Don’t Give Up the Fight

I’ve seen the safety pins, the protests and the calls for a recount. I’ve talked to lots of people who are genuinely scared of the implications of a Trump Presidency. I’ve listened to a lot of liberal radio talk shows that insist Clinton won the popular vote (definitely true) and mention this at every opportunity.

As William Shatner famously said on an SNL skit, “Get a life!”

Stop trying to pretend what happened didn’t happen. Stop trying to find some loophole to change what happened election night. Reality isn’t a time traveling show. You can’t change what happened, you can’t go back in time to alter the results. You cannot recount and hope by some divine, magical or fateful intervention that you’ll find irregularities that will alter the vote totals.

Donald J Trump will be the next President of the United States of America and the sooner the whiners accept this the better things will be.

Why will it be better?

Because once people who are angry, disappointed and disillusioned about the outcome accept the results of the election the sooner they can focus on the real work ahead. What people need to focus on is accepting the reality that we have now and work towards minimizing the damage and then making sure with the next election we can have effective change. I’m not talking in four years but two years. There are congressional seats in play in two years. If you really want to make a change in government you should start now.

There are still post-election analysis going on. Programs are still trying to decipher the whys of the Clinton defeat. There’s still analysis of the impact of the election on blacks, women, Muslims, homosexuals and other disenfranchised groups. The goal of much of the analysis I’ve seen is to pin blame on some group for the loss of Clinton and the win for Trump. Blame is the key word because even when the supposed focus is the positive aspect of the Trump win, it will boil down to his vote being a protest vote or an angry vote.

I get that people are upset and there was a time for being upset, there was time to gnash teeth and rend cloth, but it been almost a month and the mourning period is over. The Trump supporters have won, he’s going to the White House and it seems his style of governing will be the same as it was during the campaign. Like it or not, agree with it or not, for whatever reason the majority of the voting public, in the system we have set up for electing the President, elected Trump. If you had arguments about the Electoral College, they should have been addressed and dealt with well before this election (maybe 2000?). Both parties know how the system is set up. They have paid staffers and consultants whose primary job is to crunch those numbers, plan the strategies and deploy people in areas to shore up the base and gain new voters. This Presidential election cycle Donald Trump and the Republicans did better where it counted than Hillary Clinton and the Democrats did.

You may say Trump won by using racists tactics, you may say he did it by fear and intimidation but his message was heard and accepted by a majority if voters. I don’t want you to curl up in a fetal position thinking all is lost. I get the pain you feel but anger will only get you so far. Your anger will not hurt Trump and his supporters. Trump is getting his cabinet set. His policies are being implemented. While there are issues surrounding the recent Carrier deal, Trump won a symbolic victory for his supporters. Never mind that the deal is a bad one since it only helped 800 of the workers at the plant, Carrier is still going to ship 600 of the 1400 jobs to Mexico, the state of Indiana is paying 7 million in tax breaks over 10 years to keep the company there and United Technologies, Carrier’s parent company, will move forward with closing a separate Indiana plant and laying off 700 workers.

Look, I have my platform on Chaotic Fringe and some social media accounts. I can express my views on those platforms. I’m mostly a low-key person but I’m a persistent person. I don’t try to bully or force people to accept my POV on issues. I present what I know and I try to listen to what others have to say. That is what I can do, for the moment, in expressing my views on the new administration. If you can do more, do it. Don’t just cry and whine about the outcome and do nothing. Do what you can to get your voice heard, support those who are in line with the direction you feel the country should be going and my all means exercise your right to vote.

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I Only Know One Trump.

I watched a lot of cable news during my recent vacation. I watched some coverage from FoxNews but CNN was my main news source for election coverage.

The pundits and commentators are proving in the analysis I have seen why they read the election so wrong. They have a narrative laid out as to why the mostly young people are in the streets and their trying to fit the action they see into that formula.

They want the protestors to see that the President elect is saying nice words and the President is saying nice things. They want the Rodney King moment where we can all just get along.

I bring up Rodney King because he was video taped being beaten by cops while he was on the ground. People wanted justice and it seemed like the system did everything to deny justice to King. When the verdict was in favor of the cops, after what the public saw, a lot of people were fed up and went violently to the streets.

