hittingthesweetspot by Bob Skelley

It comes in many forms

Monday communication is hard

It’s cool to be able to say something is cool just for the sake of being cool.

What makes sense most of the time to you may not make any sense to me.

How do we find common communication ground?

We start by thinking alike and letting one another know when it is we do that.

If we are thinking the same way or thinking the same way about something, the key is to express it to the other person before the moment passes.

It’s not completing someone’s sentence.

It’s not saying jinx after you both say the same word at the same time.

It’s not being in the same group on Facebook and wondering why you’re thinking alike regarding the group you’re both in.

I think once everyone is thinking the same way, then and only then will Twitter go away.

I find irony in private messages being anything but.

If classical music is old I’d like to play new classical. Hence we’d have new old music to go along with new age music. I think that would be nice.

The word drivel comes to mind occasionally.

Why is it that a project can be something kids do in science class and also be someone who will need a lot of hard work and training before they become a top of the rotation starting major league pitcher?

What is a groove? And what do you have to do in order to maintain one?

Why are grooves lost and found?

Why is the characterization middle of the road not considered praiseworthy? It seems to me that being in the middle of the road should be preferred, comparatively-speaking to either side of the road. For instance, if there were curbs on either side of the road, you might stub your toes when walking along the side of the road.

On the other hand, you’d be less likely to avoid an oncoming car when walking down the middle of the road. But a middle of the road effort by a pop artist could possibly lead to their becoming just an artist–for lack of good record sales.

So and so was the most popular girl in school. So what?

If we use our space heater to keep warm just think about what we could do with a galaxy heater.

Why do people want to break into my blog?

You could just email me if you want to know something about it.

It saddens me to think of all the attacks this site undergoes.

It also makes me think the people who try to hack me suck.

If I had an advisor, they would have advised me not to let readers know this.

But sites are hacked by hackers just for fun. I get it. But should that be considered a life worth leading?

You tell me.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. I still can’t get over how much enjoyment I derive from reading the Sunday phone.

Are your kidneys able to thank you if you drink more water?


Then stop telling me they will.



The man with 12 Operating systems

I’m typing with Grammarly.

I’m supposed to be scared.

crap. With a small case “c”.

I once knew a man with 12 operating systems.

He self-admittedly changed operating systems more often than he did his underwear.

Linux. Windows. Mac.

He ran them all.




Linux Lite

Windows 10 Home

Windows 10 Professional

Windows 10 Amateur


Mac OS 9


Ubuntu Mate

Q something





Rocket fuel


Unlike the rest of the crowd online, he would cry out loud.

He was always trying to connect in a different way, even if it meant the only way he was attempting connection was via to operate…in a manner of speaking…using a different operating system.

When he felt sick, he felt really sick.

So far Grammarly hasn’t gotten me.

Nor has any ancient curse…thus far.

But, I’m playing side one of Neil Young’s “Decade.”

And anything is fair game.

“Protecting her kings from the sun rays at dawn.”

Especially with Grammarly pop-ups.

Why did I sign up?

I get it.

It’s cool if an app pops something up.



I’ll click on it.


I might.

I mean, really.

And Neil plays on.

I think we’re going into “Ol’ Laughin’ Lady” or whatever clever measure of letter omissions the song title is.

Oh, wait!

Expecting to Fly.

I miss you, Neil.

I bemoaned your decline.

Decade was one of your understated and most underrated compilations.

Getting back to, “When he felt sick, he felt really sick.”

Especially when it was not bacteria-based. He could feel a virus gripping his entire body, when it was in total control.

At his advanced age, he considered his relationships and work dealings to be a rest-of-life commitment.

He thinks this is the most he’s ever struggled for just under 300 words.

But I’m over 300 words now.

This is the best ride anyone could ever hope for.

And Neil plays “Sugar Mountain.”

Ain’t Life Grand.

To the people that you met and it’s your first cigarette.

Now just listen.

This is the rhythm that is “Decade.”

You’re leaving there too soon.

Degenerated into something Will Ferrell-appropriate.

Just over 350 words and I sort of feel smarter.

