My second venture at an open mic event...


~Sunday~
 
Tongue & Groove Open Mic

Tonight I participated in an open mic event for the second time. This open mic is for poets and musicians, and there's usually quite an eclectic mix of each.

John Martin blazes through 12 haiku on grammar, sea turtles,
men in kilts, and cafeteria divider trays.

MeT&G091414

It was a lot of fun, and the crowd was very affirming. I'll let my quasi-transcript of tonight explain my "shtick."

Good evening. I'm John, and I'm in a Facebook group of folks who are striving to post a haiku-a-day for the entire year. So, I've written 256 to-date, but I'm only going to subject you to 12 of them tonight. Here we go.
 
I’m a word nerd, and I love that there's a word for when a word is injected into the middle of another word. Does anyone know what it is? An audience member, Eleanor Mehlenbacher, correctly identified the word!

Fan-fucking-tastic
Whoopdee-damn-doo is one, too
Tmesis, that is


I was driving into work one morning, and I got behind someone with one of those “license plates for a cause,” which inspired this one.

I like sea turtles
But not enough to pay more
For a license plate


This one came to me on the way back from a weekend in Wilmington.

Driving from the beach
Back to the fast-paced city
Beach life loafs behind


This is another word nerd one. I was inspired to write this one upon my excitement in learning that there is a different term for “going comando” when it’s specifically under a kilt.

Boys in kilts are hot
When they go regimental
Swing low chariot


Several of you in the audience know that I'm retiring on my birthday, October 13th. I wrote this one fairly recently when I began considering "the big picture" of it all.

Autumn days of work
Meaning in the grandest sense
Sunsetting career


Recently on a work-related beach trip (obviously I work for a great company), I was inspired to write this one when a colleague cooked this breakfast item for us; it also alludes to a quirk of mine that goes back 40 or 50 years, which is to say, to my childhood.

Please don’t let, I beg
That gravy touch my biscuit
Love divider plates


I wrote this one on July 3, after purchasing a restaurant's specially themed bagels for the 4th of July.

They’re red, white, and blue
Fresh, hot bagels from Bruegger’s
Independence dough


I just love punny haiku. Here's another one.

Gathered all around
For the reading of the will:
A dead giveaway


I edit for a living, and one day I was contemplating how much my job has changed over the 33 years that I’ve been working, and this thought occurred to me.

Insert comment now
Fixing grammar and typos
Used to use red ink


Here's another word nerd one. I'm always thinking about words.

Was contemplating
What’s the plural of haiku
It’s its own plural


This is a thought I have each year as the North Carolina Gay & Lesbian Film Festival rolls around in August.

Gay film festival
Story lines where in the end
The boy gets the boy


And I’ll close with yet another punny selection.

I'd like to juggle
But audiences scare me
I don't have the balls

 

~Saturday~ Last night I did something I haven't done in a very long time. I read a printed magazine.

And I must say (to put it rather mildly), it was not an optimal experience—it was not even a good experience.

In fact, I can't imagine doing it again—for another very long while.


WiredMar2014Cover

It was Wired magazine, and more specifically, it was the March 2014 edition of Wired magazine. Here is a very basic content analysis of the first 42 pages of the 128-page edition:

  • 25 pages (60% of the 42 pages) of full page ads

  • 4 pages (10% of the 42 pages) of front matter (i.e., tables of contents and publishing info

  • 13 pages (20% of the 42 pages) of features or articles I might find interesting

And here's how that played (laid) out in terms of content type, placement, sponsors (where applicable), and font size:

WiredAnalysis

So what contributed to my poor user experience? Although not the complete list, here are three big contributing elements:

  1. Clearly, a large majority of this magazine consists of full page ads.

  2. There was arguably a full 10 pages before I got to anything of real interest to read. (It's arguable as to whether tables of contents are of interest to read.)

  3. Most of the font in this magazine is too arduous to read for my 57-year old eyes. It's arguable as to whether I'm in the demographic of the audience for this publication, but I think I am—if not by the age criteria, by the industry that I work in, and with respect to my interest in "gadgets."

Is anyone else still reading printed magazines? Feel free to click on "Leave a comment" to share.
 

"But, what are you going to do when you're retired?"


~Saturday~ I'm close enough to retiring now, that I'm tracking the days—37 calendars days, 26 business days. It'll all culminate on my 57th birthday, on October 13, 2014.

It's kind of mind-boggling to be self-aware of so few actual working days left in a career that has spanned 34.5 years. Well, that actually included a year off (attempting to write a novel), so technically it's 33.5 years, I suppose.

