Excellent way to make a simple bandana DIY mask without cutting or sewing

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While I have nothing against the classic cowboy robber bandana mask, this technique, while it does require two hair rubber bands, is genius.

How to Fold a No-Sew Bandana Face Mask(Make:) Read the rest

Oculus product design manager makes a facemask with LED display

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Chelsea Klukas is a product design manager at Oculus and she made this cool facemask with a color LED display.

Here’s a tutorial!

Read the rest

Sourdough pizza recipes and technique

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A friend just asked for help with sourdough pizza crust. Here are a few prior posts on sourdough pizza:

Sourdough pizza crust doesn’t take much work

This post is a super simple thin crust pizza.

Honey whole wheat sourdough pizza dough

This one makes a deep dish whole wheat. I would now add a bit more honey than the post recommends.

My old Lodge chicken roasting pan bakes sourdough loaves, pizza and fries chicken

Cast iron and pizza. If you don’t have a pizza oven or a stone, this is THE WAY. Read the rest

Rysa Walker’s ‘Now, Then, and Everywhen’ kicks off her ‘Chronos Origins’ series

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If you enjoyed Rysa Walker’s Chronos Files, you’ll love Now, Then and Everywhen.

Walker digs into deep into the backstory of her fantastic time travel series, expands greatly on the world-building and time-physics, and adds a few great characters. She also colors in the backstory that fueled the original series.

I really enjoyed Walker’s YA time travel series the Chronos Files. Tough women correct the wrongs of a pretty crappy mean old man attempting to create his own Time Cult. A bit Scooby-Doo, but with excellent world-building and characters I both cared about and remember years later, this entire series is worth a binge-read.

The new book shares a lot about the birth of time travel in Walker’s world, and how it works, with a fantastic adventure introducing new, wonderful characters. This isn’t just more of the Chronos Files, the stories get better and better.

Now, Then, and Everywhen (Chronos Origins Book 1) via Amazon Read the rest

Stream this powerful theatre production about class and motherhood right now

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Theatre companies have been hit particularly hard by the coronavirus quarantine. While the communal accessibility of theatre is a large part of the artform’s pedigree and appeal, professional productions are often tight for money, even in the best of times. With limited runs, and plenty of hands-on-deck required on a nightly basis, many professional theatres in America rely heavily on donations — and right now, those are drying up, too.

My wife, Bevin O’Gara, is the Producing Artistic Director for a small professional theatre, and has spent these last few weeks trying to figure out ways to salvage the company. Plenty of supposedly-helpful people call her every day and say “Why don’t you just share the videos from the plays?”, not realizing how that actually gets into complications regarding intellectual property rights and union policies. (Consider: actors, directors, and designers have already signed contracts promising them a certain amount of money for a certain thing; playwrights often license out their work based on a pre-determined number of performances. So who gets how much of a cut from streaming rights? Who gets to decide which performance was the best, and thus worthy of the stream? Plays don’t always read as well on video, either — actors do different work on stage than on screen, and some might be concerned about their performances being captured and shared forever.)

My wife recently directed a production of Cry It Out by Molly Smith-Meltzer, a new play about motherhood and class issues that’s been well-reviewed all across the country. Read the rest

Resources for free e-books and entertainment stuffs

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Here are two lists of e-books being made freely available on-line. Please add more in the comments!

PublicBooks.org’s Public Books Database

This is a list of academic presses making their books and research freely available.

Jim C. Hines’ list of Free and Legal Science Fiction and Fantasy

Hines has collected a list of authors providing their work online for free.

Naturally, your public library is a great resource and the Libby app is my best friend for e-books. We will also find that the public library gives incredible access to movies, music, and periodicals via the series of tubes we all know and love. Read the rest

Are you under or over 30? Find out with this pop culture trivia quiz!

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I fell for the BuzzFeed bait – “Sorry, but you won’t be able to pass this quiz if you’re over 30” – and took the quiz with a fair amount of confidence. And they got me – I failed miserably. I only got a couple of questions correct, including the free pass about a magazine that goes back to the 1970s (mistake on their part).

What about you? Are you over or under 30? Take the quiz and find out!

And don’t look at this YouTube video until after the quiz – they might consider it cheating. Read the rest

A featherless nestling fell out of its nest and onto our doorstep, here’s what we did

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On Tuesday (or was it Wednesday? Yes, it was Wednesday), I noticed something on my front door steps. It was something small and freaky looking. It soon registered that it was a nestling, a featherless baby bird who had fallen from its nest in the curved Spanish tiles above the steps. Its eyes weren’t even opened yet.

