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Showing posts from November, 2018

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…