Welcome to Life at Number Eight! My monthly series that lets us recap the month and catch up with everything that has been going on.
Oh hey there!
After a January that was seemingly endless, February has flown by so here I am coming to you a little late with this months…episode (??) of LANE.
So much has already happened in this first week of March including the great Australian toilet paper shortage (which has shown us the worst of humanity and the best of internet memes) and my 30th birthday, but we are going to have to wait until next month for that. For now, let’s reflect on month two of 2020.
What happened in February
We all learnt how to wash our hands, properly. February was a weird month with the world’s focus on COVID-19 and the sensationalist media coverage ramping up fuelling the situation as people started to worry and shame anyone who was bold enough to sneeze or cough outside their home. I found it interesting watching a health crisis unfold with the main advice being as simple as wash your hands. Something so basic can prevent the spread yet so many people just don’t do it. And even less do it properly. So if you take anything from this month let it be to wash your hands properly and with soap!
We got rain. Like a lot of rain. After a really hot and dry few months, and not having seen proper rain for close to a year, it came bucketing down. The grass is green and long (sometimes I swear you can see it growing), I haven’t hung washing outside for a month, I have been hit with a wall of water from a speeding car driving through a flooded road as I’m walking home from the bus stop on more than one occasion, and from what I hear the waterfalls in the surrounding areas are running again. It’s refreshing and beautiful to see.
I had to buy a new iPhone. One day when I got off the bus I realised that the sound was no longer coming out of my headphones. Later that day I tried to take a call and that didn’t work either. After initially blaming my headphones I tested with another pair and realised it was in fact the phone. An appointment at the Apple Store concluded that my phone was failing and death was imminent. So a lot of money later, I have an iPhone 11. So far it’s not that much different except for the camera which is definitely a step up. So that’s fun, but I am still annoyed at the unexpected expense.
Surviving another massive month at work. This month things didn’t slow down at work with a couple of our major projects launching which left me without too much time or energy for much else.
Seeing Tool live at the entertainment centre. A group of friends and I went to see American prog-metal band Tool this month and it was amazing. For a band that has been around for as long as I have been alive, it’s incredible to watch them live and the show is full of insane lighting and lasers. Plus being at the entertainment centre in Brisbane it was a lot of fun to watch people passionately headbang all while remaining comfortably seated.
Showcasing Brisbane’s food and drink scene to friends. While our friends from out of town were visiting for the concert we took the opportunity to take them out to show off some of the best places to eat and drink in Brisbane. We kicked things off on the Friday night at Eat Street Northshore where we ate plate after plate of fresh oysters, followed by paella and burgers, vegan chocolate covered fruit, and finally warm cinnamon doughnuts and honey puffs for the car ride home.
On Saturday we drove across town to Cafe O’Mai for some of the best Vietnamese in Brisbane for lunch. After a quick afternoon nap, the evening started at Super Whatnot for cocktails before sitting down to a selection of dishes from Fat Noodle, which is one of my all time places to eat in the CBD. We finished off the night with espresso martinis at The Gresham, content that we had done our best to explore a few of our favourite spots.
Made weekdays so much better with meal prep. This month I turned to the trusty resource of Pinch of Yum and made the meal prep egg sandwiches to stash in the freezer which were the greatest way to start my day each morning. I also made the salmon burgers (pictured above) and found that one of these with a salad was actually a really tasty but healthy work lunch. Having this good food ready to go was a game changer and made me realise how different my weeks flow when I don’t need to worry about what to eat.
Most Popular Blog Post
This month I chose the theme of chocolate for my content due to valentines day and I delivered two new recipes that really brought the chocolate to the front. It is no surprise to me that the most popular this month was the chocolate lava cakes. Making just two little cakes, these are so very easy to make and I may have had them more times that I care to admit this month.
What I Read This Month
So I didn’t end up finishing the book I am currently reading that I spoke about in my last update (stay tuned for next month, hopefully), so I just have the three audiobooks to review for February.
I am expecting next month’s update to look a little different though as I also decided to cancel my audible subscription this month. Basically it is pretty expensive and I am trying to save. So if you have any tips for not getting sick while reading on public transport or (maybe easier) any podcast recommendations, I am all ears.
Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind by Yuval Noah Harari (first published 2011) Audio
I’ve heard many things about this book, and it has seemily been everywhere the last few years, so thought I would finally give it a read myself. The title pretty much gives the content of the book away, but if you didn’t catch that, then you are in for a condensed history of the entire evolution of humanity. Sounds dense, but it’s actually structured really well.
