Tuesday, December 07, 2010

blue yonder

Back in the summer we went to go pick some blueberries.  Now those blueberries are in the form of a very tasty blueberry wine made by my father.  He asked me to make some label art for the bottle.  Since every digital device I touch seems to explode these days, I am currently without the crutch of Photoshop, so this was a fun exercise for my hand as there was no ctrl-z to help. In the end, I am very happy with the way it turned out.  The inspiration for the label came while we were out on a family sailing trip to see the home town Blue Angels fly their season ending air show at NAS Pensacola in November.

 Blue Yonder | 2010
Touchablue Berry Farm, Molino, Florida
12% A.B.V.

A couple more pics @ Flickr.

Friday, November 05, 2010

Marathon: 365 days and counting

Not much to update on regarding my preparation for the Rock'n'Roll Savannah Marathon next November.  I have been keeping to my moderate schedule of running whenever the hell I feel like it at whatever pace and distance feels good....minus one time.

I will admit that I consciously chose one run about a week or so ago to 'go fast' and boy did I.  With my new Garmin GPS on my wrist I could tell exactly how FAST I was going.  I won't blame my addition of fancy running gear for what happened next, but I will say it was probably a combination of the watch and my ego.  That being said, my body did what it was told.  It went fast.  Then I did what it told me...by not being able to walk effortlessly for about a week.  The morning after, something was definitely not right.  A pulled muscle at my best guess, on the outside of my left leg.  The one you feel if you point your toes down and inward.

The first response received was that "its probably because you weren't wearing shoes."  Of which I disagree. Yes, I may not have received the injury if I was wearing shoes, but who knows what else I may have suffered had I been.  The problem, shod or not, was that my running form was improper.  Running unshod comes pretty naturally after some time doing it, though I had only traveled at speeds that were 'natural' for me.  By forcibly increasing the speed of my run, my body could manage the movement, but not control it.  This allowed for improper, over exaggerated form that was not apparent until the run was over.  Bottom line, it was my own damn fault for being impatient.  Almost two weeks later and I am still feeling remnants of the injury.  I have been sticking to dog walks and a cycle here and there.  The couple short runs that I have managed felt ok during, but after the pains returned to some degree.  So I am continuing to take it easy until all pains have ceased.  I don't expect this to impact my running schedule, as I have none, but I imagine I will have to start hashing out some sort of vague schedule before too long.

With the clock ticking to next November, I thought it was appropriate that there was a NYTimes article by Christopher McDougall yesterday, were he stated his reasoning for returning to the marathon; an event he had sworn off due to his past injury and frustration with, put simply, the idea of the marathon.  A good, quick inspirational read.

365 days and counting...

Friday, October 29, 2010

practice fun

Upon visiting Christopher McDougall's blog today, I see he has posted one of his recent lectures; this one via TEDxPhoenixville.  I thought I would share it, as he again speaks about barefoot running, but also about having fun while doing so.  To me, that was one of the main reasons I began the whole barefoot thing; to make running and being healthy enjoyable again.  But this lesson does not simply apply to running, I feel it can also be extended and updated to fit into our modern lifestyles.  I think it would be a mistake to forget how we arrived here at the present.

I agree, as McDougall points out, that we should all:
:have more connection with the Earth on a daily basis.
:live in the realm of pleasure, instead of fear.
:remember our childhood more often...and practice fun.

Monday, October 25, 2010


This last week I have had the great opportunity to aide a deserving family in receiving a brand new home (via ABC's Extreme Makeover: Home Edition) and as I sit today job hunting, thinking of the future, of what I want to be, what I want to do with my life, it occurs to me that I want be in the 'helping others' business.  In a way, I have always known this, and I think that is what has always intrigued me about architecture. Underneath all the other designer bullshit, the bottom line is that you are creating an intimate space for someone to live their life with greater ease, comfort, and pleasure than they did the day before.  To me, that is what it is all about.

This realization has been building for some time now, and as it does feel amazing to have finally realized what gives me passion to work, it also greatly reduces my list of available jobs (to my knowledge).  It seems emerging from college and finding the 'right job' in a recession (or whatever this is) is increasingly complicated by having newly discovered morals and an actual positively motivated and enforced goal in my head.  Nonetheless, I have a goal.  There will be highs, there will be lows, but the desire remains.  It is what makes you.

Saturday, October 09, 2010

new toy

Received a new toy for my birthday; a Garmin Forerunner 110.  I have been known to love a little statistical analysis every now and again (or always), and my $10 Target watch disappeared mysteriously from the top of the Jeep.  I know I left it there.

