Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Summer is only four hours away.

Over the long weekend, Tom and I decided to do a spontaneous trip out to the Okanagan--via Kelowna, Summerland, Penticton, Oliver, Osoyoos. Being super-spontaneous on a long weekend is normally not recommended, but we got lucky with a place to stay in Kelowna.

Monday was a lot of fun (so much, it didn't feel like a 'Monday' at all). After a beautiful lunch at Quail's Gate, we meandered down the 'wine route' from Kelowna, and hit so many BC wineries of varying sizes. Generally, one can sample any wine there (some complimentary, some with refundable fees if you bought something). Definitely a much more relaxing way to procure wine than at the liquor store. It's also more likely that one will come away with a new favourite.

The landscapes were lush, and the weather hot (35 degrees at the heart of it). Just looking at it all was relaxing, especially with the rolling hills and abundant orchards and vineyards.

Wanting some peaches, we stopped off at a U-pick orchard and got to roam amongst the peach trees selecting the best fruit. There is nothing sweeter, and makes store bought ones look sick. The time spent at the orchard was, for me, the most relaxing and I just felt so darn wholesome afterwards.

What a great way to beat the stress with a change of scenery and pace.
Away from the inbox, cell phone off. Glorious.

See the highlights on my flickr set here>>

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Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Guilt and technology

For better or worse, I've always had an over-developed sense of responsibility. I find I have to actually make concerted efforts to discipline things like 'email time' and 'unplug' to get some offline business accomplished (like reading). It is difficult however, when you feel the 'pull' of people trying to get a hold of you to get this, that, and the other done or your opinion of whatever... etc etc.
Such discipline is an attempt at long term sustainability, and ultimate interest in my sanity and productiveness. I've seen too many people in different places get overwhelmed.

Recently, I've been thinking of the broader themes of my research and possible ways to unify certain concepts I've been working on like myth, modernity, progress, and the like. On the bus ride home one night my brain just clicked into the concept of 'guilt.'

I scrawled some questions in my notebook to the effect of:
Is there something to be said for how guilt may play into people’s motivations to communicate—with home, work, or religious icons? How is guilt being negotiated and techno-mediated in various cultures? Are there historical explanations for manifestations of guilt within entire societies? Might the allure of technologies be their ability to absolve users of guilt, much as people once purchased indulgences for the sins of ancestors? How does addiction link up with guilt?

Looking at my piles of books and sources at home, I got all giddy because my neurons were firing. It was one of what I tend to call "click" moments (aka "Aha")... when it all comes into focus.

Guilt is a powerful concept, and one that I'm exploring as part of the human condition. It's gonna be a lot of work, but fun!

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