While looking for color schemes today (I'm using these four color palettes as a jumping-off point for my own website; I want it based on a warm orange, with some combination of muted oranges and bright yellows as secondary colors and highlights, and a dark desaturated greyish-blue for contrast) I found out that there are blogs about color. I added a few to my feed reader in the hopes that more exposure will help me get a baseline; right now I'm pretty much color-illiterate and don't know how to start looking at things, so watching other people talk about them is great. I'm thinking about baselines a lot today because of Sumana's great blog post today on skills and lenses.

One of the greatest gifts you can give your children, your employees, the people to whom you are a role model, is the knowledge that some field of endeavor is in a sense No Big Deal. Knowledge -- belief backed up by experience -- that they can do interesting and rewarding projects in it without fear of public embarrassment.

I grew up thinking that writing, editing, publishing, public speaking, community leadership, hobbyist programming, and using the Net were No Big Deal. To this day, though, I'm leery of trying home improvement, car repair, sports, camping, and childcare. I don't have a baseline, I don't know where to start, I don't know how to know if I'm doing okay, I've never played around in a context where results don't matter, so I have that vague fear...

Leonard suggested a conclusion: you should treat everything like it's No Big Deal. Danger: you turn into one of those jerks who scorn strangers' struggles... Self-efficacy demands that I treat my own attempts like No Big Deal; compassion demands that I recognize my privilege and help others build their skills and confidence.

I have an even longer way than usual to go towards training for a martial arts tournament. Step 1: reach a non-embarrassing fitness level. Yes, lying in bed for a week does awful things to your circulation, but seriously:

  • 85 situps in 1 minute and 48 seconds. (Audrey forgot to stop the timer and tell me a minute had passed.)
  • 8 normal pushups and then 15 wimp pushups from the knees before I had to pause.
  • 34 squats in 1 minute. If I do a second round immediately afterward with weights, I can croak out 18 in the second minute. (I'd also like to take a minute to say that my cousins are sadistic. Melanie, I don't see you doing pushups here. C'mon.)
  • I can still touch my toes. It's harder than it used to be. I'm halfway to a side split, which sounds great until you realize I'm talking about 90 degrees out of a hypothetical 180.

I sent my two tough emails and am about to fire up that Fedora install. In the meantime, a piano calls.