Were you looking for something?

I was just checking stats and somebody clicked through after searching for the term “sun only shines once a year”.  Undoubtedly, this is because of what I wrote on my Who? page.

But, I really want to know who it was and what they were searching for.  Because I think I know.  I once searched for something using similar terms.

I was looking for a TV show from when I was a kid. It was such an interesting story.  It’s fuzzy, but I think it was about a group of students on some planet where the sun only shines once a year.  It was a big deal for them because every other day was rainy and cold.  If memory serves, one of the children caused trouble and was not allowed outside to enjoy the one day of sunshine.

Well, I found it. The show was an episode of WonderWorks on PBS.  It was adpated from a Ray Bradbury short story called “All Summer in a Day”.

Is that what you were looking for? Drop a line in the comments and let me know.

Seth Godin says:

Here is just one way to vastly improve customer service/satisfaction.

I’d install a BROKEN button. When you hit it, you can do anything and everything to fix the problem. Train people when to hit the button and then trust them to do the right thing.

From: Seth’s Blog: What do you do when your systems break?

A Vacation on a Train: Amtrak USA Rail Pass

States we\'ve visited

Create your own map at epgSoft.

I have a tendency to not vacation well. I usually travel too far in too short a time. And I come home more exhausted than when I left. I certainly enjoy myself and end up with some excellent memories. But sometimes I just need to relax.

Another problem I have related to vacationing is waiting too long to take one. I am at that point right now. Fortunately, I have a wonderful wife who is encouraging me to head out on a much needed holiday. So, that’s exactly what I am going to do. I’m taking a train trip.

I have wanted to take a long trip on a train for quite some time now. The idea of relaxed travel is so appealing. I can read a book. Or I can take a nap. Or I can just let the scenery roll by outside the window. All while I continue on to my destination effortlessly.

I recently discovered Amtrak’s USA Rail Pass program. It offers travelers the chance to save some money on their train rides. Instead of buying a single round trip fare, the USA Rail Pass is valid for unlimited travel within a region during a set time frame. You can choose to explore the East, the West or the entire United States on a 15 day or 30 day pass. The prices vary by region and also by season. But they are very attractive when compared to a standard fare.  For example, I priced a round trip from Chicago, IL to Portland, OR. For the dates I want, with my AAA discount, the fare is $660.00. But a 15 day West Region Rail Pass is only $369.00 for the same time frame. That’s almost a $300.00 savings!

The plan: make a loop around the Western half of the United States. But it is not to be.

I just started a new motorcycle blog

Howdy!

I just started a new blog that is all about motorcyles and the people who ride them. Stop by sometime. And if you ride, too, then you should definitely check out my list of bikers on Twitter. I’m trying to collect the names of all the Twitter-ers who feel at home on two wheels.

Roger Ebert’s review of Iron Man

I love movies. I tend to have strong opinions about movies. And I usually have strong opinions about movie reviewers. I think they’re over-paid for the “work” they do. And, until now, that sentiment applied to Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times simply because he is a movie critic.

But that all changed with Ebert’s recent review of Iron Man.

Read it and tell me you don’t agree.

Stupid, rodent!

I’m not one to get sentimental over silly holidays. I’ve never celebrated Sweetest day. But this year, I’ve been really looking forward to Groundhog Day. Why? Call me superstitious, but I want to know how much winter we’ve got left. And boy was I disappointed with the outcome today.

Phil saw his shadow. According to the AP:

Brace yourself for more wintry weather. Punxsutawney Phil saw his shadow Saturday, leading the groundhog to forecast six more weeks of winter.

So there, you have it; my bike stays dormant for a few more weeks. I’m not sure I’ll be able to survive much longer than that.

Happy New Year

Lots of people think up resolutions this time of year. I’ve done it in the past but never really accomplished anything meaningful by doing so. Being a perfectionist, I tend to turn my “setbacks” into “failures.”As a result, I gave up drafting New Year’s resolutions a few years ago. I prefer a more subtle approach to making changes in my life.

This upcoming year I’d like to write more. This includes, blog posts, emails to friends and family, or anything else bouncing around in my head. But if I try to create some sort of regimen or schedule to follow, then the first time I mess up I’ll feel like, “the whole thing’s blown; so, why continue?”

So, I thought I’d take a simpler approach. I’ll try to make writing as easy and as enjoyable as possible. The operative term here is “easy.” I want to be able to write whenever the inspiration hits. To do this I took a cue from LifeClever. In a recent post, Chanpory suggests a brilliant strategy to trick yourself past writer’s block. In a nutshell, start your writing assignment as an email message. He goes on to list several reasons why this may help. The biggest reason for me is a psychological one. I can write email effortlessly. I do it all day long and am very comfortable with the process. So, it’s much less intimidating to stare at my email editor than a blank Word or OpenOffice document.

My next step is to use Gmail to “manage” my writing for me. I don’t want anything complex, so a few tweaks will keep my words flowing.

  1. Create a contact for my “diary” – I just add a new contact in Gmail named “diary”, using a sub-email address. For example, if my address were username@gmail.com, this new contact will have username+diary@gmail.com for its address.
  2. Set up a filter – I use Gmail’s filters to recongnize any email sent to username+diary@gmail.com and deal with it accordingly. For me, that means: skip the inbox, mark as read, and label it “diary.”
  3. Add this new contact to any email clients I use – I’ve already done this in Gmail, so I’ll create a contact named “diary” in each of my other address books (work, school, etc.) so I can fire off a thought as easily as possible.

This makes writing an easy and flexible task for me. And by using Gmail’s filters and labels I can keep the entries I make out of sight until I want to find them again. One easy click on the “diary” label brings back all of my entries in chronological order.

Thanks for the tip, Lifehacker.