Weekly Update – #22 – Happy Birthday!

Hi everyone, this week I celebrate my 31st birthday. It was bittersweet, since, for the second time this year, our whole family caught a nasty virus. My wife and I put a lot of energy into nursing the twins back to good health and we also caught their germs. This whole things has drained my energy and I’m striving to return to 90% by Monday.

WTF! It’s only February and we’ve been through this common cold thing twice this year. Why is wellness eluding us? It really sets me back and slows me down.

Running

On the running front, I don’t have much to report this week. It was pretty much a zero week for me. After last week’s 10 miler I was feeling good the next few days. I’m happy with the recovery.

Reading

This week I returned to a daily practice: reading a favorite book called The Daily Stoic by Ryan Holiday. This book is a collection of 366 lessons from Stoic thinkers, and the idea is to read and practice one lesson each day. I keep it near my bed and read it first thing in the morning. Here’s an excerpt I enjoyed, from page 59:

February 19th – THE BANQUET  OF LIFE

“Remember to conduct yourself in life as if at a banquet. As something being passed around comes to you, reach out your hand and take a moderate helping. Does it pass by you? Don’t stop it. It hasn’t yet come? Don’t burn in desire for it, but wait until it arrives in front of you. Act this way with children, a spouse, toward position, with wealth–one day it will make you worth of a banquet with the gods.”

-Epictetus, Enchiridion, 15

The lesson is to be patient, wait for your turn. And also to be humble and generous. Avoid taking too much advantage when it’s your turn, and invite others to join at the bounty table.

I also received a few books as gifts. Thank you friends! I have new titles on my reading list. I’m excited to up-level my leadership skills and my writing style.

  • Shackleton’s Way: Leadership Lessons from the Great Antarctic Explorer by Stephanie Capparell and Margot Morrell
  • The Associated Press Stylebook 2019 by The Associated Press

Writing

This week I’m proud to report I finally resumed by work blog called Torrey’s Weekly Report. It had been nagging the back of my mind for months. I realized the core purpose of the project is to share what I’m learning and share what I’m working on, with my work network. It’s very similar to the blog you’re reading now, with a different audience. I realized I’m developing a passion for communications.

This post marks four weeks in a row of weekly posting. Hooray!


This week’s photo is the Goodyear blimp flying over our neighborhood.

Thanks to readers I learned the bird photo I shared last week is of an adult Red-shouldered Hawk. And, the coloring is unique to California.


Thanks for reading and have a great week!

Weekly Update – #21 – President’s Day

Hi I’m Torrey. Each week I write about my experiences with running, reading, and writing. Welcome to my blog!

Can you believe it? The year 2020 is already 13% over. I’m grateful for everything I’ve learned in 2020 so far.

Quote of the week, from James Clear, author of Atomic Habits. This comes from his weekly 3-2-1 email newsletter:

You are richer than 93% of people.

Not in money, but in time. 108 billion people have lived throughout history. 93% of them are dead.

You have what every king and queen, every pharaoh and ruler, every CEO and celebrity of the past would give all their wealth for:

Today.


Running

For running, I ran a total of 15 miles this week. I took a few shorts runs during the week and a longer run on Sunday morning. My long route explored a good chunk of Redondo Beach, California. I paced down some unknown streets and discovered hidden treasures. One of them being the raptor pictured above.

I’ve been working more exploration into my long runs. This week I wanted to head to the beach and then bounce back inland. I ended up at the Redondo Beach Pier, which is a pretty cool place to look around. After reaching the coast I turned around and beelined over to our YMCA branch. I regrouped with my family there, showered off, and then headed out to our next stop. Total mileage for this run: 9.8 miles.

Reading

For reading, I picked up a copy of Edison by Edmund Morris. This book was recommended by one of my favorite authors, Cal Newport. I’ve only glanced at the introduction, but Edison seems like a fascinating character so far. I haven’t read anything else by Morris, but I know he is an award winning author and he penned a trilogy of biographical books about Teddy Roosevelt.

I’m still reading the Gregory Hays translation of Marcus Aurelius’s Meditations and The 33 Strategies of War by Robert Greene. Gotta pick up the pace!

