Monday, September 22, 2008

Computer fast

While sitting on the toilet I came up with a great plan. I was going to sell my computer and use the money to buy a record player, a bunch of my favorite records (which until this point I'd only had in digital format), and a typewriter. I'd become too addicted to serial dramas and lowbrow flicks. Every time I sat down to read a book if I didn't find myself enthralled within minutes my mind would start to wander, resting, eventually, on the enticing path of least resistance: the episodes of Gilmore Girls I'd downloaded. I have perhaps the typical attention span of my generation. I lack intrinsic motivation and discipline. And I was sick of being unproductive.

Realistically, however, I needed to consider the practical pros of the computer. I'm in the middle of booking several shows, and myspace is the de facto medium of communication for all parties involved. I also couldn't possibly afford to buy all of my favorite records, even if I sell my laptop, and iTunes is damn convinient. And I don't want to never be able to watch movies - sometimes it can be a fun thing to do with company.

So here's the new plan: one whole month without using my computer for entertainment purposes. A detox. No TV, no Movies (unless I have company), no "surfing" the "internet", and no gchat. I will come home, respond to my email, choose a record or two, and close the lid. Maybe I'll read, maybe I'll write, maybe I'll write music or lyrics, maybe I'll go jogging or do some push-ups. Another approved use of the computer is writing in this blog. I need the mental exercise, I need an outlet, and I need the practice. I've been intended forever to start writing regularly - and not just when I'm traveling. My life has it's interesting moments, and it's bound to be more intellectually productive to document them than to mediate on them while eating Tings and watching Firefly.

I bought a record player anyway. It was only $30 on eBay, and it's something I've been meaning to do for a while. I'll spare you the spiel on why I used to hate record collecting and why I've started to see the merit in, if not collecting records per se, owning them. It's not a very interesting argument.

Tonight I watched Wonder Boys, partially because I was bored, partially for inspiration, and partially for one last hurrah with my old pal Windows Media Player. The book was better. So, here it goes.

5 comments:

ak said...

i still have my 1930's remmington typewriter if you want to borrow it.

Anonymous said...

fuck, there is actually just one m in remington.

Anonymous said...

I don't understand the difference between watching movies or tv online and listening to records in your room? I get the adding writing and reflection part, and that's awesome and also the jogging or push-ups, just don't see how listening to records is more beneficial than surfing the internet, or why you need to completely abandon your computer in order to have time to jog or whatever. I'm all for less internet, just not completely following why you chose those alternatives...? (I guess my limited knowledge of the situation would lead me to believe "House fast" - or "limiting the amount of time I spend at home" would be a better alternative...) I'm not pretending to know what's better for you (heck, I don't even know what's best for me) just, curious...

-a

Jack said...

I think you misjudge my motives. "House fast" or "limited amount of time spent at home" would be great plans if my goal was to get out more, but I'm not lamenting my lack of a social life. I'm lamenting the amount of time I spend doing mentally and intellectually unproductive things when I could be doing things that are good for me. I used to love to read and now I have such a short attention span that I can't concentrate on a book that's anything less than totally engrossing. I want to re-learn patience. I want to deprive myself of the option of the easy route and force myself to get in the habit of doing things that are good for me. I don't want to spend more time outside. I also am working toward applying to graduate school and reading more philosophy and writing more papers will get me a lot closer than going out.

allison corinne said...

oops, that was me, didn't realize i was logged out.

i didn't mean going out like "going out" (i'm actually very "anti-going out") so much as stuff similar to the things you mentioned to me before. i'm really big on volunteering, so that's of course the first thing i always mention, but if animals, environment, humanitarian, or whatever doesn't really float your boat there's other options too; neighborhood book clubs, auditing classes, an internship/apprenticeship, etc. are you still off on mondays? what about working mondays at the jiu jitsu place in exchange for classes? yoga has helped me immensely on the attention span front. as i'm sure you've noticed, i wasn't doing so well in that area... have you thought about meditation, yoga, tai chi? i'm sure jiu jitsu would prob have a similar affect too...

side note, back to the volunteer stuff: i know you don't like animals, but farm sanctuary is doing a big fundraiser walk - sans actual live, present animals on sunday with free vegan food, bands, guest speakers, etc. even if you don't want to raise money, they still need organizational type volunteers as well.