Why you should close down Excel completely

Posted on March 24th, 2014 in Humor , Posts by Jeff - 49 comments

Edit: WARNING…This is NOT a post on Excel

No. Sorry ’bout that. Well, kinda sorry. To quote John Lydgate:

“You can please some of the people all of the time, you can please all of the people some of the time, but you can’t please all of the people all of the time”.

If you want a kick-ass Excel article from me, then ignore this and come back later in the week. I’ve got a good one lined up.

If you want a little diversion, stick around. I’ll be glad to have some company. Be sure to say hi in the comments too…I’m in a chatty mood.

Edit over.

Why you should close down Excel completely

Howdy folk. Jeff Weir here. You might remember me from shows such as Handle volatile functions like they are dynamite, Did Jeff just Chart, and Robust Dynamic (Cascading) Dropdowns Without VBA.

Today we’re going to go off on a slightly different tack and talk about a very, very serious subject indeed…why you should on occasion close down Excel completely.

But before that, we’re going to deviate from the advertised program and do a quick music review.

A what?

A quick music review.

Why?

Well, Mike Alexander gave us New Music to Program By over at Bacon bits some time back. And Doug Jenkins regularly mentions great artists that inspire him over at Newton Excel Bach. So I thought:
Chandoo_Why you should close Excel_Sam the eagle

What truly inspired me though was that one of my favorite Wellington music venues – Mighty Mighty – is about to be dynamited.
Chandoo_Why you should close Excel_dynamite

Not that kind. This kind:
Chandoo_Why you should close Excel_album
 

…which has more or less the exact same effect.  It blew me away with a lot more force and power than I thought that thin profile could possibly possess.

This explosive effort  is by a Canadian import to the shores of my fine country (New Zealand): one Tami Neilson. I heard Tami reviewed on Radio New Zealand ( hurry, they only keep reviews around for a matter of weeks) where she was billed as “A red hot honky-tonker, somewhere between Patsy Cline and Wanda Jackson with just a little bit of Peggy Lee sophistication.”

Whoa Jeff. You’re waaay outside my musical genre!

I know, I know. Me too.  Those names ring a fairly vague bell, but can’t say I could offhand name more than two songs they’ve collectively recorded. (Peggy Lee’s cover of ‘Fever’ being one of them, and Patsy Cline’s ‘Crazy’ the other).

But man, does this new album retrospectively flesh out the genre – and pique my interest in it – with what must surely be lost classics pulled from some long-forgotten vaults at Sun Records that some bulldozer serendipitously  knocked a hole in while digging the foundations for the ‘modern instant classic’ department.

What’s really cool is that each different song on this album has a slightly different flavor. Or perhaps captures the feel from a slightly different era. It’s not so much like an album recorded in a particular year but more like a half dozen songs covering the highlights of some diva’s long and illustrious career that started in early 50s and lasted well into the early 70s. And it’s like some A&R marketing guru was throwing just the ‘keepers’ from that career into that vault, and then waiting for just the right time to release a ‘Greatest Hits’. That time is now.

Everyone and everything on this album is completely in character: not just the musicians, but also the sound engineer, the beat-up vintage microphones, the sticker-covered guitar cases,  and the very walls of the recording studio itself. You can smell that room.  You can smell the dust on these tracks. You can smell the Presley, Cash, Nelson, and Orbison on them too. Not to mention the sweat, heartbreak, and anger. Listening to them, you’ll be transported back to some classic 1960s Dinah on a beat-up corner jukebox in some  classic 1960s diner. Heck, at times you’ll probably think (think) about Aretha too. Because these tracks are every bit as electrifying, sad, angry, and beautiful as any other track you’ve heard from that bygone error. And yet they were recorded yesterday.  Unless you happen believe in time travel. Which – thanks in large part to this album – I now do.  Because I swear that I’ve heard these songs  before…perhaps while in the womb.

