My city of Scottsdale, Ariz., is a shopping destination for travelers, especially for snowbirds. Within its borders are the remains of dead shopping malls like the Scottsdale Galleria Â (which is now full of tech businesses). There was also a years-long tussle about how to deal with the Los Arcos Mall; investors bought it in hopes of bulldozing it and building a hockey arena for the Phoenix Coyotes. And now, it’s Sky Song, a mix of cool and stodgy owned by Arizona State University.
Brooklyn Brew Shop doesn’t offer your typical home brew kits. It’s recipes are a little off-kilter, both in flavor and size. I’m used to beginner home brew kits that offer stuff like a plain-jane pale ale or a brown ale, usually in a 5-gallon batch.
So the Brooklyn Brew Shop home brew concept intrigued me: cool stuff like chocolate maple porter, jalapeÃ±o saison and smoked wheat in a compact, experimental-sized 1-gallon batch? I’m in!
I’m a terrible yoga dude. First, I absolutely will not call myself a "yogi" (though I’d love to somehow earn the title "swami"). And I have a low tolerance for the baggage that comes along with yoga: If you get all New Agey on me, I will laugh – openly. If you turn yoga classes into Janet Reno’s Dance Party, I will find a new studio. Straight up.
This means I hope Hot Yoga University stays exactly as it is. Does that mean it’s perfect? No – but it’s close enough. Let’s take a look at this much-needed addition to South Scottsdale -- and why I like it so much after five classes.
1. It’s a hot yoga class, as you probably guessed from the name. I like the extra challenge from the heat. You burn more calories, you get a deeper stretch. Local yoga folks will immediately think of Sumits, which offers hot yoga all over the Valley. You’ll see more about how it stacks up to Sumits later.
2. It’s reasonably priced -- especially for a hot yoga classes. I did the new student special -- $20, 20 days unlimited. Drop-in classes are an impressive $10. I defy you to beat that anywhere, hot yoga or not. Four classes in, I’m convinced Hot Yoga University is not just cheap yoga – it’s good yoga.
I saw a soon-to-be first-time traveler ask online about backpacks – specifically, which one he should take for a three-week trip. The question opens a massive can of live eels. Let’s see what I can do to offer some quality backpack tips.
1. What kind of backpack traveler do you want to be?
Your backpack can just be a suitcase you wear on your back from hotel to hotel. Ot it can signal intent to camp, ability to cook on the fly and a desire to go hiking a lot. So which are you? Be honest with yourself. If you’re the first option, you’ll have more room for extra shoes, evening wear and various fancy city shit. If you choose option 2, your tent, sleeping bag and cooking/eating gear will eat up space when you load your backpack. Plan accordingly.
There’s one mountain bike that made my life better.
It didn’t have any carbon fiber or hydraulic disc brakes. Its only suspension was my arms and legs. No clipless pedals. Just 21 speeds.
So what’s so great about it? It was my first real mountain bike. I learned to love mountain biking a year earlier … I’d ride my psuedo-mountain bike to classes at ASU during my freshman year. My roommate was a mountain biker, as were a girl on the fifth floor of my dorm and one of my classmates in a low-level engineering class. Between them all, I got my intro to real mountain biking.
I returned for my sophomore year on a shiny black Balance. Chromoly steel frame, a full Shimano DX group, real off-road geometry for efficient pedaling and agile handling. It was made to be a police bike, but somehow wound up at Bicycle Ranch near my house. Bit by bit, I upgraded it.
More importantly, it upgraded me. It was sturdier than my first bike. It let me ride better. Sure, it still got me to class (I protected it with two U-locks when I had to put it in the bike rack).Â ButÂ it also responded to my commands off-road. It could do anything I asked of it.
It made me a mountain biker.
That was a time in my life when I didn’t have to worry about being fast. I didn’t wear colorful jerseys. I wasn’t part of a team. The people I rode with didn’t “ride for” anyone but themselves. We just had fun.
Later bikes would make me a racer (half-assed andÂ inconsistent, of course) or bike nerd or whatever you want to call me. This one … I learned to fix it. I crashed it. I made it my own. Everything I learned from it got me a job at a bike shop. It put me on the trail of friends, relationships, adventures. I’d be shocked if any other bike impacts my life as that old Balance did.