Category: WoW

Saturday morning Cindy and I decided to get our weekend 5K run out of the way.  It was a rough, rough run.  The heat, humidity, and my body’s refusal to feel comfortable at any point during the run made for a miserable half hour.  We endured it and that is all that matters. I almost did not endure the yard work that followed when we got home.

My legs felt especially dead during the run and that sensation increased as I walked around the yard picking weeds.  Even with using my normal technique where my elbows are resting on my knees/thighs as I pull countless weeds, my legs and back were just weak.  When I moved onto weedwhacking I really hit the wall.  I felt dangerously tired at times.  More than once I just stopped to try to rest for a moment as the sun was melting me from above.  By the time I walked back in the door my tank was absolutely empty. I jumped in the pool to try to cool down my body temperature rapidly.  We then did a coffee run with Elsa which helped artificially restore some of my depleted energy reserves.

I did a decent amount of 3D printing Saturday afternoon.  I did my first printing with a new filament type called PetG.  Supposedly it offers some of the benefits of both ABS and PLA plastics. I got a green translucent variety that looked cool.  I had a hard time getting the print to stick to printing surface but after a few tries I was able to print out this EUC mudguard.  Unfortunately when I tried to test fit it on my wheel the one support snapped.  I plan to try to print the guard again with some more outer walls and infill for more strength.

I also did multiple prints of the prototype mudguard for the Monster.  I have been working with my EUC buddy from Finland who has been designing the mudguard in Fusion 360 based on the measurements and pictures I have been sending him.  He makes some changes, I print it out and then do a test fit and provide feedback which is used for the next revision.  We are on rev 6 at this point and I think we are almost there.

On Saturday night we watched Hacksaw Ridge, a true life story of amazing bravery, endurance, and heroics during the World War II land portion of the Japanese campaign.  It seems almost superhuman to have endured what this man did.  It’s a movie everyone should see to give a true sense of just how awful war really is and why it should be mankind’s goal to eliminate it, even if it is a pipe dream.  I give it a solid A score, Cindy rated it A++.

Sunday morning I cleaned the chicken coop and much like last week, again was disgusted with the amount of pure mucky areas.  The sod I laid last week helped but other disgusting areas opened up.  I was again motivated to buy a bunch more sod to address the mess.  However unlike last week, my calls to the home improvement stores all had the same answer, “Sod is gone”  I plan to take the truck to work on Tuesday, sod delivery day, so I can grab a bunch more to throw around the chicken yard.

We headed out for an EUC ride mid-morning and met up with Daniel and Katie at the park in Pelican Bay.  I looked up and suddenly saw Katie riding backwards, easily.  She said she had practiced backwards a couple times.  Well her couple practice sessions resulted in her being MUCH more proficient and comfortable going backwards than I am.  She just has natural ability to ride an EUC, something I definitely don’t have.  Repeatedly during the ride she flipped into backwards riding with ease.

It was hot as hell so keeping moving was a priority.  As soon as you stopped the heat and humidity was stifling.  Again we swapped around wheels to a degree.  I rode all four of the wheels at one point or another.  It’s amazing how different the riding experience is between the wheels.  I definitely prefer a bigger wheel at this point.

After lunch I immediately headed outside to do the best I could mowing around the standing water.  It looked like it was going to rain on me multiple times but it thankfully held off.  There were certain areas where I just rammed the tractor through mud bogs, relying on momentum to keep me from getting stuck.  A good portion of the yard is just a muddy, disgusting mess, I hate it.

I chilled for most of the rest of the day, meddling around in WoW attending to the needs of a half dozen virtual beings.  It’s odd how being so busy in the game translates into relaxation for me, but it works.

 

Over my adult life I seem to have hobby or interest phases where I get very focused or interested in something and dedicate a LOT of time to it.  Some things totally fade away, others just see less time dedicated to them. Some of the things that have rotated on and off that list are volleyball, cars, bar fitness, WoW, race timing, RC planes/drones, and electric unicycles.  Well it seems that 3D printing may be officially on that list as well.

