Showing posts from July, 2017

Like ice cream melting in the sink, these are the days of our lives

This is ice cream we bought over the last few months that ended up abandoned in the freezer.

We rarely eat ice cream at home. Ice cream is a treat and we typically go somewhere like Baskin Robbins or Dairy Queen for it. However, we often go to the grocery store and end up walking down the ice cream aisle in search of something else and it lures us over.

Hey! Buy me! You know you can have the pop of joy you get when you go to Baskin Robbins or Dairy Queen right there in your own home!

Of course, that pop of joy is tough to reproduce at home and it rarely happens. Most of these end up having a scoop or two eaten and then the rest sits in the freezer until it finally meets its demise in the sink to thaw and then pour down the drain.

I share this because it's a good example of a lot of the shopping I have done over the years. I get this little pop of joy from buying something only to have it end up languishing around the house until it ends up being sold on eBay or given away to the thrift store. 

As much as I have tried to improve this, I still relapse. Just this last weekend, I ended up in Goodwill - a place I should never walk into to. I always walk out with something I don't need. On this trip, I walked out with three things I didn't need. I have already forgotten what one of the items was. It's totally gone from my mind. (Edit: I just walked the house and found it. It was a tiny Vornado fan for $6 that is sitting on the table by my recliner. I use it every day so that actually turned out to be a good deal!)

The other two items are Sony clock radios. One is a model I know I have had and given away at least three times over the years. The other is one I once wanted to try for beside the bed but I was afraid it would be too bright. I bought these for the kitchen since I no longer have a radio in there and, guess what, neither picks up the station I wanted. I ended up fiddling with both for a day or two and then putting a battery operated radio I've had for years in there. Both of these clock radios are now in a tote of crap in my bathroom closet awaiting their eventual trip to the thrift store if I find no other use for them.

Sure, I could return them but Goodwill only gives store credit and I would just buy something else I don't need.

To make a short story very long, why do I do this? Why do I buy things I don't really need? What part of my brain is yelling BUY THAT! IT WILL MAKE YOU SO VERY HAPPY! and why is that part of my brain yelling that?

In conclusion, it is getting better. Instead of this happening weekly and at one point daily, it now happens about once a month and I instantly feel guilty which keeps me out of stores even longer. The struggle is real but I can see the improvement and am on the right track. I just need to stay out of all stores, especially those with clearance aisles.

Morning rambling

This is where I typically update write these posts, sitting at the kitchen table to start the day (cup of coffee not shown but was just off to the left out of frame).

It's my morning routine. I come to the kitchen early (typically around 5:15am but some mornings a bit later) and fire up the Asus Transformer. I make my small breakfast and cup of coffee. I check my emails and respond to or resolve anything pressing. I open Microsoft Edge and right-click my Comics folder and choose OPEN ALL and the tabs come alive with the comics blogs and comics I read to start my day. After that, there is a quick glance at Twitter and then Feedly (which I am terribly behind on and will soon have to declare Feedly bankruptcy and just click all as read).

After this, I putter around and clean up whatever needs to be cleaned up. This morning I emptied the dishwasher and fed the dogs in between fixing early problems at work.

By this time, as I am about to click PUBLISH and send this out onto the interwebs, the morning is rolling along.

In other news...
Today is supposed to be the last day of the heat wave. The rain comes back tonight and tomorrow and we leave the near 100 weather behind for a while.

I've struggled with putting together a new episode of Up In This Brain this week. I've had too much other stuff going on and am too tired or disjointed to pick up the recorder when a little free time does pop up. Maybe next week, eh?

No, Google, I DON'T want smarter email

I absolutely cannot stand stuff like this:
There are tons of variations on pop ups and emails like this. "I don't want to save money!" "I like longer wait times!" "I am happy with being nagged to death on the internet!"

Is it not enough to have Google Maps on my phone which is tracking everywhere I go and trying to present this history back to me as a benefit? Have I ever needed my travel history in almost thirty years of driving?

Is it not enough that I use Chrome and Google knows the details of everything I click on and every site I look at?

Is it not enough that I use Gmail and Google knows everything about my email including the names of my contacts and the stores I get emails from?

Is it not enough that this very site is a Google product so Google gets information about each visitor that happens to pop by, accidentally or not?

How much do you want of me, Google? Will you not stop until my brain is running Android and the word Google is tattooed on my forehead?

In all seriousness, I tried the Gmail app once and I didn't like it. I use my phone for quick glances at email and I still use my laptop to sort email and do the nitty-gritty work. I spend as little time in email on my phone as possible and the Apple Mail app does a great job of allowing me to do that. All of my email is there in one place (I have my non-Gmail work account and also monitor other non-Gmail accounts that I don't want going through the Gmail app).

I don't want to be using multiple apps for email or really anything else. It's just not efficient and I am all about efficiency no matter how dumb Google thinks my email is.

We were our own curators

I was thinking about the earlier days of the web a bit ago, those days when blogging seemed to be interesting and unique and you actually had readers that sought out bloggers who had similar interests.

Those days are gone and I was considering why. The main idea I kept coming back to was that there was no Twitter or Facebook so there was not a constant stream of information coming at you 24/7.

You had to seek out blogs, typically via searching on Google. For example, I found several blogs by searching for Corner Gas because it was a show I enjoyed and I wanted to find others who enjoyed it.

Once you found a blog you liked, you either had to bookmark it and visit it daily to see if there was a new update or follow the blog in Wordpress or Blogger or subscribe via RSS in a program you installed on your machine or in something like Google Reader.

