I’m researching how to get off the grid on my iPad

Simplicity is elusive, but oft sought by us humans, particularly the overworked, underpaid, overtired generations who rely on the technology of incredibly complex devices to do the simplifying for us. I go back and forth between a desire for and abjection of technology, craving life off the grid in the middle of nowhere, meanwhile blogging about it and managing it with online budgeting tools.

I’ve always had an affinity for old things. I love vintage appliances, Aqua Net, and Betty Crocker’s Cookbook. My tastes are at odds – I’m drawn to a time period that was intensely focused on convenience, but today feels like a simpler time in which kids went out to play, Mom cooked dinner, and astronauts did math by hand. Lately I’ve been wondering: if I was an adult in the 50’s, instead of the 10’s, would I be nostalgic for a “simpler time,” before cars, refrigeration, and lightbulbs? If I lived in the 1910s instead of the 2010s, would I tout indoor plumbing as an extravagant, unnecessary construct built by a generation seeking only to protect its own interests and indulge a desire for convenience? Continue reading

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I’m Joining January.

Happy 2016!

The time has come for an obligatory blog post about a fresh new year, and making resolutions about how I’m going to drink less and exercise more, have fewer typos and see friends more, etcetera, etcetera, etcetera.

For me, 2015 wasn’t a bad year – quite good, actually – but it was a year of extreme highs and extreme lows. I’m craving a bit more consistency, so I made some pretty drastic life changes to better serve my personal and professional goals. While it’s just a coincidence these changes are lining up with the new year, like a January Joiner at the gym I’m going all in – starting now (or, Monday). Continue reading

Old School

The other day I bought an address book. It’s a tiny one that fits in my handbag and has a few notes pages in the back for important dates.

The thing is, I kept losing all my contacts when updating my phone. And, it’s annoying to try to give someone contact information in a text or over the phone when that contact information is, well, on your phone. So now I can just pull out my little address book, and bam. Everything is right there.

I know what you’re thinking… what if I lose my antiquated little address book? Well, I’ve managed to keep a passport, a set of keys, and a gaggle of cats within my grasp for 15 years, so I think I can handle an address book.

This was the most recent in a string of attempts to return to less electronic, slightly less complicated ways of doing things. Technology is great (I mean, this is a BLOG after all…), but I’ve been craving an increasingly unplugged life.

Ultimately, I’m preparing for the Zombie Apocalypse.

Wait, that’s silly and probably not going to happen. Continue reading

Call Me.

I’m having an internal debate about how technology might be hindering my social interactions. It’s probably hindering yours too.

I remember the first time I got a text: I was standing on Michigan Avenue looking down at my Nokia brick phone in wonderment. It seemed totally weird to type something that could take a fraction of the time to say over the phone. Fast forward about 15 years, and I’m talking to most of my friends through bitmoji’s… so, not, actually, saying anything at all. Continue reading

John Oliver totally nails our food problems

In 17 minutes, John Oliver totally nailed everything that’s wrong with food in America:

When I was a barista, I set up a donation program for our morning pastries. After 2pm, whatever wasn’t sold went in the garbage, so I arranged for someone from a residential mental health facility to come and pick them up on a daily basis. Sandwiches and salads had a one-day shelf life, and for all the reasons John Oliver discussed, we couldn’t donate them. Our solution was to bag them and place the night’s sandwiches next to the trash bin on Michigan Ave., rather than out in the dumpster, thus unofficially “donating them” to the homeless in the area.

Our dorms here in Dublin have common kitchens, each consisting of four waste bins: glass, waste, plastic and paper, and food. That’s right, food and waste aren’t the same thing. It’s been really great to live in a place where composting isn’t weird, but also a little bit frustrating to watch my American flatmates try to adjust. Not to rat on them, but I’ve found spinach in the waste bin, and plastic bags in the food bin (bins with labels on them as to what you should and shouldn’t throw in). To me, it’s a sign that we’ve conditioned ourselves into thinking that once we’re done with something it doesn’t matter where it goes. Just stick it in a bin, and it’s not our problem anymore.

I could go on, but if seeing this gets one person to eat around the bruise on an apple and throw the core next to a tree rather than tossing the whole thing in the trash, then I feel pretty good about today.

Then there was that time I lived in Dublin for 5 weeks…

I’ve been distant, I know. It’s not you, it’s me.

The seaside market at Dun Laoghaire has been a favorite spot.
The seaside market at Dun Laoghaire has been a favorite spot.

You see, I’ve been hanging out with another blog whilst in Dublin for a five week study abroad program. I’m now four weeks in, and if I’m being honest here, I don’t have really have time for this. I just really needed a study break.

But I feel it’s important to communicate something: even though I’m up to my ass in school work, I’ve been trying to do a good amount of “experiencin,'” too, and I have to say, Dublin is kind of amazing. It’s got all the beauty and charm of other European cities I’ve visited, with the added bonuses of a language I can understand and really unpretentious citizens. In fact, I can easily say that Dublin is one of the most pleasant cities I’ve visited, at least, once I got my bearings. Continue reading