Showing posts with label Digital Detox. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Digital Detox. Show all posts

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

7/17/19: Guidance Is Internal

Chris & Rich sit in on the 50th anniversary of Apollo 11. We discuss the achievement, the courage of those undertaking it, and how subsequent generations were cheated of their signature crowning moment in history.



ALSO: 

-Data overload, informational suffocation, and how the compulsive "current events man" is actually less informed.

-Are we "really" evolving?

-Patriotic appreciation vs. copycat anti-Americanism



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*Also check out www.christophermedia.net

Monday, July 8, 2019

7/8/19: Wordknapping, Propaganda's Effects, A Reckoning

"He who defines is your master."More on twisting definitions as a malicious propaganda tool, how institutional propaganda systems affect a population, and where a species oblivious of its own shortcomings ultimately ends up.


Also: 
-Communing with the organic dead
-There's no such thing as collective critical thought
-Intelligence as a handicap

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*Subscribe on Apple Podcasts, YouTube, and your favorite podcatcher.
*Also check out www.christophermedia.net and www.escapingthecave.com

Wednesday, July 3, 2019

7/3/19: Broken Beasts of Intellectual Burden

A digital detox update and re-connecting with the organic world, Trump's 4th of July spectacle and the predictable "outrage", why I'm rooting against the US women's soccer team, the ridiculous debates, and half as many young people consider themselves "gay allies." Why? Beware the boomerang!



Also: 

-Social media is the new talk radio
-Visceral emotive manipulation and monetized propaganda
-Algorithms as propaganda delivery systems

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*Subscribe on Apple Podcasts, YouTube, and your favorite podcatcher.
*Also check out www.christophermedia.net

Thursday, June 27, 2019

6/27/19: Convulsive Twitch and The Damage Done

Are we representing ourselves accurately via these one dimensional social media avatars? I update the digital detox progress and talk about my over-amplified virtual projection, Toddzilla, destroying meaningful relationships, how the tweet is in the eye of the beholder, missing a funeral for a friend, and maybe a faint glimmer of not-so-Sausage Party Hope.



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*Subscribe on Apple Podcasts, YouTube, and your favorite podcatcher. Missing one? Tell me!
*Also check out www.escapingthecave.com and www.christophermedia.net

Tuesday, June 25, 2019

6/25/19: The Signal To Noise Ratio and A Digital Pretox

How does someone whose life is based online digitally detox? Good question. Let's find out; here's how it's going to start.  Should be a hoot!



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*Subscribe on Apple Podcasts, YouTube, and your favorite podcatcher. Missing one? Tell me!
*Also check out www.christophermedia.net

Friday, June 21, 2019

6/21/19: The Social Media Disease - Distraction Sickness, Electronic Eyes, Thought Shaming

Hi New Zealand! Find yourself logging onto to the LaBrea Twitter Pit or Facebook and suddenly you've lost far more time to it than you intended?  Me too. More on Digitally Enhanced Avatars, Digital Detox as a treatment for a distorted virtual perception/socialization as well as depression, anxiety, cynicism, and generalized anger.

Also,
-The universal nature of both our inner and shared stories
-Propaganda is a story
-What happens when conflicting propagandas collide?
-Social Vengeance Warriors moving beyond "justice" and discrimination into thought control




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*Subscribe on Apple Podcasts, YouTube, and your favorite podcatcher. Missing one? Tell me!
*Check out www.christophermedia.net

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

6/12/19: The Social Media Disease - Net Rage, Poking the Ape, Unleashing the Id

Cyber Space Monkeys continued. In part 1-of-3, I'm joined by Chris & Rich from Unregimented to discuss the effects of social media on individuals and society as a whole. Propaganda kerosene and the disinformation detonator, the connection between road rage and net rage, much of the IDW: for-profit social media brands and "right adjacent" influencers producing "content" for handouts, Nicholas Carr and how the Internet physically changes our brains, good deeds done solely to post the selfie, and more.


