Anyone wanna join me in a simplicity challenge?

First of all, I’m addicted to Pinterest. We all know this, I think. I know this. MBF knows this. End of list. Anyway, I saw this blog “DoMoreWithLess” and I’m loving it. She posted a bunch of links recently, one of which was to a simplicity game. Ready?

Get rid of one thing on the 1st of the month. Two things on the 2nd. Three on the 3rd. And so on.

So today is October 10. I think I’m going to catch everything up and get rid of 1+2+3…+10 things: 55 total.  (TWO?? FEFTEH-FOIVE!) Wow, that’s a lot today.

Who’s with me?

Watch the last two seconds of this to get my reference:

See ya, Converse. Just kidding.

Well, I thought I would toss out these old black low-tops, but damn if I don’t still love them, even with what I thought would be their replacements: starry high-tops I’m pretty sure have summoned Doctor Who by their very existence. I just have to click my rubber heels together and repeat “I do believe in faster than light travel..I do believe in FTL travel…”

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Freeing mental storage space

Or at least, freeing up virtual mental storage space. Aka ditching my old emails. Why have I kept them for so long? Honestly, I went back to the year 2000 in my Yahoo account. Why? It’s just silly.

Now that cloud storage is so easy (free) to get, it’s simple to just drop photos that I was “saving” in my inbox right into the cloud. Old addresses? Well, after 14 years I wasn’t sure if some were still good, so I replied to the email I’d saved for that purpose. And guess what? It’s better than social media for reconnecting. My friends got direct emails, and one of them even called me up! Imagine that.

As for the “tough” emails from people who gave me hard news or with whom I had rough times, I got rid of them. I felt bad every time I saw the subject line, and I remember the pain enough without the email. Let it go.

So now, here’s where my inboxes sit. According to chats with my friend, I started clearing Yahoo back in the second week of May, and at one point was proud my inbox total was below 1600, and over 1200 unread Yahoo mails. I’m not sure where my Gmail sat, but as it was an emergency “I can’t deal with this many emails” account, I’m gonna guess it wasn’t too bad.

Now I’ve just gotta tackle the bailed-on Gmail account. Yikes.

Hey, pro tip: connecting email accounts to Mail makes finding and deleting emails super simple. For some reason, I’ve never been able to do large find/deletes on web mails. In the Mail app (on Mac), it is just super simple.

Car(e)free month progress

So here we are almost done with October, and nary a word from me on my car-free October project. Well, before the last week is here, let say a bit aboot it.

Short story: used the car three times. I’ve gone way WAY fewer places than usual, and I like the expectation of not driving each morning.

The details: it’s not easy getting downtown from the burbs. Sure, buses run there, and most even have bike racks.

So on October 4, my first car driving day, I mapped it all out and realized that I wouldn’t make it downtown in time for my meeting. Two buses and a mile walk (or quick ride) from the bus stop meant I’d have to leave work around 4:30 to do it. And that assumes no missed connections.

Add to that the return trip: another ride/walk in the dark, and another bus transfer. This one, though, I had to make by 10:15 or I’d have to bike an extra 6 miles on a main road at night. People do it all the time, sure. But I hadn’t.

Couple all that the coincidence of mbf needing to be a few miles from me and in a similar situation (transfers, darkness), and we figured this one was ok to drive. We put the odometer on and saw that the whole round trip turned out to be over 40 miles. Very glad we didn’t try biking the whole way!

The second car-date was on the 17th: a surprise gift of concert tickets for me! The concert was even further away than the Oct 4 meeting, and what’s more, mbf had also invited a friend who needed ride and had zero bus options. We picked her up, concerted, and gladly delivered her safely after 1am. No bus runs that late out there or to our house, so again we called it good.

The third time was just lazy. This was yesterday, and I was on my bike, down the street, when a cold gust hit my face. When I factored in the threat of rain and a necessary trip during the work day (which I’ve twice before made by bike) and which would likely be during a cold downpour, I said screw it. I turned around and came home and got my car. I did, however, take my roommate to work. So carpooling happened, at least.

That use of my car was pure comfort-driven (pun intended), and it’s why I decided to finally blog about this. Last weekend I got my car fixed and so it became an option to use again. And a week later, when the weather was a teensy bit less fun, I flaked.

That’s disappointing. I thought I was more resolved than that. It brings home the whole thing, though: what I’m doing this month is totally by choice. I’m not forced to bike and walk. I have many vehicles and even willing friends to help get me places. I’ve merely chosen this.

Why?

I wanted to see how much less fuel I could use. And news flash, that came out to be a LOT less. Even using my car once a week for 40-mile trips is a zillion times better than my daily 6-mile round trip to work plus another 2 or 3 mile jaunt to get food. I’d still have made those longer trips anyway.

I stay home more, sure. But I go out by arranging carpooling, offering to be someone’s DD, or being creative. By forcing myself to choose carefully when I go out, I’ve only done things I was really interested in, really invested in. I’ve saved money there, for sure.

Share the road? No. It’s not your road.

