Category: Lists

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.

The Authentic Voice

  • I don’t have a list of resolutions for the New Year. No goals that probably won’t be met. No platitudes about becoming a better person or striving for world peace. I’m in a unique place in life. I’ve been very blessed. Through a combination of dumb luck, good planning, seizing opportunities, and hard work, Mrs. Troutdog and I find ourselves at a happy crossroads. Retirement is looming around the corner. What is that going to look like? Will I spend my waning years puttering around my workbench in the garage? Will we be taking exotic motorcycle trips across southeast Asia? Maybe I’ll finally become a world famous YouTube star, or figure out what it is I’m actually trying to say with this blog. Perhaps I’ll start taking pictures again or figure out once and for all which of my 27 hobbies I want to focus on? When you were younger the saying was “what do you want to be when you grow up?”. Well, here I am all grown up and I still don’t know. So that’s my plan for the year – to try and get a handle on what I want my remaining time on this planet to look like. To find my authentic voice. What do I want to say, do, and leave behind. It’s not an achievable plan. But I think it’s a good theme for the New Year.
  • I finally made the Machaca. I think it came out pretty damn good. It will certainly be a do-over. There’s so many things you can do with it – tortas, street tacos, breakfast, burritos. Good stuff.
  • I don’t know why I find this so frightening. The engineering is damn impressive. It’s amazing where we are from a technology perspective. I guess I just don’t trust human nature. The sci-fi conspiracy theorist in me envisions getting tased by one of these things as I try to enter a store without my Covid-39 passport.
  • You’re already seeing the media reporting the administration is bungling the rollout of the China virus vaccine. What a disaster, only 3 million doses have been given by the end of the year. We were promised 20 million dammit! Ignoring what an amazing R&D accomplishment this has been, the media conveniently doesn’t report that 14 million doses have been shipped. The bottleneck is at the local level. The same thing happens with every hurricane, wildfire, and flood. Clearly we don’t teach civics any more. We are a republic of independent states. The federal government can supply resources, but it’s up to the individual states and cities to implement those resources. When you saw those rows of empty school buses unused and flooded while people frantically tried to evacuate during Katrina, that was the state and cities fault. The federal government (FEMA) prepositioned those assets and the local authorities didn’t use them. It’s a dangerous road to go down letting people think that a massive, federal big brother is in charge of everything. The framers would be appalled at what their republic has become.
  • This article about the imprisonment of Assange is a bit convoluted, but a good read. What we’ve done to him is a travesty. I really liked this statement: “Whether a society is truly free is determined by how it treats its dissidents, those who live and speak and think outside of permissible lines, those who effectively subvert ruling class aims.”
  • I finished my last shift and last task of the year, New Years eve, in a fitting fashion. Giving a soap suds enema to a confused, combative patient who hadn’t pooped in a week and vomiting up tube feeds every thirty minutes. Thanks 2020 and fuck you. Moving on to 2021!
  • Finishing up with pics of the best dogs on the planet, the mighty Vizsla.

Song of the day: Beck – Loser (Live 2003)

The Perfect Weight Loss Hack

Cool things, shower thoughts, advice, and independent thinking from someone who’s been around the sun a few times.

