Friday, October 18, 2019

Google Search Results Need Improvement

Google has been the number one search engine for a long time and is pretty much the go-to website when looking something up, but lately I have not been pleased with the top search results they are providing. While the results may be relevant, I find that often the top website results are very spammy.

What do I mean by this? Lets say you do a search and click on the first result which may be some kind of blog or news article site. As soon as you get to the website you are bombarded with a pop up to sign up for a newsletter. Or they start auto-playing a video that is not even related to the topic you searched for. Or they have a small section of text about what you wanted to know, but it is surrounded by unrelated content.

Now I use an ad blocker most of the time which at least helps block the ads, but the issues above still get through and make for a poor browsing experience. I get that the websites need to make money and they have these annoying things on their site to try to increase engagement, but this is not what people want when they visit a website.

The trouble is Google is rewarding and encouraging these kinds of things when they give them top rankings in search results. I think Google needs to do some revision on their search results to bring up some higher quality websites that are not just there to make money.

I have dabbled in trying out some other search engines but once you are used to Google, it is hard to change to something else. Also it seems like the results from the competitors are fairly similar.

As for now I am still using Google, but I am more critical of the websites they provide in their search results. If I click on a site and it pops up a window to sign up for their newsletter, guess what, I'm going back immediately and never going to that website again. Same goes for websites that auto-play videos that have nothing to do with the article. Website that want you to click through several pages for one article, also going back and not visiting that site again.

Google if you are listening, please take these kinds of things into consideration when deciding which sites to feature in the top search results.

Tuesday, October 8, 2019

In The Dark – Show Review – Best new show of 2019!

A little while back I was scrolling through the Netflix feed looking for new shows to check out. I happened to land on one called “In The Dark” and watched the preview clip. It was of a young blind woman purposely cutting people in line to pay for her stuff at a convenience store. The small clip was enough to get me to check out the first episode.

After watching the first episode, I was surprised at how good it was and I decided to keep watching more episodes. The show kept getting better and I ended up watching the whole season!

It turns out the show actually first aired earlier this year on the CW network, but Netflix picked it up also, so you can see all the episodes now on Netflix.

So what is the show about you ask? It revolves around the main character Murphy who is an attractive blind woman who is a little all over the place with her life and relationships. She “works” at a place that trains dogs to help the blind. I put that in quotes, because she does very little work intentionally.

One evening she goes outside to talk to her friend Tyson only to find him laying unconscious in an alley. She goes to call the police but when they show up they find nothing there. The main arch of the season revolves around Murphy and her attempt to figure out what happened to her friend.

I usually don't like written shows like this, but somehow this one really caught my interest. There are a lot of other good characters in the show as well from her friends and family to the people she works, and even her dog named Pretzel.

The star of the show Perry Mattfeld who plays Murphy does a great job portraying her disability and bringing a wide range of emotion to the character. I had not heard of her before this show, but I have a feeling we will be seeing a lot more of her in the future.

Speaking of which, In The Dark was picked up for a 2nd season! This is great news because the first season was amazing and ended with a season finale that was so suspenseful and had a twist no-one saw coming. I can't wait to see what happens in season 2!

If you are looking for a new show to watch, I highly recommend checking out In The Dark on Netflix and the CW.

Saturday, October 5, 2019

Vitafusion Men's Gummy Vitamin Review

Recently I decided to look for a multivitamin to try out and after doing some initial research I decided to try the Vitafusion gummy vitamins for men. They are one of the most widely available and reasonably priced at about $10 for 150 gummies. The recommended serving size is 2 gummies so that means they should last about 75 days if you take 2 each day.

I chose this kind because they have a good amount of vitamins without going overboard with daily values that are too high like some of the others I have seen. They don't have as many vitamins as some of the non-chewable or some of the more expensive brands, but for the price and convenience, I think they are pretty good.

As for the taste, they are very good and pretty much taste like fruit snacks. In fact, when you first try them, you may be tempted to eat more than just 2 because they taste like candy. But make sure not to take more the than recommended amount because then you may exceed your daily value of some of the vitamins.

It's hard to know if there is any noticeable difference in how you feel when taking multivitamins vs not taking them. I feel about the same either way but it is nice to have the piece of mind to know they the vitamins are helping to fill in any nutritional deficits.

I have had them for several weeks now and at this point I just take 1 gummy each day or every other day. I think 1 gummy combined with a healthy diet provides good coverage of your daily recommended vitamins.

If you are looking for a multivitamin to try out and you don't like swallowing pills, I would recommend the gummy kind like these from Vitafusion. They are available in Men's, Women's, and other specialty varieties as well.

Saturday, September 21, 2019

Grubhub Review – My Experience Working for Grubhub

For the past couple years I have been involved with app based delivery gigs such as Instacart and Shipt with Instacart being my main focus. While the grocery delivery is still going well, I figured I might try out one of the many food delivery apps available now. After doing a lot of research I decided to apply to be a delivery driver for Grubhub.

When I first applied, I noticed the nearest zone available was a couple towns over, but I still went through with the application. Also, after I applied, they sent me a message saying there were no openings at the moment, but that they would let me know when they were hiring more people in my area.

After a couple months went by, they contacted me saying I could start working for them now. Interestingly the area that I applied for actually covered a larger area than I thought, which actually included my town. So if you are applying and they do not have your exact town, I recommend applying for the nearest town because it might actually cover your area.

Next, I went over the training online which was pretty straightforward. They also sent me 2 nice insulated bags for free! They have the option to choose hours to commit to, or you can just log on at any time and they will send you orders if there are any available. Since I am usually working for Instacart, I decided to just do the 2nd option of logging into Grubhub whenever it was slow or if I had some downtime.

When you are logged in and set to take orders, they will send you an offer that tells you how much it pays, which restaurant it is, and where it is going to be delivered. I found the pay to be about $10 per order which is ok. I would estimate it takes about 30 minutes from start to finish for 1 order.

As so as you accept the order, you start driving to the restaurant. Once you get there, you go in and let them know you are there for a Grubhub pickup. I was under the impression that when you would go in, they would have your order ready to go, but in my experience, in most cases, the order is not ready when I get there, in fact many of them would not even start making the order until I got there. Because of this, you end up waiting in the restaurant for about 5-10 minutes until it is ready. In a business where time is money, this is something that could be improved upon.

Once you pick up the food, you start heading to the customer. Transporting the food is easy when it is just bags or boxes, but often they order drinks along with the food and these can be kind of tricky to transport and carry. You just have to make sure everything is secure in the car so nothing tips over or spills.

When you arrive at the customers location you let them know you have arrived and you bring them their food. I found that even though they are supposedly notified that you have arrived, often they are not ready when you get there. I had to contact several of the customers by text/phone because they would not answer the door when I got there.

Overall the work is pretty easy. You just pickup up food at one place and drop it off at another. What is nice about Grubhub is the orders are already paid for so you don't have to worry about the money.

Grubhub pays by direct deposit the following week. I found the payments to be on time and accurate. They also send you statements with how much you made each day.

If you are looking for an easy gig to get involved with to make a little extra money in your free time I would recommend trying out. If you have experience with food delivery or other app based gigs, I would say it is definitely worth trying out. These kinds of jobs can change fast so it is a good idea to have more than one option available!

Sunday, September 8, 2019

Buying a Suit – Men's Warehouse vs Kohl's – My Experience

I'm getting to the age where I'm starting to have to attend more weddings and funerals and since these are formal events, I decided it was time to look into getting a new suit. I started doing some research to see what the options were. Locally, I knew of Men's Warehouse because I had to rent a suit there for a wedding a while back. I also knew of department stores such as Kohl's that have suits as well.

When I rented the suit from Men's Warehouse is was pretty expensive at over $200, especially considering you only have it for a few days. Still I decided to give them another visit to see what the options were when it comes to buying a suit.

I saw some sales advertised online for about $199 so that was about what I was looking to spend. When I got to the store, I asked the first sales person about it and they immediately said they don't have anything for around that price. I was then assigned to another sales person to show me some other options.

First thing he shows me, he says is $699! Way more than I was looking to spend. I let him know I just was something basic because I don't plan to wear the suit very often. He shows me their cheapest suits which are still about $300. I had actually gone in with intention of buying but so far the experience was not going well.

The sales person was very much the stereotypical fast talking commission hungry associate you don't want. When I let him know I didn't need the suit until a wedding next year, he pretty much ushered me out the door and said come back when you are ready to buy. That's strange, I thought I was ready to buy, but apparently not.

So I decided to look at the other options available such as Kohl's department store. I like Kohl's but in the past I have found it difficult to find the right sizes especially when it comes to formal wear such as suits. Since I knew my size would be hard to find in store, I decided to look online.

They had a good selection to choose from and the prices were much more affordable. I found several to choose from in the $100-$200 range. I ended up ordering one that came to about $135 and it came with $20 Kohl's cash so I was able to get a nice dress shirt to go along with it for free!

When the suit arrived I was pleased with the look and the quality. I tried it on and the fit was ok, but it would need some tailoring to get a perfect fit. This is actually a common procedure with suits. It is rare to just try on a suit in store and have it fit correctly. I did some measuring and decided to have the pants and sleeves shortened to the correct length.

I found a local cleaners/tailor that was able to do the alterations. The cost to shorten the jacket sleeves and the pants came to about $50. I picked it up a few days later, tried it on and the fit was exactly how I wanted.

So all together I ended up with a nice fitting suit and dress shirt for about $185. Not too bad considering the cost to rent a suit from Men's Warehouse was over $200.

If you are looking to get a new suit, I recommend first getting measured so you know your size. Then once you have your size you can order online. Once it arrives you can try it on and if you like it, you can have it tailored to get the right fit.

Thursday, August 22, 2019

Pet Peeves of a Professional Grocery Shopper

As someone who works full time shopping for groceries, I end up spending a lot of time in grocery stores. Like any job there are good things about it as well as things that can be annoying or frustrating. While these are from a perspective of someone who does this for a living, anyone who does their own grocery shopping can relate. Here are some of my biggest pet peeves as a grocery shopper:

Stores that fill in the space of “out of stock” items with other items that do not belong there.
You will be looking for a certain product in the section where it is supposed to be but you cannot find it. All the shelf space is filled in so it must be there right? After not seeing it, you looking carefully at all the tags on the shelves. You find the right tag, look up and see some other product or variety that is not supposed to be there.

I'm pretty sure stores do this purposely when something is out of stock because they don't want it to look like something is out of stock. Instead of leaving it empty they will fill it in with more of the product next to it. As a shopper, I don't mind if a shelf is empty because something is out of stock, it happens. What I do mind is when I waste my time looking for something because the shelf space where it is supposed to be is filled in with something else.

Carts that are in poor condition.
Having a bad shopping cart can really ruin the shopping experience. Some stores are a lot better than others when it comes to shopping carts. The best carts are the plastic kind because they are light, tend to roll smoothly, and are easy to maneuver. The worst are old metal carts that are shaky, have wobbly wheels, don't roll straight, and are just in bad condition overall.

Sometimes I will try out 3 or 4 carts upon entering the store just to try to find one that isn't terrible. There have been times where I have been doing my own shopping and have actually cut my shopping trip short because I could not put up with pushing a noisy cart around the store anymore.

Repetitive music playlist.
This might not bother other people as much, but for me, I really get tired of hearing the same songs played in the store every time I go in there. For the occasional shopper, they will not notice this, but for someone who is in the store several times a day, it is very noticeable. I pretty much have every song they play memorized at this point. I can't imagine how the employees who are in there all day put up with it. Honestly is is one of the main reasons why I would not want to work in a grocery store or any place that has a repetitive music playlist.

Garbage left in the carts.
Almost every time I enter a store and go to the carts, I will find at least one that has garbage left in it from a previous shopper. It might be a sample cup or wrapper, a store advertisement, a shopping list, a plastic bag, a coffee cup etc.

Litter is one of my biggest pet peeves in life and litter in shopping carts is no different. One of my hobbies is cleaning up litter outside and this continues to store parking lots as well as in store such as in the shopping carts. This means when I go to get a cart, I specifically look for the one that has the garbage in it. I take that cart, remove the garbage and place it in the nearest garbage can. If the customers and the store employees won't do it, somebody's gotta do it.

People who hold up the checkout process.
Everyone would like to be able to checkout quickly but that does not always happen does it? You go to the shortest line thinking it is going to be fast but then something unexpected happens. Maybe someone is trying to use a coupon on a product that it does not qualify for. Maybe they need a price check on something. Maybe there is alcohol and they have to wait until someone who is over 21 comes over to approve it. Maybe they are try to pay with a check. All these things end up holding up the line and make the checkout process long than it has to be.

Poor bagging at checkout.
Bagging is a pretty simple job but there is a lot more to it than just putting items in a bag and placing them in the cart. Baggers are supposed to be trained on the proper way to bag items, but apparently some of them did not pay attention to the training, or they just don't care.

I will place my items on the belt in a specific order to help ensure they are bagged properly. Ex: cold items together so they end up in the same bags, heavy items together, boxy items together, produce together, and light/fragile items last so they end up on top and don't get squished.

Despite this organization there will be times when I get to the car and realize everything has to be re-bagged. There will be cold items with non-cold items, fragile stuff in the same bags with heavy stuff, raw meats in the same bags as ready to eat food etc. Once I realize someone does not know how to bag, I will avoid going to their line if at all possible on future shopping trips.

I could go on and on with more pet peeves about grocery shopping but overall it is actually not that bad. For the most part I enjoy grocery shopping and as a job it can actually be fun.

What are some of your pet peeves when it comes to grocery shopping? Feel free to comment below.

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

My/Mo Mochi Ice Cream Review

Recently I got inspired to try out some new foods and one that caught my interest was mochi ice cream. Mochi has a dough like consistency and is made with rice flour and sugar. With mochi ice cream, you have the traditional ice cream in the middle wrapped in the mochi.

In store I found the brand My/Mo which makes mochi ice cream in several different flavors. I decided to go with the strawberry to try it out. The price is pretty expensive. At a regular price of over $6 it comes out to over $1 per piece since there are 6 pieces in the box. I was able to get them on sale for a little over $4. For the nutrition, each piece has 110 calories, 2.5 grams of fat, and 12 grams of sugar.

Upon opening the box, the mochi's are in a tray separated and the top is sealed with plastic. They are coated in what looks like a powdered sugar but the powder is not sweet so it must be a flour or a corn starch. I found the powder a bit off-putting since it doesn't really help the flavor. In fact, for the rest of the pieces, I rinsed them off with water before eating them. I'm guessing they cover it in powder to keep it from sticking to things like the packaging.

The mochi material itself is soft and has a chewy gelatinous consistency. It is also sweet and kind of fun to eat. Inside, the strawberry ice cream is creamy and tastes very much like other strawberry ice creams I have tried in the past.

Overall the mochi ice cream is pretty good and makes for a nice snack or dessert. Although they are tasty, based on the price, I probably would not rush to buy them again. But if you are looking for something different to try out and you can find them in store, I would say they are worth a try especially if you can find them on sale.