"If you obey all the rules you miss all the fun." - Katharine Hepburn
Question #92345 posted on 06/13/2019 8:47 p.m.
Q:

Dear 100 Hour Board,

What are ways you find or build a sense of camaraderie, or community in your life?

What is something that has helped you find or create that sense of belonging?

Things that previously were prime opportunities for me--university, among situations--aren't really options any longer, and former friend circles have withered as people have moved far away to seek opportunities, fame, and Halo Top iced desserts. While I hoped starting a new job would help, my coworkers are... well, less than stimulating, and so I turn to The Internet® anew.

-odd owl out

A:

Dear OOO,

I wanted to write a lot about this, but right now I can only muster up about two coherent thoughts so hopefully these will be useful to help you build camaraderie and community.

  • Today I had an epiphany that a community is a group of people. Crazy, right? The point of this thought is that you can't build a community all by yourself. I was part of a group project and we turned into a great friend group. Looking back I realize it was because we all contributed. Someone made t-shirts, we took turn bringing snacks, we sent each other memes, etc. If you want to build community it's important to identify other people you can build that community with. When you go out and do things or host your own events try to find people that are cool and invite them to do other things. Not only will finding other people who can build the community with you lead to better communities but it will also help relieve the stress and pressure of trying to do it all by yourself.
  • If you see a cool community that already exist that's great! You don't have to build one, but unfortunately if you're like me you might get impostor syndrome. Two things that really help me are trying to find a unique way to contribute, and just pretending like I'm already part of the community. Most communities are really welcoming, so just try and act cool and they'll never know about you're deep inner impostor syndrome. Then you'll have fun and forget about it yourself.

Anyways, I hope this helps! The other writers have good suggestions too so definitely read what they're saying.

Peace,

Tipperary

P.S. When you're trying to build a community or group of friends, like 95% of the time you're gonna have to plan the first few events before other people hop on and start planning stuff and inviting you to it. I'm sorry, that's just how it works.

A:

Dear Odd Owl,

What did we do before the Internet!? Find a group (Meetup or similar) for a hobby or interest. Lots of friendships evolve from a starting point of mutual interest. Go to Institute/Church activities. Join a professional organization for your field. Keep at it!

 

-Social 

A:

Dear Kvothe,

Building a community as an adult is the hardest. Making friends is also the hardest, and from what I understand it doesn't get easier. 

I've built very few friendships from work, but nonetheless, community has happened. A few ways I've done this:

  • Community service projects: Since moving to Salt Lake I've tried to make it a priority to be involved in a couple of different service projects, both long-term and short term. Right now I volunteer regularly at the Burrito Project SLC, where we make and deliver burritos to the homeless in downtown SLC. I've made some friends through this project, but I've also felt like I've placed some roots in the broader Salt Lake community because of it 
  • Church: Whether it is the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, or a different church regular activity in church activities and services gives you exposure to a community that is likely willing to allow you in with open-arms. If you aren't religious, there may be similar organizations around for you too! In SLC for example we have groups that put on meditation nights, or there is a group for atheists who have left the Church. However you identify, you can find your people if you look 
  • Book club/ladies night/guys night/dinner group: do you know a couple of people distantly but you would like to know better. Get them together for a monthly or quarterly, or weekly game night, dinner night, or book club - some sort of evening in which there is pre-planned activities or conversation topics that everyone can contribute to and easily get to know one another
  • Outdoor Activites/Hobbyist Groups: If you live in a place with good outdoor activities then look into ways you can integrate yourself in those communities. For example, as a climber in Salt Lake City, I could join the Salt Lake Climber's Alliance and join canyon clean-up activities or climbing events, or I can post on the SLC Climbers Facebook page to get new climbing partners or at least advice, and at my climbing gym there are activities that are created to help climbers meet each other. If you're into things like running or biking, your local running or biking store undoubtedly puts on regular runs/rides where you can meet people. But outdoor sporting activities are not the only groups that have broader communities, no matter what you are interested, you can probably find a group already formed in your area around that hobby. In SLC, I know of groups like this for botany, meditation, gaming, etc.  
  • Work groups: Okay, so you don't like your direct co-workers, but are there other people at your company who you might like? Does your company have any networks to get groups of people together, sporting groups, etc? 
  • Classes: Whether it be a regular class at your gym, a community art class, a language course at your community college, etc., classes are a great place to be around the same people and to build a community like you may have done in college while learning a new skill or improving an old one 
  • GroupMe/MeetUp: I haven't personally used these apps, but I know people who have, and you can find groups of people who are putting together all sorts of activities in your area 

Ultimately, I think what it comes down to are the age-old ideas of putting-yourself-out-there and keeping busy with a variety of activities where you have opportunities to meet people. Community will come. 

Sincerely,
The Soulful Ginger 

A:

Dear triple-o—

There's a fantastic little book called Steal Like an Artist, and my favorite gem is this simple but powerful line: "Do good work and share it with people." The author is specifically talking about how to get your art noticed, but I feel like it applies to everything in life. You want community? Do something interesting, then share it with a couple of folks. Host a bad movie night and invite your cousin. Bring an ancient SNES and a thrift store tv into the work break room and play during the lunch hour, then see who shows up to play with you. Go to comedy shows and wear a shirt that says "Free hugs." Or do none of these things and do something that actually fits your personality. The point is—do something. 

