Jan 16, 2020

I plugged in my home address coordinates on this location-based haiku generator and it delivered this incredibly beautiful haiku that I will think about for a long time.

Haiku created by a location-based haiku generator

Jan 04, 2020

I believe that if you have the words and phrases for remarking at something, you will begin to decipher more and more that is remarkable.”

This passage, by Tracy K. Smith on The Slowdown, is why I have rediscovered and rekindled my love for poetry.

Jan 01, 2020

Cleo decided to pose for some photos on this, the first afternoon of the new year.

Cleo the cat posing on the couch

Cleo the cat posing on the couch

Cleo the cat posing on the couch

Jan 01, 2020

Two years ago, I wrote a list of resolutions for that year—for every year. They are definitely worth repeating at the start of a new decade.

Happy new year, my friends.

Dec 27, 2019

Spent the holidays on and around Pender Island, surrounded by the ocean and mountains and family and love.

Views of mountains and oceans from Pender Island

Views of mountains and oceans from Pender Island

Views of mountains and oceans from Pender Island

Views of mountains and oceans from Pender Island

Dec 05, 2019

Really, none of this shouldn’t come as a surprise—Spotify is just telling me what I (and everyone else) already know.

Screenshot of Spotify year-in-review story saying that Carly Rae Jepsen was my most listened-to artist this year

Screenshot of Spotify year-in-review story saying that soul was my most listened-to genre this year

Screenshot of Spotify year-in-review story saying that Too Much by Carly Rae Jepsen was my most listened-to song this year

Screenshot of Spotify year-in-review story saying that Carly Rae Jepsen was my most listened-to artist this decade

Dec 03, 2019

Photo of my wife Lise smiling while on top of the Castelo Sao Jorge with the city of Lisbon behind her

This incredible woman whom I love with all my heart celebrates her birthday today, so today is a wonderful day.

Photo of my wife Lise smiling while at a Quinta in the Douro Valley overlooking the river

Dec 02, 2019

Loved hearing this on the most recent episode of the CKX Questions podcast:

Reflection and learning are action, when they integrate into our practice.”

Making space for reflection—actively engaging in reflection as part of my practice—has been one of the best things I’ve done for myself in the past couple of years, and I have the CKX team to thank for pushing me in that direction.

Also, I’m super proud of the team for the upcoming launch of Cohort X, an initiative that will bring together people and communities in the pursuit of climate and gender justice.

If you’re interested in the program, or know of any people or organizations that should be supporting it, please do get in touch with the CKX team.

Nov 27, 2019

It has been an absolute pleasure to be a part of the City Symposium this past year. For those of you who aren’t in London, you can now watch all the amazing talks by inspiring speakers online.

Collage of speakers at the City Symposium

Nov 25, 2019

Screen capture of Carly Rae Jepsen Timy Desk Concert

Carly Rae Jepsen + NPR Tiny Desk Concert = all kinds of joy and delight for your day.

Screen capture of Carly Rae Jepsen Timy Desk Concert

Nov 24, 2019

Last week I ran into an old friend whom I used to do spoken word with and hadn’t seen in years, and he asked me if I still wrote poetry. When I said no, he held my shoulders and looked me in the eyes and said, stop putting your life on hold and write—keep writing, write again.”

I’ve been thinking about that interaction for about four days now and asking myself: why did I stop? What would it take for me to start again? If I can’t stop thinking about this, then what’s next, now?

Just in case you were wondering where my mind has been for the past few days, it has been there. Will likely stay there for a while.

Also, if you’re looking to read an incredible poem that may change your life (pretty sure it changed mine), check out the one by Tommy Pico that I posted on the blog last week.

Nov 24, 2019

My friend Bianca, as she always does, perfectly articulates why I’ve spent my career focused on public service org design, talent management, equity/ethics, training/teaching, and critically examining people” systems in government. Important work that I’m lucky to be able to do.

Nov 18, 2019

My new psychiatrist (been seeing him for three months after my old psychiatrist—whom I loved—moved away) may just be the best doctor I’ve ever had.

We talk a ton about psychological resilience and work on how to build that. I wish more people had access to doctors like him.

Nov 11, 2019

I know the folks at Langdon Hall really get me because they gave us a gorgeous loaf of freshly-baked bread and a whole lot of butter—basically, the foods that make me happiest—to take home with us when we checked out after our lovely stay this weekend.

Nov 03, 2019

Why didn’t anybody tell me that Sally Rooney’s Normal People would devastate me as much as it did? Ooof.

Will most likely have a lot to say about this later. Will most likely be unable to say any of it online.

Oct 28, 2019

Did L buy us tickets this morning to go see Hamilton on my birthday? Yes, yes she did. 💕

Oct 25, 2019

That moment you get to the train station before a six-day trip away (including about twenty hours in planes and trains) and realize you forgot your headphones at home…

Oct 21, 2019

Always a little tough to come home from vacation, but I was welcomed home with a dazzling display of fall colours along the riverfront here and a gorgeously sunny day, so I guess I can’t complain too much.

Colorful trees along the river and fall foliage in Springbank park

Colorful trees along the river and fall foliage in Springbank park

Colorful trees along the river and fall foliage in Springbank park

Oct 03, 2019

A few passages that stood out from my recent reading of The Anatomy of Melancholy by Robert Burton:

If there be a hell upon earth, it is to be found in a melancholy man’s heart.”

All other diseases whatsoever, are but flea-bitings to melancholy in extent: tis the pith of them all.”

Thou canst not think worse of me than I do of myself.”

He that increaseth wisdom, increaseth sorrow.”

Now go and brag of thy present happiness, whosoever thou art, brag of thy temperature, of thy good parts, insult, triumph, and boast; thou seest in what a brittle state thou art, how soon thou mayst be dejected, how many several ways, by bad diet, bad air, a small loss, a little sorrow or discontent, an ague, &c.; how many sudden accidents may procure thy ruin, what a small tenure of happiness thou hast in this life, how weak and silly a creature thou art.“

Oct 02, 2019

The new season of Function is out, and the first episode is all about tech and mental health. Anil Dash was one of the people who reached out and literally saved my life when I was at my worst some years ago, so it’s heartening to hear him approach this important topic.

Sep 29, 2019

Love this passage on the back cover of this month’s Poetry Magazine.

Quote on back cover of Poetry Magazine that reads no one is possible until everyone is.

Sep 28, 2019

The To Play in the Face of Certain Defeat exhibit by Esmaa Mohamoud at Museum London is breathtaking.

Art piece from Esmaa Mohamoud’s To Play in the Face of Certain Defeat exhibit

Art piece from Esmaa Mohamoud’s To Play in the Face of Certain Defeat exhibit

Art piece from Esmaa Mohamoud’s To Play in the Face of Certain Defeat exhibit

Sep 28, 2019

panelists talking about micro-neighborliness at the Place Matters conference

The session I was most looking forward to at the Place Matters conference was the one on micro-neighborliness; it met and surpassed all my expectations.

(If you’re interested in micro-neighborliness and want a good introduction to the concept, I always point people to Steve MacDouell’s excellent summary.)

Huge thanks to James Chan for his excellent moderation, and for pulling together an inspiring panel.

Somewhat related: if micro-neighborliness is greatly influenced by urban design, we need to design our cities for serendipity. I’ve written a little bit about designing mobility for serendipity before, but there’s so much more to I’d love to learn about, write about, and talk about in his area.

Sep 16, 2019

Excited to announce Teaching Public Service in the Digital Age, something I’ve been working on with an global group of academics and public servants. If you’re interested in re-thinking how we teach our future public servants, sign up for updates or message us.

Sep 11, 2019

They should rename the Spotify Best of Broadway” list to the remember all the times you’ve erupted into tears sitting in a theater audience and nobody looked at you with judgment because they were crying too” playlist.

Sep 07, 2019

I’d listen to Robyn do an episode of Song Exploder for literally every song she had ever recorded. This one is so good.

Aug 31, 2019

When you can’t decide between peach sorbet and peach cobbler ice cream at Haven’s Creamery, you just order both and share them both with someone you love.

Two ice cream cones from Haven’s Creamery

Aug 25, 2019

I’ve seen many photos of it since it was revealed, but seeing the President Obama portrait by Kehinde Wiley in person, right up close, is a whole experience in itself. It is a staggeringly stunning portrait that immediately washes over you.

Aug 23, 2019

Last day of @macgenies photo challengegratitude: grateful to have the privilege to take a week off of my everyday life and see the world from a different perspective.

Views of mountains in the alps

Views of mountains in the alps

Aug 22, 2019

Day ten of @macgenies photo challengefriends: when I’m traveling, I often send postcards to friends around the world.

Postcards sent from Switzerland

Postcards sent from Switzerland

Postcards sent from Switzerland

Aug 21, 2019

Day nine of @macgenies photo challengepersistence: many people persisted and overcame their fear of heights to cross this peak-to-peak suspension bridge.

