New York Adventure 2012

The pin is our location--Ithaca, NY.

The pin is our location–Ithaca, NY.

I’m in New York at the moment, and it is just starting to snow.

We are supposed to get a lot of snow through out tonight and tomorrow.  From our room at the Super 8 (which is a nicer place than you’d think), we will watch the snow as we spend time working on various projects and getting ready for the new year.

Taking space to get things organized and prioritized and just generally sorted out is a big help with focus.

We stayed for a bit with Beth’s Ma & Pa at their lovely country home, with big dining room windows that look out on a the glacier-carved landscape, with many bird feeders and one old observatory.

Our flight leaves on Friday, and the snow should be cleared up by then.  Fingers crossed.  But for the next two days we will see several inches of snow falling.  Look for pictures at my G+.

It has been nice to sort of “step away” from real life and have an extended vacation where I can get a 30,000 ft view of where I’m at with my life, where I want to be, and what it will take to get there.  So I’m going to finish my cup of (delicious!) apple cider from Starbucks, and continue planning my new year.

Happy Holidays!

 

Doing some work at Waffle Frolic--a lovely café.

Doing some work at Waffle Frolic–a lovely café.

 

The observatory and an empty bird feeder in the backyard.

The observatory and an empty bird feeder in the backyard.

 

 

Walking through the Ithaca Commons with snow and christmas lights

Walking through the Ithaca Commons with snow and christmas lights

 

 

iceland

Iceland is my favorite place I’ve never been to.  In another life I am living there in a tiny warm house with lots of snow outside.  In the summer there is a little stream that runs through my backyard, and I also have a goat named Molly.

One of my favorite things on the internet is a tumblr called ‘Iceland Wants to Be Your Friend.’

Here’s a descriptions from the front page:

Halló, I am Iceland and this is my Tumblr. I am an island and I want to be your friend.

Here is a post I stole from Iceland so I could introduce you:

aurora borealis over iceland

 

lovely!

Nano 2012

National Novel Writing MonthWe meet again, NaNoWriMo.

Since 2006, I have tried for nearly every year to complete this novel-writing challenge.  50,000 words in a month?  I should be able to do that.  I’m a fast typer, I like to write and am willing to devote hours to it at a time.

But it hasn’t been so easy.

I’ve struggled with being a neurotic perfectionist, and I’ve struggled with not planning my novels very well, so that I start flailing around after about 15,000 words, and then it’s all crash and burn.

This Time…

This year it will be different.  This year, with the help of my awesome wife, Beth, I have planned out my novel, and have done some good brain work to reduce the anxiety that I have about not writing a perfect, stellar first draft.

This year, it’s just about writing.  So I’m gonna write.  Maybe it won’t be very good, but it’ll be finished.  That’s the big goal.

Business + Nano

I think starting a business in October and spending a lot of time working on website and working with clients helps to minimize the amount of time spent worrying about the novel.  Previously, I could afford to spend hours THINKING and FREAKING about the novel, and a little time writing it.  Now, now I have Things To Do, and that’s SRS BSNSS, so I only have a little bit of spare time in which to write.

If all goes well, I’ll hit 50,000 words on November 30th, and will update on my progress along the way.

Now, I must got and write today’s 1667 words.

Wish me luck!

desk

It has taken me a long time to find the right desk.

Since I moved out here I have gone through exactly seven desks (including my current one). I’ve finally found a standing desk that is 1) the right height, and 2) big enough to fit all my stuff on (read, Kitty).

This is what my desk looks like right now.  Click for the big view.

sean

See if you can spot:

Timpanogos

Oh, poor neglected blog.  Will you ever be updated frequently?

Ever since I moved here, Beth and I have talked about hiking the Timpanogos Cave trail, which is over a mile long, and a whole lotta vertical gain (1,060ft, to be exactly).  On this hike, you are literally hiking along the side of the mountain, starting around 5300ft, and ending up at around 6300 feet.

Last Saturday, we finally made plans and made the commitment to walk up to the Timpanogos Cave entrance.

Ready to go?

sean markey

Good.

This hike is not for those with weak hearts!  Also, hi Beth!

Beth and Sean at Timpanogos

And then it started raining!

But we were prepared. 🙂

Sean and Beth Raining

All over the mountain, fall colors.

Fall Leaves

Inside the caves!  It was pretty amazing, and dark… and at times, very cramped along the path through the caves.  Due to the dark, the pictures aren’t particularly amazing.  But the caves were.

Inside the cave.

(click to embiggen)

At the end of the cave.

sean in the cave

On the way down we could see the valley beyond the entrance to the canyon.  Enjoy!

Mouth of the Canyon

It was an amazing trip, and a difficult one.  It was more hiking than either of us were accustomed to, but we made it.

