Why I Am Still On The Internet

I haven’t been blogging in a while, and there’s a few good reasons for it.

I don’t have much to blog about. I traditionally blogged about books, and I haven’t been reading much (this is going to change soon). More recently, I’ve been blogging more about my personal life, and that is mostly just school–which isn’t particularly exciting, mostly stressful.

But more recently, I’ve started to lose a little faith in the internet. In a strange turn of events, my activity on Facebook has increased dramatically. Mind you, most of my feed is posts from the pages I follow, which are Hamilton, Nerdfighter, and Vancouver related.

Most of these are pretty good posts that I can scroll through aimlessly, but every once in a while there are posts that make me lose my faith in humanity. They might be confession posts about awful things that people have done, or people enraged about something they saw or was victim to. But either way, they remind me that there is a lot of hate in the world right now. There is a lot of hate and fear and refusing to see from other people’s perspective.

The simple solution is simply to disengage from these media. And I’m making efforts to do that.

But I’m not going to give up on the Internet entirely.

I so often forget that the Internet is a space, that, while not physical, is made up of different regions. That I can choose what media I am exposed to and in what places I find myself in.

And there are media that I really enjoy on the Internet. I like watching TEDTalks and watch vlogbrothers. I like listening to podcasts and communicating with family and friends on other sides of the world through the Internet.

And I can hear the protests about the echo chamber and how the echo chamber of the internet is why the world is so full of anger and othering. But I was recently in a situation where I wouldn’t have known what to say if I wasn’t on the internet.

My friend from the US recently got in a fight with her friend because she is moving to Canada, and her friend who is remaining in the US called her a coward.

I myself have mixed feelings about what should be done and the appropriate circumstances for fleeing, but that’s not what she needed to hear at the moment. So, instead, I took an idea I learned from CGPgrey. This is what I told her:

I think everyone is struggling right now to separate the people they know from the political opinions they have. We forget that we aren’t our opinions, there’s more to a person than that. But right now, with all this political turmoil, it’s hard to look beyond the politics.

For those who are curious, here’s the CGPgrey video I thought of (it’s at 1:10):

While my message to my friend and CGPgrey’s message are different, what I learned about opinions and self and how that lends itself to being an open-minded person really helped me and helped my friend.

And though it is sort of circular, this seems to be the only way to stay on the Internet and keep my sanity: I approach it with the open-mindedness I’ve learned and stay in media that either nurture it or allows for some critical approach rather than shutting down all other opinions and viewpoints.

Also, to cut down my time on the internet to make time for reading. (I need to finish my re-reading of Shades of Magic series before A Conjuring of Light comes out.)

Advertisements

DO MORE! Pt. 2 (A Rough Start)

the short story

2017 gets a rough start. But, one out of five ain’t bad, right?

Right?the long storySo a few weeks ago, I set up some resolutions for myself for 2017, and here’s the first update of them as they evolve. To recap, they were:

  1. Read 2 1/2 books a month to satisfy by Goodreads goal of 30 books in 2017.
  2. Try going to a gym.
  3. Write 400 NEW words each week.
  4. Write a new post every week.
  5. Pick a song to cover, and practice once a week.

And how did I do? Well…

I read ~4 1/2 books in January. Two of them were audiobooks: Ready Player One and Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe. In hardcopy, I read Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon, I’m almost done Illuminae by Amie Kaufman, and I’m halfway through The Bad Beginning of Lemony Snicket’s Series of Unfortunate Events.

I did not go to the gym. Most of my time in January was consumed with schoolwork, and I blame myself for not making time for exercise. To be fair though, I had to work harder on certain days to make room for trips to the local mountains for snowshoeing, which was a solid workout of hiking in snow for several hours. I even tried skiing with my roommates as instructors and by the end of the day, I made it down a green run without falling, so I consider that a win. (And a sufficient replacement, in my opinion, I am incredibly sore right now.)

This isn’t sustainable, in terms of the time dedicated to go to the mountains and the money spent renting gear, but I definitely enjoyed the sports. For February, I need to find a more sustainable way of exercise.

And now we’re getting to the sad part of this post.

I wrote a whopping 150 words of my story since I wrote the initial post a few weeks ago, and I am disappointed in myself. I was in sort of a writer’s block this month, but I do have some world building floating around in my head, and I need to get that down on paper.

I wrote one other post last month, meaning I only wrote one post in two weeks. I’m about 50% of the way there though, so not too bad. Like the story-writing goal, I have ideas in my head about what to blog, but I haven’t gotten to it yet.

And the most disappointing of all, I didn’t even touch musicI listened to plenty, but I didn’t touch an instrument this month. The closest I got was singing to Adele with my roommates.

So for February, what’s the plan? Mostly, it’s the same, with a slight modification to (2):

  1. Read 2 1/2 books a month to satisfy by Goodreads goal of 30 books in 2017.
  2. Find a sustainable form of exercise and perform regularly
    1. Try a gym
  3. Write 400 NEW words each week.
  4. Write a new post every week.
  5. Pick a song to cover, and practice once a week. 

Funnily enough, I found that while snowshoeing, (less so with skiing due to a fear of falling) I was able to get out of my head, and it was great for my mental health, which wasn’t so great this month. I’m not diagnosed with anxiety or depression, but I know I can overthink things and it fills my head until it affects my decisions and physical health. But snowshoeing definitely got me out of my head more than meditation (I’ve tried meditation–all I got was a ton of ideas swirling in my head).

Hopefully I can keep up with them for February. Wish me luck!

