So I have spent the majority of my 5 day long weekend as I normally do, trying to front load all of the work, projects, and tasks so for the last portion of the time off I can chill out. Well to finish that front loading process consumed nearly three full days unfortunately.
On Thursday I got a head start on the weekend chores by weeding and weed whacking the yard in the glorious heat and humidity of a late August Florida day. I was pooped afterward but wanted to try to get one of my “fun” projects done, replacing the case on my Msuper EUC. I damaged the case learning to go backwards and recently got a brand new case and trolley handle to undo the damage I had done.
Changing the case on an EUC is a MAJOR operation that requires you to take the unit pretty much entirely apart. Of course I had never attempted such a thing but I had watched a video of the process and was confident I could do the work.
Well in the end I did indeed do the work but I hit some major delays along the way, all of which are documented in the nearly hour long video which was a condensed version of the nearly three hours I spent in the process. In the end I found a way to circumvent my issues and the new case looks sharp.
On Friday the front loading continued in earnest. This time I jumped on the tractor and mowed the grass, taking advantage of the relatively low standing water levels. During the afternoon I started my second major hobby project of the weekend, installing a new logic board and auto leveling sensor into my CR-10.
Like the EUC work, this project required me to rip into the hardware in a pretty significant way. I once again had a lot of struggles with the install. A lot of the problems came from my relative inexperience with 3D printing hardware but as I usually do, I managed to find my way to the finish line in a circuitous fashion.
On Saturday half of my day was consumed at work. I had to replace the two main backbone switches in our NOC, another part of our renovation project. Doing so required me to unplug every wire connected to the old switches, install the new switches, and then run new wires in a more organized and orderly manner.
I asked Cindy if she wanted to come in to help as I could use her to help me document the connections so I didn’t miss anything. She said sure and we decided to bring Elsa with as well. Elsa was a bit freaked out being in a foreign environment and did not want to be out of eye contact of myself or Cindy. It took awhile but eventually she settled down enough to take a nap while we worked. For the most part the work went smoothly and having Cindy there easily helped me shave at least 30 minutes off the job.
After the office work was done we ate lunch at Panera and then stopped at Rural King and Home Depot for some more supplies. By the time we got home it was after 3PM so the majority of the day was eaten up. Last night we vegged out while trying to continue consuming the backlog of DVR content we have from being away on the roadtrip. If I didn’t have EUC’s, 3D printing, and WoW as hobbies I would be able to get through shows faster but to be honest, I’d rather have other things to help split my attention between.
We had some incredible lightning and thunder Saturday night. At one point I thought a bomb went off in the atmosphere. Out of the corner of my eye I saw a ball of light out of the bedroom window and what seemed like 10 seconds later the shockwave hit and it hit hard. Even inside you could feel the power of the blast, it did not seem like thunder from normal lightning, it sounded like a bomb.
All weekend I have had various episodes of limping and walking like a geriatric. Regardless I tasked myself with getting up early this morning and going out to run. I think I may have run lap 6 twice but either way I did somewhere around 5K of running, once again feeling very labored to do so. I need to just keep pushing myself to get out there. Even though things hurt the first few laps after I warm up the pain sort of fades and general discomfort sets in.
A little later in the morning Cindy and I headed out to ride our wheels. It was my first chance to give the Msuper a thorough test after all of the work. It seemed to ride normally which I was very happy about. Katie and her friend Kendal joined us briefly on the ride but their one wheel ran out of battery power so they headed back early. After the ride we made another Home Depot pit stop as well as a stop at Micahel’s for Cindy to grab some crafting supplies.
I currently have both 3D printers cranking out two different projects and I hope to be able to take a good portion of the rest of my time off doing exactly what I would like to do. We will see how that turns out.
This week I received a new type of 3D filament, NinjaFlex. It is a flexible filament that is rubber like and very strong. My plan was to use it to try to print an iPhone6 case for myself. Because of the way the extruder is set up on the CR-10, the FlashForge Finder made more sense to use although a phone case is pretty much the maximum size object you can put on it’s print bed.
Cindy and I made multiple attempts to get the print job going but each time we had issues either with adhesion or clumping. I plan to put down a fresh layer of tape on the print surface and then relevel the bed and try again. It would be cool to be able to print 3D flexible objects but it isn’t a high priority.
Yesterday I also received my replacement Msuper case from Ewheels to replace the battered and bruised shell, a side effect of learning to ride backwards. The new case is a cool black matte finish which I think will look really sharp. Unfortunately to swap the case requires a total teardown of the wheel which is going to be a major endeavor. I have to see when I gather the motivation to take it on.
Tonight we are once again hosting the draft party for my fantasy football league. Last night I did the technical work, getting the laptop connected to Skype and the new TV. After work we will do the major furniture relocation required to host a dozen people in the great room. It should be a good time as always.
This morning I popped off the last piece of the EUC stand I 3D printed. It’s thick and strong in order to support the weight of a unicycle. I am confident it can hold my 45 pound Msuper. I am not quite so sure how it will hold up to the 60+ pound Monster.
My next printer mod should be here today, an auto leveling kit which includes a new logic board for the printer and a special sensor that is mounted with the extruder. Supposedly once you get this kit installed and dialed in correctly, bed leveling problems become a thing of the past. Although to be honest, lately the Cr-10 has been pretty consistent with it’s prints doing it the old fashioned way.
I took off Thursday and Friday for multiple reasons. First it will allow me to recover from the fantasy football draft party that I am once again hosting this year. I normally drink and eat way too much at these events so it will be nice to not have to roll into work the day after.
Taking these two days translates into a five day weekend for me since Labor Day is Monday. The extended time off will allow me to tackle a number of projects both 3D printing related and other things rolling around in my head. For the next few weeks at work there is going to be weekend work as some staff is moved from the temp building back here and another set of staff relocates to the temp building for a period of 3-4 weeks.
So I told Cindy Friday night that I was getting up and running Saturday morning as long as it wasn’t raining, even if I don’t want to. Because of Supercon, the road trip, and being beat up from yard work I had not run in at least 5 weeks. When the alarm went off at 6AM I confirmed it was not actively raining so I threw on my running clothes and headed out into the warm and humid morning.
The 12 laps around the track were slow and not enjoyable, just as I expected them to be. But I did complete the roughly 5K run and body willing, I will be back there next weekend to continue the punishment. Running at my age and with my joint conditions is probably a dumb endeavor but I plan to hold onto it as long as I can, as I try to desperately fend off the relentless effects of time.
When I got home I wasted no time getting outside to tend to the chickens, weed, and a few other things around the yard. At some point the onslaught of rain began. I was in the mindset where I didn’t care, I finished up the last of the chores in the midst of a downpour. Once you are that wet, more rain doesn’t really matter, at least in my mind.
After drying off we put Sadie and Elsa in the Prius for a coffee and Rural King run. This was the first time I ever saw the Rural King parking lot flooded. That is how much rain we had gotten the last few days (it’s still raining btw) The dogs just love car rides and Elsa loves them even more when Sadie is sharing the back seat with her.
When we got home Cindy went right back into the guest bathroom where she was doing some of the final touch ups. The side splash piece of matching quartz we ordered from Home Depot showed up Friday so we installed that with construction adhesive which was pretty much the last piece of the puzzle. The small room really looks completely different and all the credit for the design, color, and motivation to do it belongs to Cindy.
With the latest multi-day rain event the chicken area once again has become a flood zone. Instead of allowing them to walk around in the muck all day we once again have allowed them access temporarily to the entire yard to find high ground. The chickens definitely like having some drier land to explore but they still seem to like spend a lot of time while it’s raining on the perch inside the coop run.
So I bought the McGregor-Mayweather fight when Cindy showed interest in seeing it. She had said something about going to a restaurant/bar to see it but in retrospect I was VERY glad we did not go that route. So the PPV event said it started at 9PM, a little late for my tastes but ok. Well since I am a boxing PPV noob I had no idea that it really meant the main fight would not start until roughly midnight! Prior to that they show three fights with boxers I care nothing about.
Cindy made us some late night coffee to help keep us awake. I spent most of the prelims playing WoW. Cindy was in a funny mood and at one point decided to put on her Wonder Woman costume AND ride her electric unicyle around inside. Nothing surprises me so my reaction to this was measured.
So even though I knew it was unlikely, I was really pulling for Conor to win somehow. Mayweather just annoys the f out of me with his attitude. But hey, the guy is 49-0 so he backs it up. So the first three or four rounds of the fight Mayweather basically did nothing yet somehow the majority of the judges scored three of those four rounds for him. Conor was clearly the aggressor and landed a number of punches although none of them appeared to really hurt Mayweather.
As the rounds went on it became clear that Mayweather was basically just waiting for McGregor to start to fatigue. Once that happened Mayweather started to become more and more active. By the time the fight was stopped in the 10th round Conor had no legs left underneath him although it didn’t seem like Mayweather had knockout power. It was the expected outcome but I was still disappointed that Conor couldn’t at least hurt Mayweather a little bit. I was also disappointed that we didn’t get to bed until after 1AM. This was the first and likely last boxing PPV I will ever buy.
Sunday morning we awoke to MORE rain. It was just miserable outside. Cindy and I still wanted to get out and ride some so after I paid my bills for the week we threw the wheels into the car and drove down to the parking garage in the government complex, a place we rode once before.
The five level, mostly empty garage was a great, dry spot for us to do some skills practice. I worked on mounts/dismounts with my opposite leg I normally use, backwards, and one footed riding. Cindy worked mostly on learning to ride backwards as well as agility on her V5F wheel which is easier to throw around. We rode for around an hour as the rain continued to come down steadily. It was cool that we still managed to get some one wheel time in despite the precipitation.
The rest of our rainy Sunday was laid back. I got to play a lot of WoW and had the 3D printers working hard. Over the weekend I reprinted the lithopane of Nicki, fixing the negative image I got the first time. It turned out really well, I gave it to Ali as I thought she would like it.
I also installed FlashPrint on to Cindy’s computer so she can start messing around with 3D printing things herself. She printed this very cool small mesh skull for her first print.
Despite the rather miserable weather I had to remind myself that things could be worse, much, much worse. All I had to do was look at the photos of the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey on Texas to place things into perspective.
Last night before bed I finally put together and configured my Octoprint set up for my CR-10 printer. The install consisted of writing an image to a SD card, inserting the card into the Raspberry Pi, and installing the Pi into a case. After that I just walked through some quick set up routines and configuration and my little $35 mini-computer was online and communicating with my 3D printer.
The device will allow me full control of the printer via a web browser as well as having the capability to do things like remotely monitor the print via a web cam. It was very easy to set up for someone like me with a computer background however I think even a novice would be able to get through it.
I have an auto bed leveling kit on the way that is going to require more extensive surgery. I am hoping I get that installed over the weekend. If successful, this mod should ensure the critical first layer of my prints are consistently good.
I also finished editing a video that summarized my experience with the CR-10 up to this point and talks about the mods.
So even though the yard was already a functional lake Mother Nature seemed to not give a fck, dumping another four plus inches of rain on the property last night. Without a doubt, this is the worst rainy season I have experienced since moving to Florida. I absolutely hate it.
The chicken area last ngiht was completely submerged, front and back. I told Cindy we need to let them out into the main yard for a couple days so they can get to some high ground. It’s no good for them to be standing in a cesspool all day long. The property is already a mess, letting the chickens roam around there for a couple days isn’t going to change much.
Yesterday I was remoted to my home server for something and noticed something odd. There were some browser windows open to some dating site. What was odder was that Chrome and Firefox were installed on the system and I was not the one that did it. In addition on the desktop were several jpg images of random people. Obviously, I had been hacked. Of course I flew into remediation mode.
When I looked at my installed programs I saw the Chrome and Firefox had been installed on July 26th so I uninstalled them, assuming they were part of whatever the hackers were using to gain access. I also installed Norton Security Suite. I had uninstalled the Vipre AV protection I had on there a month or two ago because of problems I was having. When I rebooted the server I was no longer able to get remote access, it said my password was invalid, wtf…. So I was unable to look at it further until I got home.
My initial assumption was the Norton firewall was screwing with my remote access so I figured when I got in front of the server last night I would be able to log in from the console. Nope, my password no longer worked…. They evidently changed my password as well. Luckily I had another account I could get access with which I used to change my password to something pretty unguessable.
So once I got access again I continued my investigation. I installed and ran Malware Bytes which came up clean as well as a Norton scan. I figured they likely got in via RDP so I changed the port my firewall port forwards RDP on so that door would be closed. I monitored the server during the night to verify no other access attempts were made. So far all seems well. Of course it is annoying and somewhat worrisome that someone got on the box however my home server serves a much lesser role in my home IT structure nowadays since my email has now moved to the cloud and any important files live on Dropbox. Still, I will be keeping an eye on things because you can never let hackers win.
So I finally got some successful prints off my new CR-10 printer last night. I first did a first layer adhesion test print followed by an EUC mudguard print so I could compare it to what I printed on the Finder. The print came out well although the support material seemed a little too robust and difficult to remove. I still have a lot to learn but I am getting there slowly.
Mother nature evidently has a cruel sense of humor. When we got home Sunday afternoon we were both thrilled to see pretty much all of the standing water on the property had receded into the ground after 2-3 days of no/light rain. Heck I even took the tractor into the back yard of the coop and mowed the two foot high grass that had been poking out of the water. The chickens even seemed happier to have full access to their area without having to wear flippers.
Well out of nowhere, a tropical storm developed Sunday night and blew through our area in the last 36 hours dumping tons of rain, putting me back at square one. It frustrates the hell out of me. I can not wait for the return of winter. During that time I will need to do something to significantly raise the ground level in certain areas around the house with the chicken yard being first priority.
Despite the near constant rain I tried to be somewhat productive and changed the oil on the Ioniq. It was probably not needed yet but since we were going on a road trip I wanted to get it done. The rain forced the work to be done inside the garage which required some extra care to avoid getting oil on the floor. The procedure went smoothly. Getting access to the oil drain plug and filter is a little weird as they are hidden behind two access panels of a weird felt-like cover over the entire bottom of the front end of the car. Of course I shot video of the work since I found no other Ioniq oil change videos, a possible niche market.
It was ironic that my new large format 3D printer that I have been waiting for over a month to be delivered finally showed up yesterday. I wasted little time in setting it up. The first thing I noticed was it is far less polished of a set up than my FlashForge Finder. The controls are pretty sparse, the bells and whistles are far fewer but this printer is not about that, it’s about printing big shit.
So instead of doing the smart thing and trying a small print first, I went right into trying to print something big, a console tray for my Tacoma. I got the print started ok but when I got up this morning the one corner had lifted off the print surface so I killed the print.
Not only do I need to learn the ins and outs of the new printer, I also need to learn how to work in a new slicer software since the program I used for the Finder is proprietary. I have no doubt I will get better at it but this week is not the best one to try to do so because of everything else going on.
Speaking of everything else, I have a lot of anxiety about going on the road trip. I always have concerns about leaving the house and specifically the chickens in someone else’s care. However this time I also have a TON of things going on at work currently which makes taking a week off less than ideal. I am confident it will all work out ok in the end but I still have an unsettled feeling that I do not enjoy.
I ordered an Inmotion trolley handle to attach to my Msuper for the trip to allow Cindy a way to push the wheel more easily. I broke the built in trolley handle doing backwards maneuvers. My eventual fix will be replacing the handle and case of the Msuper but that isn’t going to happen this week for sure. This stop gap measure should get the job done short term.
So we dropped off Elsa Saturday morning at Ali’s place. Ali was nice enough to agree to dogsit her for the night while we were gone. Elsa stayed with them once before and it worked out really well. We wound up talking to them longer than expected and subsequently pulled out for the east coast later than I hoped. Originally I had ideas of leaving around 8, instead we didn’t hit the highway until 9:45.
So I tried to go with the flow. If we left early enough I had ideas that we could go to the convention first without our costumes on and then go back to the room, gear up and head back later. I figured with our delayed departure we would have to just go to the hotel, change, and then head over. I had no idea that leaving late was going to also carry a VERY severe penalty, in traffic.
The highway portion of the drive was without incident however once we entered the city limit of Fort Lauderdale we hit incredible grid lock. This was not traffic, this was a parking lot. If these sort of situations aren’t annoying enough, they are exasperated by people being idiots, thinking they are going to somehow get a few feet ahead of the poor schlub behind them. Non-stop Cindy and I saw people being assholes and it catching on in typical lemming behavior. “Hey if that guy can be an asshole, I will be too” The most egregious idiot was tractor trailer that decided to do a U-turn into the stopped traffic.
So believe it or not, we sat in this hell for nearly 90 minutes. We assumed all along that there had to be an accident on 17th street where both our hotel and the convention center was located. When we finally bypassed the quagmire we realized the problem was just HORRIBLE logistics. For whatever reason, the people managing parking at the convention center must have been absolutely awful at their job. The traffic was entirely caused by cars waiting to get into the convention parking garage. Even though we were not going to the convention quite yet we were stuck because the hotel was a mile beyond Supercon. Imagine my joy when we drove by the building and saw a line of people at least a 1/4 mile long snaking around the building in the sweltering heat, waiting to get in.
By the time we got in the room I was sort of done, I didn’t want to think about Supercon, I was just glad to be out of the damn car and out of the stationary traffic. After we grabbed an overpriced lunch on the hotel grounds, Cindy began her prep work which was extremely extensive. I knew I had a lot of time to wait based on past cons. I almost fell asleep on the bed as I just chilled out. Finally it was my time to get ready. My prep was pretty simple. I put on long pants, my thick, way too hot for Florida Soldier 76 coat, and had Cindy spray some gray shit in my hair and paint some black shit around my eyes. I bet her prep took nearly two hours.
We originally were going to take one the hotel shuttles but with all of our props we decided to Uber it over there. We were most worried about Cindy’s meticulously crafted sniper rifle getting damaged. We did catch our first break of the day when we saw the line to get in was no longer snaked around the building. I carried in my coat and mask as I didn’t want to broil wearing it outside.
So we finally got inside and had to go through “prop check” where they verify your guns can’t fire any ammunition. After that we probably were supposed to go stand in another line where they convert your QR code paper to a badge you wear around your neck. Somehow instead we got directed to a security guard that just waved us in. Since we were both fully decked out at that point I guess he figured entrance was a formality.
So it only took me a minute or two in my full costume to know it was going to be rough. Despite a ton of effort by Cindy, there was only so much that could be done to assist in comfort. She padded the mask well and added a bunch of holes to assist in breathing. Even so the temperature and humidity levels in the mask rose very quickly. Before very long I had condensation forming on the red lens inside. The heavy fake leather coat had sweat forming on my back in no time. I just sucked it up and dealt with it. I knew I was going to be hot going into it.
It took no time at all for the picture requests to start up. Cindy’s costume was especially amazing. The fact that she was painted bluish/purple with a deep, plunging neckline didn’t hurt either. It seemed like a chain reaction, once one person asked for a picture, another half dozen would ask as well, there are evidently a LOT of Overwatch players at Supercon. Cindy and I patiently posed for every picture request. If you are going to dress up like we did and not expect to be photographed a lot you are delusional. Besides being hot, the mask had the unfortunate side effect of making it almost impossible for Cindy to hear me with all the ambient noise. I had to practically scream six inches from her ear if I wanted to get her attention.
The crowd inside the hall was maddening most of the time, there was just far too much humanity jammed into too small of a space for me. It was just crazy. We were worried about someone damaging Cindy’s rifle with it being so crowded but she did a good job of keeping it in a protected position most of the time. Periodically we would just steer ourselves towards spots where there were less people to catch a breather, figuratively and literally. I would take my mask off randomly just to try to cool down a bit.
Cindy had some funny interactions with some of the celebrities there. She met and talked to the guy that plays Abraham on Walking Dead, well he used to until his character got his head beat in. She also talked to the guy that plays Eugene, Cindy said he seemed like he was high as a kite. They also had cast from the Karate Kid, the bad kid, the bad kid’s evil sensei and Ralph Macchio himself. There was a very funny interaction between Cindy and Ralph when he asked her what time the con ran until. When she told him 8PM he said “Great, two more fcking hours…” as he laughed. I am sure it has to get exhausting acting like you give a damn about all the people that come up to you asking you to wax on and wax off all day long.
The other celebrities there did not seem quite as mainstream as we have seen at other cons but we did catch a glimpse of Lee Majors right before he skipped out to take a break. Of course 75% of the people there probably had no idea who he was at this point. The 6 Million Dollar Man was one of my favorite series growing up.
One of the downsides of attending in costume is you really do not get to take in very much at all. Between picture requests and just getting moved along by human rivers it was really hard to spend a lot of time looking at stuff. Again, we knew that was just the way it was if you dress up so I can’t complain about it. I felt happy that all the work Cindy put into the costumes was being recognized by all of the attention she was getting. The detail she went into was nuts when putting the stuff together.
We had fun meeting other people dressed up as Overwatch characters and took a lot of pictures as groups. Unfortunately again, when you are the picture subject matter, you don’t get too many pictures yourself. A few times we handed my phone to a nice bystander that took some shots for us.
They also had some cool sets that you could take your picture on. We got pictures on a Star Wars, Star Trek, and a military set, they turned out cool.
So we walked around, mostly in character up until 7:30, a half hour before the main area closed. Cindy and I were both beat so we decided to call an Uber to shuttle us back. Ironically just as we were about to catch the car, a young girl we met in our hotel lobby was outside as well, looking to get back to the hotel. Cindy said she could hop in the Uber with us if she wanted. After verifying with her dad it was ok she accepted the offer which worked out well for her.
I was not very happy with this Uber driver. For some reason he felt like late July in Florida did not require AC. Instead he had his window down all the way. Since the drive was only roughly a mile it wasn’t worth making a stink about but I thought it was odd. My annoyance with the guy clicked up a few more notches when I realized today that he charged us a 27 cent “waiting” surcharge. The thing is he was only waiting because he didn’t come to where we were, we had to walk 75 yards to him, so he charged us for it. Idiot.
When we got to the room we were beat, really beat. We shot a brief video summarizing the experience before we began the clean up process.
So I let Cindy shower first as she obviously had more work to do than me. When it was my turn I grabbed a wash cloth, soaped it up and started trying to scrub around my eyes to get the black gunk off. Well all of a sudden I got a severe burning sensation in my right eye, I couldn’t open it from the pain but I immediately tried to flush the eye with the shower water. It hurt really, really bad. It took awhile until I could keep the eye open and when I did, the eye was bright red. I am not exactly sure what happened but I think I either got some of the black make up or the stuff that was in my hair into my eye. All I do know for sure was it felt like battery acid. I stopped the eye cleaning process and still have black marks around both eyes which I hope will come off with normal cleaning cycles.
