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Showing posts from 2018

Merry Christmas 2018 and best wishes for a great 2019!

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I'm taking my annual break from the blog and podcast and most of the onlines for the rest of the year so, before I shut down the personal laptop and put away the iPad for a few days, I wanted to get over here and wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Touchscreen gaming - bah humbug!

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I tried playing games on my iPad again yesterday. This experiment lasted about 15 minutes before I deleted them.

I just don't like using a touchscreen to play games. It doesn't feel right. Give me a joystick or a gamepad!

Maybe I'm showing my age. Maybe I was spoiled by growing up with arcades.

I went right across the room and grabbed my Atari Flashback Portable and played the Atari 2600 version of Asteroids for a half an hour and it was a blast.

Embracing the πŸ€–

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I've had a love/hate relationship with the robot that automatically tweets things I post here and over at the podcast.

In yesterday's post, I wrote about the burden I felt adding to the noise online when there is so much noise already out there and that is why I had gotten away from using the robot on my Twitter account.

But, I finally had to employ the services of the robot again @upinthisbrain because I don't always think to go out and tweet when I post something and I had missed sharing several podcast episodes during the countdown. And, with Twitter gone from my phone for almost two weeks now, I've been thinking about Twitter less and less.


Still, I do see the value in Twitter and it's typically the first app I open when I grab my iPad and the best use of Twitter I know is to see what the people I know and care about are creating. The second best use is to share something funny or encouraging. The worst use is to be a negative suction of inaction that brings ev…

What have you evolved into now?

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Do you remember in The Big Chill when Nick interviews himself in front of the VHS camcorder? That was pretty nifty and expensive tech back in '83.


Parts of this scene stick with me, especially "What have you evolved into now?" The creator inside me asks this question a lot. I've felt like I've been on a roller coaster since I started podcasting in 2013, gaining momentum, losing momentum, seeking answers in books or who knows what to get back going again, only to get back going again and have the cycle repeat.
(Honestly, when I went back and read through this again, I realize I'd been on the roller coaster a lot longer than that - maybe since, I don't know, 1986 or so?)
For the last few months, though, something has seemed different. I can't quite put my finger on it but I have this odd new attitude about things that seems to have taken me off the roller coaster. It might have started with the Harlan Ellison interviews I watched and podcast I put togeth…

Nice radio station catch on my Tecsun PL-660

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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 radiolocator.com 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 wi…

The Blog Fireplace

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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 Roundup from Armpit

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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 …

Snow on the way?

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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 com…

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

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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 upinthisbrain.com 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.



Consolidation!

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

Social media is a tool and so am I

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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…

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

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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 o…

Picking up the trombone again

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It's been a long time.

A loooooooong time.

And it shows.

Since my youngest daughter and wife recently joined the local community band, I said, sure, maybe it's time to pick up the trombone again and give it a try. There were two problems though. First, I haven't regularly played since 1995. Second, I no longer owned a trombone.

The priority was to get my wife an instrument and we found a good deal on a nice flute and she has already begun rehearsal. She also had not played since 1995 but seems to be doing fine. She will play in the Christmas concert two weeks from tonight along with my youngest daughter who is in the high school band and playing in the community band to get more experience with different percussion instruments.

I said I would hold off for now but I was still perusing eBay when a decent Blessing B-78 Trombone showed up for just $120 plus shipping. A new basic student trombone goes for hundreds more than that and this has an F-attachment and is pretty much t…

Winning NaNoWriMo and what comes next

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Ah! That looks nice!

And it happened earlier than I expected. Although I had stayed on track the whole month, my writing really took off over the last few days culminating with the wordiest day in my NaNo history yesterday with 5,785 words written.

There are a few days of NaNoWriMo left but I haven't decided if I'm going to keep writing my story or not. There were several reboots in there so I don't think there is much salvageable but I do think that the learning experience of doing all of this was quite valuable and who knows, I might keep working on it right where I left off or I might dig through it all and pull out what I can for something that is not, eh, garbage? Right now it's a flaming dumpster but that's OK. I feel good just having completed it, my second NaNo win with the last one in 2014.

