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Are You The Victim Or The Victor? The Choice Is Yours!
April 4th, 2014 | Added to Money, Jobs, & Finances, Student Loans | No Comments »

About two weeks ago I was at an auction with a few friends of mine – one of whom I haven’t seen in two years. During our general catching up with one another, I mentioned that I was in the process of buying a house (which is true and I have yet to cover on the blog yet – in due time). He was a bit shocked and wondered how I could buy a house when I still owed so much on my student loans. When I told him that I fully paid off my students loans this past August, he nearly fell out of his seat!

Remember when I paid off my student loans?

Remember when I paid off my student loans?

Now I’m not going to go into another discussion here about how I paid off my student loans and you can, too. Lord knows I’ve written enough about that stuff that if you really wanted to learn how I was able to pay off those loans and pay them off quickly, then you can find that information on the blog.

And yet, I was struck by my buddy’s utter shock at my having paid off my student loans. And this had me thinking about something for the rest of that night and for the days since the auction ended. Namely, there are some people in life who are victims and there are other people in life who are victors. I’m not suggesting that my buddy is a victim. In fact, he’s the furthest thing from a victim.

There are people out there, though, who look at the hand they were dealt and hang their shoulders in defeat; they essentially turn into Droopy. They may as well turn around and ask everyone to go ahead and kick them in the ass. That’s the victim mindset. That’s the mindset that takes whatever the world gives you and says, “Oh, I was hoping for something better. But okay. I guess this will do.”

It won’t do, damn it! Be a victor! Be someone who makes their own way on this planet. If you don’t like the hand that you’re dealt, then get a new hand. If you don’t like the new hand, then stop playing that game and get up and make something else of your life! We are all the end result of the various choices that we make – choose to be a victor. Choose to be the person with their hand raised at the end of the fight. Choose to win!

I’ll be the first to admit that I’ve made many mistakes and I’ve not always made the choices that led me to be the victor at the end of a particular fight. But when it came to student loans I made a conscious decision that I was winning this fight. In fact, I made the decision that I wasn’t just going to be the victor, I was going to be the conqueror! And I was…

Throw your excuses to the side and make this world your own. Be a victor – the choice is yours!

State Farm Insurance Miserably Failed Customer Service 101
February 5th, 2014 | Added to Money, Jobs, & Finances | No Comments »

Even though this entry is short, it really is a remarkable display of how an insurance company can completely miss the point when dealing with its long-time customers. As I’m sure you figured out from the title of this entry, I recently had an issue with my now-former automobile insurance provider: State Farm. You know State Farm – they’re the ones with the discount daaa-ble check:

Do you know who I’m talking about now? Good!

I received my biannual billing statement from State Farm and the cost of my insurance jumped about $150 per year. As you might imagine, I was shocked by the jump considering that I don’t get into any accidents, I don’t get any tickets, I’m a good driver, I haven’t purchased a new car in a couple of years, etc. The only thought that came to my mind after reading that bill was, “What gives?!”

After reviewing the bill to make sure that there weren’t any weird or one-time charges included, I called my local State Farm agent. This is the agent that I’ve been using since I first received my driver’s license back in the late 1990s, so we have a generally good history together. I’ve never had a claim or any other problem with my insurance during the entire time that I’ve used State Farm. When the woman answered the phone at the agent’s office, I explained my concern and asked why my rate was increased such a large amount. She responded that she had to check with one of the senior folks, but that I should wait on hold – so I did. To their credit, I was only on hold for a few seconds before they transferred me to one of the more senior associates (who I’ve sat down with and discussed insurance with one-on-one in the past).

The senior associate told me that State Farm just changed their rates and my rate went up. I responded that I was aware of this change, but I wanted to know why my rate would go up after I’ve done nothing but pay my bill every 6 months like a good, faithful customer. They said that there was nothing they could do about it – the rates just went up and that was the cause of the increase. I said that if my rate didn’t return to what it used to be, then instead of gaining my original rate plus this nearly 20% increase, they were going to lose 100% of my payment because I was going to cancel.

Now, I’m not a big believer in the customer always being right. However, I think I made a decent case. Here I was paying nearly $1,000 per year to this insurance company and I wasn’t even using their services. They wanted even more money from me and I said no… and they opted to lose all of my business instead of saving my already exorbitant annual payments.

In a remarkable display of poor customer service, the folks at my State Farm office stood their ground and I canceled my coverage. How a company can happily accept losing all of my business – after 15+ years of being a good, paying customer – and not even try to fight to keep my business is beyond me. This was one of the poorest examples of customer service that I’ve ever seen.

But hey, I saved more than 15% in less than 15 minutes by switching to Geico!