It wasn’t the first time there had been an accident on those steps. Last year, an egg dropped from the same tiles. A half-formed, but beaked, baby bird remained, surrounded by broken eggshell. Dead, of course. The year before, just broken eggshells and yolk. No actual bird. You’d think the birds would learn not to build a nest in our terracotta roof slide.

I called out to my 15-year-old daughter, SJ, to help me think the situation out. Is it dead? (“I don’t know!”) Oh my gawd, it’s moving. Did she think it had broken its neck too? (“Maybe…?!”) Should we bury it? (“MOM! It’s still ALIVE!”) But, I don’t want it to SUFFER! (“Mom, no.”) Yes, it was alive. Struggling, but alive. It was difficult to determine if there were injuries but, as its beak opened and its legs squirmed, burying it no longer was an option.

Panic set in. We couldn’t just leave the little guy there. This tiny creature suddenly seemed much bigger as I realized that I’d have to deal with it. I’d have to be the one who has to do something with its fleshy three-inch-long body. I grew up in a rural area and saw a fair amount of wildlife mishaps in my childhood but I was never the one charged with “cleanup.”  Read the rest

Curt Smith from Tears for Fears plays “Mad World” with his daughter Diva

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There are few songs that can lay me out quicker than Tears for Fears’ 1982 hit, “Mad World.” Like many, I will forever associate it with the cult classic film, Donnie Darko, and Michael Andrews and Gary Jules’ achingly sad cover for that soundtrack.

In this video, recorded at home, Tears for Fears’ Curt Smith performs the song with his young daughter, Diva. As if the line “Children waiting for the day they feel good” wasn’t devastating enough already.

Image: YouTube Read the rest

Galaxy Chromebook reviews

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Samsung’s Galaxy Chromebook is unusually fancy and handsome for a platform usually associated with cheap, low-end machines, at least outside of Google’s own flag-carrier devices. How does it stack up?

The Verge says its no good because despite the pretty case, high-end hardware and 4k screen, it’s unreliable and has poor battery life. Engadget thinks it’s likeable enough, but also complains of the poor power management. Wired, however, gives it 8/10, describing it as “everything you could ever want in a laptop based on the Chrome browser.”

This is unquestionably a nice laptop. You are paying for what you get though. At $999 the Galaxy Chromebook is an expensive piece of kit, and one that’s never going to run, for instance, Adobe Photoshop, videogames like Overwatch, or other popular desktop applications.

If that’s not a requirement for you, there’s much here to love. An example of the refinement and integration in this laptop is when you press in on the spring-release pen to pull it out; the Galaxy Chromebook will automatically open Google Keep, and be ready for your handwritten notes or sketches (which are easier to make when you take advantage of the 360-degree convertible design). It’s a small thing, but a lot of these great, small things are what add up to make this the smoothest, nicest ChromeOS experience I’ve ever had.

I can’t imagine using something this fancy without wiping out the toy OS and installing Ubuntu Linux instead.

One thing that struck me is that The Verge‘s full-column warning (partially embedded below) about the clickwrap contracts the user must agree to just to start the machine. Read the rest

Your barista may be at home, but that doesn’t mean your coffee game should suffer

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Gather round, young and old — and hear tales of bygone days. Back in olden times, citizens would mass at a house of coffee, wherein skilled java alchemists would concoct special blends and apply artisanal wizardry to make each steaming chalice an appointment for the taste buds.

Granted, said wizards, once known as baristas, were ungifted in the art of immaculate spelling —but their inspired, almost supernatural ways of the bean were legend.

People are sequestered in their homes now, but the myth of the fabled barista lives on. Assembled below, find assorted relics of the dark art of brewing, each dedicated to keeping the time-honored practice of drinkable beans alive for future generations. Spread the word of this epic saga and own such artifacts in your own home.

Gourmia Coffee Makers

Headquartered in Brooklyn, New York, upstart small appliance maker Gourmia has spent the past few years establishing itself as a name player in the boutique coffee making field and now have an array of makers available for all shades of coffee-loving activity.

For the basic set-it-and-forget-it crowd, the Gourmia GCM2865 12-Cup Programmable Coffee Maker ($49.99; originally $59.99) is equipped with a programmable timer to have up to 12 cups of steaming hot coffee ready the minute you get up each morning. And the Gourmia GCM3600 Single Serve Coffee and Tea Maker ($59.99; originally $119.99) easily brews either coffee or tea at the push of a button as well as serving up single-serve k cups as well.

If your tastes run toward the more pure, 12-hour slow soak of cold brew coffee, the Gourmia GCM6850 Digital Accelerated Cold Brew Coffee Maker ($59.99; Read the rest

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