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Le temps a de nouveau filé [fr]

Le temps a de nouveau filé [fr]

[en] Some musings in French. Chalet, sick cats, writing in French vs in English, the US elections, where I'm at, and a silly video in English you can watch.

Pas de nouvel article depuis deux semaines, malgré mes bonnes intentions. Alors je m’y colle, sans avoir de projet spécifique, parce que pour écrire, il faut écrire. Et je m’y colle en français, parce qu’il me semble que j’écris surtout en anglais. Et parce que je me rends compte que je me censure bien plus en français.

Grand Muveran

Mes articles les plus personnels, je les écris en anglais. Je parle bien plus volontiers de mes douleurs et de mes difficultés dans cette langue. Mais pourquoi?

D’une part, mon “public perçu” est différent en français ou en anglais. La plupart de mes clients sont francophones. Même s’ils comprennent bien l’anglais, notre relation de travail est en français. Les médias qui à une certaine époque me sollicitaient régulièrement sont francophones, aussi. En français, je me sens Romande, je me sens plus surveillée, voire jugée, qu’en anglais. Je  me préoccupe plus de ce qu’on peut bien penser de moi en français qu’en anglais.

Il y a peut-être une dimension culturelle sous tout ça. Le français, pour moi, c’est la Suisse Romande, avec tout ce que ça charrie de “balaie devant ta porte”, “occupe-toi de tes oignons”, “ça ne regarde personne”. Se mettre en avant c’est mal. Parler de soi c’est mal. Il faut rester professionnel. Qu’est-ce qu’on a le culte, ici, à mon grand désespoir, du mur entre le “personnel” et le “professionnel”!

Et voyez ce que racontent ces mots: “personnel”, ça vient de personne. Au travail, on n’est pas “personnel”. On est “professionnel”. Un rôle, pas un individu. J’ai réalisé il y a quelque temps que ce mot, que j’utilise pas mal professionnellement, est certainement source de plein de malentendus. Parce que quand je dis, par exemple, “présence en ligne personnelle“, je pense avant tout à l’aspect humain, “de la personne”, avant la question de savoir si le contenu que l’on partage touche à la sphère privée ou à la sphère professionnelle. Et là aussi, un autre mot qui nous embrouille: “privé”, ça peut être par opposition à “professionnel”, mais aussi à “public. Les connotations changent.

Bref, je n’aime pas trop montrer mes failles en français. Peut-être parce que c’est ma langue principale de travail, peut-être parce que c’est la langue du lieu où je vis, peut-être parce que moi-francophone a des peurs que moi-anglophone n’a pas. On sait que langue et culture sont liées; ce qu’on sait parfois moins, c’est que langue et personnalité le sont également: grand nombre de bilingues sont aussi biculturels. C’est peut-être mon cas.

Chalet dans les arbres

Alors, qu’est-ce que je vous raconte, dans cet article que j’écris pour écrire?

Je reviens d’une courte semaine au chalet. Le programme, c’était quelques jours de congé (parce que je cours, cours), peut-être ski au glacier, un peu de bûcheronnage dans le jardin, et puis bosser, et bloguer — avancer dans tout cet empilement d’idées qui se pressent dans ma tête sans atteindre mon clavier.

Eh bien non. Foehn, donc pas de téléphérique (et franchement même pas envie de sortir du chalet avec les branches qui tombent des arbres et les tuiles qui s’envolent).

Mais surtout, urgences vétérinaires, avec Tounsi qui a fait une étrange crise dans la nuit de samedi à dimanche, vomissement, grands mouvements quasi spasmodiques des pattes arrières, sur fond d’autres histoires de pattes. Soucis neurologiques? Intoxication à la couenne de fromage à raclette? Adieu sommeil du week-end, et trois vétos en trois jours (y compris le Tierspital à Berne) pour tenter de tirer cette affaire au clair. Tounsi semble à présent remis, mais que d’inquiétude: il ne mangeait pas, ne buvait pas, ne bougeait pas. Dans le doute, on a arrêté ses calmants quelques jours, et repris aujourd’hui. Bref, je le surveille de près, pas idéal pour se concentrer sur autre chose. (Et il y a encore la cécité de Quintus, qui semble brusquement s’aggraver certains jours sans que je comprenne pourquoi; aujourd’hui son “bon” oeil le dérange, il se gratte, il ne voit rien, il se cogne, s’encouble — aussi parce qu’il n’est pas très stable sur ses pattes arthritiques. J’ai peur qu’il perde le peu de vision qui lui reste. Je le vois vieillir et je me demande comment je saurai que sa qualité de vie s’est trop détériorée pour que ça vaille la peine de continuer.)

Tounsi convalescent

Dans un autre registre, les élections américaines m’ont pas mal secouées. Pas américaine, comme vous le savez, mais j’espérais vraiment la victoire de Hillary Clinton. Et j’y croyais. Depuis, j’ai l’impression de regarder un accident de train au ralenti. Je m’inquiète pour les USA et mes amis qui y vivent, mais aussi pour les répercussions que cette présidence risque d’avoir sur le reste du monde, et aussi pour ce que ça dit de notre tissu social, parce qu’il ne faudrait pas penser que ce sont ces tarés d’américains et que nous, dans notre petite Suisse bien rangée, on n’est pas aussi en plein là-dedans.

Et puis il y a moi. Je m’inquiète un peu pour moi, aussi. Parce que même si j’ai maintenant le sentiment d’avoir retrouvé ma direction professionnelle, même si les affaires reprennent, ce n’est pas “assez”. J’ai des projets, j’ai des pistes, mais j’ai des freins, aussi. Voilà que débarque le censeur, parce que c’est pas bien de montrer ses doutes. A plus forte raison si on est une femme, à qui l’on ne pardonnera aucune de ses fautes, comme le veut la règle.

C’est aussi pour moi une des grandes tristesses de cette élection américaine: voir, de façon tellement flagrante, les poids et mesures différents qu’on applique aux hommes et aux femmes, et voir aussi à quel point tant de monde y est aveugle. Même quand on leur met le nez dessus. Tous les arguments qui contiennent “c’est pas du sexisme”, “c’est pas parce que c’est une femme”, “je fais pas de différence”, “c’est une femme qui le dit alors ça peut pas être misogyne”.

Oh, on a fait du chemin. On a des égalités inscrites dans la loi. Mais culturellement, bon dieu… on est encore loin du compte. Racisme, idem.

Allez, pour finir sur une note un peu plus amusante, après m’être remise de ma stupefaction après le visionnement d’une vidéo de youtubeuse star sur le thème du vidage de sac, j’en ai rapidement fait un petit Facebook Live à ma sauce. J’ai bien ri en le faisant, et j’ai encore plus ri en le regardant. C’est en anglais.

