Friday, April 30, 2010

it's too complicated: a rant

I don't like complicated. And I'm beginning to realize I mostly don't like computers because they are way too complicated for me.

Switching to Blogger, for instance, was supposed to be easy. It was supposed to be easier and better than Live Journal, where the ads were taking over the site and getting in the way of blogging. But the truth is that the problem may be me. I may not be cut out for this computerized world.

The amount of time it has taken me to learn just the few things I know how to do, well, I've given that a lot of thought. And switching to Blogger has been fraught with all kinds of anxieties, including losing info I thought I'd successfully saved to the new blog, not understanding how to manipulate things on the screen, and realizing that what I really want is a blog where everything is formatted FOR me, where I don't have to learn all this damned code.

I'm not a code kinda gal. Don't know it, don't understand it, don't really care about it, don't need it in my life to pay bills or be happy.

This is not about Blogger as much as it is about me and the kind of person I am, the way I learn things, and the way I want to spend my time.

And that is why I am reconsidering blogging. It feels like such a huge time-suck and I am reevaluating how much time I want to spend in front of a computer at all. Realizing that I may, indeed, have little of importance to say most of the time, and that my little posts about bikes and parts and rides may not make a huge difference, or certainly as big a difference as my face-to-face interactions with people do. This is why I have resisted cell-phones, Facebook and all the other time-sucks in the electronic universe that threaten to tear me away from real-time, face-to-face living.

I'm not sure I want to adapt. I'm not sure adapting would be the healthiest thing for me and who I am, who I want to be in this world. I get frustrated at computerized everything when it gets complicated because I'm a tactile, experiential learner. I learn by touching and messing around with things in a physical, visceral way. I take things apart and put them back together again to understand how they work. I can't do that with a computer, and when something doesn't work in a computer I mostly freak the fuck out.
And when I get like this all I want to do is rebel against the electronicness, the untouchability of it all.

So my frustration with the complicatedness of computers and how they don't really fit my learning style may be an invitation to a larger reexamination of how I spend my waking hours. I'm sure that among the most computer-savvy of you, you will scratch your heads and wonder how someone like me could possibly be living in this time and continue to be so resistant to all this stuff, but I am. Sometimes it just reaches out and slaps me and reminds me that I'm spending too much time here. Today is one of those days.

1 comment:

Eric in California said...

Hi Beth,

I've been binge-reading your blog the last 2 weeks, and have really enjoyed the thoughtful comments on

living with illness
riding and maintaining simpler machines
spiritual insights
gentrification and homelessness in Portland
the changing bike advocacy scene
the twists and turns of the last 10 years in your own professional and personal life

A bit about me

retired engineer
dabbled in San Francisco Bay Area bicycle activism
utility rider with a Trek 970, a HPM cargo bike for shopping, and a BAW dog trailer
California native plant afficionado
sea kayaker, love paddling the Bay and the Pacific Ocean
struggling with thoughts about purpose and meaning in retirement
culturally Christian but agnostic / searching / eclectic
looking around at the booming of Silicon Valley and the social and housing issues it raises
slow rider, not out on the highways doing the "John Forester" thing anymore

Like you, I feel I sit at the intersection of several different cultures/communities/passions, and it makes life interesting.

Keep up the good work, I enjoy reading your words. It's comforting to know there are other thoughtful people out there for whom the bicycle is both a practical and a sometimes spiritual tool for "walking the labyrinth" of the world, as it were (a Christian tradition).

Best regards, Eric

PS - on the question of monetizing your blog, I think it would be OK in moderation - if there's something you bought that really is the "bee's knees", why not give it a fair review and share it with your readers. So many product reviews are written by apparent newbies that don't have a lot of road mileage and real world experience, and I find the reviews are shallow and lack information about practical things like weather resistance, repair/maintainability, ease of use, etc.

On the other hand, there is a slippery slope here - for example, on Kent's Bike Blog, I've noticed an increase in product reviews, and we read a bit less about Kent at times. (I know, I know, the muse doesn't always speak to writers all the time...)

And some blogs on bicycles and kayaking have gone over to the dark side - I open them up and they're chock full of HTML links to products with little writing except to highlight the links.

But as the ancient Greeks said, "all things in moderation".