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Archive for January 2013

Jake Tapper – The OutPost – The Untold Story of American Valor

Tania meets Jake Tapper

On Thursday evening I had the opportunity to listen as Jake Tapper as he described his inspiration and experience in writing his latest book, The OutPost – The Untold Story of American Valor.

The book describes a 2009 battle at Compound Outpost Keating (COP Keating) in remote Kamdesh, Afghanistan where 58 American soldiers prevailed against nearly 400 taliban terrorists. Eight American soldiers lost their lives protecting the outpost and their fellow soldiers during this battle.  The novel shares the compelling and largely unknown story of COP Keating and the soldiers who served at the outpost.

Jake described how the idea for the book came to him – he caught a brief news clip of the attack while in hospital holding his newborn son and the questions soon began.  He also shared his detailed research that went into the making of this book; making sure to carefully review sections with those he interviewed.  This was a good reminder of the power of due diligence during the writing process and the hallmark of a good journalist.

As he described the background history of this outpost and the battle itself, I kept having thoughts that I had previously heard of this untold story but could not recall any specific detail to confirm these thoughts.  It turns out I did read of this battle on an awesome milblog called This Ain’t Hell when Jonn reported on the battle in 2009.  While national media was barely covering the battle in October of 2009,  milbloggers at The Burn Pitwere organizing the Combat Outpost Keating Relief Fund.  It was a resounding success for the surviving soldiers of COP Keating with Target donating matching funds to this cause and bloggers going public with their thanks.  Milbloggers are a special group of people and I’m happy to know these soldiers were not completely abandoned when they arrived back home.  I strongly believe we need to know the full story of our involvement in Afghanistan and The Outpost makes a great contribution to our story of Afghanistan. Get your copy today!

Awesome photo credit: Richard Chaitt


NYC Photowalk

It’s not January without scheduling a photowalk daytrip to the Big Apple – New York City.

#marblecam Chrysler building -NYC

This year Trish, Patience and I traveled to NYC with no particular plan outside of wandering around Times Square and taking photos as we go along. Fall marathon training had taken up much of my free time leaving me itching for a good photowalk. What better place to scratch that itch than NYC. It is a glorious mass of skyscrapers, concrete, shady parks and 8 million people. The hustle of the crowds never intimidates me, on the contrary, I want to explore every nook and cranny of this city. Sadly, I only had a few hours – so I made the most of my time.

All photos except for the one above were taken with my trusty Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX5.

Photos under the cut…



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Blog Survey Update

I want to thank all of you who took the time to complete my blog survey. So far, I am happy with the quality of information I have received and delighted by the new insights that I have come to learn.

If you have not filled out the survey, please take a moment to do so. Your thoughts about this blog are important as I move forward with the redesign and refinement of blog posts.

Survey under the cut…



Vine – Brand New Twitter App for Video

What is Vine?

I came across a tweet on Thursday where Chris Brogan shared a link to 11 Things a Business Could Do with the New Vine App. Intrigued, I clicked the link and discovered a new free video app now supported by Twitter.

Vine app on Twitter

Dom Hofmann, GM and co-founder of Vine describes the app:

Posts on Vine are about abbreviation — the shortened form of something larger. They’re little windows into the people, settings, ideas and objects that make up your life. They’re quirky, and we think that’s part of what makes them so special.

Within the app the user has the ability to string together a series of six second videos, creating a brief and imaginative video loop. I’ve yet to discover the secret embed code for these brief videos, so click HERE to watch my Vine video. Since this is a newly released application, I’m certain this function will become available soon.

Creating the video was dead simple.  The app guides the user through your initial video and strings them together once you’ve finished. Note that the video clips do not have to be taken immediately following one another in order to create your story. The user can save the video to the camera roll or share it on Twitter and FaceBook.

Remember, what is shared cannot be retracted. So please think before your share a video.

What am I gonna do in 6 seconds?  I was asked this question from social media guru Jimmie Bise when I shared this video with him on Twitter.

