If Trump Gets Re-Elected Tomorrow…

November 2, 2020 11:58pm
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…I won’t go so far as to say I’m moving to Canada or anything – namely because Canada is very cold and I’m pretty sure we’re not allowed in right now due to COVID anyways – but I’ll certainly be disappointed, to say the very least.

Amid all of the craziness that’s plagued our daily lives for the last four years of America’s reality TV president, the easiest way for me to sum it up is that Donald Trump is an asshole and we deserve to be represented by somebody who isn’t.

It comes down to basic human decency because as far as I’m concerned, all of the other issues that we face as a society don’t mean much if our country can’t maintain a basic standard for how we treat each other within our borders, and Trump has done nothing but tear down our values since before he took office. When sexism and racism and bigotry and xenophobia rain down from the highest office in the land, it encourages other people to be assholes, too, because hell, “If the President said it, that must be presidential now!”

Yes, I want a president who cares about a strong economy and military showing, but I also want one who’s looked at throughout the international community as a leader instead of a bully.

It’s ok to be frustrated by how the press covers you, but to claim that our free press “is the enemy of the people” is not ok. Just like it’s not ok to label anything that you don’t agree with as “fake news.”

I want a president who doesn’t pick fights with people all. of. the. time. – whether they’re professional athletes or war veterans or kids who are passionate about climate change. The term unpresidential doesn’t even begin to describe Trump’s behavior on Twitter and in front of his favorite hosts on Fox News. He’s turned the office into a three ring circus and we’re all tired of cringing every time we wake up to see what he’s managed to sully the American image with today.

I know a lot of people voted for Donald Trump because they wanted someone who wasn’t a politician for a change, but this was a mistake. Instead of a politician in the White House, we got a cruel-hearted con man who reduces every problem we have to dollar signs and who’s biggest trait is being able to pull the ugliest out of the fans who vigorously chant his name.

Unlike President Obama and so many that came before him, I can’t let my kids watch him speak because I don’t know who he’s going to dig at next and it’s a damn shame that we live in a time when the President of the United States isn’t fit to even be a role model for our nation’s youth.

We need a leader who will speak kindly and rationally, who will look at our problems honestly and listen to our experts because they’re our experts. 

We need someone committed to bringing us together and representing all of us, not tearing us apart and pitting Americans against each other whether they’re red or blue, rich or poor, black or white.

Ultimately, I fear that if Donald Trump gets re-elected tomorrow, it will be like letting the bully win … reaffirming the asshole … and giving him carte blanche to reap even more havoc upon our nation in his second term that will only serve to set us back even further.

The economy is important. Healthcare, and welfare, and infrastructure, and international discourse are all important. Lots of things that our federal government does are important, but first and foremost, we need a leader who isn’t a complete asshole in the White House.

Without that basic level of respect – for the office, for the American people, for our international neighbors and for everyone who we inhabit this tiny blue dot with – without respect, none of the rest of it even matters.

*fingers crossed*

It’s ok to fear things that can kill you.

There’s nothing wrong with being afraid any more than there is crying or being anxious or any other emotion. For a disease that’s killed 215,000 Americans in the last seven months and literally put our nation’s leader in the hospital, it was disappointing that this was his message the moment he got out.

Not urging people to take necessary precautions. Not compassion for all of the people before him who struggled with COVID-19 but didn’t have access to the best medical treatment in the world.

Instead, it was just more pandering to his base to minimize the affects of COVID and make the people who are taking it more seriously … like his opponent in the election … look weak by comparison.

…and he’s not even done being sick yet…


One of my pet peeves lately has been watching company layoffs when I feel like businesses could really be doing more to support their own employees. The most significant of these examples is Disney.

Last week Disney announced that it would be laying off 28,000 employees from its theme parks division, presumably mostly because Disneyland hasn’t yet reopened, although the parks here in Florida are also seeing heavy reductions.

