Monday, December 14, 2020

Folding Stop Signs are a waste of money and are more trouble than they are worth

You may have noticed foldable stop signs placed at intersections throughout the streets. In my community these are very common and can be found at most busy intersections. You might wonder why they are there or what they are for? Apparently they are there so that if the stop light goes out, the sign can be unfolded to become a stop.

The problem is, most of the time these signs get opened up unintentionally by the wind. In fact, in all my years of driving, I have never actually seen these being put to use properly, but I see them opened up all the time when they are not supposed to be open. They are supposed to be secured closed by a tie or a lock, but often these are missing so the signs end up opening up on their own.

When a stop light goes out, it usually switches to the flashing red mode which means it is to be treated as a 4 way stop. So when drivers see this, they know they have to stop. They don't need stop signs to be opened up as well.

So I find these signs to be pretty much pointless and not only that, they are expensive! Upon looking them up an average folding stop sign sells for about $200! That's $800 per intersection! Think about how much money is being spent on these signs when they are at every busy intersection. It seems like an incredible waste of taxpayer money.

I have a feeling the sign companies are taking advantage of the situation marketing these products to villages and public works as a way to make things safer when really they are unnecessary and actually more problematic than they are helpful. If you are considering adding these kinds of signs to your town, please consider if they are actually worth it.

Saturday, December 5, 2020

Best Youtube Channels of 2020

It's that time to announce the best Youtube channels of 2020. Like last year, the best Youtube channels list will focus on channels that have not yet been featured in previous years. This year the list has a nice mix of channels from Youtuber's that really stood out this year. So without further ado, here are Connected Isolation's picks for the best Youtube channels of 2020:

1. Esther Club (podcast / variety)
Esther Povitsky is a stand up comedian, actress, and most recently tie dye clothing designer. Esther Club is her channel where she posts podcast style videos each week. At this time it has a relatively small but loyal fan base. She talks about whatever is on her mind and sometimes has guests join her on the show. Esther has a likable personality and makes you feel like you are part of the club. Here is a recent episode where she had comedian Annie Lederman on the show.

 

2. ReuBekah Vidz (pranks)
Reuben and Bekah are a couple who play pranks on each other post it on Youtube for our enjoyment. They have a good relationship but that does not stop them from pranking each other whenever they get the chance. In this video she gives him swim trunks that dissolve at the seams when they get wet and well you can imagine what happens when he unknowingly ventures into the water on a public beach.

 

3. Melissa VillaseƱor (podcast / variety)
Melissa VillaseƱor is a comedian and impressionist and is also on Saturday Night Live. She currently has a channel where she does a podcast style show called Laughing With Myself. Each show has a mix of comedy, impressions, and talk about whatever is on her mind. I actually did feature this channel a few years back but I decided to make an exception and feature it again this year because the content is different with the show.

 

4. Jim Browning (scammer justice)
Jim Browning is on a mission to stop scammers from taking advantage of people. He uses his computer skills to track down individuals trying to steal money from people online and over the phone. He is very good with computers so often he is able to see exactly what they are doing in real time and then warn the victim that they have been talking to a scammer so they do not give them any money. In this video he actually manages to get access to the security cameras of the building where some of the scammers are working.

 

5. Reponut (vehicle repossession / life)
Matt from the Reponut channel works in the line of vehicle repossession where he tracks down cars of owners who are not making their payments. The channel has a lot of information on this topic but he also gives a lot of helpful advice on life in general in each of his videos. In this video he tracks down a couple cars and also talks about life after prison.

 

6. Curious Cars (car reviews)
Bill from the Curious Cars channel (previously Auto Europa Naples) reviews cars, but his style is a lot different from most car reviewers out there. As he puts it, you get tangents, history, sarcasm, non sequiturs, outrage, and even the weather report. It's always great to hear what he has to say about not only the cars but whatever else is going on at the moment. In this video, he reviews the Hummer H1.

 

7. Miranda Sings (funny)
Miranda Sings is a character and channel created by Colleen Ballinger. Miranda sees herself as incredibly talented in singing, acting, dancing, magic, modeling etc, but in fact she is not as talented as she thinks which makes it funny. Her channel is very popular and doesn't need the extra promotion but I have not featured it here yet and I have to give credit where credit is due. I love the character and her videos are very funny. She even has a Netflix series and a couple books based on Miranda. Here is one of her videos where she switches lives with her baby Pinto Bean for 24 hours.
 

 

Check out the best Youtube channels from previous years here: 2019, 2018, 2017, 2016.

Tuesday, December 1, 2020

One Mississippi Show Review - Tig Notaro's show based on her real life

Recently I was checking out some of the offerings available on Amazon Prime video and I noticed Tig Notaro had a show called One Mississippi. Tig has been one of my favorite comedians for some time now so of course I had to check it out. I didn't know much about the series going in, I just kind of jumped right in to it.

The show is based on Tig's real life and it goes over some of the topics which she has had to deal with in recent times such as sickness, cancer, and the sudden loss of her mother. It may sound kind of depressing but it is not. There is some humor throughout but I would not consider it a comedy necessarily.

The first season is 6 episodes that are about 25 minutes each so it goes very fast. I really enjoyed the first season. Tig is very much herself which makes the acting easy, but even playing the role as herself, I found her acting to be very impressive.

We also meet Tig's step father Bill who is probably my favorite character. He has that personality where everything in his life has to be very particular and controlled the way he wants it. I found his character to be very relatable. His acting is so good, I had to keep asking myself, “Wait, is he an actor or is this real?”

