Cleaning my Macbook Air Speakers

I got my M1 Macbook Air right at release in 2020, and over the past year or two I’ve noticed that the sound quality on it has gotten progressively worse and worse.

I long suspected it was because of dust/dirt/debris in the tiny little speaker holes, but I long dreaded taking the machine apart to try to clean them out.

Finally fed up with hardly any sound coming out of the right side, and deteriorating sound quality/loudness from the left side, I Googled and found many people suggested using a new toothbrush to clean out debris.

I spent about 10 minutes and used the light from my phone to see which holes looked blocked. After getting as much dirt out as I can, I booted it back up and started playing some music and — WOW.

I had no idea the speakers could get this loud or be this undistorted. Should have done this ages ago. Will hold on to this cleaning toothbrush for future cleanings.

A couple things I like

Bing Beverage. By big vice is probably drinking too much soda. In the past 10 years or so I’ve cut it down significantly but I still like a little sweet drink most days, and I really enjoy Bing. We discovered them at a local showing of the Banff Film Festival (which also inspired us to go to Banff the next year!) when someone was handing them out to promote them. They’re kinda hard to find, but my local grocery store consistently sells them chilled.

Brianna’s Poppy Dressing. We’ve been eating a lot more salad lately, which is a great thing, and I discovered my now favorite dressing through Target. I always laugh at this label, I call it the peach dressing because they have a big picture of a peach. Not because this has any peach in it (it doesn’t) but because the poppy dressing is supposed to be really good on peaches. I like my Colorado peaches as-is, so I’ll just have to take their word for it.

What are some things you really enjoy?

Macbook Air M1

So now Walmart is selling the Macbook Air M1 at $699. These aren’t leftovers but apparently Apple will still be producing these so they are brand new even though this machine is now approaching 4 years old.

I’m typing this post on an Air M1 which I got at launch. It’s been by far the best computer I’ve ever had. It has nearly obsoleted my iPad. My only real complaint with it is that the speakers have become quite awful. Only my left speaker fully works, and it doesn’t sound great. I’m guessing it’s because debris have become lodged inside the tiny speaker holes over the years but not sure.

Other than that just a fantastic computer I expect to hold on to for years to come.

End of Social Media Free February

Happy Leap Day! Today ends my social media exile. A few thoughts:

  1. I have not been perfectly social media-free because while I deleted the apps from my phone, I left the apps installed on my iPad and laptop so occasionally I would peek at them.
  2. Honestly, I’m not sure what it is, but I found using them on my laptop in particular to be extremely un-compelling compared to my phone. I would scroll for a few minutes and get bored and do something else. On my phone I could easily scroll and scroll and scroll…
  3. Part of it may be that I kept myself from posting anything during this month. I occasionally liked or hearted things if they were especially momentous (such as seeing some friends who welcomed their new baby into the world) but otherwise I passively scrolled until I was bored, which came pretty quickly.
  4. Because of that, I accomplished my main goal which is to re-claim my time from the black hole of social media use. More on that in a moment.
  5. I think going forward I will continue to occasionally use Threads, Facebook, Nextdoor, Linkedin from my laptop/iPad only. I will re-install the Instagram app on my phone for a couple of reasons. One, it is the app that the majority of my friends use. (hello millennial friends!) and two, mostly we use and share stories which I still enjoy posting to keep in touch and you really can’t (certainly can’t easily) post these anywhere except through the mobile app.

Instagram is still my “refrigerator” app — the app I open most often when I am bored and have nothing else to do, like checking the refrigerator not because I’m hungry. So there’s still a bit of concern that I will spend too much time on Instagram, but this little mini-vacation is enough to convince me to keep it on a tight leash.

One of the best ways to break a habit is to replace it with a better habit, so what are some things I am doing instead?

  1. My 15 year old decided he didn’t want his Switch OLED anymore which he only got a few months ago. I bought it off of him, and have been using it to play some quick matches with my oldest son on Fortnite.
  2. Many evenings, I have been re-watching some episodes of the Americans while playing Minecraft with my 15yo. Quality bonding time —if you fast forward through the sex scenes. 🙈
  3. I’m back on the scripture reading and praying wagon. I have often done the 5 day reading plan but have been struggling lately. So I switched gears this years and am just reading a single Psalm a day. It has been — wonderful.
  4. More walks as the sun has come out and we’ve had some of the most beautiful weather for February ever.

