Last night I worked on crafting my official to do list for my upcoming six day staycation.  The list is substantial with six or seven items on it but there is no MASSIVE project on there.  Some of the jobs are straight out grunt work like putting down more mulch and dumping more top soil in the chicken playground area.  Then there is the grinder type items like repainting the roof of the chicken coop which is going to include being up there with a shop vac to try to scrape/vacuum all the loose paint before I redo it with very expensive white Flex Seal.  Then there are the two technical and tedious list items, ripping apart my Msuper to tighten the axle nuts and replacing the hot bed wire on my AnyCubic Chiron.  Both of those tasks should be lots of (un)fun.

It is winter so this is THE time to get unpleasant outdoor tasks completed.  The extended weather forecast looks amenable during my time off.  As always I will push myself hard during the front end of the time off to get as much done as possible with the hopes of enjoying some guilt free, less laborious hours towards the end.

Am I the only one that finds it incredulous that the government shutdown has lasted this long thanks to Rush Limbaugh and Ann Coulter? You may recall that Trump was ready to sign legislation to keep the government fully open in December, without wall requirements.  However once Rush and Ann pronounced that Trump would be weak for doing so he quickly reversed directions and started trying to brain wash his acolytes that NOW there is a national emergency at the border, that somehow something has suddenly changed that mutated a situation that has existed for decades into a “crisis of the soul”.

The shutdown that Donald proudly and defiantly proclaimed he would take responsibility for in the meeting with Schumer and Pelosi now has been retcon’d to be the Democrats fault for “not caring about border security”. The same border security that Trump said has improved very, very greatly under his presidency.  The fact is that illegal border immigration is at a 12 YEAR LOW. Somehow that declining trend is being spun as a national emergency that is just a veiled attempt for Donald to please his hypocritical base of core Trumpettes.  It’s utter lunacy.

Of course nothing has changed, except that the Democrats now control the House of Representatives, which is the true crisis in Donald’s mind.  It will be interesting to see who blinks first.  As he has demonstrated countless times, Donald is essentially a man-child that is apt to tantrum easily when he is told no.   There has been no parent to discipline him for the last two years.  It’s time to bring out the paddle.

Last night I spent a good portion of the evening in the hobby room.  I was assembling some more EUC stands that I recently printed but most of the time I was working on getting my CR-10 printing better.  The CR-10 was my first “real” 3D printer.  The FlashForge Finder that I started with shielded you from much of the potential complexity in the 3D printing hobby.  The CR-10 has cranked out hundreds of prints for me over the last couple years.  It also has been a huge source of frustration as I spent hours troubleshooting various problems that have arisen. Since I bought my AnyCubic printers the CR-10 has seen less and use.  Unlike the CR-10, the AnyCubic printers just work without much user intervention.  I have had very minimal problems with them compared to the CR-10.

So anyway last night I spent most of my time trying to get the CR-10 printing well.  I changed the print bed and the hot end assembly.  When I did my final test print before going to bed I had to stop it as plastic was being drug around the surface.  I will give it another shot either this week or over my extended weekend.  If I can’t get it working satisfactorily, it may be time for the CR-10 to give up it’s spot on the work bench to something else.

I also had another tech failure last night as the UPS I have hooked up to my PC died.  Luckily I had a working but smaller UPS in the hobby room that I could hook up as a replacement.   My Chiron printer is still dead as well, which will require some extensive futzing by myself to get it going again.  It will be yet another thing to add to my to do list for the weekend.

I got notice that I am finally getting the result I hoped for with my Apple Watch repair.  Unlike the first time where they sent it back saying they could find no problem, this time I got an email stating a replacement watch is en route.  If first you aren’t successful, try, try again.

 

 

Friday after work I resumed my running program, trudging 13 laps around the local track.  It had been somewhere around a three week hiatus mostly due to my wipeout on the skateboard.  I felt pretty miserable the entire time but the first two laps were the worst.  My lower back was killing me and I just felt like I had no energy.  Repeatedly I thought about how nice it would be to just stop and get in the car but I refused to give in to the urge.   Instead I just continued on at my meager pace, doing my normal mental lap countdown.  Thankfully it eventually concluded without incident.

