As I indicated I was going to do, I didn’t turn on my computer at all on Saturday the 24th, and by so doing I observed Shutdown Day 2007. In general, I’d have to say that the day was very pleasant, quite productive and surprisingly easy to do. Some of you who commented on my interest in this day didn’t see what the point was. For me, it was to see what kind of reaction I had to the self-imposed restriction not to use of my computer for one day. After awaking at 5:07 AM and going strong until about 11:30 PM, I can say that the event impressed me enough that I may just make it a regular monthly practice.
I won’t bore you with the details unless you are really interested, so I’ll put a “read more” break in this account at this point. You can safely stop reading here if you aren’t interested in the specifics of my day. For photos of some of the events of the day, see this set on Flickr.
As I said above, I awoke at 5:07 AM and immediately thought to myself that I would have preferred to sleep in until about 8 AM or so, just so the day without my computer wouldn’t seem so long, but of course my body worked against what I had hoped for. I got a cup of coffee by 5:15, decided to begin what turns out to be this log of my activities at 5:20. Then I went up for a shower at 5:40 and was dressed and ready for the day by 5:56 AM.
I sat down with another cup of coffee and began making some lists of things I could do during the day. I had my old CRT still in the backseat of my car from when I had loaned it temporarily to Tom a couple of weeks ago, so I brought it into the house and put an old case of video tapes into the backseat where it had been. I have been planning to take that set of video tapes to the dump for weeks, so now at least I was poised to carry that out. The time was 6:28 AM. I left the house and drove to Weigel’s to gas up the car and completed that by 6:38 AM, and from there, I went to buy the groceries I had decided I needed. Grocery shopping is one of those things I put off doing until I’m desperate for something to eat. So I arrived at the grocery store by 6:45 AM (it was still dark outside) and left there at 7:30 AM in the daylight.
I put away the groceries by 7:43 AM. I was cleaning the main level toilet at 8:15 AM. After washing my hands thoroughly, I cooked myself an English Muffin and ate breakfast by about 8:30 AM, consuming my fourth and final cup of coffee. I left the house at about 8:58 AM to take the trash to the dump. I arrived there at 9:11 AM and deposited the old video tapes and the tape container into the crusher and then went from there my son Mike’s where he was using a wet saw to cut some tiles that he was putting up on the back splash in his kitchen behind the sink, and on two other walls. I visited with him and Kaitlin and Connor for about 40 minutes and then went to Lowe’s to get some light bulbs to replace those that had blown out in my home. That’s another chore that I put off repeatedly.
Leaving Lowe’s I went to U.S. Cellular to see if they could help me configure my phone so that I could answer it without having to flip it open when I had the headset in. Unfortunately the functionality to do that resides in the headset. I had just bought one for $1.00 that works nicely, but it doesn’t have that functionality in it. So I decided that I didn’t want to pay 25 times that amount just for the ability to answer the phone without flipping it open. So I went back home and got there by 10:30 AM. Already I was beginning to feel good about myself for having gotten so much done already.
At 10:43, my friend Tom Wright called to ask whether I were flexible enough to change my schedule for today. We had planned for me to take my DVD copy of My Fair Lady over to his house at 6:00 PM to watch the final half of it with him. He had never seen the movie, and recently we had watched it up to the intermission when he had to go home because of having to work the next day. What he wanted to do instead of the original plan was go to a matinée showing of The Lives of Others at Downtown West at 4:00 PM and then have dinner and afterwards finish watching the rest of My Fair Lady here at my house. I agreed without hesitation. More about the matinée move later in this report.
At 11 AM, I began replacing the light bulbs that had burned out, and I completed that activity at 11:26 AM. There were three in the entrance hall, three in my office, and two in my bedroom. I now have light again. From 11:30 until about 11:45, I cleaned one of my pipes of the built-up cake in it. This is an onerous chore that I often allow to go undone for a long time. The pipe smokes so much better when I’ve done it you would think the payoff would be enough to get me to do it on a more regular schedule, but if you think that you’d be wrong. After cleaning the pipe, I loaded a bowl of tobacco and had a nice leisurely smoke, sitting in front of my computer but of course without its being on.
By 12:35 I was feeling a bit drowsy so I took a nap in my recliner from 12:35 until 1:39. Then I prepared and ate my lunch from 1:40 until 2:00 PM. After lunch, I turned on the TV for the first time and watched the NCAA 2A division championship ballgame between Winona and Barton. Winona was on a 35 game winning streak and was the champion last year. They lead throughout the game but with about 3 seconds left, the Barton team scored a 2 point bucket to tie the game, I think for the first time all day. As Winona was bringing the ball up the court, one of the Barton players stole the ball and drove in for a lay up with the ball leaving his hands with 0.1 seconds on the clock. It went in and the game was over. Barton had beaten Winona in a shocker. I think the final score was the first time that Barton had led the entire game, and despite Winona’s having shot nearly 60% from the field for the game, they were denied the opportunity to repeat as champions. It was a terrific game … if you weren’t pulling for Winona.
At 3:00 PM, I called Sears Repair Parts about a timer for my dryer which has stopped drying because the timer won’t advance. It just stays in the same place and the dryer runs but doesn’t dry the clothes. I was expecting the part to cost about $25 – $40 but it costs $94.49. I didn’t order it yet, but I probably will. At least I now know what the dryer model number is and what the part will cost. But I’m going to have to get it since not having a functional dryer sucks.
Tom arrived in his Mazda convertible a little after 3:15 PM. We drove around Knoxville until about 3:55 when we arrived at the Downtown West theater. Tom paid my way in to see The Lives of Others which won the Oscar as the Best Foreign Language Film of 2006. It was in German with sub-titles, and it was absolutely terrific. I’d love to own it on DVD. Among the things I enjoyed about it was the fact that I got to “tune my ear” to spoken German while seeing the meaning of what was being said. Since I frequently hear my friend Paul speak German to someone who calls on the telephone while we are in the midst of a Skype call, I already had some sense of many words, but the film provided an even better experience of listening to the language. If you get a chance to see this film, I’m confident you’ll enjoy it because it is an interesting story of historical significance and there are some rather clever plot twists and a delightfully satisfying ending.
We got out of the movie at about 6:30 PM, stopped by Food City and picked up a roasted chicken and brought it home. I prepared a salad consisting of spinach, broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, cherry tomatoes, white seedless grapes, and feta cheese. I also bought some Gouda cheese that we snacked on while I was preparing the salad.
After dinner we watched the concluding half of My Fair Lady, I for the umpteenth time, and Tom for the first. It was such a delightful movie, and even Tom, who “doesn’t like musicals,” agreed it was just terrific with a great cast and wonderful performances. Tom left for home about 9:15 on this warm spring evening, driving home with his convertible top down — the lucky dog. I went back in and sat in front of the television for a couple more hours before I crawled into the bed, quite pleased with my accomplishments during the day and satisfied with my schedule of activities that occupied my time away from the computer.
Sure I missed getting on the computer, but in fact, I also enjoyed the break. I can go for 24 hours without turning on my computer … and what’s more, I can enjoy the time. That’s a good thing to know, I think.