Writing

For writing, this is my third weekly update in a row. And, 155+ people are following the blog. Awesome!

I’ve been thinking about maximizing learning. I have a habit of journaling every night and listing everything I learned during the day. The question I ask myself: is what did I learn today. Some days the list is short, and some days the list is long and varied.

I think there are 2 important aspects of learning: reading and questioning. Reading books opens your mind to ideas new to you. Trying new things requires asking lots of questions.


Thanks for reading! Have a great week. I appreciate all of you for subscribing and leaving comments.


** The photo is a raptor I saw on my run. I thought he was fake until he looked at me and took flight.

Weekly Update – #20 – February 9th, 2020

Hi, I’m Torrey. I’m a runner, a reader, and a writer, among many other things. Each week I take some time to share my experiences running, reading, and writing. Thanks for stopping by.

IMG_1740

This Week

On the running front, my tracking app tells me I ran 11.8 miles this week. No PR’s broken or milestones hit, but I’m happy with the progress and proud to say I’m back in the habit. I realized something during my long Sunday-morning run. I enjoy the experience of exploring new places more than the running itself. Running long distances just enables going new and interesting places, off the beaten path and off road. Repeating the same routes over and over doesn’t bring the same level of enjoyment.

On the reading front, I’m enjoying two books. A lot of my free time has been soaked up by little computer programming side projects in the last few weeks, but I did pick up some books to check out. I continue to practice Ramit Sethi’s book buying policy: if you think about buying a book, just buy it.

Here’s an outstanding excerpt from one of my open books.

“But the greatest battle of all is with yourself–your weaknesses, your emotions, your lack of resolution in seeing things through to the end. You must declare unceasing war on yourself.”

That passage comes from the preface of The 33 Strategies of War by Robert Greene. The author is known for another similarly titled book The 48 Laws of Power. Greene draws from historical examples to illustrate principles. In this case, 33 different principles to help you think and act strategically. The passage I shared above resonates with me, because it speaks to the question: how many times have I let myself down?

The second book I’m reading is Meditations by Marcus Aurelius, translated by Gregory Hays. Before now I never really thought about how important the translator and translation is. This is probably the third time I’ve tried reading Meditations. The text is so old, it’s in public domain and you can find free ebooks. But, each time I tried reading it I found myself bogged down in the awkward language of the translation. The Gregory Hays translation was recommended by Ryan Holiday and Shane Parrish.

So far, I am not disappointed with this version of Meditations. I’m still making my way through the preface, which provides a summary of Marcus Aurelius’s life. What an awe-inspiring life, from orphan to emperor of Rome, and all the while a humble philosopher. It’s amazing that his meditations have survived through the ages and we can all read them today.

On the writing front, I’ve re-established by weekly writing habit. This update makes 2 weeks in a row of publishing Weekly Updates here on Torrey’s blog. Let’s see how long it can continue. Woot!


Thanks for reading and I hope you have a great week! If you like what I wrote, please follow or subscribe. I enjoy reading and responding to your comments, too.


The photo is a brilliant flower which bloomed in our backyard on the day of Chinese New Year. It’s a happy sign of good luck.


 

Weekly Update – #19 – Super Bowl Sunday

Happy Super Bowl Sunday! Sorry for not posting in a while.

The past few weeks have been hectic. Most of our household caught a virus, work spilled over onto weekends, and we invested a bunch of time in Lunar New Year celebrations — happy year of the rat!

On the running front, I’m behind. I’m still preparing for the Big Sur International Marathon this April. Cold weather and viral infections have thrown a wrench in my training schedule. I’m getting back on track.

On the reading front, I recently enjoyed Sandworm by Andy Greenberg. It is a frightening narrative connecting some of the world’s most devastating cyber attacks and attempts to attribute the attacks to the people behind them. Hint: Eastern European nation state.

I’m also in the middle of reading Jock Willink’s new book titled Leadership Strategy and Tactics. It’s a bit of a rehashing of the principles explained in Extreme Ownership which was also co-authored by Willink. The leadership principle from these books I am thinking most about is “Decentralized Command”.