While this album was released in the here and now 2014, when listening to it, you form the opinion that it must be an incontrovertible truth that Tammy has traveled back to the mid 1960s to record it. Maybe at the Grand Ole Opry to a very, very quiet live audience – because they are filled with both great life and great age at the same time. On her way back, she’s lifted Presley, Cash, Nelson, Orbison, and their session musicians too from the height of their fame, and taken them to the studio along with her for one-helluva-hoe-down. She’s doused them liberally with warm overtone distortion on the angry songs; black coffee and amphetamine on the upbeat ones; and wind-blown tumble weeds on the poignant ones.  And yes, whiskey too. Mostly on the heartbreakers. Shots of whiskey all around. Then she’s let them loose.

And oh, those session musicians. There’s more steel in this album than in Superman. More snare than in a Bear Grylls ‘Man vs Wild’ episode involving small game. More punctuated hand-claps than at a 1960’s-era communist rally and ‘Tainted Love’ combined. More reverb than in the vaults of the Federal Reserve. More, more, more. Perfectly balanced by less, less, less wherever prudent.

Tammy’s voice? My god. So good that I would buy this album even if I were profoundly deaf, just to see the expressions on the faces of the hearing folk around me. They’d look something like this as they sing along:
Chandoo.org Podcast - Session 001 - Introduction, What to expect, Show formalities & a special gift for you

Tammy’s lyrics? I chuckled after every song – even the sad ones – because those lyrics were soooo damn good.  I went through Kuber-Ross’ five stages of grief (denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance) when faced with the impending end of each song. So I played the album over and over more times that I care to admit. And  those same damn stages of grief got me every damn time.

Which brings me to the title of this blog post: Why you should close down completely.

No reason whatsoever.  This isn’t a post about Excel. I lied. Sorry ’bout that. That said, closing Excel down completely will give you complete uncontested head-space to fire up Firefox, head over to http://tamineilson.bandcamp.com/album/dynamite and listen to tracks 1 and 6. Then listen to 9, 10, and the rest. Then download this mighty, mighty nuevo-classic and play it. Again. And again.

Excel will wait. A day won’t hurt. Go. Go now.

In the meantime, I’ll just display this in Excel’s place:

Chandoo_Why you should close Excel_test pattern

Disclaimer: I plan to travel back to the 1950s and spend 15 years perfecting my hand-claps so that I can appear on this album when you buy it tomorrow, get paid, and thus finally prove to my parents that I can in fact make an honest living with my hands.

Any listeners in New Zealand?

Check out Tami’s tour schedule at http://www.tamineilson.com/shows.html

In fact, if you’re in Wellington, you can catch me at Mighty Mighty on this Thursday (27th March). I’ll be the one looking like this:
Jeff

Jeff has left the building.

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Written by Jeff Weir
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49 Responses to “Why you should close down Excel completely”

  1. freddie says:

    you’ve just lost a fan of chandoo

    • Chandoo says:

      Oops.. did the post offend you in any way? You always have a choice of ignoring any of our blabberings. Jeff, Hui, other guest authors and I never take ourselves seriously. We are hoping you would too.

      • Gino says:

        Now now – be kind. I don’t blame freddie in some ways. I too was a bit put off by this – perhaps a warning label for those of us who visit here frequently looking to always be awesome in Excel.

        Unless of course the goal of this blog as previously stated has now changed!

        But hey, I do have to confess that I still remember hearing Patsy Cline on the old AM radio as a kid growing up.

        For me, this was a few moments of divergence, no harm – no foul but not exactly why I visit this site.

        It’s all good!
        Gino

    • Jeff Weir says:

      Freddie…You want your money back? Sure…here it is: ” ”

      What can I say…I’m an enthusiastic guy. That enthusiasm led me to write up a humorous music review on an Excel blog at cost only to myself.

      That same enthusiasm has led me to write up dozens of valuable articles covering macros, tables, graphing, formulas, and many other things at significant benefit to others. And at the cost of many, many days of my own time. Here…I’ll refund you for those too: ” ”

      If you want to bail at the first hint of anything remotely non-excel then you obviously haven’t been a fan of this website for long…otherwise you would have bailed when Chandoo bought his first car.
      Or more recently his second.

  2. Bill Jelen says:

    Hi Jeff – Patsy Cline’s “Crazy” is on my father’s iPod. I will be sure to check out this CD for him. Thanks for the tip.

    • Jeff Weir says:

      Bill…I’ll trade you a signed CD for a signed copy of Tami’s latest release for a signed copy of your latest release. What’s your dad’s name?

      • Bill Jelen says:

        It’s a deal: his name is “Bob”
        Do you think you can persuade Tami to belt out the old tune “Kansas City”. I have quite a collection of bands playing that song for my dad.

  3. Hui... says:

    If you don’t want to listen to the above you may wish to catch Chandoo when he makes an appearance on Excel TV on Tuesday 25 March.
    https://plus.google.com/u/0/events/cjm9l7160u7k5lpgpona9k6pfj8

  4. Andreas says:

    The only thing missing from this blog post is a Rick Astley video.

  5. Garythebadger says:

    This is not what I want to see on Chandoo.org :(

    • Jeff Weir says:

      Fair enough. Just make sure you leave a comment on another post saying “This is what I want to see on Chandoo.org. Well done.” In fact, as per my response to KLK623 below, there’s some great links at the start of my article that are well worthy of your eyeballs in case you feel this isn’t. How ’bout giving some positive feedback too.

      .

  6. Ron Wallace says:

    I really like your site. But could you find a better head shot for your logo?

  7. Peter Stratton says:

    It’s nice to read about things other than Excel once in a while, I enjoyed it. How else do we hear about new things?

  8. Rich says:

    Seems like everyone is about to get down on Chandoo!! If you want your Excel serious … head over to SO … http://stackoverflow.com/questions/tagged/excel

    Honestly though the article would be something to do with memory resource though! Appreciate something different.

  9. KLK623 says:

    Have to agree with freddie. Just joined on Thursday so this is only my second newsletter. Hoping this isn’t typical for your newsletters. I signed up to learn tips so I can use my time for efficiently and unfortunately, this newsletter wasted my time. Hoping the rest of the week is more helpful, Chandoo.

    • Jeff Weir says:

      KLK623: This isn’t at all typical of the content at Chandoo.org.

      I understand that given this is your first exposure to Chandoo you might be thinking “wtf, this isn’t what I signed up for at all”.

      But that’s just a case of unfortunates timing. Click on the first link in my article about volatile functions. I think you’ll find yourself saying “wtf, this is exactly the kind of thing I signed up for”.

      That article – and the articles it references – are essential reading for anyone who ultimately plans to build complex, non-trivial models in Excel. And that subject is only really tackled in a few other corners of the web, as evidenced by the most recent comment from Brian:

      Very little detailed explanation out there on the subject of how Excel goes about calculation via dependency trees etc. Thanks very much Jeff for your clear explanation.

      That article alone took me days and days of writing and rewriting, for no financial gain or recompense whatsoever. It is a very important subject that gets precious little coverage. Same goes for the articles i’ve written at those other two links. What you’re seeing is weeks worth of effort by me to explain things as simply, concisely, and helpfully as I possibly can. And you’ll see a lot more of the same if you click on the “Posts by Jeff” link at the top of the article.

      Now this latest article was simply intended as a fun little diversion. And it’s not exactly without precedent on this blog or any other: you’ll find that on practically any Excel blog occasionally the writers take time out and share something of interest from their own lives…as I pointed out in the article itself by referencing other Excel blogs doing the same.

      Sorry you think I’ve wasted your time. Appreciate that this exception isn’t what you were expecting in your first week here. But at the same time, I hope you’re just as vocal when you read an article from me that provides you with value. Because I spend a hell of a lot of my own time providing some excellent tips that save people hours, if not days, per year.

  10. Jeff,
    I for one, love the divergence from the standard Excel post.

    Hey freddie and Gino and KLK623….lighten up!

    This site contains 4+ year’s of Excel awesomness. Jeff even started this post with links to three awesome articles.

