The Comment Challenge (July)


I signed up to participate in another challenge, this one called The Comment Challenge.  It will be running in June, July, and August this summer.  I missed sign ups for June, but signed up for July and probably will sign up for August as well.
The basic gist is that participants are paired up to read and comment on each other’s blog.  That’s it, pretty simple!  I pledge to make 5-10 comments on my partner’s blog, although I hope I can do more.  Following up on my last post, I’m hoping this is a way to make connections and make blogging feel less solitary.

The Comment Challenge is hosted by Lonna @ FLYLēF and Alicia @ A Kernel of Nonsense


While waiting for the Comment Challenge to begin in July, I plan to try to make two comments each day on blogs I read (not including responding to responses to my comments).

#humbleblog


Just want to take a moment here to point out that I have published at least one post on Panorama of the Mountains every day since December 1, 2015. As today is May 31, 2016, that means my posting streak is now at six consecutive months! In my nearly ten years of blogging, I’ve never even approached a consecutive day streak remotely approaching that long, so I want to take a moment to savor it.

In the past six months, I’ve published 306 posts (including this one). Dear lord, whatever did I have to say? I hoped posting more regularly would mean that I’d see an uptick in readers, commenters, and followers – which I have – but this is still a very lonely blog. If you like what you read here, drop me a note or share it with your friends on social media, won’t you?

According to my stats, these are the five posts from those 306 that interested the most readers:

 

Here are ten of my favorite posts  from the past six months which I think are worth reading, or re-reading, commenting, and sharing:

And then there are all 27 of my posts about Jamaica Plain for the Blogging A to Z Challenge!

 

Questions for my fellow bloggers:  How often do you publish blog  posts?  What ways have you found effective to attract more readers, and better yet, to make connections with fellow bloggers?  Have you have written anything you love and find it ignored?  I’d love to hear other bloggers’ experiences!

 

40 for the Forties


Today is my fortieth birthday. As I prepare for my next decade, here are forty things I’d like to accomplish in my forties. UPDATED on November 18, 2018.

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Me, forty years ago.

In no particular order:

  1. Become certified in First Aid and CPR √ (I couldn’t find a First Aid course that wasn’t targeted toward EMTs, but I am recently CPR certified)
  2. Donate blood 6 times (the maximum) per year (so far so good)
  3. Visit Yellowstone National Park  and/or Grand Canyon with my family (hoping to pull this off in the next few years)
  4. Travel to at least 5 states I’ve never been to before (none so far, but completing #3 would help)
  5. Attend games at least 5 MLB ballparks I’ve never been to before (1 down, 4 to go)
  6. Visit two foreign countries I’ve never been to before (Ha! Seeming increasingly unlikely)
  7. Write a book (perhaps even try to get it published)
  8. Participate in Walk for Hunger  and/or Bikes Not Bombs Bike-A-Thon every year (Bikes Not Bombs Bike-A-Thon is annual tradition)
  9. Audition (and hopefully perform) for the Revels again (Not sure if I want to do this anymore)
  10. Enter (and hopefully win) USS Constitution turnaround lottery (This wasn’t available while the Constitution was undergoing renovation & I’m not sure if they’re doing it all now)
  11. Ride in an open-cockpit biplane and/or a hot air balloon (someone needs to make this happen)
  12. Take up birding (I got a bird app, not much else progress)
  13. Read a classic Russian novel (Maybe next year)
  14. Try singing with a barbershop quartet
  15. Participate in an atlas-based road rally √ (I did this, had a lot of fun, and got a terrible score)
  16. Perform karaoke (who wants to take me out)
  17. Take a martial arts class (scheduling difficulties are a major barrier)
  18. Paddle on the Charles River (more like a doggy paddle)
  19. Play croquet in strange places (not sure what I was thinking of with this one)
  20. Volunteer with Bikes Not Bombs and/or Boston Bicyclists Union (still something I could do)
  21. Try rock climbing √ (tried a climbing wall, did NOT enjoy it)
  22. Visit the Great Dismal Swamp (driven past, stopped at the visitors center/rest area, does that count)
  23. Write in my journal more regularly √ (I have and I haven’t)
  24. Climb to the highest points in each of the New England states and complete hiking up all the 4000 footers in New England (increasingly unlikely to happen)
  25. Serve in a ministry in our church community √    
  26. Walk inside the Mapparium √
  27. Take the tour at the Sam Adams Brewery √
  28. Become a patron of the arts by getting a subscription to a symphony, dance, or theatre series (I have been to more performances that in my 30s, but far from being a regular)
  29. Through hike the AT (maybe when I retire?)
  30. See the reenactment on Lexington Green on Patriots Day (after 20 years in the Boston year, it’s time to make it happen)
  31. Go to a drive-in movie for the first time (still waiting)
  32. Take kids to the  balloon parade in Stamford, CT (no, but we’ve been to the  Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in NYC twice!)
  33. Complete my Around the World for a Good Book project (still a long way to go)
  34. Build a new playhouse for the kids in the backyard (got overruled)
  35. Take a storytelling class and perform a story to a live audience (going to try an online course soon)
  36. Attend 2015 Women’s World Cup in Canada (proved to be logistically challenging, so we watched it on tv)
  37. Visit maritime Canada (not sure this will happen in the near future)
  38. Play curling (there should be more urban curling opportunities)
  39. Visit Susan’s Michigan (someday)
  40. Get an SLR camera and learn how to take photos √ (yes, much fun!)

