Category: Anything and Everything

So although the most important part of YouTube videos by far is the content, specifically that it is interesting or entertaining, production value matters too.  If the video quality is terrible, people may not be able to hang in there to appreciate the content.  Another crucial thing in building a YouTube channel is getting people to interact with your videos whether it be via ad clicks, hitting the like button, commenting, or subscribing.  All of these things factor into the YouTube hive mind which result in your videos getting more and more visibility in various “Suggested videos” lists.

I added a quick intro to my videos a few months ago to add some consistent branding  Last night I made a quick 10 second outro that I plan to slap on the end of all future videos to reenforce the “please subscribe” message as well provide links to my Instagram and Twitter accounts.  Using those other social media platforms to help promote a YouTube channel is a solid strategy and something I hope to incorporate more regularly.

 

So I had big plans for my President’s Day, none of which involved doing home labor.  I wanted to go out on my EUC and do some filming with my Mavic at the same time.  I had ideas of doing a long ride that could cover multiple locations.  My first stop was north collier regional park.  I thought this would be a good spot for me to do an auto follow test with the drone.  I had already done a similar test but this time I wanted to try to have the drone lower and closer to me as I rode.

So I got all the gear up and running and took off slowly on my wheel with the Mavic in pursuit.  I immediately heard a noise coming from my wheel that concerned me.  It was a nasty rubbing sound that changed depending on speed and angle.  The EUC noise concerned me much more than flying the Mavic so my drone air time used only half of the battery before I shut it down.

I rode around the wheel some more to see if I could get a better idea of what was going on.  The noise sounded bad.  Now when I rode at the Greenway off road with Katie the day before there was an incident where something got sucked up into the wheel, it sounded like a vine, I never saw it.  However after that happened I rode another mile or two without a problem.  Why I would be hearing a noise the next day baffled me.   I threw the wheel up on the tailgate of the truck and did my best to look inside for any sort of debris.  I saw nothing.  I was bummed out that my big riding plans were cut short but there was no way I was going to keep riding with that noise going on.

So as soon as I got home I did further diagnostics with my wheel.  I utilized the LED light on my phone to try to get a better look inside the wheel.  I finally spotted what looked like a piece of wood jammed at the very top of the casing above the wheel.  I was relieved to see I found the problem I now just had to find a way to get it out.

I spent at least a half hour digging inside the wheel with a straightened wire hanger, trying to push the wood towards one of the openings so I could grab it.  Even once I got it to the edge I had to pry it out with a needle nose pliers.  The piece was so big I wondered how it got up there in the first place.  Once the wood was removed I took the wheel out in the driveway for a quick test which verified the wheel was now noise free. I was very happy my beloved MSuper was intact.

So I played some WoW during the afternoon before deciding to take the now wood-free wheel back to the swamp.  Instead of driving my truck there and wheeling from the parking lot I decided to ride the wheel the three miles to the trail instead.  I planned a much shorter trail ride this time, without venturing into the heart of gator country.

There were only four or five vehicles in the parking lot but I passed no less than a dozen people on the trail which surprised me.  It looked like a number of the holes in the boardwalk were fixed since my last ride, I saw a lot of fresh lumber in place.  They also removed the large tree that was blocking the path rather early on.

The ride itself was nice.  I had one close call when I spotted a striped snake at the last minute and had to dart suddenly to miss it.  I was right on the edge of dumping it.  I decided to only go into the path until I saw my first gator which happened around the two and a half mile mark.  I saw what I assume was a mother gator with two 1 foot long babies right next to her.  That was enough reptile action for me for the day and I back tracked from there.

On my way out a guy that was taking wildlife photos asked if I could pose for a picture.  He thought the EUC was pretty amazing and couldn’t believe I was able to ride it on a trail.  The ride back home was smooth.  At one point I was actually going fast enough that I started to feel mild tiltback on the wheel, something I hardly ever feel with the Msuper since it’s top end speed is so high.

Even with the stick incident early in the day it was a very enjoyable day off where I just got to do my own thing pretty much all day long.  I could use more days like that.

