Follow Ups

"I don't care what the subject is, I should be in your post."
“I don’t care what the subject is, I should be in your post.” – Maddie

Last Wednesday’s post about grammatical errors and the humorous ways they played out in the comment stream illustrated one “problem” with blogging. I put problem in quotes, because it doesn’t even rise to the level where it would get tagged as a “first world problem” let alone, a real problem. Still, I always like people to see my best work when they come here. Unless, of course they come here on a Saturday when I’m participating in the #SoCS challenge. In that case, they see what they see because Linda says “no” to making it better than what fell out on the first attempt.

Since I just reread that paragraph and realized that I didn’t explain the problem, let me be clear. The problem is two-fold. Either I am unable to correct an error, or it is unlikely that anyone who has read the post will ever know that I did correct it. Of course, it’s always possible that the reader didn’t notice the error.

There’s also a problem with blogging about somewhat current events. Not current events like the subject in school, but events in my life that just happen to be, you know, current. That problem is that events often turn out differently than I assume they will, or differently than they were planned, or additional information becomes available after publication. Timing is critical in dealing with these things, as shown below:

Follow-ups vs. Updates
Follow-ups vs. Updates

Earlier this year, I created a notebook in Evernote called “Follow-Ups” where I put links, photos and reminders about things that happened to things I wrote about. I’m not ready to revisit most of these, but I think I can give you an update on a few.

In a post I wrote about the way we work and the things we don’t do well, I wanted to include a section on multi-tasking. It was going to be the 4th thing of a three-thing post, but there were two problems: 1) I already had too many words with three things, and 2) I didn’t have any reliable resource to back me up. I’m OK with sources such as: “I’ve heard” and “I read somewhere” but since lots of people think that they do multi-task, I wanted something official.

See, the thing is, you don’t multi-task. You can’t, your brain isn’t wired that way. Oh sure, you can talk on the phone and still breath, but you’re really not good at talking on the phone and writing down notes of that conversation. Especially if you’re the one doing the talking. You know, when you’re explaining something to someone and you have that “this is a good explanation, I should write this down” thought – but you can’t. That’s because you need the same part of your brain to do both tasks.

If you still contend that you can and do multi-task, you might want to consider if you’re not simply confusing task-switching with multi-tasking. Finally, an article in the Boston Globe, kinda-sorta supports those thoughts.

On a topic near and dear to me, I’ve written several times about trains and AMTRAK and how I wish our government would improve the state of rail travel in the US. Shortly after National Train Day, AMTRAK announced plans for a new generation of Acela trains. Shortly after that, AMTRAK announced that they favored a plan to realign rail service through Connecticut and other northeast states to improve travel between Boston and Washington, DC and even bring back the Montrealer.

The train I take from Washington, DC to my home, The Vermonter, used to be called the Montrealer and, it used to go to Montreal. Now it stops at the top of Vermont. AMTRAK still has service to Montreal, but it’s through New York’s Penn Station so it’s not a good option for me.

Of course, AMTRAK has been working on this plan since 2012, has received very little of the more than $300 Billion-With-A-B dollars necessary to complete it and probably won’t even complete a badly compromised version until 2050, by which time, I won’t care.

Two quick photo updates are also in order. First, in some old post, I had a picture of a basketball that was stuck in a tree. That ball finally fell out, and was discovered by Maddie on one of our walks. Second, when I did the Thursday Doors post about The End of Shade Tobacco, somebody asked if they really wrap those huge barns in plastic. They do, and they have done so.

Finally, just recently I wrote about how I don’t like the way retailers have ruined Thanksgiving by turning it into nothing more than an anchor for Black Friday sales. Just when you thought things couldn’t get worse, J.C. Penny has decided to start Black Friday BEFORE Thanksgiving.

Remember: Things can always get worse. Below are a few photos from the ongoing construction of the light-rail line from Springfield, MA to New Haven, CT.


