Friday, March 29, 2019

Week One of Beach League

Last Saturday marked the beginning of beach league for the spring.

Because of the drama with my thermostat, I missed most of it.  (I told you these three posts were all tied together, didn’t I?)  I was waiting to hear if they were going to come take a look at it on Saturday.  Once I told them they were supposed to be somewhere else, I finally got told to head on down to Santa Monica.  (They eventually settled on coming on Sunday.)  So I arrived at half time for the only game of the day.  I wasn’t that upset about missing the pickup they always have to give the captains an idea of who the guys are while they pick the teams.  That always goes on much longer than it should.

Anyway, when it arrived, we were down 2-6.  We finished the game 3-11.  Yeah, it was bad.

Not that we looked bad while we were playing.  It was just the missed throw that was just out of reach or the overthrown deep shot.  Hopefully, we will start cleaning that up as the season goes along.

What is funny is two of my friends are on the team, and I didn’t even realize it.  I didn’t know they had signed up, so I wasn’t looking for them.  I thought it was them, but they were wearing shirts that I know they don’t have.  Turned out, they had borrowed them.  Anyway, I’ll blame the fact that I was focused on my thermostat and arriving so late.  Yeah, that was the problem.

The guys seem nice, so hopefully it will be a good team and we’ll have fun.

The weather was nice and warm down there.  Warmer than it was at home, in fact.  It’s supposed to be nice again tomorrow, and I can’t wait.

Thursday, March 28, 2019

Family Visits

I’ve had family in town the last two Saturdays.  My parents took my niece and nephew out to Palm Springs for spring break, and they stopped in town both ways.

Saturday before last, they were in town all day.  They drove down Friday, although they hit bad traffic and got in later than planned.  Still, we were able to hang out all day.  I even took my niece and nephew on a brief tour of town, took them to church, my condo, and where I work.  We only got out at my condo, but since neither of them had ever been there, it was nice.

Last Saturday, they were only in town a few hours since they left Palm Springs that day.  Still, we got to hang out at my parent’s trailer for a few hours, have dinner, and play a couple of quick games.  It was great to see them both times.

Now, if you read yesterday’s post about my heater adventures, you’ll note that I was having issues both Saturdays.  Fortunately, that didn’t interfere with the visits.  I’d warned them, so if they were fixing my unit the first Saturday, they would have hung out at the condo for longer than the few minutes we were there.  However, the guy was in and out first thing, so I didn’t have to hang around the condo for him.  They were talking about coming out to look at my thermostat the next Saturday, but that got pushed back to Sunday, so again, I was free to do whatever we decided to do.  Hanging out at the trailer is the usual when my parents have that, so it wasn’t a surprise that’s what we did.

Wednesday, March 27, 2019

The Heater/AC Saga

I have some stuff to catch up on, and it all seems to tie in together, but I’m going to try separating them out.  Let’s start with the first one.

When I got home from work Thursday almost two weeks ago, I quickly realized my heater wasn’t working.  It was only 69 in the condo, and I had it set to increase from 68 to 72 about an hour before I’d gotten home.  So the next day, I called a heater/AC company.  They suggested a couple of things they tried on Friday night, but it didn’t do any good.  They came out first thing Saturday morning, and within a few minutes determined that my compressor had gone out.  Honestly, that explains why my unit was taking so long to heat or cool my condo.  There were some days I wondered if it would ever turn off, so I knew it was coming.

The price was a shock.  However, since the compressor was half the cost of replacing the entire unit, I decided to go with that.  After all, the unit is probably original to my unit, so close to 35 years old.  They were able to come out and replace it on Tuesday.

However, as part of this upgrade, I wanted to upgrade my thermostat to one I can control remotely.  I found one I thought looked good, but it was cheaper from Amazon, significantly cheaper.  So I ordered it from them, thinking that I would be able to figure out how to install it myself.

Spoiler alert: I couldn’t.

My old one was battery powered, and my new ones needs to be connected to power.  I got that figured out, but I still didn’t quite have all the wires connected right.  Part of that is because I was trying to hook things up for the wrong kind of unit.  Anyway, I got things the way I thought they should be, turned the power back on to the unit, and I heard a hum from a transformer in the ceiling.  After some texts with the guy who installed the unit, his boss, the owner of the company, came out Sunday after church.  Yes, I had one of the wires wrong, but he also thought the thermostat itself might be defective.  So I ordered a replacement, and it has arrived.  Now, I just need to get them to come out to install it for me.

