Category: Anything and Everything

Due to a lack of time I am trying to jam in blog entries where I can and in some cases, combine some of my Dufisthenics content in here as well.

On Monday I finally got the combination I have been hoping for at Planet Fitness for chest day, a free Smith machine and the ab slant board being available.  The combination of the two would allow me to simulate a real decline bench press, the only real bench pressing I can do right now because of left shoulder pain.  I have been trying to do decline with a regular bench but it sucks as the downward slope requires you to try to grip awkwardly with your feet and legs to keep yourself from sliding.  With the decline ab bench I could lock my legs in place.

The combination of the two worked out well when combined with my being at a peak of my cyclical strength level.  I pushed up a fake 265 for one rep (240lbs actually) and did rep totals at lower weights far exceeding any recent PF efforts.  It really sucks that it is so hard at times to get access to the equipment you want to use.  It’s so frustrating to see people that have absolutely no clue what they are doing tying up a smith machine for 20 minutes doing movements that are dangerous or have minimal value due to horrible form/ROM.

To say that decline bench pressing is ok for my shoulder is sort of misleading, it just hurts less.  If I were to describe the sensation in my shoulder I would use this example.  Take a piece of lunch meat and lay it on a plate.  Now take a handful of small gravel and sprinkle it on the lunch meat.  Finally, take one more piece of lunch meat and place it on top.  Now run your hand back and forth over the lunch meat.  That is how it feels.

As I mentioned, my workload for the last few months and likely to the end of the year is pretty massive.  I am steering the ship of a ton of projects simultaneously, each one important in it’s own way, by far the most I have had to do/be responsible for, ever.  I’m not complaining, I’m up to the challenge but it will sure be nice when I can go back to my normal, mostly static environment where things just sort of work because I put in the effort to make it that way.

The changes we are making are definitely trying to future proof the office where we are moving a lot of functions and services to the cloud where ultra-availability and redundancy is the norm.  People often ask if I worry about job security as a result of cloud outsourcing.  Of course I don’t as there is still plenty of technical expertise needed in migration, implementation, and maintenance of these IT solutions.  By the time I actually worry about job security I will hopefully already have one foot on the retirement bus.

So yesterday the latest Trump mess unfolded where it was revealed beyond a shadow of a doubt that none other than Donald Jr, who was involved in the campaign at as high of a level as possible had direct communication with a Russian lawyer about acquiring information that would hurt Hilary Clinton’s campaign.  It’s just amazing that after six months of  twitter rants, fake news claims, firings, resignations, recusals, and flat out denials, this story still has legs.  Not only does it have legs, it’s accelerating, straight to the top.

So although I do think it is incriminating for a politician to willingly seek out this type of information from Russia, I think Donald is doing a fine job of proving himself incompetent in so many other ways already. This is just more evidence of a lack of judgement that has persisted from the first moment the idea of a President Trump became a possibility.

But what I find almost equally incredulous is despite this overwhelming and never ending parade of evidence to the contrary, some Trump supporters STILL are steadfast in their denial that anything significant really happened.  Any efforts for me to logically comprehend how there could not be at least a degree of doubt in the veracity of the administration’s claims, regardless of who you voted for,  just fall apart.  Even if Trump eventually is ousted in a bi-partisan movement, it seems like some individuals will cling to their position, regardless of changing information and circumstances.  Chronically ignoring, redirecting, and denying, to me, is far less respectable than saying, hey, I thought this at one point, but you know what, based on new information, it turns out I was wrong, I’m human.

Hey listen, my preference would have been that Trump swoops in, proves the entire world wrong, and somehow became a respected, intelligent, well spoken, and capable leader.  Unfortunately instead, he has performed even worse than most anticipated and made our country a running joke throughout the worldwide community.  It is a surreal reality that I am actually preferring a scenario where Mike Pence would be calling the shots.

I was not happy to discover this weekend that once again the driver side headlight on the Prius had gone out.  I had replaced both bulbs a couple month’s back and it required near contortionist level skills and the patience of Ghandi.  I am hoping doing it for a second time won’t be quite as frustrating.

Yesterday afternoon another line of storms blew through delivering yet another standing water blow to the backyard.  I headed out there and fired up the pump immediately.  By this morning it had drained enough that I could turn the pump back off.   Although pumping surely won’t keep the area dry it certainly helps keep things less submerged.

