Wednesday, January 25, 2023

My Terrible Sleep Schedule

As you can guess from the title of this post, my sleep schedule is awful. After a long day of work, taking the kids to their activities, and then getting them to bed, all I want to do is have time to myself. There's often laundry or trash or cleaning the litter box, but when that's done, I sit on the couch and turn on the television. I generally see what shows I have recorded on the DVR or turn on a sporting event. We also have Netflix and Amazon, but I find that I don't use streaming services nearly often as I should.

With the kids asleep or at least in bed, I have a set up with the television on and the laptop or my phone right next to me. It's time to enjoy the long list of shows and movies that I want to watch while also updating my fantasy sports teams, writing blog posts, answering trivia questions, playing chess, or some combination of all of these. Some nights, Ziggy jumps on the couch and curls up next to me.(That's either before, after, or both the multiple times that Ziggy eats paper or the Kleenex box in order for me to give him food. This happens at least 3-4 times a night even though his bowl is full.) And then, I fall asleep on the couch.  

From there, it might be anywhere between 20-30 minutes to a few hours before I wake up. Now if I was smart, I'd go directly to bed. I'm not smart. I'll check my email. If it's after midnight, I might play Wordle. I do just enough to get my brain going again, and then I go to sleep. While I'm still able to fall asleep quickly in my bed some nights, some nights it takes time to fall back asleep. Some nights, I stay up cashing in my bad luck. Some nights, I call it a draw. (There's 1-2 bad words in this song/video.)

On weeknights, between the time I crawl into bed and wake up in the morning, I generally get about 5-6 hours of sleep. This is not nearly enough. The other problem is that this isn't continuous. Approximately every other night, Ziggy wakes me up. Sometimes it's just to jump on the bed and curl up at my feed, but usually it's about him getting older. He's 14.5 now. I carry him to the basement so that he can use the litter box, and then I shake his food bowl, since heaven forbid you can see any portion of the bottom of his bowl. 

This pattern repeats itself almost every night. Any suggestions on how to break this? I really want my time to watch TV and do things I need to get done. However, I know that I need more sleep.

Wednesday, January 18, 2023

Back To Chess

When you write a blog for 18 years, you occasionally end up repeating stories or at least covering similar topics multiple times. For example, I shared that I learned how to play chess in third grade when one of my classmates taught many of the kids in the class how to play. While the longer version of the story is here and I've since learned that my classmate graduated from Harvard and now writes children's books. I'm bringing up chess again. 

My sixth grader, The Moose, recently signed up for I believe that some of his classmates started to play and he wants to join them. He still has a lot to learn, and I look forward to working with him over the next few months, but I decided to login to my own account. It turns out that my last match was in July 2010. That's a long time ago! I played my first match on the website in over a dozen years on Monday against someone from Iran. This was almost as big as the US-Iran World Cup match, and the end result was the same in that I won. The only difference is that I didn't have a groin/abdominal injury like Christian Pulisic after a big move in my match! 

I was rusty, but it was fun playing again. Later, I started a match with someone in Algeria. Even playing poorly, I came 13 seconds away from winning a match I should have lost convincingly. So now, I'm all in for playing chess again. One match a night which cannot exceed 20 minutes is a good way to get back into chess. I definitely feel like I'm using my, um, what's that thing inside your head called? Maybe chess will help me remember. 

On Tuesday, I played again and lost to someone in Vietnam. Not satisfied with that match, I played another one against someone else in Australia and lost again. Then, I defeated someone from Chile and called it a night. I even won using a pawn for checkmate!

I find it interesting that in my 5 matches this week  I still haven't played anyone in North America. Chess really is an international game where language isn't necessary. This can definitely become addicting. I'll need to make sure to only play a few matches a night. Sleep is good!

Wednesday, January 11, 2023

State of The Ramblings

This blog can vote! It can buy lottery tickets and fireworks and tobacco. It can gamble in some places, donate blood, join the military, and even get a Costco card. Yes, Sean’s Ramblings is now 18 years old. This is ancient in the world of blogging where blogs are seemingly non-existent, replaced by quick videos on Instagram and TikTok. Even though I wrote fewer blog posts in 2022 than in any other year since this blog began, I'm still here. Time is clearly the biggest reason for me not writing as much as I'd like. Who knew that you have to spend so much time with your kids? Between baseball, basketball, Cub Scouts, religious school, swimming lessons, and other activities and events, I feel like I’m constantly on the go taking the kids from place to place. My sleep schedule is also a mess, but I'll write about that in a separate post.

In the meantime, let's look at Sean's Ramblings in 2022. Yes, there were fewer posts, but hopefully it's quality over quantity. I wrote about getting a colonoscopy and new glasses and organizing a pickle taste test for Hanukkah. I wrote two new posts in my series of hills I'm willing to die on regarding Jayson Werth and not rooting for the Steelers to lose to get a better draft pick. I visited Austin, Texas and Columbus, Ohio and went camping. I learned that seeing women's volleyball live is amazing and discovered that I've been telling a lie for nearly two decades. I also wrote about the end of Celebrate Fairfax and got a Cameo by Sean Foreman of the musical group 3OH!3. Lots of quality!
So what's next? I'm considering joining the Society of Professional Journalists, Washington D.C. chapter and submitting my blog for the annual Dateline Awards. I mean, I'm not sure if a category even exists for this blog, but I'm sure the judges would definitely consider my work favorably against writers from The Washington Post, WTOP, etc. 
There were three people I contacted for interviews in 2022 and while none of them happened, I'd like to try again with these individuals and maybe others for 2023. Plus, I always enjoy my collaborative posts. The World Cup and 2022 election predictions posts had mixed results, but I'm sure I'll try again for something or other in 2023.
That’s a wrap on the State of the Ramblings. I really appreciate you taking the time to read this post and any of my other posts over the last year or beyond. Now, it’s time for the blog to buy some Mega Millions tickets!

Photo by Seattle Post-Intelligencer Collection, Museum of History & Industry, Seattle.

Friday, January 06, 2023

The Moose Wants A Phone

The Moose, who is in 6th grade, wants a phone. Badly. He mentions this regularly and recently told me that his friends at school make fun of him because he doesn't have a phone. I find this highly unlikely but told him that he can blame his parents for being mean and not letting him have one. This led to a further discussion about costs associated with phones and money in general. He has his own savings account from gifts he's received over the years, but he's never used it as we pay for anything that he needs. Part of our discussion even included me defining deposits and withdrawals. 

The end result of our conversation is that The Moose wants to earn money. He asked me what jobs he could get as an 11 year old. While I thought about explaining child labor laws, we decided to look online and found this article by For Modern Kids. Some of the ideas from this article include seasonal jobs he could do in the neighborhood like shoveling snow, raking leaves, and basic landscaping. He's not a fan of dogs, so being a dog walker is out, and he's not ready for babysitting yet. The article also includes creative jobs such as being a writer, blogger, photographer, and YouTuber. I laughed at all of these. 

This is what the author wrote about becoming a writer: 

Thanks to the internet, anyone can become a published author!

If your child loves to write, why not encourage them to write their own book.

They can write a long-form story and turn it into a chapter book or write a kid's book and illustrate it on their own. After their story is complete, head online to format the book as an e-book and sell it on Amazon.

So my son is about to become J.K. Rowling or Dr. Seuss? Let's see the other options.

If writing fiction doesn't appeal to your 11 year old, maybe writing a blog would.

There are so many different types of blogs your kid could start, including:
  • Fashion blog
  • Toy blog
  • Craft blog
  • Baking blog
After setting up their blog, they can earn money by placing ads on their website, accepting sponsorships, and including affiliate links in their posts. 

I've had this blog for 18 years and have made very little money from it, particularly if you consider the amount of time I spend writing. I'm sure that I could have made more money if I created a blog with a specific topic and if I was more savvy in understanding social media. Still, there doesn't appear to be a lot of money in blogging in 2023, and everyone I've ever heard talking about making money from blogs says that you can't go into blogging for the purpose of making money as it can take years to earn income.

What about videos? We all hear about the millions of dollars people like MrBeast and Dude Perfect make on YouTube, but it's not that easy. You have to have 1,000 subscribers and 4,000 watch hours in the past year before you can apply to YouTube's partner program to make money. That is really, really difficult especially for an 11 year old! Now, I'm not a good example since I don't publicize my YouTube channel and rarely post videos, but I have 28 subscribers. Only 972 and probably 3,900 hours short! 

While I definitely want to encourage The Moose to try new things and to accomplish his goals and dreams, he is not going to write a book or make significant money from starting a blog or becoming a YouTube sensation. I think we'll just start giving him an allowance and maybe have a lemonade stand when the weather gets warmer!

Thursday, January 05, 2023

Special Forces: World's Toughest Test

In looking for something to watch on Wednesday evening, I stumbled on Special Forces: World's Toughest Test on FOX. 

I had no idea what this was, so I checked my TV guide (but not TV Guide for those of you over 35), which gave the following description of the show:

Household names really jumped out to me. When I hear the phrase household names, I think of the most famous people in the country. We're talking presidents and first ladies, Hall of Fame athletes, and A-list actors. Obama, Trump, Clinton, Bush, Biden, Brady, Smith (as in Will), Winfrey, Knowles (or Knowles-Carter), Swift, and Hanks are names that first come to mind. So who are the celebrities on this show? Let's take a look.

Danny Amendola - As a sports fan, I certainly know him, but if you asked me to name 50 current or former wide receivers who I thought could be on this show, Amendola wouldn't be one of them.

Mel B. - The Spice Girls were huge and arguably the biggest musical group in the world 25 years ago.. I'll give this one a pass.

Hannah Brown - No idea who this is.

Tyler Florence - I think he might be a chef. If you want a chef with a household name, you go with Gordon Ramsey or Rachael Ray.

Kate Gosselin - Jon and Kate Plus 8 was definitely a show I heard of before. Household name is debatable.

Dwight Howard - He's probably going to be in the NBA Hall of Fame. Not as well known as LeBron James, Dwayne Wade, Steph Curry, and others, but definitely known by sports fans. Now would my mom know him? I don't think so.

Montrell Jordan - Everyone loves "This Is How We Do It." Household name is definitely a stretch though.

Gus Kenworthy - No idea. Sounds familiar, but I don't know why. 

Nastia Liukin - Oh, she was an Olympian gymnast who is not Mary Lou Retton or Simone Biles who I would consider household names. She won a lot of medals though.

Carli Lloyd - US soccer superstar. Household name in my book. And yes, I have a book with a list of people I consider to be household names!

Beverly Mitchell - An actress that I don't know. I do know Beverly D'Angelo and Beverly Hills.

Kenya Moore - A real housewife name but not a real household name. 

Mike Piazza - I mean, he's in the baseball Hall of Fame and more importantly made an appearance on Baywatch.

Dr. Drew Pinsky - He's had a long career on TV and radio and also famously downplayed COVID originally. I think he counts.

Anthony Scaramucci - He's really parlaying those several days working in the Trump administration into 15 minutes of fame. 

Jamie Lynn Spears - Now her sister Britney is a household name. Saying Britney's sister might be enough.

I'll give FOX a little credit in that their website simply describes the show as "Sixteen celebrities face challenges from the playbook of the Special Forces selection process." No mention of household names. While I'm not going to watch the show, if FOX really had a Special Forces edition with household names, I would definitely be in. If FOX is reading this, here are my casting choices in no particular order:

Taylor Swift
Hunter Biden
Donald Trump Jr.
Sasha or Malia Obama
Larry Fitzgerald
Ryan Reynolds
Regina King
Tom Brady
Jeff Bezos
Jennifer Lopez
Justin Bieber
Selena Gomez
Keanu Reeves
Lady Gaga

Who would you like to see?

Photo by Pete Dadds/FOX