Short updates

New monitor

I haven’t been writing much lately. Oh, I get ideas for topics all of the time, but I just lack the incentive to sit at the keyboard and put my thoughts out there. I haven’t even worked on my (probably never to be released or even completed) novel. I had dedicated February as my personal Na-No-Wri-Mo since I promised Cindy I wouldn’t work on it in November. I was excited about it. But I haven’t progressed much beyond sketching out two non-sequential chapters. I disappoint myself. I fear that I spend too much time thinking, and not enough time doing. Cindy could tell you that I am the living embodiment of procrastination.

I tried to stop being sidetracked by current political events by spending a week avoiding political news and commentary. There was no Morning Joe, no Meet The Press Daily on our television. I turned off the radio when NPR’s Morning Edition ran segments on political issues. I didn’t have to avoid much of the local news coverage of national politics because they severely limit their coverage. I didn’t look at Twitter for a week. I couldn’t totally avoid some aspects because the national evening news would have a story now and then, but since I usually watch NBC, they were spending most of their time talking about the Olympics. Thank goodness for sports!

And I had other things to take my mind off of politics. I treated us to a new desktop PC and monitor (see the picture above). Our old desktop was getting slower and slower, and was still running Windows Vista. It was finally time for a change. You are probably sneering and saying, “Desktop?” and I am unapologetically saying, “Yes! I use a laptop, but I prefer the desktop.” I feel more at ease with the desktop. Always have, always will as long as they are available. Plus, the older I get, the more I like the larger screen.

And speaking of my laptop, I have had to take in for repairs twice in the past two weeks. That is where it is now. Both times I have experienced software problems that don’t allow me to sign in. I have been able to get into Safe Mode each time, but nothing I did solved the problem. After the first time I took it in, the laptop worked fine for three days. But that was it. I fear that this time, rather than try to get it functional without losing data, they will simply restore it to the factory settings. At least I was able to save all my data while in Safe Mode. But I will lose some of the software that I use frequently. I’ll find out when the repair people finish with it. I would cross my fingers, but that would slow down my keyboarding even more.

***

One more update. I started paying more attention to national news on the day of the school shooting in Florida. That shooting and President Trump’s Twitter response, caused me to start thinking about writing a post concerning it. But when I started seeing the student’s statements and Twitter postings, as well as their actions, I knew that I could not say anything to match them. I recommend that you follow what the student’s are doing and saying. The young people can still teach us.

Is it Christmas yet?

Decorated hearth

My picture is blurry. Darn! But that fits with my mood. I have to admit that I am not ready for Christmas. Oh, I have all of the gifts bought, and most of them are wrapped and under the tree. And yes, the tree is up and decorated. The rest of the house is decorated s well. We’ve had our holiday party and it was fun. This isn’t a case of Bah-Humbuggery, I’m just not into that Christmas mood, for lack of a better term.

I didn’t do cards this year for a couple of reasons. The first is that we seldom get cards anymore; so far I think only one had shown up in our mailbox. The second is that even when we get them they are usually just signed with no personal notes. Sometimes there are no signatures, just a printed family name. We haven’t even received a card from our insurance agent. What’s that about? I still have a couple of days, so I may design a personal card and email it to a few chosen friends, or perhaps not. It’s that Christmas mood thing again.

For years I used to burn cds with a variety of holiday songs for friends and family. But I stopped doing that because so few people use cds anymore. It is all Spotify or some such now. I ripped some blues tunes to a flash drive to give to Lee while on vacation this year, but he declined it because he said he had no way to access the music. All of his was on his phone, or in the clouds. Speaking of vacation and music,  I had an MP3 player for quite some time, but this year while on vacation, it died and went to electronic heaven. Have you tried to find an MP3 player lately? I fear that I’ve strayed from my topic.

So, I have four more days to try to get into the spirit of things. If I were a pessimist I would give up now. But hope does spring eternal. Wish me luck.

Little things mean a lot…make that too much

 

Counseling while waiting

I took this photo in New Richmond, Indiana on July 4th while we were waiting for the fireworks to begin. Cindy took the time to counsel a friend who called. There never seems to be time off.

***

We bought another bookcase about a week ago. The bookcase deserves a post all to itself, so rather than go into the details, let me just say that I have begun filling it. Since filling it meant moving some books to the basement I took the opportunity to also catch up on cataloging our books.

