My daily learnings in April 2017

As always, my April’s daily learnings follow my 2017 reflections and subsequent learnings for January 2017February 2017 and March 2017. Month four, a third of the year is gone, and whazzup this month? Here we go…

Apr 1st – Purple Rain

I heard Prince’s song “Purple Rain” and reflected on its meaning. “Purple Rain” has different definitions depending on where you read. I found these explanations online before giving up:

  • Prince himself said in an interview that the song was about the end of the world. Blood in the sky. Red and blue become purple. That kind of thing. He should know, of course…
  • Urban Dictionary refers “purple rain” to the song “Ventura Highway” by the group America. They define it as a restless feeling, sometimes synonymous with wanderlust. The song lines are “waiting for the early train, sorry boy but I have been hit by purple rain
  • offers three different definitions; wanderlust (again), drugged haze or a drink.
  • Your Dictionary defines it as “deep longing or desire that will likely not be met
  • Hey, there is even a Purple Rain Magic Wheel cleaner. For dissolving brake dust and iron containment.

Let’s leave it there…

April 2nd: The tallest point in Woodlands Historical Park naturally has a radar station

Apr 2nd – Hiking in Woodlands Historic Park

My first hike in Woodlands Historic Park which is one of Melbourne’s largest parks. Post here.

Apr 3rd – “Everybody dies, but not everybody lives”

A thought-provoking expression on life triggered by the unfortunate accidental death of Mike Hall, the champion cyclist. Mike was hit by a car in Canberra while competing in the Pacific Wheel Race between Fremantle and Sydney. The expression was used to describe Mike’s life:

Everybody dies, but not everybody lives“.

Despite Mike’s short 36 years on earth, he accomplished a lot including winning the World Cycle Race. He definitely lived… I will do my best too…

Apr 4th – Gaslighting

Stumbled onto the expression “Gaslighting” in psychology. Gaslighting is defined as “a tactic in which a person or entity in order to gain power makes a victim question their reality“. Common techniques include:

  • Telling blatant lies
  • Using what is dear and near to somebody as ammunition
  • Actions no matching words
  • Throwing in positive reinforcement to weaken the other party, knowing confusion weakens people

In the 1944 movie “Gaslight”, a man manipulates his wife to the point where she thinks that she is losing her mind.

Apr 5th – Phone scams

I received a phone call from the Seychelles, one ring only. Then they hang up… An obvious phone scam, but I decided to investigate what the deal was.

This scam even has a name “One ring wireless phone scam“:

The trick is to get the recipient to return the call, hence the single ring. If you do, you may be connected to an international hotline. Which charges a high connection fee. Along with per-minute fees if they can keep you online.

Good try. Sorry, but I never answer calls from phone numbers I don’t recognise. Anything important and the caller will leave a voicemail. We can take it from there.

Another phone trick is the “Say yes scam“.

If you say “yes” during the recorded conversation, the caller may cut and paste that “yes” into you accepting some agreement. Yes, you have agreed to purchase a service or product, unlikely a bargain.

$$$ invoices are likely to arrive in both cases…

Apr 6th – Two good quotes about wisdom

About wisdom – Two quotes I like…

Ryan Holiday writes:

If we ever want to become wise, it comes from questioning and humility. Not as many would like to think, from certainty, mistrust, and arrogance“.

Epictetus wrote:

There are two things that must be rooted out in human beings; arrogant opinion and mistrust. Arrogant opinion expects that there is nothing further needed and mistrust assumes that under the torrent of circumstances, there can be no happiness“.

April 7th: A lovely day in Dandenong Ranges

Apr 7th – Hiking Mount Evelyn Forest

First time hiking Mount Evelyn Forest in Dandenong Ranges National Park. Post here

Apr 8th – “Vulnerability-Avoidant / Superiority-Seeking Personality Disorder”

Also known as “narcissistic personality disorder”…

Seth Meyer, PsyD from Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health believes that “Narcissistic Personality Disorder” should be renamed “Vulnerability-Avoidant / Superiority-Seeking Personality Disorder”. Why?

Dr. Meyer argues that the root of the disorder is a strict resistance to feeling vulnerable with anyone at any time:

  • The narcissist doesn’t trust others in close relationships. Refuses to put self in position feeling vulnerable.
  • The narcissist also fears that acknowledging any weakness will allow someone else the chance to take advantage or gain power.

He may have a point…

April 9th: Good Mrs and my wedding anniversary
April 9th: Good Mrs and my wedding anniversary

Apr 9th – Our 11th wedding anniversary

Today is Good Mrs and my wedding anniversary. 11 years married and one year since our Las Vegas renewal of vows.

We marked the occasion by dining at a new (for us) local restaurant called “The European”. The food is classic French, Italian and Spanish served in a French bistro setting. Excellent food and excellent service. Great ambiance and karma. Perhaps though, it should be named “The Mediterranean”…

One of my favorite 3 or 4 Melbourne restaurants… After one sitting only 🙂

Apr 10th  “Perceiving Eye” vs “Observing Eye”

The distinction between “perceiving eye” vs “observing eye” according to the Samurai swordsman Musashi:

  • Observing eye sees what is
  • Perceiving eye sees what things supposedly mean, such as “this will ruin me”, “how could this happen” and “it is so-and-so’s fault”

Apr 11th – Velominati and Better Call Saul

Did you know that Velominati is the “keepers of the cog“? Velominati is THE cycling bible. Their rule number 5 is “harden the f*** up“. Mmmm, that sounds familiar…

Also, today is the premiere of Better Call Saul series 3. Mandatory viewing :-). Brilliant story and brilliant cinematography… Bring it on!