Other characters we meet along the way include her brother Remy as well as some of the relationship interests of the characters.

The second season is also 6 episodes and picks up where the first season left off. I enjoyed the second season as well but I think the first season was better. The first season just seemed so real and authentic while the second season seemed more like it was written like how most shows are.

Overall I would highly recommend checking out One Mississippi. If you are a fan or Tig's, you are sure to enjoy it and even if you are not familiar with her, I think you will enjoy the show.

Wednesday, November 11, 2020

Windows 10 2004 Booting Slow From Hibernate

Recently my computer updated Windows 10 to version 2004. The computer was running fine before the update, but after the new version was installed, I noticed it would take a very long time to boot up from Hibernate. Before, it would boot up in about 10 seconds but in version 2004 it takes over a minute. Also programs seem to respond slowly after booting up.

I made sure everything was up to date and did the usual restarts, but it still remained slow. I restored it back to version 1909 and that fixed it. I would have been fine staying with version 1909 but of course Windows keeps trying to get you to do the update. It puts the update icon in the task bar and in the Power menu.

I looked into ways to disable the updates but it seems there is no easy way to do this. They let you delay the update for about a month but then they want you to do the update.

I find it to be pretty annoying that an update like this breaks a simple function such as Hibernate. If they are going to force people to do an update, the update should make the computer better not worse. I'm tired of software companies doing updates to programs and apps that work fine only to end up making them worse. This happens all the time. If it ain't broke, don't fix it!

So as of right now I pretty much can't use Hibernate anymore. The Sleep option is working fine and booting up from Shut Down seems to be about the same as before so I guess I will be sticking to these options until the next Windows update.

Has anyone else noticed this issue with Windows 10 version 2004?

Saturday, November 7, 2020

Zep Acidic Toilet Bowl Cleaner Review

I am pretty good about cleaning my toilet once a week, but over time it had started to build up a coating of some kind at the bottom and around the underside of the rim. It seemed no amount of cleaning was helping. I even tried scraping it off but it was really stuck on there good.

I also had noticed the toilet began getting clogged very easily. I had a feeling the deposits building up around the bottom were starting to narrow the pathway and were causing the clogs to happen more frequently.

After doing some research I decided to try out Zep Acidic Toilet Bowl Cleaner. I picked it up at a hardware store for about $5.

Upon trying it out, it is pretty easy to use. You squeeze and twist the cap which opens it and then you just squirt it around the toilet. I expected the smell to be strong but it was actually not bad at all and has a clean fresh scent. I let it sit and swished it around with the toilet brush. They say you only have to leave it for 5 minutes but I let it sit for longer hoping it would work better.

Before: 



After flushing it, I did not see much difference. I tried a few more times, again letting it sit longer for several hours and it slowly started to break down the deposits and clean the residue that was stuck around the rim.

It seemed to work best if I pushed most of water out and then put in the cleaner so it was more concentrated. Using the brush to swish it around and help scrape around the sides also seemed to work pretty well.

After doing several treatments over a few weeks and using about 2/3rds of the bottle, I would say that the results are not perfect but much better than before. It was able to clean around the sides and under the rim pretty good with a little residue still there. The bottom which was the most stubborn is also much better with the only deposits left are way back where the brush cannot reach. 

 After: 

 

 

Also I have not had any more issues with it getting clogged since using this product so it must have cleaned it well enough to break down whatever was preventing it from flushing properly.

Overall I would say the product worked pretty good and was worth the money. I will include the before and after pictures here to show the results. If you have been having issues like this with your toilet, I would recommend trying out the Zep cleaner.

Thursday, November 5, 2020

Light Bulb Warranties and Other Warranties that are Useless

A few years ago, I bought a pack of LED light bulbs. On the front of the package it says they last for 13 years*. On the back it says they have a 5 year warranty (based on 3 hours of use per day). That right there is already a big discrepancy, but that's not even the issue I have with it.

I figured the bulbs should last at least 5 years and if they didn't then I would be able to get a replacement. So I kept the receipt just in case. Sure enough, 3 years in and one of the bulbs is not working. I pull out the box that I had been saving and review the warranty information.

It says if the bulb does not last 5 years you can get a replacement bulb by sending them the proof of purchase and shipping them the light bulb. Here is the problem, the bulb itself is only worth about $1 and shipping a light bulb across the country is going to cost more than $1 so if you wanted to claim the warranty, you would actually end up losing money.

Because of this, the warranty is essentially meaningless. They say they will replace the bulb but if it is going to cost the consumer more money in the process than the bulb is actually worth, no one will actually claim the warranty. I think this is poor practice on the part of the company. If they are going to offer a warranty like this, it should not cost the consumer money to claim it.

I had a new box of LED light bulbs from another brand and they have the same kind of warranty where you have to ship them the bulb in order to get a replacement. This returning defective items by mail may work on high value items, but for low value items like light bulbs, it simply does not work.

I would not be surprised if there are other warranties out there like this where the cost to process them is more than the item is worth. Have you found any other items with warranties like this? 

Update 11-17-20:

I ended up contacting the manufacturer by email and was able to submit a claim without sending in the bulb. About a week later I got a letter back that included a coupon for a replacement! I am pleased they were able to honor the warranty without having to mail the bulb back.

