Friday, January 22

Fellows and Residents Searching for Rental Properties

mcw mke rental house

If you have a fellowship or residency, you're going to be looking for a home in a new city, probably in a new state. You can rely on the rental or home websites or hire a realtor, but it also helps to have some insight from someone who has lived in the area for a long time. I qualify as that person in the Milwaukee and Jacksonville areas, so if you have a placement at the Medical College of Wisconsin, Mayo Florida, or UF, you might want to contact me. Especially for MCW and Mayo. 


Wednesday, January 13

If You're Going to Get Guy Food, Be Ready For Anything

A local woman was emotional and upset during a news interview after a man pointed a gun at her in a Hardee's drive thru down on Baymeadows. Personally, I don't like guns, but I do have to admit that if you're going to get your food at a guy restaurant in Jacksonville, you should be ready for anything and nothing should surprise you.

Neighborly or Not: Dealing With Conflict in Jacksonville

Relationships are important, especially when those relationships involve your neighbors. I can write an article on this or other websites that gets hits from all around the country, and I'm just some anonymous guy writing about a topic of interest. But when you post on your Facebook neighborhood group or on Nextdoor, you're making the choice for your neighbors to see the content. Even benign posts with the intent of being diplomatic can be taken the wrong way. A recent situation in my neighborhood is a great example of how conflicts might escalate on social media, even if the intent was basically the exact opposite.


To begin with, I should have learned my lesson about trusting others when we first moved to Jacksonville. My car was hit from behind at a stop light by a college kid who begged me to let him pay for the damage rather than report another claim to his insurance. I trusted him and basically lost out on $1,000. Welcome to Jacksonville. But I didn't really know him, and I haven't seen him since, so I am mostly over it. Except there was a lesson to be learned that I apparently have yet to figure out. I had several options at my disposal when the latest incident happened, yet I still apparently got it all wrong, and this article represents my effort to clarify and attempt to rectify the situation. I once again relied on trust that another person would do what was right.


This is what happened and is not disputed: a neighbor’s dog got out of his garage/family room and attacked our dog. Our dog was on a leash and on the sidewalk. The neighbor broke it up quickly and apologized, saying his dog had never done that before. I swore a lot; like a sailor, or maybe even like a sailor from Boston.


Now for the disputed parts. 

  1. I say it was a Pit Bull, as it was a total Pit Bull attack (and the dog looked like one to me), while the neighbor (or at least his kid) said it was not a Pit Bull. 

  2. While there were no visible signs of injury to our dog immediately, we found a wound the next day that she was licking. 


To be clear, we never had any problems with this neighbor before. In fact, our interactions had always been pleasant. Plus, I like the fact that he doesn't tend to park his two cars OVER the sidewalk like so many other neighbors, even if he doesn't park them IN the garage where cars belong (my minority opinion). But those cars being in the driveway did allow his dog to surprise us as it charged out of the open garage/family room.


After the dog attack, we had to decide what to do next. We kicked around all of the ideas, but settled with the (I assume) typical Florida reaction of doing nothing. These are what we believed to be our options. 


  1. Do nothing, hoping my own swearing tirade and the fear of what could have happened would be enough to persuade the owner to keep his dog on a leash.

  2. Go the legal route. Report the incident to Animal Control, the police, and the HOA. File a small claims lawsuit and hope for Judge Judy. However, COJ says you need an affidavit signed by two unrelated people or a video of the incident, which is pretty difficult to pull off (unless the neighbor has surveillance video he'd like to share or wants to sign an affidavit against himself). It also has to be notarized. Really. The HOA option, however, might have led somewhere, though I have had at least two email complaints ignored by our HOA. Your HOA results may vary. And small claims lawsuits are kind of small: I could waste both our time, win a hundred dollars, and just end up with an angry neighbor. It's not like you call JSO for a dog bite, right? Someone suggested putting the vet bills in his mailbox, maybe with a lawyer-ish letter, or even knocking on his door to talk, but I wasn't sure about another in-person confrontation. When our neighbor kid destroyed a Christmas lawn ornament, I also balked at the confrontation, even though I had video evidence. It's just not fun, and those neighbors liked us until the day they moved away, whereas I don't know what would have happened if I called their son a liar.

  3. Social Media Shame. I did NOT do this, though the neighbor seems to believe I did because I referenced the attack in a closed Facebook group post about two other Pit Bulls roaming around the neighborhood. If I wanted to Facebook shame my neighbor, I would have included his name, address, photos of an obvious Pit Bull from his own Facebook posts, his occupation and how it might relate to not wanting to admit what kind of dog he owns, the receipts for our expenses, and photos of the injury. I could have added a photo of the house to warn others to stay away, and I could have further tormented the neighbor with a recap of his court and financial history. And rather than posting it to a closed Facebook group, I certainly would have posted it to all of Facebook and Twitter, along with an article here and on several other websites. And I would have sent links to the local news, the HOA, local politicians, and the neighbor's homeowner's insurance or mortgage company. I collected all of the information I would have needed to be able to do this, but all I did was mention the attack in passing in a post: "I don't want to start a big debate, but our leashed dog was attacked by a pit bull in our neighborhood on the sidewalk a few weeks back (with the owner letting it run loose). I refrained from reporting the owner and suing for vet bills because I did not want to stir up trouble. But now I have this video of two different pit bulls wandering around at 4am. If you like dogs, cats, or small children, this video should worry you. I know some of you love these dogs, so I will not say more. My daughter witnessed the attack and is now worried all over again. Please, keep all of your pets inside, fenced in, and on a leash."


Apparently, my neighbor whose dog attacked ours saw this post and became angry. Even though our family has mostly stopped walking past his house, I decided to take the dog that direction one morning. As I walked past his house, he walked from his side yard towards the oft-open garage and started laughing loudly. After the restraint I had shown (in my mind) by not suing, issuing complaints, or publicly deriding this man, I assumed the most I would hear out of his mouth would be a half-hearted apology with me accepting and reminding him to keep the dog on a leash. Instead, I heard cynical laughter that continued as I passed his house on the street (avoiding the sidewalk where it happened). Eventually, I said, "What?!"

The neighbor, who you might realize I am still not naming, went through his list of grievances after saying he saw what I posted on Facebook: “I apologized.” “The dog had never done that before.” “You’re not going to sue.” “Your dog wasn’t even bitten.” “Your daughter only cried because of all your swearing.” I think he also initially asked me what my problem was, or something like that. The point is that he took my passing reference to his negligence and took it to be me attacking him personally, so he decided to come after me personally. Since I was kind of surprised, I didn't say anything. Besides, this neighbor already had two of the 3Ps of Jacksonville (Pit Bull and Pickup), so I assumed he owned the third (Pistol).

I have tried to see this situation from my neighbor's perspective. I did swear a lot. Our dog didn't yelp. We didn't contact him to see about rabies after the bite. I guess I can see why he thought it was all behind us, but instead of allowing a fairly innocuous Facebook post to go by, he decided to call me a liar, as if I would create that lie and then not try to hit him up for cash? As if I'd create the lie to deride him and then not identify him? 

So, lessons learned, everyone. It seemed that the only time the offending party in Jacksonville has been happy with me is the time I never told my neighbor his kid destroyed a lawn ornament. That means people want you to forgive, forget, move on, and never mention it. The problem is that I expect the opposite from others if I'm at fault. If my kids destroy something at a neighbor's house, if my dog bites a neighbor's cat, or if I sideswipe a neighbor's car, I want to own that it happened and what I can do to fix the situation. Integrity and honesty, especially when it comes to my kids seeing it. We all make mistakes, but those of us who admit our mistakes instead of trying to pretend they never happened are much better off. I already apologized to my wife and daughter about my swearing incident (and they know it's not who I am). I hope my neighbor can move past the people who might have wronged him in the past and realize that I am not those people. Maybe he also needs to reflect on the man he really is, too, especially if blaming others for his failings is typical. 

I wish I could offer more concrete advice. I saw one 60s sitcom where the wives got together and figured it all out for their husbands. But I saw another more recent one when the wives got together and made a feud worse. Plus, sitcoms are not real life. Maybe our kids will be friends in high school. My plan is to move on and start walking past the house again. I am hoping I don't have to keep my phone recording the whole time, but since it's Jacksonville, that's probably the best idea.

Monday, January 4

Save Money on Gas

I was excited when AAA changed its partnership to Shell and offered $.05 / gallon discount to members. Then, T-Mobile bought Sprint and gave me another weekly discount at Shell. Now, I also started using the Getupside app for another discount on fill ups, and you should, too.

While my Shell rewards doesn't allow me to fully stack the rewards, I do get "cash" back from Getupside that can be used for Amazon or Walmart gift cards. Instead of the normal $.12 per gallon, I get $.085 per gallon while saving $.05 at the pump, for a total of 13.5 pennies back per gallon. When gas is as low as $2.00 a gallon, that's a decent 6.75% off. I'm also not limited to Shell with Getupside, so I can just take the $.12 per gallon at a cheaper gas station that also offers my preference of top tier gasoline, though I have yet to research which local ones would be my best bet.

Male Fashion and Lifestyle: 3 Things Every Man Needs



Since I started wearing my Christmas present a bit early, I was asked about my watch by someone. It's a hybrid watch, which means it looks and acts like an old-fashioned watch but adds some smart watch features. I'd kind of missed having a watch since the Kansas movers stole my last one on our way to Jacksonville. Anyhow, the topic is watches, and this guy tells me there are three things every man should have: a tie, a watch, and a cologne collection. 

Tuesday, December 15

My Guides to Jacksonville

welcome to jacksonville

I've met several people thinking of relocating to Jacksonville, and I often tell them to check out my website for my guide to the city. Except I did just that myself and realized it's not that easy to find, so here's a guide to my guides. 

Also, if you're thinking of moving here and want to hire an actual guide, that can be arranged. Use the contact form to work out the details. Or ask your realtor to take you everywhere...they love doing that.

Monday, December 14

95% of Jax Florida Blue Employees Are Working From Home; Umm, Uh-oh

I am all for American jobs in America, which is why when I read about Florida Blue renting out office space because 95% of its workforce is working from home, I got worried.  If Florida Blue realizes that the employees don't really have to be in the office to be effective, I have to wonder how long it will take before the company wonders whether the employees need to be in America to be effective. And it's probably happening in lots of places across America right now. 

Every Duval County Middle School Parent--Read This

Duval County Schools

I wrote an article about searching for a high school if you live in Jacksonville, but I realize now that my article might give some parents a false sense of security because your otherwise good student might not qualify for some of the Duval programs. Your own school and Duval Schools might claim it's all your fault. While that's partially true, I'm here to help you avoid a potentially huge mistake that needs to be addressed early in middle school. And it's especially important for those of you with kids in private or charter schools.

Tuesday, December 1

Guy in Blue VW Probably Deserves What He Gets

I'm not sure what the penalty is for shoplifting, since I've never really done it, but I do feel that a guy I saw recently stealing from a convenience store probably deserves to get the book thrown at him. The problem is that it probably won't happen, so this guy will keep on taking his own personal discounts until someone bothers to go after the bum, though perhaps writing about him will help him admit the error of his ways.

Tuesday, November 10

People Can Still Hear You, Even if You're Wearing a Mask


I realize that masks make talking and hearing others more difficult, and wearing one also provides an odd sense of security that may or may not actually exist. While it's true people can't see all of your facial expressions, they can still hear you. However, if you're like me, your mask might entice you into forgetting that others can actually understand the words coming out of your mouth. 

Arlington Mural an Enigma and Kind of Silly

arlington mural jax




I've driven past the Arlington mural along the Arlington Expressway plenty of times by this point, and I'm still trying to figure it out. I know, it's art and individual and abstract, etc. But it's still supposed to mean something. To the artist, to residents, and to visitors. I'd like to make an attempt to decipher what the Arlington mural means in all or any of those contexts so that I can better explain it those who look to me for answers.

I'm From Milwaukee, And, Yes, The 2020 Election Results Are Normal

mke lakefront

I was forced to write this article because of the number of people I've encountered who, upon learning I'm from Milwaukee, make such statements as, "Your city really blew the election." I can't speak for Philadelphia, Detroit, or Atlanta, but I can tell you that election results coming in late and favoring Democrats is fairly typical in Wisconsin because of Milwaukee. If you take a look at the Wisconsin results, you'll see that Dane County (Madison) and Menominee County (87% Native American) had higher percentages in favor of Biden. Democrats will often win Milwaukee with over 60% of the vote, but not always. Clinton won 66% without ever visiting the state. Obama got 67% in 2012 and more total votes than Biden in 2020. Biden got 69%. That IS the highest percentage I could find for Milwaukee County, but it's still in the ballpark, so I wouldn't claim anything odd about the election there. 

Friday, October 30

Profiles in Courage: Judge Shore

According to USA Today, a local judge named Brad Shore might have broken some laws when he donated to President Trump's campaign, displayed political signs at his home, and cut off the press from watching how his team manages issues with ballots. Either it's a fake news nothing burger, or it's the exact reason we have rules for judges in these situations.

Wednesday, October 28

Another Case Against Pitbulls

pitbull attack jax


I'm sure some people in Jacksonville have already written me off as that guy who hates pitbulls for no reason. Even my own kids weren't really believers because "So-and-so has a nice Pitbull" or "Their dog is only part pit bull." But when one of these monsters comes charging out of a house in your own neighborhood and attacks your leashed dog on the sidewalk, that's when even the kids believe what I've been telling them.

Tuesday, October 6

Is Jacksonville a bad place to live?

jax

I was busy learning about Google Search and people finding my websites when I came across this question on Google, answered by a Quora forum post. That's kind of sad, right? People must ask if Jacksonville is a bad place to live a lot, which is why it ranks high on Google, but the answer comes from some random person's assessment. Since I am also some random person answering, it might as well be me. 

No, Jacksonville is not a bad place to live, relatively speaking.

Wednesday, September 30

Jacksonville High School Search - An Annotated List of Options for East Arlington Families

Jacksonville High School Auditorium

Let's say you've got kids, and like most parents, you want the best for them. Choosing the right high school for your kids can be complicated, especially if you haven't had to make similar choices in the past. I've decided to detail my search for the right high school in this article in the hopes that I can reference it as the time nears for enrolling my eldest child in high school, but my research might be able to help you, too. 

Make sure you also read my guide for middle school parents BEFORE your kids are in 8th grade. 

Thursday, September 17

Yes, It's STILL Selfish of You When You Don't Mask Up

I don't want to harp on this much more, but after Day 1 of my kids being back in school, I figured I'd give it one last go. Here's why it's selfish of you to not wear a mask.

I am sure you are clean and healthy and all that, but someone out there is sick. You might believe yourself to be strong-like-bull, too smart, or immune. Or you're ancient and think it's your time when it's your time. Please, feel free to play roulette with your 2nd Amendment souvenir, away from the rest of us. You are not too smart, healthy, or clean to catch a virus. You might well survive it, or you might never even know you had it because you're such a freakin Adonis. While you are asymptomatic, possibly for weeks, you could infect dozens of people because of your odd belief that viruses respect your freedom and patriotism and religion.

Soldiers give up many of their freedoms in order to serve our country, and you like soldiers. The best leaders also submit themselves to others. What did Jesus do, again? Good people give of themselves to protect others. You have the freedom to post idiotic rants on Twitter and drive around with a flag of a college/breakaway country you never attended/fought for, mainly because your stupidity in those cases cannot kill someone else. If you are a carrier of covid, and you infect three people who infect three people and so on, until it ends up in a retirement facility, then you just killed 20 senior citizens because you wanted to cry about wearing a face covering, which makes you a total snowflake.

It's not hard to do. Asians can do it, so we can, too. But we can do it better, like all the other stuff we do better than others. Even in Florida, most people actually wear shirts and shoes into stores. Remember when every store had a sign for that? People kind of know it's expected now that you cover your plantar warts and your back tattoos while shopping. And covid is much more serious than people getting grossed out by your yellow toenails. 

I once read an article about why men in one African nation with a huge AIDS outbreak refused to wear condoms. A man being interviewed said it's like eating candy with the wrapper still on. I thought he was so ridiculously stupid, refusing to wear a simple (freely-distributed) item that could save his life. Stupid and selfish. Even the dumbest antimaskers would agree that a man in Zimbabwe in the 90s and admittedly sleeping with hookers should have been wrapped up or even double-bagged. So wrap yourself up.  

At my kids' school, like in many places here, wearing a mask was deemed optional. For most kids, that meant no mask, ever. My kids tried to wear their masks, but they also felt they had to explain why, probably because other kids asked them why. The school had a few kids in masks because they had babies or old folks or compromised immune relatives at home. But I let my kids off the hook, telling them that if no one else was going to wear a mask, it really wasn't a big deal. Masks work when everyone wears them, limiting breathing projection to a couple of inches rather than 6-8 feet. We can handle being two inches apart from most people. Even my close-talking uncle stays roughly 6 inches from my face. 

But here's the deal, and this is really THE deal. Even if you don't believe. Even if you don't have that baby or sick relative. Even if you think God will protect you from anything. IT'S ALL ABOUT OTHER PEOPLE, NOT YOU! So the fact that my kids said they were wearing masks because of a father with a compromised immune system should have led every single jelly-faced kid at that school to put on a mask. Or the fact that one kid has a baby brother. Or a grandparent. If one kid is concerned, then all kids should have the compassion to just wear a freakin mask. I've seen entire schools jump rope for heart conditions or dye their hair pink, and if you want to think of it as charity to those who aren't as fortunate, then go right ahead. Love your neighbor as yourself, especially during a pandemic.

Maybe the numbers are off a bit, and maybe 100% mask usage wouldn't really eradicate the coronavirus. This article is even being finished as the numbers keep dropping in Florida, so I'll look like the extremist, especially since I don't even have a relative in a retirement home in Florida. Forgive me if I think the government has only a few basic functions, one of them being to protect its people. If the government disbanded all the military, police, and fire forces, you'd be worried. If it told us to do whatever you want during a hurricane or didn't post any speed limits, that would be irresponsible. But it's OK for our government to avoid mask mandates (the ONLY tool it really has) during an honest-to-goodness epidemic? That's not the American way of fixing problems. At least it wasn't back in 1918, when it was seen as UNpatriotic to avoid wearing masks. 

I am sure that America is probably eventually heading towards herd immunity, and that's maybe what a lot of government officials and millennials want us to be. If you want to sacrifice a few hundred thousand old folks to become the first country to reach herd immunity, I guess that's where we're headed. My thought (and I'm just spitballin here) is that we mask up until there's a viable vaccine, and then allow the vaccine to create the herd immunity we all crave, as long as the antimasker/antivaxer crowd participates in allowing the government to inject them with a vaccine/tracking device. 

If you want to be selfless and Christ-like, please consider wearing a mask whenever you are near other people. 

Wednesday, August 19

Jogger, The New Jacksonville Video Game

Jacksonville street
I can remember heading over to the Radio Shack on North Avenue in Milwaukee back in the 80s and seeing the new Tandy home computer, which was so much cooler than the Commodore VIC-20 we had at home. The display model even had a video game for me to play: Frogger. Forty years later, I read an article about the guy who created Prince of Persia, and the article must have mentioned Frogger, which I had on my mind as I drove down Beach Boulevard. After I nearly hit a homeless guy who had jumped out of the way of a bicycle (going the wrong direction) and into my lane, I thought that a version of Frogger called Jogger would be pretty awesome with Jacksonville as the setting.

Sunday, August 16

Cheapest Propane Exchange in Jax

BP propane exchange jax
I haven't done the math on refilling my propane tanks, since that's more of a hassle than it's probably worth. I have to assume it's a little cheaper than a propane exchange, but I'll focus on good deals for the exchange in Jacksonville.


Walmart - $15
Yes, it's the cheapest around. During Covid Times (or on a Saturday afternoon), it's also a lot of work to get your propane this way. I told my family that Walmart probably has some kind of contract to undercut every other seller of propane, which is either good business or bad business, depending on how you look at business. Since my time is worth a couple of dollars and I don't tend to shop at Walmart much, I am willing to pay a little more elsewhere.


Family Dollar - $15-$20
I wrote an article about propane on Satisfamily about the good deal here when the $5 off $25 coupons exist, but then Family Dollar went and added an exception to the coupon because of my article. However, I have seen a $5 off just for propane, so keep an eye out for that one. At least it's fairly easy to get your propane here, more like the gas stations.


On the Fly BP Monument East Arlington

On the Fly BP on Monument - $17
I ended up here because Wawa didn't seem to have propane, so I couldn't use my Wawa gift card, and since I couldn't make a u-turn on McCormick to get to Gate, I decided to take a gander at the BP station. I was surprised by the $17 price, since $20 seems to be standard at gas stations. The attendant told me he had the cheapest prices in town, which might be the case when you compare to other gas stations. Fast and easy, like it should be. The store even has two cases of propane, probably because so much of it is sold here. I told the guy I'd be back.


Most other gas stations - $20
I have seen propane as high as $22 at local gas stations, but I think the $19.99 is normally the standard price in Jacksonville for propane exchange. There's no shame in paying the standard price, especially if you don't want to deal with Walmart or don't live near Monument and McCormick.


Walgreens - $22
The Walgreens on Monument and McCormick advertises $20 propane exchange, but when I bought my one and only tank there, I ended up paying $22 plus tax, not $20. For $2, I didn't end up going back up there, and the sign has claimed a lower price for two years, so I'm not the only one who has not complained to management.


For the amount of cooking you'll get out of your propane, it's probably worth the $15-$22 you'll spend on fuel. It might not be a good deal to heat your house in the winter or to run your dual-fuel generator after a hurricane, but it's not bad for outdoor cooking. If you live in East Arlington, try the BP station on Monument. If you know of a low price in another area of town, let me know, and I'll add it to the list.


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Thanks for reading. See more of my content:

Satisfamily - Articles about being happy as a family
Passive Ninja - Web Design in Jacksonville
McNewsy - Creative Writing
Educabana - Educational Resources
Brave New Church - Church Website Design
Voucher School - Pros and Cons of School Vouchers
Luthernet - Web Design for Lutheran Churches
Sitcom Life Lessons - What we've learned from sitcoms
Mancrush Fanclub - Why not?
Epic Folktale - Stories of the unknown
Wild West Allis - Every story ever told about one place
Educabana on Teachers Pay Teachers (mostly ELA lessons)
Real Wisconsin News - Satire from Wisconsin
Zoo Interchange Milwaukee - Community website
Chromebook Covers - Reviews and opinions

Brian Jaeger - Resume (I'm always interested)

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Thursday, August 6

Florida Tourism - The Destination Funeral

burial in jacksonville
I was trying to find out what happened to the lovely 33-acre May Mann Jennings Park over on the North Side when I had this great idea for tourism in Jacksonville. It's mostly because Streetview of the park seemed to only show the Evergreen Cemetery, which kind of shares (or overruns) the park. In fact, COJ says the May Mann Jennings Park has "been returned to a natural, undeveloped state." For those of you who don't know government code, this means there's no funding for a park in an industrial/hood area of town. Anyhow, my search for a forgotten gem of a park was thwarted, but the cemetery next door got me to thinking about Florida/Jacksonville tourism, and I wondered if anyone had ever considered a destination funeral. 

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