2019 Kentucky Gubernatorial Race

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I am unhealthily obsessed with my home state’s politics and state-wide races. I have not lived in Kentucky since 2009, yet I still follow Kentucky’s political news via a Courier Journal subscription. I was disappointed when Matt Bevin won the 2015 Kentucky gubernatorial race and became the governor. I knew he was running on the idea of rolling back Kentucky’s Medicaid expansion. This concerned me as Kentucky’s enrollment in the Medicaid expansion had been sweeping and popular. I was concerned about Kentuckians losing their health insurance or not getting the medical attention they need.

My disappointment evolved into anger over the years as Bevin continually spurred negative headlines. He was rude and condescending. It hurt me to watch him treat public educators as though they were inferior. His assault on public education has been maddening. During his entire tenure, it felt as though he was trying to disassemble or belittle the public education school system in Kentucky; a school system that I was fortunate enough to participate in.

When Ashley and I were considering our move back from California, one of the reasons I wanted to move to Louisville was to have the chance to vote Bevin out of office. I looked forward to casting my ballot for whomever opposed him. Unfortunately, we did not move to Kentucky; I became a spectator to the 2019 Kentucky gubernatorial race from Tennessee. I was happy that Andy Beshear won the Democratic primary. I watched the returns last Tuesday night and was ecstatic over Beshear’s victory.

However, my excitement soon gave way to anxiety. Bevin refused to concede. Worse, he dropped baseless (without proof) accusations about voting irregularities. Instead of bowing out gracefully, Bevin is trying to harm democracy on his way out. I would love to feign surprise here, but I won’t; Bevin is behaving in a classless manner. At this point, I wouldn’t expect anything less. On November 5, 2019, the people of Kentucky voted against one of the most unpopular governors in the United States, regardless of political affiliation. It’s time to acknowledge your defeat, pass the torch, and fade into the background. Perhaps if Bevin would have attended the same public schools in Kentucky that he is wont to attack, he would have learned how to treat others with respect and to carry himself with grace.

Goodbye Instagram

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Since 2016, I have almost entirely checked out of social media. I made my Twitter account private and no longer log into it. I also do not check Twitter anymore. I initially deactivated my Facebook account, then eventually deleted it altogether as I realized I had no use for it and I also did not like the thought of Facebook retaining my data 1. I still occasionally check Snapchat, but only when people share things with me; I rarely share anything with Snapchat. The only strong hold out to social media prohibition had been Instagram.

Instagram was in this weird gray area with me. I obviously knew they were owned by Facebook. However, it almost felt as though they were sandboxed from the parent company. I would tie myself in knots to justify it in my head that it was okay to use Instagram but not okay to use Facebook. This past weekend, I finally became fed up with Facebook and decided to delete my Instagram account. I’m sure I will eventually miss some parts of Instagram, but so far I do not. If I want to share photos with people, I’ve realized I have a perfectly good vehicle for sharing photos: blogging. Sure, it’s a hurdle for people if they want to view my photos, but I think it’s a good trade off. If I’m not tied to as many social networks, that’s probably a good thing in the long run.

  1. I’m not delusional here; I have no faith that Facebook has actually deleted my data and it would not surprise me in the least if they still retain some or all of my data. 

Expedition: Gatlinburg

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Back in August, Ashley and I decided to get a new car. Our Land Rover had been in the shop quite often over the last six months. The cost of gasoline had started to wear on me. I had been lusting over a particular electric vehicle over the past few months. After calculating the cost of the vehicle and researching our charging options, we finally decided to buy an electric vehicle: the 2019 Jaguar I-Pace.

Since August, the I-Pace has been our only vehicle. I adore this vehicle. It is a delight to drive. The acceleration is thrilling (0-60 mph in 4.5s). The lane assist and heads up display are superb. The design of the exterior is bold and attracts attention whenever we are out. We opted for the model with the wheel package upgrade; the 22 inch rims are the largest I have ever driven with. Due to the extended wheelbase (with no internal combustion engine in the front, Jaguar has moved the front wheels up significantly), it has taken an adjustment on our part to become accustomed to the new turning radius. I always felt our Land Rover LR4 had an astonishing turning radius for such a large vehicle. The I-Pace’s radius seems much more arching, not quite as maneuverable in tight spaces. After a few weeks of driving it, we were still adjusting. At nearly six weeks with the vehicle, I finally feel at ease with the new radius.