Our family recently moved from California to Ohio, and we knew exactly two people here. Now, five months later, I'd say we have a pretty lively little community for ourselves. What worked for me was exactly what I stated above. I got involved in the local trivia night, then I started hosting a monthly paint night at the same venue. We started hosting monthly potlucks at our house where we invite everyone we know and see who shows up with food. I sent out the bat signal for friendship in some of my special interest Facebook groups and happened to find someone who lives five minutes away from us who shares a phenomenal amount of interests with our family, and she's now my best friend here, and her kid and my kids have sleepovers. We hang out multiple times a week, and she's introduced me to other people she knows. Then we invite them over for our potluck or to join us at paint night. It only snowballs from here. 

You can do this, friend. It just takes a little courage to go out and actually do it.

A fellow community enthusiast,
Waldorf (& Sauron) 

Question #92337 posted on 06/13/2019 8:47 p.m.
Q:

Dear 100 Hour Board,

I recently went from having a very old phone to a very new phone and I'm hoping to put it to good use. What apps have you found that make life better or more enjoyable?

-My Name Here

A:

Dear TARDIS,

I've provided links to the Google Play store, since I've got an Android.

Flo: I like this for tracking my period. To each her own.

Baby Daybook: LOVE this for tracking Lil' M.'s baby stats.

CareZone: Great for tracking physical health and general medications.

Board Game Stats: If you're a bit of a board game geek, this is wonderful for tracking how often you play and how much you win.

Bring!: I personally love this for groceries. We tried a Google Keep note, but this worked much easier for the two of us.

Daylio: Really wonderful for tracking mental health. I've been doing it for a year and a half now, and I love it.

Eat This Much: Meal planner, grocery shopper, super amazing, check it out. Available as a web app, too. Use my referral code.

Skip Checkout: Really, skip the checkout line. And the self checkout line. Check out AS YOU'RE SHOPPING.

Google Keep: After trying dozens of list/note apps, this is my preferred. I don't think Google's gonna kill it any time soon (crossing fingers), and they just got dark mode.

Libby: The new-ish version of the Overdrive app. Great for reading e-books from your library. And audiobooks.

Hopper: Track airline prices, and it'll tell you when to buy your tickets.

Pocket: Save articles to read for later.

LibraryThing: Keep track of the books you own, books you want to read, and books you've read.

McDonald's: If you're paying more than a dollar for large fries, you're overpaying.

PetDesk: Make vet appointments, take care of general pet stuff, the whole shebang.

-Tally M.

A:

Dear reader,

iNaturalist is a worldwide decade-old crowdsource project dedicated to identifying and cataloging wildlife. In my experience, there's a bias towards vertebrates - the bird pictures I upload get classified immediately, but I've got some three-year-old pictures of spiders that still haven't been touched - but technically you can submit any living thing (plant, animal, or fungus) as long as it was spotted in the wild. You can also browse a map of nearby uploads to see what's in the area or search by species if there's something in particular you're curious about. This has done absolute wonders for my familiarity with local birds.

-yayfulness

A:

Dear friend,

Congrats on the new phone! Like Tally M, I highly recommend Libby as well as the following four apps:

  • Habitica: Gamifies good habits, tasks, and goals to improve productivity. The more you complete on your to-do list, the more your little avatar levels up and gets quest achievements
  • Youper: Emotional health app that talks you through anxious or stressful moments and helps you monitor your mood over time
  • Insight Timer: Tons of free meditations along with a timer, if you're more of a silent meditator. At the end of each meditation session, it tells you how many people you were meditating along with in the world, which I think is kind of cool
  • Fortune City: Similar to Habitica but for budgeting. As you log how much you earn and spend, you can grow and take care of a tiny city

-Van Goff

A:

Dear Cygnet,

I'll put in another vote for Habitica. I use Google Keep a TON: a shopping list shareable with my husband; packing lists; favorite quotes; book recommendations; taking pictures of flyers, recipes, etc...I suppose any note-taking app can do this, but I like the color-coding and labeling of Google Keep. I'm a fan of apps that can block other apps from time to time, too; I'm currently using Stay Focused.

There are a couple of baby-specific apps I like as well: Glow Baby for tracking the early weeks of nursing and diapers; Tinybeans and Qeepsake for recording memories; Dormi for mobile baby monitoring; and White Noise Baby Sleep Sounds for mobile white noise.

-Owlet

A:

Dear My ~

Day One, a journaling app. (Currently only available to Apple users, but they're working on a web version.) I absolutely adore the On This Day memories feature. I've been importing old physical and digital journals, and it's been incredibly nostalgic. 

YNAB, a budgeting app. See my evangelizing about it in Board Question #92352.

Marco Polo, a social media app. It's like messaging, but with video. I know it's not for everyone, but I 100% credit that app for my great friendship with Olympus. We've always been friends, since we met on the Board, but it's been a casual friendship. I would send her pictures of unique bookcases. She would tell me about her Wheel of Time dreams. But then Marco Polo came along and out of the blue BAM! A deep friendship emerged. It's been incredible. 

