As the colder weather rolls in and we get closer to the close of another year, I always get a bit more introspective (as if I wasn't stuck in my own head enough already). What was accomplished this year? What have I learned? What were some of the most memorable and meaningful moments? With this introspective state of mind I found myself drifting to philosophical discussions around work, life and purpose. Don't worry, I also found some entertaining reflections on work, life and popular culture this month. Let me know if there is anything you think I should know about in the comments!

READ / FOCUS

Umair Haque - How to Escape The Age Of Mediocrity

Umair Haque is really my favorite curmudgeon. I love the way he challenges how we live our lives and challenges what is pleasant. While I never want to be the guy at dinner who espouses that "identity is not a purpose" Haque's view on the world is great for inspiring you to do more meaningful work and challenge the status quo. 

Zeynep Tufekci - Hollaback and Why Everyone Needs Better Research Methods And Why All Data Needs Theory

Research methods was my favorite subject in college. Whenever I tell people that, they look at me with a blank stare and wonder what's wrong with me. This piece from Zeynep highlights just why research methods is so important and so powerful. As we get inundated with  more and more data driven arguments,  knowledge around how that data was collected, analyzed and presented is key for being an articulate consumer of information in today's world. A cursory and working knowledge of research methods allows us to be skeptics in a world where there is always an angle, always bias, and always subjectivity.  

Danah Boyd - San Francisco’s (In)Visible Class War

When I traveled to San Francisco for a work training last year I was particularly struck by the visible class divide in all the neighborhoods that I  walked through. While there has been plenty written on inequality and the homeless population in San Francisco, I thought this story is a powerful example of what happens when you have actual conversations with people. 

Christian Rudder - DataClysm: Who We Are (When We Think No One is Looking)

I had so much fun reading this book. What is so incredible about Rudder's approach is how it makes you think about implicit versus explicit expressions of feelings and values. So much of the gold in Rudder's OkCupid data is the juxtaposition between what people say and what they actually do.  It's really powerful stuff.  He also has an approachable writing style, clear data visualizations, and tackles some tricky questions. Highly recommended.

Becky Lang - MY ULTIMATE, SOMEWHAT LATE, TRACK-BY-TRACK REVIEW OF TAYLOR SWIFT’S “1989”

I mean. This is just fun. 

 

WATCH

Alpha House

Alpha house is back for a second season and it's just as good or even better than the first. Gary Trudeau (Doonsberry) captures what it might be like for 5 Republican senators to share a house in D.C. I found it pretty nuts that this is a fairly common living situation among senators. As much as we all are frustrated with the senate and fed up with the influence of money in politics, it sure is fun to watch fake senators on TV.

Alpha House

 

The Munchies Guide to Scotland

I've kind of fallen in love with Munchies on Vice this month. The Munchies guide to Scotland is a fantastic five part series. I never knew much about Scotland or its food culture - this is a great introduction. Charlet, the host, is also quite endearing. 

Car MatchMaker

Esquire TV is really trying. For this attempt, they decided to copy the formula of House Hunters and adapt it to car buying. Turns out, it works! Escapist television at its finest. 

Corsair Triple Smoke Whiskey is really unique. It's made of 3 malts that are smoked with three different kinds of wood to give it a distinct flavor. I received the Whiskey as a gift from my brother and law and his fiance. It has taken this long to create a cocktail that is worthy of the whiskey. 

Corsair Smokey Cocktail (Single)

1.5 Ounces Corsair Triple Smoke Whiskey

1.5 Ounces Apple Cider

3 Ounces Ginger Beer 

Combine Corsair Whiskey,  Apple Cider, and Ginger Beer in  a tall collins glass with ice. Use a cocktail spoon to stir. Garnish with an orange rind if you are so inclined :)

EAT

Le Town Talk Diner  -

Accessible, reasonably priced and delicious french food in a unique setting. What could be better for winter?

I just purchased one of these at Northern Grade this past weekend. Askov Finlayson is the men's store connected to the venerable Minneapolis eatery Bachelor Farmer. The hat is a reference to their tongue in cheek campaign to reclaim Minnesota as the "North" rather than part of the midwest. 

Listen -

EmiLy's Pick - 

Jane the Virgin

JaneThevirgin.jpeg

According to Emily (My Wife) Jane the Virgin is "Cheesy, Cute and Perfectly Self-Aware." I would have to agree. It is the story of a young woman who is artificially inseminated by accident. Hilarity and surprisingly great acting ensues. 

 

Ok! Let me know if there is anything that I need to check out that you've enjoyed this month.