Daily ramblings of an offline Alex

Sat, Nov 25

15:57 –

Ok back at it. Doesn’t matter what came before, right? Should I just do this in tana? NO. I need to update the logs, feels like the last couple of days I’ve been logging elsewhere. Like a big list in my Notes app about how life has been different with the Light Phone. Would be worth some further reflection here too. But right now I gotta finish this thing I owe this person so gonna go do that now.

16:47 -

See its like, I’m offline and being a good boy and reading this essay by JR Carpenter about the handmade web but all the links in it seem so fuckin cool!! So I go online to check out the links about the Taroko Gorge html poems which, I found out, are these weird HTML sites that are really python programs that generate random-ish poem code – people have been remixing the original for the last 12 years and creating their own and yea idk that’s beautiful.
But now its like, how do I bounce back from that into the writing? That’s the impossible part. That’s why I can’t go on in the first place. Because the dpm (dopamines per minute) from a website is crazy high and from a writing essay is very low

Fri, Nov 24


first night of no crib with the wild man. Which meant lauren and I took turns sleeping on the floor next to him until he fell asleep and then we snuck out of his room and slept in bed for about 45min until he woke up, cried, and it all repeated!

A quick log of the last couple of days with the light phone and the many issues that have resulted – just so I don’t forget when writing the essay:

I texted Glennis instead of Lenia and the text itself just contained the word ‘Len’
my texts are riddled with typos – not really a problem tbh

Thu, Nov 23

Things I’m noticing since lightphone the iPhone is so enticing!! The colors the speed all of it. It’s far and away the nicest thing I own relative to everything else out there (we rent we shop mostly at Ralph’s but my phone is INCREDIBLE) Like it’s the Ferrari of phones except we all have them. Why. I want a Toyota phone. I switched the iPhone to grayscale. Same w my laptop. The colors are doing a lot of the work. Even on its own without a carrier the iPhone is crazy powerful. But the magic hook I think comes from how the connection to all your people via call and text – the only two things tethered to your actual phone number – are bundled with the most distracting bullshit / the stuff a stage is made of the stuff of an endless American idol

Wed, Nov 22

08:20 –

God damn the struggle is real. A quick play by play of the last hour? All of this happened in just one hour. Amazing and baffling both the same.
So – well, the past is prologue so lemme give you some prologue – last night was a thundersuck of sleep related disasterada. Wilder has learned that he contains within himself the muscles, height, and willpower to climb out of his crib. He isn’t doing this ALL the time, but when he gets scared or when he misses us or really when he feels almost any other emotion besides “sleep,” he’ll do it.
Our best strategy to combat this is for me to sit in there and talk to him. Like, he says “can we talk” and I say “yes” and then I ask what he wants to talk about and always, without fail, every time, he says the same thing back: “the skatepark.”
He and Lauren went to the skatepark the other day so he could ride his scooter. I found out they were there and rode my roadbike over. And then he and I cruised up and down the ramps that were honestly pretty fucking steep, so I was amazed that he was able to do it with so little fear, but he was.
He was teaching me too. “Dada, come here, then you go down this” etc.
So back in his room we talk about that and he falls asleep and then I try to sneak out but he comes to and starts talking about hte skatepark without missing a beat.
It’s adorable which si good because its also annoying as fuck I want to be sleeping in my bed
But i also resolve that i maybe won’t tonight.
which is what ends up happening. I sleep on the floor. I’m gonna skip over the many details of what happened because this isn’t an essay (yet).
But the morning comes and we’re tired and so I open the computer while he watches Coco and my intent, my simple goal from my offline world of reality meat bone and wood and window is to write a little more on this book thing I’m writing. More on this soon but basically I got asked to possibly write a book for teens like a Hunger Games style sci-fi fantasy vibe book. It seems super cool, and so I said sure why not.
I have to send in a chapter by the end of the month and its…Nov 22 so it’s crunchy crunch time and I want to write a little bc I have an idea but as soon as I go on the computer, I check my email.
Usually, there wouldn’t be much. Usually there[d be a couple nice things, like ___ and ____ but today there was an email from a client of whom I’d requested feedback on my services. The feedback was critical and painful to read. I got defensive by which I meant I kept re-reading it and trying to fight with the writer in my mind by proving why I was in the right and they were an idiot. They weren’t – the feedback was good, which is why it probably upset me so much.
From there, I spent the next hour diddling around the internet. And I’m still on here writing this (it’s 09:05 now).
This example perfectly encapsulates the whole idea of the internet as a slot machine, an analogy I’ve often heard but never really unpacked. People often liken social media to the slots because of the intermittent rewards – you can win, but its not clear how and at what frequency.
True, but the much more insidiuous way the feeds and internet are like a slot machine is how quickly you start playing ‘on tilt.’
“On tilt” is a term I learned in poker that describes a player who’s caught a bad break – something happened in the hand that shouldn’t have happened – they got bluffed, the last card turned over on the river was the exact (and only) card they could have gotten to win the hand, etc – whatever it was, it sucks and they’re pissed.
Now they’re playing aggressively and poorly bc they have something to prove. Something that was theirs has been taken away. They are owed and damn it theyre gonna do whatever it takes to get what’s theirs.
So too with an email. I start reading it was an expectation that I’ll get some praise or at least not get pummeled into the ground by feedback bc that’s what normally happens and that’s normally how I find value in myself. But not this time. This time, something crazy happens and the feedback is hurtful and I have lost this hand.
Well you can sure bet your brigadoons that I am way on tilt so tilted I’m basicaly at a 990 degree angle down .
Except emails and social media and the connected internet as a whole is less a game of poker and more a game of slots. Each time you check a website, you pull down on the lever of the slot and see what comes up, and every time you get some combination of three emoji-esque symbols that, when deciphered correctly, mean that
This is why I don’t respond to emails. That’s not part of the game, not really. The game is pulling that handle and seeing if I get big money of the soul. And when I don’t, or when I do but it seems like thjere are more challenges to winning that pricze, I get even more on til and keep going and going until forever.
I have not, as of 09:14 – turned off the internet. Will I soon? Now? I have plenty of great ideas this much I know ,but unless I can get out of the casino, I may never get to them.

