Driving down the Highway in a BMW 330i

A little over two weeks ago, I was in South Carolina trying to get back to Albuquerque. Going by plane was the cheapest option. I also seemed the riskiest option. There was no direct flight. I had a choice of having a layover in Dallas or Denver. Not exactly airports one wants to hang out in during a pandemic.

Checking out the car rentals, even the cheapest car was twice the price of flying. The only real benefit was being around people who mostly were local to small towns when stopping for gas and food (if done wisely).

The day before I left, I checked one more time for a car rental. To my surprise Car Rental Companies are suffering like every other transportation industry, and most of their their business has evaporated. I booked a Hyundai Elantra or something like it for forty dollars a day and change, no long distance or high mileage fees. It wouldn’t be as nice as flying, but should be less risky from an exposure point of view.

When I picked up the car, they told me, they had a BMW for the same price and would that be okay? After spending a second or two for a polite pause, I said yes, a BMW would be fine, trying to keep the gloat off my face. I drove a BMW 330i off the lot.

Up until that moment, I thought a Volkswagen Jetta was the greatest long distance driving car out there. The Jetta has a 900 mile a day seat, handles well, and is a pleasure for a drivers over long distances.

The BMW 330i is an easy step up as a driving machine. For the first few hundred miles, it felt like the car an I were fighting each other, The rest of the two thousand mile drive was a dream!

The best long drive car I have had the pleasure of driving!

The BMW 330i has everything wanted for a long drive starting with the best speaker system I have ever heard in a car. The seat besides tilt, up down, forward and back has two more adjustments for your back, and two more for your legs. Plus if you have long legs, the bottom of the seat has a built in extension that moves the front seat length up to about three inches farther out.

Of course the few fast cars out there wanted a run, and all were disappointed afterwards. The BMW 330i may not be the fastest car out there, but it is a long ways from being a slouch (Wanna be’s take heed). You step on the gas and you move. Step on the gas harder and you move faster. Braking is superb too.

Handling is as crisp at thirty mph as it is three times that speed, or more. Also there were no rough roads sitting inside the 330i with one exception. I did hit a huge pothole in Nashville, TN. I thought the pothole was going to take the front wheel off. The pothole shook the car pretty hard, but all was well. I thought in a normal car, the wheel would have been ripped off. That pothole was a gross exception, and not the rule for rough roads.

If I had to drive long distances every day, I would seriously consider the BMW 330i, As a daily driver, I think it would be doing the car a disservice. The 330i is made to be driven, not idling to work at twenty miles an hour in traffic.

If you have the opportunity to drive a BMW 330i and you have the time for a very long drive, I think you will find you will have a really good time and appreciate the thinking, quality and skill that goes into building the BMW 330i.

If you want to drive a car only because it’s fast, I would rent something else. Like all things in life, after my drive it was time to turn in the BMW 330i so the next driver can appreciate all a BMW 330i has to offer.

Anger Over Response and Handling of Covid-19 in the U.S.

I don’t understand why Trump needs people standing around him wishing a foot or two? What kind of message is this sending to People? The message I see, is Trump has other things on his mind than Covid-19. Everyone is doing a, “wonderful” job, “wonderful” people, sounds like wonderful bullshit.

According to news I heard, the first identified case of Covid-19 happened long before the Centers for Disease Control on January 20, 2020. The very first case, a young man with no ties to anyone traveling, and eight more people to follow were discovered by a Doctor in Snohomish County, Washington on or before December 2019.

The Doctor was silenced by her superiors and finally by President Trump as the administration dragged its feet (according to what I heard), and pretended for weeks everything was fine. Now the country is almost out of control with over 20,000 cases of Covid-19 in New York alone.

The hype about testing. All the testing in the world is not going to cure anyone of Covid-19. All a test will do, is tell the lab, and then your doctor if you test positive for the virus or not. It has no effect on your or my mortality.

Vice Admiral Jerome Adams, Surgeon General of the United States and head of the U.S. Public Health Service made an announcement on Monday, the 23, that the Covid-19 pandemic may not peak in the U.S until May or possibly later.

Why is Trump ignoring what his content expert is telling the country? Why is Trump even considering allowing businesses to open in a perhaps three weeks?

Sanitizing your home. Obviously you do not have Covid-19 in your home. If you did, and you are practicing self quarantine, you would know by now. All the hype about sanitizing your home and how to do it is just that, hype. You are in your home, you are staying away from people, no virus is sneaking in. The virus is not alive.

Use your Brain first and then your Feet for Covid-19

Magic pills. As of this writing there is no pill or concoction that will keep you from being infected or cure you of Covid-19.

Every Hoarder should be ashamed of themselves. All Hoarder’s have done was make it very difficult for people who live paycheck to paycheck to find and buy the basic items for cleanliness.

