Wed, Feb. 20 Electoral Vote Predictor

Feb. 20th, 2019 06:00 am
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Sanders Is In

There were plenty of signs suggesting that an announcement was imminent. And, indeed, it was. Early Tuesday, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) sent an e-mail to supporters and released a video announcing his 2020 candidacy for president of the United States. Here's the video:

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Day 12.040: Saturday beach trip

Feb. 19th, 2019 10:53 pm
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Posted by the_exile

We made the most of some sunshine, some above-freezing temperatures (just), a convenient early-afternoon low tide and some not-yet-in-pain girls to have a walk on the beach on Saturday. It looked like this:



Tue, Feb. 19 Electoral Vote Predictor

Feb. 19th, 2019 06:00 am
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Well, That Didn't Take Long

The ink was hardly dry on Donald Trump's proclamation of a national emergency before the first lawsuit was filed on Friday. Two of them, in fact, prepared in advance by watchdog groups in Washington. There was no doubt that more were coming, and so they did on Monday. With California AG Xavier Becerra taking the lead, 16 states filed suit against the President in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California.

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Day 12.039: Older and wiser?

Feb. 18th, 2019 10:57 pm
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Posted by the_exile

Exile #3 and Exile #4 both had all four of their wisdom teeth removed today. All went well - here is Exile #3 looking a bit swollen and making use of an ice-pack sock-thing:


Due to the no recording policy that was presented to us at check-in and posted prominently around the recovery room, I am unable to bring you footage of the ramblings of the girls as they came round from their anaesthesia. Both went through a teary phase - Exile #3's was definitely more dramatic, then both started to find things amusing. They both wondered how they had arrived in the recovery room and discussed the numbness of  their mouths of course but also made the following observations:

Exile #4
Why do the curtains have stripes like that? [repeatedly - she was seriously put out by the curtain design] and why are some of the feathers yellow and some white? [the curtains had a leaf pattern]

Exile #3
[in response to Exile #2 observing that it was like having two teenagers on a bad trip] She doesn't mean like in a car [giggling uncontrollably] - she means a different kind!

Exile #3 continued to be very funny - telling the nurse that I won't let her drive on the highway and that salt-water rinses were OK, because at least salt-water is better than apple cider vinegar, all while giggling like it was the funniest thing she'd ever heard.

They are experiencing some pain, but they are coping pretty well and they have the rest of the week to get over the worst before having to go to school or any other activities.

Mon, Feb. 18 Electoral Vote Predictor

Feb. 18th, 2019 06:00 am
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Schiff: Evidence of Collusion with Russia Is in Plain Sight

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D-CA) told CNN yesterday that there is already ample public evidence that Donald Trump's campaign colluded with Russia. By saying this, he is contradicting his Senate counterpart, Richard Burr (R-NC), who didn't see any collusion. To be nice to Burr, Schiff suggested that perhaps Burr uses a different word than "collusion." Schiff did note that seeing evidence is not the same thing as being able to prove a criminal conspiracy in court beyond any doubt.

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Posted by the_exile

Exile #2 writes...

Exiles #3 and #4 are kicking the school vacation off in style tomorrow by having their wisdom teeth out. This evening was an exercise in distraction, not so much from the operation itself but from the fact that they are not allowed to eat or drink anything after midnight. We are anticipating two hangry girls tomorrow morning. To ensure they do not accidentally ingest something we have confiscated all drinking vessels and have covered the kitchen with stern-looking sticky notes. Exile #3 also encouraged us to put one up in the bathroom. Presumably she thinks she might be desperate enough to contemplate snacking on the toothpaste. Perhaps we just need to create an attachment for the “cone of shame” that she had to wear this evening during our game of Exploding Kittens.



Training log - Week ending 2/17/19

Feb. 17th, 2019 04:27 pm
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Posted by AKA Darkwave, AKA Anarcha, AKA Cris.

This week was 60 miles of running, 16 "miles" of pool-running and 3000 yards of swimming -- training log is here.

The week started off with one of the tougher workouts for me - mile repeats with short recovery.    We normally do 1600s with 800m jogged recovery, but due to some tough weather conditions (33 degrees and rain) my coach shortened the workout to minimize the duration of the workout.

VO2Max-ish work is my weakness.  Marathon pace workouts are relatively easy, and I can go anaerobic and lay down a decent 800m repeat at the end of a workout.  But that high middle ground - repeats between 1200m and 2000m in length -  is very hard for me.  I think of it as my unsweet spot.  And shorter recoveries increase the difficulty.

