Category: Anything and Everything

So as I mentioned last week, I have spent the entire week at the gym doing nothing but stretching and cardio.  I have been getting in about 30-35 minutes of cardio per day.  I have been using machines that monitor your heart rate and adjust the resistance to keep you in an effective range for my age and weight.  For me that number is 139 beats a minute or more.

The intent of this week of no weight work is to see how the right side pain responds.  I can tell you as of now I don’t really feel anything in that area.  I can also report that during all of this cardio time during the week I haven’t felt the same harsh fatigue that was hitting me hard a couple weeks ago.  I plan to do a slow run at the track tonight after work to see how I feel as running was really where I most noticed the change in my energy level.

I’m not really sure what this experiment proves or disproves.  I have one more test on Monday, a chest CT where they want to take one more look at a small nodule they saw in my lung.  It will also give a look at my remaining other major organs just to see what’s up.  At this point I am wondering if this will just be one of those mysterious things that just comes and go as I continue to age.

This weekend has full yard maintenance on the docket.  Last night I was thinking about trying to get the mowing done but the skies were very threatening and I had a bunch of other stuff to get done so I didn’t get the chance.  As always I will hope to knock all of it out at the beginning.  I hate having work yet to be done hanging over the second half of my weekend.

I brought my One Wheel with today.  Instead of doing another cardio session at the gym I’m just going to ride the board, perhaps all the way to the beach and back, a fun change up in routine.

Last night after work Cindy and I went over to the school to ride around, we brought her skateboard, the OneWheel, the Meepo and the 18L.  My hope was Cindy would get some practice time in so she gets more comfortable on the Meepo and the OneWheel.  She did ride the Meepo around a little bit but didn’t want to try the OneWheel.  Despite being able to ride an EUC she still has a lot of fear issues which hold her back from progressing.  When she gets on her focus is a fear of falling which derails you immediately and makes the entire experience stressful instead of enjoyable.  I’m not really sure how she can turn off that switch and just let her natural athletic ability take over.   I mean hell, she rode the Msuper EUC in the middle of very crowded Boston sidewalks and streets last year.  She can do it.

Katie and Daniel came by to ride as well.  Daniel is a big fan of the Meepo.  I also let them both rind my 18L for the first time.  They agreed that the 18L is another level of smoothness and quality that they have never experienced on their Gotway wheels.  They also both liked I could stream the 30 Seconds to Mars Pandora channel to the built in speakers on the wheel. Katie and Daniel came back to the house with us to eat a tasty taco dinner that Cindy prepared, it was nice to have the gang under one roof, it doesn’t happen much.

Last night I started on a big 3D printing project for my buddy from up north, Charlie.  He is opening a virtual golf center and needs roughly 1000 small pieces printed that will be used to identify clubs and stations.  He has one 3D printer, a Flashforge Finder but printing that many pieces would take him forever on one printer with a small build area.  He asked if I would be willing to help print them.  Of course I was happy to help since I have six printers in the hobby room.  I should be able to get the work done in a fraction of the time it would take him.

Charlie offered to pay me which I of course refused.  All he has to do is provide me the filament to print the stuff.  He has helped me out so many times in the past, doing something like this for him is the very least I can do.  Charlie is one of the nicest human beings I have ever known.  He is walking away from his career as a programmer to jump with both feet into trying to launch this business.  It’s an extremely gutsy move but I applaud him for being willing to chase his dream.

 

So although it seems like I am doing 2-3 videos a week on YouTube there has been a dark hole of videos regarding 3D printing, my third major hobby up there with PEV’s and gaming.  The last time I posted anything regarding 3D printing on my channel was around the 4th of July.  So last night I thought I would address it in a video.  I talked about some of the reasons for the absence, some of which may surprise you.  Check it out if you have a few minutes.

Speaking of hobbies, I just got notice that our EUC “podcast” was accepted by iTunes and is now available for consumption on the platform.  If you are on the iOS platform you can find the show here.

