Technology

Ah, late November. The first thing that comes to many peoples' minds is this: Christmas shopping. Over the years, I've become extremely disillusioned with consumerism, materialism, capitalism, and the economy. And some of you might remember my old blog, SpendLocally.ca that was borne of my love of supporting local small businesses. It's hard not to become disillusioned with this side of the holiday season if you care about the environment, manufacturing ethics, your community, and let's not forget your own financial stability. But there are ways to make positive choices and impacts, even at this most consumerist time of the year!

LED christmas lights

Down with "stuff"

My approach to gift-giving has very much aligned with my approach to shopping in general. It comes down to some basic tenets:

This post is Part 1 in a 3-part series on my quest for a calmer mind. Part 2 on healing and boundaries is here, and part 3 on meditation and mindfulness is here.

I've lived with anxiety problems since I was a teenager. It took me years to figure out that's what was going on finally seek help for it, and even longer to fully understand why it was happening. It's only in the last two years, particularly the past year, that I've finally gotten a real handle on it and learned what it feels like not to be spinning around inside my head at a dizzying speed, day in and day out. This means approximately half of my life was spent in a haze of uncontrollable thoughts and anxiety. In my quest for a calmer mind, I've discovered several changes that have helped, and one of them is modifying how I use social media.

Train ride from Vancouver to Seattle

This spring, I took a month off from Facebook. Now for those who might not know, I use Facebook a LOT. I've got family and friends I want to keep in touch with spread around the world, and because of my health problems I rarely even see local friends in person. I'm a recluse, and these days Facebook is my main connection to the world. I also use a multitude of other social media, read blogs and news online, write online, etc. but Facebook is the BIG one. I can spend a lot of time on there, and it's not all well-used time. Much of it is what a friend of mine recently termed "scrolly-scroll", ie. where you find yourself zoned out and endlessly scrolling down the page.

In the spring, I did a Facebook fast. But as much as my Twitter usage has declined since back when I was working in tech, it easily substitutes my usual scrolly-scroll of choice. Nothing else sucks me in like those two platforms. YES, they are an effective way to connect and engage. YES, they are a convenient way to keep up to date on things. There are tons of positive things about them! But they change the way we live our lives, and not always in a good way. I know they change me. And over the last year or so, I've developed the distinct sense that they change how my brain functions when I use them too much.

I've been pondering recently...

Social media makes life - even personal life - oddly impersonal. We click "like" and feel like we've REALLY supported someone (emotionally, or in their work), instead of actually giving real tangible support. For example, someone is fundraising for a project or a charity, or showing their artwork, and we click "like" and feel like we did something good to support them, when really we did nothing. We no longer feel any obligation to actually put our energy or money where our mouth (or mouse?) is. We don't really show up for people.
We post our thoughts and feel like we're actually talking to people, but when we read people's posts, we feel like they weren't really trying to communicate with us. So few people will actually respond to a meaningful or heartfelt post in any earnest or genuine way. We'd rather assume it wasn't for us, or maybe we feel uncomfortable, and we decide it's best to do nothing.

There's this thing I keep seeing on the internet, all over Instagram and peoples' blogs, and OMG YOU NEED IT!!!!!!!

At least, that's what you keep saying. It sounds like there is a gaping hole in your life that will be filled if only you can just obtain this magical object! "Where is that rug from??? I need it!!!" "I need that scarf!" "OMG I need those salt and pepper shakers." "I need one of those triangle rings!!!" "I totally need to get a pair of those shoes, I loveeeeeee them!"

People. Just stop it.

I know things are pretty or cool or trendy, and you want to express that. So please, search the depths of your vocabulary for another way to express your compliments and desires. It's really not that hard. 

No, really. You do not NEED any of this stuff. 

Does you or anyone you know A) drive and B) own a cell phone? If you answered yes, please watch this documentary short by Werner Herzog. Details here.

Randy Fay is doing a session at DrupalCon on Burnout:

We have an incredible group of people who invest deeply in our common project. Some significant portion of this group is near burnout at any given time, and we've lost important contributors, some famously, as a result of this.

The more general problem is: How can we help our contributors to manage their work so they don't get so close to burnout? How can we help people find (or regain) balance while dealing with the technical and social problems of contributing to our great project?

Proposed solution:
- Begin a concentrated initiative to grow and keep our contributors, and to keep them happy.
- Make this a goal a key project responsibility.

He just posted a blog post, on defining burnout and signs of it, this week as well.

 

So first, a little catch up from before my last posts... back in June, I went to Saskatoon for a weekend to go to the wedding of one of my next door neighbours from where I grew up. The Sulatyski family lived next door to me my entire Saskatoon-life (plus a couple years after I moved to Vancouver), and are like my second family... sometimes I feel like I grew up more Ukrainian than any other culture!

Me and the boys

This one's all Drupal folks, cause that's pretty much all I've done for the last two and a half weeks. This is what happened when I asked the question, "Is there some reason we don't just fix it all?" I did not know then what I was getting myself into...

A small inconsistency

It all started in late summer, when I was testing some Drupal 7 core patches for moving fields and image handling into core, and at some point clicked my way into the Help pages. There was a blatant typo on the Node module help, and then a change in language that needed to be made, so on August 1st, 2009 I created an issue for it.

And.... the busiest of months has come to an end. Exhales.

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October was a great if not overbooked month. Between BarCamp Vancouver, the Drupal 7 Conrib Sprint, and the big PNW Drupal Summit in Seattle last weekend, I had only one weekend off the entire month (on which there was also Drupal Camp Portland, but I decided that would be pushing it).  I made up for the past month in a big way this weekend, going out to socialize only once (last night for Halloween), sleeping in till 10am both mornings, doing laundry, cleaning my bathroom, cooking, reading, chatting with my folks on the phone, and generally being a homebody.

This blog post comes to you in two parts: 1) Drupal 2) Everything else

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