Category: Anything and Everything

Yesterday after I got home I saw an email come in that showed as being from Cindy.  It was obviously bogus as it said it contained an invoice with a link to view/pay it.  Almost immediately after seeing it I got a message since I am also the administrator for her email account indicating that her account has been suspended because it was sending a large amount of external emails.  When I logged into the admin area to view details it said her email account had sent out almost 500 emails before it got shut down.  Cindy soon found others had received the same fake invoice email that was sent to me.  It appeared that someone had the credentials to her email account.

This is different than normal email spoofing where a spammer can simply replace the “From” email address with anything they want.  This practice has become less and less effective as spoofed emails are often flagged and not delivered to people’s inboxes.  So the way to get around this is to take over someone’s email account, that way the emails appear to be legitimate and less likely to be screened out.

So the first thing we did before I reactivated her account was to change her password to something unique, not used anywhere else.  The reason you hear the advice to not reuse passwords is it is an easy way for someone shady to get credentials to multiple accounts of yours if that password sits somewhere that has been compromised by the numerous security breaches we hear about all too often.  After changing her password I triggered a logout of her account anywhere it’s logged in currently, legitimate or not.  That way if a bad guy is logged in somewhere once he is kicked out he will no longer have the correct credentials to get back in.  Finally I ran a full scan on her PC just to make sure there wasn’t something installed locally that was grabbing her credentials.  That scan came up clean.

I reactivated her account and have not seen any more notifications about abuse but my antenna has certainly been raised.  This sort of stuff has become so commonplace that it sometimes can become background noise.  You have to make sure you are always listening closely.

 

Both Cindy and I busted it for a good portion of the day Saturday.  Cindy took care of mowing the front and far back sections of the property while I tackled a long overdue project, completely cleaning out the big shed.  I have half assed done it a time or two but the last time I pulled everything out and really cleaned it may be four years ago at this point.  It was a particularly gross job this time around due to the palm rat issue we have had the last few years. There was tons of rat shit pushed into the corners which only got exposed when everything was pulled out.  There was also rat excrement on boxes and fabric we had in there for frost covering, all that got thrown out.

It was a good way to cleanse and purge the space.  I hauled two truck loads of unwanted things to the curb.  A surprising amount of it got reclaimed by passersby in the next few hours.  I have a decent amount of unused storage space in the shed now and it will hopefully stay that way.  I plan to be more selective about what I decide is worth keeping or not down the road.  The work took over three hours.  My lower back was badly sore by the end of it as my Advil had worn off.  Aches and pains are just a fact of life at this point.

Cindy and I went out to dinner for the third weekend in a row,  this time to Burgerfi.  We were amazed when we entered the place and there were NO other customers inside.  Cindy was actually amicable to eating inside under those conditions, the first time we have done so in probably a year.  Of course once we sat down a few other people showed up and did the same, it was fine.

On Sunday after running errands in the morning I spent a good portion of the afternoon installing mods and then another couple hours editing the footage from it.  One of the devices I tried to install, a USB hub that increases the amount of ports available did not work as expected so I need to find out if it’s defective or not.  I also messed up my screen protector install a bit but it’s good enough that I don’t care to redo it.

Since the shed was freshly cleaned I had the live trap out there Saturday night just to make sure there weren’t any new rodents hanging out.  The trap was empty Sunday morning.  I decided to place it in the chicken run last night because I had seen some stray rat shit here and there recently.  When I went out there this morning the trap had a resident in it. We took a ride together in the Model Y on my way into work where he got released into a remote area where he can hopefully live his palm rat life without being a nuisance to others.

We are T-4 days until my second colonoscopy takes place.  I just want to get it the hell over with.  My hope is knowing what to expect this time around will make it slightly less miserable.  It’s good to have hope, right?

 

 

I had my brief consult for my colonoscopy this morning.  It was like a gross GroundHogs Day as I had gone through this almost exactly three years ago.  I got a reminder of the fun that awaits me starting next Thursday when I begin an all liquid diet.  The real adventure starts Thursday evening when I take my first dose of “prep” which will invoke end of world diarrhea.  I’m not sure which is worse, the time on the bowl or trying to choke down the solution which is one of the worst tasting things I have ever put down my throat.  The news only improves from there as I set an alarm for 3:30AM to take the second and final dose of prep.

The first time I had this done it was made worse by the fact that I was coming down with something like the flu at the same time as the procedure.  I am hoping to at least be healthy going in this time.  I recall doing tons of sleeping  and not much else the 24 hours after the last go round. I know this is an important/smart thing to get done so I will tolerate the couple days of misery to avoid the true nightmare of colon cancer.

Last night Cindy and I played some virtual bowling.  As has become customary, despite my hundreds if not thousands of games of real bowling in my life, on the virtual lanes I lose.  It was still fun as we interacted with some other people that were in the same lane with us.  After we were done bowling Cindy signed out but I jumped over into VR Chat which is a bizarro world filled with non-stop visual overload and random interactions with other human beings.  During my 90 minute session in there I had Ronald McDonald reciting poetry to me, me getting motion sick when I made the mistake of getting on a virtual spring ride that rocked back and forth, told to “get down on the ground” by a virtual SWAT team that came charging into my zone, and numerous other interactions that just make me LOL repeatedly.  I have never taken LSD but if I did, I imagine VR Chat would be a good simulation of the experience.

This weekend I have a healthy list of tasks I want to complete.  Cindy got a head start on it by getting the back yard mowed.  I want to basically mow everything so it’s uniform.  I have a few small mods I want to put on the Model Y and I am also targeting the big shed for a complete cleaning/throw out/organization effort.  It’s getting out of hand.  I really am not a fan of things being piled up in haphazard ways.  Once the clutter reaches a certain point I just have to address it sooner rather than later.

 

 

This morning I dropped off the Model Y for what I consider a necessary upgrade for Florida residents, window tint install.  I dropped the car off at the same place that did the Model 3, they have done good work for me and others in the past.  I used it as an opportunity to get a brief EUC commute in as I had my V11 in the trunk of the car.  I used it to zip the last couple miles to the office and will use it to pick the car back up this afternoon.

Luckily the back doors, hatch and glass roof already have dark tint on them.  Not having it on the front windows has been immediately noticeable on my commutes as the sun quickly bakes your arms.  Aesthetically having all the windows dark looks better as well so I’m looking forward to both the functional and visual improvements.  This weekend I have a couple other small “mods” I want to put on the car as well as give it a thorough bath.  It seems like whatever they did at the dealership was not all that thorough.

 

Yesterday was my first work commute in the new Model Y.  As expected it went great.  I have been discovering a couple things I no longer can do without FSD, they are small inconveniences but nothing that would make me fork over 10K to get them back. For example I can no longer have the car back out of the garage itself.  Since I park on the left side of the garage I had gotten in the habit of doing that instead of trying to squeeze into the car.  The car also no longer will change lanes automatically when I engage the turn signal, I have to do it the old fashioned way, oh, the horror.  Until FSD matures into true autonomous vehicle operation I can’t justify the expense at this point and time.

This Friday I have my consult for my follow up colonoscopy which occurs the Friday after that.  I just want to get this over with.  I am hoping things down there look clean so this time so I can get off the three year cycle.  Knowing what to expect this time is good and bad, I suppose.

On Saturday the main focus was to get my Model 3 ready to trade in.  Doing so meant I needed to remove a number of the mods I installed and just clear the car out of everything but the stuff it came with.  It was a bit of a bittersweet process as I have loved my Model 3 since the day I got it.  In addition to physically removing items I also needed to make sure I had all of my I’s dotted and T’s crossed.  All of the paperwork for the car was signed electronically so I just had to make sure I had basic things like my old car registration, insurance card and drivers license.   I also charged the car to 95% to make sure I had plenty of juice for it’s final cross state journey under my ownership.

During late afternoon I did a speed run to our new DD on the V11.  I filmed the first half of the ride.  I couldn’t film the second half because I was carrying coffee for both myself and Cindy.

Saturday night Cindy and I went out to dinner for the second week in a row.  We planned to go to the same place we did last time but they were not doing any outside seating when we arrived because there was some band setting up out there.  Instead we walked down the sidewalk to some Mexican restaurant who had outside tables available. We had a good dinner although Cindy had to send her chimichanga back because the first try had the beans in it that she asked to be removed.  It was once again nice to get out.  We took the Model 3 there on it’s final date.

Sunday morning I was hustling to get my normal chicken and bill paying chores finished up before we had to leave. SInce the appointment was at 12 I figured we needed to head out around 10 to make it there with a bit to spare.  I also loaded up not one but two sets of camera equipment to document the process.  One was used in car on the suction cup mount to the glass roof and the other a handheld.  Buying a new Tesla is something people like checking out.

The ride over to Fort Lauderdale went well.  The reduced range of the Model 3, somewhere around 12% after 25,000 miles on the odometer, meant we rolled into the dealership with about 18% charge remaining.  The transaction efficiency at the dealership was nothing short of amazing and far better than my first go through with the Model 3 which included a lot of waiting and the car not being prepped.  This time we were completely done in something like 25 minutes.  I had to sign exactly ONE piece of paper.  Cindy and I did a thorough go round of the vehicle to make sure there weren’t any significant flaws before taking delivery.  We found none but later we discovered one, which I will cover shortly.  This video covers the drive over in the 3 and back in the Y.

Cindy seemed to love the car even more than I did.  She loved the pearl white color, the room, and the ability of the car to have “camp” mode.  She has a desire to camp out in the Model Y for some reason.  After picking up the car we grabbed lunch at California Pizza Kitchen and then headed westward.  The drive back was great.  I did notice the things I could no longer do with the removal of FSD from my account like auto lane changes, traffic device awareness, and summoning but those features while nice, are not deserving of a 10K premium at this point for me.

Once we got home I worked on getting stuff moved into the Y.  During that time I found out that some of the accessories that I planned to move to the Y were not compatible like the USB hub.  Since my Model 3 Tesla has switched around the USB configuration in the car, making most of the ports type C instead of type A.  I also have the chrome delete kit for the the 3 that I never got a chance to install.  As of now I am thinking about giving away the stuff I can’t use on my YouTube channel as a promotion.

During this time I also discovered that there was a blemish in our brand new Y. The wiring harness for the passenger rear door was not installed correctly.  The bracket and the rubber boot designed to cover it were hanging out awkwardly.  Both myself and Cindy took a shot at pushing it into place but could not do so with our hands.  I did not want to risk breaking a part on the brand new car so I just placed a service call with Tesla.  They will come to my house in a couple weeks to fix it and at that time they can also install the Homelink hardware that I bought for the Y to allow me to open the garage as well.  It was annoying that the car was not 100% as it should be but to be honest Tesla owners are sort of used to this stuff by now, not that it is a good thing.

The rest of the night was spent editing video mostly and planning what initial accessories are on the short list for the car.  Ironically I heard that for some reason the base model Y is not currently even available to buy on the Tesla web site now.  I appear to have gotten very lucky, just happening to look for one during a very brief 2 day window where they were available at a 2K discount.  Crazy shit.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Yesterday I tuned in to the live stream of the new Mars Rover landing, the Perseverance.  It was utilizing the same amazing approach to landing as the last lander.  The mother capsule drops from orbit as most reentries utilizing a heat shield.  A huge parachute is deployed and then the heat shield is ejected, exposing the transport vehicle and the rover itself.  This combo drops out of the capsule as the transport fires up rockets to continue the controlled descent.  Then just as the surface is imminent, the transport vehicle lowers the rover down on a high tech winch which I believe is about 20 feet long.  Just as the rover is about to touch down the winch is released, allowing the rover to softly touch down while the transport vehicle jets off to crash land far away safely.

Watching the animation of how this entire procedure occurs is fascinating for me and mind blowing as well.  To be able to have such precise actions take place autonomously 120 million miles away is a testament to science and how far it has come.  To see the entire control room erupt in cheers when a safe landing was confirmed was inspiring and awesome.  One of the many things I regret about being older is my window for bearing witness to just how far we will go in space exploration is limited.  The infinite depths of space has amazed me for as long as I can remember remembering.  The mission is hoping to definitively find signs of prior life on the planet and if they get really lucky, present life.  It would be a game changer for sure.

The Eagles officially shipped Carson Wentz to the Colts yesterday.  It is pretty amazing how the perception of Carson Wentz has changed since his benching based on numerous “unnamed sources”.  Carson himself has not said shit since he was benched but people around him have been chattering non-stop.  What came out made it seem like the image we all had of Carson was a bit skewed.  Once he was benched despite his outward team first statements, it was clear he was really offended by the benching.  It also became clear that Carson had a bit of prima donna in him and was not all that willing to be coached or to own up to his own shortcomings in game management.  Once that sort of stuff was circulated in the media it was like blood in the water for Philly fans.

The trade talk circus since the end of the season has been drama filled with the Eagles reportedly wanting a lot more than teams were willing to give for a QB they clearly had had enough of.  The Colts will be an interesting destination for Wentz.  He will get his opportunity to prove if this past year was an aberration brought on by a ridiculous amount of injuries on the roster.  On the other hand it could be that defensive coordinators have simply figured Wentz out and know how to disrupt his game.  Either Carson adapts/improves or he gets an early NFL exit, time will tell.

One thing that is without question is the disappointment all Eagles fans feel.  The team mortgaged their future to get Wentz, sure that they had landed their franchise QB for the next decade or more.  When you invest that much and have it fall apart a few years later feels like a divorce.  It stings and will take awhile to fade away. I do truly hope he does well for the Colts.

So as I mentioned yesterday the idea of upgrading my Model 3 for a Y came rushing into my head over the last couple days. I shot two videos yesterday.  In the first one I laid out the pros and cons of moving to a Y.  In that video I ended with an affirmation that I wanted to “cool off” a bit to subdue the impulse buy tendencies that have come around more and more over the last 10 years as I have become more financially robust.  Well by late afternoon the cool down had expired as I pushed the BUY NOW button on the Tesla site for the Model Y.

During the day I was running scenarios and numbers to convince myself that I could upgrade to the latest and greatest car Tesla makes without significantly impacting my monthly budget.  My loan on my Model 3 is the 72 month variety. Because the interest rate on a new loan is more than a point lower now, I can actually do a 60 month loan on the Y with essentially the same payment which was another push in the buy now direction.  I had other factors that influenced me like Cindy being excited about the prospect of a bigger and more flexible car with the hatchback configuration.  So after the BUY NOW button was pressed it triggered a long series of required actions.

I had to complete two extra steps on the Tesla site that I had not needed to do when I bought the Model 3, credit application and the trade in details.  When I bought the 3 I had no trade as I gave the Prius to Katie and I self financed through my credit union.  This time Tesla’s finance rate is actually better than the credit union and I am trading a car.  The additional hoops I had to jump through were not major and had all requested documentation uploaded by last night. On the web site it says typical wait for a Model Y is 2-6 weeks however a local Tesla sales rep told me they had a car with my specs in inventory in Fort Lauderdale, meaning I could take delivery in 2-3 days instead, sweet.

When I got home I started on the de-modding process of the Model 3 which started with putting the wheel covers back on.  I have a bunch of other things I will be reversing and removing.  Some of the stuff I can reuse in the Model Y, some of it will be given away or sold.  I had a bit of remorse as I started the work, which I filmed of course.  The Model 3 truly has been my favorite daily driver I have ever had in my life.  It’s crazy that almost two years has already passed since I bought it.

I do look forward to the Model Y for sure.  It’s higher profile, hatchback flexibility and slighter larger dimensions are all things I will appreciate.  It should be simply adding on to all of the things I already love about my Model 3.  I did chose to drop full self driving on the Model Y although it still has autopilot which is what I use the vast majority of the time.  If I want to add FSD back in when it is truly ready for prime time, I can, for a price of course.  The Y is Pearl White which looks good for sure.  I don’t know that it is as sharp as the Midnight Silver of my Model 3 but it also won’t look as dirty as the 3 either.  That paint color shows every speck of dirt/dust.

Hopefully by the end of today I will have a clear picture of exactly when this transaction can occur.  Because the Model 3 is now officially involved in this transaction I thought it best that it remains safe in the garage until the transfer takes place.  I am driving Cindy’s Ioniq today and she is using my Tacoma.

Last night Cindy, Katie and I had another funny VR session, this time by hanging out in VR Chat for a couple hours.  Katie had said she was in the app herself for a couple hours the night before so she now had a better understanding of the world.  The interactions with the other avatars was once again hilarious.  There are of course a few random idiots but they are easily handled with a click on the BLOCK USER option which makes them disappear from your virtual world forever.  The funniest part of the night was when we were on the rooftop of a building that had various things for entertainment, including a big game board on the floor.  Katie assumed the role of activity director leading a group of about 10-12 people through a few different games.  I was laughing out loud repeatedly. This was Cindy’s deepest dive into VR chat.  Watching her interact with the mostly adolescent kids in there was entertaining as well.

We played so long that both Katie and Cindy’s headsets ran their headsets to almost dead.  I have the extended battery pack on mine so I could have gone for another two hours, not that I wanted to as it once again was very late by the time we got out, around 11:30PM.  I am pretty sure we will be getting more VR on over the weekend.

Speaking of the weekend, I need to keep my plans flexible depending on what Tesla comes back to me with.  Other than that normal chores await with a side menu of lovely predicted weather.

Ted Cruz couldn’t be any slimier, could he?

 

 

 

Yesterday out of the blue and for no particular reason I got the idea in my head that I should think about trading in my Model 3 for a Model Y.  In a matter of 5 minutes I had specc’d out a potential car and gotten a trade in value of my 2019 Tesla.  The number I got wasn’t what I would have expected so I threw my car specs into Carvana to see what sort of number they would offer on a straight buy.  The number was a couple thousand better than Tesla but the gotcha is the sales tax savings from trading the car in pretty much negated the better Carvana number.

From a numbers perspective there were things I could talk myself into like lower interest rates on car loans now and an overall lower payment than what I am currently spending by between $100-$200.  This savings would only take place if I opted to forego FSD (full self driving) on the Model Y which has inflated to a ridiculous 10K extra ( I paid 4 or 5K)  There were also numbers that were negatives like stepping back into another 72 month loan and eating a 15K depreciation hit.  Plus I still have my deposit on a Cybertruck which should begin production in earnest in 2022.  I can’t carry two automotive loans and still feel like I am being fiscally responsible.

The one other variable is the talk that the federal tax credit of $7000 could be restored to Tesla and GM as part of Biden’s green energy push.  The bill is in committee right now so doing anything before knowing the outcome of that would be dumb.  So the bottom line is I will just control this impulse buy urge and be happy with my Model 3 for the foreseeable future, or at least until a new stronger urge comes along.

Last night Cindy told me Katie was getting in VR.  Katie gets in after DJ goes to bed which often is when I normally would be getting ready for bed myself.  However I always have fun when we get in there together so I told Cindy I would slap on my goggles.  Katie and I played a new game which is a bizarre combo of Break Out, pinball and racquetball.  You are in this huge dome hitting a ball at targets in 360 degrees.  As seems to be the case in almost all VR games we play together, Katie kicked my ass. As we played Katie told me she had another long session in VR Chat the previous night.  She again had tons of hilarious interactions.

We then VR bowled a few games where I abandoned traditional bowling technique which had not been working for me very well due to my lower body/back not feeling great.  Instead I started “throwing” the ball down the lane, overhand.  The end result was a backwards spinning ball that I was able to control pretty accurately.  I actually beat Katie twice, including a 149 game which may be my best thus far.  We shut things down around 11:30 after Cindy sent us both an in game message reminding of the time.  Oculus really has a tight and well executed environment, allowing you to interact seamlessly with others on your phone just as easily as if you were in VR with them real time.

 

I totally forgot to mention that on Saturday night after watching the movie I was actually up until almost 1AM, playing VR with Katie.  Cindy was too tired to jump in so Katie and I did some virtual bowling where she continued her winning streak.  My aching back makes the bowling movement a bit awkward for me, resulting in bad form that results in inaccuracy for me.  I take the losses in stride. I also introduced Katie to the bizarre world of VR Chat, a free app that allows you to wander around immersive worlds as one of infinite avatars.   Once inside you are engulfed by random interactions with strangers that are mostly hilarious.  Katie and I spent over an hour just going into different “hubs” in there.  I finally stopped when Cindy came out of the bedroom bleary eyed asking what the hell I was still doing up.

My sister and her family unfortunately live in Texas, which she has been less than thrilled with for several reasons however this recent extreme cold snap has given her a very cold reason to be unhappy.  She is in the part of the state where they have been subjecting residents to rolling blackouts since their grid is unable to handle the demand.  I saw a few conservative reports that this was the result of Texas’s stupid reliance on green energy like wind turbines and solar.  Of course, if you bother to dig a little deeper you get the real story.

While it is true that many of the wind turbines were frozen and inoperable, this was because when they were installed equipment available to keep them running in extreme cold temperatures was not used.  This cold snap is pretty unprecedented so I guess the planners did not provision the turbines with the stuff to operate in low temps.  But instead the message media sends out is “wind turbines don’t work in cold weather” which is blatantly false.  Canada has one of the bigger wind generation systems in the world, despite routine frigid temperatures, because they have the de-icing equipment on their turbines. Texas just doesn’t have them.

Second, turbines this time of year are normally providing somewhere around 15% of the grid output, not the lion share which still relies on fossil fuels.  What also isn’t reported was the cold temps knocked out a bunch of the fossil fuel equipment as well which was not equipped for such temperatures either.  Texas basically got caught with their pants down, not planning for a worse case cold weather scenario. Finally Texas chose to not be managed as part of the national grid, preferring to keep most of their grid management in the state which some are pointing to as another reason the problem has spiraled out of control.

I read a story about some local Texas government official was ranting on social media, basically telling people they were on their own and should figure out how to get by.  I believe he invoked God’s name more than once as well.  This person has subsequently resigned, imagine that.

The bottom line is bitching about the series of missteps that resulted in this mess while warranted, is not going to fill the immediate need for people that are literally freezing in their homes.  Now is not the time to be working political agenda action items in conservative media.  People need help.