Time and time again people have seen injustice happen and the reaction from many in power has been to suppress peaceful protest for fear of violent protest. Because they ramp up for fear of the possible violence and wanting to prevent it, they don’t see or listen to the real concerns of the people.

Here’s what I think the experts and pundits are missing. When they talk about the rough world of politics, Trump took that to a level we haven’t experienced. Trump through his own words and deeds stirred the pot. It wasn’t surrogates that talked about building a wall, deporting immigrants, banning Muslims or insulted women. Trump himself said those things.

When the press continues to talk about the heated history between Trump and Obama, they want to make it political. No, it’s personal. Trump, and I’m going to write this as blunt as I can, demanded that the first Black president prove he was an American. Trump wanted birth certificates and school transcripts. No other President has been questioned about that.

In the campaign, it was Trump who insulted so many groups and encouraged his supporters to act on their base instincts, not surrogates. Trump has tweeted disheartening posts for years.

Trump and the press believes what he said during the campaign was in the name of politics and we should move on. Had the hateful rhetoric been said by surrogates or zealous supporters there would be a point in looking past the election and healing. The hateful tone of the campaign was set by Trump and the fear of the demonstrators is Trump will continue is divisive behavior.

People have said Trump is a different person in person. I doubt Trump is going to go to every home in America. Trump has made a terrible impression on half of the voters. He did it. He’s got a lot of work to do convince many he’s not the monster from the campaign.

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Deplorable Politics

I’m watching David Axelrod on CNN talking about how the George Bush administration handled the transition of power professionally with Obama. This is the mantra that has been repeated many times. Axelrod stated that the Obama campaign was rough on the former President.

I’m sorry but all of the folks that want to equate what we went through as politics as usual are wrong.

I’ve lived long enough to have seen rough elections. I’m a political junkie as much as I am a comic junkie so I study election results, I get articles and I spend hours channel surfing gathering information.

What we endured the past few years was not politics as usual. The man who will soon become President demanded that the current President, the first President who was not White like previous Presidents, show his birth certificate. For almost seven years the soon to be President wouldn’t acknowledge the current President was born here and had the right to be President.

This President has accomplished a lot and has had some failures. Those are policy issues and decisions that can be argued and debated about. Those are debates that fall into politics as usual. Rudy Guliani was on Fox news and CNN and would not take off the table possible charges given to Clinton about her foundation. Sleazy, deplorable but fits within politics as usual.

It isn’t regular politics to demand the birth certificate of a President. It isn’t regular that when one is presented, another one is demanded because the first one was a short form and not a long form. When the long form was presented, Trump would not say he was wrong, would not declare the document as legitimate. Only a few months ago did the soon to be President say he accepted Obama on is word that he was born in Hawaii.

The Trump campaign for the White House wasn’t politics as usual. It was deplorable and for me it’s not going to be something I’m going to brush aside.

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Election Night 2016

1530 – Interesting coverage so far. CNN has focused on the main race all morning, glossing over state issues and candidates. I know they have hours of time to fill but why is there little about Senate and House seats? I switched to FoxNews and they were discussing that.

An example for me about comprehensive coverage of state and local issues popped up when CNN talked about the Hispanic vote. On the one hand the analyst said the Latino vote will be significant then said in a state like Arizona the Latino surge may not give the state to Clinton. She might lose the state but indications are Sheriff Joe might lose because of the high Latino vote.

While the national vote is important it would be nice with the hours of coverage the cable networks will have tonight, they should show the impact on state and local elections.

Of course if I were home I might not have a complaint about coverage because I’d have the radio, TV and the computer feeding me information. In the hotel I have 1 TV and a tablet for information. Not my ideal political geek gear but I’m making due.

1610 – Coming down the elevator to the hotel bar met an American from Payson, AZ. Did some polite conversation but didn’t discuss politics.

1715 – Really Florida. The lead is switching as the CNN commentators talk. I figured it would be a long night but so many too close to call states is mad frustrating and exciting.

I’m not sure if Blitzer is going to make it.Again? So before the commercial Clinton just took the lead from Trump in Florida. Now he’s ahead again. Love those good old boys in the panhandle. That’s where the Trump vote is coming from now.