 

 

Saturday morning I was up and outside early.  After doing the chicken clean up I hit the yard chores like weeding and weed whacking.  I turned the pool equipment back on after leaving it off overnight as the pool guy recommended so the freshly cemented joints could dry.  I was not thrilled when later in the day I noticed another wet spot by the plumbing.  It was coming from the back flow valve that was part of the heater install.  There was a very steady drip.

I sent pictures of the leak to the pool guy along with a description.  He called me back and suggested I try to tighten the connector on the valve as it is threaded.  He said it was possible his other work may have caused it to loosen up.  Luckily I had a big pipe wrench.  I turned the valve very slightly, skeptical that I would be successful.  However it appeared the drip did cease as the concrete pad stayed dry from that point on.

After I was done in the yard Cindy and I did a Rural King/Home Depot run.  At Home Depot we just planned to get some mulch, both the conventional and the rubber variety to refresh more landscaped areas that were chicken casualties.  We wound up getting some shelving material as well for a seat of the pants project, building a shelf in the master bathroom.

The bathroom counter in our bedroom has a large chunk of dead space under the drawer.  It’s something that always bugged me to some degree for the last 16 years but I never acted on it.  Well since Cindy repainted the bathroom and we installed the new faucet this seemed as good of a time as any to do it.  Cindy had been looking at some stuff online but none of it was a great fit to the dimensions we had so building something seemed like a good option.

I have built other things out of this shelving material before, most notably the dog food platforms.  We had a drawing of the approximate dimensions we were going to use.  The construction process took place outside the large shed.  We used the Honda generator for power for the saw.  Like most projects I do, this one was organic where construction plans change on the fly.

When we thought we were done the first time I stood back and eyeballed the shelf.  One of the rectangles formed by the shelving was whacked, despite us using a level to try to keep everything squared up.  Luckily we were able to just remove the screws of the affected shelves and reattach them in a more visually congruent method.  The shelf looked good in the bathroom although I miscalculated slightly.  When we picked the width of the shelf which would leave just enough room for the trashcan we forgot to add in the width of the shelving pieces, meaning the trash can no longer would fit.  That problem will be addressed by a new trash can.

I was tired of doing work so late afternoon I threw two of my wheels in the back of the truck.  I brought my low end $200 wheel to do some going backwards practice, not wanting to damage my expensive Msuper from all the falling that is part of learning to ride the opposite direction.  As expected I struggled a lot, not able to go more than a couple feet before falling off the wheel.  Once I scraped open my ankle I called it quits. In addition to the EUC video I also shot a 10,000 mile review of the Tacoma.

Saturday night Cindy and I stayed home and watched The BFG.  I thought the movie was sweet, endearing and very well done, an A rental.

Saturday night was a rough one in the sleep department due to dog activity.  Since Katie has moved in with us most weekends she is out late at night.  Well Bowser does not do well if left alone so Cindy has been trying to stay up with him.   Katie was out extra late Saturday night and Cindy was exhausted so she tried leaving Bowser in Katie’s room which seemed ok at first however he eventually started barking.  Elsa, who has been having some bathroom accidents lately had another one in early in the AM which was another prolonged sleep disturbance.  If I was lucky I may have gotten four hours of sleep Saturday night.

When we were up from the dogs I turned off the 6AM alarm to go run as I did not want to wake up Cindy if at all possible.  I instead woke up on my own around 7 and headed out.  I planned a very conservative run of two miles to see how my knee/IT band would respond.

I was hoping for some nice cool weather to run in.  Instead it was warm, humid and incredibly foggy.  The thermometer in the truck read 74 degrees.  I could instantly tell the nearly two month layoff from running was impacting me.  The run was slow and steady with some pain in my right leg early on that evened out as I continued.  Today it doesn’t feel horrible which is a positive.

When I got home Cindy was still in bed so I wanted to allow her to sleep as much as possible.  I went straight outside and did the chicken clean up in just my running shorts, the sweaty shirt went right in the laundry.

We had talked Saturday about going for a ride Sunday but it took until late morning for that to happen until Katie woke up from her late night.  We decided to go to the Greenway again since Cindy said she likes practicing there.  I brought both her wheel and the Minipro just in case she changed her mind.