I did more 3D printing yesterday, printing out a cool WoW themed iPhone 6 case and a cupholder iPhone mount for Cindy’s car.  The phone case did not last very long, I cracked the top of it trying to remove the phone which is not a huge deal and sort of expected.  Something like a phone case would be best printed in ABS plastic as it is more flexible and durable than PLA.

This weekend Cindy and I would like to get out to see Spiderman, do some EUC riding along with the mandatory house chores/maintenance that are a staple of our existence.

So even though my CR-10 printer will likely not arrive for a couple weeks I have already been printing some parts to enhance it.  The CR-10 user community is huge and active.  As a result they have quickly identified potential weak points in the printers design and come up with solutions that can be 3D printed, ironically.  I printed a cable strain relief bracket and some enhanced leveling knobs so far but there will be more stuff to come for sure.  I can’t wait to start trying to print some bigger objects.  The 12″x 12″ x 16″ print volume has some huge possibilities.  One of the first things I want to try are printing tray inserts for the center console of the Tacoma to give the big space multiple levels of organization.

I think the pump I have in the back of the chicken coop yard is definitely help to accelerate the removal of standing water.  Last night I turned it off.  If we can get a few days without rain I would like to dig a hole in the absolute lowest spot back there which is maybe 20 feet from where it is now.  I can then put a bucket in the hole and the pump in the bucket to maximize it’s water relocation potential.

 

 

So after having pretty much all standing water dried up/pumped out by Saturday afternoon we are back to a submerged state from some rain Sunday followed by a deluge from a strong storm last night.  This morning before work I was outside in my boxer shorts and boots reconnecting my submersible pump set up.  I am sure it looked fascinating.

As far as we can tell all of the parts for the Widowmaker rifle have been printed so overnight we started on another 3D cosplay piece, head gear.  The piece consists of three 3d printed parts that are attached to a head band sort of thing.  The biggest part was printed first and it came out pretty damn well.

I have a good chunk of vacation time to use up before my annual rollover in mid-August.  I also have a bunch of small projects on my mental to do list that would benefit from taking a few long weekends.  I actually had hoped to either take today or Monday off to facilitate just that but can’t because of various work commitments both days.  Don’t get me wrong, having to find ways to jam in vacation time is a good problem to have but it is a problem nonetheless.

Last night in addition to cranking out more 3D prints I recorded a video about a recent safety issue with newly produced Gotway wheels.  Well actually I recorded the video twice.  The first time I neglected to remember that I had the camcorder set to time lapse mode so my 10 minute video got compressed into 10 seconds of footage.  The video talks about the very dangerous problem where going over a very minor bump can cause a Gotway wheel to oscillate violently back and forth, throwing the rider to the ground.

Marty, one of my online EUC buddies had just received a brand new Gotway Msuper and was filming as he took it out for it’s first real test ride.  As he crossed a small bump between the road and sidewalk ramp his wheel shook rapidly and tossed him hard onto the sidewalk.  He screwed up his wrist pretty bad as well as his shoulder.  Anyway my video outlines my thoughts about the whole ordeal and why I plan to get a Kingsong 16S for my next wheel instead of dipping back into the Gotway world.  I have plenty of ways to hurt myself already, I don’t need a wheel failure to do it for me.

This weekend has a lot of 3D printing and a lot of sweaty work ahead of it. Yay.

So Cindy and I have been 3D printing day and night, printing parts for her Widowmaker gun.  Yesterday a flaw in our set up was revealed when one of our frequent summer power blips killed a print that was over halfway done.  I immediately ordered a small UPS that should prevent this scenario from repeating.  I also ordered another Night Owl camera to add to the house security DVR that will be focused on the 3D printer so jobs can be monitored remotely. Otherwise we seem to have a good system in place.

 

We are pumping out parts pretty regularly, at least two per day.  My main job is getting the 3D models configured and printing.  Cindy has been doing the post print work which includes cleaning up the pieces after removing the support material and eventually assembling it all together. The printed parts look really sharp, I’m hoping for an equally sharp outcome.  At this point I have almost entirely consumed my one kilogram reel of silver PLA filament.  It’s a good thing I have another one on the way.

So once again there were some downpours yesterday at the house, retarding my battle against standing water in the coop yard.  The pump I have back there seems to be very good quality.  It has been running around the clock for close to a week without issue.  The forecast calls for roughly a three day break from precipitation which would be fantastic.  The combo of bright hot/sun combined with pumping water elsewhere should be able to empty out the water in that period of time. hopefully.

