Tag: Travel

A Close Call

  • I took the new ginormous motorcycle out for its first long ride yesterday. I did an impromptu 100 miles to a couple of very small towns with populations of less than a thousand, rode through a snow covered canyon around a reservoir, then some high speed highway miles to get back home. The bike handles like a dream. The ride was at the very end of a busy day (hint, foreshadowing). I started out with some technological challenges. As I’ve mentioned before, the bike came with Apple Car Play installed. I’m an Android guy, so I was briefly faced with the thought of having to switch over to Apple. Fortunately they released an update supporting Android Auto a week ago. Yay for me! So, I went through the process of updating the bikes firmware. All seemed to go well except… Android Auto won’t connect to my phone. Sigh. After trying everything I could think of, I ran out of time and had to move on to other tasks. One of those tasks was part of operation senior fitness. I went for an honest to god trail run, which I haven’t done since last summer. Very discouraging since it felt like I was starting from scratch. Legs were very shaky and weak by the time I got home. More errands, and fast forward to the end of the day and it was time to ride! Now, if you haven’t ridden a motorcycle before it’s hard to appreciate how tiring it can be. It doesn’t matter how newfangled and fancy your bike is, it takes a toll. They’re heavy, you have constant buffeting of wind, noise, and you have to have a hundred percent focus at all times. It’s not like driving around in a car. On top of all that it’s a new bike, so I’m still trying to figure out all the buttons and ride characteristics. I certainly went into a few corners too fast or sometimes unsure of myself, not knowing how the bike would handle. Plus I’m a mediocre rider at best, even on the old bike I know well. I finished the ride with a high speed highway run which had my adrenaline up a bit. All that was left was a short ride through town and some stop and go city traffic. And sure enough, as a traffic light turned green the cars started moving forward, everyone suddenly came to a quick stop. I slammed the brakes and awkwardly put my foot down, but the bike began leaning over. Now keep in mind this is a very tall and heavy bike. As it leans, at some point it’s mass will be too great to hold unless you’re a world powerlifting champion. Which I most certainly am not. As the bike kept leaning and I started fighting to get it back upright, all I could feel was how shaky and weak my leg felt from the run earlier today and just how tired my body was from the ride. Time came to a standstill as I fought this massive machine. It felt like every car around me was watching this slow motion spectacle. At the last second I managed to win the war with gravity, and awkwardly lurched forward. My leg was quivering and I could feel all the muscles in my lower back. I don’t really remember the last few stoplights or the ride through the neighborhood before I got home. I’m going to drop the bike at some point, but my hope is that it’s in the dirt and due to technical terrain. That I can live with. Dropping it at a stoplight in traffic would be… well, I don’t want to think about it. Lesson learned – don’t ride when you’re tired and not hundred percent. I let my excitement and enthusiasm get the better of me. When I start traveling I’m going to have to remind myself to keep my daily mileage down and resist the urge to just push on to the next destination. Which is hard, because it’s just so damn fun to ride!
  • My brother in law finished his last patrol shift as a police officer in a big city yesterday and begins his retirement. I’m super proud of him. He had a great career and did everything from patrol, metro street crime enforcement, SWAT, and taught at the academy. He did everything right, and is the model of what you’d want in a police officer. Thank god he’s out. This is no longer an environment to be a police officer in. Every stop, people have their phones out waiting to capture something gone wrong. The chance of losing everything you worked your entire career for is high. You will be judged first and foremost by the court of social media. The city and police department certainly won’t back you up. And clearly the bad guys now feel empowered to attack officers with impunity. No matter what you do as an officer, you’ll lose. He made it out and can hold his head high. Congrats!
  • Meanwhile, in other law enforcement news, “ICE officials told staff today that the number of families and minors arriving at the border is expected to be highest in “over 20 years” and the government will use hotels in McAllen, El Paso and Phoenix if it runs out of space for families at ICE rapid-processing hubs “. Yeah, nobody saw this coming. Apparently it’s ok in the middle of a pandemic to let thousands of migrants cross the border. We haven’t even reached peak border crossing season (May/June). What could possibly go wrong?
  • I’ve said it before, but it’s getting increasingly difficult to not wonder who is actually running the administration? It’s clearly not Biden. The other day he had another embarrassing gaff in which at the end of a video call he said: “I’d be happy to take questions if that’s what I’m supposed to do, Nance,” Biden told Speaker Pelosi. “Whatever you want me to do.” They immediately cut the feed. It’s also starting to look very odd that there’s been zero talk of a state of the union speech. Because I’m a dork, I looked up the dates every president has given their first SOTU speech. The latest was January 31st by the first George Bush. It’s now March.
  • I finally finished the series Mr Robot. Fantastic. I love unique plots. We just started a new one (well, new to us), For All Mankind. We’re only a few episodes in, but really digging it so far.
  • I’m absolutely flabbergasted. Shocked. Jaw on the floor. The second great uprising by QAnon domestic insurgents that was supposed to take over the capitol yesterday… didn’t happen. Never mind, the capitol police asked yesterday that the national guard deployment be extended by several more months. I’m just happy that, after a brutal and hard fought campaign against these vicious insurgents, the D.C. National Guard has created a “Presidential Inauguration Support Ribbon” for the tens of thousands of Guard troops who deployed to the Capitol. You just can’t make this stuff up. Bronze stars for “sleeping in parking garages” or “eating undercooked chicken”. Sigh.

