Discardia Archives

True of paper sorting too 2012

RT @gtdguy: Before email cleanup, empty Trash. You'll be on a roll & dump stuff by mistake; will be easier to Restore. Trust me.

Posted on June 3, 2012 at 06:47 PM in Discardia, tweets | Permalink | Comments (0)

The Discardian dog & pony ride again! 2012

RT @Discardia: Delighted to be scheduling a big summer series of free public discussions on Discardia at @SFPLnews branches! Details to come. #SanFrancisco

Posted on May 3, 2012 at 04:01 PM in Discardia, San Francisco | Permalink | Comments (2)

Presentation on Discardia at SXSW 2012

I was very pleased to present about my book Discardia: More Life, Less Stuff today at SXSW. There were at least 100 people in attendence and I had a line—a big line!—for my book signing, which made me feel really great. So glad to be able to do this and have it go well.

[A recording is now available]

Posted on March 11, 2012 at 06:00 PM in Discardia, SXSW | Permalink | Comments (0)

Swimming against the current 2011

Today Discardia hit 500 "likes" on Facebook, which may not sound like a lot, but for a community that actively pares away distractions and which pays attention to hidden costs like having to keep close track of privacy policy changes, it's kind of amazing.

Posted on May 31, 2011 at 02:16 PM in Discardia | Permalink | Comments (0)

Weeding through old bits of paper... 2011

One of my Discardian goals is to have nothing which I have not consciously looked at in the past two years and said "Yes. I still want this." Every possession's 'service contract' is up for renewal or I'm canceling it.

Now this is a big undertaking. I have not suffered a big loss of stuff. There has been no fire or tornado or other disaster to destroy any home I've ever lived in. I have stuff that dates back through my entire life, and I've got some things from my parents, grandparents, and ancestors further back. I have made big moves – to college, to a year abroad, to Hawaii for six months – but all of those took place when my childhood home was still owned by my folks. That big old Victorian house had plenty of room for me to tuck things away while I was gone. It was not until they sold that house in the late 1990s that I really had to start winnowing down. Even so, I lived in big enough places (or had kindly friends with basement storage to spare) that I was able to keep a lot of stuff.

The first really stern paring down of my belongings happened in 2002, when I moved to San Francisco, with all the self-focus and self-reinvention that that move usually implies. This is a city which encourages you to be true to yourself and shed your old snakeskins. It was at the end of that year that I invented Discardia. Since then, I've been very consciously evaluating what I have and letting go of what isn't bringing me utility and pleasure.

There are still boxes to go through, however. Not many, but some. Today I sorted through a box of papers and put them into the recycling bin or one of a very small number of piles: shred, scan and toss the original, file (almost entirely health and taxes stuff, all of which I plan to re-evaluate and pare down in a subsequent project), and "capture into blog or contacts or something else digital" (the scan stuff actually is destined for that category after it's digitized as a picture).

So what are these bits and bobs that I am not ready to just toss? Ideas, memories, contact information, and personal history data that tells when I was where doing what. Here are the bits that don't fit in somewhere else, put into my blog where I can easily search for them.

- books I'm glad I read a long time ago (that helped shape my thinking): Kevin A. Lynch's Good City Form (which I think was assigned in a class as an undergrad at UCSC).

- on my first visit to New York City I planned a walk for myself with these notes: "St. Pat's -> Park Ave downtown to maybe duck in at Waldorf Astoria at E 49th, continue on Park, Grand Central Terminal, west exit, 42nd, Madison, "Library Way", 5th, downtown, pass Empire State Building". On that first trip Joe and I went to the Campbell Apartments, WD-50 (appetizers, Rye & Quince cocktail, and a happy introduction to Amaro Montenegro), and Pegu Club.

- The Rye & Quince led us to seek out quince syrup which we found at Kalamala.com, "The Online Iranian Grocery Store". Along with that essential ingredient for a very tasty cocktail, we got a bunch of wacky stuff from them including willow water which is basically a refreshing-ish aspirin beverage. They currently only have quince lemon syrup which looks different from what we bought before, so I'm going to keep questing. Been craving a Rye & Quince again.

