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April 2020

Paperclip + Mask = Happy Ears

If you're anything like me, a sensible person who cares about the health of others, you've been wearing a mask whenever you're out and about. You may have also discovered that masks with elastic loops that use your ears as a way to stay pressed against your face are slightly uncomfortable.

There's an easy fix that'll save your ears and press the mask even more tightly to your face. You just need one of these (it is a large paperclip, in case you can't see the lovely picture):

Masks

Which you then attach, like so, to one of the elastic loops:

Masks

Next, slap that mask on your face, place the elastic bands over your ears, and pull them behind your head so you can attach the other loop to the paperclip:

Masks

Adjust for your comfort and then send me a lovely email thanking for for this fantastic tip.

I'm sure there are little doodads you can buy, or 3D print, that do the same thing but you probably already have a paperclip laying around.

I know what you're thinking, "But, Scott, won't I look silly with a paperclip pressed against the back of my head?" There's a global pandemic happening. No one cares what you look like.

Now you're thinking, "Scott, why didn't you include a picture of you wearing a mask so we can see what it looks like on the back of your neck?" I took several of those pictures, dear reader. Trust me, you're better off not seeing them.


Books for me! A future for these stores?

The books I’ve bought during the Pandemic.  No, I have’t read any of them yet.

I feel a little bit like there isn’t much I can do to be helpful during this global pandemic. I’m not a healthworker, I can’t sew (trust me, you wouldn’t want to wear a mask I made. The last time I sewed anything was long, long ago in elementary school. I was in 2nd grade, I think, and preparing to recieve my First Communion. For some reason part of the preparations included spending a morning in our school’s cafeteria where we cut out lamb shapes from fabric, stuffed them, and then sewed them together. My lamb wouldn’t protect anyone from COVID-19 either), and I can’t convince stupid people that wearing a mask isn’t a huge civil liberties problem and the numbers aren’t as bad as predicted because of what we’re doing.

Something I can do, however, is support a few independent booksellers. Which I how I came to own the 20 books above! They are a mix of new and used books from a few of my favorite bookstores (or stores that I went to once and enjoyed):

  • Powell’s - This one shouldn’t be a surprise. I, like many people, love Powell’s for many reasons. Whenever I’m in Portland I stop by and spend more money than I should... and since who knows if air travel will ever happen again I spent a pretty penny using their (not so great) website.
  • Northshire Bookstore - I think we visited this store on our honeymoon... but I don’t know for sure. But they got some of my money anyway!
  • BookPeople - This is a great bookstore in Austin, which I visit and spend way too much money at whenever I’m in Austin. They also have nice t-shirts.
  • A Novel Idea on Passyunk - I haven’t actually visited this bookstore in person, despite the fact that it is in Philadelphia but I want it to continue to exist so I bought some books.

There is one glaring omission on the list above. My favorite bookstore in the world is The Strand. It is a favorite amongst many a book lover but they aren’t shipping books, so I couldn’t order any. I did order myself a gift card to help support them!

Indie Bookstore websites suck

One thing I discovered whilst trying to support independent bookstores I found out that many of them have horrible, horrible, very bad websites. It makes sense since these stores want you to come to their physical locations. They can’t compete with Amazon’s website (which really isn’t all that great either... but it is really easy to find what you’re looking for on Amazon, which is all that matters), so they just ignore their websites.

Bookshop.org is an interesting solution to this problem. It is a service that’ll sell books for indie bookstores and give a percentage to the bookstore. The store won’t make as much from the sale, but they also don’t have to ship books or keep the inventory so that seems like a win to me. And Bookshop.org is a very nicely designed website.


Following up on a thing no one cares about

A while back I got a bunch of t-shirts that were the wrong size.

I said then I wasn't confident I'd get replacements:

I’ve reached out to Loot Crate support, so I’m hoping I can exchange them for a smaller size. Though the response of “we are working on our shipping process so these late deliveries don’t happen again” that I got doesn’t make me think Loot Crate is great at actually reading the email folks send them (and that lots of people are contacting them about these very late boxes randomly showing up now!).

Good news! They sent me the right sized shirts. Woo!


AirPods Pro - A victim of my pandemic mind

So many Airpods Pro

People who follow me on Twitter may recall that I sent my AirPods Pro through the wash last month:

I've had AirPods forever, but this was the first time I managed to destroy a pair with prolonged washing.

Good news: I did the same thing a couple of days ago... so now I have two pairs of broken AirPods Pro.

This got me to thinking about how I could have gone for so long not doing a thing and then suddenly doing that thing twice in a couple of weeks.

It all boils down to the power of routine. I only ever really used my AirPods in two circumstances:

  1. Sitting at my desk at work.
  2. Whilst running (either outside or on the treadmill).

When I used them at work I would just slip them into my bag at the end of the day. My bag doesn't end up in the washing machine all that often, so there's very little risk of destruction for my AirPods in that routine.

When I'm outside running I don't usually bring the AirPod case, but traditionally I've run alone. So when I'm done with my run I just walk home with the AirPods in my ears. When I get home I pull them out, pop them into their case, and go about my life with functioning AirPods.

For use in the gym, I pop them into my ears before I head down the 15 floors to the gym, and then pop them out again when I'm back home (this allows me to pretend I can't hear anyone who might want to talk to me in the elevator).

Enter COVID-19.

Now, I'm no longer going to the office (I haven't been there in a month) so I don't use my AirPods during the day.

And the gym in my building is closed, so I don't use the treadmill anymore. Which means I have to run outside (even thought the air is full of death).

To make it even more different not only do I now only run outside, but since we are limiting the amounts of times we go outside we tend to all go out at the same time.

This means when I'm walking home I'm with Marisa and the boys. And I don't want to be rude to Marisa, since she is still talking to me for the moment, so I pop the AirPods into my pocket of my sweaty shorts.

Sweaty shorts which end up in the washing machine. With my AirPods in the pocket.

And that's how I ended up being the owner of two sets of very clean, and very broken, AirPods Pro.


Breakfast with the boys

Breakfast

Here's some real talk: most everything about this global pandemic sucks.

And that's an optimistic statement, just so you know how things are going these days. However, one benefit of all of this craziness is that while I'm working from home, and avoiding all human contact, new rituals have emerged.

One of the best is that I now feed these little guys their breakfast in the morning so Marisa can take a shower at a relatively sedate pace (i.e. she doesn't have to have a monitor on the shelf or an audience of two tiny freaking out men watching her shower).

It has been a learning experience for us all.


Little Yogurt Beard

As you can see, Declan likes yogurt but has to work on paying attention while his less than neat father attempts to shove it into his mouth while, at the same time, Declan turns his head in the opposite direction to look at something and opens his mouth a tiny bit.

Sammy is all business at the breakfast table, and you can see he's thinking, "Is there more yogurt in that phone? If not, put it away."