Welcome To December

Hello there, blogosphere. Been pretty quiet out there, at least for me, since November. My blog muscles may have atrophied a wee bit. I had dedicated my writing discipline and time to typing my story for NaNoWriMo2019. I didn’t reach my word-count goal (not surprised), but it went well. I plan to keep writing my story long-term, but the pace will slow so that I can blog more often.

November was a busy month. I had trips and vacations and holidays. Funny thing is, I had extra time both off from work and also on the job. And now we have arrived at the last month of the year. And of the decade!

Over Thanksgiving break, my family began decorating and preparing for Christmas, kicking off the holiday season in traditional fashion. It’s been fun! The mood has been festive and joyous. I think my favorite part so far was wrapping presents to put under the Christmas tree. The thought of making others happy when they open gifts from me, seeing their smiling faces in my mind, has already given me joy.

Lord willing, we will arrive at the anticipated dates later this month to celebrate blessings with family, most of all the gift of Christ at Christmas. I’m looking forward to it.

Meanwhile, I’ll be enjoying the Holiday festivities sprinkled throughout this month. I hope to be blogging more often too. I know not everyone celebrates the holidays this time of year. If you do, I hope your Thanksgiving was good and that the rest of your year and decade will be great!

What’ya been up to lately? How will you finish the 20-teens? Comment below, or write to me here! Thanks for reading!

Three Things To Buy Apple Watch

Apple makes a nice ecosystem of gadgets, but the Apple Watch is one that I haven’t been compelled to buy. I just don’t find it that interesting or necessary. But there are three things that would likely cause me to wear Apple’s Wrist Computer.

Always On Display

This one is super simple. Just keep the watch-face display always on. Because that’s what watches have been able to do since forever.

When it comes to fashion, Apple Watch looks like a blank canvas on your arm with its solid black face. Plain. Bland. Boring. Worse, since it’s a tech device, it looks dead or off, like wearing the watch is a waste of time!1 It’s just bad in my chronographical opinion.

And when it comes to function, the Watch-o-Apple should be like, you know, an actual watch! The number one feature and function of a watch, something I’ve worn since I was a kid, is to show you the time simply by looking at it.

You’ll note that I didn’t mention raising your arm to look at the watch. As I sit and type this post with my arm resting on the table, I just look at my wristwatch and see the time and date without moving my arm or hand at all. The display is constantly present in time!

And speaking from experience, when I owned a Moto 360 Android Wear Smartwatch, I know how annoying it is to raise your arm or rotate your wrist in order to make the display turn on. After being accustomed to years of a simple glance giving me knowledge of the time, these additional required gestures are a step backward. This doesn’t seem so smart.

What about this feature killing the battery? I think by now Apple has the engineering resources to solve this, making ample battery life and an always on display just work.

There’s something to be said about simple watches just working. The only watch certified to work on the Moon by NASA is the Omega Speedmaster Professional, a mechanical watch.

In a timely piece2, John Gruber, a long time Apple blogger at Daring Fireball, commenting on an Atlantic story about the enduring functionality of the “Moonwatch” watch said this:

This is, to me, exactly the appeal of mechanical watches.

I’m not asking for Apple to make the Apple Watch certifiable by NASA for Lunar excursions. I’m only asking for the display to remain on all-the-time. Simple.

Overwhelming Health Features

As of now, the health features of Apple Watch have started to make me think I might want one on my wrist all the time. Naturally as I age, health is a growing priority.

If Apple Watch continues to grow its health feature focus, adding new capabilities for monitoring health or improving ones it already has, that would compel me further to consider not just wanting the watch but needing one.

Key areas where Apple Watch could aid my health now are:

  1. The tap to stand reminder, because I sit at a desk computer all day long for my job.
  2. The new Noise level detection app, because I have Tinnitus and am careful to protect my hearing.
  3. The active heart monitor because heart disease runs in my family, and my sedentary desk job doesn’t help.
  4. Sleep tracking…I’m not sure about this one, but it adds to the pile.