Of course the long term solution to this problem is to raise the ground level in that area.  Trying to do it one 40 pound bag of topsoil at a time would be rather brutal but might be the eventual route I have to take.

 

So due to a mechanical issue my buddy’s flight was postponed till today instead of yesterday so we had Lucky in the house for an extra night which Elsa definitely was happy about.  The contrast between how Elsa was when Lucky first came in the house till now is hilarious.  She now wrestles and plays with Lucky constantly and he has clearly been accepted into Elsa’s elite inner circle of trust.

Don will be coming to pick up Lucky around mid-day while Cindy is home so I said my goodbye’s to him before I left for work.  He is such a good and loving dog, it breaks my heart that he has to be associated with such a painful event like what happened Friday.  However I didn’t blame him then and I don’t blame him now.

So there again was a lot of 3d printing work last night.  Cindy and I are learning as we go.  With the gun I am trying to make for Cindy’s costume I came against a piece that was far too big to print at 100% size.  It was even too big to print at 80% scale like I did with the other parts I have made so far.  I found if I shrunk it to 67% it would just fit.

I started the print job but then realized it was sort of dumb for two reasons.  All of the pieces need to be printed at the same scale so if I print this piece at 67% it would mean I would need to reprint the other pieces I already completed as well to the same scale which would be a pain. Plus reducing the model size that much would make the gun look too tiny I think.

So I instead did my first slicing job.  I reset the big part to 80% scale which put a good portion of the model outside the printable range.  I then did a slice on the Z axis, lopping off about 25% of the top.  I then broke the bottom and top sections into their own print file.

I printed the larger section over night.  It took close to nine hours to complete but turned out well.  I am now printing the chopped off section which Cindy will clean up and glue to the first part to make it whole again.

I also figured out a way to finally print some parts that I failed at a half dozen times before.  I was able to separate the four parts and print them on their ends instead of flat.  Sure it used extra support material but the end product was pretty good.  I am happy that I am slowly understanding some of the basics so I can come up with ways to get around obstacles as they pop up. Since we have never done this before we are hoping it all turns out half decent.  The quality of the printed parts so far has been really good for a $500 device.

So after the awful tragedy of Friday night I spent the rest of the weekend trying to keep myself as distracted as possible to avoid focusing on the loss of Tuki and my role in it.  During the day I got on the tractor and did my best to mow the yard.  After two weeks of torrential rain it looked like hell.  I got more cut than I expected at first which at least made things look a little less chaotic.

I was glad that the submersible pump that I ordered showed up.   I wasted little time before hooking it up behind the chicken coop.  There was a small hole that was dug out by the chickens by their playground which is where some of the deepest water resides.  I took an unused pot and placed it in the hole, it fit pretty much perfectly.

The reason I used this set up was I wanted the pump to be slightly below ground level so it pumps out as much water as possible.  I ran two extension cords from the shed and 150 feet of hose to the large drainage ditch in between our property and the one to our east.

I plugged in the pump and it started humming along.  The other end of the hose was so far away I couldn’t verify it was working until I walked over to the ditch.  I was glad to see/hear a strong flow of water dumping out the end.  The pump has been running constantly since about 3PM Saturday and has dropped the water level back there by several inches.  The problem is there is SO much water, I bet it is easily 15-20 thousand gallons, that even with the 1/3 hp pump going full speed it is going to take a long time to get the water out of there.  By yesterday afternoon there was an appreciable difference, enough that the chickens started to venture further back.  I have a feeling the pump is going to be a permanent fixture in the chicken yard during wet season.

I spent a lot of time getting my feet wet with 3D printing.  I had two big issues, oozing and some prints lifting from the print platform.  I addressed the lifting print by using a trick others posted with this model printer.  It involved flipping the print bed upside down so the glass side is up.  After doing that I applied blue painter’s tape to the glass.  The prints appeared to adhere consistently after that.

The oozing was a pain.  Basically before a print begins the extruder (print nozzle) is brought up to operating temperature, somewhere between 200 and 220 degree celsius (400 degrees!).  As it hit that temp some of the plastic filament starts to melt and run out of the extruder.  Depending on how much, it can screw up the print as the unwanted plastic gets in the way.

