Welcome to Piss & Moan

Piss & Moan Home

Thanks for stopping in.

This sight was born out of the need to vent, Piss and Moan, about anything and everything. Mostly though, it is about stuff that pisses us off (and probably you too).

There are no real goals here. All we want is a place to complain and vent without doing it via the usual social media outlets, because that only seems to get us in trouble with people and we find that we really don’t like people.

So, what is Piss & Moan?

According to Wiktionary, we are this. Urban dictionary describes us as that. Merriam-Webster defines our existence too. Finally, the Online Slang Dictionary says this about us.

We’ll let you decide from here on out. Go ahead, stop in and be entertained, or not. We don’t care either way because we’ll Piss and Moan about that too.

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“Walmart” of the sky

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It’s been a month since the last vacation. In the scheme of things that isn’t a whole lot of time, but I gotta say that taking a vacation once a month is kind of feeling nice. I wish it could happen again next month.

Anyway, I have flown two different airlines in roughly the last five weeks and it is interesting to see how they have handled (or are handling) the pandemic a year from it’s start. Yesterday’s trip was less fabulous than the first trip. Now, I have flown other airlines, but there are two that I fly that I have liked in the past and those are the two I tend to check first when looking for flights, Alaska and Southwest.

About a month ago, I was on Alaska. The plane are newer, and feel more spacious, even if they may not actually be. The crews were friendly but not overly friendly. The planes felt clean, given the current situation, and the flights were directly to the destination (going and returning). The service inside the cabin was good. Alaska served nearly their full complimentary menu, so a light snack and beverage of choice was available.

Yesterday, I flew on Southwest Airlines. Southwest took a direct flight to Phoenix and routed it through Denver. This notification came just four days after purchasing the tickets. So, a roughly three hour flight turned into an all day affair. I wasn’t real pleased about it, but what can you do once you have already purchased the tickets? The first leg of yesterday’s trip wasn’t too crowded. But the crew wasn’t very friendly and the plane didn’t feel all that clean. It probably was, but it likely also has something to do with the fact that Southwest’s fleet is aging. Also a surprise, the in-flight service. The voice over the intercom announced they would be service iced water and a snack.

That’s it. Essentially, you are getting “bread and water” for flying with us. They, of course, told us this was because of the “current situation in the world.”

The water was a plastic cup with ice and water in it. It wasn’t even bottled water! Wow! So, apparently it is safer to serve an open cup of water in the era of airborne viruses. Go figure!

I asked a buddy who works for Southwest about it, as I was a little taken aback for the lack of services considering the experience just a month prior on a different airline. His response, “Anything to save a buck. We’re basically the Walmart of the sky, so you can’t expect much.”

I guess that is probably about right. It was a cheap flight. The second flight was much more crowded, the “empty middle seat” for social distancing was not a thing on this flight, and the plane didn’t feel any cleaner than the first one.

All in all, it was just a flight to a destination but I have come to expect a little more than what we got yesterday, even for a discount airline.

Am I spoiled or have they set us up to expect more? I am not sure.

Resigned truth

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Two stories in the media over the last week deal with the truth and ultimately what may lead to a resignation in both cases. In one instance, the resignations came swiftly. In the other, it remains to be seen on what will happen but I am fairly sure it will also result in a resignation.

Truth hurts.

Plain and simple.

Of course, we live in a world that now speaks of “your truth” or “my truth.” There is no such thing. There is only one truth. You can’t create a truth for yourself because it makes you feel better. Truth doesn’t care about your feelings. Truth is truth. You can’t invent truth by telling a lie over and over again to make it true (though there are lots of people who do this). Truth is unchanging, even when we don’t like it.

School Board

Was the school board that far off on what they said in a “hot mic” moment for a meeting? They all have since resigned, but what exactly are they resigning for? The truth? Sure, they were speaking in generalities and doesn’t apply to all parents, but that doesn’t make it any less true.

If you have been in education at all (and I was for 15 years), the feelings of frustration expressed at the meeting are feelings that all people in education, at one time or another, have felt and thought. Teachers know full well that parents are the WORST part of the job. Not the students. Not the admin. Not the co-workers. Not the long hours or the endless paperwork. It’s the parents. Always the parents.

