Thursday, June 13

Only Way to Avoid The Reverse Mortgage Disaster

I've seen several news articles about the pitfalls of reverse mortgages. I also saw that we've set up a fund to help people when they get stuck with a reverse mortgage here in Florida. But the simple answer that most older people don't want to hear is that there's only one way to avoid disaster with a reverse mortgage: don't get one.

Wednesday, June 12

Rental Bikes Aren't Exactly For The Homeless

Local news was down in St. Augustine covering the newly-proposed use of some kind of bike-share rental system. Since it's standard operating procedure, a homeless man was interviewed about the program. He said something to the effect that it would be good to have options for someone like him who can't afford a bike. FYI local news and homeless people: bike rental programs are not really created for the homeless.

Tuesday, June 11

Bored Cashier is a Marketing Opportunity

Most of the times that I've been to car dealerships, I don't really notice the cashiers until it's time to pay. The dealership I went to recently to get an oil change, however, had a cashier right in the waiting room (which was also the location of the service and parts desk). Efficient placement that should probably lead to employees working hard, since they are in front of each other and customers. For this particular cashier, however, it was 90% texting in her chair along with 10% taking payments/other work, and it's a missed marketing opportunity.

Friday, June 7

Sunpass, with more states coming soon...

Sunpass and KTag
Here's the text from the Sunpass website that's probably been on the website for the past several years (since mid 2018 for sure):
SunPass transponders also work in Georgia and North Carolina with more states coming soon.
I am not entirely sure why the toll systems in the US have decided not to follow the federal law requiring them to achieve interoperabilty. I assume Sunpass (with all its problems) does not meet the minimum standards set forth by the EZPass group. It's a set of rules that does not allow for fraud, so it's not in tune to Florida business practices.



While we wait for our Sunpasses to be more useful, EZPass has built the following alliances:
Buffalo and Fort Erie Public Bridge Authority
Burlington County Bridge Commission
Delaware Department of Transportation
Delaware River and Bay Authority
Delaware River Joint Toll Bridge Commission
Delaware River Port Authority
Illinois State Toll Highway Authority
Indiana Toll Road Concession Company, LLC
Massachusetts Department of Transportation
Maryland Transportation Authority
Maine Turnpike Authority
Metropolitan Transportation Authority Bridges and Tunnels
Niagara Falls Bridge Commission
New Hampshire Department of Transportation
Central Florida Expressway
New Jersey Turnpike Authority
New York State Bridges Authority
New York State Thruway Authority
Ohio Turnpike and Infrastructure Commission
Port Authority of New York & New Jersey
The Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission
Rhode Island Turnpike and Bridge Authority
Skyway Concession Company
South Jersey Transportation Authority
Virginia Department of Transportation (Serves as the primary agency for the 9 independent toll agencies within the State of Virginia)
West Virginia Parkway Authority
North Carolina Turnpike Authority
Kentucky Public Transportaion Infrastructure Authority
Thousand Islands Bridge Authority
I probably don't have to create a huge list as to why Sunpass is awful. The preceding list is enough for me. Actually, any pass that is not part of some kind of national toll pass group is a problem in my book. If all the entities that are part of EZPass can agree on a system, then the others need to figure out a way to join. There's also the issue of Sunpass mismanagement and possible favoritism in government contracts, but that's just Florida politics.

Actually, the Central Florida Expressway IS part of the EZPass group. I have no idea why. The passes that are rotting on their own in America include those in Florida, Georgia, Texas, California, Oklahoma, and Kansas. I had a K-Tag in Kansas, and it was pretty stupid, like the Sunpass. Of course, Florida, Texas, and California all probably think they are too good for some kind of national system, and we'd assume it's bureaucracy in California and fraud in Texas and Florida.

Sunpass lets us use the transponders in Florida, Georgia, and North Carolina. That's fine for people who don't travel much, but I'll be heading through Illinois again, and it's just stupid to have a useless pass that has all the technology needed to pay my tolls there. My family was also considering a trip to the Northeast at some point, and Sunpass would again leave us hanging.

The Peach Pass allows people to use the pass in Georgia, Florida, and North Carolina, so it's about as useless as the Sunpass. It also has a website that doesn't work in Chrome (video). If you have a website that doesn't work, let me know. I build ones that work.

So Is There A Good Toll Pass For Floridians?

