It usually comes when I’m just about wrapped with a project. I’ll step back and look… and have the urge to rip it apart and start over. Once you do something the first time – you learn so many things that you didn’t know when you started – seems like a natural urge.

I reached that point today as I was trying to determine a way to screw in the last roof panel – the apex is about 14 feet off the ground. Dicey reach from the ladder while holding screws at the same time.  I found a way to hold the screw in my mouth (threads in) and pull it off my lips with the magnetic tip of the drill bit [warning: do not try that at home.]

This one was sketched as I was building it – I built the platform and then starting thinking about how to make it light, open, airy, bright…and safe. It’s a mix of clear Cedar. I’d still like to make it a bit more weather tight. I was thinking maybe canvas or sail cloth with grommets added and then pulled taut around each side (the back is solid Cedar). It would keep the wind out and make it more usable when the weather cools in the fall.

There is also no way to get into it yet – by design.

I was not able to satisfy the customer’s request of “a sink to wash hands” and “a shower”. Maybe the next one will have plumbing.

wax on, wax off (x3)

My medium/short weekend run has been the loop from Mt Tabor to downtown, over Hawthorne, back over the Steel bridge and then back up the hill to home for 8 miles. My short/short is up Mt Tabor for a quick 5′er.

Unbelievably, I changed my medium/short run this morning in an attempt to do more anaerobic threshold training. I ran the Tabor 5′er, but went back up Tabor twice more :) for a total of 3 climbs. Mileage came in just over 9, still making it a medium/short run.

It seemed like there were a lot of people running this morning, I was thinking maybe the Fall marathon people are starting to do weekend group runs.

“Fall 7 times, get up 8 times”
- someone’s Kanji tattoo (somewhere)

I was thinking a lot about being a beginner and having beginner’s mind this morning. I passed a lady near the top of my 2nd loop nearing the top of Mt. Tabor and I gave her a, “good job.” During Mt. Hood 50 miler (the course consisted of 2 big loops) – on the first loop everyone was giving and getting “lookin’ good”, “good job”. The second loop – after everyone had been running for 35 miles… nada. Maybe eye contact and a grunt. The difference was stark. And very funny.

I’m not sure if she was thinking <–STFU–> or maybe it gave her a little bump nearing the top of a long climb. The thing that no one every stresses though – is that when people start out doing *anything* no one knows what they’re doing. And everyone is a beginner. Like the Karate Kid. Mile 6 was a ton o’ fun – I pulled off my shirt and ran like a [mountain goat?] down the backside of the mountain (it’s really a hill)… but I learned that 3 loops are good for 1K vertical, so I’ll take it.

JP Auclair Street Segment (from All.I.Can.) from Sherpas Cinema on Vimeo.

Lazy Summer

I’m finding myself in a lazy summer morning routine – sleeping late, relaxing with the paper and coffee – then shoving off for work. I took the long way to the office today which entails running East away from downtown and up to the top of Mt Tabor, then down the back of the park, over to Laurelhurst park and onto  the regular cycle commute route over the Burnside bridge into downtown. It’s 8.5 miles, starts with a nice climb and then rolls mostly downhill all the way to downtown. It’s nice running trails like a wild animal on the way into the office. The inbound run is always fun. Outbound with wet clothes and tired legs sucks.

On my run I was mentally preparing a deep philosophical treatise on ‘being uncomfortable’ and how good it is for you.  e.g. “I didn’t mean to make you feel uncomfortable, but actually I did… mean to.”

It was amazing and inspirational — I was going to write about how everyone should do something to get out of their comfort zone each day and it will become easier and easier and how great it will make you feel. When I got to my desk I tried to write it down and I bogged down in a distinction between being physically uncomfortable or mentally uncomfortable (which is really just fear), or emotionally uncomfortable (which is something else). And couldn’t get past the distinction between the three types.  I thought of examples of being physically uncomfortable which were really just physical exhaustion, mentally uncomfortable (some climbing examples).

