Doing More With Less Since 1972

Category: Thinking (Page 1 of 13)

The Promise Of Perfect Jiu Jitsu

The other day I wrote a post on “What Makes Jiu Jitsu Fun For You?” laying out my top personal reason for continuing to train. As I was writing it, I had a realization and line of thought that didn’t really jibe with that post, but is something I wanted to pursue separately–there’s more to why I train than just the fun. Don’t get me wrong–it’s mostly about the fun. But there are other reasons as well. And one of the biggest is the concept of “Perfect Jiu Jitsu.”

I’m not sure if there’s an “according-to-Hoyle” idea of perfect jiu jitsu, but I have one that I’m able to wrap my tiny little brain around, and it’s pretty freaking awesome.

Perfect jiu jitsu is, while playing in the rules of jiu jitsu, the ability to convince your opponent they have no hope of survival. Perfect jiu jitsu achieves this by doing nothing other than accepting the choices the opponent makes and responding only in ways to which the opponent does not resist.

So, obviously, no striking or biting or anything like that. But…wherever they want to place their hands, you allow it. Conversely, you allow them to object (by resistance) to ANY hand placement you choose. Same goes for feet, head, legs, etc. They are allowed to do whatever they want. You don’t do anything they don’t allow. And you still get them to tap. Oh, and the person you just defeated can effortlessly beat everyone in the world except for you.

Now, that’s PERFECT JIU JITSU. I know it isn’t possible. It’s just an aspirational goal–people may aspire to achieve, but no one will actually get there.

There are people who dedicate their lives to achieving perfect jiu jitsu. They are aware they’ll never get there either, but it’s a concept that is so powerful and alluring, that they feel it’s worth a lifetime of work to reach for.

I’m not one of those people.

So, if it’s not something that’s achievable by anyone, and I’m not even one of the people who’s willing to dedicate myself to achieving it, why am I even bothering to write this post? How does the existence of the idea of perfect jiu jitsu even motivate me?

Because I see the beauty of the idea of perfect jiu jitsu. I’m aware of how effective jiu jitsu is when done poorly, by someone without special talent, who trains a few times a week, holds down a regular job, takes their kids to activities, eats an imperfect diet, and has a million other things going on.

That may sound like a pretty accurate description of me, but I’m not talking about me. The guy I just described will utterly destroy me at jiu jitsu. That’s how magic it is. If they guy I just described can beat me so easily, what must close-to-perfect jiu jitsu look and feel like.

I can’t fathom what that may be, but I want to be a part of the movement towards it.

And the reason I really wrote this post is that:

The concept of practicing something that can be abstracted into an idea that is beautiful and yet unattainable scales both horizontally and vertically, and it’s the stuff that a meaningful life is made of.

[image credit]

What Make Jiu Jitsu Fun For You?

Not, “why do you do it?”

What makes it fun?

Maybe it’s not fun for you. Maybe it’s a “have to” for some reason or another. But I haven’t encountered many people who feel this way about it. I think it’s a pretty fun activity for most of us.

It’s ironic, because a huge amount of time spent in jiu jitsu is spent losing, suffering, dealing with discomfort, being humbled, feeling vulnerable, taking steps backwards, plateauing, getting bruised and mat-burned, and suffering from the occasional minor injury and constant back/hand pain.

And I didn’t even mention that some of us are daily forced to deal with the fact that we are old and quickly declining.

Have I convinced you to start training yet? 😀

Somehow, it’s fun. It’s the thing that always puts us in a good mood and makes us smile. For some, it’s one of their only sources of happiness.

I can’t answer for anyone else, but for me jiu jitsu is fun because it’s magic. As much as it taxes my body, it is constantly tickling and amazing my mind. It’s constantly causing me to question what I know.

How can someone so much smaller than me control me that way?

How can they continue to control me in the exact same way, even after they’ve shown me exactly what they are doing and how to stop them?

Why did that simple adjustment that makes all the difference elude me for so long. And it’s so simple and obvious–why didn’t I see it myself?