Apr 12th – Shermanesque statement

Ryan Holiday wrote about how one should reject tantalizing gifts. There is always a catch attached…

He recalled U.S. General William T Sherman who emphatically rejected offers to run for U.S. president. General Sherman even said:

I will not accept if nominated and I will not serve if elected“.

Such rejection is now known as a “Shermanesque statement“.

April 13-18: The VEHICLE

Apr 13th – Driving to Snowy Mountains over Easter – Day 1 of 6

A 6 days / 5 nights break over Easter, visiting Good Mrs aunt and uncle in Kalkite outside Jindabyne, Snowy Mountains.

Good Mrs and I drove from Melbourne to the town of Wangaratta for the first night.

Never been there before. We had classic RSL meals at Wangaratta RSL. Roast pork for me and lamb chops for Good Mrs. The RSL was everything you would expect. I just love these places. Lovely town…

April 14: Evidence of Snowy Mountains Hydro Scheme as we travel through Snowy Mountains ranges. And us…

Apr 14th – Driving to Snowy Mountains over Easter – Day 2 of 6

Good Mrs and I continued our drive from Wangaratta to Kalkite.

I learned that Australian national parks are not national parks at all. Australian national parks are really state parks in that fee structures and entrance passes are different for every state. You can not buy an annual National Park pass which is valid for all states. You need one per state… Despite the name…

Apr 15th – Driving to Snowy Mountains over Easter  – Day 3 of 6

Hiking Dead Horse Gap trail. Which I’ve hiked before but not written about.

I learned that signage between Thredbo Village and the start of the uphill trail is inconsistent. One side says 5km, the other side says 4km. My GPS said 5km. Who can you believe? (Editor’s note: Really… Is that a learning…?)

Apr 16th – Driving to Snowy Mountains over Easter – Day 4 of 6

Hiking Main Range / Summit trails. Which I’ve hiked before but not written about.

Inside Snowy Mountains National Park, I learned that the intimidating notes stuck under your windscreen wipers are not infringement notices. They are park fee reminder notices, allowing you 14 days to pay the regular park entry fee. Phew…

April 17: Not just hiking, but also checked out Jindabyne’s Sculpture By The Lake exhibition. An annual Snowy Mountains Easter event and very popular.

Apr 17th – Driving to Snowy Mountains over Easter – Day 5 of 6

Hiking Pallaibo Track. Which I’ve hiked before but not written about.

I checked out Jindabyne’s Sculpture by the Lake open air exhibition. Always interesting and different, but sadly, not a new experience either.

I found out that you can borrow books and newspapers from Library of Congress in Washington DC. Somehow I thought that it was mainly a record keeping library and publications could not be taken out of there. Clearly, I was wrong. Perhaps I hadn’t given it any real thought…

Apr 18th – Driving to Snowy Mountains over Easter – Day 6 of 6

Good Mrs and I encountered two peculiarities while driving home from Kalkite to Melbourne:

Filling up petrol at an unmanned United service station in Orbost:

  • The cash machine accepted our $30
  • We filled $26.90 worth of petrol. Nothing more came out of the pump
  • The tank was 3/4 full.

Question: Did United run out of petrol mid-filling up?

A1 / C620 intersecting roads in Nowa Nowa

  • A1 is the coastal road all the way from Sydney to Melbourne and beyond
  • In Nowa Nowa, the main road splits into A1 and C620 but neither has signage directing the unfamiliar driver towards Melbourne
  • C620, with A road quality, temporarily becomes the “main road” to Melbourne. Until A1 rejoins it after Lakes Entrance and it’s only A1 again.

Question: Why not rename C620 as A1? And erect some signage…

Apr 19th – Begpackers

Begpacker is a new descriptive word for backpackers busking and begging for money in foreign land. So that they can travel for longer.  Phenomena particularly in southeast Asia. The local poorer population is asked to fund continued travels by the privileged few.

Go figure…

Apr 20th – Social waterboarding

Author Mark Manson used the expression social waterboarding to describe the experience with “people who constantly interrupt you and redirect every possible topic of conversation back to some inane story about themselves“.

I’m sure we all know somebody like that…

Apr 21st – Nadism

Nadism is the “art” of enjoying moments of doing nada or nothing. Without guilt or stress. A cultural movement founded by Marcelo Bohrer in 2006. Some 11 years already…

Sounds like something I can relate to… 😉

Apr 22th – Negative visualisation

Negative visualisation has been described as the single most valuable technique in the Stoic’s psychological toolkit. The advantages are:

  • You will be less shocked if and when something bad happens
  • You are more likely to respond wisely

A personal thought… Is there a risk that negative visualisation gets overdone? Constantly looking for what may go wrong and try to mitigate for that? Do we really want to live like that…?

