A Post-Break Break

Had a nice visit with Cassi here recently. It had been a little while since she last stayed, so with that – and her birthday falling on one of the days – I decided to go up and grab her for a few nights. We didn’t plan or do anything special, like usual, but instead just enjoyed having company and a change of scenery to clear our thoughts for a couple of days. She actually brought a bunch of her crafting supplies with her this time, so she worked on that stuff while I worked on redoing the zip ties on all my PC wiring, after replacing my old keyboard with a new mechanical one that I recently picked up.

We considered going for a drive to see if we could spot any abandoned houses on the country roads around here, but it’s too easy to just get comfy in the living room and watch TV all day long, so that’s what we ended up mostly doing. I took her home yesterday, but in my books today didn’t really count. I mean, the Daytona 500 was today (don’t get me started… heh) so I didn’t plan for anything other than that… so tomorrow will be my first “back to business” days as far as I’m concerned.

I started work on some things around the house that I want to continue, so the first couple of days of the week will be for kicking around the house and doing that sort of thing. I’m gonna save my in-town running for the middle of the week, when I’ll probably also try to make myself stop by the doctor’s office to schedule that appointment that I’ve continued to put off. Oh, and the steroid injection… I’m not sure if it’s just because I’ve been in a better mood due to having some company, but I do think that I’m noticing some improvement. Not huge… but noticeable. I don’t want to jinx myself though, and I’m certainly not saying anything definitive based on a few days of “maybe slightly better.”

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RfD – Reality For Dummies

There is an epidemic in America these days. It’s a damaging combination of ignorance, anger, stubbornness, apathy, gullibility, reluctance, spite, denial, and straight up stupidity. (Among at least a dozen other harmful ways of thinking.) Since this post will revolve mostly around political opinions or beliefs, let me say that I don’t even care what “side” you’re on when it comes to any particular issue… I just want you to be able to recognize and accept things that are false, just as I want you to be able to recognize and accept things that are truthful. Operating within the bounds of reality, to put it simply. Apparently, though, that’s something that can prove to be incredibly difficult for an obscene amount of humans on this planet.

  • Robert Mueller and his team announce 13 new indictments resulting from their investigation. Most of the people are Russian, not linked to Donald Trump in any specific way, and it says the people that the Russians did work with were unwitting participants… unaware that their strings were being pulled by Russians.

Donald Trump and his supporters immediately seized on this news, and either through ignorance or deception – spun it as some sort of huge vindication for Trump. Going on about how the actions of those Russians had no impact on the election, and that it proves that Donald Trump and his campaign “did nothing wrong” and that there was no collusion. All of that, and more, based on these specific indictments on that specific day.

RfD Explanation: 1) Nobody can say with certainty that the actions of the Russians had zero impact on the election results. You can only say that if you know for certain what would have happened without Russian interference, which is impossible. 2) As for the “did nothing wrong” and “no collusion” claims… those claims can both be true for this incident, with these indictments, while still allowing for those claims to be false when it comes to anything else in the investigation. If the FBI is investigating the mob and they arrest some low level shmuck – just because it was “the shmuck” that was picked up, it obviously doesn’t guarantee that the mob leaders are innocent and will never be caught and charged in the future. That shouldn’t even need explanation.

  • President Obama created DACA protections through an executive order, which Donald Trump has since nullified once he came into office.

In the time since then, Donald Trump has been endlessly tweeting about how Democrats don’t want to help DACA, they don’t really want DACA, they only want it as a campaign issue, and how badly DACA recipients have been treated by the Democrats. He also claims that Republicans are the ones who are working hard to save it, that they want to make a deal to save DACA, and that he’s offering DACA as a great deal to Democrats.

RfD Explanation: Donald Trump single-handedly ended DACA. There shouldn’t be a need for elaboration after that, but… not only is Trump responsible for DACA being in the dire position that it’s in, but he and the Republicans will not vote on a clean DACA bill. He wants to use it as a bargaining chip – the exact thing that he has accused the Democrats of wanting to do. Democrats were even willing to deal, to offer requested funding for “The Wall” in a bipartisan deal that would save DACA – but Trump went back on his word and rejected the deal, feeling he wasn’t getting enough from the Democrats to save DACA. Simply put, the GOP controls the senate and the house, so if Trump wanted to save DACA as he claims, the Republicans could do it themselves – with just a few (happily given) votes from Democrats. Every argument he makes on this is nonsense.

  • Rob Goldman, Vice President of Advertising at Facebook, made several tweets about their part in the Mueller investigation – since they’re being looked at due to Russians buying blocks of advertising on the site before and after the election. He wrote today that “I have seen all of the Russian ads and I can say very definitively that swaying the election was *NOT* the main goal.”

