A week in and Rich Eisen is still terrible. Bad jokes about names he finds hard to pronounce. Juvenile chuckles and an entire segment smiling about the word shuttlecock. I’m not against a joke but try to make it somewhat intelligent. 🏅

This NY Times article about running has some great stats and measurements about how the body runs. Most interesting to me is how regardless of speed or style or physical size, some factors are universal.

Streaming the Olympics

As Catie Keck points out in this article on the Verge, streaming the Olympics is a mess. One thing Catie didn’t point out that has been particularly vexing to me is how they’ve not included full DVR/VOD of any sports on Peacock. Especially for users that pay for the premium tier of Peacock, being able to watch full coverage of any sport seems like a no brainer.

Instead, I have to go to NBCOlympics.com and sign in with a non-streaming TV provider. It feels like it’s intentionally designed to punish so-called cord cutters even though those users are the ones most likely to be paying for the premium Peacock tier.

I just don’t believe that any of this is a technical limitation. If they can provide the VOD on NBCOlympics.com, then the content is surely able to be added to Peacock. I assume this has something to do with contractual obligations and rights management or something.

But think about this, the Games were delayed a full year. Peacock was launched on July 15, 2020 which would have been right around the time the Olympics were originally scheduled to start. Someone over there had to have been thinking then how Peacock figured into the plans. Then, they were given an entire year to improve on those, likely rushed, plans.

Yet, they’ve delivered a byzantine and punitive system with poor discovery and unclear capabilities. If anything could have boosted paid subscribers to Peacock, unfettered access to full VODs of all coverage could have been it. In our house, we’d have paid extra to be able to watch every minute of the equestrian events whether they be live or recorded.

🏅📺

My coworker is unhappy with their desk location.

Happy to have just pre-ordered a Playdate handheld gaming machine. This scratches the itch of quirky, easy to pick up and jump in, while also helping stretch the boundaries of games in a novel way.

It’s new comic book day. One of the things I really like about reading comics is that new issues come out (nearly) every Wednesday. There’s a rhythm to that which tickles my need for routine. It’s also a bit like getting really good mail every week.

It’s easy to ignore how what we eat affects not just our physical health but our mental health. I struggle with it. Yet, when I string together a week or two of clean, reasonable eating, the results are crystal clear. Humans are terrible at this kind of decision-making.

In what year did pitchers become “very serious players” instead of the characters and bon vivants of the game? I get there’s a lot of money blowing around but have a little fun. ⚾

The Routine Sequence

I’ve written more words in my novel manuscript in the last week than I have in months. I’ll give my therapist credit for this one. Don’t tell her because then I’ll have to do all the other stuff she wants me to do. That might actually make me, I don’t know, happier and more productive. Ugh.

I started working out four or five times a week in the morning before anyone else is awake. That routine has been helpful. I mentioned to my therapist that finding time to write was hard because the book is very emotional for me to work on. It’s a real bummer in certain parts. I then made the mistake of saying that I was “piddling around after my workout.” Big mistake.

She said, “Why don’t you take that 30 minutes of piddling around and make that writing time before your workout. Then, you can let the sweat and endorphins of the workout wash aways whatever lingering stuff is in your head from the writing work.” I have to tell you that she is 100% correct. It works flawlessly.

I usually spend more than 30 minutes writing but the plan works anyway. The workout helps wash out my brain from all that lingering stuff. It’s a little shocking how quickly I can forget what I was just working on. Still, it’s so refreshing to have an empty head.

What’s interesting to me about all this is that it’s a matter of sequencing. The activities involved haven’t changed. I’m doing the same things I was trying to do before. I’m doing them for the same amount of time. I’ve just changed the order in which I do them and it has made all the difference.

There are a lot of emotional moments in the Olympics. It’s part of what makes it special. The ones that really touch my deeply now are the stories of families cheering on their children. There is nothing more human than wanting to see your children succeed.

