The Reason for God: Belief in an Age of Skepticism by Timothy Keller – I’m not really a believer in God or Christianity or any religion – but I’m always interested. So I read this in the hopes that it might help me understand why people believe in God — but I’m not sure this one did the trick for me. I found it dry and uninteresting and unconvincing.
Skipping Christmas by John Grisham – I have a theory that, in general, if you read the book first before you watch the movie adaptation then the book is better. However, if you watch the movie first and then read the book, the movie is better. This has been true for me 95% of the time and it’s true again. I pictured Tim Allen from the movie, Christmas with the Kranks, the whole time I was reading this book. I do love the concept of the story – I can relate to Luther Krank every year.
🎸 Music I’ve been listening to
History Books, Gaslight Anthem – I became a fan of Gaslight Anthem back around 2016. By that time they were on their indefinite hiatus. I thought I had missed any tours or new music – but, I was very excited when they got back together and toured last year – and now we finally get new music. And it’s a great album from beginning to end and just like I would expect it to be — very similar to their past work, but a little more mature, a little more reflective.
3 Ways To Compound Your Portfolio Quickly – This is probably the number one YouTube channel I’ve been watching lately as I’ve gotten more interested in stocks. I thought this video explained very nicely and simply at least one simple strategy for how to invest.
I had gotten very busy with work and life, in general and it seemed like something had to give. For me, I love the internet, but I also try to prioritize it last when compared to anything in my real life. So writing and sending out this newsletter was something that didn’t happen for the last several months.
But now that things have cooled out again… picking back up where we left off.
📕 Books I finished reading last month
I’ll be honest, I’ve been in a bit of a reading slump lately. I’ve been reading, but I’ve also been struggling to get through books at my usual pace. I didn’t finish reading any books last month.
Because when you’re struggling, why not try to read a 1200+ page French novel? Actually, I thought it might help for a couple of reasons – 1) I loved Les Miserables and this seems to be the same genre and 2) my wife is listening to the audiobook at the same time – so we’re discussing it a bit.
This has been a somewhat interesting read. The subtitle is “a zoologist’s study of the human animal” and goes into some of our biological and evolutionary behaviors that make us the animal we are today.
I’ve listened to the first episode of this series 3 times over the last several years. I thought it broke down how WW1 started in such a vivid way – I had never heard history talked about like that. I finally decided it’s time to break down and buy the rest of the series and give it a listen.
I read this book twice in a row, and then thought hard about it in order to make a YouTube video. After doing that, I did feel that I got way out of the book than just reading through it once. It did take a lot more time and effort though. I’m still deciding if I want to keep trying
This was a bit of an easy read – an alien visits Earth and notices that odd behaviors of humans and attempts to act like one while. I was going to read it twice (like Gilead), but opted just to place it back on the shelf, for now.
We have a long line of ancestors – way back, past the first humans even – back to lizards, and even to fish! This book shows our connection to all these different animals, for example how fish fins evolved into our hands with fingers.
I started following the Springsteen tour as soon as it started. This was the opening night and I pre-ordered it the night of the concert. I listened consistently up until the Kansas City, MO concert was available.
Pretty cool to hear a concert you attended, mixed professionally and available for download just 5 days after the concert. It’s definitely different to listen to a concert live and then listen to it on your headphones, but very cool.
This was a nice story and makes you think about how you interact with people. I think one of the key takeaways from this story is that it takes effort from both parties – the FedEx guy would never know that his kids’ fished unless he came forth with that information.
✍ Quote I’ve been thinking about
“The problem is no longer getting people to express themselves but providing little gaps of solitude and silence in which they might eventually find something to say.“
An alien visits Earth and notices that odd behaviors of humans and attempts to act like one while completing the task he was sent to Earth for. It’s pretty comical and really makes you think about some of our odd behaviors. I finished reading this once, but I will read it a second time as well.
📕 Books I finished reading last month
I’m reading at a much slower pace than normal because I’m trying out/testing out reading books twice through rather than just once. It seems it takes twice as long to read a book twice. But I have found that I do seem to get get a little more out of the second reading that I missed the first time around – or maybe it gives it me more time to think about the story.
This one is slightly embarrassing. But, I have to be honest – I’ve listened to this album a lot over the last few weeks, especially on runs. Maybe it has something to do with the tempo of the songs that makes it a good running album? That’s what I’ll blame it on, anyways.
Speaking of Taylor Swift, I was unfamiliar with Bon Iver except for his duet with Taylor Swift. After watching a brief video on the making of his first album which was very interesting, I took a listen… and didn’t like it. Then after about the third listen through, I started thinking – hey, this is not too bad! This is normal for me – I sometimes need 3-5 listens through before deciding that I like something.
I’ve been thinking a lot about the question – why do we read? What are the benefits? Can we get the same benefits from other mediums? Anyways, this article I thought summed up a good point on one reason to read is so that you can write, and you should be able to write so that you can think.
The classic self-help book. There were a couple of good things in this. But also there were some things that made me question if people were just extremely rude back in the 1930’s when it was written – that someone would have to instruct people not to talk that way. This book got very repetitive by the end.
The Light Phone has always appealed to me. A phone that really limits what it’s used for. The original Light Phone only had the ability to make phone calls and that was it – otherwise a dumb phone. This seems like a good idea for someone trying to use their phone less. But then you realize you can’t take a photo of something you see, you can’t text you brother, you can’t find your way if you’re lost. Our phones give us so many tools.
The Light Phone II gives some more functionality including GPS, Music, and Podcasts. After watching some video reviews, I think I’ll still stick with my Pixel for now. How would I call an Uber? How would I track how long I’ve walked? How would I play Clash of Clans?
