mikegarcia25.com

26 August 2010

Parallelism: Returning Shopping Carts and What's Wrong With This Country

I don't know if you've seen $#!7 like this before when you go to the grocery store, Walmart, Target, or anywhere else that has shopping carts available for you to use inside the store, but if your parking lot looks anything like this:





then your area is suffering from the same sort of problems I've seen around Central Florida.  People displaying a total lack of respect for others.  And most of these pictures were taken in areas that were what some may consider more "ghetto" than where they would like to be.  So maybe there is a correlation, maybe not, but let's first get into what I mean by this obvious lack of respect for others I've decided to go as far as to take pictures and write a blog about it.

Thinking psychologically, why would someone just decide not to return their carts to the front of the store or at least a place designated for cart return?  Too busy?  Maybe, I can see that - you are rushing to get groceries after leaving work to cook dinner for the family and just don't have the time to deposit your cart back where it belongs.  Hell, while we're at it, let's throw in some inclement weather, rain, hail, sleet, or snow, and that walk just seems way too far to go....  But I think it is more than that.  It has more to do with the fact that some people find themselves entitled to doing less and letting someone else take care of the problem they have caused for others.  I see you shaking your head, no seriously, I'm not joking here, this is what it boils down to.  Entitlement for whatever reason they see fit.  "I don't have to do that cart jockey job, let someone making minimum wage come out here and deal with it, I've got places to be and things to do."  Oh is that so?

And what happens when that poor kid making minimum wage at the grocery or big box store doesn't want to get off his @$$ to get your cart out of the hot sun or cold snow?  Cars get damaged, parking spots get consumed, and general havok is caused in parking lots.  I can't tell you how many times I've walked into a store to find an empty cart storage area since all the carts are scattered all over the parking lots.  Then there are the times where a cart has been left dangerously close to my parked car, just waiting for the perfect breeze to give it the strength to ram right down the side of my properly loved vehicle, like this guy's Mercedes:  


I know what you're thinking again - you're just pissed off because someone hit your car, it has to be about your car....  or at least this is a parking spot issue, someone jammed up a coveted parking spot one day and you were pissed off about it....  Couldn't be further from the truth.  In fact, I wouldn't ever park my nice car in a parking lot like this - the car I do take to parking lots that have a much greater chance of a door opening into it isn't something I would get upset about if it did get hit by a runaway cart.  It is all based on the principle of the matter.  The fact that more and more people these days could really care less about their fellow man is what I'm talking about.  The issue over the lengths people went to in past years, often times before I was born as I've seen from movies or learned from older relatives, to make sure they weren't offensive to or offending others is the true subject of this blog.  

Is this an income issue?  Possibly, as I don't find this as common at higher-end, ritzy grocery stores as I do in low-income, dirty, discount stores.  I don't think the focus of this is as much where it happens as it is that it happens.  I don't care if a "busy" businessman does it any more or less than if some unemployed Welfare case does it in as much as the thought process was entertained enough for someone to just not give a damn about that cart.  The fact that it does occur in both places leads me to believe that it happens, and that's the important part - regarding it happening more in "the ghetto" than it does in "the rich part of town," it simply means more people feel they are entitled to making their negligence become someone else's problem.  

I find such parallelism in this that I felt compelled to write this blog.  Call me crazy, and a lot of people do, but psychoanalyzing it like this is important to me - I don't want to go through life and say "damn, people left a bunch of carts in a parking lot, that sucks."  I want to break it down and determine WHY they did that, and what that means for them as people who have inconvenienced other people.  This is the same type of parallelism that comes from believing men who drive Corvettes have small.... appendages.  I can't comment on that much, I know some girls who used to date my Corvette-loving roommate in college who had 3 of them at different times that can, but I can analyze this situation based on real world knowledge.  Your opinion may be different than mine on this subject, and I'd like to see what you have to say about it, but if you just think I've gone too far with my analysis, then please, stick to your reality TV shows and leaving comments on YouTube videos because you quite honestly don't have the mental capacity to subjectively report on humanity's effects on humanity.  

