Category Archives: new!

What I find interesting: dealing with getting old

Here’s some links I found around the topic of getting older and retiring. Maybe you aren’t thinking too much about that yet, but you should. For example, here’s a piece about how to have a long, fulfilling career and perhaps never retire. But if you going to retire, here’s how to retire on a fixed chuck of money. To get a fixed amount of cash, you need a plan. This piece can help you get to a million bucks regardless if you are in your 30’s, 40’s, or 50’s.

Money is just one challenge to deal with as you get older. Another is a potentially deteriorating brain. Here’s a sobering essay on how this person is preparing for the dementia she believes she will get. One wait to fight such things is to keep your mind active. One way to do that is to engage in activities such as games. Chess, for example. You might think you are too old to learn chess but this person learned when they were 40 and so can you.

(Photo by Jon Tyson on Unsplash)

Why are i and j (and sometimes k) used in loops? Blame Fortran (I think). Here’s why


It came up today that i and j are used for variables in loops. The reason for that likely has to do with Fortran. As this piece (Fortran – Implicit variable types | fortran Tutorial) explains:

When Fortran was originally developed memory was at a premium. Variables and procedure names could have a maximum of 6 characters, and variables were often implicitly typed. This means that the first letter of the variable name determines its type. variables beginning with i, j, …, n are integer everything else (a, b, …, h, and o, p, …, z) are real

I used to program in older versions of Fortran (in the early 80s) and we automatically used i and j for variables and loops. Likely it carried over into other languages too. For example, I have an early edition of The C Programming Language book and they use i for some of their loops (page 20).

On learning to reflect

Sunday is a good day for reflection. This Sunday in particular if you are Christian. But having a good day to reflect does not mean it is an easy thing to do.

It can be difficult and uncomfortable to reflect on your life. To help you, here are two pieces that don’t tell you what to do so much as give you some instruction on how to structure your thoughts:

Get out a notebook (or some other form of recording method) and write down your reflections. Don’t be too critical. Write the date. That’s a photo, a sketch, of your mind on that day.

You may find that as you reflect more often it gets easier. You start getting a good idea of what your mind is up to. Who you are. What you hope for, regret, like and dislike. How you see the world.

Better still, as you review what you reflect, you may find your mind changes for the better. The fears that you had in your head may become smaller. The hopes you had become clearer. The things you want to do become simpler.

It’s good to reflect. Here’s hoping you do.

(Photo by Jeremy Vessey on Unsplash )

Maybe living randomly is the best way to be post-pandemic

This is a fascinating story: Eager To Burst His Own Bubble, A Techie Made Apps To Randomize His Life : All Tech Considered from NPR. He started out small and then made bigger and bigger life changes based on randomness. Cool.

Post-pandemic, we are all going to be suddenly confronting so many choices of what to do. It may even be paralyzing . Perhaps a thing to do is write them all down on separate pieces of paper, put them in a hat, and draw them one at a time and do them. Not quite as fancy as writing an app, but still great.

The pandemic will be ending. Prepare to get out there and do things. Perhaps even do them randomly.

(Photo by Ross Findon on Unsplash)

City of Darkness, Kowloon Walled City

I’ve been always fascinated by the idea of Kowloon. So I was happy to see there is a book on it and a web site to go with the book, here: Home | City of Darkness

It no longer exists, but while it did, it provide a life for people far from what many others live. It no doubt provided inspiration for late 20th century science fiction authors too.

You can read more about it here.

(Image By Ian Lambot  found in the book City of Darkness – Life in Kowloon Walled City)

On restaurants loved and lost: Brothers

Brothers Restaurant Toronto

It’s Valentine’s Day, a good day to write a love letter to one of my favorite restaurants of all time, Brothers.

Brothers is a restaurant that should not have worked. Crowded between the entrance of the Bay Street subway and a downtown mall, there was barely room for anyone. One table in the window, a midsized bar, and a few tables in the back. Amongst all that a kitchen the size of a big closet nestled in a corner. It should not have worked, but in the short time it was around, it worked wonderfully.

