The Internet Ruins Lives

love-of-the-internet

I’m trying out this new idea, an hour at a time:

Zero internet.

For an hour.

No checking email, no Twitter, no Facebook. No CBS Sports, no New York Times, no CNN. No following a rabbit trail from Eugene’s 10-Day Forecast on the Weather Channel’s site to Antonio Brown’s Facebook Live fiasco to Youtube’s “The Netherlands Welcomes Trump In His Own Words” (which, trust me, is worth 4 minutes and 4 seconds of your life).

But it’s SO difficult. Especially while writing on a laptop. I go to research something related to my writing, say, Hiroshima 1945, and suddenly I’m reading about how to make sushi with Willamette Valley trout, then off to a fly-fishing trout video filmed in western Montana, then how to pack raft down the Escalante River in Utah.

Wait, what was I talking about?

Right, the internet.

Yes, I recognize the irony of writing about no internet while posting on a blog…on the internet.

Meta.

But this is real. The addiction. The distraction that is the little guiding Safari compass or gorgeous little orange Firefox wrapped around a globe of pure, pure blue. I want to click them. I want to click them so badly.

Yet, I’ve found a way not to be on the internet, using a mantra. Each morning – when I get up to write, to write a real book, a manuscript, not a post or status update, but a real book – I say this to myself:

“The internet is broken. The internet is very, very broken right now.”

But sometimes I don’t believe myself, so I have to be emphatic:

“The internet is broken WORLD WIDE RIGHT NOW!!! So there’s no possible way it’ll work for the next hour. You can’t search or click anything. You can’t check your notifications.”

The only thing is, sometimes my finger acts of its own volition, just drags that little arrow down, down, down – to the toolbar at the bottom of the screen – and sometimes I even click that internet icon without meaning to and a page pops up, and…

I yell: HIT “COMMAND Q” BEFORE GOOGLE LOADS!

Damn. What is this internet thing, anyway? This vapid little pill?

I used to have a wrestling teammate in college who’d tried crystal meth once – only once, back when he was seventeen years old – and he talked about it for the rest of his life. He said, “There’s nothing like it. Nothing at all. And all I want to do is do it, do it all the time, every single night. I think about it all the time.”

I nod and smile. Say, “Yes, I know what you’re talking about. I too have this little addiction.”

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Bridge Jumping: On Writing and Failure (pics and video)

I jumped off of a bridge into the Willamette River after school the other day. It was a cold water day – snow run-off – but some young people wanted to know a safe place to do a big jump into the water, so I showed them where a deep enough channel was. See the pics of that jump below.

This jump reminded me of a story, a failure story, and I told it at my reading at the University of Oregon. Click here to see me tell that story (just posted by my publisher, Ben Leroy, this morning).

Here’s a pic of five of us jumping at once (me on the right). Click to expand the pic:

all five

 

 

 

 

 

 

And here’s the next pic when I’m out of the screen, the other four still in the air:

four

 

 

 

 

 

 

And finally, this is the swim out to the South bank into the cottonwoods, staying together because the water was cold:

swimming out

 

Everyday Dirtbag Diary

Nothing better than bouldering on good rock, hiking the Crooked River, catching frogs and lizards and grasshoppers with my daughter.

Got to hang out with good people these last three days (Ben LeRoy and KT Meehan + new British friends), swim creeks and rivers, adventure in Central Oregon.

Plus, Ben shot this video of KT’s leg (nice bloody mungee).  24-seconds long:

Click.

Song Lyrics – Help me. Your Opinions?

Road-tripping this week, I listened to The Tallest Man on Earth’s “Love is All” a few times in the car.  The song sounds so good, but there are a few poetic lyrics that confuse me still.  Why is evil in his pocket?  And what’s the river?  So many possibilities for that metaphor.

“The future was our skin and now we don’t dream anymore” is a gorgeous image, and I keep thinking about that too.

To listen on Youtube, Click Here.

And the lyrics:

Well I walk upon the river like it’s easier than land
Evil’s in my pocket and your will is in my hand
Oh, your will is in my hand

And I’ll throw it in the current that I stand upon so still
Love is all, from what I’ve heard, but my heart’s learned to kill
Oh, mine has learned to kill

Oh, I said I could rise
From the harness of our goals
Here come the tears
But like always, I let them go
Just let them go

And now spikes will keep on falling from the heavens to the floor
The future was our skin and now we don’t dream anymore
No, we don’t dream anymore

Like a house made from spider webs and the clouds rolling in
I bet this mighty river’s both my savior and my sin
Oh, my savior and my sin

Oh, I said I could rise
From the harness of our goals
Here come the tears
But like always, I let them go
Just let them go

Well I walk upon the river like it’s easier than land
Evil’s in my pocket and your strength is in my hand
Your strength is in my hand

And I’ll throw you in the current that I stand upon so still
Love is all, from what I’ve heard, but my heart’s learned to kill
Oh, mine has learned to kill

Oh, I said I could rise
From the harness of our goals
Here come the tears
But like always, I let them go
Just let them go

“Love Is All” as written by Kristian Matsson
Lyrics © Kobalt Music Publishing Ltd.
Read more at http://www.songmeanings.net/songs/view/3530822107858821372/#khPPZA2xlgWexqEC.99

Why Zebra’s Don’t Get Ulcers.

There are so many reasons that I’m lame:

1. Addictive personality.

2. Obsessive compulsive (Is that the same thing?)

3. I procrastinate.

4. I over-think things.

5. I over-train.

6. Then I under-train.

7. Then I think too much about training.

8. And I waste time on the internet.  Searching for….I usually forget what I started out looking for because I go one site to the next to the next because everything seems pretty cool to me but really isn’t but I can’t stop myself.

9. So I rarely discover anything of value.

10. But when I do, I spend way too much time thinking about it.  Although I just discovered the book Why Zebra’s Don’t Get Ulcers, by Robert M. Sapolsky, and right now that seems pretty dang cool.  Basically humans (which means me, heavily, heavily flawed me) can spend an incredible amount of time in stress mode.

Mostly it’s self-created stress, and then we worry and worry and worry and worry, even while we sleep, and we carry that worry around like carrying a heavy box on our shoulders, shifting it side to side.

But other animals can almost get killed – by, say, a lion – then fifteen seconds afterward go back to eating grass.

Not me.

I would think about (and probably write about) that near death experience over and over, and make people listen to me as I recount the details, the length of the lion’s claws, his muscular structure, how my ears tingled as he brushed past me on my turn, how my hooves slipped a little in the dirt when I first started to run…

Because I, I am so important.

11.  I think I’m too important.