Wednesday’s Wandering Mind – Edition III, Feb 26 2014


Welcome back to my another happy Wednesday as we peek inside the mess that is my mind for the third Wednesday’s Wandering Mind! Although I am a day early, tomorrow I’ll be linking up with Amanda from Running with Spoons, whose ‘Thursday is for Thinking Out Loud’ series was the inspiration for my own ramblings …

… speaking of which …

1. The Soul-Crushing Demotivation of Extreme Cold

It might seem counter-intuitive after running about 60 miles each of the last two weeks, both of which had me dealing with sub-zero temperatures … but I am DONE, and really starting to feel it psychologically.

Over the last week I have fogotten to press ‘go’ on my GPS watch two times, and today didn’t even bother. I think that the warm-up really crushed my spirit as we headed back into yet more ‘Polar Vortex’ weather, with the next 10 days all forecast with mornings below 10F.

Yeah, it is winter … but when you are entering March and ALL of 2014 has been ~15F below normal … it is not fun. Even last week when it warmed above 40F in the afternoons I was running in ~15F mornings.

2. So My Wife is The BEST Thing EVER!

Like that race medal display case at the top? That was a surprise Lisa made and gave me LAST Christmas. And in case you were wondering if I keep close eye on my running bibs and medals … well, she took all that stuff for a couple of months!

But we never figured out the right place to hang it. But over Christmas break the boys and I painted the stairsway and upstairs hallways, which meant taking everything down. Lisa said ‘I know the PERFECT place’ … and so we added the medals from 2013 and hung it up on Sunday. I love it … and her. Yeah, she’s a keeper 🙂

3. I am SO done with Junk food!

I have talked about the ‘junk food hangover’ before – from eating processed and/or fried foods, and that it has gotten worse for me over the last couple of years. This past weekend we got a couple of pizzas from Papa Johns as part of a fundraiser for the kids’ marching band … and later that night I felt full and bloated and … well, yucky. I drank about a gallon of water. Not really looking forward to the next fundraiser in March!

4. Things I Don’t Get – Pinterest

So over at Loving On The Run, Sara has a ‘review’ of the Reebok ZQuick running shoes (I put review in ‘quotes’ since she really hasn’t run a lot of miles in them), and a giveaway … and a few of the items to earn entries are around Pinterest – reminding me that while I have had an account there forever … it is nothing I really ever use, because I just don’t ‘get it’.

Maybe it is because I had been digitized for SO LONG before the visual internet, that I am very much used to thinking with text files and spread sheets. Having an image list does nothing for me. What am I missing? Let me know!

5. Differences in Brain Wiring

We all know there are differences in men and women in how they respond to many things, due to brain wiring as well as societal treatment differences. We also know that these responses are distributions … so sometimes there are counter-examples to whatever ‘male-female difference’ someone is talking about. Sense of smell, empathy, aggression, whhatever.

My point? Whether or not some study says you SHOULD be good or bad at something has no bearing on whether or not you ARE. Perhaps you are, perhaps not – but don’t ever use, or let someone else use, some study as an excuse.

6. Work-Life Harmony, Not Balance

The whole thought about ‘work-life balance’ has always been important to me, because my family is my most important thing – but I also love my job and (of course) my income is pretty important to us keeping things like our house. There was an article recently that basically said to abandon the concept of work-life balance, because technology has made work part of our 24/7 existence.

I think it is the stupidest thing I have ever read. Well, not really – but one of the key concepts was this:

Build up a “hard work” bank account with your company. When the company needs you to really push, push hard. (And do it cheerfully.) This way, when you need to slow down the pace or take time off, they’ll be willing to work with you.

Anyone who works in the real world knows that when you put in an 80 hour week during a push, you have shown your company your willingness to abandon everything else and work 80 hours – you have abandoned your boundaries and principles.

Yet at the same time, we all constantly fail when we seek ‘work-life balance’. So today when I saw an article talking about ‘work-life harmony’, I was intrigued – and it is definitely worth a read:

“And that’s when it hit me — there’s no such thing as work-life balance. There’s only a series of less-than-optimal compromises.

