Don’t Finish That Book

One of my favorite things to tell people is that I’ve started and stopped reading more books than I’ve ever finished. I’m not even sure that makes sense but it reminds me of an important decision I made several years ago regarding reading and learning. The short version of the lesson is that I don’t have to force myself to finish a book (or anything I’ve started) if it turns out to be a waste of time.

Maybe that seems obvious to you but for most of my life I’ve felt that if I don’t finish what I start, no matter how painful or pointless, then I’ve failed. All the while the truth has been that if I push through something pointless, that is the failure.

The Symbol of Easter

A lot of people consider the cross to be the ultimate symbol of Easter. That, or a tie-died hard-boiled egg which I still don’t entirely understand. But by itself, the cross is just a symbol of death and the despair of hope lost. The symbol that really represents what Easter means is the grave stone that was rolled away to reveal an empty tomb.

Death couldn’t contain Jesus. In fact, death couldn’t do anything at all. Jesus submitted to death willfully as a sacrifice for the sins of man. But it was only for a time. And by rejecting death and rising after three days, Jesus showed his deity and allowed all of us to share in an eternal life apart from death.

That’s why we can truly say Happy Easter!

Time Keeps on Slipping

I still can’t seem to get used to daylight savings time. Everything just feels late. Every time I look at the clock it seem s like it’s an hour later than it should be, which of course, it is. The upshot of this is that I always feel behind with my work and everything else.

I started working on a few drawings today and then all of a sudden it was dinner time and the day’s almost over. To compound things, I woke up late this morning. No one else seems to think 7:00 am is late but what do they know?

I guess I shouldn’t be complaining about what little time I have. Instead, I really should just be making sure I fill my limited time with the right things. Now the trick is figuring out what the right things are.

Abandoned

Where is my wife?
She only went to get a haircut.
Then she’d come back to get me
From the library where she dropped me off
With my kids for something to do.

But it’s been well over an hour.
How much hair does it take
To complete a cutting?
The mystery is deep and
So must be my patience.

Have I been abandoned?
Doomed to browse these shelves?
My only friend the DDS?
But still responsible for my children?
Oh wait, there she is.

A Pen in the Hand is Worth Two You Can’t Find

Pens and pencils are constantly going missing in my house. The cry of “where did my pen/pencil go?” followed by a drawer opening and a new one being taken out of the package is common.

Sometimes the old ones show up again but more often than not they’re just gone. We’ve all come to accept this phenomenon. And rather than try to be responsible and keep track of our writing implements, our solution is simply to buy more pens and pencils – a lot more.

A few weeks ago my wife found a spectacular deal on Amazon for Uni Ball 207 pens. We bought enough multi packs to last a lifetime. I like to do a lot of my writing lying down so I also sprung for a pack of Uni Power Tank pens which are pressurized. So now we have an assortment of Bold 207, 207 and Micro 207 pens.

While we bought them for writing, I’ve found that the three sizes work really well for pen sketching. The different thicknesses lend themselves well to weighting a sketch appropriately or producing different shading effects.

While they’re not the most high-end pens and they aren’t perfect for drawing or writing, they’re great for casual sketches and notes. Besides, the cheap pen you have is better than the nice one you can’t find.

How to Make WAV Sound Clips for your Computer

 

Making sound clips to replace your computer’s system sounds is really easy. All you need is an audio file that you want to extract the clip from and the free Audacity software.

Step 1. Download and install Audacity.

Step 2.  Launch Audacity. Click File -> Open and browse to your audio file.

Step 3.  Select the portion of the track that you want to make into a clip.

Step 4. Click File -> Export -> Export Selected Audio…

Step 5. Save your audio to your preferred location.

That’s all there is to it! Now you can make .wav files to use for adding custom Windows system sounds or anything else.

How To Add Custom Windows System Sounds

It’s really easy to roll your own custom sound scheme in Windows. First, in the Control Panel, open up the sound window. From there click on the sounds tab. Under program events click on each even and click the Browse button under Sounds. Browse to where the .wav file you want to use for that event is located and select it.

Once you’ve customized all of the events you want, make sure to click the Save As button under Sound Scheme and give your scheme a unique name. 

I’ve put together a few .wav files of sound clips that can work for some computer events. You can download them from GitHub. I use about 15 of them on my computer and always get a smile when I hear that files in my recycle bin have been exterminated.

Here are a few of my other favorites that I use:

 

The Uneasy Feeling of the Improbable

I reached up to adjust my visor so the sun wouldn’t blind me and send me careening into oncoming traffic. This seemed like a good idea. But as my hand grasped the visor’s edge, I heard a soft click and felt a slight give under my thumb. I was miles from home. I knew the device I just pressed only had a range of fifty feet or so. But for a split second a feeling of uneasyness came over me. What if, by some fluke of radio frequency transmission my garage door had actually opened?

 

I’ve had that feeling before. I’ll probably have it again. It’s like the feeling that you left the front door unlocked or the stove on when you left home. You’re uneasy until you get back and can make sure everything is alright. There’s alway that what-if question in the back of your mind. Even though it seems improbable or impossible, there always seems to be a chance.

The internet of things has begun to solve this problem. Garage doors can now be controlled via the internet using phone apps. IOT door locks and security suites can check and alert you if you leave something open or closed or off or on. So we’ve taken all of these low level, improbabe but nagging worries and we’ve condensed and distilled them into one, ominous fear: What if the WiFi is down?

Palm Sunday

 

Palm Sunday commemorates Jesus Christ’s arrival at Jerusalem at the beginning of the week before he was brutally killed on a cross. What a difference a week makes. On this day he was welcomed as a political savior. A few days later he was crucified as a spiritual savior.

Nothing has changed in the years since this happened. We still expect politics or some other complex human-centric institution to satisfy our need for lasting meaning and fulfillment. At the same time we reject the simple and free offer of eternal freedom, joy and satisfaction that politicians very obviously can’t provide.

Our human institutions just keep letting us down. But every political cycle we turn to them again with the same outcome. It’s said that insanity is doing the same thing over and over again while expecting different results. That certainly seems to define a lot of what I see happening today.