Vivid Nightmare Tale

Didn’t fall asleep until the wee hours of the morning last night, and I’m not sure if it was something that I saw the day before or something that I had subconsciously heard on the TV while I was sleeping, but I ended up having some awful (but amazing) vivid nightmares. 😯 At least they were situation based, rather than having anything to do with a specific friend or family member.

I’ve always had a knack for returning to the same fictional locations in my dreams, even over decades of time, as well as being able to “pick up where I left off” if I happen to wake up in the middle of a particularly interesting or intense dream. πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈπŸ§™πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ There are even a couple of fictional “characters” that have persisted over the years, albeit only on rare occasions. πŸ˜•πŸ™‚ It’s no “lucid dreaming” but I’ll definitely take it, compared to nothing but random, fleeting dreams which can never be returned to.

Last night’s dream, split by about ten minutes of waking up and settling back in, featured two different plane crashes. 😳 (And like I’ve acknowledged before, I know that hearing about other folks’ dreams isn’t always the most entertaining thing, but alas…) The first plane crash was one that I witnessed in the evening from our old house on Shepherd Hill. 😌 I actually had my phone set up in my bedroom window, to record a time-lapse video of the setting sun, but accidentally captured a small aircraft making some abrupt movements a couple of miles away – before crashing into the hills and trees. 😧 … πŸ›©οΈπŸŒ²πŸŒ³πŸŒ³πŸŒ²πŸŒ³πŸ”₯

There was distinct black smoke coming from the crash site, but the sun had set by this point, and a layer of fog had moved in, so rescue / recovery vehicles and aircraft seemed to be having a hard time locating the wreckage. πŸ€¨πŸ”­ I not only knew where it went down, but also had a recording of the event, so after a while of watching them struggle from a distance I decided that I needed to get into my car and go help out.

That’s when I woke up, but with the first part of that dream being so vivid (I’m leaving out many of the detailed details) I was hoping that I’d get back to sleep quickly and be able to pick up where I left off. πŸ₯±πŸ€žπŸ»

Back in the dream, I was already in my car (which was my 1979 Olds Delta 88) and driving up an increasingly narrow road on an increasingly steep mountain. 😬😣 But before I had even driven that far, I heard the sound of spooling jet engines above me – and I looked up to see a rescue oriented 747-200 about 2000 feet above, struggling to climb and avoid a similarly marked rescue blimp that was directly in its path. 😯✈️

The jet didn’t have the power to execute the climb and turn, so while it was able to avoid the blimp – it went into a stall and began to fall from the sky. 😬 I immediately stopped in my tracks, since it looked like the plane might graze the face of the mountain but wouldn’t necessarily hit me. Of course that didn’t end up being the case, and as the 747 fell parallel to the vertical face of the mountain, the belly of the plane banged into my car – knocking it off of the road and sending it falling thousands of feet towards a big lake below.

My car, along with many others from the road above, somehow fell relatively softly into the lake… while the plane crashed hard into the mountain on its way down, which meant there was a constant “rain” of debris endangering all of the surviving people in their cars. πŸ˜³β˜‚οΈ Most of the cars ended up floating, and many people were getting out and trying to swim to shore, but they were inevitably hit by falling wings, engines, landing gear, etc. πŸ˜£πŸ€• The lake was also partially on fire due to the jet fuel, so saying that it was a chaotic scene would be a huge understatement.

But in the chaos, my car and several others floated together, so we used a bunch of bungee cables to connect them all and “fling” them with enough momentum to reach land. 🏝️ The dream fizzled out there, once we were all safe, but it was such a vivid dream that I can still remember the detail of everyone’s faces, the vertigo from the heights, the smell of burning kerosene and plastic plane seats, the shortness of breath while trying to not drown, the pinch of my hand under the tightening bungees, the way it went from unbearably noisy to silent except for the sound of the water… just all of it. πŸ˜ƒπŸ˜Œ

Not what most people would consider a fun dream by any stretch of the imagination, but it was one that I was still glad to have had. Almost like the way that you can’t wait to see the weekend’s popular blockbuster action movie. πŸ˜ŽπŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈπŸ˜ Because that’s what it felt like… like an extended scene from some awesome movie. Unfortunately, as it often happens (especially once things really go off the rails), it never really went back to the original “small plane crash” plot, nor did it provide any resolution to any of the rest… but hey, teamwork helped me and quite a few others survive quite the adventure. πŸ€“πŸ€œπŸ»πŸ€›πŸ»πŸ˜„

(I know… I should save this shit for the dream blog. I mean that’s the whole point of it being there…Β πŸ™„πŸ€¦πŸ»β€β™‚οΈπŸ˜ )

SpaceX Flight Abort Test

If it would have taken off at 9am as planned, I probably would have gotten to see it live… but since I had to be on the road shortly after that, I had to wait until getting home this evening to see how things went with the SpaceX “Crew Dragon 2” abort test. 😯 Luckily, Scott Manley (what a name… heh) had already thrown together a nice little video covering the whole event. (Check out his channel if you’re into space stuffs.)Β πŸ€“

