Karin gave me a Garmin Vivofit for Christmas. It’s one of those little wrist-mounted activity trackers. Being a Garmin, it fits in nicely with the fitness gadget ecosystem I have going already (running watch) and tracks my steps and sleep… or at least how much I move around when I sleep. It looks like it’s going to form the core of yet another step-up in my self-quantification efforts as we move into 2015. Turning everything I do into a number… does that make me more aware of what I do and thus healthier? Or does it just make me neurotic? We’re about to find out, I guess.
I was curious, so I counted the number of steps that I climbed between my car and my desk this morning. And just to be clear: not ledges, curbs or bumps… actual staircase-steps. Y’know, like climbing up into the train platform, ascending back out of the LRT tunnels, changing floors between buildings as I walked to my office… that sort of thing. The final tally: 170 steps. 170 repetitions of lifting my foot the standard seven and a bit inches and planting it on the next tread. And that’s approximately what I’m climbing every morning… only mornings. Not counting the rest of the day. Now, if we can agree that your average flight of stairs is approximately 10 to 12 steps then some simple math tells me that I’m climbing something like 14 to 17 flights of stairs every morning before work. I only mention it because I’m kinda wondering something: I mean, y’know all that running? Is that’s what’s kept me in shape or is it the daily stair climbing?
I’ve been reading through Scott McCloud’s Understanding Comics, a kind-of non-fiction graphic-novel-esque work that deconstructs the art of comics in the form of a comic. It is an aging work, originally published in 1993, and thus has little to say about the advent of web comics and such (topics I assume are covered in his newer books written in a similar style.) But this is largely inconsequential because the perspective McCleod takes is easily translatable to newer and (likely) future mediums.
What struck me however — at least enough to slog out a blog-entry opinion on the subject — was the chapter I read most recently wherein McCloud explains his thoughts on the progression of the artists themselves. He covers this topic as The Six Steps of artistic creation. And this interests me because I think there is some overlap (some convergence) to some very similar ideas from folks like Ira Glass and his “Gap” or Malcolm Gladwell and his “10,000 hours” — both of which I’ve written on previous.