When we last rounded up our staff's Weekly Upgrades, our editors were checking out e-books from the library, banishing gross toilet brushes from our bathrooms, exploring new cities, and feathering our nests with new bedding.
This week, we're recovering from injuries the right way, using time off from work to do our damn laundry, tweaking our carnitas-making techniques, and convincing our partners to smoke less.
What upgrades did you make this week? Let us know in the comments.
Take proper care of your injuries
My upgrade this week comes from a downgrade: I injured my back at the gym. You know how the experts tell you to always use good form when you're lifting weights? It turns out there's a reason!
Anyway, since Monday my lower back has been screwed (medical term). But it's at times like these that the merest hint of relief can present a serious upgrade to your existence, and such relief has arrived in the form of a belted cold pack.
This is the greatest invention ever made. It stays cold for hours; it stays snugly wrapped around my back with zero slippage; it provides relief while also being comfortable to wear. I love it so much.
Alice Bradley, Deputy Editor
Just do your laundry during a holiday
I went away for the week, and pulled the university trick of packing all my dirty clothes and doing laundry on holiday. Not only did this work out great, but then when I repacked to go home, everything was already folded, which made it a breeze.
Joel Kahn, Senior Video Producer
Improve your meat-cutting technique
I made my usual slow-cooker carnitas (pork shoulder + beer + garlic, on low for 10 hours) and then I did something revolutionary. Instead of just scooping meat out of the pot, I promptly removed the entire hunk and placed it on a cutting board. From there it was easy to shred with two forks, and I had nothing but a bone and a few scraps of fat to pick up and toss in the garbage.
Beth Skwarecki, Health Editor
Stop skimping on exercise
My upgrade this week is simple and, uh, we'll see if I stick to it. But after a month or two away from it, this week I started running again. I'd been working out in other ways in the interim, but nothing that incorporated that much cardio, and after sitting at a desk all day I find that I have extra energy to burn.
I already feel much better, and didn't fall as woefully out of shape as I'd expected during my hiatus, so I'm pretty smug about the whole thing. Hopefully that doesn't mean I'll be struck down with some kind of injury within the next week... time will tell.
Virginia K. Smith, Managing Editor
If you're going to spend time gaming, really commit
I feel shameful to admit that - after years of procrastination - I finally went back and beat Starcraft 2: Legacy of the Void. I thought the game's difficulty curve was great, and I appreciated the challenge of the final "hold out for X minutes while we flood your base with horrible things" mission, hair-pulling as it was at times.
I'm now binging the game's co-op missions, which are great for when I only have a half-hour or so to get in a quick match. If you run into an infested Terran player named Acererak, spray me a hello!
David Murphy, Senior Tech Editor
Convince your loved ones to smoke fewer cigarettes
I got Ofclaire a pipe, which means he smokes fewer cigarettes, which means my life smells better and he is (hopefully) a little healthier.
Claire Lower, Food & Beverage Editor
If you have a hobby, commit to daily practice
I bought a big notepad and started drawing my face every day, to practise what I learned in our video "How to Draw Like a New Yorker Cartoonist".
Nick Douglas, Staff Writer