I’m also really enjoying by Scribd subscription which gives me on demand access to millions of eBooks and audiobooks. If you use my link to sign up for a free 1-month trial, I can also get a free month of Scribd. If you do, thanks for your support!

Via Scribd I discovered “Snapshots” which are like 5-10 minute summaries of great non-fiction books. My favorite one is a summary of the book titled The Productivity Project. The ideas in this book build on David Allen’s Getting Things Done.

On the writing front, I haven’t done much at all. In fact, I feel a daily pang of regret that I haven’t posted here or continued my work-blog. I still think about and see rampant gaps in communications. There is a lot going on, a lot more than is talked about. Every week I tell myself to write more, and then I allow other things to get in the way. Brutal truth!

Thanks for reading! See you next week. Please follow or subscribe. I love to read and respond to your comments, too.

Wrapping up 2019, Superhuman 2020

Hi Team, I wanted to take one last opportunity to share some thoughts before the year closes.


At the end of 2019, there are more options than ever for endless entertainment. Binging TV shows on demand, video games, scrolling social media, junk food, etc. The path of least resistance leans heavily toward consumption and away from creation. Doing work and creating art is fulfilling. The path of least resistance is not fulfilling. In the 2020s, people who exercise willpower, avoid distraction, and focus their attention will appear more and more superhuman.


Today I was pruning the rose bushes in front of our house. The activity reminds me of my favorite blog post from 2018: The Rose Bush Metaphor: How to deal with too many ideas and too little time. In the past few weeks I’ve been digitally pruning, too. I call that effort Unsubscribe from Everything. I try to cut out low-value email. What remains is a few select blogs from authors I respect. I let them into my inbox because I trust the content is always high quality. I can take a 10 minute break to read and digest one of these blogs.

Speaking of blogs, I was struck by the wisdom of Mr. Money Mustache in his recent post titled Let the Roaring 2020s Begin. He succinctly describes timeless wisdom he has personally lived during the past decade.

1) This Too Shall Pass: nothing is as big a deal as you think it is at the time. Angry or sad emotions from life traumas will fade remarkably quickly, but so will the positive surprises from one-time life upgrades through the sometimes-bummer magic of Hedonic Adaptation. What’s left is just you – no matter where you go, there you are.
2) But You Are Really Just a Bundle of Habits: most of your day (and therefore your life) is comprised of repeating the same set of behaviors over and over. The way you get up, the things you focus your mind on. Your job. The way you interact with other people. The way you eat and exercise. Unless you give all of this a lot of mindful attention and work to tweak it, it stays the same, which means your life barely changes, which means your level of happiness barely changes.
3) Change Your Habits, Change your Life: Because of all this, the easiest and best way to have a happier and more satisfying life is to figure out what ingredients go into a good day, and start adding those things while subtracting the things that create bad days. For me (and quite possibly you, whether you realize it or not), the good things include positive social interactions, helping people, outdoor physical activity, creative expression and problem solving, and just good old-fashioned hard work. The bad things mostly revolve around stress due to over-scheduling one’s life, emotional negativity and interpersonal conflict – all things I am especially sensitive to.

Mr. Mustache’s words hit home. I had just been thinking about how important habits are and skills are. The thought also reverberates some of my favorite books from 2019 including Ryan Holiday’s Stillness is the Key and James Clear’s Atomic Habits. These are both worth re-reading while thinking about the year ahead. I think we can all use more stillness in 2020. And, habits are way more powerful than New Year’s resolutions.


The twins are three years old now, and I’m trying to spend as much time as possible with them and my wife, when I’m not at work. I don’t think it’s possible to feel like I’ve spent too much time with them.

Outside of family and work, my 2019 was filled with running, reading and writing. I don’t expect this to change in 2020. I will work on the balance. Sometimes I feel pangs if regret for not pushing myself more in one or all of these areas. These activities are key for me for health of mind body and spirit.

The first half of my 2019 was strong. I ran my first half marathon (13.1 mi), turned 30 years old, and also ran my first marathon (26.2 mi). In April I was probably in better physical shape than all of my 20s. While struggling to maintain that level now, I managed to finish 2 more half marathons later in the year, the Seawheeze Virtual Half Marathon and the PV Half Marathon (I mentioned in the last post). Now I’m preparing for my next challenge, the Big Sur Marathon, next April. For me, the races are an effective way to motivate me to keep up the running habit. And race day is a lot of fun 😀.


