Saturday, September 23, 2017

Blogging secrets

I write these posts whenever I feel like writing and I schedule them out so there is some semblance of regularity. Yesterday, I wrote four blog posts (including this one). Maybe I had just the right amount of coffee. Who knows. There are plenty of days when I don't feel like writing a thing, when I have no ideas whatsoever. And then, I have those rare glorious days when I have tons of pointless ideas and I unleash them all here. Wooooo!

Friday, September 22, 2017

Turn Up Your Speakes: "Take Your Time (Do It Right)" by S.O.S. Band

Another blog, another revival of my old favorite feature, Turn Up Your Speakes!

Years ago (pre-YouTube) at work, I believe (the actual story has gotten fuzzy over the years) someone gave me a flash drive with a video file on it and there was a post-it with "Turn up your speakes" written in pencil stuck to the drive. I wish I had saved the post-it but I have always remembered the words "Turn up your speakes" and they have lived on via posts on various blogs over the years.

At one point, I tried to do these every Friday. I think I will do them just as I feel like it moving forward. I can't maintain a schedule of  blogging/podcasting/creating/etc. without the schedule sucking the fun out of things.

With that intro out of the way, our first Turn Up Your Speakes at Jason Writes Here is from 1980, "Take Your Time (Do It Right) by S.O.S. Band. In fact, this song peaked at number 3 on August 16, 1980. Wikipedia lists the genre as post-disco although the song sounds fairly disco to me!

I heard it this morning for the first time in a long time and I was surprised at how well I remembered it and how good a song it is. It's a perfect way to start the weekend so Turn Up Your Speakes and enjoy!

How do you measure a month?

I measure by when all of the bills are paid, specifically my father's bills. I took over my parents' bills when my mother went into the hospital two years ago next week and I slowly paid things off and found better deals so they would save more money each month. It horrified me to see how much they were paying for certain things but I had never gotten involved in their finances up to that point.

After two years, everything is planned out month to month and I spread the bills out so the budget stays intact and money can go into savings much more often than it comes out. I review everything each Friday and the weeks keep flying by.
Source: Thoka Maer
I was thinking about what else has changed since my mother left the house for the last time two years ago. The house no longer has the "museum" feel that it had during her illness. We had left everything pretty much untouched for months while we were expecting that she would return. Now, many of the material things she had held on to for years are gone and I am hoping that those objects are finding use now since they were donated. We did leave her recliner and the table beside it as it was. My father didn't want me to move any of that so that little part of the house remains as it did in September of 2015.

There are days, fewer and fewer now, when I still find myself surprised by my mother's absence, especially when I am tempted to pick up the phone and call her when there is news to share about one of the kids. This only lasts for a second or so before reality snaps me back. The months we spent in different hospitals and facilities only come back to me when I have to go to the hospital to visit other people. Certain beeps and boops from machines make my skin crawl. I assume that is because those sounds (especially the alarm of the IV when it runs out of something) jarred me awake so many times when I was half asleep in whatever uncomfortable hospital chair I happened to be in.

So, here we are, another month that just happens to mark another year for us moving on - still looking back, but moving on just the same.

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Cooking up another batch of thought nuggets

Yikes - seeing "thought nuggets" on my screen seems even worse than using the word "content" and I do try to avoid calling things "content" as much as possible.

I guess I do cook up some thought nuggets daily and I share them via Twitter and now the Twitter thought nugget restaurant is back open for business to the general public. It wasn't long after I removed the option to protect my tweets that I got retweeted by a bot that apparently retweeets any mention of illuminati. At least they didn't automatically follow me.
My Twitter thought nuggets don't taste as good as these but are probably just as bad for you.
Since the heyday of Twitter is over, I don't expect to get hardly any new followers now that I have cleaned out the followers I didn't know or didn't care to have following me.

I also decided to give Swarm another chance just because I am curious about the redesign. I don't know if I will keep messing with it long-term or not.

