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Showing posts from January, 2020

Rampant Picks

Last night, my guitar instructor asked me, "what's that symbol." Referring to the rampant lion shield logo, as I have both a rampant lion sticker on my guitar case and I now have rampant lion guitar picks. I told him it was a personal logo that I use on my website and assorted other projects. He didn't seem particularly impressed or ask what that website might be. So, pretty much the response I get from everyone. But wait, what about those guitar picks? I know. Amazing right! We live in such a wonderful time, that for $10 I can send away to China and have half a dozen guitar picks with my personal logo printed on both sides at mailed to back to my house in less than two weeks. Sure, I ordered the wrong ones and got the leather keychain, pick holders instead of six additional picks. But you can get a dozen custom picks for $9.99 at this Amazon link . I think they turned out quite nice. guitar picks

Fear is Okay

Third time is the charm, right? Let’s hope so, because this is my third attempt at giving you a blog post tonight. I wrote a post about my new custom guitar picks from Amazon, and then accidentally deleted it into oblivion. Frustrated, I wrote a post about writing the previous post and accidentally deleting it. Then I accidentally closed that window and deleted that post. Doubly frustrated, I went and played guitar. I’m trying again. This time I’m just going to share with you a list I found on the world wide web. I present to you the top 10 fears that hold people back in life. I kinda feel like this is an obvious list and I’m not sold on the order, but it was put together by a psychotherapist, so it may be legit. And anyway, the more you know, the more you know. Am I right? Let’s do this countdown style. I present to you the top 10 fears that hold people back in life, according to a psychotherapist. #10. Fear of the Loss of Freedom #9. Fear of Inadequacy #8. Fear of Being Judged #7. Fe

My Future is Electric

Should I use money to make my life easier? Well, maybe not my life, but my chores. There is part of me that says doing these things around the yard without the benefit of power equipment is simply another way to get some exercise. And then I'm out there in 95 degree heat and 90% humidity and I think, perhaps I've made the wrong choice. Or, like last weekend, we get a bunch of wet, heavy snow and I'm out there trying to make my back as sore as possible while not having a heart attack and dying in my driveway. Same thought, I've made the wrong choice. Yesterday, I made a different choice. I have been pondering this decision for a while. Last summer I thought I was ready to make a big purchase and get a lawn tractor, but then I convinced myself that I did not need such an extravagance. I have a suburban lot which, according to the local municipality, is 0.232 acres. It's not really an all day job to mow less than a quarter acre. But it is a miserable chore that I do n


those kicks were fast as lightning

Seventh Sword

I don’t typically do this kind of write up of the audiobooks I listen to. Usually, I throw up a paragraph on the audible review and repost it to my Facebook page. But I thought I’d make an exception with this series, because I need content for my blog, because my Facebook posts don’t really help me keep track of what I’ve listened to, and because the first book of this series was one of my favorite fantasy novels as a younger man. The first three books of this series were published in 1988 and I read that first book, shortly thereafter. Probably as soon as it appeared in my local used bookstore. Dave Duncan has a special significance now that I did not know about before. What’s that? Dave Duncan pursued a career as a geologist in the petroleum industry for nearly thirty years before he started writing science fiction and fantasy novels. He made his first sale (A Rose Red City) two years later in 1986 at the age of 53, just two weeks after his 31-year career as a geologist came to an en

Reality, Truth, & Goals

Some do drugs, others go for a run, some grab a bottle, and some reach for the remote, but really we're all just searching for that little bit of shelter and escape from the terrible reality of the world. --or something like that Okay, so maybe "terrible reality" is a bit dire. Perhaps unrelenting would have been a better choice of words. Or maybe, you've got it rough and terrible reality seems like an understatement. I don't know. All I can say is that reality pushes forward no matter what and shoves all of our little misperceptions, wishful thinkings, and self-delusion out of the way as it grabs us all by the scruff of the neck and charges onward. Ever onward with no concern for you or me or anyone. Reality is a "take no prisoners" kind of proposition. Do with that what you will. Hey, just an update on my experiences with Mr Robot on Netflix. Almost done with season two. This show! You know what I mean? So well done. Well acted. Full of twists. Not r

The Man

"The thing you don't realize about " adulting " is just how constant it is. There is always something that needs to be done and so very many things that only you can address. Basically, " relaxing " is just short-hand for, I'm ignoring the half-a-million things I should be doing." --Ronn McCarrick Did I mention that I watched The Man Who Killed Hitler And Then The Bigfoot ? If you haven't seen it, the title kinda tells you what it's about. Sam Elliot is the man in question and he's good, but then he's always good. You can get it on Hoopla. It worked for me in the same way that Clint Eastwood's Gran Torino did, only with Hitler and bigfoot. As a schlocky B-movie, probably, it's not working quite so well. I'm not sure that it's really a four star movie, but it's closer to four than three. So, four it is. It's not a comedy, so don't go in expecting to get the giggles. Really, it's more of a character s

