game of thrones

Paula Plant – Writer, Globetrotter, Landlord

Paula Plant is a journalist-turned-blogger who helps people shatter limits, ditch the cubicle and live life on their own terms. She’s traveled to 30 countries, owns six rental property units, and hasn’t had an employer since 2008. Her blog, Afford Anything, is the gathering point for a tribe that refuses to say, “I can’t afford it.”

Good things to read.

The Power of Habit, by Charles Duhigg. Our daily actions are more guided by unconscious habits than we may realize, Duhigg writes. In order to change our behavior, we must focus on the triggers and cues that relate to our habits, rather than rely on willpower alone.

A Year of Living Biblically, by A.J. Jacobs. I will read anything that A.J. Jacobs writes. He could write directions to the 7-Eleven on the back of a napkin, and I’d read it. Simply stated: Jacobs is hilarious. His blend of earnestness, candor and intelligence is rare in the world of humor writing.

So Good They Can’t Ignore You, by Cal Newport. This book argues a notion that I’ve long believed: passion is the result, not the cause, of doing hard work everyday. I’ve written about this concept on my own blog, and Newport articulates and expands this idea brilliantly in this book.

Good things to watch.

This is tough, because I don’t watch a lot of video. But here we go …

Steve Jobs 2005 Stanford Commencement Address. This graduation speech features no fluff, no filler, and no overhyped clichés. It’s pure, raw inspiration.

Legends of the Fall. This has been my favorite movie ever since I first watched it back in 1995, thanks to its brilliant character development, its rich setting (both in scenery and in history), and its themes of loyalty, freedom and duty.

Game of Thrones. Because it’s awesome. ‘Nuff said.

Good things to use.

Dropbox. Buy an upgraded account and use it to store every digital file you’ve ever created, including (especially) all your photos, videos and personal notes. Imagine how you’d feel if you lost all your data. Dropbox is cheap insurance. (And it’s much easier than backing things up to an external hard drive!)

An Adjustable Standing Desk. Sitting wrecks havoc on your body. If you perform work that requires you to spend 6-8 hours a day at a computer, invest in an adjustable standing desk. The more expensive versions allow you to adjust between sitting and standing. Alternately, if you want a cheaper version, just keep two desks in your office: one that’s standing-height and one that’s sitting-height.

Evoluent Mouse. I’m so in love with this mouse that I carry it with me on trips baggage limits be damned. Most computer mice require you to rotate your wrist into a palm-down position, which is unnatural. The Evoluent lets you rest your wrist in a handshake position, which puts less strain on the joint.

Connect with Paula on Twitter, @AffordAnything.

About these ads

Raphaelle Heaf – Founder of ArtSpotter.com

Raphaelle Heaf founded ArtSpotter.com, a site to discover and share art events, from galleries to street art, these are her good things.

Good things to read.

The Psychopath Test by Jon Ronson.  An amazing book about the mind that gets you questioning how sane you are yourself.

Stumbling on Happiness by Daniel Gilbert.  I regularly go back to this book as a sort of mantra to staying positive when I feel a bit lost. It’s a wonderful discovery on how humans are more similar than we think and that it’s really the simple things that can bring us a lot of happiness.

The Hundred Year Old Man by Jonas Jonasson.  I was bought this as a gift and couldn’t put it down. It’s an adventure, a life story and a journey of unlikely friendship which reminds me to live every day to the full, no matter how old I get!

Good things to watch.

Game of ThronesI’m addicted, enough said!

The Clock by Christian Marclay.  I first saw this at the 2011 Venice Art Biennale and it’s entrancing. Whenever it’s shown, over 24 hours, it’s synced to be the right time as the locale and it’s just mesmerising.

Wall•EI love this movie that for 90% has no words or speaking. It’s got to be my favourite Pixar animation!

Good things to use.

Moves.  I’ve never been into the Quantified self but the fact that you just download the app and go is great. I love seeing where I’ve gone each day and it’s very clever. I’m jealous I didn’t come up with this one!

Moleskins.  I can’t not have a moleskin with me wherever I am. I love my iPhone but I’m still a pen and paper person and these books have been a staple to the creative since the 19th Century. Now that’s a great product to have lasted this long!