As I mentioned last week I took off three additional days around MLK weekend.  I have a long list of things I would like to get done with that extra time.  One of those things was refresh the mulch so I thought I would be proactive and get that started on Saturday.  I loaded up the Tacoma with 30 bags of mulch and spread it around the smaller landscaped areas.  I had enough to do everything except the orchard which will be done this weekend with another 30 bag load.  It’s actually much less work than it used to be since I converted several areas to rubber mulch over the last few years.  That stuff never wears out for obvious reasons.

I was cranking out some 3d prints on Saturday.  One of the printers I was using was my monster sized Chiron which has been somewhat problematic.  Well it stopped again in the middle of a print but for a new reason.  One of the cables that power the heated bed had snapped, evidently from wear.  The printer is only a few months old and has not seen heavy use.  A quick search online revealed that a ton of people have been having this same issue caused by low quality wire being used for the connection.  So now I have two choices.  I could get a replacement hot bed assembly from AnyCubic that utilizes the same low grade wire or I dig into the printer and install good wire that won’t break.  I am opting towards choice two but I know it is going to be a PIA to do.

My Netflix queue had emptied out so I had Cindy help me pick titles to help fill it back up.  In her selections were a number of movies that I would not normally seek out myself, romantic comedies.  I told her I was fine with it as she certainly has sat through plenty of movies I selected that she would not have chosen either.  The first such selection arrived over the weekend, Crazy Rich Asians.  Although it wasn’t a genre I have much interest in, the movie was entertaining enough and I didn’t fall asleep. I’d give it a solid B.

Sunday morning Cindy and I headed out for a ride.  We decided to park in the Target parking lot and push out from there.  As we were getting ready a very strange incident unraveled behind me as the camera was rolling.  I heard a commotion that included the sound of a very aggravated woman.  When I turned I saw a work van with the passenger side door open, it was still moving slowly.  The angry woman was half in the van but trying to get out.  She then yelled something about her foot.  The driver of the van then stopped for a brief second and the woman got out, slamming the door.  You can see her marching behind me angrily.  Luckily it seemed like her foot was ok.  I have no idea what it was about but I assumed a lover’s quarrel.  Cindy seemed convinced it was a day after prostitute drop off.  Whatever the truth was, it was the most bizarre way we ever started a ride off.

I looked forward to the Eagles/Saints game with anticipation.  I was hoping that the improbable playoff run of success could continue, despite the Birds playing the number one seeded team in the NFC, a team that absolutely destroyed the Eagles in the regular season.  The game started off just about as well as you could imagine.  The Eagles intercepted the first pass Drew Brees threw and scored two quick touchdowns.  Nick Foles looked like he was in top form, easily completing passes to various targets consistently.  On the flip side the defense seemed to be doing a good job of stopping the Saints offense, somehow.  Well for the remaining three quarters momentum slowly but consistently reversed.

When the Saints consumed almost the entire third quarter with ONE drive I knew we were in big trouble.  After those early , impressive drives, the Eagles offense sputtered.  The Saints defense started to play aggressive press coverage and it made a big difference.  One of the reasons the Eagles defense has been better with Foles in there has been his ability to engineer long, time consuming drives that keeps the Eagles suspect defense on the sideline and well rested. The shift in strategy by the Saints seemed to have no answer on Philly’s sideline, they never got back on track the entire game.

The Eagles allowed 20 unanswered points but after a missed Saints FG late that would have iced the game the team still had a shot.  Despite struggling since the first quarter I had hope that the Foles engineered offense could pull out yet another miracle finish.  It started to look like we had a shot.  Nick was moving the team down the field and was at the Saints 27 yard line with plenty of time. On a 2nd and 10 he threw to Alshon Jeffrey, who has some of the best hands on the team.  It was an accurate pass that hit Jeffrey right on his hands, and then went through them, into the hands of a Saints DB, game over.

