Horror Film Director

Confessions of an Addict


Posted on February 11th, by Darren Lynn Bousman in blog, general, news, opinion, Ramblings, Rants and Ramblings. 32 comments

Stop reading this blog… Seriously, stop reading.  Surely there are better ways to spend your time than reading words of a has-been hack that really has nothing important to say.

Wait. You’re still here?  Um, okay… Fine…

Surely you can think of something better to do than sit in front of your computer…

A nice walk in the park… Conversing with someone you love.  Maybe checking out a museum or learning a new language…

BUT, if you are going to read my blog I propose a challenge to you… Do nothing else in the time it takes you to complete this post.  Do not check your email, answer the phone, or go make yourself a turkey sandwich.  Be PRESENT…  Truly present…

I AM AN ADDICT…

I have something I really need to get off my chest… I am an addict…

I have a unhealthy problem that is beginning to control, and dare I say destroy my life…  I have done a horrible job at hiding my addiction… It has gotten in front of my work, my relationships, my family, and just about everything else that is important to me…

My addiction is not drugs… or alcohol… or sex… no, most people will not consider my vice an addiction at all.  But those who will laugh this off are probably addicts themselves…

My addiction is DISTRACTION.

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 OUR STORY BEGINS…

A few weeks back, some of the The Devil’s Carnival kiddies and I packed up our car and drove to Pomona to witness the awesomeness that is Emilie Autumn.

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For those of you unaware of whom Emilie is, SHAME ON YOU.  She is one of the most talented, hard working, truly artistic musicians working today.

I have seen her live a few times, and each time I walk away amazed at her show; the amount that goes into one of her productions is awe-inspiring.

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As the lights dimmed, and the music began I scanned the audience and suddenly felt sad.  What should have been darkness was replaced by light… LCD lights, Cellphone lights, Digital Camera lights… A sea of fans ready to film and capture Emilie’s show.  Ok, I get it… you are excited, you wanna show your friends… But guess what?  There are already 10,000,000 other videos of better quality on YOUTUBE… Stop being distracted, and focus on why you are here in the first place… Have an EXPERIENCE with Emilie…

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I stood in the back and watched as Emilie and the Bloody Crumpets took the stage.  However, as I scanned the crowd, I noticed that the vast majority of the audience were not watching the stage… no dear readers, they were watching their phones watching the stage.

Recently Terrance Zdunich and I completed a 60+ city Road Tour with our new musical collaboration THE DEVIL’S CARNIVAL.  What amazed us nightly were the fans that would wait hour(s) to meet us.  When they finally approached the table where we were sitting, a large percentage, not all, but a large portion would not talk to us, or even look at us… They would quickly hand someone their phone, and just want their picture with us…

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Listen, nothing is cooler than knowing you have a ton of adoring fans who WANT their picture with you… But you would think that the experience… the interaction would be more important to them than the picture… But in most cases, it was the picture they wanted… not the actually moment with us…

TIMES HAVE CHANGED…

It seems the older I become, the harder and harder it is to remember what it was like when I was a kid.

I have flashes.  Going to school… Playing Football with my brother.

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Going and chopping wood with my dad…

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Practicing Martial Arts…

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Reading books about filmmaking…

When I look back on my life, the moments I remember most are those in which I was doing things… Moments where I was active…  When I reflect back on the history of me, I don’t remember that pivotal day that I downloaded my first ‘app’ on my cell phone.  Nor do I remember the day I purchased that first Macbook Pro.  How is it possible, that technology is so important in my life, yet I can’t recall that life changing moment when I bought my first smartphone?

I find that kind of ironic, as my life has been consumed with distractions.   Distractions that have taken over my life, yet left very little in terms of cherished memories.

Last night Laura and I watched the new episode of Downton Abbey.  After it was over, I caught up on Dexter, and then finished the night off with The Following.

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3 hours of my day gone, consumed with all of these beautiful distractions.  I am not going to lie.  I love my DirectTV.  I have a relationship with it.  Hours and hours and hours of drama just for me.  I can sit in front of the TV and be transported into a world of fantasy… And it is a beautiful thing.  Truly beautiful…

Wait, I just lied to you dear readers.  While I was watching Downton Abbey I was playing Words With Friends with my mom…

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Also, I was on Facebook and Twitter… Now that I think about it, I am not sure how much Downton I actually watched…

If I actually stopped and counted, I bet you I spend upwards to six hours of my day doing absolutely nothing… literally nothing…  I look busy… I sit in front of the computer, and I am in the zone… Huffington Post, Drudge, Bloody Disgusting, Shock, Dread Central, there are dozens and dozens of sites I must frequent.  And that takes up a lot of time…