Tue, Nov 21

1545 –

(handwritten) It is weird to be here and feel…offline. The way the phone makes me more craving of being connected. (context here: I got the light phone this morning and have been using it)…
Like even if I’m avoiding the iPhone, I am still aware of its functionality and thus craving that functionality elsewhere (on my computer).
I feel like I need to put more time into these offline logs. Like I’m not doing…enough – there’s that fucker again – ‘enough’ – with regards to my promise for people who paid to subscribe to get updates on my offline logs.

16:06 –

idk why it feels like I’m…slacking on this?
It’s also ironic that by being less online and less on top of these logs of my experiemnt being offline, I feel like I am not doing it well enough.

16:22 –

Ok so maybe a quick recap of the light phone so far. I literally turned it on this morning and…well, I’ve been pretty tired since. Like, low energy. Might be because I took my antidepressants later in the day than I normally do – I feel like if I take those at ANY hour later than I’m supposed to, my whole day gets fucked up and I get super sad at some point. The sads haven’t come yet, but maybe this is their precursor.
Right the light phone. The right phone the white phone the slight phone kind tone mild bone enooooough. Idk I’m tired
What really is the value of putting shit like this online just so the paid subscribers have ‘something’ to read?
I dont know!


Ok let’s jam on this lightphone for a few min until its time to go pick up Wilder. I mean…yeah, its fucking different. It’s both calming and disorienting. Calming in how it feels so…managable. I notice myself still trying to pick it up but then there just being nothing there to really engage with besides a few texts which, if I do want to respond to, will each require a pretty big lift. Like, I’m not just gonna be able to tap out a response real fast and that makes me default to not responding which is what I wanted! This whole thing feels like what I wanted, so then why does it also feel wrong? Or just…empty.
I think it’s because driving around with it and having it all day makes me really realize, full stop, that I am where I am in this place and time. I am limited by the time and space I find myself in. The phone and the connection makes that not feel true, but without it, I can’t help but know that it is.
There’s a dizzying freedom to this, like an astronaut floating in space with no little tether cable that’s connecting him back to the mother ship.
Without checking on the world every moment of every day, does it cease to exist? It does – or rather, one version of it does – the version of it that is only made alive by my checking in on it, by my staying up to date with its latest goings on. That world may be dissapearing but I don’t know if that world was ever real to begin with. Or perhaps in order to have that world – the all access all time all world – I had to trade on my surroundings. My here my now for its there its always. Maybe. Or maybe not.
It’s literally been less than a day. I have already found out how to weasel my way back onto imessage on my computer. Which…is a good thing? Or a really bad thing? Idk. I DK.
Another big thing to write about…….idk what I was gonna put here but now I gotta go.
Did I do enough to warrant leaving? Did I write my fill??
What if I didn’t need to write anything to feel good about a day?
A boy can scream.

Mon, Nov 20

552 -

man I am really obsessed with making things juuuuuust right on the computer before i do anything else. before i write. why?
been loving this book i hate the internet – god damn its good. the first 10 or so pages i was like what the fuck is this vonnegut knockoff of the internet age but I think that was mostly jealousy. most of my hate is mostly jealousy. this is not a bad thing, nor a good thing, nor even a thing.
yesterday in therapy I learned about the idea of ‘the container’ – its an EMDR thing, I guess, cuz that’s what we are doing right now – emdr – and man it has worked WELL


Found this draft from Nov 15 for something – gonna just put it here, who cares lol

People write things
  • A big problem for emerging writers is discoverability. No one knows you exist, so how could they like your work. This seems somewhat unique to writers?
  • People usually know whose music they’re listening to. You wouldn’t hear a cool song and go ‘oh that song rules’ without bothering to figure out the band that created that song. Let’s leave aside that maybe, now on Spotify, you often would, and pretend that you wouldn’t, just for the sake of argument.
  • In general, it seems, the stuff of entertainment – writing, film, music, is becoming detached from the people who create that work.
  • Nowhere is this more prevalent than writing.
  • I started thinking about this after talking to Carlos Greaves, a very funny cool dude who writes satirical comedy. His problem, he said, was that people would often read his stuff online in the new yorker and mcsweeneys without ever wondering that he actually wrote it.
  • We’re all guilty of this. “This McSweeney’s article is so good dude check it out,” we say, sending stuff to one another with such rabidity that a doctor, inspecting the scene, would call it viral.
  • Only a few years ago did I start realizing that people wrote things. I’d make a point of clocking the human name attached to a piece of writing and try to find out more about that person.
  • The age of the internet, which promised to give everyone a voice and, in some ways did, also made us all, as dudes name would say, just lil idiots of the churn.
  • I hate that word. churn.
  • So what can be done? Well, first please note who wrote this article – Alex Dobrenko – and pay him acccordingly. But also, take note
  • This message isn’t so much for other writers who already seethe with jealousenvy over one another’s work like contestants on The BAchelor, but more for this other group of people who are of rare number but do exist:
  • The Reader.

Sat, Nov 18


have been pretty bad about being offline this moring. zbut not feeling awful about it? Interesting to think about the guilt associated with being online and how that only intesnfies the need for the interent as an escape.
But this morning it didnt really feel like an escape as much as a fun lil thing to play around on BUT my guilt made it feel like something worse
Part of this exploration has to be about guilt. Guilt of pleasure, guilt of leisure and guilt of treasure too


back at the computer, thinking about the quiet and how nice it feels after the chaos of last night and this morning with Wilder, who has decided to premiere his brand new film: terrible twos 2: the sequel — he’s just been thrashing around, kicking stuff – it started a week or so ago when he hurled a toy hammer at the TV which I think genUinely shocked both of us. “wait, I do this now? his eyes told me (this could become an essay idk)


just turned off the internet after my requisite hour of tinkering with things that do not matter (keyboard layouts etc) Now, I write.

Fri, Nov 17


Yesterday I was having a moment of existential anxiety of ‘man everything i do sucks’ and I asked in the chat if my post from yesterday – which was a ramble itself – made any sense. In response, @Joan Wright responded with a poem that belongs in the BAT old testament it is beautiful and fucked me up with its beauty I am still getting tingle goosebumps thank you Joan here it is:
OK. I just love that you are experimenting with screen withdrawal. The dtox is hard-core. Re the guilt of making screen-free sound rosy-easy. Dude. I saw no rosiness except in you all doing stuff together and enjoying it. Your story was full of agony and angst and brain-rash screen-eye pain. That’s the beauty of the story—pain, loss, a journey, unexpected adventures, failure, and winding up in a whole new place. Campbell would be so proud. Heck. Edith Hamilton, the queen of the hero’s summarized epic might have a steamy personal moment with your essay. For my time and money, you always make sense. You’re something of THAT aunt who has no filter, especially when it is most inconvenient: the very reason she is the MOST beloved, the MOST invited, the MOST hugged, and ALWAYS missed when not around. Metaphors and escape rooms which are metaphors. Deep. Not deep poo. Your play-by-play-scab-by-scap wounds on the playground are why I read you. If writers were as them as you are you, screens wouldn’t have a chance in hell. Everyone would be tripping over curbs with their noses in books. A beautiful, bloody, mess. But keep the guilt alive, Alex. I think (and who am I but some glob who doesn’t really know you except for your writing) it’s your shadow-box demon where you find light and insight. It’s not that your suffering brings me joy or amuses me. It’s that you, chronicling your way through the swamps, show us swamps can be navigated, and finding solid ground for a few steps, seeing that we’re covered with damp weeds (and OMFG leeches?) is something we can laugh at, alone, or in a crowd. Be you. That’s such an amazing and rich choice.


