Metatalktail Hour: Back to basics November 16, 2019 8:46 PM   Subscribe

Good weekend, Mefites! For Metatalktails this week I'm wondering, have you gone back to basics in something lately? That is, something you'd been doing in the newfangled high tech way, but stopped, and went back to the old way of doing it?

As always this is a conversation starter not limiter; come on in and tell us how your week or weekend are looking.
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) to MetaFilter-Related at 8:46 PM (76 comments total) 5 users marked this as a favorite

For me, I've had a Fitbit for a few years but just recently decided to stop using it and go back to my good old timex easy reader wristwatch. Happily, it's one of the few watches that's still widely available. So far so good, and I like not feeling like some company is watching me sleep.
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 8:49 PM on November 16, 2019 [4 favorites]

I came in here to say the same thing. Running with the Garmin causes me weird amounts of stress and I feel so much nicer when I just run without it, but then there is Strava and my compulsive need to overanalyze things.
posted by Literaryhero at 8:52 PM on November 16, 2019 [3 favorites]

On the subject of this week's topic: I've gone back to running. I took a break because I just wasn't in that mental space the last few months but now I'm back at it and feeling good. I was going for long walks but had stopped my running. It feels so nice to return to form.

Soooo, not related to this week's topic but something I want to share that just happened which has made me smile and all the feels.

This happened.

My wife surprised me, my birthday gift. I was hoping for this at Xmas and it was on my wishlist, and that I got it a month earlier on my birthday (technically yesterday), well you can see my joy.

Thanks to my beautiful & lovely wife nightrecordings. I don't deserve you but I'm glad I'm lucky enough to have you in my life. ❤️😍😘
posted by Fizz at 9:07 PM on November 16, 2019 [25 favorites]

I got tired of syncing up all of my calendars--or trying to-- and went back to my Filofax week-on-two-pages planner.

Works like a charm.If it's not important enough to write down, it's not important.
posted by rpfields at 9:12 PM on November 16, 2019 [7 favorites]

I've been cooking on my woodstove. Cheeseburgers for Breakfast 2020!
posted by drlith at 9:13 PM on November 16, 2019 [8 favorites]

The place where I'm housesitting has a cool antique coffee grinder, which I love in every possible way over the electric one I was using. I don't mind that it's hand-cranked, and the grind is much more even and nice than the grind I was getting from the cheapo bladed electric grinder. The owner of the house was nice enough to give me one for myself, an older and smaller one that he doesn't like as much, and I'm absolutely thrilled with it.

Other than that I've been using more power tools than ever, which is a dream come true for me. I'm getting paid to fix things, which is something I've wanted for many years. Not sure if I'll be able to do this kind of work consistently, but it's fun while it lasts. The one thing that's a downer is that I still have pretty low energy levels -- hours of every day are wasted on excessive sleepiness.

I need some sort of DIY project(s) while I have immediate access to so many power tools. I have to weigh this against doing actual paid work, but it would be a shame if I couldn't come up with something.
posted by shapes that haunt the dusk at 9:16 PM on November 16, 2019 [4 favorites]

Also DIY is such a rabbit hole. I fixed a lamp this evening, and now I'm looking up tap and die sets and daydreaming about making my own lamps out of wood and metal pipe. Being broke means I'm forced to exercise self-restraint, which is arguably a good thing, but man oh man. I get very excited when I think about the possibilities that would open up if I had an angle grinder and a tap and die set...

The practical side of my brain is telling me to take things one step at a time, but the daydreaming part of my brain is like "no, you can sell stuff on the MeFi Mall!"
posted by shapes that haunt the dusk at 9:22 PM on November 16, 2019 [7 favorites]

I actually wrote a hand written note to a long-time friend. Interestingly, I got a phone call back as she was walking inside from the mailbox. My kids don't even know from email much less that a phone is for making actual, you know, phone calls.
posted by AugustWest at 10:03 PM on November 16, 2019 [3 favorites]

My relatively recent back-to-basics (or perhaps "bassics" in my case) move: After years of playing electric bass guitar I gravitated to an electric upright bass, i.e. an instrument that's configured like an acoustic upright bass/double bass but the body is a solid slab of wood instead of a big box with holes on the top. That makes it a much easier to manufacture and therefore (and importantly for me at the time) cheaper instrument than an acoustic upright. But while it felt like an upright bass I found it ultimately unsatisfying because it lacked the "acoustic" aspect, in the same way an electric guitar can never sound like an archtop.

A couple of years ago I was finally in a position to drop four figures on a proper - carved, not plywood - acoustic upright bass, and it's absolutely glorious! That vibrating wood top and "air" or "life" in the sound you just can't get with a purely electric instrument is so inspiring. Even if/when I do end up in a situation where I have to amplify it, it will still be a joy to play and listen to.


In the opposite direction, however, I'm thinking about getting an Instant Pot. I've been resisting, because the last thing I need is a bulky Trend-o-Gadget taking up precious real estate in my kitchen - or gathering dust on a shelf because I use it once or twice then get disillusioned when it ends up being more bother than it's worth. /nonchalantly nudges a fondue pot further back into the dusty depths of a storage closet

What got me started on the Instant Pot in the first place was the promise of a quick and super-easy way to make decent meals on the (frequent) nights when I don't feel like putting effort into cooking for just myself. Now and then I get inspired to spend a lot of time cooking up a masterpiece, but a lot of the time I'll fall back on snacking on junk or relying on pizza and GrubHub delivery, none of which is good for my waist or my wallet.

But after getting past all the breathless "miracle device" talk that people tend to use online when talking about the Instant Pot, which has been a bit of a slog, I've noticed that while the recipes make a big thing of the reduced length of certain cooking steps, otherwise 90% of them aren't any less actual effort than a regular recipe. And the delayed-start feature isn't relevant for me either because the Hectic Parental Lifestyle is not my lifestyle. It's not time I'm short on, it's effort expended. For me, "shortened time" is only a benefit for things that normally cook for a long time - beans, chili, stock, certain sauces, that sort of thing - which I'd appreciate on occasion but that's not enough on its own to convince me to buy one. BUT...this week I stumbled on the "dump and cook" class of recipes that are probably as close to "throw all the ingredients in at once and hey presto dinner is ready within a relatively undemanding half hour" as I'm likely to find in the real world. So now it's a matter of whether I can find enough of those to make me feel like it'd be worth my while....
posted by Greg_Ace at 10:53 PM on November 16, 2019 [10 favorites]

I have a number of old Swiss mechanical watches. My wife got me an Apple Watch for my birthday. I tried, I really did, but the last thing I need in my life is another electronic thing beeping at me to do stuff. And this one is beeping at me to do things like “breathe” and “stand”. I fucking hate my Apple Watch.
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 1:20 AM on November 17, 2019 [15 favorites]

My kid did his Eagle Scout project yesterday. It was great and I’m exceptionally proud of him. It was a tree planting project and the rule is, no mechanical devices may be used to assist. So, it was back to basics in the sense of LOTS of digging and dragging and planting and mulching. I’m tired but feeling happy, relieved (we had great weather and no on-site injuries), and excited this morning. He did a wonderful job from start to finish and I couldn’t be more proud.
posted by cheapskatebay at 3:20 AM on November 17, 2019 [13 favorites]

After three months of car-commuting to and from a town 11 miles away, I lost my job and don't have to drive anymore. So I'm back to walking and transit which is all good with me.

As a pedestrian in Portland, OR, I've dodged being hit by cars in crosswalks, mostly Teslas, every couple weeks in the last year or so. Maybe I'll get a lovely insurance payout someday from a Tesla owner with a 17" screen on their dashboard who is probably a distracted driver who gives me an injury that requires a lot of reimbursement.

I used to try to find a job that would give me health insurance, now I just want to be hit by a car whose driver's insurance can support me for a few years without giving me brain damage.
posted by bendy at 5:19 AM on November 17, 2019 [6 favorites]

I switched to a safety razor for shaving. That was years ago but recently I ordered a new razor after my original razor corroded and broke (after 8 years, not bad). So recently I ordered this but Amazon sent this. I was a little miffed until I realized they sent me a $65 razor for $30.

I also have way too many packs of blades sitting around since I kept ordering new ones to try out, so recently I've been indulging in an unspeakable luxury: a brand-new blade every time I shave!
posted by Tehhund at 6:21 AM on November 17, 2019 [3 favorites]

Happy Birthday Fizz! You look so delighted in that picture!

Greg_Ace -- the biggest benefit of the Instapot (for me anyway) is that once you have everything in there and going, you can walk away. It'll turn off at the right time, there's no intermittent stirring or making sure the pot doesn't boil over or anything like that. So, it's a timesaver in that I can multitask. Sorta like a rice cooker, but for a lot more things.

My back to basics is phone calls. My boyfriend's whole family calls each other where I would normally use texting, and that's rubbed off on me. I mean, 99% of my outgoing calls are to him, but I've branched out to where I'll sometimes call people when it's not some sort of urgent matter, which I haven't done in 10+ years.

This weekend is the first in what feels like many that I don't have firm plans, and it is glorious. I did the Pokemon Go Community day with the boyfriend yesterday, and that extended into lunch and then shopping at a Wilton outlet sale with his mom. That's the first one-on-one time I've spent with her, and it was really nice. She's a character, but in the best way. It's funny - she is tiny (just under 5' tall, and very petite), my boyfriend is kind of a big guy (6' and heavier-set), and watching her slay him repeatedly when verbally sparring back and forth is hilarious. Today will be church and chores, I took Monday off too(other than a webinar I have to go to, re: Cannabis Policies in the Workplace, since IL will be recreational in about 6 weeks (!!)), and might use it to do fun things like clean out some cabinets and whatnot. Not fun, but rewarding.
posted by Sparky Buttons at 6:42 AM on November 17, 2019 [6 favorites]

I switched back to making lists on paper instead of using a list app. I do a lot life planning from my office computer while my phone lives on my nightstand. I could use Notes and sync, but I find paper more satisfying.

My child asked for Hot Wheels track for Christmas. I was surprised, because he has a really cool Anker Overdrive track system. He explained that he hated the system. The cars only stay charged for a really short period of time, the track is impossible to keep clean and the cars end up collecting dust and other particles and stop running halfway through a race.

He will get Hot Wheels this Christmas.
posted by theBigRedKittyPurrs at 6:46 AM on November 17, 2019 [5 favorites]


For me, "shortened time" is only a benefit for things that normally cook for a long time - beans, chili, stock, certain sauces, that sort of thing - which I'd appreciate on occasion but that's not enough on its own to convince me to buy one. BUT...this week I stumbled on the "dump and cook" class of recipes that are probably as close to "throw all the ingredients in at once and hey presto dinner is ready within a relatively undemanding half hour"

Yeah, so it's a multi-tasker and some just absolutely geek out about thing x, because they can also do thing a, b, c, d in it. I am totally right there with you in that many of the recipes call for the exact amount of work (with an unknown result) as if I had done it on the stove (with a known result).

Your use cases mentioned above seem like a great reason to purchase... esp. the second one where you just throw it all in and walk away. There are even recipes for throwing frozen chicken in and walking away. (Those take a bit longer, IIRC).

On top of all of that, if you like a good hard boiled egg, the instant pot is the only method I have used that has given 100% perfect results (no grey on the yolk, easiest to peel). Recipe is so easy. 1 cup of water, eggs on the trivet. Set to pressure cook for 5 minutes, 5 minutes natural release. 5 minutes to get up to pressure. So, 15 minutes almost completely hands off. Technically, they are steamed eggs which is probably why the results are so consistent, but they taste just like hard boiled, and never any issues.

As far as "a back to basics" in my life, I will have to think on that some more. I am wearing a pair of Dickie's jeans right now and I didn't think I would ever say that. For a while, my job was all hurricane recovery which meant being in construction areas, etc. I was going through three pairs of Levi's a year. Come to find out through someone else's AskMe their is all sorts of different denim! I have "retired" my two pairs of Dickie's from Casual Friday but still wear them outside of work. Replaced with a brand new pair that I expect will last the three years the other two pair have lasted. It's back to basics in the sense of purchasing the jeans for the utility of the jeans. I will probably have a better answer later.
posted by a non mouse, a cow herd at 7:06 AM on November 17, 2019 [4 favorites]

Pretty much everything I do out back is low tech in some way. But I recently started amending my beds more with compost and manure rather then fertilizers. I'll use some natural fertilizers in the beds with very hungry plants but compost/manure is much better long term.

I have a mystery brassica. Found without a tag, lost and alone. Probably a Portuguese Kale. Anyways more on that one later. I also got off my butt and planted my last few scallion starts and started more from seed. Some had scale and had to be discarded, that was very sad. I also tied up my blackberry which was a ton of work. Seriously ugh. But the better I organize my vines now, the more pie I have next year so It's worth it. Last but not least, I did a hail mary in an attempt to get another month out of my squash vines. They were mildewed all to heck and now hopefully I'll get some more squash. If not- I have a perfectly amended bed ready for more veggies.

I was sick home the last two days and it sucked. Really looking forward to going to work today. Winter cold season is the worst.
posted by Homo neanderthalensis at 7:11 AM on November 17, 2019 [5 favorites]

I've recently started using old fashioned notebook and pen for making to do lists/reminder lists, rather than my previous workflow of laptop and/or phone app. Mostly I used to track these things on my computer.

The only downside is that my handwriting is terrible, and I write a lot slower than I type, so I tend to be much more brief in making my lists, which often leads to me later trying to decipher exactly what I meant when I originally wrote the list. On the positive side, there's something especially satisfying about physically crossing something off of a paper list. Also a small note pad is easier to carry around than my laptop. And it's good for doodling when I get bored.
posted by litera scripta manet at 7:25 AM on November 17, 2019 [2 favorites]

I just received 50 Christmas Cards on Saturday - purchased directly from the artist - not mass produced cards. I'm going to hand write a short note on every one of those before sending them to family and friends this holiday season.

I also ditched my Fitbit, after trying one for about 2 weeks last month. I realized that the only function I actually cared about on the Fitbit was the time, so I pulled out two old watches and put fresh batteries in them.

I've used the library more this year than probably any year since I was in junior high school.
posted by COD at 7:27 AM on November 17, 2019 [6 favorites]

Back to basics is pretty much my life project for many different reasons: environmental, saving money, exercise, getting wholesome food, being creative. I just finished a pair of socks and my winter goals are to learn how to cook a bit on our little wood heating stove and to finish the summer quilt that is now the "next summer quilt".
posted by Botanizer at 7:56 AM on November 17, 2019 [3 favorites]

The strap on my watch broke after four months of trying to remember to replace it and since I picked up a cold at the same time, it's been over a week with my left wrist bare. And it sucks, and I'm going back to oldschool wearing a watch as soon as I can get to the nice watchmaker who doesn't charge an arm and a leg for leather straps, so I can actually get ready for things on time. No, a phone isn't a replacement, when I'm running around getting ready I don't have time to look at my phone every 30 seconds!

(A year later, I'm still with my error prone Tissot, because I haven't found anything better...)
posted by I claim sanctuary at 8:07 AM on November 17, 2019 [1 favorite]

I was feeling bad about all the plastic bottles that I put in recycling, and I came up with elaborate plans to get glass bottles for things like shampoo and shower gel, and then I realized that I could just replace my shower gel with soap. You know, the kind that comes in a bar. So I did that, and it's fine. Then I replaces the hand soap in my bathroom with a bar, and I got a shampoo bar. I think I'm going to keep the conditioner that comes in plastic, because I'm not sure that I trust conditioner bars, but I realized that I don't actually need a lot of the plastic bottles that I buy.

Work has been pretty awful. It's our busy season, which is predictable, but for some reason it seems worse this year. I'm completely exhausted and burnt out, and I think I've lost faith in management, which is bad. I dunno. I'm going to get through the next week and then try to figure out whether this is a temporary effect of a particularly brutal busy season or whether I need to seriously start looking for a new job.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 8:14 AM on November 17, 2019 [4 favorites]

I adopted a sweet, brilliant goofball of a dog, Portia, about six weeks ago, so I've needed to be home A LOT more than I'm used to -- which has resulted in a lot of nesting. Sitting here right now eating home-baked bread while nestled in a hand-crocheted afghan, watching sparrows play on the fountain and feeder next to my living room window.

House training was a very bumpy ride, so despite constant cleaning, my house still smells too much like a barnyard. That's back to basics and old-fashioned in a terrible way!

Portia needs lots of exercise, which means I now get lots of exercise, and so I've been starving. Which has meant cooking up a storm. Scratch muffins for breakfast, scratch quiche for lunch, all kinds of roasted sheet-pan dinners at night. And also plenty of leftover Halloween candy. I need to be careful that I don't nest myself out of all my clothes. Although with all the knitting and crocheting and sewing I've been doing, I guess then I can just make new ones!

I'm going to visit an old friend in the next week or two, and am very excited! He lives about 10-12 hours away by car, so I'm going to pack up Portia and we're going to hit a bunch of dog parks and/or very easy trails on the way and back. It's cold where he is and yes, it's a far drive -- but I miss him, he could use the company, and I have the time off for once. My friends and coworkers think I'm nuts for going and I honestly don't see why? hmm.
posted by rue72 at 8:42 AM on November 17, 2019 [13 favorites]

I went back to how I was eating when I was 23 and first quit eating meat. I was doing a lot of yoga, (too much yoga, basically substituting one activity for some others) at least every other day for an hour and a half, and kind of only eating once a day, maybe twice. It was very comfortable.

In the intervening 30 years I drifted to eating three times a day, at least, and though I still don't meat when at all humanly possible, I was eating a shit-ton of bread. And for the last five plus years I've had chronic acid-indigestion which has been worrisome.

I had surgery at the end of August on my knee, the Synovial lining was puking up flecks of cartilage that were then calcifying and just fucking with me. There's no 'known' cause or cure so I thought once the surgery, to get all the flecks of bony shit out of my knee, was done and leading up to it, I would clean up my diet and only eat things that grew. (Well, also some dairy and fish). And I'd quit drinking (which I was doing a lot of - the USRDA is like .6 drinks or something and I was pushing 2 -3. I like whiskey, ok? And beer. And wine.)

And I sorta stopped eating breakfast, though I do have a coffee with steamed milk and a little sugar. I feel good. Normal. Not bloated. And my knee is good and no more acid indigestion.

OK. cool. I'll live like this. But I'm gonna have a whiskey every now and then. Say every other day or so - though to be honest my appetite for even that has waned.

Getting old is... weird and uncomfortable. My next step is going to be to do yoga like a motherfucker again. Ill have to ease into that, though.

Have a great week!
posted by From Bklyn at 8:42 AM on November 17, 2019 [3 favorites]

Portia is lovely, congrats on bringing her home! Dogs are are tremendous boon to my physical and mental health - I hope never to be without (at least) one.

I had been reading e-books on my iPad for a while and then got a Kindle a couple of years ago. It was in pretty heavy rotation for a while, until last fall when I finally signed up for a library card, and I'm not sure I've really used it since? I don't necessarily like paper books more than an e-reader, but I don't get the impression that the contracts libraries get for loaning out e-books are particularly friendly to them, so I stick with the paper books. (Plus I'd have to figure out the process of getting said e-books on my Kindle.) I finish grad school in just a few weeks, and people keep asking what I'm going to do with my extra time, and I can confidently tell them I'm just going to reeeeeeeeeeeeeead.
posted by obfuscation at 9:10 AM on November 17, 2019 [2 favorites]

Oh yeah, I have definitely been reading a lot more dead-tree books recently. Part of this is that I've come to realize that e-books aren't great for libraries, so I'm trying to switch my library reading to dead-tree books. And part of it is that I'm trying to get a handle on my insomnia, and I'm thinking that reading on a tablet before bed isn't such a good idea.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 9:12 AM on November 17, 2019 [3 favorites]

DOT, Jr. is getting into scary movies now,but he just dismantled the trailer for The Invisible Man by going back to basics.

The Invisible Man, Dad? [Scoffs] You just sprinkle him with flour. Next.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 9:13 AM on November 17, 2019 [6 favorites]

Portia is a beautiful hound! I love hounds. I love all the pets, actually.

Can’t think of a “back to basics” thing to share, but I WILL share that I have freshly washed hair, a cat on my lap who is very busily bathing herself, and my biggest decision today is going to be what book to start reading next. Things are good right now.
posted by bookmammal at 9:48 AM on November 17, 2019 [3 favorites]

My wife and I have started doing "No Internet Saturdays" after a remote-cabin weekend made it clear just how tied to our phones we've gotten, and it's been really eye-opening. She's back in grad school, so we'd been spending much less time together than we're used to, and this is balancing that somewhat - and also the house is so much cleaner.
posted by restless_nomad (staff) at 9:53 AM on November 17, 2019 [13 favorites]

I've pretty much stopped using all social media. I connect with friends via text or phone now (not exactly no-tech but much better than keeping up with them via Instagram stories). I feel more connected to them, put in much more effort to be in touch, and my mind is a lot calmer.
posted by Balthamos at 10:00 AM on November 17, 2019 [3 favorites]

My to-do lists have been moved from a complex system of Todoist and Habitica and Google Calendar down to a notebook with a page for each two days, in which I've been bullet journaling tasks for each day. I get to use fancy fountain pens (currently: a Moonman C1 with purple ink in it, rather like this one) and I'm experimenting with giving myself stickers for finishing all the tasks on a list. It's much more resistant to my usual pitfall of writing out far more tasks than any one human can reasonably be expected to finish, plus: stickers!
posted by sciatrix at 10:13 AM on November 17, 2019 [1 favorite]

I've been using a paper planner (and notebooks) for months and it's really satisfying versus using my phone/computer/tablet, especially when I color coordinate with highlighter pens. It also forces me to write more, which I'd rarely do without them because I'm a Very Online 20-something. Admittedly I do this in conjunction with my online calendars but it's still fun to pull it out of my work bag and check my schedule right then.
posted by Freeze Peach at 10:14 AM on November 17, 2019 [2 favorites]

conditioner bars

I'm now imagining a bunch of people with amazing hair chatting over cocktails in a members-only lounge.
posted by Greg_Ace at 10:38 AM on November 17, 2019 [8 favorites]

I used to be married to a person who was the default coffee maker in our house, and his methods were, to my sensibilities, pointlessly and exasperatingly exacting. As in, weighing the water and coffee to the gram, taking the temperature of the water, timing the steep with his Apple watch, etc. Admittedly it was really good coffee, but it took half an hour to make. Want a second cup? Sure, if you've got another half hour to wait. Now imagine this approach applied to every single other task in the day.

He left. I bought a $20 Mr. Coffee. The coffee is 96% as good and takes 4 minutes to make, including grinding the beans. It's been a year and a half and pushing the "start" button every morning still feels like a sigh of relief and symbolic of the blessed lack of fussiness in my life. I love it so much.

I like this question and am going to think about other things that might be better done the old way. This paper planner thing might be really good for me. Are there planners that we especially like?

In other news, regarding the big, scary new job I started a few months ago, someone just told me "I have literally lost track of the number of people who have come up to tell me how great you're doing. You are kicking ass at this job."
posted by HotToddy at 11:20 AM on November 17, 2019 [25 favorites]

I've been writing the lyrics for my new album longhand in a palm-sized blank bound notepad I got for $1 at a Japanese outlet. No more sweating it out with constant access to Wikipedia and and the judgmental glare of a blank Notepad document.

I've stopped using navigation apps when driving unless I'm going to a completely new place. Yes, I'm sure there are more efficient routes through L.A. at any given hour, but I know how to get most everywhere already. I'm tired of being glued to my phone just to save a little bit of time.

Somewhat parallel to that, I've been experimenting with the Metro/subway system here, which is not at all practical for a lot of things. It does go to my work in Santa Monica, although it's three train transfers, and if the timing gets fudged even a little, I can get marooned. So it's not perfect or even possible 100% of the time, but I'm trying. Being in my car less feels wonderful.

(I used to ride my bike everywhere, but now that everyone is on their phones while driving all the time, everyone just generally feels angrier/more aggressive, and the population has increased 10% since I last rode with any regularity, it just feels too dangerous.)

In the online space, yes, I've stopped using Facebook and Instagram. I still have to use Twitter all day for work (I'm in journalism/news/broadcasting), so I can only compulsively check one platform. I keep FB around for events, but I desperately needed to clear out some brain space, so I won't get caught in the scroll/like/comment loop.

And, lastly, I've been trying to pay for more music and wean myself off the streaming firehose. Making old-school MP3 playlists has brought all kinds of music back into my life -- old vinyl rips from blogs, bootleg Soundcloud remixes, sonic oddities from, or otherwise perfectly accessible albums that haven't been licensed or made available via streaming.

Basically, I'm trying to return my life to 2007 or so.
posted by mykescipark at 11:31 AM on November 17, 2019 [2 favorites]

Reading physical books in the very particular way I did when I was in middle/high school.

I like to read a few books at a time, a chapter of science here, some fantasy there, a little bit of an essay collection. I used to manage this by leaving a different book in each room of the house I liked to read in. But it was space dependent, I stopped doing this when I moved to a dorm, and never got back to through small living spaces/clutter issues.

But now I have a house with several bookcases in different rooms! And it’s been happening again. Kitchen table next to my cookbooks case also has How Too. Case in my room has the books my friends got me for gifts, just finished One Word Kill. Pile by the bath has all the graphic novels I want to read. It’s a marvelous system, I’ve read almost 90 books this year and it because I have something on hand when I think “I’d like to be reading right now”. And the kindle is next to my bed for whatever I check out of the library.

It feels so decadent to just jump in and out of books again, I love it.
posted by lepus at 11:46 AM on November 17, 2019 [10 favorites]

i used to always forget if I took my daily medication or not so I started using a Siri shortcut to make a note. Which seemed to work until it was just another thing to remember. Instead I got one of those daily pill boxes to keep the pills in. Now when I take the pills it gets recorded automatically by that box being empty and open.

I'm also slowly teaching myself how to cook & grocery shop in a way that's easy & sustainable for me, but after 15 years of adulthood struggling with various paper lists I can do it now that I found the right app for it. Oh well haha.
posted by bleep at 12:21 PM on November 17, 2019 [3 favorites]

Something I do that's super basic and I'm really happy about is that I finally gave up shampoo and conditioner entirely.

I used to use a lot of shampoo and conditioner and thought I needed it. I really liked fancy modern silicone-based stuff like Pantene or generics of it, and had a pretty strict schedule of wanting to fully strip wash it and condition it every few days.

What I use instead is just hot water, sometimes a vinegar rinse. I also use a really nice brush and brushing it out does actually seem to condition and somehow manage natural hair oils so it's not greasy. I have way less dandruff and weird scalp issues. I have way less split ends. It's really glossy and vibrant.

It's also my b-day and so far I'm getting just about everything I wanted, and it's all pretty laughably basic and boring.

I did the all the work and paid for a major dump and recycling run so I have a whole lot less recycling sitting around bugging me. I bought some brand new Carhart's double-ply work pants because I've utterly destroyed my last pair of work pants in less than a year.

I would buy socks but I have too many already.

I have plans with a friend to have fancy tea and go on a foraging and mushroom ID walk around the property where I live, more so I can learn more about it, which is pretty pragmatic because we're probably not going to find anything edible right now, but I'm thinking of changing that up to doing a crapton of laundry and eating thai food until we blow up.

And I have an appointment at a fancy spa/sauna for what is essentially going to be all about me obscenely lollygagging in the hottest water I can stand for every second of an hour in a private soaking room.
posted by loquacious at 12:40 PM on November 17, 2019 [5 favorites]

Happy birthday, loq!
posted by cgc373 at 12:53 PM on November 17, 2019 [1 favorite]

I threw caution to the wind and got myself a long-needed pedicure. My pedicurist called me mid-week, not to make an appointment, but to ask about buying some of my handmade soap. I've given her some in the past, along with some homemade earrings, and she wanted some as a Christmas gift. So that offset the cost somewhat, and I think a foot massage, hot towels, exfoliating scrub, and time talking with someone nice is totally worth it. I don't make soap or jewelry for a living, only as a hobby, and I enjoy giving gifts to people. This is Maine, so I was just kind of like, "hey girlfriend, want a bar of soap?" because I make 5 pounds at a time in my crockpot, or "hey, I was trying out this earring design, I thought this color would suit you!" sort of thing. So it all worked out, and my tootsies are very happy now.

The holidays are coming up, and I swore I wasn't going to make a turkey for 2 this year, but they were on sale for 65 cents per pound, so I did buy one. About 13 lbs. for a little over $5. Now I just have to decide which side dishes I can live without, because I am counting carbs to keep my blood sugar under control. I will figure it out.

I was going to buy some cretons spread, which is made in a town near me, and sold in little plastic containers in the meat section. It's similar to pork rillettes, but often cooked with milk, and Christmas spices like cinnamon, cloves, allspice, etc. They had some super fatty butcher-ground pork for sale, in lieu of the lean ground pork that I normally find there, so I got that, and am making my own homemade cretons. I've made it a few times before, but normally just buy the pre-made spread, which is very good, but there's something about making it myself that I enjoy. Knowing my ancestors made it, along with tourtiere pie, which I used to make with my Mom.

Mom being frugal, she would sit me at the kitchen table, and have me grind leftover pork roast, and she'd make the crust, and then boil a potato, and fry up a little onion, some ground beef, then mix that with the pork, and put it all into the pie. Every household has a different recipe, in the old days, they would use game meat.

Most French Acadian food is bad for me, poutine, etc. And the cretons is a little fatty, and it's okay if I only eat a little bit. So I guess you could say I am making it the old-fashioned way, and thinking of my Franco ancestors, and my Mom, my Grandmother, and all of the Francos in my family.

What got me into this mood was buying some Ployes mix recently, and going through my pantry this morning before shopping. I haven't had ployes in a dog's age, and thought maybe some cretons on top of Ployes would be delicious, maybe with a little mustard. I found this delightful video of a guy cooking ployes on top of a wood-fired stove. (That mix is wicked expensive on Amazon, I didn't pay that much, of course)

My Mom used to tell me stories of crosses being burned on the lawn of her French church, back when there was a movement against the Franco-Americans in Maine. There were marches, and people were afraid. It eventually went away, but I can only imagine. I have been heartened to read accounts of the Francos in Lewiston helping the French-speaking Somalis, who have been there for about 15-20 years now? And they recently elected a Somali woman to the town council.

It reminds me of the Maronite Christians, who came to Waterville to escape the Ottoman Empire, and they were weavers, who got jobs at the woolen mills there. The same mills that my Franco great-grandfather and great-grandmother worked at. One man opened a butcher shop, and he later threw a great big birthday party for himself every year, and then gave all the proceeds to the local homeless shelter. We went to the Franco celebration, which was re-named the Heritage celebration, and they served treats from Lebanon, and tourtiere pie, and had a guy telling jokes in French, and belly dancers. It was wondrous. If they can do that in rural white Maine, they can do that anywhere.

What I am doing is old-fashioned: having hope in humanity.
posted by Marie Mon Dieu at 1:51 PM on November 17, 2019 [11 favorites]

Since I an one of the only 2-3 people in Austin that does not own a cell phone, I always wear a watch. And since I swim a lot, I wear a cheap plastic Casio watch that usually lasts 10-12 years. The plastic watch bands always break a few years in. I used to buy replacement bands that broke too. I don't want a leather band because I'm in the water so much. Don't like metal because they pinch and pull out arm hair.

So I got a friend that had been a girl scout to tie my watch on with an permanent knot in some fat cotton twine. It's been on my wrist over three years, and although rather grimy looking, shows no signs of weakening. The dirty cotton hangs out on my wrist with a passel of aged embroidery floss friendship bracelets and bracelets of Acai berries and lava beads. They all look grungy together but I still get compliments from goth kids and decaying rock 'n' rollers.

And yes, I still have a landline that I never answer. GET OFF MY LINE!
posted by a humble nudibranch at 2:29 PM on November 17, 2019 [5 favorites]

Silver, the dog, got new winter boots this week. Unfortunately, it was really only after we got home from the pet store that we really clued into the fact that we paid $20 for a pack of balloons to put over our dog’s feet. But, I digress.

Watching Silver try and walk with his new boots on is one of the funniest things I’ve seen in a long time. He seems to think that picking up his legs individually and stretching them out in random directions will make the special hell that is dog boots end. He’s wrong. It’s not effective.

Fortunately, going outside makes him magically able to walk normally again.
posted by bkpiano at 3:04 PM on November 17, 2019 [10 favorites]

After trying every To Do app and failing to integrate any of them into my life, I've been sticking with paper and pen and it's worked quite well. The thrill of physically crossing off things as I do them is also very satisfying.

I keep it attached to a clipboard with my paper calendar - much harder to misplace vs. a separate piece of paper.
posted by Twicketface at 3:23 PM on November 17, 2019

Yesterday I made this excellent-tasting, super-straightforward Leek'n'Cheddar frittata, apropos of little more than the fact(s) I'm having a use-up week plus 2019 is totally The Year Of The Egg for me. Or eight eggs in this case. Dug out (and washed because cupboard-yuck) a different, deep pan for it and everything. The most frustrating part of proceedings was having to regularly dirty-handedly turn on>unlock>scroll my phone for the (admittedly basic) recipe while brain-juggling between that and my various accompaniments.

Relevance to topic being: here is another use case where having had a book or a print-out or a few scribbled lines to hand is so much better (esp. since I was Doing Recipes Right by tweaking, handwaving and blagging details according to taste). In future I'm going full low-tech lowlife!