Wait… did you just check your email?  Please tell me you are not answering that ringing phone… You made a commitment to me, that you would do nothing but read this blog…

AN AWAKENING…

Last year, my Dad, brother, uncle, and a few others decided to do a white water rafting trip in the Grand Canyon… 7 days, 6 nights on the river.
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This was a big deal.  On top of a family bonding trip, this was a true test of endurance.  Outside of braving the 104 degree daily temperature, mixed with the 50 degree FREEZING canyon water, we would have to survive without the frills of the modern man.  No cell phone reception.  No power or outlets.  No internet, no email, no technology…   Just the Colorado River, some beer, and conversation…

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7 days is a long time NOT to check email.  Not to go on Bloody-Disgusting… NOT to update my Facebook page.

I have an admission to make.  Though I was told not to bring my electronic devices on the raft, I did… We live in the 21st Century… Surely I would get reception… Surely my iPad would work…

Day 1 of the raft trip I kept my cellphone in my pocket.  I would pull it out every few hours searching for a signal… I got lucky once… 20 emails came through, and I was even able to check my Twitter feed.

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By the end of the first night, I was literally a basket case.  I kept leaving the group and trying to find reception.  I kept making excuses… Going for a hike… Using the Oscar (Outdoor Sanitary Culinary Alleviation Receptacle) .  But the reality was, I couldn’t function without this little device in my pocket.

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The world could not function without me interacting with it… I NEEDED to be on Facebook… I HAD to check my email… I MUST listen to my voicemail.

On Day 2 during lunch, I snuck off and tried to get a signal again.  It was like we had entered a vortex.  No cellphone reception anywhere!!!! Dear Baby Lord Jesus, here come the shakes… What the hell was I going to do?  What were my friends doing?  What new horror story broke??? What did James Gunn have for lunch?!?!

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WHAT HAPPENED ON AMERICAN HORROR STORY?????

Jesus, I am pathetic…

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I am in the middle of the GRAND CANYON with my father and brother.  I am experiencing something that most will never have the opportunity to.  I am having an adventure with wild animals, and camping, and survival, and all I can think about is Words With Friends…

I had an awakening that day… I was never PRESENT in anything in my life… If I was at the SAW 3 premiere I was also live blogging what was happening…

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If I was at the gym, I was also checking Facebook…  I didn’t know how to just… be…  To quote Jay Z… I’m onto the Next One.

It’s actually a disgusting thing.  Realizing that no matter where I was, I was really somewhere else, doing something else.

I put my phone down that day, and didn’t pick it back up until we were out of the Grand Canyon… Guess what… Life continued on… The world didn’t end…

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It took 6 days of not having a phone to realize I really didn’t need one in the first place.

Man existed for thousands and thousands of years without Words With Friends and Instagram, but I had a panic attack if I was without them for hours.

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What has happened to me that an electronic device dictates my actions?

THE CYCLE CONTINUES…

I wish I could tell you dear readers that I grew as a person while rafting down the Colorado River… The truth is, I went right back to my distractions almost immediately upon entering civilization…

Maybe that is human… maybe it’s nothing to feel remorse for.  Maybe the smart phone and the laptop were an important evolution in our culture, a transition bridging man and computer.

However the other part of me thinks that they are just shiny toys keeping me distracted from the important things in my life.

Two months back, Laura and I went to Paris…

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Since I was a kid I had heard stories about the City of Lights, and finally I was going to set foot in France.  Laura, while she won’t admit it, has been planning this trip since she was a teenager and had our adventures arranged months in advance.

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What surprised me about Paris was NOT the amount of tourists, and there were a plenty… It was the amount of tourists who were glued to their phones AND CAMERAS…

There we stood in the Louvre, starring at the Mona Lisa, a work of Art that had been talked about since elementary school…   I was inches away from this legendary painting, surrounded by hundreds, no, thousands of tourists, a sea of bodies from all over the world, and the vast majority of them were not present… Their noses were buried in their iPhones, or Cameras, busily snapping pictures…

I spun around and noticed that only a handful of people were actually looking at the painting; everyone else had their hands full setting their apertures, or applying cool filters to their Instagram.

Mother Fuckers, I thought, you are in the Louvre, standing next to the Mona Lisa, have some respect.  Be present… be here NOW… Put your shitty phones away and have an experience…   Download a better picture off the net later, trust me, you can find better pictures than you will take on your shitty iPhone.  Enjoy THIS moment now, the moment in which you were there, with it…

(side rant about technology… I own 5 computers.  I have a more blackberries than I care to count… and numerous versions of the iPhone.  I am proof that the marketing machine works.  The truth is all these fucking phones do the EXACT SAME THING.  The iPhone 4, and 4S, and 5 are all the exact same phone… Yes one might be thinner, or have a better camera… But is it really worth the money we shell out?!  NO!  We do it… I DO IT, so I can be ‘in’.  That macbook pro is sooooo last year… Again, I am a douche… I shutter to think about the countless dollars I have thrown at crap I don’t need, and really doesn’t make a difference in my life outside of building a blockade of REAL HUMAN INTERACTION…)

I found my frustrations building as we went from site to site, and we were greeted with the same disconnection.

Now, it’s only fair to point out, I too had my camera.  I too took pictures of the Eiffel Tower… The Arc De Triomphe… But I tried to limit my picture taking to the bare minimum.  I consciously tried to BE PRESENT.

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AND I’VE LEARNED NOTHING…

It has taken me a week to finish this blog.  I started it some five days ago, but every time I sit down to conclude my thoughts, something distracts my attention away.  Some gossip column… some TV show… Some iPhone game…

Last night Laura and I went to the LACMA Museum, and saw the Stanley Kubrick Exhibit.

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Kubrick hands down is my favorite director.  Dr. Strangelove, The Shining, Full Metal Jacket, Eyes Wide Shut – all masterpieces.

(Side note to the readers.  Laura’s Grandfather was in Spartacus directed by Kubrick… In fact, Laura’s grandfather was in a TON of movies and iconic television shows.  The great Harold J. Stone.)

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I have studied Kubrick since I was a kid.  And here I was walking through a literal shrine to him.

As we exited the museum, Laura turned to me and made the comment… This has been a great date with your phone.

I realized at that moment that I had been carrying on text conversations with 4 different people.    It hadn’t even crossed my mind that these conversations were transpiring while we were walking through the Exhibit.  It didn’t register with me that I was being rude.

After we left LACMA we went to dinner, and as we ordered, Laura pointed out that everyone in the establishment was on their phone.  I glanced around and she was right.  Of the 15 or so people in the restaurant, EVERYONE was on his or her phone.  There was nary a conversation transpiring at any of the tables.

What is happening in our society that people have stopped communicating?  Stopped talking… Stopped interacting.  Stopped being present?

When did I become dependent of an iPad?  Or a phone that I talk to… When was the moment I decided watching 5 hours of TV nightly was okay? I feel like I am getting dumber.  I rarely have face to face interactions.  I have text messages… I have word games… I have entire relationships based entirely around Facebook.

Instead of finishing a blog, I watch HOUSE OF CARDS… Instead of going to the gym and getting my fat ass in shape, I play PS3. Instead of going on a date with my wife, I text message my friends…  Part of me feels like slowly I am becoming a mindless drone.  I buy the products they tell me to buy, and with each day, I communicate less and less…

Let he who is without sin cast the first stone…

I would write more, but my mom is winning at Words with Friends and I CAN NOT let that happen…

Alright, go do something else now, check your email… Watch a TV show, update your facebook status.  But a challenge… I dare you… I DOUBLE DARE you to be present in whatever it is you decide to do today…

dlb





  • Félix Marqués

    I’ve been thinking about this lately, and it’s 100% true. As Björk said when she was asked about electronics were ruining music, it’s not the technology that’s bad, or guilty.

    It’s us.

    If we can’t do great things with our great tools, it’s not the tools’ faults. Sitting back and saying “Maaan, we’d be so much better off without iPhones, mine distracts me all the time”… I see this happen frequently—but how about learning some self-control instead of complaining?

    As someone who spends several hours a day on the internet, I am guilty of this myself—but I’m increasingly becoming less dependant on it.

    Twitter feeds me interesting news and things every day. But it will never make me live one of those things if I don’t try myself.

  • Amber Lansaw

    Very true, sir. I notice the same thing. I’m not *quite* as plugged in as many other people, because I just can’t afford one of those super shiny smart phones. I’m not entirely sure that’s a bad thing though. I look around all the time and people.. with their kids at the grocery store. At concerts, everywhere. Most people just have their heads down, looking at a screen.. or are gabbing away at someone when the world is RIGHT THERE in front of them. Their kid is trying to talk to them, but no.. they are on their phone. Completely oblivious to everything around them. It’s kind of sad.

    Even my poor old dumb phone isn’t much more than a sender and receiver of calls at this point. The screen went scrambled about.. oh..three months ago. At first, it SUCKED! I couldn’t take pictures.. I couldn’t text. I got used to it though.

    (Of course.. I’m not an insanely social person to begin with.. so.. yanno.. maybe that’s why it doesn’t bother me so much.)

  • Stevelle Hoffman

    It’s really funny that you posted this blog entry today, considering this was the topic that one of my classes discussed today. We went on and on about how no one talks to anybody anymore- even when you’re with a group of friends, you are constantly on your phone or doing whatever that involves technology. Although, I’ve always tried to focus on actually interacting with whoever I’m with. Can’t say that I succeed every time, but for the most part I’m not glued to my phone.

    When I saw The Devil’s Carnival back in April, my dad pointed out that I was so focused on meeting you guys and (attempting to) talk to you that I didn’t pull out my phone until we were in the car on our way home. At the time, I was bummed because that meant I completely forgot to pull out my phone to get a picture but at the same time, I was really pleased with myself. Sure I didn’t get a picture, but I did get a brief conversation and I’m much happier with that then I would have been if I had just focused on getting a picture.

    And since I think I’ve rambled on enough, I’m basically saying I agree. Everyone is too busy being glued to their phones, iPods, and such to really enjoy anything anymore.

  • Dana

    I’m guilty of being glued to my phone. I know people worse than me, however. When a group of us gets together for dinner or what have you, we stack all the phones in the center of the table. Whoever grabs their phone first buys a round/food. Within minutes of forming the tower of tech a phone went off. All but one of us was able to ignore the phones. She even tried to argue that the rules of the game shouldn’t have applied to her because she had no money to spend on the punishment. But the conversations we had were awesome and free from people checking a phone every 5 min.

  • Renee Hill

    As a professor of graduate business, I feel your pain. I teach a course entitled Technology in Business Communications. Preparing to teach this course, I believed the biggest obstacle would be showing that technology is a double-edged sword. Instead, I found that as the first course to the MBA program that my GRADUATE level students needed a lesson in academic writing. It is absolutely amazing to me that these students try to write in text/IM acronyms. Not only have we become technology dependent, but also we have allowed technology to replace grammatical sentences. Technology is the drug that created the addiction of distraction. I admit that I too am addicted.

  • http://alexiestar.webstarts.com Alexie Schauerte

    I had a similar experience while I was on a cruise. My boyfriend and I decided that the $4 a minute charge to use the cell phone was too much. So as soon as we were to leave port, we turned off our phones. It first it was very difficult to get through, not telling everyone what we were doing. Not sharing the experience of where we were with the world. But I found it quite refreshing for the few days we were on the ship. We actually talked at dinner. I did have a camera but it took significantly less time to snap a picture of the first time I had ever had Escargot or caviar (not the actual event… ok sometimes but usually just before) than to take a picture and post it to facebook with an explanation and such. It made it much more enjoyable. I love the time to discuss what was going on… but I love having the pictures too (I have a bad memory so the pictures help me remember what has happened).

    As for the fans at the Devils Carnival. Though it may have seemed like the picture was what was important to them, and to some it might have been, but I think many fans get so tongue tied and excited to see you that they forget everything that they wanted to say. So sometimes it is easier to move toward taking a picture than it would be to stand there in silence looking like a doof in front of some of your favorite people. But I understand the whole, “turn around and talk to me” thing. Many times at work (them park) I have started a conversation just for the parent to interrupt by screaming for the kid to turn around so they can take a picture or for some girls to come up and I try to strike up a conversation only for them to ignore me and turn around to pose for the camera. It is a bit off putting, but I guess that it was they want… the photo and the autograph.

  • Ray

    After you issued your challenge, it took everything in me to not open my package of cookies that were sitting here, next to me.

    Really wish I could live in the rest of my day, but without my phone & distraction, the next five hours of work will be truly a nightmare. I do, however, wish I could shake distraction elsewhere, though. Like, when I’m engaged in something I’m truly passionate about. Sadly, I, like most of the world, am also an addict.

  • Brandon Maline

    Lol speaking of distractions. I have a picture of you, Darren, from TDC road show where you are on your phone while my friends and I were talking to Terrance on stage. This image I found funny, but kept it in mind when reading this blog. But it was late and you two were very busy guys

  • http://www.earthcharms.etsy.com Kirsten

    This is why I LOVE to go camping. I turn off my phone, and only turn it on once a day to make sure my house-sitter doesn’t need anything. I like being near the north coast of CA, where cell reception is spotty at best. It means my old-fashioned phone that only calls & texts is for emergencies only. Maybe. And I’m okay with that.

    Sitting here at home is a different story, of course. The hum of my computer, the lure of all those weird TV shows streaming on Netflix… at least I can get some crafting done while I’m watching.

    Oh, wait…

  • kristy jacobs

    Truer words have never been blogged (at least that “I’ve” read). I resisted the temptation to answer two calls that interrupted my blog reading (because I promised not to be distracted). Now … wait, what was I going to post?

