Monday, August 27, 2018

Vainglorious Arrows

If you've stumbled upon this post, you're welcome to read, but please understand I'm actually creating this for our Tuesday morning men's group as a way to give them a link to an illustration that I, as will hopefully become clear, was reluctant to put on social media.

Our inner life—what makes up our inner being of will, thoughts, emotions, social connections, and even the dispositions of our body—will constantly entangle us and defeat us. Paul’s penetrating description has never been improved on: “For the good that I wish, I do not do; but I practice the very evil that I do not wish” (Rom. 7:19). Paul, of course, did not stay there. He knew the bitter reality, but he also knew how to move on. ~Dallas Willard in chapter 2

I was playing Skyrim one day when my Archery skill level increased and I remembered a quote from Mary Roach's wonderfully entertaining book Packing for Mars:

“No one goes out to play anymore. Simulation is becoming reality. But it isn't anything like reality. Ask an M.D. who spent a year dissecting a human form tendon by gland by nerve, whether learning anatomy on a computer simulation would be comparable. Ask an astronaut whether taking part in a space simulation is anything like being in space. What's different? Sweat, risk, uncertainty, inconvenience. But also, awe. Pride. Something ineffably splendid and stirring.”

I figured if I'm going to level up my archery skill, I may as well do it in real life. I'd been shooting again recently anyway and decided to start keeping track of my progress in a spreadsheet I keep regarding my various workouts.

During a recent workout then, I happened to have a really good volley. I'm only shooting from a distance of 45 feet from the target, but was satisfied with the result of volley number 8 and took a picture with my cell phone.



Having recently finished Glittering Vices: A new look at the Seven Deadly Sins and Their Remedies by Rebecca Konyndyk DeYoung I was convicted that posting something like this on social media would amount to vainglory. You see, this is what I want to world to see. This is what I want people to think of me. This is the type of thing social media seems to be filled with. But...

Here's the result of the very next volley



This, on the other hand, is what I don't want to world to see. Sometimes I fail. It's not that I want to miss the mark. Even though I try my best, sometimes I'm just off. It is comforting to know that even Paul had to struggle with this at times.

So here's the reality



The spreadsheet doesn't lie. This is my average; I hit the circle 40% of the time. Am I happy with it? No. That's why I'll keep trying. That's why I'm moving on.

So why not post this on social media? Posting the first picture alone would be misleading and vainglorious. I thought about posting this story for "friends" on social media, but what would be my goal there? To have people 'like' it? To impress them with my humbleness...?

St. Bernard of Clairvaux comes to my rescue with the following:

But to seek praise for humility is to destroy the virtue in it. The truly humble man prefers to pass unnoticed rather than have his humility extolled in public. He is happy to be overlooked; if he has any pride at all it consists in despising praise.

Friday, June 08, 2018

Quiet Time

Remember when people used to blog?...

I've been off the bike for a while but am slowly getting back in the groove. When I say I'm taking it slow I mean that even though my knee feels fine now, I'm not going back to riding 20 miles or more a day. I started with 6 or 7 and have stretched that to 10 to 12 without any resulting discomfort.

Here's part of my morning quiet time routine now:


This spot is half way through my ride and where I like to stop, read, and drink my coffee.

And, according to my dB meter app, this is the quietest spot during the ride:


It may seem counter-intuitive, but it is a nice spot to stop, get off the bike, and just stand there for a few before finishing up and sitting down in front of a computer for work for the next 8 or 9 hours.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Bike to Work Week - Overland Park, Kansas 2013

Bike to Work Week in Overland Park is off to the best start I've seen since 2007. I thought the job Brian and Nico did last year was stellar. This years has topped it already. Nice job guys.