The North Carolina pass, for some reason, allows Peach Passes and Sunpasses, but it's also part of EZPass system. If I'm right, and I think I am, everyone in Florida should get a North Carolina pass. Here's the email I sent to the folks at NC Quick Pass:
I live in Florida. I would rather have a pass that works everywhere than the Sunpass. Your pass is supposed to work in Florida in the sunpass areas, as well as Georgia. And I assume it works throughout the Northeast through to Illinois as part of the EZPass. My question is whether or not a North Carolina pass would work for all of that. If so, doesn't it make sense for Florida drivers to get the NC pass instead of our own, which only works in three states? Is there a reason to have a Florida pass instead?
I didn't want to wait for a response, since I am sure I'm right, so I called to see how quickly I could get a NCQuickPass with EZPass included. 5-7 business days. If you're making this call right before a trip, then it might not work. However, if you have the good sense to plan your trip ahead of time, then the NC Quick Pass is a better all-around option for people in Florida than the Sunpass. That's sad.

[UPDATE]
The folks in North Carolina got me the QuickPass within 5 business days. That meant that I had the pass for going on my trip north. 

I later read an article that claimed many states have started charging more than the posted electronic pass amount to anyone from out of state.  That sucks but also I don't care. I want one pass for the convenience, not six passes for the savings.

UPDATE 2
The NCQuickpass worked on a roll bridge crossing from Kentucky to Indiana, as well as in Illinois. Make sure you get the one with E-ZPass as part of the description. Also, if you use the Sunpass enough to get a discount, then reconsider the single pass solution, since the only discount I'll get is in North Carolina.

Thursday, June 6

I Did Not Know My AC is Obsolete

Obsolete AC
As I walk around my Jacksonville neighborhood filled with homes built in 2003 and 2004, I see that most of the AC (heat pump) units are original. They look like mine, complete with rust on the top. But it's more than the rust that makes these obsolete, and you probably better save up for the upcoming expense yourself if you have an AC unit that is over ten years old.

I Hate to Disappoint Home Invaders, But...

A home invasion down in Eagle Landing (Oak Leaf Plantation) netted $140,000 that the owner had hidden in the attic. Three home invaders and a gun. Scary stuff.  I'm here to tell anyone planning a home invasion not to bother with my home. Apparently, the man whose home was invaded flaunted money on social media. Maybe he was one of those make money fast gurus. I'm not, so no money here, home invaders.

Wednesday, June 5

$4 Wednesday At AMC Explained

The local news "reported" on AMC Theater's $4 Wednesday for the summer. When I searched for the program, I noticed a lot of local news channels had also picked up the "story." I'm glad marketing using local news channels is alive and well, but because it's TV news, there was little explanation. I had to search all around to figure it out. At least, I think I have it figured out, and if anyone from AMC wants to contact me to confirm, feel free.

Doctors Should Read This, But They Probably Won't

I had a doctor's appointment for my daughter today. The doctor was annoyed that we did not fill a prescription. I was annoyed that the doctor did not call my wife back when we had questions about filling the prescription. But I was also annoyed about the signage and marketing campaign that was being waged in the waiting room and appointment rooms that surrounded me.

Monday, June 3

Arielle Nixon Leaves Action News Jax

https://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:qzbPOgyl45UJ:https://www.actionnewsjax.com/station/personalities/arielle-nixon/31754931+&cd=4&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=us&client=firefox-b-1-d
New Jax Witty has gotten a lot of hits recently that include the name Arielle Nixon and the term Action News Jax. That's because she has not been on the TV screen for some time. And there's a new blonde in her place. What's weird, though, is that there was never the normal farewell (not that I saw or read), even though it's apparent she's gone. (Spoiler Alert - I found out as I was writing this, so skip to the quote below if you don't want to read my whole post).




Is there a scandal? I don't know. Sorry. You can look Arielle up on the court and local news websites to see that she has not been accused of anything crazy in the past few months. Still, most amicable divorces of this nature would result in some kind of goodbyes and her profile page staying on the website for a few days--the farewell from her previous job is still online.

It was kind of weird that I saw "Arielle" had retweeted a weather report on the same day that I found that her profile had been deleted from the Action News Jax website. I assume this means someone was given her Twitter profile to maintain during the transition. Still, kind of odd. Here's the cached website page in case you need to see Arielle's face one more time. And if you're still following her on Twitter now (and there are probably lots of you), it's kind of a catfishing thing at this point, unless she is still accessing it and liking weather stories. 