You realized it was special when you first walked in, and I walked in often. I worked nearby, and whenever I needed a treat, I would wander over and sit at the bar and have lunch. I went so often that Chris who ran the front of place would warmly greet me after a time. (Later, as the place became extremely popular, Chris would sadly greet me after a time to tell me there was no room. It got so bad — for me, not them —  that I ended up scheduling lunch at 2ish just in the hopes of  getting a spot.)

While the service, atmosphere, and location were all great, what had me come back again and again was the food. The food was superb. I would take the hearty bread they offered and wipe down the plate to get every bit of it. The cooking was precise, simple and stellar. I loved to get something like sausage served with beans or vegetables and accompanied by a well chosen sauce. I’d take my time to slowly eat it, trying to appreciate and understand why it was so good. It was as much a cerebral as it was a sensory experience.

I would ask Chris about their tomato sauce or their green sauce, and he would tell me how they experimented with the amount of dairy or herb or whatever ingredient was in it to make the dish just right. And just right it was.

Most of the time I would get their sausage dish. The meat would change in the sausage, but it was always expertly balanced with seasoning. At first they may have been traditionally shaped, but later they were puck shaped. I loved that, and I loved them.

Sausage was not the only thing they excelled at. Pastas were always handmade, cooked to just the right texture, then served with a sauce better than any pasta sauce I ever had. Carpaccio was thin slices of whatever was appropriate for the season and accompanied with a light, lively dressing. The beef carpaccio was one of my favorite. They once said they could teach anyone to make it, but I doubt that. Fish, salad, dessert: whatever they made, they made well, listed it on their minimal menus, and I was happy and lucky to have it.

Brothers wasn’t around long, and in the time it was around, it lived three lives. The first was before the New York Times wrote about it, the second was after that article, and the third was the pandemic. Before the Times article, it was not too hard to get a seat there. They didn’t even take reservations. After the Times article, it was very hard to get in. There were weeks when I could not get a spot at the bar.  It got so busy they went with a reservation system. It slowed down a bit, but it was always popular.

Until the pandemic occurred. That was their last life. They tried to pivot to take out, and I did a curbside pickup of a wonderful meal from them. In the end they decided they didn’t want to be that kind of place and closed it down.

Lots of places have gone due to the pandemic. Some of them would have gone regardless. Not Brothers. If there was no pandemic, I am sure it would still be running, still sliding plates of that chewy soft bread and warm mixed olives and perfectly cooked food for me and you to delight in. I am going to miss many places because of the pandemic, but I think I will miss Brothers most of all.

(From more on it, see the New York Times article, or this blogTO piece. Images from the blogTO piece.

Check out their old web site. It’s simple but smart, just the way it used to be.

Finally this Google link will show you a wealth of photos for the place.)

 

Muji, but for houses


Now wait, you say, Muji makes things for homes. Well, yes m they do, but they also make homes. To see what I mean, see these links:

If you love Muji, you’ll love these links. How practical any of them would be in a Canadian winter, I don’t know, but they are inspiring in their own way.

Image is of the prefab hut.

On restaurants loved and lost: the Boulevard Cafe

On Harbord Street in the 1980s I fell in love with the Boulevard Cafe. My life was just starting, and my girlfriend and I were living just up the street from it, on Brunswick Avenue. We would stroll down and line up with the other people in the area for the wonderful Peruvian style food they had there.

It was the first time I learned to love fish. I come from Nova Scotia, but the fish was prepared terribly when I was growing up. Plus fish was associated with poor people food, unlike all the packaged food I wanted. I hated it.

Or I did until I had the Boulevard’s sea bass. (Sea bass was big in the 80s.) They would gently cook it and serve it with a perfect combo of delicious salad and fragrant rice.  I was instantly transformed into a fish lover after that first meal. Many a fish meal I had after that, and all were great.

And their soups. Their soups were incredible. I once had a garlic soup there that was so good that I still recall it decades later. It was simple, and yet I have often had garlic soup elsewhere and it never compared. They had many great dishes there, but the soup and the fish kept me coming back.

When we first started going, it was popular but not too busy. There was seating on both floors, and half of the upstairs was just a seating area where you could sip your drink and enjoy their  fireplace. I remember one night we were sitting there next to the fire, looking out over Harbord Street as a nice snowfall floated down covering everything. I could have stayed all night.