Finally, I highly recommend yWriter. It worked really well for me during this month. I saved my yWriter project file in OneDrive and I had no problem working across th…

We've been Christmasitized

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Yes, my annual Christmas decorating day is the day after Thanksgiving because it's always a very quiet day at work so it's a good day to get it knocked out.

As part of my new attitude on decorating, I'm not putting out as much stuff this year. In fact, last year we got rid of everything that we didn't display so there was less to deal with to begin with this time and I still ended up with a small stack of stuff for the thrift store or the trash that I've deemed no longer needed. It's nice to have less to fool with and this comes from a reformed serial holiday over-doer!

I also have a new attitude this year about outside decorating. I'm tired of putting hours of work into stuff we only see when we drive in and out of the driveway. I didn't put up any outside Halloween decorations this year and we had only a small display for fall. I didn't put up our three foot inflatable turkey until Wednesday and I took it down yesterday. I took our big inflatable …

Poof - a week gone!

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I had no idea until right now that I had not come here to the old blog in a whole week!

Well, it's been a chilly week here and we even had snow flurries. Brrrrr! Too soon, too soon! It's all gone now. We're back at normal temps for the next few days and mostly dry weather after a VERY wet fall.

I'm still staying caught up with NaNoWriMo. My goal today was 26,667 words and I am at 26,870. I'm pleased. I'm staying right on pace and I think what I'm working on has enough fuel to get me through the end of the month and 50,000 words! Is any of it publishable? Oh, absolutely not. Is it fun? Eh, I'm not sure I would say that. It's about the accomplishment. That will be the fun part - finishing and then getting back into reading instead of writing.

In other news, I'm already thinking about the holidays. Thanksgiving is next week and Christmas is right around the corner. I cleared out a spot for the Christmas tree today. Exciting! It should be in place t…

Full steam ahead (maybe)

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In preparation for NaNoWriMo this year, I read a few books on writing during the month of October.

One I read was by Chris Baty, the founder of NaNoWriMo. In his book, "No Plot, No Problem! Revised and Expanded Edition: A Low-stress, High-velocity Guide to Writing a Novel in Thirty Days," he suggests creating a Magna Carta for your upcoming novel and to do so you make two lists, one filled with things you like in a novel (focus on these, of course) and one filled with things you don't like in a novel (avoid these).

I liked the idea and I did it and I was quite determined to not do anything in my avoid list.

Until today.

It was probably doing wonders for my quality (well, maybe) but it was killing my productivity to sit here at the laptop and actively think about what I didn't want to write about while I was trying to write.

It's quantity over quality to keep hitting the writing goals.


I have to clear my brain out of the way as much as possible and I know I will s…

NaNoWriMo: The road to 10,000 words

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Today will be the day I hit 10,000 words. To stay on track to finish at 50,000 on November 30th, 10,000 is where I need to end today according to the daily word goal chart. I was at 8,696 words yesterday afternoon when I wrote out a couple of bullet points for ideas for today's writing and stopped. I was on a pretty good roll at the time and had at least an hour that I could have kept writing but I knew it was best to close the laptop and not overdo it.


Also, I would like to experience the full month of NaNoWriMo. My goal is to get word 50,000 down on November 29th but November 30th would be fine also.

So far, it's been fun. I haven't felt any rush since I am referring to the daily chart to set my goals. This is not something I did previously. In years past, I would not stop in the middle of an idea. I would try to get it all out and on the page and that was exhausting.

So, what's next? I would like to get to a write-in or two during this month. And, I would like to wr…

NaNoWriMo: Day 2

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Here I am, midday on day 2, and sitting comfortably at 3,614 words.


Since I started this, I moved quickly from OneNote to yWriter 6. I'm sure I'm not using all of the functionality in yWriter but it gives me the ability to easily track characters and locations and it has a nice place for project notes so everything I want is covered and it easy to navigate back and forth. I have it saving to OneDrive so I can bring this up on any Windows machine I happen to be using.

I'm also trying to slow things down and pace myself better than in years past. I get my writing done and then I pull out my Nintendo 2DS XL and solve some crosswords or play some Galaga.

I'm trying to do this different this year because I really burnt out in my 2016 failed attempt and I think it's because I blew quickly through the paltry idea I had - a story about a guy that services soft-serve ice cream machines. Really. I know. How horrible.

So, this year, I'm stopping my writing for the day whe…

NaNoWriMo Eve

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It's NaNoWriMo Eve!

It's also some sort of free candy holiday today but that's not what's truly important.

In order to prepare my mind for NaNoWriMo, I've done my best to think about NaNoWriMo as little as possible for about the last thirty-six hours and it's been tough. I keep getting ideas in my head and I don't want to listen to those ideas and fixate on them. I want to go into this with a clear mind aside from my five written up ideas.

I'll be choosing my idea when I sit down tomorrow at the keyboard. I was going to outline and make more detailed notes but I decided that I just want to let whatever and whoever pops into my head guide me through the month. I know that might sound nuts especially because, if you know me in real life, you know I am hyper, super organized. Definitely a planner. And that's exactly why I want to do this with no plan whatsoever. I need a planning break.


That's not to say that I won't plan ahead a bit as I go al…

Shifting gears

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Two and just under one-half days left until NaNoWriMo begins and I am slowly switching gears, moving from the high speed of the last few months to a slower pace moving forward, a pace which I hope will help give me the energy I need to get some writing done in November.


After seeing AlienCG's recommendation, I am also going to go with OneNote this year for NaNoWriMo. The only difficulty I see with it is that there is no built-in word count but I can easily save in a Word doc at the end of each day and get my counts there. I used Google Docs in years passed but I really like the idea of writing outside of a browser window. I'm thinking it will be a bit less tempting to open another tab and get lost in YouTube or Twitter.

Speaking of Twitter, I'm thinking I'm going to have to spend as little time as possible on it next month. It is a huge time suck and there is not going to be any time to waste. Even though I don't have as much on the calendar in November as I have s…

Having nothing to say

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A couple of days ago, I decided to go ahead and knock out episode 397 of the podcast which will drop to a device near you on November 2nd.

I tried three times to record a monologue for the episode and each one derailed in a brain fart.

I had nothing to say or, maybe more accurately, I had things to say but nothing to share. There was nothing that I was saying that felt interesting or entertaining or even necessary. I was about to give up when I had a different idea and that idea, with absolutely no words from me, ended up being episode 397.

Maybe the topic I was trying to talk about was too vague. Maybe I just hadn't had enough coffee yet.

It certainly makes me continue to question personal podcasting as a creative outlet. I'm happy with defined topics like we discuss on the Garbagecast Conversations. I enjoy talking about music on In Your Earholes.

But when it comes to an impromptu talk about myself, I think I'm about talked out!


The rumors of bossjock studio's death were somewhat exaggerated

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I've said many times that bossjock studio is/was my favorite podcasting app. It gave me the ability to record a podcast with tons of clips in real time with only the app and a USB microphone plugged into my iPad.

Yes. Real time. No editing here. WISIWYG (what I say is what you get).

And then, something went wrong. bossjock studio stopped being updated. Dropbox support went away. The app is a bit unstable in iOS 12 since it hasn't been updated in so long.

Then, word came from the Virtual Yooper that bossjock studio has disappeared from the app store. If you uninstall it, it is gone FOREVER. That's when I started looking for a suitable replacement app because I really don't want to have to buy a whole new setup with a mixer and a new mic and all that. I want to keep it simple.

And, I wanted to write about my disappointment over the end of bossjock studio here today. So I decided to do a little research and went out to the bossjock studio website and, guess what! It forwa…

Two NaNoWriMo resources that have been helpful for me

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First is a podcast. 

This year, NaNoWriMo and SheWrites have teamed up to create the Write-minded podcast and each episode has been full of great stuff about not just NaNoWriMo but creativity in general.

The website is here: http://podcast.shewrites.com/episodes/
The direct feed is here: http://podcast.shewrites.com/feed/
The NaNoWriMo page about the podcast is here: https://nanowrimo.org/podcast

Second is a book by NaNoWriMo Executive Director Grant Faulkner.

The title is Pep Talks for Writers: 52 Insights and Actions to Boost Your Creative Mojo.

As I type out this post, it is just $1.99 for your Kindle on Amazon. Of all of the writing books I have read lately, this has been the one I have most enjoyed and I am taking reading it very slow so I can have it for my breaks at least in week one of NaNo (unless I just end up tearing through it before then which certainly might happen).


I have found that every little bit of information helps but too much information is information overload an…

Clearing the way for NaNoWriMo

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I spent time yesterday and today (so far) trying to rid myself of what could turn into distractions in November while I am focused on NaNoWriMo.

I took a lot of time to look through my to-do list for items I could complete now so they would not linger into next month. The biggest of these tasks was getting my benefits setup for 2019. The smallest involved sending some emails.

I cleared out files filled with stuff I previously thought needed to be kept but apparently had no use. I tossed calendars I was gung-ho about the using at the start of the year but had ignored pretty much ever since.

I went through files on my laptop and deleted everything I didn't need and organized files I might need in the future but have no need for right now. Out of sight, out of mind.

I removed miscellaneous items from the desk in the home office and the little desk my personal laptop sits on. Less tchotchke stuff sitting around, less to look at, think about, and dust.

And, yeah, I even dusted and I ha…

Preptober pitfalls

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This is the year I'm going to prepare for NaNoWriMo ahead of time.

That's what I told myself at the end of September.

Then I came upon someone on YouTube that said their prep began in December of last year and they've written a twenty-plus page outline, biographies of each character, charts, etc. etc. etc.

Then I started reading some books I found for my Kindle and discovered a lot of the same. There are many people who seem to have entire careers set up around writing about writing but have done very little writing about anything other than writing. It seems odd following guidelines on how to structure a novel from someone who has never written an even semi-successful novel.

The books and information from many websites that I read suggests an overwhelming amount of preparation. It's more than overwhelming. It's daunting. Discouraging. No wonder so many people start NaNo and fail with all that the writing gurus say we must to in order to be successful!

A few of the…

It's not about WHERE we write

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As NaNoWriMo approaches, I have been doing the best I can to keep my mind off of deciding what I am going to write (maybe that will happen next week?) so I find myself diving into other NaNo-related topics. One that keep popping up is where I am going to do the bulk of my writing.

In previous years, most of my writing has happened at home (right where I am writing these words right now) but for the last month or so I've been thinking about how I can get a bit more mobile. What will be my primary writing device? What bag will I use (I love bags!)? What notebook do I have that will fit into said bag along with said device? Where all can I venture out to?


But yesterday, sitting out on the deck reading one last book to prepare my mind for the month ahead, I had one of those epiphany things! Spending time deciding where to write and getting to these places is time I could be actually writing. It's all a big 'ol distraction. I can stay right here in town if I need to escape the …

The wave of calm

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I don't want to get on here and say I have a totally new attitude about life or anything but there has been a wave of calm in my life lately leading to at least a slightly more aware attitude that seems to be taking me into new directions.

OK, so we can play some Patti LaBelle, let's say I have a New Attitude!

We should take any opportunity we can to play some Patti.

I don't know. I think realizing I needed to throw the brakes on the podcast at the end of August was a huge step for me. Not quitting in frustration. Adapting.

It took me a bit longer to figure out how this blogging thing fits into my life but I feel like I'm in a good place here now also and I think NaNoWriMo is going to be another big step because I feel like I'm going to do it differently than I have in the past.

In fact, I feel like I'm doing a lot of things differently than I have in the past.

I'm not saying that I don't get frustrated from time to time and that things are always going…

What vacation?

I was on vacation this last Monday through Thursday. You would have never have known it if you had followed me around. I was insanely busy. There was not one day, not one waking hour, without something that needed to be done. I'm actually thankful to be at work today so I can take a break from my vacation.

Remember the excellent movie "What About Bob?"

Dr. Catherine Tomsky: Relax, Leo. Dr. Leo Marvin: I'm relaxed! Dr. Catherine Tomsky: Take a vacation. Dr. Leo Marvin: I'M ON VACATION!
That's about what it was like.

