Home video, Periscope and Katch!

Looking for a way to broadcast and share video while we are in Mexico in a couple of weeks. I’m testing out the Twitter video broadcast app, Periscope. One of the downsides is it’s impossible to save the video and keep the live Periscope comments and Periscope videos get deleted 24 hours after broadcast. One one of our listeners, Kinny, suggested using the Katch service. Here is the result:

Testing Periscope using #Katch integration!

For some reason, Katch’s embed code doesn’t seem to work here:
http://katch.me/embed/v/f25016e9-7e04-35ee-b8ce-5287dec5bce1

Diary of a Mad Man Podcast Episode #8!

We are on the iTune Store, too! Please subscribe and leave a review….or not…

You can listen to Episode #8 here.

Man dies at Ohio amusement park after getting struck by rollercoaster while looking for phone

Handgun phone case draws armed RCMP to Manitoba beach

Very British Problems on Twitter

Quiz: How Awkwardly British Are You?

7 Tips for Keeping Your Man (from the 1950s)

7 foreign words you need to know

Alissa St Laurent becomes first woman to win Canadian Death Race ultramarathon

Periscope app

Guest Post by Amy!

My friend Amy writes:

Elizabeth Warren says women don’t share that they use Planned Parenthood.

I do.

I use Planned Parenthood.

And now I’m sharing it.

Off and on for over twenty years, PP has given me services like thyroid blood screenings, liver function panels, cholesterol testing, Pap smear tests, and “well woman” exams.

Planned Parenthood has provided me with sound, unbiased information about my health and choices that help me make the most of limited health care dollars when I’ve been uninsured, unemployed, or under-employed.

Additionally, Planned Parenthood has never even offered me an abortion. In over twenty years. Nothing. Incredible. Since all I hear from my “representatives” in government is that’s all PP does. Abortions.

Abortions. And more abortions.

Why?

Why have I never been offered an abortion??

Because I’ve never been pregnant. Why? Because I never wanted any children. Planned Parenthood helped me choose birth control options that best suited me, my needs, and my financial situation.

If you, kind reader, think you don’t know anyone who goes to Planned Parenthood, you’re wrong. And if you think PP “only kills babies” you’re double wrong.

Have a question about Planned Parenthood? Why not ask? Ask PP or even me. I might be able to answer your question.

Or just continue to live in ignorance. But just like most STI’s, ignorance is totally curable and you don’t even need a pelvic exam or any prescription creams.

Thank you, Elizabeth Warren, for supporting women and girls to make the best choices for themselves. And for supporting Planned Parenthood in providing ladies of all ages, races, religions, and classes with scientifically sound and unbiased health care and advice.

First time in Mexico – any tips?

Now that we’ve made the reservations, we need to make the plans.

Neither Kim or I have ever been to Mexico or to an “All Inclusive Resort” before so I’m asking you – what should we know/do/be on the lookout (good or bad) for?

When I went on a Mediterranean cruise in a previous lifetime, we got smacked around by all kinds of surprises so I’d like to avoid/minimize that as much as possible.

We’ll be flying into the Cancun International Airport and then picking up our transfer to the resort where we’ll spend a week just relaxing on the beach – well, Kim will be on the beach. I’ll likely spend almost every waking hour actually in the water. :)

Having never been to Mexico and not knowing more than a half dozen Spanish words, I’m a little leery. So, what advice do you have for us? Anything in particular we should watch out for? I’m pretty good at spotting scams and rip-offs but if there’s anything you know of, please let us know!

Our First Real “Adult” Vacation!

Kim has decided she wants to go on vacation. Me? I’d be happy riding the motorcycle for a week or so but she wants some place sunny, hot and beachy so…

WE’RE GOING TO MEXICO!

Neither of us have ever been to Mexico or even on a real adult vacation so this should be great. We’ve chosen the Grand Sunset Princess Riviera Maya All Inclusive Resort. Neither of us need (on this trip, anyway) to go exploring or adventuring so we went with an all-inclusive resort. All meals and adult beverages are included in the price as is airfare direct from Vancouver. We’ll be gone for a week and we’re both really looking forward to it!

Diary of a Mad Man Podcast Episode #7!

We are on the iTune Store, too! Please subscribe and leave a review….or not…

You can listen to Episode #7 here.

iSperm lets you check your semen using an iPad

Black officer photographed helping Klan supporter

If a woman says, “first of all,” run…

Woman Masturbating With Rampant Rabbit Vibrator Crashes Mini Cooper Into Stationary Fish Wagon

Dan Savage

Impatient Prince Philip Caught Dropping F-Bomb on Photographer

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/ottawa/kanata-couple-reach-compromise-over-veggie-garden-1.3147203?cmp=rss

The 11 Worst Sounds in the World

I think everyone should work a year or two in retail, service or hospitality. You gain empathy your whole life.

On July 20, 1969—at 10:56 p.m. EDT—Neil Armstrong became the first human to walk on the surface of the moon.