Back in Milwaukee, I used to read a section of the newspaper that was dedicated to the local news and radio personalities and shows, but that was a decade ago. Maybe people don't care about that kind of stuff here and now. Generally, when newscasters left MKE, it was for a larger market or because they'd been passed over for promotion to a better time slot. Arielle might have been getting sick of showing up for work at 4am. Or heading to Atlanta.

I think the governor's wife used to read the news a while back. There's always a chance that love was over the airwaves, too. Of course, the story is probably out there by now, since I looked for the answer to my own concerns over a week before writing this. I could find whether she'd gotten citations from the law and her political affiliation, but not whether or not she quit, got canned, or left for a gig in another city.

As I was writing this post, I finally found the one place that seems to have explained Arielle's departure. Actually, it was probably posted in several small posts, but I don't like or follow, so whatever. You don't either, or else you would not have read this whole article about something you already knew.

Here's what Arielle said about two weeks before I noticed she was gone on Instagram:
Friday was my last day at Action News Jax and on TV. Thank you so so much for your support over the years. I’ve accepted a position outside of the broadcast industry. It’s cliche, but it really is a very bittersweet ending. I’m excited for my newest adventure! I hope you’ll wish me luck.
I guess I always thought the pinnacle of a career in meteorology would be getting on TV, honestly. I've known plenty of science-types that would not be a good fit in front of a camera. Maybe she's pursuing her dream to be a storm chaser or to spend a decade living in Antarctica. She didn't say in her Instagram post. If you know the answer, let the world know.

Actually, the fact that I wrote this post (because I'd seen a lot of searches for the answer), and the fact that I did some research to find the answer, and the fact that I found other answers totally unrelated to her leaving the station, probably is reason enough for her to move on. I'm not sure I'd want all of my readers knowing all that same stuff about me. 

[UPDATE]
I received one message from a reader that summed up why many people were searching for Arielle:
I truly miss you in the morning
Your beautiful smile. Great way to start the day, pray you will be  successful in  whatever you do

Read about Corey here.
And my poem for Arielle here
And

Action News JAX Busy Mom Ad Should Bother Us

Youth Basketball and Volleyball Skills Camps in East Arlington, Intracoastal, Arlington, etc.

You might be looking for a basketball or volleyball skills camp for your kids, or you might be looking how to post the camp your school or organization is putting on. I've got some resources for you either way.

Sunday, June 2

AAA Drive, Allstate Drivewise, Progressive Snapshot, And So On

I wrote the main article on how to beat Progressive Snapshot. Now the other companies are doing the same thing, probably because Progressive actually saves itself money in identifying risky drivers. Sure, some of us do OK and get a discount, but the goal of these devices is really for all insurance companies to be allowed into our cars in order to spy on us and determine our rates based on very real statistics.

Friday, May 31

WTF is this? absolutely no credit

Every single teacher on earth has probably wanted to write it on a paper, and most do pass the message on in some way. However, the Florida teacher who wrote it probably should have just thought it. "WTF is this? absolutely no credit."

Thursday, May 30

Non-lol Moment: Sewer Main Line

Sewer Main Line
I was reading through the posts in my Nextdoor app, and I saw this one that seemed to use an odd lol moment:

I need a plumber to re-pipe from the street to my house. Someone who does a good job and reasonably priced (inexpensive) lol.

I cannot, for the life of me, figure out how lol fits into this request for a recommendation. Maybe we have to dig deeper into the text. To me, it's a TSS (total sh!t storm, not that's so sweet) or WTF situation.

Wednesday, May 29

Why I Like Sprint

I tried the Republic Wireless route a few years back. It's a good company with a good idea (to use wifi as much as possible), but our devices tried to connect to every business we passed on the road, often playing havoc with our navigation. We were also limited to 2gb per month of data, so that was kind of annoying. Sprint provided an option with a similar price point and "unlimited" data, and there are a few other perks just for being a Sprint customer.

Tuesday, May 28

58 Gangs, 705 Members in Jax

simplyhired.com - gang member salaries
Jacksonville has a crime problem. Most cities do. We also have some gangs in town. 58, apparently. With 705 gang members. I am not sure if this was discovered using census data or what. Maybe a Survey Monkey survey. But what do the numbers mean?

Saturday, May 18

How Long Does Google Take To Update Streetview After Taking Photos?

