What I’ve learned from quitting Facebook after the first week

DeathtoStock_Desk1For sometime now I’ve felt that Facebook has been a huge time sucking black hole for me. I’d check it first thing in the morning, spending 30 minutes before I got up scrolling through posts and links and stupid you-tube videos. I’d end the day also checking Facebook, after checking it numerous times during the day. More often than not I’d get sucked into clicking into things I couldn’t care less about, posts that just linked into viral webpages that were designed to get you clicking on more links. The last straw for me was when I found myself scrolling through photos of “horrible wedding dresses.” Reading the negative commentary of people who looked happy and celebrating wanting to share their lives with somebody that was special to them, I felt dirty.

Giving up Facebook has not been easy. It’s actually been much harder than I expected. And this is what I’ve learnt.

1. I’m not missing out on anything important. Other people’s lives goes on, and so does mine regardless of it being shared online or not.

2. ‘Liking’ something isn’t the same thing as actually engaging with somebody. For me it’s the equivalent of small talk via text messages. It’s an empty substitute for real conversation and interactions.

3. If somebody wants to contact you they will. It’s still possible to make plans for drinks or coffee with somebody without the help of Facebook.

4. Facebook is an addiction and going cold turkey has been really hard. Facebook had clearly become a habit for me. It has amazed me how often I have reached for my phone to check Facebook without even thinking what I was doing. The only way I could stop checking Facebook was to delete the app from my iPhone and delete the link from my browser forcing my to actively think about logging onto the website.

5. I have time. By not constantly checking what I am missing I have time to do things I have been meaning to do for some time. While most of the things I have been doing have been study related, I’ve somehow managed to be able to get more done. I’ve also found more time to write too.

It may have only been a week, but I think I’ll continue my self exile from Facebook. In the interest of keeping myself accountable and also in the interest of honesty – I have logged into Facebook three times since taking a break. The first was to see if anybody actually missed me (no, they hadn’t) and the second was to link this blog to my Facebook account and the third was one night at 2am when I couldn’t sleep.

Dick Darrow – Comedic, psychic, hard boiled private detective.

It is currently Melbourne International Comedy Festival time which means Melbourne is currently overwhelmed by the funniest people in the world.
Every year I try and and see at least one show. While seeing a big name act will guarantee a night of laughs, I usually also try and see one of the smaller fringe acts. There is a risk in seeing somebody I’ve never heard of, but the risk has always paid off in the end.

This year I went with a friend to see Tim Motley in 2 Ruby Knockers, 1 Jaded Dick: A Dirk Darrow Investigation. I have a soft spot for a hard boiled private detective. Raymond Chandler is one of my favourite authors and my favourite podcast is Decoder Ring’s Black Jack Justice. I agreed to see the show purely on the premise – a comedy show about a private deceptive. How could I say no?

He was neat, clean, shaved and sober, and he didn’t care who knew it*. Well, he probably at least shaved that morning. He was certainly a hard boiled, chain smoking, trench coat wearing, down on his luck private detective and I recommend everyone go see his show this comedy festival season. The show is described as “Part comedy, part mind-reading, part magic and all gritty retro 1930s noir!” and it lives up to every part of the hype.

The show is in a pop-up venue located by a long flight of stairs in a small office building, exactly the kind of office and location where you might expect a private detective to be working out of.

Motley is engaging the whole hour he is on stage, he delivers non-stop the private detective we were all there to see, his magic and illusion tricks were seamless and he had the audience eating out of his hand and willing to participate at every chance they got.

If you only go see one show this year, go see 2 Ruby Knockers, 1 Jaded Dick, you will not be let down.

If you recognise the quote, we may just be best friends for life and you get bonus points. Go you!

Tuesday Tunes – Wait in Line by James Bay

Music is a huge part of my everyday. I wouldn’t be surprised if most people also said this. I’m not into music enough to tell why one band is better than another, and while I understand in theory why records are ‘better’ than mp3s, I can’t actually hear the difference. I don’t listen to the radio so I couldn’t tell you what is in the top 30 or even recognise half the songs in this years Triple J Hottest 100. But I do know what I like and somehow keep discovering new music on a regular basis through various different channels.

What I would like to do each week is share with you that song I am listening to, the one that I can’t get out of my head and am just plain obsessed with. I will be creating a playlist on Spotify which I encourage you to follow. A new song will be added each week and I will be blogging about it here.

Tuesday-Tunes-James-Bay

This song I have been obsessed with for a little while now. I am a sucker for an acoustic guitar and an honest sounding voice. This song has become a little bit of an anthem for me and when ever it pops up in my playlist I can’t help but sing along regardless of where I am. Which I have to be honest has caused me to embarrassed on more than one occasion.

I find that I identify with the lyrics quite strongly. I am currently in a stage of my personal and professional life where it’s only a matter of time when the hard work I am putting in now will eventually pay off. In the mean time I just having to keep waiting. What I like most about these lyrics is that despite the frustration he is also clearly feeling there is a sense of hope of the pay off eventually happening. “I know it will turn out right… I know one day I’ll get mine.” It reminds me that I will get there in the end, it will happen if I keep working at it.

If you have any suggestions for songs that you think I would like feel free to leave a comment below.

We Are What We Pretend To Be

I play games of pretend with a few friends every once in a while, and it is never planned. A statement or question will come up organically in a conversation and we roll with it. Most often our games of pretend revolve around getting on a plane this afternoon and where we will go. On bad days we end up in a resort somewhere with an unlimited amount of cocktails and a suitcase of books. On really good days we end up in a faraway city having adventures and seeing things that we have only dreamed about.

My games of pretend of aren’t always about travel sometimes they are about aliens, pirates, time travellers, private investigators and a myriad of other things. I like to think that I still play ‘pretend’ as an adult because I have an active imagination. I see this as something that as required by anybody who wants to write and by somebody who is an active and vivacious reader.

I’ve had a few discussions recently with friends about reading and writing creative fiction and how it is really just an act of living vicariously through others. When I ‘play pretend’ I am not really being me I am being somebody else. Just like when I am reading a piece of fiction, for a few moments I am in the mind of somebody else therefore I am them.

At the end of these conversations I am left wondering if my enjoyment of ‘playing pretend’ is healthy? By pretending that I am heading off to an island in the South Pacific am I forgetting to pretend to be myself?

Silence Kills Me

169H Gratisography

Silence kills me. I am unable to study or work in silence. There is something about silence that distracts me. It’s the possibility of something happening that isn’t happening that distracts me the most.

So I listen to music. It can’t be just any kind of music though. When I am at uni I can sometimes hear other student’s music though their headphones and they might be listening to something that can be found in a club on a Friday or Saturday night and I have no idea how they can concentrate. The music that I listen while to working needs to have focus itself which helps to pin down my own focus.

I’ve started back at uni this semester. Between work and uni and everything else I want to do in a day I have to focus when I sit down to my work. I can’t waste a moment. If I do I fall behind, I stress and then end up hiding in my bed from all the work that has piled up.

This week I have decided to start out strong so I am listening to Band of Horses – Cease to Begin. It was recommended to me by a friend. I asked him to recommend me something to listen to and within seconds he replied without even thinking about it. It has everything that I look for in a study album; It is focused, stylistically consistent, fun to listen to and has lyrics that distract me only sometimes. The album starts out strong with Is there a Ghost. Islands on the Coast is a personal favourite and by the time Windows Blue has rolled around I’ve worked for a solid 35 minutes and I am ready for a quick study break before I press play again and keep on going.

‘Strayan, Mate!

Last night I was on Skype with two friends in London, they were both asking me when I plan on returning to the UK (no idea). One of them asked me if I considered myself to be English. My answer, of course was, “No. I’m a F**king Aussie, Mate” He was asking if Australians consider themselves to be English because we are still a constitutional monarchy with the Queen still on our coins and our head of state*. I found his question to be a little insulting, sure my language preferences on computer devices is usually set to English (UK) rather than English (US), and the Union Jack can be clearly found on the Australian flag but what goes on in England and with the Queen and her parliament has really little to do with what actually goes on down here. With the exception being during ashes season.

This post was originally going to be part rant part reflection on what it means to be Australian in the year 2014. It turns out that being Australian is actually a very complex thing. Our media is saturated with American and English TV programs, movies and music. Even our reality TV programs are all extensions of shows from overseas. I’m of the opinion that it is hard to hang on to a traditional sense of what being Australian means when we are influenced quite heavily by the going ons in other countries.

I was also going to talk about how I speak  ‘Strayan. Which ultimately means that I wear thongs on my feet, footy could refer to almost any sport than involves a ball and the possibility of that ball being kicked at some stage, and words like sook, vegemite, bottlo and tradie are used regularly and often. I know that I don’t always enunciate very well and that I tend to ask for a glass of ‘wata’ instead of a glass of water, but I know for a fact that I can speak better english then some English people I know. And how I don’t think my accent and choice of words is enough to build a national identity around.

I was then doing a little internet browsing and found Star Wars Downunder. It is a fan made star wars film set on a fictional Australia like planet, and follows Merv the Jedi on his quest to have a quiet one. Its part star wars parody part beer commercial. The production is pretty impressive for a fan made film and is worth watching just for hearing all the australianis and their interpretation in the subtitles.

 

 

*I should point out that his question was more about when a person might develop a different national identity after immigrating to a different country. His point was more specifically about when did the Australian identity emerge. That is a question I can’t really answer, it would be such an individual experience that would be hard to try and generalise.   

I Finally Get Around To Posting Something or How To Have An Interesting Blog.

I’ve been wanting to start this blog for some time and I have kept putting it off for many, many reasons: I don’t know what to write about; who will want to read what I write about; my writing skills aren’t that great; I’m not that interesting.

The other day William Zinsser’sOn Writing Well” had  been recommended to me. I haven’t had a chance to read it yet, but I did become curious as to who Zinsser was. I’d never heard of him before, who was he to write a book on writing? After a brief google search I came across a speech he gave at Deerfield Academy in 2010 titled “How to have an interesting life.

I am always eager to hear what older generations have to say about living an interesting life. It seems that in today’s social media world an interesting life seems to be about how many likes a post can get on Facebook or how many twitter followers a person has.  These older generations had interesting lives that they didn’t feel the need to share with strangers on a daily basis. It seems that it was enough to be just living that interesting life.  Zinsser described both the process of being interesting in his life and writing is seeing his “life as a product, It’s a continuing process.”

And that is how I want to see and approach this blog, and to be honest my own life. This shall be an evolving process. I’m unable to say what will come next or write I will write about. This is a process and it is nowhere near a finished product. I look forward to discovering how and what this little adventure evolves into.