Suspension bridge at summit of Scex Rouge mountain

Suspension bridge at summit of Scex Rouge mountain

Aug 20, 2019

Day eight of @macgenies photo challengehappiness: I’m always happiest when I’m on the water.

Lake Lucerne with sailboat

Lake Lucerne from back of boat

Aug 19, 2019

My therapist recommended to me that I should track my daily water intake, so I threw together a tiny Shortcut to help me do that in the 90 seconds it took me to make it out to the parking lot from her office, so yes, I’m feeling pretty accomplished today. ☺️

Aug 19, 2019

Day seven of @macgenies photo challengerelief: after long days of walking in the mountains, we find relief in food and drink.

Bottle of Taittinger champagne

Fondue pot with pickles and potatoes on the side

Ice cream cone in the shape of a flower

Table covered in delicious snacks

Aug 18, 2019

Day six of @macgenies photo challengesupport: this gorgeous woman is my support for all things in life.

Lise sitting in front of the Château de Chillon

Aug 17, 2019

Day five of @macgenies photo challengedetermination: our hike through the mountains was tiring, but we stayed determined.

Two of us on the side of a mountain, ready to climb even higher

Aug 16, 2019

Day four of @macgenies photo challengefamily: traveling with friends so close to our heart that we treat each other like family.

Four of us smiling on a gondola ride in the mountains

Aug 15, 2019

Started @macgenies photo challenge a week late, but here’s my entry for day three—relaxation: recently spent evenings relaxing by floating idly in the lake.

Lake Sarnen from the shore

Aug 14, 2019

Started @macgenies photo challenge a week late, but here’s my entry for day two—movement: moving through the sky in a cable car.

Cable car lines at the peak of Scex Rouge

Cable car lines at the base of Mount Pilatus

Aug 13, 2019

Starting @macgenies photo challenge a week late, but here’s my entry for day one—patience: champagne and cheese both take years to age before enjoying.

Taittinger champagne caves

La Maison du Gruyère cheese aging cave

Aug 12, 2019

In my community growing up, every celebration was marked by the serving of sharbat—we even served it at our wedding—so I was delighted to listen to the recent Gastropod episode on the delicious beverage. Worth a listen if you’ve never tried it, or heard of it before.

Jul 26, 2019

PSA: In an effort to combat the heat and my Friday afternoon sleepiness, all emails and messages I will send for the rest of the day will be sent from inside the pool, with at least 60% of my body submerged underwater.

Jul 25, 2019

A friend on Twitter asked me for some tips about Detroit since I go there quite often, and I shared a few quick tips (to fit in three short tweets) on things I’d recommend for a person going to the Motor City for the first time.

This isn’t an exhaustive list and only reflects what immediately popped into my head at that time, but wanted to save them somewhere easier to find in case someone else asks again.

Mexicantown in Detroit is amazing. I love stopping at Taqueria el Rey for chicken and tacos after crossing the bridge.

Detroit-style pizza is iconic. I prefer to get mine at Cloverleaf.

The DIA is one of my favorite places in the world. The Rivera murals are breathtaking.

Heidelberg Project is unique and eye-opening. Eastern Market is a feast for the senses. Guardian Building is jaw-dropping.

The BELT (alley) has good public art and a really great public space vibe and has my favorite Detroit bar, Standby, in it.

Downtown has some great public spaces, including Campus Martius Square and down parts of Woodward Ave.

You can’t leave Detroit without eating a coney; Lafayette makes the best ones.

Fave restos include: Lady of the House, Grey Ghost, Mabel Grey, Voyager, Sister Pie, Al-Ameer.

Jul 21, 2019

In between all time spent playing with our cat and lounging in our pool to beat the 110° weather, this weekend’s adventures also included a trip to the lavender farm and a drag show starring the Queen of the North, Ms. Brooke Lynn Hytes.

Lavender growing in a field

Drag queen Brooke Lynn Hytes on stage

Cleo the cat sitting on the stairs

Jul 18, 2019

Spending my evening exploring this audio timeline of Billboard’s top five hits every week since 1958.

Yes, an audio timeline. It’s mesmerizing.

Jul 17, 2019

The Best Way to Tour a City Is Through Its Grocery Store:

The secret museum in every city is a grocery store. It’s where you can grab and squeeze and not-at-all-weirdly smell indigenous produce. The fishmonger runs an aquarium. The butcher is a zookeeper.

Jul 16, 2019

Really digging these Canadian dessert stamps recently issued by Canada Post. Who wouldn’t love a butter tart on their lettermail?

Envelopes with Canadian dessert stamps affixed to them

Jul 14, 2019

Sunday evenings are best spent having dinner and wine on the patio and then floating relaxedly and luxuriously in the pool until the sun goes down.

Plates of food and glass of wine on patio table

Feet on edge of swimming pool

Jul 13, 2019

In just a few minutes, my friend Alex and I are leaving to road-trip to Detroit to go see Carly Rae Jepsen at The Fillmore, so you know today is going to be a most excellent day.

Jul 09, 2019

The social ideology of the motorcar:

In the final analysis, the car wastes more time than it saves and creates more distance than it overcomes.

André Gorz wrote this in 1973 and it remains more true and more relevant than ever.

Jun 27, 2019

Was this strawberry sorbet from Haven’s Creamery the best strawberry sorbet I’ve ever had? Why yes friends, I think it was.

Waffle cone filled with strawberry sorbet

Jun 26, 2019

Strawberry season was quite late this year, but the berries are out now and ready for picking—and eating! We were able to get quite a nice haul from the farm down the road this morning.

Freshly picked local strawberries

Jun 24, 2019

Someone sent me the upcoming issue of Poetry magazine in the mail, and I have no idea who my mysterious benefactor may be.

Whoever did send this wonderful gift to me, thank you so very much! It is bringing me such delight.

Poetry Magazine

Jun 21, 2019

Highly recommend reading this phenomenal piece by Maciej Cegłowski on privacy, data, and regulation.

We are now twenty years into an uncontrolled social experiment, run by Silicon Valley, that has broken a great deal for the benefit of a few.

Jun 18, 2019

Excited to be on a train on my way to spend the morning talking about ethics in digital service design with the new cohort of Code for Canada fellows. Looking forward to some good, and potentially challenging, conversations.

Jun 17, 2019

Ark of Taste is a catalog of delicious and culturally significant foods in danger of extinction.”

I had never thought of extinction in terms of food before, but this catalog is a sobering reminder of the things we lose through the years.

Jun 16, 2019

Still basking in the glow of that Raptors win? Articles to keep the good vibes going:

Jun 14, 2019

Gotta love the people who clog up the Slack with why do people care about sportsball so much, my interests are much more refined” messages mere hours after the home team wins their first championship, because it reminds me of who I can completely ignore from now on.

Jun 12, 2019

Wearing pink shorts and a haphazardly-tied bowtie, so yes, I’m getting a few funny looks on the train this morning—and feeling pretty okay with that.

Jun 10, 2019

In commemoration of National Public Service Week, I say thanks to every single one of my colleagues in public service, no matter where they are, who work tirelessly to make life better for the people they serve.

Public service is a calling, and I’m so thankful for those who have answered that call.

Jun 10, 2019

There are few things as delightful as strolling aimlessly for a few hours through small neighborhoods in a city you don’t know as the sun rises up over the houses and parks around you.

Jun 08, 2019

Most of the time, when I’m on a plane, I’m either asleep or too busy reading or writing to look out the window. Today, I soaked in the bright blue skies at takeoff:

view from the window of an airplane

view from the window of an airplane

And then I basked in the pre-sunset skies at landing:

view from the window of an airplane

view from the window of an airplane

After observing all that majesty, everything felt right in the world.

Jun 04, 2019

Eid Mubarak, my friends. I hope your day is auspicious and filled with joy and love and delight.

Jun 03, 2019

That moment in Chernobyl when he says, we’re asking your permission to kill three men.” Ooof. That was something.

This is some of the best television I’ve seen in a long time. What a stunning, but emotionally gutting, show.

Jun 01, 2019

Picked up a gorgeous neighborhood map designed by Jelly Brothers at the Boho Bazaar last week. It’s rare to find beautifully-designed maps of our small hood in our small city, so I’m very glad to have found this one.

Map of Byron neighborhood

May 31, 2019

Last night was the ultimate television-watching evening:

I ended up just watching the basketball game (Go Raps!) and will have to catch up on the other two tonight.

May 30, 2019

After spending the past two weeks listening to Dedicated on repeat, I’m happy to state that, while it may not reach the transcendence of E•MO•TION, it is a incredible collection of infectious songs filled with immense joy and delight—and one of my favorite albums of the past few years.

May 29, 2019

More beauty and truth from bell hooks:

The practice of love offers no place of safety. We risk loss, hurt, pain. We risk being acted upon by forces outside our control.

May 29, 2019

bell hooks:

Many of us seek community solely to escape the fear of being alone. Knowing how to be solitary is central to the art of loving. When we can be alone, we can be with others without using them as a means of escape.

