Category: Rants

So today was my second attempt at commuting to work on an electric unicycle.  I did the ride almost exactly a year ago on my Msuper.  The Monster is much more suited for this type of ride with a bigger battery and larger tire.  When I first started rolling about 6:20AM I felt a bit clunky with a backpack strapped on and full protective gear, including big knee pads.  After a few miles I got more comfortable.

When I did this ride before I tried to go almost entirely via sidewalk which is safer but also slower because of the ramps and slowing down at every break in the sidewalk.  This time I used a lot more bike lane which allowed me to keep a better pace with the trade off of being in potentially more dangerous proximity of vehicles with their distracted drivers.

The air temps in the lower 60’s felt a bit chilly when combined with the wind but with my long sleeve t-shirt I felt ok.  My feet and calves also held up a little better since I had the seat on the Monster which would allow me to sit down for brief periods while riding to give my lower extremities a break.

I was not wearing a GPS on my wrist this time so I didn’t really know how fast I was going but I did have Strava running on my phone.  It felt like I maintained good speed but I didn’t realize how good.  According to the app I topped out at 28.6mph, the fastest speed I have ever logged on a wheel.  I also spent a ton of time at 20+ mph, thanks to using bike lanes.

When I did this ride last year I was 15 minutes late getting to the office, mostly because I had to baby the wheel the last four miles because of a low battery.  With the Monster I went as fast as I felt comfortable with the entire time and rolled into the office 5 minutes early with 40% battery remaining.  The ride really went as well as it could.  The wheel is on the charger now.  I plan to ride it to the gym at lunch and then push off for home around 4:30.  It’s a great way to start the weekend.

Speaking of the weekend, I am treated to another three day long hiatus thanks to Presidents Day.  I have a fair amount of things in my head to get done but for the most part I am hoping to get plenty of chill time.  Cindy and I are both looking forward to seeing Black Panther Saturday night.

So now that the personal things are out of the way I wanted to mention the latest case of mass gun violence, this time in our backyard on the other side of the state.  As seems to be the case with any of the really horrific incidents, the shooter, an unstable 19 year old, used an AR-15 with plenty of spare clips to mow down almost three dozen students and school staff, killing half of them.

I am almost ashamed to admit that my initial reaction to these incidents is more a feeling of overwhelming frustration than horror.  I just am stupefied that our country continues to “say prayers” but take no appreciable action to stop this insanity or at the very least make significant efforts so that this scenario much less likely to take place.  Guns are ridiculously easy to obtain and the lack of controls and consistent screening regarding who obtains them is a joke, in my opinion.

I also have yet to hear a compelling argument why normal citizens need the ability to buy assault rifles.  Yes, if you have concerns about your personal safety, own a hand gun, that will neutralize any immediate threat.  However if you feel the need to own a weapon that has the ability to kill huge amounts of people in very little time I would say you need to take some time to evaluate why this is important to you.

Unfortunately I have seen this scenario repeat like a skipping record so many times that I already know what to expect when it comes to tangible change, nothing……

 

And now with the plugs!

Ender 2 on GearBest EU Plug – https://goo.gl/v5bNRG $159 USE COUPON – “Enderen”
Ender 2 on GearBest US Plug – https://goo.gl/v5bNRG $159 USE COUPON – “ENDERC”
AnyCubic I3 MEGA – US WAREHOUSE – https://goo.gl/BKwhEu $329.99 USE COUPON – “I311GBUS”
AnyCubic I3 MEGA – CHINA WAREHOUSE – https://goo.gl/BKwhEu $315.99 USE COUPON – “I3MEGA”

CR-10 on GearBest – https://goo.gl/6M9DHi use coupon – GBCRUS
CR-10S5 on GearBest – https://goo.gl/3295a6
CR-10S on GearBest – https://goo.gl/rFztnC
GearBest US Warehouse specials! – https://goo.gl/nvL8uF

Get free cash back for stuff you are buying anyway – https://www.ebates.com/r/DUF391?eeid=28187

Esun Cleaning Filament – http://amzn.to/2zP3qwW
Creality Cr-10 3D printer – http://amzn.to/2w7yqIF
Dagoma Neva 3D printer – http://amzn.to/2hYNjoV
FlashForge Finder 3D printer – http://amzn.to/2sCllp7
Hatchbox white PLA filament – http://amzn.to/2rrIfMt
ESun white PLA filament – http://amzn.to/2sBRv42

