Monthly Archives: August 2011

Digital Detox – The Groundrules

Hello, for those of you keeping pace, this week, tomorrow in fact I’ll be in a digital/blog/MP3/i-This and That free zone.  So no more posts until October…  I’m pretty sure the Internet won’t go into free fall… probably.  Anyway, see you in four weeks, Gb.

Preparations for Simple September (the month I’ve decided to return to a 1970’s lifestyle), have begun in earnest.  I’ve started emailing my regular contacts to advise them that I won’t be checking my inbox from September 1st; although I’m sure this won’t stop the extremely persistent President of Nigeria from contacting me daily with offers of free cash.


Serenity... NOW!

And, as my ancient typewriter has gone the way of the dinosaurs, I’ve resurrected an old, pre-wireless internet, word processor in order to continue writing these columns.  Which means no blogging, reading online forums, news and weather sites, or consultations with Dr. Google seeking free medical advice regarding my various ailments (real and imagined). 

NOTE: should a genuine health emergency occur, I want every modern, high tech, computer aided, satellite tracking, micro-chip operated, latest and greatest life saving device to be utilised immediately, because I’m not a complete idiot.

Meanwhile at work, computer use is unavoidable, particularly if I wish to continue being paid, so, for the next four weeks I’ll minimise my workstation usage to the absolute bare essentials, then quickly log off and do something productive; like I’m supposed to… apparently.

I’ve also stashed away my MP3 player.  This is going to hurt, because thanks to this little device, the daily dog death march has become an activity I almost look forward to now.  But on the bright side, returning to a headphone free walk will also mean no more mindlessly stepping out in front of speeding traffic while I manically press the buttons on the fiddly bit of rubbish.

I did eventually find my old battery operated tape player, along with a disintegrating Pink Floyd cassette, but sadly, I also found the unrepairable corrosion damage that the 1985 vintage batteries had done to its’ internals.  

And finally, during September, I’ll only watch two TV channels, the ABC, and one commercial network, with viewing times limited to hours between three and eleven p.m. just like it was in the ‘70’s.  And to make the experience really authentic, I’ll have to get up off my backside to physically change channels.  At this point, I started to wonder about the sanity of going through with this exercise in simplicity, but then I recalled the many reasons I was doing it.

So next month, when you’re emailing your bank account details to the overly generous Nigerian President, please add my fondest regards.


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Digital Detox

Having nearly reached the age of 45, I’ve decided that it’s high time I got my mid-life crisis over with.  When I informed Long Suffering Wife of my decision, she rolled her eyes and said, “Well, it’s about time, we’ve only been putting up with the damned thing since you were 33!”

Now, because I don’t have a lot of time to waste, I thought I’d plan the perfect mid-life crisis, so I looked at my options:

Go parachuting?  Yes, if I want my middle-aged heart to stop beating. 

Buy a Harley and cruise the highways like Easyrider?  Well, I’ve spent a few holidays over the years doing that on my old Kawasaki, ‘Rentawreck’, and let me tell you, bugs cracking into your forehead at 100 kph is overrated in my opinion.

Drop out of society, live on a commune, grow my own food, and surround myself with nubile hippy women?  Well, it does have its’ attractions, but I’ve scratched it off my list because I’m not a big fan of mungbeans, or dandelion wine, and honestly, I’m flat out keeping one wife amused.

So, after a lot of thought, I’ve decided to do the one thing that will hopefully make me much happier.  I’m going back to the 1970’s!

No, I’m not building a time machine (although it is on my list of ‘Things to Do’); instead, I’m planning a Digital Detox.  This September, I am going to reject all the frustrating electronic gadgetry that has taken over my life.

Nowadays, everyone complains about being time poor and stressed.  Our lives are a raging torrent of activities, and even the very air around us is busy, filled with ringing phones, tweets n’ texts, emails, and electronic music.  Struth, I’m starting to forget what the voices in my head sound like.

So for one month, I will live a life free of email, internet, MP3, i-This and i-That, DVD’s, or any other form of electronic gadgetry that wasn’t around when I was a lad in the 1970’s.