After we finished, we decided to drive up the rest of the canyon to emerge near Park City, to grab a delicious meal at the Wasatch Brew Pub.

However, as adventures usually go, we ended up a little off course.  On the wrong side of the reservoir  we traveled down a small dirt road that took us from the canyon to the back end of Heber.  It added about an hour and a half to our trip, and we were both fairly hungry after such a long hike and drive.

But the view was stunning.  Amazing.  Hundreds of Beech trees lined the road, and dotted the valley below, and their leaves were all a golden yellow.  It was spectacular, and the picture does nothing to portray how lovely it was.

Beech Trees changing colors

And that was our Timpanogos adventure.

🙂

Vehicle Milestone

We got the Prius in February 2008, and we LOVE it.

I got rid of my aging car, an we have been a one car family since that summer.

Yesterday, the old Prius hit 50k.

Within those 50,000 miles we’ve gotten married, had adventures, gotten a Kitty (who grew up to be this cat), and drove all the way to five writing conventions.

Wonder what the next 50,000 miles holds…

20121011-173511.jpg

Small Business Owner

wordpress helpI’m officially a small business owner!

Visible HQ is the name of my company, and I help small businesses and artists build wordpress sites, and manage their online presence.

Here’s a happy blurry picture of me with my BUSINESS LICENSE.

Business License

 

So if you’re reading this and you need some web stuff done, well, let me know!  The business has been growing in small, but steady ways the last few months, and I’m looking to keep it going.  Feel free to pass my info along if you know me, and know someone else looking for some help.

If you’re an author, I can set you up with a pretty sweet little home base… and help you make the most of it with my knowledge of smart marketing.  If you’re a musician, I can craft your band a page with a blog, music, mailing list–all kinds of awesome things.

So here’s to hard work and hustlin, because it took a lot of both to get here!

Starbucks Thinks I’m A Drug Dealer

This morning I woke up at 7:30 a.m., got dressed quickly, and hit the atm for some cash.

I was headed to the farmer’s market to get some just-picked corn, and fresh salad veggies (because today is SALAD SATURDAY at our house).  I get to the farmer’s market about 8:05 a.m.–a little later than I would have liked, because parking downtown, as in every other city in the entire world, is a disastrous, frustrating experience.  But I didn’t do too bad.  I found a space, and was on my way.

Here’s what I bought:

A delicious line up for SALAD SATURDAY.

On the way home, I decided to stop at my local starbucks to get a delicious coffee drink.

The Starbucks Experience

This Starbucks is the drive through kind.  I order my drink at the speaker, glance at the shopping bag of veggies sitting beside me in the passenger seat (I did not strap them in) and pulled forward.

When the barista takes my card, she gives me a funny look.  She is young and cute and energetic, and I am patiently waiting for my coffee.  After a minute or so of waiting, I look back up at the window, and find three young baristas staring at me.

Okay… this is starting to get a bit weird.

I stare back, and the uncomfortable moment stretches on until they open the drive through window, and one of the girls asks me

“Is that a marijuanna plant?”

me:  Nope.  Carrots.

Barista 2 (laughing with the two others): Oh!  I thought it was marijuanna.  I thought you was really brave just leaving it out like that.

me:  …It’s just the tops of carrots.

Barista 1: When I took your card I saw it and I was like…?

A few things wrong with this situation

1.) All greens are not marijuana plants.

2.) Carrot tops and marijuanna leaves look very different

3.) YOU DO NOT ASK YOUR CUSTOMER IF HE IS CARRYING DRUGS DURING A BUSINESS TRANSACTION.

Starbucks: please feel free to use this blog post to help train new baristas.  You can pay me in free drink coupons. 🙂

Happy Half Year 2012

So today the year is halfway gone. It’s a good time for reflecting on the first half of the year, and refocusing on the goals you want to rock in the second half of the year.

It’s crazy when I look back at my goals for the year.  My focus and intent ha shifted so much this year, it kind of blows my mind.

kapow!

Mind = Blown

At the beginning of this year, I haven’t even conceived of the business I just got all the pieces together for–and just launched!

At the beginning of this year, I made goals that are hard to keep.  I think having too specific a goal can be a defeat before the goal is begun.  An online friend (the ruggedly handsome Damian Thompson), is participating in a 90 days productivity challenge that someone, at a place we both frequent online, proposed.  90 days of time well spent, of habits changing and meaningful work done.  Damian suggests that he’s not setting goals, but rather changing behaviors.

I love this idea.

Looking back at something I wrote in a notebook, in January, I see that I am falling short of some of the goals on the page entitled “I’ll Know 2012 Was A Success If…”

I won’t go into the specifics of the goals, but they had to do with getting healthy, finding business success, and minimizing a lot of things in my life.