The gimbal I use – http://amzn.to/2lJbZCa
My GoPro camera – http://amzn.to/2kkBUmJ
GoPro foam windscreen – http://amzn.to/2maDI2B
Selfie stick – http://amzn.to/2mJTJLL
Segway MiniPro – http://amzn.to/2lddTNt
Segway S1 – http://amzn.to/2A8CkQQ
DJI Mavic Pro – http://amzn.to/2kpV4Tk

My EUC protective gear
Killer 187 Wrist Guards – http://amzn.to/2p8y9m9
Triple Eight Helmet – http://amzn.to/2p8uuoH
STX Elbow Pads – http://amzn.to/2oNMrYJ
Killer 187 Knee pads – http://amzn.to/2oYtAHw

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

 

Sure I would like to just skip to the most epic Super Bowl of my life but I feel I should give the rest of the weekend proper representation.  Saturday morning I got up and drug myself out of bed to go run, despite a lower body that was STILL sore from squatting and deadlifting on Tuesday.  I slogged through the run, never feeling comfortable.

When I got home I went right into a small chore list that I wanted to knock out.  After doing so Cindy, Elsa and I headed out to grab some coffee and run some errands.  We took the Tacoma so I could throw another 15 bags of top soil in the back to continue my winter long ground elevation project behind the chicken coop.  My hope is I am able to at least give the birds a decent size island in the back that will escape the soggy effects of wet season.

Cindy had a ton to do for SuperBowl party prep and she was working on it in earnest, with both food and decoration prep.  I kept busy doing my own things which included  3D printing, laser engraving, and a few more things. Late in the afternoon I took my wheels over to the school to futz around a bit.  I shot some footage for my upcoming 1000th video on my YouTube channel.  I’m hoping to make that one pretty cool.

On Saturday night we planned on watching Hell or High Water, our Netflix rental however there was some sort of problem with the disc and it wouldn’t read  in my Blu-ray player.  I told Cindy I would just get it on X1 par-per-view.  Yea it sucks to pay for something I could get for free but it wasn’t a big deal.  Well it turned out I didn’t have to pay anything since the movie was already on Showtime.  I could watch it on demand for free, cool.

The movie has a strong cast and an interesting plot.  It sort of had a Robin Hood good natured vibe to it until things got unexpectedly dark towards the end.  It was a good B+ movie for sure but it sure did not end up as I expected.

Sunday was the day. We had a lot to do, well I had a lot, Cindy had an unbelievable amount of work that she did.  She LOVES planning parties and doing everything connected to it.  She was literally on the go almost the entire day.

Her work was nothing short of incredible.  In addition to the conventional food prep Cindy made these amazing baked creations including the football field on the right and Eagles cookies made with a 3D cutter I printed.  Katie came over in the afternoon and did the decorating for the cake pops on the left.  She did an amazing job with them, putting her creativity on display.

I had the 3D printers working hard most of the day as well, creating an Eagles themed quarter tray and a toothpick holder, both of which I designed from scratch.  I filled in the squares of the betting board, a tradition from the very first Super Bowl party that was ever hosted at the house.  I tried to make more of the bets have less than a 50/50 chance so there was the possibility of some bigger winners.  For example one of the bets was the distance of the first punt.

We flipped on the tv as early as 12:30 and they already had Super Bowl pre-game on, wow.  I did mostly the grunt work part of the prep, moving and rearranging things, setting stuff up and filling in with whatever else Cindy needed.  Like I said the amount of effort she put into this party was nothing short of amazing.  About mid-afternoon there was a lull in prep, most things were done.  I decided to knock out an oil change on Cindy’s car as it was one less thing off my mental to do list.  It was uneventful and only took about a half hour, including clean up.

So the party was scheduled to start around 5:30.  Our first guest arrived a few minutes after that.  It was Megan, whose dog Wishbone has been walked by Cindy and I several times.  I was surprised when Cindy told me that Wishbone was coming to the party.  Of course my first thought always jumps to a dog marking his territory in the house.  Luckily Wishbone had no incidents but instead circled the party more or less non-stop, looking for food.  He literally did not sit/lay down once.

Other guests arrived steadily from there on.  By 6’oclock almost the entire roster was there and the house was loud and full of energy.  This was a very special party since MY team was in it.  The crowd was mostly friends of ours from the running club and a few others.  Ali and her boyfriend Shugs even came out, with Sadie of course which Elsa was thrilled about.

I sort of figured that Elsa would mostly hide during the party but surprisingly she was in the middle of the crowd, even snuggling up to Matt on the sofa for a period of time which surprised the hell out of me.

I did myself a favor and watched a lot of the commercials ahead of time since they were posted on YouTube.  Doing so allowed me to actually hear and enjoy them, something that is very difficult to do with 15 people in a room.  However I could watch the action on the field just fine.

