Monday, May 20, 2024

How the Tractor Messed with My Mind.

Yes, it's lawn mowing season again. Every year involves a tune up of the riding lawn mower. Last year, it had started up first try after winter. Probably because the battery was new. This year I'd hoped for the same thing, but no, it didn't start. I don't have a battery charger, so I was going to buy one. Instead, my brother offered to bring his over. I also bought new blades that now cost $100. Double in price compared to last year. 
My brother put the new blades on while the battery was charging. 
Three hours later, it still wouldn't start. Brother realized there was corrosion on the metal that connects the wires to the battery. He cleaned it off with sandpaper and bingo, the tractor started. 

I mowed for a few days and noticed the engine sort of surged when idling. I didn't like the sound of it. Then one day, I go out there and it won't start again. I tried several times, but it didn't even turning over. I charged the battery again. Still nothing. I started to consider having it picked up for service and looked for places who do that sort of work. Because of the high cost of everything, I lingered on if I should have my brother or son look at again. After much strain, I decided to let my son look at it. 

A few rainy days passed. He comes over and started it immediately. Come to find out the knob that turns on the blades was engaged. Oh the humiliation! The tractor won't start with the blades engaged because it's a safety feature. I know better than that. It was all so embarrassing. I cringed at myself for several hours unable to understand how I could make such a mistake. As for the surging, it doesn't do it anymore. My son said the choke lever was a bit sticky and that could've been it.

Then I had an epiphany. I haven't had an epiphany in a long time, so it was pretty cool. In my current job, I often help people with computer problems. Most of them are pretty easy. Such as a bad battery, a bad cord, computer needs rebooted to run updates, a bad plug, an app needs to be reset. You know, simple stuff. I'm also good at helping people with software even if I'm not familiar with it. I often had wondered why people don't they see these simple things? I come in, make the fix and they call me a guru. I'm not really. 

That's when it came to me. I somehow got it in my mind that the tractor had a bigger issue because of the surging, but that's not the only reason. I'm also not as at ease with engines. I don't have the experience of the men in my life, so the tractor intimidated me. The same way some people are intimidated by computers. Like me with the tractor, they think the computer has a bigger issue. They're not looking for the simple thing. 

There is also a fear factor involved. People need their computers to do their job, so when a glitch happens some start to anticipate long delays in work being completed while I.T. figures it out. With the tractor, I anticipated a delay in cutting fast growing spring grass. At the time, the house was for sale and I needed things to look good. 

While I've known people sometimes miss the simple answer to a problem, I now have a new level of understanding of how it can happen. Especially since it happened to me.   

Monday, April 15, 2024

Good Vibes From the Solar Eclipse.

When I first heard that a Solar Eclipse was coming, I wasn't in a hurry to see it. Since I live in Michigan, it would probably be too cloudy. Plus, it was only going to be a 98% eclipse at my location. Besides, it's simply the shadow of the moon, moving in like a cloud. 

Then the day came.  I was listening to the radio and that's all they were talking about. They kept saying how this is a rare event, and somehow it was sunny out. I found a map on the NASA website tracking the eclipse. It was pretty good because you could enter your location and it would show an image of how much of the moon was covering the sun. So with all the hoopla, I started becoming more interested. My plan was to look out the window at 3:14 to see just how dark it might be. As the time came closer, more and more people were talking about it and asking questions like "when is it?"  I was able to tell them the current percentage of coverage and the peak time thanks to the NASA map. But...I did not have the glasses. 

It felt like a party was breaking out, and people started gathering by a window. They had the glasses and were sharing them. Next thing I know, I'm looking at it with the glasses on. It really was amazing. Some patients wanted to see and they were even putting the glasses on them. 

Then some friends told me to come outside with them, and they had the glasses, so of course I came. Doctors, nurses, some patients and many others all gathered outside. As the moon approached, it started to get colder and darker outside...of course. Car and street lights came on. I was freezing but refused to budge. Thanks to friends, I was able to see the eclipse at 3:14 pm, which I greatly appreciated. 

In those few minutes, it was like we were all united. All those good vibes left an impression on me. It kind of gave me some sort of natural high. I felt like I was on cloud nine the rest of the day.  

What made this special is that so many came together to watch a rare event caused entirely by nature. Other than to watch, humans have nothing to do with it. If only these moments of unity could happen more often. I'm also wondering if this means I need a vacation. 

In this video, scroll up to 2:30 pm to view the complete eclipse in Ohio.

I leave you with this photo of the eclipse as I stood outside the hospital. I took this by raising up my phone while not looking, which was awkward. As you can see, the camera wasn't capable of capturing it at all. If you look at the clouds, you can see that something is happening. 

Monday, March 18, 2024

Dune Part Two Recommended!

Dune Part Two finally got me to go to the movies. Part of the reason is that it also has good reviews. 83% on Rotten Tomatoes. I've read the book and have seen the first Dune movie as well. So I know the story. For me, that's a bit of a draw back because I know what's going to happen. However, I didn't know how they would go about it in this movie. The acting, special effects, etc are all better in this movie. Probably over a year ago, I watched Part 1 on MAX. I didn't feel the need to go back and watch Part 1 again, but some people might find it useful. 

Anyway, I found this to be the best version of Dune as a movie. I liked the balance between action and dialogue. I like the way they did the character arc of Paul. It stood out more in this version. He changes a lot, step by step, through the tragedy of losing his father and so much more. 

Another thing that stood out more to me is the influence of the Bene Gesserit. These women have weaved their way into all the Houses. They are behind the scenes controlling everything. Every House has their own Bene Gesserit as a kind of counselor because they have some ability to see the future, and they can also tell when someone is lying. Their focus is mainly on House Atreides and the terrible House Harkonnen. Each House competes for control over the desert planet with the valuable spice. Meanwhile, the Bene Gesserit's main goal is to breed a man who can be one of them and become the ruler of the universe. They will do whatever it takes. This includes wiping out the Atredies who they feel are too weak. I should also mention that one of their powers is the ability to control men sexually. So in general, they're highly controversially as to whether they are bad or good.

It also stood out to me how Dune has elements of fantasy. The leader of each house is like a king with a prince or princess. They are looked up to as royalty. "Yes, my Lord! Yes, my Duke, Sire, etc." Like other fantasies, the Houses compete with each other for power. They also fight with long knives, even though they have advanced technology. 

Dune as a movie, still struggles getting across this huge world and story, but it's an improvement over previous versions. At the end, some things were left resolved. I wanted more, and I can only think they left it this way because more is coming. If so, this will go into the story beyond what I remember from reading Dune Messiah years ago. Below is the best trailer I could find.