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Events and Life Mindsets

The challenge of sending kids to school when you work remotely

This tweet basically encapsulates the challenge of trying to persuade kids to go to school when you work remotely (and from home):

8 yr old this am: I don’t want to go back to school.

Me: Everyone would rather stay home in their pajamas, kiddo. Me too.

Him: But you do stay home all day in your pajamas. Plus they pay you.

Me: ... Here comes the bus!

In discussions like these, you just need to resort to your authority as the parent … 😂

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Events and Life Spirituality Travel and places

My Chanukah highlights

While most of the world was gearing up for the Christmas (or Christmas analog) holidays, we celebrated the festival of Chanukah, my favourite festival of the year. I thought I’d share my Chanukah highlights in a series of photographs.

I usually take photos on each of the eight days of the candles, and this year was no exception. That said, I decided to add some variations to my collection so I wasn’t just capturing our candles that we lit each night.

Instead, I took opportunities to include other people’s candles, whether they were neighbours, or family we visited.

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Events and Life Mindsets

Bad days happen to everyone

We all have bad days, and I had a particularly rough day yesterday. I made some mistakes in how I handled a situation, and created a bit of a mess for a colleague (thankfully not a customer, though).

I felt pretty lousy afterwards, and my confidence took a knock. Objectively, it probably wasn’t that big a deal, but it felt pretty crappy nevertheless.

This morning I started work still feeling the after effects of that, and not feeling particularly confident. Still, I was determined to just put one foot in front of the other, and try learn from my mistakes.

Ken Gagne, one of my colleagues shared a post about Carroll Spinney on his site that caught my attention during a break between shifts, and this line stood out for me:

Big Bird once said, “Bad days happen to everyone, but when one happens to you, just keep doing your best and never let a bad day make you feel bad about yourself.”

Ken Gagne

I think I needed this today.

I still feel like I’m climbing back up out of the hole I dug for myself, but it’s sunny today.

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Events and Life

My 44th birthday was a good day

Yesterday was my 44th birthday. 🎉

Great expectations

I realised I felt a little internal pressure to do something amazing, wonderful, or remarkable. I just couldn’t think of anything. In the past, I watched “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty” on my birthday as a sort of personal birthday tradition.

I still love that movie, but didn’t really feel like watching it this time around. I briefly thought about watching “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse” instead, but I’ve watched that amazing movie recently.

Birthdays are strange days for me. I enjoy my birthday, even though I’m ambivalent about growing older, and between my friends and family wishing me a terrific day, saying I should do something remarkable, and be spoiled, I realised that I put a little pressure on myself to do something noteworthy.

Ultimately, though, this day is really more of a “me” day when I get to take a breather from work, and indulge myself in some small way.

Taking a “me” day

As is my custom, I took the day off for a “me” day.

The only thing I had planned for the day was to head to Cafe Greg in the mall for a Diabetic friendly apple crumble.

I started off my day with breakfast (as one does), after which I took advantage of the quiet to meditate for around 15 minutes (by “meditate”, I mean continuously try calm my chattering mind for 15 minutes), and then switch to Netflix.

I’ve been watching The Crown, and finished off the second season, and started the third before heading out to the mall. I took my camera with me, and captured a few scenes along the way. Winter is settling in here in Israel, and that means very welcome rain, and colder weather.

The apple crumble was pretty good, and I returned home for more of The Crown before the kids returned home. We had lunch together, I went out to the post office to collect a package that turned out to be one of Aaron’s birthday presents that I thought wasn’t going to arrive, and then returned home for more of The Crown.

All in all, it wasn’t a wild celebratory day, but it was my day, and that worked for me.

I had Gina and the kids with me. Aaron made me this awesome card, and Faith made me a Minecraft world to play around with, and involved a lot of cake at the end. Interestingly, when you eat cake (and probably other things) in Minecraft, you eat it in slices. 🎂

Also a Gina day

The real, big news of the day was that Gina started her new job yesterday, after six months searching for work.

Its been an extremely wild 6 months. It was fun. It was stressful. It was enlightening. I got to spend time with Paul, even though he was working during the week. I got to eat lunch with my entire family, every day. I played games with the kids, took them to the park after school and helped with homework. I got to spend the entire summer break and all the Jewish holidays with the kids and Paul. I fell into a funk, especially after each rejection email from a potential job opportunity. I worked through each funk. I started running (and need to get back into it). I taught myself a new skill. I read. A lot.

