Category: Daily Life

Innovation And The Road Trip

  • On a recent two day road trip, it dawned on me just how behind the technology curve the automobile industry is. With the notable exception of Tesla, the interior of the modern vehicle hasn’t changed in a decade. For the most part every car still uses the same knobs, buttons, and analog gages they’ve always used. The most aggravating lack of progress has been around the phone. The modern smart phone has been in existence for 14 years. The smartphone controls everything in your life – navigation, music, your wallet, contacts, and communication. It’s a required piece of equipment for virtually every human being in the modern world. And what have today’s vehicles done to integrate this vital piece of hardware everyone uses? Nothing. They’ve added a USB port. Ever single driver today is using their phone for directions and communicating while driving. And you still have to go buy a third party plastic phone holder of some sort with a suction cup to mount somewhere. Cities are still having to pass “hands free” laws because making a phone call still isn’t nicely integrated into the vehicle. How hard could it possibly be to design a phone holder and charger that’s a seamless part of the dash? And as Tesla has so capably proven, there is zero reason why vehicles can’t have a smart screen display showing every possible bit of data about your car as well as, gasp, interfacing with your phone. Ignoring the electric part, Tesla continues to highlight what dinosaurs the auto industry have become.
  • Speaking of electric, I started the series “Long Way Up” with Ewan McGregor. It’s a continuation of the classic Long Way Round and Long Way Down series of long distance motorcycle trips. The twist this time is that they are on all electric motorcycles traveling from the tip of South America to Los Angeles. I’m only on episode three, but spoiler alert, it’s not going very well. Let’s just put it this way… they have a giant truck following them with a massive diesel generator to keep them charged. As I said in a previous post, we have a ways to go with electric charging infrastructure.
  • And while on the subject of motorcycles and phones, I have a decision to make. My new motorcycle has Apple Car Play integrated into it’s touch screen dash (which is more modern than most vehicles produced today). The problem is that I have never entered the Apple ecosystem. For whatever reason Honda chose not to support Android Auto. So for me to fully utilize all the fancy wiz-bang features on the motorcycle, I have to switch to an iPhone. Except, breaking news, literally just a day ago Honda announced support for Android Auto starting in Europe. So, do I hold out for eventual integration or switch over to Apple today? Sigh, why can’t everything just work?
  • Who knew you can order completely customizable Oreo cookies?
  • A violent BLM protest/riot injured two police officers in NYC yesterday. The mob also attacked and injured a journalist because the crowd started shouting “he’s a cop”. I’m not clear on the state of things now – do we still care about riots, or is that not a thing anymore?
  • The recall Gavin Newsom has obtained enough signatures to require a recall vote. This should be interesting.
  • We’ve had a pretty mild winter so far, with nothing but a bit of rain. I was super excited to get the new motorcycle out for it’s first ride. And… we’ve gotten 3+ inches of snow the last few days. I suppose I’ll have to spend my day planning out trips for this summer. I think the goal is to see how many quirky roadside attractions I can visit.

Song of the day: Joan Jett – Bad Reputation (Live)

