Don’t Let Your Fashion Choice Effect Us, Dress For That Workout And Leave The Spandex at Home

There’s something called a shower thought.

Go take a shower and try not to think about this.  I’ll wait.

Didn’t work did it?

It’s the mental equivalent to an ear-worm, a musical piece that gets locked into your mind on a loop.  “This is the song that never ends” is a good one.

My shower thought is that your fashion needs to not intrude on my space.

No, I don’t mean the appropriate clothing that you see in appropriate places.  Australians call bathing suits on men “Budgie Smugglers because it looks like you stuffed a budgie, parakeet to those of us in Los Estados Unidos, down your shorts and are walking around with it down there.

There’s another shower thought for you …

Well, here’s the deal.  I’m well known for getting up very early.   I have to force myself to stay in bed until after 5AM, an hour or two before sunrise here in South Florida.  It helps me get things done, and in fact I get more done before sunrise than many people do all day.

Yeah, seriously.

I got in the habit while working out.   The formerly asthmatic teen got into his 30s an athlete by running, then biking, then inline skating with everyone else who joined the fad.

Not a fad for me, I found that my long legs made this the sport I was built for.

I could run a 10K but it would bore me and blow out my knees, and did so multiple times.

Biking?  I’d need to go 50 miles to get in the same workout I could do on skates in 30.  Besides, who wants to fight traffic for 50 miles when it is tough enough to do it for 30.

I learned full well that if I got up at 5, I could be at the park, Fairmount Park in Philadelphia, where the roads were closed on Weekends until Noon, and get in a workout from 6AM until.

But it was a shared resource.  Meaning you had to literally fight for space at times.

The Nineties were a weird time.  People on Skates sharing the road with Bikers who demanded you be off “their” roads while they were making fashion statements in artificial fibers such as polyester and spandex.

Yeah we skaters and runners called them Spandex Wearing Freaks as they rode from the Art Museum to the Falls Bridge and back again over and over screaming at others to get off “their” roads.

So the bikers were in a pack.  5 to 50 of them in one large pack, getting their workout in while you had to fear for your life no matter what your workout was.

Mom, don’t bring the kid and stroller down to West River Drive.  It’s just too unsafe.

But there’s another problem with that.

No, I don’t mean the “Boob Walks” of people for a various charity walking 6 miles and feeling all chuffed because a penny on the dollar went to a Good Cause.

Oh, it’s that ratio of return on investment that made that so laughable, not the fact that these boobs were out there walking to save the mud skippers or to publicize the use of cotton, or what ever cause they thought you needed to be involved in to the detriment of your weekend.

 

Penny on a dollar?  Yeah, I’ll read to my own nephew instead, thanks.  If you ever are in Philly, the United Way has a better office than you ever will have.  The Palace On The Parkway for the Parasites On The Parkway.

 

I will never…

 

You get 50 arrogant people on bikes riding 25MPH around people who they don’t believe belong on THEIR planet, and a good proportion of them will be wearing workout clothes.

 

Spandex and Polyester, again.

 

Another reason why those boobs were laughable.

 

You see, Spandex, being a synthetic, will pick up your “funk” faster than if you pushed a nose into your “junk”.

 

After 50 of them get going, and 25 or so are sweaty and getting “funky”.  No, I don’t mean in the good way as if it is a Parliament-Funkadelic song, I mean stanky.

 

Now, you are standing at that water fountain that is midway between The Art Museum and Falls Bridge and they’re coming.  Taking over both the trail and the street, hauling their self-absorbed, and non absorbent selves past you at an unsafe speed.

 

Wait.  Oh about 30 seconds go by and you smell them passing by.

 

Hurl.

 

Well luckily most of the regular workout people know of this effect, but these rarefied people on Their streets, getting in Their workouts don’t know that their stank is being passed onto those of us who are not participating.

Fast forward.

It’s Present Day.  Or 20 years from now, assuming that those Rarefied Bikers are still wearing Spandex and other non natural fibers of course.

Stupid Sexy Flanders.

Actually it was this morning.  I was up at 5AM, on my walk and midway, I was on Wilton Drive.

I expect this won’t be going on 20 years from now because the drive will be narrowed and not so convenient for people to cut through to get from point A to point B.

