Category: Politics

So after at least 5 years, I finally ordered a replacement PC for my office.  We had been tied to Windows 7 with our old cashiering platform.  Now that we have migrated away from it there was no reason to not update to a current Windows 10 set up.  The last time I upgraded my PC years ago I simply moved the data and programs across intact.  With going to Windows 10 that is no longer an option so I am doing some major virtual housecleaning.  There are at least 10 years of stuff on my old system that I need reevaluate to see if it is still needed or not.  Thus far I have found a ton of it is obsolete.  Once I migrate to Windows 10 I will keep a safety net by keeping my Windows 7 workstation up and on the wire in case there is something I missed.  Starting fresh with a new PC is something I used to experience every couple years.  Now like most things since getting older, that cycle has slowed down.

Last night I wanted to complete the construction of my Raspberry Pi gas station skimmer detector.  When I was trying to finish it on Sunday I noticed one of the solder points had broken loose.  Last night as I was futzing around I broke another one loose so I had to fix it as well.  Finally I got everything buttoned up.  I did the final changes in the OS so that it loads the skimmer detector code automatically when the device boots up.   The Pi can operate headless with just a power connection for skimmer scanning but I can still attach a keyboard, mouse, and monitor to it if I want to have a micro pc on demand.

So two years ago I recall the incredible shock and disappointment as the majority of the nation did when the most under qualified, divisive, smallest vocabulary possessing candidate in American history was elected president.  Since that day the number of outrageous, illogical, and downright stupid things coming out of the White House has become one big blur.  As a populace we have become numb to Trumpism because it bombards us each and every day.

Well today (if you were smart you early voted) is the day we all need to wake up from the haze and send a clear message that we are not a nation of isolantionist, racist imbeciles, that there are consequences for bad behavior, and that two years of utter madness and chaos is where the line is drawn.  There are far more non-fanatical Trump voters, if enough get off their ass and vote victory would be assured.  Hopefully tomorrow is a day with a bright light in the distance and a new direction.  I need a reason to feel some sort of restored faith in humanity and common decency.  Please vote.

So after eating dinner last night we pushed off towards Victoria Park.  In the back of the Prius we had my 18L and Cindy’s MiniPro.  We have ridden Victoria Park before during this time of year but I am not quite sure that we did it on Halloween itself.  Eh, how bad could it be?  Bad.

We parked about a half mile away as we normally do and headed in via sidewalk.  We had various obstacles along the way, namely people that weren’t willing to step to a side and vehicles that parked in the grass and pulled in far enough to obstruct the sidewalk.  But hey, it’s Halloween, we knew this was part of it.

Once we turned into Victoria Park it was just a mass of humanity, the type that typically makes me want to just head the opposite direction.  The Halloween music I was playing through the speakers in the wheel was immediately drowned out by thousands of people jammed into a small area.

Cindy threw together last minute a cute unicorn costume for herself.  My costune consisted of black make up around my eyes and my Soldier 76 jacket.  I thought with the temps in the mid 70’s I wouldn’t be too hot.  I found myself sweating through my shirt within the first 15 minutes.

I brought the 18L with me because I thought it would be fun to play music as we rode.  I didn’t really give much consideration to how it would be navigating the large and heavy wheel through a sea of people.  It got very tiring very quickly trying to ride slow along with having to stop and start countless times due to a lack of space.  Cindy had a much easier time of it on the MiniPro than I did.  The crowd was so thick in spots that I really got to see nothing except the bodies all around me that I was trying to avoid.

At one point I dropped the wheel when a little girl was walking at me while looking the opposite direction.  I immediately stopped but as I was dismounting she bumped into me, causing the wheel to fall on it’s side.  Luckily unlike Gotway wheels, which will immediately spin up and bounce around like a bucking bronco in that situation, the KingSong immediately shuts off once it crosses 45 degrees.  Nobody was hurt and of course my immediate reaction was frustration at the kid but I quickly corrected myself, knowing that I was the one riding a wheel in conditions that were not good.  People in large quantities are always going to result in these types of situations.

Eventually we got into some streets that weren’t quite so congested which was nicer, allowing us to roll more freely. As always we got countless comments about our vehicles.  Most people have just never seen an electric unicycle before and are simply amazed by them.  Unlike years past, I made no fuss when Cindy asked if I was ready to leave around 45 minutes after we got there.  It just was not that much fun.  We both agreed that in the future, riding there sometime the week prior to Halloween is the way to go so we can actually enjoy the experience without having to focus all of our attention on avoiding human pylons.

