Thursday, March 31, 2011

Travel Writer?

A few weeks ago I decided to take my first steps toward writing professionally.  I was exploring one of my favourite travel sites, Bootsnall, when I saw their link to 'write for us'.  I read through the information and instructions and decided to submit a pitch.  I really didn't expect to hear back from them, their site basically says that if you don't hear back within 3 weeks you probably won't, but I wound up hearing back within only a couple days.  To my amazement, rather than just an outright decline they were giving me an opportunity to expand on my pitch by submitting a partial draft.

It took me almost two weeks to write my partial draft but I submitted it today and have just heard back.  Although it was a rejection, the feedback was positive; they said the writing was good but it wasn't a fit for a 'feature' though they would be 'happy' to publish it as a guest post, including a short bio along with a link to my blog.

For my first foray into professional writing, I think it's a pretty good start.  I plan to finish the piece and submit it as a guest post.  I've got a few other ideas that I may pitch to them as well and will shop around for other sites also looking for travel articles.  I'm pretty excited about this new direction for myself and really looking forward to exploring it further.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Spring Ramble

Dundee in the distance
We decided to stay close to home for our March ramble.  We've been wanting to walk across the Tay Road Bridge since August, which is just down from Dundee's city centre area.  Today we made the journey.

The bridge is 1.4 miles long and has a dedicated pedestrian/bike path down its centre.  On the south side of the Tay is a cute little car park with a 'kiosk' where we purchased supplies for an impromptu picnic on the green before heading back towards Dundee.

Newport on Tay
Our walk only took about 3 hours and was super low effort.  We had been concerned about possible wind and cold in the middle of the Tay but the weather wound up being lovely throughout our walk.  There was really no traffic noise or debris from the passing cars, either.  The pedestrian path, besides being a bit narrow, is actually very well suited for a leisurely stroll.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Instant Music

Yesterday, after exhaustive contemplation and careful consideration, we finally made a purchase, adding to our small yet slowly expanding list of possessions. Hopefully, by early next week we should have in our hands a brand new set of £15 Logitech speakers, purchased at www.amazon.co.uk. Seriously, it took us several hours over a few weeks to decide whether or not to spend £15 on speakers, this is how traumatized we are by the whole purging process.

Currently, Mike’s computer acts as both our stereo - our entire music collection is digitized and saved on Mike’s hard drive - and television - all movies and television shows are watched on his large 17” laptop monitor. Connecting speakers to the machine will add a bit more comfort and enjoyment to our lives.

In addition to connecting them to our laptop, we’ll be able to plug our iPods directly into the speakers providing us with instant access to our music.  Previously, it could take up to 10 minutes or so for Mike's computer to boot up and iTunes to open before enjoying any music at all.  This instant access to music is perhaps the most exciting feature of all.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

In Like A Lion

Wild flowers
We experienced some lovely spring weather this past week, with warm and sunny days and wild flowers beginning to bloom.  Hoping this meant winter was finally behind us we were looking forward to this weekend for our March ramble, our first spring ramble in Scotland.  Unfortunately, the weather turned on Friday and we've had snow mixed with rain ever since.

Although the temperatures have stayed above freezing, so there is no accumulation on the ground, we are nonetheless deterred from rambling this weekend.  After the lovely weather we experienced on our February ramble, we have no interest in returning to January ramble temperatures two months later.  There should be some progression.

A lovely spring-like morning
Thus, rather than a traditional ramble yesterday, we found ourselves wandering about the city centre.  Mike wanted to try paella so we headed out into the elements for some ingredients.  What we thought was going to be a quick trip turned into a lovely afternoon of window shopping and city rambling.

Desi, as yet unimpressed by the High Street stores, actually found a couple clothing stores she might like to return to, New Look and a cute boutique in the Wellgate unfortunately called Zion: A Star Is Born.  We also stopped into Currys for a quick look at future electronics purchases, we need a new external hard drive and are still looking for a better way to digitally store and play our music, and wound up having a great conversation about new technology with a salesman there.  Upon returning home, Mike made an amazing paella dinner, which we will definitely be adding into our rotation.

Although spring's not quite here, if this week's spring weather teaser was any indication, we expect it will be our favourite season in Scotland and we look forward to the opportunity to ramble in its loveliness.  Until then, Mike's paella and window shopping appears to be a pleasant diversion.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Train Trip

In just over seven weeks Mike's first academic year will be complete and we'll be off on a new adventure.
Today we purchased our train tickets for travel from Dundee to London Kings Cross.  The trip will take just over 6 hours, leaving Dundee in the morning and arriving in London mid-afternoon.  We'll be travelling almost the entire length of the island during daylight hours, getting to see everything along the way.  We're really looking forward to this trip.

Monday, March 07, 2011

Games

I hate games.  I'm super competitive and I wind up getting really upset, even when I'm winning.  I don't enjoy playing and usually the unfortunate souls playing with me wind up not enjoying the experience either, although sometimes the sadists find enjoyment in how irrationally upset I become.

Lately, however, I've been in a game playing mood.  Mike introduced me to Bubble Buster a few weeks ago, which started it all, and now I'm also playing WordUp and Minesweeper.  I've been keeping it relatively safe, mostly playing solo on my HTC Wildfire while Mike plays separately on his, but last night we wound up playing a two person version of WordUp and, surprisingly, not only did we have a great time but I didn't lose my cool or anything.  This morning, perhaps chancing my new found calm, we started playing Scrabble online.

The last time I played Scrabble was with my friend Jason this past summer.  Unbeknown to me at the time, Jason possesses super Scrabble powers and was well over 200 points really early in the game whilst I sat in the low two digits.  I think he wound up using all his tiles and getting over 100 points on one word when I decided to concede.  Surprisingly, although Jason was annihilating me, I actually enjoyed playing with him.  He taught me how Scrabble should be played and it was a lot of fun, even though I was losing by 250+ points.

I exposed Mike to some of what I learned from watching Jason's mad skills in action and now we're in the midst of an all day Scrabble tournament, feeling like pros.  Not only are we having a great time but my dreaded game hating alter ego has not yet emerged which makes me wonder if I've shaken the beast after all these years.  Perhaps this means I'm ready to start playing games with others without threatening bodily harm?  One step at a time.
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