Patience is a Virtue That I Do Not Have…

December 30, 2020 3:04pm
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I feel like a kid anxiously waiting to open presents under the tree on Christmas morning … except in my case, I’m anxiously waiting to sign paperwork for a bunch of adult stuff that kids would find boring as all hell!

Specifically, I’m waiting for the final approvals to refinance our mortgage and also separate paperwork to transfer our home phone number to another provider. I know that neither of these are what you would consider quick and speedy processes, particularly at the end of the year when other people want to take time off to spend with their friends and family like I have… 😛

And in the defense of both the mortgage and cell phone companies I’ve been working with, they’ve actually both been pretty great. It took me a while to plan out each of the two processes and find companies that I felt comfortable working with, and I know that it’s really only a matter of time before everything will have worked itself out successfully and the waiting is all behind me.

That’s a concept that I’d like to work into my brain a bit more in 2021 because I think I spend a lot of time fretting over things that just require a lot of time, and maybe sometimes they get further delayed by other things that also take a lot of time!

Granted, I still need to stay on top of things so that I don’t get to the end of the year with half a dozen things almost done, but at some point you have to accept that an awful lot of the deadlines that we make up in our heads are just that. Which is silly when at the end of the day, we’re talking about priorities that I only have to answer to myself for in the first place…

Next year I want to put less focus on deadlines and more effort into just getting the work done. I think it will make me a lot more productive, and maybe also just a little bit more sane to boot.

I thought this was a little weird.

So I changed my car insurance today – from esurance over to Progressive. Or rather, back to Progressive, as it was about six or seven years ago when I left them to come to esurance because the prices were cheaper.

What stood out as strange to me was that in both cases, I called up my current insurance company and told them what the other was offering, and neither one did much to lower my current bill.

This time, esurance tried to offer me their creepy tracking tool that you plug in under the dash and you get a discount if it doesn’t detect you driving like a maniac, which I declined.

I think last time Progressive tried to beat esurance’s rates by removing the coverage from one of our two cars. 


At the end of the day, I’m only saving about $40/month … so $240 on a 6-month policy term or a little less than $500 a year.

I was just kind of surprised that there wasn’t any retention effort other than what they’d offer any day of the week to keep me from switching to their competitor. So I’m curious why.

Is it a case where there’s simply so much churn in their industry that they’ve decided retention isn’t really their strategy, kind of like cable and cellular providers that focus more on earning new customers than keeping existing ones happy?

Or do customer service reps just not have much they can offer, so it’s really just another call in the queue for them to deal with?

Thankfully it was a surprisingly seamless transition from one to the other – I asked the guy from esurance to cancel mine policy, effective tomorrow, after he reviewed it for discounts, and I was finishing the new purchase from Progressive before I was off the phone with esurance.

It’ll be interesting to see if I end up switching again in a few years if the prices sway back in the other direction. I hate doing it, but at least it’s easier than switching cable or cell providers because it’s just a question of whose site I’m printing my new ID cards from.

Which reminds me, I probably need to do some research into our homeowner’s insurance, too. We’ve had the same company there for seven years now as well…

Do you want to know when you’re wrong?

January 22, 2017 2:35pm
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Simple question – if you’ve based your opinion on a certain perspective or set of information and it turns out that the details as you understand them are invalid, would you sincerely want somebody to point that out to you???

Pondering after watching a Facebook thread unfold between family the other day in which arguments were made about the women’s marches taking place around the country and the world right now against President Trump. When confronted with corrections, the original poster got very defensive and eventually pulled her post down citing her opinion was always wrong and she should just keep it to herself or something of that nature…

But here’s the thing – all pleasantries aside, the original post was based on an incorrect characterization of said protest activities. It was presented in a personal light, albeit in an adversarial way meant to attack the protestors, but it really rang out to me the fact that when told that their understanding was flat-out wrong, all hope of discussion flew out the window. So what now?

Was it in the approach? Or was it just one of those posts where you’re welcome to comment if you agree with me, but I want to bitch about the other side because this is what I think of them and nothing is going to change my mind???