  • Clickbait titles amuse me and I couldn’t resist. Anyway, I’ll reveal the hack over the next few posts. Here’s the first part. Go find a BMR calculator that includes activity level. This one seems to work well. Enter in the data and see what your number is. Now here’s the crazy part – go eat less than that number. I guarantee you’ll loose weight. Boom! Mind blown. More to come.
  • I was fascinated by this article. I had no idea that there was such a thing as the Open Skies Treaty and we actually let other countries conduct surveillance flights over our military installations. I can’t decide if it’s no big deal, or our openness will come back to bite us some day.
  • I haven’t been very good lately at keeping up with friendships. The older you get the harder it is. It’s certainly a perishable skill that I need to work on. Been thinking about it, so I contacted a couple of buddies I hadn’t seen in a while and made arrangements to meet for lunch and a couple of beers. It felt good. Go do the same.
  • Watched “The Dawn Wall” last night. Well worth a watch but not as well done as “Free Solo”. The “rules” for big wall free climbing are unclear and the movie never explains it, so there are parts that may leave you wondering why they’re doing some of the things they do. At any rate, I may have to go dig out the climbing shoes. What could go wrong?
  • I’ve never been a huge fan of Lindsey Vonn. Her persona always seemed very cold. I was more of a Julia Mancuso fan. Lindsey recently launched a YouTube channel. She’s much warmer than I thought and has a dry sense of humor you don’t normally see.
  • I made a huge step in my street photographs. I actually went up to someone as asked if I could take their picture. If you’re not an extrovert this is a very weird and intimidating thing to do with a stranger. Wasn’t a great picture, but I crossed that hurdle.
  • Data tampering? But, they’re scientists how could this be? In related news, U.S. Oct-March temps were the third coldest recorded. But whatever.
  • Both political parties are full campaign mode trying to inflame their bases. Independent of the realties of each sides message, the left has gone full negative by devoting all its time to attacking the president. Traditionally people want to vote for something, not against something. It will be interesting to see what happens this go-round.
  • The Insta360 looks extremely cool. Inspiring enough I may have to dig out the GoPro and film something.

Song of the day: Florence + The Machine “Kiss with a fist”

Notions Of Cool V.022

A random list of things and shower thoughts that an old Gen X dude finds cool or worth pondering.

  • The American middle class is shrinking… but it’s because more people are moving to upper income levels, not dropping down. This is not what we’re being told (and not what I thought). The point of this is that you always need to be thinking like a contrarian. The narrative pushed in the media is not always true. Being a skeptic is good.
  • Speaking of media narratives… clearly these “journalists” failed to do even the most basic research when they declared the recent flooding as due to, wait for it, climate change! Unfortunately that region floods and has been doing so forever. But it’s different this time I suppose.
  • Here’s a cool animation of the worlds most populous cities by year from 1500 to 2018.
  • I went to the golf driving range yesterday. It went about as expected. Which means poorly. I came home and was in the process of scheduling a lesson when I stopped. I realized that of the 47 different hobbies I have, golf is not important enough to me to invest more time in. I’ll continue to play from time to time, but I no longer care. I’ll go flail about and enjoy the company and walk. A good decision I think.
  • A hobby I do care about is photography. I did an hour walk downtown to grab some photos. I got absolute crap because I wasn’t focused and didn’t pay attention to what I was doing. I will be renewing my efforts to learn and get better. What I can’t decide is sharing my work – do I post the good the bad and the ugly or just the occasional few I really like?
  • For the most part the media is unable to admit they were wrong about the Mueller investigation. They continue to double down. One of the best examples is chief Trump obsessed former republican morning host Joe Scarborough. The title of this mornings column is “The Mueller war is over – and President Trump won”. That is also the first sentence of his column. Literally the second sentence and every remaining paragraph is dedicated to declaring how horrible Trump is. Good grief. I don’t like Trump, but at this point I’ll vote for him just because I like seeing these pompous media asses get kicked in the teeth.
  • I made a bold move yesterday and decided to go minimal with my wallet. I rarely carry cash and wanted something that would fit in my front pocket. Ordered one of these. Stay tuned for a review.
  • Having hit my weight goal, I now need to decide if I’m going to continue down the keto road, or transition to a paleo-ish low glycemic way of eating? I don’t know yet. Part of me wants to continue keto for a while longer and then check my blood markers. Curious if this has impacted my triglycerides? The other part of me wants nachos.

Song of the day: Rage Against the Machine, “Guerrilla Radio”

Notions Of Cool V.021

A random list of things and shower thoughts that an old Gen X dude finds cool or worth pondering.