Google Streetview on my block
19 Days and Counting

We've all used Google Maps, and most of us have used the little yellow guy to access Google Streetview. In this mode, Google tells you when the images were taken. I'd never really questioned how long Google takes to get that new image onto the Google Maps website. Luckily, I have the data I need in order to figure it out for my own neighborhood.

Thursday, May 16

Roadside Knife Stand - Only in Florida

My wife was driving through central Florida when she got to see something that surprised her, even though she's now lived in Florida for a couple of years: a roadside knife stand. I have to admit, I was even a little taken aback. My first question for her was whether or not she took a photo of the stand, which she did not. I'd seen oranges and other edibles before. Nuts, watermelons, etc. Shrimp, even. And you'll see people set up yard sales right out to the street, maybe with antiques (or just old junk). There was a place along Locust in Milwaukee where you could pick up a used appliance right from the sidewalk, which was a little odd, but you can apparently get cutlery along a state highway in Florida.

Wish-Cycling in Jacksonville

Jacksonville Recycling Cart
Those of us who recycle hope that the world in a better place because of it. I know that it costs money to recycle, but I figure it's better to spend money on that some other government programs. Yes, I'm guilty of wanting recycling to fix our garbage problem, but I'm also probably guilty of wish-cycling every once in a while. Wish-cycling is when you wish something that's not recyclable could be, so you chuck it in the recycling bin, only to mess up the recycling machines and cost taxpayers even more money.

Tuesday, May 14

Bringing a Shank to a Knife Robbery

https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Shiv.jpg
I've seen plenty of news reports of people robbing retail locations with guns, and there have even been some with knives, but I was surprised to see a news report of an attempted shank robbery. The word shank is a slang term for a shiv, which is a makeshift knife. (I am not sure why the news used the term "shank.") I've seen enough films with prison settings to know that shivs are commonly used in prison, since knives and guns are not readily available. However, both guns and knives are everywhere in non-jailhouse Florida, so I wonder why someone would use a shiv in an attempted robbery.

Monday, May 13

MKE DNC House Rental

I suppose if the Super Bowl ever returns to Jacksonville, Airbnb will blow up. It's probably better than building a bunch of hotels that will only get used once. I am not sure how the cruise ship thing went. Anyhow, the Democratic National Convention is coming to Milwaukee just after my one-year lease will run out, so the plan right now is to rent my house out for the event, as long as it makes sense.

Maybe I Need To Give More

A couple of months ago, it was decided I should get a new job outside of the house. I have done some pretty good work at home, but the money has not exactly followed the hours of investment. Basically, I've been trying to do a lot of good by building inexpensive websites for churches and non-profits. But those folks don't find me, and I can't afford the time and advertising to find them, so I'll probably have to leave it to swanky salesmen and overpriced web builders.

Sunday, May 12

Famous YouTubers From Jax

The sun. The sand. The outdoor living. Shirtless guys stealing stuff. Jacksonville should be a great place to create YouTube videos and become a famous YouTuber. That's what my kids want out of life, and it's been accomplished by one couple from the area, but the content might surprise you.

Mistletoe on my Only Tree

trees with mistletoe
Boo from church told me mistletoe might be pretty at Christmas, but it'll ruin your trees. He also said that I'd have to trim back to the fork in the branch before the mistletoe, and after trimming my only tree down to nearly nothing, I'd have maybe a fifty-fifty chance of it surviving. It's kind of depressing moving from a house with 20+ mature trees to one with a single, sick tree, but I guess that's what I have. 


Friday, May 10

Real World AAA Membership Benefits

I had written an article at one point that argued why BP Motorclub was so bad, but there's really no point to saying ill of the dead. The real question isn't which auto club is best. The question is whether you have AAA or you don't. There's no real competition for most of us, so what does a real world with AAA look like?

Retro Fitness and Single Moms

I feel bad for the employees of Retro Fitness who lost their jobs suddenly. I was surprised when the news framed the story as affecting single moms, but then they backed the statement up by interviewing two single moms who had worked there. While I'm sure Retro Fitness didn't only hire single moms, it almost seems that way based on 100% of former employees interviewed being in that situation and the newscaster calling attention to it. I wonder if Retro Fitness offered some kind of special benefits to single moms.

Wednesday, May 1

"12 Odd Tips on Raising Heritage Breed Turkeys You Need to Know" Is The Oddest Google Feed Story Ever

I can usually discern why Google chooses certain stories for me in the news feed on my phone. It's because of what I've been searching. Or what my kids have been searching on another computer tied to my Google account. Or maybe even what I've been saying or photos I've been taking. But I cannot for the life of me figure out why Google decided I wanted to know 12 odd tips for raising Heritage Breed Turkeys.