Sleep Cycle, a sleep tracking app. It uses the accelerometer in your phone (this might be iPhone only; I'm not sure) to measure your sleep movement and thus your sleep cycles. You can use it as an alarm, too. You give it a time range and it will wake you up during your lightest sleep in that range with a nice melody. No more rude awakenings from a deep sleep by an unforgiving, harsh beep. And to snooze, you just have to tap the phone. You don't even have to look at a screen. It will only let you snooze until the end of your time range, so you might get a lot of snooze time, you might get none. But either way, you'll be done at a time you set as the latest time to wake up.

~ Dragon Lady

A:

Dear werf,

I'm just going to say that anyone who doesn't have the Wikipedia app doesn't know how to have a good time. Also, the PBS Kids app is great for watching Daniel Tiger.

-El-ahrairah

A:

Dear,

For general utility, I like Round (medication reminders & log of when you took what, which helps me know if I'm allowed to re-up on pain meds again yet), Clue (period tracker), Forest (not free, but you get to collect plants!)/Focus Keeper (free & w/ timed breaks included, but not as cute) for the Pomodoro method (which is most helpful when my sister agrees to do some with me to get me going on an overwhelming task, even if she's actually lying about doing any herself and is just checking in 25 minutes later to see how I did, gosh). I have Touch Pal to let me type by swiping rather than tapping, which is mostly fine except when it suggests names of people I no longer care about or one-time deliberate misspellings. Habitica (gamified to-do lists) used to be really helpful for me, but it stopped helping, so I ditched it. Google Keep is a good list/notes keeper for me, at least until Google kills it like they've killed other programs I liked (and several I didn't, but I don't mourn those ones). 

For sometimes options, I also like using the apps for my smart-home devices to control them when my mouth isn't working right (curse you, autoimmune disorder!), and I generally have several meditation/exercise apps that I don't end up actually using much, but mean to use. I have a handful of time-wasting games of various types which I should get rid of, but don't. The types are "cute animal collecting" (oh gosh I've got like 5 of these, I didn't realize, but I can't delete them and lose my collections!), a multi-person fighting strategy game that I mostly farm in and level up my city, one of those match-3 games, and some sudoku/tetrissy type "make everything fit just right" games.

In personally-specific apps, IMDB sees a lot of use from me, because I frequently want to know who's voicing a character or if I'm remembering correctly that a minor character from one thing was also in another thing that I've seen.

[For a painful example of my brain's looping tangents and eventual reversions to the original topic after everyone's forgotten what it was, read on!  In re. the IMDB app, just a few hours ago, I double-checked my (correct!) hunch that that non-speaking vampire in the clip I saw a moment earlier from the What We Do in the Shadows tv show is indeed the guy (his name is Matt Berry, but I never remember that) from IT Crowd and Garth Merenghi's Darkplace -- GM'sD frequently pushes jokes a bit further than I'm comfortable with so I don't recommend that with the same love I recommend the rest of this nonsense with -- (both of which coincidentally star Richard Ayoade, who I've watched in a bunch of British quiz shows--definitely Big Fat Quiz of the Year, (current events celebrity trivia, where he is often paired with Noel Fielding {who I referenced indirectly in the music video question and who is probably more-frequently paired with Russell Brand, and who (Fielding) is probably now best known for being one of the new sets of hosts of Great British Bake-Off with Sandi Toksvig -- who runs the more-academic quiz show Q.I., previously hosted by Stephen Fry, who I know best from Jeeves and Wooster --, and (fun fact), despite his (Fielding's) flamboyant style is happily in a relationship with a woman, while Toksvig, despite ner non-flamboyance, is also happily in a relationship with a woman, and also also Fielding is in IT Crowd, too}) and [Ayoade now, keep up! who is also] probably in Would I Lie to You? (2 truths & a lie variants--please especially enjoy the one w/ Miranda Hart and the Cuddle Jumper, Greg Davies "Vegetables!" and "the Hoot-Owl Death Sign," and of course Bob Mortimer--especially the ones about doing his own dentistry, "Theft and Shrubbery," and the Hand-Lion, and the ones where David Mitchell laughs like a maniac --probs the Cuddle Jumper, actually--and the one where he gives his personal fashion philosophy, which is something along the lines of "be as nondescript as possible, but not so nondescript it becomes noticeable) and 8 out of 10 Cats does Countdown (a celebrity version of an existing not-usually celebrity math & word puzzles game show -- think celebrity Jeopardy, but unscripted, and where the actual celebrity comedians are generally trying to win as long as they can also crack jokes along the way--, whose words expert was a guest star on a podcast I thought about adding to a list but didn't, but it's called The Allusionist, if you're into word trivia and which I also nearly mentioned because of its comic song about how to microwave an egg sandwich on a recipes question, but I think I talked about that on a previous Alumni week, so I exercised restraint that I'm not exercising now. I've been working on this answer for hours because it amuses me) and who [still Ayoade] I saw most recently last night in an episode of Travel Man with Eddie Izzard as guest star, and also please look up the one where the guy from Mad Men which I haven't seen and Baby Driver which I have {and which unfortunately, like Moon, includes Kevin Spacey who taints my love of both movies a little}, what's his name? back to IMDB--John Hamm, of course! look up the one where Hamm is a guest star and is so good-natured and kind and wholesome I am proud to have seen him in things), and who (back to Berry now) I also recently discovered is one of the corporate guys in the video feed in Moon, which is the only place I can remember ever seeing him play someone other than a comedically self-absorbed creep. Welcome to my mind on movies/tv! Though British quiz shows were an especially bad link to make, because those tend to pick from a fairly standard set of comedians. Also Mock the Week is a good one, too.] (Also I'm not sure about the linguistic legality of putting different kinds of parenthetical punctuation next to each other where the end of one aside is also the end of another, but it's nearly 3am and I've come back to tack on additions twice now and what am I doing? Just stop, Uffish!) 