After buying my FlashForge Finder a few weeks ago CIndy and I have been on a 3D printing tear. The majority of that printing has been stuff for Cindy’s Widowmaker costume for Supercon but I have made a lot of other cool things as well.  There is something very satisfying about being able to create an object out of nothing.

Well I expanded my 3D printer collection by ordering a printer that is taking the 3D printing world by storm, the CR-10.  It is so popular because it is able to produce HUGE prints in multiple materials with very good quality.  There are lots of printers that make really nice prints however what makes the CR-10 so crazy is it is only $400, $100 less than what I paid for my FlashForge printer.

This printer does require some minor assembly and is definitely not as targeted to the 3D printing novice as much as the Finder is.  I did a decent amount of reading and researching on the CR-10 and unlike so many things in life, it actually seems to not be to good to be true.  It’s a high quality, huge volume printer for a very affordable price.  I’m really looking forward to digging into it once it arrives and see what I can do.  I expect some more technical challenges with this type of printer but nothing that I can’t handle.

Speaking of 3D printing, Cindy has been busting ass getting the dozens of 3D parts I printed assembled for her rifle.  She is almost there and it looks great.  It amazes both of us that we were able to create something of this detail and realism ourselves, as complete 3D printing novices.

So I wanted to do a different kind of EUC ride for the 4th of July.  I suggested to Cindy we drive all the way down to Marco Island to ride around the hilly area, something we never tried before.  Cindy was enthusiastic about the idea.  The drive took between 45 minutes and an hour so it was significant time investment.

We parked at the same spot the Marco Hill Run is based out of, a race I timed for years.  I was initially frustrated when I turned on my GoPro and realized I left my micro-SD card in the reader at home.  However I was able to run into the Publix and grab a 16GB card to save the day.

The ride was really fun, scenic, interesting, and challenging.  I have NEVER ridden any EUC on hills that big.  I have seen a number of videos of fellow riders on the internet pushing their wheels up and down big hills and having the bot overheat or implode.  As we were riding I was using the app on my phone to make sure both the Monster and Msuper were not getting too hot from the added load.  Both wheels stayed safely in the normal operating range thankfully.

Riding hills requires a different technique.  Depending on the length and degree of climb you have to really pitch your body forward and shift your weight to your toes to keep the wheel going.  It also feels weird going down steep declines as your speed can very quickly ramp up to uncomfortable levels.  Cindy got a bunch of seated riding in too, despite the terrain.  It was a great ride and I hope we can take the wheels down there again to explore other parts of the island.

So when we got home after lunch I went directly outside to mow the back yard, the area I missed on Saturday due to a downpour that submerged the yard once again.  I gave the back yard a matching  haircut and finished up just as it started to rain, again.  By the time it stopped the standing water was back again.

We spent a lot of the rest of the day doing stuff we enjoyed, me playing WoW and Cindy working on her gun.  We were trying to estimate how much time in total we have spent on the Supercon costume/gear but it would be too staggering to add up.  Despite all the work, it’s something Cindy really enjoys doing so the hours don’t really matter.

I forgot to mention I have now put up a a web site for my EUC Army moniker that I established on YouTube awhile ago.  I took down the running club website that I still had alive in one of my WP hosting slots on GoDaddy and installed eucarmy.com there instead, a much better use of my resources.

My thought process is when we are asked about the wheels we can simply say, “go to eucarmy.com to find out more”  The site explains some of the basics as well as links to more information, a forum, and recommendations on where to buy EUC’s.  I like the visuals of the site, it will be interesting to see how much traffic it will generate for me.

Our 4th of July celebration was a minimal as you can imagine.  When we took Elsa out for her final walk of the night we each lit a single sparkler that was waved around for a few seconds.  I had no desire to go fight traffic and crowds to witness the fireworks at the Naples Pier and there were plenty of backyard firework shows going off all around us.