Nobody likes being told that they’re wrong – I get that. Yet in this day and age when many people get all of their information via Facebook and terms like “fake news” and – my new disgusted favorite that Kellyanne Conway just coined today – “alternative facts” are thrown around to defend against information that people don’t want to hear more so than for factual cause, a lot of people are going to be wrong about the perspectives that they have.

So how do you politely tell somebody that their basis of fact is complete and utter shit? 😕

Dream Journal : Dude, Where’s My Jacket?!

March 9, 2016 3:53pm
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I had ran into someone at the grocery store, and we chatted for a while as he made his way back over to his wife which was coincidentally the same direction that I was going. In route, I was distracted by a table where I had left my nice, leather jacket that was now conspicuously empty, and this made me genuinely upset!

I first got into a shouting match with the nearby checkout clerk who said that somebody had taken it, and when pressed as to why she had let them, she asked why *I* had left it there in the first place … which was also odd because additionally I had with me a laptop that I had deemed valuable enough to keep in my cart, but not this strange, leather jacket…

Eventually I got tired of yelling and she pointed to a group of guys in the parking lot playing football, saying that they had taken it and I should take up my issue with them.

This I tried, but oddly enough I could never quite catch up with them as they were running around in between cars. Plus, it was winter and there was snow on the ground, so it was really, really cold.

My continuing search for this special jacket then took me to a local video game store that was apparently one of the coolest stores ever – retro stuff galore, to the point where I actually pulled out my cell phone and was tweeting pictures of their stock as a temporary reprieve from my jacket-oriented quest.

At one point I even ran into James Rolfe who was stocking shelves there … I asked him where I could find their NES games and then we both went our separate ways…

Ultimately a manager of the store came by and inquired about my missing jacket, and I explained that because it was somehow a gaming-related jacket (it had a Playstation logo, I guess?), I wanted to see if the alleged thieves had tried to hock the thing already and maybe by some miracle she would have it in the back.

She ended up having a similar jacket, but not my jacket.

I’m sharing this story not because it was particularly interesting to me after I woke up, but more so because this was a dream that throughout it was somewhat disturbing to me, leaving me to wonder if there’s any real correlation between the quality of one’s dreams and the quality of their sleep.

I don’t know the answer to this – I did find one article that said to encourage happier dreams, one should “remove stress from their lives” … easier said than done! Not to mention that this was such a random dream to begin with – it wasn’t like reliving a bad experience through a dream and feeling those same emotions all over again.

If only there was some definitive book that could tell us The Meaning of Dreams… 😉

Smart Explanations of Complicated Matters

October 23, 2015 10:40pm
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A big reason why I’ve always been a fan of Hank and John Green isn’t merely for the entertainment factor, but even more so because they’re both great at giving thoughtful explanations of the things that they talk about – particularly when it comes to complicated subject matters that are often prone to misinformation and viral rage.

Hank’s latest video about Benghazi brought this back to the forefront for me because I’ll admit that I didn’t really know that much about Benghazi, either! I knew that there was some sort of riot in Libya and extremists stormed the U.S. embassy there … presumably kind of like what happened with the Iran hostage crisis back in 1979…

…and admittedly I didn’t really even know much about that until I watched the movie Argo and was curious enough to research a little online afterwards to see how much of it was true! Spoiler: There were some significant inaccuracies

Anyways, especially with complex and passionate issues such as what happened on Sept. 11, 2012 in Benghazi, Libya, it’s important to look at the facts of both sides – because politics stripped aside, both sides do have facts – and I think in this video in particular, Hank does a really good job of doing that.

I also think with regards to Benghazi, it’s a frank reminder for folks in the USA in particular to keep in mind that Benghazi, Libya is actually a city about 600,000 people that’s lost thousands of people amid the country’s ongoing civil war and not only the much more brief span of time when four Americans overseas lost their lives in a terrorist attack on 9/11/12…

If you enjoyed this video, here are a few others informative ones from Hank & John that I thought were really well done if you’re interested in a rational dissemination of facts and whatnot…

If so many Republicans are against abortion, why don’t they just push to make abortion illegal instead of trying to defund Planned Parenthood???

