Slave To My Electronic Devices

On most days that you might ask me about it, I’d be a bit cranky about the modern habit to self diagnose with newfangled disorders and diseases. My argument usually goes along the lines of by buying into the fad of, for a recent example, of gluten free nonsense you are diminishing the problems faced by people who actually have Celiac Disease. Whether this is right or wrong, I don’t know. But it’s curmudgeonly and pretty much the way I see things.

On other days I tend to think it’s a good thing that folks can come to a better understanding of how they’re functioning as a human and possibly try to fix things about themselves. Like if you suspect you might have ADD and can go to a doctor and they agree and work with you on overcoming that through drug therapy or therapy therapy or whatever, then that’s a pretty great thing.

The other day I read an article titled “Hi, I’m a Digital Junkie and I Suffer From Infomania.” The title alone triggered the former response in me. Infomania? Seriously? Infomania? Get outta here! However, as I read the article I began to get that feeling that someone has been secretly observing my life and decided to write an article on it. There were parts of it that were very much me:

“I want to read all these articles about everything from the latest scientifically engineered sugar substitute to an in-depth analysis of Donald Trump’s hair,” she said. “It’s like a different flavor of FOMO.… It’s fear of missing out, but missing out on content — and on knowledge. With limited time and mental resources, there’s no way to get through it all.”

 

We know our attention span is limited, but even if our phone doesn’t buzz with a text, we self-interrupt. We check email one more time. We look at our Twitter or Instagram feed. We don’t resist clicking on that link. It could be funny! Or contain life-changing information! Or at least provide conversation material for that holiday party tonight! We are inadvertently training our minds to seek digital interaction with little deeper intellectual payoff.

This is me. I browse the same web pages over and over thinking that there’s some new information there even though I know there isn’t. But even if there was, what does it matter. None of this affects me. It doesn’t alter my life or my behavior. It’s just a waste of time with no payoff. And I know this. I know this. Yet I keep doing it. Infomania.

Which brings me to my phone. I complained the other day about my phone’s battery going kaputskies. Well, yesterday it did just that. Wouldn’t charge and was draining fast at 10% power. So, I decided to take it into the Docomo shop and see if they could fix it. Turns out it was still under warranty so they are replacing it with a new phone. Same version, but beggars can’t be choosers, and the phone, when it was new, wasn’t all bad. Since they’re sending me a new one, they gave me a loaner for the time I have to wait until it arrives at the shop. The loaner is a bigger version of the phone I had, but I haven’t registered it with my Google account so, even though I can make phone calls and browse the net with it, it’s not personalized and I don’t have a lot of the social media apps that feed my Infomania.

At first, when my old phone was dead, I felt…what’s a word…naked? I felt out of touch. Something like that. Like I can’t check Twitter on a whim! Or what if I want to know the name of that weird movie I saw on HBO way back in the day? Or any other number of stupid “too much information” based fears. But that fear, as stupid as it was, and I knew it was stupid…I know it’s stupid…ended up going away quickly. And even though I can load up this loaner phone with all the apps to do Twitter and chat and whatever, I am choosing not to. And I’m wondering if when I get my new old phone if I should load them up on that.

I probably will. But maybe this time I’ll try to take it easy with the Infomania. Heh. It’s still a stupid word.

WW2 Documentaries and Annoucement

I’ve made this joke elsewhere, but I figure I can recycle it here: I think I inherited from my father the inability to turn down watching a World War II documentary. Seriously, tell me it’s about WW2 and I’m gonna watch it. I’m not even that in to the history. That’s my father’s domain. I’m more into ancient history. But show me that black and white footage, and I can’t say no. The most current culprit is The War. It’s interesting with this one that there is a good focus on some of the hypocrisy in regards to race that was part of the US at the time (and still is), that is the segregation of black soldiers or the internment of Japanese United States citizens.

Oh, yeah, so that podcast I said I was on last week? Well, they released the episode. You can listen to it here, the podcast is called You’re Not From Around Here. I think it turned out alright. It’s still very weird hearing my voice. One of the hosts and I did a little dry run of the questions a few days earlier, and he sent me the audio file and my voice sounded even weirder on that file. Maybe they did a little autotuning or something to make me not sound so weird. 🙂

It was an interesting experience. I feel that maybe I didn’t really convey what a nice place Sado is. I am truly sad that I’m going to be leaving this coming summer.

Collections and Self Reflections

One of the things I’ve always wanted to do with a blog is use it as a repository of my reflections on things. That sounds stupid. I am often thinking about my different views on things, like politics or religion or whatever, and I might come to some conclusion based on maybe something I read on the subject or just self reflection, but I never write any of it down, so I feel like I end up kind of going over the same things all the time. That’s not bad, because you can refine your thoughts on something like that, but if it’s not written down it’s like carving the same sculpture over and over from new pieces of stone. It’s much easier to work on a piece that maybe didn’t start out so good and turn it into a final product rather than try to carve the perfect piece all in one go. I don’t know if that makes sense.

That said, I often feel kind of pretentious sitting down and typing out a little missive about why I support this or don’t believe in that, when a lot of people way smarter than I have probably made my point in a more elegant manner at some point.

Still, this blog is mostly just for me anyway (the states and page views prove it), so who cares, right?

