Tag Archives: Internet

Streak Day #25 Sucks (and some stuff about choice)

I stopped by my dad’s house Friday to get his phone payment from him. We have some shitty system in place where I pay for our phones and my parents are supposed to pay me back. Supposed to. I see it as a win-win for everyone involved. We get a slightly cheaper phone bill with me autopaying the bill, and dad’s military service also nets us a $10 monthly discount. They don’t have to worry about a due date, so no late fees to worry about; I don’t mind floating the charges until they get around paying. No fear of having the phone shut off because I’m taking care of it like a responsible adult.

Anyways, this post isn’t supposed to be about my parents’ debts to me or how irresponsible they are with money. No, it’s meant to be about TV and choice. Which fucking sucks.

I used to love TV. I remember watching TV as a kid where I was a huge fan of educational channels such as the History and Discovery Channels. I also recall my grandma shitting all over me for it. She didn’t have cable and had to watch the shitty four local channels. I told her how awesome cable was and that I didn’t know how she managed to survive off four shitty channels all the time. All she did was watch a single shitty soap opera in the day as well as the local news at 5 p.m., 6 p.m., and 10 p.m. I can’t believe I used a variation of the word ‘shit’ in each sentence I had written.

Sure I watch stupid cartoons and Power Rangers, but in the evening I loved watching the History Channel and Discovery Channel. I learned a lot of random facts from them and consider myself an armchair historian regarding World War 2 due to all the History Channel shows I watched as a kid. Hitler invaded Russia on June 22, my birthday! Cable wasn’t just something to vege out in front of, and as I tried to tell my grandma, I could learn stuff. I watched the Weather Channel during hurricane season and became a child weather expert. I knew hot and humid weather ahead of a strong cold front meant we’d have storms. I knew southwest winds carried the hot and humid air from the Gulf of Mexico thousands of miles away. And so on just collecting random and mostly useless knowledge about airplanes, history, weather, and whatever else was on.

As I was visiting my dad I was greeted by the show Two and a Half Men on the TV. He was watching it passively, not really engaged with the show and simply had it on to have something to watch. I used to watch Two and a Half Men years ago when my ex-girlfriend and I lived together. We, like my grandma, had a shitty antenna TV and had to watch the four local channels. I was a ‘fan’ of the show back then I guess with Charlie Sheen actually shitting up the show as he was supposed to be doing. Charlie was meant to be a total douchebag and Sheen played the part well. It was funny and witty enough and was better than anything else I could find at the time.

The Two and a Half Men that was on as I visited my dad was the shitty new version with Jake being all grown up and Ashton Kutcher playing, uh, I forgot his characters name Walden (what the fuck sort of name is ‘Walden’ anyways?). And for some reason, either me maturing to where I didn’t give a shit for the show anymore or the show actually being shit now that Charlie Sheen was gone, I didn’t find it funny at all. I mean the grating laugh track was giving me social cues to laugh at the jokes, but they weren’t that funny. In fact it seemed like the show was making the same jokes it always had been making. Alan being a bum. Rose being crazy. The housekeeper being a smartass. And so on.

My dad laughed passively at the jokes and I just sat there feeling dead to the world. Was this what TV was? Was this what American life has devolved into? Has it devolved at all or was this simply what ‘normal people’ like my dad did with his entire day? Stare at some unfunny TV show because doing fulfilling and life-improving things is too much effort? I can’t even blame him the coronavirus for him devolving this way either; for the past two years he’s sat blindly at his couch and watched TV. He used to enjoy photography and taking walks but has given them up over the last few years, probably due to depression (that he won’t acknowledge). Maybe TV isn’t the cause but the symptom here.

What bothers me most about TV is the lack of choice involved. Watching TV for him is already a lack of choice — he only watches because there is nothing else to do, at least in his mind — but TV pushes it even further because you don’t have a choice what to watch on network TV. You get what they give you and the eight channels or so offer him no real choice for what to actually watch. Cable TV, as shitty as it is, offers hundreds of channels so if you’ve given up and want to watch TV you at least have a choice what to watch. It’s all about choice for me, I think. If you choose to watch TV, that’s fine, you do you, but if you’re mindlessly watching for the sake of watching something, anything, that’s where the problem is.

Maybe that’s why I’ve always been a fan of the internet: you can choose almost endlessly what to give your attention to. I can watch anything fulfilling or interesting that I want to watch on YouTube. I can watch total shit on YouTube if I want. In many ways I think YouTube has taken over the role of TV, at least the educational show aspect which I used to love so much as a kid. That’s probably it’s own topic on its own though. The internet is a great tool, but it comes at a price. Since you can find almost anything to occupy yourself, you need to have a great deal of self-control to not let yourself devolve like my dad has done with TV. The power to choose comes with responsibility, the responsibility I don’t think many of us have. I myself am not perfect and this is probably why I’m on Reddit until the early hours of the morning. But what about the people totally addicted to low-quality social media drama, and shitposting memes on Facebook? They’re like my dad in a slightly different way, only social-mediaing it up because there is nothing else to do and people are scared of boredom. Keep busy at all costs, even if you’re not consciously choosing to do so.

