With the move to Atlanta, new job, and new routines, it took me an embarrassingly long time to read Bill Bryson’s short little work on Shakespeare (it only just reaches 196 pages). Either way – it was a fun read, and just the type of book that’s easy to pick up and put down frequently. Here’s why…[Read more…] about Shakespeare by Bill Bryson Book Review
I grew up about 10 years too late and on the wrong side of the world to fully appreciate Ready Player One by Ernest Cline – but it was a really fun, fresh, and fascinating novel.
The book set in 2030 where everyone spends all their time digitally immersed online to escape the awful dystopia outside.
The economy is dominated by just 2 online firms – and one firm’s eccentric founder dies leaving his fortune to whomever can solve a treasure hunt involving riddles and trivia centered around the 1980s American geek sub-culture.[Read more…] about Ready Player One by Ernest Cline Book Review
June 4th, 2014 was the 25th anniversary of the Tienanmen Square protests/massacre in China, immortalized by the Tank Man photo. It was one of the pivotal moments in the 20th Century where, unlike other Communist regimes in Europe, the Chinese Communists were able to keep their hold on power.
The massacre is immortalized everywhere…but China, where it has been actively censored and suppressed to the point where people will literally run away before talking about it.
The Internet was supposed to kill censorship, but China has the “Great Firewall” and one of the most ambitious censorship operations in the world. I had always heard that China actively and successfully censors the Internet, but never understood exactly how it works or what it would feel like to live in a completely censored world a la 1984.
China has banned Twitter because they will not grant access to the sensors, so they have a homegrown version – Sina Weibo. It has 500 million users – including me, an American citizen living in Atlanta, GA.
Yes – unlike some Chinese sites, anyone can sign up for Weibo, granted that you agree to their terms of service (ie, the Chinese government can revise your account).
I’ve had an account for a couple years, but had never used it…mainly because Google Translate has a very hard time with Mandarin Chinese. I have 9 followers (you know the type of people who follow everyone, mixed in with a couple bots).
But on June 4th, I thought I’d do a test of China’s censors. And see exactly what happens.[Read more…] about What Happens When An American Posts About Tiananmen Square On Weibo (China’s Twitter)
I received a reader question that basically relates to how to choose what to write about for your blog/book/etc. Here’s the full question I received –[Read more…] about Reader Question: How To Choose What To Write About For Your Personal Blog
I’ve never thought of memory as skill until I read Moonwalking With Einstein.
The book is Joshua Foer’s exploration into not only mnemonics, but also the subculture of “memory athletes,” and his adventure in experimental journalism where he goes from covering the US Memory Championships (yes, there is such a thing) to participating in – and winning the following year.
It turns out that memory, like pretty near 100% of human skills, is influenced and developed not by genetics or “talent,” but by deliberate, and consistent practice (a hypothesis repeatedly proven by longitudinal research, dedicated researchers, and explained by this excellent book).
And Joshua Foer proves it with his journey from regular forgetful guy to being able to memorize a full decks of playing cards, dozens of random names and numbers, and lists of hundreds of random words.[Read more…] about Moonwalking With Einstein by Joshua Foer Book Review
Mid-March is thru-hiker’s season on the Appalachian Trail. The most common schedule for anyone planning on hiking all 2,000+ miles is to start in Georgia at Springer Mountain in March and finish in Maine at Mt. Katahdin in September. You get to beat the heat of the South while also beating winter (and the closing of Mt. Katahdin) up North. It was also one of the few times in which my, my brother’s, my Dad’s, and my brother in law’s schedules all aligned for 2 days to hike another section of the Georgia Appalachian Trail. So that’s what we did.[Read more…] about Unicoi Gap to Dick’s Creek Gap On The Appalachian Trail
During the last week of December 2014, my wife Shannon and I went to Boston, Massachusetts on a brief 5-day trip. It was my first trip to a major US city outside of my Atlanta home since my City Stereotypes post went viral last summer.
Boston is a big city for tourists, and you can find generic tourist information all over the Internet. You’ll find no shortage of people who have been to Boston who’ll tell you where to go.
I read all that information, talked to friends who had been there, and friends who live there before the trip. But here’s 11 things in no real order that still stood out to me once I got there, and makes Boston a really worthwhile visit (or home).[Read more…] about On Visiting Boston, Massachusetts
From 2007 to 2012, I read 263+ books. But I did not stop there. I haven’t kept up the same pace – but have kept on tracking every book I’ve read since. Ideally, I’ve also written a short lessons learned or review of each. Here’s the books I’ve read this past year.
This post covers books read in 2013. You can also read from,[Read more…] about Books Read in 2013
Atlanta is a city founded upon and built by railroads. But unlike a lot of railroad towns around America – Atlanta still is a town with railroads actually running through it. It has several Class I railroads running right through and underneath Downtown Atlanta. Here’s a few pictures I’ve taken of them.