The first half was pretty crazy with both teams moving the ball but the Eagles taking more advantage, scoring pretty easy and often.  There were two defining moments of the first half for me. The first was when Patriots pulled a trick play that had Tom Brady downfield as a receiver, a wide open receiver.  He proceeded to drop a pass that hit him right in the hands.  However on a 4th and goal, the Eagles stole that page from the Patriots and actually executed the play to perfection with Nick Foles pulling in a pass from the tight end for a touchdown.  It was an incredibly ballsy call but that was theme of this team all year, aggressive play calling.

The halftime show, which I didn’t entirely see, seemed not bad but not quite as iconic as I would have expected.  Almost always there is some sort of unannounced collaboration that goes on.  However Justin Timberlake performed with nobody else except towards the end where he sung some Purple Rain as an image of Prince was projected onto a big curtain.  I saw some people say the show was great so maybe I just have bad taste.

The second half of the game was a sprint.  All of a sudden the Eagles defense had no answers to stop the Patriots.  Luckily the Eagles offense was still scoring but the Patriots were scoring faster and way too easily.  In the fourth quarter the Patriots took their first lead of the game, by one point and I was worried that we were watching the start of another Eagles failure at the precipice of the ultimate victory.

By the time the fourth quarter started almost everybody had left, it was only Cindy, myself, Ali, and Shuggs.  Outside of Shuggs we were the only real Eagles fans there although pretty much everyone at the party wanted to see the Patriots lose.  It somehow seemed fitting that as the game came down to it’s teeth gritting, heart stopping conclusion, we were the only ones left.

So when Zac Ertz scored the go ahead touchdown which Chris Collinsworth, who has always been an asshole when it comes to the Eagles, was trying to convince the world was going to be overturned, we went nuts.  But because of an early missed extra point and two failed 2 point conversions, the Eagles were only up by 5 points with two and a half minutes to go.  With Tom Brady’s track record and the way he had been torching the Eagles at will the entire second half I was, concerned.

We all yelled at the tv at the Eagles defense that SOMEBODY had to make a play.  They had not even sacked Brady the entire game.  On the very next play, it happened, Brady was hit and fumbled the ball, recovered by the Eagles.  We went ape shit, literally ape shit.  Instead of folding up their tent, the Eagles actually came up when it mattered the most and smacked the Patriots in the mouth.

Unfortunately the Eagles couldn’t run the clock out and had to settle for a field goal which gave them an 8 point lead, meaning the Patriots could possibly score and make a two point conversion to tie it.  The good news was the Patriots only had 30 seconds to drive the length of the field and no time outs.  Brady made a valiant effort and actually got close enough to throw a ball into the endzone for a hail mary as time expired that thankfully fell to the ground after coming dangerously close to being caught on a rebound. It was over. The Eagles actually won the Super Bowl…..

Even though there were only four of us, we made enough noise for 40.  Ali had tears in her eyes of joy, Cindy was smiling ear to ear and I was just screaming.  My entire life I pulled for the Birds to win it all.  After five decades of near misses it seemed surreal that we were the last team standing, finally.

In the past the Eagles were good enough that they were expected to win.  This team that fought through some severe injury losses, including their starting QB, to get all the way to the end, being the underdog in each and every playoff game they played.  I don’t think I could have written a better script.  Nick Foles, who I always liked when he was with the team the first time around, was simply amazing.  He played smart and clean, if he felt nervous he did not show it, instead making throw after throw with his TD reception going down as one of the more memorable in SB history.

The game smashed records, not only for a Super Bowl but for any NFL game, ever.  Never have two teams put up as many yards as the Patriots and Eagles did.  The final score was the most points in SB history and even taking my Eagles partisanship out of the picture, I think it will go down as one of the best Super Bowl games ever.  To have my team be part of that equation and the winning side of it on top, is something I will cherish till things fade to dark.

Before the game I posted on Facebook that if the Eagles win I would jump in the pool.  I’m not the type to not follow through on such a promise so after ripping off my shirt and socks I jumped into the 60 something degree pool water after letting out the most enthusiastic E A G L E S cheer of my lifetime. Sure the water felt cold but my inner warmth from the glow of Super Bowl victory helped insulate me.

I’m glad I took today off from work to recover, relax and bask in the glow of a new reality where the Philadelphia Eagles are Super Bowl Champions!

 

 

 

And now with the plugs!

