Category: Cool

I Didn’t Read The Manual

I bought a drone. Because I am this close to becoming the next Jimmy Chin, Ewan McGregor and Charlie Boorman documenting the “Long Way Round“, or the next Itchy Boots. All that’s been holding me back is the ability to capture that epic footage, dude. And the drone is going to catapult me into fame. I’m sure of it. I just have to figure out how to fly the thing.

When it arrived, it was raining and windy. And then again the next day. And then a day of other commitments. Finally the weather was reasonable and I had the afternoon free. I announced that I was going to go for a motorcycle ride to test the drone. Mrs Troutdog, who’s far smarter than me, helpfully offered some advice. “Why would you do that? Go to the park first and learn how to fly it.” Sigh, women. They just don’t get it sometimes.

I’d watched some YouTube videos on flying it. I come from a highly technical background. Go to a park. Please. You cannot get epic footage at a park. So, I spent at least two hours figuring out how to attach the drone’s case to the motorcycle and getting wires and chargers and batteries all loaded up into the tank bag. Off I went to launch my film career.

About 45 minutes later I arrived at my planned destination in the backcountry. No cell service. No people. Just beautiful backcountry trails in the mountains alongside a flowing river. How perfect will this be! I could already see the footage I was going to capture. I unpacked the drone, the controller, and drone’s beacon.

Power on the drone, turn on the beacon, and… “STANDBY, GPS SYNCING”. I waited. And waited. And the drone timed out and powered off. The beacon, no longer connected to the drone, stopped the sync process. WTF? Power on the drone again and repeat the process. Same result. And again. And again. I finally noticed a message that said, “Pair beacon with app for faster sync”. Ok. I loaded up the app and looked for a way to pair with the beacon. Nothing. I tried to pair with the beacon via the phone’s Bluetooth connection. Nothing. Since there was no cell service in the backcountry, I had no way of looking anything up or downloading the manual.

An hour later I had to admit defeat. The drone wasn’t going to fly that day. I had to pack everything up, make the long ride home, and admit to Mrs Troutdog she was right all along. I should have just gone to the park. Sigh.

The next day it rained. We then had a three-day trip. When we returned, it rained again. FINALLY, we had a day of no rain. It was time to be humble and go to the park. I knew the perfect place, right near the house. I drove over and pulled all my gear out and got set up. I decided I should look at the FAA’s app that gives you flight authorization for your drone. And… you’re not allowed to fly at that park because it’s too close to the hospital. OMG.

I packed everything up and drove to a nearby school. There were approximately 1,000 little kids running around on the fields at what looked like a summer camp. I drove and drove and drove, until I finally found a large park without people. I checked the app and got clearance to fly.

Long story short, the drone is amazing. The technology in these things is hard to believe. And I honestly don’t think I could have figured it out standing on the side of the trail in the woods that first time. It certainly took some trial and error in a very large open space to start to get the hang of things. So, I suppose it was a blessing in disguise.

The moral of the story? I’m not sure. The trials, tribulations, and errors I went through probably taught me more about the drone and flying than if everything had gone perfectly the first time. Life and learning is a process. Embrace it. Laugh at it. The path forward is rarely a straight line.

Also, real men don’t read manuals.

What’s Your EDC? (everyday carry)

EDC. Everyday carry. I’m a sucker for clicking on EDC YouTube channels (yes, there are channels dedicated to just this). There’s just something about all the little gadgets and doodads I find fascinating. Mini flashlights, pocket knives, cool key holders, all-in-one mini tools, wallets, I absolutely love this stuff. I click on almost every link and wonder if I could use that gadget or not.

But I never buy any of them. For all of my obsession over the idea of cool EDC stuff… I absolutely hate carrying stuff in my pockets. Here’s what I carry every day: Three keys; a mini pocket knife; a tiny minimalist wallet; a phone; a handkerchief. That’s it. I’m astounded at the amount of crap the dudes on these EDC channels purport to carry in their pockets. They must jingle, rattle and sound like a old suit of armor walking down the street.

It’s not that I wouldn’t like to be prepared for the zombie apocalypse at all times, my problem is more anatomical. I was born without a butt. Zero. None. It doesn’t exist. My legs just go straight up and suddenly you’re at my lower back. I’ve heard you can fix this issue by doing squats with heavy weights. I tried it once and it didn’t take. Implants may be my next best choice. Anyway, the end result of my curve challenged backside is that it’s an everyday struggle to keep my pants up. It doesn’t seem to matter how hard I cinch down my belt, gravity wins out before too long. All day long I’m constantly hitching up my pants.

It’s manageable in my day-to-day life because I don’t carry anything. Work, however, is a different story. As an RN I have to carry a bunch of crap because you never know what you’re going to encounter in a patient’s room. My work EDC is as follows:

  • Penlight
  • Trauma shears
  • Hemostat
  • Multicolored pen
  • Mechanical pencil
  • Sharpie
  • Handful of 10 ml saline flushes
  • Bunch of alcohol wipes
  • Work badge/ID
  • Emergency SOS tracker
  • Med room keys
  • Locker key
  • Watch
  • Stethoscope
  • Coban wrap
  • Breath mints
  • Handkerchief
  • Personal phone
  • Work phone
  • N-95 mask
  • Safety goggles

In addition to all that stuff, I have a mini clipboard with my daily brain (notes and plans for each patient), phone numbers for all the departments, some frequently used reference material, and a few extra pieces of paper to scribble random to-do reminders on.

I’m quite a sight to see sprinting after a crazy naked patient as they try to make a break for the stairwell (happens way more often than you’d think). I leave a trail of stuff all the way down the hall as everything in the above list comes flying out of my pockets.

Everything on that list gets used every single shift. It’s taken years to pare down to what I currently carry. Every item goes in a specific pocket. I’m very functional. I see RN’s roll into the nurse’s station with giant backpacks, coffee mugs, water bottles, and lunch coolers. I don’t understand. What could you possibly need for a single work shift that requires a massive backpack?

Where was I going with this? Oh yes – gravity, pants, and EDC. At work I wear scrubs which only fasten with a drawstring. Even though I pull the drawstring tight enough to cut off circulation, my pants are halfway down my rear most of the day with all the crap I have in my pockets. The aforementioned running down the hall scenario carries the very real risk of my pants suddenly ending up around my ankles and me doing a sliding faceplant in front of all my coworkers. I’ve lain awake at night worrying about this.

Because of this nagging nightmare scene that never leaves the back of my brain, in my civilian life at home I want as little as possible in my pockets. At this point if my butt gets any flatter (and belly gets any bigger), I’m going to be forced to go the suspenders route. And that my friends, unless you’re a carpenter or firefighter, is the end. Complete surrender of fashion. You cannot make suspenders look good. Period. And because I’m all about fashion, I’ll stick with the belt and minimal EDC. Maybe try the heavy squats again.

Of course, I could go the route of the fanny pack or purse – ahem, murse. Hmmm, maybe that’s the ticket. I’ll dig out my old school messenger bag/briefcase and just carry that everywhere. Just think of all the cool stuff I could carry every day!

What’s in your EDC?

Out For A Ride

The bike is somehow bigger than I remember. Even though I’ve seen it almost every day in the garage, I haven’t really been looking at it. The motorcycle has been patiently waiting all winter for a nice day and the start of riding season. I pull on my helmet and fumble with the chinstrap. It’s been a while. Gloves on and jacket zipped.

I push the bike off the center stand. The weight briefly surprises me. I didn’t remember it being so heavy last summer. I roll the bike down the driveway and set it on the side stand. Pushing the start button, the engine roars to life. It’s such a powerful sound. Maybe appreciating the sound of engines is just a guy thing? Swinging my leg over, I try to get comfortable. Adjust the mirrors. Blip the throttle a few times ’cause it sounds cool. A tiny flash of nerves in the pit of my stomach. I put it in gear and go.

The first few turns are a bit awkward. I fumble to find the turn signal. Brake a little too hard and have a jerky stop at a stop sign. The tires are brand new, so I’m cautious around corners. The new tires are more aggressive than the previous, more street oriented set. I can feel the vibration through my hands. I don’t have a feel yet of how hard I can push them on the street.

As the miles roll by, the sense of flow slowly returns. I start seeing the corner apex again. Off the throttle, lean and push, then smoothly accelerate through the turn. On a long straightaway I open the throttle all the way and zoom through the gears. The acceleration pushes me back in my seat and the engine roars. I’m grinning inside my helmet.

It’s a little colder than I was expecting. I zip up the jacket all the way. Flip up the visor so I can feel the wind and smell the countryside. My eyes quickly start watering in the cold, so visor back down. I’m certainly not the only one out for a ride. Biker after biker goes by. Everyone gives a wave and a knowing nod. The biker community has been cooped up all winter. We’re all out shaking off the rust and dreaming of warm summer day rides.

I slowly work my way back through town. Now I feel like I have my traffic flow back. That sense of anticipating what cars are going to do. Quick lane changes to accelerate around vehicles slowing to turn into driveways. Pedestrians who launch themselves into crosswalks without looking. My stops and starts are smooth now. I’m in the zone.

I turn into my neighborhood. Glance at the clock. Is there time to ride a bit longer? No, sun is going down. I’m a little cold. We’ll call this a good first ride. It’s nice to be back on the bike. I’ve missed it.

That’s Going To Need A Patch

  • The weather in my part of the world was perfect this last weekend. Mid 70’s and no wind. The ideal conditions for a motorcycle ride. As I may have said previously, I’m generally a rule-follower. So for motorcycles that means ATGATT (all the gear, all the time). So getting ready for a ride is like those movie scenes where the astronauts are being dressed in their spacesuits by a team of helpers. My gear includes big heavy boots and an armored riding suit that weighs approximately 45 pounds and is made of some sort of magical Kevlar (affectionately referred to as the Fat Elvis suit). Once dressed, I clomp out to the garage and perform my pre-ride inspection as I was instructed 30 some-odd years ago in my first riding class. I checked the rear tire pressure with my cheap tire pressure tool and got nothing. I checked it again. Still nothing. I cursed myself for buying cheap tools and went and found another pressure gage. Still nothing. I’ve ridden for so many years, yet I’ve never had a flat. It never even dawned on me that the tire could be flat. Sure enough, there was a huge screw embedded in the tire. Sigh. There went the days ride.

    After stripping off all the gear, I now was faced with figuring out how to plug and repair the tire. I’ve carried the tools all these years, but never actually used them. Several YouTube videos later, one ruined tube of glue, some four-letter expletives, and the tire was patched and actually holding air. In the big picture, this was actually a good thing to have happened. I now know I can fix a tire in the field if needed. I learned a few things about some of the tools I’ve been carrying around. And I’d wanted new tires anyway, but had been dragging my feet on figuring out which ones. Even though this event ruined my weekend ride plans, I’ll view it as a net positive. What else are you going to do?

  • Speaking of YouTube, like many of my hobbies I had a burst of creativity last summer, swore I’d crank out a bunch of videos, then promptly forgot I had a channel. Then this week for some reason I got a massive influx of new subscribers and some comments (massive means six). It’s funny, it doesn’t take much to get me excited about things. I’m re-re-re-vowing to make videos again this spring and summer.

  • The internet is a blessing and curse. Pre-internet, to figure out something like what tires to buy for your motorcycle, you’d go down to the shop and ask them. If you were really into research you might go buy some magazines and read a few reviews. That was it. Now you have an unlimited amount of resources – blogs, YouTube, forums, etc… A billion different opinions on what is the best tire. If you’re not familiar with motorcycle tires, there’s a massive array of choices. Tires are rated on street vs dirt ability, longevity, mud vs dry dirt, sound level, and on and on. It can easily become a black hole of analysis paralysis. I bravely sorted through all of this, watched 127 hours of YouTube reviews and settled on the Motoz Tractionator GPS for those of you keeping score at home. Now I just have to wait for the supply chain shipping gods to deliver the new shoes.

  • It cost me $100 to fill up my truck yesterday. Let’s Go Brandon!

  • The trainer at the gym yesterday had me do these weird plank circle things on top of an exercise ball. Today my abdominals hurt so bad it’s hard to get off the couch. I’m making progress and it’s good to see, but this is why getting started with a workout routine is so hard. Pretty much any new movement causes DOMS and makes it hard to be motivated to do it again. It will be nice to get back to the point where I can blast through a workout and not be destroyed the next day.

  • This weekend we went to a music festival my city puts on every year. Five days and hundreds of bands of every possible genre, scattered through the city. It’s a fantastic event for the city and I love seeing that there are still places where this sort of thing can take place without riots, protests, and other general idiotry taking place. Of all the bands we saw, my favorite was some young kids (doubtful they were even 21) playing hard-core hair metal. Not generally my go-to music, but the lead guitarist was a young gal who was awesome and crazy energetic. It’s unusual to see a women as the lead guitarist, let alone in a metal band. Makes you wonder how she got interested in that sort of music at such a young age?

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

Just Take A Lesson

Proprioception is something that we rarely think about (bada boom, no pun intended). It’s the sense we have of where our bodies are in space. It’s why you can drive a car without looking at your feet on the pedals. You can walk in a completely dark room without losing your balance. You can type without looking at the keys. And why NFL receivers can make those amazing stretched out end zone catches with their feet staying in-bounds. Your brain keeps track of what all the appendages are doing at all times without you thinking about it. Some of us just do it better than others.

My first real awareness of this was an experimentation period with barefoot running. I’d just finished Christopher McDougall’s book “Born to Run” and decided to go all-in on barefoot running. I went with the Vibram Five Fingers shoes and hit the trail. If you’re not familiar with them, there’s no sole or cushion – just a thin layer of rubber to protect your feet from scratches and cuts. Needless to say, landing on a rock while running hurts. A lot. I spent much of those early runs with massively bruised feet. Eventually, someone pointed out what I was doing wrong. I was watching my feet when I was running. I was so busy trying to avoid rocks and “direct” where I stepped, my running was awkward, clumsy, and I constantly stepped on the rocks I was trying to avoid.

The secret is to not look where you’re going. Instead, look way ahead down the trail. Your brain sees all the terrain and creates a map of where to step without you being aware of it. If you stop thinking about it and let the brain and proprioception do it’s thing, you become smoother, faster, and avoid the rocks. It seems very counter-intuitive. You’ve done it yourself many times without realizing it. Walk across a room carrying a very full coffee cup. If you stare at the cup as you walk and try not to spill, most likely you’ll start spilling. Look ahead and stop thinking about it and your brain, arm, and hand will take care of the balance just fine.

What’s my point with this? Our conscious thoughts often get in the way of learning new skills properly. Take the golf swing. The average downswing takes about a quarter of a second. Your proprioception WILL get the clubhead to the ball. The problem is you may unknowingly have to do all sorts of weird contortions to get the clubhead back to the ball depending upon what you did in the backswing, setup, etc… Here’s where conscious thought gets in the way. I’m someone who was traditionally too cheap and stubborn to take lessons. Instead, I’d spend hundreds of dollars on the driving range pounding away at balls thinking I can “fix” my swing by myself. I was sure I knew what I was doing wrong. It was just a matter of enough practice. When it finally became clear that wasn’t working, I broke down and took a lesson.

That first time I saw my golf swing on video I was blown away. Everything I thought I was doing, had nothing to do with what I was really doing. My conscious brain would lie to me and it would “feel” like my hands or hips were doing one thing, but in reality they were doing the opposite. It was an ah-ha moment for me. My stubborn insistence (and cheapness) that I can teach myself has probably cost me significantly over the years. If I’d been willing and open years ago to taking lessons for many of my sports, I suspect I’d be much more skilled than I am today. I’m a reasonably coordinated and athletic person, so I’ve been able to make things work. But I could have been so much better.

I’m now at a point that I have the time, resources, and willingness to take lessons. I’m embracing it. I’ve been going to a personal trainer and have been making gains far quicker than I ever did by myself in my garage gym. He’s correcting horrible form that I “felt” was correct. I took my first ever ski lesson this season. A few simple changes have made things more effortless and really dialed in my carving turns. I never would have figured that out on my own. I’m doing a big block of golf lessons because I want to stop fighting the game and enjoy playing. It’s very obvious now that I can’t do that on my own watching YouTube instructional videos.

Our bodies and proprioception are an amazing thing. But unless you’re one of those .001% of gifted natural athletes, most likely your conscious brain will get in the way of correct movement. But as Mrs Troutdog has told me for years (and I didn’t listen), even the top pros have coaches for a reason.

Whatever your sport is, go take a damn lesson.

Wanna See Some Art?

I am a frustrated creator, to use the social media/YouTube lexicon. I go through waves of intense desire to create either photographs or videos. Those waves usually dissipate quickly, mostly because I don’t know what to do the images and videos. That sounds odd, so let me explain.

Making a video is a non-trivial task. You need to put thought into what you’re doing, constantly making sure you’re getting sufficient footage, film from multiple angles, etc… When done, you have many hours of editing, finding music, learning software tools, and rendering time. I’m a beginner, so my results are a bit amateurish, but I’m learning and they’re getting better. Those video’s obviously get posted to YouTube.

Photographs come from a Fuji X100F camera or my phone. The phone images are edited on the phone using VSCO or Snapseed and posted to Instagram. Photos from the “real” camera are edited with Adobe Lightroom… and sit on my hard drive for the most part. I have an old WordPress “photo” site with a few images, but I haven’t updated it in years.

So, what’s the issue? With videos it boils down to – is it worth the time and effort? To actually make any money on YouTube, even just a few hundred dollars a month, is nearly a full-time job. You have to be very consistent with uploads every week and put real effort into making interesting content. You need to identify a niche and focus on it. You need to promote your content. I like making videos, but I’m not sure I’m interested enough to go to that level. Therefore, I’m making occasional random videos for friends and family. Which is fine, but it’s a lot of effort. Do I want to continue?

Photographs are a similar, but slightly different issue. This will sound silly, but what do I do with my pictures? I suppose I can just keep posting them to Instagram for the approximately twenty friends and family who follow. I thought about creating a second, photography-specific Instagram account for the camera images but that would mean actively trying to attract followers. I’m not a professional, an influencer, or at a point in my life where my ego needs the boost, so that doesn’t really fit my personality. I suppose I could make prints from time to time to hang up around the house. I honestly just don’t know what I want to do with the images. The end result is that I rarely take pictures lately.

A day ago, I decided to try and create a gallery/slideshow that would display on the Smart TV in the living room. At least people coming to the house could get a glimpse into my pictures, right? Forty minutes later of trying to create accounts, logging in, and struggling with settings, I still couldn’t get the damn thing to sync with my images. That was the end of my attention span for that project.

Next, I turned to GoPro. They’ve updated their mobile app, called Quik. I’ve played with it a little bit and it seems interesting. Their premise is that the app will solve what they call the “black hole” of photos and videos that just sit on your phone. They have a tool called the Mural that you use to place daily content from your phone, and it helps you organize and create interesting slideshows and videos. I think it would work but will require a change in workflow along with how and where I save images. Again, do I really want to put the effort in to make this happen?

I realize that these are amazing first-world problems to have. I’m enough of a student of the mediums to know that the answer is that you’re creating for yourself. Unless your goal is to make a living with art, it makes no difference if anyone sees what you’ve created. You’re doing it for you. That holds true for photography, writing, or YouTube. I know this.

But as the old saying goes, if a tree falls in the forest – does it make a sound? Well, we’ll never know if someone isn’t there to listen. I’m not ready to abandon all creativity yet. I don’t know what the answer is for photography. If anyone has ideas on what to do with images, I’d love to hear it. YouTube is a bit trickier. I think the answer is to find a style that fits what I do. I need to find a way to document the things that I do that isn’t so labor intensive. If it’s easy enough, I’ll do it. I’ll push my stuff out there so friends and family can keep up with my activities and adventures. And if random strangers also want to see it, so be it.

We live in an amazing time. No more photo books with polaroid prints. No more grainy VHS tapes of family vacations. An unlimited number of ways to share images and art… it’s overwhelming.

Sigh. The life of a creator is hard.

A Winter Of Illness And Death

The actual text of an official Whitehouse press release: “For the unvaccinated, you’re looking at a winter of severe illness and death for yourselves, your families, and the hospitals you may soon overwhelm.” Seriously? Merry Christmas, bitches. Reading this first thing in the morning made me angry. The more I went through my news and Twitter feeds, the angrier I got. Then I realized – this is not a healthy way to start my day. My typical (non-workday) pattern upon waking is to drink a large glass of water while the coffee is brewing, then head to the computer to consume the news. And that news is overwhelmingly negative. Looking back on the vast majority of my rantings on this site, they’re mostly the byproduct of an hour-plus of getting angry about the state of the world and then writing about it. Not a great way to start the day. I think it’s time to break the pattern. I don’t know what that means yet. Workout as soon as I wake, à la Jocko? Meditate for an hour? Read a book? Walk downtown to a coffee shop and buy an actual newspaper and drink something other than crappy Keurig coffee? Wake and go to the computer but only work on something creative? I don’t know what the new pattern is going to be, but anything has to be healthier than starting my day reading an avalanche of negativity. So as a morning palate cleanser, some things that made me smile this morning…

  • One of the best news reports ever.

  • Yesterday at work one of my patients was a 90-year-old gentleman who had advanced dementia. He was in the hospital because he scaled the fence at his memory care facility and fell (yes, you read that right. A 90-year-old scaling a fence). I went into his room at one point, and he seemed very upset. I asked what was wrong and he said, “This hotel is terrible. They’re very irresponsible. They lost all my clothes and wallet.”

  • After non-stop kvetching about the lack of winter… it showed up big time this week. Got three days of cross-country skiing in. We got another 8 inches overnight, with more to come. There will be downhill skiing this week!

  • Speaking of cold, the hound loves snow and winter much more than summer. Which is odd because he has no fur. Anyway, he treated me to “resting bitch face” when I forced him to stop for a photo while skiing.

  • I’m impressed at the effort it took to make this. Shit keeps escalating.

  • Father and Son

  • Not sure why this made me smile, but it did. Headline: “California pot companies warn of impending industry collapse” Why? Taxes, regulation, and limits on retail stores. People are turning to cheaper, illegal pot.

  • John Daly and his son won the PNC championship, edging out Tiger and his son. I’m convinced the pants are the secret weapon. If you’ve got the gumption to wear multi-colored day of the dead pants to a PGA tournament, you just know you’re going to play well. I’m currently shopping for a pair now.

  • And finally, Elon Musk trolling Sen. Warren is always good for a smile. He’s an underrated comedian.

Song of the day: Matisyahu – King Without A Crown (Live from Stubb’s)

I Am A Closet Conformist

  • Here in the land of 1’s and 0’s, bits and bytes, I am a fierce contrarian. A dedicated non-conformist. The man ain’t gonna tell me what to do! I am a keyboard warrior who gives no quarter. (hey, that sorta rhymes) In the real world… I’m a rule follower. I wait to cross the street in the crosswalk until the light turns green, even if there’s no traffic (fueling Mrs troutdog’s never ending exasperation with this behavior). I dutifully return my hotel card key when checking out rather than just leave it in the room. I don’t get into the 10 items or less checkout lane if I have 11 items. I drive the speed limit. And to my shame, I wear a mask when required. If you’ve been reading along for any time, you’ll know that the mouth diapers are a bit of a pet peeve of mine. I’ve ranted about them all too frequently, although I’ve managed to refrain myself lately to spare ya’ll from too much of the same dribble. In my state there are no mask mandates. Other than at work (hospital) I never wear one. We recently had to travel to California, which is nanny-state central. And what did I do? Made sure I had extra masks and my vaccine card packed. Made sure I wore one in the airport, on the plane, and in restaurants. Why? It was an important trip, and I couldn’t risk getting “cancelled”. So much for being a rebel. It’s frightening how much power the state has. America, the land of the free and the home of the brave. And what did we do when compelled to do irrational things? We all meekly rolled over and said, “thank you sir, may I have another?” I’m very disappointed in myself and my fellow citizens. It’s clear that the state can create just about any rule they want and we’ll all just comply. I’ll be the first to admit that I’ll go along with just about any silly rule, rather than risk missing out on all you can eat prime rib night at Joey’s Dinner. We’ve clearly forgotten that all important phrase in the constitution, “…governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed”. Perhaps it’s time for us to start pushing back just a little bit?

  • Speaking of pushing back, I heard a rumor the other day. My hospital decided they were going to require the vaccine to keep your job early in the pandemic. I’d already gotten the vaxx (seemed like the right thing to do at the time), so it didn’t really affect me. They suspended that rule when Covid wave 2 (or 3, can’t keep track these days) hit and we were desperate for personnel. Staffing is better now, so they’re re-implementing the vaccination rule. I believe the deadline is Jan 1. It’ll be interesting to see how many people we lose. But that’s not the rumor… word floating around is they may add the booster to the requirements. I don’t know if this is true or not. I’ve decided not to get the booster at the moment for a variety of reasons. So – if they do require it, what am I going to do? I’m going to have to do some thinking on this one.

  • For my sanity and waistline, I’m asking everyone to start doing a snow-dance. If you’re not familiar, those of us who require the white fluffy stuff so we can go skiing perform a ritual dance to encourage the snow gods to bless us. Similar to voodoo. Anyway, we’ve had zero snow so far. This is a bad thing. There is a large storm lined up for the weekend with the potential of several feet of snow. So far, every storm has diverted further north at the last minute. Pray for us.

  • I just finished Dr Scott Atlas’ book about his time as a special advisor to the White House and the Covid task force. Read this book if you’d like to get really angry about the utter incompetence of government. It’s a great reminder that groupthink, ego, dogma, and politics exist in “science” just like any other discipline. Anytime you hear the words “consensus” or “science says”, you need to put your contrarian hat on.

  • The 80th anniversary of Pearl Harbor was a few days ago. 80 years before that was the start of the civil war. I thought that was an interesting illustration of time. There were some civil war veterans alive at the start of WWII, and a few WWII veterans alive today. Amazing to think about where we are today in a relatively few generations.

  • Substack is bringing back blogging in a big way. Whod’a thunk people would be willing to pay for blogs? I was convinced blogs were dead. I’ve contemplated abandoning WordPress for Substack. I equally contemplate giving up writing completely, as I can’t really define why I continue to babble. It’s clearly not for fame, fortune, or followers… Meanwhile, here’s a Substack dedicated to snacks. You wouldn’t think it would work, but it does.

  • It cost me $81 to fill up my truck yesterday. When I was traveling to CA the other day it was $15 for 2.8 gallons near the airport. Lets Go Brandon!

  • Having just returned from the nightmare world of airline travel, here’s a collection of historical airline seatback safety cards. I will confess to having never read one, nor listened to the safety brief at the beginning of the flight. It’s still unclear to me why, in the 21st century, we still need instruction on how to fasten the seatbelt buckle?

Song of the day: AC/DC – Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap (Official Video – AC/DC Live) (inspired by a little A10 action)

I Like Pickles

  • This week Mrs Troutdog and I celebrated our 29th wedding anniversary. It’s still a mystery how she’s managed to put up with me for that long. An even greater mystery is how I managed to hide my love of pickles for this many years. As part of our anniversary celebration we flew down to Palm Springs to play some golf and see the in-laws. On day one of our visit I discovered a giant Costco tub of pickles in her mom’s fridge. I spent the next few days diligently working my way through the giant vat of pickles. At one point Mrs Troutdog declared, “all these years and I had no idea you liked pickles so much?”. My secret is out. I guess I have to confess. I’ve been hiding pickles to eat when she’s not there. I’ve been sneaking out of bed to visit late night pickle stores. If we can get through the shock and shame of my pickle secret, I’m pretty sure we can make it through another 29 years of marriage.
  • While looking stuff up for my pickle story, I discovered that there are a ton of pickle of the month clubs. Who knew? I never would have guessed that the pickle community was large enough to support monthly deliveries of pickles. So, if any of you are looking to buy me a gift… now you know.
  • If I ever become super-woke and feel compelled to list my pronouns, I’m going with… rib/eye. Stole that from twitter. Not sure why that amused me so much.
  • Speaking of Palm Springs, we played a couple of days of golf at some high-end courses. I tend to be a local muni-course type of player. I bring my own water, walk the course whenever possible, and expect to see the condition of the fairways and greens as… “variable”. These Palm Springs courses are not that. You pull up to the clubhouse and dudes run out and put your clubs in the cart. They supply tees, wet towels, water, and divot repair tools. The greens and fairways are perfectly manicured. You truly feel bad taking a divot on the fairway. It’s honestly intimidating if you’re not much of a golfer. I was a bit worried leading up to the trip. Spent a bunch of money on travel bags for the clubs, dealing with checking them in at the airline, and the super expensive green fees – last thing in the world I wanted to then play horribly. It got in my head leading up to the trip. This is why I could never turn pro. Well, that and that whole lack of coordination thing. But, I played really well (for me). It was a fun experience and I look forward to our taking more golf trips. Except how do I now go back to regular people courses where you have to load and unload your own clubs from the car?
  • There was a political bloodbath last night. Shockingly, it turns out that when the economy is tanking and crime is through the roof people stop caring about frivolous topics. First and foremost people want safety, security, jobs, and a working economy. In times of scarcity, climate change, race, race, race, race, race, race, and socialist spending are not high on peoples list of concerns. It will be interesting to see what the democrats do in response. At the moment the progressive wing is claiming the problem was that they didn’t go hard enough on progressive demands. We’ll see how that works out.
  • COP26 has wrapped up and the end result was… nothing. Zip. Zero. Nada. Not a single accomplishment. Oh, how will the climate survive? The two biggest greenhouse gas emitters chose not to attend. Too busy building out coal fired electrical power plants I suppose. The African countries did make it clear that they’re pissed though. Why? We’ve reneged again on the 2009 pledge to pay them 100 billion a year to “cope with climate change”. Clearly John Kerry wasn’t on top of his game this year. But hey, at least he got to take his private plane out for a spin again. Along with 400 others carbon spewing planes, 85 car caravans, and massive gala dinners (where I’m sure they at least used paper straws).
  • This trip we took was the first time I’ve traveled out of state since the pandemic started. My state is mostly anti-mask and I haven’t had to wear a mask anywhere (other than work) for a long time. Traveling to California is different… mask mandates everywhere, vaccine cards required to eat inside restaurants. Masks in the airport and on the plane. And all of it is just theater. Wearing a mask to walk twenty feet into a restaurant only to take it off at the table is absurd. Sigh… and the plane – both Mrs Troutdog and I were scolded by flight attendants several times for letting our masks drop. Until food and drink service arrived – then yay! Everyone can eat, drink, talk and cough. The ‘rona is smart enough not to spread while you’re eating and drinking. I still cannot grasp that our public officials continue to push this nonsense. If you had told me two years ago that the entire country would soon think it was normal to walk around outside with a mask on your face, I would have sworn you were smoking something.
  • Speaking of smoking something, California is one of the states who has legalized the ‘herb. It was odd to see marijuana dispensaries on every corner. I could care less. I do wish there was a test or definition for what “under the influence” was, but otherwise each to their own. It may or may not be true that the bottle of vitamin gummies that came back no longer contains “vitamins”. The challenge at our age is remembering to grab the right bottle when taking the morning vitamin regime.

Song of the day: Macka B Legalize the herb

Going To The Big House

A random round-up of random things that randomly caught my eye

  • Scrolling through my extensive sources of information (twitter) I saw this headline: “Michigan Nurse Arrested for Selling Fake COVID-19 Vaccine Cards”. My first thought was this is going to happen more and more often… bring on the electronic vaccine passports! Because, you know, security and all. My second thought was, how is a covid vaccine card even a legal document? How is it illegal to sell a randomly printed piece of paper? My vaccine card only has one of the lot numbers and no signature/site listed. Anybody could have filled it out. It’s a horrible “official” document. Naturally I had to put my mad search skills to work to see if it really is a legal document. Turns out there’s about a hundred obscure statutes that could be used to charge this person. The most likely one is:

    The unauthorized use of of the official seal of the CDC or DHHS is a violation of 18 U.S.C. 1017. This federal statute makes it a crime to wrongfully or fraudulently affix the seal of any federal department or agency to a certificate, document, or paper, and likewise makes it a crime to use, buy, sell, or transfer such a document knowing that it’s fraudulent. A violation of this statute is punishable by a fine or imprisonment of up to five years.

    So, that nurse is definitely going to the big house. (slang: A state or federal prison) And she should, if for no other reason than she was selling them via Facebook Messenger. Seriously? She’s not exactly a criminal mastermind.

  • I’ve gone to the golf driving range twice in the last week and hit really, really well. (for me that just means my shots mostly went up in the air and sorta straight) I’m convinced it’s the new shoes. I went with a natural toe box style to let my toes spread out more. They’re very wide. Plus, they’re very bright. They looked more subdued on the website pictures. There’s a definite clown shoe vibe going on. Oh well. If John Daily can dress the way he does, I can wear clown shoes.

  • Take a minute and watch this video titled “Every Sport a Bowling Ball“.

  • I just finished reading “Uncontrolled Spread: Why COVID-19 Crushed Us and How We Can Defeat the Next Pandemic” by Dr Scott Gottlieb, the former head of the FDA. Quite a bit of behind the scenes information related to the inner workings of various federal agencies. It’s a little dry, but worth the read. The sad revelation is that it’s really pitiful how inept the US government is at doing most anything. We’re the freaking technology center of the universe and for most of the pandemic hospitals had to resort to faxing case count data to the CDC. The size, scale, and budget of the United States government is so ginormous it boggles the mind, yet we can’t get the simplest, most basic things right. Sigh…

  • If you’re not already, you need to be following Alaska’s “Fat Bear Week” contest. A weekly bracket competition to find the fattest bear of 2021. The winner will be declared October 5th. My money’s on bear 480, Otis.

  • Tweet of the day: In response to a post about why General Milley didn’t jump across the table and murder Representative Gaetz during yesterdays hearing… “Milley is 5′ 8″ and obese. The only thing he’s murdering is a plate of nachos”. I did actually laugh out loud at that one. Take a look at the picture – definitely not the same regal image the media carefully cultivates. Meanwhile, I’m going to think about nachos all day.

  • I’ve decided to abandon my idea of being a retirement lifestyle coach. I’m stealing an idea from another site and creating a “Contrarian University”. You’ll be able to sign up for classes, listen to podcasts, and receive personal instruction on how to be a Contrarian. I’ll be raking in the Quan. Just as soon as I create some content.

Song of the day: Living Colour- “Cult of Personality” Live in Auburn 1988