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Showing posts from 2019

Last post of the decade

Here is my 793rd post of the decade, my 1271st post since this started back in 2007.

Of course, a few entries have been lost along the way and the name of this site has changed multiple times causing chaos in some of the links on the oldest entries. Also, I've quit and returned more times than I can remember and I regret doing all of that. I'm not sure what I was thinking. Maybe I was trying to reinvent something that didn't need to be reinvented in the first place. Maybe I should have just stayed the course.

I have stayed the course over at the podcast. Sure, there have been a few hiatuses and bumps in the road along the way but 471 episodes since 2013 is not too shabby.

I end the decade optimistic for the future although I am always uncertain about what exactly I'll share here and on the podcast. But, instead of fretting over all of that as I have done in the past, my plan is to get out of the way and just let time take care of it for me.

I am confident that ideas will pop up and there will be plenty to write here and speak into the microphone. It may not happen with certain regularity like the ticking of the clock but it will happen when it is supposed to.

I hope you, whoever you are and wherever you happen to be reading this, have a fantastic 2020 and beyond.

Merry Christmas!

A very Merry Christmas and a happy 2020 to you!


I'm going to spend a few days reading books and sitting outside with my radios in between visiting with family and friends and, of course, eating and drinking a fair amount of coffee!

The No Social Media Tablet

On Black Friday, I very briefly bought and tried out the Onn 10.1 inch Android tablet that was a $59 special. I tried it because my iPad Air 2 is now five years old and is slowing down and I wanted to try something a bit different from iOS. I did not like it. Back to Walmart it went the next day.

But then the 8 inch version of the same tablet caught my eye. Walmart had it for full price - $64. I did not want to do that but I did take a peek over at eBay and there it was refurbished for $39. I put it in my cart and was surprised to find there was an additional 15% off bringing the grand total including shipping and tax to $33.15.

What did I get for $33.15? An 8 inch tablet with specs close to the Kindle Fire 8 but without the limitations of Amazon's Fire OS. This tablet runs Android 9.0 and for what I wanted it for, it is fantastic. I'm pretty surprised.


What did I want it for? I wanted a device where there would be no social media beeps and boops. It's simply for reading books, checking my to do list and looking things up. For example, I take it with me when I am going to listen to my radios so I can look up details on the stations I hear. 

Eventually, I plan to use it for note taking and to store documents I might need to refer on a semi-regular basis.

I also bought this case for under $10 shipped on eBay.

Is it perfect? No. It doesn't have a wake function when you open the case. It can get a little slow when scrolling big webpages. There is only one speaker but it sounds decent.

What having this tablet has done is make me realize that my eventual iPad Air 2 replacement will be a nice Samsung Android tablet. I like how customizable it is and how the notifications work much better than on the iOS devices I have. And, since I use Google services for nearly everything, all of what I need is integrated right into the tablet already.

Merry Christmas to me!

SW Radio Log (12/21/2019)

Yesterday, I wrote about spending a few minutes listening to amateur radio on my Grundig G5. Later last night, I decided to listen to the same bands on my Tecsun PL-660 to compare the performance.

I was blown away by how much easier it is to fine tune single sideband on the Tecsun PL-660. For some reason, I didn't remember this and my Tecsun PL-660 had been packed up in storage until earlier this week.

The reason for it being packed away is that FM and Air Band are misaligned and there is no fix (older firmware) and I hadn't been listening to shortwave much over the summer and fall.

But, wow! What a difference! The G5 is very challenging to fine tune for some reason so I believe the PL-660 will my radio of choice when I want to listen to the ham bands which is pretty fun for me because you never know what you are going to hear and I have heard discussions on conspiracies, alien landings and politics recently!


Here are a few of the confirmed locations I heard this afternoon around 2PM CST:
  • London, Ontario
  • Connecticut
  • Indiana
  • Tennessee
  • Texas
  • Minnesota
  • Wisconsin
  • Quebec

SW Radio Log (12/20/2019)

I had a few minutes around 2:45PM CST to sit down with the Grundig G5 at the kitchen table so I went right over to 40 meter band to listen to some amateur radio.


