A collection of distilled sarcastic wisdom, numerous photographs, discussions of books and stuff to learn and more stuff to think about from a retired economics professor turned blogger and photographer.
Another thing I have been doing is beginning the gargantuan job of cleaning up my photo files which are clogging my hard drive. I am finding many treasure troves of photos that were dumped but never edited. Some may have been posted in an unedited form on this blog before, but maybe bright red poppies is what you need for January blahs.
When was 15 years old, I was named Wyoming State President of the Future Farmers of America. I turned 16 the following September. Vocational agriculture was a lark. I got straight A's (or 1's) as we were graded for four years which larded my GPA for scholarship purposes. I majored in agriculture in college and received a master's degree as well in agricultural economics. But I quickly decided that the only way I wanted to get milk was in glass bottles (then) or paper cartons (now). Cows are quirky, kicky, ornery, and very messy creatures. And I determined it was more convenient to buy eggs in the grocery store than to clean out the chicken coop. Have you ever cleaned out the chicken coop?
But I did enjoy my year as state president of the Future Farmers of America. I learned many lessons of leadership and perseverance that helped me in numerous ways throughout my life.
In case you have wondered why I have disappeared, I am now ready to provide an answer to this question. Instead of posting, I have been sitting here watching my page view counts sink to an all-time low. You never can tell, though. One day, after not posting for days, I had over a thousand page views. Who can tell?
What happened is that one insomnia addled night, after being awake for hours, I was looking at my iPad and thought, "How many of these eBooks have I bought, some free, some .99 or 1.99 or 2.99?" And I had a bunch of them on my Kindle and iPad. Forty ways to cook rutabegas. Thirty ways to get rid of the Geico lizard and the new even more obnoxious Geico pig. Just kidding, but you get the idea.
So then I started researching eBooks. I bought five more $2.99 eBooks about eBooks and read them all through in a short time. Then I thought about all the thousands of pages of stuff I had written throughout my life, mostly dry economics research monographs which I doubt anyone ever read. Then I wrote several personal history volumes, a weight-loss book, and a home study manual for money and banking and one for principles of economics. I spent five years writing a principles of economics text which my publisher mercifully (for them) cancelled before publishing after I had finished about 30 chapters.
I explored self publishing after getting rejects from University presses and regular presses, despite favorable reviews. I seriously thought about self-publishing my weight-loss book several years ago, but the main option then was print on demand. And then this wonderful little world of the eBook opened up to us. You can write anything you want (within acceptable limits, of course) and you can hang it out there for the world to see in eBook land within hours or days. Of course, if you want to sell any eBooks, you have to write about something that people will feel will help them or give them information they need, and not just opine about your deep philosophical musings.
So the last several days I have nearly completed my first eBook which is tentatively titled "The Curmudgeonly Professor's Food and Weight Loss Class: Lessons in Controlling your Love Affair with Food and Living a Happier, Healthier, and Longer Life." Part of my objective in writing this eBook is to tackle my own weight loss situation once again. Another goal is just to have a worthwhile project that, I hope, will help people. And, incidentally, if I can make a few $$$, then so much the better. The eBook will likely be priced at $2.99, which would give me a royalty of 70%.
This wonderful eBook world offers so many incredible advantages in comparison with conventional publishing. When I first considered self-publishing, I would have had to invest several thousand dollars in printing my books and then run the risk of using them all for doorstops and cat litter. So I gave that up. And the world of print on demand, however appealing, was not the same world as that of the eBook. Anyone with an iPad or a Kindle or with a Kindle ap on a computer can read an eBook. I figure that if people can find even a few ideas or tidbits of information in an eBook for $2.99 they will feel their money was well spent. The author is out only his or her time. You do need Microsoft Word to format your eBook for the Kindle and a manual (for $2.99, of course) that tells you how to format. I was all set to order Microsoft 2010 since I have been using Word Perfect for years out of loyalty to my Utah friends who started it when I noticed late last night that Word 2013 is out today. Only question is, how many bugs will the new Word 2013 have?