Now that the Cleveland Indians are becoming the Cleveland Guardians, I would like to announce my three favorite choices for the Atlanta Braves ⚾:

Atlanta Pinecones / Atlanta Peanuts / Atlanta Traffic

I would love to know what about my Youtube history would make them think I want to see a Ben Shapiro video. Is it the woodworking videos? Is it the crafts and miniature videos? Is it the 1970s reggae videos? This is nonsense.

It’s always a good day when they tell you that over half of your tuition is going to be waived as part of the American Rescue Plan. I was very close to deenrolling given some recent medical bills. Now, I can stay in school for the Fall!

Got back in the saddle today with some work on the novel. I’m going to try the same routine tomorrow. Just about 40,000 more words to go. More than half way done!

I know some folks want to get moralistic about all this “sticky stuff” talk in baseball. For me, it’s about a more exciting and less predictable game. I think the games have simply been more interesting since this ruling came down. ⚾

From on High

On occasion, I work in my living room instead of my office. Mostly, because it looks like this:

Today, while thinking about some function I had to write to sort and filter out an array of data, I was staring into those trees. I saw a squirrel jump from one tree to the next. The squirrel did this a few times and then, inexplicably, it missed. It banged against the branch it had landed on 5 or 6 times previously and fell all the way to the asphalt driveway below.

Because it’s a squirrel, there was no injury and the squirrel proceeded to climb the tree again and make the same jump at least 10 more times. Then, I realized my order of operations in the function was backward so that pulled me back into work and away from the squirrel.

Now, I’m eating lunch and thinking about the times I’ve failed to do something that might be second nature to me like jumping branch to branch is for a squirrel. Maybe it was something I do at work. Maybe it was part of a hobby I enjoy. Or, maybe it was something that makes me quintessentially me. Either way, I’ve failed at those things a number of times. Very rarely did that failure injure me in any noticeable way.

Yet, I have stumbled and stayed down or changed direction over the slightest mistake on a number of occasions despite not really being injured. I don’t mean in the physical sense here. I’m saying that sometimes I fail at a simple, rote task and it spirals me down for an hour or a day or maybe even a week. Unlike that squirrel, I don’t always bounce up and get right back to it. I might just lie in the driveway a bit and stare up at the tree branch cursing it and all the ones it connects to.

Is this a character flaw? Is it a weakness? I see lots of other folks run into walls much stronger than I’ve hit and they back up and bound over it even if their face gets a little bruised in the trying. I suppose I’ve done that, too. But, not as often as I’d like and not as often as I think myself capable.

What then keeps me laid out on the ground breathing in heavily and lamenting having to get up and try again? What’s the barrier that slows me down in that moment? Is it fear of failure? I’ve already failed. What’s to be afraid of now? Maybe, instead, it’s the fear of success. Because, success means expectation and expectations often morph into resentments.

If I’m always bouncing right back up, soon enough, my vulnerability comes into question. My need for help seems to diminish. It’s then that I become disconnected. I became separated from the support and guidance that I need. I seem much stronger than I am. When the real stumble comes, there’s no railing to grab on to. No shoulder to lean against.

That’s what keeps me on the pavement. There’s a need to live inside my frailty, my shortcomings, my limitations, if only briefly. It’s a way to say, “I cannot do this alone.” Nor should any of us have to. An individual can be incredibly strong. We’ve all seen it in our family and friends when things were dire. But, we don’t always have to be that way. We can stumble. We can be seen in our totality. And we can still be vital, loved, and creative in that struggle.

Lewis Hamilton overcomes a 10 second penalty after an early tussle with Max. I know opinions abound but it’s hard to brook any argument that says Hamilton isn’t the best F1 driver of all time. 🐐🏎️

I’d love to watch a great sci-fi film that isn’t just horror in space. So much of sci-fi is just trappings in top of a horror trope. There’s space for more ideas which no one seems to want to step into.