Tuesday, April 30

Teacher Shortage Should Result In Simplified Licensure in Florida

Ever since I've moved to Florida, I've seen news stories about the teacher shortage. Since I am a certified teacher from another state, those stories intrigued me. Eventually, I decided to give teaching in Florida a shot, but it was more complicated to than I expected to get licensed. Maybe my experience will help other teachers from out-of-state to navigate the whole process.

Monday, April 29

Discover Kept Us Safe From Skimmers

Right after we got back from a vacation over to Tampa, I got an alert from Discover that my credit card had been used twice in some odd transactions. One seemed to have been approved, while the other was denied. Discover handled the whole situation well, which is better than I've seen with some other cards.

I've Got Your School Funding Right Here, Duval

I was talking to a friend recently when he made a statement that surprised me, since he is a fairly conservative individual. He said people in Florida don't want to pay any taxes but want to get all the benefits of states where people pay more in taxes. He's right, of course. We expect to have police and fire protection, public schools, trash picked up, etc. When Duval County Public Schools started claiming it would add an extra sales tax in order to rebuild schools, it got me to wondering how the schools got so bad that over a billion bucks are needed to fix them. Then I looked at my friend's property tax record online, and it was fairly clear.

Tuesday, April 9

Only In Florida: Millionaire Stealing From Kmart

Where else would a guy who owns an $8 million private island and a Real World House decide to steal from Kmart? Nowhere else. Only in Florida. I thought that it was uniquely Florida when three guys walked right into a Walmart and stole the arcade claw machine, loading it into their pickup truck as if they were going to service it. But those guys were probably unemployed or at least poor, so it was just a badly-hatched plan. So was the plan to buy items at Kmart and then return different items in the boxes. But the Kmart plan was devised by a guy with enough capital to purchase an $8 million island, so it's even more odd.

Monday, April 8

Followed Home in Jacksonville

A neighbor was recently followed home by a white SUV, and the comments on Nextdoor were all over the place. I think there are several angles to consider here, even though most of the people commenting were fairly single-minded in how they saw the situation.

Sunday, April 7

Losing Your Mom is Rough, But...

I think we all understand that we're going to die someday. We also should understand that our loved ones will also die. There are several people in our lives that we don't want to see go, and I am sure the death of a child is the worst to have to deal with. Parents and siblings, too. But again, it's going to happen. That's why I was little surprised at the sports reporting on a local news channel from Georgia.

Thursday, March 28

I Think I'll Run For President

With Florida Mayor Wayne Messam of Miramar announcing his intent to run for president, I believe we've come to a point when I can probably get into the race. My kids (who are not of voting age) always tell me that they'd vote for me if I ran. Messam just won the office of mayor of a town of 140,000 by getting about 6,000 votes, defeating an opponent who got less than 1,000. Percentage-wise, that's a big victory, but it's not really any more impressive than when you count the number of hits my articles have received on various websites over the years: over 1,000,000. If most of those people enjoyed reading my writing, I figure I have just as good a long shot as Messam to become president.

Wednesday, March 27

Male Fashion and Lifestyle - Gray Hair

I just turned in a resume for consideration, and while I was researching the company, I saw a photo of the employees. They looked young. Honestly, that doesn't bother me all that much. After all, I was high school teacher, so everyone looked young at that job. My friend told me that he likes his gray hair because others seem to respect him more at work. Of course, he's a social worker at a hospital, so maybe the gray hair keeps the young doctors from messing with him. Since I'm not sure I want to look quite as old as I am if I actually get an interview somewhere, I guess I have to address the gray hair in this week's male fashion and lifestyle blog entry.

Thursday, March 21

QR Code Interview Gimmick

Brian Jaeger QR Code
My kids' school created a pamphlet with a QR code that linked to the website, so I figured it could be useful to do the same thing when I bring in my resume to a job interview. Especially since I made a cool online resume that really looks a lot better than the printed kind. Plus, printing all that I've done over the last two decades would be a huge waste of paper (unless it gets me the job).

Thursday, March 14

Who's Got My Back in Jacksonville?

I've seen several political ads recently that focus on people who have the back of the police officers. I suppose that's a thing, but I am not a police officer (or a native of Jacksonville), so I'm kind of wondering who has my back as I settle in here.