The bookcase we added, along with the one already in the basement and the file cabinets, should hold all of my graphic novels, our biographies and autobiographies, and our books on historical subjects.

Cataloging the books and arranging them on the shelves should be simple, don’t you think? If you think that, you have never dealt with me. It isn’t just a matter of plugging information on the books into a data base and then ferrying them to the basement where I’ll just put them on shelves and in drawers. It is more involved than that.

I have been using a database software program called Data Crow. I like it very much. Up until recently I loved it. It used to be that all I had to do was enter the ISBN or the title of the book into a search field and the software would search the Internet, primarily Amazon, and fill in data fields for which it found information. Lovely!

But that function has stopped working. I could just enter the name of the book and the author into the data base and let it go at that, but I have grown used the program finding a graphic of the cover, the publisher and other information. So now I look up everything and enter it manually. It has added a lot of time to the process.

And there are small things that bother me. For instance, there is the problem of the distinction between an autobiography and a memoir. I know that an autobiography generally covers a person’s life from birth to whenever it is being written, and that a memoir just covers a specific portion of time or one subject. I can make that distinction when I list the genre, but sometimes the author or the publisher has trouble doing so. For instance, True Compass. the autobiography of Edward Kennedy tracks him from birth to imminent death, but the book is subtitled A Memoir. What the? In my case I call it an autobiography. When putting it in the bookcase it makes no difference because I mix biographies, autobiographies, and memoirs together.

That leads me to the next little thing. When arranging the biographical books should I do it alphabetically by author or by the person about whom the book is written? Keeping all of the books about President Franklin D. Roosevelt together on the shelf seems to make sense, but I also see the argument for arranging by author. What do you think?

If I keep everything by one author together, how do I deal with genre’s? Thomas Hardy wrote novels and poems. I have a half-dozen or so novels by Vladimir Nabokov, but I also have his autobiography, Speak Memory. Or is it a memoir? His novels are in a different part of the house. Should I move Speak Memory from the basement? What do you think?

No big deal, you say. Perhaps for you, but I was thinking about these things at 5:30 this morning. Let me know what you think.

Some things that I think about

Love the clouds

I took this picture while driving home from one of my granddaughter’s baseball games last month. It was, as you can see, a beautiful day.

***

This is another one of my posts where I gather ideas that either don’t merit a full blog post, or that I’ve forgotten the thread of my thinking. Rather than let them set and never use them, I like to toss out these nuggets so that you can think about them.

  1. Recently a commercial has appeared on television where a faceless voice proclaims that we “literally can’t live without WiFi.” Really? I admit that WiFi is a handy tool that usually makes life easier for us techno-dependent urban dwellers. But we can live without it. I can remember  time when WiFi didn’t exist, and we survived. Really, we did! We could again…literally.
  2. Little things on television and movies bother me. For instance, have you ever noticed when watching a murder mystery/thriller how the hero, when surreptitiously entering a home or business, will turn off a television or CD player or radio that is playing. The place goes from loud noise to silence. How is that helpful if you don’t want an occupant to know you are there? Why do they do that? Are they being critical of the (often dead) occupant’s taste in entertainment?
  3. Here is a phrase that I came up with for use in one of my more philosophical thought trips. “I am not one of those people who see life as a series of metaphors.” I had planned to use this to explain why I will never be a great writer. I don’t have that vision. Maybe some day I’ll pick it up and finish the whole treatise. But I doubt if many people would be interested in reading it since I’m not a great writer.

I have a few more, but I haven’t given up on expanding them enough to use. Time will tell.

***

Here’s a reminder about the next N-N-1. If you want t participate, take a picture at 4 p.m. your local time, on Sunday, July 16th. Send the picture  to me along with a short, 50 to 250 word writeup (prose or poetry) and your blog address, no later than 6 p.m. your local time on Friday, July 21st. I hope you will participate. My emaii address is houseman@comcast.net.

Thought streaming

A graveyard

This another photo that I took last month when I was driving around Linden. I really need to go out and get some new shots. Perhaps I’ll do that this afternoon.

***

I started this post with one definite idea that I wanted to state. But my mind wandered and my thoughts started drifting. I think that there is something of a logical sequence, but I may be wrong. I leave it to you. Oh, and I hope I don’t offend anyone…too much.

