By Nathanael Jeanneret

I, being a stranger in your town, and originating from over the seas, knew that someday I would feel the pull of my homeland. To wit, I have recently moved home to Tasmania.

I was offered a job down here, and I wanted to have a chance to try a bit of a change of pace and lifestyle. Why is this relevant to you? In my enthusiasm, I packed up my worldly belongings, and the day I moved out, I rang up my ISP and had my internet disconnected.

Severed, it seems, would have been a more appropriate choice of words. Almost immediately I felt the need to log on and check the weather, get shoddy street directions and look at amusing pictures of cats.

I steeled myself, remembering at that moment that I no longer had a dialup modem in my nerd box-o-tricks. I had thrown it out shortly after first getting broadband. As I recall, it was while chuckling to myself that I’d never need that again, along with my floppy drive and my autographed picture of John Romero. Subsequently I realized that it would be some time before I was to once again gain internet access.

I have, in this difficult time, gained hard-won knowledge beyond the ken of the we privileged few who have net access that is mighty and torrential in its nature. Consider this my formal report on life without decent internet access.

Firstly. It sucks. Sucks so much arse it’s hard to believe. When we can have wireless broadband chips implanted in our heads I will be first in line. Possibly even volunteering for beta.

Learning 1: The impulse to Google something doesn’t go away long after you jack out. Don’t get offline if at all possible.

People who don’t spend way too much time on the internet spend way too much time watching TV. I can say that in the four weeks I stayed with family, while itinerant and homeless, I saw more Home & Away and Neighbours than I care to mention in public. I even know who Susan and Karl are. They’re fucking idiots, that’s who they are.

There’s an awful lot to be said for dogs on skateboards on YouTube when compared to the finest drama before dinnertime available on free-to-air.

Learning 2: TV is so unbearably shit that without TV downloads I considered physical exercise (I even did — consider just how desperate I was for entertainment).

If you don’t have regular internet access, you are reduced to getting online however you can. Much like your garden variety IT consultant chewing on a deal baggy that many months ago contained meth, you make do with what you can get. With that in mind, all internet kiosks are poxy pieces of shit. If it’s made of plastic and intended to be as “user friendly” as possible, you can just forget it. You may as well punch yourself in the face and throw a couple of dollar coins into the sea because you’d be better off.

So forget about internet kiosks — what about internet cafés? Once again, utter crap. Even if you can find one that genuinely has an actual “high speed broadband connection” as promoted, instead of just a couple of dialup modems in a pile, you still have to deal with fucked-up computers that work only in the sense that they consume electricity.

For someone whose sole responsibility in life is to take the money and keep the computers functioning, the nerd at internet cafe doesn’t actually seem to achieve much more than eating chips and being condescending. Yes I fucking know how to use a computer, don’t waste my time “trouble-shooting” your piece of shit computer, just give some of those Cheezles.

Learning 3: You should always distrust computers where you can’t run Firefox or get access to a command prompt.

I’m actually pretty sure that having regular internet access helps nerds deal with life issues in a constructive and fairly harmless way. Grieving in online games, for example, allows you to work out those deep-seated issues. You can blow off steam by trolling on fora, looking at amusing articles and otherwise enjoy the depths of our collective culture and history of our world.

But say what happens when, for example, you can’t watch “The Skeletor Show” when you want to? You get cranky and you have stupid arguments with people in real life. You develop (and I shit you not here folks) some sort of bizarre stress related tension problem that makes your head feel like it’s going to fall off because your neck is so goddamned sore. You lose your hard earned access to invite only bit-torrent trackers because of account inactivity.

Learning 4: Not having internet access makes an otherwise happy-go-lucky nerd very angry.

Funnily enough after having the internet reconnected, you start to feel okay again. Equilibrium returns and you can get access to the crap you love and can’t live without; the walls stop closing in. I’m mystified how a person can become so addicted to the internet, but I’m not too stressed about it, I have torrents to download, PhotoShop parodies to upload, teabagging in Counter Strike to perpetrate and emails to answer. Life is good. Go away.

This article can be found snugly tucked away in issue 2.1.

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