Later on the word got out and it got busier. The lovely seating area was replaced with more tables. The patio area in the summer was jammed with everyone enjoying the wonderful flavours that came out of the small kitchen in the back.

I was shocked to be riding my bicycle across Harbord Street a few summers ago and seeing it all closed up. It was then I took those photos. It was so good, I thought it would last forever. I stood there for quite awhile and remembered all the wonderful times of my youth sitting outside under the awning and living the good life with great friends and great food. I am lucky to have had such a time.

(In the top photo you can see the chimney where the fireplace was. In the bottom photo you can see the main doors that led to the dining room on the lower floor. The bulletin board would list all the specials. There would be tables put in front of the benches, and you either sat on the benches or chairs opposite. In the evening the lights would come on and it would seem magical.)

P.S. Over at Zomato there is still a copy of the menu and some other photos.

 

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Do you love minimalism? Do you hate minimalism? Either way, I have links :)

If you love minimalism, you will love these two links:

  1. A Minimalist Home in Japan Utilizes a Tent Structure With Open Air Sides | Colossa
  2. A zen minimalist cabin that brings nature in and takes distractions out | Yanko Design

They contain images of beautiful buildings in a Japanese minimal style that I love. (The image above is just one of many that will have to fantasizing about visiting them if you love this style too).  Well worth taking a look.

If you hate minimalism, then you won’t leave empty handed if you check this out: The empty promises of Marie Kondo and the craze for minimalism | Life and style | The Guardian

For some reason the Guardian has no problem finding authors to complain about minimalism. Oh well. To each their own.

If you are slogging through your laundry this weekend

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)

On the greatness of wearing black

Earlier in the week, I wrote about the importance of wearing red. While red is great, there’s much to be said for wearing black, and Grace Dent says it so well, here. As for me, I’ve argued that if a man has to have only one suit, it should be a black one. Gray and navy are great colours for suits, but black is best. After all, if you wear a white dress shirt, solid black tie and suit, you will look cool .

You could do worse than look as cool as this:

Toronto’s Annex grows up

The Annex in Toronto is growing up, literally. First there are the new condos going in on the corner of Bloor and Bathurst. Now the other end of it, at Spadina and Bloor, is getting the same treatment.

A mid-September application submitted to the City of Toronto seeks Zoning By-law Amendments to permit a 35-storey mixed-use condominium tower at 334 Bloor Street West, above Spadina subway station in The Annex.

For more on this, see:

35-Storey Condo Tower Proposed at Bloor and Spadina’s Northwest Corner | UrbanToronto

I think these are good developments. The character of the area remains, but more people can live there and enjoy it. Perhaps some day I will get to as well.

Two good pieces addressing racial inequality in tech


Here are two good pieces addressing racial inequality in tech

  1. If Toronto wants to be a global tech hub, it needs to nurture Black talent | TVO.org
  2. Racial Justice Open Source Projects – Call for Code for Racial Justice – IBM Developer

In my humble and limited opinion, tech has many gaps when it comes to who works in the industry, especially when it comes to women and when it comes to black and indigenous people. Any efforts to address these gaps are a good thing.

(Photo by Christina @ wocintechchat.com on Unsplash)

Dreading the idea of the pandemic in colder months? Some thoughts.


If so, then you need to start thinking of what you need to do to get mental and physically equipped for it.

Mentally, this article might help you get ready: Human hibernation: the restoring effects of hiding away in winter | Life and style | The Guardian.

Physically, it might be good to stock up on food. Here’s two articles that can help with that:

Hey, you might want to take up bread baking (again) during the winter months. Why not grab a few big bags of flour? If not bread, here’s some ideas on having a winter cooking goal.

Winter, like the pandemic, will be over soon enough. Try and make the most of it.

If you need more advice, I recommend this piece by Kottke.

If you want your home to help with the winter blues, read this. One good idea: get flowers that bloom in winter.

On Philip Guston

I had some other things to say about Philip Guston until this  article came out in the Times, saying:

Last week, a handful of museums decided to postpone a retrospective of the painter Philip Guston over concerns that Ku Klux Klan imagery in his work, intended to criticize racism, anti-Semitism and bigotry, would upset viewers or that the works would be “misinterpreted.”

