Category: ElectricUnicycles

I decided to do the four day blog recap before the four days are over for better retention and future time constraints.  Our Thanksgiving started bright and early since I was running the four mile Gobbler Gobbler.  We packed both Cindy’s Minipro and my new Mten3 in the car.  Cindy was going to help marshal the race while riding her Segway and I hoped to ride the EUC around pre/post race.  That’s exactly what happened.

The race itself went smoothly.  The run for me was tough but I put minimal pressure on myself since I opted for the fun run event this year instead of the chip timed race.  Early on I felt like I was on the verge of a hamstring pull.  My lower body still had some soreness/stiffness from the lower body work I did at the gym on Tuesday.  Eventually the sensation lessened and I was able to run more or less normally, for me.  I followed my normal pattern of getting passed early during the race but then almost be exclusively the one doing the passing during the latter stages of the race.  I have no idea exactly how long it took me since I didn’t wear a GPS.  All I know it was somewhere less than 40 minutes.

After the race Cindy and I hung around for awhile.  I spent most of my time hanging with my timer buddy John who was once again timing the race this year.  Even though I haven’t timed a race in over two years, the bond between race timers never fades.  Cindy must have showed at least 10 people how easy the Minipro is to ride.  She just loves to do that.

Once we got home I went out and tended to chicken clean up so Cindy could turn her attention to Thanksgiving meal prep.  She had already done a lot of work on Wednesday.  Her mom, mom’s friend, Katie and Cindy’s niece came to join us for the meal.  Katie came a little early and I let her try out the new tiny Mten3.  She instantly loved the way the wheel felt and reacted.  Before she was done she was able to do back and forth pendulums without much issue.

The meal itself was great.  Cindy catered to everyone’s dietary preferences, preparing a Tofurkey for me while preparing conventional turkey for everyone else.  The feedback on the meal was universally positive.  Cindy’s mom’s friend was funny as she told funny stories about her previous husbands and asked matter of the fact and awkward questions of others that seemed to come out of left field.  Between four and five o’clock everyone had headed out with very full bellies.

In some ways my Thanksgiving was very unconventional.  I basically watched none of the Macy’s parade and did not see a single snap of the three football games that took place.  I just had other things that had my attention including YouTube, 3D printing and riding around my Mten.

On Black Friday the unconventional feel continued as I did absolutely no shopping in a brick and mortar or cyber fashion.  Instead I dug into a work heavy day where I tried to do most of my conventional chores, hopefully clearing the deck for the weekend.  I also picked up Sadie for a long weekend visit, something Elsa was very excited about.  During the afternoon Cindy helped me get the exterior Christmas decorations up.

I actually scaled back the extent of the lights outside.  We only wrapped the front two palm trees in lights instead of including the other set of four in the front.  We took those extra lights and extended them both down each fence lines which looked nice and was a lot less difficult.  I wrapped up the work adorning the roof line of the coop/run with the big LED bulbs as I have the last couple years.  On Sunday we added a large 16 foot inflatable Saanta sled to the mix.  Hopefully this inflatable lasts longer than most.  We have yet to have an Xmas inflatable that actually lasted more than one year.

On Saturday, despite my efforts up to that point there was still plenty to keep me busy.  Cindy taught a class in the morning.  While she was gone I again cleaned up the chicken mess and then did some more work in rusty pool cage screw replacement.  This is a long term job that is proving to be more of a pain in the ass than I anticipated.  So many of the existing screws are in such poor condition that as soon as I try to back one out the head snaps off.  It’s really annoying.

We also took on part two of the long Xmas decorating process, doing all of the inside work Saturday afternoon.  Once again we set up my mom’s tree in the great room. Once again the top set of lights did not want to illuminate after showing a few flashes.  Instead of fighting with it like I did last year I decided to just bring in a couple sets of spare white LED lights from the shed and using those instead.  The LEDs looked better and use less power than the pre-strung incandescent lights the tree came with me.  I was happy with the decision as it extends my ability to keep mom’s tree in service indefinitely, not that I would ever dispose of it.

Last night we watched my Netflix blu-ray Kong Skull Island.  The movie had more graphic representations of people getting eaten/killed by horrific monsters than anything I can recall seeing.  It made Jurassic Park look like Sesame Street.  Despite this unsettling/graphic violence we both found the movie entertaining and good overall. I’d give it a B+, Cindy actually said it was an A in her opinion.

Today I woke up to the hope of having a clean slate, devoid of must do’s.  I pretty much have it outside of my doing the chicken and pool maintenance early on.  Cindy and I went to North Collier Park to ride a little bit and I am in the process of watching the Eagles put a hurting on the Bears.

It seems odd that as much effort as I put into getting stuff done, it just never really feels done, ever.  Of course this is no surprise as it is the way it always has been.  This feeling is both my curse and my advantage, it just depends on the situation.  Even as I punch in these last few words I have thought of double digit things that need my attention, effort, or energy, at some point.

So as I have mentioned here several times, my experience with my insurance company regarding my Hurricane Irma claim has been very frustrating.  The experience has been filled with unreturned phone calls, lack of follow through, and finger pointing.  Yesterday I made about my 6th or 7th call to the “escalation department” , asking why the woman I last spoke to over two weeks ago and whom I had left four messages for has never responded to me.  I told them I had enough and if I did not hear anything back I was going to be raising a major mess with Tower Hill, since the adjusters in charge of settling the claim are actually subbed out.

The hurricane clarified how Tower Hill sort of sucks.  Throughout this remediation process I have not been dealing with any real Tower Hill employees, they all have been sub-contracted.  My house was inspected by some company named Integrity Adjusters and the claim remediation is by another company named EA Renfro.  Tower Hill seems to just like to cash my checks but doesn’t really have an active role in problem resolution.

So anyway  last night I get an email that there is a new electronic document in my account.  I quickly pulled it up and saw that apparently my persistence finally has paid off.  The document stated my claim has been revised upward roughly $5000 based on the estimates that I provided.  Two months plus is a long time to wait but at least the steps we took with both the roof and the pool screen allowed us the time to be patient with navigating these very muddy waters.

Last night I apparently resolved my latest 3D printing issue, this time with my newest printer, the Neva.  The clogging problem got resolved by once again using some cleaning filament, the same stuff I used on the CR-10 a few days prior.  I also got out on my Mten3 for a little more practice.  I am hooking and reversing pretty consistently, able to stay on the wheel more than I need to step off.

This four day weekend hopefully will be fun.  Cindy and I are once again going to the Gobble Gobble race tomorrow morning.  I am going to run in the untimed four mile fun run.  Cindy is going to use her Segway to be a race marshal which should be fun for her.  Cindy again is going to have some of her family over in the afternoon for what surely will be another impressive holiday meal.

