On Friday afternoon I got out of the office around 3 allowing me some much needed time to wrap up prep at home for the road trip.  Thanks to a second day without significant rain I got back out on the tractor and mowed some additional parts of the yard that dried up a little bit.  It was far from dry however, when I was done I had to hose down the tractor as it was covered in enough mud to make a 4 wheeler proud.

We got our clothes packed and started the preliminary loading of the car.  Ali stopped by close to 7:30 to pick up Sadie and Elsa as she and Shugs are going to be our dog sitters for the week.  It was very hard, especially for Cindy, to say bye to Elsa but we both know she is in good hands and will have fun with Sadie and Shugs two dogs, Latte, and Ferdie.

Shortly after Ali left, Katie, who will be our chicken caretaker showed up for a refresher course.  We actually have a modified set up for Katie while we are gone.  Instead of dragging out the rubber mats into the mucky yard and hosing them off we have the floor of the coop covered in paper that can be simply rolled up and thrown out everyday.  It will hopefully make the job a little more streamlined for Katie.

The chickens enjoyed their last day of freedom.  Since Wednesday we have let them roam the entire backyard to get them out of the muddy mess in most of their dedicated yard.  It’s funny how quickly the chickens reverted back to their old hang out spots.  Almost immediately a couple of them dug holes in the yard to lay in, one of the annoying habits we could do without.  With as much of a mess as the yard is a couple chicken holes mean very little at this point.

So we didn’t fall asleep until after 11 which was a little late with a 5:30 alarm.  When my eyes opened this morning I felt like I could easily lay in bed another hour or two.  Instead I limped out of bed and got moving.  After I ate my Pop Tart power breakfast I headed out to the coop to get the clean up process started which Cindy joined me in.

It was pretty dark outside still, much darker than the chickens are accustomed to.  All of the birds were still perched and their automatic chicken door was still in the down position.  I gave the hens an early wake up call, gently picking each one off the perch and placing them on the ground.  The birds all headed outside into the dimly lit yard, you could tell they were a bit disoriented.

Clean up with the paper isn’t bad but I definitely prefer the mat hose off technique as it allows you to clean the floor under the mats as well.  The high water levels have caused fire ants to seek higher ground, in this case the platform the shed is built on.  The ants have created some sort of colony in between the flooring of the shed and the plywood platform.  Around the chicken door there are spots where the ants are spilling up top.  It’s difficult to treat the infestation with normal things like Amdro because it can be poisonous to animals if consumed in large enough portions.  For now I have been just spraying the exposed ants with the same vinegar solution we use to clean the perch.

We both took quick showers after cleaning the coop and then finished loading up the Ioniq for it’s first long road trip.  We got out on the road close to 7:30 which wasn’t bad.  As we backed out of the driveway I still felt some trepidation about heading out but I was confident that we crossed our t’s and dotted the i’s.

I drove all morning and Cindy is now behind the wheel as we push east across Florida in the northern part of the state.  Our day one destination is Charleston, South Carolina.  If we can avoid any major delays we should roll into town between 5 and 6pm, a long day of driving but not awful compared to some of our previous road trips.

We are hoping to explore the town a little bit on a single wheel before pushing out relatively early tomorrow for the push to Rehoboth Beach.  I don’t recall if I mentioned this in the blog but the Rehoboth stop is being done for multiple reasons.  Sure I wanted to show Cindy the town I used to look forward to spending two weeks of vacation at many summers as a kid and later as a young adult playing in volleyball tournaments.  I have so many positive, fun, and lasting memories that took place there.

There is also a somber aspect to the stop.  My mom had always said she wanted her ashes spread in the ocean.  After she passed away I originally had planned to do just that in the Gulf of Mexico.  However my brother had thought it would be more appropriate for it to be done in the Rehoboth area and hopefully have all three of us involved.

Well this desire resulted in no spreading of ashes occurring for the last three years because of the reality of myself, my brother, and sister living in three different corners of the country and our lives that have their own complications for various reasons.   I planned this action unilaterally but made my siblings aware of it once it was finalized.  I really had no expectation of either of them actually being there although they were of course welcome to come, I just wanted to let them know that I planned to finally do what needed to get done.

Todd is actually going to come down to meet up with us with his girlfriend, her daughter, and my niece.  Torrin was originally going to try to make it too but it would have been a big mess for her to make it happen so she isn’t coming which is totally understandable, I never thought it was realistic to expect her to make it and I thought it was cool that she was seriously considering making the cross country trek.  We are going to try to tie her in via Skype when we honor mom’s wishes.

