Kent, Zombies, Beards, Parasites

I woke up the next morning in my hammock. I left it set up, and emptied my backpack into it. I put Copper on the floor inside the shelter (one of the earliest lean-to-style shelters I saw, complete with deacon seat separated from the sleeping shelf by a gap to trap porcupines–Copper had come in limping the night before so I figured he’d be happier sleeping in all day and recovering), and walked my empty pack into Kent.
The first stop was breakfast: a diner called The Villager. I saw Candypants and a few others eating at Kent Coffee & Chocolate but I was finished eating by the time the other folks who’d stayed at the shelter showed up, and they ended up sitting outside.
Next, since the post office and library and shoe store weren’t yet open, I walked to the grocery store and did a preemptive resupply. Then, I stepped over to the post office and picked up my boxes and some postage. I sat on a bench, sorting through and emptying the boxes into my pack. Since my phone had not arrived from Jone, I texted her asking her to send it on to Cornwall Bridge. I carried the empty boxes with me to the shoe store, and when it wasn’t open, I sat in a chair outside the salon. It started drizzling a bit, but the proprietor brought me a glass of water for no reason. Later, I would hear about hikers complaining about Kent (especially those who visited the laundromat), but everyone I met there was just like the salon owner: super friendly.
Several other hikers were already arriving at the shoe store when I was. The solo shopkeeper came upstairs to help me and steered me toward a very comfortable pair of Merrells that would end up falling apart after only 200 miles (compare to 300 for the Keens and 700 for the old Vasques). I considered, then rejected, the idea of buying a new pair of insoles, figuring I could get my old ones shipped from home.
From there I crossed the street to the library and made a friend in the librarian there. I wanted to get some more audiobooks, and despite the Kent library being an Overdrive participant, they had not a single install of the Overdrive application on any computer, so she disabled the security system on one computer and allowed me to get an install of Overdrive halfway working on it (aka supporting mp3 downloads but not .wma’s). It took quite a while to realize it just wouldn’t be possible to update the windows media player install to make that work, so that I ended up walking to a pizza joint for lunch and a beer right in the middle of the process before heading my back to bang my head on it a bit more. Eventually, I was able to check out and download a copy of World War Z (using my Waynesboro, PA library card) and a copy of Call of the Wild (on the librarian’s card number) and a couple of Philip K Dick shorts (LibreVox). Before I left the library, I discussed Copper with the librarian and she requested to meet him, so I told her I’d bring him to town the following morning before I left. We also talked about the art set up around town, which I had taken a few minutes to take pictures of on my way back from lunch.
image

image

image

image

This Death-Star-of-sharp-metal-letters used to be on the library's front stoop, but was moved here after children got cut on it.