Donald swooped into SW Florida last night, ruining Halloween for all of the unlucky kids whose parents felt being in an arena with the Supreme Big League Leader was more of a priority.  As always he basked in the chants of his fanatical followers and got them riled up with his anti-immigrant barbs.  His most impressive statement was calling the part of the constitution that deals with our laws regarding immigrants as “crazy”.  It’s awesome when individuals cherry pick what parts of doctrines they embrace.  While these people hold the Constitution up as the holy grail when it comes to the second amendment, when the same document offers protections for immigrants, you know the people that founded our country, the Constitution no longer is sacred.  I swear even though I have no memories of the decade I was born, in many ways it feels like a large portion of society has regressed back 50 years, courtesy of the most awesome, incredible, awesome, I mean really, really awesome President this country has ever had.

I had a discussion with my buddy regarding the Florida governor’s race.  He and I share an intense disbelief that Trump was actually elected president and we both generally have a similar political mindset.  For this reason I was somewhat surprised when he said he thought Andrew Gillum was too extreme of a candidate for Florida governor and that he might actually vote for DeSantis, a Trump acolyte in most ways imaginable.

I asked him to explain what was too extreme as to me, his platform points are very similar to Bernie Sanders, a candidate I wish would have been able to vote for instead of Hilary.  My buddy didn’t like promises of free college, free healthcare, and ads that say he wants to raise taxes 1 BILLION dollars in Florida.  His premise was he didn’t necessarily think having those things free was a terrible idea but he doesn’t want to be the one footing the bill for all or most of it.

I told him I didn’t agree and it sounded like he was watching too many DeSantis ads with ONE BILLION IN TAXES and nothing else on the screen.  However when you actually dig into the proposal, you see it is far less scary and serves the greater good.  Gillum claims that companies in Florida as a result of the ridiculous Trump tax cuts (that have us posting one of our worst deficits ever btw), received approximately 3.3 billion dollars of additional revenue as a result.  I can assure you the vast amount of that money went straight to the bottom line with a ridiculously tiny amount actually benefiting the lowly average  employee.

Gillum is proposing reclaiming about a third of the federal handout to serve the greater good, not the corporate executives, not for stock buybacks, for the average Joe.  Trying to provide more affordable healthcare and making higher education more attainable for the younger generation are noble causes and worthy of investment by others.  Too many times people that do not need any assistance or help stereotype those that do as lazy or leeching off society.  Without a doubt, there are plenty of individuals that are doing just that and I condemn that behavior as strongly as anyone.  The difference is I am not willing to throw the countless legitimate people that benefit from these programs to the side to spite the abusers of the systems.

For me, I am willing to contribute more of my income to help serve the greater good.  For a large portion of our me first population, that is not the case.  For my own personal benefit, DeSantis would likely serve my needs better, however I have no hesitation in voting for Gillum.

I have very minimal hope of Gillum actually winning.  The fact that he is black means all of the closet racists in Florida, and there are a lot of them, have a reason to get all riled up.  It’s like poking a hornet’s nest.  The only chance he has is for the democratic voters to turn out in massive numbers.  If 100% of the eligible voters voted in every election, democrats would never lose in Florida or at the federal level.  Without a doubt, apathy on the democratic side is the biggest reason we are where we are today. Old angry white people, which now includes people of my generation get out and vote.

So what was the point of this rant?  Oh I don’t know.  Vote for who you want, whether it is for the greater good or just good for you personally is a decision everyone has to make for themselves.   The political climate in our country since the turn of the century has been nothing but disgusting and I see no light at the end of the tunnel.

 

 

The weird insta-fatigue feeling was still hanging around yesterday.  At the gym my bench press buddy asked me a couple times if I was ok, apparently I just looked really tired, which I was.  I finished my session with 15 minutes on a cross trainer and I felt terrible, like I had just got done a half marathon.  I was tired and almost felt like I had chills for a short period of time.    Again, it is exactly how my body feels if I have the flu or a bad cold, but I don’t.  Outside of this fatigue I feel normal.

My appointment is today with the onsite med clinic.  I don’t expect anything definitive to come out of it but hopefully it will be the starting point of some sort of tests or a referral to figure out what is going on.  I can only hope something is identified that is a clear culprit which can be remedied without a major impact on my day to day activities, I just don’t have time to be sick.

So it didn’t take long for Ron DeSantis, the Trump endorsed republican candidate for Florida governor to put his foot in his mouth, something he must have learned from his mentor.  When talking about the prospect of Gillum (a black man) being governor he included this, “The last thing we need to do is to monkey this up by trying to embrace a socialist agenda with huge tax increases and bankrupting the state.”  Now of course there was a large segment of people that immediately jumped all over this as monkey is a word racists like to use when referring to black people almost as much as they enjoy using the N-word.

