Who knows where the time goes?

*looks at date of last post*

Hey, so, about that: I’m not dead. Shortly after that post, my old laptop’s hard drive imploded. I had been most of the way through my next Fuller House recap at the time, and when I lost that document, I lost momentum.1

Over a year later, we have a second season of Fuller House, which I haven’t watched because I don’t want to hate myself more until I get through the first season of hating myself. Also, I’ve moved twice (the second time from Chicago to Philadelphia), have done a few dumb things, and am turning 30 on Sunday. Let’s be real, though. We all know what you’re really here for.

I’m reckoning with the passage of time pretty strongly these days. It’s hard not to look back at my old LiveJournals2, or at the huge gaps in this very blog, and feel like I haven’t missed something. Part of it is the sinking suspicion that I’ve been wasting too much of my writing energy on other platforms.

Yes, it’s time to embrace my approaching status as An Old and complain about Facebook. I accept my deep hypocrisy in doing this, as I spend truly disgusting amounts of time there most days. In fact, it’s been responsible for a huge number of the friendships I’ve built over the past several years.3 It’s also one of my main lifelines back to the friends I left behind when I moved. That said… oh my stars dear readers it is so exhausting

Say what you want about LiveJournal, but although you could (and often did) write as many vague two-sentence posts as you wanted, there was never the sense that everyone was trying to get in their patented Hot Take™ as quickly as possible. You also weren’t constantly having to argue with your friend’s Confederate-flag-waving uncle if babies born out of wedlock deserve to die of quadruple cancer.

To be clear, I’m not viewing the bygone days of the internet through rose-tinted glasses. I’ve been diving deep since before the turn of the millennium, and as a once-teenage girl, I remember all too well, with the sensation of several roaches crawling up my spine, how it used to be. Still, there are things I miss. What used to feel like an escape now feels like a panopticon. Everyone you have ever known and everyone they’ve ever known is there, all at once, and they all have an opinion, and most of them have no goddamn idea what they’re talking about. Chop and hash and regurgitate every original thought anyone has nowadays; tear it from its context; screenshot and repost; put your watermark on something you had no hand in. Eight hundred jokes about covfefe in twelve hours. I’m as complicit as anyone.

Look, I’m by no means anti-social media. I use Facebook, I use Twitter, I occasionally poke at Tumblr. All of them are vital communication tools, and Twitter in particular is great for disseminating breaking news and helping people coordinate. A platform’s a platform, and new and amazing things are being created everywhere by people who have more access to an audience than ever before. I just wish for more creativity and less consolidation. I don’t want Mark Zuckerberg holding a stake in every cool thing I write.

I read a discussion the other day in which someone was warned away from starting a blog on a subject they were passionate about, because “nobody reads blogs anymore.” Other avenues were suggested: a podcast, an Instagram page, Facebook videos, and so on. None of these are bad ideas. I love a good podcast. I don’t want blogs to be dead, though, because I think they represent a more nuanced and deeply felt form of communication than we often see nowadays.4

Long story short: Things are changing. It makes me a bit sad. That said, this is my little corner of the Web and I think I’m going to clear out the dust and stay a while, whether any guests choose to visit or not.

———-

1After losing two laptops in spectacular fashion in one year, I have taken to working in Google Docs almost exclusively. I suppose I could have been drafting that post right here in WordPress, but that would have required foresight.

2No, I’m not linking them.

3Remind me to write about chochachohood. It makes sense in context.

4That is, when they’re not an endless array of virtually identical exercises in branding and thinly-veiled product placement. But that’s for another entry.

Senses working overtime

It’s been a while, hasn’t it, blog?

I’ve been writing elsewhere, certainly. The majority of my verbal efforts go towards work now, ’cause hacks gotta get paid. I come up with ideas for posts to make here, sure, and often, but I keep meeting a resistance I’ve been hard-pressed to explain until recently. Now that it’s gotten to the point where every scroll through my RSS reader or Facebook feed exhausts me, I think I’m figuring it out.

