Showing posts from 2016

You can't win

For decades, Americans were worried that the Russians were going to turn the US into a glass-topped parking lot.
Now they're anxious that Don wants to make friends with them.


Because "they've always been our enemy".

Wow. Too many westerns I reckon.

You know, black hat/white hat and all that.

Live large

When I ordered my "daily habits" diary, I had the choice of this garish pink version with a cheesy slogan on the front or a plain black one with "2017" on the front.

The black one was the obvious choice.

So I chose the pink one.


Because I like to break habits.

Because I was afraid of the pink one and I don't like being ruled by fear.

Because it will just be a whole lot easier to find amongst my stuff :)

Live large.

Two things Jim Rohn said

1. "We must all suffer from one of two pains: the pain of discipline or the pain of regret. The pain of discipline weighs ounces, the pain of regret - tons."

2. "Success is nothing more than a few simple habits practised daily."

The longer I live, the wiser these become.

Robert Pirsig needs to write a sequel:

"Zen and the Art of Motorcycle RIDING".
Who cares about the maintenance?

Well, we do, but you know what I mean.

I can see already that good motorcycling is a meditation.

Complete present-mindedness.

A wandering mind on a motorbike is going to be a recipe for disaster.

The maiden ride and still in one piece!

Thanks to the watchful eye of ex-Metropolitan Police (London) brother-in-law and the quiet internal roads of Perry Lakes where you can take your time without pressure.

Something I really appreciated though is that brother-in-law didn't let me be too cautious. That can be as problematic as being too confident.

In short: I LOVE THIS!

It's literally like being a kid again.

Only with brains this time :)

If you want to spend your own money protesting,

go for it. But please don't spend mine.

Here, let me help you with that

Australian academics study beer prices at the cricket while the residents of Aleppo cower in fear, their city reduced to dust and ashes around them. Sometimes - a lot of the time - the world looks a very sad place. But it's always been that way. And always will be. Our job is to do what we can to show kindness to those right next to us. That is our sphere of influence and we need to use it.

How you know your country is rich

When your Gross Domestic Product reaches a certain level?

Or the average wage?

Or the average net worth?


When your academics are paid to study beer prices at the cricket.

The good and bad of being a middle-aged motorbike learner

The Bad

You're slower to catch on.

The Good

You're not afraid to pull up mid-lesson, turn the bike off and say to the instructor:

"Sorry mate, you're going too fast. I just need to ride around the carpark for a while and get used to sitting on this damn thing before I start worrying about indicator on, glance in mirror, look over shoulder, feather the clutch..."

Fortunately my instructor is a top bloke and didn't mind at all.

"Good on you," he said, "the student must always set the pace. You just looked very comfortable so I presumed you were ready to move on."

"Nah," I said, "that comfortable look is a complete sham, perfected over many years of being a manager where it's important to look like you know what you're doing even though you haven't got a clue."

He smiled. He got it.

It's a boy thing

I keep finding reasons to go into the garage.

Oh look, that's a lovely bike!

: )

Motorcycling is too dangerous

You're nuts.
You're having a mid-life crisis.

Yeah, whatever.

The day I saw Harley Lady, I knew I wasn't going back.

Even though I'd never ridden a bike in my life, I knew I was going to.

So I went and got my L's.

Then I booked some lessons and after two I was hooked.

So then I went and bought this pretend Harley: a little Suzuki 250 Intruder.

Looks like a Harley, sounds like a Harley but doesn't go like a Harley.

Thank goodness.

The real thing would probably have me under a bus.

At the moment.

Get proficient on this little guy and who knows ;)

Big Ag

Australia is set to become the food bowl of Asia.
We're going to take advantage of the good soils and reliable water supplies in our north and turn it into an agricultural powerhouse.

It will essentially be private enterprise that makes it happen but the government will support it with cheap loans from a pool of $15 billion set aside for the purpose.

All this will be administered by the Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility, set up in July this year in Cairns.

Exciting stuff.

But let's not depend on it like we did with mining. Even though this is going to essentially double our agricultural output, it still needs to be just one card in our pack if we're to have a truly resilient economy.

Drummers rejoice! Your salvation is nigh!

