Showing posts from June, 2019

Off to the woods and away from the onlines!

On Sunday, I head off to the woods on a camping trip where I will have no access to the onlines. No data connection. Terrible cell service. My plan is to keep the phone off. My family will have a landline number to me in case of an emergency. It will be interesting to revisit what life was like before we were so connected even if it's just for a few days.

In preparation for this, I am using the magic of Posthaven and Tweetdeck to still make my pointless contributions to the internet in my absence!

On Monday, you'll get a pre-scheduled tweet and a new episode (pre-recorded, of course) of Up In This Brain to celebrate Canada Day!

On Wednesday, starting at 6PM Central, you'll get 24 hours of tweets as a tribute to the original vlogger and creative pioneer Nelson Sullivan who left us thirty years ago this week. Nelson recorded hundreds of hours of his life between 1983 and 1989 and many of those videos are now online thanks to the work of people like Dick Richards. Hopefully, many people will be sharing his videos on this anniversary of his passing. I think he certainly deserves to be remembered and I talk more about that in the podcast that will be published on Monday.

Photo credit: Photo by Paula Gately Tillman - ©

So much content while I am away! Exciting!

I hope you all have a good week. I will be back online either Friday or Saturday unless the bears get me.

In your face(book)

I am amazed sometimes by what people post on Facebook. Posts I see range from absolutely stupid to absolutely gross to extreme TMI.

Facebook is a weird beast. It's a guaranteed audience for your entire post made up of a percentage of your "friends" that happen to be poking around the feed at any given time. If you have 500 "friends" on Facebook, I think you can assume that 150 to 200 might be exposed to your post. These 150 to 200 might be your family members, people you went to school with, people you work with, plus the randoms that you barely know but somehow they got in there.

Do you really want all of these folks knowing your dumb thoughts and observations on food, television commercials, political topics and more? Are your dumb thoughts and observations so important that you think hundreds of people should be exposed to them?

I enjoy seeing pictures of trips and events people attend. I like the milestone posts that are positive. I don't have the need to know that someone I was in one class with thirty years ago has an Amazon package being delivered late. I also don't want to read someone continually ranting and raving over this and that no matter how long I've known them.

In Facebook, it is very difficult to tune certain stuff out. I have to unfollow the person as a whole because I can't block certain words like I can on Twitter so I have a ton of people I have unfollowed on Facebook just for the sake of staying on the platform.

With the "internet of old" like this blog, you see the title of the post on Twitter and maybe a picture and you can choose to click that link and come here and read this. I don't jam the whole post in your face. I leave it up to you whether or not you want to participate. The same goes with the podcast.

Facebook is the equivalent of me stapling a flyer to your nose every time I have a thought and that, not the lack of privacy, will hopefully be its downfall when we all wake up to how crappy it is to have a nose full of staples.

When to stay put

At this exact moment for the last two Tuesdays, I have been jumping in the car and heading north, driving an hour and a half or so to play in a community band. Today, I am sitting here in the home office writing this post.

As I explained on the podcast today, I could feel my body starting to reject the limited sleep I have been getting lately and not just from my two nights of community band a week but also from the late hours doing concession stand work plus the typical early hours of work and the strain of summer yard work.

Several years ago, more stubborn me probably would have kept on keeping on until I ended up sick. Now, I realize that a healthy life involves proceeding with caution. Do as much as you can but know your limits and note the signs of increased stress, lack of concentration, etc. that come with pushing those limits.

Yes, there is still an urgency but we need to move forward with a healthy urgency or we'll end up being stopped in our tracks when our aging bodies finally say, "Enough!"

Sony Cybershot Pics 1

Here it is, the inaugural post of a new series that I'll probably forget to keep up with next week. On the podcast today, I talked about finding my last digital camera, a Sony Cybershot DSC-W800, in a tote. I thought it had gone to the thrift store a while back.

I charged it up and am hoping I will carry it around and take random pics with it that I will post here from time to time.

So, here we go, the first 6 random pics from my rediscovered digital camera. All of these were taken on the deck at lunch and the last one was an accidental button press!

The Square Rigger Attache

Recently on the podcast, I talked about my latest bag acquisition, a vintage Lands End Square Rigger Attache. I am not exactly sure why this bag popped into my head and I wasn't going to spend a ton of money on one but I was willing to spend a maximum of $20 on this one and luckily, I got it for just $14.99 shipped.

So, what was the Square Rigger bag? I would call it a canvas alternative to a briefcase. I don't guess many people carry briefcases anymore and I'm guessing backpacks are much more common than anything else these days so a bag like this is probably not going to be in high demand anymore which I guess is why it's no longer being made.

And, for the price, this bag would be expensive to replicate today. These bags sold for $39.95 in the 80's which is about $100 in today's money. One interesting feature is a very nice heavy-duty zipper around the bag. It never gets caught and seems to be as smooth to operate today as it was new. One unfortunate feature that you could get your initials sewed on the bag either for free or dirt-cheap so the majority of these bags has initials on them. The one I got does but I don't care. You can spend a lot more for one of these that has no initials but I see no point.

So, here are some pictures of the bag I got. It's in great shape for the age. The lighting wasn't perfect in the room where I took these (the kitchen) so the burgundy looks a bit washed out in the phones while it is not washed out at all in person. I've cleaned some spots on it and I am not using it just yet but I can see some trips to the library coming in its immediate future.

Just like inside of a briefcase, you have places for pens and even your calculator!

I don't know who VNA was but I'm glad they barely used their bag. This one is in great shape!

Don't mess with Mr. In-Between

My personal war against negativity rages on.

I mute accounts and if I get a notification and open an app, I try to I quickly move directly to the notification and not glance at the timeline.

And, yet, negativity still seeps through. I've seen two examples that I would call shocking in the last two weeks from people I semi-know (neither readers of this blog or part of the podcast community) who I think went way over the top in what they shared but it is probably just par for the course for them.

I have been thinking about why so many people spend their time sharing hate, negativity, anger, frustration, etc. and it has kept me considering each word I write here or say on the podcast. Should it be our mission to promote positive ideas and surround ourselves with positive people in our real lives and our virtual ones while many stew in anger? I am thinking, yes.


In other positive news this morning, here is a great post about the importance of blogging in a social-media driven world and here is the archive for 1000 words of summer, which started back up today.

Finally, this blog looks a little more like a blog now. Thanks to some tweaks I made to the template yesterday, you can come to the home page and see and scroll through whole posts instead of just snippets.


How long does it take to reconcile who you thought you would be x number of years ago with who you actually turned out to be?

In my case, a very long time but I think I've finally made it although I hate to admit it because I don't want to jinx myself.

The moment of reconciliation had been approaching for the last two years thanks to my involvement locally with the music program that my daughter is in.

The moment arrived last week as I walked through the hallways of the music department at my alma mater when I knew I was finally, after over two decades, at peace with the fact that music was my major but didn't end up being my life.

I am no longer distancing myself from playing music in order to distance myself from what I perceived as disappointment I thought I might have caused people who cared about me and invested time in me all those years ago.

I am no longer keeping my distance from people (or from places that conjure up memories of people) I thought I had disappointed.

And, now I realize that no one was disappointed at all.

We're not expected to know who we are going to be when we fill out that college application. They knew that. I didn't. And now I realize that any disappointment I perceived was projected from my own insecurities.

As much as we change and as much as people say you can't go home again, I have come full circle and I have discovered that the long-ago me that loved playing music has been right here all along waiting for me to find my way back.

What's a blogger?

In Crankshaft this morning (yes, comics are still in the newspaper although I read them online now), we have the question everyone would love to know the answer to.

Here is an answer but certainly not the only one.

A blogger is someone who enjoys writing and is too stubborn to quit writing on a blog even though the rest of the world has moved on to social media.

Staycation ponderings

Two notes as I pass the mid-point of the staycation.

First point - I've been quite mindful to make this a real staycation and that means shirking as many domestic responsibilities as I can. Sure, I mowed the yard because the forecast is calling for a ton of rain starting today. But I did not do most of my usual inside tasks such as mopping, cleaning the shower, etc. These items can wait a week although typing that just now makes me cringe with funkiness. Thanks to this additional freed up time, I have been able to watch several movies on TCM, finish one book, get an impressive head start on another and read most of the New Yorker Summer Fiction Issue.

Second point - With staycations come not cooking at home much/at all and that means eating out more than usual which would not please my doctor but does please my desire to reduce my domestic responsibilities this week (see First point) and this has exposed me to more terrible restaurant service than I am used to. Even if the service is technically good, meaning that the order arrives correctly the first time (which has not happened at two major chain restaurants so far this week), most employees I've encountered are just not polite. You say thank you, they just glare at you. They almost drop the plate on the table and not because it is hot (I checked) and they are so distracted that you have to ask for something two or three times before you get it. Of course, you may rightfully point out that restaurants are under-staffed and there is a greater population of people who go out to eat versus cooking at home now versus the olden days when I was a kid and yes, this is true, but even in my fast food days, we had minimal payroll and we were still expected to be nice.

It's gotten to the point that when someone is nice, whether they are the person checking you in at the doctor's office or checking you out at the drug store, they stand out because the majority of the population cannot seem to hide the fact that they would rather be anywhere other than where they are and yes, I get that also, but you are being paid to represent a company and not just how you happen to be feeling on a particular day.

Are we no longer teaching people to be nice as they grow up and then we're not training it and expecting it when they become employees? Maybe? The big problem, in my "old man yells at cloud" opinion, is that it's hard to know how to interact with a human being when your main interaction with others for hours a day is via a screen.