Monthly Archives: December 2017

In praise of maximalism in decor

It’s rare to see a maximalist approach to decorating, but an exception is to be found here: House Tour: A Maximalist Apartment in Vicenza, Italy | Apartment Therapy.

If you are a fan of maximalism, like I tend to be, then this is exciting. If you are a minimalist, then this likely caused you some discomfort! 🙂 To each their own.

For those with the motto: More is More, click on the link for more ideas of how to fill up your space with beauty and the things you love. Minimalists will want to move on (unless they want to hate read it).

Stop drinking pinot grigio! Drink this instead


I love this: Why You Love Pinot Grigio So Much — And Why You Need To Move On because I am very much against Pinot Grigio. There is so much good wine in the world, and if you are a pinot grigio fan, it’s time for you to move on. Now you may think: but I like Pinot Grigio! If you do, read this article so you can make baby steps away from that wine to some better varietals like Vermentino.

Once you’ve done that, consider other whites that deliver more taste. If you hate Chardonnay (some do), then try shift to Sauvignon Blanc, Chenin Blanc, Fume Blanc or one of the greatest whites of all: Riesling.

4 behaviors that may cut the risk of cancer by 30 percent

Everyone wants to lower their risk of cancer. This piece can help with this: 4 behaviors that may cut the risk of cancer by 30 percent – Vox. The main point of the piece was that:

… people who never smoked or smoked for only a few years and people who drank no or only small amounts of alcohol (one or fewer drinks per day for women and two or fewer for men). It also included people with a BMI between 18.5 and 27.5, and people who exercised vigorously for at least 75 minutes per week or moderately for 150 minutes…

…were at a lower risk of getting cancer than people who did not do these things.

Smoking and drinking are easy for you to monitor. If you want to track your BMI and fitness level, consider getting a digital scale and a fitness tracker. I use the Fitbit Aria scale to track my BMI and my Apple Watch to monitor my exercise. Of course you can monitor those things just as well with a simple scale, a watch, a pencil and a notepad. Regardless of how you do it, I encourage you to take action in the New Year to lower your risk of cancer.

A good list of light therapy lamps for S.A.D. (Seasonal Affective Disorder)

The bad news: for people in the northern hemisphere, the days are getting colder and darker.

The good news: if you are one of those people who suffer from S.A.D., then this is an excellent list of lights that can help you deal with it: The Best Light Therapy Lamps for Seasonal Affective Disorder | Apartment Therapy

Better still, there is a wide range of price points and some of them, like this one, are relatively inexpensive.

Check out the list. If you know someone who struggles with this, then consider this an excellent gift idea.

And now for something fun: the 2017 comedy wildlife photography awards

This is an actual set of awards given out, and The Guardian has the goods, here:
The 2017 comedy wildlife photography awards.

How to work wellness into your work day

A good thing to consider as you start your week is: does your work day contribute to staying well, or does it do the opposite? One way to know is to compare you typical workday to something like this one: How To Schedule Wellness Into Your Workday And Still Get Stuff Done.

You don’t need to do all the things in that article, but if you do none of them, consider incorporating some of them into your work day. I believe you will see your attitude towards work improve and your workday will feel better.

Work / life balance is important. But having a work routine that is balanced in itself is a better way to enjoy your work and stay healthy, especially during the winter months.

Decluttering tips for people who have a hard time with it.

If you struggle to declutter your places, then Apartment Therapy has two good guides on how to make some progress on it:

  1. Professional Organizer Tips: What NOT To Do When Decluttering
  2. This Decluttering Pro’s 10-Percent Method Will Help You Pare Down Guiltlessly

Decluttering is always a good idea. You can live easier, and you can appreciate the things you have better.

Last minute Christmas decorating ideas

This title is a bit harsh, Last-Minute Holiday Decorating Ideas For the Truly Lazy | Apartment Therapy, because if you are like me and you still needing to decorate, it’s likely you aren’t so much lazy as you are too busy. Either way, lazy or busy, read that article and you’ll have  lots of ideas to get your place looking more festive right away.

As for me, I find grabbing 3 or 4 small poinsettia plants and filling up a few cheap glass vases with Christmas tree ornaments gets the place looking quickly more seasonal.

Sunday is a perfect time to go out and get that done. So get off the Internet and get started on this. 🙂

This is nerdtastic: Columbia’s limited edition “Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back” Collection


Yep. Columbia Sportswear has teamed up with the folks at Star Wars to produce this limited edition collection of clothing, and the details on it can be found here in this Design Milk article. Since it is a very limited collection, I expect that (A) it will sell out very quickly (B) the pieces will show up again for exorbitant prices on sites like eBay. Still…fun.  Cosplay people can get this and wear it all winter long! Good luck if you try and get it.

St-Germain cocktails

If you ever wanted to grab a bottle of St-Germain but wondered how you can use it, then wonder no more. Here’s a list of cocktails you can whip up on a Friday night using the beverage in the lovely bottle. The Bon Appetit one is a simple mix of St. Germain, prosecco and club soda. But they all are good.

On Bitcoin rivals


While all the hype might make you think that Bitcoin is  the only cryptocurrency, there are a number of alternatives out there and this piece in Fortune outlines what they are: 5 Bitcoin Rivals That Are Rapidly on the Rise.

