Public Diary of Eric Talaska "Eco Neato"
First to Attend Pet Loss Support Group Pilot Program
October 21, 2019, FAAS South Shore location, Alameda, California. Our small group consisted of a counselor, me and three other women who lost their pets. One woman was seriously grieving / crying of the loss of her three "therapy chickens" who were attacked by a loose German Shephard.
Another Middle-Aged Woman Bumped into My Van
October 11, 2019, Planet Fitness parking lot, Oakland, California. I asked her why she bumped into me considering how well I was parked and how visible my van is and she said she doesn't know, maybe because she was afraid her minivan was sticking out too far in the back. She was busy on her cell phone.
Crazy People in San Francisco
June 25, 2019, Union City (near San Francisco), California. I arrived at the Dyson service center to have my trigger vac serviced. There were several others in there and I noticed everyone has some strange tic and acted weird. One woman said she uses her vac to clean up smelly dog hair, pulled out the filter, approached me with it and reached out to my nose and asked me to smell it to see if I thought it stinks.
Malpractice at Marijuana Dispensary
June 25, 2019, Herbal Cruz Marijuana Dispensary, Santa Cruz, California. I spoke a while with Ruben who owns the place about which CBD is best for my dog and what is best for me prior to any potential future surgery or dental work. He said CBD cures cancer and recommended "Dollar Dose" cannabis infused loznge. I explained to him that can't be good because the ingredients are: =;Sugar, corn syrup, natural and artificial flavors, cannabis, artificial colors. . He sided with the manufacturer. This proves their incompetence.
Environmental Crime at Costco
June 22, 2019, Sand City, California - "Tastes a little better this way and is more economically friendly"
Coinbase Cryptocurrency Glitch in My Favor
Week of June 22, 2019. I tried to withdraw my Bitcoin when it was around $7,700 thinking to sell high, but every attempt was denied because they claimed I never verified a confirmation email of which I did. Every time this occurred, Bitcoin price rose dramatically, so my account balance rose well due to their refusal to let me cash out.
Extremely Frustrating Credit Reporting "Services", Attempt to Resolve Made Things Worse
March 21st, 2019. I received a notification from my free password protect software company that they think there is a concern with my credit report according to Trans Union. I proceeded to file for a free credit report from AnnualCreditReport.com (the only one authorized as legit by the feds), but they asked a security question relating to previous addresses that was too vague for me to accurately answer, so they denied the report. I called their phone number to request the report again. The automated system asked for my current address which wrong / outdated. At the end I passed the address questions, but the automated system didn't give me an option where to mail the report to and said they will mail it to me. I am a full time traveler so I'm not sure where they are mailing it to. There is nobody available there to ask, it's all automated. Now they are going to send a PAPER copy with ALL MY CONFIDENTIAL SECURITY / FINANCIAL info to an unknown address! They gave me NO option how to receive the report! I went to get my report form Trans Union directly and they now require a $25 monthly ($300 /year!) SCAM!; can't just buy one report anymore. This is terrible abuse of capitalism.
Best Buy Sprint Kiosk Agent Doubly Helpful
Best Buy, Santa Maria, California, March 19, 2019. To be fair I will make positive entries about people too. I was just browsing the security cameras in the store and David asked if I need any help. He ultimately helped me figure out how to bypass the security PIN on my phone with just a fingerprint touch and recommended Tunnel Bear VPN which is fee based ($60 per year), but provides the best security on all devices, so I bought into it and feel much more secure.
Incompetent Humane Society Worker
Santa Maria, California, March 15th, 2019. I made an appointment with Evergreen Veterinary Clinic to see if Tippy needed his teeth cleaned. While shopping in PetSmart, I encountered a Humane Society worker putting away cats. I asked her if she thinks Evergreen would be a good place to get Tippy's teeth cleaned. She said no, the Humane Society will do a much better job a lot cheaper. So I cancelled the Evergreen appointment and went to the Humane Society. After a very long wait checking in, they said they don't have any equipment to do a good job and referred to.... dom dom dom.... Evergreen! I called Evergreen back and they barely fit me in for a late afternoon appointment. Fortunately, the doctor said I have done such a great job brushing Tippy's teeth, he doesn't even have gingivitis and therefore didn't need any cleaning which is very rare for a 15 year old dog who has not had his teeth cleaned for about five years.
Most unremarkable socially (one pseudo friend, one ex girlfriend and one nephew on Facebook and VA rep on phone said happy birthday), no gifts, no party, but I stayed in a campground by the pacific ocean, walked on the beach with Tippy, walked around the minimally populated monarch butterfly grove, ate some good food (Portabella mushrooms fried in avocado oil, smoked oysters, organic multi color popcorn with avocado oil). The weather was ideal for me: 60F, 95% overcast with occasional light rain. I was mostly happy for both me and Tippy to be healthier than a year ago and financially secure "enough". I have not achieved the things my parents, etc. would expect by my age (wife, kid(s), house), but I feel I have achieved and contributed a lot of great technical innovations, various creative projects and writing.
Dream Entry of this Entry!: Old Lady I Rent Room from Harasses Me
My brain at night while dreaming, February 24th, 2019: I rented a room from an old couple to take a break from moving around campgrounds. There was a vulgar old lady in charge of the house more so than her husband. She was constantly monitoring me (just like all my real life experiences) and quickly after renting told me to spray paint some pine cones I found in the house. I refused to because this time I know I wasn't desperate for a place since I still had my Sprinter camper van. The main reason for this entry here is that when she told me to spray paint the pine cones, I knew I had to enter that into this diary!
Vulgar Lady Took My "Site Occupied" Sign from My Campsite
Pismo Beach Oceano State Park Campground, California, February 13th, 2019. I left three orange trays and a mat at my campsite while running errands for the day. When I returned, it was all gone. I thought to call 911 to report it, but first immediately walked towards neighbors to see if anyone has a dashcam or saw anything. A vulgar lady smoking a cigarette said "Are these yours?" referring to my stuff on her picnic table. She said she thought I was gone and wasn't trying to steal anything, but one of the orange trays had large writing in three places "SITE OCCUPIED" and it was only 5:30PM and still daylight. She was a bit nice though and was interested in my van as she was staying in her old minivan. I desire to still stay away.
West Marine Battery Return Hassle: Store Managers Allowed to Override Corporate Policies
Over the past few years I have exchanged lead acid AGM batteries several times to try to find something that meets my power needs. West Marine was recently bought out by another company and changes are being made. In January, 2019 I purchased a Tesla module that is far superior to anything West Marine sells (if properly installed and managed), so I attempted to return the AGM battery on February 7th at two Santa Barbara, CA locations, but both managers refused the return because they said the battery has an expiration date. The only dates batteries have are manufacture and warranty dates. Regardless, the corporate return policy guarantees a store credit since the batteries have been purchased over 30 days ago. there is nothing in the return policy regarding battery expirations. I filed a complaint with corporate which to my surprise said the store managers can set any policies they want even if they violate corporate policy! That's a first. It still in violation of the receipt which is a legal binding contract. In the meantime I drove 45 minutes south to the Oxnard store which obliged the return and store credit gift card.
Possibly the First to Install a Tesla Battery Module in a Van / Campervan and/or Wall Mount Battery Bank
February 1, 2019 - Morro Bay State Park, California. I successfully wall-mounted and tested a 24V Tesla electric vehicle battery module in my campervan completely on my own. See details - link.
Got Kicked out of a Facebook Group for Saying Odd Pricing is Unethical
January 11th, 2019, while camping in San Luis Obispo, California. A Sprinter conversion van group admin quickly blocked me from their group because I said it's my opinion odd pricing (in this case $89,999) is interesting because it is designed to trick the mind into thinking it's a lot less than 90,000. This made me realize most groups are missing a lot of beneficial feedback that isn't all positive. The admin was watching the whole thing and asked if I need his help. Is he a psychologist and a Sprinter expert?? I responded with "I'm sorry to see you area victim of capitalist greed. I'm OK. I see the truth and the truth is that this kind of odd pricing is designed to deceive." Previously I was warned I must always be kind in the group. I responded with it's kind to inform other of deceit. I was glad to leave a group that promotes and allows such ads. There are many others that don't.
