The Newsletter Formerly Known as 3 Things
A Short Tale of Pivoting (a.k.a. "Here Goes Nothing ...")
Greetings, friend. It's been awhile, and it's good to see you again.
You may notice that this newsletter looks a bit different than it used to. That's because I finally took the step to move away from MailChimp.
MailChimp provided this modest newsletter a decent home for a few years, but our relationship wasn't without its problems.
Mainly they were very quick to ban senders — I inadvertently stumbled into an Acceptable Use Violation twice. Their support team was very good at not explaining what caused the violation, leaving me to stumble around to try to figure it out on my own. Hey, it's their platform, so they can do what they want. But it didn't make for a friendly relationship.
Anyway, once the service was sold to Intuit, it seemed like a good time to try something new. So I took my time shuffling to Substack, a platform I've been meaning to experiment with for a little while. And here we are.
I've also renamed the newsletter. 3 Things as a concept and a title has run its course. I wasn't happy with the last few issues. It proved increasingly challenging to put together three related things without the conceit feeling forced. So I'm doing what countless internet companies have done in recent years — I'm pivoting.
This new iteration of my newsletter will include some original writing — short essays and product reviews mostly, but occasionally some stories and anecdotes. Maybe the occasional recipe and an interview or two. And I'm still interested in throwing some light into the more unusual, interesting, and strange corners of the internet, so there'll be a bit of that as well.
In short, I hope it's somewhat more personal, a little more fun, and marginally more relevant.
I won't be sending out this iteration as weekly newsletter. I'm shooting for more like once a month. And, as before, your email address won’t be sold, traded, bartered, or used for anything other than this newsletter.
I've imported the old subscriber list, which is why you're getting this. But if you've tired of my ramblings, I get it. I thank you for your attention and promise I won't be offended if you unsubscribe.
But I do hope you'll stick around, and I will do my best to entertain and enlighten.
What follows is a small sample of what to expect in future iterations. Or issues. I guess Substackers call them issues.
Findery: Requiem for a Website
Once upon a time there was a site called Findery. It was sort of an Instagram for physical places. Because I'm a nut for cartography (and by association GPS coordinates), I enjoyed contributing to the site. But some point in late 2016 it began to languish. The, just recently, it all but vanished entirely. Well, parts of it are still there. But all functionality is gone and many of the links have been removed.
What follows is a short piece I wrote about a certain spot in the Angeles National Forest. There's still a Geocache there if you care to go looking.
Elmer Smith? Yeah, sure. I'll tell you about Elmer Smith, one of the happiest gents I've ever had the pleasure to meet.
Those who know me well know how much I love fishing. There's a little spot in the forest where the water, after flowing down fast and cool from the mountains, spills out into a wide bend in the stream. I'm not going to tell you how I discovered it, but it's a quiet place, isolated and serene, and the water there is full of gentle eddies and slow currents. It's where the big fish hang out, feasting on bugs and minnows. And it's where I first met Elmer Smith.
Whenever I get the chance I'll ride my bike down there at lunch to get in a few casts. I usually fish from the bridge, but if I have a little extra time, I'll scramble down the steep slope and cast from the bank. But Elmer always wades in the stream, sending perfect cast after perfect cast right where the fish want them.
I use all sorts of lures: Daredevles, curly tail grubs, Rapalas, power worms, and flatfish. I'll try a Little Cleo once in a while, especially early in the summer, and I'll pull out my trusty Mepps Aglia when I really want a strike.
Elmer, though, always uses the same lure. Something he dreamed up he calls the Blue-Bridled Coachman. He makes them himself, and the fish love it.
Sometimes I get lucky and pull in a fish or two. But Elmer, he never goes home with a empty creel.
Every day as I leave the stream I'll ask him, "What's the secret, Elmer?"
"Just keep fishing, son," he'll say. "Just keep fishing."
One day, not too long ago, Elmer wasn't there when I showed up, and I haven't seen him since.
I don't know where he is, but I do know that wherever he is, he's fishing.
Gear Alert: Ergo Spout
I'm a big fan of Mason jars. I find them to be quite useful in organizing our home pantry as well as numerous small parts in the workshop. But one thing they're not great at — pouring liquids. And that's where the Ergo Spout comes in. This useful device turns wide-mouth Mason jars into easy-to-use pitchers.
Developed by Culinesco (maker of other fine Mason jar accessories) and the result of a successful Kickstarter campaign, the Ergo Spout features a comfortable ergonomic (hence the name, one assumes) handle an angled spout for perfect pouring. Each Ergo Spout comes with a gasket and an airtight silicone lid to ensure a tight fit.
I've ordered two and look forward to putting them to use when they arrive sometime after November 2022. You can pre-order a few for yourself at the Culinesco Online Store. And if you favor the regular-sized Mason jars, Culinesco has you covered with the Ergo Spout Regular.
That’s it for this issue. It’s a bit of an experiment to see how this all shakes out, so bear with me.
Thanks for reading, and I hope to see you next time!