Category: Lists

I Have Questions

  • It looks like vaccine acquired immunity is fading somewhat, combined with a Delta variant that the vaccine appears to be less effective against. Vaccinated folks can clearly get and transmit Delta. So what then is the point of a vaccine passport to participate in daily life if I can still infect others?
  • Either the intelligence services completely screwed up the analysis of Afghanistan and gave bad advice to the White House, or they gave correct advice and the administration ignored it. Which is it?
  • Since we know it’s not the president… who actually is crafting the White House’s agenda, messaging, and plans?
  • What exactly is this “over the horizon capability” word salad nonsense the president keeps bringing up? Have we invented some super secret new technology nobody knows about?
  • We’ve evacuated 83,000 people from Kabul. That’s like 2 or 3 interpreters for every single soldier ever stationed there. Was every single at risk person who ever helped the US, living in Kabul? What about the thousands upon thousands of folks who helped that are scattered throughout the rest of the country? How many of these people now get to settle in the US?
  • Why doesn’t the national news ever cover Antifa? It’s an actual terrorist group operating in multiple cities across the country, growing rapidly and spreading destruction and violence almost daily. Why the radio silence from the media?
  • I eat croutons like potato chips. What strange power do they have over me that I’m unable to contain myself?
  • Why are people incapable of swallowing more than one pill at a time, yet they happily swallow giant pieces of steak or sandwiches?
  • If continued masks and mask mandates are what’s needed to defeat the virus, why are we seeing a spike with the Delta variant? I thought the masks protected me from the virus? Why can’t someone show me a graph of any region in the country that implemented a mask mandate and had a corresponding drop in cases? That would be pretty compelling evidence wouldn’t it?
  • We’ve spent/allocated $4.6 Trillion on the Covid response. The US House just passed a $3.5 Trillion budget, plus another $1.5 Trillion on an “infrastructure” plan. We’re approaching $10 Trillion in spending in just the last year or so. We have to borrow all of that. Can we really continue printing money forever without consequence?
  • How come I can’t hit a golf ball? I’m good at every other sport I play. Why am I afflicted with this strange golf dyslexia?
  • Why will nobody in the military, CIA, DIA, or state department be held accountable for Afghanistan? How come nobody in Washington ever loses their job?
  • Why is the press, the last bastion of free speech, completely unconcerned with Twitter, Facebook, and Google’s massive censorship campaigns?
  • How is it that British and Australian actors can have perfect American accents, but American actors sound ridiculous when they try to mimic their accents?
  • How is it possible the Taliban maintains their verified account on Twitter, but the former president of the United States is too dangerous to be allowed to tweet?
  • Why has nobody told Uncle Joe that he’s the only person in the world that pronounces it “TaliYe-bon”?
  • Why isn’t our national press covering the authoritarian nightmare that’s happening with Australia’s covid lockdowns? Perhaps they wish we were doing the same here?
  • And finally, how is it possible Britney Spears has been deemed as not capable of making her own decisions and under conservatorship for 13 years, yet has managed to record and perform all that time? Does that not seem suspicious? #FreeBrittney!

Not Enough Electronics

Sitting here at my desk, I’m surrounded by an array of cords, chargers, batteries, and electronic devices. I don’t think I realized how dependent upon devices we’ve become until I did my last trip on the ginormous motorcycle. Here is the complete list of electronic things that had to be managed at the end of each day:

  • Helmet communications system. Due to a weird system requirement of Android Auto, the motorcycle’s GPS/mapping won’t work without the helmet communication. This got charged first each night.
  • Phone. Duh.
  • A giant bag of GoPro batteries. GoPro batteries last approximately 27 seconds so you need quite a few of them for all-day filming. I probably shouldn’t bother because anytime I came upon something interesting, the GoPro battery would be dead and I wouldn’t be in a spot where I could pull over and change them.
  • DSLR batteries. They last slightly longer than GoPro batteries. Unless it’s cold. Cut cold weather battery time in half. Then to be safe, assume it’s half of that.
  • InReach satellite device. I use it so folks can track my location/progress in real time. Plus it has the handy “Oh Shit” SOS button that I pray I never have to use.
  • Backup GPS device. Because I’m positive that the one time I really need to figure out my location my phone will die, I carry a handheld GPS. Just in case. Doesn’t mean I know how to use it, but at least I have it.
  • Kindle. I like to read. Unfortunately my Kindle is at least a decade old and the battery lasts less than a day.

