Posts Tagged ISTJ

Analysis Paralysis

Mr. HalfFull and I have been pondering the packing list for our 30/40 World Tour, and have decided to purchase a netbook.  Our home computer is an iMac, which of course is not portable.  We each have work issued laptops — a MacBook for Mr. HalfFull and a Dell for me.  My Dell is too big and heavy for travel, and Mr. HalfFull is unwilling to risk loss or damage to a laptop he doesn’t own.  So those are out.  Thus, we have settled on a netbook as the ideal travel computer for us.

Our primary uses for a netbook on the road will be blogging, email, photo storage/editing, banking, trip research, and booking accommodations and ground transportation.  Remember that we are each taking only one carry-on bag, so size and weight will heavily influence our decision.  Mr. HalfFull has been researching netbooks with dual core processors and came up with a few contenders.  He pokes fun at me for being thorough, but this pre-quest research seems to have tapped into a dark OCD corner of his brain.  Netbooks are intruding into his daily thoughts, and even affecting his sleep.  Can you please help us?

Netbook Price Weight Depth Size Battery RAM Storage OS Cool?
MacBook Air $1200 2.3 lbs 0.7″ 11.8″ x 7.6″ 5 hours 2 GB 128 GB Mac yes
ASUS Eee PC 1008P-KR $500 2.5 lbs 1.0″ 10.3″ x 7.0″ 5 hours 2 GB 320 GB PC yes
Lenovo IdeaPad S205 $550 3.3 lbs 1.1″ 10.6″ x 6.6″ 5 hours 4 GB 750 GB PC no

You may be looking at this list thinking, only 5 hours of battery life?  Aren’t there netbooks that can last for 10 hours?  This may be part of some sinister half full plot to keep me on vacation, as opposed to ISTJ work mode!  We will not have 24/7 electricity in some of our destinations, so my computer time will be [should be, suggests Mr. HalfFull]  limited by my netbook’s battery life.  In fact, when we listened to the Lost Girls speak back in March, they discussed Amanda’s incessant drive to work online during their trip.  Thankfully, her friend Jen finally persuaded her to live in the moment and experience their trip outside an internet café.

MacBook Air

11-inch MacBook Air

We loved our hands-on experience with the MacBook Air, but it’s over $1000, making it one of the most expensive netbooks (Steve Jobs would not approve).  One of our major concerns with such a costly investment is theft.  We don’t know what kind of physical storage will be available as we travel the world, but it’s unlikely that we will have a safe everywhere we go.  Also, the Mac brand is highly recognized and sought after, increasing the temptation for would-be thieves.  But we do have an iMac at home, so a MacBook Air would ensure complete compatibility for software and files from one to the other.  It is simply a beautiful machine — slim (0.68 inches at the thickest point) and lightweight (2.3 pounds) — despite being the biggest in terms of length and width.  But the Air is scheduled for a speed boost with the new Sandy Bridge processor.  So we would like to wait for that, but it’s not expected to be available until June.  Will it be in the first few days of June before our trip???  If we wait until June and it isn’t released, we will probably have lost our window of opportunity to order one of the other less expensive netbooks online due to shipping time.

Asus Eee 1008P Netbook

ASUS Eee PC 1008P-KR

The ASUS Eee PC 1008P Seashell Karim Rashid Collection Netbook was designed by an artist.  I consider myself to be very rational, but I also have a deep appreciation for aesthetics.  In the past, Mr. HalfFull has accused me of valuing form over function, which I don’t think is completely true.  The entire surface of this netbook is covered in Karim Rashid’s soft-touch “Techno-chic Digi-wave design,” which has the added benefit of not showing fingerprints.  This is form AND function!  The waves in this basket-weave design “adhere perfectly to the golden ratio” with a material similar to the soft matte rubbery coating usually found on mobile phones, which seems like it will be a great protector for travel.  To top it off, it comes in a color near and dear to my heart:  coffee brown!  Do you think Karim Rashid designed it just for me?  That’s genius…sorry, Genius Bar.  Another awesome travel feature of this netbook is that all the ports are covered, which could be handy in sandy locales.

Lenovo IdeaPad S205

Lenovo IdeaPad S205

Finally, the newly released Lenovo S205 includes far more memory and storage than the other models at a similar price to the ASUS.  In comparison to the others, it’s a bulky machine with a shiny cover that will surely show fingerprints, but it’s power lies inside.  This netbook is even capable of HD video editing.  I don’t plan to do a lot of videos, but I may want that capability in the future.  If I were purely tech focused, this would be the obvious pick, but it is a pound heavier than the others, which matters when your whole life is on your back for ten weeks.  But Lenovos are known for their excellent full-size keyboards, whereas the ASUS is only 92% of full-size.  Size may not be a big deal for me [Mr. HalfFull:  That’s what she said!], but a certain sausage-fingered gentleman could find himself constricted.

