Randomosity

It is Random Friday, where I cover a lot of topics in a short time. Hang on.

Fuelishness

When I first started driving, I got into the habit (some might say weird compulsion) to keep a notebook in the car to keep track of fuel and mileage. Its something my mom did, and still does. Whenever you fill up your car with gas, you note the date, odometer reading, how much gas you put in, and then you can figure out how many miles per gallon you’re getting.

This is useful because it often can indicate if there’s a problem with the engine if the MPG starts dropping radically.

I got away from this a few decades ago, but I just started up again recently. I found a phone app called “Fuel Buddy” and it tracks all the fueling information and even calculates the MPG for me so I don’t have to wear out any brain cells.

Fuel Buddy also allows you to track several vehicles and has options to automatically sense what gas station you are at. You can set service reminders for various components, like the battery, engine oil, spark plugs,  tire rotation, etc.

So far I’ve found on our last fill up that our 2004 Pontiac Vibe got 26.27 mpg, which is pretty good for an older car that does primarily city driving, and the 2013 Fiat 500 Lounge got 33.35 mpg. I might have been driving it a little aggressively since I first got it, so I’m going to see if I can better than on the next fill up.

First Outdoor Run

Yes, you read that correctly. Tuesday, I went out for the first outdoor run of the year. We finally had nice weather, no rain, and it was in the low 80s.

I wore my Hoka One One Clifton 3 and they were so cushiony, it felt like I was running on a wrestling mat instead of a cement sidewalk.

I did fairly well, and ran well over a mile and a half before I had to rest walk for about half a block or so. It seemed like I was always running uphill. How is that possible? I’m pretty sure M.C. Escher did not design my neighborhood.

I’ll have to relearn to pace myself, but it was nice being outside instead of on the treadmill watching TV.

I ran a total of 3.14 (pi!) miles in 36:13. Way off my personal treadmill best of 28 minutes and change for 3.11 miles (5k). My average speed was 5.2 mph, which isn’t bad since I had about 4 walking breaks thrown in there. And my fastest pace was 9.1 mph! Call me The Flash! Or maybe The Flash’s older, out of shape brother, The Slump.

The only drawback to outside running is my shoes got dirty. They don’t pick up dirt and grass and debris when I run on the treadmill. I’ve grown accustomed to having my shoes looking like new, so seeing the sole no longer pristine white sort of depressed me. Oh, well.

Took the Plunge

My phone did, that is. Fell right off my belt and took a half gainer into the toilet bowl at work. I guess the Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge really is waterproof because it wasn’t harmed at all.

Luckily, the water was still disinfectant blue from when it had been cleaned the day before, meaning no one had used it yet.

I wiped it off, smeared some hand sanitizer on it, and it was good to go.

Weigh-in Friday

Sorry. I didn’t weigh myself this morning, which is probably just as well. Despite returning to salads for lunch this week, (the last several weeks I was eating PB&J or lunch meat sandwiches), I ate a lot of junk food the rest of the time: pizza (three times, restaurant and frozen, and leftovers), burgers  (twice, both at restaurants), a shake, cheesecurds, and heavily salted snack foods. So I wouldn’t have been surprised if I’d climbed back over the 200 pound mark.

First Place!

Thought I’d mention it, since nearly every baseball pundit predicted we’d be in last place,  the Milwaukee Brewers are in first place in their division, leading the St. Louis Cardinals and the Chicago Cubs.

Nyah! Nyah!

Star Trek Discovery

By now, most trekkies have seen the first real trailer of Star Trek Discovery and pissed their pants. Amirite?

Or you’re in a state of quiet uncertainty. You dont want to get too excited in case it sucks, but you’re still eager for anything new from the Star Trek franchise.

Or you’re one of those skeptics who are trying to figure out, if this is supposed to be in the Prime timeline 10 years before Kirk, why does all the equipment and special effects look like they’re from the Kelvin timeline?

I’m actually part of a fourth group. The ones who are angry as Hell that CBS isn’t airing Star Trek Discovery on over-the-air network CBS, but instead has chosen to hold the franchise hostage and extort money from loyal fans by forcing them to watch their pay service, CBS All Access.

