When to Change your Oil in a Pandemic?

Anytime I’ve asked a mechanic, “How often should I change my oil?” The answer has always been every 5,000 to 7,000 miles — depending on what oil I’m using. I never really pay attention to the second part of their advice, “…or every three to six months.”

I’ve never had to listen to that part. I’ve always reached the mile goal before the time limit. Also, I always give it a few extra hundred or thousand miles — just to be safe. Even though the oil change recommendation sticker usually says “See you at [some number] miles OR [this date].” I’ve always taken it as, “See you at [some number] miles AND [this date].” Plus, some extra on both.

During the pandemic this whole oil sticker thing became a mess. While the time limit was way past due, I wasn’t even halfway to my mile goal. It didn’t make sense to me. How often do you change your oil when you’re not putting any miles on your car? Never…

I did eventually get my oil changed — possibly too late, as always. My car also has a meter that tells me my oil life in percentage. I don’t know how it works so I don’t truly trust it. I don’t think it’s actually testing my oil by reading any specific levels or anything like that. I believe it’s just a slow countdown in percentage.

The oil life meter is now at 30%-ish, so I guess it’s time for another oil change — soon.

If this helped at least one person realize that they need to get an oil change because they forgot that oil changes were a thing in this crazy year, then I have done my job.

Thank you and good night.

Weight Gain Ferd-Thousand (Pandemic Edition)

When the Coronavirus pandemic first began we were all forced to stay in our homes. Throughout year one everyone was talking about being lazy and gaining weight from all the snacking. I remember hearing Emily V Gordon say, “When we get out of this we’re all gonna be a little fatter,” on her and Kumail Nanjiani’s pandemic podcast, Staying In with Emily & Kuamil.

In the beginning of the lockdown I was still eating whatever I wanted, but due to no improv shows I didn’t have to eat dinner at midnight or one in the morning any longer. Before this all started I had a very strange eating schedule from Wednesday to Saturday, where I wouldn’t eat a full dinner before rehearsal or shows and instead would wait until I was done for the night. Also, the only food available after 11 pm or later is usually not very healthy.

At that time, with all of the late night eats I was still able to stay at a consistent weight of about 210-215. I was doing enough activity that it was fine for me to be eating so late at night. Probably not on the inside, but I looked fine on the outside.

So, when the lockdown started I was no longer eating my late night snacks/full meals (plus a late night beer or two). I was on a more regular eating schedule. I started to lose weight. Also, I was working out a lot more: running, boxing, swimming weights and anything I could do on my own outdoors or in the backyard.

Around the summertime I started eating a little more healthy, but kept working out like Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. Maybe not as hard as Dwyane, maybe like 25% of what he does, but that’s still a lot for a regular human. I even started losing weight.

When I saw the number on the scale going down slowly I thought of a new plan. I thought this is going to be funny, when we get back to shows in “a few months” — it’s now been over a year — everyone will be talking about how they gained weight and I’ll be that one dude that looks better than before. I wanted to be like people on sitcoms that come back in a later season looking thinner, stronger and younger than they ever have.

This plan was working. I made it down to under 200 lbs for the first time since I lived in Orlando, back in 2014-2015. I was dropping weight quickly and getting stronger with mostly boxing, running and some light weight training.

Let’s take a short break to check out my
Pandemic Workout Selfie Album:

But then something happened — the holidays. The pandemic was taking way too long to clear up. It’s still clearing up. I started working on side projects (blogs/sites) that took away from my workout time. I grew bored of working out so much, and I started eating more and more [Oreos and junk].

At some point during the pandemic I decided it was totally fine to eat cookies, chocolate, ice cream and desserts with breakfast. Sometimes I would eat these before breakfast. I’d eat them while cooking breakfast. And I’m still doing that.

My weight started to climb, because let’s face it — It’s much easier to gain weight than to lose weight. I bet Chris Hemsworth (aka Thor) has to lose weight for many roles, but it must have been a fun time to gain weight for Avengers: Endgame (even though that’s probably a fat suit). Christian Bale has done both for roles and I bet gaining weight (American Hustle) was a much better time than losing weight (the Machinist).

In the beginning of 2021 I reached my highest weight in years, possibly ever. This sucked after reaching my lowest weight just a few months earlier (mid to late 2020).

Since learning about this massive weight gain I started working out again. I’m not at 25% Rock output yet, but I hope to get back there soon (maybe higher than that). I’ve tried a few things to get me to stop eating so much cookies and chocolate and sugar, but it’s hard during a 1+ year long pandemic.

I still haven’t seen most of the world yet, so there’s still a chance of me getting back to where I was when this whole thing began. I guess that’s my goal for now. Get to where I started — around 210-215. After that I’ll go for under 200 once again.

It’s not as funny to hear people say, “Wow, you look the same” as it would have been to have them say, “How did you look even better than you did in March 2020?”

I definitely need to go down in weight before the late night eating returns. Perhaps I can change that habit too. I can just get rid of the late night eating altogether. Either way, I’m going back down and I’m going to keep working out, before I see you all in 2021 — or 2022.

The History of Face ID (according to me)

When the iPhone first introduced Face ID in 2017 it was the coolest thing ever (to some people). Unlocking your iPhone felt like being an international spy or living in the distant future. Apple and many other tech companies started off with fingerprint scanning, but when that became the norm they had to step it up.

Unofficial Apple Meeting Transcript (2016) 

TIM: What if we can use their faces as a fingerprint?

BOB: What? Like a face print?

TIM: Yes, but don’t call it that.

SHIELA: What about Print Face.

BOB: Face Reader?

SHIELA: Open face???

TIM: I hate all of those.

SHIELA: Face ID?

TIM: Yes, thank you Shiela! Face ID! Make it happen nerds…

Now, in 2020 and 2021 the face recognition technology has become slightly obsolete. Not all the time, but most of the time thanks to the pandemic. Now that we’re all wearing masks we’ve gone back to entering our pins and being forced to remember our hundreds of saved passwords. It’s madness.

The sad part is that Apple took away the fingerprint reader from our iPhones, so now we’re forced to enter our pins instead (like it’s the early 2010s). We’ve regressed not only one but two generations to entering pin codes.

I don’t understand how my iPhone recognizes my face with and without glasses on. Each time I unlock my iPhone using my face I try to stump it by making a different silly face, but it always recognizes me somehow (and I know many of you do the same). This is why I don’t understand how it doesn’t know who I am when a mask is covering the lower third of my face? There’s still two thirds of my face for you to read iPhone!

Disney is now testing out face recognition software to enter the parks, but again we’re still wearing masks. At first I thought maybe they were having trouble with imposters pretending to be their friends who are passholders, but they already have our fingerprints (and I’m guessing it’s hard to fake that, unless once again you’re some kind of international spy).

I’m starting to think this whole Face ID and facial recognition software craze is just a ploy for all of these big companies to sell more of our information (aka our faces) to advertisers everywhere. We should have never given Apple our faces, but now it’s too late, they have everything and soon our world will become some dystopian Cyberpunk future.

Until then — Good luck, everyone…

Elevator Etiquette (2.0)

I know I once had the idea of writing a learning about Elevator etiquette/behavior. I also have a lot of thoughts about elevators in general and how strange they are. But today, I’m here to talk about one of my problems with elevators: dealing with other humans in elevators.

I’ve ridden many elevators (or lifts, if you’re British) in my day. I’ve always been the type of person that doesn’t want to talk to a stranger on an elevator ride. Yes, I shared a up-and-down box-cart ride with you for a few seconds, but you don’t have to tell me “good day,” or “have a nice one” or anything of the sort because of it.

I won’t be mad if you just leave me in the elevator with my thoughts once you’ve reached your destination. And if we reach my destination first I don’t think you should be mad if I don’t say anything on my way out.

I get nervous about what to say, and when I feel like I have to say something to the person I usually just walk out and scream, “Bye!” at them. It’s people who have elevator catch phrases that I’m concerned about. People who say things like, “Have a good one,” or “Take it easy,” or even “See ya later!” Ok, “see ya later,” is a very strange one. You don’t know if that’s true. You may not see me later on, you may not even see me ever again in your life.

Now with the COVID-19 elevators have gotten a whole lot weirder. There’s new rules to riding an elevator. There’s a new cap on the number of people. Remember the simple days, when it was a weight limit and you just had to hope that the elevator wouldn’t beep or shake. Also, everyone could just pack into the elevator like sardines.

Today, there is a two to four person limit (on the elevators I’ve seen). There’s also a mask rule, so it’s harder to talk to people (of course some people are idiots and don’t think they have to wear a mask, but that’s a different story altogether).

I’ve even added an additional wild card. I now wear my Bluetooth ear buds for elevator rides, grocery shopping and pretty much anywhere else I want to avoid talking to people. And it always works. Or at least if anyone has tried to talk to me, I haven’t noticed. And that’s the same as it working to me.

I will continue to use my ear buds in public well after the pandemic…

Bowling is Weird(er now)

Come with me to a magical time. A time before this pandemic. A time where we could freely leave our homes to do things with other people and not be worried about masks, social distancing, being indoors, crowds… (I started writing this learning a few months ago, but never got to finish. And now I have completed it, but have added corrections due to the current situation we all find ourselves in).