This bothers me because unlike a lot of other businesses struggling with the effects of COVID-19, The Walt Disney Company has an astonishing $23 BILLION in cash on hand right now.

To put that in context, Disney could pay every one of the 28,000 people they’re laying off $825,535.71 … or more realistically because they’ve said that the majority are part-timers, they could spend a mere 10% of their cash reserves and still have an excess of $80,000 to help support each employee who directly plays a hand in creating Disney’s highly coveted Disney magic…

Now I know that companies don’t normally operate this way, but if you want to talk about actually maintaining a culture of family and inclusion, why not? Think of the incredible goodwill that Disney could gain by financially supporting their people instead of turning them loose on unemployment benefits and food pantries to survive, not to mention the press from doing the right thing.

Shareholders might not be as crazy about Disney spending its cash on its own employees instead of new attractions that can further boost earnings per guest, but … I just don’t have the energy for that argument right now because without their staff, who’s going to sell their tickets and load their rides and keep their parks flowing for millions of paying guests every year???


In general, it really makes me uncomfortable to see more and more people relaxing their concerns about this virus and trying to push us “back to normal,” as if COVID will understand that “We’re all tired of it…” and move on to greener pastures to infect.

It certainly didn’t help with Florida’s governor being the first to relax our restrictions, at least as much as he could, by not only removing capacity restrictions for businesses but also by trying to pull the rug out from underneath local mask mandates by telling counties that they can’t assess fines for people not following them anymore.

For the most part, businesses are keeping their rules in place. Maybe not so much for restaurants, but honestly we’re not eating out anytime soon anyways. What’s tough is that it opens the doors for more people to challenge these businesses, and each other, and start fights over whether they still have to wear a mask or not. I know that we had a handful of questions that turned aggressive on the kids’ school Facebook groups when parents asked if the kids still had to wear masks to school after the governor’s announcement.

As a side note, so far our kids’ schools have had four cases between the two schools, although only the first case prompted one of them to close.

Just this morning I read a story out of New York about two old guys who got in a fight at a bar over wearing masks and one pushed the other, who ended up hitting his head and dying.


And lastly, admittedly I haven’t really looked at our stats in a while, so it was interesting to see that Florida’s cases have gone down by about a third over the last month…

…however nationally they’ve been slowly trending back up again.

Curiously, if you look at the number of tests being done each day, Florida is doing dramatically less than we were this summer – 25k down from 65k – however nationally we’re almost double – nearly 1M today up from 500-600k over the summer!

Particularly here in Florida, I worry that we seem to be preparing for the perfect storm with the next wave between less testing and less restrictions coupled with more people being frustrated and wanting to fight things like mask rules. Right now the majority still seems to be wearing masks and keeping their distance, however I think that’s going to become more of a struggle as that anti-mask group grows more vocal and especially if people start getting self-conscious about taking precautions if not as many people are doing them.

The other day I noticed a stark contrast just between going to Walmart and Target – our local Walmart stopped putting its sign about masks out front by the doors and the greeter doesn’t challenge anyone, as displayed by a couple without masks walking right in without a word, whereas at Target there are signs front and center, plus several employees inside to monitor the door, and they even had an announcement reminding everyone of their safety procedures while we were shopping.

I don’t care what happens with government rules – at least for right now, I won’t shop at someplace that doesn’t actively take COVID-19 procedures seriously and that includes requiring masks for anyone and everyone.

I’m afraid of this disease that’s killed at least 4-8x more people than the flu did last year because our risk of contracting it is greatly diminished simply by following a few basic precautions. My family’s lives, and the lives of our friends and neighbors and people we’ve never met, are worth those minor inconveniences.

I’ve tried to take in as many different perspectives on America’s COVID-19 experience as I can because I know that there are a lot of variations to how individuals are going through this.