Trump finally got around to passing a law allowing for prosecution. Another example of too little too late.

Too many people are acting as if they are ignorant of the pandemic. At the parks, I see people gathering on the walking paths, talking, oblivious of the people who are out walking or bicycling. Step off the walking paths if this is you.

People meandering through the grocery store in an effort to stay away from home as long as possible. If this is you, make a list, fill it, and leave.

Keeping a six foot distance does not mean, ignore. You can smile and talk to strangers. Keep a respectful distance when you are out and about.

Over Exercising is not doing you any good. As Madonna said in her tweet yesterday, Covid-19 is the great leveler, it doesn’t care about you, me, or anyone else. Hurting yourself trying to get in shape (again) is not going to save you. Do you really want to go to any hospital right now because you hurt your self exercising?

In closing, we have to use our brains first and our bodies second. Covid-19 is a killer, plain and simple. Think about what you are doing, both inside and outside your home, like the panel on the ATM machine or the Card Payment machine as examples.

Traveling in the Time of Covid-19

I have been on the road for three and one-half weeks. During that time, I have flown to Washington State, Drove a U-Haul from Washington State traveling south and east to a small town in South Carolina, then drove back to my home in Albuquerque.

Quite a bit of travel in a few short weeks. But nothing compared to the real road warriors, our Truck Drivers! Without these folks driving to every nook and cranny in the United States and beyond. Despite the scared yet pathetic hoarders, we would be naked and starving, unable to take care of our basic human needs.

Driving over any Interstate Highway, and especially coming from one of the coasts, it is obvious how much our nations Truck Drivers do to keep our country running. For example, Apples from Washington State are driven down to the Florida State and unloaded to take on a load of citrus fruits for Washington. And so on and so forth, everything we need and take for granted. I will end this portion with a call out for our Nation’s Truckers! Give them a smile if and when you see them.

Washington State, which is racked with this new sickness, was in my short time there, a mixed bag. Depending on age, and perhaps education, different views on all aspects of this pandemic can be seen in a single afternoon, if one is daring enough to leave the house. I have no doubt that is how we are, wherever we live.

Empty roads to roads shared with Semi Trucks

 

Depending on where you live in the world, you are giving more or less attention and are better or poorer prepared than we are in the States as we stumble along in semi denial. There are a few people in charge who are obviously in a different reality and have different priorities than caring for the public good. However there are State Governors and small town councils who are taking this pandemic with seriousness and appropriate action.

Personally, I think our situation is a blessing in disguise. Families are forced to spend time together instead of inhabiting the same home, and leading disparate lives. We have time to explore our spirituality and look deep into our beliefs and thoughts. I went out walking in the park today, physically distant from others, and it was a pleasure to see people outdoors as a family.

I received texts and phone calls from my neighbors asking after me, and offering any help or support as they may be able to help with. What more can one possibly expect from neighbors? Neighbors are in many ways, extended families. What happens to a family in many neighborhoods is known and and effects friends and neighbors alike.

Moving back to spirituality, this is a good time to really think about what you believe and why you believe it. Some decades ago, I found myself in a position of knowing without a doubt, that everything I thought I knew to be true was not only incorrect, but was/is part of a massive effort to push beliefs that grossly falsehoods.

In light of inspecting the falsehoods and misdirection that made my belief system, I was moved from being asleep to alive and awake. I hope this quarantine period, moves others to reflect, and have the courage to admit their beliefs too are wrong. I hope they find their way on the path to truth and a more meaningful life.

After being in half the states in the U.S, in only a few weeks, I have seen people showing immense courage and empathy. People willing to feed me, rent me a room for the night, provide gasoline, coffee, and snacks. Some of these people have no choice, they need to work, no matter the risk.

Other people, either through instinct or altruism, are out there making other peoples lives better and helping folks like me get to where they need to go. My heart goes out to the probably millions of people who went to work, to find out they are now unemployed. Several industries we took for granted are now, idle, maybe never to recover.

I hope you are able to make positive changes in your life, and practice whatever form of spirituality which is important to you in the coming undefined period of time. One good thing about a pandemic, is getting through one, and learning “I” can’t do it alone. Surviving a pandemic takes all of us, “We” is in and “I” should be forgotten.

This has been a rambling and perhaps incoherent compilations of text, parading as paragraphs, and put together as a post. I have so many people to thank for getting across country twice, and getting me home safely. There are so many good people out there, no matter where you live.

Smart Phone Not Charging Hack and Rant

My phone has become harder and harder to charge over the last year. I changed cables and that is not the problem. The problem is around the plug in the phone itself, perhaps it’s a software thing, no way to know for sure. It was taking a lot of fiddling with the cord to get it to seat just right in the phone plug and start charging.

