So I made this thing. I started planning it about a month ago, and I started actively writing and building it about two and a half weeks ago, and the middle of last week, I realized if I put some focus on it, I could get it finished and out into the world where people could see it.

And Sunday morning, after a full day typing and doing research and then more typing, I finished it. The group I’ve been showing test versions of it to like it a lot, and I really like it, which is rare for me at the end of a project when I can usually only see the warts. And they’re there, for sure, but I think they’re minor.

So I’m going to push it out into the real world and see what people think about it.

What is it? You’ll have to wait until Tuesday, when I’ll let all of you know what it is and where to find it. Until then… You’ll just have to wait a bit. Or guess well, since there’s no password in front of it.

I’ve already come up with five things I want to add to it later, but one thing I’ve had to learn to do is recognize when it’s more than good enough for now, and then make that happen and plan the next round. If you wait until it’s everything it could possibly be and perfect, it never happens.

Room of Death update

Because of the thing, I only put one evening into working on the room of death, but I was able to get the filing cabinet empty (and surprise to me! It held all of my old book review columns from Amazing and some of my other writing, plus a supply of OtherRealms back issues I thought were long gone) and most of one vertical file; five boxes of material and a sixth will finish that. And then I had to buy more boxes, which are now in the room. So it looks like I have seven more boxes of things to box, and then the cabinets and the boxes can go to the garage and get stored until this is all done.

But because of the thing I made less progress than I expected, but it was worth it. But this week I need to go get the carpeting ordered and scheduled, because I need to know the color of the carpet before finalizing paint colors.

I did figure out where to store these cabinets and files for the duration, and they’ll fit, although given the state of the garage it’s a bit harder to fit it all in than I’d prefer. I’m sure none of you have that problem with your garages, right?

But still, progress. And to be honest, to get things moved around in the garage requires a sunny day, and the last week had very few of those, which is good. We needed that. But also reminded me I need to get the roofer out here to look at things (the thing is minor and only a thing under heavy sustained rains, but it’s still a thing, and the roof is going on 18-19 years old).

Going out for a walk…

With this thing behind me, and with the room of death a couple of weeks behind where I wanted (but about where it should be), I can start thinking about doing other stuff. Like getting back to going outside and going for walks and birding.

With all the work I’ve done with the room of death and all of those boxes, it’s not like I haven’t been getting my exercise: I closed my activity ring 5 times in November, four times in December, and since I started working on the room, it was 12 times in January and 8 in February. I’m definitely feeling hauling books around, mostly in a good way. But with all of his settling down, I can start planning going out a couple of times a week for walks especially now that spring migration is upon us. And of course there’s the birdathon stuff I mentioned last week, and I have some prep work and scouting to do for that.

And that youtube Channel project?

And speaking of all of that, I’ve been starting some planning on getting that long-stuck project moving again. And funny enough, I had this idea I really like the other day, that involves (shocking!) going out and taking walks with binoculars and cameras, and getting images and footage that will sendup on the channel, and the stuff that ends up on the channel, will end up getting integrated into this new thing as content for it.

Funny how all of this stuff ties together like that? But what it does is give me some direction on what needs to happen next, and what needs to happen next is start getting out with the cameras again. And going for walks.

Oh, yea. By the way, I bought a set of AirPods

So on that last birding trip to Merced, I did an overnight in Los Banos to allow an early start without a 4AM alarm, which worked out well.

Digression alert: La Quinta Inns

For what it’s worth, I stayed at the La Quinta in Los Banos, which was perfectly okay if you like perfectly okay corporate generic hotel rooms, meaning there was absolutely nothing wrong about it, and absolutely nothing that makes staying in it attractive to me. Even the art on the walls was generic, and gave you no hint at all where you might be. I’m sure that exact room with that exact art is in a dozen cities and you’d have no idea which city it might be from staying in it. That’s not really a complaint, but it also isn’t a reason to want to stay with the chain. One reason I much prefer Best Western is that at the least most of the hotels have some personality. I’ll give La Quinta this: it wasn’t nearly as bleakly generic as a Holiday Inn Express. And more comfortable.

This is, by the way, the first time I’ve stayed in a La Quinta since the mid-1990s. Why? Because one year, Laurie and went to Arizona for spring training, and we reserved rooms with the La Quinta in Tucson. And when we got there, they gave us a room with a rate $50 a night more than what we’d been promised on the reservation. And when we complained, the hotel manager’s response was basically “so? it’s spring training. Good luck finding another room”. So we took it.

And then we never stayed in a La Quinta again. For the first few years because I refused to do business with them because of that, and then after that, because there was nothing that made me want to stay at a La Quinta and I’d settled into using other chains. This last trip, it was a combination of it being one of the hotels that seemed nicer in Los Banos, and curious about what the hotel was like for future planning purposes.

And in reality it was pretty much what I expected it to be: nice staff, clean, pretty comfortable and wall to wall corporate generic. Which means if it makes sense, I’ll stay in one again, and I’ll stay in one ahead of a Holiday Inn Express or a Motel 6, but it certainly did nothing to make me want to move it ahead of the chains I tend to use already — which are Best Western, Mariott’s Residence Inn and various Choice Inn brands.

Oh, yea. By the way, I bought a set of AirPods

Oh yeah, AirPods. Well as it turns out, I took me Beats X earbuds with me on the trip, but they didn’t come home with me. No idea whether I left them in the room or lost them along the way, but they were gone. So I needed replacements.

And so I decided to try the AirPods rather than get another set of Beats X. It gave me an excuse to go to the new Apple Store at Apple Park, which is now the closest Apple Store to my house, and pick them up. I’d digress about my thoughts on the new campus and the new Apple Store, but you’d kill me if I tried, so some other time.

My initial take on the AirPods? They fit my ears well and seem comfortable but I haven’t worn them for an extended time yet. Earbuds, including the beats X, get uncomfortable for me after an hour or so, and we’ll see how these go. They don’t have the isolation of something like the Beats but that’s not a bad thing. I haven’t yet tried them on a walk or on the treadmill to test lose-ability, but the white case vs. the black rubber carrier for the Beats seems less likely to fall out of my bag and not get noticed in a hotel room at 6 in the morning.

I like the sound, they seem to work well with multiple devices (not always true with Bluetooth things) and I have zero interest in replacing my computer headset with them for web conferencing, although I may experiment. But for moving around? I like them.

So I’m happy with the decision. I bought those Beats after the AirPods were announced but before they shipped and I didn’t yet know how good the AirPods would be. Now I do, and now they’re mine, and I’m happy with the decision.

At least until one falls out while on the treadmill and disappears under it. If that happens. we’ll see.

Happy Monday, all.