Outside, I stashed my boxes under one the tables they left set up for their weekend book drives, and walked back out of town to the shelter before dark. Miss Janet had parked the Bounce Box right beside the trailhead when I arrived and was taking photos with a large crowd of hikers. I didn’t know any of them but I joined in anyway. I didn’t get my own copy of the photo. (I have asked Janet for it, but I think she can’t find it.)
There was already someone else at the shelter, having just arrived that evening: a sobo named Unicorn. She was the first southbounder I actually got to chat about the trail with and the only female Afro-American thru-hiker that I met or even heard of. Also, she was super-athletic, and flying ahead of the majority of sobos. I offered her one of the beers I’d toted back and made supper, and sorted through all my received and purchased food while we chatted.
Copper, it seemed, had not moved from the shelter all day. He could barely get up to eat his supper, and limped a little bit when he walked. He was so tired, you wouldn’t guess he’d been resting all day. I hoped that whatever had gotten his leg so sore (all the slippery rocks from the previous day, I assumed) would heal up overnight. I returned to my hammock at dusk to listen to The Call of the Wild until sleep came, and was up again by eight the following morning, not having nearly as many errands.
This time I packed up completely and took Copper with me into Kent, so I didn’t get into town until almost ten. I picked up an amazing breakfast sandwich at J.P. Gifford’s and headed off to the library to get the boxes I’d stashed. Some unusually tidy person had found the boxes and apparently thrown them out, so I introduced Copper to the librarian, who, of course, threatened to keep him, before helping me find some boxes in the library’s book warehouse (where the book drive books were collected and sorted). I left Copper outside the library to stand watch (though he didn’t much care for standing) and went off to mail home some stuff I didn’t need and mail forward some food I didn’t need yet. Then there was dinner and who knows what other errands.
I picked up Copper again around 4:30 and we walked back out to the trailhead, where, exploiting the full cellphone charge I’d gotten at the library, I called home. I sat on a stile at the edge of a field for at least an hour. When it seemed like the light would go any moment, I rounded up Cop, who had wandered into the field, and led him back into the woods.
Night was falling lazily, as it always does in the summer, and we were able to get a handful of miles before dark, setting up a stealth site not far from a road and near a stream, the first stream we came to. Since I’d forgotten to fill up on town water, I had to collect some from this stream, which was so low I had to play rearrange-rock-and-tree-bark-to-make-a-sluice in order to get enough. By the time I had enough to cook, I almost couldn’t find my hammock in the dark.
The next day would be one of the most beautiful days in Connecticut. No, THE most beautiful I had in Connecticut. It started out normally enough. An hour-and-a-half or so after sunrise, I was packed up and walking, with the temperature already on the rise. I had my earphones in, getting into World War Z (an audiobook I highly recommend, featuring a full cast of readers, such as Alan Alda, Rob Reiner, and I think even Mark Hamill–it’s nothing like the movie), and my head net over my head keeping me from getting bit to pieces. It wasn’t long before we landed on River Road, a long road walk on a dirt road following the river. It was a very popular section of trail; plenty of other people were out for day hikes, despite the mosquitos. Soon after the trail left the road (still following the river), I arrived at the Stewart Hollow Shelter, where I stopped for lunch. This shelter was unique in that it had a log that had been there since 2011, which is how I learned how David Tyler’s trip had been going two years before when he stopped in Kent.
image

Another couple arrived there shortly after. I killed the audiobook to chat with them as we ate lunch together. I remember he had a shaved head with “arete” tattooed on it (the Greek word for “excellence”–he was a fan of virtue ethics). They ate and left before me. Copper and I left out a bit later, following the edge of the river.
image