When I woke up this morning I didn’t think what I would set out to write later would change the world.

In fact, I didn’t think I’d be writing at all.

Neil coughs.

People clap.

Side Two

What is the color…

You are a man.

You understand.

Wait, hold it right there.

My journey has nothing to do with what Neil is singing about.

It definitely was a good attempt at figuring out describing what life might hold out later.

Double Albums

They really add no value.

In Neil’s case, when on Side Two of Decade, I understand the criticism of Neil wrapping you in too soon into the selection of what goes into an album titled, “Decade.”

Smaller type for the continued argument against “Album” time

What exactly is “Album Time?”

It’s something we’re all not supposed to know.

Type faster young man…

“No one can see him.”

Nothing can be him.

Step aside…

Open wide…

Well, it’s who you think it might be for someone who can’t type as fast as Neil could sing.


The incongruous tidings of viewing excess and misery

We do everything to avoid television commercials.

We DVR and fast forward.

We stream and we back out of commercials.

We skip ads on YouTube after five seconds.

Commercials are hardly ever watched at all anymore.

Except during the Super Bowl. We love us some commercials during the Super Bowl–sometimes even better than the game.

This demonstrates the lure of live major sporting events.

Most of us of a certain age demographic recall how our sandwich-making skills were honed during the playing of television commercials.

It was an art to be able to make the sandwich and return to the easy chair in the living room before the show started again.

It also felt like hitting a jackpot of sorts when your rear end hit the seat just as the show resumed. Or at least it did for me.

Sometimes, however, we didn’t make the sandwich in time and we ended up missing some of the dialogue between the show’s characters.

That’s when re-runs came into importance; you could catch what you missed when the show reran.

On lazy summer days you could catch up on everything you might have missed the first time the show ran in the winter.

Now, there’s no challenge in watching TV anymore. We can blame it on our ability to pause our big screens whenever we like.

During pauses in our television viewing, we:

Prepare complete meals–taking as long as we need to do so.

Vacuum out our car’s interior.

Give the dogs a bath.

Give the kids a bath.

Take a bath ourselves.

Decide we need more chips in order to make it through the show we just paused and drive to the convenience store.

Debate the merits of convenience stores while we’re on the way to them to pick up more chips.

Decide to pause our phones by putting them in Airplane mode before driving to the convenience store.

Wonder why we feel something is missing when we watch TV.

Wonder why this empty feeling comes upon us as with endless TV choices and variety we should be in a perpetual state of bliss whenever it is we watch TV.

Everything in moderation

TV is not a medium of moderation.

It is one of gluttony.

We binge watch.

We watch until we need eye drops to soothe our eyes.

We are enthralled with some shows’ viewings and we are literally glazing over with giddiness when watching others.

Just before we are able to say enough, though, we are sick and tired of watching.

When we reach this point we understand we’ve gone too far.

Too far beyond moderation.

Way, way far beyond moderation.

It’s still winter and storms are upon us as we enter into TV’s most glutinous period.

We don’t acquire any skills like efficient sandwich making during this time.

I would suggest we actually become less intelligent by virtue of our engaging in continual spectatorship.

When you’re watching more than you’re actually doing, you’re in decline or are degenerating from within. You’re allowing dust to accumulate on you like the furnishings inside your living room.

You insist all will change with warmer weather and spring’s arrival.

And it likely will temporarily.

Until summer’s stifling heat dictates a return to interiors, air conditioning and binge watching.

Starfish: A tale of neck collar regeneration

There’s nothing like a skittish Internet connection to make you type a lot and really fast too.

You hope your application’s auto save feature will be reliable.

Check that.

You do whatever it is beyond hoping that ensures the data will be saved. In my case it’s remembering to manually save what it is I type periodically.

This is an example of evidence existing that makes complete automation in our lives a whimsical notion or a pipe dream of sorts.

For some reason I thought pipe dream was one word. But my automated spell checker saw fit to ensure I did not let that stand as originally typed.

Automation is not being considered or implemented for things I’d like to see it make inroads.

Where automation fails epically

For example, take the case of my flannel shirt necklines.

You know what I’m talking about.

Some of us have a neck condition that causes the collars in our flannel shirts to wear out prematurely.

If not prematurely, then flannel shirt neck wear should be described as developing much too soon. It’s definitely way before the time a failure of this kind should occur in any event.

The rest of the shirt is perfectly fine. The sleeves, pockets, buttons and everything else are in good shape. Definitely no wear exists elsewhere or anywhere that would cause me to not wear the shirt any longer. Have some fun and read that last sentence again.

When the shirt’s neck gets worn to the point that the fabric is losing its integrity in the middle of the collar, extending a seam of tearing from one end to the other, causing your spouse to tell you to get rid of the shirt, well, then it’s time for some artificial intelligence that would really do my universe a world of good.

What if the shirt could fix its own collar?

I don’t have Alexa in the house. Well, she’s sort of in the house except I have her turned off. And my wife and I can agree that we are better off without her. We’re good like that.

But, if ever I’d like to become one with AI of some kind, it would be the type that repairs my beloved flannel shirts’ collars at the first signs of fraying.

I don’t consider myself as having a red neck.

I think of my neck as probably more harsh than red.

Admittedly, though, my neck does wreak havoc on flannel shirt necklines. And I’d prefer automation help offset its ravages.

Is that too much to ask?

Well, evidently so.

The spotty Internet connection as frayed neck collar

So, as I was able to successfully state how artificial intelligence solutions are sorely lacking for my flannel shirt neck collar issues, I am now returning to the scourge that is unreliable Internet connectivity and the similarly unrewarding fixes available that are less than 100% effective.

If you stream media you may encounter buffering.

Depending on your machine you may experience intermittent connectivity issues with certain configurations of hardware and software.

Always on and always reliable.

One might call it a pipe dream.

Or a notion of the whimsical variety.


Weekends: Or the best part of the week that just happens to come last

When you finish up all the things you didn’t get to during the week, the little bit of time you have at the end of the weekend to do what really makes you smile is to be put to good use.

In my case it was finally opening the 2.5″ SSD that arrived about a month ago. I was going to use it as an external drive via a USB port hookup and so ordered an enclosure for it. I was pretty enthused about getting it all going.

But then life got in the way and dust began to accumulate over the packaging covering the SSD and the enclosure.

It looked like this was going to be put off indefinitely. Life gets busy and then sometimes it also gets a little funny, too.

I started another project before this one was about to begin. I replaced the receiver in a stereo refurbishment/renovation and am finally able to play records and listen to AM/FM radio traditionally again. Yes it was a small project in terms of scope, but it took some time and craftsmanship for it all to come together. And it did.

When you are doing stuff on weekends it’s similar to the work week in that sometimes you can skimp or skip altogether things like lunch.

Skipping meals is not for me as sooner than later it has negative effects.

Since I wanted to complete the stereo project I did make sure to take breaks and time out to eat. Common sense, right? Maybe, but if you’re like me you try to keep going when you’re on a roll and making progress.

So, this time I was multi-tasking. I was doing laundry. I was doing dishes. I was scooping poop. I really had it all going on.

But, as we speak, Makulu LinDoz is installing on the 120 GB SSD. It’s really going to happen. I’ll have this Linux operating system working via the lone USB 3.0 port on a used GIADA i53 Mini PC – CORE i5-3317u CPU Micro PC I procured through eBay.

The i5 is now the fastest PC in the fleet of old Windows boxes I own. It’s smaller than a Mac Mini best as I can tell (although I haven’t officially measured).

I put LinDoz on a USB thumb drive and am 90% of the way to seeing just how fast(er) the SSD drive is than the traditional 500 GB SATA drive that’s on the inside of the Micro PC.

The weekend is now winding down. I’m on my last load of laundry. And you’re wondering, “Man, that Skelley knows how to live.”

I suppose it’s all a matter of priorities or just living off the cuff and without an agenda.

There’s time for making plans if need be.

But there’s only so many weekends we have to live through in our lifetime.

I want to enjoy some of the things I can get geeked about.

Doing what you’ve read is how I do just that.

I hope you’ve enjoyed your weekend, too.





Accepting the phenomenon of LinkedIn loneliness

You did it again and you hate yourself for it.

You just checked your Facebook app on the phone and saw something that briefly made you raise one eyebrow. Then the self-loathing returned and you put down the phone.

I was glad to have warded off loneliness last year by limiting time spent on social media. Studies evidently support this now widely reported fact: Using social media too often and for too long makes you lonely.

I felt I was wasting too much time on social media at the halfway point (or was it sooner?) of 2018. It’s now been awhile, but I recall I first removed the Facebook app from my phone. This actually had the two-fold benefit of minimizing my carpal tunnel by not checking the phone as often while simultaneously leaving me with less feelings of loneliness.

It’s an interesting world we live in when something called social media is anything but and found to be responsible for high levels of loneliness.

That does pretty much come with the turf; spending 8+ hours a day in front of a screen tends to be isolating. Imagine that.

The world and how it works are pretty foreign to most people on any given day. That’s because we’re hanging out on social media. And I’d like to see some justice and have social media rebranded as “Only The Lonely” in an homage to Roy Orbison.

As our ability to interact with others decreases the more time we spend in front of screens, so does our ability to be our most effective, functioning and authentic selves.

Studies have shown this or that and/or it and other distillates of minutia related to detail.

They also have demonstrated lots of things to put it in other words. Aside from bullet point discoveries, however, solutions to the issues identified by studies are largely lacking.

In the case of the host of problems that Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn (yes, it’s social media, too, just social media for professionals) pose regarding loneliness, what are the solutions? Is there hope?

Sometimes I think the reason I’m even on LinkedIn is because crazily enough I sometimes feel that being on a network utilized by professionals should lessen my feelings of loneliness. Why would any reasonable person feel otherwise?

Like hanging out where professionals are hanging out should make loneliness nonexistent. Right?

[I don’t particularly care for it when someone says something and then punctuates it with, “Right?” So, I guess I just didn’t like myself there.]

I do find myself wondering how can professionals be lonely? It’s as if there is no good reason to be linked in and lonely on LinkedIn. Again, it’s used by professionals or at least it’s advertised this way. But the other side of the coin is that (to me) being LinkedIn means being connected with someone and something more than just yourself.

I think I could become professionally lonely if I cruised the LinkedIn professional networking site for too long.

It’s not just me, though, who feels this way.

People finish school, go into the working world and realize the reality of life is not all it’s cracked up to be.

So what do they do?

You guessed it. They go on LinkedIn to look for another job that hopefully makes them less lonely.

Can I get a like?

I didn’t think so.

Biscuit love and the spirit of full belly: Why it’s ok not to be crazy awake

Some days you wake up and do not feel like being all you can.

In fact, it’s pretty difficult for a large segment of the population to be anything other than barely conscious when first waking up; you go to the bathroom and then proceed to consume multiple caffeinated beverages until you can focus. And then you consume some more.

This is because the body requires a period of adjustment before assuming any persona not characterized as sluggish.

Other people, however, are what I like to call crazy awake when they first get up. They zoom around as if each minute is an opportunity for greatness.

I’m pretty good with that as long as my knees are slightly bent before they run into and/or over me.

After observing how my dogs behave most mornings, though, I’ve come to the realization that embodying the spirit of full belly is not so off the mark when it comes to describing how I would prefer to be on most mornings.

I can bring measured intellect to my writing in the morning, especially after I watch how my dogs are reacting once they’ve eaten.

They’re pretty active just before eating–wagging their tails, smiling and licking their lips in anticipation as drool drops start their descent to the floor.

When the coffee machine begins its gurgling sounds, I also find myself salivating (but I try to keep the drops from hitting the floor).

This is what I consider one of the principal differences between civilized human beings such as myself and dogs: My saliva (mostly) is self-contained.

Each day as I put the dogs’ bowls down for their meals I advise them to enjoy the food. Some days I silently mouth the words, “Live to eat, dawgs; do not eat to live.”

