I’m proud to be the commentator of the Perth Redbacks NBL1 team who is smashing out these numbers!

🔗 My Podcast History • Robb Knight

Now I’m mostly listening to a handful Relay shows like Connected, Rec Diffs, and Ungeniused plus Hemispheric Views, ATP, and Really Specific Stories.

I’m not going to lie. It’s pretty cool to have my podcast mentioned in the same breath as some of these big names. Thanks Robb!

Everything Everywhere All at Once, 2022 - ★★★

That was weird but fun, and slightly confusing.

I’ve woken at 4am and stayed that way. Cool!

Even on the hard days, and facing hard times, it’s healthy to find the fun.

The Talented Mr. Ripley, 1999 - ★½

After watching the TV series Ripley, this didn’t hold up.

The one thing I want to buy after the announcement of new iPads? A replacement battery for my existing iPad Pro (3rd gen).

Our pal @rknightuk has knocked this one out of the park. We talked albums on Hemispheric Views E110. Now Robb has built a replica-iTunes to catalogue responses from listeners. It’s incredible.

I’ve been in Epic Games account v Microsoft Xbox account hell for the past hour.

I’ve completed the first Chapter of the Johnny Decimal Workshop. This is a pre-recorded video training course that has excellent production values. If you want to get organised, I highly recommend it.

In my happy place commentating NBL1 basketball. 🏀

A brick wall.

All of Us Strangers, 2023 - ★★★

Poignant, sad, confusing. In equal measures.

Mornings of Reading are a Blessed Treasure

A good reading session will take me on a journey. Often the start will come as a surprise, and will take me on a voyage to an unknown destination. Along the way, my mind will be engaged, interested, and challenged.

Today, I’ve had one of those mornings.

Here is some of what I found, and some of the most captivating excerpts from them. I invite you to come with me on my reading adventure.

Music

I started with an article on musical taste. Daniel Parris dives into how musical tastes change and develop, using statistics:

Open-earedness refers to an individual’s desire and ability to listen and consider different sounds and musical styling. Research has shown that adolescents exhibit higher levels of open-earedness, with a greater willingness to explore and appreciate diverse musical genres. During these years of sonic exploration, music gets wrapped up in the emotion and identity formation of youth; as a result, the songs of our childhood prove wildly influential over our lifelong music tastes.

My music tastes were definitely set in my earlier years. I still get ridiculously happy when I play Radiohead’s OK Computer and it still feels modern.

While reading the article, I found it supported a stance I often talk about when I buy the same noodle dish from the same shop, the theory of opportunity cost. Then Parris educated me on the optimal-stopping problem and the 37% Rule, which were new to me:

The explore-exploit trade-off and an adjacent decision-making puzzle known as the optimal-stopping problem have prompted extensive research and the coining of a shortcut known as the 37% rule. This heuristic suggests we spend the first 37% of available search time exploring our options before settling on a preferred solution or selection.  

Seriousness

Next, I found an article by Ian Leslie1 on what it takes to be a “serious person”. If I could choose to live my life over, I would be a serious person. Sadly, I think my personality traits and my lived experience prevent me from achieving this.

On seriousness, this quote sums up my issue well:

I wanted to have children partly because I thought it might make me feel more serious. It actually did, although only somewhat. Maybe the biggest difference is that I stopped worrying about being serious.

Wokeness

Having recently suffered the wrath of extreme wokeness in a work setting, I have been subconsciously trying to understand this issue better. For most of my adult life, I’ve identified as ‘centre-left’. Progressive, but with an understanding that there is a place in society for a functioning economy, but that the economy is there to serve people and create an improved society. I don’t believe we are there merely as agents to feed the economic machine, and so there is a social justice and care for humanity that must be incorporated. Then, all of sudden, I was in a meeting where I became type-cast as the ‘old white guy’ and became the target for woke vitriol. Since then, I’ve been somewhat fascinated by my own stance on all of this.

This morning’s reading was interesting, in this regard, as another of Ian Leslie’s articles was entitled, Am I Anti-Woke?

