Pumped Up Kicks goes down as one of my all time favourite songs and Sit Next To Me also by Foster The People is fast becoming a favourite too:
“So come over here and sit next to me
We can see where things go naturally
Just say the word and I’ll part the sea
Just come over here and sit next to me, ooh
I really love this poem by Wendell Berry (HT Lance)
I listen to various DJ mixes that are released as podcasts and I’ve been looking to import these into my iTunes music library for easy listening.
It turns out this is pretty simple to do but I often forget the steps so recording here for remembrance:
- Select audio track in iTunes Podcast section
- Choose File → Convert → Convert ID3 Tags
- Tick ID3 Tag Version and select “v1.1”
- Click OK
- Right click audio track and choose “Show in Finder”
- Copy the file to your desktop (or some other temporary place)
- In iTunes choose File → Add to Library… and choose the newly copied file
Presented at my local Toastmasters Club 7 August 2017
See Australia is our family theme for the next few years as a recent family event has put a constraint on family overseas travel. This has made me realise that I’ve actually visited more cities and places abroad than in Australia even though I was born and raised here. I am embarrassed to admit that, despite living for over 20 years in Queensland, the furthest North I have ventured is Noosa.
It’s all good and well to plan holidays and See Australia but this requires two things: time off work and money. A family of five with a sole income may not have a lot of either! This is where Day Trips come in.
Day Trips are the perfect solution to our mundane nine-to-five existence. They require little upfront planning to arrange, need not be convoluted, are low-cost and allow us to see our own backyards that we so often overlook.
There’s no costs for accommodation during a day trip, and no sleeping in uncomfortable tents.
Sometimes you feel like you’re stressed and you need a holiday but choosing and planning a holiday is stressful in itself! You get into a never-ending cycle of stress: “I’m so stressed I need a holiday, taking a holiday is so stressful!”
Earlier this year I felt a little bit ‘meh‘ so I decided to take a last-minute day trip to Toowoomba: a wonderful Queensland city that sits on the Great Dividing Range West of Brisbane and Ipswich. I started at the crack of dawn and arrived into Toowoomba early enough to climb up and see the sun rising over Table Top Mountain. I saw some world class street art which is created every year as part of the First Coat Street Art Festival. I also ate some delicious street food from Toowoomba’s thriving hip cafe scene. I finished the day descending into the Lockyer Valley where I purchased some locally grown road-side produce.
I had an amazing day trip to Toowoomba and the best part was that I was home in time to cook dinner (with my sourced produce) and sleep comfortably and soundly in my own bed.
There are some downsides to Day Trips. There can be lots of driving for one day, but you can overcome this by sharing the driving with a family member or friend. Day Trips also typically require a car which makes it hard if you don’t own one, but there are plenty around South East Queensland that don’t require a car: you can catch a train/bus to the Gold Coast or Noosa, or a train and ferry to the beautiful North Stradbroke Island. There are also lots of car sharing schemes you could utilise.
The latin phrase Carpe Diem translates into English as Seize The Day. It is one of the oldest philosophical mottos of the Western World. My own personal motto is Carpe Diem Trinus or Seize The Day Trip.
How good is it when the moon is amazing and you can’t even photograph it because when you try with your phone camera the glorious miracle that is the moon looks like it could be a dirty street light or something, and there’s nobody you can tell and you just have to look at the moon and think “it’s just me and you kid, and you’re blowing my mind”.
And you know that lots of people, all around the world, are looking at the same moon and you know their lives are full of different things and some of them are sad things and some of them are happy things and some of them are old faces peering up and some of them are young faces peering up and you might one day meet some of those faces. In fact they might even change your life forever, but it’s statistically unlikely that you will ever know even the smallest percentage of them, and if you ever do, you’ll never know. But maybe your phone camera is better than mine.
~ Lorin Clarke – The Big Issue #542
Lorin is fast becoming my favourite columnist.
We can all agree investing in our futures, through education or managed funds for example, is good, but we often don’t invest enough in our state of mind.
Here’s four investments I think you should make for your current self:
- Invest in candles – your home will smell nice and there’s something great about having a tea or dinner and a conversation by candlelight
- Invest in flowers – buying a bunch of flowers every second week makes your home lovely and welcoming. Flowers don’t need to be expensive – there are plenty you can find for $5-$10 a bunch (if you’re really stretched for money you can pick some from your garden or find some)
- Invest in a magazine subscription – having a magazine regularly delivered to your door full of thought provoking articles is a reminder about the benefits of reading and eduction. I’d recommend The Big Issue and The New Philosopher magazines which are both available as subscriptions.
- Invest in a nice fragrance: having a nice cologne/fragrance that I can wear immediately uplifts me. I stick to the one brand I know won’t give me headaches though.
How do you invest in your current self?
“You’re supposed to read this cartoon, and, being a sophisticated person, say, “Ah! What does this fish know? You know, nothing is possible in this fishbowl.” Impoverished imagination, a myopic view of the world — and that’s the way I read it at first. The more I thought about it, however, the more I came to the view that this fish knows something. Because the truth of the matter is that if you shatter the fishbowl so that everything is possible, you don’t have freedom. You have paralysis. If you shatter this fishbowl so that everything is possible, you decrease satisfaction. You increase paralysis, and you decrease satisfaction.