Dollar and Bugsy

Every morning, we get up and look out our dining room window at Dollar (on the left) and Bugsy. Dollar is a huge, beautiful, calm horse. Bugsy is….less so. :)

He’s an impatient joker, always teasing and nipping at Dollar, rolling around on the ground and generally being as mischievous as is possible for a creature without opposable thumbs. I’ve never said this before but, he’s a very funny horse. :)

This was Bugsy this morning, antsy to be let out of his pen:

FJR vs Slingshot vs Zero

This past weekend, Kim and I went out test driving vehicles. First to Daytona Motorsports in Surrey so I could test a Zero Electric motorcycle – specifically the Zero S model – and then out to Langley to Sea to Sky Motorsports to test the Polaris Slingshot. By comparison, we rode my Yamaha FJR 1300 ES.

Both test rides were interesting but, from my point of view, both vehicles are fatally flawed.

First, the Zero.
Zero
There’s no doubt the future of cars is elecrtric. But is it the future of motorcycles? Obviously the answer is yes but I think it will take longer for motorcycles.

One of the things riders like is the complete involvement in riding. Unlike an automatic car, on a bike your whole body is involved. Both hands are operating the vehicle as are both feet. If you’re a good rider, your head is constantly swiveling, looking for threats. Your eyes are all over the place, looking for a million things – road conditions, traffic, soccer moms, speed, corner arc, etc. For aggressive riders, you can move your body back and forth and from side to side to help steer and control the bike. For a lot of us, that “involvement” is why we ride.

On a Zero, at least some of those things are taken away from you. In one respect, it’s like driving an automatic car. The Zero is, by its nature, an automatic motorcycle – there’s no clutch, no gears, no shifting. But those are some of the things riders find fun.

The Zero model I rode was the S version, the base model. It was way too small for me but that’s not a knock on the bike. But all models of the Zero weigh significantly less than my 650+lbs FJR – that’s both good and bad. The Zero, even on my short, tentative test ride, was nimble in traffic (and a lot narrower than my bag-equipped FJR) and fun to throw into curves.

One of the big advantage of any electric vehicle is generally considered torque – when you twist the throttle or put your foot down on the “gas” pedal, they LEAP forward. The Zero was no different. Even with me on top of it (I’m 240lbs – the poor little Zero is only 408lbs), the Zero had plenty of acceleration. The problem often came under deceleration – and this is where being a “real rider” comes into play.

On both manual cars and motorcycles, you have engine braking – that is, when you get off the gas, the engine starts slowing the vehicle down (depending on the RPMs). The effect is even more pronounced on a bike. I can go bombing around twisty roads in second gear, winding the RPMs up to the 8,000 RPM mark (my bike redlines at 9K) and, when I get off the throttle, the bike will slow itself for the next turn. If I do it right, it’s a sublime experience and one of the reasons I love riding so much.

But the Zero has no such compression. So, if you whack the throttle open, the bike happily jumps forward and accelerates like a scalded cat but, when that tight corner comes up fast, you have to get on the brakes to whoa the bike down. Rinse, repeat. It got annoying pretty quick.

Another issue with the Zero is range. Not “range anxiety” but simply, it can’t go as far on a charge as I like to ride in a couple of hours, let alone all day.

My FJR has a 6+ gallon fuel tank and generally gets about 40mpg at a “spirited” pace. So, about 200 miles from the last gas station, I fill up. I’ve been known to fill up two or three times a day. (Yeah – I ride a lot. I bought the FJR eight and half months ago and I’ve already got almost 14,000 miles on it. I ride it year round and almost every day.)

The Zero has a stated “combined highway and city” range of 102 miles (under ideal conditions) before it needs to be recharged and a full (to 95%) charge takes eight hours.

To make matters worse, we live in Chilliwack – 71 miles outside of Vancouver, BC, and we go into the city almost every weekend. The Zero wouldn’t be able to make the round trip.

To be fair, the Zero isn’t designed for or marketed at folks like me who want to ride all day. It’s meant to be a commuter or weekend warrior bike. But, at a MSRP of $15,000+ US, that’s an awfully expensive toy for just bombing around town.

If all you want is a daily commuter or a weekend bike to pop across town, there are much cheaper options available to the casual rider. And if you are a “serious” rider who puts on miles and miles on your ride, the Zero’s relatively short range makes it a non-starter.

Next, we rode the Polaris Slingshot.
Slingshot
From afar, it looks really cool. But, as you get closer and actually examine it, it becomes much less so. The plastic used (and they use a lot) for the body and dashboard feels very cheap. The turn signal was so far away, it required me removing my left hand from the wheel. The seats, while moderately comfortable on the short test ride, got incredibly hot.

The riding position seems cool – you’re butt is only 11 inches off the pavement – but, once in traffic, you feel very vulnerable and unable to scan the road ahead of you any futher than the SUV blocking your way.

The driver’s cockpit was cramped for my 6’3″ self and, because of the hard plastic, dug into my right knee as I drove. Likewise with the steering wheel – it felt very video game-ish in its construction. The foot well is also very tight. I could only get my left foot in one position – not good for riding comfort.

