Tag Archives: useful

The Quiet Drive

I have a list of things I wish I would do (or do more often), not unlike many people.  It’s a fairly simple list:

  1. Date Scarlett Johannsen;
  2. Demand recognition of my rightful claim to the Polish monarchy; and
  3. Devote more time to thinking and reflecting.

The first one got screwed up by the allegedly dreamy Ryan Reynolds and on the second one, I just need to figure out how to recreate the Winged Hussars.  Boy, I get me some of those bad boys, it’s game over.

On the third one, I used to find myself often lamenting, “Every time I spend some quite time to myself just sort of thinking over life and whatever pops into my deranged noggin, I really enjoy it, get some good ideas and generally feel a lot more relaxed.”  But you know what?  I would almost never do it.  Genius, I know.

So in around November of last year, I was getting myself ready for my morning commute which usually runs me between 20 and 30 minutes and for some reason, I decided I would do it with no music or radio.  The result?  The quiet drive, something I have done pretty much every morning commute since.  And as you can tell from the photo below… my morning commute is not exactly an eye-popping visual treat (at least not during your typical gray New England winter day).

Generally I am a morning person and so some time to think things over before the hectic rush of the day swept over me was ideal.  The commute home is just decompressing from the day and music then is ideal.  But first thing in the morning?  Not so much.

The end result of this new practice is I feel like I am making really good use of my commute time, much more so than I have at any other point in my life.  It does help that my commute is actually longer than it used to be at my old job (since that was 7 minutes door-to-door) and I can actually allow my brain to wander a bit.  I might use the voice memo feature in Evernote on my Droid to record some random thought or get down what I want to do as a blog post.  Whatever it may be, I feel like it’s almost a form of mental stretching or warm-up before the work day begins.

If you have a commute that is 15 minutes or longer, I highly recommend giving it a try.  At first it can be odd without the constant distractions you have become accustomed to of music or talk radio… but after a few days, it becomes a great fit like a perfectly broken in pair of jeans.

And maybe… just maybe… it will be the solution to my Winged Hussar dilemma.  Seriously, I need me a Polish cavalry to wreak some serious havoc, people.  CRY HAVOC AND LET LOOSE THE DOGS OF WAR!

The Polish Winged Hussars bringing some sweet justice.

Don’t fight the future… ’cause ya ain’t gonna win

Throughout the news these days, it’s become all too common for those who bring us the news to actually be the news.  Traditional print media is taking a complete beating these days because of a fundamental failure to evolve.  Newspapers were killed by free classified sites like Craiglist’s and never figuring out a good way to make money with their web sites, where they typically gave away the same content as their hard copies for free.

But this is interesting to me:

Sports Illustrated really looks like they could be onto something.  I mean, in terms of “WOW!” factor, this has it.  Everything you love in your favorite magazine, automatically updated to a slim device you can bring everywhere?  With video?  And sharp photos and color?  Bring it my way.  I am already ridiculously in love with my Amazon Kindle (which if you know me, you know I can hardly stop talking about it at times).

But here’s why I am talking about this in the blog.  Three reasons really.  First, I am a sucker for ideas that seek to push the envelope from what we commonly accept as “the way it is” and seek to do things bigger, better, cooler and so on.  Great ideas are endlessly fascinating to me.  Second, whether or not this device ends up panning out, it’s those who seek to bring forward these ideas that I give a ton of credit to.  It’s easy to see all the questions that go along with this tablet: What will be the price point for the device?  How about for the magazine subscription?  Will I be able to get other magazines besides Sports Illustrated on it?  What kind of competition will this bring out and will the competitors do it better, cheaper or both?  But to go ahead and push forward with a product that changes the way we understand a commonly-accepted item to take them in entirely un-thought-of directions (iPods with music, the Kindle with books, Google with search, me with dead-sexy bloggers… you get the idea) is the inspirational piece to me… even if done by a gigantic media conglomerate like Time Warner/Apple/Amazon/Google.

The third reason has to do with the subject of the post.  I think we all seek to fight the future in some ways because change can be pretty scary.  I had lunch with a good friend today and we both talked about how we struggle with that at times.  I find change both scary and thrilling… it just depends on the kind of change.  For instance, when I see chances within the workplace to tear down old ways of doing things?  I am all over it.  Love it.  Gets me fired up.  But if you suddenly asked me to do the same, but uproot my life and move far away?  That’s when you would probably hear the longest “Welllll….. seeeee…. the thing is….” ya ever heard in your life.  The change might be great for me, but my appetite for it may be in the small tossed salad with a nice house dressing zone as opposed to the 32 oz. cowboy cut ribeye zone.

The moral of the story for me?  Go for the steak, baby… go for the steak.

Stuff I like

The world is full of cool stuff – really and truly.  As I find said stuff, I plan on sharing with you, gentle readers, because that’s just the kind of incredibly awesome guy I am.  Read on and hopefully something here will be of value to you.

Evernote

Evernote is a cross-platform program used for taking all kinds of notes.  Sounds simple, right?  Here is where it gets good: you can take the notes on:

  • the Evernote web site;
  • on a Windows or Mac version you download to your computer; or
  • on your iPhone, Blackberry or Android phone.

Then, your notes are synchronized across all of these platforms so you can access them wherever you are.

I have the Android version (and so I am guessing the iPhone version is about the same) and since I always have my Droid with me, I can pop in notes any time a moment of inspiration strikes.  These include text notes, voice notes or even taking pictures to create new notes.  The notes can then be tagged, places into a variety of notebooks and so on.  You can even upload handwritten documents or PDFs to keep everything you have all in one handy spot.

And guess what?  It’s free.  There is a premium version that gives you more storage and uploads, but a lot of people can make a ton of use of the free version (like I am doing, although I am giving a lot of thought to going premium).

Lifehacker

I’ve been reading Lifehacker for a little while now and it’s one of the better sites that focuses on a variety of “lifehacks” such as better ways to organize yourself, great computer/tech tips and basically anything else that will help make your life run a little more smoothly.  It does have a bit of a techie and computer leaning to it, but not to the point of it being so nerdy that you feel like you need “Linux rulez!” tattooed on your backside.

The 150 Healthiest Foods on Earth: The Surprising, Unbiased Truth About What You Should Eat and Why

I recommend this book by Jonny Bowden to everyone I know.  It’s a very easy read, well-organized by food type and with a clear explanation for why each of the 150 foods were picked for the list.  What refreshing about this book is that it’s not something with the typical agenda you find with some nutritionists (i.e. “All red meat is bad!  Just eat whole grains!”).  Also, it’s useful regardless of your eating style (vegetarian, vegan, high protein, etc.).

Absolutely Everything About This Photo:

Well, almost everything about this photo… just not the eventual tongue-lashing my girlfriend will dish out after seeing this.  Love ya honey!