My 90 Day Challenge

I’m going to post daily updates on how I’m doing with my challenge at another blog, mostly because I don’t want to clog up this blog with a bunch of tiny updates.  I will link to where the other posts are so you can check it out, if you really want to.  Maybe it will inspire you to look at your goals, see where you are, and adjust.

Then rock it.

Standing Up

When I hurt my ankle while hiking in May (god, I miss hiking) I switched from a standing desk to a sitting desk.  I love standing while I work.  Sitting has been scientifically proven to be So Bad For You, and when I stand while working I feel free to move around as needed, because I have trouble sitting still, and movement helps me think and focus.

Finally, after weeks of physical therapy, I have set my office up for a standing desk.  It’s taking some getting used to, especially around my ankle, which is still pretty weak.  But I’m being careful and resting it often.

I really like this set up.  It uses a “bar table” from Ikea, and a monitor stand from best buy.

Here’s a picture of my standing desk:

 

Sean's Desk

And a picture of what my desktop looks like:

Standing Desk

 

I’m not sure why, but I’ve always been really interested in seeing people’s work spaces.  It’s fascinating.  So I hope you’ve enjoyed looking at mine!

Stay tuned for a follow up post about my progress on the 90 Day Challenge.

The Future of the Internet

To spice things up, ICANN (the non-profit organization in charge of internet domain names) has opened up new Top Level Domains (gTLD) for purchase.  Currently there are 22 gTLD, including .com, .net, .co etc.  But there are going to be a lot more domain endings (to replace .com) coming soon.

What sort of domains?

Well, to be honest, anything you want.

The Old gTLDs

Everybody knows .com: it’s the standard, the worn and rusty but solid gTLD that most people want when creating a website for themselves.  The com in .com stands for commercial, and was created in 1985.

.net, .org, .mil, .gov, soon followed.  Most countries have their own domain names (called country code top-level domains, or ccTLD), such as .de (for Germany), .fr (for France), and so on.

Things Are Changing

ICANN has opened up a new registration process where businesses or organization can apply for their own ccTLD, or word after the dot.

What does this mean?  Say you were a huge internet company… let’s say, Amazon.com.  With this new registration system, you could apply for .amazon domain names, so that in the future, customers might buy music from the domain address:

http://music.amazon

instead of something like

http://amazon.com/music.

You might find movies at movies.amazon, and so on.  The .amazon would replace the .com

Pretty interesting right?  Would you like one of your own?

Sorry, that’ll be $180,000 to sign up and $25,000 (or more) per year.

ICANN is RICH!

There were over 1,930 applications for this new TLD process.  At 185k a pop for the sign up process, ICANN brought in $357,000,000.

.Who?

Google, which applied for the domains through a company called “Charleston Road Registry,” applied for over 100.  Amazon.com applied for a similarly large amount.

Here is a list of the most interesting.  (By the way, want to know what the most lucrative search terms are according to some of the biggest internet companies?  This list should lay that out quite clearly).

A sample of domain names that google applied for:

.ads

.and

.android

.app

.are

.baby

.blog

.boo

.book

A sample of domain names that Amazon applied for:

.Amazon

.app

.audible

.author

.aws

.book

.bot

.box

.buy

Other interesting domains applied for

.casa

.catholic

.chat

.cloud

.diet

.fail

.hiphop

.sucks

(You can see the full list here).

The Future of the Internet

It remains to be seen what the outcome of all these new domain names will be like.  It seems like it could be a confusing time, trying to figure out if you should go to google.com or search.goog or google.com/search, but the reality is, no one cares in the end.  If you want to go somewhere on the internet, the average user just types the destination they want into the search bar and let Google show them the way.

This will have a big impact on advertising, for sure, and it will definitely have a big impact on SEO (search engine optimization).  Will Google.com give precedence to these new domain names?  If you are an ice cream shop, will chocolate.icecream outrank yourstorename.com/chocolate in the search results?  Probably.

You can bet that spammers and web squatters are not buying up these domain names to exploit at 180k per name.

There could also be some really cool outcomes.  The site Donuts.co is bidding on a ton of new names, but it has not been revealed why, only that they have received $100,000,000 (one hundred million) in funding.  Wouldn’t it be cool if you could buy a domain name to attach to one of their new TLDs?

Imagine if I could register for the name sean.awesome (if they owned .awesome) or sean.drummer (if they owned .drummer).  There are a lot of really cool possibilities I can think of, but since this is the internet, my prediction is that I couldn’t possibly imagine how all this will shake down, and all the coolness that will result.

Change Is Scary

Change is scary, but then you adapt.  Otherwise, you’re still listening to 8 Tracks in your Ford Pinto.  No one wants that (cept these guys, maybe).

If you want to read some more articles about this, check out one from the bbc, and one from readwriteweb.