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November 10, 2003

Necessity forced the abandonment of software solutions in favour of hardware; a router got bought. A router with sticky-uppy thingies, to be more precise. Yes, we have discovered 802.11 (wireless) and oh is it good. Sitting on the couch with an Airport-enabled iBook (which is increasingly becoming the weapon of choice chez Shea) and a good pair of headphones tuning in to a radio station from a timezone a whole day removed while writing one’s latest tome on Cascading-something-or-other is a most agreeable way to spend a Sunday afternoon.

Increasingly I find the weekends, prior reserved for the catching up I swear I’d do mid-week, are becoming more about the exploring of new and just getting-the-hell-off-the-screen. Sitting in a coffee shop without wireless and playing an old-fashioned game of Scrabble one November afternoon while sipping the new festive specialties feels right. Putting ten or fifteen kilometers on the old rubber soles and trying out new sushi restaurants and pizza joints means spending that time doing things off-line instead of on-. Taking these precious two days a week to keep life in check, meet new people, and try new things breaks up the otherwise routine.

And that’s what it’s about really, finding balance and figuring out what matters once you strip away the distraction. Sure, I saw that movie and built a wireless network this weekend. But I’m far more satisfied after stewing a largeish pot of soup (using frozen stock leftover from Canadian Thanksgiving), meeting up with Matt H. over lager, discovering a new organic produce grocer, enjoying my wife’s company, and all the other little things that made it far more interesting than the five days preceding.

What did you do — offline — this weekend?

Reader Comments

Ethan says:
November 10, 01h

I think it should be noted that “chez Shea” is rather fun to say aloud.

Which gives everyone a rather sad view of what constitutes “fun” at chez Marcotte, but I digress. ;)

Michael says:
November 10, 01h

I took a walk around Sheffield Park Gardens:

I’ve can’t remember anything like the colours there now—perhaps it’s something to do with the the long Summer and mild Autumn we had this year.

I was taking some photographs and a very old man passing said, “Look carefully: you may never see it like this again.”

Paul G says:
November 10, 01h

Ah, the weekend is definitely my escape from the online world into the real one. Since I spend nearly every waking hour during the week in front of a computer (job + freelance), I rarely do anything other than check my email on weekends.

This past weekend was particularly enjoyable:

Friday night: Went to my favorite cigar bar/jazz club in St. Augustine FL, enjoyed one of the best cigars I’ve ever had (Arturo Fuente Maduro, Churchill. About an hour and a half smoke, highly recommended), downed a few pints of Guinness, and listened to a great local jazz band, the House Cats

Saturday: Spent the day helping my dad drop the engine and tranny back into a 93 miata after helping him rebuild it off and on for the last few weeks. I’m still sore, but I draw a tremendous sense of satisfaction from physical labor, especially working on cars. After a shower, went to see the new Matrix movie (no comments. make up your own mind about it), then met a good buddy of mine out at Jacksonville Beach to just hang out for a while.

Sunday: Slept almost until noon (haven’t done that in years), got up, cleaned up the apartment, did some laundry, got some exercise, watched some football (The Jaguars finally managed to win a game!), watched the Simpsons, and capped the night off by watching “28 days later”, which was about what I expected, and really quite enjoyable.

Matt says:
November 10, 01h

Saturday started off with a technology slant but ended with an incredible Joshua Redman concert, good thai food, and then an old friend’s party until 3 or 4. Sunday was lazy, spent sleeping late, eating decadently, napping, and reading.

DaveE says:
November 10, 01h

So true. While the novelty of new technology continues to bring me simple pleasure, life can be so much more enjoyable with out technology staring blankly back at me.

I took the cold and sunny weather as a sign that it was time to cover the drafty windows and doors for the upcoming winter, sought closure to The Matrix trilogy via Revolutions and most enjoyably, caught a great local band and a microbrew with a dear friend on Friday night.

Dris says:
November 10, 01h

Dear Lord, nearly nothing until Sunday. Because my weekdays are usually kept pretty tight, I find that the weekend is the only time I have to get work done on my publishing system, not to mention the odd round of Diablo.

Sunday, however, I went to church, practiced with my budding band, and enjoyed an evening with my family, without a single worry about what I’d need to do the next day.

November 10, 01h

Friday night: fireworks then clubbing till 5 am, fantastic night

Saturday: woke up at 3:15 pm! went shopping for paint and skirting board for son’s bedroom, popped into office, Processor fan had died at 8pm Friday so PC was resetting itself every second or two, luckily all of the hardware survived and a new fan/heat-sink solved the problem, did a bit of work, went shopping for fireworks, went and set them off with the kids, had a few beers and watched crap on tv

Sunday: worked on son’s bedroom and came into work for a bit

Great weekend all in all, more eventful than most.


November 10, 01h

well, my main pc was busy pretty much all weekend encoding a whole selection of 20+ minute movies i made into mpeg2 for later dvd burning, so it was out of action for any serious work most of the time. what did i do ? nurse a damned hangover on saturday (a few pints of guinness followed by 5 giant glasses of hoegarden do not mix well, let me tell ya). sunday was mainly covered by my other half insisting on going for an early christmas shop (yes, being dragged from shop to shop, although halfway through i did manage to escape with the “i’ll meet you back here in an hour” routine), and subsequent food shopping. heck, even a trip to a local DIY superstore was crammed in…

November 10, 01h

oh, and speaking of wireless: i do have a 802.11g network running here in the house, but only to avoid lots of cabling. my main machines are upstairs, hard-wired to my linksys access-point/router, but the wireless shares the adsl connection to my girl’s pc downstairs (thus avoiding the drilling of holes, cable shafts, etc). i do have a crappy old laptop, but haven’t got a pcmcia card for wireless for it yet. it’s on my christmas shopping list though…particularly once summer hits, i want to be in the garden surfing the broadband connection. i’ve also toyed with the idea of keeping an old, battered machine under the stairs or something, with shedloads of harddrive space and a wireless card, as a file server (possibly running a web/ftp service, so i can get to my files from work if required)
happy days indeedy ;)

Brian G says:
November 10, 02h

This was a rare weekend where I didn’t actually turn my PC on until some time Sunday.

Friday night; went to the Toronto Comicon, stalked comic book artists Tony Harris, Phil Jimenez, Kevin Maguire, and Marshall Rogers. Lots of fun was had by stalker, stalkees seemed to enjoy the dialogue as well.

Saturday; Best friend/business partner and wife came down from London to my wife and I. Went out for ice cream, saw that movie (hated it), went home, had a light dinner, played craps for fun.

Sunday; Went out for breakfast, went for a drive around town, had late lunch out, said goodbye to friends, went to coffee shop with my wife and had a delicious hot treat, came home and did a tiny bit of work on my computer.

Out of the 56 hours from Friday night until Monday morning, I only spent about 4 of them on my computer. Not bad.

Brian says:
November 10, 02h

Saw two movies (not including, you know, ‘that’ one). Brought oven-fresh cookies to the picket line. Rounds of mochas; couldn’t sleep after. Argued: science fiction novels vs. Haruki Murakami and so forth. Cleaned house. Petted cats. Flipped off an auditorium full of impressionable children and unbalanced adults. Arrived at the record store half an hour after it closed. Watched the eclipse. Slept well.

vlad says:
November 10, 02h

that is all well and good, but one question:

802.11b or 802.11g?
or in apple terrms, airport or airport extreme?

jgraham says:
November 10, 03h

Weekends are good for baking. Making bread is a good way to spend Sunday afternoon; more fun than using a bread maker anyway.

Of course, this weekend I wasted Saturday trying (and failing) to get Syncato to work (I’m sure I will manage eventually…). Then I spent Sunday realising I should have done something useful on Saturday, and trying to understand some of the simpler parts of Particle Physics.

Jon Hicks says:
November 10, 03h

At the weekends, my family are my priority. I have a 2 year old daughter, a 7 month old son (literally my mini-me) and a wife who I can’t wait to spend decent time with. The pain of being freelance is the guilt you feel when you’re not working, but my family soon make me forget about it.

November 10, 03h

Went skating twice, raked lots of leafs in the garden, and does watching hockey count for being offline? :)

November 10, 05h

By watching hockey I mean in television. HNIC to be precise.

Elaine says:
November 10, 05h

some serious online & offline work….

on saturday night, took my little computer over to our friend’s house; while he & the sig. other puttered around with various ancient computer parts (256 mb apple hard drive, anyone?), I finally installed mt-blacklist and cleared out my backlog of reading.

spent most of sunday digging and raking and such, trying to get some plants set before winter. didn’t finish, alas, mostly because I took a bunch of plants from a neighbor who had too many daisies & gladiolas. a lot of pickaxing through sod; now my arms are sore.

Chris M. Cooper says:
November 10, 08h

Saturday, I saw -that movie- with my best friend and his mom, who are more like my brother and our mother, and my girlfriend. Oh, and secretly coveting the new Dark Tower Series book by Stephen King.

Sunday, I spent 13 hours playing my favorite video game. How pathetic am I? Oh, very.

Christian says:
November 10, 08h

Being the father of a 3 month old, my online time has dwindled to a fraction of what it was B.A. (Before Alec). Which is a shame, because my web site is now generating sufficient enquiries for me to be spending a lot more time on freelance work.

And as for online gaming…sigh. Now, I just download the patches to stay up to date–one day I’ll be back to fighting it out with the best of them!

anders says:
November 10, 09h

i dusted off my brushes and did some painting:

MikeyC says:
November 10, 10h

→Friday: Saw “that movie” and thought it was much worse than “that other crappy movie” from a few months back. Luckily it only cost me $7.50 and not $13. Walked around in the bitter cold of Toronto with friends.

→Saturday: Saw The Rheostatics play an instore performance with my brother at Soundscapes record store. Quite an intimate affair as it’s a rather small shop. Saw the lunar eclipse.

→Sunday: Visited my grandmother. Forgot to water my mother’s plants (again) as my parents are away on vacation and it was the one thing they entrusted me to do… the plants will all be dead by the time they get back I’m sure.

MJH says:
November 10, 12h

Haha, I spent this weekend enjoying the company of a few friends in the good old college town of State College, PA. I highly recommend The Saloon, where you can get these great drinks called Monkeyboys.

Fill up a pitcher (yes, pitcher) with ice, pour in 4 liquors about halfway up the pitcher. A splash of apple flavored liquor and/or 20 other flavors, some club soda, a handful of cherries, and one straw and you’re set for an hour. Happy hour 8:00-10:00pm equals $5 of pure heaven. Three hours later you’ll swear the Penn State Lion is out to get you; four hours later, everyone turns into Britney.

It was good to be a college student again.

November 10, 12h

A strangely computer-less weekend for me as well.

Friday: Banquet for World’s largest campus ministry rubbing shoulders with local bigwigs making sizable contributions (compared to my measly spare change).

Saturday: Sleep in; Clean house; Birthday dinner with family; Ironically, a few games of Scrabble.

Sunday: Church; Pot luck; Haircut; Nap; Finally arranging the wedding album (4+ months late from a June 28 wedding).

Its weekends offline I think my wife loves me the most. :)

Jeremy says:
November 10, 12h

I couldn’t agree more Dave.

I hardly ever touch a computer on the weekends. Maybe the occasional e-mail check or browsing the latest posts on a few sites, but no prolonged exposure to anything related to what i do at work.

Especially since the birth of my son (, I have spent less and less time on the computer at the house. It’s also a major factor in why I don’t take on much freelance work.

