Record Breaking Sound

As I mentioned previously in my blog posts, we listen to a lot of music. We also listen to it in a variety of means. Online streaming to the radio; mp3 to CDs; cassettes and records. All of which have a variance in their quality and enjoyment. My favorite as of late is listening to our daughter’s record player.

First, we started listening to some of my wife’s and my old record collection. Rick Astley, Michael Jackson, ABBA, Village People, etc… Then we moved on to listening to some of our classical music and collections of dance songs. Lots of great stuff.

We have discovered that old records are readily available at our local thrift shops and music stores. Many of these used albums price between $2 and $5. I was happy to pick up an original Star Wars album for cheap. The record was in great shape even if the cover was not. For the price of a couple songs on iTunes- we are now branching out to hear a variety of very interesting renditions of some classic songs.

The current album of choice on rotation at this time is the Mexicali Brass. A truly wonderful style that feels like it belongs on a record. I could not imagine it played through iTunes. Hearing a record pop and hiss adds to the auditory sensations. There’s a certain randomness to the sound you can’t recreate digitally. Every spin of the record is slightly different from the last.

What form of music to you enjoy? Are you an audiophile with some tips?

Let me know in the comments.

Honda Element Keyless Entry Install

We’ve had our Honda Element since 2003 when the first model came out. We picked up a mid price range Element EX in five speed manual transmission. A fantastic crossover suv with hardly any issues. The only thing that became bothersome over the years was the door locks.

Having the key stop working to unlock the doors began within the first couple years. Twice the dealership repaired the locks at no charge. I guess it’s a known issue for Hondas. Eventually we just became accustomed to not locking the car or restoring to crawling in through the trunk. I’m too old for that. Time to see about a keyless entry for the vehicle.

Last week I went to one of those car audio places to see about getting a keyless entry installed. Cheapest unit and time was going to cost me $500. Ugh. Time to search the interwebs. I found a couple of videos on YouTube of people who had figured out how to install the keyless entry. I picked up a genuine Honda part on Amazon and had it arrive at my home two days later.

I came home from work yesterday and picked up the mail to discover the package. Alright, Amazon is pretty awesome. After watching videos of other people installing this part, I figured I could hammer it out before dinner.

Reading online and watching videos saying that it can be installed in five minutes meant the challenge was on. I hit my stopwatch from the moment I opened the car door to the time it took to install the part and put everything back.

2 Minutes 23 Seconds.

We can now lock and unlock our door. Best $140 I have spent in a long time. The part had a spot all ready for it. Now I see why people love owning Hondas. Our Element is essentially the same as a CRV with many of the same parts interchangeable. Keeping costs way down on repairs.

I’m happy again with the car. Now to possibly upgrade the stereo!

Check out last year’s Camperizing a Honda Element or a couple of years ago where we couldn’t decide if we should Repair it or Replace it.

A Day Off Together

My wife took a day off work today to spend time with me. She’s going out of town this weekend. (Our son has a Speed Skating competition in Northern BC.) I figured we’d have some nice quality time together.

First, she woke up and helped the kids get ready for school. I then drove them to school. When I returned home, I made us a lovely breakfast of bacon wrapped asparagus with poached eggs. So far our day was off to a great start.

Outside, the sun was shining brightly. Best avoid it and play video games. My wife and I played on the Nintendo Switch in our dark theater room for about three and a half hours.

It was a ton of fun lounging on the couch in our pajamas until one in the afternoon. Ya, I drive my kids to school in my pjs. Not like I have to get out of the car. In fact, sometimes I go shopping in my pjs. I’ve even gone to work like that in the past. Comfort wins out over fashion sense.

My wife gets very animated when playing video games. After an intense round, match or level- she usually flails her arms. She tries to grab at me, pinch or punch my arms in frustration if she loses. Today I earned quite a few bruises.

It’s all in good fun mind you. I’m often laughing at her failures in the games. So I do kind of deserve her little attacks.

I’m going to miss her this weekend. But at least it will give me time to heal. And practice at our games.

Retro Gaming Feel

Over the weekend, I set up a little area near our front door in order to play video games.

