the writing and photography of Neil Kramer

Internet Smog Check

I might as well finish up a week of blogging posts, with a post about blogging —

Yesterday, I made fun of those badges that we all put on our blogs announcing some award or honor. Today, I’m thinking of offering my own badge for you to put on a post. This time I’m not joking.

The idea came to me earlier today —

In the morning I brought my car in for a smog-check. Are there smog checks all across the country, or only California? Just in case you’re not familiar with them, you bring your car into a service station once a year and some machine makes sure that your car isn’t a terror on the eco-system. The service station knows that you have to do this test, so they find a way to rip you off (it’s the labor!) If you fail, you can’t register your car. If you pass, woo-hoo! — you can drive your car at 5mph on California’s crowded freeways and pollute away. That is, after you pay a FEE for your smog test certificate.

While, I was waiting for my car, I thought about some blogs that I had recently read. I noticed a growing thread online — internet addiction. I know that I have felt jitters when I haven’t checked my email by 3PM. I’ve worried about not blogging for TWO DAYS straight. Will everyone forget my name?

The internet used to be a lot simpler — blogs and email. Now there is twitter and facebook and flickr and youtube and… who wants to actually leave the house anymore?! I can even watch “Lost” right on my computer so I don’t even need to move my butt over to the couch to watch TV. I can twitter my restaurant’s exact address to you over my phone, and then take a photo of the sandwich I’m eating to show you all.

Because of personal issues with Sophia, I’ve been using the internet as a friend lately. After all, you never get mad at me. You love me — no matter how many times I curse! It’s nice having you. I just don’t want to get addicted. Don’t worry… I’m just taking precautions. I’m pretty bored with most of the stuff online. I could easily drop every application I use (except for my blog) and not miss it all. I’m too cheap to pay for texting or data on my phone, so I never “check my messages” when I leave my home. I like that. Still, I think it is important to remind myself that I am not married to technology, or hooked in an unhealthy way.

That’s when I had this idea for an internet smog check.

I would post some beautiful badge right here on this blog — maybe next week — created by someone talented like Secret Agent Josephine. This badge would say something like “I passed the test!” You could then post this badge on one of your blog posts, impressing your friends, but only if you first pass the test: You must stay off the internet completely for twenty-four hours for ONE DAY, from midnight to midnight. No email, nothing! Only then, could you post the badge on your blog, announcing to the world that you are a healthy person not addicted to the internet. Maybe you could even write a post about how hard or easy it was to not go online, inspiring us all to interact with real people.

If by 2009, a blogger has not yet posted her badge on a post, it would be a clear cry for help. If someone is unable to stay off the internet for just ONE day once a year, it is time for the rest of us to get together and have an intervention and help this poor soul.

We’re always asking each other to read our posts and be part of the “community,” but sometimes, the best way to befriend a blogger is to tell him to get the f**k off the computer and go outside!

More ways to fight the addiction.


  1. marisa

    Count me IN! Oh please please give me a good reason to stay off-line for one day ~ baby steps! I want a badge!

  2. Christine

    Hello. My name is Christine and I don’t know if I could stay off my computer for twenty-four hours.

    I’m in.

    (Can I use this as an excuse for why I have yet to interview my interviewee? Sigh. She’s probably been reassigned. I should go find out. And if she hasn’t I’ll go through her backposts and get to know her then finally write my interview. Phew. Nice to have my plan for the evening.)

  3. Judy

    Ok I checked your post right after you announced it on Twitter. I am a more than a bit concerned.

    I say the chances of my getting a badge – slim to none.

  4. Fairly Odd Mother

    Um. . .a whole day??? Maybe I’ll do this the day I’m supposed to have some day surgery. You know, increase my odds of passing the test.

  5. leesepea

    Would it count if you scheduled a post to publish during your 24 hour absence?

    Because you COULD be away from the computer for 24 hours but still want to keep up with your Blog 365 committment…

    Forget it. I’m hopeless. I’ll never get a badge.


  6. Neil

    Leesepea — wimp.

  7. TC

    Not a chance, dude. Not a chance. I loves me some internet, and I’m not afraid to say it.

  8. Jane

    What if one’s actual job involved the internet? Are they excluded? (My job doesn’t involve the internet at all, but I think it’s a fine backdoor excuse).

    Thank you for reminding me of California traffic. I often (everyday) miss my old haunt, but I don’t miss any of the 10-mile, hour long commutes.

  9. Neil

    Jane — even if you were an internet mogul, you could not go online on a weekend day. Believe me, I already planned on someone asking that question. I was as prepared as Hillary Clinton before a debate.

  10. Marie

    I did that recently! Um, it was last Christmas. It was a great gift to myself, though. Completely unplugged and very refreshing. I should do that more often. yeah…

  11. cruisin-mom

    last year we had no internet for 6 months (a long story)…can I get my badge now please?