It was a disappointment for sure, but to be honest, the way the game had turned, the Eagles didn’t really deserve to win.  Their defensive strategy where it is soft zone all the time just is horrific to watch, especially when you saw how effective the Saints press coverage was.  The entire game the Eagles rushed four lineman, dropped seven into coverage and got smoked time and time again.  I am not sure if this is just a core bread and butter strategy of Jim Schwartz  or if it is just the end result of not having the talent in the secondary to play press coverage, but I HATE it.  Allowing receivers to come off the line unimpeded at full speed while your defenders that are lined up 8 yards off the ball going into an instant back pedal is just a a ludicrous strategy to me.  The only way that works is if your lineman are consistently getting pressure on the QB, causing rushed and errant throws.

I found it extremely frustrating that there was no noticeable change in the defensive strategy as the Saints methodically picked it apart, rush four, drop seven all day long.  It was fitting that the defense was the ultimate downfall of the team.  The injuries to the starting secondary which I felt was already subpar put second and third stringers out there that just could not hang.  I can only hope something is done in the off season to significantly improve the talent back there.

So I took the loss relatively well.  Realistically even appearing in the playoffs this year based on how things started out was a huge win.  To beat the Bears and come within 27 yards of taking out a Saints team that crushed the Birds during the regular season really is impressive.  It will be interesting to see how this season will affect how the roster shakes out next year.  Everyone says there is no way Nick Foles is on the team next year as there are multiple teams out there ready to make him a starter.  I still question why the Eagles aren’t one of those teams making that consideration.  His performance under pressure over the last two years is unequaled in Philly QB history, IMO.

This was certainly a roller coaster year for the team.  I am less excited about Carson Wentz as our potenitial 10 year QB.  I get this nagging feeling we have another another Tony Romo in the making, a good QB that gets hurt a lot but never gets you there. For a young guy to not be able to finish the season two years in a row is a red flag for me.   I also am not a big fan of pre-planned, choreographed end zone celebrations that Carson is a big fan and participant of.  I much prefer Nick’s , slap hands and let’s go at it again attitude, no grandstanding, no taunting, just get to work way about him.

The team needs a get it done, reliable running back.  I think the lack of one for most of the year made a substantial difference. I dont know how much longer you can expect Jason Peters to play, he gets hurt on a regular basis at his age.  Of course the defense needs some major help.  To me, bringing back that starting secondary is simply not enough.  If you are pinning your defensive rebound on Jalen Mills being healthy, whom I think is more of a liability than an asset, you have big problems.  The only guy back there I have any confidence in is Malcolm Jenkins.

So it was a down way to end the weekend but at least I have two short work weeks ahead of me to look forward to.

 

 

 

 

 

The baby hens managed to find their way up to the coop for the second night in a row meaning they should be good to go from here on out.  Hopefully in a month or so they will be large enough to start introducing them to the adult hens.  They have to be big enough where they can hold their own from the bullying that is sure to come.

Last night I spent a lot of time getting some EUC stands I had made for a few days posted up on the store.  My inventory is once again on the low side so I need to start another dedicated production run.  I am sending out another couple stands today.  I also shot a video last night that was requested, illustrating how to install the optional light on my Ranger skateboard.  Nothing earth shattering here.

Yesterday I saw a good portion of the impromptu press conference Trump had in the lawn before flying to Texas to build more wall hype.  First, for the sake of our country, this man should never speak without a script during the remainder of his presidency.  His inarticulate, bizarre, ignorant, childish, and evasive answers are a national embarrassment.  As I watched him talk about concrete versus steel walls, national emergencies, and insulting various news media along the way I was ashamed that this man somehow was elected to the highest office in the country.

What is most disappointing is it is my generation that contains a big chunk of his zealous followers. Somehow they ignore the outrageous things that are being said and done on a daily basis, instead following his directives in an almost cult-like fashion.  My Facebook feed is filled with “hell yeas!” of former classmates that toe the Trump line in an amazingly rigid fashion.  I wonder how this has come to be and what was different on their paths versus mine? What would shape their thought patterns in such a way that they would actually support the actions of Donald.

Well I can tell you one difference for sure in almost every case.  I was never indoctrinated into religion as a child, something that I was somewhat confused by back then.  However looking back I am actually grateful that my parents did not introduce me to the concept of religion where you believe something because it is what you are told to believe as opposed to making that determination yourself based on what you experience, think about, and your own personal values.  People with a religious background are accustomed to being told what to think and do, hence following the word of Trump as if he is one of the disciples may not be much of a stretch for some.

