Tag Archives: internet

simplicity and the internet

as someone with a strong buddhist influence, i often think about simplicity, and make tiny, cautious steps towards it. my baroque mind finds this rather ridiculous because life is most fun and exciting when there are lots and lots of decorations and curlicues, when there is boundless abundance and variations upon variations on themes upon themes, n’est-ce-pas?

and still.

some weeks ago, we held a garage sale. the items we sold were spread out on the lawn. there were more possessions than a poor family in haiti ever has – yet so little was missing from our house that no-one noticed a thing.

this left quite an impression on me. ever since then i try to get rid of at least one thing every day, and have tried not to buy too much.

that’s my material life. then there’s other aspects of my life. i know so many people, and i don’t feel i do them justice. they give me their friendship and i only have so much time and energy to reciprocate (or let’s say i think i only have so much time; i truly don’t know whether this is an accurate assessment).

and then there is the internet. sooooo many interesting people. soooooo many interesting words, thoughts, images, so much fascinating music, so many games to play! for all intents and purposes, or, let’s be precise, for the intents and purposes of this person with this mind, the internet is endless, fathomless.

now what?

i’d like to find a way to honour all the good people on the internet that i come across while at the same time moving closer to the principle of simplicity. i’d like to do this with love, with an open heart, in fluidity and organically.

have you found a way?

i’m asking this question, among others, of the buddhist bloggers that buddhist chaplain andy fisher took the trouble the other day to list. here you are. thanks, andy!

blogathon: internet, the great procrastination enabler drug

a post my husband wrote for this blog a few weeks ago. kind of ironic, to be using it for the blogathon, wouldn’t you say?

my wife and i are not TV watchers. for me, other than NFL football season and once a month late-night-in-bed-just-before-going-to-sleep scanning of showcase/learning channel/PBS i don’t willingly watch any television.

okay, that’s not quite true. our daughter is a television watcher, and in order to be at least in the next room both my wife and i are often on our respective laptops in the dining room, which is next to the living room where our daughter watches TV. the result is that we hear a lot of TV willingly in order to be close by, but we rarely look at the screen.

anyway, the point is that neither my wife nor i spend much time in front of the TV. we also don’t rent movies very often, and even less often go to the movie theatres. we also don’t go to a lot of concerts, go out for dinners or go shopping or do other things that would fill an evening, but we do have some things that take up a few evenings/afternoons on a regular basis. for me it’s music (i belong to a jazz trio and sub in a number of other bands) and being involved with the vancouver fringe festival.

so without watching TV and only having to be out once or twice a week for various things i should have a lot of time available to do, well, to do a lot of stuff. i could be in great physical condition because i have time to exercise. i could have great improv chops because i have time to practice all my various instruments. and of course basic things like our lawn could look decent because i mow and trim it on a weekly basis. and my life could be relatively organized; i could remember to buy and mail birthday presents in time, get the oil changed in the car, fix the sticking bathroom door.

instead it’s taken me pretty much a full year to finally get around to buying a new suit, to replace the one i bought over 15 years ago. it’s now june, and i still haven’t done our taxes, in spite of the fact that i am by profession an accountant. we need to get a new car, but i can foresee huge amounts of mental strain and anguish required before this will actually happen [well, at least we got THAT done now; hubby wrote this a few weeks ago. now i have to get on to getting used to driving a standard again, something ELSE that i can procrastinate on]. only the inconvenience of regularly having to loan the car to my stepdaughter is going to be a useful “driving” force to make this purchase happen within the next few months rather than 3 years from now when the car actually dies.

my wife and i have talked about procrastination and disorganization. partnerships have areas where the involved parties have complementary strengths and weaknesses and common interests and values. unfortunately procrastination is a weakness of both of ours, and our organizational skills are not great and the styles/approaches we use are not always complementary.

and, we’re both internet junkies.

okay, blah blah blah. internet is so much more challenging, interactive than television. it costs less than going out to eat all the time, or shopping or going to movies on a regular basis. you can learn, research, create on the internet. blah, blah, blah.

