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Why I don’t have a cell phone.

My mother recently got a cell phone and sent some of me her first texts just a few months ago, I find it somewhat synchronize that I’ve decided at the same time to give up my cell phone and move back to a basic landline (well voip). I’ve been toying and experimenting with the idea for sometime and have decided to take the plunge.

I mentioned I was getting rid of my cell phone at work the other day and have rarely seen such looks of total disbelief and , dare I say, horror? So I thought I’d put together this post detailing why I have decided to eliminate a cell phone from my daily usage.

Dependence/addiction

I’ve always been a big advocate of trying a fast of certain things, it might be TV, booze, sex, facebook, fastfood, but I think it’s important to test ourselves occasionally in order to find out if things are really improving our lives. I don’t think people realize just how addicted they are to their cell phone….people DIE or KILL others because they can’t wait a few minutes to get to their destination and would rather focus on typing out a text while driving a several thousand pounds of steel down the freeway….think about that…serious? Even when I had my cell I would at least toss it into the backseat while driving.

The other day I saw someone at work (who commutes 40 minutes one way) hop into her car in a panic to drive home and pick up her forgotten cell phone once she got to work…now keep in mind…this person did not have any pressing scenario where this was required…and she sat at a desk with a phone only a few inches from her hand….

On the weekend I attended a fantastic little backyard bbq put on by some great friends here but the entire time a couple sat by the firepit and stared down at their phones…the husband and wife never talking to anyone else except in a few grunts, maybe an occasionally chuckle as they’d show each other a pinterest or funny cat in a hat…totally ignoring all others around them..even their kid screaming and running around in circles…not forming new memories but merely trying to sort through an immense and endless library of strangers experiences.

I think people have an intense fear of being left out..even when they are out with people they will still think that there is something else..someone else….that would complete this experience so are never in the NOW but always in the “what if…”. I experienced this myself the other day when I was sitting by myself at a favourite haunt…I kept thinking “if I only had my cell…if I was only connected….then I could reach out or tell the world where I was……” and then all of my friends and strangers would join me….and interrupt the book I was enjoying reading….. I had one friend that would always invite me out for a beer…but then I’d get there and she’d be on her phone trying to get someone else down…then they would get here…then back on the phone…get another one…one more…another one…..one more…then do a quick selfie and photoshoot to put on your social media highlight reel then walk out…..all the time only being partial involved again in the NOW of the moment.

People got along without cell phones and an instant connection for generations and arguably where able to form better, longer lasting, more substantial relationships without them than we do today.

Finances:

I realize that worldwide cell service is fairly competitive but here in Canada..it just blows….Janelle and I both had cell phones since 2004 through Rogers…let’s say our average bill was $170 a month (very low estimate) for both of them…that means I’ve spent over $20,000 on cell phones in the last decade….do I feel that was a worthwhile investment? Maybe…but when I really started paying attention to my bill this last year I realized I only sent maybe 15 texts a month…and my talk time sometimes was only 30 minutes or less….data was used up…but frankly mostly on stupid stuff that I don’t really feel make me a better person (hello chive).

Switching to a landline will cost me about $4 a month…in total..and because I am using a VOIP service it’s actually still quite a bit more robust (despit some quirks) than a normal phone #

$4 vs $175 a month….savings of approx $2050 a year…I’m checking flight centre right now and that means if Janelle and I could do this…we could fly to Hawaii for a week ($1050 roundtrip for both of us) and still have a grand left to spend the a week exploring the island….HELL YAH…or just retire a year early…

Money is energy in a manner of speaking, choose carefully where you want to spend it.

Health: 

First of, I should say I am a rationale, analytical skeptic and am very doubtful of claims that cell phones cause health issues…but on the other hand…..the medical community as a whole doesn’t have a great track record of getting things correct (4 out of 5 doctors recommend camels) so one less thing to be close to my nads or brain can’t be anything but good.

Privacy:

Tinfoil hat much? I dunno….I don’t have much to hide but I’ll admit I use cash for pretty much everything and all my data is pretty encrypted. While I am a Canadian so don’t live in quite the Orwellian society that the US is becoming I still place a high value on my privacy and don’t think any government should be able to track it’s citizen’s usage to the extent they are likely doing.  Less cell phone use = more privacy.

Environmental/Cultural Awareness:

Cell Phones are not good for the environment, they are a perfect example of planned obsolesce with model and after model being introduced with minor incremental changes but due to their marketing and social pressure one must never be caught with last seasons model. These things are full of lead, copper, cobalt and other nasty heavy metals. Metals that are often mined in significantly poorer countries with lax workplace regulation…then when these phones are “recycled” they are again sent back to these same countries.

