– Ben Martens

Fantasy Football – Week 12

Officially Logan is the only one that has secured a playoff spot, but realistically, our playoffs are set with Logan, Ben, Andy, and Tyler. Thank you to everyone for continuing to start full rosters even if you can’t hope to make the playoffs!

We had two kickers post 21 points each this week! Daniel Carlson did it for Andy and Nick Folk did it for me. The season high is 22 points by Graham Gano back in Week 2 as a free agent. Last week Evan McPherson and Jake Elliott had 20 and 19 points respectively. Maybe it’s time for your kicking position to get an upgrade?

As I looked into the playoff picture, I thought about making a tool that would let me pick winners of games for the rest of the regular season and see how that affected the playoff picture, but then I realized that someone had probably already done that. Sure enough, came to the rescue. They read the data about our league and produce an awesome set of charts including playoff odds. I wish I had found this earlier in the season but I look forward to using it more next year. As you can see, Logan is a lock for the top seed in the playoffs but seeds 2-4 are undecided.

Team Name1st2nd3rd4th5th6th7th8thTotal
Goat Ropers97.72.150.1500000100
Kool Aid Kid1.168.5718.4811.850000100
Krazy Kanuck0.3312.6830.4254.272.300097.7

Another interesting page on that site is the schedule comparison. I’ve written a lot about Luke’s very tough schedule this year. If anyone else had the same schedule, the best they could have done was 6-6, so don’t question whether luck plays a role in this league.

This week’s power rankings show Nick peaking at the wrong time while Logan remains on top.

  1. Logan
  2. Nick ▲2
  3. Ben ▲3
  4. Tim ▲1

On to the weekly awards…

 This WeekThis SeasonAll Time
Highest Team ScoreBen had 131.38Andy had 167.86 (Week 6)Luke had 202.63 (2019)
Lowest Team ScoreLuke had 81.97Andy had 60.86 (Week 9)Andy had 41.29 (2015)
Biggest BlowoutTim beat Luke by 17.89Chelsea beat Andy by 77.04 (Week 3)Luke beat Andy by 113.02 (2010)
Closest WinLogan beat Chelsea by 2.59Logan beat Ben by 0.92 (Week 10)Tyler beat Nick by 0.01 (2018)
Longest Active Winning StreakLogan has a 6 game winning streak.Was: Logan has a 5 game winning streak (Week 11)Micah (2011) and Ben (2015) had 8 game winning streaks
Longest Active Losing StreakNick has a 5 game losing streak.Chelsea has a 5 game losing streak. (Week 9)Kyle had a 14 game losing streak (2011)
Highest Scoring PlayerLeonard Fournette had 40.60 for Logan.Jonathan Taylor had 51.90 for Nick (Week 11)Drew Brees had 60.54 on Tim’s bench (2015)
Lowest winning scoreTyler won with 92.73Andy won with 89.80 (Week 8)Tim beat Jim with 79.34 (2015)
Highest losing scoreNick lost with 119.75Logan lost with 143.14 (Week 6)Tim lost to Luke with 169.11 (2019)

Range Anxiety

Welcome to another Tesla Tuesday! Let’s talk about range anxiety. It’s the most common topic when people hear that we’re buying an electric car. “What happens when you run out of battery?” When someone asks me that, I usually ask “When was the last time you ran out of gas?” And that can be followed up with “Would you have run out of gas if your car was magically filled up every morning when you woke up?”

Everything in the car is built to help ensure that you never run out of battery. If you set your destination, you’ll be automatically routed to chargers along the way if you’re even close to not making it. And if you ignore the warnings, the car will become increasingly annoying at reminding you that you’re making bad choices. Pretty much the only way you can run out of battery is to do it on purpose.

But ok, let’s assume that you are somehow out for a drive and you magically end up with no battery. Then what? The first step is to call Tesla Roadside Assistance. If it was a car issue, they’ll take care of you, and if it was your own mistake, they’ll still help you but you’ll end up paying the bill. The likely response is that your car will get put on a flatbed and towed to a charger. After a few minutes at the charger, the car can be unloaded and you’re on your way.

When our Escape had a dead battery in our garage, we had to get towed to the dealer and I realized that I didn’t know how to get it out of the garage onto the truck. It’s a keyless ignition system so how do I turn on the ignition to put it in neutral? I finally found a “brake shift interlock” that solved the problem. There’s a similar procedure for a Tesla. You need to charge up the 12v battery enough to power the screen so you can put it in tow mode. Then it can be pulled up onto the flatbed. There’s a procedure for getting into the frunk mechanically and getting to the 12v battery charge points.

EVs can generally be charged by generators too as long as they are a nicer generator that puts out a clean sine wave. You probably just need a few miles of charge to get to a real charger. As EVs become more common, there will be more roadside assistance vehicles driving around with this option.

So sure, it could theoretically happen. I could theoretically run out of gas too, but I don’t worry about that. If range anxiety was a real thing, I doubt that all four of Teslas cars would be in Consumer Reports’s list of the 10 most satisfying cars (and three of the top 4 spots are Teslas!) Want range anxiety to go away? Buy an EV.

Fantasy Football – Week 11

Congrats to Logan who has become the first player in our league to clinch a playoff spot! His stellar 9-2 record is enough to at least guarantee him 4th spot, though at the rate he is going, it’s hard to him imagine going in without a high seed. Andy and Tyler continued their top 4 run with wins, making me the only top four team with a loss. There’s a pretty big gap between 4th and 5th places but it’s still possible that we’ll see some changes in the playoff roster with four games left in the regular season.

The weekly power rankings keep Logan and Tyler on top but Nick and Andy are climbing the ranks:

  1. Logan
  2. Tyler
  3. Andy ▲3
  4. Nick ▲1

On to the weekly awards…

 This WeekThis SeasonAll Time
Highest Team ScoreLogan had 154.47Andy had 167.86 (Week 6)Luke had 202.63 (2019)
Lowest Team ScoreChelsea had 96.55Andy had 60.86 (Week 9)Andy had 41.29 (2015)
Biggest BlowoutLogan beat Tim by 29.98Chelsea beat Andy by 77.04 (Week 3)Luke beat Andy by 113.02 (2010)
Closest WinTyler beat Nick by 1.09Logan beat Ben by 0.92 (Week 10)Tyler beat Nick by 0.01 (2018)
Longest Active Winning StreakLogan has a 5 game winning streakWas: Logan has a 4 game winning streak (Week 10)Micah (2011) and Ben (2015) had 8 game winning streaks
Longest Active Losing StreakNick has a 4 game losing streak.Chelsea has a 5 game losing streak. (Week 9)Kyle had a 14 game losing streak (2011)
Highest Scoring PlayerJonathan Taylor had 51.90 for NickWas: Justin Herbert had 50.82 for Tim (Week 5)Drew Brees had 60.54 on Tim’s bench (2015)
Lowest winning scoreAndy won with 116.89Andy won with 89.80 (Week 8)Tim beat Jim with 79.34 (2015)
Highest losing scoreNick lost with 125.72Logan lost with 143.14 (Week 6)Tim lost to Luke with 169.11 (2019)

Tesla Autopilot

Our upcoming Model Y, like all Teslas, come with some self-driving features but others are optional. The term “Autopilot” has a lot of features that may or may not be included with any given Tesla so in this post, I’ll try to demystify what they mean.

All Teslas come with Traffic Aware Cruise Control. This is very similar to what is found on a lot of other cars, though it’s fancier than cars that I’ve owned. When you engage cruise control, it will attempt to drive at the speed you’ve set. The max speed can be easily adjusted with the thumb scroll on the right side of the steering wheel. If a car in front of you is going slower than the max speed, it will follow at whatever distance you’ve configured. You can also configure the cruise control to always be set to X mph over the speed limit or X% over the speed limit. The cruise control will automatically adjust to the current speed limits. The car will automatically begin to slow down for situations like exit ramps (it uses the average speed of cars that have gone before you) or if someone pulls out in front of you. It will even bring you to a complete stop if the car in front of you stops. If you’re following a slow vehicle and you use your turn signal to switch lanes, the car will automatically speed up to your desired speed if no one is in front of you. I use cruise control a lot but frequently end up disengaging it to deal with traffic so I think I’m really going to enjoy this feature.

All Teslas also come with Autosteer. After the cruise control is engaged by clicking down on the right stalk, clicking down again will enable autosteer. Autosteer is recommended to be used on highways and interstates, but it can be enabled on almost all roads. This is a differentiator from systems like “Blue Cruise” which only work on specific roads. The autosteer system does what it sounds like: it steers the vehicle for you. We tried this out on our test drive and it was creepy and awesome at the same time. You must keep your hand on the wheel at all times and give it a little tug every 30 seconds or so to let it know that you’re still paying attention. If you really drive hands off and ignore what’s going on, you’ll get progressively stronger warnings until the system disables itself. (Drunk drivers have found themselves pulled over on the side of the road automatically.) The system isn’t perfect but from reading reviews, people almost unanimously agree that it reduces stress especially on long drives. You don’t realize how much effort it takes to just stay in your lane for hours at a time until you don’t have to do it anymore. I don’t know how much use we’ll get out of this feature around town, but it makes me excited to take a road trip and let the car handle a lot of the driving for me.

There are other features like Autopark, Lane Assist and Collision Avoidance Assist which have multiple options that can be configured. For example, maybe I just want a chime if I’m drifting out of my lane in most cases, but if I’m drifting into oncoming traffic and a collision is imminent than take over and get me back into my lane.

The next big features is commonly referred to as the Full Self Driving (FSD) beta but it includes things like Navigate on Autopilot, Traffic Light and Stop Sign Control, and Smart Summon. These features are not enabled by default and currently cost $10,000 extra. Smart Summon tells your Tesla to move to your location. It will exit its parking spot and come to you. I could see this being a fun party trick but the car moves too slowly or gets too confused in busy parking lots to be useful. The first two are the ones that are making all the news. With these features, you can get in your car, pick a destination, and let your car drive you there. You are still responsible and need to have your hands on the wheel but it will change lanes, make turns, and stop for traffic signals. The $10,000 price tag is hefty and most buyers do not opt for it, but Tesla is now offering a $200/month subscription service to temporarily enable them. This works because all the cars have the required hardware in them.

The Full Self Driving feature is still in beta and honestly, it’s probably a poor choice of name. This is generally considered to be a Level 2 self driving feature. The levels range from 0-5 and at level 2, there’s still a lot of responsibility on the driver. Tesla is furiously working to move up the levels, but for now “full self driving” is aspirational.

Waymo is one of the leaders in this space. They’re probably a level 4. If you’re in Phoenix, you can call a Waymo self-driving taxi to your location, get in the back seat, and then proceed to your destination with no human driver. (If you’re intrigued by this idea, check out Malcom Gladwell’s Revisionist History podcast episode titled I Love You Waymo.) It’s only level 4 because it works in a ring fenced area of Phoenix. You can’t tell it to drive you across the state, but like Tesla, they’re working hard to improve.

The tech side of this is amazing. Tesla has billions of hours of driving footage form their cars and they use this to train their models over and over again. They’re building their own supercomputers that specialize in these types of computations and employ armies of the smartest AI engineers. They held an impressive AI Day event in August and you can either watch the full event or get a 19 minute version of it.

While the tech and the enormous amounts of computing power are exciting to me, I’m also excited about the safety aspect. While it’s uncomfortable, the safety records of these systems already put humans to shame. 80-90% of people think they are an above average driver so it’s no surprise that people think they’ll drive better than a computer, but if you’re in that camp, watch that AI day footage and tell me that you’re processing that much information about your environment every second without a single lapse of attention. With so many Teslas on the road, there is already plenty of data to show how much safer it is to let computers drive. As of April the NHTSA says there is an accident every 484,000 miles, but if you’re driving a Tesla with Autopilot engaged, there’s only an accident every 4,190,000 miles. It’s not a totally fair comparison because there are some situations where Autopilot won’t engage, but still, they are approaching 10x better safety than humans. It doesn’t stop there though. Tesla is continuously improving and pushing out software updates on a regular basis to all the cars. They track the accident rates and it keeps going down as they improve. The computers have a lot of hubris to overcome, but the data is on their side.

So while it seems futuristic to have a car steering for you, the future is now… and Tesla has been doing it since 2015. With the rate at which they are progressing, it’s not hard to imagine that by the time I’m retired and too old to drive safely, I won’t have to drive at all, but I’ll still be able to get around.

