Mr. Bitey says Merry Christmas and What Happened to Part II???

This is Mr. Bitey, the T-Rex. Teeth? Bitey? Bite? Get it? I’m not the only loony around here. MrGf is the one who came up with the idea of making the little Santa hat for him. Added bonus, he glows in the dark. Oooo, the excitement…

So, what happened to Part II of the resin series? There have been problems. Massive ones. This has turned into a situation where everything that can go wrong, has. Stuff like this…

and this

Chipping, pitting, cracking, warping… I’ve had some messes on my hands before but I’ve never run into one this bad before. What makes it even more frustrating is that I don’t know why it’s doing this. All I can think of is that the resin I was using had been sitting on the shelf for too long. Maybe?

I got so frustrated I just let the thing sit for a while and I was seriously considering just chucking the whole thing into the fire pit. Fortunately a new 3D printer arrived to distract me and after playing with that for a few days I got back to work and eventually ended up with something that wasn’t so bad I would be ashamed of showing it in public. I ended up having to resort to using 60 grit sandpaper to get all of the pits and chips out and doing the final shaping because even touching it with a lathe tool did nasty things to it.

Resorting to 60 grit sand paper… Oh the shame of it…

Anyway I’m editing some video right now and collecting photos and hopefully will have all of this finally wrapped up pretty soon here.

Also in the que is some stuff about 3D printing, including a quick review at the Flashforge Adventurer 4 and an article explaining the different types of 3D printing and, most importantly, why you really, really don’t want one yourself. If you feel the sudden urge to buy a 3D printer go take a little lie down until you feel better.

Wheel of Time The Video Series

Warning: There may will be spoilers ahead. Seriously. If you keep reading you have no one to blame but yourselves. Oh, I might also say “bullsh*t” once or twice so there’s that.

I have a confession to make. I am a Wheel of Time fan. When the first book came out in 1990 I’d picked it up out of curiosity and was immediately hooked. But the problem was that the whole thing just never seemed to end. It was originally going to be a series of six books and, ultimately, turned out to be fourteen volumes, each one a massive brick of a book. (How big? Each book in the series averaged 826 pages in paperback format. And there are 14 books. That works out to 11,564 pages total length. Eleven and a half thousand pages. There are almost three thousand named characters. And I, heaven help me, read all of those pages. Several times. What this says about me is open to debate.) And it took so long to finally wrap up the series that I was wondering if I was going to die before it came to a conclusion.

I didn’t die but the author, Jordan, did die before it was finished. Fortunately they found an author who was quite possibly even better at this than Jordan himself was, and the final three volumes were excellent. Brandon Sanderson turned out to be the perfect choice to replace Jordan. Sanderson wrote the last three volumes, wrapped everything up to everyone’s satisfaction (well, to my satisfaction at any rate. There were some who were not pleased with the ending but they can go clutch their pearls elsewhere) and that was that.

Or was it? Hardly had the series wrapped up than rumors started that there was going to be a WoT movie which we fans openly laughed at. You can’t take what is basically an eleven and a half thousand page novel and turn it into a two hour movie. You couldn’t even take one plot line from the books and turn it into a movie without eliminating 99% of the story to make it fit.

If someone were to make a video out of it they’d have to go down the same road as the Chinese costume dramas which run literally 50, even sixty or seventy hours. “The Untamed”, for example, is a historical fantasy drama that is basically a 50 hour long movie broken up into one hour chunks, and “Ten Miles of Peach Blossoms” (also known as Eternal Love) is another fantasy drama that runs almost 60 hours. (Both of those are on YouTube, by the way, if you ever have a week or two with nothing else to do. I’m not sure if I should recommend you give them a try or not. These things are definitely an acquired taste, at least as far as us westerners are concerned. And often they end with everyone you like dying in the end.)

But then along came Amazon and they said hey, guess what? We’re going to do the Wheel of Time! I was neither impressed nor optimistic about what the results would be. But I’ve seen the first three episodes now and so far it is very, very good. Mostly. There are some things going on that don’t make a lot of sense, even rub me the wrong way.

The casting of the main characters seems – oh, how can I put this… Not quite right? Just a bit off? And so does the portrayals of those characters.