I was disappointed, to say the least. Fortunately I am not alone. The article goes on to state:

On Wednesday, a letter drafted by the art critic Barry Schwabsky addressed to those museums — the National Gallery of Art in Washington; Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; and Tate Modern, London — and signed by nearly 100 artists, writers and curators, was published by the Brooklyn Rail, protesting the postponement. To date, more than 2,000 names have been added — young and old, Black, Asian, Persian, Arab, L.G.B.T.Q.

So I am collecting a list of sites and pages on Guston, because he is an artist people should get to know more about. Especially if they were to simply mindedly misinterpret his work and think he has anything but abhorrence for the KKK. 

I am also doing this because I am a fan of his courage as much as I am of his work.  He made a big break from abstract expressionism late in his career and suffered for it. I don’t know many artists who have done such a thing. I think he needs to be more well known.

I also find it surprising to think people were surprised by this big break with AbEx. The elements he reintroduced were there from the beginning. And the cartoonish nature of his work is parallel to the drawings he was doing of Nixon and others. He needed to break from AbEx and went with the tools he had.

If you want to learn more about Guston, here is some links I have found that are useful:

On Agnes Martin

Regardless of how much you know about the painter Agnes Martin, I recommend this piece on her: 35 Odd Jobs Celebrated Painter Agnes Martin Held Before She Became an Artist – Brain Pickings.

The title is odd, but don’t let it put you off. Martin is a fascinating person, and a great artist. I find her work challenges me like no other.  But it rewards too. I hope you will learn more about her and feel the same.

P.S. Since I wrote this, I found some other good links on Agnes Martin. Here’s a list:

What to get the book lover in your life? The Little Black Classics Box Set from Penguin

As a book lover myself, I have coveted the collection of books above from Penguin. As they say:

This spectacular box set of the 80 books in the Little Black Classics series showcases the many wonderful and varied writers in Penguin Black Classics. From India to Greece, Denmark to Iran, the United States to Britain, this assortment of books will transport readers back in time to the furthest corners of the globe. With a choice of fiction, poetry, essays and maxims, by the likes of Chekhov, Balzac, Ovid, Austen, Sappho and Dante, it won’t be difficult to find a book to suit your mood.

Sounds great! For more information, including how to order it, go here.

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Hobbies, or how to start drawing even if the idea terrifies you


Yesterday I encouraged you to take up a hobby. If you haven’t decided on one yet, I recommend drawing. You may be terrified or at least put off by the idea of taking up drawing. It’s ok. Many people feel that way. To help you, here’s some good links to get you thinking at least of taking up drawing.

Lots of good advice there in those links. As for books, I highly recommend the book above. It is superb. It can be hard to find, but these folks seem to have it.

This is a test post of a new plugin

This is a test post of a new plugin, blish.

The pandemic ain’t going away soon. Maybe you need a hobby. This can help.

I am sorry to (not) break this to you (since you know it already) but the pandemic is not going away soon. That’s bad. What’s good is it may be the right time to start a hobby. Here’s two links that can help:

  1. CrossFit, ceramics: 10 people on how much they spend on their hobbies – Vox
  2. How to Find a Hobby – Smarter Living Guides – The New York Times

The New York Times piece can help you find a hobby. And the Vox piece can give you an idea of what it might cost.

A hobby is a good thing to have and no one argues this better than Austin Kleon. To see what I mean, check out his writings on hobbies.

(Photo by Margarida Afonso on Unsplash)

On that London coffee shop charging $64 for its premium coffee

Kudos to Queen’s of Mayfair for getting CNN to write up the $64 “cup” of coffee they are serving.

You might think it is the most posh and ridiculously expensive place in the world to visit. Well it is posh, but as this blog post shows, it’s also charming and affordable.

I won’t be travelling soon, but when I do, I’d like to go there. But not for the $64 coffee. Anything else on their menu, though.

(Image is a link to the blog post).

It’s my IBM Anniversary

Every October 3rd I mark my anniversary starting working at IBM. Back then, I took a 1 hour commute via the “Red Rocket” to 245 Consumers Road in Willowdale (now Toronto) to start work in the tape library (which looked a lot like the photo above).

What else was happening with IBM back then? Only the advent of the IBM PC. Here’s a story on it here.