Disclaimer: I own Tesla stock.

COVID-19: Day 619

Today is an exciting day for our family: Elijah is getting his first vaccine shot! We got on the list pretty quickly after it was announced but the wait times were a couple weeks everywhere I called. So three weeks from now he’ll get his second shot. Two weeks from then he’ll be fully vaccinated, and that will be the best (late) Christmas present for our whole family.

On a broader scale, it’s been over five months since my last post and the whole situation has gotten more and more frustrating. Now we’re in an argument about whether or not you can force someone to get a shot. Why is this even an argument? How did we get to a point where people are fighting against helping themselves and everyone around them by getting the shot? I pray that we quickly get to the point where science will outweigh politics, but I think we’re in for a very long haul and we might not have seen the worst of it yet both in terms of infections/deaths and in the economy.

So… woosah… I’m thankful that Elijah is able to get the vaccine now. Thank you to all the doctors, scientists, researchers, manufacturers, and government agencies that have joined forces around the globe to give us this life-saving option. Soon my family will be able to reassess the risks and figure out what things we can do that we weren’t doing before. We’ll be able to do that with much less risk of getting COVID ourselves or spreading it to the vulnerable population that we encounter.

P.S. Here are a few links I’ve found helpful lately:

Fantasy Football – Week 10

This week went almost exactly as the ratings predicted for our league. All the top seeded teams won except for a spousal battle in the Scherschel household. Chelsea got her second win with authority by putting up the highest score that was 17 points higher than anything we’ve seen since week 7! I pull in the honor of closest loss this week with the frustration of Patrick Mahomes putting up a slump-busting 46 points on my bench. It’s hard to argue that I “should have won” that matchup with such a bonehead move in retrospect. But regardless, that means that Logan is now in sole possession of first place with an astounding 8-2 record! Next week’s key matchup is probably Tyler and Nick sitting in 4th and 5th respectively. We are 2/3 of the way through the season and we have to start looking at who will nab those top 4 spots for the playoffs.

Here are the power rankings. Check out Chelsea moving up to the fourth spot! Want to know who is in 8th spot in the power rankings right now? It’s our third place team: Andy. Chelsea takes on Andy this week so let’s see how that one plays out!

  1. Logan
  2. Tyler ▲2
  3. Ben
  4. Chelsea ▲3

On to the weekly awards…

 This WeekThis SeasonAll Time
Highest Team ScoreChelsea had 141.3Andy had 167.86 (Week 6)Luke had 202.63 (2019)
Lowest Team ScoreLuke had 83.89Andy had 60.86 (Week 9)Andy had 41.29 (2015)
Biggest BlowoutTyler beat Luke by 45.71Chelsea beat Andy by 77.04 (Week 3)Luke beat Andy by 113.02 (2010)
Closest WinLogan beat Ben by 0.92Was: Luke beat Nick by 1.01 (Week 9)Tyler beat Nick by 0.01 (2018)
Longest Active Winning StreakLogan has a 4 game winning streakWas: Andy and Logan had 3 game winning streaks (Week 3) and Logan and Ben had 3 game winning streaks (Week 9)Micah (2011) and Ben (2015) had 8 game winning streaks
Longest Active Losing StreakNick has a 3 game losing streak.Chelsea has a 5 game losing streak. (Week 9)Kyle had a 14 game losing streak (2011)
Highest Scoring PlayerPatrick Mahomes had 46.24 on Ben’s benchJustin Herbert had 50.82 for Tim (Week 5)Drew Brees had 60.54 on Tim’s bench (2015)
Lowest winning scoreLogan won with 104.36Andy won with 89.80 (Week 8)Tim beat Jim with 79.34 (2015)
Highest losing scoreBen lost with 103.44Logan lost with 143.14 (Week 6)Tim lost to Luke with 169.11 (2019)

Tesla Home Charging

Before we decided to order the Model Y, I spent a lot of time researching the charging options to understand what kind of work would need to be done in our garage.

Teslas come with a mobile charger which fits in a small bag. It has a standard 110v plug adapter and a 20 foot cable. On the Model Y, that’s good for about ~3 hours of range per hour. That’s not something that you can rely on for regular usage, but in a pinch, you could use it to get enough juice to make it to a regular charging station.