Then it just devolved into a litany of things I’ve done over the years where I was just really terrified… stories of misadventures in the mountains (they were really adventures). In the end I’m not sure what I actually meant about being uncomfortable — maybe something about breaking out of habits, trying something new and dreaming big dreams (that are worthy of your time and attention).

A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, adored by little statesmen and philosophers and divines. With consistency a great soul has simply nothing to do. He may as well concern himself with his shadow on the wall. Speak what you think now in hard words, and to-morrow speak what to-morrow thinks in hard words again, though it contradict every thing you said to-day. — ‘Ah, so you shall be sure to be misunderstood.’ — Is it so bad, then, to be misunderstood? Pythagoras was misunderstood, and Socrates, and Jesus, and Luther, and Copernicus, and Galileo, and Newton, and every pure and wise spirit that ever took flesh. To be great is to be misunderstood. – Ralph Waldo Emerson

Something like that, well stated by someone much more eloquent than I.

I *cannot believe* I was able to 808 State my average. Amazing.

This was uncomfortable.

Obedient, docile men.

I have thought for a long time now that if, some day, the increasing efficiency for the technique of destruction finally causes our species to disappear from the earth, it will not be cruelty that will be responsible for our extinction and still less, of course, the indignation that cruelty awakens and the reprisals and vengeance that it brings upon itself…but the docility, the lack of responsibility of the modern man, his base subservient acceptance of every common decree. The horrors that we have seen, the still greater horrors we shall presently see, are not signs that rebels insubordinate, untamable men are increasing in number throughout the world, but rather that there is a constant increase in the number of obedient, docile men.

—George Bernanos


Reading this article last week about robot caregivers and thinking about the empathic side of AI – a gentler HAL. I was reminded of the Guidestar system and Jerry from the movie War, Inc. Not sure if this was meant to be a machine or a voice call to a human – I like to think it was a machine.  The move is satire in the same category as Idiocracy in which the Green Zone in Baghdad has been renamed “The Emerald City.” Jerry’s voice is Montel Williams.

The second interaction is the best, in which Hauser (John Cusack) tells Jerry that he feels like a morally twisted character from a Céline novel. The juxtaposition of Céline + Hauser’s therapy session with a bot in a private jet is genius.

This area of machine / human mediated interactions is fascinating to me. It feels like this is what people ultimately want, but seems like it will nearly impossible to achieve, given the complexity of human emotion, but also the fact that the scientists working in this field are not the most emotionally intelligent humans (I’m generalizing).

Case in point, I noticed yesterday one of the engineers at work wearing a t-shirt with the message: “Social engineering specialist: Because there is no patch for human stupidity.”

There is probably a good talk on this topic as it relates to designing these interactions… if I were ever motivated to speak (much less attend) another design conference.



Tried some lactic threshold training today. I was yo-yo’ing from ~160bpm to ~180+, then recovering back down to around 160 before stepping on the gas again. Kind of harder than a sustained tempo run – more cyclic.

This run is a sustained climb when you hit the trail (around mile 3). Super quiet in the woods today, just my feet hitting the trail, some rustling leaves (maybe Sasquatch) and my breathing.

Outside shop

Zippy 8 miler downtown in the morning and then worked outside all day.
Literally *all* day, 9am – 9pm.


I’m building a treehouse that will be about 6′ off the ground when finished. I finished the main supports and  bolted the sides together today with 1/2″ by 8″ galvanized bolts. The deck supports are 2×6 pressure treated on joist hangers, the deck is cedar. Most of the time today was spent making sure everything was square – measuring and measuring and measuring. The 4 corners are slightly offset because of where I set the posts, so I squared to one corner and shimmed the others before drilling and bolting.

I have no idea what I’m going to put up for walls (or roof). I’d like to keep the weight of the entire structure low, but still need a safety rail for anyone up top  (stainless cable railing…?). With the decking in place but not attached, I realized that I have enough wood to curve the front of the treehouse. I’m planning to attach the decking square, and then sketch a curve across the front and trim it with the jigsaw (and bevel the edge with the router).

The footprint is small – about 8×6, but I realized as I was cleaning up today that it would be a perfect spot for a telescope and chair — which may drive some decisions on roof options, maybe something convertible.