Why I stopped saying something is easy or something is hard

Recently, I decided to monitor how I talk about learning some subject or topic, because of observing both of myself and other people what our reactions can be if I say that something is “easy” or something is “hard”. I’ve come to the conclusion that there are serious drawbacks to saying that something is “easy” or “hard”, and an entirely different vocabulary should be used in helping a learner. I haven’t figured out exactly what that vocabulary is, but I’ve seen too many times some really disastrous results from overusing labels such as “easy” or “hard”.

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Thoughts on giving up an old project to make room for the new

Today I made a difficult decision to give up doing something that I have enjoyed for well over a year now: writing a weekly chess column at The Chess Improver. Writing It’s been a major commitment coming up with something to write about every week for such a long time. There have been times when I was overflowing with ideas; there have been times when I struggled to come up with something to write about that I could stand behind. Read On →

Thoughts on Cuba while watching Cuban musicians performing the 1947 bolero "La gloria eres tú"

I didn’t expect to be thinking so much about Cuba today. It all started with a random musical itch I was scratching.

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Why we decided to compile our own family cookbook

Cooking has been a significant part of my life since 1999 when, shortly before reaching age 30, my bachelor self decided to completely change his unhealthy diet and lifestyle, and that meant finally getting down and dirty with seriously cooking for myself.

After getting married to Abby ten years later, cooking responsibilities have rotated between us based on the situation; there have been long stretches of time during which I did all the cooking every day, and there have been long periods during which she did all the cooking. Currently, we roughly split the cooking between us.

Why compile our own cookbook?

I’ve occasionally posted on this blog a recipe and/or photos of some food I’ve cooked, but for the most part, cooking is just a mundane everyday activity that I don’t keep track of, since the task of cooking is primarily utilitarian for us, not innovative or artistic. We simply need to eat every day, and prefer not to eat out often, for various reasons.

Recently I decided that we should start compiling our own family cookbook, noting details of what we prepare and how, in order to better replicate good results and improve on bad results, and make planning and impromptu cooking more efficient. Without our own cookbook, we have to rely on our faulty memories, and things sometimes don’t come out right (especially where the oven is concerned).

Below is an example of the kind of cooking we do. This is not a cooking blog, so I don’t expect to write much or often about our cooking, but I just felt like it tonight.

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Report on my final day of Stoic Week 2014: the view from above

It’s the seventh and final day of Stoic Week 2014! I am very glad I participated in the daily readings and reflections. I’ve made so many positive changes in my life already. Now it’s time to stick to them.

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Report on my sixth day of Stoic Week 2014: preparing for adversity

I guess death is the ultimate adversity.

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Report on my fifth day of Stoic Week 2014: action and the reserve clause

I had some setbacks today, the fifth day of Stoic Week, but dealt with them.

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Report on my fourth day of Stoic Week 2014: virtue and relationships with others

Today was Thanksgiving in the US, a surprisingly appropriate day to be in the middle of observing Stoic Week.

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Report on my third day of Stoic Week 2014: self-discipline and Stoic simplicity

There is a reason I’m a little late in reporting on my third day of Stoic Week 2014: the theme, self-discipline and simplicity, had me cut short my intended plan of writing and publishing my thoughts at the end of each day.

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Report on my second day of Stoic Week 2014: mindfulness

Yesterday, I reported on my first day of Stoic Week 2014. Today, the second day’s theme was “Stoic mindfulness”. This is similar to the Buddhist teaching on mindfulness, and is basically a sound psychological observation that “You are just an impression and not at all the thing you claim to represent”: our thoughts and feelings are one thing but what we do about them is another.

I found it particularly useful to remember this today, because Tuesdays present an interesting challenge for me.

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