Tuesday, March 12, 2013

RTMT: I'm breaking up with you!!!!

Don't text and drive dragons!
What am I thinking about this Tuesday morning? That once again insomnia and its spawning demons have stolen my soul. I have tried everything: melatonin, stopping electronics, stopping caffeine after a certain hour, but apparently I have not tried them consistently. So consider this my Lent: I will not go on electronics after 9PM, unless it's my Kindle. I will not do dailies instead of go for a walk. Unless I'm almost at honored or revered, of course. And, I swear I will meditate more, unless of course a transmog run at Naxx comes up.


I won't go into the back story on this, but suffice it to say the old joke of how do you tell the difference between a drunk and an addict parable came up in a recent conversation at the Matty-shack. (I will tell you the scenario by which this quip was told involved boxes of Velveeta & Cheese and an afternoon snack.)

Here is the difference:

“An alcoholic will steal your wallet and lie to you. A drug addict will steal your wallet and then help you look for it.”

― David SheffBeautiful Boy: A Father's Journey Through His Son's Addiction

So: so what?

I was wondering if my other blogger buddies do this: you spam through your traffic, see what posts people (or hackers, or bots, or gerbils) are reading, and click on an old post and re-read it. I do this from time to time, and have been doing this more frequently for some reason. Not sure why. What it's revealed to me through the anthology of posts that is Sugar & Blood, the Epic Meanderings of A Shameful Shaman and Happy Joy Friends, is that I whine a lot. I can't get it together. I want to be all things to all people. I am conflicted.

But ultimately, I suck at multitasking, and pay a heavy price physically. Of all the things I need to give up, trying to pretend multitasking exists is the one thing.

If you look up "multitasking" in a Google search, hundreds of articles pop up; but here's one that addresses the issue simple: Multiasking Teens May Be Muddling Their Brains This article was written in 2008, almost a lifetime ago in data, technology, and human brain research, but one thing it begins to ponder is the addictive nature of multitasking. I have seen first-hand a generation of folks who literally cannot focus on one or two tasks at time. Their efforts are so parsed out, so fragmented and disjointed, they have become great at toggling their brain switches, but not so good at deeper thinking. It seems to cause them physical pain when they have to actually think about something and follow a thought process through for more than the life span of a fruit fly. Is the ability to free associate something we can win back? I'm not sure. But that's a post for another blog, another time.

One thing that resonated with me is the artificial levels of stress WoW may create:

There's not much research on the addictive nature of multitasking. But Meyer likens it to playing video games or skydiving: We all get a buzz from novelty and variety. Of course, when the stakes get higher, multitasking can stress you out."The brain areas that you would see light up and the biochemicals, the neurotransmitters that would be getting released would be quite different if I was an air traffic controller trying to land a whole bunch of planes at La Guardia Airport or wherever. I wouldn't be having pleasure then," Meyers says.For teenagers like Zach and Alex, the experience of multitasking falls somewhere between the rush of skydiving and the anxiety of landing planes. Regardless, Alex says, it's all they know.

In other words, we are in a constant state of artificially created air-traffic controllers: there are only pixel deaths to worry about, so it's really of no consequence. But I wonder: some of that nerd rage, the pants-on-fire tank, or others who blast random players in chat--are they hyped up on addictive multitasking? Have they set their stress levels so high they are now operating under the delusion that what they do actually matters? I wonder how many air traffic controllers play WoW? The world may never know.

Recently, Lisa Poisso addressed how to balance life for students in her article, The Student's Guid to Balancing Real Life, Good Grades, and Video Games

I'm getting to my point: (remember? insomnia? sleep deprivation?) Sometimes we do seek that little extra 'push' and thrill, and it is a relatively risk-free place, that Azeroth of ours. I just need to learn how to turn it off a bit sooner, faster, and bottle it up. But when I am in game, be in game, and immerse myself in the fun - cause it is fun. No doubt about it. I'll help you look for your wallet now, too.

Oh, and on a completely different note, have really no idea what to think about this:

Huh...WoW in Forbes Magazine? Good article on 5.2

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