Doing More With Less Since 1972

Category: Thinking (Page 2 of 13)

I Hate New Year Resolutions

If you think about it, it’s a little strange to decide to make major changes based on some arbitrary time when a number changes on a piece of paper.

Still, we’re human, and I guess we need these imaginary lines to psychologically break up time; this year more than any other in our lifetimes.

But I’m not making resolutions. I mean, I’m definitely making some changes that coincide with the calendar change, but they aren’t really resolutions. The timing is merely a coincidence. So…listed in no particular order:

Blogging

When we moved from FL to Las Vegas a few years ago, I cut back on blogging a lot. I’ll write later about the reasons why, all the other changes that happened, etc. But I do plan on updating things here much more often. Not because anything I have to say needs to be read, but because it helps me to write it.

Going past actually writing, I think there’s something therapeutic/cathartic about putting it out in the world to be seen, even if it’s not widely read. It feels weird to make yourself a little vulnerable and realize that you’re still ok.

This one is really important because it’s my outlet to talk about everything else on this list.

Cycling

I was really into cycling on Trainer Road a few years ago. It looks like I’m going to be transitioning over to Zwift, and I plan on talking about why along with tracking some of the technical stuff around it.

There’s a whole other aspect to this beyond training–lots of emotions tied up in it. Again, lots to say later, but the passing of my friend Bill this year ultimately led to a fire being lit under my behind.

Running

Religion? Therapy? I don’t know. It will take a lot of long runs to figure this out, but it’s something I’ve brought back into my life more this year. I didn’t know how much I was missing it. I have a lot to say about how my feelings around running have changed and this new need I feel to protect it.

Brazilian Jiu Jitsu

Holy moly do I miss BJJ. I can’t wait to go back, and the end is in sight. Taking all this time off has given me a chance to reflect on how bjj plays into my physical and mental health. Like running, it’s something I need to protect. Both are activities I don’t want to risk being sidelined from.

Enterprise Architecture and TOGAF

Wow. There’s a switch in topics. I’ve spent the last year reading and studying a lot. Again, lots to say here, but all of it can wait until after I take my last exam and have a certification that can’t be rescinded.

Rugby

Greatest game ever. As years pass, I’m increasingly amazed at the breadth and depth of impact rugby has had on my life.

I wish I could have just one more season in a 28 year old body.

Coronavirus

The Missus and I have spent a lot of time this year thinking and talking about this. Shocking, right? Some about the specifics around the actual virus, but a lot more about it’s implications for our family and society going forward. I think our experience and journey through this has been really healthy, but it has made me look at our culture/society a little differently.

Other Stuff

As I’ve gotten older, I’m subscribing less and less to “isms”. I think that’s because I’ve realized I don’t really have any answers and neither does anyone else. There are so many nuances to everything. Oh to have just one more day of being young and knowing everything (or anything). I’ve shied away from writing about politically charged stuff for years, but I think it may be easier for me now that I have more questions than answers.

Besides that, I’ve been listening to great music, reading some cool books, and reading some trendy books. I should share, or at least leave some thoughts I can refer to later.

I’ve gotten hooked on some really interesting stuff on YouTube. And while I haven’t been posting here, I’ve written quite a bit as well. Mostly on Twitter (lol), but also done some gratitude journaling (how trendy), and even had to get up in the middle of the night to get a poem out of my head.

Yeah…not really ready to share that yet.

Things I want to learn more about

Spanish, literature, music theory, economics, etc. This list is ever-expanding, and I’ve come to the realization I think a lot of people come to–I’m running out of time to cram all this in.

I’m not editing this. I’m just hitting publish.

An Amazing Friend and Teammate

On July 23, 2020 I woke up to the horrible news that we’d lost Bill McArthur to Covid.

If you knew Bill but don’t know me, it’s probably easiest to introduce myself in relation to Bill (“Tiny”). Professionally, Bill was the best leader I’ve ever worked for. He was one of the best teammates I ever had. Most importantly, he was also one of my closest friends and he had a tremendous impact on my life and family.

