Wednesday, April 21, 2010

The Internet is my enabler

I am addicted to doing nothing.

If I go too long without doing nothing I start to get the shakes. Dry mouth. Headaches.

If only there was some way to moderate my compulsion to do nothing. Maybe if I could learn how to weave doing something into the complex fabric of my doing nothing day... maybe then I could be free of this overwhelming desire to be useless.

One bright side to this addiction. It significantly reduces my carbon footprint!

On that note: Happy Earth Day, everybody! Let's all do nothing together!

Saturday, April 17, 2010

The Kindle Question

Until this morning it hadn't occurred to me I might want a Kindle. I am not entirely convinced, but I have found a reason: travel books. I bought a few last week. They are lovely documents, full of maps, and walking tours. And heavy. What if they weren't so heavy? And I could search them with a few clicks?

Oh! That is a very good reason to own a Kindle!

It is even possible to download content in the places I'll be travelling for a small fee. Or I could do it ahead of time, or bring along a USB cable.

I bet there are also some language books I could load on there. And periodicals that might be helpful on a trip.

(It occurred to me I could call it my Hitchhiker's Guide and stick a big "Don't Panic" sticker on it. However, it only took one internet search to see that this was not an original idea...)

So... if you're in the mood, talk to me about your Kindle, or about your not having a Kindle, or about an e-reader other than a Kindle. Is it worth saving up for?

Friday, April 16, 2010

Holy cow

I just booked our first real vacation. By real, I mean, just the 2 of us and for longer than a few days. It'll take about a week to get all of the confirmations back, so for now I'm keeping my fingers crossed that there will be no surprises.

We decided on Paris, Prague, and Rome.

Now I hyperventilate; it'll pass.

I've wanted to make a trip like this for a very long time. It's still a number of months away so I have lots of time to make elaborate plans about all the pictures I will shoot and how I might condense my baggage and also to learn key (polite) phrases in French and Italian and practice nodding and smiling a lot.

Breathe breathe breathe breathe.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Where in the world is Carmen San Diego?

My tendency to overplan is on overdrive.

Jer and I want to go on a vacation. We would like to go to a new country. Maybe two. We would like to spend a couple of weeks on this trip and are flexible on the timing. And that is about all I know for sure.

The problem is that the world is too big and there are too many interesting things to see.

I think we've finally narrowed it down to a continent. I think.

Another problem is that we each have different travel styles. I prefer frantic, constant stumbling into new experiences, spending little time in the hotel room. Jer prefers a... slower pace. Me = motion. He = viscous.

As I've mentioned here before, this month is our 10-year anniversary and we've never been on a vacation longer than a few days together. The closest was a trip to Hawaii in 2005 with Jer's very generous family.

Based on our previous trips our styles combine best when I have access to public transportation or when I'm within walking distance of the action. Tokyo was perfect. I took a day trip out to Kamakura and walked until I fell over. I only stopped to drink water, pay admission to temples and shrines, and to change the lens on my camera --my idea of a perfect travel day.

My husband is the most important person in my life. But. He would not have enjoyed that day trip. For example: you have a blister? Stick a Band-Aid on it and keep going. We are in JAPAN. You may never be back. You will see everything!

Lest you think, thanks for the warning we will never travel together (I'm afraid of scaring off Lily if she ever wants to do an Alaskan cruise), in my defense I am capable of restraining myself but I've learned it's best if we set up expectations up front. And at least let me run off every once in awhile. We will all be happier if you don't have to wait for me to take one billion pictures of the shrubbery. No matter how pretty the light.

One aspect of travel Jer and I both agree on is food. We like it. We would both like to eat more of it, thank you. Of course this has its limits too, like when I took the train out to a fish market at 6am to eat sushi for breakfast... Okay, so for the most part we agree on food.

Hm. So we've established I am crazy extreme travel lady and Jer is not. Now where in the world do we fit? As of this moment I lean towards Prague and Rome, but that is likely because the last two books I read featured elaborate scenes in those places and I am highly impressionable.

Hotel in city center plus food and drink plus photogenic environment, for the win.

Sunday, April 04, 2010

Finding a Good Place

I've been struggling with motivation and inspiration more than the usual amount. Trying to surround myself with beautiful things. I work best when I feel that what I am doing is important -- that it makes a difference and that it's necessary.

I share this like it's a revelation. I'm aware it's not a revelation.

When I lose the sense of urgency or when I'm not clear on the objective, motivation becomes murky. I do enough to get by and ride the wave of old successes. I learned that strategy in school... strike quick, show you know the answer and they'll leave you alone for the rest of the class. The result is a high grade and a notebook full of doodles.

School taught me to speak critically. I didn't learn to think critically until I left school.

I used to daydream about some sort of utopia where people could come together and learn and create and explore and dream. The closest reality I've been able to find are continuing education programs at community colleges. No grades, just people who want to be there.

It's simple to absorb all the day-to-day crap -- the news, our nature, the nastiness -- so it seeps into your soul. Sometimes I picture my soul growing blacker, like a snapshot of smoke damaged lungs. And if I had to identify the core of my latest motivational questioning, I'd have to say it's this: how do I scrub my soul clean?

Especially if I'm not even sure I have one. But that's not what we're wondering about here today.

To explain the title: utopia translates to a "good place."