Oh yeah, and if you are from South Carolina reading this and can't follow the topic at all, just substitute "shopping cart" and "cart" with your crazy term "buggy."  It isn't a buggy, it is a shopping cart, just like it isn't "pop," it is "soda."  But everyone is different, and I guess that's why I am who I am.....

22 March 2010

Health Care.... Reform?

I like to think in terms of facts.  Numbers never lie, so I usually associate numbers with facts, and thus I like to think in terms of numbers as well.  You'll remember that in my post-election blog, I broke down the numbers to show that it wasn't as sweeping of a victory as leftists would like you to believe it was.  Now, when it comes to this Health Care "Reform," here are the numbers first, and then I'll discuss them afterwards:


  • This bill will cost taxpayers approximately $1.072 TRILLION over the next 10 years.  The official $940 billion price tag doesn't include other reform initiatives in the legislation that push the cost above $1 trillion.
  • One in Six American adults are without health insurance.  That is roughly 16% of the country.  Roughly 60% of Americans get their health insurance from their employer, and therefore about 24% pay out of pocket for their insurance.  The unemployment rate right now is at 9.7%.  
  • The Associated Press reports that 68% of America oppose "ObamaCare" without any Republican support.  That means that more than four in five Americans say it’s important that any health care plan have support from both parties.
  • The HCR bill passed the House yesterday with 219 votes for it and 212 votes against it (50.812064965197215777262180974478% voted for it).  ALL Republicans on the House voted against it, and so did 34 Democrats.  Let that statistic sink in a bit after you read that over again!
Way back in 2007, you know, when no one knew who Obama was and didn't think he was going to be the savior of our country that they thought he would be the very next year, he made the claim that Democrats should not pass health care reform with a 50-plus-1 strategy, meaning just over 50% of the vote.  The reason for that, he went on to say, is that you can't govern law that way - if 51% of the House votes on a bill, that normally means only ONE party voted for it, and therefore, the other party (and theoretically, the other half of the nation) won't stand for it.  He stated clearly "My understanding of the Senate is you need 60 votes to get something significant to happen. The question is: Do we have the will to move an American agenda forward, not a Democrat or Republican agenda forward?"  Obviously, in this case, the answer is NO, this is a Democrat-only agenda, and it is sickening to think that one party being the majority power, Republican or Democrat, should have the right to make a bill become law when so many are opposed to it.  Just another example of the ability Democrats have to be able to speak out of both sides of their mouths - they say something when it sounds eloquent and noble, then go completely against it later when the time comes for action....

According to CNN, the "political culture in Washington may have changed for good" because of this (click here to see the video, and watch the next three videos as well: Health care passes 1:53 and Inside the health care debate 2:44).  In another video on CNN, Obama gloated that "this is what change looks like" during his typical teleprompter-read speech after the victory in the House.  No, Mr. President, this is what Socialism looks like.  This is what a Dictatorship looks like.  Since 68% of America believe that we should come TOGETHER to decide what the future of health care should look like instead of have it decided by one party or another, let's just throw that completely out the window and pass our OWN health care reform act based on what the House of [Poorly Represented] Representatives wants!  It isn't just "playing unfairly" or "not by the rules," it's borderline illegal and not what the Founding Fathers would have ever allowed to happen to the lawmaking process of this country.


Wouldn't you know...... Less than 24 hours after the House of Representatives gave final approval to a sweeping overhaul of healthcare, attorneys general from several states on Monday said they will sue to block the plan on constitutional grounds (click here for the full article).  No kidding?  "If a person decides not to buy health insurance, that person by definition is not engaging in commerce," Cuccinelli said in recorded comments. "If you are not engaging in commerce, how can the federal government regulate you?"  Yep, point made, taken, and I concur!

And if you really hate Nancy Pelosi as much as I do, make sure to donate in the next 25 hours to FIRE PELOSI!  

