Category: Politics

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.

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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.

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.