For example, at 10:30pm last night one of the schools that my kids attend announced that they were switching to virtual school immediately because a staff member had tested positive for COVID. We’re still waiting for more information, but understandably a lot of parents are frustrated and upset because they have to work outside of the home during the day and can’t stay home to supervise kids in virtual school.

My wife and I are very lucky in this regard because I can work from home and she only works part-time on the weekends.

That said, when I look across the measures that we’re still taking to prevent the spread of the virus – everything from masks to some businesses being closed to quarantines – I can’t help but think that the reason why we’re still having to endure these invasive measures is because, quite frankly, we didn’t do a very good job of facing this virus as a whole from the very beginning.

  • Medical personnel spent the first month struggling to get their hands on basic safety equipment for their staff.
  • Political leaders shrugged off the seriousness of the pandemic and downplayed its potential instead of making critical early steps.
  • The financial support offered by Congress was rife with abuse and often went to people and corporations who didn’t need it, and archaic unemployment systems left even more Americans begging for relief.
  • Some Americans fought tooth and nail against restrictions aimed at keeping people safe, and even today chatter about the virus being a hoax is common.
  • Testing never really went mainstream by being too confusing, unreliable, and an undue burden to establish a regular testing cycle needed to truly monitor the population.
  • Speaking of monitoring, contact tracing never really took off here, either, because vocal Americans determined that privacy was more important than safety. Case in point – for my son’s school, we don’t know if the employee ever had contact with Christopher or not, which makes it difficult for us to manage his potential exposure here at home.
  • Despite the importance stressed on opening schools, many were never given safety equipment that they needed, with some schools here in the Tampa Bay Area giving each teacher only “a rag and a spray bottle” to keep their classrooms clean.

I know it feels like we’ve all been through a lot in the last six months, and we have, but it’s hard to not ask ourselves if we really did everything that we could when you look at other countries that experienced a curve back in the spring and basically have it more or less stabilized at this point.

If America is supposed to be the greatest country in the world, or the richest, or whatever, why are we struggling with this so much?

Last night the President of the United States hypothesized on live television to an audience of 10+ million people that the scientific community should explore injecting ultraviolet light into the body to combat Coronavirus. And also injecting disinfectant into the lungs.

Which … look … I don’t have a problem with the president spitballing random ideas that pop into his head for members of his cabinet to then research.

I mean, I’d rather he let the experts come to him with ideas that they’re researching using actual scientific methods and principals, but in the bigger scope of things, what bothers me when Trump goes off on his little brainstorming sessions like this is that believe it or not, lots of people in this country look up to him as a role model and actually follow through on the random things that come out of his mouth.

Like the elderly couple who poured themselves glasses of aquarium cleaner after hearing the President talk about how maybe hydroxychloroquine might be a wonder drug for COVID-19. One died and the other ended up in intensive care.

Note that a month later, one study of the drug was cut short after patients began exhibiting irregular heartbeats and nearly two dozen died.

Of course, in classic Trump form today he’s claiming that his off the cuff comments were made as a joke to dig at the liberal media in the room – because who doesn’t like a good joke when 50,000 Americans and counting have died from the disease that two months ago the leader of their country was denouncing as little more than a hoax and a political jab at his re-election.

So last night I rewatched Idiocracy – a movie that I honestly didn’t even really like when I first saw it – but I’ll be damned if it didn’t hit way too close to home! How did we get to this place where not only are people proud to deny science in favor of their own whims, but now they’re very much willing to risk their own lives by parading through the streets without masks in protest of their rights to act like the responsible adults that they’re not in the middle of a global pandemic?!

I read a few comments earlier in response to Michigan’s governor removing many restrictions as her citizens had demanded, but also in turn requiring people to wear masks when they’re out in public…

“They can’t make us wear them!” 

“As far as I know, this is still a free country!”

And my favorite – “My husband didn’t risk his life so that I could be told what to wear to the grocery store…”

I … don’t know how to talk to people with this kind of mentality anymore because if they’re this hellbent on doing things their way, they’re perpetually going to be a part of that percentage that’s part of the problem, not part of the solution.

