Musings of a Museum Fanatic: February 2015


5 Ways to Start Reducing Your Electronic Clutter

Back in the day the only clutter we had to worry about was our physical clutter. Piles of paper, too many tank tops, and even further back, how many toys we had strewn about our room. Now we have to worry not only about that physical clutter but our electronic clutter too. Adults and kids alike are starting to accumulate electronic clutter at an alarming rate.

Not sure about anyone else but like my physical clutter my electronic clutter has started to make me somewhat stressed and overwhelmed. Which means it's time to start organizing! Today I'm sharing 5 things I started to do to help eliminate ... Well at least reduce my electronic clutter.

1. Folders are your BFF
Whether you're working on sorting your photos, keeping your email organized or just organizing any part of your electronic world you need to start using folders. Folders with very specific names and purposes. Don't just put everything blog related into one folder if you're getting a lot of emails about sponsors and comments. Same with the files on the computer yes I have one folder for blog stuff but I now need to break it up into more folders for things like photos for recipes and word documents with ideas.

It can be difficult sometimes because not everything will fit in one neat folder or you might not have enough of one subject for it to warrant it's own folder. I'll bet you can put about 90% of your digital life in a proper folder though.

2. Being proactive
I bet this area is still my biggest challenge area, especially when it comes to my photographs. I will let photos sit on my camera and phone for months. Then when I actually get around to pulling them off I will just dump them into a general camera phone file and a seasonal folder. So that means whenever I am trying to find a photo from say 2013 I need to look through all the photos from that year. 

By actually being proactive and sorting the photos right away after the events and putting them in better folders, later when I need to find them things will be a piece of cake. Plus it won't seem like such an overwhelming project later on. This can also apply to things like your email as well. Don't just keep deleting those promo emails from that store you stop into once a year. Unsubscribe! Need help with that check out Unroll.Me it's an awesome site that walks you through all your email subscriptions and allows you to unsubscribe quick and easy. 

3. Label it properly
This is the one area that I definitely bring my job home. Both at work and at home I'm a HUGE pusher of making sure everything is labelled. Not just labelled, but labelled properly. What is the point of changing the title of a file or folder if it's not one you would actually think to check. It doesn't make much sense to keep photos for my Pampered Chef business in with all the other photos since I'd really be using them in a business way. It makes more sense to keep any files, documents and photos, relating to Pampered Chef in their own folder. Use common sense and what makes sense to you. 

4. Delete it
With the advent of being able to store terabytes of data we never have to delete anything if we don't want to. A friend's mom literally doesn't deleted any photographs she takes, she will just buy a new 16 gigabyte card and fill that one up. Isn't that nuts?! I don't even think she goes back and looks at the photos later and I can guarantee that there are bad photos on their. She's that person who posts those on Facebook.

What is the point of keeping photos where the person is out of focus or you accidentally take one of the chair? You're right there is no point. Those types of photos take up space and make it harder to get to the ones you really want to see, like your five month old nephew actually in focus and smiling. It's not a crime to delete photos, that's one of the most positive aspects from everything going digital. We have the ability to take so many photos until we get that perfect one now.

5. Take a Break
This can apply to your electronic clutter in many different ways. If you've been working on organizing your clutter that you've got two hard drives, your camera and your phone plugged in to your computer I think it might be time to take a little break and walk away!

I also mean sometimes it's time to take a break from a part of your electronic life that gets cluttered. Being a blogger there is definitely multiple areas of my electronic life that pile up. Between Bloglovin, Twitter, four email addresses for different parts of my life I've got new messages and notifications coming out my ears! I got to the point with my blog's Facebook page where it was clutter and that was it. So I decided to take a permanent break from it. Yup, I know it's crazy but I deleted it. Sometimes deleting and unfollowing is just the best thing for your sanity.

These are my top five tips to start you off on your electronic clutter crusade. Go forth and start to conquer!