So there you are. I presume you have already thought up a half dozen or so eBooks you want to write. According to the experts, you need about 10,000 words to have a respectable eBook with enough information in it to justify buying it. I need about 2,000 more words, a thorough rewrite, and then the torture of learning to format if that is not beyond the skill level of the Curmudgeonly Professor.
Rest assured I will announce the publication of my first eBook on this blog as soon as I can finish it and launch it for the world to see. Or maybe a dozen or two people. Who knows?
Three whole weeks of January have now bit the dust, so to speak, so it is time to get caught up to date. As regular followers of my blog are aware, I have taken a brief respite from the daily task of finding photos and writing learned and witty words to post. Actually, my daily page view count has gone up, not down, so maybe I can just quit blogging and live off the thousands of photos and blog posts already posted. However, a conscientious pang has struck (stricken?) me so I must now bring things up to date, to wit:
Since three weeks have gone by, it is probably time to chuck your New Year's resolutions. Chances are, you have not (a) lost one pound; (b) repented of one sin; (c) quit being lazy; (d) cleaned up the clutter you leave around the house. The problem is, when we try to be someone we are not, i. e., when we precipitously start overcoming some egregious habit, others near and dear to us will suspect us of some nefarious guilt on our part. Otherwise, why would we try to fake it and overcome our transgressions?
If we plan ahead for next January 1, we can sort of ease into any transformations that are necessary in our behavior, maybe announce them ahead of time, little by little, so that we are not sneaking around trying to make changes for the better and then have people wonder what we have been up to.
I have spent hours shopping for a new computer. This here computer started out with 500 G several years ago and now there is a little red bright bar reminding me that I have about 27 G left and then, kaput, I will not be able to post another photo or word of knowledge. I have searched all the ratings websites, Amazon, hp, Dell, Costco, etc. Every time I find something that I think might be what I need, I start reading the comments. "Don't buy this computer." "Quit working after 3 months." "Tech service from India horrible." "Switching stuff from old to new computer wouldn't work." "Windows 8 a real pain." Etc., etc., etc. So now I am trying to delete stuff from this PC to see if I can stretch it out a bit. You'd think that since the tablet market is swamping the PC market the PC folks would be a bit more anxious to give their PCs away and make sure they work than they seem to be in some cases. Any recommendations? I need at least 1T and lots of speed for 150,000 photos. Help.
We have a new President as of today. Today was all nicey-nice. Tomorrow will be back to the more normal kind of nasty stuff we have gotten used to.
We have sunshine and 50 plus degree weather in St. George. Salt Lake is in the 20s with lovely smog inversions that are killing people off. Thank heaven we are here.
I probably could go on for another several thousand words, but do not want to overburden your attention span. Perhaps I will post something else without waiting a couple of weeks to do it, but it is too early to tell yet. I hope your New Year is as happy as you thought it was going to be on January 1, and that you are on item 15 of your New Year's Resolutions, having conquered the previous 14. If not, plan ahead for next January 1. Have a nice day.
One of the problems of life is that, especially as we age, that we can no longer do many of the things we could easily do when we were younger. And, of course, these restrictions are not necessarily restricted to older people as people of all ages often face restrictions on their physical and mental capabilities. Here are some typical things that many older people can no longer do:
Drive. Not being able to drive presents an emotional dilemma, a feeling of being restricted and a loss of freedom. However, once driving becomes risky, and you can no longer trust yourself to hit the brake pedal instead of the gas pedal, or if your reaction time or vision impairs you, it's time to give up the car keys. Such loss takes time for adjustment, since you must depend on others to haul you to the doctor or to the grocery store or anywhere else. The solution, however, is to concentrate on activities that keep you busy where you are.
Walk. Many older people face walking stability problems and loss of balance. Some have walking problems from hip and knee replacements and from sciatic and other nerve and back problems. Not being able to put your tennies on at 7:30 a.m. and go for a 45 minute walk is a very, very painful adjustment. Facing up to using a cane or a walking stick can save many falls and possible serious bone breaks. It's better to feel steadier than to think you feel like an idiot or a useless old man or woman because you are using a cane or walking stick. Just look around you when you are out and about and see how many others are using them. There's nothing so special about you that you can't feel safer.