Over the rest of the four day weekend I have some loose plans which include Christmas decorations, more pool cage screw replacement, and assorted house chores.  Of course I want to mix in plenty of Mten3 time, WoW, and whatever else sounds fun at the time.

So this weekend felt like it flew by.  There were so many things wedged into the two days I am unlikely to be able to recall all of it with much detail.  On my way home from work on Friday I stopped at Costco to pick up a few items .  I was sort of dreading the experience due to the normal mob scene I experience at the store.   I was pleasantly surprised that the  crowd was only moderate at worse.

Saturday morning the cool temperatures and low humidity felt incredible.  Doing yard chores like weeding and weed whacking was almost pleasant because the air felt so refreshing.  I only started to sweat a little bit after being out there a couple hours.  Cindy and I had to head out late morning to get some stuff.

One of those things was a new cable modem.  On Friday I called Comcast to ask why HBO magically disappeared from my channel line up.  They said the promotional period had expired so the channel was removed. They said they would be happy to add it back in for $15 a month which is crazy.  I told the rep as much, $15 for a single channel is just silly.  I asked if they could do me a favor and either reduce the price of adding HBO or dropping something from my line up I don’t really need like Starz and swapping in HBO.

I was doing all of this through an online chat session.  In total I spent over 45 minutes on this interaction and it accomplished absolutely nothing.  The online rep said they were not authorized to give me any promotional pricing and if I wanted to pursue it further I needed to call their “customer retention department” who is able to give better deals.  Of course this annoyed me and I shared my annoyance with the rep, asking if they understood why it is circle jerks like this that are responsible for Comcast having such a low customer satisfaction reputation? They had no answer for me.

So I jumped through the next hoop and called the number.  I briefly reviewed my situation and expressed my displeasure with it.  The end result of another long block of time was me being moved onto a “Triple Play” package which includes all the premium channels and internet phone service that I won’t be using, for roughly the price I am paying now.  That price is locked in for two years.  I still have a feeling when I get my first bill on the new package there will be more landmines waiting for me.

14657440_10154933449302841_1554771784235703234_nSo anyway, one of the attractive things about this package was it included Blast EXTREME internet which is 150 mbps down and 25-35 up, almost double my current service level.  The rep said the new speed should be immediately available.  Well when I did a speed test, my speeds were identical as before, requiring yet another contact with Comcast.  That interaction determined that if I want the new speeds I needed to upgrade my cable modem, the Surfboard modem that I only bought a couple years ago evidently is “end of life”.  Of course when the package was sold to me a thorough representative would have looked at the modem on my account and identified it was an issue up front.  So anyway, these few paragraphs established why I needed to make Best Buy one of my stops on Saturday to get a new modem.  Once I got it installed my speeds were now as advertised.

14642335_10154934323657841_5045348505800959350_nOne of the other things we bought was garden soil to amend the garden.  We bought 11 two cubic foot bags of soil.  These were the heaviest two cubic foot bags of dirt I ever lifted in my life.  I guess the dirt had a ton of moisture in it.  I have no doubt each bag weighed at least 75 pounds.  They required a major effort to lug around.  I had all of them stacked on one cart.  I had to have my body nearly parallel to the ground as I slowly pushed the cart to the truck in order to have enough power to move it.  It was really, really, heavy. One of the other things we bought was a blow up, animated, illuminated spider for Halloween.  It looks awesome at night.

So I had yet another piece of tech “break” Saturday, my Iphone 6.  During the afternoon I pulled it out for something and noticed it was locked up.  Hmm that’s odd, I have had the phone lock up once or twice in the past but it is normally very reliable.  No big deal, I’ll force it off by holding the power and home button and it will reboot, clearing whatever ailed it.  Well for the first time ever, this did not work.  Sure I got it to turn off but when I turned it back on it would be eternally stuck on the Apple logo and go no further, awesome…

So I did some online research and tried a number of solutions to no avail.  I finally had to blow away the phone and do a fresh OS install on it which of course removed EVERYTHING on the phone.  To get the stuff back I needed to restore my most recent back up.  The bad news was my latest full back up lived on my workstation at the office.  Well I didn’t want to go all weekend with a blank phone so I told Cindy I had to drive into the office to get the phone restored.  She was surprised my back up was on my work pc.  I probably should back it up occasionally at home as well to avoid this scenario in the future.

So I was in the office until almost 7PM getting the restore done.  I then hustled home as Cindy, her brother, his kids, and Katie were all going to the “Haunted and Gross Walk” that is held at the fairgrounds right down the street.  Even though this event has been going on every Halloween for six or seven years I never bothered to check it out.

When we approached the fairgrounds we weren’t sure if the event was going on or not.  The driveway was dark with nobody directing vehicles.  We found our way into a parking space and headed into the main area, a place we normally only visit during the annual county fair.  We immediately got a low budget feel for the event which was not unexpected.  Because of my being late to get home we hadn’t eaten dinner, forcing us to rely on the food vendors there.  There was absolutely no vegetarian sandwiches so I dined on french fries with cheese while picking at some of Cindy’s baked beans and cole slaw.  It was fine.

14713688_10154934323477841_8375106572934086592_nDespite the low budget feel of the event I was sort of surprised at the kind of high budget ticket pricing.  To go through the haunted walk cost 15 bucks a head.  Cindy’s brother and his young son decided to lay back and not do the walk as Owen was scared.  Cindy, Katie, Taylor and myself entered into the rather long line waiting to get in.

Standing in line was not exactly an enjoyable experience.  The air was quite chilly by Florida standards, in the low 60’s.  The structure the walk was housed in is normally occupied by livestock in warm Florida conditions.  It had a number of these monster ceiling fans to promote airflow.  They were running at full speed creating a constant cold wind on the people standing in line which was not a great thing.

There were cast members patrolling the line trying to scare people the best they could.  The one evil clown was nice enough to pose for a picture with the girls.  The line moved rather slowly as they would insert six people at a time into the walk with several minutes in between groups.  When we finally got let inside I sort of expected it to be kind of lame based on the experience up to that point.

The walk was surprisingly well done with cast members that did their best to scare you.  I was also surprised just how long the walk was.  For a good portion of it I lead our group so I could “protect” the girls.   Most of the cast would sort of ignore me and concentrate on the girls, especially Cindy, who scares easily.  Later in the walk I let the girls lead so they could get more of the experience.  When we finally emerged I was surprised that I actually felt I almost got my money’s worth out of the experience.  It was good enough that I will look to go back next year, I’ll just make sure to eat dinner first next time.

