Tag Archives: fun

Coffee tourism: why coffee lovers should visit Toronto (and Torontonians should go to College St.)


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.

It’s Monday. How much “fun” have you scheduled in your calendar?


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.

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.

How would you like a cube of titanium, or copper, or even uranium? With the Luciteria web site, you can!

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.

With the pandemic still going on, is it time for dinner parties again? If it is, consider this

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. 🙂 )

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 )

 

Friday night cocktails: the marg’

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.

When was SNL at it’s best?

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

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.

 

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)

How to go skating in Toronto in the pandemic

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.

Friday night cocktail: honey plum bourbon sour

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 know about hygge. Now it’s a good time to learn about friluftsliv

winter in NYC

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)

Thinking about Fun (something good for you to do)

kid playing in leaves

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)

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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.

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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.

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)

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. :))

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

 

Do your kids love Lego? Then you may want Pley, a Netflix for Lego

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.

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!

Are you a couch potato? Do you want to get in better shape? Then read what former couch potatoes did

I don’t think highly of lists that supposedly help you to get in shape. I am happy to make an exception for this one: 15 Former Couch Potatoes Share Their Best Tips For Getting In Shape.

It’s not so much a list as it is 15 different stories. Each person has a different approach to getting in shape. What worked for one person may not work for you, but there is a good chance that out of the 15 stories, there will be more than a few new ideas that you can steal and use.

I also liked that it is not a list of advice from people who were athletes or people who were in good shape already. The people on this list were out of shape, and they lost weight and became fit using the sensible approaches they took.

I don’t usually recommend Buzzfeed articles, but this one is a very good exception.

If getting in shape was one of your resolutions for the New Year, this is a good thing for you to read now.

If you need an early winter pick me up, here’s a 1 minute video of a crow snowboarding

It’s no fluke: if you watch the whole thing, you can see he is into it!

Crows are remarkable. Via YouTube and  someone on twitter….I can’t remember who though. Thanks, whomever you are!