If you have any suggestions for anything else I should try, let me know in the comments.

30 For The Thirties


Today is the last day of my thirties, so I thought I’d look back at thirty accomplishments and memorable events of the last decade.

The Most Important Things:

1. Married my wife Susan in 2005 with a lovely reception on a Boston Harbor Island.
2. The birth of my son Peter in 2007.
3. The birth of my daughter Kay in 2011.
4. Moved to Jamaica Plain in 2007 (and became homeowners!).

Professional:

5. Earned masters degree in Library & Information Science from Simmons College (2005)
6. Participated with my union as part of team in contract negotiation (2007)
7. Started a new position at my library in records management and archives (2008)
8. Promoted to a professional library position as Processing Archivist (2011)

Singing:

9. Participated in choral singing for the first time in my church’s Advent-Christmas concert (2005, & again in 2007)
10 . Took voice instruction courses (2006)
11. Performed in the Christmas Revels (2009)
12. Sang with my family in the SingPositive, JP band and chorus (2012-2013)
13. Helped bring Beck’s Song Reader to life as part of a 50 voice chorus (2013)

Sports:

14. Hiked to the summit of several tall mountains in New Hampshire and Vermont including: Washington (2004), Adams (2005), Monroe (2004), Madison (2005), Eisenhower (2004), Carrigain (2006), Osceola (2006), Pierce (2004), East Peak Osceola (2004), Cannon (2004), Camel’s Hump (2004), Hale (2004), Tecumseh (2006), Sandwich (2005), and NE Peak Cannonballs (2004)
15. Played on an adult kickball team (2004-2005)
16. Witnessed the Red Sox first World Series victory in 86 years (2004) and then two more (2007, 2013)
17. Shared my love of biking with my children through regular bike commuting and events like Hub on Wheels and the Bikes Not Bombs Bike-A-Thon (2010-2013)
18. Coached my son’s childrens’ soccer team (2011)
19. Introduced Peter to the love of baseball and attended numerous games over the past three seasons (2011-2013)

Travel:

20. Visited Chicago and saw games at Wrigley Field and Comiskey Park (2004)
21. Acted as a sight guide for my good friend Anthony on a holiday to Cambridge, Oxford, and London in England (2004)
22. Honeymooned in Venice and the Dolomites Alps (2005)
23. Traveled to Milwaukee exploring museums, the library, Miller Field, and drinking lots of beer … not to mention winning a bet on a sausage race (2006)
24. Made a car-free journey to Southern California with side trip to Tijuana, visiting San Diego and Los Angeles, exploring museums and architecture, and taking in games at Petco Field and Dodger Stadium (2007)
25. Won a traveling fellowship to explore Amsterdam on foot with my wife and son (2010)
26. Experienced the joy of family camp in New Hampshire (2013)

Other things I can’t find a category for:

27. Started a blog (2006) and still write in it fairly regularly (I also have a bike commuter blog and a Tumblr blog).
28. Created lists of my favorite books of all time, my favorite albums of all time, and cataloged every book I’ve ever read
29. Researched and wrote manuals for two Boston By Foot Walking Tours Avenue of the Arts (2010) and Davis Square (2011), not to mention serving as co-chair of the Tour of the Month committee (2006-2007),  and leading several great tours such as Waterfront, Charles River BasinLittle Feet, and South End.
30. Found a new spiritual home at Hope Central Church (2013). 