You might be like — you replaced one bad habit (social media) with two different bad habits (video games and tv) and I think that’s fair. However — with a pretty full schedule, my TV/video game consumption has been near zero for probably close to 10 years. Not actually zero — I’m not against either, obviously — but small enough that occasionally I would fit a show in here and there amongst many other things.

With a slightly freer schedule, I am catching up on some TV shows I have really wanted to see. And I’m rewatching some series (The Americans in particular) that I’ve really enjoyed, and doing so while playing video games with my kids.

And for me, video games have been almost entirely relational. A good way to find common ground with my kids. I like Minecraft but I only play it as much as I do to connect with my kiddo. Same with Fortnite with my other kid.

A few things I like about my community

Some of these are hyper-specific to my neighborhood or town, others are more general to my state (Colorado) and country (USA).

  • That we know many of our neighbors, right next door and across the street
  • Our neighborhood is full of people from every life stage — from retirees to young professionals to families with young kids
  • We live in a remarkably walkable area. The library is an 8 minute walk, the rec center is 10, a grocery store only about 15 minutes. Within just a few blocks are numerous parks and open spaces.
  • Our neighborhood is full of houses with lots of large windows and hardwood floors.
  • Our town has a goal of something like 40% open space.
  • Colorado has stepped up to really help people. From free school lunches for all, to free college for foster kids. I am proud to be a Coloradan.
  • I love all the state parks, mountains and hiking options less than one hour from my house. An embarrassment of riches, truly.
  • I live in an older neighborhood full of so many huge trees of all kinds of different varieties.
  • Denver International is one of the biggest airports in the country — I can get almost anywhere in North America with a direct flight.
  • We have a wonderful culture of being active and being outside. 300 days of sunshine a year!

Rich Mullins

I am not sure if it’s the nostalgia (I grew up listening to his music), the beautiful and epic nature of the musical score, or the moving lyrics — but I am continually going back to Rich Mullins’ songs in hard times.

He died in a car accident in the late 90s so the catalog is not large but unlike most other music of the period — it feels timeless.

If you’ve never heard any of his songs, a few of my favorites: Sometimes By Step, Creed, If I Stand, Boy Like Me / Man Like You and Hold Me Jesus.

Side Quests

I recently put together a guide in Apple Maps of all the local coffeeshops in my area, which got me thinking about a few other categories. So I made a guide with all the local/non-chain restaurants in my town (a woefully short list), some of my favorite hiking spots nearby, and my favorite spots to hang in basically the entire state.

One thing lead to another, and I made it a goal to drink a chai in every local coffeeshop on my list. (sorry, Starbucks. Don’t really care about you and other huge chains) Which got me to thinking — what other side quests can I accomplish?

Here’s my list, so far:

  • Chai from every local coffeeshop
  • Check off Long’s Peak off my 14ers list
  • Eat at every local restaurant in town
  • Walk or bike every (off-road) trail in town
  • Take a photo of a wild bald eagle
  • Rewatch The Americans. (season 1 is already done as of last night!)
  • Bike to/from Boulder
  • Hike Bear Peak
  • Visit every park in my town

What side quests are you working on? Would love to hear!

Simple Pleasures

  • A walk in the woods
  • Hanging in a hammock
  • Paddle boarding on the lake
  • Campfire
  • Hot chocolate
  • A nap in the sunshine
  • A hot, steamy shower
  • A few minutes in the hot tub
  • A long drive with great music
  • Petting the kitty
  • Walking the dog
  • A clean house


Much has been made in Christian-circles (is that a thing?) about how people are leaving Christianity through a process that somewhere along the way picked up the name deconstruction.

I have a number of good friends I know who have undergone their own deconstruction. Most started out with fairly classical fundamentalist views and many of them are now fully out on faith completely, still-believing-but-very-much-not-fundamentalist-anymore (need a catchier title for that one), or they have just abandoned discussing faith entirely so who really knows what they are?

I was having coffee with a pastor friend of mine and we got to talking about this and he said he appreciated and really respected my approach. First of all, I felt like that was one of the highest compliments I could ever receive. (2 months later he proved it wrong and called me a great father—now THAT is a compliment that lifts one’s spirits) And secondly, what deconstruction?

As I look back over the past ~15 years, I do have to admit that my faith has changed. How I experience and think about God has changed. What I share, and what I find important has changed. But honestly, all these changes are either entirely expected, or somewhat on the periphery. I still fundamentally believe much of the same things now as I did before. And I think there’s a few key reasons for that.

First, I find Jesus endlessly appealing. Always have. He hangs out with sinners. He has incredible one-liners and comebacks when the bad guys question him. He knows how to have a good time and was accused of partying and drinking too much. He loves people no one else loves. He gives up his life for those he loves. He is exactly who I want to be. Always have. No matter what you think about all the God stuff — Jesus as a person is exactly who we all innately wish we were. Or, at least, we wish we had a best friend exactly like this. We know this because people who were nothing like Jesus loved being around him.

Second, I find Jesus endlessly challenging. I do. I don’t think Jesus was being metaphorical when he said sell everything you have and follow me. I don’t think Jesus was being metaphorical when he said that anyone who is not willing to abandon your mother and father, your wife, your kids, your siblings — is not worthy of me. I think Jesus was entirely serious when he said to take up your cross and follow me. I take the teachings of Jesus seriously. That doesn’t mean I follow them. That doesn’t even mean I understand them. But I think Jesus said what he said for a reason. And I don’t think you get attractive Jesus without challenging Jesus. You’ve got to follow the challenges, as best as you can and as best as you understand them, to be rewarded with sweet-Jesus.

Third, I find Jesus’ constant challenges to the religious quite sobering. There was a lot of “settled theology” in Jesus’ day that he upended over and over again. He fought with Biblical students who were very thoughtful, methodical, and studious. Today most Christians will sneer at the Pharisees and Sadducees like they’re dumb. They were not dumb. They had understandings about their faith that went back hundreds of years. They had Bible verses for their positions. And Jesus showed them that they were dead wrong! I find that quite sobering. Today we only know they were wrong because Jesus came on to the scene and showed us how wrong they were. What beliefs are I holding on to that Jesus will one day say is dead wrong? Conviction is a good thing. But so is the sobering humility that all of the conviction in the world won’t do a lick of good if Jesus says you’re wrong. So be open minded. Maybe something you believe with all your heart today you will need to abandon tomorrow because it’s getting in your way of following Jesus.

Fourth, God loves people more than I love people. I know so many Christian parents who are so worried about their kids because they want their kids to go to church. Or to stop smoking weed. Or to not “be gay”. They trot out that they don’t want their kids to go to hell. And I don’t either, but I can’t remember Jesus worrying about active adultery leading someone to go to hell. I can’t remember Jesus pleading with someone to go listen to his sermons else they rot in hell (literally). You aren’t going to scare people into a good relationship with God. If I’ve deconstructed anything, it might be this idea that selling anti-hell cards is what we do. (I don’t think I have ever seriously believed this to begin with)

No. Every person you love? God loved them first. And he loves them most.

Yep even your kids.

Oh. And he loves the people you hate, too.

And to be more like Jesus you gotta try to love them too.

And you know what?

That is probably the hardest thing of all to do. Which is why so few of us try.

Social Media Break

How ironic that a couple years into this site — which I created to get off social media and which I named the anti-social — I’m still on social media. lol

I saw a post on Instagram the other day that said something like, “Instagram is the new refrigerator. Am I going there and taking a look because I need something, or because I’m bored?”

And I think that’s the main fault I have with social media. I actually really like Instagram. And since leaving Twitter and joining Threads, I really very much like Threads, too. I legitimately laugh and learn new things from both sites. I have aggressively curated who I follow and quickly unfollow people who are not posting things that add to my enjoyment of the site.

Yet, I often enjoy the snacks and candy and sodas I get out of the refrigerator, too. But sometimes I need to quit looking in the fridge and cook dinner.

Okay I’ve probably stretched that metaphor well past its breaking point. But I’m going to try to take February off of Threads & Instagram. Not because I think there’s anything wrong with those places, or because I don’t enjoy it, but because I’m just spending too much time.

I want to get back to writing more on this blog. Get back to keeping up with my feed reader which is full of really great, interesting and very diverse content. I want to pull my phone out and work on scripture memorization. And honestly, I want to spend more time cooking. And cycling. And hiking.

And you don’t have time to do any of that if you keep checking the fridge every five minutes.

Au revoir. See you on social media in March. Until then, find me right here.