I didn't have my headphones on since I only had about 20 free minutes so I didn't catch call signs but I did hear amateurs announce that they were in the following locations:
  • Clarksville, New Hampshire
  • Elgin, Illinois
  • Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
  • New Jersey (city was not legible)
The Grundig G5 is perfect for listening to amateur radio since it can decode single sideband transmissions. My Tecsun PL-660, that I recently pulled back out of storage, has the same ability but seems to be a tad more noisy on shortwave.

Enlightened

After a few years of using Todoist, I finally achieved the status of Enlightened. What does this mean? In a nutshell, the more tasks you complete, the more karma points you get, sort of gamifying your daily tasks.

I didn't pay a lot of attention to the karma in Todoist. It was fun to see the status in each year-end report that Todoist sends out but that was about it. I haven't been using Todoist for the karma feature.

I use it because it was the solution to years of trying and failing at different systems to keep my daily tasks organized. Notebooks, Franklin Planners throughout the 90's, Palm Pilots, you name it. I tried them all and I read all the books including Getting Things Done and I guess the system I use today is closer to GTD than anything else.

I use these tools (I'm sure I've written or talked about this before):

  • Microsoft Outlook - my work calendar is there and is not integrated with my personal calendar. I flag emails that need to be followed up on. I keep my inbox fairly close to zero at all times, no more than 15 in there at the end of each day. I don't use tasks in Outlook at all.
  • Google Calendar - all four of us in this house have Google Calendar on our phones and our own calendars which we share with each other and EVERYTHING goes in there. Work schedules. Appointments. Concerts. It's one place each of us can look and see what everyone else is doing. 
  • Todoist - Anything and everything ends up here. Many recurring tasks like checking the air filter or giving flea and tick stuff to the dogs is in here also. Any work task that I need to put off until the next day is noted here also. All family Google Calendar events also end up as automatic items in Todoist.
I did fairly well before Todoist but Todoist was life-changing for me. I can't imagine handling the volume of work I do at work and keeping track of everything going on at home without it. It makes my life easier because items don't get forgotten if they make it in the app. Also, I don't hold myself to getting it all done TODAY. Items get postponed often and that's just life. Not everything has to be done on a particular day. The key, for me, to productivity is flexibility. Know what HAS to be done and do it and know what can't be done and let that go until another day with the confidence of knowing it's still out there in the list and won't get forgotten.


Bad example

When it comes to leading by example, I am a bad example when it comes to spending lots of time with an internet connected device in my hand.

Sure, working in IT, I have to stay connected to a certain point but my lazy evenings (when I have an evening to be lazy) have a tendency to turn into a few hours in my recliner mindlessly focused on my iPad. Even if the TV is on and a movie is playing, my iPad is open. I'm distracting myself from my own distractions. I am double-distracted.

I am currently reading a book about this because I decided a few weeks ago that I wanted to have a more distraction-free holiday break and, instead of just making that declaration suddenly and then failing like I typically do, I've been doing a bit of preparation to make it happen, slowly but surely.

I know a total disconnection is not possible or even beneficial but I am paring down a few things, such as deleting the real time suck apps which, surprisingly to me, are not social media but news apps and the like.

I'm about a third of the way through the book. Here's a passage from the beginning that I thought was a bit dramatic the first time I read it but the more I thought about it, the more I realized how much time I am spending on a machine sucked into distraction:
Bill Maher ends every episode of his HBO show Real Time with a monologue. The topics are usually political. This was not the case, however, on May 12, 2017, when Maher looked into the camera and said: The tycoons of social media have to stop pretending that they’re friendly nerd gods building a better world and admit they’re just tobacco farmers in T-shirts selling an addictive product to children. Because, let’s face it, checking your “likes” is the new smoking. “Philip Morris just wanted your lungs,” Maher concludes. “The App Store wants your soul.”

