Monday, September 19, 2011

Links, Week 13: 88 hours online, for one essay

I could make an excuse for my behavior. I could even tell you lies. But I'm just going to say it: last week, I spent 88 hours and one minute online. That. Is. Insane. That is 52.3% of my entire week staring at a dimly lit monitor. With the assumption of 7 hours of sleep a night (29%), it means I spent just 18.5% of my week offline. 18.5%. 18.5%!!!!

This week I wrote 33 hours, 25 minutes; maintained a state of Extreme Distraction for 19 hours, 24 minutes (damn you Quora, 4 h, 51m, and Facebook, 2h, 59m); checked my email for 15 hours, 44 minutes (there's a great explanation, just wait), worked and managed other neutral activities for 17 hours, 20 minutes; and read online (literary sites)for 2 hours and 8 minutes. 

Keep in mind that, without a work laptop, these numbers account for both work and personal life. Which makes me look better (40 hours work; 40 hours personal), but still tags me as a hypocrite, given my self-imposed one-hour rule.

What did I achieve during these 88 hours? Depends on your definition of "success." Let's start by noting that because Grooveshark was broken, I ended up playing "How to Love," by Lil' Wayne on YouTube, which became the only music video I've watched in its entirety this year, mostly due to its slightly contrived but still emotionally resonant (remember, relative to other music videos) take on HIV. The YouTube commenter KingJulian31540 notes, "holy shit...that changes the whole song damn that was the deep end of the pool LOVED IT." Damn Lil' Wayne, you deep. (Except for the grillz. Ew.)

While in the walled ecosystem of YouTube, I stumbled on the trailer for the timeless Love and Basketball, which reminded me of John Song's favorite recent video, a Taylor Swift piano medley that's oozing with Asian-American unrequited love, which reminded me of freshman year passing around the still-funny First Asian Boy, which reminded me of senior year, when, during my four 16-hour almost-all-nighters writing my Economics senior paper, I played Harry Potter Like a G6 to stay upbeat. Good job YouTube, on leading me on a trip down memory lane.

All that thinking of college made me jump to the Yale Daily News, where I read a sobering article about the Class of 2015's matriculation rate, just the latest in a line of decreases since, oh, the Class of 2011. And better news: a Yale B-school professor explains why New Haven isn't that dangerous.

I always jump from the YDN to the NYT, on which I found a series on personal tech tips. Alt + dragging an icon will duplicate the file; the backspace key is also a back button; alt + D or ctrl + L highlights the omnibar; and the space bar scrolls down one screen while shift + space bar scrolls up one screen. I cancelled my McAfee because of free Microsoft virus protection, have started using for huge file transfers; call 800-BING-411 to discover nearby restaurants; and hold *, 1, or # to skip to the beep on voicemail. On a more subdued note, I resonated with an article about the front page of the web on 9/11/2001 (though, as a 7th grader, I didn't feel too much).

In the Philippines, I've tried to curb my sports enthusiasm, but it's playoff season for baseball. (Remember last year? I literally went numb watching that clip.) This September, the Tampa Bay Rays are my drug. They kept chugging on their historic comeback; debuted Matt Moore along with the rest of their gorgeous farm system, and man, they have to make the playoffs. If it wasn't for the lockout, I'd be a month and a half from Golden State Warriors basketball, who, with new ownership last season, created the first-ever agreement between fans and the team. In a basketball mood, I thought of "A miracle! A miracle! A miracle!" otherwise known as the greatest college comeback of all time. (Do you want to link to a specific time on YouTube? Just use this.)

A week wouldn't be a week without some pickup. Maxim tells us why a girl guide at a club might be the key to approach success. If night game isn't your style, try out these 5 hilarious-and-probably-effective pickup lines for the day. Once the number's in your phone, use your text game, though maybe not this conversation, which is either great or pathetic. If you need more resources, try digging through the sheer amount of links here. I'm vacillating on this final piece, but I can't help it: this is the most ridiculous profile on OKCupid I've ever seen.

Great writing injects itself into my time occasionally. I discovered a blog that wrote about a poem a day for 4 years. The "random poem" widget; the backstory for each piece -- it's pretty inspirational. The 4 hours spent on Quora produced this great discovery: What is the most important human decision ever made? and the eulogy for Martin Luther King, Jr. In the mainstream outlets, Neil Strauss talks about the tyranny of the Facebook 'Like' button, and a New Yorker profile tells us how how Tim Ferriss wins.

That's a ton of internet. But there's an explanation for my Internet usage: I'm (crossing my fingers) publishing a profile in an online magazine next week. Nothing's concrete until the fat lady sings (wow, was that an epic mixed metaphor or what), but it should happen. They're not Tim Ferriss, but to me, they might be more motivational. Because my editor lives on the East Coast, I flipped my sleep schedule to accommodate her work hours. On Thursday, after I got the "yes," I pulled an all-nighter emailing her with edits and questions. The next day (Friday), I slept 3 hours, had a short meeting, collapsed until 8pm, then walked back to the office and worked from 9 p.m. to 3 p.m. (that's 18 hours). At 4 p.m., I ate "lunch" (breakfast? dinner?), wrote for another 3 hours, and fell asleep at 7 p.m. On Sunday, I woke up at 11 a.m. (that's 16 hours). I've been fine since.

My foray into the 48-hour day wasn't too devastating. I just felt numb throughout the night, as if I was sipping on Red Bull and purple drank. While I want to say it won't happen again, I might be going as hard this week (Hello 88 hours, part 2!).

Maybe the best way I can end this post on a gravity-defying positive note is to tell you that I am for now, and hopefully for forever, finished with old email. The 180 starred emails that accumulated over 4 years of college are all taken care of. I'm feeling nostalgic and relieved.

One of the starred emails pointed me to an essay by Jonathan Franzen. I had tried to read it after graduation, but the mood wasn't right then. 4 months later, in Manila, my body sticking to the polyester couch in my apartment, I read it all, swallowing every word. Immediately afterwards, I wrote part two of my Martin Luther King reflection. It's not up yet, but will be soon. Franzen, for what it's worth, discusses liking, loving, and the necessity of feeling pain. Even if you haven't clicked anything in this post, read this. I won't mind if it takes you four months to get around to it.

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