If you have big projects you have been struggling with…

If you have big projects that you have been struggling with, I recommend these two pieces:

Sometime you need to gain a big of perspective in the daunting face of what seems is an overwhelming effort. Those pieces can help you.

(Photo by Brett Jordan on Unsplash)

 

In a Hurry? Try Express Weight Training

Weight training has many benefits. If you have been considering it but balking, you likely have multiple reasons for not getting started. One reason might be: you have no time. Well, if you have thirteen minutes, you can do a weight workout. As noted here, In a Hurry? Try Express Weight Training – The New York Times, you can get stronger no matter what. Of three groups tested for strength gain: 

One group was asked to complete five sets of each exercise, with about 90 seconds of rest between sets. Their total time for a session at the gym was almost 70 minutes. A second group was asked to complete three sets of each exercise, requiring they work out for about 40 minutes. The third group had to finish only one set of each exercise, meaning that they were done after a brisk 13 minutes. Each volunteer performed his given workout three times a week for eight weeks and then returned to the lab to repeat the muscle measurements. After the two months, all of the young men were stronger, a finding that, by itself, is beguiling, since it suggests that people can continue to gain strength even if they already are experienced at resistance training. But more interesting and surprising, the strength improvements were essentially the same, no matter how many — or few — sets the men completed. The men who had stopped after one set gained as much strength as those who had done five sets or three.

As with anything, your results may vary. But if you want to get stronger with the least amount of time put in, consider this.

Friday night cocktail: the boulevardier

A wonderful cocktail, here brought to you by smitten kitchen.  All you need are:

2 ounces bourbon or rye whiskey
1 ounce red vermouth
1 ounce Campari Ice

An orange peel is a good touch. Boulevardier: simple, but delicious. 

 

Which Is Better, Rewards or Punishments? Neither

Good piece if you are struggling to change behavior in children: Which Is Better, Rewards or Punishments? Neither – The New York Times. But honestly, what is good for changing children’s behavior is good for changing any one’s behavior, including your own. 

I recommend you read the piece: it has good examples. But in a nutshell, you should:

  • Motivate Instead of Reward
  • Help Instead of Punish

There’s one other piece of advice in the article. I’ll leave it for you to find out what it is. You can do it! Just click the link above. You’ll be glad you did.

(Photo by sydney Rae on Unsplash)

The one use I can see from the new internal drone from Amazon

Should you get one of these for your home? If you are interested, here’s two pieces on the new drone from Amazon you should read:

  1. Times 
  2. ZDnet

Most people I’ve read say: “LOL. No! Are you crazy?” I agree,  with one exception. I would strongly discourage people for getting one for their primary residence. But if they had a second property (a cottage or a business), then I would encourage it. I might also encourage it for people living in a big property. Any time where the risk of privacy intrusion is secondary to the risk from break ins or other property damage is the time I would encourage it.

It’s interesting technology. I predict stories about privacy problems in the next year, though I could be wrong. Amazon could have done a great job of dealing with privacy concerns. We will see.

It’s a good time to pare down the things in your life

The pandemic is a good time to pare down your life. No doubt it has already helped with that. Now it’s time to take it further. For example

Cut back on possessions — get rid of the extraneous clutter that is just weighing you down, and find joy in owning little.

Sounds good, right? I thought so. I took that quote from this piece: Paring Down Your Life : zen habits. I recommend you read it and consider what else you can eliminate from your life in this life changing time.

(Photo by todd kent on Unsplash)

To me, the main reason you want a Lenovo Smart Clock

 

I’ve read some good and some not good reviews of the Lenovo smart clock. The not good ones point out the obvious limits of it, but I think they miss the point.

To me the main reason you want this smart clock: it can help you get your smartphone out of your bedroom. If you get one of these for the night table near your bed, you get most of the things you want your phone to do: wake you up, play white noise, tell you the temperature before you get dressed. It does all that, while preventing you from  doomscrolling or exposing your eyes to light that keeps you up. For those reasons, I think it is a great thing and the main reason you want it.

You can also turn the microphone off if you are concerned about Google listening in on your bedroom (a proper fear). Or if you just don’t want anything “smart” in your bedroom, phone or otherwise, I recommend you check out this beautiful Moon Clock from LL Bean. My grandfather had one of these and it was a beauty. 

