Friday, August 23, 2013

I Scream for (Quality) Ice Cream!

I stopped by the spot where Istria Cafe was on 51st in Hyde Park after work today hoping to get some gelato. Istria closed down earlier this year and was recently replaced by Bridgeport Coffee. Istria used to have good gelato -- one of the very few places around Hyde Park that serves reasonably priced, reasonably good frozen desserts. Unfortunately, the new owners are not continuing the tradition. Instead they are sticking to traditional coffee house drinks, some pastries, and limited sandwiches.

The owners of Istria had been threatening closure for a while. They closed their 57th street location in 2010 and gave this interview in 2012 about the strangulation effect Chicago over-regulation and bureaucratic discretion was having on their business:

So now I have one fewer frozen dessert places to choose from. In fact, there is not one decent ice cream place in Hyde Park! There are a couple of gelato places left, a frozen yogurt place, and a new ice cream shop, but the quality is only okay, and the prices are through the roof. I might even make the stronger claim that there is not a good ice cream place south of the north side of Chicago! And I love good ice cream, so this makes me sad. I would love to be proved wrong, so if you know of a good place, please let me know in the comments.

Maybe I'm just spoiled. Really spoiled. Really, really spoiled. I grew up down the street from a Graeter's and a Jeni's. That's not even mentioning Knights or the other quality homemade ice cream shops around central Ohio. After growing up with that, Coldstone and Baskin Robins just don't cut it for me.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Much To-Do About "Nothing" Done

The down side of a to-do list for me is that I am always depressed at the amount of things that don't get done. To-do lists don't really fit how I work that well. Often, I start on a small task (planning to do several small tasks on my list) but instead end up working on something else entirely that is more productive or more important and more time consuming, but not necessarily on my to-do list for that day, or at all. So even though I do more by deviating from my list, because the list exists, I feel like I haven't done that much when I look at it and see all those other things I have yet to do, was going to do, but didn't (if you get my drift).

The solution: a Done list. Yes, I still have a To-do list (some things need to get done eventually, and writing them down rather than trying to remember them is a good idea), but for the last few months I have been utilizing Notepad to help me log what I have actually done, as well.

Yes, Notepad. The most basic text editor that ships with Windows. Almost all you can do is type. Almost. Let me explain:

I create a text file on the Desktop called Done.txt (right click on the Desktop -> new -> text document). Then I add ".LOG" (without quotation marks) to the first line of the file, save and close. Now every time you open the file, it adds the date and time stamp to the next line! Then I briefly type what I did, save, and close the file. If you want to quickly save then exit, you can hit Ctrl+S, Enter, then Alt,F,x. *

Every couple of weeks I review what I have done (that makes me feel good!), rename the file Done_yyyymmdd.txt with the current date, move it to Documents/Archive/Logs, and create a fresh Done.txt file on the Desktop.

A Done.txt file fits in nicely with the Getting Things Done methodology as part of the weekly review step, if you are into that sort of thing. It also serves as a simple personal log or diary by cataloging what you did that day. No Dear Diary required.

If "Where, how, or with whom my time is spent" was good enough for George Washington, it's good enough for me.