***

I was reading a short story last night, and in it there was a reference to people out for an evening jog. This story was published in the 1990’s, and it occurred to me that running and jogging was more than a passing fad. I guess that until there is definite scientific proof that taking a nap is better for your health than strenuous activity, I shall forever be clucked at sympathetically by those who bow at the altar of physical fitness.

Save your sympathy. I don’t need it; neither do I want it. Another thing that I don’t want is spending money on special shoes and clothing. I’m old and often grumpy and cheap. I am not going to wear a spandex track suit or sweat pants. Sweat pants are probably the ugliest fashion statement perpetuated upon the public. Not even a supermodel or leading man actor can make them look good.

I don’t feel that I am overly vain, but I refuse to be seen in public or, even in the privacy of my home, wearing them. Plus, I think they are uncomfortable. “What?” you say. “You don’t think looking and being slovenly is comfortable?” Well, maybe slovenly is a bit of a stretch. I’ll narrow that to just looking slovenly. Does that satisfy you?

I suppose I have been a tad too nasty today.I am sorry. I’ll try to end on an upbeat thought. May the unicorn in your garden fertilize your tomato plants.

What do you do at 2 a.m.?

In downtown Linden

I took this picture a little over a month ago. I have been meaning to stop and get a picture of this building for a long time, but that day was this first when the stars were properly aligned. I had my camera, the camera batteries weren’t dead, I wasn’t in a rush to get somewhere, and there was break in the traffic so that I could get the shot.

***

I’ve written before about waking up in the early morning hours and being unable to return to peaceful slumber. What do you do? Unfortunately for me, I think. This morning I awoke at 2 a.m. My eyes popped open and I tried to suss out why I was awake and why it felt like I would be awake for a long time.

Had I been having a strange dream? No; not that I could remember. I had a strange dream a few days earlier about a nefarious group who had surgically implanted bombs in the stomaches of the members of a water polo team, but that had not recurred. By the way, I couldn’t remember why they had messed with the team’s collective stomaches. But it proved to have a spectacular result in the middle of their game. Red, frothy water spewing from the pool, etc. But there was no memorable dream this time.

Was I worried about finances? No more than normal. That means almost constantly. But those worries seldom keep me from sleeping. I ran the finances through my mind anyway. I’m caught up on the bills we pay on a regular basis. Taxes are due in a couple of weeks, but they seem payable. We haven’t invested heavily in any competitive water polo teams. It wasn’t finances.

Am I worrying about my health? No, that isn’t it. I saw my ophthalmologist the other day and he said the macular degeneration hadn’t gotten any worse, so no injections into the eyeball were necessary, and I didn’t need to see him for another year. I’ll be seeing the podiatrist in a couple of weeks, but I’ve had no new problems with my feet or toes. I’ll also be seeing my primary care physician that same week. There I expect to hear that my blood sugars are in order. But I may hear that I need to lose more weight (the ongoing battle). I hope that he doesn’t recommend that I take up water polo.

All of that thinking exhausted me and I was finally able to go back to sleep.

The purpose of social media

Is it spring yet?
Is it spring yet?

I took this picture last week when I was out searching (unsuccessfully) for early signs of spring. If I went out today I would be able to find those signs. Our grass is starting to green and the daffodils have poked through ground. Yesterday I noticed that our tulips have also started to sprout. I guess the season is changing.

***

A few days ago I was listening on the radio to a panel discussion of the use of social media by people in government. While they were concentrating of the use and misuse by all levels of government officials of Twitter, they also talked a bit about Facebook. One of the panel participants said that the purpose of social media is to gather followers.

I was surprised that no one on the panel questioned his statement. I know that some people try to gather followers because their egos need stroked on a regular basis, and that collecting followers provides those strokes. Others try to gather followers because they are selling something. I don’t believe that most people on social media are simply trying to gather followers.

I suppose that I am looking at social media though my perspective, and perhaps it s a narrow perspective, but for me social media is a means of communication. Some of that communication is high level, some is low. As I’ve written many times, I got off of Facebook some years back because of the inanity and lack of civility of so much of that conversation. I prefer Twitter where I can more easily choose what to read and what to ignore. I also subscribe to a few email newsletters. And of course I read blogs as well as write this one. I prefer the longer form of communicating provided by this blog. I can write as much or as little as I please, and I can comment on the blogs of other people.

I would like to know your main purpose in participating in social media, and so I’ve added this poll, or you can just add a regular comment.