Categories
Outdoors

State Botanical Gardens | Best Places To Run in Athens, GA

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…

Categories
Outdoors

Tesnatee Gap To Unicoi Gap On The Appalachian Trail

The last time my brother, brother-in-law, and I hiked a section of the Appalachian Trail – it was an absolute fail. You can read all about that adventure hiking the 5 miles from Neels Gap to Tesnatee Gap in A Bear Walks Into Camp.

But that was back in August – and despite everything that went wrong that time – we’re still hooked on the AT, and want to keep section hiking it.

Categories
Reviews

I Drank Kopi Luwak Today

In Southeast Asia, there’s a jungle cat called the Civet that loves to eat coffee cherries.

The civet’s digestive system uses the fruit of the coffee cherry for nourishment – but only partly begins to break down the coffee cherry pit (what we call the “coffee bean”) before pooping it out.

Someone, and I have no idea how this someone got this idea, but someone thought it would be perfectly splendid to pick the undigested coffee beans out of the Civet cat poop, and proceed to process, roast, grind, brew, and serve them just like any other beans you’d buy from your coffee shop.

And I’m not making this up.

In Indonesia – they call it “Kopi Luwak” or “Civet Coffee.”

And it’s one of the most sought after coffees in the world – mainly because of it’s scarcity (you can imagine the hordes of people signing on to harvest it…).

Today – I got to drink some Kopi Luwak. Fresh-brewed in a French Press. Here’s how it all went down (and out).

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Outdoors

North Oconee River Greenway Trail | Best Places To Run in Athens, GA

If you live in or around Athens, GA – you simply must explore the North Oconee Greenway – especially if you are a runner.

The Greenway is one of Athens’ best amenities, but it’s one of those things that you may have heard of…but never really tried out. So here’s what it’s like…

Categories
Outdoors Product Reviews Reviews

One Year of Running In Vibram Fivefingers Bikilas

I started running distance when I was 10 years old, and continued throughout high school. I was never particularly fast, but it was enjoyable and something athletic I could do.

I had shin splints, hurt ankles, and all the rest of runner’s woes – to the point that I slowly tapered off in college.

In 2010 – I had some friends who encouraged me to get back into running and had me read Born To Run by Chris McDougall, followed by Four Hour Body (running chapter).

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Explorations Interesting

2 Really Cool Old Maps

I’ve wasted enjoyed thousands of hours staring at maps – especially old maps.

Here are two of the best maps I’ve ever seen.

They are both in the public domain, and interesting both for the map part – and the info surrounding it.

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Book Reviews Reviews

What I Learned Reading 263+ Books In 5 Years | Part 6 | 2012

From 2007 to 2012, I read 263+ books. Here’s my lessons learned and short review of each.

This post covers books read in 2012 (so far). You can also read from,

2007 | 2008 | 2009 | 2010 | 2011 | 2012 | 2013 | 2014 | 2015 | 2016Most Recent Full Reviews

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Book Reviews Reviews

What I Learned Reading 263+ Books In 5 Years | Part 5 | 2011

From 2007 to 2012, I read 263+ books. Here’s my lessons learned and short review of each.

This post covers books read in 2011. You can also read from,

2007 | 2008 | 2009 | 2010 | 2011 | 2012 | 2013 | 2014 | 2015 | 2016Most Recent Full Reviews

Categories
Book Reviews Reviews

What I Learned Reading 263+ Books In 5 Years | Part 4 | 2010

From 2007 to 2012, I read 263+ books. Here’s my lessons learned and short review of each.

This post covers books read in 2010. You can also read from,

2007 | 2008 | 2009 | 2010 | 2011 | 2012 | 2013 | 2014 | 2015 | 2016Most Recent Full Reviews

Categories
Book Reviews Reviews

What I Learned Reading 263+ Books In 5 Years | Part 3 | 2009

From 2007 to 2012, I read 263+ books. Here’s my lessons learned and short review of each.

This post covers books read in 2009. You can also read from,

2007 | 2008 | 2009 | 2010 | 2011 | 2012 | 2013 | 2014 | 2015 | 2016Most Recent Full Reviews

Categories
Book Reviews Reviews

What I Learned Reading 263+ Books In 5 Years | Part 2 | 2008

From 2007 to 2012, I read 263+ books. Here’s my lessons learned and short review of each.

