Category: Politics

I like millions of other Americans, including our big league President, went outside to take a look at the solar eclipse.  Unlike our president, I opted to use glasses that are designed to protect your eyes, because well, that is the smart thing to do.

I have to say, at least from my Florida vantage point which only had something like a 70% eclipse, it was a bit underwhelming.  I thought that having only 25-30% of the sun exposed would result in a significant drop in daylight but it didn’t.  The biggest thing I noticed was the sun did not feel as intense as it normally does on an August afternoon.

It was cool to clearly see the outline of the moon as it crept across the face of the sun climaxing in a crescent of light.  I saw video of locations where the eclipse was totally full and that did seem pretty amazing where day turned into night, at least for a couple minutes.  Too bad I will likely be dead before the next one comes around which should have a more southern track.

Cindy was busting her ass most of the day yesterday in the guest bathroom, painting it a deep blue color which is quite the change.  When I got home I helped her do some of the cutting of the wainscot and chair rail.  I lugged out my table and mitre saw to try to get cuts as clean as possible.  Certain spots I had to use my jig saw and a steady hand.

When making the cuts we again ran into some issues with walls that were not straight, requiring us to try to cut at slight angles to accommodate them.  The end result was not perfect but I think a generous application of caulk to the finished product will cover up the small imperfections. I’m looking forward to this latest project being done-done.

 

So although Cindy and I ride our EUC’s a lot we haven’t been doing any practice and that is an important distinction.  When we are cruising around on the weekends we are basically just enjoying the ride and taking in the scenery.  However when you have designated practice sessions, that is when you actually get better at doing stuff and it’s something we haven’t really done much of at all lately.  My last concentrated practicing was when I learned the basics of riding backwards months ago.

So after dinner I randomly asked Cindy if she was up for some driveway practice and she said she was.  She took her Inmotion outside and I rode the Monster.  Cindy worked on her turning, slow riding, control, and the first steps towards backwards riding.  I worked on some backwards riding, one legged riding and mounting, yes mounting.

Free mounting on an EUC is something I learned a long time ago with one catch, I really only learned how to do it one way, with my left leg on the pedal and the right foot on the ground.  I have gotten very adept at mounting and dismounting that way so I neglected to really work on doing it with the legs flipped around, I need to.  Being a one trick pony when getting on and off the wheel affects your ability to turn and do emergency maneuvers.  It makes sense why I am so much more comfortable making left hand turns than the right hand variety.  The EUC muscles on the outside of my left leg are much more developed.

So I worked a lot on getting on and off the bot with my legs reversed.  I felt like I was transformed back in time as my body just was not comfortable mounting from the other side.  I could also feel the muscles on the outside of my right leg getting worked in an unfamiliar way.  By the end of the half hour or so session I was getting better and better from that side, a testament to why I need to keep practicing.

I also did a little one legged riding where I would lift my right foot totally off the pedal for a brief period of time and balance myself and the bot on one leg.  It’s a bit tricky and puts a lot of torque on the supporting leg but I could do it at a basic level.  Finally, I did more backwards riding practice, something I have only done a little of on the big Monster.  I felt shaky the first few attempts but again, by the end of the session things were smoothing out. It was a real fun session and reminded me why regular practice beyond normal riding is a requirement if you want to keep getting better.

So the Big D made his latest blunder yesterday, deciding now was the perfect time to alienate the LGBT community by declaring the military no longer will allow transgender individuals to serve.  One of the reasons were the “tremendous medical costs” the military would have to deal with?  WTF???  Our military which routinely pays $400 for a toilet seat is now concerned with medical costs for a few transgender members of the service?  Is there a rash of people that were joining the military so the government could pay for sexual reassignment surgery??  Come on, this is just stupid.

Sadly myself, and a good portion of the country I imagine is getting desensitized to buffoonery in the White House since it is literally a near daily occurrence.  The dangerous side effect is people just shrug their shoulders and move on while things at the top rot from the inside out.

So we still have been getting daily downpours that make it impossible for the standing water on the property to dry out.  Hell we need a solid week of no rain to not only allow it to dry out but also for the subterranean water table to drop a bit so every single rain event does not instantly result in standing water.  I still have my sump pump in the chicken backyard running 24/7 to try to accelerate the process.  Last week I read that we are basically in a 200 year high rain cycle, meaning it is the most rain we have had this early pretty much since they started recording it.

Last night I called my dad to see if the sale on his Alfa went through.  The answer was, not yet.  It sounds like a frustrating and bizarre situation.  He actually had a check clear and be deposited in his account, only to have the funds removed the following day. Evidently the buyer neglected to provide some documentation to the bank so they pulled the funds which seemed very strange to me.  I would assume funds are only deposited once all T’s are crossed and I’s dotted.  The car is still in dad’s possession so at this point it is just more of an annoyance that the entire process has to be delayed another few days, but dad doesn’t mind waiting.  He almost is glad to wait to mildly punish the buyer for not doing what he was supposed to do.  If it was me, I would be more worried about the deal falling through.

Dad also told me about more BS that is going on with the sale of his two (bad) investment properties in Arizona.  Much like me, he invested in land during the real estate boom and like me, that land is now worth a small fraction of what was paid for it.  Anyway trying to complete the paperwork for the sale of a property on the other side of the country is a hassle and some of the expenses associated with the sale, like phantom road fees really pissed dad off.

