Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Observations from Beyond the Blogosphere

I've not posted here since May 8. I've hardly looked at a blog, since. What did I learn during my vacation from the blogosphere?

Life goes on, though with much less news from the Respectable Coast. I find myself less well-informed and, consequentially, less irritated with statism. On net, I'd say that I didn't lose much by trading worldliness for contentment.

By dint of many hours cuddled up with Excel, I learned a very great deal about the U.S. News & World Report's 2007 ranking of law schools. This year, as last, I reverse engineered the rankings. I plan a series of posts about my findings, soon. Look for some insights about the most recent rankings, as well as some suggested reforms for future ones.

I didn't just swap words for numbers during my break from blogging. I also swapped talking for doing. I practiced musical composition and performance. Here's one result: An improved version of the Paradise tune, in MP3 or AIFF (iTunes) format, that I mentioned in my last post. I also recorded a tune that I wrote years ago for my daughter, while she remained cosseted mom-side: La NiƱa (MP3 or AIFF format).

Less intellectually, but very, uh, funly, I also spent part of my break studying shortboarding. That challenge dovetails nicely with the swim clinic I've been taking in recent weeks (my cool b-day gift from the family). Both the clinic and shortboarding have forced me to think—and, crucially, rethink—how I move through water.

I used to swim competitively, back in high school. I wasn't too bad, either; I set a few school records and swam at State. Later, in college, I did a few triathalons. But I never got much coaching on my form, and swimming theory has advanced in recent years. Only now have I begun to catch up.

As for the shortboard, I've long wanted to work my way towards a more maneuverable board. I normally surf a 9'0"—a short longboard, you might say. I like to work it a fair amount, doing cutbacks and floaters. (It isn't much of a nose walker, having no concave section under the tip.) You can only turn so tightly, though, when you have nine foot of board to whip around. So I've added a 6'10" epoxy to my quiver. It falls between a conventional shortboard and a fish in shape, and has a three-fin setup. The board's thickness gives it nice floatability, while the split tail holds well on turns. I've had fun trying to figure it out, though not yet any great rides. That will come, I'm sure, with practice, practice, practice.

All told, not a bad break. But, now, words call again. And, anyhow, I missed posting. I always feel a little happier after I blog. Call me a ham.


Gil said...

You're a ham.

dgm said...

If you were half the ham I know you are, you would have boasted that when you were a kid, your local newspaper once carried the headline, "Tommy Bell is Swimmer of the Week." That is something to rub in the faces of all of us who never reigned as Swimmers of the Week.