Woo! It’s Friday! If you are American, then there is a good chance you are participating in Thanksgiving activities! May your days be joyous and your feast plentiful. As for me, I’m in Canada, where we celebrated our Thanksgiving weeks ago. I suspect I will be gearing up like many Canadians for that other festive time that is coming soon: Christmas.
Speaking of feasts, here’s a cornucopia of things for you to check out and enjoy as you head into the weekend.
How cool is this Balmuda speaker? I just love it. Move over Sonos! (JK I love my Sonos One speaker too.)
Also cool: this public bench. I wish my city had such great places to sit.
This artwork by Rafael Lozano-Hemmer (below) is stunning. Plus it is related to your pulse. Intriguing, yes?
Speaking of stunning, check out these bold black houses. I just love to look at them and to imagine staying in them.
As for imagining things, how great it would be to take some time and do this 750-Mile Bicycle Route from New York. That’s a good bucket list item.
Or perhaps that’s too much effort. In which case, why not daydream about climbing on board The Venice Simplon-Orient-Express for one of their Winter Journeys? That sounds fabulous.
If you can’t afford that, then maybe you just want to stay at home and have a low key meal tonight. I recommend you look into what Austin Kleon does every Friday. He has these Pizza night blockbusters with his family that you might want to try (this link even has his wife’s pizza recipe). It’s a great idea and the pizzas look delicious.
Or maybe you can’t even decide what to eat. Kavall, a Swedish grocery delivery company, understands. See that button? You press it and they will randomly selects a recipe and have the ingredients delivered by bike in around 10 minutes. Amazing! You can read more about it here!
Want to impress your kids after dinner? Show them the metal rig Jelle Seegers built with a handmade fresnel lens on top that can concentrate solar rays tightly enough to smelt metal. You can see it, here. It will blow their mind.
Or show them this small paper microscope that works!
But don’t show them this McDonald’s gaming chair because they might want one! Unless you too like it…I dunno. 🙂
I have written often on cat furniture. Perhaps too much. But I can resist sharing this one called Igloo that is a side table that also gives your cat a cozy home.
Have fun on the last Friday of November! This year is flying by. Have a great weekend.
Posted in cool
Tagged cool, Friday, fun
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.
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).
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.
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.)
Posted in fun
Tagged advice, fun, howto
For many years I’ve actually visited places partially because of my love of coffee. Really! I went to Vienna where the coffee was amazing and Costa Rica where it was less so*. I am sure there are many people like me who make good coffee a reason to visit a place.
If you are one of those coffee lovers, I recommend you visit Toronto. Just one street alone, College Street, has a wealth of diverse coffee shops to make you happy.
To see what I mean, read this: Toronto’s College Street is a destination for global coffee | The Star. Not only are there many great coffee shops, but they serve a wide range of coffees, from Italian to Vietnamese.
I live here, but I might act like a visitor and do a College Coffee Run soon. Meanwhile I will satisfy my need for great coffee at De Mello near me. (Coffee lovers, go there too.)
* Costa Rica fans, take note. Costa Rica exports amazingly good coffee in my opinion. I just couldn’t seem to find it there. Fortunately there was so much beauty everywhere, I didn’t mind too much.
That might seem like a dumb idea, but chances are your calendar is full of events you have scheduled for this week: meetings, appointments, get togethers with friends, workouts. Is fun anywhere there?
It may be. Perhaps going for your regular workout is fun for you. Or that murder mystery you watch each week is fun. If so, that’s great.
If you can’t find fun in your calendar, I recommend you read this piece: Why We All Need to Have More Fun in The New York Times. It can help you figure out how to get more fun into your life. Have you forgotten what fun is? It can help you there, too.
Let me add: keep track of the fun you are having. Some of it — maybe most of it — will actually come up accidentally in your week. Note the circumstances which lead to having fun. Try to include them intentionally in your next week.
Likewise, note the events you planned that turned out to be not so much fun. Perhaps you need a break from them.
Life can be hard and painful. It can also be fun. Make sure you get as much of the latter in as you can. Scheduling your fun can help there.
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:
- May 1981 First mention of Microsoft
- Dec 1982 First thread about AIDS
- Jul 1983 First mention of Madonna
- 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.
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!
Posted in fun
Tagged fun, IT, onepagewebsite
Wasn’t sure what to do with these, though they are worthwhile for a Sunday:
Like I said: weird. But fun.
Posted in fun, new!
Tagged cats, fun, Sunday, weird
How cool is this Luciteria web site? Well if you are a geek like me, very cool indeed. Among other things they sell are cubes of each of the elements in the periodic table. As they say:
Cubes of each of the elements are our most popular sellers. And it’s not hard to see why. Precision machined and labeled each one is a self-contained ambassador of the periodic table. From the small cubic centimeter up to the hefty 5cm these cubes practically define the ideal desktop gadget for anyone who loves to nerd out on science. So get one as a conversation starter, a few as a clever means to spell out a name or phrase or go for broke and get as many as possible to make your own “real life” periodic table!
