So yesterday I spent a good portion of time continuing working on my new PC.  Part of that was cleaning up the carnage from my old pc as a result of my trying to revive it.  At this point I would say I have the new PC 85% there.  Last night I ran into an annoying issue where the PC was performing very poorly in WoW.  It would be lightning fast as it should be for brief periods of time but then it would choke and hang inexplicably.  I am sure it is a driver/setting issue that I will have to sort out but it is annoying none the less.

Yesterday I returned the power supply I bought from Best Buy since it did not fix my issue.  I was somewhat surprised how easy the return was.  The girl at the counter didn’t even open the box to see if the parts were inside.  I could have thrown a dirty brick in the box and they would not have known the difference.  Getting the money back for the power supply helps offset some of the additional stuff I bought for the HP Omen.  The 1 GIG stick style SSD drive and additional 16GB of RAM are suppose to show up today.  I hope to throw that stuff in tonight which should set the system up to suit my needs for the next five years or so.

I decided to take on another PEV project yesterday, swapping the front tires on the Backfire Ranger X1.  The all terrain board has been a great device except for one annoying thing, tire noise.  On smooth surfaces the solid rubber tires make a loud and incessant scrubbing noise like they are out of round.  In an attempt to address the issue Backfire came out with a new tire design.  I was able to get two of these tires sent to me by support.

So I have a long and shitty history of doing work with tires.  To put it simply I am not good at it and have had a lot of frustration changing tubes/tires over the years on a number of vehicles.  The tire change on the X1 was no exception, I struggled mightily to get the new tires on but eventually got there after a lot of prying and pushing. During my testing afterward the noise I was hearing from the front tires seemed to be gone.  Unfortunately the two original rear tires still make the noise.  I guess next I will try to get those replaced for free as well.

 

 

The chicken integration has continued to go well.  At this point we now have the young birds going into the coop at night without us having to physically place them there.  They also now realize they can come out in the morning on their own once the automatic chicken coop door opens.  They are still hesitant to go in the chicken run when the adult birds are there but it’s slowly getting better.  The chicks seem quite happy to have so much space to roam.  So far Daelin the rooster has been doing fine and seems to to realize that I am the true rooster on the top of the ladder.  He eats out of Cindy and my hands just fine.

Saturday I got out on the skateboards a bit for a ride.  It has been awhile.

I dug into my desk area on Saturday, using a hole drilling bit to cut a couple extra holes into my desk to make it easier to route wires.  It made a huge mess, producing more saw dust than I expected.  Saturday night I did a test stream using the new hardware Cindy got for me, a proper frame and two bright LED lights.  It made a big difference in the effectiveness of the Chromakey effect.

Saturday night we also watched our latest rental, Tully.  It was one of those f with your head sort of movies that pulls the rug out from under what you think is the plot.  It was still entertaining enough for a B+.

I woke up Sunday morning and noticed my computer was off.  That’s odd, I don’t recall shutting it down.  When I hit the power button there was no response whatsoever.  After doing the normal checks it seemed like the system had died.  It is over four years old at this point and sees heavy use so I figured the power supply gave out.  A pain in the ass but I figured I could pick up a replacement at Best Buy later.

So I came up with a plan where I would ride to DD on an EUC, have Cindy pick me up and then we could run errands, including getting the power supply.  That plan had a detour as well when my Msuper started giving me low battery beeps less than three miles into the ride.  I had to swing a U-turn back to the house where I picked up the big Monster instead.

So I got a power supply as planned, a more robust model to be safe.  When I got home I dug into my PC, ripping out the old supply and installing the other which was a bit tedious and patience testing at times.  After some sweating and swearing I got it in there.  I wanted to do a quick test before I closed everything back up so I hit the power button and was not thrilled to see everything remained dark.  After double and triple checking my connections and repeated tries the shitty revelation came to me that it was the system board that died, not the supply….. damn it.

Well that is a much more serious problem.  Trying to secure the correct system board and the process to replace it is anything but a quick process.  I needed to have the system up and running.  I decided that although it is going to be costly and a huge pain in the ass, a new pc was going to be my answer.  I told Cindy of my plan as I shoved off for Costco, hoping they would have suitable replacement.

Image result for hp omen obeliskMy hopes were not realized, all Costco had were entry to mid-level boring systems that I  was not interested in.  Luckily Best Buy was in the same shopping center so I rolled over there next.  I saw HP Omen towers.  These are high end systems designed for serious gamers.  Although I am not a serious gamer, I still benefit from a high horsepower system for my video processing.

I saw the price tag and noticed it said they had an open box version for a couple hundred less.  I flagged down an employee and asked about it.  He said they did have it in the back and he would bring it out, sweet.

So when he tried to ring it up he was blocked from doing so.  The inventory system said it was not able to be sold.  The short version of the story is HP sent out a bunch of these systems with incorrect labels.  For liability reasons they were pulled off the shelves until they could be relabeled.  That relabeling had been done but whatever back end work that had to be done to put them back in inventory had not been done. So basically, even though I was standing there with a box at my feet and my credit card in hand, Best Buy could not sell me the system.

I told the guy it seemed rather crazy that I am willing to buy something that was right in front of me and they weren’t able to sell it.  He even jumped on the Best Buy website to see if he could release the inventory by buying it online and selecting store pickup, nope that didn’t work either.   I asked one more time if there was anything else they could do and he apologetically said no.

So as I walked out to the truck I was very frustrated but not defeated.  I fired up the Best Buy website on my phone and did a HP Omen search.  It popped up that the Gulf Town Center location had another open box unit in stock, the higher end model with a better video card and larger hard drive.  The price was higher than the model I looked at but it was discounted more, $500 off normal price.  I was able to complete the purchase online and drove the 17 miles further to get it.

I felt a small sense of triumph as the clerk brought my open box Omen to the counter.  I had actually asked the guy at the first store if other Best Buy stores in the area might have them.  He said no, they would all have the same restriction.  Well I’m glad I didn’t take his word for it.

So the rest of my Sunday was diving full scale into recovery mode.  Luckily with the cloud based environment we live in, I had base functionality returned pretty quickly.  I was able to throw my 3TB hard drive into the empty slot on the Omen to get access to that data.  I was able to use a USB to SATA external rig to connect my old SSD drive to the system to move other data across.  Since most of my important stuff is saved on Dropbox that is very easy to recover as well.

At this point I would say I have 80% of my core functionality returned which isn’t bad at all considering how bleak I felt yesterday afternoon.  I went ahead and ordered some additional upgrades for the Omen including a larger internal NAND SSD drive and another stick of DDR4 RAM to double it’s capacity to 32GB. Although a new computer was not on my radar, I certainly appreciate the additional muscle it brings to my daily processing needs.

I do have a theory regarding the failure of my old system.  One of the holes I drilled was next to the computer itself.  The side I punched through on was also the side of the computer case that has ventilation holes.  I am wondering if during the process some debris/saw dust got into the case and killed a component.  That would be a real kick in the nuts if my carelessness resulted in a $1500 replacement bill.

Today for my last day off I will be trying to put things back in order as the office turned into a crime scene of computer parts Sunday as I scrambled for resolution.  Order must be restored.

 

 

Cindy enjoyed our Valentine’s Day although the meal at The Warehouse was not up to snuff compared to our previous visits.  I theorized that it was much busier than our other visits so perhaps that is why the food seemed a bit rushed/undercooked and our waitress was not very attentive.  Cindy was surprised by my oddball gift where I had Ben Higgins, a former Bachelor wish her and Katie a happy valentine’s day via Cameo.

Yesterday was chicken integration day.  Before I even opened up the chicken tractor with the young birds I wheeled it over to the gate.  Once there I opened the tractor so the babies would exit right into the adult hen area.  The adults were still in their run but you could tell they were not thrilled with their space being invaded.  Once we let them mingle together Cindy and I stayed in their yard to referee.  As expected there was some squabbling but nothing terrible.  Daelin, the hen turned rooster got put in his place very quickly by Katie who jumped on his back and gave him a few “don’t f with me pecks”

During the day the two groups mostly stuck together but a few times there was mingling going on which was good.  When night time came Cindy and I had to get involved as the baby birds did not know what to do.  We picked each one up and placed them on the perch inside, surprisingly they stayed put all night and I didn’t see any more squabbling on the coop cam.  It’s going to be funny watching the new chicken social dynamic forming.

I kept myself very busy all day long.  I did weeding, weed whacking and mowing which consumed a solid four hours of the day.  I also ran out to Costco, Lowe’s and a couple other spots.  In addition I did the shooting and editing for my YouTube 5000 subscriber video.  Despite busting ass most of the day I got out and did my Friday evening run.  I was determined to get back into the 9’s with my pace.  I managed a 9:52 average but man it feels like I have to work hard to get there….

I’m looking forward to three more days of getting shit done yet enjoying the time as well.

I actually picked out a red shirt today for work which is a rarity, that is color coordinating for a holiday as today is Valentine’s Day.   Tonight Cindy and I are going to dinner at The Warehouse, a place we enjoyed once before.  It’s nice because it’s only 9 miles from the house.  I have a unique “gift” for Cindy this year that I am looking forward to seeing her reaction.

Unlike my recent six day staycation, I don’t have a huge list of items for my upcoming four days off although there are certainly some things spinning around in my head to get done.  This is a big chicken weekend, we are finally going to integrate the new chickens with the old.  It is going to be very interesting to see how the personalities interact and how the pecking order may shuffle.  Of course we have to make sure that all of the birds are safe so we will be monitoring their interactions pretty closely.

I just don’t have much for ya at the moment, sometimes it flows, sometimes it drips.

Back in my early to mid-40’s I shifted my fitness routine to almost entirely calisthenic type movements.  For a period of four or five years I did that and long distance running which drove my body weight down to the lowest level ever as an adult. (low 170’s)  My YouTube channel name is even based on that period of time (Dufisthenics).  In the last four or five years my routine mutated again with more of a mixture of conventional weight and resistance training, less running, and bigger numbers on the scale.  I have weighed around 185 pounds for a couple years.

I do however still try to keep up some base standards with my core body weight movements.  I can still do 15-20 pull ups, depending on the day, 50 push ups, and 25 dips.  Forcing yourself to work against your own body weight is still one of the most simple yet effective ways to improve your fitness level.  I have cut out some of the real high exertion calisthenic movements like dragon flags as they now cause the odd right side pain to flare up.  However I hope to be able to keep doing the core cali movements as long as I am able.

I hit another milestone on my YouTube channel, surpassing 5000 subscribers last weekend.  13 months ago I hit the 3000 sub mark so a 60% jump in that time period is pretty solid.  The good thing is as your subscriber totals increase your videos get suggested more often to random viewers which can have a snowball effect on your channel to the upside.  I plan to do some sort of “Thanks for 5K” video over my extended four day weekend coming up.

I posted this to my FB page the other day, it’s so true but so commonly overlooked.

 

Friday after work I again hit the track to put in my 13 laps of unfun.  The first two to three laps are especially miserable and the time that the urge to just get back in the car is the strongest.  My knees, lower back and hip all feel pretty lousy until I get warmed up.  According to the Apple Watch I once again failed to break the 10 minute mile pace although I think the watch may be a little conservative based on the total time it took.  Regardless, I completed the run and I will continue to try to do so, regardless of how much it sucks.

When we went to Home Depot on Saturday I loaded up the truck with 10 bags of top soil, four cinder blocks, and twenty pieces of sod.  My goal was to raise the ground in the chicken area underneath the freshly covered playground.  I have raised the ground level between the coop and the playground but the ground under the shelter is still low and would turn into a pond during wet season.  My original plan was to sit the support posts on the cinder blocks to raise the frame and then fill inside with the dirt and sod.

When I went to lift up the frame I forgot just how haphazard my construction of the frame was.  At the time I literally just threw a bunch of scrap lumber and fence posts together to make the structure.  The end result was the support posts were different lengths meaning putting them on blocks wouldn’t work.  What I wound up doing instead was lifting each corner out of the ground and then backfilling the hole to raise the height.  It accomplished the same goal although it was pretty strenuous work.  With the addition of the roof to the frame, it has become quite heavy.

To fill in the inside of the frame I lifted up the roof on it’s hinge and propped it that way with an old fence post.  I then carefully lugged in the bags of top soil and spread them around.  I had to be very careful to not bump the roof otherwise it would have become a very dangerous oversized mouse trap that would have crashed on top of me.  I then carefully placed the sod on top of the fresh dirt to lock it all together.  When I was done I had achieved elevation on par with the rest of the high ground.  I’m hoping the end result is the hens will still be able to hang under there during rainy season staying dry on their own little island.

On Sunday I decided to take the 18L on the same route that I ran out of power on the Ultron the prior weekend.  I wanted to do a max range test on the wheel, something I never tried before on the KingSong.  The 18L only has a 1000wh battery so I knew asking it to go 30 miles was iffy.  On the way out I was in a constant, battery depleting headwind.  Since the road is straight as an arrow there is absolutely no relief.  When I arrived in town the battery level on the wheel was showing around 47%.  So despite this I still thought I would be able to make it home because that nasty headwind would become a range extending tailwind on the way back.

