Appalachian Trials Available On Kindle!

Appalachian Trials: "Hi, I wrote a book"

After months of writing, editing, formatting, fighting with myself and others (mostly myself), and designing, the day has finally arrived….

Appalachian Trials is here!!!

Assuming “here” means “available in e-book form”

So the print version is still a little ways away (days, not weeks), but the Kindle Version of Appalachian Trials is up & active:


Reasons to buy the Kindle (e-book) Version Read more

On Trial: Technology on the Appalachian Trail

Technology and the Appalachian Trail

I recently received the following e-mail:

“Hi, Zach

Considering that you had your iphone with you the whole time, I was wondering if you’d given any thought to how truly disconnected you were?  Or to how truly connected you were to nature/outdoors/the AT because you were listening to music and audiobooks while hiking?  I’m not judging, I’m just wondering what a different experience hikers from 10 years ago would have had with no option for those kinds of distractions or entertainment on the trail.

I don’t know if that was your intent while hiking (I came to the Good Badger late in the game), but was wondering if you’d thought about it.

One day, I hope to hike the AT.  It was on my to-do list for my early twenties, but life got in the way.

Congratulations on finishing, and I look forward to the book.”


Not only is this a fair point, but I’m guessing some of you have had this same question.   I feel as though this is an issue worth examining because as technology improves, becomes more mobile, more affordable, and universally accessible, it will only become more prominent on the trail, and thus a more polarizing topic.

The Complainant’s Case

The Appalachian Trail is a unique experience.  The physical challenge associated with a half year’s worth of hiking is unlike anything most humans would ever fathom.  But even more unique Read more

The ADHD Guide to CES [Video]

I’m always seeking reasons to make the quick 5 hour drive over to Las Vegas.

“What?! It’s the 4th Annual Rare Ceramics Conference?!  PACK YOUR BAGS BITCH WE’RE GOING!”

However when the year’s top new technology conference is being hosted in your almost backyard [assuming your backyard is full of glitter and sin (see: Charlie Sheen)], the decision to take part was a no-brainer.

I put together a short video for Tech Cocktail on my take of the event.  If you get a few free seconds, I’d love to see your feedback on the original post.

Post Script: Look for an anxiety ridden Appalachian Trail prep post later this week.

Technology Overdose: There’s an App for That

technology overdose

I talk a big game.

I tell you that you need to start a personal website.

I tell you to change careers (if you’re not working your passion, that is).

I tell you to get up and move to a vacation destination.

I tell you how you can achieve anything.

But why in Chuck Norris’ nunchucks should you listen to me?

Many of you don’t know much about me beyond my “about me“.  To many of you, I’m nothing more than a Badger-ish-Guy-thing who likes to tout cat media.

Although I am proud of my accomplishments to date, I haven’t built a multi-million dollar business, I haven’t spent a year in Africa volunteering for the Peace Corps, I haven’t written a best selling book.

I realize that whatever source of encouragement I attempt to instill in anyone, it will always be weighted relative to my own accomplishments.  And of course this is the the case.  I’m not taking surfing lessons from an Eskimo.  Prove to me that you have done what you’re telling me to do, and I will listen.  Everyone is talking, you have no choice but to be selective with your listening.

And because my greatest frustration in life is witnessing those I care about settle for an unfulfilling life – I want you to listen to me.  Your unhappiness genuinely pisses me off. Oftentimes I get more emotionally invested in your accomplishments than my own.  Maybe it’s a passing phase, maybe it’s my Dharma (or my Greg).

So what am I getting at?

In the last year of my life, one of my most prized accomplishments, having the luxury to pay the bills while working from the comforts of my underwear (self-employment, not a stripper), has also grown to be one of my greatest personal challenges.  My drive to continually start new projects, with new clients, with new software, with new media, with new goals, has me spread a tad too thin.

And unfortunately, the way my brain has me hardwired, unless a project is finished, thoroughly and successfully, I can’t allow myself the luxury of mentally checking out.  When my work took place inside of a baseball stadium and a restaurant, although my hours were roughly the same, the end of the day was exactly that, the end of the day.

