A Mixed Bag Life Update

A Mixed Bag Life Update

There’s been a lot happening over the past few weeks, hence the lack of updates on the blog. The biggest of these is my wife spending 5 days in the hospital after two emergency room visits for a Lupus flare. After a visit to her primary care doctor, she was admitted to the hospital with pneumonia and sepsis.

Obviously, this puts a lot of pressure on me, as I was effectively a single parent for a week. If anyone thinks being a single parent is easy, clearly they have never been a single parent, it’s freaking exhausting. But, I was happy to take on my wife’s load, so she could get the care and rest she clearly needed.

I was visiting Erin twice a day, spending about 2 hours with her per day, once in the morning after dropping the kids off at school, a task that takes nearly an hour as USD259 have elected to send my son to a High School that is 15-25 minutes away depending on traffic. And I dragged the kids to see Erin after school, much to my son, Conner’s chagrin, heaven forbid that he loses some Big Bang Theory watching time. Luckily, I have a job where my time is very flexible, allowing me to take the time to visit my wife.

Erin took almost another week to recover at home, feeling good enough to return to work on Friday and attend a real estate meeting on Wednesday. For the most part, she is feeling almost like herself again, which is not good, her Lupus and Fibromyalgia diagnosis means her quality of life is limited, at best.

Now, we have to look forward to the hospital bill, my wife has decent medical insurance, but I’m still expecting a bill in excess of $2,000. People in countries, like my home country of the UK, where socialized medicine is a reality, don’t know how good they have it, visiting the doctor is never a financial concern.

Moving onto our next topic, my aforementioned son, Conner, who we are having a hard time getting him motivated to put in some extra effort to get his grades up to where they need to be. He currently has one D and one F, both because he refused to hand in assignments, giving up, instead of putting in the additional effort needed to get the grades we know he is capable of. We try to talk to him, but he just stands there with a smirk on his face, like he doesn’t care, preferring to lounge about in bed watching TV.

We have bought him a Nintendo Switch for Christmas, which we have made clear that unless his grades improve to all C’s or above, he will not be allowed to have it until his grades improve. In previous years, we have allowed him to play games on birthdays and Christmas, but not this year, if he is not willing to put in the effort, i.e ‘give’, then we are not going to allow him to ‘take’, allowing him to play games.

I expect a battle with my mother-in-law over this decision, she often goes against our wishes when the kids stay overnight with her, our daughter, Alya rats her out every time. But, enough is enough, Conner needs to learn the concept of give and take, instead of just take, take, take. I understand he doesn’t like school, I was no fan myself, but I got the work done, putting in the extra effort when needed. Conner, because he has an IEP, is given an extra day to get his assignments in, but he refuses to take advantage of this, instead electing to give up, rather than putting in the extra effort to complete the work.

He has not played a video game in months because of his poor grades. In middle school, his grades were reset every semester, but high school is different, grades are not reset, everything from now on is working towards his high school diploma. We explained to him about this reality, before high school started, but he chose to ignore our words of advice, being convinced that we were wrong, claiming that one of his teachers told him grades would be reset at the end of the first semester, now he realizes that was wrong.

Finally, we loaned a ‘friend’, $180, with the promise, we would be paid back on the 29th of November, which, we allowed to be pushed back to the 6th of December, and now this friend, says she cannot pay us back until the 13th of December, leaving us in a financial pickle, not being able to pay our own debts.

We took the same friend on vacation with us to NW Arkansas during the summer, and she paid nothing towards the mini-vacation, she even claimed to my wife that she paid for certain attractions for all of us, which is a lie, as she only paid for herself, not my family like she claimed, I know this as I was stood right behind her when she purchased her ticket. She paid nothing towards the hotel, we had already paid for a ticket for a 30 Seconds to Mars concert, which was the main purpose of the trip to Rogers, Arkansas.

Suffice to say, this ‘friend’ has burnt their bridges with me.

Judge Rules White House Must Reinstate CNN’s Jim Acosta’s ‘Hard Pass’

Jim Acosta Returns To The White House After Hard Pass Revocation

After Trump and his administration revoked Jim Acosta’s ‘hard pass’, after a heated exchange between the President and CNN’s Acosta at a White House press conference last week, a Trump appointed federal Judge, Timothy J Kelly, has ruled that The White House must ‘temporarily’ reinstate Acosta’s press pass.

The case has not been decided overall, however, judge Kelly did say that he believes that CNN and Acosta are likely to prevail in the case overall. From what I understand. it comes down to due process not being followed, with The White House arbitrarily revoking Acosta’s hard pass without due process, infringing his fifth amendment rights. Judge Kelly did expand on his comments, saying that The White House could revoke Acosta’s hard pass again, if it followed due process rules, which I believe to be very unlikely.

Judge Kelly criticized The White House’s actions, saying it was shrouded in mystery, as the Justice Department’s lawyer could not even tell the court who ordered the revocation of Acosta’s hard pass. Judge Kelly went onto say that he was not making a judgment on the claim that Acosta’s first amendment rights were infringed. WH press secretary Sarah Sanders wrote in a statement, “today, the court made clear that there is no absolute First Amendment right to access the White House.”, which is yet another lie.

Sarah Sanders, who claimed that Acosta’s hard pass was revoked because he inappropriately touched a White House intern, backed up by a video that had been doctored, by an Infowars staffer, to make the accidental contact between Acosta and the intern look more malicious, which you might call ‘fake news’, Judge Kelly, noted was “likely, untrue” and “partly based on evidence of questionable accuracy”.

As a reaction to the ruling, Sarah Sanders wrote “we will also further develop rules and processes to ensure fair and orderly press conferences in the future. There must be decorum at the White House” in a statement from The White House. The question I immediately ask is, will these new rules, also apply to the president and his staff? Trump is not known for decorum or being orderly, Donald J Trump’s belittling of the press, especially non-white reporters, in the White House definitely lacks decorum and order.

CNN would like to avoid further litigation and work out a deal out of court, which is more than likely the ultimate outcome. I’m pretty sure The White House would prefer to not have a long drawn out court battle, that they are likely to lose on fifth amendment grounds, if not a violation of the first amendment.

I have to admit when I saw that a Trump appointed judge was going to be overseeing the case, I thought it would not go well for Acosta, so I applaud Judge Kelly for following the letter of the law,  and ruling in favor of the complainant, granting the temporary restraining order in regard to Acosta’s pass revocation.

I would personally love to see Acosta go after Sanders and the Trump administration for defamation, with their suggestion that the CNN reporter had inappropriately touched an intern, using a clearly doctored video, making Acosta out to be a Kung-Fu master with the alleged karate chop on the intern’s arm.

This is a victory for the much-maligned press, who Trump labels ‘fake news’ at every opportunity when they show the president in a bad light in their reporting. These reports are 100% justified and in no way, fake news, much of the right-wing media, who Trump likes, are actually guilty of pushing fake news.

Update [Nov, 20 2018, 11:35]: So the new White House press rules; basically, only one question allowed, if called upon, and a follow up question, only if the President / White House staff member allows it, failure to follow these rules could mean that reporter’s hard pass could be revoked. Basically, Trump can blatantly lie, and there is no recourse, i.e. follow-up, calling out the president on his lies.

CNN’s Jim Acosta has also permanently had his hard pass reinstated, meaning the legal case is over and done with as The White House has backed down from defending against CNN’s legal challenge.

Formula 1 Brazilian Grand Prix 2018

Mercedes Celebrate Their Fifth Constructors TItle

Mercedes AMG F1 claimed their fifth constructors championship at Interlagos after Ferrari failed to outscore the German team, just two weeks after Lewis Hamilton claimed his fifth world title at the Mexican Grand Prix. While, Red Bull’s Max Verstappen was denied a certain victory by Mercedes junior, and Force India driver, Esteban Ocon, tipping him into a spin, while attempting to unlap himself.

It started going wrong for Ferrari from the very start with Sebastian Vettel, not being able to initially engage first gear off the line on the installation lap, then lost out to Valtteri Bottas off the race start going into turn 1, dropping back to third place. Then, Ferrari teammate, Kimi Raikkonen briefly lost out to Max Verstappen through the Senna S, but regained fourth place going into turn 4, Descida do Lago.

The next few laps were the Red Bull show, Verstappen, overtook Raikkonen for fourth place around the outside of turn 1 on lap 3, then down the inside of Vettel, again, at turn 1 for third place on lap 4. Red Bull stablemate, Daniel Ricciardo was not to be outdone, making up five places to sixth in just five laps, negating his five-place grid penalty for replacing a seized turbocharger after his retirement in Mexico.

Verstappen, on lap 10, continued his rise up the field with a pass on Bottas down the inside of turn 1 to move into 2nd place. And when Hamilton pitted for tires on lap 20, Verstappen stayed out for 16 more laps, when he pitted for soft tires, whereas Hamilton was on the slower medium tire. And that tire advantage paid off, with Verstappen breezing past Hamilton on the main straight for the lead on lap 40.

On lap 44, which coincidentally is Hamilton’s car number, a Mercedes junior driver, Esteban Ocon, attempted to unlap himself through the Senna S and collided with Verstappen, resulting in both drivers spinning, while Hamilton slipped between them for the lead. Verstappen did get to within 1.5 seconds of Hamilton by the chequered flag but was being hampered by a damaged floor from the collision.

For the record, I’m not claiming conspiracy, more poking fun at the theorists that do.

Daniel Ricciardo in the sister Red Bull came close to claiming a podium finish, as close as 1/2 second near the end of the Grand Prix, but his Renault R.E.18 power unit couldn’t quite keep up with the Ferrari 062 EVO power unit in the back of Raikkonen’s Ferrari in the full throttle run from Juncao to the Senna S.

Post-race, Verstappen, physically attacked Ocon, pushing the Frenchman a number of times, in a heated exchange. I certainly don’t condone physical violence, but it’s certainly understandable, as I believe that Ocon was at fault, he was a backmarker, and not fighting for position. The FIA agreed, handing Ocon a 10-second stop/go penalty, the most severe in race penalty, and that should have been the end of it.

The FIA punished Verstappen with two days of public service, whatever that may be, for ‘shoving or hitting Ocon forcibly several times in the chest’, which you have to believe is correct, drivers cannot get into a physical confrontation with another driver without penalty, Verstappen is lucky it’s not a criminal charge.

With Mercedes wrapping up the constructors championship in Brazil and the drivers title sealed two weeks ago, the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix in two weeks really holds very little interest apart from the shiny lights of Yas Marina, unless something spectacular, like Fernando Alonso winning his final F1 race (in this term) for McLaren, this will more than likely be my final write-up of the year in regard to Grand Prix.

Brazilian Grand Prix 2018 Results

1. Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) 1:27:09.066
2. Max Verstappen (Red Bull) +1.469
3. Kimi Raikkonen (Ferrari) +4.764
4. Daniel Ricciardo (Red Bull) +5.193
5. Valtteri Bottas (Mercedes) +22.943
6. Sebastian Vettel (Ferrari) +26.997
7. Charle Leclerc (Sauber) +44.199
8.  Romain Grosjean (HAAS) +51.230
9.  Kevin Magnussen (HAAS) +52.857
10.  Sergio Perez (Force India) +1 LAP

White House Revokes Jim Acosta’s Credentials After Press Conference

Jim Acosta Challenges President Trump, White House, 11/07/2018

Last weekend, the wife and I watched The Post, where at the end of the movie, President Nixon is heard on the telephone banning The Washington Post from The White House. And today, history repeated itself, as we saw Jim Acosta of CNN having his press credentials revoked by the Secret Service for challenging President Trump on current issues, while allegedly touching a White House staffer inappropriately.

Jim Acosta challenged President Trump on his assertion that the caravan of immigrants coming to the US as an invasion, when in fact, the so-called caravan of immigrants are coming to the US border to apply for asylum, which is a legal process, under US law. All the while, the president continued to talk over and deride Acosta, while the CNN reporter tried to ask his questions, instead of showing Acosta the common courtesy of listening to the question before giving a considered answer to Acosta’s legitimate question.

Near the end of this interaction, a female White House intern, tried to snatch the microphone away from Acosta, making several attempts to go over and under Acosta’s arm, making contact on four occasions, to which, WH press secretary, Sarah Huckabee Sanders tweeted “…We will, however, never tolerate a reporter placing his hands on a young woman just trying to do her job as a White House intern…

The video of the incident clearly shows that Acosta is innocent, in fact, at one point, Acosta says “excuse me, ma’am”. RAWStory posted a slowed down video of the contact between Acosta and the Intern, clearly showing, it was the unnamed female intern that touched Acosta without permission, not vice-versa.

After Acosta relinquished the microphone, Trump got in a final dig at the CNN reporter, saying “You are a rude, terrible person, you shouldn’t be working for CNN”, continuing on, to say “When you report fake news like CNN does a lot, you are the enemy of the people”. Again reinforcing his bullshit talking points of fake news and the press is the enemy of the people, seriously, how can he be allowed to continue to use this rhetoric, we’ve already seen too many physical attacks on the press, including attempted bombings.

While this was happening, Jeff Sessions was fired as Attorney General, ‘temporarily’ being replaced with Trump loyalist, Matthew Whitaker, who has been openly critical of Robert Mueller and his investigation into Russian collusion in the 2016 election. That said, Trump has placed Whitaker in charge of the Mueller investigation, see the issue here… a clear constitutional violation and obstruction of justice.

According to Fox News’ legal analyst, Andrew Napolitano, Trump is likely breaking the law, by appointing Whitaker, even as temporary Attorney General, prior to being confirmed by the US Senate. Which, without being a legal expert, I would guess that asst Attorney General, Rod Rosenstein would become acting AG, until a replacement is confirmed, which is a foregone conclusion with a clear GOP majority.

But, with Trump being sponsored by Teflon, nothing sticks, so when Mueller is inevitably fired by Whitaker, on behalf of Trump, Congress will take no action, with the Senate being even more stacked with Republicans after the midterm elections. Trump already admitted on camera, that he fired, then FBI director, James Comey because of the Russia investigation, with absolutely no repercussions.

Back to Acosta, while attempting to reenter White House grounds to do a press ‘hit’, a secret service agent asked for Acosta’s ‘hard-pass’, which gives the press access to The White House and grounds. This is a clear violation of the first amendment and the freedom of the press clause therein. And more importantly for Trump, sending a message to the press, bow your head or lose access to The White House.

We are heading for a constitutional crisis, with press members having their press credentials revoked and the highly likely firing of Robert Mueller and the closing down of the Russian collusion investigation. Donald J. Trump is trying to turn America into an authoritarian regime, like his buddy’s Vladimir Putin, Kim Jong-un, and Rodrigo Duterte, who our commander and chief, #PresidentSnowflake holds in high regard.

The sad thing is that as long as Trump is doing what their corporate paymasters want, Congress, not just on the Republican side, but also the Democrat side, won’t do a damn thing about it, allowing the United States to go to shit, as long as they line their pockets and the pockets of their rich corporate paymasters.

Finally, what I hope the press will do is band together and boycott The White House and Donald Trump. This would deny President Trump the exposure he craves, to get his message out to his racist, misogynistic base. Stop giving him free airtime, even if it means a drop in ratings, there’s plenty of other news going on, we don’t need Trump’s likeness and voice on national TV every five minutes.

Update [Nov, 8 2018, 21:43]: Trump’s Administration likes to throw around the term ‘Fake News’, then, on the very same day, White House press secretary, Sarah Huckabee Sanders tweeted a doctored video of Jim Acosta ‘placing his hands on a young woman’, which was later retweeted by the White House twitter account, to justify the revocation of Acosta’s press credentials. In this story by the Associated Press, video producer Abba Shapiro shows how the video was doctored to make Acosta’s arm movements look more aggressive. The levels this administration will go to push their agenda is truly despicable.

What is more concerning is the number of likes and retweets of Sanders tweet, and the rabid defense from right-wingers. It just shows how many Americans have been brainwashed into believing Trump’s fake news narrative, like Hitler in the 1930’s/1940’s, Trump just parrots the same sound bites over and over, until people start to believe it, pushing the fear narrative, such as the invasion of the caravan of immigrants, to control the masses. It’s almost like subliminal messaging, the human brain gets accustomed to such consistent phrasing and it becomes the truth to them, regardless of actual facts.

Intrust Bank Arena: Misrepresenting Camera Policy Or Incompetent?

No Photography Permitted

Last week, the wife and I went to see Cirque Du Soleil CRYSTAL at Intrust Bank Arena, and the show itself was amazing, but the arena’s actions were not. I booked front row tickets based upon information about the camera policy, small point and shoot, no detachable lenses, no flash, which turned out to be false.

I booked tickets for the show for October 26, 2018, on May 24, 2018, however, before ordering online, I called Intrust Bank Arena to ask if the camera policy on the website was correct, which they verbally confirmed was correct. Furthermore, I was sent an Email with information about the show from the arena via Select-A-Seat on 10/24, which stated the same camera policy, as outlined in the first paragraph.

The camera policy was further confirmed during check in with security at the Arena, the security guy checked my camera to make sure it did not have a detachable lens and he reminded me that flash photography is not allowed. So, this is four separate sources that said my camera was OK to use, the arena website, an arena staff member via telephone, an Email from the arena and finally, arena security.

The wife and I were sat in our $310 front row seats, and I’m taking test shots, to optimize for the lighting conditions with my Sony RX100V, when a male usher came over and told me, along with a few other people that no photography was allowed, not no flash photography, but straight up NO PHOTOGRAPHY. Of course, that pissed me off, I had booked those specific tickets for an unobstructed view for photos.

This experience has left a very sour taste in my mouth. It’s not so much that I was not allowed to take photos, it was that it was not made clear that photography was prohibited. In fact, it was the complete opposite, everyone up to the point of me taking my seat and actually taking photos, said it would be absolutely fine for me to take photos using the Sony RX100V camera I took to Intrust Bank Arena.

I felt like standing up and causing a scene, but I stayed quiet, as I didn’t want to ruin my wife’s or other patrons night due to Intrust’s misinformation, but it tarnished my experience, as all I could think was “that would have been a good shot” throughout the performance. If I was using a flash, I would have no complaints, but I made sure that all external forward facing illumination was off and rear screen dimmed.

This has pissed me off so badly, that after Metallica in March 2019, which I had booked seven months ago, I’d rather travel to Kansas City or Oklahoma City to see shows than give any more of my money to Intrust Bank Arena. Adding subject to change to the camera policy does not apply when an Email two days before the show and event security confirm the camera policy as outlined in the first paragraph.

The only question is; was this willful misinformation about the camera policy by Intrust Bank Arena, or gross incompetence on the part of arena staff, or just an overzealous usher? Regardless of which option was the case, I feel cheated by Intrust Bank Arena, I bought these top price tickets and was not able to use them as I expected to be able to based upon the camera policy at the time of ticket purchase.

Formula 1 Mexican Grand Prix 2018

Formula 1 Mexican Grand Prix 2018, Lewis Hamilton, Five Time World Championship

Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton scored the required points by finishing fourth at the Mexican Grand Prix to become 2018 World Drivers Title after failing to win the US Grand Prix one week previous, while Max Verstappen claimed his fifth career victory, and his second at the Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez.

Polesitter, Daniel Ricciardo blew his start getting too much wheelspin allowing Hamilton to get between the Red Bulls going into turn 1, with Hamilton having to settle for second exiting turn 3, from Max Verstappen, leading the race. Meanwhile, Valtteri Bottas got better drive out of turn 3 to take fourth place from Sebastian Vettel, only for Vettel to reclaim the place going into turn 6 when the pair banged wheels.

McLaren’s Fernando Alonso, was a victim of circumstance once again, his car being struck from parts of Esteban Ocon’s front wing after the Frenchman made contact with Nico Hulkenberg’s Renault entering turn 3. Alonso continued on until lap 5 where he pulled to the side of the road at turn 11 to retire.

By lap 10, Mercedes duo. Hamilton and Bottas were suffering from severe graining on their front tires, allowing Ricciardo to close up on Hamilton before Mercedes stacked their drivers on lap 12 in the pits for fresh tires. Red Bull reacted, pitting Ricciardo on lap 13 and Verstappen on lap 14 to cover the undercut from Hamilton, with Ricciardo coming back out behind Hamilton while Verstappen retained the race lead.

Ferrari, stayed out for a few more laps, until lap 18, which cost Kimi Raikkonen big time, being overtaken by Verstappen, Hamilton and Ricciardo. Ferrari, pitted both their cars on the next lap after Raikkonen was demoted three places, due to the ultra soft tires that were at the very end of their lifespan.

Vettel was flying on his new super-soft tires, passing both Ricciardo, on lap 34, and Hamilton on  lap 39, for second place. Hamilton was once again struggling with tire degradation, the Briton fell back into the clutches of Ricciardo, with the Australian eventually forcing Hamilton into a mistake at turn 1, to move into third place. Meanwhile, Raikkonen forced a similar mistake from Bottas, to move into fifth place.

On lap 48, Hamilton and Vettel pitted for a second time, which dropped Vettel back to third, behind Ricciardo, who had not made a second stop. Red Bull pitted Verstappen, in response to Ferrari pitting Vettel on lap 49, which, coupled with Ricciardo not stopping, meant Red Bull were running in P1 and P2.

Vettel was chasing Ricciardo hard to retake second place, and Ricciardo was robustly defending his position, when disaster struck on lap 61, with smoke coming from the rear of his car, grinding to a halt on the outside of turn 1, which is RIcciardo’s 8th retirement of the season, promoting Vettel back to second.

RIcciardo’s stricken car caused a virtual safety car period, which neutralized the race, confirming Hamilton as 2018 world drivers champion and Red Bull teammate Verstappen the Mexican Grand Prix winner.

As a Daniel Ricciardo fan, I am kinda angry he has suffered yet another Red Bull mechanical failure. Ricciardo himself, has labeled his car cursed, saying there’s no point racing in the final two races in Brazil and Abu Dhabi. The Australian going as far as offering his RB14 to his replacement, Pierre Gasly early.

I certainly understand his comments, he has done almost everything right, only to be let down by a mechanical issue while running in podium positions. I’m sure the end of the season cannot come quick enough so he can leave his ‘cursed’ car behind, moving onto new pastures at Renault Sport F1 in 2019.

Congratulations to the newest five time drivers champion, Lewis Hamilton, joining legends Juan Manuel Fangio and Michael Schumacher. Hamilton drove excellently since the mid season break, outclassing title rival Vettel. I was really hoping for a real battle for the title this season, but yet again, Ferrari and Vettel fell apart in the home stretch, giving Hamilton a relatively easy ride to the world drivers title.

Hopefully, now that the drivers title is sealed, Mercedes and Ferrari will let their respective drivers go head to head. I would love to see how Bottas stacks up against Hamilton without team orders interferring with the on track battle. Same goes for Ferrari, with Raikkonen departing from  Maranello at the end of the year, let’s see if he can really take the race to Vettel, or forever be a #2 driver to Alonso, then Vettel.

Mexican Grand Prix 2018 Results

1. Max Verstappen (Red Bull) 1:38:28.851
2. Sebastian Vettel (Ferrari) +17.316
3. Kimi Raikkonen (Ferrari) +49.914
4. Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) +78.738
5. Valtteri Bottas (Mercedes) +1 LAP
6. Nico Hulkenberg (Renault) +2 LAPS
7. Charles Leclerc (Sauber) +2 LAPS
8.  Stoffel Vandoorne (McLaren) +2 LAPS
9. Marcus Ericsson (Sauber) +2 LAPS
10. Pierre Gasly (Toro Rosso) +2 LAPS

Formula 1 Japanese Grand Prix 2018

Japanese Grand Prix 2018, Vettel Collides With Verstappen At The Spoon Curve.

The 2018 Formula 1 world drivers championship is all over but for the shouting, after Lewis Hamilton took his fourth win in five years at Suzuka, and his fourth win out of five since the mid-season break.

Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel started from eighth place after a mistake in qualifying cost him big time, but the German made good progress in the opening lap to start lap 2 in 4th place, courtesy of three overtakes and teammate, Kimi Raikkonen tangling with Red Bull’s Max Verstappen as the Dutchman rejoined the track at the final chicane at the end of lap one, for which Verstappen was handed a +5 sec time penalty.

The Mercedes duo made good starts to enter the ‘S’ curves in 1st and 2nd, with WDC leader Hamilton leading Valtteri Bottas, followed by Verstappen. This is how things remained for the entire race, Verstappen did get close to Bottas near the end of the race, but Bottas was clearly pacing himself, conserving tires and power unit, as every time Verstappen came close, Bottas pulled out a 2-second gap.

Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo made rapid progress through the field from his starting position of 15th after an engine issue in qualifying 2. By lap 3, the Australian was up 5 places and into the top 10, and by lap 15, he was up to 5th place, which probably would have happened faster if it weren’t for the safety car from lap 4 through 8 to clear debris from a collision between Kevin Magnussen and Charles Leclerc.

Vettel, who is honestly his own worse enemy, made an ill-advised dive up the inside of Verstappen at the Spoon curve on the restart lap, clattering into the side of the Dutchman, forcing Verstappen off track while Vettel, himself spun out, dropping back to 19th place, Verstappen continued on without losing a position as Vettel’s Ferrari teammate Kimi Raikkonen was not close enough to capitalize on this incident.

Despite, having to serve a five second time penalty, Verstappen still managed to stay ahead of Raikkonen in third place and to make things worse for Ferrari, Ricciardo jumped Raikkonen for fourth place during the pitstops. Ricciardo stopped 11 laps later than Raikkonen, clearly, Ferrari was the third best team at Suzuka, Ricciardo was quicker than Raikkonen, the 11 extra laps allowed for Ricciardo to jump the Ferrari.

Vettel, did make it back up to sixth place by lap 35, but found himself 40 seconds adrift of teammate, Raikkonen, so the switch of position was not really on. The German did close to within 19 seconds of the Finn, clearly not close enough to overtake, Ferrari could have instructed Raikkonen to slow down for Vettel, there was nothing to lose, Vettel was immediately behind, but that radio message never came.

So, the situation is that if Lewis Hamilton scores eight more points than Vettel in the next four races, Hamilton will be world drivers champion by virtue of more race wins. If Hamilton wins and Vettel finishes third or lower in the next race, it’s all over for 2018. This is likely to happen at the US Grand Prix in Austin, a track that heavily favors Mercedes, barring any mechanical issues, I expect a Mercedes 1 – 2.

Some of the talking points, Verstappen’s assertion that Raikkonen should have hung back to allow him to come back on track. I will quote Ayrton Senna, “when you no longer go for a gap that exists, you are no longer a racing driver”, Raikkonen did nothing wrong, Verstappen was at fault, he chose the wrong option when returning to the track and he got penalized for returning to the track in an unsafe manner.

Sebastian Vettel, another poor choice destroyed his own race, and not for the first time. I honestly question whether he will ever win a fifth title unless he has superior machinery like he did at Red Bull, where he won all four of his titles. At this point, he would be considered a veteran driver, but his actions on the track are rookie mistakes, the sort of errors you’d not expect a 4-time WDC driver to make.

Japanese Grand Prix 2018 Results

1. Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) 1:27:17.062
2. Valtteri Bottas (Mercedes) +12.919
3. Max Verstappen (Red Bull) +14.295
4. Daniel Ricciardo (Red Bull) +19.495
5. Kimi Raikkonen (Ferrari) +50.998
6. Sebastian Vettel (Ferrari) +69.873
7. Sergio Perez (Force India) +79.379
8.  Romain Grosjean (HAAS) +87.198
9. Esteban Ocon (Force India) +88.055
10. Carlos Sainz (Renault) +1 LAP

Formula 1 Russian Grand Prix 2018

Russian Grand Prix 2018

Lewis Hamilton took a commanding lead in the F1 World Drivers Championship by taking victory at the Russian GP, the gap between Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel now stands at 50 points. With five races remaining, even if Hamilton failed to finish the next two races and Vettel won both, Hamilton would still be leading by virtue of more wins. Vettel has a massive challenge ahead to overturn a 50 point deficit.

Onto the race itself, polesitter Valtteri Bottas made an excellent start, as did Sebastian Vettel, going into the turn 1 sweeper, Vettel was alongside Hamilton challenging for second, but Hamilton tucked into the Bottas’ slipstream, getting a tow allowing the Briton to maintain second place. Hamilton then got a run on Bottas around the sweeping turn 3 left-hander, but Bottas maintained the lead going into turn 4.

Meanwhile, Red Bull’s Max Verstappen made up an astonishing 6 places on the first lap, and 13 places in the first six laps. I have been a critic of the Dutchman for his petulance, getting involved in collisions regularly, but his performance today was a racing masterclass, every move was decisive and clean, and despite finishing 5th, he actually led more laps than Bottas or Hamilton on the soft tires he started on.

Also, on lap six, both Toro Rosso’s had unexplained individual spins under braking, which clearly indicates an issue with the car as Squadro Toro Rosso elected to bring both cars into the pits to retire.

While Verstappen was carving through the field like a hot knife through butter, Red Bull teammate, Daniel Ricciardo was making much slower progress. Which, when the Australian made a pit stop for tires and a replacement front wing, it became apparent that Ricciardo was suffering from a damaged front wing from the opening lap, which explains why Ricciardo was so slow compared to his younger teammate.

By the time the first and only round of pit stops played out, with Vettel pitting a lap before Hamilton coupled with the Briton catching traffic on his in-lap, Vettel managed to leapfrog the Mercedes for what was effectively 2nd place, but Hamilton’s Mercedes was too quick, Vettel could only maintain the position for a single lap before Hamilton swept past Vettel around turn 3, completing the move into turn 4.

On lap 25, Mercedes instructed Valtteri Bottas to let Lewis Hamilton pass for second, effective 1st place, to supposedly protect Hamilton’s rear tires and gift the Briton the win after Verstappen finally made his mandatory pitstop. After the race, clearly, both Hamilton and Bottas were not happy, Lewis didn’t want to win the race in this way, and Bottas was clearly pissed about having another race win stolen from him.

On lap 26; Force India made a similar decision, Perez was allowed to pass Ocon, after Ocon failed to make an impact on Kevin Magnussen in 8th place. Perez also could not get close enough to make a pass on the HAAS, so the team did the correct thing and switched their drivers back to their original positions. Many feel that Mercedes should have done the same after it was clear Ferrari was not a threat.

Personally, I feel bad for Bottas, who did everything right, but I understand why Mercedes decided not to switch their drivers around, with Hamilton now having a 50 point lead in the world drivers championship, it’s his championship to lose. F1 is a team sport, and Bottas played the good #2 and moved over for his team leader, despite Mercedes insistence on no team orders, it’s clear who’s top dog at Mercedes.

Russian Grand Prix 2018 Results

1. Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) 1:27:32.054
2. Valtteri Bottas (Mercedes) +2.545
3. Sebastian Vettel (Ferrari) +7.487
4. Kimi Raikkonen (Ferrari) +16.543
5. Max Verstappen (Red Bull) +31.016
6. Daniel Ricciardo (Red Bull) +80.451
7. Charles Leclerc (Sauber) +98.390
8. Kevin Magnussen (HAAS) +1 LAP
9. Esteban Ocon (Force India) +1 LAP
10. Sergio Perez (Force India) +1 LAP

Enough Chances! No More Tablets For My Son!

No Tablet For My Son

Just last week, after serving a gaming ‘time out’ for poor school grades, on the day, he would have gotten his ‘game time’ back, as he had corrected his grades, he tried to circumvent our lockouts on his Nintendo 2DS, by trying to reset the parental control passcode, which sent an Email to me, with a temporary code to reset the parental passcode, at 4:37am, this action added two extra days to his punishment.

During the time of the ban, I tried to look at his tablet and I find that he has locked the device, so I cannot see what he has been up to. So, like every time he does this, I do a hard reset on the tablet to restore it to factory defaults. I also logged into the Google account that I created for him, and find that it has not been used for almost four months, which I know means he had set up another Google account.

Last night (Sunday), I looked at his tablet again, and it was not locked this time, but I discovered that he had created, not one, not two, but three Google accounts and that he had signed up to Twitter, Discord, Pinterest and several forums. It’s not that he signed up for these accounts that bothers me, it’s that he did it behind our back, instead of asking, we would have allowed it as long as we could monitor his activity.

What I did was take control of those Google accounts, resetting the passwords by sending a notification to the tablet and setting my Email as the recovery address. This allowed me to see the full extreme of my son’s deceit, he had been using his tablet, during his ‘time out’ for grades as described previously, his Google activity clearly shows he was using the device during the times he should not have been.

Fast forward to this morning, at about 9:45am, I try to log into the primary Google account that he had created on the tablet and lo and behold, he had reset the password again, overriding my reset at 5:57am. Again, breaking the rules, the rule is no tablet time before 12pm or after 8pm and again trying to block our access to his online activity. This was the final straw for me, his tablet is gone, no more chances.

I really don’t enjoy punishing him, I wish that I didn’t have to, I wish that I could trust my son to do the right thing. As I said, if he asked in a proper manner, I would have let him have the accounts he had set up, not the three Google accounts, as he already had a perfectly good account, which was set up 3 years ago, but the Twitter, Discord accounts, etc, but instead, he decided to be deceitful, hiding his actions.

As for sneaking extra time, why, since he started school six weeks ago, we have relaxed the reigns, as long as his school grades remain good, the only time limits are no tablet before 12pm and no tablet after 8pm and no tablet on Sunday’s, We want at least one day a week away from tablets and games, this rule applies to both of my children, but my son is not happy with a maximum of 28 hours a week it seems.

The funny thing is; what triggered my investigations into his activities was my son attempting to reset the pin code on his Nintendo 2DS. Now, as a result, he will not get another tablet as long as he lives under our roof rent free, he lost his laptop in a similar fashion a couple of years back after circumventing the parental control and tracking systems installed, while setting a password, blocking my access.

I truly don’t understand why he continues to break the rules, he gets caught every time, just search this website for “my son” and you’ll see the pattern of behavior, it seems no amount of talking or explaining to him, gets into his thick head, I clearly cannot trust him to be honest and do the right thing!

Update [Sep, 25 2018, 11:22]: The wife and I tried to talk to our son about his deceitful behavior and explain why he has lost the privilege of having a tablet. And, it just turned into a circular discussion, he admitted that he created new Google accounts because he thought that we would not allow him to sign up to YouTube, Twitter etc, but failed to acknowledge any wrongdoing on his part.