It seems like the more beneficial scenario across the board because that way Planned Parenthood could continue providing all of the other women’s health services that they offer and there would be no worry about state and federal funding going to support abortion because the process itself would be illegal … whereas if Planned Parenthood is defunded and can’t provide any of its services, other providers will still be able to offer abortions.

Mind you, I’m personally pro-choice and honestly have no problem with abortions being limited to the first trimester unless the mother’s life is in danger as our laws state today. It just begs the question to me of what those trying to defund Planned Parenthood are really after – do they truly not want abortion to exist because they believe it to be immoral or do they have some sort of vendetta specifically against Planned Parenthood and they simply refuse to see the forest for the trees?

a hiking we will go?

February 15, 2015 4:22pm
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It’s weird because for the most part I don’t really consider myself to be an outdoors person at all these days, and yet oddly enough there’s a very small part of me that finds the idea of taking a very long hike through the wilderness to be intriguing.

And by long, I’m talking about weeks and weeks long… 😯

The thought came about once again this afternoon when I stumbled across this blog from a guy who hiked the Appalachian Trail from Maine down to Georgia. It reminded me of A Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson that was recommended to me years ago by my biology teacher back in college … if I remember correctly, Bryson didn’t actually end up finishing the trail, or maybe he did it in sections by coming back, but the tale was really funny and would make for a fun story to write if it hadn’t already been written before.

There are a lot of logistical things that would probably hold me back from ever doing something like that – first and foremost, I’m not sure if I could physically handle walking 2100 miles even spread out over the course of a couple months! Hell, I woke up with sore arms after carrying Christopher around Disney yesterday, though I suppose it’s something that you probably have to condition yourself for. God, I haven’t been hiking in ages…

And then there’s the responsibility factor – I’m not in my 20’s anymore … I have a mortgage, and a wife and son, and bills to pay, and hilarious things on the Internet to write. Being gone for a month or more straight would put quite the strain on all of the above, not to mention if I somehow managed to accidentally get eaten by a bear or something throughout the process!

Plus, I don’t think that I could go without Internet for that long, although that blog guy seemed to post every day so maybe sporadic cell signals every so often would be enough to keep up on things, and writing is typically more productive to do offline anyways.

I don’t know … it’s an interesting idea for someday in the future, I suppose. Maybe once I get in a little better shape and responsibilities are a little more flexible … it’s funny that although the idea of camping isn’t really appealing to me, I think just the idea of getting that far away from people is what sort of draws me to the notion. Nothing but miles upon miles of open trail and the wilderness to entertain you along the way. I’ve always wanted to put together a proper travel blog to journal about my life’s travels – the blog series that I did for my and Sara’s big road trip a couple of years ago was like that and turned out to be a lot of fun.


good dreams and bad dreams

January 11, 2015 1:39pm
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It’s my understanding that dreams are essentially made of various random memory fragments that your brain pieces together during REM while it’s focusing on repairing the rest of your body.

And it’s for that reason that sometimes I wonder if being a writer and a storyteller has the potential to work against me because although sometimes I have these really random, highly creative dreams like the ones that I like to share here on my blog, occasionally I also have much worse ones that aren’t anything like a story that I’d actually be interested in writing in any capacity in real life…

Those kinds of dreams often include a lot of fighting – typically with people who I’m not in real life, along with nasty disputes with my wife, and in one I even watched myself try to commit suicide. Last night’s bad dream was this complex drama about how my wife had to go to jail for a while and when she came back we had this big falling out because I felt like I had been abandoned and she didn’t want to talk about it.

It’s kind of like dreaming a Tim Burton movie – everything starts off clear, but a little odd, and then things start getting more and more bizarre … but not bizarre in a good way – just weird … and eventually you find yourself at a point where you desperately just want the whole thing to be over, yet you’re far too invested to simply get up and walk away without knowing how the whole thing ends.