___

Bowling always is was a fun thing to do. I don’t go very often, EVER! Up until this past weekend some time in February or March, the only time I’d go bowling was on Christmas day when my friend and his wife were in town. However, this weekend many, many months ago we went bowling with some friends, and it was a pretty fun time. (I call bowling a game and not a sport, because even the Pros drink beer while bowling — that’s still true).

There is however one thing that they can change about bowling will probably be changed whenever it comes back, if it isn’t back already. Any time that you have to share a bowling lane/area with another group of strangers they are always loud and annoying. I don’t think we’re going to be allowed to share bowling areas with strangers anymore, and that’s a great thing.

You always get grouped with a big, loud family, a birthday party full of unsupervised children who are high on cake and pizza or some other obnoxious group. It’s never a quiet old couple or a group you would actually get along with. No matter who you’re paired with in bowling, they are always going to suck.

Bowling would be much better if they treated it like an Asian private karaoke bar (these could still be open during the pandemic). Every lane is a private room and you don’t have to deal with another party or strangers (also a great idea during the COVID times). If bowling were like this everyone could be as loud or annoying as they want to be, to their own group. If the people you were bowling near hated you, it would be because your friends actually hate you.

Also, why is it that no one can ever remember which ball they were rolling with (this will always be a problem in bowling)? Any time you get up to bowl and there’s a mix of two groups, your ball is always missing. You end up trying out every ball on the belt. Why can’t people keep track of their balls? Anytime it’s my turn and my ball is missing, I almost always see the stranger in the next lane rolling it (This is my second time calling it “rolling a bowling ball,” is that really what it’s called?).

Also, these huge groups bring way too many balls to the bowling area. There are always several balls that no one is using that just stay there the entire night (yes, because only psychos go bowling in the day time).

And one more thing, why do bowling shoes look like that? They always have some ugly doo doo brown color mixed in. They have your shoe size in a large font, what if you don’t want people knowing how large your feet are? Do you ask for a smaller size and just deal with it all night?

I guess what I’m saying is Bowling is weird!
And, it’s about to get a lot weirder if it hasn’t already.

THE GREAT DEBATE(S)

Ever since the late 1950’s, there has been an ongoing debate. According to my very quick internet research, that’s about the time the three point seat belt was created. We all know that seat belts save lives, however, a large amount of the population still chooses not to wear them.

Sure, they’re not very comfortable. They hurt your gut. Maybe you think you’re too cool for school (Well, I’ve got a newsflash for you, Walter Cronkite… You Aren’t!***). Guess what fools! It’s the law (in Florida and I’m guessing in some other states too. Because Florida is always way behind on the times.) 

That’s the clever slogan around here

The new version of the great seat belt debate is whether to wear a mask or not during the current pandemic. A mask is like a seat belt (for your face). Wearing one (when in public) can save your life (as well as others), but some people are fools or they just don’t care. Maybe they don’t believe the virus is real (It is very real. Just ask Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson). Maybe they just love the current president and think “that [idiot] doesn’t wear a mask, so I don’t have to either?”

Here’s a new slogan for you, “Wear a mask, you stupid idiot!”

By now every person should own at least one mask, so put it on your face. If you don’t own a mask that’s a different story, you should just stay in your home until you find one.

Another problem is that some people are carrying around a mask, but don’t know how to properly wear them. I’ve created a series of drawings so we could all learn together HOW TO and HOW NOT TO wear our masks when in public or crowded spaces.

CORRECT!
I wear my mask/seat belt. I care about my safety and the safety of others.

How to properly wear a mask. Cover both your mouth and nose holes, because these are the two places you can breathe from (Unless you are some sort of fish/human hybrid with gills. You would need an entirely different type of mask with gill covers, possibly two separate types of masks?)

WRONG!!
I only wear half of my mask/seat belt.

People wearing a mask with their nose out are wrong. It’s like wearing just the top or bottom part of your seat belt. It doesn’t count unless you’re wearing the whole thing. Did you know that you can breath out of your nose as well as your mouth? Even if you are predominantly a mouth breather, you still need to cover those two nose holes.

THE MOST WRONG!!!
Hey, look at my mask/seat belt. No, I will not wear it.

These are the worst kind of people. They have a mask on their person, but still choose not to wear it. If you need to take off your mask for some reason, get away from everyone and do it, then come back when you’re ready to be a member of society.

If you have your mask hanging around your neck or off your ear. That’s like driving drunk, you shouldn’t even be here. You’re unqualified to be in public. Who invited you to the party?

