reviews

New Year, New Device, New Habits

So, for Christmas, I received a tablet. It is lovely and fits my limited needs (surfing the web, a quick email or two). But I still use the laptop for some things (typing longer texts, the Garden Planner at kgi.org).
Now, that the New Year is 3 weeks old, I felt the need to get a little more organized and thought of installing a to-do app. As I understand it, To-Do apps are the “Hello World” of apps; meaning that every tutorial and book on how to program an app uses them as their example. Consequently, there are a LOT of these apps around. I chose HabitRPG without testing any others.
I had read about HabitRPG on the interwebs (definitely on Soup.io and maybe BoingBoing.net) and I felt it was worth a try because

a) it’s free
b) it caters to my delight in checking off lists and having proof that I’m doing stuff
c) the rewards are listed too, making it much easier to say “Oh, I was such a good Fritzi today! I definitely deserve an hour of mindless internet / a new skein of wool / a frivolity of my choosing.”

I like the fact that I can differentiate between New Habits I’d like to form, daily tasks (there is an option to specify which days of the week the task needs to be done), and a to-do list with one-off or rarely reoccurring tasks (deadline optional). A task can even be comprised of several sub-tasks (for example: I can break “clean kitchen” down into “do dishes”, “wipe surfaces”, “clean stove”, and “clean floor”, checking off each sub-task as I complete it). I can determine a task’s or habit’s difficulty and am rewarded or “punished” accordingly. I can make up my own rewards and specify how many of my earned points they will cost me.

There is a social aspect to HabitRPG as well: just as many bigger MMORPGs there are guilds and groups, quests and bosses, and an inn where players come to chat and hang out. So far the only social aspect I’ve tried are the “challenges”. Anybody can make up a challenge. I’ve joined one which puts all the tasks necessary for looking after my plants on my lists. My progress is shared with all those who have also joined this challenge and, I’m guessing, there is the possibility of sharing one’s experience via chat.

I’ve installed the mobile app on my tablet and occasionally use the website (just because I like it better for editing and adding tasks).

After two days of using HabitRPG I can not say much, but I can say that it has made me more focused on working down my to-do lists and even makes me look forward to doing certain things, just because I want to feel like I’ve really earned that second cup of coffee or evening of scrolling through soup.io.

Next on my app wish-list is the Unfuck your Habitat app… simply because their website and twitter are helpful and wonderful. Maybe I can find a way to combine UFYH with HabitRPG? Will see.

Confession at the end: I love to-do lists and will sometimes put “have shower” on one just for the joy of having something to cross off. And then there are the days where having had a shower is one of my small victories of the day.

Memorium in Nuernberg

Deutsch
Am Mittwoch war ich mit meiner Abuela im Memorium in Nürnberg. Die Ausstellung ist klein aber fein. Obwohl der Audioguide im Deutschen nur die Texte, die sowieso neben und unter Bildern stehen, vorliest ist er trotzdem wichtig für die Stellen, an denen Archivmaterial abgespielt wird, da dieses über den Audioguide empfangen wird. Das Museumspersonal war sehr freundlich, die Ausstellung detailliert und gut aufbereitet. Vorallem der Schluß, an dem erklärt wird wie die Erfahrungen von den Nürnberger Prozessen auf die Prozesse in Japan und schließlich in Den Haag angewandt wurden, enthielt für mich viele neue Informationen.
Das Einzige was fehlt ist ein kleines Café in dem man zum Abschluß noch ein gutes Stück Kuchen essen kann.

English
On Wednesday my Abuela and I went to the Memorium in Nuremberg. The exhibit is small but very good. The Audioguide doesn’t just translate the German texts but also streams original recordings of the proceedings at the Nuremberg Trials. The staff were very friendly and helpful and the exhibition was detailed and well executed. Especially the last bit, in which they explain how the experiences of the Nuremberg Trials was then applied to similar trials in Japan and later in The Hague, contained lots of information that was new to me.
The only thing missing is a cafeteria or café where visitors could enjoy a nice piece of cake.

Beijing Dance Theatre’s “Haze”

A week ago I went to see the Beijing Dance Theatre perform Wang Yuanyuan’s Haze.
My first reaction after the final curtain was “Wow! They just danced for 70 minutes straight!”
But of course it’s way more than just that. The choreography is engaging and (this probably sounds weird) well-paced. I liked the choice of music, the minimalist backdrop, and the lighting.
The surprise for me (and it took me a while to realize it) was that the dancers were not extremely good at bouncing off the floor, but were actually dancing on a mat.

I know modern dance can sometimes be strange or leave you feeling like you’ve missed something, but this choreography is not like that. It was aesthetically pleasing and impressive in an endurance-sport kind of way. It also did a good job of visualizing the multiple meanings of the title. The title Haze alludes to air-pollution, but also to the hazy circumstances that cause financial crises, and finally to the confusion that the multiple layers of social interactions (with veiled intentions and unclear goals) can cause.

Haze on YouTube

Delightful Dirty Stories

Joey Comeau has recently self-published a book of dirty stories that “are weird and fun and often bewildering, like sex itself” titled The Girl who Couldn’t Come. There is also math, ghosts, and time travel.

You can read some of the stories here.

Personally, I enjoyed the ones I read. It felt like the author really likes his characters and wants us to like them too.
Some stories are strange or shocking or surprising (like the twist in “And then the Werewolf”). But mostly they are about people having sex. And not in a “throbbing manhood” or “unleashed passions” kind of way.

My favorite is “one two three four five six seven eight”.

This book is for anyone who has sex.

 

Joey Comeau is a Canadian author who also works on the asofterworld.com comic.