Without going into details that are embarrassing for me, the beginnings of my relationship with Bill can be explained pretty simply–his gracious, accepting, and easy-going nature was so strong that it made up for my “personality challenges”. To be fair, he also gets most of the credit for us continuing to be close over the years and allowing me to get to know Stacey, Sarah, and Billy along with his parents and siblings.

I’m guessing what I’ve already said Bill’s personality rings true with Bill’s family, anyone who worked with Bill, competed alongside him, or had the opportunity to be his buddy.

I’m lucky that I got to see the way he carried himself in all of those situations.

Bill was genuine, authentic, and consistent in every setting. “Mr. McArthur” the Leader (wha?!), “Tiny” the Teammate, “Big” Bill the Friend, and Husband/Dad/Uncle Bill were all the same person.

Bill loved rugby, so I don’t think he’d mind me making this easier on myself by using the game to frame what I want to say. If your relationship with Bill was strictly professional, just stick with me for a minute. You may think you only knew Bill in a work setting, but when I describe who he was as a rugby player, you’ll clearly see the guy you know in a suit and tie.

Same guy, just muddier.

If you’re loosely familiar with rugby, you may have seen a scrum. There’s an aptly named position in the scrum–Prop. As the name implies, props are the people everyone else is leaning on in the scrum. Props are the foundation of the scrum. Imagine being in the center of over 1.5 tons of mass pushing in opposing directions. Without good props, scrums are pretty much just a big pile of injuries.  Props are the ones who make sure that a rugby match is able to restart safely so that the other 26 guys on the team get to have fun in between scrums.

Scott Adcox and Bill McArthur New Orleans 2014

In rugby and in life, Bill was a prop. He didn’t play prop….he WAS a prop.

Props do the least glamorous and most grueling work. They don’t get the recognition they deserve, except maybe from the guys who have tried to fill in at prop. Not all leaders are props, but all good props are leaders.  Bill was the best kind of prop. He worked tirelessly for the goal, but Bill never made the achievement about himself. He didn’t care about receiving the credit, just the progress of the team. He led by example instead of by rah-rah. He was the kind of teammate who made you want to give your all because he deserved your best.

It only takes one or two guys like Bill on a team to create a positive culture in which everyone feels accountable to the cause. In every situation, Bill wasn’t just a role player, he was always a leader in setting a positive and successful tone. I’m sure it’s obvious, but I’m not just talking about rugby here. Family, Sports, work, whatever–groups of people who feel that connection and responsibility to one another are groups that succeed and thrive.

I could run down a pretty extensive list of Bill’s professional achievements, but I think Bill’s memory is better served by mentioning the joy he received  in helping other people achieve their goals.

By being a prop.

Bill was passionate about other people’s growth and development. When Bill asked you where you wanted to be in 5 years, he didn’t want to hear what you were going to accomplish on behalf of your employer. He wanted you to have a vision for YOU and YOUR family. Family meant everything to him, and as a leader he wanted what was best for you and your family. If you didn’t have a plan, he’d help you come up with one. And he wanted to help you get there with education, opportunity, and mentoring along the way. He was full of generosity. He was always proud to see someone on his team growing and knowing that he was able to play prop for them.

I’d be remiss if I didn’t point out the one area where Work Bill and Play Bill may not have matched up perfectly. As much as Bill loved seeing his team achieve amazing things, he also enjoyed laughing with (hardly ever at) his buddies when they achieved absolute ridiculousness.

Bill loved to be around people who were having a good time and enjoying themselves–especially the people that he loved. It’s not his fault that some of the people he loved have unconventional ideas about what constitutes a good time.

He always did his part (usually more than his part) to help create the best experience possible. Even if you were making a mistake, he’d be there to support you. He was always encouraging and positive and always believed in you.

