gadgets, housekeeping tips

“Up, up, up, in my studio, studio…” with apologies to Sponjetta Parrish…

Back in 2010 or so, when Bill and I were living in Georgia, I was an avid viewer of America’s Got Talent. There was a very charming performer that year named Sponjetta, and she came up with an extremely catchy hook, with her original song, “Studio”. Years later, I still sing it. And now, after this week, I have a special reason to be singing it. I spent this week upgrading my workspace.

“I’ll be in my studio…”

If you follow me on Facebook or read my main blog, you may have already seen some photos of the work I’ve been doing. It’s been a busy week, but I made a lot of progress and, in fact, my former landlady might even be surprised. She apparently thought I was a total dirtbag. Oh well. In the end, we got the last laugh. 😀

I didn’t actually plan to upgrade my work area when I bought my new computer. I thought I’d be dumping the old one into the pile of three worn out machines that need ditching. But then I realized what a huge collection of music my old computer has, and it’s also compatible with a lot of my peripherals. Yes, I can and will update the peripherals eventually, but I just spent about $2700 on a new, souped up machine. So, I want to wait a little while before I replace things like microphone interfaces and power hubs. It probably won’t take long before I replace them, but I wanted a workaround for now.

So there I was a few days ago, finally mounting my new computer on the VESA arm that caused some drama last weekend… The old computer was sitting on the floor, and it was awkward to use it. I went looking on Amazon for a solution, and found a really excellent wooden table. I also decided to buy another HomePod Mini, so I could upgrade the sound in my office.

As the week wore on, the work continued… it culminated to today with me putting together a CD tower for the CDs I’ve bought since we’ve been back in Germany. I probably have 1000 more of these at home in storage, but for now, the CDs were taking up valuable room in the IKEA desk I stole from my first German landlord in 2009. I’m kidding… we took the desk with his blessing. It’s made to accommodate a computer tower. 😮

When I bought the second HomePod, Apple did a clever suggestive sell, and I bought some really cool strip lights that I can control on my computer. It really dresses up my area and will probably jazz up my videos, next time I make one. I have a new song in mind, by the way… I’ll probably record it tomorrow or Monday. I might even play guitar, too.

Anyway, here are a few photos. I’m rather proud of myself. I am especially delighted by the new table. I feel all “Brownlee Vila” now (a joke, since my favorite late Uncle Brownlee was a genius at building stuff. He was also a great, self-taught musician. I miss him terribly.) By the way, I can set those lights to about 1500 shades or so, just with the flick of a hand. I think I paid 35 euros for the lights. Seriously, this looks way better. My hand is also looking better now. The blisters don’t hurt today. That table will probably last the rest of my life, too. It’s VERY solid. Just what I’d expect from a German vendor.

Oh… and we didn’t go our for Valentine’s Day again this year. 🙁 But Bill did send me a beautiful bouquet of roses. He’s the best.

And for those who are wondering… Arran is still with us and perky as ever, even if he’s a bit lumpier. Noyzi is also doing very well, even if he’s had unusual fart power this week. You can see Noyzi watching his favorite Dodo videos, while Arran is doing what he does best… begging for food and being handsome.

There are still a few things I need to fix until the space is just right. For one thing, we need to do something about the Internet going out at the drop of a hat. I did dump a lot of stuff off the old computer, but it still hangs up and cuts out too much. I’m sure there’s a simple fix that my old brain hasn’t found yet. Bill went out today and bought a brand new power drill/screwdriver, so I hope I won’t have to suffer blisters again, if I have another screwing project to do. 😉 At least, if I have one that doesn’t involve genital herpes.

I am hoping tomorrow, we will go out and enjoy the weekend… and maybe we’ll even get mooned again, like we did in 2019.


Hamburger saga part two!

On Saturday morning, we enjoyed sleeping in with no dogs to disturb us in our cushy Sofitel hotel room.  After living in and visiting Germany so often over the past few years, I have decided that I really like the split duvet set up.  No one hogs the covers that way; not that I have any problems with Bill doing that.  I just like having my own covers.  I seem to sleep better that way.  Though, it could also be because we don’t have dogs squirming around us, either.

Good place for breakfast if you stay at the Sofitel…

We decided not to partake of the very expensive Sofitel breakfast.  The least we would have paid for the most basic of repasts was 14 euros per person.  Since we weren’t in a hurry, we decided to look around for something less expensive.  We ended up finding Cafe Melange, another Italian place located a couple of blocks from the hotel.  It was an interesting experience if only due to the music that was being played in the restaurant.  I heard a very odd country version of ABBA’s “Dancing Queen”.  Later, I found out it was done by Solal and Melonie Cannon…

Bill watches seagulls.

Nice breakfast!

Bill had scrambled eggs, bacon, brotchen, and a very fancy cup of coffee.  I had a “Parisian breakfast”, which was a brotchen, a croissant, fruit salad, and raspberry jam.  I washed it down with hot chocolate with whipped cream.

After breakfast, for which we spent about half of what we would have spent at the hotel, we walked around some more.  As we passed through a shopping arcade full of cute shops and little cafes, I spied a huge pile of excrement.  It was located very close to some tables that were set up near an adorable konditorei.  Bill commented that we should have breakfast there.  I said, “Only if they clean up that big pile of shit.”  I said it loudly enough that some German guy who was passing by turned and looked at me in surprise.  It was rather funny.

Hamburg by day… lots of bridges!

Sometimes I try to get too artsy for my own good…

Though the sun was out, it was bitterly cold and kind of windy in Hamburg on Saturday morning.  The wind was blowing and I neglected to bring a hat or gloves.  Bill also forgot, though he’s a macho man, so he was willing to do without the extra cold weather clothes.  After strolling around for awhile in the cold, we decided we needed to look for some gear to keep me warm.  We went in a department store first, but everything they had there looked like it was more for style than functionality.  After we warmed up a bit, we headed to the North Face store in one of the shopping areas.  I bought a pair of expensive name brand gloves that allow me to wear them while using my iPhone.  I also got a new hat.  It’s good that I got these items because they made a huge difference in how we were able to deal with the frigid weather.

We had lunch at a little place called The Funky Fish.  They served English style fish and chips as well as pizzas and fried candy bars.  What drew us to the Funky Fish was the promise of craft beer.  They had some interesting looking soft drinks, too.  I would have liked to have tried the fried Snickers and/or fried Mars Bars, but the fried fish was more than enough for me.  I thought the fish and chips were pretty good; so were the mushy peas, which tasted like they’d been gussied up a bit with some kind of funky spices.  I even enjoyed the tartar sauce, which I usually don’t bother with.

The Funky Ale was pretty good! Made for the restaurant and only 4.9% ABV.


What a bargain!


Yummy fish and chips and mushy peas!

After lunch, we ended up at a brewpub called Joh. Albrecht, which is a chain that had a location near our hotel.  We tried all of their beers.  There were only a few available.  I also learned what an alsterwasser is.  Basically, it’s the same thing as a shandy or a radler… lemonade or lemon/lime soda mixed with beer.

We really should have relaxed with the beer drinking, because between it and the fish and chips, our appetites for dinner were pretty much ruined.  More on that in the next post…  We did at least take a long walk and I got lots of pictures!

I found lots of graffiti.

Interesting buildings…

Weird stickers…

Political ads…

An Irish pub, which we didn’t try…

Very old Apple computers!

People fishing in the Elbe.

And you can rent a bike, too…