Chats With Kevin

Sometimes I feel like I talk about Kevin a ton when it relates to the two of us together but not just about Kevin. I really enjoy when bloggers I follow do a guy on the blog day or like Stephanie's monthly "Shit MFD Said" (sometimes I think MFD and Kevin are each others spirit animals .. hilarious go read now!). So last night without much of a choice I told Kevin he was going to answer some questions for the blog! 

Turns out he was actually kinda excited to do so. When we were talking about it he was coming up with some good stories that will definitely be shared in the future. For now, without further ado and no editing on my part, here's Kevin!

1. What is one of your favorite memories with Betsy?
My favorite memory is of the two of us with my Dad fishing in Wisconsin.  When I usually tell her stories of how the fish were biting like crazy, she was always kicking herself for not going fishing with us in the morning.  This day was different.  My Dad, myself and Betsy headed out to a newly found place on our secret lake.  She had a great morning and caught a 28” Northern, a 15 “ bass, and several others.  In addition, she also had about 10 of them attack her lure.  An adrenaline rush all morning for sure. 
Fish from that trip. I've never been sure handed enough to grab the Northern Pike so yes that's my father in law holding it for me in the photo. 

3. If you had a blog, what would you call it, and what would it be about?
Me complaining about bad drivers, stupid annoying things people do, and what happened to socializing between the 80’s and now.  It would be called “Big Mouth”

4. If you could live inside any video game, which would it be?
On certain days, Dynasty Warriors 5.  Big weapons and senseless killing nonstop.  Other days, the Legend of Zelda: Link to the Past – SNES.  It’s my favorite game and I would slash and bomb chickens all darn day.  When I am not blowing up chickens, I would play the ocarina and fly with that little white bird.  Oh, I almost forgot, I would use the bug catching net and catch bees then release the bees indoors to harass the shop owners.  Free potions for life!

5.  Why do you think people hate Nickelback?
I personally do not like Nickelback either.  For one thing, the music is fairly bland, boring, but somewhat catchy.  However, there is no musical depth here.  It’s just repetitive radio rock.  What bothers music listeners the most: this band is selling albums by the millions and the music does not deserve this status.  We are not jealous of the money or fame they get, we are just perplexed by the fame and money they get.  I don’t want their money – I would have to play Nickelback music for a living.  I have integrity you know!  (Secretly starts a Nickelback Tribute band).


How Cold Is It?

It always seems that the things you don't want to happen when you don't want them to happen will inevitably happen. When Kevin bought the condo in 2009 the service guy who takes care of the furnace said he should probably get a new one but it might make it through. He's said that every year since 2009. The past two years we've been saying we're putting the condo up for sale and figured we'd get out without having to replace it.

WELL! Yesterday morning a little bit before my usual time to leave for work the power went out. Eh no biggie I just went to work earlier. When I got back home after my doctor's appointment it was quite cold in the condo. I attempted to get the heat to turn on and nothing. After hanging out for over an hour under a fleece blanket and multiple layers I realized our bathroom had a heater fan!

So I retreated to the bathroom to wait for Kevin and his dad to hopefully fix everything. Unfortunately nothing worked and we had to call the company. Well found out just a little bit ago there is nothing to be done it needs to be replaced to the tune of a little over 5k! EEK! So this will be a fun week. Hopefully we will get it installed asap since today and the next couple of days are supposed to be the coldest of the year.


10 Rocking Guitar Solos

Throughout the history of rock music the guitar solo has been an integral part of many songs. Many people argue what they think are the top solos of all time and I'm sure I'd be no exception! While I try to avoid ranking (it's just too hard to pick my all time favorite of anything!) I definitely have my very specific views though. These are the tunes I think rock the guitar solos the hardest. below each I've listed when the best guitar parts & solos of each song occur, so if you just want to skip ahead and enjoy those you can. \

Do you have a rocking guitar solo you love?

