Finding Adventure...

Anatomy of a perfect day

A perfect day starts with a trip to the North Carolina mountains. Do whatever prayer or sacrifice or other bribe to the weather gods that you have to do so that you get a 75F partly cloudy day. Next, mix in plans for a completely empty day to start with breakfast at the Dan'l Boone Inn with some good friends you haven't seen in a while. From there, plan to take the kids to the park in Blowing Rock, but stop by your respective houses on the way to get appropriate gear for a short hike to a swimming hole. Meet back up at the park.

From there, it gets interesting. First, I decided while at home to add my motorcycle to my "gear." Yeah, I threw my hiking gear in Ashley's car and went my own way on the bike. It's a new-to-me 2009 BMW G650X. For those that don't know bikes, it's a street legal dirt bike that is just perfect for mountain exploration. Anyway, I hadn't actually even had it out on public roads yet (we trailered it up here). So, back to the park...

We let the kids run around and play while the adults did more catching up. Then we loaded back up and headed from downtown Blowing Rock toward Globe. Our intended stop was the China Creek trailhead off of Globe Road. Well, it was our stop, but unfortunately we found that the China Creek trail had been closed by the park service for a year! It's due to reopen in a few weeks, but given the penalty for hiking it was six months in jail, we decided we should head to choice number two, Huntfish Falls. The only reason it was choice number two was that it's a good bit further of a drive, but it's a better swimming hole anyway, so off we went. It's worth noting that I wasn't crying at all, since I got that much more chance to explore the limits of my new bike on twisty dirt roads.

So a short while later we found ourselves at the Huntfish Falls trailhead:

It's six or seven miles of dirt on The Globe Road, and another ten miles or so of dirt between Highway 90 and Pineola Road to get to the Huntfish Falls trailhead, but let me tell you, it's stellar riding. Particularly today and particularly for someone on this kind of bike that's new to them. Why? Because it rained a good bit yesterday. I had every surface type imaginable to play on. Loose gravel, occasional large rocks, that really awesome tacky clay, soft mud, and occasional soup. Sometimes you even had weird mixes of those. And yet I never over-stepped the limits of this fine machine. I am impressed, and I am looking forward to a lot more seat time on this thing. Back to the day...

The family and friends caught up, and we headed down the nearly-a-mile-long trail that's pretty much straight down. It lands right at a very awesome set of waterfalls with a large swimming hole that leads to a pretty decent sliding rock (at least for small kids). The best part? There's a pretty decent rock ledge about five or six feet above the water that you can jump off of and into about five foot deep water (so you have to be careful to only cannonball, but it's still great). The water temperature is quite brisk, but you do get used to it quickly. Or at least I get used to it quickly, anyway, but maybe that's because I get addicted to that ledge jump. I think I did it ten times today. Both kids did it, too, and even one of our friends, who apparently had never done anything like that!

After an hour or two or three (who keeps track of time in a place that wonderful?), we headed back out. The hike back up isn't so wonderful, but it's tolerable enough. We grabbed some snacks and headed back toward civilization with a plan to meet at the friend's house to grill some supper. Notice we had missed lunch, but between the awesome breakfast and the snacks, I don't think anyone cared. I left first on the motorcycle...hehehehe.

I did some more limit-seeking along the ten or so miles of gravel road back to the Parkway, where I started to notice gray skies. Uh-oh, might get wet! And sure enough, as I rode the Parkway back to the house, there were occasional showers. Never enough to soak the road, but just enough you knew it was raining and not drizzling. I didn't much care as it was just warm enough it was no bother, and I was still damp from my swimming excursion anyway. I got home, showered, watched the US lose the World Cup, and we headed back out for our supper engagement.

We found our friend's fairly-new-to-them house with no problem, and enjoyed a great meal and conversation. They have a wonderful place that I'm sure they will enjoy for many years to come. They even busted out some sparklers that had been intended for July 4 festivities, but were rained out. Much to my surprise, my children had yet to experience the wonder that is dazzling fire on a stick that you can hold in your hand, so much fun was had by all. Sadly, the sun decided that it was time to end the festivities, and we called it an evening. But it was quite a nice way to cap what was a perfect day.

What a long strange trip it's beeeeeeen...

