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High-Low Tech

So…busy weekends lately, which is why posting is kind of hit and miss at the moment. The nicer weather has our schedules all wonky, and I’m also trying to find a good routine for my business hours late Friday night, which means the BSB blog post sometimes isn’t getting done until Sunday night, which leaves me no time to get a post done for this site. All of which to say…posts may be spotty until I can get my summer routine a little more stable. It’s not you, it’s me (but that seems rather obvious…).

It’s not like you’re waiting anxiously on my every post, right? 😉

In any case, I’m in kind of a weird spot right now where I want to use the latest and greatest in tech, but am also really seeing the value in slowing down and maybe using lower-tech options for certain things, or mixing the two for the “highest low-tech” option available. Reading that back, I realize it sounds convoluted, and it is, but such is life in my brain. Or part of it. I mean, I keep a lot of stuff to myself. Because if you think I’m weird now…well. You ain’t seen nothin’ yet, as the saying goes.

Ahem. Back on topic, my first high-low tech conundrum this spring came when I started using my 3-year old Samsung Galaxy Note 8 tablet to write poetry last month. One of the best things about the Galaxy Note line is, obviously, Samsung Notes, wherein you can write on the screen with a stylus (high tech!), and use a device just like a notebook. I have been enamored with this feature ever since it came out, and I absolutely love the fact that I can erase my digital handwriting, which means my “pages” are less messy/more legible (I have horrible handwriting).

This is kind of a “best of both worlds” thing for me, because handwriting (low-tech) forces me to slow down and pay more attention to what I’m writing, so I think I do better work that way. Computers haven’t quite figured out how to *read* my handwriting yet (not holding out much hope for that one), which means I have to type everything I write on the screen by hand back into my writing program (currently Shaxpir). And that forces me to do an editing/revision pass, as I’m always finding ways to improve whatever I’ve hand-written as I type it back in.

So, I’m kind of loving this new-to-me writing “process”, and my tablet decides it needs to update to the Kit-Kat version of Android (it came with Jelly Bean). What harm can an update do, right? As it turns out, updating to Kit-Kat on these tablets makes them think they’re overheating even when they aren’t, and the only solution (from internet-land) seems to be to pull the battery and reset the bios.

Fun times.

I am a software girl, not a hardware girl. I don’t like messing with hardware one little bit – I just want it to work. But at some point in time this week, I’m going to have to get all my notes off of that tablet, pry the back off, take the battery out, and hope it resets like it’s supposed to. *sigh* Was going to do that this past weekend, but just didn’t get time.

Until then, I’ll use the notes function on my Galaxy Note 5 (cell) for my high-low tech solution, since the only other real options are to use paper/pen, or type directly into the laptop – neither of which seem to work as well for me.

I know. Special snowflake, and all that. Writers do tend to be a bit neurotic about…all sorts of stuff.

Another, slightly more fun example of high-low tech is the new bicycles my husband and I bought this past weekend. One of the simplest low-tech methods of transportation ever invented, but these new bikes have some pretty amazing technology now in braking and gear-switching. I find it somewhat ironic that so much technological invention has been put into these things, and yet somehow, they decided bikes don’t need kickstands anymore. What the heck is *that* all about? Does no one want to just park their bike in the driveway for a few minutes anymore? Weird.

I should probably mention that it’s been nearly 30 years since I’ve been on a bicycle…or it had been until last Saturday when I test-rode the one I bought (thank goodness you never forget!). That’s probably long enough to give up the grudge I developed when I fell off my 10 speed and shattered my right hand/wrist when I was 15, right? In any case, riding a bike is fun, it’s good exercise, and it’s something my husband and I can do together. I have friends who like to bike (okay, one, but still), and my mom would be happy to have company on her occasional excursions as well. I might even be able to sneak off on my own here and there. I used to love using a good long bike ride to clear my head.

So, investment in both my health and social life. Not a bad use for my annual longevity check, eh?

And finally – a high-tech solution for a low-tech problem failed me this week, and I had to remedy that ASAP, which is the other reason this blog post is a day late. If you know me at all, you know I’m a heavy tea-drinker. And to make tea, you need warm to hot water, depending on what you’re brewing. And if you want hot water fast, you don’t make it over a fire or on the stove, you plug in a handy dandy electric kettle.

Last week, my electric kettle started sounding more like R2D2 than a kettle, and while I gave it a good scrubbing this weekend to get all the hard mineral deposits out, it’s still not acting right. I haven’t used a thermometer yet, but I suspect it’s not heating up to temp anymore, judging by the taste of my tea.

