As the title suggests, this is not an issue of much consequence, relative to big world issues. It’s just been in the background, the periphery, of my life recently. I live in the city, in a neighborhood that I love. I have been here 9 years, and I am grateful I’ve been so fortunate to be able to own this home. It doesn’t seem like a big deal, but to me it is. I am a woman who bought a home with no one else. I didn’t have a partner, or help from wealthy parents. I saved up the down payment, looked at houses, and signed every paper, with the pen my firm gave me, for my 5 work anniversary working for them.
It’s been an unexpected sense of pride, that I bought this house and own it. I pay the mortgage and property taxes. I do the required maintenance on the gutters, furnace, etc. I try to take care of my lawn and garden (Unfortunately, I do not have my Grandma’s green thumb.). It’s been a labor of love, upgrading this house, making it my own, and budgeting to take care of it, which is not always easy.
Every once in a while, I get mail for the person who lived here before me, who is now deceased. Once in a great while, I get mail that might be for someone else or a name similar to the previous owner. I generally write on the envelope “deceased” or “does not live here”. It always gets taken away. At least it used to. Recently, I wrote on a piece of mail ” Does not live here”. The next day, I was shocked to see the envelope was left in my mailbox and more writing was added. It said, “Who Does? Put name/s on box.”
|(addressee blocked out for privacy)|
I was dumbfounded. I loved my mail carriers. They were always nice, delivered well, and they waved even when they were 1/2 down the block and I was driving by or walking. This guy had to be new. Who did he think he was, telling me I had to put my name on my house? This is my home! I decide whether my name is plastered on it, for any passersby to see, or not to deface my property.
This pissed me off, but I put it aside. He comes by, before I come home. I see him on my Ring monitor, but I’m working, so that’s not ideal for discussing this with him. Eventually, I decided I would write him a quick note to express my disappointment and explain that this was inappropriate. This is what the note said:
This is entirely inappropriate. I have owned this home for 9 years. I am not required to advertise my name on my house. I have never had an issue marking incorrect maii in this manner. Please send this back.
I put it on top of the envelope, and hope he realizes this is not cool. I certainly did not expect that he would write an entire note back to me, on the back of the note I left him.
This is that reply:
Hi, I can see your are confused as to why I asked for your mailbox to be labeled. I’m new to this route and I’m trying to learn the names. When people kick back a letter I simply request the box be labeled so we don’t waste each others time w/ mail thats not yours. I have asked dozens of people and you are the only one pushing back on this. Sorry to offend you.
Now I am just infuriated. Are you kidding me? I’m confused? I don’t think so. You’ve done this to dozens of people and that’s a good thing? What do I have to do, to put this seemingly nothing of an issue, to rest? I considered filing a complaint with the post office, but I was hesitant. Postal workers have tough jobs and I don’t want to give him a hard time. In the same respect, I don’t deserve this, and I’m getting frustrated because this is my home. No one should be able to tell me what to put on it.
I even looked up postal regulations. https://www.mailboss.com/guide-usps-mailbox-regulations. I doesn’t say anything about putting your name, and for the record, the number of my address is on a pillar on my porch, in line with my mailbox, in big numbers. You could make the argument that it’s not on my mailbox, as my mailbox is an old fashioned milk door, on the side of my house. This is not the argument he is making.
Then, I check my mailbox and he f%^king put a label on the top of my mailbox door, with my motherf$%king name on it. Are you kidding me, right now?
|(my name blocked out)|
This is my house! I 1/2 wanted to report him to the police for defacing my property. How dare he? What does he not get about this being my home, my property, and him being so out of line?
I decided I needed to report this to the USPS. It’s a bit cumbersome filling out the form for this report, and I couldn’t attach any pictures, to document the situation, which is what made me want to write this completely random post about these unexpected troubles I’m having with my new letter carrier.
This is what I wrote in the box for describing the issue:
I’ve owned my home for 9 years, and always had great letter carriers. Recently I wrote on an envelope that the recipient didn’t live here. The new carrier wrote on the envelope asking who did live here and that I should label my mailbox. He left the envelope. I wrote a note back that this was unprofessional and I am not required to put my name on my house. This is a privacy concern. He wrote back that he’s new to the route and that I needed to help him by telling him who lived here. Then he stuck a label with my name on my mailbox. I need someone to explain to him that this is unacceptable behavior and to knock it off. I can accept mail for anyone at my home, even if they don’t live here. I am not required to put a sign saying who I take mail for. I am allowed to put a note on mail that is not accepted at my address, to return to sender. Clearly he does not respect this.
If he defaces my property again, I will file a report with the police. He doesn’t pay my mortgage or property taxes. He has no right to put labels on my mailbox, and it is frustrating that he did not just take the mail and move on. Please deal with this. I have loved the mail carriers I had before, and they never had trouble with this. Please re-train this carrier, or take him off my route.
So, now I’m wondering. Should I report this to the police, in case he takes it further? Am I making this more than it is? I am looking for input. Part of me feels this is a non-issue, but I removed the label he left, and now I don’t know what he might do next. I’m frustrated, and wondering if I even should be. I’m hoping I will get some feedback, from anyone who thinks I am right to be upset, and those who think I am not. Should I have left the note, and taken the steps I have taken? Is reporting him to the police necessary?
Thanks for your input.
Update: I got a call from the Station Manager, for the station where my mail goes through. He asked me to describe what had happened. He then said it was completely inappropriate, from the moment the letter carrier wrote on the envelope. He also let me know that this letter carrier is no longer working for the station and is now at another station. I recommended that the new station might want to submit him for some re-training. The manager said it was just completely inappropriate and should never have happened. He also thanked me for reporting it. I thanked him for calling me.
I really appreciated that they didn’t just email me, but he called and personally addressed my issues. Postal workers are incredibly busy and I have the highest respect for their work. My regular carrier is back on my route, and she is fantastic. I hope the new carrier, will learn to respect the right of home owners to decide how their mail is delivered, and how their house is or is not marked.
