Last night after work I changed in to my gym clothes to stop at Home Depot. I wanted to load up on sod to lay over the area by the shed we back filled with top soil. Load up I did, with 25 pieces of St Augustine grass which turned the bed of the Tacoma into a big sandy mess. When I got home I wasted little time getting to work.
I have a pretty effective method of preparing the sod. After thoroughly soaking the top soil I brought over one of our rolling wagons which I fill with about an inch of water. I then grab a piece of sod and lay it in there grass down exposing the dirt/root side. I take the hose and lightly spray the dirt ensuring the sod has a nice wet contact point with the top soil to make sure it “takes”. I then carefully place the sod and wet it again thoroughly with the hose. When it is all in place I go back with a large rake and tamp the grass down followed by one more dosing of water. My technique works well but the real key factor is watering it every day to make sure it doesn’t dry out. During wet season this happens automatically but during this time of year we need to hit it with a hose to ensure success.
After I was done I was a dirty mess and the truck was worse. I spent a good 20 minutes in the driveway trying to get all the sand, dirt, and grass out of the composite bed of the Tacoma.
So like most, I was sort of shocked that Trump fired James Comey yesterday. Well let me back up. Maybe I was not shocked he was fired, I was amazed at the reason that was provided for the firing. No, it wasn’t that Comey was sniffing around the Russia election tampering scandal. The reason was the way he handled the Hilary Clinton email situation, lol! So Trump, who applauded Comey for bringing in the second round of email scandal a mere couple weeks before the election, which surely was a big factor in the outcome, now cites that as the primary reason for the termination of the FBI director? Wow I don’t think I could write a better script.
When you factor in the recommendation came from Attorney General Jeff Sessions who is yet another shady character in the Trump team who recused himself from the Russian involvement investigation, it just looks even more suspicious. You have to wonder just how long the American public, regardless of their political leanings are willing to let this buffoonery continue. It truly is an embarrassment to our country to be governed by someone so woefully incompetent to fulfill the responsibilities of the presidential office. After only a few months there has been enough scandal and controversy to make a feature length film. If you would like to keep a close eye on the latest shenanigans just tune in here – https://whatthefuckjusthappenedtoday.com/
So I had another frustrating day on Friday trying to get answers from my dealer about my truck. It was supposed to be ready for me to pick up while they wait for a part that will take a month to become available. Instead after leaving multiple messages for my service advisor to call me back for status, I had to call right before I left work and wait on hold to talk to the guy for 10 minutes only to find out nothing was done and the truck was still not put back together. There was no sensible explanation for why this was, only that I couldn’t get the truck till Saturday. I explain the entire interaction in this venting video.
When I got home Friday I was already annoyed as shit by the dealer bullshit. I got home before Cindy so I was bull rushed by four crazy dogs. Perhaps because of my state of mind I made a poor decision to let all four dogs in the back yard while the chickens were out. The chickens were on the other side of the yard so I thought the dogs could pee quickly and I would take them right back in. Well the chickens spotted me and came running over to see what sort of good stuff I had for them since they associate me with good stuff.
Well Bowser, the big catahoula mix spotted the chickens and started heading that way. I went into full emergency mode, forgetting my aching knee and sprinting after Bowser as he started running towards the birds. The chickens are used to being in the yard with Sadie and Elsa without issue so I don’t think they realized at first that Bowser was a threat. He got dangerously close to several of them as I was sprinting after him while screaming at him to stop. I finally chased him away into the back yard. He ignored my screams as I chased him. He finally stopped and got into a submissive position, knowing he was in trouble. I grabbed him by the scruff of his neck and used my voice of God tone to reiterate how bad that was. I walked him to the door holding the scruff.
Now of course the ultimate fault in this incident was my own. Having him out there without a leash or at least the buzz collar was just a dumb thing to do. We really would like to make Bowser understand the chickens are off limits. Tank seems to be getting the idea as he did not approach the birds. After the incident I was a bit frazzled, thinking about just how awful I would have felt if something happened to one of the chicks.
Saturday morning I was up early with Sadie to go participate in the Run for the Paws 5K, my first year doing so as a participant. I got there with time to spare, arriving before 7 for the 8AM start race. This was the first time I saw a number of people in the running club, some of them since last January when I timed the event. Many handshakes and hugs were exchanged and it was nice to see all of the friendly faces. Sadie and I mostly stuck with Ali leading up to the race helping her attend to a few minor details.