26 February 2010

How to search successfully online

The dreaded search bar!!!!! To some, this bar looks like a good place to just start writing whole sentences like the computer knows what you're looking for and can translate it all into "BAM! Here you go, we understood what you were saying! Great conversation, let's do this again soon!"

Yeah, it doesn't work like that, people.... Here's some tips I've learned over the years and can greatly reduce the amount of time you spend scrolling and clicking Next Page through the 9,584,164,787,415 results you just dug up.

BE CONCISE! Google has been dumbed down to be able to get you exactly what you want early without having do to much scrolling, but that doesn't mean to write a whole sentence! Try typing it all that nonsense into a product search field like eBay or other online stores and you'll end up without a single result.

The most important thing you can learn about searching on the internet is that what you put in the search bar, the engine will try and find, so if you put lots of erroneous words, your results will display ALL of them first, and then try and get to the other results without all those words, which is probably what you were looking for in the first place.

* NOTE -
all links and results taken from them are current as of today's post. They may be different in the future, but you get the idea..... Also, some Google search results may have sourceid=chrome in the links since I exclusively use Google Chrome as my internet browser, so if the links don't work for you, Internet Explorer, Netscape, AOL, or Firefox people, then follow along the steps and copy the term I used in order to search along with me in a new window.

Example: you want to find a replacement processor for your laptop, but don't know what family it is in, and want to get one that will work in it. Don't type in something silly like "what kind of processor is in my computer" (link provided to show you how silly it is) because that isn't going to tell you anything about YOUR computer, it just provides a bunch of useless results about people asking online help systems like answers.yahoo.com the same question you are trying to find out about YOUR computer.

Let's try something a little more useful - like getting the model number off your computer to start. My old laptop that I sold off last year was a Gateway MX6453, so click that link and see what you get. Lots of product info including reviews and places to purchase it online, but not yet what we're looking for. I'm certain I could click on tons of links and maybe one reviewer or retailer would go into such detail as to provide me the processor model number, and you can cross reference them from there, but let's search SMARTER!

Let's add CPU to the end of our current search result and see what we get. Notice how I didn't go in to lots of detail about what I'm trying to accomplish in the search bar, just added ONE WORD. The first result shows a guy who is attempting to do the same thing, trying to upgrade his CPU in his MX6453 laptop! Well, we just found out the processor that came with it is an AMD TL-52, and without knowing anything else about it, let's search that and find out that it is a Turion™ 64 X2 Dual-Core processor. Great! We've got some details about it, now what are my upgrade options for the TL-52? On the same results list, we find a few links to people who have asked questions as to which CPU's they can upgrade to, namely the TL-68. From this list (2nd link down from the top of the last search), we find the TL-68 is the "king," the highest powered processor available for this series, but the question still remains, will this work in this laptop?

Start by checking out the Wiki page (currently under the shopping results list) and see what category it is in. Well, it looks like The TL-50 and TL-52 are in the same group, and the TL-68 is a different group, but they still might work, don't give up just because of Wiki! The question Replace CPU AMD TL-52 with TL-68? was asked about 7th on the list of search results for the AMD TL-52, and some people reported that the difference in size (90nm vs 65nm) might affect it. The TL-64 is 90nm, and we can double check that from the Wiki.

I provided this example for a few reasons - first, I've done this search process before, and second, because the TL-series processors are phased out and there aren't any more of them being made after TL-68. This gave me the chance to speak thoroughly about the processors and not have someone respond with "what about the TL-70" (that is fictitious, but you get the idea).

