What I find interesting in tech, November 2020

Kubernetes

Here’s 59 links (!) of things I have found interesting in tech in the last while. It ‘s heavily skewed towards Kubernetes because that’s mostly what I have been involved with. Some stuff on Helm, since I was working on a tricky situation with Helm charts. There’s some docker and Open Shift of course, since it’s related. There’s a few general pieces on cloud. And finally at the end there’s links to a bunch of worthwhile repos.

Almost all of these links are self explanatory. The ones that aren’t…well…few if anyone but me reads these posts anyway. 🙂 Just treat it like a collection of potentially good resources.

  1. How to create custom Helm charts
  2. How to make a Helm chart in 10 minutes | Opensource.com
  3. Basic kubectl and Helm commands for beginners | Opensource.com
  4. A visual guide on troubleshooting Kubernetes deployments
  5. Kubernetes Canary Deployments for User Beta testing | by Damien Marshall | ITNEXT
  6. Hands-on guide: developing & deploying Node.js apps in Kubernetes
  7. Deploying Java Applications with Docker and Kubernetes – O’Reilly
  8. Kubernetes, Kafka Event Sourcing Architecture Patterns, and Use Case Examples – DZone Big Data
  9. 10 most important differences between OpenShift and Kubernetes – cloudowski.com
  10. Node.js in a Kubernets world – IBM Developer
  11. Learn Kubernetes in Under 3 Hours: A Detailed Guide to Orchestrating Containers
  12. Service accounts — Kubernetes on AWS 0.1 documentation
  13. Copy directories and files to and from Kubernetes Container [POD] | by Nilesh Suryavanshi | Medium
  14. Monitoring Kubernetes in Production: How To Guide | Sysdig
  15. Kubernetes Cheat Sheet | Red Hat Developer
  16. Kubernetes In a Nutshell | Enqueue Zero
  17. Kubernetes Deployment in a Nutshell | Clivern
  18. Kubernetes namespaces for beginners | Opensource.com
  19. Level up your use of Helm on Kubernetes with Charts | Opensource.com
  20. Running Solr on Kubernetes
  21. Solr on Kubernetes on Portworx
  22. Zookeeper – Unofficial Kubernetes
  23. Kubernetes for Everyone
  24. Chris Biscardi’s Digital Garden
  25. Istio / Getting Started
  26. How To Set Up a Kubernetes Monitoring Stack with Prometheus, Grafana and Alertmanager on DigitalOcean | DigitalOcean
  27. Kubernetes Ingress Controllers: How to choose the right one: Part 1 | by Eric Liu | ITNEXT
  28. An introduction to Minishift, OpenShift, and IBM Cloud – IBM Developer
  29. How To Set Up an Nginx Ingress on DigitalOcean Kubernetes Using Helm | DigitalOcean
  30. An introduction to Kubernetes.
  31. Health checks in Kubernetes for your Node.js applications – IBM Developer
  32. Beyond the basics with Cloud Foundry – IBM Developer
  33. Build a cloud-native Java app using Codewind and your favorite IDE – IBM Developer
  34. Accelerating the application containerization journey – Cloud computing news
  35. 6 Key Elements for a Successful Cloud Migration | IBM
  36. An introduction to Minishift, OpenShift, and IBM Cloud – IBM Developer
  37. There aren’t enough humans for cloud-native infra. Can DevOps deal? – SiliconANGLE
  38. Leverage deep learning in IBM Cloud Functions – IBM Developer
  39. CloudReady for Home: Free Download — Neverware
  40. Council Post: It’s Time To Accelerate Your Hybrid Or Multicloud Strategy
  41. Getting started with solution tutorials
  42. How to get started with GCP  |  Google Cloud
  43. Setting up Solr Cloud 8.4.1 with Zookeeper 3.5.6 | by Amrit Sarkar | Medium
  44. solr – How to force a leader on SolrCloud? – Stack Overflow
  45. Play with Docker Classroom
  46. Getting any Docker image running in your own OpenShift cluster
  47. Building Docker Images inside Kubernetes | by Vadym Martsynovskyy | Hootsuite Engineering | Medium
  48. Get an IBM MQ queue for development on Windows – IBM Developer
  49. Ultimate Guide to Installing Kafka Docker on Kubernetes – DZone Big Data
  50. Kafka on Kubernetes — a good fit? | by Johann Gyger | Noteworthy – The Journal Blog
  51. How To Install Apache Kafka on Debian 10 | DigitalOcean
  52. Chapter 7. Monitoring and performance – Kafka Streams in Action: Real-time apps and microservices with the Kafka Streams API [Book]
  53. charts/incubator/cassandra at master · helm/charts · GitHub
  54. atlas-helm-chart/charts/zookeeper at master · xmavrck/atlas-helm-chart · GitHub
  55. nhs-app-helm-chart/solr.yaml at master · pajmd/nhs-app-helm-chart · GitHub
  56. GitHub – manjitsin/atlas-helm-chart: Kubernetes Helm Chart to deploy Apache Atlas
  57. GitHub – IBM/Scalable-WordPress-deployment-on-Kubernetes: This code showcases the full power of Kubernetes clusters and shows how can we deploy the world’s most popular website framework on top of world’s most popular container orchestration platform.
  58. A Dockerfile with (almost) all the tools mentioned in Bite Size Networking by Julia Evans · GitHub
  59. GitHub – sburn/docker-apache-atlas: This Apache Atlas is built from the latest release source tarball and patched to be run in a Docker container.