When we had the transfer switch installed for our generator, I had the electrician add a 220v 20 amp breaker for the table saw. That circuit will give us ~14 miles of range per hour. That’s probably the minimum I would be comfortable with, but it’s easily a workable situation. Our typical daily usage will be around 80 miles per day and we are done driving around 4pm in the afternoon. So by 10pm we would have already recovered what we used during the day. My current plan is to install the NEMA 6-20 receptacle between two of the garage doors and have a hanger there for the cord. The only downside to this plan is that it will be on the same circuit as the table saw. Ideally the Tesla would have a dedicated circuit, but for now, my plan is to disconnect the charger when I’m woodworking.

If that gets annoying, the next option is to have an electrician come out and install a subpanel. Our current panel is so full that we cannot fit another 220 breaker. The subpanel would give me room to add a 50amp line with a NEMA 14-50 receptacle. That would bump us up to 29 miles of charging per hour.

It’s tempting to do the subpanel now. 1) There are some federal and Washington state tax breaks for installing home charging equipment. 2) It opens up the possibility of some other things I want to add to our panel like a whole house surge protector and per circuit usage monitoring. 3) It would be good to have at resale time. But for now it’s a chunk of money that can wait until we have the Tesla in the garage and decide that we need it.

There’s one other home charging option and that is the Tesla Wall Connector. It’s a dedicated Tesla charger and, when connected to a 60amp circuit, it will provide 42 miles of charging to the Model Y per hour. That charger maxes out at about 48-kW. For comparison, a Tesla super charger peaks at 250-kW which results in 150 miles of range in about 15 minutes. If we somehow forget to charge up the car and don’t have enough juice to get through our day, we’re less than 3 miles from the nearest supercharger.

So for today, all I’ve done is order the NEMA 6-20 charge adapter. They have been out of stock for months but recently became available. I ordered one already to make sure I’m not stuck when the Model Y finally arrives. I will need to run some cable and add the new receptacle too but that will be a fun project as we prepare for the arrival of our new car next summer.

Disclaimer: I own Tesla stock.

Best of YouTube

After 2.5 years, I’m back with another “Best of YouTube” post! How have you found anything to watch without these incredibly valuable posts? I’m definitely not claiming that these are the best videos I’ve seen since that last post, but I don’t think any of them will disappoint you.

Frank Howarth’s meticulous combination of math and woodworking resulted in an amazing wooden globe. He went into great detail about the process and the complexities of getting this all to work correctly. Wonderful! If you like this one, his followup video where he makes a stand for the globe is good as well.

The Swiss Army knife that I’ve had since I was a child has a sewing awl in it. I’ve never had any idea how to use it. If I had to do it in an emergency, I probably would have poked the awl and thread through, pulled the thread out of the awl and all the way through the hole, rethreaded the awl on the other side and poked it back through. Now if I have to do it, I’ll know there is a better way… but I probably won’t remember the details so I’ll be stuck with the same dumb approach as before.

It’s a traditional old man joke to see a flyover at a game (remember when we didn’t have parenthetical comments after talking about public events?) to say “There’s our tax dollars hard at work.” It turns out that those flyovers are actually valuable training opportunities and not just ostentatious displays of money burning.

As penance for the last 2.5 years, I will not just give you a fourth video, but I’ll give you hundreds of videos. I recently started watching the very popular Donut Media channel. I wouldn’t call myself that much of a car guy but the production value of these videos is fantastic and most of the videos interest me. They put out videos every day and they have a variety of content types. My favorite so far was a “High Low” series where they bought two identical trucks and then outfitted them with overlanding gear. One truck would get an expensive version of the item while the other truck got the budget version. You can see the whole season in this playlist or just watch the summary video. That playlist also includes a previous season where they did the same thing with 350Zs.

Fantasy Football – Week 9

The highlight of our league this week was the game between Luke and Nick. Going into Monday night, Nick only had his defense left and needed about 10 points to overtake Luke. Defenses generally start with a lot of points and then lose them since part of their score is based on the number of points scored by the opposing team. With 2:47 left in the game, Luke was winning by 0.01! He went on to win by 1.01 but any time a score is that close, I wonder if a stat correction will come in and overturn the result. But as it stands now, Luke found his second win of the season. This was the second time this season that Nick has lost by less than two points.

