Recovering from a dislocated shoulder

Bikers: If you get nothing else from this post, watch this video Showing Kocher’s method for putting your shoulder back in (I paid a very nice ER doc $800 for a live demonstration). Of course, you should see a doctor as soon as you can, but maybe it will spare you a scary hike.

One Sunday (July 25, 2015) when I was bored with riding on the road, I took off for a trail ride. It was an amazing 45 minutes before I got into trouble. I started on the beginner trails at Duthie Hill. Even though it was a damp morning, the trail was so nice I kicked myself for not going up there once a week all summer.

I started slowly and cautiously. I’ve had bad luck falling off my mountain bike – a couple times since I got it last year. After the beginner trail, I went to another nearby Grand Ridge trail which is more difficult (see photo above). I rode a ways out before turning around. Unfortunately on the way back I hit a loose patch of gravel on the outside of a narrow turn. My front wheel washed out to the right and I flew like superman into the ground – landing mostly on my chest. I landed with just the right forced to dislocate my left shoulder.

A nice young lady came along two minutes later. I asked her “This doesn’t look normal does it?” showing her my shoulder. “No,” she said. She graciously pushed both of our bikes out while I hiked. I carried the weight of my left arm in my right-hand. Surprisingly, it was not that painful. I didn’t relax until we hiked / jogged for about 20 minutes out to the road.

I’m writing this post to share some of the supplements I found trying to accelerate my recovery. Unfortunately, it’s been very slow. Over a hundred days now. I was able to get back on my bike after about 2 1/2 months, but I completely missed the last month of the race season. Luckily, it was only about two weeks that my arm was in a sling and I couldn’t type. It seems like my shoulder will be back to normal around the end of the year (5 months total).

Here are some of the supplements I that I tried.

  • Glucosamine
  • MSM
  • Gelatin (collagen) – (helps re-grow tissue)
  • Fish oil
  • Daily vitamin
  • Cissus quadrangularis (helps joint healing)
  • Magnesium (relaxes muscles)
  • Ginger tea (reduces inflammation)
  • Vinegar Apple cider  – forget why I started, but I drink this now to when my stomach is out-of-whack.

It’s really only Advil that I can definitively point to as helping my recovery. I should’ve taken more sooner in order to sleep better and heal faster, but I didn’t like the idea of numbing the pain. I think the nice snugness of my newly reformed shoulder capsule is due to many of the supplements that I took (primarily the Gelatin).

I also used a heating pad, stability ball, foam roller, and tennis ball in a sock to release tight back muscles.

I did a number of exercises recommended by a physical therapist. Other than slowly strengthening and stretching my shoulder, it’s hard to say which helped the most. So I won’t list them here.

The big lesson from this is that I need to keep working on my skills. The Total cost of the accident: a $2,000 trip to the ER, and a $1,000 chipped tooth.

Update: day 87 (12.5 weeks)

Motion continues to increase slightly every day. I’ve started doing Tony Horton’s Shoulder rehab workout.

Update: day 102 (14.5 weeks, 5 November 2015).

I was still having trouble sleeping last week. I can’t get used to sleeping on my back. A cold I got earlier in the summer came back. I’m pretty sure it’s because I wasn’t getting enough sleep (5 hrs a night). On a doctor’s recommendation, I’m back doing three Advil an hour before bed. It’s made a big improvement in my sleep.


Stuck in the dark in minecraft

I’ve been playing minecraft to understand what my nephews like about it. The biggest problem is I keep getting stuck in the dark (in a pitch black hole). Either I dig straight down, or night comes, or I fall into a lake.


The key to getting out was to go to the options menu and turn up the brightness. I’m playing using the Mac desktop version of the game. Other articles I found told me to dig stairs to get out, but I couldn’t even see which way was up or down.

Apparently there used to be some kind of /home or /kill command but they don’t work for me in the current version. The only solution was to increase the brightness of the screen and dig stairs (in an upwards diagonal direction) to climb out.

Resolutions that stick

Here are my notes (including a HaikuDeck) from a nice video by Tony Robbins about making your resolutions stick.


  1. Craft a vision that pulls you (not pushes you) (It has to be something you want)
  2. Back it up with reasons to pull you through. They don’t have to be logical reasons, for example: photos of loved ones make good motivations to stay on track.
  3. Burn the boats – don’t set a goal, make a resolution.
  4. Review it and feel it every day
  5. Focus on progress, not change
  6. Great ideas don’t interrupt you, you have to pursue them.
  7. We live who we believe we are
  8. Raise your standards. We get what we must have.
  9. Don’t compete with others. Compete with what you’re capable of.
  10. Discipline weights ounces – regret weighs tons.
  11. What do you want? What rituals will get you there?

Focus, believe, become, repeat.

Scott Berkun is a thoughtful and articulate person. I’ve enjoyed hearing him speak on the “myths of innovation,” and “getting useful design critiques.” I even met him last year at the airport waiting for my flight to SXSW. In just a couple minutes, he gave me excellent input for a panel I was preparing for about “the new work style.” One that stuck with me: All workers must produce something. And if they produce something, their location is irrelevant.