I'm going to let you in on a little secret. When someone tells you they're going to retire, "What are you going to do?" is not what they want to hear. For your convenience, here are some suggested alternatives:

  • Congratulations!

  • That is so great! You must be so excited!

  • Won't it be great to just be?

In addition to "What are you going to do?" here are a few other things that you might want to reconsider saying:

  • Aren't you going to get bored? (This is unoriginal and uninformed, and in many cases, probably projection.)

  • You can't just do nothing! (Actually, I can just do nothing, if I want to.)

  • I don't think I'll ever get to retire. (Makes it about you.)

  • I won't be able to retire until I'm 65 or 70. (Makes it more, specifically, about you.)

  • You can retire early, because you don't have kids. (Makes it about you, and the trade-off resulting from the choices you've made.)

The thing is, no one really knows how they're going to react to the things they are—or are not—going to do in retirement.

I've spoken to several different people now who are in various stages of retirement (i.e., recently, a year out, several years out), and everyone is handling it differently. And everyone has found that some things are how they thought they'd be, and some things are different than they thought they'd be. Imagine that. Just like real life.

There is a lot of pressure from our (American) society to feel "productive," or to do something "meaningful"—even in retirement it seems. I'm going to do my best to not be driven by those expectations, but I'm also open to the possibility that they'll come back to bite me.

I have a long list of things I want to do, at a slow pace (and that part is key) when I'm retired and just have the luxury of time. Once an item is done, I'm not sure if I will have felt "productive" in retrospect doing it, or if it will have provided "meaning" to my life, but that's for me to sort out.

Here is a list of the things I've captured so far:

  • Emotional/intellectual activity

    • Write for at least two hours a day

    • Create a personal YouTube video pun channel and create more of them

    • Socialize on Facebook

    • Do crossword puzzles

    • Participate in Lumosity's Human Cognition Project for at least 15 minutes a day

    • Read

    • Spend more time with Bob and Frances and Vincent

    • Actually get 8 hours of sleep regularly


  • Physical activity

    • Go to the gym 1-1.5 hours 5-6 days a week

    • Maybe, slowly, start riding my bike again—in the fall, assuming it finally cools down


  • Computer/online

    • Restore original OS to old workstation or wipe it clean, and take it to the electronics recycle center

    • Dispose of my old Think Pad

    • Unpack the "My Documents" folder on my new workstation

    • Sync my iTunes account to the cloud

    • Scan in all my found writing

    • Go through online (and printed) pictures and organize them

    • Move all MDT agendas and minutes to Google drive

    • Update my identity inventory

    • Move my "professional portfolio" to my Wordpress site

    • Complete the conversion of my personal website to Wordpress


  • Around the house

    • Cook more at home

    • Go through cassette tapes to see if there's anything to save from them

    • Go through VHS tapes to see what I want to keep

    • Hang up my master's degree diploma

    • Organize all of my MBTI materials into one 3-ring binder

    • Replace quarter-rounds in my downstairs bathroom

    • Clean out and organize kitchen cabinets

    • Clean out and organize guest room closet

    • Clean out and organize master bedroom closet

    • Clean out and organize linen closet

    • Clean out and organize entrance hall closet

    • Clean out and organize filing cabinet

    • Clean out and organize outside storage shed

    • Powerwash deck


  • Travel

    • Considering a month-long RV trip around the U.S., visiting various people that Bob and I know

So, those are the things that are currently on my radar. I'm also not opposed to eventually doing a little freelance editing work, which is a distinct possibility from the great employer I'm working for until October 13.

I'm thinking a little extra bourbon money might eventually come in handy.
 

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~Friday~ This evening I went to Bed, Bath, & Beyond at Crossroads Plaza where I bought 3 gifts from my friend Courtney's registry for her bridal shower, which is tomorrow afternoon.

After paying for the items, I was directed to the Do-It-Yourself Gift Wrapping station in one corner of the store, where I was greeted with:

  • 2 huge rolls of wrapping paper to chose from (although they both held the same pattern of paper)

  • Some purplish, lacy ribbon

  • Various sized white gift boxes

  • White tissue paper

  • 2 tape dispensers (albeit one was empty)

  • 2 pair of scissors

Oh yeah, and four other people already at work. One was a (man-woman) married couple, and the other two were guys who were there together, but not a couple.

Here are snippets of conversations I overheard, since we were all there within a 6x6-foot shared space:

  1. The married couple:

    She: "Make sure you wrap it like this one." (indicating the one she was wrapping)

    He (returning after a few minutes of wrapping at the other end of the table): "Here you go."

    She: "Why'd you wrap it that way? I told you to make sure it matched this one."  <Heavy sigh.> "I just don't understand why you wrapped it that way when I told you to wrap it like this one."

  2.  
  3. The two men after about two minutes of not speaking, with one guy wrapping and the other guy just watching him:

    Guy wrapping: "Whew. I just never thought I'd be here in Raleigh wrapping a gift after working all day."

    Guy watching: "Yeah, it's amazing what they'll make you do." (Presumably talking about wives.)

    Guy wrapping (after a little silence): "You see that State game against Georgia Southern?"

    Guy watching: "Yeah, that was sumpin', wadn't it?"

    Guy watching (after a little silence): "This friend of mine's getting married. He wants his color to be gray."

    Guy wrapping: "You mean for the tuxes?"

    Guy watching: "Yeah."

  4.  
  5. My conversation, which I started right after the tux comments:

    Me: "I'm going to a wedding where the groom wants gray tuxes, too."

    Guy watching looks up at me and nods in acknowledgement.

    Me: But the other groom wants a very light brown.

    Guy wrapping looks up.

    Married couple scurries off.

Okay, only two of those three conversations took place out loud. The other one was just in my head.
 
The Finished Product
3 gifts wrapped in wedding paper

A practical joke from a far-away land...


~Monday~ Recently, I was a guest on Up Top! with Matt Morain, a podcast created by my work colleague and friend, Matt. It was two hours of zaniness, which was about... well a lot of things. You can read Matt's description below.




THE SET-UP

In one of Matt's earlier podcasts, in talking about who, or how many people, might be listening to his podcast, he noted that there was "one guy from Kazakhstan" that had accessed the podcast. Said listener was referenced on and off in subsequent podcasts, including the podcast I was just in.

In a moment of wickedness, I thought it would be funny to send a "fan letter" to Matt, and make it look like it had come from that listener in Kazakhstan.

THE PLAYERS

  • Me

  • Google

  • Leigh (work colleague and mutual friend of mine and Matt)

  • The postal clerk

  • Tracy (Matt's wife)

  • Matt (the stooge)


THE TAKE

  1. I Googled "most popular names in Kazakhstan," from which list I selected two names to make up the first and last name of the person the letter would come from.

  2. I used Google maps to get a real street name in Kazakhstan, which I used in the return address after Googling the proper format for Kazakhstan addresses.

  3. I wrote a letter to Matt using what I (probably stereotypically) imagined was a "Kazakhstan voice," and then chose a font to simulate a hand-written look.

  4. I let my friend and colleague, Leigh, who is also an editor like Matt and myself, read the letter and she pointed out that although I did a decent job with the broken English, all of my punctuation was impeccable. Of course it was. So, I went through and removed all of the commas and apostrophes. Thanks, Leigh!

  5. I Googled "Kazakhstan stamps" and printed two of them to use on the envelope.

  6. I went to the post office, where I interacted with a decidedly un-fun clerk. I wanted her to let me pay for a U.S. stamp and have her just stamp the envelope (I think it's called "metering" it), so I wouldn't have to add a real U.S. stamp to the envelope. I showed her the contents of the envelope—consisting only of the letter with a gift card attached—to assure her that I was sincere when I said I wanted to make this look as much like it came from Kazakhstan, but without doing anything illegal. She made me put a U.S. stamp on it.

  7. I contacted Tracy to let her in on the joke, and to ask her, if it wouldn't be an inconvenience, to try and intercept the mail and remove the U.S. stamp from the envelope if it would peel off easily. And I told her that Leigh had mentioned that she'd love for her to videotape the event if at all possible.


THE STING

Here is what the envelope looked like after it arrived and Tracy was able to remove the U.S. stamp:

KazakhstanCancelledEnevelope

KazakhstanLetter


Tracy was generous enough to film the event. You can watch the 3.5-minute video. The password is "uptop."

And thanks for being such a good sport, Matt. Personally, I hate practical jokes, and it was a stretch for me to play one. The fact that it was for a good cause helped me get through it. :-)

10 books that have stayed with me, but more importantly, why they've stayed with me...


~Sunday~ Recently—twice in fact—I've been tagged on Facebook to participate in a meme that asks you to list 10 books that have stayed with you or have impacted your life in some way.

I'm sure there are others, but these are the ones that immediately came to mind.

They are somewhat in order from most impactful to least, but it's more qualitative than quantitative.

  1. A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving

    • This book struck me mostly for how wonderfully it presented a cogent story of fate. I was really sucked into it even though fate as a "meaning of life" paradigm doesn't resonate with me personally.


  2. The Mayor of Casterbridge by Thomas Hardy

    • What I loved about this book, which I had to read in high school in "AP" English, was how impactful and beautiful tragedy can be in a story. And, how a "classic" could read like one big soap opera.


  3. Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoyevsky

    • I read this book when I was quite young, probably in AP English as well, and I remember the "ah-ha moment" from this book being that it was the first time I ever considered that you could actually be punished (that is to say, suffer) more by getting away with a crime than by getting caught for it. I was just that naive, to have not had that thought, up until that point in my life.


  4. South of Broad by Pat Controy

    • I actually only read this recently, in the last couple of months, in fact. What struck me most was how beautiful the writing was. It also made me remember that that was what I loved about The Prince of Tides when I read it many, many years ago. I also think the beautiful writing was so palatable, because I'd just finished reading Divergent, by Veronica Roth, whose writing was, well, let's just say it was for young adults. And showed it.


  5. The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini

    • There were just so many things to love about this book. Themes explored included: father-son relationships, male friendships, social class, fear and helplessness, guilt, endurance, perseverance, atonement, and redemption.


  6. Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy

    • A classic that I read later in life, there are two things that struck me about this one: 1) How accessible it was, especially considering the stereotype I had of classical Russian authors. It was actually very easy to read—character names aside, and 2) Not unlike The Mayor of Casterbridge, this read like a big ole soap opera, too.


  7. The Turn of the Screw by Henry James

    • I love this novella, and I've read it several times, because it's the quintessential study in what's known in literature, film, and the theater as the unreliable narrator, which not only makes it a fun read, but one in which you can see things very differently on a second and third reading.


  8. Perfume by Patrick Süskind

    • The words "wonderfully bizarre" are the ones that come to mind when I think about this German murder mystery that I also read many, many years ago. I'm not sure if it was around the time that I had a 6-week business trip to LaGaude, France, virtually on the French Riviera, and a day trip I took during that time to Grasse to visit one of the perfumeries that that area is known for. But if it was, that certainly would have heightened my enjoyment of this story.


  9. The Secret History by Donna Tartt

    • Five reasons that I, personally, loved this book (of the Ten reasons why we love Donna Tartt's The Secret History) were: 1) It starts with a murder, 2) It has all the best elements of the campus novel, 3) It has a classic, lonely narrator, 4) It is full of quotations, and 5) It lets you in on secrets.


  10. The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand

    • Again, this is a book I read many, many years ago, so it was before all the hoopla connecting Ayn Rand and her philosophy to "right-wing politics." What I loved about this book was that I read it around the time I was working on becoming certified to administer and interpret the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator assessment, and the protagonist in this story, Howard Roark, has been called the archetypal INTP. BTW, if you don't know, it's not pronounced "Ann." Correct pronunciation of Ayn Rand's name.


You're invited to comment with your list, and your reasons if you're so inclined.
 

My random act of kindness for today...


~Tuesday~

RobShookTop

                                   [Address redacted]

                            RSBottom


I mailed this letter today:

John Martin
[Address redacted]


Candidate Adams, Carter D.
[Address redacted]

July 29, 2014

Dear Carter,

You don’t know me, but I’m a friend (and ex-IBM colleague) of Rob Shook. I just wanted to take a moment to wish you the best of luck in your remaining few weeks at Marine Corps Office Candidate School.

As the “military brat” of a 30-year (retired) marine, whose dad did three separate one-year deployments during the Vietnam war, and having had the privilege of attending all four of my high school years at Lejeune High School, I’m a little bit familiar with the Semper Fi of the United States Marine Corps. :-)

My dad also did a short stint at Quantico during his career, and I was born in the Portsmouth Naval Hospital, while he was stationed in Norfolk.

Hang in there, and thank you for your decision to serve our country in the United States Marine Corps. I appreciate you!

Most sincerely,


[Signature]

John Martin

The 2014 10 by 10: 10 plays, 10 minutes each, 10 actors, 10 directors...


~Friday~ Tonight, Bob and I attended the annual 10 by 10 performance at The Arts Center in Carrboro.

This year we went with Sarah and Andrew, and Kim and her friend Ed. We ate at The Spotted Dog beforehand, where I had Fish & Chips.