Successfully Designed, Installed and Tested World's First EV (Electric Vehicle) Charge Port on an RV - video | webpage
December 20th, 2018 - Aptos, California. I'm the first person to install an electric vehicle charge adapter port on a non-electric vehicle. I simply connected it to a very rare special part: 240VAC to 12VDC converter-charger. I finished the install and testing at Seacliff State Beach upper level day use area where they have EV charge stations. There were many people who stopped by to inquire about my van causing about a 3 hour delay, but I welcome strangers... I have the time. The next day, 21st, I cooked with an induction stove powered by the EV charge station... probably the world's first to do that.
Paul, a state park docent parked his Honda hybrid plug-in next to me to charge, so I approached him to explain what I'm doing. He seemed to appreciate my creativity, but right after I explained the eco benefits (see webpage), he warned not to charge more than a few hours at a time. I told him that would be situational: If there are many charge stations open and if not, I could put a note allowing others to unplug mine. He still stood by a limit. I was a bit alarmed by that and realize that's the mind of a state worker. His car consumes far more energy to charge than my RV house battery by constantly pulling 30A AC while mine uses less than half that. The state park campground electric hookup sites are almost always full. When a Class B RV uses an EV charger, he frees up electric campsites for those who have larger vehicles and need them. There is no time limit. He asked if I have a fire extinguisher. I said I have two and plan to install a Tesla battery. He departed saying "All I can say is don't let perfect get in the way of best."
Over the next several days of being plugged in all day at Seacliff State Beach, California, I talked with many people and explained this innovation and its benefits. To my surprise, nobody cared about the innovation and benefits. All they cared about was whether the power was free or not. This lack of interest in the benefits put me in a state of discouragement, but I soon realized I was dealing with average people with average jobs and average skills. I'm in the class of innovators so of course they think differently and shallow.
Spent $100 for 3 grams of 25:1 CBD Cannabis from Flaky, Shady Local Dispensary for Tippy
December 13th, 2018 - Herbal Cruz Dispensary, Santa Cruz, California. At this time Tippy is not in pain, but has eye inflammation I thought CBD might help with. About a week ago I was talking a couple about CBD for dogs. They said they were happy with the local dispensary Herbal Cruz. I made a note to go there later. Upon arriving, I noticed several signs stating nobody is allowed to play loud music in the parking lot. Upon entering, they had a TV playing very loud with commercials. That was extremely annoying and I almost left and was going to leave if they didn't turn it off soon. They had me fill out a detailed legal waiver with some personal info on it. That also was pushing me over the edge of leaving, but I filled out almost, but not all of it. The vulgar skanky (extreme piercings, tattoos, hair dyes and overweight) woman working at the front desk required to hold my driver's license longer than I was comfortable with to put me in her computer. Again, that was pushing me over the edge of leaving. I decided to stay because I wanted to see what products they have to offer. Then a skanky dude (same as the woman except not overweight) told me to go into a different building to see the products. He seemed quite wasted and was losing credibility with me, but I tried to be patient and just listen. He said I can try low amounts of CBD mixed with olive oil or get straight CBD in a syringe which is the best price per gram. I noticed on the package it said "batch 6/25/2018 expires 6/25/2019 and I expressed concern it was running rancid due to being a half year old already. The guy assured me it's fresh as they just got it in and will last way beyond that date. I asked for a different one with newer date. He handed me a different one, but had the same date. He was acting quite erratic, but I was thinking I don't care about him, I just want the best product for Tippy and didn't want to be inconvenienced with driving around looking somewhere else with a high chance they are all this flaky anyway, so I went ahead and agreed to buy it. Upon check out he said I have to pay with cash and they have an ATM. I was charged $2.50 to use their ATM. He said I can get a veteran's discount. I never said I was a veteran and wondered how he knew, so apparently the lady at the front desk entered that info into the system based on my driver's license. It seemed to be a 10% discount since I paid about $99 total after tax, but being experienced in running businesses, I realized that since they don't give receipts, if they charge tax they highly likely don't report many sales and thus illegally pocket the taxes collected. So over all it's pretty shady, but again I figure will be the same with their competitors. He had a tip jar conspicuously by the register. I didn't put a penny in it. If the experience were more professional and legit, I would have put at least the dollar change in there. I wonder... what if I said I refuse to pay cash and only offer a credit card... would they turn the business down? What if I required a receipt? Could I cancel the order after handing over the cash if they say no receipt? Would they then hand the cash back or fight? I'll make a note not to go back there again, it's just too weird for me. Overall I felt they had the best product for Tippy and I just did what's in his best interest vs. leaving based on my negative feelings about the people there.