Next-day update. Today I watched the first half of the new Good Omens Show and did it again. The Doctor and The Master from Doctor Who together again as enemies who kind of love each other, obvs, but also Jack Whitehall (super-rich comes-off-as-a-spoiled-but-lovable-fathead in the British quiz shows as the witch hunter (both ancient and modern) is doing a surprisingly good job of playing a poorish slightly insecure dude, which is delightful. John Hamm's back again here, playing the sort of guy you love to hate but also kind of admire his stylishness and confidence again, and my personal favorite of the evening is that the baldish kind of portly nondescript angel also plays Maria (say it Mar-eye-uh) in my newest favorite adaptation of Twelfth Night, which features an all-male cast in either the Globe or a replica thereof, and this dude steals. the. show. So good. That one's also got Stephen Fry as the dude you love to hate but then feel bad about hating (and I love Stephen Fry, but he doesn't hold a candle to Paul Chahidi in this. And he's not in this but I feel bad for not mentioning James Acaster yesterday in the British quiz shows bit because it took me a while to get past his very-effective-and-consistent persona, but he is brilliant and comes back around to things you thought were throwaway gimicks in oddly profound ways and then just blunders back through them again and makes you think maybe it was a fluke and he's just a fool after all. Please watch some of his stuff. There's the good one about the cabbage on WILtY?, but also probably his Netflix special. Jack Whitehall's Netflix series Travels with My Father is good in a different way, though still enjoyable. You'll want to attack both because they're such entitled jerks and they're so rude to and about each other, and then it will slay you with a little heart-rendingly sentimental bit of rusty affection for each other, and then they go back to their usual defenses-up facades, and auuuugh! I feel like there's more I wanted to say, but I tangented myself over to another whole question and lost the thread and won't care again for another day or dozen hours, and then it will be too late. So I guess that's the end of my next-day-but-inter-earlier-day postscript. Hope I don't kick myself for omitted connections or typos caused by trying to transcribe my looping thoughts before they evaporated forever. (I bet I will kick myself. It's fine.)

And (back to personally-specific phone apps, so also back to just my regular overuse of parentheticals, now) the first free dictionary app I found, because I like words and often want to either verify my personal definition or learn a word I've just come across, and Susie Dent from Countdown isn't at my beck and call (HAHA JUST KIDDING BACK TO THE ALLUSIONIST, OOPS). I've also got Blue Apron (enjoy that buzz marketing! -- that's a Judge John Hodgman tie-in, for another Board answer and podcast bit of obscure cultural referencing--I can't stop now! send help!) for convenient menu selection/skipping; Libby, the generic iPhone podcast app, and Audible to fill my ear-holes with constant noise (YouTube for specific songs, if I'd rather have music and amn't [sic] near my Alexas); Walgreens to renew prescriptions because I now take so many pills a day I got one of those old-lady pill organizers and I love it, Bumble for dating when I can be bothered, and a few social media apps that I rarely actually open anymore unless I'm waiting in a public place where I'm embarrassed to play my games and it would be rude to break out my audio without headphones.

Well, gosh. That got every type of off-task. I'ma [sic] go back now and bold my actual phone apps because I'm sorry, but not sorry enough to delete this hot mess (stay sexy and don't get murdered). 

-Uffish Thought

A:

Dear Caller Number 92337,

Here are some apps I use on a regular basis that I find useful and/or greatly enjoy. I'm gonna borrow Uffish Thought's convention of bolding the app name for readability's sake. Disclaimer: since I use an iPhone, these are all in the iOS ecosystem. Some may also be available for Android, but many likely aren't (though I've never really checked).

GoTasks and gTasks Pro. Both of these are apps that let me use Google Tasks in app form. They both have elegant list interfaces that make simple and nested to-do lists easy to manage. I switched to the latter app when the former declared that it was no longer going to be updated, but recently the developer resurrected it, so it's sticking around after all--which is good, because I really like it! GoTasks has a unique feature where you can tap and hold on the "+" button and then drag down into the middle of the list to create a new item at the spot of your choosing. (Normally you would just tap to add a task to the end of the list.) I mainly use Google Tasks for checklists these days (a morning bike commuting "pre-flight" checklist, for example, to make sure I don't forget something important, like lunch...or pants) and both apps make the process easy. The only feature I wish they had was an "un-check entire list" button to easily reset my checklists for the next morning! (Note: Google recently released their own Tasks app. I'm satisfied enough with these two that I haven't bothered to try it yet.)

Due. This variation on a to-do/reminder app lets you set a reminder to do something, and then when the appointed time/date arrives, it has the unique feature of reminding you of the task at periodic intervals of your choice (hourly, every 15 minutes, every 5 minutes, etc.). If you, like me, easily forget to do something if the reminder pops up only once, especially if it came while you were in the middle of something else, then the repeated reminders may be your salvation! I've avoided late fees on rent and bills multiple times thanks to its persistence.

Slopes. Great app for tracking your ski runs, lift time, etc. I had been using Trace Snow up until this season, but then I discovered Slopes, which is more open with recorded data and is more elegant to boot. Plus, the developer is clearly an enthusiast who cares about both the app and being out on those slopes! (One plus of Trace Snow, though, is that it still works with older hardware, so if you have an old phone kicking around that runs at least iOS 9, you can take advantage of its GPS chip and use that to record your fun without sacrificing the battery of your real phone.)

Knots 3D is a great knot database with high-quality 3D animations of how to tie them. I don't use it much, but it's a great resource to have handy when I need it! (I mainly use it for mountain rescue stuff.)

1Password, which is available on numerous platforms, is a daily necessity for me. I've got over 200 logins stored in my vault. With the touch of a finger, I can log into any one of them easily in both apps and websites, all while using unique and complex passwords for each one and easily changing any that might have been compromised. It would be virtually impossible to memorize all of that information. I mean, think of trying to memorize 200 passwords along the lines of "VZ$z9XV]32/JYXNrdMHv." If that's not enough, picture typing those nightmares in manually on your phone's keyboard! Your battery would probably die before you finish. The only other way to easily maintain that many strong and truly unique passwords is...well, there really is no other way. Whether it's this one or some other reputable password manager, get one! If you need justification, read this. Heck, read it anyway! I can't stress the importance of good password hygiene in this day and age enough. For me, 1Password transforms that best practice from a royal pain to an absolute delight.

Bear and Drafts are two great plaintext/Markdown notekeeping apps. Both are excellently designed and well maintained. They differ in their philosophy towards the text you put into them. Bear is best for taking and organizing notes or other text you'll keep in there a while. Drafts' tagline is "Where Text Starts." It's designed around the notion that you'll write something there (an idea, an e-mail, a group text, a blog post...) and then send it to another app to be used. When you've finished writing, you use "actions" (which can be customized as needed) to send your text along to fulfill its purpose in the other app (stored as a note in Evernote, pasted as a ready-to-send e-mail, etc.). Like a Swiss army knife for text, it has many uses, and it performs them all well! Both have desktop apps as well, and both sync their contents to your other devices. (Bear requires a $15/year subscription to enable syncing, but it's worth it.)

Editorial is another plaintext app I use from time to time. Among its strengths are (1) it interfaces with Dropbox to let me work with regular text files I've stored there; (2) it handles myriad text syntaxes, including Taskpaper and Markdown, the former being particularly nice because it turns the Taskpaper checkbox notation into actual checkboxes, which is handy for checklists; and (3) it is thoroughly extensible because you can download Python scripts (or write your own) that can carry out any operations on your text that you can come up with.

If you like mind maps, iThoughts is a great tool. There's a desktop version of it as well, so you can sync your maps in the cloud and move from one platform to the other, picking up where you left off. I haven't used it extensively, but one of these days I'll get around to using it more!

Another app in my not-used-much-but-really-should category is Tody. Tody is a specialized to-do list app for organizing household cleaning routines. You organize your tasks by room, set how often you'd like to complete each task, and see how often you actually have completed each task, among other things. You can even gamify the cleaning experience if that helps motivate you! Just writing about it makes me want to use it more! (My bedroom floor would thank me.)

Apollo is a great app for interacting with Reddit. I don't use Reddit much, but when I do, Apollo is the way to do it on a mobile device.

SunCalc.net. (Yes, that is the app's name.) It's a quirky little app that lets you see what the sun's direction is relative to a map, along with rise/set times and directions. That may sound random, but it can be handy for a variety of things. A photographer might want to plan out a sunrise or sunset shot. My main use? Well, I fly Southwest Airlines a lot, which lets you choose your own seat, so I sometimes use it to decide which side of the plane to sit on, whether to avoid sun in my eyes or catch a beautiful sunset from 35,000 feet up.

The app that brings me the most joy is...and yes, in saying this I am confirming beyond doubt that I'm a nerd...Avanti Weather. Listed in the App Store as "AWeather," this is basically the weather app I'd always dreamed of having. See, as a meteorology nerd, I want more than just the "Mostly sunny and 80 degrees!" quip. I want the gory details. Fortunately, AWeather pulls its data directly from the glorious National Weather Service, giving me ready access to radar/satellite imagery, hourly forecast projections, and--most importantly--the weather office's forecast discussion. That it includes the forecast discussion is the clincher. I often explain it to people as being "the story behind the forecast," and it elaborates on all of the meteorologists' assessments of weather model outputs, expected patterns over the forecast period, and often why they settled on the forecast they did. Beyond pure enjoyment of seeing the process at work, I'll often turn to this for a sense of how confident they are in what they have forecast, what caveats might be important, and how likely it is to change. AWeather puts this all in front of me in a nice, tidy, well-designed app (whereas I would otherwise have to go to Weather.gov to retrieve it) and--importantly, for those times when I'm going to be off the grid--downloads it for offline access. I waited years for a good app like this, and last year I finally found it!