April 23: Straight lines of Domino Trail

Apr 23th – Hiking Domino Trail

The Domino Trail stretches from Trentham to/from Lyonville, outside of Melbourne. Both new destinations for me. Post here.

Apr 24th – The word “Polemic”

Polemic is a word I can’t recall encountering before. Described as “a strong verbal or written attack on someone or something.

Eg ‘his polemic against...”

Apr 25th – On stubbornness and criticism

Emerson called the refusal to accommodate different opinions despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary “a foolish consistency in the hobgoblin of little minds, adored by little statesmen, philosophers, and divines“.

Yes, but… Philosophers?

Apr 26th – Binge-watching The Sopranos on DVD

Somehow I missed The Sopranos when it was released, but recent wet Melbourne weather provided a great excuse for catch-up. By 30 April, I had finished watching the first series. Brilliant, of course. Now for series 2…

April 27: Current favorite reading

Apr 27th – Day 1 of 3 of learnings from Tim Ferriss – Ketogenic Diet

I began reading Tim Ferriss’ book “Tools of Titans” today. The book is subtitled “The tactics, routines, and habits of billionaires, icons, and world-class performers“.

And I was immediately hooked!!

Tim recalls interviews for his wildly popular podcast “The Tim Ferriss Show”, and then expands including trying activities himself. The book is a smorgasbord of data, facts, and opinions. And learnings for the reader…

Today and the following two days, I just had to include topics I learned about from the book.

Today, the Ketogenic Diet (interviewee is Dominic D’Agosho).

“Keto”, as it is known, is a high-fat diet. The brain and body use ketones (derived from stored or ingested fat) instead of blood sugar (glucose). That process is called ketosis. You fast, diet and consume exogenous ketones.

The intended result is fat loss and body recomposition, anti-cancerous effect, better use of oxygens, maintain/increase strength and improved mental capacity.

The book obviously goes into a lot more details. I don’t know what to believe, fighting fat with fat, but I was intrigued.

Apr 28th – Day 2 of 3 of learnings from Tim Ferriss – Acroyoga.

Acroyoga is a blend of acrobatics, the spiritual wisdom of yoga and Thai massage.

Performed in pairs, one base/lead and one flyer/follower, the book’s pictures looked like circus acrobatics to me. Acroyoga was also described as “sensual, but not sexual”.

Jason Nemer, the interviewee, has performed in U.S. national championships in acrobatics. No surprise there…

Apr 29th – Day 3 of 3 of learnings from Tim Ferriss – Robert Rodriguez

Robert Rodriguez is an American movie director from Austin, TX and much more. Let’s say he started on the cheap…

What an interesting guy!!

With limited funds, and to film his first movie “El Mariachi”, Robert wrote down everything he owned and based the movie around that.

Then, who did he know? Robert had a friend in Mexico who owned a ranch. That’s where the bad guy is. This friend has a cousin who owns a bar. That bar becomes the setting for a shootout as that’s where the bad guys hang out. And so on. A film script in the making…

“El Mariachi” cost $7,000 to make… and grossed $2M at the box office. The movie won the Audience Award at the Sundance Festival.

Senor Rodriguez went on to make many more movies such as Desperado and From Dusk till Dawn (both featuring Antonio Banderas in the main role), the Spy Kids series and the Machete movies featuring Danny Trejo (which I love!!!).

I assume that Robert’s later movies had higher budgets than “El Mariachi”…

April 30: Cheviot Beach from Cheviot Hill. Point Nepean and southern end of Port Phillip Bay to the right
April 30: Good Mrs and the Harold Holt Memorial up from Cheviot Beach

Apr 30th – First visit to Point Nepean National Park

Good Mrs and I took a Sunday drive and stroll through Point Nepean National Park, the southeastern tip surrounding Port Phillip Bay. New destination. Only been as far as Sorrento before.

Point Nepean was far more interesting than I imagined. A former defense site with a quarantine station attached. It reminded me of North Head in Manly outside Sydney, our former home.

Good Mrs and I strolled some 5km, and I could have included a separate hiking post, but hey… next time.

Some standouts:

  • Monash Light Lookout – an important navigational feature for Port Philip Bay. Today, it is relaying transmissions for tidal buoys from a tower which you can climb. Up to a point. Brilliant views all the way back to Melbourne.
  • Cheviot Beach – named after SS Cheviot which in 1887 became Victoria’s worst shipwreck off there. 35 lives were lost. Of course, Cheviot Beach is also infamous for the disappearance of a former Australian Prime Minister. Who swam off it in 1967 never to reappear… which leads us to…
  • Harold Holt Memorial – naturally there had to be one. The search for Harold Holt was Australia’s biggest search operation to that date.
  • Cheviot Hill – Point Nepean National Park’s highest point. Surrounded by World War II fortifications, it overlooks Cheviot Beach.

We ran out of time and didn’t visit the Quarantine Station, nor Point Nepean itself, a 3.8km walk from the parking area. We will be back…


That’s all, folks. All the learnings for April. May is next. Until then, Enjoy Life 🙂

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