Entries by Dakota

Personality flipping

The Myers-Briggs test classifies personalities into 16 distinct types. It can help us understand why we are who we are and why we do the things we do. In college, my results were ENTJ: Extroverted, Intuitive, Thinking, Judging… aka The Commander. Analytical, efficient, decisive, motivated to accomplish things. (And boooring.) This week, my results from […]

Before and after

Recently I found a 2020 photo of our backyard prior to our garden revamp. Crappy lawn, no plants, no wildlife. Today, it’s a veritable jungle with birds flitting about and bees bumbling flower to flower. A complete transformation…thanks to untold hours spent working our butts off. That got me thinking about before/afters from other projects. […]

BS investing, or my crypto misadventures

After the recent crypto crash, I did a postmortem on my behavior. What started as casual interest and minor research in crypto last May morphed into me caught up in the wave of greed and irrational exuberance by November. I thought I’d left that behavior behind after dabbling with (ill-informed) day trading in 2007? Nope. […]

Bikepacking the Oregon Big Country route

Way out yonder in SE Oregon lies the Oregon Big Country bikepacking route. If you’re looking for a remote desert getaway, you’ve found it. Overall, I expected cruisy gravel roads, mild vertical gain, and hot springs to soothe bikepacking soreness. I nailed 1 out of 3: the hot springs were amazing. In reality, the Big […]

If this is 40, I want a refund

My first trip to the emergency room, I was a freshman in college. My appendix blew up, but modern medicine won. The following two decades were smooth sailing. My on-ramp for my 4th decade was a fabulous long weekend full of friends, tasty food, and outside time. A perfect start. Then last Friday I woke […]

Juggling It All

One of the guys I mentor is in life setup mode and is juggling an incredible amount of obligations and hobbies. When I observed this, he asked me to list them…and was surprised to hear such a long list. Yup. Sometimes we boil away in the pot and don’t realize how overwhelmed we are. This […]

Playing life like chess

How approaching life with a chess mindset helps focus us on achievable goals After enjoying chess in my youth, this winter I returned to playing online with friends. The nuances of the game and geometric beauty of the positions fire my brain up. Whoa, I sound like a chess nerd. YES. One chess concept is […]

Lessons in creativity from the great masters

I recently read the art instruction book Drawings Lessons from the Great Masters. Via examples from art legends like Davinci and Rembrandt, the author demonstrates how the masters approached creating art. My biggest takeaway: they rarely drew exactly what they saw. They’d leave out shade on an upper lip from a nose because created a […]

Tips for New Cyclists

The writer Austin Kleon posted recently about buying a bicycle (his first as an adult) and getting obsessed. He’s a total beginner, so he put out a call to his readers asking for tips. I’ve ridden my fair share of miles on a bicycle (30,000+ by last count), so I decided to weigh in. I […]

Hard choices, easy life

It’s been a full-on start to 2022 in Traipsingville. Drama for my business, tenant trouble in a rental property, a couple of minor surgeries for Chelsea, and more. Curveball after curveball. My dad reassured me that I’ve always excelled at hitting, but wow. Along with my “this is why I get paid” mantra, I also […]

Portrait Drawing Challenge Takeaways

My January portrait challenge taught me a number of things. The most important? I don’t ever want a job drawing just composers. Especially ones with wigs. Take a hike, Mozart. (Here are round 1 and round 2 of my month-long challenge.) More insightful revelations also surfaced. For one, our brains lie to us all.the.time. They […]

Boosting Your Foreign Language Learning with Anki

This tutorial on optimizing foreign language learning is for you if: You’re serious about learning a foreign language. You want an effective, efficient method with constant forward progress, not repeatedly forgetting what you learned. You don’t want to spend money on expensive courses and their magic promises. My Foreign Language Journey I’ve “studied” Spanish for […]

January Portrait Challenge, Week 2

My January portrait challenge continues! I know it was tough to wait an entire week to see who I’d draw next, but your wait ends now! Portrait party time. (Check out the first round here.) I still haven’t made the time to actually study how to draw portraits. I’m just diving in. However, I’m finding […]

Rediscovering the right side of my brain

As part of my quest to not only draw stick figures forever, I’m reading the classic book Drawing from the Right Side of the Brain. The section on brain development in children is fascinating. When we’re infants, our brain hemispheres are not clearly specialized for different functions. That “lateralization” for left and ride brain doesn’t […]

January Portrait Challenge, Days 1-11

I suck at portrait drawing for two main reasons: 1) it’s par with rocket science difficulty-wise and 2) I’ve put exactly three hours of practice into it in my entire life. Enough! January is my month to go from “is that a person?” to “hey, only the ears and chin are weird!” (Here’s week 2.) […]

Laughing with troublesome friends

Austin Kleon shared this 2-min video of Desmond Tutu and the Dalai Lama laughing gleefully during an interview. At one point, Tutu is asked, “What is it about your friendship that allows you to have this extraordinary joy?” He ponders a moment and says, “He’s always troubling me…” and then cracks up. I just love […]

Forget goal setting, invest in skills

Ah, a new year! A fantastic time to hate the old us: let’s whittle away our bloated physical bodies, quiet our ping-ponging minds, change our crappy jobs, and eat celery while taking cold showers and doing pushups. Meh. I don’t buy it. Can’t we just be happy with who we are and still be on […]

A year of T. Rex drawings

Here are all my T. Rex drawings from 2021. After all, what better way to tee up a successful next year than referencing dinosaurs striving and failing? By the way, the whole T. Rex thing started when I sketched a piece of Guatemalan art that Chelsea and I have on our wall. I randomly added […]

The power of sharing your thoughts online

Have you ever considered sharing your thoughts publicly via a newsletter, blog, podcast, or vlog? Based on my experience doing so, I can heartily say make. it. happen. Why? Well… Publishing Traipsing About for the past eight years has added so much richness to my life. Almost 100 newsletters and 200+ blog posts in, things […]

Here’s to the amateurs

In today’s full-tilt culture, amateur often carries a negative meaning. If a hobby doesn’t morph into a monetized side hustle, what’s the point? Take drawing, for example. I’ve always wanted to learn how to draw something beyond stick figures. To test the waters, I’ve sketched almost every night this year. Then I text a photo […]