Category: random

Some Things Look Better On Paper :-)

Some Things Look Better On Paper :-)

When I plan trips, I always like leaving as early as possible on the departure day. This lets me get to my destination as early as possible, so I’ve got the full day to explore and enjoy it. I plan every trip the same way, and, like clockwork, I always second guess myself as the day approaches. I have those moments of thinking “What the heck was I thinking booking a flight out at 6:30am in the morning???”

I usually have these thoughts the day before, specifically the night before when I’m trying to go to bed at an ungodly early hour. I love to travel, and can barely contain my excitement before a big trip. I have yet to try the whole “staying up all night” approach, but since I can’t sleep on the plane (I’ve tried) I find myself trying to get even an hour or two of sleep before I leave.

Let’s take a look at this picture of the start of my itinerary; you can click on it to see a larger version:

 

 

I’m very granular when it comes to planning travel, because travel is supposed to be fun. I’d rather get as much planning done as possible in advance so I can just focus on enjoying it.  I use an app called TripIt for planning all of my travel, since it allows me to share my itineraries with family and friends. It’s extremely useful.

I’m due to drop off my car at 5:15am, which will give me enough time to get to the airport and through security. My flight doesn’t leave until 6:30am, but I’d rather be early than rush through and risk being late, or even worse, missing my plane entirely. Anyone who’s traveled through Austin-Bergstrom International Airport knows security lines can be hit or miss, regardless of the time of day.

Dropping off the car at 5:15am means I have to leave my apartment by about 4:30am or so. I should probably get up around 4:00am to have time to get a shower and quick bite in before I leave. This means that, to get enough sleep (I’m good with about 6 hours on an average night) I need to go to bed by 10pm. I can already say that’s not going to happen.

Maybe I’ll be in bed by 11:30pm, but probably be too excited to fall asleep. I may drift off to sleep by about 1, then be woken up by my alarm just 3 short hours later.

On the one hand… What was I thinking?

But on the other hand…and, I think, the bigger of the two proverbial “hands”:  I can’t wait, and I look forward to losing sleep at the expense of what looks to be a really fun upcoming trip.

I’ll be streaming live from Bermuda via Periscope, so be sure to download the app for iOS or Android and follow me on there (@iamjohnbamber).

I’ll be posting live blogs here as well, if you want to just see the current cruise postings you can do so at johnscruise.live or past cruise stuff at johnscruises.blog.

 

Bathroom Selfie Fail

Bathroom Selfie Fail


A friend of mine told me about a new app called Anchor that lets you record little mini snippets of audio, and turn them into sort of a little radio station type of thing. It’s pretty cool. The link above will take you to a segment I did about the picture, which is basically my failed attempt at a quick “bathroom selfie”.

If you click the link after a certain date it may not work, since Anchor only keeps content up for 24 hours. Either way, this seems like a funny start to the day.

Lesson learned: Actually check the camera position before taking said bathroom selfie.

A Review of My Apartment

A Review of My Apartment

I was originally going to post this on Yelp, as I typically would for a business that’s either gone far above or far below the line of good customer service. But, after reading it, I’d rather just share it here instead. Why? A number of reasons, the most important being the management company seems to be extremely “sensitive”, and considers even the lightest of remarks as “slander”, for which they’ll slip a note under your door expecting you to remove it from social media as a violation of the lease. (Observed from someone else’s post… I don’t know if that’s true or not…)

I don’t even know if that’s legal, but since I don’t feel like being evicted, or instigating drama,  I figured I’d share it here instead: 

(Apartment Complex Name):  Mediocre Living, at Its Best

I’ve been living here for about 2.5 years; I don’t love it, and I don’t hate it.  

Management:  Used to be better, has been declining since I moved in. Then again, this seems to be a trend wherever I move. I’d like to think I’m not the one bringing bad juju to every apartment complex I move to, but it seems like this is a trend within the industry. Perhaps it’s because rules and laws are getting stricter, or profit margins are down so it’s harder for rental properties to be profitable… I don’t know. There must be some reason for management decline over the years, and here at (Apartment Complex Name) it’s no exception. 