An example:
Almost a full month ago, because of a billing snafu, my DSL account was cancelled. I haven’t even renewed it yet. Why pay for what I don’t use. Dial up works just fine (even though it is AOL) for checking e-mail once in a two day stretch.

Weekends are for things other than work.

Tim says:
November 11, 01h

Friday - did loads of washing up; cooked dinner for my wife, a youth worker, who was working until 9.30.
Saturday - slept in until the cats’ meowing got frenzied enough (about 10am). Fixed friend’s computer (someone had put the mouse in the keyboard port and vice-versa). Wine-tasting (church social event) in the evening, followed by visit to friend’s fireworks party (it being the weekend after November 5th). Bed by 12.30am.
Sunday - Remembrance Sunday service at church. Had to carry rather large and heavy cross, making my shoulders ache. Straight to Clarks Village outlet centre to exchange item of clothing. Ate burgers. Watched Saving Private Ryan on video in the evening - most appropriate for 11/11. Went to bed reeling from the sensory assault.

Pete says:
November 11, 03h

It’s a great point you make, Dave.

Having suffered flu for a couple of weeks recently, returning to work last week having spent the previous two at home in the quiet, comforting company of my wife and 9-month-old daughter, it was a genuine shock to the system. So we were already planning our weekend by Monday evening.

We all (my daughter, wife, parents-in-law and myself) went for a walk around The Bishop’s Palace in Wells–a delightful town just down the road from us, which is steeped in history;

It’s the perfect anti-work place–nothing but lush greenery all around, as far as the eye can see, interspersed some stunning buildings that have stood there for longer than I could hope to imagine. Plus it was market day too; what better way to escape the daily grind of technology than bartering over the price of a bag of fresh, home-grown courgettes?

Although my recent break wasn’t a holiday, my personal “holiday success yardstick” is returning to work, and finding the mouse and keyboard awkward and quaint for at least a day or so. Never fails to bring a smug grin to my face…

Sunny says:
November 11, 03h

Ah..balance! Dave the Zen master!

Come to think of it, I didn’t touch the computer this weekend. And even better, I didn’t have second thoughts about it either.

On Saturday, we enjoyed the Spring Pageant in Adelaide. The countdown to Cristmas has officially began. Christmas in summer is something that really feels odd to me. Anyways, it was quite a show with a lot of beautiful floats. Not on par with the Rose Parade in Los Angeles (Pasadena) but a good show indeed. The business district was completely abuzz. The night was marked with a visit to a Spring fair just near our place. There were rides, food and an awesome fireworks display to mark the end of a special day. The close proximity of the fireworks show, made it a very special experience.

Sunday we visited the Morialta Falls Conservation park which is less than a mile away from my place. We had a nice little picnic, played some frisbee, a bit of soccer, and had a nice time all around.

It was one of the best weekends I have had in the longest.

Bob says:
November 11, 09h

When not working on (and flubbing up) the scoring system for ReUSEIT!, I was replacing the outside light fixtures with something other than the cheapo builder’s grade units that have been there since the house was erected; pounding teflon glider-thingies into the chair and table legs for the kitchen dinette so that, when pulled or pushed across the ceramic tile, they don’t make an awful SCRRAAAAWWWWKKK!! sound; replacing the (once again, builder-grade) faucet in the half-bath with a shiny new faucet; washing the dirty leaf-stained sand. leaves, and rainwater out of my daughter’s sandbox; and other mundane household chores.

Oh, and dinner out Sat. night (babysitting courtesy mom-in-law) with my wife, my cousin, and her husband at a quaint little restaurant that serves, among other things, ostrich and venison. I had the pork tenderloin. Mmmm…

Kris says:
November 11, 10h

Enjoyed the visit of my mother and sister (she hadn’t seen the ‘new place’ yet). They also brought the dining chairs they wanted to get rid of and that we can use so eagerly.

