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Eggplant Parmesan, pro-rock climbers & books

Made a decent dinner tonight from a Mediterranean cookbook. A smoky/spicy eggplant parmesan with a couple eggplants Eddie picked up from the local farmers market tonight. It was a great way to end a complicated day. I’m preparing to travel to Microsoft Ignite next week and the demands of the office in advance of this are a little more immediate right now. It’s hard, at times, to get people to see beyond a simple need for an application to “rule them all.” I usually see this when a various organization has a tool that they want to drive enterprise-wide adoption. One of the folks I work with commented that every tool seems to be competing against the other to some degree with this misguided notion as the rationalization. There is a better path. One that gives proper weight and space to a variety of tools. All while setting up any single tool in a way that gives the best value to the entire organization. I’ve never believed that control is better than a purpose-driven offering. AS I argued though, it’s the value we build into our platform that makes a tool stand out. Not forced adoption guardrails… or in this case, noise. Ah well, another day awaits and with it more opportunities to try again.

It’s funny also that I just finished “The Longest Mile” by Jeremy Jones tonight. Short trail log kind of book about three guys who walked about 60 miles through the Smokies together over 6 days. It’s hard to tell actually how long they made it as the record and account seemed to change throughout the book. If I do sit down and write my account of this past year of hiking and camping my way to face fear, this is not the kind of book I intend to write. It was enjoyable. Made me laugh and think about my own mistakes and inexperience. The fact that this was his first hammock experience? Well, that was me earlier this year at my favorite gay campground Freedom Valley where the guys all decked up with 8 person tents for 1 (or hopefully 2) thought of me as an oddity. I loved Jeremy’s struggle with knots. I definitely share that in common with him as well.

Next on the reading list are “Zen in the Age of Anxiety” by Tim Burket and “These Truths” by Jill Lepore. Reading is an escape for me. Makes me think. I love reading cookbooks too. And yet, after having a moment of panic earlier today where I had to go find a room to myself and work through some breathing exercises. Probably because of my own internal reaction to challenging someone who was challenging me back. Confrontation is not my favorite thing. But sometimes it’s part of the work. Always calm, cool and professional. That’s the goal anyway. But it comes with a cost. For some of us, it’s moments where there’s a physiological cascade of baseless anxiety.

While I was waiting for the peach cobbler to bake off before starting the eggplant dish I picked up the copy of Esquire Magazine that came yesterday. I read an Alex Honnold interview by Brandy Langmann titled “On How Not To Be Afraid of Fear” (this is in a full series of feature interviews, so do a page search for it by his name if so inclined to find it). The idea that we, more specifically myself, place ourselves in situations that are intended to face our fears… when in reality we are simply maneuvering through them blew my mind. It was the key to my whole entire year so far in less than 500 words. Boom! Mind blown. This guy is evidently a Rockstar climber who is often times in situations that can end his life by a simple change in the wind and an easy mistake. What he closes with though is gold. That it’s better to face fear in increments. To learn the difference between actual fear that is worthy of our attention… and fucking anxiety. I am definitely going to explore this more. It’s exactly what I wanted my hike through the Olympics, Burr Oak, and Lake Vesuvius to be about. Being away from an easy call out to 911 if I have another heart attack. Forcing myself to find joy again and stop worrying about every damn day about the next. It’s crippling. But I’m working through it slowly. I can definitely say, Alex, is absolutely right.


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