A Man Of Extremes

In some ways, I’m very difficult to peg.

Every time I’ve taken the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator® test, I find myself recognizing when a particular question is trying to ascertain whether I am Introverted or Extroverted. And every time, I try to go with the first situation that pops into my head, but I immediately think of some other situation for which the answer is completely opposite. And in neither case is my answer iffy… it’s like a holy-crap-yes-strongly-agree or it’s OMG-no-no-no-strongly-disagree… for the exact same question.

So when it’s all done, the thing puts me a little nudge to one side or the other on the I-to-E scale, as if I had given middle-ish answers to all those questions. Nope. I gave extreme answers, but very polarized.

The same is true of the Red vs. Blue, R vs. D, Right vs. Left. If you tried to find an average of my views, you’d probably conclude that I’m a centrist. The most recent example of this is the 2nd Amendment. I honestly believe I would fight in a shooting-back-and-forth battle to defend my 2nd Amendment right. I own guns; always have. But I would also argue at the top of my lungs until I’m blue in the face that our current interpretation of the 2nd Amendment is completely screwed up, outdated, backward, misguided, and otherwise just freaking wrong.

Limit how many rounds may be in a handgun clip, or rifle magazine? Not an infringement, in my opinion.

Outlaw bump stocks? Not an infringement.

Require Universal Background Checks regardless of who sells what to whom? Not an infringement.

Raise the minimum age for purchasing certain classes of weapons? Not an infringement.

Outright ban on a well-defined (unlike last time) class of weapons? Not necessarily an infringement.

Waiting periods? Not an infringement.

Requirement to pass safety training? Not an infringement.

Requirement to pass skills test? Not an infringement.

Requirement to keep current liability insurance? Not an infringement. (And mind you, I hate insurance companies.)

Mental health screening? Not an infringement.

Confiscation of weapons when someone has made batshit-crazy remarks or credible threats? Not an infringement.

Yanking the tax-exempt status of the evil-dickweed NRA? Not an infringement. In fact, a damned good idea.

Putting firearm registration info into a computerized database, instead of those stupid index cards? Not an infringement, and also a damned good idea.


It’s Your Lucky Day, Sir

The freeway this morning was a little wet, but that has not typically caused a noticeable change in traffic speeds. Up near County Road J where I-35E Southbound is still only 2 lanes, it tends to be going around 79mph (posted: 70) at 6:15am M-F. Today, it was 72-ish, with more flickering of brake lights here and there than usual. I noticed it, but only barely. I mused as to why it might be, but only briefly.

I don’t set my cruise at 80 in that 70 zone because I think it is the best idea. I do so because I have learned that is the typical speed, both lanes (all 3 lanes a little further South), day after day.

I don’t have a MNPass thing on my windshield because I want to go 10-over. I have it because the other 2 (then 3, then 4) lanes as we approach Downtown St. Paul are fraught with unpredictability. And trucks. And Metro Mobility buses. And lots of regular old morons who follow too close, then JAM on the brakes when something happens in front of them, causing the moron behind them to have to jam the brakes on even harder… while I continue along at the speed the MNPass lane had been going all along.

So it turned out this morning that the reason the two lanes of I-35E were erratically going slower than usual was because there was a MN Hwy Patrol squad in the right lane.

When the MNPass lane finally appeared, I merged left into it. On a typical morning, I would see a few cars ahead of me merge into it and speed up to 80mph. On a typical morning, I would see a couple cars behind me merge into it and speed up to keep pace behind me. And we’d all continue at 80 until the posted speed drops by 10 approaching I-694, and all 3 (then 4) lanes go 70 at that point.

You know what you can’t do without getting involved in Road Rage incidents, and putting yourself in the midst of the most aggressive, conflict-laden, unsafe driving behavior? You can’t drive in the far left lane MORE SLOWLY than the lanes to the right, at any time, for any reason.

You know what else you can’t do? You can’t drive in the 2nd-to-left lane at 5-over, then merge across the double-white line to the MNPass lane just as the 2nd-to-left lane slows to 10-under.

If you’re going to use the MNPass lane, you need to get in it and stay in it, and go along to get along. Drive the same speed as the majority. Just try to not piss other people off… even while you’re wishing the majority was going 5-7mph slower than they typically do.

So the MN Hwy Patrol gentleman who pulled me over this morning asked me, “Do you know how fast you were going when you passed me?”

“No, I do not, but I could take a guess.”

“Go ahead and take a guess.”

I know they say you shouldn’t do this, but I gave him an honest shot, “Maybe 79.”

“That sounds about right.”

Then we had a nice chat about what my personal responsibilities are, and the conflict I’m trying to avoid, and society’s problem of aggression, and my contention that there isn’t nearly enough enforcement of the speed limit, “and quite frankly I’m glad you pulled me over, ‘cuz with your lights going, EVERYBODY is going slower, and that’s better for EVERYONE. I’ll take that hit. I’ll HAPPILY take that hit, sir.”