Why are so many of my natural intuitive motions so incorrect?

Why is this guy asking me for advice–can’t he see I know nothing?

Why am I giving this guy advice? I’m 100% positive there’s someone out there who can show me why everything I just said is absolutely wrong.

Is he even trying this round? Did he just give me that? WHY did he just give me that? Is this a trap? Does he think this trap is going to work? Why didn’t I see the REAL trap?

I guess, for me, the reason it’s fun is because it’s a series of difficult puzzles that, once solved, reveal themselves to only be a small part of an infinite number of larger, increasingly difficult puzzles.

I realized a while back that I’m not an outcome-driven person. I’m an experience and journey driven person. Endless puzzles with ever-changing parameters…where do I sign up?

I Was Wrong (Again)

More than once in the past 10 years, we’ve had a discussion in our house about eating meat. I live with four women (don’t bother setting up a GoFundMe on my behalf–money is not the answer), and they’ve all expressed regret/guilt over eating animals at one time or another.

My wife and my girls are all big animal lovers. They have a ton of compassion for just about any kind of animal, excluding spiders for one of them. I see this as a strength. From their interactions with animals, I know they are all growing up to be young women who will be loving and nurturing mothers. I mean, if you feel this way about animals, just imagine how you’ll feel about your own babies, right? I love animals too, but outside of our dogs, my connection to them isn’t on the same level as theirs.

Anyway, every conversation around the morality of eating meat usually contains at least one instance of me saying, “Well, in theory, you shouldn’t eat any animal you aren’t willing to kill yourself.”

Seems logical. Seems reasonable. But it’s wrong.

As the girls have matured, we’ve started having other conversations about the differences between men and women and how they lean towards certain traits and behaviors. We not only talk about the difference, but how these differences compliment one another. We talk a lot about how our differences help us fit together like puzzle pieces.

My kids often see me as a brute, especially when my thoughts and actions are held up to their more empathetic and nurturing tendencies. The idea of doing something like hunting down an animal, killing it, leaving its guts in the woods, and cutting its carcass up sounds absolutely barbaric to them.

I grew up hunting. We didn’t hunt “just for fun.” We stocked a freezer with the deer we took down every year. My personal experience with hunting was that I didn’t enjoy it all that much. I liked being out in the woods and just sitting quietly, I just didn’t like getting up early and being cold. But I never had a problem with killing an animal, because I knew we were going to eat it. In fact, it made me feel like I was helping to provide for my family whenever I killed an animal. In that way, it was really good for me, and overall a very positive experience.

I haven’t hunted at all as an adult, but I’m all for it. And I feel confident in knowing I could capably do it again if I needed to. And that, coupled with the knowledge of the different strengths men and women bring to the table, is why I was wrong to say they shouldn’t animals they aren’t willing to kill.

The truth is…

They should not eat animals that I am not willing to kill.

Bacon for breakfast girls! I got this.

I’m From

I’ve been working on this for a while, but sporadically. I don’t know if it’s finished or if it ever will be finished. This is really scary for me. But here’s what I got so far…


I’m from a hillside bushed by more wild black berries than your belly can bear
From the hottest two weeks of July
From an big orange ‘mater patiently ripening itself on a windowsill
From yesterday’s sweet tea
From cold banana puddin’
From a fried baloney sandwich on white bread
I’m from a mess of turnip greens in a paper sack

I’m from lightnin’ bugs
From June bugs
From grasshoppers
From tadpoles
From crawdads
From house flies

I’m from skeeters
From ticks
From chiggers

I’m from a section of gravel road darkened by a dense deciduous canopy
From the car-caused rattle of a one-lane wooden bridge
From going up the hill in 2nd
From going through The Holler in 4th
From stop signs that everybody just kinda rolls right through
I’m from within walkin’ distance of the County Line

I’m from a gulp of chilly October air spiced by a simmering barn-pot of dark fire

I’m from a ghost man on first and a five Mississippi rush

I’m from hayrides
From cake walks
From turkey shoots
From bonfires
From fish fries
From going to church after school to watch a fight
I’m from leaving in a hurry when The Law comes

