The Biz of Pacelinebiz

Turning things on end to achieve results!

Goodbye

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I began this blog on September 7, 2009 and today is the 366th and final installment.  This year I began to think it was about time I stopped subjecting the internet to my ramblings every week.  As I thought more about it I decided to end with blog number 366 so that there would be one blog post for every day of the year – including leap year.  I considered having the last blog appear with a link to a blog topic for every day of the year.  This would be similar to the page a day calendar that is popular for cartoonists or for “word of the day” calendars.  After consideration; I decided it would take too long to do.  I am sure you will find a way to make it without my weekly contribution to your life.

Thanks for reading.  I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did.

Written by pacelinebiz

September 4, 2016 at 8:04 am

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Back To School

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Back To School

Back To School

It is that time of the year when schools are beginning again after the summer break. Some schools will start shortly and others have already begun.  Today I will take a look at the good and the bad of back to school.  I wrote about back to school memories in 2012 as well, click here to read what I had to say.

The good:

  • Traffic gets better with fewer people on the road during morning and afternoon rush hour.
  • High School football games offer a fun way to spend a Friday night.
  • Child care expenses are greatly reduced. Having nearby relatives has substantial benefits.
  • Going shopping for some new clothes. I typically wore jeans and T-shirts in high school but was made to dress up in elementary school.  Getting bell bottoms was a big deal.
  • Seeing your friends again on a regular basis. Things might be different in today’s connected world.  We did not have Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Skype/Face Time, cell phones or the internet when I was in school.
  • Having your mind filled with knowledge and to continue your lifelong journey of learning. (I am sort of serious)

The bad:

  • For the kids, it is the homework, getting up early and the lousy slop that they call pizza at the cafeteria.
  • Finding out that you have a first period gym class or worse a challenging subject like calculus or physics.  After the summer off and sleeping in you don’t want to tax your body or your brain that early.
  • The drama associated with the bus ride for the elementary school kids. On top of that, it seemed like every year I would get on the bus first in the morning and be the last to be dropped off in the afternoon.  Spending 45 minutes on a bus is no fun.
  • Traffic gets worse during the morning and afternoon rush hour.
  • For the parents the running kids to various school related activities.
  • For the parents they also have to deal with homework every night making sure the assignments get done. I personally think they assign too much homework these days.
  • For parents taking a hit to the budget to get clothes for the new school year can be a shock.

I hope this brings back some memories for you and I hope that back to school is mostly a good thing for you. Have a great week.

Written by pacelinebiz

August 28, 2016 at 8:01 am

Answers Please

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I Need Answers

I Need Answers

  • Why is it that when the fan on your car is in the off position it stills blows cold or hot air on you?  It never used to be that way.   Is this an example of better technology?
  • Why is coffee at most restaurants served just below the boiling point?
  • Why does it seem like “certain restrictions” apply to everything?
  • Why is the self-serve tub of ketchup usually empty at fast food restaurants?
  • Why do they call chicken nuggets, chicken?  They should be called imitation, pasteurized, substitute chicken product in nugget form.  Aren’t they made of 58% newspaper and the rest is equal parts animal by-product, partially hydrogenated palm kernel oil, saw dust, water, yellow dye #32 and high-octane lighter fluid?
  • Does anyone else think that Comedian Jim Gaffigan has made almost as much from hot pockets as the hot pocket company did?
  • Is virtual reality for people who can’t handle reality?  It seems to me that it is an exercise in fooling oneself.  Are we a world of fools?
  • I will answer this one myself — Pokemon Go?  NO!
  • Does anyone else miss full service gas stations besides me?
  • Does time move slower from Monday night to Thursday morning than it does from Friday night to Monday morning?

I hope I can get my questions answered and I hope you get your questions answered as well.  Have a great week.

 

Written by pacelinebiz

August 21, 2016 at 8:01 am

Honda CR-V Review – One Year Later

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He Likes Me; He Really Likes Me

He Likes Me; He Really Likes Me

Last year I purchased a Honda CR-V and wrote a review after 3 months of use. I spoke of some negatives and after driving it for one year I can say that the biggest problem that remains is the lack of automatic headlights. The other problems I spoke of turned out to not be that big of a deal. They were the lack of true intermittent wipers and a dash-board display of tire pressure.

The positives noted in the initial review still ring true and it drives well with little body roll and the engine and drive train provide great acceleration or throttle response. The lack of XM satellite on a base model still aggravates me but we bought an aftermarket option that is adequate.  It was installed by the retailer in a poor location on the dash and the antenna frequently disconnects and has to be fixed by jiggling the connection. This is more than mildly irritating.  If the installation was better perhaps this would be fine.  As it is we are satisfied but not overjoyed with radio.

The fuel economy is astounding and we could not be happier. It gets about 30 MPG around town and about 36 on the highway.   We have not had to do any repairs and the only money spent on it has been routine oil changes.  We thought about buying an aftermarket rear compartment cover to hide anything stored back there but after a year the need seems less important. The cost is only about $100 but we never seriously pursued it after initially thinking we might.

The bottom line is; I rate this purchase a 94 out of 100 and would recommend it to anyone in the SUV market.  Happy motoring.

Written by pacelinebiz

August 14, 2016 at 8:01 am

Tennessee Vacation

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7 states on a clear day

7 states on a clear day

This summer I was fortunate to take a couple mini vacations.  In June I went to Gatlinburg, Tennessee to check out the mountains and enjoy the wildlife.  I avoided nearby Pigeon Forge and all the tourist attractions.  I did see a black bear and several deer and even a turtle that was crossing the road as I toured the Smokey Mountain National Park.  I visited a farm that was founded in the early 1800’s by rugged pioneers.  This place was remote even in 2016; I can’t imagine what it was like then!  I cooked some juicy steaks on the grill and enjoyed a swim.  It was in the mid 90’s even at the higher elevation so a dip in the pool was quite refreshing.