(I'm certain that this is related to how I prefer to race either miles or 10 miles and up - "short long distance" races of between 5K-10K in distance are the most challenging and painful distances for me).

But that's why this workout was really good for me.  I really want to improve my weaknesses this Spring, and this workout was excellent for that.    I wouldn't want to do a workout like this every week - workouts like this also tend to fry me if overdone.  But it's definitely good for me to get one in every few weeks. 

I was pretty tired after, but bounced back well with a decent tempo on Friday, and a good long run on Sunday (back in my comfort zone of marathon pace). 

I can see my fitness trending upwards, which is both nice for the obvious reasons and also makes it easier to patiently continue to train at my current fitness, rather than goal fitness (because current fitness is getting closer to goal fitness).

Dailies 

Monday: yoga and 8 "miles" pool-running; foam rolling at night.

Tuesday: 12 miles, including 3x1600, 2x200 in 6:20, 6:14, 6:10, 41, 42.  Followed with injury prevention work and 1000 yards of recovery swimming.  Foam rolling at night.

Wednesday: 6 miles very easy to yoga (9:21), yoga, and then 6 miles very easy (8:50), followed by drills and strides.  Massage in afternoon.

Thursday:  Upper body weights and core and 8 "miles" pool-running in the morning.  Foam rolling at night.

Friday: 12 miles, including a 4 mile tempo in 25:48 (6:39/6:29/6:23/6:17).  Followed with injury prevention work and 1000 yards of recovery swimming.   Foam rolling at night.

Saturday:  10 miles very easy (8:33), followed by drills, strides, upper body weights and core and DIY yoga.  Foam rolling in afternoon.

Sunday: 14 miles progressive - split as first 4 miles averaging 8:33, next 4 miles averaging 7:23, last 6 miles averaging 6:49.  Followed with light injury prevention work and 1000 yards recovery swimming.  Foam rolling in afternoon.




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Posted by Elizabeth

Life has been crazy busy lately and I realize that I've only written two blog posts this year. That's about to change. It's time for a good ol' week in review + the shoes I wore.

The last time I blogged about shoes was in September. Since my Nike Lunarglide was being discontinued and the Mizuno Wave Inspire no longer worked for me, I was on the hunt for a new rotation. I've now settled into a shoe mix that works for me-- one that doesn't create injuries and allows me to maximize the benefit of my training runs.

I ran all seven days this week, which is typical for me, and I'm at the point in my training cycle where four of those days are harder, "quality" workouts, and the remaining three days are easy. The Shamrock Marathon is four weeks away, and even though this week was tough, the next two will be even tougher as I prepare to peak.



I wore all of the above shoes this week. You will notice that three pairs are Nike and three pairs are adidas. I like these brands because they fit my narrow foot. I've never been able to wear Asics or Saucony, and when I wear Brooks, I buy the narrow width.



On the top row, from left to right are the adidas Adizero Adios, the Adizero Tempo 8, and the Adizero Tempo 9. In the Nike row, from left to right are the Lunarglide 9, and two pairs of the Odyssey React.

These are the shoes I wore this week. Other shoes that are in the rotation that I did not wear this week are the adidas Adizero Boston 7, the Mizuno Wave Sayonara, and the Brooks Ghost.

Monday: 3 x 2 miles at 10K effort in the adidas Adizero Tempo 8
What a brutal day for a workout! In the morning, we were greeted with freezing rain, so I had to wait until lunchtime when the temperature rose from 32 degrees to 34 degrees. I ran from my office to a nearby track. Ideally, I would have done this workout on the roads, but since I am not as familiar with the good running roads near my office, I opted for the track. I was frozen to the core, even though I was dressed appropriately!

I warmed up for 2.4 miles and then ran 8 laps (2 miles) with splits of 6:43, 6:38. Then came a 400m recovery (3 mins), followed by another 8 laps with splits of 6:38, 6:36. Another 400m recovery (3 mins) and then 6:42, 6:40. Whew! I was so glad when that was over and it was perhaps one of the most mentally tough workouts I have ever done. The combination of it being on a track with the awful weather and in the middle of the day was rough. But, I was happy with my paces. Even if you include the two 400m recovery jogs, I ran 6.5 miles at an average pace of 7:05, which is FASTER than the Pancake Run 10K from a few weeks ago. Just goes to show that something was majorly off in that race. My average for the 10K effort miles was 6:39.

