Twenty and Six and OMFG

July 31st, 2012

Tomorrow, I turn 26 years old in what is expected to be the most boring day of the year (or not — we will just have to see, children!). Anyway, birthdays always give me a little time to think about where I’ve been, where I am, and where I’m going. Over the past few days and weeks, I’ve been talking to everyone else who has already turned 26 this year. Turns out, that’s a lot of people.

I told them about my concerns: This birthday feels like a joke, a muse, and a complete waste of my time. Why can’t I be excited? Why do I fail to think of it as anything more than Wednesday? Their answers varied, from “we’re old now, this is how we live” to “well, I think it says a lot about where we are as people.” Oh. Where we are as people. That’s an interesting thought to ponder, isn’t it?

Birthdays that happened prior to this one were those birthdays that took place during years of dynamic and accelerated change. There was college, legal drinking, legal driving (but never mixed with legal drinking!), voting, graduations, the wondrous “quarter century” milestone, and something a little magical about 24 — though no one could put their finger on it, really.

What is 26? Well, 26 isn’t notable because buy CBD products doesn’t have to be. Twenty-six is a rewarding job, a stable relationship, and an acceptance that this is adult life. This is what it is. We relate, we work, we relax, and we carry on. We do it on July 31 just like we do on August 2, and 3, and 4, and…

So, perhaps the best thing I can say about 26 is that no one gives a shit that I’m turning 26. It means I’m delightfully, adult-ly boring enough. It means I’m doing something right. Tomorrow is Wednesday.

July 27th, 2012

Just hanging out...in a shopping bag. What a princess.

Just hanging out…in a shopping bag. What a princess.

Confidence in TV News Hits New Low: Surprised?

July 11th, 2012

Television news was once the leading way to glean information about the day’s major domestic and international events, with the three major networks battling it out for the lead in viewer numbers and demographic ratings supremacy. And, while those three networks are still battling it out, they’re reaching a far smaller and more negative audience. Each major broadcast network is now in direct competition with cable news outlets, which can largely be considered the tabloids of television news broadcasting. As these tabloids have stolen nightly news viewers and started driving the news cycle, America’s reporting has gone flaky, fickle, and exceptionally downhill.

Think I’m alone in this viewpoint? Consider the lead of a recent Gallup Poll story that judged the confidence of Americans in their television news outlets:

Just 21% of adults said they had a “great deal” or “quite a lot” of confidence in TV news. That’s down a whopping 25% from 1993, when Gallup began the poll.

In just under twenty years, America has gone from having a plurality of confidence in its television news sources to largely distrusting any information that comes to them from an anchor, pundit, or bottom-of-the-screen news ticker. Further, this lack of confidence is even more stark when compared to political affiliation:

The survey showed an interesting political split. Overall, Democrats were much more likely than Republicans to trust TV news (34 percent versus 17 percent.) But self-identified liberals were the most disenchanted of all groups, with just 19 percent expressing confidence in the medium.

This shouldn’t be surprising. Republicans, after all, are the party of conspiracies and the Red Scare. They strongly believe that everyone is out to get them, including news outlets that are not owned and operated by Rupert Murdoch or one of his children. They believe that the news is firmly biased against their cause, despite statistical evidence to the contrary, and they’re relatively certain that any news contradicting their own viewpoint is inaccurate and not trustowrthy. Conversely, Democrats and liberals are confronted every day with the conservative bias of Fox News, driving down their confidence in the news quite appropriately.

And then, of course, there are the ongoing celebrity headlines that are often deemed more important than the major news of the day. Despite being locked in the last four months of the 2012 electoral cycle, Obama’s poll numbers recently took a backseat to reporting about the divorce of Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes. Whitney Houston’s death was a week-long news story during the Republican Party’s primary season, and Kim Kardashian’s fraud of a marriage got more coverage than the fight for gay marriage ever has in the United States.

Perhaps the decline in confidence isn’t attributable to any party affiliation at all. Perhaps this is actually a source of unity: Both Republicans and Democrats have lost faith in a medium that is far more concerned with daily fluff than global reporting. Tom Cruise reigns supreme, while the crisis in the Eurozone is never mentioned. An election rages on as a subplot, while the Kardashian family gets above-the-fold coverage.