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Subscribe on Apple Podcasts, YouTube, Google Play, Spotify, & Stitcher.
Also visit: www.christophermedia.net

Friday, June 7, 2019

6/7/19: Hey, Hilltucky! Reptilian Truth & The Outrage Fever

No Politics! Lots of drilling to the "get the f**k away from me!" meltdown core.

-Bulls**t Jousting
-The truth probably won't set you free
-Sausage Party Hope and the fueling Audacity of Belief
-How & why disinformation works: a first person play-by-play.


Like it? SHARE IT! F**k The Zuck & Twitter. You're my marketing team.
Subscribe on Apple Podcasts, YouTube, Google Play, Spotify, & Stitcher.

Also visit: www.christophermedia.net
More: www.escapingthecave.com

Saturday, March 24, 2018

3/24/18: The Social Media Disease - Cyber Space Monkeys

First Social Media Disease antibiotic treatment. Starting with an X-Pod flashback to 2014, Todd discusses Cambridge Analytica before turning to more recent effects of our collective addiction to social media on society and how a bilateral abandonment of a commitment to basic common facts--in favor of tasty propaganda--is having a dehumanizing effect and rapidly eroding the social contract. Also: cyber space monkeys, avatars showing off for each other in the Matrix, and the digital-organic hybrid: meme belching cyborgs.




Need more Toddzilla? First, seek help. Second, click the links below. Third, listen on your way to therapy.

I was a guest on two Christopher Media shows this week:

Politics, society, social media: Unregimented - http://christophermedia.net/229-its-still-all-about-trump/

Baseball! And other unfortunate things: Sporgy- http://christophermedia.net/093-03-22-18/


More episodes/subscribe: www.escapingthecave.com
My travel archives: www.toddzillaX.com
Also visit: www.christophermedia.net

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

2/6/18: Capitalist Media 101: It's (We) The People, Stupid

In this episode: thoughts on the popular escapist conspiracy theory about the mainstream media “dumbing us down to keep us docile and ignorant." I also dissect the reasons why our media is now composed nearly exclusively of boutique news outlets producing chum for echo chamber sharks, media desensitization and the cure, as well as the need for sugar-coated truth, and our insulated and self-cleansing propaganda ecosystems (news, standup, and Hollywood). 

Also: thoughtless “opinion”, white inheritance, Sausage Party Hope, Fleecing The Fucktards, and more. Not for everyone. Ask your doctor if Toddzilla is right for you. Use only as directed.


(This is the edited-for-time 2019 version. Original file linked below)



Sunday, January 28, 2018

(2014) - The X-Pod 007: Slithering Fascism & Tribal Warfare

Recorded in 2014 shortly before the first podcast ended, this episode discusses my initial Facebook purges, Trumpism (before Trump), the social damage inflicted by echo chambered disinformation (fake news) on facebook as well as the human inclination toward delusional tribalism. Not recommended for those looking for Sausage Party Hope! Definitely recommended for those wanting to reflect back on the not-so-distant past and reminisce on how we got here. And how things not only haven't changed, but gotten worse.


More:www.escapingthecave.com
www.upperworldphoto.com

Thursday, October 19, 2017

When Avatars Attack


A Recycled Prelude

An excerpt from an earlier post. This tells of what turned out to be a personally profound moment that took place in Phoenix on Halloween, 2016 just before Trump's election. It sets up nicely what you'll see sprouting here over the next several days and/or weeks. 




Facebook Avatars Escape The Matrix

Jeff and I went to a tiny Halloween get together at his apartment complex and toward the end of the night, the host’s neighbor stopped to chat. Seemed like a decent kid. Personable. Pleasant. Mid 20’s. I didn’t think anything of it. Suddenly, while he and the token liberal/anti-Trump partygoer were having a nice conversation, the liberal gun slinger decided to show off his ideological marksmanship and, out of the blue, yanked his Progressive Facebook Avatar from the Matrix dropping it, meme guns a-blazin’, into the Desert of the Real. The Trump supporter naturally reacted in kind and it predictably, and quickly, devolved from friendly polite banter into The Battle of Arizona and almost a physical fight.