I love the adidas Tempo 8 for tempo runs! There's a good amount of cushion, yet I can still "feel" the ground under my feet for a controlled toe off. There's a bit of "bounce-back" but overall the shoe is on the firmer side in my opinion. I also wear the Tempo 8 for half marathons, and have raced a few 5Ks in them too. Unfortunately, they screwed it up with the Tempo 9, making that shoe heavier and bulkier. The Tempo 9 doesn't feel like a speedy shoe to me. Hopefully they come up with a newer model that is more like the 8. And yes, I have stocked up on the 8's!

Tuesday: 11.35 miles at 7:51 pace in the Nike Odyssey React (blue pair)
My coach likes to give me these medium-long runs at a moderate effort. He prescribed a target pace
Nike Odyssey React
of 7:45-7:55 for 90 minutes. In the past, it's been as fast as 7:30! The theory is that the more miles you run at the high end of your aerobic range, the more gains you make. So the effort here felt moderate or maybe I would call it a "hard" easy. Of course, this was all made more challenging with the pouring rain and a temperature of only 33 degrees. Brrr! But I wasn't as cold as I was on the track since I had layered up a bit more. I wore a shower cap to keep my hair from getting soaked. Nothing makes you cold like wet hair, so having this extra protection helped.

I wore the Nike Odyssey React. This blue pair was my first-ever pair of this newly released shoe, and it was nearing the end of its life. I like the Nike Odyssey react for long fast runs, like this one. It's also the shoe I wore at the Rehoboth Beach marathon and it worked great. It has a lot of cushion and loads of bounce and it's fun to run in. Probably the most "fun" shoe I have ever worn, if that makes sense. It's super light weight (even lighter than the adidas Tempo 8) but really supportive and fast. This shoe has it all.

Wednesday: 7.8 miles at 9:00 pace in the Nike Lunarglide 9
A much-needed easy day after two consecutive days of hard running in the rain. Thankfully the weather cooperated, because I don't think I would have tolerated another freezing wet run. When my coach saw this slower pace he asked, "were you tired?" Ummm . . . did you not see the workouts I did the past two days?! LOL. In all seriousness, my legs felt heavy and of course that's natural after so much hard running at a high volume.

Before they were discontinued, I stocked up on the Nike Lunarglide. I have this current pair (2/3 through its life) and one more remaining. Since I am using the Odyssey React for most of my long runs, I use the Lunarglide for my easy runs. It's nice and plush, but feels heavy in comparison to the Odyssey. I also wear the Brooks Ghost on easy days, but didn't wear it this week.

Thursday: Ladder Intervals in the adidas Adizero Adios 3
The workout was 2 x (1 min, 2 min, 3 min, 2, min, 1 min) hard—all with 90-second easy jogs in between. I was a little conservative on the way up the first ladder but then started pushing on the way
adidas Adizero Adios 3
back down. I determined I would really drive on the second set:
1 min: 6:25
2 min: 6:32
3 min: 6:35
2 min: 6:18
1 min: 5:50
1 min: 5:58
2 min: 6:11
3 min: 6:15
2 min: 6:01
1 min: 5:48
The easy jogs ranged from 8:45 to 10:15, depending on the elevation gain or loss. The elevation also factored into my paces above, as I ran a gently rolling course. Overall this run felt really good and I was lucky to have the day off and nap afterwards. Including warm up and cool down, I ran a total of 9.1 miles.

My coach recommended the Adios to me as a racing flat. That's a bit of a misnomer though because it's not exactly flat. I can't run in flat shoes because my Achilles tendon will flare up. The Adios, however, has a 10mm drop which is good for me. These shoes do not have a lot of cushion and they are good for really feeling the ground under your feet. They are super lightweight, which I love. I wore them in my recent 10K, and I have also wore them in 5Ks. I don't think I would wear them for anything longer because I like a little more cushion. I move up to the Tempo 8 for a 10-miler or half marathon. There are many runners who race marathons in these shoes, but I don't. 

Friday: 7 miles at 8:52 pace in the Nike Odyssey React (blue pair)
Nice and easy again as I recovered from Thursday's run and prepared for Saturday's long run. It was 52 degrees and I wore shorts and a t-shirt! What a change from Monday and Tuesday.