My goal since then has been to strive for harmony between my work and personal life.”

7. Relationships Matter … Take Time to Celebrate

I make it clear that my marriage and relationship with Lisa is the very key to my life … and so I always feel great seeing couples celebrate – and this week it was really sweet when Cori had a single-purpose post about her relationship with her fiance ‘turning six’.

It is a reminder that there is never a bad time to celebrate the good fortune of having found someone we love who actually deals with our crap. It doesn’t have to be a blog post or something showy. It can be a hug, a small kindness, or just a reminder of how important they are to us.

8. Random ‘Odd Feelings’
– That feeling when you comment on a blog post along with others and are the only one who doesn’t get a reply.
– Having someone follow my blog, click to see theirs … and realizing they are the same age as my kids.
– Looking at a contact on my iPhone and realizing that it has been around and unedited for so long that it has Lotus Notes & Cadenza tags in it from when I was using an Apple Newton with Notes at work back in the mid-late 90s.

9. Folding a Fitted Sheet

OK, so this is something I don’t do well. In fact, I pretty much suck at folding – it is like that Tide commercial where the wife tells the husband “you suck at folding.” Anyway, in case you were wondering how to fold a fitted sheet so it doesn’t end up like a wadded up mess, here goes:

10. Buh-Bye Olympics

I was a total pain in my family’s collective butt with the Olympics … just like I am every 4 winters and summers on a 2-year rotating basis.

I love the Olympics, and watched at least a little every night … but by the end I was pretty much done with it – not the games, but the coverage! NBC managed to once again fall below my already low expectations with way too many commercials, too little sports, an unclear rhythm of total immersion and scattered jumping between sports.

Most intriguing to watch – Curling, because it is an amazing combination of intricate physics and totally useless skill that I just adore about the Olympics.

Worst? Hockey – there are ~175 NHL players on Olympics teams from USA to Canada to … well, everyone. Rules about who can play where are, well, bizarre.

11. Not a Fan of Blog Reviews

Chances are if you have a small blog and are trying to generate some amount of revenue, you are partnering with a large number of companies that provide you product and/or funding in exchange for coverage. What I am finding is that increasingly I see ‘reviews’ that are almost identical site-to-site without much of anything in terms of real analysis or opinion.

The latest example is a new set of running shoes. There was a review and giveaway recently, and in it there is boilerplate info and video – so I know the shoes are ‘inspired by tires’. But I don’t know if they come in a men’s style, how much they weigh, or the drop, offset, sizing, stack height, etc.

Think about it – ‘inspired by tires’. Is there anything LESS useful you could tell me?

Again, I am NOT criticizing the reviewer here, this is the required PR info, stuff that has to be put in to get the shoes and to be able to host a giveaway.

How do I know this? Because the EXACT SAME THING appears on a dozen other blogs I ran across while looking for some actual information about the shoes.

Guess what … I STILL have no technical details about the shoes!

Sadly, coming from reviewing computer games for the last 20 years and consumer electronics and technology for the last decade, I look for actual content and analysis – but more often than not what I see on running and ‘healthy living’ blogs is very sparse in terms of details and critical reviewing. Sure there are some, but in general the reviews are more about promotion than consumer advocacy.

12. Cold Today … Must Mean Global Warming is a Hoax

I have tell you my eye muscles are getting strained from rolling so much about this lately …

12. Arizona Anti-LGBT Law

Throughout our history, religion has been used as an excuse to discriminate against blacks, women, other religions, Asians, and other groups … now it is being used to discriminate against the LGBT community.

Now everyone from John McCain to Mitt Romney to people who voted FOR the law is coming out advising Governor Jan Brewer to veto it … but one of the big influences is sure to be business, with an executive at Apple reportedly calling and advising that the 2000 jobs planned for their new facility are at risk if the state has a legal environment hostile to the life and livelihood of its employees.

It is interesting to me that increasingly it is not our rights or freedoms that determine policy … but our money.

