Showing posts from December, 2017

A farewell to 2017 and a look ahead to 2018

I just noticed that they still have Christmas decorations on the set of CBS Sunday Morning. We took all of ours down yesterday. The inside of the house has shifted from the totes filled with Christmas decor to the one tote marked winter. I am not sure why we celebrate winter. It's not great fun lately. We have several single-digit temperature nights coming and I find myself occupied with worry over the pipes although I am sure most folks just go on with life as normal and nothing freezes up for any of them. I just know, based on my history, that I don't typically have that kind of good luck.

At the breakfast table a few minutes ago, I was talking to my wife about how futuristic 2018 seems. I am not sure if this is because 2018 is just a futuristic looking number in my mind or because it marks forty years since 1978, my favorite year in music. I'm not sure if I ever, at any time, had any expectation to live until 2018 although I am still fairly young. It's just that 2018…

Pipe Watch 2017 and other mish-mash

Pipe Watch 2017 begins tonight! If you've ever read the blog or listened to the podcast, you're probably familiar with pipe watches from years gone by. Whenever the temperature drops below 22, pipe watch is in effect here at the home office. Homes in the south are not as well insulated as what we had when we lived in Ohio and both of my neighbors have suffered broken pipe incidents over the last few years. So far, we have been fortunate not to have a mishap but it takes some work.

First, I drip the faucets the whole time the temperature is under 22. That's a no-brainer. Second, I run a small radiator heater in the garage near the water heater on low and I do my best to keep the garage above 39 degrees. Third, I get up and down and check the heater and the power cord that runs it every two hours to make sure everything is running cool. I even have a wireless night-vision camera in there pointed at it. Finally, if the temperature gets too low, I open the door to the garage an…

Christmas 2017

Although it's not completely over yet and there is still time for some horrible craziness, I am cautiously ready to declare Christmas 2017 as being one of the least-stressful holidays in recent memory and that's especially rare for a Christmas as most Christmases seem to run on the edge between crazy and frustrating each year. I'm not sure why it feels that way. It just does.

Maybe the day trended in the right direction because we started out with the perfect unwrapping music courtesy of my grandmother's record collection:

OK. Although this fine choice of music helped start the day off right, the real reason was our attempt to get household chores and preparations for today out of the way yesterday so we could rest as much as possible today. That meant no plans to leave the house and no typical household chores being done. I am sure the washer and dryer appreciated the holiday as much as we did.
We opened gifts. Cleaned up. Had a good lunch. Watched some TV and movies. Mo…

Christmas Eve 2017!

Today was typical for December around these parts - cloudy, windy, cold. In the evening, we got our first little bit of sleet and snow of winter and I don't want to think about what will be coming in the next weeks and months. Tonight's came in fast and furious but the ground is still too warm to give us a rare White Christmas.

We spent most of our evening driving around looking at Christmas lights, first at The Dancing Lights of Christmas which moved from Nashville to the fairgrounds by my house this year. Very convenient! I didn't get many good pictures. In fact, this is the best one:

Then we went out to a house which is known for having a crazy, computerized show and they did not disappoint. I would rather have all of this than the inflatables I have.

My poor inflatables are spending another night deflated due to the wind and now they are covered in mud after the 3 inches of rain we had Friday and Friday night. Now I am considering my plan for getting them off the lawn and…

Live from the spare laptop!

Yes, I finally had to give up on my main laptop for now and move completely to my spare. After all of the work over the last few days and my confidence increasing daily that the problem was fixed, it froze up again last night. I was able to get it back up and running in just a few minutes but I decided to run a much more in-depth diagnostic (since everything had passed so far) and, guess what, we have a winner - hard drive failure!

My hard drive is running out of specifications, blah, blah, so I ordered a new one which will arrive (maybe) Wednesday and that should be the permanent fix. Until then, I am on the eight-year old Inspiron 15 that I am glad I never got rid of. Earlier this week, I wiped it to get all the extra Dell junk off of it (including Dell Dock which was horrible) and now it runs about as good as my main laptop aside from the internal wireless card being somewhat slow.

Oh, well. I guess all of the podcast processing did in my hard drive in just over two years. I'll u…

My computer is still working! Christmas is coming!

Oh, glorious day!

My personal laptop is still fine as of right now. If it keeps working (fingers crossed), it's surprising to me that one Windows Update can cause so many problems. I wonder what non-technical people do? Take their computer to some big box store and overpay for support? Buy a new hard drive? Throw their laptop off the roof in anger?

In other news, I wrote up my notes for the final episode of the Podcasting Days of Christmas 2017 and I got all of my files in bossjock studio for the final two episodes. It's all downhill from here and I'm not saying that just because the quality of the podcast of kind of crap. No! It's because our podcasting time together for 2017 is dwindling down quickly! After Friday, I take the rest of the year off so both you and I can have a break after twelve episodes almost daily in a row.