Thursday, August 24, 2017

A Brief Facebook Relapse and The Last Bender


I’ll begin this expansive multi-part project with two quick anecdotes.

Over the years, I tried to stop smoking several times. Whenever I found success, I’d kill it by letting myself have “just one”. Yep.  “Just one” Swisher Sweet always turned into ten then another pack of Marlboros.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

10/20/16: Jean, NV - Tuning In; Bugging Out

Another cold night turned into a surprisingly chilly day. The winds kicked up and, despite the sun, temps hovered in the upper 60's all day leading to a surprisingly comfortable hoodied Wednesday.

I woke up around 7:45, packed up the gear in a much more efficient fashion, and proudly found myself back at my spot by 8:15--only to discover that nearly all of the trucks were already long gone! In that annoyed moment, I resolved to be awake earlier, much earlier, if I found myself in Jean again Thursday.

The primary theme of the day was set the night before as I lay writing in the nest. "Digital Detox" once again. Presence. Being "here". As I was writing, I found myself hypnotically looking up at the moon and Orion...then back down at my phone as I finished a blog post. I found that almost silly while, at the same time, tried how technology has changed and I needed to adapt; learn to use this connectivity as a tool rather than a habitual crutch.

For much of the day, I sat there with the phone off. No music. Nothing. And in a pseudo meditative state. Completely immersed in where I was and what I was doing. My observational senses heightened because my attention wasn't fragmented between " here" and everywhere else. It was almost intoxicating as I found myself remotely connecting with people from beneath my shade tree. Looking beyond the thin, often judgmental "appearance" veneer as people walked by, pumped their gas, or walked in to get their snacks and drinks.



It's hard to explain, but the general feeling was empathy. And it was borne from having forged a tangible human connection with the "real" world. I remembered this from my other trips, but back then I was typically preoccupied with getting somewhere. Not today. Today, again, wasn't about my personal selfish mobility. It was about really "seeing" people and re-focusing my eyes on the reality of humanity. The trip's personality was beginning to show itself. And, yes. Today, I was the Truck Stop Philosopher. And content with that.

Get On Your Bad Motor Scooter & Ride!

Around mid-afternoon, three loaded down motor scooters, complete with trailers stuffed with gear, pulled into Terrible's. I was fascinated! These guys had taken the bicycle touring idea and adapted it to scooters! I had to check this out!

I slung on the pack, walked over to the gas pumps, introduced myself, and asked what they were up to. They were three guys from Las Vegas in their 20's who were planning an extended scooter tour . This was a little trial run to test things.

My people! They had the explorer's "what's really out there?" mentality and were setting forth in their little motorized ships to see for themselves. With an intense, optimistic sense and embracing of adventure. They'd seemingly embraced the "Live! Now!" notion and I loved them for it. Their almost uncontrollable excited energy was contagious.

When I told them what I'd done since '08, they had a few tactical questions about what to bring, etc. My advice: Dont make my mistake by overthinking. Just go! Don't fucking worry about it. You'll figure your own method out along the way and almost immediately.  In fact, that's part of the fun. Take too much if you must. You can always get rid of it along the way. Overlook something? Get it later.

We chatted at the gas pumps for at least 20-minutes and exchanged social media info before they left, and a large part of me wished I were tagging along. I was excited for them and even slightly envious that they were at the beginning when everything lying ahead was an exciting, invigoratingly nervous mystery! They were "alive"! And, as with the night before, I was struck by the intense reminder of "why I do this".



Meeting these guys, and being able to keep in touch moving forward, tempered any potentially pesky dogma surrounding Digital Detox. They were playing the role of returning to The Cave to show the Upper World to those still chained beneath. Even if it was unintentional and via Instagram.