Today's ride was an interesting one. My coach had me scheduled for a 90 minute road ride. Unfortunately with other stuff I had scheduled today the only time I could do it was in the hottest part of the day. Thankfully the humidity is finally down to tolerable levels and even though it was definitely hot, it wasn't as stifling as I thought it might be. The sweat could actually evaporate for the most part, which made things tolerable.

I decided to try a new variation on the route I've been riding lately, and boy did I screw that up. You can see the data here, which includes a nice map of what I did. As you can see from the map, I did about four miles on highway 87 north. That was NOT intentional. For some reason I had it in my head that Mt. Olive Church Road went straight from Chicken Bridge Road to Old Greensboro, but in fact you have to turn right on Mandale to do that, which I missed. And then I stupidly decided that it probably wasn't but a mile or so up 87 to Old Greensboro, so I'd just go that way instead of turning around.


Want to know the worst part about all this? I have a GPS on my bike with full mapping and navigation and I didn't use it! Talk about dumb. I'm so used to leaving it on the data screen that I didn't even think to hit the map button and see what I was doing. Turning around would have been no big deal to go to Mandale, but riding four miles on 87 sucked big time. It's not fun getting passed by semis and logging trucks at 65MPH, that's for sure. Especially with traffic going the other way, too! And all this the day after a post about crashing. Seriously, that's just not bright. It made me want to quit riding altogether. Okay, not really.

Along the way, I also had my first bad dog encounter. Okay, I say bad, but in reality it was basically as bad as you can get without actually getting bit (or crashing). It was a black mutt that appeared to have a goodly amount of Chow in him. I'd put him at about 85 pounds and you'd have to say Mr. T has a sunny disposition compared to this creature. He came out of a yard to my left, but I never saw him until he hit the road running and around to my right side. I was probably doing about 16MPH at this point and it was basically flat. I sped up a little, and he matched me, barking ferociously the entire time. Then I noticed he was staring at my ankle appearing to be timing my pedal strokes and easing closer. I figured an attempt to kick him would just result in a crash, so I took the other option and put the power down.

My data shows I peaked at nearly 1,000W for about five seconds. Not too bad. As I hit it hard, I pulled in front of him. I looked back to see him try for another gear, which he did have, but he only stayed with me another second or so before my continued acceleration got the better of him. He pulled up and turned around. I have to say that was quite annoying. I've never been scared of a dog while on my feet, but at speeds over 16MPH while clipped into a road bike, I felt a lot more vulnerable to a beast like that. He'd inflict some damage, but I know I could inflict more in a straight fight. My problem was the fear of the crash he was about to cause on top of it. Hmm, now we're back to yesterday again.

But I've learned that lesson, too. I will be better prepared on my road rides from now on, and dogs who do this will not like the outcome, that much I can assure them. I have a right to pedal on the road without fear of being injured by a furry beast, and I intend to exercise that right. Trust me when I say I'm truly a dog person and always have been. I know when a dog is in "attack" mode versus just "get the hell out of here, I'm protecting my turf" mode. The latter will be tolerated, the former, well, no. Today was the former. I could see it in his eyes and in his actions.

The last interesting thing was near the end of the ride. A truck approached from ahead and slowed and rolled his window down as he met me. A gentleman stuck his head out and warned me about a "fox" around the next bend that I should watch out for. I said thanks and gave a thumbs up as I rolled by (I slowed, too), and thought "what kind of moron bothers to warn someone about a fox? You barely see one and then they're gone. Oh well, he was being nice." Then as I rounded the corner I see a critter on the left shoulder. He sees me, hops to his feet, and jogs slowly back into the trees. As he did that, I realized not only was he a coyote, but he had been hit and was injured. So the guy who warned me was actually probably the one who hit him and saw that he was alive but too injured to flee. Now it all made sense. Still a bit odd of a thing to happen in the middle of the afternoon, but on this day, nothing was completely out of line, apparently.
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Today was a great day. Thanks to running?!?

Me (blue shirt) near the Rugged Maniac start.

I recently blogged about the Rugged Maniac race that I did this past weekend, which was mostly gushing about how much fun I had, including a mention that I will do more races like this. In the time since then I’ve been researching and planning. There are definitely more of these in my near future! So today was my first scheduled training run since then, but today didn’t start off so hot...

