Saturday morning Cindy and I decided to get our weekend 5K run out of the way.  It was a rough, rough run.  The heat, humidity, and my body’s refusal to feel comfortable at any point during the run made for a miserable half hour.  We endured it and that is all that matters. I almost did not endure the yard work that followed when we got home.

My legs felt especially dead during the run and that sensation increased as I walked around the yard picking weeds.  Even with using my normal technique where my elbows are resting on my knees/thighs as I pull countless weeds, my legs and back were just weak.  When I moved onto weedwhacking I really hit the wall.  I felt dangerously tired at times.  More than once I just stopped to try to rest for a moment as the sun was melting me from above.  By the time I walked back in the door my tank was absolutely empty. I jumped in the pool to try to cool down my body temperature rapidly.  We then did a coffee run with Elsa which helped artificially restore some of my depleted energy reserves.

I did a decent amount of 3D printing Saturday afternoon.  I did my first printing with a new filament type called PetG.  Supposedly it offers some of the benefits of both ABS and PLA plastics. I got a green translucent variety that looked cool.  I had a hard time getting the print to stick to printing surface but after a few tries I was able to print out this EUC mudguard.  Unfortunately when I tried to test fit it on my wheel the one support snapped.  I plan to try to print the guard again with some more outer walls and infill for more strength.

I also did multiple prints of the prototype mudguard for the Monster.  I have been working with my EUC buddy from Finland who has been designing the mudguard in Fusion 360 based on the measurements and pictures I have been sending him.  He makes some changes, I print it out and then do a test fit and provide feedback which is used for the next revision.  We are on rev 6 at this point and I think we are almost there.

On Saturday night we watched Hacksaw Ridge, a true life story of amazing bravery, endurance, and heroics during the World War II land portion of the Japanese campaign.  It seems almost superhuman to have endured what this man did.  It’s a movie everyone should see to give a true sense of just how awful war really is and why it should be mankind’s goal to eliminate it, even if it is a pipe dream.  I give it a solid A score, Cindy rated it A++.

Sunday morning I cleaned the chicken coop and much like last week, again was disgusted with the amount of pure mucky areas.  The sod I laid last week helped but other disgusting areas opened up.  I was again motivated to buy a bunch more sod to address the mess.  However unlike last week, my calls to the home improvement stores all had the same answer, “Sod is gone”  I plan to take the truck to work on Tuesday, sod delivery day, so I can grab a bunch more to throw around the chicken yard.

We headed out for an EUC ride mid-morning and met up with Daniel and Katie at the park in Pelican Bay.  I looked up and suddenly saw Katie riding backwards, easily.  She said she had practiced backwards a couple times.  Well her couple practice sessions resulted in her being MUCH more proficient and comfortable going backwards than I am.  She just has natural ability to ride an EUC, something I definitely don’t have.  Repeatedly during the ride she flipped into backwards riding with ease.

It was hot as hell so keeping moving was a priority.  As soon as you stopped the heat and humidity was stifling.  Again we swapped around wheels to a degree.  I rode all four of the wheels at one point or another.  It’s amazing how different the riding experience is between the wheels.  I definitely prefer a bigger wheel at this point.

After lunch I immediately headed outside to do the best I could mowing around the standing water.  It looked like it was going to rain on me multiple times but it thankfully held off.  There were certain areas where I just rammed the tractor through mud bogs, relying on momentum to keep me from getting stuck.  A good portion of the yard is just a muddy, disgusting mess, I hate it.

I chilled for most of the rest of the day, meddling around in WoW attending to the needs of a half dozen virtual beings.  It’s odd how being so busy in the game translates into relaxation for me, but it works.

 

It seems like there has been a steady stream of famous entertainers dying unexpectedly over the last few years but none have saddened me as much as the news that Chester Bennington from Linkin Park, killed himself yesterday via hanging.

Without a doubt, Linkin Park has been my favorite musical group of the last twenty years.  Their mostly dark, angry music connected to me in a way that few others have.  Despite the the downer vibe in a lot of their music I found it’s effect on me to be just the opposite, it pumped me up.

