I can has no technology plz?

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Slowly, slowly, I've been getting more and more disgruntled with technology, something which is fairly easy to do since I'm a technology junkie and have a house full of the stuff. I think a lot of this came about at the same time as my television interests changed, as well as all the mental alterations I talked about below (in Winds of Change, and now I'm whistling it again...)

So, the result is that I have a large volume of technology in the house, all of which I'm finding specific reasons not to have in my life. It's not healthy for me as a writer, and perhaps for me as a human being. Whether or not it's doing you any good either, dear reader, is up to you. This may be a problem only to me.

Let me list technologies and complain about them in turn.

1) iPod - The iPod was a big deal for me. I do not have a driver's license, I never have, as I've mentioned previously on this blog. This is because I had no interest in driving when I was a teenager, so I never bothered to get one. The iPod was big deal because I walk everywhere, which affords me plenty of time to listen to music. HOWEVER... the problem was, I realized that I was going for walks with headphones on and plugging myself into all sorts of noise. This was just an escalation of the problem that presented itself when I got my current cell-phone, a Motorola SLVR, which has a built in MP3 player of sorts. Noise! Noise! Noise! So I stopped bringing the iPod on walks several months back and watched as ideas formed in my head better. Less noise.

2) DVR Cable box - This might be TiVo to you, but we have a local sort of box from our cable company. You know the deal: I can record TV shows, I can pause, fast forward, re-wind live television, all that yaz, right? Right. HOWEVER... several nights ago, when we discovered that we had three television shows set to record at the same time, we knew that the box could only record two shows at once. That meant if we wanted to see the third program, we had to watch it on a different television. So my wife and I went to the bedroom and watched it on the small TV there. THAT cable box has no special features. What we realized was that during the commercial breaks, which we could not skip, we talked more. We got up and did things. In short, we didn't sit there and vegetable in front of the TV all the way through the program. The DVR box is another noise problem. It means I have all the content I want without any pauses, any moments of free thought. That's bad.

3) Napster - Napter is more of the same. The joy and the curse of Napster is that I instantly have a huge library of music right at my fingertips. I don't even download the songs most of the time, I can just add them to my Now Playing box and instantly have tons of things to listen to. HOWEVER... I very quickly realized that I was spending time building playlists and choosing really exciting and fun music at any given moment. That meant that I wasted time choosing music, and when chosen, the music was what I was interested in right that moment and was, therefore, distracting. I have therefore set up a big bulky stereo on a book shelf just next to where I work. It's big and loud enough to fill the house, when I want it to. It's permenantly tuned to my local Public Radio station which plays really enjoyable classical music. That's what I get in my day, when I want music. I can enjoy it, I can work around it. It's not noise, it's an enjoyable background sound.

4) Instant Messaging Programs - This is a fairly small and simple problem, although it was proving to be problematic. I get very tied to the program when I'm talking to someone. Whatever I do around the house, I do it within vicinity of the computer so I can see when a new message comes in. Plus, if it's a good conversation, I wind up spending the day enjoying that instead of writing.

5) Message Boards (forums) - Again, this is a pretty specific problem. I only visit one message board. Absolute Write. I tend to come and go from there in spurts, for reason which I will keep mostly to myself (perhaps you can guess; I wouldn't be surprised). Every now and then, I get too enamored in some conversation, usually an irrelevant one and again, I wind up paying too much attention there. The problem is that, as with all this other stuff, it just becomes noise and I wind up not thinking and not writing.

My head isn't anywhere where I can work with all this stuff. So I wind up losing hours out of my day, miserable and depressed. This in turn affects my relationship with Zach. I have noticed that today, which I spent almost entirely internet and technology free, Zach and I had the first day where we were peaceful. He was never crying, I was never angry and yelling. That's a big step for us. I think they're related.

It's too much noise. Society, if you'll pardon thirty seconds of preachy crap, is just full of noise and instant gratification and noise. We live in the contradictory age where we are absolutely inundated and obsessed with ways to communicate with each other...and yet we are almost incapable of communicating with each other and we avoid thinking.

Mostly, I wind up reading about authors of the past and admiring people like Rudyard Kipling, with his technology-free life, his beautiful estates where he walked, his large desk where he wrote by hand.