it still sucks life out of you. it uses time, and time = life.

sure, i now know things that i wouldn’t know if i’d spent my time watching TV instead of being on the internet. i’ve accomplished some things where i’d have accomplished almost nothing if i’d spent the time watching TV.

but i still haven’t done our taxes. or mowed the lawn for two weeks.

for me there’s always email to read or write, topics to research, games to play, forums to catch up on, things to download. the thing that makes internet time more insidious than television is the perceived value of the time spent. people willingly acknowledge that too much television is a waste of time, but there isn’t yet enough belief, or at least supported belief in the circles that i’m in, that too much internet is a waste of life as well. i can successfully hide behind the wall of “doing something” when i’m on the internet in a way that i can’t when i’m watching TV. i don’t feel guilty or slovenly if i spend a lot of time on the internet the way that too much TV has done in years gone by.

you know how this post has to end, right?

canadian mental health association

this is an entry for my participation in the 2008 blogathon, a 24-hour marathon of blogging. please support the cause and donate – however much, however little – to the canadian mental health association (vancouver/burnaby branch). to donate, email me or use this URL: www.canadahelps.org/CharityProfilePage.aspx?CharityID=d2252. you should be able to get there by clicking the link; if not, just copy and paste the link into your browser. it will take you to the appropriate location at canada helps.

thank you for visiting, reading, commenting and, if you can, donating!

rant: ugly cancer spammers

an ugly image for ugly spamthis morning i woke up, as usual, to a number of new comments on this blog. here are two, both from the same commenter:

on my post, 14 ways to quit smoking:

i am a big smoker. i tried to quit lots of times, but never succeeded. the biggest problem is that i am not even smoking soft easily cigarettes, but i am always smoking cigars. i tried to get rid of this addiction – but i simply can’t! every time i am looking for an article about how to quit cigars i only find this type of articles about cigars and… i feel like i want to just smoke one.

and on the post, the consequences of our actions:

it’s exactly like the smoking discussion. i don’t really know if you are a smoker or not. i am, and even if i have breast cancer because of smoking, i still don’t have enough will to quit my cigar addiction. tobacco smoke contains dozens of cancer-causing chemicals. cigarette smoke can turn normal breast cells cancerous by blocking their ability to repair themselves

both comments originated from the same email address. the words “cigars” and “cigar addiction” were linked to the sites cigaradvisor and doctorvar.com/best-cigar-deals.

now i’m known for having a bit of a soft heart for spammers. but this goes way, way, way, way, waaaay too far.

i understand that people want to drive traffic to their site. most bloggers do. i understand that people want to make money with their blogs. on a small scale, i’m trying this myself right now. i understand that people can go a bit overboard once in a while.

comments like these, however, are mind-bogglingly offensive. they’re almost worse than the real ugly sex and rape spam that i sometimes get here. at least those are crystal clear. they’re not beating around the bush (ooops, that pun wasn’t intended). they go straight to akismet and straight into the garbage. if it’s kiddie porn and i have a bit of time, i report it.

this sort of spam, however, is on a completely different level. and i’m actually seeing a connection with kiddie porn here: like a pedophile, it tries to ingratiate itself with the reader. fortunately, they’re somewhat transparent:

“if i have breast cancer …..” what do you mean, “if”? if you had breast cancer, ms. spammer (the email looks like it might be a woman), you wouldn’t say any of this. so you don’t have cancer. you’re just using a bunch of keywords to try to get some google juice, and you’re doing this on the backs of people and their families who are suffering tremendous physical pain and great mental anguish. on top of that, you are doing it to promote something that causes all this pain!

in addition to this disgusting behaviour, one of the links actually goes to a “health” site. yes, good old doctor var promotes cigar smoking. this “doctor for your life” (their tag line; something tells me we’re not talking about someone with a medical degree here) talks about melanoma and diets oh, and cigars. whatever brings traffic. (if you want to find out more, or contact the owner, linda christie, directly, here’s the info)

i often think the word “unethical” is overused. this, however, deserves the label many times over.

(image by darkpatator)