Bizzaro World Rant

(This entry ended up being way, way, way too long… heh… so I’m gonna skip most of the italics, bold, and emojis. You can probably figure out where I’d have normally stuck a smirk, shocked, or scowling yellow little face.)

Okay, so what’s been going on the past three weeks or so?

Some of us did end up meeting up at Rising Park for Jim’s birthday. In his tradition of always doing stuff for his friends for his own birthday, he brought pizza and subs from Pizza Crossing and we were able to hang out in the main shelter house for about an hour before him and Brad had to leave to go up and see their Dad. Oh, and he even gave me a couple Switch games to get me started. I got him a Nintendo eShop gift card, that way we could both buy Mario Kart 8 and eventually play online. Flashing back to the era when we were roommates and played Battle Kart on the Nintendo 64 almost every day.

I’m surprised that in the middle of the day, one day before the 4th, nobody even came up and even acted like they were hoping to have the shelter house for their gathering or event or whatever. The mood in the town, approaching the holiday, was rather “meh” though since the planned fireworks display was trimmed down to three minutes’ worth, shot only from Mt Pleasant, to avoid motivating people to gather.

Speaking of COVID, while our county still has relatively low case numbers, apparently the rate of transmission made a big enough spike to where we were labeled a “red” county and therefore masks are mandated by the governor / health department when in public and unable to socially distance. In response to that you’ve got folks who started wearing them or who were already wearing them, you’ve got the ones who quietly refuse to wear one, and then of course you have an oddly angry, vocal group who refuse to wear one for any number of reasons. The virus is a hoax, the virus dies when it’s 70 degrees, the virus was released by the government (of the world?) to kill and / or control its citizens, and then the more common “The government won’t tell ME what to do!” and “I’m an American! I have rights!” crowd.

And what’s weird is that people are really choosing that hill to die on, when it comes to relationships with friends and family. Now, I’ve worn a mask when around people in public both because I’d like to lessen my chance of catching it, but also because if I happened to be an asymptomatic carrier – I obviously wanna reduce the chance that I’d unintentionally spread it to anyone else that may not be able to fight it off. I just think it is the considerate thing to do, and something that could greatly reduce the spread if most people would do the same. But without even interacting with my cousin about any of it, I know from his countless posts on Facebook that he thinks I’m a sheep. So, okay…

His mom is old, my dad is old, plenty of people in our family aren’t in tip top shape when it comes to health concerns… but okay, my wanting to reduce the chance that they (and anyone else) be exposed to a virus that can still make someone extremely sick, even if they don’t die, is viewed by him as being weak or just following orders. Almost all the posts he has made in the past several months have been various conspiracy theories or “proud American” type puffery, so there’s no sense in trying to convince him otherwise. It’s just weird that just because you don’t want to wear a mask that you’d alienate your friends and family that do. But looking at his posts as a whole, it seems like the world is an even scarier place for him, where the hospitals, media, and government are all out to get you, despite him having a particular fondness for Donald Trump. Meh… I don’t get it, but he’s made his opinion clear.

His sister seems to share a similar belief, although my only exposure to her is on Twitter. She replied to one of my tweets where I mocked Trump for being proud that covid deaths had become “slow and steady” and was told, among other things, that I should look into Agenda 21, that the hospitals are lying about covid, that it’s the same as the flu, and that I can’t live in fear. It’s weird how the ones who believe all that stuff seem to be the ones who make the most noise and seem the most fearful. I pointed out that I also wear a seatbelt because I “fear” being ejected in a car wreck, that I wash my hands after using public bathrooms because I “fear” most people are dirty asses and I don’t want their germs on my hands, and that I even get a flu shot each year because I “fear” getting sick and spending a week moving only between the bed and the toilet. Putting on my mask when I get out of the car has become almost as subconscious as latching my seatbelt or washing my hands. It’s such a “non-thing” to me now, and it’s what I choose to do. Their “side” almost seems like it doesn’t even have a choice, because even if they wanted to wear a mask, that would make them a sheep, or controlled, or whatever sinister thing the wearing of a mask is supposed to represent.

One of my mom friends said it’s basically the same thing she has to deal with when she feeds her young kids. They’re required to eat what’s on their plate, but if there is something the kids don’t like they’ll play with their food and whine and complain, even though she makes it clear to them that the longer they object and stall, the longer it will take before they’ll be allowed to leave the table and get back to whatever they were wanting to do. And it makes sense… anti-mask people want life to be “normal” but the more of them that refuse to wear masks, the longer it will take to get backย  to anything resembling normal. And it’s actually win-win for them, because if they wear it and the virus drops to manageable levels, they’ll get their “normal” back. But alternatively, if they all wore masks for several weeks and there was no noticeable decline in the virus, then they could wave that fact in everyone’s faces to show that they were right.

