Today I am supposed to receive the replacement inner tube for the 16X which is on my table all torn apart. The tire on the wheel is incredibly stiff so I am going to try a trick suggested to me by my EUC buddy Marty. He had a lot of success after soaking a new tire in very hot water before installing. Getting the tire warmed up should make it significantly more pliable so I am going to give it a shot. I will fill up the utility sink with straight 115 degree water and dunk the tire in there. I am crossing my fingers this trick works.
We are once again hosting the fantasy football draft party. For the first time ever we are doing it on a Friday night, which is great. They normally hold it on a weeknight which makes it rough to roll out of bed for work the next morning. The reason we are doing it Friday is because I am out of town the first half of next week, which was when they originally wanted to do the event.
I have Cindy picking up some supplies for the party this week but we now buy much less than we did in the past. Everyone brings stuff anyway so we are trying to have less of a mountain of food to toss at the end. My team is off to a good start this year as my keeper is Nick Chubb who is predicted to have a big year running the ball for the Browns. He is only costing me a 10th round pick.
Yesterday I loaded up one of the models I use for EUC stands into the Prusa slicer. With the extruder being a direct drive unit on this printer, changing filament color mid-print is very easy. I decided to include a filament change in the G-code which stops the printer right before the letters are printed so I can swap to a different color. I think the end result is super cool.
The print came out fantastic and I’ll put them on the store as a premium version for a few more bucks since more is involved in their creation and they are printed on more expensive filament. The crazy thing about the MK3S is that although the print quality seems superior to all of my other printers, it completes the prints MUCH faster due to it’s use of top notch components. This piece normally takes over 9 hours on my other printers. The Prusa can do it in six and a half hours. I have a feeling that eventually, if 3D store sales support it, more Prusas could be joining the family down the road.
Now that my foldable table was cleared off from the printer build I put it back to work last night for the 16X tear down. Although I do not yet have a new inner tube for the tire I figured I could get a head start by tearing down the wheel to the point required to change a tire. The process was surprisingly simple compared to other electric unicycles, I was able to get the motor out after about only 15 minutes of work.
I also popped the tire off the rim, man that was tough as hell. The tire has minimal give, I can totally see why the tube got punctured when the tire was swapped. I had to pry my ass off with my huge tire levers. I may have to use my heat gun and a ton of lube to get the tire back on, hopefully without damaging the inner tube. The tube arrives Wednesday, I can hardly wait for the fun to begin.
Some weekends you just get shit done, this was one of those weekends. A good majority of the day Saturday was consumed trying to make the water logged and ratty looking yard look half decent. Cindy got on the tractor and mowed the non-mucky areas for me. I was on the weed whacker forever. Not only did I do the normal tasks but also used the whacker as a hand held brush hog more or less, walking through the back of the chicken yard and knocking down the 1-2 foot grass in a large open area. It sucked. The end result was the yard looking decent outside of the black mud trails from the tractor in the low lying spots.
After jumping in the pool to cool down and remove a layer of grime I turned my attention to the AC air handler. I had a second UV light kit to install. I was putting it where the original light was, in the supply side of the duct, right above the air handler. As I mentioned previously, this is where my old AC contractor put the bulb which is not ideal if you only have one light. The best spot is inside the air handler, shining directly on the coils and drip pan where shit is most likely to form. However adding a second light up top gets the other side of the air handler giving the entire unit a UV bath.
Installing the kit was pretty straight forward since I just helped Daniel relocate the other light the week prior. All I had to do was connect the ballast to the transformer and stick the light into the existing hole. I did drill a second hole in the duct and inserted a view plug, making it easy to tell if the light is still working or not. All in all I spent maybe a half hour putting the other light in.
On Saturday I also received the 16X demo wheel for testing. When I pulled the EUC out of the box I immediately noticed the tire was flat, weird. Even weirder was when I looked for the valve to add air there was none, just a hole in the rim where it is supposed to be.
Evidently while the unit was in NYC for two months KingSong sent a different tire to be put on. When one of the guys up there tried to swap it he wound up puncturing the inner tube. Instead of putting a new tube in he was told to just ship the wheel to me and that I would take care of it. This was very interesting since none of this was communicated to me by anyone. I immediately sent an email to the owner of Ewheels asking what the deal was and if he planned to ship an inner tube to me. Sure I have the ability to change a tube on the 16X but I just thought it was bizarre that I would be tasked with the job without asking first.
