Bee Like Sam.

More of us should be like Samantha Bee. Speak out, don’t mince words and call the farce and chaos for what it is.

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SnazzyLabs: macOS Tricks

As a Mac boy I’m always looking for exciting ways to trick out my macOS experience and be super geeky. Quinn Nelson @SnazzyQ (Twitter), who produces excellent, information tech videos, has some super cool tricks for macOS in his latest video.

Have fun!

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Purrfect.

This is Rexie. I’ve never met Rexie in person, but he seems like a good sort and he’s famous on the Internet. Looking at pictures of Rexie today kept me fairly grounded.

Tonight Earl and I also visited the local PetSmart store just to see the cats looking for a home. There were a few there and they seemed content. It was nap time for many.

My day was a whirlwind: the progress on the condo in Chicago came to a screeching halt due to some issues on the seller’s behalf and we were notified that there is going to be some budget belt-tightening at work. These two nuggets of news hit within a half hour of each other.

So I looked at a picture or two of Rexie and pictures of cats that have shared their lives with us over the years.

Purrfect.

Little Things.

Well this made my night.

Earl and I thoroughly enjoyed the latest episode of “Madam Secretary”, entitled “The Seventh Floor”. The tempo of this episode was different than previous episodes in that the focus was on Secretary McCord (Téa Leoni) and her staff. There was a great deal of character development of the staff and the entire episode had a “The West Wing” feel to it. The show has always done well with character development but the focus has been on the McCord family. Nothing wrong with that, but it was awesome to see the fleshing out of the supporting characters in Secretary McCord’s office.

This show is worth watching. It’s intelligent, it’s thoughtful and it “feels like real life”. If you haven’t seen “Madam Secretary” yet, please look it up on your favorite streaming service. It’s well worth it.

Oh, and I freely admit that I have a little straight crush on Téa Leoni.

Decaffeinated.

So on May 1 I began one of my 30 day challenges for self-improvement. This month I am going without caffeine.

The short version is, giving up caffeine is really hard.

I’m a week into this and I think I’m over the headaches. For the first couple of days last week I was going through some serious caffeine withdrawal headaches but by Wednesday night they subsided. I’m finding that I’m missing flavor more than anything; Earl has been kind enough to fill our fruit infuser water pitcher with limes or strawberries to keep the taste of water interesting for me. That is helping me from reaching for my old standby, unsweetened iced tea. When I flew on Delta this past weekend I opted to just have a beer, which is not a great answer to the no caffeine equation but it made the flight fly right by. I’ve already committed myself to not go down that path too often.

By the end of last week I found that I had a little more energy at work and my focus was better. Today was an unusually productive Monday for me, as I’m usually moving pretty slow on any given Monday. I like to think that by not kicking my body into overdrive artificially that I was able to perform as my body intended.

I’m still quite tired. We are at that time of year when Mother Nature is telling us that it’s one time but our clocks are telling us it’s another. The new blackout curtains we purchased for the bedroom are helping a little bit but my brain is still confused, even though we are two months into this special little hell others call “Daylight Saving Time”.

I think getting through the first week of being decaffeinated was the hardest part of this journey. I’m feeling like I can stick to it and I’m planning on doing just that well beyond this 30 day challenge I’ve given myself.

Hopefully when all is said and done I’ll find my natural Jolt.

DL 6009.


I’m onboard Delta flight 6009 from Raleigh-Durham to LaGuardia. Due to an aircraft swap, I was moved from seat 5A to 6A. I can’t complain about this as I’m in a row by myself and it is glorious. I was on the upgrade list for the premium cabin, but alas, I was number seven for six available seats. Honestly, I like my current seat better as there are three elementary school aged children in the premium cabin. They are being directed by a silver haired, clean shaven father with a sweater tied around his neck. I imagine he speaks with a clenched jaw.

The weekend in North Carolina has been most enjoyable. The weather was beautiful and the company was wonderful. It’s been raining non-stop in Upstate New York and the forecast looks like it’s going to continue this theme for the next several days. Looking at Chicago’s weather at the moment, it’s cool but it’s sunny.

Sun is the most important thing for me in a weather forecast. I can handle cold. I just want sunshine. Upstate New York has some of the cloudiest weather in the nation. This is not something to aspire to.

Since I have an empty seat next to me on this flight, I think I’ll take the opportunity to take a nap in peace.

Peace.

DSL.

Today I worked from our friends’ house. As a digital nomad I’ve come across slow Internet during my travels over the past couple of years, but I was confident that things would fly right along on their DSL connection. They have the fastest connection available to their home outside of Durham, N.C. 

After struggling with simple file uploads early in the day I ran a test using Speedtest.net. The fastest connection available here, outside of Durham N.C., tested at 5 Mbps down and .66 Mbps up. The sad thing is, the provider of this DSL is a former employer.

People, it’s the 21st century. We should be looking at 100 Mbps as a minimum. Other modern civilizations look at gigabit speeds and here we are crawling along at 5 Mbps down.

A first world problem, right? Probably. But, man, it’s the 21st century.

DL 3897. 

I’m on a flight from Syracuse to Laguardia at the moment. It’s a Delta flight and we are on a CRJ200. I used some of my accumulated miles to book seat 1A. It’s not first class but rather “Delta Comfort”. I have leg room in front of me but the seat width is reminiscent of a saddle. The man in 1B has his legs spread wide apart and gets startled when I’m suddenly pressing my leg against his to claim my personal space. 

Two women in row two, have never met before this flight, are chirping away like two canaries in a coal mine. One enjoys Lobster Poutine when she travels up north (which is not Canada, but Carthage, New York). The other woman has two children and they like McDonalds french fries. 

A couple of boarding passengers refused to believe that their bag would not fit in the overhead compartment of this CRJ200. One guy exclaimed, “it fit when I flew from Switzerland!” If he flew from Switzerland to the US on a CRJ200 I must commend him for dragging his ugly bag across the ocean while he was swimming. I will never understand why some Americans choose to battle with the flight crew. Perhaps they don’t realize that the flight crew has been exhausting trained on this particular airplane? 

There’s always more of a hassle when flying into one of the New York City airports. People just seem cantankerous. I will not miss having to jump from airport to airport after our move to Chicago. At least we have a decent chance of getting somewhere direct. 

And we’ll have leg room in the process. 

Liberty.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.

In case you don’t recognize it, the quote above is taken from the Declaration of Independence, unanimously signed on July 4, 1776 by the thirteen United States of America.

I bring this up because that first sentence of the quote, “That all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness”, has always resonated loudly with me.

First of all, the Declaration of Independence talks about “their Creator”, not “God”. The use of “their Creator” is religiously ambiguous. And while folks like to translate the Bible, written thousands of years ago, six ways from Sunday, the Declaration of Independence was written only 241 years ago, and we know that these words were written by men, on the North American continent, and they purposely used “their Creator”. Not “God”. There was no religious bias in the Declaration of Independence. Christianity does not have priority over any other religion in this context.

Secondly, the Declaration of Independence recognizes certain unalienable Rights, mainly Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. That one is pretty self-explanatory; everyone deserves these rights regardless of who they are. All men are created equal. Again, there’s no bias to religion here, there’s nothing that says “Christian Men”. All men.

It is reported that on Thursday of this week, the National Day of Prayer in the United States (everyday should be a National Day of Prayer with this administration, but I digress), Trump will sign an executive order. This Religious Freedom Executive Order will allow anyone to not serve someone if it runs contrary to their personal religious beliefs. So if you want to buy bacon and the clerk’s religious beliefs hold pork sacred, they can refuse to sell you bacon. If you are on a birth control prescription and the pharmacist is against birth control, they can sell it to you. If you are a gay couple checking into a hotel and the front desk clerk is dead set against gay marriage, they can turn you away and refuse you a room. If your wife is dying from AIDS and the doctor believes, just believes that she contracted AIDS through unsafe sexual practices, which is a sign of the devil in their eyes, that doctor can refuse treatment. If an emergency room attendant believes gay men should be stoned to death, he can turn Earl and I away from seeking treatment for a medical catastrophe because we are a married gay couple.

Shall I continue with all the examples of this Executive Order is dangerous, why it runs contrary to The foundation of the United States of America for nearly 241 years?

Right-wing jackals on the Internet are fond of calling anyone with progressive views a “snowflake”, yet here they are pushing this idiot in the Oval Office for an Executive Order that protects them from being offended by diversity in the world. This is not representative of the Republican Party I know, this is not representative of the centrists I know and it’s certainly not representative of the United States of America I know.

Over the past several months I have seen countless video examples of people losing their minds over some sort of disagreement in public and they’re always screaming “I voted for Trump!” and “This is the United States of America!”, as if it makes them superior in some way over the people around them, or that being an American citizen gives them special privileges over other citizens of the world. It doesn’t. There’s nothing particularly special about the United States, other than the populace seems to have gone batshit crazy over the past year or so, but folks go around spewing their Yankee Doodle Yacking as of it’s the third act of their holy gospel.

This Executive Order is wrong. I’m really hoping that some judiciary influence will rule that like many of Trump’s other Executive Orders, it’s completely unconstitutional, rendering it null and void. The problem is that it will stir up the fringe right-wing lunatics. I fear that at the very least we will continue to see a rise in all the hate action that has been occurring since Trump took office. The last thing we need in this country right now is more hate.

Trump is signing this order for one reason: to keep the Far Right happy so they continue to give him support. Honestly, I don’t think he still possesses the cognitive skills to even know what he’s signing. I think he lost it long ago and that scares me a lot.

Hang on folks, the ride is just going to get bumpier. Let’s hope things don’t completely rattle apart in the process.