Now I will give DeSantis the benefit of the doubt.  I certainly hope this wasn’t a “dog whistle” as Gillum referred to it, to the large sect of closest racists in Florida.  However, an educated, thoughtful politician would/should know better why that choice of words was inflammatory.  At the very least he is guilty of being a dumb ass, the last thing we need in the governors mansion after Rick Scott slithers his way out of there.

It’s a sad state of the world when my initial reaction to Gillum, a Bernie Sanders endorsed candidate, is that he has no shot to win in Florida, because he is black.  Hopefully I am incorrect.  The only path to victory he has is to mobilize HUGE turn out on the democratic side which he did in the primary, trouncing his opponent in the four or five biggest urban counties in the state. It’s going to be a vicious, ugly, and depressing election season that again lowers my perspective of the state of our country, but what else is new?

So you may recall several times in the past I have dipped my toe into podcasting.  If you actually listened to any of them you know they weren’t great.  I think it is very tough to do that sort of content solo.  However with the advent of the EUC live stream show I am doing with Marty, the idea once again popped into my head that it would make for some good podcast content.

So I extracted the MP4 files from YouTube, converted them to MP3 format and posted a podcast RSS feed pointing to them.  I listened back to one of them in the car yesterday and it converts well to an audio only experience.  It will be interesting to see how it is received.  If you are interested in adding it to your Podcast player simply use this RSS feed – https://eucarmy.com/feed/podcast/

I also got around to recording my 4000 YouTube Subscriber thank you video, something I wanted to do for a week or so.  It’s a short, simple video that expresses my gratitude for the support I have been given which has resulted in a 33% increase in subscribers in the last 6 months.

I also shot another quick video talking about my One Wheel being out of commission until a replacement front footpad sensor is sent to me.

 

Luckily I have a new vehicle rolling into the collection today.  My Meepo electric skateboard is supposed to show up today which should be yet another learning experience.  I am hoping Cindy and I get to test it out at the school after work.

So once again Florida is in the middle of a red tide nightmare.  This happens all the time and is the end result of environmental abuse, lobbyist dollars, and the government officials beholden to those dollars.  The Cliff Notes version is Lake Okeechobee in the middle of Florida is hopelessly polluted from fertilizer run off, much of which is from US Sugar operations.  In the past water from the lake was able to be naturally filtered as it flowed south through the Everglades.

Well development and US Sugar operations changed all that.  The majority of that run off is now artificially routed east and west through two rivers, bypassing that natural filtration system.  The end result has been horrid and toxic algae blooms that turn the water, green, then red, and then black with the corpses of dead fish and marine life.

It’s outrageous that this has been allowed to go on for so long but as in most things, lobbyist dollars have the ability to outlast people’s outrage. You can read a full account of the situation here.

I hoped the rain would hold off for one more day so the wet spots would shrink enough that I could quickly mow them down.  Instead the house got smashed with rain during the afternoon, putting those plans to rest.  I did manage to go out on my One Wheel for a bit after dinner.  I just went up and down a side street practicing carving, where you S back and forth while traversing a straight path.

I do a variation of this while riding EUCs but on a One Wheel you engage your lower body much more to accomplish the same thing.  There is no doubt at this point that riding a One Wheel offers more of a workout than an EUC.  I had a fun three or four mile ride which put me up to a grand total of 32 miles on the odometer.

I, like most of the free world had an open mouth as I reviewed the events that happened at Trump’s meeting with Putin.  Using one of Donald’s favorite words, it was incredible.  In a nutshell Trump dismissed the universally agreed upon conclusion by all divisions of US intelligence that Russia unlawfully tampered with the 2016 presidential election.  He said the Vladimir said he didn’t do it so that was good enough for him, I guess.  It was outrageous, embarrassing, insulting, and unfortunately par for the course for the man that has made a mockery of the US worldwide, repeatedly.

Will there be any significant repercussions for him after simply the latest of a countless string of ridiculous statements and actions that have been the keystone of his time in office?  Probably not.  The pattern is maddening.  Trump does/says something that draws intense backlash and harsh words, often from both sides of party lines but the end result is NOTHING happens.  It’s a great thing that our president is teaching the young people of today that there is truly no penalty for bad behavior.  Grab vaginas, get standing ovations from bigots, have a vocabulary of 13 words, take from the poor to stuff the pockets of the rich,  it doesn’t matter.  If nobody is willing to take meaningful action, all the “stern criticism” means absolutely zero. I have never seen anything like this in my lifetime and hopefully I never will again.