It’s going to cost me a bit more than if I had told them to buy me one and install it when they were already out on Tuesday.  I should know better than to try to do something like that myself.  It’s just not my gift.  However, I do feel better knowing it might not have been my incompetence causing the issues with the new thermostat.

Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Thoughts on the News

I know, I know.  Everybody and their brother has been offering their thoughts on the Special Counsel’s report and what it means.  And since everybody has done it, that means I need to jump on the bandwagon, too, right?  Actually, there are some things I think need to be said.  I’m seeing some of them be said, but I want a chance to put my thoughts down.  And since this is my blog, I get to do just that.

First of all, I’m going to cheat and link up to this article.  It shows a timeline going back to 2016 on how this entire mess started.  And make no mistake about it, this is a mess.  And it is a mess of political making.  Like Trump or not, this article makes a compelling case that the special counsel of the last two years was a shame from the very beginning.  Honestly, the article goes further than I think we can realistically go yet, but it makes a compelling case that we need more investigations and we need indictments, just not of President Trump or anyone associated with his administration, but people in the government who were working to undermine if not overthrow him.

Now, I can already hear some of you.  “But Mark, this came from the Federalist.  It’s a conservative site, so it can’t be trusted.”  HOGWASH!!!!!  I’m sorry, but this very argument is one of the reasons I am making this blog post.  Over the past few days, I’ve seen people attacking CNN for not spinning the results that Mueller found that there was no collusion.  Those are the facts.  I’m sorry you don’t like them, and I’m sorry you didn’t expect them.  But that is because the media was lying to you for the past two years during the investigation.  Yes, lying.  They’d come on with breathless reports saying that there was  bombshell, and implying if not outright stating that the walls were closing in and we’d see proof of collusion against Trump any day now.  And it all turned out to be a lie.  Yet, these people I’ve seen are only willing to trust the very news organizations who have been lying to them.  Something is very wrong here.

This goes back to the desire that we have right now to only get news that conforms to our biases.  So if you are only getting your news from MSNBC or CNN, then you are getting only half the story at best.  I’ve been saying for over a year that people were going to be very upset when the special counsel came back and found no evidence of collusion.  And I was right.  If the rest of the stuff in that article is follow up on and people are arrested and jailed (as it looks like they should if this is right), then there will be more people shocked because they know nothing about this.  Why not?  Because they are going to news sources that are actively trying to cover this up and focus on things that make Trump look bad, whether they are true or not.

That isn’t healthy for any country.  Or for anyone period.

We have a serious problem with the news in our country right now.  If you aren’t outraged by how they are spinning the news and burying stories they don’t want you to hear, then either you agree with them, or you aren’t doing enough to stay informed on what is truly happening.  We need journalists.  Real journalists.  We don’t have them, however, at least on a national level.  Instead, we have spinners for the Democrats.  Defend them however you want, but I don’t think you can after what we have witnessed over the last two years.

Now here’s the thing.  I do believe that Russia tried to interfere with the 2016 election.  There is plenty of evidence that they were placing ads and using bots to stir up trouble.  They wanted us fighting with each other.  Exactly like we’ve done for the last two plus years.  So, we’ve given them what they wanted.  Heck, we probably gave them much more than they ever thought they’d get.  And the news media, who has been screaming the loudest about Russian influence, has been doing exactly what Russia wanted us to be doing.

Then there are the conspiracy theorists.  I know, I know, that’s rich after the article I linked earlier, right?  Some of the comments I’ve seen on Twitter have been eye rolling.  And they’ve been coming from journalists.  Yes, I want the entire report released, but the fact that is hasn’t been released yet isn’t a sign of a cover up.  It’s a sign that it has to be handled correctly – you know, legally.  There are things that have to be redacted for national security reasons.  And everyone knows that.  But they are conveniently forgetting that and using it to spin that the summary we got from the AG on Sunday is a lie.

This part of things is reminding me of the birthers.  Remember them?  Back during President Obama’s first term, there was all kind of talk about how he wasn’t really a natural born US citizen, so he wasn’t eligible to be President.  Proof?  He wouldn’t release his birth certificate.  And then, when he did release it in 2012, the talk didn’t die down.  It got worse, with people trying to prove it was fake.  Meanwhile, I was over here rolling my eyes thinking to myself, give it a rest people.

I’m doing the same thing now and people twist themselves into pretzels trying to figure out how they can still prove that Trump colluded with Russia to steal the 2016 election.  This just plays into the charges that this has always been a witch hunt.

And yes, I used that term on purpose.  I’ve seen people saying that the Mueller investigation wasn’t a witch hunt because of the indictments that were handed down.  That’s all well and good, but let’s look at them.  Almost all of them were for Russians who did try to interfere in the 2016 election.  As I said, I believe it happened.  This doesn’t prove that Trump had anything to do with it, however, which was the entire argument we were hearing, however.

The ones that actually harmed American citizens?  None of them were related to the actual investigation.  Now, I’m someone who believes in pretty black and white right and wrong.  And people should be punished for breaking the law.  But being punished for crimes you committed over a decade ago?  That doesn’t mean the investigation was correct or there was anything to the charges.  Instead, it means that someone committed a crime a long time ago and almost got away with it.  And I think a good case can be made that some of the people who were arrested for lying were actually either entrapped or got a date or two wrong and misspoke.  Honestly, I feel sorry for them because they were trying to cooperate and yet are still being punished for it.

So yes, this was a witch hunt.  Still don’t think innocent people can get caught up in hysteria?  Let’s look at the original witch hunt, the Salem Witch Trials.  Do you think that any innocent people got arrested, tried, and executed during that sad chapter in history?  I’d bet all of them were innocent.  Want something closer to the present?  How about the McCarthy hearings.  Surely, innocent people got brought in and had their reputations ruined during that.  At least, that’s what I’ve always been told.

You don’t have to like President Trump.  There is much about him I don’t like.  But he is our President right now.  And the fact that he didn’t collude with Russia and isn’t a Russian agent should be good news that all Americans should be able to celebrate.  And the fact that the outcome isn’t want the media has been predicting for years should give you pause the next time they say anything – anything at all.

Thursday, March 21, 2019

Winter League Tournament

It’s been almost two weeks since the winter league tournament.  I should probably talk about it.

We did…okay.  We went 2-2 on the day, to finish a little lower than we were ranked going in.  And both of the games we won were very close.  I’m not sure why since we easily beat both teams when we played them in the regular season.

I could tell my teammates were very frustrated by how we did.  I think they really expected to finish the day better than that.  But it is where we are, and, honestly, I think a good reflection of where we are as a team.  And I say that as someone who knows my abilities or lack thereof.

It was a cool day.  While it didn’t rain (it had rained hard earlier in the week), it was definitely cloudy.  I only put sunscreen on once, which was a mistake.  I should have gone back for another round since I had a bit of sunburn.  It wasn’t too bad, but it was definitely noticeable.

Anyway, I did stick around through finals, and I was cold.  I’m so glad it is now spring.  Oh wait, it’s cold and rainy out again.  (Gorgeous this weekend, but it’s cold again now.)

And I went to the party afterwards.  Not too many from the team went, but I put in my appearance and talked to some of my friends from the greater LA Frisbee community as well.

Spring beach league starts up this coming weekend, so don’t worry, I’ll have more ultimate to talk about along with a few other things, hopefully.  I need to do some regular posts in the next week or two to catch up.

Friday, March 08, 2019

Final Two Games

We’ve played our final two regular season games of winter league over the last couple of weeks.  And the results were mixed.

The first game was our only rematch of the season.  It was a team we’d won against in the past, and we won again, but by an even bigger margin.  They had a sub the first time we played them, and she made a huge difference.  Even though we beat them horribly, they seemed to have fun.  We certainly did, but everyone was smiling as we walked to our cars afterwards.

Unfortunately, our game this week wasn’t quite so much fun.  Yes, there is the fact that we lost 13-15 after leading most of the game.  That is always frustrating.  But it got really chippy with some very questionable calls.  Some of the calls were legitimate, just not things that most of my teammates are used to being called on.  I was okay with those.  But some of the calls were definitely questionable.  And, as usually seems to happen, all the calls went to help the other team.  Yes, the fact that they won doesn’t surprise me, but I still put an asterisk next to their win because of how it happened.  I felt they took advantage of the calls.

The end of season tournament is tomorrow.  We are low enough that we won’t have a shot to win, which isn’t a surprise given the level of play the top teams have.  But hopefully it will be a lot of fun.  Overall, we are currently 5-3 for the regular season, much much higher than I’m used to for an ultimate Frisbee team these days.