Sunday, September 18, 2016

Book: Hugh Howey's "Wool"

My seventh book of the year is a post-apocalyptic story.  Hugh Howey's "Wool" is set in a future where the survivors of a disaster (natural or man-made - is is uncertain) live in an underground city called the Silo.

The novel follows several people as they plot, scheme, and learn about the place they live in and the secrets that are being hidden from the people.  The setting is far enough in the future that there isn't any original survivors left, only their descendants.

The story is interesting.  The storytelling feels ... a bit shallow.  I'm not sure why it feels that way.  It could be that the lack of historical detail, something required to maintain the element of surprise in the book, that gives it a slight lack of depth.

Having said this, the what was revealed about this world intrigues me and I am already looking forward to the other two books in the trilogy (this is not a new book and the sequels are already available unlike the other series books I have read this year).

I gave "Wool" four stars on Goodreads because it kept my interest.

Sunday, September 11, 2016

A Line Of Fear

Today is the fifteenth anniversary of the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center in New York City and the Pentagon in Washington DC.  It is time ... once again ... to remember those who fell and who have fallen since that tragic day.

Thinking back to that disaster and looking at the world around me today, it is hard to miss the line connecting the largest terrorist attack in history to the most insane presidential election season ever.  I am sure this line, a line of fear, has Osama Bin Laden laughing his ass off in his watery grave.

Wednesday, September 07, 2016

Appalachian Trail Stages Version 2.0

I finished bouncing my Appalachian Trail (AT) plan (version 1.1) with a 2016 edition of "The A.T. Guide".  The original plan was made using a 2013 edition and in the three year between the editions things have changed.  As a result I updated my plan to version 2.0.

The main changes that I had to accommodate include:
  • The elimination of all but one campsite in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.  The park now requires you to stay in shelters.
  • Shifted some stop days around by, mostly, shortening the length of some stages.  This allowed stopping in places where resupply was possible instead of resupplying "on the go".
  • Changed stage lengths due to changes in the book.
  • Removed Palmerton, PA as a rest stop when I discovered the only place to stay was "Clothing Optional".
  • Moved some of the Appalachian Mountain Club (AMC) stops to the secondary stops.  These shelters require reservations and are expensive (and lavish with showers and meals provided).  I kept one as a primary stop and will have to make a reservation once I've nailed down exactly when I will arrive.  These shelters also offer a very limited number of Work-For-Stay spots for thru hikers.
I also made some changes not related to changes in the book.
  • Marked entrance and exit to special parks like Great Smoky Mtn and the Whites.
  • Added Shoe replacement locations in the notes.
  • Changed how I count stage days.  Before I wasn't counting the day I walked into a rest town.  This would not be a fair representation of the actual stage length.  Each stage is now a day longer than before.
  • Added number of stages to the header information.
  • Added day of the week to the date field.
  • Corrected the misspelled word in the TITLE.  Sheesh.
If you would like to see the new version of my AT itinerary just click the Appalachian Trail tab at the top of the page (under the header image).

Saturday, September 03, 2016

The Wrath Of Rapa Nui

This has been a weird week for me.  It was mostly loaded down with medical issues.  I actually hinted at me being sick in an earlier post.  Then it was an excuse for not prepping for the Appalachian Trail (AT).  This week it was even a more prominent reason for not training.

So what are my medical issues?  I will not gross people out ... much ... but it was all related to my Poopy Nui (or Rapa Poopy) that afflicted me after leaving Easter Island.  I took antibiotics in Quito and part of the Galapagos cruise and defeated the Easter Island Bug but, unbeknownst to me I was setting myself up for a failure.  From mid-July to this week I have been combatting some form of mild intestinal distress.  Not enough to ruin my day but enough to slow me down.  That is my medical issue.  That and my allergies are being wicked brutal this week.

This week, by coincidence, I had scheduled a follow up colonoscopy (following up on a benign polyp discovered five years ago).  I passed the colonoscopy with flying colors (and endured the excruciating prep procedures).  A biopsy was taken and it was determined that I have Clostridium Difficile Colitis.

What probably happened is the antibiotic I took in the Galapagos weakened or killed the good gut flora in my intestines allowing the not so good Clostridium Difficile to move in.  I didn't help the situation when, deciding to self treat, took even more of the antibiotic I had on hand.  This is easy to treat and I'm on medication for the next eight days or so.  Hopefully I will be biking and hiking again soon.  I already feel better ... though I do tire easily.

I haven't let this slow down all of my AT prep.  Today I finished up version 2.0 of my proposed AT stages.  I will be updating the Appalachian Trail tab next week along with a post explaining why some of the changes were made.

Have a happy Labor day weekend everyone!

P.S.  I have successfully fought off the urge to post the picture of the inside on my colon that I received after the colonoscopy.  You can thank me later.

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Book: Felicia Day's "You're Never Weird On The Internet (Almost)"

I switched away from fiction to nonfiction memoir for my sixth book of the year.  I've been reading Felicia Day's tweets and watching her on television for a while now so I decided to read her memoir, "You're Never Weird on the Internet (Almost)".

Felicia Day is an interesting person.  She reminds me of me if by me I meant who I wished I was.  I mean she is an introvert who is talented and driven enough to overcome her doubts and become successful.

Felicia Day is nerdy - she is often refereed to as the Queen of the Nerds - and the book is sprinkled with nerdy gaming, Sci-Fi, and fantasy references.  She dumbs it down quite a bit so that non-nerds aren't turned off by the geek but I wish she would have gone full nerd at times.  It would have been fun but I'm sure it would have eaten into her book revenue.

I liked Felicia Day before I read this book and I think I like her more now that I've read about her life.  I enjoyed the book and I'm sure there will me more chapters in the future.

I gave the book four stars on Goodreads because I was entertained, informed, and a little geeked out after reading it.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Look What Came In The Mail ... Camino Flashbacks

I received something in the mail today.  I'd ordered it so it wasn't a surprise but it gave me Camino flashbacks nevertheless.

Just like the Camino in Spain, several places along the Appalachian Trail (AT) provide stamps to mark your progress. "The A.T. Guide" that I'm using to plan my AT hike has locations that provide stamps marked in the book.  This passport is a place to collect your stamps along the way just as the pilgrim's passport marked your way along the Camino de Santiago.  There is room for ninety-six stamps in the AT passport or about three per week.  Since most of the stamps will be collected in towns along the way, this should be plenty I think.

When I look back at my Camino souvenirs, it's not my compostela (certificate of completion) that I look at most.  It is the pilgrim's passport that I cherish.  It brings back the most memories and the accompanying smiles.  I hope this AT passport will do the same, collect reminders of my happiest recollections along the trail and remind me of the people I meet along the way.

P.S. If you look on the AT passport page there is an awesome picture of a pilgrims credential.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Wow ... Ten Years

Today is the tenth anniversary of Homer's Travels.  I'm not sure if I thought I would be writing this blog that long when I started.  I still find it hard to believe.

1,616 posts.  An average of thirteen posts per month.  This is a bit lower than the first few years when I was posting around nineteen posts per month.  Something happened in 2010 that slowed down my blogging.  I don't know what it was but I suspect it was the opening of my Facebook account.

I've almost quit several times over the years.  Periods of writer's block discouraged me ... and still do to some extent.  But I have persevered and kept at it.  I have watched all my blog friends dwindle.  Only a couple post nowadays.  Several have moved to Facebook and Twitter pretty much full time so at least I'm still connected with these friends.

I will continue posting about planning my adventures and actually experiencing them.  Blogging the Appalachian Trail will be interesting - though it will probably drop my posting rate to about four per month.  I will try to inject some humor every now and then ... if for anything else but to pick up my own mood when I need it.  I will carry on.

No one knows what the next ten years have in store for Homer's Travels.  That's what makes it so darn exciting.