I’ve been taking some day hikes, clearing my head, getting out of the house, etc. And what strikes me about this pandemic is that, while I or others will step far to the side to let each other pass (six-foot rule), it’s all very pleasant. There’s no sense of discomfort or fear. It’s just caution and a shared understanding of the experience.
As the Nation’s leaders try to sort out this mess, we on the ground just have to keep on any way we can.
Reading: The Modern Minimalist Budget by Brian Night. When I first acquired this book on Kindle, who knows how long ago now, it was simply The Modern Minimalist. Adding Budget to the title may have helped him sell more copies, but I don’t know. Anyway, just a collection of little pointers on how to live with less, something I struggle through each and every week.
Listening/Watching: How the Economic Machine Works, by Ray Dalio. This thirty-minute presentation from a master of finance and business is helpful on a number of levels, and I’ve enjoyed and learned from this immensely. If you’re ever left wondering when a news anchor mentions something intangible about the economy, this provides a great primer.
Doing: Catching up. Over the past two to three months I’ve let a lot pile up that I need to get done. So I broke out my copy of Getting Things Done by David Allen, and began dorting my loops. Collecting items in the inbox can be fun, but seeing the full inbox(es) and knowing that I’ll have to process them… not so much.
Another week has come to an end, and before you know it the first month of 2020 will be over. New Year not so new anymore? I understand. But here’s what I’ve come across this week.
Reading: Wild by Cheryl Strayed. I’m about half-way through, so it should get wrapped up, maybe this weekend. There’s a familiarity I feel when reading this. I’ve only done one solo hike – the Wicklow Way just south of Dublin – and that was mostly accidental. Much like how Strayed went from concept to hike in, I believe, six months. Becoming found by getting lost is a concept I think many, perhaps all of us are familiar with.
Listening: Let the Games Begin by Aloe Blacc. I heard this playing recently, and it ear-wormed itself into my head so I had to track it down. It’s uplifting while at the same time being catchy. I hadn’t really listened to Aloe Blacc since 2010 and his Good Things album.
Spending time: Watching a lot of Jeopardy. I’ve taken the test twice – once in 2016, and again last year. Neither time I was satisfied with my performance, and, since I’ve not been called by the show’s producers, I’m guessing they weren’t either. But I’ll try again next week, and testing is January 28-30.
Hello again, campers! Ready for your campfire tales? No? Not really?
I finished listening to the Camp Red Moon short anthology, and it took me a while to recognize the voice in the second story. Kevin T. Collins, who’s performed the audiobooks to the Sam Capra series by Jeff Abbot. Speaking of, it’s about time for another installment in that series.
Anyway, here’s what’s on my plate this week.
Reading: Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail by Cheryl Strayed. Just getting started, and I haven’t seen the movie either, but I recognize the desire to travel, isolate, and found yourself. A lot of my library seems geared towards those sentiments, even if they all haven’t been read yet. A 26-year-old, reeling from tragedy, decides to make the 1100-mile solo hike.
Listening: You Learn from the Alanis Morrissette jukebox musical Jagged Little Pill. I had this in the nineties (it’s probably still floating around my cd collection somewhere). This ensemble number is really touching, and I enjoy it a lot.
Doing: Goal setting. I’ve been using a couple of resources – Designing Your Life, Tony Robbins, Seth Godin, & Tim Ferris. Before I start making cuts to some of my projects and interests, I want to make sure I’m doing it for the right reason. So having those goals set are important.
What I’m reading: I read very little this week. Best of intentions and all, but time slipped away. I did start perusing An Innocent Abroad, compiled travel wisdom by Don George and published by Lonely Planet. But, not enough to actually call it reading.
What I’m listening to: Die Winterreise by Franz Schubert. I learned of this song cycle five or ten years ago, and I listen to it every winter. It’s 24 pieces, poetry set to music, following a man’s journey into the snow to rid himself of his departed, lost love. Quintessentially German.
What I’m spending time on: The Witcher on Netflix, starring Henry Cavill. I hadn’t followed the phenomenon that is The Witcher, from a fantasy franchise based on the series of books from Polish author Andrzej Sapkowski. But the show has garnered some attention, and I wanted to see what it was all about. A man fighting monsters in a world with wizards, elves, and dragons.
What I’ve shared:
Yes, I think that has stuck. I like it. It’s kind of like my weekly check-in, but with less introspection. Just things that have caught my attention.
What I’m reading: Monsters Among Us: An Exploration of Otherworldly Bigfoots, Wolfmen, Portals, Phantoms, and Odd Phenomena by Linda S. Godfrey. I wanted to get one more seasonal read in before November. Well, what to say. Do you believe in spirit creatures, possessions, skin walkers, UFOs, or otherworldly portals? Or not? Either way, an interesting book broken down in case studies.
Additionally, if you check out the @WerewolfReports bot on Twitter, you can keep updated on odd werewolf sightings… If you believe in that kind of thing.
What I’m listening to: Lore, from Aaron Mahnke. Specifically the Trick or Treat episodes from 2016 and 2017. But, listen to whatever you feel like. Or, watch the video series on Amazon Prime Video!
What I’m spending time with: Switching over my recording from Audacity to GarageBand. I host a radio show twice a week, which is prerecorded and aired on 107.1 WZEA. Until recently I had used Audacity. However, since updating the MacBook, my microphones don’t work for recording. There’s a cumbersome workaround, but I’d rather have a simple time making my episodes. So I’ve been looking at the GarageBand recording platform. It seems that there used to be a Podcast recording option, since removed, but it works fairly well. I’ll give it a try, and either continue on it, or switch back when the new update for Audacity comes out.
Other things of interest this week:
- This article from Vice on what the absence of humanity would look like on Earth. It’s something similar to what I’ve been contemplating, like in Because one day we die. What do we individually leave behind? And, what as a species will be left?
- Seth Godin on his late friend Lionel Poilane, who owned a bakery in Paris, Poilane’s daughter Apollonia’s new book.
- Looking to the future, my friend and I are planning a thru-hike of the Appalachian Trail. Doubtful it will be next year, because I’m looking to do some fun work over the summer, prime hiking time. So the possible start is March 18, 2021. We’ll see how our plans go between now and then.
- Maria Popova on Thirteen Years of Brain Pickings. A great website, with great weekly emails.
- Another listen: Marketplace’s Conversations from the Corner Office with Walking Dead Content Director Scott Gimple.
What I’m reading: Letting Go. David Hawkins writes about freedom from attachment, and what that might look like in the modern age. “The mind, with its thoughts, is driven by feelings. Each feeling is the cumulative derivative of many thousands of thoughts. Because most people throughout their lives repress, suppress, and try to escape from their feelings, the suppressed energy accumulates and seeks expression through psychosomatic distress, bodily disorders, emotional illnesses, and disordered behavior in interpersonal relationships.”
What I’m watching: A lot of nothing. I’ve flitted from Lost Girl to a few other supernatural tv shows. A bit of NHK network, the Japanese news channel with travel and language programming. I’m gearing up for the Halloween season, and I want to do some research on horror and mythos.
What I’m listening to: Something Wicked This Way Comes by Ray Bradbury, narrated by Christian Rummel. I’d not read much by Bradbury. Fahrenheit 451 is really the only one I remember. I know I owned two short story collections, but I don’t recall what I had read from it. But I had a dream a few nights back – partially induced by sleep aids and Benadryl. It involved a traveling circus, and I was reminded of Something Wicked, so I figured I’d give it a go.
Other things that caught my eye: