So Cindy was teaching a class last night, meaning supper was going to be later than normal.  When I considered that along with the fact that Dunkin Donuts was running a promotion for 66 cent medium coffee’s to celebrate 66 years of business, I figured I would alter my route to pick up a cheap cup of coffee to help control my appetite. Well it didn’t take very long for me to regret that decision, a lot.

I decided I would hit the DD at the corner of Livingston Road and Pine Ridge.  As I got within about a 1/4 mile to the light, traffic in the lane was already grinding to a halt.  The light for that direction of traffic is already stupidly short considering the volume of vehicles but this was far worse than normal.  I saw two light cycles come and go with hardly any movement but I was too far away to see what the deal was. As I got closer a much clearer explanation was before me, assholes.

Pine Ridge connects to the interstate which is about a mile to the east of where I was.  For some reason traffic on Pine Ridge was backed up all the way to us.  So what I witnessed was the opposing traffic that was turning left onto Pine Ridge blocking the intersection.  You had people inserting themselves into the intersection even though the traffic ahead of them was at a dead stop.  So when the light for our direction turned green, nobody could move because the turning assholes were blocking the road.  It was maddening and infuriating as I despise people on the road with this degree of cluelessness. Of course the lemming mentality kicked in.  When one idiot turned into the clogged intersection, two or three more followed suit.

I probably spent at least 15 minutes trying to get through the intersection.  When I did finally get there I still had to swing around one more asshole that was still sticking out into the intersection.  This person received a loud and long horn applause from me, recognizing their effort.  The delay there snowballed as I was now in the middle of the worst rush hour traffic.  When I hit Immokalee Road I got encased in wall to wall traffic that was absolutely miserable, again filled with inconsiderate assholes, cutting off, blocking, and annoying at every opportunity they are given.  The 66 cent coffee resulted in an additional 45 minutes of travel time.  I won’t be doing that again.

When I finally got home I again mounted the tractor for more mowing.  On Wednesday night I mowed the grass inside the fence.  Last night I wanted to tackle the grass on the outside perimeter of the fence.  That grass was even higher than what I faced the night before, four feet plus in some sections.  To mow it down required multiple passes with the tractor along with me holding open the chute guard to allow the cut grass to fly out at high velocity.  I would mow a 10 foot section, back up that same 10 feet and then pull forward again.  I rinsed a repeated down the entire fence line.  The experience has me considering getting one of those brush mowers that are designed to knock down this sort of crap.

When I got inside I pulled out everything I should need for Saturday’s race so I can in turn pack it in the truck tonight.  Tonight on my way home I will be dropping off race stuff at the church where they are doing packet pick up and then swinging back there at 7 to pick it up.  Saturday will start with my the last 4AM alarm to get on site by 5.  I can hardly wait, for it to be all over.

 

So in anticipation of my dad’s visit in a week or so I wanted to get the back of the yard mowed.  I wasted no time when I got home, changing into mowing clothes, gassing up the tractor and getting busy.  When it comes to the backyard, the longer you go in between mowings the larger time penalty you pay.  The grass was dense and over knee high in spots meaning I had to go at a snail’s pace over a large section of the property.  The slow pace combined with the diminishing amount of daylight meant I finished up pretty much in complete darkness.

The low/no light conditions were tough to deal with since the tractor headlights have a loose connection, meaning they come on and off randomly.  I was leaning forward and smacking the hood like the Fonze, trying to get them to come back on at times.  I am sure it looked ridiculous.  Of course you couldn’t see me anyway, it was too dark.

I have other grounds prep I want to get done before my dad, step mom and their dogs show up.  I will have to try to work most of it in this weekend since they are scheduled to show up next Friday.  We are going to have to come up with a game plan as far as the chickens go as well.  I love Dad’s two dogs, Maggie and Clara.  Maggie is very docile and I don’t think she would threaten the chickens.  Clara is a hunter that loves to chase/kill animals smaller than her. Because of this we are going to have to either keep the dogs on leash if they are in the backyard or keep the chickens in the coop when the dogs are out there.  I would like to see how they react to one another but I certainly won’t risk any danger to our chicks in the process.

