I wish I never had to read another email.

This is something I’ve said thousands of times, aloud and in my head (mostly in my head). I’ve said it in anger after opening another death threat. I’ve said it in frustration when an email sent me down a rabbit hole that took me away from a project I had planned for the day. It’s been an underlying sentiment for years, but it wasn’t until recently that it turned into a concrete plan:

I am going to stop reading emails.

But how?Keep Reading

I’m going to keep this short, because I only have 56 minutes of battery left on my laptop and still have about 100 emails I want to write today.

If you want to get work done, and are having a hard time controlling your focus (Facebook), keeping yourself from being distracted (Twitter), or hurdling any of the other hurdles between you and what you need to do today (Taylor Swift’s instagram account), take your laptop to a coffee shop and leave your charger at home.Keep Reading

We don’t live in the same world, you and I. But I’d love for you to try to show me yours, if I try to show you mine.

If you’re an artist, you see line and shape wherever you look. You take note of the cues that create perspective, and imagine mixing the colors you see. You wonder how the reality you’re looking at might appear in pastels, oil, and acrylic, and how you might recreate that reality later, and how you might alter it.

If you’re a comedian, you see humor between every line. Every word you hear, every thing you see, is passed through an algorithm in your head. [q:] Would that make people laugh on stage? [if no:] What do I need to change/tweak? [if yes:] Write it down.

If you’re a photographer, you see light and the absence of light in everything. You know that everything you’re looking at, and everything you can’t see, is being translated to your eyes through myriad reflections and refractions.Keep Reading

It’s weird, ya know, waking up to emails from four different people I don’t know, who don’t know me, but think they do. Depicting four vastly different mes:

1. A Me who hates families, Christians, and Christian families. Who is dedicated to “destroying Western Civilization” and will be promptly burning in Hell.

2. A Me who is saintlike in his love and compassion for others, who is “a glimpse of light in a world that’s gotten dark.” Whose work “literally saved my life.”

3. A Me who is motivated solely by ulterior motives, greed, and who would “best serve the LGBT community by killing yourself.”Keep Reading

Yo. I just saw Her. It’s cray. It’s powerfully well-written and brings up a lot of thoughts about how we might relate to technology and one another in the future. But it also made me think a lot about how we relate to technology and one another right now. If you have a smart phone and you’ve seen Her, you’ve likely had a lot of these thoughts already.

It’s hard to convince myself that we’re not already dating our phones.Keep Reading

I work on the internet. Even now, in The Year Two-Thousand Fourteen, I have to describe what I do with those five words. A talk I heard recently by Heather Corinna, another person who works on the internet, who spoke about working on the internet, was a reminder of this for me, as I found myself relating to everything she said. Five words still when it should really be two:

I work.

“On the internet” means a ton of things to a ton of different people. “That’s so techy” or “my, how quickly things change!” often translates to me as “ARE YOU FROM THE FUTURE?”

For some people “on the internet” undoes the “I work” part: “Oh, neat, yeah, but what’s your real job?”

This is my real job.

We live in the future, people. There are no flying cars (soon! wanna go halfsies?), but there are shabbily-dressed people working on laptops in coffee shops. The future is here, and it’s unshaven. The only reason we’re still making the “on the internet” distinction is because of the [sometimes willful] ignorance about what the world looks like and how much things have changed in a short amount of time.

If you want to play catch up (please, do not think any of what I’m suggesting here is anywhere near the cutting edge), let me share with you a few starter steps for working on the internet.Keep Reading

Sorry, Internet, but my mind isn’t, has never been, and will likely remain unblown. But every time you trick me into clicking on one of your linkbaity lists or videos I die a little inside. Because I want to care. I do care. A lot. But there’s only so much someone can actually care, let’s call it the Caring Tolerance™. I’m starting to worry that you’re abusing people’s attention and increasing our Caring Tolerance™ the way a college student treats their liver first semester.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve rage-read “my last” Buzzfeed article swearing I’d never go back to the site for anything but good ol’ fashioned America’s Funniest Home Videos style laughs. But then I see an article with “faith in humanity” in the title and my mouse hand moves faster than my brain. Then I’m back to rage-reading.

How many times can I read THIS WILL CHANGE YOUR LIFE and have it do absolutely nothing, before I start to think nothing will? Or, worse, how much empathy can I be coerced into experiencing by over-the-top, SPCA Sara McLachlan wannabe videos on Upworthy before I can’t experience genuine empathy for the people in my immediate life (who aren’t soon-to-be-executed dogs, but still need love)?Keep Reading

This is my MacBook. There are many like it, but this one is mine.

My MacBook is my best friend. It is my life. I must master it as I must master my life.