This morning I had another blood draw.  Thankfully it did not require fasting or 10 vials of blood to be drawn (only two).  After my follow up visit at the clinic where I mentioned my mom’s history of thyroid issues and inquiring about the possibility of low testosterone numbers, the blood draw was ordered to test for those things.  In addition I am supposed to now schedule a chest CT to get a closer look at a small “nodule” in one of my lungs that was seen during the xray.  The thought is it is nothing significant but a CT will confirm that.

Old age is glorious.

 

So my second AnyCubic I3 Mega 3D printer arrived yesterday.  My first one has become my favorite printer I own and a workhorse, responsible for the majority of my 3D EUC stand production.  I figured grabbing a second allows me to double productivity while giving me a back up if one goes down.  Since I already had one, setting up the new one took very little time.  Within 30 minutes I had it ready to go and it was printing it’s first EUC stand.

I used the printer addition as motivation to do some overdue reorganizing of the stuff in there, especially the two work benches.  A lot of stuff got tossed out or put away.  The end result is a much cleaner looking workspace that had me going back to admire several times during the evening.

This morning around 4:45 AM we had another Elsa intestinal incident.  This time it was Cindy that felt/heard it coming.  She shot out of bed and yelled for Elsa to come outside.  Well evidently during the landing on the floor next to the bed some excrement was ejected.

We didn’t bother going back to bed, after cleaning up the aftermath I did some work in the hobby room and also did the legwork to get this week’s live stream converted into a podcast and uploaded/posted.  I also received notice last night that the podcast has now officially been accepted on iTunes, meaning you can now listen to the shows on the two major platforms.

Here is the iTunes link.

 

So for the third week in a row I decided to skip running.  That, with my plans to do no resistance training this week at the gym or at home is part of my experiment to see how my body reacts.  My fatigue was definitely lessened last week.  Now if I can get this dull right side pain to vanish…

Since I did mowing on Tuesday night I figured I could get away with not mowing this weekend.  The grass was starting to look just a little ratty in spots so to reach a mental compromise, after I mowed down the front drainage ditches I just mowed the immediate mound around the house so at least that looked freshly manicured.  Doing that should be sufficient to keep my inner taskmaster at bay until next weekend when a full yard maintenance is required.

Mid-morning Saturday I pushed off for a DD ride on a vehicle I never tried before on that 10 mile journey, my electric skateboard.  The posted top range on the Meepo is 11 miles so my hope was I would have enough juice to make it there and have Cindy pick me up afterward.  Riding the board in the bike line which is filled with small pebbles and various debris was challenging, requiring close attention to the road surface in front of me at all times.  Even a small rock feels big when you hit it with a solid urethane wheel.

The board performed surprisingly well.  The majority of the ride I was traveling 16mph+and topped out just under 20 mph several times.  Despite traveling 10 miles, the battery indicator light still had 2 of 4 leds lit by the time I got there. It was a different and fun ride.

Later in the afternoon I decided to tackle an annual task that I never look forward to, reactivating my Directv Sunday Ticket football package.   When you are a normal Directv customer this is easy, you just turn it on.  However when you are a special, grandfathered in account like me that ONLY has the Sunday Ticket, it’s a pain in the ass.  Each year I wind up spending tons of time on the phone until I finally get someone involved that actually has the knowledge and permissions to reactivate the service on my account.

It’s been such a hassle that I have asked that the procedure is documented in my account notes in detail.  Even with that preventative effort I still wound up spending a total of nearly 90 minutes on the phone getting it sorted out.  If you watch my Sunday ride video I talk about the latest chapter of the ordeal in detail. The cliff notes version was it does now work once again although I was told I HAD to bump up to the more expensive Sunday Ticket MAX package to do so, which I don’t really believe.  Regardless I am once again signed up for the service, if I had any other way to get Eagles games I would sign up in a second.

