People Still Talk on the Phone

There is a misconception in the technology podcasting circuit that I would like to take issue with. That belief is that people generally no longer talk on the phone. I have heard this on tech podcasts countless times in recent years. Inevitably, a guest host will ask, “Who actually talks on the phone anymore?” They are trying to sell the incorrect assumption that in the era of modern smartphones, that those phones are not used for voice calls anymore. When the question is asked, virtually everyone on the panel agrees that people don’t engage in voice calling anymore at all.

That is absurd. Everybody talks on the phone. Yes. Even in 2017. I certainly do myself. I also see it happening around me all the time. All the time!

The hosts of these tech shows are so out of touch with reality that it has begun to irritate me. They spend most of their days surrounded by others in the field of technology — talking with journalists and other podcasters about the latest and greatest thing, and what is coming next. They live in a bubble without much interaction from “normal” consumers or users.

These tech folks also tend to live in or around Silicon Valley, or elsewhere in California. The state in which these podcasters live, I believe, plays into their thinking that people don’t talk on the phone anymore. I will explain.

In California (and many other states) it is illegal to drive while talking on the phone without using a hands-free device. People are ticketed for holding a phone up to their ear while driving down the road. Where I live, it is not illegal to do that. In fact, here it is so common to see people talking on the phone in their car that I see it happening in close to half of the cars around me at any given time. That’s not even an exaggeration!

When I’m driving to work at 7:30 in the morning, nearly half of the drivers in traffic are holding a phone up to their ear. Who are they talking to at 7AM? I’d like to know the answer to that. If anyone called me at that hour, I wouldn’t even answer. That aside, my point is that I see people around me every day that are talking on the phone, and not just in their cars. People in my office often sit outside and talk on their phones during lunch every day.

In the real world, most people are talking on their phones, at least to some degree.

Some of these tech journalists and podcasters need to get out of their echo chambers and talk to some real people sometime. Better yet, call one of them on the phone. I bet they will be more than happy to talk.

Fast Food Tipping

I have noticed a trend lately among pseudo fast food restaurants adding a tip line to their receipts. I do not care for this.

An argument can be made that tipping should be eliminated entirely, and that the cost should be rolled into the meal from the beginning. That would certainly make for a simpler dining experience. Having said that, I’m not trying to recreate the conversation from the beginning of the movie Reservoir Dogs, so I’ll table that discussion for another day. (See what I did there?)

Traditionally, we are accustomed to tipping servers at restaurants. I consider a “restaurant” to be an establishment where you are seated by a host or hostess. A server then takes your order, brings your food, and fills and refills your drinks.

We do not typically tip employees at fast food restaurants where the customer walks up to a counter, places an order, and walks away with food in their hand. Those people are employees, not servers. I do not believe that these employees need a tip from me for doing their job.

Recently, as I mentioned above, I’ve noticed a trend of fast food places attempting to guilt customers into tipping in addition to the cost of the meal. I’m not talking about a tip jar that they might have near the register. I have no problem with that, as it is entirely optional. I’m referring to a tip line being added to the receipt after a debit or credit card transaction.

I’ve been combating this trend. The easy solution is that I pay with cash at those places. When I pay with cash, all they are expecting from me is the price of the food. There is no forced mechanism that allows them to hint for something more.

I considered listing a few examples of fast food places that have added a tip line, but I figure there is no need to single them out. You get the idea. I’m not playing along.

Vehicles Should Have a Volume Limit

I have a long overdue complaint. I am sick and tired of hearing ridiculously loud cars on the road. I live near a relatively busy four-lane street. During heavy traffic hours, I am bombarded with the sound of a few extremely loud cars. During the milder months, I often like to open my windows. I am disturbed by the frequent sound — not of the overall traffic — but by the one car that is louder than fifty others combined.

As much as I am generally opposed to the addition of any additional traffic laws, I think that something needs to be done about this noise pollution nuisance.

I propose that it should be deemed illegal for a non-commercial vehicle to exceed a set volume limit. From now on, an audio test should be included as part of an annual vehicle inspection. I don’t know precisely what the limit should be. I’ll leave that to someone else to decide.

Large commercial vehicles such as buses and dump trucks can be exempt from such volume regulations. I have no problem with that. After all, they are massive machines. My issue is with the average citizen who modifies their muffler on their Honda Civic to intentionally blast as much noise as possible. Why do people do this? Do they think it impresses other drivers or something? It doesn’t. Those people (probably teenagers) are idiots. It is utterly obnoxious and it needs to stop.

