Finding new music



At the end of the year, I go looking for top song lists on Billboard and various sites around the world. I copy and paste the lists into a spreadsheet, then sort and remove duplicates. That nets me a list of about 2,000 new songs. The reason I do it is to see what new music I like and add those songs to my library.

But I figure there’s gotta be a better way. I was checking out Spotify and thought I hit pay dirt with their charts feature. After going through all of them, I kept seeing the same songs over and over and sometimes a new one would pop up. Each list is updated daily so I realized I’d need to check each list each day to find one new song or two. That’s like 50 minutes to find out that Drake has a new popular song all over the world. Not the gold mine of new music I expected.

So I tried the radio station feature. The thumbs up / thumbs down thing interested me. Ideally, I’d like Spotify to show me a song and I can either like or dislike it. If I don’t like a song, I want it to disappear from all charts, all browsing, all searching. But the radio station doesn’t appear to work that way.

After some searching I found other apps use Spotify to do different things. Surely, someone had already made what I want. Turns out app support has been discontinued. Bummer.

I found out there’s a Spotify API, but I only have a sketchy idea of what that is. Maybe the beginner’s tutorial will help.


The farthest I’ve travelled from home


When i was 13-years-old my aunt and uncle were traveling through our neck of the woods. I lived in Illinois, they lived in Oregon. They offered to take me out west for the summer. Normally, I didn’t see much of them except for family reunions and occasional road trips so this sounded like a fun opportunity. They had a VW camper and off we went.

It took 7 days to cross half of the United States. Though the trip now is mostly just a blur, but I remember in Reno, Nevada sleeping in the camper while my aunt and uncle went into the casino. I ate some pudding and slept in the popup part of the camper.

I also remember a restaurant near there that had a slot machine. To play, you only needed a nickel… and you had to be 18 or older. I wasn’t, so I gave my aunt a nickel to play for me. I won! The machine paid out more nickels than I had ever seen before. Then my aunt kept half of my winnings. :-(.

Once at their home and settled in, we took a day trip to the beach. Seeing the Pacific ocean laid out before me was quite majestic. I enjoyed walking out into the surf and boy, was it cold.

After a couple of weeks of mostly having nothing to do, I was ready to go home. My mom paid for my plane ticket and my aunt and uncle took me to the airport so I could fly home alone.

At the Denver airport, I had to change planes and a friendly staff member made sure the switchover went smoothly. I was proudly wearing my Continental airplane wings pin that one of the stewardesses had given me.

My mom and Happy (my dog) met me at Chicago O’Hare airport. What a happy reunion. My dog was so excited to see me that I think she was crying. I know I was.

( Post idea courtesy of the Daily Prompt. )


My phone and I


I have a dumb phone, as in not a smart phone. It’s a blacphonek, LG flip phone from Tracfone. I use it to receiveĀ  phone calls, though it also has primitive texting capability. It has a camera I never use and “games” I never play. The previous model I owned would periodically call our local emergency response number (911) on its own so I upgraded.

I bought my first cell phone after my wife became pregnant with our first child, 14 years ago. I wanted her to be able to reach me any time I was away from home. Then we had two more kids and I’ve just kept the phone.

Everybody I know has a smart phone. My wife, her parents, friends, family, and even little kids playing at the park.

Friends try to sway me saying I can do Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, listen to music, play games, and watch movies. No thanks.I have a laptop, desktop, Kindle, and TV that handle those things just fine.

For me, there isn’t yet an incentive that justifies the additional expense. My phone only cost me 20 bucks and I pay $99 per year for service.

When I get a new job I’ve been working towards, I’ll probably get a smart phone. In the meantime, I’m content with what I have.

( This post topic was courtesy of the Daily Prompt. )





Ah, remote controls. What a chore life would be without them. I think if you’ve grown up without something, you have a better appreciation for when you get it. That’s the case with me and remotes. When I was a kid, we were lucky to have a TV, let alone a fancy one with a remote. I used to have to get up to change the channel. Oh, the struggle.




Back when I lived alone in an apartment I never bothered with what I considered non-essentials. There was a plastic plant hanging in the corner of the main room that was left from the previous tenant. And that’s about it. No pictures, no knickknacks, nothing to look at except a couch, a chair and the TV.

If it weren’t for my wife, our house would not have any decor at all. Thankfully, she enjoys adding interesting touches to our house such as old spice cans.




When I was a kid, I took piano lessons one summer. My Mom bought a metronome to help me keep time when I practiced. My interest in playing the piano faded, I think because I wanted to jump to the good stuff and got bored playing scales over and over.

Now, years later, our church as our old piano, but I still have the metronome.


When our boys were little, my wife painted an animal mural on all the walls in the playroom. There was a lion, giraffes, a rhino, a toucan, and others set in scenes to resemble their natural habitat. Hidden in the painting were the names of our three boys which they thought was neat.

That reminds me…

Does hearing a certain word or phrase instantly remind you of someone?

Whatnot – My older brother is the only person I knew growing up that used that word. Whenever I hear it now, I think of him.

This too, shall pass – Whenever bad times or some setback came along, my Mom had those words to say.

Major problems – My 6th great teacher, Mr. Raycraft, would say that whenever one of the class — usually a boy — was in big trouble. “Woolums, you’ve got maaaaaaajor problems.”

Bless her/his heart – My wife uses that phrase after she’s talked about someone trying, but failing to do something. Like her husband … “He’s working on a blog, bless his heart.”

Taters and gravy – I once worked with a guy named Tommy. Whenever he passed a newly hired person in the warehouse, Tommy would say random things. One of his favorites was, “I likes me some taters and gravy.”

Dadgum – When my father-in-law gets upset with something, he often expresses his frustration by saying, “Well, dadgum it.”

I told you that to tell you this – My fried Tom tells stories. When one story winds down, he’ll segue to the next and off he goes.