Whatever the reason is ultimately, I truly get depressed and saddened when I see the hateful, me first f everyone else vitriol that is consistently spewed from those I spent my school years evolving with.  It’s far too easy to just write off Trump supporters as ignorant, self serving, racists at their core, because I know these people are not ignorant and I assume most are not racists either.  My only hope is during the next presidential election cycle enough people are motivated to get off their ass and make sure the country is never again put in the hands of a reality tv star that ironically has such a loose grip on reality itself.

To be clear, I am no fan of Nancy Pelosi or Chuck Schumer.  I think both of them are not viable representations of what the anti-Trump mindset should be.  Both of them are too divisive, much like Hilary Clinton.  We need the alternative party to have some fresh faces and new blood that has not been in mired in Washington for decades at a time, thanks to the ridiculous lack of term limits in Congress.

In Florida politics, I have to admit I have been somewhat pleased with Ron DeSantis first few days in office, despite him not being my pick for governor.  I thought it was refreshing he has been pushing back at Rick Scottism, reversing a number of lame duck appointments Scott made as he was walking out the door in return for political support.  He also told the SW Florida Water Mgmt District board to basically GTFO after they ignored his request to wait to negotiate a deal with Florida Sugar before he took control.  The board instead gave the deal approval without waiting.  Ron is giving them their walking papers as a result.  He also announced a nearly one billion dollar initiative to help clean up the mess on our waterways that results in toxic and deadly algae blooms polluting our area for most of the year. Good job Ron.

This weekend I hope to make inroads on a big list of items I have planned for an extended weekend I have set up for the following week.  I took off three additional days around MLK weekend to give me a big chunk of time to get shit done.

 

Last night we went outside after dark to put the chickens to bed, assuming that once again we would need to grab the baby birds one at a time and insert them up top.  Last night we waited longer before going outside to do this.  Before we were going out at or shortly after dusk.  This time it was totally dark by the time we went out there.  As Cindy and I approached the coop we noticed that we didn’t see any movement down below.  As we got closer we both looked at each other excitedly, they actually went up top themselves.  I quietly raised the ramp and secured it in place.  Cindy peeked in the side door and saw not only were they up top but they were on the perch instead of piled on top of each other.  It took six tries but it seems they finally get it, hallelujah. After securing the ramp the chicks got a short bumpy ride as I moved the chicken tractor to fresh grass, something we do every two days.  Cindy and I were both very happy as we headed  back inside.  The babies are going to have quite a few chilly nights ahead of them with a cold front that rolled in last night.

 

 

You may recall last week I was pleasantly surprised when I thought that Apple sent me a replacement watch instead of sending back the problematic one I sent in.  The email I got from them said no problem was found.  So the watch has been working fine since last Wednesday but after the gym yesterday the phantom shaking/scrolling had returned.  It got progressively worse throughout the day.  When I checked the serial number of this watch I realized they did actually send me back the exact same watch, they just put it in a nice box and wrapped it in plastic….

So of course I was annoyed.  I called this morning and spent roughly 45 minutes on the phone arranging for a second repair.  This time I have the direct number of a supervisor I can talk to if it is not handled better this time around.  He took detailed info of the symptoms.  As I was on the phone I realized another twist, when the watch is off my wrist it is not as jumpy.  I also uploaded two videos to Apple I shot on my phone demonstrating the behavior.  I am hoping this second attempt will yield the outcome I am looking for, just give me a different watch please Apple.

Once again Cindy and I had to put the baby chicks to bed using a hand off technique.  At this point I wonder if they will ever understand the concept of conventional chicken night time roosting behavior.  At least the more Cindy and I do it the more adept we become.

Want to see the huge 3D mess I worked on over the weekend?

I have to admit I didn’t watch Donald’s address regarding the “Crisis of the Soul” aka building a wall.  The recaps I read sounded utterly ridiculous, much like Trump’s “answer” to a reporter that asked him about his cornerstone campaign promise that Mexico, not US taxpayers were going to pay for his infamous wall….

 

When I got home last night Cindy and I headed out to the chicken tractor to try to make further modifications to make bed time for the baby birds less problematic.  We took one of the under counter LED lights that I normally use on my 3D printers and mounted it to the inside of the coop.  We also used one of our Wemo smart switches to control it so the light could go on and off on a schedule and be controlled remotely.  Our thinking was once it is dark outside, having the light up top would encourage the birds to go up the ramp and go to bed.

