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This Podcast is Surprisingly Awesome

Gimlet Media, who keeps knocking it out of the park in terms of lining up podcasts, just put another great podcast into the iTunes store for download: Surprisingly Awesome.  Each week, the hosts take something pretty commonplace — like adhesives — and tell you all sorts of cool and interesting facts about the topic.

I started with the broccoli episode, and I’m working my way backwards at the moment.  Broccoli.  Not something I’ve given much thought to.  I like to put it in my mouth and chew it up, but beyond that, I used to spend exactly zero minutes of my day thinking about broccoli.

But after that first episode?  I had to go to the grocery store, and I looked at the produce section in a totally different way.  Were you aware of how many vegetables are related to broccoli?  Meaning, they are the same plant but they present in different forms?  And did you know that when you’re eating the top of a head of broccoli, you are chomping on millions of tiny flower buds?  And that people taste broccoli in different ways depending upon their genetic makeup?

I did not know these things.

Best of all, the episodes, thus far, have been okay and interesting for kids which means that I can play it in the car in front of the twins, unlike Jesse vs. Cancer.  That’s pretty unusual on the podcast front.

Oh — and you totally know the hosts of the show even if you don’t think you know the hosts of the show.  Adam McKay is the former head writer at SNL and he made Anchorman and The Big Short.  Adam Davidson is the founder of Planet Money.

You’re welcome.  I knew you were looking for a new way to spend 45 minutes or so of your week.

February 7, 2016   9 Comments

581st Friday Blog Roundup

I was a little shocked by the number of people who said they would let their friend order. Some people talked about receiving suggestions from friends or waitstaff.  Of course, I take suggestions all the time.  A waitress’s suggestion just led me to a delicious sandwich at a vegan restaurant, and my cousin told me to try her buffalo hot sauce cauliflower thing and I did and loved it.  So, sure, I can roll with suggestions.

What gave me pause was the idea of going to a restaurant, sitting there with the menu closed, and telling the other person, “Surprise me!”  You would have to be a fairly trusting person and an adventurous eater — both of which I am not.


Stop procrastinating.  Go make your backups.  Don’t have regrets.

Seriously.  Stop what you’re doing for a moment.  It will take you fifteen minutes, tops.  But you will have peace of mind for days and days.  It’s the gift to yourself that keeps on giving.

As always, add any new thoughts to the Friday Backup post and peruse new comments in order to find out about methods, plug-ins, and devices that help you quickly back up your data and accounts.


And now the blogs…

But first, second helpings of the posts that appeared in the open comment thread last week.  In order to read the description before clicking over, please return to the open thread:

Okay, now my choices this week.

No Kidding in NZ explains that there are many reasons to withdraw after a loss and that self-care is just as important as reaching out.  I love that this brief post points out the positive sides of cocooning and hopefully emerging stronger and calmer.  A small change in perspective makes all the difference.

Pages, Stages, and Rages has a note she wrote to her daughter’s former caregiver back in China that made me cry, especially this exchange: “…She saw a picture of you.  She stared at it for a while. and I asked her what she remembered.  ‘She smelled good.’ Our daughter said. ‘She was warm.’  I knew she was loved.”  Go read the whole letter.

Infertile Girl in a Fertile World has a post about a Facebook meme making the rounds.  She has been tagged and doesn’t want to participate; at least, not in the way the meme dictates.  She writes: “But being infertile is like walking through a door and locking it behind you. No matter the outcome, you can’t go backwards.”

Inconceivable! has a post about the monsters in our lives.  This post resonated with me because I spend a lot of time worrying, which makes the monsters much larger and scarier than they actually are.  She explains: “I’ve spent years ‘seeing’ monsters such as illness, job loss and unexpected tragedies, trying to dodge them, afraid of their presence in an outsize way, far beyond simply doing the best I can to plan and minimize the impact in real ways – then moving on.”  Me too.

Battlefish has a great post about matching the “me” on the inside to the “me” on the outside.  She dismisses the thought as silly, but it made complete sense to me: this idea that your inside being and your outside being may not match, visually.  I loved this post.  It’s for every punk rock girl sporting a sensible haircut.

Lastly, No Baby Ruth wrote a post I needed to read this week about the Tale of the Porcupine.  If you don’t know this parable, click over to read the post.  You’ll suddenly remember why you can’t cut yourself off from the rest of the world and why you sometimes may be pricked as you brush up against your fellow travelers.

The roundup to the Roundup: Tipping my hat to more adventurous eaters.  Your weekly backup nudge.  And lots of great posts to read.  So what did you find this week?  Please use a permalink to the blog post (written between January 29th and February 5th) and not the blog’s main url. Not understanding why I’m asking you what you found this week?  Read the original open thread post here.

February 5, 2016   8 Comments

Who Are Your 5?

I really love this idea from Lifehacker about keeping 5 people in your mind to mentally yank out whenever you get stressed.  I sort of picture them like all the people who came out of Harry’s wand when he was fighting Voldemort in the graveyard.  You know how they circled around him and cheered him on and grounded him and gave him emotional strength?

