I had quite the busy weekend.  I wound up working at our one branch until around 10:30PM Friday night.  We ran into several roadblocks during the install which took time to unravel.  I was back there at 8:30 the next morning and plugged away until about noon.  The office only has six computers and it consumed that much time.  It makes me nervous because this weekend we are doing the same thing at our main office which has somewhere around 25 machines, it’s going to be a real slog.  The only good thing is there will be more hands on deck to handle the additional machines.

Saturday was Cindy’s birthday so I felt bad having to work half of it but she was working at the nursery anyway until 2PM so it was less impactful.  When I got home after eating lunch I dug into tasks, getting the weeding done outside and then making the icing for Cindy’s birthday cake.  By the time she got home the cake was in the fridge and I was buzzing around trying to make sure she did not have any tasks to do on her bday.

Katie and DJ came over shortly after Cindy got home.  As has become customary DJ immediately came to me and grabbed onto my hand to start walking me around the house.  This was my primary function for the next several hours, walking around with DJ.  If Cindy or Katie tried to hold him for even a second DJ would instantly start to cry until I was by his side.  His connection with me is very strong.

So every year since I have been with Cindy I take her out for dinner on her birthday.  Just like so many things in 2020, covid-19 has changed that tradition as well.  Instead of a traditional restaurant experience we ordered take out from Outback.  All four of us went to pick it up in the Tesla which was fun.  When we got home Cindy got to enjoy the steak dinner she was craving under our own roof.  We finished up by enjoying the chocolate cake which turned out well.  It certainly wasn’t a traditional birthday but Cindy said she loved it all the same.

Sunday morning I did my normal tasks including a run to Home Depot with Cindy.  We got done just in time for the Eagles kick off against the Ravens.  For a good portion of the game the Ravens were walking all over the Eagles, I think near the end of the first half the Eagles had something like 5 yards of offense, it was pathetic.  At the same time the defense was a revolving door, allowing the Ravens to score at will, similar to the Steelers game.  Late in the game the Eagles did make a comeback and had a chance to tie the game with a two point conversion that failed.  The end result was 1-4-1 record.  If the Eagles were in any division but the NFC  East their season would be pretty much done by now.  It was the first home game where fans were allowed in the stadium, albeit a maximum of 7500 of them.

I finally got to dig into my new Oculus Quest 2 Sunday afternoon.  The last time I messed around with VR was years ago, I had no idea how far the technology had advanced, I do now.  Once I got into my virtual environment my mind was immediately blown.  The realism was off the charts.  I started to install some apps and went deeper into the world of VR.  I played a Star Wars game that made it feel like I was doing one of the simulators at Disney, only better.  I entered a virtual theater which showed me content on a massive screen with an amazingly detailed environment, it was just cool.

Oculus also has one click broadcasting to Facebook, I did just that for about 5 or 6 minutes of Star Wars play.  You can also broadcast the view from the headset to a local phone or tablet so people can see what you are seeing.  I had Cindy observing as I stumbled through a virtual chat room which was pretty bizarre and a bit creepy.  It will be interesting how well I will be able to juggle my normally slim amounts of free time to allow me to geek out on the Quest more.

This week promises to be busy again with the big after hours office project this weekend looming over everything.

 

My commute last night was frustrating.  As I approached the intersection of Immokalee Road and Collier Blvd I hit horrendous traffic.  I crawled along in it for nearly 25 minutes, looking for some sign of an accident that was causing the delay.  When I finally got to the light I saw there wasn’t an accident at all, the delay was caused by cones blocking off the one turning lane.  There was no work being performed in the lane, there was some workers doing shit for yet another new development on the side of Immokalee Road.  I could not control my frustration and anger at the moment.  I thought it was bullshit that they would be doing this during rush hour.  I rolled down my window and yelled IDIOTS, as I drove by the crew causing the quagmire.  It’s not a response I am proud of but it was a genuine response all the same.

My main task last night was to get the famous chocolate cake made for Cindy’s birthday on Saturday.  Last night was the target because I have to work late tonight and part of the day Saturday at our one branch.  Because of the timing, I just made the cake but not the icing.  The cake will live covered in the fridge until Saturday when I’ll make the icing to complete the project.

Cindy and I got to watch Savannah Guthrie, a former lawyer, host the Trump town hall.  Wow that was something to see.  She was like a police K-9 dog that would grab onto Trump’s arm and would absolutely not let go.  Every time Trump would throw out a lie Savannah was locked and loaded with Donald’s kryptonite, facts and his own words/actions, reflected back into his face.  She was great, pressing Trump in ways few have.  He was obviously angered and agitated through most of the one hour broadcast.  Cindy and I wondered how much the woman was paid that was in the background of each Trump shot who did nothing but shake her head up and down in agreement the entire time he was talking.  It was creepy.

Trump, as he always does when talking off a script said some really stupid and damning things.  I thought the most egregious was when Savannah asked him about something he recently retweeted that was proven to be categorically false.  His response was “well that was a retweet” as if that somehow absolves him from responsibility for it’s content.  He dug his hole further saying that his attitude was he would just get it out in front of the people and let them decide if it’s true or not.  What in the actual F is he talking about?  To imagine his thought processes are so dysfunctional that he would make such a statement is a little terrifying.  Savannah of course was all over it, reminding Don that he was the President of the United States, not some “crazy uncle”.  It was something to see.  When asked if he actually got a covid test prior to the last debate he said “Maybe I did, maybe I didn’t”, yes that is your leader.

It was stupid that they had Biden and Trump doing their own town halls at the same time, the end result of Donald tantruming that he didn’t want a “virtual” town hall.  Big League Don was only on for an hour.  It looked like Bidens town hall actually went on for two hours although the network only broadcast an hour of it because of fairness rules.  There will be one final actual debate next week, I can only imagine what new ways Donald will find to further embarrass our country during the broadcast.

As mentioned I am working for a chunk of the weekend and with Cindy’s birthday being Saturday I am sure the time will fly by.  Cindy requested steak for her birthday dinner so I plan to be trying out Outback’s take out service for the first time.  Cindy is not comfortable with the idea of conventional restaurant dining yet and based on the way the covid numbers are boomeranging I can’t blame her.

When I got home yesterday I had a nice surprise, Katie and DJ were there.  For whatever reason the second I enter his space, no matter who else is there, he wants my attention.  If he is restrained from coming to me even briefly he starts to cry.  So after I got home last night I spent around an hour with DJ.  When he was smaller he wanted me to mostly just hold him and carry him around.  Now that he is bigger and more mobile he likes to hold my hand and lead me around the house and the yard.  It’s very cute.

I do see why Cindy has said that when she watches him for extended periods of time it can get exhausting.  If he is awake you have to constantly be on guard.  When we were out on the lanai I had to scoop him up multiple times as he was ready to walk right into the pool, without hesitation. He will walk right off of furniture as well, if not guarded.  His love of putting things in his mouth is also a constant danger that has to be monitored.

That being said, he is now big enough that the sense of fragility that existed when he was a smaller baby is lessened.  He loved as I tossed him into the pillows of our bed and wrapped him up in a blanket.  He was a sweaty, smiling bundle of joy at the end.  That smile is quickly replaced with tears and crying however when it is time for him to leave.  I feel so bad about it that I try to avoid being part of the process of taking him out to the car to avoid getting him more upset.  It’s funny just how strong of a connection that me and the little guy have developed.  I am grateful that I am getting to experience, albeit in small doses, the world of babies growing up.  It’s something that I thought I would do myself when I was younger man but something that I wrote off as life progressed.

I just bought a new PC a couple years ago, an HP Omen which was tagged as a serious gaming rig.  I have been less than thrilled with the purchase as the system had cooling issues which required me to install a liquid cooler as well as a flaky video card that has failed not once, but twice.  With adding the 360 camera to my arsenal the Omen’s ability to crunch video files, which is very CPU intensive, has been a bottleneck.  I’ve decided to relieve some of that pressure with a custom built PC by a local company.  For the first time I will not have an Intel CPU at the heart of my system.  I am going with the AMD Ryzen 9 3900X, which when paired with 3600MHZ memory should chew up video editing significantly faster than my Omen does.  As has been the case in the past, my Omen will then get transformed into Cindy’s PC which will be a sweet upgrade for her.

For some reason I have found myself thinking about the state of America and specifically the state of people that steadfastly, unconditionally, and lustfully support Donald Trump.   I’m not sure why I even decided to think about it. At this point I have just written it off as a sad fact of life in today’s society, greedy, verbally aggressive liars are the new hot trend.

Still, I thought about this further.  To pretty much every single person in the United States, Kim Jong Un is viewed as a ruthless and evil dictator that has moved North Korea back into the dark ages.  His time in power has resulted in infinite amounts of misery for the population.  However despite all of this whenever he is seen in public he is surrounded by wild enthusiasm by the same people he loves to oppress. Sound familiar?

I have absolutely no doubt that the the majority of the civilized countries beyond our borders look at the current state of the United States with similar levels of confusion and concern. How in 2020 racism, suppression, division, bullying, and minuscule vocabularies has become the accepted status quo in America is bewildering to me.

To imagine that we have a sitting president that would send this out over social media is embarrassing yet not surprising based on the prior four years.  I would love to ask Trump supporters that are also parents a very simple question.  As you are raising/raised your child, would you have encouraged name calling, bullying, lying, sexual predator, racist, or egotistical behavior in them?  Of course you wouldn’t.  If that is the case, why would you support a man that exhibits all of these behaviors in spades, as your president?  It’s one of life’s mysteries to me.  I can only hope the book of horrors can be closed in a few weeks.

In my most recent edition of AARP magazine, (don’t laugh), they had Q&A with both candidates.  It was a crystal clear reflection on the mentality of Donald Trump, the ONLY thing he thinks that matters is a high stock market number.  No matter what question that was posed to him, even a question about the racial conflict that has blossomed under his leadership, his answer was basically the same. We had the strongest economy in history before the “China Virus”.  I kid you not, that was the gist of his answer.

The list this weekend was short.  Cindy started a new job at a local nursery part time so she was working on Saturday from 9-2, giving me time to roam around the house solo to get stuff done, which I sort of like.  By the time she got done I had already finished most of my chores plus I got the property mowed.  I was inside for a little more than an hour when I proclaimed I was going back outside to run the pressure washer, a non-list item.  The sheds and castle stone boundaries around the house both were looking scuzzy.  My rough mental estimate was I could finish cleaning these things in a couple hours.  I walked back inside about 7PM, covered in filth, some four hours later.  It was a dirty, unfun job but I now should be in the clear with pressure washing those parts of the landscape for at least 6 months.  The high pressure makes everything look shiny and new.

I still have the tree trimming project looming in my future.  The person I contacted to do the work quoted me a reasonable number per tree but he is already demonstrating the lack of communication that I despise.  Responses to messages come not in minutes or even in hours, but days.  Hey I’m not in a rush to get the trees  done tomorrow but after my experience with Miguel, I am extra sensitive to people that don’t prioritize reasonable communication with their potential customers.

Sunday morning I took my Inmotion V11 for a range test out to Ave Maria.  I have done this ride before on the wheel but I did it while restricting my top end speed to about 20mph.  This time I wanted to not restrict my speed and see how well the wheel did.  Well I got my answer and it wasn’t good. I was kicked off the wheel with severe tilt back with over 6 miles remaining on my ride.  Luckily Cindy was available to come pick me up with the Tacoma.  I was pretty disappointed in the wheels range under these conditions, despite knowing that higher speed equals less range, dramatically so in this case.

I got home just as the Eagles/Steelers game was beginning.  The game was similar to most Eagles games this season, frustrating.  They allowed the Steelers to score the most points they have managed in something like two years.  The defense this year has been a doormat more often than not.  Wentz was his normal inconsistent self making some great throws offset by some terrible ones, adding two more interceptions to his tally.  I came away from the game realizing this years Eagles are not going to be providing me with a lot of happy emotions.

I spent a good chunk of time editing the video of the ride.  It took stupid long.  I tried the 4K mode for the 360 camera, not knowing how it worked.  My first mistake was allowing it to shoot in 4K which makes for ridiculously large files.  Second, the only way I could get the video stabilized is to run it through the Insta360 editor first which took forever.  With my GoPro the files that come off the camera are already stabilized.  It literally took me over an hour to simply export the files in a format that I could even use in my normal editor.  It also had a much narrower field of view which made much of the footage look dumb.  I now clearly know to never use the 4K mod on that camera again.

