Ovsiankina effect rules everything around me
- I've decided that I'm treating January as an extension of 2022. It's the last gasp, the opportunity to clear out all the bits that are outstanding and unresolved. I read recently about the Ovsiankina effect—the need we have to complete unfinished tasks—which, as someone who has a bad habit of starting and not completing projects, really spoke to me. I'm going to try my hardest to clear out as much stuff that's been hanging around for a long time as possible. (This also applies to not leaving work half-done over the weekend.)
- First FUB back and we were talking about Descartes and philosophy with Dr Matt! It was great fun—FUB is one of those things that I know will involve a lot of focus and thinking so it can sometimes be a struggle to go along when I'm tired, but I always enjoy myself when I do :)
- Big Seagull meeting on Thursday—we've got a plan for Q1! Lots to do, and it's all very exciting :)
- There's a coffee shop near us that does free coffee for people with specific names—the other day it was Adam! Free oat flat white, great stuff.
- I've had some kind of... thing wrong with me since about Christmas. It goes between aches and pains, coughing up stuff, sore throad, blocked nose, around and around. It might just be a bunch of separate things that have been chained one after another. I think I'm nearly shot of it—thank you Night Nurse—but it's really put a crimp in my ability to do stuff/general energy levels. Had to miss a friend's 30th and some other stuff over the weekend. Being ill sucks, man!
Bit of a heavy week this week so a bit less and mostly a bit shorter but still:
- First of a series that will run until I have exhausted all the ideas I've had but not been able to execute: deepfaking Undertaker Cameos
- The conclusion I've reached about the main character of Arrested Development embarrassingly late after many rewatches
- Why BJJ is like coding
- Some notes on Designing Your Life, a book I would recommend pretty highly!
I'm reading Oliver Burkeman's Four Thousand Weeks for a book club thingy—not quite done yet but it having followed his newsletter for a while it's good to get a heavier dose of his converted-productivity-guy thing. More stuff like this is probably good for me. Also trying to wrap A Desolation Called Peace which continues to be good.
- I've never actually watched Succession but the actual irl wranglings of the Murdoch family are fun enough. This, on the ownership of their family trust, is fascinating.
- Aegir is a very nice blog that almost actively resists the feed-reader—it's got such beautiful design and fonts for every post!
- This guy used a cluster of cheap iPhones off eBay to OCR the text in a load of memes to make his own search engine.
- Andrew Curry's Just Two Things is a favourite, this entry, particularly the bit about the universality of unicorns, really caught my imagination. I'd heard that about dragons before, but not unicorns!
- LRB piece from over the summer that I think must've popped up as part of my slow-rolling Readwise clearout, on the origins of and many uses of palm oil. It it everywhere, and that seems bad!
- A perspective on China's zero covid policy from someone who lived through it.
- They worked out why Roman concrete lasts so well!
- "It is this space that I want. The space to move on, to tinker, to discover things I haven’t even thought of before. To be capable of giving up, letting go, quitting. I don’t wish to be fixed to something. It may give me more anxiety, but it gives me the freedom to explore and experiment."
- Chris Dillow with what feels like a good explanation of much recent political/media non-seriousness, and also the possible downside of full employment.
- honestly I just like the lists of things ants can do
- Be more subtle in your blatant fraud than this, folks.
- And finally: here are some blobs.
I think this was a Ted Gioia rec: In The Spirit Of Ntu—it really bumps. I have read some reviews and I'm not sure I got half of what they got from it, but I greatly enjoyed it. Favourite track: Senze’Nina; which I thought sounded like the name of one of the cities from KSR's Mars Trilogy, and that city was indeed named after the folk song on which it's based! How about that.
I've been crawling my way through Adam Curtis' TRAUMAZONE. It's a weird one: I'm reminded of the last time I saw Stewart Lee live. My old housemate and I had made a habit of seeing him whenever he was around on tour, and at the end of the last time we went, we looked at each other and said: that was... ok? It wasn't bad or anything, it was just... fine. This so far feels just fine. I guess maybe things which feel fresh and revelatory in your teens and 20s don't stay that way? Or maybe this is a bit less good than his other stuff. I guess I did like Can't Get You Out Of My Head? I dunno.
Have a good week, and keep it real. Over and out.