Thursday, September 24, 2009

Oh, the places you'll go!

Twin Peaks, SF

Ocean Beach, SF

Lands End, SF

Huddart Park, CA

Wunderlich Park, CA

Beantown, MA

Charleston Slough, Mountain View, CA

Alta Trail, Marin, CA

Sunday, September 20, 2009

The Law of Undulations

"and if only the will to walk is really there, He is please even with their stumbles."

-- C.S. Lewis, The Screwtape letters

As much as my mother would like me to be, I am not a Christian man.  I am however a man of faith.  I'm agnostic, but in a sense of that word that I find is not often used.  I find that all religions that I have encountered hold many fundamental and powerful truths.  In the end, I am unable to place one over the other.

Let me also apologize if the blog has felt a little too much like a weekly sermon lately.  I assure you I am not always this earnest.  I've just been incredibly busy lately, and I've been using the blog as a weekly pep talk to myself.

With those qualifications out of the way, let me get back to the point.  This week was full of stumbles.  I missed two work outs and I've fallen behind at work as well.  It was a bad week.  It happens to everyone sometimes.  In The Screwtape Letters, C.S. Lewis calls it the "Law of Undulations."  We all have ups and downs.  That realization, the universality of the experience, helps me get past the first of the two dangers Lewis associates with undulations, despair.  We're all in this together.  You are not alone.  For some reason it reminds me that this too shall pass. 

The trickier part for me, is the second danger, complacency.  Accepting the lows as part of life is helpful, but it doesn't mean you should stop struggling against them, reaching for higher things, passionately pursuing your life.

So, I'm back at it this weekend.  I ran a long one yesterday, and I'll run a long one again today.  I caught up on some work yesterday, and I'll do some more today.  I'm a little behind on fundraising, but I'll just have to spend some more time fundraising today too.  I have the will to walk, to be better tomorrow.  Stumble, stumble, stumble :)

Wednesday, September 9, 2009


When I'm not running, I like to read. Currently, I'm reading Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace. It's amazing. You should read it.

Much of it deals with passion. Through out the book there's an ongoing argument about whether you should follow your passions or you should choose your passions. Well that's not quite fair. It's really more of an argument over whether its best to allow people to pursue their own interests as freely as possible, or whether there's something more important than individual self-interest.

Really, Wallace says it better than I ever could:

"This I was saying: this is why choosing is everything. When I say to you choose with great care in loving and you make ridicule it is why I look and say: can I believe this man is saying this thing of ridicule?....These facts of situation, which speak so loudly of your Bureau's fear of this samizdat: now is what has happened when a people choose nothing over themselves to love, each one. A U.S.A. that would die - and let its children die, each one - for the so-called perfect Entertainment, this film. Who would die for this chance to be fed this death of pleasure with spoons, in their warm homes, alone, unmoving: Hugh Steeply, in complete seriousness as a citizen of your neighbor I say to you: forget for a moment the Entertainment, and think instead about a U.S.A. where such a thing could be possible enough for your Office to fear: can such a U.S.A. hope to survive for much longer time? To survive as a nation of peoples? To much less exercise dominion over other nations of other peoples? If these are other peoples who still know what it is to choose? who will die for something larger? who will sacrifice the warm home, the loved woman at home, their legs, their life even, for something more than their own wishes of sentiment? who would choose not to die for pleasure, alone?....Us, we will force nothing on U.S.A persons in their warm homes. We will make only available. Entertainment. There will be then some choosing, to partake or choose not to. How will U.S.A.s choose? Who has taught them to choose with care? How will your Offices and Agencies protect them, your people?....This appetite to choose death by pleasure if it is available to choose - this appetite of your people unable to choose appetites, this is the death. What you call the death, the collapsing - this will be the formality only....Someone or some people among your own history sometime killed your U.S.A. nation already, Hugh. Someone who had authority, or should have had authority and did not exercise authority. I do not know. But someone sometime let you forget how to choose, and what. Someone let your peoples forget it was the only thing of importance, choosing. So completely forgetting that when I say choose to you you make expressions with your face such as "Herrrrrrre we are going." Someone taught that temples are for fanatics only and took away temples and promised there was no need for temples. And now there is no shelter. And no map for finding the shelter of a temple. And you all stumble about in the dark, this confusion of permissions. The without-end pursuit of a happiness of which someone let you forget the old things which made happiness possible. How is it you say: "Anything is going"?....For your walled up country, always to shout, Freedom! Freedom!" as if it were obvious to all people what it wants to mean, this word. But look: it is not so simple as that. Your freedom is the freedom-from: no one tells your precious individual U.S.A selves what they must do. It is this meaning only, this freedom from constraint and forced duress. But what of the freedom-to? Not just free-from. Not all compulsion comes from without. You pretend you do not see this. What of freedom-to. How for the person to freely choose? How to choose any but a child's greedy choices if there is no loving-filled father to guide, inform, teach the person how to choose? How is there freedom to choose if one does not learn how to choose? The rich father who can afford the cost of candy as well as food for this children: but if he cries out "Freedom!" and allows his child to choose only what is sweet, eating only candy, not pea soup and bread and eggs, so his child becomes weak and sick: is the rich man who cries "Freedom!" the good father?"

-- David Foster Wallace

I firmly believe that you should love something greater than yourself. That's why I joined Teach for America, and that's why I'm trying to raise money for them now. I believe closing the education gap is more important than me and I'm willing to sacrifice for it.

What do you all think? Which side are you on?

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Corporate matching

Thanks to everyone that has donated, or pledged to Teach for America on my behalf!  If you're employer matches charitable donations, please consider submitting your donation for consideration.  In most cases its very little work, and it will help make your donation go twice as far!

Breaking the barrier

'Nuff said.