Starving the smartphone addiction

It’s been six weeks since I decided to take a break from Facebook. Back in mid-January I took a screenshot to show students how to figure out which apps they used the most (Line, by far, in case you’re wondering, followed by YouTube… not surprisingly, since my students are all Japanese).

It was a little shocking to see that I was spending over 8 hours a week on FB on my iPhone. My train commute is about an hour and a half each way, and I go to campus four days a week. So basically I spent 2/3 of my train time looking at FB posts.

Yuck. What a waste of reading time. Continue reading

Winter: A Time to Read

Since becoming sick this past November (first a momentary, sudden illness in the pit of my stomach…), I’ve found it difficult to stay 100% healthy as winter has well and truly set in. It’s not terribly cold where I live (the middle of Honshu, the main island of Japan), but the up-and-down irregular temperature pattern this year has made it easier to catch colds, influenza, and other upper respiratory sicknesses.

So while down in the dumps with the mumps (which I contracted over New Year’s from my two children, despite having been vaccinated against it as a child…different strain here, perhaps), I’ve tackled a reading book list compiled from last summer. Even managed to finish one or two! Continue reading

What’s “creative non-fiction”?

Yes, this is a real lake and not fictional.

Yes, this is a real lake and not fictional.

This past week I’ve been scouring through some short stories of mine that have been sitting collecting Microsoft dust for years now…in preparation for putting out a collection of stories and poems later this year or early next (tentatively titled “Notes from the Nineties,” which lets you know how long I’ve been sitting on these files). Some of the earliest versions of the stories were written so long ago that MS Word consisted of a single 3.5″ floppy.

What’s a floppy? To quote George Carlin, next person who asks that gets stabbed between the eyes with a pencil.

As I began the tedious process of converting the files to newer, editable forms of word processing software, it occurred to me that much of my fiction is really very thinly-disguised non-fiction. Kind of. Continue reading