Yesterday I got a request from the solar company for a copy of my one million dollar umbrella liability policy that was required to connect to the LCEC solar grid.  I immediately forwarded the policy hoping this meant things would continue to progress with minimal delay.  When I asked what the estimate was for flipping the switch I was not happy with the answer, somewhere around 30 days.  I’m going to be calling LCEC this morning to see what I can do to get some acceleration on that timeline.  It would be unfortunate to have the array in the backyard for a month twiddling it’s thumbs.

This weekend has standard fare on the menu including trying to get more of the Xmas buying task completed so I can move on to just enjoying the season.

I was very surprised on Wednesday when I heard Hilary Clinton was on the Stern show.  I heard maybe an hour of the interview which I found to be very interesting.  Howard has always been a big Hilary fan and during the 2016 election he repeatedly said how he would have loved to have her on the show.  The lack of time restriction and free flowing style of the conversation gave insight into Hilary that probably would have been helpful in her presidential bid.

Speaking of presidential politics, my views on it have shifted somewhat in the last 6 months or so.  In 2016 I was all about Bernie and his progressive ideas that basically were the next step, building on some of the ideas that Obama tried to get rolling.  I thought the way Hilary won was definitely shady and I think the “super delegate” system is utterly ridiculous.  However, I also think that the bitter stance that Bernie took about Hilary being the nominee possibly was a deciding factor leading to King Clown being in the White house today.  Bernie’s half hearted endorsement pushed a lot of his supporters to more or less waste their vote on the independent candidates in 2016 to make a statement, which had an impact in close states.  I know my brother Patrick who is a HUGE Bernie supporter did exactly that.

So I still love Bernie but to be quite honest my biggest concern is getting a candidate that will beat Trump.  Despite the utter lunacy of the last three years up to and including the current impeachment process, there is a dangerous chance he could get reelected because some key economic numbers are good.  His short sighted corporate tax breaks and regulation roll backs have resulted in lots of profit reaping for those in the penthouse looking down.  The average Joe is not better off, especially if he is smart enough to figure out that he basically traded a few less tax dollars for paying more for goods and services courtesy of tariffs.  Employment numbers are also at some of the best levels ever however that doesn’t factor in that workforce participation is actually at a historical low, somewhere around 63%. People that aren’t looking for jobs don’t count as being unemployed. This is the same participation number under Obama, yet he was vilified for it while Donald sweeps it under the rug.

The most damning and telling truth about the propped up economic prosperity is that despite some big numbers elsewhere in the economy they have not had the affect on deficits that they had in the past.  Usually when the economy is booming the federal deficit shrinks.  Remember those years where Clinton actually was running at a budget surplus?  Well the stable genius instead has thrown long term viability in the dumpster for short term gains.  The deficit has exploded under Trump.  But you know what, most people just are too lazy or unfocused to care.

They see the stock market is high and unemployment is low and that is good enough for them.  If their own tiny circle of life is ok most are unlikely to be concerned with the big picture, it’s a shortcoming of human nature.  Until a pile of shit is in your own front yard you don’t care about it. So anyway what all this ranting means in a nutshell is if the main numbers in the economy remain at this level, it is going to be difficult to shake people out of their lack of common sense coma.  A popping stock market bubble that seems to be long overdue, would go a long way towards helping the election outcome.

So anyway, this situation has morphed my ideas about the most viable candidate for the democrats.  If I am being honest the extremely progressive ideas that candidates like Bernie and Elizabeth Warren present, while being idealistic and definitely greater good based, are also too polarizing and just unrealistic in today’s political environment.  To actually accomplish what they propose would basically require ripping out most of the current sitting Congress and implementing term limits.  They would never be able to get anywhere with these ideas without progressive support from both the House and Senate, which I just don’t think is there.  It’s great that they say they want to make all of these sweeping changes but if they have no shot of actually making them happen and their policies are like throwing gas on the Trump acolytes fire, does it serve the end goal of getting the insanity out of the White House?

So with my revised thought process the two candidates I really like are Buttigieg and Yang.  Both men are incredibly intelligent, young, and offer more middle viewpoints that still push towards the progressive side without creating the sort of noise and memes that phrases like “wealth tax” invoke.   Yang is pretty far back in the pack but Buttigieg at least has some momentum in Iowa so we will see if that translates into actual traction.  Unfortunately being a gay man will carry the same if not more discrimination from some people that also hated Obama.  It’s pretty pathetic that the religious right would never consider a gay candidate but will openly embrace Trump who never met a moral he wasn’t happy to walk on top of.

Ok enough ranting, let’s enjoy the weekend.

 

 

 

 

 

I took yesterday off to make sure I was available for the permit inspectors.  I headed out early to drop off some packages and grab coffee with Elsa.  Of course the first inspector arrived probably 5 minutes after I left.  Luckily Cindy was still home to open the garage so the electrical box could be inspected.  It passed the first inspection without issue.  Later in the day the second inspector came.  I was told that someone did not have to be home for his inspection but it was a good thing I was.

I walked with the guy out to the array.  He was impressed with both the size and construction method used to build it.  He said this was the biggest residential solar install he has seen which was cool.  However when he got back to his truck to enter information into his laptop he saw that there was supposed to be a third inspection called in for the footers of the structure which the installers didn’t do.  I told him each footer was a 2 foot across by 5 feet deep block of cement.  He already knew the footers were  massive from being out there so he was able to have someone in the office do something on the back end so another inspection would not be required which was great.  I sent a picture of the signed permit over to the construction manager so he can get started with the final step in the process, getting the electric company here to make the final connections.

I was really busy Wednesday, the weather was beautiful and I just had a ton of different small things to keep me busy.  One of those things was installing an Echo Dot in the chicken coop. I took advantage of a Black Friday deal for the Echo Show 5.  Installing that set off a chain reaction of home assistant shuffling that resulted in my having two extra Echo Dots.  Now at first it may sound moronic to have an Echo in the coop but it actually is useful.  Using the built in two speaker feature allows Cindy or I to communicate to and from the coop if one of us is out there.  I also had the device streaming Christmas music all day so the hens could enjoy it while laying eggs.  They told me they liked it.

I had to work on more tech in the coop, replacing the hard drive on the DVR that is out there.  I recently discovered it had not been recording for quite awhile so I am not sure how long the hard drive has been bad.  It’s back up and running now, recording the perimeter of the coop for any potentially harmful predators.

I also got a chance to record two videos I had wanted to do for a long time, one regarding my struggles with the Prusa MMU2S and another 0-60 test on my M3 after the reported 5% power increase.

During the Prusa video I had a real time example of how the device can fck up and why it’s so frustrating.  I also am going to be sending back my brand new MK3S that continues to have weird issues.  Yesterday I had my third online chat with Prusa about it which resulted in the recommendation to send it in.  It’s frustrating to have a prebuilt printer be buggy but at least they are taking the steps to make it right.  Shipping to and from the Czech Republic is going to cost them a chunk of change.  Hopefully I helped offset that expense for them with the 11 boxes of Prusa filament I bought on Black Friday.

Ever since the software update on the Tesla came down that increased power I had been wanting to do a fresh 0-60 test, something I did shortly after buying the car.  I have been feeling a big difference just doing normal driving on my daily commute however I wanted to see how it translated in real numbers.  When I did this test the first time months ago my best time was 5.43 seconds.

Because I only know the exact time after editing the video I could only base my feelings on the seat of the pants feel I was getting.  That sensation was not all that different than I recall from my original test however when I timed it the car was legitimately two tenths of a second faster, my best run was 5.178 but I consistently got 5.243 seconds.  I was impressed that the promised speed gain was tangible and made a car I already love all the better.

I was buzzing around all day wrapping Christmas presents, doing stuff in the 3D room, laundry, cleaning up, and even playing some WoW.  I really enjoyed getting a mid-week weekend.

You know I just realized this morning that I have now lived at our house here in Naples longer than any other place in my lifetime, including the Gouglersville farm house I grew up in.  For some reason that struck me in a weird way, maybe it just made me feel even older.  Next July will mark 19 years here with no plans of going anywhere soon.

 

Yesterday I hit Amazon hard, very hard taking advantage of a number of good deals which helped me put a nice dent in my Christmas shopping list.  Along the way I also grabbed a couple deals for myself as well including ANOTHER 3D printer.  To make room for it I gave away another printer to one of my co-workers. It felt good to get a lot of the buying done.  To delegate I asked Cindy to handle buying stuff for a few people on the list which she always does a good job with.

