A Post Holiday Post

Alright, here we go; first post of the year! Let the annual blog stats begin!

After one week in, how is your 2020 shaping up so far? Mine is challenging. Since I enjoyed vacation and holiday time off work, going back to the daily grind has not been nearly as fun. Maybe I should have resolved to have more fun in 2020.

Sleeping in every morning, hanging out with family, eating lots of good food, playing games, and having a loose schedule: these were all great things I enjoyed for two solid weeks away from the job. Now I’m trying to readjust to the normal routine: rise early and sleepily, sit in a cubicle all day, watch what I eat, work more than play, and juggle a tight schedule. Yet it has been good to revert back to a normal routine just because it’s what I’m accustomed to.

Like many people, my eyes have turned towards my fitness – or lack thereof. With the holidays came a lot of eat, drink, and be merry…Christmas! Indulge and imbibe. It wasn’t too bad, really. But I know I need to get into better shape.

Speaking of fitness, I resumed my karate class this month, and we’re gearing up for the next Belt Test at the end of January! So now it’s time to double-down on cardio exercise, conditioning, and calisthenics! I’ve already started and can feel my sluggish body resisting. I’ve got work to do, and I know I’ll be able to shed a pound or two and push myself to get more fit.

In addition to all of that, I’m also playing through a couple of Nintendo games on the side for fun! I’m near the end of Zelda: Twilight Princess HD on the Wii U. I’m also close to finishing the whole story of Pokemon Sword on the Switch. And I guess I should mention that I started playing through Final Fantasy VII on the Switch too!

There are so many good games to play…2020 is gonna be full of Nintendo gaming I think. And Pokemon. So when will I have time to read 12 books this year? That’s the goal I set for the goodreads annual reading challenge. One book per month is reasonable. But with all that’s going on, it will be a real challenge. Oh, also, I think my wife and I will binge watch a couple of shows this year, so there’s that.

There’s a lot of play and a lot of work that will fill up the year. It looks like 2020 is going to be a busy one.


Do you have any predictions or plans for 2020? Comment below, or write to me here! Thanks for reading!

Finding Feedly All Over Again

You know what it’s like to discover something new. But sometimes, it’s more interesting to rediscover something old so that it’s new again – like nostalgia being fulfilled, or an old friend who returns to take a new adventure with you.


Well, call me a nerd or a geek, whatever. This week I rediscovered an RSS reader. Feedly!

After Google Reader was shut down years ago, I looked for a replacement. That’s where Feedly came in, for a while. But at some point along the way of dabbling in different software, I kinda switched over to Pocket and other read-it-later services. Feedly fell by the wayside.

But this week, through my online reading, I was reminded of Feedly by way of a contrast. You see, there’s this little thing called Twitter.

Sometimes, Twitter has been like an RSS reader to me. You follow news sites, which cross-post links to their Twitter feed. And then, generally, you see that link to the new article.

But the big difference between Twitter and something like Feedly is that the former feed is algorithm based. So you don’t necessarily see every article from your fave news site. And you don’t see them in chronological order. It’s hit-or-miss.

The latter, though, shows you every article from every site that you want and in an order that follows the calendar!1 And it’s tailor made for easy viewing. You can scroll through all the sites you follow in a mixed feed, or you can “knock-out” everything per site in smaller and more manageable chunks. Best of all, you don’t miss anything!

There might be one drawback to using an RSS reader though. It is an aggregator. So you go to the reader to catch up on all the latest articles from your favorite online info-depots2 instead of going to the websites themselves. I don’t think that’s good for the site.


So I’m enjoying Feedly again. After installing it on my iPad, I decided I liked the web interface better. But the app is more useful on my iPhone.

When I logged in and saw some of my old sites still there, I wondered why I hadn’t been using Feedly all this time! Rediscovering it has been a nice bit of old being new again.


How do you keep up with your favorite websites? Social-media, feed reader, or visit each site? Comment below or message me. Thanks for reading!