13. Netflix Paying Comcast for Priority Access

Look, we’ve known this was coming – the idea of pushing more speed and bandwidth to those who pay more is not new, and not going away. The consequences are pretty clear in terms of changing the power structure and limiting choice, content and access … but I will just point people to the latest Ctrl-Alt-Del comic, which is WAY to NSFW to post here!

14. Unreleased WWII Anzio Battle Photos

This is from last month, but I just saw it today – Life held back these pictures to ‘keep morale high’, but they were released for the 70th anniversary of the operation. Cool pictures from Life!

15. Time to Get the Band Back Together!

OK, not really, but fiddling around with MIDI files in Digital Performer, while done to get things into Garageband, has in fact made me want to piece together my digital studio again. And since the kids aren’t using most of the old stuff … I can actually do it!

16. More Random Facts About Me – with so many of the Q&A posts for people lately including ‘random facts’, I decided to do it as well. Here goes …

– I am a gadget-head. Perhaps not surprising, but I have had some sort of ‘digital appendage for more than 20 years now. My favorite remains the HP 200LX … which has been useless for years because it didn’t even have a field for email in the contact file!

– Being an old-school participant on USENET (before the web) and web forums, so I value a good debate … which is basically the antithesis of what happens on blogs.

– I still prefer physical keyboards and if I am in proximity of my iPad when I get a text, that I will wait and reply when I can use the real keyboard!

– My two favorite pens (I used to have a real love of good pens) were stolen. The Fisher Space Pen Paul Masalsky gave me in high school I had until ~1989 at the Fraternity conference in St. Louis. I had it clipped on my notebook when looking around at headquarters, and when I left I realized it was gone. No chance it had fallen out. My Montblanc fountain pen was stolen from work at Shipley. I kept the case with ink refills in my desk drawer, and one day I came in and the case was there – but not the pen.

– Again probably not surprisingly, I can remember all sorts of numbers. Things like childhood phone number are easy, but main numbers of every place I have worked, apartments and old houses, childhood friends, and so on … not all of them, but they will randomly come to me. This is in direct contrast with how quickly I just add people to my contact list and never learn their numbers.

OK, so now it is Thursday so I am adding my link to Amanda’s site, and here is the logo for her linkup:


And that is all for now … what is wandering through YOUR mind this Wednesday?!?

19 thoughts on “Wednesday’s Wandering Mind – Edition III, Feb 26 2014

  1. I love your WM posts, keep them coming!
    1) I can tell you one thing about Pinterest that I like.. it’s not just about the images, behind the image there could be a link to an actual interesting article. Think of Pinterest as a board in front of you with newspaper clippings you are meaning to read.
    2) I don’t even bother with fitted sheets, I just kind of fold/roll/whatever them.
    3) I like blog reviews, I hate paid blog reviews. It’s definitely a good reason for me to stop reading a blog.

    • Thanks so much!

      And good point on the review / paid review distinction … I feel like I am seeing too much that falls in the grey zone between review and paid review lately.

  2. I agree with the winter weather can stop any day now. I think every year it gets to this point in February where you think “This winter has to be the longest and coldest on record” I mean true we’ve been dealing with extended days of >-30c with windchill, and the weatherman says we are below record for this time of year but all I hear is “Cold Cold Cold”.

    I also don’t get pinterest just yet – I don’t have enough time to get into that time suck – but as I was perusing Target Canada (yes a way better time suck…) the opening page was showing off their three pinterest-ers, Like seriously? I just don’t understand how that can help their market area, I just don’t! My younger sister said as well that in school she had to do an assignment pinning some stuff, not that I’m that much older than her I just don’t understand how social media can have such a huge impact on business advertising –> I guess even in my own business i do not see how twitter has a place in my business advertising but that is just me.