Despite a public health risk not only to themselves, but more importantly to others in their community, these are the same people who refuse to get vaccinated, who go to work and send their kids to school even when they’re sick, and are basically just selfish assholes. And all we can do as their neighbors and friends is do our best to stay away from them in hopes that in the end they only hurt themselves and not the people around them.

It’s a sad perspective to have to take, but when the President tells somebody to jump off a bridge and they actually do it, what else is there for the rest of us to do except for to view that person at best as a cautionary tale?

Well, that and we also need to get ourselves a President who stops telling people to jump off of bridges.

Coronavirus, Day 25 – But The Flu…

April 10, 2020 3:15pm
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One of the most common arguments against all of the measures being taken against COVID-19 is citing how many deaths we see from the flu every single year.

And I’ll admit that a number like 35,000 Americans dying from the flu gives me pause because that sounds awful. Of course, 2.8 million people dying each year in general sounds awful, but let’s talk about the flu because I’ve given it a lot of thought trying to rationalize the real difference between fighting this Coronavirus today and the seasonal flu…

Duration of Impact
For starters, let’s consider that flu season is typically 4-6 months long, whereas right now we’ve been facing COVID-19 in the States for a little over three weeks.

Just at a glance, this sounds like a huge factor in why our medical system can handle the seasonal flu without having a run on ventilators like we’re seeing today simply because the regular flu is spread out over a much longer timeframe. If we compare stats, we’ve already seen 18,000 deaths in three weeks compared to those 35,000 in four to six months.

Conservatively speaking, that’s an average of 857 deaths per day for COVID-19 and 291 deaths per day for a four-month flu season. Wow!

Vaccines and the Lack Thereof
Next, let’s consider the impact of vaccines specifically on the front lines to protect doctors and nurses from also contracting and spreading diseases … which has been a problem particularly in NYC where we’re seeing caregivers catching the virus from the same people that they’re trying to help.

We don’t really see this with the regular flu because at my wife’s hospital, for example, come flu season every employee in the hospital is either required to get a flu shot or wear a mask for the entirety of flu season!

That’s a level of protection lacking for the doctors and nurses facing Coronavirus today because we simply don’t have a vaccine ready yet.

Stacking Numbers
And another point, along the lines of protection, is the devastating PPE shortage that hospitals have been fighting because sure, they might normally stock enough masks and gowns and whatnot to manage the seasonal flu, but the regular flu didn’t just go away when Coronavirus came to town.

So the result is a system that’s already supporting a regular flu season then also thrust into a brand new and very different flu pandemic, and the lack of adequate supplies to protect workers and even family members and other patients becomes painfully and quite dangerously clear.

Other Considerations
Couple these with other factors that Coronavirus has shown us including a longer incubation period, carriers with mild to no symptoms, and just being something new that the medical field isn’t used to dealing with I think puts it on a much different level than the regular, old flu.

One terrifying story described a patient’s lung tissue literally being torn away by the virus … something that the flu doesn’t do! So there’s a lot to be said for simply dealing with the unknown in the middle of all of these other factors.

So no, we don’t shut down the economy and close schools and workplaces and see this dramatic response to the seasonal flu … because it seems to reason that what we’re facing with Coronavirus is an entirely different beast altogether.

Is the fact that we vaccinate for the flu enough to counter the need for the drastic social distancing being exercised today? Probably not entirely, but all of these pieces of the puzzle together make for a compelling argument as to why it’s not wise to be so quick to quantify COVID-19 with the flu that we face every year like clockwork.

FML – Gardening Edition

July 15, 2019 2:35am
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Have I mentioned that I hate working on my yard???

So we got a letter or two from our HOA earlier this year about the garden in front of our house being unkempt, and so like any other parent of three working two jobs with barely any free time to catch my breath, I put it off as long as humanly possible until I finally got that last letter which basically says, “Come on, buddy – you don’t want to know what happens next if you keep ignoring us…”

And so back in March or April or something, I busted my butt sweating it out in temperatures that were only a fraction of the fiery ones we’re seeing now. I probably raked up three or four bags of leaves and acorns and old mulch (?) from that stupid garden, only to then spend another sweaty afternoon spreading ten or so bags of mulch across the reasonably barren garden that I’m forced to keep on my tiny, suburban plot.

It sucked, but once it was behind me I didn’t think much of it until a couple of weeks ago when I got not one, but two copies of the same letter from the HOA’s attorney!

WHA???

This pissed me off because as far as I knew, we were done back in April when I spent more physical activity than I put in all year long slaving away in that garden, yet here was the same complaint as before – only now with the added fun of legal damages, should the HOA choose to either have someone do the work for me (I wish!) or just take me to court for further scolding and to threaten to put a lien on my house over some fucking weeds in the fucking garden.

You see, the sneaky thing about weeds is that they’re plants, so even when you do pull them, they have a tendency to just grow right back!

So to speed this story along so that I can go to bed, I’ve been fighting with this stupid garden some more in whatever hours I can find, which are pretty limited between jobs and kids and the heat and the rain and nighttime. I actually went back out tonight because it had just been too damn hot when I tried earlier, and I thought I was making some progress as I was digging a whole for one of the miscellaneous shrubberies to go into when after fighting with a root for far too long, I took a closer inspection in said dark and instead came to find out…

I CUT THE SPRINKLER LINE WITH MY SHOVEL.

Tomorrow I have a call with this lawyer to answer the questions I have about this boilerplate legal threat that they sent on behalf of my HOA.

really hope that he’s nice. Or at least that he knows a thing or two about how to repair a broken sprinkler pipe.

Come on, Honeywell…

February 25, 2019 2:39am
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So you may have heard that recently I had to blow a bunch of money on a new air conditioner.

One of the very small silver linings that I was looking forward to, or so I thought, was the idea that with my entire system being replaced, I could finally get one of those cool smart thermostats that you can control from your phone and whatnot. I talked about it with the people who replaced my AC and although apparently they’re not big fans of the super-popular Nest thermostat, they instead had a Honeywell model that was said to have most of the same features and was a little bit cheaper to boot…

I say that with some frustration because two weeks later, I can’t actually use any of the smart features of my new smart thermostat.

Why?

Because Honeywell opted to not follow the security standards for connecting their thermostats to wifi!

More specifically, the thermostat uses WPA2 encryption … the most common form of wifi encryption in use right now … except that whereas normally WPA2 allows for a passphrase of 64 characters, Honeywell for some reason limits WPA2 passphrases in their thermostats to only 32 characters.

And guess whose wifi password is 58 characters long?! Mine!

So I reached out to Honeywell via their website, thinking that either A) maybe there was a firmware update that I could apply to fix this … though not sure how I would download it, or more likely B) maybe this was just a problem with older models of their thermostats and they could recommend a different one that my guy could swap this one out for…

No. Such. Luck.

It kind of shocks me that a company as big as Honeywell would take such a lackadaisical approach towards security. I mean, as the Internet of Things (I still hate that name!) grows by leaps and bounds, we’re always hearing of new compromises where thousands of devices at a time get added to gigantic botnets. And really, it’s a standard … so why would they expect users to just make shorter passwords because they didn’t feel like following it???

I suppose the easy solution would be for me to follow the rep above’s instructions and shorten my wifi password, but I’m not going to do that. For starters, it would be a huge pain in the ass to update the passwords for every device around the house connected to my wifi, and also, I shouldn’t have to do that to add a new IOT device that’s supposed to be making my life easier!

