 73 with the new Danish pension reforms. I’m seriously contemplating getting some kind of degree in marketing and communication. Time will tell how that goes. Then maybe I can make people like renaissance music!

One great thing about having a normal job (beside from regular hours and a pension saving), is that my voice is fresh afterwards, unlike a lot of the choir/ensemble work I’ve been doing these last years. It’s nice and all, but I sound like a vacuum cleaner afterwards. Now I can go out and rock “Torna a surriento” at someone’s 60th birthday and have fun with it. I also feel the joy of making music slowly coming back to me.

This blog will be very eclectic from now on. I’ll just write about anything that goes on. I’m quite into sustainable fashion at the moment. I bought a bright red Burton Jacket last year, but other than that I haven’t really shopped new clothes in several years. I’ve sewn wool underwear for my daughter from a second hand sweater (see above), I plan to make my own jeans, and I want to sew a good looking denim jacket from old scraps. My goal is to save a little bit of money, but mostly to keep my wardrobe small but exclusive, while using second hand or organic fabrics.

I have had this idea for years that I want to get better at using my stuff until it’s almost disintegrated. Repairing when possible. I had a friend in high school who had absolutely no money, and he would always buy nice, expensive clothes and wear them every day. I’m inspired by that, but I also want to buy stuff that lasts. SO that Burton jacket might be the last piece of synthetic clothing I’ll buy in a long time.

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Running in winter

This kind of weather is extreme for Denmark. Yesterday the brake-wires on my bike were frozen. Today was a bit warmer: A comfortable -5 °C. Good run today, and fast considering i’ts very slippery outside. Lots of powder snow. Quads and ankles are OK, and I overshot my weekly goal by 3 Km.

http://runkeeper.com/user/etyrmi/activity/69508130

And here’s some inspiration:

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Top ten most gimmicky shoes…

… acccording to BirthdayShoes.com. I had some good laughs here, especially at some of the commercials and slogans. I think KangaROOS should have made the list. Shoes with pockets, how great is  that! And how extremely gimmicky! And the ones with the blinking lights! But I guess those are HONEST gimmicks, and not as fun as the one below.

Nevermind how they look: That shoe is unstable and harmful. I would never let my granddad wear them,  for safety reasons. Actually the common factor in most of the shoes on the list, is that they are unstable. Which in my opinion is a bad thing for a shoe. Reebook  says it flat out in this commmercial for EasyTone: “There’s actually a little instability built into the shoe.” At least it’s being marketed to healthy women.

Read the whole list here:

http://birthdayshoes.com/top-10-most-gimmicky-shoes

I’m forgiving when it comes to gimmicks. All sports gear is is peppered with technology and most of it is… well gimmicky. It adds to the hype, and possibly the pleasure of the wearer to know there is something special and new about their garment or shoes. It gives us something to talk about.

Were I’m more worried is when these are sold as a way to cure conditions, to people looking for e.g. pain relief. For example, I know several people who had to stop wearing their expensive MBT shoes, because their back pain got worse. The only thing that shoe did was force them to walk heavily on their heels. Try to notice if you see anyone wearing these, they probably have lousy posture.

That kind of gimmick can make me angry. When did we start taking medical advice from salesmen?

My addition to the list:

Actually, a pocket for money isn’t a terrible idea. I’m more skeptical to the Dynacoil that returns the energy you  put into the ground. Wow, does that mean that actually NO energy is spent on shock absorption? Anyway I can see why kids would want this shoe in 1986. It looks awesome, and has NASA technology, and a pocket. Who can argue with that?

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Barefoot running fun.

A good sign that barefoot running is becoming mainstream is the inevitable Youtube parodies. And since barefoot runners are “simple”, to quote the first video, they are happy to laugh along with ordinary runners, the ones in high heels I mean.

I am not a barefoot runner myself, but I do subscribe to the general concept. Our legs have a great suspension system so why not use it?

Here are my favorites so far.

“The Barefoot Runner”

This one popped up two months ago, right about the time everybody, including me, grew a mustache. On a serious note, I have read, from a certified podiatrist, that 80% of runners are overpronators, and need supportive shoes. 80%! I know we are a degenerated poulation, but that just can’t be right.

“Sh*t Barefoot Runners Say”

Another installment in the Sh*t people say-series. And very realistic.

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My metatarsals just want to be free.

Fifth metatarsus on the middle left.

OK, this is getting nerdy.

I used to be a bit ashamed of my wide feet. Most shoes squeeze the outside of my foot. The little toe sticks out, sometimes making a whole in the fabric, like the first (and last) time I bought All Stars. Lately I’ve been thinking a bit about feet and running gait, and I’ve started looking at people’s feet. Turns out almost everyone’s got the same problem. Simply put we buy shoes that cripple our feet. Not a lot, but a little.

Now, minimal running shoes often sport a wide toe box. That means there is space for the toes to move freely. Problem solved. So why does it still feel like some shoes are squeezing my little toe?

It seems the little toe that we see is just the tip of the iceberg. The fifth metatarsal is a bone running along the outside of your foot, protruding just in front of the ankle. (See the anatomical drawing above for visual reference.) Which brings me to my pet peeve in running shoes; the dreaded “outside arch”. Right at the point where the fifth metatarsal protrudes, a lot of shoe makers have chosen to make the sole narrower and higher. Not wider, like you should think. My impression is that this pushes the bone in and up, creating too much pronation, messing up my gait.

Notice the difference in shape here. A quick Google search tells me this is a pretty common foot shape.

The foot in the illustration is not mine, but basically it’s the same shape. Many people have narrower feet, but according to my totally unscientific research (a quick google search) most feet have the fifth metatarsal sticking out at the same place. The image of a foot below is one of the first that show up in an image search for “sole foot”.

I feel a bit guilty for using the Merrell Trail Glove as an example. After all people have run ultra-marathons in them without experiencing any pain. I have never even run a marathon. It’s not the worst example in any way. It’s a soft shoe, so it gives a bit. Traditional running shoes have the same feature, often to a much worse degree, since they are stiff and “supportive”.

Again, with the Nike Free, this is not the worst example of a weird arch. Quite the opposite. It just shows that this shoe shape is industry standard.

But the trail glove gives a very clear visual reference for the “outside arch”. If you have narrow feet, this may not be a problem. But if you fifth metatarsal hurts when running in shoes, you could give this a thought. A wide toe box doesn’t automatically mean your foot is free.

PS: Although the Merrell shoe did not fit me, it might be the right one for you. Click the Image for a review of the shoe from birthdayshoes.com.

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