Bill never said things like, “I don’t think you can do that” or “that’s a crazy idea”

Instead he’d say, “Nah…I really think you’ll be able to digest it” or “It’s not illegal. It’s only a health code violation”

In all seriousness though, one of the things Bill helped me learn is that the best feeling in the world was helping other people get to a place that makes their life better. I really believe he chased that feeling every day–maybe the only selfish thing he did. He made the most of his opportunities to have a positive influence on everyone he came into contact with.

For his family, friends, teammates, and coworkers, I hope Bill’s legacy is the memory of how hard he worked for you. We should aspire to continue that legacy and continue to work hard for each other and support each other.

Be a prop everywhere you can.

For those who made it to the highlight reel of Bill’s best stories, please continue to do things to make him smile down on you. When you get the urge to do something stupid that won’t hurt anyone else, don’t hesitate. You can do it!!!

Please take video, and please tag me in the post.

One of rugby’s best traditions happens immediately after every match when both teams cheering each other and the referee off the field. Even when you don’t get the ending you hoped for, the last act of every match is an expression of your appreciation for everyone involved in creating the experience.

Three cheers for Tiny.

New Divide?

I can’t help but wonder if, even after all of this is “over”, we are going to be polarized along the lines of the two camps of “covidiots” and “alarmists”.

No matter where you stand today, chances are the health impacts won’t be exactly what you think they’ll be. They’ll be either more severe or less severe.

Same goes for impacts on the economy–none of us are probably spot on at this point in our predictions of exactly what will happen.

And then there’s the a whole different discussion around the impact on civil liberties.

But as we sit down to eat Thanksgiving dinner with 20 other people this year (I’m betting that won’t happen until NEXT year), will there be an anger lurking under the surface for some of us?

Is one person going to be mad at another because they didn’t take this seriously enough and added to the problem?

Or because they were in the camp that wanted to lock everything down unnecessarily and crash the economy?

I’m out of the loop and isolated for the most part, but I don’t see this one breaking down on political lines.

Not the pre-virus political lines anyway.

10 Day Hiatus

I will be back to long-form blogging again soon. You know–more time to read the analysis about BJJ training than I spent actually training.

I’m nursing a minor self-diagnosed MCL tear, so I’m taking a little time off to heal. Silver lining is that I’ve also had a sinus infection for the past few days, which makes it easy to not go and train. I’ve just stayed away from the gym completely.

In the meantime, here’s a picture of me choking Mr. Norm, which will probably never happen in real life.

UFC Fans Getting Worked

I don’t follow UFC that closely any more, but let me get this straight…

Conor McGregor refused to show up for a publicity event.

As a result UFC receives a ton of publicity (what they wanted from the event in the first place, right?), gets a chance to put another highly anticipated fight at the top of their card, gets to boil up even more bad blood between McGregor/Diaz (more publicity), and can now sell buys for another event.

This sounds like a rasslin’ angle to me.

Smarten up UFC marks.

“I’m a Process Person”

That’s exactly what you want to hear, right?

A “process person” wants things to work with efficiency and structure. A “process person” wants to make sure things are done correctly and with as much transparency as possible.

Except…

What if this “Process Person” can’t tell you what the process is–won’t even produce a high level flowchart of the process on the back of a napkin?

What if this “Process Person” is hiding behind that phrase and actually trying to send you one of these messages:

  • “If there isn’t an existing process for this (produced by someone else), I’m not going to do it.”
  • “If there is a process, I’m going to use it to tell you why we can’t do what you’re asking me to do–it’s outside of our process.”
  • “What’s most important is insuring that if something goes wrong it will be blamed on the process, not me.”

Black and white of the beach snapped at Torrey Pines State Park in San Diego, California

Every wave leaves behind a beautiful pattern in the sand
And every wave destroys another beautiful pattern in the sand
I reckon that’s supposed to be some kind of metaphor.
Or maybe it just looks cool.

