Oxbows

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The other day, I learned what an oxbow is. It is when a river changes course and leaves behind a crescent-shaped body of water. The Omaha area has one of these in Carter Lake. The town of Carter Lake, Iowa sits inside the crescent, which is the border separating it from Nebraska, with the Missouri River separating it from the rest of Iowa. If you’re driving to the Omaha airport from downtown Omaha, you’ll pass through Carter Lake, putting you in Iowa for no more than a couple minutes before reentering Nebraska.

Oxbows exist all along the major river channels in the United States. I learned of these watching a TrueSouth episode about Lake Village, Arkansas, which sits on Lake Chico, which used to be part of the Mississippi River. Author Boyce Upholt is currently working on a book about the Changes the Mississippi has endured, something to look forward to if you’re into topography like I am. These changes along these rivers change how people live along them. The changes in topography are subtle over a lifetime, but can be drastic across generations.

This Intrigues Me: VSSL Java Coffee Grinder

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There’s something about doing something by hand. It’s part of why I love my AeroPress so much for making coffee. I also love well built things. This VSSL Java Coffee Grinder doesn’t have a cheap part in it. It’s a freaking tank. The fact it folds up and can be easily stashed in a backpack makes me happy too.

On Interoperability and Instant Messaging Privacy

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Greg Morris:

Interoperability and big tech giants are not the real target, your privacy is, and they want the right to snoop on you. Sure, messaging should work like email, but the governments of your country made a world that requires your messages to be encrypted and are now breaking it with something ‘simple’.

Greg is on to something. There’s a certain peace of mind that comes from me receiving a blue bubble in iMessage. I know for a fact that message is end-to-end encrypted. It’s why I wish my friends with Android devices would use something like Signal with me.

Now, I have basically nothing to hide. I don’t get involved with criminal activity. Hell, I rarely text much anyway, so there’s very little chance of even some behind the scenes shenanigans going on. I want end-to-end encryption for the same reason I close my blinds at night: what I do on my device or in my home is my business and nobody else’s. Simple as that.

But, governments, more and more, don’t think so. Numerous bills have floated through Congress attempting to chip away at end-to-end encryption. They claim it’s to help law enforcement to catch criminals and terrorists, but that’s such a small segment of society, is it worth it to the rest of us to give up our privacy because of a selected few? Further, with how viciously conservatives are going after the LGBTQ+ community and activists, who’s to stop them from snooping to lock up private citizens simply because they don’t like their way of life? You know damn well Texas would.

So, while I agree the whole messaging thing is messy these days, simply forcing big tech companies to comply with each other, thus stripping away some of the privacy features of these platforms, isn’t the answer.

Servicing My AirPods Pro

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There’s been a known issue with the AirPods Pro where a crackling noise will appear, especially in situations where there’s heavy bass. This began happening for me about two months ago, not only with heavy bass, but also in situations with a lot of outside wind or other outside noise.

So, I took them into my local Apple Store to have them looked at, since Apple offers a free replacement program for this specific issue.

After a short wait, an associate checked the firmware and iOS version I was running. From there, he took my AirPods to the back to run a sound diagnostics test on them. Upon returning, he informed me both buds showed the rattling issue, and therefore I was getting both buds replaced free of charge. I even got some new tips for my troubles. After charging the new buds up and pairing them to my iPhone, I was good to go.

And that’s the entire process. About as painless as I could ask for.

Meditation

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My mom has been battling some high blood pressure issues of late, which have been causing severe headaches and even landing her in the hospital for observation for a couple days. She has prescriptions set which will hopefully help her, but these need to be combined with diet and exercise as well.

I’ve been touting the workouts in the Fitness app on her Apple Watch and iPhone for some time. Fitness+ has become a decent sized library at this point and it’s really easy to find what you want on there. In addition to this, the Time to Walk guided walks on the Apple Watch are something I’ve come to enjoy to get me on an interesting 30 minute walk from time to time.

