Showing posts from September, 2017

The Cars I Drove and The One I Still Drive

As teased on the latest Up In This Brain, here is the much-anticipated entry in which I present a list of the cars I have owned and was the primary driver of and the pictures I found!

1985 Chevrolet Cavalier
My first car! Aside from weird random breakdowns and multiple water pump and alternator replacements, it was a great car. It took me thousands of miles during high school and almost all of college. I have lots of great memories of this car. Sadly, at about 160,000 miles (which was probably beyond its life expectancy), there was a problem that was deemed more expensive to fix than it was worth and it was wholesaled out for parts.

1991 Pontiac Sunbird
The Sunbird replaced my Cavalier and it was basically the exact same car. It had the exact same mechanical issues also. It went through alternators and water pumps like crazy but lasted me past getting married and even moving back to Tennessee in 1998. I loved the color. I've always been a fan of blue on a car.

1973 Volkswagen Beetle
My …

My way too long post about the new TV season

Many years ago, one of my favorite annual publications (aside from the Radio Shack catalog, of course!) was the TV Guide Fall Preview. It's back when TV Guide meant something and long before they destroyed the magazine by making it full-size.

We would go to the local bookstore every Monday after school and buy all the new weeklies that had just come in including TV Guide and this issue was always HUGE compared to a regular issue.

Serious viewing decisions were made based on the descriptions of the new shows in those pages, especially before VCR's came along. You could only, hold on - this is scary, watch ONE SHOW at a time! That's right. If two shows came on at the same time that you were interested in, YOU HAD TO CHOOSE! It was terrifying. Thank goodness those dark times are over!

Now it feels like we have too many choices. We can DVR to our hearts content and then drown ourselves in new shows. There was something good about being limited to catching it in prime time or not …

A quarter of a century!

I was listening to episode 645 of the dicksnjanes podcast earlier this week and Ken mentioned something about 1992 and how that was twenty-five years ago and my first reaction was to not believe this at all. How could 1992 have been twenty-five years ago! A whole quarter of a century has passed since I was a sophomore in college! How could this be?

When I think back to 1992, I can't say I remember a whole lot of specifics. I know that I wrote papers in the library in this big area filled with large PC's and CRT's. I believe we were on a DOS version of Wordperfect in those days. I spent a lot of time in the library. I read just about every book about being a writer and every literary journal that I could get my hands on which should been a hint that my heart was not truly in majoring in music. I would also sit high up in the football stadium and read books whenever I had the opportunity. I guess this was before the fear of heights I have now!

Fall of 1992 - nineteen years old…

Blogging secrets

I write these posts whenever I feel like writing and I schedule them out so there is some semblance of regularity. Yesterday, I wrote four blog posts (including this one). Maybe I had just the right amount of coffee. Who knows. There are plenty of days when I don't feel like writing a thing, when I have no ideas whatsoever. And then, I have those rare glorious days when I have tons of pointless ideas and I unleash them all here. Wooooo!

Turn Up Your Speakes: "Take Your Time (Do It Right)" by S.O.S. Band

Another blog, another revival of my old favorite feature, Turn Up Your Speakes!

Years ago (pre-YouTube) at work, I believe (the actual story has gotten fuzzy over the years) someone gave me a flash drive with a video file on it and there was a post-it with "Turn up your speakes" written in pencil stuck to the drive. I wish I had saved the post-it but I have always remembered the words "Turn up your speakes" and they have lived on via posts on various blogs over the years.

At one point, I tried to do these every Friday. I think I will do them just as I feel like it moving forward. I can't maintain a schedule of  blogging/podcasting/creating/etc. without the schedule sucking the fun out of things.

With that intro out of the way, our first Turn Up Your Speakes at Jason Writes Here is from 1980, "Take Your Time (Do It Right) by S.O.S. Band. In fact, this song peaked at number 3 on August 16, 1980. Wikipedia lists the genre as post-disco although the song sounds …

How do you measure a month?

I measure by when all of the bills are paid, specifically my father's bills. I took over my parents' bills when my mother went into the hospital two years ago next week and I slowly paid things off and found better deals so they would save more money each month. It horrified me to see how much they were paying for certain things but I had never gotten involved in their finances up to that point.

After two years, everything is planned out month to month and I spread the bills out so the budget stays intact and money can go into savings much more often than it comes out. I review everything each Friday and the weeks keep flying by.
I was thinking about what else has changed since my mother left the house for the last time two years ago. The house no longer has the "museum" feel that it had during her illness. We had left everything pretty much untouched for months while we were expecting that she would return. Now, many of the material things she had held on to for years…

Cooking up another batch of thought nuggets

Yikes - seeing "thought nuggets" on my screen seems even worse than using the word "content" and I do try to avoid calling things "content" as much as possible.

I guess I do cook up some thought nuggets daily and I share them via Twitter and now the Twitter thought nugget restaurant is back open for business to the general public. It wasn't long after I removed the option to protect my tweets that I got retweeted by a bot that apparently retweeets any mention of illuminati. At least they didn't automatically follow me.
Since the heyday of Twitter is over, I don't expect to get hardly any new followers now that I have cleaned out the followers I didn't know or didn't care to have following me.

I also decided to give Swarm another chance just because I am curious about the redesign. I don't know if I will keep messing with it long-term or not.

Bonus non-internet related thoughts: It sure is hot here. I want to say that I am ready for the…

My Fitbit falling out

My Fitbit would have jumped for joy last Friday and Saturday. With all of the moving stuff back and forth for my daughter's school, I would have been thousands of steps over my daily step goal. However, the Fitbit and its charging cable are now in a little plastic bag on a shelf.
My Fitbit falling out started a couple of weeks ago when I had been out doing stuff all day and I decided to check my Fitbit to see how many steps I had gotten in and that's when I noticed that I had forgotten it. My first thought was to be discouraged, like my steps didn't count unless they were registered in a little tiny machine and then transmitted into an app.

A couple of days after that, I came home and noticed that I was only about 100 steps off my daily goals. I could have walked around the house and got those steps but I realized at that moment that there was no point. What difference did it make? So, I just put the Fitbit on my desk and left it for a few days before packing it up.
What I…

Too hot for pumpkin spice

We made it through weekend one of four in a row with football games on Friday night and band competitions on Saturday. Just in time for weekend one, summer decided to come back. Our early fall has vanished and the heat was just about oppressive yesterday and just as soon as the blazing hot sun went down, the mosquitoes came out in force to inflict a different kind of misery. What is this, Saskatchewan?

The good news is that the band did quite well and I didn't permanently injure myself moving band equipment. We'll see how long the latter continues to be valid.

Coffee matters today because of Frasier and Niles Crane

Seeing the story today about Nestlé taking majority ownership of Blue Bottle had me thinking a bit about coffee and how much the coffee industry owes the Crane brothers.

That's right - every company that has made a ton of money on coffee since the mid 90's should be giving a huge thank you to Frasier and Niles Crane and their many scenes in Café Nervosa.

Before Frasier, coffee was just coffee to me. I grew up with my mother fixing coffee in the old percolator we had. I believe it was always Maxwell House. Sure, I would get the occasional cup of coffee at a restaurant, but coffee was mostly an afterthought. I never considered what brand it was or what different drinks might be out there like espressos or lattes.

On September 16, 1993, all of that changed with the premiere episode of Frasier. We are introduced to Frasier's brother, Niles, standing at the bar in Café Nervosa. This was a year ahead of our first peek of Central Perk in Friends and the first time I ever associated …

What matters

I was just looking at what is on my home office desk and suddenly one thought popped into my mind - how little actually matters once you think about it. The next thought was how I wish I had always understood this.

What made me think of this is how sparse my desk now is. I used to have all sorts of knick-knacks and memorabilia on my desk. I'm not sure why. I don't think I ever really noticed them until I had to move them all to dust. Their presence didn't make my work day any more joyous and their absence doesn't make it any less joyous.

