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Thu Mar 19 2020

Oh boy, what a morning I’ve had.

Nothing really exceptional, just a good, solid morning full of learning new things and exercising and waking up early and having new experiences.

I’ve been getting telemarketer calls just about every day at 9AM. I awoke to the sound of my phone vibrating. I got up to see who it was. Unrecognized 208 number, definitely spam. I went back to bed for a moment before remembering that I had first class parcel to mail. I prefer to stay at home due to my vehicle expenses being more than I can handle at the moment, so I wanted to get the parcel to the mailbox before the mail delivery driver came by.

I checked my e-mail and I saw that overnight I had sold two trading cards! That’s a cool $11 of income to my eBay store, SpongeBobThriftPants (SBTP.)

I was excited to try letter-track.com which I had discovered last week. Using their service, I printed out a label with a barcode. Additionally, I got to use an additional ounce postage stamp for the first time. It wasn’t really necessary for the weight, it was necessary for the rigidity of the envelope’s contents.

So I got those two items to the mailbox at around 9:30 and flipped up the flag on the mailbox. One thing I’ve been annoyed with about our mailbox is that the screws seem to have been installed upside down. The threads extend upwards inside the mailbox, and I find it really annoying because the packages and letters on the inside of the mailbox get poked by those bolts. I said screws, I meant bolts. They’re not sharp or anything, but their presence means the packages placed into the mailbox cannot slide along the bottom of the mailbox.

I took a moment to check if there was some reason why they were installed this way, and I discovered that no, there doesn’t seem to be any reason why they are like that. I figure they could easily be flipped upside down. One thing I think that maybe is the reason for them being installed this way, is weathering. The threads on the bottom, exposed to the elements may become corroded or oxidated to the point where they would be difficult to remove. I’m tempted to take a wrench and a screwdriver out there and flip them around myself. I think the mail carrier might appreciate it that way. I know I would.

There was some mail in the box which was addressed to my parents. After depositing my two items for collection, I grabbed the mail for my parents and took it to the house. I opened the front door and Minnie started barking at me. Nobody was in the living area or kitchen so my parents must have still been in bed. I placed the mail on the little cabinet by the door. Minnie stopped barking for a moment as I spoke to her. I wanted to get to my next thing, exercising, so I went for the door. Minnie started barking again, probably sensing my tension.

I took a moment and talked to Minnie in a calm voice, and slowly approached her. She quit barking and accepted a belly rub.

I left the house and went around to the back yard. There are some large metal tanks on the ground near the brush pile. This must have been what those dump trucks were delivering the other day when my dad needed to move my Suburban. I was really confused at these large rusted canisters, and it took me a while before I put the pieces together. I think these tanks are from the business property that my dad owns. The old office building which used to be Industrial Communications in Spokane Valley. I probably wouldn’t have put two and two together if it hadn’t been for the fact that I drove by the other day when I went to URM. I think that was on Tuesday. I saw someone standing in an excavated hole right about where my dad said there were old buried gas tanks from when the property was a gas station.

That must have been in the 70s or some shit. Maybe earlier. Government records don’t even acknowledge that the property was a gas station in the past, but my dad is amendment about it because he learned the fact from D. A. who used to run Industrial Communications. And now we have irrefutable proof! The tanks has been removed from the ground.

They’re all crushed up and rusty. I wonder why my dad had them dropped off here? Time will tell.

So yeah, next I did some yoga, walked 20 laps around the fire pit, meditated, and attempted some chin-ups while hanging from a treebranch.

Chin-ups are hard! I didn’t quite get that far. I pulled myself up to about eye level, but an actual chin-up will require a little more strength conditioning.

It was a good walk. The yoga was the best part. I feel terrible during yoga, but amazing afterwards. I feel so good. I really like it and I want to do more yoga more often.

I got cleaned up afterwards, and scrubbed my shower a little bit. I’ve been trying to make it a habit of scrubbing my shower before I bathe in it. Just a little bit every day. It’s made a huge difference in the cleanliness of the shower. I hope to extend this procedure to more appliances and areas of my apartment. Lots of baby steps equate to mammoth steps!

My internet went down again. I’m wondering if it’s caused by sun shining through the basement window where the DSL modem is at. Shitty Actiontec modems… I hate Actiontec with a passion.

Anyway, I just switched over to my 2G tethered connection via my phone. I acutally got a lot done during this time of network outage. The connection is just good enough to browse one tab at a time, with slow yet acceptable load times. I would download a PDF, and read it while waiting for another page to load in another tab. It reminds me of 56K days.

This connection sucks, but it is mine! I am happy to have something that I am in charge of. I was about to say something that I own, but I don’t own it. I don’t own anything. I’m learning that from Buddhism.

Anyway, I was curious about the barcode labels that letter-track.com prints out. I did some research on them, starting with wikipedia. With my shitty internet speed, it kind of helped me slow down and take things in at a reasonable pace. I think I often think too fast, and my thoughts become scattered and make action difficult. I come up with too many paths at once, and can’t possibly follow them all until completion. The 60kpbs/70kpbs connection provided by my phone (my 3G data ran out) is just enough to get by, and it forces me to make very intentional decisions on what is important to look up.

So I did a bunch of research on these Intelligent Mail barcodes (IMb), and I discovered that there is no good reason for me to pay letter-track to generate these labels! I can simply generate them myself, and in doing so I’m going to save a huge chunk of change!

It’s free to generate the labels, if you know what you’re doing. I was about to pay $0.15 per label by subscribing to letter-track!!!

One thing I’m really grateful for is how well documented every process is at USPS. It’s not just processes, but underlying technology, restrictions, service updates… There is a huge sum of information readily available via postalpro.usps.com.

I’m glad I looked into the barcode labels, because now I can just generate them myself. I can even build a browser extension which will let me print straight from eBay if I want!

I could sell a service and compete with letter-track!

I’m still in the process of figuring out exactly how to go about barcode generation and tracking after the fact. I did have do make a business account on USPS’s website and make a phone call to retrieve an authorization code. The call was short and concise, and S. who I spoke with on the phone was very helpful and courteous.

Again, I’m grateful for the great documentation by USPS. I just followed this document which included screenshots and phone numbers to call.

https://postalpro.usps.com/node/4464

IDK why I’m sharing it. It’s probably going to be obsolete in the near future! Oh well, maybe it has some historical significance at some point.

Anyway, that was my work-in-progress adventure for today. It’s ongoing and I hope to generate my own barcodes soon, and implement the tracking functionality into my eBay sales.

I found a javascript library for generating IMb’s. I’m stoked to try that out, if I decide that rolling my own software is the best way forward!

I figured out how to disable the Auto Power Off (APO) feature on my Kenwood TH-F6A. This way, I can just have it plugged in and monitor the local amateur radio repeater, KBARA. I heard an interesting conversation this morning between a gentleman who seemed rather lonely, and another gentleman who was preparing to leave town for Montana until the COVID-19 panic settles down. He said he was in the toilet paper aisle at Wal-Mart and there was a woman having a complete breakdown because there was no toilet paper. I believe it!

The guy was planning on going into the hills of Montana where there weren’t panicking people. He said he’s more afraid of panicking people than he is of the virus, and I completely agree.

I inventoried my gun and ammo the other day. I forgot the exact numbers, but I think It’s 3 buckshot shells, 2 slugs, and 10 bird shot.

I loaded it up with birdshot and buckshot. First is birdshot which would be a good warning round. Second is buckshot.

I just thought of something. I shouldn’t fire that gun unless it’s absolutely necessary. For that reason, the birdshot is inappropriate.

I don’t think it’ll come to that. Things aren’t out of hand in the disorder and dstruction and chaos kind of way just yet. I don’t think it’ll come to that either.

Anyway, last night I hopped on Discord and introduced my friend D. to Discord. He even joined the VOCALOID server haha. I had just discovered that there is a Weiss Schwarz anime, so we ended up watching the first season of Weiss Survive together via kosmi.io. There happened to be a version of Weiss Survive on Youtube so we were able to get that rolling via kosmi. It’s a funny anime! Very slapstick and full of parody and 4th wall breaking. Apparently there are some real Weiss Schwarz cards from Weiss Survive, which is totally meta!

Weiss Survive R, the second season which we have not seen yet.

I was thinking how funny it would be if the characters in the show were playing actual weiss schwarz cards that exist in our universe which depict their character… That would be hilariously recursive and probably a real challenge to pull off in a production like that!

There wasn’t any recursive meta like that, but it was an entertaining watch regardless.

The second season, Weiss Survive R, appears to have an even higher fan-service content. The first one had plenty of ecchi tropes such as the endless stream of lucky pervert moments and the iconic perverted old man. Then there’s the tsundere love interest and the ever present harem aspect.

It’s not a show to be taken seriously. It’s way too wacky for that. I was laughing at loud on several occasions.

I think I’ll wrap this up for now.

75. I will not allow anxious thoughts to steal my joy.
54. I am becoming healthier each and every day.
27. I keep going because I believe in myself.

I’m grateful for amateur radio. It is an additional means of communication which I can leverage, and I enjoy listening to the conversations of other HAMs.

I’m grateful for my sister A., who thought of me the other day and sent me a text.

I’m grateful for my friend D., who was gracious enough to watch an anime with me via kosmi.io.

Looking for VOCALOID trading cards?

Check out Sakura Blossom Trading Post

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