Archive for May, 2010
Energi to go™
Our days can get long,
and if you are like me our batteries can run down.
The little devices that make our lives easier are getting smaller but don’t always have the juice to keep up.
Enter portable power packs.
I was headed out to Texas to photograph a friends champion Great Dane Ty . I knew that I would probably need more power than my iPhone had. So off I went to find a portable battery pack.
Years ago when I was on a trip from San Francisco back home I ran out of power for my old school iPod. I had just made it from SF to NY with tunes but we were stuck on the tarmac for a few hours.
As a Photographer I have an insatiable thirst for battery power, or at least my strobes do. I have made various battery packs throughout the years. this being one of them.
I don’t know why I wasn’t arrested right then and there as I pulled out my batteries and started tearing apart some wires to recharge my iPod. It must have been a sight. Remember kids don’t try this on a plane or anywhere near an airport.
Anyway I had tunes and I was doing much better.
Fast forward to today. Thank goodness several companies have noticed the problem of lack of juice and have stepped up with solutions. Otherwise I just might end up in the slammer.
Energi to go™ the review.
Prepping for the trip to Texas I went into my local BestBuy to see what they had.
There were several “made for the iPhone” packs, ranging from $30-$80 too much for my blood (hey I’m cheap). I had seen one that would use AA batteries. That way I could use rechargeable’s or in a pinch buy a pack at a drug store. Alas BestBuy didn’t stock them. Out of the corner of my eye I spied the Energi to go™ on display. there were a few different sizes I bought the cheapest one the 1,000 mah $20. It would power my iPhone for another 4-5 hours.
Now this is certainly a more elegant solution than ripping apart a cord and attaching wires with electrical tape to battery terminals on an airplane.
Not to mention less likely to cause the air marshal to put a gun to your head.
The battery comes charged though I don’t know if it is fully charged or just partially. As you can see, it has a USB cord that you use to charge it. Therefore you can use a computer, car to USB adapter, or wall outlet to USB charger like the one that comes with the iPhone.
I particularly like this as it eliminates the need for additional wall chargers, like we don’t have enough cords and things that plug into the wall as it is.
The Energi to go™ comes with several tips that you can switch out to charge other phones and devices. This is a good and bad thing.
The good part is that one pack can be used for different devices.
The Bad, well let’s just say that there is an iPhone/iPod adapter lying on the ground somewhere just outside of Johnson city, under a cactus or something.
So, when you get one make sure to wrap electrical tape around the adapter and the cord so I,er, I mean you don’t loose it. The great thing is that they have an excellent “tips for life” policy. Just register on their site and order up another tip, just in case.
When I got my new tip I had the chance to really put it through it’s paces. Fully charged it rechrged my iPhone to almost full. The battery in the phone is a bit larger at 1150mah. So now I keep it charged and in my bag at all times.
As you can see the 1000mah pack is small and easily slips int your pocket or bag without tipping the scales. It has two leds to indicate the charge status. They also make various sized interchangeable packs up to the gargantuan 18,000 mAh pack that weighs in at 17.5 oz. A little too big to slide into my pocket. But great if you are going outback and away from power.
So if you are in the need of backup power I would look into the Energi to go™ system.
I don’t get paid for these reviews, just my experiences.
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Back on the Whistle Blower express, I found my self in Austin Texas on an unrelated shoot.
So I said to myself, “Self, are there any whistle blowers in Texas?”. Sure enough there is…
Sherron Watkins, Former VP of Enron Corporation alerted Ken Lay of accounting irregularities.
She has testified before Congressional Committees from the House and Senate investigating Enron’s demise.
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I needed a small vacation so what did I do? I made my way to Texas, Johnson city to be exact. To help out a friend shoot her dogs and horses. No not that way but, for her web site. Ty is a Champion Great Dane at the age of 13 months (unheard of, usually they don’t make champion till 2 years old). “Rubys jewel of Honesty” is his kennel name, Ty to us mortals and chew toys (I have the marks to prove it). Did I mention he is Big, 170 lbs at only 14 months… BIG!
After the shoot it was time to get some lunch. Off we went to Rileys in Johnson city for some Bar-B-Q.
A little back story I’ve been a fan of Chili and Bar-B-Q for quite some time going to Chili cook offs in Terlingua TX. nestled in the Big Bend national forest. If you ever have a chance get down there it’s beautiful, but there is nothing else around.
I also had the pleasure of studying under the tutelage of the wise sage and author of “Pit Pot & Skillet” Red Caldwell. We stayed up all night cooked a few dozen Briskets and 100 Chickens for an event in San Antonio, more years ago than I want to remember. Great time, great Brisket.
Enough of my creds and on to the review. We picked up a few lbs of, Turkey, Brisket and Ribs, a few side dishes and off we went.
The turkey was moist and had a slight smoke to it, Granted we got to Rileys late in the day however the brisket and ribs were just servicable.
The sauce had a it too much black pepper in it for my taste. However the shinning star was the pickled onions. Sliced onions pickled in vinegar, sugar and spices. excellent!!!
The next day I was off to photograph Sherron Watkins in Houston. I had been to TX many times, I made the exodus to Terlingua one year from Marble Falls (a very long ride). I had forgotten just how much Texas is in Texas.
3 1/2 hours to Houston Photograph Ms. Watkins then head back to Johnson City. a very long day and nothing to eat till I got to Ellinger TX..
Ellinger is one of those towns like Barstow CA. half way between two large cities so you can gas up and get something to eat.
Well gas up I did and after a day of driving and shooting I was hungry. I searched high and low and found “Peters” Ok it was across the street from the gas station and there really isn’t much else around, it just sounded good.
I walked in again towards the end of the day just looking for something to tide me over till I got back. There were only 4 people sitting down having a bite to eat, I walked towards the ordering station and stood there for a minute or two till Peter came over. Now I’m not sure he was Peter but I’ll assume he was for the purpose of this article. It looked like my presence was a bother for him, an outsider wanting a bit of food “what do you want?” Peter said , ” a sliced beef sandwich and iced tea please” I replied. “pickles and onions?” he asked “just onions thanks”, In a gruff he turned and pulled out a slab of brisket and started cutting it, right there I had the inkling that this might be good. He trimmed off a bit of the bark and proceeded to slice the brisket with the an ease that only comes with years of slicing. As the slices fell I noticed the perfect red ring of smoke and the tenderness of the brisket as it fell apart. He Plopped the stack of beef on to the sauced hamburger bun and added the onions (this place is not haute cusine, just honest grub). Wrapped it up and took my money. I grabbed a cup and proceeded to get the tea. Back in my car I opened the the package he bestowed upon me.
Now I know I was hungry but this was the way Brisket should be done. Nice smoke, not too over bearing, tender, and just the right amount of sauce and spices to help the meat sing. 10 minutes and 50 miles down the road I wanted to turn back and get another sandwich. So if you ever find yourself in Ellinger TX on your way to either Houston or Austin, stop at Peters and as they say “eat where the customer is king” you won’t be disappointed.
Where are the photos of the sandwich, … well I did say I was hungry.