This Garmin is the entry-level device of their GPS wrist watch line, but its functions are more than enough for me right now; tracking HR, calories, pace, time, and of course, location.  All the others seems a bit too bulky, with minimal trade-off in my opinion.  Once I get more into biking (and actually start swimming) I may need more, but I will cross that bridge when it arrives.

I feel a hint of freedom now.  Before I would usually plan out where I was going to run before I hit the road, making a mental image on Google Earth as to where mile markers were on my course.  Any stray from that course would not allow my internal calculations to make much sense, plus manually logging a new course every time you are out can get tiring.  It was just easier to stick to the predetermined path.  Well, no more. Perhaps I can reach a little calculation-free running, clearing the mind more than normal.


Thursday, September 30, 2010


I am a little over half way through my latest book, My Stroke of Insight by Dr. Jill Bolte Taylor, and one of her realizations on recovery hit the spot on an issue I have been thinking about for some time.  I have heard this type of speak before, but always in a very metaphoric, fantastic sort of way (read: hippie-speak) and never from a scientific point of view.  So I thought I would share an excerpt from her book.

A very brief synopsis: Dr. Taylor is a neuroanatomist (brain doctor) who experienced first-hand what a failing brain feels like, living to tell the experiences of her stroke and how she recovered.  Here she speaks of recovery after losing her left brain functions (calculation, past/future, details, "brain chatter").

"One of the greatest lessons I learned was how to feel the physical component of emotion.  Joy was a feeling in my body.  Peace was a feeling in my body.  I thought it was interesting that I could feel when a new emotion was triggered.  I could feel new emotions flood through me and then release me.  I had to learn new words to label these "feeling" experiences, and most remarkably, I learned that I had the power to choose whether to hook into a feeling and prolong it in my body, or just let it quickly flow right out of me.

Wednesday, September 08, 2010


What a delightful weekend - turned week - visit to the Atlantic. St. Augustine is a lovely city. It holds much of what I love about Savannah. My main purpose for visiting was accomplished in the first 15 minutes of my arrival: delivering items to the bro's new apartment. The secondary purpose wasn't revealed until I felt it was time to leave: a mental break from the rut and the routine.

I managed to meet a bunch of cool new people, get some burden-free alone time, and, believe it or not, actually get some work done. Finished my book, too; Born to Run. It took a while, with a few week-long dry spells here and there, but I slammed through the second half all at once. I good read for any level of runner, not just the unshod and ultra types. I also managed to get in a couple of runs in unfamiliar territory. Always a nice refresher as you really have no idea where you are going, or how far you are going. My last run was over 6 miles and felt like 3. Crazy.

When logging the run, I realized I had just crossed over 100 miles of running barefoot. More if you count all the Rowdy walks, but the counting is not what matters. If my past experimental endeavors where to bear any resemblance to this lifestyle change of going bare, then it wouldn't be out of the question to begin seeing it fade away. However, I am pretty sure this one is going to stick, as I see no need to go back. I enjoy running...again? (I think I liked it before).

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

stroke of insight

While at B&N tonight looking for my next book to read, Mark Sisson's The Primal Blueprint, I came across another book that may jump ahead in queue.

The book in question is by Jill Bolte Taylor, PhD, titled creatively My Stroke of Insight. I first came across her story during my thesis work (and what a beautiful, humbling, and hopeful story it is) in the form of a TED lecture; a neuroanatomist who experiences first hand a massive stroke and lives to tell about it.

I have watched the video quite a few times since then, mostly when I need a little grounding or inspiration. I find it to be very powerful and motivating, so needless to say I was excited to stumble upon it in book form tonight.


Thursday, August 05, 2010

Marathon: Day 1

Ask me why I did it in 457 days and again 26.1 miles later, and you may get two different answers. I have been needing a goal of some kind for my running. I have not taken it too seriously in a few months knowing full well that having a goal is a good way to stay in some kind of shape.

Upon seeing the announcement of Savannah getting a marathon, it sounded like a fitting goal; a way to conquer two goals at once, complete a long distance run and guarantee a return trip to Savannah.

My furthest run (that I can remember) was a cool, rainy 11.3 back in January, with shod work that could have been the culprit for my once aching knees.

Since I have not been wearing my running shoes for several months now, I see no reason to put them back on. I find I enjoy running a lot more when it is not about the time or speed, but about how it makes my body feel. It can be quite a rush.

So...let the count down begin. Long way to go. 457 days and counting...

Tuesday, July 20, 2010


"Universal concern is essential to solving global problems.
Each individual has a responsibility to shape institutions
to serve the needs of the world."
His Holiness the Dalai Lama

So....what is my philosophy? What are my ideals? On architecture or on life?