*big sigh*

So, instead of getting this post done late Sunday night, I was reading the reviews for a ton of different electric kettles as potential replacements. I mean, I could just get another Cuisinart – this one’s done well for quite a few years, but there are so many fun options (even though I will never be able to quite justify the $250 Breville automatic tea kettle, dammit)…

In any case, I decided on a KitchenAid kettle with 6 temp settings and a very cool-looking steeper basket around 1am, and that was largely because I really, really had to sleep so I could work Monday (today).

And now it’s nearly midnight *again* (how did that happen so quickly?!), and I need sleep *again*. Seriously. Needing sleep is so inconvenient…

On Quirky Tech, TV, & Lifestyle Check…

It’s been a little over a week since I got my new laptop, and I’m very nearly finished “moving in”. As with every piece of tech I’ve ever bought, this one’s not without it’s quirks, but I’m getting to know them and how to work with and/or around them (as we do). The backspace key still trips me up until I’ve been typing awhile, but I’m getting there. I finally found instructions on how to deal with the trackpad online, and turning off the “tap to click” function saves me from deleting paragraphs when my thumbs travel across the trackpad while I’m typing.

I did suffer a bit of confusion when I plugged in my external DVD drive and it wouldn’t autoplay the disc. Windows has included a media player by default since…well, since I was in college, I think. As it turns out, they stopped doing that with Windows 8 – apparently they expect everyone to just download all entertainment now? I still like to own media here and there, thank you very much. In any case, a quick search of the internet turned up several freeware options for DVD player software, and my problem was solved in about 5 minutes, thank goodness.

So, just one more thing to get installed/working, and I think I’ll be good to go. The only other thing I need to do is crochet a sleeve for the new laptop, as I’ve already scratched the aluminum case carrying it in my bag, and the top of my bag is open, so it needs a little extra protection from the elements. I’ll probably put a skin on it as well – at least on the wrist rests, because as much as I love the all metal chassis, it’s cold to rest my hands on. A polyvinyl skin will make it feel a bit warmer.

Speaking of new tech, we finally replaced our basement TV this weekend. We were still using an old analog square monstrosity down there, and the picture was getting quite fuzzy. We found a nice LED flatscreen to replace it with, and the digital tuner in the new TV is way better than the box we were using with the old TV (we don’t have cable – just a rooftop antenna). Needless to say, the picture is so much nicer…it’s really quite nice. And now I have one less excuse to get my butt downstairs in the evenings and do a half-hour workout.

Which brings us to a recent “lifestyle check” I’ve been doing. I need to pull things back into balance, as they’ve become a bit skewed – though oddly enough, it’s not the day job that’s the culprit this time. I’ve actually been incorporating bits of the day job into my personal life, not enough to be overwhelming, but enough that it just feels like any other part of my “whole” life, rather than a distinctly separate entity, and I have to say, it’s actually less stressful to have it that way than it was when I was very rigid about keeping them separate. I know it seems counterintuitive for a lot of us, but after reading several articles making the argument for letting the lines between personal and professional blur last year, I decided to give it a try. And I have to say, I’m happier and more satisfied with my job having done so. It’s weird, but whatever works, you know? Obviously that can be taken too far, but I think I’m keeping a healthy-enough boundary in place. For now, at least.

No, the two things I need to pull back into balance now is health, and hobbies. And the thing that has supplanted them isn’t even really a “thing” at all, but rather that insidious laziness that keeps me cemented to the couch after dinner at night, staring at both the TV and my computer screen, thinking I’m going to both relax (with TV) and get something done (either writing or marketing/pub stuff). In reality, I stare at the TV, ignore my computer for the most part, and pretty much do my best zombie impression until it’s finally time to get up and feed the dogs.

This sort of laziness isn’t really benign. I sit at a desk most of the day, and for the last month and a half or so, I haven’t even been taking a break and walking the stairs twice a day. I do still get a yoga workout in every morning, but that’s really not enough movement in general for the human body to stay in optimal condition. So it’s not just that I’m “doing nothing”, but that I’m actively sabotaging my own health. Not cool.

I have reminders for nightly workouts…I’ve just been ignoring them. I could get more creative with them, but really, it doesn’t matter. What matters is not ignoring them – getting up off the couch and actually working out. And not being lazy at work either – it only takes a few minutes to walk the stairs morning & afternoon.

I’ve been ignoring portion sizes too, so that’s another thing I need to pay more attention to. None of this is difficult at all, it just requires that I make the right choices. And I’m perfectly capable of that, honestly. I just…haven’t been. Getting back to making those right choices is at the top of my list for this week.

I have plenty of excuses, but none of them are valid at the moment, so…time to get back on the wagon, so to speak.

Anyone else gotten lazy with a healthy habit lately? Wanna join me? Brave enough to admit it?


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