12705726_490477737802519_2269893942628260045_nSo I have my last timing gig coming up on Saturday.  Even though the race is very small with more walkers than runners, I can feel the same anxiety and stress creeping in that I became accustomed to over the last decade of my life.  I have the mental checklists running through my head, trying to make sure that whatever I need to do gets done.  From a technical standpoint, the actual timing of the race should be very simple with the small numbers and only running a single timing box at the finish line and none at the start.  However we do also have to set up the other associated equipment, including the big inflatable arch.

When the last runner crosses the finish line on Saturday I will exhale one last sigh of relief, glad to have the race timer portion of my life in the rear view mirror.  I’d love to be able to immediately sell my race equipment but I actually am loaning some of it out over the next couple months to some friends so I need to hold onto it until then.  If I am lucky by the time Christmas rolls around it will all be gone and we will have reclaimed a large chunk of space from our third bedroom, garage and storage sheds.

karma-drone-main1Ever since my prosecution for flying in Yellowstone Park via YouTube video my drone flying has been next to nothing.  It left a very bad taste in my mouth for obvious reasons.  Because of this I have not really been keeping up with the latest and greatest on the drone scene until Casey Neistat reviewed the new GoPro Karma, a compact and versatile quadcopter.  The specs, which I will get into shortly looked impressive and I loved the way it folded into a very portable package for easy transport.  Well my mind was blown when no later than a week later, DJI announced their all new compact drone, the Mavic.

Although at first glance you would think the drones are very similar, which they are, but when you start digging into them some important differences come up.  Both drones fold up to take up much less space than something like the DJI Phantom which has become the gold standard of drones the last few years.  While the Karma is small, the Mavic is even smaller, close to the size of a medium water bottle when folded.

When it comes to controllers there are some important differences. All Karmas come with a controller that is nice and compact which includes a bright LED screen designed for outdoor viewing.  The low end Mavic does not come with a controller but allows you to fly it with your phone.  If you do opt for the controller, which again is a much smaller size than people are accustomed to, if you want to fly with FPV you need to link your phone to the controller.

djimavicprofeat-800x4201Both drones include a sophisticated gimble stabilization system which gives you rock solid video during even rough flying conditions however the way they capture the video is different.  The Mavic has a built in, permanently attached 4K camera that delivers very high quality images.  Predictably, the Karma utilizes a GoPro to collect it’s video.  The copter will work with a GoPro Hero 4 and up supposedly.  So if you already have a GoPro that is compatible you are a step ahead. What is really different is that the Karma allows you to remove the entire gimble assembly from the drone and convert it to a handheld stabilizer which is super cool.  When I saw this my mind immediately jumped to my Ninebot One videos and how a handheld stabilizer could benefit me.

However when you start comparing the nuts and bolts of the drone itself, the Mavic has a clear lead.  It’s faster, has longer battery life, smaller, and includes a lot of the extra intelligence like obstacle avoidance and subject following that it’s big brother Phantom has.  The Karma has none of this sort of capability.

It’s really hard to do an apples to apples comparison of the two drones because of some of these variables.  If you don’t already own a compatible GoPro your price entry point for the Karma is going to be significantly higher.  If you buy a Mavic and opt to just control it with the phone you could could slide in under the Karma by several hundred dollars but then you don’t have a cool handheld stabilizer thrown in.  With the Mavic you need to use your phone to do FPV, with the Karma you don’t but the Mavic has significantly more tech built into the drone itself.

So which one is right for you?  Unfortunately the best answer I can give you is, “depends”.  I can tell you from Casey Neistat’s feedback, (he tested a Mavic too), he is more excited about the DJI drone.  Regardless, both of them are going to elevate the world of drones to a new level.

 

 

Cindy’s daughter was over last night for dinner.  While she was there she hopped on Cindy’s computer to look at some stuff.  At the time I was on my computer mowing down an army of demons in WoW.  Cindy suggested to Katie that she takes a look at some YouTube videos that might have the info she was looking for.  Katie said she didn’t like YouTube because half the time she has invested four minutes into the video and it turns out it didn’t have what she was looking for.

For me it was a snapshot into the mind of today’s youth where four minutes is looked upon as an eternity.  In the Vine, SnapChat, Instagram, and Persicope world where people are trained to pay attention in 6-15 second bursts, asking a young person to focus on something that doesn’t involve their smart phone for more than a commercial break is a big deal.