Some amazing listen to while you work music – Grandbrothers – Live on KEXP


Including this just to remind myself to give a lil bit more of an update as to where things are at.
what a useless note.
stop being mean to yourself
make me
buddy we’re in public stop
eat a bag of it
of what
potato crisps
i win then?
sure bud you win.
stop calling me bud that’s PATRONizing and I don’t mean the kind where you pay someone for their services.
I’ma go.
same. lunch?
potato crisps?


Ok trying to keep logs again today. One moment of particular difficulty is right after finishing something I came to do online. Like I just gave notes on someone’s doc, which I did online even though I could have gone offline to do it since Google docs has offline mode.
In fact, I WAS using offline mode but then switched to online mode to transfer the edits between computers and, once I got to my laptop, I just stayed in online mode. THEN the person who I was doing the editing for joined the doc. In real time! I saw her accepting changes and now my feedback antennae are UP AND ALERT cuz like omg here comes a “am I valuable?” opportunity. Or a “am I worthwhile” “did I do a good job” “do I have any value as a person, a question answered easily by how well I perform on this task.”
Stakes get skyhigh and bam we’re in an elevator with a t-bone.
But right, so I finished that (in soooo much less time than I would have if I’d been switching between online and back), and then afterwards I’m like OK AMPED LETS DO THIS WHATS NEXT. Like I was in 5th gear moving fast ediitng the doc big ideas quick quick quick and then its like ah man I gotta keep up that pace how can I do that while offline????? My answer, which may be a bad one, was to game for a little bit. Maybe that’s ok though? Or maybe not. Gonna try and see by gaming a little bit hahaha.

Thu, Nov 16


wild how as my mind is saying ‘its really important to make a good decision to start the day and not go online’ right at that same moment, I am also saying ‘ok cool lets do this’ and simply hitting command + g + enter which should, within a second, get me into a universe I shant easiLy escape no way no how

November 2023

god this is hard. to make it the DEFAULT. Like, I’ll be half asleep from a nap still and just already online. the mental grooves are so deep and the process is so easy. I wonder if there’s a way i could automatically make my computer turn the internet off whenever it goes to sleep, like that’s a default?

Tue, Nov 14


I slept in! Water helps. drinking water when my dumb brain is liek LETS WAKE UP BITCH
I’m remembering some of my dreams. One involved me looking up who Christina Agulaira dated. JT, then Nelly, and JT again in 2015. I dont think any of that is true? Why was I thinking of any of that?


Welp, here at Philz, offline.
Admission: I did go online like an hour after posting the newsletter. Very specifically to check the numbers on my phone. I knew I was doing it and said ‘ah whatever just this once.’ That moment is a really big one to…sit with? To sit through? idk but I do know that its a key one. Because the in-the-momment just-this-once justification is a slippery ass waterslope down into the deep of all the shit I’m trying to get away from.

Mon, Nov 13


god i have been waking up earlier and earlier. is it insomnia if you go to sleep at 755pm lol?
I’m struggling with this essay. With the tone of it. Like, where the conflict is? I do think that I’m trying to force conflict, or to change myh vibe to make it seem like there is more of a conflict than there really is? So that when the great offline night happens, its a change. But that feels false, and too clean. What if it was allowed to be more messy?


so interesting to be offline and reading stuff like this Own your web newsletter – there are soooo many interesting links here and I want to click on all of them, and normally I would. But for now, I saved them. Is that a good or bad thing idk.


dang just finished a draft of the piece. Still not there but…closer! Its starting to emerge which rules.


