Old School

The other day I bought an address book. It’s a tiny one that fits in my handbag and has a few notes pages in the back for important dates.

The thing is, I kept losing all my contacts when updating my phone. And, it’s annoying to try to give someone contact information in a text or over the phone when that contact information is, well, on your phone. So now I can just pull out my little address book, and bam. Everything is right there.

I know what you’re thinking… what if I lose my antiquated little address book? Well, I’ve managed to keep a passport, a set of keys, and a gaggle of cats within my grasp for 15 years, so I think I can handle an address book.

This was the most recent in a string of attempts to return to less electronic, slightly less complicated ways of doing things. Technology is great (I mean, this is a BLOG after all…), but I’ve been craving an increasingly unplugged life.

Ultimately, I’m preparing for the Zombie Apocalypse.

Wait, that’s silly and probably not going to happen. Continue reading Old School

Polar Vortex PressReader Giveaway!

It wasn’t that long ago that electronic journalism was a crazy, farfetched idea. But in 2014, weekday commutes and Sunday coffees are now accompanied by iPads more often than newspapers.

As print journalism sadly fades away, electronic publications hosted by major newspapers are becoming increasingly high quality sources of news.

And you don’t get black smudges on your fingers.

The cool thing about an electronic press database like PressReader is that you can have virtually any newspaper or magazine you want at your fingertips, without having to purchase separate online subscriptions.

photos courtesy of PressReader
photos courtesy of PressReader

I’ve tried out PressReader before, and with the absence of an iPad in my life decided that an annual membership wasn’t for me.

So, I’m giving it to you instead!

I’m so pumped to have the opportunity to offer a FREE annual membership to PressReader for one lucky person who reads my blog (it could even be you, Mom…). Check out PressReader, see if it’s something that might be good in your life, and then see below for how to get your hands on a free year of electronic news:

So, it’s cold in Chicago right now. It’s been cold for awhile. It was so fracking cold that we cancelled life for two days. Then it stayed cold and we couldn’t justify canceling life again so we just put on lots of long underwear and went about our days.

The endless series of Polar Vortices seems like as good a reason as any to give something away to my readers. So here’s what you need to do to win:

Write a short (short) story about what you would do with a snow day (or polar vortex day, or in the South 1/4″ of snow day, etc). Do you like to stay in and drink hot chocolate and watch Law and Order all day? Bake scones in a snuggie? Build snow people? Whatever it is, make sure it somehow involves a few moments of catching up on the news with your free year of PressReader.

Submit your story by making a comment below this post, and be sure to do it by February 28!

Also, include your email so I know where to contact you if (when) you win!

One lucky reader will be chosen at random from a hat on March 1, and will receive a whole year of free news and magazines from all over the world. Neat, right?!?

p.s. If you didn’t already click on this link above, you’ll want to do that now (trust me).

PressReader: Newpapers in really, really, tiny print


I used to subscribe to the Sunday paper, and loved those lazy Sunday mornings perusing the headlines, clipping coupons, drinking coffee.

And then I started working on Sundays and began to develop a huge stack of papers that I didn’t have time to get through.  Before becoming eligible  for an episode of Hoarding: Buried Alive, I cut off the subscription and these days I typically try to catch the news on the radio.

I must not be the only one, because the papers are sinking big time.  Publications have had to get creative in order to survive the newspaper apocalypse. Enter PressReader: a massive database of 2,300+ full-text publications all available for download on your mobile device. The occasional paper peruser can purchase individual issues for $0.99 each, or the full-on news junkie can have any of the database, any time, for a monthly subscription fee.

This seems really great for a person who, say, commutes by train and owns an ipad, or a person who travels frequently for work.  The idea of reading The Irish Times on a layover in Tulsa in the middle of the night is amazing to me.  I would assume that flight attendants sometimes just want to know what’s going on in their hometowns, and this way the local paper is always at your fingertips.

The problem is: I’m not any of those people… and I don’t have an ipad.

I have that bookshelf app and a few other reader-type apps and despite my optimism to read all of these things while on public transportation, I mostly end up staring out the window.  The thing is: reading newspapers on your phone is sometimes awkward.  In order to get the words big enough to actually read I have to scroll over every three words.  Maybe I’m dense, but then I get lost in the article and give up.  Plus, reading on the bus makes me a little woozy.

If I consider where I really like to read, PressReader doesn’t really do it for me.  Call me a romantic, but there’s something about a tangible newspaper that is so wonderful; online versions don’t give you that leisurely feeling you get from flipping the oversized pages, black smudges of ink on your fingertips, sipping a cup of joe will the sun shines in on your dining room table.  That’s a feeling I just can’t get from scrunching over my little rectangular box.

But, it’s not personal…

I can see how this app would be totally amazing for the right user.  It’s also a great model for, say, an obscure publication that might not otherwise be able to recruit readers to a mobile format (like, for example, the Albanian Gazeta Panorama or Cambodian Business).  And, you can bet when Dance Magazine jumps on board I will most definitely be downloading it on a monthly basis, no matter how tiny the text.