In some ways I consider myself lucky to have grown up in a much less connected, tech infused society where I was forced to use my mind, body and imagination to pull entertainment and stimulation into my sphere of life.   Because of that experience I am able to still enjoy and appreciate the simpler things without drowning in the sea of technology that surrounds us all.  When I am at home my smart phone 90% of the time sits on a table with the speaker silenced.

I’m not sure why the four minute comment stuck with me so much. I feel bad for the younger generation that have become so hopelessly addicted to tech that they literally don’t know how to function without it.

Yesterday I was part of the interview process for a position we are looking to fill.  It was the first time I was on the other side of the table.  It gave me some anxiety as I never had been put in the position to make judgements on people that could potentially have a large impact on their lives.  The two candidates we interviewed yesterday were vastly different.  I was surprised to hear that the IT job field in our area evidently is very tight.  Both people had been looking for work for months, despite both having sizeable job experience. In all honesty they were over qualified for the position that is available.

We received around 20 applicants so far.  Out of those 20, only a half dozen or so were worth talking to from what we determined.  Like anything, I am confident the more people we talk to, the less stressful the interview process will become from my end.  One unexpected side effect has been reaffirming my good fortune to be secure in a job with benefits that are evaporating in today’s typical workforce.

I’m still sleeping like shit, something that started with the prednisone and has persisted despite being off it for a few weeks.

14462917_10154854498947841_197243187389460104_nSo my last day off had the most relaxation time in it of any of the last seven days which I guess is a good thing.  After I dropped off Sadie at Ali’s place in the morning I parked the car in the Target parking lot for another Ninebot One ride.  I took a route that I used to run once in a while, taking Oakes Blvd, to Vanderbilt, to Livingston, traveling to the water park before turning around and reversing the trip.

In total the ride was damn close to 10 miles and I stayed on the wheel the entire time, only stopping a couple times to briefly shift my feet while holding onto a pole.  The overcast skies made the ride much more enjoyable than it would have been if the sun was beating down on me during those long, unshaded sections of the route.  I managed to avoid a single low battery tiltback warning, keeping my speed in the 10-12 mph range for most of the ride.

14448957_10154855219192841_2999220158641143476_nDuring the afternoon I decided to perform the last appearance upgrade I had in store for the EUC, covering the bottom of the foot pedals with carbon fiber looking wrap that is designed to cover things like automobiles.  Installing the covering was not very difficult at all and I liked the way it covered the scratched and mauled surface, the end result of many, many crashes.   The few changes I have made on the bot recently have really improved the appearance in my opinion.

I spent a good portion of the afternoon deeply involved in some WoW Legion.  It was a fun way to disconnect from the here and now for a few hours.

Of course last night Cindy and I tuned in to the debate that had more hype leading up to it than a Super Bowl.  It was in a word, amazing.  For the first few minutes of the debate you could tell Trump was trying really hard to do what his advisors coached him to do, act calm, speak slowly and carefully, using the talking points they thought would be most effective.  However it took precious little time until he came unglued and flipped back to what comes natural to him, talking loudly, interrupting, being aggravated, and expressing himself using a vocabulary that never gets out of the middle school level.

Even if you have identified yourself as a Trump supporter, you would be hard pressed to say he did anything but hurt himself with his performance last night.  Using one of his favorite words, it was a disaster.  I’m not going to waste my time breaking down the countless amazingly poor choice of words he made like how not paying any taxes is “smart”, alienating the nation’s large supply of 400 pound citizens, or that immigrants have guns and shoot people.  That is only a very small portion of what was a dump truck full of missteps he made.  The thing is, he did the same thing during the primary debates and his hard core supporters seemed to not care so I doubt they will care about yet another embarrassing outing.

The split screen was certainly not Donald’s friend.  Seeing him get all bent out of shape while Hilary was speaking did nothing but drive home the point that he is a tantruming man-child at heart.  Sure Hilary seemed almost over prepared at times with well rehearsed responses to some of the questions but there is no doubt she carried herself far better that Donald did.  It’s not even close.

The debate was entertaining for sure.  Unfortunately, entertainment is not high on the list of my qualifications for a presidential candidate.

 

So I am now on the last day of my 7 day staycation.  The weekend was similar to most other days on the last week outside of the tortuous Tuesday  when I stripped the garage floor.  Instead the weekend had a mix of work and fun which felt pretty in balance.  On Saturday I went around the property spraying something called Wet and Forget.  It is supposed to break down mildew and algae over time and supposedly does not require scrubbing or rinsing, hence it’s name.  I hit a variety of surfaces including the gutters, driveway, pool cage, castle stones and even the fence posts, most of which have black mildew.  The catch is the stuff works slowly, it can take months for stuff to completely disappear, supposedly.  I will report back at Christmas if I see a difference. I tended to a number of other chores around the house Saturday but don’t recall all of the specifics.

