Follow the Leader

So, it's kind of funny because on one of the blogs I follow, Jess mentioned that her sister just became a follower of hers (I will explain more later). In her post, she asks if her sister knew about "following" and didn't do it on purpose, or if she had just found out about it. I had been thinking about doing a post about following a few days ago, so it was funny that she has some of the same questions as I do.

I always wonder if people are reading what I am writing. I assume not, and am okay with that. I mean, I just like to write, to get my memories and thoughts down before I forget them and to keep kind of a journal/log of my travels. Sometimes I have an opinion and rather than make everyone at work listen to me, I put it on here and you can read it if you are so inclined. But I still wonder -- are you inclined?

I really have no way of knowing who is reading...like I said, I assume not a lot are. Until I go to visit my best friend and her mom says, "So, how was San Diego?" and I think, "how in holy hell does SHE know I went to San Diego?" Well, I did post it and apparently she DID read it! And that makes me feel good. Even if I am not completely sure she or other people are reading, I sometimes get a little boost from time to time.

In case you are like Jess' scenario A and you just don't know what the possibilities are, I am going to tell you a few. You can go to http://www.reader.google.com/ and then enter in the sites you like. The reader will keep them all for you and tell you when a new post has been posted on your favorite sites. You can also link to your reader by just clicking "follow" -- on my site its on the left. See those 4 people there...oh and one of them is me; I don't know how that happened! Oops. I guess I felt sorry for myself.

Another option is if you look at the top of this page it says "follow" "share" "report abuse". You can click any of those. If you click follow, again, that too will take you to your Reader (no Mom, not "take me to your leader"). You don't have to use Reader, but I am hooked on google -- this blog is owned by them and it all just links together so well. All you have to do now is check your Reader from time to time and it will tell you who has posted new posts since your last visit.

You don't have to follow; you can also subscribe. This also uses Reader (for me -- you can use any other feed reader). Just click the link at the very bottom of this page. It says "subscribe to: posts (atom)".

You can also forgo all that and just leave nasty comments on the posts. At the bottom of each post is a link that says "0 Comments". If you click on that, you can tell me to shut up or leave me a note if I need to pick up bread from the store tonight.

So, you still don't have to read anything, follow anything or comment on anything, but now you if for some reason you wanted to, you know how.

PS This is my 200th post. Stats: Started in April (ish) 2006, 4 years, approx 50 a year, approx 1 a week. If you haven't read any of them, you have saved approximately 5 minutes a week of your time, or 1000 minutes in the last 4 years.

Image taken from: Boldt (found using google images -- see, it's like a cult)


Awesome Dude!

This guy is an awesome photographer. His name is Clark Little and he shoots in Hawaii. You can see more of his stuff here. This is one of my favorites. I love turtles.


I was driving to work today and every lane was going the same speed. Three lanes, all going 58 MPH. I hate that. And there were miles of empty highway in front of them. I just couldn't get to it. I think getting over to the proper lane so people wanting to go faster than you CAN is not only a rule but a simple courtesy. I finally  passed the guy who had been camping in the left lane (I had to pass him on the right) and I tried to give him a really dirty look but he wouldn't look my way.

Yesterday I went into the lunch room to get a cup of coffee. There are three pots. All of them had about a millimeter of coffee in them. All three pots were on. The lunchroom smelled like burnt tar. I eeeked out about 2 inches of coffee into my cup and made three new pots of coffee. I went back a half an hour later. All pots were back to the millimeter point. I think there are about 4 people who make coffee and 400 people who drink it. I am going to sit in the lunch room and give people dirty looks if they don't make coffee when it's getting low.

My best friend is having a baby. Its a girl!! (yay!) That doesn't seem weird to you, but I still see her at 17, wearing converse and sneaking off to the river at night after her mom told us not to. She's going to be a great mom. I am totally going to go see her and spoil her daughter. I mean, isn't that what Aunties are for?

I think the IT department at work is reading everything I am writing...Hi guys!!! I wonder if they purposefully look at certain people's computers becuase they are more entertaining. If that's the case, I should be safe. I saw a guy looking at porn at work once. I mean, he couldn't wait until he got home? A little creepy if you ask me. Okay, a lot creepy.

