Welcome to spring 2019! In this update I’m going to skip my gaming activity and put that into a separate post. In two days Julie and I take off on our annual April adventure, returning to the southwest USA for camping, hiking, and backpacking. So over the next month you’ll see a lot of single photos with short narratives posted here (using the handy Sunlit app on my iPhone).
What I’m Contemplating
- My Restaurant Was the Greatest Show of Excess You’d Ever Seen, and It Almost Killed Me – Great story about a man who had a necessary wake-up call that led to him realizing that you can socialize and have fun without alcohol and inebriation. I’m still working on this.
- How former ref Tim Donaghy conspired to fix NBA games – So the NBA still contends that a single referee can’t change the outcome of a game without anyone noticing, huh?
- Evidence for the Continental Axis Hypothesis – I read Guns, Germs, and Steel recently and understand that not everyone agrees with with Diamond’s assertions about how technology traveled more easily along latitudinal axis (vs. longitudinal).
- I Tested the Saving Technique That Promises Retirement at 40 – What a hatchet job of a story. Even the sub headline: “The FIRE—’financial independence, retire early’—movement is all about hoarding enough cash before investing it and living off the dividends.” is laughably silly: he simply described what retirement is about, not early retirement. And you don’t hoard all the cash, then invest it. You simply spend significantly less than you earn while continuously investing the surplus. His situation, “28 with no mortgage, nowhere near enough savings for a deposit, and student debt larger than the money I make in a year” puts him squarely outside the target audience for FIRE. Instead he should focus on Dave Ramsey’s baby steps and deal with his debt and lifestyle issues before contemplating FIRE.
What I’m Watching
- The Best Current Source for Streaming Classic Movies is … Amazon Prime? – There’s some good stuff right now on Amazon! What I watched over the past month included:
- The Widow – better than average escapist thriller stuff, with some rather large plot holes.
What I’m Reading
- I listened to Halberstam’s The Best and the Brightest and it was a great conclusion to my deep dive into the Kennedy / Johnson years and the tragedy of Vietnam.
- Julie and I both finished the Broken Earth Trilogy and think it is some of the best sci-fi fantasy we’ve read in the past few years. And it actually had a good conclusion to the trilogy.
- I read and loved Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress but understand there are some strong critics out there. I put this book squarely with Factfulness: simply a take on the state of society across several dimensions, with some forecasting about what the future might hold. He doesn’t preclude some bad shit happening again. He doesn’t assert that we can rest on our laurels as society will simply monotonically improve on its own. Why the hate?
- You might enjoy reading about Why is Pinker demonized?
- As another prep read for our SW adventure, I read through most of The Man Who Walked Through Time: The Story of the First Trip Afoot Through the Grand Canyon. I enjoyed the opening bits about his preparation and initial descent into the canyon much more than the rest of the travel log.
What I’m Listening To
- Lula Wiles, ‘What Will We Do’ – Like Dixie Chicks? You’ll probably enjoy this too.
- First Listen: Mandolin Orange, ‘Tides Of A Teardrop’ – Good folky stuff.
- First Listen: Hayes Carll, ‘What It Is’ – I like Hayes Carll but I’m not sure he’s a great songwriter. The hooks aren’t always there.
What I’m Learning
- I travel with a much smaller photography kit these days, namely my iPhone 7+ and Julie’s new iPhone Xr. I want to get better landscapes on this coming trip, plus experiment more with long exposure. The built in tools for this are very nifty in iOS, but I plan to try out the Spectre app to see if I can up my game even further.
- I’m still baking more bread.