Oh, and for more weather nerdery, RadarScope is a good complement to AWeather. Where AWeather specializes in forecast data, RadarScope specializes in, well, radar. Slice and dice radar data in all kinds of ways! See storm tracks! Read storm warning details! Export annotated images and animations to amaze and amuse your friends! In a similar vein is the less-cleverly-named MyRadar. While its radar data isn't quite as raw or customizable (at least without additional purchases), the myriad layers you can enable make up for it. My favorite is the aviation layer, which lets you plot SIGMETs and AIRMETs, see temporary flight restriction zones, and--best of all--show an FAA flight plan. So the next time you're about to board a flight, you can plot your planned course right in the app to see what kind of weather you'll be passing! (Pair that with SunCalc.net and you've got all the tools you need to pick the best window seat!)

I could keep going (Readdle Documents! 2do! Huemote! DEVONthink! Samsara!), but the above is probably more than enough to keep you and others exploring for a while. So with that, happy apping!

- The Detective

Question #92360 posted on 06/13/2019 2:24 p.m.
Q:

Dear 100 Hour Board,

Now that the district has settled...

What did you think of Kingdom Hearts 3?

-mfw

A:

Dear MondayFridayWednesday,

I wish you had asked this during alumni week because Van Goff is playing and I want to know which other alumni are fans of the series. I will do my best not to spoil it for anyone who is currently playing.

The game was great. Gameplay was varied (though there were a lot of "attractions" that trivialized many battles) and it looks great and had a lot of good story. Plus the Keyblade Graveyard world was honestly some of the greatest gameplay in any Playstation game. It's going to be amazing on Critical mode. Also, Disney characters actually interacted with Organization XIII people which is nice a change. It did what all KH games do which is tell a cohesive story but not telling the story events in order, giving a big reveal at the end, and having a conclusion that absolutely doesn't make sense until you read someone's blog titled "The REAL meaning of the ending of Kingdom Hearts III" which you may think is a bad thing but since I'm a fan of the series this is what I've come to expect.

Some worlds were definitely better than others but I loved them anyway. Story-wise Big Hero 6 was my favorite world because they are all trying to become heroes and the Big Hero 6 team actually gets new abilities by watching Sora fight which I thought was super cool. Sora's not just passing through the world, he's actually influencing it. Gameplay-wise I loved Pirates of the Caribbean because it's basically a completely different game in that world. And there's tons of treasure just like there should be in a world of pirates. Favorite single moment? Ok I've got 2. First, when you start the game with lots of anticipation for playing the game you've waited years to play, Kingdom Hearts III, and you get a splash screen that says "Kingdom Hearts II.9" BECAUSE OF COURSE SQUARE ENIX CAN'T GIVE US KINGDOM HEARTS III AFTER 13 YEARS THEY HAVE TO MIX UP THE NUMBERS A LITTLE MORE. They give you the proper Kingdom Hearts III splash screen later but still a very funny thing. Second favorite moment is from the Toy Story world which is the second world you should visit so I don't feel bad spoiling this. Woody looks Xehanort, the main bad guy, right in the eyes and tells him he has no friends and no one ever loved him. Seriously. I saw a tweet that mentioned that before I played it but then IT ACTUALLY HAPPENED! Amazing.

Critical mode is a beast. It is a great addition. I'm also stoked for the DLC coming that's going to add even more confusing dialog and cut scenes plus more playable characters. 

-Spectre

posted on 06/13/2019 7:39 p.m.
Dear MFW,

Okay so I know that Alumni Week (and you can reject this correction if you want) is over but just wanted to add that Kingdom Hearts is incredible! I used to play the first two games at my friend's house growing up and re-played them last fall, which got me back into gaming again. Right now, I just finished the Tangled world and have three thoughts so far:
1) Excellent gameplay and overall graphics.

2) Spectre's right: usually the Kingdom Hearts plots are confusing without reading context posts online so I'm pretty used to not knowing all of what's going on. Same deal with this game so far but I'm still loving every minute of it.

3) Kinda sad that there's no Nightmare Before Christmas world. Super excited about the Big Hero 6 world, though.

-Van Goff, who once cosplayed Demyx at a convention in his youth and enjoys the series very much
Question #92348 posted on 06/13/2019 2:12 p.m.
Q:

Dear 100 Hour Board,

How many HHB(Hundred Hour Board?) writers are married to someone who is, or has been a writer? Did you meet in your secret meetings in the tunnel, using the adrenaline from dodging tunnel worms as an aphrodisiac? Were you so besotted by the soulful writing of an anonymous person that you decided to infiltrate a secret society in order to meet them? Did you and your partner decide together to step into the abyss and strengthen your relationship by spending hours researching whimsical questions, and joined the club together?