On top of that, the overall fitness tracking is an attractive set of features. And now Apple has improved those with Activity Trends, so you can track your fitness levels over time.

If Apple keeps ramping up these health and fitness features, it may be in my best interest, that of self-preservation, to buy one.

FaceTime Calling

This feature would require the addition of a front facing camera in the watch, like the ones found on iPhone. Its sole purpose would be for impromptu or quick and casual FaceTime calls from favorites in your contacts.

It’s futuristic and compelling to think that simply raising your wrist up and looking at your watch could answer or initiate a hands-free FaceTime video call with someone. This is what I call the Dick Tracy watch feature.

In fact, the phone calling feature (and the walkie-talkie app), without the video part, is already a realization of the Dick Tracy watch 2-way radio dream come true. All that’s missing is the FaceTime camera.

If Apple finds a way to squeeze the camera into the watch-face – I believe they can and likely already have a working prototype – then this feature alone would probably be the signal to strap this communicator to my arm.

It’s A Matter Of Chronology

These three things together would most certainly open my wallet wide to buy Apple Watch. But just one of the above features could be enough to push me over the edge.

Until such a time, I bide my time with my good ole fashioned Timex dumb-watch that always shows me the ”when” of now in the-moment-that-is-this. I don’t need to flick my wrist, raise my arm, tap my watch, or perform any other overt gesture. I just glance; there’s the date and time. That’s the bottom line.

Do you wear an Apple Watch? If not, what would change that? Share your thoughts below or message me. Thanks for reading!

  1. If that counts as a pun, then score: One!
  2. See what I did there?

Shout Out To The Readers

Yesterday marked a bit of progress on the blogging growth path. The Jason Journals follower count has doubled in the last few months, so I want to give a shout out.

In Appreciation

Thank you to all of you out there in cyberspace who visit and read Jason Journals. There’s an endless supply of stuff on the web that you could be reading, so I appreciate the few minutes of your time you give to my posts.

Being in the Attention Economy, where social networks (Facebook) work to consume all your time, I know my blog can’t even enter “the competition” for eyeballs. But if you’re like me, then you value unique blogs and bloggers, being themselves on the inter-webs, over mindlessly scrolling feeds: memes and fake news, and ads – oh my.

Writing rightly

You’ve helped my blog follower count double since the Spring, and it’d be great to see that growth continue. I try to respect readers’ time and keep my verbiage from being garbage. Yes, I edit my posts.

For me, writing regularly – my blog not going on hiatus for months at a time – is a big challenge. Even though I enjoy blogging, there’s a lot of other time-consuming stuff going on in my life. So finding or taking time to tap out a bunch of somewhat coherent and hopefully relevant thoughts into the keyboard requires dedication and discipline. I’m not very good at those. But I’m trying, and I’m not giving up.

Moving forward

Here’s an idea: I’ll keep writing. You keep reading. Simple, so what could go wrong?

With patience and practice, Jason Journals might get ever better. Thank you again for your time, your feedback, and connecting online. If you’re also a blogger, I encourage you to keep it up. If you ask me, the web needs more homegrown blogs and fewer social feeds.

What do you think? Comment below or message me. Thanks for reading!

A Groundhog Tradition

It’s Groundhog Day here in America. Kind of a weird holiday on the calendar when you think about it. But it’s kind of a fun annual event I look forward to.

“That’s right woodchuck-chuckers, it’s Groundhog Day!”

One of my favorite movies is Groundhog Day starring Bill Murray. I have a tradition now; every year I watch the movie on or around Groundhog Day. It’s like I’m stuck in a time loop, doing the same thing every year…ironic.

I’ve watched the movie many times, and it truly seems like I get more out of it each time I watch it. It’s like an onion where layers keep peeling back to reveal more inside.

The thing about this movie is that there are no special effects like today’s common superhero movies. There’s no computer generated stuff. Even the setting is pretty much the same scene over and over.

