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Freedom of Movement

New meditators often struggle with the idea of sitting still. One of the inevitable first questions asked at a beginners’ sitting is whether one must remain 100% perfectly still, or whether it’s okay to shift, scratch, and so forth.

While some traditions like zen are fairly strict in this regard, vipassana is less rigid: one should make a reasonable effort to remain still, bringing such impulses to conscious awareness, then making a considered decision about whether the movement is necessary or not.

But whether it is strictly enforced or not, the underlying rationale is the same in both schools of thought.

In our daily lives, the overwhelming majority of our actions are ruled by habit: if your nose itches, you scratch it; your knee hurts, you change your position. This is a great ev »more

Four Lakes

Pymatuning Reservoir dam gatehouse

Having made my own “Four Rivers” century two weeks ago, the Labor Day weekend bought a “four lakes” century: the annual Pedal the Lakes tour up in Mercer County, which skirts Conneaut Lake, the Pymatuning Reservoir, Mosquito Creek Lake in Ohio, and the Shenango River Lake.

Pymatuning Reservoir dam gatehouse

Foggy Conneaut Lake @ 8:15am

Amish convention @ Pymatuning Reservoir spillway

With the holiday marking the transition from summer to fall, my previous rides in 2016 and 2018 were my last 100-mile rides of those years. There wasn’t much visible evidence of autumn this year however, which pleased me!

The day provided perfect riding weather. Skies were clear with some protective high clouds, and temps that began at a cool 54º only climbing to a pleasant 70º. I continue to marv »more

Pedal, Piggie!

Grandview Park overlook

I’m not a fan of PedalPGH, for reasons I’ve repeated in my 2018, 2017, and 2016 ride reports. So I won't belabor the same shortcomings yet again, though rest assured nothing changed with this year’s populist urban ride. But there’s plenty of other stuff to talk about, anyways.

Grandview Park overlook

Jim Logan with Ornoth following

Birthy bibnum

The most salient being that I somehow injured my achilles tendon last Wednesday, making it difficult to walk or stand. After three days of rest, it was a little better, but nowhere near normal.

In order to gauge whether I could ride, I made a ten-mile bike trip to pick up my PedalPGH registration packet. It went okay, but not well enough to inspire a lot of confidence. They let me pick my bib number, and I went with my birth year.

I d »more

Oi Barone!

Barrons article

It’s not every day one gets cited in the financial press (even if it’s only obliquely).

I have a long history as a data geek. As a high school kid, I spent hours researching and creating lists of physical and mental diseases as reference material for roleplaying games.

In college, I pored over lists and dictionaries en route to creating a 45,000-item database of words and phrases for a natural language insult generator I wrote.

And in my first professional job, I read through 13,000 medical diagnosis codes to find the oddest, such as “adverse effects of plague vaccine”, “atypical face pain”, “fall into hole”, “fall into other hole”, and dozens more you can read about here.

Fast forward to last week, when I was reading the daily market summary email from Barron’s financial newspaper.

In »more

Four Rivers

Forward on the Mon

So your home internet service is gonna be down for 48 hours, whaddaya do? If you’re Ornoth, you might as well bang out another century ride, right?

I didn’t have much of a plan when I set out, but began with the GAP trail along the Monongahela River to McKeesport, then down Bunola Road to Mon city. I love that stretch of road; where else (around here, at least) can you ride for ten miles right along the banks of a river and be passed by just two cars?

Forward on the Mon

Monongahela City

Back to McKeesport via the same roads before taking the loop trail down to Boston (PA) and back, following the Yuck (Youghiogheny River) branch. By this point we were in the heat of a very warm day, about 1pm.

Followed the Mon all the way back downtown to the Point, where I hoped to catch a lit »more