This pair Odyssey React was at the end of its life so I took them out for one final spin. Typically I don't wear these shoes on easy days because they are so light and bouncy that they make me want to run faster. But I knew I could squeeze 7 more miles out of them. I typically get 180-200 miles on my shoes, and then they start to break down. That's less than the average runner. I think it's because I have a high cadence (around 190 steps per minute) so I am taking more steps during each mile than the typical runner. Just a theory, but these shoes are now retired and I will be donating them.

Saturday: 16.2 miles w/12 at marathon pace of 7:17 in the Nike Odyssey React (orange pair)
The prescribed workout was 15-30 minutes warmup, 90 minutes at marathon pace, and 15-30 minutes cool down. It was super windy out; which was annoying but good practice for my marathon.
My splits were:

8:33, 8:26, 8:22
7:25, 7:22, 7:19, 7:16, 7:14, 7:12, 7:14, 7:13, 7:14, 7:15, 7:20, 7:18
8:47, 8:33 for the last 0.2

Nike Odyssey React
I was really happy with how comfortable and strong I felt during this run and my target was 7:20. I was really starting to feel it in my left leg during the last three miles, so those were a struggle, but I pushed through! A 7:17 marathon pace would be a time of 3:11!

I can't decide if these shoes are pink or orange. They look orange in the photo, but more pink in person. Anyway, these are the shoes I plan to wear in the marathon. I like to run marathon pace miles in the same shoes I will race the marathon in, so I took them out for their maiden voyage. They worked well for me, so I will probably just do one more long run in them before race day. As I said above, these shoes are light and springy, with plenty of cushion for 26.2 miles.

Sunday: 6.8 miles at 8:51 pace in the adidas Tempo 9
An easy recovery day for me! My legs felt decent post-marathon pace run, and I attribute that to the massage I got yesterday.

The adidas Tempo 9 is the latest version of the Tempo, and as I mentioned above, I was disappointed in it. It's heavier and bulkier than its predecessor, which makes it a poor choice for a speed workout, but a decent choice for an easy run. I don't plan on buying more of these shoes because I prefer the Nike Lunarglide and the Brooks Ghost for my easy runs. But since I had the pair, I figured I might as well use it. I really hope the next version of this shoe is more similar to the Tempo 8.

Total Weekly Mileage: 69
I would have loved to reach 70+ miles, but considering that 4 out of these 7 days were hard workouts, I’m good with 69! The next two weeks will be really tough, especially since we are expecting some wintry precipitation Wednesday-Thursday, but I'm feeling good and up for it!

adidas Adizero Tempo 9



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Posted by the_exile

We had another fairly epic family Rock Band session to end the day:


The rest of the day had featured some admin work, a walk on the beach and a meal successfully cooked by Exile #2 and me together (usually it works best when only one or the other of us is in the kitchen, but it went well today).

Sat, Feb. 16 Electoral Vote Predictor

Feb. 16th, 2019 06:00 am
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Houston, We Have an Emergency

Donald Trump threatened to do it. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) confirmed he was going to do it. By Thursday, everyone was reporting that he planned to do it. And, on Friday, he did it. Moments after signing a series of bills that will keep the government open for at least another six months, Trump issued a proclamation declaring a national emergency, and announced that his administration would begin redirecting already-allocated funds to build a wall along the Mexican border.

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Day 12.036: Passport photo time

Feb. 15th, 2019 11:14 pm
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Posted by the_exile

The two youngest members of the family need new passports soon, so passport photos are on the list for this weekend. Hopefully this one will be better at keeping a straight face than he was in this previous session:

(no subject)

Feb. 15th, 2019 08:58 pm
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Posted by Philip Brewer

I went ahead and removed the link to my Google profile from the social media menu at the bottom of each page here, and removed Google+ from the list of tabs I routinely open on my browser.

Friday Inspiration, Vol. 169

Feb. 15th, 2019 03:00 pm
[syndicated profile] semi_rad_feed

Posted by brendan

I love the music choice in this short film, about a couple of Muslim skateboarding brothers from Alabama—one of whom happens to work for NASA (video)

I don’t know what else to say about these photos of Antarctica, besides stating that your life will be better if you look at them.

Oliver Sacks, in a tough essay written while he was approaching his own death, considers our smartphone-addicted culture.

Is music getting louder? Yes. But maybe not quite how you think.