I swear, I practically begged for a ticket. He asked me “So what do you think should happen with you today, now that I’ve pulled you over?”

My response was, “Oh, I should get a ticket. Absolutely. I did all the things wrong, wasn’t paying attention, was just listening to the radio and following my habitual pattern, and didn’t look at the situation until I noticed I was passing you two lanes over.”

He went back to his squad with my license. Came back 2 minutes later and said, “Well it’s your lucky day, sir. My printer isn’t working, so I’m giving you a verbal warning for speeding.”

I thanked him, took my license back, shook his hand, and told him, “PLEASE be safe out there, you’re doing a great job. Thank God for you guys, seriously.”

And that, my friends, is how you trick a crooked cop into lying about his printer.

MyKronoz ZeTime Review

I was backer 12643 on the KickStarter of ZeTime back on April 15, 2017 (boy howdy, it seemed like so much longer ago, but maybe that’s because I’ve received several Kickstarter rewards this year which were soooooo laaaaaate as compared to their initial estimates). Over that span of 6.5 months there were 36 updates.

That’s pretty good. Compare that to the gruff Richard Haberkern, whose 8th Kickstarter campaign I backed on 6/4/2016, was initially estimated to ship that coming October. It’s 13 months after the initial date – still not shipped. And there have been 10 updates. TEN.

Soundlazer VR from Richard Haberkern Sheesh.

Anyway – back to the ZeTime. The idea of having physical hands over a smartwatch touchscreen is brilliant. The fact that it’s shaped like (and the typical size of) a watch, unlike pebbles or iWatches or fitbits, is brilliant.


No, it doesn’t have luminous hands (inside joke). But look what happens if you push the crown button once… That’s not a great angle (quick-n-dirty iPhone photo and avoiding glare). Point being, in the dark, it totally looks like luminous hands pointing at luminous indices.

If you push the crown button a 2nd time, various things may happen depending on circumstances, but most of the time, it will then display your chosen face (presently there are 24 to choose from).


Like this… Now I’d like to point something out on this particular face. It has two virtual complications. The day of the month at the top, and weather info just above and below the axle of the hands. It shows the temperature (in degrees Fahrenheit, my choice), an icon indicating partly cloudy, and the city in which those were the conditions.

But I’m in Eagan, and it’s 30 degrees. I’ve been down here for two hours. The watch and my iPhone have needed to communicate with each other a few times since I left Centerville to drive to work… but it still says “Centerville” and “28°”. Why?

I mean, if it’s mid-day, and it looks sunny out, I might want to know if it’s warm enough to go for a walk outside during lunch. Boy, wouldn’t it be convenient if I had a weather bug on my smartwatch that showed reasonably current conditions where I’m at? But no – – unless I go to a specific screen on my iPhone, then drag down to force a re-sync with the watch, this sucker will say “Centerville 28°” all… day… long!

So although the face pictured above is my favorite, and would be most useful to me, I have instead chosen a different one which isn’t going to irritate me all day by showing stale info.

IMG_6478Another thing I wish they’d done (though it’s a visual design choice which could discourage certain other potential customers). I can sort of tell the time when the display is off. And, wisely, they have it designed such that even in powered-down mode (i.e. display completely disabled, no bluetooth, no nothing), the hands will run for about a month. Well, if it had indices around the outside of the face, that is outside the display area, but still below the front glass, I would be able to tell the difference between “about 7:20” and 7:19 or 7:21. That would be a “smart” thing to have when the watch is not in smartwatch mode.

What’s It Like Having a Stalker?

The following is a blog-excerpt from a very interesting, amusing, and scarily forthright person I follow on Twitter.

I’m in a very happy, stable relationship, and yet I have 2-3 enormous crushes. There’s one guy who works at my gym, for example. I can hardly look at him without feeling my face go all hot. There’s another guy I know at a nearby university. At conferences, part of me wants to fall into his arms. It happens. The difference? I recognize those feelings and put them where they belong: my vibrator.

Source: What’s It Like Having a Stalker?

So I was reading my Twitter feed, and saw a thing that said she’d updated this blog post (which I’d not previously read anyway). So I went and read it. Insightful. Interesting. Intelligent. And often, LOL funny.

At the end, I saw social media links (like one often sees), but there was one I’d not noticed before. There was a square “W” icon that, when moused-over, it said “press this”. Curious, I clicked it. It took some text I’d had highlighted above, and turned it into a new WordPress Blog Post on MY blog. I thought, “Cool!” So I cancelled that, and instead highlighted the few sentences that I had found most amusing, and clicked the thing again.

Well I thought it would APPEAR like I was making a link to some other person’s blog, with a QUOTE of what I’d highlighted. And, well, it KIND of did that, but it made it look way too much like I had written it, but had used the other blog as source material. I had to go through another edit process to instead make the copied text into a blockquote. It all works kind of clumsily for something where I’m just trying to point anyone reading my blog to go see hers. Oh well. I fixed that, AND bored you along the way.