A Bone To Pick With Yogis

Yoga whoops me. It whoops me good. I have a healthy respect for yoga. It’s eclipsed only by buffets on the list of things that expose my personal weaknesses.

But I have a hard time dealing with all the spiritual stuff commonly associated with it. I’m not saying it’s not real, and I’m not knocking people who are into for those reasons.

If that makes your day better, improves your experience, helps you deal with buttheads at work, that’s great. More power to you! I’m just saying I roll those little invisible eyes in my head that no one else can see every time I hear that stuff.

Again, I’m not saying those aren’t real and powerful things. I know that feeling is real–I get it from running.

Running is my flow. “Scottyasana”–Sanskrit for “Fat Jesus Lizard”.

Yoga, running, rock climbing, surfing…whatever. I think it’s pretty badass if anyone can get this amazing experience out of any activity that doesn’t involve a Schedule I narcotic. If you can find anything in life that makes you feel this good and is good for you at the same time, DO IT!!!

What I don’t fully understand is the need to talk about it at length.

Let’s say you go to a yoga class at your gym (or watch a video). It may be that the person teaching the class feels a ton of inner awareness or connection/oneness with the universe. I’ll go ahead and give them the benefit of the doubt and concede that.

But what about the other thirty people in the class? How many of them are feeling that–really feeling that? How many of them are just faking it because they think they are supposed to be feeling it because you keep talking about it?

I know for a fact that some of them (at least one) are thinking, “C’mon! I  just wanted to do a tough workout that includes a little mini-nap at the end! And now you’re talking about crystals and soul rainbows during the nap  part!”

Again. I get it. I know that feeling you’re talking about. But do you really have to talk about it (so much)?

And why would you want to?

One of the cool things about running/runners is that they generally don’t talk about this zen experience they have while running.

Don’t get me wrong. They will talk your ear off about running. They will drone on endlessly about their splits, their resting heart rate, and what they felt like 16.37 miles into the race. They will spend so much time at the water cooler telling you about how dehydrated they are from their last workout that you’ll dehydrate yourself just to avoid dealing with them at the water cooler.

I do it (here) all the time.

My poor wife.

But what I won’t talk about often, especially with people who don’t run, is that feeling I get from running. I’m more apt to mention it in passing with a fellow runner. And even then there’s a look in their eye that immediately lets me know whether or not they understand what I’m talking about and if I should carry on.

And when I do talk about it, there’s no way I’m going to divulge the full extent and details. That’s such a personal thing. Really, it’s too personal for me to put into words.

And if I could, I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t.

Besides the fact that this feeling is so personal, I also feel like it’s something of a secret about running that I don’t want just anyone to know. I just found it one day. I was never looking for it.

You have to earn it, and it usually happens by chance. Just because you know it’s possible doesn’t mean you always get to have it, even though you walk out the door every day looking for it. At least that’s my experience.

Could it be that everyone doesn’t get a connection to the universe every single time they practice yoga? And can we talk about it a little less?

Maybe, just maybe, people can find it on their own.

I Know How To Make Bowling Better Too!

In the past, I’ve proposed some ideas on how triathlon could be much more exciting and engaging to more people. Nobody has listened yet, but that’s ok…I’ve moved on to making another sport activity better.

Bowling.

For various reasons, I don’t consider bowling to be a sport. I’ve always had two big issues with it that have disqualified it. First of all, you can win a world bowling championship with a cigarette hanging out of your mouth the entire time. Secondly, I don’t see how your opponent’s skills or performance impact yours. I mean, I’m sure they do somehow…I just don’t see it. It seems like to me the object is just to get the highest score you can every time out you sling the ball.

But what if that changed? What if bowling was a heads up game of 20 frames, with rollers alternating who gets first shot at a fresh frame?

Example: for the first frame, Player A tries to roll a strike. If he gets the strike, Player B will get to roll the fresh second frame. Ah…but he already knows that Player A gets his next two balls added to his score. So Player B goes for the  strike on the second frame, but if he rolls and only gets 9 pins, there’s only 1 pin on that second frame, but the full third frame for his second bonus ball. But Player A also gets the spare opportunity there. And…they get to go first on the third frame.