It is sobering to know the voice that brought me all of that energy over the years has now been silenced forever.  The fact that he willingly turned off his own lights gives a sense to just how dark a person’s life can be, even when seemingly surrounded by light.

A lot of YouTubers are talking about Logan and Jake Paul, brothers who each have YouTube channels that are exploding in popularity.  I was familiar with Logan from my days on Vine, the 6 second video service that is no longer around.  Logan was very popular on there.  So anyway I was curious what all the fuss was about so I went to his channel and watched one of his daily vlogs.

Wow, if there ever was a YouTube channel encapsulating everything disturbing about the state of youth in America, this is it. (Logan is 22)  The videos are a perfect fit for the constantly distracted, ADD riddled, smartphone addicted young people of today.  It seems that Logan leans heavily on his Vine background in his video style.  No segment goes more than 10 seconds without a jump cut and the video was filled mostly with loud, idiotic, or ridiculous behavior. His brother’s channel is basically more of the same.

Evidently being a moron/maniac is a very lucrative field.  By conservative estimates, each brother is likely pulling in between 1 and 2 MILLION dollars per MONTH from their channels.  That is incredible.  I can only hope the persona he puts out there on video is not who he really is.  To me, as a rapidly approaching half centenarian, the idea that this sort of entertainment is wildly popular just makes me shake my head, lean back on my rocking chair, take a drag on my pipe and profess how kids today just don’t have a clue….

This weekend will be the last “standard” weekend for awhile.  Next week Cindy and I are going to the Supercon in Ft Lauderdale and the next two weekends we will be rolling through our northeastern road trip.  I look forward to stuff like this but also have trepidation at the same time.

So we still have been getting daily downpours that make it impossible for the standing water on the property to dry out.  Hell we need a solid week of no rain to not only allow it to dry out but also for the subterranean water table to drop a bit so every single rain event does not instantly result in standing water.  I still have my sump pump in the chicken backyard running 24/7 to try to accelerate the process.  Last week I read that we are basically in a 200 year high rain cycle, meaning it is the most rain we have had this early pretty much since they started recording it.

Last night I called my dad to see if the sale on his Alfa went through.  The answer was, not yet.  It sounds like a frustrating and bizarre situation.  He actually had a check clear and be deposited in his account, only to have the funds removed the following day. Evidently the buyer neglected to provide some documentation to the bank so they pulled the funds which seemed very strange to me.  I would assume funds are only deposited once all T’s are crossed and I’s dotted.  The car is still in dad’s possession so at this point it is just more of an annoyance that the entire process has to be delayed another few days, but dad doesn’t mind waiting.  He almost is glad to wait to mildly punish the buyer for not doing what he was supposed to do.  If it was me, I would be more worried about the deal falling through.

Dad also told me about more BS that is going on with the sale of his two (bad) investment properties in Arizona.  Much like me, he invested in land during the real estate boom and like me, that land is now worth a small fraction of what was paid for it.  Anyway trying to complete the paperwork for the sale of a property on the other side of the country is a hassle and some of the expenses associated with the sale, like phantom road fees really pissed dad off.

Pissed off are the two words I would use to describe the tone of most conversations I have with dad.  The list of things that piss him off are nearly endless.  His approach to things that piss him off can be counter productive at times but he always has been the type of person that will make a stand on principal, even if that principal may not be deemed worthy of such effort in other’s eyes.

I certainly do share some of his anger at what the world has mutated into but I try to focus that energy into finding a way to keep my personal sphere of existence as happy, fulfilling, and content as possible.  I gave up a long time ago thinking my opinion or actions meant much of anything in the big picture which is a sad statement but a true one none the less.  Unless I am willing to pick up my life and relocate to a Scandinavian country I just have to be content to navigate around the landmines of corruption, greed, and ignorance that are so prevalent in the US today.

The good news from the dad conversation is once the land and car sales go through, the purchase of a high end solar power system can commence which will have far greater tangible benefit to my dad and stepmom down the road.

