This is the Monday Medley, a newsletter that goes out, you guessed it, every Monday. I republish it here for sharing and referencing, but if you'd like to sign up you can do so right here:
I did an interview with SuperOrganizers that was released last week: "Nat Eliason is Living in the Matrix." It was a really fun overview of how I work & try to stay productive, primarily highlighting how I'm using Roam.
🐮 This week's Medley is brought to you by White Oak Pastures! I mentioned before that they're one of the best places in the US to get carbon negative meat, but they're also a great place to get pet goodies. I gave Pepper and Tahoe the Grass-Fed Beef Rawhides and they liked them so much I had to put them in separate rooms (not great at sharing yet, unfortunately). Most dog treats are sourced from really terrible quality meat, so getting meat that's been raised sustainably is a great way to help your pet and the environment.
🧠 If you want a slightly mind-bending, challenging read to give you some new cultural perspective, check out the founder of BuzzFeed's college thesis: Capitalism and Schizophrenia. It is very, very postmodern not just in its content but its writing style. Here's a passage to give you a taste:
"This is how Lacan explains ego formation and the subsequent identification and alienation with idealized (mis)representations. The story is useful in the present context for two reasons. First of all, it details how the schizoid comes to identify with an imago and develops an ego. Secondly, the conception of the mirror stage has been used extensively by media critics to explain the force images have in the regime of consumer capitalism. The mirroring that Lacan describes happens when a woman looks at idealized images in a fashion magazine, when a teenager stares at a poster of a rock star, or when the man on the street gazes up at the Marlboro man on the billboard. Such examples are omnipresent in this media saturated society."
📝 But, it's also brilliant. His arguments about Capitalism, Schizophrenia, mirror stage identification, consumerism, media, and technology are self-evident as you read through them. And when you layer in knowing that he went on to start BuzzFeed, the ultimate embodiment of Capitalist Media Schizophrenia, it becomes a truly fascinating read.
👨⚖️ Give it a read, and if you're up for more postmodernist linguistic olympics you can always try Discipline and Punish next.
👨💻 Since last weekend I've been putting some more of my free time into programming again. I haven't done any in about three years, so it's kind of fun rediscovering all these things I forgot I know. It's a great break from my normal work, too, and I'm really impressed with how many great resources there are out there for the Ruby on Rails community. Two books that have been helpful so far are Learn Web Development With Rails, and Agile Web Development with Rails.
👩🏫 I'm also really impressed with CodeMentor. Whenever I hit an issue I can't figure out on my own I've been going there to ask for help, and met some really great tutors through it. In a couple of cases I've ended up spending an hour or more talking to someone because they were such a good teacher and kept finding new things to point out as improvements in my work. It can be a tad expensive, but it's worth it for how much time it's saving me.
🤝 I love this style of learning facilitated by books and CodeMentor: study and practice on your own, then get help when you need feedback or want to level up. There's no need to have a mentor watching over you all the time (school), but it's great to have one there when you need it. Very similar to what I talked about in the Old Business, New Tricks article.
🍄 Dr. Bronners, yes the soap company, has committed $1,000,000 to helping legalize Psilocybin therapy in Oregon. Given the rapid legalization of marijuana that we're seeing, I suspect some level of psilocybin (mushrooms) being legal is going to happen in the next few years as well. Ketamine is already legal enough that most people can get a prescription pretty easily. I think we're going to see much, much more therapeutic use of psychedelics in the next few years as more people become aware of their benefits, and the lower risk compared to more typical pharmaceuticals.
So far during quarantine I've gotten two somewhat-excessive toys that I'd highly recommend:
👨🍳 A Traeger. Since getting it, I've cooked on it more days than not. It's like a Tesla of grills / smokers. You can set the temperature within 5 degrees, connect a meat thermometer, and then track it in an app. I cooked some beef ribs for about 7 hours on it when I first got it and they were some of the best I've ever had. I got the Ironwood 650 but they're all pretty similar, just different in size.
🤖 The Oculus Quest. I'm really impressed by how far the Oculus has come. The graphics on this are as good as they were on my expensive gaming computer + HTC Vive setup back in 2017, and the Quest is completely standalone. Best games are definitely the zombie shooter Arizona Sunshine, Space Pirate Trainer, and of course, Beat Saber (I'm not quite at this level yet).
🤯 Eric Weinstein released an interview with Ryan Holiday last week, but what's worth listening to is the intro. He shares his wife's very convincing idea that what COVID-19 has done is rapidly accelerate our adoption of certain aspects of The Future. Remote work, distributed schools, telemedicine, the list goes on. It's well worth the listen.
🇸🇪 This op-ed gives an interesting perspective on the Swedish COVID-19 response. Sweden is doing well considering they're not in full quarantine, but part of why their process could be working is their lifestyle pre-quarantine. From the article:
"Things might have been even worse without the Swedes’ demographic and cultural defenses. This is a population that does social distancing already in many ways. More than half of the country lives in single-person households, working from home is common and access to fast broadband is everywhere."
🤠 Good news for Texans: Governor Abbott sounds like he wants to continue to allow alcohol to go sales post-quarantine. Of all the things legalized or changed during quarantine this one always seemed like it'd be one of the hardest to change back. I went on a bike ride with a friend last weekend and he got a margarita to-go that he sipped as we rode through downtown, it felt very civilized.
🚬 And have you heard that people who smoke might be less likely to get COVID-19? That's what one French study seems to suggest, but the broader look at the data is more complicated. If it is true, though, that'd be a pretty remarkable data point and could be helpful for developing treatments.
🏋️♂️ The Mountain from Game of Thrones set a new Deadlift world record last week at 501kg. It kinda looks like he could have done more.
👶 If you want your baby to get in shape during quarantine, just build them one of these classic baby leg exerciser machines.
📺 And this Onion article on "Last Male Heir To Bloodline Watches Movie Alone On Laptop" has some absolutely gold lines in it:
""This thing is buffering at a crawl tonight," said Brandten, whose 19th-century namesake Nathaniel Lee Brandten once led his kin across barren wilderness in a tragic half-decade trek from Boston to the Pacific Northwest. "I'm not even watching it in full-screen mode. Why is it so slow?"
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Have a great week,
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