Nice catch: WVON on 1690 kHz

I was walking through my house just a bit ago tuning around on my Sony SRF-39 and down at the end of the dial, there was WVON on 1690 kHz coming in loud and clear. So, I went to my Sangean PR-D4W and it was coming in like a local station.


For a 10,000 watt station about 460 miles away, this seems like a pretty nice catch until you consider that there are only seven stations in the US and Canada on 1690 kHz. Not many stations ended up in what was once known as the expanded band so the few stations that are up there have a good chance of being heard quite clearly for miles and miles as WVON demonstrates here.



AM Radio Log (12/13/2019)

I had about 15 minutes to sit down at the kitchen table with my Sangean PR-D4W starting at around 12:59PM central so here are a few of the notable stations I heard including one I don't recall hearing here before.

  • 710 kHz - WYJV - Smyrna, TN (28 miles)
  • 750 kHz - WSB - Atlanta, GA - a good signal here for daytime, this station booms in here at night. (250 miles)
  • 770 kHz - WVNN - Athens, AL - Rush Limbaugh was on. His voice sounded kind of odd. Maybe it was just the fact that this station is 126 miles away.
  • 780 kHz - WPTN - Cookeville, TN (50 miles)
  • 790 kHz - WBWR - Ashland City, TN (56 miles)
  • 930 kHz - WKCT - Bowling Green, KY - Also had Rush Limbaugh on and is close enough to be loud and clear. He definitely sounds weird for some reason. It's like his voice has been auto-tuned for some reason. (66 miles)
  • 1060 kHz - WKNG - Tallapoosa, GA - This is a decent catch for daytime and I think it is a new one for me. It is 50,000 watts during the day but still should barely reach into Tennessee out of Georgia. I think the fact that it's cloudy today both here and there helps a bit. (242 miles)
  • 1510 kHz - WLAC - Nashville, TN - this one is a local but I tuned it in to hear Rush one more time and something is definitely up with his voice. Weird. (32 miles)
The Sangean PR-D4W is the best AM radio I've ever owned. It has a feature called AM Auto Tracking which attempts to fine tune each station when you land on it. I've found that it works quite well. The FM side is a mixed bag. Reception is great but the audio does not sound as good for some reason. My Grundig G5 sounds better on FM. This doesn't matter to me since the PR-D4W rarely moves off the AM dial. No radio I have owned has sounded better on AM than the PR-D4W. 



Radio log (12/10/2019 starting at 18:41 UTC)

I had a few minutes at lunch today to pull out the Grundig G5 and tune around shortwave a bit.


Here's what I heard using just the whip antenna:
  • Radio Marti on 11860, 11930 and 13820. I only heard jamming coming through on 13820.
  • African Pathways on 13670. This was loud and clear and apparently transmitting from Mahajanga, Madagascar which is around 9,000 miles away.
  • Radio Habana Cuba on 15140.
  • Adventist World Radio on 15155, notable because it was coming from Talata-Volonodry, also in Madagascar. The signal was quite strong. Maybe today is a great day to hear Madagascar!
  • BBC on 15400. It's a shame we don't get BBC World Service broadcasting to the US anymore. This transmission was barely audible here and originated from Ascension Island, directed to West and Central Africa.

Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ascension_Island#/media/File:Ascension_Island_Location.jpg

Two Sony Radios - SRF-M37W and SRF-39

I have two Sony radios that have been living on the table next to my recliner along side my super-awesome fantastic Sangean PR-D4W which I wrote about a bit last January.

All three of these radios are there for two reasons. First, they are spectacular on AM. Second, the dogs typically wake me up to go outside around 2AM every night and I typically take a bit of time to listen to AM before I go back to bed.

My Sony SRF-39 has long had an honored place in my collection. It is excellent on AM and pretty decent on FM as a bonus but AM is where it really shines. I have listened to it while mowing the lawn and doing other odds and ends around the house.