Think about what you’re doing and what you choose to give your attention to. This is your life, and it’s always up for you to decide. Is this what you really want to be doing? Is this what you want your life to be? Are you really happy reading this shitty low-quality blog post? Have you learned anything? Is there something else you’d rather being doing?

My Laptop Sucks

Let me introduce you to my computer, a Lenovo laptop that is about three or four years old. It’s amazing how time flies because I didn’t think it was that old. My reason for buying the damn thing was me deciding that I’d like to pretend to be a writer, author, blogger, or something. At least I’ve been pretty successful at sticking with it because I’m still writing and posting. My computer at the time was some derelict desktop PC that was about ten years old at the time. It being a derelict desktop PC meant that it wasn’t portable at all; any writing I wanted to do had to be done in the cold, lonely, dark, and in the summer occasionally flooded basement. It wasn’t very conducive to productive writing that’s for sure. But besides that, the catalyst for “upgrading” (if you could call it that) was this: Google one day sent me an email or a notification stating that Chrome wouldn’t be supported on Windows XP anymore. At that time that I realized that, yes, my PC was old as dirt. I couldn’t deny it anymore.

On my quest to pretend to be a writer the aspect of a shiny, new laptop was also enticing. It could be my multi-hundred dollar “promise” to myself that I would write. It’s hard to not write when you spent $300-400 to do so. And since it was new I’d have even more incentive to write.

I went to newegg.com (I would link to it, but they’re not giving me affiliate money so fuck the small effort required to do so) and searched for the cheapest shit I could find. The one I purchased was about $300 if I recall it correctly. This is not a whole lot for a laptop and the reviews explained why: it was a “low-end” laptop that seemed to have a lower quality build, cheap speakers, low processing power, and basically everything about it was “lower-end.” One review said something like this, “The computer is good for basic work. I bought it for my daughter for college and it’s perfect for simple stuff like note taking.” Sounds perfect for writing huh?

My intentions were to also get a shitty computer so I wouldn’t be tempted to play video games on it. This laptop runs Kerbal Space program and Flight Simulator 2004 (!!!) even slower than the decade-old PC in the basement did. Mission Accomplished I guess.

Hang on. My laptop dropped the WiFi signal again. Let me restart it. Because that’s the only way to fix the problem.

And I’m back. This is what this post is really about: my shitty laptop’s inability to stay connected to WiFi. What happens is this: I take a break from writing to either eat food, use the bathroom, or wander off simply from being distracted. If I’m gone for more than five minutes the WiFi signal is lost and any and all troubleshooting doesn’t fix the problem. It also happens if I close the screen or put it into sleep mode. I usually take these breaks between actually writing a blog post and posting it, and you can imagine the slew of things that can go wrong.

I load the post into WordPress, and WordPress has a “save draft” button that usually works just fine. If the internet is lost though, WordPress does not save a draft despite telling me so. Countless times I’ve hit the “save draft” button, had it tell me that saving the draft was successful, all without having internet; WordPress didn’t save a damn thing. Luckily Google Docs saves changes even offline (and tells you so), so editing posts there doesn’t cause me an issue, and only when I make changes in WordPress do things magically go missing. It is soulcrushingly frustrating to lose a post after you’ve edited the hell out of it.

Making the problem more frustrating is my inability to solve it before the issue occurs. When I’m writing and things are going okay I don’t care about any possible lurking problem about WiFi and internet connectivity. It’s only after things go wrong do I feel the need to solve them. But as stated before, this usually occurs in the middle of uploading a blog post so I usually solve that problem before even giving a damn about the recurring WiFi problem. Also, when you lose internet the first thing you want to do is an internet search to see if anyone else has the problem and what the possible fixes are. Internet out, I want to solve it but can’t search anything because the internet is out. And if the internet works okay? Well, then I don’t care to solve the problem because there is no problem to solve.

Windows PCs are pains-in-the-asses to troubleshoot too. All the customization and freedom that comes with a  Windows PC also means troubleshooting is frequently oblique and complex. A few solutions I’ve looked up involved using command prompts and all of that and while I’ve completed a few of them they still haven’t solved the problem. As with everything, it isn’t a major problem that is threatening my writing or blogging in anyway, it’s just frustrating as fuck when I have to shut my computer off anytime I need to leave it for a few minutes. That or restart the damn thing after it drops the WiFi signal.