It’s Monday. You have something risky you have been dreading to tackle. Here’s how to tackle it

You have something we want to do but don’t because you feel there is a big risk involved. You think: what if I fail? If you fail you fear you will a) be covered in shame b) lose out big c) have other bad things happen to you that you can’t even imagine you can cope with. No wonder you have been putting it off.

First of all, you can cope with pretty much anything. Second of all, there is a good and painless way to approach that thing you think is risky. It’s outlined nicely in this article and in that diagram. The article uses opening a restaurant as an example, but it could be applied to any big goal you have, from taking on a new job position to running a marathon.

In my own job, we deal with managing risk every day. We plan to deal with risk by taking the same method and applying it over and over. It is very effective professionally. It can be effective for you personally. Keep iterating until the thing that once seemed very risky now seems much less so.

(Image from a link to the article.)

You need Vitamin D. Here’s why.

From information is beautiful.

On something being ugly but something you’ll miss when it is gone

For me, it’s this bridge which according to BlogTO is going to be demolished:

When I first moved to Toronto in the 80s I lived near this area and used to pass under this bridge all the time. There’s nothing attractive about it, save the murals, which weren’t there when I lived there.

Still, I will miss it when it is gone, ugly or not.

Want help getting your place neat and tidy this weekend? I have some links

cleaning products
If you are in a rut with keeping your place clean and organized, this could help:

  1. Zettelkasten is the German Secret to a Super-Organized Life | Apartment Therapy
  2. The Best Cleaning Apps – For Families, Roommates or Anyone | Apartment Therapy
  3. 7 Smart Cleaning Hacks Using White Vinegar | Apartment Therapy

It’s a pandemic: it’s hard to go anywhere nice and clean, so make your place that place. Or you can do what I do: procrastinate about cleaning and organizing by reading about it instead. 🙂

Friday night cocktails: the champagne cocktail


The champagne cocktail is a minimal cocktail. It’s perfect if you want a cocktail and aren’t good at making them or you are too beat to make anything involved. Honestly you can make it in a flash. To see what, I mean, here’s a recipe for one: Champagne Cocktail Recipe | Bon Appétit

If you need convincing on the merits of them,  read this: The Champagne Cocktail Is the Rented Tux of Mixed Drinks | Bon Appétit.

More on them, here.

I mean look at it: it looks delicious. Go make one.

P.S. If you do want a bit more involved cocktail that has sparkling wine as an ingredient, I recommend the French 75.

