My wife and I are members at a Chattanooga speakeasy called London Calling and we love the House Rules shared in their incredible spring menu (they update the menu as the seasons change).
Love watching them play as much as hearing them. I can see myself in that environment. I missed my calling.
I probably won’t be able to afford such a moving company the next time we relocate (whenever that may be). Before we move, I hope I remember to watch this video. This company has created a new category of science about moving.
I can relate.
—from David Lynch’s Lost Highway.
My habits have become terrible. All of my idle moments are filled with Twitter, Instagram, and endless mindless games of Microsoft Solitaire (which is the best handheld solitaire game I have found to date and please don't download it for your own sake and sanity just DON'T DO IT).
So it's time for some change. The easiest change is to read more, not in witty chunks of 240 characters or 500-word articles on, well, everything. I mean reading real books of fiction and non-fiction, and I mean reading for fun and not to learn anything. I mean reading like I did when I was a kid riding my bicycle to the public library between the polo field and elementary school to fill up my summer reading booklet with titles.
I've had a Kindle for years. It's the third-generation Kindle with the physical keyboard. It's slow, and I'm old and need lots of light to read now. As I was finally finishing American Gods by Neil Gaiman, a book I purchased two or three years ago and only finished Sunday night, I found myself leaning into the lamplight and squinting to make out the words. It was frustrating, so it didn't take me long to upgrade to the Kindle Paperwhite and I got it yesterday and it's wonderful.
Now I'm digging into the five-volume box set of George R.R. Martin's Game of Thrones saga, which may be too ambitious. Having watched the series on HBO (and eagerly anticipating the final season), reading the books is like watching it again in slow motion in my brain. The writing is great, but I'm not sure if it will hold my attention to the end. I wish I had read it before watching the series so I could kvetch about how they did so-and-so wrong and "No, it wasn't like that in the book!" with all of my fellow nerds.
Reading more will, hopefully, lead me to write more regularly. One plan to reframe my brain on the front is to simply move around a bit. Today I have holed up in a local coffeehouse. Cliché, I know, but it's working. I can see they have Wi-Fi, but I refuse to ask for access. That invisible Wi-Fi wire will bind my mind and I'll be stumbling through Twitter and reloading Reddit before I know it. If I really start jonesing for a connection, I have a paper notebook and pencil.
In case of emergency…unplug!
These grand plans for change are fresh on my mind. For now, it's working. I have written more today than I have in the past year. Much of it is rambling. Nobody would want to read it, but it's getting garbage out of my brain. I spent many years making a living as a writer, enough time to know that the words will start making sense if I just start giving them form outside of my brain. I remember someone saying something like "you can't think your way out of writer's block" and that is so true. Thinking is important, but spilling thoughts into a more physical medium is the only way to break a block. It seems like a contradiction, but you must write your way through writer's block.
As part of the monthlong celebration of my birth, I got to enjoy a Scotch tasting session at our favorite bar in Chattanooga.
The session begins at 6 p.m. and I figured, “Hey, why not make a day of it?” I packed a small bag with all the necessities: MacBook Pro, notebook, pen, pencil, and my new Kindle Paperwhite. Armed with some extra time and a credit card, I was ready for anything!
No, I’m not drinking all day. To start, I settled in with a latte around 2:30 at a great coffeehouse next door to the aforementioned speakeasy. After treating myself to one latte, I switched to black coffee roasted fresh all the time just six blocks down the road. I’ll be a twitchy mess at bedtime, but it sure was good coffee.
Two folks chatting nearby caught my attention and introduced themselves. Genesis is a local, an artist by the sound of it, with a guest named Daga. Genesis seems to know everyone; he greets almost all of the customers coming into the place. He introduced Daga as “a creative who just moved here from Boston.” I had been tapping away at the computer open in front of me. He asked if I am a writer. “Sometimes,” I said. “Same,” Daga said. Cool folks. We exchanged a few pleasantries about writing and living around Chattanooga before returning to our own little worlds at our tables.
Back on track, the Scotch experience was fascinating. Rick Edwards, one of four Masters of Scotch in the world (at the time of this writing), led us through an hourlong session tasting five servings of Glenlivet. I always knew I like Scotch whisky, but I never knew why I like it. Now I do!
via WIL WHEATON dot NET
Wil Wheaton continues to be a positive spark in the world with this recent post: not in our stars, but in ourselves – WIL WHEATON dot NET. Here’s an excerpt:
Remember how magical and humbling and inspiring it felt to just go outside specifically to look at the stars and planets, sometimes with a telescope, other times with binoculars, most times with just your eyes? Remember the first time you really thought about the reality of our existence? That we’re tiny little specks of life on an improbably perfect planet, speeding through space at incomprehensible speeds, protected by a thin layer of atmosphere from specks of dust and rock that are also speeding around in space, just like we are?
My wife and I plan to spend the next clear cool night on a blanket in the yard watching the stars.
Deep research, extensive study of the case, and complex arguments have been at the center stage of livelihood of lawyers from ages. But advancements in technology would bring disruption in their work methods. Law school graduates would undergo different way of training to become legendary lawyers as they need to learn to implement technology efficiently to win or settle cases.
Blue collar workers aren’t the only ones who need to consider the impact of AI automation. We’re creeping ever closer to
The internet has become my primary source of entertainment and enrichment over the years. It serves me for reading to socializing and audio to video. I’ve been thinking about the people who help me find the things I enjoy most online and narrowed it down to three people: Marco Arment, Dan Benjamin, and Merlin Mann. These three are the wellsprings that led me to so many great other things over the years.
Podcasts I like
You may enjoy some of my favorite podcasts made by a group of awesome people. I have listed them below along with links to the hosts’ Twitter feeds.
- Accidental Tech Podcast (ATP) with Marco Arment, Casey Liss, and John Siracusa
- Back to Work with Dan Benjamin and Merlin Mann
- Cortex with CGP Grey and Myke Hurley
- Do By Friday with Alex Cox, Merlin Mann, and Max Temkin
- Hello Internet with CGP Grey and Brady Haran
- Reconcilable Differences with Merlin Mann and John Siracusa
- Road Work with Dan Benjamin and John Roderick
- Roderick on the Line with Merlin Mann and John Roderick
- Systematic with Brett Terpstra
- The Talk Show with John Gruber
These are just the cream of the crop and I thank them for “All the Great Shows.”
Marco brought me Tumblr, Instapaper, and my most-used iOS app Overcast. Tumblr is a lot of fun. The other two count as life-changers for me. Almost everything I read or listen to online comes to me through something Marco made. He’s “like, really smart” and opinionated. Find our for yourself at marco.org.
Merlin is the consistent thread through much of the content I consume. He would groan about this, but his (dormant since 2011 and lovingly still available) website 43 Folders was the beacon that led me to him. Funny sidetrack: While checking to see that the site was still live, the last post was announcing what was the most recent version of Instapaper at the time.
Of the three, Merlin has had the biggest impact on my life. You can tell from the way my wife rolls her eyes when I say “Merlin said foo on bar podcast today.” I feel like I have traveled with him to WWDCs in San Francisco and talks from Rutgers to New Zealand. I even remember when he used to be Merlin Mann and talked to his wallet.
Oh! Oh! Don’t forget You Look Nice Today. It was literally the first podcast ever made.[^This is not at all true.] Merlin made that with his amigos Adam Lisagor and Scott Simpson, who are also awesome and hilarious internet people.
All the great people
There are so many people I have kinda sorta met through the Interwebs who also deserve recognition because I am thankful to learn and laugh with them.
Brett Terpstra deserves a special acknowledgment. His website is filled to the brim with Mac goodies. Don’t believe me? Be sure to check out his projects page. His app Marked is a must-have for anyone writing with Markdown on a Mac.
Others on the short list are Matt Alexander](https://twitter.com/mattalexand), Haddie Cooke, Jim Dalrymple, Guy English, Ken Jennings (the Jeopardy guy), Jason Snell, David Sparks, and Christina Warren. I could go on if this wasn’t becoming so maudlin. There are so many.
Final note on “Netquaintances”
While searching for references I found “The Story of John Roderick,” a wikidot page crafted by Jochen Römling. Being such a cool thing, I emailed a quick note to the craftsman in Sweden and had a terrific little email conversation with him.
A lot of days we look at the internet and see a raging dumpster fire of a thing. Take a closer look. Pick through the ashes. Find the gems and share a little light with each other.
Here we are in a new year and I’m still signing my checks, “Please don’t kill me 2018!” I hope you have the best year yet in spite of all the challenges we may face.
I got my first pair of glasses nearly 10 years ago and remember seeing the world through new eyes. I’ll turn 45 this week and just got my third pair. This time I got progressive lenses; what old-timers would have called bifocals. These just don’t have the line across the lenses.