Time. I always believe that you can make the time for the things you love. Therefore use time wisely and it’s amazing how much you can do.

For more Raphaelle and her art find her on Twitter, @RaphaelleHeaf.

Tessa Miller – Contributions Editor at Lifehacker

Tessa Miller is the Contributions Editor at Lifehacker.com where she runs the wonderful How I Work series and curates all of Lifehacker’s guest content, these are her good things.

Good things to read.

Lifehacker. (Shameless plug!) Even if I didn’t work here, I’d still read it every day. It’s impossible to read and not come away knowing something (something useful - important distinction) that you didn’t know before visiting.

LadyBits. It’s a tech/science/culture collection for savvy women (and the guys who know and love them). My dear friend Arikia just launched it via Medium, and though there isn’t much content there yet, I promise you it’s one to watch.

The Norton Shakespeare. I dug it up a couple of weeks ago in a moment of college nostalgia. I’ve only read a handful of Shakespeare’s plays (and only the biggies), so I’m trying to make my way through some of the lesser known ones. Bonus: if you want to mess with people/look like an insufferable snob, read it on the train (it’s 3,000 plus pages and weighs about 5 lbs).

Good things to watch.

Game of Thrones. I’m sure I’m the millionth person to list this, but for good reason. Dragons! Sex! Accents! Magic! Mystery! Dinklage! What’s not to like?

The West Wing. I started watching it after a heated discussion in our Lifehacker chatroom about Aaron Sorkin and The Newsroom (which I’ve watched but will spare you my thoughts on). I was in grade school when the West Wing first aired, so I overlooked it or just thought it was for old people, which… I guess I am one now. I’m only halfway through the first season, but it’s so well done. Allison Janney can do no wrong.

Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee. It’s a cute little web series that Jerry Seinfeld did, and it’s exactly what it sounds like: Seinfeld picks up other comedians (Larry David, Alec Baldwin, Ricky Gervais, etc.) in gorgeous old cars, and they go get coffee. It’s charming and hilarious. Needs more women though.

Good things to use.

Your brain, always.

A well-made (or shitty, whatever) notebook. What matters is that you enjoy writing in it. It’s good to get away from the keyboard every once in awhile.

Probiotics. I’m sort of fascinated with bacteria and gut health and the insanely sophisticated system of flora the body maintains. I know from experience that when the balance of this is thrown out of whack, the consequences can be devastating. So even though it makes me sound like a granola-loving hippie, I recommend probiotics to all of my friends and family whether they have serious digestive problems or not.

Find more things she likes on Twitter, @TessaJeanMiller.

Melanie Pinola – Writer and Life Hacker

Melanie Pinola writes about technology, productivity, and “life hacks” (most notably for Lifehacker, ITworld, and About.com Mobile Office Technology). Her book LinkedIn in 30 Minutes is due out in May 2013.

Good things to read.

 Poetry. Any kind will do. Poems are really music without sound. Whether you like the bold crassness of Charles Bukowski, the exquisite darkness of Mark Strand, or the brilliant pondering of Adrienne Rich, reading a poem is like getting a concentrated dose of inspiration. Ironically, though, while poems are usually short enough to read at any moment, you can only read so many without getting too intoxicated and overwhelmed. (Is it a copout to choose a whole genre? Very well then, see the complete poems of E. E. Cummings, where you’ll find the most beautiful love poems. Really.)

Smart bloggers. We’re lucky to have so many good writers putting up/sharing free content all the time. Off the top of my head, I think you should check out the insanely honest and funny James Altucher, enlightening Derek Sivers, and flat-out productive person Jeff Atwood (who wrote one of the best posts about parenthood ever). Master curators Maria Popova on Brain Pickings, Jason Kottke on Kottke.org, and Dave Pell on Next Draft should also be in your feeds.

And, to be practical: Real Simple, the magazine and website, which covers everything from home organization to wardrobe shortcuts to unusual uses for old things. Like Lifehacker, it’s all about making life simpler and easier (although Real Simple has less of a tech bent). 

Good things to watch.

America’s Test Kitchen. On YouTube and PBS. It’s the science of good cooking: tested recipes, equipment, and techniques. Because, really, we all should be making and eating great food.

Mythbusters. They put all the most interesting myths to the test. The latest episode: MacGyver Myths. Could he really have flown a plane made of bamboo? Created a hole in a wall with pure sodium? Epic.

Game of Thrones. I have no productivity-related reason to recommend this, other than it just rocks. It’s reason enough to subscribe to HBO. One word of advice, though: Don’t read the books before the related season. You’ll be in purgatory waiting for the show to catch up and wondering why the characters on screen are still alive. (It’s pure torture.) 

Good things to use.

Automation tools. Automate as much as you can. App-connecting service IFTTT is truly awesome: You can send starred Gmail messages to Evernote, automatically download Facebook photos to Dropbox, get text message notifications of important news items, and so much more. Similarly, save time and hassle by using Amazon Subscribe & Save for your regular bulk items, an online grocery to get your food delivered with a weekly list, and maybe even a complete meal delivery service like Blue Apron. Cut out all the little things that consume so much time (like weekly meal planning and shopping) and you have time for the more important ones.

A good pair of sneakers. I try to walk as much as I can. Part of this is just for exercise. Part of it is to support my local businesses when I go shopping. And the other part is to get some much needed sunlight as often as I can. It makes for better sleep, better moods, and better ideas.

Your relationships. Not that you should “use” them, of course, but time and again studies have shown that happiness is most closely tied to the quality of your relationships (the latest study was a 75-year-old one on Harvard students). I’m an introvert. I don’t care to be around too many people too often. But I know people matter the most, and those extra steps showing gratitude, being helpful, and otherwise participating in our loved ones’ lives is the reason why we’re all here anyway.

Connect with Melanie on Twitter @melaniepinola

Brad Nicholson – voice talent

These are Brad Nichoson’s good things

What are some good things you’ve read?