It was a big day, Cindy made her most progress to date, riding at least a couple hundred feet without support multiple times as well as pulling off a couple free standing mount and goes in addition to some clean dismounts.  Her wheel hit the ground a few times but for the most part Cindy was able to bail cleanly which is another important skill.  It was funny, for the first time ever it was Cindy being the one extending the riding timeline.  She was actually having fun and excited as she kept building on her accomplishments.  Katie was sitting on a bench as Cindy kept chugging along. I was proud of her.  On the drive home Cindy talked a lot about how much fun she had.  Even though she had been able to stay upright prior to yesterday, I think yesterday was her true “click” moment where she actually was able to feel the fun instead of the fear.

Yesterday afternoon I made a run to Autozone to get coolant for Katie’s truck.  The Ram is losing coolant somewhere and more than once Katie has had to stop because the truck overheated as a result.  I could not see an obvious coolant leak but I wanted to make sure she at least had coolant on hand so she doesn’t get stranded.

To be honest her truck is a mess.  It costs a ton to operate between gas and repairs and is pretty much the worst possible vehicle she could own based on her current circumstances.  Cindy has tried to urge Katie to think about getting more sensible transportation but so far that effort has been unsuccessful.  If I have learned one thing living with a 23 year old is they don’t welcome advice much at all, regardless of the experience that leads to it.

The rest of the day I mostly chilled out with a lot of WoW thrown in.  I am hoping today is filled with a lot of what I feel like doing, my work quota for the three day weekend has been fulfilled.

 

 

So this morning the pool guy is supposed to show up to hopefully fix the leak at the pool pump as well doing a total replumb of most of the stuff on the concrete pad.  The pool heater is getting ripped out and the pool filter is going to be moved to it’s spot to allow as much room as possible for the RO system when it is installed.  I am hoping the work proceeds without incident.

I have another one of those wonderful government perks this weekend, getting off Monday for President’s Day.  After beating myself up pretty severely the last couple weekends with chicken fencing related projects I hope to have a less laborious three days ahead of me.

 

So I met up with the guy from Water Medic yesterday to inspect my water setup to give me an estimate for installing a whole house reverse osmosis system.  This was actually the owner of the company which I thought was sort of cool.  Despite having a staff of nearly 50 people he likes to do all the estimates himself. I immediately found Rich to be a down to earth and likeable person.

He first took some measurements of the pad where the water equipment is located.  The RO system takes up a lot of space so there would need to be some rearranging done.  It just so happens that I have a pool guy coming out to replumb some stuff and remove the old broken pool heater.  Unknowingly this was perfect timing as one of the things that would make the RO install simpler is to have the pool filter relocated to the spot where the pool heater is now. After taking measurements we went to the well head where he did testing of the water coming straight out of the ground.  He said our well water was actually really good with no iron, and low contaminants.

He explained to me how the system works and his general business philosophy.  He said he knows other companies are selling RO for more money but his main hope is customers continue the monthly maintenance service after the first year.  He said he has done absolutely no advertising in the Collier County area but has installed several hundred systems solely on word of mouth.  The components used in the system are high quality and even after the water goes through four filters it gets sanitized one last time by a UV filter before it enters the house.

I got a small credit for my old equipment and a $200 discount for being a government employee.  The final estimate was $1700 less than what the other water company quoted me and with Water Medic I get a free year of monthly maintenance that normally costs $70 a month,  another $850 in savings versus the first quote.  It was pretty much a no brainer.

I didn’t commit on the spot as I told Rich I wanted to confirm my pool guy could move the pool filter and that I could get the day off for the installation.  I confirmed both of those things within an hour and then locked in the install for March 2nd.  The system will consume all of my tax refund and then some but it’s a solid investment in the value of the house going forward.

I still had some daylight left so I took my Msuper out for a ride.  In the middle of the ride, which I was shooting video of, I filmed a second video outlining the lower body stretching I have been doing for my IT band pain.  I have been wanting to do a video regarding it for awhile and yesterday seemed as good of a time as any.  It’s sort of funny how I got interrupted in the middle of the stretching video which prompted me to relocate to a more remote location, a handball court.

I forgot I actually shot a THIRD video yesterday, a brief documentation of the weird shift surge my truck has been doing first thing in the morning.