So I had very low expectations for Sadie with the event. She is a good 20 pounds overweight so running is just not her thing. She is no youngster anymore either. I had totally expected we would be walking the race and I even expected to cut the course so we didn’t go the complete 3.12 miles.
So the race started and I began walking at a brisk pace. Soon I realized Sadie was sort of pulling me a bit so I started into a slow jog. She seemed very excited and happy with all of the other people and dogs running by and she wanted to be part of it. She ran much further than I expected and even after we slowed to walking we would pick up running after a bit. So not only did she complete the entire distance, I bet she ran close to half of it.
For a good portion of the last part of the race we were running/walking with Ali’s boyfriend which was cool. He and I get along very well. When we got to the last few hundred yards I started again with a very slow jog, encouraging Sadie to finish strong. I could tell how exhausted she was at the end, I was practically pulling her along. Ali was at the finish cheering us in which was very cute. Once we got through the finish chute I sat on the grass so Sadie could rest, she was so, so tired. I told her how proud I was of her. Somehow it seemed like she felt proud as well.
When I got home I had to waste an hour and a half driving the loaner vehicle back to the dealership to pick up my Tacoma. On top of the run around I was given I had one last annoyance, the car wash the service advisor said would be done was not. The last time I was there they “forgot” to do the wash as well. Later in the afternoon I just washed the truck myself.
Despite having a pretty busy morning I had a work filled afternoon. I weeded the property, did a few odd chores and mowed the grass. The good news was the cool temps made outside work not all that unpleasant. Late in the afternoon I even found a little time to go take my Gotway Msuper out for a 5 or 6 mile cruise.
On Saturday night I was home alone with the four dogs while Cindy, Katie, and our friend Kim went to a country concert at the fairgrounds down the road. I am not a country music fan in the least so I was quite happy to just dog sit. I was going to play WoW but the dogs were carrying on. Bowser and Tank figured out how to use the dog door and were barking constantly out by the pool. I came storming out and opened the slider while yelling “What are you doing??!!” Well all of a sudden I hear a splash. Evidently Elsa was out there as well and I startled her enough that she fell in the pool. I ran over to the deep end and was ready to jump in and grab her but she somehow managed to get out by herself.
So after that incident I spent the rest of the evening watching the new show I am trying to catch up on Man in the High Castle on Amazon video. It seemed like the dogs calmed down if I was in the great room with them, all four of them were snoozing away while I laid on the couch.
The weather Sunday morning was pretty miserable, raw and wet. The steady light rain combined with temps in the low 50’s made EUC riding a non-option. Cindy and I wound up running to Home Depot mid-morning to pick up a new bathroom faucet, a sort of impulse move. The old faucet was sticking a little when used and was low quality builder grade stuff.
We picked out a nice Kohler replacement along with some plumber putty and teflon tape. Since the weather was still shitty I figured I may as well dig right into it. It’s sort of hard to believe with the various home repair/maintenance tasks I have done over the years, replacing a bathroom faucet has not been one of them. Of course I figured this was yet another opportunity for a YouTube video.
Getting out the old faucet was not too difficult although the hot water feed side was much more corroded than the cold side. The old faucet used solid copper feed pipes. The new faucet uses modern braided feed lines which are much more forgiving. When we bought the faucet I thought we were replacing just the faucet, I had no idea you normally swap out the drain as well in this scenario. Cindy helped me with a good portion of the swap out. After maybe an hour of work it was done and looked good.
There was a pretty bad puddle of water in the cabinet this morning despite things being leak free in our initial test. I think I already know where the leak is from, where the drain is inserted into the existing pvc pipe. I probably didn’t let the water run long enough in the initial test to fill that pipe to the point where a leak could be detected.
Cindy and I did some more discussion regarding fencing and the chickens. I have come around to the idea of creating a sub-fence for the chickens that would enclose the coop area and extend behind it considerably. It would allow us to contain chicken damage while protecting them from untrained dogs. If we want to allow them full access to the backyard some days we can simply leave the gate open. It will not be an easy job.
