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Showing posts from January, 2018

Less stuff, less music

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When I got my first iPod years ago, I got caught up in the burning frenzy. Every CD I had got burned into iTunes. Many CD's I gave away long ago still live on in my computer and creating playlists of music I actually wanted to listen to had been overwhelming for a long time until I took having to replace my hard drive as an excuse to clean it all up.


I started that clean up by dumping my backed up music into a folder separated from the music folder on my laptop. I reinstalled iTunes and it was happily 100% empty. Years of purchases, some good and many dumb, nowhere to be found.

Then came the tough part - rebuilding my library with songs I wanted to end up on my iPod. For a while I did nothing because I thought this meant looking through everything, song by song, and dragging what I wanted over from the old folder to my nice, empty new iTunes folder. The task was way too daunting. There is way too much music for that.

Yesterday, while scooping dog poop, the idea hit me. I would take m…

Tuesday check in

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I don't have any particular topic to bring to you this morning so I'll just call this a check-in. How's it going? Are you staying warm? Everyone staying healthy at your place?

After a hectic Monday, here is Tuesday and I'm starting out the morning at the kitchen table with my new to me HD Radio which is a symbol of my laziness since I now have this one in the kitchen and an identical one back in the home office. Why carry one back and forth when you can just buy another!


We had a really nice and warm weekend but we're back to normal here today. Normal means chilly but not the freezing cold we've been dealing with most of the month so I'll gladly take it.

The days are getting longer. It's not warm enough to sit out on the deck and read yet but I got my Fitbit back out and have been doing a bit of walking. Spring is just around the corner (I can feel it!) and gloomy 'ol January is almost over. Sure, that leads to gloomy 'ol February but we can handl…

The smart speaker purchase that ended up being not so smart

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My brief experiment with smart speakers is over. I took my Google Home Minis back to Walmart Thursday. What prompted me to do this was the stories I was seeing about how they were impacting Wi-Fi routers, especially TP-Link routers like the one I have, and, oddly enough, I had noticed drops in my home Wi-Fi speed especially when streaming music on the Minis but I just hadn't connected the dots. I assumed it was getting slower because my kids stream video a lot and they've been home a lot between the holiday break and all of the snow days.


I had gotten so annoyed by the slow speeds (I checked my cable modem connection at first and it was fine) that I had ordered a cheap HD radio off of Amazon so I could play something different than lousy old commercial radio during the day without streaming on those days I was out of podcasts to listen to.

I finally noticed a story about this for the first time on Monday and immediately disconnected the Minis and there was an immediate and notic…

We've remodeled!

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I've taken the blog out of 2008 and moved it into 2018 using one of Blogger's newer themes which is both tablet and phone friendly and doesn't look so, I don't know, HTML?


This new appearance doesn't mean the content has changed. No, it is sadly still going to be the same as always but at least whatever boring thing I decide to share here will now look sharp and snappy on your choice of device!

Reducing the interference

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I'm been talking on the podcast lately about wanting to reduce the noise in my life. For example, yesterday I focused on my workspace. I took everything off my two bulletin boards and got rid of everything that was not needed. I was surprised at how my bulletin board had turned into years of catchall materials, most I had absolutely no use for. Once I had separated out what I did have a use for, I consolidated as much as I could. Four scraps of paper became one nice small print out.

I did the same thing to my cups of pencils and pens. I can only use one writing implement at a time but I had two coffee cups stuffed with items. I dumped those and kept out only a few pens and pencils (still more than I probably need but about 10% of what I had out) and stored the rest.

My goal was to reduce the noise from anything visible in my workspace and it took most of the day to do this in between work and other things going on. Next, I have to get into the drawers and the files - all those thing…

The Pondering plus Your Favorite Blog Feature (The Weather)

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Maybe after "The Pondering" will come "The Awakening" and then "The Transformation" but it's really too early to know for sure. What does this statement mean? It's thirteen days into 2018 and I'm definitely in the pondering stage of the desire for change, renewal and growth typically associated with the start of a  new year.

