Travel day

Photo by Rakicevic Nenad on Pexels.com

The trip home will begin shortly and I don’t like using the app the write. So, I’ll update you on how the return home goes tomorrow.

I already know there will be a less comfortable trip based on an email I got a couple days ago…so there’s that to look forward to.

Catch ya tomorrow!

Tug-o-war

The tug-o-war is a struggle while on vacation. You are being pulled this way and that. You are torn between two sets of family who both have missed you, who have looked forward with anticipation to your arrival, and ultimately have planned out every waking moment of your visit.

Here in Arizona, there are two sets of relatives to visit – the inlaws and the sister-n-law’s family. When you only have a week during your vacation, your time has to be split between both and that is the challenge. How do you keep both happy and feel like you have spent enough time with both? In the end, someone is likely going to feel like they got the short end of the stick.

So, this vacation isn’t shaping up to be all that relaxing. It will be go go go the whole time and if it isn’t one it will be the other.

Yesterday’s adventure left out one family but it did have provide for a unique experience as there was a visit to a national park where wild horses roam free. There was a good chance the horses wouldn’t be spotted since they go where they please and one would never know where to find them unless you were in a helicopter looking for them.

Anyway, as it happens, we got very lucky and they were literally less than a hundred yards from us since they had come down to water at the river. A magnificent site they are! Kind of felt like the Old West for a moment. Just sitting there on the bank of the river, watching and listening as they did their thing. I am sure the horses probably feel the tug-o-war war between modern society and the quiet solitude of the wild, something they really have no control over.

Well, despite the push and pull of family obligations, this was a gratifying experience and I am thankful that I was lucky enough to catch this site on the very first visit.

“Walmart” of the sky

Photo by Sourav Mishra on Pexels.com

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

Photo by Magda Ehlers on Pexels.com

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?

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

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

Photo by Eva Elijas on Pexels.com

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?

Photo by Lisa Fotios on Pexels.com

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

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

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

Photo by Nathan Cowley on Pexels.com

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

Photo by Skylar Kang on Pexels.com

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!