When I left the computer this time I manually shut off WiFi, and then put it in sleep mode. I turned it back on, and manually turned on WiFi and that seems to have worked. Dammit maybe I do have a fix after all? I just need to shut WiFi off anytime I leave apparently. While that might be clunky as fuck, it sure beats restarting it multiple times while trying to post something. It’s a good PC and serves its writing purpose admirably, but damn is it annoying when it loses internet. And thanks for listening to this utterly pointless rant about my shitty computer.

Phone Books Suck? What Are Those??

Say phone book a bunch of times and it really does seem like an unused word from the distant past.

Phonebook

This right here is a phone book. You might be too young to know what a phone book is. Along with landline telephones, dial-up internet, cassette players, CD players, CRT TVs, and dinosaurs, phone books became obsolete a few million years ago due to technological innovation. In the case of phone books it’s because of this certain thing you might’ve heard of called the internet. You see the internet is a place where computers and servers are connected and shit and this let’s you get information about anything you want. You want to order pizza? Internet. You want to watch porn? The internet excels at that. You want to have in-depth discussions involving people who share the same hobbies that you do? Internet. Want to read someone’s shitty blog? Internet. Book a vacation? Internet? Go to college? Internet. How about having lively political debates on Facebook that change people’s minds and improves the world? Nope. The internet can’t do that. Sorry.

I found this relic near the mailbox one day. It’s still there too. I might go out and take some more pictures but it’ll probably just sit on the curb and rot in a few months. It’ll serve as a lovely greenhouse for growing various molds in the spring and summer once it gets some water damage. Currently it’s covered by a layer of snow, buried under a glacier like it’s friend and kin the Woolly Mammoth. Sorry phone book, but you’re useless.

There it is

There it is! Along with some asshole’s Mt. Dew that they couldn’t possibly toss in a goddamn trash can. I hate people.

Before the internet there were books, big thick books, that had shit printed in them. They had maps and a bunch of phone numbers. The white pages were — you guessed it — white

White

The white pages. Don’t call anyone.

and had people’s home phone numbers printed. You could seriously look up the last name of a girl you had a crush on, guess which address was hers, and mail her creepy letters, call her randomly, and even stalk her if you wanted. Another section of the book called the yellow pages (which were strangely blue…) had businesses arranged by what they did. If you needed to find someone to put a roof on your house you’d look under “roofing” and there would be a list of roofers. You could advertise your company and get a big gaudy ad that would make you more likely to be called. As a kid I thought lawyers, realtors, and car salesman always had the dumbest, gaudiest, and most obnoxious ads of all. Luckily that remains true to this day on TV with car salesman screaming NO MONEY DOWN NO INTEREST UNTIL 2020 IF YOU BUY A LEASED CHEVROLET SOCCER-MOM-WAGON-TANK TOOODAAAYYY. ACT NOWWWW. It’s like one of those old wrestling or monster truck commercials you’d hear on rock radio stations. Damn.

I’d also like to point out that I took these pictures from a phone book we had lying around the house because I couldn’t be bothered to carry the curbside one back to the house. It was still in its plastic bag. We’ve had it since May of 2016. The thing sat around for two years under some junk without being used or opened. At all.

May 2016

The internet killed phone books off but like all organisms they’re trying their best to evolve under new natural selection pressure. They’ve gotten smaller and thinner, and the ink used doesn’t seem as colorful. Only the shittiest ads are now printed from the sleaziest lawyers and others who don’t realize that the internet is actually where people look for services if they’re under 90 years old. See this chump right here?Lawyer Somehow he thinks he’s going to get business from his face being on the back of a phonebook. The only people that will see him are garbage men and recycling people but seeing as he’s an “injury lawyer” maybe that’s what he’s going for. Are they more susceptible to being injured than others? No one else will see him unless they are cleaning some random drawer in living room a few years from now when they clean shit out of it. Also on the front cover is a company advertising digital advertising. On a phone book. I don’t even know what to think about that. There sure is some dissonance going on.

It’s kind of sad to think about phone books even if they are as useful now as a triangular car tire, but they really were a thing. They were Google before Google existed. It’s even sadder to think that companies are still trying to be profitable with them. Why? Let them die off like the dodo, they’re not coming back barring a meltdown of society. Someone cuts trees down, turns them into paper, and prints them onto useless books. It’s almost like credit card offers where junk is sent to your house without you asking for it. It seems like such a waste for (I’m assuming) little benefit. It’s hard to say that phone books sucks because they’re more pathetic than anything. They are like a soon to be extinct animal that just couldn’t make it in the new world. They’re not mean or malicious. They’re just sad and pitiful.

And then I stop personifying or animalifying them or whatever and realize they’re damn phone books. Quit dropping them off at my house. I’m going to let it sit and rot and I’m never going to use it. Phone books Suck.

(It was after writing all of this that I noticed this little thing on the cover: you can opt out of receiving the damn things! You know what I’m going to do right now…)

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FREEDOM