    There is plenty of free content to fill up many many weeks of learning. To say that you’re wasting your time because of one off-the-path post is (in my mind) the the epitome of ingratitude.

    I think Chandoo, Jeff, Hui, and the other folks who have freely given their time and effort deserve a day off every now and then.

    • Gino says:

      Hey Mike, please read my post again. Thanks! Just didn’t think it was necessary to castigate a poster for an uncomplimentary comment.

      • You’re right. Your post was more level headed. Thanks for correcting me Gino.

        • Jeff Weir says:

          Ha…this reminds me of a comment you once made Mike regarding an analogy to Jerry Springer!

          Gino…it wasn’t soo much that it freddie’s comment was an uncomplimentary one, but rather a nonsensical one. It is completely nonsensical that someone would stop being a ‘fan’ of such a great community of incredible content simply because of one well-signposted but off-topic post.

          If no longer being a ‘fan’ means ‘unsubscribing completely from this *free* content, then so be it. But that’s what economists call a ‘non credible threat’, and what the rest of us call ‘cutting off your nose despite your face’.

  11. Ian Northey says:

    Nothing wrong with some fun now and then. Honestly there is so much awesome Excel knowledge on the Chandoo site that the occassion random post doesn’t bother me in the slightest. As far as I’m concerned Chandoo is still 100% awesome :-)

  12. Elias says:

    How you can be awesome in Excel if you are not open to new and great music? Great recommendation Jeff! Sending the link to my family in Mexico.

    Saludos

  13. Matt says:

    Hello,

    If you want to post other things on this blog, I don’t mind. BUT when you put music reviews and what-not under a title relating to excel, and then don’t even give me any excel information, I get upset.

    “Oops.. did the post offend you in any way? You always have a choice of ignoring any of our blabberings” No, you didn’t offend me, I just feel like I have wasted time reading something that I didn’t want to, only to find there is no information in there relating to excel, which is what I was expecting.

    I love this blog and I have learnt a great deal from the posts on here, I wont be leaving, but I feel like I have been betrayed by you somehow. :/

    • Jeff Weir says:

      Betrayed? Upset? Ah, c’mon…it’s not like you have to live with me, like my poor wife has to. Man, she even has to pick up my dirty laundry.

      Complete waste of time? I disagree…there’s an excellent, thought-provoking clip from the Muppets.

      Okay, here’s an Excel tip: Ctrl + PageUp is a real fast way to move between worksheets. Ctrl + PageDown is a real fast way to move back.

  14. Oli says:

    OMG Jeff wrote a non Excel post on here – the world is coming to an end!! To read some people’s comments here you’d think it has. If it offended you give yourself a slap from me! It’s free help you don’t have to read it. If you leave because of it – good riddance.

    Personally I’m more at home with Hip hop but you can’t beat a bit of Aretha (Think) at full volume. Also in a good movie (The blues brothers).

  15. Andy Spragg says:

    I couldn’t really care less what gets posted on the website, I’m more of a casual onlooker who relies on the daily email for occasional nuggets to follow up on … and this daily email wasted me a lot of time, because every time I tried to open it, it hung my email app :-( I only came here to find out what I was missing, and now I know the answer was: Nothing. More time wasted. Ho-hum.

  16. devilwearsbata says:

    I wonder why so many people found it hard to ignore if they didn’t like the post, they wasted SOME time in just scrolling down the post and then a lot in writing comments, and taking the fun out of the post for rest of us.

  17. Tim says:

    Excel now closed. Listening on-line. Blood pressure going down!

    Thanks Jeff!

  18. […] show a bit of Southern Hemisphere solidarity with Jeff Weir (who has been getting a bit of flack for having the temerity to discuss non-Excel matters on an […]

  19. Mr QA Man says:

    Thinking about all of this… I didn’t especially enjoy the off-topic article. But that didn’t bother me too much; what I don’t like are Jeff’s responses and tone in his replies. That is way more upsetting than having to put up with non-Excel posts on an Excel BLOG.

    • Jeff Weir says:

      Man, you should check out some of Harlan Grove’s legendary flames. They’re freakin’ awesome.