Poignant, resonant, important.

May 27, 2019

I’m very conscious of the sounds around me, and especially when I’m in high-stress environments, so the recent 99pi episode on sounds in hospitals was quite resonant.

(Somewhat related: I wrote a blog post about hospital beeping a few years ago.)

May 21, 2019

Wrapped up our museum tour of the city yesterday with a visit to the Camp exhibit at The Met. It was delightfully strange and full of joy; I highly recommend checking it out. Time to fly back home, now.

Snapshot from the Camp exhibit at The Met

Snapshot from the Camp exhibit at The Met

Snapshot from the Camp exhibit at The Met

May 20, 2019

I haven’t posted a Micro Monday recommendation in months, but today I’m excited to recommend @hollyhoneychurch, who notices the small fleeting beauty and delight in life, and writes with a gorgeous, poetic prose.

May 19, 2019

Got to check out the Whitney Biennial this morning, and as always, there are some really excellent pieces in the exhibition. The works by Alexandra Bell, Milano Chow, Brendan Fernandes, Nicholas Galanin, Christine Sun Kim, and Ragen Moss are particularly striking.

Art installation at the Whitney Biennial

Art installation at the Whitney Biennial

Art installation at the Whitney Biennial

May 19, 2019

Yesterday was a truly gorgeous day in Brooklyn, full of sunshine and heat and the sound of laughter and joy as people all congregated outside to enjoy the weather. It was a perfect day to get some ice cream from Ample Hills and enjoy it in the sun.

Two scoops of ice cream from Ample Hills Creamery

The menu at Ample Hills Creamery

May 15, 2019

Mira Jacob:

I never saw myself. I never saw any lives that looked like mine. And what happens, when you’re living in that world, […] is that you can not imagine your own interiority—because you get to think that your interiority is not something worth imagining.

May 10, 2019

Our magnolia tree, tulips, and daffodils are in full bloom. The front yard has exploded with color, and this brings me more joy than you can imagine.

May 06, 2019

My friend—and regular penpal—Tanja sent me a letter with this as the opening epigraph and I needed to share it here because it’s absolutely perfect.

Quotation by Susan Sontag, written in calligraphy by my friend Tanja

Quotation by Susan Sontag, written in calligraphy by my friend Tanja

May 01, 2019

The spring is on the verge of eruption: our crocuses are in full bloom, our tulips are on the precipice of blooming, and little buds are appearing on our magnolia tree. In a few weeks, our front yard will be an explosion of color, and this makes me so happy.

Apr 29, 2019

We froze a bunch of strawberries from the last time they were in season, so yesterday, we made jam. (Also, ate strawberry shortcake.)

Jars of jam

Apr 28, 2019

🔖 €œ”If the industrial revolution heralded a landscape where silence was eliminated, the peace of town and country punctuated by the clank of machinery, then the digital revolution has shifted that very noise into our heads as well.

Apr 27, 2019

Saturday morning spent listening to CRJ and writing letters to friends.

Envelopes with postage stamps

Apr 21, 2019

Today is Cleo’s third birthday, and we will celebrate by doing what we do every day: showering her with immense love and giving her treats. I never thought I could fall so smitten with this cat.

Cleo the cat

Cleo the cat

Apr 16, 2019

There are these incredible STEM Role Models posters from Nevertheless Podcast all over the walls of our office; seeing them, I’m reminded of how lucky I am to work in a place that cares so much about diversity, representation, inclusion, and equity.

STEM Role Models posters from Nevertheless Podcast

STEM Role Models posters from Nevertheless Podcast

STEM Role Models posters from Nevertheless Podcast

Apr 14, 2019

Sometimes, you read something so beautifully evocative, so poetic in its mastery of words, that your heart hurts because you’re swept away with delight—and because you wish you could ever write with such grace. This very short reflection by Angella d’Avignon is one of those pieces.

Apr 10, 2019

Astronomers have taken the first ever image of a black hole; it was photographed by a network of eight telescopes across the world. I feel so blessed to have been able to see this in my lifetime. Space is amazing—and science is even more incredible.

First ever image of a black hole

Apr 10, 2019

Ashley’s introduction to the recent Bello Collective newsletter is beautiful. A passage:

Recently, a passenger beside me pressed the play button on an episode of Nancy. I tapped him on the shoulder and held my phone up: I was listening to the same episode. We laughed and smiled, happy to find a fellow fan in our temporary purgatory.

Apr 08, 2019

An important passage by Kristin Neff for me to remember these days:

Instead of mercilessly judging and criticizing yourself for various inadequacies or shortcomings, self-compassion means you are kind and understanding when confronted with personal failings — after all, who ever said you were supposed to be perfect?

Apr 08, 2019

There is literally nothing on television that makes me laugh as much as Desus & Mero makes me laugh. I am in tears by the end of each episode.

Apr 07, 2019

I am completely smitten with Ian Fisher’s paintings of clouds:

Painting of clouds by Ian Fisher

Apr 06, 2019

There has been a lot of writing about the decline of criticism recently, but this piece on the need to cover books like television shows, and the decline of literary criticism into a parade of likes and recommendations, has made me really think about what it means to engage in criticism and what it means to the various art forms up for critique.

Apr 05, 2019

It’s rare that I read something that captures my mental state so accurately, but this idea of a comfortable coexistence with suicidality” is so spot-on that I’m surprised nobody has articulated it before.

Mar 29, 2019

Moja Coffee beans are my favorite kinds of coffee beans. Getting a shipment in the mail always makes my day.

Moja Coffee Beans

Mar 25, 2019

My friend Amy has hosted a podcast club (like a book club, but instead of reading the same book, you listen to the same podcast episodes) for the past two years. If you’re looking for a thematic approach to podcast-listening, her lists are an excellent place to start.

Mar 24, 2019

A beautiful, one-minute, animated video that is a wonderful jolt of perspective in the morning:

Mar 23, 2019

Austin Kleon avows that cheap wine tastes better in a juice glass. I agree, and go further to say that fancy juice tastes better in a wine glass.

Juice in a wine glass

Mar 22, 2019

Another resonant passage today:

For we are like olives: only when we are crushed do we yield what is best in us.

From Too Loud A Solitude, by Bohumil Hrabal.

Mar 22, 2019

A beautiful passage that is resonating with me today:

Clouds come floating into my life, no longer to carry rain or usher storm, but to add color to my sunset sky.

From Stray Birds, by Rabindranath Tagore.

Mar 20, 2019

This may be the most delightful sentence I’ve read all year:

If you listen closely, Ariana Grande’s hit single thank u, next” sounds like she’s saying, thank u, eggs.”

From: This year’s hottest cultural trend is eggs.

Mar 17, 2019

Celebrated Saint Patrick’s Day with beef stew, colcannon, soda bread, and a chocolate stout cake, and some Irish whiskey. That’s the most I’ve done to celebrate the holiday in years.

Soda bread

Chocolate stout cake

Mar 15, 2019

Here’s #MyMosque where we got married. It’s still a place where I find solace and strength. Praying for my community around the world, today and every day.

إنا لله وإنا إليه راجعون

Photo of Ismaili Centre in Toronto

Photo of Ismaili Centre in Toronto

Photo of Ismaili Centre in Toronto

Mar 12, 2019

Doritos Cool Ranch? Yes. I feel so seen.

Mar 11, 2019

I’m not sure why it took me so long to discover Switched on Pop, but I’m glad I have. Spent the past week binging and listening through the entire back catalog.

Mar 10, 2019

There are massive wild turkeys in our neighbor’s backyard, and I keep forgetting just how majestic and large those creatures are. Going to spend a few minutes staring out the window at them, transfixed by their splendor.

Wild turkeys in the backyard

Mar 08, 2019

For some reason, I always feel great after donating blood. Something about using my body to do something that can save someone’s life makes me realize just how lucky I am to have it and to be (relatively) healthy.

Mar 08, 2019

Two nights ago I couldn’t sleep and stayed up all night and was awake for over 36 hours and my body just shut down and last night I slept for twelve hours straight and I feel incredible this morning.

Mar 04, 2019

I can see the mountains through the window of my hotel room. This is important for me, as mountains not only inspire me, but remind me to look higher, think bigger, and be stronger. It is a delightful reminder to have as I wake up in the morning.

Mar 01, 2019

Spotify just sent me an email telling me about new music from Carly Rae Jepsen and Solange, two artists you love,” and I’m convinced no email has ever been more perfectly targeted.

Feb 20, 2019

We’re only 51 days in and 2019 has already won the status of worst year ever. And trust me, I’ve had some objectively really bad years before. This one takes the cake.

Feb 06, 2019

Taking a break from people, for a while. (Still writing blog posts, so you might see updates, but I won’t check the timeline.)

Take care of yourselves while I’m gone. Be kind to each other, check in on each other, and treat yourselves with the tenderness that you deserve.

Feb 05, 2019

City council spent a significant amount of time today debating the validity of putting fluoride in our water and if I wasn’t already convinced I live in the wrong city (I was) this definitely cemented it for me.