  • Nikole

    My only exception to people with cameras is this, is when people are in the pictures as well. This is a good way to remember what happened and that you were in fact there. I don’t think checking your phone every so often is a problem. When you are constantly checking to see if something happened then yes you are not in the moment.Me and my friend Cheyenne went to San Francisco and we went to the wax museum because i really wanted to see it. Even though it scares the living day lights out of me. We took pictures with as many of the statues as possible. I checked my phone a couple of times but my phone doesn’t get email or stuff like so I couldn’t check it for much. I think it is when you are more concerned about what you are checking than what is in front of you that you lose presence. As far as people only wanting a picture with you, i think this has more to do with efficiency. There are a lot of people who want to talk with you but don’t because they know there are a lot of people who want a few moments with you so a picture is the best way to show you were there but also have a precious moment of your time. Now I’m off to make cupcakes!!!!

  • Jeffrey_Bernier

    I love technology. I buy a new computer at least once a year, & I often buy the latest gadgets like ipads & different tablets that look like fun. But I haven’t owned a cell phone in 2 years & I rarely miss it.

  • ShiShi

    I actually had to stop and check if I was on Terrance’s blog for a minute.. I had a conversation similar to this with him in Portland. And it made me think back to the last year. I’m not sure I did anything noteworthy that wasn’t TDC related. (driving halfway across the country and back is pretty noteworthy) But I didn’t take any pictures. Or rather, I didn’t take any pictures until it was the last night and I realized I hadn’t. Even at the premiere, I don’t remember taking pictures of anything other than the TDC logo on the screen. And I end up finding myself on the OTHER end of the spectrum where I wish I had more pictures that I took that I can show to people.
    I’m completely guilty of being attached to my phone though. I check it roughly every minute and have dozens of mindless apps. And even now here I sit reading a blog on the internet (but to my credit I did not check anything and managed to read straight through). The internet and phone app games are great for when there’s nothing to do. I personally don’t feel the need to be “present” while waiting for my number at the DMV for instance. And when it’s late at night and I have no plans and no money to MAKE plans, I figure that at least if I’m watching a show or reading something I’m thinking.
    I could still do to put the phone down more often than I do currently though. (and maybe finish my book or something) I can, however, say that I resisted the urge to twitch during that two weeks in July I was stuck with no cell service. So at least there’s something.

  • http://twitter.com/LizRose137 LizRose13

    I must admit that while reading this blog I did not check my phone, twitter or Facebook but I was distracted by an interesting conversation with a friend about this very topic. This is truly a great sickness in our society that we are passing down to our children. And I am a part of this sickness as well. I spend a lot of time checking my phone and computer for updates and emails and coordinating schedules for dance rehearsals and texting like a madwoman. I am also plugged in and it makes me sad. I’ve noticed this in myself a lot recently and cannot even remember the last time I enjoyed a good book or even finished one for that matter!
    The other night I was at a restaurant with my family waiting to be seated in an almost packed house. I was trying as to put the phone down and interact with the people who mean most to me in my life but I found it exceedingly difficult. Finally, I turned off the phone and did not pick it up until later that night. During the time we waited to be seated I took an opportunity to talk with my family and survey the scene around me. Everyone waiting to be seated had their faced illuminated by one piece of technology or another.
    One family I noticed in particular were completely consumed with their iPads, and smart phones. 3 children and both parents tuned into mindless distractions completely ignoring each other when they could be conversing as a family should. It was sad. I made comments about them well within earshot that went unnoticed. Their eyes were glazed over playing games and ignoring the world around them.
    Some time watching them goes by and one of the little girls put her iPad away and actually pulled out a book! I was in shock. The rest of her family continued on with their games and texting while she burried her face deeper into the book. I leaned over and said “I‘m so happy to see someone as young as you actually reading a real book these days. Keep it up!” She looked up from her thick novel and smiled.
    There is hope out there for the future! I hope I can see more of this from younger kids especially, but the rest of us should be good examples and tune out, talk, read and interact with those around us. There is so much to learn from just talking and experiencing things without being glued to our devices.
    With that I’m going to make an effort to put down the phone, click off FaceBook and Twitter and start living in the outside world more.