Gonna try to go online just for one thing – a list of sci-fi fantasy authors on substack. and do nothign else. NOTHING. Can it be done? stay tuned and find out


I did it! Holy cow farts i did it. That was hard. The pull of wanting to just check just real fast was soooo strong. Damn this shit is a real strong drug. Just one email I told myself. But no!


Ok so i was offline but it looks like I can still access my emails while offline (just not updated) – this was really helpful as I needed to get something
Then I said to myself i will not go and check the inbox (which would have updated since last night)
I looked out the window and said to myself, no i am not gonna look i am not gonna look
and then i went back to the computer and looked
what the fuckass


Driving is another interesting time…I find myself craving a quick scroll stopped at a red light, or even driving. just now, I found myself holding my breath during the moment of craving which was interesting. Maybe its a “eeek what’s gonna happen on here” holding the breath until I see…something, anything, and then I release. This is all highly medical stuff and requires no peer-review, print it right away in the big papers and honestly some of the small ones too.


I’ve checked my email several times this ohour. Feels like I’m failing. But am i? I dont really even know what success is. Being sick is making this all very hard. Maybe getting sick is because i’m not using the internet.


it really is such an insidious loop of bullshit, like I kept checking and feeling bad for checking and so checking more to make that bad go away
It is helpful to realize though that I am specifically anxious about AN email that I am waiitng to get (or not get) and that’s the cause of some or perhaps even most of this. That is very helpful indeed. Ok turning off the internet now bye


It happened AGAIN. There I am, offline, and bam, now I’m online. Just to scroll through some stuff for 20 min while eating. And then I go to all the bad places again. I know this may not seem like a big deal, who cares, go easy on yourself, but I think this is exactly the problem. The word insidious keeps coming to mind. Right now its fine and no big deal but that’s how it slowly starts to take over.
In fact, today I think it already has. I also checked my email and texts on my computer as soon as I woke up from a nap.That’s a particularly hard time, right after the nap.
Gonna go share this with the paid subscribers and then bounce offline lol.

Sun, Nov 12

7 39

I’ve already lived enough fo a day for three days. waht the hell sort of half assed idea is that I am so tired. I woke up at…345am? Feeling honestly sort of refreshed haha cuz I’d gne to bed at 8. Which would make almost 8 hours – 8pm to 4am. Doesn’t really seem like that should make sense but it does
Anyways. Went to Starbucks thinking they’d open at 430. Oh, the reason I didnt stay home – lauren was on the couch to prop herself up cuz its hard to breathe and I didnt wanna make noise and I knew if I was in my room and tried to leave a little later I’d also make noise soooo I decided perhaps wrongly in hindgiht to go starbucks. they did not open at 430. that’s on monday thru friday today they open at 6
fine I went to mcdonalds which had 24 hr drivethru and the signs on the front door sasid they open at 5
so i wait em out cuz i wanna go inside and its 503 and i go up to the door and its locked and I see someone and say hey it says 5 with my mouth and hand and she just nods ‘no’ and so I guo ok i guess ill juts fuck myself and i drive to the astro diner in silverlake. I park there and hey whaddya know look at that cute dog i didnt see that a second ago wait thoats no dog thats a fuckin coyooee!!
i worry about getting eaten but also know that it wont happen but who knows ya know and if youre wrong even a little on the whole ‘animal might kill me’ thing you’re sorta forever wrong an so I stay in my car. Changing spotw trying to scare the thing away. QA buff dude in red shirt and shorts comes out after eaitng and gives his doggy bag tray thing to the to be honewt makes ense since voyotes are dogs or the other way around idk.
Anyways i’m there at astro till about 6 and then i get to starbkcs and now i;m home and i’m so fucing tired holy hsit

