Month: August 2011

Big Four Ice Caves

Today a group consisting of my family and friends, took to the highways and ventured out to the Big Four Ice Caves. I’ve been hearing about this place for years, and it seemed a great time to venture out there. It’s about 14 miles east of the Verlot ranger station, in eastern Snohomish county. 
A nice hike. Not too intense, not much in the way of elevation gain. There were a few folks in flip-flops, some in sandals (like Tevas) and most in tennis shoes. I wore my hiking boots. With my ankle’s history of injury, I opted for extra protection.
The terminus of the hike was packed snow, which formed the ice caves in the name. There were other caves further along the small valley, but we didn’t venture farther. Some of us went up onto the snow/ice (the ice is compacted snow, formed mostly from avalanche fallout). I, with my boots, was the only one really equipped for that. I stopped everyone once we got to the point where the rocks that fell were big enough to cause serious harm. And I kept my eyes towards the cliffs the whole time we were on there. 
After the ice, we scampered over loose rocks, exploring the area. Saw a bunch of daisies, fireweed and elderberries. Elderberries were out, though we avoided their toxic fruit. Some of the wild blackberries were ripe, most still needing time. Tart, tart, tart.
Every time I’m up in the mountains, I think about how much I love it there. I love the silence, and the forests. There’s something about the trees. Also triggers a desire to study ecology. Perhaps something for my next sabbatical.
We didn’t see much wildlife. Heard what sounded like a loon, and a few other birds. Otherwise, it was extremely quiet. That was probably related to the hundreds of other people up there with us. There were times that our walk seemed more like being part of a parade.
I delight spending time in the woods. Adding family to that makes things even better. I’m inspired to do more. Maybe some skiing this winter. Or more mountainbiking. I’m excited to see where I take this. 

Social Media & The Deer In The Headlights Look

It’s not uncommon for the neophyte to look at the mass of choices and just shut down (autocorrect thought “mass” should be “mess”. It feels the same way.) A few thoughts to take the edge off.

First, you don’t want to be everywhere. Start with a manageable piece and grow.

Also, there is no reason this should take hours…until you have a large audience. Even then, most engagement can take just a few minutes at a time. Utilize your DMV wait to reply to Tweets, check in with LinkedIn contacts or Facebook chums. Combined with a mobile device/smartphone, you can fill in those old “boredom productivity gaps”.

See, social media really isn’t as horrible a time-suck as rumored.

Google +

Ok, I’m starting to become one of those people who thinks Google+ might displace Facebook. It sounds insane, especially to me. Facebook is entrenched, and holding the definer’s perch. They are the dominant player, and have really set the stage in this arena. Others react to them. Until now.

Google is much more intuitive. Much slicker interface. Not so cluttered. These may or may not unseat Facebook, but they’re innovating and Facebook is in the position of reacting.

Now, I don’t expect a sudden exodus. First, many hardcore Facebook types spend hours with their Farmville, gang war, etc games. Until the the equivalents arise on Google+, all bets are off. But, even now, Google has established a place. Perhaps not as great as it could be. But still with a large affect. And who knows? They may just birth a whole new genre. Who knows…

The social media game is shifting under our feet. That’s what it does. Might even say that’s what it IS. It will be fun seeing how this flows from here.

Life as a writer

I started writing young. Memories of writing comic-books as a fourth-grader my earliest. Always, though, insecurity drove me to destroy them. Fears of mockery, mostly. I knew, even then, how much better it should look. High standards choke productivity.

Junior high brought a new set of fears. God forbid I be found writing stories! Or worse, poetry! I delighted writing poems, but knew the doom of letting that go public. This idea brought shivers of terror. I couldn’t dream of a better way to put the junior-high-social-destroy-me-bulls-eye on. It saddens the forty-four-year-old me how much power I granted “them”.

As an adult, my fears still compell, though with a different face. Now I fear the inner critic, constantly rehashing every error, mistake, or lame word-use. But that’s only a piece. I, also, fear success. The demands of an audience! Wanting more of these characters. Wanting more of me. Success breeds an expectation of more success. What if I can’t?

At least my journals do not face destruction, even as I read them and cringe. I often expect genius in the first draft. Well, “expect” seems too soft a word. Better put: demand! These journals, though, serve as outlet for my need to write. Safety in these words, tucked upon my shelf, only occasionally shared. They served to contain the dream. Keeping me both safe from my dreams, and from the glaring pain of critique. This blog helps, too. Seeing the hundreds of people reading it each month gratifies.

Why do I let fear drive me? Deep down, perhaps, I face a troll lurking in the basement of my psyche. Bearing a monstrous, booming voice which terrifies. If I dare to venture down, seeking its face, I see a minuscule beast. The power in facing fears.


Just read & posted on Chris Brogan’s latest piece (sorry about the full link, the iPhone Blogger inability to insert links is a bit of an issue for me):

He talks about authenticity in the blogosphere, as it’s bandied around quite a bit. His key point is that it IS NOT simply unfiltered honesty. That authenticity still works within social norms. Good points. However, it doesn’t go over what authenticity IS.

I’ve long viewed it as anti-BS. The blogosphere is exceptional at BS detection. PR spin is flammable. In the Internet age, you can’t control the message. You must not twist verbiage in an attempt to mislead or bury an issue.

Anyway, that’s my basic notion. What about you?

Life with an 8-Year-Old Update

Perhaps you’ve missed out. You may lack in geek cred, or awareness in all things cool…at least in a Disney/Cartoon sort of way. Yes, my friends, I’ve been introduced into the grandiose world of Phineas and Ferb. It’s weak to call it “the most un-annoying thing on Disney XD. At the risk of sounding like the arrogant adult that I am, most of their programming is annoying (at best). Yet, blessed “yet”, P&F are an actual delight. Well, in a geeky sort-of-way. Their joyous exploits and wondrous oblivion to their sister’s continuous plotting; they embrace the naive geek world-view exceptionally.

Come, scroll down and partake!