I actually picked out a red shirt today for work which is a rarity, that is color coordinating for a holiday as today is Valentine’s Day. Tonight Cindy and I are going to dinner at The Warehouse, a place we enjoyed once before. It’s nice because it’s only 9 miles from the house. I have a unique “gift” for Cindy this year that I am looking forward to seeing her reaction.
Unlike my recent six day staycation, I don’t have a huge list of items for my upcoming four days off although there are certainly some things spinning around in my head to get done. This is a big chicken weekend, we are finally going to integrate the new chickens with the old. It is going to be very interesting to see how the personalities interact and how the pecking order may shuffle. Of course we have to make sure that all of the birds are safe so we will be monitoring their interactions pretty closely.
I just don’t have much for ya at the moment, sometimes it flows, sometimes it drips.
Back in my early to mid-40’s I shifted my fitness routine to almost entirely calisthenic type movements. For a period of four or five years I did that and long distance running which drove my body weight down to the lowest level ever as an adult. (low 170’s) My YouTube channel name is even based on that period of time (Dufisthenics). In the last four or five years my routine mutated again with more of a mixture of conventional weight and resistance training, less running, and bigger numbers on the scale. I have weighed around 185 pounds for a couple years.
I do however still try to keep up some base standards with my core body weight movements. I can still do 15-20 pull ups, depending on the day, 50 push ups, and 25 dips. Forcing yourself to work against your own body weight is still one of the most simple yet effective ways to improve your fitness level. I have cut out some of the real high exertion calisthenic movements like dragon flags as they now cause the odd right side pain to flare up. However I hope to be able to keep doing the core cali movements as long as I am able.
I hit another milestone on my YouTube channel, surpassing 5000 subscribers last weekend. 13 months ago I hit the 3000 sub mark so a 60% jump in that time period is pretty solid. The good thing is as your subscriber totals increase your videos get suggested more often to random viewers which can have a snowball effect on your channel to the upside. I plan to do some sort of “Thanks for 5K” video over my extended four day weekend coming up.
I posted this to my FB page the other day, it’s so true but so commonly overlooked.
Friday after work I again hit the track to put in my 13 laps of unfun. The first two to three laps are especially miserable and the time that the urge to just get back in the car is the strongest. My knees, lower back and hip all feel pretty lousy until I get warmed up. According to the Apple Watch I once again failed to break the 10 minute mile pace although I think the watch may be a little conservative based on the total time it took. Regardless, I completed the run and I will continue to try to do so, regardless of how much it sucks.
When we went to Home Depot on Saturday I loaded up the truck with 10 bags of top soil, four cinder blocks, and twenty pieces of sod. My goal was to raise the ground in the chicken area underneath the freshly covered playground. I have raised the ground level between the coop and the playground but the ground under the shelter is still low and would turn into a pond during wet season. My original plan was to sit the support posts on the cinder blocks to raise the frame and then fill inside with the dirt and sod.
When I went to lift up the frame I forgot just how haphazard my construction of the frame was. At the time I literally just threw a bunch of scrap lumber and fence posts together to make the structure. The end result was the support posts were different lengths meaning putting them on blocks wouldn’t work. What I wound up doing instead was lifting each corner out of the ground and then backfilling the hole to raise the height. It accomplished the same goal although it was pretty strenuous work. With the addition of the roof to the frame, it has become quite heavy.
To fill in the inside of the frame I lifted up the roof on it’s hinge and propped it that way with an old fence post. I then carefully lugged in the bags of top soil and spread them around. I had to be very careful to not bump the roof otherwise it would have become a very dangerous oversized mouse trap that would have crashed on top of me. I then carefully placed the sod on top of the fresh dirt to lock it all together. When I was done I had achieved elevation on par with the rest of the high ground. I’m hoping the end result is the hens will still be able to hang under there during rainy season staying dry on their own little island.
On Sunday I decided to take the 18L on the same route that I ran out of power on the Ultron the prior weekend. I wanted to do a max range test on the wheel, something I never tried before on the KingSong. The 18L only has a 1000wh battery so I knew asking it to go 30 miles was iffy. On the way out I was in a constant, battery depleting headwind. Since the road is straight as an arrow there is absolutely no relief. When I arrived in town the battery level on the wheel was showing around 47%. So despite this I still thought I would be able to make it home because that nasty headwind would become a range extending tailwind on the way back.
I turned out to be a little too optimistic. I had to call Cindy to come pick me up less than a mile from home when the battery was showing 3% and the wheel was constantly warning me to slow down and charge it. Still, getting almost 30 miles out of the 18L was a decent showing and it was a great day to ride. For the trip I wore my latest piece of safety equipment, a highly visible and reflective safety vest. Wearing the vest eliminates somone from saying they didn’t see me, it’s impossible to miss a 6 foot 3 human reflector.
Sunday night I had my first live stream in three weeks. I tried something different this time, utilizing a green screen to project myself in front of videos that were playing in the background. It’s a similar set up that most Twitch streamers use. We tested it during the day and it looked pretty good. Unfortunately we discovered that to use it at night requires strong lighting which we hastily tried to throw together. We also didn’t have the screen as tight as it needs to be to produce optimal results but it was acceptable. We will keep tweaking it as people seemed to like the combo.
Speaking of green, check out this Hulk print that Cindy painted, pretty cool.
Last night after work I wanted to get back out to document just how fast the Ultron scooter is. When I rode it Wednesday night I did not have a camera rolling. Based on just how fast I discovered it is on Wednesday, I put on full gear for the second test. This time I got similar and slightly higher top speed as I held the scooter at max throttle for a few seconds longer. The end result was 94kmh showing on the speedometer which translated to over 58mph, holy shit.
I still find it hard to believe that I actually hit those numbers so I want to do some more speed runs using either my phone and/or GPS to see what sort of speed they report. Even if the speedometer is not entirely accurate, you can see from the video just how fast this thing goes. Despite having very fat tires, on launch both the front and rear wheels spin for a couple seconds as they try to get all that torque connected to the ground, it’s pretty crazy.
So the baby chickens are growing, growing to the point where having the six of them living in the chicken tractor is getting a bit tight. We have been moving the tractor every day to give them fresh grass to tear up and poop on. I still want to give them one more week of living on their own before introducing them to the big hens and their area. However this weekend I plan to give the babies more room to roam using temporary fencing. A few years ago I bought some temporary fencing that is black fabric with wood stakes built into it. I want to use that to make a big play pen area around the chicken tractor so the birds have a big space to hang out. Cindy and I are both hoping the transition to the big chicken yard goes smoothly next week.
This weekend we have standard stuff on the schedule. I do want to pick up some pilings to use to raise the newly roofed chicken playground. I am raising the ground level around it so I also need to raise the level inside of the structure so it does not get flooded out during wet season. The section I raised last year never was underwater last year so I am hoping for similar results, especially since this is now the birds main hang out spot during the day since we closed access under the coop.
The other day for no particular reason I checked on a friend of mine from the running club on Facebook. This person is an avid Trump supporter. Donald can truly do no wrong in their eyes. Now I have known this person for years and never did I know about his political disposition until we became friends on Facebook. I like and respect this person’s work ethic a ton but I was very surprised when I saw some of the stuff he advocated and shared on social media. Outside of a few very mild exchanges of opinions on FB I just left it alone.
Well anyway when I saw his profile the other day I saw the ADD FRIEND button was there. Evidently he unfriended me at some point, surely because I did not share his steadfast support of Trump. I was disappointed and a little sad when I saw this. However I rarely post anything political, where as 80% of what this person posted was, so it struck me as a bit strange.
I don’t think I have unfriended someone solely because of polar opposite political views. There have been several that I have filtered out of my feed so I no longer see their posts. To me this is the best way to handle that sort of situation, the person just sort of fades away and they don’t even know it. There is a good chance this person didn’t even know that was an option so instead they just smashed that REMOVE FRIEND option after reading something about my disdain for our current president.