I still have not heard anything back from Ewheels so I just laid out my own money for a new tube which should be here mid-week. I then get to pull the wheel apart, change the tube, and THEN hopefully get around to the business of testing it out. I’m still scratching my head over the situation and lack of communication.
Saturday night we watched Vice, the movie depicting the rise to power of the puppet master and scum of the Earth, Dick Cheyney. It was fascinating that Christian Bale played this role, the combo of his real life weight gain and incredible make up work transformed him into a very believable version of the most diabolical VP in history. I learned a lot of back story on Cheyney that I did not know before and despite me despising the man, the movie was B+. The way the story was told and who was telling it was very unique, which you will understand if you see the film.
Sunday morning I wound up doing a solo ride as Cindy was in the queue to do her first census road work. I opted to take the Pint out to Ave Maria to ride, a perfect place for low speed and scenic cruising. I had a great time putting over 7 miles on the board. I love the One Wheel Pint, a lot.
Cindy did get census assignments in our local area. She thought it would be efficient and easy to use our PEVs to do the work. She first did a few on the Minipro which was convenient to hop on and off of but too slow with only an 11mph top speed. She came back and instead got on the Dualtron which can go 30mph plus.
The extra speed was nice but the big scooter was not as easy to jump on and off of. However the bigger problem was the heat with temps in the low 90s. Cindy was burning up. She eventually came back and got her car which I think will be the way to go from now on. Not only will it give her cool AC to retreat to, it also will allow her to charge her Census laptop on the go which appears to not have fantastic battery life.
So a good chunk of my weekend and a couple hours Thursday and Friday night had been spent working on assembling the Prusa MK3S 3D printer kit. This is a TRUE printer kit where you get a box full of a couple hundred parts and you put EVERYTHING together yourself. I once did another printer kit but it was not nearly as involved or as granular as this kit is.
The good news is that Prusa includes what may be the most detailed and well written assembly manual of anything I have ever seen. It is simply amazing. Equally amazing is the part organization and labeling, each step of the process has it’s own parts bag. On the bag is a picture illustrating each part with accurate size depictions so you make sure you are using the correct size bolt or nut. When I glanced at the instructions at first the task seemed daunting, if not almost impossible based on my past history with very complex, tedious, tasks. But I had no choice, it had to get done.
On Friday night Cindy jumped in and helped me get the X and Y axis built. The stuff after that was really only a one person job so I trudged through the remainder solo. Despite the complexity, I tried to just focus on whatever the task was at hand. Thanks to the great instructions with pictures I kept making steady progress. I finally fired up the printer a little after 9 PM last night. After going through the set up routine I embarked on my first print which actually failed about halfway in but I think that could have been avoided with different settings.
I awoke at 4:30 AM this morning. As soon as I did I thought about how I could get more shit done like relocating the printer which was sitting on a foldable table in front of my desk, starting another print, and editing the video of the process. I actually got it all done, including a sweet two color bottle opener print before heading to work.
Last night we had another after hours branch project to migrate their customer queuing system to the cloud, something we have already done four times prior for other locations. All of that experience has paid off, we were completely done in less than an hour, closer to 45 minutes actually. It’s the last conversion we have so we should be good to go for awhile.
I expected the after hours work taking longer which would mean no time to work on the Prusa printer build. With the quick turnaround I did get a chance to work on the printer more, well Cindy and I did. I had asked her if she was interested in participating which she was which is cool. Last night she probably did as much if not more work on it than I did. She enjoys the assembly process. We completed the Y axis part of the build. There is a long way to go but I am hoping by the end of the weekend the printer is up and running.
The printer construction is one component to what looks to be a very busy weekend. I also need to weed whack the property, regardless of how wet it is and I have a second UV light kit for the air handler that I want to get installed. I also may be receiving another demo wheel for me to evaluate, like I did with the KingSong 18XL and Ninebot Z10. This wheel is the KingSong 16X, another brand new design.
I really need to find a way to have permanent three day weekends.
You may recall that I discovered that it seemed like my two security dvrs at the house were being compromised, something I only was notified up after installing the Xfi gateway. I closed the port forward when I discovered it but around the same time I noticed that the cameras on the house DVR were no longer functioning. I had no idea if it was related to the compromise but I tried various things to troubleshoot the problem, including swapping in other cameras but still, I had no luck. I had no idea if the compromise somehow f’d up the camera interface on the DVR so I decided to buy a used DVR off Ebay to swap it out with, which arrived yesterday.