In addition to constructing the fence I am going to need to put some additional bushes/trees in that area for cover. I also am thinking about building a deck that the chickens can hang out under since they love to hang out under the large shed a good portion of the day. The other issue is laying things out in a way that compensates for the flooding that can occur during wet season back there. I may try to raise some of the ground with top soil and sod. I don’t want the chickens wading in a pond all day long like ducks.
So President Trump has certainly been making a big splash with his statements and executive orders thus far. His latest brain fart was ordering a temporary ban on entry to the country from certain Muslim countries creating a firestorm of backlash, even more so than him floating the idea of a 20% tax on Mexican goods. The guy just has no clue and zero comprehension of the big picture on any issue he thinks he is addressing. This circus comes as no surprise to me and I wonder why others seem to be so shocked by these ill advised actions. He got to where he is by being loud and appealing to the lowest, dumbest common denominator. Why would anyone think he would be different once seated in the White House?
So last night Cindy and I fell asleep after watching a couple hours of the election coverage. At that point it seemed clear that the election results were much closer than the professional pollsters predicted. You could sense the apprehension in the NBC News staff as the comfortable HRC win that was widely expected was not coming to fruition. Despite this, when I closed my eyes there was still a clear path to her securing the win, of course the plan hinged on her securing PA, a state that has voted democrat for president for nearly three decades. Well even my former home state let me down, flipping to red when I awoke this morning, along with pretty every other battleground state on the map.
I was lucky to at least sleep to a little after 5:30. Cindy awoke early in the morning and saw the result and literally cried herself to sleep eventually. I shed no tears myself once I confirmed the results as I ate my breakfast. I just sort of shook my head in both disgust and amazement, Idiocracy had actually come to be.
I can spin myself around in circles trying to analyze how a ruthless business man, reality tv star, and man of marginal intelligence that shits on gold plated toilets was somehow seen to be representative of the type of change that America really wants. To me it is representative of just how easy it is to use simple psychological warfare to steer the populace. Stalin famously said, “A lie, told often enough eventually becomes the truth”
There were two candidates this year that represented the uprising against the political status quo in the country, Trump and Bernie. Even though both of these candidates wanted to uproot the establishment, there couldn’t have been a larger difference in the way they proposed doing it. Bernie is well spoken, well versed, experienced, and knowledgeable about everything he identified as problems. He had detailed plans of action to make every one of his proposals come to fruition. Donald had none of that. He relied almost entirely on vague generalities. Everything wrong was “terrible” or “a “disaster” and his plan of action to address all of it was more or less “I will fix it, trust me” with next to no ideas or specifics on how any of it will be accomplished.
I just struggle to understand how people could dismiss the constant red flags that have come up during the Trump campaign. They were literally endless. In the end the only way I can sum it up is people wanted change so bad that they will take it any way they can get it, even if it is change for the worse evidently. I can only hope that the damage that is inflicted to civil rights, the environment, our allies, and the economy is survivable. Ironically, the only thing that may slow down the march into the abyss is that same, lobbyist controlled congress is largely still in place. In order to carry out many of his campaign vows he will require their support which I think is unlikely he will get in many cases.
So anyway, being a sore loser in the end does not really accomplish much. I will be thrilled if the doom and gloom I am feeling today proves to be ultimately misplaced. I will be happy to admit my failure in judgement if that happens. Maybe I am the idiot and the country will rally around having a reality tv star for President. History is filled with brash leaders that rallied their country to support efforts that we now view as atrocious. Of course these efforts always have a very bad ending. I can only hope we have not started writing the next chapter in that book.
The reaction to the election result from Wall Street and the rest of the world is pretty shocking, in a way mimicking 9/11 with plummeting markets and worldwide condolences.
There was one shard of good news from the election results with Florida finally passing medical marijuana. After the presidential election results we are going to need it. In the end, we will get what we deserve.
Despite the dramatically less amount of daylight available after the time change I hustled and got out on my MSuper for a little bit last night. I just stayed local going up and down the nearby side street. At the fairgrounds dead end I had an off roading opportunity. It is the same path I tried a few weeks ago on my Ninebot One but ran out of path to follow. It appears that since that time one of those huge brush cutter mowers went through. There was now a 20 foot wide cleared area all the way to Immokalee Road.