Each of those devices has it’s own cord and charger. At the end of each day’s ride, my motel room would have cords and devices plugged into every outlet in the room. It looked like an FBI sting operation preparing to eavesdrop on some Jan 6 Boogaloo Bois. How have we gotten to the point that it takes this many electronics just to go for a ride?

Here’s where I do the standard old man, “when I was a kid”… Seriously, when I was a kid you got a paper map. If you were serious you had a fancy road atlas. You had to drive with the map spread out on the passenger seat, stealing glances at it from time to time to make sure you were on the right road. See an interesting sight? Pull out your trusty instamatic camera (no battery) and snap a pic. When the roll was done you’d drop it off at the drug store and come back a week later to see if any of the pictures came out.

The closest to a GPS device was the wonderous AAA Triptik. We’d go to the local office and describe the trip and route we were taking. Come back a few days later and they’d have a narrow spiral bound map book printed for you showing the route. You’d follow along bottom to top, then flip the page. As a kid I’d spend hours before the trip going through the book, looking at the route and all the cities and sights on the map.

Here’s something that will blow the younger readers minds. Imagine this scenario. You need to find a part for something. There’s no computers, internet, or cell phones. You’d pull out the trusty yellow pages and try to find stores that might have what you’re looking for. You’d have to call each of the stores to see if they had what you need. If it was a store someplace on the other side of town where you’d never been before, you’d pull out the map and figure out where it was. It wasn’t uncommon to have to call the store back and figure out the closest large cross-streets so you could locate it on the map. My strategy was to write down all the street names and turns on piece of paper so I wouldn’t have to look at the map while driving (safety first!). It seems so strange to think about, now that we have instant look-up and same-day Amazon delivery.

We’ve certainly come a long way. Progress is a good thing. Although I’m questioning if I really need that many electronics to go on a trip? Of course the answer is yes. Oh, and I’m contemplating adding another motorcycle-specific GPS to the bike. And then come winter I’ll need the heated vest that will have to be recharged each night. And when I go off-grid, that requires battery power blocks and solar panels to keep everything charged. I’ll soon need a chase vehicle to follow me with all my electronics and gear.

What’s the point of all of this? There really isn’t a point other than I was thinking about it while I was watching some money management, minimalist lifestyle advocate last night on YouTube. He was describing the three things that are worth spending money on. Number one? Experiences. Buying meaningless stuff in an attempt to keep up with the Jones won’t bring you happiness. But spending money on a trip or an activity that provides lasting memories or experiences does give long term happiness. You’re only here once, go make the most of it.

