I stood here for a while, but nothing happened!

I stood here for a while, but nothing happened!

"I stood here for a while, but nothing happened!"

Courtesy of

Some of the comments:

“Did you stare at an Orange Juice box because it had the word CONCENTRATE written on it?”

“Did you stare at a Ford because the car had the word FOCUS written on it?”

Did you try saying “Enterprise, one to beam up”?

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Site updates

I’m trying out a new plugin for the blog called Snap Shots – now when you hover your pointer over a link, it will pop up a window showing you a preview of that page. I find it useful for Wikipedia articles when you don’t want to be bothered with opening a whole other page and then finding your place again in the original page, but just want a little shot of more info. I noticed that none of you have been clicking on the links, so I thought this might be more enticing. On the other hand, it might just be annoying. I’ll get rid of it if enough of you tell me, but you can also disable it yourself by clicking the little gear icon in the upper-right corner of the pop-up and selecting the options from the menu. Sorry, but I don’t know how to get rid of the ads at the bottom. I wish I could.

The search function built into WordPress is terrible, so I’ve changed it out for a Google Custom Search. You should get much better results now.

I realized many of you may not know that you can subscribe to the blog, rather than manually checking for new postings. You can subscribe to the blog RSS feed using your browser or favorite news reader. Or, enter your email address here to automagically receive an email every time I push out a new blog post. No more than one email per day, and you can cancel anytime. Gawd, I sound like an infomercial.

Email address to receive new blog posts:

You can also subscribe to my Twitter RSS feed or subscribe via email with this form. Don’t worry, you’ll only receive a maximum of one email per day, even if I tweet more than that.

Email address to receive Twitter tweets:

In other site news, I thought perhaps one stumbling block in getting the blog visible to more people was the clunky address. Therefore I recently registered and – easier to remember than, and they will both take you to the same place. [I wanted, wouldn’t that be a cool domain name? Incredibly it’s available, but since .me is owned by Montenegro, it would have been very difficult and expensive to register.]

Finally, just to note that the next couple of posts are going to appear in reverse chronological order – i.e., below this one in the timeline. This is to maintain the convention of dating posts when the events actually happened, rather than when I get around to writing about them.

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Going public

No, I’m not having an IPO; I’m taking the blog public.

Until now I’ve purposely kept the blog out of the search engines, accessible only to those in the know. This was for a few reasons.
One, I’m basically a private person, not prone to publicizing my details to the world. [But this needs to change if I want to network, so I’m slowly evolving in this regard. For example, I’ve just made my Skype and Twitter accounts public.]
Two, I’ve seen the spam and nasty comments that can plague popular blogs.
But a few things are making me change my mind:

  1. This wasn’t actually true with the Caving/Paragliding post (and please ignore this rant if you’re one of the few who regularly comment), but in general, I continue to be frustrated at the dearth of comments. After spending hours uploading photos, creating links, and writing and editing a post, it’s disheartening not to receive even a simple “hey, that was interesting.” I know from the stats that dozens of people read the blog, so I’m not sure why more aren’t commenting. Is it boring? Would you rather hear about something else, rather than what I write about? Less bitching? Let me know.
    So perhaps by expanding the audience I will receive the feedback I crave.
  2. As a gift to the community. Other travelers planning or in the midst of a similar trip may be able to benefit from my experiences. And it’s better to put it out now than later – a lot of the specifics I write about will be out of date in a year.
  3. As a way for me to network and meet like-minded people. If it’s in the public sphere, who knows who might stumble across my blog and contact me, offering a job in Buenos Aires or work as a travel writer!

After all, I can always delete the nasty comments.

Comment on this post.

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Tech talk

  1. I am now on Twitter. This is a way for me to send brief updates from my cell phone when I don’t have net access to update the blog. My Twitter username is JJtravels. You can “follow me” (receive my brief updates) on your cell phone by texting “follow JJTravels” to one of these numbers: in the U.S.: 40404 / in Canada: 21212 / anywhere else: +44 7624 801423
    It will walk you through signing up if you’re not already on Twitter. You can also just go to their web site and sign up. There are a zillion other ways of receiving Tweets, from widgets to browser plug-ins to iPhone apps. My Twitter updates will also automagically appear on the sidebar of the blog, over there to the right. If you’re following me, you will also receive a tweet each time I post a new entry on the blog. I’ve had a request to have it send an email every time I Twitter, but I can’t figure out how to make it do this. Let me know if you know how.
  2. I finally got the tracker working in Nicaragua, but now it’s not again. Intermittent! It’s too bad, it would have been great to have a track showing exactly where I’ve been.
  3. You may have noticed that I’ve changed the way I date the blog entries. They now appear on the day the event actually occurred, rather than the day I wrote about it. This avoids the problem of a week’s worth of events looking like they all occurred on the same day. But it can be confusing if (for example) you check the blog on Wednesday, see there has been no posting for a week, then come back on Friday and discover that there were postings on Monday and Tuesday.
  4. I’ve spent all day working on the back-end of the blog – upgrading WordPress, the theme, etc. You should notice some improvements. Please let me know if anything looks funky or doesn’t work.
    I’ve had a request to add the ability for the blog to e-mail you every time there is a new post. I’ve looked around, and can’t figure out how to implement this feature. If anyone knows, I’d love to hear from you.
    UPDATE – there is a new service doing this. Click the “Contact” tab above to find out how to subscribe to posts by email.
  5. Remember that you can always subscribe to the RSS feed – your web browser or mail client will download new entries as soon as they’re published, so you don’t have to manually check the site for new posts.
  6. I hope it goes without saying, so I’ll say it: I take constructive feedback really well. If there are things you’d like me to write about, photograph, record, or conversely, things that bore you to tears, (um, like the next paragraph) just tell me. You can send me an e-mail if you don’t want to publicly comment. Oh, and for those of you hesitant to comment because it will be seen “publicly” – there are only about 20 friends and family who read this blog. I’ve purposely kept it out of the search engines (really, try searching for it – doesn’t come up!), and it would be very hard for someone to just stumble across given the unusual address. So comment away, you’re among friends!
  7. I’d like to give a shout-out to Marissa for bringing my computer down when she visited, and to Mom for sending it to her. I was having problems with the iPhone, and unlike the Palm OS, you can’t directly administer it from the phone itself – it has to be connected to the host computer to install updates, etc. Having the computer for the week allowed me to get everything working again.
    I now have the ability to download podcasts directly to the phone, so I’m a happy camper catching up on all the news and gossip. I’ve downloaded a bunch of Spanish language podcasts that I listen to on long walks and bus rides, as well as some yoga videos that I intend to start doing!
    I also jailbroke the iPhone, allowing me to install apps Apple doesn’t have control over. Take that, you closed-source dweebs! It’s really cool, actually. Opens up a whole new world – you can completely reconfigure and reskin your iPhone.
    Finally, in Managua I bought a TurboSIM (similar to the one I ordered from Hong Kong just before leaving that didn’t in fact work), which allows me to finally use my iPhone as a phone down here by allowing foreign SIM cards to function. Take that, AT&T!
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