And I see NaNoWriMo looming in just over two weeks and I wonder how on Earth I will have enough free time to do it.

I did finish a book I was reading this week and I am not going to start another one. That will save me some time.

And, marching season ends on the last Saturday of the month so I won't be gone all day on Saturdays once November rolls around.

Time will slowly free up.

It's just hectic right now. Mighty hectic.

A lesson learned from stepping back a bit from podcasting

Once I stopped the weekly podcast, I realized that the nice gift of not having to analyze my daily life in order to pull out the "good parts" to share. By the "good parts," I mean the entertaining or opinionated little snippets from an otherwise average, mundane life.

This is why in podcasting weekly and mainly about my own life, I felt the need to present the exaggerated parts of myself and got quite frustrated when my days were routine and not productive for material.

No one wants to hear a line by line analysis of my grocery list compared to a line by line analysis of the receipt showing what I actually bought versus what I went into the store to buy.

OK. Maybe there is a weirdo or two that would find that fascinating. I started to find it fascinating just writing that out but, of course, I am also a weirdo.

I know that people do enjoy the exaggerated, irregular parts of life such as stories from my Taco Bell days or the guy that spun around in the department st…

Split online personality

What is a split online personality?

This blog was once titled "Up In This Brain" but I wanted to use that name for the podcast in 2013. So, this site became "Up In This Blog" just on the basis of keeping it similar. It sounds a lot like this is the colonoscopy of blogging which as true as that might seem was not my intention.

Both sites have separate Twitters because, as I mentioned Wednesday, I got into my head that sharing everything in one place was sort of spammy. I don't know why I felt that way but I did. So I have two Twitters to maintain which seems dumber and dumber as I go along.

I've also had websites, blogs, Tumblrs, podcasts, etc. all under separate names. Sometimes the names have changed right in the middle of doing something. URL's have been bought and cancelled. It's all confusing.

I don't know why I did it. I think that I sometimes hide my creative projects in different places, maybe afraid to truly be who I am to everyone all a…

It’s so busy

After yesterday’s post, I was looking at Tumblr and, like Twitter, it’s just busy - non-stop streams of information assaulting your senses. It’s also a fantastic way to do no work at all. Just scroll through posts all day and avoid doing what you are researching to do.

All in and zero out.

I was thinking about the olden days when we didn’t have the constant stream of information, we had to purposely seek the information we needed. That typically meant a trip to the library or the bookstore or even taking classes. These were accessible things but not so accessible that the inflow of knowledge could lead us down endless rabbit holes and result in us wasting hours and hours.

I guess I am saying there must be a better way.

I guess I am admitting that I learned a bit more about how to outline a novel today but produced zero actual work.

I have figured out what is missing on Blogger

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Community.

Writing on Blogger is like yelling into a closed department store. There's plenty of those around. Go try it.

I have a Twitter for this site with a handful of followers and maybe one will see a post about an entry and come here. My tweet about the entry prior to this one had a whopping 4 engagements. 4! And, only 1 link click. 1!

I assume the rest of the visitors are bots or are lost, sent here by Google while looking for something else.

Sure, it's a lot my fault. I've quit blogging, resumed blogging, quit, resumed, changed the name of the site, etc. I think I've done all of that because it's so quiet here - creepy quiet.

Is it the lack of interaction that is frustrating? I don't know. I don't really need interaction. I am writing to write. I think it's the lack of possibility of interaction. I write something here and I know that most likely no one will see what I wrote even before I click on publish.

Blogging is certainly not what it once w…

Desperately seeking structure

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I am thinking about NaNoWriMo a whole month ahead this year. In fact, I thought about it during most of September also but I haven't done a bit of what I would call real preparation. All I have done is worry myself in the realization that I know zip about how to structure a 50,000 word story.

I've "won" once, way back in 2014 and I put that in quotes because the story that came out of that was 100% crap. OK, maybe 90% crap. 10% of it was acceptable.

I would like to go in this time with an idea (I have a basic one) and an outline (I am nowhere near even beginning that at the moment).

I need some structure!

I like structure - lists, index cards, something!