Thursday, February 28

Interest in Curling is an All-Time High

I saw that the Curling Club of Jacksonville members were working out? on the ice recently, and the news story indicated that an Olympic win in the sport? has led to interest being at an all-time high. So there are literally hundreds of Americans interested in curling. But being from Wisconsin, I know a thing or two about ice-related activities, and I kind of wonder why curling would be taking off nationwide when there are several other ways to have fun on or with the ice.

Wednesday, February 27

JAXEX Bad Neighbor 2

The last time I wrote an article about JAXEX being accused of being a bad neighbor, my website broke because I tried to embed the flight map. I am hoping it does not do that again, and it's really kind of mean-spirited of the flight tracking company to NOT allow embedding, and also to have a 10 minute delay.

Friday, February 22

Retiree Guide to JAX

Neptune Beach sunrise
Jacksonville just made the Top 10 in some list of places to retire. The only problem is that the city isn't really in the Top 1000 for people who are actually looking to retire, so maybe it's time New Jax Witty works on putting together a local guide for folks who no longer have to work.

A Funny Story From Our First Spelling Bee

My son participated in his first spelling bee this year, making it to the finals of his school and then filling in for the champ at the Duval County written spelling bee, which he did well enough on to get to be one of the 26 finalists. That's pretty cool, and it's further than I ever got in a spelling bee, even though I was pretty good at spelling. Just not in front of people. The event itself was an interesting experience, and one that's as much a lesson for parents as the kids. Problem is that not all the parents learn the lesson, apparently.

Friday, February 15

Church of God the Mother at UNF

UNF sent out an email regarding at least one of the churches that shows up on campus to talk to students. I don't attend UNF, so I don't actually know much about the situation. But I went to college, and there were sometimes churches represented near the Union, and there were sometimes heated debates. I never got involved myself, and I was only approached one time, so I'm not taking a stand on Christians on Campus or Socialists or Republicans or White Nationalists. So I'm cool with anyone except Nihilists or The Eagles showing up on campus to discuss whatever with Millennials. I'm just wondering about the name "Church of God the Mother."

Thursday, February 14

Arlington Renewal: Reality Check

I'm all for reviving and renewing Arlington, as long as it's not going to wake up all cranky on us. I have enough experience in urban planning (as a college student and connoisseur) to be able to predict a few major concerns with renewing Arlington, whether or not some hot-shot Miami developer says it's going to happen. And I don't have millions of dollars or years of experience in the neighborhood. Just sense.

Saturday, February 9

Grammar Police Issue Warrant for Pablo Creek Library

I don't expect a whole lot out of the general public when it comes to grammar. I kind of think that the English language is generally a stupid language. We could do so much better, but we're not going to change to Esperanto in the near future, so we just have to deal with it. Like I said, I can understand when someone at the local gas station calls it the Ladie's Room or Lady's Room or Mens' Room. I can look past it when someone in marketing says, "A winner must claim there prize immediately." Errors, all of them, but those are just normal, everyday people. I'm an English teacher, so I see all the mistakes; I just don't tend to give them much thought. However, when I see some questionable grammar at the local public library, that's when it's time to put on the old badge.

Friday, February 8

Gunshots, Babies Crying, and Screaming - Jacksonville

It's my first mayoral race here in Jacksonville, but I assume it will be a fun one. Two candidates who don't like one another. Anna Brosche's attack ad seems to be a metaphor for her distaste for Lenny Curry, but a lot of people also called the ad itself distasteful. If it was for a local ice cream shop, I'd totally agree, but when we're talking politics, then you can use the gunshots, crying babies, and screaming without crossing the line. Fear is the top emotion for local news, home security sales, and political ads.

Sunday, February 3

An "Interesting" Résumé Means Good Luck

I got one of those weeding-out phone interviews recently. (I'm kind of looking for a job.) The interview was a lot like the ones I got right after I got laid off as a teacher of twelve years back in Wisconsin. Even though I've had an added several years of experience (not teaching) in addition to my years as a teacher, I still apparently have an "interesting" résumé. I know this means I won't be likely to get a call for a real, in-person interview, since the only people who appreciate interesting résumés are those who don't work in HR. If you also have an interesting résumé, I feel for you, and I'd hire you if I could.

