I have been struggling to keep up with the blogging challenge I gave myself about a week ago. It isn’t a question of motivation; I remain motivated. Mostly I have been concerned about how much time and energy I am investing into something that is arguably recreational, or at the very least non-essential. I have many other things to do and writing for my blog has begun to get in the way.
Part of my problem is simply that I have a tendency to bite off more than I can chew. I overextend myself constantly. It pains me to scale back after I have committed myself to pursuing an interest. And so I become adept at many things and a master of none. It is another bad habit of mine that I have not gotten around to fixing. (Maybe that will be the next challenge!)
At any rate, when I started this blogging challenge I figured that I could bang out a substantial post in about an hour if I didn’t pay any attention to my inner perfectionist. I was right about that but in doing so I exposed a problem I hadn’t thought about when I started writing earlier this week. Continue reading →
I never had much time for pen and paper when I was a kid.
I grew up digital. My childhood home was filled with computers. I was one of the first on my block with a laser printer. I still remember playing with toner cartridges, shaking out excess ink when the blackness on the printed page began to fade, the delightful mess it would make. Black marks all over my hands.
Write something by hand? That’s barbaric. Continue reading →
Today I embarked upon the path to becoming a university student again. I will be taking Chinese language classes at the MTC in Shida during July and August. With such a short program I am only dipping my toes into the water to see how I like it—and to figure out how school can fit into my busy schedule. (I am also here working on a number of other time-consuming projects. 15+ hours a week is a sizable commitment to be making.) My goal is simply to get a grasp on the language and not make a complete idiot of myself when I order food at a restaurant or whatever. No need to ask for directions; I have a smartphone, thank you very much—though I might have to start asking around simply to get some practice. Continue reading →
In my third year of university I mistakenly enrolled in a course entitled Urbanization & Global Change. The name caught my eye as I had become quite interested in the science of global change, a major focus of my physical geography program. I was dimly aware that it was more of a human geography course (it qualified as a “social science” credit under the University of Toronto’s hilariously weak distribution requirement system) but assumed that “interdisciplinary” indicated there might be some real science involved. I suppose I must have imagined we’d be studying the effects of urbanization on the global carbon cycle, or perhaps something about nutrient cycling in urban estuaries. I had absolutely no idea we’d spend entire lectures discussing Starbucks, Facebook, and “branding identity”. (And you wonder why I speak dismissively of the humanities?)
I realized my mistake after receiving the syllabus in the first lecture. Unfortunately I was unable to find another course that would fit as nearly into my timetable. I eventually reasoned that I may as well take one basket-weaving course that term to alleviate an otherwise heavy science course load. And so I stuck with it. Continue reading →
Facebook praise for a change. “Hiding is your superpower.” Damn right it is. Share too much cancer quackery, flaky anti-GMO propaganda, vacuous celebrity news, quasi-religious new age hokum, fad diet nonsense, climate change denialism, right-wing insanity, misogynist bullshit, or other credulous claptrap and your contribution to my newsfeed will be mercilessly hidden.
It is often difficult for me to find the right words to express myself. When I get stuck I have the bad habit of writing out many different sentences that express more or less the same thing. I then group these sentences in my text editor and begin the process of culling the worst of the lot, rearranging what remains into something approximating what I meant to convey in the first place. This time-consuming process eventually produces a kind of literary chimera: a disjointed paragraph made up of many different sentences, few of which were written one after the other. There is an artificiality to the results that is only mediated by further editing, or—if I am feeling more obsessive, which isn’t uncommon—a complete rewrite. Even then there is often something not quite right about what I end up with. Following this process is not worth the extraordinary investment of time it requires—particularly not since I am typically dissatisfied with the results.
Recently I have begun to critically examine my existing writing process and experiment with new approaches in order to overcome some of my bad habits. In doing so I have identified what I feel is the root cause of my writing dysfunction: I am seldom in a state of mind conducive to simply letting the words flow. Continue reading →
From this day forward I intend to blog for 30 days in a row. My aim is to continue developing the blogging habit until it becomes second nature.
Why blog? Here are some of my reasons:
- Writing is among the most fundamental skills anyone can have. I want to improve my writing ability. Blogging regularly will help achieve this aim.
- I want to invest time and energy into creating and sharing content on a platform that I personally own and control. Facebook is easy and convenient (and full of people) but I am wary of using a corporate-controlled service as my primary means of self-expression online.
- As a lifestyle minimalist I often find myself in an ungrounded, dreamlike state, particularly when I am moving around a lot. Blogging should allow me to better situate myself in time and space by creating a record of where I have been and what I have done.
I have been meaning to develop the blogging habit for many years now. So what has held me back? Continue reading →
Bitcoin exchange rates dropped below USD$100 today. Now is a fine time to buy in if you were thinking of picking up some BTC. Then again, I could be wrong. Caveat emptor!
An excellent, in-depth article about peak oil and the future of energy. Take time out of your day to read this.
Earthquake! Not sure if it’s bigger than the one on Monday or it just seems that way because I’m on the ninth floor and buildings sway. More info: CWB/USGS.