Tuesday, October 22, 2013

That time I got a laugh out of Andrea Gibson

Andrea: "I'm sorry, I keep not knowing what to do."

Me: "It's OK, that's life!"

Andrea (and everyone else) laughed.

Andrea Gibson, one of the best spoken word poets ever, performed at Indy Reads Books a few weeks ago. She seemed a bit discombobulated from time to time. It was completely adorable. I'm not sure I've ever simultaneously been so starstruck, yet so aware of someone's regular, human-ness.

Here she is, along with Kelsey Gibb. Behind her, on the floor? That's me.

Here is what might be my favorite love poem of hers (though that is A VERY HARD THING TO CHOOSE):

Monday, October 21, 2013

Dispatches from No-Facebook Land

Well, I did say I was going to be practicing at mindfulness while I do this. But a few kinks have come into the mix today.

First, I was in a wedding over the weekend, so I may have cheated just long enough to a) make sure I was right about the rehearsal dinner location and b) see if any photos got posted the Sunday after the wedding. (There are photos, and they are awesome.)

Second, between the rich wedding foods and the fact that the Communists have invaded the funhouse this week (I'm going to let you ponder that one until you understand. Get it? Not yet, okay. Oh, there goes the lightbulb. There ya go. We can proceed)... the only thing I am really mindful of at the moment is how much the tummy-region of my body freaking hates me right now.

So I'm currently being mindful of my gastric and reproductive systems' combined rage, while staring at the chocolate bar I can't finish. I feel so crappy that even chocolate cannot fix it. Hot honey-lemon-ginseng green tea is giving me no trouble, though, so all is not lost.

I also cheated in order to tell a couple of friends that their Twitter accounts were sending me spam/phishing direct messages, which I got via text. I cheated because I'm an awesome friend, and helping my friends with their online security is more important than doing this right. Or something. Yeah.

Since I'm kinda failing at being mindful today, and I don't have much to offer, here's David Wong doing much better at introspection than I am. Go ponder the Monkeysphere.

Friday, October 18, 2013

On Social Media Strike!

Hah, OK. I'm not really on strike.

More like a hiatus, or sabbatical, or fast.

I've been thinking a lot about doing this, lately, but it took this long to work up the will. But in contemplation of my goals to be more satisfied in my work and home lives, more productive, more organized, and pursuing more minimalist goals as well -- I've determined that a social media fast might be just the thing I need to kickstart a decluttering of the mind.

It's just so easy to be snarky or insightful for a minute or two. And flipping down through a Twitter or Facebook stalker feed, catching up on the lives and interests of 600 or so of my closest friends... well, there's just no way to keep up with it. And the next thing I know, I'm trying to not re-share or retweet EVERY interesting thing someone's said, but there are over 600 of you, so even the most-interesting of the interesting starts to really pile up over a day. It's not like the addiction has impeded my productivity at work - I'm above all goals in quality and production. But I could do better, and I'm not, because I'm a walking exhibit on ADD thanks to all the mental clutter.

And then I go to finish a poem, or a story, or start or finish a blog draft, and I only get as far as a few sad, partly formed paragraphs. I try to select freelance projects, and I'm not listening to myself enough to know which ones I really should take on, versus the ones I just think I should take on or feel obligated to do. Also, that's putting it kindly, because all the freelancing I've done so far was for free, and the closest things I have to portfolio-able samples in the last half decade are some proposals and some Powerpoint presentations.

So I came to a few conclusions and have started some experiments.

1) I'm not working on any projects right now, outside of my full-time job. The job, though, has been extending some social-media updating opportunities (HOW EXCITING!), I've gotten involved in some publication planning meetings, I've got some professional development meet-and-groups lined up with various departments I might branch into, I've planned and executed a special event for my department, and I'm helping with orientation presentations starting next week.

Whew, this is plenty! And I'm grateful. I have been looking into elance and fiverr, and tinkering with a website, sort of an online business card with work samples and, eventually, testimonials. But for at least the next few weeks, no pursuit of freelance is taking place. This will give more time to do more in terms of volunteering and/or activist work.

2) I've installed the LeechBlock add-on to Firefox on my work computer, to help enforce my week-long "no social media" goal. It's been just half a day at this point, and I haven't shown any jonesing-addict symptoms. I have, however, felt slightly more wakeful and more engaged in what's right next to me. I feel totally clueless in terms of what news stories are going on because I have not even checked the news. I bantered instead for those first five minutes before it's time to clock in and get to work. So, oddly, I feel both more connected and in-control, and less so, at the same time.

3) I'm going to keep journaling my experiences, and any changes I notice, each of the 7 days I go without social media. Probably not all 7 days will wind up here, but I'll try to at least summarize my findings.

4) I'm also going to read and meditate for at least 20 minutes each every day, and get at least half an hour of exercise every day. A considerable boost from the half an hour every other day that I mostly, but not always, keep up on. This vessel I'm in deserves better. I've already been doing better in terms of cutting down processed foods and sodas, and drinking more water. And I don't want to change too much, too drastically. I'm already taking on a lot of change here.

5) For a portion of each day, I'm going to work on doing another cull of my stuff. I've gotten so much pared down in the last year, but I still feel too much like the stuff I own is owning me. I still engage in too much recreational window shopping, which too often results in buying. I'm never going to afford even a tiny house, if don't save more. Saving more often comes as a direct result of being content with enough.