(Image via liquor.com)

On US Politics, Money, and the recent election

Money
American politics is about many things. One of the main things it is about is money.  For a while it was believed that after the “Citizen United” case, the flood of money  would almost guarantee whoever had the most money would win.  Now it’s not just about what money can do, but what it cannot do.

As some states like Maine and South Carolina showed, vastly outspending the incumbent will not guarantee election: The Democrats Went All Out Against Susan Collins. Rural Maine Grimaced. – The New York Times. That’s not to say money is irrelevant. It’s just that it has limits. It’s no longer enough to bombard people with ads bought with all that money. You need to spend smarter. I am not sure if anyone in the US has that figured out.

Speaking of money, this article by Jamelle Bouie highlights the importance of money especially when it comes to low information voters: Opinion | A Simple Theory of Why Trump Did Well – The New York Times. High information voters might scoff at “Donnie Dollars” (cheques issued by the government with Trump’s name on them). But I agree with Bouie: things like that make a difference with many voters. People might not closely weigh one politician’s promises versus another, but they all remember the jobs and services and other benefits that the incumbents brought their way.

(Photo by Matthew Lancaster on Unsplash)

On starting your own Orangery this winter


Ok, ok, maybe that is a bit ambitious. But as the winter settles in, you might want a bit of summer in your home. If just to help you get through the days when it seems like winter will never end and summer will never come. (Collapse face first on the bed after you say that. :))

If you like that idea, read this: The Plant That’ll Make it Feel Like Summer in Your Home All Year Long. 

Then go get one and get started on making your own orangery.

Need more encouragement: read this from Bon Appetit.

P.S. if you are asking, “what the heck is an orangery”, then go here: Orangery – Wikipedia. It’s a fascinating idea and history.

Image above of the Belvedere Orangery in Vienna, via Wikipedia.

On the COVID fee and the airlinerization of your bill


If you are concerned about the cost of things, then you should know about this: The COVID fee, or why many services could cost you more as Toronto reopens for business | CBC News.

I get the COVID fee. It makes sense for businesses dealing with the cost of the pandemic. But it got me thinking about how we might start seeing the airlinerization of bills.

I thought of that concept when I started to get food from Uber Eats. On top of the cost of the meals is 3 or 4 fees, not including tips. Now with the COVID fee we may start seeing other service companies stacking additional costs onto the initial cost.

This reminds me of the airline industry. To compete, the fares for flights are stripped of costs. Then after you are about to pay, you find out the true cost of things. Again, I get it. It makes sense. It makes me wary of using a service that does this.

It may seem good for businesses to charge several additional fees. The listed cost seems low and attracts customers. It’s only when you get the bill do you see what you are truly paying. In my case yesterday I didn’t even see the COVID fee until I got home. The tip is added as a percentage on top of all the fees as well. My expected costs and my actual costs were wildly out of sync. This did not leave me with a good feeling for the place I just visited. I feel they need to be more transparent with this. (It is not listed on their website or on the Square terminal when I paid).

If the cost is not a concern for you, then feel free to ignore it. But for many people buying goods and services in the pandemic, caveat emptor.

(Photo by CardMapr on Unsplash)

Why you need to exercise self-care (especially in a pandemic)


It’s easy to let care for yourself slide in a pandemic. But even in normal times it can be a problem. If you find this to be the case, then I recommend this piece. It can help you understand why you aren’t taking better care of yourself. It then helps you understand what good selfcare looks like.

I’d add a base reason for self care is you can only take care of others if you take care of yourself as well. The airplane mask rule is always in effect.

(Photo by Jungwoo Hong on Unsplash)

I hope Americans still on the fence about travelling for Thanksgiving read this


I understand the importance of Thanksgiving in the US. It’s a big deal, and a big part of that is coming together. But coming together might mean spreading COVID-19, not just with the people you visit, but others after the visit.

Because of that, I hope you will stay in your respective dwellings and take advantage of this offer from Zoom: Thanksgiving on Zoom: Your family get-together can surpass 40 minutes.

Normally if you have a free Zoom account, you are limited to how long your online session can last. Happily, Zoom is waiving that for this year. It’s a great offer: you should jump on it.