What about searching for products? Well, now that we know what processor to buy, how do we search for it and find the cheapest price? I go into a lot more detail about pricing on my OTHER blog post, but this one is about searching and we'll focus on that aspect for now. Remember how you searched for the AMD TL-52 and it gave you shopping results? Let's search for AMD TL-64 and click the shopping tab at the top of Google. Looks like I'm getting some laptop results and processor results mixed in. Re-sort the list by searching items from lowest price to highest price, which will most likely put the laptops in the end of the list. Well? Currently I see a used TL-64 for $68 with free shipping on eBay, and a brand spankin' new one for $115 on eBay! I'd personally go with the new one, but hey, you're the one searching and looking this all up! Click the one you want and head to eBay since they're going to sell these a whole lot cheaper than anyone else online.... from there, don't give in to the Google search results, search around yourself and see what you come up with - just search AMD TL-64 in eBay and see what comes up! Make sure you sort from lowest price to highest price, and choose the correct category on the right side - in this example, you want ONLY CPU's, so you narrow it down by going through all the categories in order: Home > Buy > Computers & Networking > Computer Components > CPUs > Search results for "AMD TL-64"

  • Now let's get into the REAL technical side of searching. USING SEARCH OPERATORS! These are my favorite and I can't learn enough of them. These are shortcuts into searching that limit search results to ONLY the items you want displayed. eBay has a list of them here, and Google has their list here. I'll show you some basics that I employ on a daily basis to get rid of unwanted results fast (sounds like a hemroid cream). eBay does it best and has the most simple display:

    For this type of search

    Enter this

    Example

    Results that contain all the words you enter

    Enter the keywords with a space between them.

    new DVD player

    returns items whose titles contain all 3 words in any order.

    Results that contain the exact words you typed in a particular order

    Place quotation marks around the group of words.

    "New York"

    returns items whose titles contain New York in that order only, but not those that contain just New or just York or the words York New.

    Results that don't contain a certain word

    Place a minus sign immediately before the word to be excluded, with no space after the minus sign.

    shirt blue –wool

    returns items whose titles contain the words shirt andblue but not the word wool.

    Results that don’t contain several words

    Put a minus sign before each word, or group the words inside parentheses and separate with commas but no spaces.

    bowl -(black,green,purple)or bowl –black –green –purple

    returns items whose titles contain the word bowl but not the words black, green, andpurple.

    Results that contain either of the words

    Enter keywords in parentheses separated by commas but no spaces.

    (purse,handbag)

    returns items whose titles contain either the word purseor handbag.

    Results that contain words starting with a particular sequence of letters

    Enter the letter sequence followed by an asterisk.

    book*

    returns items whose titles contain words starting withbook, such as books, bookshelf, and bookmark

    Results that contain only a specific spelling of a word

    Enter the keywords or phrases in quotes.

    "book"

    returns items whose titles contain the exact word bookbut not the word bookshelf.


    So look at that! We can narrow down results with just a few quotation marks, an asterisk, parentheses around multiple terms, and minus signs in front of words we don't want to show up in search results! Here's a saved
    search of mine I use to look up parts for my 2003 MINI Cooper S on eBay:

    MINI Cooper S -(pad, austin, classic, morris, chrome) in Category eBay Motors > Parts & Accessories

    Notice how I searched for terms I wanted and could be in ANY order (i.e., Cooper S MINI or MINI Cooper and Cooper S) and "negated" terms that I didn't want, because really, who wants to ADD chrome to their MINI? I'm looking for NEW MINI parts, so I negated Austin, Morris, and other classic Mini parts because I don't have a Mini, I have a MINI. It's a MINI thing, you wouldn't understand.... here's another search I had that combines search operators:

    transformers movie -poster*

    With this, I search for
    movie items from the Transformers films, but I don't want any poster or posters - by putting the asterisk at the end of the word that is negated, BOTH poster and posters will not show up in my search results!

    That's all for now, and it's probably a lot to process for now (sorry for the processor pun), so let me know if you have any questions or things I should add to this, and I'll help out as best as I can! Have fun searching!

    How to shop online, save money, and be safe!

    So it is the 26th of February and I'm already falling a little behind on my New Years' Resolution to blog more. I have a lot of really good advice to share online, hell, probably a lot of really biased, political stuff too, but that's what makes blogging so great - you got suckered here somehow, now you're reading this, and like a crack addict, you just need a little more of it! Okay, that's probably exaggerated a bit, you can obviously stop reading at any time and---how about I just get into this blog topic already? Greaaaaat....