We’re into Bizzaro World territory these days though. For example, the BLM protest in Portland has been going on for over fifty days straight now, with protesting during the day and rioting at night… but all of the people in power there have decided that they’re just going to allow violence and destruction to happen, not wanting the criminals to face any type of law enforcement opposition. There has been a ridiculous amount of property damage, law enforcement attacked even when they weren’t engaging anyone, any security fences are torn down and piled against the court house, fires are set in the street, cars have been burned, attempts to burn police buildings as well… but the mayor won’t do anything. In fact, when federal officers came to the city to at least protect the federal properties – when those officers started identifying and rounding up people who were assaulting officers or damaging federal buildings, the mayor and governor had an absolute shit fit. They won’t curb the lawlessness themselves, and now that someone else is trying to do so, they’re actually suing to make the feds stop enforcing laws. And that plays into Trump’s hands, since he can legitimately say he sent help to the “normal” people of Portland and they were told to leave.

It’s no wonder that there are a record amount of people who are registered as independent or non-partisan voters these days. When the official Democrat position (at least in Oregon) is to look the other way when riots happen and cities fall into violent chaos each night… and that the “bad guys” in this situation are the one law enforcement entity that’s trying to restore order… I mean, how can anyone really get behind that idea? People look at it in a detached way, rather than thinking how they would feel if the same protests were happening in their own neighborhoods, and it was their house that was getting spray painted, windows smashed, and sometimes set on fire. I’d bet money that folks would want law enforcement to do something about it then. Heh… it’s irritating that those particular Dems have gone so far off the rails that I’ve no other choice than to side with Donald Trump. Bleh…

There’s no honesty in discussions anymore, either. A day or two ago the protesters got together and were all singing a song, in a video that was suited for propaganda. Now, it’s great that there were so many gathering peacefully, but of course all of the anti-police people post that video to Twitter with some sort of variant on “THESE are the ‘violent anarchists’ that the police have been brutalizing for the past six weeks. Scary, huh?” Meanwhile, all of these disingenuous fucks know that the police aren’t hassling the peaceful folks… and they know that there is a criminal element that’s causing widespread destruction and violence… but rather than acknowledge any of that, they’ll say whatever they have to say to make their side seem like the “moral right.” As with conspiracy theory anti-maskers, there’s no talking to those people either. If they’re willing to lie and craft a false narrative from one of the few positive videos, they’re certainly not gonna admit that there’s a lawless element in their cause.

Democrats are almost certainly making their decisions based on what they think will benefit them most at the polls, rather than what’s best for the city or just the rule of law in general, but I don’t think they realize how much of a minority it is that they’re bowing to. Minority in numbers, I mean. They’re extremely loud, and they obviously get a lot of attention as they attempt to destroy the federal court house, but do you think the average person agrees that endless violence and destruction each night should just be tolerated or even encouraged? I doubt it. And do they think that allowing the protesters to destroy things will earn them any favor from that same crowd? They’ve been protesting against police violence for almost two months, protesting the city and mayor that have made it clear that they aren’t going to “sic” the police on them for anything that they do. It seems like that would remove a big reason for the protest being as extreme as it has been… but no, it doesn’t matter that the police aren’t being violent to them, they’re still there, protesting about how bad the police are. What’s the winning “play” for the mayor when they don’t even care that they have gotten the very thing that they are protesting for.

Meh… I guess if they wanna let their city burn, so be it. Everywhere that this sort of thing has been happening, and where the city leaders take the side of the violent protesters, property is being destroyed, new businesses won’t go there, current businesses are leaving, and even the citizens are packing up and moving the fuck away from the craziness. If your local government won’t do anything to ensure the safety of its citizens, they shouldn’t be surprised when folks scatter and the tax base is lost. Things turned somewhat violent in Columbus at times, but once the protesters got that attention and talked with leaders about what they wanted… I dunno, there was a bit of civility in the violence. It didn’t just go on and on, with neither side talking to the other, with no sign of any goals to all of it. But even that was sorta scary, with downtown being a no-go zone for a few weeks – unless you were sorta lookin’ for trouble.

But there’s a certain element of humans that, if given free reign to be loud and “fuck stuff up” then that’s exactly what they’ll do. Look at the makeup of that crowd. Young, entitled, angry, apparently no jobs that they need to go to… they’re just not representative of your average citizen, yet people in power act as if they’re speaking for the entire population. I’m certainly not a fan of the idea of a second term for Donald Trump, so I worry that whatever these Democrats are trying to do is going to backfire on the entire party in November. Because just as they think the protesters represent all people, people are going to assume those few “leave the criminals alone” Democrats represent the views of the party as a whole.

