Sunday, March 3, 2013

Glasgow and Gloucester

Another week has gone by! What have I learned this week? I haven't learned anything new, but I have re-learned that a person can only focus and attend to so much. What do I mean? It means that I can only put up with a finite number of things before I start to get really stressed out.  I don't think I'm exactly unique about this either. However as I discussed in previous posts, I start to want to retreat a bit when too much is going on.

I might retreat, but my retreat may not exactly public. Externally I might appear to be fine, but on the inside I slowly tend to get drained. The difficult thing with this is that the more you put on everything is just dandy, the more physic debt you feel (you feel the gap between your public and private self). For me, this manifests in trying to conserve my speed, and a desire for time for myself. I notice my thought patterns even get altered, as "just trying to get through the day" results in me often finding the most efficient ways of dealing with situations -- often not resulting in explicit analytical thought. Sure, I'm thinking on intuitive level a lot, which is NOT not thinking, however, I can feel my attention span just being ripped apart.

So, what's a boy to do? Again, it's time to reaffirm some ideas, some old notions that now have some more resonance after going through some life situations. Numero uno, one has actively manage one's life to be an advocate for yourself. As I was telling Roadielocks, the western world encourages one to not think, just consume, devour, and enjoy. Being exposed to so much stuff, with so many consumer options, perceived choices, at such a velocity, we are conditioned to passively just go with it. But without an active effort to prune, limit, focus, we are left with a whole lot of shit. But with all the modern conveniences we have, why would one even want to do that?

The title of the post, you ask about? Well, we just went to Gloucester this weekend where I got to see the sea, which always clears my head, and we are heading to Glasgow (and Scotland) at the end of the month. I will have more opportutnies to try to clear my head.

If you're into this kind of thing, this clip of J Mascis and Kennedy is kind of amusing ("Kennedy you're insane"), check it out...

Bon voyage!

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Life Without Cable

I don't really miss cable. It's been two weeks without our FIOS service, and we've been able to make do without our one thousand channels. Sure, I miss the Travel network, I miss Silent Sundays on TCM (who doesn't?), but not enough to justify our monthly cable expense.

I think in a lot of ways you have to wean yourself off all these services, products, and things. You get used to all these options, conditioned to expect all these choices. However, once you start to inspecting what you really need versus what you want, it gets a little easier. So with television viewing, you start to narrow things down a bit, and cut the cord on cable.

We just had the big blizzard of 2013 (yay!), and right before the storm I hooked up our new over the air antenna. With that, we are currently getting programming from our Apple TV through NetFlix and Hulu Plus and over-the-air programming.

It's good enough so far, I'll keep you updated.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Neurons Need Some Charging

This will be a short post, but I want to get something in before we start the week. The main theme I want to explore is keeping enough energy for yourself despite dealing with the everyday demands of life. This is a pretty lofty topic, but I we'll keep it short and sweet.

The past two weeks I have spent very little time at all on myself, and when I do want to start thinking about myself, I feel like there isn't much there. It's like my brain has put myself on a hold pattern. "Doug, you need to think about nothing for 3 days to recharge -- whatever you do, do NOT think." Okay, that might sound a bit reasonable, but when this happens, I don't have much choice in whether I'm available.

The reason why this is becoming a bit more pressing is this is the month to decide where we live. (I need to avoid short utterances, but this is it.) I was hoping to get more traction on this question, but it wasn't until this long weekend did I get to think more about this again. We're making some progress, and I think we have it now down to 2 locations.

There's more to this, but we'll wrap it up for now. Until later.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

More Adventures in Minimalism

I just finished setting up the Apple TV. I have some mixed feelings about this as in minimizing I have somehow purchased another device for the house, albeit small. As I wrote earlier, cable TV is going, so we'll be using streaming devices. So in all, for the greater good, I'm fine with this, but I do realize some of the contradiction.

The purge continues as well. I have got rid of like fifteen to twenty pieces of clothing, which is great. I typically have favorite clothes (some people call this a fashion rut), so I don't really need six pairs of cords, especially when I only wear two pair. I found a fuzzy pair of pants that I thought was a cat, but it was really a black pairs of pants that turned into a cat bed. Those are gone. All in all, this is going well.

On a small level, I feel like I'm beginning to take a little more control of things, and doing a reset in a quiet and controlled way. If I have time, I'll try to write about my experiences with the Roku XS and the Apple TV, as I now have an opportunity compare the two side by side.

Adios Cable

So we're a bit into 2013, and without really having an explicit plan (re: some detailed spreadsheet to life), things are evolving pretty steadily. For a lack of better phrase, a lot minimizing has been happening, taking stock of how all my daily activities connect to each other, particularly my stress levels, consumer behavior, work-life, and prioritizing what I actually want to do.

A lot HAS happened, but the main thing to note is we are finally getting rid of cable. While it's a not a huge chunk we're saving, this is has the potential to be a symbolic victory, cutting the boob tube cord. I've talked about this the past two years, trying to find the right time to do this, and frankly, we seldom watch cable tv now, so now is quite a practical decision (it's easier for me to make decisions when they are more outcome based, rather than get overly philosophical with no real obvious better or worse). I ordered an antenna so we can pull in OTA (fancy shortcut for over the air tv), which I'll be getting later this week. That combined with Netflix on the Roku, and I think we'll be covered.

The one thing I will miss is the access to the Travel Channel watching Ghost Adventures. Travel Channel seems to have very limitation distribution on streaming services, as it's not available on Hulu and little access over Netflix. It is available on iTunes, but we'll cross that bridge when we have to.

We're doing other things as well, but wanted to get this captured on the blog. To my two readers, I hope you are well!