      Someone says they stop being a fan because of one inconsequential post in the grand scheme of things that they feel wasted their time, then I’m the type of guy to say “Well, obviously a pretty fickle fan then, eh” Because I can point that person to articles that I’ve written on this blog where I put in weeks of my time in order to save them – complete strangers – weeks of their time.

      Yep, this is an Excel-focused blog. Even says so in the mast-head. But it has NEVER been exclusively Excel-focused, and nor are any of the other Excel-focused blogs I read or contribute to. What’s more, no reader has a contract for services with the authors on this blog that states what the content will be.

      That said, Chandoo probably won’t sanction me doing such an off-topic post in the near future, purely because of the ruckus. In fact I’ll quote him: I am not thinking our brand is diluted by what you wrote or what you will write. That said, we now know what might open up debate on our site.”

      I kinda knew this post might have some scratching their heads. I even asked Chandoo beforehand if I should publish it here or elsewhere. He said go ahead…although to be sure we’ve learned something from the comments..most of which I have to point out are positive.

      Now I’m sure that my co-authors will not exactly be happy with the tone of some of my replies. It certainly isn’t how they would say things. But frankly, I think people who complain about not getting exactly what they want from a free blog – and from an author who spends many hours giving them exactly the kind of thing they want – should find something better to complain about, or risk my right of reply. Which yes, can be forceful.

      Did I intentionally set out to waste people’s time? Nope. I set out to entertain. I certainly don’t think that they’re going to regret that ‘wasted time’ in the future.

      At the same time, here it’s 9pm at night. I’m working on a post for publication later this week. Been working on this one for a while. Probably finish up tonight in an hour. Then probably will work on it for a few hours tomorrow night. It’s got some code in it that will save some people hours of drudgery. It’s got some tips in it that not everyone will be aware of, and that everyone should be aware of.

      I’ve got another half dozen posts up my sleeve with some killer stuff that I’ve been working on and off on for periods ranging between days and years. I’m dead serious about saving people time. I’m also dead serious about not being dead serious. And the types of readers I like the best are the same.

  20. Doug Jenkins says:

    Hi jeff,

    Bit of a tough crowd today!
    Don’t forget John Walkenbach as an Excel fiend who like to talk music now and again:
    https://plus.google.com/110003121223198871275/posts

  21. TheQ47 says:

    Well, I for one think the post was awesome, and it’s really got me interested in listening to Tami Nelson’s album.

    My iPod is filled with Peggy Lee, Aretha Franklin & Johnny Cash not to mention Billie Holiday, Ella FitzGerald, Nina Simone, etc., etc., etc., so this sounds like it’s just up my street.

    You know, not everyone who loves Excel loves only exclusively, sometimes we love other things too, e.g., Mike Alexander at http://www.datapigtechnologies.com/blog LOVES bacon and writes about it regularly in between great excel posts and tips.

    So thanks, Jeff, for the music recommendation, I can’t wait to try it out.

  22. […] may remember me from posts such as What would James Bond have in his Personal Macro Workbook and my now infamous music review. Today – and this truly will be music to some ears – we’re going to concentrate […]

  23. Sara says:

    Jeff – I love your style.
    This made me smile and reminded me that all excel users are human with all their wonderful quirks and OTHER interests.

    Cheers for the heads up on an awesome kiwi artist

    • Jeff Weir says:

      Sara – at last a fan :-) Thank for the feedback. I’m going to work some more great kiwiana into my posts going forwards. I’m not just an ambassador for Excel but for a small nation trying to stay afloat in a ruthless world.

  24. flyte says:

    Hi Jeff, I think you are transcendent in your awesomeness. What’s up with the haters????? what’s wrong with having a bit of fun now and then, it makes for a nice break from the normal read on other excel sites. You guys make Excel fun and seriously, if people don’t like it, why do they read to the very end? After all, you did say quite early on “if you want a little diversion stick around”. I think that was enough warning. Hope you do stick around but if not will be looking for your posts from where ever you land.

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