When I sent out my Christmas cards last year, I sent them to people in 24 states and five countries. I think that is cool. Not cool like "look at me, I am cool" but just fun! I hope to someday sent one to someone in every state. I better get a move on. I need to meet some people from Alaska. Here are the states I have. AL, AR, AZ, CA, FL, IA, IL, IN, KS, LA, MA, MD, MN, MT, NC, NJ, NV, NY, RI, SD, TX, VA, WA, WV. Where are you from? Is your state missing? Do you want a Christmas card?

So, do you have any driving pet peeves? Work pet peeves? Do you write Christmas cards to more that 24 states? Lets hear it.


Coffee-Pot Cookin'

I thought I was the only one that did this until I was talking with a co-worker about nifty ways to have coffee while you hike and camp. He mentioned an article he read about “100 things you can make with a coffee maker” (I googled it, but didn’t find anything). Then I told him (a bit hesitantly, I mean, how old am I?) that sometimes I make top ramen in my hotel coffee maker. He counter-responded with this website about “How to Cook Food in a Hotel Room”. Then I told him about this article I had just read about a guy who got laid off a year ago and has been living on his hotel points.

I guess what I am trying to say is….maybe all this traveling for work isn’t so bad after all. First, you cook eggs on your iron in your hotel, therefore gaining valuable hotel points. If you get laid off, you can use them to live. And you can always take these tips and use them at home once you get back on your feet.

All kidding aside, it is hard to try and save money when you are on the road. It’s hard to save money, it’s hard to eat right, and it’s hard to make time to exercise. I have eaten more Top Ramen, carrots with hummus (substitute for salad) and Lean Cuisines in the last few years than I did in the entire quarter century before that. These are not exactly the healthiest foods. However, you do what you can with a microwave and a mini-fridge, IF you are lucky enough to even have those. Otherwise, you eat coffee-pot Top Ramen.

Having said that, I am totally a point whore (excuse my mouth, Mom). If there is a promotion for extra points at a certain chain, I will go there. If it means checking in and out every couple of days, I will do that. If becoming a “frequent flyer” (Platinum, in hotel speak) means getting a free breakfast and/or happy hour, I will stay at a hotel for 75 nights so I can get a 4 dollar “free” breakfast. It may seem silly, but it pays off. I used my hotel points to fly first class to the Philippines four years ago. When I was in South America, it was a treat to stay in a nice hotel (for free) after staying in dingy hostels the rest of the time. The benefits are great, even if the getting there is hard sometimes.

I guess the bottom line is: coffee pot ramen is really not that bad.

photo: taken with my iPhone: Mama P and the Coffee Pot Ramen (May 2009)


Photos -- On the Map!

Hey, I got a couple of my flickr photos on a website with attractions in San Francisco! Deeee-lighted!

Subject: Schmap San Francisco Tenth Edition: Photo Inclusion

Date: 5th March, 2010

Hi Kyria,

I am delighted to let you know that your two submitted photos have been selected for inclusion in the newly released tenth edition of our Schmap San Francisco Guide:

Baker Beach

Fort Miley Golden Gate National Recreation Area


Adventures In Miniature

I have taken a couple of weekend trips over the last few months and I finally got some of the photos online. Here are the links below:

San Diego for a nice bike ride and some beach walking.
Massachusetts here and here. Boats and Farms oh my!
Montreal (Oh, Canada!)
Maine for some more coast, boats and lighthouses.
Home for some gardening with Mom and Dad.
Pacific Coast, CA for some gorgeous views, cliffs and the Mighty Pacific!

And I posted this below already...but I took a drive around the 9th ward and here are a few more photos of that.


