Weblog on the Internet and public policy, journalism, virtual community, and more from David Brake, a Canadian academic, consultant and journalist
12 September 2005

I am beginning to realise there is no reason for me to be bored ever again…

My biggest problem remains books – I occaisionally run out of books I am interested in reading (I tend to rely on book reviews from The Guardian, Time Out, or more occaisional outlets). I do really wish that as much work was dedicated to making book reviews and recommendations available and searchable online as has been devoted to movies and music. But now that I am an academic I have plenty of interesting books and papers I can and should read alongside my recreational reading.

I am not a great TV watcher anyway but now that I have a DVD recorder I have recorded more documentaries and movies than I will ever have time to watch – around 70 hours unwatched on DVD, another ten hours or so of unwatched – and unlikely to be watched – videotape and perhaps 500 hours or so of stuff I have already watched but am keeping for a rainly… er… month. In fact the size of my collection is starting to alarm me a little.

I spend most of my time in front of this lovely little iBook and as you can see from my link list on the R there is plenty there to both interest and entertain me online…

Which used to just leave the time I can’t spend in front of a book or screeen – when I am in the shower, cycling around or doing the dishes or ironing etc – which I tend to spend listening to an MP3 player. I selectively recorded the many speech radio programs listed at R from the Internet into MP3 format and listened to them, normally in preference to music (though I now have nearly 15Gb of MP3s now that I have almost completely digitised my CD collection). There too as with books I sometimes found that I would sometimes ‘consume’ faster than I could ‘collect’ good listening material. Now with the arrival of podcasting (see new collection of links on R) I am finding at last that there is more interesting stuff coming in than I can listen to in a week and my last ‘content gap’ has been filled.

Like I said – there is no reason I need ever be un-stimulated. But I fear this may be a bit of a problem. I am getting used to having every waking moment filled with some kind of stimulus, and I can’t help thinking this isn’t particularly healthy. It also means there is an abundance of distractions available for my all-too-distractable mind…


  1. You have put your finger on it! Toys are fine but are distracting, distracting…… How about thinking free of distraction? How about participation free of distraction? How about living without distraction?

    Comment by Russ — 13 September 2005 @ 2:51 am

  2. The interesting bit is if too much external stimulation means a loss of creativity. Sometimes I feel like I don’t have the strength to be creative, because while reading, listening and engaging are very non-passive activities, being creative requires a higher degree of commitment.

    Comment by neha — 15 September 2005 @ 10:14 am

  3. You need to cultivate the Buddhist state of mindfulness.

    Perhaps we should spend 30 minutes a day just sitting quietly with our eyes closed, thinking.

    Comment by John — 15 September 2005 @ 4:15 pm

  4. I’m not sure which is a bigger pile: emails in my inbox I eventually need to answer or the collection of publications I eventually want to read.

    If I could get either or both of those to a manageable size, I’d feel much more on top of things. But things keep piling up and I keep chiping away.

    Realistic option: forget about answering my nonurgent/nonessential email, throw out the magazines and books sitting by my reading chair.

    Not sure I can bring myself to do either.

    Comment by BJ Fogg — 9 November 2005 @ 4:31 pm

  5. You guys sound pretty cool. I have a problem much like yours but it is mostly digital stimulation. I have a bad habit of not reading anything that’s not simply articles, blogs, and stuff found on forums. My main stimulation is music, which I have spent the majority of my life listening to on some sort of mp3 player or such. Just yesterday though my friend gave me a ton of new mp3s, mostly video game soundtracks and for the first time I think I’ve received more mp3s than I can consume and enjoy all at once. I drove home in silence that night without my Ipod Touch buzzing away. That was different. Anyway, lately I’ve also bought more anime and manga than I can consume as well. I’ve got a lot of stuff just sitting around to be used, it’s crazy, but now I prefer to simply do things in silence… more or less, the things I should be doing such as drawing or doing my homework. xD

    BTW, the Buddhist state of mindfulness is without thought, it is silence in the mind and pure awareness.

    Comment by Mischa — 1 February 2008 @ 5:56 pm

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