Weekend / Winter Prep

I’m glad that today’s a Saturday, ‘cuz I can definitely use the additional time watching football and NASCAR to allow the morning meds to kick in and start helping out before I try to get up and do anything. It was a cold one last night, and I’ve yet to put a thicker comforter on the bed, so I just woke up more gimped than usual. πŸ˜•πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ But days like today are why I try to be somewhat productive on the days that I can, so I don’t feel like I’m being lazy when it takes half-a-day before I’m worth a shit. 😏

Once the game is over I’m gonna head in town to grab some Rax and go visit with Dad for a while. I’ll probably also stop by the thrift store in the Plaza while I’m out, to see how their comforter section looks. ‘Cuz to be honest I’d rather sleep under a pile of blankets than to have to keep my house at 70 degrees around the clock.

But yeah, I think that’ll be the extent of my “plans” for today. Keeping it light and easy, especially since tomorrow is already reserved for bills, paperwork, catching up on housework, etc. Getting out of the house here in a bit will probably help, but today just seems weird for some reason.Β πŸ€”πŸ˜Β I suppose it’s the bunch of little “meh” things collectively making it feel like the day never really got a solid start, so I guess I’m just feeling a bit restless because of it. πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ One of these days I’ll eventually “be okay” with just being a potato on the days where being a potato feels like the reasonable thing to do. 😏

It’s okay to treat the weekend like a weekend, man… πŸ˜…Β Β (Or any day, for that matter…)

Weather Complications

Gen’s trip to Ohio ended up being a bit of an adventure. ✈️ The original plan had her taking off from NJ, landing in NC with a half-hour to catch her connecting flight, and then onto Columbus. But for whatever reason, their plane landed in Charlotte only a couple of minutes before the connecting flight took off… so anyone that was continuing to Ohio missed their flight. πŸ˜ŸπŸ˜•πŸ˜ πŸ˜ πŸ˜πŸ˜ŸΒ πŸ›« American Airlines obviously knew they screwed up, and had everyone quickly booked on the next flight out to Columbus, but the result was that she ended up getting here about an hour and a half later than anticipated.

It was almost 4pm by the time we were leaving the airport, and that’s when the flag placement ceremony was supposed to beginΒ – so we didn’t even really try to hurry, assuming that we were just gonna miss it. (And that was the main reason that she was coming to visit.) But as we were heading to Lancaster, she was texting with Toni (who was already there) and we learned that the crappy weather and other “opening remarks” type stuff had kept everyone inside one of the buildings at the fairgrounds πŸ˜―πŸ€”πŸ˜ƒ and that we’d possibly be able to make it in time for the flag placement after all.

The first couple of flags had already been handed out by the time we were pulling in, but it worked out so that they called Dad’s name just as we had parked and joined everyone standing there. πŸ™‚πŸ‡ΊπŸ‡Έ Couldn’t have cut it any closer. 😎 They go alphabetically, so that meant there was still plenty of time before Uncle Rick, Grandpa Shepherd, and Genesee’s dad’s names were called. Any other year that would have been great, but this year… whoothe weather, man. πŸ˜―πŸŒ§οΈπŸŒ¨οΈπŸŒ§οΈπŸŒ§οΈπŸŒ¨οΈπŸ’¨πŸ˜£

Ominous dark clouds, half drizzle, half sleet, freezing winds gusting so hard that people were struggling to hold their flags… it was just awful. 😟 (They had a huge eagle on hand as well, and he wasn’t too thrilled about things either.) πŸ¦… And as much as I’d have liked for Dad to have been able to go… at least when we were talking about it in the daysΒ prior… I’m glad that he decided not to. With the flight delays, getting there late, mother nature going crazy, and him not feeling that great over the past few days anyway – he definitely made the right choice. πŸ€¦πŸ»β€β™‚οΈπŸ€·πŸ»β€β™€οΈ Other years that I’ve gone, loads of people would sit in the stands, listening to the names, ranks, wars, etc as they waited for their person’s name to be called. But there was no sitting this time. The bleachers were cold and wet, so everyone just huddled together… enduring the weather until they could place their flag and then flee to their car. πŸš™πŸƒπŸ»β€β™€οΈπŸƒπŸ»β€β™‚οΈπŸŒ§οΈπŸŒ¨οΈ I don’t blame anyone… it was just unfortunate that this year’s event didn’t have the same “feel” as previous years because of all that other crap. πŸ˜•

We did end up going back through there the next day though, when the weather was much nicer, to see how many flags were displayed – and to pay the proper respect to the whole thing that none of us were really able to give the day before. πŸ‡ΊπŸ‡ΈπŸ‡ΊπŸ‡ΈπŸ‡ΊπŸ‡ΈπŸ‡ΊπŸ‡ΈπŸ§πŸ»β€β™€οΈπŸ§πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ We did take a handful of pictures on the actual placement day, and boy do they not convey what the experience was actually like. 😏 (But of course once everything was overΒ the weather calmed down considerably.) We’re still fortunate to have made it though, since this is the first year that we had flags for Dad and Gen’s dad – so it would have sucked if we weren’t able to place them ourselves.

