Monthly Archives: August 2018

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Bill Murray’s advice on being a father

From a 2012 Bill Murray Interview in Esquire comes this:

If you bite on everything they throw at you, they will grind you down. You have to ignore a certain amount of stuff. The thing I keep saying to them lately is: “I have to love you, and I have the right to ignore you.” When my kids ask what I want for my birthday or Christmas or whatever, I use the same answer my father did: “Peace and quiet.” That was never a satisfactory answer to me as a kid — I wanted an answer like “A pipe.” But now I see the wisdom of it: All I want is you at your best — you making this an easier home to live in, you thinking of others.

Sounds right.

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When to think about your life, and when not to

There are times to think about your life, and times not to. Austin Kleon has a very simple rule to help him decide:

I have a very simple rule that serves me well: Don’t think too much about your life after dinnertime. Thinking too much at the end of the day is a recipe for despair. Everything looks better in the light of the morning. Cliché, maybe, but it works.

I first agreed with this. Afterwards, I concluded it depends on each individual. For me, I found a good time to think about my life was between midnight and two. It’s quiet then, I am tired but also relaxed. There’s no distractions, nothing else left to do but sleep. If I accomplished things in the daytime, it was especially good to think about what’s next in my life. Likewise if I had a good weekend, the best time to think about my life is Monday morning: I’m rested, energized, and feeling I can get a lot done during the week.

I found the time to not think about my life was any time I am really tired or sick or having a very bad day. Then the goal is not to reflect but to recover.

If anything, my rule is: if I need to recover, then I should not be reflecting.

I think we should all find times to reflect upon our lives and assess ourselves and where we’re heading. We just need to find the right times to do it, and do it then. And find the wrong times to do it and not do it then.

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Cooking at home sucks. It’s also great.

I like this piece: Opinion | Never Cook at Home – The New York Times

The title is deceptive: it is not entirely anti-cooking, and it does talk about the benefits of home cooking, but it does throw a bucket of very cold water on all those excited ideas about how great it is to cook at home.

There are many benefits to cooking at home, just like there are benefits to working out. But there are significant efforts associated with achieving those benefits. Those efforts are likely the thing that can cause you to stop getting out your pans and turning on the oven and head to the local diner.

The other drawback about cooking at home is social media. Now so many people (including me) post photos of the food they make. You might look at your own cooking outcome and get discouraged. When you combine the effort and the outcome, plus the indifference you get from those you cook for, you may never want to cook again.

Like exercise, the trick is to find the right level of cooking that works for you, and not get down on yourself when you aren’t cooking at some level you think you should be cooking, whatever that is. Some days you just need to eat, and a piece of fruit and a frozen meal is all you need to no longer be hungry. Other days you may be enjoying making pasta from scratch. If you find you are in a rut, start a simple log of what you are eating over a week and then look for ways to improve slightly: replace boxed cereal with a cooked egg, make a simple pasta rather than get take out pizza. (Bonus: if you make pasta, you could have lunch made too.)

Good luck. There are rewards to cooking at home, if you find the right level of cooking that works for you. Enjoy the fruits of your labour, however great or humble.

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How to sleep better – Vox

More good advice about sleeping from Vox: How to sleep better

I agree with most of this, but there is one part I want to highlight:

If you’re not sleeping and getting anxious about not sleeping, just get out of bed and leave the bedroom. Sleep specialists have established that staying in bed while you’re anxious or not sleeping is one of the most common contributors to chronic insomnia, because it trains the brain and creates bad associations.

The part in italics is key. If you are not getting anxious about it, you likely can stay there until you fall asleep. At least that works for me. I have tried getting up and I find that more disruptive. Now when I can’t sleep, I tell myself that at least I am getting rest and I will likely fall back to sleep, and almost always I do.

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The philosopher Karl Popper in Scientific American

This is one of those things that popped up via Pocket, yesterday: The Paradox of Karl Popper – Scientific American Blog Network

It’s odd, because the interview is old, and Popper has been dead for sometime. Odd or not, it is still a worthwhile interview of the philosopher. The interviewer seems to capture the spirit and the essential ideas of the man in the three hours he spoke with him.

Worthwhile for anyone interested in philosophy or science.

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In praise of composition notebooks


They’re as basic as notebooks get, and cheap to boot. But as you can see from
via Austin Kleon’s Tumblr, some great artists have done fine things with them.

Go to a stationery shop or dollar store and get yourself one or two or more and get creating.

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Knowing more women artists: Berthe Morisot


Sadly, I don’t know enough women artists. If this is you as well, then you want to check out this piece: You know Monet and Manet. This female Impressionist deserves your attention, too. – The Washington Post.  I agree: Morisot is one artist you should know better.

As well as doing a good job of summarizing this great artist, hey highlight the travelling show that is currently running and highlighting her work. If you can, it would be well worth visiting it if it coming near you. (Currently it is Quebec City.)