Happy 14th Birthday Adan!

Today we celebrate Adan’s 14th birthday. He’s grown a lot both physically and mentally 🙂 He’s becoming quite a wonderful young man.

Here he is having fun with some sunglasses I got from work.

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His baseball jersey.

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Soccer player

Marco’s been super busy playing soccer with both his middle school team and his club soccer team. He’s not getting a lot of playing time on middle school during the conference games which he expected being one of the few 7th graders on a team full of 8th grade veterans. But his club soccer team hasn’t been playing him as often as he wanted despite working equally hard.

So to hopefully cheer him up and keep up his spirits I write him a poem, I guess you can call it a poem. At 5:40am I came up with this (I revised it a bit to add more).

Soccer Player by Jesus Rodriguez

When I’m on the bench, I do not feel fine.
I’m not a bench warmer, I’m putting in time.

When I play defense, I will be agile and fast.
When I play defense, nothing will get past.

When I play offense, I will not bore.
As the offense, I will shoot and score.

As the goalie, I will block all.
Because as the goalie, I am a brick wall.

Nothing will cause dismay.
Because soccer is what I play.

Voter id

NC is looking to enact a voter id bill to help “protect” against voting fraud, primarily pushed for by conservatives because clearly that is why they must be losing elections. But what I find funny is that in NC, conservatives have one many of the seats that were up for re-election including the governorship. I think this bill will ultimately bite them in the butt when the tides shift.

Here are some “voter fraud” links:

How widespread is voter fraud?

Inaccurate, Costly, and Inefficient…

How Much Voter Fraud Is There?

North Carolina On Cusp Of Passing Worst Voter Suppression Bill In The Nation

North Carolina Voter ID Opponents React To Bill’s Passage, Vow To Continue To Fight

While I have a valid government issue ID and am ok with showing it to vote, my biggest problem with the bill is that I don’t believe there is widespread voter fraud as this bill claims to solve. Personally I don’t see the need for this bill.

Made in the USA

It was time for a new pair of sneakers. I’ve always been a Nike fan, but this time I wanted to look for a pair of sneakers made in the USA. It is EXTREMELY difficult nigh impossible to find a pair made in the USA. Turns out the only company I could find that made shoes here was New Balance, even then it is only a few of them. I ended up getting the 990v3 in Navy

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It’s sort of a shame that we don’t have more things made in the USA, but I believe we are willing to pay the prices that made in the USA would cost. I wish it were easier to find made in the USA products though.

Brick and Mortar stores

Usually I’m an online shopping kind of person, but there are times I need the item today. While Amazon Prime can get it to me next day,  that’s not always good enough. Here’s what I think every brick and mortar store needs to do to compete successfully with online retailers like Amazon.

I want to be able to buy *ANY* item you carry online and pick it up in the store, I’m not interested in WEB ONLY products or products you don’t even carry that are sold through other vendors. So far the best buy and pick up in store experience I’ve had has been with Sears. I take my receipt in, scan it and 2 minutes later a guy comes out with my goods to put them in my car. Unfortunately, Sears suffers from the WEB ONLY or products they don’t sell problem which sucks. One of the worst  in store pickup experiences comes from Lowes hardware. They take FOREVER to get the item. Sometimes having to call several times to get someone to go retrieve it. This summer I went in to pick up a range hood for the kitchen, it took 20+ minutes before they got the item. That’s just ridiculous, I even offered to go get it myself.

Another thing that brick and mortar stores suck at is SHIPPING items from their site. We recently orders some items from Kohls, let’s just say it’s been more than a week and I still haven’t gotten all of the items 🙂 They take way too long to ship items or their shipping prices are more than the actual items, like IKEA. They charge $249 to ship in NC for a $170 desk, grant it they have an excuse furniture is heavy. Still we ordered a TV cabinet from Amazon and got FREE shipping on it, like this TechCraft credenza. That was one heavy box and yet it was FREE to ship. So between high priced shipping or slow shipping, brick and mortars have a long way to go.

I realize that brick and mortars make their money by having consumers wandering through the store so they buy more, but I’d argue you’d get more people to come in if they could see you have the item, and be able to purchase and pickup at the store. It’s a sale they probably wouldn’t have had anyway.

And yet another thing is INVENTORY. Why is it so hard in 2012 to have an accurate inventory accessible online? I went with a friend recently to Radio Shack to pickup an item that online showed In Stock only to have the store be out of stock. Really? have we made no advances in technology to keep track of inventory?

For now, unless I need the item TODAY, I’ll stick with shopping online at Amazon, Crutchfield, Newegg, and Monoprice. Maybe one day, hopefully before they go out of business, brick and mortar stores will figure out how to compete effectively with online retailers.  Happy online shopping folks!