No. Selfishly hoarding these experiences in a personal vacuum was certainly not the answer. One could effectively argue that the act is the height of self-centered narcissism. Not everyone "can" do this. (The day's empathy at work.) If you can even slightly help these folks by allowing them to experience these moments and insights, even second hand, why wouldn't you?

As these young men sped away on their scooters, I made friends with my smart phone. This thing can be a positive asset if it's "used" and not "using" me.

Shortly thereafter, I walked up to a NHP trooper and asked him to clarify the state's hitching law. What I learned? That the only part of hitchhiking that's illegal: raising your thumb! I could sit at the I-15 exit ramp. I could have a sign. I could even WALK the fucking interstate! I just couldn't...hold my thumb in the air. 

Really?

"What. The. Infernal. Fuck?"

Time to Go

Looking back on it, my useful time in Jean came to an abrupt end when these scooters sputtered off. That was what I needed, and from that point forward, I was first being gently nudged along. Then not so gently.

People always implore me to "be careful". I've never had trouble with rides. At ALL. It's always the seldom seen other travelers, "Rainbow Family" Dipshits, or occasional homeless dude that wigs me out. West Virginia in '12 for example.

Early in the evening as I was listening to the Cubs-Dodgers again, I was joined at my little desert Oasis by a desperately sketchy and disconcertingly nervous little road rat who spent much of the evening scampering around hunting and harassing disinterested truckers for rides. It was as though someone had methed-up his Newports. Think: overly aggressive panhandler. Of course he stopped over long enough to bum a smoke and use my Sharpie to make a sign. Then he vanished to the ramp to try getting to Primm's Flying J that night.

I hoped he'd have some luck, but unfortunately he didn't and would reappear shortly before I decided to bed down and prepare for an early Thursday.

"Just great!", I thought.

"Now I'd have to sneak back to my spot then lie awake in my rocky little dirt nest to see if Tweaky McBallsuck found me."

Plus, I was sure that, in the interim, he'd ask for another smoke simply to use it as a segue to tell me all about how the cops keep trying to frame him. Or how "that lyin' bitch fucked him over". They almost always do. It's fucks like this that makes life more difficult out here from top to bottom. At least the stories are good.

Thankfully he vanished. I don't know if he got a ride or what, but once he went behind the truck stop, I never saw him again. No complaints there. I did lie awake for a bit but, after the events of being found the night before, I was mindful of being overly paranoid while still not being careless. I set the alarm for 5am and dozed off, on top of the bivy again, around 11.

I woke up at 4:40. Cold. Again! I packed up in the dark, it was still an hour before sunrise, and got to the parking lot around 5:15. I was still a bit late. Several of the trucks had already left. I drew up an "I-40, 70, or 80" sign determined to at least try my best to catch a truck and get moving. No luck. Not even close.



Around 8:30, I was looking at my phone trying to connect with Scooter Guys, when a shiny little black sports car occupied by a couple of young black guys pulled up to my spot beneath the tree...and asked me, with excessive, contrived politeness, for money.

I laughed. Obnoxiously. Out loud.

"Really? You're asking ME for money? If I had money, I'd be on a bus!", I lied.

"What's a bus?", the driver answered.  Without a hint of humor or irony.

Then the passenger took over. He looked me up and down and immediately I knew where this was going.

"That's a nice jacket. Nice boots. Saw that phone. We could just come back and take all that shit. And your wallet, too."

Again, I laughed as the car began slowly driving off. The passenger said something to the effect of "see ya later" as they turned right toward I-15. I looked him dead in the eye and smiled as if to say, "Yeah. Maybe I'll see you, too", then eyeballed them as they got on I-15 north back toward Vegas.

Well, shit. Yup. Definitely time to go.

I drew on the events of the past two nights and didn't let paranoia rule the day. I was pretty sure that they were just punks looking for an soft, gullible target and had failed. Otherwise, they were poor excuses for thugs!

