I’m sitting out on my patio this morning. Drinking coffee. It is good. On the left side of my body the sun is hitting me and I’m warm. On the other side of my body the wind is hitting me and I’m cool. The breeze smells fresh. An airplane just flew overhead. There’s a bird singing. The buzz from my tinnitus is less noticeable than usual. Inside the house my wife is getting our puppy ready to go to his manners class. This morning for the first time when he came out of his crate he jumped up on the bed to snuggle with me. He clacked his front teeth in a sassy greeting. Later today, we’re going to see my nephew play in a college baseball game.

But right now I’m just sitting quietly on the patio, soaking it all in. It is good to be alive.

The Devil is in the Details

So here is the kind of thing I’m working on — the details.

This move is pretty simple. A backside 180 slide into a 720 spin, into two end-overs.

Here’s the thing that I’m working to get better. The idea is do use this to reverse the direction of travel. In this case, I’m moving away from the camera, and I want end up coming back to it. The two end-overs at the end of the sequence are critical, because they generate speed to return the way I came.

The problem? I tend to over-rotate the 720 spin. I should finish it pointed right back at the camera. That way I would be doing a FULL 180 end-over off the nose into a second end-over, which would generate a lot of speed and flow. By over-rotating the 720, I reduce the degrees of pivot in that first end-over, thereby reducing the speed generated.

Yes, I’m out of practice. My goal with all this, as with all my moves, is for this to be one continuous flowing motion that keeps speed throughout.

Video is really a helpful tool.

Some of you might find it amusing yet unsurprising to find out that when I do stuff like this I pick a seam in the concrete and pretend it is the top of a banked wall. So when I do this trick, for example, I’m pretending it is a banked wall that I go up and then come down. I do that a lot in freestyle, actually.

When I do this trick on a bank, of course, gravity allows me to change direction without thinking about it. Also, on a bank I don’t fakie carve into the 720 much if at all, so the exact 720 is easier to do.


It’s been a rough couple of weeks for reading. Sometimes life is like that. Things going on. Stressful things, and I am just so beat I can’t concentrate on a book. Still, gonna plan to knock out the short novel I’m currently reading this weekend and start another.

A while back I downloaded the audiobook of The Three-Body Problem, by Liu Cixin. I listened to the first 30 minutes of this acclaimed novel and found it to be just unlistenable. Now, this is weird because a lot of people whose opinions I respect really love this novel and the series. I am aware of what it is about. Yes, I’ve watched a lot of videos on Quinn’s Ideas about it. Yet still I found it pretty horrible.

Over the last few nights I’ve given it another try.  I’m doing better with it.

I don’t know if I have ever read a novel translated from Mandarin before. I feel like there might be some translation issues I’m running into. Let’s face it, literary translation is a very hard discipline. I am friends with one of the foremost translators of Mexican literature into English, and we’ve talked about it, and it is as much an art as writing the novel in the first place.

The other possibility is that the novel, even in its original language, reads like a technical manual.

At any rate, I’m listening because while it “listens” kind of soulless, the ideas are huge and interesting and I like them.

Another thing: because the last “big series” I read was Hyperion and the Fall of Hyperion, the bar may be set pretty high. They were some of the best SF I’ve ever read, and wonderfully written.