 

Saturday, October 24, 2020

Why when bad things happen it can actually be a good thing

Usually when something bad happens to us, depending on what it it, our first reaction is to be upset, angry, annoyed, or sad. No one likes when bad things happen to them but inevitably they are a part of life. One might think, wouldn't it be nice if life was perfect and no bad things ever happened? That sounds great at first, but actually it might not be a good as it sounds.

When it comes to good and bad, they both exist in relation to the other. We know when things are good because we have the knowledge of when things have not been so good. Same goes for bad, we understand when things are bad because we know how they are when they are good. This is an important concept to keep in mind when something in life is bothering us.

Take the first example and imagine a life where everything is perfect and no bad things happen. It seems like it would be great, but in actuality, if everything was good at all times, then it wouldn't be good, it would be average. Because people would be used to everything being good, it would become normal and they would take it for granted, so to them life would just seem regular and not necessarily good.

To expand on this example, consider the weather. If it was a calm 72 degrees and sunny every day, that sounds pretty good to us because we have the understanding that the weather is not always like that. Some days it is cold, cloudy, raining, and windy. So when the weather gets better and it is comfortable and sunny, we appreciate it. If the weather was like that every day, we wouldn't appreciate it because we would get used to it and end up taking it for granted.

In another example, say there is a person who lives in a very beautiful part of the world. They have lived there all their life so they are used to it and it is just what they experience every day. Because of this, they may not consider it to be anything special. Then someone comes to visit from a far away country where the environment is not nearly as beautiful. When they get to the destination they are amazed at how wonderful it looks and they express this feeling to the person who lives there. The local resident is confused why this person seems to think it is so amazing, because to them, this is what they see every day. The perspective makes all the difference.

Another common story to illustrate this concept is when someone experiences a near death situation like a car accident. Before the incident happened, they may have been in a rut, maybe not very motivated, maybe not that happy with their life, just kind of living the same routine every day. Then an accident happens where they almost lose their life, but luckily they survive. After recovery, they have a renewed perspective on life. They realize tomorrow is not guaranteed so you have to make the most of each day. They become more motivated and and excited to live life to the fullest. Sure an accident is terrible and no one wants to experience something like that, but when it does happen, it puts things into perspective and can actually have a positive effect in the long run.

When something bad happens, instead of just feeling down about it, use it as a learning experience. Think about what happened and what you have now learned from it so that you can prevent something like that from happening again. Realize that these things serve as a reset on our perspective so that we can fully appreciate when things are going good.

It can be hard to keep this perspective in mind especially in the moment, but if you can remember this concept, it can really help you deal with life when things are not going your way. Instead of feeling annoyed, angry, or upset, when something happens, use the opportunity to remember that this is a part of life and without bad, there is no good.

Thursday, October 1, 2020

People That Hit Their Car Doors into Other People's Cars

Today drove to a restaurant to pick up an order of food and since I arrived a little early I decided to wait in my car before going in. I parked far enough away so there was an open parking spot on each side. As I was sitting there some guy pulls in next to me. He then proceeds to open his door and hit my car with his door.

Now I am not a confrontational person and it didn't seem like the hit was too bad so I basically ignored it even though I was annoyed by it. The guy goes into the store and comes back 5 minutes later while I am still there. I'm thinking he better be extra careful this time right? He then proceeds to open his door and hits my car door again!

I really should have said something at that point but in the moment, I did not want to start a confrontation. He leaves and I go out and check the car door. I didn't noticed any significant damage which was a relief. I have an older car and while I keep it in good condition, the paint does have a fair amount of minor nicks here and there so even if it got one more, it would not be a big deal, but still it does not excuse this guys actions.

You might think someone with a junky car who doesn't care about anyone else might be the kind of person to do something like this, but he had a nice car! Were talking a new Lexus SUV that was in good condition, and he is just hitting his car door into other people's cars like that!

I'm not sure what to make of it. Maybe the guy didn't care, maybe he is just inconsiderate. The thing is, if something like this happens once, it it an accident. I get it, accidents happen. But twice in a row? That is unacceptable.

If I accidentally opened my car door into someone else's car while they were sitting in it, I would be so embarrassed. And you know if I had to go back 5 minutes later and get back into my car I would be super careful not to do it again. But this guy did it again which boggles my mind.

I always look for a lesson to be learned when things like this happen. In this case I think the lesson is that you really can't park near other people because there is a chance they might be like this guy and open their door into your car. I even parked with open spaces on each side and it still happened so I think I may have to start parking even further away to prevent this kind of thing from happening again.

I do wonder what would have happened if I confronted him. I think I could have gone up to him and said, “Hey you just hit my car twice. Please be more careful when you open your door.” I wonder what his reaction would have been. I would guess he would probably say sorry, but you never know how people are going to react and sometimes it is best not to take the chance of getting yourself into a bad situation.

I know part of owning a car and having to park it in a parking lot is the fact that it might get dinged up by other cars. I accept that so I'm not too bothered by it, but the fact that this guy hit my car twice, while I was sitting in it, is just unbelievable. After it happened and I was milling it over in my mind, I told myself if anything I'm going to get a blog post out of this!

Monday, September 21, 2020

The Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy of Company B Story

Back when I was in grade school we had music class and one of the things we did as a class was practice singing a song that would eventually be performed at the school concert. One year I remember the song we were assigned was The Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy of Company B. It's an oldies song that I barely remember but I do remember something that happened that year in music class.