I have a busy week ahead with work projects and two birthdays, my sister and Cindy.  I committed to making the famous chocolate cake for Cindy’s birthday.  We are also planning to do an Outback dinner, at home.  I am sure they do take out delivery like most other chains and Cindy said she had a hankering for steak.

 

So yesterday after four tries I finally got the mask portion of my Iron Man helmet to print.  It took some modified settings and some painters tape to ensure the part did not break free from the print surface.  Last night I then printed the “lips” as well, leaving only the small eye sections to go.   I will then turn the project over to Cindy who will have the task of putting all of the parts together and making the final product look pretty.  The project has been a test of determination and patience.  If you lack both of these, 3D printing is probably not a great hobby for you.

I have totally neglected to mention that I sold our Concept 2 rower last week.  I bought the rower from one of our old running club co-workers years ago who has since unfriended me because I didn’t share his feelings about Donald Trump.  I thought Cindy and I could use the rower to supplement our fitness program.  Cindy only tried it once or twice before declaring it was too difficult for her to grip the handle.  I used the rower sparingly during times when running was off the menu due to injury.

Since running is now permanently off the menu you would think the rower would have seen more use but I have found I enjoy the more interactive workout I am getting on Cindy’s Echelon bike to be more fun so the rower has just been collecting dust.  I sold the rower on FB Marketplace with minimal issue.  I don’t quite remember what I paid for the rower years ago but I am pretty sure that I sold it for more than I laid out, a rarity.

The weekend list is not huge but I may throw a pressure washing session in there if time/motivation allows.  I also made an inquiry to someone regarding doing some of the hated tree trimming project.  He has not gotten back to me but I am definitely open to paying someone to trim the trees that require ladder work, if it is not back breaking expensive.

Cindy and I watched the VP debate last night.  It had it’s share of the candidates talking over the moderator but overall was more “standard” in it’s execution.  Depending on the camera angle Mike Pence looked like a mannequin or the prior pope, you know, the one that basically looked like the devil reincarnated into human form. He is one creepy dude. Now of course looks may provide entertainment and commentary but it isn’t what a debate should be about.

Pence utilized similar talking points as Big Don but to his credit did not include the interrupting and yelling every 8 seconds as his boss did.  Repeatedly when asked direct questions that he did not want to answer he pivoted to one of his rehearsed talking points.  He was forced to do this quite a few times as there are a lot of issues in the Trump presidency that are open sores which they don’t want to not talk about.  I thought Kamela did well, the only question she didn’t want to answer was if the democrats planned to “stuff” the Supreme Court if the republicans ram through their nominee for RBG’s seat.

But the star of the show was the fly that landed on Mike Pence’s head and remained there for at least 5 minutes.  His hair must have had so much product in it that he could not feel the fly walking around.  I kept wondering if the moderator or Kamela would tell Mike about the fly but they did not.  There was something magically symbolic about a fly sitting on the VP’s head during a debate, a scene we are unlikely to see repeated anytime soon.

I heard they want to make the next debate virtual since President Big League got the rona and can’t be trusted to use solid safety precautions.  As expected his immediate reaction was more tantruming with threats to not participate.  That would not bother me or the majority of Americans in the least.

When Don contracted covid I had a similar reaction to the 65% of the country that is not under his spell, karma is a bitch.  The irony of the president contracting the disease that he has basically cultivated and nurtured via his ignorance was classic.  Of course the second he had symptoms, our brave and courageous leader was lightning quick to suddenly embrace science, receiving extensive treatment and meds that the general public will never get, again, ironic.

So when this started, me, one of the biggest pessimists around actually had the thought briefly in my head that maybe this experience would actually knock some sense into Trump.  Possibly he would now see the error in his ways and would tone down his public disdain for medical experts and set a tone of more care and responsibility. That thought evaporated when the Very Stable Big League Genius President Tweety sent out “Don’t be afraid of Covid” from his Twitter account yesterday.  THAT, is what he learned from this.

As I said, I should know better than to think Trump would have anything resembling a deep thought or self reflection.  I internally chastised myself for thinking even for a millisecond he would perhaps admit his lying, ignorance and deliberate misleading of the public was a mistake.  Trump is the ultimate paper tiger, the classic bully.  The second something real gets in his face he runs for assistance.  His behavior is what parents grew up telling their kids to not be, yet those same children mutated into adults that suckle at the teet of this carnival performer like their lips had superglue on them.

It’s just another item to throw onto the pile of disgrace.  That disgrace pile is getting so big I heard they are going to ship it over to China for recycling.

As predicted, I kept the list down to single digits this weekend.  I hit things hard on Saturday.  My weed whacking session, despite it being what I normally do felt like it went on forever.  Forever was probably closer to two hours which is a long time to be holding a vibrating and spinning stick in your hands.  I even got my indoor work pretty complete including replacing the hot end on my one Prusa MK3S.  That was the last outstanding repair I had in there meaning all 9 printers in the room are again functional, a rarity.

I have been struggling to get all 9 parts of the Iron Man mask successfully completed.  At this point all of the red pieces are done, all that remains is the front mask and chin piece.  I have had the mask print fail 3 times so far.  I need to tweak some print settings and give it another go tonight.

Saturday night we watched Ford vs Ferrari which tells the real life story of the rivalry of the two companies back in the 60s.  If you aren’t a car person you won’t enjoy the film as much as Cindy and I did but you still will like it.  We both felt it was A level entertainment.

The entire weekend was overcast but the second half of Saturday and all of Sunday was especially that way with a few periods of pounding rain for good measure.  My Sunday was as chore free as they can be for me.  Outside of a few small things I spent the day doing mostly what I wanted, which was nice for a change. Part of that included going on another PEV ride with Cindy.  We stayed close to the house due to the threatening skies surrounding us.

The Eagles didn’t play until Sunday night against the 49ers, yes the team that went to the Super Bowl last year.  I had already assumed it would be another loss and was not excited at all to watch the latest under-performance.  I did not realize that if there was one team that could possibly go head to head with the Eagles in terms of being decimated by injuries, it’s the Niners.  Like the Birds their line up was missing at least 25% of the normal starters.

I felt very fortunate and surprised to see the Eagles come away with a win.  Don’t worry, the Eagles did their best to give it away at the end letting the Niners 3rd string QB come up just short of scoring two TD’s in three minutes.  The victory was only assured when the pass into the end zone was thankfully knocked away by Darius Slay. So what are my thoughts about the team now, since they have secured their first win? To be honest, not all that different.

Wentz was just ok, being the most effective when he was running with the ball instead of passing for a good portion of the game.  The injuries on this team are debilitating.  We have back ups to the backs ups taking snaps.  These injuries specifically to the wide receivers has made Zac Ertz pretty much invisible so far this season.  The lack of WR threat allows teams to lock down on Ertz.  I still don’t see any bright future for this team in 2020 in the cards.  The insane thing is with a record of 1-2-1, the Eagles are in first place in the NFC East.  Yes the division has become the toilet division of the NFL, it’s sort of sad.

Covid 19 is already starting to create havoc in the league with multiple teams reporting outbreaks which are going to be a mess to work out.  When NFL games get cancelled it isn’t like you can just play a double header later to make up for it.  I’m also glad we decided to cancel our fantasy football league this year.  Fantasy leagues are on the verge of being cancelled because of Covid.  It creates roster uncertainty that makes it impossible to field a team in some situations.

Much of the news over the weekend was focused on Donald contracting covid 19.  Evidently his symptoms worsened enough to require hospital admission.  Just like every other aspect of the Trump administration, there has been an effort to obfiscuate the facts of the situation.  One thing that was clear, despite having Covid, Don still has the intense desire to devour adulation from his devout acolytes.  Despite being actively contagious he determined it was necessary to take a SUV ride around the hospital so he could wave to his fans, putting anyone in close contact with him at risk.  There is also all sorts of collateral damage as the president appears to be a “super spreader” as a ton of people in his circle of existence now have tested positive for covid as well, including Chris Christy who was Trump’s “debate coach”.  If he told Trump to act like that on stage it seems he should be happy to share in the covid joy.

There are all sorts of rumors circulating that Trump having covid is a false flag, that somehow it would garner him a pity vote in the election.  I don’t buy it.  I can see no scenario where Don’s getting covid as being anything but the cherry on top of his mountain of bullshit.  Of course the hardcore Trumpers will never open their eyes or ears to any alternative course but I can not see how this covid positive test can be anything but the final damning act of this four year circus of insanity.