Issue № 20


The issue with play structures is that they train you to play only within affordances. When the space that you play in is designed by someone else, you are pushed towards playing only in the ways that they envisioned. A play structure affords a small set of actions, and as a player, you only get to pick which one you prefer. There’s no invention in that, no spontaneity, no creativity.

Let’s think about how this applies to adults. If you show an adult a library of video games, they can pick one and click the “play” button. But show an adult a meadow with trees to climb and grass to roll around in, and they will write it off as unplayable (unless they are with friends, and typically playing a standard game with standard rules).

~ Alex Hollow from,

Understanding this (if you don’t already) will bend your mind, in a good way. People who understand what Art du Déplacement is, talk about developing a new kind of “vision”. It’s hard to describe what this new vision is—perhaps I can say, it’s like seeing motion… or, where normal vision can induce a mood, this new kind of vision can suggest a movement. I went to a show recently, and sitting in the balcony before the house lights went down, my wife and I had a completely serious discussion of “how do you get down from here [without using the obvious stairs]?” At other times we stop to play on things. I regularly walk along curbs and swing from things I find overhead.

It’s not that things lack affordances. No, there are affordances everywhere… in, on, around, under, throughout every object natural and man-made. If you lose—as it seems everyone does as they‘re forced grow into adulthood—your vision for playing, only then does it appear that affordances are missing.

Impossible, or possible?

When you’re told that something is impossible, is that the end of the conversation, or does that start a second dialogue in your mind, how to get around whoever it is that’s just told you that you can’t do something? So, how am I going to get past this bouncer who told me that I can’t come into this night club? How am I going to start a business when my credit is terrible and I have no experience?

~ Eric Weinstein


At first, the inherent unimportance of these pursuits coupled with the grueling commitment required to attain them seem at odds: Why set a target and spend so much effort on something that doesn’t matter? But a good meaningless goal is an act of protest against the self-optimization hamster wheel. It subverts the cult of productivity by sneakily leveraging the tools of productivity.

~ Gloria Liu from,

Someone recently used the phrase “QM’ing to Valhalla” in a conversation I was having. (I’m pretty sure it’s in a Movers Mindset podcast, but I fear it may have been part of a conversation before we were recording.) Everyone who does the movement thing I love, chuckles at this phrase. There’s a lesson buried deep inside of the culture of effort which you only learn when you really try to QM to Valhalla.

To unpack the joke a bit. First, “QM” is short for quadrupedal movement; Movements where your hands and feet are supporting you (and sometimes, but usually not, your knees.) All QM is hard work, and excellent exercise. QM is great for a workout or a warmup. Second, of course, Valhalla is the hall of Norse mythology where one might end if one died in battle. So to some degree “QM’ing to Valhalla” is also about imagining oneself in some battle with… I dunno. It all seems quite wrong-headed when I try to actually explain it.

So why then, Craig, are you on your hands and feet crawling across the Williamsburg bridge?! Answer: I’m, apparently, trying to QM to Valhalla. When I heard the phrase, it was immediately clear that it doesn’t have to be literally QM. The phrase also applies to other pointless goals of mine. For example, I once tried to do 10,000 repetitions of 5 “simple” activities within one calendar year, and once tried to do something active for 100 straight days.

I can’t say I’ve given up pointless goals, but it feels like I have. Maybe I’ve learned the lesson? Although, if I did learn the lesson, then I should be able to explain it. I’m not sure if the lesson is that Valhalla doesn’t exist, or that you can’t get there solely by hard work.

Four stories

There are only four stories: A love story between two people, a love story between three people, the struggle for power, and the journey. Every single book that is in the bookstore deals with these four archetypes, these four themes.

~ Paulo Coelho

It goes both ways

Still, I try to lean into the benefits of travel. And I, personally, also feel that I’m offering something important while traveling: representation. Black people do travel (and ski and horseback ride and swim and hike)! Some people’s only impressions of Black Americans come from TV shows and media, which are rife with stereotypes. The beauty is, the broadening of horizons go both ways when people travel and cultures collide.

~ Christine Pride from,

I’ve come to say that I travel so that when I return I can see my home in a new way. I travel to broaden my horizons. I definitely do not travel hoping to broaden other’s horizons. After all, travelers who come bearing gifts rightly raise suspicion.


Physical courage which despises all danger, will make a man brave in one way, and moral courage, which despises all opinion, will make a man brave in another. The former would seem most necessary for the camp; the latter for the council. But to constitute a great man both are necessary.

~ Charles Caleb Colton

Wat is this i dont even

Practice negative thinking! Visualize everything that could go wrong and learn how to get out of negative outcome situations. In activities like climbing, it can be life saving.

~ Jorge I Velez from,

It’s about climbing. But it’s also totally not just about climbing. Sometimes I find an article like this one and it just eats my life for an hour. I read it as a climber. I read it as someone who actually knows alpine climbers—not just one, but several. I read it as someone who is deeply interested in Stoicism and negative visualization [a part of Stoicism]. I spun off and found an entire new podcast that I think I want to listen to all of the episodes. *sigh* Such a delight to be swamped with such riches!

Until next time, thanks for reading.



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