My daily learnings in February 2017

Following on from my new year’s reflections and daily learnings for January 2017, another month has now passed. Hence my February 2017 learnings. Note that I associate “learnings” with something read or heard but also new experiences. Without further…

  • Feb 1st – I attended my first Yin Yoga class. My regular Gentle Yoga classes contains segments of Yin (keeping static poses for periods of time). But a full one hour Yin was a first. My right, twice dislocated, shoulder complained somewhat afterwards, but hey… I returned the following week and most February Wednesday mornings.
Feb 2nd – Bruce Springsteen & E Street Band live at AAMI Park, Melbourne
  • Feb 2nd – Concert day. Bruce Springsteen & E Street Band live at AAMI Park in Melbourne. I saw Bruce with band 1985 in Gothenburg, Sweden during his “The River” tour. Is a 32 year gap a new experience? Today was also my first visit to AAMI Park. Rod Laver Arena seems to be the preferred stadium for concerts. The band didn’t play “Born in the USA”. Possibly too controversial given the current American environment. Bruce started the concert with “Don’t hang up”. A nudge to previous day’s telephone conversation between the American President and the Australian Prime Minister. You know, where Trump allegedly suddenly hang up on Malcolm Turnbull.
  • Feb 3rd“Alive time” vs “Dead time”. The author Robert Greene presents the concept of two opposite ways of spending our limited time on earth. “Alive time” where we learn, are active, leveraging. “Dead time” where we are just waiting. He argues that the past is dead and does not exist. Thus, don’t concern yourself with the past.
  • Feb 4th – Definition of a stoic according to Nassim Nicholas Taleb, a modern day philosopher. He argues that a stoic is someone who transforms… “fear into prudence”, “pain into transformation”, mistakes into initiation” and “desire into undertaking”.
Feb 5th – Maroondah Reservoir northeast of Healesville
  • Feb 5th – Sunday car drive to Healesville where I haven’t been before. Healesville is a typical Sunday destination for Melbournians. Lovely river setting with cafes, restaurants and a Sunday market. I watched the movie “Tehran Taxi” that night. Filmed exclusively from inside a taxi, made with actors but presented as a “real time” documentary. Definitely different.
  • Feb 6thMovie “Manchester By The Sea”. I understood why Casey Affleck was an Oscar contender for best actor (he did win). Great movie, but would benefit from further editing. Interesting observation; the brother of the film’s main character is at Beverly Hospital in Massachusetts. I spent half a day at that hospital in 2013 due to unexplained headaches (turned out to be high blood pressure). A short clip from outside the hospital was immediately recognisable to me.
  • Feb 7th – Book “Trust me, I’m lying”, “Confessions of a media manipulator” by my current favourite author Ryan Holiday. He describes “how to turn nothing into something” using social media and 3 steps as follows:
    • Level 1 – Small local blogs – Entry point. Many are understaffed and underfunded. Hence possible to “sell” stories with ease.
    • Level 2 – Legacy media – mix online / offline – Blogs, newspapers, local television stations. Often gets aggregated thru Google News. Massmedia sections that update more often, but with less editorial oversight. Need to create interest and chatter.
    • Level 3 – National press – by registering many stories on level 1 and level 2 creating leverage. Less pushing, more “massaging” and soft sell. Their online sites even here have to think like bloggers to maximise their number of page views.
Feb 8th – Start of 7 days / 6 nights road trip
Feb 8th – Held up by Ned Kelly in Glenrowan
Feb 8th – Boorowa Hotel, Boorowa
  • Feb 8th – Road Trip Day 1 of 7 – Melbourne to Boorowa – Good Mrs in Sydney for business and then studying hard for an exam meant that I hit the road. First day took me from Melbourne to Boorowa via:
    • Seymour, VIC (tea break),
    • Glenrowan, VIC (Ned Kelly’s last stand reason to stop there)
    • Gundagai, NSW (lunch + I like that town).

Night at Boorowa Hotel alongside local workers, drinking at Court House Hotel with local workers and eating dinner at Boorowa Chinese with, well, whoever came in. I’m proudly supporting the local economy.

