My Favorite Shoe – és Accel

es-accel-slim-black-black-1

When I started skateboarding, I don’t know for sure but it was around the year 2000. For simplicity lets say it is more than 15 years ago by now.

When you start skateboarding there are a few essential things you need: A skateboard and a pair of shoes. The rest is pretty much optional.

In the beginning I have tried a few different shoe brands but one company and one model of shoe stuck with me ever since I came across them: The és Accel.

I am wearing this shoe almost every single day since then. Although it is now the slim version which I prefer.

Now that I don’t do skateboarding anymore, a given pair will last me about 2-3 years, wearing them every single day. In summer, in winter, on festivals, at concerts, in rain, on beaches, or on a sail boat.

What is so special about this shoe?

The thing that got my attention at first was that it is one of the very few sneakers / skateboarding shoes which are available without the white sole. In fact my favorite model is the black with black sole one as you can see on the initial picture. I’d also say it is a timeless design and looks as good 15 years from now than it does today – especially in the slim variant.

Equally important to me is that the shoe is lasting for a long time and is comfortable to wear.

One of the common problems with other common shoes of this category is that the glued soles over time detach from the shoe which lets them deteriorate much faster after the first gap has been established.

The Accel is one of the few sneakers which feature a glued and stiched sole. So the sole detachment problem happens much later in the shoes lifetime. The sole itself lasts also very long as well before it breaks, gets thin or is lacking grip.

Almost every other seam on the shoe is double or triple stiched.

Those three things, aesthetics, comfort and unmatched durability, are the reasons why the Accel stands out to me.

A few years ago és announced that they would stop producing the Accel and I immediately searched on the internet for two more pairs in my size and favorite color. When I got them and walked around with the new pair, two different people aproached my on the street and asked me where I got them and that it was their favorite shoe as well.

Luckily és came back after a while and so did the Accel with its slim variant. Two days ago my latest pair of Accels were finally telling me it was time to get a new pair. When I went to Onlineshop, I’ve checked my past orders to find out when I bought the last ones. Two years and 3 months.

This is what they look like now:

IMG_5143

IMG_5144

The sole broke on one shoe and they barely have any grip left.

What could still be improved?

Even though I love this shoe, I still would like to see some improvements on the current generation:

  1. On the original Accel the Sole on the front/cap was stitched two times. Currently its only one line. Especially this part of the shoe would benefit of getting the two lines of stitches back
  2. The ends of the threads used to stich the sole on are sometimes a bit loose and if you don’t fix them right away, they will continue to undo the stitching which sucks.
  3. The insole could be lasting a little bit longer. That might not be accurate but I have the feeling they used to last longer before. Now at about half time of the shoes lifetime, I replace the insole. Its not a huge problem but would make the shoe even better.

Final words

It is rare that I’m enthusiastic about a piece of clothing for 15 years. I must have had about 6 or 7 pairs since then. I hope this shoe will never go away and I hope és will try to improve it carefully even more when it comes to its durability and comfort.

It is not the cheapest sneaker but for something that lasts that long I happily pay a few extra bucks.

All the other cheaper and uglier sneakers / skate shoes I’ve tried over the years fell apart so much quicker and often wouldn’t even last one year before they would disintegrate.

I know – it is a bit silly to write this kind of homage to a skateboard sneaker but they carry me through the world for such a long time now, its almost emotional when I have to retire a pair.

Pizza Dough

This is a short post documenting a pizza recipe that I found through an elaborate process of experimenting at home and researching various sources.

Pictures will follow but for now:

Ingredients for one oven tray

  • 400g of Flour (Italian Type 00 ideally)
  • 1/2 cube (22g) of Yeast
  • Tea Spoon of Salt
  • Table Spoon of Olive Oil
  • Pinch of Sugar
  • 180ml of water

Instructions

Put the flour in a big bowl. In a smaller bowl put the yeast with some lukewarm water, dissolve the yeast and add salt, oil and sugar.

Then add the yeast to the flour and use an electric kitchen mixer to slowly mix the dough. Add water as needed. The dough should be moist and smooth.

Once the dough is one big lump, put away the mixer and use your hands for the final kneading and form a nice ball of dough. Let it rest for 2-3 hours in a nice an warm spot. Sunny window works great.

After that, the dough should be roughly double the size. Now spread it out with your hands – this is important. Don’t use a rolling pin as it will make the dough less fluffy and more like a cookie when baked. If you use your hands you will have fluff and a nice crust.

Now add sauce (more on that later) and your other toppings.

Get your household oven to 230ºC and bake the pizza for 12-16 minutes. You will know when it looks ready. I’m using heat from the bottom for 2/3 of the time and the last 1/3 from above to properly melt any cheese that has not melted by then.

Pictures and ideas for toppings will follow.