This post covers books read in 2008. You can also read from,

2007 | 2008 | 2009 | 2010 | 2011 | 2012 | 2013 | 2014 | 2015 | 2016Most Recent Full Reviews

Categories
Book Reviews Reviews

What I Learned Reading 263+ Books In 5 Years | Part 1 | 2007

Last week I read a post by Julien Smith called “Lessons I Learned Reading Over 200 Books.” It was really fascinating and well done. I was quite jealous.

But then I realized, “wait, I’ve done that.”

Since January of 2007, I’ve read about 263 books. I say “about” because I was only half keeping track until September 2008 – when I converted to a spreadsheet and really started tracking.

I’ve decided to start reviewing (nearly) every book I read here. And that means getting caught up.

Unlike Julien (who put everything in 1 ridiculously long post), I’m going to split mine up into 6 ridiculously long blog posts (2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012). I’ll also keep going after this initial push to 2013 and beyond.

2007 | 2008 | 2009 | 2010 | 2011 | 2012 | 2013 | 2014 | 2015 | 2016Most Recent Full Reviews

I’m just going to write a couple sentences for each – and only what I remember about the book, and a short bit of review.

Here we go…

Categories
Experiences Outdoors

A Bear Walks Into Camp

Or, Our Experience On The Appalachian Trail Overnight, And What We Learned

Ever since I read Bill Bryson’s book A Walk In The Woods, I’ve wanted to hike the Appalachian Trail. So last year, my brother Jason and my brother-in-law Matt, hiked a short section from Woody Gap to Neel’s Gap along the Georgia Appalachian Trail

It was a short 9 miles or so, up to the stunning views from Blood Mountain…

View Near Blood Mountain
Foothill of Blood Mountain

We were hooked.

But none of us was (or is) in a life position to hike the whole thing. But we decided to keep section hiking in Georgia.

This year, we planned a 20 mi overnight hike from Neel’s Gap to Hogpen Gap and onwards to Unicoi Gap.

We didn’t quite get what we bargained for (including a bear).

Here’s what happened and what we learned…

Categories
Guides

How I Set Up A Standing Desk + Home Office For $50

Even though I think the health benefits of standing are a bit overstated – anything done in moderation is probably going to be better for you.

And in my case – I needed to moderate my sitting.

I generally just did what any normal person would do – stand up every few minutes to stretch, re-focus, drink water, then sit down and go back to work.

But running my own business and working just whatever hours I wanted to work led me to need a small spot at home to talk with clients in a different time zone, and generally have a place out of the way to take care of those tasks that – in an office – would take 10 minutes, but in the home generally end up taking  30 minutes – with a frustrated me and frustrated family members as well.

We have a small place – and I definitely didn’t want to buy or place a desk in my bedroom – or any other room for that matter (we live in a small condo).

And I had the whole standing desk in the back of my mind (very geeky fad) – but they generally cost $$$ and take up wayyyy to much space.

Categories
Explorations Opinion

Apparently You Have To Be Really Skilled Now

Here’s a career and business idea that seems to be bubbling up in America right now… Your credentials don’t matter. Your career sequence doesn’t matter. And your career choice doesn’t matter.

All that really matters to have a solid, high-paying career is to be really freaking good at whatever you do.

Over at Slate, a pharmaceutical chemist critiqued the idea that “America needs more scientists and engineers.” He argues that we don’t need more scientists – we need better scientists.

Scientists who are really freaking good.  Mediocre American scientists don’t have a job – they aren’t needed. Mediocre work doesn’t work anymore – and what remains can be done by cheap Chinese scientists. See the full article here.

Over at The Economist, Babbage discussed a group of programmers who are “tenXers.” In other words, programmers who, through insight, versatility, and sheer productivity create 10x the amount of code that an average programmer can create – in less time, with better accuracy. Read the full article here. Here’s a quote of a quote from the article…

In his delightful guide to recruiting top talent (“Smart and Gets Things Done”), Joel Spolsky, a company founder and ten-x programmer himself, as well as a former paratrooper in the Israeli army, wrote in 2007 that the trouble with using a lot of mediocre programmers instead of a couple of good ones is that no matter how long they strive, they will still produce something mediocre. “Five Antonio Salieris won’t produce Mozart’s Requiem. Ever. Not if they work for 100 years.”

And this trend applies to every field now. Mediocre doesn’t cut it. And if mediocre is needed…well there’a a few million Indians, Chinese, and Filipinos who can do mediocre. 

