Housekeeping, halfway through 2014

Ohio Caverns

It’s hard to believe that we are halfway through 2014. I haven’t written a cohesive post here since my short Hershey Park_review and that’s not going to change with this one. But I did want to share what I’ve been up to.

Reading

I’m making my way through the thick, but light Reality is Broken. The book’s premise is that games do a better job of making us feel connected than reality does, and if we look to why and how this happens we can make reality better. I don’t know if I should be blown away or be more critical. Ironically I was reading Taleb’s Fooled by Randomness at the same time I started this and he writes that clear cut solutions to complex problems cannot exist without “severe distortions.”  If Reality is Broken is like a serving of strawberry shortcake, Fooled by Randomness is like a mashed potato with cheese. Taleb would seem to write by banging on the keys and thinking, I’ll make sure they get their money’s worth and each page of his is like a Where’s Waldo search to make sure I understand what he’s written.

I’m also working through Epictetus’s The Enchiridion with an eye specifically towards how I can apply those stoic thoughts to fatherhood. Confining my application to one area of life has been guiding and I’m often surprised how limits can help focus our thinking.

I’m also paging through Change Your Thoughts, Change Your Life. The most powerful piece from that book so far is the idea that the Tao is in all things and if the Tao is in me then the things that bring me happiness are the truest forms of the Tao. Unlike Fooled by Randomness this book is more airy but like it, it requires reflection.

If you’re looking for anything else to read, my book reviews are up at Productivityist.

Listening

The 99 Percent Invisible podcast about skyjacking was great. Great. If you like trivial facts from history woven in a good story, check out this episode.

Despite putting it off because “I don’t like Adam Carolla the comedian” I thought his interview with James Altucher was filled with wisdom. One bit was when Carolla spoke about the importance of focusing on your inputs rather than outputs.  Here’s one quote that reflects that:

But, you know, the whole thing about rejection is it’s kind of like, I don’t know, a cop writing you a chicken [beep] ticket for rolling through a four-way stop.  Like how personally do you want to take that?  Do you know what I’m saying?  CBS, NBC, FOX, they pass on a hundred shows a year, and then the next year, they pass on another hundred.  And since I got passed up by CBS and NBC, they passed on two thousand shows.

I’m not sitting around looking my wounds.  I know those shows would have been successful.  I know that the ideas were good.  I felt strongly about them.  I gave it all I had to give.  I never – the only time I feel bad is when I feel like I didn’t do a good job.  I don’t feel that way.  I felt like I did a good job, and it didn’t work out.

Watching

My sister-in-law and I took our kids to see How to Train Your Dragon 2. It was certainly darker than the original but had a nice series of obstacles that moved the story along. After reading Tyler Cowen’s post about Godzilla (2014) it caused me to wonder about the undertones to even a movie like this one. I think they are there, but will leave it at that.

Our family also took a trip to the Ohio Caverns where we took an hour long tour, reaching a depth of 103ft below the surface. It wasn’t much compared to Mammoth Cave in Kentucky but was well worth the half-day trip.

We also visited the Toledo Zoo and Putnam County Fairs this past week.

Hope you had a great first half of the year.

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