Some of them, like copper above, are pretty harmless and common. Others, like the uranium cube below, not so much.
I think these would be a great gift for anyone into science, or for teachers teaching the elements.
My first thought when I went there was that they would only have a few of the elements, but no, they have pretty much all of them. (With some reasonable exceptions.) Very much worth checking out.
It must be time for dinner parties again, pandemic be damned, because Bon Appétit had a bunch of pieces on the topic recently:
Now if you thinking of throwing a dinner party soon, those are worth reading. That said, lord they do overthink a dinner party. Rules! Playlists! Cultural relevance! I mean….
For what it’s worth, if you haven’t had people over for dinner in some time, the KISS principle applies (Keep It Simple, Stupid). If you need rules, here are some low stress ones:
- invite people you know well and who you are comfortable with. Not too many.
- know what they can and can’t eat.
- pick dishes that they can eat and you can make in your sleep.
- have people help you.
- have as much of it prepared ahead of time as you can.
- have a variety of food so that if someone doesn’t care too much for something, they can still fill their eat enough.
- have a dessert if you can. It leaves people with a nice impression. Plus it is great for people who are still hungry.
- have some appetizers if you can. It lets you buy time with early guests and hungry guests.
Ugh. Too many rules. Remember: it’s just dinner! People need to eat! Give them food! That’s it!
Unlike Bon Appétit, the blog Cup of Jo has the right approach to low key dinner parties. Two pieces of theirs I liked were:
And if you are still stressed by things, then make yourself throw a “crappy dinner party”. It’s zero pressure and 100% enjoyment.
If you want to read more about dinner parties, I wrote a ton of things and you can get them here.
(Photo is of the Canadian Thanksgiving dinner party in 2021 in Charleston, S.C. I broke some of my own rules but hey, rules are made to be broken. 🙂 )
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.
Posted in fun
Tagged fineprint, fun, humor
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 )
Posted in fun
Tagged fun, hack
Ok, a marg(arita) may be more of a Saturday afternoon cocktail on a hot summer day, but here on my blog we only write about cocktails on Friday night. Regardless, as the days heat up, you need a cool drink to help you stay chill and relaxed and the margarita fits that description to a tee. If you’ve never made one before, or if you want to try new versions, Bon Appetit has the advice you need.
The joke is that SNL was at its best the years you watched it as a teen. I have literally been watching it since it started — Yes, I am old — and I kinda agree with that. SNL is really such an uneven thing that even back then there were good and bad parts of the show. (Usually anything after the second musical performance is throwaway). As well, SNL is best as much for individual performers as it is for the entire show. From Catherine McKinnon all the way back to Gilda Radner, there have been individual performers who made a good show great. (My favorite of all time is Bill Murray, but there are too many to mention here).
For another take on it, here is a someone more objective study on when SNL was at its peak. According to this piece in OpenCulture, this YouTuber took a systematic approach to deciding the best of SNL. He…
… decided to withhold judgment on the overall quality curve of Saturday Night Live, his favorite show, before putting in the time and effort to watch at least one episode from every year in its run
The article has a link to his YouTube results. As OpenCulture concludes,
He may not change anyone’s mind about the best, and worst, seasons, episodes, cast members, and hosts. But he does demonstrate an admirable willingness to dig into SNL’s history and give years of comedy positively antiquated by 21st century standards a fair shake.
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
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 )
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)
Posted in fun
Tagged cool, fun, Internet
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.
Posted in fun
Tagged fun, ibm, old
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.
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:
- Waking up in the morning and feeling good and energetic
- A bright sunny day after days of overcast skies
- Walking by a store with lots of tulips for sale in buckets on the sidewalk
- Buying a hot mocha on a cold winter day and sipping it as I walk
- 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)
Liisa Ladouceur (shown above) has written a thorough guide for anyone who wants to go skating in Toronto during the pandemic. No, you cannot just show up with your blades and start skating. You need to do more. And you should do more, because skating is a great way to enjoy winter in the pandemic era. So read this: Where to go skating in Toronto in 2020 by Liisa Wanders. Then get out there! Maybe I will see you at a socially safe distance with a fun mask on too.
Posted in advice
Tagged advice, blues, covid, covid-19, covid19, fitness, fun, pandemic, skating, Toronto, winter
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.
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)
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.
If you for whatever reason what to turn an image into a glitched out version of itself, you can do that easily, here.
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. 🙂
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.
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.
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.
This is an actual set of awards given out, and The Guardian has the goods, here:
The 2017 comedy wildlife photography awards.
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)
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. :))
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.
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. 🙂
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
Pley is a cool idea and much like Netflix is. You subscribe to the service, you get a new Lego kit. Once you build it and enjoy it for awhile, you send it back and they send you another one. Your kid always has new kits to build, and you avoid having their room fill up with Lego.
For more on this, check out: Cool Tools – Pley.