Writing about a potpourri of ponderings. Follow me on Mastodon!

Another lazy post for today. Brennan from Dimension 20 is teaching me so many new things!

In many animals—like dogs, cats, birds, etc.— what we think of as the “knees” are actually the ankles! These animals have digitigrade locomation. That means they walk around on their toes as opposed to the flat parts of their feet (metatarsals) plus their toes (like humans, which is known as plantigrade locomation). That means your cat is literally tip-toeing when it sneaks up on you!

Here is an example image from Wikipedia:

A comparison of plantigrade and digitigrade locomation bone structure

Anyway, interesting stuff!

Day 31 of the #100DaysToOffload challenge done!

Today I learned the difference between flotsam and jetsam. I was listening to Dimension 20 and I had actually never heard of either of those words before. A Google search led me to NOAA’s NOA website, which defined the difference between the terms.

Apparently it is often used as a phrase, sort of like “odds and ends” but “flotsam and jetsam.” But there is a distinction:

Flotsam is defined as debris in the water that was not deliberately thrown overboard, often as a result from a shipwreck or accident. Jetsam describes debris that was deliberately thrown overboard by a crew of a ship in distress, most often to lighten the ship's load.

This distinction is important because flotsam can be claimed by the original owner of the debris, while jetsam can be claimed as property of whoever ends up discovering it.

So, I guess the moral of story is, if you think you’re going down, then hold on to as much stuff as you can? Nah, that can’t be right…

Day 30 of #100DaysToOffload challenge! Almost 1/3 done.

Today John Green posted a vlog on vlogbrothers wishing his brother Hank a Happy Esther Day. If you’re curious, you can watch the video for a more in-depth explanation of the holiday, but I’ll give a quick explanation here.

Basically, there was a teenage girl with cancer named Esther who was a nerdfighter (the name of the vlogbrothers community). Unfortunately she succumbed to the cancer, but before she died, she wanted to name a holiday in which everyone was told their loved ones that they loved them. It came from the fact that often Hank and John wouldn’t say “I love you” after talking on the phone, despite wanting to. It is a phenomenal idea that I wish got more attention.


Recently, I have been trying to live more intentionally in this life. One part of that is looking at the things I own and determining if it is worth it for me to keep them. As Marie Kondo might ask, do they “spark joy?” As far as I know, this is still the main thrust of the minimalism movement.

I go back and forth on whether I feel comfortable and happy with more or less stuff. Minimalism has obvious strengths, but weaknesses too. I want to explore the topic more in a future post. For now, I wanted to share an idea I had.

I have a box full of little things that I don’t really want to keep, but also seem valuable. I was trying to figure out what to do with them, when I happened across a page in Natalie Goldberg’s Writing Down the Bones. One chapter is about how writers write about the ordinary, about things other people rarely pay attention to. They have the fresh eyes of a tourist in an ordinary place.

This gave me the idea to write about each of the items/trinkets in a way that gives them some dignity and integrity before donating or discarding them. Perhaps a paragraph and a portrait will consecrate the object in the disposable world we struggle in. Who knows, we’ll see how it goes!

Day 28 of the #100DaysToOffload challenge, in the books!

How do you balance self-love and self-discipline?

I have written before about how to reframe “falling off the wagon,” but I can’t help but think it is incomplete. Once again, in some habits I am trying to build, I have broken my streak. I am trying to figure out what best to do to rectify this. The situation brings up a philosophical question for me, but it also provides an opportunity to re-evaluate my methods and make changes.


I have come across a story a few times that I have seen called “Why Were You Not Zusya?” This story relates to the Hasidic Rabbi Zusya (Rabbi Zusya of Hanipol). As far as I can tell, there are various tellings and translations, but the one I have seen is attributed to Martin Buber (Wikipedia). Here is a rendition (found on this blog); the emphasis is mine:


I have been taking improv classes for a little while now. I don’t think I can pinpoint a single activity that has impacted my life more positively.

I am pretty introverted normally. But, I crave social interaction. Improv, and being unable to think about my words before I say them, was one of the scariest things I ever signed up for. But I’m so glad that I did. It has pushed me farther than most anything else. It has also shown me that opening up, and being vulnerable in front of strangers is actually liberating.


Someone submitted a post to HN yesterday of the Wikipedia page Telling the Bees. I like the micro-living that the phrase implies. The idea that, for big events (and probably even small ones!), you need to keep the bees informed or they will fly away, is just very…beautiful? It’s cute. And it’s a nice reminder to stop and slow down every so often. Maybe I’ll stop and “tell the bees” more about my day-to-day life. Maybe that’s what this blog is, even. You all are my bees. And maybe I can be one of yours :)

Day 24 of the #100DaysToOffload challenge DONE.

Cat's Cradle - Wikipedia

I have just finished the Kurt Vonnegut’s Cat’s Cradle.

I loved it.


I just got back from five days in California. And I gotta tell ya, it was awesome.

As a midwesterner, the coasts are such a nice vacation. California, in particular, gets shit-talked a lot in the circles I run in. But it feels worlds away. It is easy to forget how huge America really is, and spending time so far away really can unclog one’s mind.

The purpose of the trip was to visit family, and that was nice. It was a bit much, too. But nice.

We spent some time in Sacramento, then a few days in Napa Valley. I’m not a big wine guy, so some of the tasting was lost on me. However, I learned a lot about the chemistry and ecology that goes into growing wine, and that was illuminating.

Spending time among the lush hills and small towns was fun. There is something that is grounding about places with less people.

Many of the restaurants we visited were reminiscent of older decades, and seeing the juxtaposition between buildings almost 100 years old and new boutique shopping stores evokes a very specific feeling for me. I’m not sure what to call it exactly, but it’s pleasant.

Day 22 of the #100DaysToOffload challenge done!