Yes, making risotto is a highly relaxing thing. It’s a dish I love to make just for the way it calms me down (not to mention it is delicious). You have to be mindful when making risotto. You don’t have to be constantly stirring it, but you do need to be attentive to it. Steam rises off it as you cook it, and that is relaxing. Once you get the hang of it, being mindful of the transformation of the dish is also relaxing.
Well that was an odd election. If anyone came out ahead, I can’t see who it was. The Liberals did not get their majority, yet none of the other parties made any significant gains at their expense. Canadians voted to maintain the status quo and maintain it they did.
The one significant thing I noticed was line ups on Election Day. I’ve been voting for decades and I’ve never seen anything like it. As for me, I voted in the advanced poll and while I saw lots of good measures in place to limit the spread of COVID-19 the whole process was still pretty quick. I imagine those good measures slowed things down on Election Day.
It will be interesting to see if there is more voting via mail and via advanced voting in the next election. I expect we will have another one in a few years from now, though I would be surprised if the Liberals will be the ones to bring it on.
The next thing to pay attention to is what happens to the leaders of the various parties. I expect the Greens are going to have to make some difficult decisions. As for the other parties, I have no idea. I thought the leaders all performed well, but members of their parties might think differently. Let’s see.
After that, I’ll be very curious to see what Trudeau and his team do next. I hope they focus on the pandemic and what is needed to get to end of job in that with an eye on the economy and other promises they made.
I tend not to touch on politics on social media: it’s tends to be all downside with little upside. But this election was so odd I had to comment.
It’s Monday. End of Summer. There are many things you could be doing in the last quarter of the year. One of them should be updating your resume, regardless of whether or not you are looking for a job.
Don’t leave off skills, even if they seem basic. Are you proficient at Excel? List it. “Your odds of getting an interview and a job if you have a facility with Microsoft Office goes up hugely,” Fuller said.
Don’t leave unexplained gaps. If you took a year off to write the Great American Novel, say so. Otherwise, it will look like you were doing nothing, and you might be screened out.
After you update your resume, make sure your LinkedIn is up to date and consistent with your resume. If you say you have five years experience doing XYZ and XYZ does not show up on your LinkedIn, employers will wonder why. So be consistent.
The website FiveBooks.com will pick a topic and highlight five really good books on it. They have done it again with self help books. However, they seem to have decided that there are many types of self help books, so this piece has dozens of the best Self Help Books by various experts. You will no doubt find something there to help.
Get some sleep. Read some books. Make a good life better.
I’ve complained before about the design of the iPhone with it’s bulges, not to mention the notch. Apple and it’s fans have continually made excuses for them, but that’s doesn’t excuse these flaws imho. This potentially new design of the iPhone 14 (below) shows that they may be finally dealing with problems by eliminating the notch and smoothing out the back of the phone.
So Facebook has teamed up with RayBans to make the glasses seen above. One of the features of these glasses is you can tap them and record pictures and videos. Mike Isaac has a good write up on them, here. I’d like to highlight one quote from that piece:
“Facebook is not naïve to the fact that other smart glasses have failed in the past,” said Jeremy Greenberg, policy counsel for the Future of Privacy Forum, a privacy nonprofit that is partly financed by Facebook. But, he added, “the public’s expectations of privacy have changed since the days of previous smart glasses releases.”
Yep. Pure Facebook. An org funded by Facebook indicated that people are cool with potential invasions of privacy.
From a design point of view, this partnership has made a better looking pair of glasses than Google did with their Glass product. From a privacy point of view, however, these things things are at least as bad if not worse than Google’s product.
I had planned to write something, but that piece is so good I can’t possibly express my meh feelings to the empty activism and her presence there better than that piece does. For example, this is just one sliver of goodness from the Atlantic piece:
Ocasio-Cortez has fired up her base, raised her profile, and reminded everyone that she is the standard-bearer for today’s activist left.
At the same time, the Met Gala is essentially a costume ball, which removes the potential for actual subversion…the Met Gala red carpet is now an arena where people go to make statements, which inevitably robs those statements of their power. No one here is rebelling against the Man. The Man loves the extra publicity; it helps sell more $35,000 tickets to socialites who love a frisson of revolution as long as it’s safely divorced from the threat of actual tumbrels. … The Met Ball is … a safe space for political statements that all attendees will applaud, regardless of whether they truly believe them. … no one gets booed, or thrown out, or shunned by their peers for wearing an ensemble supporting any progressive cause to the Met Gala. … So what is the risk of wearing a sloganeering outfit to the Met Gala…? For Ocasio-Cortez, that’s just a day ending in a Y. (Emphasis is mine)
I like AOC for her intelligence and her seriousness and I like the Met Ball for it’s vapid ridiculousness. The two don’t mix. I am glad she got to enjoy the party and wear a great dress and support a good designer, but either go and acknowledge you are part of the ridiculousness, or stay serious and avoid it.
