To assume that your answer is right because the alternative is unknown is the most basic limitation of humankind. “Answers” that are influenced by a false sense of morals, false morals that are derived from a fear of the unknown.
This is both unnatural and counter-productive to innovation and achieving excellence. To be excellent one must not be bound and constricted by their conclusions; they must hold on to those former conclusions with the tips of their toes while reaching desperately into the darkness of the unknown.
This is innovation, this is excellence, this is all that is good in the human spirit. In this act we become moral, stretching ourselves between the bindings of our minds and the boundlessness of our hearts.
Photo credit: NASA/Hubble
When we moved in, we took down a bunch of doilies from the windows on our front door because they were ugly. Ever since, we’ve had very little privacy from the front door. You can pretty much see in from the street, and we live on a pretty busy street so that is not ideal. I didn’t want to do doilies again, because you know, yuck, so I started doing some Googling. Turns out, you can frost glass pretty easily.
Went to three different stores to find the stuff. The internet told me to go to a craft store, but Michael’s didn’t even have it because it was apparently replaced by a bunch of Martha Stewart crap. The trip wasn’t a total fail because I ran into my friend Amanda, and she invited me to a party. In the end, it wound up being $4.88 at Home Depot. It was locked and secured with all the spray paint, because you know how those hoodlums love to go around frosting glass (wtf?).
So basically, to frost a window, you try and spray from the can evenly. Oh yea, and have a mask and gloves and whatnot. Just after I sprayed it, it looks like a weird foggy mess.
A few things I learned:
- Just because it says to go slowly, don’t. It got too think in some areas and constantly looks like there are rain droplets on it. Luckily, it’s Oregon, so it’s not super noticeable.
- Don’t put painters tape on it. It will come off when you peel the tape off. I will have to scrape it down and redo it. Hopefully avoiding the aforementioned droplets thing on the second time around.
- Prepare to have a stinky house for 2-3 days.
Enjoying our $7 triangle table
It’s incredibly hard for me to find the right furniture. I hate cheap dept store stuff, can’t afford / maintain expensive designer stuff, and can never find a purpose for the decent items from Ikea.
Christina seems content with a variety of colors and textures and shapes littering a room at what I consider awkward angles and positions. I’m a bit more anxious about that stuff, I have a hard time concentrating and feeling relaxed in spaces with unsettling atmosphere.
All that said, we had to come up with a solution this weekend to accommodate our Christmas Tree in the living room. This meant a re-shuffle of our couch and tables, leaving us with a particularly odd, triangle gap. With no overhead lighting in our living room, this gap required a light so that we could read, eat, or relax without a flashlight.
The smallest item we had in the house was a $7 Lack table from Ikea. Just about anyone who has gone to college or furnished a first apartment has purchased at least one of these. I owned about 6 in college as they came in handy frequently and costs about the same as a fast food lunch.
However, we couldn’t orient my new favorite chair (thanks Dale!) and our small couch in a way to allow that square table…we kept coming up with a triangle. After some back and forth I realized we could just hack the table in half, with room for three legs and have a perfect triangle table left.
As you can see, it was a success!
This was probably the easiest furniture hack I’ve done yet, and left me wondering about the marvelous items I could construct from more $7 tables.
Wanna make one? Check the photos.
Enjoying our $7 triangle table
Why polar bear? Why?!
I spoke about community management at Portland State University’s American Marketing Association meeting a couple weeks ago. In response to a follow up question, I found myself compiling a list of my favorite free social media tools. Figured I should share.
In no particular order, the items below are what I consider to be the best free tools out there.
Tweriod - Analyzes the times your Twitter followers are posting and recommends times for you to post.
Tweet Reach - Analzes how many impressions your tweet or tweets received.
Reachli - Create Pinterest posts w/Reachli to see how many clicks, likes, views. i.e. the value of each post. Formerly Pinerly. Scheduling unavailable due to backend change w/ Pinterest. Kind of clunky.
Pinpuff - Calculates a pinfluence score.
Hootsuite - Scheduling for Twitter, FB & G+ pages.
DoShare - Chrome extension that allows scheduling of visually rich posts on G+
Facebook Insights – Native tool for Facebook pages.
Statigram - Analyzes Instagram data.
Anything missing? On the day to day basis, the most important tool for me is scheduling. I haven’t found a visually rich tool for scheduling posts on Facebook, besides Facebook’s clunky new built in feature. I’d love to hear some recommendations.