Mythic Spin-offs

I’m no horseman. I do live on a horse farm with almost two dozen horses. There’s a pig, a cat, and some dogs, too. The horses have an outsized presence in our lives here at home. But, I am not a horseman.

My wife is a horseman. She’s been around them her whole life. She has a connection to them that is as deep as the universe in their eyes. It’s impressive to watch her work with them. Even the quotidian tasks of feeding and walking are nuanced with communication both large and nearly imperceptible. After all her years of experience, she struggles to put words to that bog deep tug a horse can have on us.

Still, it’s immediately clear to any person with a scintilla of empathy, and I think I fit that rubric, that there is something mythic and mystical about a horse. Maybe it’s the large, expressive eyes. Maybe it’s the power quilted with grace. Maybe it’s that tingle of fear we feel when we are next to them. Something happens to a human being when they are near a horse.

I’m not saying anything novel here. This connection has been appreciated and written about at length. Instead of exploring what “the outside of a horse” might mean “to the inside of a man” (Churchill), I’m more interested in how we humans might find that mythic, mystical magic in other humans.

I’ve written elsewhere about the unseen connections that exist between trees. I’ve come to think that a similar mycelial network might exist between humans. Not in the strict sense of that word although ideas about synchronous gut flora among cohabitating people is interesting. I mean more in the sense that whether through geography, shared self-interests, or something much, much older, we might have a similar connection with another human as we do with a horse or a tree.

I’ll pause here to exclude dogs. Through selection and wonderful happenstance, dogs are simply perfect human companions. I’m interested in exploring something wilder and more dangerous.

Imagine the times you’ve met someone and known immediately that you would be friends, or enemies. What made that “gut instinct” (see?!) happen? Is it what they were wearing? Perhaps briefly. Is it what they said? That’s part of it. But, we know it as an unbidden response from our basest of our brain matter.

Across the depths of time and amidst all the stories handed down and even long forgotten, this person in front of us has absorbed whatever tiny particles still exist of that long ago. Maybe it’s DNA. Maybe it’s a carbon electron spinning ever so slightly faster. Maybe it’s a quark that’s here instead of over there. That’s the science of it maybe. More interesting is the distillation effect of our collective memory which has concentrated components that are compatible or incompatible into this one being.

We want to reason our way around these things. We want to “think clearly” about the decisions we make about the people we surround ourselves with. And we can. We aren’t powerless. However, we do not fully comprehend the power of the mythic past for which we are vessels nor how that power can ever so slightly leak out into our actions.

Like that feeling when we see a horse. We might be repelled. We might be attracted. Yet, we are never ambivalent. Our reactions to other humans are similar. I suggest that all of that is at its root a narrative of our being distilled down into an effervescent speck of time running headlong into a similarly charged speck within another person. Like two black holes smashing into each other. With that mass of myth, it’s no wonder that those moments can have a tremendous gravity around which we orbit spinning off the next story.

Whose myth have you spun off of today?

At least 80% of my work is, “This feature seems a lot like that feature except with different text and data.” Then, I copy the previous one and change a few things. That means most of my career is just copying other people’s work. That’s a bit disheartening.

I know the All-Star Break is a nice special event. I’m ready to get back to the rhythm of regular season games. Hoping the Braves start to climb above .500. ⚾️

To write a first page like this must feel like one could simply mold the world to your will. Stunning every time I read it. From Matthiessen’s Shadow Country 📚

I wrote my first micro.blog plugin. Then, I decided I didn’t like it. Learning is like that sometimes. The results can sometimes be underwhelming. It’s the next thing you learn that builds on that modest result that might be great.

Beginning another read of my second all-time favorite book.

Currently reading: Shadow Country by Peter Matthiessen 📚

I’ve recently started watching a lot more baseball mostly to connect with my Mom who is a big fan. There’s a humanity to this sport that I appreciate. Like this story from One Foot Tsunami: 💧 A Hot Mic at the All-Star Game