As we were practicing our song in class one day, the teacher mentioned that we would need someone to play the part of the Bugle Boy at the concert. The person playing the part would have a bugle and would basically walk around and dance to the music and pretty much be the star of the song.

The teacher asked if anyone wanted to be the Bugle Boy, but no one volunteered. I guess we were at that age where no one really wanted that extra attention for fear of standing out or being judged. I know I didn't want to do it. I figured the part would probably go to one of the cool or popular boys in the class.

Then something interesting happened. One of the boys who I would consider kind of an average kid, not one of the cool or popular kids, spoke up and volunteered to be the Bugle Boy. Everyone was a little surprised as it was kind of unexpected. I remember at the time thinking that for some reason he was not right for the part, but you know what, he was the only one brave enough to volunteer so he got the part!

So when the concert day arrived, our class sang our song for the audience while this kid walked around and danced with the bugle at center stage. He did a great job and I'm sure it was a great boost of confidence for him. It's funny how little situations like this that happened many years ago can stick in your memory.

Looking back it's one of those motivational or teachable moments. When there is a situation or a goal that you think might be out of your reach, sometimes it just takes a little bravery to go for it and you never know, you just might get it!

Thursday, September 10, 2020

Why are so many green utility boxes broken or not have the cover on properly?

Have you ever seen those light green metal boxes seemly placed in random spots around neighborhoods and communities? You probably have seen them but might not have given them much thought. Recently I have been noticing that so many of these boxes do not have the covers on properly or they are just in bad condition overall.

These boxes contain wires inside. I'm not exactly sure what they are for other than they are for utilities like phone lines and such. It could be different depending on the box. Some of these boxes are small, some are larger, some are round, some are rectangular. In the case with these boxes, either they are not designed well enough to put the covers on easily or the people working on them just don't bother to put the covers back on the right way when they are done working on them.

I have started fixing these covers when I see them like this. Usually the cover is either just leaning against the box or it is on the ground next to it. They usually have little notches that hook onto a piece on the main box. Sometimes they twist on if they are the round kind. I have found they are pretty easy to put the cover back on if you give it a chance. Sometimes though the cover is hard to get on either because the wires are in the way or because it is just in bad condition.

A lot of times these boxes are at a diagonal like they have been knocked over. My guess is that this happens from lawnmowers that go by and knock into them sending them out of alignment.

If you start looking for these green utility boxes, you will notice how so many of them do not have the covers on properly or are knocked over. I find this strange considering there are probably important wires inside that should be protected from the elements.

The wires inside must be pretty durable considering how so many of these boxes are in bad shape and apparently they are still working because no one seems to bother to fix them or put the covers on the right way.

I think they need to come up with a better design for these utility boxes to make the covers easier to put on. They also should try to make them stronger so they do not get knocked over so easily.

Has anyone else noticed these utility boxes like this? If anyone out there works with these boxes or has any insight on them, please feel free to share your experience in the comments below.

Friday, July 24, 2020

The Stock Market is a Scam

If you are a new investor to the stock market, there is a good chance you have lost money already. Even those who have been in it for a while and have been studying it closely are likely to lose money. I am not an expert on stocks in fact, I would still consider myself to be pretty new and inexperienced with the stock market, but I have studied it over the past year and nothing is really convincing me that it is not a scam.

There is a ton of information to learn about stocks with all the different statistics and numbers, all the trends, charts, and recommendations. Even when you do your research and try to pick the best stocks, there is no guarantee that it is going to work out in your favor.

One common piece of advice is to buy low and sell high, and I think this is good advice but it is hard to follow because it goes against your natural instinct. For example if you see a stock that has been going down you would not want to invest in it because it looks like it will lose money. Same goes for when a stock is doing really well, it makes you think you should invest in it because it is going up.

Sometimes this works out but often it does not. That stock that was doing amazing and was at an all time high when you bought it is now tapering off and starting to go down. Those stocks that looked terrible before are now starting to go up. It's like you can't win.

In my experience it seems like the market is always against you. As soon as you buy a stock, it goes down. As soon as you sell a stock it goes up. I know it is hard to time the market and nearly impossible to buy at the low and sell at the high but it just seems like whatever you do ends up being the wrong decision.

I'm sure there are individuals who do know how to make the market work in their favor, for example professionals who trade stocks for a living or those who have been studying the market closely for many years. These people have the advantage and know how to play it so they make money. But for the average person who is not an insider, they are more likely to get taken advantage of and lose money.

One thing that should be very simple and straight forward but is not is what makes the price of a stock go up and down? People will say things like supply and demand, company earnings, and daily news will affect the price. But there really is no clear explanation. You just have to look at your screen and accept whatever number is shows you.

You would think that a stock's performance should be based on how well a company is doing. For example if they are earning a lot of money each year, the stock should go up, but this is not the case. A company can be making billions of dollars a year and their stock price does not change, while another company can be losing tons of money every year and their stock price can be going through the roof.

It seems stock price is more based upon what people think about a company or stock. I would explain it in this analogy:

A stock is like a membership to a company. If there is a company you like, you can buy a membership to be part of their club. If you really like it, you can buy several memberships to that club. There are only a limited amount of memberships available for each club.

If the club is popular and more people want to get in, the price of the membership goes up. If no one is interested in the club and the current members want to get rid of their membership, the price of the membership goes down. Again, I'm not an expert but if this analogy is correct, the stock market is more just a popularity contest among companies where individuals try to join the popular companies before everyone else.