The story, though, is compelling, not to mention humorous. I enjoy watching the main character’s story arc as he slowly does a complete change for the better from start to finish.

I like the existential or philosophical stuff the protagonist demonstrates. Trying to understand his weird situation (no spoilers), he goes through stages like disbelief, denial, and despair. He is selfish and hedonistic.

But after failing at finding meaning in his life in himself, he finally starts to look outside or away from himself towards others. He becomes selfless and then finds true meaning or fulfillment. He learns to love.

Anyways, I don’t mean to go deep on the movie. I just enjoy it and am glad to be watching it again in 2019. Maybe I will find more in the movie that I missed before.

In a way, I think our lives are similar to the movie. We are given many days to live and figure out how to live this life the right way or the best way. Each day may not literally be the exact same, but in general, we encounter the same basic circumstances over and over.

Through these experiences, we learn how to respond slowly over time. Our first reactions to things that are difficult are usually selfish in some way. We’re taught to be better than that, and we kinda figure out how to get along with others most of the time.

I think we should be thankful for the time we’ve been given and realize that whatever lesson we did not learn yesterday will probably come back around over and over until we learn that lesson. We get a lot of chances, and every day is a precious opportunity to learn and grow.

Anyways, not too insightful really, but I hope that helps bring some good perspective to the table.

If you have not seen Groundhog Day, now’s your chance to go watch it!

Looking Back At 2018

We made it to the end of 2018! For me, I can say right away it was better than 2017, which was summarized by stress and anxiety. Thankfully, I’ve had less of that this year. I wish I could think of one word to describe 2018, but my mind comes up blank. Maybe resilient.

Looking Back

In the last 12 months, I made changes that would, among other things, help manage my anxiety better. Overall, I slowly improved; my anxiety was not as bad as in 2017. There were severe flare ups at times, but I was able to bounce back quicker and easier.

A big change in 2018 was returning to my previous employer, which was surreal at first after having been gone for 3 years. I got to do more of the work I once did, and I really like it. It’s been very good to be back. Usually the stress of this kind of change is too much, but it was worth it.

flat lay photography of calendar
Photo by rawpixel.com on Pexels.com

This year, my wife and I also started a new part of our family ranch: raising meat goats. So I built a pen and a shed for our new goats. And we expanded our chicken population, building a bigger chicken coop to house our additional hens.

Back in January, I took on a new reading challenge of 1 book per month. But instead of 12 books this year, I read 22! This included, for the first time, the entire Harry Potter series! I was late to the game but glad I finally showed up.2018 reading challenge

A few other highlights for 2018: I was able to visit with my brother and his family. It’s a real treat because they live overseas. My family went on a 7 day Caribbean cruise in the Spring. I deleted my Facebook and Instagram in the Spring, then rejoined in late Summer.

One last kind of milestone: the Summer had a surprise that kind of resurrected an old pastime of mine. My wife bought me a used Wii U for Father’s Day, so I did a bunch of gaming! I finally played Zelda Breath of the Wild, among others (Xenoblade Chronicles X!). It was like reliving my childhood. The last console I owned was the Gamecube. Nothing like escapism through some Nintendo.

Looking Forward

Peaking at 2019, I wonder how we’re gonna close out the teens of this century before embarking into the 20s!

I’m not a big goal setter, but I hope and plan to continue blogging on a regular basis.

Also, my family is looking at getting some major house projects completed: adding on a bedroom, renovating the living room, building a barn and paddocks, adding donkeys to the ranch, and expanding our goat herd.

So, I’ll be busy. I hope when I do the 2019 year-in-review it’s not summarized by the word, “busy” or “exhausting.”

A parenting milestone occurs in the upcoming year: we will have our first teenager! My oldest turns 13 in a few months. Life may get interesting.

The rest…we’ll cross those bridges when we get to them.

How was your 2018? What are you looking forward to in 2019?

Thanks for reading!