cafebedouin.org: 2020 Year in Review and Looking Ahead to 2021

In 2020, I posted 418 entries with a total of 58,670 words (most of which are quotes of someone else). There were +8750 views by +6,400 visitors to cafebedouin.org. Most of the views are concentrated either on the main page or the most popular posts, these had 100 views or more:

My favorite posts of the year:

In 2020, I posted once a day, which seems like the right amount. It encourages me to write or find something new to think about every day.

As I wrote last year, “I still would like to move to a format where half the posts are in a Foucault hupomnemata-style, i.e., ‘to capture the already-said, to collect what one has managed to hear or read, and for a purpose that is nothing less than the shaping of the self.’ It strikes me that the Zettelkasten Method is essentially the same thing.

Perhaps the evolution here is to use the WordPress format and write short commentary posts on a daily or weekly basis to capture ideas, and then try to thread them together into a more formal page that incorporate these bits into a monthly essay. Anyway, I think this is the direction I’m going to explore in the coming year.

Jumping Rope, 2021

I’ve done a bit of a trial of jumping rope for the last 2 months. I’ve decided that in the new year, it is worth trying to develop a consistent practice. Based on these two months, these are my equipment suggestions and the training program I’ve come up with.

Equipment

It is worth noting that it is easier to learn to jump rope using a weighted rope. Weighted ropes will also provide more of an arm and back workout.

The mat is necessary to give your legs a little cushion and to help extend the life of your jump rope. Hitting hard concrete can wear down some ropes (and legs unused to the strain) very quickly.

Personally, I am using a Boxer Training Rope 3.0, Heavy Muay Thai Rope 2.0, and a jumping rope mat from EliteSRS. The Boxer Training Rope comes in a 10 foot size, so if you use this, you might need cable cutters and cable stops to fit the jump rope to your height. However, I was lazy and simply added some loops to the rope to shorten it.

Note: Each routine below assumes a six day schedule with one day of rest. If you need more rest, then reduce to a four or five day schedule, as you have need. Target number of jumps in a minute: 120-160. I typically hit 150.

Beginning Routine, or The 5 Minute Routine

In the beginning, try to reach 5 minutes of jump rope. Get an high intensity interval timer for your phone, then set the following:

  • 20 Work (seconds)
  • 40 Break (seconds)
  • 60 Rest (seconds [of rest between blocks])
  • 3 Intervals per block
  • X Blocks

Work your way up to 5 blocks for a total of 5 minutes. At this point, you should have a basic skill of being able to jump rope.

The 10 Minute Routine

  • 30 Work (seconds)
  • 60 Break (seconds)
  • 10 Rest (seconds [of rest between blocks])
  • X Intervals per block
  • 1 Blocks

Start with 10 intervals per block, which is the same as 5 minutes of jump rope. Then, as it starts to feel easy, increment until you hit 20 intervals for a total of 10 minutes.

2021 Routine, The 20 Minute Routine

  • X Work (seconds)
  • 60 Break (seconds)
  • 10 Rest (seconds [of rest between blocks])
  • 20 Intervals per block
  • 1 Blocks

Start with 30 seconds of work for a total of 10 minutes of jumping rope. Then increment work by 3 seconds to add another minute of jumping rope to your routine. Once you hit 60 seconds of work per interval, then you will be doing 20 minutes of work jumping rope.

At the 20 minute of work mark, there are two options. One, start to reduce breaks by 3 seconds per interval, shaving off a minute of time for each 3 seconds reduced. Two, you could continue adding 3 seconds per interval to work to increase total work time to 90 seconds and overall time to an hour.

For a consistent practice, 20 minutes of jump rope work should be consistent for maintaining good health for ~40 minutes a day. Reduce breaks down to 30 seconds an interval, and you could get total time down to 30 minutes total.

For added difficulty, I am going to alternate days jumping rope with the weighted Heavy Muay Thai jump rope and the regular Boxer Training Rope. Over the last two months, I’ve used the Heavy Muay Thai rope exclusively, and I have found that the toll this takes on the body is too much to do every day.

2021 Progress

  • 2021-01-01: Started 2021 routine using 30 seconds of work for 10 minutes of jump rope.
  • 2021-02-01:
  • 2021-03-01:
  • 2021-04-01:
  • 2021-05-01:
  • 2021-06-01:
  • 2021-07-01:
  • 2021-08-01:
  • 2021-09-01:
  • 2021-10-01:
  • 2021-11-01:
  • 2021-12-01:
  • 2022-01-01:

2021 Summary Results

To Be written in January 2020.

Trauma & Transformation

Psychologists like to talk about trauma. If you have experienced X, then it must have been a traumatic experience. But, this is a function of the lens with which they view the world.

Our experience of the world tends to form a lens of interpretation. An emergency room physician — who, by definition, sees emergencies in their community — will think emergencies are normal. It will shape they way they view the world.

The same is true of every line of work. If you are a police officer, you will have developed a heightened sense of whether a situation matches a pattern where people are likely to be breaking the law. If you are an insurance claims adjuster, you will have seen a lot more outlier events and might view certain activities as more risky than others, when they might not be.

The same phenomena applies to psychologists and psychiatrists. They have seen people in their worst psychological condition, and they know to what depths we can all sink. But, the selection bias is such that the people that don’t need their help might be viewed as damaged people that just don’t know that they need their help. But, how often, in most circumstances in life, do we need help and not know it? This situation is unusual, not commonplace.