And it takes the form of these wonderful things.
Like a lot of drummers, I have tinnitus.

Ear plugs aren't the answer because they make everything sound tinny and take all the nuance out.

These latest noise-cancelling headphones from Bose solve all that. I can still hear everything I'm doing, just not as loud.

And because I'm not subconsciously concerned about the damage the noise is doing, I'm much more relaxed. And more relaxed playing = better playing.

Lesson: it's really important to keep up with technology. Things are changing all the time, often opening up new opportunities to enhance your creativity / improve your quality of life.

The elephant in the room

Dementia is a bear.
It's really hard to get your head around it.

Someone said to me yesterday that people under forty today will probably never experience it.


How to Visit Someone With Dementia And Stay Sane

Turn up.

Make it up.

Give it up*.

That's it. Nothing else to say. Or do.

Trust me on this.

*ie until next visit

Iron fist in a velvet glove

"We are ready to cooperate but willing to confront."
Admiral Harris, Commander US Pacific Command, in his address about the rights of nations to navigate international waters in the Asia Pacific.

Not a bad motto for life really.

No hiding

I bought this diary* because it has the most important thing:
A daily habits section.

You write in your essential daily habits and tick them off in the adjacent circles.

You can then flick through the diary quickly and see where the ticks are / aren't.

No more hiding.

*from Pulp Addiction - Aussie company, great prices, great service.

The common language

As we all gradually relax after the election, we start to sense the possibilities.
The possibilities that a hardcore, business-oriented deal maker in the Big House offers.

A deal maker who doesn't care if you're black, white or brindle, communist, capitalist or racist.

Who doesn't care what your previous allegiances were, only what you're prepared to do NOW.

And this is the beauty of business. It crosses boundaries.

Interesting and, dare I say it, exciting(?) times ahead.

You gotta look

Don always says you have to be prepared to walk away.
He's right. It's the only way you get the good deals.

The reason we don't do it is because we're scared the deal won't come our way again.

But as they say, the "deal of a lifetime" comes around about once a week.

If you're looking.

And there's the catch.

We usually want stuff to land in our lap.


As Gary Player says, "the harder I work, the luckier I get."

By the time we learn, it's too late

That's the perennial problem, isn't it?
We finally figure it all out and the train bumps into the stoppers at the terminus.

I'm not sure what we can do about that save listening to others we trust….ie learn from them without having to go the whole journey ourselves.

But that's fraught too. Because sometimes we're just different and the solution for others simply isn't the right solution for us.

Always pondered with this one and still am.

Maybe I'm over-thinking it. Maybe the journey is the learning.


Ed Sheeran

I didn't like Ed Sheeran. 
I mean, really didn't like him.

Not him personally of course - I've never met him and know nothing about him - but as an artist I mean.

Then, sitting at home, working away all day with the radio on a station that played "Thinking Out Loud" incessantly, I had to finally admit it:

The man is a genius.

If you never listen to anything else by him, listen to him sing just one word.

Yes, one word.

It's the "now" at 1:19 in this video. (click a bit before that to get the lead in)

Forgive me Ed.

U da man.

Tip: turn the ridiculous picture off and just listen. I think it's vids like this that irritated me so much about him in the first place. Just sing Ed. Please.

The power of words

Sometimes I read something that just blows me away and makes me realise how much I (we) self-censor when we create. 
We continually limit ourselves to what we think people will (a) accept and (b) understand*.

The latest piece that brought this home to me was this spectacular paragraph.

I love it when this happens. It opens my own floodgates and for a while everything just pours out.

Over time however, the gates start slowly closing again under the pressures of conformity and fear. Until the next time I stumble across something like this or read anything by Jeanette Winterson.

The power of words never fails to astonish me. They're just black marks on paper but they can change the world.

*People are better at reading between the lines than we think. We don't need to spell it all out.

You can't go back, only forward

Don has apparently appointed a Big Oil sympathiser as the head of his EPA.
Dracula in charge of the blood bank kind of thing.

I was reflecting on that and started to realise that when Don said "let's make America great again" he actually had in mind the great America of the past, not a future version.

A great America that is really an old America will fail miserably in a new world.

Bike lesson / life lesson

I had my first motorbike lesson yesterday.
Lots of stuff covered, but the big one?


