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Sure, I have written about gin and tonic before. It’s a simple cocktail, you say…what else can you write about it? Well, bear with me and check out this article: 4 Ways To Make A Perfect Gin And Tonic in Chatelaine
You may have a great way to make gin and tonics and that’s great. But if you want to shake things up a bit (pun intended), check out that article. You’ll be glad you did.
(Image: a link to picture in the article above)
Yesterday I wrote about the new glasses from Facebook from a design AND privacy point of view. Here are seven more links to articles on privacy I thought you might find worthwhile reading:
(Photo by Lianhao Qu on Unsplash )
The best thing written on AOC and the Met Gala was written here: Activism Is Now In Fashion – The Atlantic.
I had planned to write something, but that piece is so good I can’t possibly express my meh feelings to the empty activism and her presence there better than that piece does. For example, this is just one sliver of goodness from the Atlantic piece:
Ocasio-Cortez has fired up her base, raised her profile, and reminded everyone that she is the standard-bearer for today’s activist left.
At the same time, the Met Gala is essentially a costume ball, which removes the potential for actual subversion…the Met Gala red carpet is now an arena where people go to make statements, which inevitably robs those statements of their power. No one here is rebelling against the Man. The Man loves the extra publicity; it helps sell more $35,000 tickets to socialites who love a frisson of revolution as long as it’s safely divorced from the threat of actual tumbrels. … The Met Ball is … a safe space for political statements that all attendees will applaud, regardless of whether they truly believe them. … no one gets booed, or thrown out, or shunned by their peers for wearing an ensemble supporting any progressive cause to the Met Gala. … So what is the risk of wearing a sloganeering outfit to the Met Gala…? For Ocasio-Cortez, that’s just a day ending in a Y. (Emphasis is mine)
I like AOC for her intelligence and her seriousness and I like the Met Ball for it’s vapid ridiculousness. The two don’t mix. I am glad she got to enjoy the party and wear a great dress and support a good designer, but either go and acknowledge you are part of the ridiculousness, or stay serious and avoid it.
Image from the New York Times. Their piece on it is worthwhile too.
Sure, summer is a great time to garden: that goes without saying. If you are still wanting to do more gardening after summer winds down, here are two links you may want to read:
Gardening is great for many reasons, not just producing things to eat and display. If you find that to be true, don’t limit yourself to one season: try to do it year round.
(Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash )
You may have heard references to Bayes’ Theorem in light of the pandemic and wondered how it is relevant. Well I am here to help. First off, here’s a great guide to Bayes’ Theorem from the website MathIsFun.com. Even if you are math phobic, I think you will be able to read that piece and understand it. Secondly, check out the site Varsity and how it explains how Bayes’ Theorem and COVID-19 testing are related. Both are well worth a read.
Learn Bayes’ Theorem. It’s good to help you understand many things in life, including what is happening during the pandemic.
P.S. This related piece at FT.com explains why you should expect to see vaccinated people in the hospital with covid despite high vaccination rates.
I have found over my many years at work there are:
1) Things you are good at / like to do
2) Things you get acknowledged for doing
And the intersection of the things you are good at and the things you get acknowledged for is a very small sweet spot.
I try to focus on doing things I am good at. Others I know focus on doing things that gets them recognition. If you are like me, you will find times when you wish you were in the circle on the right. All I can say is that many in the right circle wish they were in the left circle. The good feeling of acknowledgement is great but it doesn’t last long. While the good feelings from doing things you are good at and like to do last a long time.
If you can find work that you like to do, are good at, and comes with much recognition, then you have a good job and you should stick with it as long as you can. Meanwhile celebrate all those acknowledged and congratulate them. Then go back to what you do best.
Sometimes you come back from vacation, all rested, and you can dive back into work and be more productive than before you went away. Other times that productivity can be hard to find. If the latter is you, I recommend you read this piece: Is Your Motivation Still on Vacation?
Get the most out of your vacations, including refilling the tank that your motivation comes from.
(Photo by Kelli McClintock on Unsplash)
While W.E.B. Du Bois is acclaimed for many achievements, one that I had never heard of until I came across this was how great he was at making infographics: W. E. B. Du Bois’ Hand-Drawn Infographics of African-American Life (1900) – The Public Domain Review.