So, their criticism of the parents was not off base at all. Yes, they want their babysitters back so they can go to work. Yes, they want their kids gone so they can smoke pot (side note: the kids I was teaching as high school students are the late 20s, early 30s adults that led the push to legalize pot and are now smoking openly in their homes, around their children). Yes, parents don’t care what it takes each day to teacher their children. No, they don’t understand that their child acts differently at school than they do at home. Yes, not all kids are angels and they DO act like that at home and at school.

Professional Baseball

Kevin Mather of the Seattle Mariners head office (President and minority owner) stepped into last week with a video that basically offended everyone in baseball or that enjoys baseball. BUT, did he say anything that wasn’t true or hasn’t been thought and felt over the decades of baseball? No, I don’t think so.

The problem is that he talked of some things that are “taboo” I guess. Openly admitting that you are playing with people’s careers in order to keep them under contract longer or that hiring additional support staff to aid baseball personalities is a drain on revenue isn’t something we haven’t all thought or assumed. But the fact that he had the audacity to say the truth, in essence exposing a dirty little secret that every team in the league has dealt with, has turned the baseball world upside down.

Will he ultimately end up sacrificing his position? Yeah, I think he will. He is going to have to play to the PR nightmare game that is created by candor and truth, because people don’t like it.

To make amends, people will demand his resignation just like they did with the school board mentioned earlier. It won’t make the issues go away. The truth won’t make the issues go away. The issues will just be swept under the rug again and it will be business as usual. There won’t be a reckoning with the truth and people won’t change their ways.

They’ll (those being spoken about) just create their own truth to justify their behavior and keep on, keeping on.

Good idea?

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Well, I am not sure what to make of it, but the early indications are positive. I decided at the end of December to try something new and dabble in a little something I don’t know much about. I decided to “invest” in digital currency, or cryptocurrency, or virtual currency.

It’s not a large investment because I wanted to see how it works and just kind of dip my toes into it. Because of the high volatility of cryptocurrency, I am a bit leery of the stuff but at the same time kind of intrigued by it. As such, the time and money and opportunity all seemed to come together.

I have money that goes into a PayPal account that just kind of sits there. The long and short of it is that the money is basically “free money” that I get each month from resources that I published online while I was a teacher. I get sales from that each month and the amount varies widely based on the number of items purchased. So, there is a lump of “cash” sitting in the account mostly doing nothing. I could transfer it my regular bank account, but why? I look at it as a blind account for a rainy day.

Anyway, at the end of December I saw that PayPal was going to offer the ability to purchase digital currency. So, I decided to take a small-ish amount of that lump and see what happens. There isn’t a need to have access to that money, really, so it is mostly a long term investment.

I bought some Bitcoin and Ethereum, two of the most popular forms of digital currency. Why these two? Well, from what I can gather they are also the most stable – as far as that goes.

Anyway, I put $90 into Bitcoin and $20 into Ethereum. At that point, I was a very small, fractional, owner of the currency. Exciting right? Not really. When you look at the amount per share it is less than thrilling. One share is worth $55.4k at the moment. So, I own all of 0.00339408 for my $90 investment. Cool, right?

Well, that is the interesting part. For my original investment of $110, I now have a chunk of “cash” that sits at just under $242 (at time of publishing). I have more than doubled that little toe dip in just under two months. Is that a good return? I would say so, but at the same time it could go right back down to where I started in a heartbeat so I am not getting real excited.

BUT, I can certainly see why there are lots of people so enticed by this idea. Buy in, watch it go up, sell at a higher price. If you’re talking in BIG dollar amounts, this would make total sense. In fact, Elon Musk (he’s kinda bright, right?) just sunk $1.5 billion into Bitcoin from his Tesla company at the beginning of the month. He was looking to create more capital by leveraging Bitcoin. Seems it worked since the price has shot up since he invested.

I am not making or giving any financial advice, by any means. However, I am curious if there are any others out there that have ventured into these relatively unknown waters and what their experience has been.