The install went pretty well and the light lit up the coop well, maybe a little too well.  So after we were done we returned inside with the plan to come out once it got dark to check on the chicks.  We came out to see the birds all still hanging out down below, having a grand old time.  The light not only lit up the coop brightly but also lit up the area below it, giving the birds adequate light to just keep hanging out.  We again tried to coach them up top but it was unsuccessful.  Instead we once again wound up doing  the same snatch and grab we have had to do since Friday.  This time I was the one grabbing the birds and handing them off to Cindy.

So once we got them up top and inside we turned off the new light.  We immediately hear a commotion, they are freaking out. Usually once the lights go out chickens settle down, for whatever reason these hens have not adopted this behavior, instead they panic.  We check the camera inside and see the birds are all crowded beside it.  I told Cindy I think we are better off pulling the camera out of there.  The red ring of infrared leds on the camera must be what was making them come that way.  I said I think we are better off just pulling it out which we did.

When we turned the light off a second time they were carrying on again but when I went back out later to check on them they were quiet.  I am not sure how we will train them to go up there at night.  The odd thing is during the day some of them will go up on their own just to hang out.  It’s going to be a long month or two if we have to manually put the birds to bed every night.

Last night I also tended to the 3D printer that I had been working on.  In an attempt to fix the original blob of plastic that encased the hot end I hit it with a heat gun on high for a prolonged period of time.  The end result of that was the blob still remained but I partially melted one of the fans that is in the same area.  I received a new fan yesterday and installed it.  To make it work I had to splice/solder it in to the old wiring connector.

I hate soldering now more than ever.  I was never good at it but now it’s even more frustrating because my eyes don’t want to focus on something that small.  I trudged through the process and eventually managed to get it all working again. I shot video of the entire ordeal.  Editing the footage is going to be a challenge since there were so many mistakes I made along the way.

Oh I saw yesterday that the kick that Parkey missed at the end of the Eagles game was actually tipped by an Eagles defender.  On replay you can see the ball grazed the finger of one of the lineman on the side which would have sent kick left.  At least that should make Parkey feel a little bit better but it surely won’t save his job.

 

During the day on Friday Cindy moved the  baby chicks to their new home in the yard in our chicken tractor.  The move went well and the six chicks seemed to be enjoying their new expanded accommodations.  When evening came we expected them to traverse the ramp up to the coop area, just like all of the other chickens in the past have done.  Well it didn’t happen.

For whatever reason these chicks were unsure of what to do.  When Cindy and I went out there when it was almost dark all six of them were still down in the run, chirping away in what sounded like “wtf are we supposed to do now” in chicken-speak.  We tried to coax them up the ramp multiple times unsuccessfully.  Well they had to get up in the coop one way or another.

Well “another” was a two person operation with Cindy on her knees reaching into the lower portion of the tractor and grabbing a bird one at a time, and handing them to me as I put them up top through the side door.  So with some struggle we got them up top but then we had another issue.  Instead of using the rather generous amount of perch space all the chicks wanted to pile on top of each other in one of the nesting boxes.  I felt bad for them as I could tell they were scared and/or confused.  Most of the time they were in the garage there was a light source courtesy of the heat lamps.  They just didn’t know what to do.

Cindy was worried about a chick being trapped under all the others.  I wasn’t real worried about that as all of the chicks are pretty energetic and spastic, able to wiggle away if need be.  I didn’t want chicks on the bottom to become toilets for the ones above.  So Cindy and I tried rearranging them a few times but the best we could do was get three in each box.  However when we checked on them in the morning some of the birds had actually gotten up on the perch during the night.

On Saturday and Sunday we had the additional complication of colder temperatures, again something the chicks had not experienced.  We threw a couple old comforters that we used before over the coop to block any cold air from blowing directly into their enclosed sleeping quarters.  They seem to deal with the temps in the 50’s just fine but as of this entry they still have not grasped the concept of going up to top at night by themselves.  Cindy and I are working on additional measures to facilitate that. We already have tweaked out the chicken tractor somewhat, running an extension cord to it so we can run a web cam inside of it.  We also had a night light in there that the chicks destroyed last night.

