The big news

I spent the first part of the day playing little kids games with the grandsons, and the second part of the day holed up at home napping and watching a movie. It’s been a very, very retired day.

I’ve had little time to ponder what happened at the end of my great day yesterday – Trump getting indicted by the NY DA.

It feels good to see a step toward bringing him to justice, but it’s a long, long way from a conviction. He’s still Teflon Don. I expect several things to happen:

  1. The other legal trouble he’s in, mostly in Georgia for election fraud, will escalate. Now that NY has broken the indictment ice, there’s no reason for anyone else to hold back.
  2. Trump’s popularity among his loyal 30-40% will go up – he’s now their martyr.
  3. Trump will fundraise the hell out of this situation. Being indicted will probably bring him an extra $100 million or so.
  4. It’s hard to predict the outcome of this NY Stormy Daniels case, but the Georgia case…when they indict, he will be convicted of crimes. His punishment…who the hell knows? How do you imprison a guy with lifetime Secret Service protection?

We’re living in strange times, and I hope our legal system upholds the principle that no one is above the law. That’s a big ask, but we need it. You do a crime, you do the time.

Great day

What a great day. Even though I didn’t sleep well, the daylight hours have made up for it. Beautiful day, and I managed to balance indoor and outdoor activities.

I shook off the sleep fatigue and managed a solid three hours of writing. Happy with the results. My editing brain was fully engaged. Many improvements made.

Then I had my Thursday session with the trainer. Not as hard as I expected, and I always feel good after. A shower, then back to writing a while.

Took a lunch break for a salad at Green District. While driving there and back, I got to enjoy the redbud that’s blooming all over town. Dogwood blooms are right behind the redbud…I love this time of year. Redbud almost makes me want to believe in god. It’s that perfect.

Then a short nap, then more writing. Mid-afternoon I went to visit the grandsons, and had a fun time with them playing in the yard until they had to take off with their Dad for haircuts. They left me out of that activity – I can’t understand why. ūüėČ So I decided to come home and relax a bit. First, a session with old Rush videos on Youtube, then sitting out on my tiny front porch with some Spanish wine while the sun is still out. The Rush videos are awesome – I smile every time I see those dudes in their prime. They’re not for everyone, but if you can get past Geddy Lee’s voice, they’re one of the 2-3 best rock bands ever. Alex Lifeson, Geddy Lee, and Neal Peart. Rock gods, immortal.

During all that K got her birthday present, her new car, and we had a good time chatting about that over iPhones. She’s happy, so I’m happy.

Finally, I chatted with neighbors while sitting on my porch, enjoying the last bit of sunlight. Porch sitting, a very KY thing.

All in, a damn great day. Highly recommended.

Miserable thoughts

I may be the most informed person in all of America. I spent hours last night reading political, sports, science, and even entertainment websites because I couldn’t sleep. So now when I get up in the morning, there’s nothing left to read and I’m too groggy to write anything but a short essay. It’s a miserable way to start the day.

It’s raining again in Fallbrook, so we’re now up to 25 inches, the second-largest rainfall season in at least 20 years. More than double the average. It’ll be green when I return, though watch out for this year’s fire season.

I’m really interested in learning how ChatGPTx can be used to manage projects. One thought is to produce great requirements and specification documents. Take transcripts of interviews with stakeholders talking about what the thing being built must be or do (a system, a building, a software module, etc.) and allow the GPT to produce properly-formatted requirements matrices and documents from that input. This could save 100s or 1000s of hours in a large project, plus increase the quality of project documentation. I assume every big consulting company is thinking along the same lines. If I were to get back into the workforce as a systems analyst and use ChatGPTx, I could produce 10x the results I used to.

I have to do a shout-out to The Gralehaus for an excellent brunch yesterday. Such a tiny little place, and everything they push out of their kitchen is great. The waitress there tells me that I’m the only person who has laughed about the chef names listed on the menu: Chefs David Burnt and another play on Brian Eno that I can’t remember.

Quick thoughts

I could write something about the shitshow(s) currently happening in Congress, but Heather Cox Richardson does it so much better. Read her essay here.

Idaho has watched Florida and Texas become leaders in the “Return to the 1700s” contest, and after some consideration said “Hold my beer”. Idaho has created a new crime called “abortion trafficking”. From Huffpost:

Idaho already has some of the most extreme abortion restrictions on the books, with nearly all abortions banned in the state and an affirmative defense law that essentially asserts any doctor who provides an abortion is guilty until proven innocent. And now Idaho Republicans have set their sights on hindering certain residents from traveling out of state to get an abortion.