There are things I’m proud of that I know I’m leaving off the list, and probably some things of great importance I’m sure I’ve forgotten.  Oh well, that’ what the comments are for.

To a great decade gone by, and another that is to come!

Happy New Year


Welcome to Two Thousand Thirteen!  Here’s hoping that this year brings peace and prosperity to all those reading this post and greater understanding and civility among people in our nation and world.

I thought I’d write down some goals (not resolutions) for the coming year:

Write – I always wish to write more and will endeavor to do so.  This includes writing on this blog, in my journal and hand-writing correspondence to friends.

Bike – When the weather warms up, I plan to resume riding my bike regularly for commuting and errands, including dropping off my daughter at child care.  I also plan to write more on my neglected Bike Commuter blog, participate in longer community rides, and teach my son to ride his pedal bike.

Sleep health – I will work on getting to bed earlier, getting better sleep, and waking up refreshed at a  consistent time (and getting to work on time).

Faith – I am going to resume regularly attending church services starting by seeking out a new faith community.  I hope to build on this with more time spent doing volunteer work and social justice.

Sing – I’d like to build on the success of 2012 participating with SingPositive, JP by singing in more choral settings, perhaps with other groups.

Six Years


Today marks six years since I made my first post on this blog.  I feel like I came late to blogging, yet here I am still plugging away long after the blogging trend has past.  Somehow in that time I managed to make 1,393 posts.

And yet I feel bittersweet about this anniversary as I hoped to do so much more with this blog.  I’ve not been very active of late, at least for the past year or so.  The list of book reviews I want to write alone is intimidating, not mention all the other things I want to write.  And that is the problem, in that I have so much I want to share on this blog, and yet I hardly ever do.  I rarely seem to have the time and when I have the time I have no energy and when I have the energy I have no inspiration.  Nevertheless, I’d like to keep going and see if I can become a more frequent, and more importantly, substantive blogger.

Knowing people are reading helps, so if you still manage to read this blog regularly, let me know what you like or what you’d like to read.  Or just say hello.  Feel free to leave a comment or contact me on my Tumblr or Twitter accounts.

And even if you have nothing to say, but you keep reading this blog, I thank you for traveling with me thus far.

New Bicycle Blog


I’ve started yet another blog, this one about bicycle commuting, aptly named Bike Commuter through the Boston Biker blog network. I’ve been thinking about starting a bicycle blog for a long time and have dragged my feet about it but with spring coming in, this is as good of a time to get started.

I don’t ride as much as I once did, but I hope to get back into more regular commuting and I intend to use this blog as a way of keeping me in check.  I also feel that my many years of experience as a bicycle commuter could be helpful to others.  Boston feels like a scary place to ride a bike, but I’ve found my experience riding in the city Here’s what you may expect to read on the Bike Commuter blog:

  • Ride Log – stories about my experiences biking in and around Boston.
  • Tips –  suggestions for how to make your ride in the city safe and enjoyable.
  • Advocacy – political action to support bicyclists and bicycle facilities (I may sometimes venture into overlapping issues related to walking, public transportation, and urban planning).

Things you won’t see on this blog:

  • Athletic pursuits – if you’re into bike racing, endurance rides, and/or mountain biking, I salute you, but you’re probably not going to find anything you’re interested in.  This blog is more geared to the everyday person who uses a bike to get around.
  • Rampant consumerism – much of what is on the internet about bicycling is geared toward convincing you that you need to spend money on the right bike, the right accessories, and the right clothing if you want to be serious about riding a bike.  This blog is here to convince you to get a bike that works, put on it what you need, wear what you have on and get on the road.