Stairway to Heaven by Led Zepplin
I think this song is number one for almost every list out there. This song used to drive me nuts because when my dad was relearning the guitar he would play the opening part over and over and over and over again ... for months. Now I actually will sit there and listen to the entire song, actually taking time to enjoy the music. I will have to say if he had made it to the more upbeat part of the song I might have liked it better
Guitar solo: beginning, 5:55

Freebird by Lynyrd Skynyrd
Guitar solo: throughout, 4:55

Johnny B Goode by Chuck Berry
All of Berry's tunes have rocking guitar solos and guitar parts. This man is the rocking grand daddy of the guitar.
Guitar solo: Throughout, 1:25

Smells Like Teen Spirit by Nirvana
Guitar solo: Throughout, 2:50

Bohemian Rhapsody by Queen
Guitar solo: 2:43, 4:12

Aqualung by Jethro Tull
Pretty sure you just need to watch the whole thing for lead singer Ian Anderson's amazing dance moves and the entire band's outfits. Seriously.
Guitar solo: Throughout, 4:02

Sweet Child O' Mine by Guns N' Roses
The solo at the 2:51 mark might just be my favorite one of all time. Not sure what it is about that first note he hits. It's just grabs you and won't let go.
Guitar Solo: Opening, 2:51

Purple Haze by The Jimi Hendrix Experience
It's probably cliche to have this song on here but I can't help it. While I enjoy a lot of Jimi's songs this one has always been my favorite.
Guitar Solo: Entire song

You Really Got Me by The Kinks
Guitar Solo: Opening, 1:16

Classical Gas by Mason Williams
Guitar Solo: Entire Song


15 Awesome Cartoons That Aren't Disney

If you've been around me ever you've probably been inundated with my love for all this Disney. I mean come on I devoted an entire month in 2014 to Disney here on Musings of a Museum Fanatic. Missed it? Check out May 2014 posts. Today I'm not talking about Disney though. 

While Disney might be tops when it comes to cartoons throughout the years there have been some amazing cartoons that have come from other movie studios. 

Probably the most well loved cartoon movie that's not Disney, I've even heard people say that Disney should buy it so Anastasia can be an official Disney princess. The story line and soundtrack make this cartoon wonderful journey while the great one liners keep your sides splitting the entire time. Pretty sure I still have a major crush on Dmitri ... just saying ... 

Phantom Tollbooth
I've been watching this movie since I was little and I still love it now. When DVDs really started to become a mainstream media I was checking Amazon to see if it had come out on DVD for years! Finally last year I was able to get it and it was wonderful. If you've never seen it you really need to! Totally worth the money! Or you can watch a somewhat blurry version on youtube. 

An American Tail
What 90's kid doesn't remember watching this movie? I mean come on right? Love this song!

How to Train Your Dragon
A more recent favorite How to Train Your Dragon is one of the recent looks like real life cartoons. The quirky underdog of the story is one that pulls at peoples

Not many people have seen this cartoon adaption of the Roald Dahl giant classic but they're missing out. This movie does get a little dark at times, it's hard not to when you're dealing with nightmares and evil giants that eat children, but 

The Land Before Time
Another classic 90's movie that I'm sure made all of us cry our eyes out right? Seriously that meme every time I see it I die of laughter.

Flushed Away
This movie came out under the radar a number of years ago. An enjoyable sort of stuck up prince turned pauper trying to get home to his family but meets a girl and realizes he's being a stuck up jerk and saves the day type story.

Despicable Me
Who doesn't love this movie?! Hilariousness and heartwarming all in one fell swoop. Plus how marvelous are the minions? So good.

All Dogs Go To Heaven
A classic tear jerker kids movie, this one is great fun. I'm not sure what it was about the 90's cartoons but they all seem to have some pretty serious themes to them and All Dogs is no exception. Although they make up for it with silly scenes and fun times.

The Swan Princess
The first one of this series is without a doubt the best and a super under appreciated princess story.

FernGully: The Last Rainforest
One of Robin Williams best roles. Nuff said.

I know I've shared my love for this movie before so I'll just say again ... go watch it!!

The soundtrack is wonderful and the story is really brought to life well in this movie. You can't go wrong with Charo as an overbearing, crazy, kidnap a wife for you mother frog.

Ice Age
My friends and I were in love with this movie and series in college. Our favorite was Scrat and his never ending question to hide his acorn.