Pretty soon they’ll make it illegal to even mention abortion, 1st Amendment be damned. We’re very close to living in Gilead. When will women see that this is just the first step in stripping them of their rights and start voting appropriately?

This is interesting – the politics and culture of smiling. As illustrated by AI tools. Fascinating.

And on the personal front, I’m making real progress on the novel – edited the first 100 pages yesterday. Working on the next 100 today.

Sleep deprived

Another day, another mass shooting at a school. This time the shooter is a trans person, born female but identifying as male. That will muddy the story but perhaps clarify the motive. In any event, another unnecessary tragedy that might have been averted with gun control.

I try hard to make this blog more about travel and events, less of a diary, but today it’s tough. For some weird reason I had the worst night’s sleep in memory. Woke up feeling much tireder (is that even a word?) than when I went to bed. Eyes won’t focus; just exhausted. Zero alcohol yesterday. I *did* go to bed pretty late, 1130ish. But damn, this morning is rough. I need to figure out what’s going on.

Reading lots of articles about the upcoming Final Four, most predicting UConn as the winner. I’m picking the Aztecs for the championship, with the final game between SDSU and UConn. I’m a believer, go Aztecs! I’ve decided to have an open basketball marriage, in relationships with both Kentucky and SDSU. (I live in both places, so why not?) I’ll be in KY for the Aztecs’ first game and in San Diego for the championship.

I have finally, finally restarted my novel and am making progress. I read about an author who wrote her recent book in six weeks and I felt ashamed. If they can do it, so can I. Well, only if I get this sleep deprivation thing under control. Right now I feel about as creative as…well, I can’t complete that thought. Case closed.

My workout today is going to be a bitch. An evil bitch. But I’ll push through it – maybe that’s what I need to trigger a better night’s sleep.

Update: The workout wasn’t as bad as expected, but now I just want to lay down and sleep in my pool of sweat. Nice image, and the reality is probably worse.

Back to reality

My NCAA tourney adventure with friends ended this morning as they left for the airport. On a weekend when I thought the most exciting thing I’d do was take a walk with the grandsons (still did that), I unexpectedly attended two incredibly exciting games in which the Aztecs improbably advanced to the Final Four. This was the next best thing to UK being in the hunt, and brought back some of the joy of college basketball for me.

Attending the games in person was really something – you get a jolt of excitement there that you just can’t get on TV. And college basketball games are the perfect length, only about two hours. Baseball and football games can get loooong and tedious, but college hoops is in the Goldilocks zone. The finish of the Creighton game was one of the wildest I’ve ever seen – for the last 3 minutes of the game clock (stretching out to 15-20 minutes real time), it was clear that anyone could win. Lots of suspense. Sharing all this, plus some great food and drinks, with our friends from San Diego was special.

But now it’s back to reality. Some reading, some naps, some time with the boys and trying to live a lot healthier for a week. Sounds wonderful.

Sunday morning musings

It’s been great having company in our little house. About half the time I’m here, I’m alone, and while that time is enjoyable the conversations get a little stale. I tend to agree with myself.

But with friends here in the mornings and evenings, we can talk about people, politics, religion, literature, sports…all the things I love debating. These two friends see the world mostly as I do, so it’s not contentious, but it’s still fun to share the experiences and opinions. With our somewhat isolated home in Fallbrook and a small set of friends/family in Louisville, those discussions have been rare.

The other topic I’ve spent time on this morning while we wait to set out for Yum Center is ChatGPT. The more I learn about it, I’m convinced of two things:

  1. It’s not an AI with free will and consciousness. It might become a building block for such a thing, but it’s not there yet. Not even close.
  2. Having said that, it will change the business world, and quickly. It’s an extremely powerful knowledge tool, on the same level as spreadsheets, word processors and computer simulations. It’s a new way of interacting with complex back end systems and knowledge bases, and in a few years every person in corporate America will need to become comfortable with ChatGPT4 and successors. ChatGPT can and will build websites, write technical and marketing documentation, produce complex graphs and reports, write software, and do basic research. Many, many entry level jobs will be replaced.

