Letters from the Lunar Outpost

The envious will die, but envy never.
- Moliere, French Dramatist and Actor (1622-1673)

Life

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This may sound like a paid endorsement, but what this really is, is a love letter to my new car.

10. When I slip out of my parking space, I am as quiet as a ninja! (Don’t worry pedestrians, I’ll be paying extra attention in keeping an eye out for you.)

9. Ford is back, baby! What a beautiful thing to see the styling and the technology on my new Ford standing toe-to-toe with all of the Nissans and Hondas that I test drove. It was not that way for many years.

8. My car is so smart, it adjusts the rate of my windshield wipers to the level of the rain!

7. When I get in the car, it automatically fires up the audiobook player on my phone right to the spot where I left off. Nice!

6. My car is so smart, it sets my high beams when traffic is out of range and turns them back down when cars come into range!

5. My car is so smart, it learns my frequent charging destinations so when I get within an 1/8 of a mile of home or work, if it was running on gas, it switches over to all-battery knowing I’m most likely just about to arrive for a recharge. Don’t underestimate how those eighths of a mile can add up!

4. The green stickers that come with my PHEV give me free reign to drive solo in the car pool lanes! Depending on if you ask me while I’m flying past traffic in the car pool lane, I might often tell you this is my #1 favorite feature.

3. Having the combination of a plugin / hybrid means I can make that trip out to Vegas and back without having to worry about finding charging stations along the way.

2. My car is so smart, if I go six months without having to refuel, it will switch over to the gasoline engine just so the gas in the tank doesn’t get too stale.

1. Getting 1000 miles on my first tank of gas is just freakin’ AWESOME!

My Ford Fusion Energi

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Back at a time when word had gotten out in the neighborhood that my wife and my house was the place to go for kids who needed a place to stay (I guess we had a hard time saying no) there was a slew of kids who came and went, some lived with us for a little while, some for longer, but two kids in particular ended up becoming like sons to us. This post is about the one who betrayed us.

So he moves out, we fall out of contact, then four years later, we reconnect, meet his daughter and by the end of the year, we’re taking him and our other “adopted” son on a ten-day vacation in Cabo San Lucas.

We took this kid on vacation to Chicago, his first ever trip to Vegas, multiple camping trips where we always footed the bill for everything and then maybe a year passes and the next we hear from him, he’s calling us telling us he got in a fistfight, lost his job, lost his apartment and now he and his eight-year-old daughter have nowhere to stay.

For three weeks, our house is completely taken over. His daughter, through no fault of her own I imagine, is maybe the laziest eight-year-old girl we’ve ever encountered. She has only two interests in life, eating and watching Netflix. We’ve got My Little Pony streaming eighteen hours a day and when I ask her to help straighten the place up before my wife gets home, she flops on the floor as if a two-minute chore would absolutely kill her.

In the kitchen, the bigger child is endlessly cooking, eating five, six meals a day and not just snacks, I’m talking five or six full-fledged meals every day. I have never in my life seen a human being consume so much food, he just kept eating and eating like a demon possessed.

At the time, my wife has a new job with a shift that starts at 3am and she’s trying hard to adjust her sleep to the early morning hours, but no amount of pleading with them to let my wife get her sleep keeps these kids from banging around and barging in the bedroom, so after three weeks of having our house turned upside down and urging the kid to find somewhere else to stay, he finally grabs his stuff and leaves our home without even saying a thank you.

Not Even a Thank You

And it’s only moments later that we begin to discover the many ways he chose to thank us, because within fifteen minutes of his leaving, my bank sends me a text message that my account balance is at zero! My ATM card has been stolen. We take inventory of the house and discover that my wife’s laptop is missing, too!

Imagine how heartbroken we were – after taking him in to our home twice when he had nowhere else to go, after all the vacations we took him on, after all the money my wife had given him behind my back, this guy steals my wife’s laptop, steals my ATM card and completely drains my bank account! Never in our lives had we been so completely disappointed in another human being.

At this point, even with all the evidence we have including surveillance video of him using my ATM card at the Arco and an eyewitness who saw the laptop in his car and my ATM card in his wallet, we decide not to report him to the police and just write off our losses as knowledge gained – the kid we once thought of as a son turned out to be nothing but a thieving scumbag and he would forever be dead to us.

But it was only today, a month after he left our home that we found the full extent of his betrayal. Opening my web browser and navigating to view my Google Photos, it turns out that the browser is still logged into his account. Now we’re looking at his collection of photos on Google and we’re laughing at him posing like he’s all gangsta while he’s smoking a blunt and then . . . imagine our shock and horror as we scroll down to see photos he took eight days after he left our home showing off my wife’s Rolex watch!

Now we’re talking grand larceny.

There are photos of a green collapsible camp chair he stole from our outdoor storage, an expensive condenser microphone that I had never taken out of the box and a cheap $20 smart watch he probably thought was expensive as well.

At this point, the policy of never contacting him again goes out the window, my wife texts him, tells him she wants her Rolex back, he admits to his thievery and he begs us not to call the police because he’ll lose his daughter.

What Would You Do?

Betrayed by the Kid You Thought of Like a Son - So What Would You Do?

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Egg in Avocado

Healthy?

Last year, in the last six months of the year, I embarked on a full-force weight loss campaign. I lost 59 pounds the first three months and finished up the year down 70.

And then I heard a statistic – 95% of crash dieters will ultimately gain the weight back, and once I heard that, not becoming the 95% became my new obsession. I visualize a room full of twenty people, and I have to be the *one guy* in that room who keeps it off.