(And so continues my slow retreat from civic life…)

Feb 05, 2019

Jen Sookfong Lee is posting #JensHoroscopes for the Year of the Pig, and the one that she just shared for those of us who were born in the Year of the Dog resonates so strongly with me that I actually cried.

(Probably says a lot about my emotional state these days.)

Jan 29, 2019

I’m not usually one to complain about the weather, but this is just obscene—especially coming a day after we had over a foot of snow fall and pervasive snow squalls.

Screenshot of weather app showing obscenely cold temperatures

Jan 29, 2019

Time to start living up to my name Wu-Tang Clan name.

Screenshot of Wu-Tang Clan name generator saying my name is Creator Overzealous

Jan 27, 2019

Sad to miss RENT Live tonight, but will say that playing Collins in a regional theatre production of RENT was one of the highlights of my young life.

The show means a lot to so many of us; I’m glad a new generation is able to enjoy and share in Jonathan’s beautiful creation.

Jan 27, 2019

One of the things I’m proudest of since moving to London (ON) is playing a small role in bringing electoral reform to the city.

The results show that the experiment was a relative success.

Jan 26, 2019

I am the bird in this comic, and that person is the whole world so far this January.

Comic strip of bird dancing saying I’m doing my thing and person screaming back your thing is bad

Jan 22, 2019

This quote by Khoi on the complexity of healthcare is right on the mark:

Few of us would feel comfortable representing ourselves in courts of law without a lawyer, and yet we’re all expected to make our way through the complexity of healthcare entirely on our own.

Jan 20, 2019

Just when I thought the 8-10 inches of snow were making it hard to venture outside, now I’m greeted with this weather forecast for the next few days. My body is not cut out for this kind of cold.

Screenshot of weather app showing temperatures below negative twenty degrees in the next 24 hours

Jan 18, 2019

Adwoa Afful reminds us that Toronto must reckon with its past before planning for future:

For as long as Toronto has existed, Black migrants and residents have had to meet a level of accountability to their host city in ways that another kind of migrant—tech companies—have not.

Jan 17, 2019

We are not wise, and not very often kind.”

I wrote a short rumination inspired by Mary Oliver last month. I figured that today was a good time to revisit it, and all of Oliver’s work. Celebrate her life by remembering that joy is not made to be a crumb.”

Jan 17, 2019

Fascinating piece by Virginia Heffernan on the effect that screens are having on our eyes:

We measure our vision against the phone, all the while suspecting the phone itself is compromising our ability to see it.

Jan 15, 2019

I’ve lived with bipolar disorder and generalized anxiety disorder almost all of my life, and for the most part, I’ve been doing really well and thriving these past few years.

Last week, the anxiety starting getting out of hand; it has culminated in full-on panic attacks these past few days, to the point where I’m not sleeping and when I do fall asleep I wake up every hour or so in sheer panic, my body sweating and gasping for breath.

I have ways to combat this, and I am working hard to use the tools I have been given to ensure that I not only get through this, but emerge stronger and healthier, but for now, the world is too much, too overwhelming. I feel like everything is going to collapse on top of me.

I’ll be okay—I have support and have a history of being able to get through this—but for now, I appreciate your patience as I navigate my way through a crippling and crushing time that is making everything, the whole act of life, feel like too much. Thanks in advance for your patience and understanding.

Jan 06, 2019

Finally got around to putting up my Crispin Finn 2019 year planner (now, time to fill it!) so I am officially ready for this year to begin.

Envelope of Crispin Finn year planner

Crispin Finn year planner on wall

Jan 05, 2019

With all this talk about Marie Kondo’s new television show all over the web and in my Netflix recommendations, I thought I’d revisit my earlier blog post about the luxury and privilege of de-cluttering, the problem of tidying up.”

Jan 05, 2019

Thought my friends on micro.blog might find this comic amusing. 🤣

Comic by SMBC making fun of blogging

Jan 03, 2019

Sent out my first seven pieces of postal correspondence of 2019 this afternoon.

(Really smitten with the Olivetti Pattern cards; poured my heart out into them, too.)

Stack of envelopes with first responder stamps

Card with drawing of buffalo on it

Card with drawing of eggs on it

Two cards from the Olivetti Pattern Series

Two cards from the Olivetti Pattern Series

Jan 02, 2019

Bill Watterson published the final Calvin & Hobbes comic strip on December 31, 1995. I thought it was a fitting comic to share at the start of this year.

Final Calvin & Hobbes comic strip

Dec 31, 2018

Scaachi Koul, as always, captures the past twelve months perfectly: 2018 wore us all the hell out.

This feeling is bigger than burnout; it’s an almost cosmic kind of hopelessness.”

Dec 29, 2018

Drinking a Sea Star blanc de noir and watching the sky turn a gorgeous purple as the sun sets over the Strait of Georgia. Pender Island always treats us well.

Purple sky over the water at sunset

Cabin on Pender Island

Purple sky over the water at sunset

Dec 27, 2018

I believe in the intelligence of honey.

Dec 24, 2018

Have a joyous Christmas, my friends. Let your holidays be filled with laughter, loved ones, and light.

Snapshots from Enchant Christmas at Safeco Field

Snapshots from Enchant Christmas at Safeco Field

Snapshots from Enchant Christmas at Safeco Field

The Christmas tree where we are stacking up our gifts this year

Dec 24, 2018

In his recent post sharing his music mixes, @schuth also shared a reflective thought that I will thinking about for the next few days:

Not everything I think needs to be a public thought, and not everything I would wish to express needs to happen through words.

Dec 22, 2018

A few blog posts I’ve written over the past couple of weeks:

Dec 18, 2018

So proud to be a part of the CKX family. The wonderful team of Lee, Kelsey, and Alexander are doing important and incredible work, and I’m so glad to be able to come along on their journey.

You can learn more about CKXs work in the recent year-in-review letter.

Dec 17, 2018

Made some fused glass Christmas ornaments with the family kids, and then made some stained glass cookies with them too, just to continue on the theme. They aren’t perfect, but we had so much fun.

Christmas stained glass cookies

Making fused glass ornaments

Stained glass cookies

Fused glass ornaments

Dec 13, 2018

I heard a bird sing
In the dark of December.
A magical thing
And sweet to remember.

We are nearer to Spring
Than we were in September,”
I heard a bird sing
In the dark of December

Oliver Herford (via)

Dec 11, 2018

Just started watching The Little Drummer Girl and I’m already overwhelmed by just how stunningly gorgeous both Alexander Skarsgård and Florence Pugh are. Like, remarkably, overwhelmingly and frustratingly attractive—especially together.

Dec 09, 2018

Sure, they may be markers of consumerism and conspicuous consumption, but those department store Christmas window displays are delightful and full of wonder, sometimes.

Dec 06, 2018

Geneviève Bergeron
Hélène Colgan
Nathalie Croteau
Barbara Daigneault
Anne-Marie Edward
Maud Haviernick
Maryse Laganière
Maryse Leclair
Anne-Marie Lemay
Sonia Pelletier
Michèle Richard
Annie St-Arneault
Annie Turcotte
Barbara Klucznik-Widajewicz
#montrealmassacre #neverforget

Dec 05, 2018

This is one of the best, most poignant, most powerful, and most visceral pieces on living with mental illness I’ve ever read. (As someone who lives with bipolar disorder and generalized anxiety disorder, it was particularly resonant for me.) A must-read.

Dec 03, 2018

I believe that we all are predisposed towards kindness; some days we just need a little nudge to find our heart and the humanity that can be easy to forget.“

Dec 02, 2018

Celebrated L’s birthday this weekend with the help of Taqueria El Rey, Motown Museum, Batch Brewing, Detroit Foundation Hotel, Lady of the House, Standby, Apparatus Room, Heidelberg Project, Rei Dos Leitões, and friends and laughter.

Belt Alley

Taqueria El Rey

Detroit skyline

Carrot steak at Lady of the House

Heidelberg Project

Birthday card

Nov 30, 2018

Canceling all my weekend plans just so I can watch the thank u, next video on repeat.

Nov 30, 2018

Was going to skip my morning workout today because I’m feeling a little under the weather, but then I dragged my butt to the gym and they were playing a Carly Rae Jepsen playlist over the loudspeakers, so now I know this was exactly the right life decision.

Nov 29, 2018

A few things I’ve been reading today:

Nov 23, 2018

So many passages in Emergent Strategy will make me reflect for a long time, but here’s the one I’m sitting with today:

How often, how quickly can I become aware of the miraculous nature of the moment I am in, and adapt towards the pleasure available in that awareness?

Nov 16, 2018

As an intro to my weekend reading” post this week, I wrote about embracing vulnerability:

All we can do is to be who we are, and to embrace the options we choose for our own comfort, without judging others, and most importantly, without judging ourselves.

Nov 11, 2018

Everything that Atul Gawande writes is incisive and excellent, but this latest piece on why doctors hate their computers is among the best he’s written.

