Sidenote: So, I have a tablet now.

I always figured I would be the last daily-computer-using person in the world to get a tablet. I resisted getting a touchscreen-only phone for the longest time because I can type faster and with less thought on a physical keyboard, even a tiny one, and I had very little interest in getting a tablet because by the time you attach your tablet to a keyboard, you’ve basically got a laptop and those already exist.

It seemed to me that anything I wanted a tablet for could be better done by my phone (being more portable and easier to hold) or a full computer. This is where someone pops up to say, “Oh, but a tablet’s so much easier to read,” but I’ve never had a hard time reading anything on my phone. Maybe that’ll change as I age, though oddly at the age of 35 I can read tiny print (and hear in the upper register) better than a lot of twenty-somethings I know.

I didn’t want a tablet, but Jack has wanted a tablet for a while now, so when I went Black Friday shopping with my family (by which I mean, while we all sat on the couch with our phones, laptops, and tablets looking for deals online, where we could comparison shop), I kept my eye out for a good deal. Money has been tight, as he was temporarily out of a job at that time and I hadn’t been able to work, but I found one that was well-rated by what appeared to be actual financially disinterested human beings, had excellent specs, and was marked down from well above my price range to well within it. It wasn’t a brand I’d ever heard of (there are a lot of those, making Android devices), but all the numbers were right.

So, I ordered it.

Now, as fate would have it, Sarah had also decided to get Jack a tablet when she upgraded her phone, which fell in early December. I found out when they asked my opinion on the tablet under consideration. I did some quick mental comparisons. The one I had already purchased and taken delivery on was a bit more of a beast (both physically larger and more powerful), but this one was name brand and had cellular data capability. I decided it would be better for his needs to have a more-portable tablet, since he doesn’t have as easy a time reading things on his phone, so I told them I thought it looked like a good deal and on an unrelated note I needed to get Jack a new Christmas present and also I now had a tablet, too.

They were both a little shocked that I would have bought a major electronic thingy for someone else in the household without any kind of coordination or information sharing. My defense? “Well, I didn’t think anyone would buy something as big as a tablet without saying something, so I figured it was safe.” It’s okay for me to be hypocritical. It’s only a problem when other people are.

So now I had a tablet and I wasn’t sure what I would do with it, except for maybe play games that my phone couldn’t handle well (mainly Fallout Shelter, the free Fallout spin-off/gateway game). But I had it, and I found myself oddly giddy about it. I’d never been excited about the idea of tablets, never asked to borrow Sarah’s or anyone else’s unless there was an immediate need to look a thing up online and nothing else available, but now that I had one I wanted to see what it could do.

It turns out that it can do a lot. It doesn’t really do anything that a computer or cellphone can’t, but it does a different combination of them? It gives me something closer to the desktop experience in a more portable format. The touch keyboard is even more of a problem on the tablet than it is on the phone, but I just took the little pocket bluetooth keyboard I use for my phone and synced it to the tablet. If it looks funny having a 10 inch tablet propped up on its easel stand cover while I sit a few feet away thumb-typing away on a 4 inch keyboard… it works. 90% of the stuff I posted as Things of the Day in December were written like that, and that was some of the first real writing I’d done basically since Halloween.

I haven’t done any longer writing on it yet, as it’s sort of taken me a while to take it seriously as anything other than a super fun machine, but I suspect I’ll get there.

STATUS: Monday, January 4th

I’ve been giving a lot of thought to the value of these status posts, and the format to take with them that actually brings that value. Initially they were more of a public to-do list. Eventually they became more like a candid, off-the-cuff self-inventory. Both styles fall apart when I’m feeling vulnerable, as they both require me to take something (myself, or my work life) and just sort of… put it out there. But it keeps me on track to do so.

Coming into 2016, I’m going to be more consistent about posting but less consistent about the format, as I try to find out what works for me best right now. Next week, I expect I’ll be more or less taking the week off from blogging as my far-flung family separates a late Christmas, so I guess that will give me a chance to reflect and adjust when I come back.

One thing that I think really was helpful that I did in the past was to do before-and-after posts for the day, morning status posts and post-mortems afterwards. It let me ride the high of accomplishment when I had an amazing day, and look at what didn’t work when I didn’t. So I might be bringing that back, though probably not today… my sleep schedule led to a late start today, and then I spent some time ruminating on this post before making it, so it’s not exactly morning anymore.

2015 was not a good year for me. I’ve thought about doing a big retrospective about what went wrong and why, but I’ve decided to leave 2015 in 2015. Just bury the year and move on. There are some specific course corrections I’m making, and I might elaborate on my reasoning as they become apparent, but no post-mortem on the year. No dwelling. A great American once said “We must move forward, not backward; upward, not forward; and always twirling, twirling, twirling towards freedom!”