I will be glad to have this part of the journey behind me.  I hope to get the sad stuff out of the way early so we can move on to the Grotto’s Big Beers portion of the stop.

Have you ever been in a car with someone the changes the radio station incessantly?  It’s not annoying, at all.  Did I mention the Ioniq has the ability for 18 preset stations?

Last night when I got home I hit the ground running, ripping into my mental “must get done before we leave” list.  I was out mowing grass until after 7:30 and did full weeding and bill paying as well.  I even had time to affix a trolley handle to the Msuper to make it easier for Cindy to push during the trip.  I had broken the built in one crashing during backwards practice.

Today will be one long sprint checking off list items and doing our best to make sure things are all buttoned up before we shove off tomorrow morning.  As has been the case with most road trips I hope to blog along the way to maximize retention of content and minimize how much I need to spit out once we return.

This is going to be a very different type of trip than we have ever done before.

 

So I took the Tacoma to work yesterday hoping to score another load of sod to throw in the chicken area.  I stopped at two Home Depot’s and a Lowes and struck out, no sod.  I also stopped at a garden center I looked for sod at before.  When I asked him about sod he said they did not have any and I shouldn’t expect anyplace to have sod for awhile.  He said all of the rain would make cutting sod impossible.  If the sod is underwater or drenched the machines used to cut it can’t do their thing.  I never thought about that but it makes sense.  The chickens will have to deal with the muck for now.

Speaking of rain, I read that the precipitation from Tropical Storm Emily dropped the normal amount of rain we would receive for the entire month of August in two days, fantastic.  I’m glad President Trump wants to reinvigorate the coal industry since global warming is a complete farce… it should be hugely, terrifically, awesome.

I printed my first big thing on the CR-10 printer, a nice headphone stand.  I am getting the hang of things, slowly.

So much to do, so much to do…..

 

So even though the yard was already a functional lake Mother Nature seemed to not give a fck, dumping another four plus inches of rain on the property last night.  Without a doubt, this is the worst rainy season I have experienced since moving to Florida.  I absolutely hate it.

The chicken area last ngiht was completely submerged, front and back.  I told Cindy we need to let them out into the main yard for a couple days so they can get to some high ground.  It’s no good for them to be standing in a cesspool all day long.  The property is already a mess, letting the chickens roam around there for a couple days isn’t going to change much.

Yesterday I was remoted to my home server for something and noticed something odd.  There were some browser windows open to some dating site.  What was odder was that Chrome and Firefox were installed on the system and I was not the one that did it. In addition on the desktop were several jpg images of random people.  Obviously, I had been hacked. Of course I flew into remediation mode.

When I looked at my installed programs I saw the Chrome and Firefox had been installed on July 26th so I uninstalled them, assuming they were part of whatever the hackers were using to gain access.  I also installed Norton Security Suite.  I had uninstalled the Vipre AV protection I had on there a month or two ago because of problems I was having. When I rebooted the server I was no longer able to get remote access, it said my password was invalid, wtf….  So I was unable to look at it further until I got home.

My initial assumption was the Norton firewall was screwing with my remote access so I figured when I got in front of the server last night I would be able to log in from the console.  Nope, my password no longer worked….  They evidently changed my password as well.  Luckily I had another account I could get access with which I used to change my password to something pretty unguessable.

So once I got access again I continued my investigation.  I installed and ran Malware Bytes which came up clean as well as a Norton scan.  I figured they likely got in via RDP so I changed the port my firewall port forwards RDP on so that door would be closed.  I monitored the server during the night to verify no other access attempts were made.  So far all seems well.  Of course it is annoying and somewhat worrisome that someone got on the box however my home server serves a much lesser role in my home IT structure nowadays since my email has now moved to the cloud and any important files live on Dropbox.  Still, I will be keeping an eye on things because you can never let hackers win.

So I finally got some successful prints off my new CR-10 printer last night.  I first did a first layer adhesion test print followed by an EUC mudguard print so I could compare it to what I printed on the Finder.  The print came out well although the support material seemed a little too robust and difficult to remove.  I still have a lot to learn but I am getting there slowly.

Mother nature evidently has a cruel sense of humor.  When we got home Sunday afternoon we were both thrilled to see pretty much all of the standing water on the property had receded into the ground after 2-3 days of no/light rain.  Heck I even took the tractor into the back yard of the coop and mowed the two foot high grass that had been poking out of the water.  The chickens even seemed happier to have full access to their area without having to wear flippers.

Well out of nowhere, a tropical storm developed Sunday night and blew through our area in the last 36 hours dumping tons of rain, putting me back at square one.  It frustrates the hell out of me.  I can not wait for the return of winter. During that time I will need to do something to significantly raise the ground level in certain areas around the house with the chicken yard being first priority.