We did our normal errand run in the afternoon, taking Sadie to Rural King and Home Depot, something she has come to love.  She just loves exploring the aisles.

Saturday evening we watched another Netflix rental, Money Monster starring George Clooney and Julia Roberts.  The plot lost touch with reality towards the end in such a way that it drug the rating of the film to just a B in my book.  Sure rent it, it’s ok.

Sunday morning Cindy joined me for an early run at the track.  It was the first outdoor running Cindy has done in quite awhile.  I cautioned her to take it easy but of course she wound up almost running the same four miles I did. ( She did 3.75)  I felt decent during the run, tired but not obliterated.

We cleaned up and took Sadie  to the Naples Greenway.  I had my Ninebot One but Cindy stayed on foot with Sadie.  It was getting quite hot so we didn’t stay very long.  Sadie’s black fur gets her overheated very quickly in direct sun.  I rode about four miles, spending some of it with them and the rest on my own.

When we got home there were a few things to do but I mostly chilled out playing some of my longest WoW Legion sessions to date.  I am enjoying the new expansion a lot although it feels like I have mountains of virtual tasks to complete.  The Eagles game came on at 4:30.  I was not really sure what to expect but the general consensus was the Steelers are a significantly better team than the up and coming Eagles.  Well that script got flipped in a big way.  Instead the Eagles stepped on the Steelers and didn’t relent at all, crushing them 34-3. It was such a blowout that I didn’t get to see the last quarter when the local CBS affiliate flipped to another game.

I am really amazed at just how well the team has done so far.  They have continued the formula of a balanced attack on offense with a punishing defense.  I absolutely LOVE that when the team was up three scores the defense continued to be aggressive instead of deploying the hated prevent defense that I have ranted about for decades.  This is the best I have felt about the team in more than decade.  If you asked me a month ago I was in “this is a rebuilding year” mode.  Now, it seems clear this team has the capability to do some real damage in the NFC this year.  As ho hum as I felt about Doug Pederson as the head coach, somehow, someway it’s working.

For my last day off I plan to follow much the same formula as the past week.  I was already outside hooking up a new pond pump.  I’ll be tending to more to do’s as I mix in one last dose of fun and play.

RIP Arnold Palmer.  Although I have never been more than a casual golfer, I appreciate the legend he has been in the game.  He has always struck me as just being a good man, something we could use more of nowadays.

I have still been spending most of my staycation time as get stuff done time.  Yesterday I headed out early in the Tacoma to hunt for sod, hitting Lowe’s and two different Home Depot’s.  I struck out twice and the sod I did finally score looks like shit.  I didn’t really care as it’s primary role is to fill some new areas the chickens have destroyed.  This is a hamster wheel I don’t expect to be able to get off of. The septic tank pumping company showed up yesterday.  I called them when the toilet nearest the tank started to gurgle, a sure sign that the tank  is getting full.  It had been over two years since the last pumping so it was about due.

I also found myself on top of the chicken coop roof.  You may recall last year I came up with the idea of painting the roof white in order to help reflect back some of the heat that was turning the coop into an oven.  Well over the course of a year the brutal Florida climate had broken down the paint somewhat with a lot of original brown roof peeking through.  I armed myself with four cans of the plastic specific gloss white spray paint and went over the entire surface.  The side of the roof that faces the house, which also faces the sun was is much worse shape than the other side.  A yearly reapplication of the paint is going to be tacked onto the must do list apparently.

Installing the sod is a messy, sweaty, dirty job.  It has another facet since I got the new Tacoma.  With the old truck I didn’t give a shit if the left over dirt from the sod sat in the bed for awhile.  If I did clean it, it was normally with a broom.  With the new truck that is no longer the case, dirt is not allowed to reside in the bed any longer than it needs to.  The addition of the bed mat gives me a second thing to clean.  I pull the mat out, hose it down and then hang it over the fence.  I then do a water pik like cleaning job of the composite bed, doing my best to make sure not a single grain of sand or dirt remains.