Starter Failed, Asked Others for Help (Rare), Bad Sprinter Mechanics, Fussy EMS - Learned it Refuses Certain Generators, Changed Starter by Myself in a Few Hours, Realized You Make Friends when in Need
December 4th - 5th, 2018 - New Brighton State Beach Campground, California. I was getting ready to take Tippy to his ophthalmology follow-up exam, but the van wouldn't start. I knew I needed to do as much troubleshooting as possible to avoid having it towed to the nearest "competent" Sprinter mechanic (which is extremely hard to find). I called many shops asking for advice and did much research online only to be met with very flaky, worthless crap. The most popular place, Stevenson Mercedes Benz, wanted $250 just to troubleshoot. In the meantime it was too cloudy to get enough solar power, so I asked someone if I could borrow their portable generator. My electronic management system computer would not allow their generator to charge my batteries because the generator has a floating ground. the EMS bypass still would not allow that generator. So I had to shut everything off and use the generator to just keep the fridge on due to Tippy's insulin and eggs. I decided to take a chance and spend a little less than $250 on a remanufactured starter from O'Reiley which offers a lifetime warranty. I noticed I needed a star / Torx female socket to remove the two bolts. I asked a campground host to drive me around to pick up the starter and find that Torx socket. I didn't know exactly what size I needed. I did know it would be either a 14, 15 or 16. I found out the hard way there is no such thing as the size 15. It took 14. I told the host I would pay him and he said "anything helps". I thought that was creepy because that's the phrase panhandlers use, he was running personal errands anyway and was a volunteer host who doesn't get paid for his time at that time anyway. I paid him about $28 (just under or about half what an Uber drive would charge) he gladly took. I changed the starter within a few hours and the van started much faster and better than ever. I would have still been waiting for a tow truck otherwise. It was hard labor (twisting my body under the van) for a few hours, but at least I know the job was done right with a truly reman new-like part. I seemed to have realized a big reason why I don't have very many friends: It's unusually rare for me to ask anyone else for favors. By doing so, you make new friends.
Extreme Incompetencies of Others Regarding Sprinter Service & Obtaining a Starter:
The van has been to many repair shops since I bought it in early 2016. The vehicle has always cranked very slowly and sometimes takes a while to start. I wasn't sure why, but all those mechanics should have pointed out I need to replace the starter. None did.
I called Stevenson Creek Mercedes in Palo Alto to ask the Sprinter tech how I should troubleshoot. I explained it has always turned over very slowly. He said that probably isn't the starter. He was totally wrong. It was.
I tried to find out how much Stevenson Creek MB wants for a starter, what brand, etc. and it took them about 24 hours to return my call. They eventually called back and said it would be about $680, then said no, about $450. Are they making up prices as they go?
San Jose Sprinter wrongly said I should buy their Mercedes brand starter because aftermarket versions are junk. There is no MB brand, but rather Bosch, etc.
When I went to pick the part up at OReiley, they handed me someone else's pre-paid starter. I said I didn't pre-pay. They sat it aside. Another employee went in the back to get the correct one.
Before ordering a starter from OReiley, I ordered one from AutoZone. I called them to cancel that order. About 30 hours later AutoZone called to let me know the part came in. I said I called over a day ago to cancel that order. They said no problem. They should have been interested in who I told to cancel the order, but could care less.