Current Home Recording Setup

My Home Recording Setup

This is my current home recording set up for guitar and other things. Some people asked me for an equipment list so here it is:

Building My Own Custom Telecaster Guitar

img_3984

I’ve been playing guitar for about five years at this point. I started on a Squier Classic Vibe 50’s Telecaster in butterscotch blonde which you can see on the picture. Over the first two of the past five years I’ve changed all parts of it except for the body.

The next guitar was a Ray Gerold Telecaster. Its made in germany and features the Ray Gerold Bourbon DLX noiseless pickups which sound fantastic. While this guitar is a significant upgrade to my fully modified Squier, there were still some things I wanted differently.

Now in the fifth year I finally decided to build a custom Telecaster which features most of my desired features and then build the full version with every single detail. The only things missing in the current project are the Ray Gerold pickups, because they are quite expensive and the body is not a nitro finish. Also the neck is a little thinner than it should be in the final version but all that aside, here are the details for the Fiesta Red Telecaster I have just completed.

img_3981

The Neck

Its a maple neck with modern c profile, a 10″ radius and 6105 fret wire. It is made by Warmoth and has a nitro vintage tint finish. It has 21 frets and the build type is vintage/modern which means it has the truss rod adjustment screw on the headstock.

The Body

The body is made by Warmoth as well. The wood is pretty light swamp ash which is painted fiesta red and otherwise just a standard tele body.

The Hardware

The hardware has some vintage and some modern flavors. The bridge is a Callaham Vintage T Model with the Enhanced Vintage Compensated Brass Saddles which I have put on all my three telecasters. I think its one of the best bridges you can have.

The tuners are GOTOH HAP staggered tuners although usually I go for the vintage Kluson ones. The electronics are from a kit which I bought from a german store which just contained all the parts I would’ve bought anyway. You can find the kit here. It also comes with the treble bleed mod.

Another small but important is the audio socket mount which usually is quite horrible on a telecaster. Instead I’m using these socket caps which are mounted with two screws.

Pickups

In this version I have used the DiMarzio AreaT Pickups for neck and bridge position which are noiseless and have a better reputation for sound than the fender ones. The final version of this telecaster will have the Ray Gerold Pickups.

Here is another picture of the guitar which was inspired by the Fender Custom Shop Telecaster of Greg Koch.

img_3983

It is quite rare to find a Fiesta Red Telecaster with swamp ash body and a maple neck – so this is why I went full custom and built it myself.

The final guitar is really light weight and plays fantastic. I have to say the neck and body from Warmoth were superb but I wish they’d offer nitro body painting. The AreaT pickups sound very nice but I’m missing the toggle switch from the Ray Gerold ones which I still prefer sound wise but which cost almost four times more than the DiMarzios. I hope this little post inspires you to make your own custom guitar!

Looking For A New Job

After working for the same company for over five years it is time to look for a new job.

At my previous job I had the chance to work on seven different projects, some of them with millions of daily active users. I was responsible of designing, implementing and operating backend systems with stability, performance and fault tolerance in mind.

Me and my colleagues were free to choose the technology stack which we thought was the best fit. We could experiment with new things on a regular basis and our technical feedback was valued input for product decisions. I guess this is what you sum up with »ownership«.

It kept the motivation and fun levels high because you wouldn’t be stuck in the same 7 year old code base of generations of start up developers who left years ago, if you know what I mean.

For my next job I’m looking for at least the same level of responsibility and ownership. After ~ 11 years of programming I feel like I’ve gathered quite a bit of experience that I would love to share to help building something new.

Now of course it isn’t particularly hard to find a job in the computer industry. My linkedin account is getting flooded with messages on a daily basis but we all know that doesn’t mean anything. I can’t be bothered with the ideas or concepts of most of these companies or startups out there. Ultimately everybody is trying to create a business but a lot of them are trying to solve problems which almost nobody is having.

If I could choose, I’d prefer to work on something meaningful. I know, we all do, right? I’ve been working in a Free2Play/Casual Gaming company for the past 5 years, so a bit more meaningful than this at least would be nice.

Basically all my jobs of my professional career as a programmer I got through friends or my own efforts, never through headhunters on linkedin and that has worked quite well for me.

This is why I’m writing this little blog post. It might just reach the right person in my expanded social bubble that I would otherwise miss.

So if you need an experienced backend developer, lead developer, consultant, technical manager, architect or CTO for a somewhat interesting project in Berlin, feel free to contact me.

CTO might be a bit much at this point to be honest but I don’t want to rule it out either if the opportunity is right.

I would only consider relocating for a spectacular opportunity.

A brief CV can be found here: http://smyck.net/cv/cv.html

A more elaborate description of what I was doing at my previous job can be found here: http://smyck.net/cv/wooga.html