I smile and feel good as the bowls begin to clang in their frames to the steady rhythms of the dogs’ consumption.

Soon the food is gone. They each go to the other’s bowl looking for meal remnants, passing one another along the way before sitting side by side in anticipation of the reward I will give each of them.

After eating the main course the droolies are largely replaced by wiggling butts and patient glances. They anticipate the treats that are their biscuit love.

All too soon, the biscuits are chewed, swallowed and their mutual retreat to the couch is underway (as are their naps soon thereafter).

I start my second cup of coffee after all this has occurred and prepare my organic microwaveable oatmeal. Something about preparing anything organic in a microwave always seems wrong to me, but I don’t dwell on it. It’s still healthy, right?

Visions of running on a treadmill tend to creep in once the oatmeal has been eaten. It always feels odd to me if I’m walking on a sidewalk, pass a fitness center and see runners on treadmills. Their wearing shorts and t-shirts further adds to my confusion as a winter parka covers my body.

The treadmill visions soon pass.

It’s once again time to be everything I am meant to be and get to work.

Blog riffing 101: Tune in right here

I sometimes wonder if reading the Sunday phone will ever be as good as paper.

Digital sounds piercing at times.

I like to glide smoothly and with as much robustness as one can possibly muster through life.

Some people get paid millions of dollars to play a game that features a ball, bat and three (technically four if you count home plate) bases.

When it’s really cold out, I fire up inside both of my Core 2 Duos, my Pentium 4 box and my Power Mac G4 tower while writing.

I wonder if wearing a ski cap indoors can damage your creativity.

I’m not sure but my head is certainly warmer.

I just took off the ski cap and now my fingers are cold.

Will something good come of this?

The optimist says the best is yet to come.

I say why not think that way.

Sentence long paragraphs are (to me) like how jammin’ guitar used to make me feel.

Recognize inventiveness whose origins are rooted in surroundings-based canvas and quiet steadfastness?

How many calories does blogging 500 words chew up?

I don’t know. I’ve never measured–before or after.

I read more stories about studies detailing how morning people live longer, are smarter, work out in the morning and think about their intake more than most other people who prefer to do the bulk of their critical consciousness during the evenings.

I’ve been on both sides of this equation and have found a constant that transcends both demographics: stupid knows no time of day.

What came first the leader or the follower?

I vote for the follower as this person must have followed things other than leaders of their own kind to have survived to the point where there was finally a self-proclaimed leader who emerged–tricking them into thinking he’d be someone good to follow.

How long should someone hang on an inspiration?

My answer is, “For as long as it takes them to realize they do not know where, when or why they started down this path to begin with.”

I’ve never wanted a pair of those thin gloves with the finger tip areas cut out of them…until now.

I think if I found a pair my fingertips would still get cold.

Maybe it’s just the rest of my hand that might get warm.

I’ve lost interest in where either Bryce Harper or Manny Machado sign.

But it was interesting (to me) that Manny Machado’s name in my application’s spellcheck just came up as suspect words and Bryce Harper’s did not.

I need fat mice to be happy. Or at least my hand does.

Looking at computer/tablet/phone/device screens can give me a very stiff neck.

Reading newspapers never have.

I’m old enough to remember when phone book delivery was a good contract job.

Winters can sometimes also make me remember when I delivered phone books one season and slipped and fell on my back–with me and the phone books flying up in the air until we all came down hard on the icy cold pavement below.

It hurt. And so does my neck.

Unpopular choices may actually increase life satisfaction or so a recent study does not say

It’s hard to get anywhere doing the same thing everyone else does.

Take right now for instance.

Most of the country is tuned in to the Patriots versus the Chiefs NFL AFC Championship game.

I watched the first half.

Then did the dishes and never looked back.

The commercials were getting to me.

I’m not used to watching commercials let alone the same ones over and over again.

Now more than ever it takes away from whatever it is I’m watching; I just don’t have the patience.

So, I figured after enduring truck, car, tech and insurance commercials ad nauseam it was time to try something interesting again.

Like writing for you all and myself.