Being virtually unfriended doesn’t change my core views of this person. If I would see them in person I wouldn’t mention it as I can’t see any positive outcome in doing so. Me mentioning it here is just commentary on the horrific divisiveness that has taken over this country for the last 20 years. People having very different thoughts and opinions on issues is nothing new, however the advent of the internet and social media in general has weaponized those opinions, making them much more impactful in all of our lives, which is unfortunate.
Last night after work I pulled the Ultron out to ride it around the back yard. I wanted to see how it would handle the very rough terrain. I slowly tracked around the yard and discovered despite having four coil over shocks on the front, the scooter does not absorb bumps well at all. I did back off the adjustable rear springs to at least make the back end a little softer.
After I was tired of getting bounced around I took the scooter out on our road for a bit. I turned onto one of our side streets to do a max speed test. Since it was dusk, the speedometer that is not visible in direct sunlight was easy to see. The first test was full power mode but only utilizing the back 1600W motor.
I squeezed the trigger hard and held on. The scooter shot up to 70kmh pretty easily and maintained it, a blistering 43mph pace, if the speedometer was accurate. 70kmh was the posted top speed on the web site and I hit that with only a single motor. Of course I had to repeat the test using both motors.
When you use both motors on the full power settings it is a scary scenario. Both wheels spin and continue to spin even as you get rolling. I gunned the throttle and held on for dear life. The speedometer rolled past 70 and kept climbing. I could hardly believe when I saw a 91 on the display before I let go to slow down. Again if accurate, that means this scooter is capable of hitting 50mph for short distances. I still find these numbers hard to believe so I plan on doing additional speed testing using GPS and other timing devices. If that speed proves to be accurate, it’s pretty crazy.
Yesterday I was looking into various options regarding rehoming the one young bird that we are 99% sure is a rooster, aka. Danielle. As I did I stumbled across just how many roosters are being given away, or at least attempted to be given away. As I researched I came across a site that advocated keeping roosters and how owning one is not necessarily a negative experience.
To me the negatives are we don’t want any more baby chicks, crowing and the potential aggression a rooster can have. The first issue can be simply addressed by grabbing eggs daily so they never get sat on by hens to hatch. Crowing, if it’s only occasionally isn’t terrible as the hens themselves are extremely noisy when laying eggs as well. Aggression in some situations can be an advantage as a rooster will instinctively try to protect the hens from predators.
The major thing is not letting the bird establish dominance over you. We have a hose in the chicken yard at all times which would be a pretty effective deterrent if Danielle (guess he needs a new name), would turn his aggression on us. There are plenty of examples of roosters being quite fond of humans too. So anyway, Cindy and I agreed we will both give it a shot and see how it goes. Danielle should feel like a very lucky bird.
I had my dermatologist check up last week. During it the doctor took a sample of an area in the corner of my forehead that has been dry and recently started opening up. It has been that way for awhile and based on my past basal cell cancer history I assumed it was another spot. I got confirmation yesterday that it was, meaning I am going back under the knife next month.
It will once again be a MOHS procedure where they cut out a section and then test the perimeter to make sure there are no more cancerous cells. If there are they go back in and cut more. Depending on how successful they are it can be a pain in the ass and time consuming to potentially get cut on multiple times. I’m not looking forward to it but at this point I am approaching double digits as far as skin cancer removals go so I certainly know what to expect.
I did not watch a second of the state of the union address last night but I did read some of the highlights. It contained what you would expect, tons of self congratulatory statements of his imaginary reality and a call to end “ridiculous partisan investigations”. Somehow these ridiculous investigations have resulted in over a half dozen indictments thus far and some of Donald’s own family may be next on the block. I can only hope this noose continues tighten until big Don himself is backed into a corner, alone with no one else left to take a fall on his behalf.
Yesterday the replacement tubes I ordered showed up so I could repair the back tire on the Dualtron. The scooter took a screw to the sidewall during our ride over the weekend. I had gotten a head start on the project on Saturday, pulling the wheel off and removing the punctured tire and tube. This was my first time working on the Dualtron. I used the fold up table in the garage as a workbench, not an ideal set up but better than trying to do it on my knees on the ground. The design of the wheels makes changing the tube far easier than any other tire I ever worked on. There is no wrestling with the tire to get it on and off. It instead is pressed and held into place with a plate on one side which is screwed down.
