One Day's Head-Breaking Internet History

Friday, 15 October 2010

When I think back over yesterday, it actually feels like a reasonably standard sort of a day.  I began it with a two-hour indulgence in some creativity.  I followed it up with some meditation, then some work, then some yoga, then some more work, and then came the evening where I was online for a reasonable amount of time, chatted to my beloved, did some reading.  A reasonably uneventful sort of a day, I guess, looking in from the outside.  The sort of day I like, where I have plenty of time to do the things that matter to me, all while being able to work from home (I work transcribing court cases for a company in Brisbane here in Oz).

But even though in reality I had oodles of time yesterday to go slowly through it, the way I like, it felt full and constricted.  And when I look at my internet search history for yesterday, it explains exactly why I feel that way.

A rough count of yesterday's internet browsing reveals that I looked at over 600 pages yesterday.  SIX - HUNDRED - PAGES!!

Now, to qualify a little here, to rationalise the unrationalisable.  I guess when I look at the data, yesterday was a little out of the ordinary.  There were a few rather involved and specialised searches going on that involved a lot of trawling through different pages.  Firstly, my partner and I are escaping the pre-Christmas insanity this year, going away a few days before Christmas and coming back when the whole sorry empty consumerism is over.

Searching for accommodation online is fantastic.  Just a few mouse clicks ... or maybe a few hundred.  Because it's sort of hard to stop, once you start.  There's always one more place to look at, even though you've enquired at 25 of them and at least a couple will surely be suitable for you.

Another large component of those ridiculous 600 pages were work-related.  In my transcription work we need to check the correct spelling of all proper names.  And so yesterday involved heaps of searches for names, and streets, and checking to see if what the witness is asking for is really a "Mareva injunction" (it was).

I was also doing a fair bit of hardcore searching for recipes, yesterday.  My manfriend purchased for us our first vegetable box from CERES this week (found and organised online, of course)  It contains a variety of fresh, organic, veggies sourced from local farmers wherever possible.   Much cheaper than buying in an organic shop, and I feel like we're part of something sustainable that is helping small-time farmers.

You don't know what you're getting in the vegetable box - it's a lucky dip of sorts (anyone want a bunch of asparagus?  I can't stand the stuff;  tastes like what the back of my throat did last time I had tonsillitis).  Makes it interesting, and I am happy to report that I have found a way of cooking the FOUR swedes in this week's box.  The weather has turned a little chillier here again - it's been raining constantly this morning, for as long as I've been conscious and good casseroley cooking weather is on the cards.  I love getting recipes online :)

So if it wasn't enough that I spent all that time online, still it goes.  In a day where in some ways it didn't feel like I did a whole lot, I absorbed way more than I can handle comfortably.  But by far the most inspiring was the hour I spent last night watching the rather brilliant documentary Requiem for Detroit? This show was produced for the BBC in England, about a city in America, and was shown on my television station here in Australia several weeks ago.  I accessed it last night when I was ready.

I am still coming to terms with how life looks to us now, with the net.  Have not yet learned how to stem the flow.

Last night I also watched a 20-minute talk given by Elisabeth Gilbert, author of Eat, Pray, Love.  It was given in February 2009, posted on  I came across it via a link from Robyn Jackson Pearson, who I have chatted to online over the past several years but have never met and probably never will.  She had linked to another clip on TED via Facebook, which I started watching for a minute or two till my ADHD sent me searching elsewhere on the site.

The world wide web, indeed.

Yesterday, in little bits mixed among all the other little bits, I researched jobs on the net, I updated my Quickflix queue, I looked at a few inspiring websites by people who are wanting to change things, I checked my bank balance, looked on eBay for a secondhand ergonomic chair, cos the one I got (off eBay) isn't holding me up straight enough to look at 600+ websites a day.  I looked at the Business Victoria website's case studies of people who have started up businesses.  I chatted to my manfriend at his house 50 ks away, read a few blogs, responded to a few comments,  read some emails.

