Tag Archives: life hacks

Friday Pix: Recommended Reading For The Weekend

Every Friday I point you towards some recommended reading around the blogosphere:

1. I always love the posts over at Communicatrix, but I especially enjoyed this meditation on the little things in life that make your day run more smoothly (life hacks, for those in the know). Be sure to read the comment section for loads more suggestions!

2. I found this first-hand account of what it’s like to ghost write student term papers over at the Chronicle of Higher Education to be absolutely chilling. I literally had to stop reading half-way through because of the pit in my stomach.

3. This send-up of Sarah Palin by Alexandra Petri at the Washington Post may well be the funniest thing I’ve read to date on our friend from Alaska. (And Lord knows there’s been lots of material!)

4. Loved the Ikea Guide to Baby-Making, courtesy of the ever-amazing Guy Kawasaki at Holy Kaw!

5. For the Americans out there, two Thanksgiving posts I really liked a lot. The first is the fabulous Deb Ng’s list of all the things she *isn’t* thankful for. (I’m not thankful for brussel sprouts either.)

6. The second is a thoughtful post in the New York Times on gratitude (and moral progress) by one of my favorite American writers, Robert Wright.

7. Finally, for those following events in the U.K., here’s my latest post from Politics Daily on what the latest round of student protests means for the future.

 

Have a great weekend!

Untangling My Ipod: Why I'm Not a Lifehacker

I posted last Thursday about my new-found fondness for self-help manuals.

But I realized over the weekend that there are limits to my self-help tendencies. Specifically – and you heard it here first – I am not a life hacker.

What is a life hacker, you ask?

Wikipedia tells us that “lifehack” was originally a computer term that referred to productivity tricks programmers devised to cut through information overload. Over time, however, it’s come to refer to anything that solves an everyday problem in a clever or non-obvious way.

The reason I know that I’m not a lifehacker is because I’m married to one. I’ve blogged before about my husband’s fondness for household gadgetry here and here. He’s also been known to email me instructions for how to achieve the best “tamp” on one’s espresso, as well as videos for how best to employ our new George Forman Grill (which – it bears saying – is the kitchen-appliance equivalent of a life hack all by itself. Once you’ve grilled a chicken breast on one of those babies, you’ll never go back to a frying pan. Trust me.)

It’s not that I don’t appreciate all of these lifehacks. They are – indisputedly – useful.  Take this one, for example. It’s a video – courtesy of my husband, natch – that shows you how to roll up Ipod headphones without getting them all tangled…because, hey, we’ve all been stuck there, right?

No really, we have. It’s just that my personality is such that rather than track down the information needed to figure out how to do this properly, I’m inclined to just shove the headphones back in the drawer the way I found them – and then untangle them the next time. And he’s not. And I think there are a lot of me’s – and him’s – out there. It’s just one more way that the world maps itself onto the whole boxers vs. briefs thing.

The reason that I got to thinking about all of this recently was that I finally killed off another lifehack in our home:  the dreaded home seltzer dispenser. We first spotted these on a trip to Israel a few years back and they seemed like such handy little doo-dads. After all, I hate tap water and will drink it only under duress. But buying sparkling water is so expensive…and environmentally unfriendly…and possibly cancer-inducing…that I just thought: right! No more bottled water! We will do this ourselves! (OK, it was actually my husband’s idea. But I was totally on board).

And because he’s a classic over-buyer, we purchased like 512 of the little CO2 cartridges

Much as I tried, however, I grew to I hate our little home carbonation scheme. I hated having to fill the syphon with filtered water. And I hated that, as you neared the bottom, it lost all carbonation. And I hated that it didn’t taste like the nice sparkling water you could buy in stores.

And so this weekend – 512 cartridges worse for the wear – I finally broke down. “I think I’m going to go back to store bought water,” I told my husband, my eyes cast downward.

And much to my astonishment, he didn’t object.

“That’s OK,” he said. “I understand.”

I breathed a huge sigh of relief. And then, just as I found a spot for the syphon in the back of our closet, I stumbled upon…but what was this? A small device for removing the seeds of an apple. (Unlike…um…say, a knife?)

Oh no!

*****

Speaking of lifehacks, the Guardian has a hilarious article in today’s paper about “household objects we’d like to see.”

Image: Headphones by JBelluch via Flickr under a Creative Commons license.

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