Monday, August 24, 2015

TV Severe Weather Warnings Rant

Have you ever been in the middle of watching one of your favorite shows on tv when suddenly it cuts away to the news to report about severe weather in your area? This happens from time to time especially if you are watching a show on one of the major networks that has the news such as CBS, NBC or ABC.

They cut to the meteorologist of the station and they talk about the severe weather that is happening in the area. I understand they want to warn everyone in the area to take cover so everyone can be safe, but the issue is when they interrupt the show you wanted to watch and then talk about the weather for a half an hour. This is unnecessary especially when they have the option to run a ticker warning at the bottom of the screen with the same information. The ticker scroll warning is ok because at least you still get to watch your show.

If there is something very important happening like a national crisis, then it would be ok to cut away from the normal programming, but if it is a weather warning, there really is no need to cut away from the normal programming to talk about it for an extended period of time. People are tuned in to watch their show at that time, not to watch a weather report.

These cutaways often happen in prime time during popular shows and then it is very difficult to watch the part you missed. If you are lucky, you might be able to find the show the next day on the internet, but often this is difficult as well and often requires a subscription or a fee depending on the network.

Overall, they need to do away with the weather report interruptions and stick to the ticker warnings at the bottom of the screen. The same information will get across and the viewers will get to watch the show they tuned in to see in the first place.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Home Free on Fox TV Show Review

There is a new show this season called Home Free which has different couples working together to win a dream home. Each week they work with the host Mike Holmes to completely restore and remodel a run down home. They are under the impression that each home will be given to a deserving family and that at the end, the remaining couple who does the best will win a house of their own.

What they don't know is that each one of them is already the deserving family so each week when a couple is eliminated and thinks they are about to go home, they are presented with the new house they have just worked on!

I have been watching the show from the beginning and so far after a few episodes, it is pretty good! If you like reality competition shows and shows with an emotional happy ending, I highly recommend checking it out. There is a lot of drama as the couples try to work together as teams to do the best job each week. They are challenged with new products and tasks that make them push their limits and learn new skills each week.

The end of each show is always great as the couple is exhausted and thinks they just lost out on the biggest opportunity to win a new home, only to find out they have in fact just won a new home! Home Free airs Wednesdays at 9pm EST on Fox.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

First Job Memoir - Pizza Delivery

When I was 18, I wanted to get a summer job. I applied to several places but none of them were eager to hire me. Turns out it is not that easy for an 18 year old with no experience to get a job. After many applications and a few interviews, the summer was almost over. Then with 2 weeks before I would leave for college, I get a call from a pizza place I had applied to. I was surprised when they asked if I could work for them. I let them know that I was leaving in 2 weeks but they must have really needed people because they still wanted me. So I thought, why not, and I accepted the job.

I would be a delivery driver for one of the popular chains in the area. I was nervous of course as this was my first job and I had never done anything like it before. I met the people in the store and they were very friendly to me. I got a uniform and quickly learned the basics of what I would be doing. Then it was time to go on a delivery with one of the drivers to see how it was done. I asked a lot of questions and tried to learn the exact process from start to finish.

Then it was time to take my first delivery. I was so nervous, but it was close by and it wasn't busy so I figured I could do it. I got my order and my address and I was off. Within minutes I found the house. I pulled up and rang the door bell. The customer opened the door. I greeted him and told him the total. He gave me enough to cover it, plus about $2 for a tip. I gave him the pizza, said thank you, and that was it! Pretty simple.

Over the next couple weeks I took more deliveries and started learning the area. I got to know my co-workers and all the procedures around the store. I liked the job and I was earning money each day. Then it was time to go to college.

Months later when winter break came around and I had a month off, I called back to the store and asked if they wanted me to work. They said yes. I ended up working there for the summers and breaks for the next 4 years and even full time for a year and a half after that. I even expanded my territory by working at another store which was managed by the same owner. I became one of the top drivers and learned every street in the town and surrounding area, and this was before navigation systems!

Overall it was a good job, but there were shortcomings. One, there was no health and dental insurance provided by the company. Two, earnings were heavily dependent on tips so if it was slow, or you didn't get good tips, you wouldn't make much money. Three, you often had to work late hours and sometimes go to neighborhoods that were not so good.

While I worked in an area that was generally pretty safe, there was always the possibility of danger. Even in good towns there are pockets that have higher crime rates. Delivery drivers are known to be targeted for robberies because they carry cash on them. During the time I worked there, our store was robbed one time at gun point and there was an attempted robbery of one of our drivers while he was on a delivery.

That last one was one of the biggest reasons I wanted to stop delivering pizzas and find a new job. Even though a robbery was rare, I didn't want to take the chance of something like that happening to me.

A short while later, I got the opportunity to apply for a teaching assistant job at a school. I got an interview and a couple days later I was offered the job! A few months later I resigned from my delivery job. I was sad to be leaving, but it was time to move on. I met a lot of nice people while I worked there and they are the ones I miss the most. If you are looking for a job food delivery is not bad and I would recommend it, but you just have to make sure you are safe out there.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Thoughts on Lifespan and Way of Living

When thinking about life, I had always thought that things should be good towards the end or at least not bad. Life is hard as it is so it seems like when you have made it to the end of a long life, you should be able to take it easy and enjoy it. Unfortunately it seems this is often not the case.

Recently I have had 2 grandparents pass away. One became ill and struggled for about a year and half before shoe passed away. The other was very depressed as the end of his life. It got me thinking about lifespan and how things can tend to go down hill towards the end of life.

I may have written about this concept before, about how there are 2 ways to live. One is to live a risky lifestyle that may be more fun, but may be dangerous or harmful to you in the long run resulting in a short life. The other is to live a safe and conservative lifestyle which may not be as fun but will most likely result in a longer life.

I have always believed that the 2nd choice was the way to go, to have the longer life, but after seeing examples first hand of how the end of life is not that great for those who have lived a long time, it makes you question if that style of living is actually better, or if it is better to live a more fun but shorter life.

One thing is for sure, it is important to have something to look forward to. As people get older, they may not be able to do all the things they would like to do because of physical limitation and old age. Also the people they know will begin to pass away as they get older. You can see how it would be easy to get depressed in this situation when you feel like you have nothing to do or no reason to go about each day. This is why it is important to stay motivated and have things to do and look forward to each day.

There is a lot to think about when it comes to life especially such as what happens after one dies. No one really knows for sure if it is the end or if there is some kind of afterlife. Of course there are many different beliefs. I would like to think there is some kind of afterlife that your spirit goes on to after you die but for the time being, we must make the most of our time here and try to enjoy and appreciate each day.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

AT&T Billing Issues with U-Verse Internet

I have been using AT&T U-verse internet for several years now, and overall the service has been pretty reliable in terms of the connection, but billing on the other hand has been a different story. I have already written about my previous issues I have had with the billing on past blogs but of course, this year brings new billing problems.

So my yearly promotional rate was coming to and end so I figured I would call up AT&T to see if I could get a new promotional rate or if they have an new deals going on. After talking with the first person and discussing the different plans, I was able to get the bill down to about the same rate as the previous year by going with a slower plan and getting a new yearly promotion. I agreed to have the plan switched and they explained how it would go into effect and the next bill would show the lowered amount.

A month goes by and I receive the new bill. Guess what? It did not show the change in plan and it did not have the promotion applied.  So I called them up again to figure out what was going on. They said that for some reason it was not applied. I had to talk with more reps at AT&T and eventually they were able to apply the change for the plan that was supposed to happen a month ago.

Meanwhile because the plan did not change when I called a month before, I ended up getting charged a much higher amount that I should have. I called a 3rd time to see if I could get a credit for this additional charge because the plan had not been changed before when I had asked. They said that because I had the higher plan that month that I was not eligible for the lower rate.

I understand they want to charge that amount because it is the rate I had, but the problem is, it was their responsibility to change the plan when I had called the first time. So I had to pay about twice as much as I should have had to pay for the last month.  Now the plan is supposedly switched to the new lower rate with a new promotion so hopefully it will be reflected in the next bill.

I would like to stay with AT&T internet but with the ongoing problems with the billing, the new Xfinity promotions are looking more and more appealing. 

Update 7-30-15: The new bill came in and there was a $25 credit applied. It was not clear exactly what the credit was for, but it looks like it is some kind of prorated amount from overpaying on the previous bill. It is nice to get this credit considering the overcharges from the previous bills. 

Sunday, July 19, 2015

The Fort Story

We as kids had a lot of fun on our block, whether we were playing sports, video games, or trading cards, we always had a good time. One summer, some new townhouses were being built on the lot next to our block. Since we were curious, we would jump the fence and play on the dirt hills and partially built houses when the builders were not there.

They happened to have a lot of spare wood and nails lying around and this got us thinking. Maybe we could use this extra wood and nails to build something of our own. We had tools so we decided to build a fort. Surprisingly, one of the kid's parents allowed us to build it in their back yard. We had the green light!

So like ants, we methodically began bringing planks of wood and 2x4's from the build site, over to our friend's back yard. All the kids on the block were involved. We were out there with our hammers, nailing wood together as we constructed our fort. It was a serious project that took several weeks of daily work to complete.

By the time we were done we had a nice sturdy structure with 3 small rooms, and a 2nd level. We even got carpet in there and a small couch! We were so proud of our accomplishment. We would hang out there and play in the fort every day.

It lasted a long time. I remember when winter came along it was still there. One day I came home from school and forgot my key, so I couldn't get in for about a hour until my mom came home. I was able to use the fort as shelter that day.

Over the months, the fort started to deteriorate. Nails were starting to stick out and it became dangerous. Also, someone must have complained about it to the police so we were instructed to take it down because we didn't have a building permit.

We took it apart and disposed of the wood. All that was left was an area of dead grass and mud in the middle of our neighbor's back yard. Eventually it grew in and all traces of the fort were gone but the memories of the fort will not be forgotten!

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

2015 Womens World Cup Review and US Womens Team

Soccer has never been as popular in the US as it is around the world, but it seems to be gaining popularity as of late. I recently began to appreciate the sport with the men's World Cup last year.  It was a lot of fun to see all the different countries competing against each other in the same game. The fact that it is teams from all over the world competing together makes it more interesting than just watching a competition between teams of the same country. Even though the US did not get too far in the tournament, it was still fun to watch.

Which brings us to the 2015 Women's World Cup. Historically the women's US team has done well in this tournament and this year is no different as they have been doing great!  I have been watching the games this year, not only the US games but other teams as well. I find the women's World Cup to be just as much fun to watch as the men's World Cup. The US team has a lot of great players and personalities which makes them easy to cheer for.

Yesterday they played the number 1 ranked German team.  It was a great game with a lot of dramatic moments. It was a close match but the US team managed to pull off a 2-0 win to move on to the final game! They play the winner of Japan / England who are playing today in the semi finals.  Here are some highlights from the match:

The final game will take place this Sunday at 7pm eastern on Fox. I will be watching and I highly recommend everyone check it out as it should be a good game and the US team has the opportunity to win the World Cup!

Update 7-5-15: Congratulations US Women's Team World Cup Champions!