Friday, April 16, 2010

Flashback of bullies and Austin's Piñata

Yesterday I had an experience that made me have a flashback of an encounter I had with a group of bullies:

I was about 11 or 12 and walking to the store from my house when I had to walk past a group of about 5 or 6 kids that were rough kids. The kind that used foul language and often got in trouble at school. They were hanging out on a corner where i had to turn to get to the store. I decided to walk past them and not show fear, cause they sense that and feed off it. So I walked past them. One of them said, "Hey where you goin? You got any money?" Stuff like that. I decided to just keep on walking rather than turn myself into a victim. Then the group started following me. They got up right next to me. I had to make a move, so I turned up a driveway to a house the I deliver newspapers to. The family had a couple of smaller kids not my age, but school age kids. One of the bullies said, "You live here?" I said no. I went up to the door and pretended to ring the doorbell. The bullies pretty much walked off and out of sight. I then resumed my walk to the store and didn't have any issues.

So bottom line. Don't show fear, and just modify your planned route momentarily if needed to throw off the enemy.

What caused this flashback? Layton Police department. I took the first Layton exit and was heading up to Gordon, when there was probably 3/4 mile of cars all lined up to get through the intersection at Fort Lane and Gordon. I wasn't in the mood to wait for 10 minute to get through there so I turned into the MASSIVE fort lane parking lot to cut through. I noticed after turning in that there were, no lie, about 8-10 cops on motorcycles and cars chasing other cars who were also cutting through a minute before me. Lights were flashing all over the parking lot. I knew I was busted. This was a traffic cops dream. Lots of impatient people like me trying to bypass all the old people who mosey on through.

But then I had the above flashback and had an idea. I had to throw off these bullies. One of the few remaining shops of that dying block was an authentic Mexican shop. I stopped and parked. Went inside thinking I wouldn't buy anything, but just come out a couple minutes later. But then I saw some very cool looking piñatas. Austin's birthday party was this evening so I bought one with Shrek and donkey on it. I then went back to my car, put the piñata in the back seat and made my way to the north end of the parking lot (still taking advantage of the cut through).

The few cops who weren't already issuing tickets were eyeballing me. I bought my way through that parking lot! It was way cheaper than a ticket and dealing with an underpaid and aggressive bully. Screw you Layton cops!

Layton should hire more construction workers to get that nightmare construction done with, rather than cops to give tickets, chasing people down like cats. But that doesn't bring revenue in for Layton does it?

So I stopped at All-A-Dollar and filled up the piñata with candy and small toys and what a party we had with the kids and a bunch of other neighbor kids. They had a blast and enjoyed all the fun toys and treats.

So what originally was a diversion actually ended up being such a great activity for Austin's party.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Qwest (and other phone bullies) better wise up, or a little kid called Ooma is gonna kick them where it counts

I am very excited to announce another step away from the "financial tyranny of phone companies". Today I got my Ooma system which I bought on for $180. The Ooma system allows for telephone charges that are free. That's right free! Not a penny or two a minute. Nothing!

Within 4 months, the system pays for itself. That's a kick butt ROI.

Installation was simple. I plugged the box into my DSL box, and then from there to my network router. Then my main wireless phone receiver into the Ooma box. Then within a few minutes of setting up an account online, I got a dial tone and could make free calls.

A couple of minor catches:

  • I have to pay the one time fee of $39.99 to port my old phone number - but that's worth it.
  • At the start of the second year, the calls are still free, but I have to start paying the yearly $11 tax - I was wondering about tax. Can't really get around that, but $11/year for phone service isn't bad.

  • The phone system is only as reliable as your internet - which so far has been pretty reliable, although overpriced.

I called Qwest to cancel my over $50/month phone service and gladly told them I'm going to be paying $0/month for phone service. They tried to cut me a deal, but they couldn't come close to free. Can't wait to hear about more people jumping on the Ooma bandwagon and really make the big dogs sweat!

You gotta check them out.