OCULUS QUEST VR, OWWW! COVID 19

My youngest son, I envy him. He has a sweet girlfriend, a job, and is about to graduate high school. Assuming there is a graduation this year. Well, he picked up a 3D virtual reality rig used a few weeks back…

And it’s AMAZING!

https://www.forbes.com/sites/solrogers/2019/05/03/oculus-quest-the-best-standalone-vr-headset/#382cba338ed8

I have only played a few of games on it, one is Arizona Sunshine, a zombie shoot em up, which is a lot of fun. Another I just started playing is Superhot. Superhot is like being Bruce Willis in the movies. You are dropped into all sorts of scenarios you have to fight your way out of, using guns/knives and fists. Also an absolute ball to play, and it requires some quick thinking. The problem is, Superhot requires a lot of up/down dodging bullets and hiding behind obstacles to shoot around, it is very physical. And my back can’t take too much physical.

Im sitting here in a lot of pain right now. But it will (mostly) pass. There might be some who would say I need the exercise, but they don’t say it too loudly. πŸ˜‰ I can’t wait to go back in to VR. Even if that might be tomorrow. If I have to be locked down at home for a while I think I’ll be ok with that, with this thing in the house.

The one thing I do not like is, this technology is somehow through Facebook, which I utterly despise. For that matter #deletefacebook !! I know this link is a little outdated but still relavent IMO. FB is the ebil. (Waterboy reference, yes the movie)

https://www.businessinsider.com/deletefacebook-facebook-movement-2018-3

On a side note just got back from Wal Mart. Went in to grab some bratwurst for supper. It’s like living in a war zone these days with bare shelves up and down the aisles, almost surreal. That boy of mine I mentioned earlier, just came in with some toilet paper and a bag of sugar. He informed me the toilet paper was again cleaned out at the Wal Mart. (For us Wal Mart is the closest store unfortunately, and second on my list of hated corporations right behind FB)

If there is any good news out there, I bought gas this morning for $1.25 a gallon in a neighboring town. Taking my big ole 3/4 ton truck there to fill it up too.

I know a lot of people are losing their jobs right now, which is terrible. My sister in law just got laid off, a friend of mine says where he works there has been a lot of activity in the office, he is expecting a shutdown soon. My wife works in healthcare so she will have a job until either she or anyone in the house gets the virus, at that point we lock the doors and no one goes in or out for 2 weeks, maybe more. Or If anyone at the house she works at gets ill, obviously she won’t be able to go back until is safe to do so.Β  We live in an extraordinay time among extraordinary circumstances. I do hope we all get through this relatively unscathed. But the reality is even if we do not get ill with the virus, the impact on the economy is going to be long lasting and I fear will cause enormous suffering. Goodbye 401K, we will miss you.

Stay safe, and hang in there.

Call Me A Boy Scout

We went out last night and stocked up on enough dry/canned goods to hopefully last us a couple of weeks, just in case any one of us comes down with a corona virus. Also snagged toiletries and food for the dog/cat. We want to be self sustained if it comes to that. There will be five adults here by this evening, my youngest sons girlfriend goes to UT Martin, they have cancelled classes till April 1. Im on my way out the door to go get her as soon as I hit the post button.

Apparently we weren’t the only ones thinking that way. Wal Mart shelves were wiped out in bags of rice and toilet paper in 2 towns we went to (no pun intended but I’ll take it.) We had to stop at 3 different Dollar General stores to even find any toilet paper.

Peanut butter and soups were also in short supply.

I hope it doesn’t come to having to having to deal with this. I’d like to think we are just well stocked for a while. May this post find you all healthy and well prepared.

SD

 

Well That Was Freaky

Night before last, we were forecast to have rain, maybe a thunderstorm. Woke up around eleven-ish to the sound of thunder and rain. About the time I decided all was well and was trying to get back to sleep, gotta be up at 4:30 ya know, it started to hail. I could hear the little hail stones ticking on the roof. No big deal, we get a little a little hail now and then. Right?

The clicking sounds suddenly became thumping sounds, then the thumping sounds became banging sounds, then the banging became a horrendous cacaphony of dreadful bangs and clangs. It sounded like 50,000 elves with 50,000 hammers were out there banging on everything. We were looking out the door at hailstones from small, to large, and many as big around as half dollars and over an inch thick bouncing off of everything. We have a big cedar tree, I threw on my hat and jacket with the intent to run out there and drive the car under the tree, but wiser people than I kept me from attempting it.

We were all wandering back and forth from front door to back, looking outside, it was a surreal moment. I figured if a tornado might be out there, we were in the hail core, and that put us generally NE of the tornado if there was one. I kept holding my breath and trying to see if I could hear the roar of my worst fear, a fucking tornado. I did not hear one this night… (I have heard the train a couple of times in my life and felt the thunderous roar reverberating through my body. I’m a grown manly man and lived a manly life, and aint skeered of much, but tornados scare the crap out of me)

But one was there. It was just a little too far away for us to hear it. It carved a path maybe a mile long (as far as I know), absolutely destroying some homes, massively damaging others. Three dead at last count here in Benton County Tn.

We have four vehicles. Well, five. Three of which are driven daily. The other two are an old Camaro, and an old 1964 Chevy truck. They run, but need some TLC. Anyway, all of them suffered quite a bit of hail damage, except for my old work truck which was parked right beside that cedar tree I mentioned earlier, it got through the storm with no recognizable damage. Also my youngest sons girlfriend had just bought a car, she hasn’t even titled it yet, and it too has multiple dents. It’s a tough pill to swallow. Yes we are grateful everyone is alive. Yes we are grateful there is still a roof over our heads. But goddammit this is a shit sandwich. I tire of shit sandwiches…

Took our main vehicle to town yesterday morning to get a quote on fixing it. This one is our life support vehicle and the only one of the three daily drivers with full coverage. It’s expensive to insure three vehicles when you have kids driving them, so we were forced to settle for liability and uninsured motorist on the other two. Anyway the estimate to fix the Ford Fusion came to $4, 662. Almost 5 grand. I am waiting to hear from the insurance adjuster to consider my options. Good chance we will be stuck driving around a heavily hail damaged car for a while…

Before I came home from town, I decided to grab a bucket of blackjack (roofing tar). I knew I had to get up on the roof and inspect for damage, I wasn’t going up the ladder without a bucket of blackjack. Which was a good call, I used 3/4 of a bucket covering spots where the shingles were damaged. Yesterday was a long day…

Had we known things might have got this severe weatherwise, I could have put 2 vehicles in the shop, and got another 2 under the protection of the cedar tree. No one was expecting a supercell to form as far as I know. After the storm did its damage here, it continued on to Nashville where it dropped another tornado and did considerable damage there, along with many lives lost.

Yeah, a shit sandwich sucks, but I am truly grateful we dodged a real catastrophe. Hope this finds you all in a good place. Nobody likes a shit sandwich. And No One deserves the wrath of a tornado.

 

I Haz Free Will!

I just have to monitor my breathing and tell my inner body signals what I want to do…

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2020/02/200206080449.htm

Honestly the entire free will issue makes my head hurt. I can’t be sure I wanted to do this post, but my fingers type anyway.

I find it interesting our readiness potential (RP) which is an active signal in our brains that happens, before we even know we are about to do something. I don’t know if there is an acceptable amount of lag time between our brains initial readiness to act and our bodies intention to act (W time, the urge or intent to act.) But we are creatures of electrical signals between neurons, and it makes sense to me that an inherent lag time would be reasonable, between the RP, the W time, and the signals sent to muscles required to follow through.

I also have no idea at all how that might have anything to do with me having some ice cream later. But I do know I like ice cream. Well I think I like ice cream, my body may just be demanding it…

 

 

A Day in the Life…

Up at 4:30 AM, make the coffee, get the wife off to work, 30 min drive. Have the youngest sons girlfriend in, she needs a ride back to college, an hour further. I stop on the way back home to see if an alternator/starter guy can rebuild the alternator out of our Ford Fusion, sign on the window says he went out of business 3 months ago. Just my luck.

I get home and start piddling around the house, wondering what the hell to do with this alternator situation, newly remanufactured alternators for this car are going in the neighborhood of $300, which is why I was looking at having a local do the rebuild. I’ve had the alternator out of the car for several days looking for a solution I can live with. I decided to do a Google search on “alternator rebuilder west Tn.” A guy pops up in Jackson, an hour away, I make the call. He’s like I can get you right out if you get here. So my ass hops in the little Toyota Corolla we picked up a little while back, and I’m heading to Jackson.

It’s windy, the drive kept me on my toes just trying to keep the little car between the lines. Get to the exit I need to get off at, and freaking road construction has the exit completely blocked, have to drive another 5 minutes to the next exit and fight traffic for a bit trying to get back to the road I needed to take. I finally get to the alternator guy, with no further hassles.

Well there was a line of one when I got there, had to wait for an alternator fix before he could look at mine, so I pass the time with the customer. He gets taken care of and Im next. My new alternator guy quickly diagnosed an issue I never expected. The alternator needs a new pully he informed me. Now Im no stranger to auto parts, or boat motor parts, or big truck diesel engine parts, as my life has had me neck deep in all of them. But I have never in my life heard of needing a new alternator pulley unless the old one had been run over by a bulldozer, so I’m like wtf? Really, a new pulley?Β  He informs me that alternator pulleys are now equipped with an internal clutch, and they can go bad. I turned the pully and quickly saw that yes indeed the stator (internal alternator windings on a shaft) was not turning with the pulley at 100%, more like 15% and I’m all of a sudden happy I learned something today. Well my alternator guy wasn’t sure if he had a pulley that would fit, after a bit of shuffling about in a back room he emerges with a pulley, and it fit!

Step one complete, he does a quick bench test and decided my alternator would charge just fine now but he put a new set of brushes in it just because. They can be put in without even having to crack open the casing, easy peasey. He put my alternator in another bench test rig and I saw it throwing out over 170 amps and its a 150 amp alternator. How much did it cost you ask?

$70. Seventy freaking dollars. Did I mention I could not find anything less than in the $300 range before? And thats for a reman, a new one will run upwards of $600-700 bucks. Well I peeled off four 20’s and told him to keep the change. This guy just saved me a minimum of $230. Ten bucks wasn’t enough of a tip.

And this is my tip to all of you. Alternators and starters can still be rebuilt. And it can save you a bunch of $$$. Also there are alternator guys out there that truly deserve your business, look one up when your starter or alternator catches you by surprise.

I got home and managed to install the alternator just in the nick of time, of being able to pick up the wife from work with the Ford Fusion. The bad news is Im wiped out today from yesterdays travels. I hope y’all are riding things out the best you can, wherever you may be.

I’d go a bit further and tell ya maybe this post will get me back in the regular blog business, but I don’t want to lie to you πŸ˜‰

SD

 

TR Crooks

I have to make this about me for a minute, I may have mentioned here or there I am involved in music. Myself and a good friend and bass player (/waves at Jimmy) have been doing some recording for the last couple of years. Well a guitar player I used to gig with a long time ago called one day, looking for something to do. I told him what we were doing and he jumped aboard. Things progressed to the point where we decided to look for a drummer, found a great guy on Craigslist (hey Randy!), and we have been practicing for the last few months. Which is part of the why I haven’t been blogging much but that’s beside the point.

Anyway, there was a local band phenomenon in these parts years ago, they were known as *TR Crooks. They had an album with a lot of good music on it, but they are renowned for their song Farmin Man. I have played Farmin Man in the past in a cover band situation. If you want to see people get off their butts and fill up the floor, Farmin Man is a southern anthem that everyone in these parts loves to hear.

Well me and the guys I’m playing with have all done the cover band thing to death, from the beginning Jimmy and I decided this time we are doing original stuff. Doing other peoples songs is fun, but nowhere near as rewarding as seeing your own stuff come to life. My aforementioned buddy Jimmy and I are responsible for the writing and composing thus far, but we just have to stray from the originals and incorporate Farmin Man in our set. So I have been practicing with it, I’ve played it before so it won’t be a big deal guitarwise, but I’m also having to carry much of the vocal parts, not because I’m a vocalist or pretend to be one, but because I wrote much of our original stuff and I know where the words go. πŸ™‚

So I have been working on the song Farmin Man, and I decided to look up TR Crooks on the net and see what I could find. Well I found the album I remember in its entirety posted on Youtube, and I decided I would share it with WP. Farmin Man is 3rd on the album. Song of David is definately worthy of mention, much of the rest is pretty good stuff too. I swear I can’t hear Song of David without have to wipe my eye…

 

I saw these guys live a few times way back in the day playing roadside redneck bars. They were really good, and so many people in W. Tennessee have an undying love for TR Crooks. One of the guys (Jimmy Stewart) in the band by the way, went on and made a name for himself, winning a Grammy for a song or two he wrote. The group lost a member here and there, and faded away without ever becoming widely known, which is a shame. But all of us who do remember them, remember them well.

Believe it or not, there is an ad on a local tobacco shop door, where you can pull off a phone number, and get guitar lessons with none other than Jimmy Stewart! I keep thinking I ought to get me a lesson just to formerly meet the guy. And no I do not smoke or otherwise use tobacco, I quit that habit cold turkey a long time ago, but I do have a tobacco addict in the house πŸ˜‰

I saw a more recent TR Crooks short acoustic set (2 songs) on Youtube as well, one of the songs here is Song of David. This is a far cry from what they used to be and do, it is still quite good, as far as I know the singer (Jimmy Stewart) is the sole original member.Of course if I’m wrong, and this being the internet, 27 people will chime in to correct me, and I welcome it when it comes! There are some things I do not know and I’m proud of it.

*TR is short for Tennessee River.

As for me and the guys I’m practicing with, we haven’t booked anything yet, but we are close to being ready. I tossed out a band name the other day that hasn’t been shit canned yet, so we might have a name soon. Double Aught. If you don’t know what that is it’s a pretty bad ass shotgun round, I hope its a fit for a pretty bad ass band. It ain’t set in stone yet though. A name hasn’t been our number one priority, getting things nailed down is issue #1.

Our drummer is formerly from Memphis and I understand there are a couple of places there that favor bands with original stuff, so we may be headed that way soon. We passed an opportunity to play a music festival at a place called Starlake Ampitheater on the 12th cuz we just need to tighten up a bit first. It’s a slow moving train getting a band tightened up to where you are ready to play live and do it well, but it’s soon the leave the station, assuming there are no extinction events, or guys dropping out in the next month or two.Β  πŸ™‚

Just for the record, we are all too old for this to be some kind of mid life crisis thing, we are doing this because it is just part of our DNA, that and we are just too stupid to quit.

Oh, here is a studio recording of one of my originals, this was done a long time ago, we don’t have this vocalist with us, and we have omitted the acoustic solo early, but the the rest is pretty close. I was responsible for all guitars. This one will be in our line up. I wish I had more than rough demos of our other stuff, as soon as we knuckle down and do some real recording I will see what I can do to get some of it up.

 

That’s our musical history lesson for the day, I hope you enjoyed it!