Reading Is Cool

I am always looking for new books to read and I stumbled over this site - The Busy Bookworm. I am going to attempt to read her suggestions this year. (I have already read Her Fearful Symmetry, but I think the rest are new for me). I also have a book club in New Olreans that I have been to a couple of times, and usually keep up with the reading. The next few months worth of books for that are:

Shanghai Girls by Lisa See (March -- I am already late)

Nine Lives: Death and Life In New Orleans (see review in post below)

The Lost Symbol by Dan Brown

The Busy Bookworm reading list:

To Be Read:

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

Hush, Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick

Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford

The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness

The House at Riverton by Kate Morton

Her Fearful Symmetry by Audrey Niffenegger

Good Omens by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman

The Leaf by Jo-Ann M. Rodriguez

The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon

The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein

Does anyone have any thoughts or comments on any of these books? Or do you have any other suggestions of what to read? I am always looking out for a good book!
Currently Reading:


Honestly, I swear.

The idea behind this honesty scrap is that you say 10 things that your readers may not know about you. Then you tag 10 of them (the ones you like and want to know more about!) and they do the same. Jess awarded me with this one.

To be honest (ha.ha. get it?), you could probably learn MOST of these things if you read all of the below blog posts, but since there are hundreds of them, and you are all very busy people, who has time for that? I will summarize so as not to bore everyone TOO much. Also, for those of you just visiting this blog for the first time (WELCOME!), I have to apologize in advance – I used to keep it up pretty regularly. I was passionate about things; I had adventures to share. However, with the picture-taking, work, travel, working out, sleeping and most importantly, eating, I have been totally slacking! I am ashamed. Whatever. On to the honesty part.

1. I grew up in a small town in Northern California. 5000 people total. My graduating class was about 90 people. Everyone knows everyone and don’t you dare do a Chinese Fire Drill on Main Street because your mom will know in about 3.4 seconds and you will be in trouble before you even get home.

2. In High School, I was on the ski team. A) Yes, I said a ski team B) Yes, we DO get snow in California. My favorite was the GS (the long fast course). I hated doing the slalom. Before every race, I would get butterflies and the whole time going down I just wanted it to be over with. I don’t really like moguls either.

3. I am homeless. Not in the hippy-panhandling-on-the-streets-of-Berkeley kind of way. In fact, for a homeless person, I really can’t complain too much. I travel for work anywhere from 300-342 days a year and when I am not traveling for work, I don’t have a job. This means I live out of a hotel when I am traveling and I sleep in my Mom and Dad’s guestroom when I am not. I did the math and there is no use paying a mortgage when I am only home a few days a year. Thanks to Mom and Dad’s Guesthouse, I am saving money to buy my dream home. I am doing it very slowly though. That brings me to number 4.

4. I spend pretty much all my money on travel. Not the 342 days a year of work travel, but fun travel. I work to travel. Will work for vacation. And all that jazz. When I am not working and sleeping at M&D’s Guesthouse, I am staying in hostels and seeing the world. I love it. I may never buy a dream house because I am living my dream right now.

5. Right now I am working in New Orleans, and have been on and off for about four and a half years. I still don’t consider it home. My “home” is San Francisco.

6. I have one brother; he works at a winery in Sonoma County, CA. All I can say about that is: free booze. I want to say for the record that I love him very much. Just saying.

7. I am in my 30s and I still don’t know what I want to do with my life. If I could be Samantha Brown or Anthony Bordain, I think I would be pretty happy. Anything that combines eating, traveling, taking pictures and writing would be nice. Dream on, right? Until I find a job like that, I will sit in an office, gaining weight and pushing papers. Hey, it allows me to travel. I am not knocking it.

8. Random Fact: EXACTLY two years ago, I was in the EXACT place in Chile where the earthquake hit. If it happened on this day in 2008, I may have been in trouble. Interestingly enough, I was also in Thailand EXACTLY a year before the Tsunami hit the place where I had been.

9. I am hoping to go to South Africa for the World Cup. Not to actually go to any games (they are thousands of dollars a ticket) but just to be there, in the hype. And of course I want to see some lions and tigers and bears, oh my.

10. I have hiked the tallest mountain in the continental US. I was 16 and I hated it until I got to the top and realized what a cool thing I was doing. If I ever have kids, I will probably make them do it too.

Now, lets hear what are your 10 things we don’t know about you?

M. Hassan

There are many more people I would love to know more about (and some that already got this award...so I will leave them out, but love their blogs) but it is getting late and I am tired and I have not even posted my picture of the day yet! Keep up the good work people!