27 February 1998
NetGlut: Notes from a cleansing fast
"Living on 'rettes, vitamin C and cocaine..."? Not.
Living on fruit juice, vegetable broth, bitter herbs and algae.
A way to get clarity: back to the linear mode. Full screen of text: reflecting the movement of thought.
Today...see, I jump around in my mind, but what comes out is a thin stream...I am on day three of my second week of a cleansing fast. No food this week, at all.
I spent the morning-again-Net surfing: into the vortex of information. As soon as I hit the surf, I'm towed under, taken out to sea. The surfing metaphor only works if you come back to land. That's the tricky part.
In my life, even on this fast, things aren't so simple. The timer beeps every ninety minutes, for my next psyllium shake or course of herbs. In between I have to go pee at least twice. Check the canner for boiled water for the next enema...go outside for some fresh air, help my daughter with her schoolwork, answer the phone...
As soon as I get on the Net, things just speed up faster. So many places to go, things to see. A nifty program here, a webpage tutorial there, sports news aplenty (it's spring training season, after all)...and the various new ezines I've subscribed to, knocking at my door: with yet more links and offers and tempting tidbits of information, especially tantalizing if they lead me to new resources for information management.
But now I return to the basic tool of information management: the human brain, and its local word processor, written language. Gee, I've been surfing so much, I even put an apostrophe in that "its" without thinking. Took it out, though: the wonders of the modern word processor.
Back in the days of my humble laptop (not so humble a price, but that's another matter), there was not much to operate but DOS and my lean mean word processing program, Textra. Come to think of it, I could always scrap Word for it again, couldn't I?--since wasting countless days and nights, gnashing my teeth down to nubs, and forking out $140. for a bundle of useless extra RAM, all in a vain effort to cure the sickly sluggishness that Word causes in every other part of my system, whenever it's open, even just idling on the taskbar. It's like having a big old Cadillac belching smoke and gobbling gas in a closed garage, full time.
Is it always, back to the "Swapfile Chronicles"? (I've been so swamped, I haven't even published part 1 of that epic yet, and here we're already on part 7...but such are the the wonders of the hyperlink that it won't and doesn't and never did matter.) Only yesterday I switched the win386.swp back to C: and automatic, AGAIN, in the latest frustration at ever slowing speed...20 seconds to switch directories in a Save As dialog box, with a 486 DX100 and 48 MB RAM? Come on. My 640K laptop with DOS did way better than that....
Or is it all a plot to get me to step up to the latest, what it is by now, Pentium 500mhz and 128 MB RAM, Office 98 taking a quarter of the 10GB hard drive? And still the same problem, perhaps, or another generation of glitches and shutdowns?
Hey, too many bitter herbs, buddy. Cool off. Take a walk outside.
Ranting for Jesus. That would be maybe a more lucrative operation than this private monologue on a website lost in the search engine wars.
To continue, I can smile at it all. See? : - )
...as Paul Harvey would say. To those of you who just arrived via your HotBot search on "Paul Harvey," I say, Hello. Welcome to the ship. This is the Titannic Overload Machine, running on fruit juice, celery water, goldenseal and blue-green algae. Everything has its price...for every virtue and vice, a sponsor.
I began this exercise in flight from The Brain, and from the alternative structure of the outline hierarchy in my planning documents. I was about to embark on the latest effort to arrive at some order in my life, some focus to focus and balance the balance, reflected in the chakra areas on the Cougar's homepage. I tried the chronological generation of exercises in Motivator Pro, the dynamic webchart effect of The Brain, the outlines and multiple documents of Word, long walks in the woods. Earlier this week I even woke in the middle of the night and-gasp!--wrote on paper.
This is another surf which has caught my legs and is pulling me away. Not the bubbly swirl of fancy graphics and irresistable goodies for free, but the undertow of creation...output...making the world anew.
I always knew this, but tend to forget. The text document is a hyperlink universe all of its own, with links to neurons in vast unimaginable combinations for any reader who happens by. We are largely unconscious of the wonder of this non-technology, we are so used to it. A million years ago, it was the latest thing, and even more powerful as a change agent in the world, than its hardwired cousin of today. Simple language: free for everyone, not even needing two people really, to operate as a program for exploring thought, gaining clarity, amusing oneself with a toy of the world.
I am a creature of the second wave of the hyperlink universe, written language, and so I stand most comfortably between the two worlds beside me. Oral speech serves as an contextual shadow, a kind of operating system or programming platform for the more transportable, more storable medium of text. At the Netwise end of the scale is the grafting of technological wizardry onto text and graphic media, in order to reach farther afield for audience, and to grasp the gigantic potential of digital storage. Ironically the advancement of the simple concept, the hyperlink, brings the development of HTML back full circle to the way the human brain works: by association. The result, we all somehow realize, is our participation in a very real sense as cells in a global brain.
© Nowick Gray