Feb 9th – Wentworth Falls from below
  • Feb 9th – Road Trip Day 2 of 7 – Boorowa to Katoomba (Blue Mountains) – Via Cowra and Bathurst, tea break in Cowra. Hot 32 degrees late afternoon, very high for the mountains.
    • Staying at Katoomba Mountain Lodge (aka Faded Glory II). Faded Glory I, an old favourite Katoomba guest house, is now closed.  Renovation in progress into senior’s accommodation (instead of housing unwashed hikers like me…)
    • Hiked Wentworth Falls (seperate post)
    • Dinner at 3 Sisters Chinese (mmm, a pattern?)
Feb 10th – Blue Mountains from Prince Henry Cliff Walk
Feb 10th – Old City Bank Pub
Feb 10th – Katoomba Street Art Walk (parts of it)
  • Feb 10th – Road Trip Day 3 of 7 – Katoomba (Blue Mountains) – Still hot…
    • Hiked Prince Henry Cliff Walk (seperate post)
    • Drove to:
      • Evans Lookout (one of my top Australian hikes starts from here and I will hike and write about it some other cooler day)
      • Blackheath village (always pleasant with coffee and antique shops)
      • The renovated Hydro Majestic Resort in Carrington (too posh for me)
    • Drinking and eating at Old City Bank Pub. No Chinese dinner today. Fish and chips pub grub and schooners while enjoying the pub’s air-condition. Did I mention hot day?
    • Katoomba Ukelele Festival was on, plenty of instrument carrying people around
    • Stumbled onto Katoomba Street Art Walk on Beverley Place. Empty or graffiti ridden back alley facades transformed with cool street art. I love that stuff!
Fri 11th – BBQ in Bilgola with old neighbour
  • Feb 11th – Road Trip Day 4 of 7 – Katoomba (Blue Mountains) to Bilgola (Sydney’s northern beaches) – I’m visiting my old Manly neighbours who moved up the coast a bit when I moved from Sydney to Melbourne. Stopped in Annandale to visit the One and Only Son whereafter we spent a few hours together in Manly. Still hot…
    • We all went to the movies in Warriewood in the afternoon to escape the heat. Saw Hidden Figures about the three coloured ladies impact on the space program at NASA.
    • BBQ on their veranda overlooking Pittwater
    • Lots of chatting and perhaps, just perhaps, a little bit of wine too…
Feb 12th – Overlooking Pittwater
  • Feb 12th – Road Trip Day 5 of 7 – Bilgola – One extra day and night with the peeps.
    • Morning coffee at Careel Bay.
    • Lunch at French patisserie in Newport (beef burgundy pie – a first for me! Possibly the best pie I have ever had…)
    • Afternoon drinks at Newport Surf Club. Sitting outside overlooking the ocean at dusk. With low low prices too. Beat that!
    • Dinner at a combined Greek / Pizza place in Newport – interesting. OK food.
    • Yep, perhaps some more chatting too and perhaps some more wine as well…
Feb 13th – Beyond Eden
  • Feb 13th – Road Trip Day 6 of 7 – Bilgola (Sydney) to Eden (via the coast) – Eden is my favourite NSW town, with its great frontier feeling and working port. Unpleasant start though as I had to negotiate Sydney morning rush hour traffic for a few hours.
    • Lunch an obvious fish and chips (at Batemans Bay)
    • Dinner sautéed local mussels at Eden’s “Fishos”. That’s Eden Fishermen’s Recreation Club.
Feb 14th – Eden Harbour – not fishing boats, but serious tugs
  • Feb 14th – Road Trip Day 7 of 7 – Eden to Melbourne – Going home… But first… I checked out from my motel at 6am and spent the next 1 1/2 hours taking photos of early morning Eden. A truly magical place…
    • Stop in Cann River (tea)
    • Lake Entrance (coffee)
    • Sale (lunch), where I checked out Sale General Hospital. Where realignment of my dislocated shoulder, post magpie confrontation, took place (post). Revisit of my own free will…? Really…?
  • Feb 15th – Narcissism – Different definitions from different sources but I like this simple dual distinction from a new study:
    • Vulnerable – where individual feels inadequate and constantly seeks attention and approval to validate / boost self esteem.
      • Prone to shame, highly neurotic and cling to others, afraid of rejection
      • When threatened becomes defensive
      • Justifies actions, makes disclaimers and “self-handicap”
      • Avoids apologies but try to gain sympathy
    • Grandiose – where individual has an inflated sense of self and believe can do no wrong. Constantly feels entitled to special favours.
      • Respond to opportunities to outshine others
      • When threatened to look bad, exert insensitive avoidance
      • Exercise power over others. Tactics include entitlement, intimidation, blasting
      • Will not apologise when shown to be wrong, but justify their behaviour

Now, why would I research this…?

