{babble}

Social media.

Five months, going on six, and social media usage has changed a fair bit for me.

Using a lot less:

  • Instagram
  • Reddit
  • Twitter

A lot more:

  • Micro.blog
  • Mastodon

Flickr is still sitting there, waiting for our return home and having the laptop available on a desk, not having to balance it on my legs.

For the past month or so I haven't even turned on the laptop, everything is done on the iPhone, or not at all.

Organizing Flickr without a desktop browser is just too much of a pain, so I'm uploading photos with PhotoSync and I'll deal with the tagging and stuff when we're back home.

Reddit seems to have slipped into oblivion for me, it was mostly used to spend time that was left, and there's not a lot of that now.

I still visit Twitter daily, but spending almost no time there. Thankfully Twitterrific has a cool Muffle feature, the only accounts left un-muffled are a bunch of local people, the ones I interact with the most.

Instagram is a different beast altogether, and it's hard to get away. I used to spend a LOT of my online time on the platform, but it's down to a couple of minutes a day. On one had I was in a group that had no ads shown, and loved the way that allowed me to enjoy the service, but that ended a few months back and I can't really stand the ads. On the other hand we've been stuck at home, and there's only so much you can do, photographically speaking. Photos of tinyMovieStar and movieStar, but that's it. Also used for business purposes, but business has been slow since March.

I have the feeling I'm missing out on a lot over there, as most of my friends share a lot, but it's been hard with the ads.

But Micro.blog has been a godsend, and I'm enjoying my instance on Mastodon. Still makes zero sense for me to my own instance up and running, but Masto.host makes it so easy, I'll keep at it while the money lasts.


This is day 020 of my #100DaysToOffload challenge. You can find out all about this project at 100daystooffload.com.

On sleep.

Before the baby came along, I was a light sleeper. I would wake up with every little sound. My wife, on the other hand, wouldn't wake up if the house was on fire (figuratively, as we never got to the bottom of that one). She would sleep for 10-12 hours easily.

These days our roles have changed. As soon as I fall asleep, I'm dead. Nothing will wake me up. She gets up multiple times during the night, breastfeeding sessions, and I have no idea when that's happening, I'll just wake up in the morning, when the tinyMovieStar starts asking for breakfast.


This is day 019 of my #100DaysToOffload challenge. You can find out all about this project at 100daystooffload.com.

I'm sure I'll manage...

Reading a post from Gabz reminded me of one thing that happened to me a while back. A long while back.

At that time I was just getting started at my dream job, the newspaper where I would stay for 20 years.

Assignments abroad were distributed according to the next in line, regardless of what the actual assignment was. Everyone got a chance to do every kind of assignment that way, it's a practice that we kept up to today.

My time came, and I was assigned to a story that would become one of the most important I would cover on the 20 years I spent there.

This was way before digital came along, we were shooting film. It was a pain, enough for another story, but the thing here is I had only developed B&W up until then, color was always processed in a lab, by someone else.

My editor at the time started briefing me on the assignment, something so over my head by then, like nothing I had ever done. I would obviously be required to develop the film myself, there was only one lab on the island, on the other side of the world, and you could not trust they would do a good job.

He asked me if I felt confident I could pull the assignment off, if I would be able to handle this, and that, small details, big issues, and never once crossed his mind to ask I had ever done the processing bit in color. I did not say a word.

Went home, packed my bags, many of them, and the only thing I kept thinking about was the developing of the film. Not the trip across the world with many many kilos of gear, not the hotels I would have to find on my own because no travel agency worked with that particular country, the airplane tickets I would have to get once there.

“I hope the processing kits come with a damn manual!”

They did. And I did just fine. Turns out it was not that different.

And we both laughed a lot when I came back after a month and told him about the first time I developed color film on my own.


This is day 018 of my #100DaysToOffload challenge. You can find out all about this project at 100daystooffload.com.

Barefoot.

Short one today, but I had a flashback. Back in the day I worked at a laidback place, and spent six months out of the year barefoot at the office. I know, I know, some might feel icky about it, but that's how things worked. I was not the only one.

It was hot, the floors were cleaned daily, and I spent most of the time sitting at my desk.

I also love driving barefoot, and somehow I feel better when I have no shoes on.

Today I was walking tinyMovieStar around the house and garden and it hit me: I've been mostly barefoot since March. It's one of my favorite things of the lockdown, and it took me this long to realize that.


This is day 017 of my #100DaysToOffload challenge. You can find out all about this project at 100daystooffload.com.

I love driving. Cars, not so much. Except my own.

Over two decades ago I got new job, a nice one, the dream job.
Along with it, came the need for a car. I would need a car to perform my job. I had never thought about owning a car, never been a car fan, knew (and know) next to nothing about cars, but my editor at the time had a car I liked, so why not get one just like it ? Money wasn't really an issue then, so I quickly became the happy owner of a brand new Land Rover. The year was 1998.

I drove that car up and down the country, and in the city, down country roads, backroads, dirt roads and all other kind of roads, and places where roads were nowhere to be seen.

I took the car to it's natural habitat, Morocco, a few times, where it eventually broke down and was fixed by a mechanic that was also the muezzin, in a little town that barely made it to the map.

We've grown accustomed to each other, and I didn't get angry when some lights on the dashboard stopped working, and the car didn't say a word when i left it for a few months and came back much later, to a dead battery. This would become our thing.

I left the car in a garage for four years, when I became an editor myself, and walked to and from the office from home. When the time came to get it out of the lockup, I just got a new battery and it started right away, happy to see me. I was also glad to drive it again.

Parking at our place is hell on a good day, so the aging car was parked near my parents place for a while, enough to be towed into the impound, as if it was abandoned. It was thrilled when I showed up and told the cops they were crazy. Again it just started on the first try, and we got the hell out of there.

I got a motorcycle. Then another one. Then another one. The car said nothing.

I drove it to my in-laws, where it is now, living on the countryside and doing the occasional trip.

My wife loves the car. We took it on a couple of road trips already. You can tell the car is as happy as we are on those. Even though it's a bit more expensive to take him then other cars, we just do it. For us, but also to keep him going, happy.

He always goes to the same mechanic, who praises the clock-like engine, and says he will never die.

Today I had an appointment at the dentist and my brother-in-law's car was not available. So I drove my own.

The air-con needs fixing, there's no CarPlay, the radio is as low-fi as they come, cruising speed much lower than usual, but I was as happy as a kid. Every time I drive that car, it feels like I'm going on an adventure. An adventure where you're sitting on a very comfortable sofa. Even if it's just across the river.

I love driving, but I really love driving this one. Slow and heavy. Higher than other cars by a bit, enough to see down the road even when traffic is hectic.

tinyMovieStar will have a blast, as much as we do. I hope he never dies.


This is day 016 of my #100DaysToOffload challenge. You can find out all about this project at 100daystooffload.com.

Be My Eyes.

Taking a couple of minutes out of your life to help someone is always a great idea, and this app enables just that. Be My Eyes is a great concept, and it works amazingly well.

Be My Eyes is a free app that connects blind and low-vision people with sighted volunteers and company representatives for visual assistance through a live video call.

You get the app, available for iOS and Android, pick the languages you can help with, and wait.

One day the phone will ring, and you'll get your chance to help someone who can really use your eyes. I've found the number of volunteers to be so high that you won't have to help so often, but my day is always better when I'm able to answer one of their calls.

I got the chance to help pick pizza for lunch, out of same sized boxes with no cues for blind people, and sort out bank notes for a nice lady in Brazil...

It will take no longer than a few minutes most of the times, and I promise your heart will be filled with love for a day. How many times can you get a feeling like that for so little work ?

Don't know about you, but I know I have dozens of apps installed on my phone that are supposed to help me, or make me feel better, but this one is the one that gets the award. It never fails.

Why ? Because you're making someone else's day better. Not yours.


This is day 015 of my #100DaysToOffload challenge. You can find out all about this project at 100daystooffload.com.

Street Art.