While this piece lists a handful, I expect that there will be a flood of such things in the future as financial markets look to capitalize on this mixture of money and technology.

The Fortune piece is also not bad in summarizing some key facts about Bitcoin if you still find it hard to get your head around it.

I expect Bitcoin to crash to a much lower level, but I don’t see cryptocurrencies going away. Knowing more about them, especially because they could have a major impact on global economies, is worthwhile.

San Francisco puts delivery robots on a lease. Good.

According to CNET: Delivery robots face strict rules in San Francisco.

I like that picture above. Often when I see delivery robots in photos, they are by themselves on an uncrowded street. In the photo above, you can get a better sense of how it will be a problem if swarms of these things start taking over the sidewalk. The idea of sidewalks becoming more crowded by these tiny vehicles is a maddening one.

I’d be fine with them if city planners can come up with a way these robots can roll around and not impede better uses of the streets such as walking and cycling and public transit. Until then, the less robots crowding the sidewalks, the better.

Like drones in the air and autonomous cars on the roads, robots are coming to the sidewalks. City planners need to start planning for that now.

Where to buy and sell Bitcoin in Toronto


I don’t recommend participating in the madness that is Bitcoin, but if you want to and you live in Toronto, then check this out: How to buy Bitcoin in Toronto.

Caveat emptor.

Why you should visit NYC in winter

If you ever though of visiting New York City in winter, then I recommend this:
A Winter Guide to NYC | A Cup of Jo. After you read it, you’ll want to head there before Spring.

I have been to NYC many different times of the year, and I found being there in December to be one of the best times to visit. In addition, going in January and February would be among the least expensive times to go. If you had planned to go mainly to see museums and shows and do indoor activities, then it could be the perfect time to visit. Of course you don’t just have to do indoor activities, as that lovely photo of people walking in Central Park in winter shows.

New York is great any time of year, but it can be especially so in winter.  You should go.

Why I think this review of the Tesla Semi is really good.

I thought this piece was great: This ex-trucker has some questions about the Tesla Semi – Autoblog.

It punctures the hype behind Tesla’s new truck in the best possible way, by carefully and methodically asking questions and bringing up real life experiences that show the limitations of the truck.

Too few tech reviews come with this type of analysis. I’d like to see more of it. Most tech reviews are positive summaries of features. Or there are a small number of pieces that say such and such will never work because I say so. In either case, the person reviewing it comes from a technology background. I’d like to see more non-technical reviews of technology.

If you are interested in Tesla or the direction of automotives, it is well worth a read.

Natural Christmastime Decorating Ideas

The folks at Apartment Therapy have put together a nice compilation of Christmastime decorating ideas that are simple as it is beautiful. For example, this:

from here. And this

from here.

What all the images have in common is the use of natural decoration, from boughs to wood to wreaths to baskets to lanterns. It’s seasonal, but timeless.

If you find it too austere, mix in some holly or some ribbon.

Enjoy the season, and the beauty of this time.

Blockchain 101

IBM (my employer) has a great page that will get you up to speed on Blockchain. If you are interested in Bitcoin, crytocurrency, or just hot areas in IT, then you want to visit:  What is blockchain? – IBM Blockchain

More on tiny homes


Two more tiny home stories. First up, Muji also has a tiny prefab home and you can see more pictures (like the one above) here: Muji Hut Launches With 3 New Tiny Prefab Homes Collection of 9 Photos by Aileen Kwun – Dwell.

Second, here is an odd but topical story for a tiny home heated by Bitcoin mining technology! 

 

A tiny home that seems livable


Many tiny homes look nice to visit but the thought of living in something so small seems impossible. An exception to those homes are these MADi houses, featured here: MADi Flat Pack Tiny House – Fast Set Up Eco Friendly | Apartment Therapy. 

They seem spacious, thanks to the A frame and all the windows. Better still, they seem very affordable.  Tiny home fans (or skeptics), take note.

You can find more about them here.

Can we have greater equality without great catastrophes?

This is the question reviewed here:  Are plagues and wars the only ways to reduce inequality? | Aeon Essays.  (It’s a long read but a good one.)

If you are not familiar with this idea, consider this graph:

The higher the red line is, the greater inequality is. Throughout the last 2000+ years, inequality has been reduced only by terrible events like plague and war.

For a time post World War II, inequality was declining in much of the world. Then, around the 1980s, it started to increase and continues to do so. Now we have a race on. Population declines should occur over the next 100 years, leading to greater equality. To counter that, we have greater automation occurring which may boost inequality as those with the means to control the automation make much of the income and increase their wealth. Will this inequality lead to events that once again levels off the distribution of wealth and income? Or will we reach a balance somehow?

I highly recommend the article. Rising inequality will be one of the great strains on the 21st century, and this article helps to provide some context on the subject.

 

Minimalist Cork Made Furniture by Daniel Michalik

Over at Fubiz they have some remarkable furniture made with cork, like this:

and this:

Not a relative, but a fine designer with a good last name 🙂 Check out this link for more: Minimalist Cork Made Furniture by Daniel Michalik – Fubiz Media

Low and No Alcohol Cocktails

Cocktails can be a pleasure to drink. To get that enjoyment without the inebriation, consider these options, from Bon Appetit: