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Showing posts from April, 2019

Late afternoon music

This song has a whole new meaning for me these days

Maybe it's always been on the radio and I'm just playing closer attention, but it seems like I hear it at least twice a week lately. I heard it just this morning.

I liked the song and the video when it came out back in '87 but I can't remember exactly what I thought of it.

Now, with my own touch/full swath of grey, it has a whole new meaning!

Newsletters are the blogs of the Tens

My apologies to one of my writing heroes, Nora Ephron, and the fantastic When Harry Met Sally... from which the title of this post was stolen/adapted from the line "Pesto is the quiche of the Eighties."

I subscribe to some really great newsletters. I like the ping of my email app and then seeing one land in my inbox.


There is a nice intimacy of getting a virtual letter from someone dropped in your virtual inbox. It's much the same way I feel about podcasting. I know podcasts are not being recorded specifically for me but there is something about having something delivered versus this format where I just throw words up for whoever might find them.

And, the burden is on you, the reader, to look at the feed or click on a link and come here while podcasts and newsletters come directly to you.

Newsletters are a fantastic outlet for direct me to you communication and they seem to be the next logical step for someone who has primarily written on a blog if you have an audience large enough to make it worthwhile and by worthwhile, I'm not saying financially worthwhile. You would just need to have a pretty sizable community of folks that care about what you have to say and share in order to justify the time and effort it takes to put out a good newsletter with some regularity.

For an example of the work that goes into a good newsletter, check out this tweet and article from Austin Kleon. If you haven't bought and read his books, I highly recommend them plus subscribing to his newsletter and following him on Twitter.
Just the image alone is daunting! Then, read the article!

Think of all of those sources, all of that incoming data that you need to keep up with!

Of course, being a creator is his livelihood and most of us are juggling creating around a full-time job that has nothing to do with what we are creating. For me, getting up early to write this is a nice diversion from the work day ahead which at times feels like mindless drudgery. Whatever I create on the side keeps me going and whatever I do at my job keeps us fed.

So, for now, I have no time and no plan to create a newsletter. I might be able to squeeze out enough time to create a not so great one but I would not want to do that. And I would only have an audience in the double-digits because I have nothing much to offer so the reasoning behind spending that time on a newsletter, time I could spend reading books or listening to shortwave or mowing the yard, is just not there.

That's why I will keep writing here. This right here is what I have time to do. Writing here brings me a little joy when I have time to do it. It reminds me that there is a writer inside of me somewhere and that I do have some ideas to share. I just don't have enough to fill a weekly newsletter.

If you want to subscribe to some of the newsletters I read, now you can! I have added a widget under the side menu of this blog named Great Newsletters. Be sure to check those out.

Finally, there is a newsletter of sorts for this blog. In the same side menu, you can subscribe to emails of posts under the very appropriate heading Get Every Post via Email! If that's too much for you, posts also get tweeted personally by me (no longer via a robot) on Twitter @upinthisbrain.

Book Bankruptcy

I've heard of podcast bankruptcy. It's when you get too far behind to catch up and you have to give up and delete everything but the newest episodes.

I've also heard of something similar with The New Yorker and I have had it happen to me in the past. It's why I stopped subscribing to The New Yorker. I can't commit to an issue almost every week. It leaves me with little time to read anything else and I was perpetually playing catch up with a stack of New Yorkers taunting me next to my recliner.

Book bankruptcy is a little tougher for me. I hate to give up on a book. I try and try and try to keep going but, especially as I get older, I realize the silliness of this. Time is too precious to waste and there are so many books out there that I actually want to read.

Over the last couple of years, I have had to declare book bankruptcy a handful of times and the latest time was just last night.


I know, I know. James Joyce is a master, a literary legend! Not being able to finish one of his books is like declaring out loud that I don't like real literature, whatever that is.

I just couldn't do it. I got about a third of the way done and had to bail. I had been dreading picking it up for the last few days and it had even been on my to-read list!

There were stories I liked. There were parts of the stories that surprised me. It was high-quality stuff! That would be my quote on the jacket. "It was high-quality stuff! - @upinthisbrain"

I'm just not in the mood for high-quality stuff or maybe I'm not in the mood for this flavor of high-quality stuff. It's good to be at a point in life where I can admit this and stop myself from the self-torture of reading a book that is just not connecting with me.

The perils of the cloud

Some people keep their to-do list on paper. I did for years. And, sure, a piece of paper could get lost or burn up or be sucked away by a tornado, but you can prevent some of those things.

You can't prevent when the site you use for your to-do list, which resides in THE CLOUD, goes down.

And that's exactly what happened to me this morning. I clicked on the Todoist app and boom! I am logged out and can't get back in.


The PANIC!

In their defense, I've been using Todoist for several years and I have never had this problem before and the outage seemed to last less than thirty minutes. Also, I really like the app. I like it so much that I am a premium member. It's so much better for me than the old Franklin Planner I used for years.

But the real PANIC came from the fact that I have a LOT in Todoist and I had never downloaded one of the daily backup files that Todoist has readily available out there until just now.

Yes, that was dumb of me. Todoist has worked fine for so long that I just, you know, got comfortable.

So, yes, I have a backup now and will downloading backups at least once a week. How will I remember to do that?

Well, it's in my Todoist.

Changes

I really loved this in the latest Orbital Operations by Warren Ellis which magically appeared in my inbox this morning as it, thankfully, does every Sunday:

The way I think and work and exist in the world is changing. I figure this is a good thing, and indicates that my brain hasn't started fossilising yet.
I've said this to you before, and I'll say it again: always be checking your practice. Times change and so do you.

More than anything so far in 2019, what Warren shares in his newsletter and on his website has shaken me awake to the point that I am no longer content with staying stuck, dormant, lazy, static, etc.

This process ongoing.

I am not just in a place of reinvention as a creator but I also find myself in a place of reinvention as a consumer of the creations of others, from how I use social media to whose ideas I allow into my head.

It's time to start listening to podcasts again

I've missed them. I've missed the voices I have been used to hearing. So now I have to decide whether to pick back up with the most recent episodes or go back through every episode I've missed.

I started with this one right here while I was ironing clothes this morning.

The grand reopening, now without comments

I was looking at a post at Warren Ellis LTD this morning when I noticed something that I had not noticed before. There is no place for comments on any of his posts. If you want to contact him, his Gmail address is right there on his contact me page but there is no place to comment publicly on his site.

Then I went to Austin Kleon's site. Guess what? No comments.

I like that and I don't know why I had not thought about it in the past. Moderating spam comments has driven me nuts for years.

I think I have always thought of the internet as I first thought of it so many years ago when it entered my apartment on a phone line to a Hayes modem with those glorious little red lights flashing as all of that wonderful data poured in at a speed that would seem unbelievably slow now but was absolutely amazing back then.

Back then, it was a bulletin board, a place for sharing ideas and building communities and everything had to be a community, right? If I post something, I should expect people to comment. That's what being online is all about. It's one huge conversation, right?

I am over that thinking and I am glad to see that a lot of other people are getting over it also. We are building some walls. We're making our Twitters and Instagrams private. We still have communities but now we are choosing who gets to be a part of them.

We will still have our public outlets also (like this site and the podcast when I get around to doing that again) but I don't think they are going to be like bulletin boards anymore.

Maybe blogs and podcasts will be a bit more like books. You can yell at a book but the author is not going to hear it. You can take time to sit down and write a letter but that letter does not become a part of the book.

If you want to write me a letter, virtually, you'll have to reach out to me on Twitter @upinthisbrain and you can even follow me there again if you want but I will have to approve that since I am keeping that account private. (I've back off of this idea of a private Twitter for now. I don't know why. Maybe I am asking for trouble.)

Also, I have broken the Twitter habit and I'm not planning on going back to looking at it often but I do see @ comments at least once a day.

Unlike Warren and Austin, I'm not going to pop up an email address just yet. I know the tens of you that might read this will be disappointed but you probably already know how to reach me if you are reading this anyway.

This website has been locked down for a few weeks because I have been on a bit of a hiatus/reassessment/life reset and, at right around the same time, I started getting tons of spam comments here.

With this post, I have "reopened" the site and turned off comments at the same time. We'll see how that goes.