Ender 2 on GearBest EU Plug – https://goo.gl/v5bNRG $159 USE COUPON – “Enderen”
Ender 2 on GearBest US Plug – https://goo.gl/v5bNRG $159 USE COUPON – “ENDERC”

CR-10 on GearBest – https://goo.gl/6M9DHi use coupon – GBCRUS
CR-10S5 on GearBest – https://goo.gl/3295a6
CR-10S on GearBest – https://goo.gl/rFztnC
GearBest US Warehouse specials! – https://goo.gl/nvL8uF

Get free cash back for stuff you are buying anyway – https://www.ebates.com/r/DUF391?eeid=28187

Esun Cleaning Filament – http://amzn.to/2zP3qwW
Creality Cr-10 3D printer – http://amzn.to/2w7yqIF
Dagoma Neva 3D printer – http://amzn.to/2hYNjoV
FlashForge Finder 3D printer – http://amzn.to/2sCllp7
Hatchbox white PLA filament – http://amzn.to/2rrIfMt
ESun white PLA filament – http://amzn.to/2sBRv42

The gimbal I use – http://amzn.to/2lJbZCa
My GoPro camera – http://amzn.to/2kkBUmJ
GoPro foam windscreen – http://amzn.to/2maDI2B
Selfie stick – http://amzn.to/2mJTJLL
Segway MiniPro – http://amzn.to/2lddTNt
Segway S1 – http://amzn.to/2A8CkQQ
DJI Mavic Pro – http://amzn.to/2kpV4Tk

My EUC protective gear
Killer 187 Wrist Guards – http://amzn.to/2p8y9m9
Triple Eight Helmet – http://amzn.to/2p8uuoH
STX Elbow Pads – http://amzn.to/2oNMrYJ
Killer 187 Knee pads – http://amzn.to/2oYtAHw

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 

So as Cindy and I were watching this week’s episode of the Walking Dead on X1 the house suddenly went black.  When it stayed that way for more than 10 seconds I knew it meant there was something more than the occasional power burp going on.  We sat tight and actually finished watching Walking Dead as the power in the UPS was enough to drive the AV set up for about 45 minutes.  Normally I would have stopped the show and turned everything off but X1 has this annoying glitch, without internet connection you can basically do nothing on the box, not even pause a recorded show.  I shit you not.

So we verified our entire surrounding area was dark.  After a half hour of darkness we decided to take some action.  I told Cindy I could easily set up the generator to power the RV.  I was due to run the generator for a period of time anyway as preventative maintenance so it was an easy decision.  With Cindy handling a flashlight so I could see I gassed up the tank maybe a quarter of the way and started it up, on the first pull no less.

The RV makes for a very comfortable no house power retreat since it is easily powered by a single extension cord.  With the cool air no AC was needed and everything else in there worked, including TV.  While Cindy got situated in the RV I grabbed my Mten to ride around out front a bit to survey the situation.  I verified our entire road looked dark.  I rode down to Immokalee and saw the street lights were on which is right about where FPL service picks up, we have LCEC.

When I joined Cindy in the RV I went on the LCEC outage map and saw a HUGE area in red.  I read later that somewhere around 90,000 homes were affected.  We chilled out in the RV for probably another half hour until I saw our Xmas lights click back on by the house indicating utility power had returned.  I was totally comfortable hanging out there, with the slide out living room combined with the copious amount of windows in the RV, you never get the feel of being confined. I headed back towards the house and undid all of the temporary provisions, glad the 90 minute outage didn’t turn into something longer that would have required additional power wrangling.

Yesterday in the mail I finally received my second check from my insurance company which was for the revised amount I had been fighting for.  I was glad that what they originally told me, that I would be getting three checks with two of them having contractor names as co-signers was not the case.  It’s just one check for the entire amount with my name and my credit union’s name on it.  I am glad because I am leaning towards not using the contractor that gave the screen estimate as it appears that they have more than doubled what they would normally charge for the job based on my research.

I have one more potential hassle to deal with.  When I got the check for damages after Hurricane Wilma in 2005 again the check was made out to my name and the banks name.  When I took it in to get it deposited/endorsed the bank gave me a big hassle and would not let me deposit the funds, they would only allow a new check to be cut in the contractors name that was rebuilding the pool cage.  I suppose it was their way of ensuring the work was done, protecting THEIR investment.  Of course this strong arm tactic didn’t sit well with me then.

Well this time it is more complicated since I have two contractors involved and the way it works is you pay them a percentage of the overall work when the job is contracted, partially done and then the balance on completion.  If the bank thinks I am going to go to them to cut a check for each time this is necessary they are going to have a big fight on their hands.  I understand their intent but as a customer who has already satisfied the primary mortgage on the property, has a stellar credit score, and has done nothing but exhibit responsible home owner behavior over the last 16 years, I am going to push that a little common sense is applied on their part and they just sign the check, let me deposit the funds and draw from it as I need to fund the repairs.  The fact that I am actually going to be upgrading the roof beyond it’s original construction hopefully will be another chip in my favor.

This morning when I let Elsa out she made a bee line towards the back of the shed which was unusual.  Once she got there she froze and was  staring at the fence line.  I had no idea what she was doing.  All of a sudden she bolted towards the fence and I heard a noise.  As I focused I saw a large racoon scurrying up one of the palm trees on the other side of the fence, apparently scared of Elsa even though she was on the other side of the four foot fence.  When I walked towards the tree the racoon scurried down and disappeared into the brush.  I was surprised a raccoon, the killer of three of our chickens, would be out and about as daylight broke.  Elsa seemed quite proud of her guard dog abilities afterward.

So after 3 days the AC system in our network operations room has been fixed.  The room was horribly warm during this time with temps in the 85-90 degree range.  In order to keep our servers from overheating we rented portable AC units and pointed them directly at the server racks.  Even though the room temps were way above what they should be, the server internal temps stayed safely in the normal range thanks to the auxiliary AC units.

You may recall part of my shitty Monday post was the fact that a red triangle warning light popped up on the Prius which typically indicates some sort of serious problem with the vehicle.  After I reset the ECU with my code reader I have been driving the car every day to see if the problem reappears, it hasn’t.  I do still plan to do some long overdue maintenance on the car this weekend including changing the transaxle fluid, inverter coolant and replacing a dead headlight, again.  If another headlight goes out I am going to put LED bulbs in there instead.

My buddy Joe from Maine messaged me last night about something that popped up on his Facebook feed.  It was a post from the official Acadia National Park account reminding people that “*eRiders, please take note: Segways, Hoverboards, and eBikes are considered motorized vehicles and their use is prohibited on Acadia’s carriage roads. Fines begin at $130 per person”  Joe joked that I was lucky I did not have my second run in with park rangers since we rode our EUC’s briefly in the park.

When I read some of the comments regarding the post, I found myself getting annoyed.  Riding an e-bike or an EUC has no more impact on the park than a regular bicycle.  The same rules apply to anyone in the park, if you ride in a reckless manner that endangers others, no matter what you are on, you deserve to be reprimanded.  However the fact that you are on an e-bike, Segway, or other electric powered vehicle does not predispose you to dangerous riding behavior, which is the point some commenters were trying to make. It’s just another reason for my disdain for the way national parks are run to further grow in size.

I spent a good portion of last night fighting with my CR-10 printer, trying to install and use a mirror tile as my print surface.  Even though I love the capability of the my new 3D printer, functionality wise, my FlashForge Finder is much more user friendly beyond a doubt.  Most of my attempts at printing on the CR-10 resulted in filament spaghetti all over the print bed.

 

So when we got home yesterday we both were very excited that for the first time in more than two months there was basically no standing water in the yard.  Not only was the surface water gone but the mud that was left behind had actually dried enough to be plain old dirt in some spots, wow.  I wasted little time before getting on the tractor and mowing down the high grass in the previously unmowable areas.  I didn’t have time to mow everything. Well imagine my joy when I came home today to see that a f’ing deluge had once again submerged a good portion of the grass.  I was already very frustrated before I got home because of more fun during the day.

At work the AC system in our NOC (network operations center) took a shit so we were scrambling to come up with alternative cooling as the problem is not a quick/easy fix.  Then at lunch I turned on the Prius and was greeted with a big scary red triangle warning light as well as a DSC and CEL.  The car seemed to still be driving ok although the variable speed transmission did feel weird a few times.  I drove it to the gym and home, hoping to pull a code with my reader to give me some direction to the problem, from my research could be one of MANY things.

When I hooked up the reader it found no stored codes but when I issued a clear all codes command it turned off all the warning lights.  The lights stayed off after turning the car off and on several times so I need to drive it some more to see what happens.  The problem, which had me looking for info online brought to light some maintenance I should be doing on the car like replacing the inverter and engine coolant, as well as the the transmission fluid, none of which has been done since we owned the car.  The transmission fluid is my first target based on the odd shifting I saw.

After the high levels of stress and frustration that was injected into portions of the road trip I had hoped our return home would be uneventful.  Oh well, you can’t always get what you want, or something like that.