That piece has several of his works on display, including the one above. Not only are they well designed, but seeing them gives you a valuable American history lesson. For example, this one below uses text and imagery to show how the population of African Americans changed over time in proportion to the rest of the population:
Well worth checking out that article to see more of his work.
Here on my blog I love to highlight furniture designed around cats. So when I saw the piece above, I had to share it. I mean ostensibly it is for humans, but the way it is designed, it’s really for cats, although humans can share it. If that’s not the best definition of what it can be like to live with a cat, I don’t know what could be better.
Found here at Adafruit.
Many were devastated by the destruction of the ancient ruins of Palmyra by Isis. There have been attempts both small and not so small to recreate them. Above you can see how the artist Abbas Akhavan has done it using straw and clay. It’s a wonderful work, and you can learn more about it, here: Abbas Akhavan review – a poetic monument to folly | Art and design | The Guardian.
Lots of chatter recently about this painting “Equals Pi”. If you want to see what I mean, read this, Tiffany’s Wants You to Think It Inspired a Blue Basquiat Painting, or this, Tiffany solicits help of Beyoncé and Jay-Z to draw younger buyers – will it backfire? | Fashion | The Guardian.
As for me, I am not sure what effect it will have. I do know the owners of Tiffany have a ton of money to acquire this picture and I am glad it is getting some display. I always love seeing the work of Basquiat and I especially like this one.
For more on who previously owned it, see this: Austin Kleon — Jean-Michel Basquiat, Equals Pi, 1982 2021: Some…
I decided to send my son off to university with a Google Home device (a Lenovo Smart Clock). He could use it as a clock, to get the weather, to play music and to provide rain sounds. You may be thinking something similar.
The problem is that at least for some of these devices, they assume that the wifi works like a home network. Home wifi networks often only need a password to join them. However for my son’s university the wifi network needed a userid and password. There is no place in Google Home to provide the userid, so I was unable to set it up for him.
Something to keep in mind.
Here’s the problem: you are trying to connect your Chromebook to a wifi network like the one at Dalhousie University that uses the LEAP protocol. That protocol is likely well and good if you use an up to date Windows or MacOS computer. But as I found, it’s no good for the Chromebook I had because it did not have LEAP as an option. What to do?
Well if you get into the network settings and you go with the EAP-TTLS with the settings above, you can get your device to connect. (The above does not show the user I’d and password fields, but you will need those).
Recently I came across this story about the new Vermeer painting and like him it is blowing my mind a bit. It takes restoration to a whole new level. It seems restoration work is getting bolder these days. I remember some of the controversy regarding the Sistine Chapel restoration and how some thought the people restoring it had crossed the line by making the colours so bold. This Vermeer restoration takes things to a whole other level by changing the image and its composition. I’ll be curious to see if we see more boldness like this in the future.
For more on this, see this piece: A Restored Vermeer Painting Reveals a Hidden Cupid Artwork Hanging in the Background.
In this era of LinkedIn and software processing your resume, cover letters seems like a relic. But hop over to here and read this one: Benedict Cumberbatch Reads “the Best Cover Letter Ever Written” | Open Culture.
It’s a treat to hear Cumberbatch read it, but even if you don’t, go and relish that one. You might want to write you own afterwards and send it unsolicited to organizations. They might enjoy it and want to have a chat with you!
(Photo by Álvaro Serrano on Unsplash )
I know that sounds contradictory, but if you think about it and read this you will see it makes sense: Want to Be More Productive? Try Doing Less.
If you are like me and a lot of people, you take on many (too many) assignments and tasks. You feel like you are getting a lot done but it may not seem satisfying or even worthwhile. If so, take the approach outlined in the article and focus on a few things and cut out the clutter.
More and more I find the secret of being successful is saying no to most things. You need to Marie Kondo your todo list and work on the tasks that bring you joy. It’s not always possible, but more possible than you think.
(Photo by Fernando Hernandez on Unsplash )
I read many ofpieces on mathematics: here are some pieces I have found worthwhile. Most of them are readable by folks who are not mathematicians.
Here’s a number of good pieces
Finally, This 3 700-Year-Old Tablet is the Oldest Example of Applied Geometry. Cool.
(Photo by Saad Ahmad on Unsplash )
Posted in links
Tagged math, mathematics
There are lots of reasons to push for improvements in your city but one of them is it can have a cascading effect elsewhere. Case in point is New York’s High Line.