To state it as simply as I can: I’m overwhelmed. Information overload is nothing new, including to me. Especially to me. I’ve spent sixteen years obsessively using the Internet to try to satisfy every minor curiosity that flits through my mind. I’ve courted it from day one.

Lately, though, the glut of poorly-informed opinions and rehashed content has started to feel more like “too much” than ever before. And when you’re already depressed and well past the “it’s complicated” relationship stage with self-doubt, it’s damn near impossible to feel like you’re doing anything but skewing the signal-to-noise ratio further when you try to write down your own dumb thoughts about something.

Rationally, I know this is nonsense. Anything you write can shed light on an unconsidered aspect of a topic, provide an unheard perspective, turn a lovely phrase, or at least crack a joke no one’s thought of yet. I read things online every day that make me kvell that they exist, even as I kick myself for not thinking of it first. But is Sturgeon’s Law also in play? Of course it is. Same as it ever was. And most of the time I fail to convince myself that I can crawl out of the 90%.

(I recognize that these complaints are, in and of themselves, deeply unoriginal. I fear I’m straddling some line between teenage angst and curmudgeonliness. None of you whippersnappers understand me; get off my mom’s lawn.)

Is there a solution for this? Maybe not. Keep writing and posting and ignoring the sense of an infinite feedback loop? Gather my ovaries and get over myself? Get the fuck off Facebook for a bit? Probably all of the above. Stay tuned.

5(ish?) Habits of Moderately Effective People

I have too much time on my hands.

I sense a chorus of annoyed grunts from my nonexistent readership, but it’s true. There are few things more damaging to productivity than being able to do whatever the hell you want at any given time. This is especially true if you’re creative, crazy, or easily distracted. Basically, what I’m trying to say is that I’m doomed.

Oh, I’m trying to do the responsible thing and not just make excuses to sit around eating cereal and watching Olympics recap GIFs all day. In fact, I’ve been fairly successful at limiting those activities to only a couple of hours per day thus far.

Current plan of attack for a Productive Lifestyle™:
– List five tasks a day on my to-do list. These will be a mixture of work, chores, and personal enrichment. Five tasks is enough for me to feel that I’ve accomplished something with my day, while not causing me to dissolve into quivering panic attacks at the prospect of facing the world at large.
– Do the tasks.
– Alternately, do some of the tasks and then start yelling at the Internet. The entire Internet. Without exception.
– Take a nap!

The problem with self-directing like this is that you tend to end up in something of a bubble. At least, that’s how it seems to work in my case. I did get out of the apartment this afternoon to do some work at a coffee shop for a few hours, but even then, I was listening to NPR and ignoring my surroundings until my headphones started shocking me in the right ear. At this point, I found myself trying not to throttle the wedding planner sitting next to me who had been loudly discussing cocktail napkins or some bullshit on her cell phone for an hour straight. As a writer, though, I appreciated the material for a potential future character. I was mentally taking notes on her brusque personality and the strange younger man outside the window that she would occasionally consult with, even as my nerves slowly frayed at her raised volume and limited decorum and utter lack of self-awareness and ohmygod SHUT UP SHUT UP.

It’s important for me to be putting myself out in different situations, because it’s just not possible to write in a vacuum. (Despite what my teenage self would have had you believe, the Internet isn’t sufficient material in and of itself, though I’ve gotten more than my fair share of inspiration from it.) There is life outside my apartment, to quote Avenue Q, and I intend to find it. I reserve my right to then run away screaming obscenities, of course.

New plan of attack for an Interesting Lifestyle™:
– Have adventures. Calvin and Hobbes would approve, and after all, they were the inspiration for this blog’s name. Adventures tend to make for more interesting blog fodder than Olympics GIFs anyway. (But seriously, McKayla won’t be impressed with anything I write, so why bother?)

Of course, these two plans will probably have to be balanced against each other if I want to eat, but we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it.