So we rolled into Savannah at a half decent time, about 5:45 which isn’t bad considering we again hit multiple episodes of dead stop traffic on I-95.  Cindy booked us a room at a Clarion.  It said it was newly renovated and it definitely was.  The lobby and public areas looked really nice.  The room looked pretty overhauled as well, except for the smell.

The second you entered the room it just felt moist with a distinct mildew smell.  Otherwise the room seemed ok although Cindy found a stray pube in the bathtub and a few gross spots on the shower curtain.  At this point I could care less, it was our last night on the road as long as the bed and tv worked, great.  Oh wait, the tv didn’t work either, oh well.

We were only in the room briefly before heading back out to ride and sight see around the historic Savannah area.  We parked around the largest park in Savannah called Forsyth Park, it looked like a great spot to roll around in.  We immediately were accosted by a group of kids that wanted to know about the wheels as well as “ride” them.  Cindy and I took turns letting about 6 or 7 kids get on the wheels while we held them and the wheel upright.

The park was very beautiful with huge oak trees covered in hanging moss.  Once again we found ourselves inadvertently riding in sections of the path that were marked as pedestrians only.  We rerouted ourselves to the outer portion of the park where there didn’t seem to be the same restriction.

We also ventured a little out of the park down some of the nearby streets.  Cindy really enjoyed the old architecture.  Everywhere you looked there was something worth seeing.

After the ride Cindy wanted to go park near the waterfront and walk around.  I was without a doubt lacking enthusiasm about the prospect.  I told Cindy I was pretty burned out at this point by the frustrations of the trip.  However I knew Cindy really wanted to see this stuff so I did my best to just mellow out.

As we walked to the waterfront I felt my mood lightening.  The area was just very cool with a mix of brand new high end hotels with 150 year old brick buildings that creates quite an interesting landscape.  There were a number of street performers , all of which seemed good in their own way as they hoped their performance would inspire onlookers to throw a buck in their tip jars.

We enjoyed a great dinner in the Boar’s Head Grill and Tavern which was in one of those very old buildings.  Seeing the old structure inside, repurposed for dining was just very interesting to me.  Before the food arrived I passed the time just looking around between sips (gulps) of my Miller Lite.  The beer helped me chill out further.

It was getting a little late and we planned to set an alarm to push out early this morning for Naples.  We returned to our damp room and did our best to get a pseudo-solid night’s sleep.

So we woke up as planned and got everything packed up, figuring we could load the car and then take advantage of the free continental breakfast that starts at 6AM.  There was one problem, it didn’t start at 6, it started at 7.  Every other hotel we stayed at on the trip had their breakfast service start at 6 so we made a faulty assumption it would be the same this time.

Well we weren’t going to twiddle our thumbs for an hour so we decided to just grab breakfast along with our coffee at Dunkin Donuts.  As we sat at our table there was a weird situation where some woman stood at the front door and was saying negative things about one of the employees, including something about not patronizing the location as long as that employee was there.  After the disgruntled woman left Cindy heard the DD staff saying something about that woman being a prostitute, wow.

We have been in hammer down mode for today’s drive, sacrificing MPG for speed.  We now sit about 90 minutes from home base.  It can’t come soon enough.  Even though there have been many memorable, important, and cool aspects of the trip, overall, the trip was the worst Cindy and I ever have taken.  We went into it knowing going this route during summer could be problematic, congested, and expensive, I just didn’t think it would be to the degree it turned out to be.

I ALWAYS take at least one or two days after returning from a road trip to get life back in order but due to work responsibilities that will not be the case this time.  I will be back in the office bright and early tomorrow morning.  Another adventure is in the books.

Today is the three year anniversary of my mom’s passing.  It’s ironic we finally spread her ashes so close to the sad anniversary in our lives.  Hopefully she is happy, wherever that may be.

So the drive to Charleston was uneventful.  The Ioniq has proven to be quite the adept and comfortable long range cruiser.  The great gas mileage, comfortable seats with more legroom than the Prius, and tech like Sirius XM and intelligent cruise control makes the miles pass by easily.  We did almost 500 miles yesterday and it was not a big deal.

We pulled into our motel, The Creekside Lands Inn with the hope it would be half decent.  However as soon as I saw it was a place where the rooms have exterior facing doors I knew it was likely to have problems.  During my various road trips over the last decade or more, a hotels/motels with exterior facing doors are usually shitty, almost without exception.

The lobby didn’t seem awful but certainly was nothing impressive.  The clerk said our room was by the pool which can be a good or bad thing.  In our case it was the latter.  So I am not sure how many seconds it took from when we entered the room until Cindy first uttered the word “disgusting” but it wasn’t long.  It was a word she relied heavily on the rest of the night.