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Random Notes About My 2012-2013 India Trip [en]

Random Notes About My 2012-2013 India Trip [en]

A few random notes about my Indian trip, which I was sure I had published, but just found sitting in my MarsEdit drafts.

Health-wise, it was “interesting”. It started off with itchy knees that I carelessly brought from Switzerland. A nice dermatologist near Pune University helped me get rid of it (cream, antihistaminics, and even anti-scabies stuff — it was my big fear). In Kerala, I awoke after a first night of sleep to tons of little itchy bites on my forearm. Bed bugs? Fear, yes, but it seems not: thorough examination and repeat nights with no incident thankfully ruled that out. The bites disappeared, but I’m still curious what caused them.

In Mysore, I carelessly dropped a hearing aid — which promptly died. With three weeks of holiday left to go, it was worth thinking up a solution to get it fixed before my return to Switzerland. I ended up testing Fedex in India for you. There is an office in Mysore, and I’m happy to say it was quite painless: 2800 INR, an announced shipping time of 4 days which they managed to keep. My audiologist was able to change the 70 CHF piece that needed it and send the hearing aid right back again. 140 CHF of shipping! I’m not sure how many days they promised him, but the package took longer to reach me in Kolkata than on the way out. Looking at the tracking data for both packages shows that some parts of the shipping process in India are still big black holes. 48 hours at Delhi airport? Heck. Probably lying in a pile somewhere while people had tea (yeah, I’m probably unfair).

Anyway, the package did reach me and I was very happy to have both ears again for the end of my stay. So, success.

Around the time of my arrival in Kolkata, one of my teeth started reacting really painfully to cold and hot. I’ve always had sensitive teeth (to cold), but this was beyond anything. It got worse and worse, to the extent that I just didn’t want to drink anymore. I needed a dentist. Knowing I have a bunch of 15-to-20-years-old fillings that will at some point need replacing, I figured that if I found a good dentist, I might as well do the work in India. Which I did. A two-session root canal treatment on a molar cost me about a tenth of the price it would have in Switzerland. The dentist in question did part of his training in the UK and worked with Somak and Aleika’s dentist in Birmingham, who recommended him and sent their files there. So, there we go. My first root canal, in Kolkata. The result is magical, I can tell you: no more pain. I think that tooth had been hurting me for a very long time, actually, but I didn’t really notice it until it got really bad.

Aside from the medical stuff, I experimented properly with radio-rickshaws in Pune — Autowale.in. After a couple of successful trips, I booked an auto to bring my parents back after New Year’s Eve party. That was a disaster. Whereas for my previous bookings I had received a call from the driver about an hour before to check the pick-up point, this time around we hadn’t heard anything 30 minutes before. We called. The driver said it would take him at least 90 minutes to get there as his auto had broken down. We called the booking centre to ask them to find a replacement, and we were told that there were no available cars and that we had to “find an alternative”. Try finding an alternative in the university campus around 1am on January first. Well, the Shindes made a bunch of calls, and the son of a neighbor left his party to drive my parents back to their hotel. In the meantime, I left a pretty upset note on Autowale’s Facebook wall. We were really pissed off. The happy ending to this story is that the incident did finally get internal attention at Autowale — they asked me for details and I got an e-mail apology from the CEO, saying this was indeed completely unacceptable and that they needed to find a solution so this kind of situation didn’t happen again. Well, I’m willing to give them another chance next time I’m in Pune. But they better not mess up again: when you book a radio auto it’s usually specifically because you know it will be very difficult to find a ride. Leaving you stranded is just disastrous!

In the “new things” department we also did quite a lot of “day trip with car” outings. Most of them good experiences, some of them a tiny bit sour when it came to payment. No huge disasters, though. Two memorable rides were those to and from Mysore. We took a car from Kannur to Mysore, through the mountains and the national park. Crap road but beautiful scenery. And then, from Mysore to Bangalore, that was more memorable in the “dreadful” category. One of my family members was sick (first part of the trip went OK, but by the time we reached Bangalore we were stopping the car every 10-15 minutes). We got stuck half an hour (thankfully not more) on Mysore road because a car had hit a school girl and killed her, we were told. (I saw an ambulance go by after, though, so I like to think that maybe she did make it after all.)

Indian roads are deadly. Those close shaves we sometimes admire are sometimes too close and end up shaving off a life. I think I had looked up number last year: something like 100’000 deaths per year on Indian roads. 4000 in Pune alone. (Check those numbers somewhere if you’re going to use them.) To compare, Switzerland (roughly the population of Pune): 350-400 a year. In Kolkata I saw quite a few ambulances go by (Akirno’s school is near a hospital). People don’t even make way for them — or worse, they cut them off. Last year when I was stuck in Bangalore traffic to go and take my bus to Kerala, there was an ambulance stuck with us. If you need an ambulance to get you fast to the hospital to stay alive, you’re probably dead. You’d better not need one.

In Kolkata we had a car with a driver at our disposal. I have to say it makes a world of difference when it comes to going out and getting stuff done. Having to find taxis and rickshaws is stressful, even when you’ve become used to it. Don’t get any grand visions about the car and driver though. Boot bashed in, screaming belt, and over the last days we had to push it to start it quite a few times. This did result in a change of cars, however.

In addition to Loki the annoying puppy, I got to meet Coco, the baby African Grey parrot. My first bird contact, really! Let me just say that bird feet are warm (was sure they were cold, silly me), and that I had a great time interacting with Coco and getting to know him. Birds are not boring at all and need a lot of attention! I was there for his first flight across the room — took us all by surprise, him too, probably.

To wrap up I’ll leave you with this article that appeared in Metro during my stay, about Presidency University and some of the infrastructure problems there. Sadly Somak forgot to tell the journalist about the giant rat that fell from the ceiling onto the instrument the students had spent a good long time calibrating so they could run their experiment, or the guy who was sitting hunched up on his chair in his office the first day he met him, because there was 10cm of water on the floor.

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My Journey Out of Procrastination: Not Running (Firewalls and iPhone Alarms) [en]

My Journey Out of Procrastination: Not Running (Firewalls and iPhone Alarms) [en]

[fr] Je ne cours plus. C'est un pas important: si on court tout le temps, on est toujours en train de remettre à plus tard, et ça ne nous aide pas à résoudre nos élans procrastinateurs. Une vie un peu plus calme est un bien meilleur terrain. Je me souviens de deux éléments importants qui m'ont aidée à changer ça: premièrement, délimiter strictement du temps non-professionnel, plutôt que de travailler tout le temps (un piège surtout pour les indépendants). Deuxièmement, utiliser les alarmes (multiples!) de mon iPhone pour rythmer mes journées et mes semaines (ne plus partir stressée au judo parce que je n'ai pas vu passer l'heure, mais avoir une alarme placée assez tôt pour que je puisse y aller tranquillement, par exemple).

This is the fourth post in the series. You might want to read the first three ones: Five Principles, Perfectionism, Starting, and Stopping, as well as Getting Thrown Off and Getting Unstuck.

At some point during 2009, I realized that I had stopped running. I had stopped being late, doing things in a rush, and being over my head in emergencies. As with all virtuous circles, not running was at the same time a consequence of my decrease in procrastination and one of the elements that led to it.

If I look at my life now, I see clearly that I am doing many more things immediately (they never end up on a to-do list, and therefore reduce the number of procrastinable items in my world) — and doing things immediately is only possible when you’re not already running for your life.

I’ve been thinking back and trying to understand how this change happened, and I can think of two important things that I started doing during the course of 2008:

  • strictly firewalling off “non-work” moments
  • using my iPhone alarms to structure my days.

The first, firewalling off “non-work” time, might not seem immediately linked to a decrease in running, but actually, it’s very important. To stop running, you see, you need to learn that things can wait. You need to teach yourself that even though you’re behind on the deadline, you can still stop.

Lots of people stay trapped in a life of stress and running by saying things like “I have to finish this”, “I can’t afford not to”, “I don’t have a choice”. We always have a choice. We always choose to stay up late to finish something a client is expecting, for example, rather than face the consequences of not doing it. Not much of a choice, you may say. But it’s still a choice. And being aware that you are actually making a choice, rather than just enduring a situation you are powerless over, will in fact making you feel better.

More importantly, it opens the door to revealing your priorities: I am staying up late to work on this project for the client rather than relaxing in front of the TV after an already long day of work, because it is more important for me to avoid having a pissed off client than having a healthy balance in my life. Sounds a bit guilt-inducing said like that, but the point here is: what does this choice reveal of your priorities? What is more important, the client, or you, or your health, or your relationship, for example? All the time, we make these choices, but our priorities are so hard-wired in that we don’t realize anymore that they are choices, and we end up being victims who “have to do it”.

The time I learnt to make time off work a greater priority for me was when I was organizing the Going Solo conference. It was a huge amount of work, and though I had a great support network, I was carrying the whole thing on my shoulders and doing more or less that had to be done. I was under a lot of stress. I would wake up in the morning, grab the computer from under the bed, and collapse in the evening after trying to squeeze in some food between two e-mails or Skype calls. I didn’t know what a week-end was anymore. I was exhausted.

One day, one of my advisors said to me something like “there’s only so much you can do in a day” or “at some point, you have to call it a day”. I can’t remember the exact words used, but the point was this: even if you have a ton of work to do, even if you didn’t do what you expected today, even if you’re behind… at some point, you have to stop. Turn off the computer, turn off work.

So, I stopped feeling guilty about calling it a day. I also started implementing mandatory lunch-breaks: I would leave the computer, set the kitchen timer on 45 minutes, and go about making myself food. 45 minutes was the minimum time my lunch-break was to last. Yes, at least 45 minutes.

And that’s where interesting things started to happen: I started cooking again, for one. In 45 minutes, I had time for more cooking than just grabbing a piece of bread and cheese — so I did it! I also started relaxing a bit in the middle of the day. I’d read something, or lie down. “Time out” like that is important, because if you’re using to your whole life being taken up by work, you tend to forget what living is really about.

If you’re less stressed, in a general way, you’ll be more fit to tackle your procrastination issues. You can’t tackle procrastination issues if you’re running around in circles from morning to evening. So first step: run around in circles only during “work” time, and have “non-work” time when you don’t run.

End 2008, I opened eclau, the Lausanne Coworking Space, and started working there. That was a tremendous help in the “firewalling non-work time” department. Without really trying to do so, I gradually and naturally stopped working at home, to work only in the office. I’d be able to relax better at home. I never implemented real office hours (and don’t want to), but I started going down there in the morning (it’s two floors below my flat!), coming back up for my lunch break (leaving my computer behind!), and closing house in the evening at some point when everybody else started going home.

And that’s the context in which I made my second big step: using iPhone alarms to pace my day. iPhones allow you to set loads of different alarms, repeating any way you like over the week. So I set a daily alarm at noon to encourage me to take my lunch break (otherwise, I would forget about it and end up without having eaten at 3pm — doesn’t make for a very functional Stephanie). I set an alarm in the evening at 6.30 to think about dinner, except on the days when I’d go to judo. On those days, I set a mid-afternoon alarm to remind me to have a snack, and one early enough to remind me to stop working, pack and leave. I set one to tell me when to get ready for my singing rehearsals. I even set myself a “go-to-bed” alarm at 23:30 and a “Cinderella” alarm at midnight, because I was going a bit overboard with late-night DVDs.

Of course, all these alarms worked because they were there to remind me of some important decisions I had made. I wanted to start getting ready for judo soon enough that I wouldn’t arrive late. I wanted to have lunch at regular hours and take lunch breaks. I wanted to be in bed by midnight so I would have enough sleep and still have a morning the next day. But as I know my sense of time is bad (and being in front of a computer is a killer), I used my iPhone to help me. It made my coworkers laugh that every midday, my quacking alarm would go off — but I knew it was an important crutch for me in applying my priorities to my life.

And that’s when the magic actually started to happen: I had the time to prepare my judo and singing things and set off without being in a rush. I had spare time during my lunch break — I would actually use it to do the washing-up. I even had a moment in the evening, in between 23:30 and midnight, to think about my next day and plan it a little (inspired by FlyLady). I would look up train times the evening before if I had to go somewhere rather than sometime in the morning, and then realize I was running late.

Gradually, some areas in my day and life started to slow down. It wasn’t chaos from start to finish. And slowly, that slowness started creeping into the rest of my life, including work. It doesn’t mean I do things slowly, though. But I take the time to do things. I’m not running anymore.

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Huit tuyaux ergonomiques pour le travail à l'ordinateur [fr]

Huit tuyaux ergonomiques pour le travail à l'ordinateur [fr]

Ceux qui suivent mes écrits depuis les temps préhistoriques (2002 environ) savent qu’il y a un peu plus de six ans, je me suis retrouvée incapable de taper au clavier en l’espace d’environ 2 semaines. Durant une année, j’ai utilisé un logiciel de reconnaissance vocale (Dragon NaturallySpeaking) aussi bien au travail qu’à la maison, pour écrire mon mémoire de Licence et même faire mon dernier examen écrit d’université.

Les douleurs aux mains qui m’ont tant handicapée sont maintenant sous contrôle. Elle n’ont pas complètement disparu, mais je sais maintenant ce que je dois éviter, et comment y remédier lorsqu’elles reviennent (un petit tour chez l’ostéo qui fait des choses à mes “tuyaux” — mes artères — allez savoir& mais ça marche à tous les coups).

