July Write-O-Rama 21: GOOOOOAAAALLLL!!!!!

For this glorious edition where I will pass 20,000 words written this month in the first 200 words I type, I am on the couch with the writing laptop and Stan Getz playing on Pandora (Exact song: Desafinado – Stan Getz & Charlie Byrd). Special music for a special occasion.

In the realm of not-so-special things that happened today, my iPod Touch died. This was my second iPod Touch. I bought it a couple of days into my mother’s ICU stay back in October of 2015. My previous iPod Touch that had replaced my Zune has next to no battery life left and was no longer supported so I went to Walmart and bought the new (at the time) model with the blue back because I wanted something a bit different than plain old chrome or whatever the back of most of them are.

That iPod Touch became my constant companion for what ended up being my mother’s nearly one month stay in ICU and then trips to various hospitals and rehab facilities for the next six months. Podcasts and music carried me through it all and I was certainly grateful to hear well wishes from others in our podcast community at the time. Apple stopped supporting this iPod Touch last year and today the case cracked due to a battery fault, I guess. It just popped – poof!

Oh, well. It lasted nearly five years and I was not going to buy another one. I had always listened to podcasts on a separate device so I would not be interrupted by calls to my work phone (my iPhone) but now I am over that hang up plus I don’t listen to as many podcasts as I used to so I stay pretty caught up. (I passed 20,000 74 words ago. Yay me!)

Saying goodbye to the iPod is a reminder of how long my mother has been gone, of course. She comes up in conversation from time to time with my wife and kids and my father and parts of those final months still seem almost unbelievable. Cancer is relentless and every step forward quickly brought two steps backwards and now all of the time has passed although sometimes it seems fresh in my mind but I guess we all have a few events like that in our personal histories.

Speaking of personal history, I’ll be recording episode 501 of the podcast possibly tomorrow, maybe the next day and I was tempted yesterday to record a bit and create segment one of the podcast and then create segment two later in the week thus making a two segment podcast. But then I changed my mind and started seriously thinking about why I have to sit down, record the whole thing in one run and put the episode out as quickly as possible.

Three points came to mind

First point, if I record earlier in the week, I typically can’t remember what I said so I will probably end up repeating myself. I don’t take notes and I’m not going to go back and listen to segment one and not a whole lot happens around here in a given week so repeating the same stuff again is a likely outcome.

Second point, I think my podcasts are like Taco Bell. They spoil if they sit out too long. What if I say something on Monday – make a prediction about what dumb thing Trump will do next or where a hurricane might go and then I am proven wrong! Do I still put that out there and make myself look foolish or spend most of segment two correcting myself and explaining why I don’t have a clue? I think not!

Third point, I start to second guess myself if I have a segment “in the can” and I especially would second guess myself if I had a segment in the can that I recorded on the can. To clarify, I have never recorded while sitting on the crapper. But I do start to second guess myself if I record and don’t post it immediately. I start to think about the things I said and I have found that thinking is a great way to derail creativity so I definitely recommend against thinking. I guess I am pretty self-conscious when I have time to be self-conscious so I try to post the episodes as quickly as I can.

Before I depart, let’s get back to the tale of the iPod Touch real quick and I will update you on my new setup. As I said, no more iPod Touch’s for me. I decided to remove my iHome Lightning Dock and put my Amazon Echo Dot on my home office desk. It takes up much less room. I can connect either my iPad or iPhone to it via Bluetooth and listen to podcasts through that. I’m going to give it a try for the next week at least and see how that works. Doing this means I don’t have to buy anything new and this is good since I just bought two new (to me ) items this week.

First, I bought a pencil sharpener that Austin Kleon recently recommendedthe CARL Angel-5 Pencil Sharpener in blue. I got it renewed for about $17. My old electric pencil sharpener came from Walmart many years ago and it has gotten dull so I’ve been needing a replacement for about a year and have just dealt with it, usually resorting to using a tiny manual pencil sharpener instead. The CARL Angel-5 sharpens pencils perfectly. I still use pencils all the time and it is perfect so should out to Austin Kleon for the great recommendation.

Second, and this is completely embarrassing, I bought a backpack. I KNOW, I KNOW!! I was at TJ Maxx over the weekend and I got sucked into the backpack section which has tons of backpacks for crazy good prices right now thanks to Back to School now known as Maybe We’ll Go Back to School But We Might End Up Being Remote From Home Again Thanks to Coronavirus. At the time, I did not see anything that I just had to have. Nothing there was better than the ones I saved from the help center but also none of the bags I still have are absolutely perfect.

One big thing I always want in a bag is easy to operate zippers. My High Sierra bag has zippers that stick. It’s a great bag but those zippers are terrible. Also, the Orben backpack that I got back from daughter #1 is an awesome bag but it also has goofy zippers.

So, I decided to run back down to TJ Maxx and take one more look and right before I was about to leave the backpack section satisfied that there was nothing I needed, I saw a Solo New York Region Backpack in black with burgundy accents with a clearance tag for $25. The zippers are like butta! The bag is slim but big enough for the writing laptop and the big Esquire short stories book I am reading. It has a proper place for pens, pencils and a notebook. And it’s super light. This bag retails for around $70 so getting it for $25 is quite the deal.

This bag also puts me down to just two backpacks, my Swiss Gear backpack for work and the Solo New York Region Backpack for personal stuff. I’m not getting rid of the others I saved from the help center donation box just yet in case the kids need them for something but I am pretty content with just the two backpacks plus the Targus slim briefcase I mentioned a few posts back and my Outdoor Master sling bag in blue that is my out and about town, corona bag.

OK, so this is still too many bags and I don’t think I discussed any of these when writing about bags was a regular feature on the blog and I continue to have a huge stack of bags in the closet partly just in case the kids need them and partly so I won’t get donation remorse and give away something I stupidly feel the need to repurchase. Been there, done that more than once with bags and radios and other things also.

Buying your feelings is a lot like eating your feelings and I think the happy pills have helped me come to grips with this and a lot more. To get down to 3 main bags is quite a feat compared to where I was just two months ago with a couch full of bags staring back at me.

Well, I think that’s it for this entry into my month of posts. This has been a long one. Once I get going, the momentum takes over. Thanks to anyone and everyone who has read any of these over the last three weeks. Although I have hit my goal, I plan to I keep going until the last day of the month. Maybe the rest of the posts won’t be as long as this one!


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