Interestingly enough, Genesee is actually in Florida right now… but unfortunately on the wrong coast. πŸ˜„ Apparently you can see SpaceX launches from around the Tampa area when they are conducted at night, but I’m not sure what kind of luck they’d have trying to see it during the morning hours. πŸ€”πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ

This launch was of particular interest to folks because not only were they conducting their first test of the escape vehicle, designed to detach and “rocket itself away” from the main booster, but after the capsule successfully flew itself away – SpaceX planned to self-destruct the rocket mid-flight, rather than allowing it to fall back to earth (well, the ocean) and risk some sort of potential problem along the way or at impact. 😧 That must have been a heck of a sight to see if you were in the area. πŸ˜―β˜οΈπŸš€πŸ–οΈπŸŒ₯️πŸ’₯πŸ˜ƒπŸ‘πŸ»πŸ˜

Being planned, this wasn’t one of SpaceX’s famous “Rapid Unscheduled Disassembly” moments. 😏

Regenerating

Today was a little better than yesterday. Got to sleep a lot earlier last night, slept in pretty good, my various bits eventually hurting a little less, etc. I am gonna avoid the bed for a couple of nights though, as it definitely doesn’t do me any favors when I try to sleep in it “pre-gimped” from too much activity in the day(s) prior. 😟 It was an unplanned blessing that I picked up this leather recliner, nearly new, at an auction many years ago. Didn’t know then that it would eventually make the rough nights a little less so. πŸ™‚

Listening to the scanner tonight, unfortunately I heard the address of some folks I know come across the fire dispatch channel. 😯 It doesn’t sound like it was a big one… with the fire being contained to the porch where it apparently started, and the most important thing – that nobody was hurt. Still… hate to hear that it happened, especially since they’ve been doing some remodeling on the place over the summer.

For some positive news, one of my other friends… her boyfriend recently got hired on at a new job, he seems to really enjoy the work, and he’s getting a buttload of hours – at least for right now. πŸ™‚πŸ€žπŸ» Things are always in flux when you start a new job, but hopefully they don’t hire like a lot of places do these days – where they’d prefer to have a dozen people working 12 – 16 hours a week, rather than a handful of folks that get a full 40 hours. But yeah, definitely nice to see things looking up for them. I’ll go ahead and say it… “knock on wood”… so I don’t jinx anyone – but from now on whenever you see me say something that seems jinx-worthy, just keep in mind that the appropriate wood knocking has been completed. 😏🀜🏻🌳

I think tomorrow I’m going to take this little file cabinet over to Bri. Now that she’s got an apartment, bills, court papers, etc… she’s finally got enough crap that she needs to keep organized, and this one has been sitting in my basement since I moved in here. πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈπŸ—„οΈ I had to pop the lock on it, ‘cuz who knows where that key would be, and the bottom drawer did have a bunch of stuff in it (including printed out blogs from the mid 2000s) so it’ll be interesting to go through all that when I have a moment of boredom. πŸ™‚πŸ—ƒοΈ Right now it’s still in a stack on my living room floor. And luckily this thing is lightweight, made from some kind of thin metal, so I shouldn’t have any problems getting it into my back seat. (Hopefully.)

But today wasn’t awful… and I should be pretty close to getting back into the swing of things tomorrow. Oh, and I did introduce OutsideKitty to his new (potential) Rubbermaid “house” in case he’s interested in giving it a try tonight. It’s not gonna be cold cold, but shelter with soft / warm stuff inside is better than nothing, eh?

Vicarious Eavesdropping

That little nap yesterday afternoon…Β πŸ˜’Β screwed up my entire night. Didn’t fall asleep until about 3am, and I was up and down almost every hour on the hour from then on out. I don’t know if I was dreaming, since I was watching a huge storm front going through Illinois and Indiana as I was getting sleepy, but it was either that or I just barely slept through what sounded like a huge downpour. πŸŒ§οΈβ›ˆοΈπŸ‘πŸŒ§οΈπŸŒ§οΈΒ As if someone was spraying a hose against the side of my house. (Probably just my imagination.)Β Meh… now I’m just tired and grumpy and have a friggin’ neck / headache again, but hey… at least it’s Saturday. πŸ™‚πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ

Took my morning meds and some Aleve, so I’ll be feeling better soon. Also, I’ve got a package on the way. 😯 And how can you be in a shit mood when you’ve got a package coming? 😁 Before bed each night, I usually spend a while listening to the scanner, and relaying any interesting bits to Amy, my night-time / insomnia texting wife. 😏 We use that term jokingly, of course… but everyone (if they’re married) has a real spouse, but then you often have a “work wife”, an “internet wife”, a “texting wife”, etc. Anyway, the scanner is great, but I’m far enough from town that reception is sometimes a problem. πŸ€¨πŸ“»

So I found a cheap, wide-band, glass mount antenna with the bitty SMA connector that my Uniden HomePatrol 1 uses – and it’s supposed to arrive today. Hopefully by one of their delivery people that has the GPS system where it’ll pop up a little map, showing where they are, and how many stops until they reach you. πŸ€“πŸ§­πŸšš Gonna tuck the antenna behind the curtain on the picture window, which somewhat faces towards town, so hopefully it’ll give me just enough boost that I’ll stop getting garbled transmissions.

