Howdy Traipsers,

September!? Summer marches toward fall, stumbling along under the assault of forest fires and smoky air. Hope you're getting the occasional clear day.
After so much bikepacking and travel this summer, I've felt content to stay local. I finally tried pickling vegetables, got back to making yogurt, hacked through our tomato/sunflower garden tunnel, and am relishing plinking away on the piano.

Traipsing About Issue #76 features:

Sharing the mental load, a British spraycation, time and attention, vaccine efficacy in one chart, and assorted useful stuff.

Also, three quick things related to last newsletter:

1. If you missed my blog post, I wrote about leaving Instagram

2. I also linked to a comic by The Oatmeal, but neglected to mention he left social media to focus on connecting with his audience via email after battling algorithms.

3. Lastly, this article by comic Jason Chatfield about why he left social media is a must-read for any creative seeking to earn a living online. One of his comics is below! ( Thanks, Jono.)


Getting above the smoke for a ride. I've never appreciated clear air as much as these past few years.

Sharing the Mental Load

I started writing this post last Thanksgiving, then shelved it. I needed time to grapple with how to talk about my experienceawakeningrelated to mental load. At long last, here it is!
At some point in the past decade, I read an eye-opening article about how mental load, the invisible labor involved in handling a household and family, is usually carried by women. It suggested that for those of us without it, mental load is the water we swim in, unseen and natural, the actions helping the household hum along without a hitch. 

My initial reaction was: “That's not MY situation. I love my wife and value her time the same as mine. I’m a woke-ass 21st Century Man! I read Brené Brown!”

How wrong I was. 

Looking at my to-do list versus Chelsea's simply astounded me. Mine was simple; hers ranged from shopping lists and thinking about Christmas cards and gifts to cleaning the house and writing departure checklists prior to trips. The sheer quantity of things on her mind scorched my brain. (It still does.)

Read the rest of the post.

A British Spraycation

A college roommate helped me see the beauty of graffiti. He loved the work of Banksy, an anonymous British artist. Not tagging walls with ugly crap, mind you; I’m talking about graffiti as art. (The legality of it is another discussion, but who likes ugly gray walls?)

Anyway, check out this cheeky video of Banksy’s latest efforts, which features him touring around in an ancient RV while improving bus stops or *ahem* street corners. He even films a few people’s reactions. (Scroll past the video to see photos of the work.) I also love the accordion version of Dance Monkey for the soundtrack.

For a fine documentary about Banksy, check out the movie Exit Through the Gift Shop (free YouTube version) or try Amazon.

From Banksy's latest efforts... Careful where you sit.

Time vs. Attention

Ever looked at your to-do list, tried to summon the will power, and then flopped on the couch instead? Yup. Me too.

Jason Fried writes about this in Time vs. Attention:

A few years ago, I realized that if I’m too busy to take something on, I shouldn’t say “I don’t have the time”. In fact, I often do have the time. It’s not that hard to squeeze in some extra time for someone.

What I don’t have–and what I can’t squeeze in–is more attention. Attention is a far more limited resource than time. So what I should say is “I don’t have the attention”.

But it wasn’t that. It wasn’t that I couldn’t find the time. I couldn’t find the attention— especially sustained attention.

For me, this relates to where I’m focusing my attention. If it’s scattered and I rarely keep my mind trained on one task, it’s difficult to summon the effort for that attention when it’s needed.
In the last two years, I’ve noticed I can sustain focus far longer than before
be it for reading, writing, music and language study, or drawing
 and I’m quite sure it’s related to nixing the attention-sucking things in my life that lacked a strong ROI (texting, social media, and frequent large group gatherings vs. smaller ones).

A confidence-inspiring chart

Like everyone, we’ve drunk through the COVID information fire hose this past decadewhat's that you say, it’s only been 1.5 years? Suuure it has.

Less reading, more pretty charts, I say! This Information is Beautiful visualization is the best I’ve seen for clearly laying out the effectiveness of different vaccines against current variants.

It quickly tells me that with two Pfizer shots, I’ve got 96% protection against the Delta variant giving me severe COVID (hospitalization) and 76% protection against even having symptoms. (Last updated July 30th, for the record.)

There are many other insightful graphs in that data set. Just scroll up or down from that chart.

An end-of-August evening drawing inspired by R. Crumb's work.

Four small recent life upgrades:

  • For my Sprinter van gray water upgrade, I delayed buying a holding tank because the cost felt ridiculous. $200-300 for a plastic tank?! Scammers. (I know, I’m cheap frugal.) Then I found Class A Customs, a company in Indiana charging reasonable prices. My new 15—gallon tank cost $59 including shipping and fits perfectly under the van next to the fuel tank behind the driver's seat.
  • For eight years, I held the bicycle floor pump in the van in place with a janky setup of small bungees. NO MORE. A Quickfist clamp now securely holds the pump. (Thanks, Mason.)
  • Another Mason-inspired upgrade: faster iPhone charging. Charge 4x faster with this Anker 20W USB-C charger base and a USB-C to lightning connector cable. That’s 50% of a full charge in just 30 minutes. Useful at home, fantastic while traveling. (Especially for power-starved bikepackers...)
  • Anyone else sick of spam calls? I’m on the Do Not Call list, but my cellphone still rang with random numbers …until I modified my iPhone’s Do Not Disturb settings so that only people in my contacts can reach me with DND on. Bazaam: silence unless someone I want to talk to calls!

Thanks for swinging by Traipsing About. May your AQI stay in the green and your attention sharpen as you lessen the mental load of your partner.

P.S. I'm digging this Summer Jazz station from Spotify, even though it only pays artists $.004/listen. Or listen to bad guy by billie eilish on repeat. Your call.

Whaaaaat am I gonna draw tonight?
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