Yesterday out of the blue I took a picture of my key chain.  This isn’t just any key chain, this is my Pontiac Sunfire key chain that I was given when I bought a Sunfire GT back in the late 90’s, which was the first new car I ever owned.  It had a 140HP four cylinder motor and was a five speed.  I did not have the car more than a few years from what I recall, I think it was traded in on a Nissan Sentra.

You may ask why I kept and continue to use the key chain from that vehicle for over 20 years.  The reason is I like the way it works with the ability to easily detach one set of keys from one side.  Yes I could have found more stylish or modern key chains that aren’t branded with a car model from a company that doesn’t even exist anymore.  However I have a deeply ingrained trait to stick with what works for me, this is just one of the many examples of my doing so.

The electrical work that needs to get done for the solar system has been moved up to today instead of tomorrow.  Hopefully this means the county inspection gets moved up a day as well.  Assuming everything passes we then can pass the baton to the electric company to get us on the schedule to do the final hook up.  It will be a nice little Christmas gift to myself.

I got the idea in my head to go run Thanksgiving morning since we were not participating in any race for the second year in a row.  I had further ideas of trying to run 4 miles, like I did last year to match the distance of the Gobble Gobble race here in town.  Last year it wasn’t that much of a stretch because I had been running consistent 3.5 miles leading up to Thanksgiving.  In 2019 my running had been greatly curtailed.  Last week was the first time I had run in somewhere around three months so it was going to be much more of a chore.

Cindy, who has done even less running decided to join me.  We got out there early, hitting the track a little after 7AM. The air temp in the upper 50’s felt great.  Despite a lack of running I just kept moving, at a decidedly slower pace than I used to keep.  After nearly 45 minutes I finished up my 16th lap which made me feel some degree of accomplishment.  Cindy ran around 3.5 miles which was amazing based on her lack of running this year.

We were doing Thanksgiving dinner at our place, a recent change as we supposedly were going to have it at Katie’s place up until a couple days prior.  Katie came over early to watch the parade with Cindy as she prepared food.  I spent most of the morning working on setting up the outside Christmas decorations.  I did the entire operation solo and the end result was cool.  The display is similar to last year with the addition of a few decorations that were used on the RV last year.

Our Thanksgiving meal was up to par with prior years from a food standpoint.  Cindy made a ton of delicious chow.  However the day didn’t really feel like Thanksgiving because we only had Cindy, myself, Katie, and the baby there.  We didn’t even eat at the dining room table.  In prior years we always had a number of Cindy’s family over on Thanksgiving which I found enjoyable.  Some years we had eight or more people over so to have only us three plus the baby was sort of deflating for me.  Cindy remarked repeatedly how it was nice for her to not have to do as much with less people which I understand, but it sort of defeats the purpose of hosting a Thanksgiving meal, at least in my mind. After eating we spent a good portion of the rest of the day decorating the INSIDE of the house.  It was a lot to accomplish in one day’s time but it felt necessary.  I have felt like I was behind schedule with decorating because Thanksgiving was so late this year.

On Black Friday I wanted to get out a little bit and hit some stores but not really to shop for others, more just to snag a few deals on things we could use.  I hit Home Depot, Rural King, and Sam’s Club.  I didn’t want to stay out very long because the solar installers were supposed to arrive on Friday to finish up the physical installation.  I was sort of surprised when I rolled in the driveway a little before 10AM to find the installers had also just gotten there recently.  They had a LOT to get done so I figured they would get started as early as possible.

They had to install all 48 panels, pull the wire from the array to the house, back fill the trench, and make the electrical connections.  They worked all the way past sunset and ALMOST got completely done.  The one remaining issue was making the electrical connection to the house.  They used thick, heavy, low gauge wire which was not only difficult to pull in the conduit but also required larger electrical taps which they did not have on hand.

The 48 panels on the structure look very impressive.  The electrician is supposed to be back on Wednesday to finish up followed by inspection on Thursday.  If that all goes well then all that remains is scheduling the electric company to come out to do whatever needs to be done to allow the meter to go both ways and then throw the switch.  I’m still hopeful this can happen before Christmas.

I did a video revealing the finished structure which includes drone footage which gives some cool perspective on the size and scope of it all.

On Saturday after doing chores Cindy and I went to the Fort Myers Sand Sculpting event.  I went to this a long time ago when my dad and step mom were down visiting.  I remember thinking was cool then and I thought Cindy would find it pretty cool now.

What I remember not being cool was the awful traffic getting into Fort Myers Beach and trying to find a place to park.  It was dreadful.  As we headed towards the beach I was surprised to see they had a huge parking/shuttle set up at the Lovers Key State Park area which was a few miles outside of FMB.  This was awesome.  You parked and paid the same $8 entry fee everyone else paid but it includes a free and convenient tour bus ride to and from the event.  The buses were running constantly so you didn’t have to wait at all.

This addition removed so much hassle from what I recall when I attended over a decade ago. I was very happy they decided to go this route.  When we walked into the sculpture area we were smacked with non-stop examples of incredible artistry, finesse, and patience.  Some of the sculptures were totally done and some still had the artists working on them which I found fascinating to watch.  We ate lunch at Pincher’s which was right outside the sand sculpture area.  The outdoor seating was packed but we were lucky to grab a table albeit right in front of the speakers of the live duo that was performing, so we spent most of the meal yelling to hear each other.  The service was slow but that was to be expected.  We both enjoyed our meals as we people watched.

After we finished eating we went back in to look around a little more.  As we did we decided to buy a couple wide brim hats.  We felt like we were broiling in the sun, the hats made an instant difference.  I plan to utilize the hat regularly when doing work at home requiring extended periods outside in the brutal heat.  The shuttle ride back to the lot was equally easy.  Really the only negative was the sand fleas that infested part of the parking area.  They attacked my feet ferociously, despite them being nearly invisible.

Saturday night we watched Serenity, a movie with Matthew McConaghey.  It seemed like an interesting plot from what I recalled about the previews.  However as the movie unfolded I asked Cindy if this was a M. Night Shaymalan project.  If you see or have seen the movie you will understand why I asked that.  It was unique with a twist that I don’t know was needed.  I think I would have liked it better if the plot was straight up, I’d give it a B.

So Sunday, the last of my four day weekend arrived.  It felt like the time had blown by, mostly because I had kept myself so busy.  That did not change on Sunday either.  I changed the oil on Cindy’s car, paid my bills, and came up with an odd replacement strategy for my conventional outdoor antenna that was damaged during Hurricane Irma.  I had bought one of those indoor HDTV antennas to hook up to the tv in our guest room.  It worked so, so but did not have a long enough cable to be mounted ideally in the window of the room.  The end result was not getting as many channels as I used to get when the outdoor antenna was working.

I came up with the idea of taking that indoor antenna and connecting it to the outdoor antenna coax which runs into the house.  I disconnected the cable from the antenna which is mounted to the small shed.  I then routed that cable inside the shed, connected it to my $29 indoor antenna and went back inside to see the result.  I was happy to see we now got all of the channels we used to and did so without having to junk up the room with a wire running over to the outside wall.  We now get 31 channels over the air.

I also decided to take a quick trip around the yard in the Mustang Skid Steer that was left on the property.  I quickly found out that hard skid steering rips up a sugar sand yard very quickly.

I had limited time since the Eagles played at 1PM against the lowly Dolphins, a game the team was heavily favored to win.  The Dolphins were 2-9 going into the game.  At the start of the game it looked like it was going to be a non-contest.  The Eagles defense and offense were both performing early on.  In the third quarter the Eagles had a comfortable 28-14 lead.  Well it was like someone put things on cruise control and forgot to grab the wheel.  The Eagles allowed the Dolphins to score 23 unanswered points.  The defense all of a sudden had no answers for the Dolphins offense which was one of the lowest ranked units in the league.

The Dolphins QB lit up the Eagles secondary, especially Jalen Mills, who I think is one of the most overrated cornerbacks in the league.  He got burned repeatedly as well as committing stupid penalties.  He was targeted time and time again.  The end result of this awful play was the Eagles finding themselves down two scores with little time remaining.  They managed a late field goal but a failed onside kick attempt sealed their fate.  Once again Carson Wentz who overall had a good day statistically, could not deliver when it mattered the most, a recurring theme in the young QB’s career.  The loss was downright embarrassing.  This team is going nowhere this year.

After the disappointing loss I went for a quick ride over at the school on my Mten3.  A good portion of the video was me venting about the poor Eagles performance.  I also surprised myself when I realized that this was the first time I got to do any PEV riding during the long four day weekend.  It’s kind of nuts.

The Thanksgiving weekend absolutely flew by.  We wound it up by watching The Report on Amazon Prime.  It’s a movie regarding the use of torture by the US after 9/11 and the effort to ignore and cover it up.  It is just another of the numerous examples of the federal government lying to the populace in a disturbing manner.  Federal government deception has been going on for a long time and has expanded further under the biggest of all big league presidents of all time.

 

Yesterday afternoon I got a call from Pawel, the solar company construction manager.  He started off the conversation saying he has some not so good news and some good news.  Instantly my mood worsened as he told me that they are not going to be able to get the Silfab panels that we agreed to.  Even with going through different distributors they weren’t able to get the 48 panels they needed, despite last week saying they would be able to.

However Pawel then told me the good news.  Instead of using the 300W panels, he convinced the owner to upgrade me to the Silfab 320W panels which are newer and obviously have more capacity.  When multiplied times 48 it adds up to almost a full KWH of additional capacity which is significant, raising the array capacity up around 15.4KWH.  This will translate to more savings over time.  Pawel said despite these panels costing more they are not charging me any more for them, which of course I would have fought anyway, but still a nice thing.

Pawel had one more piece of good news for me.  With the original panels sourced through other distributors we were looking at at least another one to two week delay until they would have them.  The 320W panels are in stock and they plan to install them on FRIDAY. Wow, I am not used to getting hit with so much good news at once.  I thanked Pawel for his efforts.  All of a sudden getting the array up before Xmas actually seems like a possibility.

When I got home I was pleased to see the skeleton of the frame was in place.  It looked like the beginnings of a stadium bleacher section.  The array of panels is going to be huge and the unobstructed view of the southern sky should be generating power at a pretty impressive rate.  Today they are supposed to dig the trench for the cables that connect the array to the house and do some more work on the frame.

Tomorrow for Thanksgiving I would like to start the morning off with some sort of exercise, either a bike ride or run to get a little caloric deficit to offset the huge influx of food that is sure to come during the day.  Originally we were going to have the meal at Katie’s new place but that plan shifted back to our place yesterday which is fine with me.  It’s so nice to not have Thanksgiving associated with the mountain of stress and work that it once held when I was timing races every Turkey Day morning.  This will be our second year in a row that does not involve timing, volunteering or participating in a Thanksgiving race and we are both thankful for it.  Cindy and I are hoping to get Xmas decorations up tomorrow afternoon if possible.

My Black Friday is up in the air.  I’d like to get some shopping in but since the solar panels are supposed to be going up I want to be available of need be.  I guess I’ll play it by ear, like many things in my life.

Yesterday I wound up my three day weekend which was filled with arduous tasks with pressure washing the pool cage area.  The cool temps in the 50’s felt chilly enough that I started off the work wearing a sweatshirt.  However trying to control 10 feet of pressure washer extension pole quickly made the sweatshirt unnecessary as physical effort kept me warm. The cage was dirty but not as bad as it has been at times in the past.  I wrapped up by around noon.

The solar installers arrived about 10:30 and got to work.  There was a van, a big straight body truck, and another truck with two pallets of concrete that were in the back yard.  The weight of these vehicles left deep tire tracks in the yard which isn’t surprising since sugar sand is underneath the grass.  However the guy dropping off a BobCat did a lot more than that, he got stuck trying to cross the culvert, burying his Ram halfway up the tire and wedging the trailer into the dirt as well.  They spent almost an hour getting the truck and trailer unstuck, utilizing the Bobcat to do it.  The end result was the yard looked like a landmine went off where the vehicles were stuck.

While all of this was going on I was in the middle of changing the oil in the Tacoma. All of a sudden my neighbor pointed out that there was a large dog in our yard.  He must have wandered in through the open gates.  He was some sort of mastiff.  I went over to him and called him to me.  As soon as he approached he immediately rolled onto in a submissive position like he was ready to get hit.  He had tags including one with his name, Leo and a phone number.

I called the number and it went straight to voicemail.  That voicemail box was full so I couldn’t even leave a message.  I got Leo some water and a couple big dog biscuits which he seemed thankful for.  He was a good boy.  I first posted on NextDoor hoping someone would respond quickly.  I then texted Cindy about the dog.  She said she knew the dog and the owner lived on 10th street, close by.

I went and grabbed a leash and took Leo for a walk.  We got lucky and the owner must have seen us walking down the street and came out to get the dog.  He thanked me for bringing Leo back, evidently he runs away pretty regularly.  Unfortunately I have a feeling I know why.  Some people should not own animals.

The solar guys worked until the sun had set.  They got six of the 14 poles cemented into the ground.  The holes for the footers are massive, each being two feet in diameter by five feet deep.  There was some miscommunication about the time period for this phase of the install.  I was under the impression they were going to get all of the frame work done yesterday.

It actually is going to take three full days to get the stand built and the wires run to the house.  Then we have to wait for solar panels to arrive which supposedly will take 1-2 weeks.  It’s a BIG project that I will be documenting as we go along.

My third Prusa printer arrived yesterday.  I had it up and printing within 20 minutes.  My print farm is one printer away from full capacity at this point. I have a fantastic two day work week prior to the Thanksgiving weekend.  I can get used to this.

I headed out to the track for a run for the first time in probably at least 3 months on Friday after work.  Overall my strength and endurance has felt better recently so I wanted to see if that feeling also translated into being able to run again.  Cindy and DJ walked around the track while I ran which was nice.  I definitely felt better running than I have been accustomed to, especially considering I hadn’t run in so long.  It felt like I also ran a faster pace than normal although the Apple Watch did not feel the same way.  Regardless, it felt good to get out there and not feel absolutely awful while doing so.

So even though I had a long three day weekend, I penciled in enough things to probably keep me busy for four or five days.  On Saturday after doing normal chores I turned my attention to the backyard.  I figured since the solar installers were starting Monday it made sense to get that area nice and manicured.  However just mowing the large area wasn’t enough, after I finished I limped off the tractor seat and grabbed the weed whacker.

I knocked down the entire fence line which is a massive chore as you go around the perimeter twice, once on both sides.  I also knocked down the growth in drainage ditch and around a few other areas.  I had to reload the trimmer spool three times, whacking a wire fence eats trimmer line like crazy. Between mowing and whacking I consumed the majority of the afternoon.  I was beat but glad I wouldn’t have to worry about revisiting the chore until spring is on the doorstep.

Saturday night before dinner I fired up the camera and mic for a quick live stream.  I had been talking about doing it for a little while.  I have no plans to make it a scheduled formal thing but I do enjoy getting to connect to people in this way.  Despite it being an unscheduled and unannounced broadcast I had as many 20 simultaneous viewers at one point, better than I had been doing towards the end of the bi-weekly live stream shows.

Today we woke up to off and on rain which would normally put a damper on EUC riding plans.  However I had not even made any plans to ride because I had another massive chore lined up, pressure washing.  I targeted getting the out buildings cleaned which included the two sheds and chicken coop.  The Eagles played at 1PM so I couldn’t fit pressure washing the pool area into that as well.  Near the end of the day I decided to included the castle stones in the blasting agenda which were coated with black slime.  By the time I got done cleaning the 125 plus stones I was the one coated in black slime.  At least the rocks looked better.

In the middle of all of this work I did watch the Eagles go down to the Seahawks in much the same manner as they lost to the Patriots the week before.  The defense, which I was regularly critical of for the first half of the season is actually the better performing unit at this point.  The offense was missing a lot of starters once again but Carson Wentz did nothing to elevate his game.  He missed a bunch of easy throws, made poor decisions, and turned the ball over a couple times.  He just is not playing with confidence and it shows.  Elite NFL QB’s can take over a game and impose their will onto the opposing team.  I have never seen Carson do that and I don’t think that is the type of QB he is.

Wentz is a gritty, determined and athletically gifted athlete but I just don’t know that he has the “it” factor.  He has not proven an ability to deliver in the clutch, unlike Saint Foles that seemed to be able to do the exact opposite, play his best as the pressure mounts.  The remainder of the Eagles season is favorable but if Wentz doesn’t get his head screwed on right it isn’t going to matter.  Their only chance of making the playoffs is to beat the Cowboys for the NFC East crown.  They are only one game behind so they still have a shot.

As I said, tomorrow the solar project begins.  I have to inform them that all of the painted marks that were laid down last week are incorrect.  It will be interesting to see what all gets done.  I plan to use a good chunk of the day for pressure washing the pool area which will wrap up my list of shitty home maintenance projects for the rest of the year.  If I happen to find any spare time left I need to get the oil changed on the Tacoma and the Hyundai.  It never ends.

