Two-Wheeled Therapy

Photo info: FUJIFILM X100T, 19mm, f/4, 1/1400 sec, ISO200
“Kiki” Cedar Park, 2020

Today I have the day off from work (actually the whole week!) so I decided to have a bit of fun riding my motorcycle around. Motorcycling is an intense experience, where all five senses are on overload. But I also spent some time practicing skills that need some work: u-turns at full lock. For these exercises, I went to the elementary school’s parking lot, which is perfect because I can use the parking space markers to gauge my progress.

My goal is to comfortably make u-turns in either direction, with the handlebars at their maximum position (full lock). The correct way to do this is to look at where you want to go (way over your shoulder), then turn the handlebars and initiate the turn. The trick is to keep the proper speed where you are slow enough that you can keep the handlebars at full lock, but with enough speed that you can lean over without dropping the bike. The secret is to use clutch control while revving the engine a bit to avoid stalling. If you are sensing that you are falling over, then you need to let out the clutch and let the engine power bring you up again. But not too much that you come out of the tight turn.

It’s a real skill to do this well, and only practice will allow you build up the muscle memory to feather the clutch to adjust the power without consciously thinking about it. It’s my one big apprehension when riding, so it’s worthwhile to take the time to make some progress! And even if I feel like I didn’t do such a good job with my skill training, I know that it is progress towards getting better!

In the afternoon, I went for a nice bicycle ride to relax a bit. Bicycling is a wonderful activity. Super fun and good exercise! Plus you can clear your mind and see some great sights. I always feel great after a ride, even if it is just around the block to pick up the mail, but it’s a real treat when the route takes me to see sights like this:

Photo info: FUJIFILM X100T, 19mm, f/7.1, 1/600 sec, ISO200
“Mango” Cedar Park, 2020

I hope you had a nice day!

“I Don’t See Color”

I was reading a thread in a forum, and one of the commenters said “I don’t see color”, with the intention of conveying that race shouldn’t matter. Honestly, I thought this was an admirable sentiment, but soon learned how problematic this phrase is. I spent some time reading about the reasons why, and I now consider myself a bit more educated than I was a little while ago. I’m linking the articles below:

After 51-years of life, I’m still figuring out what it means to be mixed/multiple-ethnicity. It’s complicated, but fascinating, and surprisingly challenging to find information or groups that discuss mixed-Asian ethnicity (Asian-Asian, not Asian-Caucasian, Asian-Black, etc.).

******************

On a side note, the original commenter’s reaction to the links to the articles was defensive and hostile, instantly devolving into name-calling and personal attacks. Which reminds me of the saying, “when you resort to ad hominem attacks, you’ve already lost”, as in the entertaining feud between James Altucher and Jerry Seinfeld.

10K Challenge Complete

“11k” Cedar Park, 2020

Today there were plenty of clouds and the temperature was only 89° F when I headed out for a run. These cooler conditions let me run farther today than I did a couple of days ago when I wilted under the intense Texas sun. There was also a really nice breeze so I totally enjoyed the run (more of a jog, really) and was able to complete my September 10K challenge early. Yay!

Hitting that milestone again is great, but what is really neat is that I wasn’t tired. I could have gone farther if I had more time.

When I was in my twenties, I used to run a lot and I noticed that there’s a point in your training at which it seems you can just keep running indefinitely. It’s a really neat feeling because you stop worrying about how far from home you can go on your route, and instead are free to wander down different streets and trails on a whim.

I used to enjoy exploring the city of Monterey Park where I lived at the time, and later when I moved to West Los Angeles and the area around UCLA. It’s kind of my goal to keep my legs in just enough shape to stay in this level. When I visited China a couple of years ago I could explore around the hotels without worry, and when we visit my mother-in-law in Osaka, I love cruising around the city. Even visiting my folks in my hometown of Torrance, I can run to the ocean and back. It’s so fun!

I like this kind of motivation for running, rather than something like losing weight. It’s something to look forward to for sure. I guess it’s about the journey rather than the destination. There are lots of cool things to see and hear while running (an bicycling too). I really enjoy it.

Running Slowly

Photo info: motorola moto g(6), 3.95mm, f/1.8, 1/220 sec, ISO100
“Lawn Sign” Cedar Park, 2020

While I was out running, I was thinking of the different modes of travel and how you see different things with each.

For instance, in a car, your vision is framed by the glass viewport, and are very disconnected from where you are at (especially if you are listening to music).

On a motorcycle, the glass viewport is essentially removed, the music is gone (unless you use earbuds), and now you are exposed to smells and temperature, the noise of the engine, and also the vibrations and leaning angles.

On a bicycle, you add the audio of the environment you are in, but more importantly, traveling at the slow speed, you can look in all directions and observe things more closely without fear of crashing. And stopping quickly to take a photo is now an option.

Lastly, walking/running allows a extra bit of mobility in that it is easy to stop instantly, or hop on the sidewalk. On a bike, you may have to turn around and backtrack a few yards, or dismount to get a better viewing angle. This is actually significant to me. For instance, I’ve seen the sign in the photo above while riding my bike, and thought that I wanted to take a photo, but then I am already past it and would have to turn around. Add to that my laziness, and I pass on it. But while running, I will just stop for a few seconds, snap a photo with my phone, and then be on my way.

But even not taking photos, while biking or running, it’s fun to wave at other people, stop and watch the birds when you hear them chirping, or admire a bunch of wildflowers. I guess this is the appeal of the “slow life”. 🙂

Speaking of the photo, I am encouraged by the sign in front of the house. I’ve seen several other signs, some homemade, which have similar messages of support. It’s wonderful.

Home and Work Desk

Photo info: FUJIFILM X100T, 19mm, f/2.8, 1/100 sec, ISO2000
“Desk Setup” Cedar Park, 2020

One of my “stay-at-home” routines is converting between my home desk and work desk. It’s actually the same table, but at then end of every work day, I shut down my work laptop, put it in the cabinet, as well as the keyboard, mouse, and headset. It would be easy to just keep everything out, but I really enjoy going through the ritual of switching from work mode to home mode.

The photo above is my home mode (with margarita, even!), and the photo below is my work mode, with laptop, keyboard, and wired mouse. During work hours, I have both my home computer and work laptop hooked up to the monitor, and can toggle between the two, but I find it easier to use Chrome Remote Desktop to access the home computer from the laptop. It’s a nice setup!

Photo info: FUJIFILM X100T, 23mm, f/3.6, 1/80 sec, ISO3200
“Ready for Work” Cedar Park, 2020

I’d really like to get the cables behind the monitor hidden away, but I’m going to wait a week because… I ordered a new monitor! It’s larger, with higher resolution, and better color rendition. I’m super excited because I haven’t had a new monitor in a long time, and the higher-quality is warranted since I am a graphic designer and also an amateur photographer. But I’m also kind of a cheapskate, which is why I have held onto my inexpensive 1080p monitor for so long. 😄

I hope you had a good day!