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Birds of a Feather

The Illusion of Free Will


If you are reading this right now it is not because you decided to. I did not decide to write this. Obviously, I did write it, and you are now reading it so how did this happen if neither of us made these decisions? Don’t worry I will tell you, but only because I literally have no choice, or at least that is the argument made in a very thought-provoking book I picked up a while back.

Welcome to the Flock!

I’d like to introduce a new member to the Birds Family. Before you ask, no, Kerry isn’t expecting a baby. We got a puppy! His name is Wesley, and he’s a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel. You can follow him on Instagram. Yep, he’s just a little guy (Laura has referred to him as a toy dog 😐) but I’m pretty sure he thinks he’s a big dog because the bigger the dog he meets the more he wants to play. He’s very courageous, to say the least, and perfectly-sized for our Chicago apartment.

I never thought having a dog would influence my mindset and life quite this much. Just in the few weeks since Wesley came into our home, I’ve been looking at the bigger picture on how I live. He relies on me, which means that I better be around. It’s time to change my eating habits and workout more. I know this sounds crazy, but it’s true.

We have met so many more people by taking the elevator down, getting outside and walking the neighborhood. Potty training has been quite the task, so it seems like we are always on that elevator or outside; we see fellow dog owners all the time. I’d say that Wesley has turned into the most popular dog in our apartment building and around our neighborhood.

At this point it’s obvious: I’m pretty damn proud of Wesley. Kerry and I have been talking about getting a dog for a couple of years, but have always been hesitant. Then it happened so fast. She saw a picture of him and fell in love. The next week we drove to Michigan and picked him up. It’s been the best decision we’ve ever made. So, with all of that said, if you’re debating getting a dog, do it. There are so many dogs that need homes and – believe me – the joy it brings to your life is incredible.

My Rant: eSports

No one who knows me would ever consider me to be a bonafide sports fan. I keep up with 1 sport, and root for 1 team… That’s about it. I don’t check player stats, team stats, or participate in any events, with the exception of major ones pertinent to the sport I care about (World Cup). Outside of that, I don’t know (or care) about sportsball.

DIY Smart Home with Home Assistant

I’ve been on a bit of a quest to find ways to link all the various smart devices I’ve acquired over the years. I have IKEA Tradfri lights, Osram (Now Sylvania) RGB bulbs, and BroadLink SP3 wireless outlets. Unfortunately, they all use different and not totally compatible solutions. Previously, I’ve used my Google Home to control my RGB lights in my bedroom and office, an IKEA Tradfri remote for my IKEA lamps in the living room, and an app on my phone to control my Wifi outlets.

Some More Stress Relief: Meditation

Besides screaming into a pillow or squeezing stress balls, I’ve got another effective way to relieve stress:  Meditation!

My last post I talked about a few breathing techniques. Meditation partners well with this – actually, it’s essential. So if you think you’re ready to graduate into the world of mindfulness, here’s how to begin:

A Link to the Super Metroid

Greetings again, my fellow life-having compatriots. It’s been too long, in fact, that I’m happy to report that I can no longer find anything good to watch on Netflix. This has led to an uptick in 3 alternative ways to spend time: cooking, reading, and watching video game speedrunners.