Categories
Experiences Outdoors

Hidden Urban Trails | Riverbend Rd. Athens, GA Edition

I love the idea that even in the most urban areas – there are still really random trails to explore and use.

I’ve lived in the Riverbend Rd area of Athens, GA for 4 years – and only last week did I stumble across this really cool and useful trail up and down Riverbend Rd.

It runs parallel to the Athens Bypass and Riverbend Rd (which is super-hilly). The trail itself is quite narrow and rooty – but in good enough shape to run on. It’s well-shaded and is way better than trying to run on Riverbend – which might be possibly one of the Top 10 Worst Places to run in Athens, GA.

Here’s a Google map and photos from along the way…

Categories
Photos

Photos From The Rural Georgia Countryside

I’m not a photographer, but I love to experiment. And I’m thrilled to live in an age of nearly fool-proof camera technology, and amazing apps like Pixlr, PicMonkey, Picasa, and Instagram.

These are photos taken of rural Georgia in Oglethorpe County.

A Hay Bale In Georgia
Hay Bale Resting

There are 8 more…

Categories
Guides

How I Learned HTML and CSS Through Immersion (with no books, courses, or classes)

I took 4 years of college level Spanish.

I could do 21 different verb conjugations – but never came as close to feeling proficient in Spanish as I did after spending a week in Guatemala.

Language is all about usage and immersion – and I’ve learned that computer languages are no different.

After years of occasionally picking through a Dummies guide or looking at web design classes – I stumbled on a method of learning that has made me fully proficient in HTML and CSS (languages that produce web pages in browsers) in just a few months.

Wanna see more?

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Explorations Opinion Product Reviews Reviews

Why Free Software Should Be Very Suspicious

Shopping for invoicing software.

Now that I have your full and rabid attention, here’s why you should not trust free software by default.

The Quick Story

After 6 months of ignoring my invoicing system, and working with a duct-taped system of PayPal and Google Docs templates – I was tired of looking a bit unprofessional and feeling disorganized.

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Experiences Outdoors

Cook’s Greenway Trail | Best Places To Run in Athens, GA

Around Athens, I generally stick to the UGA Intramural Fields. However, if you drive about 10 to 15 minutes north of UGA to the Sandy Creek Nature Center, you’ll find Cook’s Greenway Trail, which is one of the best places to run in Athens, GA. Here’s what it’s like…

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Experiences Outdoors

First Marathon Observations

Back on March 18th I ran the Georgia Marathon. It was my first marathon – and only my second long-distance race over 5k. Here’s a list of what I learned from a first marathon…

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Photos

Downtown Athens Georgia

Various photos that I’ve taken around downtown Athens, Georgia before moving to Atlanta.

Overlooking Washington Street Athens Georgia
Midrise Towers in Athens GA
Oconee River Overlook Downtown Athens Georgia
South Athens Georgia
south-athens-sunset-uga-golf-course_8327194590_o
Categories
Outdoors

5 Reasons To Start Biking For Transportation

I’ve been commuting around Athens, GA via bike for 3 years now.

It all started with biking the .75 miles to work and back, and has slowly expanded to biking pretty much everywhere within a 6 mile radius.

Here’s several reasons why I’ve kept it up – despite the Georgia heat, the Athens hills, and general vulnerability of cycling.

Categories
Explorations Opinion

5 Reasons Why People Who Love Social Media Should Deactivate Facebook

Yes, because of network effects, Facebook keeps getting more valuable every time it adds another person to its 800 million users and another website to its Social Graph.

But every free social network dies – and it’s time to move on to the next one (as I did in December). Here’s why. [edit 3/23/2011 I reactivated Facebook primarily for business reasons, but found a way to strip the profile down to nothing via Don Caprio. The idea still stands in my mind]

Categories
Outdoors

Woody Gap to Neels Gap on the Appalachian Trail

I lived in Georgia knowing about the Appalachian Trail for more than 12 years before I ever set foot on it. I’m not sure why, except inertia and other priorities. I also never really thought about it like a simple trail that you could hike on. For some reason, it sounded like a much bigger deal than it actually is. I think it’s all the focus on the practice of thru-hiking the Appalachian Trail rather than the actual trail itself.

Either way, like many would-be hikers, I read Bill Bryson’s A Walk In The Woods in July 2010, and promptly decided to invite my brother and brother-in-law on a short day hike from Woody Gap to Neels Gap in Georgia the first week of August 2010.