Listen While You Work

I am a big fan of the audiobook. I spend a lot of time in the van and given the choice between the radio and an audiobook, I will choose the audiobook almost every time. Sure, I listen to the news first thing in the morning, sometimes I enjoy the Dan Patrick Show (sometimes I don't), and I usually enjoy Fresh Air  with Terry Gross while I eat my lunch, but the audiobook gets me through even when those other things fail to entertain me. I listen to fiction, nonfiction, lectures, educational stuff. I'm pretty open to what I'll listen to, as the bar is so low. It takes almost no effort and just the right amount of attention to listen to a book. If you're done with all your nonsense, I'll go back to listening to my audiobook! Ronn McCarrick I have an audible account that gives me two audiobook credits each month and I'm also a fan of Hoopla for audiobooks. I have to pay for audible, but Hoopla is free through your local library. Got a library card? You can probably

The MLKjr Holiday

"Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter." Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. I'm sitting at home today because of the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday. Although, I don't remember my boss actually mentioning that it was a holiday for us this year. But the banks are closed, and while I have other clients, if the banks are closed I assume I have the day off. If I'm wrong, well, it'll come out of my PTO. just barely awake "Commit yourself to the noble struggle for equal rights. You will make a greater person of yourself, a greater nation of your country, and a finer world to live in." Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. I didn't watch much football this weekend, or much this whole season if I'm being honest. I didn't even follow the Lions, mostly because they were not good. Not good at all. I did see the Texans@Chiefs in the divisional round and last night I watched parts of the Packers@49ers. I think I would have preferred t

Decision Time

We got a good bunch of wet, heavy snow on Friday night and Saturday added too it. This was the kind of snow that gives a out-of-shape 50-something a twisted back, a stroke, or maybe even a heart attack, if you're not careful. This stuff was nasty. I think it was the straw that broke the camel's back. I've made it through 5 winters in this house and not got myself a snow blower. And before you say this is the first one without any kids to help, it's not, and the kids were never much help anyway. It's always been my job and I never gave it much thought. But today, while I was shoveling, I decided it's time to get a snow blower. If I could have gotten my van out of the driveway, I would already have one. But I don't think my little Promaster City would have been able to crawl through that mess to get me to Home Depot. So, I had to shovel it by hand. It wasn't great. I feel like I could get away with a single stage snow blower and save some money, but the tw

How are You Doing?

I'm confident that you are.

Onward and Upward

Last night I did not want to practice the guitar. After driving for half of my 8-hours, standing on a roof in the cold, blustery wind, and then having to negotiate all the client approval stuff that does not involve fixing stuff... yeah, I was ready to get home and crash. But I picked up the guitar and ended up with almost an hour-and-a-half practice session. Sure, I didn't get around to putting up a post on the blog or working on my writing, but I enjoyed doing a thing I thought I didn't want to do. It's like the weekends. I want to have a day or two to just relax and do nothing. But, then I sleep in late, drink some coffee, maybe browse the internet. Next thing you know it's 2 o'clock and I haven't had a shower or eaten yet. Then it's after 4, the day is turning to evening, and I'm kicking myself because I got nothing done. I end up feeling terrible about those days. As I get older I just want to feel like I've used my time getting stuff done and g


So, I had my second guitar lesson tonight and I was told that I already sound better than I did in the first lesson. Which is good, being as I had 7-days of practice between the two lessons. I targeted for 20-30 minutes of practice a day, and I did way better than that. I practiced everyday and the practice times ran from 40 to 90 minutes. In fact, there was only one day that I wasn't feeling it, and that had more to do with my back than with the guitar. I'm practicing in my office chair and it's not good. First, it has arms, so I have to sit weirdly sideways. Second, its too low and it wants to roll around the office if I move to suddenly. Thirdly, this guitar is a bitch to hold in my lap. My old guitar was a 'strat' style guitar and I don't remember having this issue. This new Les Paul style guitar feels bottom heavy and I can't find a comfortable position for it while sitting. The cord plugs in right where I'm inclined to balance it on my leg and it

Netflix - The Witcher

I finished season one of Netflix’s The Witcher and I’m quite satisfied with what they’ve put together here. I’m not a huge Witcher fan. I didn’t get very far in the Witcher 3 game, because I did not like the presentation of Geralt. He was a dick. Which meant that I was playing a dick. I didn’t enjoy being a dick. However, I’d been hearing lots of good stuff about the Witcher books by Adrezej Sapkowski and so I took a chance on them and found the first couple to be quite good. I haven’t finished the series, so I can’t say if they’re all good. But I did read The Last Wish and Sword of Destiny, which are both short story collections, and the source of this first season of The Witcher TV series. I’m not going to give anything away, so no need to worry about spoilers from me, but I am going to tell you what I think of the show. The first thing you should know, and a thing that is never explained, the stories in the series are not being shown to you in chronological order. The timeline is a