Over Christmas we received the NES and the SNES Minis. We had an old 20″ RCA tv that we were using for a computer monitor. I decided to mount it on the wall and connect the game systems.

The tiny alcove reminds me of the look on a basement from the 1970’s/early 1980’s. The perfect little spot to enjoy some retro gaming. It may sound odd, but it works. It’s also a good little spot to hideout, but still be central in the home.

Now when one of our kids are ready to go out before anyone else, they can occupy their time playing a game. It’ll help keep them out of the way and out of trouble.

Hopefully.

Not Socializing on Social Media

Last night as I lay in bed watching Netflix I was also browsing for nothing in particular on my smartphone (or should we just call it a phone now since most of us have one?). I don’t know what I was looking for. But it started and ended with Facebook.

First was a rabbit hole of videos. Everything from Fail Compilations to Wood Carving. Many of which I have seen before on these late night journeys of nothingness. Then I decided to try looking up former coworkers and schoolmates that I am not “Friends” with currently. Why? I have no idea.

Credit:Bizarro Comics

Do I need to pad my online self worth with people I once knew? Was it a deeper connection I desired with these strangers? I stopped myself before I began sending “Friend Requests”. I’ve come to realize that I have some great friends on Facebook. Ones who do share with me quite often even though we don’t see each other outside of social media.

I have also turned into the type of person that rarely comments on posts because I don’t want to offend. So my opinion remains curtailed and I lay dormant and quiet. Which is probably why I watch those videos. There is no interaction required. Just mind numbing useless videos that make me feel inadequate (I cannot turn wood into beautiful works of art) or I feel righteous (because of watching people fail at life doing stupid stunts).

The Fear of missing out prevents me from just abandoning social media all together. Maybe it’s time to reassess my reasons for staying on board. I’ve stopped using Twitter and Pinterest. I was never into Reddit. I enjoy Instagram because I love seeing the beauty in the world. But Facebook? No idea why I’m still going back. Sometimes I see a success story from a friend’s feed that makes me smile. Is it those moments that I crave?

I have a buddy that I have been friends with since kindergarten in the early 80’s. He has zero social media presence. He never did either. He and I are still in contact through text messages and calls on a regular basis. We meet up every few months and it feels like we never separated. I have a couple other friends like this. But I need more of those types of friends.

As I flip flop through deciding to abandon the social networking all together, I have to look at what’s important to me. Seeing success stories makes me happy. Using social media to keep up with technology and entertainment is also useful. Seeing hatred and misinformation spread is not.

Maybe it’s time for me to take my Month Long Break again.

Screen Time Stats

My iPhone updates me every week about my “Screen Time”. I didn’t pay much attention to it until this morning. Curiosity had me examining it more closely.

These are my stats for this week. 29+ hours staring at my phone. More than one entire day this week. “Social Networking” took half of this. Granted, I’d like to think that it’s because of Christmas and New Year’s and my desire to see how friends are doing. But I fear that number may be closer to reality than I want to admit. I spend more time watching videos and reading memes than seeing how my friends are really doing. On average I spent two hours per day on various social media.

Four and a half hours were spent on “Productivity”. WordPress took up a little over two hours. While calculator, email, and banking took up the rest. What surprised me was “Creativity” was so low. Meaning I wasn’t taking or editing photos very much this week.

Since I have now seen some of these stats and paid more attention to them, I think it’s time to adjust my focus. The iPhone allows me to set daily limits on everything. For now, I am slashing my social media time in half. Perhaps this will make me focus more on “Creativity”.

Putting down the phone is something my wife would like us to do as a family more often. We tend to eat meals without the phone, but once that’s done- out come the devices. Same when we are watching tv or movies. Not a lot of interaction with one another. I’d like to see what my wife’s and daughter’s stats are this week. Maybe as a family we can work together to knock down our screen time usage.

Have you ever looked at your device stats? Does it make you want to change?

Computer Calculus

Back in October, our oldest had saved up money and bought herself a New Computer. She has been very proud of it and has taken extra care with it. Over the past few weeks, she has been using it for a school project.

