At Home with Tech

It’s time to maximize the potential of all your gadgets.

Where to Buy a Belt before 9am near Grand Central Terminal

If you forget your belt after leaving for your commute to New York City, all is not lost. Here’s the solution I found within steps of Grand Central.

The fundamentals of dressing oneself properly isn’t a topic that should require much attention. We all know the rules. Sure, we can discuss fashion, but the basics of covering up your birthday suit doesn’t usually require much thought. And that’s sometimes the problem.

It’s when you’re rushing off to work on autopilot and not paying attention that little mistakes can crop up.

  • Mismatched socks
  • A forgotten tie (when jacket and tie were standard wear)
  • Shirt sleeve cuff buttons misaligned into the wrong holes

These little errors can happen to anyone. (I’m certainly guilty of the occasional ‘I dressed myself too quickly’ faux pas.) None of this is catastrophic. But what do you do if you forget a more structurally important item… such as your belt?

I’ve got a friend who recently experienced this problem. Here’s his story.
(Okay… it was me.)

Help! I Forgot my Belt!
No, it wasn’t such a big deal, and yes, I could have gotten through the day with slightly looser pants on my waist without risking a wardrobe malfunction. But I didn’t feel right, and it was bothering me while I sat on my Metro North commuter train.

I figured as I headed to Grand Central Terminal that there must be thousands of ways to solve the problem and still be at my desk by 9am.
Hey, this is New York City!

I thought back to pre-pandemic days when men’s clothing stores in Midtown Manhattan were open early to handle commuter traffic. (My go-to store is usually Charles Tyrwhitt. Their shirts with ‘proper’ collars can’t be beat.)

But on the train ride, as I held my iPhone and Googled the hours of men’s clothing stores near Grand Central Terminal, I was awakened to another painful example of our new normal.

At 8:30am, stores are still closed.

All except for one.

A Lone Outpost in the Center of Everything
It’s the Men’s Wearhouse at 360 Madison Avenue (45th and Madison).

That store opens at 8:30am. (All of their other branches in New York City open at 10am.)

As I walked by at 8:40am, this Men’s Wearhouse actually looked closed. The darkened windows obscured any activity. But as I peered in, I spotted blurry movement. I walked up to the door and pulled.

And the portal opened!

As I entered, I still wasn’t entirely certain the store was actually ready for business. It was empty, save for one salesman at the register.

I walked up and cautiously asked… “belts?”

He pointed to the back without looking up. I continued on.

I’ve Joined the Club
So I quickly found a black belt and brought it back to the salesman.

As he started to ring it up, I suddenly felt this intense need to confess. So I told him my story.

He finally looked directly at me and gently explained that belts are actually their hottest-selling item in the early morning. My story was not so unique after all.

He handed me the receipt and asked if I wanted him to cut off the tags so I could wear the belt out of the store.

I smiled.

Tame your Inner Vecna
I walked out of the Men’s Wearhouse with my new belt around my waist and a feeling of great accomplishment.

Sure, you’ve got to roll with the punches, and if you forget your belt, it’s not the end of the world. Stranger things can happen.

But with the past two and a half years feeling a bit like the upside down, it’s especially sweet when you have the opportunity to take back a little control.

How to Spot Natural Charm while Snapping Vacation Photos in Maine

This watchful guard appeared on the stairs while we were on line to buy dinner at Langsford Road Lobster and Fish House in Cape Porpoise. I was pleased to capture this little moment, and here are some others I spotted during our week in Maine.

Beyond the lobster rolls, rocky shoreline and beautiful sunrises, vacationing on the coast of Maine can have a wonderfully calming experience. It’s not so much about what you do, it’s more about how your day unfolds and experiencing what’s right in front of you. That’s the charm.

We recently spent a summer week in and around Kennebunkport and Cape Porpoise. (On one day, we traveled up to Portland.)

Of course, I practiced my photography on this environment and brought a camera everywhere I went. Some shots I intentionally looked for. Others presented themselves quite unexpectedly. It’s in these natural moments where the best opportunity to capture ‘the charm’ lies.

Last week, I shared my week-long exercise capturing sunrise timelapses. Now, here are my photos from our trip!

Maine’s Wonderful Character

An elevated house by the water

Repairing a boat outside Langsford Road Lobster and Fish House

Afternoon fishing from a dock

The Mudflats at Cape Porpoise

A grounded boat at low tide on the edge of the flats

Walking on the flats in the afternoon

Pile mooring at low tide

Goat Island Lighthouse

The distant lighthouse at dawn

Its high-tech Marine LED Beacon

The view from the lighthouse

The Beaches

People enjoying Maine beach time

Three silhouettes in the ocean water

A seagull flies by.

Floral colors

I spotted batches of daisies in so many fields.

An industrious caterpillar photo-bombed my flower shot.

This yellow flower seemed to greet the sunrise.

Portland Head Light at Fort Williams Park in Cape Elizabeth

This is the iconic lighthouse shot.

During our walk in the park, I accidentally came upon this photo shoot for a clothing brand.

Sunrise on the Mudflats

The clouds glowed purple in the magic minutes before the sun took over.

This is ten minutes later.

I’m taking it all in. (Thanks to my friend Rick for capturing my moment.)

Why I Woke Up at 4:30am on Vacation to Shoot these 6 Sunrise Timelapses

If you’re on vacation and happen to have a front-row seat to the sunrise, you might want to consider working that into your schedule. Here are the results of my creative effort.

I’ve just returned from a restorative family vacation in Kennebunkport, Maine. We stayed at a magical house on the water with two other families. The house is in Cape Porpoise right on an ocean inlet that transforms into an otherworldly span of mudflats at low tide.

The birds woke me up on our first morning at 4:45am. I peered out our bedroom window onto the flats and took in a pre-sunrise sky ablaze in purple and pink-colored clouds. I saw one of the other dads already out there with camera in hand. There was no need for words. I gestured that I would join his sunrise photo shoot.

Half asleep, I grabbed my tripod and DJI Osmo Pocket camera to record a timelapse of the sunrise over the mudflats. I stumbled down the stairs and onto the edge of the flats to join my friend.

Sunday Cape Porpoise Sunrise Timelapse

Sunday sunrise timelapse

The Set Up
The sun was due in 10 minutes, and I was running out of time. I hurriedly set up my timelapse to run for 20 minutes, snapping a frame at 2-second increments. This gimbal also let me add a little motion in the shot, which is really nice. And then I let nature take over. I watched the sunrise and simultaneously created this 20-second sunrise timelapse video.

The result wasn’t terrible, but the length felt short to me. And there weren’t many clouds in my shot. Plus, my settings didn’t allow enough time for the clouds to really move through my frame. (Clearly, it’s all about the clouds.)

Monday Cape Porpoise, Maine Sunrise Timelapse

Monday sunrise timelapse

I immediately wanted to try again. So the next morning, I did exactly that. I adjusted the timelapse settings to record for an hour at 3-second frame increments. That would capture more of the sunrise and also help the clouds to move faster. Here’s the 40-second result.

The scattered cloud cover instantly made this sunrise more interesting, and the longer timelapse felt like the perfect length.

In Search of More
I sat down on the lawn with my coffee and felt both relaxed and incredibly satisfied. I had fed my creative self, and it wasn’t even 6am yet.

So I decided to repeat the exercise for the rest of the week. 4:30am… every morning.

Waking up earlier that I normally do ran completely counter to my vacation goals of sleeping in. But I adjusted with adding afternoon vacation naps to my schedule.

All sunrises are unique. Even though the sun is a constant, the different cloud formations create limitless timelapse opportunities.

That said, I think some of my videos were more interesting than others based on cloud position and movement. But that’s just one opinion. Here are the rest of my vacation timelapses. (I’ve sped up these Gifs a bit to capture the full 40-seconds of each video.)

Tuesday Cape Porpoise Maine Sunrise Timelapse

Tuesday sunrise timelapse

Wednesday Cape Porpoise Sunrise Timelapse

Wednesday sunrise timelapse

Thursday Cape Porpoise Timelapse

Thursday sunrise timelapse

Friday Cape Porpoise Sunrise Timelapse

Friday sunrise timelapse

Not to play favorites (every sunrise is perfect), but I think Wednesday was the winner.
(Any other thoughts?)

The Value of Greeting the Day
On the last morning of our vacation, a storm was predicted, but I woke up early anyway and walked outside to greet the day and feel the breezes. Yes, it started to rain, but it was light.

There was no sunrise. But of course the dawn did arrive. I sat down on an Adirondack chair with my cup of joe to just… be.

I took in the dark clouds overhead. I didn’t have a camera in my hand, but I still relished in the conclusion of my week-long morning exercise.

And then I understood that it’s not always about being able to capture a sunrise. Sometimes, just being there is more than enough.

My vacation was complete.

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