Conclusion:

Don’t text me, I won’t get it. You can use one of a half dozen other ways to get ahold of me and can still dial my number, leave a message and I’ll return it (if I want) pretty quick. Even come knock on my door once in awhile and come in and we can have a conversation over a cup of tea. I might end up going back to my cell phone someday…they can be pretty fun and a useful tool…but at this time in my life it just doesn’t make sense to me right now. Can I suggest you try going without your cell # for a couple of days? You might realize you have an issue or at that very least that owning a cell phone is an assumption that should be challenged.

and yes…I think I will survive when my car breaks down on the side of the road…I doubt I will starve to death…

 

Bizarro-in-heaven-without-cell-phones

 

 

I made myself a magnetic knife board thingy

Kinda neat eh? I had some old wood laying around I picked up a few years ago so decided to add some magnets and BAM cutting board…and then had another small piece BAM hooks to hang jackets or whatever else. I was going to do some instructable type stuff but honestly it’s pretty straightforward….but pics cause I think they are pretty awesome….

 

Tiny House Stuff

I realized that I have actually neglected updating this personal blog about the Tiny House activities I have been involved in here in Edmonton, last year a couple of us enthusiasts noticed that a few people in the area were starting up websites and started to get really interested in Tiny Homes. Rather than competing against each other for attention we opted to join forces, such as it were, and launched http://yegtinyhome.com. We also have our Meetup Group as well which I suggest anyone check out if they want to know and for those of us that are more “social media minded” you an check out our facebook group.

It’s actually been an exciting ride the last year or so, our group went from a handful of people at a pub to pretty much taking over entire coffeeshops and seeing such a wide range of different people who are interested in this “movement” for a huge amount of different reasons.

Some of the top reasons in my opinion:

  • Lower costs
  • Better Community Support
  • Solve Homelessness
  • Retirement Options
  • Sense of home ownership with mobility options

I’ve had the pleasure of being in a few Tiny homes and am actually visiting a professionally built one tonight. It’s also allowed me to expand my social circle in unexpected ways. Recently I was interviewed by a local radio station:

Click here to listen!

and the Edmonton journal spoke to us recently as well:

edm_journal

Edmonton Journal Article

So I’m very excited to see where this movement goes, whether or not most people will end up living in a Tiny House I think is secondary to us building a strong like minded community.

 

I’m also going to get more involved in a meaningful way with our local minimalism group here in Edmonton. A video I watched once mentioned that “editing” is going to be one of the most important skills for the new century and I’ve ponder that for a long time. Humanity has fought tooth and nail for centuries to get to a point of abundance and now we’ve (at least in Western culture) have largely hit that point and moved past it to excess. This excess is turning out to be just as dangerous and hunger in many ways.  Learning how to ‘right-size’ your life and make it fit is a brand new skill for us humans and one we are going to need to pick up if we want to be around in another century.

Peace out! Well wishes to all!

Craik “Eco-village”

One of my primary secondary goals was to visit the village of Craik Saskatchewan during my roadtrip back home this summer, and while I didn’t manage to hit them on the way back I did mange to stop by and catch a few people’s eyes on the way there.

Link to a neat article on Craik can be found here: http://www.greenenergyfutures.ca/episode/craik-eco-village

One of the things that really stood out to me on my roadtrip was how much smaller communities across Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba were suffering and , frankly, slowly dying. Town after town we passed to see all the main business’s boarded up along the highway and churches simply abandoned.

Craik is a forward thinking small village between Regina and Saskatchewan that decided to try to address this problem by offering small parcels of land to people who wanted to do innovative things and relaxed the building codes to facilitate this. Among Craik you would find all kinds of different buildings…from have completed Sea-can (no idea how to spell) inspired houses to barns to strawbale to tiny houses…  One of the people I met there described it as a workshop experiment on living and after spending an afternoon there I would agree. Some of the homes were owned by pretty “white picket fence” type peoples while others were owned by “back to the earth” permaculture types letting grass grow wild.

I’d like to thank the people of Craik (those I ran into) for allowing me to snoop around their small community and get a grasp on the sheer amount of fortitude and work that would go into something like this. You will often see me stress how important community is to achieving a level of satisfaction in life. I hope to be an annual visitor to your small and promising community!

 

I made a desk!

Check it out…I’ve been feeling a bit more manly lately and when Janelle asked me for a desk so she could do some stainglass and crafts on I thought “well I could go out and buy some ikea junk that will fall apart or….KA BAM”

Building stuff gives you such a sense of accomplishment sometimes that I really think I should have been in the trades (or still might). Last week I decided to get something together so I started asking if anyone knew of any doors that were in a back alley waiting for me to go *yoink* and low an behold one of my friends mentioned she had a lovely door in her basement she had no use for anymore.

Now this doesn’t happen to be just any door…it was actually removed from an old farm house circa built around 1920 before it was being torn down. The legs were acquired from the bargain discount bin at Rona..and I even managed to bargain them way down to $10 a piece because one of them was missing some parts! Remember…don’t be afraid to ask!

Some good old varnish and I have a pretty stellar unique desk with a bit of a story all for less than $25! Beat that Ikea!

Now…Janelle and I did also discuss whether we should put a big couch or sofa in our small living area but we decided to go with a desk…because a desk is active while a couch is passive. Couches are used for when you don’t want to interact and just want to sit and have media beam things into your skull…a desk is used for creating…working…accomplishing…it’s by far the better choice..

We’ve been without a couch since we moved at the beginning of summer and I’m not sure if we are going to be in any rush to get one.

 

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