The Perils of Happiness

Here’s what I did today.

I woke up, convinced it was Saturday, and got up about fifteen minutes later, at 9:15ish. It was at this point that I started thinking. Had I simply carried on with my usual morning routine of acting grumpy until I’ve had breakfast and then being cross with myself for getting up so late, I’d have saved myself a lot of money. But with the two-pronged attack of my life coaching making me happier, and another technique making me more organised (I’ll blog about that soon), I have much more time to think and I’m learning not to use it to find more things to worry about. So what was I contemplating?

Well, Megan‘s getting increasingly manic during the day. It used to be that a run around the garden would tire her out, but no longer. As I posted earlier, she fell into the pond and lay against wet paint just this morning. She’s just becoming a little difficult to deal with. Also I need more exercise than I’m getting, and given that summer’s just around the corner anyway it’d be pleasant to get into the open air. So a solution presented itself to me: I shall take Megan for a daily walk down to the park.

I know myself, and know that such projects often dwindle and die within a few weeks. So, I thought, how can I ensure that I get into a regular routine? What is it that would stop me taking Megan for a walk? Aside from awful weather (which Megan would likely balk at anyway), I decided that I’d probably get bored. There are only so many routes around here, after all. What could I do to stop this happening? Well, when I used to drive to York every fortnight I got into the habit of listening to audiobooks, which I really enjoyed. I listened to a good few Michael Connelly novels in this way and it was great. So audiobooks seemed like a good solution. They’re pricey, however. Then I thought: “ooh, lots of radio shows are in downloadable formats now, aren’t they. What’s that called again?”

Can you see where this is leading?

Podcasting. It’s a great thing. All over the internet (and, increasingly, the media) people are putting their own audio shows up for download. There are a wide variety of topics and subject areas to choose from. From science to education to literature to pop culture to the audio equivalent of blogs, there’s enough out there to keep me busy for a long time. Great! That sounds like exactly what I need.

There’s a problem, though. Sure, it’ll be interesting making the audio CD the first couple of times, but that’ll get old real quick. I could maybe use a CD-RW to save on media, if I could find a decent enough portable CD player. And they do stutter. And they’re bulky.

No. No, what I need is an MP3 player.

Easy enough, I thought. I shall have a look around and find something small and with a fair bit of space. Once the eBay iPod challenge comes to fruition, I’ll use that. So I had a look at MP3 players and it quickly became apparent that to have enough space would cost a fair bit. To have a decent number of songs and podcasts available on hardware that isn’t going to fall over in six months isn’t all that easy. So I found myself hanging around the Apple website, looking at the iPod feature list.

And what a feature list it is. It’s just so damned easy. You plug in the iPod and it synchronizes all of your music. If your music is all rated and categorised in iTunes already, as mine is, then it’s a piece of rather lovingly decorated cake. I’ve played around with iPodder before, and it can check for new Podcasts automatically, download them and then interface with iTunes to add a playlist. So, podcast-wise, all I’d need to do is find shows I like and iPodder + iTunes + iPod synchronization would do everything else for me. What else can the iPod do, I asked? Well. It has a built-in calendar and contacts, but big deal, I always have my phone with me (although that’s a damn site harder to synchronize than the iPod). It also has a few games, but again, I’m not all that bothered. But what’s this? You can use the iPod as a portable hard drive? Swanky. And I can record voice notes, admittedly with an adapter? Hmmm, that could come in handy. It can charge itself from the USB 2.0 port, you say? Well, that really would be convenient.

So the iPod seemed to have a lot going for it. I started to consider getting an iPod mini. But a quick check on Amazon showed that the iPod 20gb was only