Happy New Year! and thank you for reading. I appreciate all and any feedback. Please help me out, subscribe and leave comments.

Running to Work in Summer Heat – Update #16

Hi I’m Torrey, this is my blog where I document my experiences as a runner , a reader, a writer and a thinker. It’s been four weeks since my last post, and I owe you guys an update. Sorry!

In this update:

  • Running to Work in California Summer Heat
  • Reading A Guide to the Good Life
  • Writing and Publishing the 22nd edition of Torrey’s Weekly Report
  • Thinking about Reducing Friction for Healthy Habits

Running to work in California Summer Heat

This month, I resumed running to work. I decided to alternate between biking and running. My bike route goes along the beach while my run route goes through LAX. I would much rather run along the beach but it’s 6 miles extra and it takes too long. So, LAX it is!

According to Strava I traveled 11.21 miles on foot. According to Actifit I took 20,148 steps to get there.

Strava stats for Commute Run #10.
Screenshot of Actifit snapped upon arrival. 20,148 steps.

The last time I did this run was March. There is a huge difference between March weather and June weather. June is hot and my island shorter-distance route doesn’t have much of a coastal breeze.


Reading A Guide to the Good Life

Since my last update I’ve been reading a couple books. I’ll share some notes from one of them I’m enjoying.

The book is called A Guide to the Good Life: The Ancient Art of Stoic Joy by William B. Irvine. I’m just getting started with this book, but I like the concepts so far. First, Irvine covers a psychology concept called hedonistic adaption. To understand this concept imagine someone craving a fancy, new car. Once the car is brought home, happiness from the new car quickly fades and a new, often more expensive, desire sets in. The mind adapts to material pleasure and then seeks out some new pleasure. Hence, hedonistic adaptation, it makes us all miserable. The same idea applies to personal achievements like running a marathon.

The solution is to want what we already have. The way to do this is to remind yourself daily that you can lose everything you have, including your home, your relationships and your life. Visualizing loss of what we hold dear is a forcing function for counteracting hedonistic adaptation. It helps us not take things for granted. Stoic practitioners are known for creating daily (or more frequent), morbid reminders that say something like “you are going to die”. Talk about sense of urgency!

The second interesting concept is internalization of goals as a mechanism for focusing on things inside our Circle of Influence. I’ve talked about the Circle of Influence before in How to Stop Comparing Yourself to Others. The idea here is about setting goals where you have 100% control of the outcome.

For example, let’s say you are runner entering a 5K race. Your goal could be to earn a top 3 finish. This is an external goal, because you cannot control the outcome. You cannot control the weather, the other runners, and a hundred other variables. If you realize you have fallen far behind the top three, you will get discouraged knowing your goal slips out of reach.

An internalized goal would be to run the race to the best of your ability, to give it your all. You would be un-phased by your competition, and you’ll likely earn a better overall finishing rank because you won’t be discouraged. I call this idea Compete Against Yourself.

There are many chapters left to get through, and you can see I’ve already learned a lot from this great book. Shout to to Derik Sivers and Tim Ferriss who recommended this book during a podcast on the Tim Ferriss Show.


Writing and Publishing the 22nd edition of Torrey’s Weekly Report

This week I published the 22nd edition of Torrey’s Weekly Report, the weekly blog where I share knowledge and exciting news with my peers and colleagues.

I have settled on a sustainable and consistent schedule of publishing bi-weekly (once every two weeks). This schedule is working well (except for the obvious conflict with the blog’s name).

This week I shared a technology update, some SQL knowledge I recently gained, and a book review. I’m excited to publish report #23 in two weeks!


Thinking about Reducing Friction for Healthy Habits

I’ve been thinking about reducing friction for healthy habits, and increasing friction for unhealthy habits.

For example this month I started keeping a gym bag at work at all times. The bag contains a towel, change of clothes, shower shoes, extra shoes, toothbrush, toothpaste, etc. Having the bag ready each day, even though I may not need it, reduces friction. There’s less planning required to do one of my bike or run commutes. I can decide to do so any day of the week and there’s less reasons to say no. I’ve reduced friction between me and the healthy habit.