My Saturday was quite busy as I did a full yard maintenance routine which had not been done in well over a month.  Even with the long layoff some areas of the yard had hardly grown at all.  Still I spent over three hours getting it all done.  Saturday was Katie’s birthday, for the first time in my memory Cindy actually didn’t see Katie on her birthday but she did make Katie a pretty amazing ladbybug fondant cake.  Cindy is really getting into custom cake creation.

Part of my Saturday afternoon involved trying to FIX a 3D printing mess.  Evidently something happened with an overnight print that resulted in a bad situation.  I woke up to the hot end encased in what looked like a plastic tumor.  I at first tried to melt away the mess using a heat gun but actually caused additional problems along the way.  Luckily I had a replacement hot end which I got installed but I now had to order a new hot end fan.  I damaged the original by inadvertently super heating it with our heat gun.  What a mess….

On Saturday night we watched our Netflix rental, SkyScraper, featuring the Rock.  So as always Dwayne exhibited super hero like abilities throughout the film despite being a mere mortal.  This may have been the most outrageous example however since his character in the film lost a leg, forcing him to perform God-like moves while on a prosthetic leg.  It was a good action packed B level Rock movie.  He has become this generations Arnold and Stallone, throw him into any scenario and let him flex and fight his way out of trouble.

Sunday morning we did a belated birthday ride with Katie.  We weren’t quite sure who would ride what so I had a BUNCH of PEVs in the truck, a total of five.  We rode at the Greenway and then for something different we crossed Golden Gate Parkway and rode at Freedom Park as well.  At the end of the ride we got told that a section of the boardwalk we rode on was “pedestrian only” by a park employee.  He was nice enough about it but I did mention to him that it was weird right across the road there was no such restriction.  He agreed it was odd but the rules are the rules, indeed….

After the ride we went for a birthday weekend lunch at some Cuban place nearby.  Cindy’s mom met up with us there as well.  My food was good but the service was terribly slow for me, despite the place only being a third full if that.  Overall the experience did not make me anxious to revisit the restaurant.

Afterward Katie returned with us to the house where she got to see and enjoy the fruits of Cindy’s cake preparation labor.  She was very impressed and we all enjoyed a slice after singing happy birthday.  She hung around for awhile talking to Cindy as I worked on producing the video footage from the ride.

 

So the Eagles played at 4:30.  Just has been the case for most games the last month, I hoped the Eagles would win but I realistically did not expect it to happen.  The fact that the insertion of Nick Foles even resulted in us getting to the playoffs was a win for me with as poorly as the team played this year.  For them to go into Chicago playing a Bears team with the leagues number one rated defense and expect them to win just wasn’t something that was probable at all.  Of course once again Saint Nick Foles made it happen with a little help from one of the most unique and nerve wracking finishes in Eagles history.

The game was very tight throughout with minimal scoring.  The Eagles could not run the ball to save their lives so they had to mostly rely on Nick passing the ball.  He had his struggles as well, throwing two interceptions, including one in the Bears endzone which was pretty crushing.  In the second half the Eagles were making the type of mistakes that typically cost you games.  Along with Foles interception they had some really dumb penalties that extended Bear drives for scores, and some very sloppy secondary play by the Birds, especially by Avonte Maddox.  I lost count of how many times he got burned for long gains in the second half but it was ridiculous.  He kept biting on the receivers first head fake, resulting in being left in the dust as they blew by him.  One play an Eagles defender had a Bears pass hit him right in the hands for what should have been an easy interception which he instead dropped, resulting in Chicago getting more points on the board on the drive.

So despite the setbacks the Eagles had the ball first and goal with less than two minutes to go, trailing by 5 points.  On first and second down they sent tiny 5’6″ Darren Sproles in to the middle of the pile for no gain.  They did this the entire game, sending Sproles into the teeth of the Bears front line and getting nowhere.  I just did not understand why they didn’t try to go wide with him more often where he could use his speed and elusiveness to make people miss. So on third down they missed a pass to the right, bringing up fourth down.