After I got the wheel mounted back on the scooter I had to do some screwing around with the brake caliper position until I got everything lined up in a way where the wheel spun freely when not engaged. I did some additional adjustment to the brake levers to take out some of the slop that was there so the stopping power begins sooner. I took the scooter for a quick ride down the street just to make sure everything felt normal. I returned the Dualtron inside, declaring it as fixed as I threw it on the charger, ready for it’s next ride. It felt good to remedy the situation without major hassles.
Friday after work, despite walking with a bit of a limp earlier in the day due to soreness, I drug myself over to the track to get a run in. As expected it was an unpleasant experience that was as much a mental test as a physical one. I once again endured the 13 laps at a snail-like 10 minute mile pace.
On Saturday after completing all of my chores in the morning Cindy suggested we take both scooters to Culvers for lunch. I have not had a chance to give the new Ultron Ultra a substantial road test since receiving it more than a week prior. The weather this weekend was drastically better than the prior with sun and temps around 80. Culvers is about 9 miles away.
So early on the ride was going fine albeit a few annoyances. The cruise control function on the Ultra does not seem to work. I have the feature enabled according to the directions I was given but the feature never engages, regardless of how long you hold the throttle at a steady speed. It isn’t a huge negative for me but it would make riding the scooter for Cindy a negative for any appreciable distance. The lack of a seat is a bit of a bummer too. Well it doesn’t lack a seat, it has one that I removed because with the design of the seat mount it almost cuts the foot plate area in half, which would make it very tough for me to still be able to stand on it with my big feet. So outside of those two things the ride was going well. The one thing I was scratching my head about, that even once we arrived at Culvers, the battery indicator on the Ultron was still showing full. Wow, it must get incredible range, I guess….
After enjoying our lunch we pushed back for home. Cindy told me to get in front so she could get some footage of me on her GoPro. I did as she said and took off. As I was cruising along maybe a minute later I saw a Mustang go by me. They beeped their horn a few times and the driver had his hand out the window. I wasn’t sure if he was waving to me or giving me the finger. Well when I turned around to see where Cindy was it made sense. He was pointing, telling me that Cindy was left behind.
When I turned she was nowhere in sight. At first I was worried that she wiped out somehow. I got on the sidewalk and hauled ass back her direction. As I got closer I saw the her and the Dualtron were on the sidewalk which was a relief. When I got to her she directed me to the rear tire of the Dualtron which had a long wood screw embedded into the sidewall of the tire. How it would have wound up there is strange act of physics but it obviously punctured the tube, disabling the scooter.
So I told Cindy she could take the Ultron back to the house and get the truck but she wanted me to go. She didn’t like the idea of no cruise control and no seat. So off I went at high speed. I did notice that the Ultron STILL showed full battery charge. At this point it seemed insane to show full charge and I started to question the accuracy of the display.
I did my best to haul ass, cruising at close to 30 mph for awhile. When I was about three miles from the house I was in dual motor mode for max speed. I felt a couple weird cuts in power so I slowed down a bit and switched to single motor mode which felt fine. However about a mile later that started feeling odd too as I was losing speed. About 3/4 mile from the house the scooter shut down completely. I was dumbfounded and angry. It was still showing full battery shortly before cutting out, WTF? Running out of power was frustrating enough but when coupled with knowing Cindy was waiting for me to pick her up made it even worse. I pushed the 80 pound scooter as fast as I could back to the house.
So when I finally got back to the house I jumped in the Tacoma to get Cindy. She said she was wondering what was taking so long. She couldn’t believe it when I told her the Ultron died and I had to push it. It was a day of bad luck, first a flat and then a power loss. I never have had to push a PEV that far since I got into the hobby.
