The Last Virtual Race

It’s been quite a presentation they’ve put on over the past seven weekends… but iRacing and NASCAR managed to produce some pretty entertaining “virtual” races for the fans, while real racing is shut down due to the virus risk. It looks like this weekend will be the last of the “pro invitational” races that actually get broadcast on TV, and they’ve decided to run this race at the now-defunct North Wilkesboro Speedway.

This video is particularly interesting to me since I’ve been messing with a 3D scanning app on my phone, Display.Land … and here these guys are, cleaning up the aged raceway and then using laser scanners to get as much detail as possible for incorporating into the iRacing world. I can’t wait to see how it looks later today.

Couple Days Off

I’ll definitely admit that I’m not the NASCAR fan that I used to be, but I still ended up watching much of most of the races this year… so I still get that “meh” feeling that fans get this weekend, now that the 2019 season is over and the races are done. πŸ˜• Luckily the Penn State vs OSU game is on, and it should be a pretty good one, so I’ve got that on the TV while I side-eye the stack of mail from this past week and try to talk myself into getting into it all. 😏

This is gonna be a low-key weekend for me though. Was busy through a lot of the past week, and already know that I’ll be busy next week getting tires put on, furnace looked at, garage opener likely installed (among other things) so I’m hoping to keep my ass planted at home and take it relatively easy today and tomorrow.

Of course I’ve still got random little shit around the house that I’ll probably work on if the motivation hits me, but my only planned project is getting the new mailbox mounted. I guess it’s gonna be sunny and decent tomorrow, so I’ll probably wait until then to take the old one off, measure out the holes on the post, and drill out the piece of wood that I’m gonna end up using as the mount.

I bought a cheap plastic universal adapter type thing, same brand as the mailbox, but for some reason not only does it not line up with the horizontal screw holes on the mailbox, but in the plethora of holes for mounting to a post – none of them appear to be in the locations needed. 🀨😐 That’s probably why Grandpa fastened the old mailbox to the post with a piece of wood underneath too… which, over many years out in the weather, has slowly rotted away. I’ve already found the perfect plank of wood, so I’m just hoping that it won’t be difficult to remove the old bolts from the post. πŸ˜¬πŸ™πŸ»

Worst case scenario, if they’re rusted solid or I don’t have the torque to loosen the nuts from the screws, I’m sure Rick would come over and get it sorted. (But I’ve got to at least try to do it myself first.) That’s the irritating thing about my left arm, man… 😟 something that should and would be a piece of cake if my shoulder wasn’t gimped – it’s now sitting out there as this intimidating prospect, knowing that I’ve only got Sunday to get it done before mail resumes on Monday. 😳 When simple things can’t be simple… it’s just frustrating.

Meh… it is what it is. Just glad that I’ll have decent weather to (hopefully) figure it out w/o killin’ myself. πŸ˜πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ

EDIT: Damn… this game is moving fast. Either that, or I’ve just been really slow as I was typing out this entry… ‘cuz I feel like I started it right after the game started, and it’s already down to two minutes left before half-time. Good… guess that means my plan of taking it easy is working, if time is passing that fast. πŸ™‚πŸˆ

Better Than A Micro-Cassette

It’s funny, I’ve got this really nice Sony digital audio recorder that I picked up on eBay a couple years back for cheap – but technically, with everything our phones can do these days, and at the quality they can do it, having a dedicated digital voice recorder can probably be thought of as old school. 😏 But I actually started putting it to use a little over a year ago, before my thyroid surgery. I just thought it would be nice to make a bunch of little recordings in case something happened to me… or now, for whenever it is that I happen to not be around anymore. 😯😬 It sounds morbid as I type it, but I think at least some folks would appreciate it.

Despite being nervous and uncertain about my own medical condition at the time, I made sure that everything I recorded was generally upbeat or at least not gloomy overall. πŸ™‚πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ A little bit of everything… stories I haven’t talked about in a long time, stories I haven’t talked about ever, lots of memories and stories from when I was younger and in school… I dunno, I don’t even remember most of what all I said by this point, other than having a little numbered index with a one sentence description of what that particular recording was mostly about. (Which, honestly, doesn’t tell me shit now… heh)

But I do know that I made recordings every couple of days up until my surgery, and after that it just kinda slipped from my thoughts and I haven’t done any since then. 😟 I think I wanna try to start up again, because a lot has happened in the past year. Problem is, it’s not necessarily a lot of good stuff… and I’m trying to figure out how to talk about some of that stuff without the recordings becoming totally depressing. 😞 I guess I could start off with the good news that I’m at least still here. Wish I could say the same for some other folks, obviously… and that’s where the problem lies. πŸ₯Ί

But I’ll figure it out. Sad or depressing stuff doesn’t necessarily have to translate into sad and depressing recordings. Just gotta do like I’m trying to do with my day to day life – making sure I recognize (and therefore talk about) the good among whatever “bad” there might be. This could very well end up just another one of the many things that I put on the “might do” list that ends up getting forgotten again, but even just planning random little side-projects like this makes me feel a bit better, like every day doesn’t have to end up being almost identical to the one before it and the one after it. πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈπŸ™‚

Saws and Claws

Finally got a decent night of sleep last night. It helped that right before dark the guy that owns the company that handles my mowing stopped by and we came up with some plans for some of the other things in the yard. It’s one thing when I was younger and just didn’t like doing yard work, but it’s a different thing now that I own a house with a half-acre of stuff growing on it that I just can’t physically tackle myself. My grandparents always made the place look so beautiful too, which makes it feel a bit heavier to me that I can’t keep the place up like they used to.