I’m cheating on tonight’s blog post a bit. I’d planned on talking about my feelings on American football based on an article on concussions that one of my friends linked to me earlier today, but I chickened out in writing about it (see one of the previous posts about me using the “I’m thinking about it” method of procrastination). Tomorrow, right? 😀

Mishmash

I thought when I started this thing, that I would take a bit of the day and think of something to write about way ahead of the time that I write it. You see, I’ve got this writing timer app thing on my phone and I’ve designated 7:30 pm as my writing time. The writing I’ve done in the past has always come at the end of a long period of “thinking” about what I’m gonna writing before actually putting words on paper. I put thinking in quotes there, cause really it’s mostly just procrastination. So, I figured that I’d have a lot of thinking time before 7:30 rolls around and then knock something out real quick.

Instead, so far, I’ve tended to not really think about anything in particular and sometimes forget that I have to write at all and then be surprised when the alarm goes off. Thus the topics have been kind of inconsequential and similar (I have written a bunch of times so far on writing…much like this topic). Not important, I guess, since the whole exercise is to create a habit for just writing. And, the more I think about it, it’s better for me because it will hopefully teach me that I don’t have to have whatever it is I want to write spring, fully formed, from my forehead. That path of thinking leads to more procrastination.

The weather’s turned bad here on Sado, and what that means for me is that I try to stay put in one room and keep that room as warm as possible. I hate the cold, so this makes it really hard for me to get anything done that would require me to leave my little area of warmth. And I have a lot to do. Most important, I really need to start packing up things I can send home by sea mail (which takes about 2 months for delivery) and going through stuff that I won’t be sending home and trash it or give it away.

But, with the cold and my room of warmth in effect today, I sat inside and binge watched the first 6 episodes of The Expanse. Productive.

Frustration With Mobile Devices

My Sony Xperia Z1f that I got a little less than 2 years ago is going kaputskies. Specifically the battery. It won’t charge more than about 60 percent or so, and then if it is charging and gets to its arbitrary “I’m not going to charge any more than this” point, it turns on the screen and just sits there, draining the battery back down. It is extremely frustrating.

More so because this phone is similar to the iPhone in that you can’t get into its innards and fix things yourself. My old phone as Samsung Galaxy S2 could pop off its back cover so you could change the battery or whatever. Not so for the Sony. To get this fixed I’d have to go to the Docomo store or possibly send it back to Sony. And they’d probably end up charging me premium prices for parts and labor. I should have never bought Sony. Never buy Sony.

Doubly more so because I am planning on heading back to the United States this coming summer. My contract with Docomo ends in March and I was hoping to just wait out this phone for the remainder of my time here, getting a monthly contract that I could cancel without any outrageous fees before I lift.

So, now I’m faced with the dilemma of toughing out this battery problem, which might get worse and worse to the point that it only holds 10 or 20 percent charges, or look for a cheap replacement sim-free phone.

Dammit. I did not need this right now.

Never buy Sony. Fuck those guys.

Two Weeks In

Well, I’ve been doing this for two weeks now. I know, I know, it’s not that big of a milestone, but for me doing a blog? In these two weeks I’ve put in more entries than I did the previous 4 years here.

The purpose of this, as you might remember from such a short time ago, was to try and create a habit of writing. That particular aspect still has bit of work to go. Of these last 10 entries, there have been quite a few where I sat down in front of that blank screen and sighed, trying to come up with some topic to write about where I could squeeze out a couple hundred words. It hasn’t become second nature.

But, after such a short time, it shouldn’t have. I mean two weeks is nothing.

Which leads us to a flaw in my personality that I’ve long known of, but have never been able to figure out a solution to: I quit on things way way too early and get unreasonably discouraged at the most minor of setbacks.

I have no idea where this comes from. I try to think back to when I was a kid, combing my memories for that instance where “zap!” you don’t preserver, but I can’t find it. I won’t. Memories are unreliable things, and for something like this it’s not gonna be one thing from when I was young, but rather a bunch of little things that lead to conditioning.

I’m aware of it, so I guess that counts for a little. And I’m still doing this little writing experiment even though tonight was definitely one of those nights where I stared at the screens in a bit of despair for a couple minutes before putting fingers to keys. That counts for a little as well. *raises glass* To little things!

Podcasts

I was on a podcast earlier this evening. It was an inaugural as yet unnamed podcast from a couple of folks living in Tokyo. I’ll be sure to post a link to it here when it posts. They interviewed me about living on Sado and my life as a farmer here. Was really interesting doing it, but I fear how my voice sounds. And after thinking about it a bit more I wonder if a couple of things I didn’t really clarify. We’ll see.

It’s funny, but for the longest time I didn’t really get into podcasts because I was annoyed by the name. I never had an iPod back in the day, and still don’t have one now. Back then it was cause they were a bit out of my price range, but as time went on I became a bit more invested in the non-iTunes music ecosystem and then with smartphones I’ve gone with Android phones, so at this point migrating over to the Apple-verse would be a pain and I just stick with non-Apple stuff. But, back then my annoyance was because of a stupid thing about “why do they call them podcasts when not everyone uses iPods…geez!” I often can be a bit of a douchebag.

I overcame my douchebaggery around the time that I started spending lots of time driving a tractor really really slowly up and down rice paddies. My gateway drug into podcasts was lectures on tape (or mp3 for the digital age) from The Great Courses, but when I realized that there were a lot of cool podcasts out there for free*, I never looked back! You can get your history with stuff like The History of Rome, Hardcore History, the Egyptian History Podcast. Comedy with My Brother My Brother and Me or The Flophouse. Or things like Welcome to Night Vale or The Gamers With Jobs Conference Call. Basically anything you might be interested in, there’s probably a podcast for it. I love them. I wish I had to drive the tractor more so that I could listen more!

*-I realize that you can support a lot of podcasts through PayPal or Patreons, and I do. Don’t worry. I’m not a total freeloader. 😉