To back up a bit, I’ve had to get up early a few mornings in a row, and I haven’t been getting to bed as early as I should (my own fault). My schedule this week is such that I couldn’t do strength training on my normal Monday/Friday kind of plan, so yesterday I got my strength coach (we’ll call him J as I’m not sure he wants any more clients...let’s just say I’m pain enough for him!) to let me work out again today. Only catch was I had to be in at 8am (I usually see him at 9:30 or 10am). So I had to get up even earlier (I always try to get up about an hour and a half before a workout to eat breakfast so that it has time to digest before I start). So when the alarm clock went off at 6:30 I struggled. Bad. I had a million excuses in my head. But I fought through all of them and got up and got my breakfast.

Gingerly I went up and down the steps. I was sore. I think this past weekend and yesterday’s three workouts (lower body weights, swimming, and some riding on the trainer) got to me pretty good. Sigh. But J had promised me we’d do core and upper body today, and I was mostly only sore in the lower body, so I pushed on. J could tell I was kind of beat today, but I think he sensed it was sleep more than a truly tired body, so he kept after me and we got a really good workout in. As much as he doesn’t really care for endurance sports (he’s an athlete builder, but prefers the muscle and power side rather than the endurance thing), he knows what I need and tailors things very nicely. At the end, though, I was pretty well spent.

I headed home, got a shower, and then went back out for my haircut. The lady that cuts my hair (we’ll call her A as I KNOW she is full up on clients right now) was even out of sorts a bit as she recently had surgery on her wrist and I don’t think it’s healing quite as fast as she had thought it would, so she basically worked one handed. I know what you’re thinking...and you needn’t worry about it. My hair is fine (well, as fine as it has ever been, anyway). A is more talented with one hand than most hair people are with two. That’s why she stays booked up. She’s also quite an awesome person and we joke that she’s my “life coach”, but it’s only half-joking as she really is one of those people you learn things from with every conversation.

So after that I went in search of cheeseburgers and a shake. Yeah, I know, I suck at the nutrition thing, but dammit, I needed cheeseburgers and a shake today. So I went to Char-Grill and had a couple hamburger steak sandwiches, and then to Chick-fil-A for a shake (Chapel Hill needs more good shake options!). That did good things for my mood, but I went home and found myself on the couch in a near-nap state for a couple hours before I needed to go pick up Kevin from school (Ashley was gone on a school field trip with Zach’s class to the zoo). I was dreading pick-up time...not because of having to do it, but because I knew that right after I needed to hit the trail for today’s scheduled run. In my near-nap state I had another few million excuses come up as to why I couldn’t run, but again, none of them were good enough. So when I got home, I prepped my gear, which includes getting my iPhone and starting Pandora. I’m kind of addicted to Pandora during my training runs these days, so I put it in my mesh fanny-bag-thingamajig and went outside to stretch. As I was doing that, the clouds were swirling and it was spitting just a little bit of rain. But it had been doing that all day, so I didn’t really think much of it.

Then I recalled a recent conversation with my endurance coach, Sage Rountree, where I asked what she did with her iPhone to keep from damaging it on her long runs (she had mentioned using the new Training Peaks GPS software for run tracking on her phone). She runs for hours and hours and hours and hours at a time, which can mean having to run in weather that’s sometimes less than palatable. Anyway, she said she basically just wraps it in cling-wrap and puts it in a mesh fanny-bag-thingamajig (that’s my own technical term, please do not steal it...I will hunt you down and punish you severely). I remembered that and decided to run back inside and wrap my phone just in case.

Good idea. The minute I began my run the bottom fell out and instantly soaked me.

But you know what? I took that as a bit of a sign. See, if you want to compete in adventure races like the Rugged Maniac, you have to be ready to run through mud and muck and whatever they decide to throw at you. And it might rain to boot. I had already been thinking about running through the occasional puddles and streams I used to jump over or go around, and this was just reinforcement that it was time to begin that. Today. Now. So I did. And boy did it feel great. I don’t know why, and I don’t know if it will last, but it felt GREAT. The rain ended quickly, but I ran through a stream instead of doing my usual rock-to-rock dance. I ran through a big puddle. I took a trail that I knew was soft even when it was dry, so today it was mud. And it was awesome slick mud goodness. Then I got to another stream and just started running IN the stream. Splash splash splash. Around downed logs too big to hop. Over the others. Avoiding the rocks that looked like they’d probably be slick. Splash splash splash.

