📚Noisy Deadlines

noisymusings

Me ice skating at the Canal - Dows Lake

I've reached the end of my Beginners Level 2 ice skating course. ☃

The thing about learning how to ice skate as an adult is that the learning process is painfully slow. And I say “painfully” in the literal sense of the word. It involves learning how to fall and how to get up on ice. It is challenging! Specially for me who had zero experience on the ice.

Last winter I took the Level 1 course (Intro to Ice) which taught me how to fall, how to get up and how to stand up on ice skates. I could barely glide forward. I would usually fall a few moments after I entered the rink. I could take little steps forward and I was terrified most of the time. I can say it was one of the most challenging things I've done in my adult life!

But now, 18 hours of ice skating later and feeling more confident, I feel way less afraid. There is a point in the learning process where you stop struggling with the laws of physics on having no friction under your feet, and start to actually just glide. But you gotta keep your balance. And that takes a lot of brain and muscle power!

Until now, while I'm skating forward, there is that awkwardness and wobbly body movements that denotes a beginner ice skater. But I feel completely satisfied with my progression! It was hard work!

So now I can say I find ice skating relaxing even when I'm struggling with it. It's a weird combination. It's one of those activities that requires mindfulness. Full focus. Concentration. And I think that is what makes it so rewarding in the end. It combines difficulty with fun.

These are the techniques I want to improve: stopping, one foot glide, backwards C-pushes (also known as “half-bubbles” and T-pushes.

And I can't wait to take the next course! I am ready for more! While I wait, I will continue going to the ice rink on weekends to practice until they are available to the public (you know, summer is coming).

#iceskating #learning #challenge #noisymusings #winter


By Noisy Deadlines Minimalist in progress, nerdy, skeptic. I don't leave without my e-reader.

Thoughts on Mr. Robot

I just watched episode 7 of Mr. Robot (Season 2) the other day.

Yeah. I know, it's old but I'm catching up [so, spoilers ahead].

I just loved this episode so much that I kept thinking about it for a few days. I would say Mr. Robot is not usually my type of show. It's dramatic. I usually like something with more action.

But the show has such a unique tone that it makes drama seem good to me. I mean, it's about hacking the world and questioning the status quo of everything. And I like that. It's techno-thriller, and it's really good at that.

The thing is that the main character, Elliot, is really complex. He is hacker and cyber-security engineer with anxiety and social disorders.

I was stunned when I found out in Season 1 that his father was actually dead and that all the conversations he was having were inside his head. It has that Fight Club feeling to it. After I knew his father was dead and that all along he was having this hallucinatory delusion, I started remembering the scenes and realizing that, yes, his father was not interacting with the other characters, only with Elliot.

So, what I mean here is that I like the way the series plays with scenes and situations. It's a puzzle. It has hidden meaning. It has layers.

Episode 7 of Season 2 was mind blowing to me because since the beginning I knew Elliot was trapped somewhere. And something felt wrong. He had a routine, starting in a small room with a bed and a desk, he would eat with the same guy at a cafeteria, then sat down to watch people play basketball, then went to a religious assistance group and finally back to his room to write in his journal and sleep. Sometimes other characters would go visit and talk to him, but he never left the “house”. It was weird. He couldn't use a computer. I even thought about searching an explanation on the Internet. I was afraid I might be missing something.

And then, episode 7 comes to explain it all!

He was not “off the grid”. He was in prison!

Because he murdered a guy [I assumed, so far, by the hints presented]! And he completely deleted this from his memory. It's like he's been in a trauma for a long time. And all that we see is a re-imagination of his situation. His room is in reality a prison cell, his new colleagues are prisoners, just like him, and they were the ones playing basketball everyday. But the way the explanation came, with only images and Elliot breaking the fourth wall was really amazing to me. It was well done.

But overall I think the series is excellent because of the odd camera angles, the colors, the juxtaposition of sound and silence, the very-near-future-techno feel and the ironic villains with obvious names (Evil Corp is the name of the mega corporation that owns almost everything).