When the trail finally left the river, it climbed the only major hill I would climb for the next two weeks. On the way down, I was passed by another girl whom I met when I arrived at the Cornwall Bridge road crossing. (This may have been SlyFox.) She was waiting for her parents to take her into town for a short trail vacation. Since it was already too late to make it to the post office to get my phone that evening, Copper I pushed on, crossed the creek (which despite warning signs about dangerous water levels was low enough to rock-hop) and made our way to Caesar Creek Campsite by well before nightfall. There were already a couple of other local and short distance hikers setting up there, so I hung my hammock, gave myself a generous coating of Off, and still felt too bug-pestered to cook outside of my bug net.
The next morning I only walked a mile down to the West Cornwall road crossing and tried to call Bearded Woods Hostel. I had a strong desire to get off the trail and find out what was wrong with Copper, as at this point, he was unable to stand up under his own strength, though he could still walk slowly. They said they were full that night but had some openings the following night. (It turns out the Warrior Hikers had spent a couple of nights there to the exclusion of all other guests and any sort of press, much to their delight.)
We managed to hitch a ride with an older gentleman who had been hiking with his son and dropped him off at the trailhead. My first thought was to stay at the motel in West Cornwall, and he took me into that town first. It turned out there was a package store there that gave a free beer to every hiker, so we stopped there first, and they suggested the motel might not allow dogs. So, he convinced me to stay where he’d stayed the previous night: the Toymaker Cafe in Falls Village allowed hikers to stay for free in the area at the end of the driveway.
I hung my hammock there and was still in time for lunch, so I ate. I thought Copper might like to eat as well, and since I had such a long near-o day remaining to me, I had plenty of time and energy to walk. In town, they told me how to walk to a gas station that might sell dog food (though it was about 3 miles down residential highways) as well as how to find the outdoor shower at the dam. They also informed me there would be a concert for charity that night at P.D. Walsh’s Country Store.
I plugged in my headphones to listen to the next installment of the Dresden Files audiobooks while walking (having finished World War Z and the Dick short stories the previous day). I think I was listening to Fool Moon or Grave Peril. Not important.
Anyway, I made it to the gas station in the middle of nowhere after an hour of walking, and so spent an hour there. In addition to availing myself of their restrooms, I got some snacks, some powerade, some ice for my free beer, and of course, dog food. Then I walked another hour back to town with my arms completely full.
When I got back another pair of hikers had arrived, a girl and guy hiking together, probably a couple. Three more would arrive that night, two more guys and one more girl. I had met none of them before and would see none of them again after that night for a number of good reasons.
I tied Copper up and put my free beer on ice, gathered up my toiletries and walked down to the dam for my free outdoor shower. Yes, it was wide open and right next to the road and the powerhouse, and so I had to shower in my underwear (the ones that don’t pass for swimming trunks in New York) and change behind a pickup truck parked nearby. I washed my shirt while I was there and tied it to the railing next to the river in hopes it would dry overnight. Even for all the hassle, it was worth it to be somewhat clean.
When I finished, the sun was actually starting to set, and it was starting to get vaguely cooler out. I returned to the Toymaker’s cafe to make myself some supper, opting against lowering the atmosphere of the Falls Village Inn with my hiker trash appearance, and presumably saving a lot of money in the process. It was a great opportunity to enjoy my ice cold beer.
My phone had been charging from an outlet on the side of the barn, and I had to move it inside to protect it from a short evening rain. I have no idea what the cafe was all about, but it clearly used to be a small farmhouse. It had another large toolshed beside it, which I guessed contained motorcycle parts based on the theme of the cafe. (Toymaker has something to do with motorcycles in Britain–the owners were English, and the cafe was popular among bikers. The sign had a motorcycle on it and a Toymaker sign on the shed mentioned them obliquely.)
After I’d eaten and cleaned up, and everyone else was settled in, set up, and back from the liquor store, it was about time for the concert to start. It was $5 entry and us hikers were the only ones there who were not locals. There was pizza, wine, cookies, and ice cream in the back of the store for you to serve yourself and leave a donation. Before the show started, I discovered there was a dog inside, so I ran back to get Copper, help him to his feet, and bring him to the show. He enjoyed meeting the other dog and getting food scraps, but I don’t think he much liked the loud music. During the intermission, the singer (for whom the band was named) came out to talk to us. Although some people got into it enough to get up and dance, I was content to go online and chat on my phone, sipping wine and letting the music wash over me. Here’s a video:

And here’s some photos, including the guy who got up to dance in a chicken suit:
image

image

image

Since the country store had wifi, I ended up taking Copper back to the cafe (scaring off the cafe’s resident skunk before Copper got there), then going back to start some videos uploading for this blog, and ended up leaving after the last of the musicians had loaded up and gone home, probably 1 in the morning. I wanted to leave my phone there all night, but it looked like rain again, and I needed to have it charged anyway. I went to bed, finally.
Nonetheless, I managed to get up at a reasonable hour the next day. It was nasty and cloudy and drizzly. I took. My phone back to the store and let it continue uploading videos while I packed up, and then I stuck Harry Dresden in my ears, helped Copper to his feet, and walked out.
I was the only person going south, which is the first reason I never saw those other hikers again. I captured a few images of the town that misty morning as we made our escape.

image

The country store and the church-that-became-a-used-bookstore-and-seems-to-be-abandoned-now

image

The powerhouse where the shower is

image

The shower

image

They were all heading on North. The trail started out walking along the Housatonic River through a beautiful forest park, then went over a bump of a hill where I passed a couple of people, including one girl I would meet again that night. There was a roadwalk, a climb over a bigger hill, and then another roadwalk across another small river before we entered a forest that would last a few miles.
image