So then I came home and played my drums and did the same thing. I looked out at the wall instead of at my hands (or the drums). Immediate difference. I was looser, better.

It's all about TRUST. Trust that we have the wherewithal already in us. Our bodies are amazing creations of incredible complexity. They're designed to operate beautifully on autopilot much of the time. When we override this and try to do things manually, we get average results at best. We are much better than we think! We just have to trust ourselves.

Kids do this naturally of course. You'll know what I mean if you've ever gone to the ski slopes with a six year old and been completely humiliated(!)

Learning to ride a motorcycle is going to be good for me. I'm going to learn trust and humility and a bunch of other things. And I'm also going to learn that "fun" is a perfectly good r…

One for the fridge

After my encounter with Harley Lady I went out and got my L plates and booked some lessons.
I soon realised however that Harley Lady's bike is not for beginners, so I've set my sights on one of these Suzukis. They're affordable (half the price of a Harley), approved for beginners (the system is tightly controlled now which is a good thing) yet they still look and feel like a "real" bike. Now to convince the bank managerwife...

PS…this photo came from Zombie Drive Moto. If you're interested in this sort of thing, check it out. Fabulous resource.

PPS… I went and checked out this bike at Rick Gill Motorcyles. After a bit of a chat, Rick said "Let me warn you, you will get addicted to this". Sounds good to me :)

I'm not sure why everyone is stunned by this

It makes perfect sense to me.
You achieve your goal, you look to the next thing.

Life is short.

Each of us is a sovereign person

We get to choose. 
Don has infuriated China by picking up the phone and calling the President of Taiwan*.

Clearly, he believes kowtowing is for cattle thieves.

*China considers Taiwan theirs and refuses to recognise the Taiwanese government. Until now, the US has gone along.

Imagine a city with more bikes than cars

Then go to Copenhagen and see it.

They even have separate traffic lights for bikes.


Businessmen in suits.

Fancy ladies in their finery.

Even dorky, middle-aged tourists who have to be talked into it and then can't get enough of it :)

PS….yes, businesswomen in suits and fancy men in finery too!

Rock n roll

This amazing lady is 71 years old, didn't get on a motorbike until she was 63 and has ridden this magnificent Harley Davidson around the USA twice and across the Nullabor six times.
I've harboured a secret ambition to own one of these things despite never having ridden a bike in my life.

"Do it" she said as she rode off.

Then this afternoon I was in Bayview Tce, Claremont when a young woman rocked up on her Harley and parked right where I was standing.

I got chatting to her too (I hope my wife doesn't read this blog) and her story was totally different but equally fascinating.

It must be a sign, right?

Clutching at straws?

I'm no economist but something seem pretty obvious to me:
Countries that look after the welfare of their workers - ie pay them decent wages and attend to their OSH needs - can't produce goods and services for the same cost as countries that don't.

And that means manufacturing and services move offshore. The American car industry is an example* and the Detroit ghost-city phenomenon is the result. Bad for the American economy, bad for the American people.

So along comes the Don and says "we'll put a 45% tariff on everything from China" thinking that this will encourage local production again.

But will it?

Or will it just make the American people even poorer as they now have to pay a lot more for pretty much everything** (there's not much they consume that isn't made in China!)

What if we took this thinking to it's logical conclusion and stopped all international trade entirely? That is, countries have to make-do with what they can produce themselves…


I've started playing again. 
It's such a joy and teaches me so much.

Like staying loose.

Like trusting yourself.

Like the importance of consistency. And nuance. And playing "support".

I love it.

When your crutches are pulled from under you, you can either fall or stand

If the Don pulls up the drawbridge there will be loud wailing in Australia.

But it might also be our salvation.

We might finally learn to make our own way in the world.

Necessity is indeed the mother of invention.

The world is flat

Climate change is a hoax.
Man never went to the moon.
Elvis is still alive.
Australia will always be The Lucky Country.

Free money from a government near you soon

As technology continues to remove the need for humans to do things, we're going to have a LOT of unemployable people. 
This is about to get really serious once the next wave of technology - artificial intelligence - arrives.

And that's not far off.

Solution: guaranteed basic income for all. 

