Sunday, September 27, 2009

In Which I Become the Editor in Chief of My Internet Use

Lately I've been craving a simpler life: in a typical week I'd go to work, spend time with friends enjoying conversation, music, go home at the end of a day and create or read or simply unwind – take life slow...

I was swimming in the ocean last week on a lovely summer day. I floated beyond the breakers where the call of electronics couldn't reach and like the slap of a wavelet to the side of my head it hit me: I do have this simple a life. So why do I feel so insistently edged in by preponderances of information constantly bombarding?

It's the internet!

As soon as I open the browser, and as fast as I can twitch my finger I can attach my attention to any sudden impulses that grab me. It's a contest/no-contest: my preconceived attention against the splashes and flashes vying to win me away from myself.

As I read the newspaper (on actual paper) this morning, it occurred to me to write a letter to the editor of the internet, “Dear Ed., My internet experience offers inconsistent content, too many snippets, and not enough focus!”

Newspapers are edited strategically by teams of professionals who have respect for story, history, social context, and a knack for fitting salient elements on the page (while leaving room for the ads). But left to my own devices, I'm all over the place! I need an *Editor in Chief!

I can’t just “**surf the web” anymore. I can't concern myself with every issue or take on every argument. I need to swim, dive, find treasures, come up for air and check my landmarks.

On the larger social level, the internet creates its own plea that we support education which includes emphasis on critical thinking skills. Case in point, those - and I hate to mention this odd phenomenon as I've been actively shunning it - but take the tea party people (please!). They react to snips and snatches of phrases (and spend lots of time making elaborate posters) but they lack understanding of history - as evidenced by their misunderstood eponymy.

A joy the internet brings is the gems I find without seeking and it's fun, but how can I use the richest information source humanity has known so far without getting waylaid? I don't need to know how many friends Ashton Kucher has or read the details of a study that says too much manure left in a pile will spontaneously combust! 1) I don't care; 2) it's so obvious! 2a) and fascinating! But I did like finding out Dan Piraro has a blog, to take some of the load off Ze Frank and my brother . (Don't even get me started on that blasted facebook).

Before opening the browser I must call an editorial meeting with myself and simply ask, "What is the purpose of this search?"

So I wrote my Letter to the Editor on a post-it and stuck it to my monitor so I can read it next time I go check my email.

Ah yes! Now I remember! That's why I went online tonight.

*For the sake of this piece I’m keeping the focus to the newspaper versus internet. Offer a publishing deal and I may do a book on the greater picture.

**2009: I read a Yahoo! news piece that said that expression is archaic already.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Ask Danielle and Jean

Danielle answers Javier's questions about military fashion. Jean looks on.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Loud Talkers of the Future

It's going to be a noisy world in the next few years, and in about thirty, all the old folks around the towns are going to be talking loudly. What is now considered a reasonable speaking volume will increase by about two thirds. Why? Earbuds, earphones, headphones, call 'em what you will. Up close, constant, insistent: the cilia can't rest.

An audiology specialist I know says two factory workers can work side by side for thirty years, one goes deaf, the other doesn't. Science isn't sure why. So, some people will keep their hearing no matter how bombarded their cochlei, but others? The half who maintain their hearing will still have to raise their voices for the ones who haven't.

How can I be so sure of this? It's already happening. How do I know? I hear them:

I hear them behind me at the store
I hear them in the restroom stalls
I hear them across the plaza square
I hear their echoes throughout the halls
Soft responses bring a wince of query
for what they sense but can't quite heary.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

A Touch of Green

Javier, Shanta, Danielle and I bring you things that are green. Thank you John Ryan for playing piano!

Friday, September 11, 2009

Jacob Bronowski: Ascent of Man

I saw this first when Ze Frank posted it on his blog a couple of days ago. I like it so much I've put it on mine:

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Heavily with Flight

Jetway cruisers now offline now are aware of the tempting asphalt the sun softening tarmac repudiating individuality for gravel into one heaping mass of on and on and on and as the jet lands scorching polynylon rubberized tire black streaking on the runway then up slightly for balance and again down to roll and thrusters reversing turbines slow to spin alternate to their prior forward heaving weight and momentum against gravity rush and pull to come to a complete stop before debarking the plane and the suitcases below and the satchels above still in place the passengers open the compartments, wait patiently and sometimes not so much but waiting nonetheless to pass the attendant some thanking the captain walking those hollow sounding steps through the portable tunnel the jetway now online now unaware of the past massive technological marvel so much as the next destination which may be business, pleasure, table or bed. But: they just actually flew.

Tuesday, September 01, 2009