To fix this I used multiple remedies.  I set the printer to run at a slightly lower temperature which slowed down the oozing but didn’t totally eliminate it.  I also would babysit the start of the print job.  Just as the extruder got to temp but before it actually starts printing I quickly grabbed the stuff that oozed out and cut it off.  Finally, I started putting “brims” on the pieces which creates a thin outline around the base of the model.  During the brim creation any junk that was on the nozzle normally will come off and should not affect the model building itself.

The printer has been working pretty much non-stop all weekend.  I printed a mudguard for the Msuper, an external spool holder for the printer which allows larger filament spools to be used and five pieces for a gun model that Cindy is making for her Supercon costume.  I have quickly seen why 3D printing can become a rather addicting hobby.  Watching the printer build a model is somewhat mesmerizing.

Saturday night we watched Assassin’s Creed, our latest Netflix rental.  I never played the video game the movie is based on so I really had no frame of reference.  I thought even without that background the movie stood alone pretty well as decent B+ entertainment.

Sunday morning instead of running I again put in time on the rower, 30 minutes to simulate roughly what my 5k runs consume.  Rowing is a different kind of uncomfortable compared to running.  The lack of impact is nice and the overall body benefit is surely higher.  However I don’t get quite the sense of accomplishment rowing 30 minutes compared to running the same amount of time.  I’m not sure why.

Cindy and I got out for a hot but fun ride on our electric unicycles mid-morning.  It was the fastest sustained riding Cindy has done to date.  She really is getting to the point where she can concentrate more on just enjoying the ride experience instead of having to constantly fear losing control.

I got to talk to my dad yesterday to catch up.  As in most of our conversations there are portions where dad grumbles about various things in the world that just piss him off.  I am excited that he appears to be still moving forward with his plans to install a large scale solar array on his property.

Sunday afternoon was pretty chill.  Katie came over to visit for a little while and I spent time working on more 3D printing, paying my bills, and playing a little WoW.  Cindy worked hard to make my Father’s Day as pleasant as it could be which I appreciated.

I took Sadie back this morning to Ali’s place.  We spoke only briefly about the Tuki incident.  If I would have talked about it more I am pretty sure both of us would have started crying.  Lucky goes home this evening so all of a sudden the household gets a lot less crazy and quieter.  The lack of Tuki’s steady contribution to the sound environment in the house is something that is going to feel very strange for a long time…

We lost Tuki last night which is of course tragic.  The worst part of it was his demise was entirely my fault.  Early on during Lucky’s visit he had shown interest in Tuki but the second I called Lucky off he forgot about it.  Since then we had Tuki out each night and I totally forgot about the potential danger of having a dog that is not used to having a bird in the house.

Well last night Cindy and I were both in the hobby room messing around with the 3D printer.  I came out after Cindy had just been out there a few minutes prior and saw the awful site of Tuki, who was already dead in Lucky’s mouth.  Of course I was in utter shock for a moment but then yelled at Lucky to drop him, which he did immediately.  I had heard no noises that would have indicated anything happened.

I called out Cindy who was equally shocked by what she saw.  Oddly at no moment did I feel anger at Lucky.  I immediately placed all blame squarely on my shoulders.  I should have never let Lucky alone with Tuki and better yet should have just left Tuki in his cage during Lucky’s visit.  The crushing guilt combined with remorse put me in a catatonic-like state for several minutes as I just sat on the couch in disbelief.    The reality that my pet that has been with me for roughly 17 years was now dead, due to my negligence was just an awful feeling.  Sure I have gone through the loss of pets in my lifetime but never has one met it’s demise because of poor judgement by myself.

Cindy and I took turns crying last night and this morning.  Despite the cantankerous relationship Tuki and I had I always loved him like any pet and appreciated the big attitude he always carried around in his little body.  He made us laugh with his mimicking of sounds and words along with his various weird quirks.  Even after going through the near nightly ritual of him trying to attack me when I refilled his food and water bowl, more often than not, after I turned off the lights and walked back towards bed, he would say “Night Tuk”.  I became so accustomed to his little sound additions to the household, having them suddenly silenced is going to be very weird and sad for a long time.

I had to make the very difficult call to Alison to let her know what happened.  Tuki and her always had a special bond and the news hit her hard as I expected.

This morning Cindy and I buried Tuki along with one of his favorite toys by the large coconut palm he could see when we placed his cage by the window.  The tears streamed down our faces as we petted his head one final time before we placed him in the ground.  I’m not quite sure how long it will take for to get out of the tremendous weight of guilt I feel.  I deserve to feel terrible.  It’s all my fault.