For anyone starting out on the road to being an independent adult, the book Adulting (from Hachette) is a good guide to have. It is packed with tips – 468 to be exact – on pretty much any experience you are going to go through in your early 20s. If this is you or someone you love, this book will have an obvious appeal.
It’s not just for young people though. I think all adults could benefit from parts of the book, especially if you are having to start out on some adult experience that is either new to you or something you haven’t done for some time. It’s good advice, and good advice never goes out of date.
Even if you don’t need good advice, read it just for the humour. It’s a very funny book. (Note, there is a fair amount of profanity and references to sex, but if that doesn’t bother you, then you’ll be fine.)
Finally, if you want to have a better understanding of what life is like for that young person you know, this book can help you achieve that.
By the way, if you want a preview of it, you can check out the Adulting blog. Also very good.
I was killing time in a bookstore last night and I thought it looked good. I ended up reading it from cover to cover.
Home prices in some of the city’s neighborhoods have not just climbed over the last decade, they’ve blasted off, landed on Mars and found water.
Why? Well, look at where the growth is, and then look at this map of the NYC Subway:
More than other factors, the price of real estate seems is tied to how easy it is to get back and forth from Manhattan.
That said, I’d be interested to know the story behind the areas of Manhattan that are stagnating.
NYC is never boring.
Source: New York Home Prices | New York Real Estate Price History
I am supportive of people sharing things, both good and bad, on social media. Some people think sharing only positive things is best, but I think sharing bad things has benefits. When you share bad things you allow people to express empathy which can be good for them and you. Sharing negative experiences can also help people feel that they are not the only ones feeling that way. In either case, a small dose of negativity can lead to a larger response of positivity.
Lately, however, I have had so many bad things, big and small, happen to me that I no longer feel it is a net benefit to share them. I even wrote them down tonight and thought: yeah that is a lot of bad things at once. I think that sharing them all the time will just have a negative effect on other people. It will bring them down more than help them. It will also affect me as well, as people move away from me for various reasons, either because they don’t know how to respond or they don’t want to deal with it.(something I have experienced this year.)
As a result, I started logging much of the difficulties I have been having in Day One, which is a great app. Writing things there helps me vent and review it later without having it social. As I found, after I vented, I was able to gain some perspective and think better about the situation, which helped. Sharing things can be useful, but in some cases not sharing can be more beneficial.
If you share a lot of your life, I recommend this approach for people in a similar situation. I recommend the Day One app too. It is great.
Sales people asking you if you want insurance at a counter leans on your anxiety and often leads you to end up buying it. Should you? Well, if it is rental car insurance, Vox says no and does so persuasively, here: Why rental car insurance is usually a rip-off – Vox.
Two other places I see people wasting money on insurance is toys and video games. Toys R Us used to push insurance on me all the time. Before you buy it, consider how your child plays with a toy. Chances are, the insurance doesn’t buy you anything. If it is the only toy you are going to buy your child and the only one they will play with for a long time, then sure. But most children will play intently with a toy for awhile and then the interest drops.
Likewise with video games. Perhaps your child will play with it for a year and it will be their favorite game. Most times, I’ll bet they play intently for awhile, and then the interest drops. During that time, the chance of damage is very slight.
The insurance for toys and video games is low, but it buys you next to nothing. If the store said: do you mind if we charge you an extra 5-10% on this item, you would laugh and say “no!”. Yet that is what they are doing with insurance.
Skip it and use the few bucks to treat your child to a sweet or yourself to a coffee or give it to someone in need.
And I think it could be successful. First off, it looks good, and it has the famous BlackBerry keyboard. Plus it will work with BlackBerry Enterprise Servers. For some users, this is the best of both worlds. For BlackBerry fans who also want to tap into the benefits of Android devices, this could be for you. More details, here: BlackBerry Priv — the Android phone formerly known as Venice — is on the way | IT Business.
Here are two interesting pieces of innovative things people have done with Minecraft. The first one, New Minecraft Mod Teaches You Code as You Play, is a novel way to learn how to code. If you have a young one who loves Minecraft and whom you want to learn how to code, this may be a good way to do this. The second one is an amazing story found on Reddit: My experiences with running a Minecraft Server on an IBM Mainframe.