The main characters are Rand, Matt, Perrin, Egwene, and Nynaeve. (And to a lesser extent, Moiraine and Lan.) These five people are basically all kids, teenagers, or supposed to be. But except for Rand they seem far too mature both physically and mentally. Perrin especially but also Nynaeve and Egwene. Rand is the only one of the bunch that seems to actually be following the character development as portrayed in the book.

Matt… This is where things start to rub me the wrong way. In the book he is a jovial, fun loving prankster at first. The video version of Matt is more crude, more, well, nasty. He comes off more as a petty thief and mildly nasty little git, to be honest. Well, okay, I suppose I could give them some leeway. I suppose they could take him in that direction. But then…

Then we come to Perrin and dear lord that’s where things start to get strange. In the books Perrin is the same age as Matt and Rand, basically a teenager. But here they have Perrin already married to someone named Laila. And for no apparent reason that I can determine. This is a huge problem because a major part of his story revolves around his relationship later with Faile Bashere. Unless they’re planning on totally rewriting his entire relationship with her later he can’t be married now to Laila.

So they fix that problem by almost immediately killing Laila in the most horrific and emotionally wrenching way possible. And there is absolutely no reason for doing any of it! None.

The showrunners claim they did that to fill out Perrin’s backstory. Bullshit. Perrin has no such backstory involving a romantic relationship. At one point he muses that if he’d stayed in Two Rivers he might have eventually ended up married to someone named Laila, but he has no relationship with her and she never actually exists as more than a name mentioned in passing. There is no point in introducing a character and a marriage that never existed in the first place, only to then brutally and horrifically kill off the character to fill out a backstory that didn’t exist in the first place.

So why do it? To make him a more, oh, haunted and brooding character than he already is? Or basically just an excuse to throw up more blood and horror and shock in the middle of a scene that is already about as crammed full of blood and horror as it can get?

And speaking of blood and horror, now we come to the Whitecloaks, the Children of the Light… Oh, brother. Okay, we know the Whitecloaks are nasty, hypocritical bastards but they are cast as so over the top evil and sadistic that they’re almost a parody of themselves. The writers should be reminded that you can take things too far, and they did exactly that.

Okay, okay, I’m done with the ranting now. Let me get on with this. Except for the almost immediately brutally killed wife who didn’t exist in the first place and some minor quibbles about some of the characterizations, I have to admit I was impressed with what I’ve seen so far. Moiraine and Lan are spot on and beautifully rendered characters. As is Thom Merlin. The red sisters are a bit over the top but not, overall, horribly done.

The characterization of Rand seems almost spot on. He is, basically, little more than a well meaning country bumpkin at the start of the books, a teenaged kid with no experience outside of his little community, being thrust into a world he doesn’t understand and has difficulty comprehending.

And Logain – wow… Alvaro Morte plays Logain and dear lord he is good. Very, very good.

The visuals are outstanding. The scenery is stunning. The special effects are decent.

Overall it looks good so far. But what they’ve done with Perrin so far makes me a bit nervous. If they’re already inventing characters out of thin air for absolutely no reason at all just to immediately kill them off as horrifically as possible, it make me a bit anxious.

Catching Up: 3D printer, Snow, Kimchi and Stuff. Oh, and a Cat

When they packed this thing they didn’t fool around. Layers of ultra dense, shock absorbing foam inside and out, everything that could possibly move taped down, all shoved into a box the size of a small chest freezer. One of the best packing jobs I’ve ever seen.
you can tell from the wear on the build plate that I’ve been using this thing a lot since I got it

ES (Eldest Son) has had my old 3D printer for some time now using it to print parts for, believe it or not, a replacement power supply for IBM PC Junior computers. Seriously. The PC Jr, what has to be one of the worst computers ever made, is now something that people are looking back at with affection. IMO this is sort of like looking at, oh, toe fungus with affection, but some people are like that, I suppose. People his age and a bit older are experiencing a wave of nostalgia for old computers and are repairing them, running them and playing with them, and the power supply of the PCJr seems to be one of the more fragile parts of the system. So he came up with a design for a circuit board, has a company make them for him, then adds the components, prints various brackets using the 3D printer and makes a tidy profit off it.