De par ma mésaventure, je me suis intéressée de près aux questions ergonomiques touchant à l’utilisation de l’ordinateur. Voici ce que je recommande et pourquoi — prêtez-y une attention particulière si vous souffrez de douleurs dans les épaules, la nuque, les mains&

  1. Clavier bas. Lorsque vous tapez, l’angle d’ouverture de votre coude devrait être minimum 90°, ce qui permet de relâcher les épaules. Je vois souvent des personnes dont le bureau est beaucoup trop haut (ou la chaise beaucoup trop basse). Personnellement, ma position idéale c’est l’ordinateur sur les genoux, donc quand je suis à un bureau je monte la chaise pour avoir les jambes touchant le dessous du bureau. N’hésitez pas à abaisser votre bureau, ou à prévoir un repose-pieds si vos pieds ne touchent plus le sol une fois que la chaise est à la bonne hauteur.
  2. Ecran bas. Prenez un livre ou un magazine et tenez-le devant vous pour lire. Voilà l’angle naturel de lecture. Votre écran ne devrait pas être vertical (ou pire, incliné vers l’avant), mais incliné vers l’arrière. Encore une fois, l’ordinateur portable s’est révélé plus adapté que celui de bureau. Si vous avez un écran de bureau, mettez-le le plus bas possible (j’ai fait la grosse erreur de surélever le mien durant longtemps — aïe la nuque!) et inclinez-le en arrière. Pensez “livre, magazine, journal, lecture” pour positionner votre écran.
  3. Changez de position. “La vie, c’est le mouvement,” me disait une copine physio. Aucune position n’est “bonne” dix heures par jour. Il faut varier. L’ordinateur portable a été pour moi une bénédiction, car il a brisé les chaines qui me retenaient à mon bureau. Travaillez au bureau, par terre, sur le canapé, à genoux sur la table basse& variez souvent. Si vous avez un ordinateur de bureau, trouvez (ou demandez à votre employeur) un bureau à hauteur variable, pour pouvoir alterner les positions debout et assis.
  4. Pauses et stretching. Faites des pauses. Souvent. Encore plus souvent que vous ne le pensez. Par exemple, 2 minutes d’arrêt tous les quart d’heure, ce n’est pas du luxe. Stretching: exercice de la secrétaireUtilisez un logiciel de pause si nécessaire. J’ai utilisé pendant longtemps RSI Guard, qui me forçait par moments à m’arrêter 20 secondes toutes les 3-4 minutes. Dans tous les cas, si vous sentez la tension monter et que vous êtes incomfortable, c’est le moment d’au minimum s’arrêter, se lever, et s’étirer un peu. Si c’est dans la nuque que ça coince, je vous recommande l’exercice de stretching de la secrétaire (cliquez sur la photo pour les instructions).
  5. Raccourcis clavier. Lâchez cette souris! La souris, c’est le Mal. Le trackpad, un poil moins. C’est justement le côté de la souris qui vous fait souffrir? Alors c’est le moment de vous mettre aux raccourcis clavier. Changement d’habitude, certes, mais en fin de compte bien plus efficace, en plus. Ça ne se fait pas tout seul: il faut identifier le raccourci dont on a besoin (tiens, un autre billet en vue?) et ensuite se libérer du “réflexe souris”.
  6. Les mains sur les genoux. Parfois, à l’ordinateur, on n’est pas en train d’utiliser ses mains. On lit, ou bien on réfléchit. On a tendance à lire avec la main sur la souris ou le trackpad, d’ailleurs: pensez à toute la tension statique qu’on se fait subir ainsi au long d’une journée! Donc, quand on ne tape pas, les mains ont une place: sur les genoux (ou bien au-dessus de la tête pour s’étirer).
  7. Fuyez le froid. A l’ordinateur, on se refroidit vite. Taper avec les mains froides, c’est vraiment pas top (plus de micro-dégâts). Durant des années, mon ordinateur était dans un courant d’air — en plus du fait que j’ai facilement les mains froides. Donc, sortez de ce courant d’air, montez le chauffage si nécessaire (ou mettez un pull) et réchauffez-vous les mains. En les frottant l’une à l’autre avant de vous mettre au clavier, ou même en les passant sous l’eau chaude.
  8. Luminosité constante. La luminosité de votre environnement de travail devrait être similaire à celle de votre écran. Donc, le soir, allumez le plafonnier! L’écran qui brille tout seul dans le noir jusqu’à 2h du mat’, c’est pas terrible pour les yeux (et qui dit pas terrible pour les yeux, dit aussi tensions voire douleurs côté tête). Prenez aussi l’habitude de regarder régulièrement au loin.

Bien sûr, au-delà de tous les tuyaux et “trucs” qu’on peut donner, il y a une règle d’or: s’écouter. Si on est incomfortable, qu’on ne respire plus, qu’on ne peut pas “se permettre” de prendre une pause& C’est qu’il faut arrêter.

Les douleurs chroniques, on peut bien vivre avec. Mais on vit encore mieux sans.

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Healthcare in San Francisco Experiences [en]

Healthcare in San Francisco Experiences [en]

[fr] Expériences nettement plus positive avec le système de soins ici à San Francisco.

After my [trip to Walgreens in Austin, TX](http://climbtothestars.org/archives/2008/03/10/a-trip-to-walgreens/), I honestly hoped I wouldn’t have to deal with anything healthcare-related in the US, ever again. Oh well, I was wrong.

A few days ago I started having a sore throat, and went down to the Walgreens on First and Mission (I’m in San Francisco) to ask about some antiseptic spray or something. I had braced myself for another less-than-pleasant experience, and was positively surprised when a nice and smiling pharmacist listened to me, discussed options, gave me advice, and made me feel like she was happy to do her job. Quite a change from the grumpy guy in Austin, who maybe needed a job change!

A day or two later, I realised that one of my toe nails was starting to become way too painful (said toe nail was traumatized on the judo mats some 10+ years ago, and has been bothering me at times since then — but this was starting to be really problematic). I tried heading for the pedicure first, who politely turned me away after a few prods at it and a few yells on my part: it was already infected, and I needed to see a doctor. Oh, heck.

There was a Walgreens nearby, on 4th and Townsend, so I dropped by to ask about doctors. Where/how/what? A very nice and friendly pharmacist (wow, two of them in the same city!) told me to head for the clinic behind the AT&T ballpark (24 Willie Mays Plaza) to see a Dr. Zee (or Zak — short for Zacharewicz, and easier to pronounce). I found the clinic quite easily (between the ballpark and the canal), checked in as best I could (forms are clearly not designed for patients visiting from abroad), and waited — quite a bit, but hey, I was a walk-in.