 

 

So even though we went out to our V-day dinner Saturday night I came up with the idea of picking up Carrabbas to Go for dinner last night so Cindy didn’t have to cook.   Evidently my idea was not unique, I sat in a line 10 cars deep at the restaurant waiting to pick up the food.  They seemed unprepared for the business as a single girl was running back and forth trying to sort out who got what.  I eventually just got out of my truck and walked inside to grab the food myself.  My bag was sitting on the counter along with a dozen other bags.  The drive home was miserable. Evidently an accident on 75 had diverted a ton of cars back into the non-interstate roadways causing a quagmire.  I didn’t get home till close to 6:30.

We had a nice night at home.  Cindy got me a couple practical gifts and I gave her a cool pair of white gold earrings I got from Costco.  The have a tiny leaf pattern in them which I thought was pretty and unique.

Today I am meeting a guy to get an estimate on whole house reverse osmosis.  I had the company that installed our current system give us a number and it was significantly higher than what this company advertises.  I heard about these guys from a friend that had their system replaced with RO and have been very pleased.  Not only is the up front costs less, they include one free year of monthly maintenance which I wasn’t getting from the first company either.  The expense for either system is considerable but what you are getting for the money is top quality water without any maintenance by the homeowner whatsoever.  They handle it all.  That scenario sounds pretty attractive at this stage in my life.

I have not really been commenting on the three ring circus which has been the Trump administration thus far.  I expected it to be a mess and it has been, perhaps even more so than I could have imagined.  Via a FB friend I stumbled across a site that allows you to track the buffoonery on a daily basis, whatthefuckjusthappenedtoday.com

As you flip through the day by day recollection of Trump administration events it seems rather surreal.  Check it out.

So I went over to the Coastland Center mall after work.  I literally NEVER go to malls anymore.  I bet the last time I stepped foot in the place was 2-3 years ago.  It felt sort of weird to be honest which is strange since going to the Berkshire Mall as I was growing up was a staple of my youth.  The mall felt like it reflected the slow death of conventional retail in the country.  Most stores had more employees mulling about than customers.

So anyway the reason I was there was to get my beloved Casio G-shock fixed.  After I broke the main pin attaching the metal band to the body I tried unsuccessfully to replace the pin myself.  I knew there was a jewelry repair place at the mall so I figured I could drop it off and they would have it fixed in a day.

Well when I walked into the repair shop, just like the rest of the mall, no one was there but the man that owns the place.  He was reading a magazine.  I showed him my watch and he said he could fix it no problem for $20 and it would take 15 minutes.  I was pleasantly surprised that he could do it immediately, saving me a second trip to the mall.  I sat in a central area and people watched for a few minutes before returning.  By the time I got there the man was back to reading his magazine.  I bet it took him all of 30 seconds.  Knowing what you are doing makes all the difference.  I happily took possession of my now complete watch and have it on my right wrist once again today, just like it has been the majority of the last 13 or 14 years.

Late last week I got an email from Chase saying they were sending me a new credit card.  Based on my recent track record of credit fraud I was concerned as I did not make a request for a new card.  I called them to see what was up. The rep told me the new improved cards were being sent out automatically.  I wasn’t quite sure what would be improved about them but thanked the guy for the info.

Well the card arrived yesterday and when I pulled it out I did a double take.  Where are the numbers???  This is the first credit card I ever saw that has no account information on the front of the card.  Instead the account info is imprinted on the back, a simple solution to cut down on the exposure of your CC number to the world.  The card itself also weighs noticeably more than other cards, I am not sure what the added heft is about but if it helps keep the card more secure I’m all for it.

The best part of the new card is it coincides with a HUGE improvement in the Amazon rewards I get.  Up until this point if I used the card to buy items on Amazon, which we do all the time, we got a 3% spiff in the form of Amazon points that can be used as cash to spend on their site.  Well that kickback has now gotten a huge bump up to 5%, making what was already a good deal, great.

So many people don’t realize everything that is involved with trying to build a successful channel on YouTube.  Of course it involves capturing footage, hopefully quality footage, and then the normally lengthy process of editing it into a package suitable for consumption.  Once the video is uploaded, video titles are very important.  A common term on YT is “click bait”, which means giving a video a short title that sparks curiosity in the viewer that gets them to click the video.  The problem is sometimes YouTube creators will use intentionally misleading video titles just to get that click, hence the term.