Despite the path being mowed down there were plenty of hazards along the way with branches, ruts and rocks scattered everywhere. Riding through the rough cut grass on the Msuper was much easier than attempting the same on the Ninebot One. The larger tire and heavier weight of the Gotway made it feel much more stable and capable of handling the rough terrain.
I also have finally gotten smooth mount and dismounting of the wheel “clicked” in my head. Like I mentioned before, I operate mostly on feel and I finally got the feel of how the knee has to be positioned to lock my leg in place against the wheel so the off foot can be placed/removed easily. I forgot to shoot video of it over the weekend but I will soon.
Today is election day, the finish line of almost two years of incredibly corrosive presidential campaigning. I, like most Americans just want the process to be over. While the local news played last night, literally every other commercial was alternating Trump sucks, Hilary sucks exchanges. Although I am still pretty confident that Hilary will win in the end, the aftermath of this process is sure to have lasting effects. During the Obama elections/administration I didn’t think it was possible for the American political climate to be more divisive. Well we have managed to push the bar so low that it is now underground.
Despite my feelings about Trump’s qualifications as President (he has none), the fact that a large portion of the population are willing to overlook his horrid resume to just throw a non-establishment body in the White House is representative of how badly people are sick of it all. I understand that frustration and have felt it for a long time. I just don’t feel like cutting off my nose to spite my face is going to help things in the big picture.
It’s ironic to me that a decent amount of people that rail against Hilary actually liked when her husband was President, or at least liked the way the country felt while he was in office. Budget surpluses and economic prosperity do feel good after all. Of course the moral police will hate Bill forever. Anyway, to me it seems like some people are forgetting this is actually a Hilary/Bill 2.0 presidency. Do you think Bill is just going to sit in the White House bedroom and read Penthouse magazines all day? Of course not, his fingerprint might not be the one in the spotlight but you can bet he will be influencing and consulting nearly non-stop.
If Donald does lose I’ll still watch him on Apprentice, no hard feelings.
I had one other thought that I forgot to bring up when I made a political post last week about fuzzy numbers. This point is totally non-partisan and somewhat baffling to me. Why is there such an emphasis on political rallies and their influence in the election? I mean think about it. If somebody feels strongly enough about a candidate that they are willing to inject themselves into the craziness of a political rally, they are already going to be voting for that candidate. How many people attend a rally as a basis to make their political decision? It’s moronic.
All you are going to hear at a rally on either side is how awesome the rally candidate is and how awful the competition is. There will be absolutely nothing objective presented to a potential voter in this environment. So the question remains, what is the point of preaching to the choir again and again? If the ultimate goal is to swing as many undecided minds in your direction, how does endless rallies help accomplish this goal?
This was exactly my thought pattern when Trump showed up next door to my property, holding a rally in deeply conservative (and rich) southwest Florida. Did anyone that was undecided or a potential Hilary voter all of a sudden decide to flip red just because Trump was in town? I personally can not see how that could be. Generally speaking, after all of this bullshit, how anyone in the country could be undecided a day before the election does not compute in my mind but maybe that is the problem, maybe I am the odd one.
Last night after work I was again out on my MSuper without my GoPro. Instead of driving to the school I rode there, the higher top end speed of the new wheel made getting there significantly quicker. I decided to fire up Strava, an app that is normally used to track running or cycling sessions, to track my ride. It gives you mapping, time and speed tracking very easily.
While I was at the school I practiced my wheel mounting technique. Despite now logging almost 300 miles on a single wheel my mounting technique has not improved with distance, I was still hopping my grounded foot on the wheel in a somewhat frantic manner.
When you watch experienced EUC riders they can push off with one foot and then bring the other on board in a smooth and controlled manner. Well thanks to some encouragement from a fellow rider I decided to try to polish my technique. Practicing the mount involved taking single steps with one foot on the EUC and the other off where you get a feel for how to hit that balance point. Like most things, it took me longer than it should to translate the instructions to implementation. I’m not great at reading something and then executing, I operate a lot on feel and little else. Once something clicks and feels right I am good to go. Reaching that point can take awhile for me.
So anyway after a couple dozen practice steps it finally started to feel right. The key for me was allowing the knee on my left leg which is on the EUC first to bend inward slightly, wedging my leg firmly against the bot, allowing me a stable platform to roll for a second while I bring the other foot onboard. It’s hard to explain so I will try to demonstrate on video over the weekend.