Hit me up in the comments and let me know what you think. Good idea? Bad idea? Had good or bad success yourself?

Rover

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NASA has done it again. They have pulled off a scientific and technological feat that is astounding, really. I watched the thing unfold and the landing appears to have gone flawlessly, even though the actual testing of this event was theoretical and computer modeling.

That’s all pretty cool stuff. But it raises some questions for me.

The first one has to do with the way it is powered.

It isn’t solar this time. It’s basically a small nuclear reactor. So, if there is technology to use this kind of thing in space and if there is technology to use something even bigger on our military naval vessels, why aren’t we using this technology to power our homes? Our schools? Our hospitals, stadiums, cities, our cars, etc? Why not? Wouldn’t it be better than the options we have now?

The second question comes back to the “search for life.”

Proof of life only has to be a single cell microbe of something. It doesn’t matter what it is, as long as they can define it as “living.” Of course it would be hailed as an incredible scientific discovery and lauded for all time. It will raise other questions too.

What gets me on this one is that a small single cell microbe will declared as “living” but a human embryos and fetuses are still seen as “not living.” Human, multicellular organisms on earth aren’t considered life by a bunch of people up here on this ball of dirt, thus they don’t see any problem with destroying that life. How wrong and misguided is that? It astounds me.

Anyway, a robot on another planet (again) is pretty cool. I am sure it will help answer some questions, but not all of them.

One, other, or all?

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Sometimes the choices about a how you use your time and the entertainment that you consume is tough. There are so many different options these days. From the extremely varied different video streaming services, to all the music streaming platforms, to all the options for books (real, audio, digital), podcasts, and social media.

It literally is difficult to keep up with all the options. Like literally.

I like movies and TV.

I like audio books.

I like listening to music.

I like listening to a couple different podcasts.

So, the question is, how do I do it all? Do I need a schedule? How do I give them all their due audience? Seriously.

I like music to fill time while I am putzing. I like to listen to podcasts and audio books while I putz. I listen to music while I work.

I like to watch stuff, but I actually watch – I can’t just listen. That takes time.

So, how do I watch my shows and movies, listen to audio books and podcasts, and how do I listen to all the music?

Are you like me? Do you do all this stuff or do you just focus on one? How do you deal with all this entertainment and balance it, like to keep up with it?

Avoidance

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It snowed for about 36 hours this last weekend. The snow was light and fresh and was covering everything. We got about 9″ of the white stuff.

For a short time, the world was quiet. Peaceful even. There is something very comforting in watching it snow. For me, it causes me to slow down and enjoy the stillness. Silence. Fresh.

But, under that blanket of white there is a yard that just makes me cringe.

I can honestly say this is the time of year where I just think the NW is plain ol’ ugly. The trees are naked. The grass isn’t green yet. Everything feels grey and cold, not to mention sopping wet. The snow helps hide this dreadful scene.

With the snow, the yuckiness is gone. It just goes away. It can be avoided, put off, ignored. The ugliness is replaced by something beautiful, divine, perfect.

So, while the snow lasted, I avoided even thinking of all the work that has to happen in the yard before Spring arrives. Now the snow is melting quickly and the sopping, rain soaked ugliness is returning.

Avoidance is no longer something I can hold on to.

I am just gonna have to do it.

They really know

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Some people just really know how to push your buttons. Some people just really know how to make you feel lower than low. Some people just don’t show you any appreciation or love. Some of those people are people you just know, maybe they’re coworkers or acquaintances. But sometimes they are people that are supposedly close to you.

Step-kids.

Yesterday was the beginning of my 49th trip around the sun. It was a quiet day since the day before we were blanketed with about 9″ of snow (and the ensuing compact snow and ice on the roads). So, much of the day was spent watching tv, taking a nap, playing video games, and eating food.

Lots of people on social media, family and friends alike, issued wishes of cheer and congratulations on the day. That felt good.

Only two of the nine children (our six kids and three spouses/significant others) managed to communicate with me. MY daughter and the second oldest of the step-kids. That doesn’t feel nice.

They sure know how make me feel like crap…

Rarity

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I am staring at the screen and I am not sure what to write. This is a rarity. I always have something to say!

