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Memories and Redemption

Posted on December 14th, 2018

Dave!If Facebook has a redeeming quality, it's their "Memories" feature where they give you a run-down of what you were doing on this day a year ago... two years ago... three years ago... and so on.

Well, kinda redeeming. I find that much of the time there's at least one painful memory which you'd just as soon not re-live, but that's life I guess. In general, it's a good thing though.

And that got me to thinking...

I should be able to do something like that for my blog!

I started writing out the code I would need, then remembered that there's nothing new with WordPress, and surely somebody else had already done this. Sure enough, there's a bunch of plugins available.

Alas, none of them work for me.

And so... I'm back to coding.

How else would you know that a year ago today I was returning from my Antarctica trip?

Or two years ago I was wishing you a Happy World Monkey Day?

Or five years ago I was saying goodbye to Peter O'Toole?

Or twelve years ago I accidentally smacked myself in the balls with a shampoo bottle?

Heaven only knows your life isn't complete without reading all about that!

   

The Bears of St. Mark’s

Posted on December 11th, 2018

Dave!My mom was an avid Teddy bear collector. She had tons of them. So many that she ended up donating a bunch of them to a firefighter drive. Apparently when firefighters respond to an emergency where a child has lost everything, they will give kids the bears in order for them to have something of their own from which they can start rebuilding their lives. It's a pretty incredible concept. But, then again, firefighters are pretty incredible people.

When my mom couldn't stay with me any more, I packed up some of her bears and took them to her new home. The rest of them I boxed up and stuffed in a closet because I couldn't bear to give them away.* Now that she's gone, there's not much point in hanging on to them.

Last month, I decided I would start donating her massive bear collection to the annual "Toys for Tots" drive. Almost all the bears are brand new, have never played with, and still have the tags attached. I'm sure mom would be happy to know that her bears are making kids happy for the holidays instead of sitting in a closet collecting dust, so it really is the perfect solution.

And so... every weekend I've been unboxing another crate to make sure they're in good shape, give them a vacuuming, then bag them up for the Marines...

Pile O Bears

There are a couple bears I've run across that I'll probably hang onto. Sunday I found the first bear of her collection which, coincidentally enough, I bought for her. Then there's her Teddy Ruxpin, which I also bought for her. I don't know that I want to keep it, but I'm interested in selling it if I can get a good price! Probably a long shot since there's no box for it, but you never know.

I was told that getting rid of mom's stuff is good therapy for accepting that she's really gone.

That's a therapy I don't need. I know she's really gone every single day.

   

*See what I did there?

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Life Sucks with the Dyson V7 Absolute

Posted on December 5th, 2018

Dave!When Jake got sick, I turned off Carl the RoboVac because I didn't want him running through puke and smearing it all over the house. Now that Jake has been puke-free for two months, I'll likely turn Carl back on. Because there's nothing quite like having your floors vacuumed when you come home after a hard day at work. Especially if you have pets shedding all over the place.

While Carl has been hibernating, I've been using my cheap cordless Hoover to pick up all the kitty litter and cat hair. For what it is, the thing does a pretty good job. Not so good that I can use it for my monthly deep-clean... for that I have to pull out the Shop-Vac (which my cats hate more than just about anything)... but for day-to-day cleaning it's fine.

But Hoover has been acting up lately so it was time to find a newer, better, stronger, faster vacuum. The only requirements being that it had to be cordless and it had to be lightweight. So when Black Friday rolled around, I did my due diligence Google research and found that Dyson came out on top every time for the things that were important to me. I loathed to get in bed with Dyson again (which was explained here), but they had a deal that was very good and so away I went.

Believe it or not, the two features I was most looking forward to were these...

Dyson Baseboard Sucker

Dyson Top-Of-Door Sucker

Being able to clean baseboards and above door-frames without getting on my hands and knees or climbing on a stool is a pretty big deal. And so I've been counting the minutes until my Dyson V7 Absolute would get here. And today was the day.

Overall? I like it. But it's not perfect...