Coal train emerging from underneath Philips Arena.[Read more…] about Photos of Atlanta’s Downtown Railroads
I took this photo somewhere in the Chattahoochee National Forest along the Appalachian Trail.
There’s a lot of outcrops and views in North Georgia, but I loved this view that highlighted the low, subtle, rolling ridges with the diversity of plant species.[Read more…] about North Georgia Mountains
Previously, I had run in 2 competitive road half marathons, 1 marathon, several half-marathon distances on my own during training or recreation. I’m a middle of the pack runner and finished 34th out of 108 in the Mystery Mountain race.
Here’s how I did my trail half marathon training, and some observations on what exactly a trail race entails, what to expect, and how to prepare… [Read more…] about Observations & Training Tips from My First Trail Half Marathon
We’ve slept under a tarp during pouring rain with bears strutting around our camp like they own the place. We’ve also woken up on a crisp, clear November morning with clear views of a million shades of autumn leaves while cooking bacon on a smooth granite rock.
So – 3rd time overnight – and the plan is that we’re going to have a gloriously typical hike. Or at least the typical hike that happens when you’re old hat at the mountain hiking deal. The problem (or, the wonder) of the Appalachian Trail is that that never seems to actually happen.
What did end up happening was that we got to start at the actual Start of the Appalachian Trail at Springer Mountain in Georgia – and hike to Coopers Gap Rd…in a veritable downpour that only let up for a couple hours during the entire hike – which is a bit telling since this portion of trail sees the most people attempt to thru-hike each year…only to quit after just a few miles.
Here’s the run down of hiking on the Appalachian Trail from Springer Mountain to Coopers Gap Rd (near the Gooch Mountain Shelter).[Read more…] about Springer Mountain to Cooper Gap on the Appalachian Trail
This photo is from a warm summer evening at Turner Field. There are few things nicer than summer baseball.
I always find it really fascinating to find out how people from different places can perceive the same things so differently. And especially how people from other countries, regions, and cities perceive my city, region, and country – what they focus on, and what things stand out in their mind. In other words – people’s country, region, and city stereotypes.
For years – it has always been an interesting conversation to have – but finding out stereotypes has always been anecdotal. But last year – Renee DiResta had the brilliant idea to apply something that we all use everyday – Google AutoSuggest – to find out US State Stereotypes (you can see that post here).
Here’s the same methodology used on the top 50 US cities (by metro area population) to get the top 4 to 5 city stereotypes of each.[Read more…] about How Other People Stereotype Your City
I’m a huge fan of time lapse films in general, and of cities in particular. I’ve never been able to find a really good, single list to keep track of – so here’s my attempt to curate and list the best in one place (because there are a ton of mediocre ones floating about on YouTube). Enjoy and let me know of any other ones in the comments!
San Francisco Time Lapse (Empty America)
And there’s a ton more…
Here’s all the trips that I took this year. Find more lists over at my Travel category.
Business, Family & Leisure
St George Island – August 2012
St George Island – August 2011
St George Island – August 2010
Charleston – July 2010
New York City – December 2009
St George Island – August 2009
St George Island – August 2008
Hilton Head – July 2007
Hilton Head – July 2006
Nicaragua – May 2006
The Philippines – May 2005
Guatemala – July 2004
Camping & Hiking
Tesnatee Gap to Unicoi Gap – November 2012 – Overnight
Neels Gap to Tesnatee Gap – August 2012 – Overnight
Woody Gap to Neels Gap – August 2011 – Day Hike
A few months ago when the New York Times wrote about PB&P sandwiches (yes, as in Peanut Butter and Pickle) – it got quite a bit of attention. The article was the most emailed that day, and made it to the Front Page of Reddit.
Apparently there is a whole cohort of people in America who know about all sorts of unlikely pairings with peanut butter. I had never met any of these sandwich anarchists before (everyone I know is a PB&J die-hard) – and was really skeptical as well of the idea of peanut butter paired with pickles.[Read more…] about The Best Unlikely Sandwich
A few weeks ago, I started drastically paring back all the tools, feeds, news sites, and networks that I use. And the ones that I do use everyday – I started figuring out how to simplify, automate, and gain more control.
It started with reducing the number of task “gathering places” (Getting Things Done parlance) and snowballed into affecting pretty much my entire digital life, and has now become a full-fledged start-2013-off-right kind of deal (and apparently I’m not the only one).
Here’s a few lessons I’ve learned that you can apply to make your digital life a bit better…[Read more…] about 5 Lessons From Simplifying Online Life
Tour guides at the University of Georgia love to talk about how the State of Georgia Botanical Gardens and the State of Georgia Museum of Art are both in Athens…not in Atlanta.
And even though the Botanical Gardens are mainly a great place for walking around and looking at nature – it’s also a good (though not great) place to run in Athens – especially to change things up and get off the roads. Here’s what it’s like…[Read more…] about State Botanical Gardens | Best Places To Run in Athens, GA