Sunday, December 10, 2017

Christmas music I've been obsessing over lately

Here are a few songs that I keep playing over and over as Christmas draws nearer and nearer!

Saturday, December 9, 2017

Chilly Saturday

Ah, the weekend.

We started off with an excellent band and choir Christmas concert at the high school last night in which my youngest daughter had a solo in one of the choir pieces. The auditorium was packed and it was the final school function of the year that I have to attend. Just one full week of school is left before the break!

Today is my youngest daughter's birthday (big weekend for her) so we went out to lunch and then hit the stores to do something something. I made it through two stores before retreating to the car to rest. The fatigue of this illness is about all that's left of it and I'm thinking the strong antibiotics have something to do with that.

It's still chilly but we missed out on all of the snow. There are folks to our southeast that got a foot and we have barely seen flurries. I'm glad someone else is getting it for once as I know that it's just a matter of time before our luck runs out.

Well, back to the couch with my book now.

Friday, December 8, 2017

Counting it down until Christmas

Yes, on the last possible day at the last possible moment, I decided to update the old spreadsheet and resurrect the Up In This Brain Christmas countdown. Do not confuse this with the original and my inspiration for this, the Robert Dyer Channel Christmas Countdown. That one is daily and far more humorous, interesting and entertaining.

My little show is nothing more than an excuse to share some Christmas songs that I like and drone on about my daily off. Of course, the best feature is the requests from the folks unlucky enough to listen. It's the least I can do for them, poor saps.

Doing the countdown does add to my Christmas cheer especially on cloudy, ugly, cold, barren days like today when we live under the constant threat of nuclear war and I am still dealing with this lingering cough/drainage/illness. I am so over being sick. Blergh!

My little two day vacation came at just the right time and I'm getting recharged for next week which is my last full work week of 2017! Wooo!! Come on, vacation!

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Firing the radios back up

Many, many, many, many (this could go on and on) radios have passed through my hands over the years. From early AM transistors to modern digital receivers, I've had way too many.

Although I know I still have more than I need, I got rid of a bunch of stuff earlier this year and sold multiple radios as part of that. I narrowed things down to 1 scanner and four general coverage radios.

My scanner is a Radio Shack Pro 97. I've had it for a long time. I didn't consider selling it because I pull it out in winter weather and listen to the local road crews so I can get an accurate idea of how bad the roads are. I pulled it out last night and reprogrammed it to just a few local frequencies I care about the most including the fire station right down the street from me, EMS, schools and even the local airport for those times when I've in the mood to listen to planes come in and go out.

For AM and shortwave, I kept four radios although only one, the last one I bought, is used often and is the one I travel with if the need arises. That is my C. Crane Skywave radio. I also kept my Eton E5 (it works great although it looks awful) and my Tecsun PL-398BT. For middle of the night insomnia, I keep an old Sony SRF-39 in a drawer by the bed and I can tune around AM and see what my fellow insomniacs and third shifters are listening to.

I just recently pulled all of these radios out again and got fresh batteries in everything. I've been listening to them some in the evenings during time I used to waste goofing on my iPad. It's a nice change to stop staring at a screen and tune up and down the dial in search of other places and voices instead.

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Ello again! Now, what to do with it?

As I mentioned Monday, I reactivated my old Ello account and goofed around with it a little.

As part of an experiment of sorts, I posted three links - one to my Monday blog post here and one each to two recent podcasts I have been on, Smooth Sailing and Garbagecast Conversations. First thing yesterday morning, I checked those posts and each had around sixty views (not bad for being an unestablished account following hardly anyone) but there were no interactions or clickthroughs. The sixty views were all for naught.

I don't know what constitutes a view on Ello. Maybe my posts appear on a big page of posts and scrolling by them counts as a view. That is how I see other people's posts.

Of course, I doubt there were sixty clicks on any of the posts. Also, my posts required an external link be clicked to see the actual content, whether that's a blog post or a podcast. Most people on Ello publish direct to Ello so it's its own publishing platform.