Last night as I was hanging outside with the chickens and Elsa there was a funny moment.  Elsa and I were outside the chicken area near a corner.  The chickens were all hanging around and Elsa was sitting there observing them, only a foot or so from the fence.  The chickens were observing Elsa as well with curious looks.  Pumpkin was comfortable enough to stick her entire head through one of the squares to pick at the grass on the other side, somehow thinking the grass was greener on the other side of the fence.

Elsa slowly moved closer to the point where her nose was barely inside the fence line.  Peaches greeted her with a quick peck on the nose which of course sent Elsa scurrying.  It was funny but I immediately told Elsa it was ok and the chickens were just playing with her.  Elsa really has seemed to be coming into her own as she is passing through puppy hood.  She is still neurotic for sure at times but she also is very loving, fun, and happy at the same time.  She brings a lot of joy into our life.

I finally completed the long grind to enable all of my characters in WoW to fly in the current expansion.  Hopefully I get some time to now enjoy untethered movement in the game that I invested so much time in.

So I woke up Saturday knowing there were a lot of small to medium things I needed to address.  What I didn’t realize was I would be addressing them pretty much all day long.  It was one of those days where I am doing one thing in the yard and I notice another thing that needs to get done which gets tacked onto the list.  I did a full mow and weedwhack of the property myself, the first time that has been done in close to a couple months due to sparse rainfall.  Having the new fenced in chicken area definitely is going to add more time to yard maintenance.

I finally got around to putting the cactus that was in a large pot next to the chicken coop into the ground.  I got tired of it getting blown over repeatedly during high winds.  I was surprised with how shallow the roots for the cactus were, they were pretty much non-existent.  I made a trip to Home Depot to grab some castle stones to finish off a couple spots around the yard as well as a stop at Auto Zone.

At AZ one of the things I grabbed was a headlight restoration kit for Cindy’s Prius.  When I replaced the headlight bulbs in her car I got a front row seat to how cloudy the headlights were.  After a lot of scrubbing, polishing, and sealing the lenses looked much better.  Unfortunately it is the kind of thing that needs to be done periodically as the only long term fix for cloudy headlights is getting new headlights.

Despite busting my ass all day I still had a chance to take the Tacoma out for a quick test run of my new bed GoPro mount that was custom fabricated by a guy I met on YouTube, Chuck.  He made a video about making the mount and I told him I would be happy to pay him to do the same for me, so he did.

The mount gives a unique perspective while driving and is something I hope to mix in to my Tacoma videos here and there.  Chuck is also the guy that has gotten me a lot more interested in swapping out the wheels/tires on my Tacoma as well as doing a small lift on the truck.  He did something similar to his SR5 Tacoma and the visual transformation as a result was dramatic.

Sunday morning I awoke without an alarm a few minutes before 6 and got up to go run.  Despite my body being pretty beat up from Saturday’s labor I wanted to start off my Sunday with the weekly 5K I have been putting in for a month or so now.  The morning temps and humidity were higher than I have been enjoying in recent weeks but I still put in a decent effort.

I assumed Cindy and I would do a joint EUC ride later in the morning but Cindy was feeling beat up from teaching a bunch of group classes this week.  She suggested instead we bring Elsa with to the Greenway so Cindy could walk her while I rode.  That worked for me so we piled in the Prius and headed out.  Elsa seemed to have a lot of fun and wasn’t as freaked out by other people as she can be at times.  I worked a little backwards practice into my ride, some of it more successful than others.

 

A little later in the afternoon I got the itch to take a shot at a challenge I had in my head ever since I started learning to ride backwards.  I wanted to see if I could ride an entire 1/4 mile lap around the track at the school.  The skies looked menacing as I started riding around.  After a little warm up I got onto the track for the attempt.  My biggest worry was negotiating the curves, something I definitely am not great at in reverse.  The first couple hundred yards went pretty smoothly but as I was coming out of the first curve I got smacked by a big headwind in advance of the coming storm.  Multiple times I flailed my arms wildly to regain balance.  Somehow I completed the entire lap but it definitely was far from pretty.  Just as I finished up it started to rain pretty hard so I called it a session.

I went into veg mode for most of the rest of the night, working on yet another large WoW virtual task.  I figured I earned the time off.