How to Run 100 Miles, our film about my friend Jayson Sime, came out a year ago this week, and is doing the rounds with several film festival tours right now. Jayson convinced me we could finish a 100-mile race, and I convinced him he could write. He just posted his 25th blog entry last week, and it’s about positive reframing—which is a technique he’s been using on me for years, and I’ve gradually adopted myself.

The folks at the Safety Third podcast have a hell of a story for you: How Josh Jespersen dealt with multiple tragedies by climbing and splitboarding all of Colorado’s 14,000-foot mountains—in record time.

Nas lists his favorite 5 hip hop songs of all time in 53 seconds (video)

HOLY SHIT these photos of wild black leopards

—Brendan

The post Friday Inspiration, Vol. 169 appeared first on semi-rad.com.

Fri, Feb. 15 Electoral Vote Predictor

Feb. 15th, 2019 06:00 am
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Trump Will Sign Bill, Then Declare National Emergency

This current episode of America's border security reality show will come right down to the wire, presumably because Donald Trump has planned it that way. In any event, on Thursday, both houses of Congress passed the compromise bills that will keep the federal government open and operating for the rest of the budget year. Donald Trump has communicated through intermediates, including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), that he will sign the bills and then promptly declare a national emergency.

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Day 12.035: Just coffee - apparently

Feb. 14th, 2019 10:29 pm
[syndicated profile] exilesme_feed

Posted by the_exile

There are many jobs that people do that I appreciate all the more for knowing I would never want to do them. Coming up with brand names is one - like whoever decided that their 100% coffee product should be called Chock full o'Nuts:


At first I thought, that requiring a subtitle that pointed out that your product does not contain nuts when you just said it was full of them was terrible marketing, then I read the timeline explanation and now I'm Chock full o'Respect for it (if you get my meaning).

Naming things has never really been my strength. On the other hand, something I am definitely qualified to judge is that it's pretty good coffee as I discovered this week.
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Posted by brendan

One afternoon last August, a delivery truck rolled up outside my house in Denver. Two men got out, dollied a large box through the front door, unpacked a 6-foot long wooden workbench top and gave it a once-over to see if it had been damaged in shipping. I signed for the delivery, carried the wood and accompanying metal legs back to a 10-foot by 10-foot room at the back of our duplex, and put it all together.

A few minutes later, I dusted off my hands and stood in front of it: the first real desk of my outdoor writing career.

I’d been trying to be an adventure writer since 2004, been trying at it full-time since 2012—and I’d never had a place to set my laptop, pile up notebooks, stick post-it notes, or leave a printer plugged into a wall outlet. I’d typed in coffee shops, at friends’ kitchen tables, in the back of a van, at my own kitchen table, at airports, laundromats, anywhere I could when I had to. But now. A desk, in its own room. I must be a real writer now, right?

It’s funny how your definition of “real” changes.

In the spring of 2004, I had decided I was going to be an adventure writer. Not immediately, but someday. I had discovered Mark Jenkins’ columns in Outside, read Daniel Duane’s El Capitan book (despite never having climbed or seen El Cap), and tore through Jon Krakauer’s Eiger Dreams and Into the Wild. The model I understood from those writings—going on big adventures and writing stories about them—seemed like a dream job, although I had no idea if it was an actual job, or how a person could get that job. I did my master’s thesis at the University of Montana School of Journalism on peak bagging, and as a requirement for my magazine writing class, I had gotten published—an article in IDAHO Magazine about a road trip I’d taken the previous summer. The check for the article was for $40, or would have been, had I not asked the editor to please send me $40 worth of copies of the magazine instead, because I was so excited to have been published. It was a start, I thought. A slow one, but a start nonetheless. At $40 per article, I’d have had to write 233 articles each year just to crest the poverty line in 2004.

So I needed a real job, too. I applied at newspapers with no luck, so I got a job on the sales floor at the Phoenix REI to work while I sent out resumes and made calls to prospective journalism employers. I finally got a full-time editor/reporter/copy editor job at a small suburban weekly newspaper, and stayed on working part-time at REI.

