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4.3.17

An Open Letter to Ohio Drivers

Dear Ohio Drivers (or more specifically, Southern Ohio and Northern Kentucky Drivers),

Since moving to the state of Ohio JC and I have had a steep learning curve due to the local cultural idiosyncrasies. (whoever said that all states in the US were made the same?) And while we've managed to adjust, there is one area that still concerns us. But I don't think that concern is unjustified. We commute on I75 everyday. There are accidents, everyday. It's March and there have already been over 200 accidents. Seriously, not cool guys. So, here is an incomplete list (in no particular order) of our grievances.

1. Speed Limits - while speed limits are generally accepted as "enforced" suggestions and not a hard rule there are still do's and don'ts.
Do: Go within ten mph of the speed limit if conditions permit (weather or traffic)
Don't: Go 75 in a 40 mph construction zone

2. Rain - water on the road can cause hydroplaning (loss of control)
Do: Be attentive (read: stay off of your phone), especially to the cars around you and to any spots on the road where water has collected. Keep your hands loose on the wheel and don't be heavy with the break.
Don't: Slow down to 20 mph on the interstate with your emergency lights on. If you insist on doing this, move over to the right lane and don't stay in the middle of the interstate. You are a hazard to other drivers that actually know how to drive in the rain.

3. Stop Lights - The engineers of Cincinnati lights understood the local driving culture. Here, After the light turns red, there is a long(ish) pause before the cross traffic light turns green. This prevents accidents as there is always someone running the red light.
Green light - go after checking that there is no cross traffic.
Yellow light - do NOT speed up. This is not a warning that you need to hurry up to make it through the light. This is why red lights are run (that, and lack of attention to speed). DO slow down and come to a stop. A YELLOW light mean SLOW DOWN and STOP.
Red light - You should have stopped by then (see yellow light).

4. Tail-gating - this does not mean attending a social gathering before a Bengals game, it means driving too close behind the car in front of you. What is too close? Well, that will depend on road/weather conditions and speed. When I am going 70 mph, I like to keep around 4 seconds between me and the car in front of me. I keep a mental track by selecting a point that the car in front of me passed and then counting how long it takes me to reach that same point. This does keep a gap in front of me for a car in another lane to enter, but at 70 mph one car length is not going to make difference in arrival time.

5. Zippering - this is a term used generally for interstate on ramps but can be applied to any road that converges from say two lanes to one lane. What zippering means is that cars take turns (remember in kindergarten when the teacher taught you how to take turns with that awesome toy? No. You don't. Or else you wouldn't be such a horrible person when it comes to taking turns during zippering). 
Do: If you're in the lane that is ending - turn on your blinker to indicate your desire to merge and be aware of the drivers that are in the lane next to you.
Don't: If you're in the lane that is being merged into - don't be a jerk. It helps the flow of traffic, really it does. Let a car in front of you. It doesn't have to be a whole row of cars (that doesn't help you) but one car. That's how zippering works. You take turns. A car from one lane goes, and then a car from the other lane, and back and forth.

6. Blinkers - Ever wished that there was a device to indicate to other cars what you intend to do? There is! It's called a blinker (or turn signal). EVERY car has one.
Do: Use your blinker to indicate intent to switch lanes (preferably in advance but don't take too long) and intent to turn into a street or parking area.
Don't: Keep your blinker on after it's intended use or not use it all.

7: Phones - are a distraction. Period.
Do: Keep your phone out of reach if it's a distraction. Or use a hands-free setting.
Don't: Text, talk, email, web browse, or otherwise use your phone.

While this list may be in no means complete, these are our major concerns. Personally, I really wish that everyone in Ohio had to retake the driving test every 5 years (or 10 if there were no traffic violations on their record) to be reminded of how to properly drive.

But in summary, Ohio Drivers: you are the worst.

EO and JC

28.1.17

The Devil is Real

JC and I have been saving our pennies, essentially since we married, in the hopes of one day purchasing a house. Last year we felt we were ready to take the plunge into the scary world of home-owners. Early in 2016 (like February or March), JC called our bank to ask about a mortgage. They ran a credit check and my score was over 100 points lower than what it had been when JC checked at Christmas. Since I am not a big spender, I don't have any delinquent loans, or secret off-shore bank accounts this was a red flag. The bank did not know why my credit score would be low so JC pulled my credit reports. The reports showed that I had a delinquent account with Comcast. I have not had an account with Comcast in years.

When we lived in C-ville, JC and I used Comcast. For internet, in C-ville there are really only two options: the first is a very expensive local provider, the second is Comcast. As young newly weds and college students we went with Comcast. The service was awful (as in unreliable). Our internet would frequently stop working, we would call Comcast, they would send a guy out to do service, and then we may or may not have internet again. It was ridiculous. I has in school and had homework assignments that required reliable internet usage. We ultimately decided to end our contract with Comcast and I would do my homework either on campus or at my in-laws.
After that our lives became much happier.
And that was the last time I have held a Comcast account.

So to hear that I had an account with them was laughable. JC was able to get the address and name on the account (Texas and not my name). We were confused why an account held in a state that I had never been to (nor did I know anyone living there) and not in my name would be linked to me. There is no way to directly access the Comcast fraud department and when you call in using the number provided on their website, none of the employees knew how to transfer you to that department. Frustrated, I got onto Comcast's Facebook account and left really bad reviews. Service employees responded to my complaints and we were finally able to get in contact with their fraud department. We spent over a month working with the department. They couldn't do anything but helped us figure out what paper work we needed.

Part of the paper work involved me going to the police station to file a report. The officer thought it was ridiculous and tried calling Comcast who refused to talk to him unless he had a court document.

JC drove to Indiana (where the closest Comcast office is) to get documentation on our most recent Comcast accounts because they would not send them over the phone. The employee at the office could not figure out how to print our accounts as the system was preventing her. She promised to mail them to JC who made the 90 minute drive back home and we received them in the mail a week later. I then filled out the paperwork and sent it in along with the police report, four months later my credit score was fixed (to be fair, the long wait here could be because of the credit agencies and not Comcast as scores are not frequently updated).

What happened, when the person in Texas opened an account with Comcast they gave my SSN. I have no idea how they got my SSN (they could have used a random generator). But here are the important questions: why did Comcast need a SSN to open that account? Neither JC nor I have ever given our SSNs to open internet accounts. Why was the information associated with that SSN not checked? JC and I used to be apartment managers we would run background and checks using the prospective tenants SSN and other provided information. Had a Comcast employee run a credit check when the account was opened they would have seen that the SSN and name did not match and this whole nightmare would not have happened.

This cartoon accurately depicts my feelings:


And we will never have an account with Comcast again.

21.1.17

Mis pensamientos

Creo que el puesto de Presidente de los Estados Unidos debe ser respetado. No puedo gustarme Donald Trump pero respetaré su oficina y oraré para que sea un buen presidente. El respeto no implica la fe ciega, pero pide que la oficina se mantenga a altos estándares. El cambio climático es real. Es major construer puentes que paredes. No es solo de los estadounidenses, ya que todos compartimos este mismo planeta; Estamos todos juntos en esto. Construyamos puentes para cruzar ríos de malentendido. 
Tengo miedo de Trump pero tengo esperanza para el futuro.

Dios bendiga a todos.


Decidimos "celebrar" su inauguración con comida rica Mexicana :)