Well now I see why CNN has a focus on the national race. Results are more fluid than I imagined they would be. With the close race fot the White House down ballot races are close. Yes I’m glad I got some sleep because this is going to be long. I may have to tear myself from the hotel and stock up on stuff.

2030 – Looks like the decision to watch this election in Tijuana was a strong choice. This has been a crazy election cycle and it’s ending with a bang. There is going to be a lot of soul searching Wednesday, and that’s assuming a winner is declared.

What I’ve seen this election, and I hate to admit this analysis is true, but Trump was right when he alluded Democrats rely on minority voters as firewalls. Many of the pundits I’ve heard, especially in the breakdown of the Florida vote, talked about the DNC working on running the numbers up in cities to protect against the outraged voters in the suburbs.

The Trump campaign worked at picking suburban voters. The results have Trump winning states by getting just enough suburban votes to negate the cities firewall. Again it’s something fascinating to watch from afar but the cold facts are starting to hit me. Trump has a real chance of becoming President elect and if he does conventional wisdom can be thrown out the window.

2200 – I’m watching these results coming in and I don’t have anything I can say. I’m taking a break and heading to the.bar. I don’t want to drink. I need to clear my head.

CNN, from the pundit perspective, has started discussing what a Trump administration would look like. The images from the Clinton HQ are of sad face staffers. Yes I have to break from this now.

2320 – I went down to the bar but decided to head to the grocery store to buy more Vampiro. I was told they couldn’t serve alcohol after 10pm. I walked back to the hotel, got to the room, turned on the TV and the world changed.

Right now Trump hasn’t been declared the winner but Clinton, through spokesman Podesta, essentially told the crowd to go home.

Showing an example of what is to come, Trump surrogate Carl Lewandowski on CNN, criticized Clinton for leaving, saying that if Trump had done the same thing he would have been dragged through mud. Van Jones, a Clinton surrogate, tries to explain the difference in what Clinton did and was talked over, interrupted and not allowed to make his point.

There are reports that some in the Trump are shouting lock her up. Since I began adding this entry CNN hasnt declared Trump President elect but they have by deeds. Right now, at 2338 PST, they have in the board that Trump needs . . . breaking now is new news.

Just like Padme said, this is how democracy dies, with thunderous applause. It was just announced Clinton called Trump to concede the election. Officially at 2343 PST, CNN posted that Trump is elected President. Trump is in the room and more shouts for USA.

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No New Hope, It’s Revenge or Return.

It’s 9pm on Monday November 7 and I’m in an airplane between the moon and San Diego. (Yes bad Christopher Cross reference). More than likely by this time tomorrow our national nightmare will be over and possibly a new one will begin. I know there isn’t a lot of excitement on this election cycle. This election for me isn’t defined as choosing the lesser of two evils. The feeling I have for the two major political party choices is hard to define.

Elections should be like the unaltered original 1977 version of Star Wars. The Death Star is destroyed. A farm kid is a hero to the rebellion and we in the audience feel transformed after watching Star Wars. When I saw Star Wars that first time I believed I  could use The Force to do anything. I felt energized by the experience. The scene with Luke and company standing there victorious and the Star Wars score playing in the background made my little geek heart fill with pride and determination.

I think when we go into the ballot booth we want to believe out voice matters. Even if our candidate fails we want the process to be fair and respect given at the end of the process. When the voting is done and a President elect is named, we rally around them and work together to move the country forward.

The Obama win in 2008 had hope but there was a small but vocal group that tried to hinder his administration. They failed to make him a one term President but the seeds of dissent, distrust, angst and anger grew to represent a sizable number of the electorate. Instead of working together, working against the President, even openly questioning his legitimacy, was encouraged and rewarded. 

More than likely the results tomorrow will feel like the special edition of Return of the Jedi. In the special edition we didn’t have the singing Ewoks, we had the spirit of young Anakin not the old one unmasked and the slight changes throughout the film didn’t feel special and in some cases unnecessary. While there might have been issues with the original version, the enhanced version didn’t significantly change, improve or ruin the original version.