As this article Manhattan makeover for London with floating green walkway plan | London | The Guardian), shows:
New York was revitalised by the High Line, a ribbon of parkland floating above Manhattan on a disused elevated railway that has become one of the city’s biggest tourist attractions. Now the High Line’s designer hopes to give London its own green thread, after being chosen to create the Camden Highline.
James Corner was picked last week as the lead landscape architect for the structure, a linear park on three-quarters of a mile of railway viaducts running from Camden to Kings Cross, which he believes will give London a similar boost after the trials of Covid and Brexit.
For more on the Camden highline, go here. More on the New York version here.
I am sometimes surprised how expensive health and wellness apps can be. If you leave them running on your phone for a year, that can really add up.
And that’s too bad. People can really benefit from such apps, and being short of cash should not be a limit on getting well.
If this applies to you, then you want to check out these 7 Meditation Apps That Are Cheaper (and Better) Than Headspace and Calm .
Headspace and Calm are fine apps. But check out some alternatives.
If I were to ask you “are you sick of cooking from home during the pandemic?”and you threw something in my general direction while screaming “YES!”, then I highly recommend this: Easy Dinner Recipes (Without Having to Cook Anything) – The New York Times.
Ali Slagle does a great job of helping you put together a meal using a simple formula. So if the thought of getting out a recipe is painful and the thought of ordering take out is equally so, check out that piece from her.
(Photo: Linda Xiao for The New York Times. Food Stylist: Monica Pierini.)
This is pretty amazing. This Etsy account YesteryearPropStore seems to be selling many of the neon signs found in Blade Runner.
If I ran an establishment, I would love to have this one out front:
Here’s a cornucopia of things I have found interesting in tech in the last month. As usual, lots of cloud, some Kubernetes, DevOps and software of course, as well as IOT. Grab a drink and read!
(Photo by Sam Albury on Unsplash )
During the pandemic I tried to get back into drawing and painting. I was somewhat successful. What helped me was searching around the Internet and trying to find how to sites that were actually useful. There are so many out there that are NOT useful, I can’t begin to tell you how much time I wasted reviewing them all.
If you too are interesting in started drawing or painting, I’ve put together these links that I found,m useful and inspiring. I hope you find that too.
- Think you have no skills? Here’s how to make art without skill.
- Collaging for Beginners: if you want to try collage. Easy.
- How to make Your Own Pop Art Pet Portrait. Also easy.
- Here’s Lynda Barry’s Illustrated Field Guide to Keeping a Visual Diary and Cultivating a Capacity for Creative Observation. Helpful.
- Here’s some simple watercolour techniques.
- A good intro on how to mix skin tones.
- Here’s some art therapy exercises.
- More art therapy exercises.
- You may want to know how to turn your trash into art.
- A good guide on how to develop a routine to make art.
- Here’s more advice on routine.
- If you are a beginner, here’s how to buy supplies.
- A good guide on how to paint glass reflections.
- And here’s how to make art people care about .
- A guide to make figure painting .
- A good intro on how to make rubber stamps .
- A good way to learn to paint is to learn to paint in monochrome .
- Here’s a guide on how to start drawing .
- More on how to start drawling.
- A step by step guide on drawing .
- How to draw a self portraint .
- I love this: a great piece on how to draw a water color in less than 3 minutes .
- How to draw a Renaissance portrait.
- Here’s how to paint like Monet (um, ok). Ok, not so beginnerish either but interesting.
(Photo by Kelli Tungay on Unsplash )
Here are a number of pieces on two great downtown Manhattan restaurants: Florent and Odeon. Florent has been closed for a number of years. But Odeon lives on, happily. What I love about both restaurants is how the embodied that era and how they both set a stage. You can see that in the pieces below about them. Florent in particular was a radical place that was like no other, right down to their menus and promotional material (like the one above).
When they both opened the lower part of Manhattan had nothing like them. There was no gentrification down there like there is now. They were an oasis of good food, good design, and good times.
To really get a sense of that, read Restaurant Florent Takes Its Final Bows – The New York Times.
For more on the design ideas around Florent, see: Restaurant Florent | Restaurant Design in New York, NY — Memo Productions
A short history of the space Florent occupied is written about here: What remains of a Gansevoort Street restaurant | Ephemeral New York
Lastly, here is it’s Wikipedia write-up: Florent (restaurant). It’s a good source of other links on the place.
