Thursday, March 31, 2011

Summer Skimmin

I am really looking forward to summer this morning. I am thinking about things to do on the weekends, since hopefully I will have more time on the weekend, and I would really like to get the old skimboard out. If I can't get out of Ann Arbor to hit up Lake Michigan I think that I will follow these kids' lead and try out some flat water skimmin on a lake around here.

I have also seen people skim in little puddles, so there is always that option. Just some things to put on the sticky side of my brain as my Contracts professor would say.

Enjoy your Thursday, hopefully a new office tonight!


Friday, March 25, 2011

Great Company, Great Idea, Great Lakes Proud!

As a follow up the short feature piece I did a few weeks ago I was able to steal a few minutes from the front man of Great Lakes Proud, Austin Holsinger, to discuss what is up with this sweet new company and to find out what makes him so Great Lakes Proud:

1. How did you come up with the idea for the Great Lakes Proud idea/ concept?
- The idea came to me earlier this year as I was away from the Great
Lakes and living in Montana. I have begun a couple other conservation
initiatives over the last few years so I knew that was a passion of
mine plus I longed to be back in Michigan. I grew up in northern
Michigan and graduated from Hillsdale College in southern Michigan;
for as long as I can remember I have been on water (sailing, fishing,
relaxing...etc.) and I know, first hand, how important our water is to
Michigan (environmentally as well as economically). I also share a
sense of pride in Michigan and the Great Lakes that almost everyone
who has visited feels. So...I wanted to develop an outlet for people
to express their pride and empower them to do something positive to
preserve our water. Through much planning and thought the idea was
born. I chose the sticker because it is a beautiful image and a
quality design that doesn't look tacky or common; it jumps out at you
and says everything I want it to with no extras - I wanted to allow
people to express their pride for the Great Lakes by displaying
something attractive. As the business grows so will our recognition
and I believe that, before long, you will see the Great Lakes Proud
stickers displayed on cars, computers and more throughout the entire
state and Great Lakes region!

A few examples of people who are already showing their Great Lakes Pride! You should be next!

2. It is so cool that you are going to donate to projects and causes
around the Great Lakes, what are some areas that you are looking to
-One of the coolest parts about the business plan is the interaction
we have with our supporters/fans. Through the use of social media we
can connect with people throughout the state that share our ideals and
drive in order to make a difference. Also, we plan on giving our
supporters a voice through social media so we can help support
projects and causes that are most important to them. I may have one
special part of the lakes that means a great deal to me and I am very
proud of it so we will support it. However, you will have an entirely
different area you are proud of that you want to see preserved; we
will support that too! By "liking" us on Facebook or following us on
Twitter you are given a voice in our business and empowered to
influence change.
We are also interested in supporting both small and large
organizations throughout the state; different conservation groups that
are peppered along our coastline and other organizations like Circle
of Blue based in Traverse City, MI. Our communication with the
organizations is in the infant stages at this point so everything is
really exciting.

3. Are you guys outdoor enthusiasts? If so what kind of outdoor rec
activities do you participate it?
-Outdoor enthusiasts is an under statement! Growing up on the lakes
and in Michigan pre-determined that we would be in love with the
outdoors. In the summer we are doing everything from kayaking,
camping, fishing and hiking to SUPing and whatever else we can get our
hands on. The winter brings with it an array of outdoor activities as
well and we love them all - skiing, snowboarding, snowmobiling,
fishing etc. Even if it is something new you can bet it will be given
a try!

4. Which Great Lake is your favorite?
- I have spent most time on Lake Michigan; the west coast of the state
contains some of the most beautiful places I have ever seen. However,
the Pictured Rocks on Superior aren't bad either...

5. Favorite beach/ spot on The Lakes to visit?
- Pyramid Point at the bottom of the Leelanau Peninsula is on the
short list along with the Petoskey State Park in northern Michigan.