The SRF-39 runs forever on just on AA battery. Amazing! And, it was a popular prison radio at one time and the clear prison version is a collector's item now

Finally, it was recently featured on Todd Erbert's excellent YouTube channel about radios.

I just picked up my other Sony radio earlier this week at the local help center. I was over there dropping off donations and I went inside to check out electronics and there was a Sony SRF-M37W on the shelf for the incredible price of just one dollar plus tax!

The SRF-M37W appears to be the digital version of the SRF-39 with the weather band as an addition. AM performance is equal side by side. FM seems to be a tick better than the SRF-39. There is an annoying beep when pressing any button which is why I think I briefly had this radio at one time but ended up eBaying it. I won't eBay this one since I am out of the eBay business! 

The weather band picks up nothing out where I live but even my weather radio has a tough time picking up a channel out here.

This radio takes just one AAA battery. I am not sure how long it will last powering the clock which seems pretty pointless since there is no speaker or alarm. I assume the clock is there just so you don't lose track of time working out or something.


Finally, what do I listen to at 2AM? Typically, I listen to WGN in Chicago because the late night show on there, The Nick Digilio Show, is always interesting. You never know what they will be talking about when you tune in. They also have a podcast here for those of you who don't want to sit up all night listening to AM.

Low blood

What a day. I woke up with a headache which I thought was sinus but ended up being low blood sugar which is never fun and it took me about half of the day to recover but hey, it's been about a year since the last time that happened and that's quite the achievement for me.

I keep thinking back to where my eating went wrong over the past few days and I would have to guess it started at Thanksgiving and built up from there? I didn't eat well any day since until today since now I am trying to get things back in sync.

Time to toss out the donuts unless I want to spend more time on the bathroom floor.

I've gone from feeling terrible to getting just about all of my work done plus washing and putting up a load of clothes and cleaning the showers. The work never stops no matter how lousy you might feel.

Thinking of the title for this reminded me of episode 212 of the podcast:

Memories of Dennys

Back in January of 1991, I first visited the Denny’s in what was eventually going to be the town where I went to college.
Fast forward a couple of years and I had spent many all-nighters at that Denny’s. Somehow it became the preferred late-night hang out for our little group of friends and many great memories were made there.
I’m thankful that at some point on one of those late-nights in 1993, I asked our regular waitress (Rebecca - not sure what ever happened to her. She was probably only a couple of years older than we were.) if I could take a menu back to the dorm with me. I think it was because I really liked the owl on the cover but what a wonderful time capsule it is for me now.
I’ve saved it all these years and it came up in a conversation with a friend of mine last week so I thought I might as well preserve it in pictures and share it here. It’s a little too big to scan on my scanner so these pictures were taken on my iPhone and then cropped on my laptop. I’ll keep my eye out for a way to get good scans of the menu at some point.
So, enjoy this trip back to 1993 when I was young enough that anything seemed possible and you could get a decent steak in the middle of the night for just $7.79.





Memories of Bloomington

It was the weather here tonight that got me thinking about a trip I took to Bloomington, Indiana in December of 2008. I believe that it was finals week at IU and the weather was quite chilly. I had forgotten my gloves so I went to Menards near my hotel to buy a pair and I found a set with a hat that was made out of some recycled material and all three pieces had little recycling logos sewed on them.
I had them for the longest time until holes finally developed in the fingers of the gloves.
I also bought a Christmas cup at Starbucks that I still have.
I remember that my hotel room had a picture tube HDTV in it. It was HUGE and this was before I owned an HDTV so I turned it on and watched it a bit although I would normally never turn on a tv when I traveled.
It was cloudy (dreary might be a better word) the whole time I was there and I think it snowed most of the time but it was all flurries and hardly any of it stuck.
Finally, I remember that on the last night a co-worker and I ate supper near campus. I searched for a while on Google tonight for the restaurant before I found it - Siam House.
And nearby that was a coffee shop we walked to and I recall there being a big chalkboard in the bathroom with all sorts of odd messages on it. I believe I left one of my own.
I tried to find the coffee shop on Google but had no luck until I looked through my Google Photos and there were a few pictures of my Bloomington trip including a picture of Siam House plus pictures of the Soma coffee shop which is also still there. Above and below are those pictures from that night - December 14, 2008. The pictures were probably taken on a Blackberry which was probably pretty advanced at the time but doesn’t look too great now!
It’s hard for me to believe that was almost 11 years ago but I’m glad that a chilly evening brought these memories back after so long.




