Category: Rants

So during the Trump presidency I wound up FB muting a bunch of my high school friends.  I don’t know about in it’s entirety but at least out of the former classmates that had found their way into my FB friend list, the majority of them were guzzling President Big League Very Stable Geniuses every word and asking for more.  Early on I would waste my time and energy on trying to discuss the fallacies they eagerly propagated but it grew extremely tiresome and pointless.  You can’t change somebodies political disposition via social media, only deepen the divide it seems.

So when given the choice of outright dropping them as virtual friends or just muting them, I chose the latter, taking the “if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all” route.  It was a two way street, this setting would also stop pushing any of my ridiculous greater good ideals across the feeds of the “me first, f everyone else” crowd.  Since the election has been over, instead of slowly returning to the realm of relative normalcy, many of these people have instead decided to stay stuck in the world of hate, lies, guns, God (hypocrites), and toxicity that branded US society over the last four years.  It makes me sad.

So anyway, one of these individuals who I had not heard from for a long time decided he would leave a comment on my post regarding the bumper sticker I spotted in the wild last week.    His comment was as follows:

Sorry you’re so distraught over a bumper sticker. Whatever you do don’t turn on the news. We wouldn’t want you to gain any perspective. Surely even you wouldn’t be very proud of what your vote contributed to today. But don’t lose hope, at least you don’t have to read any mean tweets.

He was inferring my vote contributed to the deaths in Afghanistan from the IS suicide attack.

I thought it was pretty disappointing that THIS was how this individual would reintroduce himself to my circle of awareness.  He is a successful business owner who is extremely wealthy.  I am sure however that has nothing to do with why he had decided to goosestep to the march of Trump like a synchronized swimmer.  However, he is also not an ignoramus.  My reply to his warm greeting was:

Please dude, the depths and degree of poison that has become injected into the brains of individuals is truly sad and pathetic. The determination to cling to what was the most despicable human being to ever hold the office will never cease to amaze me. You are too intelligent to think that there was ever a time that leaving Afghanistan was going to be clean. If you are going to be pissed at someone let it be the military contractors that manufactured conflict and did everything they could to keep us in a region for two decades that everyone knew would flip the second we, or any other outside power leaves. Don’t play dumb, it doesn’t suit you.

To be quite honest I was somewhat surprised this person lashed out at me.  The last time I knew we sort of had left things at the “agree to disagree” point.  However for whatever reason, the image of the Trump supporter bumper sticker invoked feelings strong enough to end the detente. As mentioned earlier, whether it comes to Trump lovers, Covid deniers , or anti-vaccination crusaders, any effort to move their opinions is truly wasted effort in my opinion.  People are going to do and believe what they are inclined or conditioned to do.  I know I can’t save the world so I just try to focus on the bigger picture and longer term where I can, contributing my tiny part during the brief time I have on the planet.

Tonight I host the fantasy football draft for the first time in two years.  The league was outright cancelled last year due to fears that covid would scrap the season altogether.  I can’t say I walked around with tears in my eyes last year from not having a fantasy roster to maintain.  I then have an abbreviated weekend before I head out Sunday afternoon for a three day work conference, something else I haven’t done in two years.  To be quite honest I am surprised they have pushed ahead with it based on the covid numbers in Florida. Maybe they will have one of those monclonal antibody sites on the grounds. I am bringing two PEV’s, my camera equipment and a book with me as I don’t think I will be doing much of the social functions, I am there for some education but not much else.

Next Sunday I get my NEW Model Y.  I am looking forward to it, commuting in the Tacoma and Cindy’s car is ok but the Tesla commute is exceptional.

 

 

 

Since the election has been over I have been trying to do my best to focus on the opportunity for brighter times ahead sans King Big League and all of idiocy that his presidential dumpster fire tenure has created.  However I still find myself getting sucked back into the pathetic and downright disgusting manipulation he continues to inflict on his brainwashed base.  All of the failed election lawsuits have been nothing more than a smoke screen which has been utilized to wring every last penny possible from Trump lovers in a very Scientology-esque manner.  As long as the narrative is “there is still a chance Trump can win” the dollars keep getting deposited into his “election defense fund” which he can use for whatever the F he wants to use it for.

The thing that also disturbs me today, perhaps even more than it has for the last four years is just how many of my ex-classmates have gotten swept away by this tidal wave of psychological manipulation, hypocrisy, and fraud.  Not a single one of these people have been able to free themselves from the ironclad grip of Trumpism where wrong is right, hate is love, bullying is cool, and greed is good.  The only cure I have found for myself is to release these people from my virtual circle of existence in social media.  Seeing the end results of what Trump has done to them serves no useful purpose in my life, it only incites depression and sadness.  I either drop them completely or just block seeing anything they do.

Well today I discovered I missed one of these individuals and saw he responded to this ridiculous post made by someone with access to Trumps social media.

  Now that the Biden Administration will be a scandal plagued mess for years to come, it is much easier for the Supreme Court of the United States to follow the Constitution and do what everybody knows has to be done. They must show great Courage & Wisdom. Save the USA!!!

This is the same stuff he has been posting for weeks to extend the big lie which continues to make his wallet fatter and fatter.

So anyway this person chose to respond and did so in a manner that made it seem like he thought Big Don would actually read his response out of the more than 200,000 that already did.  It went as follows.

Sir, if the election results are not corrected, and biden assumes the office of President of the United States, could you spearhead an independent watchdog group to oust corruption from our great country?

The hypocrisy, the lunacy, the insanity of not only this person but anyone that insists on playing this charade is representative of just how broken our society is after four years of being ruled by the closest thing to a dictator that our country has ever seen.  The man has done permanent damage to the minds of so many Americans I just don’t see how recovery and healing can ever be achieved.

Getting Trump out was step one but the real end game is winning those two remaining Senate races in Georgia so we can finally remove Mitch McConnell, who is one of the most bought and paid for politicians of my lifetime, out of a position of power.  He has single handedly been holding up the new Covid package because he refuses to move on any bill that does not include a clause to give corporations legal covid immunity so employees are unable to sue an employer if they are knowingly put into risky situations.  Mitch does what he is paid to do by his corporate puppet masters.  He does so in plain sight with no apologies, and we allow him to do so.

I forgot to document my anger when I was doing my normal Sunday bill paying session over the weekend.  I had received my property tax bills for the two vacant lots I own at about a 90% loss compared to what I paid for them in 2003.   Every year I get reminded of the worst investment of my life when I pay the property taxes, luckily the amount is small, around $100 each.  Well when I looked at this years bills I did a double take, the total for the two lots was over $500??!!  WTF.

So I start doing some digging and look over the bill details.  There is a new $162 assessment on each bill for the Lehigh Acres fire district.  I did some searching and discovered that in August the Lehigh Acres commissioners passed this “simplified” (their term) fire assessment as compared to a normal millage rate.  This was pitched as a good thing for residents as people that live there could potentially pay less for their fire assessment while the majority of lot owners in Lehigh Acres, the ones that are vacant, pay much, much more.  This really pissed me off.

I did some digging and found the email addresses for the fire district and commissioners.  I sent them all the following email.

I was shocked when I realized my 2020 property tax bill for 2 vacant lots has increased over 500% from last year, courtesy of the new one size fits all assessment levied by your fire district. While I understand the need to adequately fund the fire services, this is a blatant and honestly disgusting money grab that I was not notified about prior to it being voted upon. For the district to do this in the middle of the world struggling to make ends meet due to the pandemic makes it even more egregious in my opinion. To pay $250 in property taxes on a lot that is valued at $4000 is insane. I would appreciate it if you could direct me to where these assessments can be disputed formally. I am really disappointed in the morality on display here. Anyone involved in this decision should be ashamed of themselves. There could have been a reasonable middle ground solution instead of shoving the responsibility mostly on top of the backs of vacant lot owners.

One person from the fire district did respond, basically directing me to a web page that talks about how great the “simplified” rate is, if you happen to live there.  The idea that the fire district was able to get away with this really irritates me.  If they went with a traditional millage rate set up my taxes would have went up $25 or so, ok that would be fine.  However they opted to choose a rate almost six times higher than that.  There are roughly 130,000 lots in Lehigh Acres, only about a third of them have a house on them.  They basically just wrote themselves a check for over 14 million dollars with this new “simplified” plan.

Since I don’t live in Lehigh Acres I have no ability to vote  on it.  Hell even the normal public referendums that would surround this sort of decision were dramatically scaled back due to Covid, the only “discussion” about it was supposedly via email.  Of course the extra $300 is not going to break me but the intent and methodology used in this money grab really rubs me the wrong way.  I just wish the lot prices in Lehigh Acres would be following the upward curve of other real estate in SW Florida, I would sell mine in a second if I could.

So the other day I got an email from Allstate about the first installment payment for my next 6 month policy period.  When I saw the amount I realized it was over 10% more than the last policy period which instantly sparked an intense irritation which I got around to investigating yesterday.  Several car insurance companies, including Allstate were very anxious to publicize how they were giving their customers a “rebate” since there has been significantly less driving, hence less claims since Covid 19 lock downs were enabled.  I actually got my $30 rebate check a few days prior to this renewal which I thought was ironic. The more I thought about this the angrier it got me.  Allstate just proclaimed how their costs were down so they were passing that along to the customer yet they follow up IMMEDIATELY with a 10% rate increase??  So they gave me $30 but in my case want to charge me almost an extra $300 for the year??  You son of a bitches.

So I called up my agent and started complaining.  I minced no words in expressing how ridiculous and disingenuous the situation was, giving a rebate and then charging nearly 10 times more of that amount on the back end.  I continued ranting about how annoying it is that even though I have a clean driving record and am an “older” person my rates seem to steadily increase with Allstate.  I said the way it used to be as you got older your car insurance went down, not up.

The guy on the phone understood my frustration and agreed with me.  He said everyone in their office cringed when they heard about the rate increase because they knew how ridiculous it looked after rebating money back just prior.  When I asked for some sort of relief they had nothing for me other than the option to pay for the entire year in advance, as far as Allstate was concerned the price was the price.  I told the guy how it seems like Allstate doesn’t give a shit about customer loyalty.  I told him I had been with the company for more than 35 years.  He sadly agreed with me, they don’t care.

So I asked him what my options were with other companies since they represented more than one insurance carrier.  He said he would run my information through some other companies to see what sort of rates I could get.  A short while later he called me back with some good news.  He said I could get comparable coverage through Travelers for $83 a month less than what Allstate has been charging me, a HUGE difference.  Travelers had similar savings for the million dollar liability policy that I had to get for the solar system.

Well that was all it took. In the span of 30 minutes I had severed my 35 year relationship with Allstate and signed on with Travelers.  I made sure to send a tweet @allstate expressing how shitty I thought it was for them to pull this stunt.  It’s too bad that companies nowadays don’t really care or emphasize taking care of customers that have remained loyal to them.  It’s the cold reality of the world we live in.

So Miguel’s crew spread the sod I bought around yesterday.  I need a little more but I plan to address that via a Home Depot run instead of buying more pallets.  We are actually going to be able to move some of the stuff that was laid down in a non-low spot to make up for deficit elsewhere.  I found it funny in an annoying way that Miguel was very quick to text me an updated amount of what I still owed him when it was so painfully slow to get responses to my questions this entire time.  I told him I would be happy to write him a check for the remaining amount once he rolls the sod as he promised.  If he never gets around to doing that then I guess I won’t get around to writing that check.

For the last two days there have been protests here regarding the Floyd murder.  When I walked out to my car last night in the pouring rain I was amazed at the amount of police in the parking garage, staged to deal with whatever happened.  There were a couple dozen police vehicles around and at least 50 deputies grouped together.  The demonstrations here were mostly peaceful outside of some yelling and pushing.  The outrage is understandable, especially when our president tear gasses a crowd so they disperse to allow him to stand in front of a church holding a bible for a photo op.  It was like he ripped a page directly from the playbook of other famous dictators.  His lack of empathy, understanding, and intelligence continues to be awe inspiring, in an awful way, day in and day out.

I made a video last night demonstrating how to install the new 3D rear bumper model I am selling on the store, if you are about these things.  Store sales have been really brisk, exceeding capacity currently.

 

 

Trumpism is a term that has been invented since 2016 which defines a certain mindset and tactic.  It has no reliance on truth, facts, or science, it’s all about emotion, aggression, and hatred.   It is a trait that is a requirement if you want to be in the circle of influence in the White House.  I heard a funny conversation about Trumpism and how it’s foundation lies in a profound ignorance of the world that surrounds you or at least an unwillingness to acknowledge it.  It was described as being comprised mostly of “credulous rube boomers” who were looking for someone to feed them what they were craving, a disdain of others unlike themselves.  This description made me laugh out loud but it really does carry some weight.

It just blows me away that a good percentage of the American populace is fully aware that the President repeatedly and consistently lies to their face, yet they continue to slap their MAGA hats on with pride.  I mean really, it is no different than the part of human beings that allows them to be controlled by religion, even though religious beliefs are the driving force behind some of the largest atrocities in history.  I wish I could trust American voters to correct the aberration that happened in 2016 but common sense seems to be a dwindling natural resource in our country.

 

I forgot to mention that after 30+ years of being a registered Republican I officially switched party affiliation last week.  It wasn’t really a big deal, it was a side effect of my last name somehow getting spelled wrong after I signed up to do mail voting a few months ago.  While I was doing the correction online the option to chose party was right there so I figured I may as well make the switch.  There are some benefits to switching in Florida, one of them meaning I can actually participate in the democratic primaries.

I never bothered to change my affiliation all these years because for some reason I sort of enjoyed being a registered republican that often crossed party lines although that was not always the case.  I don’t have blinders on, I will always vote for whom I feel is most aligned with the issues that are important to me, regardless of party.  I am always open to new information and amenable to adjusting my thoughts on issues accordingly, a trait that is sorely lacking from many Trump supporters.  They act like admitting they made a mistake putting his name on the ballot is a cardinal sin.  To me it actually says more about a person when they can admit mistakes and learn from them, something Donald will never do. Seeing the world as simply blue and red is toxic, unproductive, and serves no greater good except to those already in power.  They LOVE when the masses are at each other’s throat, it distracts them from the disgusting truth about who really runs things.

In the 2018 election I did not vote for our current republican governor Ron Desantis.  During the campaign he aligned himself with Trump which was an instant turnoff.  However once he won the election by a slim margin his actions since becoming governor have been mostly positive.  He actually cares about the environment, teachers, medical marijuana, and a number of other issues that stereotypical conservatives shy away from.  It almost seems like he catered to the Trump loonies to get elected but in reality he is a more reasonable and centrist leader.  I am all about actions more than words.  If you promise everything I want and deliver none of it I just have nothing for you.

I have not been watching the democratic debates.  I think I am so frustrated with the possibility that our country is actually so fcked up that we could reelect the very stable, perfect phone call making, big league genius to a second term, I just don’t want anything to do with it.  It is incredible to me that the bar of acceptable presidential behavior could be set so low that it is brushing against the backs of ants.  Human beings can be so disappointing.

Last night after dinner I struggled in the hobby room with both of my Prusa printers.  They both had a similar issue, filament was stuck in the throat of the hot end.  One of the printers wasn’t too bad to correct, I was able to push the broken filament out the bottom with a small alan key.  The other printer I worked on for a half hour trying to push the filament out the bottom from the top using various methods and was unsuccessful.  The way I finally got the filament out was to remove printer nozzle and shove from the bottom up which popped the broken piece of filament out like a piece of popcorn.  I started prints on both printers just to make sure all was well.  Both prints were finished up this morning without issue.

I watched a little of the impeachment vote madness last night and came away from it disgusted.  The partisan politics that have now become a staple of our country on both sides is toxic, debilitating, and depressing.  I see Trump and his defenders spewing absolute nonsense that gets gobbled up by their supporters like a baby bird getting food from it’s mother.  I see democrats clumsily trying to navigate the impeachment process that at best will just be a footnote on Trump’s presidency due to the Senate already declaring their NOT GUILTY verdict, despite their trial not even starting.  What would you think if somebody went up on charges and before the trial began the jury said “we don’t need to hear any evidence we already made our mind up”  It’s insane, but that is what is happening.

Hanging the impeachment scarlet letter around Donald’s neck is nice, but if the end result is not a change in leadership in 2020 it is a very hollow and near meaningless victory.

When you step back and look at the absurdity of the current state of our country that allowed a egomaniacal, corrupt billionaire reality tv personality to become the leader of the free world, it really makes you wonder if we are not really getting what we deserve.  If the masses are unable to discern real from fake, good from bad, or short term gains from long term prosperity, perhaps this is the PERFECT president for us all.  See you at the bottom of the toilet bowl.

 

I forgot to mention this in this morning’s post.  I was at Planet Fitness yesterday doing my leg routine as usual.  Typically when I do leg extensions and curls I do them in the “30 Minute Workout” section of the gym, the equipment in there is better than what is on the main floor.  This section is supposedly designed so a person goes from one machine to another through the entire circuit to achieve a full body workout in 30 minutes.  This feature was added probably 5 years ago and pretty much no one ever uses it as intended, people hop in there, do a couple machines they want to do and hop out.  It’s just another example of one of the fail concepts that “no lunk” Planet Fitness leans heavily on.

Just like front desk staff, this Planet Fitness location rolls through trainers like toilet paper.  In the last year I bet there have been at least five of them that have come and gone.  However the last few make me lol as they were clear examples of individuals not buying what they are selling, they were/are terribly overweight, perhaps part of PF’s brilliant no intimidation policy. The only good thing is you pay for their help what they are worth, zero.

So the current young guy that is the “trainer”, who likely has a BMI approaching 40, spends almost every minute I see him at the gym circling the floor.  It seems like he is desperately looking for someone to interact with or wanting to ask for his assistance but those requests never seem to come so he continues to circle.  Well yesterday he actually had a woman that he was “training” back in the 30 minute workout area.  They were doing the circuit per his direction, probably because it was written on the wall on how to do it. I doubt the guy has many formalized training plans in his head otherwise.

I was over on the leg curl machine when I heard the guy address another older woman who was in the area.  Like me, she had come in to use one of the machines but not do the entire circuit.  The guy scolds this woman and tells her how this area is ONLY for people doing 30 minute workouts.  She told him she was just doing one set and leaving but he said that it wasn’t true as he had seen her doing sets on other machines in there too, GASP!!!  This poor woman actually followed the fake trainers directive and left the 30 minute workout area.  Keep in mind besides the woman that this genius was training, there were only two other people in there so a total of 3 people for roughly 15 different machines.

So when this went down I had only completed my first set.  I was amazed at the stupidity of this guy and I wondered if he had the balls to come over and accost me for blatantly ignoring the circuit only sign on the wall as well.  Perhaps he read my body language, perhaps he is only comfortable reprimanding older women, but for whatever reason he said nothing to me as I completed my two additional sets on the leg curl machine before leaving the area.

I had a full diatribe prepared in my head if he dared say a word to me.  I was going to ask him if Planet Fitness was now going to actively enforce ALL of the rules they post on the walls.  Was Mr Rule Police going to apprehend all of the patrons that ignore the “Limit Cell Phone Use to the Lobby” signs aka everybody?  How about the gaggle of old men that use the exercise machines as park benches where they talk about breaded haddock and bowel movements?  Were they planning on dropping the hammer on the guys that use the Smith machines for 60 minutes at a time, disregarding the 30 minute max rule? What about the people that leave equipment covered in bodily fluids, ignoring the wipe down signs?  How about disregarding customer safety by allowing machines with frayed belts, stripped screws, and loose parts to remain in service because they are too cheap or lazy to do anything about it?  I could go on and on.

After asking the guy what training certification he currently held, I was going to top it off by letting him know I would be happy to share my thoughts with the owner, Mark, who I have known for about 15 years.  Luckily, for the fake trainer, he kept his mouth shut but if he ever tries to reprimand me in that shit hole gym I promise, I will make a scene that he is unlikely to forget anytime soon.  The reality is in a few weeks he too likely will be gone just like the rest of them.  The shelf life on most PF staff is 3-4 months.

So my return to work yesterday was mildly busy but not terribly so.  I had the opportunity to waste 30 minutes on the phone, most of that on hold with the NCH billing department.  Yes there is another chapter in the ridiculous ER billing fiasco.  You may recall that I fought with them about the initial bill sent to me for $950 which included a charge of over $700 for a single pill.  The end result of that was them agreeing to totally drop the $700 charge for the pill and them saying they would resubmit the claim to insurance.  So late June I get a new bill for $589.43 which was still more than I hoped but I had two months until it was due so I was just sitting on it, in no rush to give them my money.

So late last week I get a letter, not a bill from NCH.  It said I have an amount due and it now has magically increased to $733.45  WTF?  So I picked up the phone yesterday and got a woman in the billing department on the phone.  I gave her a brief recap of the events leading up to my call.  She said she needed to put me on hold to check with another department.  She puts me on hold and leaves me there, for 20 minutes.  Not once did she come back to apologize for the wait or to let me know wtf was going on.  Nope just hold music for 20 minutes after which I hung up, angry as hell.

I immediately call back but can’t get anyone to pick up the phone so I leave a message highlighting my situation, angrily.  I later got a message on my home number that the account has once again been “submitted for review” and there should be an answer in 4 to 5 business days.  I’ll tell you this experience with the modern day medical quagmire makes me want to avoid hospital care like the plague.  It’s incredible just how convoluted, inefficient, complicated and obscenely expensive medical care is in the USA.

Over my vacation I was pretty sure that I was going to have to be burying another chicken, Katie.  She has had a bad leg for over a year but in the last couple weeks she had developed the same lethargy that other birds have before they dropped.  She was weak, basically stood/sat around all day, and had minimal interest in food.  She even stopped making the cute little noises she is known for which to me was a sure sign she was a goner, the same pattern Kristen followed before she died.  Katie was so weak that I had to pick her up and place her on the perch at night, she couldn’t do it.

So all of a sudden late last week Katie bounced back, amazingly so.  She started being more mobile, eating, and even making her cute noises again.  I was so relieved.  For about a month we have been trying to give the birds cayenne pepper and tumeric mixed in with their food.  It helps battle parasites and worms naturally.  We also add rooster booster to their water, give them yogurt, and watermelon which all supposedly help the birds stay healthy without using toxic chemical dewormers.  This time of year is especially bad for the birds because they insist on drinking the dirty standing water which has countless harmful things floating in it.  So anyway, Katie is doing better and I hope it stays that way.

The latest outbreak of mass gun violence, not perpetrated by Muslim terrorists but by angry, racist, white males seems to have really awakened some people.  Some GOP politicians are actually using the words “white nationalist”, something that was taboo up until this point since they are a core and integral part of the Trumpers.  Maybe, just maybe there is enough momentum this time to actually get something done, but I doubt it.  The gun lobby in this country is so powerful that politicians cower in fear of the idea of crossing them, almost like they have a gun to their head.

 

 

When I look back at the first decade of blog authoring (started in 03) there is a definitive difference to present day, I was more mean.  I used to openly complain about people and situations much more frequently and in many examples, in a less than tactful way.   Hell I used to basically weaponize the blog in my second marriage, using it as a way to complain about facets of the relationship instead of dealing with them more directly, and privately.  Although at the time I never even thought about it, now as a half centurian plus, I try to think more before I pop my emotions like a full zit all over the blog pages.

Some people may regret the change as more opinionated, angry, and frustrated words generally are more entertaining to digest.  I was having a convo with a friend of mine last week that was somehow trying to tie the fact that I used to watch the Apprentice on tv somehow made me a hypocrite for not supporting Trump as president.  My response was very simple but true, “assholes are entertaining”  There are lots of entertaining assholes in the world, however that isn’t the dominant personality trait I am looking for in the President of our country.

The reason this popped into my head was today at the gym I was exposed to more idiotic behavior that I would have called out in the past.  But since I am now older and wiser I’m not going to talk about the idiot that sings to himself as he ties up a Smith machine for 45 minutes, the gaggle of old men that use weight equipment as park benches to discuss breaded salmon recipes, or the lazy pieces of shit that can’t put stuff back where they got it from.  Spewing negative energy like this out into the world is something I try to do less of nowadays, sometimes unsuccessfully.