Thinking Your Own Thoughts

I was on an airplane the other day having a hard time. I’m not a great flyer. The stress of nearly missing the flight did a toll on my body. I hadn’t slept much the night before. I was on a different timezone. The only food I had that day was hotel breakfast, coffee, beer, and some fried mac and cheese balls. I needed real food and space to move. My body was pissed.

I decided rather than trying to work or be productive on this late night flight where I felt like garbage, I’d just watch movies. I normally let a movie or a TV show on a flight be a treat rather than the norm. But on this flight, I needed to just keep my mind distracted from the various (understandable) whining happening in my body.

The only movie that looked interesting was “Leave No Trace.”

It was slow. The acting was great. The writing was refreshing. The cinematography was beautiful. And it was so different than so many blockbuster films I’ve recently seen. I loved it.

More importantly, it kept me from murdering my seat mate out of pure hungry rage. So that was nice.

leave no trace 2

There was a line in the movie that stuck out to me and has been in my head since I heard it (the sign of a really good story). In the film, the father and daughter purposely choose to live on the outskirts of society, wandering in the woods and staying off technology. At one point, their circumstances change and they have access to more technology. The daughter, who has spent more of her life completely off-the-grid, is somewhat anxious about what this means for their relationship to each other and to the world. The father assures her that, even with the distractions presented around them now, they can “still think our own thoughts.”

That line resonated with me. I’m by no means anti-technology. I participate (albeit often begrudgingly) in social media. I have a phone. I take my laptop on every trip I go on.

But I’m part of that older millennial generation that grew up in our formative years without it. I spent a lot of time looking out windows, playing in my back yard, creating stuff for the fun of it.

This is weird, but whatever – you’re here and reading this so you deserve a fun little weird tidbit. I used to love to lay upside down on a recliner and imagine that the world was flipped and the ceiling was the floor and the floor was the ceiling.

Yes, really.

The point is, I spent a lot of time thinking my own thoughts. I let my mind wander. My brain grew up with the understanding that it’s important to be present and it’s important to formulate your own thoughts and choose to spend your time in ways you feel drawn to (rather than are accidentally addicted to).

Like many people my age, I was an early adopter of texting and cellphone technology. I’ve been on YouTube, Twitter, and Instagram all almost since they started. I was even part of that generation that needed a college email in order to get a Facebook account.

Stories for another time.

The point is, I’ve let social media and technology interweave and change my brain and my lifestyle without much thought. And now that I’m realizing the repercussions of that, I’m trying to give it some thought. My own thoughts. Not the responses or reactions of other people that the web is inundated with.

When I heard that line from the movie, I realized that, out of habit, I tend to let my mind wander on other people’s thoughts and creations rather than letting it wander on my own musings and observations like it used to. I’ve swung the pendulum far too far in one direction and it’s time to come back the other way.

not a drill

A world without social media or technology isn’t a world that exists anymore. But I can choose to create a world that better balances its existence with my own priorities. I can create a world where I participate in technology but don’t let it control me.

I can choose to create a world where I still think my own thoughts.


Mercury in Retrograde

Friends! Get this! Last night I recorded a vlog. It was late at night. I was exhausted. I was basically explaining better what last week’s post was and the exciting upcoming changes to the Femoir podcast.

I was going to edit it this morning quickly so I could upload it for your viewing pleasure. When I opened up iMovie, it showed my recording but as I attempted to edit and play it back- it showed old recordings from Femoir stuff I thought I’d long since deleted from the computer.

I tried closing and reopening iMovie twice. Nothing changed. I tried playing around with settings and manipulating it. Nothing happened. I could hear my recording from last night, but I could only see other odd stuff.

To be honest- the recording wasn’t my best work anyway. So I decided to blame it all on Mercury in Retrograde

And to tell you that podcast changes are happening. Slowly but surely.

November’s podcasts will be excerpts from the novel I’m writing for NaNoWriMo.

