WireLESS Days

Just a heads up. I haven’t forgotten about this blog. The wireless on my computer is on the fritz, so I’m living in a mostly Internetless world these days. I still have my iPhone. (Posting from it.)

This situation is interesting and refreshing. General observations.

1) Having an iPhone is crutial, but my tolerance for it’s capabilities is limited. It is good for reading email, Twittering, and passive web browsing. It falls short as an efficient way to read news and blogs. And I can’t do research or collaborative wordprocessing on it.

2) Not having the daily temptation to “keep up” with RSS feeds, managing my inbox, updating my groups in TweetDeck, etc. feels awesome. The time freed up by not having to do these things is enlightening as to (1) what I need a computer for and (2) what I think I need a computer for. Less than I thought!!

3) Although I’ve grown to dislike texting and instant messaging because they are pesky and often abused for idle entertainment between people with nothing better to do, not having a computer to iChat makes me realize the subtle scheduling “lubrication” that IMing provides. Deciding dinner is easier when I’ve kicked around a few ideas via AIM than when I’m already at the grocery store.

Hopefully the wireless will be resolved soon. I’ve got a few good posts I’d like to write.

Follow Up on Friending vs Following

The first time I joined Twitter I followed way too many people that I didn’t know and businesses that I wasn’t interested in. This led to me being overwhelmed with five to ten tweets every minute! This made Twitter too unidirectional for me. I couldn’t keep up nor did I care to keep up.

In my previous post I mentioned that one of Twitter’s advantages is that a user can follow another user without first having to be accepted. That is one of the advantages of Twitter that gives it such potential.

On three occasions this weekend I’ve heard celebrities profess how great Twitter is for them because it allows them to speak directly to their fans. These are the celebs that have hundreds of thousands of followers. They tweet and we receive. No PR interference. No media misquoting. No interference. Thus we see the usefulness of Twitter on the large scale.

What about the rest of us? What I have to say is rarely (if ever) funny, informative or interesting beyond my close circle of friends. I tweet simply because I can. Because I like to create little things, and Twitter allows me, as a busy person, to feel like I’m adding to the web. It’s that simple. I don’t care if I’m followed. It’s just me, and maybe you. But mostly me. That is why I have made a point to, with a few exceptions, follow only those people who I have met in “real life.” At least their uninteresting tweets may fall within my universe from time-to-time.

What does that say of the difference between me following someone and me friending them? My following people on Twitter who I know would accept my friend request on Facebook lessens the difference. And thus, we see both a further similarity and another difference between twitter and Facebook. As a non-celebrity I live a small life, both offline and online. I don’t need to be followed by non-friends. I don’t need to follow them. Thus my Twitter universe is roughly equal to my Facebook universe. They’re both at a place where I can be invested without feeling overwhelmed. They are both a two-way conversation between me and my followers/friends.

The celebrity Twitter experience is far different. It’s simply a megaphone for them. They have headphones to hear what others are tweeting, but hundreds of thousands of followers create too much static to be heard. It’s like I experienced with my first Twitter account. It made me give up because I was looking at it wrong.

There’s a lot to think about here. Pretty interesting. A big future for both companies.

Advice to Myself

I posted this on a blog I wrote back in 2005 titled, “The Idle Hour.”

Don’t eat too healthy.
Sing in the shower.
Have fun, but work hard and don’t mix the two.
Raise your hand.
Ask questions.
Remember names.
Watch a TV show religiously.
Read books and magazines.
Stay clean.
Take a big risk from time to time.
Don’t forget how good home is.
Learn to depend on others, but don’t trust everyone.
Be moved by music.
Love someone.
Be foolish.
Don’t be fake.

Let’s see how I’m doing now, nearly four years later.

I rarely get the recommended amount of sleep, which, depending on source, varies. But I don’t feel tired and I seem to function well during the day.

I definitely don’t eat too healthy. Back when I wrote this I was downing about two burritos, four PopTarts, five cans of Diet Pepsi, countless cups of coffee, and a healthy amount of junk food – daily. Needless to say I gained a little weight. Not too much, but enough so that I didn’t fit into a pair of pants I bought in college. An odd feeling, but being young, it didn’t slow me down. I eat better now. I haven’t succumbed to the protein rich (enjoyment low) diets that some of my male friends endure for bigger muscles. (Really, how much muscle does it take to read and type!). It’s all about moderation.