As I have in the past, I created a ballot to rate the 10 plays—favorite to least favorite in the first half, favorite to least favorite in the second half, and the top five favorite over all.

Rank Play
5 What the Theatre is All About: A Master class with Vincent Van Buren
1 The Interpreter
4 Going Viral
2 Canyon
3 Ten Minute Life

Intermission

Rank Play
1 This is Not a Play
3 The Wisdom of Pirates
4 Lost in Thought
2 Recess at Our Lady of the Bleeding Heart, Mind, and Spirit—Once Reformed
5 A Streaker Named Desire


Top 5

Rank Play
1 The Interpreter
2 Recess at Our Lady of the Bleeding Heart, Mind, and Spirit—Once Reformed
3 This is Not a Play
4 Canyon
5 The Wisdom of Pirates

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Salon XLIV


 

Salon XLIV
Sunday, May 4, 2014, 7:00-10:00
Anna’s House


  1. Share our "Creative Routines" using the graphic John will provide, as inspired by the Creative Routines Infographic brought to our attention by Kim. (John)

    • 8:00-9:00 Morning prep for work.

    • 9:00-6:00 Work

    • 6:00-7:00 Workout

    • 7:00-7:30 Dinner

    • 7:30-1:00 Information/Education/Entertainment on the web


  2. What things do you procrastinate about? (Sarah)

    • Cleaning my house.

    • Getting up in the morning (several snoozes, and back to bed for “5 more minutes” after I get up and go to the bathroom).

    • Getting my donations together for Bob's MICU yard sale each year, and for a year-end tax break.

    • Doing my taxes.


  3. What's your perspective on living in one place vs. moving to a new place? Has it changed? What do you value about the places you've lived? (Kim)

    • As a “military brat,” I moved a lot as a kid. I attended seven different schools between kindergarten and 6th grade. While I never liked moving as a kid, I do think it taught me a lot—how to say “goodbye,” how to make new friends, and gave me exposure to a lot of different people who were not like me.

    • As an adult, I hated moving, because I/we (when I had a wife) had so much “stuff.” I don’t think I’d mind moving nearly as much now, because I’ve gotten rid of a lot of things, especially over the last 5 years.


  4. How do you feel about your car turning a different color to let other drivers know you're distressed? Feeling glum, happy, aroused? New technology can detect your mood. (John)

    • Overall, I would classify this as “practical, helpful technology.” There are a couple of things that I wonder about though:

      • Is there an implication that we could be arrested if a certain “mood” is exhibited?

      • How distracting would this be to other drivers?



  5. A mother adds a sandbox to her son's grave so his older brother can play with him... thoughts? (John)
    GravesideSandbox

    • In general, I’m of the ilk that if it helps someone deal with grief, and it’s not hurting anyone else, then have at it. And I would assume at some point, when it’s “age appropriate” there’d be a talk about if it’s helping and when might be a good time to stop doing it.


  6. What do you think of the Periodic Table of Storytelling? Any elements you'd add that aren't represented? Reminds me of one of my favorite quotes: "The universe is made of stories, not atoms" (Muriel Rukeyser). (Brad)

    • I admire the hell out of whoever had the passion for the idea to create.

    • At first glance, it seems harder to learn the the actual periodic table, as I don’t know what a lot of the tropes actually mean. (e.g., Ass pull (LOL!), squick, Five-man band ), although it is fanfuckingtastic that you can click on the element to be taken to its definition.

    • I would love to have the time to really learn it, and then have a blog in which every entry was this applied to something I’d recently read.

    • I couldn’t figure out what the “fade across” affordance was for.

    • I was trying to think what a description of our typical Salon meetings might look like. HIL (Hilarity ensues) → IVC (Sliding Scale of Idealism vs. Cynicism) → SCW (mind screw) → a bit of ASS (Ass pull) → ROF (Rule of funny)?


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It's really April now, and I'm writing this in retrospect about January 12, 2014.

So, it's ten years to the day that I committed to writing a blog entry every day of my life. And today's the day I'm ending that commitment.

What a ride it's been. And it's time to capture some observations of the experience...

About the writing

  • People have often asked me what inspired me to do this, and my response has evolved over the years—but at its core, it has to do with these three things:

    • I thought it would be neat to have a record of my life, so that when I got Alzheimer's (or that devastating brain cancer), I could look back, read, and think (while I could), "Wow, what a fun guy. Wish I'd've known him." (No shortage of ego in that.)

    • One is not a writer unless one writes, so what could be better than writing every day, or striving to, at least?

    • Since I've done technical writing—which is pretty dry writing for the most part—for most of my work life, I wanted a creative writing outlet, which I've definitely found in blogging.
  • For a long time, I said, "I've blogged every day of my life for the last x years," until one day a pedant challenged the accuracy of my claim. So, I changed my schtick to, "I have a blog entry for every day of my life for the last x years." This was to accommodate for the fact that sometimes I got a little behind, and I'd go back and write my blog entries for the days I missed. In spite of the means, I'm proud of the end.

  • When you make a commitment like this, it's got to be for you, or it isn't going to last. Don't get me wrong, I loved when someone commented about one of my entries—either electronically on my blog itself or talking to me in real life—but if I wrote only for only that, I'd've stopped a long time ago. At times, there were days, weeks, and even months—totally understandably—when no one commented at all.

  • It never ceased to amaze me that during the years when my entries were a blow-by-blow accounting of my day, several people found said accounting interesting enough to either read every day, or to "catch up" on when they had time. I always recognized—and appreciated—that as an affirmation of my writing.

  • In late 2011, I stopped publicly publishing my blog entries due to real life drama, but I continued to write them and publish them as private entries up until January 12, 2014.

  • My private entries became a lot less interesting to me in terms of my daily accounting, which is particularly interesting in the context of writing for oneself as opposed to writing for others, and it's probably what was the impetus for my eventual decision to stop writing daily entries. The fact that I stopped at exactly the 10-year mark, however, is attributable to my (un-debilitating, as of yet) OCD tendencies.

  • Even now, looking back on any entry, no matter how many years old it is, if I find a typo or grammar error in it, I correct it. That's what I do.

  • The day after my last entry, I was in orientation for a new job, and in introducing ourselves, we had the opportunity to "tell people something interesting about yourself," and I said, "I have a blog entry for every day of my life for the last 10 years. And yesterday was my last one—exactly 10 years to the day I started." One of the class facilitators asked, "Why'd you stop?" And the only answer I could come up with—trite as it is—was, "It was time."


About the challenges

  • With great openness, sometimes comes great scrutiny and concern:

    • When you make your thoughts and feelings public, they become eligible for public debate.

    • People got to know that if they were hanging out with me, they would probably end up in my blog, and sometimes their privacy concerns clashed with my lack thereof.

    • It's harder—or at least becomes more involved—to tell "little white lies" about what you did, when, and with whom when you're putting it all—or most of it—out there, right?
  • Sometimes I just didn't feel like blogging about my day. I mean, think about it—every single day for 10 years.

  • A couple of times over the years, it was—literally—difficult to post entries:

    • One example being back in October of 2008, when I was in China—and therefore blocked access to LiveJournal by the "Great Firewall of China"—and I had to rely on the kindness of a friend and fellow LiveJournal user, cpeel, to post entries on my behalf.

    • Another being those times when I was just not willing to pay for a wi-fi connection in a hotel or coffee shop.
  • Negotiating the ever-blurring lines between public space and private space as the Internet and social media evolved over the years was educational. A debate I particularly cherish was one with a BFF about whether pictures taken on public transportation are public or private.


About the joys

  • My "buscapdes" became a much-anticipated highlight of my blog for several years. I took public transportation to and from my job at NC State University for 5 years—at times on the "Wolfline" university buses, and at other times on the city buses, with the latter providing the best of blog fodder by far.

  • On a couple occasions over the years, someone told me that they were wondering where they were on a certain evening, so they checked my blog to see if they were in my blog entry for that day to help remember what they were doing.

  • After installing the "FEEDJIT" app that shows where people are accessing my blog from, I was often surprised—and always thrilled—at my limited, but worldwide, audience.

  • At one time, my blog was chosen as "Blog of the Week," which both tickled me and earned me a free t-shirt.

  • I like having a way to look back at all the movies I saw during those 10 years, with a link to the entry where I captured my thoughts and observations about the movies. Same with the theater.

  • Two of the most extraordinary things that happened in the ten years were described in these two blog entries:

    • How a complete stranger came up to me at the bus stop and asked me if I blogged about riding the bus. Read the entry...

    • You have to click on "Comments" link at the bottom of this entry after you read it to see the extraordinary part, which was a comment from a victim of a crime for which I was on the jury for. Read the entry...

It was a wild—and at times difficult—ride, but like all things involving discipline, challenges, and time, I feel a real sense of accomplishment having done it.

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