Watch this pizza restaurant. It's more interesting than anything I could write here.

This is Dodo Pizza in Dmitrov, Russia which is about 65km north of Moscow.


Sitting in the dentist's office

I was just thinking about how I hadn't updated this in a bit so here I am.

This morning, I am writing this in the dentist's office while oldest daughter has an appointment. I am able to do most of my job from my trusty Asus Transformer thanks to the magic of Teamviewer which allows me to remote back to my main laptop at the home office back in Armpit.

Other folks here around me are working also. The guy sitting across from me keeps making phone calls about quotes. Exciting. A woman a little further away has her big work laptop out and she is typing away. Maybe she is updating her blog also.

Just ten years ago, I could not have worked from just about anywhere with such ease.

Art is Art and Art should be its own hammer

I finished Charles Bukoswki's "On Writing" recently and here are some quotes from that book that I liked. Maybe you will also! I put a few of them in bold because those are ones we need to print out and post all around our typewriters, laptops, notebooks, etc.

For my money, everything went to hell with World War 2. And not only the Arts. Even cigarettes don’t taste the same. Tamales. Chili. Coffee. Everything’s made of plastic. A radish doesn’t taste sharp anymore. You peel an egg and, invariably, the egg comes off with the shell. Pork chops are all fat and pink. People buy new cars and nothing else. That’s their life: four wheels.

I’m not one to look back on wanton waste as complete loss—there’s music in everything, even defeat.

It’s either a poem or a piece of cheese.

A man’s soul or lack of it will be evident with what he can carve upon a white sheet of paper.

What have they done but camouflage themselves behind the fa├žade of Art, think up the name of a magazine, get it listed and wait for submissions from the same 2 or 3 hundred tired names that seem to think they are the poets of America because some 22 year-old jackass with a bongo drum and a loose 50 dollar bill accepts their worst poetry.

There are false poets in all schools, people who simply do not belong. But they eventually disappear because the forces of life absorb them with something else. Most poets are young simply because they have not been caught up. Show me an old poet and I’ll show you, more often than not, either a madman or a master.

There we were, a shipping clerk and a janitor discussing theories in aesthetics while all about us men drawing 10 times our salaries were lost out on the limb reaching for rotten fruit. What does this say for the American way of life?

I am a dangerous man when turned loose with a typewriter.

It’s when you begin to lie to yourself in a poem in order to simply make a poem, that you fail. That is why I do not rework poems but let them go at first sitting, because if I have lied originally there’s no use driving the spikes home, and if I haven’t lied, well hell, there’s nothing to worry about.

Art is Art and Art should be its own hammer.

The politicians and newspapers talk a lot about freedom but the moment you begin to apply any, either in Life or in the Art-form, you are in for a cell, ridicule or misunderstanding.

They want to hear what they have always heard. But they forget that it takes 5 or 6 good men every century to push the thing ahead out of staleness and death.

It appears that certain people think that poetry should be a certain way. For these, there will be nothing but troubled years. More and more people will come along to break their concepts.

Life gets realer, for me, but it seems most poetry remains the same.

The Americans always want an IMAGE to catch to, something to label, to cage. I can’t give them that.

Most of my poems are about me simply walking across a room and being glad/sad (no proper words here) that both the room + I are here at the moment.

We work with all hands . . . everything counts.

The joke is ours; we pass through in high style; there’s nothing that they can do with us.