I’m from potluck dinners and living room jams
From country and coffee
From bluegrass and butter cookies
From a good-hearted woman
From a fox on the run
From a real life cacophony of Cadillac Cowboys
I’m from, “If you get lost, go back to G and wait on us”

I’m from climbing higher than I want to in a tree
From being more scared of not climbing it
From everything looking different after daylight
From Hank Jr. and Haggard on loop
I’m from leaving the tailgate down if you got one

I’m from the smell of chainsaw fumes mixed with sawdust
From sledge hammer stings on cold hands
From armloads of kindling
From emptying the ash box
I’m from the warmest spot in front of a wood-burning stove

I’m from walking The Creek with a Zebco 33 and a Winchester 22
From splashes at a rope swing
From handfuls of cold sips at a spring
I’m from having a sharp eye for good skippin’ rocks

I’m from always carrying a knife
From an outside dog as a running buddy
From a healthy respect for barbed wire fences
From knowing I can handle pretty much anything on my own

I’m from figuring out the day as I go
From more space than I know what to do with
From having plenty of time for all of it

I’m from having my name known by men
Whose names are known by everyone I know

I’m from no gloves
From no sunscreen
From no complaining
From a big spread at lunch
From having to work hard to scrub hard work off your hands

I’m from being led not into temptation
I’m from being delivered from evil

I’m from never thinking my childhood
Would be much more like my father’s
Than my children’s

I’m from the realization that what I’m from isn’t there anymore
I’m from the regret of not taking it with me when I left
I’m from the comfort of knowing it came with me anyway

Shadow Ban Myself To Spite My Face

Social media is so weird. I primarily use Twitter. I have a presence on other platforms, but I’m not active. They are mostly there so I can loosely keep up with rugby and jiu jitsu people from my past.

But to say that it’s a free exchange of ideas and a platform where everyone has a voice is kind of silly. Not everyone has an equal voice. For example, I could have a really good (or really bad) idea that I want to share…

I could tweet, “I think ______.” and get no response.

YouTock McInstagram could tweet the exact same thing a month later and start a huge conversation around it.

I’m not complaining here–I don’t want all the attention, responsibility, and eventual grief that would go along with having that kind of presence.

But I think it’s funny that I’ve basically shadow banned myself on Twitter simply by being so boring and unengaging. I don’t think there’s any amount of novel ideas that could reverse that situation.

My Enterprise Architecture Christmas Wish

If I could pick one Christmas with to be granted this year, it’d be to go back in time and change my relationship with enterprise and/or solution architecture modeling tools.

Instead of starting my tool usage with unlimited options for modeling standards and trying to navigate all the possible ways to model the environment, I’d like to start with a small set of modeling standards and trying to figure out a way to model what I need within those parameters.

I’m thinking Archimate, UML, and BPMN.

I’d like to make this the box I’m willing/allowed to play in, and figure it out from there.

Luckily, whether or not this happens now is mostly within my control!

Heard from a preacher man…

“God has a plan, and he has a universe. You may think you have a better plan…

But you don’t have a universe.”

Wolves, Wolf Dogs, and Pets

Most Pets think they are Wolves and that most other people are Pets.

Some Wolf-Dogs think they are Wolves; they’ve never encountered an actual Wolf.

Some Wolf-Dogs know they are Wolf-Dogs; they’ve been up-close and personal with a Wolf.

Wolf-Dogs know a Pet when they see one.

Wolves may be aware of other Wolves, but that’s not a factor for them. For all practical purposes, everything that isn’t them is a Pet.

The reason I wanted to share this tweet was because I recently had a realization about this situation at a more macro level.

Some Background

A couple of weeks ago we took our kids to visit the Shy Wolf Sanctuary in Naples. This facility houses lots of different animals, and they’ve done genetic testing on them all to identify the percentage of wolf and dog in each one. Most of the animals are 50-60% dog. They are still dangerous animals, but are more social and used to people, and are near the front of the facility. Even at first glance your brain immediately registers that, “Oh…this isn’t just a dog.”

Wolf-Dogs are dangerous. But they can be sweet and get along with the rest of us in most cases. There’s an issue every now and then maybe, but for the most part, they’re probably best described as really tough/scrappy dogs that could quite possibly lose it on you if you aren’t careful. So be careful and aware with them.

As you go farther into the facility, you reach enclosures housing animals that are almost all wolf. When you make eye contact, you know the difference between a wolf and a wolf-dog.

Like…please do NOT put me in that enclosure. Please.

How That Relates To Men

Being around these animals gave me a spark of inspiration/realization that I think accurately demonstrates how people (mostly men) perceive their world, and how their perceptions are horribly skewed, especially in this era of general comfort and security.

There are Wolves. There are Wolf-Dogs. And there are Pets.

Most men think they are Wolves, but they are actually just Pets. They’ve never actually been tested. They’ve definitely never encountered a Wolf (that they know of); probably never even smelled one. They don’t really even have a concept of what a Wolf is. It’s just a word, and they think it applies to them because they have all the same physical parts as a Wolf.

Then there are Wolf-Dogs. I put myself in this category. I know a lot of other Wolf-Dogs too. But Wolf-Dogs are separated into two different groups–those who know we are Wolf Dogs, and those who, like Pets, think they are Wolves. But it’s obvious to all Wolf-Dogs that Pets definitely are NOT Wolves.

How do Wolf-Dogs become self-aware? How do we come to the conclusion that we are neither Wolves nor Pets? It’s actually pretty simple–you have to be exposed to both Wolves and Pets to understand that you lie somewhere in the middle. It’s easy to have an encounter with a Pet. They are everywhere. In fact, it’s almost impossible to avoid them. And you know that you aren’t a Pet, which is why so many Wolf-Dogs mistakenly believe themselves to be Wolves: “If I’m not a Pet, I must be a Wolf.”

I think (pure conjecture) that most Pets have the capacity to transform themselves into Wolf-Dogs. Like the tweet above implies, it just takes an awareness of where you lie and a commitment to become a Wolf-Dog. Exposure to a Wolf-Dog is enough to start this journey.

But Wolves are a different story. They are rare, and you usually haven’t identified them as what they are until it’s too late. If you’ve ever encountered an actual Wolf, you knew within a few seconds that they are a different thing. Just like the delineation at the wolf sanctuary, it’s pretty obvious what the difference is.

What is an actual Wolf?

It’s a little tough to explain, but know this–a Wolf will fight you to the death without ever considering the possibility that there’s another option for resolution. A Pet doesn’t stand a chance against them. A Wolf-Dog may be able to inflict some damage, but they aren’t committed to the fight the way a real Wolf is. And a real Wolf will go at another real Wolf as if it were a Pet.

A real Wolf regards everything else in existence as if it were a Pet, even other Wolves.

How Does This Relate To BJJ/Fighting/Sports?

I think most people who train in a live-sparring martial art (wrestling, boxing, bjj, etc.), and lots of physically demanding sports, are Wolf-Dogs. And many of them may never encounter a Wolf in their sport. That’s ok–we need a lot more Wolf-Dogs than Pets in this world. But it would be nice if more of these Wolf-Dogs could encounter an actual Wolf at least once.

For example, I’ve been to a couple of amateur MMA competitions in the last few months. A lot of Wolf-Dogs in these things, and they are sorting out who the Wolves are at this level. That’s a good thing. Anybody willing to step into a cage and fight is at least Wolf-Dog in my book. In fact, they are the top of the Wolf-Dog food chain–plenty of legit Wolf-Dogs have zero interest in getting in there and risking their health just to find out where they lie in that spectrum. I’m the first to admit that I’m in that crowd.

You can watch these fights and figure out pretty quickly who isn’t a Wolf though:

  • Tap to punches? Not a Wolf.
  • Tap to fatigue? Not a Wolf.
  • Coast for the last round because you’re clearly up two rounds already? Not a wolf.