I guess I could also go back to my AC installer and try to explain to him why his preferred thermostat doesn’t work for me, and when I contacted Honeywell that was actually going to be my plan, but unfortunately knowing that this is an issue that plagues every thermostat that Honeywell makes, I know that he’s not going to have anything to change it out with anyways, and he hates Nest so if I twist his arm to give me one of those, it’s just going to make troubleshooting issues down the road a nightmare.

Ultimately I think what I’ve decided to do is just leave unconnected thermostats lie for the time being.

Eventually I want to upgrade the wifi in our house to a Ubiquiti router and access points, and from what I can tell those support setting up multiple SSIDs … at that point, I can actually make a completely separate VLAN just for IOT devices to keep them away from my servers and everything else … so I suppose my plan will be to do that, and just for this stupid Honeywell thermostat, I’ll create one SSID with a less secure passphrase that’s only 32 characters long so that the thermostat can actually use it.

Until then, I’ve got this swell red alert light that won’t turn off unless I disable it altogether to remind me that my new smart thermostat isn’t nearly as smart as it claims to be… 🙁

If anyone is curious for reference, the thermostat I have is a Honeywell Wi-Fi VisionPRO 8000 – part #TH8321WF1001.

And if anyone from Honeywell happens to stumble across this blog post, please for the love of god ask your developers why they aren’t following security standards for something as simple as this! If I were you, it’d make me wonder what other corners they’ve been cutting, too… 😯

Your advertising is making me hate you.

January 28, 2019 3:01pm
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Nobody ever really liked commercials when we watched live TV, but we dealt with them because after a couple we’d get to go back to our show.

But here on the Internet, the advertising never stops!

It’s on every single page – every article, every YouTube video – and often times you’ve got more than one ad. Or the ad pops-up in front of what you’re trying to read and blocks your view, even though I thought we’d already decided that pop-ups were awful like a decade ago. Or the ad follows you down the screen so that between product ads and publisher ads, you’re only left with about two inches of screen real estate when you’re just trying to read a stupid blog post on your phone while you’re using the toilet.

On one hand, Internet advertising is somewhat revolutionary because it’s the first time that advertisers have had access to actual data to determine the effectiveness of their ads.

On the other hand, though, I think it’s also helped them to understand that the giant money pit they used to dump into for print and TV advertising wasn’t nearly as effective as their billions had thought, and so not only do publishers get much less for online advertising than other mediums ever saw, but they’re more prone to excessive advertising to boot.

My prime example right now is YouTube – where you can see ads every couple of minutes for the exact same thing, to the point where frankly it decreases my interest in a brand when I keep getting interrupted to see the same thing over and over.

TV ads were predictable and always followed the same time slots, so if we didn’t want to sit through them we could go get a snack or something to avoid them.

Print ads were easy enough to gloss over, although we all know the feeling of flipping through a magazine and realizing that it’s more ads than actual content! My wife gets a few parenting magazines like that where it’s pretty clear the reason they’re FREE is because they’re basically just 95% ads for diapers and baby meds and whatnot.

Personally, I know that I would much rather see an ad once that’s either funny, informative, or interesting, and if it’s a regular advertiser on a show that I watch, then so be it. But when I’m watching 5-10 minute YouTube videos and I see the same ads for Wix and Grammarly and the local ambulance chasing law firm every minute and a half, it doesn’t make me want to use their services.

In fact, I’ve purposefully avoided what are probably perfectly good services and products just because their advertising was absolutely obnoxious.

The sad part is, I know the reason they do it is because it works, just like spammers fill my inbox with scams because a fraction of a percent fall for them. And maybe that’s a strategy that works when you’re casting a huge net and need mass market appeal. It’s probably why I wouldn’t do well in marketing because I’d be much more interested in the quality of a customer rather than just plastering people with ads so that a couple of them will remember our obnoxious jingle when they’re at the store and throw a box of our miscellaneous product into their carts.