I turned out to be a little too optimistic.  I had to call Cindy to come pick me up less than a mile from home when the battery was showing 3% and the wheel was constantly warning me to slow down and charge it.  Still, getting almost 30 miles out of the 18L was a decent showing and it was a great day to ride.  For the trip I wore my latest piece of safety equipment, a highly visible and reflective safety vest.  Wearing the vest eliminates somone from saying they didn’t see me, it’s impossible to miss a 6 foot 3 human reflector.

Sunday night I had my first live stream in three weeks.  I tried something different this time, utilizing a green screen to project myself in front of videos that were playing in the background.  It’s a similar set up that most Twitch streamers use.  We tested it during the day and it looked pretty good.  Unfortunately we discovered that to use it at night requires strong lighting which we hastily tried to throw together.  We also didn’t have the screen as tight as it needs to be to produce optimal results but it was acceptable.  We will keep tweaking it as people seemed to like the combo.

Speaking of green, check out this Hulk print that Cindy painted, pretty cool.

 

Last night after work I wanted to get back out to document just how fast the Ultron scooter is.  When I rode it Wednesday night I did not have a camera rolling.  Based on just how fast I discovered it is on Wednesday, I put on full gear for the second test.  This time I got similar and slightly higher top speed as I held the scooter at max throttle for a few seconds longer.  The end result was 94kmh showing on the speedometer which translated to over 58mph, holy shit.

I still find it hard to believe that I actually hit those numbers so I want to do some more speed runs using either my phone and/or GPS to see what sort of speed they report.  Even if the speedometer is not entirely accurate, you can see from the video just how fast this thing goes.  Despite having very fat tires, on launch both the front and rear wheels spin for a couple seconds as they try to get all that torque connected to the ground, it’s pretty crazy.

So the baby chickens are growing, growing to the point where having the six of them living in the chicken tractor is getting a bit tight.  We have been moving the tractor every day to give them fresh grass to tear up and poop on.  I still want to give them one more week of living on their own before introducing them to the big hens and their area.  However this weekend I plan to give the babies more room to roam using temporary fencing. A few years ago I bought some temporary fencing that is black fabric with wood stakes built into it.  I want to use that to make a big play pen area around the chicken tractor so the birds have a big space to hang out.  Cindy and I are both hoping the transition to the big chicken yard goes smoothly next week.

This weekend we have standard stuff on the schedule.  I do want to pick up some pilings to use to raise the newly roofed chicken playground.  I am raising the ground level around it so I also need to raise the level inside of the structure so it does not get flooded out during wet season.  The section I raised last year never was underwater last year so I am hoping for similar results, especially since this is now the birds main hang out spot during the day since we closed access under the coop.

The other day for no particular reason I checked on a friend of mine from the running club on Facebook.  This person is an avid Trump supporter.  Donald can truly do no wrong in their eyes.  Now I have known this person for years and never did I know about his political disposition until we became friends on Facebook.  I like and respect this person’s work ethic a ton but I was very surprised when I saw some of the stuff he advocated and shared on social media.  Outside of a few very mild exchanges of opinions on FB I just left it alone.

Well anyway when I saw his profile the other day I saw the ADD FRIEND button was there.  Evidently he unfriended me at some point, surely because I did not share his steadfast support of Trump.   I was disappointed and a little sad when I saw this. However I rarely post anything political, where as 80% of what this person posted was, so it struck me as a bit strange.

I don’t think I have unfriended someone solely because of polar opposite political views.  There have been several that I have filtered out of my feed so I no longer see their posts.  To me this is the best way to handle that sort of situation, the person just sort of fades away and they don’t even know it.  There is a good chance this person didn’t even know that was an option so instead they just smashed that REMOVE FRIEND option after reading something about my disdain for our current president.

Being virtually unfriended doesn’t change my core views of this person.  If I would see them in person I wouldn’t mention it as I can’t see any positive outcome in doing so.  Me mentioning it here is just commentary on the horrific divisiveness that has taken over this country for the last 20 years.  People having very different thoughts and opinions on issues is nothing new, however the advent of the internet and social media in general has weaponized those opinions, making them much more impactful in all of our lives, which is unfortunate.