Imagine my surprise when I hooked up the replacement DVR and STILL had no video feeds from the camera. Ok this is weird. Part of my troubleshooting originally was swapping in a camera, like I said. When I attached the camera to the power connection I saw the infrared leds flash on momentarily which indicated to me the power was indeed working. Well just for the hell of it I swapped in a spare camera power supply. As soon as I did all three cameras came to life, son of a bitch. This means that the original DVR is likely fine and it was the camera power supply that was bad the entire time. Oh well, I configured the network on the new DVR and changed the passwords and ports to nonstandard values, reducing the risk of future compromises.
I also did a little bit of work on my Prusa MK3S build. There are a TON of parts. This will be a much more involved build than the Ender 2, the only other 3D printer kit that I put together. The good news is the instructions and parts labeling is nothing short of incredible. The detail and organization would allow a complete novice to get through the construction. It may be the best and most complete instructions I have seen on anything in my life. I am hoping by the end of the weekend I have a functioning printer.
My dad had his second replacement hip surgery yesterday which I actually did not realize until my step mom told me it went well. I knew it was happening in mid-August but I did not recall the actual date. This is his second surgery on the same hip, evidently the first procedure was not done well with there being a misalignment of components that grew into more problems over time.
Once he gets through the healing process for the hip he is targeting having his knees replaced as well, one at a time meaning he is potentially looking at two years or more of being in constant recovery/rehab. At 72 years old that is not a great scenario as staying active is a crucial part of avoiding the physical disabilities that can come from old age. I hope dad does whatever he can to maintain some sort of balance. At his age it’s extremely hard to reverse directions if physically things slide too far downhill. He wants to do these procedures to increase his quality of life, I just hope he gets through them without digging a huge hole to climb out of.
I feel fortunate that whatever cross wiring there is in my head, the end result is a tireless determination to be active, fit, and healthy, regardless of the number of years on the calendar. If I ever reach a point that that is no longer the case I may as well check out, I’d be miserable otherwise.
There has been some good progress in lowering the standing water at the house both thanks to natural and mechanical methods. We managed to avoid heavy rain during the day and the pump in the backyard has been relocating water rapidly. The sad reality is avoiding heavy rain for more than a day seems unlikely based on the current forecasts. I am looking forward to getting some fill dumped and sod installed to finally address this long standing issue in a meaningful way.
Ironically the worst flooding on the property is the end result of us paying to have the yard graded years ago. In an effort to increase the ground level closer to the house they wound up bowling out the area where the chickens now reside. To remedy the situation I expect to have quite a few tons of dirt brought in, graded and then covered with some cheap bahia sod.
Yesterday I received the free fender that was part of the spiff when I bought my One Wheel Pint. I like it because even though it does not look like it on video, it is a very close match to Eagles Midnight Green. Installation was a piece of cake and I now have a layer of protection between my legs and the big piece of spinning rubber.
I also shot video during the day talking about some weird glitches I had with the Tesla on Monday. In some ways you treat the car like a PC or phone that is acting up, the first trouble shooting step is normally “rebooting” the car.
So I have my unopened Prusa MK3S printer box sitting in the hobby room. I have not started assembly yet because I know I have a pretty long haul in front of me once I do. It is not unusual for the build to take 4-5 hours or even more so I will likely be spreading the job over several days. I asked Cindy if she wanted to assist in the build which she said she would actually like, so it may be a tag team process.
I arrived home last night to a water nightmare. It looked like I remember the day after a hurricane, there was that much standing water. What is insane is this is from just random ferocious daily thunderstorms, not a tropical system. When I walked out back to the chickens there was hardly any ground to be found that was not submerged. The water behind the coop was so deep that the submersible pump was completely submerged. I would estimate that at certain spots there was a foot of standing water.
Even Chicken Island was submerged, the first time that has happened since I elevated a 20 x 30 square back there. It was bad, really bad. My first concern was the birds as they literally had nowhere to stand where their feet were not in water which is no good for them. I opened up the the gate to their yard giving them access to the rest of the property and higher ground. Cupcake, one of the older hens immediately took advantage of the open door while the “babies” took a little bit longer to understand they were allowed outside their fenced confines.
When I pulled in the driveway I was greeted by a walking catfish who was literally walking up towards the house. We have had them on the property several times. I scooped this guy into a bucket and dumped him in the canal before a bird could swoop down and grab it. I remember when I first saw fish in the middle of the yard years ago I was dumbfounded. Now it gets a shoulder shrug, just another weird Florida thing.
This morning we again opened the gate to the chicken area. The birds didn’t take long to start moving to higher, drier ground. The pump seems to be dropping the water level in the their area but there is a long way to go. The problem is the drainage ditch I am pumping to is already filled to the brim so I am just moving the flood from one section of the property to another.
