Heart o Thack: It's you, version 2...
New beginnings. New us.
Well hello there. It's been some time, right?
Did the world keep spinning for you?
Everything ok your side of the simulation?
Still got that cute little daschund?
Job treating you well?
Coddled any eggs, lately?
And have you bought any kosher salt to go with those spherical delicacies?
I gotta level with you, here. Though it’s been a ride, I didn't abandon you.
I just tried to find some shape, a little structure - although in my case, it's more heavy-duty scaffolding to stop everything falling down.
It's been a lot for everyone, hasn't it?
But I'm seeing the tiniest shard of light spear through the darkness.
And even though I'm starting to freak out about the after-vaxx times, shooting daggers at people who don't wear masks in shops and only patronising my favourite bars because if I was gonna lose my sense of taste at least I know, here, it's for the common good, everything (horrors of war notwithstanding, which is a pretty big notwithstand, I fully appreciate) is on a positive tilt.
So here's what's happening.
A new name. Heart o Thack.
This is always going to be a personal newsletter. But Thacknology felt a little restrictive. A bit too 'futurist' or 'academically earnest'. Neither of which fits me.
Heart o Thack is about my lifelong mission to be a bit more human. And since most guys expire courtesy of a blocked artery or other, to me unknown, forms of coronary implosion, it feels like a perfect circle starting and ending here.
The heart is something I've been contemplating for the past couple of years.
I waited a heck of a lot of them to be overtaken by romantic love. It changed my life forever.
I didn't spend the time prior in some kind of lunaticorium. I wasn't imprisoned from people. I love my family with the kind of passion that can only be understood by following the bloodline.
I just left it a little later than usual to begin understanding what it meant to look into someone's eyes and see your future.
And in the short time since that blood-red bomb landed, I've been trying to better understand what it means to be in love.
We all start with limerence, that infatuation phase. Can't get enough of it, of them, of every second blinded by that chemical rush that generates the kind of giddiness you can't synthesise otherwise.
And then the work begins. Digging in, understanding each other's - I hate myself for even saying this with a modicum of gravity - love language (ugh).
I had a great book read to me last week all about the five love languages. It had profoundly religious overtones but strip away the non-secular nonsense and what you have here is the great awakening for dormant relationships. I discovered my love language is words of affirmation and something to do with 'I will be moist if you do even the tiniest thing for me'.
I recommend everyone either in or considering a relationship to read that book. It's called . And it should be in the Mind section below.
Because from now, I'm compartmentalising this newsletter. You'll know exactly where to go for whatever you want.
The sections as you'll see below - it's a practice right now, but we're getting there - are
And let's not forget this is a team effort. I want to know what's been making your heart melt, so we can share it with others who also want to see what it feels like to live their 2.0.
Heart - all the feels; what's shipping delight for the soul in terms of development, relationships
Here - where the body is right now; the local picture not just to me, but to you (audience participation to the max!)
Mind - what's tickling the grey matter; in my case it's mostly media, from YouTube, to Netflix, to mini courses, and podcasts and (audio)books. In which you might also care to indulge.
Things - probably mostly about food. But you'll also find apps, web pages, tech, things you can hug. The whole enchilada.
Ok so you got a heaping plate of Heart already. With a helping of Mind in the form of that
Your 2.0. That's why I'm here.
Though it's been several lifetimes since you last heard from me, the hunt continues for a new abode.
When rona arrived, our government decided to scrap something called stamp duty, which is another tax on homebuyers.
As if to capitalise on people's desperation to swap the same for walls for another set, 'fishy' Rishi (our chancellor) had also encouraged people to go spread the virus to strangers' homes. Genius!
Anyway the net effect is house prices soared.
I've had offers accepted and then been outbid. I've had offers accepted and sellers have just decided to stay put. I've tried to see houses but been unable to even get on waiting lists for open days. It's all a bit bewildering.
I actually got shortlisted for a house viewing this week. Just seeing one brings butterflies. It was £169k in late 2019, and now selling for £290k. Owners must have spent about £30k, max, on renovations. One of those ‘laminate on the floor, Victoria Plum all over the bathroom’ jobs. Icing on the cake was they’d started to peel off the rendering from the house and garage, then realised they couldn’t squeeze out any more profit so left it for the buyer as some kind of ‘original features’ pitch.
A house, by a railway line. That I was told by the guy showing me round, would ‘only need 15 to 20k and it would be lovely.’ Nearly a third of a million quid, in an unassuming town here in the north west. Scandalous would be an understatement.