It was approaching 9PM by the time we got all cleaned up but we hadn’t eaten dinner yet. We decided to check out a place on the hotel campus called Pelican Landing which overlooked the water that goes under the 17th street drawbridge. We sat along the rail so we got to watch the boats traveling back and forth. It was cool. We had a waitress originally from Russia, named Olga. The food was good but pricey, a theme repeated during our stay, more on that soon.
On the way back from eating we found our car in the parking lot and pulled out the two EUC’s. We thought it would be safer to keep them in the room with us. We rode them around the parking lot a little bit before riding them up to the door of the room. It was fun. It wasn’t fun trying to get into the room.
The keycards or more accurately the door lock they are used on was very glitchy. You could not simply insert the card and remove it to get the door to open. It required a very specific angle and speed of insertion and removal. It took us no less than a dozen tries until we were successful. There were other things about the room that were not up to what I would expect by Hilton standards like a toilet seat that was half broken, a towel bar that would fall to the ground when you pulled a towel off of it, a box of tissues that were drenched, and a bathroom fan that sounded like an airplane motor with a spun bearing. It didn’t take me long to pass out Saturday night, I was exhausted. I didn’t sleep as soundly as I would hope but it wasn’t terrible.
Randall made arrangements to come meet us for breakfast Saturday morning. Originally we hoped he would bring his EUC to ride but his tire was out of air and he misplaced the valve extender that is needed to inflate it. We caught up and had a nice breakfast at another in house restaurant although again, the dramatic premium pricing was pretty disgusting. $80 for three people to have breakfast is just stupid in my opinion.
We walked around the grounds a bit and showed Randall our room. We then walked out to the Prius to get out the wheels. While Cindy was putting on her safety gear I told Randall he can jump on the Msuper to give it a try. He was a bit wobbly but was able to stay on it. We bid Randall farewell as Cindy and I headed out for a quick ride back and forth over the bridge.
The ride wasn’t very tough, the hills we faced in Marco Island were much steeper. The views on top of the bridge were very scenic of course. Cindy was feeling beat up from Supercon so we were done riding in 20 minutes or less. She did agree to ride down on the dock with me by the multi-million dollar boats which was a cool way to finish up the ride.
So the checkout at the hotel put an exclamation point on the overcharging fiasco. The quoted $125 per night rate mutated into a bill of nearly $300 after the overblown food charges and annoying add ons like $30 for parking. I am not sure how some hotels think that parking is an ala carte add on option but it’s fcking ridiculous. But the bottom line is people keep paying it so they keep charging it.
The drive back to the west coast felt long. We drove through multiple periods of severe rain but also had blue sky periods as well. Elsa was very happy to see us of course. She got a stellar report card from Shugs. It made Cindy and I happy to know Elsa can stay with them and adjust so well since she will be doing it again for over a week soon.
When we got home we dug into unpacking and attending to the chickens since we just had the coop closed last night and opened this morning. All the chicken chores had to still be done. I was happy to see that almost ALL the water behind the coop has dried up at this point. Sure there is plenty of black muck left behind but if we get lucky enough to have some more dry weather that will eventually turn back into dirt again I hope.
I took tomorrow off as well to do more house chores and change the oil in Cindy’s Ioniq, readying it for the upcoming road trip.
So this was the third “con” Cindy and I have attended. As I was sweating my ass off in the costume posing for picture after picture I tried to evaluate if the effort, time, and expense was worth the experience. My answer to that is conditional. Would I do it by myself? Hell no. However Cindy is PASSIONATE about costume creation, she absolutely loves it. If you saw how much thought and time she put into her costume and mine it would be hard to believe. I think she also likes that people at the conventions recognize/appreciate her effort as the picture requests would indicate. Because I know she gets so much out of it I am happy to support her by agreeing to go to these events. But I did learn a hard lesson that above all, comfort needs to be a primary consideration when choosing costume options. If you are uncomfortable wearing something pretty much the entire time it just isn’t worth it in my opinion, no matter how cool it looks.
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.
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.