Healthcare Headache

January 18, 2019 12:30am
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At the beginning of 2019, we changed health insurance providers through my job.

I’ve pretty much had the same insurance back as far as when I first got it on my own (circa 2004?), so I’ve never had to deal with the special kind of hell that comes with changing insurance and making sure all of your doctors are still covered…

…and getting new pre-authorizations…

So said headache that we’ve been enduring for about three weeks now is due to issues that we’ve been experiencing with therapy for one of the kids. I’ll talk about it more in another post, but basically Christopher has been doing ABA therapy for autism at home since last summer and it’s been really awesome for him … and damn, has it been a pain in the ass getting the insurance coverage transitioned for it.

🙁

Case in point – today was literally his first session this year, and we still don’t entirely have everything worked out yet!

We tried contacting the new insurance company for information about the pre-authorization back in December, but they didn’t even know we were going to have insurance with them yet.

When we finally got the new cards and gave them to our therapy provider, first the paperwork was sent to the wrong company … because our insurance network is one company, but it’s being provided by another company and customer care is handled by a third company!

Because there aren’t already enough middlemen involved with providing healthcare in this country… 😛

Once the paperwork finally got sent to the right place, it turns out that the wrong codes were used … whatever that means.

And then the right codes got submitted, and it sat on somebody’s desk with the insurance company for two days, even though at this point Christopher had been without service for two weeks.

When they finally reviewed and approved it, it took another two days to get it back to our therapy provider because the department’s voicemail box was full for the two people who process these things.

Oh yeah, and when they got the approved documents back, someone discovered that the insurance company had somehow approved 2.5 hours PER YEAR instead of 4 – 6 hours a day FOR THE YEAR.

Grrrrrr…

And guess who got stuck playing connect the dots throughout this whole, entire cherade?!

Sara and I were joking earlier that we didn’t realize we’d be learning about medical billing this week, and quite frankly – we shouldn’t fucking have to!!!

Someone else on either side of this transaction should’ve picked up the ball and ran until not only it was done, but done correctly, too. It kills me that neither party looked at that approval and said, “Wait a minute … 2.5 hours??? That doesn’t sound right!”

By the way, did I mention that we’ve also got my company’s HR department amending the new insurance policy because it wasn’t clear what the limits are for # of sessions allowed in a calendar year???

As I type this right now, I think we’re now on the right track to getting this resolved, but it’s really been wearing the both of us thin. Healthcare is important, and no one should have to jump through this many hoops to ensure that they can get medically necessary treatments for their children.

And all of this was after having to ask the old insurance company to even cover it because it had been omitted from the policy and wasn’t legally required due to a regulatory loophole in how the policy was setup.

I hope that someone in my lifetime fixes this mess … American healthcare in general, that is.

I get a little antsy about my home Internet speed when I spend any amount of time planning out home server stuff, and considering my little purchase of 50 TB of hard drives the other day…

In a way, it seems only natural – my next steps are to migrate the storage part of my media server into a rackmount NAS to go alongside the other rackmount server I acquired earlier this year that now houses the rest of Plex and the tools that I use to download content.

I’ve already picked out some new Ubiquiti rackmount network gear that I want to replace the router from my ISP with…

…and today I was even looking into the option of running 10 Gbps connections between my servers because, well, the only thing cooler than moving files around at 125 MB/s is moving files around at 1.25 GB/s!!!

So yeah, when we’re talking about internal network speeds in excess of one gigabit, it’s hard not to glance at the weak link in the chain that is my Internet connection and wonder, “Why can’t you keep up, little guy?!”

And don’t get me wrong – I totally get that only 25% of the country currently even has access to fiber Internet and a lot of people are stuck with cable or even DSL … but that doesn’t make it any easier to swallow that the line currently running into my garage could be chugging along at a crisp and refreshing 1 Gbps, but instead here I am scrapping by with a mere 200 Mbps like a chump out of the stone age…

Truth be told, I just moved up from 150 Mbps to 200 Mbps this fall, but before that I’ve been sitting at 150 Mbps for almost 4 years now. In fact, I upgraded just before Verizon sold FiOS in Florida off to Frontier because I was afraid they’d make it a lot harder to upgrade in the future…

Foreshadowing!

