Blowing Rock

Yesterday was my 40th birthday so I took the day off work, let the kids skip school, and we headed up to the mountains of NC to visit Grandfather Mountain and walk across the swinging bridge. After our 2+ hour drive, we arrived and at the entrance, the guard said the top of the mountain included the bridge was closed for maintenance. Talk about disappointment.

We pulled out the map and found that Blowing Rock was nearby and it’s a place we’ve never visited so headed in that direction. On the way, we stopped at a few overlooks to stretch our legs and get some photos. Even though the trip didn’t go as planned it was still a lot of fun. Here are some of the photos from the trip.

Closed Captioning

Kottke has a new post outlining why everyone is watching TV with closed captioning turned on and it made me think of my own habits and how I’ve started using it.

I think around six months ago I would be watching a movie and it seemed like I had to have the volume fairly loud to hear the dialog, but then when scenes played music the music was super loud. So then I’d have to turn it down, only to turn it back up again 30 seconds later. I thought it was quite annoying and rude of the movie producers.

Anyway, because of this I turned on closed captioning so I didn’t have to fiddle with the remote or the volume. Since doing it I don’t even like watching TV without it on, and as far as I know I don’t have any hearing problems.

Of course, I’d also rather read a blog post than listen to a podcast. I think maybe I’m just wired to prefer reading over listening.

A Decade Ago

I just had this image from ten years ago pop up in my “on this day” feed and it’s crazy thinking back over the last ten years. My life is a complete 180 from when this was taken.

It seems every day I make a todo list and try my hardest to get it done, and I feel like I accomplished nothing when my head isn’t down pounding out “work” all day. Or if all I come with is one or two big things and little things keep from staying on task.

I have to remind myself that a day, a week, even a month are all just minuscule time frames over the course of our lives. I can’t look back on a single day years ago and say that was a good day, or that was a bad day.

However, if I look back over the past ten years I can see how the smallest decisions have seemed to have changed my life for the better and those are not things I would have ever put on a todo list.

It is easy to get discouraged that you aren’t hustling hard enough, but if you take a step back you’ll see how all the little things compound and make bigger changes than you might imagine.

Winston Churchill on Napping

“You must sleep some time between lunch and dinner, and no half-way measures. Take off your clothes and get into bed. That’s what I always do. Don’t think you will be doing less work because you sleep during the day. That’s a foolish notion held by people who have no imagination. You will be able to accomplish more. You get two days in one-well, at least one and a half, I’m sure.”

I came across this quote today and because of confirmation bias I think we should listen to this man.

Rearranging

I have a problem where I want to rearrange my office every month. I don’t know why but it just starts to feel stale and I feel like it gets to routine. This is only February and I’ve already moved stuff around three times this year. I may need an intervention.

Pictured above is my latest setup. I moved the desk in front of the window so I can look out and see the little patch of woods. Every time I look up I can now see squirrels and birds doing their thing.

The only downside with this move is it’s been raining for what feels like weeks so I’ve yet to sit at the desk when the full force of the sun is out. So that might turn into a huge issue, but until then I’m enjoying seeing the animals and talking them as Bob Ross would. Haha

If you ever get tired of your workspace don’t discount rearranging. With no money invested it makes you think you have an entire new space.

Create a scale model of the room before buying new furniture

When buying furniture it’s sometimes hard to figure how an item is going to fit in a room. How much extra space will be around it, and how cluttered the room will feel.

To answer these questions I’ve started making tiny paper drawings so I can get a birds eye view of the room with different furniture.

If you’d like to do this all you need is a measuring tape, a pencil, some paper, a ruler, and some scissors.

First get the dimensions of the room. Measure each wall and make a quick sketch with the sizes. This is not to scale and just a way to help me remember how each wall measures.

Room Dimensions

Then, take the longest side and divide the number until it’s less than 8, the smallest side of a standard sheet of paper.

For example, the longest wall in my office is 162 inches and when I divide by 25 it gives me 6.48 which will fit neatly on a single piece of paper. Now divide every number by 25 and you’ll have a perfect scale model.

Next, on a new sheet of paper do the same with the dimensions of the furniture and then cut them out. This will allow you to move it around in your model. I was looking at new desks and wanted to get an idea of what size would fit best in my office and here is the diagram with the little desk pieces to move around.

That’s about it. Now you can get a feel for how a piece of furniture will fit and it’s really helpful for sharing your ideas with others, especially if they struggle visualizing it.

An Easy Way To Save

It’s always hard to bring down your standard of living but you need to do that in order to save more money. If that doesn’t sound appealing the next time you get a raise take the extra money and put it all in your retirement account or an emergency fund that you can’t easily access.

Your standard of living will remain the same and you’ll automatically save more.