Right now I'm reading

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Bram
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Post by Bram »

Let’s say me and someone are hanging out and they say “Look at those [insert discriminatory term].”

I know from experience that if I don’t say anything, that poison seeps into my head. And that poison makes my life worse. Instead of being generally friendly towards that group (which is how I prefer to be to everyone) and going about my life, I put some of my energy into being hatefully focused on them.

I don’t care to run around telling random strangers how to live. But I do want to enjoy life as fully as I can. Looking at people as less than me lowers my quality of life. Not saying something when people say those things in front of me lowers my quality of life.

As a separate issue, I don’t have to be friends with anyone that acts or talks that way either.

I’m not sure what your point is about bringing Barack Obama. Anyone — politician, black, white, gay, straight, liberal, conservative, male, female, rich, poor — can be an asshole or a good person.

I only need to call out bigotry when it’s right in front of me to feel good. I only need to be silent, or agree, to feel bad.
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motherjuggs&speed
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Post by motherjuggs&speed »

My point was that people are selective about who they criticize. If you were Republican-leaning I'd have said Trump or Bush. Same kind of evil perpetuated by them, same kind of selective blindness on the part of those who agree with them, or their speeches anyway. Libs are always calling out someone or other but I never see any of them criticize people who have done a lot more harm than some random person, youtuber, celeb, etc..


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Post by motherjuggs&speed »

Sailing Alone Around the World, by Joshua Slocum. I'm amazed that I never read this before, been on the list since forever. It's engaging, funny, and insightful. Slocum recounts his good times with joy and his mishaps with wit and mostly good humor. Since it was written around 1898 you can probably grab it from oceanofpdf without issues.

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Bram
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Post by Bram »

motherjuggs&speed wrote: Fri Sep 15, 2023 1:17 am My point was that people are selective about who they criticize. If you were Republican-leaning I'd have said Trump or Bush. Same kind of evil perpetuated by them, same kind of selective blindness on the part of those who agree with them, or their speeches anyway. Libs are always calling out someone or other but I never see any of them criticize people who have done a lot more harm than some random person, youtuber, celeb, etc..
Unless we have a big reach, and I sure don’t, the only thing that matters is the few people we come across each day or week. Just trying to like who I am as a person, make my deceased parents proud, that kind of thing.
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Post by motherjuggs&speed »

Touched with Fire, by Kay Redfield Jamison. What happens when a manic-depressive, who is a professor of psychiatry and also a gifted writer, writes about manic depressive illness and the artistic temperament? An amazing journey through the lives and minds of brilliant and troubled artists is the result. The only reason I keep putting this book down instead of reading it nonstop is because my mind is ablaze with the insights and revelations contained herein and I have to think about them for a while.. There are a few books I really wish I had read earlier in my life and this is one of them. If you have any interest in people who are creative, a little touched, or both, this book is for you. If you know someone like this or are one yourself it's essential reading. Highest recommendation.


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Post by motherjuggs&speed »

A Life in Hand, by Hannah Hinchman. The subtitle is Creating the Illustrated Journal and that's what this book is about. Part instruction manual, part sketchbook, part journal, the author takes the reader along while she describes and demonstrates her process for making amazing art out of everyday things. Hinchman makes little moments of magic happen, especially with her captions of her drawings, some of which are incorporated into the drawings. I loved this book and if you like this kind of thing then you will too.

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Bram
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Post by Bram »

Thanks for the A Life in Hand suggestion! I’ve been reading some books on drawing and sketching and appreciate the heartfelt recommendation.

——

Finally finished Lost Connections by Johann Hari. The thesis of the book is that depression and anxiety aren’t defects of our brains to be treated solely by drugs, but a signal that we need deeper, healthier connections — to people that we care about (and who care about us); to meaningful values; to nature; to work we care about.

The book was full of a dizzying amount of suggestions and ideas and I found myself constantly taking notes and reflecting.

My main change has been to prioritize people that care about me (and vice versa). And to de-prioritize people that have show themselves to not care. I’m not mean, haven’t had any “I can’t be your friend” conversations, I’m just polite and tell them I’m busy. Shifting this alone has had a massive impact.

If you want to make changes in your depression and anxiety, or have a better understanding of those that are suffering, this book will give you plenty of food for thought.
If you can't dazzle them with brilliance, baffle them with bullshit!


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Post by motherjuggs&speed »

Change Your Brain Every Day, by Daniel Amen. In keeping with Bram's idea that the right book finds him, I've been going to the free table at the library to see what grabs me. I saw this and started on it. It's about brain health and some ways to achieve it.. The tone is soothing, which itself is good for my brain. It's intended to be read at the pace of one page a day, 366 little things to do every day. So far I like it a lot.


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Post by motherjuggs&speed »

Gift from the Sea, by Anne Morrow Lindbergh. Another library table book, this one spoke to me and I'm glad I picked it up. It's a very short set of essays about solitude and the rhythms of life. It works well with my winter mood. I would say it's a one sitting read but I've been reading a few pages a day and letting those settle in.


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Post by motherjuggs&speed »

Scott's Last Voyage,Through the Antarctic Camera of Herbert Ponting. This is part narrative but mostly it's writings by the expedition members. I love the writing of a lot of these explorers. The chapter on the dogs was worthwhile in itself. I like the way Scott's log becomes more brutally elemental as his party nears the end. Recommended.

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Bram
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Post by Bram »

Ablutions, by Patrick deWitt.