Sunday morning I got up early to get out and run in the gloriously cool weather.  By the time I got to the track the Prius showed an air temperature of 55 degrees which is just about perfect for me.  I had a very solid run for my current endurance level, breaking into the high 8 minute mile pace for only the second time this year, covering about four and a quarter miles along the way.

When I got home we were playing with the neighbors new puppy named Shadow.  He is super cute but of course we are concerned with his interaction with the chickens.  Later in the day Cindy had him in the yard with the chickens, he seemed scared of the chickens and the chickens weren’t too thrilled with him either.

I wanted to get the oil changed on Cindy’s Prius before Katie came over to ride Segways.  I headed out to the newly opened AutoZone location that is now only 8 miles from the house.  In addition to the oil/filter I grabbed a number of other things like new windshield wipers, shop towels, disposable gloves, and an oil catch basin that won’t leak. The price of oil seems to have sky rocketed lately.  Adding those items pushed the bill right to the $100 mark which I had to pay with my Costco Visa since Chase has not been very urgent with getting a replacement card in my hand after last weeks fraud.  I headed home and had the oil changed in the car with time to spare before Katie’s arrival.

 

I suggested that we take the wheels out to Ave Maria.  I had ridden my Ninebot One out there a couple times already but Cindy and Katie never had.  It was absolutely beautiful weather to be out and about.  Katie is a real pro on riding the Minipro at this point.  We had a very enjoyable six mile plus ride around the grounds.  If I didn’t want to get home for the Eagles game at one I would have been happy to cruise around even longer.

Speaking of the Eagles, I did not think they had much of a shot going into the game.  The Vikings were 5-0 and people were acting like Sam Bradford was now Joe Montana, not throwing an interception this season so far.  Well the game that unfolded was quite interesting with BOTH teams committing an incredible amount of turnovers.  The Eagles also still seemed to be mired in penalty purgatory, hurting themselves again and again.

Despite these set backs, the defense laid a whipping on Bradford, not only forcing him into his first interception of the year but also causing him to fumble two times.  They were smacking him around the entire game.  The game certainly pulled back the curtain on how good Bradford actually is.  He is an average NFL QB playing on a team with a stellar defense.

The game left me even more unsure of if the Eagles are actually a good team or not.  The 3-0 start had a team that seemed to have their shit together in all facets of the game.  The Detroit and much more the Washington game made think opposing coaches had figured out whatever the Birds were doing early on to be successful and taken it away.  Now, after beating the 5-0 Vikings I am hopeful the team has some confidence as they enter a BRUTAL portion of their schedule.  Time will tell but it’s all gravy to me at this point.  I’m just glad Wentz looks to be the type of QB we can actually build the team around going forward.

So while I was watching the game Cindy was busy in the back yard doing an unusual art project, spray painting TRUMP SUCKS in the yard behind the chicken coop.  Her hope was the republican candidate might just catch a glympse of it as he flew in to his rally at the county fairgrounds on his personal helicopter.  During the afternoon there were multiple copters circling the area.  I’m not sure if it was media or security copters, possibly both.  I am sure someone saw Cindy’s aerial message.

We decided to head out on the PTV’s around 5:30, a half hour before the 6PM rally.  We hoped to witness what was sure to be a mob scene.  We first went down 10th street that dead ends to the rear of the county fairgrounds.  As we approached we could hear the PA system booming with somebody warming up the crowd.  As we got closer we could see two sheriff deputies on the other side of the fence at the dead end street.  As we stopped I waved to the one officer who was maybe 50 feet away and he waved back.  Cindy I just hung there, trying to listen to what was being said.  We got to do so for less than 30 seconds before the deputy said we couldn’t stay there.

Even though I anticipated we would get this response, we asked why we couldn’t stay there.  We got the catch all “security reasons” response.  Cindy explained that we lived near by and we were standing on a public road.  The deputy didn’t care and reiterated we couldn’t stay there.  Although it was not worth a constitutional argument I said to the deputy “So we aren’t allowed to be on this side of the fence because of security concerns but we are allowed to be on the other side of the fence?” “That’s right” he said.  Cindy and I rode off laughing at the lack of common sense being applied, joking that perhaps we looked threatening in some manner.

We decided to ride down Immokalee Road to see what the crowd looked like trying to get into the event.  As we approached we saw what we assume was Trump’s helicopter swooping in.  Unfortunately it appeared their flight path did not include Cindy’s backyard welcome message.  When we got to the fairgrounds entrance we saw a massive amount of vehicles lined up trying to get into the event, hoping to catch a glimpse of the most controversial, divisive and ill equipped presidential candidate in modern history.

We rode down the length of the traffic jam, it was just under a mile in length.  The people stuck in line seemed to be interested in what the two weirdos were riding down the sidewalk.  When we got back to the entrance we could hear Trump was starting his speech that I am sure he repeated a few hours earlier in another part of the state.

I was trying to understand the logic of why they would hold another Trump rally in SW Florida.  The area is already heavily conservative, it’s not like he is going to win over any new voters in the area with the visit.  However when I thought about it further and combined it with the visual from the speech that included 80% women in the field of view behind Trump, I realized it is just all about mental manipulation, a classic bi-partisan tactic.  Filling the tv with women, the demographic that should be most disgusted with a Trump presidency is a transparent effort to manipulate the weak minded.  The rally itself is another calculated move where the Trump campaign can broadcast clips of their BIG LEAGUE support in Florida, an important swing state in the election.

I am so tired of all of this mess. The name calling, the accusations, the ignorance, I just want it behind us.  It seems like in the end Hilary will still prevail in the election which is not an ideal outcome in the majority of American’s minds but really the only viable choice to left to us since big money steered the democratic nomination into her lap.  I hope to cast my early voting ballot this week so my participation in the election can come to an end.  I can only hope that someway, somehow, the general populace realizes that American politics is truly all about smoke and mirrors where candidates are tasked with distracting voters and creating divisive, explosive environments that keeps their puppet masters, big money, safely behind the curtains, pulling all the strings.

I recorded some of our Trump rally experience as well.

 

I left work a little early to meet my dad and step mom since they were supposed to arrive mid to late afternoon.  I actually got home shortly before they arrived,  followed shortly after that by Cindy.  I was first greeted my by their dogs, Maggie and Clara who both seemed to remember me.  Once everyone was there I needed to come up with a game plan to go get the Prius, which had it’s wheel bearing replaced during the day.  Once I got the Prius I wanted to go pick up Sadie.

Katie was also at the house and was heading out.  I asked her if she could give me a ride to where she turns on Golden Gate Blvd, I could ride my EUC the remaining 5 or 6 miles.  So that was the plan, I threw my wheel in her trunk and did my first ever riding on GG Blvd, all on the sidewalk.  When I got down to Collier Blvd I was actually in the bike lane for around a mile which was a bit hairy with rush hour traffic but I survived.  I arrived in one piece at Tuffy, threw the wheel in the trunk and went to pick up Sadie.  I told her I had a very big surprise for her while we were driving.