  • robert chamberlain

    it nice that some one still see the tree’s. i dont have a cell phone. i do not use a electronic camera. i have a land line and many types of film cameras. i can even load and shoot 8, 16, and 35mm motion picture camera’s. when i became disabled and have a fixed income i saved up a lot to come see you on your tour, but did not know what to say. i had lived in your world, then was forced into another. but i see the sunsets, i smell the roses that i had not before and i am grateful. hope you can see more too…. robert

  • Kiley

    That is all so painfully true. The power was out in my town for a few nights due to a storm and Lord knows I hate when that happens. Every time we lose power my family whines about not having TV or internet. All I want to do is play board games and talk. Admittedly, though, when the power came back on I was back on the computer. It’s ridiculous and I can agree with you on saying I feel dumber for it. It truly disgusts me how we all really are addicted to distractions! Is angry birds that much more enthralling than an in depth conversation with a friend? When I was in high school, my creative writing teacher gave us a little assignment. He told us that when we were eating food we should really TASTE it. Meaning no distractions just to get through a meal. So I sat one morning in silence with my breakfast, no computer, no TV, no phone. I slowly ate my meal and really thought about what I was eating. I’ll tell you, when really focusing on one thing like that you can taste every little herb and spice and it makes it that much more gratifying. Plus, it’s better for your health to eat slowly and take your time.
    I learned from his assignment that one can implement this into every aspect of one’s life. Not just with eating, but with taking walks, talking to friends, doing any of your daily activities.
    These new generational distractions are not going away any time soon but we do have the ability to ignore them.
    So you have inspired me to, once submitting this comment, get off the computer and pay attention.

    • Lauren

      Reading this I thought back to my own trip to the louvre, and do you know what I remember the most? Trying to get a picture were we were all jumping, and focusing on getting a good picture of the Mona Lisa with my phone. It makes me sad now to realize I didn’t look at the Mona Lisa or any other peice of beautiful art without my phone being in front of my face. Thanks for writing this, it’s really inspired me to put down my phone more often and smell the flowers!

  • Dan

    I agree with this blog to a point. However, I feel it’s wrong that people blame this on technology itself. People have always found things to distract themselves from life, like alcohol or drugs. And any one who already has an addictive personality will find something to distract their self with. So I don’t think it’s fair to act like technology is solely responsible for that.

    Also, did you take into account that maybe the reason you dont remember certain things from the past is because there’s nothing to remember it by? (photos/video). People take photos for a reason. The human mind is not forever and sometimes people need to be able to look back on something material and not just a faded memory.

    Just my 2 cents.

  • LaurenMichelle

    I’m from a small town in Colorado. I feel like I have the opposite problem. I’ve tried facebook a couple times, ended up deactivating my profile because I just never check it. Until two days ago, I never knew how to use twitter, I’m just terrible at social networking. I’m too distracted by other things to sit and check that all day.I know times are changing, but I’m so old fashioned. The only reason I’ve been into checking things on the internet in the past year or so is to keep up on the Devil’s Carnival, Emilie Autumn, and a few music and movie stuff here and there. Totally know what you mean. Every concert I go to, I hardly ever end up taking out the camera, ha. Pictures are great, but I agree. You should let yourself become entranced and absorbed into the experience at hand. Breathe it in, try to find a balance between the excitement of capturing the experience, and truly LIVING it. I met you guys last year, and I got so caught up in the moments, you had to remind me to pose for the picture, haha. I go on hikes, I stay at my Dad’s Cabin from time to time. I’m so used to not having very much technology available, so when it’s absnet, I never miss it terribly, but I have been there I suppose.Now, I do love movies, I can understand why facebook and twitter are useful, especially in the entertainment world, but yeah, people seem VERY addicted. Sooo, I suppose you should come to Colorado more often! : )

  • http://www.facebook.com/hprotzman1 Heather P.

    I took your challenge, sir, and am pleased to report that I did *nothing* but read your blog for the duration–but this was because you made the challenge, not because it is normal behavior for me.

    You aren’t alone in your addiction, your realization of this phenomenon, failing to correct it or your annoyance and frustration–even disgust–with how society has completely lapsed into this uncivil, ignorant and disconnected state. It still blows my mind that people will approach the circulation desk in the library where I work talking at full volume on their phone. Or be in the check-out line at the store or basically anywhere else chatting on the device.

    That isn’t to say I’m completely innocent. I’m certainly not. And I do prefer electronic communication for certain things that, in the past, had to be taken care of face-to-face. I, too, get antsy, distracted and downright unsettled if I don’t know where my phone is, if it dies or has no reception. I know I’ll survive, but it doesn’t make me feel any better.

    Sadly, for better or worse (and I often think it’s for worse) our society has moved into the age where tech is inescapable, but I don’t understand why general rules of polite behavior and civility must disappear with these advances.

    Being present, actually present and aware in moments–whatever they are–means, for me at least, that I will remember them more clearly than if I view them through a device of some sort as I try to capture them. (This includes the TDC Encore Tour stop I made it to–I intended to take more pictures, but got so caught up in the experience, I just completely forgot and I don’t regret it one bit!)

    An agreement that we’d both put away the tech and be present when we were hanging out actually saved one of my friendships–we’d both gotten to the point we’d be sitting next to each other, but completely disconnected and disengaged in whatever was going on.