- Why the hell isn't Bill Irwin's brilliant show The Regard of Flight available on DVD? Grrr. Use the device, people!


It has just occurred to me that I can make my contact lists a lot easier to work with if I put zzz in front of the names of those I no longer am in regular contact with but for whom I want to keep the last known contact info. (I know, I know, I should use tagging or something, but this method will sync between any system I've got. Sometimes crude is more compatible.)

Posted on May 28, 2011 at 12:41 PM in Dinah - preferences, Discardia | Permalink | Comments (2)

Definitely in motion on my road 2010

My latest Discardia post is about choosing what you most want and don't want in your life and then bearing those priorities in mind when faced with options (which we are all day, every day).

Here are my choices:

I want...
1. to be thriving in a great relationship.
2. to feel healthy and strong.
3. to be a published author.

I don't want...
1. to work in a cubicle.
2. to have little control over when I do what.
3. to be stressed all the time.

I'm making great progress on all of these goals. I quit my office job just over a year ago, went into business for myself as a productivity and life coach, started writing my book about Discardia, devoted more of my energy to my relationship with Joe, and consciously began designing my life for less stress.

The feeling healthy and strong part has been tough, though, I have to admit. I hate gyms. I have a weak knee and a weak ankle which make running or jogging very unattractive. Really, the only exercise routine I actually like and seek out many times a week is walking. As someone with a project of walking the city of San Francisco – every street, every block – that's not a surprise, right? :)

During the past two years I've made various attempts to up my activity level. I tried the Wii Fit for a while; fun, but not inspirational for daily activity. I got a pedometer and renewed my focus on my SF walking project; definitely a help, but not always compatible with working on a book and maintaining a happy home many hours a day.

Yesterday, I think I finally found the sweet spot: a treadmill desk. IMG_0002
I moved my Ikea office armoire to the other wall so the space in front of it wouldn't block our path to the back bathroom, switched the shelves around so that the extending desk surface could hold my monitor at face height when I'm standing, and put my treadmill in front of the desk. There are a couple tweaks needed – the typing surface needs to be an inch or two lower and the stereo speaker buzz needs to be resolved – but in the first part of my day today (less than two hours) I've already strolled at a comfortable speed of 0.7 miles an hour (while typing and reading) and logged over 2700 steps.

I can see that with this setup it will be very difficult not to reach a daily goal of at least 10,000 steps. Also my energy and alertness levels are both higher than when I'm sitting in a chair. Awesome!

Notes on my setup:
- LifeSpan Fitness TR200 Fold-N-Stor Compact Treadmill
- nice finished board
- two scarves to tie board on treadmill handles
- blanket under board for padding and as additional safety grip
- Ikea armoire with extendable shelf
- cheapish monitor
- MacBook
- creativity

Posted on July 1, 2010 at 11:10 AM in creativity, Discardia, health, tools, work | Permalink | Comments (14)

Experimenting with movies 2009

Here's a little diary post which I whipped together mostly thinking about the pecha-kucha ideas.

Warning: It's a two minute diary not a one minute diary as titled, oops, and the audio came out a trifle louder than I expected thanks to a better microphone than I'm used to.

My process was to record the slideshow in Keynote, then export to Quicktime, then upload that to Vimeo. Ideas on improved approaches are appreciated in the comments; I decided to go for "imperfect and up today" rather than making it a big project that might get bogged down.

Posted on October 19, 2009 at 09:52 PM in Discardia, movies & tv, mundania, tools | Permalink | Comments (0)

My tidiness, and my untidiness, are full of regret and remorse and complex feelings.

                --Natalia Ginzburg

(In honor of the beginning of the new Discardia Twitter feed: http://twitter.com/discardia )

Posted on November 8, 2008 at 12:07 PM in Discardia | Permalink | Comments (0)

No, no, I don't want your junk mail. 2007

Write "refused" on any junk mail you can't return to the sender and drop it in the nearest postal mail box (rather than making your carrier carry it back again, which is slightly cruel since they don't like the crap any more than you do).

