What I’m Doing on My Summer Vacation*

Mt. Rainier Over Harbor Island
Mt. Rainier, Harbor Island Cranes, from the Bainbridge Ferry. Photo by Mr. NEV.

I was quoted, briefly, in this New York Times article about travel blogging.  It won’t surprise you to learn that I’m critical of an increase in junk content. I would feel vaguely short changed by the fact that I got so little ink, but the ink I did get really cuts to the chase on how I feel about where things are right now.

I’ll bet there’s some kind of “early adopter disillusionment syndrome” that can be tracked through the history of media as each format shifts from being a tool for creatives to a platform for marketers. And I’ll bet I’m a text book case of that. If anyone can point me to the next experimental media platform for narrative, I’d be grateful for that. It might be time for me to get serious about Creativist.


Melanie Renzulli, who was my colleague at Gadling, thought it worth her while to ask me what kind of stuff I put in my head. She’s doing a series of media diet posts (more like a media binge, in my case). Mine is here.

Speaking of Gadling… it’s undergoing some changes right now — I was trying to redefine my role when my editor was let go. I trust the new editor implicitly — he was one of my editors at World Hum — but I’m not a regular contributor to the site anymore. I’m currently waiting to see how this whole thing plays out.


A huge “Mahalo!” to all my Hawaii based friends for their help with my Hawaii for Nerds piece on Lonely Planet. This was a really fun piece to write and it’s always nice to have an excuse to connect with the kama’aina.

I lost my editor at Lonely Planet — he changed jobs before the big layoffs, but in some kind of president creating national parks like move, he assigned a chunk of work out before that happened. I have two more pieces coming out. After that, I don’t know what will happen. I have enjoyed writing for Lonely Planet tremendously and I’m very sad to hear about how hard the changes are hitting many writers and editors I have come to know and openly adore. Good luck, you guys, I hope you land new gigs where you’re appreciated for the awesome that you are.


Book Passage is coming up (August 8-11) and I’ll be there teaching Blogging 101 with Jim Benning for the third year in a row. I’m delighted that so many of my new media pals will be there this year and if I see you in my classroom, I will point you to the door and tell you to get out. Go take Farley’s memoir class, or Spud on newspaper journalism, or Larry on narrative essay. G’wan, git. Why are you still here?


Last week, I hiked about ten miles and rode about 40 on my bike. You folks mocking my electric bike are welcome to tell me how many miles you rode on your non-electric bike last week. It’s not a scooter, kids, and to quote the delightful KW who stayed in my house one summer while I was traveling, “That hill you live on top of? It’s no joke.”


The Castaways played six shows in July, six, count ’em. We have a little downtime in August, but that’s because we’re shooting our second music video. Our producer (who’s also our bass player) is mixing the tracks for the CD that we plan to release this fall. When I heard the previews… oh, I’m not supposed to raise expectations, am I? Oops. Yeah, it will be okay.

To be perfectly honest, I have good days and bad days on stage. I had a very bad day recently where I completely forgot entire chunks of a song, an easy one, even. But the following gig? Damn, that was a great set. It’s still fun, we’re still laughing, and we’re still so grateful for the kind reception we meet everywhere we play.  Oh, yeah, in case you missed it, we were on Evening Magazine. That was awesome.


It’s not possible to overstate how great the Pacific Northwest is at this time of year. We have family in town, so we went to the coast and stayed for two nights at Seabrook, a place I recommend even at high season prices. We stomped around in the rainforest, which was uncharacteristically dry though still breathtakingly gorgeous, and then we headed up to Beach Four to see what the low tide revealed. It was spectacular, there were orange and purple star fish, neon green anemones the size of dessert plates, clicking beds of mussels, stones covered in  bright ochre algae… optically a glory. And if the sun didn’t come out, well, it wasn’t cold and the wind stayed down, and I was pleased to find that the Washington Coast is still my favorite place. Maybe all that oxygen makes my brain giddy, but that landscape, oh. You should go.


Beach Four
Beach Four, Nerd, Low Tide. Photo by Mr. NEV.

*No summer vacations were taken in the writing of this round up. I’m a freelancer, people, every day is a work day. Or a vacation day. I forget.



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6 thoughts on “What I’m Doing on My Summer Vacation*

  1. Hi! Here from the NYT piece – even if your part was brief it did pique my interest! I’m transitioning into the travel industry (but consulting/sales, not writing) from publishing – LP is not the only publisher here in Melbourne to have big layoffs in the last 2 weeks, so it’s tough times in books. Looking forward to reading more 🙂

  2. You’re the eleventy-hundredth (not a word) person to mention Seabrook and I’ve never been. So now I have to go, obvs.

  3. Kindly REFRAIN from telling the rest of the world how great the Northwest is in summer! Everybody, at least here in Canada, assumes it’s grey and rainy year-round. The fact that it’s glorious and sunny here in Vancouver from July through October was our dirty little secret. Keeps the crowds down.
    PS good post eh

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