While I was reading The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo, I was frequently reminded of ideas from ultralight backpacking. And as I follow various discussions of the ‘KonMari’ method online (and offline – no, I didn’t bring it up, other people mentioned it first), a lot of it sounds very similar to the various (and eventually repetitive) discussions around ultralight backpacking.
Here is a quick overview of ultralight backpacking: carrying weight on a long journey on foot, especially if it involves mountains / rough terrain / stream crossings / etc. really sucks. It takes more energy, it makes bodies feel more sore, it reduces mobility/nimbleness, it reduces speed, and generally, nobody wants to carry weight. However, people who are going to spend multiple nights on a trail need to carry some things, such as food, something to keep them warm while they sleep, etc. and since these things generally will not fit into pockets, one needs a backpack to carry these things. In short, weight increases the physical costs of backpacking, and generally people want to only carry things which bring enough value to justify the physical cost.
(Bulk also imposes a cost by taking up more space in a pack, but backpackers are generally more interested in reducing weight than bulk, especially since bulk and weight are often correlated.)
The ‘ultralight’ movement in backpacking got started in the 1990s – the beginning of the movement is often attributed to Ray Jardine. It was possible to reduce the weight of backpacking gear partially because of technological advances, but the main change is that backpackers asked what was really necessary or only being used due to outdoor cultural conventions, and then they systematically went through their gear, asking themselves whether or not they needed everything, whether a lighter thing could serve the same function, and so forth.
I recently read the popular book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Kondo Marie-
Oh no, don’t tell me that you’re joining the Konmari cult!
Why would it matter whether or not I am joining the Konmari cult?
Because if you join the cult, you’ll repeatedly use the phrase ‘spark joy’. Are you going to do that?
No, especially since I suspect that it is an imperfect translation of the Japanese word tokimoku anyway (just as this comment claims that the English verb ‘tidy up’ does not quite convey the Japanese cultural concept Kondo Marie wrote a whole book about). I’m willing to completely avoid the phrase ‘spark joy’.
I suspect the real reason this book is such a bestseller is that it is fun to read. Even if you have zero interest in tidying up your own space, it is worth reading for the humor. Kondo Marie has visited hundreds of messy homes and offices; she has anecdotes.
However, this book did not just make me laugh; it also prompted me to think about my life in Taiwan (as well as ultralight backpacking philosophy, but that is for a different blog post).
You may notice that the subheading for this blog ‘thoughts I do not want to keep in my head’ (if you do not notice it, examine what the top of the browser says). This is related to one of the reasons I started this blog seven years ago.
Yes, I started this blog exactly seven years ago. This is a bloggerversary post.
Seven years ago, I was aware that my internal monologue – the constant stream of words I say to myself in my mind – was very active, and I thought it would be nice if it would be less active. I thought, maybe if I started a blog and wrote down some of these ideas which preoccupied my internal monologue, I would be able to let go of some of these thoughts, and my mind would become less verbose.
It did not work out that way.
Mo Yu and Chen Changsheng in Fighter of the Destiny, which is the live action TV adaptation of Way of Choices
There are many things I love in the novel Way of Choices (it’s my favorite novel that I read in 2018). One of them is the relationship between Chen Changsheng and Mo Yu. And one of the things I love about the relationship is that they are a young man and a young woman who are not genetically related yet share a bed – without ever having sex or even being interested in having sex with each other.
What genre is this novel?
Whatever the heck that is.
If you want a clue, you could watch the opening theme song to the live action adaptation (even though it’s not faithful to the novel).
Chen Changsheng is a naive, idealist, honest, wholesome, bookwormish, and gentle teenager with a terminal illness, and Mo Yu is a conniving, cynical, physically strong, and ruthless government official who is primarily concerned with maintaining her (high) level of political power. Nobody would expect these two to become friends – and this is before we get to the fact that Mo Yu wants Chen Changsheng to die (or at least be imprisoned or exiled).
And yet, in spite of the above, they come to share a bed. Continue reading
This is for the December 2018 Carnival of Aces “Burnout”.
As some of you know, I went on a 6-12 month binge on ace fiction / ace fiction reviewing / commenting on ace fiction, and you can find those posts by checking out my ‘asexual fiction’ and ‘ace fiction’ tags (no, I am not good at keeping my tags consistent), and it culminated in me writing a bunch of posts for The Asexual Agenda’s Ace Tropes series.
I never expected to keep that all up indefinitely, in fact I am surprised that I kept that up for as long as I did. Before I did a lot of ace fiction criticism, Ace Reads reviewed a lot of ace fiction books, and I got started around the time Agent Aletha burned out. Now, I’m in a position where I can relate to parts of this post about not reviewing so many ace books anymore. I particular, I really relate to this part: “I haven’t even been reading many ace books because I’m not in the mood for romance stories and that is so much of what’s available”. Continue reading
Sunrise the morning I left Boyd Camp
At Boyd Camp, I only had a few miles left of the official Ohlone Trail, and they were all downhill! After the work my legs did the previous day, this seemed pretty great.
On the left you can see Mount Diablo, and on the right you can see Del Valle Reservoir.
It turned out that it was a viciously steep downhill on a road. I suppose it was still easier than trying to go up than hill, but getting down still required an effort. And in contrast to the previous day when I practically saw no people, this morning I ran into a few people who were doing early morning exercise things. Continue reading
In Part One, I embarked on my hike of the Ohlone Trail in Alameda County, and reached Sunol Backpacking Camp. In this part, I describe my hike from there to Boyd Camp.
When I woke up at camp, I got to see a lot of fog in the Sunol Valley.
I was surprised when I looked out at the Sunol Valley in the morning. Fog! And the forest below the camp looked almost lush. Continue reading