I'd love to hear your stories :)

-Cauthon

A:
Dear Reader,
 
Evidently, I have an utterly abysmal knowledge of previous Board eras, because I had no idea there were this many Board couples. Here is a (hopefully) comprehensive list of Board writers who married each other:
  • Defenestrator and Castle in the Sky
  • The Cleaning Lady and Optimus Prime
  • Phoenix and Wilhelmina Wafflewitz
  • Benvolio and Kassidy
  • Yellow and Dragon Lady
  • Waldorf and Sauron
  • Laser Jock and Eirene
  • Optimistic. and Genuine Article
  • CPM and The Heartless Siren (proofreader)
  • Kassidy and Benvolio
  • Dinomight (webmaster) and Mynamyn
  • Ambrosia and Bawb (webmaster)
  • Pa Grape and Ma Grape (guest writer on Pa Grape's account)
  • El-ahrairah and Owlet
  • Tally M. and Spectre
  • Zedability and Dr. Occam
  • Frère Rubik and Vienna

For my small part among these Board couples: I first met Rubik at a Board party. At the time I thought he was cute, but slightly awkward, and, as I was rather wrapped up in a soon-to-be-doomed infatuation with someone else, I didn't pay him much attention. I also considered him to be something like my Board nemesis at the time, because he wrote really funny answers and I wanted my answers to be as funny as his (They were not.) A few months later, I unknowingly moved into his ward. The first thought I had when I saw him there was, "OH NO, HE'S GONNA WANT TO DATE ME." Turns out he actually did not want to date me that badly, and we just became friends. A couple years later we had a mutual change of heart, started dating, and got married. It worked out really great in the end and I'm happy things happened the way they did.

Love,

Vienna (who now realizes that she never should have assumed Rubik would want to date her because she is actually quite lucky to be with him at all)

A:

Dear Cauthon—

Sauron and I met when we were seniors in high school, long before we'd ever heard of the Board. While he was on his mission I wrote as krebscout. I retired just as Sauron got home, and we got married and I graduated. I missed the Board but I no longer qualified as I wasn't a BYU student any longer, so I persuaded Sauron (who was still a student) to apply jointly with me. We bent the rules and caused huge headaches for the editors, and thus we will ever be the one and only joint writership in Board history.

But yes, I did fall even more in love with his thoughtful, funny, and well-researched answers. He's not able to participate in alumni week this year, but fortunately, I get to be around that intelligence, humor, and thoughtfulness in my day-to-day life and night-to-night pillow talk. 

Matter-of-factly,
Waldorf (& Sauron)  

A:

Dear Cauthon,

Owlet and I actually met in high school, at least a year before I saw the Board for the first time. When I got back from my mission, I started hanging out with Owlet again about the same time I started reading the Board again. Eventually I started recognizing things in her answers and finally put two and two together. That, in turn, gave me the push I needed to apply to be a writer, which I did shortly after we started dating.

-El-ahrairah

A:

Dear Cauthon ~

Yellow was already writing for the Board when I joined. In fact, I think he was an editor by then. If not, he became one soon after. I didn't meet him in person until I hosted the Christmas-break Board Writer party. I remember thinking that he was cute, but he was dating another writer, so I quickly wrote him off. He dated several of the other writers, actually. We became friends, and I gave him plenty of dating advice over MSN Messenger and GChat (now Google Hangouts). In fact, I remember one chat where we decided it would be a terrible idea for us to ever date, because we both flirt too much because it's fun, and we'd never know if the other actually liked us.

Then I went to the BYU Jerusalem Center for the summer. Yellow had helped me start my very first blog to replace mass emails of my adventure there. I am a detailed person, and I write a lot. I'm pretty sure not even my mother read all of my posts. Yellow, though, fortuitously had a very boring job that required pushing a few buttons on computers, then waiting for them to restart. He had lots of down time. So he read all of my posts. And realized, "Huh. I should get to know this girl better." So we flirted on GChat a lot. (But he wasn't the only guy I was flirting with.) We jokingly got engaged. I even bought an olive wood ring in Bethlehem and told him he owed me $1 for my ring. I bought him a bright yellow shirt (because he's Yellow, obviously) that said something like, "My girlfriend went to Jerusalem and all I got was this lousy t-shirt." It was pieced together by a one-armed merchant, because he didn't have one for "girlfriend" so he cut up a "boyfriend" version and letters from other shirts and made that one. 

Then I came home and discovered that while I was gone he had moved into my ward (coincidental; he had lived there once before and had moved back to his old apartment) and become my FHE brother. We started hanging out every day. Within 2 weeks (8 months after we first met), we were dating. Talk of the idea of possibly getting married someday was hinted at.

And then ... a girl from his past that he had spent a year and a half trying to win over suddenly decided she really was interested in him and wanted to give dating a try.

The next 6ish months were hard. I broke up with him twice. We almost broke up 3 times. We spent a lot of time not dating, but still friends, or dating non-exclusively, or being friends with benefits. We perfected hard communication. We talked about everything—good and bad. Easy and hard. Happy and sad. My house had two living rooms. The front one was dubbed "The Cry Room" because of all of the hard conversations that happened there. It was a very difficult time. But I just couldn't bring myself to just walk away. I tried to date other guys, but my heart wasn't in it. Eventually the other girl got engaged to someone else, and as I comforted Yellow, I realized that his happiness was way more important to me than mine. Yes, I was incredibly jealous of her. No, I didn't want him to be heartbroken over her. But comforting him in his moment of pain and vulnerability was exactly where I wanted to be. Whether that was on my couch with his head in my lap, making him dinner, or belaying him while he worked out his feelings on the rock wall, that's where I was happiest. 