So with the Eagles season on the line Nick Foles looked calm and composed, as always.   He drops back and delivers a perfect strike to Golden Tate in the endzone, putting the Eagles ahead by one.  The Eagles made a two point attempt to stretch the lead to three which would force the bears to get a TD to win.  The dive by the RB was called short by the officials but the instant replay seemed to indicate the nose of the ball clearly crossed the line before it was knocked away.  The announcers and ex-official in the booth all said it should have counted.  For some inexplicable reason even with instant replay they did not reverse the call.  The game was filled with a lot of mysterious officiating including the fumble that wasn’t when the officials called an incomplete pass and picked up the ball without an Eagle touching it first.

So the end result was the Eagles clinging to a one point lead with roughly a minute remaining.  The ensuing kick off was exactly what you didn’t want.  For some reason Jake Elliot was unable to kick it into the endzone as he normally does.  Instead it was short allowing the return guy to have a full head of steam as he snagged the kick.  He ripped off a huge return bringing the ball almost to midfield, only 20-25 yards from pretty safe FG range.  The only thing working for the Eagles was the Bears only had one time out remaining.  Even so the defense allowed Chicago to get the yardage needed rather easily, with less than 10 seconds to go the Bears lined up for what should be a pretty automatic 43 yard field goal attempt to win the game.

At this point I thought the outcome was all but decided and was already justifying the result in my mind, at least the Eagles put up a hell of a fight but lost in the end courtesy of the subpar secondary play that has haunted them all year.  Just before the ball was snapped Doug Pederson pulled the normal stunt of icing the kicker by calling timeout.  The timeout came just before the snap so the kick attempt actually happened which resulted in a strong kick right through the uprights, which didn’t count.  Seeing Parkey drill that kick lessened my hope of him missing on attempt two, despite his clearly lack luster performance this year.

So they line up to do it again.  I tell Cindy that she needed to somehow cast bad luck onto the Bears.  She grabbed the lucky chicken hat she wore last year at the end of the Super Bowl.  However instead of wearing it on her head, she held out her right foot, Parkey’s kicking foot, and put the hat on there.  As the second kick went up and started drifting left I started to believe, when it hit the left upright but bounced towards the middle I thought that it might have still bounced through.  When I saw the officials signalling no good I was in utter disbelief.

The difference between winning and losing was an inch or two.  Before last year I was accustomed to the Eagles coming out on the wrong side of those situations.  Last night luck was on their side, something that was also the case for a good portion of the year.  For a solid 5 minutes I just sat there, amazed at the finish of the game and the end result of the Eagles advancing in the playoffs.  Every unlikely win that Nick Foles engineers is a step closer to the end of the Carson Wentz era in Philly in my opinion. Sure Eagles fans appreciate potential and solid stats which Carson definitely has.  But there is nothing we value more than performing under pressure and of course winning. NO Eagles QB in my lifetime has delivered in the clutch like Nick has.  If this streak continues, I just don’t see how the team can let Nick go.

Next up is New Orleans who absolutely destroyed and embarrassed the Eagles during the regular season, putting more than 50 points on the board.  If this team once again manages to grind out a win, on the road, against the NFC’s number one seeded playoff team, the sky is truly the limit.  I never thought I would say this after the way two thirds of this year went down but the Eagles right now are a very dangerous team.  Despite winning it all last year, they are now firmly back in the underdog role, something that sparked magic last year.  I am just enjoying the ride, this is all a bonus to a season that I thought was over in November. If the Super Bowl win was number one in biggest and most compelling wins in Eagles history I may place last night as 1A, it was that exciting and nerve wracking.

After the trilling finish I had a live stream scheduled which of course kicked off with me relishing in the victory.  The nearly two hour stream went well which I again did solo.  In some ways I prefer that format as it has less technological hurdles and I am able to focus on audience interaction which seems to be well received.

 

 

So last night Cindy and I joined the wave of people that watched Birdbox, a recent Netflix release that has spawned a wave of idiots simulating the movie by walking around blindfolded.  This isn’t the type of movie I normally watch with Cindy.  I am fine with suspense/horror movies but Cindy is not a fan.  I was somewhat surprised she was open to seeing it.

