Month: January 2021

Yesterday, Today Was Tomorrow

  • Time is a cold hearted bitch. It doesn’t care about you, won’t wait for you, and is moving forward no matter what you do. I constantly need reminding of this. I am crazy guilty of “on Monday I’ll start my diet”, “I will workout tomorrow morning”, or “this spring I will start taking some day trips”. The problem is that tomorrow may or may not come for you. Just this week I had a patient who was young and fit. Had a silly accident and is now paralyzed. It’s a stark reminder that there are no guarantees. All of his plans for tomorrow are gone. For the first time ever, I actually wrote down some goals for the year and shared them with Mrs Troutdog. I didn’t think it would make a difference, but the act of writing them down and being public with them helped make them more real. I always have ideas, things I’d like to do floating around in my head, but rarely act on any of them. Just writing down the goals got me excited enough to start researching and making actual plans. The more I think about my young patient who’s goals are now permanently altered, the more resolved I am to start doing and stop just thinking about plans. It’s time to move forward because time is certainly not going to wait for me.
  • I had to laugh. An ultra left leaning friend on Facebook who’s spent the last four years spewing as much venom as possible towards the bad orange man, posted: “If you are a believer in the disinformation put out by Fox, Newsmax, Oan, Parler and all the other bullshit peddlers of lies – please do me a favor and unfriend me now. After the the last 4 years I’m just ready for truth and decency.” This is the equivalent of sticking your fingers in your ears and chanting nah, nah, nah. Regardless of your personal and political beliefs – if you only seek out information that confirms what you already think, you’re a puppet and a very shallow thinker. And yes, we’re all guilty of this. It’s human nature. All you can do is try your best to look objectively at the world. It doesn’t mean you can’t be passionate about something, just try not to get so wrapped up in your beliefs that you lose sight of reality.
  • The Biden administration is unveiling plans to combat “domestic terrorism”. I wonder if that will include Antifa and BLM? Get ready for Patriot Act 3.0. Remember, if you see something, say something.
  • In 2006 the United States debt to GDP ratio was 60%. Today it’s roughly 136%. In 2001 Argentina’s debt to GDP ratio hit 166%, they defaulted on billions in loans, capital started leaving the country and unemployment reached 19%. They still haven’t recovered. We’re accelerating down a path that isn’t recoverable. Talks continue about printing more trillions. And Buttigieg is talking about possibly taxing Americans on the number of miles they drive to raise more money for infrastructure spending. Not only is that a regressive tax on the poor, it’s a massive intrusion into your privacy.
  • I almost violated my own admonishment to not seek out only information that confirms what I think. Tucker Carlson had a segment the other night that said CNN had conveniently removed the Covid death counter they’ve displayed prominently all election season as soon as Biden was sworn in. I was going to post that, because, of course, disinformation from the left! I did a little bit of research and that may not be really true. What’s reality? My guess is that CNN is showing it less than they did before because it no longer fits the narrative. Tucker is hyping it because it fits his narrative. So the truth is somewhere in the middle. My advice? Turn it all off an go outside for a run.

Song of the day: The Crystal Method “High Roller” (Live)

What Is Your Time Worth?

  • In 1938 Roosevelt signed the Fair Labor Standards Act into law, setting the first minimum wage at $0.25 an hour. That’s about $4.63 in today’s dollars. The current federal minimum wage is $7.25. The minimum wage discussion is a difficult one because its intent and the reality of what we’ve morphed into today are very different. I don’t have any problem setting a minimum wage because left to its own devices business, in the absence of competition, will take advantage of people. The horrible child labor conditions of the 30’s, which was the impetus for FLSA, are a prime example. So what does a minimum wage mean? It’s the minimum amount you can pay someone who has no skills. As you acquire more skills, your time is now worth more. Here’s another crucial point that gets lost. The wage an employer pays is ascribed to what they value the job, not the person. I need someone to pack widgets into a box. I do not need someone with any prior skills or training. I value that position as being worth a minimum wage. (again, this is in the absence of competition) When I’ve hired multiple widget packers I may now need someone to be the chief widget packer, a position with more responsibility and skills needed. I value that position as worth a higher wage. And on it goes. The presumption is that people will continue to rise up the wage ladder commensurate with their newly acquired skills and motivation. Here’s where the conversation gets difficult and is worth an independent discussion. Our middle class jobs are being wiped away, and will continue to be erased. Large numbers of people are being forced back down the wage ladder due to lack of opportunity at their acquired skill level. This forces out the true minimum wage earner and spawns the discussion about how does a former (or potential) middle class earner support themselves only on a minimum wage? And the related side of this is immigration, legal and otherwise. Large numbers of people are arriving with no skills and limited English, and have no other option than minimum wage work. Many of these folks are attempting to support large families on these wages. While the right conversation to be had is how do we best build back our middle class jobs and addressing immigration, the government solution is to simply pay these folks a “living wage”. Sounds great, but the US is a very diverse place. $15 an hour may be sustainable by a business owner in a high wage area like LA or a company like Amazon, but what does the owner of a diner in rural America do? Can they really afford to pay a high school kid $15 an hour to wash dishes or stock shelves at the local hardware store? It’s not an easy discussion. Unfortunately it’s not a discussion we’ll ever have because it will be demagogued to death. Which will only make starting a small business even more difficult, which worsens the middle class job market. Which is a recipe to invite government subsidies to “help”. It’s not a winning trajectory to be on.
  • Apparently we suddenly have a domestic terrorist crisis. The formation of a federal domestic spy agency is well underway. Just like the Patriot Act, we’ll happily sign away more of our freedoms because the state run media tells us there’s racists hiding under every rock. Clearly the rioting and looting all summer don’t count as domestic terrorism because those are approved “woke” causes. During yesterdays crowning of Biden, Antifa ran amuck in Portland and Seattle doing all sorts of shenanigans. Silly Antifa. Why doesn’t that make the news? They even smashed up the original Starbucks. You’d think hipsters everywhere would be outraged. This must be a very confusing time for woke Starbucks baristas.
  • Biden immediately violated the Federal mask mandate he had just signed, appearing at the Lincoln Memorial just a few feet away from reporters… without a mask. The media will call him out on his hypocrisy, right?
  • This last year, we implemented a world-wide lockdown more severe than any climate alarmist could have dreamed for. Vehicle and air travel limited beyond what could ever be realistically proposed, even by the climate guru Greta Thurberg. It was the perfect experiment to see if models would match reality. And… it made no difference in the growth of atmospheric CO2. I suspect we’ll just ignore this inconvenient truth and march forward with a new and improved Paris Climate Treaty 2.0.
  • When Sen Tom Cotton wrote an op-ed suggesting we deploy the National Guard to help quell the rioting and looting this summer, the journalists at the New York Times were so triggered that two editors lost their jobs for allowing such an opinion to be printed. 25,000 troops deployed to protect Washington from a supposed insurrection of white supremacists and racists… and not a peep. The hive mind of the media is an interesting thing.
  • I had to take my dog, a.k.a The Troutdog, to get his nails trimmed yesterday. I wish I could capture the look on his face when he jumps out of the truck and realizes where he is. It’s the look of complete betrayal. “Dude, I thought we were going for a ski…” He then quivers and violently shakes like he’s waiting for a cattle prod up the rear end. I wonder what goes through his little brain that he thinks this is so terrible? Mrs Troutdog refuses to take him because she doesn’t want him mad at her. LOL.

Song of the day: The Clash – This is Radio Clash (Official Video)

Unity And Healing Are For Suckers

  • Today’s inauguration theme is “America United”. For half the country that’s a pretty bitter pill to swallow. The national press is churning out piece after piece with pithy phrases like “Now, the healing can begin”, or “It’s time to unite and heal”. You’ll also see plenty of “Let’s tone down the rhetoric” and “Biden deserves a chance”. Is that what we should do? Should the folks who opposed Biden be the better person and offer a more gracious and conciliatory tone? It is, after all, for the good of the country. At the end of the day aren’t we simply one united states, standing arm in arm, singing kumbaya? The celebrity world certainly thinks so, as evidenced by the noted scholar Chrissy Teigen (discovered working in a surf shop after a grueling high school academic career) who says today, “Today our great national fuckup is over, but the shame will last forever… Maybe it wasn’t such a good idea to have the guy with barely enough well done steak with ketchup fueled brainpower to power a lightbulb who doesn’t even know how to close an umbrella run the country. History will not be kind to you, you absolute psychopath.” Journalists at least have risen above the petty insults, asking only “How Do We ‘Deprogram’ Millions of Racist, Violent Trump Supporters?” I’m not so sure simply rolling over and exposing my belly is the right choice. Something tells me no quarter will be given by the victorious army. I’m not an animal. I simply want what’s fair. After all, isn’t one of the Left’s central themes all about fairness? All I ask is that Biden be treated exactly the same way Trump was. No more, no less. Which pretty much means screaming like a rabid chimpanzee on Adderall 24/7.
  • At the end of the day, I’m actually pretty shallow and selfish about all this. Although I may write words that seem like I’m passionate about one side or the other, the truth is that I really don’t care. What do I care about? I want the market to go up and the economy to be strong. I don’t want my taxes to increase. I don’t want us involved in any more wars on foreign soil. I want to be able to say whatever drivel is on my mind without fear of being de-platformed. That’s it. I don’t really care who the president is as long as I can happily go off skiing, hike and run with my dog, ride my motorcycle, and enjoy time with friends and family. Everything else I leave to the passionate, woke, hipsters who will inherit this mess, to sort out. If the government will just kindly leave me alone, we’ll all be good.
  • Vulture put out a list of the top 50 greatest westerns ever made. Hang ’em High didn’t even make the list. Are you serious? The Outlaw Josey Wales is only 29th? Unforgiven and Searchers as numbers 2 and 1 I’m ok with.
  • Covid case counts have been dropping in 48 of 50 states for weeks now. To steal the tweet, the press won’t discover or report on this for weeks. When they do they’ll report that it was due to Biden’s mask mandate. Science, you know.
  • I found a bucket list of 75 things that any resident of my state should do. I’ve done 19 of them. Need to start pumping up those numbers.
  • I’m fascinated by the idea of doing either day or multi-day trips entirely on the older byways. Like route 66. Basically a slow drive through Americana, stopping at every “worlds largest ball of string” exhibit and small town museum. I know it’s been done a gazillion times, but what a neat photo essay that would be.
  • A decision has been made on the new motorcycle. Now, just need to figure out how to acquire it. Stay tuned.
  • And last, I sincerely hope the new administration is successful because I’m too old to rebuild my retirement accounts if they’re not. Also, #notmypresident. Am I doing it right?

Song of the day: Bush Machinehead LIVE 1996

I Got The Funk

  • I got the funk, man. No not a Lenny Kravitz Always on the run funk, but a weird head to toe body funk. Headache, body ache, joint ache, plugged up sinuses, brain fog. I had a trifecta of circumstances that came together at the same time. I managed to hurt my back somehow a week or so ago, so that’s ached since then. I got my second China virus vaccine a week ago and that really put me down. At the same time Mrs Troutdog has had a pretty wicked cold, which I clearly caught. I rarely get sick. I don’t do well just sitting around, so throw in feeling crappy and, well, I’m grumpy. I think we’re on the upswing though. Just a headache today. Fingers crossed we’re back in business tomorrow.
  • Watch this short clip and tell me that Biden is not a confused, 80 year old grandpa. Love him or hate him, there was never any doubt that Trump was in charge and running the show (often to his detriment). On the other side of the coin, you cannot convince me that Biden is the conductor of this oncoming train. Once you get past 70, it’s the infrequent exception you still have the mental horsepower you once had. Trust me, I work with the elderly day in and day out. There are very few folks in that age bracket I’d want making a difficult decision for me, especially after multiple days of long hours. So my honest question is, who’s really running the show behind the scenes? Somebody is setting the daily agenda, deciding what the policy focus will be, etc… Who is it? Is it his chief of staff, Ron Klain? Is it Kamala? Her chief of staff, Tina Flournoy? There’s rumors former Clinton advisor Minyon Moore has been a gatekeeper for the Biden transition. Is it her? Is it Jaime Harrison, the new head of the DNC? Will anyone in the media ask, or is that verboten for fear of being deplatformed?
  • A green zone has been erected in Washington DC to protect our ruling class. It’s pretty startling to see the images. What I can’t find in my extensive 30 seconds of searching, is who ordered all this? Was it the secret service? I don’t think they have the power to call up the national guard. The mayor? Did Trump order all this? Will it be permanent as some rumors suggest? Will the media go through great lengths to hide it in their inauguration coverage, or will they highlight it as necessary to protect against crazed, Viking hat wearing, Trump insurrectionists? It’s all pretty pointless because, as we all know, walls don’t really work.
  • I’ve made it to season two of Mr Robot. Really good. I’m not much of a prepper, but we’re prepared for a small amount of time. What we don’t have is cash. I never carry cash. Ever. The show reminded me that it wouldn’t take much for the electronic banking system to be interrupted. When that happens, I’m screwed when I need my Pirate Booty fix and all I have is plastic.
  • A friend of mine is really into cowboy action shooting. It’s like modern three-gun competitions, but old-west era guns. And cowboy outfits. Anyway, I joined him the other day to watch. The club we were at starts their match by turning to the flagpole, removing hats, and reciting the pledge of allegiance. It was nice. But here’s the odd thing. It made me feel like a rebel. Like folks would probably ridicule it if they saw it. If I told someone on the street I went to an event where we cited the pledge of allegiance, I’d immediately be tagged as a right-wing Trump supporter. Think about it. That’s where we’ve gotten to in this country.
  • I wasn’t feeling good last night, couldn’t sleep, so spent way too long going down a musical memory lane. I stumbled upon some of the original MTV segments (I had a crush on Martha Quinn), but while I liked watching MTV, most of what they played wasn’t really my genre. Like my politics, my musical taste is… complicated. This lead me down a rabbit hole of old school massive concerts. I wonder if we’ll ever have big shows again? Unless it’s a rave, the kids and music today don’t seem to lend themselves to the concert scene. Unfortunate. There’s just something about the energy of a live show.

Song of the day: Veruca Salt – Seether (Glastonbury ’95)

The Subtle Art Of The Grift

  • If you haven’t seen the 1990’s film The Grifters, you should. It’s good. Grift evolved from the original word graft, which means “to acquire dishonestly”. Dear readers, I’m about to disappoint some of you. You may have picked up on a theme here… I’m not a fan of politicians. Because we’re all guilty of confirmation bias (i.e. finding information to support what we already think and ignoring the opposite), many of you may have assumed I’m a hard core right winger who simply hates the dreaded democrats. My three long time readers will know that’s not true. I generally dislike all of them, regardless of party. And when it comes to Trump, well, my opinion of Trump is complicated and worthy of an essay all it’s own. Where am I going with this? If you’re willing to brave a little contrarian thought, I urge you to read this about Jarrod Kushner and Brad Parscale. Warning, you may become disillusioned if you’ve been a big MAGA supporter. The truth is, and I’ve said this many times, politics doesn’t care about you. If you really think politicians have your best interest in mind, you’re a fool. It’s all of them. Both parties. If you’ve read any of Peter Schweizer’s books you’d have a sense of just how corrupt they are. The Clintons, Romney, Mcconnell, Kerry, Mccain, Biden, Harris, the Trump machine. All of them. Are there principled politicians out there? Of course. But you have to sell more and more of your soul to get to the top. And to remain on top.. well, nobody willingly gives up power, money, and influence. None of this is new and is found in every society from time beginning. The most disillusioning thing about this is that the movements some of these powerful people can spark are real. The MAGA crowd. The Bernie bro’s. These are everyday, average people, who honestly want change, to make a difference, and to build a better life for their families and communities. And they willingly give their money to politicians who have the right narrative and slick talking points, thinking this guy (or gal) is the right one this time. They have my back. Their hard earned dollars are hoovered up by the machine and then distributed to loyalists, lobbyists, lawyers, and shell corporations, never to be seen again. Until the next election season. It’s Lucy, Charlie Brown, and the football, time and time again. When you strip away the veneer, there is virtually no difference between the parties. Their goal is to maintain the status quo. Bush, Obama, and Trump have collectively added $17 trillion dollars to the national debt. Biden is poised to add another four straight out of the gate. Nothing changes, silly grasshopper. I don’t mean to be negative, just a realist.
  • What the fuck is the My Pillow Guy doing delivering messages to the President about replacing the deputy director of the CIA? Sorry, I just… can’t.
  • I was getting on the freeway yesterday and in the middle of the lane there were two skis. Looked like kids skis. I wonder what the story was? Did dad forget to shut the ski rack? Did mom get tired of the kids bickering in the car, said we’re no longer skiing today and pitched ’em out? (the skis, not the kids) Reminded me of a very long time ago when I worked at a ski rental shop. A very distraught soccer mom type came in a few days before Christmas and said she had a serious problem with her skis, would we mind coming out and taking a look? Once outside she burst into tears. She had gone to sports store, bought an expensive ski rack and four sets of skis for the family. They helped her mount everything up and she drove home. Unfortunately she never stopped to check the clearance in the garage when she drove in. All four skis were strapped to the rack, with the front halves snapped up at a 90 degree angle. Not enough P-Tex in the world to fix that.
  • Mrs Troutdog has decided we’re going to a dude ranch. She owns a horse and rides. I don’t. I’ve pet the horse a few times, that’s about it. Clearly I’m the dude in this ranch equation. It actually sounds kinda fun. I like the outdoors, so what’s not to enjoy? Especially if there’s no shoveling of poop in this vacation. I see enough poop in my regular job.
  • Biden has a 100 day Covid plan. It’s actually perfect marketing. The vaccination program is well underway, so he didn’t have to do anything there. And what happens in 100 days? Warm weather and spring. And what do viruses do in warmer weather? They recede. So, the case counts will be down significantly and the media will gush and declare that thanks to a president who actually believes in science, the Covid is being defeated. Perfect! Marketing 101 people.
  • And finishing on a somber note, I don’t check Facebook all that often but did yesterday and noticed a post from someone in the past. I thought to myself I hadn’t seen any posts from him in a while. Scrolling into his feed I was confused by some of the past-tense references people were posting, until I realized he’d passed away a year ago. He was killed by some random person in a road-rage incident. You just never know how much time we have left. Yell at the wrong guy because he cut you off, and they pull out a gun and you’re done. What a waste. He was a good person, single dad with two kids.

Song of the day: Slightly Stoopid – Collie Man (Live at Roberto’s TRI Studios)

Is Politics A Prisoners Dilemma?

  • I was thinking about the apparent lack of awareness politicians on both sides have of the pulse of the people they’re supposed to represent. They tend to rush to solve the wrong problem because they need to be seen as “doing something” about whatever’s in the news. We just had a large mob of very angry people rally to express their dissatisfaction with something that devolved (as mobs do) into violence. Politicians rush to “fix” the end result of the situation – we need to call in the national guard, they must condemn all violence, we need to put people on no-fly-lists, we need to impeach, etc… While all of that may or may not need to be addressed, I don’t hear anyone on the left asking the real question – what happened to make all those people so angry and what could be done to address that? It reminded me of the Prisoners Dilemma. Two prisoners in solitary confinement, no way to communicate with each other. If one snitches on the other, he goes free and the other serves his sentence. If both snitch, both serve their sentence. If neither snitches (because snitches wind up in ditches), both serve reduced sentences. Politicians (especially today) seem to be wired to always believe politics is a zero sum game. The only way I can win is to ensure someone else loses. We’ve entered the era of scorched earth politics. Tearing up a state of the union speech or driving pointless impeachments to score points is more important than asking what’s more beneficial for everyone. Both sides are guilty of this… Republicans just really suck at it. I wonder if we’ll ever get back to a point where folks recognize if both sides accept a little pain (compromise), everyone benefits in the long run? (Don’t answer that. It’s rhetorical. Never going to happen.)
  • I had to laugh. A couple of days ago Tucker Carlson had a line that made me snort out loud: “Once Donald Trump leaves the scene and it’s time to divvy up the spoils of the United States Treasury to begin the great piñata party of 2021…” And sure enough, yesterday Biden rolls out a $2 trillion dollar stimulus spending plan. This will be followed by another $1.3 – $2 trillion dollar infrastructure plan. It’s gotten absurd to the point there’s no reason to even fight it anymore. We’re printing money out of thin air. Hell, if we’re already printing trillions, we may as well print another four or five. Give every American with a drivers license a brand new car. And pay for their insurance. And create a guaranteed auto buyback program for all the existing vehicles and loans. Can you even imagine the stimulus this would bring to country? It would resurrect the failing auto industries, create new manufacturing jobs for the entire supply chain, improve our air quality, put more money in the pocket of struggling families by getting rid of a car payment, and help the most disenfranchised be able to get a job. I think that’s a damn fine idea. I guess you couldn’t require a drivers license. That would be discriminatory. Anyway, put me down for a Tesla Cybertruck.
  • I was reasonably productive yesterday with planning. I resurrected the Bullet Journal and starting looking into some travel ideas. I agree that putting (figurative) pen to paper does help organize thoughts. Next up will be working on the daily routine and thinking about hobbies.
  • For dinner last night I made a deluxe grill cheese and tomato soup. Thick sourdough, two kinds of cheese, bacon, grilled onions, sliced tomato and avocado. Probably a 2,500 calorie meal, but worth it. Now I just need to go run approximately 50 miles to break even.
  • We watched the History of Swear Words last night. Pretty good. Nicholas Cage was able to poke fun at himself. Nice to see actors who are comfortable enough to do that. It’s said that swearing is a sign of intelligence. If so, I should be a rocket scientist.
  • A list of red flags in job interviews. Reminded me of an answer I got frequently when I was a hiring manager at Microsoft. I’d ask the candidate how they would find out the answer to something and I’d frequently get the response: “I’d Google it”. Uhmm… you’re interviewing at Microsoft, are you really that dense? If you’re going say that, at least make the case why one search engine is better than the other. That I’d respect. This is beside the issue of being so unaware that if all I needed was someone who could “Google” something, I could hire a random street person (or sixth grader) and be just as successful. This of course was back in the day when Microsoft was the Evil Empire and Google’s code of conduct slogan was “Don’t be evil”.

Song of the day: Meredith Brooks ( Live) Lilith Fair- Bitch 1997

I’m A Little Lost

I am not a planner. I have a little routine I follow on work days, otherwise I wake up and see what the day brings. That’s it. The sum total of how I manage my life. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not complaining about it. It’s a pretty blessed, idyllic existence. I have lots of hobbies that I cycle through depending on the mood of the moment, never excelling or mastering any of them. I get the basic home maintenance/repairs done, but usually because something broke. It never dawns on me to be proactive for that sort of thing. I like the idea of travel, but get overwhelmed at the idea of planning something so I usually don’t get beyond the random surfing of the internet for two hours stage. I’m kind of a Labrador retriever. A bit goofy, dumb, and happy to do whatever happens in the moment. While it’s worked for all these years, it leaves me with a continual, nagging, feeling of unrest. I have the time and means. I have no excuses for not accomplishing more with my life.

If you’ve been following along at home, I mentioned yesterday that Mrs Troutdog and I made the decision to begin what she calls “divesting from work”. I changed to a part time status at my job. The purpose is to start laying the groundwork for what retirement will eventually look like for us. I sat down this morning and tried to think about what I want to accomplish with this additional time. And I got paralyzed. I literally don’t know what to do. Should I make a master list of house projects? Maybe I should review all my hobbies and set some goals and plans for just a few of them, rather than sucking at a lot of things? I should probably get a meal planning and shopping routine going and tie that to a regular exercise regime. Perhaps I should set some travel agendas, both weekends and longer trips and start figuring out the cost and logistics?

I want to make a change. Not because I’m unhappy, but because time keeps marching on. And that scares me. Left to my current habits, two years will go by and nothing much will be different other than I’ll have more time for random hobbies and no travel will have occurred unless someone else plans it. I’m not satisfied with that, but struggle because I don’t know how to change – but also because I’ve never seriously tried.

I did quite a bit of reading of ‘self help’ type of blogs this morning and the consensus seems to be that you have to create a routine and you have to write down plans. The routine is both the simplest and hardest to get done. If it was that easy I’d be working out every day. But it’s clearly the foundation for everything else, so I will create a routine (this sounds suspiciously like a New Years resolution). The planning seems harder to me. I’ve tried the Bullet Journal in the past. I really enjoyed the process of setting it up… but after a few weeks I get tired of updating it and it fades away. I need a way to put down on paper (figuratively, I’m an electronic kinda guy) what I want to accomplish. Maybe I’ll just resurrect the Bullet Journal. I’m open to ideas if someone has something else that works for them. I need a way to see broad categories of things we want to do. Motorcycle trips, weekend sightseeing trips, big overseas trips. Do I want to investigate photography classes or work on my pitiful YouTube channel? Are there training goals for running or golf or skiing? I need to have a way of looking at that big list of things and then map that to a calendar. If I don’t put it on a calendar it likely isn’t going to happen.

This is a good problem to have. But it’s ridiculous that I’m so paralyzed by it. It’s also why I’m not a fabulously successful CEO. One of the problems with aging is that it suddenly dawns on you how little time you really have left. What do I want to do with that remaining time? I do know I don’t want to feel like I’ve wasted it. Interestingly, all of this started with a text message from Mrs Troutdog with a link to a travel video of Wyoming and saying she thinks she wants to travel the US by motorcycle. I’m truly blessed to have a partner in life who’s willing to think out of the box and take risks. She got the ball rolling, but I feel it’s on me to keep the momentum going. It’s an exciting time and also a bit scary. Changing how you’ve lived your life the last twenty years feels… challenging. In a good way.

I will now probably spend the rest of the day making lists and watching YouTube videos about living off the grid in Belize in a Sprinter van.

Let’s Go To The Timeline

  • I’ve seen episodes of NCIS and Perry Mason, so I know the importance of a timeline. But first a quick step back in history. The year was 1846 and President Polk wanted war with Mexico. Well, not necessarily war but he wanted the shipping ports of California. War was just a means to an end. The border between Texas and Mexico was highly disputed and Mexico had troops stationed in an area they believed was their territory. Polk ordered General Taylor to take his 4,000 troops and advance to the Rio Grande river. Mexico didn’t take kindly to what they saw was an invasion of their country and the inevitable conflict happened. US troops died. Polk went to congress and declared that Mexico had shed American blood on American soil. Congress and America got appropriately fired up and declared war (interestingly a young representative named Lincoln was one of the few to object. It cost him his seat in congress). My point is that what you see and your impression is very much shaped by how it’s reported. Back to the timeline. On Jan 6th I was at work all day, so my view of what happened was what I saw on the “news” shows when I got home. President Trump apparently called for his angry mob of protesters to march on the capital, resulting in the violence we saw. Trump is an evil maniac and we must impeach, invoke the 25th amendment, make sure he doesn’t have the nuclear codes, and erase all evidence he was ever in office. Maybe history will just show an asterisk like Lance Armstrong’s Tour de France wins? Is that really what happened though? That pesky timeline shows that idiots began breaching the Capital’s security 20 minutes before the end of the President’s speech. Seeing as it’s a 45 minute to hour walk from the speech location to the Capital (the area was shut down to cars), there’s no way these folks could have been inflamed by Trumps rhetoric and rushed to breach the doors. Reporters on the ground said that cell signal was non-existent, so they couldn’t have been listening either. The text of Trumps speech shows that he specifically said let’s “peaceably march” to the capital. Obviously these folks were planning to do this well before Trump said anything. You can argue that he should have known what was going to happen if he held that rally. That’s fair. The rally and speech was a dumb move on many levels. But to declare the President incited violence, is a danger, and needs to be immediately removed from office and erased from social media is beyond stupid. It’s simply the media, democrats and never-Trumpers exacting their final revenge. We certainly didn’t hold any of these officeholders and media to account when they were encouraging and celebrating protest in the street during the mostly peaceful BLM riots. Or when the Hart Senate building was occupied by Kavanagh protesters. Or when there were marches, protests, and rallies at Trump’s inauguration. The notable orator Madonna said that day that she dreamed about blowing up the White House. #notmypresident Ah, but those are woke causes. It’s different. Biden’s ironic inauguration theme is “America United”. Apparently a bunch of people on both sides didn’t get the memo. You have 75 million pissed off, angry voters. Yes, Trump should have kept his narcissistic ego in check and quietly conceded. And the left, media, and big tech should stop poking the bear. Eventually something (more) bad will happen if they don’t. And it will be everyone’s fault.
  • I got my second vaccine on Monday for the virus that must not be named. I had no issues with the first one. I had no issues on Monday with this one. Felt fine on Tuesday when I woke up. By noon, I felt like I got hit by a truck. Headache, body ache, and a serious brain fog. I still don’t feel a hundred percent this morning. Interesting the second shot invokes such a strong reaction. Worth it though. I can now run naked through the Covid ward without fear.
  • To use the irony word twice in one day… Twitter apparently has zero self awareness. Twitter’s Public Policy group posted the following: “Ahead of the Ugandan election, we’re hearing reports that Internet service providers are being ordered to block social media and messaging apps. We strongly condemn internet shutdowns – they are hugely harmful, violate basic human rights and the principles of the #OpenInternet.” Apparently deciding what speech is allowed is only moral if you’re the one doing it.
  • And speaking of the continued purge, Facebook has declared the phrase “stop the steal” as scary, banned words. They stated: “We are now removing content containing the phrase ‘stop the steal’ under our Coordinating Harm policy from Facebook and Instagram.” Well, if you don’t like it go create your own social media app. Just as long as you don’t utilize Google, Apple, or Amazon services.
  • We’ve begun the process of what Mrs Troutdog calls ‘divesting from work’. I changed my hours to part-time. I don’t know what that means yet. Honestly, I’m freaking out a little bit about this. There’s an element of guilt not working full time. The point is to start figuring out what full retirement will eventually look like for us. It’s a very strange feeling. Stay tuned.
  • If you’ve been following along at home, you’ll remember we had a sewer backup that filled our bathtub with some objectionable material. We thought it was fixed, until it wasn’t. Turns out there must be a tree root through the line somewhere catching “stuff” as it flows down. Unfortunately we can’t really do anything about it until spring as everything is covered in feet of snow. Sigh.

Song of the day: Big Audio Dynamite – E=MC2

The Purge

  • The tech takeover is complete. They waited until democratic control of all three branches of government was official, then on Jan 8th 2021 began purging any speech that doesn’t match the party line. The President has been permanently banned from every social media platform. Any government official or associate that attempted to tweet out a message from the president had their account suspended or removed. Google removed Parler from their app store and Apple gave them 24 hours to put a moderation policy in place or they’ll be removed. YouTube began removing multiple conservative channels, deleting Steve Bannon’s podcast mid-stream. Sidney Powell and General Flynn had their accounts on most platforms deleted. Reddit removed a popular Trump discussion thread. Twitter is stripping followers from conservative accounts. People are reporting losing tens of thousands of followers a day. Facebook and Instagram continue to suspend or delete prominent conservative accounts. The message is clear – voice an opinion contrary to the views of the left and big tech and you risk being shut down. Most of the media are giddy over this. Ironically (there’s that word again) Biden yesterday compared Sen Cruz and Hawley to Nazi propaganda minster Goebbels for spreading Trump’s “big lie”. Tech and the media have now taken away the main communication platform we have in this country from anyone they don’t agree with. It’s hard to overstate how frightening this is. Twitter, Facebook, Google, Apple, and the major media outlets will now freely modulate and control with impunity what news and speech you’re allowed to hear. Continuing with the irony, the left used to be the champions of free speech, speaking out against McCarthyism and the evil authoritarian right. The left warned Trump was going to be a fascist authoritarian and the hashtag #notmypresident spread across social media. Trumps inauguration spawned multiple protests, with DC turning into a scene of chaos. Cars were torched, windows broken, and police used tear gas, pepper spray, and stun grenades. 217 people were arrested and six officers were injured by flying bricks and bottles. On his first day in office we had the million women march in DC to protest the Nazi, white supremacist, pussy grabber that had been elected to office. All of that was ok by the left. Such short and selective memories we have. I don’t see this going well. 75 million people voted against the left’s octogenarian puppet. A very large portion of them are very upset right now. I truly don’t think the establishment appreciates the level of anger they’ve spawned. Maybe I’m wrong. Maybe the tech pacification program will work. Give it a few months without being able to spread counter opinion and the people will turn back into passive sheep, happy to answer the latest Facebook quiz while waiting for their monthly stimulus check. But as I’ve said before, squeeze people hard enough, long enough, and bad things tend to happen.

Song of the day: Pharrell Williams – Happy (Official Music Video)

Who Doesn’t Like A Software Upgrade?

  • I think Scott Adams, the Dilbert guy, said it best about our current situation: “When you upgrade software, there is a moment in time in which you no longer have access to the old software but you have not yet completed loading the new version. That’s us, right now.” As someone who spent an entire previous life in the technology sector, I can assuredly say that all new software features and bug fixes are done with the best of intentions. But software is designed and written by people and best intentions sometimes have unintended consequences. For example, we put in a very clever new feature in at one point, designed to thwart DOS attacks on our system. It unfortunately took out the entire network for hundreds of thousands of people trying to tune in to watch the super bowl. Oops. We’re all waiting to see if this upgrade is the one we really wanted.
  • Overnight a Portland Antifa mob attempted to break into a police department, then went on to smash up businesses. Representative Nadler, chairman of the judiciary committee, says they’re a myth. That’s good, because otherwise I might be worried about living in Portland.
  • Update on the ginormous TV. The problem with the weird look (the soap opera effect) did indeed turn out to be the built in motion graphics. Turned that off and we’re back to the 24 frame look that’s expected.
  • The number of people fleeing CA, WA, hell, every big city, to our little town is overwhelming. Last year my local cross-country ski place on a Thursday afternoon would be empty. Maybe one other car in the parking lot. Yesterday the lot was completely full, cars circling for parking spots. I expect that on a weekend, but mid-day on a Thursday? I’m not sure I like this development.
  • The authentic voice discussion continues. Mrs Troutdog and I have been having some serious discussions. It’s getting less scary and a little more fun to think about what might be coming next. It can be overwhelming to realize that you only have so many years left to see and do things. How do I want to spend those years? First up will be some work changes. And keeping an actual budget that we stick to. I got all excited planning some road trips, then realized you also have to plan out what’s actually open these days. Damn virus. She hasn’t bought into the Sprinter van idea yet, but I’m crafting a killer power point presentation that may change her mind. Stay tuned.
  • Speaking of vehicles, I’m at a crossroads with my truck. Ten years old, runs great, have had very few (minor) service issues. Paid off long ago. I *think* it could reliably go another 75k miles without crazy expensive repairs. At least another 5 years at my annual mileage. The unknown is that it is of the age where the transmission could fall out tomorrow. Do I put money into it, bringing it up to the modern era and adding some desired upgrades? Or do I put that money into a new truck (likely my last new vehicle) that in theory will be more reliable for a longer period of time? Or do I hold out for the Tesla Cyber Truck? Opinions?

Song of the day: Cake – The Distance (Official Video)