I now have the thing unpacked and up and running and I am pretty impressed with it so far. I’ll be talking about it in depth in about a week. I would have covered it before now but I ran into some issues that that turned out to not be a problem with the printer but with the filament I was using. That delayed things until I figured out what was going on.

Yes, we got snow! Well, not now. All of that stuff up there melted away rather quickly, alas, but still it was, for a brief time, winter here in north eastern Wisconsin. It has been cold here, though, with night time temperatures down as low as 18F, or about -7C for those of you outside the US who are reading this. (When in heaven’s name are we ever going to get in synch with the rest of the world when it comes to measurement systems?)

Let’s talk kimchi. How the hell did an aging, grouchy old ex-farmer get hooked on kimchi of all things? Well, I did and no, I am not suffering from dementia.

For those of you who aren’t familiar with it, kimchi is basically, well, sauerkraut. Fermented cabbage. Only sauerkraut kicked up a few notches. Well, kicked up a lot of notches, I suppose. It’s loaded with garlic and massive amounts of red pepper and some onions, with a bit of fish sauce and soy sauce thrown in. I love the stuff. The rest of the family looks at me very odd when I bring it out, but then the rest of the family looks at me very oddly most of the time anyway so I don’t care. I love hot, spicy food to begin with. And thanks to the popularity of K-dramas on Netflix and other streaming services, kimchi, which is a staple of every Korean household, has started to become more popular and even our local Walmart carries it. Well, not for long because I buy it up as soon as they restock it. That’s the only reason I go to Walmart. Seriously. I scarf up all their kimchi and don’t come back until they get a new delivery.

It’s not cheap though, which makes sense since they import the stuff from Korea. So could I make the stuff myself? Basically it’s just fermented cabbage, right? So I found a recipe in, of all places, Ball jar company’s canning cookbook and I decided to try it, and it’s now bubbling away down in the basement and we’ll see what happens.

It’s easy to make. About 2 pounds of napa cabbage, sliced, lots of garlic, a couple of tablespoons of fish sauce and soy sauce, about a quarter cup of salt, and lots and lots and lots of Korean red pepper. There’s about a cup and a quarter of ground Korean red pepper in that mess up there. Then you shove it into jars, put a weight on top of it to keep the cabbage submerged in the liquid, and stick it in a cool, dark place and let it bubble and churn and do stuff for a while and keep your fingers crossed

That’s been sitting down in the basement for about 2 days now and apparently I’m supposed to taste it after 4 days.

MrsGF tells me that what it’s going to actually taste like is going to be different for just about everyone who makes the stuff because wild yeasts or bacteria or something like that in the environment that actually cause the fermentation process are going to be different in every home, so the actual flavor could be quite a bit different from what I’m used to. And even the exact same recipe fermented in a different location could have a much different flavor. So we’ll see.

I have to admit that this kind of thing goes against my basic instincts. I grew up in a household where the only spices in general use were salt and pepper, and not much of that, where vegetables were cooked until they turned gray and meat was not treated very gently. I loved my mother dearly but lord, her pork chops… you could have re-soled shoes with her porkchops. Her idea of food safety, well, I’m not sure where she got it from but she had the idea that if there was any kind of pink in even the thickest cut of meat, it was going to kill you.

So I wonder sometimes where my love of highly spiced foods comes from, along with my enthusiastic embracing of some foods that would have made my mother turn white with horror. She’d have had a heart attack if she’d ever heard of sashimi, which I absolutely love and she’d have probably wondered about my mental health if she’d seen me eating jalapenos right off the plants out in the garden.

But even so, letting jars full of cabbage just sit there in the basement at room temperature for days, even weeks at a time frankly makes me nervous.

I just took a peek at it. It’s been sitting over there in the dark for two and a half days now and it doesn’t look like anything is actually happening. No bubbling or anything, it hasn’t tried to crawl out of the jars to escape. And I have to admit that it smells absolutely amazing right now, so that’s hopeful? Maybe?

And to wrap this up, how about a cat?

Yes, lowly human, you may worship at my feet.

That’s Martin up there, one of son’s and his fiance’s cats. He’s a rescue kitty and he is amazingly beautiful, incredibly smart, breathtakingly stupid, adorable and annoying all at the same time. So pretty much a typical cat.

Is This The Future?