Monday, January 28

Adverstising on Zillow For Free?

hijacked Zillow listingsI was looking up the highest crime area of Arlington when I came across a strange phenomenon on many of the homes near the high-crime apartments. Someone had claimed the homes on Bert Rd. and added the following:
This property is never For sale or rent sun and Jerome Harrison Wilson and Emma kim-tashis Harrison Landlord Owner contact me at 904....

Thursday, January 24

The $5,000 St. Augustine Trash Bin

St. Augustine wants to replace garbage cans with garbage/recycling cans. In theory, I like the idea, since I did the same thing in my kitchen. I know that my $60 kitchen garbage can isn't commercial-grade, and it's probably a bit smaller than what's needed, but for $5,000 a pop, I'm hoping some local artisans are building 16th century vintage trash cans. Wait, there were no garbage cans when St. Augustine was founded. So we can do whatever we want.

Wednesday, January 23

Giveaway! Florida Drug and Alcohol Course & Permit Exam

This contest is currently OPEN

If you are a parent of a soon-to-be driver or a kid who's looking to get a license, I've got a giveaway that's perfect for you. I have been authorized to offer Aceable's (Florida-valid) combined Drug and Alcohol Course & Permit Exam (valued at $48 online; on sale for less right now) as a giveaway for New Jax Witty readers.

What Can You Get For $5 and Some Potato Chips in Jax?

Sometimes, police officers must have a hard time believing the stories they hear, even if the admission is so ridiculous that it must be true. This is one of those stories. A woman was shot at a gas station by a man who fled on foot. Those are both fairly typical events in greater Jacksonville. The assumption would be that she'd been mugged. Or targeted for some reason. Uh, not exactly. Actually, the woman had been paid $5 and some Pringles to provide a service for the man. He then shot her and took the $5 back. No word on the chips.

Tuesday, January 22

Free Offer to Federal Employees

I was trying to come up with what I could do to help local government employees to manage not having a paycheck right now. I made it my business goal to help others so that they might want to help me someday. While that hasn't worked out all that well for me, I'm still going to give it another try. I've seen all the suggestions that include selling items or starting a side business, and that got me to thinking how I could help those of you who need it right now.

Monday, January 21

Doctors and Hospitals You Should Never Visit

I wish I could give you the right advice on this one, but I can't. I saw an ad for Morgan and Morgan wherein John Morgan basically says that he's old enough to say what he wants, and that there are doctors and hospitals he'd never use. Honestly, I'd really like to have that list. Wouldn't you?

Sunday, January 20

Nocatee Fees: CDD and HOA


Nocatee Farmers Market
We spent our first day in the Nocatee area of St. Johns / Duval in order to check out the farmers market. While there were only three actual farmers at the market (two produce and one dairy), it was still interesting to see the planned community. In fact, our kids were quick to suggest their grandparents look into the area, since it has a certain feel that's similar to some of the retiree planned communities in Florida but without the stigma of being just for old fogies. But what about those fees and cost of getting in?

Saturday, January 19

Renting Near Medical College of Wisconsin and Froedtert

I know, this might seem out of place on a blog about Jacksonville, but there's a chance someone out there knows someone who's looking for a good place to rent or buy in Milwaukee right next to the Milwaukee Regional Medical Center (MCW and Froedtert) for a residency or fellowship.

Neighborly Tattling Or Not

The neighbor kids tend to play in our front lawn a little bit. Not a big deal. The other day, however, one of our Christmas decorations was destroyed. I asked my own kids if they had been in front at all (they hadn't), which was confirmed when I watched some surveillance video. I know the neighbor kids broke the decoration (even if it's just out of view), and the neighbor kids know, but it's still more complicated than all that.

Friday, January 18

After More Than A Year, I Realize There's A Skyway in JAX

JAX Skyway Map
Sorry, city leaders. I just didn't know there was a vibrant Skyway automated monorail in town. I kind of thought it was either an idea that had never been made or something that was closed down. Although I still have not seen this in person, I went to several websites to confirm that it does exist. My goal, in the next year-and-a-half, is to find a reason to ride this free people-mover.

I Almost Sent A Pretend Gun To School

I'd say it's mostly good that I have made it a point to protect my kids from the scary news of mass shootings at schools, murders in Jacksonville, and guns in general. But there's a negative, I suppose, if you're naive when it comes to guns. I've been there more than once in my life, and I almost sent my daughter down that road because of my own naivety.