The project was for her Pre-Calculus class. She had to enter formulas to plot out lines and curves on a graph to make a symbol. While many students chose much easier symbols, our daughter (who loves the tv show Supernatural) chose a much more intricate design. After weeks and hours of working on perfecting the equations, she is finally done. She also finished before her deadline which is the end of January. I am impressed because of her passion in the project, and mostly because she had to explain something to me that I didn’t have a clue about.

She has demonstrated that she is capable of a great many things throughout her life. Now that she has finished this project, she has been wanting us to pay for Adobe Photoshop for her. Part of the deal was to make sure she doesn’t fall behind in school work for a hobby. I think this Calculus assignment has proven to us that she can be committed to her word.

We look forward to seeing what she can do with Photoshop and her photography. My wife would like her to clean up some of our photos as well. Our daughter has also hinted at writing more music, only time will tell. But I’m glad to see she is far exceeding my abilities in computing.

Package Deal

Today, we had to pick up a couple of parcels. The one we picked up in the USA was quick and easy. There was even free shipping for it. We have a PO Box with a small fee for them to hold the parcel until we pick it up. Just like many Canadians who live near the border. Crossing the border between Canada and America is usually smooth.

The other package was delivered up the road from our home to the Post Office. Even though our local post office line is relatively short these days, it doesn’t mean that other locations aren’t busy. A part of me wishes we lived in the USA- their postal system is more convenient, inexpensive and reliable.

Canada Post is finally moving packages. After much frustration while the workers fought for better wages and work hours- it seems that many packages sent out now won’t make the Christmas deadline. Adding to the frustration of Canadians.

In a world of electronic billing, free Amazon deliveries, and instant communication it makes Canada Post quite the dinosaur when it comes to the world these days.

Old Tech Memories

Every night I plug my iPhone into the charging cord beside my bed. The cord often falls to the floor so I have to pick it up in order to place my iPhone on my bedside table. The other night I grabbed the wrong cord. A cord I didn’t know I still had.

We haven’t had a landline in about four years. Ever since our oldest finished grade seven. At that time, we had a set of four cordless phones that all connected at one location- our bedroom. When we ditched the landline, I simply unplugged the phone. Over the past few days, I’ve been pulling stuff out from under our bed for Christmas. I guess the cord got caught and came out and I hadn’t noticed it.

There are plenty of images out there along the lines of “Remember corded phones?” I remember. When I was little, we had a rotary phone. I remember them in other people’s homes as well. Then push button ones. And really long cords to reach from one room to another.

In the mid 80’s we got our first cordless phone. I thought it was the greatest thing ever! It had one of those telescopic antennas that you could push down when you were finished the call. Except for the antenna- which eventually got bent and snapped off- the phone was extremely durable and aerodynamic! It flew across the room at my younger sister a couple of times.

Phones have come a long way since they were first invented. I’m using my phone to write this blog post. I listen to music, take photos and watch videos every day as well on my iPhone. Crazy.

The coolest thing a kid/teen could have in the 80’s was a Ghetto Blaster with a black and white tv built in. Man, did I ever want one of those. I guess I have to settle with having the world at my fingertips as an adult instead. I wonder what inventions my kids would wish they owned when they grow up?

Did you have any memories like this, or did you own one of those Blasters? Please share.

Cyber Bully Monday

Maybe I just have a weak point in my brain and ego. But I got sucked into purchasing on Cyber Monday again this year. I feel as if society has bullied me into being a consumer whore. Buying up stuff on sale whether I need it or not.

Of course I couldn’t help but check out the deals on Amazon. Honestly, there’s always something I could buy. I think the Internet gods are watching over me a bit too closely and catering to my desires. Facebook, Instagram, Amazon, YouTube, etc… all show me things I want. I think they are watching me closely. One day I think Cyberdyne will be real. Wait, what? Moving right along…

Last week’s episode of Doctor Who took a shot at how wonderfully awful warehouse shipping centers can be. Even in the future where robots deliver packages the same day, there’s something both alarming and intriguing about this. For now I have to suffer with free two day shipping. No instant gratification quite yet like going to a store and braving a sea of people.

So ya.

I bought something online first thing this morning. A part of me is excited about it. And a part of me loathes myself for it. Too late now. I clicked on the check out and my item is being processed!

KERBLAM!