Owning a home is a pride I never realized I would feel. I just thought it would be a matter of fact thing. I quickly saw that the effort of caring for a home, beyond just paying the mortgage, builds a sense of pride in the owner, at least for me. We have our arguments, me and my personified abode, but overall I am proud that I saved up, and bought this house all on my home.
I recall that when I was nearing the closing, I was terrified I would somehow end up over my head and lose the house in like 2 years. Having just passed 9 years of home ownership, I feel like I know myself more. I have figured out solutions, learned to budget, learned what I like and don’t like, and I keep learning. I love the quirks of my house, including my mailbox, which happens to be an old fashioned milk door. I look forward to receiving mail, from awesome letter carriers, for years to come.
I know people are up in arms about the Game of Thrones finale. I am sure I will be flayed for my opinions. The thing is, unless you wrote the story, it’s not really up for debate. The idea that people circulated and signed a petition to redo the last season is preposterous. This isn’t a “Choose Your Own Adventure”. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, you missed out. In the 80’s, there were these books that were “Choose Your Own Adventure” books. You would read for so many pages, and then you would get a choice. To choose that the character will do abc, go to page x, to choose that the character will do def, go to page y.
When we watch a big epic show like Game of Thrones, I think it’s a disservice to the 8 seasons, for fans to lament the ending. I think it’s fine to be disappointed in the ending, and I wished it had gone another way, but that doesn’t negate the amazing show we all got to enjoy for 8 seasons. The cast, crew and creative team deserve more respect than that. This story was massive, and it had so many intertwined stories, I think it’s arrogant for us to all assume we would have done it better.
With that being said, let me lay out where I thought it was going to go, at least in the abstract. I won’t say it would have been better, just different.
Going into the finale season, it really seemed to me that there was an over-arching theme. These “children” had created the night king and the army of the dead. They also wanted to undo what they had done.
Centuries later, and we start off seeing these groups of parents and their kids. The pattern we see is the mistakes the parents make, and their kids trying to do better than their parents. It seemed to me, that there was a delineation between the kids who learned to do what is right and moral, who sought to do better than their parents, while others sought to repeat their parent’s “sins” and continue/perpetuate their craven and power hungry ways.
So we see that the Starks were good. So was Asha Yara Greyjoy, even if Theon wasn’t. He takes the long road there. So does Jaime Lannister, it seems. That’s the path I thought he was taking, and I didn’t think it was just so he could throw it away at the end to stand by his sister, who hadn’t learned anything. My thought was the council at the end, should have been all the kids who learned the lesson of their parents, and the ones who were gone, would be the ones who didn’t learn that lesson.
Where does that leave Daenerys? That’s a good question. It really felt like they were going back and forth between having her learn the lessons and then not, and then yes, and then no. Because she gave that speech about breaking the wheel, it seemed to be that she needed to make good on that. She should have been at the head of that council, and all the kids, now the heads of their homes should have taken a piece of the iron throne, in essence having them break the throne, into 7 equal kingdoms, free from 1 potentially tyrannical ruler.
I know that may sound too nice and sweet, but Arya would still be able to have that Frodo-esque “I can’t just live a normal life, I need to sail off into the unknown” ending. Sansa would still be able to preserve the north as a free kingdom. Asha would be named queen of her kingdom, and so on. There could be major loss, without it being the equivalent of click-bait. A flashy murder, for the shock and awe. Like Missandei. She was a strong character, who had more of a story to tell, and she was sacrificed, so we could have a reason for Dany to lose it. She deserved a better story, and a better ending.
Even Cersei deserved a better ending. She already had that massive walk of shame, so how would you have her executed in a way that would make sense? Let’s say Dany didn’t snap, after the bells rang. Instead maybe Dany just goes to the tower Cersei was in, and has Drogon burn that one, so it starts crumbling around Cersei. Maybe she would still try to escape with the Mountain, and then the Hound gets his revenge on the Mountain.
Instead of her just slipping by like “this seems like an A and B convo, I’ll C my way out…”, she could have been met by Dany and Drogon at the bottom. From there, keeping her alive, would keep the sins of the past alive. She will have to be executed, but is by fire the right way? I think so, in the instance that she would be the last execution that would ever take place at that level. There would be no more top of the 7 kingdoms. King’s Landing would be transformed into a place where the leaders of the 7 kingdoms conducted joint affairs, and the citizens would be from any 1 of the 7 kingdoms.
I get this is all very loose. It’s certainly not a script. I don’t want to disrespect the creators and script writers with trying to attempt that. I’m sure many will find plenty of flaws with what I outline.
It’s just what I was hoping for. I know I didn’t mention Jon Snow. By the end I decided he was a pretty boy, who had a good heart, but boy was he dumb. I mean, just not a smart guy. He usually had a blank look on his face, when other characters were discussing complex political issues. I just couldn’t see fit to put him at the top, just because he was good. I really wanted the ending he got. Despite his heritage, and despite his upbringing, his heart belonged north of the wall, with the wildings. That’s what fit his character (and his direwolf).
So that’s my alternate ending, but that doesn’t mean I wish they would re-do the season. That’s just silly. I will say this.
It’s infuriating that Lena Headey got online hate, for her portrayal of Cersei. She did an amazing job in that role, and she deserves praise for how well she played this villain. The entire cast was fabulous, from the lead characters, to those with smaller parts, like Joe Dempsie (Gendry), Nathalie Emmanuel (Missandei), and Rory McCann (The Hound).
The writers, directors, producers, costume designers, set designers, makeup people, etc. They did such an incredible job of putting all these stories together. By season 3, I had to google a map of all the characters, so I could keep them straight. I think the team that pulled all this off, deserves our gratitude, considering all we had to do was sit on our butts and watch. It’s easy to sit in judgement of someone else’s work. Doing the work takes a lot more.
Constructive criticism is good, but let’s make sure it that and not just tearing people down, because we like feeling like we should sit in judgement. And anyone who sent crappy mean online comments to any of the cast or crew, owes them an apology. They are people and I doubt you would be so rude to their face, so there is no excuse for doing it online.