Well, lately they have become one in the same, and I am enjoying that; and though I have yet to apply and execute my ideals outside of student projects, I can tell you that they are not static, they are ever-changing, growing with each new experience. And, to me, that is exciting.

Here. Now, as I am sitting down this morning, typing to muted SportsCenter, at this moment everything seems so very clear, so very simple. Lucky you. Lucky me. Let us start at the base of all things.

[...if a bulleted list is more your cup of tea, I won't judge, just scroll to the end...]

We humans are driven by purpose. Daily we strive to define ourselves - with education and knowledge, with responsibility and order, and with collection of material possessions - hoping to appease our mind into believing we have a reason for breathing. Therefore, a measurable unit has been bestowed upon the purpose we seek; as all the emotion that lies within that of joy, peacefulness, comfort, and ease become condensed into one all-encompassing unit: Happiness.

Friday, June 18, 2010

180° SOUTH

Netflix'ed an unknown film the other day and was pleasantly surprised by a beautiful and moving experience. The film only adds to the building fire within to set out into the unknown as I so badly wish to do. It captures so many of my wishes, in fact, it seems as if someone has been recording my dreams and made a documentary of it. :)

"the hardest thing in the world is to simplify your life. it is so easy to make it complex."


Friday, June 11, 2010

Make per Month - May

yep, another simple box. I know it is boring, but I enjoyed giving the last usable pieces of that shipping palette a second life. Not much left is usable.

This time I tried to make a square. Figured that if I couldn't make a square out of wood I probably shouldn't be fooling around with it. I think it came out pretty good. Same as before, plenty of minor flaws, if you want to call them that, but I enjoy them just the same.

Not sure if I will making anything for June yet. Have not decided. Need to return focus to my website and job-hunting and all that jazz during my spare time, whether I like it or not. (plus the World Cup just started, so that may eat at my free time).

Sunday, June 06, 2010


so again, I will admit I am one who....wait. when did this blog become a confessional? ........hmm, well, whatever works.

Yea, I am jumped on my fair share of bandwagons over the years. I have seen aspects of myself that echo that of the Agent Smith mantra, that being we humans are "a disease", spreading and consuming like a virus. I discover something that is enjoyable, it is consumed relentlessly until there is nothing left of either it or myself, or both.

The other half of this is patient, strength, willpower, all that other stuff that sounds amazing, but requires a completely opposite state of mind. While this has been my latest craze, I haven't really acted upon it. I still consume and waste, wandering aimlessly in a pattern that in the end will lead nowhere. It is only the brief glimpses of this other side, this patient/willpower side, that snap one out of the 'virus' mode.

The thing is, you can never be on one side or the other completely. Some little spark will always light up when you get to far to one side, reminding you that the other side has benefits that you want to experience, forget the consequences. Ultimately there is only one consequence that really matters, one that you can't overcome or out live, and that is death. And to many, that isn't even a consequence.

Both of these sides are just testing the boundaries of our living life. One protects and secures us from pain, though it tends to be inherently boring in the end, the other brings as close to death as possible though excitement and immediate pleasure. I will agree that these sides exist, but not that one is better than the other. What bothers me is the idea of self-balancing these sides. We aren't in control of most what happens to us, though that doesn't mean we didn't bring it on to our self.

I have had my spurts of spontaneity over the years (call them bandwagons if you like, whatever) but they always fizzle to monotony. The monotony builds, filling the desire for radical change until there is an explosion of something new. While what I do probably isn't nearly as exciting as what other people do on a daily basis, I really don't care. I have to make my life enjoyable, and while much of that for me includes making others happy, the root of it all remains to be my happiness. And I that is not selfish, that is the truth.

Over the last year or so of discovering more deeply this other side, the patience/willpower side, I feel I have learned a great deal about myself, and have indeed strengthened my desire for a greater understanding of peace. However, I can feel myself raising the bar of patience, raising the bar of monotony, meaning that when the explosion comes it will be without question greater than the last, and further out to left field than before. There will be no explanation. No apparent reason to the casual observer. While I assure there is little I do without reason, even if that reason is complete spontaneity. Now I see this a completely positive thing, and I await this next "thing", I wonder if it is healthy, "good in the long run", etc. But then a second later, I don't care. What is the point of living and breathing if you are constantly questioning everything? You think that is air you are breathing?

SO...I keep seeing large, distant opportunities that would be great changes. Few of them are related to Architecture unfortunately, or perhaps fortunately, I can't tell. Why is trying to live in the moment seem so difficult? If I keep waiting for the 'spark' everything will just walk right on by, so I may just pick the next thing that comes along. Why not?

Wednesday, June 02, 2010


So I am sitting in the auto service shop today, waiting for my oil to be changed in the Jeep, trying to read...but I become distracted by the conversation of other waiting patrons who are watching the news up on the corner TV. According to the tone of their conversation, the approaching oil spill in the Gulf is the first sign of the apocalypse. Our lives are over. Pity us. Blame this. Blame that. It's the president's fault, etc, etc.

I wanted to say so badly that it wasn't anyone's fault but their own. They are demanding this oil to be obtained. Though I had to restrain myself, as I had no place to speak....as I am waiting for my oil to be changed...in my gasoline driven vehicle. Again I am reminded that there is never a reason to blame anyone else for what is happening in your own life.

The "Oil Forecast" (which the scrawny little weatherman dude on the local news has adopted to his forecast; there are doppler-like graphs and everything) says that the oil should be arriving tomorrow. Lovely. Perhaps I should visit the beach tomorrow and take one last look at the snowy white sand.

Yeah, it is going to suck...probably for a long time, but it is not the end of the world. These are simply the consequences of our collective actions. Hopefully it will help change the minds of us oil-consumers to find other means of energy and other modes of transportation.

respect karma.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Make per Month - April

So my good friend Despina formed a wonderful idea in her brain a few months ago. That being we art students haven't really MADE anything since we left Savannah after graduation. This is very true. Many of us have been busy with the new job, or the lingering job hunt, and not been inspired to make much of anything other than a depression in the sofa for some reality television.

Des collected addresses from friends and friends-of-friends, via Facebook, shuffled them all up and dispensed them to us, giving everyone a random person to make something for.

I have to say I was a touch nervous at first, having not really ever made anything in the sense that many of the other participants make. I was an architecture student. We made sketches and models, not exactly the productions many of the other artists make. Art, for sure, just a very different approach to making.

I decided to explore some woodworking for my first assignment as I have always been interested in it and I have ample equipment to begin learning in my father's garage. As per Zach, the sketches began as something that seems simple and logical, only for the final product to be far simpler than expected, with only a glimmer of resemblance to the first sketch. I made a box. Can't get much simpler.

There are more photos on Flickr, as well as photos of the sweet little black book that someone made for me.

Now it is almost the end of May and I haven't even started on this month's Make. Chances are I will explore the box again. I figure I could try something new, but the first one had plenty of little flaws and mistakes, which to be honest I really liked in the end, though I would like to give it another shot. I still have leftover material from the first one. I busted up an old wooden palette my dad had sitting aside waiting for a trip to the dump. I really enjoyed giving a piece of it a second life. I think there may be a few more good pieces left waiting for a rebirth of sorts.


Monday, May 17, 2010


Ok, I'll admit it. There really is no point in hiding it; the concept of death scares the bejesus out of me. The fact that it is coming and there is nothing I can do to stop it. This will cease.

It never bothers me during the day though, always while an inch away from a good night's sleep. Then..BAM! Wide awake feeling so incredibly small and helpless. It doesn't happen very often, but when it does, man does it eff with my head. Though as I type, coming down, relaxing a bit, I realize it does change my point of view on a lot of things; mostly regarding how little everything matters. The things that are troublesome and stressful during the day, or what my plans are tomorrow, they all become immediately minuscule and irrelevant. How did I just go from feeling so fearful to fearless? Weird.

Oh and in case you were wondering, watching the first 20 minutes of Saving Private Ryan on TV while trying to fall asleep probably isn't the greatest idea. Better switch it over to something mindless.

I can't wait for tomorrow.

Saturday, May 15, 2010


Today I finished reading a book. For many that is not much of an accomplishment, however my tendency is to begin and never finish reading for whatever reason. I began this book the day I completed my thesis in Savannah, several months ago now. I was released from my bonds of a Master of Architecture degree and the feeling was amazing. I was free, but it was also a rather scary moment in a pleasurable sort of way. A very strange feeling.

Leaving the Architecture building in the late afternoon I began to wonder what I would do with the remainder of my day. It wasn't too late to hit the road, but I didn't want to leave Savannah. It looked so different now. I was a bit sleep deprived so driving was not really a healthy option. My accommodations for my return visit to Savannah had expired, and though I knew I could call any of my several friends in town for a place to crash, I decided to embrace this exciting feeling of freedom. I wanted to be as independent as possible.

So...what to do? Everything in my car was related to the last year and half of archi-torture (as some laughingly put it) and I had no desire to look at any of it to pass the time. Digging through my car I found a book that I had bought a long time ago, at least a year in advance, maybe more. It, like many other things in my life, had been buried by "work".  "When was the last time I read a book that wasn't about architecture?" Unlocking my bike from the back of the Jeep, I rode over to a favorite cafe and began reading. After some time there, I went out to celebrate a friend's birthday. A couple beers later and with the cafe now being closed, I was again faced with the uncertainty of what came next. I made my way to the only place I knew would still be open, the library, which was open until 1am. Not really a place I wanted to be, but I did not care as I began digging back into the book.

"Where has this book been all my life....or least in the last year?" Dr. John Francis, author of this book Planetwalker, was speaking as if from inside my head, somehow managing to piece together all of my fragmented ideas into one simple and fluid stance. At that moment I credited the coincidence to the status of my newly weightless and very exhausted mind, though it did not prevent my mind from entering a state of awe. So when the library dimmed their lights to close, I just walked outside to the Jeep and drove to first place that came to mind.

Now, I must say, I have many theories on life, all of them certainly uncertain in my brain. Some times they appear fluidly and cohesively making absolute sense, and an hour later they contradict the previously certain theory with an equally viable "excuse". Whatever the case may be, or perhaps, whatever the cause may be....this was one of the most memorably joyous nights of my life. I have never felt so high. And the funny thing was that nothing really happened. There was nothing normal happening for sure, nothing which I regarded as entertainment, nothing prescribed to create this joy, just the fact that I was alive and free in the world.

That was all I needed and that is all I need now. This echoes much of what John Francis had written about and explored in his journey. So...as usual, just as I feel I have described a thesis of architecture that pertains to our human choices being the driver of our lives, I am smacked in the face with unbelievable coincidence which seem anything but human as I just happened to begin reading these like thoughts on the day I become free. Much like the coincidence that I happen of upon Francis' beautiful TED lecture the day I finish his book. Regularly frequenting TED.com I have yet to see his talk until today.

Coincidence is a funny thing, and I have yet to understand its place and its meaning to my life. I wonder if this is the god so many people speak of, or if it is just the chance...the result...of this probability equation we call Life on Earth.

His book was quite inspiring. I have had many aspirations to get up and leave as he did, but nothing has moved me yet to go anywhere, so I wait. As always, I make up time lines, agendas, and orders of things, all becoming excuses to not leave, not to do, not to make. My freedom of a few months ago has already been clouded with other "obligations", most of them revolving around money, an object I would love to omit from my life. Thankfully, I believe that my soul will take my body where it needs to be in order to create happiness for both realms, so...what to do next?

Here is John's TED video that I came across today. A very refreshing point of view. I hope you enjoy.


Saturday, April 03, 2010

I feel the earth move under my feet

Today's Run: 6.2 miles @ 11:32

Exiting the shower today after my run, it is apparent that it is a cleaning day, as Carole King is blaring over a vacuum cleaner.

Went out for a longer run today...longer that is for barefoot. In my opinion, it makes little sense for me to call a run slow or fast anymore. It has become more about how comfortable it is, and how well it feels to my body.  In that sense today's run was great.  If you look at the time, yea, perhaps it was slow.....whatever.  By the time I looped back to the house, calculated later at 6.2, I felt I could easily withstand another lap. However my tender feet objected. They had enough and were ready for a break.

It is hard to restrain myself sometimes from running faster and longer. The thing about barefoot is that my feet immediately tell me that it is not a good idea.  Yea, I could do it anyway, but all body parts are not on board for it just yet. In this case, my feet. Today we took it easy and enjoyed the nice weather and scenery.

Today, hitting that stride correctly was off and on, but man, when it hit right the feeling was sublime. Couldn't feel any impact with the road, no aching joints or muscles, all muscles not being used were relaxed (or where quickly told to relax and responded accordingly). It feels as if you could run forever. The thought would pop into my head as to who or what was actually in control of this bodily motion. Is it me? No, it couldn't be me, I am thinking about this....and then of course concentration was lost, and the stride collapsed. Ha. More practice, less thinking.

I really enjoy running on the weekends around the neighborhood. Everyone is outside, working and playing. Such a reassuring feeling. Running during the week, I begin to wonder if people ever come out of their houses. Though I have noticed a trend. I cannot decide if it is purely coincidence or actually a deliberate action reflecting one's personality, but as I have been running more and more barefoot, I have noticed more and more that people who are outside in their driveway, fumbling in the garage, working outside, whatever, tend to retreat to their garage and close their garage doors as I pass by.  This is probably purely coincidence, but its increased rate of occurrence begs the weary running mind to question it to be a cold shoulder, a coping mechanism for a persistent fear, or perhaps a method of avoiding confrontation or conflict within their personal space.  Some people have an extended gaze, a wave, a smile, a few words (today's comment, regarding the running style: "You know that's how the Greeks used to do it." yes sir.) others seem to flee and hide, refusing to allow the idea to enter their mind.  Perhaps they fear a feeling of guilt for their chosen lifestyle, or perhaps they are just heading inside from a long day's work, or from getting the mail. More research is necessary.  I will continue to poll my running.

The feet are a bit tender after today's run, that I will admit, but nothing else is aching. It should be noted that while shod I can only mange 4-5 miles before feeling knee pain.  Haven't had knee pain in weeks. The feet will strengthen, that I know, so I will gladly exchange knee pain for some tender feet.

Heard this phrase for the first time in a long time the other day. Sounds awkward and perhaps cliche, but who cares...

Carpe diem! 

Have a great day. peace.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

a new day

...so today I am finally beginning to feel as if something is different. Something has changed; something is different. Ah, yes! No overwhelming thesis burden. Over the last month or so, I managed to crack down on distractions the best I could and cranked out this Master of Arch. thesis project. It's done. woohoo! party! yea!!

Yea, ok. So there was minimal fanfare, though that is to be expected. Several 'congratulations' from important people, which felt good on the inside. Though deep down there, on the inside, I know the project is only just started. When people ask what my thesis was about I can hardly answer them. Sometimes I just say it was a 'community center', other times I will just add a recital of the title hoping that it will suffice. Then there are the surprising times when I explain it perfectly, making me wish for a personal dictator to rewind the tape so I can hear it explained for myself. These brief moments provide the comfort I need to move on. Yea, maybe I can't describe it right every time, but it's in there somewhere. If we hang out enough, maybe it will pop out one day while you are around.

Looking back I can see clearly that this project is exactly what I wanted it to be. Some of the first writings in my sketchbook/journals were about the level of self-education that must exist, the open minded-ness for change that must exist, and the acceptance of ignorance that must exist. This project was a self-education. It awakened something new within me that I cannot fully explain; something which provides great optimism as I know it has yet to be fully realized, leaving the opportunity to remain out there for the taking. I have no idea what to do next, what the next step in my life is, only that there is nothing holding me back from attaining anything I want. A view on life which has also revealed how much other people are unhappy, constantly complaining instead of doing, solving, adjusting themselves to reach for happiness. The phrase "I would love to do that, but I can't because...." has become all too common in my conversations with others, and is quickly becoming a pet-peeve. Seriously, you are going to surrender your short life experience on such a flimsy excuse? For your sake, I hope you reconsider. I know it has become cliche, but you can do anything you want at any time.....yes, right now, tomorrow, whenever you want.  There are no excuses; minus one, the questioning the quality of your own decision making. You are where you are because you chose to be. Nothing else.

I have been telling myself that I need to make a list of things I would like to do, just to get all the ideas visible at once, as they are currently scattered and ranging greatly in effort and direction. Last night I finally sat down and made a crude list. Perhaps I will revise it and post it later.

Ok, that is enough time behind the computer for the moment. Time to go enjoy the day. I am not sure where I first heard this advice, but I find its application brings immediate calm. Make it a daily practice to open a window. Do it while driving, while at the office, while at home.  Just open it up and you will feel better, immediately grounded and reconnected to your world. Disregard the weather. If you cannot accept all forms of weather as pleasant and necessary, how can you expect to live happily?


Monday, February 08, 2010

naked feet

I never really noticed it, but over the last few years I have grown out of wearing shoes. Living in a corporate world, you pretty much have to wear them for most of the day, despite the fact that you are sitting down most of that time (depending on your job). I have never been much of a shoe person, but I never minded them much either. The combination of my return to a college lifestyle and the dreadful heat that becomes commonplace in the South, my lifestyle the last few years has only strengthened my enjoyment of wearing minimal footwear. Aside from formal occasions, and the rare winter weather in Savannah, I would rather be wearing sandals (or sock-less Sperrys) if footwear were to be required.

In December, I wanted to start up running again, not having committed to it seriously since high school cross country, over a decade ago. I'm not sure why this fact of not liking much shoe on my foot didn't cross my mind then, but it didn't. I went out and bought a brand new pair of shoes. It is just what you do when you want to run. You need a nice pair of shoes, right? To make you run faster? To stay injury-free you need the right pair? It is what I have always done in the past, why should this time be any different?

