18 days until I can fully rest

I’m now down to 18 work days before I get 2 weeks off work over Christmas/New Year.

It’s important that I relax and look after myself.

It’s tempting to think of all the:

  • Books I can read
  • TV I can watch
  • Movies I can watch
  • Video games I can play
  • Kilometres I can walk
  • Places I can visit
  • Miniatures I can paint
  • Photos I can categorise

but the risk is I spend my holiday busy.

More than anything I need to still my mind, That’s where the true relaxation and recuperation will come from.

Half way to go

Each time I hear the Sun is 50% through its life and only has 5 billion years to go, I feel sad.

If we’re not off Earth and into the Milky Way Galaxy by then it’s all over. Colonising the Solar System is not enough.

For humanity it’s less time than 5 billion years. The Future of Earth, gives us a billion years to get the job done at best before the Sun has expanded its influence and engulfs us. Weirdly, that doesn’t feel like it’s long enough. I’ll never see it but I can wonder.

What’s the real concern?

I once heard the suggestion that a gravestone is more reflective of the people that commission it than the person who has died.

It’s similar to you buying a present for someone that you’d really like to receive yourself.

And that’s similar to pet owners more concerned with discussing the breed of their pet rather than how their pet is part of their life.

Makes me wonder what’s most important.

Observe the music

Changing how we observe our world by becoming a different observer is powerful. A power that gives us more choice.

If you ever need reminding that observing differently can make a difference to how you feel in your soul you can:

  • Listen to a favourite piece of music in a different location, on better headphones, or in a dark room.

  • Listen to a remix or remaster – I recently closely listened to Mike Oldfield’s Tubular Bells 2003. I hadn’t realised it was a remix of the original music and not just a remaster.*

  • Listen to the Dolby Atmos mix of a favourite album, if available, on Apple Music (Spatial Audio). Pink Floyd’s A Momentary Lapse of Reason (Remix 2019) is currently doing it for me and is the prompt for this post.

A little change in how you observe the world can make all the difference. As they say, “A journey of 1,000 miles begins with a single step.”

*For the record I didn’t like it that much. The original is wired into my nervous system after hundreds of listens over 35 years.

Missing the big picture

Today I recalled the tendency for my early career performance reviews to be positive, “but David, you need to learn to see the Big Picture.” I always left feeling a little stupid because I didn’t know what to do about it. I also felt frustrated because those telling me I needed to see the big picture couldn’t even explain what it was, let alone how I should get there.”You just need to learn how.”

At every moment we are limited to observing only what our Way of Being allows us to observe – even if it is objectively there for another to see. To change how we are as an observer requires a perturbation in our nervous system. Telling someone they are not seeing the big picture is not enough. 

For this change to occur there must be an observer of how we observe. Only then can we make a positive change.

An episode of Gordon Ramsey’s Kitchen Nightmares is on in the background as I write. Gordon is the coach helps failing restaurant owners observe what they are unable to observe themselves.

When you’ve hit a wall and don’t seem to be going where you need to, get someone to help you observe what you can’t see yourself. That somebody can be a coach, words written in a book/article, or a podcast. It can, with practice, even be ourselves. The process is called second-order learning.

The Hoonitron

Ken Block is famous for driving obscenely over-powered vehicles with great precision in a form of motor sport called gymkhana. Recently he took his new Audi S1 “Hoonitron” around Las Vegas.

The Hoonitron is a fully electric vehicle and that makes a difference. The sound of an electric whine is different from a combustible roar and that felt wrong to me – it was disconcerting. A lack of gear changes, up and down, and missing backfires meant a lack of information from what I am used to.

Humans are meaning making machines. We are continually using our senses to understand our world and our place in it. When the information we expect is missing, the meaning we make is different, if we can make of it something meaningful at all.

For clarity, I’m not saying Ken’s electric vehicle is wrong. My nervous system has not yet adjusted to the new reality and that felt odd. It would be easy to push back and complain. I’d feel physically better. Instead I chose to wonder what a new world full of electric vehicles will look and sound like.

Civilization VI failure

On Sunday I started playing Civilization VI. Today I lost badly and that’s ok because I was learning all the time.

Having played Civ II, IV and V in the past, I was familiar with the fundamental structure of the game. After my first attempt on Sunday afternoon it became clear I needed to go back to basics. I found some good tutorials on YouTube and a play through of a science victory scenario. All made perfect sense, so why today’s thumping?

Civ is a complex game with many related concepts that form part of the gameplay. I missed almost all of them. As I fell behind the A.I. civilisations, I started noting what wasn’t working as expected. That told me which areas I needed to ask about. Asking meant time reading documentation on the points I’d missed and the rest of the game trying what I had learned. For this play through, it was too little, too late. The next will start much stronger.

That’s how learning works. Know what you should do, try it, and when you fail, ask the questions you need answers to. Then try again. Ask more questions, and repeat.

I can take the loss, though I wish the Peter the Great of Russie didn’t denounce me as such a bad ruler time and again.

Crazy coincidence

I have a relatively new car. It’s done just over 3,000km. Here is a crazy coincidence from earlier today.

  • The odometer read 3,000km while I was stopped at traffic lights.
  • The odometer read 2,000km while I was stopped at traffic lights. There are not so many traffic lights where I live that this would be at all likely.
  • The two sets of traffic lights were less that 3km apart.
  • Both readings were after I had been away at a client, on a 500km+ round trip. The route taken each time, completely different.

I’m loving the feeling of wonder I am experiencing at all that.

Fear of missing out

FOMO generates extra dollars for the gaming industry, both PC/console gaming and board/tabletop games.

Two words. DLC and Expansion.

Both represent additions to the base game. The call is strong. After a conversation last night with a friend about this very point I learned there is an expansion to SmallWorld I didn’t know about, and there are some expansions for Civilization VI that I don’t have.

Immediately, I want to buy them. Knowing full well I’ll never use them.

I’m not the only one.