 I met up with my buddy Noah on Monday morning. We've been meeting each other at these events since 2007 or 2008. It's always good to catch up and see some of his new gear.
 Noah and I both noticed Monday morning that the list of names on the check-in sheet were already at the point where they were around Wednesday last year. This is thanks, in large part, to several riders who work at Garmin. In talking with them I found out that they'd recently had a bike commuter challenge that ran from November through March. They logged almost 9000 miles. These guys are really committed to bike commuting!
So thanks again to Brian (far left) and Nico (blue shirt) for the free breakfast and all the swag. Here's hoping the weather cooperates the next few days. Also, I'm hoping to get the annual picture with Noah and Mark in on Friday morning.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Indian Creek Trail Closure at Switzer Continues



Several people have asked me recently about updating my posts on the closure of the Indian Creek Trail at Switzer in Overland Park. I also get quite a few visits based on people searching for keywords like:
Indian Creek Trail Closure Switzer Construction Dates.

I've got news, but you may not like it.

I called Overland Park's Park Service Department and asked for an estimated date for the project to be completed and was told that they last they'd heard from the Kansas Department of Transportation was "late spring." I found that a little hard to believe after riding to the site this morning.






Since I've got some connections to folk working at KDOT, I asked how I could go about getting a more realistic answer. I was able to call the KDOT construction office in Olathe and was told the new estimate for completion is now "November of this year."

If you'll look back to my post from August 5, 2011, the original time frame for the closure was July 18, 2011 to March 2012. On May 17, 2012 I reported that the date had been pushed back to November 2012. In December I was told "Spring 2013". Here's hoping that it will be open some time in 2013.

Wednesday, March 06, 2013

Parking at the New HyVee

Two of my three youngest work for HyVee and the other one did so until just recently. They hear a lot of talk about the new HyVee at 95th and Antioch. Actually, most of us in the area hear a lot about it because it is a big topic of discussion throughout the area.

The biggest complaint so far seems to be the lack of open parking spots and the resulting parking lot derby. I went today and didn't have a problem at all. In fact, I parked a couple yards from the front door.


Seriously, I heard a few comments from people who obviously had spent time trying to find a space. One mom with dad and two toddlers in tow said "Now that's the way to go." Yes. It is.


Your choice.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

The Rationally Optimistic Bicyclist


"The world of things ... is indeed often subject to diminishing returns. But the world of ideas is not. The more knowledge you generate, the more you can generate. And the engine that is driving prosperity in the modern world is the accelerating generation of useful knowledge. So, for example, a bicycle is a thing and is subject to diminishing returns. One bicycle is very useful, but there is not much extra gain in having two, let alone three. But the idea 'bicycle' does not diminish in value. No matter how many times you tell somebody how to make or ride a bicycle, the idea will not grow stale or useless or fray at the edges." From The Rational Optimist, by Matt Ridley

I'm really enjoying The Rational Optimist, even though I don't agree with all of Matt Ridley's points. This book has been well worth my time and I heartily recommend it.

That being said, let's take a moment to talk about the paragraph quoted at the top of this post.

I understand that he's just using the bicycle as an analogy here, but, I'm going to have to take exception to the sentence "One bicycle is very useful, but there is not much extra gain in having two, let alone three." Ridley talks a great deal about specialization in earlier chapters but left it out here.

Were he to open my garage, Matt Ridley would see I've got two hybrids and a beach cruiser (I won't count my old 10 speed hidden away up in the attic because it needs too much work at the moment to count as a full bicycle). What do I gain by having two hybrids? I've got a spare bike for use when one of my bikeless children want to go along on a bike ride - or - in the inevitable event the "diminishing returns" of mechanical failure means my beloved Bucephalus needs to go to the shop.

I've got the third bike, a beach cruiser, for use during the winter. It's cheap and has big balloon tires that work great on ice and snow. With the third bike I gain an inexpensive option to the wear and maintenance that would be incurred by riding a nicer bike in the snow, slush and road salt.

I DO, on the other hand, agree that the idea 'bicycle' never grows stale or useless. So, share the idea 'bicycle' with others today.

He who receives an idea from me, receives instruction himself without lessening mine; as he who lights his taper at mine, receives light without darkening me. -- Thomas Jefferson
The Rational Optimist via Amazon

The Rational Optimist via Barnes and Noble