Posted onSeptember 13, 2021|Comments Off on On being acknowledged at work for what you are good at
I have found over my many years at work there are:
1) Things you are good at / like to do
2) Things you get acknowledged for doing
And the intersection of the things you are good at and the things you get acknowledged for is a very small sweet spot.
I try to focus on doing things I am good at. Others I know focus on doing things that gets them recognition. If you are like me, you will find times when you wish you were in the circle on the right. All I can say is that many in the right circle wish they were in the left circle. The good feeling of acknowledgement is great but it doesn’t last long. While the good feelings from doing things you are good at and like to do last a long time.
If you can find work that you like to do, are good at, and comes with much recognition, then you have a good job and you should stick with it as long as you can. Meanwhile celebrate all those acknowledged and congratulate them. Then go back to what you do best.
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Posted onSeptember 13, 2021|Comments Off on Read this when your motivation is still on summer vacation
Sometimes you come back from vacation, all rested, and you can dive back into work and be more productive than before you went away. Other times that productivity can be hard to find. If the latter is you, I recommend you read this piece: Is Your Motivation Still on Vacation?
Get the most out of your vacations, including refilling the tank that your motivation comes from.
That piece has several of his works on display, including the one above. Not only are they well designed, but seeing them gives you a valuable American history lesson. For example, this one below uses text and imagery to show how the population of African Americans changed over time in proportion to the rest of the population:
Well worth checking out that article to see more of his work.
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Here on my blog I love to highlight furniture designed around cats. So when I saw the piece above, I had to share it. I mean ostensibly it is for humans, but the way it is designed, it’s really for cats, although humans can share it. If that’s not the best definition of what it can be like to live with a cat, I don’t know what could be better.
As for me, I am not sure what effect it will have. I do know the owners of Tiffany have a ton of money to acquire this picture and I am glad it is getting some display. I always love seeing the work of Basquiat and I especially like this one.
Posted onSeptember 9, 2021|Comments Off on Why you may not want to send smart home devices like Google Nest to university with your kids
I decided to send my son off to university with a Google Home device (a Lenovo Smart Clock). He could use it as a clock, to get the weather, to play music and to provide rain sounds. You may be thinking something similar.
The problem is that at least for some of these devices, they assume that the wifi works like a home network. Home wifi networks often only need a password to join them. However for my son’s university the wifi network needed a userid and password. There is no place in Google Home to provide the userid, so I was unable to set it up for him.
Something to keep in mind.
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Posted onSeptember 9, 2021|Comments Off on On connecting a Chromebook to a wifi network using LEAP like the one at Dalhousie
Here’s the problem: you are trying to connect your Chromebook to a wifi network like the one at Dalhousie University that uses the LEAP protocol. That protocol is likely well and good if you use an up to date Windows or MacOS computer. But as I found, it’s no good for the Chromebook I had because it did not have LEAP as an option. What to do?
Well if you get into the network settings and you go with the EAP-TTLS with the settings above, you can get your device to connect. (The above does not show the user I’d and password fields, but you will need those).
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Recently I came across this story about the new Vermeer painting and like him it is blowing my mind a bit. It takes restoration to a whole new level. It seems restoration work is getting bolder these days. I remember some of the controversy regarding the Sistine Chapel restoration and how some thought the people restoring it had crossed the line by making the colours so bold. This Vermeer restoration takes things to a whole other level by changing the image and its composition. I’ll be curious to see if we see more boldness like this in the future.
It’s a treat to hear Cumberbatch read it, but even if you don’t, go and relish that one. You might want to write you own afterwards and send it unsolicited to organizations. They might enjoy it and want to have a chat with you!
If you are like me and a lot of people, you take on many (too many) assignments and tasks. You feel like you are getting a lot done but it may not seem satisfying or even worthwhile. If so, take the approach outlined in the article and focus on a few things and cut out the clutter.
More and more I find the secret of being successful is saying no to most things. You need to Marie Kondo your todo list and work on the tasks that bring you joy. It’s not always possible, but more possible than you think.
New York was revitalised by the High Line, a ribbon of parkland floating above Manhattan on a disused elevated railway that has become one of the city’s biggest tourist attractions. Now the High Line’s designer hopes to give London its own green thread, after being chosen to create the Camden Highline.
James Corner was picked last week as the lead landscape architect for the structure, a linear park on three-quarters of a mile of railway viaducts running from Camden to Kings Cross, which he believes will give London a similar boost after the trials of Covid and Brexit.
For more on the Camden highline, go here. More on the New York version here.
Comments Off on The High Line, or why it is important to push for improvements in your city
Ali Slagle does a great job of helping you put together a meal using a simple formula. So if the thought of getting out a recipe is painful and the thought of ordering take out is equally so, check out that piece from her.
(Photo: Linda Xiao for The New York Times. Food Stylist: Monica Pierini.)
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Posted onAugust 31, 2021|Comments Off on August, 2021 pandemic highlights and ramblings (a newsletter, in blog form)
I hope you are enjoying your summer and staying safe and well. Summer is the best time of the pandemic — it’s sad I can say that, but this is our second pandemic summer — so enjoy it as best as you can. If you need something to read as you soak up the sun and sip a cold one, here’s my latest blog newsletter for you.
As for me, I am finally looking forward to doing some travelling to Halifax and Montreal in the upcoming months. I am going to be going to the east coast to accompany my son as he goes to university there. Then I am going to take advantage of my empty nest status to go to Montreal and partake in that great city and their wonderful views and food. Can’t wait!
It’s weird trying to arrange the trips. So much I used to do with certainty I do with great uncertainty now.
In non-travelling news, I’ve been going to some restaurants in Toronto and eating on their patios. Some patios are really great, others not so much. I love certain restaurants, but sitting on a busy street while cars and bikes whiz by is less than relaxing. Happy to patronize these restaurants, and looking forward to when we can all dine safely inside again.
Posted onAugust 30, 2021|Comments Off on It’s Monday. You want to start drawing or painting as a hobby. These 24 links might help.
During the pandemic I tried to get back into drawing and painting. I was somewhat successful. What helped me was searching around the Internet and trying to find how to sites that were actually useful. There are so many out there that are NOT useful, I can’t begin to tell you how much time I wasted reviewing them all.
If you too are interesting in started drawing or painting, I’ve put together these links that I found,m useful and inspiring. I hope you find that too.
Posted onAugust 29, 2021|Comments Off on On restaurants loved and lost: Florent (and Odeon)
Here are a number of pieces on two great downtown Manhattan restaurants: Florent and Odeon. Florent has been closed for a number of years. But Odeon lives on, happily. What I love about both restaurants is how the embodied that era and how they both set a stage. You can see that in the pieces below about them. Florent in particular was a radical place that was like no other, right down to their menus and promotional material (like the one above).
When they both opened the lower part of Manhattan had nothing like them. There was no gentrification down there like there is now. They were an oasis of good food, good design, and good times.
It’s worthwhile reading even if you are not depressed. There can be times when it is too hard to clean your place. Unfortunately, a messy place may lead to more sadness and stress. Applying the lessons in that article can help alleviate that.
Now your house may not be messy, but you may be suffering from being down and not able to do other chores. Again, try and apply the lessons in that article. It may help you make progress, and clear signs of progress can often help.
Posted onAugust 27, 2021|Comments Off on Consolations from the classics: Seneca and Suetonius
First up, Seneca. Here’s a good piece that summarizes some of the consolation letters he wrote to people close to him. Though they were written centuries ago, they are timeless and worth reading.
Second, Suetonius. Here’s a good piece on why you want to read him: The Consolations of History. Essentially, good histories like those of Suetonius give you perspective that help you deal with your own time. Sometimes they do that by showing you things are fundamentally the same. Other times they do that by showing how much things have changed since that time. Either way you come away with a deeper understanding of your own time even as you learn about another time.
During the pandemic I have been noticing this frequently. People are looking back at the pandemic of 1918-19 and trying to draw lessons from it. That’s a good thing, I think. We can all gain perspective by looking to the past, which is never really past.
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Posted onAugust 24, 2021|Comments Off on Weird parts of Toronto: transformer houses
No, they do not transform into robots. Instead:
These are Toronto’s residential substations, fake houses built by Toronto Hydro to conceal what’s inside: a transformer that converts raw, high voltage electricity to a voltage low enough to distribute throughout the city.
Posted onAugust 21, 2021|Comments Off on On progress: may you live in average times that are getting better in many ways
Matthew Yglesias wrote this piece here and it did not go over too well: The case against crisis-mongering. I mainly agree with him, that our world problems, dire as they are, aren’t as exceptional as we may think. Or as Dan G put it on twitter:
Some things are better ≠ everything’s fine.
The past was scarier than we think ≠ today isn’t scary.
Humanity overcame huge challenges in the past ≠ the challenge we face is no big deal.
I’m not sure why that has to be stated but apparently it does. Every three months or so.
What Dan states is my worldview as well. There are still many bad things in the world, but there is progress and things are getting better. We have overcome problems in the past and we have the ability to fix things in the future. Plus the past was terrible in many ways and so much worse than now (and our times will look terrible to people in the future).
If you disagree with this, I strongly recommend two books:
I like lighter coloured rosés, but I find the darker ones have more substance and are more interesting. If you need convincing, I recommend you read that. Heck, read it regardless: it’s a good piece.
After you do that, I recommend you head out to your local wine shop and pick up a bottle or two. Maybe your favorite pale pink number combined with something darker. And if you do, why not pick up the ingredients to make a nice niçoise salad to go with it. I think they may be a perfect meal combo. If you want a minimal version of niçoise salad, I recommend this 5 ingredient version from Cup of Jo. Purists may disagree, but that is a fine dinner salad whatever you call it.