Tag: Food

Put Up Or Shut Up

  • I went downhill skiing yesterday. Nothing remarkable about that (it was a gorgeous bluebird day!), as I ski a lot. The issue is that I couldn’t button my ski pants. The waist expansion has been slowly increasing all winter long and has finally reached crisis levels. I’ve said it before, I feel like I’m a reasonably active guy for my age. Maybe a touch above average in the activity level department, so burning calories isn’t the issue. The problem is that my food intake is out of control and massively outpaces what I can burn. I can’t help myself. I know I can lose weight because I’ve done it before. Unfortunately for me dieting is just like the old joke about stopping smoking: “quitting smoking is easy, I’ve done it dozens of times”. I can be super disciplined once I get started. It’s the getting started part that’s the issue. I’ve been meaning to “get started” any day now for months. I officially can’t stand myself any longer. Having to suck in my gut to get my ski pants on was the last straw. I have an additional motivation (as if general health isn’t enough) in that I have this ginormous new motorcycle that I’m going to have to pick up at some point. I honestly don’t know if I’m strong enough right now. That could be an issue on a remote trail by myself. So, operation senior fitness begins today. A buddy has been bugging me to sign up for a trail running event in the fall and I’ve been pretty resistant. I’m still not thrilled at the idea, but I will commit as an incentive to be consistent with my running this summer. I’ll dust off the garage gym and actually start using it. Since I’m now a part time employee, it’s not like I don’t have the time (I hate not having excuses). Which leaves me with the crux of the issue – diet. At the end of the day it still comes down to expending more calories than you consume. Sigh. I wish I didn’t like to eat and drink so much. Realistically I do better with stark changes rather than attempting to ease into something. So I guess I’ll just have to follow Jocko Willink’s advice yesterday morning (sound up).
  • Filed in the WTF department, the Biden administration has decided to ban some Dr Seuss books due to concerns about “racial undertones”. I’d like to laugh, but these people are serious. What I find most concerning is that with everything currently going on in the country and world, THIS is something that someone in the administration actually put time and thought into? Really? Worrying that there may racial issues with a beloved set of children’s books? WTF is wrong with these people?
  • Barak Obama entered the Whitehouse with a net worth of about a million dollars, mostly from book advances. Four years after leaving the presidency his estimated net worth is $70 million. Last year they bought a $15 million dollar beachfront property in Martha’s Vineyard. He’s done pretty well since his days as a community organizer. I have no point to this other than politics sure pays pretty well.
  • This article is an interesting look at potential corruption with the IAFF (International Association of Fire Fighters) union and the Muscular Dystrophy Association charity. I don’t really care, other than it helps illustrate my distrust of unions that I mentioned the other day. When you’re talking about tens of millions of dollars and a $2 million dollar Washington DC headquarters across from the Whitehouse… I’m not sure the unions first focus is simply the wellbeing of its members.
  • Here’s a cartoon illustration of actual climate predictions made by actual climate experts. I’m sure this time they’re right though. The climate crisis is clearly the most existential crisis of our lifetime. Hmmm, ok.
  • A list of actual clever design ideas.

Song of the day: The Smashing Pumpkins – Zero (Official Music Video)

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

Good Paying Union Jobs

  • The other day at work I was suddenly told I had to go to a “labor law” class. They brought in additional workers to help cover shifts for an hour. All very confusing since they typically don’t spring for additional staff for anything. Anyway, the “class” consisted of someone from HR reading sections of the labor law act and telling us that unions rarely deliver on their promises. Ahhh… I get it now – suddenly the hospital is worried about union organizing. Sure enough, after consulting the official breakroom gossip pipeline it turns out that some folks are trying to spark some union organization. Also, the house just passed the PRO act which would undo states (like mine) right to work laws. Right now, even if a union forms at my hospital, it’s my choice to join or not. The PRO act would force me to join the union and pay dues as a condition of employment. Additionally the bill would force employers to turn over employees’ private information—including cell phone numbers, email addresses, and work schedules—to union organizers. Realistically I don’t think it has a chance of passing the senate, but you never know. I suddenly find myself conflicted about unions. In my previous life in the corporate world, I was stanchly anti-union. They tend to be massively corrupt, drive up manufacturing costs, and generally stand in the way of innovation, flexibility, and time to market. They’re ginormous political machines, lobbying to feed at the public trough. Look at the current ridiculousness with the teachers unions. Can you honestly tell me that they’re looking out for the best interest of the kids? It’s somehow safe for the poor schmuck at Walmart to go to work, but not for someone to stand in front of a handful of kids? As I’ve said previously, the way we teach kids has barely evolved in the last 50 years primarily due to teachers unions reluctance to change. But I digress… The hospital world is a mix of union and non-union. As a semi-libertarian, I’ve always believed in the free markets ability to set wages in response to availability and demand. I never thought about it much because my previous profession was one in extremely high demand and a very small labor pool. Wages were high. Other professions with a glut of applicants paid a much smaller wage. Fast forward and I find myself in the opposite scenario. My town has two hospitals. With very little competition, they have no incentive to pay higher wages. In a big city with many hospitals they do have to offer competitive wages. So at this late stage in my career, I would have said if a union can force higher wages or at least better patient ratios, fine by me. But then the China plague hit and I honestly don’t know how the hospital will stay in business. They’re hemorrhaging cash and have cancelled every capital improvement project that was on the books. It will be years before they recover. I don’t see how potential union demands right now helps anyone? Sigh. I don’t think there’s any good answer right now. I should probably just move to the clean energy sector. Biden has promised those will be the good paying union jobs.
  • Barbeque is a noun, not a verb. Today it’s dumping snow and I am cooking up some barbeque in the form of baby back ribs on the smoker. And in proper insurrectionist form, we are having a bunch of friends over. Suck on that, lock down states. P.S. please don’t tell the high priest of Covid, Fauci. I don’t want the secret Covid police coming to my door.
  • I casually look at new trucks from time to time. At some point that day will come when it’s time for a final vehicle. Right now the super popular truck in the overland market is the Toyota Tacoma. Peruse through the Instagram feeds and you see plenty of very cool, tricked out Tacomas. I look at that and think, hmm it would be kinda fun to build out a truck from scratch like that. And then I read this article in Outside magazine imploring people not to do that to these trucks. I had no idea about the gear ratio limitations and payload weight issues. Coolness over functionality. I would have easily fallen into that trap. Because, you know, it’s all about how you look on Instagram.
  • Here’s an account to follow that posts very cool maps.
  • The Biden administration will push a massive high speed rail initiative as part of it’s build back better infrastructure plan. All built with good paying union jobs of course. Perhaps they should check in with California to see how their high speed rail project is going? It’s been more than a decade and costs have gone from the original $33 billion to more than $100 billion. And for what? A single track that will run from Bakersfield to Merced that has yet to see a single train, and initial testing is still six to seven years away. But I’m sure the federal version will go much smoother.