So, I guess the point of this week’s learning is WEAR YOUR MASK! And if you have been wearing your mask I tell you this, “Great job! Keep up the good work.”

Congratulations! You get a virtual internet high five! (or two because I couldn’t decide which one I liked more)

***Derek Zoolander (Ben Stiller) said this in the 2001 box office hit ZOOLANDER.

Take Me Back (Back to Batuu)

The first time I visited Batuu (Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge in Walt Disney World) was back in October of 2019. It was a day trip* and I couldn’t wait to go back. I didn’t have to wait very long, by December we made another day trip to Batuu. I was also able to go for a few hours in January of 2020, but it was too crowded and I got rained on, so I decided to come home early. That was my last trip to Walt Disney World.

MY STAR WARS STORY:
I didn’t grow up a huge Star Wars fan. I wasn’t really exposed to Star Wars until the Prequel Trilogy (Episodes I-III), which I watched in theaters. In middle school, a friend tried to show me the original trilogy and I didn’t care for it. I was more into silly comedies and buddy cop movies back then. (Some of my favorites included The Big Hit starring Markie Mark and John Leguizamo’s The Pest and of course, Face Off with John Travolta and Nick Cage).

It wasn’t until hearing about J.J. Abrams’s new Star Wars Trilogy that I decided to sit down and watch all six films. I thought, “Hey, this dude made me think Star Trek** was cool again!” I enlisted my best friend (who wasn’t really into Star Wars either) and we watched all six movies, about one per week. This time we really got into them.


Side Note: We did take one week off to watch an indie movie, The Way, Way Back which ended up biting us in the butt. It must have been after watching Empire. In one scene some kid is playing with some Luke and Leia toys and making them kiss, and someone yells, “Gross! They’re brother and sister!” Of course, this was already public knowledge, but I guess we had forgotten since we were currently watching everything for the first time. We both screamed out, “Aw, spoiler alert!” even though it was about thirty years, too late (that’s on us).

It wasn’t just the Star Wars films that got me excited, I immersed myself in the universe with The Clone Wars (which I’m re-watching now in order of events) and Rebels. I even have read a few of the Star Wars comics and books (Lords of the Sith, Ahsoka, Phasma and some others). I love the art of Star Wars, and all the amazing fan art. I even recently bought the twenty-two pound Ralph McQuarrie art book that has been in my Amazon cart for a few years. I woke up early on Friday mornings to watch the latest Mandalorian episode on Disney+ before going to work.

I may have become a fan of everything Star Wars a bit late in life, but I have become a big fan. I love that we’re now able to travel to Batuu. We can have a drink at Oga’s Cantina. We can pilot the Millennium Falcon, which I did and even got to warp us into light speed. I still haven’t been on Rise of the Resistance, which brings me to the point of this whole thing.

A NEW BATUU:
I planned to visit Disney with my girlfriend for my birthday, back in March. However, my birthday happened to be about a weekend or two after Disney World decided to close due to the pandemic. I know that they are opened right now, with limited capacity and lots of new rules (which makes complete sense). And, I hope that Disney is able to set the example of how to reopen such a large place during this pandemic.

I am a Walt Disney World Passholder and I want to go back as soon as possible. I had definitely planned to go for my birthday and at least one more time before the summer blackout took place. I just don’t want to go to Disney during a pandemic. I don’t want to have to wear a mask while I’m there and only be able to enjoy partial experiences of all the things I love.

The great part about visiting Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge is going to a new planet, Batuu. You’re able to let go and not worry about what’s going on in the real world for a few days. I definitely don’t want to travel to another planet (Batuu) and have to deal with COVID while I’m there. I’m leaving my current planet (and galaxy). I would hope that COVID hasn’t traveled that far.

The whole point of going to Galaxy’s Edge is to get lost in your own immersive Star Wars experience. The cast members are all characters, playing a role. I don’t want COVID to taint that experience. I don’t want to ride Smuggler’s Run with my mask on. I don’t want to get on Star Tours with a giant piece of glass between me and the rebel on board. I want to have a normal Disney experience, and I feel like it will be some time before that is possible. So, for now I will continue watching, reading and listening to all the things that take place in a galaxy far, far away.

* I call my first two visits to Batuu a day trip because we drove up early in the morning, spent part of the day in Epcot and the second part in Galaxy’s Edge, before driving all the way back home when the park closed.

** I do remember watching Star Trek: The Next Generation sometimes as a kid, and not really getting it. So, I guess I already thought Star Trek was kind of cool?

Congratulations!
If you stuck around unitl the very end, you now get to enjoy this…

I can’t wait to go back to a time where hugging Chewbacca is ok…