Photo by Carbon Robotics

This is the Autonomous LaserWeeder from Carbon Robotics. And this could be a real game changer for agriculture. This is an AI operated, self driving weeding machine equipped with powerful computers, cameras and high power lasers. Using GPS and it’s own cameras and inertial guidance systems, this thing will travel the fields by itself at about 1 – 2 acres per hour, using its lasers to blast anything that isn’t the crop you’re trying to grow. It will run about 20 hours on a tank of fuel.

No labor costs, no chemicals, no weeds.

And this is not a prototype. This piece of equipment is in operation now, working in carrot and onion fields, and according to the company it saves farmers up to 80% or more of the costs normally associated with manual weeding, cultivating and herbicides. They are already testing it on other row crops and it works just as well on them as it does with carrots and onions.

Could we be looking at a future where we’d no longer be drenching crops with toxic chemicals? Maybe.

There are some problems. Aren’t there always?

First is cost. I wasn’t able to actually pin down a price on these things even though they claim they are in actual use right now. I scrounged around for a considerable amount of time and couldn’t come up with a definite purchase price for one of these things. But I imagine they are most definitely not cheap. (Well nothing is cheap when it comes to ag equipment. You can easily drop a half million bucks on a decent sized tractor these days.) Farmers of all types operate on razor thin profit margins. Just a few cents per pound increase in costs can be enough to put a farm out of business. But considering that right now human labor of any type is damned near impossible to find and the costs of herbicides are skyrocketing, if you can find them at all (we’re having a glyphosate shortage right now) even an expensive machine like this could be economically viable, especially if you can get a premium price for your produce by marketing it as herbicide free.

Second problem is size. These things are the size of an SUV, but even so they are tiny by modern agricultural equipment standards. And they are slow. They only cover about an acre or a little more every hour. A single large corn or soybean grower plants thousands of acres every year. Collectively we grow tens of millions of acres of corn, soybeans and other crops. These things, in their current form at least, could never deal with that much acreage. A typical soybean or corn grower would have to have dozens of these things running 24/7. Could the technology be scaled up to work with large ‘industrial’ growers? Maybe? We don’t know yet. I’m sure they’re going to try.

But that being said, this could be a real game changer for vegetable growers. I really hope this turns out to be a viable method for dealing with weeds.

The Why the Heck did I Take that Picture Department

Ever go through your old photos and sit and stare at one and ask yourself “Why the heck did I take that photo?” I was going through some old files and came across these… Well, I was going to start deleting them but then I remembered that even though the photos are ridiculous there are stories attached to some of them.

I know where and when this one was taken, Jamestown, NY. But why?? Why did I want a photo of the ice arena? Don’t get me wrong. I love Jamestown. It’s a really nice city located in a beautiful part of New York, the people were amazing, friendly and helpful, and it has some great restaurants. MrsGF, our oldest son and I spent an incredibly fun evening in an Italian restaurant late one evening a block or so from our hotel. We were the last ones there and when the owner found out we’d come there all the way from Wisconsin he came out with a couple of bottles of wine and we sat talking and drinking and telling stories until way too late.

But why the heck did I take this picture? No idea. But because it reminds me of that crazy night at that little Italian restaurant it’s a keeper.

You probably don’t know anything at all about the Hotel Marsh. I certainly don’t, except that it’s in Van Wert, Ohio. But apparently a couple of days before I was in Jamestown I was in Van Wert, Ohio, and I took a photo of a hotel. Why? I have no idea. But I do remember a bit about Van Wert and about a rather curious restaurant called Baily Eats (I think that’s how it’s spelled). It was a very curious, very old fashioned place, right across the street from the city offices where I had some of the best pork, dumplings and sauerkraut I’ve ever had.

This is a junkyard just outside of Owatonna, Minnesota. Owatonna, if I remember right. And, well, why in the world did I take this photo? I have no particular fondness for junk yards. And as junkyards go this one isn’t very interesting. This was the very first trip I took on the BMW when I’d first bought it. I ended up going through Minnesota, through South Dakota and into Wyoming and Montana on a two week trip by myself.