Gina’s post about her last six months

I enjoyed having Gina around the last few months. I’m also really proud of her for persevering, and ultimately succeeding. You can read her post about the last six months here: “6 months in numbers – A Bit of This A Bit of That“.

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Events and Life Mindsets Policy issues Politics and government Social Web

The greatest propaganda machine in history

Sacha Baron Cohen recently spoke about how social media services have become the “greatest propaganda machine in history”.

Much of the media’s focus, when reporting on his remarks, was on his attack on Facebook. While he certainly targeted Facebook, he also spoke about how Google, YouTube, and Twitter shape online discourse, and how they help spread lies, bigotry, and attacks on fact-based discussions.

Think about it.  Facebook, YouTube and Google, Twitter and others—they reach billions of people.  The algorithms these platforms depend on deliberately amplify the type of content that keeps users engaged—stories that appeal to our baser instincts and that trigger outrage and fear.  It’s why YouTube recommended videos by the conspiracist Alex Jones billions of times.  It’s why fake news outperforms real news, because studies show that lies spread faster than truth.  And it’s no surprise that the greatest propaganda machine in history has spread the oldest conspiracy theory in history—the lie that Jews are somehow dangerous.  As one headline put it, “Just Think What Goebbels Could Have Done with Facebook.”

Sacha Baron Cohen

As much as we embrace free expression, we find it difficult to draw a line when liars and bigots abuse their right to free expression because doing that feels like hypocrisy.

Free expression isn’t unlimited, though. And pushing back against channels that help propagate misinformation, abuse, and false statements that impact substantial segments of the population is becoming more important.

At the very least, it’s worth watching Cohen’s talk, or reading his remarks:

We should also think carefully about how much trust we place in services that profit from the social chaos we see around us.

Featured image by Miguel Henriques
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Events and Life Sports Wellbeing

I ran my first timed 5km race

Last week I ran my first timed 5km race as part of the annual Modiin Race. I set myself the goal of running in the 5km race last year when my wife and son competed in last year’s Modiin Race, and I’m pretty proud of myself for achieving my goal.

I started running again towards the end of 2018/beginning of 2019, and was pretty consistent until about April when I stopped running.

Then, as the race approached, I decided to start running again at the beginning of November when the weather started to cool.

My November running log
My November runs

My pace was predictably relatively slow to begin with (I hadn’t done much exercise for months, after all), but I feel like I improved nicely over the following two weeks.

I was hoping to complete the race in under 30 minutes, although I just realised that I based that goal on the assumption that the race course was 5km.

It was actually a little more, so my time was pretty good for my first 5km race in years (I ran a 5km fun run years ago in Johannesburg).

I wouldn’t say that I enjoy running, necessarily, but I do like getting out and exercising. I also enjoy the feeling of progress when I run further without slowing to walk, and the feeling of having accomplished something for myself afterwards.

My post race moment
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Events and Life Music People Travel and places

Music in the park with Tal Kravitz

Tal Kravitz performed at one of our city’s annual Autumn music festival events in a neighbourhood park yesterday. According to his bio on his Facebook Page

Tal Kravitz is a musician and a singer educated at Israel’s finest music institutions. He is also a traveler who journeyed on a personal search for original tribal music in far corners of the world not yet exposed to Western civilization. Tal plays piano, harp, guitar, a variety of bagpipes, the musical saw, African percussion instruments and more.

We really enjoyed the event. Kravitz is really engaging, and involves the audience (who loved him).

Fortunately we arrived early enough to find good seats. I took advantage of that for some photographs.

Kravitz used a range of musical instruments including an Irish harp, a saw (the kind you use to cut wood), bagpipes, and some sort of electromagnetic/sonic device.

Categories
Design Events and Life People

… you can create blocks like it’s 1999

I’m watching Matt Mullenweg’s “State of the Word 2019” from the recent WordCamp US, and almost snorted my tea when he had this to say about the new colour gradients feature for blocks in Gutenberg v6.8:

You can create blocks like it’s 1999 …

Matt Mullenweg, speaking at WCUS 2019

😂

You can find Matt’s keynote here:

Luke Chesser