With the updated prescription, I am seeing the world through new eyes again. If you catch yourself squinting to read or find you need to hold things at arms length to make out the words, I recommend getting a checkup. It’s worth it to be able to see again!
On a cold, cloudy afternoon at a presidential inauguration, Bruce Springsteen and Pete Seeger lead “This Land Is Your Land” from the steps of Lincoln Memorial.
We can finally scrape all of that 2016 goo away and move forward to 2017. I think this is going to be our year.
The horror of watching something terrible unfold right in front of you makes it nearly impossible to look away. The 2016 election is such a train wreck, the candidates’ voices like the horrible screeching of metal, so much vitriol like blood spilling onto the tracks.
All the world’s a stage and the greatest nation in the world has sunk to become the world’s stage for reality TV. This campaign has all the makings from bombshell accusations from FBI Director James Comey and Trump’s outright threats (I’ll put her in jail!) to backstabbing within the party (sensible Republicans versus The Donald) and outside interference (I’m looking at you Russia). Could Shakespeare write such a dark farce? If he tried, would scholars label it as tragedy or comedy?
The investigations of Clinton’s emails—opened and reopened during this campaign—ended as much ado about nothing. Twice. Likewise the so-called assassination attempt at a Trump rally. The “assassin” was nothing more than a member of their own Republican Party holding a sign in peaceful protest of a truly terrible candidate.
I feel like the main character in a (more) dystopian version of The Truman Show. Is this reality? Really? The whole campaign is so transparently ridiculous and almost scripted to seem unreal, yet here we are hunkered down on the edge of chaos with a hopeful tyrant snapping at the heels of the only presidential candidate on the ballot.
While some subscriptions clearly aren’t worth the cost to me, others are. The problem is that a bunch of cheap subscriptions add up to a bunch of money.
- $11.99 for Netflix for 4 screens + ultra HD
- $11.99 for Hulu no commercials
- $9.99 for Apple Music
- $14.99 for HBO Now
- $13.99 for web hosting
- $19.99 for Slingplayer
- $4.99 for CBS
No one feels like much. Together, they’re nearly $90 a month, or more than $1,000 a year.
We cut the cord on cable a long time ago, and we’re still coming out on top compared to the cost of a cable subscription, but we aren’t getting all of the channels but we never watched all the channels.
That isn’t including the puny bit of patronage I am able pay to my favorite Internet acquaintances, particularly Marco Arment and Brett Terpstra. Shout out to 5by5 as well. They’re great!
Doing laundry from start to finish can quiet a troubled mind if you set your mind to it.
I'm talking about being mindful here—completely in the task—and it works with any simple task. The methodical nature of doing laundry, washing dishes, or sweeping the floor can help quiet mental gremlins and find focus again. Change the way you think about these tasks; convert them from mindless to mindful.
Laundry provides several different ways to relax and focus completely on the task.
- Sorting laundry: darks, whites, lights, and other stuff
- The drone of the washer and dryer
- The smell of clean laundry
- Folding warm clothes
Focused folding is a ritual. When I studied aikido as a young man, my sensei taught me to fold my hakama in our dojo after practice. He referred to the careful folding process as the "Japanese press" because it would look perfect when unfolded to wear next time.
One of life's simplest pleasures is outfitting your bed with clean sheets. That luxurious feeling surprises me every time, a great way to end a day after meditating with eight loads of laundry.
Last month I made some bold claims about my output on this site. Oh well! Life goes on. I remain optimistic that both of my readers will have soon have more to read here than extended apologies for nothing being here to read.
Because quitting addiction cold turkey can be overwhelming, counselors encourage those who struggle to take it one day at a time.
Quitting isn’t my problem today. Starting is my challenge. Though I am going against the grain to start an addition, the same advice applies.
“Every day? Maybe several times a day?! I can’t do it!”
Yes I can. I just need to take it one day at a time. If I can write one short thing today, I’ve met my goal. When I don’t post something, wallowing in anxiety doesn’t make it better; it probably makes it worse. I should just shake it off and do a better job the next day.
Cobwebs are the only thing connecting this blog to the web. Returning to a daily writing habit seems overwhelming, but I met my goal today. So far, I have doubled it! I hope to do as well tomorrow, but the world won’t end if I don’t. I’ll just try to write again the next day.