Later when Cindy got home we took the PTVs out for a short ride at North Collier Park.  Cindy was on her Segway and I was on my Ninebot One.  Cindy was surprised just how adept I have gotten at navigating terrain and curves.  There were a few places where she thought I would have an issue that I rolled through cleanly.  To add more difficulty I was drinking coffee the entire ride, the first time I did that on a single wheel.

14440689_10154842540187841_5635833684071419378_nSpeaking of the wheel, yesterday I also completed another mod of it, removing and painting the outer rings with left over Hugger Orange Plasti-dip.  I like the end result and the difficulty level was very low.  I may do one more thing to the bot, resurface the bottom of the pedals which are so beat up from my bumpy  and crash filled learning experience.

After Cindy and I finished we did some grocery shopping which included going to Sam’s.  I was disgusted/amazed when they had a full aisle of Christmas decorations set up.  I looked at my phone to confirm it was only September 22nd.  Every year they seem to just making the Christmas shopping season longer and longer.

After getting a several day break from significant precipitation, the storms returned last night with a vengeance. We endured tremendous rain, wind, and lightning.  We lost power repeatedly and had a couple strikes that sounded like they were in the back yard. The thunder from those strikes rattled the house to the point where we thought some glass broke.

I plan to spend my Friday working on more minor to do’s as well as picking up Sadie for the weekend.  Hopefully at some point I can feel ahead enough of the curve to just chill and not feel guilty about it.

So for my first day of vacation I figured I would tackle the most annoying and difficult job on the to do list, stripping the paint off the garage floor.  Months ago Cindy painted the garage floor but did not etch the concrete first.  The end result was the paint not adhering well, it started to lift off in various spots.  My plan was to use muriatic acid to both etch the concrete and dissolve the paint.  I bought the acid, a respirator, and a floor brush to agitate it.

The first step of course was to pull EVERYTHING off the floor of the garage which is a large task in itself.  I started very early, removing items and placing them on either side for the driveway.  After the space was cleared I used the blower to get most debris off the floor followed by the shopvac to get whatever was left.  Finally I pulled the hose in to rinse down the entire floor, the surface you apply acid to is supposed to be wet.

So I put on my acid spraying gear which included jeans, rubber boots, long sleeve shirt, respirator, and safety glasses.  Even though it was still early in the morning the outfit accelerated the sweating process.  I mixed up my acid solution in 3-1 formula, three parts water to one part acid.  I pumped up the pressure handle and started spraying.

It didn’t take me long to question the effectiveness of my plan.  When the acid hit any bare concrete it started to bubble and smoke as it should but when I sprayed the painted surface I saw no reaction whatsoever.  I continued spraying anyway, covering the entire floor, hoping if I let the acid sit a few minutes I would see something happen.  It didn’t.  I pulled the hose in and washed the acid off the surface.  Apparently my assumption that muriatic acid would surely eat paint if it eats concrete was a bad one.

So now I had to quickly come up with plan two.  Cindy had talked to the tool rental department at Home Depot awhile back about ways to remove the paint.  They suggested a machine that has a grinding disc.  Supposedly it would easily remove the paint and rough up the surface of the concrete at the same time.  I wasted little time changing and heading to the store to rent the machine.

14358905_10154839698792841_8471494513777053058_nWhen I got there I explained what I needed to do.  The clerk showed me the machine and grabbed one of the grinding discs.  I assumed operating the machine would not be a big deal.  The guy warned me that it is going to be hard work, the depths of that hardness would be revealed to me shortly.

The machine has two wheels so when I pulled it out to the truck I didn’t have a good sense of it’s true weight.  When I lifted it up onto the bed of the truck it became very clear that it easily weighed over 100 pounds, maybe even 150.  When I got home I lugged the unit up into the garage and again wet down the floor.  The guy said the surface needed to have like a mist on it, if you let it run dry it will wreck the grinding fins.

So I pretty much soaked the floor and turned on the machine in the center.  I was advised to do some “practice” to “get a feel for it”.  Well I sure got a feel, the feel of massive torque wanting to pull the machine to the left as the grinding wheel turned counter clockwise.  I could not stop it, the grinder was basically pulling me around the garage.  After more frustrating attempts I determined the only way to control the movement was to brace my body in such a way that I was applying torque in the opposite direction, meaning I had the handle sort of wedged against my left leg as I used my core to fight the twisting motion.  It was very, very difficult.

Once I got the machine more under control I tried putting it to work.  I was not impressed.  I had visions in my head of this beast ripping the old paint off with ease.  Instead it took excruciatingly long until it would get down to bare concrete.  I also discovered that having the floor soaked made the problem even worse as you need friction to get the job done.  I started working on the two car sized floor inch by inch.

Within the first half hour of running the machine I was beat up, my entire body was being pushed to the limit to keep the machine going the direction I wanted.  I could only do small sections at a time before I had to take a break to recover.  During that break I was using the pressure washer to blast off the heavy gray residue from the parts I worked on.  The stuff was part floor paint and concrete dust.  It looked like wet cement.

By the time Cindy got back from work mid-afternoon I was pretty much losing my mind.  I was exhausted and frustrated I still had half the floor to do.  When she changed and came out to help I put her on pressure washer duty.  Not only was she washing away the sludge I left behind, she also was using the gas pressure washer to blast away small sections of paint as well.  So we continued on for hours, removing the paint ever so slowly.  It was one of the most physically grueling things I have had to endure in quite a long time.

So finally in the early evening the floor was pretty much done.  However now all the shit had to be brought back inside but before that could be done all the gray sludge that was washed out of the garage now had to be blasted off the driveway.  I probably spent another 30 minutes just doing that.  Finally we started to repopulate the garage, doing some minor organizing and discarding as we did.  Despite only being involved in the job for a few hours Cindy was feeling beat up as well.  Once the final item was put back in the garage and the truck pulled back in it was something like 6:30 PM, an incredibly long and exhausting “vacation” day.

I told Cindy I would take her and Katie out for dinner.  The last thing Cindy needed to be doing is preparing a meal.  I was walking around like an arthritic, very, very old man.  Every single thing on my body was sore and/or aching.  We had a nice meal at Pelican Larry’s.  When we returned home it took me very little time before I was collapsed into bed.  I slept like a rock but awoke today sore but still mobile.

I truly hope that this is the last time I submit myself to this degree of a grueling home project.  I’m just getting too old to hang.

 

Once again my Saturday was filled with a lot of labor including weeding and mowing the entire yard.  I also went around with the loppers, knocking off rogue branches wherever they showed their face.  Of course it was hot as hades outside, once again making me wish I could step in a time machine and move two months ahead when the weather is much more pleasant.

After lunch Cindy and I ran out to do some errands.  On the way home we ran into an odd roadblock a mile from the house.  Earlier we had seen what looked to be a police helicopter circling our area.  In addition I had a surprising voicemail on the home phone from the sheriff’s office stating there was a missing person in our area, instructing us to call them if we see someone matching his description.

In the paper later I saw more details.  The guy evidently was either autistic or has Asbergers.  On Friday night he was riding somewhere with his mother when he told her to stop the car.  He proceeded to jump out and start walking through the swampy areas near our place.  The police evidently searched for the guy all weekend and as of now nothing has turned up.  I’m not quite sure why the woman would have stopped and let her son out but I don’t know the details of the situation.

I did some prep for the final race in my timing career, setting up the event in the timing software as well as pulling out the race clock for some testing.  The made in China clock has woefully inadequate documentation so I spent the time to create my own which will come in handy for someone else when I ultimately sell the clock down the  road.  Despite me using the clock a few times at races, it took me awhile to fully understand/document exactly what does what.

I continued working on other things when we got home, doing my weekly bill paying/accounting and then turning my attention to my Ninebot One.  I had ordered some replacement leg pads for the bot to replace the bloody, cracked, ripped, and duct taped originals, a casualty of my learning experience.  In addition I bought some grip tape, designed for skateboards to adhere to the pedals to make it more difficult for me to slide off the pedals accidentally, the reason for a couple of my crashes.

It took me longer than expected to do the work as I ran into some unexpected problems as I nearly always do.  I also wound up removing the ripped up, ugly green protective foam from the edge of the bot.  I now have less protection from impact but the wheel looks much better.  If you would like to see the process take a look below.

Saturday night I didn’t sleep great.  I woke up at least an hour before the 6AM alarm I had set to get up and run.  I decided I may as well just get up and get it over with.  I arrived at the track about 6:10 am and got started.  The entire reason to get out there so early is to avoid the brutal south Florida summer heat.  Even at that wee hour of the morning it was still 79 degrees and when I got home the weather center showed 95% humidity.  The four mile run left pretty much every square inch of my t-shirt sopping wet.