Cindy and I went out to see the new Predator movie Saturday night.  I have always been a big fan of the series.  When we walked into the theater we were happy to see there were hardly any other bodies in the seats.  I lately have been picking the two seats in a top row corner to keep us as far away from other annoying human beings as possible.  When the movie started there were less than a dozen people in the theater and of course 75% of them were in our row….

And of course these people all annoyed us.  There was the man that brought his two young children to an R rated movie that had intense gore, violence, and very adult humor.  Great parenting there when you have to explain to your child what “F my face with an ardvark” means.  Then we had the young couple only a couple seats over from us.  The girl had her phone sitting in her cup holder so she wouldn’t miss a single crucial notification on her iPhone during the movie and the both of them were talking repeatedly, not that the movie required intense concentration to follow. Cindy was on my right so she was closer to the annoyances than I was and she was clearly annoyed.  I told her multiple times we could just move to one of the vast uninhabited areas of the theater but she wanted to just stay put.

The movie itself was entertaining enough but certainly could not come close to achieving the same impact as the original, although they definitely did try to draw a lot of parallels.  It was a B flick for me.

Early Sunday morning, somewhere between 5 and 530 I felt the bed shaking.  I put my hand on Elsa and could feel the shaking was her.  She had been having some diarrhea issues so I suspected the worst.  I shot out of bed and told Elsa to come with me.  As we ran towards the slider to the patio she was farting.  As we crossed over to the patio she let loose there as well as follow up on the grass outside.  I was thankful she was able to hold on until getting on the patio.  I felt terrible as she stood in prolonged squat position, looking scared and miserable.

Cindy came out as well and said she would stay out in the main area .  She encouraged me to go back to bed and try to sleep which I did but did not expect to be successful at.  I did eventually dose off for a few more ZZZ’s which surprised me.

Mid-morning I did my second PEV DD ride in as many days, this time on my new 18L.  I wanted to get another long ride in to verify that I was getting solid range from my new battery back.  At the end of a 26.6 mile ride I was still showing to have 43-44% battery remaining which is very solid.  During the ride I talked a ton of different topics, you may find it interesting to follow along, or not.

So I watched the Eagles game, partly on the TV and part on my computer, something I can now do since I am paying for the Sunday Ticket MAX package.  Both viewpoints depicted the same story, an under performance on both sides of the ball.  The offense just looked inept most of the time.  Nick Foles who ended last season looking so confident and in command seems much less so so far this season although he did make some good throws late in the game.  But the defense really stunk up the joint yesterday, making journeyman QB Mike Fitzpatrick look like Joe Montana, he torched the Eagles up and down the field the entire game.

Deshaun Jackson once again lit up the Eagles.  It’s funny, since Chip Kelly cut Jackson years ago, he has gone on to have a pretty average at best career however that seems to change everytime he goes up against his old team.  Repeatedly has had big games against the Eagles when was with the Redskins and now he continued that trend as a Buccaneer.  The Eagles seemed to have no answer as Deshaun put up huge numbers.

I still think the offense is really hurting from not having Alshon Jeffrey in the lineup.  Having him in there means opposing teams are less able to double up on Zac Ertz and Agholor since Jeffrey is a legitimate number one wide receiver.  I’m not sure what the answer is for the defense that usually employs a soft zone in their bend but don’t break strategy.  Unfortunately they did a lot of breaking yesterday.  I’m not really sure what to expect from this season but if I am being honest, I’m not that worried about it.  The shine of last year’s Super Bowl win will take a long time to go dim in my eyes.

Last night I did my seventh live stream with Marty.  Unfortunately the episode was plagued by bad audio.  During the first 15 minutes we had no audio being heard by the stream for Marty even though I could hear him fine.  When I tried to fix it I somehow wound up turning my voice into a bizarre sounding space alien.  Eventually we got it so we both could be heard but the end result was Marty’s audio still sounding pretty bad since I had to use the mic in the web cam to get it to work at all.