My idea of a writer is somebody who writes. Who sits at a typewriter and puts the words down. That would appear to be the essence. Not to teach others how, not to sit in seminars, not to read to the madding crowd.

When you’re hanging with writers you’re not hearing or seeing anything but that. Or maybe my nature is just to grub it out alone. I feel good without anybody around.

I feel good most of the time, especially when I’m at this machine, and the words feel more and more as if they are coming out better and better. True or not, right or wrong, I go with it.

I don’t want to make rules but if there is one it is: the only writers who write well are those who must write in order not to go mad.

A writer is not a writer because he has written some books. A writer is not a writer because he teaches literature. A writer is only a writer if he can write now, tonight, this minute.

(My apologies to Ken for this one! Charles' words, not mine!)
What Bukowski despised the most was the gregariousness and egotism of popular groups such as the Beats, who seemed to believe that being in the limelight was more important than doing the actual work.

The kitchen

The kitchen is like a restaurant. The lights go on around 5:45AM, sometimes earlier, sometimes later. Things are put away from the night before. Is the dishwasher light on? That means clean dishes await and need to be returned to their cabinets. Do we need more water in the fridge? Time to restock.

It gets busy for a while. Everyone is in and out, making and eating breakfast and then making lunch and packing it for later. More dirty dishes back in the dishwasher. The peanut butter comes out. Hello. It goes back up on the shelf when its duty is done. Plates, knives, fruit. Jazz music in the background courtesy of WKAR Jazz on the Google Home Hub thing.

And then they filter out, one by one and the house is quiet and I am left behind with the three dogs and I look around, post-breakfast inspection, for anything that was left out or left messed up. This morning there is nothing left to do but turn off the lights one by one and then to say, “Hey, Google! Stop music!”

The kitchen is closed until lunch.

Reading, dictation and hummingbirds

I'm currently plowing through On Writing by Charles Bukowski which is surprising to me because I am not a big fan of his actual writing but I am a fan of reading about writing and his thoughts on the craft. I'm highlighting all kinds of stuff which is one of the best features of my Paperwhite/Goodreads connection.

I enjoy reading about writing but actually writing, eh, not so much, which you can tell by the neglect of this site.

Still, I am fired up (at least in my mind) about the upcoming NaNoWriMo and I wish I had an idea about something to write (I vaguely have a thought but not a full-formed idea).

I've been so stuck in the web of ideas of creativity that I went back and listened to a piece of the discussion in Oliver's latest podcast five times and I am glad that something made me stop and think yesterday although my contribution to the conversation was fundamentally useless thus proving the original point.

I can't embed the tweet here because my Twitter is a private, gated community now but if you are part of my private, gated community, you know what I'm talking about.

Speaking of tweets, I keep thinking about just using the iOS dictation to create tweets. Couldn't I just put the phone up to the speaker when a podcast is on and tweet those random words? No one reads what I tweet anyway so why not?

(I just tried this and the results are weird but I could publish a whole book of this and get rich, I bet.)

Do a little editing and add some punctuation and you get some of that fundamentally useless art all the kids love.

Last note - I got a hummingbird feeder and put it up right outside the window of the home office here in Armpit and these little birds are fascinating.






A day without social media

Today is the day I don't go to any social media websites.

No Facebook.

No Twitter.

Not even Instagram.

I ignore social media notifications because I don't want to even risk getting a glimpse of my feed.

Why do I do this every year on this day?

Because today is the day all of the One Day Patriots slither out of the swamp to hang their virtual flags and try to teach us all a lesson in US History.

Never forget, they post! I say, how could I forget and why would you think I need you to remind me and why would I need to remind others?

And, don't get me started on the "I'm a Bigger Patriot than you" crowd. I love condescending posts most of all.

I'll pass on all of it.

Today is a day of reflection and not a day about likes and thumbs and retweets.

Drawing a birthday blank

Last night around 10:30PM, I was thinking about this site and I tried to come up with a post.

It was my birthday! I had to post something but I had nothing. Nada. Zip.