At this point, $20 was about the limit that I was willing to throw at a possible solution, but I did also consider that my metal awnings could possibly used with a magnet mount ground plane antenna. But not only does that start to get outside of my wheelhouse when it comes to antenna knowledge, but they’re also more expensive, and I don’t have an easy way to run the connecting cable into the house. Besdies, I’m not sure I care enough about “perfect reception” to bother doing whatever I’d need to do to get it perfect. 😏 Most services in the area have gone to digital broadcasting anyway, so I imagine it’s only a matter of time before they start using encryption as well – which would make my receiver useless. πŸ˜• Gone are the days of getting a $20 “Bearcat” scanner at a yard sale that would give you access to almost everything you’d wanna listen to.

Okay, enough rambling… just wanted to bang out an entry to help me wake up and get my day started. I doubt I’m gonna be out of the house much over the next couple of days, having no appointments or obligations (and also wanting to avoid the bizarre 90 degree “fall” weather), so that gives me even more reason to anxiously await the arrival of that antenna for one of my toys. πŸ€“πŸ˜Œ It’s honestly too cheap, so I’m not expecting much, but if it gives me just enough gain re: these two specific channels it’ll have been worth it.

Makes me wish for a “Fall Hamvention” … but I probably wouldn’t go to that one either. πŸ˜…Β I miss Hara Arena.

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?

The Future Is Now

It’s been a long time coming, but all of the public service agencies in my area have finally switched out their radios, and are now using digital transmitting/receiving rather than the old analog systems that had been in place and unchanged ever since I was a teenager. πŸ‘΄πŸ» So the old police scanners that nearly everyone in Lancaster has… they’re essentially worthless now, at least when it comes to monitoring all of the action in town.

I’m not sure if it was a financial or transparency-based decision, but while they’ve upgraded to a fully digital system, they’ve decided against using encryption. The easiest thing to compare it to is the way that television broadcasts have changed over the past 10 or 20 years. No more analog signals, but if you have a digital cable box or digital tuner you can easily pick up the new transmissions. It’s the same thing with the public service radios… it’s just a different means of broadcasting. πŸ€“ If they went with encrypted systems though, it would be similar to how wireless phones use digital signals, but they’re also encrypted so that nobody but the caller and recipient are able to hear what’s being said. 🀨

The bad news? While you used to be able to buy a $40 scanner to listen to police, fire, and rescue… digital scanners are significantly more expensive. So much so that many people can’t or won’t want to make the upgrade to continue following the activity. πŸ™ And, at least here in Lancaster, an always-running police scanner has been about as common in homes as a stove, fridge, or washing machine. 😏

I had actually been considering getting a new scanner myself, going so far as to have “shopped them out” online so that I knew what I would get if the cost didn’t make me cringe so hard… and while I made the decision then that it was too expensive, hitting that little jackpot at Hollywood the other day has changed my tune. πŸ€— Oh, I still cringed when I loaded up the page of the one I wanted, but I went ahead and ordered it anyway.

The Homepatrol-1 units are basically “Digital Scanners for Dummies.” Where most other next-gen scanners are more computer than radio (with endless programming options and tweaks accordingly) the Homepatrol-1 is more about an easy listening/monitoring experience. It has built-in memory with a database that covers the entire United States, and it is updated weekly by the manufacturer – based off of frequency information provided by the users and staff at RadioReference.com

So, with the way our local departments are still going through changes, as the current frequency information is discovered and updated on the site – all I’ll have to do (in theory) is punch up my zip code in the scanner… and all of the agencies and radio options will automagically appear before my eyes. πŸ˜€ So, along with it being one of the cheaper scanners,Β that’sΒ what actually sold me on it. The ability to start using it as soon as I get it, without having to spend hours figuring it out and programming it. It does have many advanced options though, especially through the included Sentinel software that is used for easier/quicker programming… so yeah, it’ll still be something to challenge my nerd brain as well.

I’m sure it probably seems like a frivolous purchase to a lot of people… but living by myself, outside of the city limits, away from the humans… having a scanner running gives me the sense of “staying connected” with a community that I still consider to be home, even if I’m not in the heart of it. (Plus there’s all kinds of other stuff to search for and listen to on top of that…)

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. πŸ˜’ 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. πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ 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. πŸ€”πŸ€“ 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. πŸ˜ƒ

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.