I did have some good news on my Prusa MMU2S front, I got my best print out of it to date.  It seems like for reasons undetermined by me yet, running filament through position 1 on the MMU is problematic but if I use spots 2-5 it appears to work sort of well so that is what I am going to do for now, use what works, not what doesn’t.

Yesterday a guy from the solar company stopped by to mark the property for location of the solar array and the wiring to go to the house.  It was the same guy that came out a month and a half ago that I had met.  When I got home I saw the line he painted was 100% wrong, not following the path I told him we needed to follow back in October, I guess he forgot.  The line he painted goes right through buried sprinkler plumbing, buried coax cable, and more.  We need to more or less hug the fence line and then make a 90 degree left hand turn to the house to minimize it’s impact.  I even quickly sketched out a crude diagram of what I meant and sent it to the construction manager.  He said it was no problem and they will follow what ever path I advise them to on Monday.

Last night I set up the folding table and dug more into my Prusa MMU2S issue.  I found a couple things that were not assembled quite as they should be upon reviewing the instructions.  I corrected them best I could and did another test print.  It sort of worked.  I had to babysit the filament in slot one but slot 2 and 3 loaded and unloaded cleanly repeatedly which gave me some hope.  My third Prusa MK3S arrives Monday so I’ll be doing some more shuffling in the hobby room.

I neglected to stay up till 11PM to see the Tesla CyberTruck reveal but I dug in quickly this morning.  I had seen a lot of renderings of what people thought the truck might look like leading up to the reveal.  Some looked sort of normal and some looked sort of crazy, I figured what would be announced would be somewhere in between.  Well I was wrong.

Instead what was rolled out onto the stage was a few degrees beyond the craziest designs I had seen.  The angular design was visually shocking and futuristic.  It looked like some crazy vehicle you would see on a movie set, not a production vehicle.  When I started looking at the numbers my jaw started to drop.  The three levels of equipment had very similar pricing to the Model 3 which was shocking.  An entry level CyberTruck is pegged with a $39,900 starting price with the the top of the line version being $69,900.  This pricing is very competitive with full size ICE trucks.

What was even more surprising was the performance numbers.  The base model gets up to 60MPH in 6 seconds plus, great numbers for a big truck but the “tri-motor” truck will do it in UNDER 3 SECONDS…WTF  Equally impressive was the battery range which started at 250 miles+ for the base all the way up to an incredible 500 MILES on the top tier, a number previously unheard of.  Of course most truck owners care about towing and payload numbers.  The CyberTruck delivers in spades there as well, being able to tow up to a whopping 14,000 pounds with a 3500 pound payload.  It can do real work.

The construction of the truck is unique as well, utilizing stainless steel body panels that appear to be extremely durable.  During the demo they hit a door panel with a rubber coated sledge hammer multiple times without leaving a mark.  The glass on production vehicles is supposed to be bulletproof which they also tried to demonstrate at the reveal, unsuccessfully.  A guy tossed a metal ball at two of the windows.  The intent was for it to bounce off the windows like a basketball but instead it cracked them both, a bit of an embarrassment but Elon assured us it will be fixed in production vehicles. 🙂

So the CyberTruck, despite not being slated to begin production until the end of 2021, which will surely be delayed based on Tesla’s track record, can be reserved with a deposit today.  Gone are the days where Tesla required a big $2500 outlay to reserve a vehicle, it can now be done for a measly $100.  With little hesitation I plunked down a deposit on the mid-level truck.  It’s refundable but who knows, with the predicted timing of the CyberTruck arrival it would coincide with me getting ready to move on from the Tacoma, maybe.  There is a lot that can go down before now and then.

I have a three day weekend coming up thanks to taking off Monday for the solar project launch followed by an even longer four day weekend next week for Thanksgiving.  This weekend I have a bunch to do, shocking I know.  It includes mowing down the back half of the property and getting some pressure washing done.  I’m not sure if I will split the task into the sheds now and the pool area next weekend or try to get all of the misery contained within one arduous day.

 

 

It looks like my solar install is full steam ahead.  Yesterday I called to have the underground utilities marked to make sure nothing is cut during excavation.  Most of the digging is going to occur in the backyard but there will be a long trench cut that leads to the house to tie into the grid.  I took the day off to be available if needed and to allow me to document the process on video.