Today marks the five year anniversary of my mom passing away. I had to double check the year because it seemed impossible that five years had already passed since that tragic and emotionally crushing day of my life.
The speed that time passes as you grow older feels exponential in it’s acceleration. I feel like if there was anything good that came of her sudden and premature death it was that it realigned my focus on doing things in life that I want to do, to enjoy the time that I have because nobody knows when that time will come to an end, abrupt or otherwise. Love you Mom.
The shitty wet weather continued through Friday, leaving the grounds a sopping mess. I decided to knock out mowing half of the yard after work on Friday, the front half. I mowed around the standing water areas to at least give the grass a much needed haircut where I could.
Saturday morning Cindy came with me to the track to run. My old routine was setting a 6AM alarm so I got out as early as possible. The last couple times I have run I haven’t been setting the alarm. I normally will wake up around 7AM on my own so I have been trying it that way. Saturday was the first time I paid the price for it.
Right around lap 8 the sun completely cleared the horizon. As it did it felt like someone turned on a heat lamp which is what I ran in for the last mile, making an already uncomfortable exercise experience more so. Cindy, who has been running even less than I have, did well for not being out there in a long time. She felt the heat as much as I did.
When we got home the chickens and weeding still needed to get done which we tag teamed. After breakfast we headed to Home Depot where I picked up top soil, 20 pieces of sod, and five 50 pound bags of sand. This was all for the chicken area of course which is the most wet area of all. It unceremoniously started to rain on me again as I spread the dirt and laid down the sod. I believe I cursed out loud at Mother Nature more than once.
Early afternoon I decided I was going to mow the back of the property, despite the rain that dropped only an hour or two prior. It was like a monster truck meet where my Craftsman mower plowed through muddy areas repeatedly. When I was done it looked like someone went nuts with 4 wheelers in the back yard. Even though the standing water has started much later this summer compared to last, I already am beyond fed up with it. I really hope to utilize this sod guy once the property dries out to get the ground level higher in the worst areas.
We had a garden success, something that is very rare in the summer, a decent sized melon. I have tried growing melons a number of times and they have never been fruitful, pun intended. Usually bugs take over before the melons can grow appreciably. For whatever reason this year the plants are being more or less unaffected by insects. I discovered what looked to be a nearly full size seedless melon hiding under the vines with at least another half dozen growing as well. We harvested the melon prematurely however, the inside was mostly white but luckily the chickens still found it to be quite edible.
Mid-afternoon Daniel and Katie came over. Daniel was going to help me with my air handler UV light problem. I bought another bulb but when I plugged it in I got no light. Daniel said the ballast was probably bad. After opening up the air handler what we determined was it was actually the transformer that drives the ballast which was bad, a rarity.
Daniel had a spare in his van that he put in there. Once he did both the new and old bulb lit up. I have another full UV light kit on the way which I plan to install on top of the air handler, where it was before. However Daniel moved the existing bulb inside the air handler, right between the A style coils which is the area most likely to have organic growth. When the other light set shows up I will open it up again and do the work myself since I have a clear picture of what goes where at this point. With the new bulb location it is very easy for us to check for proper UV light operation as we can see it if we pull the filter in the return in our bedroom.
Saturday night we watched The Mule, with Clint Eastwood. It’s hard to believe an 88 year old man is still starring in and directing films but Clint pulls it off. The movie is based on a true story and it’s a strange story indeed. I’d give it a B+.
Sunday morning Cindy was feeling the effect of the run so I decided to take the Nikola to Dunkin Donuts solo, something I actually thought I would have done multiple times during my nine day staycation but it didn’t work out. The Nikola was a beast on the ride, with me rolling at 24-26mph for the majority of the 20+ miles. It really is a great wheel but now I am wondering if I really need the KingSong 18XL as the two wheels fulfill the same need with the Nikola getting an edge on speed and battery size.
Later in the day Sunday I had a prolonged WoW session, the most time I have gotten to spend in the game for quite awhile. I made a lot of virtual progress which almost feels like real progress, hence why the game has appealed to me for almost 15 years.
The daily heavy precipitation in our area just will not relent and it is aggravating me. I would love to be able to at least get the chicken area raised and sodded but I can’t as long as the ground is this waterlogged. A dump truck filled with dirt would destroy the yard and might even get stuck back there so I don’t have much choice but to grin and bear it for the time being. I do plan to get a few pieces of sod hopefully this weekend to fill in some mud spots in the chicken yard at least.