I am sharing what happened to me, so that others might be spared this particular scam. Before I get into what happened, I want to make sure it’s clear that Etsy was not at fault, and they ensured I got a refund immediately. Just by filing a dispute, it was enough to scare the scammer into refunding the money in full.
So, my story.
I asked my sister-in-law, what to get her (and my brother’s) 3 amazing kids, for Christmas this year. They grow so fast, their interests change, and sometimes my sister-in-law would prefer I get something functional over fun, or not reward recent bad behavior (that happened one year. Story for another time, on another blog).
This year, the 14 year old is in to calligraphy, the 11 year old is in to (among other things) Pokemon, and the 10 year old is all about astronomy. I looked on Etsy, for something special, and not just a toy they would use for a couple of weeks and then forget about.
For the 14 year old, I wanted to find a nice calligraphy set, and a sketchbook. I compared a few different sets, and settled on this one. Handcrafted Calligraphy Kit Pen Set Feather Quill Writing Antique Dip With 5 Nibs, Ink, Luxury Case For Beginners
It looked so nice.
It had a feather calligraphy pen, tips, an ink well and some other stuff. I thought it would be special, and it was reasonably priced ($34).
Well, it was supposed to be delivered by Tuesday, December 18th. Since it’s the holiday season, I gave a couple of extra days, but got nervous, by Thursday, December 20th. I looked in the original Etsy order email which said it was “Shipped with AMZL, With the following message:
As you can see, they say there is a tracking number, but there isn’t one. So, I went to the order, on Etsy, and contacted the seller “Ali” A.K.A. 7bayhmaj
Below is the conversation, between me and “7bayhmaj”:
Please give me a tracking number:
No tracking number, claims it was delivered:
A pic of what looks like a tracking history with some sort of tracking ID
Here is a close up of that:
Now, I’m getting a bit annoyed. I really want the freaking tracking number. Why won’t they give it to me?
Little known fact. If you google “tracking number” Google will pop up a tracking input. You can put any type of tracking number. It determines the carrier, by the format (amount of and sequence of letters and numbers).
when I put in “TBA542868879000” (what was in the image) no carrier was found. It’s not a valid tracking number for any carrier. IT’S A FAKE TRACKING NUMBER!!!
This douche nozzle has the audacity to try to blame the many delivery PEOPLE (not just men, you asshat), for the problem, and porch thieves. Thanks “Ali”, we know who the thief is.
More bullshit, including some crap about using a “different logistics service”.
I again re-iterate that they have yet to tell me which carrier they used, and a legitimate tracking number.
They claim they can refund, but since I opened a dispute their hands are totally tied. It’s now my fault, for want this shit dealt with.
I’m done. Give me the damn tracking number you horrible garbage human.
You offered to get me off your back. You play the odds, that I’m the 10% that won’t let you scam them. How many others have you scammed? How many did you convince the item was delivered, and got them to just let you keep their hard earned money? (They sell other stuff. I don’t think there’s a massive market for calligraphy sets).
Now I lost my composure, and swore. I’m not fucking proud of it, but they really pissed me off. A senior citizen might not think to verify the fake tracking number. They might believe what they are told.
WHY WON’T YOU GIVE ME A TRACKING NUMBER, YOU HORRIBLE SCAMMER????
Now, they are insisting on their purity. They are magnanimous, and I dared to be an unpleasant person, to a scammer. I’m the horrible garbage human, but they are so wonderful, they apologize, paid their 10% gambling loss back to me, and wish me the best of holidays. Oh, and the item was totally delivered to my place of work.
Side note, I’ve been at my job 14 years. I only sent the package here, instead of home, because of the ink well. I didn’t want it to get ruined in the cold weather. I have never had a package delivered to my work, and had it “mysteriously” not get to me. This was just getting pathetic.
Last message, I promise. I acknowledged that I lost my cool with the swearing but took one last opportunity to point out that if they weren’t a scammer, then they should “show me the [tracking number].” They have not responded, since this last message.
It’s not about the gift. My niece is not a materialistic kid. She’s awesome and would be happy with 100 hugs. It’s about the principle of the thing. It’s taking advantage of someone spending the money they earned, and instead of earning it by selling a legitimate good or service, this person is scamming people. I would love for this person to get caught an prosecuted, but I’m not holding my breath.
I’d like the uzystore on Etsy to get shut down too. But mostly, I want to warn other shoppers.
I love sites like Etsy. My sister-in-law has a shop CathyCreatesStuff, and she’s not a scammer. I am guessing most are not. From my experience, most are like her. Talented, thoughtful people, who create something beautiful and share it with people who might appreciate a handmade gift.
But this asshat is not cool, and I’m just not ok with them gambling on the 10% demanding a refund and keeping 90% of the money, from people they convinced, that the package was delivered, and “oh well”.
When you buy, from any site like Etsy, it’s important to be skeptical. I should have paid more attention to not just the store’s rating (4 1/2 stars!) but how many people rated it. There are only 28 ratings, which could be from all bogus accounts. When there are more like 200 or 2,000, you are likely to get a real sense of the store’s legitimate rating.
When you order from a vendor, on Etsy, Ebay, Facebook Marketplace, always insist on getting a tracking number, once the item has shipped. Test it out in the Google tracking number input, and make sure it’s a valid tracking number, particularly if they claim it was delivered. Don’t let them blame the hard working delivery people, who work for FedEx, UPS, DHL, and USPS. The problem is rarely on their end.
And, don’t give in to spending money, without getting what you paid for. If they can’t get it to you, get your full amount refunded, and find a better seller. If they won’t fix the problem in a timely manner, open a ticket, on the order in question, with the site. When I opened a ticket on this order, with Etsy, Etsy didn’t even have to do anything. The seller got notified, and it scared them into refunding the money. Let the site handle a bad seller, if they are giving you the run around, and don’t let them spin their wheels. Give them a time limit, and if they claim it’s not enough, tell them you will ask the site (ie Etsy) to handle it if they won’t.
Good luck an safe shopping!
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go hit a brick and mortar store to get some cool ass calligraphy pens, for my amazing niece.