A piece-of-shit, alcoholic bartender works in a seedy drinking hole in Hollywood. He encounters a crackhead, a poor transexual, a child actor drinking himself to death, grifters, drugs, violence, gross sexual encounters.

It’s a short read, darkly comic, and I blew through it. deWitt has another book, The Sisters Brothers, that’s got good reviews and I’m waiting on that from the library.
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Post by Bram »

The Man Who Quit Money, by Mark Sundeen.

A non-fiction account of the life of Daniel Suelo, a deeply spiritual man who abandons money to embrace Jesus's teachings.

I thought it was going to be a how-to book -- tips and tricks on how to live off the land and out of trash cans -- but the main focus in on his complex spiritual journey.

Although the book did not inspire me to abandon money, it left me questioning my values.

Note: I skimmed 5-10% of it, finding some parts tedious.
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Post by Bram »

The Sisters Brothers, by Patrick deWitt.

A murderous farce set in the 1850’s Old West. Two brothers, hired killers, encounter all sorts of oddballs and ne’er-do-wells in their quest to hunt down an eccentric prospector.

Funny and engaging!
If you can't dazzle them with brilliance, baffle them with bullshit!

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Bram
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Post by Bram »

Y: The Last Man.

10 issues into this 60-issue comic book series. We follow Yorick, a young escape artist, who, along with his pet monkey, Ampersand, find themselves the last males on the planet after a mysterious plague.

Many women go crazy in the aftermath and the world is looking to be dead within a single generation.

Love it so far! Looking forwards to continuing the story.
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Bram
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Post by Bram »

Gnar Country.

Steven Kotler is a journalist who has written a number of books, many focusing on the flow state. Rise of Superman (about the flow state in extreme sports) being my favorite so far.

In this book, he decides at 53, to pick up park skiing (rails, jumps, half-pipe, etc.). He’s been an avid skier his whole life, but wants to “kick ass before he kicks the bucket.”

In approaching his challenge, he uses tools he’s learned along the way.

One concept I think y’all IronGarmers would like is the idea of a multi-tool solution. You do one thing, but it checks multiple boxes. In prep for the season he starts doing weighted hikes with his dogs, going from 30 minutes with a 10lb vest to 90 minutes with a 30lb vest. This gets him ready for hiking in the backcountry during ski season, gets him outside in nature (which helps clear his head for writing), takes care of the need to walk the dogs, etc.

The book is mostly his ski journal. He smokes pot, he lands new tricks, he eats shit. I don’t ski, don’t know the names of the tricks, and these sections can grate, with (what feels like) 25% of the book literally just ski trick names.

But he also has a lot of enthusiasm and love and I liked reading his journey.

One last critique: the dude just fucks himself up. And then is like “the flow state is shown to reduce inflammation, so if I can just get in flow I’ll forget about my back/knee/shoulder.” Some in-season strength training (which he does not do, opting instead for a truncated yoga routine) would have gone a long way.

4 outta 5
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Bram
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Post by Bram »

Y: The Last Man.

Two reviews above I had just finished the first 10 issues (of 60). And now I've finished all 60. I loved it. Best thing I've read all year, and the best thing I've read since Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow, which was my favorite book of 2023.
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Post by Bram »

Hidden Potential by Adam Grant.

Having read dozens of self-improvement books, I’d become tired of the genre. Slogging through 300 pages to maybe gain a sentence worth of useful advice had lost it’s luster. So it was a pleasant surprise to read this thought-provoking book.

Grant covers a lot of ground: the success of the Finnish school system; an alternative to brainstorming; a baseball player who finally found success at 37.

Throughout the book, I found myself taking notes and scribbling ideas. For example, research shows that it takes an average of seven or eight sessions to understand a concept—which holds true for math, science, and foreign languages and for kindergartners to college students. Knowing that has given me mental leeway on integrating some new snowboarding techniques. And should give me patience and empathy in teaching personal training clients exercise and nutrition principles.

I came away excited about future possibilities.
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Post by Bram »

Move by Move, by chess Grandmaster Maurice Ashley.

A short, easy-to-read, self-help book.

The concepts include:

* Learning to become grateful for mistakes
* Examining your greatest strengths to discover your weaknesses
* Learning to monitor your overconfidence levels

If you enjoy self-improvement and simple chess ideas, I'd recommend it. Because it's so short, a library copy is suggested.
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Post by Ronald RayGun »

One Nation Under Blackmail - Vol. 1 by Whitney Webb. Only in the first 50or so pages. CIA/FBI + every identity-based crime crew = how we got where we are. We seem to have bought in for decent-ish reasons, but let it all turn to shit.
"Sorry I didn't save the world, my friend. I was too busy building mine again" - Kendrick Lamar

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Bram
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Post by Bram »

Take the Lead by Sasha DiGiulian.

Sasha was a kid who climbed the walls in her house before stepping into a climbing gym at 6. At a party for her brother’s 8th birthday, she was the only kid to make it to to the top. Within a year she was winning competitions. At 18, she was the woman’s overall indoor world champion.

From there she gets a degree, falls in love with outdoor climbing, and does first ascents all over the world. The book lightly covers most of the climbs, which keeps the pace up, with much of the book focusing on the emotional, physical, and mental challenges of being a pro athlete in the spotlight.

She comes across as an intensely driven, good person. I liked it and plan to pass it on to a couple strong women in my life.
If you can't dazzle them with brilliance, baffle them with bullshit!

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