Surviving Summer, Whether Screened-In or Screenless

With another summer on the way trying to escape not just heat waves but also viral ones, people are becoming hard-pressed for inspiration on how to spend the next few months. For those feeling tapped-out on Netflix and at-home workouts, consider reaching for tech tools both screened and screenless to help bust the boredom.

1. Wheels - Tired of watching a circular loading wheel spin itself ad nauseum? Consider grabbing a more physical set of wheels to get out and exploring instead. Running, walking, and hiking are all fantastic forms of escape, but for those who find themselves in areas with heavy pedestrian traffic, moving at foot-speed might mean longer exposure times to the uncertain breath of the masses. Get going faster and farther with bikes, scooters, and the modern take on the unicycle – all of which now offer models with “e-” in front of their name, indicating they’ve all got an electric boost to help speed up any pace of rider. Back in April, Wired released a review of the “13 Best Electric Bikes for Every Kind of Ride.” The New York Times itself released a 2021 review of the best electric scooters on the market under their “Wirecutter” column, and the DoubleCheck site even has a review of the best board-less skateboards available for mass riding.

2. Windows - While the past year may have everyone grown well weary of the view outside their window, come nighttime, there remains a whole literal universe for exploring. The aptly named has already written up their 2021 review of telescopes suitable for everyone from kids and amateur astronomers to those more keen on tracking scientific particulars. For those more reluctant to give up their portable window to the world, smartphone apps also abound for figuring out which constellations are visible by merely lining up a phone screen with the night sky.

3. Weeds - While dispensaries are popping up all over Los Angeles, the wilds of summer offer amusement of a more dandelion variety. Just about everyone tried out new tastes for the domestic over the last year, whether it was with cooking subscription boxes, sourdough starters, or the sweeter banana bread bonanzas. For those looking to get a little bit more flower than flour this summer, hydroponics offer indoor opportunities to try one’s hand at, well, getting a green thumb on it.

For those wanting some more foliage in their foyer but not yet ready to take too big a plunge, houseplant subscription services have taken root this past year as well. Finally, for those not necessarily wanting to get dirt under their fingernails but interested in exploring the green and growing already around them, there are a number of plant-identification apps, like iPflanzen and iNaturalist, that turn even the scrubbiest of weeds growing out of L.A. sidewalks into a chance for discovery.

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By Dr. Miceala Shocklee

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