Let me tell you a little story and you tell me if I’m off base. See, I’m thinking of breaking up with Paypal. I’ve had Paypal since the early 2000’s. It’s always been a great way to send someone money by email. Then, I got screwed. I relied on Paypal to do what I asked them to do, and instead they drained my funds.
I had about $500 in my Paypal account, and was keeping it there, for a specific purpose. I have my Paypal account set to use my checking account as my default payment method. I have that set for all payees that I have authorized. Unfortunately, Paypal decided to override this, against my wishes.
Today I saw that I only had a balance of $34. What the $#%#$^$%^!?!?!?!?! I was so careful! What happened? I sign onto my account, and sure enough all these transactions went against my balance and not my damn checking account!
Well, I better contact support, right? So I go to Help – Contact Support, on their site. It keeps re-routing me to search their knowledgebase. This isn’t a how-do-I-do something type of issue. This is a I-need-to-talk-to-someone-about-my-specific-account type of issue. I get frustrated and tweet at them.
.@PayPal WTF, I keep choosing contact customer service, on your website and keep getting rerouted to the damn knowledge-base. I want to ask a damn question about my damn balance now!
— 1HumanRace❤️🌍❤️ (@misscrf) March 20, 2018
Crickets. I see they have another twitter handle, just for support. I reply to my original tweet, asking them if they can hear me.
@AskPayPal is anyone there? Or am I just to assume that when I need help, I can be sure to be frustrated by automated responses and no help. Really wanting to just close my damn account, since I can’t rely on it to work the way I intending it to.
— 1HumanRace❤️🌍❤️ (@misscrf) March 20, 2018
I go to their site, this time NOT signed in (typical IT type troubleshooting at how to get through to a human). I see you can email or call. I email. It will take 24 hours. No thanks. I’d like to understand this now. I call. I keep getting asked what my issues is, and I’m done with automated shuffling of my patronage, to the right tube of let’s get rid of you and your concerns. I keep saying “operator” and “I give up” until is just puts me into a queue.
I finally get to talk to someone, and we go over what happened. The rep (who was nice and trying to help) informed me that while I can have a default method for my payment, from Paypal, I may have a different default, with approved vendors (payees). He asks me to sign on to my account, so he can show me where.
This is where Paypal customer service could use the adage that attorneys know. Never ask a question. you don’t know the answer to. ie. don’t lead someone down a path, if you don’t know where it leads.
First, I say, ‘OK I signed on to the app’. He tells me, no you need to sign on to the web browser (desktop). I comment that limiting functionality in the app is so stupid and short-sighted. He directs me to the appropriate section, of going to my profile — payments manage pre-approved payments.
It looks like this:
Notice the small print under the chosen payment method. It says “We’ll use your balance first”. Who in the actual #$%$# decided to make that happen? If you edit the payment method there is no way to turn that off, which is what the rep found when we got there. I pointed that out, and he was like, “Oh, I see that. I guess you can’t change that.” So you’re saying my issue is legit, there is nothing Paypal can do to rectify the issue, and oh well?
I set a default payment in Paypal. I set it again with each of the automatic payments to vendors, but for some reason Paypal decided to override my wishes, drain my account, and I’m left holding the bag of dog @$#%.
Yeah, I’m a little pissed.
I’m thinking we may just have to break up. I’ll try Venmo or something. You were great, for a long time, but now you just screwed me. I have to put together this money again, and I was counting on the money I had in each account, being there.
If I do decide to close my account, and never look back, just know; it’s not me. It’s you.
A customer since 2000
It’s happening, and I can’t hide from it. I am turning 40, next year. I haven’t solved world peace, won a Pulitzer, a Nobel Peace Prize, an Olympic gold medal (ok that “one” was a long shot…). Nevertheless, 40 is coming at me fast. That’s why, when I saw an article aimed at this precise existential crisis, I had to click it and read. I mean, generally it’s all fortune cookie wisdom, but you never know. I still click on weight loss articles. I figure 8 of the 10 tips, I will have heard. One will be a new fad, and absurd, but one might be new to me, and have some merit. I’m all about learning new things, or new ways to see old things.
This is the article I stumbled upon: 11 Things You Should Stop Doing When You Hit 40
Immediately, the tips were bothering me, rather than sounding applicable. First off, apologizing constantly, dressing for others vs you, obsessing over your phone. These are not just things to notice when you turn 40. They should be addressed the minute you realize that you’re doing them too much. It’s good to acknowledge when you are wrong, but constantly saying you’re sorry can create an environment where you are painting yourself as a mess, and that’s not a great way to present yourself. The thing is, this isn’t something that is specific to turning 40. It’s good to notice this at any time in your life. I can handle all that, though. It’s not a bad idea to remind people of these bad habits. It’s more to say, life is short, so don’t waste it living it for the approval of others.
Then there are some passages on kids, and you knowing what’s best. One issue I have with all of this, is the assumption that all women have kids. The way it is presented, there is no alternate moral or lesson for women who choose not to have kids; or for those who sadly cannot. The article doesn’t acknowledge, in any way, that not everyone has kids. What lesson should we take, or can we at least be acknowledged? It would be nice, unless this is going to be explicitly geared towards women, turning 40, who also have kids, that the article make note of that. Not acknowledging that, makes the entire article a judgment that normal people turning 40 have kids, and the rest in the back, just sit there and be quiet.
I do wish we could transcend to a level, where an article like this would be about universal truths. Not just for women or men, not just for people who also have kids, but for anyone turning 40. We are entering a new stage in life, and let’s face it together. Men, women, parents, and non-parents alike. I get that we aren’t totally alike, but aren’t there common challenges we face? If not, can we have articles acknowledge in the headline, or lede, that the article is geared toward one specific demographic? I get that pitching it as universal, may garner more clicks, but it will also turn people like me off, if we click on links like this. If I keep checking out articles, from one outlet, and they are pitched one way, but totally ignore my truths, I will eventually stop relying on that outlet.
