When Do You Give Up?

I have a few shows on my DVR that I never feel like watching. I’ve watched a few episodes of one of them and find myself looking at my phone more than the screen. One I haven’t had the urge to watch once. I watched the first seasons of the shows and liked them enough to record season two, but apparently not enough to watch season two. Yet, they are still there, taking up space on my DVR. I have no idea how long they will sit there until I give up and delete them. Probably when the new TV season starts and I start having a disk space crisis and something has to go to make room for the shows I actually care about.

I will occasionally give up on a book if I read 50 pages and it’s not grabbing me. I have problems giving up if I’ve made it past 50 pages and then get bored after 100 or so. I feel like I’ve committed too much time to give up at that point so my reading slows down while I spend days finishing a book I no longer care about. Why do I do that? There are too many good books out there to waste time reading one I obviously don’t like. It’s the same with movies.  We recently watched an entire 90 minute movie that none of us as enjoying because no one wanted to be the one to suggest turning it off.

How long do you leave a show on your DVR before you admit you will never watch it and delete?

Do you have a page number for how long you read before you stop? Do you have a point of no return where you will finish no matter how bad it gets?

Do you turn movies off halfway through if you aren’t enjoying it?

Why do we waste precious time on things we aren’t enjoying?


Redemption Isn’t Just for Coupons

Watching the Today Show this morning and see another “outrage” piece about one of Elizabeth Smart’s kidnappers being released from prison. I was about to write a new post, but re-read this one and decided it still says all I want to say on the topic. I can’t speak specifically on the kidnapper’s mental state, but I do know that if the rules say that you count the federal time as time served, you have to release them. You can’t hold someone past their sentence because of public outcry.

I do want to ask soe questions of readers – Are there crimes for which you think people should never be allowed out of prison? If so, what are they? Do you think it is different for high-profile cases? Should it be? Do we really believe in rehabilitation anymore?

The World's Common Tater

One of the big news stories these days is that doctors are saying John Hinckley’s mental illness is in remission and that he should be released. Hinckley was found not guilty by reason of insanity after attempting to assassinate President Reagan in 1981. The government opposes this, and from posts I’ve seen online, apparently a good portion of America feels the same. Now, I’m not Hinckley’s doctor (or anyone’s doctor for that matter) so I can’t say for sure he is no longer exhibiting symptoms of mental illness, but I do have a problem with the idea that he should never be released. There are likely numerous people who were convicted of murder since 1981, were not mentally ill and have since been released. Why is Hinckley different? Is it because he shot famous people? Is it because we don’t believe the mentally ill can be helped? Or is it…

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Too Much Weather

I’m not talking about the rain. There has been too much rain lately with more on the way. I miss our dry hot summers. Maybe we can get a nice, cool, dry October. I doubt it. Anyway, I mean there are too many people out there giving weather forecasts. You have the TV weather guys, the newspaper weather guys, former TV weather guys with a website, amateur weather guys with Facebook pages, science teachers with a Facebook group, etc.  There’s too much weather out there.

Anyone with a computer and an interest in the weather can become a social media weather guy. I could start a page right now in less than five minutes and start posting my thoughts on the weather. It wouldn’t make me an expert. It would just make me a guy with a computer and time on his hands. I could probably still get a few people to follow me and, if I guessed right a few times, swear that I am the most reliable weather guy on Facebook.  Maybe I should experiment by posting weather guesses on my Tater page and see what happens.

There are multiple problems with the multiple weather guy issues. TV weather guys need viewers. Retired weather guys with a website and a business needs clients and clicks. Random weather enthusiasts feel good about the number of people following their page. How do you get the attention? HYPE! Sensational posts and headlines highlighting the worst case scenario. Push for the idea that the NWS snow totals are low and we could get a massive snowstorm instead. Pick the model that shows the hurricane will come closest to the area and cause the most damage. Who cares if you create unnecessary panic. You got some extra hits and some more money from ads and clients. You got some more people liking your weather page. More people are watching the news. This is what it’s all about, right? Not accuracy. Accuracy is for nerds.