Similarly I’ve implemented a practice of having drinking water in front of me at all times, even if I’m not thirsty or I don’t think I need it. Doing this has dramatically increased the amount of water I drink. Because I’ve removed the friction, the healthy habit becomes super easy.

The same thing works in reverse. You can insert friction to curb unhealthy habits. Hiding the TV remote in your closet or trashing the chocolate chip cookies creates friction and makes it harder to maintain those habits. Spending way too much time on social media? Delete the app from your phone every day and reinstall it when you really need it.

What do you think?


Thanks for reading and as always,

Have a great week!

Passion Fruit vine flower in my backyard.

Bike to Work – Lessons Learned

Weekly Update – #16 – June 2nd, 2019

This is a weekly blog where I share updates and document my journey. I focus on four areas: fitness, reading, writing and thinking. In the past, for the fitness category, I have written mostly about running. I am beginning to focus on cycling this week. After a month-and-half of talking about it, I rode my bike to work, finally!

It’s my bike! with a little New Belgium Brewing plaque.

Fitness

This week I had a great conversation with a coworker about preparing for a half marathon. I’m no expert, but I wanted to share some of the ideas with you.

Q: How long did it take you to prepare for the half marathon?

A: It took me 4 months to ramp up to half marathon distance. In training before the race I ran a maximum of 11 miles. This was a mistake, because mile 12 and 13 were the most challenging 2 miles of the whole race. Lesson learned: train the full distance.

Q: Do you have any other advice for someone considering training for a half marathon or a marathon?

A: Talk to your family early. Carving out a few hours per week for training means taking time from somewhere else. You family is your support team and they may need to do extra work to support you. Be up front about the time commitment, and look for ways to get everyone involved. They will meet you at the finish line!

Back on the Bike!

It’s been over a year since I last sat in the saddle. I talked about biking to work for over a month, and other stuff kept getting in the way. This week I finally hopped on my bike! There were some hiccups (as expected) which turned the 90-minute ride into a learning experiences.

When I ran to work I travelled very light. I was able to do this leaving my laptop and my gym bag under my desk. It just required some extra planning ahead. On a bicycle you have the luxury of storage! So you pack everything up and jump on the bike in the spur of the moment.

Getting Ready

I have 2 Nashbar saddle bags that clip on to the back of my bike. I filled one with clothes, towel, and other essentials. In the other bag I shoved in my whole laptop bag. I did this because I was worried about damaging the laptop, and wanted extra protection. This added a lot of extra weight. I think a better strategy is to wear a backpack or leave the laptop at the office the night before.

The Ride

I rode my usual running route. For the first 5 miles I was fighting traffic lights and rush-hour traffic. I think for next time I will seek out a more bike-friendly road (with a bike lane). Some drivers just get too close for comfort.

The last 12-ish miles were sublime. I was right on the beach from Manhattan Beach to Marina Del Rey. And from the marina to the office it’s along a dedicated bike path.

What Went Wrong and What I Learned

Several learning opportunities arose from this trip. I’ll go into more detail below. First, here’s a short list of what went wrong:

  1. Rush hour traffic and no bike lane
  2. Saddle bag fell off
  3. Unintentional braking
  4. Forgot to turn on fitness tracker
  5. Forgot to pack shower shoes

The first five miles of my route were packed with traffic lights and heavy traffic. I can experiment a bit here to look for an alternative road that has bike lanes. Wide pickup trucks were too close for comfort. Lesson learned: seek dedicated bike lanes.

I packed too heavy. Around mile 13-14, I accidentally kicked my starboard bag and it fell off completely. Luckily this was the bag with clothes. I could experiment with this to find a better way to attach it, or switch to front-wheel bags. Lesson learned: pack light.

Unintentional braking is tricky to explain. I took a break during the ride, and when I parked my bike I inserted a wedge into the front brake handle to freeze the front wheel. Then, I put two earbuds in my ears to make a phone call. I kept the earbuds in when I resumed my ride, listening to a podcast.