When we got back it was funny seeing all three dogs reacclimate which didn’t take very long at all.  They were happily running around the house.  We spent the majority of the evening just hanging out.  Dad, who did a poor job of bringing any Florida appropriate clothing (brought long pants only), made many, many comments about how hot and humid it was.  Cindy made a great vegetable lasagna that we all enjoyed.

On Saturday morning I was outside early attending to a few things.  Dad had asked me about any good oil change places nearby, their Outback was due for one.  I told him I’ll just change it. We went to the nearby Autozone where I dumped my two containers of old oil and we bought the stuff for dad’s car.  When we got back I wasted little time getting the Subaru up on ramps.

Of course I used the oil change as an opportunity to add to my already pretty extensive automotive section on my YouTube channel.   Changing the oil on the Outback was not very difficult although turning the oil filter in/out was a bit challenging with the hot exhaust pipe surrounding it.  I was done in less than 20 minutes.  It was dad’s first ever appearance on YouTube.

Late morning we all piled into the Subaru to head to Rural King.  Getting four people and three dogs in there was a bit of a challenge with all laps taken except mine as I was driving.  The dogs had a lot of fun surveying the store.  We needed a few supplies and dad wanted to pick up some shorts, realizing that jeans just were not going to be a comfortable way to spend the next week.  On the way home from RK we had a nice lunch at Panera which allows dogs in their outdoor seating areas.

Later in the afternoon I got the itch to go get the grass mowed, the precipitation from Matthew had pretty much dried up and the grass was looking shaggy.  As I was finishing up mowing the first of my four quadrants the tractor all of a sudden got VERY noisy.  It was bad enough that I immediately stopped and got off to see what was going on.  It was something related to the transmission drive.  When I stepped on the brake the noise stopped, when I released it it sounded like something was ready to fly apart.  I got back on and mowed a little bit more.  Despite the noise, the tractor was cutting and moving ok so I said f it and finished up the mowing session, hoping it held together until I finished.  It did.

I did some research afterward and found that defective idler pulleys were a common cause of this problem which makes sense.  I ordered replacements online.  I thought it was odd these pulleys were made of plastic.  They hopefully will show up this week so I can get the tractor back in action before it is called upon for it’s next mowing duties.

Saturday night we decided to go see The Magnificent Seven at Silverspot.  It was a movie that I would normally just rent but it was the consensus to be the best available option out right now.  I am certainly not typically a western movie kind of guy.  The theater was pretty full but with assigned seating it doesnt really matter.  I thought the movie was entertaining and had a strong cast.  I did not realize it was based on a prior movie that had Yule Brenner until after Cindy, my dad and Teresa told me afterward.  Anyway, I thought it was a B+ flick.

On Sunday morning I drug myself out of bed with the alarm to get out and run.  I was solo this time.  I once again logged four miles in the humid early morning air.  When I got back I wanted to remain productive so I pulled out the Tacoma and gave it a well needed bath.  I was sort of stuck at home all morning because DirecTv was supposed to be sending out a tech to give me the new B band filter I needed.  Their arrival window was 8-12.  Of course the guy didn’t show up until the last 25 minutes of the window.

So it didn’t take me long to realize this guy was odd.  He was eastern European with a heavy accent that was difficult to navigate.  Before he walked in the door he had located my dish and was already telling me how the tree that is in front of it is a problem.  I told him that actually all I need from him is a new b band filter.  I tried to explainin to him the sequence of events leading up to now.  He seemed to either not understand me or not care to listen.  He was focused on the tree.

I became somewhat irritated and forceful, telling him the tree is not the problem as the old receiver was working just fine.  I said all I needed was a new filter.  He eventually relented and got a filter and hooked it up which allowed me to see the channels I could not see before.  The only problem was when he went to the Sunday Ticket channels it said I was not authorized for them.  The tech said I must not have the Sunday Ticket.  I was really annoyed with this guy already.  His lack of understanding, poor communication skills and an odor that was a mix of BO and cigarettes was just really aggravating me.  I tried to calmly explain to him that I do have the Sunday Ticket and the new receiver just needs to be authorized for it.

So he pulls out his cell phone and calls in to Directv.  Even though he tried to identify himself as a technician, the woman on the phone was acting like he was a customer because she couldn’t understand him either.  Eventually he just handed me his cell phone I and worked with the woman to get my Sunday Ticket channels activated. I figured I was in the clear.  I found the tech, who was out sitting in his vehicle.  I told him it’s working now.

So instead of leaving he comes in and starts futzing with the remote control.  He was trying to get it programmed to also control the tv which I didn’t need but fine, if he wants to do it…  But then he was trying to get it to work with my surround sound and couldn’t get it to work.  I told him more than once that I didn’t need that functionality and either didn’t hear me, didn’t understand me, or didn’t care.  It was then that I got the definite feeling that this guy was just trying to intentionally waste time.  I was not sure what the reason would be why he wouldn’t just pack up and head to his next call.

He then went out on the lanai and was talking on his phone to somebody for another 10 minutes or more.  When he came back in he said he wanted to change the LNBs on my satellite dish (the receivers).  I asked why since it was working.  He just mumbled something about it should be done.  I asked him how long it would take since the Eagles game was coming on in 20 minutes.  He said 10 minutes so I said fine, go ahead.

He completes the unnecessary work and then comes back in to run another test on the receiver which shows it was getting no signal from the satellites at 103 degrees.  He said unless he can verify signal on this satellite he cant close the call.  I told him as long as I get the Sunday Ticket I don’t care.  He said he then had no choice but to cancel the call which seemed odd.  I said whatever and the guy finally left.  It was a bizarre, unpleasant, and annoying experience.  It annoyed me enough that I spent another 20 minutes on the phone later in the day waiting to get a hold of someone at Directv to tell them how bad the guy sucked.

So ironically I did not even need the Sunday Ticket to watch the Eagles/Lions game.  It was being locally broadcast.  The outcome of the game was disappointing with Ryan Matthews literally giving the game away with a crucial late game fumble.  The officiating seemed to have a very heavy Detroit bias with multiple situations where questionable flags wiped out big plays for the Eagles.  But whatever, the Eagles weren’t going to go undefeated and overall, I saw more positive than negative in the game so it isn’t worth ranting about.  I still feel much better about the 2016 Eagles than I ever expected to.

Cindy and I rode our PTVs a little bit last night, running into a couple that Cindy knows from the gym which was ironic.  When we got home we enjoyed some tofu sausage dogs with baked beans and sauerkraut, good stuff.