RfD Explanation: The problem with this statement is that Donald Trump and loads of his followers started retweeting this information as fact. That the Russians were “definitively” not trying to sway the election. However, unless the ad buyers directly told Goldman the goal of their plan – his use of the word “definitively” is a huge issue. He can look at all the ads, he can look at other information, but his conclusion is simply an opinion or impression – not something that should be presented as a fact, and then retweeted by Trump as a fact. It would be like me saying “I read this help wanted ad, and can say definitively that they wouldn’t hire my friend Jim.” It’s not something that can be claimed as fact.


Those are just the three most recent incidents in my mind, where people are being sold a load of horse shit – and they either don’t care or they don’t know any better, so they run with it and repeat it to others as gospel as well. As long as something fits the preferred narrative that someone already has in their head, they’re not going to apply critical thought. Some others… they might actually suspect (or even know) that a piece of information may be partially or completely false, but for some reason they’d rather feel right (with others that think like them) than actually be right.

I’m sure there are some Trump supporters who started out legitimately putting their hope into the guy. Wanting to give him a chance, and believing his words when he’d say how much he was gonna fight for “the little guy” or whatever it was that sold himself to them. Over time though, I’m sure that many of those folks started questioning, and then realizing… that in so many instances, Trump is ridiculously full of shit. But by that point they’re already fully invested – and even just acknowledging the lies and deceptions to themselves is something they aren’t willing to do. Realizing and admitting that you’ve been suckered, even just to yourself, is a difficult thing to do. Nobody likes feeling duped… and many Trump supporters, to me at least, seem like they’d rather angrily defend everything about him and their support for him, rather than allowing anyone else to see that they’ve realized how much they’ve been conned. Their feet are dug in at that point, and nothing will change their mind about how they’re gonna play the rest of the game.

I’m not sure which people are more scary/frustrating to me. The ones who know that Trump (or whoever) is full of shit most of the time, or the folks who really do believe everything that Trump (or whoever) says. I can understand people in the first group, but the second group… how can anyone be so oblivious when they’re being lied to over and over? But hell, in both instances – I can’t help but feel a little bit sorry for them. It would suck to put your faith into someone that turned out to be a snake oil salesman, just as it would suck to be so blinded by hope that you can no longer recognize fact from fiction.

The divide between folks like me and folks like them… it’s getting bigger and bigger with each day that passes. On top of that, while I thought that when it comes to politics, that people would start to consider themselves more as independents, as issue based thinkers and voters – but the opposite seems to be true. Democrats/liberals are moving farther to the left just as quickly as Republicans/conservatives are moving farther to the right. Things feel broken and somewhat irreparable, and I don’t see how it’s going to get any better any time soon. That’s what brings me back to the topic of this post. If people could just make more of an effort to find/recognize/admit truths and resist lies and bullshit, and act on those truths and lies accordingly, things would have to get a little better, right?

Faith In Medicine

Got up early yesterday and went and got that steroid injection taken care of. Since I was having it done at a local “surgery pavilion” (yeah 🙄 I know) it ended up feeling like the real deal. 😯🏥 I had to strip and change into a gown in the staging type room, got all wired up with sensors and an IV, was rolled way down to a procedure room full of huge lab machines, and when I was done they wheeled me all the way back up to a different area (recovery) where, after having my vitals taken a couple more times, I got dressed again and then had some bloke guide me to the exit. 😳

The doctor that did the procedure is the same one that I’ve been seeing every month for the past decade, so after seeing him for years in “diagnostic mode” – it was kewl to see him in that environment, runnin’ the theater, calling out to either of the nurses for this and that, and then of course jabbing me with needles. 💉😬 And I’ll admit, some of the stuff hurt a little more than I expected. Kind of like when you get a tattoo on your bicep, the underneath part is super sensitive… well, in order to get me numbed up, the area(s) that he had to hit repeatedly with the lidocaine injections had that same “YOWZA!” effect.

So, the site was numb, and he went in… needle, then saline, then dye, then… oops, a bit of blood. 😯 I’m not sure exactly how bad that could be, but none of them seemed worried and he decided to try one level lower instead. (Which means I had to go through the anesthetic process all over again. Yay.) This time it went without issue… but let me tell you, it’s quite an unusual sensation having extra fluid (as limited as it probably was) pumped into your spine. It’s like it’s used to a certain “normal” pressure, and that bit of extra… at least for me, it was like someone plopped down on my back for a few minutes. So strange.

My doctor is awesome though… and I’ve probably said that to various people in various places over 100 times by now. 😏 But he talked to me through the whole thing, told me everything that was happening, everything that was getting ready to happen, and then when I was in the recovery room he came out and showed me the pictures, described it all over again to make me feel at ease, and that was about it. 🤗 There was a lot more “fuss” than I was expecting, but if I notice that it’s making a difference over the next few weeks I certainly won’t object to doing it again when needed. 🤨 ‘Cuz something’s gotta give… something has to eventually work better on me again, right?

The day before all of this, I stopped in again to see Mom and Dad. 👪 As I was telling him about what I was getting ready for, he mentioned the procedure that he was getting ready to have… but he said it in such a “matter of fact / no big deal” type of way that I didn’t really pause to consider the seriousness. 🤔 More serious than mine, anyway. A heart cath is one of those common-ish surgeries where you just expect that cardiac surgeons can basically do them in their sleep… but each patient can obviously be very, very different – so you can’t really say for sure how safe it is or isn’t. 👨🏻‍⚕️👍🏻

But, and I think it started way back when Mom had a brain tumor removed, for whatever reason I just have a strong faith in medicine, the people that practice it, along with the technology and science behind it. 🤷🏻‍♂️ Yeah, I’m all fucked up now, but not because of the fusion surgery… it was because of the delay of the surgery. So that’s why I wasn’t sweating my injection yesterday, and why I’m only slightly sweating Dad’s upcoming procedure. Oh, and you may have noticed that I didn’t mention God in all those things I said have faith in… but yeah, he’s absolutely watching over all of it, for all of us, so while it’s not a guarantee – it does add a subconscious sense of “unconcern” when thinking about it all.

Sunset Repair

Beautiful sunset when I went out to my car this evening. It’s a shame about the power lines and utility poles… I mean, it would be a shame if I didn’t have the skillz to fix it. 😏 (This was just a quick edit to see if it’d be difficult.)

180 Minutes

As usual, knowing that I have things that I want to do today, my brain decided to screw my sleep last night. 😒🙇🏻‍♂️ Strangely enough, even after getting only three hours of sleep this morning, I actually woke up without much pain and feeling pretty good. 😧🤷🏻‍♂️ Perhaps it was a positive product of not being in pain when I went to sleep as well… and the early rising was likely due to my subconscious thoughts being all “BLARGHARRGGH STUFF TO DO TOMORROW ARGGHHBLAHH” thanks to the plans floating around in my head.

I’m not mad though… I mean, there’s not much I can do about it anyway. 🤨 I’m not even feeling stressed, so I don’t know why my brain decided to cut my sleep short, but I’m actually glad that it did. Because, first, I plan to spend all of this morning and some of the afternoon just being lazy, while also working on some bills – and second, it should work wonders for getting me on the right schedule for my upcoming appointment with my neck doctor. ☺👍🏻 I’m sure I’d feel differently if I hadn’t been gifted this inexplicable yet reasonably good mood upon opening my eyes.

While I’ve been sitting here at the laptop, I used the time to download several different RTL-SDR programs for use with the NESDR SMArt USB tuner that arrived the other day. 🤓 I’m still amazed that it, along with a handful of antennas, only sets a buyer back twenty-five bucks shipped. 😯 The build on this thing feels solid, too… with them having spent the extra money to put these things into brushed aluminum housings rather than using cheap plastic. The drivers installed without issue when I plugged it up to the laptop, so as soon as I’ve got an hour or so of uninterrupted time ahead of me I’m gonna start figuring out what all she can do. 😎

Now, if I was smart I would use this extra “awake time” to stop by my doctor’s office and make an appointment regarding my thyroid. But, at least for today, I’m not claiming to be smart. 😔 I’m already planning to stop by and see Mom and Dad late in the afternoon, and I don’t really wanna drop the “unknown” of scheduling an appointment to find out what’s wrong. 🤕 I know, making an appointment today wouldn’t mean I’d be seen any sooner than in a couple of weeks, but I’d rather just not plop it in with today’s events – especially when I’m feeling better than average at the moment. 🤷🏻‍♂️

Okay, I better get my ass off of here and get busy chilling. (And bills. Don’t forget the bills. 😏)

I Vaguely Remember Hobbies

Accidentally allowed myself to feel a little too good yesterday. 😏 As a result I spent a good chunk of the afternoon and evening talking at length with Jim, Amy, Genesee, Ric… and here it is almost 7am the next day and I’m still wide awake. 😒 Not a big deal, I guess, since I already dealt with the pressing phone calls yesterday. I suppose I’ll just see how long I can stay up, take a nap for a couple of hours, and then hopefully get myself back onto a normal sleep schedule tonight. 🤷🏻‍♂️ If not… meh.

I ran into Ric (online) as I was watching the Logan Police Department’s live stream. We were catching up with each others’ hobbies, or lack thereof, when he asked me if I had looked into software based radio devices. 🤔🤓 I remember Dad talking about being able to buy cards or external devices for amateur radio use, which could be controlled by a GUI on a PC… but I realized that I never looked into it any further than that.

Well, I guess the current “big thing” is police scanners that operate in that same fashion. A few years ago, when many of the LEOs and EMTs started going to trunked or digital systems, the only real games in town were Radio Shack or Uniden police scanners that could easily run in the $300 to $400 range. 😬 But as Hong Kong has a habit of doing, there are now $25 devices (USB? Other?) that you can hook up to a PC that can do the same thing as those scanners (and more) once you find the appropriate software. 😃

So yeah, that definitely perked my ears… and after I get some rest today I’ll probably get back on the laptop and start doing a little research on those things. The info comes at just the right time too, as my portable scanner is starting to show its age. I’ll update further if I end up pulling the trigger.