In my spare time, I pitched every outdoor magazine I knew of, writing query letters that almost without fail resulted in rejection letters sent back to me weeks or months later. It was like walking up to a sport climbing crag, trying a route, falling after clipping the first bolt, failing to climb any higher, and moving on to the next route and repeating the process, with nothing to show for it. For months.

photo of rejection letters from magazines

In my second year of pitching stories, I made $75 from one article. I moved to Denver to work at a small newspaper—but on the side, I kept pitching any outdoor publication I thought might pay. Almost all of them sent me rejections. In late 2006, John Fayhee at the Mountain Gazette liked a story I sent him enough to publish it and pay me $100. In mid-2007, I got a part-time job writing funny 100-word blogs for an outdoors website, at 15 cents a word, 2 to 3 blogs per week.

I kept working day jobs, first at the newspaper and then at a nonprofit that took urban teens on wilderness trips. After work, I obsessed over rock climbing routes, logistics of road trips I could take during my time off or over three-day weekends, read adventure books and magazines, and checked out guidebooks from the public library. I kept writing and trying to get published, chipping away at that idea of becoming a real writer.

I finally got a small assignment from a big magazine. I would interview a guy named Fitz Cahall, who had a podcast called “The Dirtbag Diaries.” I did the interview, wrote the 400-word story, sent it in, and … months later, I hadn’t heard from the editor. I checked back a couple times, and somehow the story had gotten lost in the editor’s spam folder. It never ran.

From the interview with Fitz Cahall, I held on to one part of his story: Fitz had wanted to become a magazine writer and had some success at it, but magazines weren’t interested in what he thought were his best story ideas. So he wrote them anyway, recorded them, and made them into a podcast—his own thing.

I ended up writing and recording an episode for The Dirtbag Diaries in mid-2008, starting a years-long relationship with Fitz and Becca Cahall. And, in late 2010, I followed Fitz’s thinking and took my rejected ideas (or ideas that were so ridiculous I’d never even pitched them) and started my own blog. In December 2010, I paid $12.17 for the URL Semi-Rad.com, and started writing short blog posts. I published the first four of them on February 2, 2011, and shared one of the posts with my few hundred Facebook friends and Twitter followers.

The first month, I published four blog posts, one every Thursday. My friend Josh Barker had told me that a regular publishing schedule would keep readers interested, so I decided to write one blog every week until something happened or I got sick of it. The first month, my blog got 646 page views. Not exactly setting the internet on fire.

The next month, I got 1,810 page views. The next month, still posting every week, 2,085 views, and then 1,506 views the month after that. It went like that for a while. I wrote about pumping your fist out the window of your car at the start of a road trip, about the amount of beer you should pay your friends back with after they did a favor for you (like letting you borrow gear or digging you out of an avalanche). I wrote about not buying new gear just because you can. Steve Casimiro from Adventure Journal reached out and asked if I would be interested in him re-posting some of my stories on his website and referring traffic back to me? Fuck yes I would. In October, I had more than 12,000 views. That December, Patagonia took out a full-page ad in the New York Times asking consumers to not buy Patagonia jackets if they didn’t need them, so I made a few knock-offs of their design, around other environmental issues. It took off, and that month, I had almost 30,000 page views. More importantly, I had survived 11 months of writing one blog post every week. So I kept going.

After almost six years of trying, I started getting magazine assignments, starting in early 2011 with a story I’d been pitching and had written for Climbing Magazine. I started writing more stories for them, and eventually a monthly column—which was titled Semi-Rad, like my blog. Over the course of the next few years, I wrote short and long pieces for almost every magazine I’d wanted to—a gear review here, a short piece in the front of the book there, the occasional feature story. Sometimes I loved the result, sometimes the magazine and I had different goals, and once my name actually got spelled wrong in my byline (not in an outdoor mag, but a men’s magazine doing some outdoor stuff). In mid-2013, I was working on an assignment for an outdoor magazine, and the editor said that when I was writing the feature story we were discussing, I should “imagine if you were writing about it for your blog.”

By the time I’d gotten to write for a few of the outdoor publications I’d always wanted to, I started to realize things were changing, for me and for everyone. In 2004, I’d wanted to write magazine feature stories, Jon Krakauer- and Daniel Duane-style—but in 2014, lots of magazines were shifting resources to online content, and often (but not always) decreasing resources devoted to publishing long features. Gone were the days (that I never experienced) of travel budgets and high-four-figure/five-figure story payouts—the kinds of things that “real writers” had. But the internet, which made life hell for lots of newspapers and magazines, was fantastic for people like me, who could hand-draw a flowchart about pooping in the woods or write a half-serious blog post about how much I hate (but kind of love) running and potentially reach thousands of people—or sometimes, only a few dozen, which happened lots of Thursdays. At the beginning of 2013, I landed a sponsor, Outdoor Research, whose support cosigned my efforts and made sure I had what I needed to keep it going.