So it just helped me rest easier last night, knowing that everything will be taken care of… including bigger projects like removing a couple of unused clothesline poles, across-the-board weed whacking of everything once a month, and most importantly – the removal of an entire line of spirea bushes along the back of the property. They’ve grown out of control over the past many years, and having them trimmed up at the end of the season is an expensive all-day project in itself.

I don’t think he even remembered that that project was on my potential to-do list, but it worked out nicely because over the winter his company had purchased a new tractor with attachments for just such things. And since it isn’t something they’ll have to do completely manually now, it helps to make the cost of it more reasonable. Hoping to have it done within the next couple of weeks.

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?

Pre-Post Post

Got back from a little trip yesterday afternoon/evening, and surprisingly got a decent amount of sleep last night, so today’s all about readjusting to being back home and getting back into the groove with some things that I want to accomplish today. 🀨 I guess I wanna prove to myself that I don’t always have to be completely worthless the day after getting back home from doing something fun.

My shoulder is killing me, but that’s to be expected… you know how it is when you go on vacation and put the negative things to the back of your mind. In my case, that meant somewhat forgetting to take it easy and probably talking with my hands way too much. πŸ’πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ Oh, and this time-lapse video… it was with the digital camcorder, so there were no bells or whistles applied – just a shot every 10 seconds with no extra processing or filters or anything. A “meh, why not” project for while we were there.

(I was going to make a super high resolution image of the boat by using the digital camcorder at high zoom and panning back and forth over it until I had the entire area covered with video – and I was going to use Microsoft ICE to process that video into a panorama… but it just wasn’t quite working so I ended up shelving the idea.)

But yeah, I just wanted to make a little pre-post post, so I’m gonna throw this up to the blog and then start figuring out what I’m gonna do with the day… and I already know that’ll include being on the laptop to do bills (since the WiFi wasn’t working at the hotel), to check and reply to emails, and to do a real trip report here in a bit. πŸ‘πŸ»πŸ–πŸ»

Kleeko

I made a lowball online auction bid the other day for a Colecovision system, Atari adapter, several joysticks, and about 60 games with instructions. Never thought that I’d actually win it at the price that I bid, but I did, so yesterday I drove up to Pataskala to pick it all up. πŸ™‚ I was worried I’d have to park a block away due to the small driveway being clogged with picker-uppers like me, but when we got there it was pull in, walk about 20 feet to pay the d00d, grab the goods, and then bounce. 😎 I paid around $25 for it all, and according to recently sold item checks on eBay, it’s easily worth 3x that price parted out. My first “score” in a long, long time.

Before heading up for all that I swung by and picked up Dad. Neither of us had been over towards Millersport (where I grew up) or Buckeye Lake recently, so we kind of did the fifty cent tour of the key spots after grabbing the auction goods. It’s hard to imagine that it’s been nearly 40 years since we originally moved there, with the town now being a 50/50 mix of “familiar” and “different.” 🀨 The first house we lived in looks like it’s been updated and well kept over the years, while the second house we lived in… heh… let’s just say it’s a real shame what’s been done to it, and that I’m surprised that the town’s powers-that-be haven’t had a word with whoever owns and maintains it. πŸ˜’

The drive around Buckeye Lake and Leib’s Island was more about checking out the damage done by all of the new dam work around the north shore, and whatever the hell they’re doing in the formerly peaceful bits at the entrance to the island. 😠 You can tell that once it’s done it’s probably going to be fine, not counting a few folks who used to have lakefront property who no longer do… but yeah, it looks like a giant clusterfuck at the moment, and you can’t help but feel bad for the folks that have been putting up with all the construction and mess for the past couple of years.

But the tour was a good test of our brains… trying to remember the names of all of the people who lived or worked in this house or that business as we drove down each street. I think we both had at least sparks of memories that we probably haven’t thought of for several decades. πŸ˜… It’s just weird that I’m actually old enough for so many things or buildings to have been thought of, built, used, updated, and razed to the ground… like the truck stop that Mom worked at for a while, where I used to play Star Castle and Spiders in the arcade there. 😁 At least the pizza shop is still in Millersport, where I used to play to get the weekly high scores on Pleiades and Donkey Kong Jr to win a free pizza now and then.

Stop Typing and Get Ready

When I talked to Aunt Sharon yesterday, she mentioned that she had finished writing what she wanted for her “family history” project that she’s been working on. I think it’s going to be a brief scrapbook or storybook from her, Mom, and Uncle Jay’s childhood. πŸ™‚ It started with us just talking about how so many old photos are unlabeled, and sometimes difficult to figure out who’s who and what’s going on, so she decided that she would start writing down memories that would then go with certain pictures, to eventually be assembled into a document that she could print and share.

It sounds like the writing is done, it’s been typed into a word document, and now she just needs to have the matching photos scanned and put into the it… and I think that’s where I’m supposed to come in. 🀨 It shouldn’t be too much trouble to do, it’s just getting the oomph to spend an afternoon over there talking it all through and making sure each picture is positioned with the right story. πŸ€“πŸ”ŽπŸ“• I mean, I absolutely love the idea, so all of us “younger” people will get to hear the stories and see the things that we might not have known about otherwise… so hopefully it all comes together.

If nothing else, at least I’ll be able to scan all of the pics that she gives me today, kinda like how I just did with all of the photos (of Mom) that she loaned me a few weeks back. I’d love to snap my fingers and have every old photo just magically appear on my hard drive, but at least as we do this little bits at a time they’ll start getting archived and saved for future Shepherd / Riecky / Snead / Batina / Klingler / Burnside / Meridith / Orlowicz generations to see. 😁

Oy… somebody send me some energy plz. πŸ˜₯ This is probably gonna be rough.