The app immediately reminded me of 12second.tv which closed its doors in 2010.  It was a pioneer of sharing personal short video clips and I believe I used the service once then promptly abandoned it for lack of interest.  How is this app different? It allows a level of creativity by allowing the user to selectively capture video clips to create the story they are after. Each clip may be six seconds long but the user can link together a number of clips to create their video.  The brevity of the clips cuts down on distractions allowing the user can create a dynamic, get-to-the point video. Chris Brogan detailed several ways in which this app would be useful to users.

The simple interface, quick processing and social sharing make this an appealing video app for newbies and intermediate smartphone videographers. With the support and financial subsidizing of Twitter I suspect this app may witness more innovation and a longer shelf life then other video contenders.

Another free mobile video application you may want to explore is Viddy which is available for both Iphone and Droid fans. Users can shoot one fifteen second video clip on their mobile device then add filters, special effects and music to the clip before sharing their creation online.  Users have the ability to embed their videos within blog posts.

See my pretty video below:

Is Vine the video version of Instagram? Only time and user engagement will answer that question.

Viddy is a great alternative to Vine with a few more bells and whistles at its disposal.

Which app would I prefer? I like them both for different reasons and would use them accordingly.


The Snark Factor Tonight

Listen live to the Snark Factor every Wednesday night at 8pm EST on FTR Radio where I will be joining Fingers Malloy, Irish Duke to bring news bites at the top of the hour followed by sparkling chats with invited guests. If you are a fan of my blog, you’ll know that I have an eclectic taste in news of the day.

On tap tonight:

Didn’t watch Hilary’s testimony today but I’m getting the sense that it was as truthful as Lance Armstrong’s interview with Oprah.

Gotham at Night!

Gotham at Night


Inaugural Memories

Photos from when I last covered a Presidential Inauguration:

Washinton DC Inauguration

Sadly, a dark cloud hovers over this inauguration with the report of 23 BP Oil employees who were taken hostage have been killed in a botched rescue attempt. Clearly times have changed since the 1980 hostage crisis. One would hope a moment of silence to remember these victims of islamic terrorists will be included in today’s events.

Inaugural Memories:
Washinton DC Inauguration


All I Need – Within Temptation

Just discovered this song All I Need when I viewed this fan video of the BBC adaptation of Ford Madox Ford’s novel Parade’s End.

The novel spins the story of a love triangle that plays out during the waning days of Edwardian England through World War 1. I’m currently reading the novel and so far I prefer the Christopher Tietjens as portrayed in the screen play over the novel.


Running is my Drug of Choice

2012 in Review

Dear Nike,

Thank you for sending me a pair of FlyKnit running shoes this fall, I absolutely loved training with them. The colors are absolutely fabulous as well. I rock the shoes every time I wear them.

#First2Fly with Nike FlyKnit

With your gear and training support from Goals Fitness and Team Philly; I completed 4 half marathons, 1 Sprint Triathlon and the Philadelphia Marathon in 2012.   Working full time and training for these events took careful time management planning and a bucket load of desire to make this happen.  I’m not an elite athlete, yet I set improvement goals with each workout. That is the beauty of sport; there is an unending potential to become better than you were the day before.  Who wouldn’t want that?

All of what I have accomplished and what I will accomplish in the years to come will be through hard work and  proper training – no performance enhancers needed.  

I look forward to training with Nike gear and setting new records in my half marathon and marathon runs this year.  Now off to bed as I have an early morning fitness bootcamp class.

Happy Running!






Birthday Girl! The Remarkable Betty White Turns 91 Today

I just love her!

Source: blogs.glam.com via Tania on Pinterest


Wouldn’t we all love to have her fierce love of life when we are 91 years old.

Happy Birthday Betty!


Snark Factor Tonight

Listen live to the Snark Factor every Wednesday night at 8pm EST on FTR Radio where I will be joining Fingers Malloy, Irish Duke to bring news bites at the top of the hour followed by sparkling chats with invited guests. If you are a fan of my blog, you’ll know that I have an eclectic taste in news of the day.

On tap tonight:

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