I sign in the shower, but my true source of creative movement relief is dancing in the car while driving. Just give me XM channel 20 (Top 20 pop songs) and pump up the volume. I honestly think I might have some moves to show off that people would want to see. However, put me on the floor of a dance club and I will stand there frozen. I believe this is a comfort zone issue!

I have fun and I work hard. That’s pretty much how you have to approach law school if you want to survive.

I have not raised my hand enough in the past few years. It’s intimidating and often opens a can of worms. To my knowledge no one has died from raising their hand to date. I’m making a concerted effort to speak more in my classes this semester because my class sizes are smaller (six to 15 students) and the silence kills me.

Ask questions. Ditto.

I’m still horrible at remembering names. I need to work on this. I can meet someone, go through introductions, and then literally immediately forget what they said. It’s a “being present” issue, I believe. My mind is actually ahead of the moment in time thinking of something about which to converse. Definitely need to work on this.

I watch a lot of TV shows religulously. This has never been a problem and never will be. However, and this is a contradictory statement, TV is very take it or leave it for me. Not necessarily because I don’t care to see a show, but because there are so many ways to time shifting my shows.

I read a lot for school, which I don’t count as reading. Reading, for me, is more like reading something I got from Amazon or an actual bookstore. Reading, for me, is something of which I don’t do enough.

I’m clean. Except, now, I don’t like washing my jeans. Ever. It’s just not right to wash denim. Otherwise, I’m very clean and organized.

I don’t take enough big risks. This is partly tied to decisions. I need to develop a personalized approach to dealing with difficult problems more efficiently. Then take the risks without regret. I’m specifically thinking about the company I need to get off the ground with my sister. It’s been put off for too long.

Home is amazing. I have not forgotten. Nor will I ever. Traverse City is home. It’s both the same and very different every time I return. (This reminds me of the Benjamin Button quote.)

I think I have learned to depend on others. This line from above is my least favorite. It makes me seem like I was wronged at the time by someone or something. Perhaps I felt that way because of the chaos at work at the time. But honestly, no one has ever really ruined my trust in them. The best thing I can take out of this is, perhaps, that I need to develop a tougher skin.

I am more moved by music than ever before. I’m green, uninformed and at timed aloof to trends in music. However, it can be powerful, funny, fun, happy, rad, etc. You name it…

Love someone. Love someone. Love someone.

Someone close to me said recently that I’m too serious. It was seconded by another person. So, perhaps I have some work to do on being foolish, letting loose, and enjoying the present for what it is. I suppose my worrying negates any foolishness points gained by car dancing.

Don’t be fake. This is something that comes with age. Although I will say this. That the pressure to assimilate sways. As a teenager I wanted to fit in (to an extent – I was not desperate for attention). To be the same was not something that concerned me. I wanted to do well. To be good. Now, however, assimilation means, for example, not writing a blog entry that will hinder my job prospects should a prospective employer read it. I hate that. To me that is censorship of my expression. It is a harsh reality of the life I am currently in pursuit of. Somehow, there has to be a balance between not being fake and not screwing myself over. I’m not there yet, so mark this one down as still working.

Early Morning Rounds

I haven’t had the opportunity to play an early morning round of golf in a long time, but boy do I miss it. There is just something about the chill in the air, the uninterrupted dew on the fairways and greens, and the empty course waiting to be played that makes for a peaceful morning. Dodging the mowers can be tricky, but fun.

My penchant for early morning rounds likely developed during my junior golfing days. At the young age of ten or eleven I started competing in nine-hole tournaments at local golf courses. The courses donated (I presume) early morning course time to the Traverse City Junior Golf Association for us to compete. And compete we did, once a week through the summer. There were usually about eight or ten tournaments, which worked out to one per week. Just enough to establish a competitive season without being too great a burden on our parents, who got us to the course at obscenely early hours.