My desk is now pretty much empty. Only a few knick-knacks survived my purge, including the old wind up Pac-Man I got on a birthday many years ago, the Canadian flag I got at EPCOT in 1984 and a solar-powered flower that moves back and forth on sunny days, unlike the cloudy day we have today.

Things are things and I no longer need so many things to remind me of where I've been and what I've done or to distract me from what I am doi…

All is well in Armpit

What is left of Irma finally arrived yesterday afternoon and promptly fell apart. We ended up with nothing more than a nice taste of fall with cooler wind and light rain. The rain will linger for another day or two and that's it. The normal mid-September heat returns at the end of the week.
My Smooth Sailing sabbatical (awesome alliteration there) began yesterday as I finished up editing the episode featuring my last appearance for a bit. I am looking forward to the break from editing although it takes me far less time to edit an episode now than it did even three months ago.

I was pleased at how well this episode (60) came out. I felt like I wasn't 100% present during the recording and I was worried that I would listen back and be unhappy with my participation in the show. Maybe everyone would here anticipation of the break ahead in my voice, like on the last day of school when I used to stare at the clock knowing that a summer of Atari was almost in my grasp! I am happy t…

A poem on my 44th birthday

What I want is Enough money
To have what I want What I want is
My own hill And beneath that hill
A pond In the pond a lazy
Bass or two And duck feathers
Resting on the mud Of the shore
Between the hill And mud a patch
Of grass where I Can lie and count
My seven trees My seven clouds
And count the coyotes Coming down the hill
To drink Coyote 1 Coyote 2 
"What I Want" by C.G. Hanzlicek from STARS, published by University of Missouri Press (1997).

Realizations and epiphanies

I have had some realizations and epiphanies from thinking about the comments I got from Shane and Ken on yesterday's blog post and from a short DM conversation with Doug and from listening to MMD's segment on the latest Garbagecast Conversations and from listening to episodes 46, 47, and 48 of Transpondency.

I started writing these down in a Field Notes notebook yesterday. Then, it became too much for that so I started a Word document on my laptop this morning. I wanted to get it all down so I could read through it, accept and consider what I am really feeling these days and start working on who I want to be.

Next, I decided that the best way to really start on what I want to start on was to post it because it would not had happened without listening to and/or having conversations with the people above.

This is sort of a disjointed, stream of consciousness (shout out to Ken!) list but it's all out there on the page and there is no use in trying to edit it to make it 100% cohe…

The numbers game

I accidentally saw the numbers for the blog yesterday. By accidentally, I mean I try never to look at numbers for anything I do. For example, for the rare times I need to go there, I have Feedburner bookmarked to go to pages without the number of subscribers showing.

The numbers here are pretty paltry and I lost half of the readers to any given post after I locked my Twitter account down. I guess that is to be expected but during the heyday of blogging when I had tons of readers, there was no Twitter. Most new referrals came from Google back then and pursuing the search terms that landed people on the blog always brought me joy. One of the biggest keywords that led people to the old blog was Charmin. Weird, eh?

Sometimes I regret blowing it all away but it was too personal. I treated the blog like a journal I would write at home and, although I knew most people would never take the time to sift through thousands of old entries, it still weighed on me to have so many personal, what to a …

The weekend that was

Ah, September has arrived. I can smell the pumpkin spice in the air and the nights are about to get unseasonably cooler so it will actually feel like fall a lot earlier than usual.

I'm not sure how to summarize the weekend. It began with a funeral and ended with football. I recorded a podcast we normally record at night at nine in the morning instead. I convinced myself to forego mowing on the holiday, gambling on dry, cool days later in the week to get it done. I ate quite a bit more than I normally would. (It's weird how I fill free time with food when I am trying to not stare at a screen all of the time. I try to remember what we did pre-internet to pass the time and it's so far back in my memory that I can't quite put my finger on it.)

It was nice having Labor Day off of work but I also have a three-day weekend coming up also so this will be a very short work week for me and maybe that adds to the fact that something just feels off. Even with the Pumpkin Spice Latte …