So after months of procrastination, I'm back in the blogosphere with a blog that's not for my job, although since I'm a writer with ambitions of making a living with my pen (OK, laptop) and my mind, it's somewhat related to that. My topics here are my interests and things I enjoy writing about, primarily travel (I'm the type of guy who counts countries and states, and I'm at 27 countries, 25 of which are in Europe, and 25 of these United States, respectively), politics with a strong concentration on the areas of the world which most fascinate me and which I study - Europe from Iceland to Moscow to Ankara - but also unavoidably also covering some of what goes on in the city of my birth and current residence, Washington, books (I'm a voracious reader and I'll try to write about them for once), perhaps music and movies, which I've long loved critiquing. So here we are. "maps" is the title because I love travel, love collecting maps (I've got Europe and the Western Balkans hanging in my bedroom), and the Yeah Yeah Yeahs song (second most-played on iTunes on my 4-month-old computer) popped into my head at the time of decision. I'm sure it's taken but whatever.