    So you want to shop online for things but don't know how to do it, aren't sure of the risks involved, want to find good deals, and so forth. Well, being the person amongst my friends and family that everyone always says "how did you find it for so cheap?" I'm here to help! Let's start at the beginning.

    I want to find an item. I don't know what the model number is, crap I don't even know what brand I'm looking for. But in less than 5 minutes, I'll have my credit card input into someone's secure online terminal and feel great about my purchase, mainly because I didn't buy it at a big-box store for 100-400% more! Recently, I was looking for a region-free DVD player that upscaled to 1080p through an HDMI output since my USA PS3 does great, but hates PAL movies. Wow. Alright! How in the world do I find something like that....

    Google is your friend! That's right, add him as a friend on Facebook, he'll be at your wedding and probably drink all your booz---sidetracked again. Just start searching Google for what you're looking for, but don't be too specific. Check out my OTHER blog post on tips on searching successfully for more info. In this situation, you want to put in key words that will help you find JUST the items you are looking for. We're going to search for DVD Player NTSC PAL 1080p HDMI under Google Shopping results, and sort them from lowest price to highest - click the link of the search terms to see what comes up. Sure, sorting by Relevance gets you some decent results, it doesn't tell you which is the lowest priced DVD player!

    Remove terms you don't want results for. As you can see from the link, Google wants me to buy an HDMI cable that works for DVD players that are both NTSC and PAL formated, which will work to display 1080p video. Yes, I searched for all that, but I don't want any cables included just yet (I have plenty already, thanks), so let's hit this search with a -cable* and see what comes up. The search effectively dropped off the cables and started my search results with a $38.99 Coby DVD288 NTSC and PAL 1080p Full-HD upscaling DVD player with HDMI output on eBay. Should I buy it? NOT JUST YET! Once you click the link, you'll see they want over $14 to ship it, and the next result on the list was only a dollar more with FREE shipping. Yep, I'll take that one!

    Find a reputable seller. While eBay is a pretty easy way to find something, how do you know you're getting a quality product from a reputable seller and won't get scammed out of your hard-earned cash? Well, you don't, really. All things are a crap-shoot online, and it is best to use CREDIT cards to buy your items and not DEBIT cards. Yeah, PayPal will cover your ass on things, but why fight it out with your bank? Just call up your credit card company and tell them the product hasn't arrived or isn't what you ordered. Hell, I ordered a $750 HTC TyTN II phone from a guy on eBay and had it shipped from China (where they're manufactured, don't get all crazy-eyed over hearing it was shipped from China just yet). The seller sent me some rinky-dink 2 year old HTC phone and I wasn't having that.... A quick note to him on eBay and phone call to my credit card company solved all that! Plus, you pay with certain American Express cards and you can get Purchase Protection and Extended Warranty features at no extra charge, but that's a whole other blog....

    On this search we did, B&H Photo-Video-Audio has 32,894 seller ratings at the time of writing, with an average rating of 4.8 out of 5 stars. Yeah, I'm going to trust them. Why? Well, 31,578.24 out of 32,894 people gave them a perfect review. If 96% of people surveyed told you Domino's Pizza is better than Papa Johns (just as an example), would you believe them? And remember this about seller ratings - not everyone rates a sale online, especially if it is positive. Hell I don't think I've EVER rated a sale I've made on Amazon because they don't push it as much as eBay does, and Google seller ratings are pushed about the same or less than Amazon. So that's nearly 33 thousand people who FELT like turning their attention from their newly received Photo-Video-Audio product from B&H and wanted to post their positive feedback for them, something probably twice as many people haven't even thought to do. Now, if their response was negative, you better believe those people jumped online and told EVERYONE about their dealings!