At the time of this writing, nobody published anything online explaining how to change a second generation Sprinter starter. It's not very hard with the proper instructions. Almost all diesel mechanics and shops want us to believe a diesel is too difficult to work on and we have to hire them. That's wrong. This is not too hard if the proper instructions are attained.
Met the Google Usability Research Team and Sold them on a Solar Panel Upgrade
November 28, 2018 - Capitola, California. I pulled right up next to the team's tent and van and talked with Nick for a while about upgrading their Sprinter extended length van with solar. They were interested. I gave Nick my contact info and offered a free consultation on doing the upgrade at least because it would promote more sustainable living. I showed them my van and they were impressed and interested in copying some of my innovations. This doesn't mean I love Google. Actually I hate a lot about Google, but still rely on many of their services. I'm just trying to promote solar.
Safely Drove Though the Now Historic California Camp Fire Smoke Plume
November 9, 2018 - California. I made camping reservations for a campground in Red Bluff, but upon arriving my eyes were burning a little bit and the air was bad. The government's airnow.gov website said Red Bluff had good air quality, but they were very wrong. I was getting frustrated with that agencie's incompetency. The next morning, November 10th, I drove hundreds of miles on south bound I-5 straight through some dense smoke, particularly around Sacramento. I was not in health danger because I ran my HEPA filter on high speed and closed off the front vents. I was probably one of the few (also ambulances?) with HEPA air wile driving through the mess. I made a large advancement south much faster than planned. I wanted to migrate south much slower.
Revisit Student Housing in Olympia, WA | Rent up 10% per Year! | People more Freaky and Filthy | Tippy Remembers
September 21st, 2018 - Olympia, Washington. I used to rent an upscale efficiency apartment here by the month about five years ago for about a year. The rent was around $740 per month (no long term contract) and at this revisit it went way up to $1,055 with a $500 deposit for any cat (dogs not allowed unless service). When I inquired in person for an update, the manager kept interrupting the front office clerk who was assisting me which was bad and never let me finish asking any questions. I won't go back here. I was an online student at Peninsula College while living here. I left to rent a house in Spokane Valley, WA I thought was a better deal, but certainly wasn't (rent was cheaper, but was a major hassle and utility expense due to very old, outdated house). Upon revisiting, it didn't seem as familiar to me as I expected at first, but after walking with Tippy (age 14.3 at revisit time) for 20 minutes, it all came back to me and I felt at home again. As I drove in, I encountered the world's worse distracted driver (see video) and noticed people are even more freaky here than before (this area is a leading freak magnet). As usual, I smell and see a lot of pot and cigarette smoking here. I took Tippy to our old apartment and let him smell all around. It was apparent he remembers it very well as he perked up, was energetic and rolled in the grass. Next I visited a nearby bay where I found the world's largest west coast sand dollar and noticed many more signs prohibiting more things. A man immediately asked me, in a friendly manner, what I do for a living and what I'm doing there and said someone stole his paddle boat (don't understand the relevance of what I do for a living as the primary investigative question). Then in a matter of only a few minutes, some college kids pulled up right next to me doing drugs and stunk my van up so I called them filthy pieces of shit and left much sooner than I wanted to. On my way back to JBLM, on I-5 there was a Hyundai car with a broken left mirror and driver wearing headphones severely swerving all over the interstate. I called 911.
Amazing Costco Return Policy | Refrigerator Choice
September 21st, 2018 - Lacey, Washington Costco. I have had a 4.4cf refrigerator for a little over a year. Since my van often experiences earthquake conditions while hitting bumps and dips, sometimes my refrigerator door would swing open and dump half the contents on the floor while driving. To solve this, I had a bright idea to screw in some magnets on the door and fridge frame. One screw I inserted burst the pressurized coolant and the fridge never worked since. Costco accepted the return with no problems in only about three minutes even thought the fridge was dented in many places and dirty. I have the executive membership, so since Costco makes most of their money from memberships, that may be very influential. Even though the failure was my fault, there was nowhere I could take the fridge. Since it will likely be sent back to the manufacturer, they might be interested to see this for quality control. The main difference with the new fridge is that it has a glass front door that won't dent and is easiest to clean. The reason I choose a large (by RV standards) refrigerator with no freezer is because it uses substantially less energy and offer more fridge space. Eating the healthiest foods involves avoiding frozen foods.
