I’m not applying for a career change

Never, ever take a dapper website for granted. In today’s increasingly sophisticated online environment, even small changes require craftsmanship. I take my hat off to all the web developers! I’m moving my website and making cosmetic changes, and guess what? It’s not easy and missteps are common.

Patience . . . patience . . . I whisper to myself.

Big Decade: What’s respite from obsession like?

Check out the doppelganger. One of the pair is the intense one, attending to a big year. The other is the relaxing one, enjoying birding in northwest Victoria. Which is which? How would I know?

It felt decidedly strange to do no writing, not even journaling, for five full days. Sleeps were full of dreams. I would have said it was a welcome respite, but the transition back to real life has been a jolt.

My Big Decade: Danger danger messing with data

As an ex-actuary, data is all. Data underpins. Agree or disagree, we require data, right? As a historian, I observe that nations can be ranked by the openness and completeness of their historical archives. In Putin’s Russia and under totalitarian regimes, both the past (historical records) and the facts (scientific data) are hard to find or nonexistent. America is a beacon of historical and scientific integrity, so heavy-handed excising, as in this article (Victoria Hermann in the Guardian, image from that article), distresses me.

What can be curated?

I believe curation – loosely based on traditional art gallery or museum assemblage and presentation of an exhibition – will reign supreme on the Internet. With so much free stuff sloshing around, eventually we’ll pay trusted people/organizations to sift, sort, present and recommend.

Given my interests, I imagine curating books, music albums and movies. So it’s distressing to spot this sign. Curating an apartment block? Surely that’s a debasement!

Chess obsession

Paul Broekhuyse, chess editor of The Australian, favourably reviews a memoir-centred look at the legions of chess wannabes, struggling in near poverty to improve and break into the proper professional ranks. It sounds like the scene for pianists, singers, guitarists, dancers, authors, artists, actors, etc., etc. As a fellow obsessive, this is a book for me. (And chess is grist for the mill for the techniques/practices of Anders Ericsson’s idea of “Peak.”) (Image from the book review)

Big Decade: Take a look at this big year . . .

This concept I’m running with, the big year one, of course comes from birding, and sometime soon, hopefully before the next decade, Pam and I will do a proper Birding Big Year, of some sort, across some geographical territory. My pulse quickens at the thought.

What I can say is that we won’t aim for the stratosphere, which right now is Arjan Dwarshuis’s global record, set over 2016, of 6,833 birds, two-thirds of the world’s species. Just as unattainable for us is the previous record in 2015, Noah Strycker’s 6,042 species, but let yourself be inspired by this terrific Longreads article by Eva Holland about Strycker and his quest . (Image from the Longreads article)

Big Decade: The war against coal

This year, for me, is 3 Big Years, of writing, fitness and rock music. It should, oh it should, also include joining the war against coal. Nothing contributes more significantly and directly to the heating of our planet than the mining and burning of coal. We needed coal but that time is gone.

So . . . so not much. I’ll find a way to contribute dollars towards the anti-Adani campaign in Australia but this year’s time is taken. Sigh.

(Image from Michael Leunig’s website)