But, I still like the minimalist aspect of it – so I set out looking for a minimalist Android launcher that might be used as an alternative to the Light Phone, still giving me the capability to do all of the things that you “need” to use your phone for. There are several minimalist launchers to try:
These all seem to have a similar home screen as the Light Phone – minimalist, text only. However, the one I liked the best and landed on was the Olauncher. It is free and has a very minimal approach – it was exactly what I was looking for.
Here is a screenshot my homescreen:
This does add a very little bit of a barrier to getting to your apps… but not really enough to where I’m not going to play Clash of Clans. It’s pretty easier to swipe up and start typing in Clash of Clans:
So, I think I’m going to stick with the launcher – but mostly because I like it aesthetically. I don’t think it’s a true alternative to the Light Phone. I don’t think it adds any true barriers to actually using your phone for all the distractions it can provide.
I rated this one a rare 5 stars. This talked about basic methods for analyzing companies to determine if they might be a good investment and it was written in a way in which a beginner could understand. It was exactly what I was looking for.
Still trying to get into this one, totally. The White Buffalo’s last album, On The Widow’s Walk I liked immediately – but that has not been the case with this album. But, I’ll give it a few more listens.
“You get more out of reading 1 book that’s great 5 times than out of reading 5 mediocre books.
Books that are older, in general, tend to be better because the reason the reason the person wrote it was a different intention. They wrote it because they wanted to transmit knowledge to the next generation. Whereas the people who write books are now are writing for money, writing for notoriety, or writing to sell other shit.
If I read something once, I still don’t know it yet. I will read a book 2 times, 3 times, 4 times, 5 times – until I can teach the book.
If your behavior doesn’t change as a result of reading a book then it means you’ve learned nothing which means it was a waste of time. Many people that read books are just wasting their time, because their behavior doesn’t change“
I’m wrapping up a strong year of reading – I’m already a couple of books past my yearly goal of 20 books, and there is still a month left in the year! I’ve also started thinking about what I want to do for reading next year.
I’ve always considered re-reading some of my favorite books – but I’m always torn because on the one hand, I think you’re wasting time re-reading something you’ve already read when there are so many other books to read – but on the other hand, I think there would be some benefit from it.
“You get more out of reading 1 book that’s great 5 times than out of reading 5 mediocre books.”
I think this might be true. So that got me thinking, maybe I should just take next year and re-read the books I’ve already read once and thought were great or, at least, worth re-reading.
I didn’t take reading seriously until about 2015, which is when I started tracking my reading on Goodreads. And since then, I’ve obviously gotten better at reading and especially better at note taking and capturing ideas. I know not everybody believes note taking is beneficial when reading, but I have a hard time reading now without a pen and paper to go along with the book.
I think it will be an interesting exercise to go through. One reason it will be good is because I seem to have a short memory, and likely don’t remember most of these books. They say you only remember 10% of what you read, but for me it has to be closer to 1% – especially after a few months.
And also because “No man ever steps in the same river twice, for it is not the same river and he is not the same man” (Heraclitus), it will be interesting to see how I feel about some of the books I read several years ago.
I’ve used a Windows PC since I was in 4th grade – all through high school – in college – through my entire 15+ years working. My company recently decided that I was due for a new computer and all new computers issued were going to be Macs.
I’m both excited and a little frustrated trying to learn how to use the Mac. Keyboard shortcuts have been the worst to try to learn/unlearn.
So now I’m using a Mac for work and a Windows for personal and I only have 1 desk. It’s annoying to use my keyboard on one computer and have to use the laptop keyboard on the other. I have a bluetooth mouse for my Mac and found an old USB mouse for my Windows PC. I only have 1 desk – so it becomes quite a tangle mess.
Wouldn’t it be great if I could easily switch my bluetooth keyboard and mouse to which ever computer I’m working on? Is there a way to do this?
There is! And it works. And it works good. And it does more than I hoped for!
Synergy by Symless costs a one-time fee of $29.00 and it might be the best $29.00 I’ve spent in awhile.
Not only does it make it quick to switch between your computers – it makes it seamless. Like moving your mouse between monitors. I was surprised at how smooth and slick it was – even between Windows and Mac.
If your mouse is on the Windows – you can use Windows keyboard shortcuts. If you move your mouse across over to the Mac – you can use Mac keyboard shortcuts.
It’s fairly easy to setup. You download and install the Synergy program on both computers. Pick one computer to be the server, or main computer and the other computer will be the client.
On the server computer, you setup where the computers are in relation to each other – similar to how you arrange your external monitors in a Display settings:
Then you connect them via IP address.
The best part, and most pleasantly surprising to me – even copy and paste works across computers – even between Windows and Mac!
Talking about the 5 mass extinctions that have happened in the past and asking if we’re in the next mass extinction currently. Pretty fascinating to read about the people that first discovered the dinosaurs bones – that would be pretty frightening digging up a pterodactyl!
This was an odd book. I thought the initial setup of the story was good – the main character was about to turn 30, he had a good job and lots of dates with various women, but he was searching for something. However, the end was odd and I didn’t really understand it.
The Smashing Pumpkins also released a new song from an upcoming album that won’t be released until April 2023. This sounds real heavy and I like it. But it reminds me a little (or a lot) of Eye of the Beholder by Metallica.
Every once in a while YouTube amazes me on what you can find on it. As I was reading about the Apollo missions I started looking up these recordings of the radio back and forth between the astronauts and Mission Control. This one from Apollo 13 is pretty cool and I thought it was cool at how much the movie got right from these recordings.
And just to round this list out, the last time humans were on the moon.
✍ Quote I’ve been thinking about
“Here’s to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in the square holes. The ones who see things differently. They’re not fond of rules. And they have no respect for the status quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them. About the only thing you can’t do is ignore them. Because they change things. They push the human race forward. And while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do.“