Later that evening I dug around a bit in the configuration settings. I found one that indicated the normal battery voltage, the options are 36V, 48V or 60V. It was set to 36V. Well that explains why the meter showed full, the battery pack is 60V, which would never reach 36V even when discharged. When I set it correctly the battery meter finally updated. After leaving the scooter on the charger overnight it finally was showing a true full charge.
I also took apart the back wheel on the Dualtron. Luckily changing the tube on a scooter is a lot easier than on an EUC. I have a new tube arriving today.
Saturday night we watched “A Quiet Place”. It’s sort of like Bird Box but instead of not being able to look at anything you aren’t able to make any noise. The world has been taken over by horrific monsters that are blind but have acute hearing. If you make any sound they attack almost instantly. Cindy was scared shitless during a lot of it. It didn’t bother me as much. It was cool to see a scare genre film again. I’d give it a B rating.
Sunday after running some errands in the morning, I wanted to get back on the Ultron to do a proper long ride, now that I had a full charge. Cindy had some shopping to do so I pushed off solo to Ave Maria, a ride Cindy has done on the Dualtron easily. Since the Ultron has an even bigger battery I assumed it would be equally easy to cover the roughly 30 miles of road.
During the trip out I was carrying a lot of speed, rolling along at 30mph+ most of the time. I was not conservative in my speed at all as I figured I had plenty of battery life to spare. When I got to Ave Maria the battery indicator showed I had three bars out of five remaining. I figured I should still be fine but I made a conscious decision to go slower on the return trip, just to be safe.
Well as soon as I turned back onto Oil Well Road and immediately felt a strong headwind I knew I could be in trouble. I maintained around 20 mph until I stopped with about six miles to go to check my battery level. When I saw only one bar was left I was not happy. I immediately switched to ECO mode which uses less power and drops your top speed significantly, I could only go roughly 13MPH in this setting with the battery power I had left.
Well even in slow mode my speed kept decreasing. I finally got off and started pushing when I dropped to less than 10 mph. Unfortunately I still had three miles remaining. I let Cindy know, who was still shopping at the time, that I was not going to make it home. I started pushing it, with a couple very brief attempts to resume riding but the battery just had no power left.
As I walked along I analyzed why my range was so much less than I expected, despite the Ultron having a bigger battery than the Dualtron. I started running numbers and realized that this outcome should not have been quite as surprising. The motors on the Ultron are rated at twice the power of the Dualtron (1600W vs 800W) so logic would dictate that they consume power at a higher rate, especially when I was carrying such high speed during the first half of the ride. Even with that revelation, I still felt disappointed in the range result, a feeling that grew with each mile that I pushed the heavy scooter.
Cindy picked me up when I had about a mile to go. I was overheated and tired at that point so I was happy for the relief. If you watch the video you will get a pretty good sense of the ups and downs from the ride. For the money, I still think the Ultron is a decent value. I just need to be more speed sensitive if I intend to take it on longer rides in the future.
I had two big 3D printing projects going this weekend, a big cactus and a Hulk print that turned out really cool. I can’t wait to see how they look once Cindy is done painting them. She spent a lot of time on Sunday working on the lighthouse island print which is very detailed.
Of course we watched the Super Bowl last night. The outcome of the game was what I expected although I did not expect it to be the lowest scoring game in Super Bowl history. The Patriots defense played extremely well. I would not say the defensive struggle translated into a very exciting game to watch.
I thought the halftime show with Maroon 5 was very forgettable. Awkwardly jamming that rap guy that I never heard of and that I couldn’t understand into the performance just made it less enjoyable. I also didn’t see a ton of standout commercials. I think my favorite was the NFL commercial that had all of the old players reenacting their glory days as they destroyed a wedding reception. Despite my dislike of the Patriots I can’t help but respect what they have achieved. The level of success and longevity that Belichick and Brady has engineered is something that I am unlikely to see repeated in my lifetime.
As I have mentioned multiple times I have really been liking my new CR10S Pro printer. I liked it so much that I have been printing a very cool and large three day model of a lighthouse on an island. The prints completed and seemed great, at first. I then happened to turn the building to the side and saw an odd looking deformity called a layer shift in 3D printing lingo. Basically something causes the print to misalign and then anything after that prints on that skewed plane.