For me, I think The Pondering (now without quotes since we have already established the idea in paragraph one) would more truthfully be referred to in my specific experience lately as The Realization or maybe more accurately as The End of Ignorance and if the end goal of change, renewal and growth is really going to be realized, the proper stages might be:
The End of Ignorance (Realization of Truth)AcceptanceReaction (Change or Embrace)Pathway to Growth (based on Reaction)
Oh, well. I'm sure we'll come back to this topic in later posts and upcoming podcasts.
Let me write a bit about what I know folks really come here f…

Practice makes perfect?

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Can I really accomplish all things?

Example: The driver side rear view mirror on the Buick has been dying a slow death for a while. It's a heated mirror with some sort of fluid that slowly turned rust colored over the years. The same thing happened to the inside rear view mirror a bit ago and I replaced that and now this outside mirror was becoming unusable. The problem slowly gets worse until the mirror is solid rusty brown and you can't see anything in at all. I realized this months ago and bought a couple of mirrors (I always buy more parts than I need because I am really good at breaking things) at the scrap yard but I've been too lazy to replace it knowing that this would not be a simple plug and play deal.

I was right. I went out to the car Sunday and the mirror was totally ruined after a week in the freezing cold after being at least 75% usable up to that point. Mr. Bravado thought to himself, "I can quickly do this. Pop the old one off, pop the new one on."…

Everything is pouring in

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It's not pouring outside although it is still raining a bit and Jack Kerouac is playing on my Google Home Mini. I wonder what Jack would think of this technology? I had a box set of these recordings years ago on cassettes and a couple of years ago I got them on CD's and now I just have to say out loud "Hey, Google." and then wait a beat (how appropriate) and say "Play Jack Kerouac" and there he is, on demand, turning a cloudy, dreary day into something manageable.

I got out in the rain at lunch to take some stuff to the thrift store. We finally went through all of the winter clothes and were able to donate gloves that once fit my kids but are way too small now along with hats, scarves, coats, etc. Hopefully it will all help keep someone warm now and maybe they they will pass it on if it's not worn out. Then I was off to the UPS Store sending back a couple of Amazon returns, two bags I bought that I really didn't need - a temporary bag habit relapse, …

Pipe Watch is over (for now)

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I was finally able to turn off the garage heater this morning.

The faucets are no longer dripping.

Warmer weather is here and I consider anything above 32 degrees during the day warmer at this point so today's upper 40's felt like a heat wave. Thursday's 61 will be like summer. I might sit out on the deck in a t-shirt. Even next Saturday's chilly, possibly snowy day will be better than 5 degrees or 10 degrees at night.

Now I will try not to think about our upcoming water, gas and electric bills.

Reclaiming a little social media sanity

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My ongoing quest to reclaim a bit of my time and even my sanity when dealing with social media goes on in 2018. Today, I decided that Facebook and Messenger needed to go off of my phone. This is after a couple of weeks of vacation during which I spent quite a bit more time on social media including scrolling up and down the Facebook wall daily and what I've found is that Facebook is full of opinion (mostly ranty political opinion) with only bits and pieces of real people's lives sprinkled in and typically those sprinkles are not good news. It's news of people being sick and dying and I would hear these things from people in my immediately circle through other means typically so most of what I am seeing is bad news from people I really don't have much of a connection to except maybe an old connection many years ago. Also, a lot of what I see has to do with people I don't even know thanks to the way Facebook shares all sorts of stuff in order to get us to spend more …

Chilly New Year

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2018 has arrived and we're still in the deep freeze.

This is quite unusual although we're still not near the record low of -5 from 1977.
For those of you following along outside of the US, here are the forecast temperatures in Celsius. We get a break by the end of the week.
As predicted, my life revolves around worrying about the pipes and making sure the house stays warm enough. So far, knock on wood or whatever other hard surface might bring luck, things are working out fine.

To try to keep my mind off the weather, I started book #1 of 2018 today and I set my Goodreads reading challenge goal at 30 books for this year. I had it set at 25 last year and read 46 or 47, depending on whether Goodreads is totally accurate in their reporting, so I felt comfortable moving my goal up to 30. I don't want to set it higher because I don't want to stress myself out trying to achieve some crazy goal. I will be perfectly happy if I make it to 30 and don't even come close to 2017'…