Song of the day: Big Head Todd & the Monsters Boom Boom

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

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

I Might Be Lost

  • Many moons ago in a former life I was a member of a search and rescue team. I had training in many subjects; rope/technical rescue, swiftwater rescue, tracking, land and open water navigation, incident command, etc… Trust me, it sounds way cooler than reality. Nowadays I’d get lost driving to the doughnut shop without my phone navigation. Anyway, two things happened yesterday that drove home the importance of embracing the old boy scout motto – Be Prepared. The first was a quick snowshoe outing. Well, I thought it was going to be quick. It was to a place I’d never been and we have multiple feet of brand new snow. I brought nothing. No water, no gear, no first aid kit. We didn’t let anyone know where we were going. We wandered through the woods for several hours and by the time we got back to the car it was snowing pretty good. I know better and should have been at least minimally prepared. In my head I justified it with thinking it was a pretty highly visited area and our distance wasn’t very far. I didn’t think much more about it until late in the evening. Some folks we know in another part of the state managed to get lost and caught out after dark in the wilderness. Temps were dropping into the teens and snow was expected. We were on the phone on and off for hours as family tried to coordinate search and rescue efforts from afar. I fully expected to be heading north on a multi hour drive to start searching come first light. Details are still sketchy, but they were located and everyone seems to be ok. What’s the point of all this? We all get complacent. We put off planning and preparing. I’ll do it tomorrow. The problem with emergencies is that they happen when you least expect it. Do you have an emergency kit in your car? In your home? (Texas residents certainly never expected to be in their predicament) I’m not saying you need to go full on prepper mode, but could you and your family last three days if something happened? A week? If you’re heading out for some outdoor fun, does someone know where you’re going and when to worry if they don’t hear from you? I think society today has become conditioned to feel safe. Someone in authority will always be there to bail you out. I can always call and someone will come rescue me. Fortunately in this country that is true more often than not. I think the winning attitude is to assume that isn’t true and prepare accordingly. I know this was a wakeup call for me to stop being lazy and get my shit together. We have a local apparel company here that’s run by an ex SEAL called 30SEC Out. They have a sticker I really like that says “Expect to self rescue. No one is coming”. I think it’s a great motto for life in general. I may have to buy a few just remind myself.
  • According to VP Harris, they’re starting from scratch with their Covid response because there was no existing plan. Curious since the U.S. has carried out more vaccinations than any country in the world, and given a first dose to a higher percentage of its population (12%) than all but five small countries. Covid cases have plummeted by 77% in the US. There’s talk we’ll reach herd immunity by April. Which is also interesting because when the previous administration was in power, to mention herd immunity meant you were a science denier. Ain’t politics grand!
  • I bought a drone. Well, technically I’m on on the waiting list with an option to buy a drone when it’s available. I’m not exactly sure what I’m going to do with it yet. It’s capable of some truly amazing footage. I suspect I’m telling myself that the only thing keeping my little YouTube channel with 12 subscribers from going big time is not having a drone. Well, that and not actually making very many videos. I’ve got the adventure bike, the gear, the plans, the time, and soon the drone. I guess there are no more excuses. Bummer. Now I’m going to have to actually execute on all my grand plans for adventure content. As they say, talk is cheap. Planning is easy. It’s the doing that’s hard.
  • Is it just me, or does the new press secretary always seem unprepared? She had absolutely no answer when asked “Biden suspended a Trump Administration executive order that was aimed at keeping foreign countries, specifically China, from interfering in the U.S. Power grid… why did he do that?” As press sec, I would think you’d have an answer ready for any executive order your president signed. Especially one potentially related to a natural disaster that’s currently happening.
  • I don’t know what happened here, but yeet is right! Watch this seven second vid. And with that, I’m off to do my last full-time shifts. As my coworkers tell me, I’m moving to the princess shifts. I’ve been working since I was fourteen. It will be very strange to not be full-time. Exciting, worried I’ll be wasting my time, nervous about not being productive, looking forward to a new chapter, and a little apprehensive about the unknown. Time to face all those fears head-on!