One thing I did realise as I was making my way through the book was that I am not actually that interested in natural history. Sure I enjoy history, but break down the science behind evolution and how people have adapted based on their surroundings, and I start to tune out.
That being said, this book does a wonderful job at taking a lot of information and breaking it into digestible bits that still give you a solid foundation of how we came to be the humans we are today but without the really dry, dense, textbook stuff.
I still found this book super interesting and insightful so I think for that foundational understanding of humanity I think it’s fantastic. Plus there are some really interesting bits about human evolution in Australia and the fact that Aboriginal Australians have been here so much longer than anyone can quite comprehend worldwide. And if natural history is fascinating to you then I am sure you will get a lot more out of the book than I did, as I know that there were sections that I didn’t fully absorb on the first read.
The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battles by Steven Pressfield (2002) Audio
I really wanted to like this book and I just didn’t. It actually comes in as the worst book I have read all year (actually in the last 2 years).
I won’t go on about it too much but while I think the principles are there, the delivery is just not and the author comes across as condescending and arrogant.
This book fell short on providing any real actionable advice and rather seemed to allude to the fact that it was your distraction from what you really wanted that was the cause of any problems in your life, including illness. At times this book had me literally going, WHAT, in disbelief and then having a laugh.
When he speaks about getting the work done and focusing your energy then the book starts to make sense, but you really have to dig through a lot to find that. There are many other books out there that speak much better about unlocking your creativity so quite frankly I wouldn’t bother with this one.
Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup by John Carreyrou (2018) Audio
Now here is a book that I am excited to talk about. This story is so addicting that I want to find the HBO documentary that basically tells the same story and watch it just to keep it going.
It’s possible you may have heard this story on the news – I don’t think I had, but I had certainly heard of this book before and got the general idea. A young, female entrepreneur drops out of Stanford University and starts a bio-tech company called Theranos in Silicon Valley. It experiences rapid growth, gains millions in funding and the young founder is hailed as being the next Steve Jobs. The only catch is that the tech doesn’t work.
Theranos was veiled in lies and secrecy and as the reporter tells the story you start to be unable to comprehend that this is what was really going on behind closed doors. Also I cannot believe that so many questions were not asked! How did things get this far?
Elizabeth Holmes founded Theranos when she was just 19 and through an obsession with Steve Jobs, started to shape herself and her company around her ideal of what a tech startup should be. She was really good at getting people to like and trust her, and even better at getting their money. What she couldn’t do was deliver the product she was selling.
Throughout the years that the book chronicles, she manages to shut down every question about the product which claimed to do the impossible, run a multitude of clinical tests with a single drop of blood. And thus, the company kept getting funding and kept growing until finally, someone broke their silence.
This book is unbelievable and had me hooked with each step in the case to expose the truth.
What I Watched This Month
This month I got on the bandwagon and watched a few Netflix originals that I had heard a lot of people talking about and I ended up really enjoying them!
The review that sold this to me was that it was like Friday Night Lights (one of my fav shows) but about cheerleading and a documentary. This was done so well and made me so interested in something that I had never thought anything about outside of watching Bring it On as a teenager. Very worthwhile binge watching.
Marriage Story (2019)
I wanted to watch this since hearing it pick up quite a few nominations at the Oscars and of course Laura Dern’s win for best supporting actress. This film was such a journey with some incredible acting that really made me feel all the things. It was so heartbreaking and painful in parts and I just couldn’t take my eyes off the screen. What I appreciated the most about it though was that the focus was solely on the performance of the individuals to convey the story rather than any complex plot, props, sets etc. Well worth a watch if you haven’t seen it already.
What’s coming up?
March has already kicked off strong and I am hopeful for more time to focus on doing some work I need to do on this blog behind the scenes as well as focusing on new content as I have a feeling April is going to get busy.
I also want to start looking at creating a series of simple and cheap midweek meals as I know this is always something I am looking for myself. Tell me, is there any recipe in particular that you would want to see as part of this?
Then, towards the end of the month I have tickets to see the musical of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory that I bought for mum as a Christmas present so we are looking forward to that!
And of course, we are all watching the COVID-19 situation unfold and trying to understand what impact this is going to have both nationally and worldwide. Some big decisions are currently being made with the cancellations of events and travel bans in place, so really at this time, there isn’t much more we can do but sit and wait and try and prioritise our health.
I hope you make the most of the upcoming month, stay well and find joy in whatever it is you’re doing.