PROS

  • Lightweight. I had read in reviews that it was lightweight, but wasn't expecting it to be this good.
  • Comfortable. Not just because it's lightweight... but because it's well-balanced and ergonomically designed
  • Quiet. I mean seriously quiet for a vacuum. My cats are terrified by my Hoover and Shop-Vac... but Jake is content to sit and watch me use the Dyson V7. Jenny keeps her distance, but is likewise not as terrified.
  • Cordless. Apparently Dyson has stopped making corded vacuums because they feel the cordless models they make are powerful enough to replace them. I think this is a load of hogwash, because the raw power of a good corded vacuum is leagues better than what you get out of my V7. That being said, the convenience of cordless just can't be denied.So quick and easy to clean when you're not fighting a cord the entire time.
  • Easy to empty. My other vacuums are such a frickin' hassle to empty that I probably don't clean them out as often as I should. But the V7? A piece of cake! As if that wasn't enough, it doesn't make a mess.
  • Versatile. Being able to easily remove the tube and snap tools directly on the motorized head is a serious game-changer. It's so quick and easy with none of the hassle that you get with a "traditional" vacuum. Dyson put a lot of thought into how you clean, and it shows. I love how easy it is togo from vacuuming my floors to cleaning out my car by stripping everything down to a small unit that fits in tight spots.
  • Good tool assortment. My Black Friday "deal" came with all kinds of attachments. The one I most wanted was the "stiff brush" from the "deep clean" add-on so I could sweep/suck the dust that ends up on my baseboards. While not quite as stiff as I would have liked (that's what she said) it still does a really good job.
  • Fluffy cleaning head. When vacuuming debris on hardwood, most traditional vacuum heads will just push it along (the so-called "snowplow effect"). In order to suck it up, you have to lift the head by rocking it back, come down directly on the debris, then wait for it to rattle around until it is removed. But the "fluffy cleaning head" changes all that. It happily pulls debris into the suction with no additional effort. Spill dry cat food on the floor? Just run over it with the soft roller head. Easy.
  • Motorized upholstery brush. I don't have much upholstery. My living room furniture is nice leather stuff that my brother gave me. But I do have a couple chairs that collect cat hair like a magnet. Enter the "mini motorized tool" which is unbelievably good at removing every trace of the stuff. I use it on the carpet treads on my stairs and it's amazing at getting the dirt out.
  • Unparalleled maneuverability. Zipping around my home is ridiculously easy because the design of the V7 "stick" vacuum feels like it was made to make it easy. Once you get in the groove of things, vacuuming around stuff is so much easier than with a fixed-head vacuum.

CONS

  • Not as powerful as I expected. The Dyson has far better suction than the cheap Hoover it's replacing, that's not even a debate. It plows through cat hair, dust, and kitty litter on hardwood with ease thanks to the "fluffy head" that comes with the "Absolute" version. But when push comes to shove, the suction is not where I thought it would be. I put my hand up to the tube and am not feeling the pull I was expecting. Yes, the V7 has a "MAX" mode for awesome suction, but it only lasts 6 minutes, making it impractical. If I had the money, I'd return this and get the V10 for more power. But I don't, and this does a good enough job that I'll be keeping it.
  • No trigger lock. For the life of me, I don't understand this. You have to keep your finger on the trigger the whole time you are vacuuming. Sure it encourages you not to waste precious battery time when you get distracted with picking up LEGO (or whatever), but shouldn't it be my choice?
  • Expensive. If it weren't for Black Friday, there is no way I could have afforded to buy this. Even with the Black Friday sale, it was still kind of jarring. Even so... I do feel that I got my money's worth since I got the Deep Clean Kit as a "bonus" when I ordered it on sale.
  • Small bin. While there has to be compromises in designing a cordless vacuum, I question the size of the bin. If you have a dirty home, you'll have to empty more than a couple times to clean it. Luckily emptying the bin is easy, but a bigger problem remains. Larger refuse will definitely get stuck in it. I vacuumed the tag from a T-shirt and suddenly the "cyclone action" in the bin was halted because the tag formed a blockage.
  • Freaky design. In all honesty, I don't give a crap what my vacuum looks like. I'm not going to display it like a piece of art or anything. It's either in my garage being charged or in my hand vacuuming, so how it performs is far more important that any aesthetics. That being said... this thing has more nooks and crannies than you can believe. I just know it's going to collect dust in all that, and then I'm going to need a vacuum for my vacuum.
  • Confusing lineup. There are four versions of the V7 I bought. The Animal, The HEPA, The Motorhead, and The Absolute. This is just nuts, and can be confusing. All I know is that if you have hardwood, you want the "Absolute" version because it's the only one that comes with the "fluffy roller head"... the single most essential piece of equipment for my home (which is all hardwood).

