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Showing posts from March, 2019

Time to Evolve

On the six-year anniversary of the Up In This Brain! podcast and after nearly twelve years of blogging, I have posted an episode of the podcast about my move away from personal podcasting and blogging and my thoughts on what comes next.

http://upinthisbrain.com/424-time-to-evolve

For now, a much needed break.....


Sharing fatigue

We were out to eat for supper last night when my oldest daughter pointed out a family that had walked in the restaurant. I had no idea who they were but she knew all about them because she follows them on Instagram. They were a small, young family that publicly shares bits and pieces of their lives on Instagram as if this is a normal thing and everyone does it.

Of course, in 2019, it is a normal thing and just about everyone does do it.

Back when I started doing it through blogging at the end of the 90's, it was not normal at all. And now, after all of these years of doing it, there are times when I just don't feel like writing a post or sharing a picture or recording a clip.

I have decided to call this sharing fatigue. I am sure other people thought of this first. There are no original thoughts left in 2019.

 Another way to look at it is that sometimes I'm just about all shared out.
I don't know if it would be different for me if I was younger and grew up with all of this sharing just being a matter of fact part of life.

Yes, I can remember a time when none of this technology existed and the world was much smaller because of that and my frustration over that is why I was so into radio and I ended up being one of the first people I knew that was regularly getting online even when all we had to look at was terminal screens and you needed a big manual to keep track of all of the commands.

But now I'm just kind of tired and I don't share as much.

It's not because I am overly concerned about privacy. Sometimes I just have nothing to say and sometimes I think, after about twenty years of sharing in various sites and formats, that I have just about used up my "content fuel" and now it's time for the younger folks to put it all out there until they also get a bit burnt out like me. It's inevitable, right?

I think this and it's not long before another family walks in and my daughter turns to me with all sorts of information about what they are up to because they to are on Instagram and are quite popular around these parts.

A new radio: Retekess PR15 AM/FM/Weather Radio

That's right - the radio bug bit again so I bought a Retekess PR15 AM/FM/Weather radio from eBay for the total price of $12.99. It took 5 days to arrive with a US return address but a Chinese customs tag attached so I assume it was shipped from China.

I first saw the radio in this video:


The radio takes 2 AAA batteries and has a DSP tuner. The combo volume control/power is on top. The tuning dial is on the right side.

I had been wanting a small radio I can keep in my bag for when I am sitting at the school waiting on my daughter to get out of various practices. My car radio turns off after a few minutes and I don't want to sit there with the car running just to listen to the radio. Having the weather band is a nice bonus although our weather forecasts are now as close as our phones.

The radio ended up being even smaller than I thought it would be.

It's not as wide as a playing car and just barely taller. The antenna is eight inches in length.

Reception is pretty good on FM, as most DSP FM receivers are. On the weather band, it's not crystal clear like my Uniden scanner is but it is listenable and could be very beneficial during our upcoming severe weather season. On AM, it seems pretty decent. It picks up local stations with ease and the review above says it does really well at night.

Tuning takes patience on these small radios. You have to tune very slowly or you will miss even strong stations. Stations pop up and vanish quickly unlike analog radios I have had.

Sound quality on the PR15 is sort of lacking. It's ok. There is no bass at all and the treble seems a bit too high, if that makes sense. For spoken word broadcasts, it's fine. 

One final note - my Jensen MR-75 does beat this radio on FM. In fact, it beats most radios I have on FM. I don't know why it is so good on FM. It's a pain to tune, especially with the dial going backwards for some odd reason and AM does not work at all. There is nothing but internal noise on AM. But for FM, it's pretty incredible. It picks up weak and fringe stations with ease and it sounds decent. There is barely any bass but it's completely listenable on music.


A few subtle changes and a couple of videos

Just a few changes to report on this Friday that has finally arrived. What a long week it seems like it has been even though it's been no longer than any other week, of course.
  • I deleted my Anchor.fm account so Up In This Brain! Lite is no more. I don't need two podcasts. I barely have enough ideas for one. It was an interesting experiment that is now over. I will move forward sharing all of my pointless thoughts in one podcast and right here as I did before.
  • I've changed up the name of this site. I really didn't like "Word Hut" and I couldn't think of anything better than what I ended up with. The site address stayed the same so your feeds and whatnot are all good and will be forevermore.
  • I've decided not to do Camp NaNoWriMo this year. I just had a change of heart on that. There are other things I need to focus my time on, rest being one of them, and having an appointment set with writing every day for 30 days feels sort of pointless. I've been writing here for nearly twelve years so writing more is not going to give me some skill I don't already possess.
  • I quit Reddit again. I never open it. It felt pointless.
  • I made my Twitter private again. I've been back and forth on that over the years. I'm tired of complete strangers replying and favoriting and following me. Several of you are private and seem perfectly content with that. I have nothing to promote. I have no opinions to contribute. No reason to leave it wide open.
  • I haven't recorded a podcast for this week yet so that will probably linger into next week. I had a few things I thought of to share but I just haven't had time to press record and blab on so I'll save those thoughts for next week.
Here are a couple of videos to end the week with.