Well, I have always heard about it, but never taken it too seriously, as it seemed like a gimmick or something for the uber-extreme runner, or for the speedy Kenyan that wasn't fortunate enough for a nice pair Nikes, but barefoot running has been a growing interest of mine for some time now. I have friends who do it. It has been recommended to me several times to try, especially when discussing my joint aches and pains. So I have decided to look at it a little harder this time.

According to this month's Runner's World, it is apparently a "fad" on the rise, and holds a great debate as to whether this radical departure from the norm is a legit mode of exercise. This renegade movement is apparently surging, being led by Christopher McDougall and readers of his book, Born to Run.  Sweet, maybe I can be in the cool crowd this time. :)  Well, I don't know anything about that, nor do I care to join the cool crowd, but I am interested in the benefits of running without shoes. Having been researching it a bit, it seems that people claim great benefit from this "style" of running (less aches and pains, more natural form, increased fun, etc.), all of which interest me. Having never been a huge fan of shoes, why should I need a special pair to run? It just sounds silly all of sudden. Our foot is designed to walk and run just fine without any special treatment. We have just been conditioned to need a shoe.

So, anyway.....I will be continuing my research and hopefully move to some trials in the near future. 

UPDATE: The more POV's, the better....recent article on the topic.

Friday, February 05, 2010


So its been a while since I have had a shave. Thanksgiving, in fact, I believe was the last occasion. Not having a job where I am greeting clients face to face, or the presence of daily razzing from classmates, and such, it has been nice to just let it go for a while. I have let it go several times in the last few years, but only for No Shave November events, and that is just a month. This is the longest it has been, and though I feel the look growing on me (ah! pun, sorry) I feel it may not be tolerable for much longer. I snapped a photo strictly for documentation purposes, and for future discouragement from trying it again. :) Time for a haircut too, that's been since Oct.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

No Impact Man

I have been recently been made aware of the efforts of Colin Beavan, a.k.a. No Impact Man, (Thanks, Vern) and have been pleasantly intrigued by his journey to change his lifestyle, as it is something I have increasingly longed for in my own life.  We have all heard of people becoming more "environmentally conscious" or more "green", terms which I personally have a slight issue with, and perhaps that is why I enjoyed his approach so much: he is straight-forward, and honest.  He admits that his new title is perhaps just a sensational and extreme as all the other "green" slogans, however he backs up his claims with the experimentation that he and his family underwent: attempting to live for a year with "no impact".  He documents the struggles that exist while living within a cultural system that does not support living naturally or the well-being of the whole, but one that focuses solely on consumption, forgetting the harmful waste that inevitably follows.

I have yet to see his documentary film, or read his book, but eagerly await to see what they have to say. In the mean time, his blog is available with a lot of information, including a trailer to his film, as well as a video of a talk he gave in promotion of his book at a B&N, aired on BookTV (very good conversion with Q&A).  I would encourage you to take a little time to explore his story, and to please share what you find with others.  We all have an impact; is yours set to improve or to degrade?

Sunday, January 17, 2010

My Brother the Artist....2 weeks in.

So it has been a couple weeks now for the bro. I have stopped over a few times so far to say hello, taking the opportunity to drop off firewood, sit in the sun and write a bit, and to wear out a Rowdy dog. Andrew seems to be thoroughly enjoying his tenure in the barn. The first week and a half was quite cold by Florida standards, but that has passed and we are on to more typical winter temps (High:60's, Low:40's). I snapped a couple interior photos the other day so you could see how he is living. Not much on the walls this visit....must have known I was going to snap a few pics.

I will post a few more on flickr. Don't forget to drop him a line if you haven't already. One stamp holds so much potential.  peace.

Friday, January 15, 2010

The Zen of Running

My growing interest of late (the last year or two or three) has been about trying to explore and discover my Self in our busy little world we have created. I have only briefly dabbled in meditation, tai chi, etc., and while I find all of that deeply satisfying, I had never thought of running to be a form of this Self discovery. I had run CC and track in HS, and participated in some college sports, but running hadn't been 'fun' or overly enjoyable in a very long time....probably since childhood.

Today a college professor of mine, who is also an avid barefoot runner, recommended this read, "The Zen of Running" by Fred Rohé. It is a very quick and simple read. It was originally printed in the '70s and I believe it is now out of print, but thankfully Rohé has posted a PDF download on his website for all to share.

I found it greatly helpful in regards to the way I approach running. For so long I enjoyed running, then for whatever reason I grew to despise it. When my interest returned, joining DailyMile last month, it was for the sake of competition, stat tracking, and so forth. "Yea, look at me and what I can do!" I am thankful to have come across this book, as it has helped coax my motivation into a more healthy direction. Nothing wrong with DM, just running my own race now.

