Active mind wandering

I've been doing a lot of hiking recently, and one thing I like to do is let my mind wander.  Usually when I'm walking or hiking or doing some activity that doesn't require brain power, I listen to music or podcasts, or I think about what I need to get done, or how to solve a problem I've been working on.  But lately I've been going out, leaving my electronics at home or in the car, and just letting my brain do what it wants.  It's kind of a cool sensation, almost like observing my brain in third person.  I can see an idea appear, and I just let my squishy computer go with it.  There's no objective or end state or anything I need to remember or write down.  It's just low-level mental processing, turning the gears and cranks, for no other reason than it's enjoyable. [[psychology]]

Quitting caffeine

I quit caffeine as of a few weeks ago.  I had been drinking up to 8 cups of coffee per day (only 2 scoops of grounds though) for the past few years, and I had developed a slight sweating problem.  I'm not completely sure the two things were related, but I had been thinking about giving up caffeine anyway.  I don't like the idea of being dependent on something.  What if I'm somewhere where I can't get a fix?  And really that's what caffeine has become for me.  It's long since stopped being a morning pick-me-up or anything like that.  It's a substance, that if I don't ingest on a daily basis, I'll get a miserable headache and feel like garbage. 

I'm really not sure what to believe about the health benefits of caffeine.  I've heard it can be good.  I've heard it can be bad.  My thought is that our ancestors existed just fine without it.  Plus it's certainly not an essential vitamin or mineral or anything like that.  There's nothing in coffee or tea or any caffeinated beverage that's necessary for our bodies to function, that we can't get from eating regular food.  We can live without caffeine. 

So anyway, I slowly decreased my coffee volume consumption while also slowly decreasing the strength of the coffee itself.  The last couple weeks were a cup or two with more than half decaff grounds.  AND YET, when I quit completely I still had a stupid headache and felt crappy. 

Now that I'm caffeine-free, I'd like to say I'm sleeping better and feel great.  But honestly I feel exactly the same as I always did, albeit a little less sweaty. [[food]]

Hybrid work

We've entered the era of hybrid work, which is a combination of on-site work and remote work, and I gotta say, it's literally the worst of both worlds.  The benefits of on-site work are that you see people face-to-face and run into people in the hallway for impromptu chats.  The benefits of remote work are that you can concentrate distraction-free while not wearing pants.  Hybrid work, as it's currently implemented, is left to the worker to decide how to manage their on-site and remote days.  So some people choose to be in the office Monday and Wednesday; other people choose Tuesday and Thursday, etc.  What this means is that on any given day you're in the office, you have absolutely no guarantee that the people you want to see will be there.  Which means that not only is your presence completely wasted, you're also working in a distracting office and you had to put on pants to do so.  And to get in contact with people, you have to call or message them anyway, which is the exact same thing you would've done if you weren't in the office. [[business]]

Older coworkers

I was talking to some coworkers and we were all noticing how certain people we work with have a hard time adopting new technology.  Here we are a few years into a pandemic-fueled remote work world, and some people are still learning how to share their screen in Microsoft Teams.  One coworker said it's because our generation (born in the 1980s) were the first generation with internet in our homes while we were in high school.  We're used to adapting to the ever-changing landscape of technology.  We remember a time before the internet, before smartphones, before social networks.  And as these new things came about, we (sometimes grudgingly) adopted them and incorporated them into our daily lives.  People who are even a few years older seem to have been almost left behind in the pre-digital age.  They write things on paper; they cold-call people without messaging them first; they have trouble with copying and pasting and emails.  It's weird how there's almost a generational gap in technological proficiency, and the age difference is sometimes less than 10 years.

Trunk lock issue

My current car's trunk has two methods of entry:  An electronic switch near the steering wheel, and a keyed lock on the trunk door.  Most normal cars also have a latch on the back seat, but mine doesn't. 

A few months ago, my battery died due to the interior light being left on overnight.  What happens when a car has a dead battery?  The electronic trunk release button doesn't work.  What happens when you live in a cold climate with road salt and a seldom used keyed lock?  It seizes.  So in the middle of winter, with a dead battery, I was unable to get the jumper cables from my trunk because the idiots who designed my car couldn't envision a scenario where this series of events could happen. 

It wasn't a huge deal because I borrowed my wife's car to go to a store to buy jumper cables, which she needed anyway.  But if someone, perhaps a small child, got stuck in my trunk, I have a hard time imagining the success rate of convincing said child to follow my instructions in locating and operating the glow-in-the-dark emergency trunk release lever (which thankfully my car does have).