‘Cord Cutting’ ebook now in the Kindle store

We became a family of cord cutters back in 2011. Even with Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime and Sling TV, we’ve saved about $3,000 over the past five years, and we still have plenty to watch.

Friends sometimes ask for advice on how they can cord cut, so I decided to put everything I’ve learned about it in an ebook. It’s called Cord Cutting: A Quick Start Guide, and it’s only 99 cents in the Kindle store.

Here’s the official description:

41fdXxqfOxLCord cutting is all about canceling your cable or satellite subscription and watching TV some other, cheaper way. Cord Cutting: A Quick Start Guide shows you how to get started.

Using plain language, it explains how to save money without giving up your favorite shows. It lays out your options and tells you how to watch everything from classic shows and movies to live TV—including major sporting events and even cable channels—legally and without an expensive contract.

It not only answers the question of how to become a cord cutter but also helps you decide whether cord cutting is right for you. Cord Cutting: A Quick Start Guide the perfect primer for anyone who’s ready to take back control of their TV.

If you’re interested, get it here.

I Mememto’d myself

You remember Memento. It’s the movie told in reverse about a guy with amnesia who tattoos important clues on his body so he’ll remember them. .

Well, I Memento’d myself.

ImageI wanted to cook something for a family Super Bowl party. I was flipping through a cookbook, and I found a recipe something called chicken, sausage and rice skillet that sounded really good and really easy, but then I noticed that I’d written a note to myself in the margins:

“NO.”

It was definitely my handwriting, and I’d underlined it for emphasis.

Apparently, I’d made it once before and thought it was so bad that I wanted to remind myself to never make it again, but I don’t ever making it, and I don’t know why I wouldn’t have liked it.

Chicken, sausage, onion, garlic, peppers, a can of chopped tomatoes, chicken broth, chick peas and spices, including turmeric, which is the only “unusual” ingredient on the list.

On paper, it sounded like something I’d like, although the kids probably wouldn’t eat it, because it didn’t contain either macaroni or cheese. I’m not crazy about chick peas, but I don’t hate them, and I could leave them out of the recipe entirely, but, no, that wasn’t good enough, apparently.

I’m taking my own advice — if I can’t trust me, who can I trust? — but it’s kind of scary to think I did something (stone-cold sober, I might add) that I don’t remember and that turned out so badly that I decided to warn myself not to try it again.

The Accidental Tourist: A literary guide to business travel, basically

It’s been a couple of decades since my college girlfriend loaned me her copy of The Accidental Tourist, but it’s a book that’s stayed with me — not because of its theme of embracing life and moving outside your comfort zone but because of what it taught me about how to pack a suitcase.

Anne Tyler’s book is about a guy named Macon (William Hurt in the movie), who writes passport-sized travel books for “accidental tourists” — business travelers, mostly, who have to leave home and want to make the trip as painless as possible.

Of course, the point of the book isn’t to give travel advice. Being an accidental tourist is really just a metaphor for Macon, who divorces his wife (Kathleen Turner in the movie) after their son is killed, only to get involved with a free spirit (Geena Davis), who brings him back into the world.

I think that’s what it’s about, anyway. I don’t really remember much about the plot. What I remember, every time I take a business trip, is the travel advice:

  • “Bring only what fits in a carry-on bag. Checking your luggage is asking for trouble.” This is absolutely true. Since I read the novel twentysome years ago, I think I’ve checked luggage only a couple of times, and both times, it got lost.
  • “One suit is plenty…. It should be a medium gray. Gray not only hides the dirt; it’s handy for sudden funerals and other formal events. At the same time, it isn’t too somber for  everyday.” One suit (I go with dark gray), a couple of shirts and a couple of ties, and you’ll be fine. I’m told it’s different for women, that they’re expected to wear something different every day, but I’m a guy, so no one expects anything of me, fashion-wise. One suit is plenty, and only the shoes you’re wearing.  
  • “Always bring a book, as protection against strangers.” I used to bring a book. Now I carry a tablet. Either way, it’s good advice and worth following, even though it works only about 50% of the time. I don’t think I’m a rude traveler. I’ll smile, say excuse me and engage in small talk while we’re getting settled in, usually something like, “Boy, they don’t give us a lot of room, do they?” but then I’m done. I’d rather read. It’s amazing, though, the number of people who don’t notice or deliberately ignore basic social cues such as their seatmate’s refusal to make eye contact or his responding to their questions and comments with a simple, “Uh-huh.”

You might disagree and think I’m a jerk because I don’t want to talk for a couple of hours to the random person wedged into the seat next to mine, and that’s fine, you might be right, but trust me on taking only one carry-on bag.