Tuesday, August 31, 2010


Highlight (literally, I highlighted it) from chapter 1 of Absence of Mind:

"I propose that the core assumption that remains unchallenged and unquestioned through all the variation within the diverse traditions of "modern" thought is that the experience and testimony of the individual mind is to be explained away, excluded from consideration when any rational account is to be made of the nature of human being and of being altogether."

It's got me thinking, for sure, she makes a good point. This book isn't what I was expecting, it's a workout and I need to take a rest about every ten pages, but it also feels great to be thinking about being and the mind in ways I've never really done before. I can't wait till I can chat about what I thought with anyone else who's read it, which so far I think will just be one person. Shame, coz I have a suspicion that there will be a bunch more gems like the above in the rest of the chapters.

If you have 20-odd spare clams, go order a copy of booko.com.au. and get some decent pre-summer-trash-reading in.

sleeping. or something.

oops - almost forgot this thing existed!

So I think I might start writing about some chilled out tunes over at When You Awake. Feel free to go trawl the backlog of posts by a whole bunch of cool people from places like Nashville, LA, Norway and London.

Apparently I'm the southern hemisphere correspondent for all things twang-related.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

'Absence of mind' by Marilynne Robinson

So back in June I was enjoying a weekend in Blackheath when I read this article on Marilynne Robinson’s new publication, ’Absence of mind’. I was blown away by the extract and was motivated enough to get a few people in my world to agree to read the whole book with me.

We’re starting on August 15 and I’m guessing we’ll take around 3-4 weeks to finish it. The plan is we’ll all meet up to talk about what we thought at the end. Just like a real book club! Except I refuse to use that term because of the nanna-ish images it conjures up.

Basically, the book is a printed version of the lecture series Robinson did at Yale last year as part of the Terry lectures. Before this, I hadn’t even heard of the Terry lectures, which are interesting in themselves. I’m looking forward to getting down to discuss the ideas in the book with people whos intelligent opinions I value very much. So far I've convinced a physicist, a law student and a nurse to read with me.

Even though I’m not yet the greatest debater, I do think a few people reading the book with me will have some interesting responses to the arguments Robinson puts forward. It’s also a side project of mine to push myself to start engaging in debates more, so that I can start to rely on my ability to argue a point coherently. Hopefully I’ll survive the discussion and post a review in September.

P.S. there are some more reviews of the book here, here, here, and here.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Job markets and contracts

from skins, via

Monthly job ad numbers have been steadily increasing for months now in Australia. Has the market turned back to being one geared to the job seeker? We may not ever see the kind of craziness going on around jobs and inflated salaries that we did a few years ago, but short of that, the jobs market does seem to be expanding again and this can only be a good thing for job seekers.

With a little more buoyancy in the market, is there an argument for 'early career' professionals and graduates to start looking less for security and more for experience? Contract roles are always a great way to guarantee experience and outcomes in a specific area. Because of that, they’re a great way for people looking to gain experience and who already have skill set to offer. Obviously the down-side to this is that contracts are usually short to mid-term and this is often seen as a risk because of the end-date on the income stream. However, with graduates often being the least encumbered employees when it comes to financial commitments (i.e. fewer grads have mortgages, credit card debt, children etc), contract work could be an ideal opportunity if the risk is recognised and accepted.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

inspiration: july

even though I already did an inspiration thing for July, I think I can get away with another one because I didn't do one in June. Heck, this is my space, just go with it. These are the top ten things that I'm enjoying on the web at the moment.

  1. Write an article for tonymorganlive.com - this is great. I already admire this guy, but he's also open to giving others a leg-up and listening to them. Bonus.
  1. Menomena - like the reviewer, I don't know anything about the back catalog, but after listening to the tracks attached to this review, I'm a fan. (also a fan of the writer - funny stuff)
  2. Solar powered party box - I can see these things popping up on campuses everywhere. Uni promotions teams going crazy for how many boxes (pun intended) that this ticks: mobile, green, recycled, engaging, open, different, 'young!' 'modern!'. But I also think it's pretty cool.
  3. Population policy - with the election looming and some of the bizarre antics surrounding even more bizarrely designed campaign policies, this article took me by surprise.

  1. Garance Dore on getting started with entrepreneurship - she's beautiful, takes great photos and travels the world for work, but she also writes (via a translator) some pretty good stuff to keep you thinking while gawking at her images

  1. Marnie Stern 'for ash' - this song is on high rotation in my life this week. The review refers to the sound of strangling, and I have to admit they're not far off the mark.
  2. History lesson - a friend I consider to be quite intelligent once told me that most of what they learnt for year 12 history they got from Eddy Izzard's live show. This comic reminds me of that.

  1. Deer tick 'twenty miles' - I love this song. The reviewer isn't  big fan, but I disagree, for all the reasons they don't like it, I do.
  2. Roast pumpkin soup from foodlove - this stuff is to die for
  3. Connectivism - the main learning theory I'm studying this year, I'm a big fan of George Siemens. 
What are you digging at the moment?