Watched Episode 1 of For All Mankind and enjoyed it. It brings to mind how fragile the success of the Apollo missions were, despite how much we take it for granted now. 📺

Over the last 24 hours I’ve been running on a brand new 27” iMac 3.1GHz 6-core i5. Compared with my old 2013 MacBook Pro this thing screams. I know it’s not an iMac Pro but this is plenty enough for my needs. Also glad that I swapped out the default Fusion drive for SSD only.

Work

Day 7 of Blogvember. A full list of prompts for the month is available.

All in all I have a pretty great job. I’ve been doing it for long enough that I feel I have well and truly mastered the fundamentals.

With my interest in personal productivity I have constructed a range of efficiencies into my process flow to make things easier for me. This enables me to increase my overall productivity, do more with no more effort.

Despite all of this I am still working with people, and they can’t be automated, and the margin for error is greater than that of machines and systems. As a result, sometimes I have days where I turn up for a scheduled meeting only to find out that they are no longer available or that there was a ‘diary mix-up’.

When this happens, I don’t get upset. I see it as an opportunity to either recover some bonus free time, or it unlocks the ability to get ahead on some other piece of work.

I enjoy the responsibility of self-management like this. I think I would struggle having to return to a job that was micro-managed, or doing something that was a small cog in a larger wheel. I like owning the process soup to nuts, and making things work the way I think is best.

Microblogvember: We tend to think that we always have complete agency over our lives. If you stop and think how much is actually left to random chance, it can be a bit frightening.

Adobe Technical Support chat was so slow in linking me with somebody, that I was able to trawl forums and test random solutions. Just when somebody got to me, I had solved the problem. Great work, Adobe. 🤔

Microblogvember: I take my kids to the park and inevitably they find a stick to play with. Trees make the most versatile toys ever known to man. A stick can be a proxy for any number of imaginary things.

Family

Day 6 of Blogvember. A full list of prompts for the month is available.

I am most comfortable within a nuclear family. I grew up in a family with my Mom and 3 siblings. We had a few extended family members, but most lived in different parts of the country or overseas.

As an adult the nuclear family is again the structure we are living in, except now I’m the Dad. My two sisters live in the same city, while my brother has recently moved to Switzerland. There’s no animosity between any of us, but we simply don’t see each other that much.

My wife has some family on her side, and those are the people we see the most.

In reality, we live our life as a small nuclear family of four. This is generally fine, except for when we would like to have a grown-up night out, or have some respite from children. Without the babysitting potential that comes from an extended family, we have to go to the open market and find a babysitter. That added cost and inconvenience does mean that we don’t get out as much as we might like.

While that’s not ideal, I also know that we are creating a strong and safe environment for our kids. They don’t have any fears of violence, abuse, drunkenness or any of the other things that occur behind closed doors that can lead to the destruction of a loving and peaceful childhood. That is a wonderful gift we are giving them, and I’m sure, as adults, they will appreciate that more than not having enough uncles and aunties to visit.

At the checkout of the IGA grocery store three employees and I each claimed our childhood James Bond. We had Brosnan, Moore and Connery. Plus one, “no idea”. Friendly staff for the win!

I’ve escaped from Migration Assistant hell!

I’m in the midst of Migration Assistant hell.

Nature

Day 5 of Blogvember. A full list of prompts for the month is available.

Right now in Perth we are in the perfect time of the year to enjoy nature. We are moving into nice spring sunshine with temperatures in the mid-twenties. This is a time to enjoy, before the Perth furnace gets cranking for summertime and I can’t step outside without getting burnt. The grass is still green from winter, before it browns off over the summer months.

I visited Queens Gardens in East Perth. Nature was in full bloom. Multiple groups of ducklings were running after their mothers. A group of cygnets were sitting under the shade of a tree. The cygnets were a grey colour, before they grow their unique black feathers; black swans - a feature of Perth’s naturescape.

There is a downside to Perth nature, and that is the flies. A few years I have a recollection of our then State government cutting the amount of funding dedicated to fly management by dung beetles. Over the last few years I am convinced that we have more bush flies than we used to. It’s frustrating, but if I want to take the good of nature I suppose I have to accept the bad.

You do get used to doing the what I know as the Aussie wave.

I’ve bought an annual subscription to Harmonizely as my replacement for WhenWorks, which is shutting down at the end of 2019.

Microblogvember: When I was a kid my friends and I would typically play sport on the street. Cricket and tennis were the two typical games. I don’t see kids doing that anymore.

Food

Day 4 of Blogvember. A full list of prompts for the month is available.

Over the past year I’ve been enjoying food a bit too much. Concurrently I’ve stopped playing sport. This has led to an imbalance in the food in/energy out equation.

In turn, I’ve seen the growth of a generous belly for the first time in my life. I’m not particularly pleased about this. My kid calling me ‘fat Dad’, is jesting that cuts a little too close to the bone!

I’ve been trying to do a little more exercise but time is a constant challenge. Plus, if the exercise in question doesn’t involve a ball, I have a hard time maintaining interest. While I’ve done gym work plenty in the past, I’ve never loved it and have a hard time sticking with it.