There is way too much of a trend here. Bicyclist dies in a crash, people immediately say bikes don’t belong on the road. Signs go up reminding motorists to “share” the road. Bicyclists gather in rallies and ask people to “be kind”.

Uh, no.

Bicycles are vehicles. You don’t ask to “share” the road with Mini Coopers or motorcycles. The road belongs to all of these people in every vehicle. You don’t rally to “be kind” to people in crosswalks. Outside or off of our vehicles, we’re just plain “people”. Not “pedestrians”, not “shoppers”, (and while we’re on the subject of labels, we’re not “consumers” either). Just people.

What’s that trend of labelling I’m talking about? Referring to people as “consumers” dehumanizes them. It’s not just greenie blogs that think this. Big fancy blogs about writing and word choice also agree. How about TIME magazine?

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I can’t believe this sign is allowed to exist.

Ok,so what’s that got to do with bikes or “pedestrians”? When we label someone as anything other than a human, the person stops being human in our minds. “Pedestrians” become creatures that belong on a sidewalk. Not in a crosswalk, and definitely not on the roadway. They become beings that we should look out for, like possums and deer skittering onto our precious blacktop. This isn’t my original idea. Read about it yourself and I’ll get on with my rant. Oh, and the “shoppers” thing? Yeah. That happens. I took that picture, and it’s not the only place I’ve seen that sign.

So the point. We’re not shoppers, pedestrians, or bikers. We’re people. All of us, in cars, on bikes, on foot. And guess what? We all get from here to there however we can. Those paths intersect and overlap. A lot. You might be on a road, but you have to keep your eyes open for everything. You might be on a bike path, and same rules apply. And when you’re in a crosswalk, or even on a sidewalk (where, sadly, my friend’s father was killed by a rogue vehicle)? Well, I think your squishy soft flesh and self-preserving brain agree: watch out.

Everyone,watch out. We all belong where humans belong. Vehicles—fast or slow, human-powered or motor-fed—go on roads. The faster objects then have a responsibility to watch for slower moving objects—people, other vehicles (including bikes), and animals. In big cities and congested areas in other parts of the world, people, cars, and bikes all weave in and out of the same roadways. It works. Cars don’t expect to see only cars on the roads, so they keep an eye out. People don’t expect a nice, safe, car-free sidewalk, so they are wary, too.

But over here in ‘Merica, we love our cars. We love em to be as big and badassed as possible. We scoff at people waiting for the bus. We consider any form of locomotion, especially walking and biking, as either done for exercise or by necessity. That is, you are rich enough to have leisure time, so you suit up in your appropriate exercise outfit and hit the streets to burn off some fat, or you’re too poor to afford a car and your feet or bike are your only choice. It’s a rare soul who drives by a bicyclist and thinks “man, there’s freedom. I sure wish I could leave my big gas-guzzler behind forever.”

Hence, signs for “shoppers crossing” and “Ped xing”. From high atop our SUVs and down in the depths of our Coopers we think “Shoppers and Pedestrians are not Us. They are not Drivers. We all-powerful Drivers must benevolently give way to the lower life forms. We must share.”

No. “Sharing” the road indicates you have something that you allow me to use. And those roads? They’re not yours. They’re ours. They’re not shareable because they don’t belong to anyone. I don’t “share” parks with you. We just use them together. Maybe I’m splitting hairs and co-use is already “sharing” by your definition. But I want to be clear about this. Roads aren’t yours for “sharing”. They are for us all to use together. At the same time; we do not take turns using the roads.

Keep watching. I’m out there, and I’m squishy, and you may not like me or that idea, but I’m a human just like you.

In this case, I’m def outtie

The Tiny Life , Archive » Is It Worth It?.

Yeah, I'm all set.

So I’m reading the article linked above and they say “if you were to account for the time the average American spends earning money just to pay for standard home in the US, you work 15 years of your life just for your house.”  Sweet. My plans* for peace-outing will continue!

Should I back up and clue you in? Ok.

The big wide world awaits. I’ve got so little time—we all do—and I’m sure not set on sitting behind a desk for 40 years of it, hoping that I’ll be able to get out and see some of it in my final 20.

Since the end of my first 20, I’ve been working behind one desk or another. Why? I built a house too big to afford, then sold it. I bought a smaller house and still need roommates to afford it. It’s just crazy and useless. And I’ve got 25 more years of this to go? I’m all set, thanks.

Recently, MBF read about a study predicting a full collapse by 2030. (This assumes we survive the great zombie apocalypse of 2012, but I’ve already got my zombie bug-out plans, so I’m set.) If that’s the case, I need to get my world-seeing in before 2030, and get hunkered down somewhere slightly before.

A quick timeline:

2030 collapse
-3 years to settle into a place
——-
2027 year to finish up travels
-2013 when I can first leave home
——–
14 years to get my adventures in, without a home to tie me down while I do it.

Perfect! I’ll still be a year ahead of the game, saving myself 15 years of pointless toil (for a home) and exchange those for 14 years of homeless touring.

I like math.

