Mood/Food Charts

About 10 years ago, my trusty friend Stephen Southall and I took off east from Peterborough, Ontario in my 1978 Ford F-100 pickup to deliver the life possessions of our friends Richard and Victoria to Halifax.

Once we dropped them in Halifax, we headed back west, and when we got to the fork in the road with one road taking us to Moncton and the other to Prince Edward Island, we flipped a coin and PEI won. And so we had a brief vacation in PEI rather than a brief vacation in Moncton.

Then, in a fit of careless abandon, we decided to return to Peterborough via Providence, Rhode Island. Those of you with a cartographic bent will realize that this isn’t the direct route.

I wanted to see the Rhode Island School of Design and Stephen wanted to see Brown. We caught the 10:40 a.m. ferry from Borden and arrived at the Super 8 Motel in Providence at about 1:30 a.m.

We were exhausted.

And at 3:00 a.m. someone decided that we were in their room, and a brief ruckus ensued.

In the morning we were even more exhausted, it was raining, and Stephen was starting to catch a cold.

While we had quite a pleasant time touring the college area of Providence, by the time we were ready to head north again we were both in pretty foul moods.

By way of distracting ourselves from this, Stephen came up with an analytical approach, and thus was born the “Mood/Food Chart.”

The idea is that for every occupant of the long-distance vehicle, you create a column on a chart. The rows on the chart can be developed as your needs and imagination dictate; we included things like “hunger level,” “honesty level,” “foods consumed,” and, of course “mood.”

The charts were a good distraction and they helped us from killing each other. And, interestingly enough, sometimes they pointed out one of those never obvious enough things like “30 minutes after you drink a can of Coke you fell horrible.”

The “Mood/Food Chart” has become a regular part of our family travel arsenal as a result.

So you can imagine my surprise when I came across a link on Doc Searls’ website to this software program called MoodStats. It’s described as follows:

Moodstats is an application that allows you to quickly record & rate how your day has been in six different categories. You can also attach comments to these values to further illustrate why your moods are the way they are.

After you’ve entered at least three days of data into the program, Moodstats springs into action and begins to generate multi-colored graphs & statistics showing you exactly how your moods have been over the last week, month, two months, six months or year.

Certainly a step up from a pad of paper in the back of a pickup truck, and maybe overkill for casual analysis. But interesting nonetheless.

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