But it’s the same everywhere - and worse in the States where a Pac-Man game of house gobbling by a tech company has resulted in a disastrous market for everyone.
I read in the i newspaper the other day that we’re poised for a housing crash. But since everything is propaganda these days, and we’ve been staring into this void for years, I'm taking that with a pinch of salt.
And anyway, there's another out on the longer-term horizon…
I've probably blathered on already about Farnam Street’s Shane Parrish and his excellent The Knowledge Project podcast. Think Maria Popova (she of Brain Pickings fame and now something even more intellectual) but more 'for the masses'.
One of the latest episodes featured Balaji Srinivasan, known thinker and author of upcoming brainbuster, The Network State (out July).
Among Balaji's prophecies to hasten the housing crash is 3D printing houses. Which sounds great if you're a robot, but if you watched the BBC Three documentary series, Brickies, you'll be somewhat dismayed because the kids are doing alright.
I've seen a quite remarkable feat of civil engineering at the hands of our CCP overlords. They put up a high-rise using probably AI in about 15 days. It's a proper triumph of man losing his footing to a machine that met some metal and aggregates and piled up a residential mountain of gleaming hope. Well, it worked for me.
I'm big on construction. I love this stuff. More because I know it's highly implausible I will ever build anything myself, and I like to live vicariously through people who are good at it. There are a couple of things in this world I recommend - The B1M (YouTube) and the Construction Physics newsletter (but if you’re reaching peak news, only sign up if you’ll still have time for little me, deal?).
When it comes to the reads, I'm the guy who can't bear to have just the one book on the go so I'm all-in on Ray and Joan, some random title about the wife of Ray Kroc (McDonald's og).
A little leftfield - but absorbing. Joan K led such an incredible life in the decades following Ray's passing, and this book charts her final months and what to do with all those billions she'd accrued not only through her husband, but incredibly shrewd investing.
I don't know about you guys but I find reading on a Kindle really... dull.
I think I need to amp up my ereading game with a different display. Ideas? Bring them to me!
Totally favourite podcast episodes
Smartless - with Bill Maher. Bill's a super smart and funny political pundit and he's earned his spurs. Bill's also got his own podcast which is spicy but very worth listening.
Guy Kawasaki's Remarkable People: Jim Weber. Jim's endured a lot to get where he is, and where he's been for 20 years at the helm of Brooks Running where he's totally changed the game. A true leader in every sense, Jim's got a book out (as you'd expect for a podcast guest) and you should buy it if you love business and the people running them.
A Thing or Two with Claire and Erica: Guest Thingies We've Tried and Loved. The women recommended a book on this round-up of greatness called Empire of Pain about the Statler dynasty. And it blew my head off. Claire and Erica are awesome.
All The Hacks: Minimalism and the Things That Matter for a Meaningful Life. Look around you. How much stuff do you need? Some great hoarder-coping strategies here, including the one that riddles us all - 'what do I do with that ball that I might just pick up one day?' Talking about consumerism and stuff you don't need - here's Things!
I've been full-pelt at all the kitchen opportunities. Discovered super cheap Thai curry pastes (Penang, yellow, and Tom Yum spicy soup mix) that have transformed my dinner game.
How insane is that banana bulletin, btw? Probably the only verifiable fact I’ve heard on Twitter this, er, since it started.
Last night was a rehearsal for next week's dinner party, making mini mushroom wellingtons. Against all odds, and with the most basic of cooking skills, they were somehow delicious; I thought they'd be underseasoned but for a splodge of thyme and a very scant sprinkling of salt on the mushrooms to make them cry (dehydration through determined overcooking ultimately won the day) but the double hit of mature cheddar (who has Stilton this time of year) made these petite parcels sing.
All this cheese got me contemplating joining a gym just to bring some routine to fitness, James Clear Atomic Habits style. But what do you guys think? I'm currently walking at least 25 miles a week, just to keep things ticking over. I'd like a bit more HIIT in my life, though. So maybe I'll get stuck in before too long.
Had a fabulous walk round the reservoir of Jumbles Country Park near Bolton last weekend.
Now I'm desperate for the upgrade - some hardcore hills and those views that make you wonder whether it's the hills or the view that's making you weak at the knees.
I'm done here. You can only pretend for so long that you're hard at it. I'm unabashed saying spending time in service to you, is a total joy.
Get in touch if there's ever anything you need. Professionally I'm a writer, journalist, speaky person and content maverick. And it's precisely because of my journalism roots I'm fascinated with everything. So don't hesitate, if there's an idea you have, or you just need a chat - firstname.lastname@example.org and let's chat very soon.
To your 2.0.