Ramble #78

Ramble #78
StableDiffusion Prompt: "Bees in my wall. Ethereal. Dreamscape."

Hi Team,

Welcome to the latest edition of Ramble, a compilation of what I have been pondering, learning and enjoying for the past couple of weeks.

Now, grab a beverage and let’s begin.


Something Interesting:

I recently had a swarm of bees take up residence in my laundry wall.

It was awesome.

I was not well prepared. I phoned a friend for help.

He only brought one bee suit - forethought is not our strength...

We tried a 'trap out', by bogging up all the exits with some 'one way valves' so the bees could exit the wall but not enter.

It looked like it might be working.

So we positioned a fresh new hive box for them to move straight in to.

And waited.

I will let you all know how the story ended in the next edition...

For now:

  • Immediately go and watch this documentary on bees - it's amazing

Bees - Living for the Queen

What I am Reading:

This is an amazing read. The author's mother owned a slave that the family brought from the Philippines to America. The slave helped raise him and his family.

Her name was Lola.

The author benefited from slavery, in California, in the 20th century. How does one reconcile that?

A sober look through the history and rationale for puberty suppression in juveniles diagnosed with Gender Dysphoria (slash-gender identity disorder-slash-transsexualism-slash-gender incongruence).

With specific discussion around the risks of puberty suppression's effect on bone mineral density and emotional and cognitive development (and the resulting implications on consent to further cross-sex hormones and surgery).

The author highlights a clear concern regarding the effects of pubertal suppression on sexuality and sexual desire into adulthood.

Selected quotes -

"...the availability of GnRHa now makes it feasible for parents to treat a young child as the opposite sex, which guarantees that the child will experience the onset of puberty as catastrophic and thus demand endocrinological intervention."

"Clinicians need to explain how they are sure that some of the adolescents being prescribed GnRHa would not have grown into gay or lesbian adults, with their sexuality and fertility intact."

  • A History of The Middle East (Peter Mansfield and Nicolas Pelham)

It's... the history... of the Middle East...

How could it not be interesting...?

What I am Watching:

  • Sins of Our Mother (Netflix)

Mormons...again. And murder, cultism, doomsday prophecies and doughy pathetic dweaby preachers fomenting evil. Again.

  • The Gift (Netflix)

What happens when bullies grow up? What about the bullied? This one gets a bit dark towards then end...

  • Lou (Netflix)

Essentially a mix between Taken (Liam Neeson, kidnap movie, "...particular set of skills...") and John Wick (stoic unkillable character) - except it's an old lady that looks like a grandma, in the wilderness, who doesnt like people.

Essentially my perfect movie at this point.

The two main characters are female (although the bad guy is male) so this movie comes as close to 'Frozen' in passing the Bechdel Test which is cool.

What I am Listening to:

  • Royal Republic - Rata-Tata
  • Cautionary Tales with Tim Harford - A Leap of Faith from The Eiffel Tower
‎Cautionary Tales with Tim Harford: A Leap of Faith From the Eiffel Tower on Apple Podcasts
‎Show Cautionary Tales with Tim Harford, Ep A Leap of Faith From the Eiffel Tower - 22 Sept 2022

"Self-experimentation - particularly in the field of medicine - has a long and checkered history. Can we learn anything useful from such unorthodox experiments, or are they reckless acts of egotism and hubris?"

There is a famous well-worn story (told to literally every Australian Medical Student ever) of the Australian Nobel Prize-winning doctor who showed hat Helicobacter Pylori (bacteria) was a primary cause of stomach ulcers - by drinking a cup of cultured bacteria...and growing ulcers in his stomach...

(He would also give himself regular endoscopies to check the progress of his stomach inflammation...)

Anyway - that and many other stories of self-experimentation (and, importantly, the incentives that lead to the decision to self-experiment) are covered in this episode.

Some Recent Shows:

I recently went to the new show at Dracula's on the Gold Coast - 'Sanctuary'

Dracula's is an institution - it is a must go. And I plan on going at least every year (or to each new show) since my first visit last year.

It's rude and raunchy and camp and everything 'Rocky Horror' with some amazing musicians, acrobatic acts and actors. The wait staff are part of the show and the 'Ghost Train' to enter the theatre is legendary.