The building had the most obvious defects but the huge island print that took two days had some shifting as well. I was bummed out. I turned to the CR10 user group on Facebook, posting pictures of my deformed print. I got a number of suggestions which I tried when I got home.
I think the issue was something I may have actually created. When I got the printer I tightened the nuts that apply pressure to the rails that the hot bed wheels roll on. I did it to ensure there was no wobble in the bed. Well if you tighten them too far it can actually cause resistance with bed movement which is not good. When I tested it last night the bed did feel tougher to move than it should so I backed the nuts off maybe a quarter turn. After doing so the movement felt better.
I was pretty confident that was my issue so I queued up another print and let it run overnight. This morning I awoke to a totally clean and straight print which brought a smile to my face. Like I said the huge island print isn’t bad enough that a reprint is needed. Even the wavy building isn’t so bad that it couldn’t be used/displayed. The wobble gives it a unique charm. I was glad to be able to sort out the issue quickly, after fighting with my Chiron over the last few weeks I don’t need any new 3D printer problems to troubleshoot right now.
This morning as the sun rose Cindy looked out back and saw both doors to the coop open. She asked me if I went out and opened them. I said no as she was running out the door to check on the birds. Luckily nothing bad happened. I somehow must have done a poor job securing the doors the night before, allowing them to pop open. I will be more meticulous in my checks from now on.
I heard some surprising but exciting news last night. Yesterday was my step mom’s birthday. Cindy had called her and during the call she found out that they sold their house in western PA, something that I thought might take much longer to accomplish. If all goes as planned the closing is in April meaning there obviously is a shit ton of work to be done before that happens.
I am not sure of all of the specifics as far as how their new living arrangements will shake out, they have not bought anything else. I think in the big picture this is a really good thing. I know my dad likes having a lot of land, all of the animals, and the peace and solitude it can provide. However the reality is he is not a young man and that property is basically a full time job just to maintain. I am hoping whatever their new arrangement is that it offers more balance where time can be enjoyed instead of consumed by endless tasks.
This weekend we are supposed to have good weather which means I will finally be able to get out on the road and do some serious testing with the Ultron Ultra. A lot of people that watch my channel are interested in seeing if the Ultron, despite being almost half the cost of an equivalent Dualtron, still offers solid hardware. Time will tell.
As I mentioned before, we aren’t doing a Super Bowl party this year for no particular reason. I did however make a Super Bowl food request of Cindy, Pigs in a Blanket. For those unfamiliar with the item, you take cut up pieces of hot dog and wrap them inside crescent roll dough. It’s an odd food request but something I always have had an affinity for. Of course we will be using veggie dogs. 😉
Last night my primary project was replacing the massive hotbed on my AnyCubic Chiron. The four month old printer already had one of the power wires for the bed fail due to wear which is disconcerting. Anyway I worked my way through the process which was not technically difficult, just slightly time consuming. I got it all back together and my massive leveling test print completed successfully. The video I produce of this process will be comedic as it will include my original attempt to splice in wire to fix the problem, which was an epic failure.
This morning I had my annual dermatologist appointment. I showed off my battle wounds from my faceplant several weeks ago which he was impressed with. I also have a permanent odd spot in the middle of my back from where the barbell sits when I do squats. He did scrape a section of skin on my forehead that has been problematic off and on for awhile to see if it’s basal cell skin cancer. I have had so much skin cancer cut out at this point it is a total non-event if I am told I need to go under the knife again.
The other day I was thinking just how comfortable my life has become over time. Of course there have been many challenges in the last decade but overall I am lucky to be able to go day to day living in a place most people would like to be with stable employment that affords me the ability to do most things I want in life without massive struggle. Unlike a lot of people I know, I don’t feel the need to get that bigger/fancier house, pursue a higher paying job, or do anything significantly different than what I am currently doing. That could be a good or a bad thing depending on the situation. I think I have definitely put the sweat and effort equity into getting where I am today but I don’t feel like I have much more I need to be pushing towards.