Sat, Nov 11


It’s amazing how much energy it takes in the morning to stay offline. Both mental and actionable — like, I’d started an essay last night on my laptop which I needed to transfer to my computer. How do I do that? By going online. Fine, so I turn on the internet and ssave the essasy to dropbox. Then I remember I want to send an email to a friend B.A. Lampman asking about collage stuff for a possible birthday gift for Lauren and so I do that and now I’m in my email and we’re fucked. Because now I see a new email in there and of course I want to
Yesterday: an even better example of the insidious ways in which the internetherwold beckons to you, each little door promising a nice quick jolt of the Dopa with nothing more, just this little thing you won’t wanna do anything else that’s fine we respect that.
But then you go on there just to check that one thing and you see another thing aNd before you can even stop yourself you’ve clicked on that other thing. Because it is so easy it feels like nothing at all. There is no friction anywhere on the internet (and whatever friction there is, I have spent years trying to eliminate through my own hacking and stuff of keybaord shortcuts and macros and etc)
Buuuuuut maybe friction is good. Maybe the internet shoul.d be full of way more friction? Idk.
I just picture these bony translucent handseach beckoning youjust for a moment no big dfal but then when you get into their little shop, they accidently show you something else and say oh you don’t need to see this dont worry about it its nothing but you say ah maybe real fast I’ll take a look since I’m here and now you’re in.
Even worse actually is if you decide to take a peek behind another door and there’s nothing there. Are you sure? you say. Nothing? Surely there’s something can you check again?
Sorry sir we have nothing for you here right now, would you like to view the archives peryhaps
but you don’t hear the person because you’re alreaedy out the door agog with fear that you have been robbed of your identity of your worth and now you need to check eeverywhere lese you’ve stashed some to make sure there’s some there.
So you run over to Substack and explain why you’re there – the guard says are you sure you want to go through a and you say yes abarging in and see…one red notification. Phewf. At least its not broken. But the notifgicatiohn is garbage. You haven’t been robbed you’re just washed up and no one gives a shit.
Now you’re in debt doo doo and its time to get that worth back by taking drastic action. Commenting somewhere, writing something, hell even publishing something old of yours just to get another taste of that pure, uncut yum yum they call SW – self worth.
So you repost a piece and decide to leave and get offline and you are walking out of Substack when you hnear a little ding. Oh, someothing for my essay? That’s awfully nice. Perhaps I’ll take a peek.
Thirty hours later and you’re still there, peeking and peaking , sweaty and shirtless, haggard and on tilt. You owe big except there’s no bookie since you play that part too. It’s your company and you’re the grunt man, doing it all.
With stuff obviously not working out like you want on the substack dside yoyu decide to run a quick scan of the other many homes in which you store value. Email, nothing. After that its like…hmmm where else to go? Maybe some of your old haunts the ones you said you’d not go back to but hey desperate times call for desp measurementsso you go to twitter and you see 20+ notifications hot diggity dog maybe one of your old posts went viral this sorta shit happens yes baby here we go and you click on them and they’re all just notifications that someone else posted. The fuck why.
Ok fine, instagram. A coupel likes and acouple follows. Very nice. You scroll through those but it isnt enough you dont have many followers on there why not you need to do something to change that but what but nothing lets go to where things always feel good Fadcebook. You see people twice your age getting off the platform becAuE of how badly it makes them feel and you go oh shit what the hell oh shit oh shit oh shit.
And you cfall aslee, naked and afraid and alone and unpaid and frayed at the eedges and the middles the kits and the kaboodles its all bad but hey babe dont worry its getting worse.

5 28

ok now we’;re done with that lol. that was fun to write though i bet there’s some good stuff in ther. The other thing – some big realizations i want to rememeber —

The nothing ness of no phone at night
How easy it is to get back on and stay back on
How once I broke the seal, especially while doing other stuff that required internet, it was so easy for me to slip onto email or elswwhere while ohn a a call and my adhd brain is getting bored. 9ontoe to self maybe the move is to have freedom the app on too)
I’m not reAlly sticking to the one and done thing. I am but very loosely. This should apply to everything – slack messages, everything. Right now I feel like I’m still treating those as ‘all day affairs’

15 29

Promising to feel that even though it is difficult right now, it is getting easier to resist the urge of the internet as the very first thing I do when I get onto the computer…though not so true for my muscle memory instant monkey mind which, upon opening the laptop here at Kafn coffee, immediately opeend chrome and tried to access my email. But the internet is off and so I didn’t.

16 13

My ability to keep an essay’s many ideas organized in my brain while writing is VASTLY ENHANCED. This is shocking and requires further science study.
But even here, right now, I just checked my texts and responded to Lauren and even looked at another text but didn’t respond (which breaks my one and done rule) and now I am more command-tab prone on the comp. I could write a whole essay on my love hate realtionship with command tab.