6. What is the largest order you have fulfilled so far?
- At this point most of our retailing has been done online and the
response has been great. As we move forward we also plan on having
"brand ambassadors" throughout different areas along with retail
outlets in different towns. Currently our largest order has been 50.

7. Are you considering other articles to put the logo on?
- Yes. Right now we are working on a t-shirt and hat but always
willing to take suggestions via facebook. We want people to get

8. Do you use Twitter or Facebook? If so, where can we find you?
- Yes. You can find us at,, & @greatlakesproud on Twitter.

9. Favorite thing about the Great Lakes area?
- A loaded question...Although I love every season the area has to
offer I can say, without hesitation, that the summer tops the list. My
favorite thing is the warm, sunny afternoons spent on the beach or on
a boat - the perfect combination of being active and relaxing and the
ability to soak everything in. Just put me close to the water and I am

10. What is your favorite bit of Great Lakes Lore?
- The lore surrounding Lake Superior is almost eerie (no pun
intended...) and I love hearing the shipwreck stories. But, each lake
has a special place in history with very unique stories to be told.
There isn't one I wouldn't listen to!

I would like to thank Austin and Great Lakes Proud for taking the time to do this interview, best of luck to you guys, this is a Great idea! 

I hope that you all go out and pick up a few of these sweet stickers! 

Represent the Great Lakes!


Thursday, March 17, 2011

The Living Great Lakes

I recently finished The Living Great Lakes.

While I am still working on a review that can capture what is at the heart of this book. I would like to suggest anyone who is a fan of the Great Lakes, or of the states that border them, to give this book a read. It is factual and very interesting.

In other news; the Ann Arbor Orchid Show is this coming Saturday at the Botanical gardens. You should take a peek if you have time! Chelsea is going to be taking pics for me, and I will be posting a story about it, along with my new purchases after we return!

Also, Chels ran in the Shamrocks and Shenanigans this past Sunday; the interview is on its way!

Take care! One more class for the week!


Olympus Stylus Tough 8010 Review

My first digital camera was an Olympus. It was a simple pocket camera with basic features. However that little thing took, and still takes phenomenal pictures. It is also extremely durable to boot!

But as with all things, technology has left my old pocket cam in the dust in the way of features. I have been looking for a good replacement for it for some time now. I didn't want to step into the realm of the Digital SLR's because they take up too much space, and let's face it, you have to be very careful with them, a feat that is just not possible in enjoying the outdoors sometimes!

Finally I found a camera with the mantra of "accidents happen!" Last Summer I stumbled across the Stylus Tough 8010 from Olympus. The features seemed to be right up my alley:

    • A revolutionary system of waterproof seals and gaskets keeps water out so you can take pictures as deep as 33 feet underwater.
    • Durable metal body with an innovative shock-absorbing technology protects it from drops of up to 6.6 feet.
    • It's Freezeproof down to 14°F/-10°C. Perfect for skiing, snowboarding, sledding and other winter fun, this camera is winterized to perform at below-freezing temperatures.
    • With its rugged body and reinforced LCD, the STYLUS TOUGH-8010 is designed to withstand up to 220 pounds of pressure so your camera and images are always protected.
                                                        (the above list was taken from the Olympus description at their website)

It also features 14 megapixel shots and a 5x wide-angle optical zoom. I could go on for days about the features that this camera boasts, but in the interest of time I will just list a few of my favorites:

  1. Durability:
    1. I have done quite the number on this camera. My first test was a trip to Maine where the majority of the shots taken were done so with this camera. It spent the night with me in the tent the whole trip, survived nasty rain storms of the East Coast, a 10' drop onto rocks while hiking, and random other mishaps. Through it all it continued to provide quality images.
    2. I have also use it in many snowy condition hikes recently. While on a winter hike at Old Baldy I threw it, with much gusto, into a sand packed snowbank while descending a rather steep section. Though I had to dig through the bank to find this thing it emerged flawless and took crisp shots the rest of the day.
  2. The Panorama Feature
    1. The 8010 comes with a few options to create panorama images; with the software that comes with the camera, and also on the camera itself. I enjoy being able to make brilliant panorama images without the hassle, or necessary skill of complex photo-editing programs.
    2. Here is an example of a panorama taken with the 8010 
  3. One-Touch HD video
    1. No need to fumble through menus to make video. With the 8010 all you need to do is press the record button and you are shootin' in HD my friend!
  4. Concerns:
    1. The firmware that they come with is very slow, and mildly cumbersome. Getting used to it takes a bit of patience. 
    2. However, once you update the firmware this thing is ready to go, the 1.1 update turns this into a point and shoot that you can just whip out and snap away with!
Overall I really enjoy this camera. The images are very high quality and the durability protects against the rigors that I will put it through. Though the camera works underwater I am going to pick up the underwater housing this summer so that I can operate it 100% worry free on some dives in Lake Michigan. Look for those shots to come!

I ordered mine from amazon, through Cameta Camera. We have ordered many things from them in the past and they are great to work with. I have attached a link to the package that I bought. Definitely try to get it as a package deal.

If you have any questions about this please feel free to ask them, I am happy to answer!

Happy Trails,


Friday, March 11, 2011

Are you Proud?

Do you live in Michigan? Wisconsin, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York or any other state connected to the Great Lakes?

Are you proud to live in this awesome area?

Well then, the folks over at have a great decal for you! If you head over to their website you can pick up this sharp decal that showcases your pride and love for this diverse area.

So people of the Great Lakes area, throw your flag up! Stick these things on your vehicle, water bottle or any other place where others can see your pride!

The stickers are 3" by 5" and the lakes are a beautiful blue. 

GO, BUY 5,000 now and stick them on everything!

Buy me one too!


Thursday, March 10, 2011

Again Inspiration

So I fell off the workout wagon for a while due to a monkey wrench in the cogs (pronounced mid-terms) However  I am back baby!

With warmer weather approaching I do not want to be stuck indoors because I am too self-conscious to try new things. Nor do I want to become injured or be restricted from doing the things that I love. So here I go.

Check this out, I would like to try at least one thing from this video this summer. Suggestions?

Have a great day!


(PS I found someone with a supercheap windsurfing kit, and they are just holding onto it, no other potential buyers, I think I know what I am saving up for this summer!)

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Release Your Inner Child

Every once in a while we are tempted to veer from the path of adulthood and embrace our inner child. Last summer Chelsea and I did just that.

While trying to steal the last bit of Summer up we constructed a masterpiece of silica and beach trash!

It started with a strong wall to fortify against the great waves of the lake.

Look at her working hard on it!

Pillings must be put in the wall to further strengthen them.

It weathered wave one with ease.

Our castle on the beach

As the sun set the walls grew higher,

and the accessories piled on,

Until it was perfect.

Don't forget to let that little kid out every once in a while, you will be amazed at how good you will feel when you do, and don't be afraid to be laughed and or looked at funny while you do it. As long as you are having a good time, WHO CARES!


Saturday, March 5, 2011

Oakley Monster Dog

When I was growing up I was into action sports and I envied every pro who has that big trademark "O" on the side of the fames of his specs.

We all know what it looks like; perfection.

I could never justify the hefty price tag of the stylish, sleek glasses and instead purchased numerous pairs in the range of $15-25. These I considered to be throw away glasses, the kind that you wear for a few months, scratch them to bits, leave them places and generally not care for. Many people feel this way. However, I got to thinking, I spend $20, two to four times a year, and I have nothing to show for it; something was not adding up.

So I took a risk. I had always heard of the durability and quality of the Oakley brand, but always flinched when looking at them through the display glass.

I decided to just go with it. About four years ago I headed into The Outpost, a local outdoor enthusiast shop in Manisee to peruse their selection. I knew what I was looking for; a pair with not too much flair, nothing shiny, and they had to be durable. I tried a few pairs on and chose the Monster Dog.

