This week at work is a whirlwind. We’ve got a Big Event coming up starting Monday and we had to get ready for it and today was the last reasonable day we had to get work done given the sheer number of people who decided to burn two vacation days to get a five day weekend and Sunday is going to be a travel day for the team I’m supporting next week… so the team I’m supporting next week is taking tomorrow off.

This means that I finished working around an hour and a half later than I expected to and that meant that I got to the climbing gym about an hour and a half later than I expected to and so, by the time I got there, all my people were gone.

I asked the counterperson if he had seen my people and, yep, they were there earlier and, yep, they were gone now. Okay, fine. I’ll do the bouldering thing. I mentioned to the counterperson that I’d already beaten the one that was up front and didn’t think that I could really learn anything from it anymore and he laughed and told me that I should try the “Quiet Feet” technique.

Here’s the basic idea: instead of using techniques that result in any noise at all, act like you’re trying to tiptoe across the wall. “It’s not good enough to make it so you can’t hear it”, the guy told me. “Do it so that you wouldn’t be able to hear it if there weren’t any ambient noise in here!”

And that’s when I learned that my climbing technique is to kick the wall as hard as I can and then scrape my foot down the wall until it lands somewhere on the foot jib, then I scrape my foot back and forth until it’s seated solidly. Then I lean over and put my weight on it and thump my other foot and sidle my way across the wall as loudly as humanly possible.

When you have to do it quietly, it changes everything about how you move. Instead of leaning in and going for it and thinking that you’ll fix your foot position after you get there, you have to stand and look at how you place your foot and make sure that the ball of your foot (or big toe, whatever) is smack dab where you want it to go the first time. And doing it that way means that you’re climbing at half-speed. Maybe even slower than that. Which means that you’re going very slowly, very deliberately, and very quietly.

Or, in my case, kicking the wall with a very quiet thud before lowering the ball of my foot more or less where I want it to go the first time.

When I did it slowly, did it deliberately, then I watched myself pick up better technique than when I just tried the “brute force your way through it” approach (which, don’t get me wrong, was successful).

And this wiped me out in about half the time I normally spend there.

I figure there’s a life lesson in there somewhere.

So this weekend will be spent trying to apply that sort of thing elsewhere.

So… what’s on your docket?

(Image is “Play” by Clare Briggs. Used with permission of the Briggs estate.)

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Jaybird is Birdmojo on Xbox Live and Jaybirdmojo on Playstation's network. He's been playing consoles since the Atari 2600 and it was Zork that taught him how to touch-type. If you've got a song for Wednesday, a commercial for Saturday, a recommendation for Tuesday, an essay for Monday, or, heck, just a handful a questions, fire off an email to AskJaybird-at-gmail.com

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14 thoughts on “Weekend!

  1. It’s my birthday today, and tomorrow I will be heading down to Christchurch to see my parents. They moved down there in February, so it’ll be my first time seeing their new place.

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  2. Driving up to Cincinnati this afternoon for a concert. Weezer & The Pixies. Very, very excited. Lunch club tomorrow at some artisan fried chicken joint. Big UFC card tomorrow night.

    Yesterday marked the official end of my spring/summer slack at work. The slow period is still in effect but I need to start getting ready for a busy fall. No more sneaking in at 10am and leaving at 5pm. Real 8-9 hour days and lots of planning to do. I’m actually looking forward to it.

    I’ve also started some fall planning. Football and basketball tickets to buy. Weekend day trips. Yesterday Louisville was the hottest spot in the country, so I am ready for autumn.

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  3. Next weekend is the big deal electronic music festival around here, for which I’m volunteering on the grounds lighting crew. So this weekend is testing and repairing lanterns and solar chargers, then we go on site Monday, install until Thursday, party until Monday, and take it all down again.

    Also I have to buy sandals because I can’t find mine and I don’t want to be camping all week with my feet trapped in shoes.

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  4. Seeing Ant-Man and the Wasp today at the Alamo Drafthouse, going dancing tomorrow in Emeryville, and a friend of the family’s birthday party on Sunday.

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  5. “…instead of using techniques that result in any noise at all, act like you’re trying to tiptoe across the wall.”

    Bloody hell, that’s brilliant.

    Next week is my last week at my current job. I’ve finished the thing I really wanted to wrap up, and now I’m contemplating spending next week writing a “things you should know”-type of document for the sys admins I’m leaving holding the bag^H^H^H^Hbehind. You know–“here’s some knowledge I’ve picked up over the years that maybe I haven’t done a good enough job communicating to everyone else that might make your life easier.”

    I’m also trying to decide if completing my in-processing for my new job on my own time sets a bad precedent, insofar as I’m a pretty strong adherent to “my time is my time until you’re paying me, at which time my time is your time.” I guess I’ll see how much effort is involved and judge it from there.

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  6. The totally full weekend is almost over and… ah, jeez. I want to goof off.

    But I missed climbing today…

    And I can go in and do the ninja thing for 45 minutes and get a full workout in…

    And then I can come home and shower and actually relax.

    For two hours before bedtime.

    Dang it.

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