About a mile down the road I thought: why am I struggling so much? Then I heard the brake noise. And then the thought: What the heck is wrong with my front brake? … Stupid me had forgotten to remove the wedge I had stuck in the front brake handle. Laughable! Lesson learned: double check your brakes for an enjoyable ride.

After I crested the final hill in front of the office, I coasted in towards the front door. I slowly stepped off my bike and question popped in my head: how far did I go and how long did it take? Only then I realized I had forgotten to enable Strava to track the activity. I also have a bike computer hiding somewhere which could measure speed and distance. Time to dig that out. Lesson learned: double check you started your fitness tracker.

When I went to shower off I found that I had everything I needed, except for shower shoes. Oops! This is not ideal for many reasons which I won’t get into. I have done something similar once where I forgot my towel. I think the no-towel situation is worse, maybe. Lesson learned: double check you packed shower shoes and a towel.

I realized that I really enjoy trying new things, and then looking for ways to make it more fun and convenient, through experimentation and iteration. I’ve had a lot of fun writing about this experience. Lesson learned: try new things and constantly experiment.


Reading

I’ve been enjoying a book I did not expect to get into. It is called Street Smarts by Jim Rogers. The dude has a lot of interesting stories from living in Manhattan, working on Wall Street, and moving his family to Singapore.

I’m also reading a little Mouse Book called The Blue Hotel by Stephen Crane. Crane is a a Civil War era writer who died from tuberculosis at the age of 28. Despite his short life he produced well known literary works including his well-known novel The Red Badge of Courage. He was an innovative writer in his time.


Writing

It’s been a very busy week. I did a little bit of writing. I did not publish anything since last weekend’s Weekly Update #15.


Thinking

I stopped thinking and started doing. There were plenty of reasons to not take the bike-commute plunge. I had already put it off for a month (I first mentioned the idea in Weekly Update – #13 – April 14th, 2019). I was congested with a head cold all week. The week was unusually over-scheduled. The weather was not great. The bike needed air in its tires and chain maintenance.

BUT, all that aside, it is done! And I want to make it a weekly routine.

What have you been thinking about doing for a while? When are you going to take the leap?


As always, thanks for reading, and

Have a great week!

Weekly Update – #15 – May 26th, 2019

Hi Team,

This is a weekly blog where I share updates and document the journey. I didn’t publish an update last week, so I am covering two weeks here. Usually I focus on three areas: running, reading, and writing. This week I will try adding a new section: “thinking”.

Always-on social media has changed the way most people keep updated on the lives of friends and family. I am an oddball because I abstain from most social media apps most of the time. So, the only way to be updated is to talk to me, or read this blog. My point is, another reason I write this stuff down is to be better at sharing what’s going on.

Running

Still nothing remarkable to report this week. 🙂

Reading

I am going through a phase of reading many different things all at the same time.

I read this awesome little Mouse Book called A Little of Chickamauga by Ambrose Bierce. It an awesome telling of American Civil War stories. Bierce’s writing is superb. He is a writer who inspired American greats like Hemingway and Vonnegut.

Here’s a fun story about Mouse Books (https://mousebookclub.com). It’s a subscription service where you pay a one-time fee of $50 and every three month you receive in the mail three pocket-sized books. One of these little books got me into some trouble. Monday morning I put this Bierce book in my pocket. At lunch time I went to pay for my salad and discovered that the book was in my pocket and my wallet was not. Oops! It all worked out in the end.

I rediscovered a really cool ebook series that’s worth talking about. It’s called The Tao of Seneca: Letters from a Stoic Master. It’s a collection of translated letters written by Seneca, one of the ancient teachers of Stoicism. The ebooks are three volumes and made available complete free of charge by Tim Ferriss. Ferriss has authored several books including The Four Hour Work Week, Tools of Titans, Tribe of Mentors, which I have enjoyed reading and recommend.

I’m also reading a book called JRR Tolkien: A Biography by Humphrey Carpenter. So far Tolkien’s early life is fascinating. He was oddly obsessed with linguistics. For example he would invent words of his own words to add to dead languages. And he invented several languages of his own.