Medicine is a complex adaptive system: it is made up of many interconnected, multilayered parts, and it is meant to evolve with time and changing conditions. Software is not. It is complex, but it does not adapt. That is the heart of the problem for its users, us humans.”

I’ve been thinking a lot about digital health recently, and especially about how we design digital services for those whose job it is to serve others (this line of thought is, after all, a core part of my day job) and this piece encapsulates a lot of the issues that I’m exploring around the inherent Taylorism built into the design of our digital services.

Squeezing more patients into an hour is better than spending time entering data at a keyboard. More people are taken care of. But are they being taken care of well? As patients, we want the caring and the ingenuity of clinicians to be augmented by systems, not defeated by them. In an era of professional Taylorization—of the stay-in-your-lane ethos—that does not seem to be what we are getting.”

Why Doctors Hate Their Computers should be required reading for anyone in the world of digital health, digital government, and enterprise technology.

The volume of knowledge and capability increases faster than any individual can manage—and faster than our technologies can make manageable for us. We ultimately need systems that make the right care simpler for both patients and professionals, not more complicated. And they must do so in ways that strengthen our human connections, instead of weakening them.”

Nov 10, 2018

Loved all the current exhibits at the MoAD, but the I Told You Who Am I exhibit by Shushan Tesfuzigta was particularly poignant:

Halo Hafte is laughing at white people that think you are being divisive when all you tryna do is not be erased.”

Also really loved the Second Look, Twice exhibit:

Snapshot from Second Look Twice exhibit at MoAD

Snapshot from Second Look Twice exhibit at MoAD

Nov 06, 2018

I don’t have an official bucket list per se, but if I did, I’d be crossing have an incredible meal at The French Laundry off of that list tonight.

What a wonderful way to celebrate our wedding anniversary.

View of The French Laundry kitchen from outside

Folded napkin at The French Laundry

Lise in front of The French Laundry

Inside the kitchen at The French Laundry

Nov 03, 2018

Just going to go ahead and assume that everyone is spending their Saturday night doing the same thing that I’m doing: listening to Party For One and Thank U, Next on repeat.

Nov 01, 2018

Was lucky to chat with the people behind DotHealth about healthcare equity, privilege, and the importance of access to information.

Drawing of me in front of a stack of papers

Oct 31, 2018

Today, some people celebrate Halloween. Others celebrate Samhain. Others celebrate the coming of the Day of the Dead, or All-Saints’ and All-Souls Day.

Me? I’m celebrating mango emoji day. 🥭

Oct 31, 2018

There is nothing like starting the day writing your morning pages with a fresh new Panobook and an americano while a storm rages outside the window. Feels like a morning made for (reading, writing, relishing) poetry.

Oct 26, 2018

Earlier this week, my friend Honey tagged me in the #mylifeinblackandwhite challenge, where I shared one b&w photo of my day—a photo without people in it, or any explanation attached—on Twitter every evening. Now that I’m done, I wanted to share them all here.

Several dozen wine glasses in a row

A cup of tea in a floral cup

A house among the rolling hills

Light pouring through ornate windows

Cat sitting on cat tree looking pensive

Outside view of the London Roundhouse

Card that says you’re one of a kind

Oct 20, 2018

A very astute reflection on social media by Sherry Turkle:

We don’t measure up to the lives we tell others we are living, and we look at the self as though it were an other, and feel envious of it. We feel inauthentic, curiously envious of our own avatars.

Oct 20, 2018

A fascinating reflection on art and social justice by Wesley Morris:

Suddenly, the kinds of people who used to be subject to censorship are now the purveyors of a not-dissimilar silencing. Members of the old anti-censorship brigades now feel they have to censor themselves.

Oct 19, 2018

If you were previously a fan of The Heart, you’ll be pleased to know that Kaitlin Prest’s new series, The Shadows, is just as good and will make you think—and feel—very hard about your relationships.

(This interview with Kaitlin Prest is also a really good one.)

Oct 16, 2018

It’s the time of year when I want to spend all my time walking among the color-changing leaves.

Red maple leaf

Pile of leaves at feet

City sidewalk covered in yellow leaves

Red leaves on concrete

Red leaves on tree against the sky

Oct 14, 2018

We decided to take the back roads to wine country yesterday and were rewarded with a splendidness of autumn colors all around us.

The many wine tastings we had over the weekend were delightful, but my favorite experiences were when we were outside—apple-picking or taking short hikes through the forests and vineyards—surrounded by the signs of the changing seasons, enveloped by the sights, sounds, and redolent air of autumn.

What a lovely weekend escape it was.

Snapshots from Niagara weekend escape

If you’re curious, here’s a list of the wineries where we had tastings:

And of course, the incredible restaurants where we ate:

Snapshots from Niagara weekend escape Snapshots from Niagara weekend escape Snapshots from Niagara weekend escape Snapshots from Niagara weekend escape

Oct 09, 2018

We take pizza very seriously in our home, and are constantly trying fun new toppings to see what we enjoy most. Yesterday’s pizza dinner with friends had some highlights:

  • confit onion and potato with fresh herbs and parmesan
  • corned beef with sauerkraut and emmenthal
  • spicy salami with sautéed mushrooms and peppers

Of course, in my haste to eat them all, I neglected to take any photos, but the memory of them all is palpable. Thankful for leftovers, today.

Oct 05, 2018

Everything Heather Havrilesky writes is excellent, but this essay on gurus and artists is everything I needed to read, today.

Quote by Heather Havrilesky

Quote by Heather Havrilesky

Quote by Heather Havrilesky

Every sentence is worthy of a pullquote; go read the whole thing.

Sep 29, 2018

Tomorrow is Orange Shirt Day, and in advance of that, my colleague Alexandre Dirksen has shared a beautiful, and important, reflection on Orange Shirt Day, reconciliation, and the imperative of Canadians to acknowledge the injustices of the past.

Sep 25, 2018

Inspired by @eli, a quick look at my current home screen. Between the automation offered in Shortcuts, Drafts, Things, and Launch Center Pro, I can live the mostly empty home screen” life.

Current iPhone Home Screen

Sep 24, 2018

After reading this poignant and beautiful piece by Brené Brown, I’m starting to understand my current internal rumblings as signs of a midlife unraveling.

I’ll definitely be re-reading and reflecting more upon this in the weeks (years?) to come.

Quote by Brené Brown in the midlife unraveling Quote by Brené Brown in the midlife unraveling

Sep 23, 2018

Excited for a fun and action-packed week ahead, but if the rest of the week ends up being anything like today, I’m going to burn out by Monday. Already feel like collapsing from the pressure, struggling to stay afloat.

Time to take a break and take a walk in the sunshine.

Sep 21, 2018

For the past two years, and for the rest of my life now, September 21st will always be Demi Adejuyigbe day. (2016, 2017)

Sep 19, 2018

Last week, I attended an inclusion café for public servants in Ontario that was focused almost entirely on micro-inequalities and how, over time, the violence inflicted through those micro-inequalities leads to an immense trauma.

It was a conversation that rarely happens—not just in public service, but anywhere—and I was reminded of previous conversations about the violence of language that I’ve been having over the past few weeks.

It was heartening to hear these conversations. Kudos to Anima Leadership for bringing this to the inclusion café and to the public service.

Sep 18, 2018

After a bit of a hiatus, I’m back. Hesitantly.

I’m still carrying the conversations about the violence of language with me as I re-engage, but there is too much good here to permanently leave. By being a part of the community, I can work hard to make it even better.

Sep 09, 2018

The AirBnB where we are staying has a LEBO art piece on the mantle, and it’s a painting of the actual house where we are staying! Must be a custom commission. I’m completely enamored.


In addition to that amazing LEBO piece, this AirBnB definitely has one of the greatest collections of southern vernacular art I’ve ever seen. It’s like an art gallery in here, and I absolutely love it.

Southern Vernacular Art

Southern Vernacular Art

Southern Vernacular Art

Southern Vernacular Art

Sep 06, 2018

Today marks the first time in over a decade that my blood pressure is hovering around 120/80 and my resting heart rate is below 70bpm.

I may still look completely out of shape, but this is probably the healthiest my heart has been in my adult life. I’m proud of myself for doing the work to get here.

Sep 04, 2018

I am okay with disagreement; I am not okay with dismissiveness. When your response to someone with whom you do not agree is discourteous, dismissive, and insulting, then it is clear you do not wish to engage, but instead to denigrate.

If you prefer some echo chamber, though, have at it.”

This is a response that is not meant to engage in honest and curious conversation; it is a response intended to insult and dismiss the views of another. It is a response that says I have no respect for your thought or for your right to have it.” It is not meant to further discussion and debate, but instead to end it by denigrating a person’s character.

We like to tell ourselves that micro.blog is a great place because we are civil and we have good conversations and discussions, even when we disagree, but I have faced more dismissiveness and insult on micro.blog in the past year than I have at any time in that other micro” social network. This is not the civil community that we make it out to be, and by pretending that it is, we ignore when people feel actively excluded.