During the long straight away parts of my ride I could tell I was going considerably faster than I would have been able to on my Ninebot One. I was surprised just how fast I got up to, touching 20.6 mph according to Strava at one point. That is road bike speed with a solid tailwind for me. It won’t be long until I try to do the famous DD ride on one wheel. The Msuper has the battery power to actually pull it off.
So I have kept the amount of political talk in the blog relatively light, despite this being the most disgusting election of my adult life. Outside of discussing the eventual result, I plan to try to keep it that way, however…. I wanted to take a moment to just illustrate the type of deception that goes on when portraying scenarios with fuzzy numbers.
One of the things you will hear HRC bashers say is she will continue Obama’s policies that increased the national debt more than any other president in history. That’s a pretty strong statement that will surely sway the light thinkers. After all, debt is bad. So before we dig into that statement you could factor in that when Obama took office the country was in fiscal freefall, the sky was literally falling. The federal government spent mountains of cash bailing out financial institutions and offering stimulus packages like cash for clunkers, rebates for energy efficiency upgrades, and tax cuts. Say what you will about agreeing or disagreeing with some or all of those actions, the end result was the nose of the country was unquestionably pulled up from it’s trajectory into the ground. Of course we still had the uncapped wellhead of money being burned up supporting the Iraq conflict that was created via phantom information by the Bush administration as well. So yea, doing all that cost money, a whole bunch of it.
So when you turn your attention to dollars the numbers look big. Under Obama’s administration the national debt grew 56% in the first 7 years, adding roughly 6.5 trillion to the national debt. Growing the debt 56% sounds terrible doesn’t it? But wait a second, let’s put other presidents to the same scale. If you flip back only one chapter to the W nightmare years the national debt over his term grew 101%, yes almost double the rate of what has transpired under Obama.
When you look through history the light bulb really comes on. Ronald Reagan who is still seen by many as a star and the inventor of trickle down economics that has been an absolute disaster for the middle class for the last three decades plus, grew the national debt 186% during his reign. Yes, that is correct, 186%. So hopefully this information if nothing else gives you some pause to blindly accepting information vomited at you by the people best served by you believing it.
If you would like to open your eyes a little bit, take a look at the debt numbers by president here. Yep Obama as president has hit a bunch of potholes but he absolutely has done an admirable job of turning what was a very dire situation into merely a bad one.
This weekend there will surely be a lot of EUC riding going on, the weather is supposed to be quite nice. I would like to catch Dr Strange, run, and do whatever else sounds good at the time, after chores are done of course.
I was very anxious to get home last night so I could do some extended riding on my new Gotway Msuper. Cindy said she would come along but not to ride but instead to get in some evening running around the track which was fine with me. After maybe 5 minutes on the wheel I started to feel much better than I did on my initial ride on Monday night. I rode around the school area testing myself on various obstacles that I have already conquered on my Ninebot One. There was no turn, terrain, or obstacle I couldn’t do on the Msuper although it definitely does require some different physics to achieve the same results.
Once I got more comfortable with the control I toyed more with the newfound power and speed I now had available. It felt awesome to be able to cruise comfortably between 15 and 20 mph. The added weight and size of the wheel makes moving at higher speed feel very stable. It was a great ride and I really was hoping Cindy got the sudden urge to run a half marathon so I could have kept tooling around even longer. I am looking forward to many, many miles ahead perched upon the single tire.
I have seen an interesting shift from some people that were hard core Bernie Sanders supporters, shifting their support to Trump instead of the candidate Bernie endorses, HRC. The reasoning behind the shift the best I can tell is this, an enemy of my enemy is my friend. In this case the enemy is government establishment in both major parties, the media, and conventional big money backers.
The fact that Trump has an astonishing amount of republicans that have publicly disavowed him is a positive in the eyes of these people. Bernie, despite being a long time member of Congress is definitely an atypical politician. Trump is even more atypical, with viewpoints and statements that are vague, divisive, immature and downright dangerous at times. These former Bernie supporters seem willing to dismiss/forgive all of Trump’s sins on the off chance that he will be equally disruptive to the status quo if he would be elected. To me it’s like a game of craps except the only way you win is if you roll snake eyes. To them, some chance of meaningful change is better than no chance at all I guess.
