Zigzagging My Way Through Life

This weekend I was astonished to learn that I’ve been operating my entire life under a fundamental misunderstanding of a very basic mathematical concept.

Here’s what happened:

My family and I are biking to the Davis Farmer’s Market on Saturday morning when my younger son (age 12) objects to our route. Rather than going due east on our street and then taking a right turn to head due south to our destination, I’m taking us on a series of rights and lefts—zigzagging, in other words. “This takes longer than just going straight out and making one turn,” he says.

“I don’t know that it’s any faster,” I concede, “but it’s certainly shorter.”

“What?” he says. “No, mom. It’s the same distance.” Continue reading

My First Blog Post

I approach this, my very first blog post ever, with some trepidation. I’ve tended to look down on this medium as self-indulgent and contributing to the general mediocritization of everything. I haven’t really changed my mind about that. Most blogs are self-indulgent and mediocre. This one may be as well. But over the last couple of years, I’ve found myself saying every week or two, “If I had a blog, I would post about this.” So now I have a blog, and I’ll be posting about “this,” which is whatever I happen to be up in arms about at the moment.

A word about the image that currently graces the header on every page of this site: I took this image in Albi, France, in September of 2006, on a family trip. We’d gone to Albi so I could do some research about Jean-François de Galaup de la Pérouse, the 18th-century French explorer whose voyage is the subject of my in-progress collection of linked short stories.