I hesitate to say I am taking a break from anything because you never know. I try to take a break from Twitter and end up tweeting or from blogging…

Is my laptop nightmare finally over?

Last week, my Dell Inspiron 5558 laptop, just over two years old, started going nuts. Weird things led to repeated crashes which led to repeated hard drive scans, hard drive fixes, a master boot record corruption and then fix, resets, reinstalls, etc., etc. It's been quite frustrating.

Just as I was about to give up and buy a new hard drive, I discovered that my laptop was actually getting stuck on a Windows Update that would download but never completely install. This was causing the disk to run at 99% usage almost all the time and the laptop was even turning on in the middle of the night trying to update in an endless loop.

The update is KB4054517 and you can read about other people's misery with this update here, here and here and in multiple other places if you Google it so I am not alone in this although this update has installed fine on other machines I have. It just doesn't "like" this model for some reason. I have to assume it has something to do with the p…

My year in books!

Way, way, WAY back in January of this very year, on January the 1st (I think), I decided to give Goodreads another go. Goodreads was one of the services I kept signing up for and then deleting and then signing up again. So dumb. What was I thinking?


Well, by goodness, I do know now!

I decided, as part of a New Year's resolution (even though I don't believe in New Year's resolutions), that I wanted to read more in 2017 and Goodreads would be a great way to track that.

My decision was correct. I have been reading all year and plan to do the same in 2018. Goodreads just sent me an email about My Year in Books and wow! I read 11,218 pages across 43 books. My goal was to read 20 books and I read 43 and it's going to go up because I am knocking out #44 this weekend. I have never read as many books in a year before.


I am very, very happy I gave Goodreads another try. It's helped keep me on track all year. …

There's only so much me to go around

After a bit of reflection on what I wrote yesterday, I had the epiphany. No wonder I have so little to write about here anymore - I am saying it all on a five days a week podcast this week and next! There is only so much I have to share and I'm covering it all on there so there is nothing left when I get over here in the afternoons.

Over at the podcast, the struggle is real. I feel like the episodes get more surreal and rambly (not a real word but listen to today's episode and you'll understand) and just plain weird with each passing day. I'm glad I have two days this weekend to recharge.

Pulling a boom mic over to your face and pressing record with no notes each day is sort of like jumping into a pool in the dark. I have no idea what's going to happen from the moment I hear the intro playing in my ears to the moment the final song fades out and I tap the outro cart in bossjock.

This bothered me when I started this thing almost five years ago. Now I see notes and even…

Writing out of habit can lead to rambling pointlessness

There is a dilemma I have each day when I think about coming here and writing up a post. That dilemma involves the fact that not a whole lot happens around here most of the time and it's tough to come here each day and try to write something with nothing on my mind to write about.

Sure, I could write about politics and the news but outrage Twitter has all of that covered. I did notice last night that people on Twitter are just plain sore. You have a combination of sore losers and sore winners. People will find something to complain about no matter what happens. The big trend in the middle of the day involving horse Twitter made me think, "What a dumb diversion away from the real issues this is!" but it happens on Twitter and Facebook all the time. We waste a lot of time laughing about how a saddle is placed on a horse or what exactly covfefe means while the world keeps on turning and burning while we are looking the other way.

But, enough of that! I certainly won't fix…

Tuesday potpourri

It's another cold, cloudy day here at the home office and I can report that I am still coughing although not as frequently. I assume this stops eventually but who knows. It's a drag staying in most of the time because getting out in the cold seems to trigger more drainage/coughing/hacking and none of those things are fun.

The Christmas podcasts keep going over at Up In This Brain. I have them nicely planned out in a spreadsheet and I prep for them a day ahead so all I have to do is open bossjock and record when I'm ready and then I move in the files, which are already conveniently out in my Dropbox, for the next day. Wash, rinse, repeat. It sure does keep me focused on how quickly Christmas is getting here. The days seem to be ticking by quickly now. School will be out starting Monday and then I am on vacation again starting that Friday through January 4th. It will be my longest vacation ever and I'm sure it will spoil me into a state of laziness I have never experience…

Christmas music I've been obsessing over lately

Here are a few songs that I keep playing over and over as Christmas draws nearer and nearer!

Chilly Saturday

Ah, the weekend.

We started off with an excellent band and choir Christmas concert at the high school last night in which my youngest daughter had a solo in one of the choir pieces. The auditorium was packed and it was the final school function of the year that I have to attend. Just one full week of school is left before the break!

Today is my youngest daughter's birthday (big weekend for her) so we went out to lunch and then hit the stores to do something something. I made it through two stores before retreating to the car to rest. The fatigue of this illness is about all that's left of it and I'm thinking the strong antibiotics have something to do with that.

It's still chilly but we missed out on all of the snow. There are folks to our southeast that got a foot and we have barely seen flurries. I'm glad someone else is getting it for once as I know that it's just a matter of time before our luck runs out.

Well, back to the couch with my book now.