Look, Clinton is not an exciting or inspiring candidate. The cold hard fact is if she is elected she will be our country’s first female President. That’s her rallying chant. That is a factor of her candidacy. Yes she is accomplished and has an impressive resume but you cannot dismiss that her election as a woman would be historical empowering. The Obama presidency has shown that the novelty of being the first will work for a little while but if you can’t deliver the promises the opposition will plot to defeat you.

Like it or not, a Clinton administration will be a special edition version of the last Clinton Presidency. There will be some enhancement, some tweaking but it will be the same movie with minor changes. 

What is motivated many people to choose Clinton is they have a strong fear of Trump. Trump is Revenge of the Sith. It’s the best of the three prequels but we had the betrayal of the Jedi by Anakin, the death of Padme and the creation of Vader and the Empire. It is exciting but the end of the film shows us how events in Star Wars came to be. We know the Empire won’t last but we know the Empire had a good run of the place. The Empire promised order but the cost of opposing the will of the Empire was death.

During this election we have seen Trump destroy the pundits concept of how an election should look. He has changed the political formula and is close to winning the White House. As much as his opponents want to reticule him, we have to acknowledge Trump has tapped into a part of the American psyche we can’t ignore. He has used the angst and fear felt by a sizable number of Americans and that energy has him close to the Presidency.

Yes, this is how democracy falls; with thunderous applause.

A Trump administration may not be the beginning of the Empire, but Trump has demonstrated that civil discussion and even temperament are not is strong traits. He will be a emotional man child. While the thought of Trump having his fingers in the nuclear football is scary, think of the destruction he could do the economy and the American psyche.

When Trump came down the escalator to announce his candidacy, the insults he threw at Mexico would have destroyed any politician before Trump. Anthony Wiener is political poison to Clinton by association but Trump, who has done much worse than Wiener, is liked and will get the votes of millions.

It is exciting and fascinating to watch the saga of Trump but we have been changed by him. The fights at rallies, the distrust of the media and the general coarseness of public dialogue has hurt us. Like in ROTS, there are people willing to destroy democracy for order.

This hasn’t been a fun election. It has been an election where if any of the major party nominees had been faced with other candidates, the scandals both faced would have greatly hindered or destroyed their chances. We’ve had a perfect storm of a flawed candidate on one side and an irresponsible, emotionally dangerous candidate on the other.

Unfortunately, no matter who we choose, the next four years appears to be a path littered with distrust, infighting, lowered moral standards and suspicion.

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Unlearn What You Have Learned

When my stuff was taken a few weeks ago and my backup laptop’s battery died last week, it was a double kick in the teeth to me as a tech guy. My philosophy on technology can be summed up by a like Spock said in classic Star Trek in the episode The Ultimate Computer.

 
Computers make excellent and efficient servants, but I have no wish to serve under them.”

I like computer, I find convenience with them, but I never figured I was dependent on them. When I see people on public transit bend over looking at their smartphones, I feel sorry for them because I feel they’re ignoring the world around them for the excitement of whatever is trending on Facebook and YouTube. In one moment, a lot of the technology I had depended on was gone and I felt lost and confused. The thing that has saved me has been my redundancy obsession. I have backups for backups so even with my losses I could reconstruct a lot of passwords and locations of important documents. It has been frustrating and time consuming, as well as expensive, but I’m getting back on my electronic feet.

It’s weird that I feel depended yet not dependent on technology. I like tech but I don’t want technology to be the master of me. I want to have options to use the type of technology I need. I try to take life experiences and apply them to tech to make things easier. It seems like an obvious statement but I’ve seen too many people not understand that concept. I can’t count the number of times I’ve seen people at the bus stop getting frustrated because they didn’t know when the bus arrives. There at a bus stop that has options for texting the info, going to the website for info or looking at the bus schedule posted on the stop. They will pace, crane to look for the bus or ask people if they know when the bus will arrive. They will ask this while they’ve turned down the smartphone that is playing music, the same smartphone they could use to get the information if they don’t feel like looking at the printed schedule at the bus stop.

The surprise to me on this rebuild I must do in my electronic life has been how out of date I’ve been. A week or two before the stuff was taken I was talking to someone about some new phone, computer or something. I thought it was a waste of money trying to keep up with the latest trends. I said if I find something that works I stick with it. I bragged about I had no problems with my patchwork tech because it did what I needed. I’m seeing that I will need to modify my opinion on sticking with something because its comfortable or familiar. I don’t mean I’m suddenly going to be a slave to tech trends, but I’m probably going to be more willing to examine changes that might make my life easier.

