Capped

 

data cap

Toward the end of last month, I freaked out when I got an email from my Internet Service Provider informing me that I was close to hitting my monthly data cap. 

Turns out, data caps for home Internet connections have been a thing for a while now— you get so many bits and bytes per month and, after that, you incur steep fees from your friendly neighborhood ‘Conglomo.’ Somehow, I’d stayed blissfully unaware of this reality prior to a couple weeks ago.

Since I “cut the cord” last year, I’ve been entirely reliant on my Internet connection, and the data it provides, for all of my TV, movies, and music. So I began desperately trying to find ways to conserve this suddenly precious and finite resource. 

Netflix all night? Only the shows I really needed to catch up on. Fall asleep with Hulu on? Better turn off auto-play. Carefully follow the Dodgers as they settle back into their winning ways? Maybe just two games a week instead of six.

I began obsessively checking my data usage meter every day, watching the gigabytes stack up as I counted down toward the end of the month, wondering if I was going to make it.

Then something happened. I found myself doing things I hadn’t done in a while: I went for walks in the evening, I called family and friends to catch up. I did some yoga, went to the beach, journaled, meditated, breathed…and I was content, even serene. I was reminded that there are ways of passing the time that don’t involve sitting in front of a screen, passively absorbing the bottomless cornucopia of visual entertainment being digitally piped into my home, on-demand.

At a time when life is being inexorably absorbed by the “cloud” and our spare moments have been hijacked by a new generation of media companies, it was a powerful lesson. A lesson that I will keep in mind the next time I find myself bored and reaching for the remote.

By the way, I did just barely stay under the cap.

data usage

The Needle Monster

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I wrote a paper for my application to graduate school that I thought I might share out in the open for once. I’ve been a bit gun-shy about publishing it on the Net… but given that papers are written to share ideas and move conversations forward, I think that it might be time for me to bite the bullet and post it.

I want to preface this paper with a few caveats:

  1. This is the first paper I have written since receiving my undergraduate degree almost ten years ago— I’m a bit rusty.
  2. This paper, while presented as a final draft for graduate admission committees, should really be considered a rough draft.
    • There are still improvements to be made in terms of language, argument flow/clarity, and citations.
    • The paper is still peppered with the kind of grammar mistakes that are hard to see when you get tunnel-vision under a deadline.
    • There is a lot of room for growth in terms of expanding my arguments and research, especially given that this paper is written on a current trend.
  3. This paper is academic in nature, and uses a lexicon that may be confusing and/or dense for those who are unaccustomed to this kind of wording.
  4. This paper is, for the most part, written in APA format. Again, I’m rusty on all of the ins and outs of APA and, given that this wasn’t being submitted for official academic review, I took some stylistic liberties.

Keeping these things in mind, here it is:

Needle Monster – Spectacle of IV Use in TV

Sayonara

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Yeah, I feel great about this— I’m already happier. Thinking about what has kept me from taking this step until now, I can only arrive at the conclusion that it was this whole logic of, “Oh, but how will I stay in touch with such and such people?”

Truth is, I haven’t been using Facebook a whole lot these last couple of months. My logins had dwindled to about twice a month, and when I did “check-in,” I never felt like I had missed out on much. I played a slow game, proving to myself that I really didn’t need this model of social decay in my life (despite my pavlovian desire to check my feed five or six times a day.)

I’ve embraced the actuality that the people I want to stay in contact with, my close friends and family, have my number and my email; they can get a hold of me if they want or need to. The ones I was kidding myself about wanting to stay in touch with? Eh…I wouldn’t really describe my relationship with those people as anything like an actual friendship— I think it was more akin to us all having a mutual and benign disinterest in each other’s lives.

I’d deceived myself about the nature of my relationships with some people. I mixed casual acquaintances with social media and a healthy dash of FOMO, and subsequently misconstrued those people as “friends” (after all, that’s what FB calls them, right?) As a result, I had talked myself away from the brink of leaving many times, even after all of the stupid privacy BS that happened with Cambridge Analytica. I hung on.