Again, I’m not throwing shade here–I wouldn’t go in there and do that against anyone, and definitely not for free.

How Do I Know So Much About Wolves?

Well, I’m not saying I do. But I’ve rolled with a couple of Wolves (top-tier fighters), and it taught me enough to know that they have something I don’t. For instance, almost everyone I’ve ever rolled with has had me mounted or been in top half guard with me at some point. When that happens, I’m thinking about applying whatever jiu jitsu I have to change the situation.

But with the Wolves, it’s different when they actually decide to turn it on. In those situations, my mind doesn’t immediately go to implementing BJJ. The first place my mind goes is the realization that this person’s instinct is to end my life in this situation. It’s palpable and it’s undeniable. There is a CLEAR difference between their ability/willingness to go to a place I don’t even want to be capable of going to.

So What Am I Saying?

I guess, if there’s any point to this (and I’m doubting there is), is that I think the world would be a better place if we all took the time to get a clear understanding of exactly what we are and where we fall in the spectrum. And we need a lot more people to level up to Wolf-Dog.

There’s nothing wrong with being a Pet necessarily, but people need to be aware of being a Pet. And if that’s what they end up choosing, they should probably be more careful with their words and actions, especially around Wolves. Wolf-Dogs are generally cool with Pets and can just laugh to themselves when they encounter one who is overstepping their abilities. Wolves are ultimately going to be a lot less forgiving, and the consequences will be more severe.

And we Wolf-Dogs need to continually seek out Wolves and get ourselves straight as well. Maybe you’ll find that you’re actually a Wolf too. But the main benefit is identifying where you are on that spectrum. Once you do, continually seek out Wolves whenever/wherever you can.

The ability to quickly identify a Wolf may pay off one day.

I just had the realization that I’m a lot like a dog that was bred for work. If I’m tasked with something difficult that requires my full attention and skill set, I’ll be happy and effective. Bonus if it’s a task that requires me to grow my skills.

But if I don’t have that job to do, I can be pretty dang annoying.

That Last Verse Of “Long Violent History”

This song hit me hard the very first time I heard the lyrics. It’s challenging to someone who grew up in the South, lives in the South, is proud to be from the South, but also has the ability to see the world through (slightly?) different lenses now and then. At least I like to believe I can–maybe that’s just a story I tell myself.

And I have to say, it really did change my perspective. It made me look at racial inequality and police brutality, oddly enough, through my own eyes. That allowed me to see the whole situation under a completely different set of eyes. Ultimately, it challenged me to find a way to reconcile these views and try to get to the truth of what is actually happening.

I’ve read/seen a lot of reaction to this song, mostly by people who I don’t think fully get what Tyler Childers is doing here. Hell, I may not 100% get the whole idea, but I think I have the background to get it better than most of the people who’ve reacted to it.

It’s really clever.

How many boys could they haul off this mountain
Shoot full of holes, cuffed and layin’ in the streets
‘Til we come into town in a stark ravin’ anger
Looking for answers and armed to the teeth?

Tyler is appealing to a couple of different things that are common in Southern culture here. If you took this question completely out of the context of the song and asked any self-respecting Southern man how he’d react to someone from his community being hauled off and killed, he’s HONOR BOUND to tell you he’d do something about it. At the very least, that’s the story he has to tell himself–he wouldn’t stand for it.

Tyler is setting up a logical trap here.

Thirty-ought-sixes,

“Hell yeah…that’s right. I’d drive in with my rifle.”

Papaw’s old pistol

“AND my Papaw’s old pistol!” *In fact, you’d feel obligated to bring that pistol to honor your Papaw, who also wouldn’t stand for this.

How many, you reckon, would it be, four or five?

Now, when I first heard this lyric, I thought it was “How many, you reckon, would it be for a fight?” I took that as Tyler pointing out that you wouldn’t be alone in that thinking–your whole community would (or at least says it would) be a part of this trip into town. That actually works too, but that’s not what he’s saying.