I’m using my fairly fresh install of Linux Lite 4.2 to compose with this evening.

It’s pretty basic and has one of everything you might need when it comes to computer programs that are frequently used.

I like the non-bloat.

I like that it doesn’t offer multiple redundant features like television has with its commercials.

I have to admit I would have endured the commercials today if any of my teams were still around.

At the least it would have been fun to see if Tom Brady could have won another trip to the Super Bowl, but it just wasn’t meant for me to be watching.

Part of the reason for that I know is it’s what everyone else does and what everyone else does is not appealing to me–because it’s what everyone else does.

I suppose too many like-minded people spoil the broth, as not having diversity in my leisure time activities puts me in a bad mood.

But there were the commercials that were off-putting and there was also annoying Tony Romo saying things like, “That doesn’t happen very often,” very often.

Another thing that doesn’t happen very often is when someone breaks away from the same old same old.

Variety is the spice of life someone once said.

That may be and at the least a little variety now and again seems to work for me.

If everyone’s a critic you really shouldn’t care too much about what it is they say about you.

I know that’s probably hard to do if you’re on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram all the time.

It’s easy to be doing what the masses do.

It’s harder to break away from lemming-like populism.

There was an episode of Seinfeld where Costanza did the opposite of what he normally would do.

I would suggest a 21st century update to that approach.

Instead of doing the opposite of what you would normally do, just do something different from what you normally would do.

This makes more sense than doing the opposite as doing the opposite of what you would normally do is more radical behaviorally-speaking than doing something different from what you would normally do.

Tonight marks my first adoption of this new approach.

Instead of watching the second half of Tom Brady versus Patrick Mahomes, I came here instead.

It’s not what everyone would do.

And that’s alright.


Three Dots…or how I came to accept the Ellipsis

I once read or heard that when you reach a certain age you have good days and you have bad days.

But I think that sentiment can be applied to most age groups with the exception of infancy.

When you’re experiencing chronology-old age, the good- and bad days are directly related to your aches and pains.

The mental part of it, which includes how you perceive the world, how it sees you and how you react to everything in between is what ends up deciding how things go, generally-speaking.

I remember when I used to be suspicious of people who used words like “generally-speaking,” in either written- or spoken-word fashion.

Why, you say?

Because generally-speaking, those kinds of word combinations cause me to tune out what comes after them; I just do so without even thinking.

Generally-speaking, generally-speaking…this tends to soften the after blow.

I read a teaser snippet somewhere that landed me on the Wall Street Journal’s website.

There are a couple, not more than two or three sentences, then… dot dot dot…

That’s right…that’s it.

The ellipsis…also know as “three dots” in lesser circles…

I used to think I was of lesser circles, because quite frankly, the thought of more, even larger circles (than already exist), seems not as much of either an efficient or productive use of my time.

But old three dots is the blogger’s best friend. You tend to find these kinds of things out on less warm and rainy days when wondering if something will come out (that sparks you).

Three dots comes in handy and always has; it’s the lesser statesman of the semi-colon, despite its state of “wholeness” casting a large shadow down upon the less-than-intact semi- colon by comparison.

The article I wanted to read in the Wall Street Journal was about something, or opened up with (remember I only got a snippet) something about a line of how 12 years ago Steve Jobs released the iPhone and how people are no longer amazed by it anymore.

And that was it unless you include the ellipsis.

It was, anyone could agree, the rightful end of the story to me by virtue of my lack of a Wall Street Journal subscription.

I remember the first time I encountered the journalistic paywall. But I can’t remember the site; only that the lesson was learned.

I was a little upset. But now I get it.

This time it was easy to back out entirely and move on.

But the iPhone and mobile phones in general no longer possess quite the magic they once did.

So we wonder what will come next.

And we try to envision what it could be.

Then we back out of that thought and glance back down at our phones.

I think what we value says a lot depending on what day it might be.

That kind of thinking might be part of what one could say was a good day or a bad day.

Or it could also just have been needing the kind of grace and alacrity that only Three Dots or the more highly-browed Ellipsis…can provide.

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