Later on in the morning I got out for a solo ride on the Ninebot One, starting at the church where I am timing the 5K October 1st.  I had never been there before so I wanted to get some familiarity with the layout.  I didn’t stay on the grounds very long as church service traffic was rolling into the parking lot at a rapid pace.  I headed out into the surrounding area, amassing almost six and a half miles total.  The new grip taped pedals felt like an improvement.

We ran out for more errands on Sunday afternoon including Rural King where I picked up a new set of rubber muck boots that are necessary to deal with the swampy summer conditions.  The boots I have I had for years.  They don’t leak yet but the upper portion of them is literally disintegrating.  The Eagles don’t play until tonight so I had some spare time late Sunday that I utilized geeking out in Wow for awhile, a good way to chill out for me.

Cindy and I watched some of the news coverage regarding the explosion in NYC.  It seemed like the media is chomping at the bit to label it terrorism while government officials don’t know enough to make an accurate determination.  Terror and fear sells.

After completing my one day work week I have a long mental list of things I would like to accomplish within the next week.  Although skipping the mini-road trip still makes financial and practical sense this year, I have a hard time not feeling some degree of guilt about it since I know Cindy was excited about it originally.  It should only be a brief hiatus in the tradition.

 

Last night I was back out on the EUC.  I drove over to the school since it offers me a lot of options for riding terrain.  I also threw a dozen cones in the trunk that I planned to use for some agility training.  The school grounds seemed to be pretty busy with various sporting events and other after school activities.  After riding around a little bit I set up the cones.

First I set up one cone on each of the parking space lines, the goal being to weave in between them.  Parking spaces are pretty wide so I was able to perform the course rather easily.  I then doubled up the difficulty, inserting cones in between the existing ones, cutting the distance I had to make the turns in half.  I struggled much more with that set up, failing to get through the cones without clipping one on my first two attempts.  I was finally successful the third time around going very slow with lots of arm flailing to maintain balance.   I went through a couple more times for fun.

I finished up with some random rides around the school including into the heart of the building complex.  I wound up in an inner courtyard that I was not aware existed.  It took a little while till I found an open exit point.  I felt a bit like a trespasser as I rolled past the kids lockers that surprisingly are under roof but not indoors.  I finished up a little before 6:45 to head home to enjoy a nice Italian spaghetti dinner Cindy whipped up for Katie and me.

This whole Colin Kapernick not standing for the national anthem thing has gotten far more legs than I expected.  In a way it reminds me of the way the transgender bathroom thing got out of hand.  Now you have players in all sorts of sports kneeling/sitting during the anthem instead of doing the traditional thing and standing as it is played.  Hell there was a story in our local paper about a school principal who is now in hot water with a constitutional lawyer because he made an announcement that students MUST stand during the anthem or face disciplinary action which is technically a violation of constitutional rights.

I mean really, is this all necessary?  It’s a self fulfilling prophecy.  The more outrage, anger, and publicity the general population gives to the story, the more likely others are to jump on the not standing bandwagon.  To be clear, I am not one of those blinders on, Merica guys that gives no thought to the reason this movement has gotten legs.  Yes, there are some disgraceful and shameful things our country has and will continue to do that oppress a large portion of the population although my focus is more on the the feudal-like lords that have been allowed to create such economic disparity.  Of course the Trump presidential campaign has pulled back the rug on the ugly level of racism/sterotyping that was just waiting for the right candidate to nurture those destructive emotions.

Despite these shortcomings, in the big picture I think our country and the ideals that it strives to reach someday are worthy of respect so you will never see me taking a knee when the anthem is played.  That is my personal decision and although I may think it’s disrespectful of someone else to not do the same, I’ll respect your right to do it.  If you want to see less news stories about anthem kneeling, stop reacting so strongly to it.  I saw a funny blurb about the irony that those who seem the most deeply offended by anthem kneelers that are disrespecting the country are the same people that feel the strongest about the need to stockpile weapons to “protect” themselves from the government of that same country.  It’s a head scratcher.

I have a weird work week coming up.  After a normal two day weekend, I work Monday and then am off until the following Tuesday.  I’m not sure if I ever had a one day work week before but it is definitely an arrangement I could endorse easily.