    On a side note, the pictures in this blog post are awesome. Also, when I visited the Louvre (two hours is NOT enough time) I found the Mona Lisa to be underwhelming…I found many other pieces more breathtaking and interesting, but I did see her surrounded by hordes of people as I’m guessing is usual.

    As always, it’s always interesting to read your thoughts and opinions! Thanks for sharing!

  • Kevin “Jester” Payton

    I was lucky enough to interact with Emilie several times during her show in Lawrence. That wouldn’t have happened if I was holding a phone in front of my face.

  • Robert

    Similar criticisms were leveled against technologies like CB radios and Walkmans, which experienced ‘fads’ of popularity.

    I’ve had conversations suggesting to a psychotherapist that such electronic interconnectivity may be serving as a therapeutic milieu for isolative people otherwise labeled to be on the ‘autistic’ spectrum.

    The Internet phenomenon has already gone a long way towards countering the stigmatisation of ‘different’ people who have discovered, contrary to the loudness of whatever reptilian bully was herding the hundred or so people thrown together in geographical proximity where they were born, that they are not ‘the only one like them.’ and been able to reach further afield to assemble ‘community’ of like-mindedness.

    So i guess i’m saying this may be a phase.

    TV was and continues to be criticised but i know in retrospect that i learned a great deal from watching TV, as i did from reading comic books, (also once regarded as ‘brain-rotting’).

  • Megan

    Thanks for posting this because it is a very big problem in our society today. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been out to lunch with someone trying to talk to them and they are on their phone. Our break to room at work is silent most times because the people not on their phones are watching the tv. I personally am electromagnetic, so any tech I try use breaks down ridiculously fast. I refuse to do anything with a touch screen because I will be constantly replacing it, and so I am actually very detached from a lot of newer tech. I often make computer programs and other hand held devices malfunction in new and exciting ways (I used to work in a place with a touch screen cash register and if I put my hand on the plastic around the screen it would sometimes click the coffee button =) ).

    I am however the office manager for a small tutoring center and it scares me how many kids, after they finish their work, will go to their parents and beg to be able to play with their I-phone, or we have one little boy who will throw a fit if his dad forgets to bring his I-pad so he can watch shows while he waits for his brother. Also the siblings will constantly fight over who gets to play with the I-phone and who has had it for longer. Granted this is a situation in which the children can’t really socialize or play with each other since the center needs to be kept quiet, there is however a large tub of books that rarely gets touched except by the little, little kids. I also feel out of touch often because everyone references things that I have never seen or played and generally have no concept of “the digital world” I occasionally won’t get on my computer for multiple months. I hope we can find a happy medium that allows for more personal connections as well as digital ones.

  • Shanna

    I was thinking about this the other day while reading. I LOVE books. I work in a bookstore. As a child I could be quiet and content for hours curled up with a book. Now, I find it hard to go even a few pages without a quick of my email or tumblr.

    That ability to focus and be present, its like a muscle and I think alot of us have let it get lazy. I think part of it is born from being part of a materialistic, fast-paced modern lifestyle. We take pictures as proof that we were there! We multi-task because there’s just so much we feel we need to do! But as a result, because we never fully involve ourselves in any one task, we get less enjoyment when we split our attention.

    I mean, how many of us would prefer a night out at the movies versus staying home? Even if you have a great big television, there’s something for me about going into a darkened theater and losing myself for two hours. I don’t text, I don’t talk to my friends, I don’t check my email. You cut yourself off completely from the outside world and instead immerse yourself in the world being presented to you. There’s something truly magical about that!

  • Tanya

    Reminds me of this talk I watched: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7uN4I1wEOXE he actually says exactly what you said about people filming concerts and not paying attention beyond watching it through a screen.

  • http://pumpkinparamour.wordpress.com Lorelei

    I basically have the opposite problem. I don’t have cable, I have a tablet I have never used and a ps3 I have never played a game on. People usually never call me and I probably receive a text once every few weeks. Two of my best friends live 14 hours away and don’t own a cellphone at all. I bought my first smartphone a few months ago. The only technology I use a lot is Facebook and Skype. My weakness is buying books. The last time I read Dune my phone was off for days. Maybe read a book, when I find a good book I can forget about everything else for days.