There were a number of changes since the last broadcast that potentially could be the source of the problem.  I have a new headset/mic and also had performed updates on both Xsplit and Skype, both of which are used in the production.  Sometime before the next broadcast we will need to do a test broadcast to see if we can get it all sorted out.

 

 

So yesterday at the gym I tried to do a more normal workout and again was greeted with some mild right side pain and feeling more fatigued than normal.  I am wondering if the fatigue and side pain are two mutually exclusive things.  Maybe I have some sort of rib cartilage injury or muscle tear/strain that just has become chronic.  I decided I need to see if I can differentiate between the two.

To me the only way to do it is to stop doing resistance training for a solid week and see if at least the side pain evaporates.  Now asking me to not exercise for a week is not good for my sanity so I intend to still hit the gym daily but I’ll only do stretching followed by cardio, most of it on the cross trainer machine.  I like throwing the machine into cardio mode where you enter your weight and age and it automatically adjusts the difficulty level to keep your heart rate at an effective cardio level. I’m hoping this experiment at least gives me some tangible results.

This weekend has the normal suspects on the docket.  I’m hoping to enjoy it as much as possible.  I need to get my Directv Sunday Ticket reactivated, a process I dread each year as it normally requires lengthy time on the phone with various staff until I stumble upon one who knows how to handle my non-standard configuration.

So yesterday I found myself getting increasingly angry at the med center here as they still had not gotten back to me with my CT results.  I had called Tuesday afternoon and was told they had the results but they had not been reviewed yet.  So roughly 24 hours later nobody from the clinic had reached out to me to let me know what the hell was going on.  I was just about ready to march over there and make a large stink about it when my office phone finally rang.

The cliff notes version of the results are nothing significant was discovered.  The long version of the findings are below.

CT SCAN OF ABDOMEN AND PELVIS WITH AND WITHOUT CONTRAST

History: Right lower abdominal pain.

Technique: Helical acquisition was taken from the domes of the
diaphragms to the symphysis pubis before and after intravenous
administration of Omnipaque-300 75 ml, nonionic, iodinated contrast
agent. The axial source image data set was post processed by the
technologist with the consequent creation of reformatted images in the
coronal and sagittal planes. All CT scans are performed using radiation
dose reduction techniques. Technical factors are evaluated and adjusted
to ensure appropriate moderation of exposure.

Findings: The study is performed. Basilar foci of hypoventilatory
changes are noted. There is an area of chronic scarring associated with
a thoracic spur right base. The liver, spleen, adrenals and kidneys are
unremarkable. A 2 mm calculus mid to lower pole left kidney. No
hydronephrosis. The bladder and prostate are unremarkable. No
inflammatory process in the right lower quadrant. No soft tissue mass
is seen. Small bowel loops are decompressed. No gross lytic or blastic
bony lesions are seen.

Impression:

1. No significant abnormalities are noted.
2. There is a 2 mm nonobstructive calculus in the left kidney mid to
lower pole.
3. No other significant findings are seen.

The kidney thing is likely a small stone but it’s on the other side and is too small to cause any issue.  The scarring has to do with a bone spur which is not unusual for someone my age. Again, it doesn’t really match the symptoms.

So once again, like my blood tests, and xray,  the absence of a clue in the CT results left me feeling frustrated.  I have a follow up appointment at the clinic on Monday to discuss options from here.  My fatigue is not as severe as it was but I still am definitely not feeling normal.

I’m not really sure where this will go from here but I’ll just keep pressing on, it’s the only way I know.

Yesterday we found out have had a large adult black bear visiting the house nearly every night for over a month and a half, a new pet.

 

So last night I tasked myself with getting the grass mowed since the ground was too wet over the weekend.  Very early on I had a very dangerous and infuriating moment.  Several weeks ago the county came around and filled low spots in the road shoulder with limestone.  The fill they used included a lot of rock.

