1 Oct 2016


This is the first time in my career that I’ve felt really stressed – enough that I thought how unhealthy it was. Coincidently, a Midlana builder mentioned that he’ll be making much faster progress since he retired this week. That brought to mind the topic which has been bouncing around in my head, rising to the surface more and more frequently as I approach “that age.” As I’ve said before, it’s that impossible series of questions: how long might I live, how much is needed for retirement, how many good years are left?

I’ve seen articles where elderly people are interviewed, asked if they have any regrets. The responses the writers like to tout are things such as “I’m glad I retired early”, or, “I should have retired earlier.” It was then that I realized that the writers are unwittingly introduced their own confirmation bias because of where they’re drawing their data from – nice retirement homes. By definition, the residents pay a small fortune to be there, so money in retirement – for them – is a non-issue. I wonder if the writers’ conclusions might change had they interviewed the elderly living in cardboard boxes next to freeways or in broken-down trailers in the desert. As I get older, I see more and more biases in reporting and it makes it hard to know what is fact.


I recently switched to a Google Nexus smartphone, mostly to get away from ATT’s ridiculous monthly fees. I was well aware that I was hooking into Big Brother, where Google now knows a lot more about me, what I do, what I visit, where I am, and as a coworker joked, “and now they have your fingerprints as well.” It’s not all bad and when it all works it’s pretty cool. For example, unprompted, the phone knows when I’m leaving for work or home and tells me how long it’s going to take to get there. More impressive was how accurately it translates voice mail into text, though I don’t see the point of doing so. Then there’s the voice interface, where much like Apple’s Siri, you can ask it just about anything. Playing around with it, I asked it to navigate me home and it started playing a podcast I had previously downloaded and couldn’t fine – so it’s a mind reader to, but still a bit confused about priorities.

In related news, I was working on the website and had to sign into my provider’s site. I guessed wrong on the password and could suddenly no longer access the website or the forum from this PC – but only this PC and only the Midlana site. After much fussing about I went into the router software and by coincidence it said an update was available. I figured why not and upgraded, and everything started working again. Yeah it’s fixed but I don’t know why, and the next time it happens, if there’s not a upgrade to purge the problem, then what? Yes, I tried rebooting the router first but that was unsuccessful.

There’s a saying about insanity: “Doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.” I think the converse is more true: “Trying the same thing and always getting different results.”


Between the heat and work, nothing was done this week. We’ll see if tomorrow is more productive, but being on-call means never knowing how the weekend will pan out.

Oh, one thing I’ve thought of implementing is the dash-mounted knob. It was originally added for traction control but I’m not feeling compelled to set that up because traction is really good above second gear even at max boost thanks to the rear weight bias and sticky tires. A couple times the knob has been used when calibrating the boost control solenoid; the knob adjusting the duty cycle and noting the resulting boost. That’s done now so the knob is currently unused. The thought is to make boost adjustable per the knob instead of by gear. When I feel like a 16-yr old hooligan it can be set to 20 psi, spinning the wheels for dramatic effect. When just cruising around it can be set to as low as 7 psi. Another perk is that, say I get a bad batch of fuel. Granted, the knock sensor should catch it but it would be nice to be able to cut boost way down if needed. Another fringe cause is driving on a damp, wet, or sandy road; no point in having 4-500 hp on that. It’s free so I might set that up for fun; it’s easy to put back to boost-by-gear.

Lastly, I get annoyed when I read people’s car blogs and find instead of car content, they often go on and on about their most recent medical issues. I then realized I’m doing much the same, just not about medical concerns – at least not until I start having them!