Monday, December 20, 2010

Analog Day


Urban Rain, 20 x 24 inches, oil on canvas

It has been raining for several days now, and I'm feeling a little cooped up. On the other hand, since we're not traveling this Christmas I feel relaxed and lazy. Oh sure there's plenty on my to-do list and even if there weren't, I should be painting my hours away. Instead, I'm reading sci-fi books and roasting chestnuts. 

Yesterday I declared an "analog day",  meaning no computer, no tv, no dvd, no video games, and no cellphone. No digital media, basically. We try to do this each Sunday and it's wonderful. It was really difficult the first couple of times–it made us painfully aware just how much of our daily lives is dependent on digital media. We don't think twice about waking up in the morning and sitting down in front of the computer with a hot cup of coffee, to check email, Facebook, blogs, and whatever else our lives are connected to. And when that's taken away, we have to reevaluate not only how to enjoy our cup of morning coffee, but just how entrenched our lives are in this continuous flow of information. All day we had to fight the urge to check email, to see what our family and friends are doing, and the latest news in world affairs or hollywood or whatever.  We felt disconnected, and had a hard time figuring out what to do with our time. Chores get done, yes, but what to do in-between chores?

Feeling completely disconnected is disorienting, to say the least. And we're not even out camping or anything. The devices are sitting right there, tempting us every second. Very difficult. But after a while, we began to relax. Strange thing, I started to remember the way things were before all this technology came into our lives and how great it was when life was simpler. Things I hadn't thought of in decades started to appear in my mind. Time slowed down, and we just enjoyed ourselves doing "analog" things like playing board games. Writing letters. Baking apple pie. Staring at the rain. Oh yes, and reading books and roasting chestnuts. 

There is a lot more to it than just being made aware of our digital addiction, of course. Whether we like it or not, it goes much deeper than that– I had to rethink what is actually important in our lives. But I'm not going to weigh down this blog with heavy stuff like that. Don't worry.

But everyone ought to try an analog day once in a while, if not regularly. I think you'll find it challenging, annoying, disorienting, but ultimately, eye-opening if not rewarding.  

Next Sunday is the day after Christmas, so it's going to be pretty easy. It's a lazy day anyway, you know what I mean?  But I'm adding one more device to the list of devices that can't be used on my analog day; the microwave oven!  I love to cook and most things, I do it old school anyway so I don't think the microwave makes much of a difference, but I want to see if this is really true. The only way to find out is to consciously monitor my use. My next analog day should prove interesting.



11 comments:

  1. Analog Day is a good idea. Reminds me of camping, except I wonder how many "camp" with an iPhone or maybe a TV set?

    Enjoying your SF city scenes.

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  2. Awesome; such a cool idea. Since I edit video all day, I do this sometimes too. I just cant stand to stare at a computer monitor or tv at home after 8+ hrs of it at work. I think that's why I'd rather oil paint or draw instead of digital painting in Photoshop.

    By the way, I love the rainy SF painting. The mood is great, and it captures how it feels even down here in So Cal right now.

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  3. Thanks Terri, your art is always great and I enjoy your good writings.

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  4. Beautiful painting Terry! I haven't heard of anything like this before. Certainly seems to be a great idea. Who knows, maybe an "analog" life might be one of the reasons why the old masters could see so well and then translate that into their painting.
    Best wishes,

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  5. Casey, yeah, when I go camping I'm not tempted by technology - too busy being overwhelmed by all that...nature stuff. LOL Although the last time, I had a GPS device, and thought hey, I'm cheating!

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  6. Hey Jeremy, I don't do my art part of the work on the computer anymore (since I quit illustration) so I thought it would be no big deal. Boy was I wrong! All the other aspects of my life is thoroughly digital, I found out. Having Sunday analog day is *relatively* easy. I'm hoping to add one in the middle of the week at some point. now that would be a challenge!

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  7. Hey Darrell! Happy Holidays! Are you spending Christmas in a T-shirt and shorts? *envy*

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  8. Vinayak, you may be right about the analog life. I'm contemplating not just one day a week, but two or three in the near future. Don't know if I can do it (probably not) but a part of the reason is that I notice that I can be more focused. And that can only mean better art!

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  9. Terry, OMG WTF?

    I went to my local Box-Mart a couple weeks ago to get some fish food and was visually accosted with so much junk in my eyes and angry people drooling over digital dumbing devices that I felt that something had to be done for myself. (I'm a former career-20 yrs-software engineer & marketer, iPod/PS3/WiFi owner, yada yada).

    So, I woke up this morning with the idea for Analog Day, texted my family with explanation of the idea and just made a Facebook page for it. Then I thought I'd do a quick Google search and discovered your ideas. It's in the ether, I guess! (And your art is great, too).

    So, here's a not-request to join a not-movement. So, as I type on my notebook computer to your blogger page over wifi about my Facebook page, I mostly just want to say "Happy Analog Day!"

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  10. Analog Day--what a great idea! Perhaps the beginnings of another hippy or back to earth movement, but instead of Drop Out it will be UnPlug.
    Happy holidays and thank you so much for the art and insights.

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  11. I guess the idea is ripe among the population~ Not surprising, huh? Happy to join the movement!

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