Now, 7pm roles around, and although I’ve spent 10 consecutive hours slaving away on the screen, I can’t help but focus on about what hasn’t been finished.

My average day consists of 6-10 hours at “my office” (aka the coffee shop around the corner) back to my bedroom so I can lay down while I work.  On the days where I do allow myself to separate from the screen, I’m detached only in physical presence, but am still mentally invested, and therefore disconnected from those who I am with.

Additionally, these projects all take place in the same location: the screen (my laptop).  While the scenery may occasionally change from one cafe to the next, there’s still no escaping the screen.  More or less from the moment I wake up, until the moment I go to bed, with the exceptions for quick hikes, runs, or the increasingly rarer social excursion, I am bouncing from project to project behind the same computer screen for all waking hours of the day.

I’m not a doctor, but my internal sanity meter tells me this is not a healthy lifestyle.

My New Years Resolution

It’s only fair, that if the Good Badger is going to demand that you make 2011 your breakthrough year and achieve something necessary to your life, that he follow suit.

That’s why this year, Mr. Technology addiction himself, is going to thru-hike all 2,179 miles of the Appalachian Trail.  (Go big or go home, right?)

More details to come.

Stay posted.

Retweet This, or I Will Wake Up in An Alley Covered in Taco Bell

Retweet this, or I will wake up in an alley, covered in Taco Bell

retweet this or i will wake up in alley covered in taco bell image the good badger

I’m not exaggerating.  Stay with me on this one, if you will.

The following sequence combines historical events with my projected future.

Event #1: The Invention Facebook

In 2004, Mark Zuckerberg invents “The Facebook”.  College kids productivity levels plummet everywhere.

Event #2:  Everyone and Their Mothers Adopt Social Media


My mom is on Facebook.  Yours is too (trust me, she is). Read more

The Social Skew – How Social Media is Redefining Our Social Circles

the social skew - how social media is redefining our social circles

I must be an abysmal salesman.

No matter how hard I try, I consistently fail in persuading some of my closest friends to adopt social media.  Although the vast majority have at least created a Facebook account (there are still the chosen few who refuse), many of these do little more than collect e-dust.  One post per season is a lot to ask from many of my BFFs.  I’m guessing you’ve got at least a few friends who fit this mold as well.

It would be fair to assume that because my closest companions either rarely or never use social media, my interest in its use would be diminished.  After all, Facebook feeds me my friends’ activity.  If my friends are largely inactive, what’s the point?

In theory, this would make sense.  In actuality, the theory fails miserably.  I don’t “check” Facebook, because checking is something you do periodically (i.e. “Billy, go check the mail”).  I am “on” Facebook (i.e. “Billy go camp by the mailbox, aggressively rip the mail out of the postman’s hands, read it, and then immediately go back on the lookout”).

So what’s the appeal? Read more

How to Become an E-mail Maestro

How To Become An E-mail Maestro - The Full Gmail Guide and tutorial

Preamble: I realize this tutorial is a tad on the lengthy side.  Every step I’ve included is for your betterment.  If you’re too lazy to accomplish this yourself, I am for sale.  Just kidding.  Not really.

There are two reasons why the Good Badger has been placed onto this planet:

  1. To turn you into a more efficient Internetter
  2. To make cat videos

This particular post falls under category #1.

Unlike partying, using your e-mail like it’s 1999 is something to be avoided.  Unfortunately, I notice far too many who fit this description (e.g. anyone who uses AOL).  Although the basic idea behind e-mail hasn’t changed much throughout the years (despite Google’s best efforts), the capabilities within these clients has drastically improved.

So you may be asking, what separates an e-mail amateur from a maestro? Essentially it all boils down to efficiency mixed with a splash of flash.  Take a few minutes to learn how to improve your e-mail tactics and you’ll ultimately save hours throughout the year (which you can then spend watching cat videos). I now present to you

The Good Badger Guide of How to Become an E-mail Maestro.

Step 1 – Use Gmail

Read more