Can you make money in the stock market? Of course. If you get lucky by not only buying but also selling a stock at the right time, you can make money. The problem is it is always a gamble and no one knows the future so there is just as much chance that you can end up losing money.

This is why I consider it a scam because it is basically just gambling and unless you are an insider with decades of experience, there is a good chance you are going to end up losing money in the stock market. Feel free to comment below on your thoughts about the stock market.

Friday, July 3, 2020

Reporting Potholes - There needs to be an easier way

If you are a driver, chances are you have encountered potholes in the road from time to time. These holes in the road are not only annoying but they can also cause damage to your vehicle. If you notice a pothole in the street, it is a good idea to make a note of where you saw it and contact the local division that is responsible for that road so it can be fixed.

There are divisions that are in charge of fixing and maintaining the streets, but the problem is it is hard to know which is responsible for each street. For example some streets are maintained by the local village. Some are maintained by the county. Others are maintained by the state and so on. It is not clear which streets are maintained by which organizations and this makes it difficult to report potholes.

This is why there needs to be a universal system available to make it easier to report road issues like this. It would be a website / app that is map based and allows you to pinpoint an area on the map to submit an issue such as a pothole.

The map and submission part of the website would be pretty easy to make, but the difficult part would be integrating it to all the different streets and public works organizations. Each village, county, and state tends to have their own system for reporting issues and many of them only have a phone number contact. So it would be a challenge to get all of these organizations on board with the program.

But if this could be done, it would make it so much easier to report potholes and issues on the road that need to be fixed. This would greatly improve the quality of the roads for everyone because these issues could be found and submitted as soon as they are noticed and that would help get them fixed as soon as possible.

Wednesday, June 17, 2020

Soylent vs Ensure Nutrition Drink Comparison Review

As someone who appreciates nutrition drinks for their ability to provide calories and nutrition in a quick and easy manner, I have tried many of these drinks over the years. My favorite go-to drink is the Ensure Plus, usually in chocolate or vanilla. It has a great taste and lots of calories per ounce but it is expensive so I do not buy it often. I have tried many of the store brand nutrition drinks which try to replicate Ensure but they are never as good when it comes to the actual taste.

I have had Soylent nutrition drinks on my radar for some time now and had been wanting to try them for a while but held off on it because of the high cost which seemed to be even more expensive than Ensure Plus. But recently I found a 4 pack of Soylent in the Cacao flavor on sale so I decided it was time to try it out to see how it compares.

Taste:
When it comes to taste, the folks at Ensure know what they are doing. The Ensure Plus drinks are rich and delicious. They have a thick consistency and are easy to drink. I found the Soylent taste to be just okay. It has more of a watery consistency and tastes similar to store brand nutrition drinks.

Nutrition:
The Soylent 4 pack has 11oz drinks while the Ensure 6 pack has 8oz drinks so I did some calculations to see how they compare per ounce on some of the main categories.

Soylent has 320 calories in 11oz which comes to 29.1 calories per ounce. Ensure Plus has 350 in 8 oz which comes to 43.75 calories per ounce. So Ensure has more calories per ounce.

For fat, Soylent has 17g (1.55g/oz). Ensure Plus has 11g  (1.38g/oz) so Soylent has a little more fat per ounce.

For sugar, Soylent has 7g (.64g per oz) vs 22g (2.75g/oz) in the Ensure Plus. So Ensure has a lot more sugar. Soylent uses some artificial sweeteners such as sucralose while Ensure uses sugar which explains the difference in these stats. 

For protein, Soylent has 16g (1.45/oz) while Ensure Plus has 13g (1.63g/oz) so Ensure has a little more protein per ounce.

Vitamins / Minerals:
Both drinks have good coverage for the vitamins and minerals. Soylent has 15% daily value for all of them while Ensure is at 25% for most of them with some being a little higher and some a little lower.

Cost:
The Soylent 4 pack with 11oz drinks is about $9 while the Ensure Plus 6 pack with 8oz drinks is about $10. This makes it seem like the Soylent is more expensive but when you consider the cost per ounce they are actually pretty close in price with Soylent being about $.20 per ounce while Ensure is about $.21 per ounce.

Other:
Both drinks contain a lot of similar ingredients. Once difference I noticed was Ensure Plus includes milk protein while Soylent does not so those following a vegan diet would have reason to choose the Soylent in this case. Ensure does offer a plant based nutrition drink as well but I have not tried that one yet. 

Verdict:
For me, when looking for the best tasting high calorie nutrition drink, the Ensure Plus is still my number 1 pick. It has a better taste and more calories per ounce. But, for those looking for a nutrition drink with less sugar and similar nutrition compared to Ensure, then Soylent would be a good option.

Tuesday, June 16, 2020

Pet Peeve – People who touch glass doors and windows with their hands

It would seem like common sense not to touch glass doors and windows with your hands because it can leave smudges, but apparently many people still do this. Lots of places have glass doors which are nice because you can see through and it lets light in, but at the same time they are hard to keep clean because people touch the glass with their hands and leave smudges.

There really is no excuse for this because there is always a handle or a bar or some kind of non-glass surface to use to pull or push the door open. Doors are designed so you do not have to touch the glass, but many people do anyway. This leaves smudges that someone else now has to clean.

While this happens often on glass doors, you see smudges on windows and mirrors as well. Again these are things that should not be touch with hands especially if your hands are not clean and dry. Leaving smudges on windows and mirrors makes the place look dirty and causes extra work for those who now have to clean it off.