I decided to make my 5 Josh, the twins, and my parents.  They are all 5 people that I know beyond a doubt what they think of me. (Unless I am utterly and completely wrong.  Wouldn’t that be embarrassing?  If I made them my 5 but they were all secretly thinking that I’m a drip.)

Anyway, I thought this quote from the article was important:

As long as they are happy with me, and see me as the constantly improving, evolving person I strive to be, that is what matters.

How much easier would life be if you only concerned yourself with the opinions of these 5 people?  Somewhat impossible, but what a great thing to strive for.

But I also like the idea of making your 5 not people who actually know you and love you but people — real or fictional — who give you comfort.  Like I was thinking about how Harry Potter is definitely in my 5.  So is Quentin Coldwater and Lucy Pevensie and OfFred (from the Handmaid’s Tale) and Frodo Baggins.  I get to carry all of them in my pocket because I’ve downloaded their books to my phone so I always have them with me.  It’s nice to keep your friends close.

So who is in your 5?

February 3, 2016   10 Comments

I Got Donald Rumsfeld’s App

Those words above?  The title?  I never thought I’d write them.

I mean, sure I saw the Unknown Known.  But that’s not the same thing.  Movie about vs. app created by.  Not the same thing at all.

But there was MY finger hovering over that “get” button on the app store.  Free solitaire app.  I mean, that’s not bad, right?  Taking someone’s free solitaire app.

Oh… did you not know that Donald Rumsfeld made his own solitaire app?

WTF, right?

So I downloaded it, feeling 20 kinds of wrong.  Because it played into a conversation I had with my cousin a few weeks ago.  We were talking about a certain author that I will not read because he is living.  Therefore buying his books means giving him money, and giving him money means he lives to see another day and spout his homophobic views.  Whereas I used to teach Knut Hamsun, mostly because it is impossible to teach modernism or flawed heroes and not talk about Hamsun.  But I always kicked off the discussion pointing out that people were allowed to opt out.  Not everyone feels comfortable reading his work.

Where was my line, she wanted to know.  It wasn’t just living or dead, though that plays a role in how I feel about supporting someone’s work.  Still, there are living people’s work that I support even though I don’t agree with a lot of their thoughts, and dead people’s work that I’ll never touch.  It is messier than that.  It’s a case-by-case basis.

Somehow a free app by Donald Rumsfeld passed muster.  In-app purchases, never.  (They’re turned off on the phone.)  Playing it for a few hours before deleting.  I guess?  Why a question mark?  Because I felt weird about playing the app.

Where do you stand on supporting or not supporting an artist (use that in the loosest sense of the word to apply to anyone who makes anything) that you disagree with?  What about one that preaches hate or violence?

February 2, 2016   11 Comments

#MicroblogMondays 75: Restaurant Ordering

Not sure what #MicroblogMondays is? Read the inaugural post which explains the idea and how you can participate too.


A few years back, Lifehacker had an article about letting your friends order for you.  This idea not only horrified me enough to bookmark the post, but it has stuck with me since then, turning around in my brain every time I meet a friend at a restaurant.

Are you kidding?  Order for me?  I barely know what I want, and I have full access to my tastebuds and brain.  How can someone who isn’t me know what I want to eat?

And I would never want to order for someone else.  How could I possibly know what they’re in the mood to eat unless they tell me?  And if they’re telling me, they can order for themselves.

Would you ever let someone choose what you’re going to eat at a restaurant?


Are you also doing #MicroblogMondays? Add your link below. The list will be open until Tuesday morning. Link to the post itself, not your blog URL. (Don’t know what that means? Please read the three rules on this post to understand the difference between a permalink to a post and a blog’s main URL.) Only personal blogs can be added to the list. I will remove any posts that are connected to businesses or are sponsored posts.

1. Persnickety 16. Inconceivable! 31. Jess
2. Mali (A Separate Life) 17. Isabelle 32. Kim
3. Mali (No Kidding) 18. Loribeth (The Road Less Travelled) 33. articulation
4. Middle Girl 19. Traci York, Writer 34. Jessica
5. Catwoman73 20. Turia 35. Kechara
6. Geochick 21. Kreative Doting 36. Beat About the Book
7. Journeywoman 22. Non Sequitur Chica 37. Stacie
8. Vaibhav | Thorough and Unkempt 23. Cristy 38. Miranda Writes Stuff
9. Anks 24. good families do 39. Rachel
10. Unpregnant Chicken 25. Just Heather 40. No Baby Ruth
11. One and Done? 26. deathstar 41. Vinitha D
12. Lori@ Laughing IS Conceivable 27. Amber 42. Kasey
13. * Our Wish* 28. Stephanie (Travelcraft Journal)
14. Raven 29. Virginia
15. Infertile Girl 30. Stacy E.


February 1, 2016   41 Comments

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