Thursday, January 17

Freelancer Nightmare: Unpaid Work

I'm busy getting some websites off the host so I can make room for more. A couple of the websites were done as actual jobs that never received pay. I figure a website takes me at least 10 hours to complete, even in the pre-production form. The two websites here would represent 20 hours of actual, sitting in front of the computer work, along with another few hours of research and contact with the clients. Let's say 25 hours, at least. I'm cheap, as far as high-end web design goes, but these two sites were set at about $1,000 each, so it's a couple of decent checks not coming my way.

Who IS a Journalist?

I was looking up someone who edits a local news-ish website and magazine that's mostly a fancy blog with a lot of paid ads that purport to be articles when I saw the person had a Muckrack profile. After clicking through a little, I realized that I, too, would like to have a profile that puts all my writing together in one place. But then I read the "strict" requirements of being verified. Very ouch, I'm not technically a journalist. But then again, who is?

Tuesday, January 15

New Christmas Traditions In or Near JAX

We've been asking around in order to find out what our new Christmas traditions might be for our family. Granted, the kids keep growing and changing, so they might not be as interested in some of our old traditions from Wisconsin. However, we are trying to figure out what will work for us in Florida.

Monday, January 14

Jacksonville Security Cam Feeds

Jacksonville surveillance cam
I was watching the news talk about how we want to avoid school security cams from being hacked. The news also mentioned that a website has posted several security cameras from the Jacksonville area. I felt it was my duty to confirm this information, partially so you don't have to navigate to this website. The IP address of the website, according to another article I read, is linked to Moscow, as in Russia.

Sunday, January 13

So I Stole My Wife's Jane Austen Writing Prompt

I'm not part of my wife's Jane Austen Meetup group, but I do get to hear about the assignments. I don't tend to read the books, even if I do want to. However, when the group decided to do some writing, I figured I could produce my own version of the assignment. Basically, the goal is to write a response to a quote. I do not know if there were other requirements because I'm not always the best listener. But I'm a decent writer. My wife wrote a pretty good piece that was in the form of a book of manners. Mine was a little different.

Thursday, January 10

Jacksonville City Water That Tastes Good

I recently received my automatic order for my EveryDrop filter, and it seems like a good time to revisit the water situation in Jacksonville. It's not as bad as you might think, but since I don't like the taste of the natural elements in the water, I spend $50 every six months on a filter. I go with the EveryDrop filter because it's the manufacturer-recommended filter and it has some certifications that seem important. And the water tastes just right.

Wednesday, January 9

No More High Speed Police Chases



I don't know how many police chases there are each year in Jacksonville, but one that recently led to the death of a kidnapping victim will open the JSO policies up to scrutiny. About five years ago, this debate was a big deal in Milwaukee, after a few high speed chases resulted in innocent bystanders getting hurt. Back then, I sat in a bar with a police officer friend and created an invention in my head. He said it would never work. Less than a year later, Milwaukee was using this invention (which someone else sold them) on their police vehicles. Maybe Jacksonville needs to look into similar technology.

Interviewing With St. Johns County Schools - Part I - Before The Interview

Interview with St. Johns County schools
Truth be told, I am only in the process of getting materials together so that I might apply to teach or otherwise work in the St. Johns schools. However, in the process, I saw the interview advice given on the school district website, so I thought I'd pass that along to any of you looking to interview in St. Johns or anywhere else. The advice listed comes from a quick job interview guide published by another website, but I am certain interviewers in St. Johns know that future employees will be looking at the image (rather than reading the links on the page). Let's see if these will all work for me.

Monday, January 7

Medicare For All; Build The Wall - I'll Go There

A majority of Americans want some version of Medicare for All. A majority of Americans want some kind of border control. Most Americans don't want years of government shutdown, no matter how much we pretend it's OK. And we don't want Trumped-up uses of a state of emergency.

Just Have a Fist Fight, And May The Best Man Win

A woman was being interviewed about a shooting near her house, and I liked her comments. I am sure it's not going to change anything, since words rarely do, but her idea that people ought to put the guns down resonates with me. The problem is that putting the guns away and having a fist fight would mean the best man with his fists would win, and that's not always what everyone wants.

Sunday, January 6

Meeting Someone Special First Sunday After New Years

The news teaser was that researchers have found that the first Sunday after New Years is a great time to meet someone. For dating, I assume. After watching the 10 second "news" story about meeting someone, apparently the first Sunday in January is the top day for people to join dating sites.



If this is the first Sunday of a new year right now, stop reading so that you can check out the dating sites immediately. If it's no longer the first Sunday, read on.