Song of the day: Smash Mouth – All Star

News Of The Weird

  • When I was a kid, every once in a while my friends and I would pick up a copy of the Weekly World News. They bill themselves as “The worlds only reliable news”. As kids we knew it was just a silly tabloid with articles containing headlines like “5 things to avoid during an alien abduction“. But also as a kid, something in the back of your brain would wonder if maybe, just maybe, it was true? Reporters couldn’t just make stuff up could they? As a so called “adult” I’ve always been firmly in the skeptical bigfoot camp when it comes to UFO’s. Billions of people on this planet… if aliens have visited we’d know about it. Government isn’t competent enough to keep a secret like that. So imagine my surprise when I saw this article – “Pentagon admits it has been testing wreckage from UFO crashes & findings may ‘change our lives forever”. This comes from 154 pages released by the Defense Intelligence Agency after a three year FOIA request by researcher Anthony Bragalia. Could this be real? I honestly don’t know what to think. If it is, what other secrets has the government managed to keep? It is odd the Kennedy assassination still hasn’t been declassified after all these years. Maybe we really are holding the bodies of aliens from the Roswell UFO crash at Area 51? Could there actually be a Bigfoot type creature running around the pacific northwest? My skeptical roots have been shaken a bit today.
  • Speaking of journalism, I saw an image this morning of the giant 1st Amendment plates being taken down from the former Newseum in Washington DC. It’s an interesting image given the current dissenting speech purge and cancel culture of today. When we visited DC a few years ago I had never heard of the Newseum and only went as an afterthought on the recommendation of a friend. It ended up being in the top three things we saw. Interestingly, the thing I was most looking forward to was the Smithsonian Air and Space museum. That ended up being the most disappointing attraction. Meanwhile a little museum about journalism I’d never heard of became one of my favorites. Sadly it closed down at the end of 2019.
  • Meanwhile, it appears Sen Ted Cruz left with his family to Cancun while the state he represents freezes over because of their decision not to join the East and West power grids. While I don’t begrudge anyone going on a planned vacation with their family, how do you not have any political awareness of how this would look? Not that he could actually do anything about it, but still. More proof that politicians from both sides of the aisle really don’t care about you.
  • The other day former MMA star turned actress Gina Carano was cancelled by Disney for sharing a dissenting opinion from that of woke Hollywood. She’s probably one of those domestic insurrectionists we’ve been hearing about. Anyway, despite the clumsiness of her tweet, there are some parallels to today and 1930’s Germany. This post is worth a read.
  • I broke the law yesterday. Despite being a contrarian, I am a rule follower so this was definitely out of character for me. I’d run an errand and on the way back home I realized the streets were mostly dry. I have not been able to test drive the new motorcycle due to large amounts of fluffy white global warming that have been falling from the sky lately. The bike has not been registered, titled, and does not yet have a license plate. All that went out the window when I saw an opportunity to go for a quick ride. I’m in love. It’s smooth, powerful, and rides like a dream. Super agile for such a big bike. It exceeded all my expectations. It does however have more buttons and switches than the space shuttle. I can easily see myself riding off a cliff as I try to navigate the touch screen display to change riding modes or turn on the heated grips. It’s so complicated, Honda created an online simulator so you can practice while not on the bike. I don’t care. The sound that engine makes when you twist the throttle makes my heart skip a beat. It was worth being a lawbreaker. Spring can’t come soon enough.

Song of the day: George Thorogood – Bad To The Bone – 7/5/1984 – Capitol Theatre (Official)

An Unprecedented Storm

  • The media is garbage. They churn out crap with sensationalist headlines and most people simply read it and assume it’s true. With much of the country encased in some pretty cold temps there’s been plenty of attention on Texas, who’s electrical grid has spectacularly failed. Headline after headline proclaims Houston is being hit with an unprecedented storm. If journalists employed the internet search skills of your average twelve year old, they’d discover there’s nothing “unprecedented” about this. Valentines day, 1895, Houston was hit with 22″ of snow. So, yeah, it’s happened before. Multiple times. Apparently the dictionary definition of unprecedented has changed. I understand you need over the top headlines to sell the modern equivalent of newspapers. I’m ok with that. It used to be if newspapers went too far down the sensationalist road too often, they’d be lumped in with the “weekly world news” tabloids. Today there seems to be no shame in baseless propaganda. I wouldn’t really care except that I guarantee you it won’t be long before our new climate czars will start lumping in the “unprecedented winter storms” with all the other ridiculous and false claims of record hurricanes, rising sea levels, and record wildfires as evidence of rapid acceleration of global warming (sorry, “climate change”). And that false narrative is being used to shut down the fossil fuel industries and funnel billions upon billions of newly printed dollars to more “green energy” boondoggles. Hey, I have no problem with trying to come up alternative sources of energy. But snow covered solar panels and frozen windmills isn’t it. Meanwhile, in 2020 China built over three times as much new coal power capacity as all other countries in the world combined – the equivalent of more than one large coal plant per week. In addition, over 73 gigawatts of new coal power projects were initiated in China, five times as much as in all other countries. China and India do not give a crap about the Paris Climate Treaty. While we watch people in Texas dying from carbon monoxide poisoning trying keep warm, China is eventually going to kick our asses. We have a clean, safe, and reliable source of green energy already. It’s called nuclear. Our failure to embrace it is going to come back to haunt us when it’s too late. Meanwhile, I’m going to go enjoy some powder skiing for the next week in the several feet of global warming expected to fall in our mountains.
  • Meanwhile, lets check in on how mask mandates vs no mandates work. Looking at that chart I’d say mask mandates had no impact on Covid, but then I’d be labeled a denier. Therefore I fully embrace the new CDC policy of encouraging double masking. Oh wait, you told us any face covering works to block viruses? Now I have to wear two? This almost sounds like a face covering doesn’t really work. I’m so confused. It’s almost like the only face covering that actually blocks viruses is, oh I don’t know, a properly worn and fit tested N95 respirator?
  • Speaking of media as garbage, this piece by Glenn Greenwald is excellent. It’s disturbing how easy it is to sensationalize the chaotic initial “reporting” of an event and turn it into an accepted narrative. Again, I wouldn’t really care except that the false narrative is going to be used to implement new Patriot Act type laws giving the federal government broader reaching scope to collect data, spy, and enact further domestic restrictions. Much of the capital region of Washington DC is still a militarized green zone. Why?
  • On a recommendation from several friends, I signed up for MasterClass to get me some more learn’n in my head. With my soon-to-be increased free time (only one more full time shift to go!) I figure I may as well be productive. I just started my first class and so far I’m enjoying it.
  • With the fancy new motorcycle sitting in the garage, due to the unprecedented global warming that’s fallen in our area lately, I also needed a new riding suit. I’m big believer in ATGATT (all the gear, all the time). My previous motorcycle armor is from an earlier century and Mrs Troutdog has been on me to wear something a bit more modern. Once my standard 5,000 hours of YouTube research was done and I settled on which brand/model I was going to get, all that was left was what color? I had to laugh at myself. At my age I still find that I’m somewhat vain like a high school kid worried about how something “looks”. My new bike is mostly white. The outfit color I happened to like the most, and will be the coolest in the summer, is a very light grey. I was worried about looking a bit too much like a vintage Evil Knievel or Fat Elvis and almost ordered a green color I didn’t like, simply because I was concerned what people may think. Fortunately I’m old enough and (somewhat) mature enough to realize that A) nobody gives a shit what I look like, and B) I really don’t give a shit anymore what people think. I wish I’d learned that sort of confidence when I was younger. Peer pressure and the need to conform is a very human trait, but also a very destructive one (see global warming, mask wearing, woke culture, etc…). So, if you see a Fat Elvis looking guy riding down the street on a ginormous red white and blue bike, give me a wave and a big thumbs up. It’s good for my fragile ego.

Song of the day: Elvis Presley – A Little Less Conversation (original)

Innovation And The Road Trip

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

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

Enjoying The Inside, Outside

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

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

Where The Rubber Meets The Road

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

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

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]