Made a nice and spicy Indonesian dish that me and my girlfriend enjoyed together. We also spend 4 hours shopping which got me a warm sweater. Then we watched two DVD’s of which one was “Dancing in the Blue Iguana”. It did not dissapoint me.

I managed to not think about work.

Anthony says:
November 11, 11h

This is so true. Lately I have been working so much (job+freelance+ personal projects) that I have been speding way too much time behind the screen.

I forced myself to take the weekend off a couple weeks ago and I read The Da Vinci Code, which was good, but I felt so guilty.

I really need to get out more. ;-)

November 11, 12h

Music. Friends. Football. Girls.

My roommate had a show and played some great Music. I played some tunes later for a Girl.

Went to the home Football game with Friends… It was cold and ugly, but worth it.

Overall a successful offscreen performance. Cheers.

s t e f says:
November 12, 01h

(hey, does it show that I’m doing my morning web reading? ;-))

I did what most people would dream of: had a walk around Versailles (yes, *the* castle) at night, then a walk around Paris the next day. For those who may feel like looking into an atlas: Le Sacré Coeur, Beaubourg, Le Louvre.

Wonderful sightseeing.

I’ve been living in the Paris area for four years now, and can’t seem to get used to the beauty. Still walking around with my nose up and smiling like silly. ;-)

And yesterday, which is a holiday in France, WWI etc, we went to Le Jardin des Plantes, into the zoo. I stood, appalled, amazed, wondering, in front of orang-utans for what seeems like a long time. They sure looked bored.

You’re right. I’m also in get-away-from-a-screen mode. We tend to think that everything is orshould be internet-related, and forget real life somehow.

Andy M says:
November 12, 08h

Went raving in London for the first time in 2 months (the longest its been for years) ended up meeting some fashion designer who would like me to do some work AAAAARRGGHHH! It just wont stop!

rimu says:
November 12, 10h

I am learning CSS and how to make style sheets. I think this is a great site to understand how powerfull that css really is. I have had problems with the external style sheets seperating from the pages it is attached to? I have the files all in the same place in the local and the romote sites. the files display on my harddrive fine then as i upload them they lose there formating from the css page. Any and all ideas will be used. I have asked my teacher in the class i am takeing and he is not sure what is happing? Is there a any reason the style sheets are seperateing .

Max says:
November 12, 12h

I reserved a hotel in Bratislava, Slovakia through and then travelled there from Vienna, Austria for a weekend. Wonderful old town I have to say…

Craig Patrick says:
November 14, 05h

Yes, weekends used to represent serious print/web production time for freelance, but spending time with my children seems to be more important to me recently.

They’re only young once.

Oh, and the IBook is a great ‘mobile mac’ solution. Truth is, the Powerbook logic board is only 33 Mhz faster, so you can have a really fast processor, but if you don’t have the proper bussing, it’s mostly neglible in terms of speed increase. Just max out the memory on that IBook and you have a pretty nice machine.

Sian says:
November 16, 03h

Saturday was the first time that I went out in 6 days, the other 5 were spent in bed beating down a nasty bout of flu. Feeling quite perky on Saturday I decided to travel to a nearby shopping centre to complain about my Kodak DC4900 camera which was playing up. A short conversation later and the purchasing of some special Duracell batteries saw me buying lunch for my Mother and I while I contemplated donating my Kodak to the Mothership and purchasing a new camera for myself. My resolve to persevere with my Kodak lasted 10 minutes when my eye caught the Canon A80 and G5. The A80 won.

Sian says:
November 16, 03h

I’ve recently gone wireless. My two PC’s upstairs are hard wired and my laptop wireless. I did contemplate going completely wireless but it took nearly 8 hours to get my WAP going so I decided not to mess about any further.

There’s something decadent about surfing the net the the bathroom (just for testing purposes!), my next challenge will be how far down my street I can net without losing my connection.