What I’ve seen the past few days is that options that could make my life easier are staring me in the face. I must step outside my narrow focus to see all the options. I just got a new phone and a frustrating issue is that attaching a USB cable to the phone won’t transfer files. The cable is recognized; it’s charging up the phone but I can’t get files into it. I went online to find out what the issue might be. I changed settings, checked the SIMM and micro SD card, tested the connection with other computers and still nothing. My tablet has similar issues, but I think I figured out the issue with that.

Yesterday I had one of those Alexander Graham Bell moments. I was distracted and hit something on my computer I didn’t mean to hit, but in recovering from that I saw I was going about the phone issue in the wrong way. It never occurred to me that I didn’t need to directly link to the unit to transfer files because I could do it wirelessly. After a few tweeks and one download I could swap files on the phone. Working on that issue made me realize that technique I was using with filing my large number of media files was great five years ago but there were easier ways of accomplishing the same things. My dead laptop had files I need to recover. It will take time to get them but now I know I have an easy fix to recover and store those files to my secure location. While I’m writing this, I’m uploading some new files using the new system. The files are spread across three media formats. Now instead of 4-5 steps needed to backup, file and backup again, it looks like I can upload files from any device wirelessly to one location and my system will catalog and backup my files automatically. Once there any of my devices can access the files.

I’ve spent close to a week trying to fix the issue with the USB transfer and I already had the solution. I was looking at solving it one way when another way was easier, more efficient and usable on a variety of devices.

There have been a few hiccups in the process in the hour and a half I’ve been trying it, but once the files are loaded to my server I just have to file them later, but the backup is set. No more moving from system to system, or having something on one device that I need on another.

What I’m going through this early morning is why I try not to get too upset with adversity. I don’t want to have bad experiences but figuring out alternatives to bad situations gives me tools that I can use later. Trust me, I’m not the most organized person but I’m working on getting my stuff in order. Losing my stuff forced me to rethink and modify things I never would have done before. I didn’t see a need to change because as I had things set up they worked fine. In purchasing the tablet and phone to get myself back on my electronic feet, I was going to set things up the way they were. Now I see I should look at the prospect that I might have to incorporate new ideas to achieve my goals.

I hated a lot of things about my phone when I got it because it wasn’t the old phone. I see now that I have to take the new options and take the time to make those things work that I need. There probably is something simple I’m missing not allowing me to have the USB transfer files, but I’ve found a more efficient way of working with all my devices. Now, if I can get the USB cable transfer to work I have that as a plus.

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Trying To Put Some Pieces Back

Last week was an eventful week, with the theft of a lot of my items. I’m starting to get some of the items replaced, but it’s going to be a long process. It’s a kick in the teeth to get items stolen. I feel like my space has been violated, my routine has been disrupted and it seems like every day I get a reminder of the loss. Wednesday, a week after my things were taken, another unfortunate event happened when my laptop, this was the spare laptop not the one that was stolen, stopped working. From what I have been able to diagnose, the battery died and since the AC cord goes to the battery, I’ll have to open up the case and remove the battery to try and get the system to power up. From what I read online, it’s not an easy process of just removing the battery.

Just like last week, all I can do is count my blessings, take a moment then forge ahead.

Something happened yesterday I needed to happen. A few weeks ago, I wrote about the bad experience I had at Fry’s Electronics. By the way, after Fry’s requested more information about what happened, I haven’t heard anything from them. I have been lost without a lot of my gadgets. I’m almost fighting tech withdrawals because I don’t have the tools I’m used to and I feel unsure of myself because those tools are missing. I was going to order a tablet from Amazon but I saw an ad for a good one at Fry’s. Yes, Fry’s Electronics was tempting me again. With the loss of my stuff, I wanted to have something now. I wanted to feel like I was coming back from my loss. So, with a lot of skepticism in my heart I took the bus to Fry’s.