I hope people will meet up virtually in the US this Thanksgiving. It will make a world of difference.

On Betty Goodwin

I’m always struck whenever I see the works of Betty Goodwin. They have a distortion that reminds me of Francis Bacon, and there is sometimes a threat implied with them, the way Bacon’s work does too. But Goodwin is her own artist, and if anything she has a greater range than Bacon does. This is not to strictly compare both artists, for they are both great in their own way. It is just meant to highlight how good I think she is.

If you want to see more of her work, you can go the National Gallery of Canada, here. The AGO also has some of her work and had a fine exhibit on her in 2019. You can read about it here.

Friday night cocktail: honey plum bourbon sour

From the folks at Food52, here’s a cocktail with a different twist: plum slices! I like it.  Of course you don’t need to make it with that particular bourbon: I am sure it will be delicious with any version you prefer.

In praise of the cardigan, perfect for your pandemic fashion needs

Fancy cardigan
Finally! Advice we can all use: How to wear a statement cardigan | Men’s fashion in The Guardian

You might think I am joking but I am not: the cardigan is my favorite article of clothing. It’s dressier than a hoodie, more comfortable than a jacket, adjustable for different temperatures, and definitely stylish. I mean look at that one above! A cardigan with a shirt and tie is casual chic. Add more layers and you will be the picture of elegance.

I only have one piece of advice about cardigans: if you see one you like, do not hesitate to buy it. Clothing lines usually have a very limited number of cardigans they make every year, and often those are boring. Some years I have not found one good cardigan worth owning. A good cardigan is a rare and wonderful thing: don’t hesitate to get one or more.

Four good ideas from IKEA


Nothing radical decor-wise, but here are some good ideas from IKEA. For example, they’ve packaged up some of their products to make improving your home easier: IKEA Launched Decor Kits That Let You Mix Up Your Style Easily

They have these speakers (seen above) that I would quickly get if I didn’t have a Sonos speaker already. It combines the quality of Sonos with the affordability of IKEA: SYMFONISK WiFi bookshelf speaker – black – IKEA.

Speaking of affordability, here’s a reminder that IKEA is always stocked with affordable items: Under $10 – Affordable Furniture and Gifts – IKEA

Finally, it is easy to criticize rooms with too much IKEA furniture in it. Such rooms tend to look like a showroom rather than your room. However, for people who have a hard time making good choices about their decor, stealing ideas from IKEA makes a lot of sense. To see what I mean, check this article out: IKEA Catalog 2021 Neutral Calming Rooms | Apartment Therapy

You know about hygge. Now it’s a good time to learn about friluftsliv

winter in NYC

You likely know about hygge, and adopting that into your life can make winter not only more endurable but even wonderful. But while hygge is good for indoors, what about outdoors? This is where friluftsliv comes in. As this article explains, ‘We belong out there’: How the Nordic concept of friluftsliv — outdoor life — could help the Pacific Northwest get through this COVID winter  the idea of outdoor life,  especially in the depth of winter, is what we are going to need to get through this cold part of the pandemic.

I think you would benefit to read the article, but basically it describes friluftsliv this way:

More expansive than outdoor recreation and less self-serious than outdoor adventure, friluftsliv describes “whatever you go to REI for,” said Meyer. “But in Norway, it’s this deeper concept of having space from other people, which is kind of a Norwegian thing to do, and then it has that sense of being able to wander freely outside.”

It’s like flaneurism combined with winter. 🙂

Get yourself some good winter clothing and start planning to get outside. Not only will it help you from feeling cooped up, it will help you appreciate what you have inside. You can come back to your cozy blankets and candles and whatever else you have to make indoors delightful. Make a tea or a hot chocolate. You are the master of winter.

(Photo by Heather Shevlin on Unsplash)

November pandemic highlights and ramblings (a newsletter, in blog form)

Hi there! It’s time for my monthly newsletter-but-not of highlights and ramblings. As always, thanks for stopping by and reading this.