I can understand if kids do this because they don't know any better but adults should be more mindful of not marking up the glass in situations like this. If you have not considered this issue before please keep it in mind next time you are going in or out of a place that has a glass door.

Sunday, June 7, 2020

Pet Peeve – Squeaky doors and doors that slam too hard

One thing that I tend to notice a lot is issues with doors such as doors that have squeaky hinges or doors that slam too hard. Both of these things tend to bother me but it seems most people either don't notice them or don't care about them. Or maybe they have noticed it but figured there was nothing they could do about it. This is a shame because these issues are very easy to fix!

For squeaky doors, usually just putting a little oil on the hinges does the trick. For doors that close too hard, they usually have a door closer at the top that can be adjusted with a screw driver or a wrench. These adjustments determine how hard the door closes. Also if the door is closing right against the frame, you can add rubber adhesive bumpers to the door frame to dampen the sound when the door closes against it.

These things are very easy and quick to do and can get rid of the squeaking and the slamming. No one should have to put up with an annoying door like this when it can be fixed so easily.

Door maintenance like this may seem pretty minor or not as important as other maintenance and that is probably why there are so many doors in need of attention. Maintenance workers and homeowners may be focused on bigger issues so they never really get around to checking on the little details like if a door is closing properly.

As mentioned before, many people might not even notice these things or care about them, but some people like myself do. For example there is a restaurant I know that has a door that is extremely squeaky, so much so that I avoid going to that restaurant if possible.

Another restaurant I know has a door that slams so I make sure to close it softly by hand when going through. Still when there are issues like this it is a sign that things are not being properly maintained which does not give a good impression.

What are your thoughts on squeaky doors or doors that close too hard? Feel free to leave a comment below.

Thursday, June 4, 2020

Travelambo RFID Front Pocket Minimalist Slim Wallet Review

I've had my old Wrangler tri-fold wallet for about as long as I remember but over the years it has started to break down from normal wear and tear so I began to start looking for new wallets. I started with a Levi's leather tri-fold wallet which I liked, but it was too thick with everything in it. Then I tried a Timberland mesh wallet, but I didn't really like the feel of it. Finally I decided to try a slim wallet from Travelambo.

This wallet was pretty inexpensive at just $8 and it had a lot of good reviews so I decided to try it out. I went with the carbon fiber material because it is different from the usual leather options and I figured it would be easier to keep clean.

Upon arrival the packaging was pretty simple, just the wallet in a little wrap and plastic bag. The wallet is very thin and has a decent feel too it. I started adding the cards and money to it to see how everything would fit. I have about 10 cards and usually carry about 10 bills. I was able to get all the cards in but it was kind of a tight fit.

Once you get the cards in, it makes it hard to open the center pocket to put in the money. I also found it to be pretty hard to get the credit cards out of the pockets even with the carbon fiber material which you would not expect to be too grippy.

With all the cards and cash in the wallet, I actually found it to be about the same thickness of my old tri-fold wallet. I was surprised by this, but I think it is because of the individual pockets for the cards vs my only wallet where I was able to put most of the cards in the same pocket together.

Overall because it was hard to get the cards and the money in and out and the fact that with everything in, it was not as thin as I expected, I unfortunately decided to return it. I think the wallet would be good if you only have a few cards and only carry a few bills as emergency, but if you have a lot of cards and prefer to carry more cash, this wallet may not be the best option.

As of now, I am still on the search for a new wallet. In the mean time, since I still have the Levi's wallet, I decided to modify it by cutting out as much of the material from the inside as possible while keeping the essential pockets in tact. By doing this I was able to get it down pretty thin so I will try using this for now.

Monday, May 25, 2020

Why is paper mail still a thing? Do we still need the post office to deliver mail?

While going through mail and seeing all the newspapers, ads, and junk mail that people just throw out, it got me thinking, why is all this stuff still being sent out? It seems like such a waste of paper. The mail carriers are delivering all this paper every day and a good amount of it is basically garbage.

Over the years I have made sure to unsubscribe from as much of these mailings as possible so I do not get that much. I also signed up for the e-delivery of many statement type correspondence which also helps reduce the amount of mail. But many people do not bother with these things so they end up with a ton of paper mail that is unnecessary.

The same can be said about newspapers. I find it hard to believe that people are still paying to have yesterdays news delivered to them in paper form. I know newspaper subscriptions are way down from what they used to be and I understand some of the older generation who are not tech savvy still read newspapers, but sooner or later I think this format should be phased out completely.

The same goes for paper mail. With the option to deliver bills, notices, and letters electronically, there is little need to deliver these items physically by mail. Maybe some local businesses want to send out ads to the nearest residents and the mail is the best option for this so I can see how they may want to keep this option open.

I'm not saying the post office and mailboxes should be done away with completely. Packages that contain physical goods still need to be delivered and the post office is one of the many services that provides this. I think they should continue with the package delivery and local ads if necessary, but other junk mail should start being phased out.

It needs to be easier to unsubscribe from these mailings. Sometimes they have a contact you can reach out to in order to get unsubscribed from their list, but on a lot of these mailings for things like credit card offers, they do not give any option to get off the list. Many times I even visit the company websites and search around for a contact or some way to unsubscribe and they do not offer it.

We are now in the 2020's and it is time we start making the effort to switch away from paper. There are now quicker, safer, and more sustainable ways to deliver mail.