I’m not doing this for charity, I’m doing it for my Sanity; although if someone is willing to sponsor this stupidity then I’ll happily pass the proceeds on to the good people at the Gladstone Men’s Shelter (because I cheerfully support any charities that I feel I may need in the future).

It’s time to ‘Simplify man, simplify!’  I’ll keep you posted… somehow.

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Gladstone Botanic to Bridge Training

As my family’s chief dog wrangler I spend a lot of time wandering Gladstone’s streets leashed to two mobile urine sprinklers.

You can't hear her screaming in this picture...

And apart from a couple of weeks each year, the footpaths are generally empty, the main users tend to be me and the other ‘regulars’; the unlicensed, schoolkids, and fellow soft-hearted saps who have had dogs foisted on them.

But recently the paths have filled with joggers training for the 2nd Botanic to Bridge fun run.  Now, a few of them have dropped out, possibly after springing a fetlock from skidding in dog poo (that’s dog owners for you), and some of them have nearly been killed because they can’t hear the horns, or screeching tyres, of the trucks that they’ve brainlessly stepped out in front of while fiddling with their i-Noise thingy.  Which hasn’t done my heart, or the truckies’ nerves, a lot of good I can tell you.

And among the bustling, lycra clad crowds is a large-ish lady who I’ve been secretly cheering on.  She’s out nearly every day and has been steadily improving, because each week her face is a little less purple.

Now, because I like to help, I decided to pay her a compliment in order to keep her motivated.  So as she shuffled by I cried, “Keep Going Mate, You’re Doing Great!”  She leaped from the path and collided with a small bush.  Scrambling to her feet, she then took off at an amazing gallop; my inspirational help had obviously worked wonders!

She disappeared for a while, but earlier this week, I spotted her in the distance and yelled, “You Can Do It!”  From the way she stopped, then sped off in the opposite direction, I could see my little pep talk had once again lifted her performance.  It’s nice to help.

If you happen to know that lady, as she must have mentioned my rousing talks to someone by now, could you get her to contact me?  Because she might want to continue training after the Fun Run, and as I can’t be around all the time to encourage her, I’ve worked out the perfect motivational strategy to keep her exercising year after year.

She needs a dog; or better yet, two dogs!  And fortunately, I happen to know a bighearted bloke who is extremely keen to offload a couple of mutts right now.

As I said, I like to help.

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Soldiering On…

Open damn you! Open!!

This week I fell victim to what Long Suffering Wife cynically called ‘The Man Flu’.  Ok, I’ll admit I wasn’t sick enough to be at Deaths’ Door, but I was definitely standing on Deaths’ Driveway admiring His flower beds.

Apparently I wasn’t alone, because every surgery I rang was solidly booked, and the earliest I could get in would be much later in the week.  I eventually secured an appointment at the last surgery in town by bursting into tears over the phone.

I optimistically arrived half an hour early and spent the next two hours lingering about a packed waiting room, where I had plenty of time to reflect on what an aptly named room the Waiting Room is.

Eventually a weary Doctor called me in, gave me a quick once over, announced I had a bit of a cold, then ushered me straight back out the door where a sea of sick faces looked up in hopeful expectation.

At the chemists I waited in another long line of coughing, sneezing and ailing wretches.  After the passing of three Ice Ages I finally reached the counter, and asked for the tablets I saw on tele which advertised a miracle cure for the common cold.  On the ad, some languishing sufferer takes two pills, then instantly leaps to his feet, secures a high level corporate deal, then wins a foot race.

The chemist asked for my name, and while she tapped away on her computer, the old bloke behind me whispered, “They’re doing a check on you mate, to see how many times you’ve ordered those tablets, just in case you’re using them to make illegal drugs.”

I gawped at him, “Do I look like I’m on drugs?!”  He took in my bloodshot eyes, runny nose, unkempt hair and shabby clothes, then moved back two places in the line.  They gave me the tablets, which I waved in old mates’ face on my way out the door. 

Back home I took the recommended dose and waited eagerly for the magic to happen.  I eventually fell asleep and surfaced three hours later feeling marginally better.  Four days later I’m still waiting, but with much less enthusiasm.

So, while we’re waiting for a genuine flu remedy, I hope someone in the meantime develops a ‘Man Flu’ tablet; which could be taken by cynical wives to make them believe you really are crook.

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