Once upon a time, you had the chance to be brave. Your name was selected, your number was called. You were the chosen one, at least for this particular moment on planet Earth. All eyes were on you, and the stakes were high.It was a big moment. So what happened? Not to put too fine of a point on it, but what happened was ... you caved. At the critical moment, you turned your back on the task at hand. Read More
Have you ever walked around endless airport highway ramps for more than a mile? When it’s after 10pm and you’ve got your carry-on bags with you?Yeah, so I did that the other night. Short version: when you arrive in DFW and are staying at the off-airport Hyatt Regency, you’re supposed to take the SkyTrain to the C gates, and then hike through the parking garage to the entrance. I’ve done it that way before, and it’s not terribly difficult. This time I was hanging out in the D terminal, working from my favorite U.S. airline lounge, and I decided to walk outside and skip the whole SkyTrain thing. How hard could it be? I’ve been to DFW, oh, I don’t know—several hundred times if not more. Sure, it’s a big place, and there was that time I got lost trying to return a rental car and missed my flight, but still. Read More
"The great thing about a world record is that it gives meaning to a mundane task. I don’t worry too much about people emulating me because people who have the get-up-and-go to do something like this usually have the common sense to know when something's going wrong.! It's a good time to be an inventor. If people want to learn to do something, they can easily get the information where before it was quite hard. There’s always a new trick to learn. There’s always something you can do bigger and better."Read More
I always love a good quest. While flying Southwest Airlines recently (it’s a long story) I happened to pick up the in-flight magazine and read about a guy who’s trying to become a professional golfer.
The whole article is interesting but isn’t the easiest to read in online format. The short version is that Dan, an ordinary guy from my hometown of Portland, Oregon, is trying to become a professional golfer despite never having much of an aptitude for playing golf before.
Dan pursues the quest partly because he wants to see if it's possible. Does talent come about entirely through "putting in the hours"? Here's a real-life case study to find out.Read More
I was coming back from a run up and down Mount Tabor in Southeast Portland. I know the route well. It’s about a 5-6 mile loop from my house, depending on which path I take. More often than not, when I’m home for a while I run it at least once a week.
As I neared my neighborhood toward the end of the run, I noticed a cat in a driveway. Being a cat person, I often say hi to felines when I see them out and about on my run. Cats being cats, sometimes they follow me for blocks, intent on being my friend for life, and other times they can’t be bothered to acknowledge my presence.
This cat, I noticed, was different. He was sitting on his hind legs in the driveway, staring intently at something. Maybe it’s because he was so intent on the object of his fascination, or maybe I was just tired toward the end of the run—but for whatever reason I decided to slow down and walk over to the driveway.
“Hey, what’s going on?” I said to the cat. (Yeah, I talk to cats the same way I talk to people. If you’ve ever had a cat, you understand.)
The cat gave no response. He was fully immersed in something, and as I got closer, I could see what it was. There was a mouse! A tiny one, shivering in an isolated section of grass near the driveway—and just a paw’s swipe away from the cat.Read More
I once caught bronchitis, and it lasted for more than a week. I spent much of the day sleeping or complaining.
But of course, I still had to work sometime. My energy level was constantly low, but every so often I'd muster enough strength to work through a few tasks or half-heartedly reply to emails before crashing on the couch.
The rest of the time, when I wasn’t sleeping or complaining, I was on the couch reading or watching bad TV shows on my iPad. Once in a while I’d be inspired to boil water for herbal tea. It was rough—even worse than the dreaded man flu.Read More
James Golding sets out to break a world record of cycling 1748 miles in 7 days: “If you start thinking about fear, you become trapped by it. To get prepared for a challenge of this magnitude is not a short process. It’s something I’ve been building on for a long time.” Sometimes to bounce…Read More
I downloaded another iPad game that was a lot like the one I wrote about in The Tower. It was probably a mistake, given my tendencies for going all-in, but once in a while I download a game and play it off and on for a couple weeks. Then I get bored and remove it…Read More
I came back from Tuvalu and my gym was packed with dozens of people I had never seen before—an influx of New Year's Resolutions. "How many of them will still be here in February?" I wondered. Whether you're pro- or anti-resolution, there's nothing inherently special about a new calendar year. If you don't like the western calendar, there are plenty of others.Read More
Visiting every country in the world is getting difficult. I've almost completely ran out of “easy” countries. These days I spend as much time arranging visas as I do planning the actual trip. It takes time, energy, and money: even with my best travel hacking strategies, I expect the overall cost to increase in the final two years of the project.Read More