Despite the near constant rain I tried to be somewhat productive and changed the oil on the Ioniq.  It was probably not needed yet but since we were going on a road trip I wanted to get it done.  The rain forced the work to be done inside the garage which required some extra care to avoid getting oil on the floor.  The procedure went smoothly.  Getting access to the oil drain plug and filter is a little weird as they are hidden behind two access panels of a weird felt-like cover over the entire bottom of the front end of the car.  Of course I shot video of the work since I found no other Ioniq oil change videos, a possible niche market.

It was ironic that my new large format 3D printer that I have been waiting for over a month to be delivered finally showed up yesterday.  I wasted little time in setting it up.  The first thing I noticed was it is far less polished of a set up than my FlashForge Finder.  The controls are pretty sparse, the bells and whistles are far fewer but this printer is not about that, it’s about printing big shit.

So instead of doing the smart thing and trying a small print first, I went right into trying to print something big, a console tray for my Tacoma.  I got the print started ok but when I got up this morning the one corner had lifted off the print surface so I killed the print.

Not only do I need to learn the ins and outs of the new printer, I also need to learn how to work in a new slicer software since the program I used for the Finder is proprietary.  I have no doubt I will get better at it but this week is not the best one to try to do so because of everything else going on.

Speaking of everything else, I have a lot of anxiety about going on the road trip.  I always have concerns about leaving the house and specifically the chickens in someone else’s care.  However this time I also have a TON of things going on at work currently which makes taking a week off less than ideal.  I am confident it will all work out ok in the end but I still have an unsettled feeling that I do not enjoy.

I ordered an Inmotion trolley handle to attach to my Msuper for the trip to allow Cindy a way to push the wheel more easily.  I broke the built in trolley handle doing backwards maneuvers.  My eventual fix will be replacing the handle and case of the Msuper but that isn’t going to happen this week for sure. This stop gap measure should get the job done short term.

So we dropped off Elsa Saturday morning at Ali’s place.  Ali was nice enough to agree to dogsit her for the night while we were gone.  Elsa stayed with them once before and it worked out really well.  We wound up talking to them longer than expected and subsequently pulled out for the east coast later than I hoped.  Originally I had ideas of leaving around 8, instead we didn’t hit the highway until 9:45.

So I tried to go with the flow.  If we left early enough I had ideas that we could go to the convention first without our costumes on and then go back to the room, gear up and head back later.  I figured with our delayed departure we would have to just go to the hotel, change, and then head over.  I had no idea that leaving late was going to also carry a VERY severe penalty, in traffic.

The highway portion of the drive was without incident however once we entered the city limit of Fort Lauderdale we hit incredible grid lock.  This was not traffic, this was a parking lot.  If these sort of situations aren’t annoying enough, they are exasperated by people being idiots, thinking they are going to somehow get a few feet ahead of the poor schlub behind them.  Non-stop Cindy and I saw people being assholes and it catching on in typical lemming behavior.  “Hey if that guy can be an asshole, I will be too” The most egregious idiot was tractor trailer that decided to do a U-turn into the stopped traffic.

So believe it or not, we sat in this hell for nearly 90 minutes.  We assumed all along that there had to be an accident on 17th street where both our hotel and the convention center was located.  When we finally bypassed the quagmire we realized the problem was just HORRIBLE logistics.  For whatever reason, the people managing parking at the convention center must have been absolutely awful at their job.  The traffic was entirely caused by cars waiting to get into the convention parking garage.  Even though we were not going to the convention quite yet we were stuck because the hotel was a mile beyond Supercon. Imagine my joy when we drove by the building and saw a line of people at least a 1/4 mile long snaking around the building in the sweltering heat, waiting to get in.

By the time we got in the room I was sort of done, I didn’t want to think about Supercon, I was just glad to be out of the damn car and out of the stationary traffic.  After we grabbed an overpriced lunch on the hotel grounds, Cindy began her prep work which was extremely extensive.  I knew I had a lot of time to wait based on past cons.  I almost fell asleep on the bed as I just chilled out.  Finally it was my time to get ready.  My prep was pretty simple.  I put on long pants, my thick, way too hot for Florida Soldier 76 coat, and had Cindy spray some gray shit in my hair and paint some black shit around my eyes. I bet her prep took nearly two hours.

We originally were going to take one the hotel shuttles but with all of our props we decided to Uber it over there.  We were most worried about Cindy’s meticulously crafted sniper rifle getting damaged.  We did catch our first break of the day when we saw the line to get in was no longer snaked around the building.  I carried in my coat and mask as I didn’t want to broil wearing it outside.

