Stealing Cars & Groceries: Nobody Cares

Car alarms are useless. It doesn’t matter what kind of car you own, whether it’s a Lexus or a Hyundai, there is no real protection offered to you in the case of auto theft. I’ve never been the victim of this sort of crime in my life, but if it happens to me, I can’t say that I would be surprised. Just today I heard a car alarm going off in a grocery store parking lot, and neither me nor any of the people in the area cared enough to see what was going on. That’s just the way it is. An alarm is seen as more of an annoyance rather than an alert that something bad is going on, which is why I find car alarms completely useless and ridiculous. I click the button on the remote a couple times, first for the initial lock and the second to make sure the alarm is set, but that doesn’t really matter at all because nobody cares. Unless you are within eyesight of your car being broken into, the thieves will get away with whatever they want, and unfortunately this doesn’t just apply to automobiles.

As I left the grocery store today, I was behind a woman who set off the stores alarm when leaving, and and she didn’t even stop, not that it mattered because an employee was quick to offer her an apology for the “malfunction” and send her on her way. For all anyone knew this person could have stolen every item in her cart, but because nobody cared, she left the store free of any suspicion that any wrongdoing had taken place. The popular phrase, “the customer is always right” seems to take away any responsibility of the customers that shop at a particular store, one that is much more interested in having said customer return than the potential loss that is taken if a non trustworthy person decides to walk out the door with more groceries than they have paid for. I just don’t get it, and I wonder why stores let people get away from the flashing lights and beeping sounds of the security sensors as if the store is the one at fault.

I don’t plan to steal a car or anything from a grocery store but I have to say that it seems pretty easy to do so. When was the last time you heard a car alarm in the parking lot and actually went to investigate what was going on. That is somebody else’s problem, just like when a teenage employee doesn’t think twice about the person leaving the store while alarms go off all around them. I don’t condone stealing, but if other people are getting away with it then why should I continue to pay my weekly grocery bill at full cost? Don’t people care enough about what they own to step in and put an end to this madness? The evidence clearly says no, and that is why I won’t be surprised if either of my cars are stolen at some point in the near future.

How to Fix Bad Driving

There are few things that I hate in life more than bad drivers. I hate them because their actions directly impact the lives of innocent people who just happen to be within close proximity of them, and it’s not fair to anybody that actually follows the rules of the road. The two most common types of bad drivers I encounter on a daily basis, are people on their phones and people driving too slow. There are already steps being taken and laws being passed to keep people off their phones, but when it comes to people driving too slow, there is a lot more that needs to be done. The other day I was on the interstate, the speed limit sixty-five miles an hour, and I was behind a car that wasn’t even going fifty, and this isn’t a rare occasion for me, often the victim of being stuck behind someone driving well below the speed limit. When I was finally able to switch lanes and pass the offending car, I looked over to see an elderly woman, hunched over the steering wheel, squinting to see out of the windshield ahead of them, and I thought to myself that this person should not be driving.

I get that it’s tough getting older, when things that used to be so easy for someone become increasingly more difficult, but it’s just irresponsible to let bad drivers, regardless of their age or experience operating a vehicle, drive among us. That is why I think that a driving test should be required every couple of years, to ensure that drivers continue to operate at acceptable levels. It’s a pain to renew your drivers license, standing in long lines, but I’m of the opinion that this should be done every two years along with having to pass a written and road driving test. I would be more than willing to spend a few hours of my day every couple of years renewing my license, if it meant that our roads were safer. I’m not just saying that elderly people are the only bad drivers out there, because they are not. I’m amazed at how many people don’t know how a four way stop is supposed to work, or what to do if a stoplight isn’t operating, and a written test would ensure that drivers kept up with the laws rather than cramming the information into their heads to pass the test at fifteen, then forgetting the bulk of what was learned.

In addition to the written test, the driving portion would also help solve the issue of keeping people off the roads, who are no longer able to drive safely. I would say that most people pick up bad driving habits over the years, and that is direct result of not having to prove one’s driving ability after the initial test. If I were president, this would be a top priority for me, because in 2015 more than 35,000 people died in a car accident, and I would bet that most of those were caused by an irresponsible or bad driver. Driving is a part of every day life, and unfortunately it claims way too many innocent lives, which could easily be avoided if there was something in place to keep more bad drivers off the road. Maybe necessary changes will take place in the coming years, but until that time, I will continue to drive defensively with my head on a swivel, trying to avoid any potential danger brought about by bad drivers.