The Ex Post Facto Study

  • As humans, we really like passing new laws, creating processes and procedures, and establishing new rules to solve the problems we’re experiencing. What we don’t do a very good job of is any sort of analysis of our newly created bureaucracy to see if it actually did anything useful. Laws and processes, once created, tend to stick around forever. For example at the start of the pandemic that shall not be named for fear of woke xenophobia, my hospital started a screening process for anyone entering. They purchased fancy stand alone scanners that let me scan my badge and take my temperature. I never use it because I have to log into it the night before (a software system the hospital had to purchase), answer the same stupid four questions, and then the next morning my temperature never registers with the automated machine because I just walked across the parking lot in 40 degree temps. The backup to the automated station is an employee who asks the questions, manually checks my temp (which still fails), and then gives me a sticker to put on my badge to “prove” I’ve been screened that day. When the ‘rona started everyone was panicking and I’m sure this process seemed reasonable at the time. It’s been in place for quite awhile now, so a retrospective study seems appropriate. Has this system actually “caught” any cases of Corona? I doubt it. How many people with 104 degree temps and difficulty breathing actually go to work or randomly show up to visit aunt Sally in the hospital? Or, they are asymptomatic and would have passed the screening anyway. Naturally the in-person screeners are only going through the motions at this point. I walk up say “no changes”, they try to scan my temp for 0.2 seconds, I grab my sticker and go. So in retrospective, is it worth continuing this? What made me think of this was something Grandpa Joe said during his weird state of the union speech last night. He dredged up the standard we need more gun laws rhetoric, saying we need to ban ghost guns and pass universal background checks. Ignoring what drivel that is for the moment, this seems like a prime opportunity for a retrospective study. We have tons of historical data in the form of crimes committed with guns. If we looked backwards and applied the new proposed laws, how many of those crimes would have been prevented? e.g. how many shootings have occurred with “ghost guns”? How many people went through some sort of firearm purchase at a flea market or gun show, bypassed a background check, and then went on to commit a crime? It seems pretty simple to look backwards to see if something would work moving forward. But that assumes you actually want the answer.
  • Spell check is a wonderous thing. Without it my writing would look like a five year old’s. Spell check elevates it to at least sixth or seventh grade. But the problem with spell check is you have to be roughly in the ballpark for it to give a suggestion. Take for example “bureaucracy”. I don’t think I’ve ever gotten it right first time. Unfortunately I never even get close enough for spell check to offer a helpful hint. I end up Googling things to stumble across the right spelling. Which brings me to my new phone. I like using the “swype” keyboard rather than entering in individual letters. The default swype implementation on the old Pixel phone was marvelous. I only had to get semi-close to the actual letters and it somehow knew what I was trying to type. It often had the correct contextual suggestions for the next word and the next word… magical. Samsung’s implementation on the other hand is very disappointing and more often than not I have to go back and type everything out. Sigh. I know you can download other swype keyboards, but that would take actual effort.
  • I violated my newly vowed rule to simply pay a professional to install things rather than me spending 10x the amount of time to do the same thing. I got some parts for the new ginormous motorcycle but the idea of waiting for an appointment and then paying someone $75 an hour to do what I should be able to do just killed me. And sure enough… two and a half full afternoons, many expletives, phone calls to customer support, and two new one-time use tools and everything is installed. But at least I feel good about my manliness. Cue Tim the toolman grunt.
  • This past weekend was very rainy and outdoor stuff wasn’t an option. I was bored and decided to conduct research and do an actual experiment. I’ve been needing a navigation solution (long story) for the backcountry while on the motorcycle. I wanted to use my phone rather than purchase a $600+ GPS device. I ended up spending the better part of a day researching options, downloading software, creating routes and maps, and really learning the systems. And the pièce de résistance, I created three custom routes and then went out and drove them to see which system performed the best. An actual experiment. I am a dork of huge proportions. But, at the end of the day I think I have a system that’s going to work.
  • I don’t think there’s much to say about the weird state of the union last night. Grandpa Joe is not a gifted orator. For all his flaws and ignoring content, Obama could deliver a good speech (as long as the teleprompter was working). Clinton too. For speechmaking ability I’d rank the presidents in the following order: Obama, Reagan, Clinton, Bush 43, Bush 41, Biden. As far as content goes, all SOTU speeches are stupid. They’re long whish lists of crap that never gets done. If you’re a fan of everything big government, you loved Biden’s speech. If you’re a minimalist government type, it was abhorrent. I don’t think there was much in the middle for this one.
  • I’m going to ride the ginormous motorcycle a fair number of hours north today, then come back on Saturday. Sort of a pre-travel trial run. I’m waiting for my soft luggage panniers to arrive and then all the pieces will be in place to hit the road! Interesting how much effort, planning, and research it’s taken to be able to experience the “freedom” of the road. LOL.

