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Sprint: Why We Left You

Becky NEEDED a new phone. Her HTC Android something or other had a cracked screen, lost the back cover and had a battery life of about 8 minutes. This wasn’t about getting an iPhone 4s or the latest and greatest. She needed a new phone. 

I drove to the Sprint store and was under the guise that I was going to get her a phone for Christmas. Her contract was up in May, but could get an upgrade March 1. She had 80 days left. Sprint wouldn’t budge on the upgrade date. I either had to cancel or purchase a phone at full price at around $800. I won’t go into details about the conversation with Sprint because it didn’t end well and I obtained a phone number to the customer service line. 

After speaking with customer service they said I could cancel and the Early Termination Fee would be $50. Not $200, $300 or $350…only $50. I told them we were canceling so I was quickly sent to the retention team. They offered to upgrade 14 days early on February 14th. Not good enough for the $50 dollar cancellation fee. 

After canceling, I looked across the street and found Verizon. Long story short here…we got a new iPhone 4s in White. 

Becky was a Sprint customer for about 9 years. Probably paid $80 a month. Bought a new phone every couple of years. In total, shelled out approximately $9k. Sprint let her go as a customer for .5% of that cost and now her husband is writing about it online. 

Sprint could and should have done more. They put a bunch of restrictions on early upgrades right before the iPhone was released through Sprint. Why? They didn’t want people buying a product with their service plans? That was brilliant!

Later,

Derek

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Viewpoint

PED: Ryan Braun. The Hero.

Ryan Braun, Milwaukee Brewer. Failed the PED test. Results exceeded 4:1 testosterone levels. Normal is 1:1. Braun is appealing the results. Isn’t it already too late? Doubt is now in EVERYONE’S mind…and doubts do not leave after an appeal.

I don’t want to believe he took performance enhancing drugs. I want to believe he has enough respect for the game of baseball and his very loyal Brewers fans to not do something like this. This news and topic won’t go away. Sure, Brewers fans love him and will forgive whether he took PEDs or not. That is just the type of fans we are. But things won’t be the same…

Braun will lose his swagger. He has a split second decisions to make at the plate. Now, PEDs are part of those thoughts. I hope this whole thing blows over and he is innocent, the testing was inaccurate and his MVP title will not be tarnished. History and reality tell me different.

I’m a disappointed Brewers fan tonight. I had a baseball hero. Only time will tell if that has changed.

Later,

Derek

Review

Music Review: the Head and the Heart – iTunes Session

I am not an official music reviewer. I just like music that I like. My taste isn’t the same as others.

I opened iTunes a few days ago and came across this image as a Featured Album.

Image

I had been exposed to the Head and the Heart months earlier through the magic of Pandora. I figured to give it a try as I had some money left on an iTunes gift card ($6.99 for the album).

The Head and the Heart are a band formed in Seattle in 2009 and came together over a period of about 6 months through an open mic venue. The harmonies provided by the two front lead vocals (Josiah and Jonathan) coupled with a strong voice from the only female in the group (Charity) sound as if they have been singing together for decades. They each know exactly when to come into a verse producing a sound that pierces your music-loving nerves. Percussion (Tyler), keyboard (Kenny) and bassist (Chris) round out the sound to create a folk-like rhythm similar to a cross between Crosby, Stills and Nash coupled with Coldplay, Jack Johnson and a touch of the Doors.

Lost in My Mind kicks off this album with an upbeat tune that captures your interest from the beginning. Again, the harmonies by the vocals is something you must hear to experience and the keyboardist (Kenny) plays chords which are Beatle-esque. The song sets the tone for the album and is likely considered the band’s first ‘hit’.

River and Roads starts off as a lonely ballad sung by Jonathan viewing change as something that is happening to him versus for him. He sees rivers and roads as the things separating him from happiness. The sound delivers a nice harmony and then about halfway through Charity delivers a few lyrics that allow you to instantly fall in love with her voice and demand for more.

Down in the Valley begins to round out the album with a melody like something I would find on a Semisonic record but includes poetic verses you might come across in The Doors music as you try to interpret meaning. To me, the song refers to a simpler time where life kind of happens but you don’t need to pay much attention to it. As if it will always be there…

I am the Head and the Heart’s newest fan. The harmonies, poetic lyrics, raw sound and talent of the members make me impatient for their next album. I hope they continue delivering this type of indie-rock music and not change based on popularity…because popularity is coming.

YouTube video:

the Head and the Heart: Lost in My Mind

Later,

Derek


Viewpoint

An Earth-like Discovery

I read an article yesterday about an Earth-like discover in the ‘Goldilocks’ zone using the Keplar telescope mounted on Mars. This planet is right in the middle of the habitable zone and is roughly 2.5 times the size of earth. The planet is a little closer to its star than we are the sun but the star is dimmer and exudes less heat. Astronomers are estimating the average temperature on the planet to be about 72 degrees.

Immediately, I found this fascinating. Lots of things started to race through my head. First, logically, just because life could exist on this planet doesn’t necessarily mean that it does. Secondly, and more fantasizing, what stage of life is currently on this planet? Becky and I were talking about these stages which could be anywhere from early bacteria all the way up to advanced life forms (aliens).

The planet is 600 million light years away (roughly the length of my work commute) so the chances of a human traveling is…well, it’s not going to happen. Anyway, this planetary find should at least get you to think a little about what could be out there since there is now evidence to prove a planet exists that has similar variables to Earth in the cosmos.

Here is a picture of an artists rendering of the Earth-like planet.

Later,

Derek

Viewpoint

Stumble Upon

Just a quick endorsement of a site/app called Stumble Upon. This might be the best kept secret of the web, frankly, because no one has mentioned it to me (therefore a secret). Stumble Upon allows you to select a few areas of interest and then scours the web to bring you content on those topics. Once you find an article or site you like you can then use Instapaper or email it to yourself for later viewing. I’ll be using the stuff I find from this site for future blogs.

The reason I bring this site up is I could possibly be the worst internet browser known to man. I look at ESPN, Facebook and MSNBC. I might visit a few sporadic sites here and there, but overall my repertoire is limited.

Time to stumble upon some cool web sites…

Later,

Derek

Adventure, Family

Disney does it right…

Vacations are always nice. They are a time to get away from the normal daily routine and step into an environment, city and frankly…another reality. This holds true none more so than Disneyland. We entered the world of Disney on Friday night after Thanksgiving. After a 6 hour drive, we checked into the Hilton and looked out over Disneyland park. I was immediately intrigued.

Now, Disney does it right.

Transportation – There are continuous shuttles going to and from hotels and stops around Anaheim all dropping people off in one centralized spot. Each post is numbered with your route and you never need to wait for more than 15 minutes. I found this a brilliant way to bring people to the park and ensure a consistent method of traffic.

Photography – Disneyland at Christmas time was a tremendous sight to see. Everything was decorated and created great shots for the family. At each well known landmark and staged setting stands a Disney employee

ready to take your picture. At your first photo, they provide a DisneyPhotoPass that is scanned and then each additional shot is added along the way. Viewing all the great photos when you get home from the trip provides another great reminder to how much fun was had by all.

Rides – The lines for “good” rides will always be long so Disney developed a FastPass to coordinate when the line will be shorter and you can walk right on. We didn’t partake in a FastPass and instead stuck with the rides in Fantasyland and ToonTown. We hopped on the train that went around the park as Colton LOVES trains. This was a nice relaxing trip and a great way to see the different stops throughout the park.

Food – Expensive, but not gross. Enough said.

Christmas Parade – The parade route fills up fast as there isn’t much space to sit and watch. We found a good spot at the end of the route at It’s A Small World. Colton and Amelia absolutely loved the parade and seeing all of their favorite characters. Well done.

Fireworks – Leaving a late dinner at Downtown Disney we caught the fireworks as we were leaving the park. The next two nights we enjoyed them from our hotel room overlooking the park. This moment was my favorite part of the trip as the kids peacefully watched the fireworks and expressed how much fun they had all day. Well done, Disney.

Friends – Dave and Kristen invited us to share in their Disney memories and we couldn’t be more thankful for their invite, knowledge of Disney and great company throughout the entire trip. They planned a Character breakfast, knew good places to shop and eat and helped watch the kids when an extra set of eyes were needed. THANK YOU!

So, Disney does it right. They have so much coordinated for you without you even realizing it was done. There were tens of thousands of people at the park, but throughout the trip, I often had the feeling that the park was all ours. Great memories that will last my and Becky’s lifetime…and hopefully the kids too.

Thank you Disney…you did it right.

Derek