Since bloggers had no other real outlet to share, you had to go to the blogs to get the updates if you cared to keep up with the person writing the blog and the updates typically came only once a day and that was very manageable. Our circles were growing, thanks to the internet, but they were also still relatively small. Information was out there but it came at a much slower speed. There was time to digest it instead of it being shoved down our throats so fast we choke on it.

We were our own curators. We weren't being bombarded with information from hundreds of people and then the algorithms telling us everything these hundreds of people have liked or commented on in addition to what they have posted.

Our internet lives were narrowed down to the few people we kept up with and we lived our real lives externally of the internet.

Now, our internet lives and our external lives are blended together so it's hard to tell where one ends and the other begins. Everything that happens, whether good or bad, must be considered for sharing and sometimes it feels almost wrong to not share the milestones we are witnessing. Maybe cousin whoever that I haven't seen in twenty years would like to see what the kids are up to. But why? What does someone get out of seeing one more picture in a stream of pictures?

Back in 2007, one post like this would be the only update people would see from me if they cared to see it. I was not supplementing it with a tweet or an Instagram picture or a Facebook post. This was it and it was plenty.

The noise of social media makes my head spin more and more as we go on and I think that is because the algorithms add more and more to the stream. I just opened Facebook and I got a post about someone who I do not know whose dog just died. I got it because a friend from college commented on the post. Why did I need to see that? It makes so sense.

It's just a matter of time before enough people say "It makes no sense" and these apps either go away or have to put in options to filter out all of the extras in order to keep people from quitting in droves or not signing up in the first place.

Maybe, just maybe, the generation of decision makers currently in our high schools and colleges will be the ones to not sign up, to not be lured in by fomo and maybe, just maybe, an app or a platform will rise up that will meet their needs, only showing what they actually share and giving us the option to cut out the politics and other nonsense.

It's a tall order but it's what we need to not get buried in so much data that nothing stands out anymore and it's what these social media businesses will need to keep future generations freely giving them their data.

We're melting

It's crazy hot yet again. Actually, the heat itself is not as bad as the humidity. The humidity is atrocious.

We had an opportunity to drive to outer Armpit today to check out the opening of a wedding venue. I live a bit into the country but mainly in Armpit proper. This was way out. Way, way out.

It's really nice to get far enough out of the city that there is no internet and barely a cell signal. You only have to drive about ten miles. It made me think about visiting my great-grandmother on her farm when I was growing up and all of the family that was up there. It's hard to believe that they are all gone now - all of them. Time sure does seem to fly and we lose a lot of folks in the process. 

More confidence, less complaining

I've been thinking this morning about how to make a long-lasting change toward having a more positive attitude. It's easy to make a temporary adjustment and have a good day or a good couple of days. I am wondering how to make a lasting change. I keep recognizing the negativity and the complaining that I seem to constantly come back to. It's like I have a gravitational pull toward frustration more and more as I get older.

I don't have the answer yet but I certainly recognize the problem. I guess that's a step in the right direction.

Up and at 'em!


The body wanted to sleep in this morning but the brain must have known there were things to do and sure enough, I found an early (very early) work problem on my phone. So, it was up around 5AM. I fixed that problem then I decided to move my car from where I had left it in the middle of the driveway after I washed it last night. I also cracked the windows and put up the sun shades since it is supposed to be nearly 100 degrees again today. Fingers crossed this is the last day of the heat wave.

After that, I noticed there was a bit of weeding that needed to be done and I knocked that out. Finally, I tackled the noisy hinges on the front door and now they are back to being quiet thanks to some household oil and WD-40.

All of this was done before 6AM.

Since then I have caught up on the comics and Feedly feeds here on my Asus Transformer and had a bit of breakfast (one yogurt). Now I'm debating going ahead and getting in the shower. There's not much of a chance that I will go back to bed at this point.

This is exactly how it feels here today

Here goes nothing

I got a domain. I said I wouldn't and then I did.

I got a Twitter. I said I wouldn't and then I did.

In my defense, the Twitter is locked down and is not being used. I grab this stuff just so other people don't end up with it. I don't do it because I think people will steal my non-existent brand. I grab it just in case some time down the road I decide that I want to use Twitter. Maybe Twitter will be out of business by that time or maybe it will be owned by Verizon since they appear to be into collecting old, defunct websites now.

I am surprised that was available. I was sitting at the kitchen table trying to think of the absolutely simplest name for a blog and that was the winner. I didn't want it to be a play on words or something nonsensical or something tied into the podcast again like Up In This Blog was. I also didn't want the word "blog" in the name. "Blog" is so late 90's.

I am not tying this into my main Twitter account because I might come here and write ten times a day. Who knows. No one has time to read all of that. I am going to leave this out here just for me as a place to share whatever, whenever.

Morning Radio

I started listening to local morning radio again. Just today. It started last night when I was cooking supper. I was about to grab the iPad and fire up the Bluetooth speaker to listen to one of my regular streaming radio stations when I suddenly felt nostalgic for the afternoon and evening radio I listened to growing up with local ads and traffic reports.

So, here I am, the next morning, sitting at the kitchen table with my Radio Shack 1201178 tuned to our local mix station, Mix 92.9.

I listened to top 40 radio when I was a kid. Those stations are gone. I listened to country radio as an adult and my favorite DJ is retired. The Mix works for me since it has local DJ's and they don't play songs that typically make me leap for the radio to change the channel like current country radio does.