The first one is from our local television station thirty-six years ago when one of our anchors left for a bigger market. It just popped up in my recommended videos and it sure did take me back. If you're not from here, this won't matter to you at all but for us, these people were like family.

As I commented on the video, you just don't get that connection any more and I wonder why. Of course, I have multiple guesses and more have to do with big corporations taking the local out of local news.



And here is a song I heard this morning for the first time in years so I thought I would share it.



Have a good weekend!

Music? There's an algorithm for that!

I was reading the latest "issue" or "edition" or whatever you would call the latest the collected ahp newsletter and this part got stuck in my head and relates a bit to what I talked about on the latest episode of Up In This Brain.
I’ve written before about spending more time hanging out with your own mind, and this was a perfect mix of that and just listening to music without distraction, which is something I’ve found myself doing less and less — a product of the rise of podcasts, I think, and the decline of “organized” music ownership. (Infinite music, it turns out, somehow doesn’t encourage infinite listening).
Bam! This is exactly what I have been thinking about lately and it is what prompted me last week to pack my laptop backpack not with a laptop but with my Sony cassette player and my case of cassettes.

 I bet there's a laptop in there!

Nope!

This is the case I had in my car in high school and college. It's been pretty much unchanged since 1994 and I kept it that way on purpose as sort of a time capsule.


The real kicker, the epiphany I had while reading what Anne wrote, is that I get so upset with Twitter for their stupid Home view that is generated by an algorithm yet I let Pandora or Spotify spoon-feed me my music based on, wait for it, an algorithm!!!!

Isn't music far more important than tweets?

The cassettes above are in that case twenty-five plus years later because they were either recommended by a friend or were championed by a disc jockey or program director - actual human beings. Of course, as commercial radio has gotten more automated, I've drifted away from it and now I do most of my listening online to stations like WFUVKEXP, WBAA Jazz and KBEM.

I rarely open Spotify anymore but I do have a soft place in my heart for Pandora's Autumn Jazz playlist which I hope (fingers-crossed) was put together by a human and not a program.

Right now as I type this out, I am listening to smooth jazz on the HD 2 channel of a local station, WUBT. The reason I bought an HD radio was so I could listen to that station and jazz on WMOT HD 2. Most of the good music has been pushed down to the HD channels while "regular" FM is filled with the same 20 to 30 songs over and over plus commercials, regardless of format.

I don't know. I guess I'm getting old. I just miss real human interaction and involvement and I keep searching out and finding them where I can while trying to step back a bit from the artificial intelligence and data streams which seem to be taking over every aspect of our lives and it's getting harder and harder to do so.

Stubbornness drives me forward

When the readership numbers here are abysmal but I post something anyway or when I feel like I really have nothing to say on the podcast but record anyway, I wonder, albeit only briefly, why am I doing this?

The only answer I can come up with is stubbornness. I'm just too stubborn to quit.

It's not spite. Spite would mean I am writing or recording because I am angry or I want to actually inflect pain on someone. Come to think of it, sometimes I think there are certain podcasters who are indeed recording out of spite and they probably enjoy the thought of the listeners being tortured by listening.

Remember when Jerry returned his pants out of spite?



I will stick with being stubborn as my fuel to create and with being unwilling to quit even if no one hears what I say or reads my words.

I will continue forth, tossing my ideas into this abyss known as internet.

Gearing up for Camp NaNoWriMo

I've done NaNoWriMo a few times over the years (and even "won" in 2018) but I've never participated in Camp NaNoWriMo. I've always been curious about it as I've watched it come and go. But this year, this year is going to be different!


I did not want to sign up to write another novel and that's ok because Camp NaNoWriMo lets you bring any project to the writing table so I have chosen as my April 2019 project to write right here on this very site, at least one post each day of the month at a minimum of 250 words. The word count is being kept fairly low (in fact, I might lower it a bit more than 250 words a day) on purpose because my main goal is just to come here and post daily. 

About what? Who knows! I'm not planning to do a lot of prep. I'm just going to sit down at the laptop at some point every day and post something (anything).

I have also committed to not "cheat" by writing "All work and no play makes Jason a dull boy" over and over and by not writing posts ahead of time and scheduling them.

If you are curious about Camp NaNoWriMo and maybe you have a lingering writing project and you need a little momentum to get it going, you can go out to https://campnanowrimo.org/ and sign up. Then look for me under upinthisbrain (of course) right here: