My son has two modes, total fucking meltdown and an angel. Currently he’s melting down in the most spectacular fashion. As a parent it’s actually one of the hardest things as your sweet boy is turned into a total ass for 30 minutes.

A holiday is a time to get your house in order. With less demands on your attention, you can afford to spend some time to think a little about the future, all those issues and ideas you kept pushing back to a better time. That time is now.

Shouf Biosphere Reserve

On the weekend we drove up to the Shouf Biosphere Reserve. The only regret I have is that we didn’t even come close to experiencing the true majesty of the place.

I’m writing these things down to make the most out of any future visits as the human brain will forget everything eventually.

For Kids

Unfortunately I had shown Zane a picture of the ‘supposed’ turtles that can be found in the reserve…as a complete lover of animals (I’m pretty sure he gets this from his mother), the poor little guy spent his entire time trying to find one while he was there. So top tip, don’t show pictures of animals.

My baby boy Ryan loved being surrounded by trees. Like absolutely loved it in a way only a baby can feel excited about something new and natural and pure, because it’s the closest thing to him in that sense.

Graphics

I think the people behind the reserve have done a great job of the website and the overall information provided. The Shouf Cedar website is probably one of the best site’s I’ve seen in Lebanon. Sure it’s a WordPress affair, but it’s done in a tasteful manner. Make sure to take the time and run through all the information on the site to make the most out of your trip.

I genuinely liked the logo for the whole reserve and really loved the tickets you buy at the entrance to the reserve.

Entrances

We ended up going through the Barouk entrance. While a lovely entrance, clearly not the main entrance, which is the Massar. However, there are no less than six entrances:

  1. Maassar El Chouf
  2. Barouk
  3. Ain Zhlata/Bmohray
  4. Mrosti
  5. Niha
  6. Aammiq

Here’s a handy map, that if you squint hard enough you’ll think is Lebanon, don’t be fooled (like I was the first time), that’s a map of the reserve itself. Once you get through the entrances, you have to travel around 5km into the reserve, park your car/bus and then you get to choose your hiking trail.

Eating

Obviously don’t expect to be able to eat anywhere in the reserve. I honestly didn’t consider this clearly. My suggestion is to basically either bring a good old honest picnic with you and eat at the entrance of the actual reserve (there are picnic benches) with a great view.

Signal

Don’t expect any 3G/LTE signal while you’re up there. If you’re going to be dependant on technology to get you to places, make sure that it can work offline. The website lets you download GPS maps as well.

Sun has just come up. The city is starting to fully wake up. I’m on my second cup of coffee and I’ve managed to read a decent amount from Ryan Holiday’s Perennial Seller. The one thing I’m lamenting this summer is not reading enough. Time to change that.

For yourself

While it’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking that you’re writing on your website for the ‘internet’, the truth of the matter is that you’re actually writing these things and obsessing about it’s design primarily and sometimes exclusively for yourself.

These words are a snapshot in time. Of where you were and what you were doing. They might be reflections on what happened in your day or what’s currently captured your imagination.

Why not just write this in a journal you say? Because ‘publishing’ something on a site provides a level of finality. A level of accomplishment that a mere text file in a folder, or a journal entry in your notebook doesn’t provide. Not that there is anything wrong with either of those approaches, rather the online published version is different.

One of my favourite new feature/plugins on Micro.blog is ability to create an ‘on-this-day’ page that collects your past posts that happened….erm, on this day.

The reason it’s so great is that it’s another clear tool, made for you. It’s made to allow you to reflect on what you’ve written in the past and what you were thinking 1, 2, 3 or more years ago. If you’re not using this feature, then you’re missing out on one of the joys about blogging, which is reflecting on what you’ve written.

Part 2 of the summer holidays begins. Breaking things up in this manner has been an interesting experiment in the psychology of anticipation. It has made the summer pass by faster, which is usually a protracted affair in the Gulf, where it’s hot (very hot) and dusty.

With a whole 10 minutes of using iOS 12, I can already tell it’s a Snow Leapard type of update. Subtle but useful features with the main story hidden under the hood making everything more snappy and pleasant to use.

Yes it’s ridiculously hot and I’m an idiot but damn if this isn’t the best work out I’ve had in months.

It’s been a great long while since I’ve drawn anything. I’ve effectively given up on creating comics for the time being and concentrating on something else for a while. I am missing the act of drawing so I’ve decided to lower the barrier of entry a little to create a new habit.

An Ode to iAWriter

Since April I have been working silently and diligently on my little project. I’ve still got a long while to go before I’m happy to share what’s been going on with me but I wanted to share my absolute recommendation for iAWriter as one of the best tools for writing projects ever made.

Of significant value to me is the ability to link in multiple text files into a single document. This has allowed me to reorganise the entire project several times over, as though it was a simple deck of cards.

This feature alone would be enough for me, but that is just the start of things. It’s super lightweight and opens instantly. It doesn’t have any font features (except choosing between a single font) and that helps me from wasting type. Although there arent’ many templates to choose from, the basic ones included with the app do an amazing job of typesetting the work in a fashion that I can read/markup and edit freely.

Sure I would like a few features found in the Highland app, such as sprint timer, native fountain support, and actual comment support within the document, but this app provides me with so much and I highly recommend you consider it for your next project.

In other news, really looking forward to the lunar eclipse that’s happening later on this evening. I’ll be posting some photos if they’re not complete rubbish.