Song of the day: Sugar Ray Fly 1997

In The Doghouse, Again

  • While I’m not a particularly gifted writer, I do much better at communicating my thoughts in written form than I do speaking. My mouth and my brain are not always in sync. In my head I may have a completely logical and well thought out opinion, but what comes out of my mouth is “that sucks”. I did this exact thing yesterday to Mrs Troutdog. She made the innocent statement that “I should watch SD Governor Kristi Noem’s CPAC speech, it’s really good”. My response? “How do you watch that crap? It’s just a bunch of politicians auditioning for their next office”. Way to go Troutdog! She reminded me of it later that night, telling me that I can come across very negative about everything. She’s probably right. The problem is that in my head I don’t feel negative. That’s actually not what I’m thinking at all. In reality I actually feel more positive than I have in a while, mostly due to stepping away from the non-stop barrage of political news we’ve experienced this last year. I have a bunch of goals and new activities that I’m really excited about. So when it comes to some random political speech, I really could care less. It won’t impact my life one bit, regardless of who the politician or which side of the aisle they’re from. Politics are fake. More so than any other profession. I have a deep distrust of all politicians. That distrust leads me to view anything they say as something purely calculated to achieve their next elected office. That’s unfortunate because I’m sure many of them are lovely people, and there probably are some politicians out there who truly feel that they’re trying to make a positive difference for the future. The unfortunate part of my dismissing the Governor’s speech is that it’s actually a really good speech. She really is a rising political star. Now, I don’t agree with everything she stands for. As is probably true for many more centrist folks, I agree with most of her political ideas but I don’t agree with her on social issues. I suppose that’s the case for most people, regardless of political side – you pick the few issues that are important to you and choose a politician that most closely espouses that. Meanwhile, you hold your nose and ignore the other parts. There will never be a perfect candidate for everyone. And Governor Noem is certainly not perfect. Noem has received 26 traffic citations, including 20 speeding tickets from 1989 to 2010, stop sign and seat belt violations, no driver’s license, failure to appear notices, and two arrest warrants. That’s impressive. I don’t know if she’s a rebel, giving a big FU to the establishment, or just a really bad driver. One thing I do know, she clearly has a workout routine that makes me feel very inadequate. I suspect most men and women in that audience spent much of that speech wishing they had her shoulders and arms. I’m thinking a Noem / Tulsi ticket in 2024 would be pretty powerful. Question is, who gets the top spot?
  • I smoked some pretty good baby back ribs the other day. I confidently stated that I think I’m ready to try a brisket this summer. If you’re not familiar, smoked brisket is the holy grail of barbeque. It takes twelve plus hours to cook and there’s no in-between when it comes to quality – brisket is either mouth wateringly good, or it’s awful. It’s an expensive piece of meat and a lot of hours to find out which one you’ve got. Plus it’s so big you have to have a bunch of people over to help eat it, which guarantees a large audience for your potential failure. In preparation I watched Aaron Franklin’s instructional series on cooking barbeque and quickly realized… I’m not ready for brisket. I think a more realistic goal for the summer is mastering pulled pork. I’m good with that. Being able to crank out a good rib or pulled pork are still worthy items in the “basic dude stuff” toolbox.
  • Speaking of South Dakota, it’s been on my todo list for quite some time. It’s a little out of the way from where I’m located so it’s just out of reach of the quick roadtrip. But the Badlands, Black Hills, and Rushmore… is a motorcycle dream ride. I need to start figuring out what trips are realistic this summer. Lots of moving parts to coordinate. Will Mrs Troutdog have a suitable bike by then and is that type of trip even within her new rider skills? Is that where we want to spend the bulk of our vacation budget this summer? Who’s going to watch the dog, or do I need to install a sidecar and get some doggles? Am I overthinking this or not planning enough? It’s always interesting when you plan on doing things you’ve never done before. It’s hard to know what to expect. Fun thinking about though.
  • I don’t do well without sun. And this winter has been weird weather-wise. Normal for us is three or four days of storms, a week of sun, and repeat. It’s normally a pretty good mix. A few powder ski days followed by some blue sky groomer run or cross country ski days. This winter feels like it’s just been grey non-stop. I’ve missed most of the powder days due to bad timing with work. My mood slowly drifts south with lack of sun. On top of that I have this new motorcycle obsession, so my thoughts are on warm summer days lately. So anyway, yesterday I went cross country skiing with some friends and my hound. Halfway through the ski, the sun came out and it was glorious. I think there was a five minute period where we all just stopped and stood there, not speaking, faces turned towards the sun. It gave me hope. We’re only a few weeks away from blue sky spring skiing. And a month from actual motorcycle time. Now I just need to stop eating cookies or I won’t fit into the new fat Elvis motorcycle suit.

Song of the day: Presidents Of The USA – Lump Pinkpop 2005

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]

Unity And Healing Are For Suckers

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

Song of the day: Bush Machinehead LIVE 1996

I’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”