I was amazed he managed to get it to run, albeit slowly. Needless to say, a Mainframe is not an ideal platform for this software. Still, that he did get it to run is a testament to his ingenuity and also the flexibility of Minecraft and the IBM Mainframe.
After the Apple Watch came out, I wondered how this would affect Pebble, the company. Turns out, instead of folding, they have plans to evolve and grow. For evidence of this, check out their latest watch (in the photo, as well as here: Pebble Smartwatch | Smartwatch for iPhone & Android). They seem to be aiming to finding a market for those wanting some of the features of the Apple Watch without all the functionality (or cost).
With the watch above, you can see them adopting higher end materials and also getting thinner (and round). It is more expensive than the original Pebble, but likely better quality. And still much cheaper than Apple Watch.
I have a Pebble and I really like it. It does what I want, which is send me notifications without having to get out my phone, which is great in meetings, at events, or driving (carefully). And you can even easily write code for it. Finally, it is a great watch that needs to be rarely charged.
Needless to say, the Apple Watch is a great product. Depending on your needs, it could be a better choice than the Pebble. But the Pebble is a good product too, and I think there is a place in the market for a range of watch makers. Get one that suits your needs. With the Pebble, now you have more choice.
I have jumped on the Python bandwagon lately. I did because I was finding that more and more of the examples provided for integrating with APIs and for working with new technologies were often in Python. So I decided, why not? At first I tried teaching myself by way of various web sites, but I didn’t find this a satisfactory way to ramp up my skills as well as I wanted. It wasn’t until I came across this book in my local bookstore, Python in 24 Hours by Katie Cunningham and started learning from it did I find my skills increased at the level I wanted. By the time I was through it, I found I was writing good (not great) Python code at the level I was happy with. Furthermore, I felt I had a pretty good handle on the language, its features, and what it can do.
I highly recommend this book, and Python too. If you are new to programming, or are thinking of picking up a new language, read this piece: Why Python Makes A Great First Programming Language – ReadWrite.
It’s not a hoax: there is a gargoyle on a 13th century abbey that looks like something out of Alien. Seems the old gargoyles were falling apart and artisans were recently brought in to make new ones…and well, someone took a few liberties.
All of the new beasts attached to the abbey are excellent. You can see more of them, and more of the story, here: ‘Alien’ gargoyle on ancient abbey from BBC News
If you enjoy lamb, this recipe for lamb shanks braised in coffee with ancho chile and other great flavouring sound great. Not too hard to make, either. See this link, Coffee-Braised Lamb Shanks – David Lebovitz, for the recipe. (Check out the other recipes on the site, too. Lots of great things there.)
And here over at A Cup of Jo are Six Stretches for People Who Sit at Desks
These are good stretches….even non-flexible people like myself can do them. 🙂
These paper sculptures by Wolfram Kampffmeyer (aka Paperwolf) are gorgeous. You buy them and make them yourself. Simply go to Etsy, here, and order a from a range of different animals, sizes, and prices. Great gift idea, too.
If you want to see more of them, you can also check them out here: DIY Geometric Paper Animal Sculptures by Paperwolf. Not surprisingly, from Colossal.
This post, 12 Creative Ways To Use Floor Tile from Design Milk, has some beautiful and imaginative uses of floor tiles. The one above is one of my favorite, but all of them are great.
Risotto had (has still?) a reputation of being difficult. You do have to attend to it, but otherwise it is quite easy. If anything, I find tending to a risotto relaxing, slowly adding to it, stirring it, tasting it. I highly recommend it.
If you haven’t made it, or you want some new ideas, here some recipes to get started. I really liked this Caprese risotto recipe.
A small tip: when adding the garlic, I also added some diced red onion and sliced cooked sausage. I also used spicy vegetable sauce instead of tomato juice, and around 1 tbsp of dried basil as I was adding the liquid.
