Category Archives: fun

The Santa Claus parade returns to TO this weekend!


What are you plans this weekend? As for me, I think anything I do outdoors will involve warm clothing because the weather is getting colder. And while I won’t be attending this year, I will be thinking of all the parents and their kids who will be bundling up to go downtown this Sunday and attend the Santa Claus parade! It has been on hold due to the pandemic, but now it’s back! Yay!

I love the Santa Claus parade. When I was a kid, I always wished I could attend. In my 20s I remember seeing it in person for the first time and being a little kid again as the floats and bands went by. And then I got to take my own kids. Some of my best parenting memories are with them at the event. It’s one of those  things that makes Toronto great.

(I also use the Santa Claus parade as a reminder than Christmas is coming soon and it’s time to get planning! Perhaps this will be a good reminder to you.)

If you are thinking of going, here’s the official site for the parade. (Map above is from the site.) Have fun!

P.S. Here’s some tips I found to having a success Santa Claus parade:

When I would take my kids, we would go stand to Bloor and Avenue Road. There is lots of space around that area, so there’s a chance you can see the parade. As well, it is near two subway stops (Museum and Bay), which makes it easy to get to and easy to leave if you take transit. Finally, the parade has to turn there which gives you lots of ways to enjoy the view.

Instead of hoping right on the subway, I would find a place to get a coffee / hot chocolate. (There used to be lots of Starbucks and other coffee shops all around Bloor and Cumberland.) My kids loved this ritual, as did I. Just as good too was the fact that it was easier to get on the subway after your drinks since the crowds had dissipated by then.

If it is going to be cold, bring hot pockets or things to warm you up. You might be ok when you first get there, but after standing around for hours, you will get very cold. Be prepared.

 

 

 

Have a great Autumn weekend!

One of the ideas that I really like, from one of my favorite blogs, are the posts they have every Friday. Posts like this: Have a Lovely Weekend. It’s a great idea. Who doesn’t like a nice positive and update piece to read on before you start your weekend?

On that note, here are some links that I think are positive and upbeat and perfect to read on a Friday:

If you are going to try and get a better sleep this weekend, here are some sleep tips from experts that might surprise you.

I might use my free time to take a walk in the Dundas West area of Toronto. It’s been highlighted as being one of the coolest neighborhood ever, and I can see why.

Or maybe I’ll go and get some steak frites (here are some of Toronto’s best, though they did not include my fav, Cote de Boeuf, shown below).

Did you know that asking yourself  one simple question can change entirely how you feel? It’s seems too much, but I agree with it.

Do you fear that people thing that you are a bit much? I think that’s a good thing. So does that piece. Also a good thing: A gratitude zine from Austin Kleon.

Does Arthur Brooks Have the Secret to Happiness? I don’t think so, but you might read that and think differently.

If it’s time, you may want to read this first:  How to Clean an Oven by Wirecutter.

But maybe you’d prefer to read something lovely instead of practical. If so: The Ponds poem – Mary Oliver poems.

Kudos to this artist who puts mosaics in potholes.

How crazy is this: a Fish tank for cats!

If you want to watch a classic this weekend, I recommend: All that Jazz.

Here’s the opening:

(Top image is a link to Toronto Life. Second image is a link to BlogTO).

It’s Hallowe’en! Here’s everything you need to know about the Home Depot 12 foot skeleton!

For Hallowe’en, people have become more involved in decorating their homes. Nowadays a mere jack o’lantern is not enough. Instead, homes have yards filed with things, from fake tombstones to inflatable animals. A new member of those  spooky menageries and a favorite of many is the 12 foot skeleton from Home Depot.

People love the 12 foot skeleton. They are making Tik Toks and Reels with them driving around town. Other people leave them in their yards all year round. They have a weird likability to them, those bony giants.

If  you have one or want to get one, then read this: How to Maintain Your 12-Foot Skeleton and Other Giant Halloween Decorations – The Home Depot. Home Depot has all the info you need to take care of the new addition to your home/haunted house.

Do you not have fun any more? Well, here’s how to have more fun as an adult

As kids, having fun seems natural. As adults, it can be hard to come by. Worse, some forms of fun actual harm of us. So how can we have good clean fun as an adult?

Alan McKee has written a book on the subject. In an article in the Times, the writer says that He…

…defines fun thus: “Fun is pleasure without purpose.” In other words, the same qualities that seem to make it so hard for me (the writer) to have pure fun — I need purpose! — make it hard to optimize for; put it under a brain scanner, and it has a tendency to disappear.

Fun is pleasure without purpose. Adults, especially responsible adults, often look to assign purpose to events. That may make them educational or beneficial, but it often robs them of their fun. If that is you, perhaps you need to set aside time for an activity that is purposeless. Play a kazoo.  Make playing card towers. Doodle. Solve a puzzle and then throw it away. Go for a slow walk. Dance badly. Sing out of tune. Whatever you enjoy, do it without any aim in mind, other than to enjoy it. Guess what? You may be having fun.

For more on this, read: Here’s How to Have Fun. Also, What Is Fun? in The New York Times. (That’s where the blockquote comes from.)

The history of the 80s as it first appeared in Usenet groups

Images from the 1980s
Before the Web, there was Usenet. And like the web, it had everything. Just in text form. 🙂

Someone has mined Usenet to find the first cultural references in the 1980s to famous events. It’s an fascnating list of when things first started to gain prominence. For example:

  1. May 1981 First mention of Microsoft
  2. Dec 1982 First thread about AIDS
  3. Jul 1983 First mention of Madonna
  4. Nov 1989 First post from Berlin after the wall came down

Check it out for some major 80s flashbacks.

PS. If all you are thinking while you read this is “what the heck is Usenet??” then read this.

Good fast cheap: pick two

In IT we have a saying for anyone wanting a new IT system: good, fast or cheap…pick two (of them). Everyone wants all three of course, but you can never get that.

This fun little site puts this into effect: Fast Good Cheap

Try it out!

P.S. This is also a great example of a one page web site! Everything including the CSS seems to be all in one page. So view the source too!

Two weird pieces for a Sunday


Wasn’t sure what to do with these, though they are worthwhile for a Sunday:

Like I said: weird. But fun.

You are on social media. Do you need fine print?


Do you have a blog, a tumblr, an account on Facebook, Instagram, twitter? Do you need fine print to go with that?

Well maybe not. But if you did, you could do no better than adopt the fine print of the account PourMeCoffee, here. Read it for the humour, but reflect on the Internet wisdom found there. It’s priceless.

How to teach your ducking phone to swear

If you are tired of autocorrect trying to teach you manners and swear less, here’s a good hack for you –> Hate the ducking autocorrect on your iOS device? Here’s how to teach it to swear

Not that I am recommending you do this. But if you want to, you can. 🙂

(Photo by Etienne Girardet on Unsplash )

 

For fans of minimalism and cats

For fans of minimalism and cats comes this minimalist cat tower. I mean, it looks great. The tower, I mean. Of course the cat looks great. 🙂

Via Yanko Design

The best restaurant review of the pandemic

Is this one.

If you are thinking: what? Who went to a restaurant in a pandemic? Well, we all did, the same one, every night. Read the review and see what I mean. Also it is very funny.

The one good thing about that restaurant is you always could get a reservation at the last minute. 🙂

(Photo by Hitesh Dewasi on Unsplash )

 

Yes, you can run broadband over wet string (which is how my home internet feels lately)


Remember tying two tin cans together with string to communicate? Well according to this article at BBC News

Engineers at a small British internet service provider have successfully made a broadband connection work over 2m (6ft 7in) of wet string.

The connection reached speeds of 3.5 Mbps (megabits per second), according to the Andrews and Arnold engineer who conducted the experiment.

The point of the experiment appears to have been purely to see if it was achievable.

Cool! See the article for details.

For the meantime, I think I’ll stick with copper and fiber.

(For more on tin can phones, check out: Tin can telephone – Wikipedia)

How to spot a really old IBMer


Here’s a good list, albeit from a decade ago: How to spot an old IBMer. There’s fewer such IBMers any more that recognize those terms, but no doubt there are still a few. Ahem.

P.S. From this blog, which is still current and great: Aussie Storage Blog

P.S.S. Another way you can spot one is if he ever used the computer above. I have! Via Reddit.

It’s Monday. Here’s a good challenge you’ve likely already been doing

The challenge is this: can you get by with 33 articles of clothing for 3 months? Before the pandemic I would have thought: that could be tricky. Now, I think I may be about do 12 months with 20 items!

Why not check out the web site and see if it is for you. Heck, a lot of the clothes you have in your closet you likely don’t want any more as it is. With this challenge, you have a chance to get started on getting rid of them.

Check out Project 333 – Be More with Lessfor more details.

 

If you drilled through the earth to the other side, where would you be?


Well, with this site, you can find out. Just click the link to antipodesmap.com, enter your location (or any location), and you can see what is on the other side of the world.

Sure you can also find out by digging, but the web site is easier.  🙂

(Photo by Andres Siimon on Unsplash )

Let’s play the game of Five Nice Things

Tulips for sale
This is a game you can play any time, but it’s especially good to play it in a pandemic. What is the game you say? Here’s Siobhan O’Connor to explain in this piece, An Easy Way to Practice Gratitude | Forge. Key quote:

At our dinners, we sometimes played a game we called Five Nice Things. It is what it sounds like: You take turns naming things that are nice. Five is the number. It can be a thing that makes you happy, a compliment for the other person, a win at work, “This broccoli is tasty,” whatever. It’s a bit sappy, but it’s not the sappiest, and the rules were: Don’t overthink it, and be specific. We’d roll it out in other settings: group hangs, work, whatnot. It was, generally speaking, a hit. Even Eeyores can get into it if you bring to the game your Tigger energy. But it was most meaningful when it was just the two of us.

I think the way to make it easy to play is to avoid trying to find the five NICEST things. Five low key nice things are fine. For example five low key nice things for me are:

  1. Waking up in the morning and feeling good and energetic
  2. A bright sunny day after days of overcast skies
  3. Walking by a store with lots of tulips for sale in buckets on the sidewalk
  4. Buying a hot mocha on a cold winter day and sipping it as I walk
  5. Late at night, looking at a yard filled with new fallen snow and seeing how uniform it is and how it sparkles

Just thinking about them makes my brain feel better. I think once you come up with some, your brain will feel better too.

(Photo by Marten Bjork on Unsplash)

Gardening as a form of mental wellness

Gardening is a tricky hobby. I’ve always associated it with older people. Which makes some sense: if you go to a gardening center in spring, it will be packed mainly with old folks. This is a bad prejudice to have. As this article by Samin Nosrat showed me, gardening can be a great activity to help with one’s mental wellness.

She starts:

Last winter I suffered a devastating bout of depression. Unable to do much else, I took to the neglected beds of the vegetable garden I share with my neighbors. Weeding and composting for hours a day, I was regenerating both the soil and something deep in myself. It felt so crucial to my well-being that sometimes I wore a headlamp to extend my work time past the waning daylight.

It’s worthwhile reading the entire article. She makes a great case for the goodness that gardening can do for you. After you finish it, you may want to rush out to a garden center and get started on your own garden and improved mental health.

(Photo by Benjamin Combs on Unsplash)

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The Best Websites to Get Your Retro Gaming Fix

For a generation of oldesters like me, arcade games were what we grew up on. They seem quaint next to games on XBOX of PS3 or 4, but compared to games like Animal Crossings or other Nintendo games, they still seem relevant. Anyway, whatever your take, if you are into old games, check this post out: The Best Websites to Get Your Retro Gaming Fix.

I was over at archive.org playing my old favorite, Berzerk! Still fun! And hard! 🙂

Note to Mac users: I had a problem with the Fire button on my Mac. So I followed the advice on this page to map my SPACE bar to the fire button. Then I was fine.

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Glitch yourself

If you for whatever reason what to turn an image into a glitched out version of itself, you can do that easily, here.

Have fun!

 

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Do you want an old rez image of yourself?

marcus eating sausage

In this day of increasing good cameras, of course you do. So grab a photo you want to convert and go here. Satisfaction guaranteed, and very fast turnaround. 🙂

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Everyone should have a hobby. Einstein’s was different than most

When it comes to Einstein, what comes to mind? This?

How about this?


Yep, his hobby was making a better fridge. Read about it here:  Einstein’s Little-Known Passion Project? A Refrigerator | WIRED.

It’s odd but fun to read.

Silent Night is supposed to be performed on Christmas Eve, and other interesting things about the 200 year old carol

As Silent Night turns 200 this year, the CBC has come up with a great piece on the history of this famous carol, which you can read here:
www.cbc.ca/amp/1.4950242

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A gift idea for older geeks in your life: Vintage Computer Punch Cards

Yep. You can get them here:  Vintage Computer Punch Cards for Sale — Online Store & Gift Shop

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Gift idea: How to Make a Simple Chapbook


If you are looking to give someone a gift that is hand made, this might be an idea for you: How to Make a Simple Chapbook | Indie Press | Philadelphia | Lady Blue Publishing.

I had one made for my 40th birthday and I still treasure it. No doubt someone you make one for will too.

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My favorite tutorial on setting up a Raspberry Pi


Is this Setting up Raspbian (and DOOM!) – learn.sparkfun.com

Not only will you be up and running with a working Raspberry Pi, but you can also play a limited version of the original Doom!

Very fun for old Doom afficianatos like myself.

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.

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:

How to be a better conversationalist, starting with 100 questions


When you meet someone at an event or at a party, the inevitable questions come up: What do you do for a living? Where do you live? Whom do you know? These are safe questions, and they lead to tepid conversation most of the time. If such conversations had a colour, it would be beige.

For a list of colourful questions, try some of these (unless beige is your favorite colour)” 100 questions to spark conversation & connection. | Alexandra Franzen

Some of them would still be pretty safe at a work function, such as: What’s your most urgent priority for the rest of the year? Others could lead to some pretty funny stories, such as: What’s something you’ve tried, that you’ll never, ever try again? or What’s the strangest date you’ve ever been on? (These may result in the same story!) Some are fairly personal, such as: What’s one mistake you keep repeating (and repeating)? (You may want to have your own example in case you stump someone). Finally, the last question is one most people should have an answer for, and is likely one that will tell you lots about the person: What are you most grateful for, right now, in this moment?

A great list. Throw some of them in a list on your phone and use them at the next get togther you attend. Better conversations await.

Best way to host a dinner party? Like a Parisian

Paris food
The wise David Lebovitz has great tips on how to host a dinner party in the manner that  Parisians do. If that sounds daunting to you, it shouldn’t. It’s filled with such smart advice such as “Keep it Simple” and “Finish with chocolates”. If you have a dinner party hosting coming up, drop everything  and read and follow this: How to Entertain Like a Parisian Tips – David Lebovitz. . From the good people at Food52.com.

(Photo from here)

It’s Friday. Have a martini!

Martini

Of course you can go out and order one. But if you feel like staying home and making one, then the good folks at Bon Appetit have two version on the classic martini you might be interested in trying:

  1. The Modern Martini
  2. Fifty-Fifty Martini Recipe | Bon Appetit

Don’t have martini glasses? Consider Crate and Barrel: they have a selection here.

(Image from Crate and Barrel)

Here are 20 common misused English words. See if you misuse any of them.

Image from link to http://maristpoll.marist.edu/1221-whatever-most-annoying-word-or-phrase-except-among-young-americans/

When I first saw this: 20 misused English words that make smart people look silly in Quartz, I was confident that I would not be someone who misused any of them. Turns out there were a few that I did. Not many! But a few. 🙂

See if the same applies to you. If none, congrats!

 

Why aren’t people responding to your email?!

The New Yorker has the answer: Sorry for the Delayed Response – The New Yorker. (I think it is meant to be humourous, but it’s a little too close to reality to make me wonder. :))

Some links to support your new year’s resolutions

If you’ve decided to become more fit, work better, or be better generally, then consider these resources to support you as advance towards achieving your goals:

Good luck!

A guide for millennials who bought the new Adele CD and don’t know how to play it.

Funny.

Adulting: a funny self help book, not just for young people

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.

 

You’ve been at your desk all day. Time for a stretch (or six)

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. 🙂

BBQ 101: three good tips from Bon Appétit

I find it easy to forget to how to barbeque, since months go by without doing any of it. I am trying to get back into it and get better. If you are in the same position, Bon Appétit has some good advice for both of us, including

 

8-bit popup cards: the perfect project for gamers/nerds/etc.

Not only are these cards cool, but if you go to this link, 8-bit popup cards | Mini-eco, you can learn how to make them yourself!

THE wall sticker decoration for computer geeks

I am not sure if wall stickers are passe or not, but this one, from Retro Basic Custom Wall Sticker – Spin Collective UK, appeals to the computer geek that I am. If you know one or are one, and you want to get this, the link has all the details you need.

How to build an igloo, 21st century style

There’s a nice story here about how some University of Alberta students build an igloo in their backyard over at canada.com.

You want to check it out just for the video on that page. The video is a little over 4 minutes, but the time it takes to build the igloo is many hours. Now if the builders didn’t stop to take so many selfies, it might have gone a little faster. 🙂

Fun!