Tuesday, January 6, 2009


Dunedin, NZ
04 Jan, 11:24 PM

stuff I've been doing:
- taking lots of pictures in nearby graveyard and cemetery
- working on list of goals for year of awesome
- cleaning out old tasks and old e-mails
- figuring out ways to simplify things (like using rules to auto-folder heaps more in my e-mail)
- planning Mar/Apr trip to Australia (Great Barrier Reef) and Vanuatu
- playing Bioshock on the XBox.
- writing on my feature script.
- and, of course, my job.

Also, if I'm honest, farting around a bit more on the Internet than I should. I think I spend an un-awesome amount of time on it as a default activity, and am trying to come up with the most awesome way to make sure I don't. Normally my strategies involve me trying to make myself feel guilty, which succeeds in making me feel guilty (which is unawesome) but fails in actually getting me off (which is also unawesome, and worse than if I just farted around without feeling guilty.)

I spent five days largely without Internet (two brief stops at a cybercafe, 10 minutes all up) in Raglan, and it was kind of great. But I don't want to be a Luddite about it. Hmmmm.


Todd Stadler said...

Tell me how to spend less time farting around on the Internet! Please! With this added caveat: much of what I actually do want to do involves using the Internet. I want to post all my photos, redesign my blog, etc., etc., but without getting sidetracked into all those other things on the Internet. Help!

Does your secret plan involve commenting less on other peoples' blogs? Cuz that could be all kinds of circular.

dd said...

I think there may be something to the idea of saying "This is a task I am doing" rather than "This is an Internet I am surfing." Most of use phones pretty discriminately; we don't say, hey, while I'm holding the phone, I could also call x, y, or z. But with the Internet, it's a bit like, hey, while I'm here, I can also check Pitchfork/xkcd/Nonalignment Pact/about fifty million movie sites.

So: maybe defining a single task, then stepping away from the computer, then stepping back when you're ready for the next task? So so much easier said than done, I know.

Todd Stadler said...

Sure, sure. Although it'd almost be more like calling your friend for a quick question, only your friend's at a party with lots of other friends of yours. And you can hear them all, and they're all saying, "Hi, Doug!" or, "Let me talk to Doug!" And you'd like to talk to them, but you only originally called to get that question answered, and you want to hang up as soon as (if) you get that answer. Just to twist your metaphor.

There is something to defining the task, though. Not merely sitting down to watch TV, but to watch this show, and then turn it off.

And yet, all those bad things are so very, very close when I'm doing what I actually want to do. Like the time I was writing a blog entry on Guitar Hero, and I was talking about whammy bars. I wanted to make sure that people actually call them that (not just me), so I looked it up on Wikipedia. And then, an hour later, I had learned about the Chapman Stick, Megatars, and the true (but often confused) definitions of tremolo and vibrato. But I hadn't done a lick of writing. Oh well.

I guess part of the problem here is an inability to meaningfully "step away" as you say. The place I want to "step away" from is just a different tab on my browser, not a physical space. It's much easier to exercise restraint, I'd guess, when you can do so physically.