2024-02-05 Links

Daily Reads:

18 hour days don’t leave much room for reading. Today was my second week driving buses, and today I made 4 trips over the Sydney Harbour Bridge with two of them with a full load of passengers. I’ll come back to regular reading & sharing in a little while, but until then, here are two that I managed to sneak in today

Carl Barenburg on the value of digital relationship in contrast with physical interactions.

Tracy Durnell: The Patriarchy Embedded in Techno-Think

QOTD:

Human kindness has never weakened the stamina or softened the fiber of a free people. A nation does not have to be cruel to be tough.
– Franklin D. Roosevelt

There has been no music in the last few days either, which sucks. I’ll be fixing that tomorrow.

2024-02-01

Daily Reads:

Absolutely no chance to read in the last couple of days. I’ve been learning how to drive a monster 17 tonne machine, also known as a bus, capable of carrying up to 90 other humans. I’ve learnt to navigate through the wide and insanely narrow streets of Sydney suburbs without destroying life, property or my sanity. It’s an intensely physical job, with response times in the microseconds, as opposed to the at least minutes what I’ve been accustomed to over the last few years. Feedback is instant – either a honk from a fellow road user, a destroyed rear-view mirror, or a damaged bus. The instructors are hard, and the men and women doing this driving are interesting characters on their own.

It’s a project I wanted to do for a while – learn to drive a bus. I’ve got my heavy vehicle license a couple of weeks ago. I’m eligible to drive a variety of heavy vehicles that have a single axle at the back. And as a self-inflicted capstone to this project before deciding to do this part-time, I’ll be driving a bus over the Sydney Harbour Bridge with potentially 90 people on board. I’ve never driven a car through Sydney CBD, so beginning this service from the heart of the city as my first episode driving is both exhilarating, and nerve-wracking. I do have a mentor beside me for the next few weeks until i’m comfortable driving on my own. The days will be at least 15 hours long, given the long commute I have to do to get to the bus depot, with a 4 hour break in between shifts. The wages are near poverty level, and the stories of the people who are on the same cohort as me have been eye-opening. I’ve made a couple of good mates already, and am amazed at the optimism despite the hard, blue-collar work that is bus driving. Huge respect to the craftsmen and craftswomen that are bus drivers, after what I’ve experience in just the last 48 hours.

QOTD:

To bear up under loss, to fight the bitterness of defeat and the weakness of grief, to be victor over anger, to smile when tears are close, to resist evil men and base instincts, to hate hate and to love love, to go on when it would seem good to die, to seek ever after the glory and the dream, to look up with unquenchable faith in something evermore about to be, that is what any man can do, and so be great.
– Zane Grey, author

Music:

The thing I missed the most in the last couple of days? Music, whether making it or listening to it. You can’t listen to music while driving a bus, or use a mobile phone. A great sacrifice to make indeed!
50 Baroque Pieces

2024-01-30 Links

Daily Reads:

Psychology Today: How to Decode Emotions from a Text Message. I assumed everyone knows this, but the Lifeline digital crisis volunteer training I’m going through challenges that assumption.

QOTD:

It is my belief that the writer, the free-lance author, should be and must be a critic of the society in which he lives. It is easy enough, and always profitable, to rail away at national enemies beyond the sea, at foreign powers beyond our borders who question the prevailing order. But the moral duty of the free writer is to begin his work at home; to be a critic of his own community, his own country, his own culture. If the writer is unwilling to fill this part, then the writer should abandon pretense and find another line of work: become a shoe repairman, a brain surgeon, a janitor, a cowboy, a nuclear physicist, a bus driver.
– Edward Abbey, naturalist and author

Damn it, why do I see references to bus drivers everywhere lately?  😅

Music:

Mark Knopfler: Ahead of the Game, released a day or so ago.
And I can’t tell you one thing new
About playing for the door
Some of my dreams back there too
With the sawdust on the floor
We’re worn out and weary, all of us
But we know why we came
Banged up and battered like this old bus
Staying just ahead of the game
Ahead of the game

2024-01-29 Update

I began today the formal part of my experiment to learn a whole range of new skills as a public transport bus driver. The first implication of this is the distinct lack of time to do any reading. I understand very well how people who are stuck will find it impossible to come unstuck – the opportunity cost of studying or learning is starving.

QOTD:

Keep it simple.

Music:

Frequency Anthony Snape and Tommy Emmanuel. I had the pleasure of being a witness to a private event that Snape performed at a couple of weeks ago, and I was blown away by his voice and his guitar playing. Learn more about this indie artist if you like.