Gerhard Richter, then and now

Here are two good pieces on Richter for fans like myself. First is a good look back at when he first started painting. Second is a write up of his recent work, seen below. It’s the second time Richter has done a stained glass work for a church, and it is both similar and yet different from it. (You can see that one, here.)

Reading both pieces, I am reminded of how long Richter has been working and how much great work he has produced and continues to produce. He has long been one of my favourite artists, and I am glad he is capable of still doing great things.

He says this work shown is going to be his last big work. Let’s see. I’ll be glad for anything he can make now and in the future.

 

For fans of Lego and sneakers…

There is this: the Lego/Adidas collaboration!

If I were a Lego fan I would so want a pair. They debut September 25. 

See the link for more pics and details.

Toronto’s underground (literally) secrets

Toronto has a number of underground secrets. Two of them are featured in this piece: 10 strange and unusual things you might not know about Queen St.

One of them was  these were underground washrooms at Queen and Spadina:

The other is the once planned and then abandoned Queen Subway line.

Of course Queen Street isn’t the only thing with underground secrets. At Bay and Bloor is the famous closed off Bay Street subway line. And at the shopping mall at Hudson Bay used to be the Plaza Cinema, which you can longer get to.

I am sure there are many more such hidden gems, but here are four of them.

 

 

Want a sneak peak at the new stations being built in Toronto

Then head over here: blogTO. They have a great rundown on each and every stop on the new Crosstown transit line being built along Eglinton Avenue in Toronto. The stop above will be my main one. 

There’s still so much more work to be done. Sometimes it feels like it will never finish. But as the article in blogTO shows, it will be, and it will look great.

Programming is on a spectrum, or how programming is like running

Programming is on a spectrum.  I have felt for some time. That said, I liked this article by Paul Ford, one of the best writers on IT that I know: ‘Real’ Programming Is an Elitist Myth | WIRED.  His and my thoughts overlap. First, yes you can do real programming/coding with simple tools. Anyone who writes their own HTML, Javascript, simple bash scripts or basic Python scripts is really programming. Heck, I argue that what people do in Microsoft Excel is a form of programming.

If you wanted to step up from small pieces of code, you could get a book like this and write all sorts of useful code. 

 

(That’s a great book, by the way.)

However there is a very wide spectrum for programming, and some people are very advanced in the form of programming they do. That should also be acknowledged. The work I do automating tasks by writing Python scripts is very different than the work done by people writing operating systems or other difficult tasks.

I like to think of it like running. If you run, you are a runner. End of story. If you work at running, you can enter a big race like the New York City Marathon and you will be with a range of runners from the very best in the world to people who will finish many hours later. The first and the last are all marathon runners, and the last are as real a runner as the first.

Same with programming. If you program, you are a programmer. You are as real a programmer as the person writing new code for the Linux operating system. Just like you can always get better as a runner, you can always get better as a programmer. It just depends on what you want to put into it and what you want to get out of it.

PPE for the .01%: the Louis Vuitton Monogram Face Shield

If you have more money than you know what to do with, by all means, get your own Louis Vuitton Monogram Face Shield. Details here.

If you are feeling bad about reading fewer books, then read this

I’ve been reading less since the pandemic hit. For many reasons. It started to bother me, since the last few years I have been reading dozens of books each year. I felt I was failing. Then I read this: How to Read Fewer Books, from The School of Life.

I whole piece is good, but this part nailed it for me:

In order to ease and simplify our lives, we might dare to ask a very old-fashioned question: what am I reading for? And this time, rather than answering ‘in order to know everything,’ we might parcel off a much more limited, focused and useful goal. We might – for example – decide that while society as a whole may be on a search for total knowledge, all that we really need and want to do is gather knowledge that is going to be useful to us as we lead our own lives. We might decide on a new mantra to guide our reading henceforth: we want to read in order to learn to be content. Nothing less – and nothing more. With this new, far more targeted ambition in mind, much of the pressure to read constantly, copiously and randomly starts to fade. We suddenly have the same option that was once open to St Jerome; we might have only a dozen books on our shelves – and yet feel in no way intellectually undernourished or deprived.