The backs of people’s heads? I remember being on that boat. It was an island tour of some sort someone talked me into going on and I vaguely remember being bored for the the entire three hours the tour took. Bored enough that I apparently resorted to taking photos of the backs of people’s heads? I actually have several like this. But it’s from a trip I took with one of the boys up to the Apostle Islands so I’ll probably keep it.

A tree. Ooo, how exciting. Not just a tree, but two trees. One big, one small. And a bush off there to the left! Where the heck was this? Why did I take the photo? Why didn’t I delete it? I honestly have no idea where this is or why I took the photo.

I do remember this. This is a small town in Kentucky. It was a pleasant little place. We’d stopped at a cafe for breakfast on Saturday and sat there listening to a bunch of old guys at the table next to us talking about buying burial plots for their wives. Seriously. There were about 5 guys, all in their 70s or maybe even in their 80s, and the topic of conversation was where they were going to bury their wives when they died. MrsGF and I didn’t know if we should start laughing or run away as fast as we could. MrsGF came to the conclusion that they were “performance artists” or something like that, hired by the cafe to give the tourists something to talk about.

But of all the stuff I could have photographed in that town, why did I take this picture? There isn’t even anything that identifies the town. It could be any of a thousand different small towns I’ve been through.

Okay, I’m bored now, although not as bored as you are. Time for me to go do something useful. Like maybe pet the cat

Short Stuff

Stuff too short for an entire article all shoveled into one post. I also complain about stuff. Well, okay, so I complain about stuff a lot but it’s worse than usual because I’ve been up since about 4 AM because I’m trying to get off the allergy medication and it isn’t going well so I’m even more grouchy than usual And because I’m tired and grouchy there are probably a lot of typos and other problems with this but the heck with it, I’m going to hit the “publish” button and be done with it.

We got frost at last the other day. According to the electronic temperature recording thingie hanging on the wall it got down to 27F and most of the lawns around here were covered in white when I got up the other morning. Then a few days later it got even colder and even the cars were covered with frost.

What’s in a name? There are rumors Facebook may be changing its name in the future. But if you have a huge, stinking pile of s**t laying around in your backyard, calling it a “rose” doesn’t change the fact that it is still a huge, stinking pile of s**t.

Can you say “reducetarianism” boys and girls? This is a term I’ve seen being tossed around in the food industry media recently and apparently this is a real thing. These are people who kinda, sorta feel bad about eating animals, but not bad enough to actually stop eating them. Maybe? But enough to at least cut back a little? Maybe?

Look, if you have moral objections to eating animals, good for you. I think you have a valid point. If you believe eating meat and animal products is bad for your health, also good for you because there is a lot of research out there that says you’re probably right. But if you have legitimate health concerns or moral objections and all you do is just cut back a little? Seriously? No. Sorry. That’s like one of those celebrities who lives in a 10 bedroom mansion with a swimming pool and private helicopter who buys a Prius and then claims they’re saving the environment.

National “Whatever” Day… While I’m on the subject of people just making sh*t up can we just stop already with this “It’s National (insert word of your choice here) Day” nonsense? Marketers took over this whole “National Whatever Day” nonsense long ago and have made it not only utterly irrelevant but more than a wee bit stupid. Everything has a “National XXX Day” now. There’s probably a “National Slather Yourself With Cheese And Call Yourself A Sandwich” day for all I know. Just stop it. It isn’t silly and fun any more, it’s annoying.

By the way, I am not against silliness. I strongly approve of silliness and do my part to add a bit of silliness to people’s day. Like riding around town on a bicycle with a squeaky duck wearing a propeller hat glued to my handlebars.

About that bowl… Somebody asked me what ever happened to that bowl I was working on in that test video I made the other day. It was a really beautiful piece of wood and I had high hopes for it but, well, sometimes things go wrong. Like this.

Holy cow, WTF happened?

After I did that video I got caught up in a few other things that absolutely had to get done so it sat on the lathe for a couple of days and when I came back that’s what it looked like. Lots and lots of nasty cracks. Not just surface cracks, either. They run almost all the way through the piece of wood. I’m a bit upset about that. That was a beautiful piece of wood and I paid more than $40 for that block. Why did it crack? I have no idea. It shouldn’t have. Usually you get cracks like this when a piece of wet wood dries down to fast. But my moisture meter said it was down to about 10% so that shouldn’t have been the problem.