Almost all the things that the Star Trek cast did while interacting with their fake starship computer are now possible. You can use plain English to tell the computer to do complex things on your behalf, and have it answer almost any question. So now we’ve got the communicator (mobile phones) and the omnipresent talking computer. I hope I’m around for warp drive and the transporter.

Fortunately, we humans will still get to play sports and do manual labor jobs. Jesse is on the right track.

24 hours

Pretty big 24 hours here in Louisville. Went to the NCAA game at Yum yesterday and saw SDSU knock off the #1 team, Alabama. Amazing, exciting game with a great ending.

Today we took a great walk with the grandsons along Beargrass Creek and the zoo. Grandson Jesse is a dynamo on his scooter, and not even 3 years old.

Then took my guests out to a stellar dinner at Barn8, where I had one of the best steaks ever (and that’s saying a lot). It was an ultra-tender ribeye with a spicy mole sauce. I would never have imagined putting mole on a steak, but it was surprising and great.

Finally, my guests and I (and my brother) are going to the SDSU game again tomorrow to see them advance to the Final Four. This all takes some of the sting out of UK being absent.

Game day

In an odd twist of events, I’m going to the NCAA tourney game today in Louisville. I wish I was going to see the Cats, but…no luck. Instead, two great friends from San Diego have made the trip to Louisville to see SDSU play Alabama. They’re fans of SDSU the way I am with KY. They’re staying at our place here, so I’m off to the game with them.

Rooting for SDSU is a good consolation prize for me, and rooting against Alabama is easy. Go Aztecs!

Tomorrow I’m taking them to Barn8 for dinner. Nice drive out that way and the Hermitage Farm is wonderful.

Sad day

Today is the anniversary of my Mom’s death, 41 years ago. She was 46. She was very ill for her final 5-6 years, so she only had about 20 “normal” adult years. It’s hard to believe she’s been gone that long.

In spite of what her gravestone says, her full name was Helen Susan Bates Nichols. Not sure how or why someone omitted that from the stone – I wasn’t focused on those details at the time. In fact, I went a little crazy at the time, making a string of bad decisions. I recovered after a few years, but my life’s path had been altered significantly. Sure would like to have those years to do over, but it doesn’t work that way.

That’s a hard first thought to follow, but I’ll try. I have a terrible Apple Photos problem – the application is behaving weirdly. Some photos can’t be seen – I only get a grey-ish placeholder. And others are being duplicated, en masse. I already had a duplication problem affecting 1000s of photos in the 2003-2004 era, and now the duplication is spreading. I think it’s all related to iCloud sync, but…I haven’t figured it our yet, and I’m worried about the integrity of 20 years of digital photos. 34,000 photos, though some of them are dupes. Normally I can find an answer to something like this online, but so far…nope. This all started when I transferred my desert photos from camera to laptop a week or two ago. I hate it when shit that used to work reliably suddenly just stops. It’s got to be a software update somewhere in the system, but hell if I know what triggered this.

NPR has run a lot of pieces lately on how unsustainable our western way of life is. The “American Dream” – a single family house, a couple of kids, a few cars, vacations on cruise ships, etc. – is singled out as being particularly wasteful. I’m no apologist for our western way of life, but after unpacking a few Amazon orders today, wow! I’ve got enough plastic wrapping left to fill a dumpster. I’ll single out our overuse of plastics in the modern world as one of our worst, least sustainable habits. Time to find a new packing material and stop buying bottled water.

This note from Business Insider just makes me ill. To think that rubes from all over America continue to throw money at the world’s most dangerous grifter…ugh.

Former President Donald Trump raised $1.5 million in the three days after he claimed on Truth Social that he’d be arrested Tuesday, per multiple media outlets.

Trump’s 2024 campaign confirmed the sum to Fox News, the outlet reported Wednesday. The money was said to be raised from grassroots donations.

The Washington Post, citing an anonymous source familiar with the matter, reported the same amount raised in that time frame.
The resulting average of $500,000 a day is almost double the daily average from the weeks before and after he announced his bid for the White House in November.

The Trump campaign brought in $11.8 million in the six weeks before the announcement, averaging out at $280,000 a day. And in the six weeks after Trump announced his run, his campaign raised $9.5 million, or $226,000 a day.

$226K per day (!!), every day, and more when he asks for it. Essentially no restrictions on how he uses the money. No wonder he’s running again. People are just plain dumb.