There’s also the “I don’t really know what I’m doing” issue. These are the guys who are weather enthusiasts, but don’t really know how to read the models properly This is who I would be if I started a page. I can look at a radar and a model forecast and make some guesses about what will happen, but it really is just a guess. If I guess right a few times, people will think I really am an expert. When I’m wrong I will just throw out some meteorological babble that sounds good and gives me a reason why I couldn’t have possibly seen this coming. I don’t think these guys are purposely trying to fool people. I think they like the weather and like trying to forecast it. The problem here is the people who use them as their main weather source. Why are you asking them about the forecast instead of going to more legitimate sources? Do you think the rest are fake new?

An example of the bad weather forecasts: Yesterday, the Washington Post weather people, the TV weather people and the one weather guy I trust on Facebook(Christopher Bressi) all said our area could expect 2-4 inches of rain from Florence based on the current models. Pretty good agreement there. It could change because models can be wrong, but for right now, that was the estimate from almost everyone. Soon after these forecasts were released, a guy with a Facebook group put out a post that the area would get 5-7 inches of rain. That’s 3 more inches than anyone else is projecting. That is a significant difference and there are people who will only read what he said and not the rest. Where did he get these numbers?

So, be careful who you are trusting when it comes to weather forecasts in the case of extreme weather.

My Blogging Brain is Empty

Laptop is open. Glimpses of ideas pop in and out of my head. I write a title. I write a sentence. I delete the sentence, think for a minute, and delete the title.  I can’t seem to get past a general idea and form a coherent post.  Some ideas are just not great ideas. Here are some of my rejected ideas from this morning:

A post about the rain – using the word moist a lot because I know people don’t like it.

A post about how I enjoyed being in the city for a conference and wish I was in the city every day for work.

A “what I’ve done over the last few days post” – it would have been very boring.

A post about some current events, about which I have no expertise and when I thought about them had no idea where to go with the post.

Something funny – I’m nowhere near the proper head space to write funny right now.

A post about my good sports streak(Braves still in 1st, Ravens blow out win, Kentucky beats Florida for the first time in 32 years)

A post about what I didn’t post about – Here it is in all its terrible “glory”

Maybe tomorrow I will wake up and be ready to write something real….probably not.


My Week in Books, Movies and TV(9/8)

After my nice, quiet hermit weekend last weekend my life got a little busy.  Tuesday I spent the day trying to cover things at work in case I ended up out of the building the rest of the week to attend an event in place of my boss. Wednesday I had to get some mowing done in the extreme heat before working for 8 hours. Thursday and Friday I did spend time in Baltimore playing the part of the least important person in a room full of leaders from my profession. I didn’t find a lot of time for reading and watching much, but I do have a little to report.

Books:  Most of my reading cam from the holiday weekend. I finished Feared by Lisa Scottoline(not as good as she usually is), Measure of Darkness by Jonathan and Jesse Kellerman(Clay Edison is a good addition to the Alex Delaware universe) and 806 by Cynthia Weil(a decent teen novel about kids who search for their sperm donor father) all over the Labor Day weekend. In my little bit of free time on Tuesday and Wednesday I read Roughneck by Jeff Lemire, a graphic novel about a former hockey player and his sister who “must come together after years apart to face the disturbing history that has cursed their family). I would say it was probably the best of the bunch.

Television: This week bas mainly watching shows that had pied up on out DVR. We finally finished the latest season of Blacklist. We watched Whose Line is it Anyway, Salvation and Take Two. I watched the latest episodes of Fear the Walking Dead and Ballers. So, I watched more than I remembered, mostly over the holiday or n the hour or so between dinner and my wife going to bed. We are getting closer to the new season and new shows every night. I can’t wait.