December, we’ll start our new adventures as podcast buddies together.

Workout Trainer App

I downloaded it a few weeks ago, but I finally decided to give my “Workouts” app a try. It uploads new free workouts every week and they look pretty decent, so I figured why not.

I chose the ab workout routine. It was 12 minutes. The way it’s supposed to work, is there is a trainer’s voice you choose that coaches you through the workout, and you can refer to the given pictures as a guide as you move through it. It focuses on HIIT training, mostly, with different muscle groups getting blasted for different goals.

Some of the workouts are free and some of them you can upgrade the app and get. There is only one “free” trainer available and her name is Kim. As a stingy person, I wanted to try this product before I spent the extra few dollars to upgrade. So “Kim” and I got to work.

The thing is… “Kim” is a robot. She’s not even as believable sounding as Siri. She sounds like a Sit and Spell from 1996. So when “Kim” is saying “let’s go” and “good work” and “you can do it” and “a positive attitude will help you get through this” as dry as an amateur computer voice program from the early 90s, I can’t help but laugh.

I tried to get through the workout. I really did. I tried to use my excellent imagination to pretend that “Kim” was an actual person, but every time I heard her speak in her completely non-emotional computer way, I keeled over and started cracking up.

I doubt I’ll upgrade the software. It’s a great idea, but I have interval apps available that would do the same trick if I know the routines and moves. It’s a little more work on my part, but at least I know I can get through it without laughing to myself in the corner like an idiot.

And if you go to my gym and saw me in the multipurpose room losing my breath from laughter…that’s what I was listening to. Now you know.

And now you know, too.

Blogger chooses blog over social life

When some friends asked Henry Fetter if he wanted to go partying, he told them “no.” He felt it was the only responsible choice for the dedicated blogger, since it had been twelve hours since his last posting.

Fetter, who keeps a simple personal blog filled with mild and often conflicting opinions on every day people and events, has been dedicated to the project for almost a year now.

“It started because I felt like I needed my opinion to be heard,” Fetter explains. “I wanted to have an opinion on everything- even things that didn’t require it.”

The blog has required a great deal of his time in maintaining, leaving very little time for socializing and making friends. “As a blogger, you have to really dedicate yourself to this online identity,” says Fetter. “Normal people can go out and make friends and maintain relationships. But bloggers aren’t normal people.”

Despite the fact that very few people read it, Fetter is certain it will be picked up by the mainstream media anytime and transform into a sensation. And he wants to be ready at all times for that possibility. Thus he remains in his room, sitting, typing away, and hoping someone in the cyber world will notice.

Upon losing access to the internet, girl discovers she has her own thoughts

While in the process of moving apartments, Dana Ollinger lost access to the internet for a few days. Between not living in her old apartment and waiting for the new services to be set up, she was in this prehistoric-like waiting period where she lost much of her modern ability to communicate and connect to the world.

Within a day or so, Ollinger started beginning to have strange thoughts. Ideas would simply pop into her head while she was wandering around her apartment. She would find herself writing down these ideas in a “journal”-a written version of an online blog that is meant to be kept “private,” which means for only one or a few select people.

As she began writing in this journal, she quickly realized that she was hearing her own voice within her head coming up with all sorts of things to include on the pages.

The strange part about the voice was that it was her own.

For as long as she could remember, Ollinger’s mind had been distracted by constant access to the internet and the world of ideas and thoughts that are included. She had become accustomed to listening to other people’s opinions and ideas. It had never occured to her that in the process, she lost touch with her own well of ideas and opinions.

That is, until she was forcibly removed from the chatterbox of the internet. Shocked to find that she had her own thoughts and opinions outside of the internet, she began to be truly inspired. She began writing more stories and creating fun story lines.

Last Wednesday, however, her internet was finally set up again and Ollinger found herself once again lose touch with that creative spark inside. Now that she knows her own thoughts are inside her, though, she hopes to keep off the internet a little more than she did before.

