Doing

Visit Cincinnati

Got shirts for the boys at @homage #payhomage #legendsneverdie

A photo posted by J T. Ramsay (@jtramsay) on

 

What a spectacular town! Since we moved to Detroit, I’ve been looking forward to exploring more of the Midwest. We got a bit of a preview of what to expect this summer when we followed the Erie canal on our trip to Cape Cod, stopping in Buffalo and Rochester, NY. These once proud cities still have a lot to crow about: because they were built around shipping, they’re all on the water and what’s left of the original housing stock and downtown architecture is typically stunning.

Cincinnati is no exception. While I was in town for the USTA Midwest Semi-Annual meeting, I got a chance to explore a bit. There’s a beautiful waterfront park beneath the iconic Roebling Bridge. The downtown is bustling and walkable. I took the advice of a friend who grew up here and walked over to the Over-the-Rhine neighborhood, which feels quite a bit like Old City in Philadelphia, with lots of cute shops and restaurants. It’s where I picked up the shirts for the boys and tried this delicious ice cream cone from Graeter’s.

Peanut butter chocolate chip.

A photo posted by J T. Ramsay (@jtramsay) on

 

I even walked to Kentucky! Check the box on another state I never thought I’d visit!

Walked to Kentucky!

A photo posted by J T. Ramsay (@jtramsay) on

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Doing

The Runner Returns

I last wrote about running on this blog in November 2013. Looking back at earlier posts, it’s hard to believe how challenging it was to run after Charlie arrived. I’m reminded that my running buddy for my first Philly Distance Run, Mark Gatti, promised his wife that he’d take a break from running until his son turned five, a story he told Jen A. Miller for the Inquirer back in ’08.

Considering how many sleepless nights and impossibly early mornings I had with Charlie from ’09 to ’11, I couldn’t find the energy to get out and run and when I did, I overdid it and injured myself repeatedly, culminating in a pretty serious adductor strain in 2012.

I’ve periodically gotten out for runs since rehabbing, but those were very short stints. I imagined moving to Jersey would translate into fantastic runs along the Cooper River, but I still couldn’t find the time.

Now that we’re in Michigan and have settled in our new home, I’ve started getting back after it. I started out in late March with the idea that I’d ease back into shape and not make the sort of commitments that have ended in injury and inactivity. Welp. I don’t think it was May before I signed up for the Freep Marathon in October.

Unlike what happened in 2012, I’ve managed to baby myself just enough to get into decent shape. My goal is to qualify for Boston, just as it was 8 years ago. I’ve set an ambitious goal to get as close to that 3 hour threshold, but if I come in under 3:10, I’ll be thrilled. Hopefully this will be my last couch-to-marathon training!

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The Philadelphia Phillies: End of An Era

The last two seasons have been tough in Philadelphia. After a glorious run as one of the best team’s in baseball, the Phillies crashed back to Earth. Charlie Manuel, a beloved figure for anyone who’s followed the Phils, was tossed aside. Roy Halladay, a player who more than anyone made Philadelphia a destination for free agents, retired after two injury-riddled seasons. It was a magical time and now it is over.

The next phase is a familiar one. The Phillies will likely be hard to watch for a long time. With commitments made to an aging core and little to no talent in the farm system, the boom has gone bust. For anyone who remembers what happened to the team after 1993, we know what happens next. It won’t be pretty, but we’ll still be in the stands, basking in the ballpark, thankful for the memories the Phillies gave us.