Sleep. It seems like about everyone I talk to these days has sleep issues. They wander the house in the middle of the night, sleep in recliners for awhile, watch TV awhile, look at the moon for awhile, raid the fridge, read a book, fiddle with their iPad, or do anything possible to fritter away the night. Then they sleep half the day to make up for being sleep deprived at night.
People with hearing problems may not be able to go places with louder-than-home noise, as the noise gets amplified so much that they can't stand to be in such places. This problem puts more restrictions on mobility.
Many other issues restrict what we can do, and are not restricted to older people. Problems with sight, hearing, body functions, are continual issues. Too many people I know have had serious falls, some times from just the first rung on a step ladder, or falls in a bathtub, or just a misstep around the house or the yard. Making tubs slip-proof, installing raised toilets, putting grab bars everywhere possible, all may sound silly in your 50s or 60s, but you will need them as you grow older.
The solution to the problem of facing up to what we can no longer do is to focus on the things we can do. Some people become artists. Others embark on learning activities and learn a language, study classics, or relearn information in their fields they have forgotten. The miracle of electronic transmission and information retrieval opens the entire world and all the information in it to anyone in the most remote or disadvantaged situation. You don't have to go to the library and spend hours going through the card catalogue, making tedious notes. Just ask Google. Google knows all and will give you a thousand pages of info on whatever you want to know.
Too many old people think computers are beyond them. Wrong, wrong. If eight year old kids can use iPads (or even three or four year olds), you can learn to use computers and iPads too. Rather than feel sorry for yourself, get someone to teach you how to use electronic stuff. You can stay busy forever after you get the hang of a few simple tricks. Do genealogy. Research stuff you are interested in. Write your memoirs. Keep a journal. Write short articles.
I am learning to cook. I like collecting hundreds of recipes and reading cookbooks and trying all kinds of stuff. I spend hours and hours on photo editing and have over 150,000 photos on my hard drive. Don't get addicted, however, to video or computer games and waste the rest of your life on this meaningless addiction.
Well there you have the basics. Just figure out some stuff to do. If you are handy with tools, which I am not, make furniture. Learn to turn bowls on a lathe, like my brother in law does. Plant an indoor garden in pots and planters. Get a cat or dog to keep you company (not something I would do because I don't want to take care of them, but it's a great idea for some people). Skip 90% of what's on TV. Buy meaningful DVD sets like Downton Abbey and travel videos.
Above all, remain thankful for everything you have been given, for all of your life's experiences, for all that you have now, for each new day, for each sunrise and sunset, for those you care for and for those who care for you. My wife always says, "It will be all right." So quit moping and complaining and get with it. Happy New Year.
Happy New Year to my faithful blog viewers and supporters. I hope your New Year will be full of love, cheerfulness, and eternal faith and hope. Whatever happened in 2012, January 1 2013 is a new benchmark, leaving all of the past behind. As we say in economics, stuff we have done before, costs we have incurred, financial or otherwise, are fixed costs. We can't do anything about them. Sure, we may need to mend some fences and pay some debts, to fix up and patch up our errors here and there, to make amends on occasion. But we should not base today's decisions and choices on fixed costs. What matters now is what we can do about this moment, this hour, this day, this week, this month, this year. Maybe we're sick of New Year's resolutions that are rarely kept, but surely we can fix some little things here and there, show more love and kindness, stop cussing, listen more carefully, do less complaining and worrying, and be thankful for the blessings we have and for the joy of each new day. Maybe just a few little things. Then, what to do you know, little things become contagious. A smile for a tired clerk at the grocery store may be what he or she needs to finish the shift on aching legs. Patience for an old, slow person to cross the street with a walker or a cane, slowly, slowly, may remind us of our own blessing of mobility. Saying please, thank you, you're welcome, and how can I help you, might become more frequently spoken from our lips. And no matter how much or how little religion means to us, thoughts of thankfulness and gratitude will make us better persons.
May your New Year be full of sunny days, and may you see the sun shine through and look for the golden glow of hope even on the cloudiest, gloomiest days, when things seem so disouraging and hope seems so very far away, abandoning us to our fears and doubts. As Uriah Heep says, "Something will turn up." May it be so in your days ahead in 2013.