But wouldn’t it be great if, late in the round, guys tried to purposely leave splits they know are difficult for their opponents individual weaknesses? Lower scores for sure, but at least there’d be some strategery involved.

In other words, bowling commentators would have something interesting to talk about.

I may go out and collect some test data on this. I think it would be a pretty cool way to encourage people to stay sober at the bowling alley. Wait…bowling alleys may reject this scoring system entirely.

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Another Brain Burp of Cool Triathlon Stuff

Trainerroad

First things first…if you have even been considering joining Trainerroad, this is the week to do it. You can get in for $89/year instead of the usual $120. That’s good for as long as you’re a member, and it was already the best deal in triathlon training. This is not an affiliate link, and I don’t get anything for sending you to them except that I feel I owe it to them for the great strides they’ve helped me make on the bike. Their website was updated yesterday and now has even more great features.

Battle of the Bridges Olympic Tri

This is an “A race” for me, and it’s two weeks away. I only race “A” races because that’s what a race implies to me…that I’m going to do my best. The work I’ve put in on Trainerroad will hopefully pay off big here. I’ve been focusing on the run for the last couple of weeks because I have 10 weeks to go to a marathon after this race. I’m thinking the grunting, groaning, sweating, and near tears I’ve already put in on the bike are going to get me out of T2 fresh and ready for a special 10k.

Hardcore History

The best thing I’ve found in a long time to listen to while running. I love the ZenTri podcasts, but I need more hours of audio, and these are incredible. Dan Carlin is a great story teller, and this stuff is amazing. He also has the Common Sense podcast. These are going to come in very handy as the run miles start increasing for marathon season.

 

 

 

Dear Shop Owners, Managers, and Clerks

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At some point, we may march a frightened looking small child into your store. They will proceed to hand you an item worth less than $1 and tell you that they recently removed this item from your store without paying you for it.

There’s a reason we brought them back.

There’s a reason they hand the item to you instead of just returning it to its proper place and walking out.

There’s a reason we’re having them tell you what they did.

Please don’t talk to them in a little kid voice and thank them for their honesty. Please don’t smile and tell them it’s no problem.

Helps us out a little here.

Scare them. Make them cry.

Take them into your office, sit them in a chair, and lock the door behind you before you give them a stern lecture about how bad stealing is. Ask them how old they are, then tell them that the only reason you aren’t calling the police is that your store rules say you can’t call the police on kids until they are 1 year older than whatever they say. Let them know that you are going to be looking out for them, and that the next time they come into the store you will be watching them closely.

Make this a memorable event that will live in their brain forever. Make such an impression on them that we don’t ever have to do this again. Go ahead and scare the siblings while you’re at it if you can.

Make sure they will know exactly what to do when they grow up and their kids take something.

Thanks Dad.

And thank you to whoever was managing our local Handy City hardware store in the early 80s.

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Racing Is Just Like Getting Drunk

I was talking to Neighbor Ben last night about racing. And racing. And racing. He’d just finished a run, and I’d just finished a bike ride, and there was only one beer each involved in this conversation. One of the themes that kept rising to the surface is that some people like to train more than they like to race, and other people like to race more than they like to train.

Neighbor Ben likes to race.

I know this because he said, “I like to race.”

I like to train.

I know this because I train a lot, and I hardly ever race.

I know there are lots of factors involved, even if I can’t exactly put my finger on all of them. I won’t lie–one big factor is that racing, especially triathlon racing,  is expensive. A local race we were talking about doing last night is $100. This is for a no-frills Olympic distance race. Hard to justify that when a new low-end pair of bike shoes cost the same amount, but I still haven’t forked over money for them, even though I probably should have done that a couple of years ago.

