Archive for the ‘obsession’ Category

On taking control of one’s internet identity

September 28, 2007

Privacy? What’s that?
Somehow I came upon this fascinating take on managing one’s internet persona. It’s here. Since clicking on links seems to be not a very engaged in practice (how’s that for passive voice?) I’ll quote at length. As someone that writes an “anonymous” blog I found this fascinating:

controlling your public appearance

In the last month, I’ve received almost a dozen panicked emails from people who had commented on my blog at one point or another and were horrified to find that their comment was at the top of Google’s search for their name. In each case, I have respectfully altered the comment to an anonymous name. I prefer not to remove these comments because this leaves holes in my blog, especially when others’ comments are based on those earlier comments. Unfortunately, most of these people do not understand how Google’s cache works and write back in rage that it’s not fixed. I politely try to inform them that Google’s cache can take months to update and I cannot do anything to speed this up.

When people bitch about MySpace and Facebook being walled gardens, one of the positive things that I offer in return is, “at least those teens’ profiles aren’t in Google’s cache.” With Facebook’s opt-out decision, this is no longer the case. As I mentioned yesterday, I’m a bit terrified of what this might mean long-term. (more…)


Scanning the Horizon For Black Ink

June 25, 2007

Dear Diary,

I think we might be doing too much laundry. It seems it’s all I do. Of course, this is one of the first times in my life that I’ve done multiple loads of laundry in a row, so that may have something to do with it. Maybe we’re wearing too many clothes. And then there’s the dishwasher. Its hunger knows no bounds. Forever gorging and disgorging flatware and china.

Everything is mixed up. I went to a new gas station. Who knew that gasbuddy could point out a station right under my nose, even closer than the habitual haunt, with cheaper gas. In fact, looking at some old receipts I was appalled, simply appalled at the price I’ve been paying for gas.

But this Saturday, intoxicated by the sheer madness of a mid-day gas purchase, I forgot the receipt, so my number crunching will have to wait another day. My number-cruncher alter-ego is seething with anticipation. We bought the gas at high noon. It was about 83 degrees Farenheit. Twenty full degrees warmer than the usual Saturday run. So it was, perhaps, high volume gas. How will I ever sort it out the cost-benefit analysis?

What strange ways I’ve taken up. Pulling plugs out of sockets without a thought. Driving 55 m.p.h. (but trying not to piss people off, if possible). Being very aware of when I can coast down a hill. Noticing with no small amount of smugness the other drivers ludicrously weaving in and out, spilling their precious fuel — and then arriving at the light at the same time as I do. Thinking very seriously about whether we are laundering too much.

Have I studied a whit for the EPPP, the national licensing exam for psychologists? No. Not of late. I have drifted into a fringe subculture of frugality, blogging, and plug pulling. Does this mean that I am figuratively “pulling the plug”? One wonders.

I wonder if there is a parody of personal finance sites out there. There must be, no. Maybe an Onion piece? This drifting into the trees, losing sight of the forest. I have lost sight of the budget. Just for a few days, but it nags at me. The budget. There’s where the goodies are. Not this niggling penny pinching. The big plans, the straight and narrow, the total control — the end of debt. How far off is it? When shall we strike it? Like a sailor up the rigging, looking for land, I scan the horizon for black ink. Thirsty.

10 Entertainments On the Cheap

June 8, 2007

A budget can be a bit of a constraint. It takes some time to wear one in. Here are some ideas to entertain yourself whether the money’s running thin or walking tall.

  1. Make a paper wallet. There are so many ways to go geeky with this. Wrapping paper. Graph paper. You could actually write and track your cash expenses on the actual wallet. If you love stationery you might already know about this nutty website. Lots of fun stuff. You could print some of it out and make a wallet out of that. Go wild.
  2. Feeling like your life is too cluttered up? Have a glance at this image, and take a deep breath. Perhaps meditate on it. This is a veritable visual symphony on consumerism.
  3. Another one from Stumble. Spot a lie! It’s fun, but I wouldn’t take the conclusions this person draws too seriously. Any time you make rules about human behavior you’re just asking for it.
  4. Meditate. Learn from a very credible meditation teacher. He’ll even has a format for keeping a meditation journal. And he’ll respond to your journal. So much of what is written about this practice is second-hand at best. This guy is the real deal.
  5. For goodness sake get away from the computer. Take a walk. Go for a swim. Ha.
  6. After your lungs have been stretched a little and you’ve rinsed the salt water out of your hair, settle down into a comfortable chair and read a great essay. Make a fresh cup of coffee.
  7. Take care of your brain. Part of what’s nice about meditation is that occasionally it can take you out of verbal thinking mode. Just for a moment. If you’re fretting about budgeting and how to squeeze a nickel and reading how-to lists, I think it’s fairly safe to say, both as an average joe and a pscyhotherapist that you have a tendency to get lost in verbal mode. You drive along and remember nothing about the scenery, swept away by cognition. This can have the effect of actually disconnecting you from reality. (Fixed, false belief equals delusional.) While distinctions about what is right-brain and what is left-brain are usually facile and oversimplified there are some general rules that tend to hold. You can use right-brain activities to interrupt the rabid click click clicking of the calculating left brain. So paint a picture. Scribble in a notebook. Listen to music. Open a jar of cloves, close your eyes and take a deep breath. The left brain gets a lot of press in our culture. It’s the bean counter. The planner. Give it a break.
  8. Go to a museum on free admission day. If you live in New York City check out the Frick. I love that place.
  9. Lost for words? Are you needing to kick that left brain into gear? Try this random word generator.
  10. Bury yourself in the delightful arcana of the rational scientific worldview. This is its own peculiar form of escapism.

On Obsession and Frugality

May 19, 2007

I’m afraid frugal isn’t a pretty word. It conjures up images of people reusing garbage can liners, unplugging every appliance before they go to bed (I’ve started doing this, sparing the refrigerator). In other words, when we focus exclusively on one aspect of our lives things can get a little, err, ritualistic. Which is okay, in measure.

Here’s a piece by Scott McCloud, totally unrelated to frugality, but brilliantly illustrating (pun intended) some of the things that fuel unbridled obsession. I hope you’ll take the time to read it. It’s that good.