34. Do you need a priest?

Photo by Brooke Lark on Unsplash

After last week’s poor showing on the reading front, I’ve upped my game and started consuming more words from more sources.

In related news, this week  I completed my Goodreads reading challenge of 30 books in 2018. That’s a book a week (almost). Book 30 was Matt Colville’s Priest, which I really enjoyed once I realised it was set in the same world he runs his D&D campaigns in. I enjoyed it so much, Book 31 will be the sequel, Thief.

Emotionally it was a fairly average week, brought about by some anxieties about future work, but it’s surmountable. Just required a bit of managing.

I’ve started nesting by picking up odds and ends on the tech front – a Google Mini for the bedroom, a NAS for media storage, a 5.1 surround system, an upgrade to the PS4 Pro. Ya’ll know the next thing on the list is a 4K TV, so I’m contemplating whether to go 55” or 43”. There are some great deals around at the moment.

This is all so I am entirely prepared for riding across the prairies on horses in Red Dead Redemption 2 in October. And Spider-Man comes out September, and Smash Bros & Pokemon come on Switch before Christmas, so there’s a lot of gaming to be had in future.

Work

I’m still exploring the why of products, and I think this article is the capstone of that exploration.

Reading

Life is short. That’s the point. (NYT, 5 min)
“Technological breakthroughs can be life-changing. But I believe that our humanity — our humanness — is inextricably intertwined with the fact of our mortality. And no scientific fountain of youth can ever cause that to change.”
As a creative exercise, I’ve been writing down thoughts on what the world would be like if humans never died. Aside from the implications on the physical world, the really interesting part is what might that take from our emotions, and our humanity.

We have a new Prime Minister this week. It’s like a revolving door, really. Here are two interesting related reads.

Hello Rupert, Bye Bye Malcolm (The New Daily, 5 min).  “Murdoch’s annual visits to Australia invariably trigger seismic events both in and outside News Corp, the company he’s presided over for decades. So is it any surprise that Malcolm Turnbull has lost his job less than a fortnight after Murdoch arrived here? Of course it isn’t. … In the end it took just 11 days after Murdoch’s arrival to bring about a party room spill.”
I’m not a huge conspiracy nut, but the timing does seem to be a strange coincidence.

The political life is no life at all (Meanjin, 25min). “I decided that if most people inside the system couldn’t speak candidly, then I would do what big corporations do when they fear they are losing good people: I’d conduct some exit interviews, and share the impressions.”
I have friends in the public service at all levels (local, state, and federal) – and reading this account of the realities of that life, particularly on Federal MPs & staffers, was confronting. We don’t see this side of their world, and we should. I think appointing cabinet members from outside the political system is something we should be looking at. Both to bring talent into the political system, and also to reduce the burden on MPs who are already stacked. “‘You’ve got your parliamentary responsibilities, your responsibilities as a local member, your portfolio responsibilities, your responsibilities to your political party and to the caucus. On top of that, you’ve got the media, you’ve got to contribute to discussions in Cabinet, contributing to broader discussions in the government…”

Hi, sobriety: Our changing relationship with alcohol (SMH, 10min). “Being sober is the new black.”
I gave up booze in May. I don’t know yet whether it’s a forever decision, but it’s the right decision for me right now. I feel like a better version of myself, and this pull quote sums it up. “It wasn’t just about alcohol. It was that alcohol was a default position and had always been in my life. More interesting than not drinking was the impact on other things like relationships. You only realise what a big drinking culture we have when you take a step back and see it with open eyes.” Give it a read, and see what you think.

Listening to

Still making my way through the 75 albums every man should own.

This podcast with Alan Donegan, talking about starting up a business with very little initial outlay. Love the idea.

Loving

Calibre, which is how I manage my ebooks.

Best Life

I read a Wirecutter review on the best pen, so I went and bought a 4 pack from Officeworks. And let it be said: oooooh dis some NICE pen… <3

The week ahead…

Tuesday I’m seeing some friends. I’m heading down to Sydney on Friday for some meetings, and am spending the weekend in Canberra. I feel the need to create this week, so I think I’ll start on mapping out a novella. Got an idea brewing for a split timeline mystery story.