Category Archives: Uncategorized

Log of Pogopelli- My First Time Around America’s Great Loop, Book Review

I had vaguely heard, after reading many sailing books of people circumnavigating, about a mysterious watery loop that one could take around the eastern side of America. So I went out and stumbled on what’s known as America’s Great Loop.

the-great-loop.jpg

Usually done in a counter-clock wise direction the loop takes you up the Hudson, through the Great Lakes, down several rivers (including Big Muddy), down around Florida and back up the coast. The route is fairly safe and has limited open ocean time so it is much easier than one would expect.

The Log of Pogopelli, the 6,000 mile loop of a retired couple on a 23′ boat starting at their home turf of Chattanooga Tennessee was a great read. It was also long for the price, over 600 pages, but honestly 1/3 of that was pictures. This is not a knock, they were worth being in there and helped add another dimension to the reading experience I feel.

What I liked about this book was all the details. They talked about docking fees, what they used as resources, how they dealt with problems and traffic on big rivers like the Mississippi. Skipper Bob was one of their favorite resources I remember.

It took them a long time too, over 300 days, and they really seemed to squeeze a lot of enjoyment out of it. They are what retired people should be like, RE-TIRED (as in given new tread) not plain old tired which is what I think too many people end up being. They had a blast and it showed in their way of doing their adventure as well as in their sharing it.

A great read.

Keep writing-and reading!

Advertisements

Light in the Tunnel

Writing is difficult sometimes. I get bogged down and that is dangerous. It is time to keep on track with this writing thing and psych myself into moving ahead. No matter the cost!

Actually I am not the ‘no matter the cost type.’ More like the counting the cost type. Time is of the essence. It’s all I have so I should spend it wisely. Life is a short affair.

To the writing, to the creating what was not there before. That it would be better than nothing. Production, application, getting it done. Let’s get to this! You’re coming along, just to keep me company.

Keep writing.

Sleep Appreciation?

I tried this past week to get more sleep. I had been getting into the habit of watching videos, or reading until 12:30 and that was not good. Then a news report linked lack of sleep to much higher rates of cancer and I thought I should shut my brain off.

This worked for about 4 days, with mixed results. I thought I would have more energy, I did not. I thought I would recover from a minor cold faster, I did not. I thought I would not feel sleepy during the day, I felt more sleepy. Hmm, maybe I don’t need so much sleep?

I am a slight insomniac to tell the truth. I just have a hard time turning off the old bean. Reading helps, but even that can keep me awake. I get to thinking. Even if I don’t drink coffee after 3 in the afternoon I still don’t fall asleep within an hour of putting head to pillow.

So is sleep really cancer causing or does it depend on the depth of sleep or what precisely? I know sleep is good for us all, no contest. I also believe it is very good for teenagers to get as much sleep as possible to avoid depression. I was a very depressed teenager and I can track it down to maybe two things; 1. not sleeping, 2. looking in the mirror at reality. Funny how many things in life never seem to change.

I think the truth is that GOOD SLEEP is so hard to find.

Keep writing.

Where Has the Blogger Gone?

I’m still here, just caught up in a life in motion. That is the truth of it. Weather changes, fight off a cold, work the job of a teacher, rinse and repeat.

I love teaching and feel it is a great job. It is something that has given me a direction and kept me very busy, but it is not writing. It is not hammering out the next big thing. Teaching is learning, for which I am still in the process, but it takes a lot of mental energy too. Energy I want to spend on creating and finishing.

If I said I was hitting a road block on my current writing project I guess that would be true. Into my third draft and I see where the transition between fun and fancy free becomes organizational WORK. It needs to be done, it must be done to make the book move forward in the way it is supposed to, but my enthusiasm sags and my brain aches.

This is odd, because I consider myself a person who likes to edit. To pull out the barriers that make a story falter and find a way to make it work. I think it is just the season, but there is another danger on the horizon-READING.

Late Fall and into Winter are my reading seasons, as they probably are for the majority of people in the northern hemisphere. I have a bunch of books lined up to read on fascinating topics. Reading too often then takes the place of writing-ah! What a challenge!

Here is a confession, if I am allowed one (?), after all it is my blog, but I need to write. If I don’t my head starts to fill up. Well it starts to get itchy, touchy, troubled, easily annoyed, at times depressed. So writing is a pressure valve I really need to exercise for my own, and my loved ones, safety. I’ve heard other writers mention like minded things along this line and don’t feel alone at all in confessing this life fact. Maybe it is just another reason to suspect there is a writer under my skin somewhere. Well I already am a writer!