Movies: We watched To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before on Netflix while our daughter was home over the weekend. It was a cute, enjoyable teen romance. I would recommend it. I watched Blockers Wednesday morning while waiting for a reasonable time to mow. It was funny and had some surprising deeper moments about parents dealing with their kids leaving for college. Nothing ground breaking, but funny. Last night we finally watched Fahrenheit 451 with Michael B Jordan. It was decent. I was very sleepy, so that might have made me enjoy it less. It wasn’t terrible, but I was bored.

On Deck: I’ve started reading Sunrise Highway by Peter Blauner. New seasons of The Last Ship and The Deuce start tomorrow. You premieres of Lifetime(based on the book by Caroline Kepnes). We will finally get around to watching Rampage with The Rock

Tuesday Tater Hot Take: Maryland Gets Hot

We are entering another stretch of extreme heat. Temperatures in the 90’s with a heat index above 100. This is not unusual for Maryland. Maryland gets hot and humid in the summer. This summer heat can start as early as May and can extend in to September. The heat is not a shock. This is Maryland weather.

Even though this heat is not unusual, there are several schools in the area without air conditioning. Every year, either at the beginning or the end of the school year, there are closings and delays alerts for schools being closed or closing early due to heat. Every year. For some reason, even though this is an every year thing, the local school systems don’t think putting AC in the schools is a priority. I guess they don’t think school disruptions matter enough to spend money on AC. It seems like a small investment to make sure students and teachers have a comfortable space for learning.

My daughter just moved in to her dorm at the University of Maryland. She, like her brother his freshman year, does not have AC in her dorm. Multiple emails have gone out with advice on how to “beat the heat” and now emails telling them they are putting mattresses in air-conditioned common areas and opening them for people to sleep if necessary. My daughter spent her first weekend at college at home because she couldn’t sleep in her room with temps at 90 degrees. She went back this morning just in time for her first class. We toured a lot of colleges last year. Maryland seems to be the last hold out in updating their dorms. I guess they think other things are more important. I’m not asking them to build luxury dorms. The traditional dorm is still fine, just add AC. We aren’t north enough to not have AC.

I know there are people who think “I didn’t have AC when I was in school and I was fine” but I disagree with that thinking for a coupe of reasons. First, I don’t think “it was good enough for me” is a good argument against advancement or updates. Shouldn’t we be working to make the world a better place? Even if that just means giving our kids a place where they can learn comfortably? Second, the world is getting hotter. These extreme temperatures are going to become more common. We have to be prepared for this. This is not the same world we lived in 30 years ago. Also – I had AC in my small town school in Kentucky 30 years ago and AC in my dorm in Kentucky. You’re way behind Maryland.

Hermit Weekend

Leaving the house is overrated. Usually. There are times I wish we went out more and did more interesting things. There are times, though, when never leaving the house is the best thing for me. This was one of those weekends. From looking at my memories on Facebook, this time frame seems to be a time that I do go in to hermit mode. I don’t know what has caused it in the past, but this year I know it is the combination of work stress and the stress of my last kid moving away to college. I needed a weekend to reboot and reset. Here is my hermit weekend so far(hermit being used loosely. My family was around):

Saturday: Leave the house to go to the library to get my holds and for my daughter(home for the weekend because her dorm has no AC) to get a couple of books for the weekend. Use the self check app so you don’t have to talk to the library staff. Eat all meals at home. Play Life with family when both kids are at home. Take the dog for a walk.

Sunday:  Leave the house once to go to church. Never go outside again. Spend the day reading on the couch reading a book while my daughter watches House Hunters. All meals at home. Too hot to walk the dog.

Today: So far, I have not gone outside. I have no plans to leave the house unless we drive my daughter back to school today. If she goes back tomorrow morning instead, I may not go outside at all again today. Write a dumb blog post about doing nothing. Watch the Braves game at 1(pending family TV negotiation). Maybe read the one of the two books I have at home but can’t decide if I really want to read.

Tomorrow I will be forced to go back to the real world. The real world is overrated.