Without structure, I feel listless (no pun intended at first but then I went with it) and I think that's why my NaNoWriMo attempts start strong and then end up feeling like an out of control battery-operated scooter that is about to burst into flames.

So, I'm searching for some basic structure or outline that…

Getting out of the house for NaNoWriMo

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If I'm going to be successful at NaNoWriMo next month, I'm going to have to leave the house to write.

Part of it is there is no place in this house where I can hide from interruptions, mainly the three four-legged interruptions that constantly need things such as attention (usually involving tennis balls) or passage in and out of the house. Also, they each have different levels of sonic hearing which can cause barking outbursts at any random moment depending on who hears what.


The big problem is my never-ending, self-replicating to-do list. I just got up to fix toast and noticed two other things that need to be done this morning. Yesterday was a day of to-do's - one to-do leading to another and no time to slow down, just go, go, go.

That's not going to work when I've trying to type out hundreds of words of nonsense every day for a month. That's why I'll be in coffee shops, libraries, restaurants, parks - you name it - all through the month of November.

Dogs…

It's pretty quiet out here

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I'm thinking this site will pick up a bit once NaNoWriMo starts. I have some basic ideas. I'm looking forward to writing even if it is all garbage.


Subscribe!

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What's more old fashioned than reading a blog? Getting an email every time there is an post here!

We have the technology!


It's over there in the side menu under our hi-tech handy-dandy search function.

Get an email every time I post. Exciting!

Watch it now before they take it down!

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I read Arbitrary Stupid Goal earlier this year and loved it. Best read so far of 2018.
I just finished Mumbai New York Scranton: A Memoir and loved it also.

Kenny Shopsin left us last week and someone posted the documentary made about him, his family and his famous/infamous restaurant on YouTube. Better check it out ASAP before the copyright police find it and remove it.


Idea gone. Poof.

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I had an idea for something I was going to write today. This idea materialized when I was driving back up into the driveway after lunch.

By the time I got parked and got the sunshades up, POOF! GONE! No more idea!


I strained my brain until now trying to think of what it was. I believe it was a pretty good idea.

Oh, well. It's gone. Another one of my pointless, pithy thoughts is lost, never to be shared.

If I'm not wearing my watch, it doesn't count

I keep not putting on my all-knowing Apple Watch first thing in the morning so I rarely hit any of the fitness goals it has set for me.

In its mind, I am just a slob. I never exercise at all. I barely function. I am destined for poor health and eventually a much-deserved demise.

Maybe Apple Watch constantly reminds me of its health goals for me because it wants to keep me alive longer so I will buy more Apple products and so it can collect/sell as much data as possible about my slovenly ways.

A heaping plate of filler

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I don't understand the obsession with Marvel movies.

I've seen a few of them and not because I wanted to. They seem pointless to me. They're all the same. They end with cliffhangers to lead you back to the theater for the next movie. It's expensive to go the theater to see them. The acting is not that great. The writing is no better than most television shows. I've seen elementary school plays that were more entertaining.

I think they are pumping them out so fast to keep the momentum going. They keep throwing it at us so we don't have time to figure out this isn't good.

We keep spending more and more money on it so we exclude other movies from having a chance. Marvel takes up three or four screens of the theater so there's no room for anything else.

Maybe one day people will wake up and decide there is more to life than watching mass-produced pointless fluff.

Adjusting, not quitting - Part three: The Blog

I really have to get over the word blog.

I just don't like it. It sounds antiquated like "phone book" or "castor oil."

I also have to get over the "rules" of blogging, such as having labels which I have already stopped doing.

Also, blogging once a day seems to be the norm so I was writing two or three posts some days but scheduling them out over multiple days. As you can see, that rule is out the window. If I want to write ten posts in a day, I will post ten times on that day. If I have nothing to write about for two weeks, nothing will be posted for two weeks.

No labels. No schedules. No rules.


via GIPHY

Finally, there is a Twitter account for this blog. Cool, huh?

I had an IFTTT robot running that Twitter and I never liked that idea. From now on, I am going to write my tweets there and I am not going to post every link to every post. When I feel like it, I'm going to go out there and tweet something like "Catch up on my posts to read about t…

Adjusting, not quitting - Part two: Twitter

Oh, Twitter, how you frustrate me!