What I can do instantly is reduce the input side of the equation by changing (and reducing) what I eat. So I’ve put myself on a diet. I’ve turned to the service of Lite n’ Easy to deliver portion controlled, dietician planned meals. The food is okay, albeit somewhat repetitive.

I miss the more flavoursome fattening food but hopefully the changed diet will pay off over the next few months. I reckon I need to lose about 10kg. That will get me back to what I consider my ‘standard’ weight. I don’t need to lose it all in the next month, but I need to lose it over this next year.

Catalina has filled my drive with hundreds of wifi diagnostic files for no apparent reason. Cool.

Microblogvember: If you want to be arithmetically precise, don’t say average; instead say mean.

Niagara Scow - Wikipedia

A shipwreck from 100 years ago is still stuck at the top of Niagara Falls. Wow!

Failing

Day 3 of Blogvember. A full list of prompts for the month is available.

It seems that part of the human condition is to view failure as an end in and of itself. I think it’s better to consider it part of the process towards success.

A life well-lived encompasses a procession of trade-offs. We necessarily fail to do all the things we might want. We can’t be good at everything. We don’t have time to do everything. Are we failing because we don’t manage to do it all? Are we failing because we’re not multi-tasking our way to success?

That kind of thinking is probably a path to depression.

“Failure is not an option.” — A phrase credited to Gene Kranz and Apollo 13, but never said in reality - probably because he knew failure is part of the equation.

Failing is a trade-off. Failing is inevitable. It’s not possible to achieve the highest goals without accepting failure along the way. We shouldn’t beat ourselves up over our failures, because they are necessary to build success.

Time is limited. A failure to do something can represent a successful engagement with something else. I think I’m making the case for a Mr. Holland’s Opus approach to life, failure and success. Our greatest success might be hiding behind what was first thought a massive failure.

Microblogvember: I haven’t been invited to a fancy dress party in years… which is good, because I don’t really like them.

Microblogvember: When does a mark become a blemish? Is it simply in the eyes of the beholder?

Trying

Day 2 of Blogvember. A full list of prompts for the month is available.

I’m not a handyman. Never have been. When I was young, I would be roped into helping my stepdad do work around the house or on the car. I dutifully participated despite the boredom. I couldn’t find joy in repairs and construction.

As an adult my disinterest in physical work consolidated. Handyman tasks were a burden, made harder by the knowledge that my efforts would not match what could be achieved by paying a professional. I would rather throw money at the problem than attempt a DIY.

Now I’m a Dad and my son has to build a wooden Kub Kar as part of his Scouts program. At the briefing session I saw the thrill and excitement of other kids… and other Dads. Meanwhile, I felt dread. Here it was: a construction/woodworking project that I would have to motivate my kid to get involved in. While simultaneously trying to motivate myself.

This has to become a car.

In my boy I can see the same mindset I had as a child. He’s not showing any desire to work with tools to build an impressive car. I imagine those other kids with their Dads, working away in the shed to build something great. Meanwhile, we’re just trying to build something that will roll.

I’m trying to be a good Dad. I’m trying to show interest. I hope my son will try to get engaged in the project.

Without skill, effort is all we have.

In addition to Blogvember we also have Microblogvember. Prompts can be the key to success, so get the daily prompt for this project from @macgenie

Back to the Blog – Dan Cohen

In this older article, Dan outlines the benefits of blogging, but also the challenge of getting people to see beyond big social media.

It is psychological gravity, not technical inertia, however, that is the greater force against the open web. Human beings are social animals and centralized social media like Twitter and Facebook provide a powerful sense of ambient humanity—the feeling that “others are here”—that is often missing when one writes on one’s own site.

People still love the likes.

Recollection

Day 1 of Blogvember. A full list of prompts for the month is available.

I must rely on vague and fading recollections to remember anything of my life that happened more than a decade ago. Any key events forward from around 2003, I start to have digital records to draw upon as a memory trigger. For instance, I can say with absolute knowledge that on 17 June 2006, I was playing with our new puppy, Indi. I recall this evening, but only by accessing the metadata of the photos can I know when it actually happened. Earlier this year, Indi died. So much time has passed.

Indi and I

With digital records now pervasive, recollection can be supported by hard data. No more complete reliance on a fuzzy memory.

I remember as a child playing at a friend’s house; I remember it seeming absolutely enormous. We spent the day running through the garden, up and down the stairs inside and around the giant lounge room. I can visualise it clearly. But I can’t say what year it was, where it was, or why I was there. My recollection of the scene is strong, but the situation is unknown. I don’t have the option of reviewing a geotag to be able to revisit the location as an adult. It’s a memory and nothing more.

My kids will experience a different world. All their life events have been captured, whether through photos, video, audio or journal entries written by their Dad. All those pieces of data have metadata. If they have a recollection in the future, it is likely they will be able to enter the date into their device of the time and bring up the evidence of the memory in glorious detail.

I wonder, though, if this will make their recollections richer, or whether the reality of the evidence at hand will diminish the richness of their mind’s eye?

Trick or treat. (But preferably treat, thanks very much.)

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