Monday, February 8

5 Fascinating and Thought-Provoking Links

Just what the title says... links I've found in the last couple months that made me happy or made me think.

Steam-punking a back brace to look like cosplay armor. AKA why it is awesome to be a geek/have geeky friends. This definitely got me thinking about the intersection between creativity, the Maker Movement, and the eminently practical ways in which we love on people in everyday real-life situations.

Shut Up, I'm Amazing. A fantastic reminder that our internal voices matter. Serious food for thought on the reality that we have both the power and the responsibility to be intentional about how our words - spoken and unspoken - shape our lives.

What Color Lightsaber Would You Wield Quiz. I am delighted to report that (like my new hero Mara Jade) I got purple, which means I am unapologetically "more morally ambiguous" than your average Jedi. Or, as Mara puts it, "I fight exactly as fair as my opponents" and have an "undiminished capacity for mayhem."

How Do You Define Strong? "So what is strength? Well it depends on our sport, lifestyle, and goals."
This is a somewhat technically oriented article written by a strength trainer, but I really appreciated the message at it's bottom line (and written between the lines): arbitrary fitness standards, goals, and measurements are largely pointless. What matters is how you define strong for your personal body and life. If what you're doing or measuring doesn't serve to bring you closer to strong as you define it for yourself, give it up, throw it out, and replace it with something that does. 

How to Move (and Fly) A Body. "Because, well, we seldom die where it’s most convenient." A random and fascinating look at the kinds of realities and logistics that are surprisingly relevant and entirely predictable, yet rarely considered until the worst possible time.

Bonus link: The Fictitious Pregnancy of Mara Jade.
This is a short, hysterical non-cannon story from the Star Wars universe in the tradition of Oscar Wilde's The Importance of Being Earnest.  It isn't the best edited, or the best in-character portrayal of everyone, but it's so funny and well put together that it more than makes up for what it lacks.

Sunday, February 7

Happy [Belated] Clean Out Your Computer Day

I'm rather a fond of unofficial and off-beat holidays, and the ISTJ in me doubly appreciates when unofficial holidays serve highly functional purposes. Last Tuesday was a perfect example: National Clean Out Your Computer Day.

In this age of digital everything, it's all too easy for our computers, phones, and other devices to become cluttered with old and duplicate photos, ambiguously named files, defunct links and bookmarks, and other outdated remnants. Data storage being what it is, these things are easy to ignore on a day-to-day basis, but the sad truth is that they tend to cost us time and energy when we can least afford it. As anyone who's ever ransacked their hard drive for a critical file needed on short notice knows, clutter gets frustrating fast when you're in a hurry.

Interestingly, I was reminded several times in December by unrelated sources that the difference between businesses/households that thrive, succeed and function smoothly and those that don't can often be summed up in one word: systems.

Even exceptionally simple systems, when well designed and followed consistently, can radically reshape our lives for the better. It can take a couple tries to establish and refine systems that work for our unique needs, and the creation or reformation of habits is usually involved, but the relative payoff is huge.

I didn't get my computer (or my Pinterest account) completely cleaned out last week, and I admit I'm still actively working on establishing and revising systems for a variety of aspects of my life. I also have yet to address at all the whole necessity of properly backing up important files. But I did appreciate the reminder that this is an area worth focusing on, and the challenge to pick up my pace in this respect. After all, what better time to roll up one's sleeves and do a little digital purging an organizing than when it's cold and inhospitable outside?

What about you? Could your digital life and personal/professional systems use some refining this year?