In June 2014, I was driving around Garden of the Gods in Colorado Springs doing research for a rock climbing guidebook I was co-authoring. The year before, I had put large “Semi-Rad.com” decals on either side of my Astrovan, which I was living in, thinking I needed to do that in order to deduct mileage on my taxes.

A car started tailgating me around the scenic loop, flashing its headlights. I wondered, “did I just cut that guy off? Is the van on fire?” I pulled over at the next pullout. The car pulled over, a guy got out, and introduced himself. His name was Willie Bailey, and he was a firefighter and photographer from Tennessee. He had been reading my blog for a couple years, and he had just read the road trip book I had self-published and got inspired to take a road trip himself—which he was on. Right now. We chatted a little bit, took a quick photo, and I got back in my van to drive away, thinking that was a pretty heartwarming side effect of writing a blog post every week for three and a half years.

This would happen more times over the next few years, and it’s not something they teach you in journalism school or creative writing classes: if you put a little bit of yourself out there and people can relate to it, sometimes you get to meet people you’d otherwise never meet, and hear a little bit of their story. And you don’t get that in every job.

There’s no monetary reward to having people you don’t know talk about some goofy thing you wrote, and it’s not a Pulitzer or National Magazine Award. But it was something I hadn’t considered when I started writing—that the weird shit I posted on my blog, which falls flat sometimes and makes it a little way around the internet some other times, could also become a piece of dialogue between friends. That not only do they laugh at the joke—which is all you hope for when you’re trying to be funny—but they laugh again later when they say it to a friend.

In late 2014, my friend Jim Harris wrote me an email from a bed and breakfast in Punta Arenas, Chile. He had been sitting on a couch around a wood stove with a group of people who were on their way to Torres del Paine when one of the group “started quoting your ‘Obsessive Campfire Adjustment Syndrome’ piece and the rest of the group filled in other memorable lines. I think they’ve memorized in a way I can only claim for a few Monty Python bits. Even 10,000 miles from home, the world’s a smallish place.”

Late last Monday night, I sat in my kitchen hand-writing thank-you postcards to the folks who support my creative efforts on Patreon, and realized my blog at Semi-Rad.com had turned 8 years old a few days before. I turned 40 last month, which means I’ve been writing Semi-Rad posts every week for a fifth of my life. If each blog was 500 words long, that’s well over 200,000 words written.

Since I started eight years ago, I’ve been able to successfully explore other ways to make a living besides writing a blog—public speaking, directing short films, writing books, drawing cartoons, and of course, writing for other publications. Some weeks I wondered if I should keep doing the blog, and some weeks it felt like no one read the blog at all.

But I had a place to write where no one told me what I could do and couldn’t do, for better (often) or for worse (hopefully not quite as often). I had a place to write an obituary for my friend Mick, who wasn’t a famous adventure athlete, but who I still quote to this day. I had a place to write about my mom, who climbs at a gym in Iowa, and my dad, who doesn’t climb at all, and about my friend Abi when she finally summited Mt. Shasta last summer. I wrote a story about my friend Nick’s rabid obsession with getting himself an old Trek 970 back in 2010, something he’d forgotten about until I reminded him last week. I don’t know if those stories would ever have gone anywhere if I hadn’t just done them myself, without caring whether 100 people or 100,000 people read them. (And let’s be honest—it was a little closer to 100).

Every once in a while someone asks what the word “Semi-Rad” means, and I explain that when I started the blog, I thought there was already plenty of outdoor media coverage of elite climbers, skiers, runners, and other record-breakers. I wanted to focus on the rest of us who love the outdoors—the things we have in common. I think those things are valuable too, and often ridiculous and worth laughing at.

If you ask any writer how to get started, I think you’ll get countless variations on one piece of common advice: Start writing. You just make yourself do it, even if you’re not sure if it’s any good at first. Writing is a lot like digging a hole in the ground: You only make progress after you actually start.

The one thing I’ve learned from making myself write something every week is this: You can’t hit a home run every week. Maybe you can’t hit a home run every month. But if you keep writing, sometimes you bunt, sometimes you strike out, and sometimes you get a walk. But if you get to first base, there’s someone out there who might need whatever it is you wrote, on that day. Even if the rest of the internet doesn’t seem to notice.

