Friday, September 26, 2003


Techies like Bill Gates and others used to talk about multitasking as if it were something new and shiny, like the gadgets they love so well. They still accord it the honor of being a phenomenon derived from modern life.

Multitasking, however, is simply life. Perhaps it's new to those who live over-focused lives, who have attention surplus disorder, who code for hours on end and forget to eat (as Bill confesses in "Triumph of the Nerds"). Those people are like old computers from the 1980s, which when printing a document couldn't do anything else. In the 1990s, computers began to catch up with people, or at least their memory capacity did. Now, computers can multitask more like humans. Whether they'll ever catch up with human parents--who can at once eat, feed a baby, watch TV, answer a phone, and catch up on reading old snail mail--is yet to be determined.


This blog may be about "me," at least the me that's willing to sit in a chair, in front of a screen, to share thoughts about my other life, that life outside this chair. Outside life vs. my life as a chair sitter and thinker. In other words, my life as active and contemplative. Me, both fragmented and whole.

For centuries, people have talked about this in different ways. French poet and philosopher Christine de Pisan wrote about her life around the year 1400, by way of offering advice to other women who were restricted by society but who wanted to lead an active, public, and perhaps money-making life. She talked about the conflicts between hearth and marketplace, between motherhood and personhood. More about her at I'm sure she would have found the dichotomy of the online/offline self familiar.

An interesting site about online narratives, human thinking, information overload, and media technology is at

Tuesday, September 23, 2003


Here's my day so far: respond to email, compose email, compose oneself after encountering bureaucracy run amok, call school, call vet, call own mother, stick hands into sudsy water to calm down, run dishwasher, compose lesson plan, call boss, leave message, receive call from boss, go out for lunch break, lock self out of house, force back gate open and force way into house, find dog on dining room table, return to working through the fragmentat

oops, a call back from my daughters' school, in the middle of blogging. Never-ending fragmentation.

Type "fragmentation" into, and find a cure. I can de-frag myself as if I were a computer (apologies for this metaphor to Neil Postman) or I can go from fragmentation to integration. Forests are fragmented, habitats are lost due to fragmentation, ecology goes south when fragmentation occurs.

Likes our lives, our brains are fragmented to deal with the chaos. Our brain is divided into two spheres, is operated through connections among separate areas.

In summary. Fragmentation. The new F word.