Y: The Last Man by Brian K. Vaughn
Probably a bit silly to be listing a series of graphic novels on here, but I truly enjoyed this entire series from start to finish. The basic premise is that, somehow, one day every living being with a male chromosome suddenly dies, except one man and his pet monkey. The world (of course) descends to a primitive chaos, with roving bands of women fighting for control of dwindling resources, all while the last man attempts to unravel the truth behind the disease and, more importantly, find his missing fiance. I enjoy stories about the apocalypse, and this one did an awesome job of waving an engaging story while bringing a dry sense of humor to keep it from getting overbearing. Done in full color, which is also a plus for me.
Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand
This book has a strong stigma attached to it by a lot of people who haven’t even read it; something I learned after starting it. I picked it up because I was told that it was a good post-apocalyptic story (noticing a trend here?), not because of its political message. It is true, the book has a strong right-leaning political slant to it, and those that are easily affected or angered by that sort of thing will most definitely be turned off by the book during the first quarter. I kept reading, though, because I found the story engaging. It centers around a woman running a transcontinental railroad company in a world that is circling the drain due to the effect of its own enacted political policies. Whan can I say, I love railroads and the end of the world. Be ready for a long read.
Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand
Picked up this book without knowing anything about it except that it was non-fiction and dealt with World War II, two things I typically enjoy reading. I haven’t read Hillenbrand’s “Seabiscuit,” so that wasn’t as much of a sell for me. Proceeding through this book, though, I was absolutely astonished to read about Louis Zamperini’s struggles. It may sound cliche, but just when as a reader you think things can’t get any worse, the situation gets dialed up to an even more unbelievable level. After enduring more than 40 days lost at sea, Zamperini is captured by the Japanese and is forced to endure life as a POW in a series of camps. That Zamperini is still alive today and giving interviews is equally as astonishing, but his story is gripping from start to finish. This one is a must-read.
What are some good things you’ve watched?
I am mentioning this one because it is fresh in my mind. I loved the first season of this show (although it was short at 6 or 7 episodes), then felt that the show stalled a bit during season two and seemed bogged down with a lot of dialog. Things started picking up at the end of the second season, and with the third season premiere last Sunday night, indications are that they have gotten right back on track. I don’t want to spoil for anyone a few episodes behind but the show has gotten back on the story track of the graphic novel, and it looks like this will be a very compelling season.
Episode to episode, this is the most enjoyable show I’ve watched in a long time. Now two seasons in, it follows author George R. R. Martin’s “Song of Fire and Ice” arc, and the artistic freedom that HBO provides has really allowed the show to blossom. I haven’t read the books, but understand that the show is about as faithful of an adaptation of the source material as one can realistically expect when committing a literary work to film. The cast is gorgeous and frequently nude, which doesn’t hurt! Everything is balanced, then, with the hilarious character of The Imp, played by Peter Dinklage, who won a Golden Globe for his performance. Casual viewers looking for something new to watch my be turned off by the fantasy setting (be ready for some magic and dragons), but give it a few episodes and you’ll be hooked.
It’s kind of hard to say exactly what kind of movie this is exactly, particularly without revealing any spoilers. The safest answer is a horror movie made by people who are pissed off about the way horror movies are made these days. If you’re someone who has watched a decent number of them, you will find the film equal parts scary, gory and funny as hell (likely all three are intended). Written by Joss Whedon of “Buffy the Vampire” and “Firefly/Serenity” fame, it will keep you guessing until the end. Definitely recommended for this time of year!
What are some good things you’ve used?
A friend turned me on to this app recently as a way of quickly and easily making reservations at restaurants of your choice without having to labor through looking up the restaurant’s phone number, waiting on hold for 10 minutes, then being told they do not have anything available that night. A registered account is required to use it, but it is free to sign up for and basically just requires a working email address. The app itself is also free to download and use. I don’t think that every restaurant is currently using it, but from my experience thus far, anytime I have attempted to make a reservation, the restaurant in question has been on there.
This a pure time-waster. It features a simple game premise with you as an Indiana Jones style character fleeing an angry pack of apes with a precious idol. The camera is an overhead third-person viewpoint, and by swiping your finger left or right, up or down, and tilting your smartphone side to side, you cause your character to turn left or right, jump over or slide under trees or tree roots, and run along precarious cliffs. Of course, missing one of these steps at precisely the correct moment causes a game over, and allows you to immediately restart at the beginning. I don’t think it is actually possible to beat, or if it is, I sure haven’t done it, but it is a great little repetitive game that is quick and easy to master and can eat vast chunks of time if needed.
I’m not sure exactly what this item is called beyond iHome, because it does a number of different things. At its heart, it is an iPod dock with speakers that allows you to listen to your iPod in your home without headphones. It does also have a clock function, and you can set multiple alarms with multiple options that allow you to wake up to music from your iPod, the radio, or a traditional alarm sound. I love waking up in the morning to a random song from my iTunes instead of the annoying drone of a traditional alarm clock. To top it all off, it is an AM/FM radio with six presets and a battery back-up in case your power goes out. Priced at under $100, it has proven to be a pretty good value.

Brandon Thompson – DJ

These are Brandon Thompson’s AKA DJ B-Funk good things.

What are some good things you’ve read?

I have thoroughly enjoyed the Walking Dead graphic novels which are currently in television form on AMC.

HUSH by DC comics is another great comic story-line  Especially if you are a Batman fan. Has an amazing two panel spread of Batman upper cutting Superman. Worth the price of admission.

Preacher by Garth Ennis is a amazingly dark and funny comic series involving a preacher who has super powers and is looking for God. But not to ask him questions but to kick his ass. :)

What are some good things you’ve watched?

Hot Cheetos and takis is a great rap viral video by little kids in Minnesota.

Just re-watched John Carpenter’s The Thing the other day. Excellent flick!

Breaking Bad, The Wire, Battlestar Galactica, and Game of Thrones are just to die for television.

What are some good things you use?

Workflowy that mike turned me on to makes making lists so much easier.

Purchase an X-Mini if you enjoy music. It’s a speaker the size of a oversize golf ball and it BELTS OUT SOUND. Great for vacations or the outdoors and costs about 20 dollars.

AroundMe for my iPhone is a must for those go travel. Finds everything you need then you can use Urbanspoon rankings for where you’ll eat!