Tuesday, October 12, 2010


media cleanse day #2: staying strong
whew. let me tell you, not checking email in the morning takes effort. so does resisting the urge to catch up on the top-tier section of my google reader. it's interesting how reflexive these actions had become for me -- really, a reflection on what an integral part of life online connectivity has become for my generation.

surfin' it old school

remember when there was no email? i don't, really. we had a prodigy account when i was growing up (i still remember our account ID/email address: VKSN20D!), and long before there were blogs, there were message boards that provided endless hours of entertainment. prior to twitter, there was AIM. and prior to that, i was too busy reading babysitter's club books and learning how to write in cursive to really care much about social networking.
although using the hot new apple at school sure was fun!

so i guess what this means is that for my generation, there was really no conscious choice to become connected; it was just part of life! but the amazing thing to me is how different this is from every single generation that came before. how does having email and the internet impact the way we do our jobs, and the way we think? are there any negatives that come with such a drastic overhaul of how we communicate?

i don't have answers to these questions, but i'm glad this experiment is at least forcing me to consider them.

does anyone have any thoughts on how constant connectivity or other aspects of today's technology impact our lives? alternatively, does anyone older and wiser want to educate me about what it was like BEFORE email? i'd love to read your experiences (during my 2 allotted email checks during the day, of course).

168 hours
as you might imagine, with no internet or TV, i've been reading a bit more. i've gotten the chance to delve into this book, and i'm finding it quite interesting.

as you can probably glean from the cover, ms. vanderkam seems to believe that i have more time than i think that i do. however, i am not yet convinced. in a quest to find out (and because she suggests this specifically in the very first chapter), i am going to keep track of exactly where my time is going for the next two weeks*.

looking back at yesterday's records, i am already surprised at several things:

time i spent driving around: ~75 minutes

time it took me to write my post: ~69 minutes

time josh and i spent together at the dinner table: ~23 minutes

time spent cooking and cleaning up: ~48 minutes

it's all actually pretty fascinating to me. i wonder why some people are so quick to carefully track expenses, while this sort of 'time audit' seems quite unusual? in the end, i'm not sure that i am going to agree with everything that ms. vanderkam writes about (don't worry, i'll expand on this another time), but i appreciate that so far the volume has made me think.

* she actually suggests one week, but i thought it would be interesting to compare my "media cleanse" week with a normal one.



workout: 40 minutes on the elliptical (i pushed weights off until today -- my lower body just was not in the mood.)

real simple favorite: this recipe for lamb meatballs won both of our hearts. i used golden raisins (since they were an ingredient in a previous dish) in place of the dried apricots in the meatballs and i think the flavor worked beautifully.



okay, their tablescape wins pretty easily this round. but i can vouch for the taste of our meal! if you enjoy lamb once in a while, make this dish. i promise you will not regret it.

board prep: oh my god, i think i am finally getting that the test is less than a week away! i am consciously choosing not to panic, though. if consistent-but-not-over-the-top studying is not enough to pass, then i guess i'll just learn my lesson. (i spent 50 minutes on studying yesterday, by the way. i think this is appropriate).


  1. atilla7:20 AM

    that dinner is spot on with my tastes

  2. I remember be jealous of my friends who had prodigy because it was so new and cool! My family jumped on the bandwagon a couple years later with AOL...crazy.

    I'm not going to lie...I would probably be embarrassed if I knew exactly how much time I spend on blogs/internet on a daily basis. I don't really remember a life before the internet since we got it when I was in the sixth grade. A time without text message? Without feeling naked when I leave my cell phone at home? Without information instantly at your fingertips? I'd love to hear any comparisons people may have!

  3. I remember in grad school (at Duke!) we had Macs (Mac SE) in the computer room, but there was also a dummy terminal, and we occasionally could send very basic instant messaging using PINE, provided the other person was sitting at a similar terminal, expecting your message. It was very cool to "talk" with friends in other schools, until someone in systems would spot the traffic and cut the connection. I have (physical) letters that were sent to me by friends and my parents, but they all stopped once email appeared.

    I used to have a wall phone in my room in the dorm as an undergrad, and if I wasn't there to answer it, I would never know that someone had called (no answering machine or voice mail). Rotary dial, of course. If you needed to find someone and they didn't answer the phone in their room, you went looking for them. Oh, and busy signals were very common. You just had to wait to get your call through.