Wag The Dog Reboot

I’m batting about an idea for a screenplay. I’d like to do a reboot of Wag The Dog, sort of.

In this pre-apocalyptic story, there’s an international consortium/conspiracy of power brokers. Kabal… Illuminati… Knights Templar… something like that. These extremely influential yet extremely secretive men are concerned about the financial impact of several world problems, including

  • Climate Change
  • ISIS
  • Bashar al-Assad
  • Inability to diplomatically convince certain countries that pursuit of nuclear weapon capability is a bad idea, including
    • Iran
    • North Korea

If only we could kill a few birds with one stone.

The problem with convincing North Korea that Nuclear Weapons are bad is partly that not enough people are still alive who have seen the devastation. WWII was too long ago. Perhaps a current example would set their thinking straight.

The problem with selling fossil fuels (the main source of profit for these guys) is the global push-back against carbon emissions, which cause climate change, which is increasingly difficult to believably deny. But a little nuclear winter could correct that, perhaps.

And if the international community really cared about the Syrian people, Bashar al-Assad would simply never have gotten this far… so these profit-driven evil men could write off (aka sacrifice) the entire country and turn it into one big mirror. Which would further help stave off planetary warming, right?

But of course, the publically-known world leaders don’t want to be on the hook, blamed for reckless war-mongering. So what we need is a patsy. Some ego-maniacal reality-TV personality who is believably dumb enough to be, of all things, a Climate Change Denier. Better yet if he’s thin-skinned and hot-tempered. Someone who could be tricked into taking the blame for starting a nuclear confrontation.

Alas, I could never sell such a screenplay. Too difficult for the audience to suspend disbelief far enough to make it pay off at the box office.

Thanks For Nothing

That title isn’t as negative as it sounds. I’ll explain that later.

I was enthused about going to my wife’s bestie’s place for Thanksgiving.

We used to live 40 minutes away (or longer, if there was anything affecting traffic). But this past spring we bought a house a mere 3 miles from bestie’s. It’s been great. Those two – thick as thieves – have spent tons more time together than in previous years, and we’re both so very happy about that change.

We’d gone to a couple Christmases at bestie’s in the early years of our relationship, and for a misfit introvert like me, those were tough. I mean, they were great; but I just don’t like inserting myself into someone else’s gift-giving routine. It felt to me like we really should’ve bolted immediately after the meal. But my gal and her bestie had a gift exchange to do, which of course got incorporated into the rest of the gifting thing. You know what I mean – just awkward.

So the fact that…

  • Yesterday wasn’t Christmas.
  • It’s now a 5-minute drive instead of 5x that.

…made me go into it (and I even said so on the way there) with less nervousness because it’s not a huge deal if I feel like I’m “done” long before my wife is ready to go. I can come back and get her – it ain’t that far. Or someone else can drop her off – it ain’t that far out of their way (possibly not at all).

And so, as the Big & Tall Men’s patrons could all relate, as we’re figuring out who will sit where, and realizing that I’m the most-recent-addition to this group, so as pecking-order goes, I should sit next to the opposite end of the table – by the 2nd card table – on one of the folding chairs… and then the school-boy insecurity thing blindsides me.

In an instant, I imagine trying to gently lower myself onto a flimsy chair, but my socks slipping on the wood floor (I’d already had similar trouble getting up out of a chair due to poor traction). I see myself dropping onto the chair too quickly. It buckles. As I sprawl to the floor, impaled by kinked metal folding chair leg, one of my feet kicks the adjacent legs of the two card tables, and now half the table space has been thrown to the floor. Broken glasses and dishes. Wine stains. A thigh scalded by potatoes. The inevitable “Who invited this fat f**k to our family tradition?!”

It took me about a minute to conclude that I could neither shake the rapidly growing sense of dread, nor endure it. I slipped out, sent my wife a text, drove home, and watched youtube videos of people trying stupid things so I don’t have to.

I’m so very thankful that somewhat out of the blue, we were informed of a place for sale this close to her bestie’s, this close to a Park-n-Ride, and this far out of the city. I’m thankful for the growing relationship with her bestie and bestie’s husband. They’re great people, and all four of us seem to get along rather well (which is rare, ‘cuz I dislike almost everybody, and am readily disliked by the few whom I do not dislike). I’m super thankful to have been invited over for Thanksgiving (instead of Christmas).

But most of all Thanks For Nothing. That is, thanks for understanding that…

  • I’m freaked out about Nothing.
  • If I’m freaked out, I need to be around Nobody.
  • What can you do to help? Nothing.
  • What did you do wrong? Nothing.
  • What shall we do differently next time? Nothing.

I’m thankful to have people in my life, especially my wife and her bestie, who get it. They get social anxiety. They get the helplessness against irrational fears. And that I mean them no slight. It’s random. It’s a roll of the dice, a spin of the wheel, a dart thrown blindly. It may happen more often, it may never happen again. I don’t know. And there’s Nothing to be concerned about.