Bonus non-internet related thoughts: It sure is hot here. I want to say that I am ready for the heat of summer to be over but I know what comes after it is. It should be fall but we keep losing potentially nice fall days to the summer weather that just won't leave. That means more lawn mowing and another uncomfortable band weekend out in the heat. Yuck.

Monday, September 18, 2017

My Fitbit falling out

My Fitbit would have jumped for joy last Friday and Saturday. With all of the moving stuff back and forth for my daughter's school, I would have been thousands of steps over my daily step goal. However, the Fitbit and its charging cable are now in a little plastic bag on a shelf.
My Fitbit falling out started a couple of weeks ago when I had been out doing stuff all day and I decided to check my Fitbit to see how many steps I had gotten in and that's when I noticed that I had forgotten it. My first thought was to be discouraged, like my steps didn't count unless they were registered in a little tiny machine and then transmitted into an app.

A couple of days after that, I came home and noticed that I was only about 100 steps off my daily goals. I could have walked around the house and got those steps but I realized at that moment that there was no point. What difference did it make? So, I just put the Fitbit on my desk and left it for a few days before packing it up.
What I've realized is that the Fitbit doesn't encourage me to walk any more than I am going to have to walk on any given day. It doesn't motivate me to head to the park or walk around the neighborhood. It's just another little device to deal with that is small and can be easily lost and that must be charged at least once a week. It's nothing more than another to do.

In fact, it can act as a discouragement more than an encouragement. I have a negative feeling when I think that I am behind on my step goal and, instead of making me get up off my rear and walk, I tend to wallow in the discouragement and do nothing.

I did lose a bit of weight when I was going to the park to walk every day but I was also stressing myself out trying to fit that daily walk into my schedule and I began to realize that even if I made my goal one day, I probably wouldn't have time to make it the next day so I won't hit my end of the week and that was incredibly frustrating. Why would I want to deal with something that does nothing more than remind me that I am perpetually behind?
I'm sure these are not the feelings that Fitbit marketing wants me to associate with its devices but I have packed mine up, at least for now, and I am still getting my steps in regardless if they "count" or not.

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Too hot for pumpkin spice

We made it through weekend one of four in a row with football games on Friday night and band competitions on Saturday. Just in time for weekend one, summer decided to come back. Our early fall has vanished and the heat was just about oppressive yesterday and just as soon as the blazing hot sun went down, the mosquitoes came out in force to inflict a different kind of misery. What is this, Saskatchewan?

The good news is that the band did quite well and I didn't permanently injure myself moving band equipment. We'll see how long the latter continues to be valid.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Coffee matters today because of Frasier and Niles Crane

Seeing the story today about Nestlé taking majority ownership of Blue Bottle had me thinking a bit about coffee and how much the coffee industry owes the Crane brothers.

That's right - every company that has made a ton of money on coffee since the mid 90's should be giving a huge thank you to Frasier and Niles Crane and their many scenes in Café Nervosa.

Before Frasier, coffee was just coffee to me. I grew up with my mother fixing coffee in the old percolator we had. I believe it was always Maxwell House. Sure, I would get the occasional cup of coffee at a restaurant, but coffee was mostly an afterthought. I never considered what brand it was or what different drinks might be out there like espressos or lattes.

On September 16, 1993, all of that changed with the premiere episode of Frasier. We are introduced to Frasier's brother, Niles, standing at the bar in Café Nervosa. This was a year ahead of our first peek of Central Perk in Friends and the first time I ever associated coffee with something more than just something to drink to get warm or stay awake.

It took awhile for coffee shops as we know them today to pop up out here around Armpit. Now we have Starbucks, Dunkin Donuts, and tons of local coffee shops to sit in and talk and read and work while sipping a variety of drinks and most of these shops remind me of how Café Nervosa looked on television all those years back.

Just writing this gave me the urge to brew a cup of coffee and watch the premiere episode of Frasier on Netflix!