Everybody needs a fishbowl. This one is almost certainly too limited — perhaps even for the fish, certainly for us. But the absence of some metaphorical fishbowl is a recipe for misery, and, I suspect, disaster.”
~ The closing to Barry Schwartz’s TED talk on the paradox of choice
I get paralysed by endless choice.
We’re upgrading our car at the moment, out of necessity, and limiting ourselves to wagon models meant there were a lot less choices (since everything is SUV) which made it easier to choose.
Same goes for renting a house. We’re satisfied as renting provides both financial and physical constraints to what we can spend and do to our place. We can’t spend more on the house than our rent, and we can’t do anything we want to the house, there are limits, and we like those constraints: we feel free.
We are blessed with the technology that enables us to work every minute of every day from any place on the planet. So what this means, this incredible freedom of choice we have with respect to work, is that we have to make a decision, again and again and again, about whether we should or shouldn’t be working. We can go to watch our kid play soccer, and we have our cell phone on one hip, and our Blackberry on our other hip, and our laptop, presumably, on our laps. And even if they’re all shut off, every minute that we’re watching our kid mutilate a soccer game, we are also asking ourselves, “Should I answer this cell phone call? Should I respond to this email? Should I draft this letter?” And even if the answer to the question is “no,” it’s certainly going to make the experience of your kid’s soccer game very different than it would’ve been.
Barry Schwartz on the Paradox of Choice and how it applies to work
I work from home for a global company that is always on, which means I am always asking myself whether I should be working at any point. This makes it hard to relax, even if this answer is no I shouldn’t be.
Ash is scared to walk out those doors. Rehab is one thing, but the real world is full of triggers.
There are loads in the house where he’ll be living, where there are still holes in the walls from his fists.
“But now every hole I’m patching up, it’s patching up an old scar.”
He believes in AA’s 12 steps.
“I’m not one to believe in too many things, but these steps have actually given me a pathway. Instead of going right, I’m going straight. Before it was just like a figure eight, I just kept going around and I always kept coming back to the same point, which was daunting.
“I’d seen psychiatrists, psychologists and all that, but until I came in here and saw things clearly, it was very scary, very scary. I was only in survival mode, I was just getting by. I wasn’t living week by week, I was living day by day.”
Now, too, sobriety will be a daily proposition.
“I don’t think I’ve felt like this for a long, long time. I’m happy but scared at the same time, but I know we’ve got a brighter future. I’ve just got to keep the faith, as my nan would say. I’m doing it for my kids just as much as I’m doing it for myself.”
A well written insight into alcoholism and rehab for addicts; well worth reading.
This is a talk I delivered at my local toastmasters club on Monday 17th July, 2017.
In the first four and a half months of this year I visited 10 cities in 4 countries, mostly for work, some for leisure.
In early May, in the midst of this whirlwind of movement, I visited my local library, as I often do, and I was drawn to this book: The Art of Stillness: adventures in going nowhere. I'm not sure why I was so drawn to the book but it ended up in a pile of books that I borrowed that day.
Continue reading hard times; easy choices
A mate and I headed out of the city first thing this morning to Cunningham’s Gap: a break in the Great Dividing Range of the East Coast of Australia where there’s a few trails to some of the peaks.
Today we tackled Mount Cordeaux and then Bare Rock which is an extension to the same trail.
It was sunny when we got to Mount Cordeaux but as we arrived to Bare Rock fog had crept up and over the mountain which gave us some great contrasting landscapes.
There was another little trail off the main track called Morgan’s Walk which was short but overgrown and not really worth it.
The walk was very graded and there weren’t any tough parts which was a little disappointing but the views, particularly from Cordeaux made the trip worthwhile.
Distance: 14.3km return
Altitude Gain: 610m
Time: 2:19 up 1:36 down (with breaks)
“One of the strange laws of the contemplative life, is that in it you do not sit down and solve problems: you bear with them until somehow they solve themselves. Or until life solves them for you”
Thomas Merton, via The Art of Stillness by Pico Lyer
I love using walking in natures as a method to contemplate problems – and it works.
A colleague recently posted his frequently used Slack emoji which reminded me that I posted my frequently used emoji last August.
I thought it would be a good time to compare my current set of frequently used with those from almost 12 months ago to see what person I’ve become…
July 2017 (present):
Remarkably the 🌵 emoji has dropped out of the game – probably because 🌵 have become so darn popular.
A new entrant is the 💯 emoji which is probably my favourite discovery for 2017 (and suitably overused)
The 🍆 remains strong which makes me feel a bit 😳 (a new entrant)
It also seems like I have poultry on my mind although I have been cooking a mean red 🦆 curry lately (and boasting about it!)
Even though I’ve 🤔 about it a lot, I still don’t know what 🙃 means so I just use it sporadically for kicks.
But that’s enough emoji analysis for now; I need to get some 💤