J.D. Moyer

sci-fi writer, beat maker, self-experimenter

Category: Lifestyle Experiments (Page 1 of 7)

I Have Seen the Future of Local Transportation


As regular readers know, my family gave up our car about a year-and-a-half ago. Our lease ended, we turned in the car, and we didn’t get another one. The idea was to go one month without a car and see if we could get around with biking, walking, public transportation, Lyft, and the occasional rental.

Overall the experiment has been a success. I’ve written about the experience at length in the followings posts:

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Problem List and 30-Day No Worrying Experiment

No worries.

Over the past couple months I’ve been maintaining two new lists:

  1. My problems.
  2. Things I’m looking forward to.

I update both on a weekly basis, along with progress towards my current goals. The point of the new lists is to get better in touch with aspects of my life that are effecting my emotional state. And to find ways to deal with the former, and enhance/magnify the latter.

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No Car Update: Month 16

Not my car. Probably not your car either.

So we gave up. Or gave in. After more than a year without a car, we decided to get one.

We knew we wanted a hatchback. You can fit anything in a hatchback. One time we purchased a bunch of furniture at IKEA, pulled our Fiat 500 into the loading zone next to a guy in a Ford F-150 (that’s a biggish pickup truck, for you European readers). He gave us a dubious look until we popped the hatch, folded down the back seat, and loaded in those flat-packs no problem. I think we got a tiny nod of appreciation.

After reading too many reviews and watching too many YouTube video reviews, I narrowed it down to the Yaris, the Prius c (both Toyota), the VW Golf or eGolf, and the Honda Fit. I created an account on TrueCar to get some estimates. I also called a few dealerships directly to get some lease quotes.

That’s when things started going south.

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Lyft (and Uber?) Drivers Don’t Know Where They’re Going

Logan Green of Lyft (photo by JD Lasica)

As part of an ongoing no-car month¬†experiment (not owning or leasing a car for the last eleven months), I’ve relied heavily on the freelance taxi/ride-sharing service Lyft. Overall my experience with Lyft has been good. The drivers are generally courteous, friendly (but not too friendly), and drive safely. In turn I try to be a good rider, being ready when drivers arrive, not slamming doors, and tipping (which Lyft allows in-app; their competitor Uber doesn’t). I like most of the drivers I meet, and I almost always give 5-star ratings.

But here’s the thing–if there’s any complexity to a pickup or drop-off location, most Lyft drivers will get it wrong. Lyft drivers rely almost entirely on GPS, and even though GPS navigation is a miraculous invention, it fails consistently with large buildings, detours, poor cell-service areas, and even some straightforward locations (GPS often ignores the street I live on and directs drivers to one block away from my house).

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New 6-Week Experiment: Living With a Disability


On the evening of Dec. 9th I stepped off my skateboard the wrong way and broke my foot (three fractured metatarsals — see above). Thinking it was just a bad sprain, I took a Lyft home and rested on the couch, watching my foot swell up to alarming proportions. Come Monday: doctor’s office, x-ray, a compression splint, the threat of screws and surgery. But after many scans and tests, I managed to dodge a bullet. No surgery required, just six easy weeks in a cast.

So, it’s my turn to learn. What’s life like with reduced mobility?

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Things I Regret KonMari’ing

Where did you go, little Peavey 8-track mixer? I miss you!

Where did you go, little Peavey 8-track mixer? I miss you!

About two years ago I wrote about applying the KonMari method to my stuff. Since then I’ve had time to reflect on the process. This is a quick update¬†on my post-KonMari insights.

Regret

There are a few items I regret getting rid of. This is something Marie Kondo does mention in her book, but maybe underemphasizes. For me, the list is as follows:

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