I write on computer mostly out of necessity, and this is one piece of the technology addiction I cannot escape: I am painfully aware that it takes me far, far longer to write a thousand words on paper than on computer and I don't always have that luxury. Or I don't have the patience for it. I still write by hand a great deal. Never all. Never enough.

I adore my fountain pen. I like that I go through ink cartridges because it gives the sense of producing something, just like going through sheafs of paper does.

When I had it, as I stated in the comments section of a previous post, I really adored the hell out of my typewriter. Man-o-man.

So there. My technology rant. I'll try not to rant anymore, but I think I've got one more coming. But that one, I think I'll turn into an article and sell for some cashy-money. Yes.

What bits of technology are you aware are an impediment (or beginning to think of as one) in your life and want to get rid of? And are you going to?

8 Angst(s):

Rllgthunder said...

What's an iPod?

*goes into living room, twists rabbit ears on the TV to stop that nasty crackling sound*

Pete said...

If you want to irritate someone, go into one of the Apple Stores and ask what an Ip-Od is, watch them combust.

Midnight Muse said...

I hear ya. Seriously, I've ranted on blogs before about all this technology turning people into singular robots who can no longer interact with other human beings even in a social setting.

I remember when I was young, the old joke was the fathers sitting in church with a little transistor, listening to the ball game during service.

Now you go anywhere - stand in a line for the ferry (or bus) and not one person will make eye contact with you, not one person will smile and nod a generic Hello - they're all plugged in.

Can't even go to the grocery store without having to shuffle around people on cell phones. Who are these people calling? Yes, I have a cell phone, that I use maybe twice a month to phone Applebees for carside pick up. And not while I'm driving.

I have the DVR thingie on the sat. but ONLY to prevent me from being a slave to the schedules. I'll watch what I want, WHEN I want, thank you. And that on the only TV in the house.

There's no dishwasher in my kitchen, no microwave oven in there either. Doing chores is more story-thinking time. I've had many a plot revelation while washing plates.

Oh dear, but I've rambled on your comments. I'm off to write all day today, honest.

Pete said...

Comments are for rambling. It's a great idea. :)

I am forever reminded of the Ray Bradbury anecdote about how the police questioned him for doing the immensely peculiar "having a walk, at night," thing. I always wonder about that when I walk, waiting for it to happen.

I really do love technology, I just really hate the effect it has on people, smart and dumb alike, because you don't notice it.

The thought that always comes to mind is "[Insert Writer Name here] didn't become prolific and successful by having to be plugged in all the time, damn it."

I'm in my twenties and ready to be a crusty eight-year-old-technology-hater, I guess. :)

TJWriter said...

Good points, Pete.

I think there is too much technology out there, yet I have a sick addiction and want it all.

DVR has been a blessing for me. All of my favorite TV shows come on the same night in the same two time slots. I don't watch too much TV otherwise, unless I need veg time. Heck, I have a plethora of episodes waiting to be watched.

PS I think you should get paid to write essays. You're incredibly funny and you always have a good point.

Pete said...

Someone could pay me for this blog. That'd be dandy.

I do write essays, actually. I write them more commonly than I write short stories these days. Fun Fact: For every Blog-Column-Post that gets posted here, I've usually written two: one that comes out in good article form and gets saved somewhere else, one that comes out with references and tones that only work on the blog and get posted here.

But that's kind of you to say. I'm very insecure when it comes to writing essays and articles, so the morale boost doesn't hurt any.

Lori said...

I've gotten stopped by the police for walking at night. I've also noticed a police car driving the same route every couple of minutes when I'm out for a walk.

The one time I got stopped by the police, I can't say that I actually blamed them for doing so.

There are pros and cons to technology, just as with all things. What I find is I don't particularly desire a new piece of technology until after I have it. DVR/Tivo? I don't have it right now. I think it sounds neat, but my life is such that even when I record shows, I don't necessarily have time to watch them.

Pete said...

I go bonkers for technology before I have it. Then I have it and make logical and sensible use out of it. Then I get Very Angry Indeed at it and I push it out of my life. The only technology I buy and use with any consistency are computers. Everything else is a detriment.

Lord knows why I even have a cell phone anymore.