Song of the day: LL Cool J – Mama Said Knock You Out

Long Way Down And An Emu Museum

  • Normally I love winter. I downhill ski, cross-country, skate ski, or snowshoe at least three to four days a week. You might ask why I’m still getting fatter then, but that’s a topic for another post. This winter I’ve been busy preparing for my “Summer of George” moment. New motorcycle purchased, new riding suit, tools, updated video gear, endless hours of motorcycle travel videos consumed, and many late nights pouring over maps planning routes. I’m almost ready to hit the road. Except motorcycles, snow, and ice don’t mix very well. I’m probably a tiny bit more rugged than the average guy, but not Long Way Down rugged. If you haven’t watched this motorcycle travel documentary you should. It’s interesting to see the effort it took to film something before the GoPro existed. Anyway, the point is that it’s another month in my part of the world before road-tripping becomes enjoyable weather-wise. I’ve never looked forward to winter ending before. So, I’m forced to spend my time pursuing maps and travel websites to build my list of must-see destinations. I’ve been mostly focusing on unrealistic epic trips across the west, so I hadn’t looked much at what’s close to me. This morning I stumbled upon the motherload of interesting small town America just a few hours from me. I found a little town perched on the Snake River that hosts what they bill as “Lawson’s Emu-Z-Um”. It was an emu ranch that has become a museum full of artifacts and dwellings from the 1800s early settlers and early small town America memorabilia. Looking at the map more, within 40-50 miles of that town are deep canyon overlooks, sand dunes, birds of prey conservation areas, and a ghost town. Plus a couple of promising looking BBQ and burger places. This is the perfect day trip to kick off the Summer of George! Another month of quick rides around town in-between storms to get used to the new bike, and then it begins. Because I love winter, I’ve never looked at the weather report before and cursed when I see another week of storms coming. It’s a strange feeling. Sigh. Back to the maps for now I suppose.
  • A California democratic representative, during an interview on CNN, stated that those businesses that cannot afford to pay their employees $15 an hour are essentially not worth preserving. This simple statement encompasses everything wrong with mostly liberal, big government-centric thinking. The thought that some mindless bureaucrat gets to pick and choose what businesses are worthy of keeping is appalling. And naturally it’s a statement from someone who’s been primarily an academic/lawyer/politician his entire career. A thirty second investigation into the representative (a.k.a. Wikipedia) shows a bit of a contradiction – he has a degree in economics, wrote a book titled “Entrepreneurial Nation: Why Manufacturing is Still Key to America’s Future“, yet still makes statements like the one he did. My interest is piqued enough to read more about his philosophy. Maybe there’s something I’m missing? At the moment, in regards to the $15 minimum wage, I still feel if people are resorting to entry level jobs to feed a family then it seems like the government focus should be on enabling creation of middle income opportunities instead of simply raising the bottom wage. Otherwise, let’s just adopt Andrew Yang’s proposal and give everyone a universal basic income. We’re already printing money, what’s a few hundred trillion more?
  • There’s been so much global warming, Niagara Falls froze over this week. Of course polar vortexes are cyclical events that happen from time to time and shouldn’t be counted as climate. Climate is measured in decades. Interestingly, in the cult of global warming, a cold event like this doesn’t get much press but an El Nino warming event causing a hot summer will be treated as non-stop climate Armageddon. It’s all about the narrative baby.
  • Speaking of printing money, the Federal Reserve expanded its record holdings of US Treasuries in the fourth quarter of 2020 as it continued monetizing the massive federal debt. I don’t understand much of this, but it does seem like they’re trying to push inflation. Most of this is way over my head, but it certainly feels like if we continue to simply toggle the levers… at some point it’s going to collapse. I guess as long as it’s not on my watch we’re all good.
  • I know that there is no actual censorship or purging happening on the part of Twitter towards folks who don’t tow the woke orthodoxy, but they just suspended Steven Crowder for simply saying he can confirm that people voted at address that do not exist. That is some serious insurrectionist talk. Thank god we’re being protected from outrageous statements like that.
  • I don’t know if this is real or staged, but it’s pretty funny regardless. You need to watch to the end.