But for now… I really don’t think they got the Memo.

I’m walking my boy Rack, the McNab SuperDog (TM) south on Wilton Drive.  An hour and a half before sunrise give or take a few.  I hear a familiar hissing sound of chain on gears and overly loud voices talking about some nonsense.

After all, before 6AM, anything a loud voice says is bound to be nonsense.

I see a cluster of spandex wearing frea… er bikers coming my way.

My PTSD Flashback to the late 90s comes to mind.

Yep.  Stanky Spandex Bikers pushing towards illegal speeds riding on Wilton Drive.   The decidedly rank scent of a bicycle rider who definitely needs to run through the shower and burn his spandex wafts on the little air that is moving predawn hits me.

No breezes, too many bikers, yep, it’s a weird flashback brought forward to this day by someone whose hygiene is more equivalent to the homeless guy who they looked down their collective noses at when they rode through downtown Fort Lauderdale fifteen minutes and three miles ago.

So remember, fellow babies, friends don’t let friends wear spandex in public.   What you do in your own house is your own business, but if you’re going to stank up the trails, the rest of us are going to know it!

 

Oh and yoga stretch pants at the mall?  Yeah, we’re looking at you too.   You really aren’t as lean as you think.

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I’m not moving but I wonder if it isn’t time to change my area code to somewhere really random

I have been through this before.

My phone number has 8 of 9 numbers either repeating or in sequence. It is a popular one to use.

That’s the problem. More people than I are using it.

I end up going through “fusillades” of wrong numbers.

If you are presented with a form that wants you to fill in name, address, and phone number, and it is a legitimate use, you enter your own correct information.

But you want to sign up for a discount card and you don’t want the company of the day calling you and emailing you and harassing you for a measly dollar off coupon what do you do?

Many people use my phone number.

Mind you, sometimes I never hear it.

The last really big problem ended up with my blocking every single car dealer in South Florida. Some clown, and I have stronger names for those people, used my number on an intake form at a car dealership.

I don’t know, maybe they were giving away a set of CDs or some such nonsense that this person really wanted.

Good luck getting that number removed.

Over the span of about 2 weeks I had to have had about 100 phone calls from multiple people at specific dealers talking to a potential customer about what great deals they have.

Except.

That wasn’t me, it was my phone, and I am quite happy with my Classic-Car-Almost-Antique 2002 Jeep Wrangler.

I’d be a fool to give that car up.

It has the 4 Liter inline six cylinder motor for crying out loud.

Designed by AMC for crying out loud!

For crying out loud!
Why would I want some junky Volkswagen? (aren’t they all? Dieselgate anyone?)

Every time I got a call, I’d block the number.

I installed Mr Number to do the heavy lifting for me.

I block any “Unknown” or “Spam Suspected” calls.

Area Code 732 is blocked completely.
Ok, that last one is because it’s chock full of Indian Recruiters from Edison NJ. I have zero connections in that area code. If you are a recruiter, be from where I am at, or be from where the company is at, and have a signed contract to represent that company.

Anyway…

I get a wrong number about twice a day since the US is so abysmal in protecting the rights of customers. I guess a Congressman has to allow us to be abused because they are being paid by the lobbyists to allow them to spam people.

The other day, coming back from the park and a workout, they struck.

I was stuck in traffic waiting for the light and construction at Federal Highway and Commercial Blvd in Fort Lauderdale. My phone rang.

Random person identified with a name I didn’t know.

I did what I do with “Rand-o’s” I picked up and said nothing.

Neither did they.

They tried back three times.

In FIVE minutes.

After that it was someone else. BangBangBangBang.

Today it was someone asking about real estate in Sarasota. Then they texted me with the same question.

“When can I talk to you about property in the Sarasota Florida Area?”

I texted back “Never. Someone gave you my wrong number so they could sign up for a give away”.

People, don’t ever do that. Almost all numbers in the US in most urbanized areas are used. You are only shifting your problem onto someone else.

So I’m debating where I want my phone to live.

Not me, just the phone number.

Somewhere I have never been, and never intend to be.

Idaho? Rural Montana? Some terrible place like Mississippi?

Mississippi is the place in the US that almost everyone can look down at due to the obvious things like low scores on education, civil rights, and economy. And more!

Think of Norfolk UK and all those jokes about the people there.

So I am debating.

I have had this number here in Fort Lauderdale since 2003. I got it when we decided we were going to move here, and we did three years later. Family and friends have this number.

So having some weirdly random area code like an area in a rural area means I have to give it out, explain it isn’t local because “Reasons”, and then block any calls from that area code. If I do that, the robocallers won’t get through and it will be quiet again.

I hear that Mobile Alabama can be nice in the winter, but Alabama? It’s only one state better than Mississippi!
At least I would be able to drive home from the park and not be asked to buy a condo in Sarasota, no matter how nice it would be there.

What you have to do to mail a letter these days.

Funny what passes through what I call my mind when I am reading a joke. I started to free-associate with changes and modern life and technology and I’m laughing at myself because while technology is easy for me, Printing is not.

I’ll be making up a nice new sign for the Jeep to tell people that there is nothing of value in the car and it’s not for sale, and to beg them to leave it alone.

In two languages! With Pictures! In glorious Grey Scale and Black And White!

But yes, I did end up with a Robin Williams Style Rant here. Hang on for a ride. There’s a Bounce-Bar by your knees if you need to hold on.

Anyway, I suspect that this joke way below is one of those “older” offices. Having a lot of paper around the place seems to be a bit anachronistic. While I personally “need” to be “able” to print, I think I am on the same ream of paper that we got for the house back in 2010 and I still have “Special Resume Grade Paper” from the 90s. You know, the good heavy weight stuff that isn’t pure white so it sticks out in a crowd.

Remember having to mail a resume?

Remember actually writing a Pen Pal?

I write maybe four actual letters per year. They get dropped into a box to go along with some “goodies” that I send off in a care package explaining what crap I have loaded into the thing.

In order to get ink to physical piece of paper, I had to have a printer.

Since “technology” happens, I had to have a server for that printer so I could print from any computer on my network.

Install an operating system, a version of Debian Linux, Of course.

Get it working to print something out. Share that printer across the network. Start up Libre Office because I refuse to run anything Microsoft if I can avoid both it and the spyware that they insist in putting in their software. Write the letter and save it.

 

All that? Took about a week of thrashing because there was some weird inconsistency between Raspbian on ARM and a pure Debian on X86 that I am used to…

So now to print, turn on the RaspberryPi, wait for it to boot in about 2 minutes, then turn on the printer. Rush back to the laptop and tell it to print to the printer “Tucked in a corner of Bill’s Desk Somewhere”.

Yes, I called it that.

I had to get a physical piece of paper to my financial advisor a while back and I ended up having them send me the form to sign so that I could physically carry the thing to the Post Office that is two miles away.

Get into the Jeep, hope it starts because I simply don’t drive that often.

Look around as I drive the car like a puppy out the window. Oooh! look! Moving Things! Shiny Objects! Other People!

 

Drive out into traffic and get confused by which lane to choose when at that bizarre five way intersection that everyone knows here as Five Points.

 

I truly hate driving through Five Points. It’s generally done with a horn or an extended gesture that is caused by some damn tourist using the wrong lanes or forgetting to get the hell off the phone because the light changed.

 

Then I am invisible because nobody actually follows the Uniform Vehicle Code any more and am trying to jockey for the Curb Lane because I am only going a mile which involves two stop lights on Dixie Highway, crossing a major rail corridor, and who knows what other shiny objects might be hanging out at the next intersection.

I prefer to walk.

Stand in line and hand it to the people at the Oakland Park, FL Post Office. Truly nice people there. Sure, it looks like a throwback to the early 1970s and probably has not been painted since then, but I end up with a smile on my face, even if I do have to stand in line.

 

After it gets there, lather, rinse, repeat and go home. I’ll take the back roads, I’ll need a sedative if I have to go through Five Points twice in one day!

Beep Beep! I’m a Jeep!

Careful, Nervous Driver On Board!

 

As Carl Sagan said “To make a cake, you first have to invent the universe”.

 

Anyway, all of this rant was triggered by this joke I promised you below.

 

A young manager was finishing up late at work

When he was leaving there was only one other person in the office.

He noticed it was the owner of the company standing by a Shredder with a sheet of paper looking confused.
He approached him and asked if he was alright.

The owner said “my secretary has gone home and she always does these things for me”, and asked “do you know how to work this machine”.
The manager said “yes”, turned on the Shredder and stuck the sheet in and said “all done”.
The owner said “brilliant, now I need three more copies.”

 

 

Ok I guess you had to be there!

Even if you Backup your computer, it may not be enough.

Have you ever gotten so deep into a project that you got lost?

In my case this was trying to get something called Remote Desktop working on the main computer.

It showed me the errors of my ways.

Hmm, seems like I need an Amen here, doesn’t it?

See, I’m trying to set up a clean environment here. One where I can work for a client without it getting all mixed up with “my” stuff.

My stuff being Web Development, Video Authoring, Audio Authoring, and general nonsense and “futzing” around on the computer.

I have one machine that I use for almost everything “mine” called “moose”.

I have another computer that I will use for the client work called “caribou”.

Yes, everything here is named after moose. Rudolph, Caribou, Moose, and “MoosePi”.

t’s all handmedown stuff. The newest one is a year or two old, and my “big” laptop is older than five years old.

Linux installed on everything runs faster than you would expect.

Now there’s a piece of software called “Remote Desktop” that should help – “xrdp”. The default behavior isn’t what I want. This exists on Linux, as well as Windows, and is a pay for option on the Mac just like everything on the Mac.

If you ever played with a Raspberry Pi, they’re doing it right for what I need on that wee little computer.

The Pi will have something called a VNC Server, and it even has a pleasant blue icon on the desktop control strip. You tell it you want to be able to share the desktop, and you go to your other computer and can control it from the couch. It presents what you were doing “over there” on it.

It’s presenting the “console session” to you.

However while doing support, there’s a different program. xrdp on Linux. It works just like Remote Desktop on Windows. It creates a fresh, clean session for you to work with.

I’m on the trail of figuring all that out. Unfortunately, I bit myself with this one.

I want the “me” computer to present the console session. xrdp doesn’t do that. It can be configured to do that. I did it years ago on other software.

As in back in the 1990s. Yes, I’ve been using Linux since the mid 1990s.

So since the documentation for this product does not tell you how to do this “Remote Assistance” method, I tweaked.

And Tweaked.

And Tweaked “my” laptop.

You get the picture.

Then I realized that I lost track of time. Two and a Half weeks of Tweaks meant that I really should reboot the computer instead of hibernate. See where I was at.

Got to the familiar login screen, hit enter.

Flashed a black screen and was placed at the login screen – again. I was in a login loop. I had tweaked myself out of a working laptop. I Had Killed Moose.

At least I had a good back up from d a half weeks ago.

Just copy “My stuff” from the current laptop drive to the back up and reboot.

Nah. Didn’t work quite right. Other things got in the way, but my library of thousands of pictures, hundreds of which I took this year for my blog and for my own entertainment are safe.

Client work is safe.

Web stuff is safe.

But the machine itself is … wobbly and needs some attention.

Want to know where I will be? Sitting at my desk, grinding my gears, and growling.

Bottom line, folks – always do a back up.

Luckily in my case, the backup is a full clone of the computer. I think I botched it when I copied my “home directory” over and that introduced instability due to permissions.

We will see. Doing a full reload of the computer is an afternoon affair. Faster than you might expect so “fixing” this machine might be harder than starting over from scratch.

Still don’t have Remote Assistancworking, but Remote Desktop does.

Not that I want that, but you take the good with the bad.

*shrug* I guess the gator got my shoe.

Back to the Grind. Stay Tuned. Enough of this Naval Gazing!  I have work to do!

If I ever get things stable, I’ll have to try again with this whole project. Or not. It’s for convenience, not life or death.

Is Anyone Writing Documentation Anymore?

So the last exercise I had done before Hurricane Irma hit was to take a computer and completely install a new operating system onto it.

I will be doing that again today, from my own instructions.

 

Sure, it’s a bit esoteric, some people are good at reading between the lines.

 

The problem with that is that you end up spinning your wheels and finding that something you assumed, you assumed wrong.

 

For the record, when I write documentation, I write it as I do it. That way I know it actually works.

 

It may have taken 26 steps once you had all the pieces, but if you had my hardware and the right software, you’d have a nice happy laptop running Debian. Thinkpad Laptop, X201 or fairly similar, although the version of Debian I used (Non-Free) was fairly liberal with getting what you need for many more laptops. Evil Wifi Drivers not withstanding.

 

The next step was to find documentation to install a web server.

 

The trick with installing complex software these days is that you basically have to find the right documentation. Or to be more precise, the correct documentation. Documentation that is complete and actually will work.

 

Oh and of course you personally have to read and understand what you are reading. No distractions allowed.

 

However, it is rare that you will find exactly the right documentation to do what you want. Often software is updated and that documentation you used two years ago to do that exact thing no longer works.

 

Highly common in the open source world, some very minor tweak will change where the files are and you are back online doing a search for what you were looking for.

 

In the consumer software world, you have a similar situation where the documentation was only partially updated since it was originally released. Think Windows XP vs Windows 8.1 vs Window 10. Things just moved around drastically within Windows itself let alone functionality.

 

I got “caught short” with trying to install a web server. Did it before. No problem. Since it is an open source project, you get what you pay for sometimes. Following the wrong guide I got the entire web server working. I just don’t have any passwords for anything.

 

As they say on a football field: Drop Back 5 and Kick.

 

That would be American Football. I never played Soccer, at least not for any length of time. All that running around annoyed me.

 

So at some point I’ll re-attempt that mess. FInd another tutorial that promises to install the LAMP stack and write down what I did.

Or I will find that one bug and fix it all. My choice, after all.

 

That is why I keep this blog. Many times I need to do something more than once. Create a Linux Web Server, save it off, then reproduce the results on a different computer a year later.

 

So when I post a long diatribe on how to do this and the other thing, I’m doing it for Future Me. So I don’t end up banging my head on a wall.

 

Like Today. I got it wrong. Happens. Time to start over.

 

For now, I’ll just go look for the football. Maybe the dog will chase it around the yard. Blow off some steam. Finish my Spanish for the day.

Try, Try again.

Please Watch Over Your Dogs, Cats, and any Sensitive Folks over The Fourth, You May Save A Life

Ok, so I may be a day early. I tend to put out some weird ramblings on Wednesdays.

What I’m onto is this fireworks nonsense. Nobody wants to live in a war zone. To a dog, especially a fearful one, that is what will be happening a bit after sunset for A While.

An Arbitrary amount of time after any given Firework-y event. A couple of weeks if I remember last year.

I love looking at them but what that does to anyone that gets “triggered” by them is truly frightening.

Yeah, I used the word triggered. Which means those big strong (read: callous types) have just closed this window.

Growing up in an area that banned anything more than sparklers, the professional firework displays that shot off on July 4th were amazing. The park near the house, Cooper River Park in Cherry Hill NJ, was a spot you could stand in an open field and watch at least ten displays.

Now imagine your idiot Confederate Flag waving, Pickup Truck driving neighbor setting off his personal jollies in the street next door and having them go wild into your hedges and start a fire.

Meanwhile your cat or dog is freaking out in mortal terror because someone just dropped a mortar overhead.

I would expect this in France in two weeks at Bastille Day, or perhaps in the UK around Guy Fawkes day, but then again Europeans seem to have more sense than some folks around here.

Keep your pets indoors tonight. If you need to walk your dog, a possible suggestion is what I am doing.

Sunset tonight in Fort Lauderdale, Florida is at 8:17PM. I will try to get my walk started around that time. Preferably before. “They” always wait until it’s fully dark out before the idiots start their own battle of lights.

Oh and your cats? First off, if you let your cat out at night, you’re doing wrong by them. They live much longer indoors, and so do the songbirds in your neighborhood that are in decline everywhere. Secondly, you never know what some fool will do with fireworks, your cat, and perhaps a little duct tape.

Yes, we hear about that every year.
Yes, the animal rights laws are getting better.

No, your dislike of those facts won’t stop some freak from taking out their anger on your pet.

Keep them indoors.
Tonight and always.
They’ll be around much longer.

Ok, so I didn’t mean for this to get so strident and rant-y.

Protect the pets you love. Make sure you have a picture of them with you. If you lose yours, look for them at the shelter. Like that graphic above says, the 5th of July is the busiest day for animal shelters with people trying to recover their lost dog or cat.

Their welfare is in your hands.

If you happen to know a veteran, ask them if they need company tonight. They may appreciate it.

Ok, let me rephrase it. If you know of anyone who may be alone tonight or any night, go say hi. They may appreciate it.

It’s just neighborly.

I hate you Kenneth. Or Why I Have Every Car Dealer In South Florida Blocked on My Phone.

It started about a week ago with a wrong number.  It is still going on.

I figure I am playing Whack-a-Mole with my phone and blocking one after another car dealer in South Florida.

I am not in the car market.

I do not want a Volkswagen.  They do not import the cars of their line up that I would like to see on the road,and if they did I would not trust them due to the diesel engines they would have.  For the record, that would be a Polo or an Up.  The Golf has gotten so bloated and fat that it no longer is a small car.

I do not want a Toyota.  Oh, when I do go to look I will check them out. But I am not in the car market.

I do not want a Nissan.  Their electrical systems are crap from what I remember, and they seem … boring.

I do not want a Buick.  Buick?  If a Nissan is boring…

I do not want Auto Nation.  You don’t get that big without doing something right – for you, not for the buyer.

I do not want a Ford.  Oh they’re doing better now, but that Ford Taurus I had back in the day had a problem they never could fix and that was how I got turned onto Jeeps.

I have a 15 year old, 2002 Jeep Wrangler X.  It only has 46,000 miles on it.  That would be 74,000 KM give or take a centimeter or three.

You see, the model year is waning.  Volkswagen and Toyota are apparently doing give aways.  Enter your personal information and you get a free gift!  Actual value may vary, along with your own sanity you cheap bastard.

In that personal information is a phone number.

Mine.

My number, that I have had since just after I bought that aforementioned Jeep Wrangler X with the soft top and the inline six motor that I refuse to get rid of (AMC! AMC! AMC!), is predictable.

It has a pattern of numbers.  It is memorable.

Even to a moron like Kenneth.  Come here, Kenneth you need to be corrected.  Repeatedly.

So when Kenneth got to that web page for the Volkswagen, he came up with mine.

The web pages already check for the obvious “555-1212” so you can’t get your Free! Gift! with that.  So he mangled the digits and ended up …

With mine.

Hang on… I just got another call.

This time it was Al Hendrickson Toyota.  Apparently Kenneth has a desire for a Toyota Tacoma truck.

Kenneth if you do get that truck I hope you wreck it.

As for why am I blocking the numbers?

Have you ever tried getting a salesman to do something like delete a number from a database?

I didn’t think so.  I have.  Repeatedly.  It’s just easier this way.

This is a group of people, to put it kindly, too much in a rush to listen to the announcement that says my name on the “answering machine”.  They hear my name and go ahead and leave a Cheery Message From Your Friendly Sales Manager At … fill in the blank.  Pick a random car dealer from West Palm Beach to Kendall Florida.  I’ve heard them all.

I figure eventually he’ll hit some of the other dealers.

Auto Nation.

Al Hendrickson Toyota.

Rick Case.

Toyota of Hollywood.

Don Lemay.

Endicott Buick.

Volkswagen of North Dade FL.

Miami Lakes Auto.

Ford in Pompano Beach (twice in rapid succession)

Nissan of Delray Beach (at least they were polite)

Coral Springs Nissan

Volkswagen of Pompano Beach.

All of you people have called.  All of you people have been blocked.

Kenneth, stop it.  I have more rude things to say to you but won’t here.  I have a phone call to answer again, only 30 minutes after the last one.

I guarantee you this has given me an insight into how awful buying a car is in the United States, and I will be aggressive in shutting that nonsense down when I do decide that my own now-antique needs to be sold for roughly what I bought it 15 plus years from now.

Oh yes, they do hold value.  And I’ll have a secret smile as I tell the car dealer to get me a cup of coffee and a full lunch if he wants to keep me in that chair as he goes to talk to his sales manager one too many times.

Yes, grilled, not fried.  You can’t do that?  Ok.  I’m out … You mean you will? Oh great…

Salespeople.  They are the worst.