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Leaving the house to hang out with people took just as much courage as it ever did. By late , I'd learned how to make a new style of wrong choices off the internet. I abandoned my positive offline habits, and discovered new offline vices. Instead of taking boredom and lack of stimulation and turning them into learning and creativity, I turned toward passive consumption and social retreat.

A year in, I don't ride my bike so much. My frisbee gathers dust. Most weeks I don't go out with people even once. My favorite place is the couch.

I'm Still Here

I prop my feet up on the coffee table, play a video game, and listen to an audiobook. I pick a mindless game, like Borderlands 2 or Skate 3 , and absently thumb the sticks through the game-world while my mind rests on the audiobook, or maybe just on nothing. So the moral choices aren't very different without the internet.

The practical things like maps and offline shopping aren't hard to get used to. People are still glad to point you in the right direction. But without the internet, it's certainly harder to find people. It's harder to make a phone call than to send an email. It's easier to text, or SnapChat, or FaceTime, than drop by someone's house.

Not that these obstacles can't be overcome. I did overcome them at first, but it didn't last. It's hard to say exactly what changed.

I'm Still Here ( film) - Wikipedia

I guess those first months felt so good because I felt the absence of the pressures of the internet. My freedom felt tangible. But when I stopped seeing my life in the context of "I don't use the internet," the offline existence became mundane, and the worst sides of myself began to emerge. I would stay at home for days at a time. My phone would die, and nobody could get ahold of me.

I'm Still Here (Jim's Theme) from Treasure Planet ~Lyrics~

At some point my parents would get fed up with wondering if I was alive, and send my sister over to my apartment to check on me. On the internet it was easy to assure people I was alive and sane, easy to collaborate with my coworkers, easy to be a relevant part of society.


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So much ink has been spilled deriding the false concept of a "Facebook friend," but I can tell you that a "Facebook friend" is better than nothing. My best long-distance friend, one I'd talked to weekly on the phone for years, moved to China this year and I haven't spoken to him since. My best New York friend simply faded into his work, as I failed to keep up my end of our social plans.

At first I was a little smug, because I felt like they were dealing with mere theories, theories that assumed the internet was in everything, while I myself was experiencing a life apart. He pointed out that there's a lot of "reality" in the virtual, and a lot of "virtual" in our reality. When we use a phone or a computer we're still flesh-and-blood humans, occupying time and space. When we're frolicking through a field somewhere, our gadgets stowed far away, the internet still impacts our thinking: "Will I tweet about this when I get back? My plan was to leave the internet and therefore find the "real" Paul and get in touch with the "real" world, but the real Paul and the real world are already inextricably linked to the internet.

Not to say that my life wasn't different without the internet, just that it wasn't real life. A couple weeks ago I was in Colorado to see my brother before he deployed to Qatar with the Air Force. He has a new baby, a five-month-old chubster named Kacia, who I'd only seen in photos mercifully snail mailed by my sister-in-law.

I got to spend one day with my brother, and the next morning I went with him to the airport. I watched dumbfounded as he kissed his wife and kids goodbye. It didn't seem fair that he should have to go. He's a hero to these kids, and I hated for them to lose him for six months. The idea was to wrap up my year with a little documentary, and spend the hours in the car coming to terms with what had just happened and what might come next.

Before we left, I spent a little more time with the kids, doing my best to be a help to my sister-in-law, doing my best to be a super uncle. And then we had to go. On the road, Jordan and Stephen asked me questions about myself. I thought hard about whether I could succeed online where I'd failed offline. I asked for tips.


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  8. What I do know is that I can't blame the internet, or any circumstance, for my problems. I have many of the same priorities I had before I left the internet: family, friends, work, learning. And I have no guarantee I'll stick with them when I get back on the internet — I probably won't, to be honest. But at least I'll know that it's not the internet's fault. I'll know who's responsible, and who can fix it. Late Tuesday night, the last night of the trip, we stopped across the river from NY to get "the shot" from New Jersey of the Manhattan skyline.

    It was a cold, clear night, and I leaned against the rickety riverside railing and tried to strike a casual pose for the camera. I was so close to New York, so close to being done. I longed for the comfortable solitude of my apartment, and yet dreaded the return to isolation. In two weeks I'd be back on the internet. I felt like a failure. I felt like I was giving up once again.

    And with performance art, yes, Phoenix probably became this character that he created. The films even addresses the controversy by interviewing an Entertainment Weekly editor who swears she has sources confirming the film is a hoax. A: We see an edited version of the full interview. Later, his actions lead to one of the most disturbing things that I have ever seen on film. A: Does this need a spoiler alert? A: Do you enjoy watching human beings speak in gibberish, snort coke, smoke a lot of pot, vomit, shit on other human beings, and snap towels at exposed male genitalia?

    Mike Ryan is a frequent contributor to VanityFair.

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    Will be used in accordance with our Privacy Policy. Q: When and where does I'm Still Here begin? Q: According to Joaquin Phoenix, what does an inauguration party resemble? A: Four. Q: And that would be? HWD Daily From the awards race to the box office, with everything in between: get the entertainment industry's must-read newsletter.

    Has Joaquin Phoenix lost it? Instead, for a twitchy, perversely funny stretch, he mumbled and fidgeted, softly, often monosyllabically, responding as Mr. Letterman asked at one point. Phoenix looked down while the audience roared at a joke few seemed to grasp. Those are worlds Mr. Affleck and Mr. Much of the movie involves Mr. He snorts white powder, hires a hooker, abuses his assistants.

    The Joaquin Phoenix story continues to build, as does his fame, a character arc illustrated with images of him making the rounds on and off the red carpet.

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    I'm Still Here

    The multiplicity of roles Mr. Haynes used different actors, men and women, black and white, to represent Bob Dylan or, rather, the multiple identities folkie, mythmaker, rocker that this shape-shifting singer has assumed over his career. Although not as formally audacious or intellectually exciting as Mr.