Racing is also more time consuming. As soon as your training day becomes a race day you are committed to showing up early to set up your transition area and sticking around for results. That means either dragging the family along or spending time away from them. And that’s just if you’re racing locally. Racing can also involve travel.

Yet another reason I try to avoid racing for the most part is a character flaw I have. I seem to always find a way to rationalize taking way too much time off after a race. That’s not good.

But mostly, I just enjoy the training more in general. Maybe it’s just my personality makeup. I’ve always liked practice. I was the same way with rugby. I don’t think I’d go so far as to say I liked practice more than games there, but I really did enjoy going to practice. With triathlon, I think I’m in it for the training and lifestyle more than the racing.

For me, racing is like getting drunk. It’s fun and all, but not something I want to do more than a few times a year (if that).

So in the case of our proposed Olympic distance race. It’s tempting, mostly because of the peer pressure being exerted by I-Love-To-Race-Neighbor-Ben, but it doesn’t sound nearly as interesting to me as swimming across the Indian River just for fun.

I know some people line things up as “A” races, “B” races, “C” races…whatever. That’s great if it works for them, but I don’t think it works for me. I may not enjoy racing as much as I enjoy training, but when I am racing, I’m racing. I can’t imagine a situation where I slap down money to enter a race and then “just train through it.”

Diff’rent strokes for diff’rent folks I guess. But it’s good for me to think long and hard about who I am before throwing down entry fees in $100 increments.

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Chromecast Missing One Big Easy Win

I just unboxed and set up my Chromecast. It took about 5 minutes, and the Missus is downstairs right now listening to No Doubt on my Google Music dime…probably going to have to get a paid account for her now too.

20130726_163515

I watched a couple of Ric Flair promo videos and one of the famous Knoxville Rugby Street Skiing incident just to check out how the YouTube app worked. Pretty sweet!


This thing is an absolute bargain at $35, just for what it already does with YouTube, Play, and Netflix. So yes…you should definitely click on the link and buy one for every TV in your house. This thing is incredibly slick. If it’s on backorder, go ahead and reserve one. It may be awhile before they are just sitting on shelves.

However there’s one thing I think Google should have had ready when Chromecast shipped–one thing I think could have been a big win for them in a big space. I’m sure it’s coming, probably within the next couple of weeks, but…

Why can’t I open up the Google Plus app on my mobile device and start a slideshow from there, then broadcast that to my TV?

For example, we just got back from vacationing in Colombia, and all of our photos are sitting in my Plus account. Everything I snap with my phone is pushed up there automatically, and I’ve already gone through the process up posting the SLR pics too.

We have friends coming to visit this week, and it would be really cool to just open up the album from my phone and show them a slideshow on the TV.

Next weekend, my parents are coming for a visit. We have videos in Google Plus (not YouTube) of all the kids’ “Happy Birthday To You” moments–shouldn’t I be able to show them those videos?

I know what you’re thinking–why not just share with them on Google Plus? Well, you’re right…and I can do that. But they probably wouldn’t notice.

The problem is, Google doesn’t have the participation on Plus it wants/needs. What better way to convert people than to have those of us who do use it show them this unbelievable functionality they can get with a free Plus account and a $35 piece of hardware.

Missed opportunity.

Facebook Product Development Process

  1. Get on Twitter and find 10-12 things that are successful (Instagram, Snapchat, Google Reader, Vine, etc.)
  2. Write these onto slips of paper and put them in a hat
  3. Pick a slip of paper out of the hat
  4. Try to buy that thing
  5. If you can’t buy it, build something kind of like it and sloppily integrate it
  6. Go ahead and start a group people can join to complain about the change

I will give them credit for trying out some new things like Timeline and Home for Android. Maybe not the most successful features, but at least they were different and showed some creativity.

I will also admit that for creating videos, Instagram>Vine. The problem is, for consuming videos Vine>Instagram, and most of us (especially me) should stick to consuming video instead of creating it.

The Facebook UX is an absolute train wreck.

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