Sunday, December 16, 2018

Nice radio station catch on my Tecsun PL-660

I think I mentioned on the podcast recently that I had been listening to a bit of AM radio again at night and had been enjoying that and last night, I had my Tecsun PL-660 tuned to WGN in Chicago (720 kHz) and it was coming in loud and clear. I like WGN because their late night programming is quite unique - you never know who you're going to hear being interviewed or what topic they might be discussing.

I fired up my radio this afternoon and it was still tuned to 720 kHz and a very strong signal was coming in. I was about to log into to see what it might be since we usually don't pick up anything on 720 kHz during the day here and that's when the weather forecast for Chicago started. That's right, WGN, 484 miles away, was coming in loud and clear at 3:30PM.

Maybe the conditions are just right. I don't know. But this radio continues to amaze me on AM and shortwave. On FM, not so much but that's OK. My other Tecsun, the PL-606, makes up for it with fantastic FM reception.

Friday, December 14, 2018

The Blog Fireplace

Between work and family activities and the Christmas podcasts, it's been crazy busy this week so I have had no time to write here and next week is looking just as busy. So, here's a nice fireplace to keep you warm until I return.

Friday, December 7, 2018

Friday Roundup from Armpit

It's Friday and I'm ready for the weekend. Tonight is the band and choir concert and I keep reminding myself that I don't have to move equipment tonight. It's like a reflex. Band equals having to load a truck. I was eating lunch today and I had that thought pass into my mind but then I realized, no, I just get to sit in the audience and enjoy the music tonight. Whew!

In other news, Christmas podcasting is in full swing now! Not only did the first episode of the 12 Podcasting Days of Christmas come out today, but I also recorded a segment for a very special upcoming Garbagecast Conversations. Exciting!

The holiday momentum will carry us right up to Christmas and then bam! The letdown that is December 26th. But let's try not to think about that right now.

Oh, look at this weather forecast for Armpit!

From our nuts and bolts department, the Up In This Blog Twitter is no more! Gone! Whammo! The Up In This Blog url is temporarily redirecting to this very site until it expires. 

It's nice to be down to just one Twitter so I can get frustrated in one nice convenient profile.

That's the news from Armpit for today. Back again next week with more exciting CONTENT!

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Snow on the way?

It's been chilly here at the home office this week, a chilly we normally don't have settle in until almost the end of December. And with that chill we have had on and off snow flurries and enough of those west of us to make the roads briefly slick.

It reminds me of the weather I encountered about ten years ago this week. I was working that week up in Bloomington, Indiana and it was chilly, but not freezing, and the light snow seemed to be falling just about the entire time. The flakes weren't big enough to accumulate. They just lingered, sort of getting them ready for the real snow that was sure to come there in the weeks ahead.

Bloomington was one of my favorite places to have visited for work. The Indiana University campus there is filled with amazing historical buildings. But, I haven't been back. Our office there closed just a couple of months after that visit.

We don't get real snow this far south that often but it looks like we have a pretty decent chance coming together for Sunday night. I doubt it will last long but it will be something to behold if it really happens.

Monday, December 3, 2018

Full circle - why I changed the name of the blog (again)

Way back in 2013, I decided to start a podcast but I had a small problem. I wanted the podcast to have the name that this blog had at the time, Up In This Brain. In order to make that work, I decided I would change the name of the blog and make the home of my podcast.

I think I've changed the name of the blog a half-dozen times since then. None of the names sounded good to me. I guess Up In This Blog was OK but I never really liked it.

Recently, I noticed that our good podcasting pal, @aliencg, had assigned a subdomain to his blog and that was that. Nice, simple, neat.

So, that's what I've done. I have moved the blog back under the Up In This Brain umbrella of awesomeness.

Maybe that's a bit much.

The main reason I'm doing this is that I want to have less cyberstuff to manage. One less domain name, one less Twitter account.


Fewer things to maintain should mean more time to create. That's my goal for 2019.

Thursday, November 29, 2018

Social media is a tool and so am I

tl;dr alert. More rambling on social media ahead. You're sick of reading about it and I'm sick of writing about it so I have decided that this will be my last post on this topic for the rest of 2018 and ALL of 2019. Guaranteed!

Continuing the theme from yesterday on disconnecting, I've complained in the past quite a bit about social media and I have struggled all year to go from complaining about it to admitting that my complaining is my fault.

Social media is a tool.

A hammer is a tool.

If I end up smashing my finger when hammering a nail into the wall, I can't blame the hammer. Sure, I might yell at the hammer and tell it to die but it is an inanimate object that only smashes fingers when being operated by the operator (me) and the truth is if I am too dumb or impatient to properly use a hammer then I will end up with a smashed finger.

If I'm frustrated with social media, it's on me.

This realization gave me back the enjoyment of my long-time nemesis, Twitter. Muting and unfollowing people who are joy vampires and limiting how often I open the app have been key. I think I still look at it too much and sometimes tweets sneak through that annoy me but I can say I am at a better place with it than I was at the start of 2018.

Facebook is different. It seems that my idea of how Facebook should be used is not the same as most other people but, again, this is on me. Different people use different tools different ways. I use Facebook as a scrapbook of what I do with my family so we can all look back on the things we all did together.

Most people use Facebook as a bulletin board of sorts, as a place to air grievances and political opinions or to just complain in general.

That's why I post on Facebook but I rarely scroll "the newsfeed" or whatever they call it. So, I miss all birthdays and I even removed my own birthday so no one feels to need to respond to birthday notifications on my behalf.

I have realized that only a very few posts have to do with what people are actually doing and it's just not worth my time sifting through all the dirt to find the tiny bits of gold.

Instagram is another app I find I enjoy less and less. The feed is a mess. I miss stuff all the time so looking at it is frustrating. I like how pictures I share get organized - it's much better than posting photos to Twitter where they seem to get lost in the shuffle so I still use it but I find that I share less and less.

And I guess that's my final note here. I do seem to be sharing less and less across all social media platforms. I think that's why I'm here at the blog more often and I know that most people don't have the time or motivation or desire to read my long (tl;dr) posts and that is alright.

My need to get the ideas out of my brain is more of a priority for me than the need for my ideas to be read by anyone.

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

I'm gonna get myself, I'm gonna get myself disconnected

My apologies to Stereo MCs for my play on their fine lyrics from back in '92:

I did something really odd (for me and possibly for you also if you think about it) last night.

I watched television with no device in the room with me.

No smartphone.

No tablet.

So there were no distractions. No pings. No boops. No scrolling Twitter to see what other distracted people watching the same thing were tweeting.

And, it was college basketball which I used to watch a decent amount of. The specific game I watched was Michigan State versus Louisville and what a great game it was. It was exciting! It went into overtime and the underdog (Louisville) won!

And, they showed the Louisville pep band a lot which made me really happy being a former band guy.

And, they panned the camera through the crowd a lot and every so often you would see someone looking at their smartphone. They are right there at the game and completely distracted and the reality is that is me most of the time.

Of course, this way of thinking has morphed into a fantastic meme:

Still, I'm going to put on my "get off my lawn" hat and say that there is some truth to this. I never completely enjoy doing one thing if I'm also trying to capture the moment for or participate in conversations on social media.

I think I haven't watched a basketball game in a while because I thought I just didn't enjoy them anymore but the problem is my multi-tasking which has become second nature. I tote my iPad all over the house. My Apple Watch is on my wrist from the moment I get out of the shower until I am about to turn off the light to go to sleep.

I don't know what made me decide to leave my devices in another room last night, but I'm glad I did and I plan to keep doing it, to slowly break the addiction to being connected.