The elephant in the room is the primary offender of outrageously loud machines -– motorcycles! There is absolutely no reason that a machine built to propel the weight of a single human being should make so much damn noise. When I am driving alongside a motorcycle, I am barely able to hear myself think over the roar of their deliberately loud engine. This needs to end. It is not right that a single individual is allowed to disrupt the lives of everyone around them for their own ego. I don’t care if I offend die-hard bikers with these remarks. Loud motorcycle engines need to be outlawed. Period.

I don’t know what else to add to this. You get my gist. The time has come for something to be done about this noise polluting atrocity. I am surprised that this issue has not already been addressed. Transportation needs to be silenced. End of story.

Go To Hell Aunty Acid

I despise the incredibly lame Aunty Acid cartoons. My hatred has reached the point that I am writing a blog post about it. It’s been on my Hate List for some time, but I feel the need to take it a step further and reemphasize my point.

First off, I don’t understand the difference between Aunty Acid on Facebook and those old Maxine greeting cards. In my mind, they are the same person. The characters are suspiciously similar. I suppose that Maxine is supposed to be a slightly older person, but who cares. They are both dumb.

Aunty Acid is half-witted cartoon character that propagates through Facebook. The themes and captions of the cartoons are incredibly lame and downright not amusing. Only old people would find any humor in it. That said, I know a few young people who take pleasure in sharing these stupid cartoons on their timelines. One friend of mine even has the audacity to post this crap on Instagram! The horror! I find that offensive on multiple levels. If we weren’t close friends, I would delete him.

I scold my friends who share this trash. They are well aware of how much I hate it. Keep in mind that we are talking about 30-year-olds. You would think they were 90 by sharing this garbage. I think less of anyone who finds any amusement in these awful cartoons.

I have had it up to here with seeing this bullshit. I can’t take it anymore. Someone needs to write a browser plugin that removes this garbage from the Internet. I do not ever want to see another Aunty Acid cartoon again. Ever!

I’m going to add a picture to this post, as an example, so you can see what I am talking about. But believe me, it pains me greatly to post such trash on my blog.

Aunty Acid can go to hell. Whoever makes a living drawing this shit needs to find a new line of work.

Aunty Acid

Hotel Master Bedroom

I have a grand idea for the ultimate master bedroom in my future house. I think that the master bedroom should be completely self-sustaining without regard to the rest of the house.

I want the bedroom to be an exact replica of a fancy hotel room, complete with all of the features of one. A king size bed would be the centerpiece of the room, but that’s only the beginning. The room should be fitted with a bathroom, shower, and walk-in closet, naturally.

Beyond that, it should have a desk, table and chairs, a small refrigerator, microwave, and a coffee pot. It should have everything a hotel room has. I want it to look exactly like a hotel room. In fact, I even want one of those large air conditioner/heater window units that I love listening to when I’m staying in a hotel. Crank it up.

The door to the room should be thick and heavy, complete with a peephole, and all of the appropriate locks. Perhaps toss in a mock card reader, for effect.

I love staying in hotels. This bedroom would be like a home away from home, except it is at home. It would be even better than a hotel, because in my room, the TV remote wouldn’t be nailed to the nightstand.

I should be able to live in this one room without needing to use the rest of the house at all. Imagine how convenient it would be when houseguests are staying over.

If I could direct a house to be built to my specifications, I would make this a reality. Wouldn’t it be awesome? Yes. Yes, it would.

Country Music Has Become a Joke

A popular local radio station recently changed their music format to country. The station had long been among my presets on my car stereo. In the past week, country tunes began working their way in to the mix as my radio scanned through the station presets. It was startling, and horrible.

I listened to some country music when I was growing up. I am still fond of the songs that I remember hearing when I was a kid. I don’t think I can only attribute that to pure nostalgia. Country music was actually pretty good back then. Artists like Kenny Rogers, Dolly Parton, George Strait, and Randy Travis all recorded some great music. I think that their songs appealed to a broader audience than country music does today. People who didn’t care for the genre could still find something in it to like.

Today, things have changed drastically. Country music has eroded to the point of being nothing but a caricature of itself. The songs I’ve heard on the new radio station are absolutely atrocious. Each song is more ridiculous than the one before it. All of the songs sound like music parodies. The amount of twang in this music has reached a level of absurdity. The genre is wearing dangerously thin. The tired rehashed themes that have been in practically every country song since the beginning of time are now completely played out.

I truly cannot imagine how anyone can listen to this music even for a moment and take it seriously. It’s become a joke. The people who consume this garbage and support this laughingstock of a genre need to take a giant step backward and hear this music for what it really is… Pure shit.