Hiking Europe in style

I'm always in search of a good outdoor adventure, so when I saw this article in the New York Times, Hikes in Europe, With Your Boots on the Ground and Your Bed Above It, my feet felt ready to ramble. Alas, the article details guided trips that are rather expensive and not my cup of tea. But the article is still useful as a suggestion of where to hike in Europe. I hadn't realized that Corsica was good for hiking (as the author points out, most Americans haven't…)

Though it is hardly news to Europeans, Americans have only recently awakened to the hiking opportunity on the rugged Mediterranean island of Corsica, France's "mountain in the sea."

Apparently Corsica is home to the GR20, "the spectacular and arduous 130-mile route that many claim is Europe's best backpacking trail." Oooh! Perhaps my next trip to France will involve a visit to the GR20. Spectacular and arduous are two of my favorite hiking-related adjectives!

How to not make your girlfriend feel good

Today after the WABC Father's Day Fight Against Prostate Cancer 5 mile race in Central Park, New York City:

Him: So how'd you do?
Me: Not too badly. I ran about nine and a half minute miles. I don't know though, it seems like I should be able to go faster than that.
Him: Yeah, I watched the eight minute milers and they don't look that different from you.
Me: Yeah, sometimes people pass me and I see them and think, I should be able to go that fast.
Him: Yeah, like this guy today. He was doing six minute miles, and he was in his sixties. And he was flying! And he only had one arm!
Me: [silent]

When you’re beyond nouveau riche

Ever since I read this article, Old Nantucket Warily Meets the New, the other day, the term "hyper-rich" has been rolling off my tongue. It's only fitting since I'm on Nantucket right now and signs of the hyper-rich abound — such as the Hummer loaded for a beach assault with stacks of beach chairs and fishing rods on its roof and a cooler mounted to its front grill. During a visit to France, a friend told me that the kids were using "hyper" and "giga" (pronounced with French accents, of course) as superlatives, e.g. "hyper bon" for really really good. My mother knows this, so today as I told her how I keep using the term "hyper-rich", she proposed "hyper-riche" as an alternative. I plan to pronounce it as Frenchly as possible (eee-pear reesh) as the Hummers drive over me on their way to the beach.

A profile of me by Tufts

Ages ago (well it seems that way), I went to Tufts University outside Boston, MA. More recently, the school interviewed me about Blogger, Pyra, and my web life. The interview in online here, A Web Of Innovation. I look a little stern in the pictures, perhaps because — while it looks nice and sunny outside — it was actually quite cold and I was freezing. And since I'm not a famous model, there was no truck with hot chocolate or an assistant with a big warm coat waiting for me off camera.

I talked my way down Memory Lane

Before I left for Ireland, I had the pleasure of being interviewed by Halley Suitt for an audio series she does called Memory Lane. We spoke about everything from my trip to computer camp in fifth grade (NERD!!) to the founding of Pyra and the rise of blogging. It was a lot of fun speaking with Halley and I think it's one of the best interviews I've done, and by done I mean talked a lot while Halley gently nudged the conversation down interesting paths.

The whole thing is available here: Memory Lane interview with Meg Hourihan in various formats (Windows media, MP3, etc.). It goes about an hour and weighs in at 27MB. My favorite part is at the end, when I talk about bloggers not really being media consumers but more media regurgitaters. It's my new favorite way of describing what bloggers are doing these days.

Back from Ireland

Cliffs of MoherI'm back from a lovely but very rainy visit to Ireland. It was a very different vacation for me, as I'm not so used to driving around so much. Most of my trips involve visits to cities where I stay in one place and travel by subway or foot. I managed to avoid car travel for one day though and took a 14 mile hike/walk over some pretty green rugged terrain that involved close encounters with many sheep. It was long but fun. The south-west of Ireland is beautiful, and I'd like to return again and see all the stuff I felt like we missed. I'll post photos in a week or so, once I have time to go over them properly. Now, to catch up on all that email…

Off to Ireland

I'm off to Ireland for pretty much the rest of the month. I'll be traveling with my family around the south-west of the island. There will be no updates while I'm gone, as it's a real honest-to-goodness vacation, and I'm ready for it! I hope to take lots of pictures while I'm there, so look for some greeny photo goodness when I return.

Returning to tech? Sort of…

Last September I wrote an entry on this site, From geek to chef, announcing my transition into the world of cooking. I wrote, "[m]y interest in the web and tech was always more about people…But something was always missing, and I've realized that was true passion for what I was doing…" I spent the last few months of 2005 working in a restaurant, and I loved it. But in January I moved to New Hampshire and my schedule became more hectic, too hectic to take another kitchen job.

Working in a kitchen is a full-time commitment, and by full-time I mean 9+ hours a day, six or seven days a week. And as much as I love cooking, I still love other things too, including technology. The more time I spent away, the more I realized that perhaps my lack of "true passion" was a lot of burn-out. I knew I was suffering from some burn-out, but wow, I think I was WAY WAY more burned-out than I ever realized.

In early February I spoke on a women entrepreneurs panel at NYU's Stern School of Business, and I recalled how much I enjoyed creating companies. Then I traveled to Munich, where I was invited to speak about weblogs and met all kinds of smart and wonderful people. And then I headed to San Diego for the O'Reilly Emerging Technology Conference, and my interest in all sorts of new and geeky things was piqued.

Since then I've attended two more technology conferences and many people have asked me, "What happened to the cooking? Are you back to doing tech?" and I realized I had been very open and clear about departing the tech world, and very unclear about whether I was returning to it.

Since I wrote From geek to chef, it's become clear to me that my interests are varied not only within the sphere of technology, but outside it as well. I love to write; I love to cook and work in kitchens; I love programming and fiddling and inventing; I love building things, from sauces and meals to applications to teams and whole companies; I love traveling and speaking and meeting new people; I love going a hundred miles an hour doing a hundred different things. So I'm going to refrain from making absolute statements like, "I'm done with tech!" or "I'm done with cooking!" and instead say only that I will pursue things that interest me for as long as they continue to do so.

Right now that means: speak at conferences; cook as much as possible in my own kitchen; continue to learn as much as I can about food and its history (e.g. The Food of France by Waverly Root); learn Ruby and play with Ajax and build more little web apps; consult and guide people around issues that matter greatly to me, such as the role of women in technology. Most importantly, I will remind myself that it's OK to change your mind, and it's OK to change it again.

One more foodie suggestion

Choire writes in with another foodie suggestion:

what you REALLY want to do once in your life is make your own "mother sponge" — capture some wild yeasts outside, and blammo, you've got your
own tamagotchi, basically, which needs feeding and care. it really only takes a week to raise before it can go dormant in the fridge, with weekly feedings– and it makes REAL sourdough, not that blechy SF sourdough. and any good baker should do it once. it's both incredibly easy and incredibly hard, but REALLY the most satisfying bread experience EVER.

It sounds scary, but I'm going to trust him on this one.