Links from the past weeks

  • Harry Styles is very likeable, and while the song’s merits can be debated, the music video for As It Was is a work of art. I had to find out where it was filmed.

  • I was trying the Matter app, and I enjoyed Kieran Setiya’s piece titled What’s the use of hope?

    I like the Matter app’s interface, and the play audio function was great. It was free to try before 15 January 2023; the subscription is US$59.99 per year. I have been a user of Reeder, and I have flirted with Instapaper and Pocket previously but I’ve usually found that I do not use read-later apps that much. Reeder does have a read-later function, but I tend to not use it. I am now also trying out Anybox, which I am treating as a bookmark manager, but it also has a download/ read-later function. At this moment, while the Anybox interface makes things nicer to look at, given my needs (not much), I might just stick to Pinboard since the repository function is the main point for me (I paid a one-time fee previously, before the site changed to a monthly fee model). So I will use Pinboard + Reeder + Apple Notes.

  • The mac mini M2 is finally out. The lowest end model is cheaper than the M1 version. Such a sweet little box.

  • Why You Really Shouldn’t Spend a Lot on a Standing Desk

    This article’s title amused me. We are there already? I haven’t gotten a standing desk, because I’d have to remove from my just-the-right-size apartment our trusty bludot Strut desk. I had considered converters but could not stand the idea of my monitor & keyboard & mouse shuddering as they were being moved up/down. Also, a large converter that would fit a monitor + keyboard seem to be such an ugly mammoth atop the desk. And yes, the “solution” is the same as before standing desks came into fashion – get up, take a walk.

  • Ten Percent Happier has a course they call “The Dalai Lama’s Guide to Happiness”. I enjoy the format, where you watch a short video before the meditation session. Roshi Joan leads the meditation sessions, and she has a very calming presence.

  • We started watching The Chase, a trivia game show, and of course, I had to find out more about the Chasers. Buzzy is such a fun presence and Victoria Groce was so good, I thought she was an actor who was supplied the answers.

📖 Walking 

“My next project is to draw circles around places in which I find myself, say with a radius of one to five miles, and then to follow the circumference on foot all the way around.

Walking sometimes means undertaking an inner voyage of discovery. You are shaped by buildings, faces, signs, weather and the atmosphere. Maybe we were made to walk, also in cities? Walking as a combination of movement, humility, balance, curiosity, smell, sound, light and- if you walk far enough – longing. A feeling which reaches for something, without finding it. The Portuguese and Brazilians have an untranslatable word for this longing: saudade. It is a word that encompasses love, pain and happiness. It can be the thought of something joyful that disturbs you, or something disturbing that brings you plenitude.”

“Everything moves more slowly when I walk, the world seems softer and for a short while I am not doing household chores, having meetings or reading manuscripts. A free man possesses time. The opinions, expectations and moods of family, colleagues and friends all become unimportant for a few minutes or a few hours. Walking, I become the centre of my own life, while completely forgetting myself shortly afterwards.”

Erling Kagge


I was in the library and saw plenty of books on running, and I thought that’s not what I want, why aren’t there any books on walking? The simple act of walking is perhaps too ordinary to deserve books to be written on it. But I took a step to the right, and there they were – books on walking. I was pleased, the bright pleasure of discovery in a library, amidst too many books that may or may not interest you.

I enjoyed the author’s book on silence, and had expectations for the book. It did not disappoint. This ode to walking is a perfect book for my December. Contemplative but not too much, and in December, I took a few more walks, one much longer than usual.

Highly recommended.

📖 Lucy by the Sea 

“We all live with people—and places—and things—that we have given great weight to. But we are weightless, in the end.”

“He told me that his wife had Alzheimer’s, and that he could not remember the last word she had spoken to him, because she’d become gradually more and more silent and then she remained silent. And this man, her husband, could never remember the last thing she had said.”

Elizabeth Strout
Lucy by the Sea


This is a book about the early days of the COVID pandemic, and it is surreal to read about something while you are still in it. (In our country, the pandemic is in a way, over, and we are living with it endemically, but one can never be too sure.)

The prose is sparse, but words precisely used, evoke a sense of delight in this reader. The main character is a lady in her 50s and the writing was such that I felt myself slow, to inhabit her world and her surroundings. The book is poignant but does not overwhelm. There is a lingering sense of hope, which we all need.

Links from the past weeks

Reading – 2022

Books here are only listed if I’ve completed them; recommended titles are in bold.


Snow Crash
The Hobbit
Born to Run
Empire of Pain: The Secret History of the Sackler Dynasty
Crying in H Mart
Autopsy (Kay Scarpetta)
The Fellowship of the Ring
Mother of Invention
Truly Peculiar
The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue
The Nineties
Portrait of a Thief
Just Keep Buying
The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse
The Impossible City: A Hong Kong Memoir
Plays Well With Others
The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich
This Is How They Tell Me the World Ends: The Cyberweapons Arms Race
Samsung Rising
Death and the Penguin
So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed
The Puzzler
Upheaval: Turning Points for Nations in Crisis
Stolen Focus
Lucy by the Sea
The Two Towers
Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone
The Power of Meaning
The Simple Path to Wealth
Walking: One Step at a Time
Impractical Uses of Cake
Life Time
How Will You Measure Your Life
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

38 books; 15 fiction

Mega books are being dealt with, and although LOTR is not done yet, I’ve decided to go into HP for 2023. Quite a number of good books this year; my top ones are Death and the Penguin, and This is How They Tell Me The World Ends.

📺 Some things I’ve watched – 2022

Next Level Chef
Singles Inferno
The Amazing Race S31
Top Chef
Inventing Anna
Endless news footage of Ukraine being invaded
Seeing Red (movie)
American Idol S20
Dr Strange (movie)
The Handmaid’s Tale S5
Sisters Who Make Waves S3
Masterchef Singapore
Iron Chef – Quest for an Iron Legend
Bridgerton S2
Call Me By Fire S2
Pulau Ujong (a play)
Spy Family
The Playlist
Friends reruns
Generation Wealth (documentary film)
Foundation S1
Harry Potter 1 (movie)
Slow Horses S1
Harry Potter 2 (movie)

I would recommend those in bold. Oh, Severance is very, very good.