Pep Talk

Bits and Bites

My half-hour guitar practice went for an hour-and-a-half last night and I really enjoyed it. Then we ate pizza and watched a couple hours of The Witcher, which was more than intended, but what-the-hell. I didn't get any writing done, but I did get a blog post up before I started my guitar practice. The night before I did less practice, less TV, and added a touch more than 1,000 words to "And Don't Come Back...". I'm feeling more productive and less lay-about. Which is a good thing and I'm hoping to keep things going in this direction. One thing I forgot to mention in my Roomba Review post yesterday, is that neither the dog nor the cat are bothered by the little robot vacuum. Initially, the cat followed it around and watched it from on high, but the dog never cared. Which is odd, because he barks every time we get the upright vacuum out. I had read that some of the earlier models had a whine that the animals didn't like, but that doesn't seem to be an i

Roomba Review

I added a robot vacuum to our household during the holiday season. Black Friday/Christmas sales were part of the equation, but the dirt dispensary charging station was the feature that closed the deal for me. Without that base, someone has to be available to empty the tiny bin on the robot while it goes about it's chore. Which defeats the idea of having it run while we're at work. Overall, I have positive thoughts on this device, but I also have some complaints to share with you. So, what did I get? I went with the iRobot Roomba i7+ (7550) Robot Vacuum. The reviews were positive, iRobot has been making these things for years, and the holiday price was $300 off the $999 retail cost. Still an expensive purchase. This robot came with the "clean base", which allows the robot to empty itself up to 60 times unsupervised. First the good. I love coming home to freshly vacuumed carpet. The vacuum tracks in the carpet bring a very satisfying joy to my day. It's fun to watch

Grab Bag of Thoughts

Let's do one of those posts where I touch on a whole bunch of stuff without really telling you anything much at all. Okay. Yeah. Let's do it. I watched the Marriage Story last weekend. It's one of those movies that has no reason at all to be a movie. Being on the big screen or the TV, it would make no difference to this movie. I'm not sure what the big deal is over this movie... it was okay, well acted, made me never want to get divorced in Los Angeles, but I didn't particularly enjoy it. Being as I've been through divorce twice... yeah, divorce sucks for everybody and the only people that make out are the lawyers. I guess I'd say, yeah, this is a thing I've seen. I've started watching The Witcher. I'm up through episode 3? I think 3. Still not feeling the love. The scenery is good, the world is good, the costumes are a little hit and a little miss, but the characters don't feel genuine to me. Still feels like actors trying to find the ebb an

Second Attempt at Guitar

Long ago in another time and a different place a pretty young girl bought a boy a guitar, because he thought he wanted to put music to his song lyrics and possibly become a rock n' roll star. That guitar was a prized possession, but not a thing that was ever put to its proper use. The boy did not try very hard to master the instrument, and in fact, did very little with it. In the end, it was handed down to the next generation of rockstars and disappeared from any knowing that the boy might have. I was that boy. That guitar was a 1987 Charvel Model 1... I think... my online shopping seems to indicate that it was. It was 30+ years ago and I don't remember. I've looked around for one, but they're hard to find and not inexpensive... maybe, if things work out, I'll look into it more thoroughly. Right now, it would be a premature purchase. Charvel Model 1 It's 2020. I'm 51-years-old. It's time to become a rockerboy (Cyberpunk reference). That's right, I

What's the Plan?

I did not make any resolutions this year. But the usual things are still the things that I need to change in the new year. Really, what is needed is a lifestyle change. Fortunately, I both recognize that need and want to make some changes. I've been in a funk since the end of June and I need to shake it off and put things back on track, life-wise. It can be overwhelming to make a handful or more of resolutions and then try and turn all your habits upside down because the last two digits in the year have advanced. It's a recipe for failure that we all experience. We do it anyway. It just rarely works out. My big change last year was giving up soda. I've had some set-backs and I need to cut out the sweet tea, but mostly it's been a grand success. That is the direction I need to move in; the direction of success. arohen So what's the plan for the website in 2020? More of the same. I'm not making any promises or grand schemes. I recognize that the website is what it

Do It, Don't Dream It

intention and aspiration are not enough - set some goals, due the work

Looking Back at the Year Gone By

I would like to say that this site is one of the hidden gems of the internet, but that would be inaccurate. This site is more of a dusty, forgotten corner in the attic of the internet. Not true. It's not forgotten. It was never a thing that was looked for. It is just what it is, my website. A rambling mess of a thing that, mostly, just collects samplings of my thoughts and interests and distributes them to the giant plane of nonexistence that is the world wide web outside of the domains of the major and minor players. But, even with that being the case, let's take a look at the numbers behind in 2019. Just to put things in perspective. 2019 site stats 184 posts 63,307 total words (a 127% increase over 2018) 4 likes The Wonderdraft post was the big draw this year, with 233 views 62 Tumblr Followers 25 Facebook Followers June was the busiest month around here and this is how the year looked in visits month-by-month: 200 June 169 April 158 August 152 September 145 Ju