Compared to what I have, the Dyson V7 Absolute is a dream. Sure I wish it had more power in "regular mode" but it still does a very good job of making quick work of dirt, cat hair, and random cleaning tasks. Though there is an up-side to the lower power... the thing is so quiet! That goes a long ways towards my liking my new vacuum. If you can get it on a good sale, I wouldn't hesitate picking one up. But, once again, if you have hardwood floors you must get the "Absolute" version that comes with the fluffy cleaning head! For me, the V7 would be half the vacuum it is without it.

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Re-Remodeling

Posted on November 28th, 2018

Dave!When I bought my home, there was a lot of remodeling that needed to be done so that my mom would be safe living here. She couldn't walk on carpet very well, so I had to replace all the flooring with hardwood. She couldn't use the showers because there was a lip she'd trip over, so I had to put in a zero-entry pan. I had to remodel the stairwell railing so she wouldn't fall down the stairs. It went on and on. And that's not even touching on some of the cosmetic things I wanted to change (the sponge-painted accent walls had to go).

When it came time to hire a contractor, I had to be sure they were available ASAP and would do high-quality work. I ended up going with one of the most expensive options, but I felt I'd get what I paid for. My mom's safety was worth more than money.

After the work was completed, I was fairly happy with everything. I ended up being more expensive than quoted... took longer than quoted... and was one of the most frustrating things I've ever done... but it's all good.

Then I started living with it and noticing things.

Fixtures were crooked. Workmanship was shoddy. Paint bled onto my floors. And these were not isolated incidents... they were everywhere. I paid a premium price for shitty work.

Which meant I had to remodel my remodel. I started with the horrific job they did on my "California corners" on my baseboards. Instead of being sanded smooth, they just painted over their shitty mis-matched bullshit...

Remodel Wall Sag

Then back in August I saw that the paint was sagging off the wall of my guest bathroom...

Remodel Wall Sag

Upon inspection I noticed that the texture which was still stuck to the wall was applied badly. They didn't bother to sand down the patchwork they applied after ripping the mirror off the wall...

Re-Remodel Wall Repair

Not only that, but they didn't bother to match the texture that was already on the wall. There are no less than six texture patterns across the whole bathroom along with ugly smooth spots where they didn't apply texture at all...

Re-Remodel Wall Repair

This is infuriating.

Everything is so messed up that the only realistic way to fix it is to scrape everything off, sand it all smooth, then start over from scratch.

I don't have time for that right now, so I started removing the texture that was sagging. The reason it was sagging is that they didn't sand off the paint from the previous texture, so the new texture couldn't stick to it...

Remodel Wall Scrape

And then something horrible started happening. The patch material that they used where the mirror used to be (and didn't sand down) was starting to turn to power. The texture would peel off the wall with the slightest scrape of my putty knife...

Remodel Wall Scraped

Even worse? As you can see, chunks of the patchwork was falling out of the wall as well.

What a fucking joke. My contractor's team did the shittiest job possible and apparently didn't give a crap that it would fall apart within two years. Some of the repairs were so badly applied that I had to cut them out of the wall so it would flatten out.

After scraping practically the entire wall and sanding around the area that fell off, I was ready to tape off everything and re-texture...

Re-Remodel Wall Repair

Despite coming from a can, the new texture went up easy. I dare say that my effort matched the walls better than the various textures my contractor used...

