The funny thing about vampires…

According to lore, they have to be invited in. Within the sacred space of your home, they can not harm you. They can not suck one drop of your precious life-giving blood unless you open the door and invite them past your threshold. If your time, your attention, and your purpose are not the very essence of what life is, then what is? If where you commit your time, attention, and purpose is not sacred space, then why isn’t it? And if those items that seek to take from those things are not vampires, then what are they? Most importantly, why are you inviting them in?

Three Chairs

“I had three chairs in my house; one for solitude, two for friendship, three for society.”

– Henry David Thoreau in Walden

Please forgive the repetition, but this has been on my mind lately. Namely, what are my three chairs? Is three chairs a reasonable and good sensible default for ones own approach to digital communication?

I don’t assume I have any right answer to those questions. That said, I have some ideas surrounding them.

Solitude

This could be any for working with ones dialog with self. This could take the form of a paper or digital journal, diary, etc. Those that are familiar with The Artists Way would have this with morning pages. Digitally, projects and services like OhLife and 750 Words might be good. Or local applications like MacJournal. Some may find this reflection and introspection simply with writing to plain text files. Regardless, I think it essential to external communications to first foster a healthy and regular internal one, no matter how one achieves it.

Friendship

This is one to one. It is interpersonal and private by default. Digitally, email would fit this idea. As would instant messaging, SMS, or even a phone call. It is dialog between two people. Unguarded and non-judgmental. It is an open exchange. A honest sharing. The opportunity for back and forth.

Society

This is where a social network may fit in. A forum would fit here as well. Even a blog with comments and an active and engaged readership might fit. The idea is that it should be productive dialog between a limited many. Greater than one-to-one but not so many that the conversation becomes noise and ideas are lost.

What are your three chairs?

The challenge, of course, is to use this as a healthy constraint. To choose three chairs that you are comfortable with and abandon or, at least, greatly decrease the use of others. To let others know of your choice where appropriate. For instance, “I prefer contact via email” or “I’m on Twitter and not on any other social network.” And even then, to have a clear intention about how and when you wish to use those chairs and with whom.

I would also like to think that balance is important here as well. That spending too much time in any one chair adversely affects the others. That the health of our internal dialog reflects well on when engaging our friends and society. That, equally true, the quality of those external engagements feed the quality of the internal. Therefore, choosing each chair with care and purpose is not to be taken lightly.

My Running Game

So, I’ve taken up running again after a break this summer. I feel bad for taking the break but I’m one of those people who sweat profusely when exerting even the tiniest of effort anytime the temp is above 75 degrees. About the only thing I hate more than sweating is heat so, there lies the reason (excuse) for the break.

That said, one of the reasons I love running is that it is one of the few ultimate minimalist sports. Assuming you have use of your legs, you literally have everything you need to do so. You don’t need any further equipment to run. You don’t even need clothing. You might get funny looks or arrested running naked and barefoot but that does not mean you can’t.

That said, it does help at least a bit to have the right gear. Because I have had a few people ask (or give me their opinions) I thought I would mention what I use, why, and how I’m getting back into the running game.

For shoes, I swear by my Newton Momentum trainers. These are designed to be used with the Natural Running technique developed by the company’s founder and outlined in his book of the same name (on Amazon here: http://amzn.to/nzkrTr and highly recommended). Also good for those that use the Chi running technique. These are light, strong, and allow for a feel similar to what one would get running barefoot. Plus, you get less comments on the loud colors than you would wearing crazy looking Vibram Five-Fingers.

I chose an all-terrain shoe because I knew when I got them last year that there was still plenty of winter yet and that means running in ice and snow.

For clothing I have a bunch of Nike Dri-Fit hand me downs from a friend who shrank out of the larger size thanks to his regimen. No matter how you feel about big corporate Nike, the quality, look and design (i.e. how it works) is impressive. That said, I’ll need to stock up on some cooler weather gear soon and will likely branch out to other brands if I find good deals.

Getting back into running, I’m using the official Couch-to-5k program from Coolrunning. Though I have had previous running experience, I have found this program to be good for forming a running habit which is really the first goal. I fell out of mine so I need to develop that again.

I’m also using the official Couch-to-5k iPhone app to prompt me and track my progress. Finding it good in actual use so far even if the interface leaves a lot to be desired.

Finally, someone asked what I was using for headphones and if I use a band for my iPhone.

For headphones, I use the Sennheiser PX 200-II i which I purchased based on a recommendation post from Marco Arment. They are fantastic. Lightweight, sound great, with excellent sound insulation.

For the iPhone, I just hold my iPhone. Clench it in one hand. Which may be insane but it works for me for now.

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