Sunday, 12 May 2013

Surely It Can't Be Much Further...

The internet is a big, dangerous, deadly, deceptive jerk.

When you pick up a book you can look at how big it is, how thick it is, the size of the font, the number of chapters.

You can see how far you've gotten and how far there is to go.

You can know when you might as well push on because it's only x amount more pages or chapters and when you should call it a day because you need your face not to be sliding off your skull when you roll in to work the next day.

The internet isn't like that.

The internet is misleading.

And if you're pootling along reading through someone's blog or tumblr or open a certain amount of tabs and decide that you're going to get through them before you do this other thing you're supposed to do.

It's not a useful plan.

It's the 'I'll just eat all the chips/ice-cream/other foodstuff now so that they won't be tempting/distracting me later' plan of digital browsing.

Especially as a lot of blogging platforms don't show you how many pages there are or present their archive information accurately so you may be 500 pages deep into someone's tumblr and have no idea that they have over 2000 pages of stuff that they're adding to every day.

Some folk reblog and post like it's a competitive sport and they're going for gold.

Either because they are teenagers who both have the time and the burning enthusiasm to curate a bunch of stuff, or they're creative and can't stop, or they like to share or they've been doing this for a while or... Well you get the point.

This is far from the first time I've become ensnared in a 'must read the archive' or 'just one more page' whirlpool, I know that subconsciously I recognise the warning signs but there are just so many stories to read, so many pictures to see, so much sass - lovely lovely sass - to revel in that I somehow sail right past them and into the building storm.

In this metaphor my laptop and my phone are little boats, the internet is the ocean and my inability to turn the damn things off or put them down are the dark clouds gathering on the horizon.

On the positive side the 'episodes' are getting milder, I'm not getting quite so caught up for so long and I'm not putting aside things I need to do* in order to read something I find more interesting than real life.

It's the temptation of short-term reward that sucks you in.

Short-term reward saunters up behind long-term goals, belts them over their collective bonces, takes their wallets, and runs cackling off into the night.

The 'yes I'll be cross at myself later if I go back to sleep now BUT it's not later yet and my bed is warm now' reflex is strong with this one.

And if you're reading short stories or looking at great art, or ending up in a never-ending spiral of 'you may also enjoy...' TED Talk or article recommendations, you get the lovely lovely pay off of the story wrapping up or the article or video educating you or the art blowing your mind without having to put much effort in yourself.

Yes, you are reading or watching or looking at the thing but you didn't have to produce it, you didn't have to sit yourself down and put the effort in.

I am getting better but I will be honest, I am still pretty easy to ensnare.

At this point I'm just looking to achieve a better balance and to let long-term goals steer a bit more often as short-term reward has had a good long go at the wheel and probably need to calm down and take a step back.

*With work, or responsibilities that dictate how my life runs

Saturday, 4 May 2013

Warn The Amish

There have been a tonne of new reality shows and documentaries over the last few years about the end of the world.
To complement all the books, TV shows and movies we have about the end of the world.

The ones about how the world might end.

The ones about what might happen next to the people who were left behind.

The ones about what would happen to a world that no longer had people in it.

But it's the ones about the people who are currently preparing for surviving what these other shows theorise about that is causing the conversations around the office.

One of the women I work with is mad obsessed with Doomsday Preppers.
It isn't the most balanced of shows, they love to hunt out the more extreme examples of the prepping movement and put them through their paces.
I'm honestly a bit impressed at home some people have managed to get their entire families or portions of their communties on board.
Worried in a few cases but impressed.

Anyway all of these prepping programs have left her with what she thinks of as a foolproof plan for surviving in the post-apocalyptic world.

Go throw your lot in with the Amish.

Because they know how to make their own furniture and buildings, can sew their own crops and raise their own animals, and know how to do a tonne of things from scratch.



There are a few problems with that.

First of which, in your case, is that you are currently in Australia.

The Amish famously live in America.

If the world ends I doubt it will be at a pace that will allow you to fly to the States.
Even if you can they may not let you in, please see 'end of the world' for an idea of why they might tighten their border controls.

But OK, let's assume you were already in America, having a lovely roadtrip with your family, the world came to a grinding/screeching halt because EMP/zombies/global economic meltdown/aliens/mega-sunspots/contagious disease/whatever.

First of all, you have to find the Amish.

Then you'd have to convince them to take you in.

Then you'd have to fight off all the hordes of people who have had the same idea and essentially want their own serf class of stuff makers and food growers to save them.

And you may still be fighting off whatever brought about this apocalyptic scenario and what the Amish also are is not known for having a cache of modern weapons or medicines, they leave that stuff to The English.

Ideally, you should have a proper think about any skills you might want to learn that would be helpful now but could also get you out of a jam should the world go to hell in a handbasket* and have a crack at that instead.

But yeah, I think someone should warn the Amish that it's entirely possible that car loads of panicked weirdoes might be turning up on their lawn any time there is a meteor shower, a prolonged blackout, a particularly weird animal attack, or someone thinks a movie is the news.

I don't want to do it.

I don't want to have to see the pained look in their eyes when they are informed of the existence of 'reality' TV.

But a heads up would probably be a good idea.

*gardening, first aid, preserving, sewing etc.