To be honest, I have kind of a love-hate relationship with Frontier because the FiOS network itself is wonderful … it’s just that Frontier themselves isn’t a very smart company to be running it. Their customer service is typically awful, their pricing isn’t competitive, and lest we not forget, this was the fiber company previously ran by the CEO who thought that gigabit was a fad and consumers don’t really need it.

Sure, maybe not now, but what kind of a technology company doesn’t anticipate their customers’ needs well into the future?!

Anyways, I’ve been going back and forth with Frontier on various social media channels about how it isn’t fair that they only offer promotional pricing to new customers. They’ve actually argued back that it’s an industry standard and everyone does it … as if that makes it ok … and maybe it would, if only they didn’t charge half again as much for existing customers once those crazy promotions run out!

Seriously – I currently pay $75/month for a plan that a new subscriber can get for $50/month.

…and they can’t find any way to incentivize me sticking around for seven years now?!

I think what bugs me the most is the disparity for upgrading to the tiers above me because $10-20/month extra would be understandable, but that’s not what Frontier’s fee structure looks like…

  • 200 Mbps – $75/month
  • 300 Mbps – $125/month
  • 500 Mbps – $175/month
  • 1 Gbps – $225/month

Another fifty bucks for each leap is excessive, particularly when the likes of Verizon and AT&T and Comcast all selling gigabit access in their markets for around $100.

Even Spectrum, our local cable alternative, offers gigabit for $100, although the argument there is that they don’t support symmetrical speeds yet, so the upload is still way lower than the downstream … at least for now.

I told the account manager I was emailing with earlier today that I’d be happy to pay an extra twenty bucks to go up to 500 Mbps or $125 … hell, I’d even do $150/month for gigabit, despite it being almost double what Verizon is charging for the same service!

But when did we get to the point where $50 upgrades were the norm … unless Frontier simply doesn’t really want to sell these highest tiers and they figure if people want them badly enough, they’ll pay through the nose for them.

I suppose this is technically offering gigabit service, but not at a price where it will ever get widely adopted, that’s for sure…

It just makes me wish that Verizon had never sold us off, or that Frontier would hurry up and go bankrupt already so that someone else could swoop in and buy all of the assets from them. It’s sad that broadband rollout hasn’t been far more aggressive in the United States because it’s not like these companies don’t have the money to do it, and we’ve a million times over proven the value of high speed Internet access in our daily lives.

I really don’t like this direction we’re heading where Verizon is convinced that wireless is what we need for broadband – mostly because of how they love to charge by the GB for it – and right now they’ve got their stooge heading the FCC that’s dedicated to gutting any and all regulations holding them back from maximizing Internet profits for shareholder benefit.

Amidst all of my frustrations this evening, I actually found myself pondering if it would be worthwhile to try load balancing between two ISPs … for the same $175/month that Frontier wants for 500 Mbps, I could keep the 200 Mbps line that I have with them and buy a second, gigabit connection from Spectrum to try them out as an ISP and enjoy the benefits of that extreme download speed!

The thing is, as much as Frontier insists that I’m a valued customer, even though they won’t offer me a dime to stick around despite not having to pay the acquisition cost to earn me back again as a new subscriber already, you would think that they would be quick to stop an existing customer from testing the waters with the competition. You’d think that an extra $75/month would still be far better than negative $75/month for a lost customer…

…but Frontier doesn’t think. That’s the problem!

I know that I’ll get gigabit Internet here at home eventually … hell, it has me wondering if we’ll see 10 Gbps home connections still in my lifetime! But much like Veruca Salt, I want it now! 😉

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