  1. When things are going bad – I NEVER ask “What’s next?” because I will indubitably find out in spades!!!! I used to pride myself on multi-tasking when I was still working, but that was actually just a number of projects going at once and actually hoping they’d all get done on schedule. The human brain is a wonderful thing, but brother it sure isn’t ready for the reality of an overbearing boss!! :)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I really try to never ask that question. If I had to write my resume, I would still say that I’m good at handling multiple concurrent tasks, but yeah, it’s not multitasking. It’s juggling. I find that when I set a specific amount of time aside for a task, I get more done. Thanks for dropping by.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Thanks for the updates, Dan. I have three comments to make: 1) I always thought I was great at multi-tasking, but I’ve come to realize I’m just great at attention deficit disorder. 2) Penneys. Ugh. This is why I never shop Black Fridays unless it’s on the computer in the comfort of my own home. 3) Maddie should be in EVERY post. And the kitties too.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Your post had a side-effect. I’m still staring at your little map there. How can Boston be to the north of New York?? I’d put it somewhere much more down, around Baltimore. It made me open the big map. Not to mention that there is another Portland over there. And that Canada is REALLY close. I saw a funny but not funny new map of Canada. Its border comes down to Mexico via California, and on your coast it comes pretty low too. I apologise for my very poor orientation sense – but this way I’m always surprised.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Ah, Geography, my favorite misunderstood subject. We are pretty close to Canada, sometimes, that’s comforting. I think the western three would be amenable to a bloodless coup style take-over. If nothing else, this election gave people lots of fodder for comedy.

      Liked by 2 people

  4. How diligent of you to consider writing an update on any previous posts, Dan, I must admit its never once crossed my mind to do so… But then, I don’t really write anything that interesting to be updated in the first place! :-)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Ruth. I enjoy your posts. I’d happily read an update. Sometimes, I find myself saying “I wish I knew this before I wrote that post” or something like that. I don’t think this will be a regular thing, but I think I’ll try to keep track.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Your comment makes me laugh, Val. When we take Maddie outside on windy days, she just stands and sniffs. She loves sticking that nose up into the breeze. It’s nice to see her so happy, but she tends to forget why she’s outside. Then, when we get her back onto the porch, she’s like “oh, wait a minute…”

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I really liked this post, Dan. It’s like the Where-Are-They-Now? equivalent in blogging :)

    I have to agree with Mary’s comment about multi-tasking. My version is more comparable to a 5-year-old hyped up on sugar.


  6. Good post. In a world of competitive work, I think I’m way too behind and slow. I love challenges and deadlines and when I am loaded with a lot of writing assignments I can write them quickly and efficiently, but then I have my own issues. By nature, I’m not a multi-tasking person. So, I cannot handle heaps and heaps of work flowing in my Inbox. I prefer to focus on one project at one time. This way I maintain quality and my efficiency. Multi-tasking ruins my performance which is why I don’t take up more clients than I can handle. To some, this may seem like my arrogance and attitude, but it is hard to make people realize why I work limited. Now, I have reached a stage where I don’t even bother explaining. People are free to think whatever they think of me. There’s a movie song which I’ll translate here – People will say always something about you. Because it’s people’s job to say something. Don’t indulge yourself in these mindless talks because this sweet time is passing by.


  7. I wish trains were a more viable option…
    I do multi-task, in the kitchen, or at least that’s what it seems like, although I can see your point, while the other things are cooking, I am doing this, and then when I get that cooking, I am doing something else. I don’t like to multi-task, I like to be focused.


  8. So much to respond to, so little time. :-) I agree that a person can’t multi-task, unless it might be eating while reading or something similar. When I blog while watching hockey, I miss too much of the hockey game! More Maddie works for me. As far as trains go, here in Chicagoland, you can take the train into the city (and back, of course) from a variety of suburbs. But if you want to travel to any suburb not along your train’s particular path, forget it. You might be able to go all the way to Chicago, then take another train out to your destination, but what a nightmare. Additionally, not all the Metra trains end up at Union Station. There’s another station somewhere, too, so there’s the commute from one to the other. Easier in that case to drive!



  9. Oh golly, I don’t participate in Stream of Consciousness writing because it would be an unreadable mess. (y’all would know exactly how crazy I really am ; ) I love trains too – just went up to Reno on the Zephyr – a beautiful ride.


  10. Ooooo! I love the building at the end! And, of course, Maddie. I’m glad the (as Oldest Grandson would have called it when he was wee) bekkybaw came down from the tree to play with Maddie.


  11. Great overall post….yet I laughed at the first part…multi tasking….I readily admit I cannot and do not multi task…my wife gives me so much grief…I can’t even listen to two conversations at once and keep track of both….I know I am absolutely positively not wired for multi tasking…but I can switch tasks quickly:)

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Maddie has my vote to be in every post, Dan. I really enjoyed your pic format in this post. Tired brain syndrome allow for one other comment within a comment. I really can multitask. I can talk on the phone and answer comments and answer comments while hubby is talking. Hmmmm …. someone mentioned attention deficit. Yeah that could be it in a nutshell. Great post!! <3

    Liked by 1 person

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