- Our hospital is in the midst of a horrible staffing shortage. Every day I receive texts from unit supervisors pleading for folks to come in because the floor is short staffed. They offer overtime, premium pay, Covid pay, any combination of hours you want. I delete the texts immediately. Yesterday, while at work, the floor unit coordinator came to me and asked if there was any way I could work tomorrow? I actually would have said yes, but I’m leaving on a trip today on the ginormous motorcycle. I felt a little bad telling her no, but I did have a legitimate reason. Later that night I got an SOS text message from the hospital. They were so short staffed, patients were being treated in ambulances parked in the emergency room bays because there were no beds or staff available to bring them into the hospital. Supervisors were pleading for anyone available to come into work. I felt pretty guilty after reading that. My coworkers are going to have a horrible shitshow of a day today and I’ll be off playing. I don’t feel bad for the hospital, but I don’t like feeling as if I’ve let my coworkers down.
- In my previous life as an engineer for mega-corp software company, I fully embraced the do or die for the company attitude. I never took time off. There was always some project that, if we just worked really hard for another few months, we’d deliver to the customer and then everyone can relax and take time off. And then we’d miss that deadline. And another. I had hundreds of hours of accumulated vacation time, never used. It was so bad Mrs Troutdog and I actually bought a time-share in Mexico thinking that at least that will force us to take a vacation once a year. We went quite a few years with that warped sense of priorities. Slowly it began to dawn on me that the corporation doesn’t care about you. Oh sure, they pay lip service to “our employees are our strongest link” and other such happy horseshit. Eventually you realize that you’re just a cog in the wheel. I don’t care how important you think you are to the company, if you leave you’ll be forgotten within the week and someone else will take your place. Work hard, do a good job, but realize that any company exists to make a profit and it’s their job to extract every last ounce of work and time from the employees. You can be replaced at any moment. Take all of your vacation time. Stay at a company only as long as it’s benefiting you. If another opportunity comes up, take it. Life is too short to waste it thinking the corporation actually cares about you. I know that sounds terribly negative. Yes, there are companies out there that treat their employees fantastically. Just don’t lose sight of that fact that you are still just an employee and your life is not work.
- Today I leave for another multi-day trip on the ginormous motorcycle. And sure enough, all of a sudden the forecast is now calling for strong winds and a chance of thunderstorms this afternoon. My brain immediately thought, oh I should probably cancel and go another time. I have to continually remind myself not to be that guy anymore. Don’t let fears get in the way of experiences. If it rains, then I’ll get a little wet. So what? Am I really going to postpone a trip because conditions may not be perfect? I always thought I was a semi-adventurous person. Looking back, my “adventures” were only well within my comfort zone and with activities and places I knew well. On my own I’d rarely try something new or go someplace completely unknown. The “new” things and adventures I’d do were with friends who were experienced and able to lead and plan the activity. It’s amazing how ingrained worry about the unknown can be if you you’ve spent a lifetime being cautious. So, I’m going to hop on the bike and go. Maybe I’ll get wet and the ride might be miserable. Maybe I won’t find much sightseeing and this will end up being days spent being bored in crappy motels. Maybe the bike will break down and I’ll get stuck on the side of the road with no cell service. All of that may happen. But I’ll never know if I don’t try.
- The interesting balance that I need to learn to strike is at what point is a “just do it” mentality crossing the line into a stupid risk scenario? This weeks adventure is just a road trip to a handful of smaller towns. Probably a few areas with limited cell coverage. Very little risk, other than being on a motorcycle. The other type of riding I really enjoy is dirt and getting into the backcountry. I did a ride a few days ago where I ventured a ways into the forest. Nothing dramatic, but far enough away from civilization that a breakdown or a crash starts having more potential for bad outcomes. On this ride I still saw a few vehicles and if I had to I could have hiked out pretty easily. But the trips I really want to do are much further in the backcountry. At what point is doing a ride like that by myself becoming too risky? At the moment, those fears of the unknown are overcoming the “just do it” attitude. I suppose time and more experience on the bike will dictate how far I’ll push my risk scenarios.
- My last trip (which was also my first one) on the ginormous motorcycle went mostly undocumented. Just a few pics from my phone. I didn’t want to deal with cameras, video, or more electronics than necessary. I wanted to concentrate on riding and just absorbing the experience. This time I think I’ll try to make a video. I’m not entirely sure how to go about it. I’m no Ken Burns. Most of my video footage ends up being two hours of nothing but a view of the gas tank because I didn’t realize the camera moved. We’ll see how this goes.