It’s been an intense period of time since October. Starting with the pandemic…

Pandemic – bad: we have terrible new statistics coming out of many places, including Canada. Months ago people were talking about the second wave, and now it seems to be crashing over us in so many places. I am fearful it is going to take a dreadful toll on us this winter. I think so much has collapsed and as I feared in the last newsletter, people are just dropping the ball. Here in Canada I see a number of provincial leaders just floundering and since healthcare is their jurisdiction, I am not hopeful things will get better soon.  And it’s not just Canada: many other countries seem to be either flailing or bringing in stricter measures. I think sooner than later many places will head back to lockdown.

And it’s not just Canadian politicians. I think people have become more social and the natural outcome of this is more spreading of the virus, more people getting sick, and more people dying.

Pandemic – good: the silver lining is the news of the vaccines coming out. It can’t happen soon enough, though obviously it is going to be well into 2021 before we get them.  Let’s hope there is enough will and discipline to crack down on socialization and other contributors to the spread of COVID-19 until they are widely delivered.

Pandemic – otherwise: I thought this was an interesting approach to the pandemic: Self-care in 2020: I’m handling the election and the pandemic by throwing a series of tantrums

There’s been much good said about how the Atlantic Provinces have been handling the pandemic. But it has come at a cost. For example my home of Cape Breton has no air travel in or out of Sydney airport: Air Canada flights cancelled between Sydney, Halifax | CBC News. There is no rail either: that was cancelled long ago. Sad.

Personally,  I have not done much differently since March. I went to two indoor restaurants with plenty of social distancing in the summer, and I have had two indoor gatherings with two other people outside my tiny bubble of four, but that’s it. What I have found is I am just am accepting things as normal now. I don’t have any special projects or activities on the go the way I was earlier in the pandemic. But I am not putting things on hold either: I find I am looking forward to things that I can afford to look forward to.

The USA : the other big news of the last month is the defeat of Donald Trump by Joe Biden. Whatever shortcomings President Biden will have, they will be nothing in comparison to the shortcomings of President Trump. I argued some time ago that Trump was not the worst US President ever. I think Buchanan still might be. But I think Trump might be the second worse now, given the number of preventable deaths due to COVID if he had acted sooner. Like I said, I think Buchanan is still the worst, but with the deaths, corruption, lying, nepotism, and so many other faults, Trump is the second worst. At least he is no longer President, come January. All the world will benefit from this.

Speaking of Trump, this was quite a story: Donald Trump Has At Least $1 Billion In Debt, More Than Twice The Amount He Suggested. . I suspect he will be having more than his fair share of difficulties starting with his time out of office.

Restaurants: restaurants still continue to have a tough time of it, and come winter in Canada, I don’t know how many we will lose. Likely a lot. So I am always on the lookout for any sliver of hope out there. One I found was this innovative way to provide food.

Related to that is this article: Has the pandemic changed how we eat forever? – The Globe and Mail. Not sure if it has changed it “forever”, but it will have changed it substantially and for a long time to come.

Newsletters: Not sure if I am going to keep highlighting them. But for now I will mention that if you want a really good newsletter on the law, and I think you do, I highly recommend The Popehat Report. The author, Ken White, goes by the name of Popehat on twitter. I learn something new an in depth every time I read it.

Speaking of newsletters, the Substack service seems to be on a roll when it comes to signing up big names to provide newsletter services. I suspect this will build for awhile as a gold rush of sorts occurs. Lots of people will think they will be able to cash in. But as always the Long Tail effect will occur, and just a small number of people will really benefit from the monetization of newsletter.

Climate Change: Between the pandemic and the US election, it has been easy to forget there is still a climate crisis occurring. There are so many examples of it, but this struck me: Phoenix to break record for most 100-degree days in calendar year – The Washington Post. Eventually many parts of the world will be uninhabitable as time passes and Climate Change worsens.

Cool science: gravitational waves were first discovered in 2015. Since then, scientists have captured 50 events pertaining to gravitational waves. Here’s what that means: What 50 Gravitational-wave Events Reveal about the Universe – Scientific AmericanI love that this new tool is already letting us learn so much more about our universe.