So problem one on the Fry’s trek was the tablet I wanted was advertised it could take a micro SD of 128GB. When I got to Fry’s the display said the largest micro SD size was 64GB. I let that discrepancy pass because I trusted the information from Amazon and the manufacturer more than the Fry’s team. The next issue was when the salesperson took me to check for a case. I don’t what it is, maybe their training, but why is it when Fry’s staffers take you to look for something they point out the most expensive items? I was pointed out covers from $15 to $23. No mention was made of the massive number of $10 ones in the same area. I saw one of $7 and said “I’ll take this one.” I didn’t understand why he was disappointed in my choice until checkout when I learned that particular tablet cover was half off.

When I took my sheet up to get the bill filled out, I was charged twice for the cover because the cashier wasn’t paying attention that I had the cover in hand and it didn’t need to be retrieved from the back like the tablet. When I pointed out the mistake the cashier gave me a shade look. They got the tablet, shoved it in the bag with the rest of the stuff, rang it up and I was free to go.

Well, not quite yet. It’s Fry’s so I have to show my receipt on the way out. I grab the receipt and notice that the box for the tablet had the telltale reduced price sticker on it. I looked at my receipt and the cashier charged me full price! I knew the register rang up the full price from the display, the receipt showed the full price but the box was marked discount. If I had known it was a repackaged tablet I might have not bought it. I’ve had problems with Fry’s discounted returns. The thing was, with the package in my hand I didn’t want to make a fuss of things. I was dead in the water without my electronic tools. All I wanted was the price adjusted and get out of Fry’s.

So when I got to the door where the eagle eye workers are supposed to check the receipts, I had to point out the discrepancy. Fifteen minutes later I was out the door with a credit put in my card for the difference in price.

When I buy products I don’t want to be on high alert on the watch for clerks ripping me off. It shouldn’t be too much to ask for competent people to work at a store. Look, because of the loss I had I gave Fry’s Electronics another chance. They failed. Yes, I have the tablet and yes it seems to be working fine but if I didn’t pay attention I could have had a $20+ cover and paid $7 more for the tablet. Even when I walked in and saw the advertising discrepancy, that shouldn’t happen.

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The Loss

I was just reminded revenge is a waste of time and energy. As much as I want revenge today, as much as I need to lash out and take one of God’s creatures from the sky and drink some scotch as if it were the blood of mine enemy (thank you Space: Above and Beyond) I will resist the urge of hunting down those who wronged me.

This morning I woke up feeling very bad. I had the shakes and shivers. I made it to the light rail, barely, and I seriously contemplated walking back home. The sickness went down a little and I got on the light rail. By the time I got to my bus transfer stop I was feeling better, not 100% but better.

There was some mix up with the bus this morning. First the bus showed up late, then we waited 5 min even though it was late, then another bus arrived and we were told to get on the new bus. I could feel the shakes happening again.

When I got close to my stop 20 min later things got confusing. I remember hearing the radio. I remember missing my stop and I remember stumbling out of the bus. I remember seeing a cord dangling and I kept pulling at it but I didn’t know what the cord was from. Maybe three minutes later, in the fresh morning air, I was a bit more oriented to realize I wasn’t holding my backpack! It was still dark so I traced my footsteps back to the bus stop and no backpack along the way. I started to panic because I couldn’t believe I left the backpack on the bus. The hope I has was since the backpack was big and there were only 2 stops after where I got out, I hoped the bus driver would have the backpack and I could pick it up.

Ten minutes later the bus returned. I told the driver I left my backpack on the bus. She gave me a good description of my just as she informed me someone walked off with my back at the last stop. I walked ¾ of a mile to the last stop, in a vain attempt hoping a good Samaritan would have left the back. No luck. I checked with IKEA, the shop in the area, hoping they had the pack. No luck.

Thousands of dollars of equipment, including my laptop, gone. In what seems to be my pattern, I gave myself time to plot sweet revenge on the person who took the backpack. Imagining beating the person within an inch of their life while wielding my heavy duty light saber hilt felt like sweet and ironic revenge.