14 48

Went online to get info from ONE email – I was asking someone about psosible gifts for Lauren for her birthday and then started opening other emails. It was like that COME ON open it urge was stronger than the ‘no no we shouldn’t be here’ urge. Which makes sense. But damn if that ian’t a bitch. I wonder if I truly do need to just live an offline only life with exceptions for accessing the internet for certain activities? I dont know. Also, wild that I think a lot of people live this way…all the time???

Fri, Nov 10


ok hi yes offline right now and feeling good about it.


insane to look at my to do list and feel like things are actually getting done. THAT is a new feeling
Switching from notepad to typora because of the ability to do bullet lists here. crazy to notice how much of my time I spend thinking about ‘the right app’ to use for any given thing lol. // And asking myself questions about whether an app can do something, like foldable bullets in this case, which would then prompt me to go online to look for whether that was true which would lead to something like ‘yes, with a little hacking’ which would lead to me tryhign to do that hacking and it’d be 20 min later when I returned to the place I started.

5 53

Dang. I just worked for an hour and got SO much done. All offline. Like, it woulda been fucking impossible to get that much done if I had stayed online – I would have so quickly found reasons to go online – pull a picture, for example – only to get sucked in by how fucking distracting and alluring all of the advertising is on there.


So today has definitely been the hardest day, staying offline wise. Before even getting into it, I think its important for me to remember

Thu, Nov 9


so weird to be starting another day without the internet. It’s harder now, in a quiet way, this feeling of ‘where is everyone’ or maybe ‘what’s everyone up to?’ I do feel like my sense of selfhate has diminished though…BUT AT WHAT COST.
would you rather: like yourself and your life but have no idea About what’s going on in the big world of other people’s success OR hate yourself but be privy to all the goings on of the fauxsuccesses of everyone else??? Why is this even a hard question to answer.
Everything that happens I am more aware of now


Whoa I might have written this BAT piece soooooo much faster today. Like that intro I wrote in the last 30 min. This might be another huge benefit of this whole thing – that I get shit done way faster lol.


Ok now it’s 1017 and I’m lost as to what to focus on. I’ve got one essay to edit and some stuff to work on for tomorrow. And really, I guess that’s it?
Interesting, this feeling of empty

Wed, Nov 8


Alright so here we are, day two. I mean. Things feel different. I meditated today. Sure it was six minutes and most of it I thought about stuff I had to do but isn’t that what meditation is for? To meander your way through the things you havve to do andclock how anxious you are about doing them? Reader? I wasn’t too anxious.
As far as a report or review of yesterday: overall, a huge YES from me. The day went slower. I napped twice and still got all my stuff done. I felt more present during my phone calls w clients.
Anything is easy day 1 though. It’s day 2 when shit really gets interesting. That’s today. I hope it’s interesting.
One problem I can already tell myself having is getting too backlogged with stuff offline that I never bring it over to online. Like these notes and everything else in this document (tasks, etc).
Also, I didn’t check Substack once yesterday. A big part of me wants to not cherck it today but I think that’d be bad. I don’t wanna get to the point where I’m not checking at all and thus way too far behind. That too would be bad. So I will check today at some point, maybe a little later this morning.


finding it easier to work on something (brainstorming for a new potential company I may be working with) without first going to the internet as a default.
interesting to note how I am still online right now. Dangerous, too, since later in the day I may nto have my wits about me and SLIP and fall and scream help I’ve fallen and I can’t get up


Ok so 25 min ago i decided to go on Substack for the first time and look at my comments from the post yesterday. There’s so many. It’s overwhelming. I’m not done looking through them and I can feel that my breath is really short like I’m having anxiety like i’ve been holding my breath while reading these and responding to them like there’s a big intense spike of something happening in my body — a mechanism of ‘oooh somoene cares’ into ‘oooh i gotta respond so they know i care that they care’ into ‘oooh this is amazing’ into ‘oooh this isn’t enough I need more’ except I havent’ gotten to that last part since there are more things to read. I’ll do them soon.
I also checked the numbers. They were…fine. I definitely clocked some dissapointment that they weren’t higher. 1 new paid subscriber. I found myself getting mad that more people hadn’t subscribed. This is a bonkers feeling and yet it makes perfect sense. As soon as I see the numbers, I am not enough. DFW captured this idea in one of his essays or something about the kid who is in heaven on a diving board until he realizes time exists and then he is miserable again. Ok off to a meeting