Cool tech: I have been a fan of Raspberry Pis for a long time. They continue to come out with new and improved versions of the technology. Case in point, this: Raspberry Pi 400 – Complete Kit – BuyaPi.ca. It could be a great way to get someone interested in computers.

Plants: I’ve written number of pieces on plants; you can find themhere. I used to be terrible with them. But one good thing about the pandemic is that I am home all the time. This helps me keep a better eye on my green friends. Partially as a result of that, they are thriving. If you have problems with plants, I recommend that you read this: How to stop killing your houseplants – Vox

Finally: I realize the pandemic is getting you down. Your not alone. But there are vaccines coming, so find ways to deal with it until then.

Remember:

 

Are you more worried these days? This can help


Are you more worried these days? Ha! I know you are: I see your tweets and your socials! Hey, it’s fine. These are difficult days. That’s not a licence to worry your head off though. Difficult or not, being able to worry less is a good skill to have.

If you don’t think it is a skill you have much of, read this. It will give you good practical tips to deal effectively with your worrying. Better yet, read it with a pen and paper handy; when you are done, write down a practical plan to change your worrying.

Worrying is a habitual way of thinking that can cause you damage. The good news is you can break that habit and change your thinking and have it shift away from worrying.  Worrying is like smoking or eating badly or any other harmful behaviors. Behaviors you can change. So set your mind on a different form of being. You’ll be calmer and more positive soon enough.

(Photo by Henrikke Due on Unsplash)

Thinking about Fun (something good for you to do)

kid playing in leaves

Are you having fun? That’s a question often asked of us as kids. Then we get older and get more responsibilities and that question dies off. You might only hear yourself saying: I am not having fun.

That’s a great loss. Our lives are enriched by fun. If you can’t even imagine fun anymore, here are too good pieces for your serious self to read:

I really recommend you read them and challenge yourself to make time to have fun. Remember make your own fun. For some people it is being goofy, other people it’s making something, and still others find fun in doing things no one else would consider “fun”. Never mind. Find your fun wherever you can and cherish it.

(Photo by Scott Webb on Unsplash)

The process of hand blocked wallpaper

Is shown, here.

Captivating.

On Paul Klee, later works

Paul Klee painting

The David Zwirner gallery has an exhibit on the late works of Paul Klee, here.

A good analysis of Klee and his work then can be read here.

His work is darker in this time period, as befitting of what was going on. Still beautiful and still uniquely Klee, though.

On Mitch McConnell

Two good pieces on Mitch McConnell, here and here.

The first piece is analyzing if he is good at his job. The second piece has a snarky title but gets to the essence of McConnell.

I’d argue he is good at his job. He’s a strong parliamentarian who knows his caucus . He has a simple agenda and he strives to get it done. If you are a progressive, that stinks. But if you are a conservative,  it’s great.

People struggling to understand McConnell usually do so because they imagine him to be someone else. But he is simple to understand. How you feel about that is different.

How to get into reading philosophy? Start with these five books

What Does It All Mean? Book
If you haven’t read philosophy before, it can be daunting. Doing it with an instructor helps. A good instructor or lecturer can give you context, guide you to what is important, help you ask the right questions, even acknowledge the difficulty of what you are reading.

If you don’t have that but still want to give it a try, I recommend this list by Nigel Warburton. Some of them are general, and some focus on specific fields of philosophy. They all sound good. Read the list: Warburton tells you what each book is about and why you want to read it.

I suspect by the time you finish the article, you’ll want to go out and get one of those books.

(Photo by Grant Jacobson on Unsplash)

Virtual travelling: hotels in New York for people who love design

Assuming these will still be around post pandemic, here’s 12 beautiful hotels to consider staying at in New York, starting with the TWA hotel which has been wonderfully remade. I have seen a number of New Yorkers staying there and posting pictures on social media because….why not. While the other hotels don’t have the benefit of being put in a  building designed by Eero Saarinen, they are still great. You can see them all here.