Later, high school golf tryouts started at 6am and ran all week. Needless to say, it was a very tiring week. High school tournaments were usually played early, too. And there were always too many pranks to be played and fun to be had to get to bed early.

So, through all of this nostalgic wandering is the reason I like playing early in the morning. It gives me a reason to think back on my childhood when I had trouble falling asleep because I was so exciting and nervous about the next mornings nine-hole tournament. That feeling never went away, and to this day, I still get butterflies in my stomach when I tee up my Titleist on the first tee and take those stiff practice swings.

One Shot to Impress

Imagine that you are in the following situations with only one swing – one shot – a single attempt to impress. What shot do you hit?

Your significant other is watching you hit balls on the range for the first time?

You’re on the first tee with your potential boss. He just duffed it.
Modest 2 iron

Tiger Woods, strolling by casually, is watching. He needs a pro-am partner.
Smooth 6 iron.

You are leading by one at THE PLAYERS Championship teeing off on 18.
Hard driver.

Your golf pro starts hitting balls next to you on the range.
Smooth 7 iron.

Your best ball partner shows up after you talked up your (rusty) game all week at the office.
Hit the putting green!

Phil Mickelson shows up at the practice green next to you and starts hitting flop shots.
A higher flop shot!

You’re having a chipping contest with your dad in the back yard.
Low sand wedge.

It’s interesting to think of when you want to impress, show off skill, or ensure a solid shot. What would you do in these situations? Do you have any good ones of your own?

Why Golf is the Best of All Games

In a letter written to Owen Fiss by philosopher John Rawls about a conversation he had with Harry Kalven, Rawls highlights six reasons why baseball is the best of all games. Here are the reasons offered and why golf may just be a better game.

First: “The rules of the game are in equilibrium.”

This is a difficult point to dispute in favor of golf because of the increased distance and performance provided by high tech golf equipment. Whereas in baseball, a wooden bat and leather ball are standard year-to-year and decade-to-decade. The advancement of golf equipment is out-pacing many of the courses (for professionals).

Second: “The game does not give unusual preference or advantage to special physical types.”

With the steroid controversy looming over Major League Baseball, there seems to be some concern that “bigger IS better.” Power is becoming a dominating factor in both baseball and golf, however, for golf pure power is less of an advantage than in baseball. Power in golf is only one element of moving the ball from point A to point B. Directional control is equally important, and much harder to master.

Thus, the game of golf gives less of an advantage to special physical types, although it does favor power.

Third: “The game uses all parts of the body.”

I’ve heard people all my life tell me that golf is not a sport. People have their reasons for saying this, including that there isn’t enough movement, no physical contact, and rarely do golfers break a sweat unless the temperature is high.

Golf is the most athletic of games. The ability to strike a golf ball solidly is almost as or as difficult as hitting a baseball thrown by a pitcher at 90 MPH. Only when the golf swing is viewed in slow motion do you realize just how involved every part of the body is. Look at a professional players’ impact position. It’s very athletic looking.

Fourth: “All plays of the game are open to view.”

Baseball is a clear winner in this category. No matter if you are watching golf on TV or live in person, you will not see every shot on the course or even every shot of a single player.

The suspense in golf is built shot by shot over four days until the Sunday roars weigh heavy on the players walking the course. Nothing is in view, and that is part of the excitement.

Fifth: “Baseball is the only game where scoring is not done with the ball, and this has the remarkable effect of concentrating the excitement of plays at different points of the field at the same time.”

Every player’s ball has the potential to change the outcome of the tournament. Unlike basketball or football, the focus isn’t on a single ball. Like baseball, there are multiple points of focus that may or may not be simultaneously altering the outcome of the competition.

Sixth: “There is the factor of time, the use of which is a central part of any game. Baseball shares with tennis the idea that time never runs out, as it does in basketball and football and soccer.”

Like baseball, there is no factor of time in golf. In certain golf formats, E.g., matchplay, time can be a strategic tool. In both baseball and golf the viewer and players know what marks the end, but don’t necessarily know when it will come. The advantage of the lack of time is that more focus is placed on the actual play than on working against time.

Two great games.