Nevertheless, I couldn't be certain.  So, I waited for 15-20 minutes to see if they returned, went inside to grab some beef sticks and water, then walked to the I-15 southbound ramp. My pesky decision was suddenly made. Fuck everything to do with dealing with Las Vegas. I was going south. At least as far as the next exit, Primm, where I knew there was a Flying J.

The only question? Would anyone stop? I was bolstered by the fact that it was only around 9am and I had never been completely shutout when I'd spent a full day actually hitching.



I drew up a sign for Primm, then sat for nearly three hours. Right about the time I began wondering if this was the day I'd finally get shutout, I looked over to see that a minivan had pulled over and was backing up on my direction.

My first ride was from the most unlikely of sources. And far more than a positive counterbalance to the morning's silliness...

Monday, October 17, 2016

10/17/16: Day #1 - Jean and The Tin Man

In retrospect, the decision to hit the road Monday (10/17) felt a lot like the original choice to leave Chicago the week before: completely unprepared. When I woke up and sat down to write that morning, I had no idea where I'd be struggling to sleep in just a few hours!

 The day's big event was supposed to be a simple post office run. But, without making a conscious "decision", I  gathered the rest of my stuff and by 2:00 we had made my dropoff at a UPS Store (unable to fit everything in the one overpriced box ), and were on I-15 south heading out of the city to terra inc√≥gnita. My only pre-trip request: "when I leave, get me to a decent spot betond the city sprawl!"

I didn't have even a vague notion of where I was going, so direction didn't really matter. I suggested Hoover Dam, thinking hitching the road south toward Kingman would be a good way to break myself back in and that I could eventually go whatever direction I decided by the time I got to I-40.

Natali didn't want to drive that far, so it was essentially a decision between north and south on I-15. North almost surely meant Utah: The mythically infamous Hitchhiker Blackhole! So, since we are already on the south end of Vegas, I told her to just go south and make it easy. From there I relied on her knowledge of the area. She had a spot in mind, so I trusted her judgment.

The Rusty Tin Man Creaks Forth

Maybe 30-minutes later, Natali exited at Jean and dropped me off at Terrible's, a Shell station/small truck stop across from a rather large casino otherwise in the middle of Desert Nowhere.

The spot had everything I'd need to get my legs beneath me: a gas station for food, water, a Denny's across the road to get coffee and charging facilities, and truck parking. Also, an abundance of open space for stealth camping. We hugged, I snapped a pic, and suddenly I was hitchhiking again. For the first time since my short and family-aborted Texas to Colorado run in 2013.

The first emotion: youthful exhilaration. An excited sense of utter uncertainty psychologically framed as "adventure". I'd had this feeling several times before. This time though, it was tempered. "Been 'here' before..." Considering it had been so long, I was surprised that almost instantly I reverted to instinct, method and experience. I automatically surveyed the grounds, walked inside for water, some snacks, and cigarettes.

Yes. The cigarettes were back. I'd left Chicago with vaping gear planning to decrease my nicotine levels along the way and quitting a week or two later. Good plan. It had worked before. Except, the previous week my battery had gone to hell and I was forced to drop an unplanned $50 on a new one, tank, and coils. That was ridiculous and pissed me off. "Fifty bucks?!? Why not just fucking smoke? How the hell am I going to keep this battery charged?" I answered that silent question immediately. when my smokes and I were reunited. And yeah, it kinda felt good! Hitchhiking and smoking go together like cigarettes and booze; smokes and coffee. Trump & Putin. It's weird.

Why am I even explaining this? Don't judge, fuckers.

The second instant realization: a repeat of the week before. How moving from "abstraction to action" annihilates the internal "what if" anxieties. As soon as we were on the road, the "what ifs" turned to problem solving and forward motion. I was reminded more than once of the "molehills" in the lead up to my original departure in 2008. How everything I'd worried about for nearly 4-years was proven ridiculous. Almost immediately. Our minds are both our greatest assets and our biggest nemesis.