Here is the link to the PDF: The Zen of Running

I just wanted to share this find with you, in case you hadn't heard of it. Also, if you have any of your own stories about this topic, I would love get a discussion going about this. Though I am only beginning, I find it incredibly fascinating.


Thursday, January 07, 2010

it's twenty ten....

...not two-thousand ten.  You didn't graduate in nineteen-thousand ninety-seven, did you?  Didn't think so.

So it's a new year.  The time of summation lists of a year gone by and resolutions for the year to come.  I'd make you a list, perhaps of some good music from twenty nine (??..ok, so maybe the pronunciation thing doesn't work.), or movies (might have gone to the theater once last year), or books (if it isn't Arch. related then I haven't read it, and I sure as hell don't want to rank them), but quite honestly I am not in the mood for lists today.  Leaning more toward the year to come.  I can't recall ever completely following through on a resolution, so I better not jinx any new plans by calling them one.  Let's just say that this year will be the year that I step out into the unknown.

Goals have been set for the short-term, but that is it.  Some are the same goals that couldn't be completed in 2009 for whatever reason, but the new year has sparked new motivation to move on.  Goal #1 is my thesis project.  It has been hanging around too long and is no longer welcome here.  It must go.  As stated before, my motivation to complete it has been lacking at times....most of the time.

In the last month or so, I have also been motivated to begin running again.  The urge appeared to happen on a whim, most likely a culprit of distraction from my thesis.  "But running is good, it couldn't hurt to add some....any....motivation to your daily life" was my reasoning.  So I have been running again.  Aside from the running associated with my time as a rower, I really haven't done much of it since my high school cross country days.  12+ years and 35-40 lbs later, running isn't as easy at it once was.  However, it is coming back, and it is feeling good....er, better each time.  I have noticed it helps to be able to track yourself and see your progress.  Very motivating.

So....with my thesis motivation waning and my running motivation on the rise, I have decided in this new year to combine these efforts.  On February 6, 2010 there is a race in Savannah.  The place I need to be at the completion of my thesis in order to finalize everything, getting approval signatures and such.  My goal is to be there so that I can run in the Critz Tybee Run.

If for whatever reason, I cannot be in Savannah, there is also a race in Pensacola, the Double Bridge Run.  I will continue my run training and prepare for either of these races....the catch is that if I am not done with my project by then, I cannot run.  My running is already mapped out for the month of January, so that cannot waiver....and now, my completion date for this project cannot either, or my efforts will have been for not.  Attaching my competitive side to this is bound to work, right?

I am very aware that my past attempts at motivation have been mute.  I have tried nearly everything I can think of, and nothing has worked.  The latest attempt, for instance, I haven't had a hair cut since October, or a shave since around Thanksgiving.  I have horrible facial hair once it exceeds 5pm stubble.  It is very patchy and sad.  Knowing this I have put my appearance on the line until I finish.  It has helped to some extent, because its so freakin' uncomfortable (and ugly), but my thoughts that it would deter me from public venues has not been as successful as intended.  So...I hope this running thing works.  Really ready to move on, and shave.

Well, until next time....

....ok, fine, maybe just a quick little list of "good stuff I really enjoyed" during 2009.

1. How to See Yourself as You Really Are
2. The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success

1. (500) Days of Summer

1. Hey Marseilles - To Travels and Trunks
2. Matt and Kim - Grand
3. Dave Matthews Band - Big Whiskey and the Groogrux King
4. Regina Spektor - Far
Too close to call Runners-up:
Norah Jones - The Fall
(500) Days...Soundtrack
Schuyler Fisk - The Good Stuff

Check 'em out! Happy New Year! Ok, bye.

Saturday, January 02, 2010

My Brother the Artist....

....has some creative plans for his first month of the decade. He has developed and proposed a challenge to himself that will help him become the artist he wants to be. The challenge is posted below. If you have ever been camping, you know how long a day can feel when without modern conveniences. He will have plenty of "free" time to think, create, and produce. (ah, envy!!) You should send him something.

The month of January in Florida is nothing compared to northern states, but for us warm-blooded beach dwellers, it gets pretty cold. This first week, the temperature will get up to 50 for about an hour, and then head back down toward (and below) freezing for the nights. So that should be fun.

I will be stopping by every so often to see what's up. Here is a photo of pre-Day 1, preparing for his first night. It should be an interesting endeavor. I can't wait to see what he produces.

Until next time, peace.