I don’t know about yoo, but I don’t deal with terrorists. Why should I pay for a service that has only one watchable show on it? I mean, I can’t even name another television program that airs on CBS.

Fuck you, CBS.

If I have to, I’ll wait ten years for the show to make it to Netflix.

How the Elimination of the Fairness Doctrine Fucked Over America

I read something appalling recently. Although that the approval ratings for the Orange Turd are the lowest in the history of approval ratings, there are 96% of those who voted for him, STILL SUPPORTING HIM!

Are you fucking kidding me?

So you have to ask yourself Why? And the only answer possible is they are uninformed on the issues, they only hear one side of the argument, the side they already agree with. There is no critical thinking involved. They are spoon fed their opinions from Fox News, Breitbart, and conservative talk radio.

There was a time in America where the people were better informed. They could make better decisions because they were more knowledgeable about current events and understood both sides of an issue.

If you’re old enough, you probably remember when news programs had Point-Counterpoint discussions where they’d discuss both sides of an argument.

They did that because it was an FCC  requirement.  They had to give equal airtime to opposing views to keep their broadcast license. During elections, if they had one candidate on, then the station was required to give equal time to their opponent.

It was called The Fairness Doctrine and it became law in 1949. And it worked. Most Americans, if they regularly watched the news, had a basic understanding of issues and could make informed decisions. It helped Americans to think for themselves.

But then, in 1985 under Ronald Reagan, that rule was rescinded. Without the requirement to present both sides of an argument, conservative talk radio was born and its angry,  one-sided ignorant rhetoric quickly found an audience among white bigots who felt disenfranchised by a progressive America.

Talk radio hosts were able to inflame these white Americans into believing all their supposed woes were because of illegal immigrants, non-Christians, libtards, feminazis, ecoterrorists, gays who were forcing their lifestyle upon them, and the like.

And their hate and ignorance continued to grow because now they could feed their ignorance by listening to only one side of the news–conservative–and they lost the perspective to see things from the other side. It became easier to name call than have an open mind.

And the Orange Turd found he could capitalize on their hate, their bigotry, and their ignorance, and he road a massive wave of racial, homophobic, sexist prejudice into the White House.

And despite his every lie, every scandal, every illegal activity, his supporters still love him because they are completely uninformed about these activities and have the opinion (handpicked by the Orange Turd himself) that everything negative said about him is “fake news” and all part of a witch hunt to tear him down.

And that is why we need The Fairness Doctrine back: to try to bring some sanity back into politics, to gradually re-teach people how to think for themselves, and to inform them of all sides of the issues.

Resist to stay informed.

/rant over

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Dreamweaver

I usually don’t remember my dreams. I wish I did. I wish I was one of those writers who keep a pen and notepad by their bedside so when they wake up they can jot down every juicy detail and use it for fodder for their next story.

But my dreams are like an ephemeral mist that dissolves when exposed to warm rays of the sun.

But last night’s dream has lasted, or at least a part of it has and its odd enough that I thought I’d share.

I was assisting special agent Jethro Gibbs of NCIS (the TV show). I wasn’t an agent, but for some reason I was helping him. He had even given me his gun.

I had trailed the bad guys back to their lair and decided to apprehend them myself.

I quietly entered through the rear door. It was dark and hard to see, and I moved cautiously, holding my gun out before me as I entered the next room, like they do on cop shows on TV. From out of another room, one of the bad guys appeared, firing at me.

I returned fire and he fell. I kicked his gun away, then kneeled down to check him. He was dead.

From another doorway, the second baddy rushed me. I tried to fire, but the gun jammed. I looked at it and saw that it was stuffed with tiddly-winks.

What the heck? Somehow Gibbs had kept his gun in his pocket and also kept tiddly-winks in it, which got into the gun, jamming it.

