Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Should Boondocking Braggarts Have Satellite Television and Internet?

Let no one confuse a retro-grouch with a human fossil. This retro-grouch made a giant leap forward when I bravely submitted to my first demonstration of Facebook. The fellow who gave the tutorial was quite good at giving demonstrations.

Actually, I was impressed with Facebook as a platform. It seemed useful for certain types of groups. It seemed well integrated with other platforms on the internet.

So then, if I was so impressed with it, why haven't I opened up an account? Two things are stopping me.

1. Won't I lose control of ad-blocking on Facebook? Please don't tell me that ads are not too obtrusive, so far. On an internet browser such as Firefox, you can use a free ad-blocking program that works 98% of the time. I am suspicious that most of the bandwagon towards smartphones and Facebook is ultimately motivated by the desire to get people addicted to a platform first, and then bury them under ads that they can't do anything about.

2. Thoreau's classic wise-crack about new technology as being 'pretty toys...an improved means to an unimproved end.' When you see all these assholes walking around with their smartphones, unable to live without scratching the itch for more than three minutes at a time, you have to wonder what the content is, of these messages. Pictures of their cat? Banal chit-chat about the weather? Whether they ate corn flakes or Cheerios for breakfast?

Civilizational decline was, at one time, best exemplified by tabloid newspapers and the like. Then Decline added another layer, as society became addicted to the garbage dump of television. Then the internet spam started; remember when people were forwarding dumb jokes to their friends' and followers' email box? And now societal Decline has culminated in Facebook.

In order to honor the occasion, a neologism needs to be widely adopted: triviality, banality, and drivel need to be combined into one word. I was inspired by Merriam-Webster's etymology of the word, drivel: "Middle English, from Old English dreflian, perhaps akin to Old Norse draf, malt dregs, before the 12th century."

Combining these words, let us adopt the word, drivia (drivial, driviality) to describe the effluvia of Facebook and smartphones. 

The larger issue here is whether a real camper should be tied into satellite television or the internet at all? Doesn't it seem funny to you that there are all these blowhards [*] on the internet, rhapsodizing about 'boondocking', and the wonderful life of Adventure, natural Beauty, Harmony, Simplicity, sacred Solitude, etc., and yet they spend half the day staring at satellite television or internet drivia. 

Why do they pretend their lifestyle is superior to the average schmo in a stick-and-brick house? Couldn't they just as easily move to a low-cost-of-living town, and buy a premium package of fiber optic internet and television?

I will let the reader cogitate on that for a couple days. What we really need to do is come up with more constructive uses of time when camping.


[*] In case the reader can't tell, I am ranting against myself as much as anybody.

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Maybe Autumn Will Always be Magic

Once again it's here. My favorite time of year. Every year I am amazed to be so affected by the coming-on of cool weather. Some years I have been interested in analyzing this remarkable longevity. But this year, I just want to feel good about it and hope it keeps going year after year -- like my van!

In a similar vein, I love camping at tree islands in the Gunnison area, year after year. Last year I was in the mood for deconstructing the romanticism of this. But this year, it suffices to bask in it. Perhaps there is a natural dialectic going on here. One year I reconstruct the visualization that I deconstructed the previous year. Let's hope that the new version is better in some way than the earlier one.

There is something symbolic about tree islands -- something that is different than other features that people go ga-ga over. Oh sure, I am probably prone to some anti-tourist snobbery. But a natural feature ceases to have an effect on you when somebody sticks a bar-code on it. Tree islands are the kind of feature that creates an opportunity and challenge in visualization. Therefore they stay interesting, year after year.