Adding the description and meta tags is also very important as it helps your video catch hits when viewers are searching for certain keywords.  Again there is an opportunity for shadiness in this as sometimes creators will add meta tags that have absolutely nothing to do with their video in the hopes it will still snag a click.  You also want to try to encourage people to hit the LIKE button on every video you produce as it helps in getting that video shown in other’s Suggested Video lists.  Of course encouraging people to SUBSCRIBE to the channel is important as well as they will automatically get notified whenever you produce something new, making it more likely they will view it.

When it comes to actually making money on YouTube a creator has to establish an AdSense account that will pay you each time your account balance crosses the $100 mark.  The pay is based on a complex formula of video views, length of time viewers watch your video and interaction with the ads that play with your videos.  I have been doing pretty well lately and have gotten a check each of the last 7 or 8 months.

However there are other ways to monetize your YouTube channel.  Some people will do sponsored videos where they are paid to review or talk about a product.  Of course this is something that only happens once your channel grows to a decent size.  Mine is much too small at this point for that to happen.  My channel however is not too small to take advantage of the Amazon Affiliates program.

The AA program is cool, Amazon basically gives you a spiff for directing people to their site.  What most YouTubers will do is create AA links (amzn.to) to specific products that they are either using in the video or use otherwise.  These links are included in the video descriptions.  Normally if your video includes use of some product you mention that a link to the product is in the video description.  If a viewer clicks the link and subsequently buys the product on Amazon, bang, you get a spiff.  I signed up for the program last week and started adding some affiliate links to my old videos and I will add them to anything coming out subsequently.

It is sort of a fun side challenge trying to turn my YouTube channel into a legitimate part time job in terms of revenue.  I’ll keep working at it.

 

So Saturday I had another back breaking session of labor.  I loaded up the back of the Tacoma with 10 bags of mulch 10, bags of top soil, and 25 pieces of sod.  I was a bit annoyed and a little more amazed by the Hispanic family that was parked in front of both the mulch and sod, making my loading process more of a hassle.

They jammed an INCREDIBLE amount of things into their Ford Expedition SUV.  I saw at least 6 patio chairs, a table, a bunch of mulch, at least 20 pieces of sod, and at least a dozen medium sized potted variegated plants.  The vehicle had to be stuffed from ceiling to floor.  Oh, and the couple had to jam their three children in there as well somehow.

After they were done I was commenting to another customer about how amazing it was they managed to get all of that stuff inside the Ford.  The sod went on the back seat, that must have been neat and tidy.

So once I got home I got busy.  I parked the truck right outside the front gate of the new chicken grounds and used our little pull behind wagon to cart stuff into the fenced area.  I spread the mulch first.  A bunch of it went into the center of the chicken play area we created.  My thinking was I knew they loved digging through mulch around the yard so I wanted them to have their own collection of it.

The rest of the mulch was used around the pond and the small area that has the birds of paradise.  In the past couple years it had become pretty pointless to add mulch to landscaped beds because the chickens would destroy it with their endless scratching shortly thereafter.  It felt sort of strange to place mulch down and realize it would actually stay put, making those areas look nicer than they have in quite awhile.

I then worked on getting the top soil and sod down.  A lot of the grass went around the perimeter of the coop.  When the chickens dig, quite often they like to do it against some sort of structure.  Putting a thick sod border around the coop is one way to encourage the chickens to excavate elsewhere.  Even though the temperatures were nice and cool to start the day it quickly got warm.  I was out there a good five hours plodding away.  Even though I certainly did not enjoy it, having the chickens mulling around me wondering what I was doing most of the time made it less annoying.

I picked up Sadie Saturday morning so she had a bunch of crazy play time with Bowser and Elsa.  It seemed most of the time Bowser and Elsa would tag team Sadie which for the most part Sadie was ok with.  A couple times it got a little out of hand and Sadie let out a quick warning snarl that let the other dogs know a boundary had been reached.

I have had an issue with the connection to the outlet of the pool pump leaking for awhile.  I have tried to fix it by applying fresh pvc cement to the outside of the joint but it accomplished nothing.  The only way to fix it correctly is to rip that section out and replumb it to the input of the filter.  If pressed I could probably do it but with something like this my preference is to just pay a professional to do it to minimize the potential for future leaks.