  12. Jane

    Sounds like a pre-existing condition, Cruisin-Mom. 🙂

  13. cruisin-mom

    c’mon Jane…give me a break. I won’t tell anyone you’re trying to slip through with that (fake) back door excuse.

  14. Scotty

    Hi Neil,

    ever since becoming part of the Kyoto Protocol, we’re doing our best here in Australia to do the right thing; we still have a ways to go but we are trying.

    PS – have enjoyed lurking and reading for a while and decided it was time to say G’day, mate.

  15. Neil

    Cruisin — What are you — a cheater?

  16. natalie

    i think i’ll plan my 24 hour hiatus when i am moving back to america in november. i know good and well i won’t be online for 24 hours at least. but then again that sounds like cheating as well.

    i’m not sure i could do it on just a regular day. just to make myself. yeah…i’ve got issues.

  17. Turnbaby

    I think it’s wrong to say that the relationships I have made through this medium are any less ‘real’ than the ones I have made in a more ‘traditional sense. I have no worries about my use of the internet sugar.

  18. Noelle

    Last year, I was totally swamped with work for a trade show. So I turned on my computer, but didn’t open my internet browser. I got all my work done by noon. It was kind of amazing and sad.

  19. better safe than sorry

    we have that smog test here (ontario), it’s done every other year, if you don’t have the test done, you can’t get your new licence plate.
    i could easily pass your test, i haven’t posted anything on my blog for a year and have been known to go a week or more without going on line, even longer when summer finally hits here.

  20. gorillabuns

    We don’t even have to have our cars inspected anymore. One could say that Oklahoma is not a green state.

  21. Memarie Lane

    We’ve got smogs here in NM too.

    I’ve managed to hang onto the threads of my sanity by not signing up for twitter or flickr. I no longer IM either.

    I could go 24 hours easy. I’ve been dying to slash my neighbors’ tires and beat their kids, that should get me at least 24 hours in lock-up, right? Or do they have wi-fi there now too?

  22. Stacey

    There are definitely days I go 24 hours or more without turning on the computer. I sometimes feel a twinge of guilt (shouldn’t I get a new blog post up?), but I work on a computer all week. Sometimes I just need to unplug.

    Now excuse me while I spend my Saturday morning baking cookies.

  23. Leesa

    I guess I’m a wimp too. I’m not sure I could go 24 hours. Not just blogging, since I don’t blog everyday, but internet and games in general I’d miss.

  24. Dagny

    I can definitely do this but it is going to have to be on a weekend or a holiday since I have to use the internet on a regular basis at work.

  25. Annie

    I actually missed 3 of your posts due to
    my lack of an internet addiction :-), however, I did worry a little about what I was missing…

  26. Erin Cooper

    I do that all the time…Not just with the internet. I’ll go cold turkey off things just to prove to myself that I’m still in control. It’s a good way of self-regulating I think.

  27. V-Grrrl

    I could do it.

    But I won’t.

    I’m tired of proving myself to everyone. Fight the power, people. Refuse to conform to other’s expectations and judgements!

  28. churlita

    We don’t have smog checks in Iowa, since there isn’t much smog here. We should have pesticide checks, because we’re full of those.

  29. AnnieH

    Ha! Ours is called E-Check. I love going there early on a weekday morning with the fumes of traffic on I-75 and I-71 gently fogging the air. Love the smell of exhaust in the morning…

    So close to that badge. I can almost feel it.

  30. Kristabella

    First off, as a former resident of California, smog checks are such a SCAM! We have to get our emissions checked in IL, but it is a free test. Since you’re making it so you don’t pollute the air. I never could get past having to pay in Cali.

    Also, I logged on my computer for the first time Sunday morning after not having been on since Friday when I left work at 5. It was really a nice break. So count me in!

  31. Krissi of Krississippi

    I’ve already stayed off the internet for more than 24 hours (does having the hubby’s best friend die and being pre-occupied with that count?) so can I have a badge? I haven’t ever won any website award… guess I’m not cool enough lol


  32. Michele

    I am SO there, Neil. Bring on the break up tasks! Relationships are a pain in the ass and breaking up inspires DIVINE INDULGENCE in creative wonderfulness.

    Michele loves you. The internet loves you. Hang in there.

  33. Jocelyn

    Piece of cake, Neil. I have been off the internet for 24 hours lots of times. You know all those trips we take? And do my 3 day migraines count? Cuz I can’t even get out of bed, never mind turn on the computer on those days.

    Oh, and here in Ontario, Canada we have Emission Control tests. $35. or no new tags for the car. Cute huh?

  34. Diane Mandy

    I’ve been off for three days straight, but I thought about the Internet almost every hour. Does my break still count?

  35. Miss Britt

    I will gladly get off the computer and go meet “real people”.

    Whenever a blogger comes to town.

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