Of course we watched the debate and laughed and gasped our way through it.  Seeing Donald come out in full deflection mode was funny as hell, using the term “locker room talk” repeatedly to explain his actions where he described some sex acts/situations that were very, um, unpresidential.  As entertaining as the debate was, there is part of me that feels very sad that this is what American politics has now become where you literally have a three ring circus going on.   It made me ill when Trump would repeatedly bring up Bernie Sanders name as if Sanders supporters would somehow think Trump was their best option.  Anyone that knows Bernie knows Donald Trump is the last person he would want sitting in the White House.

Gladly there is only one debate to go.  I can’t wait till this political nightmare is behind us so Americans can go back to doing what they do best, not knowing, not understanding, and not caring.

So I am now on the last day of my 7 day staycation.  The weekend was similar to most other days on the last week outside of the tortuous Tuesday  when I stripped the garage floor.  Instead the weekend had a mix of work and fun which felt pretty in balance.  On Saturday I went around the property spraying something called Wet and Forget.  It is supposed to break down mildew and algae over time and supposedly does not require scrubbing or rinsing, hence it’s name.  I hit a variety of surfaces including the gutters, driveway, pool cage, castle stones and even the fence posts, most of which have black mildew.  The catch is the stuff works slowly, it can take months for stuff to completely disappear, supposedly.  I will report back at Christmas if I see a difference. I tended to a number of other chores around the house Saturday but don’t recall all of the specifics.

We did our normal errand run in the afternoon, taking Sadie to Rural King and Home Depot, something she has come to love.  She just loves exploring the aisles.

Saturday evening we watched another Netflix rental, Money Monster starring George Clooney and Julia Roberts.  The plot lost touch with reality towards the end in such a way that it drug the rating of the film to just a B in my book.  Sure rent it, it’s ok.

Sunday morning Cindy joined me for an early run at the track.  It was the first outdoor running Cindy has done in quite awhile.  I cautioned her to take it easy but of course she wound up almost running the same four miles I did. ( She did 3.75)  I felt decent during the run, tired but not obliterated.

We cleaned up and took Sadie  to the Naples Greenway.  I had my Ninebot One but Cindy stayed on foot with Sadie.  It was getting quite hot so we didn’t stay very long.  Sadie’s black fur gets her overheated very quickly in direct sun.  I rode about four miles, spending some of it with them and the rest on my own.

When we got home there were a few things to do but I mostly chilled out playing some of my longest WoW Legion sessions to date.  I am enjoying the new expansion a lot although it feels like I have mountains of virtual tasks to complete.  The Eagles game came on at 4:30.  I was not really sure what to expect but the general consensus was the Steelers are a significantly better team than the up and coming Eagles.  Well that script got flipped in a big way.  Instead the Eagles stepped on the Steelers and didn’t relent at all, crushing them 34-3. It was such a blowout that I didn’t get to see the last quarter when the local CBS affiliate flipped to another game.

I am really amazed at just how well the team has done so far.  They have continued the formula of a balanced attack on offense with a punishing defense.  I absolutely LOVE that when the team was up three scores the defense continued to be aggressive instead of deploying the hated prevent defense that I have ranted about for decades.  This is the best I have felt about the team in more than decade.  If you asked me a month ago I was in “this is a rebuilding year” mode.  Now, it seems clear this team has the capability to do some real damage in the NFC this year.  As ho hum as I felt about Doug Pederson as the head coach, somehow, someway it’s working.

For my last day off I plan to follow much the same formula as the past week.  I was already outside hooking up a new pond pump.  I’ll be tending to more to do’s as I mix in one last dose of fun and play.

RIP Arnold Palmer.  Although I have never been more than a casual golfer, I appreciate the legend he has been in the game.  He has always struck me as just being a good man, something we could use more of nowadays.

I was thinking about my latest interest in devices like the Segway Minipro and the Ninebot One and how they tied in with how my hobbies and interests have come and gone over the years.

intellivision-console-pic1Going way, way back I had two big interests as a kid, video games and baseball.  My brother and I played the hell of out of the original console video games like Intellivison, Colecovision, and the NES.  Even into my late teens and early 20’s I was borderline obsessed with console gaming. I also spent thousands of dollars in local arcades.

My obsession with baseball had a much shorter shelf life, starting around age 11 and running until I was 17-18 when an elbow injury dashed my dreams of being a major league pitcher.

In my 20’s in addition to gaming, my focus on cars and volleyball really picked up speed.  My 1969 Firebird convertible was the highlight of my car hobby in my 20’s although I owned a LOT of other vehicles.69bird1

semiceleb11Later in my 20’s and into my early 30’s volleyball took center stage in a huge way.  I used to play 3-4 times a week and during the summer playing in weekend tournaments was a very regular occurrence.  The highlight of my volleyball days of course was the epic win of the BB division in the 1999 Pottstown Rumble with my buddy Rich.  We beat out something ridiculous like 125 other teams that were in the division to win it all.  My volleyball heyday was cut short by a meniscus right knee injury that I had operated on twice. When I moved to Florida I had a 2-3 year resurrection of my volleyball career with Randall but old age and just lack of interest eventually shut that down.

Since living in Florida I have had a number of things take on a large portion of my attention.  Early on I had my first run as a RC plane enthusiast, building and flying a number of aircraft.  My hobby was bolstered by my friend Mike who was into RC on a level far exceeding mine.  We flew together quite a few times.  Unfortunately once he moved to Colorado my interest in flying dropped off majorly.  I had a resurrection in air based hobbies with the purchase of my various quadcopters, culminating with the awesome DJI Phantom Cindy bought me for Christmas a few years ago.  I still have the Phantom but have flown it very little recently.  The incident with the Yellowstone park ranger office prosecuting me for a drone flight via You Tube really left a bad taste in my mouth.

dufwolfI also became involved in the MMORPG World of Warcraft in the beginning of 2005, my first time ever playing that type of game.  There were periods of time that I was so into the game it was scary.  At one point I was playing 30-40 hours PER WEEK.  I still play the game to this day but in a much less addicted manner.  Once I started playing WoW my days of gaming on a console like my Xbox 360 pretty much ended.