Okay, it’s been a busy couple days, so I’ll follow up soon with an entry covering anything else worth mentioning from Gen’s stay.Β I didn’t even do half as much as her… but I’m out of juice. πŸ™„πŸ˜πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ

Mini-Vacation Visitor

Disregarding how the entry below this one probably sounds, things haven’t been that bad around here lately. The way that all of my “shit” usually finds a way to land on my schedule all around the same time, this time it’s the opposite – and I’ve found myself with a chunk of time where I’ve got no doctor appointments, no WC stuff to work on, no immediate need for attorney communications, none of my few friends needing anything from me, etc. πŸ™‚ I’m glad it worked out that way, because Genesee is gonna be in town for a few days starting tomorrow and it’ll be nice to not have to work around any other obligations while she’s here.

The weather isn’t looking ideal for it, but she’s visiting so she can attend the Freedom’s Never Free ceremony tomorrow at the fairgrounds. πŸ‡ΊπŸ‡Έ In past years I’ve gone with Toni and her family since they had a flag to place in remembrance of Uncle Rick’s service as well as one for Grandpa Shepherd. But this year, Genesee ordered a flag for her dad, and helped me get one to place for / with my dad as well. 😊 It’s a very inclusive thing… for any branch of the military, it doesn’t matter if the person is alive or has passed, and I think they even said that flags can be ordered and placed for “first responders” like firefighters, police, EMTs, etc.

Hopefully the weather will be tolerable enough that Dad will want to go, but the alternate plan is that me and Gen will still go, take some video, place the flags, and then go visit with him afterwards. And once the flags are purchased, they stay with the organization and are used again in each of the following years’ ceremonies. It’s amazing how many flags are added each year, and I think that even for the folks who don’t care to think about / talk about their service time, it still must be a nice feeling to get some recognition for what they did – even if multiple decades have passed since then.

(Especially for Vietnam vets, considering the reaction from the public that many of them got upon returning home… something that I didn’t truly understand the awful extent of until a handful of years ago.)

But she’ll be in Ohio until Sunday, and we’ve got a couple of small plans for things that we want to do, and then she’s got plans with other Ohio friends as well, but all of it will have to be played by ear due to the weather and the relatively short amount of time she’ll be around compared to her other visits. 😯⏰ But it’s nice that this visit is for something good, and not because of someone passing away, or because I’m recovering from a surgery and need babysitting or whatever. 😏

And I’m a little jealous that she’s getting to fly here and back home. I’ve been watching so many different airline / pilot themed YouTube channels lately… (Mentour Pilot, Captain Joe, VasAviation ATC, 74 Gear, CargoSpotter, etc.) giving myself the itch to take a cheap day-flight down to Florida and back or something, basically just a joyride… but between those videos and having not been on a plane since Jim and I went to Kansas years ago… hopefully she gets a window seat so she can use ReLive to record the path of her flight. πŸ€“Β (Not sure how it’ll handle the speed / altitude as it tries to plot the path on its animated map.)

So today I’m just taking it easy. Not gonna even do any light work around here, ‘cuz a lot of times it doesn’t take much for me to unintentionally screw up my neck, shoulder, or knee to various degrees. πŸ˜• It’s only a few days, so I wanna do what I can to make sure I’m good and can keep up with whatever we end up doing. In fact, she’s actually gonna help me dump the small bags of gravel out by the mailbox, as well as help me take the old mailbox off the post and get the new one installed. πŸ™‚ I could probably manage both of those things by myself eventually, but since she offered… I guess I’ll take the help. πŸ˜•πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ I gotta get better at that. Accepting help. Because I’m at the point now, more than ever, where I actually do need help with a lot of things… and more often than I’m currently willing to admit to others and even myself. 😟 Stupid pride. 😏

Wait, There’s A Purpose

Yeah, I know I said I likely wouldn’t be doing any more time-lapse videos of the clouds, considering they’re probably only interesting to me… but it was finally cool enough today that I thought I could put the fully charged iPad out back, capturing at one frame every three seconds, to see how long the battery would last. How long of a video I could make on one charge. πŸ€”

I rendered it out at 4K, 60fps… but then adding music to it in iMovie, I’m not sure if it saved it at those same settings or what YouTube will do to the video if it did. But it sat out back for a long time – until the sun started to come into view, causing it to overheat and stop taking shots. πŸ˜’ Once it cooled off, it showed the battery level still at 60% – so there’s a chance that I could shoot a dawn to dusk video once the days are much cooler. It might need my little power bank connected to it, but yeah… there’s a chance.