My Opinion of Graduations

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Graduation is one of the single worst experiences we subject ourselves to willingly, whether we are the graduates attending our own ceremony or there to support someone we care about. I haven’t been to a graduation ceremony since my own, seven years ago, except for my sister-in-law’s, and unless I have kids and they are smart enough to make it through school, which isn’t a given if they inherit my passion for school, I might not attend a graduation for the rest of my life. I was living in Florida while my two brothers graduated from high school in Arkansas, so I missed those, and when they graduate college, I don’t expect them to subject themselves to a multi hour ceremony of mostly other people’s names being called, so I won’t have to go to those either. My cousins who are graduating high school, at least so far have urged me not to attend the ceremony, whether it be because they don’t want me to waste my evening sitting there, or they are embarrassed by my presence, I’m not sure, but nonetheless I’m very grateful for them not wanting me there.

For some people I’m sure graduation is a big deal, and something they will remember forever, but I’m not one of those people. I don’t even really remember anything from my own graduation, not the speech that was given or how I felt walking across the stage, nothing at all, except for the purple robe that I wore which I only remember because of the pictures that were taken. In the very unlikely event that I’m ever asked to give the commencement speech at a graduation I’ll have to decline, because honestly I can’t think of much else that interests me any less than speaking to a group of strangers and pretending that I have some profound knowledge to impart on them throughout their life’s journey. If someone thinks I have any kind of useful advice to give a younger generation of graduates, I’ll write a blog that they can read, and my effort will stop there.

I’ve been to my fair share of graduations over the years, for family members, and I’m happy for them at having accomplished their goals, but the only thing I can remember about any of these ceremonies is how bored I was, and how thankful I was when they finally ended. Maybe I’m in the minority here, but it’s hard for me to believe that anyone actually enjoys the entirety of a graduation ceremony. Each person in attendance is there to show their support for a single person or a select few individuals, and every other name called is vastly ignored waiting for the graduation to end. Perhaps principals or teachers enjoy watching a class leave their school forever, but I bet that is probably because they see it as a celebration at never having to see this group of people in the same room again. Life can be pretty monotonous as it is, so there’s no reason to subject yourself to anymore than is absolutely necessary, hence my opinion why you should, at all costs, avoid going to a graduation ceremony.

Seven Suspenseful Summer Reads

IMG_3647Summer is upon us and what better way is there to spend a lazy summer day or night than reading a good book that will keep you turning the pages to find out what happens next? Whether you are relaxing on the couch in the comfort of your air conditioned home, or headed to the beach to lay out in the sun, while the sound of the ocean crashes against the sand, bringing you to a total state of relaxation, I’ve got some suspenseful book recommendations to fill your summer with some of the best books you’ve ever read.

1. Angels and Demons: It’s not a new book, but one that if you haven’t read by now, you are truly missing out on one of the most thrilling books you are likely to find. Written by the author of The DaVinci Code, Angels and Demons, in my opinion is even more suspenseful and a much better and quicker read. This book is full of murder, and one man’s quest to find the assassin before he strikes again. If you’ve seen the movie, and found it pretty boring like I did, you will be thrilled by this fast paced novel that is so much better than the film.

2. Where’d You Go Bernadette: This book is the story of a young girl and her search to find her mother, who mysteriously disappeared. Told from the perspective of the daughter, Where’d You Go Bernadette, is both heartwarming and suspenseful, the perfect book to take on vacation.

3. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time: A neighborhood dog is murdered in the night, and the young narrator of the story, Christopher John Francis Boone takes it upon himself to investigate. It is a thrilling story of this boy, who isn’t your typical child, and the search for the truth. Written by Mark Haddon, it is definitely a must read if you haven’t thus far.

4. Thirteen Reasons Why: With the show based off this book coming on Netflix recently, it’s popularity has resurged. It’s the story of a box of audio tapes left on the front porch of high-school student Clay Jensen. The tapes feature a voice coming to him from his classmate who recently committed suicide, and tells him that he is one of the reasons why she did it. Throughout the course of the book, the thirteen reasons why she killed herself are revealed and we see how our words and actions can push someone over the edge. I read it in two days, so if you’re looking for a book that will have you turning the pages late into the night, desperate for answers, this is a good one for you.