Re-Remodel Wall Repair

After painting, the wall looked far from perfect... but at least it wasn't sagging and flaking any more...

Re-Remodel Wall Repair

Maybe next Summer I'll be able to take a week off work, pull out the fixtures and furniture, strip everything down, then do a proper repair. In the meanwhile, this will have to do.

I remain dumbfounded that people don't seem to take pride in their workmanship or build anything to last anymore. The only way to make sure of anything now is to do it yourself.

   

Energy!

Posted on November 20th, 2018

Dave!I am a total miser when it comes to electricity usage... in that I try to use as little of it as possible. When I moved into my home I replaced every single light with LED bulbs. I replaced all appliances with the highest Energy Star rated devices I could find. I replaced the insulation on my doors. I joined a maintenance plan for my HVAC (Heating/Cooling) to make sure it's running at peak efficiency. I bought a whole-home humidifier to put moisture in the air during our dry winters to help hold more heat in the room. I purchased a smart thermostat to automatically turn the heat down when I'm not at home. Basically, anything I could think of to reduce my electricity bill... I did it.

Most people are surprised to learn that I went to such effort and expense given that electricity is so cheap where I live. But money saved is money saved no matter how much money it entails, and being energy-responsible is a good thing regardless.

Thanks to my energy sensor, I know exactly where my money is going month-to-month. In the Summer my electricity bill is around $17-$20 because the device with the highest energy consumption (air conditioning) is rarely used. My home is fairly well insulated against heat and stays cool with just the ceiling fans running.

In the winter, however, it's a different matter entirely.

The highest energy consumption in my home by far is the heating. Last year it raised my bill to $32 in early winter and $44 during the coldest months. But in order to get those amounts, I had to set my thermostat to 67 degrees. Which isn't bad with a sweater and good socks on. I mean, yeah, it's not entirely comfortable, but you get used to it.

But when I have houseguests staying for one or two nights at a time, they aren't given much time to "get used to it," so I've had to change my strategy. Sunday through Thursday, the thermostat sets the temperature to 70 degrees. Friday and Saturday (the days when guests are usually here) it sets to 72 degrees. Now admittedly, that's not a huge difference. A shift of 3 degrees and 5 degrees is hardly anything, right?

And yet...

My bill increased from $32 this time last year to $40.

$8 doesn't seem like a lot (though if these vet bills keep piling up, it'll seem like a lot to me!) but you have to keep in mind that a small temperature change resulted in a bill 125% higher than it used to be. If your winter electricity bill is $350 (typical for the coast)... it skyrockets to $438! Insanity!

If this pattern holds, my bills in January and February will go from $44 to $55. Again, not a huge leap when you have relatively cheap electricity... but it's tough to see that extra $11 on your electricity bill when you've spent hundreds to keep it low.

I'd buy sweaters and good socks for all my guests, but something tells me that would cost more than $11.

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The Google Maps Mystery

Posted on November 16th, 2018

Dave!As I've mentioned here a few times, I love maps. Because of this, Google Maps is a never-ending source of wonder to me. I could wander around the world for weeks and never get bored. There's just so much amazing stuff to see.

So when I dropped by Google Maps tonight so I could grab directions for some guests I have coming, it should come as no surprise that I got distracted and started poking around my home town in satellite view. It was then I saw something quite odd. An irrigation ditch just outside of town (which I was aware of) seemed to disappear into a big hill (something I was not aware of)...

Missing Ditch Map
Image courtesy of Google Maps

If you look in the lower-right there, you'll see that a ditch winds itself around then... poof.

WTF?!?

Where did it go? It looks like it goes in a tunnel. But where does it come out? After a little while scrolling around, I found it...

Missing Ditch Map
Image courtesy of Google Maps

This raises all kinds of questions. Because this is a good-sized hill that it travels through...

Missing Ditch Map
Image courtesy of Google Maps

When I traced the path of the tunnel in map view (not a straight line, as I had thought) and measured its distance... the tunnel ended up being a mile long!

