Weekly Wrap 541: Reminiscing about the Beforetimes, with some productivity

For some reason, out of all these weeks of Quarantimes, this week of Monday 5 to Sunday 11 October 2020, and to a lesser extent last week, saw me reminiscing about the Beforetimes when we could travel. Remember them?

That’s why the photo on this post is a picture taken from an aircraft, specifically the approach to Melbourne from last year’s visit for the Australian Cyber Conference. I wrote four stories that week, caught up with friends, did radio spots for ABC Darwin and ABC Canberra, and more.

There was so much travel for me around then. Only a month before I’d been to Adelaide, Bangkok, and Chiang Mai. Two weeks later I was in Canberra.

Will these days ever return?

The lack of variety is sure to be yet another component of my lack of productivity. That said, I did get some things done this week, despite it being just four workdays long. Or perhaps because of it.


  • “The 9pm Orange Schadenfreude Sins with Father Karl Sinclair”, being The 9pm Edict episode 119 recorded on Wednesday. This is the fifth and final part of The 9pm Spring Series 2020, at least for now. I’ll be announcing further plans in the next few days.

The 9pm Edict is supported by the generosity of its listeners. Please subscribe for special benefits or throw a few coins into the tip jar.


Media Appearances

Corporate Largesse

None. However I did like one company’s plan to feed virtual conference attendees by sending them all picnic hampers. Alas, it didn’t fit into my schedule.


  • Harry Shearer of Spinal Tap and The Simpsons fame has been writing and performing Donald Trump parody songs for some time, and now he’s been creating videos for them. One per week until the election.
  • While you’re there, check out his series Nixon’s the One, in which the scripts are the actual transcripts of Richard M Nixon’s secret tapes from the Watergate era. You know, the original -gate.

The Week Ahead

[Update 12 October 2020: I’ve rearranged things a bit here because reasons.]

It’s week 30 of the Quarantimes at Bunjaree Cottages at Wentworth Falls, mostly. It begins with a Monday where I’m actually writing something for ZDNet, then starting work on an update to my 2019 Carnegie Endowment paper, The Encryption Debate in Australia.

On Tuesday I’ll do some errands and shopping in Katoomba. That evening I’ll listen to Michael Pezzullo, Secretary of the Department of Home Affairs, but only because I hope to get a story out of it.

At 1000 AEDT Thursday there’s a Lowy Institute event, In conversation with General James Mattis and Air Chief Marshal Sir Angus Houston AK, AFC (Retd). It looks interesting, but I’ll be heading down to Sydney for a video shoot that afternoon with ZDNet.

Friday has a US Studies Centre event, The future of US defence strategy in the Indo-Pacific, and then a routine health appointment in the afternoon.

Further Ahead

[Photo: The view from Virgin Australia flight VA846 as it turned towards Melbourne Airport (MEL) on the afternoon of Monday 7 October 2019.]