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Great Article in NYT Opinion – A Lost Manuscript Shows the Fire Barack Obama Couldn’t Reveal on the Campaign Trail

Opinion | A Lost Manuscript Shows the Fire Barack Obama Couldn’t Reveal on the Campaign Trail – The New York Times:

That’s a shame, because reading “Transformative Politics” today is a bracing experience.

This is a great article – well worth reading.

Categories: Politics.

Next Step Focus – Farnam Street

Next Step Focus – Farnam Street:

Where you focus can hold you back.

Focusing on the outcome makes the gap between now and the finish line seem larger than it is.

Yesterday I wanted to go for a long run. That little voice in my head said “Imagine running for 90 minutes. Dude, you didn’t sleep well, and that’s a lot of effort. Let’s save our energy and check Twitter instead.”

Taking the first step seems impossible when the gap between now and your desired outcome seems large.

Changing your focus changes the size of the gap between now and achievement. When you shrink the gap, doing what you know you want to do becomes easier. I was focused on the gap between now and 90 minutes from now. The gap I needed to focus on was between me putting my shoes on and running to the end of the block.

This happens with my kids all the time too. They often come home with a boatload of homework that takes them hours. When they focus on the gap between getting home and being done, getting started is hard. “I’ll never get all this homework done.” When they focus on doing the first exercise, action becomes inevitable.

Don’t focus on writing a book. Focus on writing a good sentence.

Don’t focus on getting healthy. Focus on cooking a healthy meal tonight.

Focus on the next step.

I should read this advice from Shane Parrish at the Farnam Street Brain Food newsletter every day. And share it with my kids and students.

If you’re not already subscribed to their blog/newsletter/podcast – I highly recommend it.

Categories: Random Thoughts.

Sewing Up My Clothes

I just completed a 5 minute sewing fix on my favorite sweatshirt. I find it to be such a satisfying accomplishment to bring a piece of clothing back from the brink of being thrown away or recycled.

It is possible that given experience in 7th grade home-ec, when my teacher looked upon my misshapen football pillow final project with judgmental eyes, that I’ve been hesitant to let my sewing skills shine out in the real world, all these years later.

IMG 4143

But today, I’ve been able to push through that, and now my sweatshirt lives on to see another day.

Categories: Random Thoughts.

Headwaters of the Mississippi

We were in Park Rapids this weekend for a family event and took a side trip Sunday for a scenic bike ride from the Itasca State Park Visitors Center to the headwaters of the Mississippi river.

The route winds through the mature forest in the park. The colors of fall were everywhere. The leaves were just about at the peak of color, as far as I could tell. The weather cooperated nicely, providing some cool weather, a light breeze, the sun popping out here and there, and a quick shower to top it all off.

Fall Color

There were actually surprisingly few people at the actual headwaters, so we were able to snap some photos of the kids crossing the mouth of the river.

crossing the headwaters

Honestly, to stand there and think of the mighty Mississippi starting from this six-inch deep river was quite a moving experience. The drive back to Minneapolis crosses and parallels the river multiple times, and it’s no more than 60 miles away and the river has widened many times its original size.

We biked back to the Douglas lodge and enjoyed lunch on the last day of the season. The walleye sandwich was a ridiculously large filet – highly recommended!

All in all, quite fun to visit another one of Minnesota’s state parks. I recommend the trip to anyone if you haven’t been there yet!

Categories: Adventures.

Rent Control

While not specifically about Minneapolis, this article on the St. Paul rent control gives an idea of what might come to pass if the the Minneapolis Question 3 passes and gives the City Council the ability to propose an ordinance on rent control. (As far as I understand it!)

St. Paul is an unlikely place for such a strict rent control policy. Housing costs are low and wages high in comparison with big coastal cities that have enacted rent control like Portland, San Francisco, Sacramento and New York City.

If Question 1 passes, St. Paul will become not just the first city in Minnesota to enact rent control but the first in the Midwest.

Minneapolis could follow shortly after with voters also deciding this November if the city council can write a rent control ordinance with the details of the policy to come later. Unlike St. Paul, Minneapolis does not allow ordinances to be passed through ballot initiatives.

From St. Paul voters could pass one of the country’s most stringent rent control policies – Minnesota Reformer

Categories: General.

Old Tech

This post is coming to you from a Mid-2009 MacBook Pro running Mac OS 10.6.8, (released in June of 2011)

I have basically three pieces of software installed on this laptop:

  • Eudora Email (because it remains the best email client of all time)
  • ArcticFox (Firefox derivative that has some recently updated security)
  • MarsEdit (for writing blog posts)

I put a new SSD in it for $20. (I actually laughed out loud the first time I saw it boot up it was so fast.)

But why even bother, you may be wondering?

Basically, it’s an experiment in reducing distractions. If I have a computer that is dedicated to basically two things – personal email and writing on the ol’ Blog, will I actually do more of both? My hypothesis is yes. When I open up the work laptop at home… there’s always work to be done. When awaken my desktop, there’s photos to edit, news to browse, etc. things to distract.

On this laptop, it’s stripped down to the bare minimum of functionality.

As technology marches on, I do think it’s worth looking at the lessons of the past.

Look, for example, at our music consumption. Why has vinyl experienced such a resurgence, despite Apple Music, Spotify and the rest offering a vastly more convenient option?

Or, take notebooks: Bullet Journals, Moleskines, etc. With all of the digital tools available, why do folks bother with pen and paper?

I think the reason to bother with this has to do with the intentionality of use. What can I learn from using a simpler machine with software that is over a decade old?

Categories: General.

Lunch at Owamni, New Park

The other day, we were lucky enough to score an outdoor table at *Owamni*, the new restaurant near the Stone Arch Bridge and St. Anthony Falls which serves native foods. The restaurant is excellent, I highly recommend it!

Additionally, there is a brand new park adjacent to the restaurant, which you can read about here (article written by my neighbor!)

The re-development of the riverfront into beautiful public space will benefit the entire city. It is well worth checking out both the restaurant and the park, as well as advocating for more of this!

Categories: General.