  • Feb 16th – SCROTUS – We had POTUS (President of the United States), FLOTUS (First Lady of the United States). I found another acronym SCROTUS (So Called Ruler of the United States). No further elaborations…
  • Feb 17th – Conditional happiness – Phycologists’ description of someone saying “I’ll be happy when…” “…I graduate”, “…this diet pays off”, “…I have the money my parents never had”, “…this week is over”… etc. Result is ruining chances of happiness here and now.
Feb 18th – White Night in Melbourne. Exhibition Hall, birthplace of independent Australia in 1901.
  • Feb 18th – Why an ego in creativity is a career killer – according to Ryan Holiday. He states 2 reasons:
    • Essence of creativity is a deep and continuous connection to the world around you
    • Managing a creative career requires a connection to one’s audience, network of relationships with industry personnel, managers, clients, bookers, agents etc
  • Feb 19th – First visit to Heide Museum of Modern Art in Melbourne – learnt plenty but 2 things stood out:
    • Heide was art lovers’ and supporters’ John & Sunday’s Read’s homestead. They named it Heide due to its proximity to the Melbourne suburb of Heidelberg. After Read’s death, Heide became an art gallery and the name remained. The famous Australian painter Sidney Nolan lived there for some time. Nolan painted all the 27 square-headed Ned Kelly paintings here. On the Read’s kitchen table.
    • Last day of “Making Modernism” temporary exhibition. New Mexico painter Georgia O’Keefe was its main attraction. What a woman she was. Lived for 98 years, stopped painting at 85 and lived by herself at later age. Her paintings have the most fantastic colours of desert landscapes. Good Mrs and I noted that several painters lived long lives. Why is that? Working in creativity? Doing what they love? There is a Georgia O’Keefe museum in Santa Fe, but we missed that when we were there in 2013.
  • Feb 20th – 7 quotes presented by Ryan Holiday (which I like of course) – I hope you like them as well…
    1. “If you see a fraud, and do not say fraud, you are a fraud” – Nassim Nicholas Taleb
    2. “Thou knowest this man’s fall, but you knowest not his wrassling” – James Baldwin – meaning you can see somebody’s flaws but not the internal struggle
    3. “This is not your responsibility, but it is your problem” – Cheryl Strayed – Meaning life IS unfair and you are affected by it.
    4. “Dogs bark at what they cannot understand” – Heraclitus
    5. “Happiness does not come from the seeking, it is never ours by right” – Eleanor Roosevelt
    6. “Don’t waste time on problem babies” – David Ogilvy
    7. “Some lack the fickleness to live as they wish and just live as they have begun” – Seneca
  • Feb 21th – Another quote presented by Ryan Holiday (OK, I’m super-impressed by him.) “We love ourselves more than other people, but care more about their opinion than our own” – Marcus Aurelius
  • Feb 22nd – 3 Stoic routines to start the morning
    1. Live in the present moment – Marcus Aurelius wrote “Don’t let your imagination be crushed by life as a whole. Don’t try to picture anything bad that could possibly happen. Stick with the situation at hand”
    2. Remind yourself of the person(s) you have chosen as a role model – Soneca wrote “…without a ruler to do it against, you won’t make the crooked straight”
    3. Practice your “contemptuous expressions” – Marcus Aurelius wrote “Like seeing roasted meat and other dishes in front of you and suddenly realising. This is a dead pig. A dead fish. A dead bird. Perceptions like that – latching onto things and piercing through when we see what they really are. That’s what we need to do all the time”
Fri 23rd – How I look after climbing up “1000 Steps” in Dandenong Ranges National Park
  • Feb 23rd – New hike – 1000 Steps loop – Dandenong Ranges National Park – post here. Including “famous” 1000 Steps climb.
  • Feb 24th – Growth Hacker – New expression (and job) – Ryan Holiday again from his book “Growth Hacker Marketing”, based on his own experiences:
    • A Growth Hacker’s is a hybrid between marketer and coder and creates something from nothing
    • Successful start-ups use Growth Hackers for their marketing when that budget is close to zero
    • Airbnb and Dropbox started this way
Feb 25th – Big family birthday Chinese dinner for Good Mrs (right) and twin sister
  • Feb 25th – Richard Arvine Overton – the oldest verified surviving U.S. veteran born 11 May 1906 – What a guy!! Lives in the same Austin, TX house for 70 years (returning from WWII), Met and was honoured by President Obama who also mentioned him in a speech. Black with a white paternal grandfather. Allegedly a distant relative to President Andrew Jackson. Everyday he smokes cigars, drinks coffee mixed with whisky and eats ice cream. Sits on his front porch every day for hours. Speaks with few words, very philosophical. Would love to meet him… Good Mrs birthday celebrations started today with a Chinese family dinner (22 people). Continued more or less for 10 days…
  • Feb 26th – Big drinks and nibbles birthday event for Good Mrs at Riverland – Some 32 people so lots of chatting. If I learnt something new, well, I may have done that then… Fantastic event. Weather played ball too.
  • Feb 27th – The day after the 2 days before – Father and son day with The One and Only Son walking to St Kilda, eating ice cream and following him to Southern Cross Station for his flight back to Sydney. As pleasant the day was, I possibly didn’t learn anything new.
  • Feb 28th – Good Mrs birthday – Today was the day. The previous days were just warming up. Good Mrs and I had a fantastic dinner at a new French / Australian restaurant called Punch Lane (named after the outside lane). Lovely French bistro like interior and excellent food. On learning, I recalled the Streisand effect today; attempting to hide, remove or censor something with the unintended consequence of publicising the information faster and wider, usually by the internet. Cool say.

So there we are. A lot happened despite a short month. And somehow writing this, I feel that March may be no less busy. Particularly not the first half. We will see…

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