So when I got more chlorine at Pinch-a-Penny I made arrangements to have someone come out to do the work.  In addition to fixing that section I am also going to have them pull out the pool heater that has been broken for at least five years.  Once it is pulled out they will have to replumb the lines some more.  Even when the pool is warm in the summer we hardly use it, putting in a new pool heater would be a huge waste of money not only in up front costs but also the ridiculous impact it has on my electric bill.

On Saturday night Cindy and I went on our Valentines Day dinner early to Stir Crazy.  We invited Katie along as well as we didn’t want her sitting home being bummed out.  The food was good but our waitress, Nicole was pretty awful.  From the first word out of her mouth you could tell she hated being a waitress.  Although the entrees came out lightning fast, things that seemingly did not require much preparation like draft beer and desert had these inexplicable delays.  She brought out plates and forks for desert 10 minutes before the desert actually arrived.  We actually got the check before we got desert.  It was bizarre.  Nicole did not clean up in the tip department as a result.

Sunday morning I was up pretty early.  I gave Cindy a break from chicken duties since she does it pretty much every other day.  Katie had said she was interested in riding EUCs Sunday morning but was still asleep so I kept myself busy for awhile.  First I put my Mavic up to get some more updated aerial video of the additional improvements we made to the chicken area.  I am still fumbling around trying to figure out everything the drone can do.  I have only grazed the surface thus far.

I then sat down and paid my bills for the week which took extra long since it was credit card reconciliation time which is tedious and annoying.  Katie was still asleep so I grew tired of waiting, I didn’t want to have half the day pass before getting out.  I was just loading the truck up to head out on my own when she came out of the room.  She said she still wanted to go so instead of a solo trek, Cindy and her piled in the truck for a ride at the Greenway.

The weather was really nice for riding and we were having a great time.  When people see us on the wheels it is very common to get comments like “Wow, that’s cool!”, “What is that??” and other statements of intrigue or interest.  Well as I was exiting one of the boardwalk areas I passed an older couple whom were obviously not born in the US based on their accent.  As I was passing them the old man says, “the sign (at entrance of the boardwalk) says no motor vehicles”  I at first thought the guy was just being funny as universally, we have never had anyone be negative about our EUC riding.  I told him in a friendly voice, “well this is basically like an electric bicycle” (bikes are allowed).

Well the old prick continued “well that thing still has a motor doesn’t it???”  Instantly I lost all patience with this guy.  I now used my overtly sarcastic, fake friendly voice as I told him.  “well why don’t you go ahead and report us then.  Have a great day!”  as I rode away from him.   They walked by me again when I was stopped by Cindy who was practicing on Katie’s EUC.  The guy had no additional commentary for me, good for him.

Like I said, Cindy who rode the MiniPro for most of the ride got more practice in on the boardwalk on Katie’s wheel.  Cindy likes the height of the rail as a support if needed.  She did well, riding without support for 50-75 feet a couple times.  She stepped off it a bit awkwardly during her last roll and called it quits.  When I was learning I always made sure the last ride I did was not a fail.  I think it helps a lot to get right back on and have one more small success before stopping.  It just helps build confidence going forward.

After the ride we stopped and grabbed lunch at a pizza place.  The main pizza maker used to work with Katie at her old waitress job, his name was Tommy.  I could immediately tell he was from NYC.  I don’t know if you could find a more stereotypical pizza guy.  He looked and talked exactly as you would imagine.  He was very funny and had all of us laughing throughout the meal.  The pizza was very good.

We didn’t get home until after two.  Cindy was shocked when she discovered Kristen, our white chicken outside the fence.  She was able to quickly grab her and put her back before Bowser could react.  When reviewing the security dvr she saw the escape on video.  Kristin was able to simply fly up to the cross post and jump over.

Well obviously we can’t have that and chickens have a lemming mentality, when they see one do something they are apt to try it as well.  We had to do some wing clipping.  We only trimmed the wings of four of the ten chickens, Pumpkin, Peaches, Stephie, and of course Kristin.  They are the smaller birds with good flying/jumping ability.  The process only takes 30 seconds per bird so it wasn’t bad.  Early on when the chickens became adults we had issues with a few of them flying over the main fence but they eventually stopped trying.  We are hoping they come to the same conclusion with the new fence as well.