Missing Ditch Map
Image courtesy of Google Maps

   
Things like this are fascinating to me.

Is it, in fact, a tunnel? If it is, then when was it built? Who built it? How did they build it? How is it maintained? If leaves and garbage and stuff blocks it, how do they unblock it? And how in the heck can something like this exist without me knowing about it? What other wacky stuff is waiting to be discovered around my home town?

There's only one way to find out...

UPDATE: I found an abbreviated history of the Greater Wenatchee Irrigation District on their website. No mention of the tunnels though. And so... I will continue to investigate.

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Adobe Doesn’t Give a Shit

Posted on November 9th, 2018

Dave!I wish that I could get through just one day without being filled with rage.

Today I thought I had a good shot at it by promising myself that I would ignore the news and whatever bullshit that President Trump was doing, but that was futile because his level of incoherent crazy was so off the charts that it was everywhere.

As if that wasn't bad enough, work was awful... because I couldn't actually get any work done.

My office iMac, which is around two years old, has been slowing to a crawl for months. Over the last couple of weeks it's happening so often that I had no choice but to try and fix it. I started with doubling the memory from 32GB to 64GB. That helped a little, but the problem seemed to be with the "Fusion Drive" (a hybrid SSD/HD drive). I kept getting a message popping up that it was overheating. I finally decided to replace it, despite the fucking nightmare involved in tearing open an iMac to do so.

And today was the day.

I decided to set up the drive before tearing anything open to install it. This was relatively easy, as I had an external SATA dock that I could pop it into. I downloaded the macOS X Mojave installer, installed it onto the new SSD drive, and 25 minutes later I was booting from it. Nice.

I decided to start fresh by not transferring over my apps and data... just my system settings.

Turns out that was a mistake.

My primary tools at work are Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Illustrator, Adobe InDesign, Adobe Lightroom, and Adobe Acrobat. They are all part of Adobe's "Creative Suite" which is managed by their Creative Suite desktop app. You install it, then manage all your app installs from there. Simple, right?

No. Not by a fucking longshot, because this is Adobe we're talking about.

All my apps installed fine, except Acrobat. This happened last time I had to install the thing and was solved after I ran a cleanup app. This time the app didn't work, so I spent FORTY MINUTES trying dozens of "fixes" from the Adobe forums... none of which worked. Keep in mind that this has been a known problem that people have been complaining about for over a year.

AND ADOBE HASN'T DONE A FUCKING THING TO FIX IT! How in the hell can I be expected to not become enraged after wasting this kind of time? AGAIN! And I still don't have a working copy of Acrobat on my work computer, a program I use daily.

Not that Adobe gives a shit... they don't. They bought out and buried the competition until there wasn't any competition, and now they don't have to give a fuck about anything.

I would have stayed until I got things figured out, but it was getting close to 6:00 and the alarm to feed my cats would be going off. They're already freaked out by Daylight Saving Time ending, and I was afraid that not being fed when the alarm sounds would send them over the bend. So I packed up my crap and headed home.

Except I couldn't get home because a train was running through town. It was moving so absurdly slow that it took over ten minutes to pass. And then? The crossing arms would not retract. After waiting another five minutes, I finally abandoned the crossing I was at and drove to a different crossing... screaming "FUCK! FUCK! FUCK!" the entire way home.

When I got home (nearly fifteen minutes after the dinner alarm) my cats were, as expected, going nuts.

So I guess everybody in this house is having a bad day.

The difference being that my cats were happy again after being fed. I'm still filled with rage.

   

Christmas Without the Mouse

Posted on November 6th, 2018

Dave!Washington State is 100% vote-by-mail, so I already voted last week.

When it comes to local races here, two of the biggest are too close to call. We won't know the outcome until the remaining mail-in votes are tallied on Friday. Frustrating, but it's a small price to pay for a system which allows you to vote in the privacy of your own home without standing in line. And now that we have automated voter registration for all of our eligible citizens, Washington State has one of the highest voter participation rates in the nation...