There was a shade tree set in a perfect spot between the parking lot and the road. An ideal place to be seen by the traffic coming and going. I plopped the pack down beneath it and exhaled. Almost immediately, I nearly got out of there. Had I been "saltier", I believe I would have.

A truck driver saw me and my setup, walked over, and said he could tell I wasn't a bum and asked what I was up to. I gave him the now-unfamiliar, unrefined, and poorly articulated "out to see people without electronic eyes" version and we spent 10-15 minutes chatting. He talked about how he'd given rides to people similar to me and how they'd stayed in touch. In retrosepct, it's obvious he had taken into account that I'd just been dropped off and was waiting for me to ask to come along. But, apparently I was waiting for an engraved golden invitation, not wanting to seem (feel?) like a transportational panhandler. Had I been a bit more tuned in, this trip would look vastly different. He went north. Presumably toward Salt Lake City or Reno.

Almost directly on the heels of my new trucker friend came Curt & Judy. They were in their late 50's or early 60's, had parked their RV at Terrible's, and were in the area to do some off-roading in their 4-wheelers. They struck up a conversation while walking from the RV to the canino's Denny's. They were quite curious about my base motivations and we hit it off immediately. We shared philosophical views about the existentially corrosive effects of chasing money and careerism, among other things. I told them about the inspiration I drew from Plato's Cave and gave them an Upper World Photo card with an invitation to contact me via my Facebook page. They invited me to let them know if I made it up to Seattle and I immediately warned them about such polite, off-handed invites! I tend to take folks up on them from time-to-time! Eh, Shawn? Kim? Jeff?

While I slightly hoped to find a ride Monday, there was no "real" effort. Any hope stemmed mostly from directional indecisiveness. I had no beacon whatsoever. I'd decided that I'd wait for my first "real" ride out of the desert and off I-15's north-south LA to Vegas/Utah asphalt funnel. Thus, despite my vast experience failing in such matters, I was targeting trucks. And had just let one go!

Yes, I was certainly rusty.

In reality, it was good to just sit with myself and just be. To slowly disconnect from the electronic eyes, embrace the old "Sit Down and Shut Up" idea, while simultaneously basking in the positive energy of the post-drop off day, and reconnect with the real, raw world.

The cynicism that I'd felt returning all weekend as I attempted to "pay attention" to the election and "current events" almost immediately evaporated and was replaced with positivity borne from real interaction with real people in the "real" world. I know of no better "therapy".

The previous week's ideas about Digital Detox were certainly top-of-mind Monday, and would be for the foreseeable future. Clearly, I'm no prospective Luddite! But, finding balance and a sense of intentional utility with technology is obviously key. I'd never tried hitchhiking with a full-on smartphone, and I was rightfully concerned about it before I even left. But, the usefulness is undeniable. On Day 1, I shot and edited video and found myself finishing and uploading my "October Surprise" post while stashed away behind the truck parking lot! And, yes, I also occasionally found myself habitually reaching for my device as I became bored. But, at least I was mindful of it. At the same time, I was mindful of Plato's "Return to the Cave".

Finding a spot to camp as the sun fell around six was a breeze. I laid the bivy/Thermarest out on the semi-rocky ground, flung the sleeping bag on top, and laid there unable to sleep. I was semi-productive with the writing and editing, but I couldn't shut down the brain.



Clearly, there was more to this trip than I was even aware of...

Sunday, October 16, 2016

10/16/16: Las Vegas - Dabbling With Digital Detox

I had been to Las Vegas a couple of times. Once when I transferred Greyhounds when I was 13. The other for an airline transfer. Leaving the airport in the wee hours of Wednesday morning with Natali was the first time I'd actually seen the strip, even though from afar.

Except for her to walk her dog, the two of us didn't leave the apartment until Friday. We spent 2 1/2 full days just talking about everything imaginable and getting to know each other. Nearly nonstop from when we woke up in the morning until we went to bed. It was exhausting but, in some distantly familiar way, exhilarating.