5. The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo: This is the first book I can remember being up at two in the morning, reading and reading, with no regard for sleep because I was so compelled to find out what happens next. It’s the first book in a trilogy, so if you like it then the good news is there are two more novels to feast on. A girl from a wealthy and prominent families disappears as a child, and forty years later, desperate for answers, her uncle hires a journalist to uncover the truth. Go along with Mikael Blomkvist to as he attempts to find out what happened to that young girl so many years ago.

6. Disclaimer: This is the story of a woman reading a book that was mysteriously left to her, who throughout the course of reading it, realizes that she is the main character. The things she is said to have done will tear her family apart and ruin her life if it comes to light, which is exactly what the author wants to do. Written by Renee Knight, this thriller is one of my go-to book recommendations when someone asks my opinion, and one of the most suspenseful books I’ve ever read.

7. Gone Girl: This is the story of a girl who disappears, and the aftermath that follows. Each chapter alternates from the husband’s perspective to the journal entries of his missing wife. It is pretty evident from the beginning that something isn’t right in this seemingly happy marriage, and the search for the missing girl turns this small Missouri town upside down. You will be able to devour this book quickly, eager to find out what happened to the missing girl, and I recommend you get started immediately.

Happy Summer!

Rats in the Tub

Saturday afternoon I sat in the living room of my apartment, writing and watching the dogs scratch themselves. I heard a noise coming from somewhere else in the house, a scratching sound, but unlike the one made by the dogs ridding themselves of the nonexistent fleas. I walked down the hallway and the noise grew louder. It was coming from the bathroom. I opened the door and turned on the light, and to my horror, the scratching sounds were coming from the bathtub, accompanied by an eerie squeaking sound. I summoned my wife and brother-in-law to the scene, and they confirmed what I feared. We have rats in the bathtub. Fortunately they seemed to be inside the lining, with no apparent way to escape, but it’s still a very eerie feeling, living in such close proximity to the disgusting rodents.

I awoke in the middle of the night in the early hours of Sunday morning and in a sleepy haze, went to use the bathroom. I quickly woke up when I heard the scratching once again, this time louder than the previous day. It sounded like there were even more rats, and that they were closer than ever before. They had somehow escaped their prison in the lining of the bathtub and were now actually in the tub itself, was what I thought. I contemplated throwing the shower curtain aside to confirm my theory, but my fear that the rats might have climbed up the curtain and just be waiting to jump from it onto me, kept me from doing so, so I quickly used the bathroom then shut the door, a vain attempt to keep the rats from getting to me.

The next morning I woke up and the noise persisted. My wife had taken a shower, confirming that they weren’t actually in the bathtub, but knowing that I would have to spend more than a couple minutes in the bathroom and not wanting to be in such close quarters with the rodents for an extended period of time, I put on my shoes and drove down the street to Walgreens, and did my business there. It was probably a wise decision, given that rats eat trash they would have probably loved the smells I was producing and figured out a way to get closer to it. I didn’t want to, but societal rules dictate that normal human beings must shower on a regular basis, so later that morning I took a shower, washing quickly and glancing at the drain every few seconds, convinced that the rats would tunnel their way up through it and begin feasting on my toes. Clean and unbitten, I escaped, feeling pretty happy knowing that I wouldn’t have to put myself in such a risky situation until the next day. I am now terrified every time I go into the bathroom, and we have told our apartment’s management about the problem, but I’m not very confident that they will take care of it. They haven’t even fixed some of the electrical sockets that weren’t working when we moved in almost a year ago. We’re about to sign a new lease, because moving is so much more of a hassle than not, so I guess it’s time to accept my fate. I now live with rats, and will be doing so for the foreseeable future.

The Hockey Hat Trick: What Happens to all the Hats?

Hat TrickI just finished watching Game 6 of the NHL Western Conference Finals, and while it was a pretty exciting game, and I couldn’t be happier for the Nashville Predators and their fans for the big win and advancing to the Stanley Cup Finals, I did witness something during the game that is causing me quite a bit of concern. In the third period, Nashville’s Colton Sissons scored his third goal of the game, thus completing the hat trick, which was celebrated by Predators fans throwing hats onto the ice. I know this happens virtually every time someone scores three goals, but as I’m not an avid watcher of hockey I haven’t seen this happen live before and therefore never really gave it much thought. Tonight as I watched hats raining from the stands and people workers skating around trying to sweep up the hats as quickly as possible so the game could resume, I found myself wondering what happens to all of those hats.

