Thursday, April 16, 2009

Internet Free

I moved into my new home in mid-March. Internet was not provided in the rent, and I haven't set it up yet because $30 a month is a lot for one person when I may also have to pick up the full $700 rent next month. So I've been going to the library every few days to check my email, check up on the blogs I follow and hopefully catch a friend or two on AIM. Here's some of the ways that not having internet at home has changed my life.

I get a lot more done. I'm sure that I would have a lot of things still in boxes if I'd had internet when I was moving in. I spend the hours that I would have spent dicking around on the net each night READING.

I get to bed at a reasonable hour. I'm not sure if this is good or bad, because I usually stop reading around 11:00 and try to wake up at 7:30, which is probably too long to sleep, and it gets me in a bad habit.

I have to remember things. I can't just run to Wikipedia and look something up, or jump online and tell my friends about the sweet rainbow that I saw on St Patrick's Day. I also don't spend a lot of time brooding over blog topics like this one because I know that the money on my meter runs out in 15 minutes. So maybe I don't communicate with the world as much, but that's ok, because I'm not wasting time. Maybe I won't get internet at all.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Project 50: March

I'm reading a lot more now that I live in a place with no TV and no internet. It's kind of nice. I curl up in a chair around 8:00, or if it's cold I crawl into bed and read for several hours a night.

“Dune” by Frank Herbert

This is supposed to be the greatest science fiction masterpiece of all time, but honestly, I was a little bored with it. It was a little too Star Wars for me, what with its futuristic religion and prophecy about one man who would lead the desert people to victory, plus a bunch of political stuff that I really didn’t care about. I kept hoping for some great action scenes, but what I got was the semi-hero Paul getting cockier about his rightful place as the savior of the planet. I suppose that was probably a set-up for the thousand and one other Dune novels. I could take or leave this one. C+

“The Spiritual Traveler: England, Scotland, Wales” by Martin Palmer and Nigel Palmer
I keep dreaming about a time when I’ll be able to visit the homeland again, this time when I’m old enough to choose my own sights to see and appreciate it. I like this book not only because it lists a ton of sacred sites (with a whole chapter on henges) and pilgrimage routes, but for every church or holy well or shrine, the authors tell the story of the saints or historical events associated with the place. They write to an audience who would take a religious pilgrimage seriously, not just as a touristy thing to do, and are very matter-of-fact about the miracles that happened in each place. The book focuses on Christian sites, but also gives respect to pagan landmarks and the authors draw up an “interfaith pilgrimage” at the end that includes Hindu, Muslim, Buddhist and Baha’i sites. I’ll probably buy this book before I actually go to England. A+

“The Way I See It” by Temple Grandin
This book differed from others I’ve read by authors with autism in that it isn’t an autobiography, but more a book of suggestions for teaching and parenting children and adults with autism with a personal perspective. I like that she doesn’t beat around the bush about things. She’s very forward with the idea that kids with autism should be taught table manners and etiquette, not just because she thinks “kids get away with anything these days” but because as a person with autism, she would not have just “picked up” acceptable social behavior like a neurotypical child would have. She had to be repeatedly told when she was being rude to be able to generalize what rude behavior was. She’s very thorough, including topics like alternative medical treatments, sensory adjustments, relationships, and how to get and keep a job as an adult with autism or Asperger’s Syndrome. I started this book the day before I found out that my good friend’s son had been diagnosed with PDD, a pre-autism diagnosis. Even though I was only halfway through with the book, I insisted that she read it. I think it would be especially beneficial for parents with autistic children. A+

“The Rules” by Sherrie Schneider and Ellen Fein

When I was first introduced to this book, it was given to me in a brown paper sack. The cover features a large photo of an engagement ring, and I was told to never let anyone catch me reading it. I remember reading the first chapter and giving it back. This time, it came recommended by some progressive women, so I figured it couldn’t be as bad as it seemed at the beginning. I was wrong. One of the first pieces of advice is, roughly translated, “For God’s sake, fix yourself up a bit! Slobs don’t get married.” It goes on from there to tell readers that the way to win a man is to be manipulative and hurtful. The authors qualify themselves by saying “Yes, acting completely uninterested in the man you are dating for the first few months may confuse him, make him angry, and make him possessive, but at least he wants you and you’ll eventually get married!” To those who don’t use the Rules, they have only self-righteous pity.
Now, I can buy into playing a little hard to get. I can even buy into waiting for a man to make a date-initiating phone call more often than I would. I can understand that no challenge in a relationship makes it boring. I’ve been there, with someone who took it for granted that I would arrange my schedule around him. I’ve also been there fawning over someone who took no interest in me and didn’t have to, because I wasn’t otherwise going away. But I’ve tried these kind of rules before, and STILL ended up alone. When I found that I was making all the phone calls and stopped…the phone calls just stopped, and I found out rather quickly how I rated. Playing hard to get didn’t make the guy I fancied want me more, it just meant that I had no one to hang out with. As far as relationship advice goes, I much more recommend something like “He’s Just Not That Into You,” which gives women a little more power in deciding when he’s not worth it, rather than leaving you feeling like you’ve broken a rule that would have otherwise put a ring on your finger. D+