This is a page from my Guidebook.
Biographical details and excuses.
Discovery. Reflection. Efficacy.
Those three words describe my practice—the journey of my whole life. There’s an entire essay about those three words.
Art du Déplacement
Art du Déplacement, (a French phrase meaning ‘art of movement’,) is a method of improving oneself through challenge. The founders say that to practice the art means to work toward: Being mentally and physically strong; being useful; being a positive contribution to your community; being better than you were yesterday.
But what about competition, flips, stunts, jumping roof gaps and gymnastics tumbling? …are those things part of it? Certainly, some people do those things as part of their practice. Competition can make you physically stronger. Jumping roof gaps can make you mentally tougher. So these things can be part of your practice, but your practice does not have to be these things.
For me, swallowing my pride and starting over in physical fitness with a group of people about half my age… That was a challenge. For me, pull-ups are a challenge. But that’s the whole point. It’s is about me improving me, and you improving you.
But I didn’t know that when I first tried Parkour, (before I understood the Art du Déplacement roots of what I was learning,) in the spring of 2012. I had met Adam McClellan during a martial arts demonstration and he talked me into coming out to play with the growing Lehigh Valley Parkour community. I am continuously delighted to be the big, old, slow, lumbering gorilla in a community of enthusiastic, supportive and happy people. After two years of serious training, at the age of 42, I passed the ADAPT Level 1 certification through Parkour Generations. Art du Déplacement, Parkour, and this unique community, have changed my life.
If you find that intriguing, head for the Art du Déplacement tag.
The short version of this story is simply: I’m simply curious. I try things. I make mistakes. I ask questions.
My podcasting journey began with the Movers Mindset project, which grew from conversations I started having as part of my personal journey rediscovering movement. Started in 2015, at first it was just a web site that shared others’ writing. But as I travelled, I kept finding myself in cool conversations until one day someone said, “you should have recorded that. I’d listen to that podcast.” Excited, but with no clue how much work it would be, I kicked off the Movers Mindset podcast at the start of 2017. For the first dozen episodes I did far too much of the work myself, until I wised up and started finding a few incredible people to share my new passion.
By this point I was devouring anything I could about interviewing. I smashed through thousands of podcast episodes in the process of wondering, “how does everyone else do it?” Podcasts, books, online courses… Everywhere I turned I found something new to work on in my own journey.
In the fall of 2018 I had about 30 interviews published on the podcast. I was getting comfortable travelling by plane, train and automobile, being invited into people’s lives to capture the Movers Mindset interviews. I was invited to the North American Art of Retreat, a Parkour leadership retreat, in the Cascade mountains outside of Seattle. There I did a series of interviews with the event’s presenters and organizers, and handed those recordings off for Art of Retreat to create their own podcast.
When 2019 rolled around, on a whim, I jumped into an Akimbo course called The Podcast Fellowship. I wanted to search for unknown-unknowns, to rethink everything I had done so far, and much about the Movers Mindset podcast changed in this period. To my surprise, I was invited back to be part of a small group of alumni who assist the coaches for the 4th, (and then the 5th, and 6th) running of the course. It’s mind-bogglingly inspiring and energizing to hang out daily with hundreds of people who share your passion. I even tried to summarize the fun of it in The Journey.
Meanwhile, the Movers Mindset episode numbers kept climbing and I’ve been branching out to interview more challenging guests; challenging for me as I’m forced to converse and discuss topics I know less and less about, but which none the less intrigue me endlessly. In the fall of 2019, this time with help from some of the Movers Mindset team, I was invited back to Art of Retreat. There, we did a second series of interviews for Art of Retreat’s podcast.
If you want to see a more up-to-date listing of what I’ve done in the podcasting space, see my Podchaser creator page.
I blog, therefore I am?
No, the initial impetus was to find a place to permanently – or as permanently as the Internet offers – publish my father’s eulogy: In Memoriam. I started piling on things I thought were interesting, fun, or poignant. I wrote some wall-of-text email messages – actual writing with references and original ideas – in response to Aikido questions, and the blog split into the Scree and Aikido tags. Later, I was toying with the idea of organizing a network and system administration group in the Lehigh Valley, wrote a few things about that, and the blog grew… “Feed me Seymore!” …and grew…
What I didn’t expect was that the blog would become a “read more…” link for my brain. Someone says, “that’s interesting,” or “where did you read/hear/learn that?” …and I go,
Yeah, uh… it was on that web site, the one with the words… Wait, just go to my blog and hit the search box . . .
If you’re interested in learning more, see About this site.
Reading has been a life-long addiction. Growing up, it was a 20-minute drive to anything. When we did occasionally visit a bookstore, I’d run around randomly selecting books to read. At first, science fiction was my recreational drug. But I soon escalated to fantasy, mystery, and horror, before I eventually spiraled out of control into the classics, biography, and the full-on non-fiction science and medical crack that I’m on now. After college, I thankfully discovered the 12-step program known as “Book Mooch”, and gave away hundreds of books to people all over the world. Today I continuously struggle to keep the unread book collection to one bookcase.
If you’re a book lover too, the books tag is a good place to dive.
Casual mountain-bike cyclist
I started road-biking in high school. After a little reading, and a lot of riding, I even tried a few criterion races. (Other than some crazy stories, no good came of my attempts at racing.) Mostly I just rode miles and miles, on evenings, weekends and dreamy summer days, through the rolling hills of eastern Pennsylvania. Meanwhile, unknown to me, someone invented mountain biking.
After college, I bought an entry level, steel-frame Trek and rode it incessantly until it fell apart in one season. That Christmas, Santa brought me a new aluminum frame Trek 6700, and I began spinning my way through whatever single track I could find in eastern Pennsylvania. About 3,000 miles later, I turned 40 and retired that Trek. In its place, I bought a magical Cannondale Flash 29’er instead of a cliche mid-life-crisis motorcycle.
Programmer, system administrator, problem solver
I studied Engineering Physics at Lehigh University, graduating in 1993. Through a work-study position at Lehigh’s computing facilities, I had the opportunity to use a wide range of systems including VAX, Cyber mainframe, HP Unix, and Sun Solaris. As a youngling, I met a number of computing professionals who deeply influenced me and, of course, I also had access to the Internet. I went on to spend time learning TCP/IP, routing, DNS, SMTP/sendmail (nearly got expelled on that one), WAIS, Gopher, etc.. I didn’t know it in 1989, but these early experiences would prove invaluable.
In 1994, I was involved in creating an ISP where I figured out, and then setup, all of the network infrastructure from scratch. Other, equally insane people, performed the same Herculean bootstrap in their areas. In parallel, we created an integration firm focussing on digital pre-press and design where we sold and supported Silicon Graphics, Sun Microsystems, and Apple products.
While all that was happening, Black Box was created as a design agency to be a creative force doing cool stuff. Today, anyone can hop on the Internet and rent servers or cloud resources to start a company. But back in analog-dialup-1994, creating those two companies was the only way we could invent the things that Black Box needed. Eventually we wound down the ISP and integration companies, and a spot was made for me at Black Box, where we continue doing cool stuff.