A friendly nurse/assistant (?) showed me in, asked me a few questions about what brought me here (I got to tell her the sad story of my poor toe nail) took my blood pressure, and left me to wait a few minutes for Dr. Zee.

Dr. Zee was as nice as I’d been told. She listened to my story, prodded my toe nail a little, thought a bit, and gave me instructions for warm soapy foot-baths, keeping me toe out of the dirty San Francisco street-dust, and a prescription. A really lovely doctor that I heartily recommend if you’re in SF and in need of one.

I left, $90 poorer but feeling almost warm and fuzzy about healthcare in San Francisco, and decided to drop in at the Walgreens which had sent me to pick up my prescription. That’s where I learned that I had to wait 15-20 minutes to get my medication (some antibiotic cream) instead of just being able to hand in the prescription slip and walk out with my meds (as I expected, based on my — limited and Swiss — previous experience). I decided to drop in later that evening as I was going out.

Fast-forward a few hours. I’m back at Walgreens to pick up my prescription. I’m told they can’t give it to me, because the doctor did not specify on the prescription if it was *cream* or *ointment*. They’d tried to call the doctor’s office but it was already closed, so I had to wait until tomorrow. I said I really didn’t care if it was cream or ointment, they could give me either. They said they couldn’t, that the doctor needed to confirm if it was the cream or ointment. I insisted, arguing that the difference in between cream and ointment really wasn’t important in this case, that all I cared about was to be able to start the treatment for my toe as soon as possible. The pharmacist (who was a different one from the one who recommended Dr. Zee to me) kept on like a broken record, telling me they couldn’t make the decision or give me one or the other. I insisted more, saying that no insurance would bother them about this because I was from abroad and would be paying myself, that I wasn’t going to sue them, etc. No success: the doctor had to decide, **by law** they were forbidden from giving me the medicine without her confirmation.

I stomped out, feeling powerless and furious, then stomped back in to ask for my prescription. If was going to have to wait until tomorrow for my prescription, I would go to a pharmacy closer to where I was staying, like the one on 1st.

So, this morning, after 11 hours of sleep (!), I went down to the Walgreens on 1st to get my prescription. I also needed some other medication for my cough and eye. The pharmacist (honestly not sure if she was the same one as the other day) was lovely. She actually took the trouble to explain me how the medication I’d been recommended for my eye in Austin worked (basically, does nothing else than shrink the blood vessels, so that it’s less red). Checked that there was no discharge, and said “OK, so it’s not conjunctivitis then” (a contrast with “I can’t tell you, you have to see a doctor” or some other stupid by-the-book answer). Discussed the other drug I needed with me too. Nice and helpful.

And when my prescription arrived (less than 5 minutes later — and I don’t know if they called the doctor’s office, but they didn’t bring it up) she mentioned that it was quite expensive: $70. I told her I was probably going to back out then, because it was just for an ingrown toe nail which had already started to get better with the soapy water baths. She agreed with me that the cream was maybe a bit overkill given that, and that I’d probably be OK with over-the-counter antibiotic cream. *Over-the-counter antibiotic cream?!* Yes, that have that here.

So, overall, a much more pleasant experience of healthcare services here in San Franciso (despite one episode of “we follow rules, here” broken-recorditis).

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Vilain cafard ou jolie blatte forestière ambrée ? [fr]

Vilain cafard ou jolie blatte forestière ambrée ? [fr]

[en] I thought we had cockroaches in the house, but it turns out to be a harmless, outdoor variety which sometimes gets lost inside (ectobius vittiventris). Here is the explanation leaflet we got from the company we contacted -- in hope that it might be useful to others.

Depuis que j’habite ici, je vois régulièrement voleter autour de la porte d’entrée de l’immeuble, surtout la nuit, des insectes qui ressemblent furieusement à des cafards. Après mon retour des États-Unis, j’en ai tué plusieurs dans mon appartement, et j’ai décidé qu’il était temps de prendre le taureau par les cornes et d’alerter concierge et gérance.

Après capture et analyse d’une des bestioles, il s’avère que nous n’avons pas affaire à des vilains cafards, mais à des jolies blattes forestières ambrées inoffensives. Elles vivent à l’extérieur et ne se retrouvent à l’intérieur que par mégarde, n’y survivant pas. Je reproduis ci-dessous l’information qui nous a été communiquée (par l’entreprise contactée j’imagine) au sujet de ce petit insecte, puisqu’il ne semble pas se trouver déjà en français sur Internet. J’espère qu’elle pourra être utile à autrui!

> **Blatte forestière ambrée / *Ectobius vittiventris***

> Une blatte sauvage, qui n’est pas un parasite de l’habitat, est de plus en plus signalée en Suisse romande. On la trouve égarée à l’intérieur des bâtiments, mais elle ne peut survivre sans l’humidité et les conditions qu’elle trouve dans son environnement naturel, jardins ou parcs, sous la végétation. Originellement située dans le bassin méditerranéen de l’Italie à la Turquie, elle était très présente au Tessin ces vingt dernières années.

> Au nord des Alpes, elle est en forte augmentation ces dix dernières années, particulièrement en milieu urbain et jusqu’à une altitude de 700 mètres environ. Elle recherche la chaleur des façades ; capable de voler, par temps chaud elle pénètre dans les immeubles par les fenêtres ouvertes. Ces dernières années en Suisse, sa présence sur ou dans des bâtiments a été signalée durant tous les mois de l’année, mais c’est surtout entre juin et novembre que son activité a été observée, avec un maximum en août.

> Aucun piège connu ne peut valablement la capturer et l’usage d’insecticide est inutile étant donné que cette blatte est sans danger et meurt rapidement à l’intérieur (un à trois jours maximum). Le seul moyen connu de limiter les incursions de cet insecte dans l’habitat est la pose de moustiquaires.

> Le problème réside dans sa ressemblance avec la blatte germanique, redoutable parasite très prolifique bien connu dans la restauration, l’hôtellerie, l’industrie alimentaire et l’immobilier en général. Elle lui ressemble par sa taille. Sa coloration est légèrement plus claire et nous pensons qu’il est important, lors de découverte, de confier sa détermination à un spécialiste éclairé.

Source: I. Landau – H. Baur – G. Müller – M. Schmidt, UGZ ZürichMax Hagner SA

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Another RSI Break [en]

Another RSI Break [en]

[fr] Vilain accès de TMS. Utilisez le téléphone ou skype si je dois vous répondre. Le Dragon est en panne, je serai de retour une fois qu'il sera réparé.

This post will be brief, obviously: I’m suffering from another very bad bout of RSI (with a proper tendonitis in my right arm, it seems).

