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Write everything down. Keep a journal.

In Nora Ephron's "I Feel Bad About My Neck," there is an essay titled "What I Wish I'd Known" and it consists of a list of all sorts of true (in my opinion) things such as "Buy, don't rent" and "You can't be friends with people who call after 11 p.m."

Also found in this list is "Write everything down. Keep a journal."

I know that this blog is a journal of sorts but it's not really a journal describing day to day life. I have kept many journals with detail of what I did each day, starting back in 1987 but I decided about the time I started seriously blogging in 2007 that all of that should meet the shredder. Sometimes I regret that afternoon but I realize that it was an overall mentally healthy move. This was at the time of my mother's cancer diagnosis and I realized that I needed to let go of a huge chunk of the past that was recorded in those journals or it was going to suffocate me and if it didn't actuall…

Completely present

The weirdest thing happened last night. I sat in the living room in front of the television and watched the Olympics and then three episodes of a tv show without my phone or my tablet or even my Kindle nearby. There was nothing distracting me from watching television aside from the occasional dog disruption or need to get and then consume various snacks.

It was briefly like the 80's and 90's all over again.

Sometimes I forget what life was like without the power to retrieve of all of the world's information at any moment and I'm really bad about watching something on television and having that something trigger the need for me to grab my all-knowing device in order to confirm some bit of trivia (Where have I seen this actor before? Was he ever on The Love Boat?) or add something to my shopping list (A commercial for Mercedes! That reminds me. I need to buy more Charmin!) and then, once the device is in my hand, I get sucked down the Internet sinkhole and stay distracte…

Art regret

I've noticed my musical tastes have taken a bit of a shift in the past few years, away from popular music and toward jazz and classical music. I stream stations that play this music. I even bought a better FM radio so I could get the local classical station clearer. I've bought MP3's, CD's and even more vinyl albums. I guess I am in a rediscovery phase.

I call it rediscovery because I was a liberal arts major in college and I had to learn so much about jazz and classical in such a short time in the early 90's that it suffocated the joy out of it for me. For example, when you have to cram classical tapes in order to score high on tests that prove you can recognize composers and styles (most of which I seem to have forgotten permanently, oddly enough), you sort of develop a distaste for it all. Well, maybe you wouldn't, but I did.

Now I have what I keep referring to as art regret. You see, I had the chance during my college years to not only really develop a love…

Planning on paper

I've been trying something new since about the second week of January. Instead of just using online tools, such as Google Calendar (where my family calendar is), Outlook (where my work calendar is) and Todoist, for planning, I've added a paper planner to the mix.

It started with this article in the New York Times which led to this article but none of the planners shown was exactly what I wanted. I ended up lucking upon this planner on Amazon.

What I really like is the huge area for tasks in addition to the huge area for your daily schedule. It's like Todoist at the top and Google Calendar/Outlook Calendar at the bottom and that's exactly how I use it. On Friday, I plan the week ahead, looking at my three online tools and I write everything out in pencil, including the reoccurring tasks that I know I typically do on certain days.

I would post a picture of an actual week written out but I don't like sharing work information online and although my work tasks would pro…

Less stuff, less music

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 tak…

Tuesday check in

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 ha…

The smart speaker purchase that ended up being not so smart

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 not…