That is, of course, after she watches a series of related YouTube videos and comments on them for an hour or two. Or five.

Woman not ashamed to coo at cellphone in public

Beatrice Winters is a proud new owner of the latest version of Apple’s iPhone, and she is not afraid to show it off. Her new phone, which she has named Elana, has become the light of her life.

Admitting that she may pay attention to it more than neccesary, Winters claims she is not ashamed to show the world how she feels about her new phone. After all it is her “baby.”

In fact, while she was recently commuting to work on public transit, Winters found herself cooing at the phone, like it were an adorable newborn baby that demanded love and attention. She quickly caught herself and hesitated for a moment, and then decided she didn’t care what others thought.

“I love my Elana,” she said. “I express it in a very distinct way, and I’m happy to share that love with the world.”

When reminded that Elana was simply a cellphone, and not actually a child, Winters covered the earpiece on the iPhone. Whispering angrily, she simply said, “Do not talk about her like that. She’ll get fussy and throw a temper tantrum and then I’ll have to reboot her and things will get ugly.”

Other than the occasional reboot, Winters could not be happier with her new, purchased, digital daughter. She adds, jokingly, “I’m just not looking forward to her teenage years!” She laughs to herself almost uncontrollably as she holds Elana close.

Smileychik33 shocks YouTube community by leaving neutral video comment

Adele, a 16-year-old honors student from Milwaukee, regularly watches YouTube videos like most kids her age. While watching the videos, she signs in as “smileychik33”, and often comments on each video after watching it.

“It’s clearly very important to have an opinion about each video you watch, and to share that opinion with the entire world,” she says. She explains that youth have grown up knowing how important it is that they share their voice and opinion with the rest of of the world by leaving comments and rating certain videos, no matter what endlessly shifting criteria they choose to use to rate them.

“Usually, you either write “LOL” or some combination of letters that make it obvious you’re laughing hysterically if you like the video, or you write something scathing and personally offensive,” Adele further explains. “The more you can personally insult both the people involved in the video project and the other people who have commented on it, the more effective your post is. Grammar, spelling, punctuation and factual evidence are not important.”

Last week, however, Adele-under her username “smileychik33”- decided to leave a comment under a video that was neither scathing nor a compliment. She simply wrote, “Watched it. Fine.”

Though the inclusion of the word “fine” may seem like she was approving of it, she assuredly answers that “fine” is neutral in the world of the internet. The attention-starved people who regularly put up and comment on videos need much more than “fine” to feel like their work has been approved of.

Her lack of opinion sent shockwaves throughout the YouTube community. A wave of other users immediately began to insult her neutrality, forcing her to take a side one way or another on the video so they could better come to rash decisions about how they felt about not only the video, but about her as a human being. After the wave of insults came another wave of users who defended Adele’s comment and retorted insults to those who were insulting her in the first place.

As the digital debate rages on, Adele remains neutral. “The video was fine. Nothing great, nothing horrible. Just fine. I refuse to add anything else to my comment,” she states.

For many YouTube users, however, her neutrality is “waiii not wiked kewl” and some consider her a “b^!@#”.

Man disappointed in function of stolen phone

A man who happened to stumble upon a lost Blackberry phone over the weekend is disappointed in its overall function. The man found the phone in the back of his taxi cab after being tipped over 30% in his last run of the night by a nice, innocent-looking female.

Rather than attempting to bring it back to her that night or being a good samaritan and turning it into the proper authorities, he chose to gut its SIM card and use it himself.

Unfortunately for him, however, the red Blackberry did not seem to be working properly. Not only was it pretty banged up, but it consistently erased his recent calls moments after he’d make a call. If he missed a call, it also did not say who called or record any number of the call, making him simply hope the caller left a message with a phone number. In addition, his “new” phone would periodically erase all text messages and emails, as if they had never existed in the first place without rhyme, reason, or warning.