#mr.robot #tvseries #noisymusings


By Noisy Deadlines Minimalist in progress, nerdy, skeptic. I don't leave without my e-reader.

Erasing facebook

I've been thinking a lot about social media lately.

Actually, I've been thinking about it for a long time. And I've taken action to minimize my exposure: I deleted my Instagram and Pinterest account, I used extensions to eliminate Facebook's annoying timeline, I unfollowed hundreds of profiles on Twitter. But I still use social media a little.

I still check Twitter for local weather and traffic news or alerts. And I like to check the latest tweets from some cool authors I follow. I connect with people using the Facebook Groups platform. I have a LinkedIn account. I occasionally go check Reddit.

And after all this time reflecting, tweaking and observing my behavior I still think that the minimum amount of social media usage is not that beneficial. Maybe the benefits do not completely outweighs the downsides.

I can list at least 5 books I've read in the past that made me rethink the way I engage with social media and with the Internet in general:

And now I'm reading Cal Newport's Digital Minimalism: Choosing a Focused Life in a Noisy World. And just like Tristan Harris saying that social media apps today are like slot machines, Cal Newport says they are the “new smoking”:

“The tycoons of social media have to stop pretending that they’re friendly nerd gods building a better world and admit they’re just tobacco farmers in T-shirts selling an addictive product to children. Because, let’s face it, checking your “likes” is the new smoking.” ― Cal Newport, Digital Minimalism: Choosing a Focused Life in a Noisy World

Which, in the end, is saying that they are extremely addictive, no doubt.

And I worry about it. Have I become addicted without even knowing? How did those websites and apps changed my behavior? Is my mind being hijacked? Am I aware?

I don't have answers right now but I am feeling that after reading Cal Newport's new book I'm gonna have a radical change on how I use social media and the Internet.

#socialmedia #digitalminimalism #noisymusings #attentionresistance

Photo by Thought Catalog on Unsplash


By Noisy Deadlines Minimalist in progress, nerdy, skeptic. I don't leave without my e-reader.

Digital Minimalism cover on my Kindle

So, Cal Newport's new book just arrived on my Kindle today 🤗.

I am reading 2 other books right now, but I really want to pick this one up (and maybe change my readings plan for this month a little bit).

But the thing is: I feel more and more overwhelmed by the so called “social media”. I already maintain the few accounts I have with the bare minimum of feeds. Well, my Facebook is totally blank now because I use a News Feed Eradicator and the Nudge extension to practically mute it.

And this book seems to be a sane reflection on how to use digital technologies today. I like minimalism and I like digital tools. Perfect combination.

From the author:

Minimalism is the art of knowing how much is just enough. Digital minimalism applies this idea to our personal technology. It’s the key to living a focused life in an increasingly noisy world.

Can't wait to read his ideas on this topic!

#book #digitalminimalism #noisymusings #socialmedia


By Noisy Deadlines Minimalist in progress, nerdy, skeptic. I don't leave without my e-reader.

I started listening to audio books recently. The first month of 2019, to be exact.

So far I've listened to 23 hours distributed between 3 books.

Audible total listening time

And I have mixed feeling about audio books... I mean, it's a great way to squeeze in more reading hours in moments when you can't actually sit down and hold a book (or a Kindle, in my case).

And that's the point: 99.99% (*)  of my listening happened while I was:

  • Running on a treadmill at the gym
  • Exercising/stretching at the gym
  • Folding laundry
  • Preparing food
  • Doing the dishes
  • Eating breakfast
  • Commuting
  • Cleaning the house

(*) Note: the 0.01% was due to 5 minutes today that I was actually sitting down and listened until I reached the end a chapter before I started something else at the same time.

Focus?

So I was never fully focused on the “reading act” the way I am when I'm with my Kindle.

It's...different. Different levels of focus.