Around 1pm, I stopped into a campsite to fetch some water, and met the worst mosquito resistance I can remember encountering. Just a few meters beyond that miserable water source, I met a large group of young boys aged up to 14 years enrolled in Connecticut’s wilderness program for adventurous and/or troubled inner city youth. It was their second day out on their longest contiguous hike, and the rules were being strictly enforced. No wonder, since many of those boys had been enrolled in the program by court sentence. But they all wanted to meet Copper and talk to me about hiking. I sat on the rock outcropping they had occupied and ate lunch with them, trying not to take any control from the leaders but nonetheless interested to hear about them. I remember vividly one young boy who refused to eat at all rather than touch a single tuna fish sandwich. I must admit, I would have been happy to trade some peanut butter mini bagels for the sandwich if he asked, but he never did, and he who doth not ask doth not receive.
From there I called Bearded Woods again, and learned that they would not be able to take guests until 5pm (because Hudson had slackpacked the Warrior Hikers through the Taconics and had to drive them quite a ways to their progress point before he could pick me up, though again, that fact wasn’t mentioned at the time). Since it was only a couple of miles away, it would mean waiting quite a bit. I didn’t mind. I was running on a sleep deficit anyway.
So, we walked quickly to Pine Swamp Brook Shelter and I hung my hammock in one of the campsites. I took a nap until 4:00pm, and was packing up when one of the leaders of the boy’s group came to ask if they could use the group site. I told them I was on my way out anyway, and we walked right past them. It had taken them almost 2 hours to go the 1.5 miles to the shelter, and they were stopping several miles short of their (already lowered) ten mile goal for the day. I guess organizing that many boys is like herding tortoises.
I called to check my ride and Hudson said he’d be there at the road nearly as quickly as I was. I think I waited less than five minutes when he arrived, help me load up the dog and my gear, and handed me a Sprite.
A small word about the Bearded Woods: It’s a brand new hostel, just two seasons old, hand-remodeled from an old residence and farm property just under the Taconic range. For $50/night you get rides to and from the trail, family-style breakfast, family-style dinner, laundry done for you, shower, and a bunk room area unmatched in style and cleanliness outside the White Mountains. As far as “what hikers really want in a hostel” it is the best joint on the trail. And what’s more, they only allow six people to stay on any given night. Even though they have more bunk space than that, they don’t have more space at the dinner table and they like to talk to and get to know every guest over dinner.
I was there for 3 nights. I got to meet a lot of guests too. After about an hour for showering and moving in and feeding Copper (including extra treats from Big LU) and handing off my clothes. By the time it was time for supper, Beer Goddess had arrived (the girl I’d passed that morning). We were the only ones there that night. Supper was spaghetti.
Over dinner, I heard a lot about the Warrior Hikers, but I also found out that Hudson was, in real life, the very Pat Young that I’d heard about in Putnam Valley, where he used to live. He asked me how his ex-girlfriend was doing, and told me that growing up there near the trail was what inspired him first to hike and then to open what he perceived to be the ideal hostel based on what he learned from hikers coming into his town. “I always knew it was hiking season when the beards came out of the woods.” We discussed the relative merits and downsides of various hostels further south. We made a plan for the next day, to include things like taking Copper to the vet early and picking up my new phone from the Cornwall Bridge post office and going to Great Barrington, MA to get my old phone backed up to the new one.
So, the next morning, after breakfast, Beer Goddess went back to Salisbury and the trail, and I went to a new vet in Sharon. It was rather fortunate they were able to squeeze me in, and I didn’t have to wait long for Copper to get his examination. She indicated he was showing surprisingly stereotypical symptoms of Lyme Disease in a way she hadn’t seen in a while. She gave him a penicillin shot and gave me a few amoxicillin to start treatment until she could get lab results back. The cost of the whole visit was (astoundingly) only around $20!
When the appointment ended, Hudson picked me up again and took me to the post office in Cornwall Bridge, which had just closed for the day. Luckily, someone was there and was nice enough to let me sign out my package in the absence of the postmaster. Post offices in trail towns are so friendly and lenient! And so I finally got the phone I’m writing this on at the moment. So, I needed to transfer my files to the new one. We returned to the hostel then to drop off Copper, and I decided to take a few last pictures with my phone before we went to the store to have it cloned. So here’s what the Young’s two-year labor of love has rendered:

image

Sitting room

image

Entertainment center

image

Bunks

image

Display case of found bones over the staircase

image

View from the hostel

image

The house itself

As soon as Hudson was free again, we drove to Great Barrington and the Verizon Store there. They said they could copy all my files from my old phone to my new one, so I left both with them and we went out to a little sandwich joint Hudson knew for lunch (Great Barrington Bagel and Deli, I think). It was tasty, and we tried to talk some, but Hudson is super-nice, but nowhere near as socially adept as his wife. He seems to be lost in thought frequently, just sitting and saying nothing, answering in few words. Then again, at other times he’s very chatty and bubbly. For this meal, we mostly ate quickly and silently. I think he had all the chores he needed to do at the hostel on his mind.
Back at the Verizon Store, I was told the transfer would take all night, so we decided that the following day, we’d do the same rounds again: the vet for Copper’s results and the Verizon Store to pick up the phones. We picked up some more guests on the way back to the hostel: Redtail and his dad, Grey Wolf. Number Two and Trooper (southbounding girl friends, and possibly girlfriends, though I didn’t ask) were there that night for the first night of two.
I don’t remember what we ate for dinner, but I remember there being some hard to answer questions for everyone, plus some repeats of the previous night’s discussions. Afterward, we watched “Flip Flop Flippin’ 1&2” downstairs as well as the full version of Hudson’s “mountain lion in the bed of my truck” video which appeared as a brief clip in that movie. Also appearing in that film was Animal discussing his bucket, the same one I saw him carrying south from Woods Hole.
I have thus far neglected to mention the House Rule which said Copper was required to sleep on a blanket on the floor next to my bunk, rather than outside, despite how warm it was then, even at night. I’m not sure he wouldn’t have been happier not having to stand up and walk downstairs, but on the other hand, he’d definitely gotten into the habit of sleeping next to me.
Well, I wasn’t going to be able to get Copper’s results until early afternoon the next day, so after breakfast, I left out for a slackpack from Salisbury, where Redtail and Grey Wolf were also leaving from. I was southbounding just a handful of easy miles back to Falls Village while Copper waited back at the hostel. Hudson assured me there was literally zero chance I wouldn’t make it well in time to make it to the vet before they closed. He was right. The trail had maybe one hill, and there was a surprising number of people out walking it. The most interesting features on that section were the Giant’s Thumb formation, and the falls outside of Falls Village. The bridge over the river at Falls Village was made more exciting by graffiti referencing Lord of the Rings on the barricades. Since my phone was at the store, I couldn’t take pictures of these things, so I’ve taken the trouble to find a picture of the Giant’s Thumb on the Internet that I am using here without license or permission. (It was posted on Trailjournals, but I couldn’t find out by whom.)
image

I also shamely stole this picture of the Falls Village bridge from Candypants. (Candypants and Noodle are the two girls standing close together in the middle, and I’m guessing the girl on the right is Aviator, but I’m not sure who those guys are.)
image

Trooper and Number Two were also out slackpacking, from the West Cornwall crossing northbound to Salisbury in order to get another night at the hostel, and I passed them at the falls shortly before calling for my pickup in Falls Village.  A few minutes wait and I was back in the truck heading back to Sharon to the vet. We arrived just as they were about to go home for the day. The test came back positive for both Lyme and Anaplasmosis, so I received a small supply of Doxicyclin from their waning reserves and a bag of Greenies Pill Pockets. The treatment plan was: a month’s worth of pills, breakfast and dinner everyday. And I’d have to find a reasonably-priced way of filling the rest of the prescription. (A Walgreen’s coupon found online eventually did the trick.) All-in-all, the financial damage done was not too dramatic, but the deer tick nymph still comes out seeming a little overpowered given its size. Someone forgot to playtest this “life” game I think.
With pills, pockets, and printouts in hand, I got back in the truck and we headed out to Great Barrington again. The Verizon store had finished with the transfer, and it would cost $20, which is many more than they had originally told me. However, I was in need of some new headphones, and they said if I bought the $40 ($60?) water-resistant fitness headphones, they’d waive the cost of the transfer. So I did that. On the way back to the hostel, I checked the phone and discovered that only my pictures and videos had been transferred. No other files were transferred, including the application data I had specifically asked for. I’m pretty sure that’s when I downloaded the rsync app so I could do myself what I had just paid the salesmen at the store to fail to do for me. (Note to future AT hikers: avoid the Verizon Store at Great Barrington.)
That night, dinner was burgers, since it was only Trooper, Number Two, and me. Even still, there was burger left over for Copper when I left the next day.
image

image

Trooper and Number Two and me and Big Lu

image

Hudson (Pat Young)

I also got to have a wonderfully terrifying confrontation with Trooper after dinner that night. You see, she is a sylphlike spritely thing with a cute narrow face, and she got super-excited about the burgers. She said that whenever she came into town, she just wanted meat. Considering that most girls I’ve known of her stature have been vegetarian or vegan, I had this hilarious (to me) mental image of her walking into a restaurant with a club in one hand, demanding a pile of ten hamburgers sans buns and grunting “NEED MEAT.” I joked that “I need meat,” was especially funny coming from her, but I dropped it as soon as I realized the joke was falling flat, and would require someone to be in my particular mental state to find it all funny.
After dinner, she confronted me in the sitting room with the most doom-summoning malocchio I have ever witnessed and demanded that I explain what I meant. Of course, I was left a quivering, stuttering little pile of jelly as it became clear she had interpreted that failed joke as some kind of sexual joke. I still have no idea whether she believed me when I told her I was thinking nothing of the sort, but despite my good intentions, I was the one emotionally traumatized by an overwhelmingly crushing sense of guilt that affected me for weeks afterward.
Nonetheless, I had plans to make. Seeing as how Copper was in no state to continue the journey, I needed to get off trail for a while. I arranged a ride into Boston with a friend living there in exchange for supper at Great Barrington’s Indian restaurant, and a room for Copper and I with an old high school friend Vicki. Hudson could take me to Great Barrington in the morning, and I’d spend the day waiting there for Nessie and friends to come pick me up. Things finally started to fall into place that night and it looked like we’d be okay.
The next morning, when Hudson returned from dropping off Trooper and Number Two in Salisbury, I grabbed my pack and a leftover burger for Copper to have for lunch, and we loaded up the truck. I was dropped outside a cafe so I could plug in, connect, and do some blogging while I waited. Copper sat tied to a tree outside, and despite the bowl of water I left for him, another bowl soon arrived just opposite him. That’s just the way people in Western Mass feel about dogs. I split the first few hours between inside using the phone and outside eating and watching Copper.
Eventually, the sun got so high, there was no shade on that side of the street, so I got a tip from a local about the nearby public-use Lake Mansfield. It was about a mile of walking, under the railroad tracks and then through a bunch of neighborhoods, but Copper, I think, was quite grateful for the chance to take a dip. He climbed under a bush afterward and laid in the shade while I finalized plans for the evening and listened to some Dresden Files.
After that, we walked back into town, meeting several people at home on the way, including one woman who absolutely had to give Copper a treat. Of course, he didn’t complain. I tied him up in front of the theater and went across the street to Subway for a small lunch and a bathroom break. When I got back twenty minutes later, the clothing store employee had left him yet another bowl of water. He didn’t drink much of it, having drunk down a significant portion of the lake while he was wading. I took the opportunity to feed him his burger.
Then it was time to start slowly making our way towards Aroma Bar & Grill, the indian joint, to get a booth. I tied Copper up to a tree at the back of the parking lot behind a dumpster and a minivan and some kid’s toys (since it seemed the family lived above the restaurant), on a hill overlooking the river. I got drinks and a table and put in an order to be delivered when the others arrived.
Nessie and Virginia arrived around 30 minutes later, having parked in the middle of town and walked rather than locating the restaurant and using its parking lot. We had a nice dinner with two huge sampler plates of nearly everything the place had to offer, followed up with rice pudding and mango lhasi. After I paid for the meal, I untied Copper and we walked past the castle (yes, Great Barrington actually has a castle) and back to her car for the trip into Boston. We listened to some music on the way and talked about all manner of things, because it was over an hour on the Mass Pike. It was well after dark when she dropped me at Vicki’s house in Newton for my week-long vacation from the trail and Copper’s opportunity to rest and recuperate.

