Nate Dickson Thinks...

Small Thoughts for a Quiet World.

Music brings with it a rich mix of emotion, memory, and associations. So it’s not surprising that some music gets tied to seasons. Factory Showroom by They Might Be Giants is a winter album. Beck’s Morning Phase belongs to a spring morning. Some albums are tied so closely to a specific week that they are inextricable, to think of one is to think of the other. Such it is with U2’s The Joshua Tree and my wife’s family’s annual trip to the desert of southern Utah, or Toad the Wet Sprocket’s Fear and my family’s trips to Bear Lake in eastern Idaho. Listening to these albums in their proper times is a reinforcement of the order of things. Listening to them at other times allows me to feel that experience in another time, another place.

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After reading Nate Meyvis' 12 Rules for living I realized a couple of things:

  1. Nate Meyvis is one of those people whose thoughts resonate with me immediately, in part because we are similar and in part because we are quite different. I'm going to be following his blog with interest.
  2. I should write my own list. It'll be fun! I read a few other lists; Tyler Cowen's had a quote that is going to stick in my brain forever:

The human condition seems to defeat our attempts to order it.

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I've been learning about my own writing style using this 100DaystoOffload thing. Writing under a deadline is different, and writing with a quick turnaround loop is different still. The things I write here are going to be “submitted” instantly.

I often describe myself as a “recovering programmer”. I was never an excellent programmer, but I was good enough to be made a “senior” developer, and then to lead my own team for about a year until I made the jump to the “management” side. One of the things I learned as a software developer was the “DRY” principle: Don't Repeat Yourself. In software development this is a good idea because it reduces bugs. In the rest of life it's a good idea because it reduces time wasted.

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I've written about Plexamp before, because I love it. It's a great app that has a fair amount of personality and also sounds excellent.

Recently they added a new feature:

Oh yes! Now I can see exactly how much I like each album on my Plex server, based on how much extra storage I'm wasting compared to .mp3 files.

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My wife ordered a book of plays that she read as a child the other day. We knew it was out of print, but at $20 with free shipping the price seemed right.

A few weeks later a package arrived, Royal Mail, Par Avon from England. The book was more than we had hoped for.

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This ties back to my thoughts about Processing Time last year, but I've been thinking about how we internalize information.

Starting a sentence with “In the old days” signifies upcoming fuzzy thinking. “The Old Days” were never like we imagine them; they were a real time full of real people with real lives and issues. Glossing over all of that by consigning it to a generic past tense is a dodge. But it's one I'm going to use for a moment.

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I've loved board games since I was little. My wife and I connected early in our relationship over the fact that we both loved Cosmic Encounter, and have both played it to pieces. We have three bookshelves full of board games and at least one dedicated board game night a week in our family.

So social distancing was a bit of a hit for us. We can still play board games with our kids and with one another, but not with our friends. Fortunately one of my best friends discovered a little site that fixed that for us.

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Thinking about working at Hawley Cooke reminded me of another little gem from that time of my life. And I can share this one with you. Choose your favorite streaming music service from the list below and listen to this song. I'll wait. Actually I wrote this post days ago so I'm doing something else right now anyway. You've got all the time you need.

Or you can watch a low quality live version on YouTube.

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In the fall of 2000 I was working for a small local bookstore called Hawley Cooke in Louisville Kentucky. They had three stores, all owned by the Hawleys and the Cookes. What? It's no worse than “Barnes & Noble”

Anyway...

I managed the music department in my store, which was no great task. Basically I got to restock the CDs and answer music questions when my co-workers didn't want to.

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So here's a non-problem I've had recently. I want to be able to listen to music, but without headphones. Headphones make it so I can't hear the rest of the house. I like to hear what's going on around me. Kinda. Sometimes. Look, let's not question the premise, okay?

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