To top it all, my dictation system has broken down (maybe just a dead microphone, hopefully). Basically, I’m mute. Think “losing one’s voice” or “having to spell words out rather than speak” to get an idea.

So, skype or call if I need to answer. I can read, though.

Will be back when things calm down or the Dragon starts working again.

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Technological Overload or Internet Addiction? [en]

Technological Overload or Internet Addiction? [en]

[fr] Les vidéos du fameux débat sur la surcharge technologique à LIFT'07 est en ligne. Du coup, l'occasion de rappeler mes deux billets sur le sujet, et de rajouter quelques pensées suite à ma participation à la table ronde sur les cyberaddictions à Genève, entre autres sur la confusion entre dépendance et addiction parmi le grand public, et le fait qu'on perçoit souvent l'objet de l'addiction comme étant le problème (et donc à supprimer) et non le comportement addictif. Mes notes sont à disposition mais elles sont très rudimentaires.

For those of you who enjoyed my [Technological Overload Panel](http://climbtothestars.org/archives/2007/02/09/technological-overload-panel/) and [Addicted to Technology](http://climbtothestars.org/archives/2007/02/12/addicted-to-technology/) posts, the (http://www.liftconference.com/videos/view/single/8) is now online.

Since I wrote them, I participated in a panel discussion about cyberaddictions (that’s what they’re called in French) in Geneva. It was very interesting, and I learnt a few things. The most important one is the difference between “addiction” and “dépendance” in French. “Dépendance” is physical. The cure to it is quitting whatever substance we are dependant to. Addiction, however, lies in the realm of our relationship to something. It has to do with *how we use a substance/tool*, what role it plays in our life and overall psychological balance. And it also has a component of **automation** to it. You don’t *think* before lighting up a cigarette, or compulsively checking your e-mail.

I think there is a lot of confusion between these two aspects amongst the general public, which leads to misconceptions like the [“cure” to alcoholism being complete abstinence](http://climbtothestars.org/archives/2002/09/22/games-people-play-alcoholicaddict/). Sure, abstinence solves the substance abuse problem and is better for one’s health, but it doesn’t necessarily solve the *addiction* problem.

Addictions which are linked to otherwise useful tools are forcing us to look deeper (and that is actually what I’m trying to say in the [Addicted to Technology post](http://climbtothestars.org/archives/2007/02/12/addicted-to-technology/). The problem is not the substance (ie, alcohol, or even the drug, or in this case, technology). The problem is in the way a person might use it. Hence I maintain that the solution lies not in the **removal of the tool/technology**, as the panel moderator suggests twice (first, by asking us to turn off our laptops, and second, by asking “how to unplug”), but in a careful and personalised evaluation of what one uses technology for (or what one uses technology to avoid).

I had a talk after the panel with one of the people there, who told me of some rough numbers he got from a consultation in Paris which is rather cutting-edge when it comes to dealing with “internet addiction” amongst teenagers. I think that out of 250 referrals (or something), the breakdown was about the following: one third were parents freaking out with no objective reason to. Another third were parents freaking out with good reason, for the signs that brought them there were actually the first indicators of their child’s entry in schizophrenia. I can’t remember the exact details for the last third, but if I recall correctly the bottom line was that they had something like a dozen solid cases of “cyber addictions” in the end. (Please don’t quote me on these numbers because the details might be wrong — and if you *have* precise numbers, I’d be happy to have them.)

This confirms my impression that people are [a bit quick in shouting “internet addiction”](http://www.stoweboyd.com/message/2006/10/internet_addict.html “5-10% sounds like way too much.”) when faced with heavy users (just like people are a bit quick to shout “pedophiles!” and “sexual sollicitation!” whenever [teenagers and the internet](http://climbtothestars.org/archives/2006/12/20/adolescents-myspace-internet-citations-de-danah-boyd-et-henry-jenkins/) are involved). I personally don’t think that the amount of time spent using technology is a good indicator.

I took [some very rough notes](http://climbtothestars.org/files/20070221-cyberaddiction-table-ronde-geneve-notes.txt) during the panel I participated in (half-French, half-English, half-secret-code) but you can have a peek if you wish.

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On the Road to Being a Healthier Geek [en]

On the Road to Being a Healthier Geek [en]

[fr] Il y a un mois environ, une petite conversation avec mon médecin a eu des conséquences remarquables sur mon mode de vie:

  • je mange plus équilibré (pas dur de faire mieux que le régime pizzas)
  • je me déplace plus souvent à pied et je vais vendre ma voiture.
  • Sans rentrer dans tous les détails relatés dans la version anglaise de ce billet, mon médecin a réussi le tour de force de me motiver à faire quelques aménagements dans mon mode de vie, sans me culpabiliser (ce que je faisais déjà bien assez toute seule). J'ai pris conscience que ma mauvaise alimentation et mon manque d'exercice étaient probablement en train d'avoir un impact sur ma santé (physique et psychique), et qu'il n'était pas nécessaire de bouleverser complètement ma vie pour arranger un peu les choses.

    Côté nourriture, j'essaie vraiment de viser 3 repas et 2 collations par jour, avec 5 portions de fruits/légumes (pas si dur si on construit autour), de la viande ou du poisson une fois par jour, moins de féculents et moins de produits laitiers. En gros, les machins verts/rouges/jaunes, c'est la base. Ah oui, et du poisson 3 fois par semaine, c'est bien.

    Puis l'exercice... les fameuses 30 minutes par jour, ce n'est pas si dur si on décide d'aller à pied au centre-ville plutôt que de prendre la voiture ou le bus (Chauderon c'est à 20 minutes de chez moi). Du coup, ma voiture s'empoussière presque sur sa place de parc depuis un mois. J'ai décidé de la vendre, et l'argent ainsi économisé me permettra moult taxis et voitures Mobility...

This is the [long-overdue](http://twitter.com/stephtara/statuses/3927673) post about the groundbreaking chat I had with my doctor about a month ago.

I went through a rather rough patch in November/December. Those months are usually tough for me, but this year was particularly stressful and tiring. Of course, there were objective reasons for that: I started working for myself in the summer, burnt the candle from both ends during my first months of school-less freedom (yay! I can go to bed at 4am and not feel guilty about it!) and generally had a hard time saying no to clients’ requests even if it meant a packed agenda, because, hey, it was stuff I was excited to do **and** it was paying the bills. So yeah, I had every reason to be feeling tired. However, I was a bit concerned about the fact that I didn’t feel less tired even if I got more than enough sleep, and I decided to go to the doctor for a check-up, just in case I was “missing something” by putting the blame on my lifestyle as a freelance consultant.