And then I looked at the archive and found that I didn't post anything on my birthday last year either.

So, I closed up the laptop and went to bed.

Oh, well.

Pooped

It seems to be tougher this year, with another birthday right around the corner, to "get it all done" all day long and not feel totally wiped out at the end of the day.

As I write this, I am officially pooped. Looking back at this day, the first thing to note is that I did not sleep well last night. I think I finally fell asleep around 12:30am and was back up and going at 10 after 6.

I went out early and picked up prescription dog food at the vet and filled daughter #1's car with gas before she went off to school.

It was steady at work all day and I didn't have any housework to do (the stars rarely align like today) so I decided to take care of a couple of outside items after thinking about and updating some tasks we need to do for the band over the next week.

At lunch, which I cooked, I touched up the stain on the deck and I stained the gate on the deck that was installed a month or so ago. After work, I mowed the lawn on the riding mower since I finally got the mulching blades installed and I put in a new battery. It was around 90 degrees for all of this and I expect I was outside in that about three and a half hours over the course of the day.

After all this, I took a shower which you would think restores your energy but they seem to drain the last bit of mine. Then it was time for supper. I didn't cook, thank goodness, but I did do the dishes after.

Now all I can think about is bed but I have a fear that I will lay down and won't be able to sleep because my mind will be running a million miles an hour as usual. I'll solve this by reading a book but sometimes books make me think and give me ideas and that gets the brain going even more.

Looking back at all I did today, no wonder I am so tired. And, it felt like I did less than normal today.

Standard definition

I was watching a tv show from the mid 80's earlier this week and I was thinking, wow, we looked like that? The world looked like that? And then, of course, I realized that there was something more at play than the dated clothes and hair styles. The show was filmed in standard definition.

We've been watching HD for so long now that anything not in HD looks dated no matter how you stretch it or optimize it and we're even at the point in time where there is a certain nostalgia for the SD look.

My parents grew up with black and white. I grew up with SD. My kids have HD. Who knows what will be next?

Maybe this?

The conversation game

I was sitting listening to a conversation last night and there were several times that I could have jumped in. I had stories that would have fit into the flow and all that but I didn't. I just sat there listening and hardly said a thing and I was just out on the deck reading fictional conversations between other people when this popped into my mind because it has been happening more and more lately.

There have been times recently when there have been awkward silences I could have filled in or I have found myself talking to someone and struggling with what to say next but it's not that I am at a loss for words. The words are in my head and I wait for the natural pauses where I could say them and then I let those pauses go right on by. What is the point, I think.

I've been talking for a good chunk of almost forty-six years and as I get older, I've about said what I need to say and maybe I get more out of listening, that might be true, but that's not really why I am saying less. I think that a lot of the time I'm just tired of talking. I appreciate the silence more than I ever have and I am also weary of trying to interpret the real feelings hidden behind the words that people say and frankly, a lot of the time, I'm tired of playing the conversation game.

Gloomy goodness

I feel it in the air
The summer's out of reach
It's gloomy and cool today here at the kitchen table and after a scorcher of a summer, we've suddenly had a shift in the weather that I feel like is never going to come until it happens. Before, it seemed like this might be the endless summer since it started getting hot back in April this year. I know summer is not over by a long shot but the potential for fall is here now like a relative that's been travelling for a while has sent a postcard announcing that they are on their way back.



It's the kind of weather that makes me feel like blogging again and I've been thinking about this site over the past few days, wishing I could think of some revolutionary way to share these words on your screen. The whole process seems so antiquated now and we're all so busy that publishing posts feels like an invasion of your precious time.

I guess there is no solution for this. I keep getting the writing bug. NaNoWriMo keeps slipping back into my mind after I couldn't motivate myself to participate in either of the Camp NaNoWriMo events. Maybe the key is cooler weather and the sun going down earlier.

Well, I just now, in real-time, got the word I don't have to do concession stand duty at the high school tonight so it's time for me to celebrate, take another sip of coffee and get back to work. Gloomy days like this might bother some people but I love them. Bring on the falling leaves! Bring on the pumpkin spice! 

Short update Monday

Wow, this blog is not getting much use.

Only short updates today -
I went back on private on the Twitter. I'm not using it much these days and I'm tired of bots although they don't come around much since I don't tweet much. I can set it and forget it with the padlock. The best feature of Instagram is being private.

It's a shame to see Twitter go by the wayside, ruined by its own user base and stupid monetization design ideas. But all good things eventually come to an end. Except for Big Macs. Big Macs are eternal. Signing up for updates via this page or using an RSS reader like Feedly is the best way to follow this blog anyway. Tweets are so 2015.

I moved all my chores from Todoist off of Sunday so I have officially reclaimed that day in the name of leisure and reading. My brief experiment of Sunday afternoon cleaning chores is over. I've spread them out over the work week now, a little each day between Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. Of course, clothes get washed nearly every day. It's like a laundromat around these parts.


Big cleaning chores I have been putting off are getting completed left and right. It's exciting. With the kids young adults back in school, I've had more time to get some of the nitty gritty organization stuff going. I will have another load for the thrift store tomorrow and then it will be time for some big decisions about some items around here that need a permanent home or need to be shown the door.

That's it. Over and out until we meet here again.

Up all night

It's finally Sunday evening and I'm still in the weird floating space of my sleep pattern being thrown completely off.

It started Friday night with a late band trip (asleep at about 12AM) and then Saturday morning with trying unsuccessfully to sleep in to prepare for the all-nighter at the school for a lock-in that happened last night and Saturday afternoon with this feeling that I should be doing something different as the all-nighter was looming but I didn't know what to do so I proceeded as normal with this feeling of dread that I might poop out at a certain point.


And then it's 2AM Sunday morning and I'm walking around the halls of the high school and wow, that's surreal and weird and I felt out of sync and many of the students seem to be exhausted but I feel ok and then I'm standing outside watching the sun come up and there are moments of that when the whole thing seems unreal and then I'm on the way home and feeling fine until the wall hits at about 11AM, hour 26 of being awake but I have to eat lunch and do the things before giving in to sleep by 2PM and then waking up just an hour or so ago desperately needing food food food.

So, here I sit typing and I'm still tired and feel the need to go back to sleep. My eyes are heavy and burning and what time is it really (The clock shows 9:22PM but it doesn't feel like 9:22PM. It feels like some weird suspension of time. It's hard to describe.)

I think it was about 4:15am this morning when I started thinking about the nurses and others in the medical profession work crazy long shifts because I was really feeling it but the momentum was keeping me going while it seemed like everyone around me was dragging but maybe I had just fooled myself into thinking I didn't look like I was dragging also.

Wow, just totally lost my train of thought and realized I have been sitting here with my fingers on the keys typing nothing for a couple of minutes. I feel like I'm in a block of Jell-o.


When Harry Met Sally... at 30

Thirty years.







It's hard to get my head around that. I think back to seeing When Harry Met Sally... in the theater thirty years ago and I'm reminded that the passage of time seems like an odd magic trick. Sure, on one hand, it seems like that was a lifetime ago and wow, look how the world has changed. But then on the other hand, it seems like yesterday and wow, things haven't changed that much after all.




The brilliance of When Harry Met Sally... is how timeless it is. Yes, Dick Clark makes an appearance and there is not a cell phone to be seen but the story and the difficult questions that are presented to us in what is really a character study of two couples, Harry and Sally and Jess and Marie, are just as relevant to me today as they have ever been and maybe even more so.



When I heard Sally exclaiming to Harry "And I'm going to be 40!", I couldn't even imagine 40. Now, I have trouble remembering it. So my perspective on the movie has definitely changed but my appreciation is as great as it ever was.


What a wonderful gift Nora Ephron gave to us three decades ago and what wonderful memories I have of the movie and the music.