It’s going to be a long day.  I awoke for unknown reasons about 2:30 AM.  I unsuccessfully tried to will myself back to sleep for about an hour until I gave up and got out of bed.  I plopped on the computer and spent two and a half hours in WoW, having a fun time tooling around my alternate virtual universe with a bunch of other nocturnal gamers.

Sadie should be going back to Ali’s sometime today which is going to be sad for Elsa.  She really loves having Sadie around and I think Sadie feels the same way.  It certainly has made Sadie’s visits much more entertaining.

While I was at the gym yesterday while I was on a treadmill I saw a commercial for some bank that was promoting a FANTASTIC deal for US veterans!  They will allow you to refinance the full value of your existing home PLUS whatever balance you owe on it!  The spot declares how awesome this could be, allowing you to pay off your credit cards, get a nice wad of cash while paying less per month!  Of course they neglect to mention that any people that take advantage of this “deal” will be absolutely buried in their house in negative equity for the rest of their lives.  What a nice way to thank our veterans!

Last night we finally got around to hanging decorations on our new Christmas tree which had been set up since Friday.  The tree looks sharp for sure.  We still have to get mom’s old tree set up in the great room which should complete the decorating for 2016.

Last night I had a miserable night of sleep.  I fell asleep early, tired from whatever form of illness I am dealing with. I wound up waking up suddenly about 11pm having to take a leak.  Afterward I was absolutely unable to fall back asleep, I rolled around for close to two hours before I said fck it and got out of bed. I plopped myself in front of the computer and fired up WoW.  The last time I was playing WoW at 1:30 in the morning was probably close to a decade ago.

That time of night is actually prime playing time for a lot of WoW players, there were more people online than I am used to from my normal 8-10 gaming hours.   Despite my eyes feeling like they were burning into my skull, I had some fun playing in the dead of night.  I don’t think it is sort of habit I want to be forming if I wish to maintain my sanity but I’ll try to treat the side effects of the sleepless night with extra caffeine today.

I strained something in my right elbow yesterday at the gym doing rep 7 of a planned 8 rep set.  There was a strong younger guy on the bench next to me so instead of stopping as soon as the pain hit I grimaced through rep 8 which was stupid, and surely put the icing on the cake.  Doing any sort of pushing movement with the arm is not going to be a pleasant experience until it heals up.

 

 

nineday7Last night I put on my full body armor to have a more prolonged session on the Ninebot One.  I was curious if the week long layoff would have a noticeable negative effect on my still very basic EUC riding skill.  My primary goal last night was to get the hang of stepping off the wheel at the end of a ride instead of the awkward hop/fall off I have been doing so far.

The rides up and down the driveway went pretty smooth.  I felt more or less under control.  My first few attempts at stepping off were not good but eventually I got a little better.  I really have to think through how I need my body to be in order to make it happen.  Of course this needs to become a reflex reaction before I would feel safe riding around more obstacles or people.

I had one big highlight of the night when I started the ride crossing the driveway into the front yard.  I then crossed the house mound and descended down the hill to the front yard, turned and was able to climb the hill and wind up where I started, stepping off in a controlled fashion.  I was surprised and very excited I pulled that off.  All in all I was very happy with the way things went and I am finding myself feeling much more anticipation instead of dread when I step on the wheel now.  In addition to continuing to work on stepping off the bot I need to get much, much better at turning.  Tight turns is something you need to be able to do in real life, all I have been successful with so far are larger sweeping changes in direction.

Demon_Hunter_5[1]

Warning, WoW talk ahead.

Yesterday the initial stages of the new WoW expansion released which unlocked the ability to play the new class of demon hunter.  My decade plus in the game meant that I had already brought every class in the game to max level.  Getting to try out a brand new class is always interesting.

I had a lot of fun rolling around the desolate landscape kicking demon ass wherever I could find it.  Demon hunters are a bit of an anomaly.  As their name suggests, their primary goal is to destroy demons however they are part demon themselves.  The main difference is they are not part of the hive mind that controls other demonic forces in the game.