  • It’s hard not to laugh a little after the Mueller report release. But, as I said before – if you find yourself disappointed, or was hoping this was going to “take down” this president… you are part of the problem. Are you really more interested in allegiance to your tribe than the overall interest of the country? In two years we have another popularity contest and you can vote for the sock puppet of your choice. Until then, let’s try to keep our economy moving forward. Deal?
  • Speaking of sock puppets, if the democrats 2020 entire message is going to be the Green New Deal, Medicare for all, and Trump is evil… they’re going to lose.
  • This is an interesting look at an issue with the Tesla autopilot. I’m a big believer in autonomous vehicles… but we’re still in the beginning stages. It shouldn’t be shocking that there’s problems. As a former software test guy, I’m fascinated at what must be an unbelievably complex test environment for the Tesla software.
  • Yesterday we struggled to get a urine sample from a patient. When we had success I sent it down to the lab. Who then called me to tell me they threw it away. Why? Because I wrote “UA” (for urinalysis) on the label instead of “UCC” (for urine clean catch). Bureaucracy and mindless process drives me insane.
  • I listened to a podcast that had two really smart people with a bunch of letters behind their names debate the cause of obesity. Is it hormone driven metabolism and storage triggered by sugar or is it genetic driven by the brain? The discussion went way into the weeds and devolved into name calling and utter dismissal of the research papers the other guy cited. The entire time I had two thoughts. First, this is what science is – have an idea, do an experiment to prove it, and let your peers try to disprove it. Second, it’s interesting and not surprising that two very smart guys have widely differing opinions on an extremely complex subject – both backed by oodles of research. This almost sounds like… oh, I don’t know… climate research?
  • Cloud kitchens partnered with some sort of Uber model are going to be a huge deal.
  • It’s time to start playing golf again. I spent most of last summer vowing to quit this evil game. I really wish I didn’t enjoy golf, because I hate it so often. I’m generally pretty good at every sport I’ve done – except golf. For the life of me I cannot hit that goddam little white ball. Maybe this will be the season

Song of the day: Morgan Heritage “Nothing To Smile About”

Notions Of Cool V.020

A random list of things and shower thoughts that an old Gen X dude finds cool or worth pondering.

  • The Mueller report dropped. As of this moment we know nothing other than the AG has it. The alphabet channels on all sides of the spectrum are in overdrive spinning and speculating. My thought? I don’t care which side of the aisle you’re on – you should be relieved if there’s nothing in the report. Why? Because it’s bad for country if there is. It would impact the markets, economy, etc… If you’ve been hoping and wishing for some bombshell finding, then you’re part of the problem. Do you really want a president Pence if you’re on the left?
  • The real problem this country faces, and always has been, is China. China will take over as the dominate superpower at some point.
  • I suck at any sort of construction. It doesn’t stop me from trying, but I clearly missed this part of woodshop class. Remember when we actually had wood, metal, and auto shop in high school? Anyway, I manage to strip most screws I attempt to put in or remove. Sigh…
  • A new route up Everest? A cool episode 1 video. Yes, I’ll be watching this one.
  • We managed to find a guy. A handyman. A laborer. Everyone needs a guy who you trust. This guy is from Peru. Came here knowing zero English and started out as a dishwasher. He’d eat scraps from peoples plates while working because he didn’t know how to order something from the kitchen. This guy works his ass off. We are very soft in this country.
  • I’m struggling with the bullet journal. I suppose it’s like any habit. I started out strong, then days go by and when you go back to it… it seems silly to write down things that you already know. Right now it feels forced to write stuff in it. I’ll keep at it. Maybe my thoughts will change.
  • Speaking of writing, I wonder if people like the list form of thoughts vs. a single blog topic? Ultimately I’m doing this for me and I enjoy this more, but I am curious though?
  • No new Instagram stories. Maybe this week. I might drift back to the Facebook. We’ll see.