The one tip, that pissed me off enough to want to write this post, was this one passage:
Before 2016, I was barely on Twitter. I had an account, but I just didn’t get the point. A friend of mine was on there, but she would live tweet shows she watches, like Big Brother. I’m a cord cutter, so that doesn’t really appeal to me. Then the dumpster fire of the 2016 election kicked into high gear. Suddenly I was clamoring to follow Joy Ann Reid, April Ryan, Wapo, NY Times, Guardian, etc. I wanted to keep up with the news, campaigns, legislation, and any news of Trump being impeached (God, I hope it’s soon). I wanted to follow my representatives, and see what they were up to.
According to this little tip, at the age of 40, I should stop being politically active on social media. Now, my facebook is mainly just people I know. I was senior class president, in high school, so I have a lot of former classmates. Other than that, I have family, friends, co-workers and a handful of college friends. I do share some political stuff, but not too often. Some of friends and family are not political, and I don’t have a need to alienate them. I do my best to keep my political activity to Twitter, but I really don’t think anyone should stop debating politics or standing up for their personal beliefs, especially because they reached 40. Talk about a horrible tip, at any age.
I consider it actual patriotism, to participate in the political process. Much more than hanging a flag outside my house. We should embrace campaigns and being connected to our elected representatives. We shouldn’t eye roll, like it’s a badge of honor to put up with campaign ads. It’s a small price to pay, for freedom. I’ll stop being political, when I’m in the ground. As long as I’m alive, thanks for your advice, but I prefer to participate in our democracy, for as long as we’ve got it. I dare say, that’s the best way for us to hold on to it, and to preserve it. Never stop being politically active, or engaging in politics. It’s how our democracy was founded. No taxation, without representation. Representation can only happen, if we engage with our representatives, tell them what we want, and vote them out if they don’t deliver. In the technological age, that we are in, connecting with our reps is easier than ever. We can use @Resistbot and @Countable and most reps have twitter accounts, as well as facebook pages.
Whether you are 15, 18, 21, 30, 40, 50 or 80, it’s always the time to speak up for what you believe in. It’s always time for you to stand up for your personal believes. Whether in a march, in the voting booth, and on social media. Please never follow advice that tells you to stop participating in democracy. It’s the only way we will get to keep it, and preserve it for the next generation; whether we have kids or not.
I cut the cord a couple of years ago. Purchased a couple of Roku’s, and got subscriptions to a few streaming apps. Those include Netflix, Hulu, Amazon and HBO Now. On my phone, I’ve also gotten a couple of series on Apple’s TV app, so I can download them to watch when I’m offline.
The great part of this is that I pay about $40/ month for my tv services.
- Netflix – $9.99/mo
- Hulu – $7.99/mo
- Amazon – $99/year = $8.25/mo
- HBO Now – $16.19/mo
Total = $42.42/mo
Relying on these services, I’ve come to find the many goods and bads about how these apps work. For one, they often function differently on the Roku, then they do on mobile devices like iPhones and iPads. I work in application development, so it baffles me when I see API bugs or a lack of basic functionality, which should be obvious to any developer working on these platforms.
Below, I will break down each app into their good, bad and ugly qualities. To be fair, I haven’t tested every feature of each service across all devices, but I’ve definitely compiled a love/hate list of features and functionalities for the different streaming apps I’ve come to depend on for tv and movies. Streaming isn’t going anywhere. It’s expanding, and it’s becoming an industry trend. Streaming will only grow and take over traditional cable and satellite services.
Some of my “review” of these services is based on content, some on the content controls. The API or interface, if you will.
Most people know why Netflix is good. They’ve got some great content (I wish Marco Polo had been more popular, because it was visually stunning and a fantastically told story). They’ve got great controls, good profile management, and seamless auto-play streaming. I love when they ask me “are you still watching?” aww, Netflix. You’re cute. Yes, I’m still watching, and no I haven’t showered yet today. Don’t judge me.
Seriously, they have a decent selection of content, some great original content, and their interface is intuitive and friendly. I’m bummed the price went up, but I had a good ride at the $7.99 tier for a long time, so I guess it was inevitable.
I know when I am on some semi-public wifi’s I can’t get on to Netflix, because they are blocked. I haven’t tried their newer feature of being able to download content for offline viewing, but I am wondering how that would work, if the app forces a connection in order to launch. Something to look into, I guess. (For me, you or someone. Anyone? Bueller?)
As I mention below, with Amazon, they don’t have a method to “reset” a season or series, if you want to watch it again. Someone really should get on that.
Not much to say here. I wish they had some content sooner than right before the next season is coming out, but if that keeps prices down, I can wait.
The most obvious leg up, that Hulu has, is their next day availability. I don’t have to wait until the season is over, or the next season is about to start. I can see it the next day. That is fine with me, because I don’t care if I see something live. Cutting the cord can take some getting use to, but it is incredibly freeing to not feel like you have to stay up late to catch the show, or you’ll miss out.
They also have a good selection of content. I would like to see them fill out a complete contract with FX shows, but they are starting to get their content, so here’s hoping. (add current seasons of AHS and Taboo!, eh?)
If you are on the Roku app, and you go into movies, you will see a scroll-able list of about 250 movie titles, with poster art. Start scrolling to the left or right, and if you scroll a page’s worth at a time, at some point it will jump back to the beginning. It’s the most annoying bug, and I can’t believe they haven’t fixed it yet. I say that, while knowing I haven’t specifically reported it. That being said, their developers should be testing the front end use, at least enough to have caught a bug like that by now. I’ve had Hulu for over 3 years, and I’ve always known that bug was there.
They used to have a formal watch list, where you could intentionally subscribe to a series. Now whenever you watch one thing, it automatically adds that show/series into your watchlist. It’s more like a touch list, because it tracks anything you even click on by accident and watch only 1 second of. My mom comes to visit, and she watches E! content, which I don’t tend to watch. Now I’ve got her stuff littered in my watch list, and it was never her intent to add that stuff. I set up a separate profile for her. but apparently it is impossible to allow apps backwards compatibility with “relatively” older tech.