More recently, Fitness+ has added meditations to the lineup. I’ve done a few of these under the themes of Calm and Focus and have found both to deliver on their intent. Last night I Facetime’d my mom and guided her how to get into doing one of these meditations. She was definitely impressed and could feel a difference afterwords, enough to want to do these often to help relax her and get her blood pressure down. With that in mind, I’ve put together a brief little how-to to guide her and anyone else on how to do these. It’s amazing what a few minutes of deep breathing can do.

Ghost & Volbeat

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I had to look through my photos to see what the last concert I attended was. That would be Metallica in 2018 on their Hard Wired Tour.

So, last night my girlfriend, a friend of hers, and myself drove to Lincoln to see Ghost and Volbeat perform. Both are bands I’ve recently have gotten into, with my girlfriend introducing me to Ghost and Volbeat being constantly talked about amongst my friends. All in all, it was a great show. It was good to get out again.

Here’s some photos:

Twin Temple (opening act)

Volbeat

Ghost

Yesterday, I Walked a Lot

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This is how my day started yesterday:

Flat tire. Not good. I’ve been battling the air pressure in my two rear tires the last few weeks since the winter cold has set in, but suddenly this front driver’s side tire decided to crap out on me. I’m bummed because my front tires were replaced about two years ago and still had good tread on them. I anticipated I would have to replace the rear tires soon, but now I’m looking at all four. That’s a chunk in my bank account I didn’t really look forward to disappearing.

The problem here was I had to get to work. I was just starting the process of searching for a Lyft when I heard my girlfriend’s morning alarms going off. So, I checked with her, and she was willing to get me to work. Given the differences in our schedules, however, I chose to walk home.

This wasn’t just a quick walk home. It took me just under two hours and stretched across two counties. Ok, I know that makes it sound really far. It was only about 5.25 miles (8.45 km). While that may sound like a long way to some people, that’s a distance I’ve been covering since I was in high school.

I’ve learned to like walking. A lot is missed when driving, mostly small details along your route. I’m pretty sure I exclaimed “GET OFF YOUR PHONE” at least six times as I watch drivers awkwardly hold their cellphones while driving. I saw one person apparently filming on their phone while driving, and another guy twirling his vape pen.

I was thankful to get off the main roads about halfway home. From there things quieted down a lot and I could be lost more within my own thoughts and observations. Here’s some of those I took along the way:

• I was already aware of the axe throwing place, but now I’m kind of intrigued by “combat archery”.

• This Kansas City Chiefs flag had the same posture as most Chiefs fans in the area, a day after losing the AFC Championship Game.

• I’ve driven over these railroad tracks many times, but this is the first time I got to see what they looked like. Kind of peaceful looking at this moment.

• Some people just have to be the weirdo on the block. Take the people living in the pistachio pudding green house, for example.

• I’ve said this time and time again, but I truly like the sound of geese flying overhead during the winter.

• Lastly, sometimes it’s far too easy to tell an older subdivision from a newer one. New subdivisions have this thing with mowing down all the trees in the area, making older subdivisions look like forests in comparison.

All in all, the walk wasn’t too bad. The temperature hung around 55°F (12.8°C )and only a couple of hills threatened to kill me. There was a bit of joy once I crossed Harrison Street, which basically rides right on the Douglas & Sarpy county lines, in which I live less than a mile south of that line. There was even more joy once I entered the opposite end of my neighborhood. These little wins made the walk seem easier.

This morning I get new tires, so I don’t expect to too many of these long treks soon. But, I do make sure to soak in the details when I do.

Breaking News is Incomplete News

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In my continued reading of Digital Minimalism, I’ve come to the part where it talks about slowing down my intake of news and not reacting to breaking news alerts on Twitter and the like. The reason for this is that the facts are still coming in. So, instead, when you see some breaking news, wait until the following morning to dive into the report on it. By then, the dust should have settled on the topic.

Case in point, the news Tom Brady is retiring after 22 years from professional football. ESPN has run with this story, seeming totally convinced by their “sources”. The Athletic, a paid and therefore non-clickbate sports news site, is singing a different tune:

Despite an ESPN report saying Tom Brady was retiring after a legendary career, the 44-year-old quarterback reiterated to the Bucs on Saturday that he has not made any decision on his future, that he wasn’t even close to deciding if he’ll return for 2022.

A person with knowledge of the matter told The Athletic’s Greg Auman that Brady contacted the team directly since the report to reiterate that he has not made a decision about retirement. The Athletic’s Jeff Howe cites a person with knowledge of the matter saying Brady called the Bucs late this afternoon to inform them he’s not even close to making a decision about retirement.

So, hold your retirement party plans, folks. Let this one play out.

On iPads and eReaders

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I’ve been feeling the urge to read more. The problem is: I can’t stand holding physical books. They look cool on a shelf. I appreciate good typography and quality binding. But, I simply cannot pry a book open for an extended amount of time with one hand without some level of discomfort. That’s my beef with books.

So, I’ve been attempting to read in my 11” iPad Pro of late. On one hand, it’s nice I can prop it up on a table and read hands free, thanks to Apple’s Magic Keyboard folio. On the other hand, the size of the tablet on its own makes it extremely top-heavy for me to enjoy holding it for long periods of time while reading on the couch. With its form factor, I find it to be good for reading a couple magazine articles from Apple News+, but not so much for anything more than 10 to 15 minutes.

For a hot minute, I pondered the new iPad Mini. Reviews propped it up as a great device to read on, on top of it being a fully capable iPad. I looked around to see if I could pick one up, but found many places to be unavailable, with a wait time on Apple’s website of a month if I ordered one there.

I really began to weigh my decision at this point. If I had two iPads in my possession, obviously the mini would take some use away from the Pro, mostly content consumption, like reading and watching video. I recently bought a new MacBook, which has taken some of my writing away from the iPad Pro, so having the mini around would only make the Pro even less useful to me.

So, what if we took reading out of the equation? Then I’d favor the size of the Pro over the mini. Bigger is better for watching video. I do still enjoy writing on the Pro occasionally, thanks to the quality of the Magic Keyboard attached to it. Honestly, I wouldn’t want to give up that keyboard. There’s no quality option like this for the mini.

Then it occurred to me, there’s a category of device I wasn’t even considering: eReaders. If reading is my major concern, eReaders check all the boxes. They’re lightweight and easy to hold in the hand. They’re easy to read, have backlighting for dimly lit rooms, while looking great in sunlight. As a bonus, thanks to them having eInk displays, they have battery life that lasts for weeks. One more thing, they’re far less expensive than a $500 iPad Mini.

For a split second, I looked at the Kobo line of eReaders. They have good typography, Overdrive library access baked in, and provide an overall quality experience. But, they’re also backed by Walmart here in the States, which makes me uncomfortable. This may sound odd given what I did go with, but I just have some major issues with Walmart. I’ve also seen them try media ventures in the past only to see nobody care and the product fizzles away.

Instead, I picked up an Amazon Kindle Paperwhite. Say what you will about Amazon, I’ll likely agree with you. But, they do have this eReader thing locked down.

I ordered it with a folio case and paid my toll to get rid of the ads. I’ve been giving it a whirl for the past day and I have to say I really like this experience. It does one thing really well; it allows me to read a book in peace without my hand cramping up after 10 minutes. No notifications, no phone calls, no social media apps to pull me away, just words on a screen that I can comfortably look at for a long period of time.

I repurchased Cal Newport’s book Digital Minimalism, which I’ve had on Apple Books. I’m starting about halfway through it, in which it’s taken me well over a year to get that far on the iPad. I’m curious to see how long it takes me to finish it now that I’m on the Kindle. In any case, I’m hopeful to build a quality, calming habit going forward.

Yesterday Was the First Time I Really Felt Old

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Yesterday was rough. I wasn’t sick or anything, just terribly exhausted. I had just come off a six-day stretch at work where we had an unusually hard week for January. Top this off with my decision to stay up late to watch the Kraken game, where I didn’t get to bed until close to midnight, where then my brain decided to have me up at 5:30 AM.

I’ve woken up early on my day off many times. Most days like this, I figure I’ll take a nap, and I’ll feel fine come late afternoon. So, I went with that game plan and laid down around 12:30 PM.

Here’s where things were different. First, was waking up at about 4 PM to barf up my lunch. Admittedly, I had a volatile combo of barbacoa and green chili salsa in my Chipotle burrito, so there’s that. I’ll stick with chicken and corn salsa going forward. In any case, that was a gut punch (pun partially intended) I didn’t need.

From this point forward I went on a continuous loop of sleeping for anywhere between 60-90 minutes, waking up for a few minutes to see how I feel, realizing I couldn’t sit upright for more than five minutes, only to crash on the couch for another 60-90 minutes. I washed, rinsed, and repeated this until about 10:30 when I went to my actual bed, but not until I had my girlfriend make the bed for us, since again, I couldn’t sit upright for more than five minutes.

This whole day I felt helpless, and maybe even worse, useless. I only managed to get our bedsheets clean. I had hoped to get dishes done and vacuum, possibly even do some quick CSS work on my site, among other things. Instead, I couldn’t even bring myself to feed the cats.

Have I finally reached the age where this kind of thing is going to happen? What things can I do to avoid it? I feel like the culprits were definitely stress, a week of crappy sleep, and probably my diet. All things which are fixable or at least manageable. But, I surely miss bouncing back like Flubber from anything and everything like I did in my 20s. Is this what growing old feels like? I don’t like it.

On Switching from 1Password to Apple Keychain

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I’ve been wondering if I should move all my account logins from 1Password to Apple Keychain. I’ve actually supported my mom using Apple Keychain for her logins since it’s baked into iOS and therefore simpler to use.

For me though, I’ve stored everything from checking account info and software keys in 1Password and I’ve wondered how I could access those without 1Password. Justin Cox has a good idea:

I also use 1Password to secure important details — insurance numbers, license plates, rewards program account numbers, and other things you can never find when they’re needed. For each of these, I created locked notes in Apple’s Notes app.

I never thought of that, but I like it. I’m all about simplification, so, it looks like I have a weekend project ahead of me.

These NFL Playoffs Leave Me Little To Root For

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For the first time in a handful of years, the Seahawks missed the playoffs, therefore leaving me no dog in this fight. Usually, I try to tack myself onto a bandwagon, but the group of remaining teams leave me little to like. Let’s go through the list:

NFC

AFC

So, there you have it. It has to be either Tennessee or Cincinnati. Those are the rules.

The University of Nebraska Medical Center has activated their crisis plan

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Omaha is blessed to have two world-class medical centers in town, with the University of Nebraska Medical Center and the Creighton University Medical Center. UNMC in particular has an outstanding infectious airborne diseases unit, in which they had some of the first US COVID-19 cases imported in, as well as Ebola cases in the past. The fact they’re in crisis mode says a lot.

What does that mean? Well…

Some examples of how things could be different:

  • You may be contacted to reschedule an appointment

You can read the full announcement here.

From the Journal: Year One

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Last night, my girlfriend and I went out for pizza to celebrate not killing each other for one year. In all honesty, it’s been the most peaceful first year of a relationship I’ve ever had. We don’t really bicker about much, we respect each other’s space, and we just seem to coexist well.

Not too bad for having no expectations going in. Our first meeting a year ago, I didn’t consider it to be a date. I saw it as an opportunity to hang out with a new friend, someone who I have numerous mutuals with. But, I found myself very comfortable from the beginning.

Since then, every time I open a new door to her, I’m not left wishing I hadn’t done it. She’s a big part of the reason I moved to Omaha. I’ve loved living here ever since, much more than my first go around. We’ve both gotten better jobs since that move. It feels like we elevate each other.

All of this despite being much different people on the surface. She’s much more an adult product of 80s hair metal and Star Wars fandom. You could say I’m the product of the golden era of hip-hop, but I know I’m more of a strange mixed bag that’s delved into hipsterism and techy geek stuff. I told her once I didn’t think I was her type, and she told me maybe that’s the point.

So, here we are, a year later. Now if only the cats will get along.

Social Walks

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“Steve Jobs was famous for his long strolls around the tree-lined Silicon Valley neighborhood where he lived. If you were in his inner circle, you could expect invitations to join him for what was sure to be an intense conversation. Ironically for the inventor of the iPhone, Jobs was not the type of person who would be interested in maintaining important relationships through ongoing drips of digital pings.”

– Cal Newport in Digital Minimalism

I’ve recently started taking walks after I get off work to decompress. No headphones, just the sounds of my neighborhood, which is reasonably quiet. I’ve been meaning to invite my girlfriend to join me on these when she’s home before I am, or would be willing to wait until she is home.

We have a set up in our apartment where we both have our own TV watching areas. Sometimes we drift into each other’s spaces, but we mostly spend time watching our own stuff. Taking a walk together would at least give us a chance to have a good conversation or enjoy some silence. Both are good.

Hybrid Task Management

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The more I get into my new role at work, the more I’m favoring a hybrid system for task management.

I love how paper allows for a distraction free method to jot things down fast. I’m really intrigued by Analog, along with basic pocket notebooks.

For digital, I’m still big on Things. I love the user interface for how simple it is, yet it offers me the power I need to organize items by lists, sub lists, tags, time, etc.

The thing about both analog and digital methods is they can change as my needs change. Up to a month ago, I didn’t need anything too complex. Now, I’m overseeing more than just myself, so I need something more agile and robust. I’m a believer both mediums can play a part keeping me on track.

The skoo.bz Newsletter

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Yesterday, Manton Reece rolled out newsletter support for Micro.blog, the service this site happily uses. It got me thinking on how I wanted to use this feature, and I think I know where I want to go with it.

On the first day of every month, this site will spit out a newsletter with select posts I feel are worth revisiting. This would include any food or beer reviews I do, deeper tech thoughts, deeper life moments, and select photos throughout the month.

If this interests you, feel free to signup by clicking the link below.

Subscribe

Watching: TrueSouth

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TrueSouth is a series on SEC Network which features different cities and towns across the American South and connects with them through food in the little mom-and-pop shops that are unique to their location. Food tells a story for people. It tells you their ethnic and financial background, where they grew up and where they’ve been. It often tells a story of family and community. Those are the things this show tries to unearth in every place they visit, and they do a beautiful job with it.

Here’s an episode that was done in Athens, Georgia:

The show regularly makes me reflect on my growing up on the Gulf Coast in Pensacola, Florida and how food was a part of that. My mom used to have house parties with her coworkers at the medical rehabilitational hospital she worked at. There was always a spread at these events. There would be meat being grilled in the backyard, while attendees would bring a side dish. It became engrained in my mind this is how a gathering should be: several folks coming together around plates of food, having conversations and laughs as afternoons quickly became late evenings.

Even when us kids would have a get-together for a birthday at one of our houses, there would be something to eat there, even if that something was pizza. Food helped bring us together.

I remember a few years after I moved to Nebraska, I was college age, though not in college at the time. A good friend of mine told me about a party happening, saying it would be a good time, so, I rode along with him. I get to this house where there’s one of those white buffet tables and the entire thing was nothing but different kinds of liquor and mixers. Not a single entrée there.

Me being who I was and growing up the way I did, I found this unacceptable. So, I decided to walk about a mile to the nearest McDonald’s and got myself a combo meal there. There was no way I was going to sit and drink all night without having something to eat along the way. Culturally, I found it unacceptable. I still remember feeling the looks other party goers were giving me, like “what’s with this dude and his Big Mac?”.

Luckily, my current circle of friends gets the concept I grew up with. We’ll have potlucks on holidays or other occasions. I’m thankful to have that experience in my life again. My girlfriend and I have talked about having some sort of gathering soon, but with busy schedules and holiday chaos, that hasn’t materialized yet. But, I do look forward to doing so and sharing a plate with a few friends.

TrueSouth can be seen on the SEC Network or on Hulu with the Disney+ bundle.

New Role

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This past Thursday, I took on a new role at my job as a temporary General Merchandise Team Lead at my current store. This is the first time in my life I’ve taken on a leadership role. I’m at the point in my life where I need to be able to do adult things. Frankly, more money helps with that. So, whatever I have to do to achieve this, I’m willing to do.

As for the temporary part of this, it basically amounts to an internship. At some point in January, I’ll be asked if I want to stay on. If I accept, I’ll either have the chance to stay on with my current store (there are two temps, but one final spot in my area), or to look for a chance at another store. With numerous stores remodeling in the new year, there will be openings.

I’m only three days in, but my perspective of things is already changing. In the role I’ve been in for the past couple of years, I was very centralized. My concern was with what was right in front of me at that moment. Now, it’s becoming more of a bird’s-eye view of everything, seeing how the different parts affect one another. It’s interesting to me.

I’m excited for the challenges ahead of me. I have enough confidence in myself to know I can handle it. My current store has been more than supportive of me for the three months I’ve been there. Just good vibes all around.

I haven’t much of a scene like I usually do about this, but I rewarded myself with an Apple Watch Series 7. I’m really enjoying it so far. Between the better pay, working some OT, and using my Series 5 as a trade in, I should have it taken care of shortly. I’ll write more thoughts on the Series 7 soon.

Rivalry Day in Seattle

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It’s rivalry day in Seattle between the Washington Huskies and Oregon Ducks. I’m always reminded of this sign which reads, “Ducks are already terrified of the huskies, but when you crowd the ramp it makes the ducks afraid to use it.

Ducks can carry Salmonella.

Ducks may love to gobble up your human food, but it can make the fountain pretty dirty, and it attracts rats.”

Let’s make those dirty, rat attracting Ducks nervous today.

The Braves are Making It Difficult

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My internal conflict with Atlanta’s baseball team.

The Atlanta Braves were my first experience with Major League Baseball. I would guess I was about 10 when my consciousness for sports reached a level where I could latch on to a team, so we’re talking about 1988 or so. I’d watch Braves games on TBS back in those days, not even caring if they won or lost much. For a kid growing up in Pensacola, Florida, it also happened the Braves were the only team in the South in those days. Texas was always Texas to us, so no rooting for the Astros, and the Tampa Bay Devil Rays and Florida Marlins hadn’t been founded yet. So, the Braves were really the only show in the area.

In 1990, I got my first opportunity to see a Major League Baseball game in person, when my uncle, who lived in the Atlanta area, took us to a game at Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium on a warm June afternoon to see the Braves take on the San Francisco Giants. The Giants were fresh off a World Series appearance the year before, but the Braves were… horrible. The crowd reflected that, as there couldn’t have been more than 3,000 people in that stadium that day.

I didn’t care about any of that, though. I’ll never forget walking up the zig zagging concourse on the way to the upper deck where our seats were and the feeling of coming through the tunnel from the concourse to the seating area and seeing that bright-green field for the first time. We had seats right behind home plate, very close to where the TV cameras that show the usual view of the action when the ball is in play. These became my favorite seats to watch a game, regardless of what stadium I am in.

At some point during the game, we went and visited a kids' area, where there were three mascots set up much in the same was Santa Claus would be at your local mall. I have pictures of me hugging each of them, one of them being Homer the Brave, a mascot stylized in the image of the Braves’ logo from 1966 to 1986. At no point did any of this register with me because I was only 11 and to me, it was just a mascot.

The Braves lost that day, as they did many days. That didn’t matter to a kid who got to see his first game in person. I was a fan of baseball that day for life, and a fan of the Braves. My favorite player in those days was Ron Gant. I think more than anything, he looked like a baseball player to me. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a uniform more form fitting on a player. Dude just looked like a badass athlete to me.

This was 1990. Before David Justice, Chipper and Andrew Jones, Greg Maddux, Otis Nixon, Fred McGriff, Sid Bream, and a whole host of other names what would become synonymous with the club. This was also before Deion Sanders, who even though he was playing in Atlanta for the Falcons in those days, he was still employed as a baseball player by the New York Yankees. A year later, he would become a Brave.

Deion was instrumental in the Braves’ success a year later in 1991 when the team when from worst to first and won their first National League pennant since the team had come to Atlanta. Deion decided the team needed something extra from the fans, so he introduced the chant his alma mater Florida State University is known for, the tomahawk chop. It exploded like flames to dry grass.

In 1992, I would see my second game in Atlanta. By that time, Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium would go from being known as “The Launching Pad” to being known as “The Chop Shop”. That chant was constantly echoing through the enclosed steel ring of the inner bowl of that place. The Braves team store sold foam tomahawks, and those things could be seen waving around as fans did the chop motion with the chop chant.

