No Internet December - Journal Entries


Here's the collection of journal entries I made throughout the month of December. There isn't much to see. tl;dr version: No Internet December was a decent success. I might try it again.


I've decided to keep a bit of a 'journal' throughout No Internet December. I'll publish it on January 1st, 2013, assuming I remember to do so and the world hasn't come to an end.

Anyway, I suppose I should talk about the first day. It's not too bad so far, though I've already caught myself trying to check various web sites out of habit several times. Luckily, I disabled my wireless card so that these lapses won't ruin my pledge; I can try to access my email all I want, but without an internet connection the attempts will be fruitless.

Truthfully, my habits haven't changed very much. I've got a backup HDD full of shit that I hardly ever use, kept mostly as a 'just in case' precaution. This means I've got a terabyte of videos, documents, pictures and games to work my way through before I'm dry and 'forced' to become a productive member of society. And thank christ for that.

That doesn't mean that I'm actually going to consume every last piece of media I possess, though. Part of the reason I'm doing this is to coerce myself into being a slightly less passive user, so I'll be trying to write stuff, code stuff, etc. a bit more frequently than normal. We'll see how it goes.


I'll admit, I've already cheated. One of the websites I downloaded (an SDL tutorial) was fucked up when I got around to checking it, and I had to re-download it. Not strictly necessary, but part of the reason I'm staying away from distraction is to focus on development (well, partially), and it's hard to do that if I have no reference material.

Oh well. By and large, I'm still sticking to it. I'm finding it less horrifying than I thought it would be, but then, it's only been a couple of days. I probably won't bother updating this journal for a little while, since there isn't much of note going on unless you find my barely grasping a bash tutorial to be terribly exciting.


So far this endeavor should, by all rights, be renamed 'Very Little Internet December'; that is a much more accurate description. In my defense, most of my lapses -- if they can be called that -- were only to fix problems that weren't supposed to exist in the first place. Specifically, to use the package manager on my system to fix programs or utilities that weren't installed correctly. Other than that, I've had to help my mom with something on her Kindle Fire and I've helped my niece watch YouTube on the upstairs computer.

Point is, I've stayed away from anything that I didn't need to use. Still no social networking or email or blogs or news sites or anything.

I have to say, this is going better than I thought. I've made more progress with C in the past five days than I otherwise had in the past year or two, even managing to write a (short, simple) program that completely stumped me six months ago. I haven't touched much else other than bash scripting, though I've done a little bit of leisure reading and watched plenty of videos that I had previously downloaded. I've also been listening to the Lord of the Rings audiobook to get myself psyched up for The Hobbit -- I'm at Book 2, Chapter 2 so far.

Most exciting to me is that I'm actually looking forward to all of this programming stuff (C specifically, using C/C++ with the ncurses library later). It's just so much goddamn easier and more fulfilling when I'm not being constantly distracted.


Everything written in the previous entry still holds true. Hell, I'm not finding it much of a bother at all, anymore. I've spent a surprising amount of time focused on trying to learn my way around C, though that's going slower than I'd like. Granted, I would probably say the same thing no matter how much progress I was making.

I've hardly touched any of the games I spent so much time installing and getting working properly, and what games I have played were mostly DOS games, and only for very short bursts. Discworld, Doom and Duke Nukem 3D, mostly. I'm actually worried that I won't get around to beating Planescape: Torment like I had meant to. At this rate I certainly won't, though truthfully the thought doesn't bother me as long as I keep up with the development stuff.

At this point, I feel like I could go another month without internet. It seems like my life has less anxiety in it these days, though I've been told that I seem more depressed than normal. I don't feel it that way, but who knows? Still, the thought of going another month without internet makes this entire thing seem a bit silly. I already knew it was, but I'm reminded that this is basically the way that my parents always are -- my dad especially.

Finding a happy medium between 'always distracted' and 'almost no internet' would be ideal, but that might take a little effort. Really, this is the easy way out for me, and it seems to be going pretty well. I'm actually getting things done instead of pushing them off forever.

For the interested, here's a list of things that I want to get done but have been procrastinating on for a long time -- in some cases, years:

1) Write a text-based game (RPG ideally). 2) Finish my 'table-top' RPG thing 3) Another game using the NCURSES library, because why not

See how short a list that is? And yet, I've been putting these off since I was... oh, let's see... 21-ish? The first one, anyway. The others are newer, but still embarrassingly old ideas by this point. These are the simple ones, too, the ones I can feasibly do all by myself with no outside help.

I'm tempted to stay in exile until I've finished numbers 1 and 2, though I'll still drop by Facebook and archive my email and stuff. Hell, maybe I'll just go back to how things used to be.


If you haven't been able to guess, there wasn't much to report at the end of 'No Internet December'. I got back on, checked my email and Facebook, downloaded a few games (most recent Humble Indie Bundle), and have been screwing around as normal ever since, almost as if I had never taken a vacation from the web to begin with.

I have not beaten Torment. In fact, I haven't even played it a single time since my first session. I escaped the mortuary, saved, and haven't gone back to it for weeks now.

Incidentally, I've been playing a lot of Legend of Grimrock recently. It's a pseudo-old-school dungeon crawler, in the vein of Eye of the Beholder, only with modern graphics and real-time combat. Overall, it's quite good and I'm glad it finally came to Linux through the HIB. I've been sinking at least an hour or two into this game daily ever since I got it, and it's making me think that I may have been unfairly overlooking this genre.

Remember those three things I wanted to get done? None of those happened. I haven't even touched numbers 2 and 3, and the first one I worked on only for a few hours. I decided I wanted to make a 'text-based RPG engine' thing in Python, where almost all of the content (areas, items, creatures) are contained in plain-text files containing xml-style markup script to describe their statistics, etc.. I made some pretty decent progress, actually, but so far I've gotten lazy and haven't bothered fleshing anything out beyond the bare basics for one or two things. Haven't worked on it since.

On the plus side, I spent a couple of days possessed by a will to write a proper 'line breaking' program in C. It's simple stuff, but I'm proud of it nonetheless, and it actually works the way I want it to -- unlike my earlier, much shittier version written in Python. This surprised me, since I spent less than half the time working on the C version than the Python version, and C is generally considered to be a much 'harder' language. Maybe it just forced me to do things properly instead of getting lazy. The C version is also more featureful, in addition to its base functionality mostly working. Specifically, you can set the line width and left-sided padding. Check the programs section for more info, if you give a shit (admittedly it's a niche use program).

Also, I'm starting another diet. This time I'm going the Keto route ( for more info). We'll see how it goes, but so far the worst thing about it are headaches from caffeine withdrawal. Easily fixed if I stop being an idiot and just drink coffee or whatever. This has nothing to do with 'No Internet December', but since I hardly ever post these journal-style things anymore, I figure I might as well cram as much shit into this post as I can.

So, the verdict on No Internet December? Overall, I'd gauge it a success. While it wasn't 'No Internet', strictly speaking, it mostly was and I felt significantly more productive throughout the month than I normally do. I wrote at least one or two actually useful little programs, made some not insignificant progress on an old goal, and managed to sit back and enjoy a few distractions that left me more satisfied than does simply reading comments at Reddit or watching most YouTube videos. Is it sad that wasting my time with games, books and other, similar things seems so much more fulfilling than most of what I waste my time with on the web? Maybe, but at least there is a goal to be met with these things -- unlike what I get from so many sites, which seem to be perpetual mills of mild amusement.

As described in earlier entries, I cheated a bit but violated only the letter of the law, and never the spirit. Maybe next time I'll start a 'no social networks, news sites, blogs, videos or other bullshit like that' month instead.