Note: Judging by the nearly two months it’s been since my last post, it looks like I’ve abandoned this blog right? Not so. It is true that there were other projects I wanted to dedicate far more time to when I got home, projects which I had no idea I’d become so engrossed in. It’s amazing how much time I sank into frivolous intellectual pursuits, primarily because getting into really good shape and spending months of days in the woods with little to burden me and my mind free to wander made me really quite lucid and focused and attentive. A couple of months of sitting and exercising only sparingly has returned my mind to its pre-hike multi-track hamster-wheel state, which means I can peel myself away from projects more easily. Once upon a time, I saw this ability as a fatal flaw, resulting in my rarely seeing anything to completion, but the great thinkers of the first world have seen my weaknesses and decided to head them off at the pass with an offering of technology.
In order that this story be completed, I have committed myself to a firm goal of six hours spent on this blog per week. As it takes at most six hours to write up seven days of my trip and insert the relevant photos and videos, you can expect to see the remainder of my trip unfold “in real time”: one post per week, one week per post.
“Ha! You’ve said stuff like this before, and look how little progress you’ve made in the last two months!” I can hear you saying now. Yes, it’s true. But those weren’t commitments, just guesses at future mental states. I wasn’t committed. “Committed, huh? Some kind of New Year’s Resolution?” It’s not just a resolution, it’s a system, and I decided to set it up before Christmas. Here’s how it works: I’ve set up a goal on Beeminder to blog six hours a week. If I fail to stay on track, it will freeze my graph and I have to put in a credit card. If I fall off again, it charges me $5 and restarts me automatically at a $10 pledge. Fail again, and I pay that and reset at $30. And so on. So, if I don’t want to go broke, I have to blog. In addition, I’ve set up a task in Tasker to automatically start a timer in the Beeminder app whenever I start using the WordPress app, and submit the data when I leave the app. It’s not a perfect solution, but a bit of automation does grease the wheels of productivity. (Yes, I’m still blogging on my phone. Despite the tiny keyboard, it still ends up being easier, since (a) all my photos are on here already and (b) I can piece together my six hours a week during free moments no matter where I am: at a restaurant, at work, in the bathroom, on top of Stone Mountain, and, you know, wherever else I tend to find myself waiting for a few minutes at a time.) Hopefully, I’ll soon figure out how to embed the beeminder widget in the sidebar so you can see what progress I’m making in any given week. I’ll stop here before I go completely off the nerd deep end. See you back here next week, I hope!

3 thoughts on “Kent, Zombies, Beards, Parasites

  1. Renea Woodard

    Hey Blast. Excited to read the journal. Thought you might enjoy following Hudson on trailjournals. He has already started his thru-hike of 2014. BIG Lu is supporting him at the moment. Not sure how far she will go. Anyway, it’s always enjoyable to follow someone you know, plus you might find a weekend to hike along before he gets too far.

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

CommentLuv badge