So we finally got inside and had to go through “prop check” where they verify your guns can’t fire any ammunition.  After that we probably were supposed to go stand in another line where they convert your QR code paper to a badge you wear around your neck.  Somehow instead we got directed to a security guard that just waved us in.  Since we were both fully decked out at that point I guess he figured entrance was a formality.

So it only took me a minute or two in my full costume to know it was going to be rough.  Despite a ton of effort by Cindy, there was only so much that could be done to assist in comfort.  She padded the mask well and added a bunch of holes to assist in breathing.  Even so the temperature and humidity levels in the mask rose very quickly.  Before very long I had condensation forming on the red lens inside.  The heavy fake leather coat had sweat forming on my back in no time.  I just sucked it up and dealt with it.  I knew I was going to be hot going into it.

It took no time at all for the picture requests to start up.  Cindy’s costume was especially amazing.  The fact that she was painted bluish/purple with a deep, plunging neckline didn’t hurt either. It seemed like a chain reaction, once one person asked for a picture, another half dozen would ask as well, there are evidently a LOT of Overwatch players at Supercon.  Cindy and I patiently posed for every picture request.  If you are going to dress up like we did and not expect to be photographed a lot you are delusional. Besides being hot, the mask had the unfortunate side effect of making it almost impossible for Cindy to hear me with all the ambient noise.  I had to practically scream six inches from her ear if I wanted to get her attention.

The crowd inside the hall was maddening most of the time, there was just far too much humanity jammed into too small of a space for me.  It was just crazy.  We were worried about someone damaging Cindy’s rifle with it being so crowded but she did a good job of keeping it in a protected position most of the time.  Periodically we would just steer ourselves towards spots where there were less people to catch a breather, figuratively and literally.  I would take my mask off randomly just to try to cool down a bit.

Cindy had some funny interactions with some of the celebrities there.  She met and talked to the guy that plays Abraham on Walking Dead, well he used to until his character got his head beat in.  She also talked to the guy that plays Eugene, Cindy said he seemed like he was high as a kite.  They also had cast from the Karate Kid, the bad kid, the bad kid’s evil sensei and Ralph Macchio himself. There was a very funny interaction between Cindy and Ralph when he asked her what time the con ran until.  When she told him 8PM he said “Great, two more fcking hours…” as he laughed.  I am sure it has to get exhausting acting like you give a damn about all the people that come up to you asking you to wax on and wax off all day long.

The other celebrities there did not seem quite as mainstream as we have seen at other cons but we did catch a glimpse of Lee Majors right before he skipped out to take a break.  Of course 75% of the people there probably had no idea who he was at this point.  The 6 Million Dollar Man was one of my favorite series growing up.

One of the downsides of attending in costume is you really do not get to take in very much at all.  Between picture requests and just getting moved along by human rivers it was really hard to spend a lot of time looking at stuff.  Again, we knew that was just the way it was if you dress up so I can’t complain about it.  I felt happy that all the work Cindy put into the costumes was being recognized by all of the attention she was getting.  The detail she went into was nuts when putting the stuff together.

We had fun meeting other people dressed up as Overwatch characters and took a lot of pictures as groups.  Unfortunately again, when you are the picture subject matter, you don’t get too many pictures yourself.  A few times we handed my phone to a nice bystander that took some shots for us.

They also had some cool sets that you could take your picture on.  We got pictures on a Star Wars, Star Trek, and a military set, they turned out cool.

So we walked around, mostly in character up until 7:30, a half hour before the main area closed.  Cindy and I were both beat so we decided to call an Uber to shuttle us back.  Ironically just as we were about to catch the car, a young girl we met in our hotel lobby was outside as well, looking to get back to the hotel.  Cindy said she could hop in the Uber with us if she wanted.  After verifying with her dad it was ok she accepted the offer which worked out well for her.

I was not very happy with this Uber driver.  For some reason he felt like late July in Florida did not require AC.  Instead he had his window down all the way.  Since the drive was only roughly a mile it wasn’t worth making a stink about but I thought it was odd.  My annoyance with the guy clicked up a few more notches when I realized today that he charged us a 27 cent “waiting” surcharge.  The thing is he was only waiting because he didn’t come to where we were, we had to walk 75 yards to him, so he charged us for it. Idiot.

When we got to the room we were beat, really beat.  We shot a brief video summarizing the experience before we began the clean up process.