At least when you go out into town here, other than a few grumbling anti-mask folks, it still feels like people are normal. The shows that we’re seeing in Portland and Chicago and Seattle, the way that the politicians and protesters are acting… it’s not typical of what actually goes on in daily life in southeastern Ohio, thankfully. The only thing even close to all that craziness is when our mayor decided to go on record with the paper, saying that a mask mandate is counterproductive. Masks. Counterproductive to reducing the virus in the area. This is a small town, so I don’t think people really give a shit what our dinky mayor says, and besides – people have already decided how they feel about all that. So, yeah, I’m glad that’s the biggest social controversy of our little city, at least for the moment.

Unfortunate Opportunity

In the same way that it can be awkward to discuss “after death” financial topics with someone from whom you might be getting an inheritance, talking publicly about investment possibilities that are coming on the back of a stock market that’s plummeting due to fear of a COVID-19 pandemic… it does feel a little bit wrong, but the opportunities of a down market also cannot be ignored. ๐Ÿ˜

The Dow Jones has lost more than 12% of its value over the past seven days of trading. Unfortunately, the cause isn’t solely due to “scary thoughts” around the spread of the virus. ๐Ÿ˜Ÿ With China being ground zero, the precautions that need to be taken and the effects that are already being experienced by the industries and workforce there… it was inevitable that markets around the world would reflect the disruption. ๐Ÿ˜ณ Global economies, global trade, global investing… it’s all great stuff, until it isn’t.

Before COVID-19 was even a thing, I had already started researching different types of investing that my family (historically speaking) never really took advantage of. ๐Ÿค” I’ve tended to use methods that I’ve seen work for my dad and my aunt, and they probably used methods that they saw work for their parents. ๐Ÿง It makes investing feel comfortable, but the returns are usually modest in comparison.

The volatility in the markets isn’t going anywhere, so I’ll have plenty of time to continue reading, learning, and eventually planning… even if “the plan” ends up being that I don’t change much of anything. ๐Ÿคท๐Ÿปโ€โ™‚๏ธ And while loads of people have been cashing out, to “protect” their gains from the past year or longer, the farther the markets fall – the better it is for folks who are only just now wanting to get in. ๐Ÿคจ

I suppose I should mention that I’m not thinking about individual stocks when I’m talking about all of this. I don’t know enough yet to speculate on individual companies and their ability to bounce back. I’m thinking mostly about ETFs with holdings that are properly weighted to match gains / losses of the Dow. ๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿค“

Historically, you’re on pretty solid ground if that’s what you’re invested in… but just as there have been extremely good years, there have been some really bad ones as well. More often than not though, the gains for each year have been remarkably good. (Which doesn’t mean a heck of a lot if you didn’t buy your shares on (and only on) January 1st of each year… heh) Meh… just kinda thinkin’ here… ๐Ÿคท๐Ÿปโ€โ™‚๏ธ๐Ÿ™‚

Insta360 One Tests

These videos were created with the original Insta360 One, which is their entry level 360 degree camera. They’ve since come out with the One X, although I haven’t bothered learning what more it can do – since I’ve barely used this guy, and it obviously produces some awesome results as is. But I’ll post both of the “you control it” videos, so you can click and drag with your mouse (if on a PC or laptop) or you can change the view with your finger (or possibly by just moving your phone around like a “viewfinder”) if you’re on a phone. Best way is to open the video in YouTube and turn your phone sideways, giving you a full screen, fully controllable view.

(Of course change the resolution sittings to as high as your device will allow for the best results.)


Rising Park – Lancaster OH – 360 Degree VR Video:

(Click here to watch this same video with pre-guided camera movements)


Fairfield County Fairgrounds – Lancaster OH – 360 Degree VR Video:

(Click here to watch this same video with pre-guided camera movements)


Like I said, all I did for these couple of test videos with plunk the camera down on the top of my car with a magnet-base selfie stick and then click record. The “guided” vidoes… those had to be played around with inside the app, giving the video manually added “focus points” where the view would change based on what areas I told it to “look at” during the recording. That’s the thing with this camera, pretty much all of the “neat stuff” is applied after the original recording is done – so you could make several different versions, all functioning or appearing in their own unique way, but based on the one original recording session. Full control videos and 16:9 “focus point” videos are just the tip of the iceberg. Some day I’ll get around to pushing the limits with all the different modes and effects, even if just as another quick test like these.