The Slingshot feels much wider than it actually is (in fact, it’s wider than a Lamborghini Huracán), not helped by the low seat position and high fenders. So you start off tentative and unsure of where your front wheels are. The engine is a four cyclinder, 2.4L DOHC that provides a nice amount of acceleration but it certainly isn’t Zero territory. And the sound? Meh. Not growly enough for its look and very hollow sounding. On a vehicle like this, when I put my foot down, I want it to scare small children and make dogs bark at me.

The slingshot is a permanent convertible – which, if you’re in the right climate, is a great thing. But I live in the Lower Mainland. The Slingshot would be garaged 6 months out of the year. It has a windshield of sorts but it provides only minimal protection. Or, in the case of the bug that smacked me in the forehad when I was driving, none at all. Eye protection is highly recommended.

All that being said, the Slingshot is a blast to drive hard on twisty roads. Again, my test ride was relatively short and because I didn’t want to thrash it too badly, I didn’t push the limits but there were a couple of times when I just threw it into a tight curve and the single rear wheel, which felt skittish at low speeds, pushed the nose right where I wanted it to go.

The open cockpit and wind in your face feel definitely gave it a wonderful old school roadster feel and the side by side seating postion was great. And the looks we got as we drove around were pleasing to my (low) sense of vanity.

But…

MSRP is $20,000US. For not much more than that, you can buy a Mini Cooper, get a roof/weather protection, A/C, a better stereo, have just as much fun slinging it around curves and have no worries about bugs kamikazing you in the face.

Both of these vehicles seem to be in search of a market but I think the Zero will get there first. The practicality of the Zero can be argued much more easily than that of the Slingshot — as can its future. The next iteration(s) of the Slingshot may iron out the annoyances but, if forced to choose….I’d still go with my FJR.

Longer distance riding than the Zero, more accleration and power than the Slingshot, priced similar to both, (surprisingly) more storage capacity than either, all mean I won’t be giving up my FJR any time soon. Thank God.
FJR

My Three Dads

First of all, Happy Father’s Day to those of you who are celebrating.

Many of us can’t, for any number of reasons. Here are mine.

If you’ve followed me or this blog for a while, you may have read this post from August 28, 2012 – “So…this happened yesterday…”. Read that for context.

Now, keep this in mind: “I wish she had been open and honest with me about a lot of things.”

Turns out, a lot of what you read in “So…this happened yesterday…” was a lie. Not a lie from me, I’m as open and as honest as I can be, but a lie from my mother’s lips.

As she explained, she got pregnant with me out of wedlock. My “real father” was killed in a car accident before I was born. Daddy Dave was a friend of both of them who “stepped up” to take care of her and me. He eventually officially adopted me which is why I (proudly) carry the King name.

Nope.

A few weeks ago, I got a Tweet from a complete stranger. A woman named Cathy.

“Shawn King, I have a few questions I thought you could help me with. Could you message me privately?”

Always wary of scammers, I tweeted, “Who are you?”

“I think I might be related to you”.

Yeah – definitely a scam.

I wrote back, “LOL and what makes you say that?”

She writes, “If you know your biological father I am wrong. If you do not I have some information.”

…..OH….FUCK ME….

She emails me. I’m guarded but….she knows shit….

Long story short, the story my mother told me, the one I wrote about in that piece after my mother died….

WAS A COMPLETE FUCKING LIE….

Worse, my mother lied about lying to me…Jesus Christ….

My biological father didn’t die until 2011. I’ve got three other (half) siblings – two more sisters and a brother. Good news is, I’m still the oldest…. :)

So my mother and the “Daddy Dave” in the story were married. Apparently, she had an affair and got pregnant by my biological dad.

And get this….ALL three of them – biological dad, Daddy Dave and Daddy Mike – were all on the same Canadian Navy ship at the same time! So my mom was a bit of a slut. :)

Apparently, my biological father died a long, slow painful death but, before he died, he made my (new half) sister promise to find me. This was in 2011.

Hey dad – you knew my name…GOOGLE IT!

It’s amazing I can have two parents so fucking stupid.

My mother for not telling me about this shit until I was 25, my father for not contacting me before he died, and my mother AGAIN for lying about the lie and then having the nerve to die on me without explaining it all!

To the only father I knew until I was ten years old, Mike McKinstry. You were British (from Manchester, England), funny, taught me “kid stuff” (how to throw and catch a football, how to play baseball, how to kick a soccer ball (I never did get the hang of that)), gave me an interest and fascination with European History, always wanted me to do my best and helped me with my homework. Thanks Mike.

To the father I first met when I was ten, David King. I hope you tried your best. I admired you for your work ethic and how you provided for your family. Your daughter Melonie is a wonderful young woman and your son David is a great family man with sons of his own. I hope you’ve found the peace you didn’t seem to be able to have in life.

To the father I never knew, Terry Leonard. My “new” sister has told me a lot about you. Not all of it good. I wish you had reached out before you passed away so I could have gotten to know you even a little. Cathy tells me I look like you and that you would have been proud of the man I’ve become. I don’t know about that but I hope it’s true.
IMG_5728

To all my friends who are fathers, cherish it. It’s the most important job you’ll ever have.