Trump and “art”

Come January 2021, here’s to dumping John McNaughton and his terrible art into obscurity for all time. If you don’t know who he is (he’s the guy in the above photo), you can read more about him  here. Better yet, don’t.

I am not sure it is better, but here’s an image of Trump made with sex toys.

You can read about it here.

How to get the most out of your Google Home device?

Use Routines. As Wired magazine explains:

Instead of saying, “OK, Google. Turn off bedroom and play rain sounds,” and hoping Google correctly processes that those are two separate commands, you can say “OK, Google. Good night” and have a routine take care of the rest.

Essentially Routines are programs for Google Home devices to run. If you find yourself giving your Home device multiple instructions at a time, consider making a routine.

It’s Monday. You want to get into some good habits. These two things can help

Perhaps you’ve developed some bad habits over the pandemic. Habits you want to shake off.  You might need help developing new and better ones.

Here’s two things that can help. First is James Clear’s book, Atomic Habits. He takes a methodical approach to how habits form and how you can break them.

Second, there is the habitlist app that can help keep you going on your way to building new habits.

If you really struggle with developing new habits, try this. Make up a habit that takes little time and effort and practice making it a new habit. For example, you could take 30 seconds each day just to stretch. Or 10 seconds each day to breathe deeply. Heck take 5 seconds each day to say: I can develop new habits. 🙂 The point isn’t so much the habit as it is developing the ability to form habits. Once you can form some really basic but good habits, other habits that you might struggle with will get easier.

For fans of DADA

If you are a fan of Dada as I am, you owe it to yourself to visit this site. This archive site is a wealth of material on Dadaism and Surrealism.

Dada is over a century old, but still relevant, in my opinion. Art was never the same after it. If you need an introduction to Dada, the wikipedia page can get you going.

 

Saturday night beauty: photos of long meandering roads

It doesn’t sounds like much, but it’s worthwhile going to check this out just for the beautiful images found there (like the one above): Black and White Analog Photographs Explore the Serenity of Long Meandering Roads |

From the good folks at Colossal.

In praise of cozy corners (and how you can make your own)

Cozy corner.

Coziness is in the eye (body?) of the beholder. For example, I find the above image cozy. Other people might find the picture below cozy.

Cozy with cats.

Regardless of which one you prefer, I think having a cozy corner in your home is essential, especially as the cooler weather starts.

If you don’t have one or need inspiration, here’s 12 cozy corners from Cup of Jo you can check out and steal ideas from. A nice couch helps. So do blankets and pillows. Sleeping dogs and cats are nice. As are books and fireplaces. But don’t let me tell you how to be cozy: I think you should get there however you think best. 🙂

(Images from links to that blog post on Cup of Jo).

Friday night cocktail: the Bamboo (and other sherry based cocktails)

What’s nice about the bamboo and other sherry+vermouth cocktails is that they seem familiar, but different enough to break you out of your rut (assuming you are having a cocktail rut). Plus they are easy to make, and because they are lower ABV, easy to drink. Sound good? You can get a recipe for the bamboo here.

For more recipes, you can go Bon Appétit

Did you mess up this week? Are you beating yourself up about it? If so, read this


Chances are you messed up at some point this week. It happens to everyone.

If you have a good attitude about it, that’s great. If you don’t, if you are beating yourself up for messing up, then read this.

I hope you feel better after reading that. Everyone makes mistakes. People trying really hard especially make mistakes. Give yourself a break. Then get back at it.

(Photo by Sarah Kilian on Unsplash)

Two good articles on sleep

Man and dog sleeping

If you are having sleep problems, read #1. If you need to understand why you need to sleep more, read #2.

  1. Shuteye and Sleep Hygiene: The Truth About Why You Keep Waking up at 3 a.m.
  2. Scientists Now Know How Sleep Cleans Toxins From the Brain | WIRED

I especially liked #2. I had a long held belief that is why we sleep. It’s satisfying to see it established by science.

We all need clean and shiny brains. To do that, get some sleep.

On the joy of updating Wikipedia and how you can experience it too

Wikipedia home page

It is a small joy to update Wikipedia. I reflected upon that when I read this story of a librarian who has started down that path.

