31 October, 2009

Crows walking across the street

Why do crows sometimes elect to walk when they could fly? Seems incredibly wasteful. They just take it for granted?

That would have been a witty status update if I were still on facebook. Instead it's a lame blog entry.

-- Posted from my iPhone

30 October, 2009

The greatest social networking experiment of them all...

I am on hiatus from Facebook. It was as of yesterday, but that needs to be revised to being as of today, because I decided that I should at least set my notifications so that I'll receive an email if people try to contact me. Otherwise, it's just kind of rude.

The reason?

Well, I have to give credit to a friend with whom I was discussing this topic over lunch yesterday. She'd said she quit doing all forms of social networking. Since I tend to think that most of her ideas are good ones, I figured I'd copy her once again, and see if it works for me. Actually that's only half joking. The reality is that I have felt disconnected for some time now. And I am not sure why. My social circle seems to have shrunken, and my eagerness to reach out to people is also diminished. I rarely make phone calls, and rarely send emails either. I don't even really try to make plans with people. Part of this, I am sure, is because once you settle into a stable relationship, there's a bit of nest building that occurs. But that doesn't explain all of it. I think it's possible that the illusion of connection that I obtain via pushing pixels around on Facebook serves as a substitute for real contact with people.

For a long time now, my spare time has been spent in front of a computer. Tuning out. Not creating anything. Just throwing hours down a well without even the benefit of the wishing. I sit and lament the things I could be doing instead but am not. It used to be that the internet was like an amusement park - like Disney World. Around every corner, there was something new and exciting to discover. Some place to throw my obsession. But much like Disney World, after you've been enough times, the rides start to look like what they really are: big hunks of gaudy metal and plastic, selling the illusion of fun and happiness, while everyone is lined up like cattle to experience the same predictable show. I am pretty sure that ceased to be a metaphor about half way through the last sentence.

But I decided that I don't want my hours to be spent starting at a Disney World of the mind. I hate Disney World. I am pausing for a moment to amuse myself with the fact that I will probably get lots of hits on this blog from people searching for Disney World. That's somewhat entertaining.

I may waste those hours anyway. I am not sure that watching Netflix, or exercising, is much more noble of a pursuit than perusing Facebook. I am not sure if writing entries in this blog, for either 3 friends, 5 strangers, or no one to read is better than "tweeting" on Twitter. But at least those are experiences that take me somewhere. I have something to show for them. Maybe. Maybe not. I really don't know. Depending on where you stick your threshold line for "what is worthwhile", you could argue that anything we do is an acceptable use of our time or, conversely, that nothing we do matters, and that we're all nothing but ants crawling over one another. Depends on where you position your camera.

From 10,000 feet, lovemaking and brutal murder look remarkably similar.

05 October, 2009

Seattle, Broadstripe, Monopolies, and Feeling Fleeced

Seattle believes strongly about monopolies among its utility companies. So strongly, in fact, that they divided the city into a bunch of mini-monopolies. By neighborhood, there is only a single cable tv/internet provider. Some neighborhoods use Comcast. And some use Broadstripe. Comcast is the giant national corporation. Broadstripe is a more regional company that, as an internet provider, causes one pause when you consider that their own website looks like it was designed by a 5th grader; not a good sign for an actual internet provider.

I have the misfortune of living in a Broadstripe neighborhood. What that means is, while people a mile away from me are paying $29.99 a month, or even $19.99 for high speed broadband internet, I am paying over $60 a month for the same service. And there are never any specials. They don't recognize or compete with Comcast, because there is no competition. They are serving completely distinct areas. So the companies win, and the consumer loses.

To make matters worse, this overpriced internet has been delivering abysmal performance for the past several months. My "broadband" service, which is supposed to be delivering 1.5Mbps (actually, it may even be specified at 3.0Mbps) has been routinely operating at 0.3Mbps. You can't even watch Netflix on this, without having it reload every 3 minutes, causing frustration like you can probably imagine.

Finally, after tolerating this for months, I decided to do another canvassing of the available alternatives, and discovered that the DSL plans in the area have now come down in price to the point that I am willing to roll the dice and see if Qwest is any better. I cannot imagine it will be worse.