 

Last night after work I pulled the Ultron out to ride it around the back yard.  I wanted to see how it would handle the very rough terrain.  I slowly tracked around the yard and discovered despite having four coil over shocks on the front, the scooter does not absorb bumps well at all.  I did back off the adjustable rear springs to at least make the back end a little softer.

After I was tired of getting bounced around I took the scooter out on our road for a bit.  I turned onto one of our side streets to do a max speed test.  Since it was dusk, the speedometer that is not visible in direct sunlight was easy to see.  The first test was full power mode but only utilizing the back 1600W motor.

I squeezed the trigger hard and held on.  The scooter shot up to 70kmh pretty easily and maintained it, a blistering 43mph pace, if the speedometer was accurate.  70kmh was the posted top speed on the web site and I hit that with only a single motor.  Of course I had to repeat the test using both motors.

When you use both motors on the full power settings it is a scary scenario.  Both wheels spin and continue to spin even as you get rolling.  I gunned the throttle and held on for dear life.  The speedometer rolled past 70 and kept climbing.  I could hardly believe when I saw a 91 on the display before I let go to slow down.  Again if accurate, that means this scooter is capable of hitting 50mph for short distances.  I still find these numbers hard to believe so I plan on doing additional speed testing using GPS and other timing devices.  If that speed proves to be accurate, it’s pretty crazy.

Yesterday I was looking into various options regarding rehoming the one young bird that we are 99% sure is a rooster, aka. Danielle.  As I did I stumbled across just how many roosters are being given away, or at least attempted to be given away.  As I researched I came across a site that advocated keeping roosters and how owning one is not necessarily a negative experience.

To me the negatives are we don’t want any more baby chicks, crowing and the potential aggression a rooster can have.  The first issue can be simply addressed by grabbing eggs daily so they never get sat on by hens to hatch. Crowing, if it’s only occasionally isn’t terrible as the hens themselves are extremely noisy when laying eggs as well.  Aggression in some situations can be an advantage as a rooster will instinctively try to protect the hens from predators.

The major thing is not letting the bird establish dominance over you.  We have a hose in the chicken yard at all times which would be a pretty effective deterrent if Danielle (guess he needs a new name), would turn his aggression on us.  There are plenty of examples of roosters being quite fond of humans too.  So anyway, Cindy and I agreed we will both give it a shot and see how it goes.  Danielle should feel like a very lucky bird.

 

 

I had my dermatologist check up last week.  During it the doctor took a sample of an area in the corner of my forehead that has been dry and recently started opening up.  It has been that way for awhile and based on my past basal cell cancer history I assumed it was another spot.  I got confirmation yesterday that it was, meaning I am going back under the knife next month.

It will once again be a MOHS procedure where they cut out a section and then test the perimeter to make sure there are no more cancerous cells.  If there are they go back in and cut more.  Depending on how successful they are it can be a pain in the ass and time consuming to potentially get cut on multiple times.  I’m not looking forward to it but at this point I am approaching double digits as far as skin cancer removals go so I certainly know what to expect.

I did not watch a second of the state of the union address last night but I did read some of the highlights.  It contained what you would expect, tons of self congratulatory statements of his imaginary reality and a call to end “ridiculous partisan investigations”.  Somehow these ridiculous investigations have resulted in over a half dozen indictments thus far and some of Donald’s own family may be next on the block.  I can only hope this noose continues tighten until big Don himself is backed into a corner, alone with no one else left to take a fall on his behalf.

 

 

Yesterday the replacement tubes I ordered showed up so I could repair the back tire on the Dualtron.  The scooter took a screw to the sidewall during our ride over the weekend.  I had gotten a head start on the project on Saturday, pulling the wheel off and removing the punctured tire and tube.  This was my first time working on the Dualtron.  I used the fold up table in the garage as a workbench, not an ideal set up but better than trying to do it on my knees on the ground.  The design of the wheels makes changing the tube far easier than any other tire I ever worked on.  There is no wrestling with the tire to get it on and off.  It instead is pressed and held into place with a plate on one side which is screwed down.

After I got the wheel mounted back on the scooter I had to do some screwing around with the brake caliper position until I got everything lined up in a way where the wheel spun freely when not engaged.  I did some additional adjustment to the brake levers to take out some of the slop that was there so the stopping power begins sooner.  I took the scooter for a quick ride down the street just to make sure everything felt normal.  I returned the Dualtron inside, declaring it as fixed as I threw it on the charger, ready for it’s next ride.  It felt good to remedy the situation without major hassles.