I Need to Unplug

29 01 2009

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I’d consider myself fairly patched into the grid. You can search for me on Google, and get something fairly accurate. I do nearly everything online: search for restaurants, get maps of the world, watch TV shows. In fact, when we first moved into our house three years ago, the cable guy said he could connect our TV that night. We told him it was more important to connect the Internet. We didn’t get cable TV for another three days, and later cancelled it anyway.

There are many a days where I feel like a character from the Matrix: weaving my way in and out of weird places on the Internet, looking for the answer to the ultimate question. Of course, regular life isn’t as exciting as a multi-million dollar cult movie, but I still can’t help but feel the similarities. I’m sure I’m not alone. Most of my waking day is near a computer of some form or fashion. Thus is the world we have made for ourselves.

I find it difficult to remember a time when computers were still a hobby for most people, or when most technologies were based on analog foundations. Can you remember how it was in a time before cell phones? Life is more convenient in many cases now, but I still can’t help but wonder if this is the right direction for society to move towards.

I still love what I do, being in on the edge of technology and being there for the next big thing. But, working in a field that changes on almost a daily basis takes a toll. Add in other life interests and children, and there is not a whole lot of downtime factored in there. As such, it is easy for someone like me to become overloaded.

Many days, I find that my brain just can’t do everything it needs to do in order to grok the latest information of the day and deal with family issues and still try to work on things that I find personally enjoyable. I’ve had a backlog of personal todos for quite a while, but I find that I haven’t been able to make a significant dent in any of them.

This may sound like a problem whose solution is the GTD system. While I like the idea, I never really seem to modify the system to work for me. I think I’m not trying hard enough. Maybe I’m just too tired of looking for the next system that will work for me. Always looking for the next big thing is part of my job and career and life, and not doing that is tough.

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I want to be more proactive in tackling things from here on out. But, still, I feel that I (not to mention my family) is in dire need of a true vacation. So, we’re going to head out to the Islands of Hawaii in the next couple of months. We’re going to do our share in helping the american economy as much as we can (it’s just one excuse we joke about). And while this trip was a spur of the moment decision, as the days approach, I find myself more and more excited. I feel like a kid on Christmas day; a feeling I don’t think I’ve allowed myself to have for many years. It feels good. But still, I wonder if these feelings arise because we’re going to travel to a whole new part of the world for us, or is it due to the simple fact that we’re going to Hawaii. The reason I wonder is because I really think I’m more excited to go just to be away from everything for two whole weeks. Instead of just taking a week off here or there, and taking care of things at home, really pack up, get out and don’t think about the grid for a while. That is something I haven’t done in a long time, and frankly, it’s probably going to feel like trying to break a bad habit cold turkey. In the long run, it will be better for my to unplug from the grid for a while and try to soak in some tropical nature. I can’t wait. And, neither can my family. Aloha!

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Princesses must be housed accordingly

4 01 2009
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Before Extreme Makeover

In the past three years since we’ve lived in our current house, I have managed a painting project, on average, twice per year. I have single-handedly added a bit of color to an otherwise drab-white color scheme. I tend to like wild, solid colors, but those don’t work to well for housing interiors sometimes. Besides, if had left the internals of the house plain white (or the default off white color from the builder) I would have gone mental a long time ago. Some will argue that I already have gone mental: that’s another topic. As far as the house painting goes, I was first tasked with painting the entire downstairs area, visible to visitors and guests. The entire painting job was done by me, myself and I with some help from my then pregnant wife. I managed to go from masking to painting in 24 hours. It was not pretty. I was not pretty after that. I didn’t think I would ever paint again, but, like all things, time tends to heal wounds, even psychologic wounds caused by bad planning.

The next rooms turned out better and better over time as I had gotten the hang of masking to save time later. So, while still not perfect, each painted room in the house looked a bit better than the previous one. The colors help set the tones for each room, and give a bit of variety to an otherwise common house. While most rooms are still in the “mostly done” stage, they are a lot more fun and colorful.

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After Surgery

The last room that remained to be painted was the girl’s bedroom. We had high hopes in transforming their bedroom into something every girl would want. I wanted them to have a bedroom that they would look fondly on in their older years as a room they cherished. So far, it hasn’t happened for one reason or another. Whether it was because we (the parents) were busy with work, or just tired, I think mainly it was because I hadn’t spent the time to put a plan of action or a color scheme together that would be to our girl’s standards. (When did they get so picky?) I had planned on making them some sort of princess themed room, despite my best efforts to convince them otherwise. We ended up with some pretty nice colors from the official palette of Disney colors from the Home Depot. And so, yesterday afternoon, I set forth to complete a task that I had started three years ago: to paint the house for every member of the family. The journey has been long, and wrought with disappointments, trials and tribulations. Its also been really tiring. Every time I paint a room, I find more muscles I never knew I had. But, pain in temporary, and the rooms will at least be that way for a few years. I think next time they want to paint their rooms, they are going to have to help a lot more.