Over the past few months I’ve made a deliberate effort to spend less time on social media and more time reading books. I’ve picked up a few unread paperbacks from my bookshelf, downloaded a couple of Kindle books and subscribed to Audible on my iPhone. I’ve enjoyed having fresh perspectives kicking around in my head and some fresh conversation topics when I’ve caught up with friends.

Before diving into each book I’ll first point out some interesting observations on each of the mediums. I use Kindle on iPad, and while I love instant access to pretty much any book ever written, my brain still associates Apple devices with distraction candy such as email, iMessage and Twitter, so sadly I found myself switching away from the Kindle app when I found my attention wavering — not ideal. Audible is great for making better use of time during long commutes in the car or stints on the rowing machine at the gym, but having a book read aloud makes it impossible to highlight favourite passages or easily jump back and forward to recap key passages or concepts. …

If you’re a car lover like me then you’ll know there’s something special about your first car — your first true love. For me it was my 1985 AW11 MR2. Mid-engine with a fiery little 1.6 Toyota twin cam behind my ears. A quick shifting 5 speed manual sat below my wrist. Pop-up headlights and a snug cabin for two that was all angles and switches. Not very fast but with bucket loads of charm and personality.

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My first AW11 Toyota MR2 — affectionly named “Monica” by its previous owner

I bought my first MR2 sometime between high school and university. It was already pretty old with 200,000km on the clock, no electric windows, no air-con and a cassette player — but it was unique and I loved it. I created so many precious memories with that car — learned to drive manual, road trips with friends (one at a time of course!) as far north as the Bay of Islands and as far south as Wellington. It set the stage for my independence and my freedom. No expense was spared maintaining it and I cleaned it every weekend. …

When I think back to my 100 nights in Auckland hospital, made up of two stints at the end of 2015 and the beginning of 2016, my mind straight away jumps somewhere else. Anywhere else. I spent enough time there that I don’t really want to spend much time revisiting it.

But equally I also have a nagging thought that I should write something down. Something that I can look back on when I’m older, or maybe just something that other people would find interesting to read.

To keep it positive I’ve decided to focus on some of the things that helped get me through and that kept me in high spirits. Thanks to my family, my friends, my collegues at work and the awesome hospital staff that helped me get better — I was lucky enough to keep a smile on my face for most of the time and leave in pretty good shape. …


Dylan Bland

Love web, gaming, cars, business, politics and philosophy. Live in Auckland, New Zealand and work at Mighty Ape.

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