Part of him wishes he had just returned the troublesome phone to the owner in the first place, rather than having a nasty karmic stain of stealing for such a pathetic phone. And, at least, maybe the friendly owner would have retained the key information she had in the SIM card that is now in the garbage.

But the other part of him loves the haughty status he now has through “owning” a Blackberry phone, no matter how poorly it functions.

In wake of tragic loss, Blackberry phone is remembered as loyal, consistent, and durable

It has been a tumultuous few days for the mother of lost blackberry phone, Velma. As the hours pass and various taxi companies confirm they have had nothing turned into them, Velma’s family has begun to slowly accept the tough fact that they will likely never see her again.

“It’s all my fault,” cries Velma’s mother of the incident. “She trusted me to keep her by my side. And I let her down.” Other family members try to comfort her by saying it was a simple accident. Some have even called it a “wardrobe malfunction” since she likely slipped out of a jacket pocket.

Nevertheless, Velma’s mother remains nearly inconsolable.

She recalls fond memories with her phone and constant companion of almost two years. She remembers dropping her numerous times, and each time Velma acted like nothing had happened. Velma made many phone calls that went through clearly, mediated many tough conversations made on the phone, and assisted in finding her mother great work throughout her tenure has cellphone.

“She will be dearly missed,” says Velma’s mother. “I think I’m going to finally upgrade to that iPhone I’ve always wanted, though…” she adds, with a glimmer of hope and excitement coming into her eyes for the first time.

And, like a new puppy bought in the wake of losing another in a feeble attempt to replace it, this new phone will be named Velma II. And Velma’s mother will guard it with her life.

Woman loses cell phone, sends out amber alert

A young woman, who has chosen to remain anonymous for security reasons, experienced tragedy on Sunday very early morning as she was returning home from casual drinks with her friends. She lost her cell phone.

Her voice quivers still as she recounts the horror of the moments between using her beloved device and realizing it was no longer on her person.

“I was making a phone call as I was being driven home by my taxi. I paid the fare, tipped way too much because I was feeling generous, and went upstairs to my apartment.” Her eyes, still red from the waves of almost nonstop tears, begin to tear up as she continues, “That’s when I checked my jacket pockets and it was gone.” Her emotions get the better of her and there is a long, pregnant pause.

Currently without a roommate and unable to make any phone calls of any kind, the woman was completely unsure what to do. She immediately emailed the police with her situation and told them to put out the Amber alert, traditionally used for missing children.

“I felt it was appropriate to use this tactic when searching for my Velma,” she says referring to her trusty companion. “I am excrutiatingly inconvenienced right now without her. And distraught. I need the community help me out as much as possible. Time is of the essence in cases like these.”

After notifying the proper authorities, the woman says she retraced her steps, walking back outside to the curb where the taxi first dropped her off. She claims to have stood there for long spurts of time, very likely leaving herself open to a gentlemen getting the wrong idea of her agenda at the corner. She says she was simply hoping the driver would swing back over and hand Velma back within the hour.

Instead, she pulled over another taxi and had a long chat with possible tactics before asking a random man in a car driving by for the use of his phone. Hoping the man was not an axe murderer, she dialed the phone several times. The somewhat tipsy good sumaritan consistently offered the woman a seat in the car, which she happily refused as she stood outside eyeing her door while constantly calling. Velma was likely staying rather quiet in the back seat, however, since she had been placed on “vibrate-only” mode. The kind, drunk man asked the woman if she needed a ride home, still unable to grasp-despite her consistent answers-that she was already home. She thanked him once again and ran upstairs to her apartment…once he was out of sight.

She admits that Velma had been getting older lately and had been acting up quite a bit, but she insists that her phone had remained steadfast and loyal until its disappearance.

The woman insists that the inconvenience and headache caused by a lost cell phone can only be compared to the dramatic feeling of something like having your leg removed during the civil war in order to save the rest of your body from infection. Sure, you may get a wooden replacement and will be able to hobble the rest of your life, but you’ll always miss your original part. And the world will never look the same.