I have made a number of updates myself! Not many, but here’s my list:

  • on a French pastry I used to love getting, but found no entry on: Bichon au Citron
  • I’ve fixed a minor typo on this list regarding SNL
  • I was reading a book on the late Bronze Age collapse and when I went to the wikipedia page, I noticed it needed some references. I referred to the book I was reading.
  • Finally, I was reading about Anoxygenic photosynthesis and I added some references.

Basically I fixed up some pages that had errors or lacked citations. This is the easiest way to start. Creating a whole new entry, as I did with the pastry,  is harder.

You don’t even have to create a login, though I did.If you aren’t feeling too confident at first, try playing around in the sandbox. It’s easy, and you can’t break anything.

We all benefit from improvements to Wikipedia. Why not do some yourself? You will find it satisfying and joyful.

(Photo by Luke Chesser on Unsplash)

It’s Monday. How are you doing? Not sure? Here’s a checklist to help you find out


With the pandemic, it’s easy to get into a mindset of thinking things aren’t going well and you aren’t doing well. I get it. But guess what? Chances are you are doing well. To see what I am getting at, check out this checklist.

It won’t take more than 5 minutes to do, but after you do it, you will think:

  1. Hey, I’m doing more good things than I give myself credit for
  2. Oh dear, I really need to work on X and Y and Z

Ok. Great! You now know you are doing better than you thought (give yourself a pat on the back). You also have a list of items to work on improving. It’s Monday: make up a plan to work on them this week.

(Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash)

If you are slogging through your laundry this weekend

Then read this: Laundry is a never-ending chore – Vox

It’s about the social, historical, and economic aspects of laundry. It will make you think of laundry in a whole new light.

P.S. It’s the pandemic. I hope you are giving the ironing a pause in this difficult and wrinkly time. 🙂

(Photo by Filip Mroz on Unsplash)

On the greatness of wearing black

Earlier in the week, I wrote about the importance of wearing red. While red is great, there’s much to be said for wearing black, and Grace Dent says it so well, here. As for me, I’ve argued that if a man has to have only one suit, it should be a black one. Gray and navy are great colours for suits, but black is best. After all, if you wear a white dress shirt, solid black tie and suit, you will look cool .

You could do worse than look as cool as this:

It’s the weekend: here’s something good to read and something good to do


Congrats! It’s the weekend! You made it. Perhaps you want to relax. If so, here’s a list of books you might be interested in reading: 2020 books: Feel-good reads with guaranteed happy endings – The Washington Post

Hey, it’s the pandemic: you could use some more upbeat reading material.

If you are not the relaxing type, why not check in on that friend you haven’t heard from lately and drop off some soup. Need convincing that it’s a good idea? Read this: Soup for a Friend | A Cup of Jo

Obviously homemade soup is great. But if you live in Calgary, consider getting some soup from my friend, Carmie. She’s a great cook, and you can order soup from her company, SpoonFed. Get some bread or crackers, too.

The weather is getting cooler and the days shorter. Good soup can help you and your friends.

(Top image from the Cup of Jo blog post. Bottom image from the SpoonFed site.)

Finally some good news for 2020: the McRib is coming back!

Yaaaas. At least in the US, the McRib sandwich from McDonald’s is coming back in December, according to this. I hope and pray it comes to Canada, too. I love that sandwich: saucy, porky, with pickles and raw onions and that bun. Perfection.

Almost a decade ago I came across an intriguing theory as to why McDonald’s sells the McRib only at certain times. I wrote about it, here.

Friday night cocktail: the shaken martini (with guest appearances from Bill Murray and Google Trends)

You might think, how much can be said about a martini, shaken or not? Well quite a bit if you are David Lebovitz. I recommend you check him out and then get out your cocktail shaker.

Need more reasons to drink one? Well, you can be cool, like Bill Murray, here  drinking one in his new film, On the Rocks. 

Based on Google Trends, people must drink martinis mainly at Christmas. So save this post until then. Or be a trend setter and start having one now.