And the Fantasy Crumbles

Depressing:
The day you Google that oh-so-cute guy in the music group you’ve just been introduced to, and discover that – at twice his age – you’re old enough to be his mother.

Possibly even more depressing:
This delightful phenomena will only get worse with age.

Goodie.

Switching to a Standing Desk: Reflections and Hindsight

[ Note: This post is part of an in-depth series. To learn more about why I opted for this setup, or how to build it, see the first post. To read about my acclimatization period, see the second post. ]

Now that I’ve been using a standing desk for a few weeks, I figured it was time to share some of what I’ve learned along the way. Here’s what stands out to me most:

Ease Into It

I was determined to make this work because I knew going back to my sitting-all-day routine was not an option. Neither was giving up my computer-related activities. But this do-or-die determination of mine also meant I didn’t cut myself enough slack. Even though I knew I wouldn’t be able to stand 8 hours the first day, somewhere in my head I still felt like allowing myself to sit at all would be a slippery slope. If I let myself sit it for 5 minutes, who’s to say I wouldn’t just give up and suddenly it’d become 5 hours again? Then where would my experiment be?

In retrospect, that was just me being dramatic – and unrealistic. Sitting down for an hour here or there during the transition period is not a failure, it’s necessary. If you are not accustomed to standing a lot, it will take some time to acclimate. Don’t try to go from being a chair dweller to a champion stander the first day. Or even the third day. Give yourself a couple weeks to make the transition – and listen to your body.

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Timestamps in iMessage

Recently, I discovered a feature in iMessage (I’m speaking of the iPhone version here, though it’s likely true elsewhere as well) that you might find handy, too.

You know how time stamps get dropped into a conversation every so often, but that sometimes it’s not often enough and you just want to see exactly when one of the messages in the thread was sent? iMessage does actually log this information, and all it takes is a quick swipe of the finger to see it. Instead of swiping your finger from left to right (which returns you back to the main Messages screen), you swipe-and-hold your finger from the right to reveal a timestamp next to every message. This works on regular text conversations, too, not just iMessages.

Sneaky!

A Wed Wose – How Womantic

For my birthday yesterday, Chris took me to one of my favorite restaurants for dinner, and then marked the occasion with one of the most squishy-sweet cards I’ve ever received from him. Naturally it made me cry. (He says his quota for romance is two times per year – my birthday and Valentine’s Day – but after that it’s back to belching the alphabet and the epicurean delights of Subway.)

Really touched by the sentiment, I found myself asking a question. I’m not sure why I did, exactly – perhaps some part of me was hoping this had been some lovely, premeditated thing. “Did you just buy this card today or have you had it for awhile?”

Chris looked thoughtful for a moment before his eyes lit with mischief and a tiny, hopeful grin quirked the corner of his mouth. “That depends – which answer is more romantic?”

And just like that, we were back on familiar ground.

New Music: Grizfolk

This song was playing in a gas station and I had to quickly tag it before it was my turn at the cash register, all the while juggling whatever it was I was buying. Capture under pressure! It was well worth the effort, though – I was hooked after only a few seconds of listening. It has such a mellow, melodic groove to it, but with enough dynamics to keep it interesting.

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I discover new music all the time, often in unexpected ways and places, and I delight in this. Even better is sharing my findings in the hope that someone else will make an exciting new discovery as well. Enjoy.

Switching to a Standing Desk: Acclimating

[ Note: This is the second post in an in-depth series. To learn more about why I opted for this setup, or how to build it, see the first post. ]

Now that I’ve got the first five days under my belt, I thought I’d share what happened while I got used to a standing desk. Your experience may vary, of course, but this should at least give you some idea of what to expect if you’re considering this change for yourself.

To start, the two biggest surprises of acclimating:

It happened really fast. Barely halfway into the first day, I already liked the change of standing versus sitting. By day two, I was ready to add a treadmill to the setup. By day five, standing had pretty much become my new normal. Maybe it’s like most things – the more you do of it, the easier and more natural it becomes.

It wasn’t as hard as I thought it’d be. I think we’re programmed to believe big lifestyle changes are always going to be hard, boring or painful. Even with this, I fully expected to type up my report (while sitting in the cushiest chair in the house) to say how awful and unnatural the process was. And it’s not to say there weren’t challenges or uncomfortable aspects to it, because there were, but I think the mindset you adopt going in has a lot (maybe everything) to do with your results. I set out on this little adventure wanting it to work. Frankly, I needed it to work. Had I been doing this out of obligation, I’m pretty sure I would have put every obstacle possible in my path to ensure it would stop now and let me get back to my chair. But it wasn’t, and so I didn’t.

In fact, here’s how it went down:

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Random: Where Pi Meets Latin

You know how mathematicians compete with each other to see who can recite Pi – 3.14159 (and on and on) – to the most decimal places? I wonder if the equivalent of that for graphic designers is to see how many words of the standard Latin filler text someone can recite?

(For the record, I don’t think I’d be much competition: I only have it memorized up to the sixth word. Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur… and then I have to go look up the rest. By the way, if you ever need to generate your own, or find yourself wondering what it’s all about, the Lipsum site is the mothership.)

Switching to a Standing Desk: The Why and The How

[ Note: This is the first post in an in-depth series. ]

It recently came to my attention that I have a very sedentary lifestyle. Well, perhaps ‘recently’ is a bit of a misnomer. I think I’ve always known. But in my defense, it’s not entirely on purpose.

Factors not in my favor:

  • Habit. How many times during the day do you find yourself looking for a place to sit down before you can think through something, do your work or just generally focus? Are you even aware of doing this? I certainly wasn’t. Sitting down to do stuff is just what we humans do.
  • Occupational hazard. My day jobs (as well as most of my fun projects) all require the use of a computer. Sure, I could do my writing long-hand (and I do sometimes) but standing around scribbling in a notebook seems even less feasible than standing up to use a computer.
  • Low energy. I’m naturally a low energy person, meaning I don’t need a lot of activity or external stimuli to keep me motivated. However, spending so much of my life sitting was creating a catch-22. When you sit, your body enters a resting mode and things like your metabolism take a major snooze. But since I didn’t need to rev up those systems in order to keep working, it was easy to lose hours at a time in a chair without being aware of it.

All of these things might have continued, too, if it weren’t for my body telling me to stop. Or yelling, more like it. It was clear I needed to do something.

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New Music: Kishi Bashi

Is it just me, or is there some heavy Beatles influence here? Or maybe it’s just that his voice reminds me so much of Paul McCartney. Note: This song has a long, 45-second intro, so wait to evaluate it until after you hit that marker.

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I discover new music all the time, often in unexpected ways and places, and I delight in this. Even better is sharing my findings in the hope that someone else will make an exciting new discovery as well. Enjoy.