With this new expansion they have changed a TON of things which is the case with pretty much every expansion.  The changes cause players to have to re-learn a lot of things which can be a pain in the ass but all part of the cycle of MMORPG’s.  If they kept things the same forever the game would get stale very quickly.  Just as in real life, if you are not adapting to and embracing change you will be left behind.

Last night Cindy and I were trying to decide if we wanted to get in another September road trip this year.  I have one window of time that is available in September to do it.  If we do decide to take the trip it would be an east coast course that would hopefully takes us all the way to Maine.  We are weighing the time, logistics and expense of something like that with a staycation where we mix in some more local fun and projects in that same time period.  Of course the traditionalist in me is uncomfortable with breaking the streak of long road trips Cindy and I have done since we have been together.  I get a lot of enjoyment exposing Cindy to places/things she never has seen before.

13882503_10154708964147841_7357356529025633094_nSo Cindy had been working diligently or more accurately, obsessively on costume prep for a good portion of last week.  I have no idea how many total hours went into the outfits for her and myself but it is way up there.  Her creativity in recreating the look of the two characters we were going as, Soldier 76 and Tracer was extremely impressive.  She made 80% of the costumes by hand.  She was working on stuff right up until we left on Friday morning.

After getting the chickens handled for the day we piled into the Prius and heading northward towards Tampa.  I had not been to Tampa in many years and never had much good or bad to say about it.  It took us around two and a half hours until we arrived at our hotel which was called Aloft, a hip sort of place.

I immediately was not happy that our only parking option was to valet at a cost of $20 a day.  The room was not cheap so getting add on expenses right off the bat didn’t make me happy.  We used a luggage cart to haul our large collection of props upstairs.  The room itself was very modern and cool with a flat screen tv mounted on the wall, modern accessories, nice view out the window and black slate floor in the bathroom areas. It was very nice.

The Con started on Friday so we wasted no time in prepping.  Of course the majority of the work that needed to be done was by Cindy both on her costume and getting me situated in mine.  Besides my putting on the costume, Cindy spray painted my hair gray and darkened the area around my eyes.  She once again did the face make up on herself to simulate Tracer’s goggles which takes quite awhile.

13932811_10154708964337841_2175209035600275748_nFinally after about 2 hours of prep we were ready to head to the convention center.  The skies looked like rain so we decided to get an Uber ride instead of walking the roughly half mile to the convention.  Since it was a “surge” time the ride cost about 50% more than normal.

We did not actually get to the event until after 5PM.  We headed into the main exhibit hall where all the vendors are set up.  It took no time at all until the picture requests came rolling in.  It seemed like once again there was a scarcity of people dressed up as Overwatch characters despite the popularity of the game.

13895046_1248994551780463_2010903245512963782_nAt first I was trying to just put on the mask as needed since it limited my vision to a narrow slot in front of me.  However the picture requests were so fast and furious I wound up just leaving the mask on.  I used Cindy as a beacon in front of me that I would just follow through the crowd. Besides the limited vision I was also hot as hell.  In no time at all I had sweat running down my back.

We did not realize that although the Con ran until late at night, the main exhibit hall closed at 6PM meaning we only got to walk around it a bit.  To be honest, between all the picture requests and the crowds we didn’t get to really look at anything in depth on the show floor.

Once the main hall closed we headed downstairs where a bunch of things were set up in the smaller rooms that lined the halls.  Of course there were a ton of interesting costumes to look at which honestly is my favorite thing to do at these events, just people watch.

Cindy was having some costume difficulties throughout the show.  The complexity she added to her costume unfortunately brought additional fragility as well.  A number of things that were attached via glue gun broke loose.  Luckily she brought safety pins with that could be used to fix most of the problems. We hung at the convention center for several hours, posing for picture after picture.  Since this is the first time I dressed up for a con this was a new experience for me.  It gives you an idea of what it must be like to be an actual celebrity.  It was both cool and annoying at the same time.