About a week later my wife and I spent a long weekend outside of Chattanooga at a bed and breakfast.  We visited Rock City which was nearby and spent an evening in downtown Chattanooga checking out the local scene and stopped in at a wine bar to escape the nearly 100 degree temperatures.  We also checked out the Riverwalk and an outdoor flea market by the University of Tennessee-Chattanooga football stadium.  We browsed local produce, arts and crafts and had to buy some kettle corn that was made as we watched.

After the flea market we had lunch at a BBQ restaurant and headed back to the B & B to check out the pool.  They served locally roasted coffee all day long and I enjoyed some with my frequent snacks that were also served in the afternoons and evenings.  The breakfast offerings were very good with a breakfast burrito one day and Belgian waffles the next.  Again I enjoyed the coffee to wash it down.

On Sunday night we decided to travel about 30 minutes west of town and have dinner at a local winery that overlooked the Tennessee River. The wines were made from California grown grapes but were made, bottled and aged on site.   We sampled a flight of their offerings and had dinner there.  They had a wood fired oven that made a very tasty pizza.  You can’t beat pizza, wine and a terrific view on an outdoor balcony to end the day.  We took home a bottle of wine to enjoy and remember our trip.

It had been a long time since I had a chance to get away and relax.  I recommend it!  If you can’t get away before summer ends, try a fall excursion to view the colorful leaves as they reach their peak in you area.  Have a great week.

Tennessee River

Tennessee River

Don’t Call Us We’ll Call You

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Obsolete

Obsolete

No, I am not giving you the stiff arm. I am no longer in possession of a traditional land line telephone number.  As of early June I cut the cord to the land line and now we rely on our cell phones.  This move was made easier since our 2 year contract was up and in the past two years the cell phone reception has improved.

This elimination of a seldom used resource saved about $34 per month. This is not a large sum of money but why pay for something that provides no value?  The question you might ask is; what are we going to do with the $408 annual savings? Lucky for you I have a list!  Check it out below.

  • Pay for a modest a weekend getaway – the saving should cover the cost of a hotel for two nights and money for activities. I don’t have to add in dinner as a cost since we normally go out to eat on Friday and Saturday night.
  • Four new tires for one of our cars – not sexy but I would rather have fresh rubber on my ride than a useless land line that only gets calls from telemarketers.
  • Trick out my bike with lightweight wheels – replace MPH that is lost by aging with technology!
  • Drive 4,896 miles for “free” at $2.50 per gallon and at 30 MPG.
  • Buy about eight candy bars per week every year at $1 each. Not recommended but you COULD do it.
  • Sponsor a child overseas for $1 a day.
  • Contribute half of it to a good cause and use the rest to pay down debt.
  • Save the $34 each month at 4% and in 15 years you would have $8,367.10 to blow however you like.
  • Depending on your age, buy a term life insurance policy for $100,000 to $300,000 face value.
  • Get the neighbor kid to cut your grass every other week for six months. I like that idea!
  • Buy a chair for the living room that only you are allowed to sit in like Archie Bunker.
  • Buy a gift for your spouse and treat her like she deserves – unlike Archie Bunker.

Maybe you can find a way to save a few bucks each month and have fun deciding what to do with it. Have a great week.

Transparency Versus Deception

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Why Charge Extra For Hi Def?

Why Charge Extra For Hi Def?

I recently changed from Satellite TV to a Cable TV provider and this is my story. I had been getting mail from a Cable TV provider for some time and finally decided to make the effort to switch from Satellite.  I could have done this a year ago but the laws of inertia were working in the favor of the incumbent provider.  See my blog about inertia by clicking here.

I called and asked about the $89 per month offering for a TV and internet bundle. This was the lowest tier offered but it was comparable to what we had with the satellite.  After dealing with these larger companies for cell phone, TV and internet in the past I suspected I would not be paying $89 per month but a larger number after taxes and hidden fees were applied.

Little did I know how much these hidden fees and taxes would amount to. Here are the details of my actual monthly bill with my comments to follow after the total is enumerated:

Deception? You Decide.

Deception? You Decide.

Incidentally, with my very first bill that arrived they announced price increases of $1.75 for the broadcast TV fee, $2.00 for the regional sports fee so my new monthly bill will be $43.04 higher than the teaser rate of $89.99 which is almost 50% of the original rate. The taxes and governmental fees of $11.10 are out of their control so I can give them a pass but the rest is deceptive if I can’t get the package without paying the additional fees.  It is like restaurant offering an entrée for a stated price and then charging for the tablecloth, napkins, dinnerware, and a chair to sit on.

Let me go further into the absurdity of some of these charges. They are charging $13.94 for high definition receivers!  Even I, Mr. Late adopter of technology, no longer own a low def tube TV.  I don’t think you can buy a TV that is not high definition and that probably has been the case for three to five years.  Why charge extra for something that is essential?!

I also take exception to the broadcast TV fee and the regional sports fees. They are part of the package and if these are simply charges that are passed on to the customer please include them in the base price.  They don’t sell cars with an up-charge if you want tires.

Despite the additional charges I am still saving about $25 per month and have internet speeds that are double what I had previously so I am satisfied with the switch but am already disappointed that they rolled out another $3.75 in charges on my first bill. That really says thanks for being a customer, now that we have you locked in for two years let the gouging begin.  It is a shame that I am resigned to expect this from a company.  Have a great week, if you can, after reading this.

Written by pacelinebiz

July 24, 2016 at 8:01 am