I continued on for my prescribed thirty minutes looking for all the soft spots I could remember having to avoid in the past when the ground is wet like this. And I found them, one by one, and I relished every squishy step. I was also thinking about where I’d do the next part of my prescribed workout...strides and skips. Strides are just a quicker pace than the normal training pace (about what I’d run if I were racing a 5K) and 20 seconds of them. With perfect form. Then immediately I was to do 40 skips (20 each leg). Sage was funny in her instructions in that she quipped that I was lucky to have so much “private” land to do these skips. Little does she know that in each of the last couple summers I’ve been a part of some pretty cool outside workouts with J and some big-time athletes he trains and they always include skips (and those happen very much out in public!). J likes to yell at us, so not only are they skips, but they have to be HIGH skips. Slack off and you get yelled at. If nobody slacks off, he just finds the guy who skips with the least amount of amplitude and yells at him (which might sometimes be me, I admit...okay, it's always me). So I pretended J was there (he doesn’t yell but a handful of different things, so it’s pretty easy to hear him in your head) and I did my skips with amplitude.

I wanted to do these six sets of strides and skips out in the open, so I did them in a small field that wraps around a pond we have. It’s “private” out there, but the ground is also very uneven, slightly sloped, and can also be really soft in places when it’s this wet. Perfect training ground. You HAVE to pay attention. Heck, there are even groundhog tunnels that create problem places to watch out for. In the interest of full disclosure I will admit that I used the slope to my advantage and did the strides downhill today. I will not always do that, but today felt like a good day to do that. I did the skips on level ground, then walked back up.

I can’t explain why, but something struck me during that part of the run. I felt great. Sure, I was tired. But I felt GREAT. Alive. Free. Somewhat moved, even. And when I finished that last skip, I immediately started back into the last ten minutes of my run. No walk back, no recovery. It wasn’t necessary. I felt great. And I finished my run thinking the entire way about everything I’ve written here. And how I somehow needed to write it.*

* I don’t know why, but I also came to another realization. I’ve always suspected it, but I am a writer. Probably not much of one, mind you, because I’m not much of a reader, but I think anyone who has things in their head that they feel they MUST write is, by definition, a writer. At least by my definition. Not every blog entry of mine is something I have to write, but many are. That answers why I blog, I guess, which is another question I get from time to time.

So I finished up my run and stretching, picked up some packages that had arrived for me, and went to the house to get my recovery drink and have a shower. One of the packages wasn’t something I was expecting, so I opened it up to find one of the most thoughtful and unexpected gifts I’ve ever gotten. It’s not a story I want to go into here (I’ve rambled on long enough), but I’m truly blessed to have such great friends in this life. Then it was off to a wonderful dinner with my family and our “exchange student”, Chris. I tried to make up for the cheeseburgers and shake by having the blackened salmon salad, but then went awry again with a mixed drink. Now we’re home and I have my legs up while I finish this. For such an awful start, it sure was a great day...thanks to running in the rain and mud and doing glorious skips and a wonderful unexpected surprise.
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"You don't use bookmarks?!?"

I got this question tonight after a friend asked me about syncing such things like bookmarks and contacts and email and finding out I don't actually use bookmarks. Apparently this wasn't considered normal. Worse is I had to admit I haven't used bookmarks in at least 12 years.

But how could this be? How does one live without bookmarks?

Well, it's no great secret that I'm lazy. But strangely, it's my laziness that causes me to not use bookmarks. Back when I did use them I remember being constantly annoyed at having to file them into usable groups and then remember or figure out which group I had put them in. Then I needed to cull the no-longer-necessary ones or things still got out of hand. So ultimately they did get out of hand and I just stopped using them.

But how? Well, mostly because of Yahoo! search, and then Google once it got better and faster (and, coincidentally, it was around this time that my old company, Red Hat, actually had meetings and attempted to buy Google long before they went public). If I couldn't remember the URL I needed, I just did a quick search and clicked on the result. These days it's even easier, as your browser caches the places you visit and can do "auto-complete" for you if you type any small part of the URL. Now, I don't often go places where I can't remember some word in the URL, so this makes life easy. For example, if I'm looking for the twitter page for the Warrior Creek race:

Then I just click the down arrow twice and hit enter. Boom. No muss, no fuss.