So last night I spent more time fcking around with the MMU2S attachment on my one Prusa and once again I met with failure.  Obviously by this point I am very frustrated with the set up.  I need to take a deep breath, regroup and methodically step through troubleshooting steps one at a time.  Ironically, despite my annoyance with this particular Prusa product, I bought another MK3S yesterday once again using mostly 3D print store funds.  They were running a 10% off deal right now which incentivized me.  I will now have as many Prusa printers as Anycubic I3 Mega’s, my old workhorse printer.  The MK3S printers are going to be assuming more and more of that role.

Wow Sondland really tossed the stable genius right under the bus yesterday, negating all of Trump’s sharpie scribbled notes.  I’m not sure what was more entertaining, seeing Sondland basically said that Trump and all of the acolytes that ingest his bullshit like sweet nectar are all full of shit or seeing the pic of Trump’s child-like notes.  There is no doubt that this is fantastically, very, very, bad for the extremely stable, sharpie note reading, best of all time, genius.  Please sweep this bad joke out of office.

All it is going to take is a couple brave Republicans to put a crack in the dam of fake, self serving support of the President.  Once that happens and everyone realizes they are backing the losing horse they will abandon ship faster than they did on the Titanic with only Rudy Guilliani left playing violin on the upper deck.

 

I have been checking the solar permit status several times a day.  Yesterday afternoon the status finally changed from “Under Review” to “Ready for Issuance”.  I immediately sent an email to the construction manager making him aware of the change.  An hour or two later I got an email that was exciting at first and then aggravating as I read deeper.  The guy said they would be able to break ground on the project next Monday, a great turnaround time.  However he then continued on saying the solar panels that I was quoted were not available but my install would include one of two other brands which he sent me the spec sheets for.  Woah, let’s slow down chief….

So when I got home I pulled up the spec sheets of the two proposed replacement panels and compared them to the Silfab panels I was quoted.  I could feel the anger swelling up when I saw both of the replacements had less than half of the product warranty that the Silfab panels do.  They offered 10 year product and 25 year performance guarantees, the Silfab are 25 year product and 30 year performance, a HUGE difference.  My immediate reflex reaction was this was a bait and switch.  The Silfab panels also appear to cost more so I theorized this was a way to pad the bottom line if the customer was asleep at the wheel.

Before responding to the email I got on the Silfab website to verify they were still producing panels, which they are, albeit the model numbers have changed.  I then crafted a measured but firm email to the construction manager telling him I was not agreeable to swapping out the hardware for something with a far inferior warranty.  I also said I didn’t appreciate the timing, dropping this at the last minute after the permit was approved.  If this was truly an issue it could have been brought to my attention weeks ago.  I summarized that my preference was to still go with the Silfab panels and said if the other panels were the only option then I would need to renegotiate the price downward.

This morning I received a follow up email apologizing for the problem.  Supposedly they just found this out yesterday when they went to order the panels from their normal supplier.  The manager again pushed to use one of the alternatives with a third option of getting a different model of the Silfab panels although the timeline for doing that would be unknown.  As I was in the middle of responding to the email, saying again basically “Silfab or I pay less” I got ANOTHER email from the construction manager.  He said his boss did some legwork and was able to get the panels ordered from an alternative supplier. I deleted my draft email and instead sent a short and sweet reply, confirming we were once again on for Monday.

I plan to take the day off from work so I can document the process and answer/address any questions or problems that may arise.  To be honest it’s been so long since I agreed to the solar install that it almost feels not real at this point.  I guess once shovels start hitting the dirt that perspective will change pretty quickly.

Last night I stayed up after midnight watching Ironman 3 on Disney +.  Of course I saw this movie in the the theater but evidently I forgot huge chunks of detail about the story.  It almost felt like I was seeing it for the first time.  Cindy and I both enjoyed it.  That’s the great thing about being old, even old things seem new again, because you forget them.

I have seen some of the impeachment hearings and they are in a word, maddening.  The same thing gets asked 20 times, looking for the slightest crack to try to redirect the narrative to something that looks less dirty.  The entire event is truly a circus and if it had a chance of actually ending in the outcome of throwing Donald out onto the lawn of the Whitehouse, it would be worth the effort.  However we all know the partisan Iron Curtain is awaiting in the Senate so no matter how much dirt is thrown on the floor during the inquiry, Republicans will happily sweep it all under a very large rug.  Nothing to see here folks, our extremely stable genius leader has all the answers.