We have done quite a bit of local driving (around the middle Tennessee area) as well as quick excursions to Clarksville to meet up with family. These round trips have been well within the I-Pace’s advertised range of 234 miles. However, October is a special month in my family. My father’s family travels to Gatlinburg every October for a family vacation. Approximately fifteen relatives rent two cabins in the Great Smoky Mountains. We were aware of this upcoming trip and, with a little research, we knew the mileage there would be approximately 223 miles: just under the advertised range of the I-Pace. Not being the gambling type, I made a plan to stop in Knoxville to make use of a DC fast charger (0-80% charge within 40 minutes). My plan called for a fast charge in Knoxville, some light level 2 charging in Gatlinburg while we played, followed by a fast charge just south of Gatlinburg (in a state park) on the last day of our trip, then finally a fast charge in Cookeville on our way home. All in all, four days, three fast charging periods, a few slower charging periods. Best laid plans…

The first part of the trip was a success. We made it to Knoxville with about 15% battery remaining. I should have started the trip in Eco mode; we possibly could have made it to Knoxville with 20% remaining. One thing I did not account for in my planning: steep inclines and the power drainage when climbing steep grades. The interstate from Nashville to Knoxville has a few areas of steep grade, but has long stretches of shallow grade inclines. The part that scared me most here was knowing we had more to climb once we started approaching Gatlinburg. No bother; my estimates planned for some wiggle room.

We got to the cabin fine. The next issue was the lack of charging in Gatlinburg. There are chargers, but they’re all on the Blink network which is apparently very flaky. Additionally, these stations were not well maintained and most were not functioning. The ones that were functioning were frequently blocked by internal combustion engine vehicles. Fabulous.

We did find some refuge in Pigeon Forge at the Tanger outlets. However, traveling to these outlets and back would zap about two hours worth of charging at the outlet. We would need to stay at the outlets for more than two hours to have a positive impact in our charge. No bother, I still had the fast charger just south of Gatlinburg at the Sugarlands Visitor Center.

Until I didn’t. I started to get a bit panicky on Saturday and decided I needed to ensure the charger there was functioning. After some research, I discovered the fast charger at the Sugarlands Visitor Center has been out of service for months. This is the time to become concerned.

I brought my trusty slow charger with me, one that I can plug into a wall outlet. It’s less than ideal, but if I’m going to be stationary for hours and hours, I could accumulate some charge. I quickly hunt for a receptacle outside our cabin and find one. I plug in, only to see a bad omen: fault code. Something with the plug is not sufficient for my charging needs. I will not be getting any charge at the cabin.

I start planning. There is a fast charger in the wrong direction. It’s the closest and we easily have the range for it. We can stop there on our way home. I also look and realize we are technically in range of the fast charger in Knoxville. This charger has the benefit of being located on our route home, as well as being familiar (this is where we charged on our way to Gatlinburg). After eating breakfast, I become resolute: Knoxville or bust.

We opt for the shortest route (mileage is our axis and ally at this point). The roads are smaller roads and highways. Even better, since this will require slower speeds and thus extending our range. We plan our route, ensure we’re in Eco mode, and we go on our journey. I am happy to say we made it to the fast charger in Knoxville, with 15% to spare. Relief.

Now that we are home and I have had time to reflect, I realize a few things. The first: I still love this vehicle. It makes me incredibly happy when I drive it. The second? I need to start trusting my math and the vehicle’s range some. Especially knowing what I can do to increase the range of the I-Pace. I do wish the fast charging network was more saturated. I hope these chargers will roll out in more places, especially along interstate highways. I figure more electric vehicles being sold will lead to more fast charger installations. I hope I can trust this instinct as much as I can trust my math when planning out trips.

Eddie Money, 'Two Tickets to Paradise' Singer, Is Dead at 70

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I will not pretend that I am the world’s biggest Eddie Money fan. However, his music played a special role in my childhood. Like most children, I listened to much of what my parents considered “good music”. The typical radio station of choice in our home or vehicles was one of the few “classic rock” stations broadcast in the area. I have fond memories of Pink Floyd, Aerosmith, and Queen. Eddie Money was firmy in that second tier. I could name a few of his hit songs, but would recognize many more songs from him if played them for me.

I was not familiar with Money’s life story until I read his obituary. Being a child when my parents were listening to his music, I was blissfully unaware of his personal life or his struggles. He definitely seemed like a personable, self deprecating person.

I’ll probably be listening to some Eddie Money music for the next few days and reliving my childhood some. Thank you Eddie for providing a piece of the soundtrack for my life.

10 Years

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Ten years ago, during our honeymoon in Hawaii, I told Ashley that we would come back to the island for our ten year anniversary. I wasn’t sure what would happen during those ten years, but I was adamant of what would happen at the end of that period. During that time, I have had six different jobs, while Ashley has had two. We bought our first house. Ashley gave birth to our beautiful son. We moved across the country. We lived on the beach and wet our feet in the Pacific Ocean. We lost a friend. We moved across the country again. We adopted new friends; we lost another. We missed our return trip to Hawaii.

This summary does not adequately cover the depth or richness of the last ten years. There are many laughs and many tears that I have conveniently glossed over for the sake of brevity. I feel very fortunate that I found someone to spend my life with: someone to laugh with, to cry with, or to make silly jokes with that no one else would understand. I have found someone with whom I can share everything and for that I am lucky and grateful. I’m not sure if I would quantify the last ten years as easy or hard; I’m more likely to quantify it as fulfilling.

I look forward to our time together. I am excited to see what new memories we make during the next ten, twenty, thirty, forty, …


A special note for Ashley: thank you for sharing your life with me. I may not always show it, but I am grateful for every moment we share together.