Writing

Writing is a craft I’ve decided to devote hours and hours to. It’s important to think about the question: how can I write better? I would define “good” writing as having these traits:

  • Clear (easily understood, not ambiguous)
  • Succinct (minimal fluff)
  • Interesting (the reader is engaged)
  • Entertaining (the reader enjoys reading)
  • Useful (the reader gets value)

I have room for improvement in all these categories. What I’m working on right now is clarity. Clarity could be improved by using more words to explain a thought. Flow also helps with clarity also, because jumping around too much degrades clarity. As a writer, I tend to do both don’ts: I use too few words and I jump around. A weird thing about using more words is how search engines react. Algorithms tend to favor pages with more text on them (for whatever reason).

A quick note on “how I write”. Right now I am writing on my phone using the WordPress app for iOS. I’m typing on a light-weight USB keyboard. My iPhone is smart enough to hide the on-screen keyboard when a Bluetooth keyboard. So there are two big benefits to working this way. Screen real-estate, which is in short supply on smartphones, effectively doubles. And second, typing on a keyboard is much higher bandwidth compared to thumbs. So, the writing experience is much more stream of consciousness and more enjoyable, too.

The keyboard is great for travel, I’ve had it for years and I’ve never needed to replace the battery. Plus, the number of things you absolutely need a laptop for is shrinking. It’s convenient to leave the laptop at home and still get work done while on the move.


On to updates for my blogs…

I failed to publish a weekly update last weekend. Sorry!

Torrey’s Weekly Report (TWR) has grown to 88 subscribers this week. TWR is my weekly work blog which I publish to an audience of my peers. Some of the content is confidential and not appropriate to share outside the company. And some of the content is more philosophical and should be okay to share with the public.

I usually recommend the blog to new hires because it is written in way to make it easy for anyone and everyone to understand. A few of our brilliant summer interns liked and subscribed. Woot!

Thinking

I’ve been thinking about gratitude

I, like many people, take most things for granted. This week, I’ve been thinking about the line between necessity and luxury. If you look back 300 years it’s easier to see where that line lies. Examples:

  • Abundant clean water
  • Hot showers
  • Tasty food
  • Books

Most of the luxuries we’re accustomed to are more than we need. A large fraction of the clean water from the tap goes down the drain, so clearly there is more than needed. The shower doesn’t need to be hot, but it sure is wonderful when it is. Food doesn’t have to taste so good for us to survive on it. You get the point.

In Benjamin Franklin’s America, books were hard to come by. He organized efforts to source books from Europe and later founded the first American libraries. Despite their immense value, public libraries are less and less utilized today.

Write Once, Publish Everywhere

I’ve also been brewing an idea for a new writing/coding project I call “write once publish everywhere.” I like to focus more time on writing and less time on formatting and other bits required for publishing. If you publish on multiple platforms, each one has unique features and it takes a lot of time adjusting for each publication. The idea for “write once publish everywhere” is to reduce some of this pain.

This is a writing project and a coding project. The beginning will be the most painful because the content needs be manually cross-posted on three platforms: Steem, WordPress, and Medium. As the tool develops it will become easier to publish thrice. If there is already a good tool for cross-posting, I haven’t found it.

Share fears to squash them

I’ve been thinking about writing down my fears on a weekly basis. This might help overcome them. And I think sharing the thought process might be valuable for readers. We all have fears and most of us struggle to overcome them.


As always, thanks for reading and

Have a Great Week!

Weekly Update – #14 – May 12th, 2019

It’s been about a month since I last posted an update. One of my readers reached out to ask what’s going on. This is really, really cool, and I appreciate the nudge. One of the main reasons I started sharing updates is to create accountability. Accountability for three habits that are important but often slip: Fitness, Reading, and Writing. So the nudge is really useful. Thanks Antin!

Succulent flower in our backyard.

Running

Nope! Haven’t done any serious running since the LA Marathon (which I finished in around 5 hours 45 minutes). Because, excuses! There has a lot of other stuff going on but that’s not a good excuse. I have learned a lesson many times: being active has a positive impact on everything else. It’s good for the brain. And long solitude runs are great for deep thinking.