We decided to walk back to the hotel Friday night in our full costumes.  Cindy was a bit scared by the idea of walking.  We saw some interesting things on the way like a bar owner in a screaming match with two patrons that appeared to be trying to skip their bill and some shady looking guys that bottomed out their low riding car pulling into a parking garage.  Walking in the warm and humid air in costume just brought on a whole new level of perspiration for me.  We were quite glad when we got back into the AC of the hotel.

We stayed up a bit on Friday catching some of the Olympic opening ceremony but then turned it off due to us both being exhausted.  We began a night of pretty miserable sleep thanks to bad acoustics and inconsiderate assholes allowing their children to run wildly up and down the halls after midnight.  Cindy called to the desk to report the noise but it really didn’t matter.  Pretty much any noise whatsoever in the hall seemed to amplify and broadcast into the room.  We woke up Saturday morning feeling like shit from a lack of solid sleep.

13880335_10154710825972841_6389343018469298439_nAt first Cindy was saying she wasn’t going to dress up at all for Saturday.  She was bummed out about her costume failures from Friday.  I told her she would regret not dressing up so she reconfigured her outfit on the spot to a less restrictive version.  It still looked good.  We once again hailed an Uber to get us on site, we got there late morning.

Before heading there we had the non-complimentary hotel breakfast.  Again with what the room cost, throwing in a free continental breakfast would have been beyond reasonable.  Instead we paid $21 for greasy egg sandwiches neither of us enjoyed.

Well we knew Saturday would be much busier than Friday but that knowledge did not make the situation any better.  There were just walls of humanity everywhere you looked.  We went into the main exhibit hall and tried to merge into the current of people circling around the space.  It was pretty damn miserable.  Of course we again had picture requests by the dozens.

Everywhere you looked there were long, long lines.  The lines to get Norman Reedus’s (Darryl from Walking Dead) autograph and/or picture were some of the longest.  I just could not believe that many people were willing to wait in a line that long to pay $200 to spend 30 seconds with the guy.  The lines for food were equally morbid.

After being there for 2-3 hours we wanted to get some food.  The lines were still horrible even though it was now around 2pm.  We headed outside to check out the army of food trucks by the convention center, hoping they would be less busy.  No luck, the lines there numbered in the dozens as well.  It was frustrating to be in a situation with that many people.  We decided to take a time out and took yet another Uber back to the room to chill out for a few hours.  Once we got there we ordered a pizza and just tried to relax for a bit.  We were already tired from the lack of sleep the night before.

13938626_1250024115010840_2539557118303229173_nWe decided we would head back between 5 and 6 but do it in normal clothes.  I still had the dark make up around my eyes and a Soldier 76 T-shirt that Cindy hand crafted but that was it.  We walked there this time.  It was still crowded but not suffocatingly so as before.  It felt a bit weird walking around without being asked for pictures.  It made you miss super hero life in a small way although it was nice being able to walk around in comfort.

We had more fun this time around exploring some of the rooms which included Cindy schooling me on Galaga, one of her favorite arcade games growing up.  She was really, really good at it.  We also got to bear witness to a very odd cosplay battle where three or four Spidermans took on a sword wielding Batman, a T-Rex, and Popeye.  The footage from that is down below.  All of the video we shot was from Saturday.  We had the GoPro strapped to Cindy’s arm so we could have film rolling throughout the day to capture some of the craziness.

We decided we had enough somewhere around 8PM.  We had a much more pleasant walk back to the hotel which included a detour to the beautiful river walk area that was nearby our hotel.  We finished off our left over pizza for dinner and called it a night.  In order to block some of the sound from the hall we tried piling some shit in front of the door.  It didn’t really make a difference, we still both generally slept like shit.

Once we got up we wasted little time getting packed up and out of there.  We skipped the hotel breakfast and instead grabbed sandwiches at Dunkin Donuts.  The DD was actually in a town just outside of Tampa.  The drive there took us through areas that ranged from sketchy looking to historical.