About halfway into my marriage with Ali we started doing a lot more running and triathlon training.  I had done some running when I lived in PA in my late 20’s, early 30’s but nothing consistent.  For a period of a few years Ali and I entered a TON of events, mostly 5K’s but also a few triathlons.  I maxed out at the half marathon distance, which I completed three times.  A series of annoying and somewhat chronic lower body injuries derailed that hobby although I am in the process of trying to reboot things right now.

start2k12Our running also lead to another huge area of focus for nearly the last decade, my involvement with the local running club.  What started out with an email I sent to the club complaining about race results taking two weeks or more to be posted online eventually lead to me being the race timer for the club for almost 8 years.  I really enjoyed the challenge of it all early on as I introduced all sorts of things to make club races more dynamic and runner friendly.  Over time I took on more and more roles for the club, because I could.  Eventually the weight of all of those responsibilities turned the role from fun to extremely frustrating, leading to me leaving that role early this year.

ssrsamsI also had a couple revivals in my hobby car interest since living in Florida, owning an 88 Corvette, a 71 Buick Skylark convertible, and most recently the 2005 Chevy SSR.  The cycle for each purchase felt extremely similar.  I felt that buying each vehicle was going to fill some sort of void I was feeling at the time for various reasons.  Once I assumed ownership I would go through a pretty intense cycle of fixing/upgrading a number of things on each vehicle.  Once those items were addressed, when it was time to enjoy the fruits of my labor I simply didn’t do it as much as I envisioned I would have.

Now the Skylark actually burned up in a fire, but even so, once it was gone for a short period of time I felt a degree of relief.  Since selling the SSR, a vehicle I almost attached a God-like importance to initially, I have not had a moment’s regret with getting rid of it.  My new 2016 Tacoma will give me much, much more enjoyment long term than the SSR ever could have.  At this point I don’t really see myself relapsing back into the car hobbyist role but never say never.

2012lsitIn my early 40’s I really became interested in calisthenics and the bar based exercise movement, lead by the Bar-barians.  In addition to my focus on bodyweight based workouts which got me in arguably the best shape of my life, I also became involved with the Bar-barians group, first running their message board and later running monthly exercise challenges for message board users.  I even designed, set up and maintained their web site for over a year. I virtually met hundreds of people from around the world through my involvement with the group which was really, really cool as well as a few in real life, which is even cooler.  I still do a lot of calisthenics work in my exercise routine but nowhere near the same level as I did back then.

13770446_10154678705022841_5708589150240778921_nSo that brings me to my most current focus, the Minipros and more so the Ninebot One E+, my first electric unicycle.  The cycle of defeat followed by ultimate victory in learning to ride the single wheel vehicle was a feeling of accomplishment I have not matched in recent memory.  It felt very close to the feeling you have as a kid when you are able to ride a bike without training wheels for the first time.  Riding the wheel brings back many childhood feelings of doing something just because it is flat out fun and nothing else.  When I ride the wheel cares melt away, hard feelings soften, and the noise of the world is drowned out by the pleasant hum of the brushless motor pushing you along mile after mile.

Why I decided to go off on this tangent I don’t really know.  In some way while I was running at the gym I was thinking about people that make up their minds on certain things, whether they be hobbies, interests, religious beliefs or political views, and then never, ever take a moment to reconsider those options and do/think new things based on changing circumstances.  I feel badly for these people.  Somebody famous once said something to the effect of “If you are still doing and thinking about things the same way now as you did twenty years ago, you are doing something wrong”  Flip the script, it’s not a bad thing.

 

Yesterday was the MRI of my head which is an attempt to give a clearer picture of exactly what is going on with my right ear.  Once again they asked for payment up front which I find annoying.  I had a conventional MRI a long time ago so I sort of knew what I was in for.  Although I’m not claustrophobic, being in a space where you literally can not move is not pleasant.  The MRI at this facility was actually housed in a truck trailer in the parking lot, weird.

My scan was going to consist of two parts, one regular scan and then another scan after they inject me with some sort of dye to provide additional contrast to the image.  The tech stressed how I needed to keep my head as still as possible.  If you move in the middle of an imaging run they have to redo it, meaning you are stuck in the tube even longer.

I normally am pretty itchy, especially on my head.  Just watch any YouTube video I have and you will surely see me scratch my head or face more than once.  Knowing I was more or less locked in place for 45-50 minutes gave me some anxiety as I laid down on the table.  The tech put a pair of headphones on me that had a radio station playing and then put a plastic cage sort of thing over my head.  He once again told me to stay as still as possible as my body started to get inserted into the machine.

The chamber was tight.  My arms drug on the side of the tube as I moved, forcing me to pull them closer and hold them in a somewhat awkward position.  Having the roof of the chamber a few inches from your face is not a good feeling.  I almost immediately closed my eyes and left them that way for the entire session.  Thankfully there was a steady flow of air going through the tube to keep me cool.

The sound an MRI makes is very loud.  The imaging goes in solid spurts ranging from 2-4 minutes in length during which the rhythmic droning drowns out everything else.  At times I could feel the electro-magnetic forces pulsating through my head, it was an odd sensation.  Of course it didn’t take very long until I had an itch on my head which of course I could do nothing about except wait for it to subside, which it eventually did. I thought when I got pulled out of the tube to get the injection I might be able to scratch any itches but I had to keep my head glued in place the entire time, even during the injection.

The session after the injection felt slightly shorter than the first one although my sense of time became somewhat distorted inside the tube.  Despite the itch urges the tech said I did an excellent job at staying still.  When I finally got pulled from the tube it was a relief.  After scratching my head thoroughly I gathered my things and was on my way.  I am stopping back there at lunch to pick up my images on DVD.  Although I don’t know what I will actually be looking at, I guess it’s a good thing to have images of my brain, just in case.

12705726_490477737802519_2269893942628260045_nSo a little less than two years ago I bought my own used timing box.  It was the start of the idea I had to make my timing skills my own part time gig, outside of what I had been doing for the running club for many years.  The idea of me calling the shots and being able to charge more for my services seemed appealing.  Once I broke away as the club timer in January I assumed I would start actively timing more events on my own.  I invested a good chunk of money in getting more equipment to help me in that regard. I bought some laptops, an inflatable arch, generator, race clock. shelter and several other things.

I did do a couple events, all small in size.  They went ok but despite their size brought on similar amounts of stress as bigger races I used to time, partially because I was dealing with a different cast of people that I had no idea how competent or incompetent they were.

Then a weird thing happened.  After not timing a race for a few months I started to realize just how little I missed it.  I got a decent amount of inquiries about timing other events and most of them I turned away immediately.  I did schedule two events, one in October and another in November, both of them involving friends of mine.  I have since handed off the November event to another timer, leaving only the October race on my calendar.   I was talking loosely with Ali about timing her race in January but again had no real enthusiasm for it.

So anyway I think I have decided that after the October commitment I will be closing the doors on Green Machine Timing.  At this point in my life I just have very little tolerance for putting myself in situations I don’t enjoy.  Life is too short.  My cost of living salary bumps at my real job combined with YouTube money have already pretty much erased any income hit I took walking away from running club timing.  Unloading all of my stuff will help me recoup some of that money and reclaim a lot of space in our third bedroom.