I have a roku LT, which was the first I ever got. I keep it updated, and use it in my yoga room. I move it into guest room when she stays. The app won’t update to the most recent version with profiles, which I believe is a limitation of the version hulu has made compatible with that version of the Roku. I get that versioning between tech and hardware can be messy and difficult to manage, but this is why it gets categorized under ugly. It’s ugly for the customer. Yeah, that’s me.
Another ugly feature is that when a show is done, we move on to something else, from the Roku. Whenever we go back, if we didn’t watch all the way through the credits, it still shows as a new episode available. They used to have a feature where you could remove the episode from your watch list, as an intermediary step from removing an entire series from your watch list. I don’t know why they stopped including that feature, but I wish they would add that back in. That, or some way to mark a show as watched, so it doesn’t list as new anymore.
Their mobile app for the iPhone is great. The play button is in the center of the screen, and away from the progress bar. This means you won’t accidentally jump to a different position in the program you are watching. On either side they have jumps to jump forward or backwards 10 seconds. Not something you’ll use often, but nice to have in an accessible way.
As a bonus, while watching your program, there is a bevy of information available on the screen, that you can click on. It won’t interrupt your viewing, to see this info, as it’s semi-transparent, and they fit a lot on there.
The obvious info/features there, include the progress bar, and aforementioned play/pause and jump controls. Also out of the way, but available is a function to send/beam the playback to another device/audio, as well as closed-captioning controls.
The coolest feature, is one that most apps don’t have. That’s their X-Ray feature. It shows a listing of the main cast, and you can view more to see the whole cast and crew. Clicking the “view more” will pause your playback, but sometimes you may want that. If you click on an cast or crew member, you are taken to their embedded imdb like dossier of that person’s professional work. Their bio, known for, credits. It’s pretty great for film and tv enthusiasts who might be watching something and think “Where do I know them from? Oh, that’s right!!!”
There is one feature that no streaming app seems to have, and it baffles me that no one has come out with it yet. For many enthusiasts of a tv series, we may re-watch the series at some point. For a service like Amazon, which has no profile switching, this can become an even trickier thing to manage. There is no way to reset a season or a series. Once you watch an episode, the progress is bookmarked to the end, and so you can’t start the series over.
I went onto the Amazon Prime forums, years ago, to look for any way to reset all episodes in a series. I ended up joining a thread, and despite over 100 posts in 4 years, this feature has not been added. Either Amazon isn’t scrubbing/sampling or checking their own forum, or they really aren’t that interested in the features their customers want. I could be wrong about that, but just sayin’. This is the thread, if you’re curious to see it: “Is there a way to reset a watch list?”
Despite their fantastic original programming, like Transparent, Catastrophe, Goliath, One Mississippi, Mr. Robot, and Betas, they gave up on the incredible Good Girls Revolt after one season. There must have been a reason that wasn’t made public. From what I read, they had a good and respectable level of viewership, certainly enough to give it a couple more seasons.
The character depth was great, and they were on the verge of doing what not many shows are even trying to do. They had women as the primary main cast, and telling the stories of women, when they were fighting for a place in journalism, in the work place, and in the legal system. Toward the end of the season, they had begun to develop the character of a minority black woman attorney. Imagine that. A black woman character, who isn’t a maid, a slave or a servant. What a novel idea. It was transformative. It was the telling of hidden figures, and they let it go. Such a disappointing loss. They could have pivoted the show to make her the central character, and keep introducing the hidden figures who fought for minority and womens’ rights during the civil rights era of the 60’s and 70’s.
The only other complaint that I have is the odd schedule they have for releasing prime content. Not everything, on Amazon Prime, comes with the Amazon Prime subscription. Some of it you have to purchase à la carte. Sorry to tell Amazon the bad news, but I pay enough in the yearly subscription, and am not likely to pay for single episodes or to buy movies all that often. I have here and there, but it’s not something I would do on a regular basis.
This means that when I get into a show, I get stuck waiting for the new season to “become” prime. For instance, I watched season 1 of Mr Robot, and now I’m stuck waiting for season 2. I can’t afford to pay for every season of each show I watch. It’s not a feasible cost structure. So I have to wait for season 2 to be prime. This gets somewhat “ugly”, because there is no schedule. I understand why. Why would Amazon let us know when they plan to provide this content to their yearly subscribers, for free? Their à la carte sales would plummet. But for the many of us who will wait it out, it kind of sucks that we see that offering, with only purchase/rent options exist.
Another example, of a show that is not an Amazon Original show, is Vikings. Great show. Seasons 1 – 401 are available and free to Prime members. Season 402 is only available for rent/purchase. I have no idea when it will be made “prime” meaning free to annual subscribers. I will wait it out, but in the mean time I’m just frustrated that I have to look through the glass window, because my budget is for the Prime membership, not for paying for each episode of each show, which would be a massive expense and luxury. That’s to say, I get that none of this is a necessity, but that is why these type of expenses are discretionary and must be able to be mitigated. A budget has to be able to be set, and per episode pricing is too much to fit into a realistic budget.
Content, content content. When I was growing up, we lived in a small town, outside a small city. The owner of the cable company in our town didn’t believe in music television, so our cable programming didn’t include MTV. I was seriously under-educated as a result. My parents, either in defiance of that, or just because they knew what was good, got HBO instead. I could never thank them enough. Despite having the shit scared out of me, with the nazi documentaries, I also learned a lot from docudramas like And The Band Played On. After seeing that, when it first came out in 93, I realized that fighting for transparency, education, funding of AIDS and HIV research was so incredibly important. The human side was so well portrayed. I based school reports on the subject, because of that film.
I also loved Live From Baghdad, which chronicled the beginning of CNN’s ascent to become the first 24 hr news channel, covering live in the middle of a war.
Now we have some of the best series you can find. Game of Thrones, Westworld, Big Little Lies, Silicone Valley, the list goes on. There are so many, now completed series, which were so well done you’d be hard pressed to find any other network on the same level. They push the envelope in a grand manner, that I just love.
They don’t have all their original content available all the time, and I don’t understand why. The aforementioned Live From Baghdad is a perfect example. This would be an ideal time to have that available! Right now, when our POTUS is attacking journalists and journalism, we must remember why we need them, and the fights they have fought and continue to fight. The risks they take to bring us the news, from around the world.
When you are on the roku app, it doesn’t allow you to auto-play the next episode if you are watching an old season or series. You have to go into a series, and into a season, and then into an episode and choose to play it. When it finishes, you have to back out of the episode, go over to the next episode, and go into that one to play it. Other apps do this better, allowing you to “binge”. Maybe they are just attempting to discourage unhealthy binging habits, but I doubt it.
The apps are all seemingly a little different. the iPhone app vs the iPad vs the Roku. They all show titles differently. I like the iPad view with the poster tiles. I can’t stand the Roku listing of all movies. It has the movies alphabetized, and you have to scroll through the movies in each letter, one at a time. So you arrow down to letter B, then scroll right to view all movies that begin with B. Then you have to go down to each letter (ie C), and scroll over. It’s not about being intuitive. It’s intuitive, in that it’s not hard to get how it works. It’s about being a friendly interface. Imagine a user doesn’t know what they want to watch. They are looking for something that will catch their eye. They may not even know the genre they are in the mood for watching. Having the ability to view by release year/date could be a nice option. No matter the sort, one continuous list is definitely easier to scroll through, as opposed to 26 (+ numeric & symbolic prefixed movies) separate lists.
iTunes TV App
I don’t have much to say. They had the West Wing series at 1/2 the price of Amazon, so I went with them, because I wanted a series I could download and have available to stream when I’m offline. This works for that, but not much else.
I don’t have Apple TV. I looked at it, but it is 50% more expensive than Roku, and Roku is an independent product that won’t push their content or store the way Apple will.
This app didn’t used to be bad. It used to be decent. But in the last year, they made an update and screwed the pooch. So West Wing is a great example. They have all episodes/seasons in 1 long continuous list. That’s fine. The title of each episode is there, and you can expand it to see synopsis. My fury has to do with how the list appears on the iPhone. You go into the series, and you see 6 episodes. You have to scroll to the right to see another 6 episodes. Why in all the name of all that is logical did they choose 6? Why not 5, or 7, or 10? I am baffled by this horrendous design.
I can get passed it though, until I try to interact with the list. I can click a cloud to download an episode to my phone. Now comes the crappy part of this. Imagine I want to download 2 or 3 episodes, for a flight or something. Each time I click the cloud on a episode, I can’t do anything while the download starts. I can try, but nothing will be successful. I’ll know when it does start, though. Want to know how? Because I get jumped back to the beginning of the damn list. EVERY. DAMN. TIME. I can’t just click the episodes, click, click, click that I want. I have to start a download, get jumped back to the beginning of the series, scroll back to where I was, start another download, get jumped back to the beginning, rinse and repeat. The same thing happens when you want to remove a download from your phone. It’s not intuitive at all. You have to press down on the episode, and then another window pops up, with a trash, and then you can remove it. You can guess what happens after you do that. The screen freezes and then jumps you to the beginning of the list again! AHHHHHHH!!!!! Find a freaking bookmark, will you?
It also doesn’t auto-play to the next episode, if you have it downloaded or are on wifi that can handle streaming one in the cloud. Either way, too bad. You have to go in and out of each episode, like you are shopping in a mall in 1992.
See the bad, above. I almost wish I hadn’t made the purchases I did, for use in this app, because of those issues. I hope they fix the app soon. It sucks to make that kind of purchase and then have the delivery method made into a horrible user experience.
I wanted to get this blog going, but couldn’t decide what to review first. Favorite movies? Something new, that I’ve seen? I decided to go with my top list of current shows that I love, why and why you should give them a solid try.
To preface this, I am a cord cutter. I had Time Warner. Then I went to DirectTV, hoping to save money. After having to contact them every month, to insist they correct a bill where they started to try to charge me more, I cancelled that too. I bought a roku, and I now enjoy streaming on Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, and HBO. HBO is really expensive, but their programming is too good to pass up.
Anyway, with all of that out of the way, the following are the best shows that I am currently all over, and why I love them.
- Game of Thrones – Of course. I mean, it’s so well done. The many story lines, the casting, the sets, the costumes. It’s raw and powerful. The violence towards women has received criticism. I have criticism for those critics. Violence has always happened towards women. We must have it in film and tv, if we are to truly represent a woman’s reality. They would be violently raped and beaten. It’s reality of a timeline, like the one in this story. Not showing that brutality, would be cowardly and dishonest. I’ve never taken HBO for being a coward, and I don’t now. They did the brave thing, and showed the reality. It might be hard for you to watch. I promise, it’s harder for women who experience it, and we need that portrayed, so that we can all acknowledge it.
- Peaky Blinders – I would have made this #1, but had to give it up for Game of Thrones, because of the grand scale of what they are doing. It is pretty massive.Peaky Blinders stars the insanely talented Cillian Murphy. If you aren’t familiar with his work, I highly recommend “Breakfast on Pluto“. Another incredible talent on the show is Helen McCrory. I am more and more convinced every day, that this woman is well overdue for some awards.
The show is set in Birmingham, in the outskirts of England, during the American prohibition era. It follows the lives and tales of a family running the gypsy mob. I will say, that you need to get through the first episode, and into the second, before you will likely get hooked. There is a bit of laying out the scene, the players, etc that takes place in that first episode.
Disclaimer: This has a lot of violence, which may make some uncomfortable. I think it is still worth the watch, because that kind of violence was the reality at that time, and in that world. We are so uncomfortable with violence, we want to pretend it doesn’t exist. It does, whether you acknowledge it or not. Film and tv, acting, are representations of our lives. Artistic representations, but representations nonetheless. If they leave out the violence, they won’t represent our realities very well, will they?
This show is so addicting, you will be binge watching it, and wishing there were more episodes on right now. You will also want to go have a drink in a pub.