So, either I am having writer’s block, I have run out of things to Piss & Moan about, or I am dead.

Could there be another option? Probably not.

So, what’s up with this? It feels weird. I am not sure what it is or how to feel. It’s kind of like when you’re blindfolded and have to reach into something to identify and unknown, squishy and slimy substance. When you kind of know what it is, but you don’t really know what it is. That’s kinda how it feels.

I need topics! Give me topics! Drop some comments about stuff that bugs you and I will give you my take on it.

That should work.

Or flop. Probably flop.

You’ll never participate much.

That’s kinda like sitting in an empty room talking to myself. I’m talking about important stuff, but no one is listening.

OK, GO! Do it now! Really, I mean it. GO FOR IT!

Sticky situation

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Warning labels can only go so far. Warning labels exist because people are stupid. Warning labels can’t possibly tell you all the things you are NOT supposed to do because the label isn’t big enough, the packaging would be horrendous, and no one can think of all the stupid stuff you shouldn’t do. Truth be told, if you see something stupid on the warning label it is because someone actually did it. No kidding.

People still need to use common sense. I realize the stuff is in short supply these days, but we really really gotta have people think before they do stuff.

So, I am sure by now you have heard the Gorilla Glue incident. I don’t know about you, but I have been glued to it since I heard about it. I have read every story I can get a hold of. The tears of laughter just spray from my eyes because I can’t believe the ridiculousness of it all.

If you haven’t of it, good job not paying attention to what is going on in the world! Ignorance is bliss, so they say.

Anyway, I think the lesson here is that you can get into a pretty sticky situation if you let your vanity get in the way of common sense. You’re going to get stuck with something you didn’t expect. And once the consequences hit, you’re probably going to come unglued.

All right, I’ll stop.

It isn’t nice to make fun of stupid people. But it sure it fun!

Just chill

OK, no, I don’t wanna chill.

Seriously.

It is damn cold outside (for the NW) and it is freaking chilly inside the house.

This week the low temps up here in the Northwest corner of the US is going to be in the low 20s. That isn’t typical for us so when it gets down in this range, we tend to just break out the sweatshirts and insulated jackets and try to avoid the out of doors. Last night the low was around 27 degrees.

So, the furnace has been acting funny and last night I was pretty sure there we were headed for a breakdown. Sure enough, this morning the house was 58 degrees when it should have been 66 when I got up. The furnace has in “lockout” mode – meaning it tried, it didn’t get lit, and then it gave up…for the next three hours.

When I got up to let the dog out at 5:00am I was like, “Crap. This is rather irritating, and cold. Dang, it’s cold in here.”

I tried resetting the furnace by turning off the power and then back on again. The stupid thing gave a good effort but after three cycles of trying, I gave up and went back to bed where it was warm. After warming up a bit, I was awake. So, back out of bed I went and out to build a fire in the wood stove. I was trying to be quiet so as to not wake the others in the house. Quiet, I tell you. Only to have one of the smoke detectors decide to CHIRP for a new battery. So much for being quiet.

Anyway, fire started and going and the warmth is starting to fill the room.

I called into work and let my manager know I was going to have to deal with this issue today and took at least half the day off. (Thank goodness for flexibility!)

I disassembled the ignitors, cleaned them with sandpaper, and reinstalled them. Furnace back on, cycled through the startup process, and still nothing. So, out comes the shop vac and vacuuming the pumps, the fans, the gas feed tubes (not sure of the technical term), etc. How did I know to do this stuff? I had a tech here once who we called because this happened like 6 years ago and we had no idea why it wasn’t working. He literally came out, cleaned the stuff, and charged $125 for 15 minutes of work. He was like, “Look, you don’t need me or need to pay me for this stuff. You can do it yourself.” He showed me what to look for, where to clean, and how to take the ignitors out and clean them.

VOILA!

Everything is back up and running. “Let there be heat!”

The fireplace is all fired up (see what I did there?) but the furnace is now doing what it is supposed to. I’ll keep the fire burning so as to not drive up the gas bill while the cold is here this week, but we are back in the warmth.