Happily Ever After
Another not so known cartoon from my childhood. This is a sequel to the Snow White story. A very dark and somewhat scary at some points movie. There are plenty of fun and light scenes with the seven dwarfelles, the seven dwarves cousins, and their kooky powers.

What is your favorite non-Disney cartoons? Did it make my list or are there still more that should be added?


Girl Power: 1990's

Now that we've gone through the 1960's, 70's and 80's it's time to start on the girl group renaissance, the 1990s! Kicking off the decade with their 1990 debut album was Wilson Phillips. Topping the charts, getting nominations for multiple awards and selling over 10 million copies, this trio of ladies started off the pop girl group trend of 90's.

Hold On by Wilson Phillips

A large number of the all girl bands from the 90's continued to move more towards the hard rock and punk end of the spectrum in attempts to get away from the cute chicks with instruments mindset that still plagued them. 

During the 90's the R&B and Hip Hop scene exploded, for both male and female artists. Girl groups in this music genre grew like crazy but at the top of the pack were groups like TLC, En Vogue and Destiny's Child. These ladies saw multi millions in album sales, chart topping tune after chart topping tune and they helped to bring R&B to the mainstream.

Waterfalls by TLC

Bills, Bills, Bills by Destiny's Child

This was also a time of another British Invasion. Which was led by one of my favorite bands, The Spice Girls! Other bands like B*Witched and Eternal hopped the pond as well but didn't have anywhere near as much success as the Spice Girls.

Say You'll Be There by The Spice Girls


5 Things You Forget When Looking for a New Home

In our constant looking at new homes there are so many things to consider and sometimes important traits aren't so apparent or just plumb fall through the cracks.

1. HOA Dues
For our housing search we are still considering condos and town homes. We're not quite ready for the responsibility that a single family home will require plus it seems like we can find something much nice in a town home for the same price. You don't want to forget to check those HOA dues!! Sometimes even single family houses have them if they're in a nicer neighborhood that maybe has a clubhouse or something.

HOA dues can really sky rocket that price too. I've seen ones for $90 in a town home that covers barely anything to $1,200 in Chicago that covers everything even your taxes. If you don't take that into account that monthly payment that was manageable could have just become too costly.

2. That there are other options
Kevin went through this when he was first looking. He got so fixated on getting a single family home that he got discouraged and didn't realize there were other options at first, like condos and town homes or even renting. Don't just focus on one thing before taking time to make sure you eliminate other options with research.

3. Think ahead
This is probably my biggest and most important item that you should not forget. Kevin and I are definitely victims of forgetting this. When he was buying our current place, even though we had been together a year already, we didn't really think ahead or even really chat about the possibility. It was very much him purchasing it for Kevin. Well five years later and we're stuck in a small one bedroom condo.

We should had even a casual chat about it being like hey we're getting kinda serious maybe you should get something a little bigger? Or if that was too much even bringing up the resale of one bedrooms in the suburbs.

4. Location
A lot of times we look at the area or town we want to live in but we don't look at other important location factors. One of my big things I'd love to have with our next location is to be able to walk to some places, like the grocery store or some restaurants.

Last week when we found that amazing condo we almost bid on that was one aspect that was a downer for me. Since it was located in a mini neighborhood by more of an industrial/commercial area it wasn't really close to places like the grocery store.

5.  The Smaller Issues
Most people really focus on the big ticket items like the large appliance or the look of the kitchen cabinets but there are other things to take into account too. Maybe six months after Kevin moved into the condo we started noticing these medium sized things that were wrong. Like the cabinets weren't level with the overhang and the trim in some spots of the living room was put in poorly. We began to realize that a lot of the "updates" that were done were done haphazardly and in haste to try and sell the condo.

These smaller and medium sized issues add up almost more quickly than having to replace one large item. Some of these, like the handicap shower that will sometimes overflow if we don't clean the drain, we've learned to live with since this isn't our forever home but some like the awful 70's spindles we've taken care of. With out next place we are definitely looking at these details with an eagle eye so we don't get stuck with having to fix these smaller issues.

