A Bench, Some Vinyl, and a Busted TV

Lots going on around here lately. We head north to St. Paul on Friday then on to Park Rapids, MN on Saturday. My sister in-law and her family are dedicating a bench in memory of Rob at Courage North, a camp for disabled in the middle of the state. As part of our weekend there, we are helping with the annual Courage North cleanup weekend. From what I remember Rob telling me, this involves everything from putting in the dock to clearing brush and getting stuff out of storage. Most of the family is going to make it up there, so it should be a good time. We don't get the whole family together very often anymore, but when 4 or 5 of us and our respective kids get together, it's always good times.

I got Ben a bike last weekend. Got quite a deal on it. So far, he's liking his freedom. When I was a kid we took our bikes everywhere, near and far. I'm working on a chapter of the Portland Ave. House book specifically about bike trips we took, as well as some other antics. When I think back to some of the distant places we took trips to, (Mississippi River, Como Zoo, Minnehaha Falls, etc) it makes me shiver a bit. I know I wouldn't be too keen on my kids going that far. 

Times are different though, and its been a struggle to let Ben stretch his leash a bit on his bike and on foot. I think you need to let your kids experience some of what's out there for themselves. It helps them make better decisions and they are better able to filter and process what they see. The big difference is he has a phone, something that was not an option when I was a kid.

My USB Turntable gadget came today. It allows me to convert all of my old 33 1/3 albums into .MP3's using their software and a small little turntable. So far I've only tried it out on one LP, and after a couple of false starts, it worked like a charm. Near as I can tell, the sound quality is pretty decent. Not as good as the albums, I'm sure, no digital format is. But given the ease with which this is done, it's not a bad investment. I got the thing for $35 on Woot, so I figure it will pay for itself after 4 albums. 

Our "basic" Cable TV has been out for two weeks and no one really noticed. I booted everything up last night and got a Red X of Death. I worked through the "ATT Troubleshooter" and it did not resurrect the TV. This is a bit of a statement about the role of television in this house. Basically it has no role. Donna and I have never had much interest in TV. This goes back to when we were just married in the early 90's and the only TV we owned was a used one we bought for $25 at a used TV shop (I don't think they even have these places anymore. Everything is disposable.) 

Our friends used to joke about us and our decrepit TV. It was a statement as to the value of it in our lives at the time. I've never been much for TV, though there were some periods where we watched more than usual. Around here we spend more time reading or working on our laptops. Lately I just don't have time for TV at all. If any of us do watch, we tend to watch from Netflix or renting movies or TV series by the season on DVD. That way we can skip all the ads, something I have no patience for anymore. None of this is intended to come off sounding self-righteous, to each his/her own. It's just a personal choice of mine (and most of my family, subsequently)

Lots of other stuff going on, but I need to get back to my class writing for the week, so I'm blogging off...


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