The premise of the movie is bizarre and creepy.  It seemed like something Stephen King would come up with.  There were lots of hand squeezing moments in there.  It was a new way to spin the end of humanity, the zombie apocalypse theme is getting sort of old at this point.  I enjoyed the movie.  It was nice to see something in a different genre than we normally take in.  I’m not sure if Cindy would say the same.  I’d give it a B+.

My first full day with the Apple Watch was interesting.  I still don’t know how a lot of it works but I did find the activity tracker cool.  For the same reasons that I have my real time mileage tracker on screen in the Prius, I find having instant feedback on your steps, standing time, and calories burned is helpful, motivational and behavior changing.  We will see if it remains that way.

Today is an exciting day for the baby chicks, they are finally moving outdoors.  Last night after work Cindy and I moved the chicken tractor outside of the big hen area.  We set it up along the outside of the fenced area so the young birds and older birds can see/hear each other but not interact.  It will be interesting to see how the baby chicks do with the move which will have much bigger temperature swings than they have been accustomed to living in the garage.

Of course our biggest concern is their safety.  The entire reason I went crazy building the Fort Knox style coop was because we had three birds killed in the tractor by a racoon years ago.  When that happened I greatly reenforced the tractor with double latches on either side door as well as us putting up the ramp and securing it in place, making the tractor nesting box area pretty secure. Even with these precautions Cindy and I still worry about the baby hens well being.  I am sure we will be checking on them quite often this weekend.

Complete mowing and weed whacking head the weekend chores, something I have not done for around a month.  It’s also Katie’s birthday weekend as well as the Eagles playoff game against the Bears late Sunday afternoon.  It should be chock full of stuff.

So as I described previously, I bought Cindy a new Apple Watch 3 to replace her Apple Watch 2 which had a bad digitizer.  I contacted Apple and made arrangements for their flat fee service on the Series 2 watch, figuring I could use it.  It’s not cheap at $250 but they overnight you a box that has a prepaid label in it to overnight it back.  So I followed the instructions I was given and shipped the box back late last week.

I received an email on Monday saying they had received my bad watch and that they would notify me when the repair was completed. Great, wow this is my first experience with Apple repairs, they seem to be on the ball.   Well almost exactly one hour later I got a follow up email that read as follows:

Your product arrived at our repair center, but our technicians weren’t able to process your repair request. We’re sending the product to you along with a letter that provides more information. If you have questions about the letter, feel free to Contact Apple Support to review your options. Be sure to use the same Repair ID. We apologize for any inconvenience.

WTF?  My happy mood instantly turned sour when I saw this.  In the email was a link to get more information on the Apple website.  When I did, I saw a description of “technician could not duplicate issue” which really got me pissed.  The issue was clearly evident if you spent more than 10 seconds using the device, how could they not duplicate it??  I was pissed, really pissed.  I had scenarios running through my head where the tech just wasn’t feeling like being thorough on New Years Eve and threw the watch back in the box.  I ran through how my irate rant was going to be on the phone if they did indeed send me back the same non-functional watch I sent in.

So the box returned yesterday, again with one day priority shipping.  When I got home I was prepared to be thoroughly angry and I was warming up my fingers to dial Apple’s support number to rip them a new one.  As I open the box I see what looks like a new Apple Watch box, wrapped in cellophane.  Odd, why would they put the old watch into a new box?  I open the box and there is what is clearly a brand new watch, complete with instructions. WTF, again??  Instantly my negativity swings back the other way.  So they did actually send me a new watch, which is what I expected would happen originally.

I have no idea why their communications to me were inaccurate but I was surely happy with the mistake.  I set the watch up, which I am getting familiar with since I had done it three times already.  It was nice to have it work 100% correctly with no random shakes or jitters.  It will be interesting to see how I like it.  I am most interested in the fitness tracking abilities of the watch, monitoring heart rate, steps, calories burned, and a few other things.  I have no doubt it will encourage me to get up and walk around more during the workday.

So despite taking my worst fall ever on Wednesday while riding, I am doing pretty well.  Although both of my hips hurt I am walking more or less without a limp.  The road rash is mostly on my upper right back which is an area that doesn’t see much movement unlike a knee or elbow.  I am positive that if I did not have on the degree of protection I had on my injuries would have been significantly worse.