Today Cindy has her first day of 2020 Census training. She worked for the census once before at least 20 years ago. It’s not a bad part time gig with decent pay and flexibility that should allow her to work around her fitness class instructor schedule. She seems nervous but excited about the opportunity.
This weekend I need to try to find a way to mow at least some of the grass. I also would like to get some extended riding time in if I can get a couple hours where the skies don’t look like they are on the verge of letting loose.
Below is the email I sent to my AC company regarding my thoughts about their recent service. So far it has met with silence.
XXXX I have to say I am rather disappointed. When I had my recent AC maintenance done by XXXX I told him about the mildew smell we were getting sometimes. He said he checked the UV light and it was a “little dim” but working. Last night I pulled the light and it was not working at all and something was rattling around in the bulb.
In the process of researching getting the replacement bulb I saw a lot of information about how UV lights are supposed to be installed. Every single source said they are supposed to be installed inside of the air handler so the light is shining directly on the coils, not up above it like your guys have done. They normally also include a sight window so it is easy to check if the bulb is working or not.
I’m not sure why the choice was made to do it this way but it clearly is not the ideal or most effective approach. I believe I paid in the neighborhood of $600 when you guys installed this. I’m really surprised it wasn’t done more by the book.
I’m going to wind up either moving the existing light to inside the air handler or installing a second light inside of it. I am pretty sure the mildew smell is because the bulb was bad even before XXXX came out. I am questioning if he even verified it’s operation at this point. When he did the visit he did not have his normal tools, not even a shop vac to suck out the drain line so I’m not sure how thorough he could be.
When I brought up the mildew smell to you even after the maintenance it you didn’t seem very eager to address it other than to quote me your time and materials rates. I understand you are likely very busy but the reason I have chosen to use you over the years was because I thought I could count on more personal, caring and responsive service.
So Cindy has been complaining of an intermittent mildew smell in the house for a little while. I have only smelled it twice but she evidently has a heightened nose ability. Her complaints of the smell prompted me to get my normal AC company out to do normal preventative maintenance. You may recall I scheduled the work the day prior and then the next morning no one showed up at that time. I called the owner and she had evidently forgotten to actually put the appointment in her book when I talked to her less than 24 hours prior. The end result of this was her getting one of her guys to still come over that day but in his personal car which had very limited tools inside of it compared to their normal van. He didn’t even have a shop vac to suck out the drain line.
Anyway, during his visit I mentioned the smell. He said he cleaned everything but it all looked good. I asked him about the UV light, whose job it is to sterilize the air handler. He said he checked it and it was dim but still working. He advised I replace it the next maintenance cycle. So after the PM Cindy still complained of the smell.
So last night I went and pulled the bulb out to take a look for myself. It was not lit and something was rattling around inside. Either the bulb had just failed since the PM or the guy didn’t really check it in the first place. It was also brought to my attention by Daniel and reinforced by my research on replacement bulbs that our UV light was not installed as it should be. Our light was stuck into a hole in the supply side of the duct above the air handler. Everything I read said the light is supposed to be installed INSIDE of the air handler where it can do the most effective sterilization of the coils. I found this very annoying since I paid roughly $600 to have the light done, which upon my bulb research, I could have pretty easily done myself, correctly for about 25% of that amount.
So at this point I am pretty sure the onset of smell coincided with the bulb going bad. I ordered a replacement bulb AND another complete UV light kit. If things work out as I hope the end result will be having not one but two UV lights in the air pipeline.
Yesterday I finally pulled the trigger and bought a genuine Prusa MK3S printer. Cindy and I met Joe Prusa at Maker Faire Miami last year. Prusa is the benchmark that most 3D printers are measured against. I have wanted one for a long time. I opted for the kit version which saves about $250, allowing me to pay for the purchase completely out of 3D store funds, which is the way it should be. Despite it coming all the way from the Czech Republic, the printer is supposed to be at my door on Monday. It should be a fun build. To make space for the printer I will be giving away my original 3D printer, the FlashForge Finder to a new home.
Today I have a follow up with our employee clinic regarding my latest test results, more specifically the high thallium indication which is a real head scratcher. This is something that is very unusual and trying to determine it’s source is likely to be very difficult as well.
Overall I would say my fatigue the last few months has been less prominent. Although I do still feel it most when exercising, it isn’t as severe as it has been during certain time periods over the last year. I am just tired of endless tests that lead to more tests that have an end result of basically shoulder shrugging.