But do I do that for all the pages I visit multiple times per day? Nope. I simply leave those open in my browser all the time. Firefox (and Safari and probably other browsers) now do tabbed browsing as well as session management. This means that you can open multiple web sites in different "tabs" in your browser. And if you quit your browser those sites come right back into the same places when you start it again. And now Firefox even has what they call "application tabs", which let you make certain sites use tiny tabs with no words. It is even smart enough to highlight things like the Twitter tab when there are unseen tweets. Check this out:

To explain further, from left to right, we see a Twitter tab (with unseen messages), a Facebook tab (no new notifications), a Tarheel Sports Car Club forum tab, another useless racing forum, then a "page not found" tab, etc. So I actually do generally have anywhere from ten to thirty different tabs open across different Firefox windows.

So, to ease my "no bookmarks" pain, I simply leave everything open I use often, use the cache to type part of a URL that I've visited before, or failing those, a quick Google usually gets it in a click or two. So the only real pain is when I'm using a new device for the first time, but that's not terribly often, and definitely not enough to go back to the pain of maintaining bookmarks.

Want to see me race a mountain bike?


I used to wonder what I looked like, but now I'm a little frightened by it. I mean why couldn't I have my mouth shut? Oh, right, I breathe through it. Then why couldn't I be doing something cool with my tongue like Michael Jordan? In case you forgot:

I wanna be like Mike, really I do, but I guess it just ain't happening. At least we both had the red thing going. That reminded you of Mike, didn't it? Just a little, even? No? Damn.
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My memories of basketball camp as a kid

I know this probably seems like a random topic, but it is far from it. It's actually inspired by this story that I found thanks to Twitter.

As most know, I grew up in the Charlotte, NC, area. The only sport I played as a young kid (other than a single year of coach pitch baseball) was basketball. I played youth league ball in the Winterfield league (which I don't think exists any longer). It was one of those area-based youth leagues, and the competition was pretty good. There were age groups up to 16, and I think I played from around 8 to 16.

Outside of that, I also played in Bryan Adrian leagues and attended some of his camps. His leagues were one per season, so you could play in four leagues per year. It was a pretty simple deal, really...something like ten weeks of playing on Sunday for two hours. The first hour or so was drills and the rest was a game. Each league had four teams, and each player got a shirt in one of four colors. Each color was a team. You were all mixed up for the drills (on purpose so that everyone got to know everyone) and then you broke out into your teams to play the games. We always had sites with two full courts, so two games happened at one time.

Before we started, Bryan would always talk about what we were going to focus on. Then he would usually lead a drill or two with everyone in one big group, then we were divided up into smaller groups for more drills. He moved around the entire gym watching and giving his own input, though there were other coaches who were in charge of each area and later each team at game time. He'd watch some of both games, and occasionally provide input there, too. Then after the two games were over everyone gathered for about five minutes with him. He'd go over the things we learned that day and what we could work on by ourselves. Then he'd grab a few kids at random to try to score on him one-on-one. Maybe five kids, total.

You got five seconds and one shot only. And you're a kid and he's big. And quick (even with the bum knee). And smart. I don't remember more than two or three kids all season ever scoring. And if you did? $5 in cash. That was a lot back then, and he made you earn it. That was the thing with Bryan. You want something in life, you have to earn it.

He wasn't a friendly guy. He was a tough guy. But he was a genuine guy, too. If he had something to say, he said it. If you deserved praise, you got a terse "good job." If you didn't, you got an explanation as to what you needed to do differently. And you got the opportunity to try again. He never asked for anything of you for him. He only told you what you needed to do for you. He never seemed disappointed or agitated or frustrated with us kids. He just taught. If you wanted it, you learned it. If you didn't, well, you didn't. Didn't seem to be any sweat to him either way. But he worked so hard to help that deep down you just had to think he cared. I remember doing the math along the way on how much money he must be taking in. We knew what we paid, and it wasn't hard to estimate his expenses (it was easy, since the other coaches would tell us what they got paid, and the gyms he used were gyms that we knew other folks that rented, too).

He made a reasonable living, but he wasn't getting rich off this stuff. What he did do was work. And sweat. And teach. To me, anyone who is willing to sweat when they teach and do it all for a meager living must care about what they do. A lot.

