Robbie Rambles | January 21, 2024
The stars at night are big and bright
Hope you had a pleasant Christmastide. It’s Epiphany now. I began writing this on December 28, 2023. I thought about doing an end of year recap, but as Kelsi Klembara notes, these often just turn into compounding items of judgment for ourselves. Plus, it’s been a turbulent couple of months, so I’m giving myself permission to forego
I’ve been nursing a broken foot since Thanksgiving. I mentioned in my previous entry that I had begun training Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. That journey has been temporarily cut short by a minor fracture sustained during a class. Before you say “you should see the other guy”, let me disabuse you of any such notion — I simply stepped an awkward way and fractured my fifth metatarsal. It could have happened stepping off a curb.
It’s been a challenging few months, with doctor’s orders precluding me from plyometrics, barbell work, running (duh), or any sort of explosive movements. It’s all doubly frustrating too considering that I had just begun to get some new programming dialed in.
So I’ve been watching this dumb but correct video semi-regularly to reframe my mindset. “Broken foot? Good. Now you can focus on upper body work.” I developed a six week program for myself consisting of hypertrophy focused benching + strength endurance calisthenics + low steady state aerobic sessions on the assault bike. But, after a vacation to visit family in Texas, the consistency fell off. And working out in a climate controlled room under fluorescent lights just feels lame when you’re used to burpees and sprints outside in the early morning gloom. So, lately I’ve been going back to F3 and modifying heavily — rucking in lieu of running, bodyweight squats instead of burpees, etc.
I went back to the doctor on January 8th for additional x-rays, and while they removed the boot and said that things were on the mend, running has still been proscribed for another six weeks. Hopefully that changes soon!
My dumb foot though, is not really the biggest news. I mentioned a trip to see Jenoa’s family in Galveston, where her brother lives. And earlier this month we spent another couple of weeks in her hometown of Glen Rose. They were great visits, and reinforced a hard decision we’ve come to — moving to Texas.
It’s hard to believe, but Jenoa and I have now lived more of our life together in Charlottesville than we did in Orange County. Leaving California was a painful decision; leaving Virginia is proving to be just as painful. But, just as we felt called to our previous adventure, so we feel called to this one.
Jenoa plans to finish out the academic year at Christ Episcopal Church, so we’re looking at a move in late spring/early summer. Expect to hear more thoughts on this going forward.
I read a lot of good books this year. I also didn’t finish a lot of books. This was a year of “DNFs”. That’s okay. Here are a few highlights:
The Bourgeois Virtues — Dierdre McCloskey
Winter’s Tale — Mark Helprin
God, Sexuality, and The Self — Sarah Coakley
The Comfot Crisis — Michael Easter
Laurus — Eugene Vodolazkin
Blood Meridian — Cormac McCarthy
The Hobbit — J.R.R. Tolkien
Black Hawk Down — Mark Bowden
The Doors of the Sea — David Bentley Hart
Her Gates Shall Never Be Shut — Bradley Jersak
The Three Body Problem — Cixin Liu
I heartily recommend any of these.
Arthur Brooks has this idea of a “reverse bucket list” — basically, make a list o fthings to deliberately eliminate from your life — that don’t align with your core values or contribute to what’s most important. For me, an item that I’ve somewhat given up on is internet thinkpiece reading. That’s not to say I don’t do any internet reading anymore, just that I’ve given up on the race to be the most informed/sophisticated. I realized that for a long time I derived a sense of identity from being that person. I think it was tied to wanting to write professionally, and feeling that I needed to participate in “the discourse”. The problem is that a lot of discoursing is about bullshit. And I was clogging my mind up with bullshit. The more I shed the husk of this identity, the freer I feel. So, here’s a to a 2024 with less bullshit. Maybe you’ll hear some from me still, but less.
I had a note here to compare and contrast a couple of pieces I really enjoyed by Tara Isabella Burton and Katherine Boyle, but I honestly think you’re better off just reading them on your own. They are thinkpieces, but they are not bullshit. Executive summary: reject nihilism, build things, think carefully about what you build.
Here are some photos from our previous Texas visit. Hard as it is to leave, I look forward to living in such a beautiful place.
One final note is that I’m back on the job hunt. The position I was in proved not to be a good fit. Sometimes that happens. I’m happy to share more details about it as appropriate, and can provide references who can attest to my work. In the meantime, if you or anyone you know are looking for a product-minded person with a software development background who enjoys working cross-functionally and building things, let me know. Here’s my LinkedIn, which is basically my resume.
Be well, friends. Here’s to a great 2024.