Monday, December 26, 2011

Open Discussion Weekend - What's Your Guilty Pleasure?

Technically, it's still the weekend since today is the legal holiday for Christmas. I had been contemplating this topic for a few days, then I read Leah Kleylein's post, Let's Start Again, on her Random Notes blog.

Those of us in the genealogy blogging community spend much of our time writing about our own research, sharing our discoveries, reviewing new products and engage in stimulating discussion about our hobby/profession. But if you're like Leah or me, you may have taken a "walk on the dark side" - spending minutes, hours or days with other activities (or addictions) besides genealogy.

Sometimes, I just have to take a break from hanging out with the dead relatives. And those guilty pleasures have been drawing me away from genealogy the last four or five weeks. Well, let's face it, it all started with the arrival of my Kindle Fire, which I've already blogged about in my reviews of the product.

Apps and Games

The device has barely left my side since it arrived, but have I been using it primarly as an e-reader? Not quite. Rather than reading two or three books a week as I did on my old Kindle, I've only read about three books in the last month. What have I been doing instead? Checking out the Android Apps for the Kindle, downloading them, discarding many, keeping quite a few. Angry Birds was much too slow for me, but my time on Treasures of Montezuma borders on addiction.

Then there are the apps for magazine subscriptions - I've definitely been enjoying the tablet versions of Time,  Vanity Fair, Consumer Reports and the Smithsonian. I've also been receiving my issues of Family Tree Magazine in digital format (Adobe pdf), which is easy enough to read on the Kindle.

Let's Rock and Roll!

I've also spent quite a lot of time over the past month converting my hundreds of music CDs to mp3 format - to archive on an external drive as well as backed up in the Amazon cloud. And that also means that I've spent quite a bit of time this past month downloading dozens of free Christmas tunes from Amazon. And filling in some of my Sixties music collection with some Greatest Hits collections from my era. And some Rat Pack tunes, and a few modern country as well. It's nice to pull up my cloud collection either on the Kindle or computer and be able to listen to the songs that have provided the soundtrack for my life. In other words, I just finished uploading the entire Beatles catalog to the cloud. Next up is a collection of about 100 Paul McCartney CDs to convert and upload.

Roku Madness

As though playing with the Kindle wasn't enough, about a week and a half ago I bought a Roku video streamer box. Wowee - I though that the DVR had revolutionized the way I consume TV and movies, but since getting the Roku, "regular" TV has not even been on. I already had subscriptions to Netflix and Amazon Prime for live video streaming. I will admit, trying to watch a movie on the Kindle Fire isn't that exciting. A coworker mentioned he had a Roku, so I looked into them and selected one that best met my "needs". Clearly, a Kindle Fire and a Roku were not "needs" of my pioneer ancestors!

In addition to Amazon and Netflix, the Roku offers more than 400 video channels, many of which are free. One of the free channels I like is the BYU channel which includes The Generations Project genealogy show. Hmm ... it seems like I'm trying to justify my guilty pleasures by associating their use to a genealogy application. I've also become addicted to the "24" TV series starring Kiefer Sutherland. I'd never watched it when it aired, so I'm starting with Season One. It's always intrigued me that a non-violent person such as myself happens to love crime shows.


I also find myself frittering away my time with Gene Simmons Family Jewels, Celebrity Apprentice, Amazing Race and Survivor. And the alphabet crime shows such as NCIS and CSI.

So there you have it. I've come clean about my "dark side" away from genealogy. Do you have the courage to admit to your guilty pleasures? If so, please post in the comments section below.


  1. Oh, dear, this is a dangerous topic. Music is my main temptation. I cannot enter the iTunes store without being tempted to spend a fortune. I cannot get on YouTube to find some good music clips without getting totally sucked in and spending a minimum of three hours. And when my daughters and I started viewing "cute clips" on YouTube, the waste of time is monumental.

  2. Oh goodness....well, I can lose myself is reading for days at a time. This might not sound like a guilty pleasure, but I am talking "trashy" mystery series....things with NO educational or literary value. And by lose myself let me be clear - I often lay on the couch all day snacking and reading from the time I get up until dark...and then wonder where the day went :-0

  3. OK, I went through a 2-year phase of Farmville and you know it's an addiction when it starts impacting your genealogy. This was serious. The Kindle Fire and too many obligations were my 12 step program to recovery. My son and I spent 6 hours one night taking turns playing Angry Birds on the Kindle. That was fun but way too intense. Streaming Netflix and reading books with Kindle/Amazon Prime are probably going to be my getaway from genealogy in 2012.

  4. Hmmmm, guilty pleasures.... Let me think. I guess reading and although it's been a while, I enjoy crocheting and cross-stitch.

    I enjoy eating lunch out with my friends and visiting family (living ones of course!)

    I do watch TV and take advantage of watching reruns of shows I missed on Xfinity. I also play a few games like Words with Friends and Sims.


  5. Certainly not housework!

    When not doing genealogy related activities I spend hours researching and planning our next holiday. I always need to have one or two journeys in the pipeline. Presently I have three in planning and am trying to convince Mr Geniaus to take a 72 day cruise around South America in 2013.

    I love playing with and digitising my photo collection - family history for future generation.

    Taking a daily dip in our pool takes care of the guilt about getting exercise.

    Reading widely and watching home shows from the UK on the box account for the rest of my waking moments.

  6. My grandson Jack is my not-so-guilty pleasure! I spend a lot of time with him, which I wouldn't trade for anything. Oh, and I have a major television addiction.

  7. My guilty pleasure since early November is no secret to any of my FB friends ... AMC's new series "Hell On Wheels" is my latest addiction. I haven't strayed very far from my love of history, the show is about the transcontinental railroad being built across Nebraska. The star of the show (very easy on the eyes) was quoted in the press as having a Confederate Colonel for an ancestor .. humm must be his mother's line because his father's male line fought in the Indiana Calvary .... that made him a Yankee. You can fool some of the people some of the time, but genealogists have too many cool tools for fact checking ;)

  8. I went by an earlier post on this subject, and did not comment, but, for Susan, I'll add my 'male' two-cents worth. Genealogy is no more than a third of my 'passion,' anyway, so I may not qualify to comment. Family a third, my other writing, a third - in an overall sense. So, no need for 'guilty pleasures' - just move from one third to the other to gets lots of variety. One point of view. Thanks! Best Wishes! Happy New Year! Off to Austin in the a.m to spend a week with grandkids! ;-)

  9. I did smile at your comment about taking "a break from hanging out with the dead relatives" A guilty pleasure? No question what came immediately to my mind - chocolate! I have long been a chocoholic, but have recently convinced myself with the publicity regarding the health benefits of high cocoa content bars and try to make one bar last at least the week with a square a day.

    Other pleasures aren't so guilty - I am an avid watcher of "Strictly Come Dancing" on TV and an avid listener to Classic FM, Taking time to curl up on the sofa with a good book (nothing too heavy) during the day still seems a luxury and other highlights include being with my little granddaughter, meeting friends for coffee and spending time on various crafts - scrapbooks, cross-stitch and patchwork.

  10. Susan, thanks for the reference! It's so good to know I am not alone out there! :-)