Since my contract with Google came to an end last week, I’ve been plotting all the home improvement projects I’ll finally have some time to take care of. Today, after a few hours of wondering around the house, not knowing what to do with myself, I decided to take on the dinning room curtains. After all, the materials have been sitting around in our basement for over 6 months.
The whole thing was actually way more work than I was expecting. I had to install three rod brackets. Each took progressively less time than the last, but I’m pretty sure the first one took me an hour, so that’s not saying much. Hopefully I’ll get more handy as time goes on. Honestly, I think the biggest time suck was having to run out to the garage every 10 minutes to grab something else I forgot. Also, that was an experience in itself each time because it’s freaking monsooning so hard.
Here’s a peak at the semi-finished project. I still have to iron, trim & hem the curtains themselves, as well as add on these plastic pieces that make the brackets look somewhat less ugly. But I think I can put that part off for another year.
Major thanks to my tweeps Txristina and Polly who re-assured me that I should be using anchors unless drilling into a stud. I let that question hold me up for at least 30 minutes. Even more hilarious is that once I finally got the drill out, I remembered that it didn’t really matter because I’d be able to tell if I’m hitting plaster/lathe or a stud pretty damn easily. Oh well!
FOR SALE: $50
Parting ways with this sweet suitcase record player. I bought it about 5 years ago and put a little work into it to get it playing again.
It works pretty great and has a new needle I installed about a year ago. All play modes work, including “AUTO” which you can see in the video below.
That said, it’s not in excellent condition on the exterior: missing a small foot nub, one locking latch is broke off (but still have it), and finish is a little drabby.
Also throwing in a stack of records I don’t really care for.
Suitcase folded up and ready to party.
Speaker and player setup.
Speaker hinges disconnect when open
Free records I’ll throw in
the image below was “enhanced” by my co-worker Aaron
Yesterday morning I underwent lasik eye surgery. The procedure is super freaky because you’re awake when they do it, so I’ll spare you the gory details and skip to the good news.
After 16 years of not being able to see more than a couple feet in front of my face without glasses/contacts, I went in today for my post-op appointment, and I have 20/20 vision.
There’s still some healing to do, but everything went well and I’m so thrilled to be free of glasses and contacts.
In an effort to get a SUPER early start on cyclocross season this year, Christina and I headed out to Double Cross on friday night. We brought a Vanagon full of food, bikes, dogs, beer, and pillows to spend the whole weekend camping and racing and drinking said beers.
Double Cross is two days of cyclocross races on Saturday and Sunday. Going into it, I was pretty optimistic about racing one day with the Clydes and another day with the SS (singlespeed) category. After a pre-ride early on Saturday I realized right away that it was a day to bust out the singlespeed mountain bike and give a spin in the SS category (as I’ve done at some ‘cross races in the past).
Going into it, I was optimistic to have a solid race WAY in the back of the pack. My main goals were to give a good effort, ride the technical parts, and not get dead last. What ended up happening was a lot more surprising.
I started the race feeling pretty good which quickly turned into a feeling of being totally destroyed. At the end of lap 3, I had done the killer steep run-up 3 times (3 more than I would like ), pushed my lungs to a limit spinning faster than I can normally manage, and figuring out a sand pit… the hard way. I was in the back, but I wasn’t doing terrible. I was ahead of a few people and had only been lapped by the heroically fast dude (Luke Demoe) leading the SS race.
Trying not to look like a fool in the sand.
Into my 4th lap, I was passed by about 5-6 other racers. 2 more racers passed on the good line as I headed into the long singletrack section. This section was a pretty tight run with mostly a single line the whole way and plenty of loose dirt/sand to toss your wheel around.
“Right behind you!” I heard from someone to my back near the last of the singletrack section. It was a SS racer who was lapping me. I responded “OK!”, as I wasn’t sure what he wanted me to do. This exchange was in what I believed to be a tight section with very little space. I was exhausted and trying to push harder, so making space for another rider wasn’t my priority.
This is where my memory feels clear, but with the mix of frustration and adrenaline may have warped everything a bit. The facts are true, but how exactly it went down may be colored by the moment.
FACT: We argued about whether or not I was DQ’d for being lapped.
WHAT I REMEMBER: He seemed rushed and asked me to move over. I declined. He and I squabbled a bit about whether I was DQ’d for being lapped or not. I wasn’t happy about the conversation. We cussed at each other a bit.
FACT: He attempted to pass me on my left.