The place looked like it was an old, shitty, place that they tried to refresh with some poorly executed facelift items.  For example they had a newer granite countertop and sink but the bathroom had a dilapidated toilet right next to it with a toilet seat that was so old the finish was peeling off.  The tub had a rust spot on the bottom of it and the faucet in there was not attached to the wall, it was just hanging off the pipe.  The door to the bathroom was stained on both sides extensively by who knows what.  When you looked at the edge of the door  you realized that half of the guts of the door were missing for some reason.  Closing the door completely required you to lean into it with your bodyweight.

However the most egregious thing of all was revealed when you looked up, and saw daylight.  The ceiling of the bathroom was comprised of large wood “tiles”.  Evidently years of bathroom moisture had warped the wood resulting in a couple inch gap that gave you a clear view of cinderblock and daylight.

The chair and ottoman in the room were old, stained, dirty and gross.  We refused to sit on it.  Although the sheets/pillows on the bed seemed pretty clean, the bed sheet cover looked to be in similar condition to the chair.  The word “disgusting” rolled from Cindy’s mouth like she had terets as she surveyed our accommodations.   If the visuals weren’t bad enough the room stank big time.  Evidently the large gap in the bathroom let the fresh, marshy air to flow into the space unabated.

I tried to keep a more funny/positive attitude about the place.  I have stayed in shitty places before during road trips so it wasn’t that huge of a deal.  We decided to go take a quick ride on the wheels on a nearby bike/running path Cindy had read about.  We both agreed anything to get us out of the room was a good move.

After we got back we tried to come up with a game plan.  Cindy wanted to see some of Charleston and I didn’t want her wish to not come true since we were right there.  The issue was it was already something like 6:30 and we had plans to try to get on the road early the next day for the long push to Rehoboth.

We wound up walking across the street to an Italian restaurant.  We enjoyed a nice meal out on the deck.  Our waitress was nice and gave us some tips on what to do/where to park if we go into Charleston.  We took her advice and went to grab the car.  As we prepared to leave we saw the motel had filled up quite a bit and the pool area was filled with crazy kids, a preview of what was waiting for us upon our return.

The drive into Charleston was not long, 15-20 minutes max.  There was ample free street parking.  As we drove in Cindy really liked the classic southern architecture that was everywhere you looked.  We parked near the Battery, a waterfront historical area that is a famous tourist attraction.

At first Cindy wanted to walk but then changed her mind and agreed the wheels would be the best way to take in as much of the views in the limited timeframe we had.  We got there shortly after sunset so the crowds were starting to disperse but the colors over the water still looked beautiful.

As we rode around we got a ton of looks and questions about what the hell we were riding.  The ride had some challenging terrain with a lot of broken up sidewalk, high curbs and even cobblestones.  Cindy did a good job handling the challenges.

I expected more congestion but we had mostly smooth sailing on the wheels, many times cruising down the middle of empty one way streets that carved between the beautiful architecture all around us.

Although I was originally concerned about spending too much time there, once we started riding it was just fun.  I would have stayed as long as Cindy wanted.  She actually was the one to say she was ready to go because she was getting fatigued from the riding.  The newly installed trolley handle on the Msuper definitely came in handy for the times Cindy decided to walk instead of ride.  I’m glad it worked out as planned.

When we got back to the smelly room it was pretty much a zoo outside.  The parking lot was almost entirely full and there were a lot of people outside of their rooms.  Of course the most crazy and loud spot was the pool where tons of kids were carrying on.

We headed into the room, hoping the loud AC unit fan would somewhat insulate us from the noise.  Cindy refused to take a shower in the “disgusting” bathroom.  I was ok with venturing in there.  Besides the rust spot on the floor of the tub the rest of the space was not awful although it did take a loooong time to get hot water flowing.  Other than that the shower was ok.

The sleep experience in the room as you can guess was less than ideal.  We had the tv on to block some noise and lull us to sleep however it stopped working for who knows why.  We did our best to avoid contact with the “disgusting” bed cover as much as possible.  The mattress had little to no support, I almost felt like I was laying in a hammock.  We also had a steady stream of noise from the pool which thankfully subsided around 11PM.  Somehow I did actually manage to fall asleep for a period of time although I spent the last few hours of the night restlessly.