I now realize what he means by, “four or five”. He’s again challenging the Southern man’s honor–it wouldn’t have to happen four or five times before we’d do something about it. We’d take care of this after ONE.

Or would that be the start of a long, violent history
Of tucking our tails as we try to abide?

Now you have to choose, Southern man. Would you take up arms and do something as you claim, or would you choose to tuck tail. For a proud Southern man, there is only one choice here.

So…why do you fault anyone else for making that same choice? You think they should tuck tail?

Notice that I’m not claiming to have the answer to that question.

Photo credit, and more reading on this song.

Zwift Group Rides – Y’all Just Chill On This

It’s been a long time since I read a blog post and then wrote a blog post responding to it. Like, it’s been years. But yesterday I read this post on ZwiftInsider around group rides, giving feedback to group leaders, ranking group rides, etc.

I joined one just last week, led by a pro rider. (This, by the way, is often the kiss of death on Zwift – pro riders are notoriously bad ride leaders.) The ride details stated a pace of 2-2.5 w/kg. He messaged before the ride began to say he would be holding a pace of 2 w/kg. Then promptly launched off the front, messaging 10 minutes into the ride that the pace would be closer to 3 w/kg.

It’s funny, because last week I did a couple of group rides that I normally don’t do, and both of them went poorly. Well, poorly for some of the people doing the rides. I didn’t have a problem with the rides or the leaders, even though they didn’t stick to the advertised pace. I just rode my own ride, found a couple of other people who were doing the same, and finished my workout. But I was amused with the whiny riders complaining about the leaders. Even while I was in the rides themselves I was thinking about this. I mean, it didn’t really irritate me, because the little text/message boxes popping up on my screen with people upset with the leaders didn’t affect my ride at all.

And that’s kind of the point.

Look, a virtual group ride shouldn’t put nearly the amount of expectation on ride leaders as in-person group rides. Safety is not a concern–nobody’s getting hit by a car on the trainer. Cues and steering are not a concern–nobody is getting lost out here. And really, speed shouldn’t be a concern–at least not one big enough to get upset about.

I get it. It’s fun to “go fast” on the screen because you are riding in a big blob while only putting out 2.5 w/kg of effort. But at the end of the day, what does it matter if the leader (and most of the peloton) want to bump it up to 3.0 w/kg and you can’t keep up? Why would you get upset about this? No one is stopping you from continuing on at 2.5 w/kg. That’s on you. That’s your inability to be disciplined with your pace. Take the opportunity to work on it.

Is it because you’re trying to get PRs on Strava segments or get more “miles”? Um….this isn’t real riding. What you’re really doing on a trainer is X watts for Y minutes. Spoiler alert–you aren’t actually going anywhere.

So if you don’t like the way the group ride is going, don’t complain. Just ride. Or just get off your bike. It’s not like the leader drug you out 25 miles away from your house. You’re already home. And guess what. There’s probably another virtual group ride starting up in 30 minutes or so.

Then you can get mad at whoever is leading that one. They are probably getting paid exactly the same thing ($0) as the person who was leading the last ride you whined about.

I get the point of the post is that there should be a way to provide feedback, but that’s so the leaders can get better and have more successful rides in the future. I’m all for that. What I experienced last week was anger and whininess during the ride. The feature I’d ask for is the ability to mute the Debbie Downers.

Overthinking “Good Lord Lorrie” – Part I

If you don’t know this song listen to it. Now. Just listen. It’s beautiful. Or you could read the lyrics and approach it as a poem. It’s deserving.

I’ve spent way too much time thinking about this song. It’s not getting old to me at all. I’ve been listening to it for at least 8 years, and it keeps getting better and better. This song keeps revealing more of itself to me as the years go by. I’ve even read a few other critiques and commentary about it, and I think they’re fair and (almost?) accurate, but I think they were based on people with limited listens.

I’m sorry, but this song just can’t be properly considered with only two or three years worth of listening–not by someone with my limited aptitude. Your mileage my vary. As I peel the onion back, I have to conclude that either Evan Felkner is an absolute genius, or I’m wasting my time uncovering clues and meaning that were never intentionally left. Radio silence on Evan’s part right now, so I’m going with the former.