    • Thanks Jade! I also have problems with Twitter, but watching my younger son manage the firehose of Twitter and Tumblr I know what I am doing there, it just isn’t my ‘workstream’. 🙂

      It is funny – I am looking back at my runs last year through the Timehop app, and we really did have much more moderate weather – apparently very ‘normal’. While my family wants it warm … I would be happy with normal! 🙂

  3. Another great post Michael, you always give me a lot to think about. I especially like the work-harmony balance piece of this post, you are right on about this. I personally struggle to find harmony at times with this, but it is something I actively am aware of and try to tackle.

  4. Thanks for the link! 🙂 Just to clarify – I did test the shoes out on about a 20 minute jog with my pup last week when it was a bit nicer. It wasn’t anything long of course because I can’t get to that level but I did run somewhat in them prior to reviewing. I also ran in them again today for about 15 minutes on the treadmill. Still held up very nicely!

    • Thanks Sara – I tweaked my wording because what you said was what I meant … you have run, but not many miles. I typically like at least 50 miles to get a real feel for shoes. I know my 1st gen New Balance Minimus felt good for the first 20 miles or so, but then started to chew up my ankle … fortunately the new 2nd gen was designed around that.

      But – I had also hoped you would clue me in on Pinterest! 🙂

  5. Love 12(A) and 14. I’d actually seen the photos (WWII is kind of a mild obsession of mine), and am actually planning a V-E Day dinner party this year I think — 70 years!!!

    • haha 12(A)! I should really stop numbering, or at least do a better job! At least nothing is out of order this time!

      V-E party sounds like a blast! Unless it bombs … then you’ll get all fired up … maybe shoot your mouth off, so bunker down 🙂

  6. PINTEREST. OMG. I DO NOT UNDERSTAND IT AT. ALL. I thought it was just me. Everyone I know is completely out of control with Pinterest and I just don’t get it, nor do I really care to get it. I have an account and used it for some organizational stuff when I was planning Betty’s arrival, but outside of that I never use it.

    Lisa MADE that display? Lisa is talented! What a thoughtful and awesome gift that is!
    I hear you on the weather thing too. Although it’s not nearly so bad down here, the fact that we are getting into the depths of another cold snap is pretty depressing.

    I also LOL’ed at the global warming thing. It has been all over my newsfeed and eye rolls aplenty from me as well.

    • Someone told me last year that I didn’t get it because ‘I was a guy’. Which I just wasn’t buying … I like the idea from 2 Cups ‘N Run that it is an organized sticky note board with links. Maybe I just need to try harder at using it!

      As for the medal case – she bought the frame and built it all out from there. It was very special! And I was glad she could so quickly add the 2013 stuff and make it look good – though you can’t see how awesomethe Wineglass glass medals look!

  7. So at first I was composing a reply that went point by point, but it just grew too too long. Thanks for a great read. I’ll only touch on one big one that men aren’t supposed to talk about (which hits your #5): the relationship factor in a few of your points. I’m blessed to think the exact same thing as you, my wife is the most amazing thing in the world, for me. Having a partner that complements me so perfectly is a liberating experience and makes the journey worth travelling. But men aren’t supposed to feel or talk about relationships, so pretend I didn’t say that 🙂 I posted about football or electronics or something else instead!

    • haha … I have never been one to care about what I am ‘supposed’ to do/think/feel – and I very much agree that having a true partner makes the ride through life that much more enjoyable!

  8. I’m SO with you being over winter. It’s been beautifully sunny here these last couple of days, but the catch is that it’s been -25C, so going outside is pretty much out of the question. That and the snow… ohhh the snow. But at least some salvation is around the corner… the days are getting longer, which means that spring is on its way 😀

    Fitted sheets — bane of my existence. I would rather constantly wash the ONE fitted sheet that;s on my bed than worry about folding it. Something I just can’t do…

    • Absolutely agree – love seeing it light later … but would rather be outdoors when I viewed it! And really, I am OK with ‘seasonably cold’ weather … but the tease of spring last weekend apparently broke my ‘mental toughness barrier’ 🙂 And since I *only* run outside – I really need that barrier intact!

      Agree on the fitted sheets – I would rather not bother folding, but then they end up wrinkled on the bed … and apparently at some point in my adult life I started caring about that!

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