- Orphan Black – Tatiana Maslany, Tatiana Maslany, Tatiana Maslany. My god the talent. But it doesn’t stop there. The filming crew works to splice her into each scene, meaning she does each scene multiplied by the amount of clones are in that scene. I have often caught myself forgetting that all these characters are here. Well, most of them. There is an incredible supporting cast too.But it’s not just the effectiveness of how this show has executed this concept, which sold me. It’s the different angles they bought to the story. We’ve seen many attempts at telling a story on cloning. But this one looks at the science, the religion, the industry (corporate control and greed). This also ensures we don’t lose sight of the most important angle – family.
- The Crown – This is a new Netflix show, and it has caught my eye, for multiple reasons. The lead actress, Claire Foy, is captivating. John Lithgow is transformative as Churchill. Seriously, he better get a nomination, if not an award thrown at him. Maybe not thrown. It can be handed. The sets and costumes are impressive. The story telling reeks of nostalgia, which fits so well. I really feel like I’m getting a glimpse into this untold story of the current Queen. A story of responsibility and obligation, that was placed on her shoulders at a very young age.I am constantly wishing there were more episodes, and that the next season would get here already.
- Good Girls Revolt – There couldn’t be a better time for this show to be on. Showing women standing up to men, in a country that just elected a pussy grabber, as President. I don’t know what possessed Amazon to not order a 2nd season, and I really hope Netflix, Hulu, or some smart network picks up this show.Yes, Anna Camp is flawless. There are a bunch of new actress, who stand out as well. Erin Darke is the biggest stand out. Her role was demanding, and she really brought it home with gusto. I saw a critique that this show is trying to be like Mad Men, but doesn’t really get there. I totally disagree. This is the Mad Men from the womens’ pov. That’s why I also love Genevieve Angelson, who plays the character we probably wish we had been, if we had lived back then. Idealistic and wanting to be woke. Wanting to be part of the change.
Chris Diamantopoulos is also a great part of the cast. He is the Mad Men boy, in epic fashion. “I’m a dapper son of a bitch.”
This show has great character development, and is really going somewhere. It’s an insult to Amazon viewers, to cancel after one season, especially with the cliff hanger we were left with. For a streaming service, producing content is probably an uphill challenge. I would add another challenge. Don’t commit to a series, unless you will commit to at least 2 seasons. Give it a chance to catch on. For this show, I’m not sure what would be stopping you. It got a lot of viewers, and raves from critics.
There must be something else behind the cancellation, but it still stinks.
- Speechless – Yes, we all love Mini Driver. She is a big draw, for people to check out the show. Once you start watching, you’ll be saying “Hey, isn’t that guy on Big Bang Theory.” You’ll end up loving his character on this show. The kid who plays JJ is fantastic. The three kids each shine in their own right, but this is afterall about a mom championing her kid with a disability.This show strives to make us all see what it really means to have a disability. It’s not what you think. It’s not about the disability. It’s about the exclusion from the rest of society. It’s about being treated as different, or special, but not because of you. Because of your disability.
I really like how this show is trying to teach us all how to treat people with different types of disabilities, with equality, compassion, inclusion, and respect. I mean, that’s what we all want, so why treat someone with a disability differently?
Beyond that profound message, the show is hilarious. I literally laugh out loud constantly.
There are too many good shows, to add a why for every one. For now, I will list the “honorable mentions”, for shows that I am also currently hooked on. They are as follows, in the random order that they pop into my head:
One Mississippi (Amazon), Transparent (Amazon), Catastrophe (Amazon), Stranger Things (Netflix), The Good Place (NBC), Westworld (HBO), Goldbergs (Fox), and Sherlock Holmes (BBC).
There are probably others that I am forgetting, but i definitely recommend these great shows, if you aren’t already hooked.
I read the first chapter of The Art of Racing in the Rain, last night. It was a short chapter, and it is in the narrative of a dog. This perspective has helped me to realize a truth that has been one of the hardest for me to fully realize and accept in my life. People spend so much time assuming what other people want, that they make their decisions based on what they think another person wants or needs.
I see it all the time when people complain that their life is spent doing things for other people. Or that because they spent so much time doing for others, they suffered. Now it’s too late for them. There is no time for me. Well the perspective of this dog will teach those who are willing to learn. You need a very specific, and not so easy to come by, mix of presentation and interpretation for your actions and behaviors, your intentions to come through to in the manner you believe they will or want them to.
What would happen if we just focused on what we wanted for ourselves? How selfish that would be! To not consider others. To only think of ourselves. But what if we were honest and up front about what we want for ourselves, and let those around us react and tell us if that works for them. We might find that being independent in our actions, and choosing for ourselves will allow others to be independent and choose for themselves.
Even if we think we know what others want or need, why are we so sure that we are right? Do we think that others know better what we need or want, better than ourselves? I doubt it. I hate when people think they know what I need or should want. Especially when it is different from what I know I need or want.
My dad and I have discussed this on some different levels. The idea being that way you address someone, or convey something isn’t necessarily going to be how they will receive it. So what is more important? How you intended your message to come across or how it was received? My dad has argued that the intention of the sender is what matters, while I disagree. I understand his point. If I intend to help you, that should mean the world. If you intended to help someone, that means huge difference to to if you intended to hurt that person. The flip side is the actual effect you ended up having. Regardless of anyone’s good or bad intent, if the result is that the recipient did not receive the message well, the intentions are lost anyway. And a more important effect might be that the receipt of the message could have been interpreted in a damaging hurtful way.
This all makes me firmly believe that we cannot afford to make our presentations, our messages to others, based on what we think they want or need. I theorize that if we instead focus on what we want and need, make that our message, we would then free the recipients of our messages to respond with their own independently formed wants and needs about themselves. We might both be free to express and gain what we need for ourselves and from each other without inhibiting the other person. It’s ironic that the inhibition we might cause can come out of an intention to care for another.
So that is just the first chapter of the book. We shall see how the rest of this goes…
I’m liking my new kicks. Need longer laces, though.
Total body 58 min 382 cal
Abs redux challenge 28 min 147 cal
Total 1 hr 26 min 528 cal
The May abs challenge redux is shaping up to be a good one. I was able to do all 500 reps (incl 3 min of planks). Here’s to finding my abs underneath the layer of brownies!