Pissed off are the two words I would use to describe the tone of most conversations I have with dad.  The list of things that piss him off are nearly endless.  His approach to things that piss him off can be counter productive at times but he always has been the type of person that will make a stand on principal, even if that principal may not be deemed worthy of such effort in other’s eyes.

I certainly do share some of his anger at what the world has mutated into but I try to focus that energy into finding a way to keep my personal sphere of existence as happy, fulfilling, and content as possible.  I gave up a long time ago thinking my opinion or actions meant much of anything in the big picture which is a sad statement but a true one none the less.  Unless I am willing to pick up my life and relocate to a Scandinavian country I just have to be content to navigate around the landmines of corruption, greed, and ignorance that are so prevalent in the US today.

The good news from the dad conversation is once the land and car sales go through, the purchase of a high end solar power system can commence which will have far greater tangible benefit to my dad and stepmom down the road.

 

 

So when we first got Elsa it took awhile until she started to trust us.  There seemed to be something in her past that obviously made her skittish and untrusting of people.  However over time we have been able to melt away those barriers and now Elsa is just a bundle of fun and love, although still filled with plenty of quirks.

When I get home at night she is just so ecstatic to see me.  Usually I will try to immediately sit down on the couch so she can jump up for a thorough petting session.  Her excitement level is off the charts.  It seems like she is most happy when Cindy and I are both home, when one of us is missing it’s just not the same.  Even though I had some trepidation about signing on to getting another dog, I’m now glad we jumped in as she is a bright source of fun and love in our lives.

So our slimy governor, Rick Scott, who was in opposition to medical marijuana which was passed in the state during last years election, is playing games to try to make the implementation of legal medical cannabis problematic.  You see Tricky Rick has deep ties to Big Pharm and the medicine for profit industries.  His lobbyist friends are not interested in a simple, natural product elbowing in to their extremely fat bottom line.

Late last month Scott signed a bill regarding how medical marijuana dispensaries are supposed to be managed by individual counties.  Basically it says a county has only two options, they either have to ban medical marijuana completely or they have to allow it anywhere with no middle ground.  So in a very image conscious place like Collier County, despite their desire for legal marijuana dispensaries inside county lines, the idea of having no control over the number of them or locations is not realistic so this law would force them into banning it completely, which is not what anybody really wants.

Of course the Trickster knows that a lot of counties are not going to be comfortable with having no control but he can put on a false face and say “Hey, the law says the counties can have medical marijuana anywhere they want!!” with that slimy, disingenuous grin of his.  It’s so transparent.

Luckily, there is a good chance that Rick’s shenanigans will not stand up in court.  It is likely the legislation will be challenged in court and be overturned but in the meantime many Florida residents just continue to wait for something that have voted to implement for over 5 years.

 

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

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

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

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

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

So I saw/heard a good chunk of the James Comey testimony yesterday.  To me it seemed pretty clear that he is an honest, experienced and intelligent man.  When an individual of his character testifies that he started documenting his conversations with the president because of a “gut feeling” regarding the type of person he was dealing with, that says a lot.  How Trump could hear all of the Comey testimony and spin it into some sort of vindication for him because he was not officially under investigation, while ignoring the mountain of other damning details is typical of how he operates.  It’s just insane that things are to the point where I would prefer that a guy that thinks you can “ungay” people through therapy would make a better President than the man-child who is occupying that chair right now.

Today we dropped off Cindy’s car to get it’s windows tinted.  Coincidentally my boss/buddy had decided to have work done on his car at the same place on the same day.  Cindy drove the Ioniq while I drove the Prius with Elsa riding shotgun.  We then all met there so we could carpool to work in the Prius.

It was the first time Don met Elsa.  She was cautiously friendly towards him which is rare.  We actually are going to be dog sitting Don’s dog Lucky next week so Elsa will have fun.  We had watched Lucky a couple times before we got chickens.  Now that the birds are fenced in Lucky should not be a threat to them, something Don was worried about. We are going to have Lucky for almost a week so he and Elsa will have plenty of time to become dog buddies.

This weekend I need to run into the office briefly to do some server work to be backed up by work around the house as always.  Hopefully we can have more normal levels of precipitation compared to the deluge of last weekend.

I neglected to mention that a couple days ago I was able to trim my Facebook friends list a whopping 38% in no less than 10 minutes.  In that time span I was able to drop roughly 180 individuals off the list bring the total to a still hefty 300 members.  I really didn’t have to make any hard choices, the majority of the trimees were people in other countries that friended me from my Bar-barians affiliation.  I never had any real direct communication or interaction with them so for the most part I doubt they will even know they are gone.  There is some more trimming that could be done where I would have to do so more in depth thinking and evaluation of pros/cons but I will save that for another day.

Today is C Day, the day James Comey testifies in front of Congress in what could potentially be yet another bombshell for the Trump organization.  It appears that the testimony will further cement the fact that we have a man that has no fcking idea which way is up or down and is woefully unequipped to be in the position of power that the fine citizens of our country put him in.  It’s looking more and more like President Pence could be a reality and to be honest, I think Donald might actually be happier that way.

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.

donald-trump-president-camacho-idiocracy-slice-600x2001I 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.