  1. One of the biggest and simplest requests I hear people have about social feeds is to put them in chrono order. Why do you think social sites refuse to do that?
  2. The internet itself is a big Info-Depot.

The Matrix Of Social Media

Billions of people are going about their lives every day, oblivious to the truth: just like The Matrix, Social Media has them. We live in an online world of mindless scrolling, hooked on ‘likes’. Impulsively, we go to Facebook or Instagram to check our notifications. The ‘feeds’ beckon our minds to…keep checking–but for what? It seems Social Media Addiction is a thing, and it seems designed to be.

My usage of social media started in 2009 with Facebook and grew from there. In the past nine years, as I consumed more of its content, it consumed me further. So I’ve had to pull back and exercise moderation, exerting self-control. The social media matrix is all about control; it wants our attention at all times.

Two times in the past, I have deleted, not just deactivated, my Facebook account. Call it ‘nuke from orbit’. And because of the recent news that, once again, Facebook user data and privacy was exploited, I might press the big red button for a third nuke. I can quit Facebook anytime, I’m not addicted! Said the social junkie. The #DeleteFacebook trend on Twitter (irony alert) is compelling.

For some reason, even before the news of the current data exploit, I’ve been drawn to withdraw from social media. Well, maybe not Twitter. The fact that I’m concerned about adverse social media withdrawal and not getting my fix of notifications is evidence, I believe, that I’m addicted to it. But I can quit anytime!

Psychostimulants

Social media is like coffee. You wake up and you’ve got to have it, and you get jittery if you go too long without it. Plus it can keep you up late at night! That’s the way it goes with me. I’ll enjoy one or two cups of coffee per day. The next thing you know, I’m up to 4 cups a day–too much! So I step back from the coffee; just put the mug down!

That’s what moderation looks like. You still drink coffee or use social media, but you do it more mindfully; no more mindless scrolling and checking. You put healthy limits on your time on Twitter or Facebook. But if you find yourself getting sucked back in too far past the boundaries, you may have to resort to abstinence. Instead of a little Instagram or Snapchat here and there, for example, you “just say no” to the drug altogether. You might resort to the ‘nuke from orbit’ option. Go ballistic. Delete.

You can quit cold turkey, sure. Just pull the plug! But that might not be successful. Like Neo in The Matrix, you might pop because your mind can’t take the sudden absence of red circles with numbers in them. So you might try soft exits in a series of steps. I’ve done this before and it totally helps. Instead of deleting or deactivating Facebook, for example, you can detach.

Find The Nearest Exit

Last year, I posted an idea for gaining control over your Facebook Newsfeed: The End of Newsfeed Distraction. It wakes you up from the mindless scrolling so you don’t find yourself tumbling down the never-ending rabbit hole of social matrices.

Some other easy and helpful tips: on your smartphone, move all social media app icons into folders on a 3rd or later screen so they’re a bit harder to get to. And the next logical step–simply delete the apps from your phone or tablet. This let’s you keep your account intact (it’s there if you need it), but it saves you from instinctively tapping away at your screen to check your feeds.

These steps are simple. And if the thought of doing them makes you uncomfortable, then consider that social media has you. It’s important to take control, again like The Matrix. At the risk of a false dichotomy, either Facebook controls you, or you control Facebook. You consume it and then unwittingly discover that it consumes you! Social Media is insidious that way.

It may sound like I’m bashing all social networking, and I get that some people love to hate on these modern fruits of technology just out of sensationalism. I don’t mean to sound alarmist unless there is some danger. Some people do get great usage out of the tools of social media and it serves them well. And I am starting to wonder if Facebook itself, as big as it is, has become somewhat essential to modern life, just as the internet itself has become a utility like water and electricity. I would contend otherwise–but that’s a blog post for another time.

For now I’ll say social media, like fruit, can be good. But even fruit goes bad over time. Biting into a rotten apple is not fun. Scrolling a sour newsfeed is not fun either. But people do it out of habit. You’ve just got to decide to keep your good habits and toss your bad ones. You decide because you are in control. Don’t let The Matrix Of Social Media control you.