Deer morning breakfast


COVID – 19 – 9th Update

It is July 18th, 2020 on Saturday morning. We’re on the verge of another lockdown due to a spike in COVID cases. I myself am thinking more and more that I must have had COVID already as I’ve had a slight cough ever since February. Due to my job I did travel a lot and was in venues with a lot of people. Sometimes I also notice that the volume of air I take in is only so slightly less than before, I then ask myself if it isn’t just in my head but as we’re starting to realize that this infection has been around a while it does lend a bit of support to the thought.

The seriousness of COVID is becoming more apparent to me by the day and it is very difficult to get a pulse on how things are going to turn out. Since it is unprecedented, nobody really knows. The cases are spiking and even secure industries are having a hard time holding out. I’m reading about nurses getting laid off and even my own company may experience involuntary layoffs for the first time in its history. My Mom just told me about the death of the owner of a hometown restaurant that has been in business ever since I was born. He caught it and nine days later was gone.

This really infuriates me because he would have got it from all those Trump supporters who refuse to wear masks. They run around in their willful ignorance but this time it isn’t just politics, their decisions are leading to actual death. And since they don’t show any symptoms when dining out the blame is never laid on them. History will show that these are terrible people and I hope they are judged accordingly.

As for us, we’re now giving serious thought to having the kids attend school in Japan for the upcoming school year. It looks like full distance learning is the safest option and what any rational school board would take. But the school board isn’t operating on logic alone. They must consider that many parents want to dump their kids back off at school again. For many this is a hard choice as both parents must work since we have little social support in this country. But for many other parents they want to dump their kids because they are tired of spending all day with them and want to get back to status quo. Spending all day with their families is not what they signed up for under the American social contract. In America you’re only expected to spend the evenings with your spouse and children while having your own life at work most of the time. This is how things are although nobody would want to admit that.

For my family, I work from home and the wife does not work. So there really isn’t much change in the amount we see each other except for the kids being home and the kids being home is just fine with both of us. But since I’m pretty sure most of the next school year will be social distancing, even if they do try to get a few days at school in I think it would be in my kids best interest to have that school year in Japan. They’re already way ahead thanks to the Japanese school they attend so distance learning is, sad as it is to say, a waste of time. If they were actually going to school that would mean having the traditional experience, spending time with friends and all the other good things that come with a normal school year. But this is not normal and straight distance learning for them is really just remedial class they don’t really need.

It is an unspoken secret that distance learning is going to put the American child way behind. Make no mistake I think this is the path America should take as health of children and teachers is paramount. The White House doesn’t agree with this but they disagree because they want to remain in power, their idiotic blatherings are not in the interest of children or teachers. Spending a year in Japan where they do have the virus under control (thanks to everyone wearing masks) would put them not only ahead but WAY ahead in terms of school curriculum. In my opinion my eldest would probably be able to skip the fifth grade by attending fourth grade in Japan. Not only that but they would become fluent in Japanese which is the main reason I think they should attend school there.

This is such a depressing post to write as I wish America the best. I wish the President thought the same. But this is the situation we have to deal with and I need to consider the best course of action for my kids futures.


COVID 19 – 8th Update

It is 3:56 on Tuesday afternoon. I’m in the 5th month of rarely leaving my house. I cannot say it has affected me greatly as I’m used to working from home and there are plenty of activities that can be done without going outside.

The past five months have slid by as though I’m in a daze. Almost half a year gone! For me, I’m still busy with work and have occupied my time with various projects I’ve mentioned previously. The latest project was buying a new server and installing my blogs on it. I’m still elated that I was able to move the blogs to the new server without trouble. It was a bit scary as my blogs are one of my greatest treasures and it was possible that my pictures wouldn’t match up with the right posts anymore but all is well.

One thing I’ve learned in this quarantine is that I like to stay active. What causes me some stress is determining what activity I should do in my free time. Should I read a book, play video games, workout, garden, or find some other project. My mind is always stuck in high gear and it is very hard for me to relax completely. My mind races from one thing to the next and I supposed that is due to my job and always having to be “on” all the time. I don’t think I’d be in a great mental state if it wasn’t thanks to the workouts in my home gym, meditation and preparing for the future.

The other thing that causes stress is things have not gotten better in terms of COVID. We’re seeing spikes again and this bodes very poorly for any travel recovery. I’m wondering if I’ll be furloughed if things continue to deteriorate. I’m safer than most due to the nature of my work in the industry but even that cannot hold out forever if travel does not resume.

As for the world overall we’re in uncharted territory. There will be many defaults in loans, people kicked out of their homes, breakups of marriages and so on. I wonder what the situation is like in homes across America. Given that our society has always prized work over a home life I’m sure the quarantine has been terrible for many families. Gone are the days when Mom and Dad trot off to work, dump the kids off at school and nobody has to see each other until after 3:00 PM. Now everyone is around all the time and I’m sure many households do not deal well with that. What will happen when things open back up. When will things open back up?

We’ve just been put on basic lock down here in California. No trips for us this summer and given the situation next year might be in doubt as well.

I had a thought to create a haiku or poem today. I swear I felt a little pressure on my chest this afternoon as though I couldn’t get a full breath. I had also felt poorly last night. This worried me for about an hour and during that time I saw a notice on my phone to take advantage of a great deal from Amazon. I had to chuckle as that is typical America. There is disease and death all around yet commerce and consumption still reigns supreme.

I am short of breath
Is it soon my time to go?
PCs 50% off

During this time I’m full of energy in the morning and can accomplish anything. By 3:00 PM all the energy is spent and I have no motivation to do any of my favorite activities. It is at this time I have to make myself do something or I’ll just sit in a chair and look at my phone.

Speaking of the phone I finally put Facebook away. I find that it brings me no joy at all. I no longer feel any desire to keep a connection with all my various acquaintances. It seems more like work liking every post out of a sense of duty due to old friendships. Just let it go and be more in the moment.

I’ve been stuck home for too long. I miss trips to San Jose for work. I really miss my annual Japan and Ohio trip. It is another day spent mostly in my shed in the backyard. Aside from working out and meditation there is no more self medications which are effective. Alcohol makes me lethargic the next day, gaming produces no dopamines and I’ve already completed my major projects. Weekends are just more time spent in the house and not something that gets me excited anymore. I wish I had a pool or at least a steam bath.

But I really cannot complain. I have a beautiful view, I have a home gym and plenty of electronic entertainment. Now where is my motivation. It has been lost in 5 months of self quarantine.


LTMD – The State of the USA

Dear Descendants,

I thought it might be interesting for you to hear my thoughts on these very dark times in the history of the USA. You’ll be reading about these times in the history books and so I wanted to give you my perspective.

To start, let me say that I do not like either party and my official voter status is NPP (No Party Preference). America is a country where the ability to think critically when it comes especially to government or religion is in very short supply. The choices in these realms must always be binary: black and white, right and wrong, good vs. evil, America vs. Russia (then terrorists then China), Democrat vs. Republican. Honest debate and the ability to see both positive and negative aspects to everything seems to be a thing of the past for the average American.

Now, since I don’t have all day to write this I am going to place blame for the current state of affairs directly on Republicans. I was once a Republican because that is what you do when you go to business school. The party was hijacked by Trump and his rightly described “basket of deplorables.” Let’s take a look at their positions which for me, are the most deplorable:

Limiting the ability of Americans to vote

Our entire form of government revolves around the people and their ability to choose their own leaders. Part of the Republican strategy is to limit the ability of people to vote. Isn’t that something! We cannot win in a fair election so we’ll do everything we can to hijack the process. This is absolutely criminal and those that do it should be tried for treason.

Putting kids in cages

There is a crisis at the border with many unfortunate people trying to get into the country illegally. Yes, it is a problem and should be addressed. But it should be done so humanely and in line with the image America is supposed to protect. What have Republicans done? They have treated them like animals and put kids in cages. All the while they go to church where the main teaching is to love everyone. I cannot think of any greater hypocrisy. It is as if Jesus himself said, “Yes, love everyone, BUT, we must put those kids in cages.”

Republican Evangelicals are the most hypocritical of them all. They profess to love their Jesus but support Trump who is the epitome of everything that Jesus would detest. If I were you I would advise that you never listen to any Republican Evangelical as through their recent actions they are nothing but liars and hypocrites.

Destroying the image of America to the world

Growing up I was lead to believe that America fought for what was good and right in the world. True or not that was at least the image. Under Trump Republicans have completely destroyed all the soft power that has taken decades to build. America now does not have a leg to stand on when it comes to espousing Democracy, Human Rights, or pretty much anything else that brings the world together.

Republicans are selfish

We are currently in the middle of one of the greatest pandemics the world have ever seen. One action that would greatly help slow the spread of COVID is to simply wear a mask. Is this something even Republicans could handle? Of course not. For them it is all about individual liberty and if they want to spread disease then it is their right to do so. So what we are seeing is that we are not a country of unified citizens looking out for the common good but a collection of individuals looking after our own interests and screw everyone else. Yes, Republicans will celebrate Independence Day, waive the flag and drink their Bud light but they do so not in support of America but for support of themselves.

Black Lives Matter

The African American was enslaved in this country for hundreds of years and then subjected to terror, persecution and injustice right up to the present day. On the face of it, you would think a good country would take a serious look at what we can do to help our fellow citizens. Is this the path Republicans taken? Of course not! They are currently defending the flag and statues of the Confederate army whose main purpose was to keep slavery in place. The Confederacy lost folks. That flag and statues are an affront to our fellow citizens of color. Does this make any sense at all? NO it does not!! With current events America is forced to look itself in the mirror and realize the truth.

Could you imagine if the situation was reversed and it was African Americans who enslaved white people? What if it were African Americans who protected statues of leaders who had raped, tortured, beaten and terrorized whites for hundreds of years? How would white people feel? This is a moment in history where America is waking up, of getting better, the Republicans are once again on the wrong side of history and what is good.

This moment is a momentous one in the history of the USA. You will experience different issues and moments and so I’d like to give you advice. Learn languages and travel the world. Integrate as much as you can with other cultures and realize that everything you think you know may be wrong. Always choose the side that treats others kindly. No, you do not have to treat everyone with respect because in my time Republicans and the Republican Evangelical does not deserve respect. However, everyone is a living being and although their faults may be horrendous the path of love and kindness for the person is the correct one.

Who is spreading hate in my time? The Republicans are. Just listen to one podcast from an awful person called Rush Limbaugh. You know what Republicans did? They gave him one of the highest honors America can bestow. Read one day of the Twitter torrent put out by President Trump and if you have any sense at all will quickly see that he is a madman.

Let’s make a quick comparison. President Obama wanted healthcare for all, that was his main priority. What are the Republican priorities? Take away healthcare, defund education, basically do everything possible to ensure we’re not looking after the welfare of Americans as a whole. The only thing important to them is to ensure the rich get more money and to hold on to power no matter how damaging it is for the country as a whole.

In short, the current crop of Republicans are selfish, greedy, hypocritical idiots who care nothing for anything or anyone but themselves.

I never thought I’d say this but I am now inclined to avoid any group of people vigorously waving the American flag. They are fascist, racists buffoons who may hurl insults at my family. There are places I will not take my family to in the USA under the current environment. I wouldn’t be surprised to see things worsen with Republicans trading their red MAGA hats for MAGA armbands and goosestepping around the block. Given the physical condition of most of Trump supporters I highly doubt they could goosestep around the block without running out of breath.

These are very sad times for America as a whole. If there is any God that has even a modicum of concern for the USA then Trump will lose the next election. If not, then God help us all.

But either way, it may be best to simply think of America as a business and not so much as a country. Republican or Democrat the value ever since the 60s or so has been around money and who can get the most of it, not in the welfare of the citizens. Don’t let this mentally stress you out, just take it for what it is, and consider yourself a Global Citizen, the way of identifying yourself only with the country of your birth should be something for the history books.


New Server!!

Today is a wonderful day!

After a decade of using the low end, entry model 212J Synology NAS I’ve finally splurged and gotten a state of the art server. I bought the 212J about a decade ago because I had always wanted to host my own blogs and thus not have to pay some company to host them for me. As I knew nothing about running a server, or even if I could do it I went with the cheapest option. Over the past decade I’ve taught myself and have come to rely on it as my blogs are not only a very important part of my life they are in-fact a recorded history of it. This is such a treasure to me and it was all hosted on a cheap server that could have failed at any moment.

The 212J was faithful although with updates threw some major fits in the past 10 years which could have destroyed my blogs. The most recent tantrum was in the past update where my CPU shot to 99% usage and made the NAS almost completely unusable. This was scary but with patience and a lot of tinkering I was able to figure it out. It was this however which convinced me to finally splurge for a new NAS as well as learn all the things I needed to know to ensure I had it set up like a pro and not an amateur. I had stumbled my way through a decade in getting it to work and had not realized that I was on the edge of a cliff once step away from seriously damaging my blogs.

In technical terms I did not understand RAID nor how to have a perfect backup of the blogs. I used SHR without data protection in the storage. I learned that the pros will always RAID configurations which means the data is always written immediately and simultaneously to two disks in case one fails. Then the other disk will immediately keep the data available until the bad disk is replaced. As I didn’t understand RAID or SHR I only had my blogs on one disk.

Now I did have backups of my blogs but they were not sufficient. I had simply exported the blog from WordPress as well as the content folder which kept the pictures. What I didn’t understand is I also needed a backup of the SQL database because it is that database that lets the blog know which posts to put that media in! Yes, I would still have my writing, and I would still have the pictures, but the blog wouldn’t know which pictures go with which posts. I had tried backing up my SQL before but would always get a timeout because of my slow server and there was a setting or two that was not correct.

With my new 920+ on the way I spent a week studying how RAID and SHR works, and consulted websites on how to ensure everything was set up perfectly. I owe a debt of gratitude to for creating a site which easily explains everything along with pictures! Often websites will get directly into Terminal commands for the complicated things and the Terminal is pretty much only for the pros. Now I have WordPress in Raid 1 which is two drives mirroring each other all the time.

Simply getting a new blog is not why I’m pleased with myself however. I had been stressing for weeks over being able to transfer my blogs and actually getting them to work on the new server. Mind you I had spent a decade tinkering and often getting stuck for months and even over a year in the beginning. But all that tinkering as well as this past weeks study paid off. I was able to transfer everything over in about 6 hours. It took that long because I did get stuck a few times which I’ll explain. Warning, technical WordPress, SQL stuff ahead!

First I downloaded everything and was even able to download my SQL databases. I preferred to transfer manually as I was somewhat familiar with it, plugins rarely work perfectly for big projects like this and the amount of pictures was immense. I tried it myself at first, but kept getting an error that WordPress couldn’t connect to the database. That kept me stuck for a while but then I realized I shouldn’t be trying to do it with Maria 10 as I had used Maria 5 before. I had tried upgrading to Maria 10 before but could never get it to work. When I finally just used Maria 5 it worked. I’ll come back to this.

The next place I got stuck was in making a secure connection. I didn’t want Google telling visitors my site was un-secure and even worse stopping them with a warning to not proceed! I had transferred the certificates correctly and after a while realized I just needed to assign the right certificate to the right blog. That is to say not all blogs on one site’s certificate.

So I was able to get it working with Maria 5 but I was determined to get Maria 10 to work. The forums all told me it must be something to do with the settings in the WordPress config file but my database, user name and password were all correct. After much searching I was finally able to find the answer. It was like finding a nugget of gold after hours of coming up with nothing but dirt. The problem was that Maria 5 uses “localhost” in the db_host line. The forums were telling me to put in the actual internal IP which didn’t work. The nugget of gold was to put in “localhost” followed by a string I didn’t understand but it made Maria 10 work! I was overjoyed.

Since I’ve decided to dedicate two drives under Raid 1 to WordPress I needed more drives for everything else. I spent a little more and have two 1 TB drives arriving today. Then I’ll be able to install Note, Surveillance Station and also take a peak at all the other applications I’ve been thus far unable to use due to the limitations of my 212J

Today is a good day!