High Proportion of Mentally Injured Near Seattle
August 28th, 2018, PetSmart parking lot / strip malls - Lakewood, Washington. A black man with a mouth stuffed full of popcorn laughed and tried to tell me something unintelligible while we walked past each other. Only an hour later, a "normal" and serious looking white man around age 30 said "Sir!, could you tell me what's on the safe to eat list? I didn't get the memo." He proceeded on, but started talking to himself.
100lb. MINIMUM Size for Service Dogs? No.
August 4th, 2018, Sutton National Forest campground, Oregon. When talking with Al, the host for the C and D loops, I explained to him the basics of service dog laws. He said I was wrong about any dog that is well behaved and performs a service can be a service dog, claiming they have to be at least 100lbs. so they can pull the owner from danger. That's the most ridiculous wrong thing I've ever heard about service animals.
Wacky, Expensive National Forest Campsite Reservation System; Odd Ranger Response
July 21, 2018 - Eel Creek National Forest Campground, Reedsport, Oregon
I made an online reservation for a site I later wanted to cancel so that I could stay in the first come, first serve site I was already in. I asked the ranger how to switch and he said just go online to cancel the reservation. I proceeded to, but they now charge an extra $31 to cancel a reservation! That's absurd, so I left it alone with the plan to move to the reserved site. A few hours later, the ranger said he was going to remove my reservation card from the reserved site post, but I said I didn't cancel the reservation due to the high fee. He asked me why they charge that much. I said I guess so they can pay you more. He didn't find it amusing and left. He's supposed to know why they charge that much, not me.
Drama Trying to Buy a New Laptop Online | Just Get the Best One
July 18-20, 2018 - Amazon.com, Walmart.com, Costco.com, BestBuy.com, Newegg.com
My old laptop has been good except is suddenly overheating when trying to edit videos. It was still under warranty, a very unusual and rare 3 year warranty, and Dell replaced the motherboard, but the problem persisted. I explained to them I need a different model because this one has no heatsink, fan or cooling vent and replacing the motherboard again would be a waste, but they insisted before trying a different model. The second (refurbished) motherboard was slightly worse. Anticipating them not sending me a laptop I want, I decided to buy a new one online and sell, store as backup or donate whatever replacement Dell sends me. In trying to buy a new laptop online, here are some of the problems I experienced:
Commerce website searches highly inaccurate when trying to set search filters
Difficulties finding a laptop with my desired specs
Incomplete titles and descriptions
Reseller and manufacturer too incompetent to provide details over phone or email
Backorders and long shipping delays with unknown delivery estimates
Difficulties placing orders due to website not allowing billing address update, etc.
Difficulties trying to cancel placed orders
I changed my mind quite a lot when shopping because since I was many years out of touch with technology changes, I learned things such as the difference between 7th and 8th generation Intel CPUs are huge, at least 40%. I ended up buying the most expensive, high end laptop form Costco instead of wasting any more time trying to find one that meets all my desires, but yet not expensive. Costco has the best return and warranty policy. I bought one with the largest SSD on the market (1TB at the time of this writing) since the larger the SSD, the safer the precious data is and the longer it lasts (as well as more storage space). Maybe someone in the future will read this an laugh since in the future a 1TB SSD may be common even in cell phones and watches. The new laptop is $2,300. At first I was highly reluctant to pay that much and spent DAYS trying to find one cheaper with about the same capabilities, but couldn't and I compared it to all other costs of living and realized it's not that much compared considering how important it is. I realize most rich people and even millionaires would not pay that much for a computer today, but that's them and this is me. I have many security cameras and the laptop will be locked down.