This is the reason I keep leaving micro.blog from time to time—to take a break from the negativity, especially since there are no ways to block discourteousness and insult to my character so I must be faced with it every time I log in—only to come back because I believe in the promise of the community.

It is the reason I am leaving again; it is the reason I probably won’t be coming back, this time.

Sep 04, 2018

Happy first day back at school to every student, no matter what their age, who is excited to learn so many new things in the weeks and months to come.

And a very special happy first day to all the teachers that guide us on our personal journeys of learning and exploration.

Sep 03, 2018

I may be slightly biased (as they are both my friends) but the most recent episode of Wonk With Mike—featuring an in-depth discussion with the amazing Kate Graham about mayors in Canada—is enthralling, timely, and full of things to learn and explore.

Sep 03, 2018

There are few things that bring me as much delight as the weddings of good friends. Yesterday, my friends Dana and Merlin got married in a beautiful ceremony in wine country, and I was so lucky to have been able to celebrate with them.

Prior to the ceremony, I also stopped in at one of my favourite wineries for a quick drink and bite; it was a perfect preamble for a lovely evening filled with friends, family, and love.

Dana and Merlin’s Wedding

Dana and Merlin’s Wedding

Wedding Card for Dana and Merlin’s Wedding

Wine and Cheese at Winery

Sep 03, 2018

Micro Monday again! This week, check out @cygnoir, who not only always has thoughtful insight she shares in community discussions, but also does great work as a public librarian.

Sep 01, 2018

Not going to lie: this is definitely the most exciting part of my long weekend.

French Laundry reservation email

Aug 30, 2018

As a kid, I often went to school with lunches that featured curried okra, pan-fried tilapia on rice, ugali na maharage, and barazi and mandazi.

It took me a long time to be proud of my food and heritage. This piece on the ethnic food we were embarrassed to eat is great.

Aug 29, 2018

I’m surprised it took so long to get to this point. My ability to pay for (and have access to) higher education at a particular school doesn’t correlate to my ability to excel at a job. Glad the industry is moving away from credentialism.

Aug 27, 2018

It’s Micro Monday! Today, I’d encourage you to chat with @kitt, who is not only an amazing conversationalist and adds so much to the m.b community, but also regularly finds beauty and joy in the world and shares it with us.

Aug 27, 2018

Signs my mother knows me very well: she went to Lisboa and brought me some conservas as a gift.

(She obviously knows of my affinity for tinned fish.)

Conservas from Lisboa

Conservas from Lisboa

Aug 26, 2018

There’s a particular satisfaction when a person who really knows and appreciates wine (including hanging out with a bunch of winemakers and sommeliers) comes to your home and not only gushes about the wine you chose to serve him, but also compliments your wine collection.

Aug 23, 2018

My wife sometimes gets small gifts from grateful patients. Yesterday, she came home with a watermelon a patient had grown in their garden.

I usually don’t like watermelon; this one, however, was flavorful, delicious. Maybe there’s a case to be made for gratitude-grown fruits.

Aug 20, 2018

Can’t stop singing and dancing along to the new Janet Jackson track. Everything Janet does is pure joy.

Aug 20, 2018

Back to Micro Monday, after a long time. This Monday, I recommend following @vega who adds so much to our community and recently shared an excellent rumination on diversity and the indieweb.

Aug 19, 2018

A weekend full of trips to the lavender farm, swimming on the beach, sushi lunches, spending time with friends, nicoise salads, swimming in the pool, shopping at the farmers’ market, bottles of rosé, and lots of laughter.

Weekend Snapshots

Weekend Snapshots

Weekend Snapshots

Weekend Snapshots

Weekend Snapshots

Aug 17, 2018

Last night, I watched The Rocky Horror Picture Show for the first time in my life. The songwriting was mediocre, the plot was nonsensical, but OMG WHAT A FUN EXPERIENCE.

It may not be completely my speed, but I now understand why it’s such a phenomenon. Such a fun night.

Aug 16, 2018

As someone that has over twenty years of writing on the web still around, I‘m very interested in what the archiving of our every thought means to us as individuals—and how it affects our ability to grow, learn, and change our minds online.

Aug 16, 2018

There is no one like, and will never be another, Aretha Franklin. Today, amidst my tears, I celebrate her life, the life of the Queen. #RestInPower

Check out my favorite recent performance of hers, and this lovely tribute playlist by Naima Cochrane, too.

Aug 15, 2018

This is poignantly beautiful:

Blood is a burden, love. It should be. It should be heavy, a weight you carry. All of us carry that unshakeable chain.”

Aug 14, 2018

A few months ago, I backed a crowdfunding campaign to create a cookbook made up of recipes from chefs here in London, Ontario. I didn’t know what to expect from the project; I just wanted to support the culinary community in the city.

Yesterday, I picked up the final product, and I am floored by its quality and the immense care that went into making this book. I can’t wait to dive into it.

Forest City Cookbook

Jun 24, 2018

Went to see Come From Away this evening and I was blown away. Beautiful writing, phenomenal music, incredible singing and acting, and striking stage direction—all complementing a heartfelt story of community, generosity, love, and strength.

Jun 22, 2018

Rebecca Solnit captures our political climate perfectly when she says that not caring’ is a political art form:

There’s a disinhibition in not caring, because the emotion of caring is inextricable from the act of caring for someone or something; the former compels the latter.

Jun 22, 2018

The video for Max Richter’s On the Nature of Daylight” (a stunning piece of instrumental music) features Elisabeth Moss falling apart as she walks through Toronto (the city is recognizable, yet foreign) and it is one of the most impacting music videos I’ve seen in a long time.

Jun 22, 2018

I’ve found it hard to describe just why I loved Coco so much, why it is my favorite movie I have watched in years. I keep telling people it is the perfect movie for the moment, for me in my life right now, and in the context of the world I live in.

In the future, when people ask why I adore Coco so much, I’ll just point them to this incredible reflection in The New Yorker:

This world is hard enough already: its technological conditions induce emotional alienation, and its economic ones narrow our attention to questions of individual survival. As it is, I haven’t assembled the ofrenda I ought to. I barely feel like I’m taking adequate care of the people I love right now, and I mean the ones I know personally. I feel certain that I’m failing the people I don’t know but that I love nonetheless—the people in our national community, and the people who are seeking to become a part of it.

Coco” is a movie about borders more than anything—the beauty in their porousness, the absolute pain produced when a border locks you away from your family. The conflict in the story comes from not being able to cross over; the resolution is that love pulls you through to the other side. The thesis of the movie is that families belong together.

On a side note: I wish all film writing was this poignant, this beautiful.

Jun 21, 2018

My wife had a bout of shingles last year and it was pretty horrible. I didn’t realize how debilitating it could be. The question is: why are so many young people getting it these days?

Chen points out that stress may also to play a role. Shingles can happen among healthy young adults with no other underlying diseases and who are otherwise athletic, and sometimes we think it might be stress-induced,” he says.

Stress can suppress immune function and trigger outbreaks of cold sores and other herpes virus–related symptoms. This is all speculation, but I think you could point to social media and modern culture and the emotional and physical and spiritual stress a lot of younger adults are feeling,” Chen says. I don’t think this is driving higher rates, but it could be a factor.”

Jun 21, 2018

As someone who works in public service renewal and digital talent, this explains a large part of what I work on, every single day:

Despite being more necessary than ever, digital literacy hasn’t permeated deeply into the folds of the government. As we’ve seen, public servants often lack the expertise to know how to critique and test technology, and return poorly designed or faulty technology for improvement. The solution isn’t teaching civil servants how to code but instead teaching what kinds of digital tools and products are usable, and what expectations they should have from a product so we can avoid failures like the IRS website. It’s not just a software problem but an understanding problem.

Jun 20, 2018

A well-argued piece on why today’s culture of masculinity is stifling, toxic, misogynistic, and bad for everyone:

It’s a societal loss that so many men grow up believing that showing aggression and stifling emotion are the ways to signal manhood. And it’s a personal loss to countless little boys who, at best, develop mechanisms for compartmentalizing certain aspects of who they are and, at worst, deny those aspects out of existence.

Jun 19, 2018

Sayaka Murata’s Love Letter to a Convenience Store is one of the strangest things I’ve ever read, but it’s oddly compelling.

Jun 19, 2018

In the New Yorker, an interesting reflection on bullshit” jobs. I tell myself my work is useful and valuable, but sometimes I wonder…

Politicians are so fixated on job creation, he thinks, that no one wonders which jobs are created, and whether they are necessary. Unnecessary employment may be one of the great legacies of recent public-private collaboration.

Jun 18, 2018

I’ve been noticing that many of the books on my to-read list looked vaguely similar. LitHub has discovered that there is, indeed, a book cover trend emerging, all tracing back to Lauren Groff.

Book cover trend

Jun 18, 2018

Absolutely love this list of 15 powerful women shaping how we eat in America today.