Enjoying The Inside, Outside

  • As humans, it’s normal to take things for granted. Your health, your car starting, the sun rising, and indoor dining. I’m lucky that my state has allowed indoor dining for the most part during this horrible gift from China, the SARS-CoV-2 virus (I don’t think I’m allowed to say China or Wuhan virus anymore). Well, the last two days I’ve been on a road trip of sorts and my travel partner and I stopped in a cute little town and went to a promising looking brewpub. The hostess scurried outside and asked us if we had reservations. Who needs reservations at a brewpub? We said no and she replied that the only seat she had left was outside the tent and not under the heaters. What? We said ok because we were starving, so she seated us at a lone table away from four other tables under a makeshift tent. Keep in mind the outside temperature was in the twenties. This was all very confusing. I ran back to the car to get another jacket and then went inside to wash up in the facilities. Once inside I saw all the chairs stacked up on top of the tables and it suddenly dawned on me. This state does not allow indoor dining. It’s twenty frigg’n degrees and the state is forcing people to eat outdoors. I watched patrons arrive carrying huge thick blankets. The people in this state are so desperate to eat at a restaurant they’re willing to bring blankets and sit outside in twenty degree temps. Meanwhile, all the restaurant workers are inside walking around without masks. They only put them on when they came outside to serve patrons. What sort of dystopian nightmare is this? When our food came it was good… for about thirty seconds and then was stone cold. BECAUSE IT’S TWENTY GODDAM DEGREES OUTSIDE! It’s hard to describe the absolute lunacy that is a health official who thinks all this is a viable solution to the problem. And I’m saddened that as thinking, voting, citizens we’re all just meekly going along with this nonsense.
  • The aforementioned road trip was to pick up the new motorcycle I’ve previously mentioned. Oh, she is a thing of beauty. I’m already in love. This particular bike was pretty hard to find, so I ended have to go to a different state to buy it. Not an issue other than we’re currently experiencing a pretty significant snow storm, or a “winter weather advisory” as the weather service call it. I’m not a particularly smart fellow, so it didn’t dawn on me to rent an enclosed trailer. So my new beast had to travel across three states through a snow storm to get home. She was covered in a thick layer of road grime and ice by the time I got her in the garage. But, it’s an adventure bike and that’s what it was intended to do. It’s not some fancy Harley that only comes out when it’s a perfect 70 degrees. I figure it was the perfect baptism to adventure. I will however be spending the rest of the day cleaning her up. And dreaming about the adventures we’ll have. Once it stops snowing.
  • Twitter has decided to ban Project Veritas and it’s founder James O’Keefe’s accounts. Yep, no censorship here. Move along people, nothing to see.
  • This is an excellent video talking about the problem with electric vehicles. It’s not the cars that are the issue, it’s the lack of charging infrastructure. I have no problem with the idea of electric vehicles. I’ve even toyed with the idea of putting a deposit down on the Tesla Cyber truck (Mrs Troutdog would kill me). This country simply doesn’t have the infrastructure to support large numbers of electric vehicles, nor the drain it would put on the electrical grid. Not to mention how we’re going to produce all that electricity with only solar and wind power since we’re getting rid of all those nasty fossil fuel plants. I wonder if there’s another source of electricity that’s clean, safe, and proven? Like, say… nuclear? Why in the world this isn’t being even spoken about by the Green New Deal zealots is beyond me.
  • One of the many topics that came up during the previously mentioned road trip was the sad state of our public schools. For better or worse, Covid was the perfect inflection point for fundamentally changing how we teach our kids. We have the technology. We have the entirety of human knowledge instantly available. We have the ability to present information in ways that were unimaginable when I went to school. And when forced to move to remote, technology driven teaching, what did our educators do? Nothing. They’ve continued the same old way of teaching we’ve been doing since the beginning of time. We literally have clung to the Prussian education system from the 19th century. Someone stands in front of the class and lectures and the obedient students attempt to memorize. The only difference is they’re trying to do it on Zoom. Kids, make sure not to miss your 1pm Zoom math class! Why, why, why? This will be harsh to hear, but what should happen is to get rid of half the teachers. Replace them with IT people and digital content creators. The remaining teachers would be responsible for driving the curriculum and measuring student progress. The student to teacher ratio should only be limited by how many papers/projects/tests a teacher can grade. Those teachers can be, gasp, located anywhere in the country. We want teachers who can put out amazing interactive digital content that engages kids in the same ways they’ll be working and producing at their jobs in the future. Meanwhile I suspect we have many teachers that lament we no longer have library books and encyclopedias to look up facts. If I had kids and was forced to go the “remote” learning route, I’d certainly be looking into some sort of Khan Academy type of learning. Our public schools are doing our kids a massive disservice and the teacher’s unions and elected officials are happily going along with it. Change is scary. But pretending the digital age isn’t real is dooming our kids to fail in the future.
  • And because at heart I’m still a ten year old who likes fart jokes, enjoy some mugshots of people with crazy fake eyebrows.

Song of the day: Hole – Celebrity Skin (live)

Where The Rubber Meets The Road

  • “Where theory is put into practice”. I’ve been babbling about adventure, seeing the sights, and exploring for a while. Now, I’m putting my money where my mouth is. I have acquired the dream adventure motorcycle. I travel next week to pick it up. I am giddy like a little schoolgirl. But I’m also nervous. On my current bike I’ve done short day trips and one overnight, but no real travel. Actually getting on the bike and heading off into the sunset with only a vague itinerary is a little scary. Am I going to like putting long miles in? Will I really make the effort to stop at all the little roadside attractions? Will I take pictures like I said I would? Will I actually talk to people (or even scarier, take street photos of people)? Do I want to eat alone in cafes? Will I make an effort to explore in the evenings or just sit in my motel room? Despite my online bravado, all these things are way out of my comfort zone. They make my stomach tingle a little bit. But I am over the moon excited to push myself and overcome fears. The timing works out perfectly. It’s still winter in my part of the world, so I have a few months to get used to the bike before spring and real travel can happen. Mrs Troutdog test rode Harleys yesterday, so hopefully it won’t be too long before she’s ready to join me from time to time as well. I’m super proud of her to overcome the fear of simply riding a motorcycle. It’s an exciting new chapter!
  • Speaking of snow, this video is a pretty funny representation of someone from the south traveling to cold weather. I’ve got friends who recently moved from LA to our mountain environment. Remember the Jimmy Kimmel segments of people in LA when it dropped to 60 degrees? That was them. Now they barely throw on a light jacket when it’s in the teens.
  • It’s hard to fathom the lunacy of this. “researchers believe that a fleet of specially-designed aircraft could spray sulfate particles into the lower stratosphere to cool down our planet and offset the effects of climate change”. It’s being partially funded by Bill Gates. Nope, can’t imagine any unintended consequences with this plan. Literally not a single prediction or climate model in the last 30 years has been accurate or come to fruition. The global warming cult is now back in full swing, backed by the full funding of the new administration. Every basic tenet of science is being ignored, all while demonizing anyone who disagrees as a flat earth denier.
  • Continuing with the unintended consequences theme, president Biden ordered all construction on the border wall stopped. There is now a section in New Mexico that is a mile short of connecting with an existing wall. Workers dropped their tools, shut down their equipment, and walked away. So now we just created a funnel – the only opening for 90 miles that will drop people right onto a local ranchers property. What could possibly go wrong? Government at it’s finest.
  • My fall from sports fandom is complete. I just realized the Super Bowl is tomorrow. Doesn’t matter because I have to work, but I wasn’t going to watch it anyway. Probably for the first time ever, I honestly couldn’t even tell you who was playing. Haven’t watched a single game or tuned into ESPN once. The last 4-5 years I’ve pretty much dropped all pro sports. It just seems to more and more of a waste of time. And the big ones, baseball, football, basketball, seem to be dominated by whinny millionaires. It’s hard to relate. Throw in several years of non stop pandering to “social justice” causes, and I’m out. Why do actors and athletes feel the need to ram their politics down your throat? I’m watching you for your acting or sport, not your personal views. Sigh. Anyway, this is from someone who at one time was in multiple concurrent fantasy leagues and watched SportsCenter nightly. I honestly don’t miss it. Ok, I will admit to missing the Super Bowl commercials.

Song of the day: Booker T. and MG’s (1967) GREEN ONIONS

Who Doesn’t Like The Theater?

  • I hate to break it to you, but none of this is real. The politics, the spending, the daily media-driven outrage, none of it is reality in the way you and I think of the real world. Everything you see is manufactured theater. All of it. The speeches on the house and senate floor, press conferences, social media interactions, news show appearances – they’re all deliberate, manufactured, and designed to spark outrage with the base. The same with the “media”. Pick whatever news source you like, they all intentionally craft a narrative that creates anger and frustration amongst their target audience. Why? Money. 2020 election spending was more than $14 billion dollars. Think about that. You don’t spend that kind of money without expecting a return on the other end. The deep state, unfathomably large bureaucracies, super PACS, the military industrial complex, unions, big tech, law firms, education, they are the new oligarchs of our times. They make the decisions. And they want more. More spending. More dump trucks of cash printed out of thin air. It’s been 23 years since the federal government actually passed an annual budget. The last deficit balanced budget was in 1969. Government is in the business of seizing, printing, and redistributing wealth. Period. So please, take a deep breath and realize all the outrage being shouted at you is manufactured to drive and control the narrative. And the narrative is designed to keep the spending going in the direction the collective power brokers want. Yes, that’s a bit pessimistic. But it’s the truth. And the sooner you realize it’s all theater the better you’ll sleep at night. Do your best to carve out what you can for you and your family. And then go enjoy life. Because devoting large amounts of brain time to something you can’t win isn’t healthy.
  • On a less dystopian note, this short video is pretty funny. Although you’ll only really get it if you already watch the over the top dramatic videos produced by outdoor gear manufactures. And the best part is it’s made by a gear manufacturer channeling some Mystery Science Theater.
  • Ok, back to the outrage. The blame for most of this rests on our shoulders. I saw this link about Representative Maxine Waters giving a million dollars in campaign cash to her daughter. My only thought was how do these people keep getting elected year after year? McConnell, Nadler, Graham, McCain, Pelosi, Schumer, all of them on both sides of the aisle. People in LA can’t possibly be thinking, wow she’s done an amazing job for me. I can’t get over how well my district is being represented. Yet they’ve been sending her back to Washington for 30 years. Why? The sad reality is that the few people that actually vote, tend to vote against someone, not for someone. They see a campaign ad saying candidate X grinds up puppies in a blender and drinks them as smoothies in the morning, recognizes a name with the appropriate R or D in front of it and that’s it. It’s all very depressing if you think about it. But those in power will never actually implement meaningful voting reform or term limits for themselves. Some sort of public referendum seems to be the only way to circumnavigate the power circles.
  • A friend of mine sent me a link to the 2021 World Senior Games and asked if I’d be interested in the trail run. He’s going already to participate in the Cowboy Action Shooting (gasp, outrage alert – guns!). I’m slightly suspicious of “World Games” that don’t have any sort of qualifying requirements. But since I don’t have any hope of actually qualifying for anything, the idea intrigues me. For about 30 seconds. There’s just something that compels me to think about signing up for a race or event to prove to myself that I’m capable of doing it. I’ve signed up for a handful of marathons, half marathons, road and trail, and mountain bike races over the years. Some I’ve done, some I’ve abandoned. My favorite was the 100 miles of Nowhere race. It was an annual event to raise money for cancer research. I rode 100 continuous miles around my block. Alone. That’s a long time to ride in a small circle. It was silly but it felt good to prove to myself I could do it. For that same reason I enter the lottery to ride the Leadville 100 mountain bike race almost every year. Which I wouldn’t have a hope in hell of actually finishing. I’ve contemplated a 100 mile trail run race every year as well. Probably have an equally low chance of finishing that as well. So why do I think about it? I have no interest in becoming a runner or competing. There’s just something compelling about completing something not many people can do. I suppose it’s vanity, wanting some bragging rights. So when I saw an article talking about the Grand Canyon rim to rim to rim run, my brain briefly went, hmm….
  • February 5th is international Clash day. The Clash were at one time referred to as “the only band that matters”. As Joe Strummer described the band, “We’re anti-fascist, we’re anti-violence, we’re anti-racist, and we’re pro-creative. We’re against ignorance.” How can you go wrong with that? So you know what that means….

Song of the day: The Clash – London Calling (Official Video)

What Have You Done Lately?

  • I am constantly amazed at the number of my elderly patients who never traveled further than a 100 mile radius from where they were born. It’s a way higher number than you’d think. We’re here on this planet for such a short time, how do you not have even the slightest interest in seeing beyond your little town? I’m honestly not trying to make anyone feel bad, it’s just that you realize you’re only here once, right? And that expected expiration date is not guaranteed. What made me think of this is the story of the Black Swallow. I stumbled on this and highly encourage you to read it. (it’s a short read) The life this guy had is like straight out of a swashbuckling fiction novel. This is a Netflix series just waiting to happen. What makes it more amazing is the time period he did it in. Reading his story just solidifies my desire to maximize the time I have left. In the adventure and experience department I’d rate my life as maybe slightly above average. I’ve had the opportunity to do some things that not everyone has done. But at the same time I also spent years never taking a vacation, toiling away for the corporate overlords, because I thought that was what was important. I don’t have regrets because it’s afforded me the opportunity to do things today… but part of me wishes I’d been a little more adventurous back then. I look at the youth of today and worry that the adventurous spirit is gone. They’ll have spent a chunk of their formative years locked down, tethered electronically at all times, afraid to interact with other humans. I feel fortunate to have grown up in a different time. I saw a tweet that expressed it perfectly:
    “Today – Son: I’m going outside to play.
    Mom: Ok, check in every thirty minutes so I know you’re safe.
    When I was 11: We’re going to the dump, someone said the hobos killed one of their own there and we want to find the body.

    Mom: Ok, but do not bring a dead body back to this house”
    I’m a little too old to chuck it all and travel the country living out of a van, or go join the French Foreign Legion, but I can keep my vow to start seeing and experiencing as much as possible in time I have left. How about you?
  • I don’t understand how the crunchy granola, global warming crowd, doesn’t rise up in outrage over John Kerry being appointed Climate Czar. The man is a gazillionaire via marriage, who lives in multiple mansions and jets around the world in a private jet. Yet, he’s going to lecture us about doing our part to “fight” global warming? And don’t give me bullshit about “carbon offsets”. That’s one of the biggest scams ever produced. And he uses it only so he can self-justify his carbon footprint and not have to fly commercial with the common folk. “Private jets are the only option for a man like me” he said. What a pompous ass. Think about that as you’re dutifully washing out your used mayonnaise jar to recycle and car pooling to reduce your emissions output.
  • Continuing with the experiences/adventure theme, I started collecting a list of trips in my, and surrounding, states. Single day and multi-day trips with various attractions and sights. It’s addicting once you start looking at the possibilities. It’s already a several years long list. Time to get cracking!
  • As a wanna be photographer, there’s something that you may not realize. Every photo you take, regardless if it’s an expensive DLSR or your phone, contains what’s called EXIF data (exchangeable image file format) imbedded in the image. It’s metadata that shows what kind of camera or phone it is, the time of day, where you are, GPS coordinates, exposure settings, etc… When you post that pic to social media they do strip it out, but they also use it. This is how Instagram knows how to suggest a location when I upload a pic from my phone that I took a day ago. I wonder what else they do with that data? Just saying…
  • Continuing the theme of big brother tracking you, we all know that social media uses your search history to serve up ads. Well, at some point I looked up catheters to show Mrs Troutdog a picture (she’d never seen one and didn’t believe me when I described the size. “You put that big tube up there?!?!”). Anyway, ever since then I’m continually served up ads for catheters. Usually the ads go away after a while when algorithm figures out a new topic to start serving you. But not catheters. It’s been months and I’m still seeing them daily. What is Facebook trying to tell me?
  • Speaking of keeping lists, the Bullet Journal is officially dead. It’s just not for me. I like making lists of things, but the act of having to maintain something daily just doesn’t work. Great idea and I can see how it’s perfect for lots of people. I’m too scattered for it to be effective. I will continue with making lists of ideas, projects, and travel however. That’s been a positive thing. Giving some structure to the randomness that is my brain is a positive step.

Song of the day: SKRILLEX – Bangarang feat. Sirah [Official Music Video]

It’s Science Baby!

  • So the LA county health district agreed to let outdoor dining reopen. But after careful study of many peer-reviewed academic research papers and consulting with the high priest of Covid (Fauci), they have banned restaurants from having their televisions turned on. I shit you not. The new health order reads: “Televisions or any other screens that are used to broadcast programming must be removed from the area or turned off. This provision is effective until further notice.” These people have lost their minds. I literally don’t know what to say about this other than I hope every restaurant in LA county says a big F-U and turns on their TV’s. Thank god we finally have an administration that believes in science again.
  • An excellent list on how to be a man in 2018 (yes I know it’s now ancient). All young men should read this. It’s from GSElevator, who you should follow. I was and then then Twitter did it’s thing and unfollowed him for me. Didn’t realize it until someone else retweeted something from him. Those wacky guys at Twitter.
  • Speaking of deleting, Google removed at least 100,000 negative reviews of the stock trading app Robinhood from the Google Play app store after angry users sent a flood of critical reviews that caused the app’s rating to plummet on Thursday. Nothing to see here, move along.
  • Having spent approximately 10,000 hours researching, I finally decided on which motorcycle to buy. I skipped on down to the local dealership, ready to plunk down some quan on a fantastic new machine. Ah, nope. Turns out dealerships have specific ordering windows and are only allotted a certain number of specific bikes based upon their sales revenue. The bike I wanted was not on their list. The purchasing manger said that if I wanted to put down a deposit they would try to get one, but no guarantee. When asked if they did get one, when would it be, the answer was maybe April. Sigh. I’m trying to give them money, why is this so hard? Looks like I may be doing a multi-state trip to find one.
  • So how many domestic insurgents did the troops in DC’s new occupied green zone repel today? It must have been a lot. Otherwise why would we still have many thousands of troops in place? I wonder if any journalists are going to ask the question? I visited DC a few years ago for the first time. Thank god we did because I have a feeling it’s never going to look the same.
  • This guy is an actual firefighter who green screens himself into silly TV drama scenes and makes fun of their portrayals of fire fighting. It’s pretty funny.
  • And finally, because it’s Saturday and I’m all out of outrage for the week, a list of the 50 best cult movies. Like any ranking list you’ll never get everyone to agree, but The Big Lebowski is number one and I’m good with that.

Song of the day: New Order – Bizarre Love Triangle [Live in Glasgow]

Learn To Code

  • Way back in 2019, then candidate Biden showed his concern for out of work coal miners by encouraging them to simply learn to code: “Gimme a break! Anybody who can throw coal into a furnace can learn how to program for God’s sake.” When more than a thousand journalists were laid off later that year, many of them were inundated with “learn to code” memes on twitter. In a move foreshadowing it’s current purge, Twitter promptly began shutting down accounts of anyone tweeting the offensive and obviously racist meme. Climate czar John Kerry seemed determined to keep the theme going yesterday by telling potentially out of work oil and gas workers they can just simply learn to make solar panels. Probably good advice since we’re going to need a lot of ’em. Biden wants the US to run completely on “clean energy” by 2035. Currently clean energy supplies 6.8% of energy production. 5.5% for wind and 1.3% for solar. Hydroelectric adds another 6.5%, but I don’t think we’re talking about damming up more rivers. So… in 14 years we’re somehow going to replace ~85% of our energy infrastructure? It’s hard not to laugh at statements like that. Except that those cute little feel good statements will come at a cost. Biden’s already thrown out a $2 trillion figure for his climate plan. And yesterday the nominee for the commerce department, Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo, said “the administration would have to remain open to new taxation on middle class families in order to fund policies on climate change and infrastructure improvement”. So I guess the plan is to tax us for the privilege of covering every square inch of open space with wind and solar farms? I wonder if its too late to invest in Solyndra?
  • I live in a small town. The last few years it’s grown rapidly due to the mass exodus of people fleeing states like California. Unfortunately they also bring their California values and attitudes. Where I see this the most is driving habits. Way back when, we had little traffic and people were generally courteous. Most people would wave you in to merge and would generally keep a reasonable distance on the freeway. Now it not uncommon for other drivers to cut you off, people are reluctant to let you merge, and cars on the freeway ride your bumper. It’s only going to get worse as more people discover the joys of not living in a huge city. I have no point to this other than I saw an article listing the top 20 megacities in the world. Tokyo has 37.3 million people. I can’t even fathom what it would be like to live on top of that many people. I get claustrophobic just going to Costco, so I don’t see myself moving to a megacity any time soon.
  • Hunter Biden apparently still has a 10% stake in a Chinese equity firm, despite saying he would divest. President Biden said no one in his family would engage in foreign business if he was elected president. Then again, he also lied about not having any involvement in his son’s business so I don’t know why we’d believe him now. Interesting that the press is no longer obsessed with investigating a president’s business dealings.
  • Apparently everything we thought we knew about herd immunity was wrong. You catch the disease or get a vaccine and you develop an immunity to it. Enough people do that and you break the contagion cycle. Seems simple enough. Now “medical experts” and the news are continually advising that even though you had the vaccine (or the ‘rona), you can still get it and/or transmit it to others. Therefore you still need to wear the mouth diaper at all times, socially distance, and eat only outside at restaurants except now it’s cold so we eat outside in tents that make the outside the inside. Sigh, I’m so confused. So we performed this herculean effort to create a new vaccine that everyone is now angrily pointing fingers at each other because we don’t have enough of it, yet it doesn’t work? Or it does work, but not until everyone gets it? Or, I’m going out on a limb here, we can’t enforce the silly mask mandate unless we start tattooing a giant I (for immune) on peoples foreheads. Ok, that would be extreme. I guess we could start issuing some sort of bracelet or badge you wear indicating your covid-free status. I don’t think anyone would try to sell counterfeit versions. Besides, it’s not like there’s any historical evidence that forcing a certain group of people to wear a label would be bad. Until we sort this out, I guess we’ll all just have to keep wearing the mask. Sorry, not just one but two now. It’s almost like they’re worried that nasty piece of cloth on your face isn’t really working.
  • I entered the lottery for a river permit this summer. Of course I’ve just jinxed my chances by saying it out loud. This summer is shaping up to be quite busy. This is a good thing. I better update my bullet journal. Oh, wait I haven’t looked at it for multiple weeks now. I’ll try again to motivate myself to use it, but I don’t hold high hopes. It just doesn’t seem to work for me.
  • Photos of a 1965 Soviet submarine. It had a crew of 78. I cannot fathom (see what I did there? I’m so clever. No? Sigh, a fathom is a unit of measurement for depth of water. 1 fathom is six feet) how horrible it would have been to serve on one of these.

Song of the day: Arctic Monkeys – I Bet You Look Good On The Dancefloor (Official Video)

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

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)