If you were a Trump voter and still feel good about that decision you aren’t just drinking the Kool Aid, you have an IV drip inserted round the clock.

 

There is a LOT of construction in southwest Florida over the last few years.  As you can imagine new housing is what you see the most of but a close second is something you might not realize, storage facilities.   There have been an INCREDIBLE amount of high end storage facilities built in the last decade.  We are talking air conditioned, indoor storage in structures that look like office buildings.  I have to ask myself the question, why?

To me, the main reason someone would need additional storage is if they were in between living situations.  Maybe they had a house and are temporarily living in a condo or an apartment.  For instance when I lived up north, we sold the townhouse almost a year before moving to Florida.  We spent that time living at my mom’s and all of our stuff went into a storage facility up there.

I have to wonder how so many people have such a need for additional storage in this area.  The first thing that comes to mind is it’s just a byproduct of rampant consumerism that plagues modern society.  People just have stuff, so much so that their living space can not accommodate it all.  To me the simple answer would be to have less things.  If the items can afford to be in storage for months or years at a time there is a good chance you don’t really need them.

You would be hard pressed to travel a mile and not run into a storage building. I doubt this trend will ever end but it’s fun to complain about regardless. That’s what old men do anyway, right?

So the Eagles are all over the headlines today but not for anything they are doing on the field.  As is tradition the Super Bowl winning team was invited to the White House to meet with Donald.  Well it appears that the President is not well liked by members of the team, so much so that I heard that less than 5 players planned to actually attend.  Rather than suffer the embarrassment of a skeleton crew, the president called off the ceremony and in typical fashion lashed out on Twitter, following his normal routine of throwing out half truths along with outright lies. The president wrongly made this about standing for the national anthem, which all Eagles players did last season.

“The Philadelphia Eagles are unable to come to the White House with their full team to be celebrated tomorrow. They disagree with their President because he insists that they proudly stand for the National Anthem, hand on heart, in honor of the great men and women of our military and the people of our country,” Trump said in a statement.

So is Donald now saying Eagles players don’t respect and honor the military because they don’t want to shake a hand of a president they don’t respect?  As usual there is a disconnection of logic in Donald’s thinking where the number one priority is somehow spinning it into a positive for himself, regardless of how much mud he has rolled around in.

I think it is cool that the team for the most part is doing it different, just like they did all last season.  The easy choice would have been to just not make waves and put on a song and dance for the press and Don at the White House.  Instead they decided to stand by their morals and beliefs, choosing to not participate in the three ring circus which is now going on in Washington DC. Bravo.

 

Image result for powerbot r7070If you only started reading the blog recently you may think I only have a problem with collecting electric unicycles, 3D printers, and Amazon Echo devices. Well 15 or so years ago I had a similar thing going on with robotic vacuum cleaners.

I was one of the early Roomba adapters and at one point I had 7 or 8 of them in the house although some of them were for parts.  I actually ripped apart and repaired a bunch of them.  In addition to the vacuums I also have owned or currently own a Scooba, Braava, and Braava Jet which are hard surface washers/cleaners.

In the last five years or so I have dropped the iRobot vacuums and moved to Neatos which I liked for their higher suction and advanced tech like being able to map a room with “radar” and use that map to intelligently clean a space instead of randomly bouncing around a room like a Roomba does.  I have two generations of Neatos and actually prefer the performance of the older one.

Well a year or two ago I first saw that Samsung was dipping into the robo-vac market.  I am generally a fan of Samsung products, our kitchen is outfitted exclusively with Samsung appliances and my two new massive 31″ curved monitors are Samsung as well. Their RoboVac looked industrial, promising performance rivaling a conventional vacuum.  Well since it’s introduction they have continued to add features, the bot is internet connected, has a self cleaning brush, a unique wall cleaning blade that allows the bot to get dust bunnies others would leave behind, and a lot more.

Well I saw Samsung was running a sale direct from their website that was $150 less than you could get the same unit on Amazon for.  I decided to jump in.  My plan is to sell/give away my Neato BotVac eventually and let the Samsung vac take over it’s spot.  The unit arrived last night and I put it through some initial testing.  The only issue I had was getting it connected to WiFi which I eventually figured out.  It’s initial run went well.  It even sent me a text message when it got stuck, letting me know and what the problem was.  I am shooting a video on the bot which I will be publishing soon.