I got some WoW time in the rest of the day as well as some backyard EUC riding just for fun.  Tonight I need to go to a jewelry repair place to get my beloved Casio G-shock watch repaired.  I broke the main pin that connects the band to the watch body when I was chasing down Bowser a couple weeks ago.  The attempts I made to replace the pin myself have been utter fails.

 

Last night before dinner I wanted to get a quick ride in before dinner so I hopped on my Msuper and headed to the first cross street.  I quietly carved back and forth as I traveled both ends of the street under the bright full moon.  It always feels good to just get out and ride.  Even brief 10-15 minute sessions like last night helps clear the mind and dull some of the sharp things jabbing me in my daily grind.

I was surprised and happy to hear that Cindy was actually out on her wheel in the backyard yesterday practicing, using the new chicken fence as a support.  She said she actually launched herself away from the safety of the fence a few times and free wheeled it.  She said she feels less danger when the potential for falling is on grass instead of asphalt or concrete.

So today on my way to work I had two annoying things happen with my Tacoma.  Shortly after pulling out of the driveway the RPMs on the truck jumped way up, it almost felt like the truck was in neutral.  I immediately backed off the gas.  After doing so when I reapplied the gas the truck felt normal but it concerns me because of the widespread transmission issues that have been reported with the new Tacomas.  I already had mine at the dealer once to have a reprogramming done to the transmission controller to address shifting problems.

Then about five minutes later my information center lights up with alternating ABS/BSM warning lights, the same problem the truck spent 3-4 days at the dealer for a couple months ago.  At that time they replaced the driver side wheel sensor and the problem had not reappeared, until today.

I have to say my new Tacoma ownership experience has not been as smooth as I had hoped it would be.  These various electronic gremlins, transmission issues, and dealing with a shitty dealer have been the source of a lot of frustration, the sort of frustration you hope to avoid by buying a new vehicle.  I turned the truck off and on which made the error disappear but I am pretty sure it will be back.

This weekend I hope to do one more big load of sod and topsoil to raise certain areas in the new chicken run and patch up areas that are bare.  It is always dirty, unfun work but I am hoping it will be the last of it for a little while.  I’d like to take the wheels down to Marco this weekend to try riding around the hilly areas.  We will see how that works out.

It is one of those days where I am fighting the urge to throw a bunch of  memes here that sometimes express thoughts and feelings in a far quicker and funnier way than a paragraph of words can.

Yesterday Cindy continued the work in the new chicken area, laying a bunch of sod along the fence line where the ground was low.  Of course new sod needs consistent water so we have been dragging a hose out there to try to do the work.  I am considering relocating the one sprinkler we have near one front corner of the fence to the middle of the new fenced area to make that job more automatic.  The idea of doing more excavation work at the moment doesn’t sound appealing as I am still trying to heal up form the fence work.

One of the weirdest injuries I incurred during the work was to the big toe on my left foot.  Being in my rubber boots all day on Saturday somehow managed to push the toenail back and up, leaving the toe in a very tender state.  The area around the nail is all red and I am assuming the nail is going to fall off eventually.  I have to be very careful putting on socks and any sort of footwear that compresses the toes in any manner are off limits.  My dreams of being a foot model are over.

I officially listed one of my electric unicycles for sale the other day, the MCM4.  This is the wheel I originally bought for Cindy for Christmas but it turned out she liked the style of wheel that Katie has better. The wheel is practically new and I went ahead and put larger pedals on it several weeks ago.  It’s a much smaller wheel than the Msuper and has the coolest LED light configuration of any of my wheels.

The reason it is for sale is I am interested in a new 84V model of a Gotway wheel and although I could outright just buy it but I am forcing myself to get rid of a wheel before getting another.  You know sort of like Trump’s brilliant executive order that if you add a regulation you need to get rid of two.  I like to follow his lead wherever possible.

I listed the wheel on the electric unicycle forum and our local FB yard sale group but have not gotten any bites yet.  It is a unique item that is not going to have mass appeal so I am prepared to be patient.