Did you make resolutions for 2017? How are they going?

DO MORE!, part 1 (or, my resolutions for 2017)

the short storyI vow to do more in 2017.

…after procrastinating thinking really hard about it for the first two weeks. the long story

I wasn’t prepared for 2017. And I know that sounds ridiculous, but really, I wasn’t prepared for what 2017 meant. I’ve never been prepared for what the New Year brings.

January always has this feeling of change in the air, and for the most part, I tended to ignore it, probably because I thought it was dumb to vow change on an arbitrarily picked beginning of the year.

But if the date was what bothered me, I never really made an effort to make changes at other times in the year. I’ve been so…stagnant for so long, in so many ways.

When I thought about what made 2016 really bad was that I was always focused on work or school. While I was at work, I reserved all my energy for work and nothing else. When I got back to school, I reserved all my energy for school and nothing else.

I’ve done this for years, especially after I finished high school. In high school, I was able to balance school work, student council, badminton, countless novels, and play guitar. And somewhere, I fell off the wagon.

This really hit me last term, when I was in a constant state of indifference and stress. I suspect I put so much effort into my final project for my English class because it was a happy change from constant studying. (Fun side note: my project was a series of songs about Game of Thrones, one titled “The North Remembers”, which I made up a demo of, and you can listen to here.)

And so this year, I’ve decided to do more–not necessarily in energy or how much time I spend in my day (I don’t want to wear myself into the ground), but I want to do a greater variety of things.

And I’m going to start small. Proclaiming I’m going to do something for the next 12 months is a large commitment, and that’s kind of scary. I think at the beginning of each month, I’m going to restate my goals for the year, with changes as necessary.

For January (and the two weeks I have left in it) my goals are as follows:

Goodreads reading goal: 30. I can change this number as the year continues, but I think 30 is good number to aim for at the moment–about 2 1/2 books a month.

Try going to a gym. Of all the things I’ve neglected, it’s always been my physical fitness. I was actually a bit better since I started cycling to school, but then it got too cold and icy to cycle. I would prefer to just cycle in the nearby parks, but it still is cold in Vancouver. And the rain is going to settle in soon. I haven’t tried going to a gym before, but I might like it. If not, I’ll look for other avenues of exercise.

Write 400 NEW words each week. This isn’t to say blogging isn’t writing, but I read somewhere (I think this is Terry Pratchett’s writing advice) that 400 words is the minimum for a scene. Committing to 400 words means getting to the cusp of a scene and therefore likely writing over that to finish and flush out the scene. I also tend to be circular in my writing by editing instead of writing new material.

Write a new post every week. (Not including this one.) When I first started blogging, I was so enthusiastic about it. I would post several times a week. It enhanced my reading experience, it made me self reflect and think. I want to be able to do that again, without feeling like I’m dragging myself through a post.

Pick a song to cover, and practice once a week. Something simple. Something I know. It doesn’t have to be fancy or a special arrangement. But I know I need to start somewhere.

And that’s it for now. Looking at this list makes me feel both over- and underwhelmed.  I’ve very aware that I’m studying to graduate this May, so school might get in the way, but the overall goal is balance. I want to be able to do all these things, eventually, and hopefully at a higher level than described here. But even a little progress is progress.

I Love My Group | The Last Year of University Pt. 7

the short storyWhen it comes to randomly chosen groups, I’ve been very lucky.
the long story

I hate group assignments. I know it’s because I micromanage like crazy. High school may have had something to do with it too. I was always in groups of people who didn’t care.

Of course, this is made worse when groups were randomly picked.

And this happened to me this semester.

And I love my group.

None of us really knew each other before we were brought together as a group,  but we worked well together from the beginning. No problems with one person doing most of the work, or arguing about someone not contributing.

What’s more, we had great chemistry. One time, after finishing the assignment, we stayed around talking for three hours. We liked hanging out with each other. We had inside jokes and teased each other and got along really well.

This oddly corresponds to how it turned out with my roommates. We all get along really well, and for Christmas, we decided to go out for dinner and out to the local light show at VanDuesen Gardens.

Our landlady says we’re the friendliest group she’s had, since past groups of girls just lock themselves in their rooms. This sort of makes sense, because despite living in the same house, none of us knew each other prior to moving in. But we all get along, with similar interests and courtesies.

I’m working and living with people who get along really well. And, with my previous experience in similar situations, I know that I’ve been very, very lucky.

Dobby Is Free! | The Last Year of University Pt. 6

the short storylbd

the long story

I HAVE COMPLETED THE WORST SEMESTER OF MY LIFE!

Setting aside that it was the only semester I had in 2016, which instantly labels it as freaking awful, this semester sucked on a number of levels:

  • Six courses in my attempt to complete all the credits I need for graduation
  • One of which is a chemistry lab, which is very technical and consumed >50% of my effort for only one measly credit (but I had to take it for my degree)
  • Five finals, several of which counted for ≥50% of my final grade
  • Two gruelling papers
  • Very little spare time to do things I like, like read, write, or play music

The breaking point was sometime in November, which is when I stopping blogging for NaBloPoMo because I just couldn’t find time or energy to do it. I would spend all day studying or doing errands, and then go to bed. It just wasn’t fun.

BUT THAT IS OVER AND IT IS CHRISTMAS BREAK AND I SLEPT IN FOR THE FIRST TIME IN MONTHS.

There are a lot of posts I’ve been meaning to write and books I’ve been meaning to read and things I’ve been meaning to do, and I finally have the time to do them!

In other words…
dobby_is_free