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No Goal But Mileage

It’s been a while since I called myself a runner. After running consecutive marathons in ’08 and ’09, I took a long hiatus. Turns out being awake all hours with a sleepless infant isn’t conducive to distance running. I tried coming back in classic couch-to-marathon style last year, only to injure myself about halfway through training. After months of physical therapy, I still didn’t feel quite right, but that didn’t stop me from trying again this year, only to meet the same end. It’s been frustrating since I still want to run that Boston qualifier I just missed in freezing temps in ’08.
A few weeks ago I started running again. Just three miles, five times a week. No goal but mileage. It’s taking me back to a time before I had a Garmin watch, before I micromanaged every step I took on a run. I’m just out there in the cool fall air putting one foot in front of the other. I’m feeling better than I have in years. Turns out running without a race in sight is helping me build the base I need to get back on track.
Well, that’s not entirely true. I signed up for a half marathon at the end of March. I couldn’t help myself. I need a reason to stay motivated during these long, dark winter months running alongside the Cooper River. In the meantime, I’ll be logging miles at a snail’s pace until I feel good enough to push toward my real goal of qualifying for Boston.

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What’s the Future of Blogging?

Two interesting things about blogging lately:

First from Marco Arment

Then from Robert Scoble on why he’s using G+ and Facebook for blogging.

I tend to agree with the former, but I’d much rather do what Scoble is doing. Why? Because it’s much lighter weight than coming here to write AND it doesn’t have the audience built-in that other social networks do. I see that Share button when I’m in Gmail and think, “That would be so easy!”

What’s keeping me from making the switch? Audience. Sure, I have never been good about writing every day, but WordPress makes it easy for people to find stuff I’ve written about since I started blogging. Google+ is getting better at helping people find me in the context of other search results, but it’s not quite the same.

But why not LinkedIn? Tumblr? Medium? They’re all interesting places. I often think I should use LinkedIn as my default social network and share out to Twitter from it!

Put another way: why shouldn’t I switch to G+ or Medium, you know, beyond owning my platform?

To me, the long tail benefits are worthwhile. WordPress is easily bookmarked and shared. Google+ is a neat little ecosystem, but that’s just it: it wants to be self-contained in a different way that most other networks.

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The Principled Purge

If you haven’t already seen it, Ian Rogers’ blog post on pruning Twitter is quite good. He followed me back when I wrote about digital music; I don’t write about that anymore, ergo he unfollowed me. It makes all the sense in the world. Why is it so hard?

I wrote Unfollowing Is Hard back in 2012. I pared back to 500 people. It felt like an accomplishment. Could I ever get under 200 like Ian? Doubtful. Even if I followed his lead and turned Twitter into real-time RSS, I’d find myself in the same fix. I pulled over 800 blogs into RSS at my peak! I’m a sucker for information. I just can’t help it.

Worse, I’m sentimental. There are people I’ve been following since I joined. We’ve had lots of laughs. They’ve watched my son grow up. How could I leave them now if they’ve not graduated to Facebook friend status?

That’s what I like most about Ian’s post: clearly delineated friend profiles that identify where they should go. His birthday rule is the best. He transformed Facebook into Path. He just unfriended his way to it!

I call it the principled purge. This isn’t just rip it up and start again; these are malleable platforms and we should evolve as our use cases change. And if you get scared you can always cheat with a handy list!

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Why I’m Switching to Android

I wrote about renewing my iPhone vows about a month ago. I’m changing my mind. Why? A combination of curiosity and convenience.

I’m not going to discount the number of posts from influencers like Matthew Ingram, Guy Kawasaki and Robert Scoble, but the tipping point was really friends who’ve adopted Android with their latest phones. Whether they were entrenched Apple users or smartphone newbies, their move to Android was inspiring. It made it seem less intimidating to ditch the familiar for something a little more challenging. I mean, I haven’t thought seriously about a smartphone purchase since I first bought a smartphone nearly five years ago. I wasn’t going to make this decision without help.

Why now? It’s easier. Android apps have grown up. Most of my most used apps are available and those that aren’t can be replaced with comparable apps. More importantly, I’ve come to realize that my dependence on basics like Gmail and calendar are better solved with a native platform. I’m also unreasonably excited to try some of the UI tweaks, like Ubuntu-style app launchers and the like. Being able to reinvent the experience is something that will keep me interested as well.

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