If you’re interested in bicycling or just like to read things that I write, subscribe to the feed at http://bikecommuter.bostonbiker.org/feed/.

 

Boston & Me: 30 Years Together


This week marks yet another anniversary in which the number of years being marked is increasingly baffling.  30 years ago on Easter weekend my father took my sister and I for my first visit to the city of Boston (Easter was on April 6th that year so let’s just say we arrived on April 5th).

Here’s what I can remember:

  • Our first day there it rained.  A lot.  I have a specific memory of walking past the Boston Massacre marker while being pelted by sheets of rain and wind.
  • Easter Sunday, however, was beautiful and sunny.  We walked around Boston Common and the Public Garden in our Sunday best.
  • It really annoyed our Dad that we insisted on walking toe-to-toe along the red paint of the Freedom Trail.  As a dad myself now I can understand how frustrating it is when the little ones dawdle.
  • I really enjoyed visiting historic sites like the USS Constitution and Bunker Hill.  From that point on I loved to read about history and visit historical sites whenever possible.
  • I’m pretty sure we went to the Childrens Museum too.  It was a busy weekend.  This was back when the Childrens Museum had the giant’s desktop and grandma’s attic.  I miss those exhibits.
  • It’s really eerie to think that this weekend really set the course for my future careers in museums and libraries as well as moving to Boston.
Me aboard the USS Constitution in April 1980.

Previously:

Ten Years @ The Library


Ten years ago today I began work at Baker Library at Harvard Business School, my first library job.  Ten years later I still work in the same building albeit I have had three different jobs (officially), survived a two-year renovation working in a windowless warehouse-like interim building, and find myself 21 out 53 staff members in seniority.  I’ve worked in 8 different offices and may be the only person to have office space on all four floors of the library building.

Here’s my progression of work:

…I started as an Access Coordinator, a position that involved both the grunt work of checking ID’s and bags but also a good introduction to  ready reference and bibliographic instruction.

…After a year & a half I moved into the Interlibrary Loan/Document Deliver office and learned the wonders of OCLC Passport and making lots and lots of photocopies.  I still worked a lot of hours on the desk  providing access and ready reference.  And I worked on Saturdays supervising the casual staff.  The Tue-Sat schedule helped with library school internships albeit it made life exhausting.

…In the summer of 2003, the library was closed for renovation and ILL was folded into something Article and Book Delivery Unit which provided access to print resources stored offsite.  My new digs were in a musty warehouse that also housed the university police rifle range and a kiln for the ceramics club.  My desk time was curtailed significantly and I spent many hours anonymously hidden in the stacks pulling books and journals.  Fun times.

…Moving into the renovated library in 2005, I resumed ILL/DocDel work and public service desk shifts but added more reference activities as a liaison to the reference team.  This included verifying citations for the faculty research division, creating a reference interview training program for my Access colleagues, and responding to email reference questions.

…In the summer of 2008, I made biggest job change yet joining the Information Lifecycle Management team taking care of the school records storage programs and working in the metadata and taxonomy team.

…Just over a year ago after the departure of the Information Lifecycle Manager and some budget considerations ILM was merged into the Archives.  I began reporting to the Archivist and taking on many new archival responsibilities including reference and processing.

I’ve been fortunate in that whatever my official job duties I’ve had the opportunities to learn new things.  While working full time I went to library school at Simmons College greatly eased by tuition assistance and release time.  Following a somewhat circuitous route I’ve found myself working in archives which is where I was interested in going from my earliest days in the field.

Previously:

At last, a 935th Post


Sure, blogiversaries are so uncool, but blogging itself is uncool these days too.  So let me uncooly celebrate the third anniversary of Panorama of the Mountains with a look back on the past year.

Three big projects of which I’m proud of are my Top 100 Favorite Books of All-Time, Top 100 Favorite Albums of All-Time, and my week long tribute to Sesame Street‘s 40th Anniversary, not to mention my ever growing Beer List.  Even reading a book turned into a big project, with that book of course being James Joyce’s Ulysses.

Here are ten more posts I’m proud to have authored.  The number in parentheses is the number of views for each.  Not a lot of people have looked at these posts, so give them some love:

Here’s to another good year – or an even better year – of blogging.

Previously: