This weekend, I did nothing. I didn’t even leave the house! Okay, well technically, I went outside to refill the bird feeder and take out the trash, but I never left the property. Instead, I holed in and finished reading Anathem. I was about 100 pages in on Wednesday. By Thursday night, I had gotten well past that grueling 250 page exposition. Yep, there were about 250 large hardback pages of introduction to the world and the characters before the real plot started. I finished it earlier today. It started out similar to a fantasy or historic novel (these sort of mathy-monks in monasteries) and finished as a pretty hardcore science fiction novel (with overlapping Schrödinger storylines.) It was really nice, but will be a long time before I start another similar literary journey.
On Saturday, I received the reflexology cobblestone mat that I had ordered earlier in the week. A few years ago, I got to try one out at a friend’s house. The highly-debatable theory with foot reflexology is that there are pressure points on the feet that connect to various muscles and nerves throughout the body. Applying pressure on these points, so the theory goes, releases pressure elsewhere. The more “tightly wound” the muscle or nerve, the more painful the point is. In my experience, I have found a certain correlation between the points and the rest of the body. Of course, I know that correlation does not imply causality and that placebos can be strong things. Regardless, I got myself a mat so that I can do more pressure point stuff to myself. While I can give a somewhat passable reflexology-style foot massage, I can’t really give a good one to myself–I think it’s similar to not being able to tickle yourself. The mat takes care of that by stimulating random unexpected points as you walk around. It’s not exactly comfortable, but it’s not exactly uncomfortable.
Friday was Black Friday. If I understand correctly, it was also “buy nothing day.” My intent was to buy something, but I instead bought nothing. I have an older G5 iMac in my home office that started having issues a few months ago and is in need of a replacement. While aesthetically I like the iMac form factor, the upgrade path isn’t so wonderful. A new machine means a new LCD monitor. The first option I looked at was a Mac Mini and an external LCD monitor. Like the Mini under the TV, I could upgrade components (memory, hard drive) and a processor upgrade means swapping out just the computer without the encumbrance of a new LCD screen. I also looked more closely at my general computer habits a few months back and mused over a netbook style laptop. I’m doing a fair amount of computing on my iPhone, actually, and a lot of the stuff I do on the laptop is controlling other machines–kicking off video encoding, compilations, working “in the cloud.” Although I’ve played with a few netbooks, I have never found one I like because of keyboard, screen, trackpad, storage, or overall sluggishness. This got me looking at the MacBook Air. My current MacBook Pro is more than powerful enough to replace the G5 iMac–I’ve always called it my portable desktop–and could be replaced by a less capable laptop. Going back to Black Friday, I thought I would see if Apple put either of these options on sale. Unfortunately not. I’ll bide my time a bit longer, but will need to come up with an answer soon. The iMac can’t connect to the network and therefore can’t be easily backed up or used for the sorts of things it is intended to do.