He just kept on asking why we did not ask him for the password instead of disposing of his tablet. To which we responded, “we have done this before and, you have changed the password after the fact to block our access”, and this has been a consistent behavior of his since 5th grade, he is now in 9th grade and 14 years old. He refuses to take personal responsibility for anything, consistently being deceitful.

I feel bad for disposing of his tablet, he is obsessed with that thing, but we cannot allow him to continue to be deceitful, doing stuff online behind our backs. It’s a dangerous world, and our son is autistic, albeit high functioning, he clearly doesn’t have a sound understanding of the world, and, after last night’s conversation, I’m not even sure if he is capable of understanding what he has done wrong.

I think we probably need professional help, but therapists are expensive, and being on a single income, that is not an option. And, the state of Kansas has deemed that there is nothing wrong with our son, despite an independent diagnosis, so we are unable to get financial assistance for therapy.

Building A New PC? Ignore The Verge’s How To…

The Verge "How NOT To Build A PC"

I just had the misfortune of watching Stefan Etienne of The Verge demonstrate how to build a gaming PC. I say misfortune because the level of inaccuracies and build errors on display make a mockery of a well-respected tech channel, I’m surprised that it made it past QC to feature on their official YouTube channel.

I will post the video at the bottom of this write-up, here are my thoughts as an experienced PC builder.

0:24: Why do you need to build a PC on a table? I have built all my PC’s on the floor, on a carpet, in fact; and not once have I had a failure due to static shock, JayzTwoCents did a rather silly test, to prove that static shock is not an issue in general for modern components. While on the table scene, those tweezers sure look like zip ties to me, and that anti-static strap is not grounded so it won’t stop any static discharge.

2:25: Motherboards really are not that delicate, sure you could damage a motherboard while installing it, but it’s highly unlikely. As long as you have the motherboard in contact with the stand-offs, you will be fine. If you place the motherboard directly onto the motherboard tray, there is a likelihood of a short, which could kill your motherboard. Oh, are you listening Stefan? it’s called an I/O shield, not a brace.

3:12: 2666mhz RAM is not pretty fast by today’s standards, common speeds are 3000mhz to 3200mhz these days, we have speeds in excess of 4000mhz on the market today, should your hardware support it.

4:32: Notice the RAM as Stefan slots in the GPU, both modules are next to each other. To be able to run dual channel memory, and let’s face it, why would you not want to, there has to be an empty slot between the two DIMM’s. You would normally use the second and fourth slot for two DIMM’s.

5:19: The isolation pads for the power supply are to reduce vibrations through the chassis, not to protect against shorts, Stefan’s argument falls apart as soon as he screws the power supply into the same chassis, it’s still touching metal. Also take note that Stefan installs the power supply with the fan facing inwards, pressed against the back of the motherboard tray, so no cool air, or any airflow for the PSU then.

6:11: While installing the radiator for his AIO cooler, Stefan is using the screws designed to go through the fans into the radiator, where the fans would be mounted in front of the radiator, for example when mounting to the front of the case, not the top, or when implementing a push/pull fan configuration.

7:11: Don’t toss away the CPU socket cover as Stefan did, you’ll need that if you ever need to RMA or want to sell your motherboard in future, put it in the motherboard box for safe keeping. You really don’t need the motherboard installation tool from Asus, just align the triangle on the CPU with the triangle on the socket and gently drop it into place, this works for both LGA and PGA processors.

8:15: If you have a brand new cooler, be it an AIO liquid cooler or air cooler, the pre-applied thermal paste is just fine. If you do want to use a different thermal compound, please clean the pre-applied paste off the cooler cold plate first. I have always used the pre-applied paste on a new cooler and have never had an issue with cooling as long as the cooler is up to the TDP requirements of the CPU. Adding extra thermal paste to the CPU could actually cause an air gap, which is detrimental to cooling performance.

9:04: Finally, what a piss poor cable management job, Stefan has made no attempt to route the cables behind the motherboard tray, which is unforgivable, given the Corsair Crystal Series 280X case, which has a separate compartment for cables and the power supply. This is just plain sloppy and also impedes airflow, albeit slightly, with the air having to navigate a mass of cables to get to the hot components.

No wonder The Verge turned off comments on this particular YouTube video, they knew a shit storm was coming. I would have commented on the video, but as I couldn’t, I wrote this instead!

Update [Sep, 21 2018, 5:28]: It seems the whole Internet taking the piss out of The Verge’s “How we built a $2000 custom gaming PC” video has inspired the channel to take down the video on Youtube.

So, here’s the video, remember, once it’s on the Internet, it’s always on the Internet…

While updating this blog, I noticed another error, in the image at the top of the page, you’ll see that Stefan has neglected to install the thumbscrew in the bottom left of the CPU block, causing uneven pressure to be applied to the CPU’s IHS, which in turn could cause the AIO to perform suboptimally.

One final thought, according to the credits, 13 people worked on that video and not one person thought “there’s something not quite right here?”. That says a lot about The Verge as a publication if that level of fail can get past 13 freaking people, 2.1m subscribers and they don’t have the foggiest idea about PC’s.