One of my strategies to shake loose from the daily grind is to pinpoint the locations that inspire stagnation—and pull the rug out from under myself. In the last couple of weeks I've done a pretty good job. (No biggie.)
- Moving my computer in my office to the low desk. Originally this was because we were hosting a field trip and an open house, where kids would be coming in to crowd and body-slam the high desk on which my pride and joy delicately perches. The result is that I can use the entire high desk (with built-in light table) for my art projects, and I'm pressured into staying on-task when at my computer, because its jumbotron-scale screen faces the conference room's French doors. Neck cricks while sitting may make this configuration unsustainable come Ignoramus, but it's perfect for now.
- Moving my bed into a south-facing bedroom right below the windows. Perhaps this seems trivial to those light sleepers or morning people among us, but I have a serious snooze problem, and this is actually helping me start my days. Added benefit: windows open with no driveway or AC unit noise. Not like it ever kept me awake anyway.
- Purchasing more Copic markers in a wider variety of flesh tones as well as an awesome 1950s-themed palette. This was the product of poring over online swatches and books on Googie style for days. I did pretty well with the exception of splurging on one of the "new" colors, BG53 Ice Mint, which is, by all accounts, almost identical to BG01 Aqua Blue (even though it doesn't look like it everywhere I checked).
- Ponying up $3/month for Last.fm's radio feature. I don't care if Spotify radio is free. It is terrible unless you are specifically looking to play a song or album you know you want to hear, in which case it is pretty handy now and again. That is, if you can stomach the repetitive ads that come on every 3 to 4 songs. And if you can deal with the fact that Spotify Basic is nothing more than an advertisement designed to talk you into subscribing to Spotify Premium. Spotify Premium is $9.99/mo (plus taxes and fees of course), which I don't think is that great of a value, considering their radio function is feeble at best (e.g. there is very little depth to what it finds on any given prompt), and the illusion of ownership of your library and playlists is kind of smarmy. Plus, I am always insulted by the way their interface is designed to push the popular stuff that I'm sure they're getting a spiff for promoting. I've certainly never indicated to Spotify that I have Bieber Fever or Mumford & Sons Flu, but you wouldn't know that by looking at what Spotify has recommended for me. Pandora, on the other hand is OK. Better so-called customized radio functionality/access to the music genome. And Pandora One is comparable to Last.fm at $36/year or $3.99 if you pay monthly. But the real reason that Last.fm is far and away the best, and worth every one of those 300 pennies a month? Nothing can match the incredible depth and breadth of their personalized radio because of Scrobbling, which tabulates your listening preferences not based on what you thumbs-up or -down once they've played it, but based on what's actually IN your iTunes library and what you're actually listening to on your devices. Side note: whenever you're in the mood for really excellent human-curated internet radio nothing beats Radio Paradise. (Weird, spontaneous internet radio product review.)
- Attending my 10th college reunion. Not that I need to prove anything to anyone, but it's nice to be held accountable to certain people on a daily basis, others on a weekly basis, others monthly, and some that you want to be able to trot out 10 years' worth of accomplishments for. It also gave me a chance to explore Minneapolis via light rail, which is really neat.
- Starting a blog, abandoning it, then resuming it.