After taking a blood test (I will now remember to systematically present the person holding the needle with my right arm, as the left one has non-cooperative vein) I sat at my doctor’s desk for a little chat. He asked me what was bringing me there, and I told him the story. He asked me how I was sleeping — not quite enough, but reasonably regular hours and overall good quality. He asked me how I was doing in the food department — and that’s where it suddenly got very interesting.

#### Food

**I’ve known for years that my eating habits are disastrous.** Diet based on pizza, bread, and cheese. Skipping meals. Not enough fruit or veggies. I used to joke about it and say my main source of vegetables was pizza. I’d evaluate my meat intake as roughly ok, but not enough fish — everybody knows you never eat enough fish, and I hardly ate any. The only thing I knew I was doing right was the fluids part: I drink a lot, and most of it (if not all) is tap water (healthier than bottled water around here). I hardly drink any alcohol at all and I don’t smoke.

I told my doctor I’d been gaining weight (it’s not so much the weight itself that bothers me than the fact I feel too tight in some of the clothes I love to wear them anymore), and that during the summer I had tried to eat more veggies, but my effort had collapsed after a few weeks when my life became too busy.

This is where my doctor earns extra bonus points and good karma. Without making me feel more guilty than I was about my unhealthy diet, he managed to encourage me to try and improve things in small steps by explaining to me in what way one’s diet influences general health and well-being, and walking me through a few simple, concrete things I could easily do to eat better.

**A balanced diet is the starting point for all the rest.** When your diet is unbalanced, before getting into the really nasty stuff that shows up in blood tests, you are going to suffer minor hormonal imbalance, for example. This can make you a little more tired, fall ill a little more easily, and introduce subtle imbalance in your neurotransmitter levels. Neurotransmitters? Whee. I had never given thought to the impact food I ate could have on the chemical balance of stuff in my brain, and therefore my mood and general psychological health.

So that would seem to say: “a healthy diet might help me be less tired and in better psychological health” — did I get that right, doc? Now that’s encouraging.

Then he pulled out a food pyramid from a recent presentation he had just given a bunch of professional dancers on nutrition. I’ve found quite a bunch of those pyramids online, but they all seem to be different (here [the closest match I found](http://www.prevention.ch/ima31304.jpg), so I’ll just tell you what I remember of the one he showed me and our discussion.

The bottom of the pyramid is fluids (non-alcoholic). I’m good with that one. The second floor, however, is veggies and fruit (five portions a day). Then cereals, pasta, bread… three portions. Meat/fish/eggs are on the fourth floor (once a day, fish three times a week), sitting next to dairy products (here’s the catch… I can’t remember if it was once or three times a day for those… I suspect once).

Three solid meals a day **and** two snacks is the way to go. Oh my god, how on earth do I squeeze **five** veggie/fruit portions in there (two of them raw)? It’s not that hard, actually:

– orange juice at breakfast = 1 portion
– those little Andros fruit mushes you can buy at Migros = 1 portion
– a fruit for snack = 1 portion (or 2, if I do two snacks)
– stick pizza in oven, [grab a fruit or two, peel, chop up](http://twitter.com/stephtara/statuses/4087943) and stick in a bowl for dessert = 1 potion (leaving them in the fruit basket doesn’t work, I won’t eat them)
– stick pizza in oven, grab a handful of pre-packaged fresh salad (Migros, Coop), add sliced tomato, sprinkle with a mix of pumpkin/sunflower/flax/sesame seeds (Migros), a little oil and vinegar = 1 portion with added [Omega-3](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Omega-3_fatty_acid) bonus
– aubergine or other veggie sliced and steamed, add salt/lemon/whatever to taste = 1 portion (my best acquisition over the last year was my [Tefal Steam Cuisine](http://www.tefal.com/All+Products/Cooking+appliances/Steamers/Products/Steam+Cuisine+1000+Easy+Store/Steam+Cuisine+1000+Easy+Store.htm)– easy to use, great for fish, little washing-up after).

The trick is to think about eating as organised around the veggies. Before, I tended to have mono-meals: either a piece of meat, or some pasta, or a huge salad, or a pizza. Now, any of these things would *at least* be accompanied with a salad or fruit.

Three-minute salad One trick I’ve discovered for salads is to **not** prepare them in a salad bowl. It sounds silly, but one of the biggest hassles with food for me is the washing up. I have a bottle of balsamic vinegar which is made to be *sprayed* on things, so I just put the green things on a plate, spray them with balsamic vinegar and add a little oil. One possible result of this effortless process can be seen here in the photo.

Another trick (for fruit, particularly) is **not** to buy packages with 10 kiwis or 6 apples. If I buy two apples and put them in my fruit bowl, I’ll eat them. If I have 6 of them, that’s too much — and I won’t. I also noticed that so-called organic fruit, or simply fruit that you by individually, is more tasty.

Fish three times a week isn’t too difficult to achieve using the steamer (stick fish in steamer, cook five/eight minutes, yum!) — concentrate on the [Omega-3 rich ones](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Omega-3_fatty_acid#Fish) like tuna/salmon/sardines. Fresh raw tuna is delicious too, but don’t [overestimate how much you can eat](http://twitter.com/stephtara/statuses/4209283).

One month later, I’m still happy with the improvements I’ve made to my diet. I have to say that the simple fact I “have this food thing under control” has taken away a lot of guilt and stress, and is in itself making me feel much, much better. Of course, it’s not perfect — but my experience with life tells me that striving for perfection is the best way to Not Get Things Done ™. I suspect I don’t usually get my three meals **and** two snacks each day. When I eat out, things go to the dogs (though I do now always order a salad with my pizza). I don’t think I get my five portions of veggie/fruit, it’s probably more around four. Well, you get the idea — but I’m headed in the right direction.

One thing I plan to do is to conjure up some kind of monitoring sheet where I can cross out my veggie portions, meat/fish consumption, meals etc. I tend to have very little awareness of what I’m doing/not doing — for example, I was totally incapable of answering many of my doctor’s questions on what I was/wasn’t eating. So writing it down would allow me to be aware of how regularly I skip meals, for example, or to notice if my fish consumption goes down to once a week or less. I’ll blog the document if I get around to doing it.

#### Exercise

Another painful chapter was opened when my doctor asked “so, what about physical exercise?”

Uh-oh.

What? But, don’t I, like, do [a helluvalot of judo](http://flickr.com/photos/bunny/tags/judo)? What do I have to worry about exercise? Well, the “helluvalot” part might have been true ten years ago, when I was training 4-5 times a week, but for the last years, between things like [injuries](http://climbtothestars.org/archives/2004/11/11/correction-cerebrale/), too much work, and [car accidents](http://flickr.com/photos/bunny/tags/accident), it’s more around once a week on average over the year. And, let’s face it, with thirteen years of judo underneath my black belt, I can also go to training and not tire myself out if I’m feeling lazy or out of shape.