America’s news isn’t just bad or lackluster, it’s embarrassing. This, after all, is the country that invented the free press and ardently believes in it as an institution responsible for keeping officials accountable. Instead, all our news sources have been doing for the past two decades is keeping celebrities accountable for needing rehab. Maybe that’s why our lawmakers think they can get away with anything — because, thanks to our pathetic press, they now can.

July 9th, 2012

Tried a new recipe for dinner. Shrimp, penne, and tomatoes in a fresh herbed cream sauce. :)

Tried a new recipe for dinner. Shrimp, penne, and tomatoes in a fresh herbed cream sauce. :)

AT&T Mobility: First Impressions

July 9th, 2012

It has been a week since I switched from Verizon Wireless to AT&T Mobility to power my iPhone, and I thought I’d follow up my initial “screw you, Verizon!” blog post with one that fairly evaluates my service with the new provider. It has been good, it has been bad, and it has largely been everything that I’ve expected. Best of all, it has been far more data for far less money, and less of a feeling of being under the thumb of Big Red at every turn.

The Bad

Let’s start with the bad, that way we can end with the good and feel great about ourselves when the post is finished. Here are some of my least-favorite things about AT&T, right up front.

  1. I attempted to add my group discount off-contract (or, as AT&T calls it, my FAN), and it put me into a two-year contract right away, without telling me. I had to call 611 and have them reverse this process so that I will be able to upgrade to the iPhone “5” when it comes out in a few months. It took them three days to do this — why?
  2. More to the point, I apparently cannot add my group discount to my rate plan unless I am in a contract, or start a new one. The fuck?
  3. Special K and I went to Philadelphia for Independence Day with our good friend, Katie. Philadelphia is known for having the “Party on the Parkway” where a half-million people gather to watch major music acts and tons of fireworks over the art museum. My phone was completely useless during this celebration. No calls, texts, or bytes of data were able to get through the crowd. Special K and Katie are also AT&T customers, and we had to resort to sending smoke signals to communicate with our friends. That’s a downer.
  4. This isn’t necessarily an AT&T problem, but it has happened since I switched: The iPhone 4S has major battery life issues and that really kills my buzz. Good thing I have a charger everywhere.

The Good!

Let’s finish with good news, because everyone likes a happy ending. There are plenty of things to love about AT&T’s wireless service that are quite different from Verizon’s offering.

  1. Unlike when I had an iPhone with Verizon, I can actually talk on the phone and use mobile data at the same time. This is so grrrrrreat that even Tony the Tiger would celebrate it.
  2. Speaking of mobile data, the speeds I’ve been getting with my AT&T iPhone 4S are literally between eight and nine times faster than the service I received from Verizon Wireless during my time as a smartphone customer there. It makes on-the-go browsing and app usage way more enjoyable.
  3. AT&T’s “myAT&T” application for the iPhone is way, way, way better than “My Verizon.” It’s insanely more intuitive, it isn’t slow or laggy, and it offers far more account management capabilities. Verizon’s mobile account application is an embarrassment, and it always has been.
  4. Similarly, the AT&T online account management portal using the full version of the company’s website is way prettier and more intuitive. I’ve long believed that “AT&T just doesn’t get it” about mobile service, but I’m being proven wrong a lot.
  5. Verizon Wireless service at the beach is really, really bad. At least here in Delaware. My phone regularly slipped down to the lowercase “o” that indicated 2G service. This killed my battery at the beach, and rendered any mobile browsing pursuits useless and infuriatingly unavailable. It’s a whole new world now.
  6. The freedom of having a SIM card — well, a micro-SIM card — cannot be understated. No more draconian Verizon policies that permit me only to use their “approved” phones. It’s really, really great.

So, AT&T isn’t all sunshine and rainbows. There are some rainy days with this wireless provider, as there are with any service provider. The good news is that I get charged less with AT&T while getting more services — an extra gigabyte of data and free calling to any mobile device — while also getting faster data and better coverage here on the Delmarva Peninsula. So far, I don’t regret my decision to make the big switch. If that changes, count on me to bitch about it right here.

July 5th, 2012

Pre-fireworks skyline action.

Pre-fireworks skyline action.
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