Song of the day: Propellerheads, “History Repeating”

Notions Of Cool V.019

A random list of things and shower thoughts that an old Gen X dude finds cool or worth pondering.

  • Your diet doesn’t matter. Seriously. The data shows that at the one year mark the success rate for all diets is virtually identical. Jenny Craig, Weight Watchers, Mediterranean, South Beach, Zone, Keto, the cabbage soup diet… it doesn’t matter. In grossly simplistic terms losing weight is still all about calorie reduction. Expend more than you consume and you lose weight. Period. If your goal is weight loss, what’s most important is picking a diet you can stick to. The cabbage soup diet is probably not sustainable long term. If you’re picking a diet for other health reasons, blood sugar control, etc…, that’s a different discussion. Keep the two concepts separate and a pick a diet for the right reasons.
  • The history of Greenland’s melt cycles is interesting in light of recent “the sky is falling” news about sea level rise. As is NOAA’s potentially sketchy claims about February temps. Agree or disagree, the point is that maybe there’s more going on than we fully understand. That’s the point of science – to ask questions and search for answers. Don’t be a lemming.
  • I gained exactly 1 follower on Twitter. I find it interesting that on both Twitter and Instagram I get the most activity with posts or pictures of animals. People seem to like the hound. There must be some meaning around the human need to connect to animals and seeing happy things.
  • A video of all of the 8,000 meter peaks in the world. Worth it for the pictures.
  • I’m still not entirely sure why I’m writing. Performing for a nearly empty room day after day does get discouraging.
  • It’s interesting to watch the democratic 2020 candidates jockey for a campaign theme. I personally think that was one of the major factors last time. Like it or hate it, you knew exactly what Trump’s message was. I can honestly say I never knew exactly what Hillary’s message was. What is the central democratic message going to be for 2020?
  • Trying to heat a house in the mountains is challenging. Gas, wood, pellet, electric, hybrid… it’s making my head hurt. So many trade-offs between BTU’s vs energy cost and efficiency. It’s not like a plain ‘ole HVAC central heating system that makes all rooms the same temp. I will be very happy when I don’t have to think about this any more.

Song of the day: Fat Freddy’s drop “Bohannon”

Notions Of Cool V.018

A random list of things and shower thoughts that an old Gen X dude finds cool or worth pondering.

  • This is a perfect example of what’s wrong with news today. I like to think I’m reasonably plugged in… and I had absolutely no idea this happened last week. 1000+ people dead and 1.5 million at risk of water-borne disease or starvation. Meanwhile, Bob in Ohio was outraged at something someone said. We have a fantastic panel to discuss…
  • A neat video about cycling. I couldn’t do it, but a great reminder that we’re only here once. If you get hit by a bus tomorrow, are you happy with what you’ve seen and done?
  • Speaking of bikes, my town is installing this in one of the downtown parking garages. Yay for bicycle friendly!
  • Jim Acosta is the very definition of douchebag. I get it, he generates equal love and hate traffic. And yes, there are Acostas on all sides of the political spectrum. Sad that this has become the new norm for “news”.
  • I did not hit my weight target this week. It’s mostly meaningless… just a goal. Next week for sure.
  • Bullet Journal update: it went strong for a month, then faded. I still like the idea. I resolve to resurrect the habit.
  • A patient was unhappy with his diabetic menu choices, so his wife brought him Burger King and a supersize chocolate shake. When his blood sugar was 320 he was shocked. He was actually angry and accused us of giving him some “pill” that was making his blood sugar go up. It was a battle to convince him I had to give him insulin.
  • “This will be your favorite patient. Super nice and rarely calls for anything”. Sadly as a nurse, I hear that in report maybe once every three or four weeks. The vast majority of the hospital population are grumpy, sour, demanding people. They’re also in the worst possible health – much of which is due to lifestyle choices. I see a clear correlation between your upbringing, mental attitude, emotional stability, and overall health outcomes. It’s not rocket science, but it’s striking when you see it in front of you every day.
  • My internet went down for approximately 7 minutes today. It was a terrifying vision of the pending zombie apocalypse.

Song of the day: Charlie Feathers, “That certain female”

Notions Of Cool V.017

A random list of things and shower thoughts that an old Gen X dude finds cool or worth pondering.

  • Spring appears to be here (in the West anyway). Blue skies and no signs of further snow in the forecast. As much as I like winter, I’m done. Been thinking more of the bike than the skis.
  • Speaking of skis, my new ones are scary fast. Super stable at speed with no chatter. Several times yesterday I caught myself at ludicrous speed and thought… crashing would be bad right now. They are forcing me to be more aggressive, which is a good thing I suppose.
  • We had to hire a crew to remove our snow disaster at the house. These folks worked their asses off for days. The vast majority of the population in this country has lost that all-day farmer strength we used to have. We’re doomed when the zombie apocalypse hits.
  • Speaking of zombies, a great book to read is “World War Z” by Max Brooks son of Mel Brooks. It’s what the movie was loosely based on. And by loosely I mean they share the same name, that’s about it. One of the neat concepts in the book is that post-apocalypse, society flips. The blue collar folks become the sought after leaders because they know how to actually fix and build things. The white collar workers are useless without electricity and become the new ditch diggers.
  • I’m fascinated by the Instagram algorithm. How is it that an account with 1 post has several hundred followers, but others with many hundreds of posts have only a few?
  • My shoulder is still messed up several years later. I can’t do pull ups or back squats due to pain. I need to fix this somehow.
  • Hard to gage who will be the democratic front runner. Kamala would be their better choice, but Bernie has the dollars. Beto, Booker, and Warren will be busts. Yang and Schultz could be interesting. Biden is corrupt as hell and I’m not convinced he’ll run.
  • An interesting interview by CNBC with GOPRO founder Nick Woodman. I still think the main problem is the learning barrier to editing and creating a watchable video. People buy the camera, use it a few times then it sits. I may or may not be referring to myself.

Song of the day: Rebelution “Feeling Alright”

Notions Of Cool V.015

A random list of things and shower thoughts that an old Gen X dude finds cool or worth pondering.

  • The dermatologist took one look at my sunburned, peeling, self and deadpanned “well, I guess we don’t need to have the importance of sunscreen discussion do we?”. Other than that, got the all-clear. I feel better having been checked out.
  • I mentioned before that I spent a ridiculous amount of time watching YouTube videos on travel bag reviews. Unclear why, since I rarely travel. I had settled on the Aer Travel Pack 2. Anyway, I used a simple duffle bag for this last trip. I realized that carrying stuff on your back sucks. For the little travel I do, I’m going to find a minimalist wheelie.
  • I got my passport photo done. Like an idiot, I let it expire. Renewing it, you know, in case I need to flee the country.
  • I loved this quote from David Goggins. “People ask me how I lost so much weight… I didn’t hire a trainer… I didn’t go to Jenny Craig… basically I just stopped eating so much fucking food.” Made me laugh. It’s simple, but true. People make weight loss too complicated. Speaking of which, unless there’s a nacho blowout I’m about a week away from my weight goal. So there’s that.
  • I gave Instacart a try for grocery shopping. Loved it. I’ll certainly be using it again. I’m a busy guy you know.
  • One of the hardest things I do as an RN is care for a patient who is a truly horrible human being. Spending twelve hours making sure I give the same quality of care to that person that I’d give to a sweet grandmother sucks the life out of me.
  • Rebecca Rusch was the first woman finisher in her first attempt at the bike category of the Iditarod 350. That’s badass. I wimp out after shoveling the driveway for an hour.
  • No further Instagram stories. The Twitter experiment has yielded exactly 2 followers. Good thing I’m not in marketing.

Song of the day: “Im gone, Joyryde”