I’ve also been inspired by the way Scott has transformed himself from a UX designer at Microsoft to a best selling author and speaker. So, it was a no-brainer to pick up his book Mindfire: Big ideas for curious minds. Scott self-printed the book (well, I mean printed it via Amazon…). In a future post I hope to interview him on how he promoted it.

I’m about to turn 40, and Mindfire reinforces many of the insights I’ve had the past couple of years. On motivation and attention Scott writes:

Reclaiming attention starts with a leap of faith in believing the following sentence: you do not need more than what you have. When you survive that leap, which you will, it’s easy to convince yourself that you need less of the attention consuming things in your life than you currently have. You’ll soon find that every important ambition for your life is best served by treating your attention with the conservation it deserves. Instead of splitting your mind to keep busy, move your body to somewhere worthy of all the attention you have.

It drives me crazy to see Americans with every advantage not making the most of their lives. I believe many of us are self limited, or settle too soon. It is our responsibility to keep challenging ourselves, which by definition requires making ourselves uncomfortable regularly.

A funny thing about the human mind is it tends to believe what it wants to believe. We allow what we want to have happen distort our reasoning on how likely it is to happen, so we obsess about things that scare us, even if they are unlikely. We worry about snakes, or getting on airplanes, when the real threats to longevity are cheeseburgers, chocolate shakes and long hours lounging on the couch.

It is funny how we feel like we need to be consistent in our beliefs somehow. I have an old friend that always likes to remind me I was once a vegetarian (and use a PC instead of a Mac). Of course, it is good to stick to your morals. But if you can’t get good at assimilating new information, you’re screwed.

If you have kept the same beliefs and theories your entire life, then you haven’t been paying attention. To be wiser, smarter, and more experienced than you were a decade ago means you’ve changed. It’s good to think differently about life than you did before; it’s a sign future progress is possible.

Having aligned my attention and suspended disbelief, I’m also practicing being realistic in my commitments.

The phrase “I don’t have time for” should never be said. We all get the same amount of time every day. If you can’t do something, it’s not about the quantity of time. It’s really about how important the task is to you.

Paradoxically, I’ve found that prioritizing my time to follow my ambitions leads to more opportunities to live in the moment. Those moments are the most meaningful in life.

[In the western workplace,] success demands indifference to the wonders of the real, or the magic of the ridiculous… people living their passions, like street musicians, chefs, or craftsmen, are people who are not indifferent. They are fully present, and give us a chance to join them in the moment, but only if we stop to listen.

Commuter Bike Recommendations

After years of bike commuting, the drive train on my 15 year old mountain bike (circa 1990s GT Backwoods) is starting to skip. I asked my biker friends on Facebook to recommend the ultimate urban commuter bike.

My criteria: Lightweight, geared for hills, low maintenance. My budget is only around $1,000. I don’t want something custom, just something practical. Ideally, also stylish with fenders and and a rack.

From Johnson Donglecorn: I recommend any internally geared hub, I like Rohloff. I also recommend a steel frame. I’d find an older (2000ish) Lemond. They use really nice Reynolds tubing (853 for example). Buy an IGH built up wheelset, and build the rest from your spare parts bin. Also,  I really wanted a Civia Bryant when i test rode one for fun.

Scott Nonnenberg: I’ll try to be the zen perspective here. First, decide your minimum requirements. Then, spend as little time as possible finding one that achieves those things and be done. You’ll be overwhelmed and/or led astray by the market’s focus on differentiators and not the core things that matter to you. I didn’t fully do this, but I did just go to REI and bought one that rode well and was reasonably cheap ($600 – Scott SUB 30).

The principle is taken from this article in the Journal of Consumer Psychology. Take a look at my note summarizing it.

With regard to the bike,  musts haves are: disc brakes, rack, fenders. Nice to have: wider tires to make the bike more versatile, internal hubs or other drive train changes to reduce maintenance costs. Solely my opinion: Mountain bike style handlebars will help with maneuverability, and you want enough gears to reduce sweating while riding.

Matt Terich: There are a lot of stock commuter bikes that are decent and stylish with internal hubs. Public and Linus come to mind. Very affordable. For commuting, albatross bars would be better than flat.

Eric Artzt: I have been riding a Rawland with an SRAM 3-speed internal / rear derailleur combo. Although the above is awesome, in retrospect given cost and weight considerations, if I had do-agains, I would go with a real derailleur and no front derailleur. I would definitely go for disc brakes and a rack/fender compatible frame. Additionally, get the bolt-on wheel skewers — basically, you want to be able to u-lock the thing with one of the compact locks, without worrying about parts being removed. There are some incredible deals right now on off-the-shelf disc based commuter bikes. It’s a bit hard to justify going fully custom.

I can’t wait to read Scott’s journal article above. I think about this kind of “maximization vs. satisfaction” stuff a lot.