I briefly saw some of the CNN town hall style meeting that had Bill Nelson, Marco Rubio and others in a huge room of people demanding for real action on gun control.  Despite Rubio’s NRA affiliation/support and my general dislike of him based on his presidential runs, I had to give him credit for getting out there in front of a very hostile crowd and being open to criticism and offering possible compromise solutions to a problem that has gone off the rails, the perverted need that some Americans feel to own assault weaponry.   Hey I’m sure it is exciting for someone to squeeze the trigger of a weapon and be able to absolutely annihilate anything standing in front of them.  But to me, I think exchanging that short lived and meaningless thrill for the greater good is a no brainer.

The greater good is a concept that seems to be mostly lost in modern society, now more than ever with the egocentric, me first president that is somehow residing in the White House today.  I guess I am just wired to consider the big picture and use my own moral compass when deciding if a small personal sacrifice is worthy of an end goal that benefits many.  For example, the recent tax law changes made a pretty significant impact to my net pay however I would give it back in a second to have universal health care, clean energy investments, and secure social security for seniors.  None of those three things realistically have a direct benefit to me at this time yet I recognize the greater good they all would achieve.

Reasonable gun control is another greater good concept that we have proven examples of working elsewhere in the world yet as we Americans like to do, we ignore the facts and just keep bumbling through the world clinging to outdated ideas and principals because , “Hell yea, Merica!”  Maybe when that asteroid strike finally does go down we can reboot society into more of a WE place instead of a ME mess.

 

I did not see one second of the state of the union address and don’t feel like I missed anything.  I heard the speech went on for nearly 80 minutes and followed the pattern you would expect.  Most SOTU speeches are pretty cleanly broken into 50 percent looking at what has been accomplished and the other half talking about what is to be done.  From all accounts Donald spent 80 percent or more of the time in self congratulatory fashion which is to be expected.  I am so very tired of politics and reading the inane ramblings of Trump enthusiasts on social media.  It just makes me feel worse about the world than I already do.

Instead of watching Trump I had three of my 3D printers chugging away making Eagles cookie cutters, recording two videos in the process, a much better use of my time, in my opinion.

And now with the plugs!

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Looking for Gotway, Inmotion or KingSong electric unicycles?
Go here for free shipping! – http://ewheels.com/eucarmy

Check out all my sites!
http://eucarmy.com
http://duf.net
http://dufisthenics.com
EUC Army YouTube – https://youtube.com/eucarmy
Duf 3D YouTube – https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCBnqqxnkBqc5ISDQRr0YkiA

Social media
Instagram – @duf67
Twitter – @duf67

Cindy’s site – http://fitfarmchick.com
Cindy’s YouTube channel – http://youtube.com/fitfarmchick

Last night I made a video outlining some of the extensive amount of holiday related 3D stuff that we have created this year.  I also put the new room layout on display.  It is a much better setup that should help keep things organized and tidy.

I quite honestly was surprised to wake up this morning to see that Roy Moore lost the Alabama senate seat election, despite the allegations of him having sexual relations with underage teens when he was in his 30’s.  In today’s political climate where common sense seems to be viewed negatively and where bad behavior often does not have consequences, I sort of assumed that Moore would get elected, especially in Alabama, a state that is typically a very deep red in politics.

To have a democrat elected, albeit by a razor thin margin in the state is a huge FU to Donald, who decided to double down on his support of Moore despite the allegations, solely because of partisanship. I for the most case have numbed myself to politics since Trump was elected, conceding that stupidity now is the ruling class in America and I need to just keep my head down and worry about things I can actually control. The election result gives me a slim glimmer of hope that maybe, just maybe, America is slowly waking up.

Tomorrow I take my first ever flight on Spirit Airlines, a discount carrier that has direct flights from Fort Myers to Pittsburgh.  The fare was an incredibly cheap $98.  However Spirit uses a strategy employed by several airlines, they sell you a rock bottom fare and then hit you on the back end with charges which bring your overall price inline with conventional airlines.

So in theory I could only spend $98 as long as I had no checked baggage and no carry on luggage over 18″ x 14″ x 8″.  Of course the reality is very few people are able to travel with no baggage.  So to add one checked bag adds $40 easy way to the flight ($55 if you check it at the airport) .  When I went to pick my seat, 90% of the seats had an additional cost over the base fare.  I decided to reduce my misery and picked an exit row for my long legs.  That luxury costs and additional $26 each way.  So when you add it all up my total fare is over double what I started at.  The bottom line number still isn’t bad but it’s just an odd way of doing business to me.

My trip up north will be brief with me flying back on Monday.  It will still be nice to see my family and experience what true winter feels like, briefly.  This time next week I will be a few days past the half century mark, an accomplishment that I’d be fine never recognizing publicly. I am perfectly content just printing 3D deathstars instead.