So even though I’d reached my target weight, I continued obsessing on removing all possible fat calories from my diet. While I was avoiding every fat calorie I could however, I would hear from healthy people and the uber-fit that you really do need a healthy dose of healthy fat in your diet, but being so obsessed with not gaining the weight back, it was so difficult for me to wrap my head around it. I had a pretty good idea eating nuts, for example, was good for your diet, but I’d grab a handful of peanuts and all I could think of is FAT, FAT, FAT!

I finally found two articles that really laid it out and helped me make peace with adding a healthy amount of healthy fat to my diet.

In the spirit of “fair use”, I will give you the bullet points and hope they inspire you to read the articles.

 

8 Cues that You’re Not Eating Enough Fat


• You’re Get-Up-and-Go Has Got-Up-and-Left
• You Have Difficulty Focusing
• You’re Constantly Hungry
• You’re Anxious in Crowds (sounds silly, but there’s an interesting study behind it)
• Your Period is MIA
• Your Memory is Zapped
• You’re Down in the Dumps
• Your Skin is Lack Luster

As a ninth cue, I can also add that on a strict non-fat diet, I noticed my joints cracking more when I was doing push-ups and exercising. It makes perfect sense if you think about it.

Now that we’ve covered the “why” of eating healthy fats, here’s a good top-ten list of the foods that have them:

 

10 Fatty Foods with Mega Health Benefits


• Avocados (love seeing my favorite at the top of the list)
• Olive Oil
• Salmon
• Eggs
• Nuts
• Coconuts
• Flaxseed
• Peanut Butter
• Almond Butter
• Dark Chocolate

Both articles are well worth the read.

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Bam Bam CornelisonBam Bam was just a tiny kitten living on the streets of Santa Ana when I first met him. A friend had noticed this litter of street cats on a couple previous visits to a taco shop there and while there are probably worse places in the world to be a homeless cat than posted up by a taco shop, I figured at least one of those kittens was deserving of being rescued and given a loving home.

He was filthy and infested with fleas when we grabbed him, but I took him home, my wife and I cleaned him up, and then when he was old enough, we got him his shots and had him neutered. Now he’s been with us about six months and he’s as healthy and happy as can be. All told, Bam Bam has been nothing but a joy, but boy did he throw us for a loop last Friday afternoon.

We were settling in for a full afternoon and evening of binge watching Hulu and there’s our little Bam Bam, munching on the popcorn right beside us. Before either one of us had even noticed he’d left the bed, our doorbell rang and it was one of our neighbors asking us if we have a cat. I told her yes we did have a cat and it turns out she found him in the carport that lies under our balcony and she says she tried, but she couldn’t catch him.

Built on top of a carport, our balcony is nearly two stories above the back parking lot. No way did I ever imagine Bam Bam would even try to make that leap, but that’s just what he did. Having been an indoor cat ever since we took him in and knowing more than a few coyotes roam the neighborhood at night, my wife and I went out in a near panic as we began our search.

We split up and searched through the remaining hours of daylight. No Bam Bam. We left the front door open all night. No Bam Bam. When Saturday came, we searched again. No Bam Bam. We left the door open again that night, still no Bam Bam. We searched again Sunday and by the time we were headed to bed with the front door open, we both had a sinking feeling we’d never see Bam Bam again.

Then finally, late that Sunday night, like a drunk returning home after a weekend bender, little Bam Bam quietly crept through the front door.

I was the last person you’d ever imagine becoming a cat lover, but there I was, completely overjoyed and relieved when his first meow woke me up. I realize that Bam Bam escaping is one-hundred percent on us, his owners, and I know two people in particular who are going to give me a lot of shit about it, but all I can say is we are so filled with gratitude he found his way home and yes, the balcony is temporarily closed and the chicken wire is on its way.

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amazon-now

I’ve been an Amazon Prime member for years. I was worth it to me when it was $75 / year, and it’s been worth it the last two years as a $100 / year service.

When I’m shopping for the best possible price on just about anything, no way do I want to waste gas driving all over town when I can compare ten or twenty online retailers in a matter of a couple clicks. More often than not, I find the best price is at Amazon, and as an Amazon Prime member, it arrives in two days (Sundays deliveries included) for zero dollars.

Well, I heard about Amazon testing a two-hour delivery service about a year ago in New York, they added Seattle, and now, for those of my friends in the So. Cal. area, it’s here and it is legit.

I’m making progress on my waistline, so I ordered a new pair of Dickies chino work pants, my wallet was disintegrating, so I got a Raiders tri-fold wallet, I needed another guitar cable, got that and I was up to $47. Well, they had a coupon for $20 of a $50 order, so I padded that order with two 6-packs of ramen noodles and hit the $50 mark. They automatically add a $5.00 tip which you can change if you’re feeling extra generous or somewhat stingy, but I left it at $5.00 and with tax it was $38.

I placed the order at just a bit after 11:00 and they had a one-hour option as well, which I’m sure would have cost a bit extra, so I went with the standard two-hour delivery, which gave me a time frame of 12:00 to 2:00, which technically would have made it scheduled to arrive within 1 to 3 hours. Sure enough, at one o’clock on the dot, there was the knock at the door, just under two hours from my placing the order.

Granted, it’s a subset of the gazillion things offered by Amazon, but as you can see from my order – pair of pants, wallet, guitar cable, ramen noodes, the categories are all there. If you’re busy working, on a Netflix binge, too drunk to drive or whatever, the fact that Amazon can bring you a good selection of what they carry in just a couple hours is just one more reason to believe we’re living in wondrous times. Order now, my So. Cal. friends and hopefully the service will be a success that keeps spreading to other regions.

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Currently Listening To:

Team of Rivals
by
Doris Kearns Goodwin