In mid-2017, Jonah Ogles, then an editor at Outside, reached out and asked if I’d be interested in having my Semi-Rad blog posts published as a weekly column on OutsideOnline.com. It was an unexpected, but welcome, honor for a blog born out of the fatigue of trying to get my stuff printed on someone else’s platform.

It was a totally different path than my adventure writing heroes, like Mark Jenkins, took, but making a living as a writer has never been straightforward, maybe less straightforward now than ever. If you had told me in 2008 that it was possible to get a book deal by writing really good Instagram captions, I would have said, “What the hell is Instagram?” in the same way if you’d told Mark Jenkins in 1998 that you could get a book deal by writing a blog, he probably would have said, “What the hell is a blog?” We’re all trying to figure it out as we go, whether you’re a publication like Outside or a hopeful somebody who just wants a few people to read your stories, in whatever format.

I don’t pretend to speak for all writers, but I think if you’re a writer and you’re honest with yourself, the thing you want most for your writing isn’t money or some sort of fame, but readers. You want a genuine connection with a few people. I don’t know if I’d say everything has turned out like I thought it would, but I’m grateful I found a small community of people who read some of my stories about all the things we love to do outside. I may not be filing dispatches from a base camp in the Karakoram or anything like the legendary writers I read, but I’ve had a great time trying to make sense of all the weird stuff we do out there—getting cold, exhausted, scared, stormed on, wondering why we do it until we get back home and immediately want to do it all again.

Eight years after starting a blog, and picking up that metaphorical shovel every week to keep digging that metaphorical hole, I still can’t say I know what a “real writer” is.

I do have a desk now, though. So I might as well stick with this writing thing.

—Brendan

The post Lessons From Eight Years Of Writing An Adventure Blog appeared first on semi-rad.com.

Thu, Feb. 14 Electoral Vote Predictor

Feb. 14th, 2019 06:00 am
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Bloomberg Will Spend $500 Million Trying to Defeat Trump in 2020

Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg does not like Donald Trump. He really doesn't. He is preparing to put his money where his mouth is. And with nearly $50 billion in assets, he has a very big mouth. Politico is reporting that $500 million is the floor, not the ceiling, for what he plans to spend in the presidential race. In the unlikely event that the Democrats pick him as their nominee, he will spend it on his own campaign. If not, he will run his own data-heavy political operation, the size of which is unprecedented. To get an idea of how big this is, the entire 2016 Trump campaign spent $325 million. Compared to Bloomberg, the Koch brothers are pikers, having spent a piddling $122 million all in all in 2012.

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Walking to Mordor

Feb. 13th, 2019 08:35 pm
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Posted by Philip Brewer

A few years ago Jackie and I undertook to walk to Rivendell, replicating (the mileage of) Bilbo’s journey. We started, but we found that tracking the mileage in a notebook or spreadsheet didn’t really suit, and our venture rather petered out. (We got plenty of walking in that year. We just quit tracking it against Bilbo’s journey.)

Recently our friend Ashley Price started a walk to Mordor, replicating the mileage of Frodo’s journey from The Lord of the Rings, and it turns out that now there’s an app for that. You enter your mileage for each leg, and it tells you as you reach each milestone along the way. It also has a mechanism for “friends,” so you can see as they reach their milestones.

So Jackie and I are taking another stab at it. I installed the app, and for several days now have been entering our daily mileage.

If you want to join us, feel free to install the Walk to Mordor app yourself and friend me! (I’m in there as Philip Brewer, although perhaps I should have had some hobbitish name.)

Today we walked some in the University arboretum.

Unfortunately we got started just as the weather turned awful, so we haven’t been making very many miles per day so far. But as soon as it gets a little nicer, I’m sure we’ll start racking up miles as fast as our little hobbit feet can move us along.

Edited to add: We are also re-reading the Lord of the Rings. We meant to read along with our walk, but so far we’re reading quite a bit faster than we can walk. Maybe we’ll catch up at Rivendell where there’s a bit of a pause in the walking, but the prose carries on.

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ilanarama: me, The Other Half, Moab UT 2009 (Default)
Ilana

January 2019

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My running PRs:

5K: 21:03 (downhill) 21:43 (loop)
10K: 43:06 (downhill)
10M: 1:12:59
13.1M: 1:35:55
26.2M: 3:23:31

You can reach me by email at heyheyilana @ gmail.com

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