Keep writing, it’s good for ya!

The Hamster

My daughters latest hamster is a big of fun. His name is Coconut and he is full of energy as he climbs all over his cage. This is our daughter’s second hamster and she is enjoying having a little critter again.

I am no stranger to hamsters. As a young boy I had many, many hamsters. This is partly due to an exploding population due to ignorance. So having hamsters was a learning experience.

Pets are good for people. I have little doubt of this. They improve our understanding of the natural world. Help boost our immune system. Reduce stress levels (depending on the pet!). They might even help children to reduce their chance of being allergic to animals in the future.

My daughter loves her hamster, and I love my daughter. I am happy, even though we live in a city, she can have the chance to play with an animal everyday. To be honest I enjoy it too!

Keep writing.

I Hate Negativity, So Why Can’t I Shake It?

As a writer and teacher negativity can be a major road block between you and getting things done. On top of this life steps in front of the bus and ends up being negative at times you don’t want to be.

As a Christian I feel negativity is beaten back by the grace God has give to all of us. It is an incredible and encouraging message which also explains why people are the way they are, this perspective is positive for me.

And there is so much in life to be thankful for, as a line from Plank Eye, a Christian band, say in a song-

“And I can’t complain, for all my bills have been paid, thank You so much for all the wonderful-”

How true that is, but I still have my days just like everyone else. Trouble with work, spouse, writing, kids, my own expectations of who I think or where I think I should be right now, all can be factors. I am sure I am not alone in this at all. We all feel like the world is against us-even when everything is fine and dandy!

One of the things that makes me negative is reading biographies. I know this sounds ridiculous, but here is my point: seeing others have adventures or talk about life often throws my own self image into question. This can, of course, be positive if it pushes me to be better in some weak area of my life, but more often it just breads foolish contempt for the fact I am not out hiking the Appalachian Trail or sailing the Pacific or cycling around Europe. These peoples adventures are great reads, but I have stopped reading some genres (hiking journals) because they make me too anxious to be out there hiking.

In comes the Bible, a book I can read and see more peace from in life. It’s the unflinching nature of that ancient book that brings reality into focus. Nothing changes, people are always going to have tough times, either of their own making or not. Yet God is there and faith comes along with it.

You might never pick up a Bible to bring something positive for your day. I understand that. What I do hope is that you can stay positive and keep moving forward in the life you are living. I’m trying, giving things my best shot (and praying too!) and know down days also have their neighbors the up days. I’m moving forward, hope you are doing the same.

Keep writing.

The Livescribe 3 Pen: A Review

This summer I got a very unique pen, the Livescribe 3, from my brother and sister-in-law. It seemed too good to be true, a pen that would digitally record everything I wrote down and then could be uploaded onto any device? Well then!

P9132849.JPG

The truth is the pen had problems connecting to my Samsung Tab A, that is until they updated the application, more on that later. You also must write on special paper that reads the position of what you write. Just scribbling across a regular pad of paper would not do anything for the pen at all.

P9132851.JPG

The pen works by having a camera in the front of the pen, just under the tip of the ballpoint cartridge. It reads the paper’s marks and records them so that they can then appear on the application. This works well, but I can found that it doesn’t work well when it comes to “remembering” what is being written while the pen is not tethered to a device. Hopefully I can figure that out better in the future.

The application kept stopping until Livescribe updated their application and now it works a lot better, though it still stops from time to time. I suspect the Tab A’s memory might be to blame more than the pens and application.

So how is it working? Well I do find it useful for journaling, the very reason my brother gave it to me. I am working through a note books and am getting used to the page style. I am a legal pad type of guy. Switching to a vertically bound page takes a little practice. The recorded text appears on the apps screen in real time, but I find that if I shut off the tablet and keep writing the app seems to behave a lot more accurately (again I think it might be caused by memory usage here).

As a writer the idea of writing and having my text in digital form is a great idea. In practice there are still some issues, but I like the technology and will use it for as long as I can. The price and availability of notebooks (which are not available in Japan that I have seen) makes this a little bit of a challenge. We will see.

Verdict? Well it is a nice pen, and it does something no other pen does, but I am waiting for more support and better transfer abilities. Otherwise it is a fair device.

Keep writing.