We got up before 6 eager to get the f out.  Cindy actually was brave enough to try out the shower this time. I took another one as well to wash off whatever may have adhered itself to me during the night.  We decided to skip the complimentary breakfast that is provided, convinced it would be shitty as well.  We instead grabbed breakfast at a nearby Dunkin Donuts along with coffee.  If you are traveling into the Charleston area I would strongly advise you avoid The Creekside Lands Inn.  It’s a dump, like a beat up 74 Vega with a new steering wheel cover on it.

We are in the midst of the North Carolina segment of the drive.  We stopped at South of the Border, one of the biggest tourist traps every imagined.  It is unapologetic in it’s corny approach and it just works. Cindy and I spent maybe an hour walking around.  She loved the silliness that is at every turn in the complex.  I have been there close to double digit times but it always manages to make me smile.

We are heading to Rehoboth via a route that takes us across the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel, another site Cindy has never seen before. It’s been a number of years since I crossed it so it will be cool for me too.

At some point this evening we should be meeting up with Todd and my niece.  It’s her birthday today and she requested a game of miniature golf with us to celebrate.  It’s a request we can certainly grant.

 

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.

Don’t panic

For the last several months I have been immersed in a whirlwind of changes due to the renovation that has been going on at the main office.  Just hammering through the obstacles associated with moving staff to a new location, gutting the old space and putting it back together from an IT perspective is pretty immense.  However that isn’t all the changing going on. We are also in the middle of an 18 month project where we are migrating most of our back end systems to the cloud from an in house cobol solution, yes cobol.

To say I have a lot of simultaneous demands on my time, skills, and patience would be an understatement.  I find it funny when some people from the outside look upon my job duties and think I must be some sort of super genius to be able to do what I do.  Although some degree of intelligence is required, to me a certain personality and mindset is much more critical.

Although my list of personality defects is rather lengthy, I possess some traits that definitely help me manage my job responsibilities.   I am a good troubleshooter.  I may not always know the answer off the top of my head but I do have a systematic and reliable thought process to get me to that answer in a reasonable amount of time. I always am thinking about plan B, C, and D if plan A doesn’t get the job done.  I don’t procrastinate.  Putting stuff off to me that could be done immediately serves no purpose and only leads to chaos and poor performance in the end.  Finally, I don’t panic.  When the pressure is on, instead of locking up, my brain is constantly navigating a path to an eventual solution.

I have worked with many people in IT that do not have some and maybe none of these traits.  They struggle to keep their heads above water as a result and may even find themselves out of the profession by their choice.  I feel very fortunate that after a lot of dead ends as a young adult I managed to somehow stumble into a career path that played both to my natural personality traits and my personal enjoyment of computers.  Not many are so fortunate.

It seems like there has been a steady stream of famous entertainers dying unexpectedly over the last few years but none have saddened me as much as the news that Chester Bennington from Linkin Park, killed himself yesterday via hanging.

Without a doubt, Linkin Park has been my favorite musical group of the last twenty years.  Their mostly dark, angry music connected to me in a way that few others have.  Despite the the downer vibe in a lot of their music I found it’s effect on me to be just the opposite, it pumped me up.

It is sobering to know the voice that brought me all of that energy over the years has now been silenced forever.  The fact that he willingly turned off his own lights gives a sense to just how dark a person’s life can be, even when seemingly surrounded by light.

A lot of YouTubers are talking about Logan and Jake Paul, brothers who each have YouTube channels that are exploding in popularity.  I was familiar with Logan from my days on Vine, the 6 second video service that is no longer around.  Logan was very popular on there.  So anyway I was curious what all the fuss was about so I went to his channel and watched one of his daily vlogs.

Wow, if there ever was a YouTube channel encapsulating everything disturbing about the state of youth in America, this is it. (Logan is 22)  The videos are a perfect fit for the constantly distracted, ADD riddled, smartphone addicted young people of today.  It seems that Logan leans heavily on his Vine background in his video style.  No segment goes more than 10 seconds without a jump cut and the video was filled mostly with loud, idiotic, or ridiculous behavior. His brother’s channel is basically more of the same.

Evidently being a moron/maniac is a very lucrative field.  By conservative estimates, each brother is likely pulling in between 1 and 2 MILLION dollars per MONTH from their channels.  That is incredible.  I can only hope the persona he puts out there on video is not who he really is.  To me, as a rapidly approaching half centenarian, the idea that this sort of entertainment is wildly popular just makes me shake my head, lean back on my rocking chair, take a drag on my pipe and profess how kids today just don’t have a clue….

This weekend will be the last “standard” weekend for awhile.  Next week Cindy and I are going to the Supercon in Ft Lauderdale and the next two weekends we will be rolling through our northeastern road trip.  I look forward to stuff like this but also have trepidation at the same time.