    Didn't have a cell phone until after graduate school. I remember I would travel from NC to IN to visit my (then) fiance. 14 hours on the road, no cell, no contact, no Google maps, no GPS. Somehow it all just worked. I can't imagine making a trip like that now without my Garmin. :D

    I like the convenience of the modern connectivity technology, but I think it gets to be too much.

  4. I think the biggest change wrought by email has been to the TEMPO of communication--its pace has quickened dramatically, but not necessarily its thoughtfulness or complexity.
    BTW, do you know what you get when you Google our old Prodigy email address? Links to Mom's cranberry bread recipe!
    L, da

  5. Like Susan, I would be embarrassed to know how much time I spend online because as the time spent online increases, the percentage of useless activities increases as well. And because of the endless possibilities(!) that the Internet provides, I "forget" (or supposedly don't have time for) the more important things in life, like face-to-face conversations with family and friends or even sleeping.

    I was born in '90 so there hasn't really been a time in my life to experience a world without the continuously developing technology. There are pros and cons to this but I can't say what exactly would be an ideal situation. However, sometimes it's very stressful to have everything online (although it can also be convenient). When everything is available online, it means I have more work at home and it also makes me lazy! Why should I bother to actually go to a place when I can do the same thing online (order, find information etc.)?! And thus, the chances to meet new people or have (unplanned) social interaction with others are taken away. Plus the way we communicate online is different from the way we do it offline: body language and facial expressions are not so necessary online but it would be important to "exercise" them more than we do these days. Isolation could also be a risk if we consider this issue in a wider perspective.

    I've heard people talk about how the use of technology in general is rewiring our brain, and I did believe that these claims are true, but the shock of realizing the actual effect... The claims became concretized when I understood what had actually happened to me: I was highlighting text the traditional way but my brain told me to use the highlighter like I would use the cursor!

    Sometimes I just want to have time without a cell phone, e-mail or the Internet and enjoy the "real" life. It's exhausting to be available all the time, and that's really what people expect these days. I've noticed how my level of anxiety gets higher when I have to start working on an assignment for school because without an exception it means I have to abandon pen and paper and use the computer... And that's when procrastination really steps into the picture.

    My relationship with technology, the Internet might be a little different since I live in Finland which in my experience, having lived in the USA, is more advanced in this area of life. With that I mean we (have to) do certain things online but in America, you have a choice or it's not available online - which can be good! And then there's also the cultural aspect which makes us Finns more willing to rely on communication online.

  6. Raisins in meatballs = delicious! (Even if they are of the beef variety rather than lamb - it's something my family has been doing for as long as I can remember!

    I think this media cleanse is a great and interesting idea. Are you putting a time limit on your e-mail checks? Are you planning to catch up with all the blogs you missed during the week, or just declare "Google Reader bankruptcy" and start fresh next week?

  7. Unplugging is such a challenge for me. I will have to do it the 2nd week of October (no phone, computer, camera, NO technology whatsoever) when I'm on a retreat. I am really interested to see if it changes anything.

  8. A technology "fast" can help you realize what you really NEED vs what you've been accustomed to using. For example, many time management gurus will advise to check email only certain times of the day. I know when I'm really working on something I have to turn off the instant notification. Even the little popup disturbs the flow. I also didn't read a bunch of blogs for a week or so while on vacation and realized the world didn't end when I missed someone's bowl of oatmeal and I promptly deleted a ton of things from my google reader. Hey, BTW, I am embarrassed to admit I just bought my 2011 planner at WalMart for $8. That was a complete random find. Its 8X10, flat, tons of writing room! Downside is bad paper.

  9. thank you all for sharing your experiences! it's so interesting to compare things across generations (my 60 year old dad vs. young meme for example).

    mary beth: i will answer your ?s in today's post!

    tina: no blogging! ahhhhH!! that part would be extremely challenging for me. although i suppose you could always handwrite a journal.

    julie: yes, i turn off the instant notification too! (but then often i get antsy and check anyway). nothing wrong with a wal-mart planner BUT bad paper would be a deal breaker for me :)

  10. Sarah6:20 AM

    Completely not related to your post, but I saw this (http://homeshoppingspy.wordpress.com/2010/10/13/new-orla-kiely-radio/) and immediately thought of you!

    A reader in the UK :)

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