Silence is important

Came across this interesting (if old) article today on Pocket about silence. What I find amusing sometimes is when people do research into the obvious. It should be obvious to everyone that sometimes silence is necessary for healing, recovery, or just plain keeping our sanity.

This article felt so timely though because this year I’m volunteering again at a gymnastics meet soon and this year I’m prepared. Last year the whole idea of silence being necessary for us to be healthy came into sharp focus when I spent a whole weekend volunteering at the same gymnastics meet. 12 hour days of constant, loud, noise. Loud music, lots of people cheering, clapping, etc. It was a constant wall of noise. At one point I couldn’t take it anymore and went out to my car. I sat there in silence for 15 minutes and I was shocked at how refreshing it was. I was able to get through the rest of the day without losing it.

This year I’m planning on taking multiple breaks as part of the goal to keep myself healthy over that long weekend. Silence truly is golden!


Photo by Conor Luddy on Unsplash

Android leading the way to mobile, password-less logins

This was an interesting read on Wired. FIDO2 support on a huge platform like Android will hopefully get Apple off it’s butt for iOS support of this standard. I hope it also pushes a lot more websites to support U2F. It would go a long way to making the web a much safer place.

I have a YubiKey which is a fantastic security tool when used with websites that support U2F. Unfortunately Chrome is the only browser that fully supports it out of the box. Firefox 57+ also supports U2F but it is not turned on by default. Most unfortunate is the lack of websites that support U2F. TOTP is security theater. It’s much better than SMS-based codes but not by much as it’s still very easy to spoof someone into giving up the right code. You’re still better off just using strong passwords.


Interesting take in The Atlantic (“Stop Trusting Viral Videos“) about the events involving the Black Hebrew Israelites, teenagers from the Catholic school in Kentucky, and Nathan Phillips in Washington DC this past weekend. It is interesting how video can influence what we think about a situation and almost makes the facts irrelevant as people jump to conclusions about what they’ve seen.

What to do with social media?

So I’ve been thinking a lot as of late about what to do with what remains of my social media accounts. I dropped Facebook a long time ago. I was using it very infrequently already but more of the people I cared about keeping in contact with on that platform slowly started dropping off, tired of the low signal-to-noise ratio. The fact that I was unhappy with their business practices made the decision that much easier but now I’m wondering, what about Twitter, Instagram, and Reddit?


Twitter can be a real cesspool to be sure but it can very useful. The way I use it now is probably 95% as a news source and I tweet occasionally. I also use, and completely adore, Instagram. I post much more there and it’s a fabulous platform to follow the food websites and publications I love. Also found my favorite pair of boots there (Jack Boot in green). But as we all know Instagram is owned by Facebook and that gives me pause these days. Reddit? Well, Reddit provides almost zero value and I’ve already deleted my account twice there. But I keep getting pulled back there to argue over stupid stuff.


I’ve been asking myself lately just how much value are these apps adding to my life? The pull to them during any moment of boredom is very strong. It was strong enough that I took Twitter off my phone. Instagram is useless without the app installed. Reddit I can say with certainty that I’ve answered the question of usefulness multiple times. So where does that leave this conversation?


My Twitter account is almost 11 years old. I’ve tried deleting it multiple times only to come back before it was truly deleted. Funny how they make that work isn’t it? Are you really sure? Hey, we’ll hold the account for 30 days just in case you change your mind! They make it far too easy. 30 days is a long time and my (lack of) willpower and fear of losing my Twitter name and early join date has always brought me back. I’ve made some really juicy rationalizations in why I should keep Twitter but I also keep coming back to the question: should I keep Twitter?

Instagram is a much harder question to answer and I’m pretty sure at this point, Facebook ownership or not, that I’m keeping Instagram. So far from a privacy angle I just don’t see the same problems for Instagram that Facebook is having. There is no doubt that they track what I look at there but I don’t think there are the same privacy implications there as with Facebook. Ultimately I find it very useful and I don’t find that I keep asking myself if I should delete it.

Reddit? I don’t think there is any question on that one: forgetit.


The Simple Art of Brewing a Cup of Coffee

The red Melitta brewer has been sitting patiently in a drawer waiting to be put back to use. The #2 paper cone filters have been biding their time in another drawer, certain that one day they’d be called upon again to brew a cup of coffee, one cup at a time.

But sitting in drawers they have been because, I hate to say this, in the last several years I’ve been lured by the promise of speed and efficiency. Drawn toward the more quickly acquired cup of coffee I bought a one cup Keurig machine (also red. is there a pattern here?). Never mind the flaws, it is as easy as it gets. Put in water. Put in a coffee pod. Hit brew. Done in a flash.

Before the Keurig I used to do a cup at a time using the pour-over method. Sinfully delicious coffee and cleanup was very easy. But the amount of time. It just took too long and kept me from rushing out the door in the morning to get to a fully-rushed day. But this weekend, my mind demanding that I start to slow things down a bit, I rediscovered the joy of the pour-over, and oddly enough, that it really doesn’t take much time. And did I mention the wonderful ritual? Or the fact that the coffee simply tastes better?

Steps to the perfect cup of coffee

  1. If you like sugar in your coffee put in whatever amount you prefer in the bottom of the cup. The mixing happens automatically as the coffee drains into the cup.
  2. Fill up your favorite kettle with water and start the water heating.
  3. Put the single cup brewer on top of your cup.
  4. Put a filter into the brewer.
  5. Put two heaping tablespoons of your favorite coffee grounds into the filter.
  6. When the water is finished boiling let it rest for about 1 minute to bring the temperature down a bit.
  7. Now slowly pour the water over the grounds. Make sure to get them all wet.
  8. As the water drains keep it moving by continually slowly pouring more water over the grounds in a circular motion and keeping them all in play. Enjoy the smells coming up out of the cup.
  9. Put the brewer in the sink to finish draining once you’re near the top of the cup.
  10. Enjoy the best cup of coffee you’ll ever have.

The Daily Stoic

One of the things I’ve been wanting to do for several years now is study Stoicism, but not Stoicism in the sense that most people seem to know:

To the average person, this vibrant, action-oriented, and paradigm-shifting way of living has become shorthand for emotionlessness.

but Stoicism in the sense of the way the authors of The Daily Stoic see it:

… a tool in the pursuit of self-mastery, perseverance, and wisdom: something one uses to live a great life…

In fact if you look up the word “stoic” in the dictionary you see something like this:

of or relating to the school of philosophy founded by Zeno, who taught that people should be free from passion, unmoved by joy or grief, and submit without complaint to unavoidable necessity.

Doesn’t sound very exciting does it? Who wants to be an unfeeling doormat? But as with many things the devil is in the details. The school might have been founded by Zeno but what we think of as Stoicism today was the philosophy followed by Epictetus, Marcus Aurelius, and Seneca. Their version of Stoicism is far from that terrible definition quoted above. It’s the Stoicism that attracted me and made me want to finally take up the study in this new year.

I’ve bought the main recommendations anyone gets when they first start studying the Stoics but wanted to start with something a bit simpler which brought me to The Daily Stoic by Ryan Holiday and Stephen Hanselman. Each day is a small bit of reading covering one small piece of the teachings and philosophy. It’s a perfect way to get my feet wet and several of the days have been very enlightening so far. I’m really enjoying it.

Looking forward to reading more and I’ll share more here during the year as I progress through the various works. It’s been fun so far creating image-based posts on Instagram with snippets of what I’m reading and I’ll definitely post here soon with what I’m learning!