Why was he all closed up? Only God knows. What I know is he helped a lot of kids be better basketball players, and as far as I know he did it very well. I'm sure he had some sort of problems in life other than what was mentioned. My idle curiosity wants to know what they are, but in a way I'm fine not knowing, too. Because I want to remember him as that tough basketball player who realized he had a gift he could share and just wanted to share it with as many kids as he could. And that's just what he did. Thanks, Bryan. You will be missed.

Farewell to a best friend


This is a very old picture of Jasper (top) and Clark (bottom). Clark passed away about three years ago, but today we lost Jasper. Both were brothers from the same litter, and we have our good friends the Cosper's to thank for hooking us up with them. Kit's sister, Dee, had a horse farm and a female dog that appeared to be mostly German Shephard that they had adopted (or that had adopted them!). Before they realized she was even old enough to breed, though, she was pregnant.

Ashley and I signed up for our first pet together and waited long enough for them to be weened. When we showed up to pick up Jasper we found that only one sibling remained unclaimed. The folks who had said they wanted him didn't show, and I quickly theorized that having two dogs would mean they would chew on each other rather than our stuff. Ashley agreed, and we took home two puppies instead of one. Both had already been named...Clark got his name because he had a white patch on his chest that Dee's kids thought looked like Superman's symbol. They wanted to name him Superman, but cooler heads prevailed and they were fine naming him Clark, short for Clark Kent. Jasper was named after Dee and Bob's restaurant at the time, Jasper's in Cary.

We loved the names and loved the dogs even more. There are so many wonderful stories of both their lives, from Jasper and his ball chasing antics to Clark and the bullet he carried to a pot bellied pig tormenting them to Clark playing the "mother" to all creatures he loved. Like raising kids, not all the stories were good ones at the time, but they are all now fond memories. We loved them both, and now we will miss them both. In recent years we spoke of Jasper singularly since Clark had to leave first, but now I feel like it's quite appropriate to speak of them together again, since I know in my heart they are together again. I thank God for the 10 years we had Clark and for the almost 14 we had Jasper.

Farewell, doodlebug. Me, Ashley, Kevin, Zach, Sandi, and Hattie will miss you. And a lot of other people.

Book Recommendation

So it's strange...I don't really read books. I mean sure, I read the third through the last of the Harry Potter books, but that's because after watching the first two movies I was impatient to know more of the story and willing to read the books to get ahead. I've also read the Josh Thurlow series of books by Homer Hickam. I don't really know what got me started on those, though. And I don't remember what got me to read Hatteras Blues, either. I remember my wife bought it for me, but I think I asked for it. It might be that I saw it on a bookstore sign near Hatteras Village, I don't know.

But I did read it recently, and ironically enough I read most of it while on a cruise ship. I feel like anyone would love this book. I know anyone who loves the Outer Banks of North Carolina would love it. I believe anyone who has ever fished off-shore would love it. People interested in coastal history should definitely enjoy it. Heck, anyone with a pulse, really. Please, by all means, give it a try if you're looking for something to read. I don't think you'll be disappointed.

You might be a redneck if...

Just a few I thought up:

...if you've ever shot a fish.
...if you've ever wrecked your truck trying to run over a squirrel.
...if you've ever totaled a golf cart.
...if you've ever run over a squirrel with a golf cart with your Momma riding along.
...if you've ever de-limbed a tree with a shotgun.
...if you've ever fired a gun from a moving vehicle.

You might be a redneck.

No, not all of these have happened to me. I'll leave it as an exercise to the reader to guess what's what.
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What is "cool"?

So I have thought in the past some about what "cool" is. At the time the best I could come up with was examples. Like Arthur Fonzarelli from Happy Days:

I was recently reading an interview in Make Magazine with Adam Savage, one of the ever-popular Mythbusters. The interviewer, Paul Spinrad, points out that enthusiasm is the opposite of cool. My first response was "huh?!?" But further explanation and discussion with Adam points out some interesting things. First, it's children that are most often overly enthusiastic. There becomes a point, however, when a more grown up child finds that enthusiasm immature (or perhaps "dorky") and invents (or steals, at this point) "cool" as an alternative. Not caring about what someone else cares about is a way to sort of "take it away."

That's an interesting way to think about it, and kind of useful to me as a parent. Much like anything out there, it's fine to be a little "cool", but it's also easy to go overboard with it. Thinking about it in these terms will help me help my kids better understand why it's bad to act some ways. This could be particularly important for folks with multiple kids with ages that vary widely.

I don't know, just something to think about.