Superman never made any money for saving the world from Solomon Grundy

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Magnus Aestas: decem septimanae

So, this year marks the 800th anniversary of the Magna Carta, the agreement signed at Runnymede in England on June 15, 1215 to settle an ongoing conflict between King John and his barons. The document (a copy of which used to adorn my office door) is seen as foundational to later expressions of democracy and human rights (such as the U.S. Constitution), even though it was essentially a contract between the .1% and the rest of the 1% on how to share the spoils of exploiting the 99%. Nonetheless, it was a tiny step forward away from the divine right of kings and the absolute rule of the aristocracy. I only recently discovered that provisions of the "great charter" were really only in effect as the law of the land for ten weeks until it was voided by the pope (who could do that kind of stuff back then).

This little history lesson is nothing but a sneaky way of introducing the 2015 Summer Self- Improvement Scheme™ which, as noted here, is off to a delayed start.

First, the whole Trike Snacks plan started to fray in the eleventh hour and is currently abeyant. Then I wound up attending a five-day training workshop for school during what would have been the second week of summer, and then we had a bit of a heat wave to deal with. But now I am ready to launch the SSIP: the Decem Septimanae Aestatis, or Ten Weeks of Summer.

The driver for this particular SSIP is the 10 Weeks to 10K program. There are a number of versions of this training regimen out there; I just picked one and adapted the calendar to this summer. I plan to run in Magnuson Park  Family Fitness 10K on September 19th, so the 10Wto10K training starts Monday, July 13.

Once I had that ten week structure, I looked for other things that could have the same timeframe. The first one to come up was taking a Facebook Break. This choice is really just the most definitive part of changing both my morning routine and my relationship with social media - something I talked about at the very start of the year. The experiment didn't have much result then, but we're going to have another go at it. Instead of starting the day with coffee and internet surfing, we're going to start with a workout - and then get to coffee and some limited surfing. It's all about breaking habits and establishing new ones, rather than making some Big Statement. But a complete cold turkey withdrawal from the big blue time-sink seems to be an important part of that.

I'm not sure what else is going to wind up being a specific part of the structure. The Summer Reading plan is already underway, but I can't figure out how to tie it to the conceit: I'm certainly going to read more than ten books, but I am just as sure I won't read 100, so I don't exactly know how to brand it. I've got some ideas for Making (as in Maker Culture) so we'll see how that goes, and there's a non-monetary scheme for the trike that I will reveal soon (teaser: 10 Dead Ends in 10 Weeks). But mostly, even though I have some grant work and some meetings to attend, I am just going to enjoy my first non-teaching summer in years.

For at least as long as the Magna Carta obtained.

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