At times like this it’s useful to remember your “why”. I want health and wellness to to live a long, robust life, and to have plenty of energy for family and everything else. So, it doesn’t really make sense to slow down and lapse back into old habits. I need to maintain the training habits and set new goals.

I’m really wanting to hop on the bike for some commutes along the beach, like I talked about. Let’s do it!

Reading

I’m slowly making my way through Richard Feynman’s QED: A Strange Theory of Light and Matter. I haven’t been reading much of anything else, forcing myself to get through this set of physics lectures.

I did just buy a book I’m looking forward to reading in the future. It’s a biography of JRR Tolkien by Henry Carpenter. The biographer gained access to all of Tolkien’s notes and interviewed many friends and family. Should be an interesting read!

Writing

I have been putting a lot of energy into Torrey’s Weekly Report, my work blog. It had gone dormant for a while, and we brought it back to life. In the past two weeks we published the 17th and 18th editions.

I’m happy that TWR is back up and running. What helped is shifting the schedule from Monday to Wednesday distribution. Now I don’t have conflicts with weekend activities and I have more time during the week to ready the next edition.

I’m not happy about the lack of public content. For months I wanted to share content from Torrey’s Weekly Report on Medium.com. I need to establish a process for this.


Thanks for reading, and, as always,

Have a great week!

Weekly Update – #11 – March 16th, 2019

Hi, I’m Torrey. Each week I share updates in three areas: running, reading, and writing. This helps create accountability and keep in contact with my team. My team includes family, friends, and you, the reader.

This week was a battle of battles. Both of the twins caught a virus (in series, not parallel). A remarkable number of parts of our house were discovered broken. And a handful of other obstacles popped up.

Running

Despite all the chaos, I managed to run 27.7 miles on Tuesday, with a long break in the middle. This was my last long run before the LA Marathon. Just one more week to go.

Here’s the proof — thanks Strava and Apple!

Going to work…

Coming home..

Apple Health includes all the other walking throughout the day. 53,000 steps , and approximately 6 hours of intense activity. Crazy!

Apple Health provides another data point.

The LA Marathon provides Gatorade Endurance Formula Lemon-Lime throughout the race. I picked up a cask of the powder to get adjusted to it before race day. It’s not soo bad. Iron Man!!

Reading

I’m reading Brick by Brick: How LEGO Rewrote the Rules of Innovation and Conquered the Global Toy Industry by David Robertson. There’s a great story towards the beginning of this book. Founder Ole Kirk caught his son Godtfred bragging about cutting corners while making a shipment of wooden duck toys. Ole Kirk ordered his son to retrieve the shipment from the train station and immediately fix the ducks. Godtfred stayed awake all night fixing the ducks.

Later, Godtfred took over at the helm of LEGO and turned this lesson into the company’s motto: “Only the best is good enough”. The outcome is remarkable: each one of the billions of LEGO bricks manufactured since 1958 snap together, they are 100% backwards compatible.

I received a handful of new books this week, adding to my growing pile of unread books. The Lean Startup by Eric Ries, Discipline Equals Freedom Field Manual by Jocko Willink, and a box of Mouse Books (On Service).

Mouse Books is neat. You pay for membership and quarterly you receive 3 little books.

Pictures below.

I read through Discipline Equals Freedom Field Manual. It’s a quick read and more of a quick reference for healthy habits. Beneath the layer of super-macho male energy I found some good tips, some of which I’ve talked about before on this blog.

* Wake up early, preferably before dawn – get to work before the rest of the world does

* Compete against yourself – bring out the best in you instead of comparing yourself to someone else

* Work out every day – even if you don’t want to

* Eat clean – junk food is poison

At the end of the book there’s an appendix of tons of weightlifting routines. I’ll experiment with these later.

Writing

A few new people joined the team this week by subscribing to Torrey’s Blog. The group has grown to around 130. Welcome!

One of the new folks, Brandon, shared some valuable feedback over email. Thanks Brandon!

My internal work blog lost some momentum. I failed to publish this week. There are a few things in the pipeline I need to get done, but I haven’t given them enough attention. Other stuff is eating my head. Post-marathon I want to spend more time and energy on writing.


As always, thanks for reading, and

Have a great week!