As far as I can tell this is perfectly legal. [See for example D042 Conditions of Delivery]

Posted on March 17, 2007 at 03:08 PM in Discardia | Permalink | Comments (8)

Posted on December 27, 2005 at 06:22 PM in Discardia | Permalink | Comments (0)

Carry less. 2005

As part of the preparations for my month long trip, I went through my wallet and laptop bag and pulled out everything I knew I wouldn't need while I was gone.

Then I realized I wouldn't need enough walletstuff to bring the wallet, so I set that aside too.

When I got back I wisely didn't put everything back as it was, but have instead been adding things as I need them and I've learned something: I don't need to carry much at all. And I'm not the only one:

In the spirit of GTD, in which you try to empty your head of all the cruft and worry so you can concentrate creatively on the task at hand, let us look to our burdens to see if we can't undo a little of our daily Sisyphean-wear.

Mind like water? Meet pockets like air.

[read more in Robert Daeley's "Zen Pockets" post]

This article definitely made a lot of sense to me. I knew already but am having a renewed appreciation for just how much time, space, and weight I save by not being a makeup wearer. I never have really gotten used to wearing a watch and now, in the era of the iPod and the mobile phone and the laptop, I have a more reliable timepiece handy 99% of the time anyhow. One of the smarter decisions I made was to get a laptop bag which doesn't have room for a lot more than my laptop.

Maybe you're different, but I have to acknowledge that if there's room to put things, I'll fill it up with stuff. My Discardia-at-work move this time around was to have one of the work surfaces in my cube removed. This had the incidental effect of reducing my file cabinet space by half, but since it was half full of crap, this is a good thing. Now my remaining counter and shelf space has 3 stacks of unsightly papers which offend mine eyes and which I am thus reminded to chip away at "processing" - deciding if the things in them should be filed, trashed or require some action.

I know that Hipster PDA's are all the rage - and my beloved Grandpa Bob was a hipster ahead of his time with a dozen index cards and a ballpoint pen always handy in his pocket, so it ought to run in the family - but I find index cards are too big and heavy for my ephemeral notes. I either act on things or transfer them to my big list of projects, actions & someday/maybe in KGTD right away, so lighter, smaller slips are better for me. I went over to Kinko's, had a lot of bright yellow paper cut into twelfths and now have a good supply.

My slim wallet has three slots and the bill area, but even so it had started to seem too big and it didn't have any way to keep a pen handy with it, therefore I began watching for a better alternative. The other day in Borders I saw a little pouch thing - not sure what it's actually intended for, to be honest, since it doesn't close tight enough for a coin purse - but it's just a little bigger than a credit card, has a flap that secures with an elastic band and my space pen fits neatly in it. Perfect! and $5.99, so cheap too! It now holds my ID, ATM card, transit passes, a little cash and my noteslips. In a pinch, my house key could clip to it too.

Ahhh, minimalism.

Posted on December 26, 2005 at 03:43 PM in Discardia | Permalink | Comments (0)

New Discardia post: Learning from the World

Posted on December 24, 2005 at 04:45 PM in Discardia | Permalink | Comments (1)

New post in Discardia: Getting to the Happy Home

Posted on July 30, 2005 at 02:32 PM in Discardia | Permalink | Comments (0)

New essay up on Discardia: Internal Clutter

Posted on April 6, 2005 at 11:09 PM in Discardia | Permalink | Comments (0)

The season of giving? Maybe, but not necessarily of shopping.

Around about the week before Thanksgiving, the pressure starts. The ads begin to suggest "the perfect gift for the such & such on your list". The list is assumed. Of course everyone has a List. Everyone must be buying. Then that post-turkey Friday comes and the frenzy in the stores begins.

The crowds. The sensory overload of enforced commercial festivity. "Bring on the cheer, dammit!" seems to be the underlying messsage of the barrage of Christmas music, holiday movie promotions, and red & green advertising plastered on every surface. Sometimes it seems like you couldn't throw a rock without hitting a Santa (and as December barrels on, the tempation to do so grows)...