A few weeks later Yellow and his dad took my roommate, The Heartless Siren, and I snowmobiling. I ended up getting very injured (I tore my meniscus and pulled the MCL off the bone). That was Yellow's wake-up call. That's when he realized how much my well-being mattered to him. It wasn't long after that that we officially started dating again for the final time. With the drama of the other girl removed, everything went incredibly smoothly. Within 2 months, we were engaged, and 2 months after that, we were married. That was almost 11 years ago. It has been smooth sailing ever since. 

Can I just say that I highly recommend learning how to talk about hard things when you're dating? Best thing we ever did. As hard as it is for me to admit this, I'm glad our dating life worked out the way it did, hard as it was, because it built essential tools for us that have made our marriage so much easier. Because while there aren't any other women now (phew!) there are lots of hard conversations yet to be had. (Usually based around my incredibly volatile emotions. lol.)

~ Dragon Lady (and Yellow)

Question #92335 posted on 06/13/2019 2:12 p.m.
Q:

Dear 100 Hour Board,

Thoughts on Dave Ramsey vs other financial guides? Have any of you tried his steps? Would you recommend?

Thx
Babs

A:

Dear Babs ~

Dave Ramsey has done a lot of good in the financial world. I don't like his attitude about some things. He can be a kind of jerk. I also disagree with his opinion that credit cards are 100% evil. His program though, is generally good advice. 

My favorite program, though, is actually software, and it changes the way you look at money. It has been a total game changer to me. (And it allows me to really spend on credit as if it's debit. I pay off my credit card 100% every month with money already budgeted for it, and get all of the points.) It's called YNAB, and I evangelized about it some in Board Question #92352.

There are a lot of people who use YNAB and follow Dave Ramsey, though. I believe there are Facebook groups dedicated to the combination of the two.

~ Dragon Lady

A:

Dear Babs, 

I don't think Dave is The expert or his advice should be followed like gospel. Heck, most of his advice is the same kind of stuff you find everywhere. Pay off debts, diversify your investments, keep your money in savings, save for retirement... Nothing really special. I'm not at the point where I can follow all of his steps (I don't have children and am not looking to buy a house, I don't have a retirement fund yet, etc.) but I do think that his advice is valuable. For example, I have an emergency fund savings account that contains 2 months of living expenses, I'm saving to buy a car with cash, and I always do a Zero Base Budget. Most of what I know from Ramsey came from my Financial Literacy class in high school, where his advice was a little bit different, for a younger audience.

Finding what kind of financial planning works best for you is a game of tinkering... personally I like to look around at different advice from lots of people and just make decisions that I feel are educated and best for me personally. I plan my own budget using a spreadsheet (how vanilla) and it seems to be working so far. I don't like paying for budgeting advice. 

I do recommend, though, using the Acorns app. It rounds up when you spend money and just saves the change and invests it. At least for starting out in investments as a college kid, I really like this. It doesn't feel like parting with a lot of money, but it adds up pretty fast. 

Cheers,

Guesthouse

Question #92357 posted on 06/13/2019 12:09 a.m.
Q:

Dear 100 Hour Board,

My wife and I have a week off in July and can go anywhere in the U.S. We like pretty places, comedy shows, musicals, and good food. Do you have any recommendations, or do you know of any hidden gems?

Larson

A:

Dear Larson, 

Visit the Oregon Coast!

Oregon has beautiful scenery, a fun city life (#keepportlandweird), famous eats, and plenty of activities. Need I say more? Let me know how your experience goes. 

Cheers, 

Guesthouse

A:

Dear Larson,

We just got back from an Alaskan cruise and it was awesome. We spent every day hiking in a different beautiful Alaskan port city and every evening back on the ship enjoying, well, comedy shows, musicals, and good food.

This could be you (but it's not; it's us):

InkedIMG_20190529_134522_LI.jpg

- Eirene

A:

Dear Lars,

Branson, Missouri is, as Homer Simpson says, "like Vegas if it were run by Ned Flanders." It's full of performances, including Dolly Parton's Dixie Stampede dinner and show and the Acrobats of China. Lambert's Cafe (30 minutes away) remains my favorite restaurant of all time. Mostly because of nostalgia—I haven't been there for 18 years, and it probably wouldn't be quite as special if I went again. But still, where else can you find a restaurant where they throw rolls at you? It's also in the middle of the Ozarks, so I assume it's pretty (I didn't pay much attention back then). Sounds like it fits your requirements.

-El-ahrairah

A:

Dear Larson, 

We just took a trip to New Mexico, and for me it was a hidden gem; for some reason it hadn't been on my travel radar before, but it was full of pretty places and good food. We had a toddler with us so weren't looking for comedies or musicals (gotta hit that 7pm bedtime), but Santa Fe had a thriving arts scene, with a gorgeous opera house, and I'm sure Albuquerque has some nightlife of the sort you'd like. 

- Petra