Tuesday, September 05, 2017

US Open Must Bring List

We just got back from the US Open, and after 3 years of practice, Shira and I finally felt we brought the right stuff with us to enjoy roughly 30 hours of tennis. This is trickier than it sounds as there are limits on how big a bag you can bring in, how significantly the temperature fluctuates in a single day, the need to stay mobile, and how little leg room you have to store stuff. So yeah, it's a puzzle. But it's one that Shira and I both solve in different ways. No surprise, there.

Ben's Must Bring List

  • Inflatable REI sit pad. This made sitting on the rock hard benches far more bearable and was a new edition this year. One of the main reasons I'm writing this post is that I'm hoping it will help me remember this for next year.
  • Disposable poncho. Attend enough days of the Open and it will rain. The typical $1.50 disposable poncho was perfect for this event. It was super tiny, and when I inevitably needed it, I just busted it out.
  • Empty Vapur water Bottle. I'll gladly trade drinking New York water (mmmm, so metallic tasting...) for that sense of smug superiority one gets from filling a water bottle rather than overpaying for a bottle of Evian. I also liked that I didn't have to schlep around water when it was chilly out, and could refill it as many times as I wanted once it got hot as blazes.
  • SDR Radio. This was an experimental just for fun item. Using SDR, I was trivially able to pick up radio chatter from all over the place. I tuned to around 460Mhz and looked for possible signals in SDR Touch. The main issue was that I wasn't able to tease apart which was US Open chatter and which was just surrounding city services. I'm pretty sure I picked up rail road traffic, police traffic and food service traffic. Next year, I'll have to re-double my efforts to see if I can learn any frequencies ahead of time. After watching tennis for hours on end, SDR was a welcome distraction.

Shira's Must Bring List

  • A String Bag. Backpacks are off limits, but for some reason, string bags are considered OK. I had picked one up last year and they didn't give it a second look when bringing it into the stadium. Shira crammed that bad boy full of stuff. The bag actually broke about 30 minutes after we arrived at the park. I used needle, fishing line and mad Boy Scout skills to fix it.
  • Suntan lotion. Yep, old school lotion. Yuck. But it works and inevitably you sit in the sun for hours.
  • Umbrella. Shira gladly carries around a large, heavy umbrella all weekend knowing that eventually it will rain. And this year it did. I was happy with my disposable poncho, she with her massive umbrella.
  • Down Blanket. Shira doesn't care what the forecast says. She doesn't care if all day long it's going to be hot. She knows that by the time night rolls around, everyone in the stadium will be cold because the sun is gone and the Arthur Ashe (with the roof open) is drafty. Well, everyone is cold except for her. She has her down blanket, ready to go.
  • Multiple bottles of store bought water. Shira's not a fan over over-paying for water, but she sure is heck isn't drinking the sketchy stuff that comes out of a public drinking fountain.

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