I believe eels as a term for things which attach to you (or your bank account, most often) and steadily suck resources was coined by one or more of John Roderick and Merlin Mann. I mainly think of subscriptions and similar regular payments, and I have tried to minimize my eels since long before I heard of the term. Rarely do I actually list my eels, however, so today I sat down with a fresh pot of coffee and tried to make a list.
So far I have thought of 15 eels, four of which are domain names. I also included the apartment fee, broadband and electricity for good measure. Not too bad in all, but it seems like a good thing to look over every once in a while and question each item seriously. The PSN membership, for example, should make very sure to motivate its spot on the list on a regular basis. It will stay for now though, as will both Spotify and my Queal subscription. Those three are also my three most recent eels, and the feeling they gave me of having picked up more eels quicker was a big motivator in creating the list in the first place.
One eel did just get detached though, somewhat to my surprise. I have been a happy subscriber to the Feed wrangler RSS service for a couple of years, but seeing it on the eel list I went and had a look at my ever-shortening subscription list and decided to stop auto-renewal of the service next year. Instead, I just added looking at self-hosted RSS readers to my fun projects list. As always, there is a long list of options out there, and I found a good collection to start investigating on Github (where else?) I have lots of space for broken PHP on my webhost's servers, but in the back of my mind is also the thought that this could be a fun use of that poor Raspberry pi I have lying around.
From eel to hobby project. That has to be on of the best conversions, right?
(I should also make very sure to not make eel removal a competition with myself. Bringing the list down to, say, ten items is not a goeal in itself. No.)