I think that going all in on Ello would generate results but I am lazy and I really don't seek any further interaction or traffic to anything I create. I see posts on Ello with thousands of views but you have to expand the entries on pages filled with posts in order to really drill down into them unless you post a graphic of some type and I don't really want to publish direct content somewhere other than Blogger or my Posthaven sites. There are no tools to automate this. IFTTT's Ello applets only pull from Ello and don't post to it. For me, it's more trouble than it would be worth to maintain two platforms. For people using only Ello as a platform, it's probably fairly lucrative if there would be a way to build on whatever you are trying to do there.

For now, my Ello sits unused and those three test posts were deleted. I have as much commenting and interaction and thumbs ups as I can handle where I am already established and the number of all of that averages a nice big zero and I'm currently fine with that.

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Saying bah humbug to Christmas cards this year

If I sent you a Christmas card last year, Merry Christmas to you! I didn't forget you this year. It's not on the way. It didn't get lost.

It's weird - the guy who listens to Christmas music almost year-round declaring that he's not sending out Christmas cards this year but that's exactly what's happening.

I like the idea of Christmas cards. I don't like the idea of people receiving them feeling obligated to send one back because I know that not all people like the idea of Christmas cards. I assume a far majority of folks consider Christmas cards a "to do" and send them out begrudgingly year after year.

I know people who count them and compare year to year numbers. I don't do that. To be honest, I barely look at them when I get them. They end up in this little card rack thing where they stay until the day we take down the Christmas stuff. Then, most people toss them. I, probably out of some weird guilt, have put them in ziploc bags with the year written on them and now have a tote with Christmas cards in them in the attic. That tradition ends this year also as that tote is being cleaned out as soon as I pull it downstairs to take everything down.

Christmas cards are a nice and slightly expensive way to say hi. We say hi all the time online. I don't think we need a card to cap off the year of interactions. Also, if we don't interact online at all (which is super easy and free) all year or see each other in person at any point, why do we need to send a card at all? If that's the absolutely least thing we are willing to do to stay in touch, maybe that's a sign!

Finally, I'm lazy. I'm getting lazier as I get older. Or maybe my priorities are just getting more in tune to what matters and fooling with taking a picture, choosing a design, printing cards, addressing envelopes, and waiting at the post office is just starting to feel like a bit of a waste when there is so much other stuff to do as the old clock ticks down.

So, this year, let's forego the cards. Post a note on Facebook. Tweet someone. Leave a message on Instagram. Shout them out on a podcast. Shock them and just pick up the phone. Don't mail them something they will look at for five seconds and then throw in a pile awaiting a trip to the trash. Be kind to your mail carrier and don't send out eighty cards. They already have enough to do with all of those Amazon Prime packages.

Monday, December 4, 2017

Feelin' Puny Monday Update

At the start, the side effects of the medicine is just as bad as being sick. I think I'm caught in the middle of a four-way fight of side effects thanks to the four different medicines I am taking. You would think that maybe they would cancel each other out but no, you can feel thirsty, hot, cold, full, hungry, wired, tired, and dizzy all at once and I do not recommend it.

It's a combination of all of this that I blame for reactivating my Ello account today. I've also seen a couple of people tweet about Ello over the last week and that got all in my dizzy mind so why not. I doubt I will do anything with it ever but there it is and I plan on just leaving it sitting there for good now like everyone else has. I do admit that the quiet and calm of what I see when I peruse Ello is a nice alternative to the angst and complaining that saturates Facebook and Twitter these days.

Finally, big time cold is on the way here starting tomorrow. At least it seems big time because it's been warm here for so long. It's probably not that far below what we should normally be at for this time of year. It will be a big shock to the system going from highs around 70 to highs around 40.

I could write more but I'm going to go lay down at 7PM instead. This is highly unusual for me and I'm hoping that tomorrow I feel a bit more, well, usual?