Next I started thinking of the things I didn’t bring with me, like the new Star Wars miniatures I wanted to put on my desk but didn’t. As much as I wanted to be thankful about what I hadn’t lost I got bad again about what I did loose. Hey, chalk it up to human nature. Well, by the time I had made it to work I already had a new password worked out and had a checklist in my head of all the accounts I needed to change right away. One thing I have to admire my parents about is they raised me to be practical. I’ll allow myself to get emotional, to get caught in the anger and frustration of the moment but in little time I’m going to try and find an exit strategy and some way to get back on my feet.

UPDATE –

It’s been 24 hours since I left home and started the tragic events yesterday. I’m putting in a call to the transit company this morning but I’m not putting a lot of faith in my belongings getting recovered. I’ve thought a lot about what I could have changed yesterday but honestly, while I’m not a fate person, I have to make sure I don’t dwell on woulda coulda shoulda. I have to work on forging ahead.

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Health, Welfare and Gaming

Last week I was going through a lot of physical struggles. I had a bad issue with carpel tunnel. By the end of the week I couldn’t move my fingers very well and I had to purchase a wrist brace. All sorts of dire options went through my head. I wondered if I could keep my job, considering the amount of typing I do. Every little difficulty was a precursor to some larger possible tragedy. Loss of sensation in my joints made me think I might lose an arm. There was a point where I felt like my face had paralysis and I was convinced I was having mini strokes.

I think I’ve gotten better. I almost have full function in my hand again. There’s some lingering tingling that has been slowly going down since this morning. I still have some control issues with my fingers so moving a mouse is a slight issue. Right now I still can’t write worth crap. I just can’t grip a writing instrument well. Typing is OK if I go slow enough. I think that’s due to my work keyboard because at home or on my laptop I do better.

This health scare, setback, whatever it is has me scared. With the health issues my parents have has the past few months, I’ve had to think a lot about what my later years might be. Now, I don’t see myself in some debilitating state, being fed from tubes or in some dementia state. That’s the doomsday, most pessimistic scenario someone can come up with. What I worry about are the little things, the simple stuff we like to call the dignity of life.

As usual, I wanted to take this writing in a whole other direction and I got so depressed and ashamed writing a lot of this down I deleted it. Sometimes I want to get very personal in these writings and when I share (some might say overshare) there will be the person who misses the whole point of what I’m putting down. Suddenly I’m a case study and someone feels their psych or social 101 class will have all the answers I need. Never mind that we haven’t had a one on one conversation for years, or that you haven’t picked up a phone or sent an email for decades. So when I want to delve into some heartfelt personal sharing I get the image of the helper who ultimately offers no help.

So I’m going to head to another direction.

The super computer is finished! Thursday, while in the middle of the carpel tunnel trauma, I got the computer built and running. It took a lot more hours than I expected but getting the device going was a proud moment for me. Considering the struggle I had put up with most of the week I needed a success, especially with something that had been an obstacle for a long time with me. I kind of got the system built with one hand tied behind my back.

The cooler moment was the next day when I got Star Citizen loaded and running for the first time. When I designed the computer I wanted something that could be cutting edge for years. From the overkill of memory to upping my budget for the CPU and video card, I allowed myself to spend a lot to get a lot.

I couldn’t believe the difference in performance between the systems. Star Citizen running on the old system was slow but I attributed that to my internet connection or other factors. I really didn’t have another system build to compare it to. The speed and movement on the rebuild is amazing. I really feel part of the action now. It’s easier to complete missions because the system can keep up. A simple relay repair could take 30 minutes by the time I launched, got to the satellite and maneuvered myself to do the repairs. Now I can get a repair mission done in less than 10 minutes. I’m having a lot more fun exploring the Star Citizen world on the computer build.

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The First Debate – Trump Kinda Won

There was an interesting take away I got from the debate. Trump talked about how much money the Clinton campaign spent against Trump yet the candidate is tied or ahead in some polls. To listen to mainstream or liberal media, the debate last night was a slam dunk for Clinton, but when I listened to extended discussions by pundits the same issue Trump brought up was echoed by them. With all the negative campaign messages, with all the missteps made by Trump, he has remained competitive in this election. Ever since he rode down the escalator and made the shocking statement about Mexican immigrants, there have been many experts who have mocked Trump and predicted his demise. In what has become a telling refrain, Trump has succeeded expectations and continues to win over voters.