I know that I could sit down and just listen to a book. But somehow that didn't seem an attractive option for me. And probably that's because I'm used to listening to podcasts while doing all the activities I pointed above.

So I replaced podcasts with books.

I concluded I don't immerse myself and assimilate information the same way when I'm listening. And that's probably because I've multitasked while listening to Audiobooks.

I'm not saying I can't remember what I read. I just feel that I might have missed small pieces of information. A quick-witted phrase. A savvy detail. A stirring revelation I wanted to note down and muse over. I got the overall message, no problem. But the act of listening wasn't conducive to reflection while I was receiving the information.

Distraction?

And that brings me to my wandering mind...

Our minds wander, that's normal. From moment to moment it gets filled with random thoughts and to-do's for an undetermined future date. When that happens with my Kindle I just pause, acknowledge, take a breath and find the last sentence I remember processing and continue reading from there.

With Audiobooks, my mind got lost in not only my internal thoughts but also with all the things going on around me (remember: I was multitasking).

So the combination of my inner musings and external stimuli kept me not paying attention to the audio for what? 30 seconds? 2 minutes? 5 minutes? I really don't know. When I realized I was distracted I just paused the audio feeling a little bit overwhelmed.

And eventually I would come back to listening when the situation I was in felt less distracting.

Wrapping it up...

I don't hate Audiobooks. I actually enjoyed it most of the time and I'm sure I would not be able to read 3 books as fast as I did if I was reading.

I will continue to listen to Audiobooks. At least 1 per month, that's part of my Reader Goals for 2019.

But I'll choose wisely which books to listen to. If it's a more contemplative reading that I know I would like to take notes and assimilate slowly, I will probably not choose the audio version.

And I will experiment with just sitting (or lying) down to listen, distraction free.

#audiobooks #reading #noisymusings


By Noisy Deadlines Minimalist in progress, nerdy, skeptic. I don't leave without my e-reader.

Why have sports events became a huge advertisement show?

Disclaimer

I went to a hockey game the other day. As a newcomer in Canada this was one of the experiences I wanted to try. Hockey is like soccer for Brazil: almost everybody has a favorite hockey team and it is constantly in the news. I am not a big sports fan. Actually I don't like watching sports and I don't have any favorite teams. But it was nice to have the opportunity to see a hockey game.

And what I saw was...

... less about the sport and more about...advertising. I was overwhelmed by the number of screens and banners showing ads all the time!

It seemed to me it was a big marketing show that had some guys playing hockey in the background.

The sound system was extremely loud and I ended up with a terrible headache afterwards. The only moments with silence were when the players were actually playing, and as soon as there was a pause, the super loud music would come up and a countdown telling everybody to make some noise would appear before the puck was on the ground again. And they would squeeze as much advertisement as possible during these short breaks.

I think I must have seen thousands of ads coming from various sources, non-stop. I counted at least 8 locations where advertisement was displayed. It just seemed to me that the goal of the game was to get us to buy (more) stuff, rather than enjoy a sports match. Hockey game and ads locations

Maybe I've been away from big stadiums shows and events for too long because I was shocked with the spectacle and how my attention was being forcibly drawn to all those screens.

It was a 3+ hour event, with two 20 minutes intervals that had a DJ with exceedingly loud music and advertisement insertions throughout. And also the camera would catch people from the audience to appear at the big screen in the middle of the stadium. Like, a 30 seconds moment of fame competition with air guitar performances, dancing and people just being goofy.

I don't know if it's me, but it was too much! Too much noise, too much ads, too much non-focused attention.

Are all the sports events like this now?

#ads #noisymusings


By Noisy Deadlines Minimalist in progress, nerdy, skeptic. I don't leave without my e-reader.

(for the record, -12°C – feels like -18°C – Ottawa)

Lovely winter day - Ottawa, Britannia Bay

#winter #photo #noisymusings


By Noisy Deadlines Minimalist in progress, nerdy, skeptic. I don't leave without my e-reader.

Yes, I did it!

