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Sunday January 19, 2003, 20:44

I have been fairly remiss in recent weeks in the upkeep of my website. At times I have tried to blame the lack of updates and interesting commentary on the world in which I live by explaining (to myself) that there just is nothing interesting to report. I have stayed inside most days, leaving only for occasional meals and socializing. The rest of my time is working, or thinking about working, on the project that I was working on when I left London. Not wanting to be the kind of person who leaves an employer in the lurch, I have returned to my (freelance) work as a web developer. Which means that, once again, my home is my office and I am always at work, except when I'm not.

Which, I am begining to realize, is no excuse at all. There are plenty of hours that I spend in front of my computer, blindly clicking on links, barely processing the information coming out of the screen, into my eyes and tucking somewhere into my brain. This mindless clicking (or "surfing" as it was once known, back when the Internet and World Wide Web were cutting edge and thought to be as exciting as the sport from which they gained their most widely used metaphor) occupies my hands but not my mind, my time but most certainly not my life, and it occurs to me that there are only limited hours in the day. When two o'clock in the morning rolls around and I tell myself that I need to stay awake just a bit longer so that I can do the work that I have put off for most of the day, I realize that I have been doing nothing useful with myself.

Something, therefore, must be done. Mostly, this just means that I need to cut down on the mindless clicking and partake in more useful activities, like going through the trash. Truth be told, it's the recycling bin about which I am speaking, and more truthfully, I already do so. But the pickings often go under (or merely un-) utilized for days, or even weeks, at which point they are no longer pertinent and the return to whence they came. I am speaking, of course, of the newspapers that I gather, dutifully, from the bins outside my apartment (the apartment itself, not the building, for that would require going outside, which I have already established I do not do). There are about a dozen individual apartments on my floor, most occupied by New Yorkers who subscribe to various daily news sources. Knowing myself (financially and otherwise), a subscription to say, The New York Times, would do me no good. Most days, I am sure, the paper would find itself in the aforementioned bins, unread but for the front page articles, and I would kick myself repeatedly for having "wasted the money" that could be spent on something more "useful."

Besides, it's completely unnecessary. Every day, the bins outside my apartment are filled with the day's issue of the Times. Most days there is also a magazine or two, or a catalog. Stealthily, I tuck out of my apartment and into the trash room that holds the bins. Crouched on the floor, I rifle through the papers until I've gathered the sections I want to read, and return to my home where, most days, the papers go unread until I return them to the bin. So all I need to do at this point is to spend less of my downtime in front of my computer and more of it in front of the newspaper. This will probably benefit my eyes as well as my mind, and my fingers will thank me. It is also my hope that my work will benefit from these diversions; as I spend more time away from the computer, the time I have in front of it becomes all the more palatable.

Of course all of this negligence has also led to the severe atrophy of my brain, and the fingers with which I write. Words are forced out, instead of held in. I have nobody to blame but myself, but for someone who sometimes proclaims to be a writer I seem to be doing a pretty poor job of it. Other things hold my attention these days, and not unfortunately so. The most recent photos from our trip are up, though I feel foolish pointing this out; I feel like I'm foisting a slide show on you people. I really am quite happy with my photos, however, and though I would not like them to take the place of writing as my creative outlet, I am happy to be able to produce images that, I feel, do capture the world in which I live.

That said, I would really like to be able to write about the world as well.

So that's it then. I missed my New Year's post, but I've managed to squeak one into January. Hopefully there will be more. Hopefully I'll be using the writing part of my brain a bit more than I have. And hopefully I will never be without saltines again.

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