WHAT I REMEMBER: He moved forward on top of me, and I felt his handlebars brush my left knee. I wasn’t happy about this, either, not one bit. Not from being lapped, but I felt like my space and safety was being threatened.
FACT: I leaned into him and extended my elbow (possibly a few times)
WHAT I REMEMBER: To convey my discomfort with his move on my line and my own anger about the situation, I threw my elbow out and leaned into him. He was close enough that both of those things made significant contact. I rode the line, which tossed him off the singletrack. I didn’t feel like I leaned excessively or violently jabbed my elbows as he wasn’t flung off his bike.
FACT: He grabbed/palmed my side and shoved me off the line.
WHAT I REMEMBER: He shoved me, which actually didn’t move me much, but did force me to try putting my foot down. I scrapped into a stump and some blackberry bushes and tangled my wheel into a large stick. I tried to rip out of the stick as he took off on the line. I was jamming up against his bike while trying to thrash my wheel loose. I also remember yelling something stupid like “sweet! Keep pedaling to that DQ!” or something.
FACT: I reported the shove to the officials at the pit.
WHAT I REMEMBER: I attempted to get back in the saddle and finish out the race, but my wheel was rubbing up against my chainstay. I shouldered it and ran to the pit. I relayed to Jordan what happened. He asked me if I would come with him to talk it out with the other rider. I did not want to. Not because I was afraid of the confrontation, but because I was pretty pissed and afraid I may escalate it even more.
What a stupid and shitty situation right? Why the hell do two grown men get into this kind of bologna after paying money to have fun on our bikes?!
But all of this above isn’t really what I wanted to talk about. The other rider, David, and I have talked since and been able to sort it out. He gave a serious apology and I gave mine. We both got carried away. We both said and did stupid shit and were both able to see that after the fact.
What I wanted to talk about were some seriously gnarly sentiments I’ve now heard from some other riders. This was a fairly small event, but it’s also a fairly small cycling community. I’ve now seen some folks, who I always thought were pretty cool, saying some pretty disparaging things.
It bums me out.
It bums me out that folks believe others don’t belong in a certain race, thoughts like “get faster or get out of the way”, that situations like the above are somehow squarely the fault of a slower rider.
One of the first things I started to think about was Ernest Gagnon. When I first read his story I was so excited on a number of different levels. First, because this dude was doing something so rad to make himself feel better. Second, that the cycling community was being so supportive of him. And third, but most important to me, was because while I don’t match the weight and challenges that Ernest has faced pursuing cycling I DO understand what it means to be an overweight dude in the cycling community.
I know what it means to silently put out 5 times the effort to climb the same hill as everyone else on the ride.
I know what it means to have to replace seat-binding bolts, drivetrains, wheels, saddles because you absolutely destroy them just by using them.
I know what it means to order skinsuits at the largest possible size, only to have them still be too small and make you look like some sort of fairy-tale character.
I know EXACTLY what it means to be a huge fucking dude who loves a sport full of people who are WAY better at it than you.
But, like I’m assuming Ernest does, I’ve learned to silence all those voices in my head. I’ve learned to get on my bike and pedal pedal pedal, and not think about how much harder I have to work for the same gains as other dudes.
All because I love this sport and I love riding my bike.
So what does this have to do with me being bummed out?
It has to do with the sorts of hypocrisy I see in the cycling communities. I see them in myself.
We want a dude like Ernest to ride, but we don’t want him in front of us. We want bikes and racing to be a open sport, finding new participants and greater popularity, but not at the cost of “my race” or “my points”, “me me me me me”.
I didn’t race Sunday. I told Christina it was because I didn’t like the course, hell, I told myself it was because I didn’t like the course. But it was really because I could silence the voices that day. All those little doubts in myself, all the reasons I have to walk away from even trying to race or give an effort.
I don’t blame my friends/acquaintances/fellow cyclists for me feeling that way about myself. Those are my feelings to manage.
I just wanted to speak my mind and hope that maybe some of them would think before they comment and talk about situations they really don’t understand.
We all have our weight to bear, some more literally then others. Until we learn to help with the lifting, shits only gonna get harder.
We haven’t been blogging here since our wedding wesbite (see archived here) took over last March. Well, we’re married now.
The wedding was a smash and we enjoyed every moment with our friends and family.
We also had a chance to honeymoon in BEAUTIFUL Poipu, Kauai, HI. (PHOTOS HERE)
Stay tuned for our official wedding photos. Until then, the blog is going back up and hopefully some posts soon too!