Before I forget, this is a fun piece on The Odeon: A Retro Haven That Defined New York 1980s Nightlife | Vanity Fair.
Also worth reading. Now go and eat at The Odeon.
Posted in cool, culture, newyork
Tagged dining, essays, favourites, food, Manhattan, newyork, nyc, restaurants, restoslovedandlost
I really found this article worthwhile: How to Clean Your House When You’re Depressed
It’s worthwhile reading even if you are not depressed. There can be times when it is too hard to clean your place. Unfortunately, a messy place may lead to more sadness and stress. Applying the lessons in that article can help alleviate that.
Now your house may not be messy, but you may be suffering from being down and not able to do other chores. Again, try and apply the lessons in that article. It may help you make progress, and clear signs of progress can often help.
Good luck. Go easy on yourself.
First up, Seneca. Here’s a good piece that summarizes some of the consolation letters he wrote to people close to him. Though they were written centuries ago, they are timeless and worth reading.
Second, Suetonius. Here’s a good piece on why you want to read him: The Consolations of History. Essentially, good histories like those of Suetonius give you perspective that help you deal with your own time. Sometimes they do that by showing you things are fundamentally the same. Other times they do that by showing how much things have changed since that time. Either way you come away with a deeper understanding of your own time even as you learn about another time.
During the pandemic I have been noticing this frequently. People are looking back at the pandemic of 1918-19 and trying to draw lessons from it. That’s a good thing, I think. We can all gain perspective by looking to the past, which is never really past.
To close off Toronto week here on the blog, here’s two pieces on what it was like to grow up in Toronto in the 1980s. First, Toronto Life has 15 signs you grew up in Toronto in the 1980s. Not to be outdone, blogTO doubles that and shares 30 signs you grew up in Toronto in the 1980s 🙂
(Image from the Toronto Life piece. I loved going to Toby’s when I was in Toronto in the 80s. They were everywhere and they had good burgs. )
Ok, I guess it is Toronto week on the old blog. Since it’s summer, here’s a good piece on where you can kayak in Toronto: Guide To Kayaking Toronto: Where To Paddle And When To Go. It sounds like fun, and a perfect activity for the summer months.
Don’t know how to kayak, you say? No worries, I have you covered. Read this: How to Finally Start Kayaking (and Why I’m Glad I Did)
(Photo by Pete Nowicki on Unsplash)
No, they do not transform into robots. Instead:
These are Toronto’s residential substations, fake houses built by Toronto Hydro to conceal what’s inside: a transformer that converts raw, high voltage electricity to a voltage low enough to distribute throughout the city.
I have seen a number of them over the years, including this one, which is not far from me: Fake Toronto castle hides electrifying secret in plain sight
They are rather cool, I think. And the fact they blend into the neighborhoods is a huge plus.
For more on them, including the one shown above, see this: Toronto Hydro’s not-so-hidden residential substations.
Recently there was much discussion around this famous bakery in Toronto: Yung Sing. Many people I know have fond memories of going there and eating their famous pastry. And not just people I know, as this shows: Why Chinese bakery Yung Sing is one of the most fondly remembered in Toronto
That got me reminiscing about the street that Yung Sing is on. Baldwin Street has many famous places that incorporate Toronto history. You can see one example of that in this piece: Yiddish sign survives threat to last vestige of Jewish enclave on Baldwin | The Star.
And John’s and Yung Sing are just a few of the great places on Baldwin. You can read about more of them here: Toronto patios: Baldwin St. | The Star.
That’s an older piece, but there’s still some of those places. And there are other places that are new and great, like Omai.
I miss Baldwin Street. I used to go often before the pandemic. It’s easy to get to from Spadina Avenue and it’s just up from the AGO, making it a perfect destination. I need to go back soon.
If you want to learn more about the street, read this: Baldwin Village – Wikipedia
(Image linked to in the story on the Yiddish sign).
Here are three pieces on prison and incarceration that I thought were worth reading:
- Here’s some technology to help identify discrepancies in prison sentencing based on race.
- Here’s how California jails take a kinder and better approach.
- Here’s how artists teamed with prisoners to transform their prison.