Mac vs. PC

Another thing that concerns me is cyber security.  Since we will be relying solely on open networks while traveling, will the Windows machines be more prone to viruses and hackers?  I guess there will be an added expense of procuring anti-virus software for the PCs.  The Mac tech geeks I know don’t install anti-virus software or software firewalls.

Of course we had to at least consider buying a used netbook on Craigslist.  There are a few MacBook Air machines for sale, but I’m not sure why.  Most of the posters claim that it’s a new machine, which seems suspect.  If I bought an older non-Mac netbook on Craiglist, I would be worried about the battery life, which is critical for travel, not to mention expensive to replace.  But at least in this case I would be paying a lot less upfront, and probably not care as much if it was stolen.

What’s the right answer?  We’ve only got 4 weeks left!

  • Which netbook do you recommend?
  • Is a computer critical travel gear these days?
  • What qualities are most important for a travel computer?
  • Do you consider the 11-inch MacBook Air to be a netbook?
  • Where do you fall on the form over function spectrum?
  • If you own a Mac, what security do you use?
  • Are you a Mac or a PC?

Ms. HalfEmpty is a 30-something introverted realist, perhaps a pessimist. But she’s trying to see the world half full on halfempty4now.com, which she started in February 2011. Her worldview may not be all bad, as it probably helps keep her husband, Mr. HalfFull, grounded and out of trouble!

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The Heroine’s Journey?

Stereotypical around-the-world trips seem to be undertaken by youthful backpackers eager to explore (and apparently party across) the world — those who just graduated from high school, those on college break, or recent college grads.  I certainly don’t fit this mold; I’m older, married, have career experience, mortgages, and car payments.  And most importantly, I’m at a crossroads.

The old model of “maid, matron, crone” for women’s lives was based on a much shorter average life-span.  Modern technology, over the past 150 years, has literally doubled the life expectancy of women in industrial societies (from 40 to 45 years to 80 to 90 years).  With lower birth rates, “matron” takes less of a bite than ever out of the prime years, and the debilitation of old age is pushed off for decades.  This gives instead a life structure of “maid, matron, 20-or-30-year-blank, crone.”  There are no historical social models for that second-maturity period.  It’s something our time is having to invent.

I am most definitely in that “20-or-30-year-blank” period, attempting my second maturity.  Hopefully, my 30/40 World Tour: Quest for Passion will help me usher in this next phase of life.

The Power of Myth book cover

Today Mr. HalfFull sees this defining book from his college years in a new light

I’m not a fan of ancient mythology, fantasy, or science fiction genres, but Mr. HalfFull recently suggested to me that perhaps our trip really is a quest.  Of course, we dubbed the trip a Quest for Passion, but it’s somewhat in jest and mostly because it sounds awesome! =)  Yet Mr. HalfFull now contends that I may be on “The Hero’s Journey,” which he learned about in the early 90’s (when I was a 10-year-old…haha) watching “The Power of Myth” hosted by Bill Moyers on PBS.

I begrudgingly watched that old interview with Joseph Campbell, and was pleasantly surprised to find that much of it resonates with me today as I ponder my upcoming trip.  Campbell asserts that there are two kinds of hero journeys — heroic acts and spiritual journeys.  Obviously, mine would be a spiritual journey, which is described as a death and resurrection, like the transition from childhood to adulthood.  This type of journey involves a going and a return, which is exactly my plan.  Campbell also discusses how spiritual journeys must be taken intentionally, rather than being conscripted.  The only thing certain in my mind is that I’m ready and willing to go.  As Mr. HalfFull would say, “Let’s light this candle!”

Chart outlining The Hero's Journey

Chart outlining The Hero's Journey

The basic outline of the hero’s journey comprises three major stages:  a departure (before the quest), initiation (adventures along the way), and return (with new knowledge from the journey).  The first stage in the departure is a “call to adventure.”  Mr. HalfFull and I have been thinking about our round-the-world trip for years.  Well, he came up with the initial vision, and I’ve been thinking (and stressing) about it for years!  My ISTJ nature persisted in channeling his ENFP energy, so together we could sort out the minutiae that renders a quest of this magnitude possible.  We have truly inspired adventure in one another.