Song of the day: Red Hot Chili Peppers – Higher Ground – Live at La Cigale

Maybe I’m Wrong?

  • I’m often wrong. Some days I feel like I’m wrong more than I’m right. But when it matters, I take extra steps to try and not be wrong. As a healthcare worker, you better hope I doublecheck what I’m doing before I inject something into your bloodstream. Since we’re about to spend a truckload of money to fight the scourge of climate change, don’t you think we should take a moment to doublecheck our work? Our climate czar John Kerry said that we only have 9 years left to avoid climate disaster. In 1989 the UN said we only have 10 years before the planet is destroyed. In 2006 Al Gore said we only have 10 years before global warming destroys the planet. In 2009, NASA’s James Hansen said we only have until 2013. AOC says we have until 2030, so at least there’s a little time left. 45 years ago it was global cooling that would become our biggest issue. Can we all just get our stories straight please? Before Bill Gates funds a program to inject tinfoil into the atmosphere to block the sun, shouldn’t we be pretty sure we’re actually causing global warming? If government and “scientists” were being intellectually honest, they’d fund a red team to try and disprove the global warming theories. Because every single climate model and prediction has been wrong. Not a little bit off, but spectacularly wrong. As the old saying goes, correlation does not imply causation. And since the very premise of the scientific method is to put out a hypothesis and let others try and disprove it, shouldn’t we be doing that? It’s only once it can’t be disproven it becomes accepted theory. The fact that you’re not allowed to question something should bother you. Therefore, I’d like to be proven wrong. Please show me proof that A) the earth is warming at a dangerous rate beyond what could be attributed to natural cycles, and B) that it is without a doubt being caused by man. Probably most importantly, if A and B are actually true then please prove that anything proposed by governments would actually solve A or B. I don’t think you can. So tell me again why we’re going to impact our economy for something nobody can prove with solutions that we’re not sure will even work?
  • Speaking of spending money on lost causes, the US has spent spent more than $787 million dollars on “gender equality projects” in Afghanistan. So tell me again why my taxes need to go up?
  • I found a pretty good YouTube series about a group of guys who take an eight day motorcycle ride around my state. It’s very well done and neat to see some of the local trails that I’ve ridden. It was compelling enough that I blew most of my morning yesterday being nonproductive and watching it. I sent the link to a buddy who started watching it with his young son. His son became so enamored with it, he got out maps so he could follow along where they were going. I love seeing that. That’s the sort of spirit we need to be instilling in young folks. Curiosity and exploration is what built this country. We need more of it.
  • While on the topic of exploration, the Mars landing of the Perseverance rover was very cool. It is amazing what we’re capable of from a technology perspective these days. I do wonder why we have such a heavy focus on Mars though? I get that it may be the end goal, but why all the focus now? Meaning, shouldn’t we be concentrating on how we’re going to build structures, manage food, water, and oxygen, etc… on someplace that’s just a bit closer? Like the moon perhaps? I honestly don’t get why we’re focused on a place that takes a year to get to rather than one that takes a few days. It seems like logistically we could achieve the same technology learning goals easier, by going to the moon rather than Mars. Maybe we are doing that and it just hasn’t hit the news. Perhaps the moon just isn’t sexy enough. I’ll have to do some research.
  • The UCI just announced that it is banning the “super tuck”. If you’re not familiar with this, it’s a technique where a cyclist sits down on the top tube to be more aerodynamic and shifts weight forward for increased speed downhill. Many folks don’t realize the pros can easily hit 50 miles an hour downhill. Doing the super tuck at ludicrous speed takes testicles much bigger than mine, that’s for sure. Oh, sorry to leave you with that image. Here’s a video of super fast cycling descents to make up for it.
  • Last night I had an enormous plate of Mexican food. This morning I’m eating a bowl of croutons as I type this. In a little while we’re going to meet some friends for breakfast and I’ll have a huge breakfast burrito of some sort. Meanwhile I wonder why my pants no longer fit. I saw a quote today that describes my problem exactly. “I have the palate of a raccoon”. Yep, that’s me. Sigh.

Song of the day: The Kinks – Lola (from One For The Road)

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)

I Got The Funk

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

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

Is Politics A Prisoners Dilemma?

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

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

I’m A Little Lost

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

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

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

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

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

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