What am I reading for: it’s a great question. I think there are many answers to that. To be content, as that suggests. Or to become an expert in an area. Or to pass the time. All are good answers, depending on your need for reading. If you are feeling bad about reading fewer books, step back and decide what you are reading for. It may help you read in a new and improved way.

(Photo by matthew Feeney on Unsplash)

September pandemic highlights and ramblings (a newsletter, in blog form)

Hey! Thanks again for reading this, my latest not-a-newsletter of highlights and ramblings since the one in August. I had a long list of things to post here, but I cannot seem to find them. Augh. Oh well.

Newsletters: a few newsletters ago they were all shiny and new. Now they have these become old hat. Almost. It seems like more and more people are jumping on the bandwagon. I’ve realized reading them now that they are a harder thing to write than most people think. The people most successful seem to have a voice and a formula/structure. If you have a formula or structure, your newsletter will hold up even on week publishing days. If you do not, it’s likely harder to maintain a base level of consistency. From what I have witnessed.

Favorite newsletters: No new ones since my last newsletter.

Pandemic update: in Canada we seem to be heading back down to the bad times, after making such good progress. I am not surprised. I think people are breaking down and thinking “oh what’s a little socializing going to do?” and the next thing you know we are back where we were months ago.

As well, schools are back: this will have an effect somehow. We will know in a few weeks.

Meanwhile I am trying to be as normal as I can and trying to get out when I can, knowing that I might not be able to in a few weeks if things spiral out of control.

Restaurants: I am not sure what will happen with restaurants if there is another form of lockdown. Many have closed, and I have to believe that the ones that haven’t are barely getting by. If this goes on for an extended period of time, I can’t imagine there being that many restaurants as we know them being around.

Other venues: other than restaurants, I wonder about other venues where people gather in large numbers. Most theatres are not doing well, and Hollywood’s hope of bringing in people with films like TENET do not seemed to have worked. As well, more studios are putting off films that should have been out awhile ago. I think they are delaying in hopes of something that will not happen.

I almost went to see TENET. I am a big fan of Nolan’s film and how he plays with time. But I can wait and see this at home.

Cooking: While I am trying to get out more to restaurants, I am still doing a lot of cooking at home. To be honest, it is often tiring. To reduce the workload, I am trying to cook more one pot meals. One pot meals result in less clean up afterwards.  Plus they tend to be less labour. If you find you are cleaning up too much, try one pot meals. I found this book really good for one pot meals. I also go to Budget Bytes and type in “one pot” in the search menu and get quite a few that way.

I’ve also found I eat more repetitively. I will go days eating the same breakfast and lunch. It just save time thinking about it.

Autumn/the New Year: As far as I am concerned, the day after Labour Day is the start of the New Year and the start of Autumn. I know fans of Summer hate that idea. Fans of Summer want you to know that Summer ends the 21st of September, not Labour Day. It’s true, it does. And it’s true, there are some very warm days in September. But I love Autumn and I am glad to pack Summer away and get on with it.

I love Autumn because I associate it with the new and transition. The start of school. The start of harvest and wonderful colour. Of mild weather. I love Autumn because I associate it with good change. Autumn is dynamic. Autumn is where we start again, move ahead, make progress. It’s the best season. A season so good we gave it two names.

Finally..

John Turner passed away this weekend. RIP. I still think this is one of the best photos of Canadian politicians ever. I sometimes wonder if Quentin Tarantino ever saw it.

Well, thanks for reading. Take care of yourself. Give yourself some slack. We are living in historic times, and that is usually difficult.

The Best Street Photographers of All Time – a visual feast

If you want a visual feast, head over to this link to see the best street photographers of all time. Truly remarkable. I kept expecting they would miss someone, but it seems like a comprehensive essay on the best of the best. (Like Berenice Abbott, whose work is above.)

Is the weekend dead?

You might think so if you read this piece in the New York Times.

It has definitely changed, just like so much has changed during the pandemic. I predict the weekend will come back in time. Meanwhile, consider ways to make you day / days different enough so that it doesn’t just feel like one big endless day. It will take some creativity, but it’s worth it.

Your weekend is coming up: find ways to make those days stand out from the others.