Maybe because of the length of the political season we have forgotten many of the details of this election cycle, but Trump has been a political figure that has been the most underestimated. It has been said time and time again that Trump has said things that would destroy other politicians. Trump said that John McCain wasn’t a war hero, made disparaging comments about fellow Republican candidates Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz, and all three now support Trump. Yes, there are a list of major Republican party members who refuse to endorse Trump, including a former Republican President, but the fact is Trump is the candidate of the Republican party and he has a reasonable shot of becoming President.

The problem I have watching the coverage of Trump is I don’t see how so many experts continue to underestimate Trump. OK, that’s wrong. I have an idea of why they underestimate Trump. I’m reminded of the scene in The Wrath of Khan when the Enterprise goes into the nebula to evade Khan. Kirk realizes Khan I fighting a 2-dimensional battle. It’s when Kirk uses space tactics in 3 dimensions is he able to defeat Khan.

Pundits think in the political patterns they’ve learned from years of analysis and are reluctant to think in a new dimension. Pundits and talking heads I’ve seen discuss Trump continue to think of him as a conventional candidate. They talk about how he doesn’t have a get out the vote apparatus, how he hasn’t spent a lot of advertising dollars and in the recent event they talked about the many mistakes he made. Guess what? All that has been talked about is Trump. Trump has shaped the narrative, Trump is being talked about on every talk show, news show and radio program. Hillary Clinton is mentioned, of course, but the talk about Clinton, if you dig into it, isn’t really praise.

The problem Clinton faces is she’s expected to wipe the floor with Trump. You will hear the praises by her surrogates that Clinton is the most qualified person to be President ever. She’s been a First Lady, Senator and Secretary of State. She has political qualifications a mile long but at the end of the day, she’s tied or barely beating Trump. I think an unknown appeal of Trump is the David and Goliath comparison. Scoff if you like, but look at the primary between Sanders and Clinton. Bernie Sanders was a super underdog to her and he put up a big fight against her. Clinton has had an aura of inevitability around her that doesn’t work well for her, despite political expectations. Hillary Clinton doesn’t get lucky in elections but she and her staff exploit opportunities at the right moment to try and win elections.

What we forget about Clinton was that 8-9 years ago she was the anointed one. She was the inevitable nominee of her party and she lost to Obama. The times when she stood a fighting chance to Obama was when she did something that she’s very reluctant to do; bring down her guard and relate to people on a personal level. That time in New Hampshire when she started to cry talking about how she didn’t want the county to fail turned her fortune around in the campaign. Of course, the campaign ruined that momentum in South Carolina when it was suggested that Obama won the state because, of course, black people were expected to vote for him. Clinton and the surrogates around her rely on her inevitability to clear the field of candidates. You had the breathless will she or won’t she move during this election cycle where no major candidate dared to put their hat in the ring until she did. When she did it was so late for many, and a lot thought of her as a formidable opponent, that many decided not to run. Despite the strategy, similar to what happened in the 2008 cycle, the coronation to victory was not easy.

I heard Mark Shields mention on PBS yesterday that Clinton reminds a lot of people of the student who wants to show everyone how smart they are by giving too much information. While people who like Clinton dismiss the perception of the negative likability factor of Clinton, I know that’s a major factor killing her in the polls. Clinton isn’t the person you want to have a beer with nor is she the unpredictable one. See, we might think Eddie Haskell is a slime and a jerk but people can understand and deal with that person. Judy Hensler is a goody-goody who will snitch on everyone. That brings mistrust to the electorate and when you combine that with rumors of the Clinton Foundation, email servers and the infamous Benghazi, the electorate is holding their nose when they decide on Clinton. In an odd way, people see Trump as a jerk but a jerk with his heart in the right spot.

America may dislike Judy Hensler and Eddie Haskell equally, but we’ll take the jerk over the goody-goody smarty pants. The take away I get from this election is that Clinton has been a flawed candidate for decades and even with all the advantages she has politically, we have an unbelievably close election. Trump shouldn’t be President, but when you have enough voters who are willing to pick him over Clinton, you have to really examine what the country expects in their President. When pundits can really have their come to Jesus moment and honestly look at the American people and examine why Trump is this close in the polls maybe we can begin to evaluate the American attitude.

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