Lil' Dave Davetoon with a Voted Sticker on His Jacket

Now that Halloween has passed, the country is already preparing for Christmas.

Back when I had work in Orlando two and three times a year, I'd fly in for my conference then fly home the next day. I'd rarely go to Disney World (even though work would pay for it) because it got to be more of a chore than fun. I just can't handle the lines and crowds of people.

In December of 2007 I was working in Orlando when some work friends and I decided to go to Epcot for dinner in "Italy." After that we took the bus to Disney Studios to goof off for a bit. While I was there, my mom called to tell me something. "What's all that noise?" she asked.

"Oh, that's The Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights," I replied.

"What's that?"

"It's a show at Disney World where they have a bunch of Christmas lights flashing to music. I'll send you a picture..."

The Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights

"That's pretty! I want to go to Disney World!"

"I've taken you to Disney World lots of times!"

"But not at Christmas! I want to go at Christmas!"

"Okay. Next year I'll bring you along then."

One year later I kept my promise, and here she is...

Mom at The Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights

It immediately became her favorite thing. She loved it so much that I ended up taking her a couple more times. The last time was in 2012, I think, since that was the last year I had work in Orlando. They closed down The Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights in 2015.

This morning I was flipping through my newsfeed while waiting for work to start and saw this terrific video from Disney World showing how they transform The Magic Kingdom Park for the holidays with Christmas decorations...

Pretty cool!

A part of me is glad that I don't have work in Orlando any more. Especially over the holidays. It would be really tough to go there knowing what it meant to my mother. Perhaps it will be easier over time. But right now? I just can't fathom it.

It's that way for a lot of things though.

I miss my mom.

   

Learning to Live with Disappointment

Posted on November 5th, 2018

Dave!I have work in Spokane early tomorrow morning, so I'm heading across the basin today rather than have to leave at some ungodly hour tomorrow. I really, really don't want to be away from Jake while he's sick, even for just one night, but duty calls (disappointing though that may be).

This was far from the only disappointment today.

Things went off the rails early this morning because my cats are not thrilled about Daylight Saving Time ending. As in seriously not thrilled. They were anxious at 6:00am (their 7:00am feeding time, as far as they know). Concerned at 6:10am. Upset at 6:20am. And absolutely livid by the time I went to feed them at 6:30 (I am slowly adjusting them to the hour time difference, whatever good that does). Jenny was pacing the room and meowing her head off. Jake was pawing at my face while squawking. It's exactly how you want to start a Monday.

And then...

I pulled their "Feed-and-Go" automated internet feeders out of storage so I could get them set up and filled. Except... I couldn't get them set up. The company that makes them went out of business last month. Bad enough that they had to close and shut down their cloud servers, rendering their $200 feeders useless. But it's reprehensible that they didn't bother to notify their customers... or keep their website up with a message to warn their customers... or push out an app update which warns their customers. Because otherwise there is NO WAY TO KNOW that the cloud service has been shuttered. The blue network light on the units still glows blue! Luckily I test the units every time I haul them out, otherwise my cats wouldn't have been fed. And had I been gone longer? They wouldn't have been fed FOR THREE DAYS. With the Feed-and-Go website down, I had to find out the news via a cached Google search...

Feed and Go is sad to say, it's closed it's doors.
We're extremely sad and sorry to say that Feed and Go has closed its doors. We had an amazing time helping thousands of pets eat healthier and on schedule. The time has unfortunately come to close the operation of our web app, and mobile app services. This will mean that unfortunately your Feed and Go's will no longer work as an automated feeder, and will not connect to our servers. We want to take this opportunity to thank you for being a part of our mission and wish you and your pet many happy moments ahead.

What a bunch of pig-fucking monsters. They are perfectly content to LET YOUR PET STARVE rather than contact you so you know that their product no longer works. I can only hope that whomever responsible will be roasting in hell soon. I also hope that some genius electronics expert out there will come up with a circuit board replacement that will allow the feeder to be programmed directly, instead of relying on a cloud service that's not there any more.

