Passing thoughts during the days which bubble up between readings:

Crockpots are incredibly cool! While I'm familiar with them, I'd never used them to any extent before. For fun and relaxation, and to improve my cooking, I've decided to make one crockpot meal and one casserole dish per week. Last week I made "Sunshine Chicken" in the crockpot. It took less than 10 minutes to toss in and was absolutely marvelous once done! Delicious, moist chicken for almost zero effort — I like this kind of cooking! ;)

From the recordings I received while on the phone, Comcast's motto seems to be something along the lines of "Your satisfaction is our concern!" Today I had to make two separate phone calls to discuss having the household's billing date changed. In both cases I was informed by the (incredibly difficult to understand) techs that that would be "inconvenient" for Comcast. By this I can only conclude that Comcast's "concern" is to deprive their customers of satisfaction. ;-j

2 B or to IM… is that the question?
I'm becoming increasingly bemused by the perceived "need for speed" in our culture. I have acquaintances that spend nearly all their free non-work time watching TV/Hulu/Tivo/whatever, or texting, or tweeting, or FBing, or listening to podcasts, or whatever — and frequently they're doing two or more of the above simultaneously. They tell me they're "multi-tasking," but both personal experience and well-regulated studies have shown our brains don't work at all well that way. People work best when we're doing one thing at a time, and doing it well — rather than doing several things all at once, and doing all of them poorly.

Interestingly, one friend mentioned how much more he enjoyed being able to daydream again during the time his toy for listening to podcasts was broken for a week. That's what it took for him to realize he'd not been doing any creative imagining work anymore. I was bemused to hear he went right back to the habit of listening to podcasts whenever possible, though, once his toy was fixed again.

Not only does this constant barrage of unnecessary input deprive us of any time for (inter)personal introspection, entertainment, and relaxation, but it seems to be seeping like an oil spill into everything. You'd think a degree in religion and philosophy, for example, would put a premium on actually reading and thinking about the relevant texts… but no. The goal seems to be simply the appearance of thoughtful consideration of these texts. I've had a lot of training in — and consequently am very good at — making up bullshit that sounds well-reasoned and/or profound. I'm willing to admit that right up front, because I don't want to do that; I'd rather have actually done the reading.

It makes me wonder, though: all this frenetic energy put into being constantly technologically busy! What's being lost or covered up by all that mental white noise? What is it we're all running so hard from?

Is e-bibliophile even a word?
I deeply enjoy the sensuous pleasure of books — their sight and feel and smell — and I love to read, as some of you may have figured out by now. ;) I'm beginning to realize a guilty pleasure, however: e-books. I've mentioned previously that for the past few years I've extensively used the marvelous local library system to get all my textbooks. Occasionally there's a book I can't find in the system, however, or one of the books is so good that I consider it a "keeper." In those situations I tend to buy a used copy. Somewhat to my surprise, though, I've been discovering that books which are, even when used, often over $25 or $40… are usually $10 or less on Kindle!

A significant financial savings, immediate gratification with its immediate arrival, a tiny physical "footprint" (since I save the book on the server and read it either on my PC, smartphone, or tablet), plus I can mark up my copy with as many (legibly typewritten!) notes as I want and yet not run out of space… and perhaps best of all, the ebook is searchable! I can't tell you how much of a difference that makes to me as a student. What's not to like?

So, should I feel guilty when I pass by my physical books? Or should I just wail self-righteously about having unmet neeeeds? ;)

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