On Nick Cave, Leslie writes:

Cave is, like most rock stars and artists, a left-leaning liberal, but he has a well-stocked mind which draws from various streams of influence, including and particularly Christianity (although he’s not a practicing Christian). As a result he takes positions that are unusual for his milieu. For instance, he has written that “cancel culture” is having “an asphyxiating effect on the creative soul of a society.” In another blog post he says he’s repelled by “woke culture” because of its “lack of humility and the paternalistic and doctrinal sureness of its claims”.

On conservatism, this resonates. Am I becoming a conservatist? Or just willing to recognise the value that it can deliver?

“The man of conservative temperament believes that a known good is not lightly to be surrendered for an unknown better.”

Ah, hang on. Leslie covers my thinking in the next paragraph:

By the standards of most conservatives, Cave is a progressive, but I take him to be saying that he combines a conservative sensibility with a liberal one. This is how the Nigerian novelist Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie puts it: “Yes, there is a part of me, as I think there should be a part of everyone, that is conservative. There are things that we don’t want to change, you know.”

And getting to wokeness itself, Leslie writes:

Wokeness is a social contagion at least as much as it is a set of ideas - I’m sorry to say it, but ‘mind-virus’ is not the most inapposite epithet I’ve ever heard. It has an amazing ability to make clever people say stupid things and to lower the IQ of institutions. I think that’s partly a function of an emphasis on appearances, on being seen to be saying the right thing, in a world where everyone feels on show, and vulnerable to a moralising ransomware attack.

That’s why so many people in positions of power have passively gone along with it, without quite buying into it. Up until recently (this is changing) wokeness has been a safe space for those who can’t or don’t want to risk thinking for themselves in public. The passivity of moderates allowed a minority of activists outsized influence, and woke’s worst aspects - divisiveness, scapegoating, obscurity, just the sheer absurdity it generates - to flourish without check.

I think this is what I experienced in my work setting. I appeared different, I didn’t speak according to the norms of the room, and so I became vulnerable to attack.

I love this 1924 quote, showing that things have, in a sense, always been about finding a way between two extremes. However it seems that, as with many things, time has created further polarisation. Less shades of grey:

In 1924, G.K. Chesterton wrote about how the world was dividing into Conservatives and Progressives: “The business of Progressives is to go on making mistakes. The business of Conservatives is to prevent mistakes from being corrected.” The world is now dividing into a degraded version of this dichotomy: woke and anti-woke. You’re either for Kamala Harris or Ron DeSantis. You’re either for children being taught there are 183 different genders or you want to ban gay marriage.

Nick Cave

All these links and discussion of Nick Cave were a surprise. I know virtually nothing about Nick Cave other than he is liked by Tim Hein of The Unmade Podcast. Today, I learned he is an interesting and thoughtful character.

My reading session led me to articles about Cave, and his own blog.

A couple of quotes from Cave that stood out to me today, include:

I tend to become uncomfortable around all ideologies that brand themselves as ‘the truth’ or ‘the way’. This not only includes most religions, but also atheism, radical bi-partisan politics or any system of thought, including ‘woke’ culture, that finds its energy in self-righteous belief and the suppression of contrary systems of thought. Regardless of the virtuous intentions of many woke issues, it is its lack of humility and the paternalistic and doctrinal sureness of its claims that repel me.

Wokeness, for all its virtues, is an ideology immune to the slightest suggestion that in a generation’s time their implacable beliefs will appear as outmoded and fallacious as those of their own former generation. This may well be the engine of progress, but history has a habit of embarrassing our treasured beliefs.

However, my duty as a songwriter is not to try to save the world, but rather to save the soul of the world. This requires me to live my life on the other side of truth, beyond conviction and within uncertainty, where things make less sense, absurdity is a virtue and art rages and burns; where dogma is anathema, discourse is essential, doubt is an energy, magical thinking is not a crime and where possibility and potentiality rule.

Nick Cave, is, indeed, a serious person.


  1. Incidentally, this article led me down a rabbit-hole of Ian Leslie writing, and has me closer to subscribing to a Substack article than I have been before. For now, I’ve grabbed the RSS feed. ↩︎

Late-Stage Capitalism & Housing Supply in Australia

Late-stage capitalism is destroying a basic human right - being able to live in a house - as housing affordability for renting and buying across Australia has been smashed in recent years.