(read more of my latest Discardia post)

Posted on December 22, 2004 at 05:37 PM in Discardia | Permalink | Comments (0)

New post over in Discardia: Where To Start?

Posted on May 11, 2004 at 10:19 PM in Discardia | Permalink | Comments (0)

Virtual yard sale 2003

[August 2009, in cleaning up old papers - woohoo, single digital lifestream project! - I found an email I had printed out which I sent at work.]

To: community
Subject: Virtual Yard Sale

My boyfriend and I had been talking about doing a yard sale or a trip to the flea market, but we live on a very steep hill without enough foot traffic to make a yard sale successful and it seems that you're supposed to show up at the flea market at 5am, so that's right out. We'd have to make a lot of money to make that worthwhile, so we'll try a less painful approach: the virtual yard sale.

If you're interested in any of the following items, just drop me a note and make an offer. Please note that "I'll come pick it up" is a perfectly valid offer. (FYI, our place is in the Castro district in San Francisco).

- queen-size futon with simple wood frame & two pieces which act as side tables when in couch mode [gone]

- pressboard 2-drawer unit, 16" cube (might actually have two of these) [didn't go, not sure if I ever got rid of these or if they're still in that apartment with my former boyfriend/housemate]

- classic fold-up card table, 30" square, been in use in my family for decades, needs a good home [gone]

- blue leather Palm pilot case (suitable for Palm I-III, possibly I-V) [gone]

- 60's look checkerboard pattern knit mini-dress with red stripe, needs light repair, size m, very Speed Racer in aesthetic, could also pass for 1930's geometric [gone]

- round stone table fountain with pump [gone]

- Jensen JMP-33 computer speakers [didn't go, probably ended up in Goodwill box]

- small, extremely solid safe [gone]

- Honeywell air purifier [didn't go, probably ended up in Goodwill box]

- wooden folding tv-tray-style table [didn't go, probably ended up in Goodwill box]

- metal "No Dumping Allowed" sign [gone]

- comics: Paul the Samurai #1-3, Paul the Samurai: Tick Spinoff #2-4 & 7, Enigma #1-4, Marvels Book 1 (Flash), Superman the Man of Steel Feb 94 #30 Colorforms issue with Lobo. [didn't go, not sure what happened with these. I don't think I still have them. Maybe gave 'em to my friend Len?]

- SF Examiner article from Sept 23 1979 about Dungeons & Dragons "Joys, dangers of game where one's imagination is the limit" [gone]

- music memorabilia bag (cassette Green Jello "Three Little Pigs" pre-cease & desist order, button "I'm too sexy" from Right Said Fred tour, Bruce Cockburn's Big Circumstance tour button, repro of Rolling Stone #1, "I love the Bay City Rollers" patch) [didn't go except for the of-course-plaid BCR patch, rest probably ended up in Goodwill box]

- movie & tv memorabilia bag (Cool World Holli Would button, Naked Lunch button, 3 Batman logo from first Burton film buttons, Spike & Mike Twisted Toons barf bag unused I should note, Misery bookmarks & 2 buttons, Cool World promo postcard, "The Tucker Times" printed promo page for the movie "Tucker" with Jeff Bridges, People magazine Sept 25 1989 issue about Saturday Night Live, Entertainment Weekly #3 issue on Hunt for Red October with a little coming soon ad from NBC with this blurb near the bottom "The Seinfeld Chronicles: A different look at the life and misadventures of the single man, from hip new stand-up comic Jerry Seinfeld.") [didn't go, probably ended up in Goodwill box]