(As an aside— I think we all knew that sort of thing was happening on one level or another 🙈🙉🙊)

But, now that I’ve begun my descent into the rabbit hole that Jean Baudrillard burrowed, I got the push I needed….I definitely want no part of the world Lord Zuckerberg is creating around us.

Join me on the other side.

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Pause

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It’s so easy to get into a “we’re all fucked” mentality these days. After all, there are plenty of reasons to be worried..but I don’t want this post to turn into a litany of those reasons. I’ll admit that I started writing this because I was so frustrated with my inability to control the world and everything in it…but as I take a moment to pause and consider, I think I may want to truncate this post and simply say this:

I want to focus on what’s right in front of me. I can’t control my reality, let alone other people’s realities. All I have control over is my reaction attitude toward those things. If I allow myself to descend into self-pity and demoralization then I won’t be able to be of use to anyone, least of all myself.

I don’t know what the future holds, nor is it any of my business. My business is dealing in the present.

Wow.

Things have happened since I last put anything on this page…lots of things.

First and foremost: I finally got accepted into a graduate school.

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Huzzah! The hard work, the sleep-deprived nights and the constant wear-and-tear of the grind of daily tedium yielded results. So, naturally, I’ve since relocated to be closer to school since the last time I wrote anything for the Interwebs.

I got to toss out that giant pile of GRE books. That was satisfying as fuck…although I will confess that I kept book 7 (Reading Comprehension & Essays.) It has some great general points on argumentative writing that one would do well not to forget. It may yet serve a purpose as a crash-course primer on dissecting arguments and constructing counter-arguments.

That has it’s own big pile of WOW that goes along with it, the hassle of picking my whole life and putting it down somewhere else has been rather staggering. It’s just like pulling a plant out of one pot and putting it in the next: although ultimately it’s not such a big move, and you know the plant will be okay, they throw a little fit; they get all wilt-y and lay on the ground like an emo teenager. After all, you’ve been tugging on their roots, goddamnit!

…and how my roots have been tugged. Ultimately, I know everything will work out, but the build-up and come-down from the whole process is insanely taxing— How many different ways can I say that this has been stressful? It was….*ahem* draining, exhausting, difficult, worrisome, tough, demanding, exacting, arduous, tough, onerous, enervating, wearing

But here I am, on the other side: healthy, alive, whole, and free…putting all the pieces back together again.

Ol' Humpty Dumpty...the feels.

 

 

It’s been a while

I’m terrible at updating blogs that I start.

Maybe that’s an indication of my ability to follow-through on projects that I start. To be fair, though, it has been a hectic lot of months since I last wrote something here.

You see, applying for graduate school is absolutely excruciating, and takes all of the spare time that I have between working, eating, and sleeping. There are transcripts, test scores, writing samples, personal statements, and letters of recommendation to wrangle, not to mention the tedium of actually giving schools all of your information; and the expense of the fees.

I estimate that it’s cost over $1000 between all of the test, transcript, and application fees I’ve incurred.

I’m doing it to try and move forward in life, towards a purpose and a career, and I have no guarantee that it will pan-out at all. I applied to three rather prestigious schools even though on paper I look less than prestigious (though certainly not dumb.)

I’ve already heard back from one of them, and it was a no-go.

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Of course this triggered all kinds of worry and anxiety about the future, where I’ll go, what I’ll do if I don’t get in anywhere.

But, there’s nothing I can do to control the admissions process besides put my best foot forward, and that’s what I’ve done this year. The rest will end up as it supposed to be. Now it’s easier to write that than it is to believe it, but I’m trying so very hard.

An Ode to Procrastination

A little something I wrote last summer about 40 minutes before a creative writing class:

Why did I wait?
Until it was too late;
To write a poem,
Here alone,
Surrounded by books
Toiling in the nooks.
When I look down,
I read you and frown.
Though I love you dearly,
I can see it clearly:
You’re half-baked at best,
Last-minute like the rest.

~ Me