Saturday, October 27, 2007

A Request

If you subscribe to any magazines that you discard after you've read them, would you mind saving them for me? One thing you hear over and over as an aspiring freelance writer is that you need to be familiar with your intended market and that the best way to do this is to read the magazine. Well, folks, that gets expensive. I subscribe to the magazines that are at the top of my "I wish I could get published here" list, but there are a ton of magazines out there, and I just can't afford to get them all...even just to buy an issue of each from the newsstand would be a little much. And while I'm most interested in travel writing, there's room in almost nearly every magazine for some type of travel piece.

I'm only trying to acquire one issue of each magazine, preferably a recent issue considering how often magazines change their styles, so I'm not asking that you save them all for me, but if you could set aside one issue, I'd be most appreciative. I'm also particularly interested in regional magazines, as those don't even show up on my newsstands, but seem like they could be potentially good markets. If I'll be seeing you over the holidays, you can just hang on to them until then and I'll haul them back with me. Otherwise, if you don't mind, you can mail them to me (you may even be able to mail them via Media Mail, which is pretty cheap). I'll be most grateful.

I'm pretty much interested in anything you can come up with, but if you're not sure, you can leave a comment, and I'll let you know. Thanks!

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

New Article Published

Last Sunday, the Frederick News-Post ran an article I wrote on the Lake Champlain Islands. You can read the article on my Web site or on the Frederick News-Post Web site.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Glory Hallelujah, The Sun Does Shine on Seattle

This past weekend, Jeff and I went out to Bainbridge Island for the wedding of our friends Britt and John. It was a lovely wedding and reception, and we had a fabulous time.

There was one thing about it that was extra amazing: the weather was beautiful. Seriously, blue skies and sunshine (once some crazy, cool fog lifted in the early afternoon) .

You couldn't have asked for a more perfect day anywhere, and this was in the Seattle area.

In six years of travels to the Seattle area, I have never had good weather (except for some sunshine on a side trip to Mt. Rainier, but I believe even then it was raining in Seattle proper). Regardless of when I go, whether it's July and August (which are just gorgeous according to Seattleites) or February or November (when you might except things not to be all that great), the weather is always the same: grey, cold, rainy. No exceptions.

On this trip, however, I got not just one sunny and nice day, but three. I didn't see a drop of rain or a grey sky. It was miraculous. So we took advantage and spent Friday wandering around downtown Seattle. We made two fun discoveries: the Globe bookstore, which sells all kinds of fabulous old books plus some nifty baseball postcards drawn by a local artist, and the Chocolate Box, where I had a Venezuelan sipping chocolate, which is pretty much a really intense chocolate bar in melted form.

We walked up and down First Avenue, which you could fill a whole day exploring. Lots of great shops. Too bad it's usually too soggy to enjoy a stroll. On Sunday (the wedding was Saturday and pretty much filled that day), we checked out a handful of Bainbridge Island parks. The leaves were changing up there but still primarily on the trees, so it was really pretty. Unfortunately, we forgot to take our camera so we didn't get any photos. I'm kicking myself for not taking it with us to the parks as I don't think I'll ever see such a lovely Seattle day again.

But, here we are at Britt's wedding, enjoying the fabulous day. Our friend Chris was playing photographer.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Stairmastering it at Shenandoah

Even though temperatures on this "fall" weekend were hovering up near ninety, Jeff and I decided to head down to Shenandoah for a hike. With the elevation there, it's usually cooler, and this was true yesterday, as the temperatures were closer to 80. We've done a fair bit of hiking in Shenandoah and wanted to do a new trail, so we stopped in at the visitor center to get a recommendation from a ranger.

We ended up 19 miles down Skyline Drive on a hike to Little Devils Stairs. We were doing the circuit route from the parking lot, with the total miles to be hiked at 7.7. About 5 of those miles are along a fire road, so the trail is wide and there aren't too many steep changes in grade. It was kind of like walking down a country road.

For the most part, the trees were still green, although off on the hillside you could see a few trees beginning to change.

And even though the trees weren't bursting with color, there were plenty of colorful and interesting plants to enjoy.

The other 2.5 miles or so of the hike were much more strenuous, pretty much a rock scramble down into a canyon and then back out. The trail crossed over streams (although the current drought conditions left most of them dry or just barely trickling) and up cliff faces. It was quite a lot of fun, although also hard work. And it was very, very humid down in the canyon, not at all cool like it was up on the fire road. In total, the hike took us 3.5 hours and was a very good work-out. I'd be lying if I said we didn't feel it today.

Towards the end of the hike, we saw something neither of us had ever seen before and felt duty-bound to document it for all of you.

That's right, stick-bug sex. Bet you've never seen that before, now have you?

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Lives of Wander: The Blog

In preparation for the big round the world trip Jeff and I plan to go on, departure date summer 2008, we have created a blog. We're going to use the blog as a means of documenting our trip and staying in touch with friends and family. So why start it now, you ask? Well, we also want to use the blog as a means of recording our pre-trip planning, thoughts, hopes, goals, etc. In many ways, this trip is bigger than a year. It already consumes a good part of our least as far as thinking and planning and dreaming go. We've made a few posts and plan to continue through the planning and the doing. We'll see where it goes after that.

We're rolling it out slowly, introducing it first to you, my loyal Spargel readers. We have high hopes that it will grow though, so please don't be shy about sharing it with friends or linking to it on your blog. In a way, we're hoping the blog will become a conversation...not just us talking at you. So please, leave comments, start a dialogue, check in often. (I'm talking to you lurkers too. I know about you people who read Spargel but don't comment. Don't try to hide.)

So without further ado, may I present Lives of Wander.

The Big Ask

Today on the way to work, I passed a panhandler. I pass many of them every day so there's nothing unusual about this. But instead of asking in a mumble if I had any change, he very clearly and boldly asked if I had $5 I could spare.

Go big or go home, right?