That’s not really a big deal with the view that’s currently featured, but if I happened to find a space that’s much more scenic – perhaps a place where I could actually stash my iPad and just leave it for the day… πŸ˜―πŸ˜„

I know I’ll probably never actually do that. Just let me do my tests and act like I might some day though.Β πŸ˜…

(Hey, I had to do something nerdy during my “nothing” day today. πŸ€“Β )

Predicted? Or Jinxed…

Stayed up late last night, not only trying to get some pics of the lightning, but also watching the delayed Southern 500 which didn’t finish until 2am. I had a feeling… wasn’t really sleepy even at that hour, my neck was feeling different, so I didn’t end up falling asleep for good until around 4a – and at that, it was with the idea of trying to “sleep carefully” so I didn’t wake up with my neck feeling even worse. πŸ˜’ It worked, but only because every time I would stir in my sleep, I’d wake up a little too much – making sure that I wasn’t being rough on my neck. Meh… so five hours of not-so-solid sleep… not in the greatest mood today.

And even using a “lightning capture” app to cheat a bit, I still wasn’t able to capture a single decent photo last night. If I didn’t have the ISO and exposure either too high or too low, resulting in images that were too dark or too blown out – the other problem was just the thickness and multiple layers of the clouds. πŸ˜‘ When the lightning wasn’t bright enough it was just obscured by the clouds, and when it was bright enough – it was like a strobe light going off in the middle of a huge ball of cotton. Just no definition.

So I think today I’ll do the bills, catch up on laundry, just general meh stuff around the house. Once the week actually starts tomorrow, that’s when I’ll have to start worrying about oil changes, glasses, haircuts, and all the other “out and dealing with people” stuff… so keeping to myself and just getting some minor chores done around here actually sounds like the most appealing way to spend my time today, believe it or not. πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈπŸ˜•

I’m sure as my morning meds kick in I’ll start to feel better, along with mentally feeling better about getting some random shit done around here. πŸ™‚ I’m just never good when I first wake up, especially when I basically predicted last night that my neck would be an issue and that I’d be glad that today was still part of the 3-day weekend. πŸ™„ Just gonna tune the world out as much as possible, put on some music, and do my thing.

Sweet Corn Fest

I feel like I’m gonna be back to “good” tomorrow, but I’m still glad that it’s a three-day weekend so I don’t feel like I have to do anything tomorrow, should I wake up still feeling a little off. I probably should have been more prepared that several hours of walking around the festival could drain me more than I thought it would, considering it was my first big “thing” after starting to feel close to normal thanks to the thyroid meds. πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈπŸ™‚

I’m fine, it’s just that frustrating sluggishness that I can’t “mind over matter” myself out of just yet. πŸ˜’

That’s probably why when I got home that night I was a little more “meh” about the evening than I’d normally be. I just expected more out of myself… but hey, 3.5 hours isn’t nothing… and it’s actually pretty damn good, considering everything. πŸ™‚ So yeah, the trip was fine, it was good to see Jim and Adam again, and despite not seeing any former classmates or anyone that we knew really, it still felt good to keep up the tradition. There have been more changes over the past couple of years though than in the decade or two prior. πŸ€”πŸ€¨ I probably should have taken pictures of the things that were significantly different, but once I took a handful of shots of the rides, Adam showed up and I kinda just abandoned photo mode.

The weather wasn’t great, so all the pics just have a bleh gray background, and then once the sun went down… I guess I could have tried to do some long exposure pics of the rides, but we were just too busy walkin’ and talkin’ for me to wanna bother. So I guess that’s a good thing. Next year, when I’m hopefully feeling even better, I think I might actually go twice… once for tradition night, and once for just wandering by myself at my own pace, eating whatever, taking pics of whatever, playing whatever games, etc. πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈπŸ˜

Don’t Try To Distract Me With Facts

For someone who likes observing the humans and the way they act and treat each other, Twitter has been quite the place to be recently. And like I mentioned to a couple other people I know… I realize that Twitter isn’t an accurate representation of the entire population of humans, but even with that understanding it’s still difficult for me to see so many people who operate so differently than I think people should.

Mainly what I’m talking about is people’s tendency to find a controversy, pick a side, jump to a conclusion that isn’t based in fact, logic, or critical thinking – and then scream and shout at other people who don’t share the exact same position as they do. Granted, I’m not exactly silent on a lot of issues – but I try to only speak from a position where I’ve educated myself on the topic, and saying things which (I believe) have facts and logic to back it all up. My problem: expecting the humans to function the same way, hoping that they can understand the difference between a fact and opinion or allegation.

Two “situations” where I’ve found myself trying to bring reason to conversations:

  • The allegations against Chris Hardwick by his former girlfriend Chloe Dykstra. She has accused him of psychological and sexual abuse during their relationship, and within days his various television shows have been shelved by AMC, his name was scrubbed from the Nerdist site that he founded, and he has lost future gigs hosting various things at different comic conventions.
  • Atari has started a crowdfunding campaign on IndieGogo to develop and create a new console called the Atari VCS… and there is a small but extremely vocal group of angry “game nerd” YouTube channels who are absolutely certain that the whole thing is a scam, and keep producing angry videos with all sorts of allegations – all in what seems to be an attempt to sabotage Atari’s console launch.

With Hardwick and Dykstra, I’m of the opinion that nobody knows what happened except for the two parties involved, so the public can’t come to a determination that’s anything more than just opinion or assumption. But on Twitter, there are thousands of posts from people who are loudly cheering that he’s lost his jobs and his reputation, despite the only “proof” being that an ex-girlfriend said some things.

These aren’t people who think that he did what she said. These are people that know, with absoluteΒ certainty, and aren’t hesitant to call him a monster and say that he’s getting exactly what he deserved. There’s a smaller group who are outright calling Dykstra a liar, and then there’s an even smaller group of folks like me who simply say that we hope that someone gets to the bottom of the situation based on the facts, and that it’s unfortunate that a man’s life is being destroyed based simply on an allegation.

For the people who are #MeToo activists, people who advocate that people “wait and see what the facts reveal” are the enemy. A majority of them make a comment supporting Dkystra, and then follow it up with “And I should know, because I’ve been through the same thing or something similar – showing that their view might be a little biased. Evidence is already popping up which conflicts with parts of her allegations, but hell… if he’s guilty, get him. But damn… the man has lost almost everything and has been declared a trash human by half of the internet – all because she said it was so.

With Atari, they put their crowdfunding campaign on IndieGogo, which doesn’t require a working prototype before funding can be solicited. But angry YouTubers are screaming “THEY DON’T EVEN HAVE A PRODUCT!” as if that’s something that should surprise anyone. Why would anyone expect them to have a nearly complete product, when that’s the point of raising the money? And Atari, for whatever reason, delayed the launch of their campaign once last year – which is another thing that the video creators say indicates a scam. As if no other successful products have ever had delays in their design or production.

What the problem actually is, is that these YouTube creators feel slighted by Atari. They feel that Atari owes it to them, to contact them and provide them more information, or answer the questions that they have about the project. Atari eventually got tired of being badmouthed by this small group of angry people and pushed back against what they were saying, which obviously hurt the feelings of these “reviewers” and caused them to make even more outlandish claims. Most of these angry folks haven’t even backed the project, nor do they intend to, but boy are they mad anyway – because how dare Atari not contact them directly and answer every damn question that they have.

Atari’s project already has nearly $3M in backing, so apparently there were plenty of people who felt like the information on the campaign page was enough. As with any hardware, it will obviously go through all sorts of slight changes before finalized, and people understand this. The angry YouTube mob is furious that Atari won’t give them more information, but why should they have to? If they’re already getting plenty of backers, and it’s obvious that speaking with the angry people won’t make a difference, why would they? Are these folks also screaming at Sony and Microsoft, demanding that they be given more about their next consoles in development?

But the more that these people shout “SCAM! DUMPSTER FIRE! FAKE! LIES!” in their videos, the more that their followers start to get nervous, and end up drinking the kool-aid and repeating the same claims that are being made in the angry videos. If the creator has 100k followers on YouTube, and is spouting whatever… there’s a good chance that their followers will start spouting the same thing in the comments and elsewhere, even if just to look like they “think just like a video creator who has 100k followers.” It’s toxic and sad.

So yeah… whether I’m trying to convince people that they should hold their venom for Hardwick until the claims against him have been proven, or if I’m pointing out that all of the “signs” that angry video creators are using against Atari are just normal things that happen in almost every crowdfunding campaign… people just continue to rage. You’re expected to either hate Dykstra or hate Hardwick. No middle ground. You’re supposed to accept that Atari is scamming $3M from people, and shouldn’t dare suggest that it might not be the case. Hardwick might be guilty, Atari’s console might be a flop or a scam… but people’s eagerness to convict others of this or that, with only assumptions or “feelings about it” to back it up… it’s just bizarre, and the amount of people getting caught up in it only seems to be growing.

I know, I shouldn’t bother… but I wanna believe that under the surface, people really are capable of unbiased, critical thinking – and I wanna say or do things that encourage that, or try to bring it out of them. Every now and then I might get one or two of ’em… heh… but not surprisingly, the irate people who claim their passion-filled opinions as fact just don’t seem interested in considering alternate views of a situation. 😏 It’s still my method of escapism though, for when I don’t feel like thinking about anything in my own life, in those moments that I’m sticking my nose into other people’s thoughts… so at least I’m getting a small benefit from it all, eh?