So, I need another source of exercise. Leading a [geeky lifestyle](http://climbtothestars.org/archives/2006/12/13/ce-soir-scenes-de-menage/) is all very well, but even without being [addicted to the internet](http://www.stoweboyd.com/message/2006/10/internet_addict.html) (it might just be [technological overload](http://climbtothestars.org/archives/2007/02/09/technological-overload-panel/)), one has to agree that sitting in front of a computer all day, many days a week, is not exactly physical exercise, and probably not what the human body was designed for. Specially when you’re working from home and you live alone — trips to the kitchen and the bathroom don’t really add up to very much.

First, as with food, motivation and encouragement: something like cutting the risk of developing breast, stomach or colon cancer by 50%, just by doing 30 minutes of exercise per day. Wow. There are a whole lot of other benefits on your health, of course, but this is the one that struck me. So, 30 minutes a day? Damn, that would mean I have to take “time off” to exercise.

In summer, I go rollerblading by the lake. It’s nice, it’s good exercise (an hour or so from university to Ouchy and back), but it’s not so great when it rains. I need something I can do whatever the weather, says my doctor. Hmmm. I don’t like swimming. Dancing counts, he tells me — I don’t really like dancing either. Walking is ok, if it’s a brisk walk and not a gentle stroll in Ouchy on a Sunday afternoon. Cycling is ideal, he adds, specially on an indoor bike. Well, I have a bit of a space problem — but as he says, it’s all a matter of me deciding how important it is. You can buy a kind of tripod that you can stick a real outdoor bike on to turn it into an indoor bike, so it’s not that expensive (150CHF). Unfortunately, I don’t already own a bicycle.

So I decided to give walking a try. [All the walking I did in San Francisco](http://climbtothestars.org/archives/2007/01/12/im-really-liking-san-francisco/) certainly helped me take the plunge. Minimal duration for the walk to be worth anything is 10 minutes (so 3×10 minutes = 30 minutes, good!) [Café-Café](http://cafecafe.ch) rehearsals, my brother’s place, shopping, post office — all those are 10-15 minutes away. No more taking the car to go there. I tried walking down to town, without taking the bus. Gosh, Place Chauderon is only 20 minutes away! Café de l’Evêché, 30 minutes! That’s about as central as it gets. No more taking the car to go into town either. There’s a bus-stop a minute away from where I live if I’ve done enough walking for the day and don’t want to walk home. And overall, the [Lausanne bus system](http://www.t-l.ch/) is pretty good and can take you more or less anywhere in the city.

One added advantage of walking places is that it means longer commutes (OMG! who would want that!) and allows me to listen to podcasts on the way. I miss the singing-at-the-top-of-my-lungs sessions in the car somewhat, though. Longer commutes are also good because they force me to reduce the pace of my sometimes mad days — I can’t pack meetings or activities wall-to-wall in three different places in and around Lausanne because I think “it’ll just take me five minutes to get there”. I get breathing space, and I get alone-time (time spent on the computer blogging, IMing, Skypeing and IRCing does **not** count as alone-time).

#### Going No-Car

I was telling a friend all this during [LIFT’07](http://www.liftconference.com/2007/), and the fact that my as my car was now spending many a day sitting on my parking space I was certainly not going to get a bigger one, when he flat-out suggested that I sell my car. Yeah, but… I need it to go to my sister’s, to my dad’s, etc. “Rent a car when you need it.” Hmmm, why not, but rental agencies are at the station, which is quite far off… Anyway, I dismissed the idea and enjoyed the rest of the conference.

A few days later, the background process had worked its magic, and I ended up spending a fair amount of time on the [Mobility website](http://mobility.ch/pages/?dom=6), looking up prices and figuring out how it worked. Basically, it’s a web-based car rental service which allows you to book your car, open it with your magnetic card, use it and bring it back — without having to involve another human being. You can also [rent cars from AVIS and Hertz through them at a reduced rate](http://mobility.ch/pages/index.cfm?srv=cms&pg=&dom=6&prub=623&rub=754). And more importantly, they have cars **everywhere**. At the Migros where I usually do my shopping. At the Coop in Prilly. Down the road. Up the road. All within walking distance.

It made sense to have a car when I had to drive daily to Saint-Prex or Bussigny, which is not a practical journey by public transport from my place. But now that I’m not commuting regularly anymore… The amount of money I pour into the car sitting in that parking space could just as well be spent on taxis and rental cars and leave me with extra aeroplane budget.

Bottom line? I’ve taken a four-month Mobility trial subscription, and I’m selling my car for March 9th. I’m losing my license for a month on that date because of my car accident this summer — so it’s a good time.

Thanks for the nudge, [Stowe](http://stoweboyd.com/)! 😉

#### Wrap-Up

I don’t know how many people will have the courage to read through this horribly long post, so here’s a quick wrap-up of what I’ve effortlessly changed about a month ago, and kept up with. All because the importance of a reasonably balanced diet and regular exercise for my (mental and physical) health really sunk in.

– 3 meals a day, plus two snacks (I’m still working on turning my breakfast into a “meal”)
– 5 veggie/fruit portions a day — build the rest of the food around those
– fish 3 times a week if you manage, meat/fish/eggs once a day
– eating frozen or ready-made stuff isn’t disastrous, just add salad/fruit
– commute on foot — many distances aren’t that huge if you take the trouble to try
– if you don’t use your car regularly, it might be more economical to go cab/rental.

More important than the specifics, what’s to note here is a change of attitude. Details are important, of course, as they are often what’s needed to make an intention into Things That Happen (check out GTD again). But alone, they are not sufficient. In my case, it took a few months of feeling rather unwell, and the fact that my doctor **took the trouble** to talk to me about these issues, for me to realise (a) they were important (b) they were probably having an impact on my life right now and (c) I wanted to do something about them.

Today, instead of thinking “what do I feel like eating” or “do I want to go rollerblading/walking”, I think “where am I with my quota of veggies/exercise, and what do I need to eat/do to reach it”. I don’t do it in an obsessive way, mind you. It’s just that food and exercise have become goal-driven, and there are rather effortless things I can do to move towards a goal I find worthwhile — so I do them.

On the road to being healthier geeks!

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TMS: ce soir sur M6 [fr]

TMS: ce soir sur M6 [fr]

[en] An enquiry about RSI on the French TV channel M6, tonight.

Une maladie a fait son apparition depuis quelques années qui touche aussi bien les employés de bureau que les ouvriers: son nom, T.M.S, pour troubles musculo-squelettiques.

Ce soir (dimanche 6) dans Capital, sur M6

[Lien ajouté par moi-même.]

A regarder, ce soir, peut-être? Je rappelle l’existence de la liste de discussion TMS-RSI, pour ceux qui se sentiraient concernés.

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