Friday, May 15, 2020

Subwoofers Should Be Banned – Loud Music Imposing On Other People

One thing that really bothers me is when people blast music with subwoofers when they are near or around other people. Examples of this could be someone living in an apartment building playing their music loud when they have neighbors right near by or it could be someone in a car with subwoofers that is playing their music loud when they are next to other cars or in a residential area.

The thing about subwoofers is they create a low frequency of noise that carries easily and is hard to block out. This is why you can often hear the thumping of someone's subwoofer when you can't hear the rest of the music. Even with ear plugs or ear protection it can be hard to block the bass from subwoofers.

For the person listening to the music it sounds good because they want to hear it and it goes with their music, but for everyone else that does not want to listen to their music, it is nothing but an annoyance. Having some random subwoofer thumping can be very bothersome and even stressful when you are just trying to live your life with some peace and quiet. It can even be a problem if you are trying to listen to something else such as your own tv or music.

This is why I think there should be a ban or at least some restriction on subwoofers. People should not have to be subjected to the music of other people especially when they are in their own home. Blasting loud music with a subwoofer around other people is incredibly inconsiderate. The only times I would say it is ok to play loud music with a subwoofer would be in a concert setting or in a location that is far enough away from others or insulated enough so that is does not bother other people.

At this point it would be pretty hard to ban subwoofers altogether, but I think there could definitely be more strict laws in regards to them. Maybe something like subwoofers are not to be used in a location when they impose on other people. Or maybe a limit on the decibel level of retail subwoofers that are sold to the public.

I know there are laws about disturbing the peace but I can image this kind of thing is low on the priority list for law enforcement when there are other more serious issues going on. Nonetheless I think there needs to be more regulation when it comes to loud music and subwoofers that impose on other people.

What are your thoughts on this issue? Are you bothered by subwoofers or should people be able to play their music as loud as they want? Feel free to leave a comment below.

Monday, April 27, 2020

Commenting on small Youtube channels vs large channels – Why it is important to support smaller channels.

I have been a fan of Youtube since the early days and while it has gone through many changes over the years, one of the main components other than the videos themselves has been the comments. The comments section allows the viewers to interact with the Youtuber who made the video and lets them give feedback and support immediately after watching the video.

Some channels with millions of subscribers will have thousands of comments on every video. They will post a video and within an hour there may be well over a thousand comments. When you watch a video like this, you might want to leave a comment, but when you see there are already thousands there already, it kind of seems pointless.

In a sea of so many comments, there is a good chance your comment will not even be seen by the creator since they already have way too many to read. It might not even be seen by other people since it can easily get buried by other comments.

Smaller Youtube channels on the other hand tend to not get as many comments since they do not have that many viewers or subscribers yet. For channels like these, posting a comment can be a lot more meaningful since the video creator is sure to see it. It will also be seen by more people viewing the video since there are fewer comments altogether.

I take these two situations into consideration every time I watch a video on Youtube. If it is a popular channel with a video that has tons of comments, I will be less likely to post a comment because they already got plenty of feedback and support. If I really have something unique or important to say, I might still post it even if there is little chance it will be read.

On the other hand with smaller channels that have fewer subscribers, I really try to make the effort to leave a comment on the videos. Even if I'm not inspired to comment about something right away, I will take a little time to think about it and try to come up with something to say even if it is just something like “Great job on the video! Keep up the good work!”

Even posting a small comment can be very meaningful to someone who may not have many followers or supporters. Sure they can see the views, and the "likes" are nice to see also, but the comments really give it a personal touch and it shows that a real person is watching your video and taking the time to respond to it. This can be very rewarding for someone who is putting themselves out there for the world to see.

Keep this in mind next time you are on Youtube and you are watching a video on a lesser know channel or one that does not have a lot of views or comments. Just taking a minute to leave a nice comment can really make someone's day.

Friday, April 24, 2020

Why are crepes not as popular as pancakes and waffles?

When you think of breakfast foods, some of the first things you might think of are pancakes and waffles. They are some of the staples at least when it comes to American breakfast foods. But what about crepes? They are also available but seem to be lesser known and just not nearly as common.

For a long time I never really gave them a chance, but recently I tried them out at one of my favorite breakfast places, and they are really good! I would say I like them a lot more than pancakes and waffles now. The taste and texture is just better compared to the other common alternatives. This got me thinking, why are crepes not more popular?

I went looking for some frozen crepes in store and they are very hard to find. There are are dozens of options when it comes to pancakes and waffles, but where are the crepes? I did manage to find 1 brand called Belgian Boys with one offering of frozen plain crepes. They were a little pricey, but they were on sale so I decided to try them out.

I did not expect much but surprisingly they were very good! You just have to microwave them for about a minute and they are ready to ego. They are certainly better than any frozen waffle or pancake I have tried. I would buy them again if I see them on sale.

If you are not familiar with crepes, I recommend trying them out next time you go out for breakfast. If you are able to find the frozen crepes in store, I also recommend them as well.

As for the answer to the original question, I'm not sure exactly why crepes are not as popular as pancakes and waffles, because I think they should be just as popular if not more! Maybe they are just not as well known since pancakes and waffles tend to dominate the menus and the store shelves. I think if more people give them a chance, they could catch on in a big way!

Tuesday, April 21, 2020

Checking In. Some thoughts on the current state of the world.