When looking for a new home there are just tons of items that you need to take into consideration. Sometimes there are points that are missed that turn out to be extremely important. What are some of your "don't forget" items when looking for a new home?


Choose Your Own Adventure {Link Up}

Not Entirely Perfect

How insane is it that we are now in February!? The winter, I think, usually goes faster since I go into hermit mode and just sit at home wishing away the snow. I unfortunately wasn't able to actually cross off any of my complete tasks from January but I was able to get them super close and get a lot accomplished with them.

1. Put the condo up for sale.
Kevin and I are gathering all the important info for our Realtor and starting to put the finishing touches on cleaning so we can get photos taken.
2. Organize Pampered Chef papers
I've printed out labels and organized everything that was already in the file drawer. After going around the condo gathering papers and pulling all the paperwork out of my couple of bags I really have only those random bits of paperwork to finish up.
3. Finish one of my scrapbook displays
I would have had this done if not for a Shutterfly order getting lost in the mail, that really put a cramp in getting the display finished. Everything is pulled out and I have the photos ready to go for a display for a couple immediate family members. Now I just need to find a day I can sit down and let the creative juice flow. 

Sometimes I think Stephanie has hacked into my house and/or brain and knows what projects I really need to finish up. Since she's hacked in she is unconsciously making me finish them.  February's challenge is create. I've been totally slacking on my DIY projects the past couple of months so this is great. 

1. Take images (and or video) of one of my knitted dish rags as I knit
2. Complete 4 pages of my scrapbook display 
3. Mario Mini Canvas project

Here's hoping with the shorter month and being out of the country this weekend I can get these projects done!!


Museum of Broadcast Communications

Last week I was able to take a vacation day and meet up with my unbiological twin, Becky. It was our first get together since she's moved back to the area! We wanted to do something fun and since  the summer of 2012 when the Museum of Broadcast Communications moved into it's new 62,000 square foot building I've been dying to go visit. This was the perfect choice for the two of us.

Just north of the river, the MBC is a nice little walk from most of the Loop's public transportation and just a few blocks west of the shopping on Michigan. Heading into the building you're greeted by a friend staff member of the two and a half floor stairwell/foyer area. As we took the stairs to the second floor to see the radio exhibit and radio hall of fame we came across this awesome sculpture of old TVs and radios.

When you first get onto the second floor there is an extremely interesting history of the radio and how it was created. They discuss the Powel Crosley, who made the radio accessible to the masses and how he made a Roamio as well, a radio for your car. It's a radio ... that roams ... ha! Hilarious. As you enter into the open exhibits on the second floor you can't help but look around at all the images of the members of the radio hall of fame. Taking in as many of the names and faces as you can, definitely seeing a number of familiar people.

I love seeing all the different radios displayed throughout the hall. I probably took waaaay to many photos of all the crazy styles. There was a Victrola living room scene playing early 20th century radio shows, that looked like it could be set up for programming as well. Becky and I then came across a radio studio the MBC had set up, I'm guessing that they might do some recording or maybe even broadcasting in the studio. Needless to say we went all Dice and Dizz on it!  As we're in public rehashing some of our material we realized how dorkily awesome our show was. Hopefully some day soon I'll have some clips to share.

After reliving our radio glory days we headed up to the third floor and relived some of our childhood TV days. When you depart the elevator the one of the first big scenes you encounter is from the Bozo show! If you grew up in the Midwest you know who Bozo is and you wanted to be on the show sooo bad.

The vignettes they had of artifacts from the different television shows were exciting. It was nice that they were very complete and had both costumes and parts of the different sets, along with videos playing from the show. In fact the amount of video being show around the exhibit hall was great, it really showed the diversity and brought to life the shows. Overall this was a fun museum to spend your afternoon in!

Planning a Visit:
$12 Adult
$10 Seniors (65+)
$6 Ages 4-12

Be sure to check out their website for hours. Since they're located just north of the river it's really easy to get there from all different public transportation hubs. There are also a lot of parking garages in the area so if you really need to drive you are able to park.