I had a couple other automated feeders from back when I was feeding Spanky, but they needed D batteries and I didn't have time to go get some. So instead I filled bowls with way too much food so Jake and Jenny can graze 'til their hearts' content. And hopefully not over-eat and puke everywhere.

And then...

I noticed that the motor on the drinking fountain had burned out. It's less that a year old. Guess I'm putting out a bowl of water next to the heaping bowls of food...

Way too much food and a bowl of water

And then...

Since I was coming to Spokane, I decided to get the passenger airbag replaced in my car. Toyota has been sending dozens of notices telling me that there was a recall, but I would rather die than go to the asshole who owns the local Toyota dealership. Since Spokane was where it was purchased, it made sense to go there.

After dropping off the car, I decided to get a falafel wrap at The Pita Pit. Only to find that they had gone out of business, just like Feed-and-Go...

Pita Pit Has Closed

No problem, I walked a couple blocks to a cafe with good sandwiches... only to find out they closed at 10:00 this morning for "maintenance."

And then...

Rather than wander around aimlessly, I decided to just go to Red Robin. They no longer have Boca Burgers (inexplicably replacing them with a veggie burger that's so gag-inducing awful I'd rather eat meat). I ended up eating their guacamole, salsa and chips, which wouldn't have been bad except the chips were stale. For dessert I wanted some of their cinnamon sugar mini donuts with caramel sauce. Except they came plain with no cinnamon sugar and instead of caramel, I got raspberry sauce. As if that wasn't enough, the donuts were overcooked.

And then...

The Apple iPhone Upgrade Program I've got allows me to replace my iPhone with the newest model every year. Since my replace-date is coming up, I thought I would drop by the Apple Store and take a look. I also wanted to look at the newest MacBook Pro models, as I'm sure I'll have to be replacing my 2012 model sometime soon. When I asked the Apple sales guy if there was a MacBook Pro that had an SD card slot and a USB and Thunderbolt port... you know, LIKE ACTUAL FUCKING PRO MACHINES WOULD HAVE... I was told no. "Everything has moved to USB-C, because that's the new industry standard." Alrighty then. We're back to Apple being clueless fucking assholes as to knowing what professionals need, but whatevs. So I moved on to the iPhone XS. I thought to ask if the charging cable that came with it had USB-C so I could charge it from the new MacBook Pro. The sales guy told me "No, it comes with the older USB-A and I would have to buy a $20 dongle." And so... I guess USB-C is not quite the "industry standard" I was just told it was since Apple itself isn't using it on their most popular product (by far).

Which begs the question... "Does Tim Cook, Jonathan Ivy, or absolutely anybody at all at Apple know what the fuck they are doing?" Because it honestly doesn't seem that way.

In the past their products were overpriced, but at least I knew I'd be getting something that provided value for the money and would be cutting edge when it came to features. But now? That's not even close to being the truth. Less features with less power and with less flexibility... all while being grotesquely overpriced. It's as if Apple has been working overtime to become the cliché they've always been painted as.

And then...

As I was leaving The Apple Store, I was very nearly run down by a group of amish(?!?) women on motorized scooters. They were driving on a busy sidewalk way too fast and seemed as if they were barely in control of the things. At least I think they were amish because they had those little hair covers on their heads and were wearing dresses. But I thought the amish didn't use technology... and since you have to have a mobile phone app to rent the things, maybe they weren't amish after all?

Scooter Bullshit

In any event, these stupid fucking scooters are littering the sidewalks everywhere downtown, so apparently the latest episode of South Park isn't just hype...

At the very least, they should be illegal to drive on the sidewalk. Given how fast they travel, somebody could get seriously hurt. And if somebody ever runs into me with one of them, I'm going to pick up the scooter and beat them to death with it.

And then...

After walking eight blocks in surprisingly cold weather, I picked up my car and headed to my hotel. They asked if I had a room preference, so I told them top floor and as far away from the elevator as possible so it would be less noisy and I could get some sleep. They put me on the top floor... but right across from the elevator. And next to a room with a woman coughing her head off. Which makes me even more thrilled that I wasn't able to stay home tonight.

