08 May 2012

So it's come to this?

Do you suffer from Nomophobia?  66% of people polled say they do.  What is this horrible fear that have afflicted people?

Fear of being without your cell phone

Seriously.  Now I can relate to this as I use my phone all the time: E-mail, Calendar, texting, FaceBook, G+, GPS, etc.  I have had those moments when I'm getting in the car and realize I left my phone on my desk inside and run in to get it or I have the "phantom vibration" and check my phone, realizing that no one just texted me.  But a fear of being without it?  Maybe at one time in the past...maybe.

Over the past 2 years, I have actually learned to disconnect from it.  Leaving it in the office on the charger when I'm spending time with my girls or watching a movie or just doing something that I don't want to be distracted.  Or I leave it in the car when I'm out playing at the park.

How did we evolve into this?  What is it that makes us feel we have to be constantly connected or available.  That 75% of people feel the need to bring it into the bathroom with them.  I stop myself at that point.  I had an earlier post about how people have not spoken to an actual person for 2 days and rely on other technologies to communicate.  What has technology does to us?

Going back to the "how did we" question, I have a few theories and I don't think any single one explains it, but a combination of them do.  Information moves so fast today that we feel "out of touch" when we don't know what has happened in the world.  Think about the time when someone says to you, "I can't believe that so-and-so is marrying that person" or "Can you believe what happened in random-country".  You think, how did I miss that?  Then there is the instant contact with people over the phone or more likely texting.  How many times have you texted someone and they don't get back with you in 10 minutes, so you send a folow up text "Are you ok?"  I guess this goes back to the instant information part.  Then, there's Facebook, G+, Foursquare, etc.  I'm guilty of checking in at places on Facebook.  I like the interaction with others who post comments about the restaurant I just ate at or the movie I just saw.  Not about to post a check in from my bathroom though (ewww).  Then, there are the games and other apps on your phone.  How many times have you been waiting somewhere (in line at the grocery store or a doctor's office) and you pull out your phone to play Angry Birds or Words with Friends.  Yeah, my hand is raised on that one.  I compare this with a cigarette addiction.  People are addicted to the nicotine, but also become addicted to the process of smoking.  Holding the cigarette, lighting it, etc.  A cell phone is like that,  People unconsciously check their phone all the time, for no reason (yeah, I've done that too).

It's just so damn convenient.  All that information, all those games and apps, all that communication in a small hand-held device.  But, to fear not having it?  Not me, probably in the past, but I take the time to disconnect.  The earth will still spin and rotate around the sun.  The celebrity gossip will still be out there and in a month no one will care, the text asking you "How you doing" will still be able to be answered after you finish playing with the kids.  If you think you have Nomophobia are going down that path, set aside "disconnect time" and do the rest of that life thing without the phone.

07 May 2012

There's always next year

Once again, my beloved St. Louis Blues bowed out in the playoffs.  They were back playing excellent hockey during the season and making the playoffs for only the second time since 2004.  They had made the playoffs for 25 straight years from 1980-2004.  They even made the Stanley Cup finals their 1st 3 years in existence - and lost all three).

So to get to my point, Each year ends with "Next Year" and this year is no exception after getting swept out of the playoffs by the LA Kings, who I have to admit, totally outplayed the Blues.  I had high hopes this year based on their level of play throughout the season and the first round.  But, alas, my yearly end of season mantra is back.

I won't give up on my Blues, like Red Sox fans never gave up on them and they finally ended their drought in 2004 (which ended the Blues consecutive playoff streak...hmmmm).  That is what it means to be a fan.  Cheer on your team through good and bad times.  Kind of like life, don't give up.

Although, Lord Stanley's Cup would look really nice displayed at Scottrade Center.  Just, sayin'.

04 May 2012

Never Give Up

Several people have been posting this on Twitter, Facebook and G+.  If you haven't seen it yet, please take 5 minutes of your time to watch.  This is why "I can't" is not a valid excuse.

Never, Ever Give Up. Arthur's Inspirational Transformation!

03 May 2012

Let's create new words

A friend pointed me to the post '25 Handy Words That Simply Don’t Exist In English' on the blog So Bad So Good.  I love how a single word can have such a detailed definition.  My favorite is Backpfeifengesicht (German): A face badly in need of a fist.  I want to use this in a conversation with my German speaking father just to get his reaction.

I think we should start creating new words in the English language to describe complex feelings, emotions or thoughts.  It's almost like the rebirth of Sniglets.  Maybe something like Stupifany - The moment that you realize you have just said something really stupid.

What words can you come up with?

02 May 2012

My larynx has been replaced by my smart phone?

Yesterday, I read an article in the UK's Daily Mail called 'Lonely life of the techno-addict as thousands go up to 48 hours without speaking to another human' (link).  It is eye opening and sad at the same time.  Social Media is supposed to bring us closer together, but instead seems to create a barrier instead.  I don't blame technology, I blame the people who use the technology.