OK, let me pause a moment here and explain the gun. It didn’t shoot regular bullets, instead you loaded these metal discs into it. It didn’t fire the discs, like one of those plastic toy guns that launch plastic discs horizontally from the barrel by a spring. No, these were metal discs, like slugs (those stamped metal discs that you have to pop off of a metal electrical outlet to run the wires through). Like slugs, these too were about the size of a quarter. You loaded them into the gun vertically so when the gun fired, the hammer struck the face of the slug, firing the bullet.

You can see how tiddly-winks could screw the whole thing up. The plastic disc would come between the hammer and the slug, preventing the gun from firing.

And all this made sense to me in the dream. It wasn’t anything unusual, this disc-firing gun. On the contrary, it seemed oh so normal.

So back to the dream. The baddy is attacking me, knocking me around, and all the while I’m struggling with this gun, cursing Gibbs, and trying to remove the tiddly-winks and reload it with the slug-bullets.

Again, in real life this would be impossible: to fix a jammed gun while under attack. But this was my dream, and this too seemed normal.

Finally, I was able to clear the jam and reload the gun. I leaped clear of the attack and fired several shots at the baddy. Several were body shots but I saw a hole appear in his forehead.

He should have gone down. Heck, with a head shit, he should have died instantly. Instead, this was dream-reality and he kept coming.

He picked up a large tube TV that had been sitting on one of those 1960s metal stands with the spindly legs where the TV sat on a lazy-susan spinning center. He raised it over his head, about to smash me with it, when finally his nervous system shut down and he crashed to the floor, dead.

Then my alarm went off. So I never did get to chastise Gibbs for giving me a gun jammed with his tiddly-winks. Which is probably for the best, he would have just Gibb slapped me anyway and said something terse like, “Next time, check your weapon beforehand.”

And DiNozzo would have called me a proby and compared my situation to some movie.

Or something like that, and it would have all made perfect sense.

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Viggle is a poor substitute for TV Tag

So I’m trying, I really am, to like Viggle, the television app, as a replacement for TVTag, but it just isn’t the same.

For one thing, Viggle isn’t a social networking app. If it is, I don’t see where I’m supposed to connect with other lovers of the shows I’m watching.

For another, you have to physically check-in to each show, which means, you have to hold your smartphone near the TV so Viggle can “hear” the show, then it checks you in. But unlike TVTag, it has to be a current broadcast. Viggle won’t accept DVRed shows. It won’t acknowledge DVDed shows. It has to be on-the-air NOW. Which really limits its use for those of us who watch most of our TV either through the aforementioned methods or even via online sites like Netflix or Hulu.

So for that reason alone, Viggle is a big waste of my time.

But the real deal breaker for me is, it doesn’t recognize any of the shows I watch. I’ve tried “Have Gun, Will Travel,” “Adam-12,” “Bat Masterson,” “Emergency!” and so on and so forth. The little Viggle timer spins around, listening, then it goes, “Hmm… Let’s try that again.” So you try it three times, then it gives up and lets you do a search for the show. Then, yes, it does have those shows, but you know what? It’s a pain in the ass to go through that process each and every check-in because their sound database is so restricted. Heck, it didn’t even recognize “Toy Hunter” on the Travel Channel and that’s a current show, not a classic from back in the dark ages of television.

So what is Viggle good for? I don’t know. Honestly. It bills itself as “rewards destination.” You get points for each check-in, for each minute you’re watching (how it knows this, I have no clue), or for each activity around the check-in, like watching their stupid ass ads. What do you do with the points? Hell if I know. To be honest, I have points coming out the yin-yang. I get points from Best Buy rewards. Points from some new Verizon Wireless thing. Points accumulating from Game Stop. And they all keep sending me emails saying how I should use them, but you know what? I’m not interested. It all seems like some foolish gimmick, like the old S&H Green Stamps my mom used to collect when she went grocery shopping. I don’t believe she ever got anything worthwhile when she redeemed hers either. So why bother?

And really, I don’t give a damn. I’m looking to replace TVTag, which is a social media networking site where I can discuss favorite television shows, not turn my television viewing into some sort of coupon-clipping-like job.

Viggle equals a great big Fail.

Edited to Add: Oh my God. The stupid program doesn’t even recognize the “M*A*S*H” theme song! What a waste of space.

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