For those two days, I tried putting the notion of Digital Detox into practice. Despite the glaring irony and inconsistency, that have their reasons, I've been concerned about living and seeing the world electronically for a long time. After reading a fantastic piece (online) by Andrew Sullivan about his struggles to reclaim his humanity and essence from cyberspace, I decided to give it a shot.

For these two days, the phone was in another room and the TV stayed off until there was an actual specific purpose for either of them. Facebook? Ha! Nearly a nonentity.

What I discovered? It was so much easier to concentrate on the conversation, focus on who was in the room, and maintain a sense of positivity and presence without the distraction of having "the whole world" right there in front of me.

Out of sight, out of mind. The simple act of making the iPhone a non-reflexive, non-habitual entity made the entire process work and I felt reconnected to the "real" world. That's something, not coincidentally, that also happens when I travel in Latin America without cellular voice or data. And, a corresponding and inevitable disconnection also typically occurs when I get to a hostel with...you guessed it...wifi! Then it's like Starbucks. A roomful of people posting selfies and oblivious to each other's existence.

Peru was an inadvertent case study in that. I spent two of my three months off-the-grid at Chris' eco-hostel 13,000 ft. up the Andes skirt. The only power was gathered by modest solar cells. Everything after sundown was done by candle light. Wifi? Ha! Slow, rudimentary cellular internet at best. And it didn't work most of the time. Internet wasn't a taken-for-granted utility. It was a sparsely used tool. Hour long trips were planned to go down the mountainside to Huaraz just to get it. And not very often.

In the meantime? People...talked! To other real people! Who were IN THE ROOM WITH THEM! Eureka! When they weren't talking ? Reading. Writing. Taking world class hikes. Just sitting down. Shutting up. "Being". Without any contrived external entertainment.

It was a bit unnerving at first, but the mental batteries recharged and clarity of thought and focus returned. These weren't just my observations. Other people from different backgrounds around the world noticed, commented on it, and appreciated it as well. There were ways to bring wifi to The Hof if Chris really wanted to. He didn't. That's exactly why.

One other Peruvian observation: even after all that time unplugged I still an unconsciously resumed old habits as soon as I returned to "civilization". Our brains are being rewired and reprogrammed by our machines.

Another thing I noticed last week: How politics changes my entire mood, vibe, energy, and general outlook. And, I don't need to be discussing it for that to happen. Social media or TV? Doesn't matter. As soon as election "news" or commentary is put in front of me, and I put any degree of focus in its direction: ZAP! Whatever positive energy that was there before was gone. Cynicism floods in to replace it. And it was sometimes difficult to get it back. More so the longer I was immersed in it. I would have another stark in-person example provided for me the day I finally began the real"trip"! (Foreshadowing now!)

There is an incredibly instructive, overreaching society-based idea to be mined on that last point. Obviously, I'm not unique in that regard. I'm simply not wanting to poke this complex observation into a fucking iPhone while lying on my sleeping bag behind a truckstop in the desert! Not the "cushiest" place I've written! (Foreshadowing Forever!)

Sadly, this little two-day experiment didn't last. Natali left Friday night to stay with her cousin so she could take her to the airport early Saturday morning. I was alone in her apartment, so my flirtation with cyber-celibacy ended abruptly.  It started with me innocently editing and posting a YouTube video. Before I knew it I was right back where I was. Habitually grabbing the phone like a crack pipe. And wondering how this was going to be when I finally hit the road! A smartphone? That had never been attempted!

The rest of the weekend wasn't worth talking about. The TV came on, phones went in hand, and that short, surprisingly intense connection we'd forged was mostly gone. I suppose my little visit to Las Vegas was a miniscule microcosm for what I was describing about Peru. No phone: human connection. As soon as it returns? Poof! Zombie from Electronistan!

In retrospect, I should have left Sunday. But, since I'd not given myself time to think thru everything thoroughly before I left, I needed a post office. Or, so I thought! (Make Foreshadowing Great Again!)

One thing for sure: by Monday morning, it was obviously past time for me to fly...