Earlier in the day I did some yoga - a necessary requirement to stretch out my back after working the day before.  There are some cool yoga sites out there - how awesome it is to flit around and so quickly find out why I am loving fish pose so much.

So there you go.  Do you feel exhausted?  I feel exhausted reading and writing this (and a little embarrassed, too).  I felt exhausted indulging myself in it.

I am determined to curb my internet use, because I have to.  To make space for nothingness.  So that I don't have 40 million things running all round my brain like cocaine.

At the moment I am challenged by the practice of writing fiction from out of my unconscious rather than from my analytical mindspace.  It is very challenging at the best of times.

But when there's such a ginormous influx of information rolling around in my head from the 600 webpages I've inducted into my head in one day, it makes it even more difficult to go into that space.  It's why I write first thing in the morning, coming straight out of sleep, from the dreamspace, from that place that amazes me when I am able to decipher the stories I am telling myself.  My God, I go so deep and so wide.

It's such a beautiful release to fall into that space.

So much space.


  1. What a totally delightful piece of writing, Sue. I like your 'space':)
    (Elizabeth Gilbert turns out as Requiem for Detroit, but hey, who cares?;))

  2. OMG - just reading this gave me hypertension

    now about asparagus, i used to hate it cos I grew up with tinned stuff
    but with the fresh stuff I learned it's all in how you cook it
    try lightly panfrying asparagus then splash lemon juice and kalamata olives over it and serve with slices of panfried Saganaki cheese

    or panfry asparagus tips with pinenuts and sunflower seeds, splash of lemon juice, salt and pepper


  3. hmm, perhaps it's haloumi cheese...awhile since i made this one
    but we had the pinenuts and sunflower seed one for dinner tonight :)

  4. Going away for Christmas, eh? Sounds like a good plan. Where are you going in your adventures? entire family loves it and eat it whenever we won't have to mortgage our house to buy it. We either roast it on the bbq -- on tin foil, a little olive oil, pepper, garlic powder. Or when we can't get outdoors, we roast it in the oven or frying pan, same recipe. The thing is to make it a little crispy.

    Unfortunately I'm not surprised by 600 pages, only because I do the same thing -- especially when I'm searching for information on something. But I know what you mean by information overload.

  5. cooking the four swedes...thats gold jerry:) some people in my class work for eden aged care. Cynical rake that I am Im not convinced by language and marketing:)

  6. MysticBrit - thanks! You like my 'space'? I like it too. How difficult to bloody well get there at times! :)

    And thanks for the faulty link, I'll change it :)

    Kel - but even if you dress it up with pinenuts and olives, it still tastes like tonsillitis! I just ... yuk. More for you :)

    I'm loving seeds at the moment, with our brief foray into spring weather last week, eating salad with seeds and man, my body just loves that stuff! :)

    Erin - we are planning on going to Halls Gap, which is a couple of hours from Melbourne, and pretty, hopefully staying here: - how cute is that :)

    Wow, I feel so much better after sharing this. I was sweating on you all thinking I'm stark raving mad, and here you are, doing the same thing sometimes! 600 pages is nuts any way you look, mereckons :) Our poor brains :)

    Urbanmonk - I had absolutely no idea what you were talking about with the four swedes until I got clued in :)

    Oh, bah, away with your cynicism - maybe these people really are the real deal ;)

  7. Ooh that looks like a peaceful place you are going. Is that a wallaby in the one photo? Haha that is so exotic to me, isn't that funny?

  8. We have an outfit like Ceres here in Montreal. I have been intimidated by the thought of getting a basket of unfamiliar and hard veggies that I have no idea how to prepare. I should not let that get to me. Any fresh vegetable tastes great and I have enough cookbooks resolve any preparation questions.

    As for asparagus ... I love them! I like them with garlic butter and a sprinkling of parmesan cheese. I grew up on that. However, I sympathize with your tonsellitis-taste problem. For me, fresh cilantro tastes like floor wax. I won't get sick eating it, if it is served to me, but I really avoid it. I suspect there is something genetic in all this.


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