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Running thoughts on the shut in

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.  Whaaaat???

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.

So...

Plug!

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.  booooo

I guess that's better then have the rocket explode in a weather accident.

Maybe Saturday...

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.  

That's why.

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.

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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.

The first image in a slideshow

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

Stats update

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
Worldwide 4,262,051 291,961 6.85% 100.00%
United States 1,400,741 83,082 5.93% 32.87%

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.

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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.

gift certificate

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. 

Plug!

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.

Show the other 53 records -->

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.

NY and NJ

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.

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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!!

Gazebo

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.

Like this old Star Wars Fan Film I did...

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! 

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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

What it's like to work for 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.  bang head 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

Shopping day

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?!  alien  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.

Click here to check it out

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.

My newest project is done.  Witness the firepower of this fully armed and operational Yahtzee Game written entirely in JavaScript.  A few days ago I was talking about the upgrade that I made to my Android Dice Roller app.  It got me thinking about what the next upgrade for that app should be.  I was thinking that perhaps a Yahtzee mode would be a good idea.  So I took a few hours and fleshed out a complete proof of concept in JavaScript.

A note from a very nerdy point of view...  JavaScript has come a long way in terms of how it can be used.  It's not just for modifying forms anymore.  It is far more functional than people give it credit for.  This project is done entirely in raw vanilla JavaScript.  No libraries.  No plugins. If you have any interest in seeing exactly how this is done, right click on the page and view the source.  Or, if you want to start a little slower, take a look at the first run of the Dice Roller.  That has a full tutorial with 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.

Pot calling Kettle black

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.

Plug!

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...

Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1978 film) - Wikipedia

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.

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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.

Fark user image
 (click image for full size in Fark.com Photoshop contest.)

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:

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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.  

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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.

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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. laughing 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.

datavis icon

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!!" LaughALot clap

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?

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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:

ladybug

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. Popcorn

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.

My workstation:

workstation

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!

puzzle done

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

Happy Monday

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?

radar

Oh, c'mon!

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

Saturday

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. The Hulk

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."

Puzzle undone

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.

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. Nerd

jvhmetalart