So I let Cindy shower first as she obviously had more work to do than me.  When it was my turn I grabbed a wash cloth, soaped it up and started trying to scrub around my eyes to get the black gunk off.  Well all of a sudden I got a severe burning sensation in my right eye, I couldn’t open it from the pain but I immediately tried to flush the eye with the shower water.  It hurt really, really bad.  It took awhile  until I could keep the eye open and when I did, the eye was bright red.  I am not exactly sure what happened but I think I either got some of the black make up or the stuff  that was in my hair into my eye.  All I do know for sure was it felt like battery acid.  I stopped the eye cleaning process and still have black marks around both eyes which I hope will come off with normal cleaning cycles.

It was approaching 9PM by the time we got all cleaned up but we hadn’t eaten dinner yet.  We decided to check out a place on the hotel campus called Pelican Landing which overlooked the water that goes under the 17th street drawbridge.  We sat along the rail so we got to watch the boats traveling back and forth.  It was cool.  We had a waitress originally from Russia, named Olga.  The food was good but pricey, a theme repeated during our stay, more on that soon.

On the way back from eating we found our car in the parking lot and pulled out the two EUC’s.  We thought it would be safer to keep them in the room with us.  We rode them around the parking lot a little bit before riding them up to the door of the room.  It was fun.  It wasn’t fun trying to get into the room.

The keycards or more accurately the door lock they are used on was very glitchy.  You could not simply insert the card and remove it to get the door to open.  It required a very specific angle and speed of insertion and removal.  It took us no less than a dozen tries until we were successful.  There were other things about the room that were not up to what I would expect by Hilton standards like a toilet seat that was half broken, a towel bar that would fall to the ground when you pulled a towel off of it, a box of tissues that were drenched, and a bathroom fan that sounded like an airplane motor with a spun bearing.  It didn’t take me long to pass out Saturday night, I was exhausted.  I didn’t sleep as soundly as I would hope but it wasn’t terrible.

Randall made arrangements to come meet us for breakfast Saturday morning.  Originally we hoped he would bring his EUC to ride but his tire was out of air and he misplaced the valve extender that is needed to inflate it.  We caught up and had a nice breakfast at another in house restaurant although again, the dramatic premium pricing was pretty disgusting.  $80 for three people to have breakfast is just stupid in my opinion.

We walked around the grounds a bit and showed Randall our room.  We then walked out to the Prius to get out the wheels.  While Cindy was putting on her safety gear I told Randall he can jump on the Msuper to give it a try.  He was a bit wobbly but was able to stay on it.  We bid Randall farewell as Cindy and I headed out for a quick ride back and forth over the bridge.

The ride wasn’t very tough, the hills we faced in Marco Island were much steeper.  The views on top of the bridge were very scenic of course.  Cindy was feeling beat up from Supercon so we were done riding in 20 minutes or less.  She did agree to ride down on the dock with me by the multi-million dollar boats which was a cool way to finish up the ride.

So the checkout at the hotel put an exclamation point on the overcharging fiasco.  The quoted $125 per night rate mutated into a bill of nearly $300 after the overblown food charges and annoying add ons like $30 for parking.  I am not sure how some hotels think that parking is an ala carte add on option but it’s fcking ridiculous. But the bottom line is people keep paying it so they keep charging it.

The drive back to the west coast felt long.  We drove through multiple periods of severe rain but also had blue sky periods as well.  Elsa was very happy to see us of course.  She got a stellar report card from Shugs.  It made Cindy and I happy to know Elsa can stay with them and adjust so well since she will be doing it again for over a week soon.

When we got home we dug into unpacking and attending to the chickens since we just had the coop closed last night and opened this morning.  All the chicken chores had to still be done.  I was happy to see that almost ALL the water behind the coop has dried up at this point.  Sure there is plenty of black muck left behind but if we get lucky enough to have some more dry weather that will eventually turn back into dirt again I hope.

I took tomorrow off as well to do more house chores and change the oil in Cindy’s Ioniq, readying it for the upcoming road trip.

So this was the third “con” Cindy and I have attended.  As I was sweating my ass off in the costume posing for picture after picture I tried to evaluate if the effort, time, and expense was worth the experience.  My answer to that is conditional.  Would I do it by myself? Hell no.  However Cindy is PASSIONATE about costume creation, she absolutely loves it.  If you saw how much thought and time she put into her costume and mine it would be hard to believe.  I think she also likes that people at the conventions recognize/appreciate her effort as the picture requests would indicate.  Because I know she gets so much out of it I am happy to support her by agreeing to go to these events. But I did learn a hard lesson that above all, comfort needs to be a primary consideration when choosing costume options.  If you are uncomfortable wearing something pretty much the entire time it just isn’t worth it in my opinion, no matter how cool it looks.

 

 

 

 

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.

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.

 

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.