Vehicles running onto the shoulder on the street is very common, hence how I have had my mailbox hit three times.  Well a side effect of this are the rocks, sometimes very big rocks get kicked into the grass.  Many of the rocks are big enough that they could instantly destroy the blades on the mower if not the deck itself so I have to move them out of the way every time I mow.

So that was what I was doing as I rode the tractor along the roadway reaching down and removing stones from my path.  As I am reaching down grabbing one close to the size of a tennis ball a truck flies by me, it’s tire only inches away from the edge of the asphalt.  He literally missed me by less than a foot.  I was instantly infuriated.

I shot up and uttered a verbal tirade as I tried to identify the particulars of the truck.  I could tell it was a GM truck that was brown or gray.  It was hard to tell much else since it was already a couple hundred yards away.  I was so f’ing mad.  I could not believe an operator of a vehicle would not move over even a foot to give someone a safety barrier.  I just got more and more angry as I mowed.  I kept looking at the returning vehicles, hoping to spot the same truck although I’m not quite sure what I would have done.  I later realized the incident should be captured on our security DVR which it was.

As I mowed into twilight I just kept thinking how the incident encapsulated for me just why generally speaking, I don’t like people.  It would have taken the driver a couple seconds to adjust the path of his vehicle to avoid such a close call but they couldn’t be bothered.  F common courtesy, f safety, f common sense, I need to check my incredibly important Instagram post now!    As I closed out my video with, people suck, plain and simple.

I can tell we are inching towards fall as it took every last shred of daylight for me to finish mowing, a sign of the shortening days.  Despite the asshole in the truck, it felt good to get the mowing completed.  Doing it on a Tuesday should mean I can push the next mowing session off until two weekends from now.

Man I feel badly for the people in the path of Hurricane Florence.  Not only is it forecast to have Irma like strength but it is forecast to stall as it hits the coast for almost a day which could bring just an unreal amount of devastation to that area.  I can imagine the sense of panic and dread they must be feeling, because I have lived it myself, a few times.

 

 

One year ago today we were waking up from the aftermath of Hurricane Irma.  The storm which carried winds as high as 130 mph in our area was pretty scary at times.  The feeling of unknown as you are boarded up in a house as you hear the fury of the hurricane punishing everything around you is something you never forget.  The 10 days plus of no power afterward tested our resourcefulness and patience.  Like most difficult things in life, we emerged from the other side of the ordeal stronger and more able to deal with future adversity.

I can sympathize with people in the Carolina area that have Florence slowly marching towards shore.  I felt the same with Irma as widespread panic took over the area, I just wanted the damn storm to get here, smack us in the face and get out.  Waiting for impending doom is not a good feeling.

Today is also the somber anniversary of 911, the most historic national tragedy of my lifetime.  The event initially had a universal unifying effect on our country which faded surprisingly quickly.  Instead the day now also marks the point in history where our country became terminally ill with political division that has only amplified over time.  If you have never seen any of the Loose Change documentaries, you really it owe it to yourself to do so.  There are circumstances surrounding this horrible date in time that still to this day have no logical explanation.

So I had my abdominal CT on Friday.  I was dreading the two barium shakes I had to drink but they actually didn’t taste that bad.  I was able to get both of them down without issue.  I had no clue what to expect of the procedure, I had ideas of it taking an hour or more and of course I would have to be in a hospital gown.  Neither of those things were true.  I didn’t have to even take off my sneakers, the only requirement was not having any metal in the scan area.  The entire process took about 15 minutes.

So the drinks were to create “contrast” in my GI system.  In addition I was given an IV prior to the scan to give contrast to my blood.  The fluid they inject you with feels odd as you can feel it circulating in your body, causing certain areas to heat up.  They warned me about the sensation ahead of time.  The machine reminded me of the open MRI that was used to scan my knee years ago.  During certain periods you are told to hold your breath for a few seconds.  The entire thing was really a non-event.  Unfortunately I will not have any information on the results until today or tomorrow.