I love street art. Ever since I can remember I liked graffiti, and loved how it has evolved into something so fantastic over the years. It's one thing I find myself (along with thousands of others) shooting along the way, wherever I might find myself.

My own city has great examples of this art form, as most cities do these days, and when we travel we like to look for it as well (I'm looking at you, Georgetown!).

With little time for computer things these days, I do however have a phone in my hands most of the time. And on it close to 90000 photos. Some, obviously, are photos of street art. So I thought why not get some of them together and post them at Micro.blog, under its own page ?

Done. There is now a street art page at {micro maique}.

👾


This is day 014 of my #100DaysToOffload challenge. You can find out all about this project at 100daystooffload.com.

Being on time.

Since I can remember I've always been a bit of a fanatic with being on time.

This whole country takes the fashionably late to a new level, and it always makes me mad. I like to be on time, I strive to be on time, I hate it when people are late.

You have to get used to waiting when you live here, as most people are not as punctual, and that takes some time (pun intended) to get used to, or you never do.

It was one thing I tried to pass on, with variable success, to my interns over the years. Once I had a class where I waited for 15 minutes past the hour, none of the pupils made it, so I left. No teacher had ever done that, but the students were never late again for my class.

It's one quality I'd love my daughter to have. For me being late is a sign of disrespect, of poor education, but I'm aware I'm in the minority here. I wish she will be too.

But I'll have to wait a bit longer, for now we're always failing. It's the first time in my life I'm not in control, she is. She has her feeding times, and I cannot control those. Most of the times we still make it close enough, and people are more than willing to cut us some slack, the appointed times are now a bit more flexible. But today we have an important event, one that involves civil servants, and it's going to be hard.

Getting everything ready to go is the easy part. Getting her ready... not so much. These appointments were usually on a first come, first served basis, you'd stand in line until your turn came, but Covid changed that and it's now by appointment only, with a set time. They wait for no one, not even a baby. If you're not there, you miss your slot.

I would love this system to stick around, it's easier for people like me, unless they have babies 😊


This is day 013 of my #100DaysToOffload challenge. You can find out all about this project at 100daystooffload.com.

Missing our home.

We moved here in March, three days after my birthday.

A little over a month later the baby was born, and we had moved because of that. At the time we had no idea how things would work with the whole pandemic situation, and felt safer moving out of the city and into the big house in the suburbs, with more people to help out during the first months of her life.

We have enjoyed, very much, the extra room, the garden, and specially the help. We don't have to worry about laundry, or cooking, we can take care of the baby 100% of the time.

But maybe it's time to go. We went to town this week, visited our place, and felt a bit homesick.

And both of us talked about the quietness we felt, even though it's a lot less quiet downtown when compared to the place we are now.

Maybe another week, but moving time is close. We will be on our own, but that's what this is all about. And, truthfully, help is never far, should we need it.

We're lucky and feel very thankful.


This is day 012 of my #100DaysToOffload challenge. You can find out all about this project at 100daystooffload.com.

I miss walking.

There's not a lot of things I miss at the moment. As I've said before, I'm in a position that I'm enjoying, being locked at home with the baby and my wife. This happened to be the perfect time to have a baby, as the time we're spending together would have been hard to get without the pandemic.

I do miss traveling, some (very few) people, and the sort of freedom we enjoyed before, of deciding where and what and how and when we did stuff. That would change with the baby anyway, so that's that.

I do miss walking.

We used to walk a lot, while on the road and at home. Living in town is great, as it's a very walkable town. We were used to walking, we'd walk everywhere. We'd walk to the supermarket, we'd walk to the restaurants, we'd walk to a friend's place. Sure, you need a car for a few things, but we don't even have a car in town anymore. We use the apps, for both cars and electric motorcycles. And we walk.

Since we moved out of town for the pandemic, we don't walk. A trip to the supermarket is only possible with a car, the pharmacy is far, the cafes are far, everything is too far to walk.

When we think about moving back home, and decide to stick here a bit longer, that's the thing I miss the most: walking everywhere.


This is day 011 of my #100DaysToOffload challenge. You can find out all about this project at 100daystooffload.com.