+ What is this?
2020-11-28 - Day 258
The tree is up
The tree is up. The lights are on. So far only one of the Kitten Brothers has jumped into it. The adult cats are sitting under it as I am typing this.
Maybe the tree won't be an outragous disaster after all. I guess we'll see after we get some ornaments on it. Nothing says "entice the cats" like dangling Christmas tree ornaments.
Since it is the Christmas season, we watched a couple of movies last night. Elf for one. Stupid movie, but still fun... Then The Grinch. The original, of course. I have seen the live action and the computer animated ones... Meh... I still like the original better. In fact, I don't even consider those other stories to be for real. They don't even come close to capturing the original story, regardless of length or production values.
Call me a purist... But I could watch the original Chuck Jones, Boris Karlof, Thurl Ravenscroft version over and over again. A note about that last guy... If you don't know that he did the vocals on the song, now you know. I do not know why he wasn't credited. But at this point, I think everyone knows that.
2020-11-27 - Day 257
Is it really Black Friday? Because I didn't see lines outside the stores. I didn't really see any reason to repost my story about that from a few years ago.
in fact, I went out to the store for some essentials, and there was no one out on the roads. There was no one at the store. In the middle of the afternoon. It was weird. It's like everyone suddenly decided to take this pandemic seriously. Or they were all still in a turkey coma.
Now I'm off to drag the tree into the house so the Kitten Brothers can see it for the first time, while still in a box. We're not setting it up right away. We don't want to completely freak them out. So we are moving slowly.
We expect one of both of them to be inside the tree 100 times before we even get decorations on it.
2020-11-26 - Day 256
Happy Thanksgiving, all
Hope you all had a great day today. Hope you were all safe. Mostly.
Of course, due to the pandemic, we stayed home today. We more or less got to see the family. My brother stopped by for a bit. After that it was Zoom to see the rest of the family. That was pretty funny. My sister had a 3 camera setup around the dinner table.
We had our food from a local place. We ordered it a couple of weeks ago. See... Our original plan was to go down to my Mom's. But even so, we wanted to have a meal of our own either way. So we had the order made already. When it was determined that we would not be going out, it worked out okay because we still had a meal! And it was awesome!!
2020-11-25 - Day 255
Yeah, I know I made that joke once before. But that was weeks ago, and was real deer. These are not real deer.
We added to our deer family on the front yard. That is, we added a new family. We went to the store to get 1 large deer. But it was more expensive that we wanted. Then we saw these guys and said, "Wait, a whole family? And it's more in our budget? Sold!"
I'm very happy with them... They are a nice addition. I think they work better than the one large deer. Because this tells a story. Unless you have no imagination, of course.
I've been writing this blog for so long that I'm writing about Christmas decorations. Oh dear, oh dear...
2020-11-24 - Day 254
The girl child is safe at home. I left the house about about 8:15 this morning, and got home about 6:30. If not for traffic on the way home, I would have made it in less than 10 hours.
So we're home now, and everyone is thrilled.
In completely different news: I released a new Android app. Behold the Fuzzy Clock. I actually finished it a couple of days ago. But it didn't pass review until today. In fact I didn't even know that it went live until I got home. I was too busy driving to check before that.
Anyway, I wrote that app like 3 years ago. But I never really finished it. The original intention was for people to use it on their Android Watch. For whatever reason I more or less abandoned it. But recently I have been going through all my apps one by one to update them and stuff. And I ran across this one and figured, there really is no reason not to see it through. So I did.
2020-11-23 - Day 253
Long day today
Even longer day tomorrow. Taking a ride to pick up the girl child. Doing the whole trip in one shot. 5 hours each way.
It's not like I've never done it before. It's a haul, but it's not that bad of a trip.
That's all I have to say about today.
2020-11-22 - Day 252
Tomorrow will be a fun day. I'm working. But then I'm off until Friday. Yes, it's laughable that I'm going in on Friday. But at least it will be an easy day. Because literally no one else in the entire office will be there. Of course, by "the office", I still mean that in the virtual sense.
And tomorrow I have to revamp a project that I was ready to deliver the other day. But the scope changed. And now I have to make this thing do something that, as far as I know, is impossible. I need to figure out how to make it not impossible. Which pretty well sums up what my job is like most of the time.
Today I was out doing some recording. I finished one solo. That went really well. Then I banged out the rhythm tracks for 1 other song. By the time we were done, both me and the recording engineer were pretty well burned out. It was a most fun and productive session. Just tiring.
One other thing to mention... Today was the first day in I don't even know how long that my news feed from my RSS news site didn't have any stories about Trump doing something f'd up. In fact, the closest thing was Chris Christie calling Trump's legal team a "national embarrassment."
So maybe things are finally starting to get better.
2020-11-21 - Day 251
Saturday, and all is well
It looks like the weather is going to be remarkable today. I'm not trying to make small talk here. It's actually important. Because there is at least a reasonable chance that the weather will hold out for a few days. Which is good because I'm taking a ride on Tuesday to collect the girl child. And I really don't much want to have to deal with some of the crazy weather I dealt with last year.
It certainly does seem that, like everything else this year, winter is on pause too.
In any case, our original plan was to go up on Tuesday, spend the night and come back Wednesday. The plan now seems to be drive up early on Tuesday, pack the car, and drive straight back home. I've done that trip a few times. All told, it takes about 10 hours. Add another hour or two for packing the car. It's doable anyway. And in this case, it's necessary. Because we want minimal exposure to other humans for this trip. It's just better for everyone.
2020-11-20 - Day 250
Like I've said 100 times before, I really wish I didn't have to keep pointing out milestones.
I had a whole thing written up here before and decided to just wipe it out and start fresh. Because there is nothing to be gained by reminding everyone that the President is acting like a crybaby, and his inaction and stubbornness is going to get people killed. By the 1000's. By January 20th, at 1000 people a day, that is some 63,000 people that will be dead before we can even start managing this.
This is happening because Trump refuses to accept loss. And the entire Senate is actually to blame for this, because they are actively supporting him. Still.
The last time I posted about this, someone responded back that "there is no law against it." Yes. That's true. But that doesn't make it right. In fact, the GOP seem to be masters at determining that since there is no law to prevent it, it must be legal.
Yeah, that's right. There IS no law to prevent what Trump is doing. So here's an idea... What say we FIX that oversight. I'm not sure what the actual solution is. But what Trump is doing is causing real harm. Real death. And no one is stopping him. He is actively trying right now to threaten states into ignoring the popular vote, and/or delay their certiification so that the House has to be the one to determine the winner. And Trump's supporters think this is a fine idea because, I dunno... Screw democracy? There's no law against it, right?
One of the things that has to happen once this administration ends is to start putting some NEW rules in place. Too many rules in our government were put in place with the expectation that people would act with dignity and respect. No one ever expected that people like Trump and McConnell would come into play, and just bend the rules as far as possible, and then simply say, "Well there is no law against it."
If we can't rely on the government acting with respect, then it's time for some new laws. That's what laws are for. To prevent people from acting badly simply because there is no existing law.
And yes, I am aware that I wiped out a bunch of text to avoid a rant, and simply posted a NEW rant. Whatever. Sue me.
2020-11-19 - Day 249
My Cryptocurrency blog
What, you didn't know I had one of those. Man, I really have to learn how to promote my stuff better. Of course, the lack of attention is probably one of the reasons it's not more popular.
The site is called "MetalArt Cryptocurrency Blog". It's been around for a couple of years now. It exists as a dedicated spot to tell all the stories I have about Cryptocurrency. And there are a bunch of them. I point this out today because I am dropping the domain name and moving the site to a subdomain under one of my other top level domains.
For all of you non-techy people, a "top level domain" is a domain name. You know, like dpoisn.com. The top level for this blog. Top level domains cost money. It's not a lot. But that $18 a year or so adds up when the site itself is not generating any income to help pay for it. Actually... This is about more than just the cost. It's one more thing to maintain. And I'm trying to lighten up the things I need to maintain. Moving this thing to a subdomain means I no longer need to worry about it.
A "subdomain" is a domain that exists under a Top Level domain. It functions completely on its own, independant of the top level site. It effectively IS another site within a site. A sub site. A subdomain.
Because of the way the site was designed, it was actually really easy to move it. Because the site couldn't care less what server it runs from.
Anyway... The site tells a lot of good stories, and provides a helluva lot of useful information for people who don't know about Cryptocurrency. So if you are one of those people, check it out. You might learn something.
If nothing else, you will notice that I seem to have a helluva lot to write about. Such to the extent that I need more than one blog.
2020-11-18 - Day 248
Thanksgiving is coming!
Yeah. And I really don't know what to say about that. Everyone wants to travel. Everyone wants to get together with family and friends. But, as predicted, the pandemic is making its second wave. Or, more accurately, a worst first wave. Because this thing never really went away in any meaningful sense.
Look, I don't make this data up... It is what it is. I'm just showing it to you. What this says, in case you cannot read a graph, is that the number of cases is climbing. It is climbing higher AND faster than it did back in March when all of this started. In short, it's worse than it ever was. I don't exactly wish to put blame on anyone, because that isn't going to help. But if this government, and its orange-colored, man-baby, asshole leader had taken this seriously in the beginning, none of this would be happening. And if the government couldn't get HIM to take it seriously, they should have shut him the F up.
Instead, they inserted their heads firmly up his ass, and just let him continue to tell his followers that there was no problem, and nothing to be worried about. And they are STILL doing it. We can't even get the President-elect to begin work fixing this because the crybaby in power refuses to allow it.
Ugh... For now, I do not wish to make any predictions about how next weeks is going to go.
First thing's first... We have to go collect our daughter from school. Then we will all be home. That is my biggest concern right this very second.
2020-11-17 - Day 247
Actually, since I'm off on Friday, hump day more or less exists between after lunch today, and before lunch tomorrow. So I'm in the middle of hump day as I type this.
Speaking of things that go up, SpaceX achieved a monumental feat on Monday. They launched 4 astronauts into space to go live on the ISS for 6 months. This is huge for a few reasons. For a start, it's the first time a private commercial company launched humans into space. But also, it must be pointed out that the crew of 4 consisted of probably the most diverse group you could get out of 4 people. They represented women, Japanese, blacks, and whites all in one Dragon Capsule.
In this day and age, you bet your ass that is important. It shouldn't have to be, of course. But it is. Hopefully there will come a time when the race and/or gender of the astronauts doesn't matter, and isn't even reported. But thanks to the stupid racists and sexist division in this world, it's necessary to point that out, if nothing else, just to shut those idiots up.
Anyway... I watched the launch live as it happened. And it was awesome. These are great times we live in when you can watch a historic event like that from your couch, and get multiple views, including inside the cockpit!!
C'mon, that's just really REALLY cool!!
As of yesterday, their little space ship caught up and docked with the space station. Best of luck to the crew. May your missions be wildly successful!
2020-11-16 - Day 246
Really, enough already
This isn't funny anymore
Actually, that Tweet and Twitter's flag are pretty funny. But the rest of it certainly isn't.
What this guy is doing is outrageously damaging to this country. Not only is he denying the self evident, he is actively preventing the transition from taking place, which is already having dire consequences for this country. Fine, he doesn't believe that COVID-19 is real. But whether he believes it or not, it is very real. And his stonewalling is making it impossible to get this country on track to getting it taken care of once and for all. And people are dying because of it.
It is mind mangingly confusing to me how SO many people in this country still believe this election was rigged somehow. This goes beyond some simple conspiracy theory saying that the Democrats somehow stole it. For one obvious point... Let's just say the Democrats rigged the election and some of those ballots are fake. Ok, then why didn't they rig the Senate and the House too?! Those votes are all on the same ballots. This would mean that only the part of the ballot where there was a vote for Biden was faked. Right... What you are suggesting is that 1000's of ballots cast across multiple states with different types of systems, all colluded to count only Biden votes, and somehow managed to do this while under the tight scrutiny of BOTH parties, watching the counting as it happened.
Here we have a situation where a guy known to be a liar and a cheater, who has been saying for months that the election would be rigged, then took steps himself to rig the election. Between the electoral college, the voter disenfranchisement, the mucking with the USPS, and purposely making it more difficult for people to vote - this election was rigged in the GOP's favor all along. And Trump still lost.
And please stop it with Al Gore and 2000. That was some 500 votes in one state. This is more like 5 states, where Biden is ahead by 10,000's of votes, in each state. And every single legal challenge has failed for complete lack of evidence. In most cases, the courts pretty well laughed at the lawyer.
He is asking for donations to pay for the legal battles. Haha... Yeah, if you donated to that, and your donation was less than $8k, then your money went to pay his debts, and line his pockets. He is ripping you off! And you are STILL supporting him!
It is time for the GOP leaders to get to Trump's followers and explain to them that the election is over, and Trump lost. All of the shit that Trump is telling the country right now is dangerous. Deadly, in fact.
I said a while ago that the thing I wanted most after this election was for this country to once again be united. But that cannot happen as long as Trump is still standing there dividing us.
Enough already, Trump. Concede the election.
2020-11-15 - Day 245
I haven't spoken much about Android Development for a while. This is mostly because I've been busy with other projects, and haven't looked back at my older projects for a while.
One of the things that needs to be done when maintaining software is to make sure that the apps are always compiled with the newest SDK (software development kit). This is to ensure that they will always work on the newest devices. Once every couple of months (or years), it is necessary to open each project, update that stuff, recompile, test, and release a new production version.
This, of course, is also a good time to fix any little bugs, or other issues while I'm it. This also was a good excuse to fix up the primary landing pages for all the apps. For the longest time, I'd been hard-coding all these entries into a single file. It was a crap design and I knew it was a crap design. I know better than that. So I should never have allowed the crap design to persist. I have finally fixed that situation.
Both the landing pages for the live apps, and the development page have been updated to read those entries from the database. It may not look different on the outside. But behind the scenes, it is a much better way for me to maintain these projects, including being able to re-order where they show up on the list. Which is why you see the two Christmas apps up in the front now,
2020-11-14 - Day 244
Saturday the 14th
Doesn't really have the same ring to it, does it?
I finally got the chance to watch Elysium. Even though the critics (Rotten Tomatoes) didn't much like it, I did. I thought it was really good. Could have been better, yes. But it was a good story with some great effects. Nice to see Jodi Foster back in action again.
Very tired... Not much else to say right now. I will be headed of to do some recording tomorrow. That's always fun.
2020-11-13 - Day 243
Friday the 13th
Yeah, like that means anything anymore. This year has already given us far more weird than a single, supposed, bad luck day can provide.
Gonna have some people over. Gonna make a fire. I am determined to make the wood burn no matter how wet it is.
On an unrelated note, and one that I hope to stop writing about soon... The former President decided to have a speech in the Rose Garden today. I went downstairs and put on the news, expecting they would be showing it - expecting he was going to say something important. Something like, I dunno, "I concede".
Instead, what I saw was, "The President is speaking live in the Rose Garden right now." There was no audio, just video of him talking. Then they moved on to other matters. The press had absolutely NO interest in whatever bullshit he was having a press conference for. I do believe that is the first time I've ever seen something like that happen.
2020-11-12 - Day 242
One of the upshots of working for a large company is that they give you a bunch of time off. The oddity of that is that if you don't use that time, you lose it. Or, more correctly, they pay you for it. But it gets taxed so heavily, you may as well not be getting paid. So I really have to use that time before the end of the year. I had so many days left that I'm pretty much not working Fridays for the rest of the year.
So today was the Friday of my week. And that's a good thing. Because it was a long week. Got a lot done, but I'm f'n burned out.
2020-11-11 - Day 241
Spring in November is ended
Sadness. I was really enjoying that. We might not get weather that nice again until March.
On an even more somber note, because of all the bullshit with President Crybaby, and my need to write about unrelated things, I skipped right over the loss of Alex Trebek.
I have been a fan of Jeopardy! for as long as I can remember. There was a time when I was driving for a living, and I would listen to the show on the radio. Back in those days, you could pick up channel 7 on the FM radio.
The day the news broke that he had passed, I heard from no less than 5 people calling to express their condolences. And I really appreciate that. Clearly they are all aware how big a fan I am. For 30 years, it's the only show I really care to watch every day. The tributes to Alex on Monday were really nice. I think I got a bit of a lump in my throat when the Executive Producer came on to speak.
He lived a great life, and he was able to keep doing what he loved right up to the end. Never felt the need to retire, even though he knew he was dying. Just a great guy, and a class act, right up to the end.
RIP, Alex Trebek. There are a lot of people in this world that are way smarter because of you.
2020-11-10 - Day 240
Today I will talk about the planets. Not this one. You know about this one. And it's super easy to find. I'm talking about 3 others that have been pretty well present in the night sky for, well, forever. Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn are all in one field of view. Saturn and Jupiter are right on top of each other.
Since I've always been a nerd for this sort of thing, I like to get out the medium sized telescope that I have here, and take a closer look. Man, I'm diggin' springtime in November.
I tried this a few weeks ago, but there was just too much haze in the atmosphere. Even when it looked pretty clear, it wasn't clear. But this time of year, the atmosphere is always WAY cleaner. And you can get a really excellent view. Jupiter is cool, because you can see 4 of its moons. And, unless I'm mistaken, you can see some striping on the planet.
But Saturn is the one that's a real treat to see.
What Saturn might look like
I didn't take that shot. I really have no idea how to do that. So I just searched the internet for an image that closely resembled what I could see. This is pretty much exactly it.
It's wild because, when you look at the planet with the naked eye, it just looks like a bright dot. And not really all that bright when Jupiter is next to it. But as soon as you focus in with the telescope, even with the lowest magnification, it looks remarkably like the image above.
I remember a bunch of years ago when I showed it to my wife the first time, she jumped back from the telescope and said, "That's gotta be some kind of trick!"
No, it's really not. That's really what it looks like. My son took a look last night and just said, "Man, that is the clearest I've ever been able to see that. That is just amazing."
Yeah. I agree. Even at my age, I am still fascinated with that stuff. It's one thing to look at pictures in books or on the intertubes. But, nothing quite matches seeing it in real life.
2020-11-09 - Day 239
It's Monday. Again.
Ah, it's never going to get old feeling that way. Apparently.
Went to work. Went shopping. Worked more. Solved a couple of pretty good problems at work too, including troubleshooting some database issues. That's always fun. And, actually, I mean that. Because there is something satisfying about solving a problem like that. It's like figuring out a Rubik's Cube without Googling the solution.
Also... I saw the movie District 9. That thing is 11 years old, and I never saw it until last night. I like watching movies without knowing what the movie is about. Other than, "It's good." I'd rather not have even seen a trailer, or know who is in it. I so much prefer that way because it allows me to see the story unfold as the author intended, rather than having all sorts of predetermined ideas in there ahead of time. District 9 was like that for me.
All I knew was that it was good. And, yeah, it was. It followed one of my favorite SciFi tropes where there are aliens - that the humans are the pricks. And it also seemed to bite a little bit off of Alien Nation. Regardless of that, it was a good story, with some really intense action. In the end i was left with some questions, but determined it was better to just switch my brain off and enjoy the show. Because sometimes there is no need to answer everything. I actually felt sorry for the alien creatures. And that's saying something considering that they were entirely CGI.
I have Elysium (film) - Wikipedia cued up for tonight. Oddly enough, it's the same writer/director. In fact, I rented that one first, and saw that people like District 9 better. So I watched that one first. But this one has Matt Damon! That raises up a jot or so.
I'll give my review of that one tomorrow.
2020-11-08 - Day 238
One last thing about the election: Do you know how we can tell once and for all that the election was not rigged? When Biden came out to do his victory speech last night, the entire country was dancing in the streets. And I mean that literally. That is something that never happened for Trump. Not once.
In fact, this brings up another striking point. I remember distinctly what happened when Trump won last time. The nation was in absolute shock! "How the F did that happen?!", was the most common thing I heard. I had always found that to be really strange. Because if he really won that election fair and square, then you would expect the majority of the people to be very happy about it. But they weren't.
You know what the mood of the country is when the candidate who they wanted to win, actually wins? Look no further than last night.
On another note entirely... I think that very soon I will be changing the theme of this blog to move away from the "shut in". Because we really haven't been shut in exactly, for a while now. But we are still in the pandemic, make no mistake.
And on a final note for today, get out and enjoy the weather! Spring in November isn't going to last forever. And when it's over, you're going to miss it!
2020-11-07 - Day 237
Biden is President Elect!
After all this time, the long nightmare is finally ending!
At about 11:30AM EST, I refreshed my browser and saw that PA had finally been called. Which I knew meant the rest of the news outlets would be reporting it soon.
The official mascot of the 2020 Election says, "Hell yeah!!"
I would like to thank all of the people of the United States who came out to vote in large enough numbers to turn this around!
2020-11-06 - Day 236
A little bit of politics today
I really want to not have to say anything about all this, but I feel compelled to point out one really obvious point. And then I will say some other things that really need to be said.
The people that have told us progressives and liberals to "stop crying, stop being sore losers", for 4 years... They are the very same ones that are right now screaming that this election is unfair and are refusing to accept the results.
Really, I don't want to call anyone out individually. But you are all outrageous hypocrites. What's that you say, "this time it's different!!"? Yeah, that's what makes it hypocritical. It's different when it happens to you. Also yes, you would be right. This time it is different. This time there REALLY is massive fraud, disenfranchisement, dropping of votes, and all manner of complaining that somehow mail-in and absentee ballots are bad. All of which is being done by Trump and his supporters. This, while they are saying that the Democrats are trying to steal the election.
They are doing this while loudly screaming that what the Democrats are doing is illegal, unfair, and other completely ridiculous and unfounded claims. The President came on TV last night and flat out lied to the entire country in saying things like, "the votes that came in are late, and shouldn't be counted." That is some bullshit right there. The reality of this situation is that with all of the crap the GOP pulled to keep the Democrats from voting, the only reason we have done this well is that SO MANY people voted that we were able to overcome all the fraud.
My favorite bit is how the Republicans in some states passed rules saying that mail-in ballots couldn't be counted until election day. Thus why it is Friday and we still don't have a result. They did this in hopes that they would just be able to toss them out. Well, that's not how this works. They are legal, valid votes. Of course they have to be counted. And now they are yelling that these all must be fake votes, and we must stop counting them, and "why is it taking so long?!" The reason it's taking so long is because of the rules that YOU PUT in place!
What is happening right this very second is that Trump is filling the media (that is, Twitter and Facebook), with all these dangerous lies that are riling up his supporters. Because they believe the things that he's saying. They think that counting the votes is wrong. They think that Trump should simply be declared the winner.
And make no mistake - this IS dangerous!! Because Trump is STILL dividing this country! He is still making this an "us vs. them" situation. If you wonder why so many of us progressives want this Presidency to end - above all, it is that we want this country to come back together. We do not want the division. We do not want the President constantly telling his followers that we are the enemy! We do not want the media questioned in favor of whatever bullshit comes across Twitter!
Do you have any idea what it's like to see your family members post how much they hate the "libtards" because we are such a bunch of stupid fuck ups?! Well, I do. And I'm fucking sick to death of it. I'm sorry that we progressive types want to join this country, give people equal rights, and possibly fix some really bad shit in this country. Sorry that we want science to rule over religion. Sorry we think that the climate and the environment we live in needs to be cared for better. Sorry that makes us such monstrous assholes.
It is time for this country to start to heal. And that cannot happen as long as the person at the head of the country is constantly keeping us divided!
And I'm going to leave it at that.
2020-11-05 - Day 235
No politics today
Really, there is enough that all over the news right now. And it all falls into 2 categories:
1. We don't know yet.
2. We won't know until tomorrow at the earliest.
2a. We will continue to repeat these two points until we know something. Check back in an hour for more of the same.
So enough of that for now. If you came here to read this, you'd probably rather read about something else. For instance... The wind blew one of the aluminum shields off the A-Frame on the side of the garage. Fortunately, it wasn't' bent out of shape, or worse, lost completely. That actually happened once a bunch of years ago.
Plus it was low enough that all I needed was a tall ladder and a hammer to put it all back together. Good as new. Probably better. Maybe it will last through the next wind storm.
2020-11-04 - Day 234
Post election day
The day after. We knew it would not be decided 100% on election day, despite what some people think.
As of this moment, I'm not saying anything about this. Not until we are damned sure of the facts of the matter. As of right now, we only have some strong speculation.
With any luck, and the Flying Spaghetti Monster willing, you may be spared any more political rants from me. Until next time anyway.
So anyway... In completely unrelated news. I replaced some of the screens in the front of the house. That's a fun project. The upshot is that now I can see out the office window. For a long time there, the crappy screens didn't bother me. But since I've been working from home for all this time, it really started getting to me.
2020-11-03 - Day 233
Get out and vote as if your entire country and its place in the world depended on it. Because it does.
As of my writing here, you have a little over 13 hours until polls close on the east coast. By all accounts more people already voted in this election than the entire last election - and that happened before election day. That has never happened in the history of this country.
Since I have already said about all I can say about this stuff, I will only say one more thing... Notice please the message about voting from the opposing camps:
One side is telling everyone to get out and vote. They have ads, in Spanish and English, telling people how to vote, where to vote, and when to vote. They have ads explaining to people exactly how absentee (mail in) ballots work, and how you can deliver them without burdening the USPS.
The other side is complaining that the election is rigged and rife with fraud, they are blocking or disallowing votes by the 1000s, and that they intend to challenge the election right up to the Supreme Court. They made this intention clear long before voting even started. They are simply screaming "We will win, whether you like it or not!!"
Seriously, vote as if your democracy is at stake. Because it is. It has never come this close to being completely destroyed. And it still might happen.
2020-11-02 - Day 232
Election Day eve
Today's blog post will be very short. I'm honestly too bothered to say anything else about what I see happening right now. And I really don't want to upset my conservative friends and family.
As I type this, Trump is building a non-scalable wall around the White House. He's building a wall the day before the election. If anyone thinks that is normal in any way... Like I said, I don't want to upset anyone.
Trump's Presidency started with building a wall to protect Americans from foreigners. His Presidency will end with building a wall to protect himself from Americans.
EDIT: You know what... I AM going to speak up. Because I believe this needs to be said.
The anxiety over this election is unprecedented. Never before have SO many people been SO afraid of a shitty outcome to the election. And there is a very good reason for this. And the sides of the fence are pretty easy to identify:
One one side, you have Trump supporters, loudly yelling that their boy is going to win again, and REALLY stick it to the liberals this time!!! No matter how much of this country wants him to lose, he's going to win, and "F you if you don't like it!!"
On the other side, you have the vast majority of the country saying, "Oh, for the love of all that is holy, PLEASE NO!!!"
We don't want this country divided anymore. We don't want our civil rights and freedoms destroyed. We don't want our environment destroyed. We want sensible leadership to pull us out of the pandemic, and fix the economy. We want legislation to move smoothly through the system rather than being stonewalled by the minority Senate.
In short one side wants things to go back to normal. The other side wants to just keep driving this country further into the ground. They are actively encouraging all manner of voter interference in order to circumvent actual democracy. Something we have NEVER been so afraid of before.
And our greatest fear is that the Senate and the court might allow that side to win. Again. And then what? Sit on our hands for 4 more years?
No wonder Trump built a wall around the White House. If he steals this election, the country is going to drag him out by his ankles and burn it to the ground.
2020-11-01 - Day 231
GSP shut down
Speaking as someone from NJ, I really don't know what their statement is here. Actually, speaking as a human, I don't understand...
Note to you f'n morons - NJ is blue, and it will remain blue, despite your little stunt. Inconveniencing innocent people and pissing them off is not going to make a statement. It reminds me of my favorite Trump flag, the one that says, "Trump 2020 - Make liberals cry". Hahaha... F you. That's a fine political position right there, hahah. I'm not crying except for the level of petty stupidity much of this country has sunk to. You look like a bunch of spoiled, petulent children.
By the way, it might amuse you to know that blocking traffic on a federal highway is NOT a peaceful protest. It is disruptive and dangerous. If the tables were turned you'd all be yelling about, "what if there was a pregnant woman in an ambulance?!"
Look at what MLK Jr and followers did when they did their marches. They stayed to one side and let traffic through. THAT is how you do a peaceful protest, you bunch of entitled douche nozzles.
I SO cannot wait until this is over so we can get back to some level of sanity in this country.
2020-10-31 - Day 230
Halloween in the Time of COVID
Yes, that is what I am calling this photo:
My solution for Trick or Treaters this year was prepacked bags with 5 pieces in each. We weren't sure anyone was going to come to the house at all. But, believe it or not, this picture is from the second batch. The first lasted all of about 10 minutes.
On one hand, I'm glad that kids are still going out. On the other hand, it sucks that it has to be this way.
In unrelated news: I watched The Mandalorian last night. It seems that this is one of those series that is going to be more anthology than serial. That is, each story will stand on its own, with very little advancement in the overall story. And actually, I'm okay with that. Because too often do we see these series' just totally being made up as they go along, because they don't know if they will be renewed. Also, because serial shows are tough because if you miss an episode, you're lost.
Anyway... The main character teamed up with sand people and killed a giant worm. That was pretty wild.
2020-10-30 - Day 229
It's October 30th. And that means that the long awaited season of The Mandalorian has been released!
For those of you that only have a passing interest in Star Wars, allow me to answer one question for you. No. This is not a story about Boba Fett. This is an unrelated story that takes place many years after that guy got eaten by a giant desert monster.
For those of you that have more than a passing interest in Star Wars, then I'm sure you are already familiar with this series. I wrote about this last year when the show first came out.
In short, this series gave us Star Wars fans something we had needed for a very long time. A good Star Wars story. Especially after the last 2 disastrous theater releases. But more than that, it gave us something else that was sorely needed - a new character. Of course, I am not referring to the title character. I'm referring to Baby Yoda.
He doesn't even speak. But he doesn't have to. From the moment that dude first appeared, at the end of the first episode, all of us fans were absolutely thrilled! Mostly because it was so unexpected. But also because, no matter how much you like or dislike Star Wars, everyone loves Yoda. So to see a baby of one of his species suddenly appear was just awesome.
I do kinda feel bad for the actor that plays The Mandalorian. I'm sure that he did NOT expect to be playing second fiddle to a puppet. Plus... Since his face is never seen on screen, it's not even the same guy in the costume all the time. Sometimes it's just stuntmen. There was at least one episode where he was not there at all. Just the costume was. He did the voiceover later.
But I digress. If you really want to know more about this stuff, I encourage you to read the links, then go and watch the show. Don't have Disney+? Well, get the free trial...
I know what I'm watching tonight. Really looking forward to it.
Let us hope that my blog entry tomorrow won't say, "Well, that was disapointing."
Show the other 228 records -->
2020-10-29 - Day 228
Ah, yes... One of my favorite parts of Halloween. The pumpkin carving!
I actually got 4 pumpkins a few weeks ago, and had some good plans for them. Until the squirrels ate them all. The nerve... So these pumpkins, I got today. Hopefully they will last at least two days.
The one on the right there, you can't really see what makes its face interesting. So here is a closeup.
I've been carving these things for years, and it never once occurred to me to do one sideways.
2020-10-28 - Day 227
New page to see
A couple of years ago I had this idea for a project of holding quotes of all kinds... Funny, interesting, smart, etc... I hear all these one-liners all the time. And it occurred to me that it would be great to have a way to easily submit these things to a database. So I wrote a little program where I could easily do that.
From there, I wrote a whole app around it, where I could have one quote come up per day... The Quote of the Day... There are over 4 years worth in the database now. And I'm adding to it all the time. And I also take submissions from random people on the internets.
I finished up the web app. Then I wrote and Android version, and then an iPhone version. Since I had the API written for all those to use, I made a Twitter bot too,.
I bring all of this up for 2 reasons... First, I am actually a little surprised that there hasn't been more of a reaction for this project. It's got a bunch of users. Just not as many as I'd thought would really like it. Which brings me to my second point... I created one more version of this thing.
Quote of the Day web app.
It's just a simple page that does nothing but show the quote, and give you the ability to share it. Today's quote is actually fitting to. "Nothing worth doing is easy." I took credit for that, because I did actually say it. But there's no way I'm the first. Anyway... It's true. This project for instance... Not easy. It's been an ongoing project for a few years now. And even though I wish it got more attention, I absolutely believe it's been worth it.
2020-10-27 - Day 226
Getting closer to the big day
It is the single most important day of this month! Of course I mean Halloween!
I love Halloween. And over the years, even though I've gotten older, it's gotten better. People seem to decorate more. And people tend to go WAY further overboard that they did years ago. Driving around town nowadays is hysterical.
And what's great is that, what with it getting darker right now, the lights help keep things bright. And it will be that way straight through January. Of course after that, it gets all dark again. Once the holidays are over, it gets cold, dark, and there are no more lights. In short, it is one of the reasons that people consider it the most depressing time of year.
I need to find out who I need lobby so that we can create another holiday during that time, and give people another reason to decorate! Clearly people don't consider Valentines day important enough.
2020-10-26 - Day 225
I actually made this joke the other day in real life. So I made the meme.
I always like seeing the memes like this. I wish I was creative enough to come up with more myself. I try...
2020-10-25 - Day 224
Baby box turtles
It's been about a month since I found these little guys. They have been living in this little box in the office since then. In all that time, I have not been able to get them to eat. I've been putting pellets in their water every couple of days, which dissolve. And I'm assuming they are getting nutrients that way.
Baby reptiles, turtles in particular, are strange animals. They hatch from their eggs with a little yolk still attached to the underside of their shell. So they may not really need to eat for weeks. Just the same, I don't really know. So I've been putting food in there every couple of days. Fruit, chicken, salmon... Nothing really seemed to work. But yesterday I found an earthworm.
Box turtles love earthworms.
This makes me happy even though only one of them ate. The other one didn't seem to care. He just went and hid again. But at least I know the one ate. And that gives me some hope that they are doing well.
In other news... Today is music day. I'm on my way out to Hopewell for more recording. Wish me luck. Because I'm completely unprepared. As a result I think I will mostly be working on rhythm tracks.
2020-10-24 - Day 223
Yeah, that thing. The thing that everyone has been dealing with for all this time. For the love of all that walks and crawls, what the hell is wrong with this country?! It seems that the uptick in cases is actually worse than it's been for months. Don't believe me? Look at this chart. For that matter, in case you have gone blind to them (which happens), those icons above all link to live data that shows exactly how things really are right now.
And as I've said bookoo times over the course of this blog, don't expect it to change at all, or get better, or anything like it, as long as the current administration ignores the severity of it. It will only get worse. I think it's pretty clear at this point that the position of The Orange One on the virus is in two parts:
1. It's not real or dangerous.
2. We've learned to live with it. Let's just move on.
Now of course, those positions are completely contradictory. But that is where he's at with it.
In his superspreader rally speech the other night (and I assume every night), he said, "Covid, covid, covid... People are sick of it." Yes, dumbass, we ARE sick of it. But it's not going to go away because it's inconvenient. It's not going to go away because you choose to ignore it.
Get out and vote. It's the only remaining thing we can do.
2020-10-23 - Day 222
The Eagles Win!
They barely won. It was an uncomfortable win. But they did win after all. And that's what matters.
Anyway, speaking of uncomfortable things. The results for the debate are in. And it looks like Trump WON - but only if you are a die-hard Trump supporter. Literally everyone else says Biden won. I think that the funniest thing I've heard about it is that people are praising Trump because he didn't act like a petulant child. Everyone seems to agree that the one area that Trump won was that he was not an asshole. That's how low the bar is for this guy. People praise him simply for acting more like an adult than usual.
10 days and 16 hours. That's how long until election day. Here's to hoping it goes smoothly.
How mess up is that? This is the first time in my life that I am actually worried about all hell breaking loose if this election goes badly.
2020-10-22 - Day 221
Now with more distance and muted mic goodness.
I'll have some things to say about this tomorrow, I'm sure. But I am not going to watch it. I'm going to watch the Eagles game instead. I mean, that too will be a shitshow. But at lease that one won't make me angry.
And I'm dead serious about that. Watching that orange buffoon constantly bullshit his way through these things actually makes me furious. I cannot even stand to listen to him speak. I cannot wait until the day until I don't have to worry about hearing his voice all the damn time.
What is the point of this debate really? We already know what their positions are on everything. Having them get up there to once again say the same thing is just a waste of time. I can only imagine that the only thing Trump's people are hoping for is that Biden makes a mistake. Which... I dunno... Could happen I suppose. But since 40 some-odd million people have already voted, I don't know how much of a difference that would make.
It's pretty clear at this point that Biden is going to win the election. What is not clear is whether or not Trump will fight it to the absurd level of having the SCOTUS hand it to him regardless.
2020-10-21 - Day 220
Nothing special today
I've been so damn busy over the past couple of days that I haven't really thought about what to write. Tomorrow will be better, I promise.
2020-10-20 - Day 219
1917 - The Film
I rented 1917 last night. Other than seeing the trailers for it, and knowing that it got a lot of Oscar nods (it won 3), I didn't know anything about it. And here is my quick, non-spoiler review: Wow, that was really something. Gripping, tense, dramatic, and VERY realistic. Any time a movie makes me go, "Man that was f'd up", I know it was good.
The greatest part of the film was actually not that stuff. It was the cinematography. Imagine some of those movies you've seen where there is an extended, unbreaking opening shot that goes on for a long while. Now imagine that happening for the full 2 hours of the film! In fairness about half way through, it does go black for a few seconds. But that is the only break in the entire shot.
There are scenes where they do a full 360 degrees around the characters, and you can see the entire landscape. And never once is there a hint of production crew. Not even a reflection on water or an errant footprint. It was just done so well done that it's astonishing! So much to a point that for a nerd like me, the awesomeness of the filming actually pulled me out of the story. The only way to pull this off would have been in 2 ways... Clever cuts where they could stop filming when passing a rock formation or something. And the rest would have to be absurdly complicated choreography between the actors, the camera, and the entire crew.
The set they filmed on must have been truly enormous. Because there wasn't a lot of it that was green screened. That was real as near as I can tell.
So if you like that sort of thing, be it movies about WWI, or awesome cinematography, then I highly recommend this one.
2020-10-19 - Day 218
Monday is here again
This particular Monday happens to be the second to last one in October. You know what that means...
There are 14 days, 13 hours, 22 minutes, and 26 seconds left until #ElectionDay https://dpoisn.com/countdown/vote.php
I'll tell you one thing I'm looking forward to, regardless of what else happens. An end to the political ads. Every gotdamn commercial break on radio and TV is a litany of candidates bashing each other.
And the thing is, it's easy to tell them apart. Because it's actually only ONE side that is bashing the other. Candidates that support one side talk about how they want to rebuild the country, unite us once again, get the pandemic under control, and other sensible things. The other side is literally saying, "He will raise your taxes, fire all the cops, open the borders, and take away your healthcare."
One side is saying things that are sensible. The other side is telling you that the bogeyman is going to eat your face. And it's not just the Presidential candidates. Is all the people that are running for Congress too.
I have never seen a race that is so completely divided. And it's shocking how one side is just so completely full of shit.
This isn't even just a matter of opinion. Just watch the commercials for yourself if you don't believe me. But I implore you - do the research on both sides before you make your decision. Learn what is true. Stop believing the social media echo chamber. Do your OWN research.
That is all I'm saying about that. For now.
2020-10-18 - Day 217
Productive day today
I mentioned the bathroom yesterday. Got back to that thing first thing this morning. The painting is done except for some touch-up. Got all the stuff mounted back on the walls. The TP roll got moved to the other wall. And we also installed a new cabinet. I also put in a new cabinet in the upstairs bathroom, and added a new towel hook.
All told these two rooms don't look much like they did before. It's a good feeling getting some stuff done.
It's also a good feeling when your team does well. The Eagles did very poorly in the beginning. Then they started running all sorts of crazy plays that included using the 2nd string QB, and letting Wentz block! They came from a ridiculous deficit that was like 14-30 at the 3rd. They got it up to 28-30. Had they made the 2-point conversion, they'd have tied. Had the pulled off the onside kick, they would have had another chance.
Alas, they did neither one of those things. So they lost. However, if you are a fan of the game, you like to see a team rally back like that. It's always cool to see that even if your team doesn't end up winning.
2020-10-17 - Day 216
Halloween is getting closer
Today mostly consisted of painting the downstairs bathroom. Since the upstairs one went so well, we decide to just keep going. It's never as simple a project as it seems. But it's going well.
We also made some clam chowder. That was fun new one, and it came out great! Next time we will use larger chunks of clam. Pieces in this one were too small.
So I mentioned Halloween. In looking for something Halloweeny to watch, we found Frankenwenie. That thing came out like 8 years ago, and for some reason I'd never seen it. It's just as weird as you expect a Tim Burton movie to be. I actually think that that is the way he really sees the world. Like, he's not making it up. That's just the way it looks for him.
Anyway, it is a really good, impressive, stop motion pic. Done in black and white to really drive home the point that it is a parody of classic monster movies. It's also a little touching and sad. Especially if you like a good "boy and his dog" story.
I'd recommend it for families that don't have frightened, squeamish kids. They won't do well with it. Everyone else will love it.
2020-10-16 - Day 215
Got one of our cars inpected today. The line was remarkably non-existent. Probably the first time in many many years that i just drove right into the building, and drove out with a new sticker.
At long last NJ MVC seems to be running efficiently. Well, either that or it's raining in the middle of the month, and everyone is either working or at school. Whatever... All I know is, I was in and out of there in less than 15 minutes!
2020-10-15 - Day 214
Guess what I just heard. My boss called to let me know that the company has decided that all of us office people that have been working from home will now be doing so until at least June 30th!
At that point, it would be 15 months since I've seen my office. As of right now we are at about month 7. Which means, we are halfway there. But of course, when the company says they would like us to come back on June 30th, they are assuming that we will have been rid of this pandemic for a good couple of months. Meaning that they are optimistically hoping that we are done with it by, say, March or April.
I would love to assume that that was going to be the case. But I seriously doubt it.
We cannot even look forward to a time when this is even starting to be controlled until after January 20th. And that is assuming the Biden wins the election. Because as I've said many times before... We cannot even start to get this under control as long as the person in power doesn't even believe it's real.
2020-10-14 - Day 213
In all my years of brushing my teeth 2 or 3 times a day, I have never once had the toothpaste go down the wrong pipe - until today!
And holy crap, did that hurt!! There is a reason we don't breath toothpaste. That reason is that it's super painful. I had to hold my eyes tightly, so as to not shoot them out of my head as I was having a coughing fit.
If you haven't learned anything from reading this blog, then let today be the day that you can say that you did. Be careful when brushing your teeth, assuming you do, to not inhale with a mouthful of toothpaste. Because you will regret it.
2020-10-13 - Day 212
Today I will tell you of our pumpkins out front. Like most people, we get a bunch of pumpkins, and keep them on the porch until a day or so before Halloween, when we carve them up and put candles in them. This year, I think we may have gotten them too early. Because the squirrels have been having a feast of them. It seems they couldn't wait for ME to carve the pumpkins and took it upon themselves to get a head start.
Two of them have already been dug completely into. The smaller one was absolutely decimated. And the squirrel was bodily inside the thing chowing down on the seeds.
My son and his friends carved a few pumpkins the other day. His girlfriend's was a cute little ghost. It is now half a ghost, and barely discernable.
The wildlife has gotten really brazen around here lately. I mean, I love the wildlife, I really do. But damn, guys, c'mon!
2020-10-12 - Day 211
Rain, rain. Then rain.
Not that I'm complaining. As long as the rain stays outside, I'm good with it.
Today's post will be short... I'm sitting upstairs typing this right now because the news is on downstairs. I'm trying to avoid things that make me angry. And this shit about the Senate ramming through a conservative judge against the wishes of the majority of the country, has me furious.
If they succeed, it will mean the end of progressive legislation for the rest of our lives. If it doesn't make you furious, then you probably don't care about women's reproductive rights, racial injustice, civil rights like the ability for gays to marry and not be discriminated against, and you probably don't think that climate change is real. Those are just the first that come to mind. In short, it will be a disaster. A disaster that RBG's dying wish was to prevent.
The whole thing is a shameful disgrace. And it is truly sickening and infuriating that so much of this country thinks it's just a-okay.
2020-10-11 - Day 210
My blog entry for today was delayed because I was out at a wedding all day. My niece got married in a lovely ceremony down in South Jersey.
It is unfortunate that it was somewhat diminished in capacity due to travel restrictions. But on the upshot, modern technology allowed us to bring in a couple of people from as far away as upstate NY and western OH to watch the ceremony live via video chat. Something like that would have been unheard of just a couple of years ago. The masks and the social distancing were all evident. That is the way of things right now.
But setting that aside, my sister's family did a wonderful job. I really don't think that I could say much in my daily blog about all of this. Trying to write it all out for the benefit of readers just wouldn't do it justice. So I'll just say, we had a great time. My niece and her new husband (my nephew in-law), were really happy and excited! It seems to be a great start to their new lives together.
2020-10-10 - Day 209
Another Rock Icon
I had been meaning to get to this for about a week. But I had other things to say and just never got to it.
I will tell you of Lee Kerslake. He passed away a few weeks ago. Most people hadn't heard of it because they really aren't even aware of who he is. He is no Eddie Van Halen after all. However, his contributions to music, in my view, are on a level that is pretty damn high just the same. It's just that someone else stole the spotlight.
The short, short version of who he was is that he was the drummer for Uriah Heep, but is best known for his work with Ozzy Osbourne. More of the story goes like this...
When Ozzy left Black Sabbath, he was looking to put a band together. The members of the band were Lee Kerslake, Bob Daisley, and the late great Randy Rhoads. They were known as Blizzard of Ozz. Which soon after was changed to simply Ozzy Osbourne, and the first album took that title. They called that a "Manager decision". I call it Ozzy taking credit for everything.
And it got worse. They finished their second album, Diary of a Madman, recorded the whole thing, and were getting ready to go out on tour, when the band's manager Sharon fired Kerslake and Daisley. She kept Rhoads, of course. To add insult to this injury, their names are not on that album. The new guys were listed as the drummer and bass player. Daisley and Kerslake were left out of it.
Mind you, those two guys wrote ALL that music. Not just a little bit either. Ozzy had nothing to do with any of it except doing the vocals. But, see, Ozzy had the name and the fame. So he effectively took credit for all of it, and sent the others packing.
To this day I have never heard a reasonable explanation for that. It was just such a shitty thing to do. And for someone like me, who grew up loving those two albums, I always thought it was f'd up that credit was never given to those guys who contributed so much. Even Tommy Aldgridge, who replaced Kerslake has forever maintained that though his name is on it, he did NOT play on that album, and credit lies with Kerslake.
Kerslake went to his grave never actually getting the credit he deserved for bringing so much awesome music to the world. So I thought I would tell the story here.
Here is another really amusing story that ties in with this, because the exact same thing happened with a different band years later. Whitesnake. They finished an album, got ready to go on tour... David Coverdale fired the entire band, including Jack Blades who wrote all the music. He hired, get this, Tommy Aldridge and Rudy Sarzo on drums and bass. The very same two that were hired into Ozzy's band many years before.
2020-10-09 - Day 208
Sometime around midnight on Wed. a truck came rolling down the street and ripped the FiOS wire clean off the house. So we had no internet or TV. The silver lining to this story is that somehow, the main power lines were untouched. So we still had power.
Anyway... I woke up Thursday morning and talked to Verizon. The couldn't get a truck here until Sunday! "Really? Are you f'n kidding me? You're going to leave the wires in the street until Sunday?!"
But as it turns out, I had already scheduled a tech to come to our house to upgrade our internet. That 75mb connection just was not cutting it with the whole "working from home" thing. So I told them that. I said, "You know, you already have a tech coming here tomorrow. They not will be able to do their job if this isn't fixed."
"Oh. Hang on a second... Okay, the tech will fix both issues."
Of course when the tech got here this morning, he was completely unaware that he had to fix the street problems too. He had to call in a bucket truck to help with that. Which, somehow he magically made happen in less than an hour.
This story indeed has a happy ending. Because everything is up and running again. And we have a new router that runs at 1gb. In layman's terms it means we went from 75mph to 1000mph. And yeah, it obviously shows. Even the internet speeds in the office aren't this fast. Of course, my son, who is doing all his college classes from home, plus likes his games, is also super thrilled about this.
And he called it on Wednesday night. He said, "Well thank goodness we have a tech coming here on Friday." It turns out he was 100% correct about that.
Also... Since I couldn't go to work for a couple of days, I jumped in to help my wife with her project. We finished painting the bathroom, and it looks awesome. Still needs some touchup work. But the big part of the project is finished.
2020-10-08 - Day 207
Debate last night
We have a clear winner in last night's debate.
Yes. The fly on Pence's head is declared the winner. Because it is the only thing that seems to be getting equal and fair attention.
Everyone on the GOP's side says Pence killed it. Everyone on the Democrat side says Harris killed it. In short, the debate meant nothing at all. The same people would have said the exact same thing if both people just sat there drooling all night. It was a total waste of time, energy, new cycles, and brain cells.
But everyone can agree the fly was super entertaining. The fly wins.
2020-10-07 - Day 206
Started work on 1 bathroom
My wife has been trying to keep busy. She has made a list of all the things that need to be done. And to be sure, the list is extensive. Once you've lived in the same place for some number of years, things get to a point where it is time for an overhaul.
Painting the bathrooms is what came up on the list now. So we got the supplies, and prepped the room. I'm helping a little bit here and there. But she is really excited about this project, and really wants to do it. So I'm just sorta staying in the office and only helping when needed. Tomorrow will be actual painting day. I'll have to post an update about that.
2020-10-06 - Day 205
No Van Halen Reunion
Screw you 2020, screw you. Now you've taken Eddie?!
I don't care where you happen to stand on "Eddie was the greatest" spectrum. From my point of view, being a guitar player, I can absolutely say without reservation that he was indeed once of the best there ever was. Innovative, distinctive, and original. Lot's of people have learned how to duplicate what he did. But he was the one who pioneered that style of playing. That dude could make sounds on the guitar than no one even imagined wer possible. And it just sounded so cool!
And he wasn't just making that stuff up. He knew exaclty what he was doing. He duplicated those sounds live. And he did so while putting on a great show!
His heyday may be in the past. But I hardly think that matters. To many of us it still sounded fresh 40 someodd years later. Nothing will erase the legacy he left.
RIP, Mr Guitar God. You will not be forgotten.
2020-10-05 - Day 204
So much to say...
I really seriously have too many things on my mind right now, to the extent that I'm not sure about the best thing to write about today. So, I'm going to try the bulleted list approach. That's something new...
Okay, that last one was a lie. Speaking of things that are lies... I will refrain from mocking the President just this once. Because we do have what Douglas Adams once referred to as a "real joojooflop situation" here. The President is clearly ill. And the news is really trying to do its best to keep us all informed. While at the same time, the WH is actively downplaying his illness. In short, they are lying about it.
On one hand, that is maddening and frustrating. On the other hand, there is actually a VERY good reason for them to do that. And we really should give them a pass, just this once.
Whether you like the President or hate his stinking f'n guts, he is still the President, and the single most powerful person in the world. And it creates a gigantic national security nightmare for the President to be in any sort of medical distress. So they MUST make it look like he is just fine. Just this once, there is actually a really good reason for it. So I'm actually willing to let the WH slide on this one. I actually understand why they are doing what they are doing.
It was still a stupid mistake to let him go on a joyride for a photo op. That just makes him look like a careless, irresponsible moron. If you've got a problem with me saying that... Well, if he feels good enough to do stupid shit that puts others at obvious risk, then he feels good enough to be told he's an asshole for it.
2020-10-04 - Day 203
I tend to promote projects that recur every year. This year is no different except that I'm using this blog to talk about things I've built. And as I've said repeatedly of the months of this, I can't believe I'm still using this blog to promote something THIS late in the year. But here we are. It's October. And other than being one month from election day we are also counting down to Halloween!
This, of course, is arguably my favorite holiday of the year. Mostly because it is a celebration of the macabre. Well, actually, that's the reason. Don't get me wrong. I love Christmas too. It is possible to love both. In this case, we are celebrating all the things that people in this world are normally terrified of. We are embracing them and having a good time, rather than being terrified. In some cases, it's a good excuse for people do be who they want to be without being afraid to do so.
I am going to miss trick or treating this year. That was on the downslope since before the pandemic anyway. Which is a shame for a different reason. But I started missing it when the kids got too old for me to go out with them. So it's been years since I could really enjoy that part.
I feel like I'm going down a rabbit hole here talking about stuff I miss with Halloween. So let's switch gears to the happier part... The next thing I am truly looking forward to is the entertainment. It's usually about this time that I like to read everything I can find from Edgar Allen Poe. Sorry if you think that's cliche'. My favorite poem of all time is The Raven. And I like to read it 4 or 5 times around this time of year. Because it's still an superb piece of writing that actually gives me chills.
I seem to have forgotten that this post was also a plug. The link above there is to a web app that I built some 7 years ago. I add little things to it from time to time. So it's got all kinds of fun stuff going on. I think that the newest addition is that the image of the Moon actually shows the correct phase. Because I thought that was cool.
2020-10-03 - Day 202
This actually happened the other day. But I had other things to complain about and simply forgot to mention it.
One of the coolest things about the times in which we live is that between NASA, private enterprises, and a few other countries, we are launching stuff into space all the time. It seems like once every few days we are shooting something into the sky. And the greatest thing is that due to the internet we can watch the launches live. Which if you are a nerd for such things is awesome!!
What's even better is if you live in NJ, the launch is happening in Virginia, and it's a clear night, you can see the rocket in real life. Such a fortunate set of events occurred on Friday. It's actually the very first time I was able to see a launch. Well, unless you count that one that they purposely exploded in the atmosphere a few years ago...
It was cool. Even though I could barely see it through the trees, I DID get to see it. And this time, it didn't explode.
2020-10-02 - Day 201
Yesterday seemed to be one of the actual best days I've seen in months. In fact, I consider it a turning point. I don't want to go into everything. But things personal and in the wider world seem to be going much better between yesterday and today.
One of the craziest things that happened was waking up to find out that the one person who has caused the most damage to this country since, well, ever really, has been bitten by the creature named Karma.
I will try to hold back my comments about that, and instead point out what Joe Biden said. Essentially that he and his wife are hoping for the affected person to have a swift and complete recovery. No matter what you might think of that dude politically, you gotta admit, you can always count on him to take the high road.
It makes him better than me. I said I'd try... But see... I'm not running for office. So I don't need to be that kind. What I think is that anyone who says we need to have respect for the monster that split this country in half and then let 200,000 people die because he was worried about his reelection, is wrong. I think he deserves to eat a little of the pie he's been serving everyone else.
I do not think that he deserves respect as an old man or even as President. Especially after he shit all over Ruth Bader Ginsberg before her body was even cold.
As of the moment that I'm typing this, we don't know what will happen. All I can say right now is that whatever happens to him, I hope his followers take this as a YUGE wakeup call! He has been wrong about this from the start. He has lied to the entire country about it from the start. And now he is paying the price for his own stupidly. And I hope his followers see that obvious, glaring point.
Probably not. They'll probably blame it all on China, the Deep State, and the librals, and never once acknowledge that this was entirely preventable.
2020-10-01 - Day 200
The long awaited day 200!!
Whooh Hoo!! 200 days of a pandemic that is still nowhere near being contained or even with any sort of end in sight! And of course by that I mean Holy crap am I sick of this!
There are some good things that have come out of this. We've all gotten to show off our styles in mask wearing. People saved a ton of money by not going to concerts and sporting events. On the other hand, there are some 30 million people out of work and 209,000 less people in the country. So they probably wouldn't have been going to concerts or sporting events anyway.
How much has changed in the past 200 days? Well, not much has changed in terms of getting the pandemic under control. We've just more like learned to live with it.
The reality of wearing a mask and social distancing will be with us for the foreseeable future. The upshot though is that our new normal behavior will also protect us from the flu. Wouldn't that really be a wonder if we literally skipped the flu season this year because of our precautions to avoid another virus altogether? Well, in some places. Many places in this country still don't believe there is a problem, and therefore, no need for precaution.
I've said this before, many times on this blog in fact, that all we can do is take care of ourselves, and each other. We cannot rely on the people currently in power to do anything at all to help. Some of those in power, at the state level, did their best. But entirely too many people are still looking further up the chain to get their advice. And because they are following that advice, they are perpetually putting the rest of us at risk.
So, again... Take care of yourself. Take precautions. Don't expect anyone else to have enough respect for you or your safety. In their eyes, it is a violation of their rights to tell them not to put you in danger. So it is up to you to be as responsible as you can.
If you think that sounds pretty grim, well, that's probably because it is. We have an entire faction of deplorable assholes in this country that have simply refused to believe that there is a problem. Their stupidity is what has allowed this to go on for so long. And until the idiot at the top, who continually feeds them that bad advice is gone, it will continue.
So yeah. It's grim. Happy 200 days, everyone.
In related news. Our ballots just got here!!! I'm filling that thing out and hand delivering it tomorrow!!
2020-09-30 - Day 199
Day 200 eve!
Yay, we are approaching another milestone! We'll talk about that tomorrow.
Today I would rather concentrate on something that is far more important. The Good Place, season 4 is finally available on Netflix. And, whew, thank goodness for that.
I binge watched the first 3 seasons so long ago I don't even remember. It was sometime in the past 199 days, I know that... But when I expected the next season, it wasn't there! I was like, "What is this?? 1995?! I have to wait for months to see the next season!!! AAAhhhhhh!!"
Well, the long nightmare is finally over. I'm on episode 8 of 14 now. So within the next day or so, it'll be done.
See? Very important!
2020-09-29 - Day 198
Debate is tonight
I don't want to make a long political post today. I will just say that the first of the debates is tonight. And I am astonished that it is going to happen at all.
We have one candidate who is smart, well spoken, and prepared. And the other candidate who is a brainless, abusive asshole, who doesn't feel the need to prepare because he's too busy running the country. Yes. He really said that.
I really don't want to harp on that. What I wish right now was that I had something else to think about. But I kinda don't. Every place we look or listen, there is something else to remind us of how messed up things are right now. So really, it's probably best for me to just get to work now, and stop thinking about this stuff.
One other thing. Someone on Quora asked about why people are upset about the Senate ramming through another Conservative judge right before the election. I started writing a simple answer, but ended up writing quite a lot. And I think what I wrote is good enough to share. So if you want to know why people are pissed off about the minority representation of this country is ramming another Conservative judge down our throats, you can read all about it here.
2020-09-28 - Day 197
Monday. You know what that means
For me it means that I have to rotate my chair to the other side of the office and do 9-5 work. At the time of my writing (about 1:15pm), I have already done a boatload of work. I even made a new backdrop graphic for use in video calls. The VP requested it. When you get a request like that from the VP, you drop everything and make a graphic.
Which, truth be known, is one of my favorite parts of my job. I have managed to work myself into being the local creative person for anything that is video/graphic/design related.
And that is always a nice departure from crunching tons of data in spreadsheets. It's good to step sideways for a few minutes and do something creative.
Now, it's time to get back to crunching tons of data in spreadsheets.
2020-09-27 - Day 196
Well, it's official. The Eagles are the worst team in the league. The Bengals used to be the worst. But now that the best the Eagles could do against them was a tie, they cannot claim to be any better.
In other news... I missed the game because I was recording yesterday. Redid one solo, and worked out the rhythm tracks for another song. That project is going well, even if it is taking seemingly forever. See... it's not really possible to just plow through all these songs in one day. It's going to take multiple sessions of a few hours at a shot. At that point it's time to take a break until next time.