I do work from home some days, so can understand the 'digitally dominant' aspect of my life on those days.  But I use technology as a tool to help me do my job from home, while it seems the people referred to in the article hide behind technology for aspects of their non-working life too.

Kinda reminds me of the Sandra Bullock movie 'The Web' where she doesn't leave her house and does everything online.  After thinking about it some more, I wonder if these people would be the same people who, in the past, would just go to work and come home and never go out anyway.

So back to my reason for this post, I think that technology is great for keeping people connected, but should not be THE connection between people.  Granted, I have many on-line conversations with people I have never actually met.  But, I would never have met them in the first place, if not on-line as they live no where near me.  I would love to meet face-to-face with them if the opportunity presented itself.

I use technology to keep in touch with friends and family, but I make certain that it is not the only means of communication with them.  Do you feel that technology has replaced personal contact for you?

01 May 2012

C'mon people, think for yourselves

I am so not looking forward to this political season.  Based on the negative ads run in the Republican primary and the inflammatory rhetoric that is already out there, it is going to be an ugly and messy election.

Regardless of where your views lie, I hope that people will stand up to the politicians and PACs and tell them to stop.  Of course, I know that is not going to happen and feel sad about it.  It seems that the issues are becoming lost or that they are being reduced to a slogan or soundbite.

I really appreciated the 2008 Democratic primaries as Obama and Clinton did a great job of debating their positions.  Granted, there were the occasional moments, but this year will be nowhere near that.  There are so many issues that need true debate and this will be lost.  I have had several discussions with people already who are parroting what is said by the media or a politician.  When I ask them to justify the statement they just made, they seem confused.  I will ask, "Why do you say that is bad? Isn't XYZ the result of that policy".  They cannot answer.  Why?  They don't really know the issue, only what what they have seen or read on their political side's news program or web site.  They don't venture outside to see or hear the other side and truly think about the issue.

I blame them for being sucked into the soundbite and headlines and not really looking at the facts and I blame the media (both sides, although the right-wing media is more fact challenged, in my opinion) for catering to this.  Americans today, it seems, do not want to think for themselves, but instead have their view presented to them to make a choice.  "You are for or against it."  "The policy is good for America or bad for America."  The world is not like that, people.  The world, like us, is diverse and complicated.  And if you try to make this simple, you polarize people.  It's OK to have a mixed opinion.  Use your brain, don't let someone else use it for you.

30 April 2012

You are what you think you are

“All that we are is the result of what we have thought.” – Buddha

Beware, you can become your own thoughts.  Control them, don't let them control you.

Do I really need that?

I've said before that I am a huge proponent of simplifying my life by de-cluttering, creating open space and just doing more with less.  One thing I have tried to do is evaluate what I buy or acquire.  It is very easy to collect "stuff".

Now, absolute minimalism is not what I am looking to accomplish.  But then again, I don't like clutter.  I am always looking at what I have, what I am doing that creates complexity and stress in my life and how I can't change it.  So the one area that is easiest to address is Stuff.

I look at it this way, if it has meaning to me, true meaning, then I keep it: a picture my daughter drew for me, a ticket stub for a concert that brings back good memories or race bibs and medals.  I will keep these.  But I don't want to have stuff, just to have stuff.  I want to be a good example to my children so they will not feel the need to have things that they don't have any attachment to, but just want them to have them or because someone else has it.

I remember earlier in my life, I collected things that I didn't have an attachment, but collected anyway.  I would strive to get a complete set of something only to feel the accomplishment of completing the set, and then feel nothing afterward, realizing I didn't really want it anyway.

Today, I ask myself a few questions before going down a road like that: (1) Why do I want it? (2) Do I need it or want it? (3) Will I still want it tomorrow, next week, next year?  If I cannot come up with a good reason to have it, then I probably should not get it.  If I need it (and really do need it) then I should get it.  If I just want it, that's not bad, but then I really think hard on the 3rd question, will I still want it tomorrow.  Sometimes, I will even give myself the 24 hour rule.  If in 24 hours, I still want it and am willing to get back out and get it or go back on-line and order it, then I will get it.

I am happier with less.  Less things makes me appreciate what I have that much more.

29 April 2012

Music as a part of life

I love music.  Ok, not all types of music, but my tastes are very eclectic.  I love to hear new music, find new artists and even a genre I didn't know existed.  I have surrounded myself with many ways to have music playing in my life all the time (Sirius/XM, Spotify, Pandora, Internet Radio, Grooveshark) as well as some good friends that have varied musical tastes that love to share too.

I don't understand how some people will not explore outside their musical comfort zones.  Have they tried and found the music not to their liking?  This is like not travelling to new places because you once went somewhere and did not like it.  Do they not know where to go to find new music?  Really?  Ever try something called the Internet?  Do they want to remain closed to new things?  Well, nothing I can do there except shake my head and sigh.

Music is part of being human.  Don't put down someone else's tastes in music.  You can say you do not like it, but music (like any art) is about what speaks to you and there is nothing that is wrong about that.

Share and spread the music in your life.

24 April 2011