A report produced by Anglicare Australia highlights with cold hard facts something that is already clear in the community: Australian housing is unaffordable. I note a few quotes from ABC News’ story covering the release of the paper that highlight the challenge facing our nation.

There is not a single property across Australia – or even a room in a shared house – that’s affordable for someone on youth allowance, according to a new report from support organisation Anglicare Australia.

Not one property! Not even a crappy place in a crappy suburb. Nothing. And good luck convincing a renter to let you rent their property and establish a share house. That isn’t going to happen. You’re stuffed.

In Western Australia, the housing market has lost all dynamism. It has ground to a halt, with just a couple of thousand properties on the market in a city of around 1.8 million people. If people can’t be certain of being able to find a house to buy a house, they’re not going to try to sell the one they’re in. So we end up with a malfunctioning market. Just as the employment market needs dynamism to ensure productivity—people leaving old jobs and entering new ones—so the housing market needs a pipeline of properties on a continual basis.

Housing unaffordability has killed the market, and is leaving a wake of homelessness as a result.

The solution isn’t unknown. It has been known for a long while. But conservatism and vested interest holds back change, which is hardly a surprising situation.

“an overhaul of the tax regime” is needed – including the capital gains tax discount being phased out over a period of 10 years and negative gearing deductions to be phased out for new investors in the private market.

It has been evident for many years that the ‘investor class’ are leveraging what is not a loophole, but designed policy, in the form of negative gearing and the capital gains tax discount to profit from housing. Buying and owning multiple homes has become an investment game for those who can afford it, pushing up prices and pushing out people who need a home to simply live in. The increasing price pressure means rents go up in lockstep, further punishing those who can’t afford a ride on this particular gravy train.

A previous Federal Election saw Bill Shorten as Opposition Leader run an aggressive campaign to end the current negative gearing tax policies. Confronted with a scare campaign from the conservative side of politics, he lost the election. That’s scared away current politicians from making changes that are necessary for the greater good, never mind the wake of economic and social destruction that might be left in its wake.

I swear my Roomba stalks me. Whichever room I move to, sure enough, Roomba soon turns up.

Domain transfers from Hover to Porkbun are in progress.

Reviewing my Backups

I identified that my formerly robust system of data backups, particularly for photos, was no longer great.

A combination of frugality and simplification had gone too far.

Some time ago I deleted my Backblaze account. Recently I deleted my Flickr account. That left me only with iCloud Photos, which is a sync service and not a true backup. This doesn’t protect my old Lightroom .dng files, nor anything else that isn’t a photo.

I tried using my OneDrive account, but attempts to upload large volumes of files through the web interface and disabling the relevant folder through the OneDrive client to avoid multiple download/duplications failed. OneDrive on the web borked at the folders - I don’t know why, and nor did I have the patience to investigate deeply.

I asked my brains trust over at the Hemispheric Views Discord, and the answer was Backblaze. So, I’ve returned to that service, tail between my legs.

My other option was to dig out my spinning disk caddy, and buy a hard drive, but that sounded like more physical labour than I was motivated to achieve.

As Backblaze once again sends terabytes of data from my system to its data centres, I feel some sympathy for the machines. But seriously, NBN, can we please get some faster upload speeds?

Tonight I was lucky enough to commentate a triple-overtime game of NBL1 basketball between Perth Redbacks and Eastern Suns. 🏀

Rocking a new pair of shoes.

I finished Season 1 of 3 Body Problem and don’t want to have to wait for Season 2. Bring it on! 📺

Should I subscribe to Castro podcast player? I like the direction the new ownership seems to be going in.

Fun to be back behind the microphone calling NBL1 West basketball games for Perth Redbacks. 🏀 🎙️

Those who listen to @HemisphericViews will know that I’m a beach guy! Here I am repping the show and a wetsuit!

Spotify is so much better at surfacing interesting, not necessarily mainstream music. Apple Music works really hard to keep me near the Top Charts. 🎵