Rating My Golf Experience on the Monterey Peninsula

The view from the 3rd tee at Spyglass Hill

I recently had the opportunity to take a once-in-a-lifetime golf trip. I got to play four incredible golf courses on the Monterey Peninsula – Pebble Beach Golf Links, Spyglass Hill, The Links at Spanish Bay, and Poppy Hills. It wouldn’t have been possible without the help and efforts of the Southern California Golf Association, for which I am very grateful.

I wrote about the overall trip previously. This post is going to focus on my rating of the courses that I was fortunate enough to get to play.

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Book review: Selected Stories – Theodore Sturgeon

Book cover for Selected Stories by Theodore Sturgeon

I’m not afraid to admit that I’m a short story junkie. Between novels, I like to read a short story or two to break things up. The format is, well, different. It’s hard to explain, but a good short story captivates me. I enjoy how the characters are developed, and I really enjoy a short story with a strong plot twist. It’s especially satisfying when just enough is left unresolved that I get use to my imagination to complete the story.

I also find that short stories are a good way to explore different authors. If I like their short stories, then there’s a good chance I’ll enjoy their longer form writing too. That’s why I decided to read Selected Stories by Theodore Sturgeon. I had never heard or ready any of his works, so I figured it would be best to start with a collection of his short stories.

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Book review: Luna – New Moon

When you have a reading list with over 200 books on it, some are going to get lost on it. It’s inevitable, especially when I’m adding 20-30 new titles every year. Luna: New Moon by Ian McDonald is a great case in point.

I added the book when I saw it on Gizmodo’s list of The Very Best Science Fiction And Fantasy Books Of 2015. Yes, that’s right 2015. The list was posted on December 21, 2015. And yes, you are correct, I’m writing this post on July 14, 2021.

It’s not that I didn’t want to read Luna. It’s just that other books kept getting in the way. I finally prioritized the book by putting in on my 2020 reading list. When I didn’t get to it last year, I moved it higher on my 2021 reading list.

So after nearly 6 years, I finally read it, which begs the question, was it worth the wait?

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Starting a meditation practice

I started meditating regularly at the beginning of 2019. It took some getting used to, but it’s become a part of my daily routine. Taking some time out to be alone with my thoughts has been peaceful, relaxing, and enlightening.

I’ve found it to be especially important given how busy and frantic day to day life has become. We are bombarded incessantly with ads. The news cycle never ends. Our devices make us constantly available. The distraction of the internet is only a click away. Our personal and professional responsibilities are always pulling at us. It makes taking time out for one’s self more important than ever.

If you’ve been thinking about starting a meditation practice but aren’t sure where to start, here are a few suggestions that helped me.

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Book review: Meditations

Book cover for Meditations (Amazon Classics) by Marcus Aurelius

Over the past couple of years, I’ve developed an interest in ancient philosophies. More specifically, I’ve found Stoicism, which I was introduced to through Ryan Holiday’s writing and The Daily Stoic, to be particularly intriguing. It has shown me that the things humans do in our daily lives has evolved a lot throughout history, and it continues to change rapidly due to technology. However, the character traits of being a good person have not changed. The same values and principles that made up good character over two thousand years ago are still applicable today. What humans do has changed, but human nature has not. It reinforces the adage – “the more things change, the more they stay the same.”

When reading Stoic philosophies, it is impossible to avoid references to Marcus Aurelius’ Meditations. Aurelius was Emperor of Rome from 161 AD – 180 AD, and Meditations is a collection of writings from his personal journals that reflect his thoughts during his time as emperor. Since most of my reading of Aurelius’ writing were excerpts from and interpretations of passages from Meditations, I felt is was best to read it on my own, to get it from the horse’s mouth.

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Life is a journey

It’s easy to live life looking back and telling ourselves a story that life would be different if ‘this’ or ‘that’ would have happened. Likewise, it’s easy to live life looking into the future and thinking that we’ll be happy when we do ‘this’ or when ‘that’ happens.

I know. I’ve been there – in both places, sometimes at the same time. And what I’ve found is that neither one of those places, ruminating on the past or worrying about the future are fun places to be.

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Book review: Permutation City

Book cover for Permutation City by Greg Egan

I’ve read a few books on the topic of neuroscience and how the brain functions. I’ve also read a few science fiction books about artificial intelligence, robotics, and simulating human behavior. A few of these books have went as far as portraying the concept of uploading the contents of the brain to a computer. It begs the question, what is human conscience, and can it be portrayed in software? It’s an ambitious and complex topic, and one that Greg Egan tackles in Permutation City.

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Amazon Linux 2: Upgrading from PHP 7.2 to PHP 7.4

Wordpress PHP Update Recommended warning message

I finally got tired of my WordPress installation complaining about the version of PHP I was running. I decided it was time to upgrade.

My WordPress install operates on an Amazon EC2 instance running Amazon Linux 2. I used Amazon’s excellent tutorial, Install a LAMP web server on Amazon Linux 2, to set it up which uses their lamp-mariadb10.2-php7.2 package as the basis for the web server. After reviewing a few resources on installing or updating to PHP 7.4 on Amazon Linux 2, I put the following together that goes through the steps necessary to update if you used their tutorial to set up your server.

If all goes smoothly, it should take less than 15 minutes from start to finish.

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