2024-01-27 Links

Daily Reads:

Open Culture: How to Use Writing to Sharpen Your Thinking

Numberphile: Phistomefel Ring in All Sudoku Puzzles

Doc Searls: Privacy is Social

Sam Kriss takes apart a book, Elon Musk, and the biographer, Walter Isaacson, and shows how hollow both are. Stellar (pun intended)! It begins with the title: Very Ordinary Men

An Aboriginal technique for filtering water aka making a soak.

A discussion at the World Economic Forum: The Expanding Universe of Generative Models

Practical advice, as usual, from Ness Labs: What are your negative triggers? Her 15 day experiment meditating for 15 minutes, and writing about it resonates strongly too.

Another brilliant video explainer from Nicole van der Hoeven on using Obsidian with Quartz to publish notes online.

QOTD:

“Expose yourself to your deepest fear; after that, fear has no power, and the fear of freedom shrinks and vanishes. You are free.”
– Jim Morrison

"If you want a recipe for unhappiness, spend your time accumulating a lot of money and let your health and relationships deteriorate."
– James Clear

Executive performance coach Julie Gurner on the power of better questions:
"The questions you ask yourself will largely determine the answers you get.
"Why am I not successful?" You’ll get answers that berate you.
"How can I succeed here?" You’ll get answers that push you.
Be deliberate in the questions you ask yourself."

Music:

Van Morrison – Live at Real World Studios

2024-01-26 Links

Another 40C+ day today, and I’ve stayed away from screens most of the day. Music is never too far away 😄

The highlight for me today was listening to several songs that I’ve never heard before, during band practice. I’ve switched to playing the bass guitar (a Yamaha TRBX174) and I’m getting educated in songs of the 80’s that I had never heard of before.

The one article worth a read was on wealth. What does it mean to be wealthy? Ryan Holiday has a perspective that goes back a couple of thousand years, from the Stoic philosophers.

Music:

Of all the new songs I heard today, this one by Billy Idol caught my attention because of the strong bass line: Rebel Yell

2024-01-25 Links

Daily Reads:

Part way through an episode on Farnam Street The Knowledge Projectpodcast with Tom Gaynor. I stopped midway through, when I found myself considering how some people are able to reconcile their own long term interests with short term gains for others. They riff on Charlie Munger, with this conversation happening the day after Munger died.

I continue my battle against clutter and pens and paper, and more small victories today. There’s still more to fight through, and most of the fight is internal – it is hard to part with stuff even when I know I will likely never use it. Ever. Does that make me a hoarder too? 🤔

QOTD:

Like all weak men he laid an exaggerated stress on not changing one’s mind.
– William Somerset Maugham

Music:

A lot of live music today: A three-day long music camp culminated in a 2 hour long concert this evening by the kids, accompanied by the 121-year old, longest continuing band in Australia – the NSW Police Band. The whole thing was sensational.

2024-01-25 Links

Daily Reads:

Part way through an episode on Farnam Street The Knowledge Projectpodcast with Tom Gaynor. I stopped midway through, when I found myself considering how some people are able to reconcile their own long term interests with short term gains for others. They riff on Charlie Munger, with this conversation happening the day after Munger died.

I continue my battle against clutter and pens and paper, and more small victories today. There’s still more to fight through, and most of the fight is internal – it is hard to part with stuff even when I know I will likely never use it. Ever. Does that make me a hoarder too? 🤔

QOTD:

Like all weak men he laid an exaggerated stress on not changing one’s mind.
– William Somerset Maugham

Music:

A lot of live music today: A three-day long music camp culminated in a 2 hour long concert this evening by the kids, accompanied by the 121-year old, longest continuing band in Australia – the NSW Police Band. The whole thing was sensational.

2024-01-24 (No) Links

It was a pretty hot day and didn’t get any reading or podcast listening done. Music was in the background while I mustered just enough energy to tidy up the shelves. I discovered the largest hidden cache of paper – usable or recyclable – to have been found in 2024. Also discovered close by was the second largest collection of pens, pencils and other assorted stationery accumulated from 11 years, and 6 years of school work and projects!

QOTD:

I begin to see what marriage is for. It’s to keep people away from each other. Sometimes I think that two people who love each other can be saved from madness only by the things that come between them: children, duties, visits, bores, relations, the things that protect married people from each other.
– Edith Wharton

Sounds like she had a really unhappy spouse too.

Music:

Steve Martin & the Steep Canyon Rangers at NPR Tiny Desk Concert. Yep, that Steve Martin.