  • Elizabeth

    Talking to people is scary. Meeting people for the first time is terrifying. Holding a conversation with a person that lasts more than 10 minutes requires effort and interest, there is no time to filter the first response in your mind and the constant winge in the back of your head reminding that everything you say is meaningless bullshit.
    Then facebook arrived.
    Sure there was txt and IM already, and chatrooms were in big use but when the network included everyone it became so much better. Say anything you want and take as long as you want to compose it. 100’s of friends you never have to see but they all check what your up to and “care” with Like, if they really care they comment. Goodbye to social awkwardness and wallflowers standing next to the food, now even the most closed lipped can bitch all they want and never worry about being slapped for it. Personally Im terrible with networking despite how easy it is, i hardly ever update profiles or enter message boards, i read but don’t participate, still I left my ipad at my sisters place for a day and found i was near panic without it. Its pathetic but true. I am dependent. its a terrible situation, but i know why it is so very tempting…

  • L. Ann

    I solemnly swear that I gave you my full attention. As an online student I face this distraction issue everyday- two laptops, one constantly on school & school email, and the other is rarely off social media, work, and always has my freelance work on in case I have an idea while doing my homework. I don’t have an obsession with my phone but when I see friends with phone obsession I bop them on the head. Instead my obsession is with my email (the reason behind why I got a smart phone in the first place), a while back a friend asked me to see how many times per day I checked it- to my disbelief the number was over 20. When I found that I’d check Facebook out of boredom, I found it easier to turn off the wifi (not the little switch or button on the laptops but actually pull out the router’s power plugin) and grab a book instead- real, printed, book and not my beloved Kindle.

    Camp for me was be my cleansing time as a teen- no drama of social media, no worry about whoever in my life, and being tech free for a week. As much as I’d have those panic attacks it was healthy. Now as an adult the thought is scarier than before, but after reading this I’m much more willing to make the time to disconnect- to not have the camera out at concerts or wherever and let my eyes actually give attention to what I’m seeing.

    Thanks for talking about this, I had forgotten how good it is to actually see and be disconnected from technology every once in a while.

  • kyannakitty

    I gave my absolute focus…i mean i didn’t STOP to do anything but I was already listening to Emilie autumn when i remembered I wanted to contact you when I found your blog when I read this then Typed this and feel so rude for not being fully present for her masterfull CD.
    shame on me. I totally understand these feelings too. I went without a phone for a few days and was almost bugging out that I didn’t have some mechanical lump in my pocket the way one feels when they are missing a ring they wear always. I wish I could be, like, super hero awesome and sever all ties with technology that hinders my living. funny how we hardly live a life that is supposed to be made more lively with these pretty little things.
    I have an addiction.
    We clearly need a large expanse of beautiful land to be labeled as a rehab. Send everyone to it for like…a year. no tech never!
    Thanks for highlighting these issues and making me vow to be present again :)

  • matt webber

    Amen. And a good challenge. I always try to be present. It’s really hard in 2014 but i sure do try. Remember how awesome it felt to go to the mall or a grocery store and NOT be contacted ? You’d get home and see the light blinking on your phone, get a message, then return a call. What happened ?

  • moonchild84

    Thank you for the post I totally agree with you about todays society. If people don’t have their phones then the world pretty much stops for them.

  • Eve

    This post is beyond madly TRUE. And guess what? I must be one of the few people, living in modern city, a designer and student and guess what? I do not have a smartphone and I own a PC, not even a laptop. After reading THIS… I doubt highly I’ll even get a smartphone either anywhere soon… I kind of had a craving to have one but now reading this, I don’t think so. Laptop still a maybe as when I graduate work might require it. But it won’t go with me to vocations or to my adventures. Definitely No. I see the pros and cons of having social media at all times at your reach, checking in and out seeing the latest things and so on… Personally I’ve never cared about it. Not really, so why should it all change and start mattering now? It doesn’t.

    I love to travel and I’ve been to all over Europe and US I went to as exotic as sahara and Vietnam to live an experience, I looked with shock and horror when people had to go top of Dynes to see if they had signal so they could update facebook or whatever else…. while: we had local people playing drums and we danced to the beat around the bon fire with the most beautifuul diamond filled sky above us that was more than Magic to look at… Lie in the cool sand and stare at the starry sky and fall asleep…Of course I carry a normal digital camera with me, taking photos of things I like as a designer/artist but also after the photo I stay in place awhile and really concentrate on my surroundings memorizing everything I can, looking for details, people, scenery, language, faces, expressions etc. I’m a bit shamed to say I’ve seen EA and memory carded her. along with other artists. but I’ve also experienced her without my camera screen. I think over all that ALL concerts should BAN taking pictures (they do this in Japanese Rock concerts for example in Europe) so people would experience the concert. I’d SO do it if I was an artist and going on stage. I’d want to give an experience and emotion rather than… end up into memory card and not being remembered what was the exact moment I went through. Sure, Good photography CAN express better than words but living in that moment vs photos? I’d bet my life with the first option.

    Thank you for posting this Now I can push all ideas of having “smartworld” with me where ever I go. I want to have my experiences as I have had until today and really enjoy the moments I have. Be Present in whatever I do and where ever I go.