 

 

Due to a lack of time I am trying to jam in blog entries where I can and in some cases, combine some of my Dufisthenics content in here as well.

On Monday I finally got the combination I have been hoping for at Planet Fitness for chest day, a free Smith machine and the ab slant board being available.  The combination of the two would allow me to simulate a real decline bench press, the only real bench pressing I can do right now because of left shoulder pain.  I have been trying to do decline with a regular bench but it sucks as the downward slope requires you to try to grip awkwardly with your feet and legs to keep yourself from sliding.  With the decline ab bench I could lock my legs in place.

The combination of the two worked out well when combined with my being at a peak of my cyclical strength level.  I pushed up a fake 265 for one rep (240lbs actually) and did rep totals at lower weights far exceeding any recent PF efforts.  It really sucks that it is so hard at times to get access to the equipment you want to use.  It’s so frustrating to see people that have absolutely no clue what they are doing tying up a smith machine for 20 minutes doing movements that are dangerous or have minimal value due to horrible form/ROM.

To say that decline bench pressing is ok for my shoulder is sort of misleading, it just hurts less.  If I were to describe the sensation in my shoulder I would use this example.  Take a piece of lunch meat and lay it on a plate.  Now take a handful of small gravel and sprinkle it on the lunch meat.  Finally, take one more piece of lunch meat and place it on top.  Now run your hand back and forth over the lunch meat.  That is how it feels.

As I mentioned, my workload for the last few months and likely to the end of the year is pretty massive.  I am steering the ship of a ton of projects simultaneously, each one important in it’s own way, by far the most I have had to do/be responsible for, ever.  I’m not complaining, I’m up to the challenge but it will sure be nice when I can go back to my normal, mostly static environment where things just sort of work because I put in the effort to make it that way.

The changes we are making are definitely trying to future proof the office where we are moving a lot of functions and services to the cloud where ultra-availability and redundancy is the norm.  People often ask if I worry about job security as a result of cloud outsourcing.  Of course I don’t as there is still plenty of technical expertise needed in migration, implementation, and maintenance of these IT solutions.  By the time I actually worry about job security I will hopefully already have one foot on the retirement bus.

Saturday morning instead of running we were out in the mucky yard bright and early getting chores done. The daily downpours during the week has made portions of the yard pure muck, it’s disgusting.  I got out on the tractor later in the afternoon to mow what I could without mud bogging.

I also did two projects on the Prius.  For the second time in four months I had a headlight go out, this time the passenger side.  Despite doing the job not too long ago, I struggled again with the task that requires a lot of working blind, relying on feel alone.

I then threw the car up on ramps for an oil change.  Thankfully that was a much more straight forward job.

During the day I also had time to design my first Fusion 360 3D object from scratch, not following a tutorial.  I struggled mightily to get the software to spit out what I wanted due to my lack of experience, but by the time I was done I had a custom sponge holder bracket that did EXACTLY what I needed it to do.

Saturday night we stayed home and watched our Netflix rental, Underworld, whatever the latest iteration is. (I think there are six of them at this point)  Of course to me, Underworld is all about Kate Beckensale in tight leather outfits beating up werewolves and vampires alike.  Even with this going on I found this sequel only average and would rate it a B-, still ok to rent but a waste if you saw it in theaters.

Sunday I drug myself out of bed and to the track for a VERY humid 5K around the track.  I was joined by a guy walking laps at an extremely slow pace.  For every one lap he completed I ran between two and a half and three laps.  I was glad to be able to complete the distance without any bad pain from my right side.

When I got home I cleaned the coop and was absolutely disgusted to how mucky the front of the coop area had become.  I made a snap decision that I had to do something about it.  After calling the Bonita Home Depot to verify they had sod, I hauled ass there and filled the bed of the Tacoma with 15 bags of top soil and 30 pieces of sod.

I used the supplies to fill the small trench in front of the coop that gets the most disgusting.  The chickens were very happy to help me spread the top soil.  Anything dry is very appealing to them at this point.  On Saturday I dumped 5 bags of sand into piles in their run without raking it so they would have dry stuff to dig around in.

After taking a quick shower to rinse the sweat and dirt off me we headed out to meet Katie and Daniel for an EUC ride.  Daniel just got his brand new Gotway ACM this week so he was anxious to show it to us.  The wheel more than doubles the speed, power and distance of the Ninebot One Daniel had been riding up until this point.

We had fun zipping around the North Collier Park grounds, taking turns switching wheels.  I rode the ACM for a bit and to be honest wasn’t all the comfortable.  The wheel felt small, short, yet fat between my legs.  I felt a little wobbly on the wheel and much preferred the fit and ride my two larger wheels provide.  Like anything, I am sure I would get more used to it with more pedal time but it really made me rethink my idea to buy a 16 inch Kingsong wheel.  I may instead look at the 18 inch Kingsong wheel instead.

Late afternoon we piled the dogs into the Prius for a Rural King run which they were very excited about.  It’s always fun to bring Sadie and Elsa along anywhere.  They are quite the entertaining canine couple.

My work week is once again looking super busy, hence the reason this is getting punched out on a Sunday evening, an extremely rare occurrence.

 

 

 

 

 

So when we first got Elsa it took awhile until she started to trust us.  There seemed to be something in her past that obviously made her skittish and untrusting of people.  However over time we have been able to melt away those barriers and now Elsa is just a bundle of fun and love, although still filled with plenty of quirks.

When I get home at night she is just so ecstatic to see me.  Usually I will try to immediately sit down on the couch so she can jump up for a thorough petting session.  Her excitement level is off the charts.  It seems like she is most happy when Cindy and I are both home, when one of us is missing it’s just not the same.  Even though I had some trepidation about signing on to getting another dog, I’m now glad we jumped in as she is a bright source of fun and love in our lives.

So our slimy governor, Rick Scott, who was in opposition to medical marijuana which was passed in the state during last years election, is playing games to try to make the implementation of legal medical cannabis problematic.  You see Tricky Rick has deep ties to Big Pharm and the medicine for profit industries.  His lobbyist friends are not interested in a simple, natural product elbowing in to their extremely fat bottom line.

Late last month Scott signed a bill regarding how medical marijuana dispensaries are supposed to be managed by individual counties.  Basically it says a county has only two options, they either have to ban medical marijuana completely or they have to allow it anywhere with no middle ground.  So in a very image conscious place like Collier County, despite their desire for legal marijuana dispensaries inside county lines, the idea of having no control over the number of them or locations is not realistic so this law would force them into banning it completely, which is not what anybody really wants.

Of course the Trickster knows that a lot of counties are not going to be comfortable with having no control but he can put on a false face and say “Hey, the law says the counties can have medical marijuana anywhere they want!!” with that slimy, disingenuous grin of his.  It’s so transparent.

Luckily, there is a good chance that Rick’s shenanigans will not stand up in court.  It is likely the legislation will be challenged in court and be overturned but in the meantime many Florida residents just continue to wait for something that have voted to implement for over 5 years.

 

So yesterday the latest Trump mess unfolded where it was revealed beyond a shadow of a doubt that none other than Donald Jr, who was involved in the campaign at as high of a level as possible had direct communication with a Russian lawyer about acquiring information that would hurt Hilary Clinton’s campaign.  It’s just amazing that after six months of  twitter rants, fake news claims, firings, resignations, recusals, and flat out denials, this story still has legs.  Not only does it have legs, it’s accelerating, straight to the top.

So although I do think it is incriminating for a politician to willingly seek out this type of information from Russia, I think Donald is doing a fine job of proving himself incompetent in so many other ways already. This is just more evidence of a lack of judgement that has persisted from the first moment the idea of a President Trump became a possibility.

But what I find almost equally incredulous is despite this overwhelming and never ending parade of evidence to the contrary, some Trump supporters STILL are steadfast in their denial that anything significant really happened.  Any efforts for me to logically comprehend how there could not be at least a degree of doubt in the veracity of the administration’s claims, regardless of who you voted for,  just fall apart.  Even if Trump eventually is ousted in a bi-partisan movement, it seems like some individuals will cling to their position, regardless of changing information and circumstances.  Chronically ignoring, redirecting, and denying, to me, is far less respectable than saying, hey, I thought this at one point, but you know what, based on new information, it turns out I was wrong, I’m human.

Hey listen, my preference would have been that Trump swoops in, proves the entire world wrong, and somehow became a respected, intelligent, well spoken, and capable leader.  Unfortunately instead, he has performed even worse than most anticipated and made our country a running joke throughout the worldwide community.  It is a surreal reality that I am actually preferring a scenario where Mike Pence would be calling the shots.

I was not happy to discover this weekend that once again the driver side headlight on the Prius had gone out.  I had replaced both bulbs a couple month’s back and it required near contortionist level skills and the patience of Ghandi.  I am hoping doing it for a second time won’t be quite as frustrating.

So I once again received my annual SiriusXM renewal which once again was a ridiculous $283 for an annual subscription.  Of course I had no intent of paying that much so I did the same thing I have done the last five or six years, threaten to cancel.  My last interaction with Sirius, like many of them over the years, was pretty shitty when I transferred my service over to the radio in the Tacoma., so I wasn’t looking forward to another phone interaction.

It’s a pretty simple process, when you get into the phone menu you select the cancellation option which puts you in the queue to talk to a live person.  I have given my speech so many times it comes out very easily.  Basically I say I received my renewal notice, I can’t afford to pay that much and I would like to cancel my subscription if I can’t pay the same rate I paid the prior year.  Saying you “want to cancel” is the key phrase.  Once I said that my rate magically was cut almost in half.  I’ll be paying roughly $145 for the year subscription, once again.  I was also pleased that the phone rep this time around wasn’t an asshole.

Today is Amazon Prime day so if you are an avid Amazon customer you may be able to score some sweet deals.  Our Amazon Echo and Dots continue to amaze us with the new features that are added on a regular basis.  We voice ordered a couple early Prime deals last night and the Echo will give us a voice notification of shipping updates as they occur.

The Alexa calling feature that was recently added is pretty cool, it’s like a PA system for the home.  Cindy used it last night to open up a two way voice channel to me as I was sitting in the office while she was driving home from teaching a class.  Of course if you are concerned about privacy, having a device that is constantly listening is not going to be for you.  However if you are like me and operate on the premise that there is no real privacy in today’s world, you just roll with it.

So a few weeks ago during a phone call with my dad he told me that he planned to install a whole house solar system which I thought was very cool.  However what surprised me was how he intended to mostly pay for it by selling his two investment lots in Arizona, his BMW motorcycle AND his Alfa Romeo.  I am embarrassed to say I don’t recall which year his Alfa is but I think it’s 1963 or 64.

So the first three things he was selling made sense.  The land, which much like my investment land in Lehigh Acres is worth a fraction of what he paid for it and will likely never recover appreciably.  With dad’s aching lower body long motorcycle rides just are not enjoyable any more so there isn’t much reason to keep the bike. Selling the Alfa however is a BIG deal.

That car has been around prior to the point in time my memories started.  It lived in the garage in the Gouglersville house during most of my childhood.  Hell there was a junked Alfa in the barn that was used for some parts as well.  The junked Alfa also was my make believe vehicle.  I remember crawling into the cruddy, rodent infested cockpit and imagining I was out on the road many, many times.

For almost my entire life the Alfa was under some sort of cosmetic or mechanical restoration.  At no time was the vehicle driven on a regular basis. I don’t think I would be inaccurate in my guess that during my lifetime the car has seen less than 1000 miles added to the odometer.  When I got my drivers license it happened to coincide with a time where the Alfa was actually running.  I got to drive it a few times and even took it to my senior prom.  The car had a very unique, low posture and the ticking sound it made before you started it will always be ingrained in my brain.

The car has moved around the country with dad, from PA, out to New Mexico, and back to western PA in the span of about five years.  When I say the car was undergoing restoration for the last 30 years or so I am not exaggerating.  Some of the work dad did himself but a lot of it was outsourced which of course lead to a LOT of money being spent over time.  I would say the restoration more or less was complete a couple years ago although I think there were still a few things left to do.

So anyway, yea, for dad to be willing to finally let go of his young man hobby car after more than four decades is a real big deal.  I talked to him again today and it sounds like he actually has a legitimate buyer lined up for the car, via Craigslist no less.  If things go well, as of this weekend the Alfa Romeo will no longer be under roof.

I am curious if dad will feel similar to how I did with the SSR, where I surprisingly felt minimal remorse after it was gone.  The sale of the SSR allowed me to do a lot of great things.  The sale of the Alfa is going to allow dad to become much more energy independent which is something that sounds very appealing to him at this point in his life.  I’m proud of him for making the decision to let the car finally go, it was a long, very long, time in the making.  Hell the car almost felt like a distant sibling that was always around but never said much.  The older I get the more I put value on things I do, feel or accomplish and less on what I own. You can’t buy happiness, after all.

So as part of my Saturday morning chores I wanted ot get the grass mowed and weed whacked.  The standing water had dried up so I knew in wet season you need to take advantage of these dry opportunities.  Cindy and I busted ass and got everything looking good, just in time for it to absolutely pour a couple hours later, submerging the grounds once again.  It’s so frustrating.  When I walked back in the chicken area to turn the pump back on the water was only three to four inches from the top of my boots.

When I was doing stuff around the yard I was feeling some moderate discomfort from my right side.  It was the left over pain I had from doing dragon flags on Friday.  I was a little concerned that the pain, which seems to be right around where a liver is supposed to me, was still hurting.  The pain also erased running from the activity list for the weekend.  When I was crossing the Home Depot parking lot with Elsa and tried to transition into a light jog to avoid burning her feet I felt significant discomfort.  As the weekend progressed the pain has lessened so hopefully just avoiding dragon flags in the future will be the long term remedy.

Saturday night we got out to see the new Spiderman movie.  I found it interesting that Marvel basically decided to tweak the Spiderman origin story most of us know.  Despite this it somehow all worked which isn’t surprising.  Everything Marvel touches just works.  Both Cindy and I really enjoyed the movie, earning a shiny A+ in my book.

Sunday morning Katie joined us for our EUC ride around some of the beautiful nearby developments.  She had my old Ninebot One that I gave to Daniel in her truck which Cindy hopped on and rode at the end of the ride. It was sort of a symbolic triumph for Cindy since it was her fall off the Ninebot One in the driveway that scared her from learning for months and months.  For her to be able to step up and do a few circles on the 9B1 like it was no big deal was a testament to how far she has come.  Cindy said she actually liked the way the 16 inch wheel felt.

I did some more 3D printing over the weekend, printing a cool clamp style headset holder for Cindy, a small skull ring, a new phone case and a few other items.  I also got to do my first “fixing” of the FlashForge Finder.  When I was changing filament a piece seemed to get stuck in the extruder.  I had to do some minor disassembly to get access to the filament tube.  I then was able to use the included tools to clear the path and load in some fresh spool.

It’s a good thing that I get some practice digging into the printer.  With the CR-10 large format printer I have on order there is probably going to be a lot of tweaking, improving, and fixing going on.

I recorded a second video during the afternoon recapping my experiences thus far with 3D printing.  For being complete novices, I think Cindy and I have created some pretty amazing objects.

 

Sunday afternoon was chill with Cindy working more on her costume designs while I worked more in WoW.  Since I unlocked the ability to fly in game it has made leveling characters significantly easier.  I now have six or seven of my 11 toons at max level and keep working on the what is left.

We watched 50 Shades Darker last night, a movie I rented because Cindy expressed interest.  I saw the first one with her and was not very impressed although it was some low level soft porn.  I thought the sequel suffered from a disjointed plot which I found a hard time caring much about.  Of course it was filled with large amounts of more soft porn once again so I can give it a B on entertainment value I guess.

I once again have not been sleeping well.  Lately it seems I wake up an hour or two before the alarm goes off and just fade in and out of consciousness until the bell sounds.