I thought I had the solution back in June. I was wrong!

It's so hard to stay connected to people who I think are basically good but are so very angry and use Twitter as their anger toxic waste dump.

And I'm so tired of seeing likes sprinkled through my feed. Likes are tweets that you nod at but aren't good enough to retweet.

And the ads, oh, the ads! They pop up every third or fourth tweet and 90% of them are about things I don't care about at all.

Good morning, Twitter! pic.twitter.com/MqpoO01gii — Levi Stahl (@levistahl) September 8, 2018 So, at 2AM last Friday morning, I declared to the world that I was temporarily done with Twitter and during the five days I was away, I figured out a solution.

The solution for me that brought back my enjoyment of Twitter has two parts.

First and most important and something I never tried before -  I turned off ALL Twitter notifications.

If you DM me, if you like a tweet, if you retweet me, etc. Non…

Adjusting, not quitting - Part one: The podcast

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The podcast was destined to be my next victim. I had already removed this site and was planning my "sabbatical" from Twitter. I was going to become a non-creative and begin a new life sitting in my recliner each evening staring at the tv like a zombie.

OK. Maybe it wasn't going to happen exactly like that but who knows.

I've been podcasting for a while, over five years. It's not a good podcast but it is fun. It's just no longer as much fun trying to do it every week.


Instead of walking away or shadow quitting (Shadow quitting is sort of like shadow banning, which I hear happens to insane talk show hosts. It's quitting for a bit only to come back in a month or so once I realize how dumb I've been), I looked for a solution.

The solution was to make a plan and schedule when I would post episodes based on whatever ideas I have. Right off the bat, I had three ideas. The first, for episode 394 (which drops tomorrow), is something I do annually to celebrate …

Back and forth

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I enjoy Twitter. I can't stand Twitter. I stop using it. I come back.
I enjoy writing here. I stop writing here. I disable the site. I reenable the site. I start writing again.


WHY?

As life shifts back and forth, my priorities get tossed askew. What I had time for yesterday, I don't have time for today so I get it in my head that it's better to shutter something than to neglect something.

WHY?

What I leave out there neglected serves as a reminder that I should be creating and it's the creating (writing, podcasting, etc.) that sustains me and I feed off of that energy. Knocking it down puts the frustration out of sight but then the dust clears and I realize I need that energy so I get back to it until the cycle inevitably repeats.

But this time is different and the next three posts, one on each main creative outlet I have, will explain why.

Rules

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Some people seem to take incredible pride in controlling some tiny thing and they seem to feel more important by inconveniencing others with their complicated and unnecessary rules about that tiny thing they control. I encountered that a week ago this very evening. Of course, I went over their head and found someone with real power who overrode them, reducing their pride to sawdust.

It made me feel good.

Not tired

I could have gone back to sleep. I'm off work today - a pre-birthday day off, rewarding myself with a three day weekend.

But, I always get up to see the kids (in reality, young adults) off to another day of high school. I fix my toast. I read the comics online. I read the blogs I follow in Feedly.

Then I edited episode 394 of the podcast so it will be ready to be delivered to you invisibly via the internet superhighway on Sunday.

And now I am here, writing and tweaking and about to publish this before I go on to the next task at hand, coffee.

I hate labels

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A real turn off of blogging for me is labels.

I hate labels.

In the early years of the blog, back when blogging was an actual thing that was fairly popular before microthought posting took over, I never used them. At some point, I felt like I needed to start. I don't know why. No one ever left a comment that said "You need labels" or "Where are the labels?" or anything like that. In fact, most comments were spam.

Now that blogging is no longer an actual thing, I don't even get the spam.

I don't miss the spam but I do despise labels so there will be no labels this time around. If you want to find something here, use the handy-dandy search function over there at the top-right of this page. If you are on a phone, you’ll need the view the web version to see the handy-dandy search function because Blogger is so antiquated that the templates barely work on mobile devices.

Although there are over 1,000 posts from before today (there would be more but I lost on…