Local Elections

Early voting is in full swing in my area and I had the ability to go over my lunch break yesterday and cast mine. This year was short and sweet with only the mayor and three city council races.

I know we all focus on the presidential elections but these local ones probably affect you directly more than national races ever will, and these typically have small turnouts. So your one vote could potentially carry more weight. It’s definitely worth your time to research the local candidates and make your voice heard.

Command + Q

As part of my normal routine, I check Twitter throughout the day and I like to see what my friends are sharing.  For the most part, it’s pretty mundane, lots of programmery topics, people sharing personal things, the usual.

But some days I’m just in a weird mood and will see a few tweets that just trigger me. Before I respond and write something I’ll regret I just quit the app and get back to work. Then when I come back later whatever annoyance I had is usually lost in the shuffle. Unless I’m using the official Twitter app which keeps wanting to show “top tweets”, then I remember to open Tweetbot.

I know stepping away is nothing new, but based on the replies I get, many of us struggle with just not replying. We love to tell people how wrong they are, and how they should feel bad for being so wrong.

 

Pros and Cons

My kids want a dog, it’s all they’ve been talking about for a few weeks now.  As a kid, they can’t understand what all is involved in having a pet.  I told them to make a pros and cons list on having a new pet, and the only con they came up with is a puppy will chew on things. Their perspective was so skewed to what they wanted they had tunnel vision. 

If we are not careful we can get this same tunnel vision when we really want something.  It could be anything from starting a new side project to releasing something open source, or a new car, or even just spending money on stuff when we shouldn’t be.  

Too often instead of thinking through everything, we jump in feet first and then quite literally pay for it later.  Where if we would just slow down, think through the unfavorable factors we’d save ourselves lots of heartaches. 

You vs You

I like to mountain bike as much as I can. Typically that means two or three times a week and since my broken hand last year I’ve never fully recovered to the pace I was before. It’s not been so much speed as it is my cardio, I can ride a lot faster than I’m going if my heart rate would stop maxing out.

The past week I’ve been trying to supplement my mountain bike rides with a trainer and I’ve been using Zwift. The idea behind Zwift is fun and it’s neat riding with other people.

zwift.jpg

Over the coming winter, I’m planning on doing some longer training programs and now I’ve been doing an “intro to Zwift” program where it sets your FTP and gives you the basics of the app.

So far it’s been fun to do but I don’t feel the stats it is generating is accurate. From all the research I find on the internet, my FTP is low, my heart rate is high, and a couch potato is in better shape than me.

I’m not sure if it’s my trainer and setup or if I’m really just that out of shape. But it is pretty demoralizing how you can be giving it everything you have, about to puke, and be passed by someone going 20 miles per hour faster.

I guess that is par for the course on the internet but I have to remember I’m not competing against random people. I just want to improve against myself and to be honest that is hard. I’m made to compete and I want to win, even if I don’t have the cardio to do it.

Remote: Work from anywhere

Outdoor Office

I’ve been a remote worker for about a decade now, and I love parts of it like not fighting traffic, being always around for my family, and occasionally working from anywhere. Unlike a lot of people, I like my routines and having a designated workspace is one that I  need. I’m okay working from someplace different for a few days, but eventually, I start missing my home office. I want the solitude and the feeling of it being “my space.”

Not everyone is wired like me, and that is what makes remote work so great. If you are the type where you can work from a coffee shop every day, a park, or a strange city, then you can. Or if you are the type that wants their regular spot with the option of sometimes switching things up, then you can have it too. Just like today, the weather is perfect where I live, so I worked from the patio.

I can’t see myself ever wanting to work a job where I have to go to the office every day. Thankfully I may not ever have to.

Off the grid

Where I live (Charlotte, North Carolina) it’s hard to get off the grid. Most places have wifi, and we have cell coverage almost everywhere. That’s great if you work on the go or if you like to do adventurous stuff alone.

This past weekend I took the family camping in the Pisgah national forest and it was deep enough into the wood that we had zero cell coverage, no internet, nothing. We were completely isolated.

One of the downsides was food and directions. I didn’t bring food or a grill to cook so we drove into town but not being able to research restaurants or find directions was a little jarring, but we were able to get cell service after about a 15-minute drive back out of the woods. So it wasn’t terrible.

There was no reason to scroll Twitter, check email, or anything online. I just sat there by the fire and enjoyed my family with nothing taking my mind away.

I know we can all do this at any time by turning on airplane mode, but it’s not the same. Being isolated with no chance of cheating is freeing. If you ever have the ability to give it a try. You might enjoy it too.

Fryingpan Lookout Tower

This past weekend we as a family decided to go camping up in the Pisgah National Forest and spend the day Saturday tubing down one of the rivers. We reserved a camping spot, threw the tent in the truck, and headed out as soon as school let out Friday. The drive up started out great but as soon as we reached the mountain the rain came. We decided to just power through and take our chances so we kept driving.

Luckily it hadn’t rained a lot at the campground, the ground was wet, but not soaked so the tent went up just fine. We went to bed hoping for a dry Saturday.

Unfortunately, when we woke up it was cool, overcast, and drizzling. Not the best weather to be stuck in a river for four hours. At this point, we pulled out the map to find something else to do and I remembered the Fryingpan Tower that I’ve been wanting to visit ever since I first heard about it.

Before we continue I think it’s worth pointing out that North Carolina is home to two different Fryingpan Towers. The most famous is the “Frying Pan Shoals Light Tower” which is in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. The “Fryingpan Fire Tower” that we visited is in the mountains on the other side of the state and gets its name from Fryingpan Gap. One is spelled with one word, the other with two. Outside of this, I have no idea why they are named the same.

Out of all the fire tower’s in NC Fryingpan is probably the easiest to access. It is right off the Blue Ridge Parkway and only a mile hike up a gravel road. A perfect walk for kids and those that might not be in the best of shape.

As we started our walk it was overcast and I was hoping as we reached the tower the clouds would lift giving us some amazing views of the mountains. Instead, the weather went the other direction and the cloud cover rolled in even more. Visibility dropped to maybe 30 feet which made for a unique experience and some cool photos that you would be able to get otherwise.

Fryingpan Tower
Fryingpan Tower
The balcony closed off
The balcony closed off
Fryingpan tower looking down
Looking down from the top
Fryingpan Tower
Fryingpan Tower
Fryingpan Tower
Fryingpan Tower in the fog.

I went with the goal of looking out over the mountains and taking in beautiful views of the scenery, but instead, I think I had an even better experience because of the fog.

It just goes to show you that as long as you keep an open mind and are willing to embrace the moment even when it’s going wrong, you might just have an experience that will stay with you forever.

 

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The foggy gravel walk back to the car