There are three acceptable scenarios to what happens with the hats once they are swept off the ice, and although it’s possible that none of these things actually happen, I like to believe that we live in a society that does the right thing when it comes to deciding on important issues like what to do with all the hats thrown onto the ice during a hockey game. The first acceptable solution is that all the hats are put in a lost in found area, where fans who threw the hats could pick them up after the game, which would be ideal so the men don’t have to explain to their wives what happened to the twenty-five dollar hat that they bought them for Christmas, that he claimed was the perfect gift. It would obviously be complete chaos if everyone who threw their hat just showed up and started digging through a bin looking for their particular hat and this also would create the possibility of people who had no hat in the first place showing up and trying to claim one of the hats as their own, but I’ve got the perfect solution. If you’re going to throw your hat, write your first and last name on the underside of the bill. Hockey teams could employ people just to sort through thrown hats and arrange them alphabetically so when fans showed up to the lost and found area following the game, they could just show their drivers license and the hat could be returned to the rightful owner in a matter of seconds. Look at me creating jobs and solutions. I’m only twenty-six, but if you insist, I’ll consider running for president in nine years.

If the lost and found system proves to be too much of a hassle, then the second acceptable solution to the abundance of hats is giving them all to the player who scored the three goals and was responsible for this mayhem in the first place. You may be thinking, what would a professional athlete want with a box of other people’s smelly hats? It would be a nice memento to commemorate the occasion, plus hockey already has some pretty weird traditions, like throwing hats onto the ice, so maybe this would be right up the player’s alley. The third and final acceptable thing to do with the hundreds of hats thrown onto the ice after a hat trick, and my personal favorite, is storing them in a compartment below the scoreboard and dropping them onto the ice each time someone scores three goals in the future. Over time the hats would accumulate to such a large number that it would undoubtedly take a massive amount of time to clear them from the ice, allowing the home team the perfect opportunity to rub into the opponents face just how awesome they are and how many hat tricks their players have completed. Unless the hats are handled in one of these three ways, I don’t think I want to know the truth about what happens to them, because the truth would probably just end up disappointing me, and all of the other people out there who want to imagine we live in a society where throwing hats onto a hockey rink results in one of these awesome ways.

Selling my Playstation 4

In February I got a Playstation 4, and I was ecstatic. That was only three months ago, but now I think I’m going to sell it. I wrote a blog post when I got it, so I think it’s only fair to send it out the same way. For the last year or so I’ve wanted a playstation so bad, I got rid of my xbox that wasn’t fun anymore and I fantasized about the day when I would finally get a playstation, and don’t get me wrong, I loved it for a couple of weeks, but now it’s just sitting in my living room collecting dust, being used as the most expensive DVD player I’ve ever owned. In my adult life, that’s the way it’s been for me with video games. In my head I see myself playing for hours on end, becoming a zombie on the weekends not leaving the house or changing out of my pajamas, just sitting on the couch having so much fun playing the game that time imperceptibly flies by and I’m left wondering where the weekend went, but the reality is far different. I wake up with the intention of wasting my day, but I lose interest after about half an hour, checking the clock in disbelief at how little time has past.

Even growing up I wasn’t the sort of person who had my parents scold me for playing video games too much. I played them, but after a while it just got old, the only exception to the rule being my Tony Hawk game on Nintendo 64, but that game is long gone, along with my interest in video games. I want to be the type of person who loves video games, the kind of person who after making the initial purchase is rewarded with countless hours of fun, but that’s just not me, no matter how much I want it to be, so I decided that it would be in my best interest to sell the playstation and spend the money on something that I would actually enjoy, what that is, I have no idea. I’m not even sure how much I can get for selling the console. I spent over three hundred dollars on it, but when I asked somebody at Gamestop how much they would pay for it, they only offered $104, which is insultingly low in my opinion, not that I have a great sense of the video game industry and what my used playstation is worth.

I’ll probably put it for sale on Craigslist and hope that I don’t get murdered when I go to make the sale. If your or anyone you know wants a playstation 4, feel free to make me an offer. It’s in great condition, and has barely been used in the three months that I’ve had it. I’ll sell it with the latest Call of Duty game, and am willing to pay for shipping to you if the price is right. In all of this I have learned a very important lesson, don’t buy something just because I want to be the type of person who owns it. You can’t change who you are or what interests you, so forcing yourself to try to become something that you’re not is a waste of time and money. Hopefully I’ll remember that the next time I want to make a big purchase.