News on the baby box turtles... My brother popped by yesterday to take 3 of them. They are now living in his shop. Let us all cross our fingers that all 5 of these little dudes live long and prosper!
2020-09-26 - Day 195
It is Saturday
It is Saturday. The baby turtles are all doing well. I still haven't seen them eat. But they do show up in the water bowl from time to time, so I know they are healthy.
About the only other thing I have to report is that I'm on my way to do more recording tomorrow. So I'm working on my parts for that. Looking forward to that!
2020-09-25 - Day 194
Baby turtles, part 2
This is day two in our expanding coverage of how a box turtle who hasn't seen a male turtle in 3 years, just hatched another clutch of eggs.
I walked out to check on Walter yesterday, and was surprised to find that there were 2 more babies walking around in the enclosure. Now we are up to 5. This, to me, seems like the strangest thing I've seen all year. Or, would be if I hadn't seen so many other really strange things. And this is a good thing! New life!
How is it possible for this turtle to have laid that many fertile eggs without any interaction with a male? That really is a wonder. So I'm discussing this out loud in the kitchen. And my thought was, "I wonder if it's possible for her to 'store' the stuff, and use it to fertilize new clutches of eggs later."
My son's girlfriend was sitting at the table, and she looked it up. And what she found was this... A box turtle can hold on to a single "fertilization event" for up to 3 clutches of eggs. And it can last for up to 3 years. Holy crap, I was right. Still... Here I am 51 years old and never heard of anything like that before.
It's certainly more plausible than my other idea, that there is a flying male box turtle in town, who occasionally visits our turtle for some lovin'. Although, really, that's only marginally more ridiculous.
One other point to make here, is that there is a somewhat sad takeaway from this information. That is, the mortality of baby box turtles must be extremely high. If evolution has worked it out that a turtle needs to lay 3 clutches of eggs spanning 3 years, in order to ensure that 1 makes it to adulthood, that is truly sad.
As such, for my part in this, I have moved all 5 babies indoors, and they are living in a little terrarium in the office. Hopefully I'll get them all to survive and find them forever homes. My brother is already planning on taking a couple of them.
2020-09-24 - Day 193
Baby box turtles
Over the past 193 days, I have had some days where it was easy to find something to write about, and others, not so much. It's always amusing when I get that spark and say, "Ferb, I know what I'm going to write about today." Today was one of those days.
Way back on day #23, I wrote about Walter the box turtle coming out from hibernation. This signals the beginning of spring.
What Walter the box turtle might look like
Evidently, what signals the beginning of Autumn, is Walter having babies.
What baby box turtles in a terracotta water bowl might look like
Like many stories that involve baby turtles, this one is longer than just this event. See... We've had Walter for some 3 years now. He lives in an enclosure in the garden out back. Last year, while prepping his pen for winter, I dug up a clutch of eggs!! This was amazing for 2 reasons. First, Walter is not a dude. And second, Walter laid eggs. There were 5 of them. And they all died. Because they should never have been dug up. Had I known it was even possible for there to be eggs, I'd have not done that. And yes, I have felt terrible about that ever since.
Zoom forward a couple of weeks. 2 fully formed baby box turtles appeared in the enclosure. Evidently there were more eggs. Both of these appeared to be alive for a while. But they ended up dying too.
That was last year. By all accounts, that should be the end of the story. But it's not. Because today I went out to feed Waler and refill the water, and found 2 babies walking around in the enclosure!
They are both fine and healthy. They do not have little yolk sacs on their belly as new hatchlings would. Which means that they hatched some time over the summer, and no one noticed them until now!
And that makes no sense at all. Because I gave that enclosure the same full digging, new mulch treatment that I did last year, and never saw ANY evidence of these little guys.
My brother has wanted a baby box turtle forever. So he will be taking one. My son has already laid claim to the other one. Because, well... He wants to keep it.
UPDATE: I just went to check on them again. There are 3 now.
2020-09-23 - Day 192
It seems I was right
Alert - today's post will be a political one.
I said a couple of days ago that this would happen. And now The Orange One has actually said it out loud. He wants to make sure that a new conservative judge is confirmed on the court, because he expects to dispute the election.
Look... Here are the facts of the matter. The SCOTUS us supposed to remain fair and unbiased. And here we have the f'n president telling us that he is intentionally stacking the court in his favor. How this is even legal, I do not know. Maybe it's not. But who is going to do anything about it? Clearly this administration is above the law and completely without restraint. And it really kills me how much of this country thinks that is just fine.
Our founding fathers set up a whole lot of rules that were supposed to keep things fair and balanced. The GOP has been taking advantage of every opportunity to circumvent those rules and then say things like, "We are legally allowed."
Just because something is legal doesn't make it right. And speaking of things that aren't right... Back in 2016 Obama nominated Merrick Garland to the SCOTUS. The GOP led Senate was told repeatedly that they had a Constitutional obligation to follow through on that nomination. It was unconstitutional to leave the court with a vacant seat. But they let it sit for 10 months and then nominated their own conservative judge. They STOLE that seat to stack the court. They broke the law to do it. And no one has ever been held accountable for that.
Look - I don't' give a shit if you believe this or agree with it, or what you actually think about it. The fact is that was McConnell and the Senate did was against the law... AND it was wrong.
Now we are faced with a situation where there is a vacant seat. And even though, it's only a few weeks before the election, they are insisting that it's their obligation to seat a new judge. Which, by their own argument can't be done. Again... This is just wrong. Especially since they intend to purposely stack the court with another Conservative judge. They are also doing this against the wishes of the majority of the American people. Even the Republicans are saying it's wrong. They are doing this against the dying wish of the woman who left the seat vacant.
It's just wrong... Wrong all over the place. It makes them outrageous hypocrites. And the really shitty thing is that if this goes really sideways, we could see this stacked court side with Trump as he fraudulently steals the election. And if that happens, our democracy will have finally ended. There will be nothing to salvage at that point.
It make me absolutely sick and angry as hell that so much of this country supports this pile of bullshit. I am SO goddamn sick of seeing these evil bastards keep winning and keep doing victory dances. And right now they are doing it on RBG's grave. They started the motions before her body was even cold. It's just f'd up.
We need to VOTE. We need to vote in HUGE numbers so that there can be NO CHANCE of a challenge. This entire country is at stake. And if you don't believe that, YOU are part of the problem.
2020-09-22 - Day 191
No title comes to mind
Perhaps it's just too early in the day to have anything to say. I've gotten lot done today. And perhaps it's because I've been working that I haven't put much thought into anything else. So what should I talk about this morning?
Would you like to hear about how I had to figure out a different way to import data from SQL Server Management Studio into Excel, because someone didn't refresh the SSL certificate, and I can't refresh the data as normal, so I had to run it the hard way, export it to a CSV then import into Excel, and transforming the data on the way in so it maintains the proper values?
I didn't think so. But that's what my morning mostly consisted of so far. For what it's worth, the newest version of Excel is WAY better at that sort of thing than it used to be. It actually works now.
Anyway... Get outside and enjoy the weather. It isn't going to last much longer. Because, you know...
It's going to happen. Pumpkin spice is soon to be replaced.
2020-09-21 - Day 190
What did we learn today?
Well, yesterday, really... I learned two things. First, more people read my blog than I was previously aware. Thank you for that, by the way. Second, I need to be aware of posting information, where I'm purposely leaving out details. I did this yesterday because I was in a rush, and didn't feel like trying to explain that we were delivering a cat to upstate NY. Because I left out the details of why I was going, both my wife and I received messages asking if our daughter was okay. For the record, yes, she is okay.
This was a mistake, obviously... This is on me. In this day and age of #COVID-19, and certainly as it applies to college students, there can be no ambiguity when discussing unplanned visits. Because that ambiguity may be interpreted as "uh oh, what is the matter?!"
So I will be more careful about that going forward.
In other news, the Eagles game was a huge disappointment yesterday. Unless you are a Rams fan, then it was great! But on the other hand, the Cowboys game was truly entertaining. They were losing all game long. Never took the lead. Somehow in the 4th quarter they rallied to be withing 2 points. Then they successfully pulled of an onside kick. That is something that almost never works. But it did. Then they kicked a field goal and stole the game. I could hear the cries of horror from the Falcon's sideline. It was brutal. But for us spectators, that was truly entertaining.
2020-09-20 - Day 189
Road trip! (cancelled)
UPDATE: Trip is a no go. The original intention was to bring one of the cats up to our daughter. She (the cat) has been very upset since her human went off to school. And it has been worse since the kittens joined the house. So we were going to give her a new home with her human. As it turns out, getting her in to a cage just wasn't going to happen.
Have you ever tried stuffing an octopus into a cat carrier? How about one with claws and teeth? So it looks like that's not gonna happen.
So now we don't know what to do with ourselves today...
Taking a ride to upstate NY today. I will explain later, as I will update this post when I get back. I will be driving for some 10 hours total today.
This has the upshot of keeping me away from news outlets and the internet in general, which is a good thing. Because the news makes me angry nowadays.
Never before in my life have I ever woken up every day to see the country SO divided. And a little less than half the country is hell bent on keeping it that way, no matter what it costs everyone else. In fact they are actively trying to MAKE it that way. Which is why the news makes me so angry.
You people that are seeing enemies everywhere you look, and are terrified of them all day, every day... You really need to take a closer look at the people that are perpetuating that nonsense. You are being fed lies to keep you terrified.
2020-09-19 - Day 188
Saturday! October in September
RIP Ruth Bader Ginsberg. That is sad for 2 very important reasons. First, she was a great person who accomplished a lot in her 87 years. It is sad that she passed. She was an ally. One of the good ones. An equal rights and gender equality advocate, she was the perfect person to have served on the Supreme Court for the past 27 years. Which leads to my second point. And it's not a good one.
This is an opportunity for the GOP run Senate to complete ignore her wishes that her position not be filled until after the election. We already know what's going to come next. They are going to ram through another conservative judge ala Judge Kegstand, and this will set the SCOTUS on a conservative majority that will effectively make the courts useless. This will in turn make it so that the criminal currently running the country will pretty much be able to get away with anything, no matter how unconstitutional.
The court was the only thing left that wasn't controlled by the GOP. This now gives them the ability to change that. And that spells real trouble for this country. Because when the white supremacist, mysogonist, criminal asshole running the country wants to claim fraud in the election, and throw out all votes that are not for him, the courts will back him. And he will win the fucking election!!!
We were all hoping that RBG would last beyond election day if only to avoid this disaster. And that hope may well have died with her. We are in REAL trouble now.
I don't like being wrong. But I hope to hell I am wrong about this one!!
Please, for the love of all that is great and small, may I be wrong about this one.
2020-09-18 - Day 187
One more thing about hockey
I watched that last game with the Islanders and Tampa Bay... Those dudes played six games. The last 3 of which were tied 1 to 1 for most of the game, and then went into overtime.
That is a long time to play to simply determine who can get the luckiest shot off. Because seriously, both of those teams are so equally matched that it was like watching dudes skate around for 4 hours and occasionally get into a fight. The point being, neither of the teams deserved to win. Neither team is better than the other. One just got one more lucky shot.
I was at a Sixers game a couple of years ago where it was the exact same thing. It went to 2 seconds left at the end of game 7. And the game was decided by a single shot at the buzzer. They played 7 full games to have it all decided with one shot because they ran out of time.
It the teams are really THAT equal, then we need to come up with a better way to decide who is really the better team.
Eh... I still like watching. So this is a minor gripe. More like an observation.
2020-09-17 - Day 186
More about sports
I seem to be saying a lot about sports lately. There was a long dry spell for a few months there. So I'm glad it's all back, even if it is a little weird.
Tonight is both hockey and football!! I guess which I watch will depend on which one is better, or which one sucks less.
Jeopardy! is also back. I forgot to mention that the other day. They have a new set, complete with social distancing goodness. Other than sports it's really the only thing on TV I like watching. And I have been watching since Trebek starting hosting some 430 years ago. Back in the days when you could pick up Channel 7 on the FM radio, I listened to it while I was driving. See, back in those days I was driving, delivering tropical fish. So I was driving a lot!
2020-09-16 - Day 185
Day 185? Really?
I probably should just give up on being surprised that this is still going on. I seriously never intended to have a blog that lasted this long. But, since the pandemic is still on, so is this blog.
I hope you all have been entertained to some degree. I've stuck to my words that I said at the beginning. I've posted every day. Some days have been happy. Some days have been angry rants about the pathetic stupidity of our government that allowed a reality TV show host and con man, to totally run this country into the ground, and blame everyone else in the meantime.
I cannot wait until the day comes when I can wake up in the morning and not have to think about what stupid shit the President did over the past day or so. That has been every day for almost 4 years.
Just think about that for a second... This country has NEVER been so polarized. We have never had an incompetent whackjob in the driver's seat. Still upset about this pandemic, being unemployed, losing your house, not being able to attend sporting events and concerts, and all the rest? Trump has now admitted in his own words, on tape, that he downplayed it. There can be no doubt at all, whatsoever, that this is his fault. And our only recourse is to vote him and everyone that supports him out.
Do whatever you have to, but get out and vote!
There are 47 days, 18 hours, 46 minutes, and 8 seconds left until #Election2020 Day
2020-09-15 - Day 184
Hockey is still on
Just finished watching the Islanders game. Looks like there will be a game 6. It was tied from the first period at 1 to 1. No one scored again for 2 more periods of regulation. Then no one scored in overtime. The Islanders finally scored in second overtime. Sheesh.
The only reason I'm rooting for the Islanders in this series is because they beat the Flyers and took them out of the series. So much like some old SciFi story, they now absorb the fans of the Flyers going forward. That's my view on it.
And just think, right after the Stanley Cup finals, the hockey season will be ready to kick off again!! Haha!!
2020-09-14 - Day 183
Today is our 24th wedding anniversary! Happy anniversary to my lovely wife!
Short entry today. That is all.
2020-09-13 - Day 182
Well, okay, the Eagles lost in spectacular fashion. But I still enjoyed watching. I am now watching the Saints/Buccaneers. The funniest part of this game is that the two QBs are almost my age! They are both in their 40's!
Speaking of the Eagles game... The played against the Washington Re...Football Team, Est 1932.
Look, I'm as liberal as they come, and even I think it has gone entirely too far that they forced Washington to drop their name. What makes it even sillier is that they knew for years that people had a problem with the name. They were well aware they were going to have to do something about it. Still, they waited until push came to shove. And since they didn't do an ounce of work to find a new name, they just went with, "Fine. We won't have a name then."
Which is just SO childish. What are you, 5? And the NFL let them do it. They are literally telling everyone to shove it up their asses, and the NFL is letting them.
Pfft... Whatever. Let them act like children. Not the team. This is all about the management. Bunch of children.
Oh - one more thing. My son and his girlfriend refurbished a huge cat condo. They love it. Here is Zeus being evil.
I need to get a higher resolution version of that. It's hysterical.
2020-09-12 - Day 181
It is officially fall
There are 3 reasons that I know this.
That last point is a big one. Because I haven't worn a shirt with sleeves since June or something. But I woke up this morning to a distinct crisp chill in the air.
It is at this point that I will stop talking about the weather out here on the east coast to acknowledge that the west coast is currently in the middle of the worst wildfires that this country, or any country, has ever seen. Entire towns have not just burned down, but been completely incinerated.
This is a departure from what I normally write in this blog. And I did not plan it. It is coming to me as I type it.
If you have the means to help, please use this handy Google search to find a charity for which to donate. It's not like you are going to become a firefighter and go to the west coast. But there are things you can do to help.
Now back to my regularly schedule blog post, already in progress...
...Because the summer is over, I will be spending today tearing down the gardens and trimming the bushes to get the property ready for winter. I will also change the flag out front to something more autumn appropriate.
2020-09-11 - Day 180
Today is 9/11
19 years. I don't think I need to remind everyone what happened on that day. And I'm not going to drop another one of those "Never forget!" messages, because of course, if you were alive that day, there is no way you're going to forget it.
But I will point out 2 things that are extremely important that we ALSO should not forget.
If don't care which side of the aisle you stand on. If you are not outraged by this, or if you are blaming fictitious groups like Antifa for all our problems, you really need to pay better attention to this world.
2020-09-10 - Day 179
Or as it is known elsewhere in the world, American Rules Football!
At the moment that I'm typing this, we are about 20 minutes from kickoff. And this will be the single strangest NFL game we have ever seen. I will post my thoughts on it tomorrow. I just thought I would mention it now because, I am very excited to watch the game.
I don't care what anyone says, I love football. And since I don't have a Fantasy team or any other pool this year, I can actually enjoy watching the games without the pressure of giving a crap who wins.
Which is a much better way to enjoy the show. And tonight's game will be cool because it's the Chiefs. And they won the Superb Owl last year!!
2020-09-09 - Day 178
It`s Wednesday, right?
It is. I had a dentist appointment today. That's always a good way to remember. So, work in the morning, go to the dentist, deal with that, get caught in traffic on the way home. Now I'm back at work waiting for a 4:00 meeting to start, and typing this blog entry while I wait.
I had to drive out to where my office is for my appointment. I moved my dentist out there back in January. Because it didn't make sense to drive all the way home to go to the dentist. I figured I'd move my dentist out to where my office is. It was a brilliant plan until a pandemic made it so that I am now working from home, and now I have to drive a 1/2 hour to go to the dentist. Brilliant!
After all, though, there is an upside. I like this dentist WAY better than my old one. Like, a whole heap better. I would drive an hour to see them over the last one. So even though i am poking fun at how it ended up like this, I'm so happy with their service, that I am not at all complaining.
2020-09-08 - Day 177
Back to work
Ah the joys of getting back to work after a long weekend. Always especially fun when it's also the first day of knowing that things get really busy once the summer officially ends. The time of everyone being off for weeks at a time is over. So everyone is revving up their engines.
This sort of thing is always more evident when I'm in the office. It wasn't so evident here in my home office. All I saw was a good bit more email than usual.
Whatever... It's just as well. Because I was super busy anyway. Since most of you don't know or care what I do, I'll just sum today up with a pretty simple explanation. Big Excel files. Lots of data. Big project that needs to be ready for demo tomorrow. It's ready. But, man, it's been a lot of doing.
In completely unrelated news, one of my neighbors is going hardcore with a leaf blower right now. Which is odd for 2 reasons: 1, It's a bit early in the year for that. And 2, it's pitch black dark outside.
I can't even tell who it is. Because as I said, it's pitch black dark outside.
2020-09-07 - Day 176
Happy Labor Day
Today is Monday-Sunday, Labor Day. It was a good day. We went for a walk around Washington Crossing. Nature was out in full force. They've got to get it in before the weather changes too...
I dragged a huge tree limb from across the street and sawed it up for firewood. I'm that guy who doesn't see the need to pay for firewood. There is wood all over the place. I'd rather do the work any. I could use the exercise.
Tomorrow it's back to work. Which means I will be spinning my office chair around at 8:00AM. That's the single shortest commute I've ever had. It's even shorter than my old commute, which was to go downstairs to the dining room.
2020-09-06 - Day 175
But in all reality the summer as a "break", hasn't meant much to me since I left high school. I don't get a break for the summer. The only thing that changes for us working people is that the weather changes. And since Labor Day doesn't mean that the weather automatically changes, I've still got some time to worry about that.
On another note altogether, I was out recording today. This has been an interesting project. The music is all written for the most part. So much of what I'm doing is learning the parts and playing them as a guitarist would. And the solos. Which in itself is a challenge. I've always considered myself more of a rhythm player than a soloist. So this has been an opportunity for me to do some different stuff. I finished the solo for one song, and did the rhythms for another. When it came time to work on the solo for that song, I was intending to just improv a couple of things so there was something there as a guide to use for later. But it actually sounded good enough that we just said, "Yeah, that's a keeper right there."
At some point this music will be released. But we are still a ways off from that. There are other musicians that need to record their parts, and mixing to be done. And all of this is being done by one dude.
Anyway... More information on this will come along as more becomes available.
2020-09-05 - Day 174
Labor Day weekend
Here we are at the official end of summer. You know what that means. Back to school! Or, in 2020, back to your laptops and iPads for Zoom meetings!
All I can say is, I hope all goes well. It sucks. It all sucks. 174 days and about 187,000 dead. The entire summer gone. We are only now just allowing eating inside restaurants in NJ. Who knows how well that will go.
You know, at this point, I can't even just blame the orange one who shall not be named, because he needs no more mentions... Our entire government has failed us. Because we all know that our government is set up with checks and balances to prevent one person from totally screwing things up. But those checks and balances only work when the people in control actually make USE of those systems. This government has had more than just a few opportunities to fix this mess. And they have done exactly nothing. People are starving and can't pay for housing. But the government won't provide relief because that would discourage you lazy people from finding new work.
This situation is not going to change as long as this administration is still in power. And since the rest of our completely useless government is content to just let that be the case, all we can do is wait until after the election. Hopefully it won't be a ridiculous disaster like last time. But we are powerless to do anything but wait.
Have fun with this. You really have no other choice.
If you are one of the 40someodd% of people that are planning on voting for this administration again, I really just have NO idea what you are thinking. Because you are voting for more of this horror. It's like setting your own face on fire to show everyone how dedicated you are.
2020-09-04 - Day 173
So let me get this straight... A few weeks ago, it was very well known, and very clear that there was no chance of any sort of vaccine anywhere in the world for at least another year. And now, like a miracle, we are going to have one by November first. An amazing coincidence that it happens to be right before election day, even though the current administration swears it's not politically motivated.
Could it be more obvious that the current administration is simply strong-arming the CDC to simply SAY that there is vaccine coming? It's not true. It couldn't be. But that doesn't matter. The people that want it to be true will believe it to be true.
And when we watch the news now, the president will no longer even entertain that there is anything to be done in controlling this virus. Because he is providing a cure. And that should be the end of it.
I would shake my head in disbelief, but my capacity for no longer believing things has run dry.
2020-09-03 - Day 172
I'm sitting here watching the Flyers game, and it occurs to me... We went to a Flyers game a few months ago. It seems like that was forever ago. And here's the thing. That game was THIS season!
That is just ridiculous.
UPDATE: They won in double overtime! Holy crap!
2020-09-02 - Day 171
Election 2020, the Android App
Over the course of the past 171 days, I must have made mention of the Android App that counts down to election day, right? Well, if I hadn't, I have now.
And here is the story I spoke of yesterday... About a week ago, I made an update to the app, and while I was at it, I made an update to the description that shows up in the Play Store. I included a line about how important it is to find alternative ways to vote (mail in, absentee ballots, or voting early) because the existence of #COVID-19 is making it difficult for some people to vote in person as normal.
What didn't occur to me was that Google is extremely sensitive to people making ANY sort of mention to the pandemic. Evidently a lot of developers had tried to capitalize on it in order to drive traffic. People making false claims, or offering bad information, things like that. So in order to protect everyone on Earth from the horrors of bad information, they will suspend any app that even mentions the name of the virus. That means that even if you aren't making any claims of any kind, and just say the word, your app is suspended.
This is not something to be taken lightly. If you get 2 or 3 apps suspended, they will ban your developer account for life!! That may seem like a really harsh penalty. And that's because it's a REALLY harsh penalty. But if you want to play, you've got to play by their rules. So as a developer, you have to be really REALLY careful to not do things that get your app suspended.
What really annoys me about this is that if they are trying to be that careful with people making references to the virus in app descriptions, then why don't they flag it and WARN the developer at the time the edit is being made? It's not like it's difficult to do that. Instead, they let it through, and at the time of manual review they catch the phrase, don't bother to check for context, and just suspend the app. And here it is 6 days later, and I only just now got word that my appeal was successful and the app has been reinstated.
Yeah, I get it. I broke the rules because I didn't know the rules. That's my fault. I take responsibility. But Google could have saved a shitload of time and hassle for me and their approval team, if they had just warned me when I made the change rather than suspending the app.
This is actually typical of Google. If you've ever worked with their Developer Tools, you will find all sorts of crazy automated processes that shoot first and ask questions later. They do this because they are just too big. There aren't enough people in the world to monitor and moderate ALL the stuff that comes through theirs systems. So they have processes to do it automatically. Like dragging a huge fishing net across the internet. If you get caught in the net, it could take anywhere from 1 day to 30 days to never to get your issue resolved.
Like I said before... If you want to play, you have to play by their rules. Because there is NO alternative.
2020-09-01 - Day 170
Yay! It's a new month. And the only really good thing I can say about it is that we are one day closer to election day. Speaking of election day, I have a story to tell. I just don't feel like telling it right this very second, because I am still a little miffed about it. That will be in tomorrow's update.
For today... Had to take my daughter's car out to visit her uncle because the brakes need to be done. It happens. It is a 2011 after all. And I can't remember the last time I got the brakes done. So clearly it was WAY due. Hopefully that will go smoothly.
2020-08-31 - Day 169
Ah, Monday... Here again
It is also September eve. And you know what that means... Pumpkin spice everything. Which if you're like me, is great. I love it. If you are not like me then, well, sorry about that.
Today's biggest accomplishment seems to be that I got my video working on MS Teams? Why is that important? Well, for all of you that don't work in an office usually, us people that work in offices usually, really only see our co-workers anymore via video conference. In my case, MS Teams.
It is somewhat ironic that I am the resident tech guru in my group, and I'm the only one that's having trouble with video. Mind you, I know what the problem is, compared to everyone else. In short, my internet connection is too slow to deal with all the overhead that MS Teams already has. So the camera just gives up. For what it's worth, if you use MS teams, and are having the same problem, use the web based version rather than the client. Less overhead. It actually works WAY better.
Being the resident tech guru, I can tell you that that is really odd. In most cases, you want to use the client because it removes the overhead of having to use a browser. How is it that the client itself has MORE overhead than the browser? That's anyone's guess... Well, anyone who doesn't work for Microsoft coding MS Teams. I'm sure they know.
Anyway, this story serves as my technology tip for the day. You're welcome.
2020-08-30 - Day 168
Sunday, the Sunday of weekends
Even in these times of not being able to go into the office I find myself on Sunday thinking, "Well... Back to work tomorrow." I'm still having a hard time believing that this is the routine that we are in. This has actually become so normal now that I'm tired of hearing people call it "the new normal". This isn't new any more. This is old, like furry green bread old. Like an apple turning brown and looking like a shrunken head, old.
This is now just "normal". And get used to it. Get used to the masks. Get used to takeout or eating outside. Get used to sporting events with no fans. Because it's not going to change until after the election. And if shit goes sideways, and the Orange Buffoon remains in office, this will literally continue along until everyone dies or becomes immune. And that will likely take years.
2020-08-29 - Day 167
RIP Black Panther
I was walking out of 7-11 with my coffee this morning and see the headline that Chadwick Boseman, the actor who had played real-life and historical figures such as Jackie Robinson, Thurgood Marshall, and James Brown, not to mention the much beloved and critically acclaimed Black Panther, has died.
He was 43 years old and died from colon cancer. Something that he somehow managed to keep completely secret. He was going through therapies and surgeries while filming Black Panther!!
This really does make me angry at the universe. Because it proves that there is no level of fairness or justice at all. Here we have a guy who is loved and respected pretty much universally, for all the good he had brought to this world. Even if you're not a fan of his films, the characters that he chose to portray were ALSO much beloved and respected, and great people that brought good to this world. By all accounts, he was considered a really good dude in his personal life too.
There is no way someone like this deserves to be dead for no reason at all.
Not when there are truly evil, horrible people, causing real harm, and real damage, and real death to this world. And they are living just fine into their 70's, and nothing is keeping them in check. They are going to just keep going, inflicting pain on this world, while good people die. It's not fair. I know I'm talking into the breeze here. But it's not f'n fair.
WTF, universe?!? Seriously, WTF?
2020-08-28 - Day 166
This is truly laughable in so many ways. Somehow, the Biden campaign managed to snatch up the domain for KeepAmericaGreat.com. And, oh yes, I am posting about it. And yes. I would like you to actually look at the link. I would like you to read the page. Understand that everything written there is 100% factual, and not skewed by any sort of bias. It is telling you the fact-checked reality of this situation.
2020-08-27 - Day 165
Cat and mouse
Last night, I was standing out on the front porch... Precious (the cat) runs up onto the porch and wants to get in the house. My son was walking out at the same time. I was like, "Wait! Don't open the door!! She's got a mouse!"
A few minutes later, she dropped the mouse. It was still alive! So we held on to the cat until the mouse leaped off the porch to safety. Of course Precious immediately bolted after it.
A few minutes after that, the mouse climbed back up on to the porch and ran right in front of us. That was funny on its own. But the next thing was even more funny. It run UP the bricks on the front part of the house. It ran full speed right up the window and all the way to the roof of the porch. I've never actually seen a mouse do that before. That was hysterical. Then I turn around to see Precious on the top of the bush, still looking for the mouse. Never seen her do that before. That was also hysterical!
For the next 15 minutes or so Precious was searching all over the porch area. I had to laugh as I quoted the line from Avatar, "Her entire life, she has never thought to look up. Why would she?" So she never figured out that the mouse was above my head on the wall.
2020-08-26 - Day 164
Mild political rant
Let us break down how the TV adverts are going... And look, I've made no bones about my unwavering contempt for the buffoon that is currently running this country. But the difference in how these campaigns are being run is clear and present regardless of my bias against the Orange Menace. I can actually break down, in an unbiased way, the difference between the Presidential campaigns.
And if you need validation of any of this, just turn on your TV for 10 minutes. You will see both of these ads in some form.
Trump: "Biden will raise your taxes by 40 trillion dollars, fire all the police, and force us into socialism. Your children will be shot dead in the streets. The economy will go completely to shit, and the stock market will drop 25% He is a liar, corrupt, slow, tired, and unfit."
Biden: "We need to unify this country. There is hope for a better time. I will be President for everyone, not just those that vote for us. Here is my plan for how to get a handle on the pandemic, and how we can get this economy back on track. I will take responsibility for what happens, and not blame others. We need actual leadership. We currently have none."
I am not in any way exaggerating any of that.
The bottom line is, you have one campaign that is running on "let's get shit done." And the other is just trying as hard as they can to trash the other candidate. One campaign has plans, and intends to put them in action. The other campaign literally has no platform other than unwavering support for a cult figure.
I know it is an uphill battle trying to convince supporters of "he who will not be named because he doesn't need more mentions", but please, people. Open your eyes. Pay closer attention than the nonsense you are being fed by right-biased "news" sources. I am not suggesting left-bias either. There are plenty of neutral sources.
What I'm saying is that one candidate clearly a better message. He ain't perfect. But he is running a clean campaign. And any functional adult is FAR better than the monster we've got right now.
2020-08-25 - Day 163
Glad to be back at work
There is still no explanation for why the internet was out for a full day. But it happened. About the only thing that can be said is that I got an extra day off for it. And because it wasn't my fault, I didn't have to take a day from the system. It counted as a snow day. This, by the way, is one of the greatest perks of all when working for a very large company. They trust you with your time management. They know you aren't going to take advantage and screw them. They know that you will make up the time when things like this happen. It's called, "being professional."
And as such, I will be ramping up my efforts over the next few days to make up for that lost time on Monday.
2020-08-24 - Day 162
Work, but then not so much
I got back to work this morning, because vacation was over. But it turns out, I am not able to work after all. Last night the internet went out. This happens from time to time, so I wasn't concerned.
But this morning, it was still out. It's 3:45pm as I am typing this and it's STILL out. I am using the hotspot on my phone for my internet connection right now. I tried using it to do my regular work. That just didn't work at all! So even though I intended to go back to work today, there is no way for me to go back to work because I have no internet.
What's really strange that Verizon is not saying anything about why the internet connection has been down for some 20 hours now.
What an outage map might look like
This isn't just some minor little issue either. This is all over the place. And certainly REALLY bad in the Northeast, where I live.
I really do wonder if we will ever find out what's going on, or if Verizon will just never speak of it.
2020-08-23 - Day 161
Last day of vacation
And this time it really WAS a vacation. We actually went somewhere! Today has been spent shopping and getting some things done around the house. I was going to cut the grass, but it started raining, and that was that.
Got to watch the Sixers game. The final in the series. And they are out of the playoffs. Eh, that's the way it goes. But in all seriousness, I'm not really a huge fan, other than my association with all Philly teams. If I had to choose who "my team is", it would be them, because Philly... The actual fact is that I'm a sports fan no matter who is playing. I just like watching a good game. Point being, I can't get all worked up about the Sixers losing. It was just fun to watch them play. Right now I'm watching The Mavericks. Because that's what's on.
A word on the way that sports are being played right now. A few months ago, I suggested that since they can't have fans in the arenas, they should put a video device in the seat and sell tickets to people who can then stream the game from that seat, and their face will appear on the device in the seat in the stands. So all the fans can go to the game from their couch at home.
And they are doing precisely what I was thinking! Only larger screens. I suppose in terms of cool ideas, it was low hanging fruit. It was clearly an idea that someone was bound to implement pretty much as soon as they could. So it's not like anyone owes me for that idea. I just find it amusing as hell.
2020-08-22 - Day 160
We had a couple of days in upstate NY. Now it's time to drive home. And we did. The drive was fine and uneventful. The cats were happy to see us.
About the only other thing I can say is that we really like going up there. So it was great to take a road trip. Well that, and it's kinda weird, the daughter not being around.
You see... We had finally gotten used to the kids being out of the house, and at school. Then 160 days ago, we all got locked in. We got really used to having all of us here...
So now that she's back out of the house again, there is a very strange emptiness that I didn't expect to feel. And in fact, I said as much on the way home yesterday. Because I started to feel it less than 20 minutes into the ride home.
2020-08-21 - Day 159
In case you didn't know, the Wisconsin ice sheet receded from North America some 75,000 years ago. And thank goodness it happened back then. Because if had happened last Wednesday, we wouldn't be nearly so pleased. The other upshot of this, is that the ice left behind these gigantic lakes. What's another word for like, 'really, really, big'? Whatever...
If you've never actually stood on the shore of one of the great lakes, I encourage you to do so. It really is amazing. It's looks like you're looking out over the ocean.
I've flown over the Great Lakes before, and that's always cool. But I'd never actually gone to stand on the shore. The opportunity just never presented itself. Until today. We drove north until we saw water. It only took about 45 minutes.
When I finally found an actual beach I got out and said, "Well, I didn't know exactly what I was looking for. But THIS is what I was looking for." It really is like being at the ocean, except there are no seagulls, it's not that windy, there's no sand, no salt, no sharks, no jellyfish, no horseflies, and it doesn't smell like 30 million things just died nearby. It's like being at the shore but only the good parts.
That picture there is the southern side of Lake Ontario in Oswego, NY. It's just west of the SUNY campus. I never knew that there was a college with dorms overlooking the lake. That was cool.
That's the story for the day... On our way home tomorrow.
2020-08-20 - Day 158
Road trip day!
Today has been a LONG day. It feels strange to say that this is day 158 of the shut in. Because I am not shut in. I'm in a hotel in upstate NY.
The day started bright and early. Had the car loaded to the hilt and on the road at 9:00am. Which is actually pretty good time-wise. We made it here about 2:00pm. Then daughter and I went to do the move in.
It took longer to sit on line for the check in than to do the actual move. She had to be tested for COVID-19 again, of course. Then we finished moving her in. Then went to WalMart to grab some necessities.
Here it is 10:00pm... I'm finally sitting in bed and typing this. And that's all I have to say for now. I'm f'n tired. Did I mention it was a LONG day?
2020-08-19 - Day 157
Tomorrow is road trip day
As of right now, no news about my daughter's school closing. So, we are on our way. More to follow tomorrow.
2020-08-18 - Day 156
The nerd is strong with this one
One of the things I like to do, simply because it interests me to do so, is coding. You know, like writing programs and stuff. It should not surprise you to learn this if you didn't know it already. If you've read anything in the blog you've read about various projects. Today I would like to tell a story related to that...
And I thought, well, actually, why haven't I built one of those? That would look pretty cool, and it wouldn't take long to build it at all. Like, an hour or so. So I did. Now there is a digital clock available for use. And as a bonus the dude that asked about it, can download the code and learn something from it.
The point of this story...
I've been doing this stuff since long before it was cool. I started when I was like 15 or something. I'd always been fascinated with computers and how to build software. And I immediately started learning how to do it. And this story is one of the reasons I've always been glad to have learned that. Because today, I can solve spiffy little problems like that. And it just feels cool to do that. It's so very nerdy.
Anyway, I thought you'd like to know that.
2020-08-17 - Day 155
We have kittens that are younger than this pandemic. That just occurred to me actually.
Every other civilized country in the world has got this thing under control. We can't even say that we are on the down slope. Much of the country is still finding new cases.
This whole thing is like the perfect storm of stupidity. There are 3 clear things that have been wrong from the beginning:
What the hell is it going to take for people to realize what needs to be done to fix this? That's a rhetorical question. Because everyone knows the answer already. We are just not planning on actually doing that.
In the end, there are enough people out there that are following president numbnuts' lead that no amount of effort by the rest of us is going to make any difference. Those people are just waiting until everyone who is weak dies off. Then we can get back to bars, restaurants, sports, haircuts, concerts, and school. And in their view, all the precautions are doing is delaying that outcome. If it were up to them, we would drop the precautions right now, and get it over with.
Since I'm taking a short vacation over the next few days, I promise that my posts will be more light-hearted again.
2020-08-16 - Day 154
There isn't a whole lot happening today. The only thing to report is that we are expecting to take our daughter back up to school in a few days. And our fingers are crossed that that is actually going to happen. Most of her friends, and her brother, have already been told to stay home. All college is remote now. So far her school has not said that. And we are hoping it stays this way.
We support her decision to go back to school. Mostly because her school is in the middle of nowhere. That and they really have taken to extreme measures to assure all student's safety.
What you anonymous people out on the internets don't know is how important this is to her. She already got screwed out of the end of her freshman year. And she really wants to get back there. And we are going to feel terrible if she is not able to.
Yeah, yeah, I know that many people have got much bigger problems. Shut up. It doesn't mean we aren't allowed to be concerned.
2020-08-15 - Day 153
Cat fixing day
Today was the day to take the kittens down to the vet to get neutered. Long story short, they are home now and doing just fine. They don't hate our guts for the horror they had to go through this morning. Other than being a little uncomfortable, they are both acting pretty normal.
In unrelated news, except that it is medical in nature... Our daughter needed to take a COVID-19 test in order to be able to move back up to school. So she had the school send her a test. We did that test. Plus she went to the local urgent care, and got a test done there too. She got the results back today. Both tests are negative!
So it seems she is clear to go!
And as a bonus, since she spends all her time here, hanging out with us, I'm taking it that everyone in the house has tested negative! We're clear!
2020-08-14 - Day 152
Finally got the grass cut
And that was a long time coming. I'm glad it was only 90 degrees out... Better than it has been. But still, that was the worst cutting of the season. Many bags of grass.
On another note entirely... The President said out loud yesterday, that he refuses to fund the USPS because it will affect his chances in the election. The man is saying out loud that he intends to obstruct the fair election process. He claims that it's because of fraud. But that has been discussed, debunked, and put to bed a LONG time ago. And besides... This time he actually said the quiet part out loud. That he knows he cannot win in a fair election.
I do not care what side of the aisle you are standing... We cannot allow our election to get borked. If you support this action, then you are completely part of the problem. And you are also most seriously unAmerican.
We need to get out an vote!! The President is laying the groundwork for there to be legal challenges if there is any chance that this election is even close. We need to vote in such colossal numbers that no amount of fraud, gerrymandering, voter suppression, or other forms of cheating can allow this race to be close. It must be a landslide. And it must be for Biden. If you love this country and you are the patriot that you claim to be then stop supporting the monster currently occupying the big seat.
Many states are planning on allowing, or in NJ's case, mandating voting by mail. When you get your ballot, fill it in right away. Waste no time. And take it directly to the post office and hand it to them.
That is what I have to say about that.
2020-08-13 - Day 151
Looking for a cat?
If you've been following along for the past few weeks, you may recall that we got a couple of new kittens. Part of that story included the fact that I was redoing the website for the people that facilitated the adoption.
I am happy to announce that the site is finished and running.
Feel free to visit Lynn's Animal Rescue: https://lynnsanimalrescue.org/
The final step was to get their adoption application running live on the site, rather than a PDF, which is all they had before. That took some time. It's a lot of fields. But it's up and running, and they are actively taking new applications.
The cat in the picture there is Zeus. That is the photo we saw on Facebook that started this whole thing up! He and his brother, Apollo, are here and doing great!
2020-08-12 - Day 150
Finally got word about going back to the office
The word was that we would hear something by September 30th. Well, we got word today. And the word is, "Everyone who is working remotely will continue to do so until the beginning of next year. Then we will be formulating plans for bringing people back to the office early next year."
When I started up this blog, I thought I would be doing this for a few weeks, tops. This is now the second time that I am making a statement of disbelief that there is no end in sight. Curiously, my quick math tells me that the beginning of next year is about 150 days from today. So, as of right now, if that is correct, we are halfway through.
My optimism is not high that I won't have to make this statement a 3rd time in a few months.
2020-08-11 - Day 149
It is Tuesday
Which of course doesn't mean much. But I must have made that joke at least 20 times over the past 149 days. So I'll skip it. The good news is that we are almost through with this, the economy is improving, people are going back to work and school, and pretty soon things will be normal again.
The bad news is, that is completely the opposite of what is actually happening.
I think I will stop typing now before I go on another rant about how screwed up this whole thing is, and how President Sniveling Asshole could have prevented all of it, but completely failed. And I might also go as far as to point out that the government HAD the opportunity to remove this moron from power but determined that the extent of his lawbreaking wasn't enough to warrant that. So this is really on them.
But at least we will have a fair election in a few months. Oh, wait, no we won't. The President is actively undermining the election process, and purposely interfering with the mail service, which is really the only way most people have to vote.
The downside of being able to type at like 150 words a minute is that sometimes I'll just keep typing even though I said I wouldn't. Sorry about that.
2020-08-10 - Day 148
Grounds for Sculpture
We finally made it there. If you are not familiar with it, Grounds for Sculpture is quite literally what it sounds like. Grounds that are set aside to act almost like an outside museum of artwork. There is also really nice and impressive landscaping, cool trees, a couple of ponds, and just generally really cool looking stuff.
To my untrained eye, the sculptures appear to fall into 2 broad categories:
I will say though, that some of those piles of garbage are really impressive from an engineering standpoint. How does one take 700 feet of bridge cable and seamlessly coil it into a shape?
Also, when you see people anywhere in the park, you have to look for just a few seconds longer to see if they are real people. Because a whole lot of them are not.
This is actually true of the entire surrounding area. These sorts of sculptures have spilled out all for many blocks outside the actual park.
About the only downside to our outing was that it was like 95 degrees out, and that made for a pretty uncomfortable time.
In the end, it was worth it, though. Saw some really cool stuff!
2020-08-09 - Day 147
Sunday... Lazy Sunday
It wasn't that lazy, really. I got a lot done. I talked to my entire family on the phone. That's the first time I can say I've done that in a really, REALLY long time.
Tried to go check out Grounds for Sculpture. They were sold out. I wonder if it has something to do with not being able to do any manner of indoor activities.
Got tickets for tomorrow... Going then instead.
2020-08-08 - Day 146
The Bird in the Begonia, PII
A nice light-hearted post today... Do you remember way back on 7-16, Day 123, when I spoke of the bird who had made a nest in a hanging plant? She is still there. And so are her kids.
The other day, during the hurricane, I took down 2 of the plants because it was, you know, really windy. I wasn't sure what to do with the other one. Wasn't sure if mommy bird was still there.
At one point I was looking outside, and saw that the mommy bird was chattering about. I was wondering what it was all about. I thought maybe there was trouble. So I carefully pulled down the plant and looked inside. I was greeted with 3 tiny open mouths. Awwwe.....
Evidently the noise from mommy bird was to alert the kids that it was feeding time.
Just last night I was sitting on the front porch, and saw mommy bird deliver food to the kids like 3 times. She is apparently comfortable enough with me sitting right there.
Thought you'd all like that story.
2020-08-07 - Day 145
Speaking of Quora (as I did yesterday)... I find myself there answering questions a lot. Mostly because I like to write and there are usually some good questions that could benefit from a good answer. It occurs to me that I write a lot. Even with all the other stuff I do all the time, I still find time for that.
Today, I found myself writing up an explanation concerning the election. Read my full post on Quora.com. I don't feel like typing all that again... I am mentioning it here because I think it is a good read.
In other news: It's Friday! Joy! Looking forward to the weekend even though I have nothing planned. In fact, that is probably why I am looking forward to it.
2020-08-06 - Day 144
This is not so much a blog post today as it is a plug for a new project. A couple of days ago, I found myself answering a question to someone on the internet for how to run ads on your website without using an ad service like Google AdSense. This may not mean a lot to most of you reading this. You probably all hate ads anyway. But if you're interested in knowing a little more about how that sort of thing works, and how you can build your own version of an ad service, I wrote a tutorial to explain how to do it.
Now before you accuse me of making that tutorial for the purposes of blatant self-promotion, and another idea for how to get people to respond to ads that I have on my own sites, you should probably know that I made that tutorial for the purposes of blatant self-promotion, and another idea for how to get people to respond to ads that I have on my own sites.
At least I'm honest about it.
But at the same time... I do a LOT of stuff. I'm always thinking of new ideas. I generally like to discuss what I'm working on. And in many cases, I like to actually share how it was done too, in hopes that someone else could learn something from it. So it is somewhat altruistic too.
2020-08-05 - Day 143
Post hurricane day
Yesterday indeed sucked. But we made it through without any real serious damage. Despite my complaining, I am cognizant of how others have/had it FAR worse than us.
We lost power from noon until about 5AM. That's bad, sure. Others still don't have power. Others didn't have access to a generator. Others had trees fall on their houses or cars. Not to mention flooding issues.
Our total damage equals one grill tent (gazebo) that can't be salvaged. And that thing only had one season left in it anyway. As it was, I literally sewed it back together just to get one more season out of it. So that thing is going on the curb. The local scrap metal guys will be happy about that.
All the other stuff can be fixed and/or rebuilt.
So yeah, yesterday DID suck, even by 2020 standards. Which is saying something. But my heart goes out to those that are still having even worse troubles. My positive energy goes out to you.
2020-08-04 - Day 142
Holy crap! Hurricane Isaias.
It seems I may have underestimated this thing. For the longest time this morning, it was just raining a bit, and I thought that was it. But now (at 11:04AM) the wind is whipping, debris is flying, and the rain is super heavy!
Looking at that radar, it seems that the worst will be passing by fairly soon. All I can say is that I hope it does before there is any damage.
Well, gotta get back to work now. Stay safe everyone!!
UPDATE: It's 10:00PM now, and I finally have a decent enough internet connection to make a post. More on that in a minute...
Wow, what a messed up day. The storm indeed was REALLY bad here. Remember the gazebo I built a few weeks ago? It got tore up end flew into the neighbors yard. Had to retrieve it, and drag it back to our side. Tomorrow, when there is no hurricane, I'll assess the damage and hopefully rebuild it.
We lost power around noon time. In 16 years we've live here, the longest we ever lost power was Hurricane Sandy. That was for like 4 hours or something. This has already been 10 hours. And I do not know when power will be back.
So I called my brother and asked if he had a spare generator on hand. He did. So now it's in my driveway powering my refrigerator. There started to be a real concern that we would start melting stuff... So I took the extra measure to at least get that appliance running.
For internet, which I mentioned before... I usually take comfort when the power goes out because, I can always use my phone as a hotspot. And it's actually a really fast connection. Usually... Today, that was not an option because our cellular data was out too! I mean it worked. But at spotty 25% capacity or so. That seems to be fixed now because I'm sitting here typing on my laptop and it's working great! So at least we have internets again!
2020-08-03 - Day 141
Everything is awesome!
Cue the Lego Movie opening song.
Yeah, that should make you feel better. Sometimes it's better to just pretend everything is okay. Because angrily obsessing about how bad things really are isn't healthy.
At least the weather will be great this week. Great, if you like rain and wind. If that's the case, you are in luck! This thing doesn't appear to be another Hurricane Sandy. And thank goodness for that. That was messed up! That was one of the only times I can ever remember thinking, "Wow... This storm is actually scary has hell!"
In totally unrelated news, I've been watching The Umbrella Academy season 2, for the past few days. I've only got one episode left! If you're a fan of somewhat campy superhero shows, then this will be right up your alley. I loved the first season. I'm liking this second season just as much. I am a little worried that the last episode will end too abruptly to really finish the story so far. Still, I'm being optimistic. Tomorrow's blog entry will include my final review.
2020-08-02 - Day 140
Last day of vacation
Yeah, I've been on vacation since Wednesday. All that means is that I didn't turn on my work computer.
Today, the bulk of my day was spent recording. I had mentioned this before. Today I redid the solo for one song - because I actually arranged and planned something rather than improvising and hoping for the best. I also set down the rhythm tracks for one other song.
At some point this material will be heard. But that point won't be for a while. More will be spoken of this...
2020-08-01 - Day 139
Yep... So begins yet another month in the never ending pandemic. I have it on good authority that Dr. Fauci has come out with new recommendations. I'll save you the trouble of the additional reading. It's a joke about using giant hamster balls for COVID-19 protection. Because sometimes news satire is better than actual news.
There was a time that I kept my ownership of that website a mystery. For a few years that it's been up and running, I have remained anonymous. Mostly because it gave me the freedom to say some things without annoying my more conservative friends. But at this point, I think that my utter and complete disdain for our current president and everyone who works for him is pretty clear. So, yeah, if you found that site and wondered... Yeah. It's mine.
I've said it before, and I will continue to say it until it no longer needs to be said... Donald J Trump is responsible for this mess. Completely. Every opportunity he had to fix it was squandered. And he is still not doing anything that resembles actually fixing anything. Except maybe his golf swing.
He is a criminal, a liar, a racist, a xenophobe, a denier of science. He has 5 kids from 3 wives, all of which he cheated on. He has had to pay the women the keep them quiet. Once with campaign funds. That's illegal. As if anyone is going to do anything. He refuses to release his taxes. He refuses to confront Russia for paying bounties on our soldiers. He is using our tax dollars to play golf at his own resorts, something else that is against the law, and no one seems inclined to stop it. He is actively promoting a miracle cure for the pandemic, even though every medical professional in the universe has said that it is actually dangerous. Except for one doctor. But that doctor also thinks that harsh periods are caused by sex with demons.
If not for his constantly downplaying the severity of this pandemic, we could have beaten this thing MONTHS ago. But instead, here we are in f'n August, and STILL no end in sight! And STILL f'n Trump is saying that we are through the worst of it, and it's time to get back to normal. 154,261 dead. 4,579,351 cases. as of yesterday when that data refreshed.
Also, at least 30 million unemployed, and the economy shrank over 32% in the 2nd quarter. Which is the biggest hit the economy has taken since WWII. And it's getting worse.
So, yeah, there is no point in being shy about it anymore. This scumbag needs to be taken out of power NOW. We cannot wait until November. And make no mistake about this - if you still support him, you are part of the problem. Stop blaming everyone else. Stop making excuses for what this madman has done to this country. You are paying the price for it right along with the rest of us. And I find it just astonishing how many people are going to be red-in-the-face pissed off that I said that.
Sorry. Except that I'm not. I'm pretty angry myself.
2020-07-31 - Day 138
Last day of vacation
It feels silly saying I've been on vacation. But I have been. All it really means is that I'm not sitting at my work computer for most of the day. I've actually done a lot that didn't involve sitting in front of a computer at all. Which, I suppose, is the point.
On that note... I learned how to play Hallowed Be Thy Name (Iron Maiden) again. I say "again", because I learned it once like 35 years ago when I was just learning to play. I saw the video for it the other day, and it reminded me how much fun that song is to play. So I learned it again. I also learned that I wasn't playing it exactly right the first time around. I've learned a few things since then. And yes, it's still fun to play.
2020-07-30 - Day 137
I ate inside a restaurant
We don't go out to eat all that often as it is. Maybe once a week or so. But clearly these times are different. So we haven't sat in a restaurant since March. This shouldn't be a surprise to anyone who lives in NJ. Because none of us have.
We happened to be in New Hope, PA yesterday because we went for a drive, and that's where we ended up. When we walked up to the restaurant, we expected to be sat under and umbrella outside. So I was surprised when the chick at the podium asked "inside or outside?" I didn't even know that was an option. Must be a PA thing.
That was nice. If not a little weird. I asked for ketchup and they brought me packets. It was then that it occurred to me that there was nothing on the table. No salt and pepper, no sugar packets, no desert menu, etc... Evidently, everything has to be disposable.
I had the blackened fish tacos. It was great.
2020-07-29 - Day 136
Time is relative
It was Einstein that pointed that out. That is your science lesson for the day. You're welcome.
The point is, they say that time flies when you're having fun. And as every school child knows, time stands still when you are doing something you don't want to be doing.
So what does it say about Pandemic Time when that starts flying? Because I assure you, and most would agree, this pandemic thing has not been fun. There are a lot of words to describe it, but "fun" has only been on the list a few times. Whatever you want to call it, I've been noticing as this goes on that time is flying by!
I can't even tell you how many times it's happened lately where I look up from what I'm working on and go, "It's f'n 2:00 already?! What the actual hell?!"
I dunno. Perhaps time flies when you're busy too. And I really have been keeping super busy. If you're wondering why, it's because I really feel that if I stop working, I might read or watch more news. Which at this point is just pissing me off.
Today, for instance... I'm on vacation from my 9-5. I spent the morning working on the application form for the animal rescue site (see a few days ago). Then I cut the grass. I probably lost a few pounds doing that! Then I worked on some music. Now I'm typing this blog entry. And it occurs to me as I type this, that it's 3:35PM!!! How did it get to be this late already?! It's going to be dinner time soon!
2020-07-28 - Day 135
It's been a while since I said anything about the weather. Today it is on my mind because, WOW it is hot out there. And if you live in NJ, you know that when it's hot, it's not just a little uncomfortable. It is oppressive, hard to breath, stifling, relentless, and a few other adjectives that illustrate suffering in a non-stop, sun-baked inferno.
If you tried to fry an egg on the driveway, it would burst into flames. Either way, don't do that. It's not like you could eat it after that. It's a waste of a perfectly good egg.
Through my life, this heat filled part of the summer usually starts in late July and goes through August. This year it started in June. And it will likely go through September.
I don't know what that means other than our AC bill being more expensive. And all the plant life turning brown.
I know what you're thinking... "Stop complaining. It could be worse. There could be a worldwide pandemic to deal with too!" Oh. Wait. Damn.
2020-07-27 - Day 134
Week 19 begins
I was one my weekly conference video call with my work team today... "We still don't know when we're going back to the office. Likely not for a few more months."
I'm sharing this link again, Summary for any country, for those that missed it last time. It's a really quick glance at where things stand data-wise, without confusing charts. It's just a few numbers.
The most important one is the one that says "150,000 dead." Well, it might not say that right this second. It updates once a day. And it might still be at 148,000. Which means that some 2000 people a day are still dying.
We are the only country in the entire world that has this problem THIS bad still. We are no closer to the end. We have no plans other than to wait it out.
As a matter of point on this... The other day I was out and about and drove by a parking lot with a car show in it. There were some 300 people or so all hanging around, and not a single mask in sight.
What I find most callosally disturbing about this is that here in NJ, we have actually gotten things under control, simply because people had been behaving themselves. Do you want want a second wave? Because careless stupidity like a public gathering is how you get a second wave.
And, no, it is NOT your right to do this. Because your stupidity affects EVERYONE!!
2020-07-26 - Day 133
New site to show
Speaking of the new kittens... I think I mentioned before that I was going to help out the rescue. That is, the rescue from where we got the kittens. Their website needed some work.
It seemed pretty clear to me that updates had not been made for a while, and it was likely because no one knew how, and hiring a developer is expensive.
So I offered to take the project over on a courtesy basis. A donation as it were. I moved the site to my server, and made good use of one of my favorite templates. I spent the past week or so making a new version of their site. All the content was there. I just needed to put it into a new format. Anyway, the site went live last night.
I still have a lot of work to do on it. But I decided to put it live anyway because it was done enough. Whatever else needs to be done can be done directly in production.
"I don't always test my code. But when I do, I do it in production."
- Abraham Lincoln
2020-07-25 - Day 132
Today is day 7 of new kittens in the house. Things are going about as expected. Mostly. The adult cat's reactions are the opposite of what we expected. The one we thought would try to eat them is being cool. The one we thought would be a mother is being a territorial biatch.
The closest thing we've seen to an altercation was when the oldest cat confronted Apollo the Tiny. Apollo stood up for himself, and the old cat put up his paws and said, "Relax, man. We're cool."
We did change the name of one. Zeus is now the name of Apollo's brother. Yes, we are well aware that Zeus was Apollo's father in real life. But we determined that we would side step this confusion by maintaining that Apollo was named after the pilot, or the Moon landing program. Take your pick.
For how they are adjusting, there are two distinct stories.
Apollo: Loves to sit on the couch. He has taken up residence with my wife. Which of course is perfect for her, because that's what she wanted. He's still a little skinny. But he's getting better, and has more energy. He has also learned how to meow. And he does that at every opportunity.
Zeus: Is still very timid. He seems to be living most of his life initially terrified of every noise, shadow, and movement anywhere in the general vicinity. So every time someone goes to pet him, he either cowers or he runs away. The times that he cowers, it is possible to finally get to him, and pet him, and then he instantly relaxes and starts purring. He has taken up residence on the futon in the front room. If you bring him anywhere outside their seclusion bathroom, the first thing he does is runs at top speed for the futon.
They are both eating hard and soft food. They both like human food. Ground turkey and fish have both gone over really well.
Another report will follow when I feel like writing one. Enjoy your Saturday, everyone!!
2020-07-24 - Day 131
Here we are at the end of week (let me count) 18. Yes, it's been a while since I was counting in weeks. So I lost count.
I got a whole lot of work done this week. That goes for my 9-5, my personal projects, and some client work too. As such, I think I'm taking the rest of the week off. Of course, by that I mean, until tomorrow morning.
I have a new site launching in the morning. That's always exciting. More on that later.
So have yourselves a good evening, and try to avoid getting in trouble. This time.
2020-07-23 - Day 130
Another day in pandemicland
Yeah, yeah, pandemic... Well, hey, on some good news, if you live in NJ. We are the only state that has had fewer cases every day, for two weeks running. If nothing else, this proves that it can be done.
On another topic. A couple of years ago I created a Quote of the Day database. It was written as a web app, then I made an Android version, an iPhone version, and a TwitterBot. All of which use the same database.
The other day I decided to make a single-page, full screen version of it. My actual thought was to see if I could get my Google Home to read it allowed. If I can figure out how to do that, that would be cool. Not because it's super useful. But because it amuses me to do so. Most of my projects are like that. This blog, for instance.
By the way, the API that makes the program work is open and available to use. If you want to write something yourself, you can use it. There's even instructions on that page.
Anyway, bookmark that page. Hit the little Twitter button and share today's quote. It would be super helpful to me, because it helps promote my stuff.
2020-07-22 - Day 129
Work has been busy. The short way to explain what my work has been like lately is that I've had one major project going on, with a ton of different moving parts. Today was the final step. Pull the trigger, as it were. The past two days have been all the tedious and complicated work to get that part ready.
All is well. But it's been a really stressed past couple of days.
Now that that is done, I get to get on getting stressed because I have a bunch of catch-up work to do.
I ain't complaining. I love my job. But sometimes things can be taxing.
2020-07-21 - Day 128
Today marks the first full day that the president actually realized that wearing a mask is a good idea. On one hand, I'm glad that he is finally doing the absolute bare minimum. But on the other hand, if he had done this 3 months ago, maybe shit wouldn't still be this bad. And all it took was all his aids and advisors literally begging him to start taking this thing seriously. For that, we know how sincere the sentiment is.
So thank you, Mr "This thing will go away like a miracle", thank you for finally getting the 1/3 of this country that is listening to your advice to actually start doing to right thing. Hopefully.
Anyway... The new kitties are adjusting to life in a new house. Little by little they are settling in.
And on a totally different note, I was watching The Good Place on Netflix. Great show, btw. 4 seasons. Yeah, except that the 4th season is not on Netflix yet. So I have to wait until August or September to see the rest. Seriously guys, what is this, 2019? Am I going to have to wait for a show like it's an old-school TV series? Sheesh. I am very angry about my first world problem.
2020-07-20 - Day 127
In fairness, this is not really a 2.0 version. It's at least 4.0. The other day I got home at like 10:00pm. I was only in the driveway for a second. But when I got out of the car, a raccoon came out from under the car. I had briefly suspected that maybe the thing had stowed away all the way from Hopewell. Because I'd never seen that one before. And I was only in the driveway for a second. Also, he was much smaller than the one I saw before eating an everything bagel in the yard. I also thought it was amusing how many times I saw the little dude running all over the porch and stuff.
I thought that until this morning, when I went out for coffee and saw all my plants on the front porch knocked over. And I thought that was strange. So I went to look at the video footage.
You can view the clip here: click for clip.
So, yeah, that's 5 raccoons. This also explains why I saw that one so many times last week. It wasn't just one. I was only seeing one at a time.
As much as I like wildlife, that might be a problem. So far they haven't caused any damage. But a whole family of them could potentially be a real mess. I may need to get better garbage cans for a start.
On a completely unrelated note: I finally got a haircut yesterday. That is the longest I have gone without a good cut in like, 9 years or something. No I remember why I cut my hair short to begin with!
2020-07-19 - Day 126
The new kittens
Meet Neo (lighter one) and Apollo.
I do not know why Neo has his eye half shut like that. Probably afraid I was going to use a flash. He usually has a pretty wide 1000 yard stare. They are 14 weeks old, and large for 14 weeks. They are brothers. And by all accounts they are purebred Siamese.
If it were me giving them their initial names, I would have paired them up. Neo with Morpheus, or Apollo with Starbuck. In any case, we haven't decided yet to keep their names or change them. More on that later.
The situation is this... Just prior to this whole COVID-19 thing we lost one of our cats. His name was Moe. The only male calico cat any of us have ever seen. He was 14 and basically died of old age. A few weeks into COVID-19, we lost Moe's best buddy, and a purebred Tonkinese, AND my wife's personal cat, Frisky. He was about the same age as Moe.
So we've been light a couple of cats for a whole bunch of weeks, and my wife had been on the lookout for someone new. These two came from a rescue in south jersey - more on that in a minute. At the time she made contact, we thought it was just the one. Once my wife got to talking with the rescue people, it turned out that one had a brother. So we took them both.
How two purebred Siamese brothers managed to end up stranded outside and rescued will forever be a mystery. But for us, especially my wife, it worked out as just about the luckiest thing that could have happened. Because my wife had a decent checklist for criteria in getting new kitties. These two checked off all of the boxes in one shot. A pair, of Siamese, and not expensive. These would normally be upwards of $900 each from a breeder.
About the rescue itself... I will have a more detailed post about them in a few days. But for now, here is my story about that... Their site is in need of an overhaul. It has some serious issues that they don't know how to fix, and have no resources to pay for that. They are a non-profit organization. I will be taking on their site design and hosting as a courtesy, and simply offering the service as a donation. I will be telling more of this once I get the site moved over and redesigned.
2020-07-18 - Day 125
Good use of a Saturday
Got a lot done today, including getting some new lights in front of the garage, and some new lights inside the new tent a built a few weeks ago. One of the greatest inventions in our modern age is LED solar powered lights. I've got them all over the place. They don't last for more than a few years, usually. But they are great for lighting pretty much anything without having to run wires, or even worry about turning them on and off.
Safe and easy.
Oh... We also got new kittens. More on that tomorrow.
2020-07-17 - Day 124
It didn't feel much like a Friday. I actually thought it was Saturday at one point. I already wrote a blog post today and it ended up in the stats area. So you should probably click that link and read there. There is a spiffy new Tableau Viz!
Can you tell I've been working with that a lot this week?
2020-07-16 - Day 123
The Bird in the Begonia
Since I like animal stories, here is a new animal story. A few weeks ago we got some hanging plants. The one in the middle is a pink begonia.
When I went to water them the other day, I noticed a strange blockage in the middle of the plant. A closer inspection told me it was a bird's nest. Never seen that before. Which, in itself is a great thing, because let's face it, we don't have a lot of good stuff happening this year. I'll take it.
I hadn't seen anyone actually IN the nest. So I assumed it was abandoned. Today, however, I went to water the plant, and a very frightened little bird flew out. Not sure exactly what kind of bird. I cannot claim to be an expert on birds, or anything of the sort. All I can say is, judging from how it landed sideways on the side of a tree, the way a woodpecker does, I'm gonna with "some sort of woodpecker."
So I will give the plant, nest, and bird a wide berth for a little while. There could be eggs there. It might be late in the year, but it does happen... Either that or she just really likes the nest and calls it home. Either way. I'd like her to stay. So I'll be real careful to not scare her off.
2020-07-15 - Day 122
Cool new Tableau Viz
I mentioned yesterday that I had discovered a spiffy way to keep all my COVID19 data updated automatically. Today, I built a new viz... I already had the data. I just needed to organize it a new way.
I never imagined that I would be doing this for this long. And it is really wild seeing how the data has evolved over time. This new viz gives a more current snapshot of the way things are going.
Two days in a row I'm talking about data. But, hey, at least I'm not complaining about the sheer ineptitude of our government and how miserably they have failed us all. If it wasn't for that, I wouldn't have learned all this new stuff. So that's something good that's come from it.
2020-07-14 - Day 121
I learned something new
Get set for one of the nerdiest posts you're likely to read here.
If you've been following along here, you'll know that I have a bunch of spreadsheets and Tableau viz's tracking the data for the virus. Not because there isn't enough of that out there. But because I like to organize things my own way, and I've added a few data points that others have missed.
I've been doing this by going to sources like Wikipedia, and copy/pasting the tables of data into my spreadsheets. This is not that big of a deal. Because it only takes a few minutes. But wouldn't it be better if that entire process was automatic? Why, yes, it would be better. Thanks for asking.
Yesterday, while I was in the middle of making some updates to something unrelated, I discovered that it is possible to have Google Sheets scrape web pages. So I can tell Sheets to go to a Wikipedia page, and pull the data from any table on the page.
So I updated all of my spreadsheets to pull the tables from the live Wikipedia pages! I then set all of my references in the existing sheets to get their data from the new scraped data. This means that I no longer have to manually copy/paste anymore. I don't need to manually update any of that stuff now. It's all automatic!
No matter how long I work with this stuff, there is always something new to learn. That's all I have to say about that.
2020-07-13 - Day 120
A new week begins
I'm pretty sure it's Monday. So, it's off to the races!
We went out to my sister's yesterday so as we could see our mother for her birthday. She reads this blog. Hi, Mom. Happy birthday, a day early. It's the first time in months that we've gotten together for any period of time. Stupid virus... But that was fun. It was good to see everyone!
Today, I'm headed up to Hopewell to do some recording. I'll have to provide more about this later. But the short-short version is that my buddy Art wrote some stuff and contacted me to add in the guitar parts. Hopefully I get one song completed tonight. For this one song, I wrote 3 different rhythm tracks, and can't really say that I dislike any of them. So, I'm just going to record them all, and let Art do whatever he thinks is best...
2020-07-12 - Day 119
What are you talking about?
One thing I learned the other day is that it is probably best to not even bother with social situations for the time being. Because it's just too easy for people to say the dumbest shit. And I do believe that the problem is that we've got nothing to talk about except for the constant barrage of news and purposeful misinformation. Every time you try to talk about what is going on in life, someone says something callosally screwed up. Usually along the lines of a ridiculously stupid and uninformed opinion about the state of things, and how it's SO obvious who is to blame.
We are all sitting in our houses instead of going out and doing things. And we are in a constant news cycle where things get piled on top of things so quickly, that no one can really get to finish the discussion on thing 1 before thing 2 suddenly happens. In previous times, crazy shit would hit the news cycle once every few weeks. But this year, it's more like, every other day.
By example... tRumpelstiltskin decided to commute the sentence of Roger Stone. A guy who lied to the FBI and intimidated witnesses in an effort to protect his friend, the President. He was found guilty in a completely fair trial, by a real jury and a real judge. And he lost all his appeals. He is guilty. He is a criminal. Trump still pardoned him. We should be having riots about that. Because it just screams of corruption, and it should make you furious. But we didn't get the chance to get angry. Because the CEO of Goya did a speech in front of a bunch of people at the White House praising Trump, in what was immediately considered the ultimate betrayal to Latinos. This, I'm sure you know, led to a huge news story concerning the boycott, and the argument between the people who feel betrayed, and the Trump supporters saying that they are overreacting and STFU.
I have never seen a more obvious distraction, except that I have. EVERY goddamned day!! And expect that before we are done arguing about this, something f'd up is going to happen. Probably tomorrow. I don't know what that will be yet. But it will be something. And it will further divide this country so we have something ELSE to argue about.
The point is... In normal times, we would have a lot to talk about. We would have conversations about the latest events we attended, or places we've been, people that we've talked to, etc... But, no... Instead we are discussing Goya foods and whether or not we should feel bad that we like their yellow rice. And we completely forgot to talk about that fact that Trump just made yet another pardon of a man who clearly did NOT deserve it, while 100,000 people are awaiting petitions to be answered. And they will never be seen by this numbnuts that is currently only concerned with pardoning people who could either reveal even worse stuff about him, or because it helps him politically. Or more usually both.
2020-07-11 - Day 118
Wanna buy some source code?
Today's post will be an advertisement of sorts... I have decided to drop support for my iPhone apps. If you've ever read any parts of the mobile development section of my main site, you will know that I have a handful of iPhone apps in development. And you also know that I grudgingly started producing them to begin with. I do not like iPhones. I do not Apple's systems for developing for them. Such is my opinion. Developing for iPhones is WAY more complicated and expensive than it should be. I've sand fly into my eye that was more pleasurable.
So when the last round of forced updates came through, and I found myself once again having to slog through their development hell, I finally said, "Oh, F this. It's just not worth the trouble anymore." To put this in perspective... It costs me $100 a year to keep that store open. All the apps combined make about $200 a year. This in comparison to my Android apps that cost me a grand total of $0 to keep live, and make about $100 a month!!
What would you do?
Having said all of that... I am sure that there are iPhone developers out there who don't feel the way I do. And I'm sure that they could take these apps and make them into something profitable for themselves. So I am selling the source code for ALL of them.
You can read more about it on the iPhone Apps in Production page.
2020-07-10 - Day 117
If you love rain then today was your day
That's all that happened today. Unless you count the trip to the dentist to get a couple more teeth fixed.
On one hand, glad it's done. On the other hand, I don't like talking about it. If you've ever had teeth trouble then you probably understand why it's embarrassing. Suffice to say I'm super happy that things are finally getting fixed.
So that's all I have to say about that.
Hey, here's a good one... Remember that picture of the giraffe from the other day? I submitted to Fark.com for a Photoshop contest.
Also, while you're there looking at the comical entries, take a look around the site. Good place to get actual news, and plenty of discussion.
2020-07-09 - Day 116
For today's post I will continue the trend of not reminding everyone how screwed the entire country is, and concentrate on something more light-hearted. I wrote a new demo!
If you've ever found yourself looking at the temperature thinking, "Man, it would be nice to know what that temperature is in Celsius, or better yet, Kelvins!", then today is your lucky day. If you are an American, and not a scientist, you likely never use anything except Fahrenheit for all your temperature needs. But believe it or not, there are 2 other popular scales.
I already have a few projects out there that will do some quick temperature conversions between formats. But I was thinking it would be kind of cool to be able to see how one affects the other, but in real time. Like, it would be helpful, if I could see them all at once, and have sliders where I could modify the temperatures and see a live update for the conversions.
So I sat down and wrote a demo to do exactly that. As a bonus, it includes a little widget that shows the current conditions (from another project), and uses that value as the default at page load. That widget gets the conditions from the live feed from the National Weather service.
Why did I do this? For no other reason than that it interests me to do so. Which is a pretty good way to explain why I do most of this stuff. This blog included.
2020-07-08 - Day 115
I feel like I'm posting a day behind. Probably because every day lately, I've been posting about what happened yesterday. This is what happens when I write my entry in the morning. Like I am today.
So, yesterday we went to the Great Adventure Safari. I'm just going to assume you all know what that is. Here is one of the residents.
It really is nice to see that all those animals are still there an doing well after all these years. I'm not exactly sure what the ethical implications of the thing are. My understanding is that these animals are all happy enough. Most of them were born there. It's not like they have to go out into the wild and catch more. Many of those animals are breeding like crazy.
It was nice to be able to drive through it again. A few years ago, they stopped doing that, and were packing people onto busses. I never did that. And I just assumed I'd never be able to go through there again. But since they can't pack busses with a pandemic going on, and they really would like to earn some tourist money by getting people in the park, they reverted back to the old way.
See? Something good came of the COVID-19 thing!
Now all they have to do is open up the baboon area again and let them run around on your car. That was some good times right there!!
2020-07-07 - Day 114
I've seen some strange weather around here, for sure. But yesterday was a true whopper! I'm not even sure that this picture really does it justice. Because it was actually WAY worse than this
When all was said and done, the whole neighborhood was littered with little balls of ice.
What a hailstone might look like
For serious... I have seen some nasty storms. I've seen hail. But not like this. It went on for a lot longer than usual. And the hail was bigger. Not quite golf ball size, but it was getting close to that. And it caused a whole lot of damage. My gardens had plants broken, and leaves with puncture holes like they had been shot.
All I can say is, at least the cars didn't get damaged.
2020-07-06 - Day 113
It's finally over!
Things are back to normal. We can start going about our lives now.
This chart clearly shows that there are no new cases, and there is nothing to worry about. Especially if you live in Florida, Texas, Arizona, or California. In those places, you can just safely ignore any and all advice from medical professionals. There is no more need for social distancing, masks, or any other preventative precautions.
We really should be following their lead and open up the rest of the country. It's going to be great to get back to being normal again!
Wait... I'm sorry. Did I just say the exact opposite of what that chart clearly shows? My bad.
On the other hand, it seems that there is some 35-40% of the population that is totally fine with that.
2020-07-05 - Day 112
Fireworks are illegal. Are they though?
I hope you all had a fun day yesterday. I also hope that you still have all your fingers.
I made the comment yesterday about how this neighborhood loves the fireworks. And, man, they did not disappoint! I woke up this morning to this video on Twitter, and it cracked me up.
Because I am quite sure that if you were to fly a copter over my neighborhood, that is precisely what it looked like!
Also, the quality and the size of the consumer fireworks is astonishing! Since they explode comparatively close to the ground, they look a lot like professional fireworks. I seriously cannot believe what they are selling to people, knowing full well that they will be used by drunk people.
Well, it's time to get on with Sunday, which literally means exactly nothing, as I have no plans today.
2020-07-04 - Day Eleventy One
Happy Independence Day!
Since I'm sure you are aware, there will be no fireworks today. So, here... I threw up a page real quick so you don't have to feel like you totally missed out. You're welcome.
It's not exactly true there will be no fireworks at all. There will be plenty all over the neighborhood. How many will fail launch and prove once and for all that eyebrows and fingers are not necessarily permanent? I guess we'll have to check the stats on the ERs tomorrow.
Funny story... Last night, the storms rolled through. And the fireworks stopped for a little while. But as the storm moved to the east, I could hear fireworks in the distance from the west. As the storm moved further, the fireworks got closer. It was like a strange phenomenon where the fireworks literally followed behind the storm!
One thing about NJ. People love their fireworks. Even during the off season. But during times when they are expected, this whole area is a constant din of explosions from dusk until like 2AM. Presumably that's when everyone runs out of fireworks, or beer, or both.
2020-07-03 - Day 110
At long last, a blog entry that isn't all about the pandemic or complaining about Facebook, the government, or all the other stuff that's been annoying me lately. I have something NEW to complain about!
For any of you that did not know, I have been developing mobile apps for some 7 years or something. I started with Android, and at some point a few years ago, I expanded to iPhone. I've written all about this over the years. In short, iPhone development is about as much fun as a root canal without all the drilling sounds. It's expensive, it's time consuming, their development tools suck, and slogging through their systems is SO aggravating, it has likely contributed to the grayness of my beard.
So this time, with the latest round of aggravation, I have decided to let my subscription expire, and the apps will come down from the Apple Store.
However! If you are interested in buying up some apps so that you can release them yourself, the whole lot of them are up for sale. Source code complete. Not just a license deal. I'm selling the source code.
Read the full statement here.
That is all.
2020-07-02 - Day 109
We have hit the 50% of the year mark
I have this cool web app that counts down how much of the year has expired. As of yesterday, it clicked over to exactly 50% of the year gone. And, man, what a year this has been so far. But you already know that.
I came to the realization yesterday that this whole lockdown thing is really starting to get to me. I'm finding myself getting angry, and really pushing back on things I see that bother me. It's made me do things like post on Facebook again - responding to things. In short, what I was able to ignore for a long time has not been so easy to ignore anymore. Because I have been sharing this blog as a means of promotion, I cannot help but notice posts others are making... I have broken my silence. And I'm not really sure it was a good thing.
I stopped posting there a couple of years ago - stopped even looking at it. Because every time I saw someone that I knew in a previous part of my life post something, it was making me angry. If you've been reading along this blog, then you already know what I'm talking about. So I'm not going to say it all again.
Anyway... Just know that I am aware that it is time to back off again. Because I am also aware that there is not a damn thing I can do to change people's minds. I've said what i can say. And if people still insist on latching on to their ignorance and misinformation, then I am clearly wasting my time.
I will finish up today by saying - again - that we are now months into this thing, and there is no end in sight. And there will not be an end to it until the leadership in this country takes the necessary steps to get things back on track. That starts with getting rid of the guy at the top. His insistence that this thing is not for real is what is causing it to get out of control. Again.
2020-07-01 - Day 108
So here we are at the middle of week 16, day 108, and the start of a new month. And at the risk of repeating myself, nothing is getting better. In fact, it's getting worse. In some parts of the country, and by some parts, I mean, everyone outside of the NE, it's getting WAY worse.
Look, people, there is no mystery to this. There is no conspiracy. There is no plan to take your freedom, declare martial law, turn you Communist, or any of the other ridiculous things people are saying.
The rest of the world is shutting the US out. Even Europe, our closest allies collectively, have voted to not allow Americans to travel there. They are doing this because our response in controlling this pandemic has been laughably inadequate, bad, stupid, erratic, inept, pathetic, ineffective, and a few other choice adjectives.
Thank goodness the current administration is taking this seriously and really taking some solid steps to do what the rest of the world has done. So we are going to have testing, and contact tracing. We are going to do our best to social distance, and keep wearing masks until such a time that we can relax a bit.
Oh, wait. No we're not. We are going to complain that we don't want to wear masks. We are going to congregate in large numbers at bars, beaches, and other similar gatherings. We are going to cry that being forced to wear a mask is tyranny! And the President of the US himself, is going to encourage you to do this. Because in his view, this thing is over and in the rearview mirror.
I am absolutely baffled at how people can be in such denial. It is pretty clear to me now that no amount of evidence, and no amount of saying out loud or writing it will make a difference. Because there are still too many people in this country that refuse to admit to the mistake.
But I will say it again anyway... This situation will not improve until we have real leadership. The current administration is the problem, not the solution. They are making it worse. This President needs to be removed NOW.
I really do not know what it's going to take for our government, with their checks and balances and stuff, to finally realize that it is time to take action. I'm thinking that when their friends, wives, husbands, and children start dying, THAT is the moment they will realize that they have backed the wrong horses ass. And from the looks of things, it's getting closer to that.
Also, for those of you that still insist Trump is a swell guy, he was well aware that Russia was paying bounties for US soldiers. He is certainly VERY well aware now. And not only is nothing being done about it, the White House is placing the blame squarely on the person that told the media about it. Because, clearly, THEY are the ones putting national security at risk.
That is who you are supporting, folks. You are supporting a racist, scumbag traitor, who is putting his relationship with Russia above our own soldiers. Enough with the whole, "But that information hasn't been verified." Oh, c'mon! Do you really think the Intelligence community is going to just make that up?! Because if you don't believe what you are currently hearing, then it means you believe the Trump administration over a few 100 competent professionals, whose entire existence is to ensure national security. And that is some weapons grade denial, right there. Especially since, even if you still support him, you know that he is a lying sack of shit.
And your continued support is having the extra effect of getting people killed, right here, and right now. This is just the latest in a long string of absolutely horrific and abhorrent behavior.
Seriously... I am fucking sick of being polite about how angry that makes me!
2020-06-30 - Day 107
I'm pretty sure it's Tuesday. Sometimes it's hard to remember. I took the day off from work today, so it felt like a Sunday. Or something.
I'm sure I could say some other things about how things are going in the world... I was gonna go and see Primus in a few weeks. It got postponed to July 5th. Which seemed encouraging, except that it's 2021.
This is, of course sensible, all things considered. That's all I have to say about that.
Stay tuned for July!
2020-06-29 - Day 106
Still not out of ideas yet
I really am glad that I've kept up with this thing every single day for the last gazillion days. I know I already said something to this effect the other day. But I feel it's worth mentioning again because I have noticed that through all of this, I have not had a shortage of things to write about. In fact, it's more often a choice of "which is the best thing to concentrate on". Believe it or not, I've left a lot out.
Not that I'm going to change that. I'm just saying... This has been a mighty interesting time.
Today, the thing that strikes me is that this is really the first day I've been working from home in the newly renovated office space. It IS very comfortable, and there are a lot less distractions. It's warmer up here. And I need to consider getting a wireless mouse. But if those are my only complaints, I think that means I'm good.
2020-06-28 - Day 105
It's time to talk about masks again
I seriously cannot believe I have to write about this again. I'll keep it short for those of you who just want the bottom line:
Where a mask when you go out. Keep your distance. Stop complaining about it. You want businesses to reopen? You want to get back to a world where this virus isn't dominating the headlines and killing 1000's every day? Then wear a mask and STFU.
There... Now, for the longer version. I originally followed that up with "you ridiculous, selfish pricks", but thought better of it. But seriously, what we are seeing right now are two groups of people:
Let's talk about that second group, shall we? There is only one reason that group 2 exists. And it's pretty simple. Those people just DO NOT believe that there is anything to worry about.
"The virus isn't that deadly."
"It only kills old people."
"It hasn't killed anyone I know."
"I haven't seen a lot of sick people."
"The government is just overreacting and scaring everyone."
"This is the first step to the government taking all of our freedoms!"
"This is a violation of my Constitutional rights to MY freedom no matter how it affects every other human."
"I have the right to do whatever I want! It's not my problem if people get sick. They should just stay home!"
This is all another way of saying that they are aware that wearing a mask would help slow the spread of the disease. They know that it helps protect other people. What they don't accept is that the virus is that dangerous to begin with. They just don't believe it. And THAT is the reason they consider the wearing of masks to infringe on their freedom.
Or, perhaps it's because they want to be able to go to the beach this summer and don't want to deal with the mask. But you don't have to look at it that way. They can be stylish!
And to prove that I always intend to keep things fair.
On a comical note... I had to do some Google searching to find those images. The "trikini" was super easy to find. The picture of the dude, not so much. That's the only one I found. And yes, I am aware that the pattern makes it even funnier.
Getting back to the point here... Whether you choose to believe that this virus is dangerous is completely irrelevant to this conversation. Because you don't get to have an opinion on self evident facts. And these are the facts:
If you still don't believe this, then read the stats page. There is actual, real data there. And it shows that this is not a joke and not to be taken lightly.
As a concluding note, if I haven't made this clear enough. All of you people that insist on not wearing a mask because you don't believe this - YOU ARE the ones causing the very problem you choose to ignore. And WE ALL are the ones paying for it!
And I cannot believe that on Day 105 I have to talk about this again!!
2020-06-27 - Day 104
Moving up to week 16
It's amazing how much has changed in the past 16 weeks. But what's really amazing is that those changes have come in the form of adapting our society to accommodate a virus that just won't go away. People are praying really hard! Why is it not leaving, like a miracle?! Speaking of people who have been praying for this to end and not doing much of anything else, take a look at the stats page where I show charts for how there is a new, stronger first wave everywhere, and Mike Pence is a complete idiot.
2020-06-26 - Day 103
Moving my office
For the first 100 days or so, it was fine working in the dining room. And by "fine" I mean, it's been workable. But it's also been very distracting. If you've ever worked as a data analyst (and at some point you must have), you know that you are usually working on 6 to 10 things simultaneously, meaning lots of balls in the air all the time... And losing that track means starting over again. But that's my problem, not everypone else's. I can't tell everyone in the house to stop going about their business. And I also can't blast music through headphones all day to try to drown it out.
Right before Father's Day, my son came to me and suggested getting me a new desk for the upstairs office. It should be noted that he was not prompted on this other than a quest for a Father's Day/Birthday present. So when he suggested it, it got me thinking that it indeed was a really good idea.
See... The reason I'd been working in the dining room all this time was that the office was already filled to the top with all the stuff I use for my personal business. There just wasn't enough room to add a 2nd workstation. For those of you who don't work with computers... They are not all the same. My work workstation is completely different than all my other stuff. And also, I don't own that equipment. Point being, I cannot and do not use my personal equipment for my 9-5 work.
The desk arrived on the front porch a couple of days ago. Yesterday I finally went through to process of cleaning out the office and rearranging. This room hasn't really been emptied and cleaned in like 15 years or something. So it was really due for an overhaul. So I cleared everything out, dusted and vacuumed everything, and set everything back up. Then I built the new desk. For the record, I listened to The Wall (Pink Floyd) from start to finish. That is exactly how long it took to build the desk.
Today will be spent finishing the move, and getting everything organized in the best way possible. And if I have time, I might actually get some work done.
2020-06-25 - Day 102
Second wave goodness
To say that we are getting a second wave of COVID-19 is probably not the most accurate thing to say. Because it implies that at some point, we must have gotten it under control, and then somehow lost control. It does not seem that we will be getting a real "second wave". Reason being that most of the country never finished the first one.
And what it shows is that here in NJ and NY, we have taken some drastic steps to slow things down. To "flatten the curve", as they say. And look at that. It seems to be working. That is why so many people around here think that this whole virus thing was never anything to be concerned about. What those people fail to realize is that things are going so well here BECAUSE of those steps, not in spite of them. Having pointed that out, people are here, for the most part, ARE taking it seriously. And for that, if we do get a second wave here (which is typical and expected), it likely won't be all that bad.
Notice what's happening in the rest of the country? They are just starting up their real first wave. They have not taken it seriously. They have not taken precautions. They are still screaming at each other in government meetings that "wearing a mask is tyranny!"
Here we are at day 102 with no end in sight. And much of the country still doesn't think there is anything to worry about. Even while the evidence is right there in front of them, that there is indeed a lot to worry about.
I've said enough about Impeached President 45. So I won't bother to point out, yet again, that he is enthusiastically ignoring this thing across the board because it's interfering with his re-election campaign. So sorry for the inconvenience.
2020-06-24 - Day 101
Happy birthday to me!
Yep. 51 today. On one hand, holy crap. On the other hand, well, there is no other hand.
*incomplete blog entry is incomplete*
Okay, back to it. This is not a milestone birthday. So there really isn't much to say about it other than, I'm glad to be here. And I think often of the poor souls that didn't make it this far.
Since I am now in my 50's I will need to get used to telling kids to get off my lawn.
What did I do today? I started my day with a root canal. That was fun. Seriously, I cannot complain. Because I feel way better.
Then I ate lunch with half my face numb. Then a few hours later, I had dinner, and my face was not numb at all. Given the experience of both, I will continue to opt for "face not numb" as my preferred method.
Tomorrow will be back to work from the dining room.
2020-06-23 - Day 100
Yes, you read that right
Today is day 100. When I started this blog up, I never imagined that it would be going on this long. The idea was that I wanted to mark the days with whatever was on my mind. And to that extent this thing has surely served its purpose. I was expecting that it would be a long while before I would look back and go, "Oh, yeah, I remember that."
As it turns out, I'm doing that. I'm doing that even though it's still going on! Like, at Day 16, I was talking about how I was working on new graphics for my Countdown to the new year web app. Day 39 was the day that I listed all the stuff I'd been working on, and complaining that no one seemed to have noticed or cared. Hell, you're probably still not reading this. Then it was Day 40 when President 45* told everyone that injecting disinfectant would be a possible cure for the virus. You know, the one that's still going on today. The one that he is now saying will go away simply because they intend to stop testing for it.
That may have been the first time I said out loud (wrote) my utter and complete disdain for this moron that somehow got himself elected president. It was on day 59 that I posted new updated stats, and again expressed my concern for the fact that the sheer ineptitude of our government is getting people killed by the 1000s.
On Day 77 the protests started and the riots broke out. You know the ones. The ones where people were protesting police brutality, and then we got to watch in living color while the police brutalized the protesters! Then the President ordered tear gassing of peaceful protestors so that he could go and take a photo in front of a church. And for some reason not a single fucking person has been held accountable for that. At all. And the protests are still going on. And the President still refuses to acknowledge anything about it, other than "LAW AND ORDER!"
I think I will make a bit of an effort to tone down my absolute red-hot, seething hatred for Trump, and what he has done to this country. But maybe not. It's not a political statement. There are things in this world that are objectively wrong. And there is a LONG list of wrong where Trump is concerned. It's not a matter of ideology either. I can have a discussion with someone where we disagree on religion or on how our taxes are spent. But I can't have a discussion where someone is defending Trump, and refusing to acknowledge all of the things he's done over the years. Start with the blatant racism (please don't even try to deny that - see Day 97), continue on with flagrantly breaking the law time and time again. Throw in a bit about how he claims to be a great business man, but refuses to talk about that multiple bankruptcies, failure to pay contractors, hush money payments to mistresses, running a fraudulent charity where he stole from Veterans, refusal to release taxes, and starting a trade war thinking that China was the one paying for the tariffs. Oh, and lets not forget that we have pissed away $millions$ so he could play golf at his own resorts, which is absolutely forbidden by law because he is personally profiting from it. It's in the Constitution. It's called the emoluments clause.
I think I stayed too quiet for too long. So maybe I will continue saying exactly what I think. Because one thing is for sure. There are still WAY too many people in this country that just ignore or deny the evidence of what this madman has done. They are willing to dismiss ANY and ALL of his behavior no matter how abhorrent, because they still think he's better than the evil Democrats that want to open the borders, take your guns, and install Venezuelan style socialism. What bunch of bullshit. People are supporting a criminal, and the "facts" they use to justify it are propaganda perpetuated by that criminal.
Make no mistake. I'm glad I have documented all of this. Because when people ask me how messed up this whole thing has been, I will just point out this link and tell them to read it.
And, btw, expect that this is going to continue on for at least another 100 days. Why do you suppose that is? It might be because this government has done exactly nothing but make this situation worse all along. And they STILL have no plan for putting an end to it, other than ignoring it, claiming victory, and pretending there is nothing wrong.
It is FAR past time for this President to be removed. He is deadly dangerous. And if you support him still, I hope you understand that you too will suffer for what he has done right along with the rest of us. In fact, you are currently suffering for the past 100 days as a direct result of his failure to take action when he had the opportunity. He was worried about his re-election, and wanted to keep this thing quiet. That is what you're supporting.
2020-06-22 - Day 99
Time for a haircut
If you live in NJ, you can finally go to the barber. I know my hair hasn't been this long since I cut it short like 10 years ago. Anyway, barbers and salons are open... That's what I noticed while out and about today. Although, truth be known. I haven't really noticed anyone around here with their hair longer. Maybe they just buzz their own hair with a shaver anyway. I dunno. But people around here don't look any different to me.
On another note, I see a lot of tents for outside dining suddenly popping up. These must be places that didn't get their permits in order a few weeks ago. A few weeks ago, there were a handful of restaurants were already doing that. But today, a whole bunch of new ones are setting up.
This is making me think that this is great. But what happens if this goes on through November? Or, what happens when a freak storm kicks up, pulls the tent out if the ground, and throws it into the highway causing a multi-car pileup? That would suck.
But things like that don't happen very often. A friend of mine got hit in the face with a lawn umbrella while we were tailgating for a Pink Floyd show. But that was like 30 years ago. Such things apparently happen very infrequently.
2020-06-21 - Day 98
Happy Father's Day!
Even if you are not a father, or if you are a mother, uncle, grandparent, designated guardian, or any other person that plays the role of a father, Happy Father's Day to you!
Also, happy summertime!! Joy!
Now... On to other things. Because I can't help myself. Let us talk about the embarrassing charade led by Impeached President 45.
The rally that wasn't
As a followup to yesterday's rant concerning Trump's, "Spreading the Disease" rally (sorry, Anthrax). It was a flop.
And for that, I laugh, because any time we see Trump embarrass himself in a spectacular fashion, it's hysterical. And I also feel that humanity has somewhat redeemed itself. Because when I jotted up that post yesterday, I believed completely that 1,000,000 people got tickets to ensure that the arena would be filled to the top, and events on the outside would be held for those that didn't make it in. As it turned out, less than 6,500 people were in the arena, and nobody outside at all.
What a mostly empty arena might look like
Here is a shot from the outside, where those events were canceled because no one was there.
Out here in the real world, we call that "a snub". Trump's most ardent supporters showed up at less than 50%. At the exact moment that I am typing this, I am not able to verify an actual number. I've seen "less than 1/3rd filled seats", and "thousands less than expected." Suffice to say, it was not a success.
I'm quite sure that other news sources, ones that support Cheetolini, will show more favorable angles with tighter shots, so you don't see the emptiness. They will also report that the arena was filled to capacity. And people that don't watch the actual news, for fear of their narrative being disrupted, will never know about this. They will hear that the whole thing was a rousing success.
These same people will listen to things like, "We need to slow down the testing. That's how we slow down the number of cases." Which was met with rousing applause. And they will think that is a reasonable response to a worldwide pandemic. Ladies and Gentleman, The President of the United States. Stable genius indeed.
This entire event actually gives me a glimmer of hope that this nightmare might finally be coming to an end. Not COVID-19. That's apparently never going to end. I'm referring to this government being a completely dysfunctional mess, led by a completely inept and corrupt administration that quite literally has nothing planned for getting this country on track. In fact, all they have planned is getting their impeached president re-elected. And that isn't going too well for them.
I've said it before, and I will say it over and over again until it finally happens. It's time to tell this President to step down. Do it now. We might not make it to the election.
2020-06-20 - Day 97
Please send thoughts a prayers to Tulsa, OK
Here, I've got you covered...
What does this mean? This is one of those cases where i am jotting this down, in this blog, to mark this date as one that should be remembered.
The POTUS is still insisting that the whole virus thing is nothing to be concerned about. And he SO badly wants to get out and hold one of his propaganda rallies, that he is going to do it, no matter what. It matters not that every medical expert in the world is warning him (and the attendees), that what they are doing is colossally stupid and dangerous. It doesn't matter that OK is currently showing a spike in new cases. It doesn't matter to the Orange Menace. It doesn't matter to the people going there.
You are going to have 19,000 people crowded into an arena, with no matter of precaution at all. Because they don't think there is any danger. I cannot even find the words to express how frustratingly stupid this is. They all consider it to be worth the risk - in fact, they don't think there is a risk.
At the risk of stating the obvious, there is a very good chance that a clear 18,000 of those people will end up sick after this. And then they will infect everyone they come in contact with after that. They are going to start up their own COVID epidemic hotspot. And everyone in Tulsa will pay the price for it, whether they agree with this propaganda rally or not!
That is why I mockingly say to pray for them. Because I really don't mean that. Screw them. What a bunch of stupid, selfish, pathetic morons. They deserve what they get. Especially since they are doing this in the name is the single worst human being to walk this Earth since WWII. I remember the good old days when the worst human being in the world and the POTUS were 2 different people. Good times...
Which brings me to my next point... Here the country is currently in the middle of the largest race protests since the 60's. So trump chooses Tulsa. A place that was a hotspot for one of the worst white supremacist attacks in history. And he was going to do it on Juneteenth. Right up until he got a backlash for it. It was then that he said, "ok, I won't do that last part. And by the way, no one knew what Juneteenth was until I made it famous."
Could it be more obvious that Trump is a racist scumbag, who is willing to use his rallies to make that point loud and clear?! This was no coincidence. This was not accidental. This was deliberate and purposeful. It was meant to send a message.
And here is my response to that message: I think I speak for many people in this country, when I say "Fuck you, Donald 'hoax virus' Trump. Fuck you."
2020-06-19 - Day 96
I really mean that too. I had a very long week. Very busy. I didn't have time to goof off at all.
Short post today. Like I said... Long week.
2020-06-18 - Day 95
Halfway through the year
I could have mentioned this at the beginning of June, but I really more feel like June 21st is the actual halfway point. And that's just around the corner. In any event, we are halfway through the year, but there is no measurement for how far into the virus we are. At this point the equation looks something like, end = 1/∞.
What a comically large book might look like
Some 14 weeks ago now, right around the time that this whole virus thing was getting underway, my favorite thing to say to people was, "This is the most f'd up thing that has ever happened." I may have even said that somewhere in this blog. But that was a long time ago, and I barely remember. But I'm saying it again now... Because now, THIS is the most f'd up thing that has ever happened!
Every other country that had trouble with this (which is all of them), has pretty well beaten it. Even if they got a second wave, they are pretty well done with it. But, no... Not the US. We are just about ready to get our second wave in the Northeast. And much of the rest of the country is still working on their first wave! And many of them are still on the uptick with new cases!
And our leaders are telling us that it's over, we can reopen everything, and go back to normal.
At this stage of the game, there are 3 types of people in this world
I think it's pretty clear right now also, that this country will not accept another shutdown. The number of people who simply don't give a shit are FAR too many. Expect massive civil disobedience if that happens again. And expect everything to get way worse. As if that is even possible. Unless all the medical experts are completely wrong about this, and the virus really will just fade away like a campfire at dawn. But all evidence says that that is the least likely scenario.
Oh, I almost forgot to mention that there are protests all over the country (and much of the world), drawing attention to racial injustice, police brutality, and ultimately, the sheer ineptitude of our country's leadership. To which the current orange buffoon occupying the White House responds by cheering on the stock market, bragging that jobs are coming back, and getting ready to hold a propaganda rally in Tulsa, OK. I cannot wait to see the stats of the number of people that end up sick after that. You morons deserve whatever you get. Or, as President Farquad would put it, "Some of you may die. But that's a sacrifice I'm willing to make."
And the year, as I said, is only half over.
2020-06-17 - Day 94
Outdoor dining is open
Well, we'll see how that goes. Hopefully, for everyone's sake, it will cause no troubles, no one will get sick or spread some mysterious virus around. With any luck there won't be any freak gusts of wind that send tents flying. Imagine walking out of Walmart and getting impaled by a flying tent pole from the Red Robin on the other side of the complex.
Everything is just so weird nowadays. Finishing up week 14 with no actual end in sight. Such are the times that we consider outdoor dining to be a gigantic win!
2020-06-16 - Day 93
Went to the dentist today
I moved my dentist from the one here in my local town, to one out closer to my office. Because at the time, I thought it would be convenient to just go there during lunch and stuff. What I didn't count on was a worldwide pandemic keeping my at home for most of the year!
Whatever... I can't really even complain. It was nice to go on a ride this morning. That's the furthest I've been from home for a few weeks.
On a completely unrelated note... And I'm only saying this here to preserve what my thoughts are at the moment concerning the Confederate statues.
What I find an absolute amazement is that the people that yell the loudest about patriotism and nationalism, are also the ones yelling the loudest about protecting statues glorifying traitors.
2020-06-15 - Day 92
You read that right.
My daughter called from work. She texted and asked if we wanted to try it. I said, "haha... Okay. A small one." Because none of us have ever tried it before. The Australians seem quite fond of it. So I was curious to see what is all the rage.
So now I've tried it. My first impression was that it is very salty. But a better, and more accurate description is, "It's sort of like coffee flavored anchovies." That was my review. Everyone that tried it (except the cat), absolutely hated it! Like, along the lines of, "That is the worst thing I've ever tasted!". The cat, for the record, liked it well enough.
Reminds me of the raccoons in that commercial, "You gotta try this. It's awful. It's like mango chutney and burnt hair."
2020-06-14 - Day 91
Oh yes, politics on Sunday
Welcome to Sunday's edition of "time to say some shit".
Since it's Trump's birthday today, I would like to draw attention to what a real leader and actual #President looks like.
Assuming Trump reads this blog, and let's face it, of course he does... I hope he looks long and hard. I hope it makes him furious. Because it's true.
Dear President #Obama; We miss you.
That is all. Now back to your regularly scheduled internet already in progress. Which, actually is quite a lot of the same as I just wrote here.
2020-06-13 - Day 90 v2.0
This is my second attempt at a blog entry today
I wrote up this whole thing earlier today and said, "You know what? This doesn't pass the Craig Furgeson test."*
So I bailed on it until such a time as I write something more, i dunno... Better?
So today... I worked on the stand-alone version of this blog software. I tried to quickly install it on my server here in the house.
What a server might look like (it's a Raspberry Pi)
That went pretty well. It was a good practice for how to tell others how to install it.
Then I cut the grass. Then I played guitar. Then I ate some food. Then I went out in the back yard with the acoustic and played for a while. Then my hand cramped up. There are some songs that really weren't meant for an acoustic. "And Justice For All", for instance. Sounds cool. Hurts the hand.
Then I cam back inside and started typing this. Now I'm going to hit the Submit button, share on Twitter and Facebook, and go back outside.
*The Craig Furgeson test
Does this need to be said?
Does this need to be said right now?
Does this need to be said right now by me?
2020-06-12 - Day 89
Is this the new normal?
Well, if it's not, there isn't a whole lot we can do about it. (edit: Sorry this is a long one. Strap in. Because I'm not really sorry. I think this all needs to be said.)
Looking back to a couple of months ago, when this first started, we were doing anything we could to keep busy. Building puzzles, playing games, streaming mad content on Netflix, CBS, Yahoo, and whatever else you've got. It was strange to go to the store and see everyone with masks on and keeping away from each other. At the time we had hoped that we could just do that for 2 weeks, and then everything would be normal again.
Here it is the end of week 13, and we are not anywhere near any manner or "normal" at all. Unless you consider that we have had to redefine what that means. And to be sure, that is precisely what we have had to do.
What seemed like something utterly absurd and impossible just a couple of months ago has now become our daily normal lives. And it's not changing anytime soon. As restaurants open back up, they will only be able to seat at 50% capacity, if they even can. And many of those places will not be able to survive only serving half the number of customers as before.
Bars, concerts, and sporting events are probably not going to be able to happen again for this entire summer season. Because that level of close contact is going to cause the virus thing to come back again.
At this stage of the game, we have been careful enough to limit contact, and wear masks. That has slowed the spread down to a point that the medical people aren't overwhelmed. And they also have better means of treating. So, all in all, the virus isn't as dangerous as it was. And we are going to have to maintain this level of caution for many more months until the virus is no longer an issue.
The most frustrating thing of all is that the medical professionals out there have been telling us that contact tracing (to track the spread), and testing (so you know where it is), are the keys to ending this nightmare. Once you can track it and test for it, you can control it. And here we are at WEEK 13!!! And we STILL don't have that system in place to any meaningful degree.
We are reopening the country with reckless abandon while showing spikes in new cases and deaths. I guess we are just going to ignore that...
It cannot be overstated how much our government has completely failed us across the board. I'm looking at you Mr, Donald "this virus just go away, it will be a miracle" Trump. Great job! And of course by that I mean, your lack of action, purposeful misinformation, and continued denial of the severity of this situation, has directly resulted in over 100,000 dead, and 40 million unemployed. And on top of that, we are now in the middle of worldwide protests condemning police brutality, to which you respond, literally, with more forceful police (and military) brutality. And you've fenced off the White House to protect yourself from the very people you are supposed to be leading! And when they got in the way of your photo op, you directly interfered with their first amendment right to peaceful assembly by tear gassing them!!
The other thing that cannot be overstated is how necessary it is to get this idiot OUT of the driver's seat. It cannot wait until November. #TrumpResignNow
One more thing, since I'm on a rant anyway... Concerning the Confederate statues, flags, and other symbols of the civil war. This is not about erasing history. It's not American history. It's Confederate history. If you are so worried about "history repeating itself", then maybe don't glorify the antagonists and traitors that started a war so they could maintain their ownership of other human beings.
2020-06-11 - Day 88
Man, it has been a busy week
By that I mean, I've been very busy with work. I'm not complaining exactly. It's just that it's exhausting. I've gotten a lot done. Looking forward to the weekend just the same.
In news of what I was talking about yesterday, I am making a "release version" of this blog software. Not for sale. More like, "if you want it, take it." It's not big enough to be a sellable project. But it will certainly serve as an excellent learning tool for people that want to learn about this stuff. More to come on that later.
That's all I've got for now.
2020-06-10 - Day 87
Happy June 10th!
A word about this blog software... I just made a spiffy upgrade to the software. I had originally created a separate page to hold the stats and data. Since the layout is essentially same as the main blog, I determined that it made far more sense to redo the entries on that page as blog entries rather than hard coded. Do that, and put them in a separate category.
So I modified the program to handle multiple blogs. There is now the main blog (which you are reading now), and the stats blog. It's the same page as this one but switches to the other data set.
Why am I telling you this nerdy crap? I dunno. I thought you might be interested in knowing. I often like to jot down my thoughts on my projects. And this one is pretty big, and still ongoing project. It's also something I intend to release to the world. So I'm writing it, working with it, and field testing it all at once. My next move is to create a tutorial to show someone how to build this sort of thing for themselves.
I see a lot of questions come out about how to build your own blog. I am well aware of how many other blog type things there are out there. There must be 1000s. But in a case where I can write something myself, and have complete control over the entire thing, I much prefer doing it that way. It makes WAY more sense to me than having to install someone else's software, learn how to use it, deal with its shortcomings, bugs, and security flaws, etc.... Bah... That's why I do it myself.
And since I figure there are others out there like myself, I'd like to just provide something like this a base where any developer can pick it and and build their own version. Free of anyone else's restrictions. So yeah... Tutorial will be next.
2020-06-09 - Day 86
The wildlife has accepted us humans
A couple of weeks ago, my daughter and her friends were startled by some unidentified animal that got too close to them in the dark. At the time, I thought it must have been our local opossum. Partly because she said it was the size of a small dog, and that it ran up a tree (so, not a fox). Yesterday I look outside and see this dude eating the old bagels we threw outside.
We've got ourselves a lawn burglar. And he is the newest on the list of animals that we have not seen around here previously, but are showing up more frequently.
Being the lover of wildlife that I am, I am fascinated by this. For the decade and a half that we've lived here, there wasn't a whole lot of new animals. But in the past year or so, we have living here in the neighborhood, a fox, an opossum, 4 groundhogs (kids), deer, turkeys, tree frogs, turtles, and now a raccoon.
This means one of two things...
1) The property and surrounding area have matured to a point that it can support a much more diverse ecosystem.
2) The animals have always been here. But since we have been home for like 3 months straight, they have come to accept us, and are no longer so afraid.
Whatever the case... It's getting to be like owning a zoo, but far less smelly and expensive.
2020-06-08 - Day 85
Welcome to week 13
It's Monday. It's early on Monday. In fact so early, it's actually late afternoon on Sunday. I'm getting a head start.
It seems that on Saturday there were more people protesting the White House than the number that attended Trump's inauguration.
Do I absolutely know that's true? No. Because I didn't check any sources. It just sounded like it could be true. It was a LOT of people!
If you are a Trump supporter reading this, you're probably pretty pissed off that I just made something up, broadcast it, and now refuse to admit that it might be incorrect, or even easily refuted with a simple Google search.*
Now you know how I feel every time I open Facebook.
*For the record, sources do report that more people protested than attended Trump's inauguration. But that number was all over the world, and totaled up. Not just in DC. So there was some truth to my statement.
2020-06-07 - Day 84
Sunday! Are you ready for some football?
Yeah, well, good luck with that. There is no football unless you own a Playstation or XBox. There is no nothing, unless you count reruns.
I mean, this is normally a weak time of the year for sports except for baseball anyway. And we don't even have that this year.
Why am I saying this today? I dunno. I said some 13 weeks ago that this blog would be whatever is on my mind. That's what on my mind today. I miss sports. And I'm saying that as a true sports fan. Now you may be thinking that if I'm a sports fan, it must be a gambling thing, or that I used to play, or something along those lines.
But no... Not really. I'm just a fan of all sports because I like watching the competition. I don't even care who is playing most of the time. I just want to see a good game. And I don't even care what it is. I like hockey, basketball, baseball, football, tennis... Anything really. I don't really even have a favorite team except the Flyers and the Eagles. And that's more of a home team thing than anything else.
It is concerning to me that we might be able to attend live sporting events for a long time. That sucks. It sucks for the fans. It sucks for the players. Playing inside of an empty stadium with no crowd reaction, no crowd energy... What we are going to see is an awful lot of truly subpar playing. Because that lack of energy is going to affect their playing.
I think it's also worth mentioning that I really feel for all of the people who's income relies on those games being played. Everyone from the people in the parking lot to the person selling peanuts in the crowd. Ugh... It just sucks.
2020-06-06 - Day 83
The blog has been shortened
The page is shorter now. It will only show 30 days at a time now unless you tap the link at the bottom to unhide the rest. It's not even that it takes a long time to download the page. The entire database is less than 1mb, if you can believe that. But the page had gotten absurdly long.
Anyway... It's summertime, and that means that it's brutally hot and humid out. That is going to make cutting the grass SO much fun today. That's what Gatorade is for, right?
Speaking of things with this blog... I have altered the ads running on it to use a rotator that shows some Google ads, but also a couple of things I am trying to promote myself. I swear, I sometimes think that ads have become invisible on websites. Because they don't generate as much income as they used to. That's why I'm swapping out to promote some of my own projects. What I call "in-house ads".
That is all... Stay safe and healthy. Wear sunblock and drink lots of water.
2020-06-05 - Day 82
Will I ever see my cube again?
I got an email from corporate yesterday... In short they said, "if you are working from home, continue to do so. We will give you 30 days notice when we are ready to re-open. Don't expect to see that notice before September 30th."
So, yeah, it seems I'm going to be working from home until November, at the earliest. On one hand this makes me sad because I like going to the office. On the other hand, I'm saving a ton on gas and mileage! On one hand it's difficult to work from home, compared to the relative calm of the office. On the other hand, I'm not complaining, because I am feeling tremendously lucky to still BE working.
I'm going to have to make an update to the software that controls this blog to only pull 30 or so days by default. Pulling over 80 days worth of posts at once is making the page REALLY long.
I totally did not expect to still be doing this at this point. And it seems I'm only half way through.
2020-06-04 - Day 81
Looking forward to stormy weather
I mentioned before that I like it when it rains. It like changes in the weather in general. Yesterday didn't disappoint! We saw the storm coming. It got so dark I had to turn on the lights in the office (dining room). When the storm hit, it was ferocious! Then 4 minutes later, it was done. Trees and limbs all over the place. Water running down the street. Sun back out.
And by some accounts something similar will be happening today.
On an unrelated note, it is really REALLY time to tell the President to step down. We cannot wait until November. Because he is already an inch away from doing something insanely stupid like telling the military to fire on US citizens. He is an authoritarian madman. And he is putting our entire country at risk.
That is all. I promise to keep politics to a minimum. But seriously, this is not about politics. I would have said this about ANY President, had this ever happened before in our history.
2020-06-03 - Day 80
Happy Wednesday, everyone
So what have I been up to? Work, mostly. And not just for my 9-5, although I am very busy there. I also run my own company, and things have been a little weird for a bit. I haven't really been invoicing anyone (did I mention this before?), whatever... I haven't been invoicing because if those businesses aren't open, they don't have money to pay their bills. It doesn't cost me anything to keep the lights on. So I've been letting my clients slide.
It looks like things are opening back up again, despite the troubles. So, I will be able to get back to business as usual pretty soon. In the meantime though, I'm looking for more work.
If you are a small business owner and you want to get a web site up and running, today is the day to act. I'm running a special.
$25 gets you started. 1 simple site. 1 year of hosting.
That is all I have to say for today. Stay safe and healthy, everyone!
2020-06-02 - Day 79
Enough about the state of the country
I have something else interesting to discuss today. I find it utterly fascinating how quickly a few things in this world changed. A couple of good examples...
My son lost his co-op because the company he was going to work for had to shut down. They are a firm that works to set up large events indoor and out. So no wonder they can't work. But in the true fashion of "one door closing, opens a new one", he got another co-op. And this is a company that is designing and building Personal Protection Equipment. This is a gig that literally only happened because of the current state of things. It didn't even exist a few months ago.
A more comical example is video calling. Sure, a few people were doing that. Facetime was pretty popular. Skype was too. Zoom was out there for those that wanted a more universal app. But it was still just a tiny fraction of people that felt comfortable with it, and even less willing to do it. Now, it's all the rage! Everyone from little kids, to grandparents in their 70's. Everyone who works (or worked) in offices, are now doing their meetings via video conference.
And you've really got to hand it to the technology nerds of the world. Because they embraced the need for this system remarkably fast!
And all it took was a worldwide pandemic.
2020-06-01 - Day 78
And so begins week 12 as the country burns
Nope. Not going there today. I have had too many angry rants as of late. I really think my heart needs a break. But since I know I can't help myself when I've got something to say, I will likely get back to it in a day or so.
//Thinking for very long time.
Or maybe I will say something... It's sad. Very sad. We were just about to a point where this country could start getting back to some sort of normal. And now things are even more messed up than they were already. And it's set everything back again. All progress is lost. Here we are at week 12, possibly seeing the light at the end of the tunnel, only to see that light snuffed out by violence breaking out in the streets all over the country.
This morning in 7-11, I heard a guy saying, "We just need to shoot them" (looters). Great idea. This all started because of police brutality. And you think the solution is more severe police brutality?!
I do not have a solution for this problem. I do not place blame on "the left" or "the right" for allowing this to go so far. But I will say one thing for sure. This needs to deescalate. And that action needs to come from the top. And right now, at the top, we have an orange man-child that is promoting the violence, placing blame on fictitious groups, and actively making things worse.
This is not a political statement. We need leadership. We do not have leadership right now.
2020-05-31 - Day 77
What is gonna be today?
Just when we think things can't get any worse... Wow were we wrong about that. Pardon my French, but you have got to be fucking kidding me!
We were finally starting to get to a point that we could start to re-open the economy and get back to some sort of normal. And now we have nationwide riots and looting. If you thought we were going to get back to normal again, you can forget about that. Because once we get the riots under control, assuming they ever do, all of the people who forgot about the whole social distancing thing, are going to start spreading the virus again! The same poor people that were most vulnerable to start with are the ones that are going to suffer the worst once we get back to remembering there is a pandemic to deal with!!
This all started because one scumbag cop killed one helpless black man. But of course, it's not just one. That was just the most recent in a string of similar incidents that have been going on for decades. And Minneapolis totally screwed the pooch with how they handled it. They STILL are not handling properly. When they finally decided to arrest only 1 of 4 cops involved - and then charge him with "3rd degree murder" (which is a totally made up charge), it sets the stage for him to be set free. And the other 3 haven't even been arrested - STILL.
No wonder people are SO pissed off!! Do not for a second assume that people were just looking for an excuse to destroy their cities. This happened because of an incident that could have been prevented, and should have been handled better. And is STILL not being handled correctly. They are fighting violence with more violence, and STILL not solving the original problem.
For the record, I do not condone violent protests that lead to looting and destruction of property. But I understand why it's happening. The people that don't understand it, are the people that could do something about it. And once gain, they have failed us miserably. I am not siding with the protestors. Of course violent protests are not the answer. But dammit man, it's time to listen to why they are so angry.
There is a solution to this, assuming it's not too late. That solution starts with making an example of those scumbags that killed and unarmed man for no reason at all. Arrest them all. Charge them with murder. And next, disavow the words of the coroner who literally told us that Floyd should have been in better health, and then would have survived the ordeal. The coroner blames the victim. Seriously, people, WTF?!
Again, I understand why people are pissed off. And our government needs to get this back under control right now. They need to take action. And that action is not shooting at the protestors! The solution starts with understanding why those people are pissed off. It is time for meaningful change.
To the protesters I say - If you want to be heard, you are doing it wrong. Violence throws all credibility out the window, and turns everyone against your cause. If you want to be heard, stop screaming and start talking.
2020-05-30 - Day 76
Nothing happened today
Boy, do I wish I could say that. As if things weren't bad enough, now there are nationwide protests that have turned into riots. I have more to say about this. But for now, I have other work on, so it's gonna have to wait.
2020-05-29 - Day 75
Not impressed with today's storms
It's been a while since I complained about the weather. We were promised storms all day today. Got nuthin. I actually like it when it rains. One of the things I like about living here is that the weather is not the same every day. You never know what you're gonna get. I think it was Mark Twain that said, "If you don't like the weather around here, wait 15 minutes."
Yeah... It's kinda like that. Anyway... We were supposed to have rain. Didn't get any.
Oh well... Day's not over yet.
2020-05-28 - Day 74
Picked up my new car
It is almost comically identical to the one I had to turn in. It's just silver instead of white. And the radio interface is different. And the rear windows are tinted.
Other than that, it feels exactly like the last one. There was a time that I wouldn't go near a Chevy. This is now the 4th Chevy I've had. And these last 3 (Equinoxes) have been the best cars I have ever owned. I am a very practical car owner. I don't need to have the most expensive thing. Don't need anything bigger or more prestigious. And the point is that these cars have restored my faith in Chevy. They are awesome cars.
The funniest part of this story was that my daughter, who couldn't give a crap about this a couple of days ago when I told her about it, met me at the door when I got home this morning, "Can I drive it around the block? I promise to be careful."
This is to be expected when the kids are both of driving age, actually. So a bit ago, I collected the family and threw them all into the car, and let them drive it. Got it all out of their systems at once. And it was fun.
2020-05-27 - Day 73
Welcome, Hump Day. Spread your cheer.
Hump day doesn't mean quite as much when there are only 4 days in the week. I guess technically, then, it started at noon today, and ends at noon tomorrow.
Yeah... That makes good sense.
I worked. I cut the grass. I worked more. That's about it... Oh, SpaceX had to cancel their launch right at the last minute. I turned it on and got the audio going just in time for them to scrub it.
I guess that's better then have the rocket explode in a weather accident.
2020-05-26 - Day 72
Today was a fun day
I got a new car. Now before you start in with, "oh, that must be nice. Jerk." If you've ever had a lease, you know that two things are always an issue.
1: You will go over mileage if you're not careful
2: The lease is going to end in short time.
In my case, I'm 6 months out from when the lease runs out. But I'm 400 miles from going over!! That basically means that I cannot drive my car at all for the next 6 months. Which is stupid. I had been meaning to contact the dealer to find out what my options are. As it turns out, they called me. They basically said, "You know, you're gonna gave to do something soon."
So I went down there. In about an hour, I argued and haggled a deal that got me pretty much the exact same car, but 2 years newer, and my payments only went up $30/m.
I'm picking it up on Thursday. So I will be driving my current car all over the place until then. I've got to put 400 miles on it in 2 days. I'm getting my damn money's worth out of it!!
2020-05-25 - Day 71
Happy Memorial Day, everyone
Let's talk some more about reopening things...
I am astonished by the number of people that see wearing a mask as some sort of "tyranny" or that "you are all sheep". It seems to be the thing people are now latching on to, while telling everyone that they don't think that this is for real. For some reason.
Or may favorite from yesterday, that I saw posted in succession by a few different people:
"If 6 feet works then why the masks?
if the masks work then why the 6 feet?
And if they both work, then why the lockdown?"
I will answer here, because to do it there would simply be ignored anyway. The answer is that ALL 3 ARE NEEDED in order to work.
There is a good chance that only 1 may be needed. If 2 are used, that increases the percentage of protection for everyone by a huge margin. The percentage of using all 3 is WAY higher and therefore WAY more effective.
To put it another way... Perhaps all 3 have their drawbacks and disadvantages. Flaws, if you prefer... But they have been shown to slow the spread of the virus to such a point that we are able to start opening the economy again.
Do you want the economy to open again? Do you want people to start doing business again without being afraid? Then wear a mask, keep your distance, and STFU!
2020-05-24 - Day 70
WhooHoo! Another block of 10!
Man, do I ever long for the time like 9 weeks ago when we thought this would only go on for 2 weeks or so. Those were the good old days.
It's been a good week or so since I ranted about this. So it's about time again.
How have we been doing so far as a country? We have over 30% of the cases in the world. Our death toll is just shy of 100,000. Much of the country still thinks this is a hoax, or that it's at least blown out of proportion. We still don't have adequate testing or contact tracing. We have managed to slow the spread on the virus in many places, especially those places that were hit the hardest, like the northeast. But much of the rest of the country, where they thought they were completely safe, there is a rise of cases.
The president is hell bent on reopening the economy no matter who has to die in order to do it. He was playing golf all day yesterday. Many people were really pissed off about this. But I really don't care. Because he can't do any damage out there. He can spend all of his time right up until next January playing golf. I hope he does. It would make us all safer.
About reopening the economy. Let's really look at this from an objective point of view, shall we? Something that most people in this country are simply unwilling to accept is that reopening the economy is NOT going to solve this problem. People are genuinely afraid. Such to a point that even if every bar and movie theater opened tomorrow, people would not patronize those businesses in the numbers they did a few months ago. And they won't for a VERY long time. Until this virus thing is no longer a threat, people are not going to feel safe. At this stage it doesn't matter if you agree with them, if you think they are stupid, or if you think the virus is not that dangerous, or that we are overreacting... None of that matters. Because it doesn't change what is already clear and obvious.
It also doesn't matter who you blame for this; the media, the president, the virus itself, etc... People right now are afraid of it. Period. The damage is done. People were already afraid before things started closing down. So you really can't blame anyone for that.
But if you really need to blame someone, we know who it is. It is the president. Mr "I refuse to wear a mask", and "I have been drinking snake oil for a couple of weeks now". Mr "People are amazed at how much I know about this stuff", downplayed this thing from the start. He missed all of the opportunities to get this under control. He refuses to believe the science. He refuses the help of experts. He fires and/or removes anyone that disagrees with his narrative. He stands there and offers suggestions to the experts about possible cures, and makes the whole country think it's a good idea to drink bleach and shove a UV light up your ass.
Right up to this very day, he is telling the country that there is no problem, we are testing everyone, the nightmare is almost over, and we are very close to a cure. And not a single fucking one of those statements is true. And just a couple of days ago, he made it a point to tell us that no matter how bad things get, he will not shut down the economy again. No matter what.
Well, guess what, you orange madman, the people will still be afraid no matter what. Your economy is going to be in the crapper for years. And the harder you try to fight this fire by pouring gasoline on it, the more people are going to die. And wether you intend to ever take responsibility for it, we all know that you are, in fact, responsible.
Well, if more people die, that's less people to support. And that would be good for the economy, I suppose.
2020-05-23 - Day 69
Huh, huh... He said 69. Huh huh...
That was cool.
It's a 3-day weekend. Unofficial start of summer. But of course summer has effectively been canceled. So it's not like there is a whole lot more to do than before.
I was joking with my wife yesterday that we should invite 20 people over because now we are allowed to gather in those numbers. If course I wasn't serious. You're not going to find 20 people that feel safe enough to leave their house yet.
This will be the weirdest Memorial Day weekend that we've seen since the holiday was invented. But it's not like it's any more weird than things have been anyway.
2020-05-22 - Day 68
Friday before the long weekend
Apparently we still get holidays during the whole work from home thing. So I will be getting out early today. Of course, all that really means is that I will leave the dining room at 2:00 instead of 5:00. But I'll take it!
I do have some stuff to get out the door, off my plate, and some other analogies first... So off to it...
2020-05-21 - Day 67
My daughter's birthday!
Yep. 19 years old. It's rather not correct to say that we have kids. We have adults.
Happy birthday to my not-so-little-anymore girl!
A few weeks ago she was saying, "I hope this whole lockdown thing is relaxed by the time by birthday gets here." Yeah, sorry about that. Not a whole lot we can do. But at least the Cheesecake Factory will still make you a phat dinner!! And this time we will actually be getting a cheesecake. Which, if you can believe this, will be a first for me.
It's true... it's right there in the name and I've not ever had their cheesecake.
2020-05-20 - Day 66
Nothing really interesting happened
Seriously... I had a good productive workday. I'm gonna go play some guitar now.
2020-05-19 - Day 65
Nice day. But very windy.
The wind actually picked up to a point that all of the ashes cleared out of my fire pit. Don't have to worry about cleaning that up now.
One thing I haven't really done so much with this blog is advertise my services. What with the economy being shut down, it's been difficult for my business to do much, because businesses I would normally support are closed, and are not looking to spend any money. Far that matter, I haven't even been invoicing some of my current clients. Because, like I said... They don't have any income. So I've been letting everyone slide for a while.
That's not to say that I don't want to bring on some new work myself. So in an effort to do that, I am offering a super-cheap package on my hosting service. For $25, I will purchase your domain and deploy a simple site for you, and cover your hosting for 1 year.
You can read more about the service at, Affordable Shared Host.
To take advantage of this offer, go to the site, make the purchase for the special Starter Package. Once I receive notice, I will contact you to get information about your company and discuss your domain name. Once we're done there, I can roll out the site and have it up in a few hours.
This is a promotion, of course. Regular fees apply after one year. But there is no obligation.
My only incentive here is to show you what we can do for your company. So, if you want to have a site built, and want to do it for really, really cheap, this is the right promotion for you!
2020-05-18 - Day 64
Week 10 begins
One curious thing about this mess... Just a few months ago I was saying, "You know, we really don't use half of the downstairs in this house. We use the kitchen and the living room and that's it." Seriously... The dining room and the front room have been used for nothing but plants and cats for over a decade.
Well, that all changed 10 weeks ago. My office is now in the dining room. This room is getting 40 hours a week now. And my son got tired of booting us out of the living room when he wanted the TV. He moved out of his apartment when school closed, so he brought his stuff with him. He has now completely rebuilt the front room with TV, futon, and game systems.
So we are now using the entire downstairs. And all it took was a worldwide pandemic!
2020-05-17 - Day 63
Are you ready for week 10?
I hope so. Because it's going to happen whether you like it or not.
Before we go on today, help me with something... Is anyone actually reading this blog, or am I just inconveniencing trillions of electrons for no reason?
Answer this one question, if you don't mind. Thank you... In the end, it doesn't much matter. I'm actually keeping this log more for myself, than anything. And perhaps so I can show my grandchildred. "Hey, guys... Want to hear about the plague of 2020?"
"Not again, grandpa. I was gonna gover hoverboarding with my friends on the Moon. Sheesh!"
"Kids, humor your grandpa. He's old and likes to tell stories."
So anyway... Today I actually have a small job to do. I haven't been doing a lot of DPoisn LLC work because most of my clients are closed and not making money. But today, I'm going to move a security camera for one client that is open.
2020-05-16 - Day 62
It was awesome outside today!
It was so nice I forgot to make a blog entry. So I'm writing this on Sunday morning.
See the next entry for an actual blog entry.
In a few minutes. I am going to update the stats pages first.
2020-05-15 - Day 61
At least the weather is improving
And it really is too. Pretty soon we might be able to go outside. We won't be able to go anywhere or do anything. But at least we can do it outside.
What I am seeing more than anything these days is that people are absolutely terrified. Something I have NEVER seen in the American public before. Especially in NJ. NJ has a reputation for being one of the toughest, no-nonsense places in the country. And we'll kick your ass if you think otherwise. Now go and get your f'n shinebox!
Even here, when I see another human in public, what I usually see is them move as far away as possible, remarkably fast. I saw a woman in Walgreen's yesterday nearly fall over an endcap trying to escape from my general area. And all I did was walk through the front door. Luckily I was wearing a mask, or she probably would have simply crashed through the wall trying to escape.
It's a dream come true for introverts. If you want everyone to stay away and never even make eye contact with you, you are better suited for this world than any time in history.
What makes this most awful is that there is a percentage of the population that is absolutely screaming to end the lockdown and get people outside again. I get it. They want to see the economy re-open. They want to get back to work. And to some extent, I agree. Enough time has gone by that we need to start relaxing some restrictions - as long as we are smart about it.
Unfortunately, it seems pretty clear to me that most people don't want that. They don't feel safe. The thought is that as damaging as this is to the economy, it would be far MORE damaging to just ignore this virus thing and hope it goes away. That could cause a runaway pandemic that we might not get back under control.
My point is that if the ones that want to re-open everything were to win their argument tomorrow, nothing would change. Because even if bars and restaurants open, people will not go to those places in the numbers they did before. I suspect that it's going to be many, many more months before anything like that ever happens again. We have reached a point now that this isn't even the government telling us to stay locked down and stay away from each other. People are actively doing it because they are afraid to do otherwise.
2020-05-14 - Day 60
Today was a good day
So far anyway. It's late afternoon as of the time I'm typing this. There is still time for a meteor to crash into Yellowstone National Park starting a chain reaction that results in a supervolcano explosion the likes of which humans have never before seen.
Not that I'm intending to be morbid, but this year has been pretty wild so far. So you never know...
On a happier note... At least it looks like restrictions on many small business are going to be lifted here in NJ in a few days. That's good for everyone. But it's mostly good for the small businesses that were forced to close while all the big-box stores were allowed to stay open. On that note - go to those small stores on Monday! Give THEM your business rather than the big guys. It's the best thing you can do for your local businesses, and the people that work for them.
2020-05-13 - Day 59
The frustration is really starting to set in now. Even for me. And I've been one of the ones that has handled all of this pretty well. But here we are in week 9, and we are hearing that we will have to continue this for at least another 4-6 weeks. At least. At the minimum.
It's sad and not just a little bit annoying. Because there has not really been any new news about how we are doing at all. You can look at the stats, which I updated again this morning, And the number of new cases is way down across the entire world Unless you're in Illinois, for some reason.
Is that an indication that we have things under control? Of course not. Because we still don't have testing or contact tracing. Without those two things - a way to test everyone, and a way to track the source of infection - we cannot get this under control in any meaningful sense.
83,082 people dead so far. That is just in this country. We have 32.87% of all the cases in the entire world. You know who is in second place next to the US? Russia. Do you know what they have in common with the US? Their leaders tried to downplay the severity, and ignore all of the warning signs, until it got so far out of control that they couldn't hide it any longer.
|Cases||Deaths||Died %||% of world|
This was entirely preventable in the early stages. But everything our government did in the very beginning - at the most important time - was wrong. They delayed. They downplayed the severity. They lied. And now they are doing nothing but complaining about how bad the economy is. And they are STILL not taking the right steps to get things back on track.
It is time to demand the resignation of this President. This experiment of having a reality TV show host and failed businessman attempt to lead this country has directly led to the deaths of almost 100,000 people. And we will reach that number soon enough.
This cannot wait until November. People are dying as a direct result of this completely inept and corrupt administration. This needs to stop now.
It's time to start getting the media outlets on board. It's time to talk to your Senators and Congresscritters. It's time to demand a change and demand it now. Whether or not this country even has a future depends on it.
This is not some left-wing lying media bullshit. Do the research yourself if you don't agree with what I've said here.
2020-05-12 - Day 58
Nothing new to report
It's true... This is just another Tuesday. The 9th one. And nothing is any different than it was 9 weeks ago. Except that we have no illusion that this will only last for 2 weeks.
We are well aware that we are still at least 2 months from even going back to anything like normal.
2020-05-11 - Day 57
What is this, week 9?
A couple of weeks ago, I was going on about how surprised I was that no one in the White House was coming up positive. Now they are more or less playing out The Masque of the Red Death in real life. Linked there is the full text of the story. If you are unfamiliar with it, take 15 minutes and read it now. You're welcome.
Some good might come of this. There is a slight chance that the WH might finally see what they are doing wrong and actually take this seriously.
Or not. Which is more likely the case. They will continue to bury this and downplay the severity. This isn't even a political statement I am making. There are some things in this world that are objectively WRONG. What we are seeing all around our government's response is full of wrong.
The people controlling this thing - the people that actually could make a difference and get our country back on track - have screwed this up since day 1 (and earlier), and haven't done anything right in the time since. They continue to lie about how things are and where they are going. They are trying to force the country to re-open while we still haven't even got adequate testing in place. And lying to us about how close we ARE to getting that testing. They refuse to take proper precautions that the entire rest of the country are required to endure.
Our f'n Vice President is still insisting on not wearing a mask, and insisting those that meet with him do the same - this after his closest aide just tested positive. There are no words for how careless, dangerous, and just stupid that is. Well, those are words, but they aren't strong enough. The leader of the Pandemic Task Force can't be bothered to take any precautions, and actively puts those around him in harm's way.
Again... Objectively wrong. Not a political statement. Pence is a dangerous moron. I would say than no matter who he worked for.
2020-05-10 - Day 56
Happy Mother's Day
Hope all mothers out there have a great day. At least you don't have to worry about going anywhere, amirite?
Here is something interesting from this morning.
Out here in the suburbs, we don't get a lot of deer. If I were to count how many times I've seen a deer in our back yard, I would not need more than one hand. If I were to count the number of times I've seen a couple, I would only need one finger. Because until today, it's never happened. We live about 2 miles from a park where there is a fair sized deer population. But they rarely venture this far away.
And it's cute that it's mother's day. Because the female there will be a mother before long. The dude with the antlers will see to that.
2020-05-09 - Day 55
Winter is back
This year just cannot stop being more and more sucky, can it? Every time we think we are out of the weeds, there are more and impressive weeds to deal with. Fortunately, it doesn't appear that the cold killed all the stuff I had planted. That's fortunate. But it's too cold outside to enjoy the day, despite how sunny it is.
I took the past couple of days off from work, so I'm on Saturday 3 right now. I didn't make any excuses to the boss... I just said, "Man, I've been working too hard, and I'm feeling pretty stressed. Just need a couple of days." And I really did too. And it doesn't feel even the slightest bit weird to take a couple of vacation days, and all it meant was not going to the dining room.
2020-05-08 - Day 54
New project to show
One of my clients is The Lion's Den II Tattoo Studio in New Hope, PA. In speaking with the owner, and hearing his frustration about having to be closed down, I came up with an idea that could help... I implemented Gift Certificates for purchase on their web site.
I mention this for 2 reasons. If you happen to be someone who would like to have a tattoo done, or would like to purchase one for your friend, this serves as an advertisement for the Lion's Den and their services.
And, second, this serves as an advertisement for my company and services.
Because if you are a business owner that could benefit from a module like this on your own site, please contact me. The development work is done. It's just a matter of working the modules into your site.
2020-05-07 - Day 53
New data update
It's been a while since I spoke about the data for this thing. I have been diligently keeping my stats page up to date. Today I added something new. Because I had seen something about this on the news, I wanted to pull the data and graph it myself, to see how true it was. TL;DR version: It's true.
Here is a preview. Click the image for the full thing.
The top graph shows all the cases over time for all the states, individually. You will notice that NY and NJ have come down so far that they are now, in some cases, lower than other states. Which is great for NY and NJ. But what does that say about all those other states?
The bottom graph shows NY and NJ broken out on their own. And ALL the other states combined. A few weeks ago, NY alone had more new cases per day than all the other states combined. Now NY and NJ both are going way down, and the rest of the entire country is going UP!!
I hope everyone understands what this means. But in case you don't, I will tell you. It means that all of the practical efforts to get the pandemic under control in NY and NJ are working. And the entire rest of the country doesn't seem to think such measures matter. So they are NOT doing those things. And the virus is spreading in those places now!
What more evidence does the entire rest of the country need to see?! If they don't start taking measures now, the hotspots in this country will no longer be the east coast. They will be the entire middle of the country.
2020-05-06 - Day 52
Happy 6th of May!
Meh... Doesn't have the same ring to it.
Speaking of masks. Again. Because, let's face it, they are all the rage right now. We got our shipment of "random fabric masks" from some Etsy person in OK, of all places. So now we have something more stylish then the cheap, disposable masks we've been wearing. And these are washable!
We probably should have done that earlier on. But, c'mon, man, no one thought this would still be going on at this point.
2020-05-05 - Dia 51
Feliz Cinco de Mayo!
Much like Saint Patrick's day, the bars of the world are REALLY f'n bummed right now. This is one of the biggest drinking days of the year, and none of it will be done in bars. And it's a real shame, because Corona would be selling like crazy right now. But you really can't drink beer through a mask, can you?
Speaking of masks...
Yesterday, I pulled into the parking lot at the super market. I went to put my mask on, like a good citizen. The strap broke. "Sumbitch! What am I gonna do now?!"
So I looked around the car. It was my daughter's car. What I found was one of her nametags from work. So I pinned the mask back together with her nametag and went into the store. No one seemed to notice that I had a nametag holding my mask together. But that's probably because people rarely look at each other in public nowadays.
2020-05-04 - Day 50
May the Fourth Be with you.
Or, I generally prefer, "The fourth will be with you. Always."
That joke is never going to get old. Speaking of old, this blog is as many days old as I am years old!! We have crossed into a new important block of 10!
Anyway... You know who never had trouble with viruses and pandemics? The Empire. I so want to get me one of these masks.
On a related note... I was tasked yesterday with quickly making a "pandemic themed" limerick. Here it is. Enjoy...
I farted, you don't need to ask
A pleasantly futile task
I sit on this bench
with this horrible stench
But I filter the smell with my mask
2020-05-03 - Day 49
Moving up to week 8
It's getting harder and harder to keep track of the time. That much is for sure. Whatever... It's Sunday.
I got a helluva lot of work done over the past couple of days. My property looks way better.
2020-05-02 - Day 48
Today was a nice day
Got to Lowes. Got some stuff. Planted a new tree to replace 3 that I took out. That is all.
2020-05-01 - Day 47
Happy Friday - again!!
Happy May, also. Yes... A new month has started. Again.
In case you have been living under a rock, stuck in a submarine, or perhaps just returned from outer space, you may be wondering what's been going on these past few months. I found this lovely comic this morning, that will bring you completely up to speed.
Here are 20 panels of comic to help explain how this has been going so far, and how we got here.
Some of those panels had me laughing like an idiot. Which paradoxically makes me feel bad, because this situation is not funny.
2020-04-30 - Day 46
The day the winds came
One thing I always like to say about the weather around here. If you don't like it, wait 15 minutes. That was actually Mark Twain, but it applies to any place with insane, unpredictable weather. Today is the day of 40MPH winds, apparently.
The new gazebo we just built? (look a couple of posts down) I took the roof off and put it in the garage. Because if I had not done that, it would almost certainly be flying 20,000 feet over some other state by now.
Stay safe today. And if you're outside, hug a tree. It might save your life.
2020-04-29 - Day 45
Beautiful day today
Not like it matters much. I was working so hard, I totally missed it. I did get a lot done though.
And I really can't complain that much because I took the day off yesterday. So I spent a good bit of it outside. Had to go to Philly to unload my son's apartment. Since his co-op got cancelled, he can't use the apartment in the city. We took everything out, assuming it was useful. Meaning, all the cleaning products. They are hard to come by nowadays. We even took the stuff his roommate left behind. On the walls we left nothing book hooks and some wire.
Anyway... He will be looking for work from home for the rest of the shut-in.
It's so funny how we went from, "Gee, it's so quiet around here with both the kids at school", to "all 4 of us locked in the house for over 6 weeks now".
Hah... It ain't so quiet any more!
2020-04-27 - Day 44
The gazebo built
Finally. That was fun. The frame from our old tent is still there. Haven't decided what we are doing with that yet. But the new one is done. And it has bug nets!!
Also... We were right in the flight path for the Blue Angels / Thunderbirds flyover. It was the first time I've seen everyone in the neighborhood outside in weeks. It's strange though. Social media has a lot of crappy things to say about it... I don't give crap what people say about this. Those planes are gonna fly, and some of us like to see them fly.
Yes, we did watch the formations fly overhead just now, and it was awesome.
You know why I don't give a crap about the reason, or how much money it costs? Because no one cares about any of that either. And it's hardly the worst thing our gubmint spends money on. It does not make me love the military more, or give me a swell of pride. I just like seeing big powerful jets. Hell, if we are sinking a ton of money into those sorts of planes anyway, I would much rather see them used like THAT, than blowing people to hell!
So sue me.
2020-04-27 - Day 43
I hope you like cherry blossoms
Because they are all over the place. When I drive down the road now it looks like I escaped from a parade. It's so beautiful!
The best part is that they get stuck all over your shoes. So for the next week or so, they are going to be everywhere in your car and right at the front door... Not to mention being stuck under your windshield wipers, etc...
It's a strange downside to springtime. The flower season looks so very nice. And then it makes a colossal mess for a longer time than the flowering period itself.
2020-04-26 - Day 42
The day we can't believe we are starting week 7
Here it is 8:00PM and I'm only just now getting to typing here today. It's been a ridiculously busy day.
All I feel like typing right now is that the data sheets and visualizations have all been updated. I can't really say that it's all that encouraging. But you already knew that.
Take care. Stay safe.
2020-04-25 - Day 41
Saturday #6, and the weather is awesome
It's been a while since I started out a daily post with something upbeat and encouraging. The sun shining does have an effect on the mood, to be sure. Since I don't have to go to the office (the dining room) today, there will be work outside including putting some stuff in the garden. Much of the stuff I have rooted in the house here is growing long and gangly from lack of sun and wind. I need to get those things in the ground. Now that we seem to be at least beyond the fear of frost, the heartier stuff like peas and beans can be planted.
There is your gardening lesson for the day.
So yesterday I decided to get into an argument on Facebook. That was fun. If you are wondering what a true example of "sarcasm" is; when I said, "That was fun", that was sarcasm. To summarize what happened... There seems to be a lot of people dismissing or excusing Trump's comments about using disinfectant as a cure. I'm sure you've heard them all. So, let me just put up the one single point that must be understood about this:
It doesn't matter if he wasn't being serious, or was being sarcastic, or was trying to see what people's reaction would be, or it was a question or a statement, or if people misunderstood, or if he "word fumbled", or if he just used the wrong term, or if people are morons for taking it literally. None of that matters. It happened. Real people got hurt. Real people called poison control. Lysol had to release a statement to prevent further damage. What he said was stupid and dangerous, no matter how you spin it. That is all that we should be taking from this.
Enjoy your day out there today. Stay happy and healthy, and whatever you do, don't drink bleach, or use it as an enema. You're welcome.
2020-04-24 - Day 40
Ah, I remember when I turned 40. Good times.
Before I say anything else today, I would like to remind everyone that under no circumstance should you inject yourself with disinfectant as a treatment for the virus. Look, I don't care what your political leanings are, only a complete moron would come close to suggesting that we inject ourselves with Lysol as a treatment for COVID-19. Only an absolute fool would actually say it out loud.
And, look, this is not some left-wing media spin. The man said it. Out loud. He backpedaled afterward. But he said it.
“And then I see the disinfectant, where it knocks it out in a minute. One minute. And is there a way we can do something like that, by injection inside or almost a cleaning."
- Donald Trump
On the other hand, he's got a point. Once you are dead, you don't need to worry about catching any diseases, or really anything at all.
Anyway... Today is shaping up to be a good day. I've got a lot of work on, which is always good. Hope you are still happy and healthy, and above all, taking your medical advice from actual medical professionals.
2020-04-23 - Day 39
It must be Thursday. I could never get the hang of Thursdays
- Arthur Dent
Here we are on Day 39 of the thing that is happening to everyone.
Today I am feeling somewhere in between proud of what I have accomplished in the past 39 days both with 9-5 work and personal projects, and being disappointed because in this day of the internet being so saturated with stuff, most of what I do goes unnoticed. Let me recap what I've been doing:
That's just the stuff I can think of offhand. I've also done a lot of back-end work fixing and tweaking older projects.
Pffft... In the end, I do this stuff because it interests me to do so. And because I can. So despite lack of response I will keep doing it.
But once in a while I like to express my frustration that so much of it is just never seen. And that sucks.
Thus concludes my whining for the day. Now we return to your regularly scheduled COVID-19 isolation.
2020-04-22 - Day 38
We hadn't been to the store in over a week. And as such, we really needed to get some stuff. Here we are on week 6 of this thing and people are STILL hoarding important items. Toilet paper and paper towels are easier to find. I guess people got tired of stacking up their thier paper products to the cieling in every room.
But forget about finding anything with bleach in it. And I find that to be completely baffling. I see sites where they say things like "limit 35". Who the hell is buying 35 bottles of Clorox Cleanup?! But more to the point, if they have already done that, why can not we find any now, 6 weeks later?! It's not even that the stores run out of them right away. There just are none left. I was doing checks across some stores that tell me, "There is none of that product within 100 miles."
Seriously?! What is that about? Did Clorox stop making the product? Are they saving it for hospitals? Well, okay, if that's the case, then fine, I more or less understand. But it still doesn't explain how they can't get some of that stuff here from elsewhere in the country.
2020-04-21 - Day 37
And it is a busy one
I really can't complain about being bored this whole way through. When someone just asked me "How's it going for everyone?", it occurred to me that I really hadn't thought about that for a little while. And the reason for that is that we seem to have crossed the line from being all bugged out and stressed, and arrived at acceptance.
This is what it is, and it is going to be that for at least the next 4 weeks. It would have been unthinkable to say that 5 weeks ago. Because 5 weeks ago, we were only supposed to be locked up for 2 weeks. That is a major cause of the anxiety that hung around for a while. Now that we are resigned to knowing that the end still isn't in sight, it makes it oddly easier to deal with. We're more used to it now.
Having said all that, I am still well aware that businesses are suffering. So I am mentioning again that this site is available as a resource to help.
2020-04-20 - Social Distancing - Day 36
Monday of week 6
I have a lot to say today. But I'm not going to say it all here. I just have too much to do. So I will keep today's blog entry short and simply point out one important thing.
The Donate to Local Businesses website is about 95% finished. As such, I can actually show what it looks like.
I say that it is 95% finished. But that is probably a generous assessment. Because I am so familiar with the thing, I probably think that it is more complete than it really is.
Consider this an "alpha release". It might be buggy. There are parts that still need work. There may be parts that came over from the site from which it was cloned that I didn't strip out yet. There is also no data in the thing at all except for the test data used while I was building it.
But go ahead and tell people about it. I will be actively working and cleaning things up. If you are a business owner that wants to submit your information, do it. Whatever it amounts to I will clean it up.
If it seems like I am rushing this, it is because I am, in fact, rushing it. I feel that it is of the utmost importance to get this thing out there, even if it is still being built.
Yeah, that wasn't such a short posting after all...
2020-04-19 - Social Distancing - Day 35
Why is it still so cold?
Seriously... I got my gardens all ready to go, I have a bunch of stuff growing that is currently still in the front room because between the storms and the cold, I couldn't plant them outside yet. I have pea plants that are like a foot tall! I planted a couple of tomatoes outside. They died in the 2nd frost.
C'mon, springtime... You're better than this.
In other news, I mentioned yesterday that I was going to start building a site to help businesses with donations. I have, in fact, started the process. I basically cloned one of my existing projects, and am now re-purposing it for this project. Considering so much of it is already written, it's really just a matter of changing some things around and tightening a few screws. If I apply myself over the next couple of days, it should be ready to go live. And, yes, I am aware that this needs to be done sooner than later. So I am working fast.
If it turns out that the project doesn't really take off, and/or doesn't get used all that much... Well, I tried. And that's the best I can do. Plus if it amounts to only helping a few people, that is still WAY better than if they got no help at all. If it helps ONE business survive this, then it's worth my effort. So I'm f'n doing it!
2020-04-18 - Social Distancing - Day 34
Welcome to Saturday #5
As I pointed out yesterday, people are getting restless. And, oh yeah, it's getting bad out there.
We are seeing a point right now where businesses cannot sustain staying open at all without some help. And of course the gubmint has completely dropped the ball with helping them. It seems that the big boys got paid. Bailouts are in the works for the large companies and the Wall Street ones. But the smaller businesses are starting to run out of money.
It's very sad. And hopefully thing will change soon. Since we know we can't reopen, can we find some way to get these businesses money to keep them afloat?
This is giving me an idea... And I am thinking about this as I type this... I wonder if there is a way to put up a single page with a listing of local businesses that are needing donations. It wouldn't cost me any money to do this. I could just develop a quick subsection on one of my existing sites, as a central place for local businesses to link up their GoFundMe pages and stuff.
Now that I've typed this out loud, I think I will begin the process of doing some research to see if something like that would be helpful.
If anyone reading this likes this idea and has some input, please send me a note. In fact, if YOU are a small business owner local to this area, hit that link and send me your information. I will start gathering stuff and get to work.
2020-04-17 - Social Distancing - Day 33
People are getting restless
I would love to make another light hearted blog post about the joys of working from home and how all my projects are going. But, as I said in the early days of this thing, there my be times when I will have to rant about something because it makes me angry.
The first thing that comes to mind this morning is that I'm hearing a LOT of news about people saying that this whole social distancing thing is a waste of time and money. And that there is no point to it. And that it's some sort of Democrat conspiracy to wreck the economy and make the president look bad.
The common thought in all of these statements is that since it looks like this thing is finally calming down, it must mean that we totally over reacted. We should never have shut the economy down.
Look, people, I get it... The economy being shut down sucks. People being out of work sucks. But you know what sucks worse? A large portion of the population being sick and dying from a disease that we know almost nothing about.
The reason that things are calming down, and that the number of dead is lower than expected, is because of the efforts we took to limit exposure between one another. Had we not done that, the numbers would have been FAR worse. So don't assume that this was all some huge miscalculation or overreaction. Don't assume this is over, and we can get back to normal, and there is no danger in that.
And whatever you do, don't listen to people like Dr. Oz who thinks that 2 out of 100 people dying is a perfectly acceptable ratio. Or people like Dr. Phil who make false equivalences like, "We don't shut down the country because of car accidents." Yeah, Phil. Those aren't contagious.
In fact, it's probably not a good idea to take advice from doctors who you only know of because they happen to be celebrities. Especially when their advice and opinions are not just stupid, but actually deadly stupid.
//End rant for today.
2020-04-16 - Social Distancing - Day 32
It's Friday eve!
If I hadn't used that line before, today seems like a good day for it.
Thus concludes the nerdiest post in this blog yet.
2020-04-15 - Social Distancing - Day 31
Still here. Every day, like I said I would be
Some days it's easier to come up with stuff to say than other days. And today is one of those days where I am looking at the blank box where I type this text and thinking to myself, "Self... Do I really want to say what I really want to say?"
Craig Furgeson once said, "Before you post on in the internet, you need to ask yourself 3 things: Does this need to be said? Does this need to be said right now? Does this need to be said right now - by me?"
In this case, since I can answer "yes" to all 3 of those questions, I will say what I think needs to be said.
President Trump demanded that his name be printed on the IRS stimulus checks. Though they say this will not cause any delay, of course we know that's not true. And besides... How much extra is that going to cost us? 17M people are waiting for those checks to buy food and pay rent, you moron. Why does your name need to be on it?! It's not like YOU had anything to do with getting people that money. At all. In any way. Whatsoever. This makes my blood boil that people actually think that is acceptable in any manner!
Oh, and he also decided to defund the WHO in the middle of the worst pandemic in 100 years. Because of how they mishandled it.
What a hypocrite.
I am not going to get all political here, because that is not the point of this blog. But, damn, man, all of that is seriously f'd up. There are some things in this world that are just objectively wrong. And both of those things are clearly, very very wrong.
2020-04-14 - Social Distancing - Day 30
WhooHoo! Day 30!!
This has officially gone on for longer than a February in a leap year. Joy!
In the interest of keeping busy, I made some upgrades to one of my apps. The Dice Roller app for Android now has new types of dice! This should make you D&D players happy.
If you're wondering why such a thing could be useful, you have to consider that game time is probably a great idea while this lockdown is going on. And a spiffy little app like this is a nice alternative to bouncing the dice all of the house and having the cat run away with them.
So, yeah, for today's blog post, you get a plug for one of my apps.
Sorry about that. Except that I'm not. I really hope a bunch of you download it and make good use of it.
2020-04-13 - Social Distancing - Day 29
So begins week 5. I think...
I can only make one-liners about that so many times. But it can't be overstated how strange it is that so much time has passed by so quickly.
If we haven't learned anything else from this, we've all gotten a lot better at video chatting! And thank goodness for that. Because it's ever so nice to see a friendly face from time to time, that is not covered in a mask. Either way, if you stand too close to someone...
Yeah, I know... 6 feet. Sheesh.
It might sound like I'm exaggerating, but if you've been out in public lately, it really feels like that. At least you don't have to worry about getting into a fight over it. That would involve being even closer!
I hope your day goes well. If you're in the northeast, or, most of the east, actually, watch out for flying debris like trees and cars. Today is a good day to not complain about having to stay inside.
2020-04-12 - Social Distancing - Day 28
Easter is closed. Rabbit out front should have told you.
Well, it's not really, depending on how you look at it.
Either way, have a happy Easter. Spend some time with your family. Because, you know, there hasn't been enough of that for the past 27 days.
I've got some stuff to do today, but I'll be back with a proper blog entry later.
[This space resevered for later this afternoon.]
Okay. It's afternoon now. See, I couldn't say anything before, because my Mom reads this. We went down to suprise her for Easter. Now that that has happened, I won't be spoiling the surprise. We still practiced the whole social dinstancing thing. So we got out of the car (my son and I), and stood in the driveway with my sister and her family.
You might think that this is equal parts of sad, silly, and a nice, heartwarming thing to do. Because that's exactly what it was. I know it meant a lot to my mum.
And now back to your regularly schedule Easter, already in progress.
Stay safe. Those things are not to be messed with.
2020-04-11 - Social Distancing - Day 27
It's Easter Eve!
And, oh yeah, it's on! Of course in my world, I celebrate the rabbit and the eggs and the candy and the fun. So the churches being closed doesn't change anything for me. Except that we can't go visit the family like we usually do. But I'm not dwelling on that. I'm gonna show the Easter Bunny coming in with a Fury. Literally.
In other news, the weather seems to be better today, and less apt to try to kill us like it has the past couple of days. As such, it will be time to do the first cutting of the lawn. This is accompanied by the ritual of filling the gas can, and hoping that the mower starts. And today, while I am wearing my mask it will be for the practical reason of not wanting to breath in a bunch of dust and lawn trimmings. That will be refreshing.
2020-04-10 - Social Distancing - Day 26
Get out your mask and wear it proudly
If you don't have one, make one. You've gotta have something on hand. A bandana, a T-shirt, a bra... Make your mask out of toilet paper, if you have any left!
I wanna make one like this:
In NJ, if nowhere else, the new mandate is that if you absolutely, positively, have to go out, you need to wear a mask. I was out at the store the other day. I had mine on. I'd say about 60% of other people I saw were also wearing some manner of face covering. The ones that were not were looking at me kind of strangely. Like, was I wearing mine upside down or something?
I dunno. Maybe they weren't. Maybe this is just further evidence of the weirdest time in history. Nothing is normal anymore.
Thank goodness it's Friday. We can all look forward to Saturday, which is exactly the same as every other day! I was joking yesterday that when this is all over, we aren't going to be able to tell our stories to people. This isn't like some isolated incident like a snowstorm, where once it's over, we can tell people what it was like. Everyone is doing the exact same thing right now. All we can discuss is, "So, did you have a good pandemic?"
I'm gonna have to wait until I have grandkids so that I can tell them, of "The Plague of 2020".
2020-04-09 - Social Distancing - Day 25
So, how are things?
That really does seem to be the question. And I suppose it depends on who you ask. I mean, more so that usual. All I can say is, I hope you and yours are doing well. Only another 6 months to go!! (Right?)
Today I will tell of the MacBook Pro I've had sitting on my office floor for a bunch of months. My sister inherited the machine in a crippled state and sent it for a repair. It came back in apparently worse shape than it started in. So she passed it to me to see if there was anything I could do.
Seriously, this was months ago. The thing had become invisible on my office floor. I tried a few weeks ago to get the thing charged and powered up, and pretty much gave up. I couldn't even get the thing to pretend it wanted to live.
Last night my sister reached out and said, "Hey, if you could give it another shot, that would be spiffy." So I did. I found a charger that worked with the thing. And it actually responded. LIFE!! Not enough to actually power up, but enough to know that there was a chance. So I left it on the charger overnight.
The part where this story starts to make sense is that I am typing this story on that machine right now. I hacked the password and got into the system and now have control of the whole thing. And by all accounts it seems to be working fine. Evidently, all it really needed was to be charged with a proper charger.
In a way this confirms what I have suspected for some time. That I have magical powers where computers are concerned.
2020-04-08 - Social Distancing - Day 24
Continuing on the freakiest of times
It is on this day that I would like to thank the panicking idiots of this country that determined we would have a toilet paper shortage, and proceeded to buy up all the toilet paper.
There was never any indication at all, whatsoever, that there would be a shortage. But they panicked and bought as much as they could, and in doing so, literally created a toilet paper shortage. Thank you, you bloody morons. Thank you. Because without you, I would never have had the opportunity to order new toilet paper from Amazon because there is literally no other way to find it.
We had plenty here. 3 weeks ago. Now we notice the supplies are running low. And there is STILL no toilet paper in the stores!
It is true what Agent K once said. "People are stupid. A person can be smart. But people are stupid, panicky animals". Or something like that.
I can't believe that people are taking advice from this guy...
So let us take a moment to reflect on the stupidity of people that created a new problem as if we didn't already have enough problems. You guys are the best!
//End sarcastic rant
2020-04-07 - Social Distancing - Day 23
It's spring time!
You know what that means. Pollen and allergies! Joy! That's exactly what we need at a time when every sneeze makes you think you've got the plague.
But, it's also time for box turtles to wake up from their winter sleep. Walter, for that is her name, woke up yesterday.
She didn't even know about this whole virus thing. I'm surprised she didn't just throw her claws up in frustration and go back to sleep.
Speaking of things outside... I finally got my gardens going. I have tons of plants in pots sprouting up. Beds are ready to go, raked and fertilized. Considering I'll be home for most of the growing season for the first time ever, I will hopefully be able to really grow some awesome stuff!
I added a new data visualization to the top line. That is the number of new cases by date by state. It looks like a mess when it first loads. Because NY has the largest share, as everyone knows, the rest of the states look like a jumble of spaghetti underneath. There are filters included so you can filter down to your state.
2020-04-06 - Social Distancing - Day 22
♪ Monday, Monday ♫
And boy what a week it's been so far... Mondays are generally pretty busy at work anyway. But today just seemed to be even heavier than usual.
Make no mistake, I'm not complaining... Got a lot of good stuff done today. And I'm not only talking about normal work. Before I started my workday, I got word that my new Android app is finally live! Also, I added a new data visualization to this blog. If you didn't notice the icons at the top of the page, then you should probably take another look at the top of the page.
The newest viz is one that shows the timeline for this, the most f'd up thing that has ever happened to the world. And on that, the one thing I have to point out is that at long last, the line is starting to point down! For now. Of course, the charts are only as good as the data that I can find. So it might prove to be completely different tomorrow.
2020-04-05 - Social Distancing - Day 21
On the bright side. At least it's not just YOU that's locked down
Could you imagine that? People are already totally weirded out by the whole not being able to go out thing. But in the back of your mind you know that everyone is in the same boat. Which makes it better. And not just a little bit.
I'm not a psychologist, nor do I play one on TV, but imagine the toll it would take on your mind if you were sitting in your house, trapped, while the rest of the world went on about their happy business. In a strange way, that might be the reason that most of us haven't gone completely bonkers yet.
For my part, I'm keeping busy... I think that this World Stats Tableua is finally ready to show. Use a laptop or turn your phone sideways. It's too much for a small screen.
I released a new Android app yesterday. Haven't done that in a while. And since ad revenue is down, I really need to do more of that. I'm also working on updating all of my iPhone apps, which is just one of the biggest pains in the ass imaginable. For all the things Apple does to make their devices user friendly, they sure as hell don't do that for their developers. "Excuse me, but you haven't jumped through enough hoops yet. You need to jump through these. But, wait, you need to jump through THESE first. Oh, I'm sorry, those were not the right hoops. Please try again."
I'm being kind, believe me.
2020-04-04 - Social Distancing - Day 20
It's Saturday again!
Since it is the weekend, I thought I would work on something not 9-5 work related. I was doing some research on online countdowns to the upcoming election. You know, the one where we get the opportunity to undo the greatest mistake in US history. I had my own version of the Countdown to the Election web app, and it get's a little traffic. But what I noticed while I was looking around was there are a bunch of Android apps too.
I really should have jumped on that bandwagon months ago. Because I've got the base code for that sort of app already. The ones I have count down to holidays like Xmas and Halloween, and the next Star Wars movie. Yes. That is also a holiday. So last night when I had some time, I re-purposed one of my existing apps, and now I have this New Android version of the app!
As of the time I am typing this, 10:30AM, it is showing as published on Google Play. But there still might be a delay. If you try to grab the app, and it tells you it's not there, just try again later.
They say that it usually takes some 7 days to get apps approved, what with everyone working from home. So it would be astonishing to get this one approved so quickly. I will post in the coming days when it is available for real-like. Then, please download it and tell all your friends.
2020-04-03 - Social Distancing - Day 19
It's Thursday. I mention that because I know you were wondering.
Actually, it's Friday. And don't lie. You just looked at a calendar to double check. You're welcome.
Anyway, I haven't done a whole lot of posting about the same thing twice in a row, but I'm doing it right now. Yesterday... Hang on... A freak windstorm just blew my garbage cans completely across the neighborhood.
Okay... I'm back. Where was I? Oh, right... Yesterday I told a short story about discovering that Tableau Public is a thing, and I can tie it to my existing data set to make cool visualizations of the data that I've been tracking.
I am working on a second one for the entire world. I would post a link to it, but it's just not ready to show. I'll link that up once it's ready. It's pretty similar to many things already out there but my version includes a couple of extra things. Formulas that were left out of other sets.
On a personal note about the state of technology... Even at 50 years old, I am astonished at the amount of technology that is out there and free to use, as long as you can figure out how. The kinds of things I can do from home today were unheard of 30 years ago (or even 10 years ago). It's just an amazement to me. I feel like a little kid sometimes. And that's probably the reason that I am still so into this kinda stuff. There is no end to the amount of things we can do. These are awesome times we live in, current pandemic situation not withstanding.
Well, off for another day working from a room with a view. Whatever you're doing today, try to get some exercise. Jog around the block, or bench press the couch or something.
2020-04-02 - Social Distancing - Day 18
Happy to be working. It's keeping me sane.
Speaking of which... I was working on the stats page, updating the totals, and it occurred to me that many sources have interactive maps. And I thought to myself, "Self, it would be really convenient if there were a way to tie this data I am working on to an interactive map." So I searched around for a free version of the data visualization software I use for my real job. And to my surprise, there is one. As a result, the stats page now has a link to THIS PAGE, which is an interactive visualization of the State level data.
I was vaguely aware that a public version of Tableau existed, mostly from searching around for help. It's a pretty complicated bit of software. But I never had a need for it until now. Of course, now that I have a need, I'm going to use the hell out of it. Like I mentioned before, I use it for work all the time. It helps people that don't like looking at numbers, understand what the numbers actually mean.
2020-04-01 - Social Togetherness - Day 17
yaD slooF lirpA yppaH
Don't worry. By all accounts April Fool's Day will be moved to tomorrow.
Wouldn't it be great if we all woke up today and found out that this has just been one gigantic prank, culminating on April 1st?! "We got you!!"
Bah... Worst April Fool's prank ever.
Well, however you plan on spending your day today, make sure that you keep your pranks to the sort that won't send someone to the emergency room. That would probably be really funny any other time. But this is 2020, the year of the most f'd up thing that has ever happened that was, in fact, not a hoax.
In addition... What a difference 1 month can make, am I right?
More can be found on Twitter - that was my contribution.
2020-03-31 - Social Distancing - Day 16
At least I've been busy
As long as we are counting days, I would like to draw attention to this spiffy program I've had running for the past couple of years.
Countdown to the new year. According to that program, we are on day #91 of the most screwed up year any of us have ever seen. Or, to put it another way, we are 24.694% of the way through. It would be great if I could repurpose that program to countdown to the end of this pandemic. But since we don't know when that is, that will be quite impossible. On a more comical note, one of the additions I made to that thing was stuff flying through the air that changes based on the season. We are currently in the Spring, so we get flower petals. But in a few weeks, we will be in summer. So the program will have a special update to include dudes like this:
I know this all serves no purpose other than to be entertaining. But if you are denying the importance of entertainment right now, you are really doing this whole lockdown the wrong way.
On that note, I finished watching Picard the other day. It took a weird turn in the very last 2-part episode. Which is strange because the first 8 episodes were among the best in history. Then they suddenly realized that had to wrap it up. Still, if you are a Star Trek fan, or even just a Patrick Stewart fan, I highly recommend getting out the popcorn and binge watching that one.
Hope everyone is still healthy. And as I said yesterday... Take some time to help someone that needs it. As the days drag on, those people are going to become more numerous.
2020-03-30 - Social Distancing - Day 15 (right?)
The new normal
Welcome to day 1 of 30 more days of Social Distancing! Or to put it another way, 2/3rds of the way through something we had hoped would end by now. Alas, 30 more days is looking like the new normal optimism.
If you're curious to know what my view has been for the past couple of weeks, here you go.
The Chromebook is my Spotify player - Special thanks to Maynard for finally allowing all Tool, APC, and Puscifer on that system. The Centaur machine is because there must always be something from the mid 80's around...
I really wish I had more fun stuff to say this morning. But I am genuinely worried and concerned. So I will now say something directly. An additional 30 days of shutdown is going to hurt people. And not just a little bit. I worry for all the people that cannot work. I worry for the businesses that must remain closed. I worry that this is going to cause irreparable harm to this country. And the sucky thing is that it is unavoidable. The train has already come off the tracks. And we don't even know when it will stop bouncing across the landscape, smashing everything in sight, before finally grinding to a halt.
So take moment today to consider what you can do to help someone that is going to be impacted by this set of events. Look out for each other. In the very short term at least, stop wasting breath by trying to assign blame. There will be plenty of time for that later.
2020-03-29 - Social Distancing - Day 14
We made it through the two weeks!
I remember those carefree days two weeks ago when we were told that we just needed to hunker down and stay locked in for 2 weeks. At the risk of stating the obvious, we all knew that was just optimism wrapped in a big bundle of hope. At least it looks like things are getting better, right? No? Ah, crap.
Today I would like to send a big thank you to Al Gore, I mean, Tim Berners Lee for inventing the internet. The single most important form of communication and entertainment to ever grace the human race. Not to mention that you can use it to get work done too. I should mention that, yes, I am well aware of the irony of how badly Tim's own page is in need of a makeover. I honestly intended to link to his Wikipedia page. But that one came up first, so there you have it.
We use the internet for everything nowadays. A huge chunk of the workforce was already working from home before this happened. And now a much larger chunk is. Just about everyone who was working at a computer or on the phone 2 weeks ago, is still doing that, but doing it from home.
Our movies, TV, video games, even phone calls, are all dependent on the internet. When the movie theaters closed, many films suddenly became avialable on streaming services. Something that has literally never happened before.
In short, if this crisis had happened in 1992, we would be in FAR worse shape than we are today. In fact, I know this. Because I remember a particularly bad snowstorm that year that had us locked down for 4 days. And absolutely nothing got done. And we were bored. Although, I was also in my early 20's and more concerned about running out of beer than anything else. But still...
The point is, we are actually able to function today. Many businesses simply changed their working model to allow most things to be done remotely. And they did it remarkably fast!
It would not be possible, in any practical sense, to maintain anything close to this level of stability without this communication backbone. We would have no choice but to be out there coughing and sneezing on each other. So let us take a moment to thank the nerds of the world that have provided us with this technology that allows us to get through this situation without this becoming another scene from The Walking Dead.
2020-03-28 - Social Distancing - Day 13
We are on our second Saturday
It's getting difficult to tell what day it is. I remember back in the good old days when we used to watch broadcast TV and you always knew what day it was by what happened to be on that night. We don't do that any more, unless you watch Better Call Saul. Which is on Monday's, by the way.
Speaking of TV shows that are not on broadcast TV, CBS decided it was a good time to enact a 30-day trial for their streaming service. And, look, I have no problem giving them a plug for it right here. Because once the 30 days is over, I will not be staying on board. We have to pick and choose which streaming services we will actually keep. And I've got enough. But I will be consuming all the new Star Trek I can in those 30 days.
Which brings me to the point... I've been watching Picard. Short review: It's truly awesome! To say any more would spoil it. But I will add on that there is a reason that Patrick Stewart is regarded as one of the best actors in human history. Even though Picard is in serial form (unusual for Star Trek), it is an incredibly well done show.
In this time of sitting around waiting for the world to get back to normal, we have to find whatever silver linings we can. New video entertainment is clearly pretty high on everyone's list.
2020-03-27 - Social Distancing - Day 12
Is there light at the end of the tunnel?
The ongoing joke is that, "Yes, there is a light. It's a train coming at you." So I'm not going to make that joke. I actually have something else to say about that. But first, an update that cannot wait... Because I'm sure that all of your are just chomping at the bit for the status of the puzzle. It's finished!
Some 7 days and countless hours of staring at pieces that all look remarkably alike. In fact many of the pieces WERE alike and even fit in places where they shouldn't. But we persevered and finished it. Now, you may notice looking at the picture that there are 2 pieces missing. That'll drive your OCD right up the wall. After this picture was taken, my son's girlfriend, unwilling to accept the incomplete image, got out the flashlight and started searching. She found them both. Here, we were willing to settle for 998/1000. She was not.
Now... What I was saying about the light at the end of the tunnel. I updated the Stats Page here and added some new things. Notably a new State list. But more importantly, there was a spike in the number of cases in the US. That is something we've been waiting for. Because that is the first step in finally setting up an end game to this mess. Hopefully. Please read more on that stats page. I don't want to type it all again.
2020-03-26 - Social Distancing - Day 11
The weirdness continues
To say that this is the weirdest time in history is a ridiculous understatement. If you go out on the town, and at some point you must, you will see that there is still a lot of activity out there. But everyone is staying away from each other. In many cases they won't even make eye contact with you. This may be because people are afraid that looking at someone will get them sick. But it might also be because people don't want to be shamed for being outside the house.
It might sound like I'm mocking this, but let's be clear - I am not doing that at all. I firmly believe that staying home and staying away from people is the only way this thing is ever going to get under control. But it is sometimes unavoidable - you will need to go out for food and stuff. And let's face it, it's a good idea to patronize your favorite restaurants because we want them to be there when this is over.
We went to pick up a pizza yesterday. You have to call ahead, and bring exact change. Then they bring it out to your car. The most encouraging thing about this is that the place seemed to be doing some pretty good business!
On to other things... Last night we initiated game night. Settlers of Catan was the game of choice. Back in the days before Fortnite and stuff like that, humans used to play these very elaborate board games. We got turned on to that one so long ago that I don't even remember. Settlers is very like Monopoly except that it's fun to play, has definitive rules, the board is different every time, only takes an hour or so to play, and doesn't cause the losers to upend the table in a screaming fit. Actually, other than dice and cards, it's not like Monopoly at all.
2020-03-25 - Social Distancing - Day 10
We have reached double digits!
No big surprise there. Will today be the day that we can finally see the light at the end of the tunnel? That's highly unlikely. So today's biggest decision will be what sweat pants to wear.
My puzzle is almost finished. It is at some 2/3rds of the way right now! Of course this means that my biggest fear is that the cats will get into a huge fight and scatter the whole thing across the house.
Well, it's time to start my workday. I'm headed to the office. Not that one. The one in the dining room.
Update: I happened to be doing some research on the stats for this whole thing. I'm a data nerd after all. I decided that I would create a new page as part of this blog to show updated statistics for how things are going. Notice the new link at the top for Current Statistics. It is basically Google's data that refreshes once an hour, but simplified, and most importantly, a column showing precentages. I really don't know why they left that out. Because numbers are good. But they don't mean as much without context. Percentages provide that context.
To illustrate what I mean, miscounting by 1 isn't so bad when you're counting to 1000. But it's really bad when you only have to count to 2.
2020-03-24 - Social Distancing - Day 9
This blog will be going for longer than 2 weeks
That was an amusing talking point in yesterday's team meeting. "It looks like this is the norm for the next month or so."
What do ya say we look at the bright side of things a bit... Think of all the money we are saving on gas. Think of much pollution has gone down in the world.
Here is a crazy theory that I just came up with:
What if the Earth is a gigantic super organism, and that organism is threatened by one of its species becoming too many and causing too much damage to its vital systems. It could create something like antibodies as a means of controlling that species. Pollution levels and population decrease allowing for more stability across the entire system.
I would compare this to how the human body produces white blood cells to hunt down pathogens in the system.
I'm not saying we are basically victims of the Earth's immune system, but what if we are basically victims of the Earth's immune system?
Whereas I really did just come up with that, I am quite sure I'm not the first to think of it.
2020-03-23 - Social Distancing - Day 8
Today is the beginning of the fiscal month for me. Because I actually AM working from home, rather than pretending to. So I've got a lot to do and it's keeping me busy. Which is a good thing. Because if the alternative was to watch TV or read the news, I would probably get very angry very quickly.
I just keep telling myself, "it could be worse." Because you bet your ass it could. At least the weather is nice, right?
Well, back to work for me! I hope you are all having a good, healthy and safe day. And I hope you are staying home.
2020-03-22 - Social Distancing - Day 7
IT ain't over yet
In the immortal words of Frank Zappa, "great googily moogily." So begins Day 7 of "stay in the house". And now, here in NJ it's been ramped up to, "Stay in the house, or else!!"
If you've been following this blog, you'll be happy to see that I added some helpful links to the top of the page. If you want to keep up with current news and stats, those are the best places to go. Whatever you do, don't get your news from Facebook. And whatever else you do, don't take your advice from the current administration. Their advice is so bad that it is causing people to overdose on unapproved, do-it-yourself remedies.
Anyway... I woke up this morning with a really cool idea for a project. So I created a new demo for my site showing how to have multiple languages on one page. It's not done yet. I still need to finish the translations and the tutorial section. But I thought I'd show that as a work in progress, and to show I'm using my time in a productive manner.
I think that today will be, "clean the hell out of the house" day. What with having both the kids home for the foreseeable future, things a piling up faster. But the real point is that we always complain about not having enough time to do stuff around here. Now we've got nothing but time.
2020-03-21 - Social Distancing - Day 6
Funny thing about Saturdays when you're working from home. They don't mean quite so much. (Thank you Les Claypool)
I have something to say today about how this situation is being handled. There seems to be lot of people saying, "If you think Trump is doing a bad job, what do you think he should be doing?" I have a very simple answer to that question. And for the record, I would say this about anyone. This isn't about Trump. That answer is:
"He should step back and let people who know what they are doing handle it."
"But, blah blah..."
"No... He has lied to us enough about this. His dismissive statements and straight up lies at the onset made the situation worse. No one trusts him. He cannot fix this because no one trusts him. He needs to step aside."
Care to weigh in?
Happy Saturday, everyone. Be safe.
2020-03-20 - Social Distancing - Day 5
Taking a ride
This is the first time this week that I am not posting about working from home, building a puzzle, and listening to the daily reports of what percentage of the world is suffering more than yesterday. Since all colleges have decided to close for the rest of the school year, I need to take a ride to upstate New York to move my daughter out.
When we grabbed her for spring break, we had hoped and expected to bring her back at the end of the month to continue the rest of the year. Yeah, not so much. So we have to drive up one more time just to get her stuff.
At least there are plenty of places to stop if I need to go to the bathroom. Oh, wait... No there's not. They closed all the rest areas.
2020-03-19 - Social Distancing - Day 4
Still working from home, of course
Once again, we wake up to, "We still don't have this under control or know how long it will last." Thanks for that. I really have to stop myself from writing up how frustrating this is because it seems to me that if you are reading this right now, you are probably looking for a distraction.
I've actually gotten a lot done in the past few days. Not only with actual work - because I really AM working from home, but work for my personal sites as well. There is also a 1000 piece puzzle that my son and his girlfriend effectively abandoned a few months ago. It's taken about a day and a half to get it to where he said, "Yeah, that's about how far we made it."
My hope is that we can finish the puzzle before this is done. My fear is that we will have to buy a few more puzzles.
Hey - here's a fun thing to do. Let's run a poll to see what your thoughts are on our president's response to this whole mess:
How do you rate Trump's response to the pandemic?
I'll post results once we get some responses...
2020-03-18 - Social Distancing - Day 3
So begins another day
Morning: I went out to pick up food last night. It was sad as hell walking into the restaurant, and all the chairs are on the table, the bar is empty. The only other person there was the bartender. Understandably upset because it was St Patrick's day, and the place should have been jumpin.
For what it's worth, we intend to continue to order food out. Partly because it's a good way to hold on to our food in case this gets worse. But also to continue to patronize the local businesses who are in real danger of losing everything.
That is all for now.
2020-03-17 - Social Distancing - Day 2
Still Working from Home
It's about 9:30AM as I make this post for today - and I'll likely get back to it later. I keep hoping that we are going to wake up and get some spectacular news that we can finally see the end to this nightmare. But obviously that hasn't happened yet. In fact, it seems to be the opposite.
I'm back... Now that I just told Fark.com about this, hello to all my Fark friends.
Off in the background I'm hearing all the news conferences, one after another telling us all the same stuff we already know. One thing I didn't know was that George Lucas can do sign language.
Let's be honest here... I can't read sign language. But I'm pretty sure that's the sign for "Use the Force". That is good advice anytime.
2020-03-16 - Social Distancing - Day 1
Working from Home
Yeah, great fun so far. It appears I will indeed be working from home for the next 2 weeks at the very least. This is upsetting to me because I actually like going into the office.
Whether upsetting or not, I will be setting up camp here in the house.
In the meantime, as of 8:00PM all businesses like bars, movies, and gyms are closing until further notice. And Idris Elba has tested positive! C'mon Covid-19. That's just wrong.
Anyway... I actually did get a lot of work done today. I went and got one of my monitors from my desk in the office because the little laptop screen might be fine for 1 day, but 2 weeks?! Nooooo...
I also got this blog working. Much of the code for this was already written. I just repurposed it for this thing. It's good to be a nerd.