Jan 29, 2015 - Business & Money, Politics    No Comments

Texas Two-Step, 1 Sticker

Okay, so Texas is changing the way they do inspection stickers and registration and I figured out why.  The pitch to drivers is that we don’t have to hassle with two stickers on our window (really, was that a big problem?)  Only having to do one governmental piece of paperwork is easier than two, right?

Here are the facts:  Beginning in March of this year, you only have to get one sticker.

  • Inspection is done as normal – and you get a sticker
  • The inspection service company records your status in an online database & gives you a hard copy for your glove box
  • You go online to pay your registration and it will verify that your car has passed inspection

The video doesn’t really address how you transition over.  I just did my inspection this month and my registration is now due so I guess I still do both this year.  It turns out that they will allow people to sync up and go over this year and not register/inspect again until March of 2016.

Also, if there is no registration sticker, how (visually) can a police officer detect if you paid?  Does it come down to traffic stops only?  Will an APB be issued if your registration date passes and have not registered?  It’s all a little mind-boggling thinking of the difference scenarios and how it will affect folks – luckily, the state has a website with a lot of information.

There was a subtle change in how registration/inspections are handled in that previously, you could let a registration sticker lapse (they even gave you a grace period.)  Now, you must have it all handled BEFORE it expires or be unable to complete your registration.  There is no explanation of what happens if you are late.

The difference in revenue by doing away with grace periods and those folks (we’ve all done it) who accidentally (or otherwise) skipped a month in getting our vehicle inspected should be a boon to the service stations.

What are your thoughts?

by Chris Doelle

Sarcasm – good fun or subtle evil?

Stick with me as this is going to go a bit deep.  I find more and more that sarcasm is downright evil.

Yes, we have all done it – a biting comment followed quickly by, “just joking.”  These “jokes” “jabs” and “pokes” are really just a chickenshit way of being mean to someone.  Whether you think your intention is to hurt or not – these hurt people.

sarcasm – 1579, from L.L. sarcasmos, from Gk. sarkasmos “a sneer, jest, taunt, mockery,” from sarkazein “to speak bitterly, sneer,” lit. “to strip off the flesh,” from sarx (gen. sarkos)

I fear that our media and truly evil people are training us and future generations to be mean to each other… in the name of a laugh.  It is a weak and underhanded way to either prove their superiority or just make others doubt themselves.

Psychopathic manipulative people use the methods and know they are doing it.  They use the cover of “joking” to mask their truly evil intentions – to control people around them.  (Told you I was going to go deep here.)

The worst part is that we and our children are constantly exposed to this evil influence.  Whether it is a jovial jerk of a parent or relative or the constant examples in the media, our children have learned that it is acceptable.  Look at any sitcom and pay attention to the jokes – most every one is at the expense of one of the characters on the show… they are used to show someone as dumb.

So what can we do?  Are we doomed to destroy the self-esteems of everyone around us because “everyone is doing it?”  No.  We can point it out when it occurs and stop doing it ourselves.

I’m not talking about being the uber-nerd saying, “hey guys that’s mean… let’s all be nice.”  I’m talking about first resisting the urge when someone walks into a perfect setup.  Be the bigger person.  I’m talking about letting someone know when they say something that is hurtful.  Don’t whine about it – just point it out… maybe its a good opening to talk about why sarcasm is evil and wrong.

sarcasm

What are your thoughts?

by Chris Doelle

Is there car theft on an island?

In the morning, I have been listening to Addie Ottley’s Morning Show using the TuneIn Radio app mainly because it is an upbeat show that doesn’t cover all the same horrible stories you hear everywhere else.  The show is from WSTA 1340 “Lucky 13 Radio” from St. Thomas in the US Virgin Islands.

I really dig this show because it is so different and so happy.  Addie is not overly bubbly or gregarious, in fact, he is very monotone – but he comes across as a trustworthy friend just chilling with you in the morning.

They do birthday announcements and there is a drawing for a free cake from one of the show sponsors.  There is also a word of the day read by a local student.  Today was dogmatic – I just love this kind of stuff.

I heard a commercial for St. Thomas Toyota and immediately thought, “Really? A Toyota dealership on an island?”  The island is only 32 square miles so is there enough business for an entire dealership?  It must really cut down on car theft though.

St Thomas - US Virgin Islands

Think about it… in 32 square miles (most of which is undeveloped) you would have no place to hide a stolen vehicle.  Even if you stashed it in a garage for a while, the odds of the owner (much less police) seeing you drive past are pretty darn good.

Our habits (and crimes) are totally dependent on geography (and other issues.)  Here in Texas, the Department of Transportation will store large piles of sand, gravel and other road construction materials on the side of highways.  Because of the easy access, I have heard reports of people stealing a truckload of sand for a home project.  That just isn’t an issue in Death Valley, California.  The market for stolen sand just doesn’t exist there.

Strange things you think of early in the morning.

by Chris Doelle

 

 

Living on One Dollar

I am always up for a good documentary.  I watched Living on One Dollar on Netflix and I really wasn’t sure what to expect.   Four college students decide to go to rural Guatemala and live on one dollar a day, what the typical person from the area survives on.  They chose the Mayan town of Pena Blanca, where more than half the population lives below the poverty line. At first, I thought, “yeah right, these liberal kids just out of college are going to go there and plea for how spoiled we are as Americans.”  They actually didn’t do any of that.

Anthony is the real story here - what a great man!

Anthony is the real story here – what a great man!

Yes, they had some benefits that the indigenous people may not.  They knew they could leave whenever they wanted.  They had the confidence to know that even when it seemed “life and death” it really wasn’t for them.  They had a college education already.  They were in good health.

Even with all their advantages, the students realized pretty quickly how hard life would be if their safety net were taken away.

I didn’t take anything new away from the film – I have long since realized just how blessed I am.  Instead, watch it for the message in the subtext.  This really shows how happy, generous and good people are all over the world.  Watch it for that good message.

RATING 8 out of 10 social media, new media titan, chris doelle, fresh media works, http://www.freshmediaworks.comsocial media, new media titan, chris doelle, fresh media works, http://www.freshmediaworks.comsocial media, new media titan, chris doelle, fresh media works, http://www.freshmediaworks.comsocial media, new media titan, chris doelle, fresh media works, http://www.freshmediaworks.comsocial media, new media titan, chris doelle, fresh media works, http://www.freshmediaworks.comsocial media, new media titan, chris doelle, fresh media works, http://www.freshmediaworks.comsocial media, new media titan, chris doelle, fresh media works, http://www.freshmediaworks.comsocial media, new media titan, chris doelle, fresh media works, http://www.freshmediaworks.com

 

Jan 19, 2015 - Uncategorized    No Comments

Yes, my scale does tell me the weather

Yes, I am a tech guy.  I am always interested in the new technology and love the sparks of creativity they give me when I think of different ways to use existing tech (or just revel in how someone else came up with a great idea.)  No, I do not rush out and get the new stuff right away.  This is another example.

The Withings scales have been on the market for years and yes, I thought they were cool when I first heard of them.  I am the kind of guy who waits until his phone dies to get a new one (I still have an iPhone 4s) and haven’t really needed a scale.  That changed recently and while the Withings Body Analyzer scale is a bit pricey, I did need one.

Yes, I could have spent 30 bucks, but I had a coupon AND its an itch that has been there at least five years.

This scale not only measures your weight to a tenth of a pound, but it remembers who you are.  Unless there is some dramatic overnight change in weight, it can track several household members based on the fact that it is rare that family members all weigh the same.

It also tracks your heart rate, measures the CO2 in your house and yes… tells you the weather.

withings body analyzer scale

The cool thing is that it can sync via Bluetooth or WiFi with the MapMyFitness app.  Now, all I need as a really good version of something like FitBit (but more useful) and not only will I have everything tracked all the time, but I will have great documentation of an alibi if I am ever erroneously charged with some crime.

by Chris Doelle

Life is good if you look for it

happy-life-300x300I was having a conversation with a friend the other day about whether people are generally good or generally selfish and once again I come to the same conclusion… people are good – if you’re good.

It is my philosophy that we see in those around us, what fits with our own self view.  If you are a good person, you will see the good in people.  If you are a evil, selfish person, you will see that in those you meet.  Negative people see negative things.  Positive people see positive things.

It is also my belief however, that you can change the type of person you are.  I think it may be more difficult for negative people to acquire a positive outlook, but I know a direct path to doing so.

Gratitude is the sure-fire path to a good outlook on life.  Simply waking up each morning and before your feet hit the floor thinking of all the things that are great in your life will get you started.  You are alive.  You live in a country full of possibilities.  You have family and friends.  (The Negative Nelly’s of the world are already saying things like, “What if you have no friends?  What if you live in a poor country?”  Those aren’t exact – find the ones that fit your situation.

Next, start a gratitude journal – just a couple minutes a day writing these things down will do wonders to change your outlook on life.  Don’t forget to read through the journal before bed each night as well.

As far as how to change a happy life into a dismal one…  I’ll leave that for someone else.  I have no interest in that.

Are you generally happy or a Debbie Downer?

by Chris Doelle

Leviathan

I was actually searching for another Leviathan that came out this year about a man living in a Russian coastal town fighting city hall.  The one I saw was much different.

Leviathan (2012) is a documentary in the truest sense of the word.  It documents life aboard a commercial fishing ship in the North Atlantic.  It does just that – document.  There is absolutely no dialogue – no narration – only scene after scene of this massive ship hauling in booty from the sea.

leviathan_06_medium

Some of the shots are a bit overly dramatic – such as focusing on the fish head on the deck as they slid back and forth with the tossing of the ship.

The message however was very strong.  These boats haul in tons and tons of life from the season indiscriminately casting their nets wide to catch everything.  It will make you rethink feeding all the freaking people on this planet.

I really don’t know what to say about the film other than I could not turn away and I am still not sure what I feel about it.  It seems the filmmakers’ plan was to just document and let you make your own conclusions.  I watched, I am just not sure what I could even do about it.

RATING 7 out of 10 social media, new media titan, chris doelle, fresh media works, http://www.freshmediaworks.comsocial media, new media titan, chris doelle, fresh media works, http://www.freshmediaworks.comsocial media, new media titan, chris doelle, fresh media works, http://www.freshmediaworks.comsocial media, new media titan, chris doelle, fresh media works, http://www.freshmediaworks.comsocial media, new media titan, chris doelle, fresh media works, http://www.freshmediaworks.comsocial media, new media titan, chris doelle, fresh media works, http://www.freshmediaworks.comsocial media, new media titan, chris doelle, fresh media works, http://www.freshmediaworks.com

AT&T is figuring it out

I switched to AT&T when I lived in Wimberley because they were the only carrier with decent reception in the area.  Apparently, they have proprietary rights to some technology that allows their signal to travel over hills and down into valleys?  Even though I have moved from Wimberley, I am keeping AT&T mainly because they are getting better as a company.

When I was first considering a switch, I went in to talk to the rep at the store and was told that not only is my data package doubling, but my bill was going down my 10 bucks a month.  Score for me!  That should have been enough to keep me loyal, but there was more.

rollover at&t

Yesterday I got an email telling me that my data was going to start carrying over.  This is huge!  It seems like everyone else has carryover, but AT&T had been holding out.  Apparently, it will go into effect this month.  It is not amazing in that it only carries over to the next month – so no banking up huge amounts of data, but its better than my current use it or lose it plan.

Just when you think that big business is made up of  cold-hearted suits that don’t give a flip – they do something decent.  Sure, I know it made good business sense or they wouldn’t have done it, but I do appreciate it.

by Chris Doelle

Star Trek’s Past is in my future

I was watching something about the original Star Trek series (1966-1969) and it dawned on me that I have never actually seen them all.

Yes, I saw hundreds of clips on various shows paying tribute to TOS (the original series,) but as it was before my time, I never saw them all.  Heck, I don’t even remember seeing a full episode.  Netflix to the rescue.

Captain Christopher Pike

Captain Christopher Pike

All of the original shows are available to watch on Netflix – including the first pilot episode that didn’t even have Captain Kirk (William Shatner) as part of the cast.  The Enterprise was commanded by Captain Pike. (The role was later reprised in the film Star Trek: Into Darkness)

That episode never made it to air and the storyline was actually made into an episode of the series once it was picked up (with William Shatner.)

I am only a few episodes into the first season right now and finding a lot of interesting things:

  • Sulu (George Takei) was not a helmsman originally, he appeared to be something like a biologist that sort of morphed into a regular character that spent more and more time on the bridge.
  • Scotty (James Doohan) didn’t really show up until a few episodes in either.
  • Many of the first stories were about how advanced beyond human understanding and equipment the aliens were.  It was kinda depressing.
  • Shatner’s signature over-acting started slowly and grew as the series goes on.
  • The original sound effect for the intercom (mp3) immediately reminded me of a boatswain or bosun’s whistle – used aboard sailing ships.

I intend to stay with the crew through the entire series and earn some Trekkie cred for having seen them all.

by Chris Doelle

 

 

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