Categories
What I learned last week

What I learned last week (#42)

A week of release: A lot happened this week, as the kids and I battled sickness (Therazinc and tea tree oil to the rescue!), I finished my trial with Automattic (one of the hardest stretches of work I’ve done), we took a weekend jaunt to Linlithgow Palace, and had a Sunday day doing nothing but playing.


I felt a little like this over the past five weeks: During my trial I felt so tired at the end of each day. Reading the The grandmaster diet: How to lose weight while barely moving made me think about just how much energy I was expending:

In October 2018, Polar, a U.S.-based company that tracks heart rates, monitored chess players during a tournament and found that 21-year-old Russian grandmaster Mikhail Antipov had burned 560 calories in two hours of sitting and playing chess — or roughly what Roger Federer would burn in an hour of singles tennis.

Robert Sapolsky, who studies stress in primates at Stanford University, says a chess player can burn up to 6,000 calories a day while playing in a tournament, three times what an average person consumes in a day. Based on breathing rates (which triple during competition), blood pressure (which elevates) and muscle contractions before, during and after major tournaments, Sapolsky suggests that grandmasters’ stress responses to chess are on par with what elite athletes experience.


I attended the Rangers v Feyenoord football match on Thursday. Before moving to Scotland I knew next-to-nothing about the club, but the history is epic, and the Wikipedia page for Rangers F.C. does not disappoint:

Rangers have won more league titles and domestic trebles than any other club in the world, winning the league title 54 times, the Scottish Cup 33 times and the Scottish League Cup 27 times, and achieving the treble of all three in the same season seven times. Rangers won the European Cup Winners’ Cup in 1972 after being losing finalists twice, in 1961 (the first British club to reach a UEFA tournament final) and 1967. A third runners-up finish in Europe came in the UEFA Cup in 2008. Rangers have a long-standing rivalry with Celtic, the two Glasgow clubs being collectively known as the Old Firm, which is considered one of the world’s biggest football derbies.

Note that they have to keep the stands next to and above the visiting team’s fans cleared (visitors are the few stands in the far corner). The multiple rings of police in yellow coats can give you an idea as to why.

All those yellow coats in the distance are the police…

Reading the Lessons of History and really enjoying the writing:

So the conservative who resists change is as valuable as the radical who proposes it – perhaps as much more valuable as roots are more vital than grafts. It is good that new ideas should be heard, for the sake of the few that can be used; but it is also good that new ideas should be compelled to go through the mill of objection, opposition, and contumely; this is the trial heat which innovations must survive before being allowed to enter the human race. It is good that the old should resist the young, and that the young should prod the old; out of tis tension, as out of the strife of the sexes and the classes, comes a creative tensile strength, a stimulated development, a secret and basic unity and movement of the whole.”


A good question to help cut through the clutter: From Katrín Tanja Davíðsdóttir on how she recovered from not qualifying for the 2014 Crossfit games (she won in 2015 and 2016):

I wasn’t a failure. I had just failed at a certain event. Past tense. What could I do in this exact moment to get better? It got me focusing on giving my absolute best in any given situation without the pressure of constantly stacking myself up to others.”

Timothy Ferriss, Tribe of Mentors

A useful definition of art from Seth Godin:

Art is a human activity. It is the creation of something new, something that might not work, something that causes a viewer to be influenced.

Art uses context and culture to send a message. Instead of only a contribution of beauty or craft, art adds intent. The artist works to create something generous, something that will change us.

Art isn’t painting or canvas or prettiness. Art is work that matters.

It’s entirely possible that you’re an artist.

Everyone can be, if we choose.

Thing I learned about Scotland: Fall walks are as brilliant as ever.

A little path through the woods by our house. Fall is starting to peek through.
Categories
What I learned last week

What I learned last week (#41)

Seasons change: Last week you could feel fall setting in here. The leaves are turning color. It feels like even the calendar is starting to settle in for winter. I was out for a scooter ride with Sam on my Friday off and I remembered how much I love the fall (sorry Scots, autumn). As of last week we’ve been in Scotland for two months and it felt like a new stage was beginning along with the season.

Practicing our double tailspin jumps.

Book excerpt I loved:

“The reality of your life is always now. And to realize this, we will see, is liberating. In fact, I think there is nothing more important to understand if you want to be happy in this world.” (Sam Harris, Waking Up)


Thought exercise that I learned from a co-worker: What will I tell my grandmother? Next time you are explaining something or writing about something, even if just as an exercise, try writing about this.

I always like to think about how I would break down my experience to my 93 year old grandma who does not understand the internet or how technology has evolved over the last decade since she stopped using the internet and email about 10 years ago. When she asks about my [next/new anything], what will I tell her?


Music I enjoyed: I went on a music thread one day last week starting with The Doors, Led Zeppelin, Jim Hendrix, then veered to Sex Pistols, and ended up at The Buzzcoks – Singles Going Steady. So good.


Misc things I’ve learned about Scotland:

  • Boxed mac and cheese is basically non-existent. It’s both good and bad.
  • It’s more rural than I realized. Most of what people would say are “suburbs” here would be considered rural to someone from Seattle.
  • There are no Mexican restaurants, and judging from the ready-to-cook food section, people love making food that I put in the Mexican-type genre like fajitas, tacos and the like. Go figure.
  • Police Called To Stop Massive Game Of Hide And Seek At IkeaIkea in Glasgow to be clear.

How Stupid Things Become Smart Together: I’ve been watching One Strange Rock and reading the recent Wait But Why stuff and in the middle watched this video (from A Game of Giants) and thought it was all pretty crazy to think about.


Scotland and WordPress: a peek into the variety of work and world I’ve been working with over the past month.