Anyway, here I am with a badly cracked $40 piece of wood… MrsGF and I stood there and looked at it for a while trying to figure out what to do with it. If it was just one or two cracks I’d just stabilize them with CA glue and keep working. But it isn’t. It’s cracked like that all the way around and the cracks run almost all the way through the piece. MrsGF finally suggested I just let it sit for a while until it stabilizes and then see if I can salvage anything from it. Sigh…

Amateur Radio Stuff… Pretty much nothing has been going on there for a variety of reasons. A while back my primary computer got taken out by lightning, which was the one I used for logging, controlling the radios, doing digital communications, etc. So I also lost all of the software, my contact logs, all of that stuff.

My computer/electronics/ham radio room down in the basement was an absolute mess so I decided to take the opportunity to reorganize everything and deal with the rat’s nest of wiring that had accumulated behind the equipment. And then I got involved in more important things like cleaning up the gardens, dealing with a leaking water heater… Well, you get the idea. Anyway, I’ve only just gotten started on trying to get all of that put back together. And now I’m trying to remember how everything was connected because, of course, I didn’t keep notes on anything. Sigh

My much repaired OCFD antenna broke again a few months ago and I left it down because we were going to have the tree in the backyard taken down. But that didn’t happen, so I need to get the replacement for that strung up before the snow flies

Amaryllis … We had this dopey amaryllis laying around for something like 5 years now. After it bloomed the first year MrsGF kept the thing because she’d heard you can get them to blossom again. BTo be honest I thought the thing was dead or dying because it would make a half hearted attempt to send up a green shoot, then die back. But for whatever reason this year we got this…

I don’t know how she does it, MrsGF. The woman can take a shriveled up old piece of root, throw it near some dried out patch of worthless dirt, and a few weeks later end up with thriving plants.

The Joy of Allergies… Well, here I am, it’s 4:30 AM and I’ve been up for half an hour thanks to my allergies. Sigh… I am trying to wean myself off antihistamines. I’ve never bothered to get myself tested to see what I am actually allergic to, but I know tree pollen is in the mix, along with cats, grass pollen, and a rather lengthy list of other airborne irritants. It isn’t bad enough that I’m rendered nonfunctional or anything like that, but it is uncomfortable and annoying and I feel like I have a cold pretty much all the time. The end result is the same no matter what it is I’m allergic to – my eyes feel like they’re full of gravel, my sinuses are stuffed up and produce copious amounts of gunk that gets into my throat, especially when I lay down, so that makes me cough, especially when I try to sleep. Over the counter medications don’t do much or have nasty side effects for me. I have found one that works relatively well, and it has the added benefit of being very, very cheap. I take one in the evening before I go to bed and that helps a lot. But…

This is about the time of the year when my allergy issues tend to get better and I shouldn’t need to keep taking this stuff. But as is often the case there is something called a rebound effect. When I stop taking it, the symptoms come back worse than they were before I started taking the stuff in the first place. My sinuses start producing even more gunk which gets back into my throat making me cough, which gets even worse when I lay down so it makes it hard to sleep. Grrr.

Interestingly, when I’m traveling and get west of the Mississippi, usually about halfway through South Dakota, about, oh, Murdo or Wall, my symptoms start to go away. The first time I noticed I was in Wall, SD. I’d stayed at a motel there and woke up and felt, well, good. I mean really good. I could breathe through my nose without effort, my eyes didn’t feel like they were full of sand and I actually thought something was wrong with me for a while until I realized what was going on. On the way back by the time I got into western Minnesota all of the symptoms were starting to come back. Which is why I’ve spent so much time in SD, Wyoming and Montana. So the stuff I’m allergic to apparently doesn’t grow out there.

