Friday, December 28, 2007

This is my life.

I figured that I'd give some more details on the "THIS IS MY LIFE" comment from my first post.

Recently I was talking with a friend (we'll call him MA) who has just returned from a multi-month march around Central America, and shared some realizations. MA noted that he had taken a break from traditional job/career-growth type happenings for some of the same reasons that I had, but overall, didn't have that productive of a break.

I figure that working together, his lessons can be my starting points on the break, and thus, in the end our separate learnings can be shared. (Not quite synergistically, but certainly more strongly that each only having our own experiences.)

MA said that he had been searching for some answers to those "big" questions, and I assume he means some of the ones that I'm looking for as well, such as "What is it in my current life that's wearing me out? Is it my job? Is it my field? Is it the country that I'm in?". At this point I inferred that MA had been hoping for a sort of epiphany to occur at the end of the travels/time off. I only infer this because I have a creeping suspicion that I'm expecting the same type of revelation of truth. At this point, MA and I agreed that the end of a vacation is a superficial boundary created by lack of funds and airline schedules (with a bit of societal "normal life" mentality mixed in).

In reality, our little mini-retirements are not a succinct set of experiences, but rather simply one of the many contiguous chapters in the story of our life -- a story that we're writing every day. To expect that the last few pages of each chapter, as delineated by page count, might hold some special properties different that those of every other, all-created-equal pages in our story, is preposterous!

The seemingly-crazy, international set of events put into play by being burned out on our current state of life is a continuation of our journey, but is more importantly our change of direction, our departure from the ordinary, our tack into the wind. What we forget is that this option is open to us each day, and as such, every day is an equal component of our lives! Therefore, lessons can, and need to, be harvested on a daily basis, before events become out-dated, muddled, or forgotten. Lessons are to be learned regardless of page count.

Finally, MA and I discussed how in reality, this mini-retirement I'm taking does not necessarily need to come to a close in a few months. Rather, if I live my travels as I do my everyday life, with a keen eye for new opportunities, then the trip is simply a the next few pages of my story. There is no chapter-end due to plane tickets. There is no job to return to. There is nothing that says this is a bracketed set of experiences.

And hence, simply, THIS IS MY LIFE.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Carbon footprint of my jaunts

Since I'm really not doing much good for the environment by hopping on a plane all over the world, I thought it would be good to balance out my carbon footprint -- enter, a cool site that I've contributed content to in the past.

They have a page dedicated to buying carbon credits. Interestingly, one of the biggest companies that does this, TerraPass didn't make the "nice list. " (They're trying to stay off the "naughty list" by writing a rebuttal.) They estimate that my Honda s2000 generated 8,510 lbs carbon dioxide this last year, and that my trips on airplanes coming up 13,546 lbs of CO2 (from 692 gallons of jet fuel -- just for me!). They're asking ~$100 to offset this footprint. (one of the US offset suppliers on the "nice list") estimates my footprint for the same criteria as 24.5 metric tons of CO2. That's 54,000 lbs. Slight disparity from TerraPass. They're asking ~$300 to offset this footprint. (also a US solution from "nice list") estimates my footprint as 18.365 tons of CO2. Interesting. They also said my total miles traveled is 1,000,034,798.03, which I kind of doubt. They're asking ~$230 to offset this footprint.

I could go on all day. I'm gonna let it stew some and maybe read te full report on these vendors, pick one, and go with it. Doing something is better than doing nothing.

Comments are enabled!

Couple things:
  1. Comments are enabled (you don't have to sign in)
  2. Google Analytics is working (I can seeeeee you on a map!)
  3. Christmas Eve with friends was excellent.
  4. Christmas Day with family was great.
More to come.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

OLPC was here!

Merry Christmas!

The first thing I did today was to sit up in bed, pull out my OLPC laptop and check the news on a few of my favorite sites, check my email, and generally cruise the web. I haven't started posting to this blog yet, but thats fairly trivial. The main thing is that the keyboard is a bit small and I'm still getting used to it. I guess I'd be mad if it wasn't kid sized anyway...

The point is that my Christmas gift to myself (the cute OLPC laptop to the right) arrived before Christmas, and was played with at work (I bought one on work's dime as well, so they were "meshing" a bit).

I think that despite the whole "technology for the sake of technology" argument, these laptops are good for kids. I agree, we need to do more with clean drinking water. And food. And education. But I also think that there have been ongoing efforts into those realms for years, and it is great for people to make a first stab at investigating the effects of technology on those without it. If todays youth from third world countries are ever going to compete with those from first world countries, this type of device is whats going to be required. Vast distances are shrunk, language barriers overcome, and in a way, the playing field is leveled.

Thanks to the team that put this together (both technically, and from the business end), I do feel a modicum of satisfaction, knowing that I helped drive up the volume by 2 units, and thus down the price, and at the same time donate 2 units to the third world efforts. And, I also like that the 2 donated units will be later versions than mine (and thus improved)!

The OLPC has some really neat stuff in it that, I think, will actually teach kids stuff. These are the applications that move the device from the "toy" to the "tool" category, such as the Python programming environment. Also, the measurement suite enables students to learn about science by performing actual experiments, and quantifying results. Logically, the next step is to use the built-in digital video camera to post / share / publish their learnings with peers as well as the outside world.

I'm excited to see how they're received. So far they're mostly in South America and southeast Asia. Check it out!

(Do people edit thier blogs? I have a feeling mine might be a stream-of-consciousness style blog, so please, forgive the errors, and let me know if they get annoying.)

Monday, December 24, 2007

First post: Details

Why Blog?

I guess the idea is that there are varying levels of interest my life, and sometimes its hard to decide whether you'll be bugging someone if you send them emails, or on the contrary, you'll be hurting someone's feelings by not including them. This removes all that uncomfort and places the power back in the people's hands.

If you love me, go ahead and subscribe to the blog (left of this paragraph), get emailed when it's updated, and leave all kinds of Karma-riffic feedback for me. I'll probably reply either in email, or as a comment on my own blog.

The real first post:
Well, not sure how to start this whole blog thing, but I think starting is the hardest part, and so here goes. I guess this is a good site to aggregate information that people might want to know about me in the coming months. First off, how about an itinerary?

December 2007 - January 14, 2008: Simi Valley, CA
January 14: Fly to Auckland, New Zealand
February 28: Fly to Sydney, Australia
March 4: Fly to Los Angeles, CA

March 8: Fly to Nome, AK
March 17: Fly to Los Angeles, CA (arrive March 18)

March 25: Fly to Delhi, India (arrive March 26)
July 23: Fly to Singapore
July 29: Fly to Los Angeles, CA

Now, let it be noted that posting this itinerary certainly flies in the face of some of my more recent realizations that this trip shouldn't necessarily be viewed as a strict "round the world and back" experience in itself. Rather, this is my life for the next few months. More simply, THIS IS MY LIFE. More on this topic later.

Some sites for my records:

Honestly, something like might be closer to what I'm looking for; check back here for updates to see if I've switched. Maybe I can embed that content in here.

I'm hoping to be able to do some CouchSurfing while on my travels, not only as a penny-saver, but also as a way to meet locals and share culture. Might be able to cook some meals for hosts, as well. If you're not aware, check it out:

More to come before the trip commences - outlook, goals, expectations, attitude

Random link for ya: Dancing around the world. (And the worthwhile outtakes.)

End of first post! Gimme some feedback!