In a way I feel much the same I did regarding the SSR.  Starting my own timing gig sounded like a great idea but the reality of it turned out to be different.  Race timing has been part of my life for the greater part of the last decade but things change.  Much like the SSR, I don’t think I am going to really miss it all that much when it’s gone.

I am picking up the DVD of my MRI results at lunch.  Instead of going to the gym, I brought my Ninebot One in the Prius.  After parking at the med center I plan to get a little bit of riding in around coastal Naples.  Should be fun.

Yesterday I had a follow up appointment at our on site employee clinic scheduled at 8:45.  Even though nothing has really changed with the status of my problem I guess they wanted an update on how the ear specialist appointment went.  I arrived about 8:40.  I expected the visit to be very quick.

Well I didn’t get called back into an exam room until 9:20ish where the nurse weighed me, took my temperature, and blood pressure even though I just had the same thing performed a couple days prior.  I was then told the NP would be in to see me shortly.  After another 20 minutes of staring at the walls in the exam room I had enough.  I walked out and told the receptionist I couldn’t wait any longer.  She apologized and asked if I wanted to reschedule an appointment and I told her no, I’d let them know if I needed anything else.

The onsite clinic has had a retooling of staff members in addition to be taken over by another organization.  I have not been impressed by the changes.  When I made the initial appointment I called three times during business hours and got no answer.  Both times when I walked into the clinic the receptionist ignored me for 30-45 seconds, not because of a phone call or dealing with another patient, she was just doing data entry.  How does somebody in that position not realize the most basic thing to do is at least glance at a person, smile and acknowledge their presence?  Nope she stares straight ahead like a horse with blinders on.

Then there is the actual medical exam experience which seems much more heavily weighted again on data entry instead of wellness.  Far more time is spent in silence as the staff is typing shit into the computer instead of doing any sort of diagnostic.  I do appreciate the end result of the data entry, having more information available online but they need to find a way to find a happy medium.  Right now you just feel like a part on an assembly line.  In a nutshell my medical care experience since having the ear problem has sucked.

So I finally was able to get our Office 365 subscription at work activated but it wasn’t long until I ran into another roadblock which apparently is related to the steps that were taken to activate the account.  I once again have been thrown into outsourced help desk hell where I am dealing with support personnel I literally can not understand.  Dealing with this issue is enough of a pain in the ass as is, trying to do it with a huge language barrier in place makes it maddening.   I am actively trying to find the secret number that connects me to a US based Microsoft help desk.

I was stressed out all day so getting out on the Ninebot One was a nice way to clear my head.  I put in my longest ride ever on the single wheel, just under 8 miles.  I continued to experiment with foot position.  I think I am figuring out exactly what position gives me the best mix of being able to stop, turn, and ride most effectively.  I also used my new windscreen for the GoPro in an attempt to cut down on the horrible wind noise I was getting in some of my previous rides.  For the most part it did a great job.  There is no point in the video where you can’t hear what I am saying.

So yesterday I had a follow up visit with the ear doctor.  I have to say I have not been impressed with their operation.  When I went to my first appointment last week early in the morning I had to wait 45 minutes to get in and then spent most of the morning doing the same thing, waiting.  Well yesterday my appointment wasn’t until 3:15.  I again had a long wait of over 60 minutes.

To me if an office consistently is late getting patients in that means they are overbooking the time slots.  It isn’t rocket science. The experience isn’t made any better by the receptionist that seems to be in a permanent bad mood.  I also found it annoying that they wanted to take my credit card for my $35 co-pay before I even saw anybody.

So I finally was called back and met with the actual ear doctor instead of his PA.  He was an old man that has certainly looked at thousands of ears during his career.  He asked me if I had been taking the steroid.  I told him I had for 5 days but have not noticed any change in the symptoms.  I did tell him I started noticing I had drainage down my throat the last few days but he said that was probably a side effect of the prednisone.  The amount of fluid in an ear is so small you would not feel it in your throat.

He too seemed a bit oblivious to the circumstances of the incident, seeming to think that the gym incident was perhaps a coincidence and the hearing loss was caused by something else.  I assured him it was not and described it as someone flipping a switch.  He wants me to finish the prednisone and get the ear MRI to make sure nothing major is going on in there.  He again mentioned the possibility of it being a “fistula” which is a small tear in the membrane between the middle and inner ear.  If it is that, they either heal by themselves or don’t.

When I read up on the condition it repeatedly mentions severely restricting physical activity during the first 7-14 days which I obviously have not been adhering to.  I probably should try to dial it back but my inner taskmaster doesn’t feel the same way.  The low ear ringing and diminished hearing out of that side is annoying but not a show stopper.  Regardless it would be nice to not go through the remainder of my life with the sound of a leaking capacitor permanently in my head.

Last night I wanted to get out on the wheel and ride.  The problem was it was pouring rain at the house.  I threw the Ninebot One in the Prius and hoped to find a nearby dry spot.  Luckily the precipitation stopped just before I arrived at the middle school.  I had a decent ride of almost five miles around the area.  There were some kids around the school for some event that were interested in my one wheeled wizardry.  One of them yelled out “Hey, can I try it?” , I instantly yelled back, “TOO DANGEROUS!”  I also had people just yelling at me randomly as I cruised down the sidewalk by Oil Well Road.  It was hard to tell but they sounded like sounds of approval.

I had no crashes but could feel some fatigue in my legs from Sunday’s run followed by 13 miles+ of riding on two bots.  When the legs feel tired the responsiveness definitely suffers.13770446_10154678705022841_5708589150240778921_n

Saturday morning Cindy went in to work at her new gig at a new gym that is only 8 miles away.  I used that time to get out in the yard with the weed whacker.  I had not buzzed the yard in a few weeks.  The ground was quite soggy with some standing water so it was a messier than normal experience.  I also got a reminder of why I was supposed to wear long pants when performing this chore.  I inadvertently whacked a fire ant mound that sent a ton of them into my rubber boot where they immediately started lighting up my calf.  As I ripped the boot off and started whacking at my leg I vowed to never do the chore in shorts again.  I kept myself busy all morning doing stuff around the house until Cindy got home a little after noon.

14059975_1261800640499854_1562467272_oEarly in the afternoon Bill, our friend from the running club showed up with two Concept 2 Rowers in the back of his truck.  We were buying one of them.  Bill has been a long time rower.  He has amassed literally millions of meters of rowing over the years.  I had enjoyed rowing both at NCH and Planet Fitness.  Retro does not have any rowers.  Cindy and I thought a rower would make a nice addition to our fitness arsenal and we had a spot in our bedroom in front of the window where it would fit. The rower we actually bought was one Bill’s daughter used for awhile.  Despite being used a lot it was still in excellent condition, much better than any rower I used at the gym.