Here’s a little disclaimer about the chop. I’ve always sort of hated it. Deion Sanders, the man who brought the chop to Atlanta, played for the college arch rival of my Florida Gators. Florida State’s band would play that damn war chant after every damn offensive play, sometimes. As a Gators fan, you get tired of it rapidly during the yearly matchup with the Seminoles on Thanksgiving weekend. By the middle of the second quarter, you’re like, “SHUT UP ALREADY!”.

But, again, I made no connection to Native American culture. Not until my dad brought it to my attention with an article talking about how problematic the name was. The article even suggested name changes for the Braves. One that stuck out with me was the Kings, in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.. I have to admit, it planted a seed. But, it wouldn’t truly grow for years after that. You see, the Braves were excellent in the 1990s. The only years the Braves wouldn’t win their division would be in 1990, the first year I saw them, and in 1994, when the season was cut short by a labor dispute. The Braves would go on to win 14 consecutive division titles, five National League pennants, and the 1995 World Series. As someone who mainly cared about the team itself, they were hard not to root for.

As time went on, my father would get in touch more and more with the Native American side of his ancestry. He did his research and found his mother had roots in Siouxland, along the Nebraska and South Dakota border. He would later get connected with local Natives in the Pensacola area, where he met his second wife and had a traditional wedding. She definitely made my dad even more aware of things going on in the Native community. I wouldn’t call him a full on activist, but he did make the trip up to Whiteclay, Nebraska and the neighboring Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota to protest the killing of two tribesmen by the hands of the Nebraska State Patrol. I know in his time there he got to know some locals and heard their stories. He cared about this stuff.

It wasn’t until my mid-20s that it all started to really register to me. My father and I had a falling out for a while, but when things started to come back, much of that was me listening to his story. It was the first time I really got to know him. The more I got to know him, the more Native issues mattered to me. The stories of Natives being shot and killed along the roadside in South Dakota with no repercussions, and of Indigenous women and girls being abducted with no answers sent alarm bells off in my head.

I watched in anger while multiple state governors, including Nebraska governor Pete Ricketts, sent the state patrol to ward off water defenders at the site of the Keystone XL oil pipeline. I shared in that same anger as former President Donald Trump seize sacred Native lands in the name of oil profits. So, imagine my level of distain when I see that same Donald Trump doing the tomahawk chop in Atlanta last night. I can’t say for sure if the Braves invited him, but I wouldn’t be surprised. If anything, they didn’t detour him.

Here’s something you should know about today’s Atlanta Braves. They’re owned by very stanch Republicans, the typical rich white guy type. They frankly only care about becoming more rich. Furthermore, they moved the team out of downtown Atlanta to the suburbs in Cobb County, where the stadium has proven to be a money pit for the county. They also moved it away from a predominantly Black part of Atlanta to a predominately white part of Atlanta, and in doing so, moved away from any direct rail service in the area. Sure, there are busses which can get people in and out of the stadium, but as someone who has ridden both rail and bus lines in other big cities, I can tell you rail lines are far more efficient. I can read between the lines here.

Braves ownership is also in favor of keeping people around who will help them make more money. They held fundraisers for Georgia governor Brian Kemp. This is the same Brian Kemp who signed the restrictive 2021 voting law, which directly affects the ability of Blacks to vote in the state of Georgia, especially in Atlanta. Worse, it rings in memories of Jim Crow Era laws, as there’s a provision which makes it illegal for anyone to hand out food or water at a polling site, which is problematic when you decrease the number of voting sites, thus making the lines even longer. No surprise, this is due to happen more in predominately Black areas. Long story short, this lead to the removal of the All-Star Game in Atlanta, reminiscent of the NBA All-Star Game getting pulled out of Charlotte after the passing of North Carolina’s transgender bathroom law. That law would later get repealed.

