Do podcasts count as part of the Internet?

Does a podcast in of itself count as a portion of the Internet? I decided recently that I’m only going to go online during the morning before I go to work (at least as far as weekdays are concerned). I came to terms with the fact that I could have been getting addicted to surfing the net when I should have been trying to live something of a life—or at least get something productive done. I was spending too many hours after work watching videos online of other people playing video games or reviewing action figures from the eighties and none enough getting caught up on my reading, writing or actually getting outside. So came the decision to limit my Internet time to the hour or so I’m getting ready for work in the morning.

Then there’s things that I use the Internet to download. I’m still trying to catch up on back issues of magazine subscriptions. But I don’t tend to think of reading those as reading the Internet, regardless of whether or not my Kindle is online. Those magazines are getting written anyway for both print and electronic versions. The Internet is simply the tool I use to obtain the latter.

So why raise the question about podcasts? Isn’t it the same principle? When I think it through, yes. If I allow for one then there’s no reason I shouldn’t allow for the other. But as I was trying to play catch up on my podcasts yesterday (I’ve gotten behind on those as well) the thought crossed my mind that this might be cheating, listening to podcasts that I downloaded later. It still feels like I’m online. Podcasts could be thought of as the successors to radio. But they’re made for Internet users. Except for radio shows that were recorded and released online after they’ve aired, podcasts are made with digital distribution in mind. I don’t know how much this might affect the content—that would be the subject of a study bigger than my ranty little blog posts. It reminds me of David Byrne’s How Music Works. I suppose the same idea would apply.

By the way, I should point out that I’m not listening to podcasts on my phone like so many people do nowadays. I find it’s much easier to do it via an older method of downloading podcast episodes and then transferring them to my iPod, which is an older model that doesn’t have any Internet connection on its own.

Whatever I decide as to how I feel about the issue, it’s not going to affect my listening habits. If anything, I would come to the conclusion that my podcast addiction is separate from my YouTube addiction. But so far listening to podcasts on my way to and from work is a less obstructive habit than wasting time in front of a computer screen when I have too much real life to do.


How I Learned to Stop Worring and Love the Blog. #blogging #writing

The reason I’ve been so quiet over the past few days isn’t laziness but that I’m starting to rethink this blog—yes, I know, again. While I don’t want to shy away from “controversial” topics in the realm of politics, religion and other social issues, I haven’t come up with anything lately. I’ve been kicking myself for not coming up with a topic every day as a result. As I have said before, once I think of a subject for a blog post writing it out is the easy part. More time is spent on thinking about what I want to say than actually saying it. On principle this is fine, however it’s taking so long now that I often run out of time to write the damn thing.

A few year ago I switched styles to the one I’m talking about. Originally this blog was my diary of each day written in usually three, non-connected paragraphs talking about the most mundane aspects of my life. As I got more comfortable writing the blog I decided I was boring myself so I made the switch. But now I wonder: what if I mixed the two styles? What if I go back to making this blog a diary, in a sense? The primary difference i that now that I am more comfortable writing about concepts and not just listing events, I can sprinkle insights throughout that diary a lot more frequently and fluidly.

The only thing that makes me hesitate is that topical posts seem to draw readers to my blog. It looks like using hashtags in the title work. I still could use them, I suppose, but it might look messy. I guess that’s one thing I would only find out by playing with it.

When I started this blog the whole point was that this was my (almost) daily writing practice. To that end I wrote six times a week without caring how interesting each blog post was. I only did this in blog form because I knew that if I published online I would have more incentive to keep it up each day. I didn’t expect to have readers back then. I didn’t have that many, but they were regular. Then I switched formats and gained some readers, but because I didn’t particularly promote myself I only gained a few. Then I switched sites and suddenly I got a lot more.

I appreciate all of the views and subscribers. But this blog is still meant to be my daily writing practice. I’m going to have to start integrating the old style into the new. As such I guess this blog is going to be a lot more representative of what’s in my mind—lucky you.