Earlier this year the Swiss became the first nation to vote on it and rejected it.

For now.

It will have to happen.

The alternative is for governments to let their people starve.

Besides, it won't be as expensive as we think as it would replace the majority of other welfare payments governments currently make.


It's taken me a long time to appreciate the importance of rest.

It's always been "wasted" time.

But that's just lack of understanding of how the body works.

The body does it's repair during rest.

No rest, no repair.

End result: early grave.

The choice is ours ;)


What if you already knew what to do, how to respond?
What if you already have all you need to deal with whatever life throws at you?

That would mean you didn't have to worry.

You could just freewheel, knowing that you'll work out what to do when the time comes.

Imagine that.

What if non-doing was the most effective doing?

We've been brought up to be constantly industrious. This is the way to effectiveness. Get stuff done.
And yes, a fair dose of that is necessary.

But it's not enough.

It's not enough when doing becomes your default because you don't know what to do. 

At those times, non-doing is your best friend. It allows a quiet wisdom to surface, a wisdom that's in you but rarely gets an outing because you're too busy.

The thing is it takes some trust to access this wisdom. Because non-doing feels like laziness and we're strongly conditioned against it.  But you have to trust. Trust that this quiet wisdom can only be accessed by quietness.

Some people call it meditation.

"People" is good

Objection to development in Perth is often on the basis of the increased number of people it will bring.

But "people" is good. There's safety in numbers (think Manhattan at night) plusit's just more interesting when you have lots of people around.
Dormitory suburbs with crickets and tumble weeds is 1950's thinking.
"People" = fun!
Sure, you get the oddballs as well, but instead of seeing them as a "stain" on the social fabric, you could choose to see them as "colour" and "texture" :)

Gold Chain?

Anyone want to help me start "Gold Chain" home care service?
It would be a premium service for people who don't mind paying more to get more.

The client would get the same carer each time, all carers would be Registered Nurses and they would come at precise times (not "sometime between 8am and 2pm").

Sounds like a market niche there to me - especially in the western suburbs.

Looky here

After my disappointing stroll around Elizabeth Quay this morning, I stumbled across "Central Park" in the CBD. 
Big trees, close-spaced. 

The prosecution rests.

We're "majoring in the minors and minoring in the majors"

That's the thought that came to me as I wandered around Elizabeth Quay this morning.
The spec on the bridge and paving and seating and walls and all the other hardscape is superb. World class.


Sorry, it is. Really, really abominable.

And here's the thing: you could have spent far less on the hardscape if you had put a bit more into the trees.

Because when it's all cool and leafy and lovely, YOU DON'T CARE ABOUT THE PAVING. It's just how it is folks.

Landscape Architects are missing the boat in Perth. I talked to one the other day and he thought I was just being negative. I'm not. You are getting it wrong guys.

And the reason is because you are TOO SCARED to specify the sort of tree planting that you KNOW is right for this hot, glary place: BIG trees at relatively CLOSE spacings.

Come on, join me in this fight! Be prepared to lose a client if that's what happens as a result of standing up for WHAT IS RIGHT FOR PERTH.

We …

Is Don, is good?

A crazy thought occurred to me a few days ago and won't go away.
Could the Don actually turn out to be a really GOOD President?

And then I thought: what actually MAKES a good President?

Then I thought: my brain hurts.

And you know what?

I don't think I'm alone.

You gotta stop!

Sam Brown said it. We have to do it.
Just stop. 

And do nothing.

Give yourself that gift.

Every day.


PS…1:57 to 2:12 on the Sam Brown vid leaves me open-mouthed every time. What a singer.

Wow! Thankyou friends :)

I'm talking about those of you who have subscribed to "Don" already!
It means a lot to crazy people like me who like to have to write every day. I'll do it regardless but it definitely makes it more enjoyable if you think someone might actually be getting something from it :)

If you want to join them, put your email address in the box on the right. Posts will automatically turn up in your Inbox. Is that a good thing? One reader emailed me to say he looks forward to finding them each morning because they're so different to the other emails he gets which, let's face it, always want you to DO something. Hopefully "Don" is the opposite - ie it GIVES you something.

