Wednesday, May 20

A Month Later, Still No Federal Unemployment in Florida

florida unemployment broken a month later
I quit a job as a teacher just before Covid-19 hit because I figured I couldn't stay safe in the classroom with my rheumatoid arthritis diagnosis (and all the meds I was taking to suppress my immune system). Of course, that was two weeks before schools closed for the year. Oh well, not a big deal, right? Even if I don't technically qualify for Florida's rinky-dink unemployment, at least I'd be getting the $600 from the federal government to help cover the Lyft and Uber rides I was not taking to avoid getting and spreading the virus. After trying hundreds of times, I sent my unemployment form in the mail. A month later, I got an email telling me to log into the same broken-down Connect system in order to submit myself to more torture, since it's still broken-down as of May 20th.

Wednesday, May 13

Profiles in Courage: Too Cool Cal From California

I picked up this guy from California who mostly just coughed his way through the ride, so I didn't get to know him real well. I am sure that's for the best. I like to have a positive opinion of my riders, if at all possible, but you know how first impressions go. It's sad when you end up with a lasting negative impression of someone, but I think some people try really hard to make sure that's exactly what you get. And it was more than just a little coughing (actually, a lot of coughing) that caused my impression, albeit not that much more. 

Getting Accepted to Every College


important college skills uw whitewater
When I saw the article about a local Jacksonville student getting accepted to all the Ivy League colleges, I assumed he was a very good student who lacked some direction or guidance. Heck, I applied to at least two colleges back in the day, just to have a back up. And I probably should have made it a third, since I did end up going to a local commuter college rather than one where I could play football and be a big man on campus. So I kind of understand applying to several universities, just in case something doesn't work out. If your goal is to attend an Ivy League school, and it really doesn't matter which one, then I guess applying to all of them is a good idea. Then it's just a bonus if you get accepted to all of them, and you can spend a little more time deciding. I am sure there are plenty of stories of students who have applied to every Ivy League college and not gotten into ANY of them. Sure, no one really wants Cornell when you could have Harvard, Princeton, or Yale, but it's probably an OK backup plan.

Sunday, May 10

Mountain Style Home in Jacksonville?

lot to build mountain home jacksonville fl
I was surprised to see a vacant lot for sale about a mile away from my house because it's in a neighborhood with homes built in the 1990s. What was even more surprising, however, was the description that began with:

Great opportunity to build a mountain style home on this attractive lot.

Saturday, May 2

Watch Out For Local Truck For Sale Scam

ram pickup for sale jacksonville
I was talking to someone who was admiring my new vehicle. In the conversation, she told me she had nearly been scammed out of $800 in a deal for a truck that was too good to be true. Luckily, she pulled the plug on the deal because she discussed it with others who helped her to see the truth. I started thinking that there are likely a lot of people who are social distancing and not able to ask friends for advice, making them more susceptible to scams. Let's take a look at how this truck scam works.

Friday, May 1

Drunken Army Vet With a Bad Attitude Tests My Patience

Sometimes, you can't really win, so it's best just to play along. I got a Lyft ride call recently for a guy, we'll call him G.I. Joe, who called almost as soon as I accepted the ride. He started complaining about how he'd been dropped off and was waiting at a bus stop. I told him I just got the call, so it wasn't really my fault. When I got to the bus stop, he was smoking a cigarette and drinking booze out of a tumbler. Luckily, he threw out the cigarette and got in, but he didn't have to tell me (though he did) that he was blind drunk at noon. 

Wednesday, April 29

LyftUber In-Car Electronic Conversation Starter

lyftuber saab
I am not always the best at starting conversations, but I am pretty adept at talking once I get going. That's why I decided to create a slide show for my rideshare vehicle. I'll go through a bit of what I wanted to create and how I ended up getting it done.

Saturday, April 25

Please Won't You Be My Neighbor

potential neighbors?
My neighbors next door just moved out, and I am looking for a responsible family to move in. Here's what I'm looking for in my new neighbor, even though it's not my rental property and I don't have any real say in who lives there.

VW Biogenic Air Filter and Coronavirus

VW Atlas with Climatronic Biogenic Cabin Air Filter
Let's say you have a VW (or probably lots of other makes) with a cabin air filter. It might even be called "Air Care Climatronic" or something fancy-sounding. You might be wondering if it filters out Covid-19 and the best settings to use in order to do so. Unfortunately, I am not a doctor with access to the coronavirus for testing, but I do have some suggestions based on general science and unsubstantiated opinion.

Wednesday, April 22

2008 Saab 9-3 - My First Lyft Uber Vehicle

2008 Saab 9-3
I was kind of thrust into driving rideshare because I had to buy a newer car when my last one broke, and then I left my job because I kind of broke, which left me with bills to pay (for the car) and the ability to pay those bills by driving. The problem is that with an older Saab, you're going to have to set aside money for the repairs. So even though my 2008 Saab 9-3 has been OK, I would not necessarily recommend it as a Lyft or Uber vehicle. 

Thursday, April 16

That Gasoline Smell on Jax Roads

nice car jax
Since I'm driving around Jacksonville a lot more recently, I have noticed something that makes me kind of ill. At least once per day, I get behind a vehicle that smells of gasoline, and I kind of wonder why. The smell isn't coming exclusively from old pickup trucks, though old pickups almost always smell like something is wrong with them. (I tell my kids that an old Dodge smells like gas, an old Ford smells like oil, and an old Chevy smells like gas and oil.) In Jacksonville, it seems that decade-old compact cars, newish SUVs, pickups, delivery vans, motorcycles, and everything in between, often emit a gassy smell.

Wednesday, April 15

Coronavirus Family Activity: Themed Outings

all black mercedes g class
When I saw the all-black Mercedes G Wagon, I thought to myself, "Now there's someone who likes black." I kind of get it with Dodge trucks, since you have to do something to try to make them more desirable, but I wasn't quite sure where Mercedes was going with a $100,000+ Jeep knockoff that also stole the idea of adding dirty-looking wheels to the mix. I digress, and I apologize to the black wheel owners, as you have legitimatized my all-black steel wheels from my 92 Chevy Cavalier, as if I was ahead of my time. This article is about a theme when you venture out during Covid-19, not about my thoughts on all-black wheels. However, your vehicle of choice probably plays a big role in your themed outing right now, as evidenced by this all-black beauty.

Monday, April 13

Everyone's Home and Everyone's Annoyed on NextDoor -- Here's a Fix

turn off notifications in nextdoor
Before I write about this one, I want to remind people that you can turn off notifications in NextDoor. It makes the platform a bit more hit or miss if you do that, but then you don't get roped into what you don't want to read. That's what I do for Facebook, anyhow: no notifications, and then I'll spy on people once a year to see what's been going on. I'd recommend the no-notification route rather than just getting rid of any social media or NextDoor, since you never know when you might want to actually contact your neighbors.

Friday, April 10

Coronavirus Family Activity: Line Exercise

working out in line during coronavirus
Working out in line during Covid-19
You might think that social distancing and time stuck in your house will negatively impact your ability to do workouts, but you don't have to rush online to get the $10,000 home gym just yet. One local was able to get a full exercise routine completed by simply going to get groceries.

Wednesday, April 8

Coronavirus Family Activity: Find Church Online

LCMS church online
We already have a local church, so we're not looking to replace our home church. In fact, we already started online giving years ago, so our church isn't losing anything in our searching around a bit. If your church is having technical difficulties putting together an online presence right now, you've probably searched for something else. Don't feel guilty about it. This is a weird time, and it makes sense that you're searching for answers.

Monday, April 6

Coronavirus Family Activity: Turn Your Garage into a ... GARAGE

Jacksonville garage with storage AND cars
One of the only real activities most of us have right now is going for a walk. Since most homes are now packed with people, even during the day, the walks I go on result in the need to weave past vehicles parked over the sidewalks in driveways. It seems like many homes have in-laws or other refugees living with them, so our neighborhood feels like it's bursting at the seams. While it might seem like now is a good time to re-purpose your garage into another living space, allow me to suggest you turn it into a garage.

Coronavirus Family Activity: Start a Blog

make a website during covid-19
Here's a fun family activity that can lead to you going less nuts at home: create a blog. It's really pretty simple, and it could help you hit the ground running after the Covid-19 crisis is over. I'll go through some of the how's and why's here, on my own blog.

Saturday, April 4

Satan to Pay Rick Scott For Connect Reemployment System

the devil enjoys Florida's Connect website
Satan enjoys tormenting souls
When I read that Rick Scott spent $77.9 million for the Connect system, I wanted to know how one goes about procuring a contract like that. In its current form, no state would pay $77.90 for such a system. I wish the state would pay me for the hours I spent trying to submit my unemployment, but I guess the whole point of the system to prevent any payments from ever being made. Since the horrendous experience is fresh in my mind, I'll go through a few of the intricacies that made the Connect system worthy of the Prince of Darkness.

Thursday, April 2

Coronavirus Family Activity: Filing For Unemployment Like it's 1999

Florida Reemployment Assistance Program Website on mobile
[UPDATE] This article was originally written before Captain Ron DeSantis said the problem was fixed by adding 70 servers and probably spending hundreds of thousands of dollars. However, I had the exact same problems AFTER the fix that was supposed to increase the capacity by so much. Great job, Florida.

If you want to see a time machine, head on over to Florida's Department of Economic Opportunity website, and the Connect pages you need to use to file for unemployment. I assume the website was developed back around the time Al Gore invented the internet, and that was the case well before the Covid-19 crisis.

Wednesday, April 1

Did DeSantis Just Reopen Churches?

Buried in all the Safer at Home orders today was a nugget that I almost couldn't believe. First, Jacksonville jumped the gun to issue a local order that apparently kept ammo shops open as an essential business, though I did not see the local Jax order on churches, most of which had already gone totally online.

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