On Reconcilable Difference #221, Merlin and John introduced the concept of “Best, First, Favourite”. For a particular category, which would you consider the best (i.e. closest to a perfect representation of that category, in however you define it), which would you recommend someone who’s interested in starting should experience first, and which one is your favourite.

I thought it was a fun idea, so I’ve put together a few of my own.

It was hard coming up with categories for this one, particularly when considering “best” and “favourite”. You need to have had enough experience to know what makes a good “thing”, in order to judge it against all the others and come up with a “best” one. It also helps to have enough experience to avoid picking your favourite as the best as well. I tried picking categories in which my favourite is different than what I consider the “best”. And it might be that I lack variety in my life, but the list of categories that I managed to come up with was relatively short.

Nonetheless, here they are:

Category: Mike Oldfield music

  • Best: Tubular Bells 3. Oldfield was in his element here. A balanced helping of both accoustic and electronic, slow and moving, and very consistent in it’s theming.
  • First: Tubular Bells 2. It may seem that Tubular Bells should be the album to goto for a taste of Mike Oldfield, and it certainty has the Oldfield signature sound. But I’d suggest considering going with this album first, as it’s a bit more refined while having the same basic structure. It’s also the album that grabbed me.
  • Favourite: Crises; The Songs of Distant Earth. I’d probably put TB3 here as well, but in lieu of choosing something that I also consider the best, these two are probably my next favourite. Or it could just be the positive associations I have of them: Songs of Distant Earth reminding me of faraway places, Crises reminding me of home.

Category: Episodes of Seinfield

  • Best: The Parking Garage. A refinement of The Chinese Resturant, which was groundbreaking in it’s own right. Honourable mention: The Parking Space.
  • First: The Conversion. I think anything in Season 5 or Season 6 would work here. I’ve chosen this one as I wanted an episode which showcases all the character’s traits without having too many supporting character (that also features George’s parents). Honourable mention: This Bris.
  • Favourite: The Busboy. This is a series 2 episode, while they were still finding their feet. But it’s one of the first where the writers manage to have multiple plot threads all wrapped up together in a cohesive whole by the end, an attribute of the writing that I absolutely love. Honourable mention: The Dinner Party.

Category: Programming text editors (for MacOS)

  • Best: VS Code. I’m not a user of this myself but I can’t deny the amount of effort (and that sweet, sweet Microsoft cash) that’s going to this project. Certainly it’s the most capable out there for pretty much any language you need to work in.
  • First: Nova, depending on which language you’re working in. Obviously if you’re doing anything Apple related, it’s probably best to go with XCode or something. But I think for anything else, Nova is a pretty decent text editor, and definitely one worth trying for anyone starting out.
  • Favourite: Anything from JetBrains. When you feel like moving into something a little more integrated, especially for languages considered “complicated”, I can definitely recommend the IDEs from JetBrains. I use Goland in my day-to-day, with the occaional WebStorm for anything frontend that is considered large. Others include IntelliJ and Android Studios.

Category: Apple-related Tech Podcasts for anyone that has never heard a podcast before

  • Best: Upgrade. I’m not much of a listener of this one anymore, but it’s still a very well-produced show, and Jason really knows his stuff.
  • First: The Talk Show. I think having something a little more off-the-cuff is the way to get into the medium. You have to warm yourself into it, like you’re having a conversation with friends, and starting with something a little “produced” can leave you feeling as if you’re just another listener (which, I guess, you are but you shouldn’t want that feeling). I think the Talk Show fits the mould here. It did for me.
  • Favourite: Accidental Tech Podcast. Hands down. Informative and enjoyable to listen to. This is one that I do my best to catch every episode they release.

Category: Walks in and around greater Melbourne

  • Best: Sherbrooke Falls, Mt. Dandenong. This is not the longest, nor the most challenging, but it’s by far the prettiest. Walking amongst the great Mountain Ash is quite a moving experience. Be sure to have the soundtrack of the Atterborough documentary series The Private Life of Plants playing while you do.
  • First: The Domino Trail, Trentham This is about an 1.5 hours out of Melbourne but a nice easy rail-trail going through the lovely forest around the Domino Creek.
  • Favourite: Bushrangers Bay to Cape Shank Lighthouse: A two hour return walk that is moderately challenging with lovely scenes of Bass Strait. Don’t be surprised to run into a kangaroo or two (plus the occasional snake; look out for those).

Category: Pubs in and around greater Melbourne that make a decent parma

  • Best: The Panton Hill Pub, Panton Hill. This is a good 30 km out of Melboune area, in the green-wedge in a little town called Panton Hill. There’s not much there: a few houses, maybe a shop or two, and this pub. But they do a pretty solid parma there. Good fillet, decent balance of cheese and ham, and a good portion of chips and salid. It’s been a while since I’ve been there, so things may have change.
  • First: The Turf Bar, Queens St. If you’re visiting Melbourne for the first time, and you’d like to try a pretty decent parma, then I’d probably suggest trying out the Turf. It’s probably not the best pub in town: it’s more of a sports bar and can be pretty load when city-workers go there for Friday lunch or drinks. But I’ve been pretty impressed by the quality of their parmas. Be prepared to wait a little while for them.
  • Favourite: The Old England Hotel, Heidelberg. This is not the best parma out there, but they’re pretty consistent. One thing going for this place is that it’s easy to get to.