Anyway, if I don’t give into the temptation to go back on the stuff so I can get a good night’s sleep, it will take me three or four days before things start to improve so I’m going to be even more of a grouch than usual. So if I seem to be even more irritating than usual, that’s why. (sniff sniff cough cough)

That’s enough of this for right now. I have a lot of stuff coming up. I need to get started on Part II of the resin guide/tutorial thingie, I need to try to get my ham radio stuff put back together, software installed, etc. I found some slabs of black walnut from some trees a friend cut down years ago out in the garage that I want to do something with. I got that brand new Nikon camera and haven’t been doing much with that. I got the GoPro video camera and I haven’t done much with that, either. But the resin project will give me a chance to give that some exercise. Sometime in the future I want to talk about Chinese and Korean romantic comedies and dramas, which has become something of a fad in the US. I’d like to talk about advertising, especially advertising back in the early days of the 20th century…

Will I ever get around to doing any of that stuff? Maybe…

Last Harvest of the Season, House Moving Chaos

Autumn is one of my favorite seasons, but it is still a bit sad because it means the growing season is coming to an end. We haven’t had frost yet, but that will be coming very soon, so it was time to get one last picking from the peppers. I always thought pepper plants liked hot weather and long days, but that doesn’t seem to be the case with these. They’ve been thriving in the cooler weather and shorter days. The dopey things have been producing more now than they were during the height of the growing season.

These all ended up being diced up and frozen. I ended up with about 6 1 quart bags of diced peppers from this last batch. The plants themselves are still flowering but we’ll get freezing temperatures long before we’ll get any fruit, so I’ll be cleaning out this bed in the near future and prep it for next season so MrsGF and I will have less to do when the spring rush hits us.

Eldest Son (ES for short) and his fiance took the plunge and bought a house. They finally signed all the paperwork yesterday morning and as soon as that was done the moving chaos began. The two of them have been anxious, to put it mildly, ever since the whole process began. And now the chaos of moving began yesterday. MrsGF and I were up there, along with along with some of ESF’s (eldest son’s fiance) relatives helping to move the essentials like kitchen, bathroom and bedroom stuff so they could sleep there last night. While some of the moving was going on I was busy replacing door locks. Hopefully they didn’t lock the new keys in the house. Although it would be mildly entertaining if they did. Well, I’d think it was entertaining but I have a warped and twisted sense of humor. I imagine it would irritate them enormously.

Moving is always stressful. MrsGF and I have done more than our share of it over the years. It is never fun.

They’re both adults rapidly pushing middle age so the two of them have accumulated a lot of stuff. They’ve been packing for weeks already. But now it all has to be shoveled into numerous vehicles, shuttled over to the new place, unloaded and shoved into the new place. Plus they also have three cats, so that ought to be interesting.

Enough. It’s way past the time I’m supposed to leave to scurry up to Green Bay to help with the move. MrsGF left half an hour ago and I was supposed to be right behind her.

GF Gets A Video Camera. Be afraid. Be very afraid…

I got a video camera, specifically a GoPro 9 that I picked up cheap. The plan is to use it to make videos for this blog. I also have video editing software. There are certain things I should not be allowed to play with and I suspect video is one of them, but we’ll see. And, drum roll please, here is the first experiment.

I uploaded it to YouTube rather than directly to the blog here for a very good reason. I only have a finite amount of storage space for this blog and videos take up a lot of bytes, so rather than suck up my limited storage space here I’ll probably dump the videos onto the Tube and just link to them if this works.

I got the camera specifically for a “Beginner’s Guide to Resin” thingie I’m working on. I also thought it might be fun to strap the thing onto the bike when I’m out riding around. If nothing else at least it would get the license plate number of the car that runs me over when I’m out biking so the wife knows who to sue. (That’s a joke, by the way. Not a very good one, I admit.)

So far I am not all that pleased with the GoPro 9. Battery life is absolutely abysmal. And the thing get hot. I mean seriously hot. That much heat being generated indicates that there are some serious issues with the basic engineering of the device. Excessive heat is a very serious problem for electronics of any type, and considering how hot this camera gets it makes me wonder how long it is going to hold up

On the good side the videos are pretty good and the video stabilization is excellent. Very little jitteriness as I move the camera around.

The editing software I’m using is Adobe Premier Rush which has some “issues”, as they say. It seems to get, oh, confused, I suppose you could call it. I had to shut it down and restart it a dozen or more times when I was editing that short video up there because it was having problems with the captions.

I Don’t Get Car Dealer Math

Really, I don’t understand car dealer math. Okay, here’s the situation:

The Vette on the day I bought it. I kind of miss it but it was time for it to go.