My MacBook, without me, is still pretty shiny. Without my MacBook, I am useless and not at all shiny and can’t watch Netflix in bed (which I love). I must type words into Pages. I must type words into email correctly or autocorrect may ruin my life. I must send that email before I receive another email or email overload may ruin my life. I will…Keep Reading

I don’t often get sick, but when I do, I get sick. While I was in New Orleans I came down with a wicked case of Swamp Flu. Or maybe it’s the Bayou Bug. I just hope it’s not Crawfish Sickness. I also hope I’m not offending my Nawlins friends with my silly imaginary NOLA illnesses. And the overall body sadness I’m experiencing right now is anything but imaginary.

There’s not much good that comes from chills and fevers and bears (oh my!), but it can be a nice time to play catch up on things in life that otherwise don’t get much attention. For me, that’s reading fiction and watching new television shows. Two things I’ve done a lot of today, and will likely (but hopefully not) do a bit more of tomorrow.

Now please excuse me while I simultaneously sweat and shiver. Oh, Body, how you amaze me so.

I should have my computer back tomorrow. Living without it these past few days has been odd, in some ways more expected than others.

  • I’ve realized how generally worthless I am to the world without a computer to mash myself through, like how you mash flour and water through a pasta press then voila! We’re family!
  • I got sick. I don’t think that’s because I didn’t have a computer. But I also don’t get sick very often, so…
  • I’ve read a lot. Way more than usual. Two books made of paper and tons of other smaller things. That was nice.
  • Though it’s terribly cumbersome, I’m able to fashion an entire post on this site with nothing more than my phone, from drafting to image making to publishing.
  • That last one freaks me out a bit, but mostly excites me.
  • It’s always the times when you don’t think you can take a moment to sharpen your saw that your saw needs sharpening most.

I’m looking forward to getting my replacement computer / work station / cuddle friend in the mail tomorrow. I have a LOT of flour and water stirring around that I’m stoked to smush into it.

sK

I woke up this morning to my computer not working. It’s not been in great shape these past few months, and has occasionally tossed a surprise my way. It’s several years old, and I’ve put it through plenty of hell with all my traveling (and general clumsiness). I’d already been investigating new options, and weighing the pros and cons. I knew its time was drawing near.

I have a lot of work on my plate right now, and a lot of it’s time sensitive. And chief thing on my mind is the Nat’l Sex Ed Conference next week, for which I’m excited to be one of the keynotes. I have a few pressing collaborations, plenty of more people who I’ve promised e-love to, and some big personal projects that are underway. Objectively, it’s not an ideal time for my computer to bail on me. But subjectively, I’m excited for a few days without my computer, amidst a few of the days this year I most crushingly want to feel like I need it.Keep Reading

This week, I talk about internet activism, sometimes (not so kindly) referred to as hacktivism, slacktivism, or clicktivism. I also air my grievances with Upworthy, but I apologize if I was too harsh (y’all are sweet people).

Check out Dan Pallotta’s TED Talk about charity here.

Fear of Missing Out?

I publish sporadically, aiming for quality of quantity. Would you like me to send you an email every once in awhile with new entries to Better Humaning, and other tasty morsels?

Here’s a link to To Write Love On Her Arms’ founding story (bring tissues to that link).

As ever, huge thanks to Rustik Jamz for the music. Check them out: @rustik-jamz

I never considered myself a “numbers” person. I don’t mean I wasn’t good at math (Mathlete, y’all!), but I care more about stories than stats. On the Myers-Briggs Typology Instrument, for example, my F to T (Feeling to Thinking) ratio is the most unbalanced, and I’m a strong F.

What I do — every thing I do — while seemingly disparate, is all connected by that trait. Every little project or endeavor I undertake is driven by my goal of making the world a safer place for all people.

So it’s as surprising to me as it might be to you how numbers-driven my day-to-day life is, and how much I find myself trying to turn that part of my brain off so I can focus on the present. The numbers eat at me, often glaring at me from within little red circles, screaming “Click me! Make me go away!” Others are tucked away within more complex websites or spreadsheets, whispering more gently, but still persuasively.

Following is a small taste of the numbers that are almost always whizzing around my brain, attempting to distract me from the task at hand. Every one of these things pops into my head at once when I wake up every morning, then attempts to suckle my brainjuice every minute of every hour I’m awake.Keep Reading

Earlier tonight, I turned the burner on high and while I was waiting for my rice to come to a full boil I had a thought: “I wonder if rice cooked in beer would be good.”

A few years ago, I would have likely wondered that for quite a while. It may have been on my mind while I ate my boring water-based rice. It may have popped into my mind tomorrow, or the next day, when I next saw rice or beer. Visions of beer-based rice recipes might have danced in my belly. I may have wondered about it for a week (or ten) before I finally giving in, cooking it, and exiting Wonderland for Knowville.

But none of that happened, because Google.

Before the water (boring) in the pot began boiling I already knew if “beer rice” was a thing, what it would taste like (delicious), exactly how to make it, and what types of recipes it would be good in (ALL OF THEM).Keep Reading