    How does PayPal protect me? Ask them! But seriously, check out PayPal for yourself. They'll tell you all about how they prevent your account information from being shown to sellers and will protect your purchases if someone tries to scam you. I've been a member of eBay and PayPal since 2000, so I know that if I want to buy something online, I can trust PayPal for it. Just as long as it isn't gun-related, because God forbid Americans are allowed to protect themselves and use the 2nd Amendment to the Constitution the way it was written. PayPal will freeze all transactions and suspend your account if you use it to buy or sell anything firearm related. While my gun buddies and I hate that, it is just something I have to deal with when it comes to wacky Liberals who love making the rules and making it difficult for responsible, law-abiding citizens of the greatest country on Earth. But then again, that's an entirely other blog topic!!!

    That's a whole lot of information for now, as always, let me know if you have any questions or things I should add to this, I'll post up as much as I can to help!

    24 February 2010

    If Bush did what Obama is doing....

    [note copied and edited slightly for content from Kevin Kirk, from the group "Miss me yet?"-George W. Bush]

    If George W. Bush had been the first President to need a teleprompter installed to be able to get through a press conference, would you have laughed and said this is more proof of how inept he is on his own and is really controlled by smarter men behind the scenes?

    If George W. Bush had spent hundreds of thousands of dollars to take Laura Bush to a play in NYC, would you have approved?

    If George W. Bush had reduced your retirement plan's holdings of GM stock by 90% and given the unions a majority stake in GM, would you have approved?

    If George W. Bush had made a joke at the expense of the Special Olympics, would you have approved?

    If George W. Bush had given Gordon Brown a set of inexpensive and incorrectly formatted DVDs, when Gordon Brown had given him a thoughtful and historically significant gift, would you have approved?

    If George W. Bush had given the Queen of England an iPod containing videos of his speeches, would you have thought this embarrassingly narcissistic and tacky?

    If George W. Bush had bowed to the King of Saudi Arabia , would you have approved?

    If George W. Bush had visited Austria and made reference to the non-existent "Austrian language," would you have brushed it off as a minor slip?

    If George W. Bush had filled his cabinet and circle of advisers with people who cannot seem to keep current in their income taxes, would you have approved?

    If George W. Bush had stated that there were 57 states in the United States , would you have said that he is clueless?

    If George W. Bush would have flown all the way to Denmark to make a five minute speech about how the Olympics would benefit him walking out his front door in Texas , would you have thought he was a self important, conceded, egotistical bum?

    If George W. Bush had been so Spanish illiterate as to refer to "Cinco de Cuatro" in front of the Mexican ambassador when it was the 5th of May (Cinco de Mayo), and continued to flub it when he tried again, would you have winced in embarrassment?

    If George W. Bush had mis-spelled the word "advice" would you have hammered him for it for years like Dan Quayle and "potatoe" as proof of what a dunce he is?

    If George W. Bush had burned 9,000 gallons of jet fuel to go plant a single tree on Earth Day, would you have concluded he's a hypocrite?

    If George W. Bush's administration had okayed Air Force One flying low over millions of people followed by a jet fighter in downtown Manhattan causing widespread panic, would you have wondered whether they actually get what happened on 9-11?

    If George W. Bush had failed to send relief aid to flood victims throughout the Midwest with more people killed or made homeless than in New Orleans, would you want it made into a major ongoing political issue with claims of racism and incompetence?

    If George W. Bush had created the position of 32 Czars who report directly to him, bypassing the House and Senate on much of what is happening in America, would you have approved?

    If George W. Bush had ordered the firing of the CEO of a major corporation, even though he had no constitutional authority to do so, would you have approved?

    If George W. Bush had proposed to double the national debt, which had taken more than two centuries to accumulate, in one year, would you have approved?

    If George W. Bush had then proposed to double the debt again within 10 years, would you have approved?

    So, tell me again, what is it about Obama that makes him so brilliant and impressive? Can't think of anything? Don't worry. He's done all this in just 12 months -- so you'll have three years to come up with an answer.