Going light makes you fast (when it matters)

December 07, 2011

It’s been known to happen before. Also, despite my best efforts, I’m pretty sure it will happen again. It’s three o’clock in the afternoon, I’m riding the subway, and I’m running late. I need to make a connection to another line in order to get to the train station, where the train that’s supposed to take me to my home town for a few days is set to leave in just a few minutes. If I’m going to make it, I’ll need to get lucky. It’s the last train of the day and there’s no room for error.

I’m nervous, and I’m cursing myself for not having left work a bit earlier. It’s always like that, I know, but in that moment I swear it will never happen again. As the subway starts to slow down my body becomes tense and I tickle with anticipation. Just as we stop, I can see the other train arriving on the opposite side of the platform. I need to get there and I only have a few seconds. I don’t think, and I don’t hesitate. There’s no time for that.

On the floor by my side is my trusty GR2, holding enough clothes for a week. I grab it hard and I pull and, just as the doors of my wagon slide open, I swing it over my shoulders with a quick gesture. A fraction of a second later, I’m sprinting up a set of escalators, across the wide hallway and down another set of escalators. It all happens very quickly, and I blaze past everyone around me. Throughout the whole thing, my GR2 stays with me. I don’t feel it moving on my back, and I’m not slowed down by its weight. With a last but demanding effort, I jump into the other wagon just as the doors are beginning to close.

My heart is racing, I’m breathing hard, and I’m sweating profusely, but I’m also smiling. I’ve made it. Now I know I will get to the station in time for my train. I sit down and wipe the sweat off my forehead. About a minute later, I’m already wondering which songs to play on my iPhone on the way home.

I’m light, and I’m fast. But more importantly, I’m on my train, and off to some well deserved holidays.

Now, try doing that with a trolley or a big suitcase.

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If —by Rudyard Kipling

November 27, 2011

If you can keep your head when all about you Are losing theirs and blaming it on you; If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you, But make allowance for their doubting too. If you can wait and not be tired by waiting, Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies, Or being hated don’t give way to hating, And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise. If you can dream—and not make dreams your master; If you can think—and not make thoughts your aim, If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster And treat those two impostors just the same. If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools, Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken, And stoop and build ’em up with worn-out tools. If you can make one heap of all your winnings And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss, And lose, and start again at your beginnings And never breathe a word about your loss. If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew To serve your turn long after they are gone, And so hold on when there is nothing in you Except the Will which says to them: ‘Hold on!’ If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue, Or walk with Kings—nor lose the common touch, If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you, If all men count with you, but none too much. If you can fill the unforgiving minute With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run, Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it, And—which is more—you’ll be a Man, my son!

Words to live by.

Two lines from this poem (If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster / And treat those two impostors just the same) are featured on the player’s entrance to Centre Court in Wimbledon. Here’s a video featuring none other than Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal reading a few lines prior to their classic Wimbledon 2008 final.

Sport can be cruel sometimes. We’ve all seen athletes hurt, cry, vomit, pass out and even bleed on their way to victory. When your legs give up, your spirit is the only thing that keeps you going, pushing your body through that extra mile. Being an athlete requires you to be able to handle defeat frequently, often brutally. It requires you to never give up, to believe in yourself. To lift yourself up after a tough loss, dust yourself off and start working hard again. If you’re lucky, you may have a chance to fight another day.

If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster… It’s difficult to find two other lines with so much meaning.

This was the 200th post on Analog Senses. I thought it was appropriate to dedicate it to something that’s important to me. I don’t know what it will mean to you. It may serve as a reminder. Or maybe as a motivation. Or perhaps, if I’m lucky, it may stir something inside you that you didn’t know was there.

We’re all athletes in our lives in one way or another. And we all need to work hard, stay strong, and learn to accept that, though on any given day we may lose, what we should never accept is defeat.

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Biking Broadway from Inwood to the Battery →

November 11, 2011 |

The New York Observer:

The 13-mile ride elapses in only five minutes, but it shows a huge swath of architectural and economic diversity.

Have you ever asked yourself just how big Manhattan is, really? Well, it’s REALLY big, but the great thing about it is not its size.

Join in for a bike ride across all of Broadway, the oldest avenue in New York City: starting from the Bronx and all the way down to Bowling Green, it is a wonderful tour of the City that Never Sleeps.

New York is a city with many different faces, and there’s a version that is just right for each one of us. You just have to find the one you like best ;)

Via @counternotions.

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Quote of the Day →

October 14, 2011 |

Let us so live that when we come to die even the undertaker will be sorry.

Mark Twain (1835 - 1910).

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Universe Dented, Grass Underfoot →

October 06, 2011 |

John Gruber:

One of Jobs’s many gifts was that he knew what to give a shit about. He knew how to focus and prioritize his time and attention. Grass stains on his sneakers didn’t make the cut.

Just read it. Thanks John.

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A bicycle for our minds →

October 06, 2011 |

That’s what a computer is to me. It’s the most remarkable tool that we’ve ever come up with, and it’s the equivalent of a bicycle for our minds.

Steve Jobs (1955-2011).

Amazing. This is one of my favorite videos of Steve.

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Here's to the crazy ones

October 06, 2011

This morning I woke up to an email from Patrick Rhone. It was a succinct email, with a strange subject: “He showed up”. Inside there was a link to Apple’s Website.

That’s how I knew. It was 8:00am here in Spain, and the Internet had been bursting with activity over the news for a few hours already. It still seems unreal. I knew he was very ill, and I knew that his recent resignation as Apple’s CEO probably meant that things were looking bad, but somehow I thought, like many of us did, that Steve could beat this. Sadly, it was not to be.

Steve Jobs was one of my heroes. And I don’t have many of them. He was a unique person, who changed the world through sheer force of will. I never got to know him personally, but it’s difficult to understate the influence he had on my life, both personally and professionally. It wasn’t just me though, he touched the lives of many, many people through his work, and he changed the way we think of computers forever. But he was so much more.

What really made Steve Jobs different was his ability to inspire those around him, to encourage them to be the very best they could be. Whatever you do in life, give it your absolute best shot, and don’t stop until you’re proud of what you’ve accomplished. That’s his legacy. That’s the critical role he played both at Apple and Pixar. He will be remembered, not for being the inventor of the iPhone, or even the original Macintosh, but for being the most compelling leader the industry has ever known.

What he leaves behind is a company built on those principles. A company that has taken the world by storm. It’s the work of a lifetime, and what a lifetime that was.

Here’s to the crazy ones. Thank you, Steve.

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