National Day of Unplugging

If you haven’t heard yet, National Day of Unplugging is quickly approaching. The date is set for March 1st to 2nd, 2013 and is meant, per their website (http://www.nationaldayofunplugging.com), to allow us to have a day of rest from all the electronic hyperactivity that has become so common in our daily lives. Articles are published on an almost daily basis about this beast of burden that has recently entered our lives and continues to overwhelm us, forever leaving us wishing for some downtime once in a while.

As I’ve written many times over the past year, and as I’m sure you’re aware, our lives weren’t like this 15 years ago. Beside the odd cell phone some of us carried and the new email and web phenomena that was coming into existence, we were basically free from the electronic world of socializing and actually had to call people or make plans and meet face to face to get our daily dose of socialization. And it was our CHOICE to socialize or not. Where have those days gone…

Look at our lives now. We go on vacation and our boss contacts us via email. We try to have an early night and find ourselves checking our social media, texts, emails, etc. resulting in a not so early night. We wake up and the first thing we do is check our electronic messages. Why? Because we’re afraid we’re missing something that might be important. More simply put, because we have no way of telling people, up until now, that we’re simply unavailable.

But what if, just what if you could tell some you were unreachable regardless of the medium while letting others know which medium to reach you on? What if you could disconnect for an hour or a day or a week and know that you’d still see the important stuff from the people that mattered while being able to ignore all the rest of the incoming data feeds. I think we would all welcome that. I would hazard to guess that some of you would love to participate in the National Day of Unplugging but are concerned about missing something because you’re unable to let your friends, family and colleagues know that you’re unplugged. Well guess what, ranjeR is exactly what you’re looking for.

You see, ranjeR provides you with a mechanism to be unavailable altogether, to be available to whom you choose and through which method you’re available. Say no to your boss and your mother-in-law but say yes to your spouse and your kids. Your time is yours to spend how you choose and no one else’s. Read a book. Have a nap. Go gardening. And never worry you’re going to miss something important. Take back your freedom and eliminate the slavery to the electronic world. Be good and ranjeR on.

The flying car

I remember watching The Flintstones and The Jetsons as a child and being fascinated at the differences between the two periods depicted. I was also keen to see the world of the future unfold, especially the flying cars. We even had a flying car shown to us in the shape of a Delorean in Back To The Future, when Doc travelled to the year 2015.

With all the technology we’ve come up with though, still no flying car. Why is that? We’ve been flying for close to a century now and have made loads of progress in terms of the automobile so why haven’t we been able to abandon our roads and take to the air to eliminate traffic? In one simple statement, government regulations and social media.

When cars were first invented, there were not dozens of government bureaucracies dictating bumper height, fuel economy, five mph crash tests, etc., etc. So inventors were free to pursue their desires and create road travel. Now imagine trying to start a car company today. Unless you have a bank account in the nine to ten figure range or have some deep pockets backing you, there is no way you could do it. Try tinkering around in your garage and coming up with a new vehicle and then try to get it licensed for road use. Hardly a chance you can get it done, and even if you succeeded in getting approval for personal use, you’d then need to build almost a hundred and subject them to all types of government testing before receiving approval to sell it.

So we as a society are left gridlocked on our roads during most hours of the day instead of being able to use our skies. But we’re resilient beings and our desire to avoid traffic in some ways prompted the invention of social media. We no longer have to visit our friends and family to stay in touch with their lives. We simply communicate with them over the myriad of social media networks and never have to leave our homes. We feel connected with them, take part in their special moments and feel connected and included. But rarely see them in person.

So it seems we’ve solved our traffic problems without the flying car. Traffic will decrease as the upcoming generations reach adulthood and choose wireless, instant and digitized communication instead of live, face-to-face interaction. We all become zeroes and ones and we won’t need the flying car. Sad, eh? Especially if your kids are asking you to help them create a flying car. Be good and ranjeR on.

Making it better

The weather can be an important source of lessons. Working with my kids, we spent about five hours building an impromptu snow fort right after the winter break using store purchased brick molds intended to help us build an igloo. The igloo didn’t turn out so well but we did build an awesome snow fort that had one entrance and was about four feet tall. The kids loved it and asked repeatedly if it would last through the winter. I told them we’d have to wait and see. Well, you can guess what happened. The entire next week, the weather was above freezing and I diligently took a picture each night showing the slowly disintegrating fort.

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The kids weren’t thrilled and all I could do to pacify them was to say that we’ll make it better next time. Spending the next month without snow, the kids and I waited patiently for a snowfall that would allow us to try again. Well, that day finally happened on Thursday and we received about 33cm (13 inches) of fresh snow. After spending Saturday playing in the backyard, the kids asked if we could build a fort today.

Well, how could I say no? What started out as a small pile of snow that one of the kids was driving a little car on ended up being a mountain with two tunnels that crossed in the middle. At three of the tunnel ends, we built large rooms, two being bedrooms and one being a playroom. On the playroom, we built a slide out of snow and a doorway so that they’re not forced to crawl through a tunnel to enter. Needless to say, it’s a thousand fold improvement. And we didn’t even use the bricks, we only used shovels…. It was a fantastic way to waste five hours.

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And a great way to teach. The kids learned lots. How to build. How to improvise. And most importantly, that just because things don’t always go as planned, you need to be optimistic and believe the best is yet to come. Continually improving who we are and what we do is part of life. And karma always plays a big part. Be good and ranjeR on!