*”Plans” are more like “structured daydreams”. Playdreams, I like to call them. I do all the math, all the planning, all the phone calls as if I’m actually going to go through with it. This used to scare my (now ex-) husband and has panicked at least one aunt, prompting her to call my mother. Tattle tale. Know ye: it’s simply a very vivid daydream. Nothing makes me happier than scribbling out budgets and numbers on a page, torturing numbers until they suit me. Then I smile and get back to my real job making donuts and cranking out the big balls.

Ok, but maybe I’ll actually do this. In fact, I’d call this one “likely“.

Sustainable information: Where my blog posts at?

A big hear-hear to this: Sustainable information: Beyond tofu news and high-fructose media.

Way too much to ingest.

What’s it mean? Well, it means that I sit with anywhere between 800 and 1000+ items in my Google feed reader, 100 undread emails in my 2000+ message inbox, and just plain don’t keep up with anything or anyone on Facebook. In fact, I started taking more and more Facebook sabbaticals. There’s just too much information buzzing around.

I even have real mail piled up in crazy heaps. (Oh, btw, download and use Paper Karma to help get rid of unbidden junk mail. It’s pretty easy to use, but I haven’t used it long enough to say if it’s working yet. And that’s not an affiliate link.)

With all this incoming info, it’s hard for me to sort out what I want to say on my own blog(s), Facebook, Pinterest, Tumblr, Twitter, Flickr, and who knows what all else I’ve signed up for and ditched.

I think it’s gonna break down like this: this blog will continue to be about changing my own life from geeky gamer to … well, probably still a geeky gamer, but with a much more sustainable outlook on life (I hope). I’ll keep posting about the simplification of my life, like my decluttering, and the greening it’s been undergoing. Oh and murloc hats. Those’ll still be here. Maybe when my life’s a little simpler, I can sit down and write that damned pattern out. 

Facebook will get mainly pictures from my life. I rarely post a status update, but when I do, I’m going to try to make it worth reading. No, I’m not going the route of careful tweetcrafting, aiming for the most ironic or funniest or anything else superlative and hip. God knows I can’t do “hip”. I just want the chance to post something worth sharing across the millions of FB users worldwide. Something, hopefully, that might change things for the better. Big dreams, sure. But a tool’s a tool, and that’s how I’m gonna start looking at it.

Pinterest is my fluffy dream space. Ordinarily I’d post stuff here; that’s how this all started. Maybe I’ll go back to that at some point. But for not, Pinterest is SO much easier to quickly note a cool image and move on. No post required, no downloading the image and hosting on my own blog, no citations. It does all that junk for ya.  UPDATE:  Before even editing and posting this, I’ve come across an article that describes Pinterest and some issues with copyrights. In a nutshell: don’t post things to Pinterest that you don’t own, but don’t promote your own work. If that’s not confusing, then just consider that in many cases, P’rest doesn’t link back to the original; it links back to itself. So… I think I’ll go back to Tumblr, where at least I control linking to sources and where someone can contact me and tell me to not post their stuff. There’s no reliable “paper trail” in P’rest.

Tumblr.. I used to have this blog post to Tumblr and Twitter, then Tumblr post to FB. Crazy. It was like “woofing” from The Office. I won’t woof anymore, but I think I will make Tumblr my crazy fluffy assortment of “huh” it once was. I might even skip that altogether and go back to posting stuff I find here. That would be simplest. I’ll play with the “Press this” button I use for posting to WordPress (this) and whatever the button’s called that lets me post easily to Tumblr. My hunch is that Tumblr will go away and this blog will once again painfully display just how much surfing I do.

Speaking of surfing, I was up ridiculously early for a day off today, and romanticized about flipping through my feed reader while sipping a latte in a sunlit corner of a coffee shop. I was overwhelmed with the excessively useless stuff I flipped through. Looking at pictures of fabulous things inspires me, yes, but I’ve got mountains of projects to do yet, and more images of awesome things just makes me feel inadequate in my shabby car, imperfect yard, or way-not-beachworthy body. It takes joy from me and wastes my time. So they’re all gone. I’m all for crafting and repurposing, but I didn’t realize how many blogs talk about seasonal crafts from toilet paper rolls, or finding sources for burlap, or egg favors for parties. I don’t need these things, however green they might be. 

Much bloggery has become … well, let’s just say escalated, almost a caricature of trends. I apologize to the person that designed this. It’s great, and I’m all about the tiny house craze: I love it. I want to go from 1500 sf to 200 sf. But the article that described a reclaimed dumpster as “luxurious”? Well, I couldn’t decide if they were being tongue-in-cheek, but I think they were being straight. You decide. I think luxury isn’t just nice trimmings, but a nice core without too much added or taken away. Luxury is a hammock in a nice breeze and the time to enjoy it, not a diamond-encrusted hammock in the tropics with no time to enjoy nor a hammock made from reclaimed nails and glass shards. At least, not by my definition.

All that explanation to say: I’m reconsidering all my blogs today, paring down from 159 subscriptions (which has crept up past my last weeding in 2010) to 57. I loved them all, but I need to FOCUS. That mountain in my garage is weighing on me, and I still need to finish a website for my brother. My required to-do pile is feeling pretty huge.

Speaking of which, time to go get some things done. With only one weekend day to me each week, I need to motor.