Here’s a number of other risotto recipes I came across that look appealing: Classic parmesan risotto, Seafood saffron risotto with fennel, Porcini-mushroom risotto, Cheat’s orzo risotto with olives and feta, Asparagus and brown-rice risotto
And if you have left over risotto, then you want to consider making this: Crispy mozzarella risotto cakes
My Modern Met has some fantastic images of the Klementinum library for anyone (like myself) that gets excited about such things. Here’s a sample:
If you haven’t heard of it, here’s what that site has to say about this fantastic place:
Prague’s Klementinum library was opened in 1722 and has easily become one of the most beautiful libraries in the world. Aside from housing over 20,000 novels for your reading pleasure, this location showcases absolutely stunning Baroque architecture. As you’re perusing various timeworn bookshelves, you can take a moment to look up and see Jan Hiebl’s heavenly, Renaissance-style ceiling paintings. Amongst his work, there are symbolic designs that represent the importance of education, along with fantastic portraits of Jesuit saints. Hiebl’s paintings actually pay homage to the fact that the library was originally a Jesuit university. Many of the school’s rare, 17th-century books are still amongst its collection today. That would explain why Emperor Joseph II’s portrait is displayed at the head of the hall, since he was the one who arranged for abolished monastic libraries to send their books to Klementinum.
While I knew things were rough in Detroit, this story, Volume of abandoned homes ‘absolutely terrifying’ (from DetroitNews.com), gives you a context of just how incredibly bad it is. Two take aways from that story. First, this statistic:
Since 2005, more than 1-in-3 Detroit properties have been foreclosed because of mortgage defaults or unpaid taxes
Two, this map of foreclosures:
The situation is terrible, but the story is worth reading and the visuals (e.g. a bigger view of that map) really illustrate the damage. Worth reading, especially if you have recently read some pieces, as I have, of good news coming out of Detroit.
There was a lot of scoffing when Apple recently released this
and claimed the colour was rose gold. It’s pink, was the common reply. But as this piece shows ( The Semiotics of “Rose Gold” – The New Yorker), rose gold is a specific material. It refers to an alloy of gold to which copper has been added. For that matter, white gold, which is an alloy with nickel or manganese, is also a specific material. Jewelers know this, of course, and Apple is smart to associate with the metal (gold) vs the colour.
The New Yorker piece is fascinating. Worth reading, especially if you are skeptical about the colour.
This is a really beautiful bridge. It is relaxing to look at…it’s likely more so to walk upon.
For more images of it, see Infinite Bridge in Denmark – Fubiz Media
Check out this map:
And then read this piece by a very realistic US Republican on the upcoming US presidential election: A reality-check on the 2014 results
If you are a fan of Hillary Clinton* then it is great news. If you are a supporter of anyone else, you will see why it is going to be very difficult for anyone from the GOP to become president in 2016.
But don’t take my word for it: read the article. Bookmark it until next year. It’s very likely going to be true, regardless of the thousands of articles and millions of words that will be written between now and election day.
(* Yes, in theory, Bernie Sanders could be the nominee. In practice, I think it is very unlikely.)
Do you ever get stuck in this loop?
If so, then the Atlantic has an article for you. According to this article, The Procrastination Doom Loop—and How to Break It – The Atlantic,
Delaying hard work is all about your mood.
And it goes on to talk about how to defeat this.
Seven additional suggestions I have on defeating this doom loop:
- set a regular schedule of tackling difficult tasks and stick with it.
- dilute the difficulty by giving yourself a ridiculous amount of time to do it. If it will likely take 20 minutes, schedule 2 hours and just sit there and do nothing else until you get it done.
- set up a reward for getting it done.
- set up significant negative consequences for not getting it done. You might need help from a friend or coach here.
- log the positive feelings and thoughts you feel after you get it done. Review that often.
- log the negative feelings and thoughts you have before you do it. After you do it, analyse what you wrote and revisit your thinking and feeling. You will likely find it wasn’t as bad as you had expected.
- have a list of things you are procrastinating on. For example, if you have two things you are avoiding, try to avoid doing one of them by doing the other. It’s better to get one thing done than getting none done
Can be found here: Paris Review – The Art of Fiction No. 130, Italo Calvino.
Paris Review interviews are generally good, and this one of Calvino is no exception.
For people who love Paris and fine hotels, NOW Toronto Magazine offers up 5 Paris hotels for design junkies you want to see. Perfect if you are needing a break from work, real or imaginary. After you read the article and gaze over the photos, your next tab on your browser may be linking to google.com/hotels or google.com/flights. Bon voyage!