In other league news, Andy had a very rough week, beating his previous record for season low score. That dropped him out of the tie for first place. Logan and I are alone in first and we face off next week so when the dust settles, we’ll have someone in sole possession of first place.

There were no changes to the power rankings:

  1. Logan
  2. Nick
  3. Ben
  4. Tyler

On to the weekly awards…

 This WeekThis SeasonAll Time
Highest Team ScoreTim had 121.41Andy had 167.86 (Week 6)Luke had 202.63 (2019)
Lowest Team ScoreAndy had 60.86Was: Andy had 68.06 (Week 4)Andy had 41.29 (2015)
Biggest BlowoutTim beat Andy by 60.55Chelsea beat Andy by 77.04 (Week 3)Luke beat Andy by 113.02 (2010)
Closest WinLuke beat Nick by 1.01Was: Ben beat Nick by 1.96 (Week 5)Tyler beat Nick by 0.01 (2018)
Longest Active Winning StreakLogan and Ben have 3 game winning streaks.Andy and Logan had 3 game winning streaks (Week 3)Micah (2011) and Ben (2015) had 8 game winning streaks
Longest Active Losing StreakChelsea has a 5 game losing streak.Was: Luke had a 4 game losing streak (Week 4) and Chelsea had a 4 game losing streak (Week 8)Kyle had a 14 game losing streak (2011)
Highest Scoring PlayerJames Conner had 37.30 on Luke’s bench.Justin Herbert had 50.82 for Tim (Week 5)Drew Brees had 60.54 on Tim’s bench (2015)
Lowest winning scoreBen won with 100.69Andy won with 89.80 (Week 8)Tim beat Jim with 79.34 (2015)
Highest losing scoreNick lost with 104.92Logan lost with 143.14 (Week 6)Tim lost to Luke with 169.11 (2019)

Tesla Stock

Welcome to another Tesla Tuesday! At the bottom of my incredibly long post about why we ordered a Model Y, I included the disclaimer that I own Tesla stock. One share to be specific. Buying individual stocks is a no-no for me. It’s a losing game. (If it was possible to be good at it, the game wouldn’t work.) But it felt like if we were going to own one of their cars, it would be fun to own a share of their stock. It’s a lot less dorky than buying a hat.

But as it turns out, through a lot of luck, I purchased the stock right before it went on the biggest run in the history of the stock market. (The green dot below is where I purchased.) did an article about how in 12 trading days, Tesla added more market cap than any other company in the history of capital markets. I bought the stock on October 15 and in the next 12 days, Tesla’s stock went up over 45%. The first jump came after they announced their Q3 earnings. Then a few days later Hertz announced that they were purchasing 100,000 Teslas for its rental fleet. That will mean Teslas make up 20% of their entire fleet. And all of those Teslas will be purchased at full price just like the rest of us. Yesterday it went back down because Elon announced that he’s selling a chunk of his stock either as some combination of freeing up capital to pay some of his taxes or to appease people who think rich people don’t pay enough.

The percentage increase isn’t a record, but Tesla was already so highly valued that this represented almost a $400 BILLION increase in the market value of their company. Tesla is now worth more than a trillion dollars making it one of 7 companies in the trillion dollar club.

For comparison, let’s look at the market value of some other car companies you might have heard of:

  • Ford: $77 billion
  • General Motors: $85 billion
  • Daimler: $93 billion
  • Fiat Chrysler: $64 billion
  • Toyota: $292 billion
  • Volkswagen: $87 billion

Tesla is at $1.15 TRILLION. That’s almost twice as much as all those other car companies combined.

Is it justified? Who knows. They keep raising prices and the order list keeps getting longer. They’re building out new factories, securing lithium deals in huge quantities to make batteries, and opening up their charging network to the world. Yes, their valuation seems very high right now, and I expect that at least some of the other car companies will eventually catch up, but they’ve got a long way to go to catch Tesla and it’s not like Tesla is resting on their laurels.

This feels like the time I walked into a casino, put $20 on red, won, and then walked out with my winnings… except I haven’t walked out yet.

Disclaimer: I own TSLA stock. Nothing that I say should be taken as stock advice. Do your own research.