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.

Lemons

The Super Bowl ended up not being that super. There wasn’t much of a game, the halftime show sucked, and a good majority of the commercials were not entertaining. The whole thing just left me with a sour taste in my mouth. I am sure some people were happy with the results, but overall it was a lackluster event.

But, there were a few standout commercials that were worth watching. In fact, they were worth watching then and I think they are worth watching now. Three that stood out for me:

“Last Year’s Lemons”

“Certain Is Better”

Those were the ones I enjoyed the most. How about you? Did you watch the Super Bowl? Did you see he commercials in the week before the game? Did you skip the whole thing altogether and just ignore the fact that it was even on?

Minty eye

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There is some danger in brushing your teeth. I know this isn’t probably widely talked about, but your toothbrush and toothpaste container may have it out for you if you’re not careful.

I was brushing my teeth a couple days back (yes, I brush them every day. Gross. Don’t make it sound like it is an occasional thing…) and I had something happen to me that I haven’t had happen in 48+ years. It was surprising to say the least and it STUNG LIKE HELL (like heat cream in the jock strap kind of sting!).

Here’s how it went down:

Minding my own business and going through my morning routine. Picked up the toothbrush, picked up the tube of toothpaste, and proceeded to carefully apply said paste to brush. I have done this a lot, so I don’t take a lot of particular care in application but I always try to make sure there isn’t a bunch of leftover hanging out of the tube when I close the lid (no one like the toothpaste crust on the outside of the nozzle). As the toothpaste reached the last few bristles of the brush, the bristles caught the edge of the tube opening…

Catapult!

Picture the films of back in the day when they used catapults to throw big rocks over the walls of castles and forts and whatnot. Only this time the catapult was flinging toothpaste.

In less than the blink of an eye (I literally watched the white glob fly at me) minty-fresh, teeth-whitening Colgate landed in the corner of my eye.

There was no Matrix effect for me to dodge it. There was no time to blink. There was no time to flinch.

“Eye, meet toothpaste. It’ll be staying for a while, and it will be uncomfortable, so buckle up for this ride.”

Stinging, blinking profusely, scrunched face, I tried to complete the job of brushing my teeth. It was tough. It took 23 minutes for the stinging to go away.

So yeah, if you want to sniff my minty eye some time let me know.

Wink wink, blink blink, wink wink.

Six(ty) Word Story

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We have talked about it over and over again. You know I don’t like it.

I have asked you not to do it. You agreed you wouldn’t.

Yet, you do it anyway. Are your actions that important to only you?

You just ignore me and my feelings, my requests.

I don’t understand. I’m confused.

I’ll just sit here hurt, alone.

Hold up

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Hold up, hold up. Wait, wait, wait! Freeze! Hit pause. Stop the presses. Slam on the brakes.

This isn’t the first time I have addressed this and I am sure it won’t be the last, but this couldn’t be any better of an example than what the music industry (and society as a whole) have in regards to a HUGE DOUBLE STANDARD.

“Kettle, you’re black.”

“Oh yeah well, Pot, you’re black too.”

Morgan Wallen has essentially been banned from radio for use of the N-word while hanging out with people he knew. Are his actions appropriate? Nope. Not in the least. Am I defending him? Nope.

What I am doing is pointing out the huge double standard that the music industry and the public have when it comes to use of the N-word. Seriously. The double standard couldn’t be any more obvious and blatant.

I am sure you are aware, or maybe you aren’t, but nearly every popular rap musician these days uses some form of the N-word IN THE LYRICS OF THEIR SONGS. The use isn’t an accidental slip, or under your breath muttering that was caught on tape – it’s intentional and calculated. Period. These songs are played on the radio (with the blatant words bleeped out), on streaming services without (and without) the words being bleeped out, in music videos (censored and not), and even on television (with the words bleeped out).

These musicians make public appearances, are celebrated by the music industry and the public, and have huge endorsement contracts with some of the most popular and recognizable names in the world. As an example, check out the lyrics of songs by Travis Scott. After looking at the lyrics, would it surprise you that he has endorsement contracts with Nike, Playstation, Fortnite, McDonalds, etc. totaling about a $100 million? Remember his NFL Superbowl halftime appearance/performance a last year? He was embraced, not ostracized. This is just one example. Just ONE example. There are so many more. The genre is full of it. Just pick someone that is popular in rap right now, or someone that was popular, and you will find lyrics that use the N-word.

So, it isn’t a secret in the industry. It’s just hypocrisy. It’s just a double standard. It’s just a “do as I say, not as I do” message from one community to another. Just plain, “It’s OK for some, but not for others.”

Yet, we have an example here where someone uses the word and there are consequences that amount to a “ten foot pole” for one guy and a whole genre of music that uses the word and it’s open arms for the artists and they can’t throw enough money at them.

I don’t get it. What am I missing?

Ad-versary

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Facebook, you are doing it to yourself. The revolt against you and your policies, oh and your very very underhanded and sneaky use of people’s data, are going to do you in. You still have an audience, but people are growing tired of being suspicious of everything you do in the background and they just want some safety and privacy from your all invasive practices.

No one wants to be bombarded by advertising. No one wants to be tracked everywhere they physically go and no one wants to be tracked where they go digitally either. So, this little deal you got going on here shouldn’t fool too many people…except that it likely will.

Perhaps Apple is actually trying to protect people and their data. Perhaps they are just making room for their own tracking and advertising. I haven’t a clue. But what I do know, is that I like the way Apple has shown that they are trying to protect people’s data. That goes a long way in trust, something Facebook doesn’t have and likely won’t have (for sure from me).

Facebook is scrambling to adjust over new alerts coming from Apple in the near future that will let people adjust how they get advertising from Facebook by opting out of tracking (or in, depending on how you view this approach). In essence, it will block tracking data so you don’t get “personalized” ads. I am all for that!

Actually, I don’t like ads at all. I’d rather not have my feed filled with ads that some company thinks I might be interested in. I could totally do without. I’d even consider paying a small fee to go ad free. But, at the same time, if I am going to pay a fee to not see ads I would also expect that I am not going to be censored for my views, thoughts, beliefs, etc.

Apple and Facebook have taken an adversarial approach to how they are going to work together and I like it. Big tech and other companies should have to fight over customers and the more people make them work for their dollars the better off we are as consumers. But we as consumers need to be smart about how we give our business to these companies in order to make them compete for it, otherwise we get all-encompassing monopolies who then dominate the marketplace and make up new rules and charge ridiculous fees because they have no one to oppose them.

I like what Apple is doing here. I hope they aren’t just trying to make space for their own scheme. But for now, I am glad to see Facebook about to take it in the nose for their privacy and data collection practices.

They actually deserve it.

Smoke alarm

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First night home from vacation and a loud noise interrupts the peace. A loud, piercing, and from a dead sleep, shrieking noise. Dazed and confused but somewhat aware of what all the racket was about, I hoped outta bed and threw on some clothes.

On the way out the bedroom door, the youngest man-child in the family was apologizing for having set off the fire alarms (the whole house is wired so when one goes off, they all go off). He was making corn dogs in the middle of the night, to be precise that would be of the 12:30ish AM variety of the middle of the night.

So, after waving a pillow profusely over my head at the fire alarm so that air would move and it would no longer detect smoke, I tossed the pillow on the couch and gave him a rather irritated look.

So, what they hell?

What is with teens and late teens staying up all hours of the night and causing the old people in the house to lose sleep because they make so much racket? Talking to friends, playing video games, making food, dropping things, knocking stuff over, and everything else that you can think of that makes noise…all to our dissatisfaction and loss of sleep. Can’t you just be like “normal” people and go to bed at a civilized hour?

Yeah, yeah, it’s probably our fault some how.

I’ll tell you what though, nothing is more frustrating that waking up to the fire alarm because the non-adults can’t monitor their food while everyone else is sleeping.

Good night.