Also, more eggs.
posted by I'm always feeling, Blue at 3:54 PM on November 17, 2019 [2 favorites]

Back to basics but aided and abetted by high technology: I recently finished level 2 of a Morse code class (CW Academy or CWA) and became friendly with one of the other students. We are both still beginners but can communicate. With difficulty, in my case.

I put his amateur radio call sign into the HamAlert app on my phone so when folks who have radio receivers hooked up to the reverse beacon network hear him on the airwaves calling CQ, my phone would give me an alert. When this happened yesterday I was in position to switch on my radio and so I answered his CQ. We went back and forth a little but he didn't recognize my call sign and my slightly unusual first name. Also I made a lot of mistakes. When I told him in Morse code I was in Washington DC and tried again to tell him from I was from CWA, he figured it out. (Laughter in Morse is HI HI .... .. .... ..)
posted by exogenous at 4:48 PM on November 17, 2019 [4 favorites]

I am out on the ship at my undisclosed location running tests while multiple cold fronts come through and batter us. We peaked a couple days ago at 16-ish foot seas and around 45 knot winds; we've been moving back and forth between sheltering behind an island and testing out in open water as the weather ebbs and flows. No cell service and (almost no) internet - there's a very small pipe for twenty or thirty of us, so it's restricted mostly to work email. Metafilter is one of the few websites that loads reliably (thanks, text-only pages!).

So, instead of being on the internet or having my face glued to my phone I have been playing games with my coworkers. Bananagrams was a big hit, and I taught people how to play Skull and Roses. Also been doing a little bit of reading and a whole lot of eating; when there's not much to do and a lot of snacks around, it's too easy to mindlessly munch on things.

I've also been slowly going mad. Our lab is buried in the middle of the ship with no windows to the outside world, so time passes on in weird fits and spurts. I feel like I haven't been home for months. We haven't seen land since we left port, and the rare occasion another ship passes close enough to see is a big deal. I saw a bird yesterday! Or was it this afternoon? I'm not even sure anymore.
posted by backseatpilot at 5:15 PM on November 17, 2019 [12 favorites]

What's a basic? I'm spending the evening working on an elaborate setup to allow my small desk setup with my nice gaming PC to actually share all its peripherals with an expensive MacBook because oops otherwise I'm spending my first few days of work with my laptop on the sofa instead. The number of cables and adapters and dongles this is involving is kind of ridiculous, but would I really be a developer if I didn't spend ten times longer than necessary just getting set up to work?
posted by Sequence at 5:38 PM on November 17, 2019 [1 favorite]

What's a basic?

About 30 drachmas a week? No, that's not it...
posted by Greg_Ace at 5:50 PM on November 17, 2019 [3 favorites]

have you gone back to basics in something lately? That is, something you'd been doing in the newfangled high tech way, but stopped, and went back to the old way of doing it?

Yes, and it's fantastic. Once again, I now buy my weed from a sketchy dude in a grocery store parking lot. He has three kinds, one each of a sativa and indica, and one hybrid. It's cheap, and the weed is grown outside on an organic farm in NorCA. It is fantastic flower, maybe not the best I've ever had but still reliably great. Legal weed sucks. I had a delivery service when I lived in town that was pretty reliable, but as soon as marijuana became fully legal in CA some issues cropped up with freshness and consistency. Before full regulation, there was other bullshit to contend with like a strain name getting popular so all of a sudden it's on every menu, available all the time.

Now that I live in the suburbs, delivery options are not great and the local storefronts are miserable. Over the course of a couple decades I've come full circle and once again the weed-buying arrangements are sketchy and fun. I feel like I'm in college again!

Quick pivot to something new that's very not-basic: Typing all this on my new G513 mechanical keyboard set to radiate.

Belated happy birthday loquacious! I stare at the last email you sent me all the time, but I'm saving it for when I need something excellent to read. I wonder what your studio looks like now, six months later, all wires everywhere I bet? You scheduled a weird version of the hippy yard bath, but a good hot soak sounds excellent as well.
posted by carsonb at 6:39 PM on November 17, 2019 [3 favorites]

From February through August I was without electricity. So I've spent a lot of the year cooking over an open fire, hand pumping water, reading by candlelight, making candles and not eating food that required refrigeration. Now I'm employed again and it's so nice to have electricity.
posted by Tenuki at 6:56 PM on November 17, 2019 [6 favorites]

drlith, I really want some of your cheeseburgers for breakfast. (The links all ask me to log in, so I haven't seen them, but I still really want some.) Please invite me for breakfast cheeseburgers anytime.

loquacious: HAPPY BIRTHDAY, YOU AMAZING PERSON, YOU! I am utterly delighted to hear you're getting everything you want for your birthday. Tea AND Thai? - Happy, happy anniversary of your birth! I am so glad you were born.
posted by kristi at 7:18 PM on November 17, 2019 [2 favorites]

Yes, and it's fantastic. Once again, I now buy my weed from a sketchy dude in a grocery store parking lot.

I'm honestly jealous.

I also don't miss sitting on some dude's grody couch pretending to care about playing X-Box for an hour just to buy an eighth of whatever they happened to have at the time. Or worse, dealing with the fact that they might be an opiate or stims addict and dealing with that sketchiness.

OTOH I live near one of the best rec shops in the state and our retail product is probably a little better produced with many local options and walking into a very clean, pleasant, well lit store and being able to choose from a diverse array of products like you're walking into a boutique liquor store or tea shop is really nice.

It's also really cool and strange to drive by a commercial outdoor grow and be able to see it out there growing in tidy rows like wine grapes or oversized basil - if mostly blocked by silly legally required privacy fences lest someone get offended by seeing a plant.
posted by loquacious at 7:28 PM on November 17, 2019 [4 favorites]

Happy Birthday, loq! The world is so much better with you in it.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 7:29 PM on November 17, 2019 [3 favorites]

Tea AND Thai?

Well no it'd be either or and it sounds like I may go over to their place because it makes doing a bunch of laundry easier and there's less driving around.

I am so glad you were born.

Daww, thanks. Well I guess that makes one of us!

What? That was the perfect set up! You think I have the willpower to resist easy bait like that? What the heck did you think I was going to say?

posted by loquacious at 7:31 PM on November 17, 2019 [2 favorites]

I’m nearly back to basics with mops - none of the modern or commercial ones I tried were nearly as good for my house as a Cuban-style stick on a stick, scrubbing with some rags. My actual mop is a modernized version with a metal curlicue, but it’s still pretty simple.

I’ve cleared thirty feet of bed to plant osier cuttings to coppice for small pole wood. They may be irresistible enough to get deer and elk to crash through the outer fence, so there also needs to be cross-fencing, which is a hassle, but I put a Zepherine Drouhin on one of the cross fences and it’s doing well.
posted by clew at 8:13 PM on November 17, 2019 [1 favorite]

I think I might have invented a new (vegan) food thing. I've been trying to figure out how to get nutritional yeast to stick to popcorn better so I've been experimenting with spritzing the popcorn with some kind of liquid before sprinkling the nooch. I've tried a bit of oil or melted coconut fat. I just randomly tried pickle juice because why not - and it was pretty good, pickle chips and salt/vinegar chips are a thing already - then I had a better idea.

Rice vinegar. It is really good and makes the cheese-like taste of the nooch really pop and it's like junk food cheddar cheese powder but way better. I bet other vinegar like malt vinegar would work really well, too.

I want to get a food spritzer or atomizer and see if I can get the perfect balance of a light coating of vinegar and/or oil without making the popcorn soggy and just damp enough to mak the nooch stick really good and give it a vinegar kick.
posted by loquacious at 9:13 PM on November 17, 2019 [6 favorites]

Metafilter: Sprinkling the nooch
posted by Greg_Ace at 10:11 PM on November 17, 2019 [4 favorites]

Fifteen glorious years since MetaFilter opened the floodgates for $5.00 noobs on November 18, 2004. How many of us are still around?
posted by Cranberry at 12:33 AM on November 18, 2019 [3 favorites]

From February through August I was without electricity.

posted by pracowity at 2:01 AM on November 18, 2019 [2 favorites]

Fifteen glorious years since MetaFilter opened the floodgates for $5.00 noobs on November 18, 2004. How many of us are still around?

Joined on November 19, 2004. I'd been a reader for a few years before then.
I can't think of anything in particular that I've gone from the new back to the old right now. But I really am trying to simplify my cooking. Doing the whole 'celebrate the product'. The problem for me is I have mobility issues and find it difficult to get to the markets since the neighbourhood fruit and veg shop closed. So I'm left trying to work with the crap from the local Woolies.
posted by michswiss at 2:26 AM on November 18, 2019 [2 favorites]

Ironically, while the months of protests here in Hong Kong have glued me to in one tab and Google Translate in another, they have also radically shifted my attention away from the digital and commercial temptations of the 21st century.

Some examples:

- I now pay cash for nearly everything and try to shop at local, independent shops to deny the corporations who prefer the status quo my hard-earned money and personal data

- I'm cooking at home loads since I'm not going out to eat as much given the uncertainty of what might happen each day; it's simply easier to bring in lunches and go home for dinner

- I'm walking around more and taking the MTR much less since the company is running a de-facto curfew and I'd rather not give them any more than the minimum I need to in order to get to/from work

- No more Starbucks; I make my own coffee and bring it to work

- More time in community and watching sport seeking relaxation and an adrenaline rush that doesn't come from evacuating a metro station or refreshing the South China Morning Post's live blog

Every new day here is a new challenge, especially for the one in five Hongkongers who live in poverty, yet I've never been prouder to live somewhere. There's a sense of solidarity among my neighbours and while I don't think we'll ever 'go back to normal', the possibility of something better coming than what we had before, remote as it seems, is tantalizing.
posted by mdonley at 3:20 AM on November 18, 2019 [12 favorites]

Heh, I mostly didn't get much weed in the sketchy-dealer days but now we grow our own in pots on the back deck and man oh man was this year's crop fabulous. We can get seeds mail-order from a local business and their selection was great and we picked some good ones. So that's... even more basic, maybe?
posted by restless_nomad (staff) at 4:57 AM on November 18, 2019 [8 favorites]

I'll do a spin on the "back to basics" theme; I've been going back to basics in a different way, returning to hobbies and creative outlets I loved as a child that fell away as I grew into an adult. I strongly recommend reconnecting with sources of childhood joy.

So far I've been getting back into doodling and writing silly poetry. It's great. It makes me really happy.
posted by sugar and confetti at 6:19 AM on November 18, 2019 [1 favorite]

Not sure if it qualifies, but I'm sure that's okay:
I love tea. I like putting a pot of tea on a tealight, the classic type with a small candle, to keep it hot. I dislike the aluminium cups that those candles come in nowadays. I don't need them because I have glass cups made especially for that purpose, just like my grandmother used, and my mother uses still.

So I bought a silicone mold with 15 holes of the correct size to make 15 tealights at a time. And I bought a hundred one-inch wicks. And now I'm using up old candles (any that I can get my hands on) to make perfectly usable tealights with no aluminium cups.

And just now I went to the local charity shop, explained all of the above, and they gave me more than 2 kilos of old candles to melt into tealights, for 1 euro. Yay!
And I gave the friendly lady a box of my home-made tealights because the more people use them, the fewer tealights in alu cups get sold.
posted by Too-Ticky at 6:59 AM on November 18, 2019 [11 favorites]

I've gone way back to basics, I guess. For the past couple of years I've been doing woodworking, which often involves using machines with electric motors and fancy bearings and and high tech steel. But for the past few weeks I've been taking blacksmithing classes at a local forge. Yesterday was the last class, for now.

Among other things, we made our own tools, both for blacksmithing and for afterwards. We learned to use a ball peen hammer to make a spoon and learned how to hammer on the horn of the anvil to make a bracelet, which I left in the fire too long and accidentally melted. In the final class yesterday we made a dragon head.

So now I have the basics. With a hot fire and a hammer I can make tools and weapons so when society crumbles I will hopefully be the guy modifying all the cars so that we can do all that cool Road Warrior shit. I can't wait.

Anyhow, I highly recommend blacksmithing for anyone who is even remotely interested in it. Woodworking is fun, but results come slowly. Sometimes you'll work for two hours setting up a ten second cut. With smithing, you get the metal hot and glowing, you hit it with a hammer and you smoosh metal. Hit it some more and you smoosh it some more. instant gratification. Great way to handle stress. I also expected it to be physically exhausting, but it wasn't. There's actually a lot of delicate work involved.
posted by bondcliff at 7:25 AM on November 18, 2019 [10 favorites]

We've gone oldschool with our media consumption for a while, but recently upped our game. We had a 14 year old HD TV, which recently forgot it had HDMI ports. No biggie, we were still able to watch VHS and play Wii through the RCA and composite inputs. But when the TV warned us that it would no longer play Netflix on its own, we figured it was time for a new TV. We got a UHD TV that's bigger and lighter than our old TV, and you can install apps on it, which is weird and kind of wonderful in a lazy sort of way.

But the media -- we are once again able to play BluRay and DVD, and with an RCA switcher + RCA to HDMI converter, we now have a PS2 and SNES, in addition to the Wii and the VHS player. We still have to rig up the original NES, but we should be content for a while. We also have our turntable hooked up, but we haven't played records in a few weeks now. My wife took her vintage boombox to school, and occasionally plays old cassettes in it. I gave away my tape deck to one of her high school students, whose parents were (are?) metalheads, and still have a lot of metal on tape, which he now plays. (It's even a dual deck, so he could even dub his own tapes, if he wanted to get into that sort of thing.) A few weeks after she gave away that deck, a friend gave me his old tape deck, as he was moving and wanted to get rid of things he hadn't used in a while.

Also, we're using the library with more frequency, including getting DVDs. Despite being adept at using a tablet, our oldest said he wanted a hardcopy Pokemon book instead of relying on the internet, but he had already exhausted his bookfair budget, so that'll go on his Christmas wishlist.
posted by filthy light thief at 8:23 AM on November 18, 2019

What's a basic?

Twenty bucks, same as...

I've started using paper notebooks for tracking and planning a lot more than I have in a long time. Mostly Field Notes, but I do have some pretty Calepinos. It seems inefficient, but due to what my work is I can't really integrate work and home calendars/todos into one electronic system, so using paper to track work is a natural fallback I shoud've cottoned onto sooner.
posted by praemunire at 10:30 AM on November 18, 2019 [3 favorites]

praemunire, you may want to have a look at the popular disc-binding notebook systems ("Arc" is staples' line, but they all seem to be compatible) — keep in mind they sell a heavy desktop and lightweight portable paper punch, which is where the magic comes from in using it to corral printouts, notes and other paper items, and creating your own refills.

It hasn't totally broken me of legal pads or memo pads yet, but I get a lot of use out of it the system for work purposes — including holding a printed out calendar that I mark up and then update digitally when convenient. I also don't like fumbling around with a phone or tablet when asked if a date or time is clear, it's a convenient place to capture time I might otherwise forget to record, and I just generally wish I had given myself permission to still keep a a paper copy of my calendar earlier instead of swearing it off as a vice of The Olds who resented even having a computer on their desk.

The single drawback with the disc system is that some scanners feed mechanisms really hate the toothed edge it uses (as vs. regular side or top punch holes). My ScanSnap will jam on more than one page, immediately. A larger scanner that can feed with the opposite long edge leading and the toothed edge trailing might do better, which is available on some big office copier/scanners.

So sometimes I'll scan a single sheet of discbound notes using the flatbed on my all-in-one instead, or use a camera-phone scanning app. Or, if I'm pulling sheets of notes to digitize them and either file away or trash the originals, I'll just snip the teeth off a stack so they feed normally.
posted by snuffleupagus at 11:21 AM on November 18, 2019

I never really went newfangled. No car (bicycle everywhere), no flying (except mandatory company trips), nearly zero phone except to track that I've ridden my bike to and from work (they pay us to ride to work but we have to be able to show a Strava map or equivalent), no social networks (unless this chatty MetaFilter thing counts), no electronic books (only paper), etc. I do download podcasts, but I listen to them on a hand-me-down iPod Shuffle that otherwise would be in someone's junk drawer. This low-range laptop I'm writing on is the only bit of tech that has become indispensable to me. I love using it to push words around a screen rather than rewrite them over and over on paper, and it's my window on the distant world.

The big back-to-basics thing I'd like to do would be buying groceries with minimal packaging instead of in plastic junk that will last about 500 years longer than I will. If I find a locally feasible way to do that -- something that doesn't involve crazy filthy shipping or going shopping in the next county or whatever -- I will. But I think it will take regulation to get that sort of thing done.
posted by pracowity at 2:48 PM on November 18, 2019 [1 favorite]

About six months ago I (a moderately hirsute man who prefers a clean shave) started shaving with a brush and an old school safety razor with replaceable, double-edged blades. Nothing involved is made of plastic. The lather is just soap. The blades last for months.

It's a marked improvement over anything I've ever used in pretty much every way, from aesthetics to environmental concerns.
posted by aspersioncast at 6:50 PM on November 18, 2019 [3 favorites]

Loquacious! Have you tried experimenting with vinegar powder? I came across it recently in one of those little shore-town tea/spice shops and bought it for the exact purpose of vinegaring up popcorn without getting it soggy! Looks like you can get different types of vinegar too.
posted by yeahlikethat at 7:01 AM on November 19, 2019 [1 favorite]

TooTicky, somehow I didn’t know until right now that tea lights had anything to do with actual tea! Thank you.

I’m not newly like this, but lately I’ve been canning a lot of things, (carefully) foraging wild mushrooms, growing more of my own produce, and cooking everything in cast iron.
posted by centrifugal at 10:35 PM on November 19, 2019 [1 favorite]

I've been getting into actual physical guitar pedals in a big way, instead of just pumping the signal into my computer and having basically infinite sounds in logic or guitar rig. The limitations are very liberating, plus it's massively more satisfying to stomp on an actual plastic + metal pedal than click on a button on a computer screen. Buying and selling pedals on the Facebook and ambling around the local guitar stores is also great fun.
I also designed and built a pedalboard. So not so much back to basics as back to my high-school dreams.
posted by signal at 12:10 PM on November 20, 2019 [4 favorites]

Back to basics: I'd gone high-tech here for a week or two, keeping track of sets of push-ups on a piece of paper using a sharpie type pen. But for whatever reason those markers are for shit on paper outside and I don't know why nor care, they were getting all dry and could barely get them to even put a stupid one half inch line on a piece of paper.

So couple of days ago, I took a really nice (nice for me -- I *love* Pilot G-2 07 and Pilot G-2 10 ballpoint pens) I took me a G-2 07 in the pocket of my windbreaker, took the windbreaker off once I was two or three sets of push-ups in and was getting warmed.

As I caught my breath in between sets I shook the jacket so as to fold it nice and neat and I'll be goddamned if my nice ballpoint didn't go flying into the goddamned river.

So I still had one of those stupid sharpie type dudes but after five faint, totally annoying marks on a sheet of paper I threw *that* piece of dogshit into the river, too, where it belongs, and then reached deeper into the pocket on the bike bag, grabbed the rock I'd used b4 to scratch lines on the concrete to mark each set of push-ups and that is what I did, and what I have done for the past four or five days, also.

Scratching marks on concrete using a rock is about as old-school as can be, or so it seems to me. Maybe an abacus is more old-school, but damned if I'll shove an abacus into the already overcrowded overweighted bike bag.

So a rock it is.

The End.
posted by dancestoblue at 12:36 AM on November 21, 2019 [4 favorites]

I don't use a smartphone, and still have a Nokia candybar. I loved reading through all the comments in here mentioning going back to pen and paper for list making. My paraphernalia for this purpose is extensive and includes a lot of Muji. I also prefer my Casio wristwatch.
posted by Mrs Potato at 12:40 PM on November 23, 2019 [1 favorite]

Somewhat off topic but tangentially related as a thing I did before but didn't do for a good while and am going/have gone back to doing is...
Being here on this lovely website with all you fabulous folk.

Granted it has been mostly lurking as ever, but I even made a recent post and commented here just now, so there's that.
posted by Lizard at 7:36 PM on November 24, 2019 [5 favorites]

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