One of the reasons I started avoiding writing about politics and religion lately is that I didn’t want to become one of the people who were annoying online. I have several friends on Facebook that keep posting right-wing political nonsense and it was really getting to me. Friday night I got so pissed off that I had to “unfollow” several of those friends. They’re still on my Friends List but I no longer see what they post. Maybe this is a lesson to not get onto Facebook after watching Doctor Strangelove or: How I learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb. I’ve calmed down since and I make no promises I won’t be that person from time to time on this blog. But I need to cut back just for my own sake.

A few more bad habits that bother me.

I have a few more bad habits that people have which I’d like to complain about. There’s not real theme here other than things that people do that annoy the hell out of me. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not walking around interacting with people and getting pissed off every minute of my life. I’m not at the point yet when I turn into a complete recluse… yet. But there are some things that just have to be pointed out to others and this is my forum for doing so. I don’t expect humanity to change according to my desires (again, not yet). But I would want people to at least consider what they’re doing when they do things that might get on other people’s nerves.

The first thing that comes to mind is something I’ve been thinking about a lot lately—which is weird because I haven’t been in this situation in a while. Maybe I needed some time to step back and think about what I had observed. Anyway, this problem has to do with getting into arguments with people. Believe it or not but I don’t really get into that many these days. But when I do I have a really hard time when I can’t get my points across because the other person does not understand how complete sentences work and they want to degenerate the argument into “Yes it is” versus “No it isn’t.”

People, when I say “yes” or “no” I’m not finished with my sentence. I’m about to follow the particle with a counter-point to what you said. Don’t cut me off with the opposite and think that you are engaging in a mature discourse. Let me finish my statement and if you still have something to say against it then follow me with an intelligent statement. Turning the debate into a “yes/no” argument will get us nowhere. The only time I want to hear such arguments is during Monty Python’s “Argument Clinic” sketch. At least they do it with dignity.

Here’s another thing that’s been bugging me: the constant use of the phrase bless you when somebody sneezes. Nevermind the fact that as an atheist I’m not interested in the sentiment if it was honest. Even if I was religious it doesn’t mean anything. I won’t go into an essay about the origins of the phrase because I don’t have the space here. I’m sure there’s conflicting histories on the subject anyway. But I believe the last I heard was it had something to do with superstition, not any real religious belief. What gets me is that I know atheists that will still say it when I sneeze and not even ironically. It’s just become a bad habit that the society I’m in has picked up and it’s really time to kick that habit.

To be fair I’ll mention that I’m guilty of another habit that runs along the same lines. Whenever I burp I say “excuse me.” In public one could make the argument that this makes sense. Of course, we could dig into the reasons why we think burping is such a disgusting thing to do in public and maybe we could continue the discussion by questioning whether or not we should think that way. But let’s just agree that currently in the part of the world I live in it’s usually considered out-of-place and the social norm is to follow it by “excuse me” or some sort of equivalent phrase. Some people get all embarrassed and feel they have to fall over themselves in apology which is pitiful. I’ll just say “excuse me” and move on.

The problem is that I do it every single time when I burp even though there’s nobody there. When I was a child I was taught that it was the correct thing to do and I never got the message that I didn’t have to when I’m alone. I finally thought myself out of that but I can think of twice in my entire thirty-three and a half years of living that I forced myself to not fall victim to this habit. It’s a harmless habit, sure, but I annoy myself with it nonetheless.

I have a similar habit with the stereo in my living room. The company that made it decided that it would be cute if the digital display says “good-bye” every time I turn it off. Fine, but I developed a habit of saying “bye” to it every time. Like the above habit with “excuse me” I just don’t feel right unless I’ve said it. I think I only missed this once.

Before I close this I thought of one more. I understand why people feel the need at various times to fake a laugh in conversation. That’s a topic that I won’t go into here other than in terms of method. Pay attention to how people laugh for real. A real laugh includes inhaling a lot. When people fake a laugh I notice that they forget to include the inhales. That’s why when I was an actor years ago I was able to keep the audience amused with a big and realistic laugh right until the lights when down at the end of a scene. Then I was able to turn it off.