All of the smearing going around about Hilary’s corruption, emails, scandals, etc. honestly makes me shake my head. Naive people are acting like a politician lying, cheating, or doing questionable things is abnormal and outrageous. What the hell, it’s an assumption, much like assuming most lawyers are assholes. A politician lied?? Gasp. Cut me a break.
Please provide me the list of people in Congress (or Trump) that would come out looking positive if their email communications were made public. It would be a very short list that likely would result in you handing me a blank piece of paper. Hell I think you can extend that litmus test to ANY person that utilizes, email, instant messaging, or text messages. If it was made public for the world to read things would be exposed that would you would not be proud of, guaranteed.
So anyway, to get back to my original point of Bernie people flipping to the Trump train. I can understand that the desire to shake up the system could be so strong that you are willing to vote for somebody that is so woefully underqualified for the job in the off chance he doesn’t step on one of the various landmines that await. I would say two things to these people. I respect your right to vote for whomever you want but will respect you more if your vote is an ultimate contributor to a horrific scenario in the future, you are brave enough to admit your failure in judgement. Second, no matter who wins the presidency, nothing of significance will change unless both parts of congress are under the same parties control. Bi-partisanship is unfortunately dead and buried in today’s world so unless congress has the same majority nothing of real significance is going to happen in either direction, ever.
Early voting started in Florida on Monday. I was originally going to try to vote then at the early voting location on our government campus but every time I looked the line was longer than I was willing to stand in. I guess since it was the first day I should have expected it. Of course 90% of the people in line were already of government entitlement collecting age.
Yesterday afternoon I saw only a few people in line so I decided to get it over with. In a general election the ballot is quite long, taking up both sides of two huge pieces of paper. As a tech person I still find it sort of amazing and sad that in 2016 we are still voting with paper and pen although they do scan the paper ballots at the end so the results are electronically tracked.
The voting process took me maybe 5 minutes to get through darkening in all of the appropriate circles, a lot of which I had no opinion on like if a long list of judges should be retained or not. Of course I happily darkened the circle for medical marijuana, I can only hope big pharm’s brainwashing attempt against medical marijuana is unsuccessful this time around. I don’t need to even waste time talking about my presidential choice other than saying it did not rhyme with Dump. At this point I just want this election season to be over. It has been the most corrosive, most depressing, and most ignorant campaign I can recall in my lifetime. I can only hope that I never see anything close to resembling it in the future.
Last night I went out on my wheel for a short ride. I once again crossed Immokalee Road and headed to the sparsely populated side streets on the other side. I had two separate dog incidents during the ride. The first one was some small dog, not much more than chihuahua size. I heard it’s annoying bark as I approached. As soon as it saw me it came sprinting down the driveway and out into the road in hot pursuit. I pushed the wheel to it’s top speed of about 14 mph. Despite doing so I could still hear the little dog keeping up a short distance behind me. Eventually it got tired and gave up but I bet it chased me for a couple hundred yards.
The second dog encounter had much more danger potential. This dog was in the front yard with two of it’s owners which looked like a father/son. As I approached they must have known there was a potential problem as they started squeaking the dog’s toy to try to get it’s attention off me. They were unsuccessful in doing so and the boxer mix was after me and closing quickly. I quickly realized I was not going to be able to out run this guy. Within a few seconds he was by my side which was very dangerous for both the dog and myself. If he decided to dart my direction all sorts of bad things could happen.
I could tell the dog wasn’t ferocious so I decided to just slow down and grab a nearby stop sign. I stayed there until one of the owners ran up and apologized. Once I stopped the dog wasn’t even interested in me and instead took a dump by the side of the road. I told the guy it was no problem and that I have a dog as well. So although I do like riding on the mostly empty streets in that area, the amount of people that don’t seem to care about restraining their dogs because of the remote geography makes me think I need to cross it off my normal riding list. Well cross it off until I get the Msuper which has the ability to go 20+ mph which should make it very difficult for most dogs to track me down.
On my return trip down our street I realized I had a very easy way to see if there is any traffic sneaking up on me instead of awkwardly trying to look over my shoulder which can affect my balance. I instead just used the camera on my phone in selfie mode. It worked great. I know a fellow rider that has a small rear view mirror attached to his helmet for even more safety which is a good idea as well.
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.
So 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.
One 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.
Despite 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.