The Magic Roundabout

"I don't know. Just trying to understand why we keep making the same mistakes... over and over." - Luisa Rey, Cloud Atlas

The Magic Roundabout

Welcome to 2023 🎉🥳🎊. I sincerely hope you had a wonderful time celebrating the arrival of 365 new possibilities. I had a great New Years' eve, celebrating the ball drop in NYC (on TV), so I was in bed by 10 pm here (in Seattle). It's how I roll these days, I guess. ;)

I keep a long list of ideas that pop into my head to write about here, and, for no particular reason, I came across a note I scribbled over the break that said, "explore the magic roundabout." This is a reference to the infamous Swindon 6-circle roundabout.

Known as "one of the most complex rotaries in the world" and located in Wiltshire, South West England, this famous traffic tour-de-force is "made up of five smaller clockwise roundabouts, one central counter-clockwise roundabout, and the overall circle of the entire design."


Think about it this way: the intersection allows a driver heading in one direction to spin around different loops until you are spat out in another direction. Now, what's really crazy (watch the video!) - there's only been around 20 accidents since 1972.

Check this out:

After spending way too much time in my head thinking about how everything in life seems like it goes around in circles (a cosmic magic roundabout?), doesn't life seem a lot like life is just like that these days? 2020 bled into 2021 into 2022, and here we are.

According to Covid Standard Time, as I write this, it's actually Friday, March 1041st, 2020.

Even Marcus Aurelius recognized how the same things seem to happen over and over through time, with just different sets of people involved:

"To bear in mind constantly that all of this has happened before. And will happen again—the same plot from beginning to end, the identical staging." Marcus Aurelius - Meditations.

And that's important to recognize when everything around us feels overwhelming - none of this is new. The only thing you can genuinely control how you respond to any of it.

So do you choose to keep circling around and around? Or pivot to the left while traffic is going right and change the direction. It is, ultimately, up to you to decide how you want to navigate life's magic roundabout.

If you enjoy these posts, you can buy me a coffee ☕️, or if you'd rather keep up with my daily ramblings, follow me on Mastodon or keep reading my posts on this blog.

Forward Thinking

I talked about this a bit in the Mako "Things I Like" 2022 edition and M.G. Siegler (General Partner at Google Ventures), had a timely blog post that was noodling around some of the things I was mentioning in "Contextual Computing."

I'm planning on playing even more with this idea next year - I want to start using apps like Just Press Record to create a "Walking" context focus. Imagine having to leave the phone behind, talk to the watch via the AirPods, and have it auto-transcribe into a note when I return home.

In "Minimum Viable Technology", M.G. explores a similar concept:

But given how powerful the Apple Watch now is — especially the Ultra version — I wonder if it’s not time to leave the iPhone at home, or in another room, or in the bag more. Sure, Apple Watch can’t do everything, or at least not as well as you can on the iPhone, but what if “good enough” is well, good enough? Until you get back to the iPhone.

In some ways, this mirrors what we used to say (and in some cases, still do) about the iPhone. I can use this to get things done “good enough” until I get back to a Mac. Many of us have a good balance there, 15+ years into the iPhone. It might be time to get better at such balance with the Apple Watch as well as we approach 8 years in.

Anyway, I was just thinking about that while using the Kindle. I don’t want the Kindle to do Twitter and all that other stuff the iPhone does. But I also want to make sure I’m not missing some vital message about something — yes, even when on the beach. And the Apple Watch is more than capable of fulfilling that need.

There is more to explore here, and it's top of mind for me as we head in 2023.

Thought(s) of the week

Here are a few of the articles and videos that resonated with me over the last week:

  • I've been reading more about classic game design and came across this one on how "Super Mario Bros Was Designed on Graph Paper." 'We'd then hand our drawings to the programmers, who would code them into a build' - More
  • What a great find on how Basic Apple Guy created the "iPod Socks Wallpaper" (and a fun article on the history of iPod Socks) - More
  • "How to Build a Happy Life: How to Prioritize Joy" explore how 'in adulthood, many of us are forced to recalibrate our relationship with joy. '- More
  • This is a bit of a weird one I see making the rounds, "Bring Back Blogging." What defines a blog? You can subscribe to this newsletter via RSS - so that's a blog, right? I think the movement should be more tuned towards 'own your content,' but I'm glad to see people thinking more these days about a return to RSS - More
  • "Unbundling Tools for Thought" is a great, great read about how so many 'tools for thought promise to let you centralize and hyperlink all your data.' And how 95% of those use cases can be disconnected. More alignment is in my mind on why the whole PKM space is overkill. - More
  • I've been playing with apps like Gentler Streak and have been in tune with "What Does It Mean to Truly Rest for Your Health?". A focus on recovery and rest has started to make a real impact on how I'm feeling - More
  • "Stop Talking to Each Other and Start Buying Things: Three Decades of Survival in the Desert of Social Media" is a perfect rant on everything social media- More
  • I always enjoy Om's posts, and "What we don’t say in Silicon Valley anymore" pulls no punches - More
  • Privacy is an illusion: "Data brokers raise privacy concerns — but get millions from the federal government." In 2023, you can probably assume most of your data is being shared with anyone who wants to pay for it - More
  • We all have them, so "How to... have better meetings" was a good look at some tips for before, during, and after meetings - More
  • Did you know that Peanut Butter 'was first created for sanitariums like John Harvey Kellogg's Western Health Reform Institute as it satisfied the need for a protein-rich food that did not have to be chewed'? Neither did I. Read more in "A Chunky History of Peanut Butter" - More


As a fan of Twin Peaks, I was saddened to learn of the passing of Angelo Badalamenti. While I've more recently enjoyed his beautifully haunting track, Heartbreaking, from Twin Peaks: The Return, he's probably most known for the hypnotic theme for Laura Palmer.

This was a great video in which he described the creative process he used with David Lynch on how he wrote it.

As the story goes:

One day Badalamenti was at his Fender Rhodes, with Lynch sitting to his right. "Okay, Angelo, we're in the dark woods now, and there's a soft wind blowing through some sycamore trees. And there's a moon out and there's some animal sounds in the background, and you can hear the hoot of an owl."

Watch how it all came together.

He passed away on Dec 11th, 2022, at the age of 85.

Be well. ✌🏻