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.)
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.
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)
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)
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.
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)
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 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.
Posted in advice
Tagged advice, covid, covid-19, covid19, family, gettogethers, holidays, pandemic, Thanksgiving, travel, USA
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.
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.
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.
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 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)
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)
Is shown, here.
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.
Posted in art
Tagged art, Europe, klee, painting
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.
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)
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.
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.
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.
Posted in IT
Tagged google, home, IOT, IT
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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
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)
If you are having sleep problems, read #1. If you need to understand why you need to sleep more, read #2.
- Shuteye and Sleep Hygiene: The Truth About Why You Keep Waking up at 3 a.m.
- 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.
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)
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:
- Hey, I’m doing more good things than I give myself credit for
- 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)
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)