- collectible trading cards bag (unopened Jyhad starter deck from original version, 4 unopened booster packs ditto, promo material for re-release of game as "Vampire: The Eternal Struggle", complete set of Jyhad cards mint in binder, 1995 Magic: The Gathering binder, Tomart's Photo Checklist & Price Guide to Collectible Card Games vol. 1 first printing 1995, The Duelist magazine #6 featuring art of Rob Alexander, The Duelist magazine #5 featuring art of Liz Danforth, The Duelist magazine #7 featuring art of Mark Tedin, The Duelist #4 featuring the art of Melissa Benson, 1995 Other Worlds: Michael Whelan II collector cards binder w/ promo sheet & 3 cards 14 21 & 41, 1995 David Cherry collectible cards set {complete, I think, but the cards are sleeved out of order & I feel lazy at the moment}, 1994 MTG poster illustrating many cards and 1994 Jyhad poster plus bonus gift of Chris Baccalo poster of Death from Sandman, box from 1995 MTG 2 deck starter kit in very good condition, Mark Poole deck box with juggling sorceress, assortment of 1994 Star Trek: The Next Generation cards including Wesley Crusher, 1991 3M Olympic Innovator's Collection Olga Korbut card) [gone]

- politics & news memorabilia bag (Spy magazine Oct 1997 with Bill Clinton on cover as superhero - bagged in very good condition with Clinton/Gore 92 bumper sticker, front section of SF Chronicle May 25 1987 "The Great Party" 50th birthday of the Golden Gate Bridge, "No on 65 Stop LaRouche" button, front section of San Jose Mercury News FEb 8 1990 "Communists give up monopoly" "Bush backs arms control, SDI" "Top official [Gassee] on way out at Apple", used "Fight the Right" phone card with picture of Newt Gingrich on it, Garbage magazine Premier Issue, lots of 1989 Quake related newspaper sections including SJ Merc Oct 23 "The Long Road Back", SJ Merc Oct 22 "We will never forget" 16 page memorial, SJ Merc Oct 23 front "Thank God, I'm alive" Buck Helm story, SJ Merc Oct 19 3 sections including front section with "Cold fusion heats up", SF Chron Oct 18 8 page issue "EXTRA EXTRA EXTRA HUNDREDS DEAD IN HUGE QUAKE", Contra Costa Times Oct 18 "Earthquake: Over 200 die; bridge, I-880 collapse", SJ Merc Oct 18 "MASSIVE QUAKE 76 die in seconds of horror", SF Examiner Oct 18 "EARTHQUAKE EXTRA 7.0 quake stuns Bay", SJ Merc Oct 21 front section, SJ Merc Nov 10 story about Bookshop Santa Cruz, and the best thing of all, Kevin Cowherd's column from the morning of Oct. 17th about the World Series game which reads "Actually, I have no idea who is going to win the Series, because these are two teams from California and God only knows if they'll even get all the games in. An earthquake could rip through the Bay Area before they sing the national anthem for Game 3.") [gone, though it seems to me to someone who didn't want the newspapers because I remember walking those down and just giving them to a guy at the counter at an antique/ephemera store on Castro Street because I couldn't bear to just toss them in the recycling]

Posted on July 15, 2003 at 12:00 PM in Discardia, mundania | Permalink | Comments (0)

Hey! I'm sellin' on eBay. 1999

Check out Dinah's Emporium of Stuff, a fine melange of cool items which I, my folks and my grandfolks no longer have room for in our lives. Much more coming over the next two weeks. [Link removed in August 2004 since it's deader than a doornail]

Posted on October 3, 1999 at 01:43 PM in Discardia | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Blog (noun) A weblog or similar brief journal usually containing links and commentary thereon. Term coined by Peter Merholz.

Visit Typepad or Blogger to start your own. (I began with hand coding, then switched to Blogger when it first became available, then to Movable Type when I wanted more control over my weblog and to have it hosted at a place of my choosing (Hurricane Electric). Since 06/2003 I've used Typepad, a hosted service built by the same folks who made Movable Type, which I love because I don't have to maintain the underlying system).

You may write to Dinah @ this domain.

Except where otherwise noted all content is copyright 1965-2014 Dinah Sanders. Please do not repost my writing or other creations elsewhere. Instead, copy a tiny bit and link to the rest. Thanks! Images are copyright of their original creators. MetaGrrrl logo and photos by Dinah are copyright 1965-2014 Dinah Sanders. Inkspot Books and the Inkspot logo have been Service Marks of Dinah Sanders since 1993.