On the drive home we listened to some podcast that Cindy discovered where a woman tells real life stories in very interesting ways.  The story we listened to was about Bo Berghdal, the soldier that the US traded five Gitmo prisoners for.  The story revealed that the headlines that 24 hour news organizations jammed down the public throat were extremely inaccurate.  The media made it seem like Berghdal was a Taliban fan and had a pleasant time while being their hostage.  Actually the opposite is true, his existence during those 5 years in captivity was horrific and he tried to escape multiple times.  It’s just another example of the American public being all too willing to accept what the media tells them at face value.

The drive home had a major delay as there was an accident on I-75 that involved fatalities.  Traffic jam situations generally make me dislike people more than a lot of things.  As you approached the area of the accident there were multiple sign boards indicating that the left two of the three lanes were blocked.  You had to be blind to not see them.  So a logical, considerate person would get into the right lane to minimize the quagmire of cars trying to merge over.  Well of course most people don’t give a flying fck.  They deem their time as more valuable than others and stay in those lanes they know are closed in the hope to get a few car lengths further ahead.  It is reflective of society in general, fck the greater good, me first.

We got home around 11:30 and started unpacking.  Cindy headed out to tend to the chickens.  I wonder if they missed us?  The rest of the day was low key as I ripped video from the con, paid my bills and chilled out.  Today I have a few things on the docket, including getting back on my Ninebot One.  Should be fun.

You can see the videos we took from the Con below.  It was a fun time but Cindy and I both agreed we enjoyed the experience at Miami Supercon more.

 

 

 

003[1]I have had no blogging the last couple days due to working at the tax certificate sale.  The sale process for us tech guys is rather boring as we are there in the off chance that something goes wrong which it rarely does.  The good thing is it meant our days ended a little earlier than normal.  I took advantage of that extra time yesterday by getting my new Rachio intelligent sprinkler controller installed.

I had to first remove the Orbit sprinkler box which I got last year to replace my original controller which died.  I felt a little bad that there was a tree frog that had claimed the inside of the box as it’s daytime shelter.  He is the star of the video I shot of the install.

Installation of the new hi-tech controller went pretty well.  I had turned it on and connected it to the app the day before inside.  Once I got it mounted on the wall and wired up it connected to the house wi-fi immediately which is cool.  I then went through the set up of each of my 6 zones.  In the app you describe each area including the amount of sun it gets, soil type, vegetation, slope, and type of sprinklers used.  It then uses this information if you decide to use the smart scheduler.  The Rachio will use the information you enter combined with the local weather information it pulls from the internet to water your property as needed.  Last night the system was scheduled to run but it cancelled the watering because it knew our area got substantial rain during the night.

The biggest reason I went with the Rachio is it can interact with our Amazon Echo.  Last night I turned the sprinklers on and off via voice control which is very cool.  Cindy likes that she can now easily turn on the sprinklers around the house easily to dissuade the chickens from digging excessively in the landscaped areas.  I can also use the app to turn sprinklers on and off from anywhere in the world where I have internet connectivity.

I like the Rachio a lot.  My only concern is it’s ability to survive outdoors.  I bought the outdoor box for the Rachio which should protect it from the elements but it still has to deal with the extreme humidity and heat Florida brings daily.  I may try to put a small “roof” over the box in a similar manner as I did with the Ring that is on the chicken coop to offer a little bit of additional protection.

Today I had my 6 month dermatologist check up.  I have had a spot on the trap area of of my shoulder that has been a problem for awhile.  It would cycle between just being red to actually bleeding from time to time.  I pointed the spot out to the doctor.  When he looked at my chart he saw he had done work in a nearby area several years ago.  He scraped the suspect area and sent it out to be biopsied.  If it again comes back as skin cancer I will likely be once again going under the knife to have the spot cut out.  When a scalpel is involved it is never much fun.

I have been playing some Overwatch since it came out officially last week.  The game is incredibly polished and well done, what I expect from any Blizzard title.  Even though I last played a first person shooter seriously probably a decade ago I have been having fun in Overwatch.  I have fun even though I really don’t know the maps or characters in the game well at all.

