NATO Straps - As usual I'm late to the party, but I've been really digging NATO and Zulu watch straps! They come in countless colors and are really great for dressing up an old watch. I like that they are highly reliable (they will still hold your watch in the event of a strap pin failure) and the way they're designed means they can be attached and removed easily without tools. They're also rugged, don't scratch or scuff, and stand up to water really well. And best of all they're inexpensive. So you can have several and switch them out depending on your mood.
Texas Longhorns - Anybody who knows me knows I'm a big Longhorn fan. I have been for quite a while, including the 6-year 2010's drought the football team has been in. It's been tough. People who have been following the team closely thought we'd turn the corner this year and in fact, 2 games into the 2016 season, they are looking radically improved. I don't know if they're really deserving of their current #11 AP poll ranking, but there's little doubt they're a very different team and should be competitive in every game on the schedule. But beyond all that, I just like the team this year. I like their team-first attitude, I love the new offensive scheme, I like their new confidence, and I really love their grittiness (so far, any way). They play with heart and passion. I don't think they have enough experience to run the table this year. But when you think about how many freshmen and sophomores they're playing, it's extremely exciting to think about how good they could be in 2017 and 2018.
Catfishing - Bass Lake is about 2 minutes from the house. I decided to learn to fish cats since the lake is right there, I can fish for catfish no matter where I travel, and there is a chance to catch a real monster every once in awhile (or more if you really want to make it happen). I didn't have much luck at first and had to learn a lot and buy some more appropriate tackle. I also had to experiment with a lot of different bait. But I had a very successful fishing session this last weekend. Caught the creel limit in about 3 hours, including some 18-20 inch fish which seems pretty good for this lake. I'm still a neophyte, but the hook has been set.
My Rod & Reel - Part of the catfishing ramp up was researching and buying new tackle. My other fishing gear is more oriented for small trout and panfish. Of course the fish don't care what tackle you use, but my old gear couldn't cast out far enough into the lake to get to where the catfish are. And if I did get a bite from a big catfish, the rod and the reel in particular were iffy for being able to bring it in. So after a lot of research I ended up getting a pair of 7'6" medium-heavy Whisker Seeker Chad Ferguson model rods, and Abu Garcia Ambassadeur 6500-C3 reels. It was a wildly successful purchase! I was able to get out to the deep part of the lake immediately and that had big impact in the number of bites I got. In fact the first time I used my new tackle is when I caught my limit at the lake. I love how smooth the reel is; everything it works with a fluidity and precision that is wonderful. Those Swedes know a little something about fishing! The 6500-C3 is my first baitcasting reel and I backlashed it several times, but I got the hang of it in about a half hour and the combo can get a lot of casting distance very easily. The Whisker Seeker rod is surprisingly light for its size and it seems very sensitive in terms of being able to tell what the fish is doing. So far I'm totally delighted with this purchase.
Apple iPad Mini - My old Android tablet was a freebie that Verizon gave me if I upgraded my data plan. It was okay, but slow and under-spec'd in terms of memory. Then after 3 years it stopped booting. Now I have an iPad that Verizon was offering a special on. Still not state of the art since it's a 2nd generation model, but it's fine for my purposes and a big step up from my old tablet. When it comes to small computing devices, all things considered, I'm an Apple convert. I'm not a fan boy about it by any stretch, but mostly shit just works on iOS.