It's been several months since I wrote my last blog entry so I figured I should check in with a little update in case anyone was wondering. I'm doing fine and not much has changed for me considering the state of the world with the Corona virus. I have still been working since I do food and grocery delivery.

I try to stay up to date on the situation and according to the numbers, a lot of people have been affected by in terms of real life, I have not really noticed it. Yes many places are closed and there are a lot more people wearing masks and gloves, but other than that, it has not been much different. I would say the thing that has affected me most is seeing my family less since we would usually go out to eat, but since the restaurants are closed, we have been skipping that.

As someone who has been out working during this time, I actually like it better now than before because there are a lot less people out there. This mean no traffic on the roads which is wonderful. There are however a lot more people out walking so you have to be mindful of that.

The virus has certainly given people something to talk about since everyone can weigh in with an opinion about it. There is a lot that is bad about the virus but I think some positives have come from it as well. It definitely boosted people's awareness of germs and how to help prevent spreading sickness around. I think these habits will stick with us for a while and help limit the amount of people getting sick.

It has also given most people a break from their everyday routine so they can take some time to reflect. Many people have been too busy with work to do the things they want to do, but now that they have the time, they can actually accomplish some of these things.

There is a lot of debate on what the solution should be and how it should be handled especially when it comes to when things should start opening back up and when people should be able to go back to their normal routines. I think the quarantining has helped limit the spread but even with people staying in, the virus has spread to an enormous amount of people.

It has caused quite a detrimental effect on the economy with so many things shut down and people not working. I think because of this, we need to slowly start opening things back up while keeping safety precautions in place. The health and well being is the number 1 priority, but the economy of the country and the world is also incredibly important so I think there has to be a balance of the two. I guess we'll have to wait and see how it all plays out.

Friday, January 24, 2020

Is it ever ok to say mean or sarcastic comments to someone?

In general I think of myself as a good person and rarely do I say anything mean or negative to other people, but every once in a while I will catch myself making a negative comment on the internet. Often after it is posted, I will think about it and wonder if I did the wrong thing by posting something that might hurt the feelings of another person. So I started thinking, is it ever ok to say mean or sarcastic comments to someone?

Although I don't necessarily think it is a good idea to do this, I think there are certain situations where it may be acceptable. For example if someone says or does something stupid, I think it is fair to call them out on what they did or said that was wrong. You might be able to do this in a nice way, but I find often a stupid action is best responded to with a sarcastic reaction. I don't even like sarcasm but I find in these situations it can be appropriate as a response.

The event that inspired this topic was seeing a video on Reddit that was obviously fake and yet it was getting a lot of support from people who apparently did not realize this. Not only that, then you have people who see the support it is getting and then they copy it and repost it as if it is their own.

Both of these things are looked down upon in my opinion. One, staging a video and uploading it as if it is something that really happened in attempt to trick people into thinking you spontaneously captured something interesting on video when you did not. Two, copying and reposting that content as if it is your own in attempt to get support of your own for something you did not create.

So when I see examples like this of people doing things I would consider wrong, I feel like they need to be called out on it. So I might make a comment about how it is obviously fake, or might link to the original post and make some sarcastic comment about how it has been posted already. These kinds of comments might seem mean or negative but I feel like if someone is going to do stupid things, they need to be ready to accept the consequences of their actions, and in this case it is going to be negative comments.

What are your thoughts on the issue?

Sunday, January 5, 2020

Eveready LED Pocket Flashlight Review

I was looking to get a new flashlight after my Energizer crank style flashlight stopped working. This time I decided to get a battery powered one since I did not have good luck with the crank style. After doing some research I decided to get the Eveready LED Pocket Flashlight. It is available at Target for $5.49.

I liked the fact that it was affordable and is made out of metal instead of a cheap plastic. Also I wanted something pretty small so I figured it would be a good size. Online the color is black, but in store I only saw grey or green so I decided to go with the grey.

Upon handling it in person it is actually smaller than I expected. In fact I would say it is actually too small to get a good grip on it. But I guess the trade off is that it is small enough to easily put in a pocket or small compartment.

The outside build quality feel pretty good, not overly heavy, but sturdy as one would expect from metal. The lens does feel like plastic when tapping it. It also has a wrist strap which I would highly recommend using because it can be easy to drop due to the the small size,

There were no instructions to install the batteries, but it was pretty easy to figure it out. You just unscrew the bottom and a cartridge from the inside comes out which has holders for the batteries. I found the inside plastic parts to feel a little cheap and the springs for the batteries do not look that sturdy. 

It comes with 3 carbon zinc AAA batteries which are not as good as other batteries like alkaline or lithium. I'm not sure how long they will last, but I would expect they may not last that long considering they are just the cheap kind of batteries. 

After putting it back together it was ready to try out. The on/off button is on the bottom which I found is not very convenient to use. A side button that can be operated by thumb would be a better option especially to operate with one hand.

The light itself is very bright and easily lights up a room. This flashlight is rated at 80 lumens and claims to have a battery life of about 5 hours. Interestingly, in store, there were some other Eveready flashlights of the same kind and price, but the lumens where about 1/2 and the battery life was double. I guess they can adjust the brightness down if they want to extend the battery life. Given the choice I decided to go with the brighter one just in case.

Overall if you are looking for a very small yet bright flashlight with a metal build for a low price, the Eveready LED Pocket Flashlight is a good option. If you have larger hands or would like a flashlight with a thumb on/off button I would recommend another option.