When I first moved in, the office staff knew me by name. Everyone was super friendly. Now… not the case anymore. I’m just a number. I’m known only by my apartment number, and that’s it. Someone has to look in a computer to learn about me, and by “about me” I mean my payment history and whether or not I’ve been delinquent on rent.  There’s more to me (and anyone else living here) than just my/our financial obligations… 

Property:  Overall, is very nice on the outside…except for the gates that they can’t seem to keep working. People seem to crash into them, forcing them to be left open 24 hours a day. Also, the gate entry system doesn’t make any sense… you press a button and both sides open at the same time. How is that safe? Some bad guy/girl could just wait by the opposite gate, and let themselves on to the property when someone comes in the opposite front gate. 

A gated community? No. More like…a community with decorative gates, providing no actual security. I brought this up to the management once, and they told me there were many CCTV cameras. I work in the tech field, so I know how to spot one… I have yet to find any. If they have them, as they say they do, they’re hidden very well… but I’m not holding my breath. 

Maintenance… Ah, the biggest measure of inconsistency. They either want to help or they don’t. It all depends on who’s working. 

I’d had HVAC issues for most of last summer, and it took the better part of 5 visits for them to be resolved. I then asked the property manager if there was any kind of compensation I could get for my inconvenience… previous places I’d lived, if there were a problem with the unit, they’d offer a discount on a month or two’s rent just to say “Hey, we get that you’ve been a good on-time-paying tenant, we own up to dropping the ball, here’s our way of making it right.” — I’m not expecting a free month’s rent, but some kind of concession would be appropriate. I was told, very coldly and without compassion by the manager, “We don’t do rent concessions.” – I was then offered a carpet cleaning, which I have yet to have done since they don’t ever seem to remember this. 

All of that aside… those are relatively minor gripes, in the grand scheme of things. 

The apartment is…for lack of anything else…fine. It’s a roof over my head that keeps me safe from bad weather, it keeps me warm in the winter and cool enough in the summer ( it’s comfortable, and (other than insufficient closet space) it’s got enough room for me to live. If I knew what i know now when  was looking for apartments, I wouldn’t have chosen it. Do I regret it? Not really, because nothing catastrophic has happened to me as of yet. I’m hoping that if something like that does come up, though, maybe management/maintenance/etc might be on the upswing of improvement to where it won’t be as bad as some other peoples’ reviews up here. 

Would I recommend moving here?  Yes and no.

YES if…
– You’re an easygoing, calm, patient, and professionally-behaving person
– You don’t mind things taking a long time to be fixed
– You don’t mind not having a personal relationship with the office staff
– You don’t need that sense of security living in an actual gated community (which this isn’t)

NO if…
– Minor imperfections in service/etc would prompt you to complain.
– You want the office staff to know you by name, and how you take your coffee.
– You have no patience…for…anything at all. 

Based on another poster’s review, the management may see this as “slander” or a means for me to deface their reputation. That’s not the intention of this at all. I’m doing my due diligence to write an objective and honest review as a tenant of 2.5 years. This apartment complex isn’t for everyone, but it is for you if you align with what I’d described above. I think this place COULD be so much better. It used to be. I think there’s tremendous potential for this to truly live up to being as luxurious as it’s advertised to be.  

Come in and have a look around, and make the call for yourself, but don’t forget about other neighboring properties.

As you can see, I’m fairly easygoing, despite my reputation as being overly critical of customer service. I’ll admit, I’ve become a bit more picky when it comes to customer service, but I have basic expectations that I don’t believe are unreasonable. I know when it’s appropriate to sit back and wait, and I know when something just isn’t right when it comes what “should be.” 

What do you think of this review? Would you give my complex a shot based on this review? 

In Honor of Star Wars Day

In Honor of Star Wars Day

It’s May 4th, and in honor of all the Star Wars-themed memes of the internet, I proudly share one of the first videos I posted  to YouTube some time ago. In this video I “use the force” to…well…have a look.  🙂

Love Me Some Content!