And then...

If there's a bright side to having to drive three hours to Spokane, it's that some of my favorite pizza on earth is here... David's Pizza. Their DaVinci pizza (with tomato, pesto, and feta) is seriously delicious...

David's DaVinci Pizza

Unfortunately I had the grave misfortune to arrive on "Let Your Screaming Kids Run Apeshit Through The Restaurant Night." A whole team of the little fuckers were running around screaming and screaming and screaming and screaming... while the parents were in some kind of group meeting in the next room not giving a fuck that people were trying to eat in peace. By the time I left I had such a splitting headache that any enjoyment I got from my pizza was destroyed.

And then...

I decided to end this entry at 8:00pm tonight because I'm worried that continuing on any longer is just inviting more disappointment. Hopefully work will go smoothly so I can head home as soon as possible in the morning and be done with all this nonsense.

Until the next time, of course.

UPDATE: There it is! MobiLinc (the internet connect platform I use to control a good chunk of my home automation, has gone down...

MobiLinc FAIL!

It's been up and running 24/7 perfectly for months... so of course it goes down when I'm away from home and really need it. No idea what's wrong, as the cameras, alarms, and all the non-MobiLic devices are connected to the internet just fine. Perhaps it's time for me to go to bed and turn off the world.

   

Red Sox and Page Rank

Posted on October 29th, 2018

Dave!First of all...

CONGRATULATIONS BOSTON RED SOX... MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL WORLD SERIES CHAMPIONS!

Dave Loves the Red Sox!

I wish I could say that I never doubted... but there were definitely some moments! That third game? EIGHTEEN INNINGS loss to The Dodgers? Brutal. And I watched the entire thing from beginning to end while holding my breath. Last night was easier, but I was still a bit anxious all the way through. This is baseball, after all.

And so...

Blogography has never been a money-making endeavor. Even when I sold stuff it was always at-cost, which usually meant I lost money in the end. Nope, this is just a place to write my thoughts of the day and I never wanted to clutter it up with ads and other crap.

But that hasn't stopped people from trying to advertise here.

For a while there, I had a Google Page Rank of 7 out of 10. This is about as good as it can possibly get for a personal blog (8 and higher means you're a massively popular site like Apple or YouTube). Despite saying that I don't want ads unless you're willing to pay an obscene amount of money on my About Page, I was getting advertising requests several times a week. Vitamin supplements, clothing, vacation packages, makeup, cameras... even other blogs. I very nearly buckled when I got an offer of $1800 for six months... but it was for a sketchy online gambling site, so I declined.

Over the years my Google traffic has remained fairly good, but my Page Rank has plummeted to 5. When I read up on what this means, I found that it's because I am not using SEO (Search Engine Optimization) and am not actively building link-backs. Oh well. The benefit of a lower rank means that people stopped bothering me for ads, so there was a silver lining to all of it.

Then, as the internet turned into a social media machine instead of being blog-driven, Google Page Rank fell out of favor with advertisers. Sure it's still kinda a big deal if you're trying to make money... Page Rank says where you'll end up in a Google search, after all. But since social media is so huge and bypasses Google's ranking system, it's not the indicator of a website's draw power (especially blogs) like it used to be.

And yet...

This little blog has been around for a very long time, is updated constantly, has a massive amount of content, and has hugely diverse number of topics (seriously, is there anything I won't write about?). On top of that, it currently has 105,483 backlinks and 1,428 referring domains. Which is nothing to sneeze at. Which is why I still occasionally get advertising offers. Like this one, which was waiting for me when I checked my email this morning...

Advertising Offer!

Another sketchy gambling site, I'm sure.

Maybe... maybe... I would run an ad luring people to lose all their money if I were offered $10,000 annually. Maybe even $5,000 if I get another vet bill (STAY HEALTHY, JAKE!). But I'm not quite that desperate... yet.

Maybe I should be?

I dunno. If you ever see an ad on my blog, I haven't necessarily sold out or given up. It's just that I need the cash and my body ain't pulling on the street corner like it used to.

   

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