               Luckily for me they were one of the more afford-ably priced models coming in at just under $100.

The Monster Dog model seems to be a hybrid, part sports shade and part casual. I have a medium-small head and they fit me quite well.

Though they lack rubberized pads on the ends of the arms they stay on your head rather well. This is due to the generous curve in the arm piece which snuggly hugs the head without pinching. They stay on so well that I feel confident that they will not fall off. To this day, I have never had they slide down my nose or fall off from my head.

The final nice feature about these is the thickness of the arms. Most sports sunglasses have thin frames to provide maximum air flow. These, however, have thicker arms that would appear to block air flow. Not the case, the air flow is more than adequate and the thick arms block out a lot of cross breezes and glare from the sun when it is at your side.

The price seemed steep in comparison to my bargain throw-aways, however I still have these exact same glasses today, and they are in great shape. I hike, bike, jog, snowshoe, work and live in these shades. In the last four years I have not bought another pair of glasses, save for getting an identical pair in a different color for x-mas this year :), so in the long run they have actually saved me money too!

These things go everywhere with me: 

If you are in the market for a good pair of glasses that look as good as they protect pick these up. You will not be let down!


Friday, March 4, 2011

Hiking = Love!

Look how happy hikers are!

Good morning! I am just cranking out some homework so that I have a little to do my own thing this weekend and editing some photos real quick like.

I am deeming this weekend to be a review explosion and time of high activity for RSOC! I know that we have been lagging somewhat lately, but hey, I am in law school, so that is to be expected. I promise to have quite a few updates this weekend! Well enough to keep you busy for a while at least.

We have gear reviews coming for my favorite Oakley's and the Olympus Stylus Tough 8010, and some pics to be uploaded to and I am still working on a book review for The Living Great Lakes.

So things will be busy. But in the interim, picture me, hunched over the desk looking through criminal law and modern property law books, dreaming of crashing waves, gentle breeze through trees, hard packed single track and bear-less camping experiences!

Have a great weekend, and don't be afraid to comment on my posts, it makes me smile!


Tuesday, March 1, 2011

You can make the world a better place.

When you enjoy something you try your hardest to keep it nice; like your car, if you want it to last you have it maintained regularly, wash and wax it and avoid unnecessary wear and tear. What about other things that you enjoy? If you are a religious person you give your penance to keep your parish running so that others may be enlightened as you have been.

What about Earth? I can honestly say that one of the worldly possessions that I hold dear to me is the world itself. Obviously I reap the benefits of enjoyment of diverse seasonal changes that bring about a kaleidoscope of colors, I relish in newly fallen snow and the thunderous downpours of the spring, summer and fall. I live for walks on endless sandy beaches and the ability to hop into the water without fear or harm or sickness. And I find great pleasure in the moments when I get to experience nature without the encumbrances of human interception.

What if, however, I was not so fortunate? What if the trails were lined with Cheetos bags and pop bottles? What if every time I dove into the water I had to fight my way through a slew of floating man-made debris and garbage?

What a terrible world that would be. This post is not intended to be in support of any political position of in contrast to any ideal of the free market. I am writing it to inspire you.

I want you to take the extra 0.00001 second to bend over and pick up a bag or bottle, or paper scrap when you are out enjoying the world. I usually carry a plastic bag with me to fetch trailside/ beach garbage. It takes no extra effort on my part and the world is a better place for it. I am in no way tooting my own horn, merely illustrating how one person is choosing to make a difference, in hopes that you too do your part, however big or small. Nothing is insignificant in this world.

This past Fall we took a short walk on the Lake Michigan shore near my hometown of Onekama, and in the span of 15 minutes I collected the following:

It took nothing extra to pick these up and our return trip was all the more beautiful as a result. I would like to think that maybe the next person to walk the beach found it to be clean and enjoyed it all the more. If all you do is to restore that which is damaged to its original state you have done your part.

If we all just do this a little more, then we can enjoy things like this forever:

Thank you for listening. Enjoy this week.