The view stretched on for miles

So there I was, 11 p.m., huffing and puffing through my third bike ride of the day. OK, second ride, but third route. Still, “third ride” sounds more maniacal. I rode 39 miles this morning in London.

After a day at the office, an evening in the studio and delicious leftovers for dinner, I went to Zwift once more. Just naked mile collecting, really. I have three spreadsheets. Well … had three spreadsheets. This was the butt of a mild joke today. It was an implied joke and those are the ones that stick with you. So this evening I consolidated the three files into one single document. One part of the spreadsheet compares my top months, mileage-wise.

This morning, I topped my previous best, May 2016, when I had time to pedal and numbness to pedal through. But I realized that if I did juuuust a few more miles, I would get to a pleasing number. So I did that this evening, riding in Zwift’s made up world of Watopia. For some reason the photo capture part of the app didn’t work this evening, which is a shame. I had a great wide shot of some Mayan temples. That part is odd, since I wasn’t riding in the Maya region of Central America and modern Mexico, but rather on an island in the Solomons, some 7,000-plus miles away.

But this evening, when it was done, I set a new best, humble as it is. I tabulated a chart showing January in the saddle. That blue line, if I can stay above it throughout, would give me a record-setting year, in terms of miles. The red and green trendlines show slightly more ambitious goals.

The purple line is where I am now.

So, not a bad January.

Another part of my spreadsheet presently ranks out the best Februaries. None of them are impressive and it shouldn’t be hard to post a new superlative. I’ll start on that after a rest day or two.

The 2023 Zwift route tracker: 53 routes down, 67 to go.

Let’s clear out a few tabs. This is the feature where I link to things I’ve been keeping in a browser somewhere. Rather than have this stuff disappear forever, I can reference them here. (Blogging! I know! So wild!) Some of these are absolutely worth the effort. The last several weeks I’ve shared a bunch of pages that I’ve held open for a long time. This one here, however, is just from last fall.

Bryan Collins’ 101 design rules:

Musings, ramblings, and principles that I’ve shared with my team and randomly on Twitter. Reminding yourself of the principles that ground you is simply a good practice. Here are mine.

1. Design is hope made visible.

2. You can live your life as the result of history and what came before, or you can live your life as the cause of what’s to come. You choose.

3. When talent doesn’t hustle, hustle beats talent. But when talent hustles, watch out.

4. When you work only for money, without any love for what you do in and of itself, your work will lack energy. People will feel that. So give every project everything you’ve got, at every moment, every time.

5. A good philosopher will say: “Know thyself.” A good shopkeeper will say: “Know thy customer.” A good designer will say: “Know both.”

This might be one of the last things I opened on Twitter. And it is worth seeing. There are 96 more chestnuts for you there, should you follow the link above.

This one, meantime, has been sitting on the phone for quite some time. In hatboxes, pouches and bags lie the items that define us:

In Carson McCullers’s novel The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter (1940), Mick, a teenage girl, owns an old hatbox that she keeps hidden under the bed. The box contains personal valuables, ‘three mystery books her Dad had given her, a compact, a box of watch parts, a rhinestone necklace, a hammer, and some notebooks. One notebook was marked on the top with red crayon – PRIVATE. KEEP OUT. PRIVATE – and tied with a string.’ This strange assortment of things is of little material value, but of immense sentimental importance. The hatbox is her own small space, where she keeps the things that make her who she is.

Many people own such a shoebox, a drawer or some kind of chest in which they keep the things that are of strangely intimate value. The idea of these small spaces that contain things of high personal value is an overlooked part of Western culture.

Honestly, this is a good starting place, but there’s no reveal or resolution here. I was so hoping for one, something that might help to explain “Why do I have several of these?”

Know what I have several of? Tabs! These came from my phone, where I am now down to 39 tabs.

We return to the Re-Listening project, and while we are still somewhere in the late 1990s as I play all of my CDs, in order, this one is from 1995. It is also a cassette-to-disc upgrade, so I am glossing over this.

So today we’re on to Edwin McCain’s “Honor Among Thieves.” I like him, saw him live a few times in venues both big and small. I enjoyed the music because the South Carolina style appeals to my musical sensibilities of the time. “Solitude” made its way onto the Billboard Hot 100 chart, and landed in the top 40 of the Mainstream Rock Tracks, Top 40 Mainstream and Adult Top 40 charts. Also, this is the one where Darius Rucker came on to sing for his friend. It has never not been funny that McCain wound up singing harmony to his guest on his own debut single. But, Rucker was set to become Elvis at that moment, so it made sense in more ways than one.

If you look up live performances of that song, McCain has slowed it down over the years, and it works pretty well. I imagine he’s on stage thinking, “I still have to sing this song?”

Just one more, since we’re glossing over the cassette-to-CD set. I was reading something recently about someone learning how to write songs, and how to write pop songs. As I listened to this record again I found myself thinking about how that could apply to McCain’s debut. It can get fairly narrow in places here, though his work blossomed over the next few records. There are still one or two standouts on this record, and this time through, it felt like “Jesters, Dreamers & Thieves” has aged the best.

Here’s a 2004 live performance. The song was a decade old, and they let Craig Too Cool Shields take his sax out for a little spin.

We’ll hear a bit more from Edwin McCain soon. I think I have two more of his records that will show up in the Re-Listening Project.

But, coming up soon, probably tomorrow, is some wildly successful power pop. Hey, it was the nineties.

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