Jun 18, 2018

There are many reasons to love Brooklyn Nine-Nine, but the way it portrays Amy Santiago is a major one—unlike most other characters on television:

Pop culture has long reinforced the idea that intelligence and desirability can’t easily coexist in a female character. In a recent episode, Brooklyn Nine-Nine allows Amy to break down this dichotomy while recognizing its cultural pervasiveness.

Jun 15, 2018

Yesterday, the World Cup finals began. It is my favorite sporting tournament; it is the world’s favorite sporting event. Of all places, the New York Review of Books captures its history and spirit perfectly:

Ninety years ago, Jules Rimet welcomed commerce into international soccer to launch a competition wherein, he wrote, foundational violence is subsumed to discipline and the rules of the game.” Today, we’re living in times when rules-based approaches are being scorned and smashed—and even Rimet’s global institution has been shaken by the crass logic of cash and political exploitation by strongmen. But on the fields where World Cup teams play, and in the bars and living rooms and cafés where we get to watch, his vision persists.

Jun 15, 2018

There are many reasons to be scared of the effects of climate change, but the arrival of a global dust bowl and the health issues it will cause is definitely among the big, underreported concerns.

Jun 13, 2018

A few weeks ago, we made reservations to go to Grey Gardens tonight; in a timely coincidence, my favorite food writer wrote a fantastic review of the restaurant this morning.

The verdict? Wine was incredible (let the staff pick it for you) and the food was divine. 👌🏾👌🏾👌🏾

Jun 13, 2018

This post by Mike Monteiro on suicide is one of the most important things I’ve read on the topic in a little while:

When you hear that people struggle with depression” I want you to know that struggle is the most real word in that sentence. Every day can be a fight. And every morning that struggle starts again. Someone who has to wake up and fight 365 days a year isn’t selfish, they’re exhausted.

There’s so much in what Mike writes about here that I can relate to, strongly and poignantly.

Jun 12, 2018

An open, honest, beautiful, and important call-to-action from @patrickrhone: we need you. Well worth reading and re-reading.

Jun 11, 2018

How do we break our hardwiring and be kinder to ourselves?

We’ve evolved to give more weight to our flaws, mistakes and shortcomings than our successes.

I’m particularly bad at being kind to myself; it’s something I need to work on more consciously.

Sep 16, 2017

Reading: Every day, women across the country consider the risks. That is our day job and our night shift. We have a diploma in risk consideration.”

Sep 15, 2017

Reading: There’s an unfair burden placed on people who experience oppression and discrimination to rise above it, or turn the other cheek.”

Sep 15, 2017

As a huge fan of Jeopardy!, this look at how the Jeopardy! writers room comes up with all of those questions was enlightening.

Sep 13, 2017

This profile on Jemele Hill and the future of ESPN by Bryan Curtis is fantastic, and comes at the right time.

Sep 13, 2017

Reading: The truth hurts white people. Colin Kaepernick has hurt white people, and that is why it’s convenient to banish him, because he holds America’s worst nightmare: the mirror.”

Sep 11, 2017

Reading: I make things for the same reasons babies put things in their mouths: to better understand the world, to sooth ourselves, and learn what to say.”

Sep 07, 2017

Reading: Social mania may be ideal for mainlining breaking news, but it’s not great at providing meaning and context.”

Sep 05, 2017

Fascinating: Between 1990 and 2014, visits to public libraries grew by a whopping 181%. For context, the population of the US increased by 28% during that period.”

Sep 05, 2017

Reading: Fall is good and great, and it will come in time. But September’s summer days are wonderful: a kinder, gentler summer without the scorching heat waves.”

Sep 01, 2017

Reading: The reason why Hooters appeals to me so much is because by tailoring itself to heterosexual men, it has unwittingly created a space where female patrons can go to be invisible.”

Aug 31, 2017

Reading: How do you think big when you’re supposed to not get in the way, not overshadow or intimidate?”

Aug 30, 2017

We usually buy our strawberries by the crate from the farm down the street; I hadn’t realized just how much of a stranglehold Driscoll’s has on the berry market.

Aug 30, 2017

Oddly captivating: a moving line graphs the motion of everyday objects.

Aug 29, 2017

Reading: Premium mediocrity is creating an aura of exclusivity without actually excluding anyone.”

Aug 28, 2017

I’m not much of a kombucha drinker, but my wife really enjoys it, so I was glad to share this fascinating secret queer history of kombucha with her.

Aug 28, 2017

Reading: Cast iron balconies are at once bulky and intricate, their patterns tangled with flowers, leaves, and other motifs from nature. Wrought iron balconies tend to be simpler, but they make up in artistry what they lack in complexity.”

Aug 28, 2017

We ate very well this weekend (Hakka cuisine one night, schmaltz rice and Hainanese chicken another, and an octopus benedict for Sunday brunch) but the highlight was definitely this fresh burrata and poached Ontario peach dish. Still dreaming about it, today.

Peach dessert

Aug 24, 2017

As a self-identified pedestrian at my core, this article was enlightening. The more we embrace the romanticism of walking, the more we seem to look down on those who walk because they have to.”

Aug 24, 2017

Reading: Part of the problem is in the word like,’ that little heart we tap ten thousand times a day. I like lots of things, so many things, but I am not guided by what I like.”

Aug 22, 2017

Reading: You are trying to push on a mountain, and you may only be able to move it an inch — but — you’ve moved a mountain an inch.”

Aug 22, 2017

Reading: Growing up, I knew there would be food on the table, in the fridge, a delicious, seemingly inexhaustible supply. For me, the act of cooking was to be about self-sufficiency, adulthood—not a reanimation of childhood.”

Aug 22, 2017

Total eclipse of the sun, observed July 29, 1878, at Creston, Wyoming Territory. NYPL Digital Collections.

Total eclipse of the sun in 1878

Aug 16, 2017

If we talked about what happened in Charlottesville the same way we talk about events in a foreign country, here’s how Western media would cover it.

Aug 16, 2017

Reading: Instead of ruthlessly abusing each weekday as if it is some blunt utilitarian instrument, what if we leveraged everything we had to make each day stand for itself?”

Aug 14, 2017

Reading: The opioid epidemic could kill hundreds of thousands in the next decade. But America can beat it, with the right political will.”

Aug 10, 2017

The story of the Duck Tales theme, history’s catchiest single minute of music. And now you’ll have that song stuck in your head for the rest of the day.

Aug 07, 2017

Reading: The worst thing as an urban dweller is to be stuck with the auto as your only option.”

Aug 07, 2017

Reading: Men are trash; we need to listen to women when they flame us w/ the truth about ourselves. It’s only when shitty behaviors are confronted that true behavioral change begins to takes place.”

Aug 04, 2017

This evening, L and I decided to embrace our inner teenagers: we went bowling, ate fast food, watched a blockbuster movie in the theatres, and went glow-in-the-dark mini-golfing. An evening full of delight, laughter, and so much fun.

Aug 04, 2017

Wait: thousands of bags of Doritos washed ashore a decade ago and nobody called me when it happened? I thought you were all my friends…

Aug 04, 2017

Reading: We are ancestors. We are descendants. And while we can’t fix the problems of the past in the present, we can make sure that we break the patterns that formed those problems.”

Aug 04, 2017

July was a dry month; our lawn, like those of our neighbors, was tinged with beige no matter how much we watered the grass. Last night, the rain came, torrential, unrelenting, loud, almost frightening. I stared out the window and rejoiced at the majesty of the downpour.

Aug 03, 2017

Reading: Nostalgia, which fuels our resentment toward change, is a natural human impulse.”

Jul 31, 2017

Reading: By keeping your book in one location each time, you free yourself from the distractions of a commute or the pounding waves of a beach. As a result, a strange new relationship forms, between you, the voice of the book, and the room.”

Jul 31, 2017

You’ll find the West Loop near the edge of Springbank Park. It’s a modest walking trail of about 2.5km, from the parking lot, down to the river, then back up past the playground. L and I do this loop often in the evenings: an after-dinner stroll to settle our bellies and spirits.

Jul 30, 2017

Reading: For us to be fully effective as a humans, entertainment is a critical outlet, because otherwise we might just be ruminating on all the problems in the world, sending our minds into downward spirals.”

Jul 29, 2017

Reading: Pain is an inextricable thread in the fabric of life, and to tear it out is not only impossible, but destructive: attempting to tear it out unravels everything else with it.”

Jul 27, 2017

Sitting on the train, next to a family (a couple and their three kids) who are taking the train to the big city for the first time. The look on the faces of the children is delightful, equally full of curiousness, intrigue, excitement, and anticipation. A lovely morning commute.

Jul 26, 2017

Reading: Speaking up costs us friends, jobs, credibility and invisible opportunities we’ll never even know enough about to regret.”

Jul 25, 2017

There are few things that make me as happy as a perfect breakfast sandwich. This look at 17 breakfast sandwiches from around the world makes me salivate.