Bill is the equipment manager for the running club so we spent nearly a decade meeting up on race sites way before the crack of dawn to set up for events.  Bill has also helped me out on my property in the past, doing some grading work and also helping me transport and set up my smaller storage shed.  He may be the hardest working person I know.  We caught up a bit on the latest and greatest as he gave us a pretty thorough run down of the rower.  There aren’t many things I miss about my time as the running club timer but being able to work with good people like Bill is one of them.

After Bill left we did a run to Home Depot to get a few things.  We actually did not stop at Rural King this weekend, a rarity.  Going to Dunkin Donuts, Home Depot and Rural King just fits us like an old comfortable t-shirt.

Saturday night we opted to stay home and watch my Netflix Blu-ray, Gods of Egypt.  Yes I had heard the movie got bad reviews but how bad could a movie be that has the Kingslayer from Game of Thrones and King Leonidas from 300?  Well the answer is, really, really bad.  It was so bad that Cindy bailed watching it maybe half way through.  I was committed to see it through to the end.  A movie can be awful but sometimes it’s so dumb it can flip around to be entertaining in some bizarre way.  That is kind of how I felt as I endured to the end.  I was laughing out loud at just how dumb it was.  It also had a very weird musical score at times that did not seem to match up with the mood of the scene.  You really don’t need to ever see this movie but if you chose to do so I would advise downing a six pack first.  C-

14102371_10154752092197841_2661959509606927582_nSunday morning I once again had the alarm set for 6AM to get an early run in.  Cindy had planned to go with me but her back was bothering her so I wound up going solo.  I was surprised when I pulled up to the track around 6:45 and there was nobody there.  Normally there are one or two people walking the track very early.  I was also glad to see the sprinklers were not running so I wouldn’t have to dodge them this time around.

I had decided going in that I wanted to increase my lap count by one.  I had been doing 13 lappers up until then which worked out to be around 3.4 miles. 14 laps was my goal.  It was sort of peaceful having the track to myself as I circled the track as sunrise emerged.  As I got to lap 11-12 I was feeling ok so I entertained the idea of pushing for four miles of total distance.  I had not run 4 miles at all in 2016 and I if I did it in 2015 it was very early in the year.  As I rounded the final turn of lap 14 I glanced at my watch and saw one more lap would get me four miles.  I mentally committed and put in the 15th lap.  To be that close and bail would have been lame.  I ended the run as I began, alone, but feeling a mild sense of accomplishment as well.

Later in the morning Cindy and I loaded up the Minipros in the Prius and headed to North Collier Regional Park to get some riding in.  The park is large, beautiful and has paths all over the place that are perfect for two wheeled fun.  As we were zipping around we saw signs for early voting.  I knew early voting had opened up on Saturday but I did not know you could vote on Sunday too.  Cindy and I decided we should take advantage of our discovery.  We rode back to the car so Cindy could grab her ID.  We then took turns babysitting the Segways so the other could vote.  There were no lines and we finished in less than 5 minutes each.  We were both happy we inadvertently got a chance to fulfill our civic duty while joyriding.

As we rode around the park we got asked about the Minipros a few times by other park visitors.  To those that have never seen them in action it looks pretty crazy.  While I was waiting for Cindy to vote I was freaking a couple out by driving my Minipro around by remote control.  It was very warm, by the time we were done my shirt was soaked.  Even with the heat it was a beautiful and fun ride.  Cindy and I both really enjoy cruising on the Segways.

Cindy made arrangements to go to the movies with her daughter, niece and mom Sunday afternoon which again gave me time to do my own thing.  One of those things was to go back out on the road to ride my other personal transport device, the Ninebot One E+.

I had not ridden the wheel since Wednesday after work.  During that ride I felt stiff and uncomfortable.  I gave myself a few days to recover physically and mentally.  I drove through a pounding rainstorm a couple miles from the house to Dunkin Donuts where it was blue skies and nice.  I decided to take the wheel on the same route Cindy and I followed a couple weeks prior on the Minipros into a nearby development and golf course.

When we did that ride I remember thinking how it would be awesome if I was comfortable enough on the Ninebot One someday to be able to go this route.  I did not expect to be able to do it so soon.  I felt much more comfortable on the wheel than I did on Wednesday.  I actually rode back to the car three times with the intention of leaving.  Each time I decided I was having too much fun and headed out again.  In total I logged over 7 miles during the session which felt awesome.  Being able to navigate the sidewalks and walking/riding paths without feeling in mortal danger was a good thing.

Towards the end of the ride I came across another revelation in regards to foot position that was unknowingly causing me issues.  I had been having issues turning well to the left which is the side my foot is planted on the wheel when I mount.  I would normally have that left foot and ankle pressed firmly right against the side of the wheel, my thought process being less space meant less room for wobble.

I did a little test where I tried mounting the wheel with the opposite foot.  During this test I realized my turning problem had now reversed sides as well.  Well the light bulb clicked in my old brain.  It seemed like having a foot so tight against the bot makes it difficult to turn that direction due to lack of clearance.  I mounted the wheel with my foot and inch or so off the wheel and felt GREAT.  Not only could I turn both ways better, it also allowed for a more comfortable riding position.  It felt like moving the foot off the wheel a bit allowed the slight variations in wheel angle to be absorbed by my feet and ankles instead of transmitting all the way up my left leg.  I ended the riding session feeling very optimistic and anxious to get back on it again soon.

I watched the closing ceremonies of the Olympics last night which for the most part was much less interesting than the games itself.  I found the Brazillian music annoying as hell.  The costumes made me feel like I was watching one huge Mummer’s Parade.  The most interesting part of it was when Japan did their high tech routine promoting their hosting of the games in 2020.

Despite my initial thoughts about the raw sewage rivers and Zika outbreaks in Rio clouding the Olympics, I still found myself just watching the various events, many of which I NEVER witness outside of this four year cycle.  There are so many touching and meaningful moments that every Olympics provide, despite the never ending commercialization of the event.  I can still drown all that extraneous bullshit out and just enjoy the simplicity and joy of witnessing the best athletes from around the world trying to make their dreams come true.

I am now on my fifth day of prednisone and have stepped down from the three pill to two pill a day level.  Unfortunately I have noticed absolutely no change in my ear problem.  It still feels closed and has a low level ring.  I have a follow up appointment with the ear doctor today.  I will be sure to voice my opinion if he starts to suggest an extensive treatment plan, I will likely tap the brakes.  The bottom line is I can still hear and the ringing is only loud enough to be annoying but not debilitating.  I’m not going to get on the hamster wheel of expensive testing/treatment to just help pad their bottom line.  My gut tells me this is something that will either heal itself or not.  I don’t think they can “fix” it with a pill or a shot.