Love Me Some Content!

 Pictures, audio files, video files, text… so many types of content, and so many ways in which to snap, post, like, or share this content. Let’s snap a quick picture, what do we do with it? Tweet it? Facebook it? Instagram it? Do we hashtag it? Nowadays, it seems like the lines of “where to put what” are blurring. Is this a problem? Some think it may be, but I see it as a light bulb I’ve been waiting to come on for a long time. 

I have accounts on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and two YouTube channels. While I’d love to have gazillions of subscribers on YouTube, I don’t know if that’s really the avenue I want to use for delivering my content, and even more importantly, I don’t see that happening, and I’m fine with that. As much as I enjoy making YouTube videos, I also enjoy writing blog posts. I enjoy expressing myself with words, so I don’t want to abandon the idea of blogging in favor of only doing videos. 

I had a conversation with a friend of mine on the way in to work this morning and had a true “light bulb” moment: Blogs don’t have to only be text!

So, I’m thrilled to announce that THIS website… here… my name dot com, johnbamber.com – This will be where I will do….what it is that I want to do. Blogs, videos, I can’t decide whether I want to be a YouTube vlogger (video blogger), or a text blogger, so I’m going to be and do BOTH.

You can visit my page to read my posts, but they’ll auto-share to Facebook and Twitter, so you can see when my new posts hit, but even better,  You can even sign up to get my latest entries in an e-mail by visiting this link.  No spam will be sent to you as a result, I promise.  

I’ve even gone through and curated a bunch of old content… old pictures, videos, and text from all of my years of doing…this… whatever it’s called. Perhaps I’ll call it… “expressing myself” – maybe? Comment below, and let me know. 

So please feel free to enjoy my old stuff here, you can subscribe to me on Youtube here,  and you can join my e-mail list here, and you can enjoy my new forthcoming content.

So, here’s to some great new (and old) content. Thanks as always. 

-J

I drove for Uber for a day

I drove for Uber for a day

For those who may not be aware, I have driven for Uber and gave up after one day. By the end of this I’m sure you’ll understand why I have my reasons. The cool part was meeting different people and talking about what they were up to, visiting friends/family etc. I liked that social aspect of it. What I didn’t like, though, was having random people get into my personal vehicle. I also didn’t have the ideal vehicle for such an occasion; a Jeep Wrangler averaging 14 mpg does not a good Uber car make. I made around $50 for 6 fares. A $35 gas fill up later basically has me profiting around $15, which for 4 hours of work, was just not worth it. So, been there done that. Where’s my t-shirt?

One of my new favourite words

One of my new favourite words

The word is “egregious”, or “extraordinarily bad.” 

I was trying to post a tweet this morning and, as usual, I rather quickly eclipsed the 140-character limit, hence I’m writing this here. Had I been able to post it, it would have looked something like this: 

“I need to live somewhere in the middle of nowhere, maybe the Midwest. What I hate most about NJ is the egregiously high costs of living.” 

I lived in the Midwest for two years – it wasn’t

terrible

 but it certainly was different. The pace of things is a lot slower, people seem to be more mellow and they just do what they do. I’ve always noticed an “angst” with many East Coasters, a certain “gotta get there, gotta do this, gotta go” anxiousness that doesn’t seem to exist as you move farther away from this area. When I lived out there, people told me they could see it in my behaviors and actions, they could tell I “wasn’t from around there.” 

I think I know why those Mid-Western farmer folk are so pleasant: they don’t have to pay an arm and a leg, and the other leg, a kidney, half their brain, a nostril, and an eyeball for a roof over their heads. They get to keep their limbs, and even use them from time to time (I wonder what that’s like.) Maybe I need to pick up another 4 jobs and work 500 hours each week to be comfortable…. looks like that may be the secret to the truth of a reality I was hoping wasn’t actually a reality.

Oh, and one more question… why do most employers pay their workers every two weeks instead of every week? I’ve never understood that.

Okay, I’m done now. Rant over.