The problem is that trauma is just one story. We have the ability to overlay onto our experience a whole host of manufactured fictions. And while trauma may have a time and a place, I’d argue that trauma as a primary narrative should be reserved for experiences and situations which truly require assistance from a professional. Most situations don’t.

One person’s apocalypse is another’s day-to-day. If you need help, by all means, get it. There’s nothing wrong with getting it from psychologists or most any other place, if it benefits you. However, I’d argue that we are all much more resilient than we know, that trauma below most thresholds is the means through which we trigger the adaptation response and become stronger – mentally, physically, etc. – in response to our environment. This is not a negative nor should the focus be on the trauma, but in the adaptive response to it.

Of course, there’s taking it to the level of Neitzsche: “What does not kill me makes me stronger.” If you have had a limb cut off, it is unlikely you will become “stronger” in any meaningful sense of the term. But, on the other side, painful experiences do help to build psychic muscles. Doesn’t it make more sense to view most negative experiences as positive forces driving our development over the narrative of trauma?

Books I’d Like to Read in 2021

A short fiction where I pretend to you, dear reader, that I am still capable of reading more than a book a week.

  1. Mastering the Core Teachings of the Buddha by Daniel M. Ingram
  2. Fool on the Hill by Mark Sargent
  3. The Omnibus Homo Sacer by Giorgio Agamben
  4. Cargill Falls by William Lychack [x]
  5. Black Imagination by Natasha Marin (Editor)
  6. Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents by Isabel Wilkerson
  7. Counting for Nothing: What Men Value and What Women are Worth by Marilyn Waring
  8. Deep Adaptation by Jem Bendell [x]
  9. The Carrying: Poems by Ada Limon [x]
  10. Ace: What Asexuality Reveals About Desire, Society, and the Meaning of Sex by Angela Chen
  11. Madness, Rack, and Honey: Collected Lectures by Mary Ruefle [x]
  12. How We Show Up: Reclaiming Family, Friendship, and Community by Mia Birdsong
  13. Hexaflexagons and Other Mathematical Diversions by Martin Gardner
  14. Steps to an Ecology of Mind: Collected Essays in Anthropology, Psychiatry, Evolution, and Epistemology by Gregory Bateson
  15. Are Women Human?: And Other International Dialogues by Catharine A. MacKinnon
  16. War and Peace and War: The Rise and Fall of Empires by Peter Turchin
  17. Breaking Bread with the Dead: A Reader’s Guide to a More Tranquil Mind by Alan Jacobs
  18. Lost in the Cosmos: The Last Self-Help Book by Walker Percy
  19. Take the Long Way Home: Memoirs of a Survivor by Susan Gordon Lydon
  20. All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten by Robert Fulghum
  21. Ball Four by Jim Bouton
  22. The End of Patriarchy: Radical Feminism for Men by Robert Jensen [x]
  23. The Memory Police by Yōko Ogawa
  24. Weird: The Power of Being an Outsider in an Insider World by Olga Khazan
  25. The True and Only Heaven: Progress and Its Critics by Christopher Lasch
  26. Modernist Cuisine at Home by Nathan Myhrvold
  27. On Food and Cooking by Harold McGee
  28. Another Birth by Forough Farrokhzad
  29. Darkness Spoken by Ingeborg Bachmann
  30. So Long a Letter by Mariama Bâ
  31. Oblivion Seekers by Isabelle Eberhardt
  32. The Neopolitan Novels by Elena Ferrante
  33. Machines in the Head by Anna Kavan
  34. The Selected Poems of Rosario Castellanos by Rosario Castellanos
  35. Mad in Pursuit by Violette Leduc
  36. The Wedding by Dorothy West
  37. The Hebrew Bible by Robert Alter
  38. The Red Book: Liber Novus by C.G. Jung
  39. New and Selected Poems by Mary Oliver
  40. Heart of the Original by Steve Aylett
  41. On the Brink of Paradox by Augustin Rayo
  42. The Commonwealth series by Peter F. Hamilton
  43. Notes on the Synthesis of Form by Christopher W. Alexander
  44. Sandworm by Andy Greenberg
  45. Women, Race & Class by Angela Y. Davis
  46. A Passion For Friends by Janice G. Raymond
  47. The Precipice by Toby Orb
  48. Wild Pork and Watercress by Barry Crump
  49. Daring Greatly by Brené Brown
  50. Primeval & Other Times by Olga Tokarczuk
  51. Consuming the Romantic Utopia by Eva Illouz
  52. Tools for Conviviality by Ivan Illich

Employee of the Month podcast with Catie Lazarus

“We spend most of our time working, so what does it take to (mainly) love what you do? How do even the most gifted, talented, intelligent, ambitious, disciplined, imaginative, inventive, and lucky people develop their point of view, find meaning, serve a greater good, deal with workplace politics, rejection, finances, boredom, red tape, logistics, and creative roadblocks? What are the perks or what’s enjoyable about forging your own path? Catie Lazarus and her guests delve into beauty, banality, and absurdity of work, jobs, and labor.”

Employee of the Month

When do I hear about amazing people? In their obituaries, RIP Catie Lazarus.