 Scott Neilson: If I was replacing my 50lb Dutch wonder, I, Like Johnson above, would take a hard look at a Civia Bryant. My friend Matt is very happy with his Salsa Vaya too.  Unfortunately, those are both well over the $1k budget. You could join the hordes of Surly folks and get a Disc Trucker or, like Matt says, go the Linus route. My friend Clarke (a serious cyclist and aesthete) is very happy with his Linus Roadster, I just wish it had discs.

 Matt Leber Go test ride the Civia Cycles Bryant at Counter Balance Bicycles near U Village. It’s a little above your budget but is a nice bike. While a Rohloff hub would be nice, the hub alone is your entire budget. The Alfine on that Bryant should do the trick. The belt drive should be virtually maintenance free. I’d comment more but I’m off to go clean my chains on 2 bikes.
 Jason Morris I think internal gear hubs feel like your pedaling in sand. There’s a higher transmission friction loss than a chain drive. Unless you’re just cruising on the boardwalk, you’ll feel it.
Scott Neilson I hadn’t heard that about planetary hubs before. I’ve been very happy with the Nexus 8-speed that’s on my Jorg & Olif Dutch bike but, of course, a little friction would be hard to discern while riding around town on 50lbs of the early machine age. Here’s a good review of the Civia bryant which is my top vote for Adam’s dream commuter.


The Scott SUB 30 was kind of what I had in mind. However, I’m going to try and find a Bryant for a test ride. Drive train maintenance is always what ends up stopping me from riding. I think I would prefer flat bars for commuting, but we’ll see. Oh, with regards to Scott & Eric’s comments on consumer psychology, I’m definitely a “satisfier” (not a maximizer)!

Gadget gift ideas

Since today is “black friday” – here are my picks for this year. I’m not officially asking santa for these, and I don’t make any money if you buy one. I just think they’re cool!


In the last 6 months I’ve established a habit of regular exercise and eating less sugar (here’s my 4 hour body cheat sheet). I should’ve been doing this all along, what was it that made me finally able to change?

The power of a breakthrough moment is incredible. One experience can completely change your life. One moment, you make all of your decisions one way – then you see something in a new light, and from that moment on you see everything differently.

What goes into a breakthrough? Is there a way to induce a forcible paradigm shift in a persons thinking? What is involved in really getting something?

I think the keys are experience, and seeing correlation (positive feedback).

Experience is key to learning, though it seems like such an inefficient way to learn. So much time and effort is wasted in life trying and failing in order to experience understanding. For many lessons, experience is truly a requirement. Motivation alone, now matter how much you have will not give you understanding. It may even require reaching “rock bottom”, but once you are receptive you can recognize whether something is working for you, and if not – try something else.

If you try something, get positive feedback, and see a direct correlation – you’ll keep doing that thing. You might even change your schedule to make room for your new priorities.

Hedge your bets with:

  • Breaking whatever you are trying to do into tiny steps
  • Positive reinforcement for those baby steps
  • Telling people about what you’re trying to do
  • Reminders (photos), that re-inforce the underlying why

An interesting implication of this is you can use it for your own persuasive power. If you are trying to convince someone of something, simply make them feel like it was their idea. Show them the positive implications of some tiny step. In the meantime, I’m looking for more breakthroughs for myself.

10 Great 4 Hour Workweek Quotes

I’m a big fan of Tim Ferriss. My earlier 4 Hour Workweek Quotes post has been very popular, so I thought I’d share some more quotes. These quotes are from the author himself, whereas the earlier quotes were from other significant people that the author cited.

1. Focus on being productive instead of busy.

2. It is far more lucrative and fun to leverage your strengths instead of attempting to fix all the chinks in your armor. The choice is between multiplication of results using strengths or incremental improvement fixing weaknesses that will, at best, become mediocre. Focus on better use of your best weapons instead of constant repair.

3. What we fear doing most is usually what we most need to do. As I have heard said, a person’s success in life can usually be measured by the number of uncomfortable conversations he or she is willing to have. Resolve to do one thing every day that you fear.

4. Excitement is the more practical synonym for happiness, and it is precisely what you should strive to chase. It is the cure-all. When people suggest you follow your “passion” or your “bliss,” I propose that they are, in fact, referring to the same singular concept: excitement. This brings us full circle. The question you should be asking isn’t, “What do I want?” or “What are my goals?” but “What would excite me?”

5. ‘Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better.’ You won’t believe what you can accomplish by attempting the impossible with the courage to repeatedly fail better.”

6. What you do is infinitely more important than how you do it. Efficiency is still important, but it is useless unless applied to the right things.

7. Which 20% of sources are causing 80% of my problems and unhappiness? Which 20% of sources are resulting in 80% of my desired outcomes and happiness?

Ready for the last 3? Please click one of the share buttons to reveal them!

8. Slow down and remember this: Most things make no difference. Being busy is a form of laziness—lazy thinking and indiscriminate action.

9. Parkinson’s Law dictates that a task will swell in (perceived) importance and complexity in relation to the time allotted for its completion.

10. Limit tasks to the important to shorten work time (80/20). Shorten work time to limit tasks to the important (Parkinson’s Law). The best solution is to use both together: Identify the few critical tasks that contribute most to income and schedule them with very short and clear deadlines.