Song of the day: The Big Push – These boots are made for walking’ / Satisfaction / Everybody
- Last night I watched adventure photographer Jimmy Chin’s Master Class episodes. My biggest takeaway was his passion for what he does. His description of how he got his first big “break” really struck me. He was in his early twenties, living in his car, and drove to Berkley to try and see a big name adventure photographer. He showed up Monday morning at his gallery and was told the photographer was too busy, come back tomorrow. Jimmy waited in the gallery all day. Then came back Tuesday and waited all day. And Wednesday, and Thursday, and Friday. At the end of the day on Friday the photographer came down and gave Jimmy two uninterrupted hours of his time, which eventually helped spawn his career. While I was watching this, all I could think of was “never in my life have I had that level of passion for anything”. Sure, I have hobbies and things I enjoy doing. But I’ve always been very casual about them. I might practice a little. I’ll do some research to buy gear, find locations, etc… but I can honestly say I’ve never gone all in, 100%. The same thing with work. I’ve always been successful with my careers. I work hard and do my job well. But I’ve never been interested enough to take more classes, join committees, or fully immerse myself in my profession. It’s always just been a job. So is the problem that I just haven’t found my passion yet, or I’m too lazy to actually fully commit to something? I don’t know. I’m happy be-bopping around from hobby to hobby. But I also lament not being very good at any one thing. So, maybe today should the day I fully commit to something and go all-in? So when introduced at parties people will say, “I hear you’re a really good <insert amazing activity>”. Hmmm. Now I just have to pick one. I wonder if doughnut connoisseur is a thing?
- As I wrote “doughnut connoisseur” I thought, you know that might be a good YouTube channel. Travel around giving doughnut reviews. You laugh, but I stumbled upon a YouTube channel that’s a guy who posts minute long videos of “day in the life of a school bus driver“. He has half a million subscribers. There’s simply no telling what will work or not. I’m willing to go all in on doughnuts.
- I was going to go all outragey on the Georgia voter suppression, voter ID, Jim Crow story. But I just can’t. Don’t have it in me. Unless you’re a zonked out meth head sleeping in the gutter, you know damn well that you have to have an ID to function in life. What strikes me the most about this is that the democratic leadership, along with the helpful idiots in the media, keep pushing this narrative that it’s racist and voter suppression to require an ID to vote. How do you look yourself in the mirror and then go push what you know is a false narrative? Are voters really that stupid? Wait, don’t answer that.
- The military’s Special Operations Command decided that what the really scary, badass, and most dangerous units in the military needs is a “Chief of Diversity and Inclusion”. SOCOM proudly announced the hiring of Richard Torres-Estrada, proclaiming “We look forward to his contribution in enhancing the capabilities and effectiveness of #SOF through diversity of talent”. Terrorists everywhere will feel better about themselves knowing that the folks coming to kill them are appropriately diverse and woke. Apparently the military no longer bothers to do background checks however because they then had to immediately reassign him while they investigate his string of anti-Trump posts, one of which compares Trump to Hitler. You can’t make this stuff up.
- I’m done with winter. I had a bit of a funk day yesterday. It was cold, gray, and crazy windy. I had zero motivation to go outside and that led to a full day of moping around doing absolutely nothing. I hate when I do that. It’s time for sun and warm weather activities.
- Biden will remain in office for at least the next two years. Why? The Senate is split 50-50. The Vice President breaks the tie. Should they decide grandpa Joe needs to go, Kamala becomes president and the Senate is deadlocked. It takes both houses of congress to approve any new VP President Harris appoints. So… they will continue to wheel out Biden for proof of life from time to time until we see what happens in ’22.
Song of the day: The Romantics – What I Like About You
- Have you read many really good books with only one chapter? Probably not. Those chapters serve the same purpose as scene changes in a good movie. Some are longer or shorter than others, but at some point the scene needs to change or your mind wanders and you get bored. It takes extraordinary skill to keep a long running movie scene with lots of dialog interesting. Quentin Tarantino comes to mind. Get it right and it’s brilliant. Get it wrong and it’s a 40% on rotten tomatoes. Life is pretty much like that. Hopefully you get to the end with many interesting chapters. What amazes me is how many people are afraid to turn to the next chapter. They cling to the current chapter, trying to prolong it, hoping it will remain just as good as when it started. I think the trick to being content with your life is knowing when to turn the page. Remember way back in junior high and high school? Every new event in your life was hyper exaggerated. Your clique no longer wanting to eat at the same lunch table, or having to change schools was earth shatteringly devastating. I think in part it was because at that young age you couldn’t fathom that your life will be filled with many chapters, so you desperately tried to hold on to a particular moment and pray it wouldn’t change. It’s funny how some people never evolve past that. They cling to their current chapter, prolonging the page turn until long after the dialog and scene becomes stale. Of course you don’t want to go too far the other way – life is not a race to the end. Speed reading may get you there faster, but did you really appreciate what you read? As you get older and wiser, hopefully you learn to appreciate the good and bad chapters in your life, but not dwell on them. There’s always another chapter, as long as you’re willing to turn the page.
- Sticking with the same theme, one of my three regular readers wrote some wise words the other day about our working lives. Essentially there are three milestones in your career; the first job; course changes; and the best – ending it. Permanent summer vacation! Worth reading the full comment.
- Last year when about 220,000 people had died from COVID-19, Joe Biden said that “anyone who’s responsible for that many deaths should not remain as president of the United States of America.” He also said that they would have a plan ready on day one to combat the virus. Well, there’s been 100,000+ deaths since he took office. Let’s see if I’m doing this right – Joe Biden is now responsible for one fifth of all Covid deaths. Sigh. The political gotcha game is tiring.
- Speaking of political narratives, Trump said in an interview yesterday, “I said, I think you should 10,000… I definitely gave the number of 10,000 national guardsmen. I think you should have 10,000 of the national guard ready. They took that number, from what I understand, and they gave it to the people at the Capitol – which is controlled by Pelosi – and I heard they rejected it because it didn’t look good.” So if true, and Trump actually requested the national guard and Pelosi rejected it, that should be a pretty damming blow to the speaker. Unfortunately the press won’t pursue it, so there’s really no point. It’s very disheartening to constantly see how one-sided the public narrative is. For example, the same press that spent the last year fawning over their media darling Cuomo, are now being very reluctantly dragged into exposing him for the asshat he really is. The sad reality about the media is that they are only pursuing it because they have no choice after championing the #MeToo movement. Sucks when one of your own gets caught up in it. CNN posted about halfway down their home page “Cuomo says he’s ‘sorry’ for comments and agrees to independent attorney to review accusations”. Wow. There’s a blistering condemnation.
- I’m very frustrated with technology. It’s looking like neither Android Auto or Apple Car Play support following a custom route. For example, with Google Maps or Bing Maps I can create a custom route with waypoints, markers, etc… save it as .gpx file and download it to a GPS or simply follow it via Google maps. Android Auto and Car Play only allow you to navigate to a single destination – which will always try to route you the shortest distance. This does me no good since I want to travel via byways primarily. Travel by Interstate and you’ll miss the worlds largest ball of string, the Emu museum, and all the cool ghost towns. It’s like they’ve designed navigation solely for people commuting and Uber drivers. My search for the right navigation system continues…
- This is a hilarious HP ad from 2015. Pre Covid, working from home, Zoom meetings, custom backgrounds, etc… Could you imaging going back and telling them just how prescient they were? I’m not sure even they’d believe you.
Song of the day: Alesso – Nillionaire (Original Mix)
- 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
- I’m sure I’ll be accused of perpetuating “toxic masculinity“, but oh well. Pat Mac is clearly on the far end of the masculinity spectrum, but his general message should be shown to the youth of today. He started posting some silly clips to his Instagram titled “Basic dude stuff”. Quick little clips of general stuff most guys of older generations knew. Tying knots, gardening, taking care of your tools, chivalry, cooking, driving skills, exercise, shooting, etc… Things that I took for granted, but seem to be lost on the current generation of youth. I look at my younger nephews and just shake my head. I love ’em to death, but worry for them and their generation. Even though they’re of driving age they have no interest in getting a drivers license. No interest in being active in the outdoors. It’s all about gaming. They’ve never had a job. By the time I was their age I’d had paper routes, mowed lawns, and been getting on a Greyhound bus each summer and traveling across the state to work as a lifeguard for months – alone. No parental supervision, no cell phone, and had to walk across town to the laundromat each week to do laundry. Thirteen years old. I couldn’t wait to turn sixteen, be able to drive and explore. I honestly don’t know how my nephews will survive and what kind of men they’ll grow up to be? Maybe the online gamer, manbun, intellectual is what women want today? And speaking of women… I think “basic dude stuff” should apply equally. Actually I think the young women of today are becoming more badass than the boys. It’s a brave new world.
- A laundry list of voting infractions in Georgia was presented yesterday. Most shocking was video footage showing suitcases of ballots being revealed from under desks in Georgia vote counting facilities after poll workers were reportedly told to leave the room. Yawn. Nobody cares. Almost zero media coverage. How is this even possible? It’s frightening to think about what sheep we’ve become.
- Speaking of sheep, the Governor of CA, apparently worried that the LA mayor was upstaging him in the unchecked power department, shut down the entire state. I still don’t understand how one man or woman has the power to unilaterally destroy businesses and livelihoods like this?
- If you still think the mandatory mouth diapers everyone wears are the magic anti-covid solution, you should read Alex Berenson’s investigation into mask research. He’s busy doing what journalists used to do in a bygone era.
- Was Covid here much earlier than we have been lead to believe? Eh, who knows. Maybe we’ll find out in 2026 when the Durham report comes out.
- Sorry if I’m sounding a little cynical today. I was pulling my dogs tail in the shower, tripped over him and broke my foot. Hmm, ok. No, you’re an eighty year old man who tripped getting out of the shower. We’re one broken hip or getting the ‘rona away from President Harris.
- If you’ve ever worked in a tech company, the Work Chronicles comic will make sense to you. This is why I no longer work in tech.
Song of the day: 311 “All mixed up (live)”
Cool things, random thoughts, advice, and independent thinking from someone who’s been around the sun a few times.
- Everyone has a bad day from time to time. For most jobs that’s no big deal. As an RN, a bad day has consequences. Yesterday was one of those days. Nothing bad happened and there wasn’t any one thing that caused it. Just one of those perfect storms of events. Short staffed, a super complex patient, a bunch of last minute discharges and transfers, multiple missing lab results, and some ridiculous bureaucratic decisions from management that make everyone’s life difficult for no apparent reason. The result was that I wasn’t a very good nurse. I barely kept my head above water all day. I’m sure my patients did not have a good experience. I think I stressed out the CNA unnecessarily. My documentation sucked. I was pretty rude to an EMS transport crew for showing up early. I caved in an ate a doughnut someone left in the breakroom (ok, two). Fortunately I have great coworkers and they kept me from drowning. It was one of those days that I drove home almost two hours late due to all the charting I never got to finish during the day, and wondered why I was even doing this job. You start questioning if you even have the skills to be a decent nurse. This morning I casually looked through job openings, wondering if it was time to make a change. Fortunately I have a long break through Thanksgiving to recharge and think critically about what I could have done to make that day go better. I still like the profession… I just worry that I’m running out of the mental energy it takes to operate at such a high focus level multiple days in a row.
- Shortly after the beginning of the great China Plague, my hospital decided that all employees need to be screened as we enter. At first it was a long series of questions about symptoms, travel, and people you’ve been in contact with. Then they added swiping your badge at the entrance. Next, temperature checks. Now they also have someone entering your name and unit into a database. We’re given a different colored sticker for your badge each day to prove you’ve already been screened. There’s often now a line of employees waiting to be screened so they can get to work. So as a contrarian I have to wonder – with all that cost and effort over the last 7-8 months, has the hospital identified a single employee who may have had Covid and prevented them from entering? Does anyone from management ever ask if the outcome is worth the cost? Or is the appearance of doing something more important?
- For reasons unknown to me, I’ve become addicted to car crash videos. YouTube collections of crazy drivers and crashes. It’s reinforced several things. First, I don’t trust other drivers. Second, I will never drive in Russia or third-world Asian countries. That’s where 90% of these videos come from. Clearly traffic laws in those countries are merely suggestions. I don’t think you can appreciate the degree to which we’re rule followers in the US until you see how people drive in other places.
- I’m desperately looking for a news channel. Just plain news. I don’t want opinion, spin, or bias. I just want someone to report the important things that happened in the world today. Why is that so hard? Anyone have any suggested channels or sources?
- I was talking to a co-worker about food and the conversation sparked a memory from years ago when I lived in San Diego and a favorite post-surf meal. Roberto’s Taco Shop and a Machaca Torta and rolled tacos (hey, I was young and burned a crapload of calories). Research has begun. The quest to make my own machaca has started.
Song of the day: Surf Punks – My Beach (Live at the Whiskey A Go Go)