Jul 24, 2017

My wife delivered a talk about HIV PrEP at a Pride Week special education session this evening; I was so proud to see her up there, making a difference in the lives of so many people in our city.

Jul 24, 2017

Reading: Canadians haven’t been conditioned to see history in epic, revolutionary terms. For them, it’s more transactional: You pay your taxes, you get your government.”

Jul 22, 2017

Reading: The primary experience of the adult human being continues to be rumination, with real life happening in the background.”

Jul 22, 2017

Reading: Life can disappear on us just like a cup of coffee consumed on autopilot.”

Jul 20, 2017

Today I watched The Big Sick’ and it hit pretty close to home: from an immigrant Muslim family but I’m mostly non-practicing, married a white (non-Muslim) woman, didn’t follow my parents’ expected career aspirations, etc. I’m not used to seeing myself represented well on screen.

Jul 20, 2017

Reading: You can try to create around you a little bit of space that is all your own, a place where the rules of interaction you’ve chosen make sense and your actions have integrity.”

Jul 17, 2017

Jon Bois’ 17776” bills itself as episodic fiction about the future of football, but it’s really a rumination on meaning, loss, purpose, and time. It’s beautiful and poignant and fascinating and you should read it.

Jul 12, 2017

Reading: Technological breakthroughs that make clean energy cheaper than fossil fuels would also make it easier to develop the political will for rapid action.”

Jul 10, 2017

My backyard is filled with fireflies, their lights flickering on and off melodically—a type of luminescent symphony. I sit at the window, mesmerized.

Jul 08, 2017

Things I learned this morning: don’t try to set up a new Sonos speaker while drinking coffee or the cat will freak out and run across the coffee table and knock over your favorite Le Creuset mug, breaking it into pieces and spilling your coffee.

Jul 07, 2017

Heartbreak is Pedestrian, Even Though It Feels Profound

Jul 06, 2017

In a soulmate we find not company, but a completed solitude.” -Robert Brault

Jul 05, 2017

Love this: Letters and Liquor is an illustrated history (with stunning hand-lettering) of the most important drinks in the cocktail canon.

Jul 04, 2017

Reading: I find myself constantly reminding people that thinking is an activity too. Yet how much time do you really make for it?”

Jul 03, 2017

A family member on my wife’s side breeds, raises, and trains falcons. This afternoon, we spent some time on their farm admiring the beautiful birds and learning more about them. They really are majestic, smart, gorgeous creatures.


Jul 02, 2017

Reading: Procurement challenges show the need for continued focus on bringing more technical talent into government service.”

Jun 30, 2017

We used wavway to create an all-Canadian playlist for our drive from Toronto to London this evening and were thoroughly impressed. Great way to discover more Canadian music.

Jun 29, 2017

There a few senstations that will linger: the feel of cobblestone beneath my feet, the smell of grilled sardines, the cacaphony of a tram careening through winding streets, the taste of salt on lips after swimming in the sea, the sight of stacked rooftops from our windows. 🇵🇹

Jun 28, 2017

Off to the airport after a wonderful vacation. The last day of a trip is always bittersweet: sadness to be leaving an exciting séjour, ending an adventure, but happiness that comes from the nostalgia for home, the yearning for routine, normalcy, and comfort of the every day. 🇵🇹

Jun 28, 2017

I rarely enjoy driving at home, on roads that I know and in a car that I own, so it was no surprise that I found driving this tiny electric car around the narrow, steep, crowded, foreign roads of Sintra one of the most stressful parts of the trip.

Still, Sintra is as beautiful as you imagine: a real-life fairytale world. 🇵🇹


Jun 26, 2017

I wrote a short musing on São Bento station and my love of beautiful, art-filled train stations. 🇵🇹

Sao Bento

Jun 26, 2017

Reading: In an age of increasing privatization, there’s a case to be made for putting effort into the design of democratic spaces. It reminds us that creativity can have a place in the daily rush of urban life.”

Jun 25, 2017

In the midst of snorkeling, admiring seahorses all around us, we realized that the anchor had slipped; our boat had drifted away to shore. We were rescued from our lost at sea” moment by a passing fisherman—it was a frightening-at-first, but ultimately memorable adventure. 🇵🇹

Jun 23, 2017

We are in a small, sleepy fishing village, just outside a small, less-sleepy town in the Algarve. There are few, if any, tourists; we intend to live as locals, as much as we can, for the next few days. 🇵🇹

Jun 21, 2017

A glass of sangria and a piece of pie and the sound of fadistas singing the melancholic songs of fado throughout the room. A night of beauty, music, and saudade. 🇵🇹

Jun 21, 2017

Still keep coming back to this majestic piece of street art. 🇵🇹

Porto Street Art

Jun 20, 2017

Today, we sat where the river meets the ocean, where the fishing boats come in to drop off the day’s fresh catch, where the gardens curve as if all roads lead to the water, where the rushing tributary surrenders to the vast, yet calm, expanse of the unknown of the sea ahead. 🇵🇹

Jun 19, 2017

A day spent exploring historic architecture, tasting port, eating excellent meals, and enjoying the sights and sounds on both sides of the Douro river. 🇵🇹

Douro River

Jun 19, 2017

The city is quiet at sunrise; not a single car passes me as I stroll along the cobblestone streets. I wave hello to the half-dozen people milling about, most heading to the train station on their way to work. The sounds of birds singing echo through the narrow laneways. 🇵🇹

Jun 18, 2017

Even after a delectable dinner at Belcanto last night (the inventiveness blew me away) we could not say no to a poolside breakfast. With full bellies, we now head north on the train. 🇵🇹

Jun 17, 2017

Checked into the hotel—one of the nicest we’ve ever stayed at—and immediately went for lunch at a rooftop bar with a gorgeous view of the old city. An auspicious beginning, despite the 113° weather, to our little escape. 🇵🇹

Look over Alfama

Jun 16, 2017

At the airport, waiting for our flight to start boarding. Late nights at the airport are interesting: the hubbub is softer, the activity is slower. Everyone is ready to sleep, but holding out for a few more minutes to get on the plane before they take their slumber. 🇵🇹

Jun 15, 2017

Reading: To be alone, after all, is to admit to that rare quality: a contentment with one’s self.”

Jun 15, 2017

Leigh Ann Lunsford: My grandmother once told me, Relationships are work, honey, and they aren’t 50/50. Some days when I get up, I only feel like giving 10% — then your granddaddy has to give 90% that day. But there is always 100% love.”

Jun 14, 2017

Reading: The priorities are not to make cities smart, or even wise. The first priority has to be making our cities just.”

Jun 13, 2017

Reading: In the current era of sports, the best players achieved superstardom in the same way as any other generation, but now they are staying there for longer than ever before, becoming legends and being the best in the game at the same time.”

Jun 13, 2017

I’ve eaten many excellent, incredible, extraordinary meals, but there have been very few meals (Alinea, Cal Pep, The Ledbury) that I can truly call transcendental. Last night, at Backhouse, I had one of those—definitely worth a visit if you’re in the Niagara-on-the-Lake area.

Jun 10, 2017

Reading: The Internet has centralized into a very few hands. We have an extremely lucrative apparatus of social control, and it’s being run by chuckleheads. The American government is also being run by chuckleheads.”

Jun 04, 2017

I loved Wonder Woman for many reasons, but what really resonated with me was to see a character that shares my name (Sameer) and who had the same skin color and mannerisms as I do, on the big screen, and not as an object of simply ridicule. Brava, and thank you, Patty Jenkins.

Jun 01, 2017

My love gets discharged from the hospital tomorrow. This has been a long, tiring, often-heartbreaking two weeks; it is never easy to see the people you love be unwell, and even harder when you are helpless to do anything to make it better.

May 14, 2017

Reading: For all its magnificent intricacy and beauty, the show he produced is a work of creative non-fiction, not public-interest journalism. The difference matters.”

May 09, 2017

Even in a city as big as Toronto, in an airport as busy as YYZ, you’re bound to run into people you know at the Starbucks in the middle of the terminal. It is, after all, the watering hole” of the airport desert: a place of sustenance, but mostly a place of congregation.

May 06, 2017

Reading: This is the work of writing and editing for social change. Every word matters, and yet there is no perfect word, only imperfect alternatives.”

May 04, 2017

Still can’t fathom how someone could willingly take away access to healthcare from anyone — if anything, we should be going over-and-above to ensure the health of the people around us, because it makes us stronger as a society.

May 03, 2017

If you take the VIA Rail train to Toronto in the morning, you undoubtedly end up ordering the coffee. Even if you come armed with your own cup, you inevitably end up asking for the VIA Rail brew when the cart pushes by…

May 01, 2017

Reading: To be on is to be alive, energetic, aflame, to display one’s best self. Similarly, on is language’€™s best self, demonstrating how much can be done with so little.”

Apr 29, 2017

Something new, something strange, something exciting, something confusing. Something to try, something to learn, something to explore, something to enjoy. Let’s get this something started.