Counting it down until Christmas

Yes, on the last possible day at the last possible moment, I decided to update the old spreadsheet and resurrect the Up In This Brain Christmas countdown. Do not confuse this with the original and my inspiration for this, the Robert Dyer Channel Christmas Countdown. That one is daily and far more humorous, interesting and entertaining.

My little show is nothing more than an excuse to share some Christmas songs that I like and drone on about my daily off. Of course, the best feature is the requests from the folks unlucky enough to listen. It's the least I can do for them, poor saps.

Doing the countdown does add to my Christmas cheer especially on cloudy, ugly, cold, barren days like today when we live under the constant threat of nuclear war and I am still dealing with this lingering cough/drainage/illness. I am so over being sick. Blergh!

My little two day vacation came at just the right time and I'm getting recharged for next week which is my last full work week of 2017! Wooo!! …

Firing the radios back up

Many, many, many, many (this could go on and on) radios have passed through my hands over the years. From early AM transistors to modern digital receivers, I've had way too many.

Although I know I still have more than I need, I got rid of a bunch of stuff earlier this year and sold multiple radios as part of that. I narrowed things down to 1 scanner and four general coverage radios.

My scanner is a Radio Shack Pro 97. I've had it for a long time. I didn't consider selling it because I pull it out in winter weather and listen to the local road crews so I can get an accurate idea of how bad the roads are. I pulled it out last night and reprogrammed it to just a few local frequencies I care about the most including the fire station right down the street from me, EMS, schools and even the local airport for those times when I've in the mood to listen to planes come in and go out.

For AM and shortwave, I kept four radios although only one, the last one I bought, is used often a…

Ello again! Now, what to do with it?

As I mentioned Monday, I reactivated my old Ello account and goofed around with it a little.

As part of an experiment of sorts, I posted three links - one to my Monday blog post here and one each to two recent podcasts I have been on, Smooth Sailing and Garbagecast Conversations. First thing yesterday morning, I checked those posts and each had around sixty views (not bad for being an unestablished account following hardly anyone) but there were no interactions or clickthroughs. The sixty views were all for naught.

I don't know what constitutes a view on Ello. Maybe my posts appear on a big page of posts and scrolling by them counts as a view. That is how I see other people's posts.

Of course, I doubt there were sixty clicks on any of the posts. Also, my posts required an external link be clicked to see the actual content, whether that's a blog post or a podcast. Most people on Ello publish direct to Ello so it's its own publishing platform.

I think that going all in on El…

Saying bah humbug to Christmas cards this year

If I sent you a Christmas card last year, Merry Christmas to you! I didn't forget you this year. It's not on the way. It didn't get lost.

It's weird - the guy who listens to Christmas music almost year-round declaring that he's not sending out Christmas cards this year but that's exactly what's happening.

I like the idea of Christmas cards. I don't like the idea of people receiving them feeling obligated to send one back because I know that not all people like the idea of Christmas cards. I assume a far majority of folks consider Christmas cards a "to do" and send them out begrudgingly year after year.

I know people who count them and compare year to year numbers. I don't do that. To be honest, I barely look at them when I get them. They end up in this little card rack thing where they stay until the day we take down the Christmas stuff. Then, most people toss them. I, probably out of some weird guilt, have put them in ziploc bags with the ye…

Feelin' Puny Monday Update

At the start, the side effects of the medicine is just as bad as being sick. I think I'm caught in the middle of a four-way fight of side effects thanks to the four different medicines I am taking. You would think that maybe they would cancel each other out but no, you can feel thirsty, hot, cold, full, hungry, wired, tired, and dizzy all at once and I do not recommend it.

It's a combination of all of this that I blame for reactivating my Ello account today. I've also seen a couple of people tweet about Ello over the last week and that got all in my dizzy mind so why not. I doubt I will do anything with it ever but there it is and I plan on just leaving it sitting there for good now like everyone else has. I do admit that the quiet and calm of what I see when I peruse Ello is a nice alternative to the angst and complaining that saturates Facebook and Twitter these days.

Finally, big time cold is on the way here starting tomorrow. At least it seems big time because it's b…

Lazy, puny weekend

Well, I'm not too lazy. After being up most of the night coughing and hacking, I drove over to the 24 hour clinic at 3:30AM to get it checked out. Luckily, I was negative for the flu and just have a really bad sinus infection so I got some shots and then headed over to the 24 hour pharmacy to pick my four prescriptions up. After that, Hardee's is open super early so I went there and got breakfast at the drive-thru. I should have thought to record some of that but I didn't think about pulling the phone out until I was on the way back home with the food. I just posted that ten minutes of rambling as episode 340 of the podcast that made Armpit famous.

Aside from getting derailed by this bug, things are going OK. I am winding things down at work for year end and I have two days off at the end of next week before my big vacation starts on December 22nd. I'll be spoiled rotten after that one. I'm off until January 4th and I've never taken any time at Christmas before.…