A comment - I saw last year/season's 'Muertos' show which was honestly better. It felt like they were down about two full-time-equivalent cast members from 'Muertos' - a dedicated dancer to lead the dance lines and a dedicated actor/Master of Ceremonies to lead the show. It seemed like the remaining cast had to wear a few too many hats.

A few grumbles -

  • The VIP seats (see below on why to always go VIP) extended into the thid row back in the second level of the theatre = not VIP seats (see why this matters below, I swear I'm not that shallow...)
  • The ghost train was broken down - unavoidable, sure, but it is a key part of the show

Bottom line - Dracula's is awesome and I will go to every show they run.

Also went to The Pink Flamingo's 'The Glitz' Show.

The Pink Flamingo only opened in 2019 but is another one that I will keep coming back to for every show after first seeing their 'Suave' show last year.

I have seen La Nouvelle Eve and Moulin Rouge in Paris and the The Pink Flamingo's shows are of the same standard...or better...

Would highly recommend.

Why You Should Always Go VIP:

So I figured this point deserves it's own subsection.

For the most part, VIP seats are not that much more expensive than the regular seats. At places like Dracula's and The Pink Flamingo, the difference is about $40 (or less).

You are often spending a weekend away when you go to see shows like this, making it a tragedy to be shafted to the nosebleeds. Pay the $40 extra.

Sit at the edge of the stage. The cast will pick on you, call you on to stage, you'll get free stuff and the best view of the show in the theatre.

A Quote:

Or a quote of sorts. Michael Sheen is asked what kind of speech he would give the Welsh soccer team before they face England in the World Cup. So off the cuff he gives this -

And now I want to march on England...

How to Quit Your Job and Escape for a Year (and Why You Should...):

Last edition we covered:

  • Part 1 - How to Quit Your Job; Section a) - Don't Tell Anyone -

So this time, we move to:

  • Part 1 - How to Quit Your Job; Section b) - Get a Good Job -

"Once you have had the thought that escaping might be nice, and not told anybody, you will need a good job to fund it.

'Good' should mean a few things here:

  • Roughly in your field of interest. You need to be able to willingly trade time for money for this period - soul crushing labour is not sustainable.
  • Scope for career progression is broad.
  • Job security is high.
  • Your role is well-defined.
  • You are paid to the level of a skilled professional. (This does not imply you have a University Degree...)
  • Leave can be accrued. (This will become important later)

Think government bodies like health or industry. Some of the big private firms. Universities. etc

Examples -

University Requirement: Nursing - Incredible job security and demand for labour; career progression is clear and broad into multiple specialties and levels of seniority; good pay (penalty rates) for skilled work; and leave can be accrued within a health service.

No University Requirement: Trades - Think Carpentry or Plumbing - This would need to be within a larger company with scope for progression through levels of seniority and leave accrual; high job security (given staggering demand); skilled labour that demands a premium; low competition against incoming tradesmen not committed to doing 'good work'.

I don't care how you Get the Job, but for the love of all that is holy, don't tell anyone your plans in the job interview.

Don't worry, you are not lying by omission. Because at this point, you are literally at step 1b of the plan. You couldn't tell anyone where you are going or when you are leaving if your life depended on it.

Just Get a Good Job first."

Next edition I will cover:

  • Part 1 - How to Quit Your Job; Section c) - Do Good Work

A New Tool I am Trying:

Artifical Intelligence is coming for you. Or at least your job.

Rapidly improving AI technology was originally feared to be the beginning of the end of the sciences, medicine, mathematics and certainly chess.

But it looks like AI will come for the arts first.

Take GPT3 for text generation - The days of the assessed essay must be nearly over.

Between DALL-E and Stable Diffusion for image generation - The days of fee-for-design or fee-for-art must soon be over as well.

Then there is Whisper for speech-to-text recognition.  

As a bit of a play, I have started updating the feature images for my recent posts using Stable Diffusion with a prompt of "the first few lines of the newsletter + Ethereal + Dreamscape" and the results are spectacular, unique images.

As a bit of fun (This is GPT-3):

Closing Thoughts:

Thank you once again for reading along with me.

If you found something you liked, let me know.

If you think I can do something a little smoother, please let me know.

Talk soon.