Howdy Traipsers,

A decade ago this month, Chelsea and I decided weddings were tooo expensive and complicated, so we eloped to Hawaii. This quote from The Gottman Institute summarizes the unkindness I'd like to avoid and the kindness I want to embrace over the next ten years.

I of course don't succeed all the time on either end of the spectrum, but I find this touchstone concept quite useful.

Teetotaling About, Edition 85 features:


-Meta and Iceland talk

-Trader Joe's for the win

-What's your fav punctuation?

-The continuing foiled adventures of Mr. T. Rex


Apparently my short-term memory is bad because I've almost forgotten about hike-a-bike on the Colorado Trail. In fact, Mason and I are planning our next adventure: the Arizona Trail. Anyone ridden it and care to share how you handled the Grand Canyon?

Journey to the Icelandverse


Metaverse this, smetaverse that. Thanks to Facebo…errr, Meta, it’s nearly impossible to avoid tripping over metaverse talk on the internet. Only crypto chat is more pervasive.

Iceland countered with this brilliant two-minute YouTube video, a send-up of Mark Z’s mildly creepy Meta announcement. One of the best things I’ve seen on the internet in a long time.
My favorite line: "Enhanced actual reality without silly headsets." Buuurn.

Before I offend any cyborgs who are already jacked into the Matrix, let me say that I’m not anti-metaverse. I do, however, wonder if an escape to a virtual world removes even more focus from our real world.

Maybe that leads to future generations who care even less than we do? (Yikes.) Or is there a potential to decrease our consumption-driven ways and shift to avatar skins and NFTs in virtual worlds?

Maybe we’ll merely furnish second homes in Meta and in the real world. I’m remaining optimistic and hoping for a decrease in physical consumption and an increase in virtual goods. GDP growth without tearing mountains and jungles apart!

Regardless, if everyone is in a metaverse, the mountain bike trails will be empty. Bwhaha.

Chameleon takeover! Such cool creatures, even if they always appear to be frowning.

Trader Joe's is the best

In 2014, Chelsea and I shopped at an Aldi grocery store in some tiny Midwest town while bike touring across the U.S.


I’d never heard of Aldi, so I Googled it. Turns out it’s a giant chain privately owned by two German brothers. But what caught my eye was that Aldi owns Trader Joe’s, my favorite grocery store since my college days! (How does one resist TJ's Turbinado Sugar Chocolate Almonds?)

Obviously, I was stoked to read this Freakonomic’s interview about Trader Joe’s. Things I learned:


-TJ’s was started in Pasadena (by Joe, duh) with the goal of creating a grocery store for “overeducated and underpaid people, for all the classical musicians, museum curators, and journalists.” The kitschy Hawaiian shirts and nautical theme started with Joe and continued with Aldi.


-It breaks with standard grocery practices. Cheery, friendly employees everywhere. No annoying loyalty programs, no discounts, no social media (!), and no online ordering. Oh, and no self-checkout. Seems like great training for existing in the real world, not the metav…there I go again.


-It sells more food per square foot than any other grocery store, pays employees (crew members) $50k a year and managers (captains) $100k a year, and yet only carries 3,000 different products compared to 35,000 at most stores.


-Similar to Costco, TJ's white labels tons of products: 80% of the products carry TJ’s name, but are actually made by companies like Stacy’s Pita Chips or Wildwood soy creamer.


All of the above leads to Trader Joe’s having fans, not customers. Having learned all this, I feel even BETTER shopping there. Bring on the chocolate almonds.

We briefly interrupt this message to bring you this snarky (fake) condom ad from a Brazilian ad agency. (Thanks for sharing, mom.)

What's your favorite punctuation?

What does your writing look like with everything stripped away? Via an online tool I read about, you can find out. (It appears I use plenty of parentheticalsand em dasheswith a spackling of slashes.)

Try it out on your writing here. Full article here for the really curious. The comparison between Cormac McCarthy (suuuper spare, consistent punctuation) with William Faulker (semicolons much?) highlights how different authors are and how language evolves. Em dashes are the new semicolon, right?
Punctuation from my Colorado Trail post.

Mr. T. Rex wants to know why the necks on bass guitars are so dang LONG.

Grazie for digesting this issue of Traipsing About.

Getting unsolicited advice is like shopping at Aldi: lots of good deals, but the experience sucks and most of the food is bad for you. Choose carefully.

This week’s advice: be kind, shop at Trader Joe's and be glad your arms are long enough to play bass.

P.S. These dreamy photos from a southern U.S. bayou are amaaazing. (Thanks, Michael! <--Also stunning photos.)

A photo from our Hawaii elopement 10 years ago. "Let's get a shot while the tide is out," our photographer suggested. Cue sneaker wave!
Not subscribed to Traipsing About yet? Try the free newsletter!
Copyright © 2021 Traipsing About, All rights reserved.

Changed your mind? You can update your preferences or unsubscribe from this list

Email Marketing Powered by Mailchimp