So I just want to break down one little section of the song that took me down a rabbit hole. It’s the ambiguous placement of the words “I guess” in the leadup to the chorus. On the first few listens, it seems like it’s simply a way to find a rhyme with “loneliness”. But if you listen closely, “I guess” is a phrase used to bridge two statements, and there’s some ambiguity as to which statement “I guess” goes with.

When he sings it, it’s spaced like a run on sentence:

I’ve been livin’ with the loneliness.

It’s got down in my bones I guess it’s just another phase of bein’ free.

So, does he mean it like this?

I’ve been livin’ with the loneliness.

It’s got down in my bones I guess.

It’s just another phase of bein’ free.

Or does he mean it like this?

I’ve been livin’ with the loneliness.

It’s got down in my bones.

I guess it’s just another phase of bein’ free.

Why does it even matter? Well, because one thing is a definite statement, while the other is the narrator’s supposition. It all depends on how you read/hear it.

This weighed on my mind for a while. Yes, I do have more pressing issues, but there’s no harm in taking some time to appreciate someone else’s hard work/art and trying to understand it on the level it deserves. I went back and forth on what he meant, and I landed on the second reading as the answer.

I was happy to have some resolution, and I decided to listen to the full song again with this little piece of knowledge.

As I was listening, I realized I’d been swerved. Everything else that’s revealed to us in the song just didn’t add up to my conclusion. This guy is a screw up. He doesn’t know anything.

That’s when my mind was blown. I think Evan meant it both ways–he’s just a damn efficient song writer. “I guess” works as both the end of one line and as the beginning of another. It would be read like this in prose:

I’ve been livin’ with the loneliness.

It’s got down in my bones I guess.

I guess it’s just another phase of bein’ free.

He’s “guessing” about the whole situation. Just listen to the end of the song…

Guess her folks were right. Guess her folks were right. Guess her folks were right.

Also, when he says, “I had good intentions ’til I had to many. I was stupid I suppose”. And then there’s “Good Lord Lorrie I love you, could it go more wrong?”

This dude is “guessing” and “supposing” all over the place. Could it go more wrong? He doesn’t know. Even Lorrie herself says, “I wonder what we went through all this trouble for.” Between the two of them, there’s lots of wondering, guessing, and supposing.

Maybe you have to have truly been in love to understand the absolute certainty that you were absolutely meant to be together.

But these two? They don’t have that certainty. Nothing revealed in the song anywhere reveals any kind of certainty existing between them. It never did.

He’s “learning how to lose a thing he never laid a hand on”.

The only thing that is certain is that none of their relationship was ever certain.

Cryptocurrency – Here’s What War Is Good For

I get the technology. I understand (basically) how the blockchain works. What I don’t understand is how cryptocurrencies represent stores of value.

I’ll give you an alternative definition of a currency–extremely simplified: Something an organization with some level of military power says it will accept as payment for resources/services/products. And they’ll let OTHER PEOPLE use it also.

The military power is a really important piece of this.

If you or your friends (allies) can’t or won’t physically protect my resources and products from being taken by someone else, I won’t have a lot of faith in your currency.

If you or your friends (allies) can’t or won’t physically prevent someone from forcing me to provide services at gunpoint, I don’t have a lot of faith in your currency.

On tougher terms: if you and your friends (allies) don’t have the capacity to take resources from another organization, I don’t have a lot of faith in your currency.

We could debate the question of to what degree the United States government is willing to provide this protection all day. But I don’t see how cryptos can accomplish this at all, unless they are government backed cryptos.

I’m not pro or anti cryptocurrencies–just explaining what I don’t understand about them being a store of value. And I know this can be picked apart–go ahead. It’s simply a mental exercise to try and figure out where these things fit together.

Covid Vaccine Experience Part II

Yesterday was the day. I’d scheduled my appointment for early in the morning, and I’m glad I did.