Ok the person isn’t here yet so I can keep writing lol…yeah, i dont know i mean responding to the comments feels like an important thing, but maybe it just isn’t healthy? Or maybe I just need to devote a good hour to it and then stop? idk.
Generally, before right now, my mind has seemed quieter. Calmer. Slower. But not right now. We’ll see how the rest of the day goes.
Also it should be said and it will be said that the comments are a fucking gift and blessing and amazing. SO MANY people connect to these ideas

14:07 -

HUGE spike in my desire to do the bad stuff online – motsly checking emails and my fav activity – hitting ‘g’ then ‘a’ on gmail to go to the ALL MAIL folder and then scrolling through there like I’m looking for buried treasure. I kept noticing myself doing it just now, which is wild. The pull is so fuckin strong.
Perhaps this is a time of day thing? Or maybe just because I had a call during which i was also using the internet in order to look stuff up. Its interesting how the mindless activity of searching and browsing seems to require more of itself in order to sustain the dopamine per minute dpm for your brain. DPM must become a new scientific concept of course and added to the DSM.
I think what I should do – nay what I will do right now, is — well i was gonna say get offline but first I feel like I should go through the rest of the substack comments. ok gonna do that now.

14:54 –

Ok wow I mean wtf. So I decided to scroll through my notifications and there were so many plz yes play the tiny violin I know these are champagn problems but ya know what, even champagn can be a problem esepcially for alcoholics. So I scroll through and open each one in a new tab to respond and then I come across Tommy’s amazing hilarious essay and just enjoy the fuck out of that for a bit – ADD MY COMMENT HERE and then i go through the rest and now I have 68 notifications to respond to.
I know i know stfu alex about how many people love you !!! But like, responding to every single one is a lot. So what do I do? Do I not respond? I do think this is an interesting point about the feeling of NEEDing to respond to everything and if you don’t you’re a bad boy. But like, i don’t know if every single person who leaves me a comment expects a response? I sort of doubt it. But it is smething I’m curious about to hear more from people about maybe I will ask tomorrow.
After doing that for an hour though, I feel the same way I feel after playing sonic the hedghehog for an hour. Lit up and amped and needing more stimulation like don’t stop the game the game is too fun too good do not you dare stop that shit.

15:37 –

Just sent some text messages for the first time today. It’s interesting how LOOPIE these systems are. Like, I find myself doing so much more alt-tabing later in the day trying to get my wya back to wherever I just was at.
It’s been very hard to stay offline. I’ve honestly kept my computer online most of the day and just avoided all the bad sites. This has worked relatively well for yesterday and today but I don’t know how much longer it will last. Amazing also how quickly I find myself breaking my own rules, making concessions like a god damn presidential candidate. Sure we can do this, sure we can leave this on no problem no sweat no swing no problem. Alex stop get back to work FINE.
Also — I am definitely getting a lot more done.


Very weird to poop without a phone. Brought this notebook instead and writing in it like a wild one.


Hard to know what to do At night when i become anxious. The phone was my safety object my respite but I dont have it now.
this is a big subject of interest.

Tue, Nov 7

Tue, Nov 7 -


back at my computer. a morning without notifications. its hard to know how to describe this other than…different? calmer? like I rode a nice lil horse through the day rather than a roller coaster high octane up and down machine that nearly killed me several times. I’m writing this on my computer and the internet is off. I have ethernet cable wired internet like a real man who never forgot about y2k (sic), so i unplugged the cable. Gonna start my day now and figure out what to do today and this week. Might even be a wee bit reasonable about it.


cool how certain websites have an offline mode, e.g. Readwise. This will let me read stuff while offline — v useful since often my work is about reading stuff. same goes for google docs, many other apps me thinks


Readwise offline could still be a big distraction lol.


whoa already got all my text messages sent. and just looked at the phone once. That already feels like a fucking life changing thing.
Also, I’m writing all of this in a notepad file and also keeping track of a to do list there. This is the first time in recorded history that I’ve listed out my tasks without using a complicated task mgmt system that I then become obsessed with figuring out (keyboard shortcuts etc) and end up forgetting about my tasks entirely.


And just like that, my inbox is cleared. holy balls that’s insane. INSANE. Did I just reply ‘I live an offline life now you can never find me’ to each person before deleting their message? Sure. But still< inbox zero is inbox zero. airplane


Just had a dope call with a new client and, within 10 min, sent them an invoice. That would have usually taken me days to do because I was behind on other stuff. This is wild. WILD.
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