Coming back to the tomahawk chop. Over the past few years, we’ve seen college sports programs change their names away from Native American imagery, unless they get special permission from a local tribe, like Florida State University did. More recently, we’ve even seen some pro sports clubs change their names, as the Washington Redskins and Cleveland Indians are no more. Other clubs, like the Braves, the Kansas City Chiefs, and the Chicago Blackhawks have stayed the course, while touting some form of approval from a local Indigenous group. Jeff Passan wrote perfectly for ESPN why this stance is basically nothing more than public relations bullshit, at least in the Braves’ case. Even worse, it appears the Braves and some of their fans have become more defiant in defense of the chop.

It’s really infuriating seeing how defiant the Braves have been with the chop when you have the Seattle Kraken, a team with no Native ties in their imagery, still have someone who they check into on their staff to make sure throwing a stuffed salmon into the crowd isn’t offensive. The Spokane Indians of the Northwest League have gone even further to make sure they’re respectful. It’s not that hard to show a little empathy.

It’s important to show respect when it comes to cultural imagery. Not every kid is going to have an experience like I had that’ll wake them up to how this affects their thinking when it comes to other cultures. Many, if not most, will will grow up thinking it’s no big deal which leads to a lack of empathy for marginalized groups.

That lack of empathy is what’s making it really hard to cheer for the Braves in this year’s World Series, one they’re a win away from winning. It’s unfortunate because they have a likable cast of players. I say this after getting a chance to see my first Braves home game in 18 years this year. I really want to root for them. Some things just can’t be ignored, however. It’s not that hard to do the right thing.

Schilling Emerald City 🍺

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Name: Emerald City

Style: Cider

Brewer: Schilling - Seattle, WA

ABV: 6.7%

IBU: -

Rating: 4/5

Notes: I’m really pleased with this one. It’s blackberry & pear, but it comes across as a sweet cranberry.

Saro Spiced Cider 🍺

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Name: Spiced Cider

Style: Cider

Brewer: Saro - Lincoln, NE

ABV: ?

IBU: -

Rating: 3.5/5

Notes: Yup, it’s a spiced cider.

Kyrie and His Decision to Not Get Vaccinated

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Shams Charania, writing for The Athletic [free pass]:

Multiple sources with direct knowledge of Irving’s decision have told The Athletic that Irving is not anti-vaccine and that his stance is that he is upset that people are losing their jobs due to vaccine mandates. It’s a stance that Irving has explained to close teammates. To him, this is about a grander fight than the one on the court and Irving is challenging a perceived control of society and people’s livelihood, according to sources with knowledge of Irving’s mindset. It is a decision that he believes he is capable to make given his current life dynamics. “Kyrie wants to be a voice for the voiceless,” one source said.

People who make this kind of decision are ignoring well verified facts about this virus and the vaccine to combat it. Those being:

However, the nation’s top doctors and scientists have cleared the vaccine as safe and effective. The Center for Disease Control (CDC), American Medical Association (AMA) and Food and Drug Administration (FDA) state clearly that COVID-19 vaccines are effective at helping protect against severe disease and death, including from variants of the virus, while also being safe. In fact, multiple studies showed that 99 percent of people who are in intensive care units in hospitals are unvaccinated. Sources say 96 percent of NBA players are currently vaccinated. More than 3.75 billion people worldwide have received a vaccine dose. To be clear, Irving’s stance is not believed to be anti-science, according to sources.

So, the man is literally willing to be a host for this virus, thus putting his own life, not to mention the lives of many others including teammates and loved ones at risk, to protest people losing jobs because they chose to put themselves and others including coworkers and loved ones at risk? Either Irving is full of shit or he’s just a complete dipshit at this point. There’s really no other explanation for this.

In the process, he’s putting his team, his fraternal brothers, at a disadvantage because of his selfishness. So much of what this dude does defies logic, but this takes the cake.

Inside the Eye of the Storm Live Video of Category 4 Hurricane

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From Saildrone’s blog:

In a world first, a 23-foot Saildrone Explorer equipped with a specially designed “hurricane” wing has collected the first video footage of the extreme weather conditions inside a Category 4 hurricane in the Atlantic Ocean. The mission is a partnership between Saildrone and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Five vehicles were deployed to better understand the ocean processes that are occurring as hurricane intensity increases, which means collecting data immediately before and during a hurricane.

Crazy footage from inside a Hurricane. I felt a little sick watching it.