I wanted to talk about this before now but didn’t have a chance. Back in mid-summer my wife and I were kinda, sorta looking to replace the Corvette. Don’t get me wrong, I loved that car. But I’ve reached a point in my life where comfort, convenience and practicality is more important to me than a street legal race car with 500+ horsepower, a top speed pushing 200 mph, and an exhaust system that sets off car alarms when I drive through quiet neighborhoods. Oh, and I couldn’t drive it in the winter so it sat parked for at least 4 months of the year. So back in July we decided to finally stop putting it off and do it, trade the Vette off on something more comfortable and more useful, and that we could drive in the winter.

I wanted a Rav4. At first. My wife has a 2013 Rav and we like it a lot. It’s up to about 140,000 miles now and we’ve had absolutely zero problems with it. But… The Rav4 is no longer a nice vehicle. The ones I saw were far, far from nice. I hated the interior of the new Rav. Everything about the Rav felt, well, cheap and badly thought out, like they just glued a bunch of stuff together without any thought to ergonomics or driver convenience.

And, of course, there was the fact that we couldn’t actually drive one to see what it was like in actual use. The dealer only had one in stock, still not ready to drive, and if we even wanted to test drive it they demanded we put down a $500 deposit. Screw that nonsense.

To make a long story a bit less long, I ended up focusing on a Buick Envision Avenir at the local GM dealer in Chilton. It was really, really nice, Buick’s version of a luxury crossover vehicle. Emphasis on luxury. Fine leather everywhere, superb build quality, fit and finish was absolutely excellent. All the controls were in the right place. It had a five star safety rating. The ‘infotainment’ thingie was integrated into the dash, with a subtle curve to it to keep it aimed at the driver. It just – felt right, if you know what I mean.

So, the price they had on the Buick was pushing $50,000. According to Kelly Blue Book and other sources on the internet my Vette was worth $30,000 – $35,000 on a trade in. I figured it would be at the lower end of that because the Vette wasn’t exactly pristine. I’d walloped that car hard through the mountains in Wyoming and Montana on multiple trips, ran it over salt covered roads in the midwest, and used it to haul bags of mulch. And it showed.

So, here’s the bit I don’t get, the math. I told them to write up an offer on the Buick, trading the Vette on it. Now, real world math says that $50,000 – $35,000 = $15,000. So I was figuring I’d have to shell out about $15K on top of the Vette if I wanted the Buick. But…

Well, the salesman left me sitting in the office and went off somewhere to do something. Then he showed up again and went into the office of the owner of the dealership. I could see them in there through the office windows, looking at computers, scribbling stuff on notepads. Finally he came back and…

With taxes, fees, misc. charges, special weather proof coatings, a bumper to bumper warranty for 3 years that even covers the interior fabrics, I’d have to pay $6,000 on top of the Vette for the Buick. So apparently 50,000 – 35,000 = 6,000???

First they’d knocked about six grand off the price of the Buick for — reasons. They gave me way more for the Vette than all the sources on the internet said it was worth. There were other discounts and special deals and I don’t know what all else. They tried to explain it all to me but about five minutes into the explanation my eyes kind of glazed over and I just said never mind and wrote them a check and went home with the Buick.

Like I said, I don’t understand how car dealer math actually works. I suspect imaginary numbers are involved. And, perhaps, pixies or elves or something.

Stuff From The Dim Past Because I’m Waiting For MrsGF and I’m Bored

This one is still up in the ancient archives of this blog or whatever it is and I keep telling myself I should just delete it completely, but oh, what the hell. The cow is clipart but I actually drew the rest of this — this whatever it is. Yes, I used to draw manga. Or tried to. This one goes back to around 2013 or so and, well, lord, what the hell was I even thinking?

The only excuse I have for this is that I was listening to a lot of Lawrence Welk music at the time. This is what happens when you listen to Lawrence Welk music for too long. Don’t let this happen to anyone else. If you know anyone who listens to Lawrence Welk, get them help now. Stage an intervention or something. Don’t let this happen to them.

You should be able to click on the image to blow it up to readable size.

Oh my god I can’t believe I drew this… This is what happens when you work in an elementary school for way, way too long. And listen to Lawrence Welk music. Don’t let this happen to anyone else. Ban Lawrence Welk now.