Pretty normal–got the injection at 7:45, then hung out for 15 minutes just to make sure there’s no adverse reaction. Around 1:00 in the afternoon I started feeling a little tired. Not really sick, just like I needed a nap. That’s kind of normal for me at that time of day anyway.

By 7:00 pm I was getting sick. This is the only time I’ve felt this way and been happy about it. If your body is responding to the vax, it’s doing its job and the immune system is ramping up.

It wasn’t horrible–maybe like a really mild and really short flu. I was a little achy, had some chills, and was pretty tired. Luckily, I woke up this morning and most of that had passed. I had a slightly sore throat and a little bit of congestion, but the worst of the symptoms passed overnight.

Hopefully things will continue to improve as the day goes on and I can get back on the bike tonight!

Coronavirus Vaccine Experience Part I

Not much to report around the experience with the vaccine itself, more about the experience of the experience.

First of all, I’ve already had several people ask why/how I was able to get it so fast (first injection on December 23). In short, it was a result of my employer’s (a hospital and health care company) plan for distribution. While front line staff had first dibs, the vaccine was offered up to supporting staff as well. I get their logic–these are the people supporting the front line people, and we need them to be healthy as well. Plus, we have to distribute this stuff before it goes bad.

I also get the other side of the argument; it doesn’t make sense that a healthy person with no pre-existing conditions would get to go early, no matter what. And I guess that’s a lot of what this post is about–the thoughts/emotions that came with the vaccination.

A month ago, there was no way I was going to take this vaccine. My assumption was that I wasn’t even going to be eligible for it until late spring at the earliest. Beyond that, I wasn’t sure about the new technology. In fact I was suspicious of it. So why take the chance on new technology when everyone else has been vaccinated anyway.

But when I received an email telling me I could get on the list, things changed. It was a little like someone asking me if I was hungry and I replied no. And then they tell me they have ice cream.

On the day I was eligible to sign up I went on a run to try to figure this out. I came to a few conclusion during that four miles:

  • I needed to learn about the new vaccine tech before dismissing it
  • By taking the vaccine early, I could eliminate a bunch of threat vectors for my family. I could take over the bulk of the food shopping and things requiring contact with others
  • I could get back to jiu jitsu at some point in the foreseeable future (selfish)
  • I could donate plasma during the time period that I have antibodies and maybe help someone else recover. Also, counterbalances the selfish part above. Hey…I need to rationalize that away
  • Most importantly, any risks associated with the vaccine are probably less likely and less severe than risks associated with infection. It has been closing in around us lately, and at some point the scales tip and you are choosing virus over vaccine. No thanks.

After watching this video on the technology, I was quickly over that concern. I won’t try to pretend that I know anything about the immune system and how cells operate. Just watch it.

Talked it over with The Missus, and she supported my logic. She’s not quite ready to take it yet, but she doesn’t have ice cream being waved in front of her face like I was either.

This is getting long, so I’ll skip ahead to sitting in the chair and getting the shot.

It was a weird mix of feelings. “The end is in sight.” contrasted by “You’re four weeks away–don’t mess up now.”

I had to stop by the grocery store on the way home from my appointment, and it was slammed (day before Christmas Eve). I was suddenly a little paranoid about being around so many people. I really didn’t want to mess this up.

I haven’t really written about it, but paranoia is a new feeling for me throughout all this. We’ve been pretty careful, but not paranoid. No need in taking unnecessary risks, and definitely wear a mask, wash hands, etc., but we haven’t locked ourselves in our home either. We’ve met up with people at the beach, our kids play outside with other kids (just no hugging and stuff), and I even got on a plane so I could drive a moving truck from TN to FL for my parents.

All of a sudden, Covid is on my mind more than ever. I’m now aware of every little cough, scratch in the throat, sneeze. For the first few days that was an awareness of reacting to the vaccine, but now it’s really focused on Don’t. Mess. Up.

But no reactions, and no infections. So far. I’ll update if anything changes, and will definitely have more to say after my second round of shots. It’s scheduled, and I’ll be going to donate blood soon after so I can have my antibodies verified.

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