100 miles and counting

Milestone!  100 miles logged using my Nike+GPS app!  It’s been quite a trip.  I never really thought I’d be able to do it.  In fact my legs are feeling it.

Now that it gets dark crazy early, and it’s getting really cold, it becomes a bit more difficult to log the miles.   Plus there’s the almost inevitable holiday season binge.  I have to celebrate my small accomplishments.

Next target: 500 miles.  Might as well dream big. 🙂

Reading: Taking an Unplanned Vacation

On Twitter, I found this post that really hit home:

I realize, I have not allowed myself to take any “unplanned vacations” recently.

It jogged a memory.  January 2007.  In a site visit that I did for one of my audit clients in Chambersburg, Pennsylvania,  I started work at 7, and finished my tasks at about 4PM.  My hotel was in Gettysburg, so I figured I had some time to spare before sunset, and I felt I should explore.

Being new to the place, I decided to just drive around Gettysburg – the town and the battlefield.

By myself.

With my HP IPaq 6515 phone with built-in but very faulty GPS navigation, which I just pointed back to the hotel as I drove further.  Funny and annoying how it was constantly saying “recalculating”, “make a U-Turn” or “Proceed to the nearest road”.  Unfortunately,  I couldn’t turn it off for fear of losing the GPS signal.

I really knew nothing of the place.  I’ve only heard of Gettysburg in the famous Gettysburg Address by Abraham Lincoln, which we were made to memorize in High School.

Driving around the battlefield, it was so quiet.  There were not a lot of people because of the chilly Pennsylvania air (I did mention it was January).  The museums were already closed.

I explored the monuments and memorials.  I climbed the Observation Tower and got a good view of the field and the sunset.  I did manage to take some pictures until it got dark.

See a few photos that I was able to salvage from my backups (the hard drive where I originally stored these crashed):

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Anyhow, this “trip” happened in the course of a couple of hours (definitely a much smaller scale compared to the article referenced above).

But it was unplanned.  And I very much enjoyed it.  While it was technically a work day, I had a mini-vacation.

Got me to thinking – I should force myself do this more often.  I should aim to cover more of my the map I blogged in the past.  Not get lost in the busyness of work and the humdrum of daily routines.

Then in my head, I start planning trip logistics.

Old habits die hard. (sigh!)

More info on visiting Gettysburg – http://www.nps.gov/getc/index.htm

Trying out: Twitter Blackbird Pie

Just came across this cool feature in WordPress called Twitter Blackbird Pie, which turns Twitter feeds into blog content.  Trying it out:

It’s works fairly straightforward (just copy the tweet address/URL as one line in the blog post).  And as the comment boards mention, be sure to remove the hyperlinks on the copied block of text.

Read more about it here.

A plug for Worldbuilders 2010

Patrick Rothfuss is one of my all time favorite authors.  I mentioned his book, The Name of the Wind, in a previous blog post.  The sequel, The Wise Man’s Fear is due next year, and I can’t wait.

Pat does this thing every year on his blog/website called Worldbuilders, raising funds for a very worthy charity, Heifer International.  Pat, along with other sponsors, matches 50% of the funds contributed, and for every $10 contribution (tax deductible in the US within IRS limits), the contributor gets entered into a sweepstakes with sweet prizes, including signed books (including galleys, Advanced Reading Copies (ARCs) first printing and rare books)  and other goodies like T-shirts, etc).

Click on the image above, or this link to check it out.

Last year, this event raised about $190K for Heifer International.  I’m sure that went a long way in helping alleviate hunger in many pockets of the world that need it, including the Philippines.  What I love about Heifer International is their approach of helping entire communities not by giving them food, but rather giving them livelihood, and training their beneficiaries to “pay it forward.”  Quoted from their site:

“With gifts of livestock and training, we help families improve their nutrition and generate income in sustainable ways. We refer to the animals as “living loans” because in exchange for their livestock and training, families agree to give one of its animal’s offspring to another family in need. It’s called Passing on the Gift – a cornerstone of our mission that creates an ever-expanding network of hope and peace.”

As the saying goes, “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.” Heifer takes it even further, because it expands the scope to the whole community, and it makes the efforts sustainable over a longer period of time (possibly many lifetimes).  Read a lot of success stories in Heifer’s website.

Do read about it some more on Pat’s site.  I think he makes a better case for contributing to the charity, which includes a writing few paragraphs about Batman.  And he updates the post pretty frequently for new goodies included in the sweepstakes.  Also check out the archives – about the same time last year, he posted pretty cool interviews with authors who kindly donated books for the fundraiser, including some more of my favorite authors – Peter V. Brett, Brent Weeks and Joe Abercrombie.

Cheers to big warm fuzzy feelings!  (Pat’s words)

100 hits

Something pretty cool happened today:


First 100 hits!

Very amateur to be excited about something like this, right?  This might not be much when compared to other heavily-trafficked blogs, with constantly updating content (some probably have more than 100 hits per second!).

But to me, it’s a start.  Even the biggest websites and blogs had their first 100 hits at some point.

And I count my milestones where I can.  I only started this blog as an avenue for venting, and really, to start writing again.  I think I may have actually written more in the past month than in the past 2 years (audit working papers and memos really don’t count!).  I’ll likely look back to this day, and get inspired to write some more.  I’ve started on committing to 750 words a day, through this really cool site, 750words.com.   It’s been a really cool tool, though my first few days have been like verbal diarrhea.

According to Flag Counter, these hits came from 35 unique visitors from 5 countries. (click on the link on the right).

To the folks kind enough to click to the site, thank you for visiting this corner of the web. I’m sure you probably had better things to do, so I really appreciate it.  🙂

P.S.  Comments, ideas and suggestions are welcome – they’d be a great help.