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.

Original Recipe or Extra Crispy?

While I was cleaning this afternoon I came across my Windows 10 tablet, which I hadn’t used in many months. So I figured I’d plug it in, charge it up, and then download whatever updates it asked for. πŸ€“ It was a solid plan on paper, but within a few minutes of connecting the power I began to smell the familiar aroma of burning electronic components. 😳 I’m glad that what I was working on kept me in the same room, otherwise it’s hard to tell what might have happened.

I’m pleased with the amount of stuff that I got done today though. The living room is clean, the last little bit of laundry is clean and waiting for me to fold it, and then I sorted through some more stuff and added to the “sale/auction” boxes stacked in the extra bedroom. 😎 I did it all at a very “cautious” pace though… ‘cuz my brain is still being unpredictable, and I didn’t wanna push my luck too much. 😐

The accidental hour-long nap that I took this afternoon is gonna fuck me though. πŸ˜’ Not that I had a healthy/normal sleep schedule going on yet anyway, but yeah… I know I’ve got a few hours before I’m gonna evenΒ possibly feel sleepy. Guess that means I won’t have an excuse to not fold all these clothes before I sack out, eh?

In His Own Words

  • “Why do you think CEOs are leaving your manufacturing council?”
  • CEOs are not taking their job seriously, they have a lot of their product made outside of the country, we want products made in the country, they’re leaving out of embarrassment, I’ve been lecturing them that they have to bring it back to this country.

The CEOs are taking their jobs seriously, as production outside of the US is often more cost effective. Also, most of Trump’s products that he sells are not made in the USA, and ZERO of Ivanka Trump’s fashion line is made in the USA. So if he’s been lecturing anyone, it’s as a hypocrite, and the CEOs likely tired of it. They didn’t join a council to be ordered around, and they certainly didn’t leave from embarrassment… other than embarrassment of being associated with this clown of a president.

  • “Why did you wait so long to (condemn the racist groups by name)?”
  • I didn’t wait long. (Narrator’s Voice: He did.) You don’t make statements unless you know the fact. (sic) It takes a while to get the facts, you still don’t know the facts. When I make a statement I like to be correct. A lot of the event didn’t even happen yet. Making the statement when I made it was excellent.

What?? You want people to believe that you didn’t know that the assembly had members of white nationalist, KKK, and Nazi supporters? What?? Also, when he makes a statement he likes to be correct. Heh… okay. And folks were literally waiting, and waiting, and waiting for his first statement. Enough had happened that he could and should have commented. Very few people thought it was “excellent.”

  • “Did you miss a critical moment where you could have brought the country together?”
  • I’ve created a million jobs, the economy is booming, the stock market is setting records, we have the highest employment numbers we’ve ever had, etc, etc… so the head of Walmart was making a political statement.

*long sigh* Β … Β also, WHAT?? It’s like he has no human concept of “bringing together” that doesn’t involve money or tangible things.

  • (he continues) … Everyone said my statement was beautiful. Frankly, people still don’t know all of the facts. The second statement was made with knowledge.

What other facts do you need to know before you can condemn racial hate groups by name?

  • You can call it terrorism, you can call it murder, I would just call it as the fastest one to come up with a good verdict.

*blank stare* Β … Β more word salad

  • “Senator McCain linked the alt-right to the perpetrators at Charlottesville”
  • (After bashing McCain for a bit) … What about the alt-left that came charging at them? Do they have any semblance of guilt? Do they have any problem? I think they do. I watched it much more closely than you people watched it. I’m not finished, Fake News… they came charging in, without a permit, and they were very, very violent.

Immediately attacking the side that is widely supported by the general public = not the best idea. Also, if you were watching it more closely than anyone else, how did you miss the “fact” of who it was that was hosting the rally?

Ugh… I can’t even watch any more of this spectacle in order to do the play-by-play like this. In terms of PR this was a complete shit show, a dumpster fire… whatever horrible metaphor you want to use. Now he’s talking about millions of jobs helping race relations. This makes my head hurt, seriously. He’s spending on inner cities, far more than anyone before him, blah blah blah… okay, I’m done here.

Heh… d00d just bluntly said “What makes you think you’ll get an infrastructure bill when you couldn’t get a healthcare bill?” Good on the press, for not letting him walk all over them anymore. To their credit, they didn’t let up on him.