Vacation Procrastination

Having two weeks off at the end of the year is undeniably awesome. Finances keep us at home instead of traveling world, but that’s ok, because I share the vacation with two kids who consider our city an international adventure. The time allows me to catch up on sleep, work, family, and every other responsibility that I’ve been shirking. I typically plan to work on about 2 or 3 times what I actually have any possibility of completing, which keeps me both marginally productive and feeling anxious for most of the break.

Available time, anxiety, and guilt held at bay by marginal productivity, combine to form perfect conditions for vacation procrastination, which happens to be one of my major talents. This vacation I’ve started creating playlists of the best music from different years. I started with 1977, a surprisingly disappointing year in music and finished the far more impressive 1993 today.

After years of nomadic wandering, I’m finally settled with Google Music, which gives me access to most of the world of music for less than $10 a month. Google stores my original collection in the cloud and gives me access to virtually everything else that I want. The only issue that I’ve run into is that to share music, I have to use Google’s version instead of my own. So far only AC/DC and Tool are in my collection but not licensed through Google. My mind is blown by the amount of music that I have access to for almost no cost. This alone makes a good deal of the shit that is wrong with the world seem tolerable .

I start by going through lists of album releases from any given year on Wikipedia and then go through a few extra best-of lists in case I missed anything. Then I play music for hours, moving all the great tracks into a list. Once I have my initial list done, I go through the playlist on random and move the songs up, down, or off the list. 150-200 songs seems like a good number for each year. There isn’t much need to worry about where a song will end up, just moving tracks up and down while flipping through the music gets everything close to the right place eventually.

The lists end up a little different from how I remember the year in music because I’m only considering releases from the actual year, when music from previous years heavily flavors my perception of a musical year. Listening to the playlists brings up all kinds of interesting forgotten and repressed memories, which I’m looking forward to exploring as part of future procrastinations. I joked about being disappointed by the 1977 list, but really, there was a lot of great music released in 1977; it’s more a matter of some years being better than others. My interest and knowledge don’t go back much before 1960, so that’s about 50 lists to go!

Of course, my lists exclude great songs that just rub me the wrong way for one reason or another. I’ve also included music that is arguably lame, but held some important significance for me at the time. Playing the year on random mode works best for me because the order isn’t too important and probably distracts from the experience without giving benefit. Without Google Music, you can still see the list and play either 0:30 or 1:30 excerpts. If you have Google Music, you should be able to play the list as your own and add it to your library for anytime access.

Next up, I’ll probably work on a year from the ’80s. I’m hoping that digging deep into all the 80s music will improve my opinion of the decade. Right now, I consider it the worst decade for music (that I like) since the ’50s.

Clicking on the links will bring you to the playlists



A winter ice cream break from a couple of weeks ago.

Alexa Chris 11-14 gif

deMotivational Messages: Consulting

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consulting demotivator

Just Hanging Around

Just Hanging Around

We’ve been having a family argument about Christopher’s hair. Maylin has succeeded in convincing Chris that only girls have long hair. I’m doing my best to point out the vast number of hugely popular and successful people who make this position ludicrous. To keep the growth going, I agreed to the group compromise of a haircut. As with most things that we do, we found a few distractions along the way and ended up just hanging around a lot.

Lunch Date with Alexa

Lunch Date with Alexa

This week Christopher started the Summer Scholars program, so he is at our school learning and playing everyday. Since Alexa is free for the summer, we planned a lunch date. Tuesday I picked her up at 11 and we headed over to the 7-11 to buy a very nutritious meal of Lunchables and pizza. We came back to the Ashley Elementary library where I’m cleaning out the old tech closets and supplies in preparation for the new school year. It’s probably fortunate that kids are so excited about going to work when they’re little, because if they knew what was in store for them, we’d have a hard time convincing them that working to be ‘college and career ready’ was such a good thing compared to just being a kid.

Alexa got to see her teacher from this year and some of the big kids that she knows. It still blows my mind the deference and awe that a 5 year-old has for a 9 year-old. I’m bummed that after 40 that deference and awe go in the opposite direction until you’re back at ground zero. After lunch, we worked on organizing the supplies and exploring the library.

After work we made our near daily trip to the store. Alexa wore her best dude gear and then got a chance to begin her driving lessons. She’s learning what all the gadgets and pedals do and has started to practice keeping the truck straight when we start moving.



East Colfax Hula Hoop Championship

Last March, Christopher and Alexa made the drive with me to visit their Grandma Rose. They’ve had a hula hoop before, but something about finding the cool old ones hidden in her garage piqued their curiosity. Within the first couple of tries, they both became hula hoop fanatics. We have been steadily moving up into bigger, heavier, and fancier hoops. Kids have tried out hooping with their arms, legs, and necks. It’s become a serious business here.

It’s 100% certain that their skill came from their mom, because I don’t think that I’ve ever gotten more than 10 loops in a row.

Last evening we staged the East Colfax Hula Hoop Championship to see who would claim the champion-of- the week title. Both kids did a fantastic job. Special thanks to Chris for counting so well for us! My favorite move award goes to Alexa’s hands-to-her-head pose. She’s had that pose her whole life and she manages to fit it into any number of unlikely situations; here it fits well.

This skill, on the other hand, they definitely did get from me.

drinking from the pitcher

Tree Climbing in Denver

The weather in Denver today registered at magnificent. We spent the afternoon at the park and got to do some tree climbing in Denver! We also started to plot our adventures in Google Maps. Check it out and then bookmark the map to keep track of what we are up to on our adventures!  The Colfax Kids’ Adventure Map.

Feels So Good–Chuck Mangione

Chuck Mangione

a transfer post from Ed.ucate.Me

Feels So Good is one of the rare songs that managed to bridge the musical generation gap in my family. Both my parents and 13-year-old me agreed on the good vibes generated by the song. Multitudes of other families must have reached the same understanding, because it was on lots of different radio stations lots of different times a day.

I hadn’t thought about the song for a long time until it popped into my head today. I think that if i play it while i’m driving, then i might manage a temporary time-machine effect. I’ll follow up on that later.

originally posted on September 3, 2011.