I was by no means an Instagram heavy user but I became more and more annoyed with the amount of ads appearing on my feed. And since Instagram is focused on the mobile interface, I couldn't find any workaround to remedy this annoyance. I've managed to tweak my Facebook so that it became less overwhelming to me but I couldn't find any workarounds for Instagram.

And you know what? I don't miss it. AT ALL!

Sure, it was a kind of an outlet for me to explore my amateur photographer side but the model of “likes” and “follows” and ads really irked me. Even if I was not following anybody the ads were there draining my attention. I've been using social media less and less. I still have a Twitter account that I use to check the weather and traffic conditions occasionally. My Facebook is heavily tweaked so that the only reason I go there is to participate in some Groups I find value in. And that's it. No feeds. No ads. Nothing popping up and demanding my attention.

I love this interesting article distinguishing between “social internet” and “social media” by Cal Newport: On Social Media and Its Discontents.

So, almost 4 months without Instagram and life is beautiful!

#socialmedia #attentionresistance #noisymusings


By Noisy Deadlines Minimalist in progress, nerdy, skeptic. I don't leave without my e-reader.

I am not a writer. I am an introvert. I spend a lot of time with my own thoughts. A L L the time! And it seems that writing helps me to quiet down those voices in my head. I have a Wordpress blog but somehow I don't feel the urge to write there. It seems too noisy. Too flashy. Too much attention, even though nobody reads it. So I haven't written on my blog for more than 6 months now. But that itch to write something has been on the back of my mind for months. Am I a writer? Should I be a writer? I think probably not. But writing is a kind of therapy to me. It gives order to chaos. It silences the worry, the anxiety, the fear that haunts my thoughts. I never know if the thoughts create anxiety or anxiety that creates anxious thoughts. Are they the same? Anyway, I just needed a blank empty space that welcomed me to write. I think I found it here. I am not afraid of being judged. I feel free!

#noisymusings


By Noisy Deadlines Minimalist in progress, nerdy, skeptic. I don't leave without my e-reader.

I don’t like to fail. Whenever I fail at something I feel like I will never accomplish anything in my life. My mind is filled with negative self talk. It is a feeling that brings me down and makes me unproductive. But why is that? Why is it so important to never fail? And what is failure, anyway?

If we go to the dictionary, failure is defined as “lack of success” or “a state of inability to perform a normal function”. So, failure is like the opposite of success and everybody wants to be successful, right? Yeah, we are taught to crave perfection and we are bombarded with this message all the time.

But I think we need to practice failure. I want to be able to say, without shame or fear, that “I am good at failing”. We all learn from our mistakes, right?

Why do I dislike failure?

The idea of failure makes me insecure. If I have a plan and suddenly that plan has to be canceled or postponed I loose confidence on my planning. I know planning is not made to be static but I enjoy certainty. And that’s why I run away from failure: my need of security makes me not want to fail.

I also have a fear of discomfort. Leaving our comfort zones requires courage and the ability to accept change and, consequently, failure.

I do not like being vulnerable. I do not like to expose myself. And maybe that is only a reflection of my introvert self. I have a loud mind and small failures can become huge disasters inside my head.

The path to practice failure

So, my mind does not accept failure lightly. It is hard for me to give space to imperfection. I feel like I struggle to be imperfect.

When I say “imperfect” I do not mean something bad or unacceptable, just something real and authentic. The media nowadays sells us a notion of perfection that is artificial. We do not need the perfect car, or the perfect house, or the perfect appearance to be happy.

But after acknowledging that I want to change my perfectionist mindset, I have started to practice failure and be okay with it. I am learning to enjoy imperfect experiences. I am letting go of my “perfectionist” self.

Our notion of “perfection” can vary. A perfect weekend for me may not be the same for you. Perfection does not exist in reality, right? It is just a matter of what is your reference. And when we start to believe that the reference for perfection is what the media sells us, then we start to crave the impossible. And I want out of this vicious cycle!

Read more...