The thing is, most of the bad dreams that I end up having myself don’t end and thus I’ll spend the first part of my day in sort of a funky mood trying to remind myself that it was all just a dream and that my wife didn’t try to leave me and that I’m not fighting with so-and-so after all.

It’s a really weird sensation, but I wonder if it’s just one of those things where you have to take the good with the bad otherwise all of my dreams would just be boring and unoriginal across the board. 😕

an evolution of identity

October 13, 2014 2:41pm
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musicI used to be WAY into music when I was younger, but now I’m kind of not.

I mean, I still listen to music in the car or whatever … it’s just that my passion for music doesn’t define me like it used to back when I was a teenager.

Over the weekend we went over to Epcot for the Food & Wine Festival and one of the features besides all of the food and drink are the random bands of yesteryear that they bring in to play throughout the month and a half that the festival runs. Even though a lot of the names used to be fairly popular, it’s never really been a big draw for me because it’s no secret when they list Night Ranger – known for their song Sister Christian” in the program, that’s pretty much the only song that the group is known for…

…or at least the only one that anybody remembers anymore, anyways!

Case in point – a few years ago, we happened to be doing Food & Wine when Night Ranger was playing, and although it was kind of neat to be walking by when they were going into the power ballad that is Sister Christian, it’s not like I exactly stopped to take in the rest of their set, either.

So this year when we made an impromptu decision to do Food & Wine on Saturday after spending a few hours at one of the water parks, I picked up a guide book and sure enough, Sister Hazel was performing that night. I’ve always liked Sister Hazel, particularly after seeing them in concert while I was in college, and although they’ve been playing Food & Wine for a while now, I’ve never gotten a chance to see them just because we never seemed to go over during their three-day stretch of the festival.

I thought it might be cool, after having first seeing them live circa 2001 in the thriving metropolis that is Big Rapids, Michigan, but after not even half a dozen songs, I just wasn’t feeling it.

And it was weird because here after all of this time kind of mocking groups that settle on playing theme park gigs because they’re kind of yesterday’s news, here I was actually wishing that they’d just play that one song that they were famous for, too!

You know it’s not good when the singer actually introduces their next song as, “Now we’d like to play you one of our new songs … so if you could not leave and go back to eating and drinking for a while, we’d really appreciate it!” 😯

I hung around in the back for a few songs and we danced a little with the baby, who seemed to be more into the colored lights than the loud music, and then we proceeded on down our path to more desserts and drinks and by the time we had reached the Germany pavilion, the ambient music pretty much drowned out the band that we had left behind, anyways.

And the more I think about it, I guess that’s sort of what’s happened to me and music in the last decade or so, too.

Music used to be my everything – I wore the t-shirts and went to countless rock concerts, I had hundreds of CDs and posters on the walls, and for a while there I was even under the fun, little delusion that I could actually be a rock and roll star myself! But then it slowly started to fade away as I got more into writing, and publishing on the ‘net, and video games made a resurgence in my life, and then I moved to Florida and found me a wife and a family, and now when I look back at those live shows that I used to blow so much money on … I don’t really miss ’em all that much.

Every now and then when I hear that so-and-so artist is coming to town, I think for a moment whether maybe it would be fun and we should get tickets to go, but I just don’t have the drive that I used to, and then I find that tickets are way more expensive than they were back in the day, and frankly there are just so many other ways at this point that I’d rather spend my time and money.

It’s nothing against music, of course. Music served to give me one of my first identities during those teenage years when you’ll stop at nothing just to be you, and to figure out what that is, and for a while there, I was the long-haired, tie-dye wearing hippie guy who had way too many black light posters for the minuscule amount of weed that he realistically smoked and who lived through his guitar and emulating his rock heroes.

Now I’ve moved on and it’s a little weird to revisit that and find that I’m not nearly as into it as I used to be.

Which is strange in its own way when you consider how ridiculously nostalgic I am and you wonder why it doesn’t really carry over to music as much as it did some of the earlier stuff, but that’s another thought train for another day!  8)

Everything happens for a reason…

February 12, 2014 11:18pm
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I kind of like this one!

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