Blur Circle

Steve Yost's weblog

December 30, 2003
Concept2: Good company

This is just an unprompted plug: I've been impressed with Concept2. I bought one of their old model B rowing machines used from the Northeastern crew a few years ago, and Concept2 has always been great about support, shipping parts promptly and sending free rowing log books. They host online competitions, one of which -- the Holiday Challenge -- has kept me from physically falling apart for a couple of winters. They've improved their online rowing logs, which can provide a sense of competitive community. They seem to be continually innovating and just doing good quality things.

December 29, 2003
Family log

This past year I've been pretty diligent about keeping a family logbook. Mostly it's a record of what we did on weekends and other significant events. Starting it was inspired a couple of years ago when reading one of those newsy Christmas letters from a friend, and we thought "wow, I wish we did as much as they do in a year". Then, reflecting, we realized that our year actually was pretty rich.

These past few days I've been reading it aloud after dinner, and it's excellent to be reminded and be thankful for all that we've done and shared.

December 24, 2003
Best time of day

At the risk of this blog sounding like a self-help book, here's another entry about ways to improve:

There are good times of the day for doing certain things, like exercising in the morning. (Actually for me exercising in the morning is truly an act against nature, but I'm experimenting with it.) Or doing totally mundane, near-mindless things like paying the bills just before bed when I'm tired (though I'd rather be reading.) I do my best creative work in the mid-morning, and the afternoon is good for plowing ahead with the yeoman's tasks. I guess it was William Blake who said "Think in the morning. Act in the noon. Eat in the evening. Sleep in the night." Reminds me too much of a marketing quadrant diagram, but I like the general idea.

December 23, 2003
Get up and get out

Another sort of new year's resolution I have is to waste less time at the computer. I like to tinker with software, and I find that even after I've completed the work I sat down to do, I'll futz around. I want to discover a more utilitarian attitude about the computer. What that boils down to in practice is that when I've finished, I need to Just Get Up out of my chair.

It's like when John Coltrane was saying to Miles that he had trouble ending his solos. Miles' reply was "Take ... the horn ... out of your mouth".

December 22, 2003
Memento mori

I want to start blogging more frequently. In fact, a sort of new year's resolution is to blog every day, regardless of what there is to say, just like zillions of blogs out there. Just an experiment. So, onward:

A friend of Chinese heritage told us that it's not a good idea to give a clock to a Chinese person as a gift. It's a reminder of death. This brings to mind the "death as an advisor" thinking in Castaneda or the memento mori -- a useful aspect of a clock, really: to be reminded of our finitude (without becoming morose about it). For most of us a clock is a reminder of schedule and all the things we need to rush to do, propelling us in the usual headlong rush.