However, I had my doubts about this whole heroine’s journey when I saw the next step of departure, titled “refusal of the call.”  Hmm.  Well, we have talked about the trip for years, but did we go?  No.  We considered going after our wedding in 2009.  We considered going last summer in anticipation of our 30th and 40th birthdays.  Whoa, twice we refused to heed the call to adventure in the past!  Thankfully, we have now been inspired by “supernatural aid.”  In our case, events in our professional lives conspired to lead us toward travel this summer.  Mr. HalfFull changed careers, becoming a teacher with summers off.  Meanwhile, I’d never felt passionate about my career, and my small company was sold twice, finally being absorbed into one of the largest companies in the world.  I don’t know what I want professionally, but I definitely don’t feel a meaningful connection to this revenue-fueled behemoth.  So here we are, ready to cross the mythical threshold in five weeks.

feet on the beach

Belly of the Whale? Nope, just Ms. HalfEmpty's feet.

The final step in the departure phase is the “belly of the whale,” which represents the final separation from the hero’s known world and self. By entering this stage, the person shows willingness to undergo a metamorphosis.  Campbell explains that within the context of the belly of the whale, water represents the unconscious.  Much of my trip revolves around water since most of my destinations are island nations.  So as I lay on the beach looking out at the water, I’ll have to try to figure out what my unconscious is telling me.

The second major state of a hero’s journey is initiation, which involves trials.  This scares me a bit, but I do realize that you can’t grow if you don’t challenge and test yourself.  Campbell thinks of these trials as losing yourself and giving of yourself in order to transform your consciousness.  I wonder what revelations await me…

Campbell also believes that the landscape and conditions match the readiness of the adventurer.  So the hero will not get more than he is prepared to handle — not what he thinks he can handle, but what the universe knows he can handle.  So at least I’ve got that going for me!

According to Campbell, as humans we all operate in relation to a system that is governed by our minds.  The key is to operate within our humanity, governed by our heart and spirit.  From a young age, we are conditioned to align with a programmatic life: sitting still in our school desks and raising our hands to speak, while learning to play by society’s rules.  I am particularly susceptible to this, and Mr. HalfFull often jokingly refers to me as a robot, while trying to bring me back to the human side.  [“Robot is a bit cold; she’s more of a cyborg,” says Mr. HalfFull.  Darth Vader would approve!]

Empty Coffee Cup

Nirvana? Maybe I just need a refill!

Apparently, the goal of this whole heroine’s journey is to find a place of rest and repose within myself.  To allow action to come from my center, so as not to create tension.  Campbell explains that ideas like Nirvana are not actual physical places, but rather a psychological state of mind where one is not compelled by desire, fear, or social commitments.  Sounds like a tall order for Ms. HalfEmpty, but definitely a worthy goal. Perhaps this suggests that my quest for passion might culminate within myself as well.  For now this heroine remains content with her current itinerary, searching for Nirvana with Mr. HalfFull along some of the world’s loveliest beaches or perhaps at the bottom of a cup of coffee.

Campbell mostly speaks to the hero’s journey; I’ve read that the stages of the heroine’s journey are similar, but the circumstances are different.  The journey of a female hero

…does not involve swinging a big, phallic sword like a man (or Joan of Arc), nor defying patriarchal oppression. She does not run away from her evil father, pretend to be a man, or move off to an Amazonian commune. Her struggle is to find her own way at a time in her life when all her previous duties and roles are gone, when she doesn’t know who she is anymore, and is in a spiritual crisis.

Wow, that last sentence really resonates with me.  Let’s break down my current existential crisis:

  • Struggling to find a path that works for me (check)
  • At a time when my previous professional role is gone (check)
  • While feeling like I don’t know who I should be (check)
  • Spiritual crisis (well, I’m more of an agnostic, but sure, check)

It has been suggested that the final return phase is also different for heroines.  Crossing the return threshold often involves a meeting with the heroine’s parents.  Coincidentally, my parents will probably be picking us up from the airport when we return in August.

Mr. HalfFull, perhaps I really am a heroine on a journey…

  • Where did you travel as a youthful backpacker?
  • Do you enjoy ancient mythology, fantasy, or science fiction genres?
  • Have you embarked on a hero or heroine’s journey?
  • Is Mr. HalfFull getting me swept up in his flair for the dramatic?
  • Can Nirvana be found at the bottom of a cup of coffee?
  • Is simply traveling enough, or does a framework of meaning add value?
  • Do you tend to follow your mind or your heart/spirit?

Ms. HalfEmpty is a 30-something introverted realist, perhaps a pessimist. But she’s trying to see the world half full on halfempty4now.com, which she started in February 2011. Her worldview may not be all bad, as it probably helps keep her husband, Mr. HalfFull, grounded and out of trouble!

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