July 2005

6 Jul 2005 [link to here]
learning to unicycle

When I was learning to unicycle I was having some trouble, so I asked a local expert to watch me and tell me what I was doing wrong. He did, and it helped tremendously. Gradually over the years as I helped other people learn to ride, I learned another lesson: everyone does the same things wrong. I could have asked that guy for his advice without even bringing a unicycle and he probably would have told me the same thing.

So to all you people out there who are learning to ride a unicycle, here's what you're doing wrong:

To those who are not learning to ride a unicycle: you need to practice more or you'll never get it.

12 Jul 2005 [link to here]
this shoe's not made for walking

Having put about 9000km on my 10-year-old steel hybrid bicycle, I've been thinking maybe it's time I got something better. I'd like to bike more and drive less, so it might be nice to have a bike that can more efficiently convert my effort into forward motion. This means something stiffer, lighter, and with an optional lower riding position that perhaps doesn't require steering with my elbows.

So I stopped by a bike store on my way to work today and tried out a road bike. The drop bars made my hands ache after just a couple minutes and I hated the weird shifters built into the brakes. I'd probably build up whatever hand muscles are required and get used to the shifters, but the test ride was entirely unpleasant. I got back onto my own bike to head to work and it felt like slipping into an old worn shoe. It's not as fleet or sprightly as it could be, but it sure is comfortable.

20 Jul 2005 [link to here]
daily dose of perspective

I take most luxuries of modern civilization for granted most of the time. I generally don't think about my phenomenally good health except when it's flagging and I think about refrigeration most when I'm camping. Hot showers, reliable shelter, good roads, an astonishing lack of violence. I definitely lucked out into a world of material comforts. But most days go by without me having noticed, because it's so easy to ignore things you're accustomed to.

And then there's hot chocolate. MmmMmmmMmmmm. Silky, sweet hot chocolate. Lately, with espresso in it, junkie that I've become. Like bananas, it's one of those things about which I often say "I'm going to miss this when civilization collapses", even though I'll probably be preoccupied with more mundane things. Any day you can worry about where to find a mocha is a good day, but actually finding one seems special, even when it happens several times a week.

20 Jul 2005 [link to here]
fair weather, friend

Dear people who told me when I moved out here ten years ago that I'd get used to the amazing weather and I'd stop noticing and appreciating it every single day,


Sincerely, me.

22 Jul 2005 [link to here]
activation energy

There's a large class of things I don't mind doing and that need to be done, but that I approach with such reluctance that I never get around to doing them. House cleaning is one example. I don't actually mind the process of it, but it's rare that I can force myself to start. My to-do list is littered with these kinds of chores, and I feel like a bum because it's not as though any of them would be difficult or loathsome if I simply dove in.

This is the sort of thing I thought I'd have solved by now. According to my calendar, I'm well into adulthood, so in theory the knowledge that these looming tasks bother me more when I'm not doing them than when I am would sink in and cause me to jump up and begin, but that's just not the case.

Instead, the sort of wisdom I've gained in my old age is in how to work around the personal failings I can't seem to fix. For example, I'm happier when I leave the house and go out into the aforementioned lovely weather, but since it's apparently too difficult to take this to heart on the weekends when I have nowhere I need to be, I simply make sure I keep no food at home. When I get hungry enough, I have to go out, and lo! Just like every other time, I'm glad I finally did and by the way what took me so long.

Tricking myself over the wall is one reason I prefer not to live alone. Given a nudge, I'll do what needs to be done, and that nudge can be as simple and subtle as being exposed to someone else's activity who, even if they're no more industrious than I, is perhaps at least out of phase so we can provide activation energy to each other when necessary.

25 Jul 2005 [link to here]
sore far sore good

Note to self: a long and gruelling workout in the morning feels great the rest of the day.