Besides, it has pretty pictures. I know there aren't too many yet, but trust me, they're coming! Photography is my other compulsion and my shutter finger is starting to twitch uncontrollably.

Have a great day folks. We're lucky to live in this beautiful, bountiful place called Per…

Have you noticed how the world can look different in the blink of an eye?

It all depends on whether you're excited or not.
When you are, everything looks friendly.

Our mission then is not to do this or that or be this or that - it's simply to get EXCITED.

When you are, everything else seems to sort itself out.

Or maybe it's just because you don't CARE about everything else.

Either way, you win :)

I'm too fat

I hate it. And I have to fix it.
Michael Moore ("Bowling for Columbine" etc) says he doesn't worry about it any more. He just goes for his walks, eats sensibly and his weight is his weight.

I've tried that. I hate it.

I've come to realise that my sense of wellbeing is very much tied to feeling lean. And I've also come to learn that the only way I can be lean is by adopting this mindset:


I literally tell myself this every day." I don't eat." Of course I do eat, but only when hunger forces me to. ONLY then. And only enough to make that hunger subside.

At first this feels brutal. It feels like you're living half a life but this just shows how much you have been using eating as a comforter.

The trick is to FILL that empty half with something other than eating. For me it's writing.

So, today I start.


I'm reminded again today that there are no big problems

Only lots of little ones. 
However big the problem seems, you can always break it down into a series of little ones which are easily achievable. 
Just knowing that lets me sleep easier. 

I'm big on personal growth

because I happen to believe it's the way to all the other growths.
How do I become a better leader? Become a better person.

How do I become a better artist? Become a better person.

How do I make my marriage better? Become a better person.

How can we make the world a better place? Become better people.

Too simplistic? I don't think so. In every endeavour I've undertaken I've found this to be true. The problem is of course it's the HARD way. Much easier to buy a book on leadership or attend an art course or go to marriage counselling. All the above can help, but without the big one - becoming a better person - they're ultimately not going to deliver what you're after.

There's no shortcuts in life in my experience.

Seeing is forgetting the name of the thing seen

This is a quote from Lawrence Weschler. It's genius.
So often we look at things with label attached. In doing so we fail to really see the thing. It's not a "native" or "non-native", it's a tree. They're not "indigenous" or "non-indigenous", they're a person. It's not "hip hop", "jazz" or "country", it's music*. To get up every day and see the world as if we've never seen it before is our challenge!

*Questionable in the case of hip hop, I know (joking, OK?)

Time to raise our sights

If Qantas get their new Dreamliners doing non-stop London to Perth we're going to have to do better than this.
I'm referring to the fact that Whiteman Park has been officially rated the top tourist attraction in WA.

No offence to them - I'm sure they do a terrific job with what they've got - but come on, we can do better than that.

What's the obvious thing we have that Europeans don't?


The problem is that visiting our beaches is often not pleasant - too hard to get out of the sun and wind. Fix that, add world-class eateries and they can be real meccas. The insane popularity of the new development at City Beach shows that.

If you have other ideas, click on "No comments" below and leave one :)

The difference between us and the Yanks

I remember someone saying that if an Australian saw a Rolls parked in the street he'd likely run a key down the side of it whereas an American would say "I'm going to have one of those one day."
I know the ol' USA is not in a great place right now but, that aside, what an incredible story they've been. From a bunch of mum and dads on the Mayflower to the world's most powerful nation in the relative blink of an eye*.

That hasn't come about because they run keys down the side of Rolls Royces. It's come about because they've kept asking "what if?". Australia might be the lucky country but the United States is the driven country, always willing to chance their arm.

Yes, you'll find plenty of ills Stateside but, wow, you have to admire their chutzpah. They really have been the epitome of "can do".

*I saw a stat the other day that shocked me. China's GDP was miles …

May as well start with the man himself

How the heck will he cope with the rigours of governing?
I mean, the guy is an entrepreneur. His whole life he's basically done what he wants. Come and gone as he pleases. If he wants to go to the beach, he goes. Now he's going to have to cope with schedules. And long work hours. And endless meetings. And paperwork. And….well, you get the drift. Point is: IT 'AINT GONNA WORK! Mike Pence better get ready. I reckon he's going to be the boss sooner than he thinks.