(Image linked to in the third piece)
Matthew Yglesias wrote this piece here and it did not go over too well: The case against crisis-mongering. I mainly agree with him, that our world problems, dire as they are, aren’t as exceptional as we may think. Or as Dan G put it on twitter:
What Dan states is my worldview as well. There are still many bad things in the world, but there is progress and things are getting better. We have overcome problems in the past and we have the ability to fix things in the future. Plus the past was terrible in many ways and so much worse than now (and our times will look terrible to people in the future).
If you disagree with this, I strongly recommend two books:
- Progress: Ten Reasons to Look Forward to the Future
They make the case stronger than I can for how the world is getting better and how we should be optimistic despite our difficulties.
People will say: what about global warming? The pandemic? Nuclear weapons? All I can say is read Matt’s piece and then read those books. I think that will help alot.
(Photo by Nathan Dumlao on Unsplash )
I was surprised to read this and discover that many fans of rosé prefer the lighter coloured version: A Rosé by Any Other Color – The New York Times.
I like lighter coloured rosés, but I find the darker ones have more substance and are more interesting. If you need convincing, I recommend you read that. Heck, read it regardless: it’s a good piece.
After you do that, I recommend you head out to your local wine shop and pick up a bottle or two. Maybe your favorite pale pink number combined with something darker. And if you do, why not pick up the ingredients to make a nice niçoise salad to go with it. I think they may be a perfect meal combo. If you want a minimal version of niçoise salad, I recommend this 5 ingredient version from Cup of Jo. Purists may disagree, but that is a fine dinner salad whatever you call it.
(Photo by Dennis Vinther on Unsplash )
Here a list of 5 or more things to help you become a better writer and (self)publish your book. Let me know if you find any of it useful.
- Here’s good advice on the non daily writing practice
- This is good to read if you aren’t Steven King: On printing a small number of books
- Some useful writing tech: Calmly writer. It’s a good tool to help you write in a focused way.
- If you want to write non-fiction, here are some tips.
- If you want to publish your own book, read this.
- Here’s Maeve Binchy’s advice for writers.
- And here’s Austin Kleon’s advice for writers.
- If you want to write alot, here’s how to write 40 books like Graham Greene.
- Finally, this piece on how someone made 40K on their book. It’s worth a read if financial considerations are important to you.
(Photo by hannah grace on Unsplash …good advice as well.)
Posted in advice
Tagged advice, writing
Do you have a blog, a tumblr, an account on Facebook, Instagram, twitter? Do you need fine print to go with that?
Well maybe not. But if you did, you could do no better than adopt the fine print of the account PourMeCoffee, here. Read it for the humour, but reflect on the Internet wisdom found there. It’s priceless.
Posted in fun
Tagged fineprint, fun, humor
Let’s face it: it can be hard at times to want to do anything, especially these days, the dog days of summer. You likely are getting tired from being at home all the time. The thought that the pandemic shows no sign of dying off doesn’t help. It’s also hot, and that can sap your morale too. What can you do?
Well, two things. First off, read this: How to Get Things Done When You Don’t Want to Do Anything – The New York Times. There’s some thoughtful advice on how to get enough motivation to do something. Don’t expect things to change overnight, but you can learn from it and get started.
If you are still struggling, maybe you need a better set up at home. If so, read this: 5 Habits of People Who Are Especially Productive Working from Home
Finally, maybe you need to create a short list of easy things to do to gain some momentum. I wrote about how you can do that, here.
We all fall into the doldrums from time to time. The quicksand of life, so to speak. Just stay positive and keep moving however slowly and you’ll get unstuck sooner than you think.
P.S. Finally grab one thing you love to do and do it. Don’t worry about being productive. Just focus on doing something.
(Photo by Christian Lambert on Unsplash)
In my case, the Church is the Catholic Church, which I have been estranged from since my teenage years. There are a great many good Catholics that I know, doing great acts of charity and service, such as paying off medical debt. And when I read pieces like this one, I think: yes, Catholicism can be a force for good.
But then there are the many terrible actions by the church and those within it that remind me of why my estrangement still exists. Like how Catholics who promised residential school survivors $25M instead spent $300M on a new church. or the political actions of Bishops in the United States. Or finally, laicized cardinal Theodore McCarrick.
McCarrick is being charged with a fraction of the things he got away with for a very long time. Things everyone knew about. And just so you know, McCarrick is not the end of it. If you can bare it, here’s more about it.
Finally here’s an editorial in a Catholic Church publication talking about just how messed up the church is.
That’s all I have to say for now.
(Image: Damon Winter/The New York Times)