So I felt fine afterwards and came back to the office to eat my lunch.  Somewhere after 1PM I started feeling not so fine in my gut.  The result was two trips to the bathroom that reminded me of colonoscopy prep.  I asked to go home as I felt ready to burst.  It was a long drive home as I fought the pressure pretty much the entire way.  Unless I missed it, there was no mention of the barium shakes causing explosive results afterward. It would have been nice to know.  That was not fun. I wound up laying in bed for a couple hours at home.

Because of persistent rain the property had a lot of standing water still on it so mowing the grass was off my list for the weekend.  We started Saturday off with standard fare, tending to the chickens and weeding the property.  During the afternoon I turned my chore focus indoors as I vacuumed all the carpeted areas and then followed up with steam cleaning the hard surfaces.  Just for good measure I let my two hard surface cleaning robots loose afterward.

Late Saturday afternoon we headed over to the high school.  I had the Meepo along and Cindy wanted to get a brisk walk in while I rode.  The ride was cut short by yet another round of hard rain.  I still had fun cruising in Expert mode.  I even maxed the throttle for a short burst which supposedly should be at 20+ mph.

On Saturday night Cindy and I watched our latest Netflix rental, I, Tonya, the movie about the mess which is Tonya Harding.  I thought the movie was very well done and provided me with a lot of background that I did not have about her life.  I had no idea just how dysfunctional and abusive her relationships were growing up.  The circumstances around the Nancy Kerrigan attack just seem incredibly moronic.  How that group of mental midgets thought this was a good idea is amazing and a testament to the power of stupid people collaborating.  Anyway, I came away from the movie feeling somewhat sorry for Tonya.   I’d give the movie a B+.

Sunday was really nice for me, it felt like a perfect mix of work and play.  In the morning Cindy and I parked at DD and rode from there.  She started out the session on her roller skates but then later switched to her MiniPro.

I got some tidying up done in the hobby room and did something I do far less than I used to, wash the vehicles.  I washed the Tacoma and Cindy’s Ioniq.  Both were overdue for sure.  I used to wash cars a lot more often in the past, I’m not quite sure why I have slacked off on that nowadays.  I guess like most negative things, I can attribute it to old age.

So I decided to go out on a second ride mid-afternoon on the Gotway Monster.  I wanted to go all the way to Collier North Regional Park and back, a trip of almost 35 miles.  Very early on in the ride I saw something bizarre.  As I headed west on Immokalee Road I saw four cops fly by me but none of them had their lights on which seemed very odd.  As I rounded a corner I saw a car stopped at the intersection with Wilson Blvd with all of those vehicles surrounding it, with their lights on.

As I got closer I saw the car that was pulled over was a Maserati that I remembered passing me a few minutes prior.  I assume the cops did not want to tip off the driver they were in pursuit.  As I swung out around the police vehicles I was shocked when I saw two of the cops had their guns drawn and pointed at the open door of the car.  I glanced quickly to my right and did not see a driver in the seat so I have no idea what was going on.  I later tried to look up the incident on the news and the sheriff’s website but found nothing.  It was a little crazy.

The ride to and from the park was fun.  I was glad that I had the Monster for the ride, I utilized the seat on the wheel for prolonged periods of time to give my feet a break.  By the time I returned the wheel was constantly beeping from low battery levels as the Monster did not have a 100% full charge before I left.  When I checked Strava for my ride statistics my mouth dropped open when I saw the top speed it recorded during the ride, 33.1 mph.  Wow, I had no idea I was going that fast at any time and I certainly was not trying to hit a new speed record.  If that speed is accurate it is the fastest I ever have traveled on a single wheel by several mph.

I finished up my Sunday with a short WoW session, wrapping up a near perfect day.  I can hardly wait till the next 5 days pass so we can do it again.

One year ago today Hurricane Irma smacked the hell out of us.  Hopefully we can avoid that scenario for another decade but seeing three named hurricanes in the Atlantic right now doesn’t give me the warm and fuzzies.