Then the fiddling was taking longer and longer. I would have to keep pressure on the cord seating with the phone for several seconds before it would keep charging without my pushing on the cord. I was losing patience with pressing and holding the cord, only to let go and have the phone stop charging. I thought the price of this phone was outrageous when I purchased it, so I am not about to go out and buy and new one.

Smart phones are doing pretty much the same things they have done for the last ten years, so what is the point of upgrading? What I did was find two strong rubber bands and connected them to the phone cord. Now I plug in the cord to the wall socket, plug the cord into the phone, and pull the rubber bands over the phone to keep tension on it. For now, this is a good fix.

As my phone won't charge

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is the same type of behavior by my previous smart phone, after about the 2.5 year of ownership mark, This phone started really annoying behaviors suddenly. I would take my smart phone out of my pocket to find the dial pad on screen with gibberish in the number section, blue tooth turned itself off, Web pages I never visited opened, settings screen opened, and other annoying behaviors.

I only have a few basic apps installed, and they are in the apps store of both majors app stores, so I think I can discount them as the cause of the problem. I don not have enough faith in the integrity of any App Store to load too many apps on my phones. It isn’t worth the risk.

At about this time period, cost of ownership was down to around $1.00 a day. If I was paying monthly for the phone, it would have been payed off for a few months. Is this the break point for smart phones? When cost of ownership reaches a certain point, a random selection of annoying behaviors appear, bothersome enough to make the owner think of upgrading?

If this errant smart phone behavior was a one-time occurrence I would think nothing of it. There is a track record of this behavior starting with my old phone from a different company. It too started a pattern of erratic behavior around the two year of ownership mark. So too have some of the smart phones of other people I know, suddenly developed this odd behavior that eventually goes away.

One smart phone maker was found out for programming this behavior into their older smart phones a few years ago to make owners upgrade to a more expensive smart phone. This is what prompted me to change brands. I wonder if my current smart phone’s maker is doing the same thing, only a little more subtle? Staying current with technology is one thing. Being nudged into buying a newer same old is another thing completely.

From the user side of cell phones, we do not have the technology or authority to be able to examine the OS code and determine whether a behavior that eventually goes away was a mistake or intentional bug to encourage upgrades. However, the price of a new smart phones and the immense profit margin has me wondering.

Judging on the length of time and the progressively degrading behavior of trying to charge my phone, I am afraid this hack is little more than a band aid fix. In the moment, I have had enough of flagship phones acting up after a few years, and will probably purchase at a lower level phone than the flagship model.

DYI – Common Scale Verification Weights You Already Have

If you use a small scale, it is a good idea to occasionally verify the scale. You do not want to cheat yourself, have an angry customer, or have to resend a package because the weight was off. Here are a few simple options you can try out.

If you live in the U.S.A. you can use quarters. Each quarter weighs for all practical purposes .2 ounces. That means there are five quarters to 1 ounce. Every five quarters you add is another ounce. Keep your quarters into a snack size bag and you won’t have to count them out, or be inconvenienced by going to the bank to get quarters.

You May Use Quarters for Weight Scale Verification

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A package of meat from the store will also get you close. All cuts of meat and hamburger meat sold over the counter is weighed for proper pricing. The package of whatever meat you buy will weigh the printed weight. When you are going too use the meat, weigh the meat by itself on a piece of plastic wrap on your scale. If there is no liquid left in the packaging, your scale will be calibrated to the meat market scale. This method also keeps the butcher shop honest.

If you buy prepackaged meat or any other product, there is always a range of weight. A pound of lunch-meat is rarely 10 ounces. Usually it will be somewhere between 15.5 and 16.5 ounces. Same with canned goods, or bottled liquids. The wight they show is part of a range of acceptable weight, usually, but not always no the lighter side of the weight. Because the products are packaged at high speed, the manufacturer wants and overall correct weight, not a precise weight on each item.

If you really want to get exotic, a dry measure cup of table salt weighs about 10.6 ounces. If you use granulated sugar, a dry measure cup weighs about 4 ounces.

If you have a very light weight plastic bottle with a seal-able lid, you can use water to verify your scale. One-quarter cup of water measured correctly is 2 ounces. One cup of water is 8 ounces. Two cups of water is 16 ounces, or one pound.

One last and easiest method, where you do not have to bother with measuring and finding the weight, is after your scale is verified, pick a couple of nick-knacks, piece of unused silverware, glass, coffee mug, or any rarely used household item and weigh it. Write down the item and the weigh. Use a variety of weights depending on your scale. This way when you next go to verify your scales calibration, you will have the items handy, and the weights verified.

Of course if you need ultra precise weights for your scale calibration, you will need to purchase calibrated weights. If you are selling through a web page on the internet, adding an ounce to the shipping weight will be sufficient for almost any calibration verified scale.

Using a little creativity, you will never be surprised to find your online customer had to pay out of pocket for additional shipping because your scale was off, or have a package returned because the postage was not adequate.