Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Tales from Driving

Every Tuesday morning, I try to leave at 8:27am to go teach a piano lesson at one of my student's homes. Once, a few months ago, I followed a champagne-colored Lincoln Town Car all the way from the back roads near my house to Capitol Boulevard, where I got on I-440, and the Town Car (fittingly) headed on towards downtown Raleigh. The Town Car had customized plates that said, "BABE&DON." At first, I mistook the 'd' for an 'o' also, and wondered what "BABE&OON" meant... and my early morning brain, presented with nearly 20 minutes of speculation as I followed that car, began to wonder if it meant "BABE" and "BABOON." (Yes, sadly, that was how my brain was working.) 

A few weeks later, on another Tuesday morning, the same car turned just in front of me onto a road VERY near my house, and I got to follow the car all the way to Capitol again. This time my caffeine had kicked in a little better, and I finally realized that it actually was "BABE&DON." As my interest was piqued by seeing the exact same car on my route again, I tried to discern what I could about the driver. All I could see was that the hair was short. I settled that it was "Babe." As my luck would have it, the car chose a different lane at a stoplight on Capitol, and I got a chance to more closely inspect the driver. It was clearly not "Babe," but "Don." He had short, spiky gray hair, and a long, thin face that somewhat reminded me of one of the bad guy Russians in "Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull."

Since then, I have been followed by "Don" and he must always be running late when I see him, because he likes to tailgate. It's not very pleasant to feel like you're being trailed by an angry Soviet on your Tuesday mornings. This morning, Don had a fairly large animal carrier/cage in his backseat (a first) and I wondered what kind of animal he might have in it... this is where, should I allow my imagination to get carried away, I could seriously disturb myself. I will try to refrain, and next time I see Don, simply imagine something as harmless as what "Babe" might look like.

By the way, in a quick search on imdb.com, I found the actor, Igor Jijikine.


With slightly longer spiky hair, he would look just like Don!

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Managing the Internet

The internet is certainly an amazing invention. Whether we are the better for its existence is up for debate, but I think it can be a useful tool. It can also be a serious time-waster, sucking up hours of your time browsing anything from pictures of Ireland's landscapes, to how to dye your hair yourself; decadent recipes to the next movie you want to see.... or even just staring at your Facebook homepage waiting for the ticker to give you another instant update. Don't even get me started on how many ways there are to kill time on Facebook. 

I got really fed up with Facebook, and how much time I was wasting personally. I had tried limiting myself, but Facebook had become such an automatic, that I would get on and be 5 minutes in before I even remembered that I wasn't supposed to be there. Then I "un"-remembered myself, so I would have to enter my password every time I wanted to get on, hoping that would jolt me out of my automatic haze and remind me not to get on Facebook 10 times a day. For some reason it started remembering me again without my permission (either Facebook is evil or I'm just completely computer un-savvy... or both). So I deactivated it. 

Since I've deactivated Facebook, I've noticed myself wasting time on the internet other ways (although Facebook was still worse) so now I'm working on some rules for myself. I want to strictly limit my computer time. I'm pretty sure that in a typical day I can fit all my useful computer activity into an hour. This would include checking and answering emails (business and personal), reading any new blog posts on the blogs that I follow, checking Facebook (BRIEFLY!), and occasional online banking, searches for recipes or looking up words (because I do that all the time, and I like using the online dictionary). It does NOT include writing blog posts, because I can't write a blog post in just a half hour. (Surely you've noticed how wordy I am... you have no idea how much I write and then delete. Be grateful. This could be SO much longer...)

I don't miss Facebook yet, and even though I've been wasting time browsing Craigslist for bicycles and antique furniture, I haven't wasted as much time as I did with Facebook. I'm going to start my hour-a-day computer managing strategy, adjust it as needed and eventually add Facebook back in. I'll let you know how it goes, and if you have any time management techniques, specific to computer time or not, I'd love to hear about it in the comments!