I also have fun even though I am not good at the game at all.  I have messed with a number of the possible heroes and found the only ones that I do half decent with are the type where I can lay back strategically and attack from afar.  Any hero that requires in your face fast twitch reaction or precise mouse control I fail pretty miserably with.  So yea, dying a lot does absorb some of the fun factor for me but I still have a good time.  I don’t see Overwatch taking over the number one or two spot in my gaming hierarchy which is occupied by WoW and Hearthstone but it is a fun change of pace for sure. Cindy thinks it’s funny watching my mannerisms while playing the game.  My facial contortions and weird breathing is uncontrollable and odd looking for sure.

Tonight we have an oddly timed Tarpons football game.  It is the first round of the playoffs and I guess it was the only date that worked for all parties involved.  I expect the attendance to be worse than normal because of it being the middle of the week which means I may be able to count the bodies in the seats in a couple minutes.  The other negative is the Tarpons are playing the team from Savannah who we just saw during the final regular season game which was a ridiculous 70-6 blow out.  I expect tonight to be another yawner but at least we will be one of the few there to support the team.

 

 

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The extreme standing water we had yesterday morning only accumulated throughout the day, bolstered by the unrelenting storms.  When I got home the visual was pretty unbelievable.  It was the most standing water I have EVER seen on the property outside of a tropical storm or hurricane.  The fact that it was the end of January seemed surreal.  This just doesn’t happen.

There was just a ridiculous amount of water in the front and back yards.  The chickens of course were soaked but didn’t seem to care all that much.  The big shed that they often like to hang under was totally flooded out underneath.  The standing water seems to be wreaking havoc with my internet connectivity in the coop.  Although the coop has power it seems like the buried, ground rated ethernet cable isn’t getting very strong signal out to the back yard, making some of my tech out there malfunction. I drove to work today in a steady light rain and I saw a chance of showers still in the forecast for tomorrow.  Please, make it stop.

Warning a couple paragraphs of WoW talk follow.

A little while ago WoW introduced something called Timewalking Dungeons.  They are basically a way for current players to play old 5 man dungeons that have been part of the 11 years of WoW’s existence.  Last night I did one of them from the Cataclysm expansion which was something like 4-5 years ago at this point.  I ran it as the “tank” aka. the guy that leads the group and tries to get all the bad things to attack him.

Despite not setting foot in this dungeon for approaching a half decade somehow “muscle memory” kicked in and I was able to know exactly where to go and what to do as a result of running through this dungeon dozens upon dozens of times when it was current content.  It almost felt similar to how I feel when I am back in the Reading area, still able to more or less get around despite not living in town for over 15 years.  It just felt weird in a good way.  Anyone that has played WoW and only someone that has played MMORPG’s like WoW will understand that playing these games is literally like living in a different world, complete with it’s own set of road maps, hot spots and rules.

So you may recall a week or two ago I mentioned how Cindy was getting a heavy metals blood test based on some health issues I heard Howard talking about on his show.  It turned out his fish heavy diet had resulted in him having high mercury levels.  Cindy has been having a lot of issues that most people would quickly write off as just the side effect of getting older.  However our diet was very heavily seafood based with us having seafood for dinner 5-6 times a week and possibly a couple more times on the weekend in the form of a tuna wrap for lunch.

Well after a long wait the test results came back earlier this week, Cindy’s levels were indeed high.  The test results are going to result in a change of our diet where the majority of our protein will come from plant based sources instead of seafood.  Fish is ok to eat in moderation and there are certain types of fish that are much more prone to high mercury levels than others.  However in our case we need to take steps to remove the heavy metals in our bodies that become embedded in many organs which causes a myriad of problems.  Over time the metal leaves your body through body fluids but it is a good idea to kick start the process as much as possible.

I already assume my heavy metal number is elevated as well since for the most part I eat whatever Cindy eats although perhaps because of my larger dimensions I am affected to a lower level.  I do have memory issues at times and my eyesight has definitely gone downhill dramatically since seafood became my main animal based protein.  It will be interesting to see how the next few months go as we try to “get the lead out”.