What The Hoboken Mayor Really Wanted From All Of This Hoopla
February 3rd, 2014 | Added to The State of New Jersey | No Comments »

Pulled directly from the front page of the New York Times website a few weeks ago, I bring you exactly what Democratic Hoboken Mayor Dawn Zimmer wanted from her unfounded comments regarding Lieutenant Governor Kim Guadagno and the state’s Sandy aid money. What you see below is a portion of the screenshot from the New York Times website that clearly states the only goal that Mayor Zimmer wanted to achieve in telling a falsehood about Lt. Governor Guadagno. Take a look for yourself:


That’s right. All Mayor Zimmer wanted was to raise her profile in New Jersey politics. There is no question that Mayor Zimmer has aspirations for higher office in this state and – like a typical, untrustworthy politician – she warped reality to elevate her name recognition. What I want to know, though, is why she hasn’t responded to legitimate questions being brought up by the only major mainstream news personality that thought to investigate her claims – Megan Kelly. Take a look:

What gives, Mayor Zimmer? Stop running and answer these questions! Or, do you already know that if you answer honestly it throws your entire scheme over the edge and immediately eliminates any credibility that you have?

Remember this cowardice my fellow New Jersey voters…

Monmouth Comes From Behind To Beat Canisius in MAAC Play
January 19th, 2014 | Added to Sports | No Comments »

Earlier today, the Monmouth University Hawks came from behind to beat the Canisius College Golden Griffins at the MAC in West Long Branch, New Jersey. The game wasn’t very exciting or thrilling until the final few minutes when Monmouth came from behind to beat the number one ranked team in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference with just one second left in the game. Instead of me trying to explain the excitement of that moment, take a look at the video below and you can see for yourself:

I’m not sure if the video adequately captures the excitement in the MAC when Andrew Nicholas sunk that 3 pointer to seal the deal for Monmouth. The place was electric. I’ve never seen the type of sheer excitement in the MAC as I saw after the game today. Even Monmouth Head Coach King Rice was jumping up and down, hugging Assistant Coach Rick Callahan the entire time. It was a great, well-deserved “feel good moment” for Monmouth.

There were a lot of players that came together with good performances to help push Monmouth ahead. You can read more about those performances in Josh Newman’s writeup over on the Asbury Park Press’ The Hawks Nest blog.

Another Update on What Your Old DVDs Will Get You at F.Y.E.
January 18th, 2014 | Added to Entertainment, Money, Jobs, & Finances | No Comments »

Some of my long-time readers may remember that on three occasions I traded in some of my old, dusty DVDs at F.Y.E. for store credit. After I traded in the DVDs, I reported right here on the blog what they earned me in store credit and as I recall many of you appreciated that information. Well, I’ve done it again. Last week I traded in just a few, old DVD box sets to my local F.Y.E. and this is what I managed to earn in store credit:

Family Guy Box Set, Volume 1 – $1.88
Family Guy Box Set, Volume 2 – $1.25
Family Guy Box Set, Volume 3 – $1.88
Family Guy – The Stewie Griffin Story – $1.25
The Lord of the Rings, The Fellowship of the Ring Box Set Extended Edition, Standard Definition – $6.26
The Lord of the Rings, The Two Towers Box Set Extended Edition, Standard Definition – $3.75
The Lord of the Rings, The Return of the King Box Set Extended Edition, Standard Definition – $3.75

In addition to the dollar amounts noted above, I also received $4.01 in bonus store credit for choosing store credit over cash. In total, those DVD box sets brought me $20.02 in store credit to use at F.Y.E. Overall, not so bad.

After 17 Days Off From Work In A Row, I Learned…
January 17th, 2014 | Added to Money, Jobs, & Finances | No Comments »

After 17 days in a row without having to go to the office during the Christmas and New Year’s holidays I learned that I don’t “vacation” well. For most of those days, I spent my time catching up on random projects that have been outstanding on my To Do List for the last several months. However, those projects were not the most pressing items that I should have been addressing. Some of the more immediate demands on my time that I should have addressed included preparing materials for the two classes I’m teaching at the local college this spring semester, completing my annual performance review of my work during the last year at my company, updating my accounting software with the two small businesses that I own, etc.

Might need to pull back on the "stay" portion of these vacations

Might need to pull back on the “stay” portion of these vacations

Instead of hitting on those items, I focused on rest and relaxation – almost to an extreme. In fact, early in my vacation there were some days that I didn’t roll out of bed until after 12 o’clock noon. Talk about a waste of a day!

One of the most disappointing parts of my vacation, though, was that I didn’t reach the point of renewal and energy growth that I reached several years ago when I took a similarly long hiatus from the office. During that prior vacation, I distinctly remember some time around the 13th or 14th day that I was out of the office I began to truly feel relaxed. I was on a great sleeping schedule, I was active during the day, I was active during the night, and things were going so well that I actually felt relaxed enough to have my metaphorical batteries feel recharged. When that vacation ended, I remember going back into the office like a ball of fire. Even the commute didn’t bother me after that vacation! Okay, well the commute not bothering me was short-lived for sure, but I was still charged up and ready to go after that staycation.

In addition to using my vacation to take care of many of the long-term items on my To Do List, I believe that one of the reasons why I was not able to achieve that zen-like relaxation was because I – again – opted for a staycation versus a true vacation. So in the future, I’m going to actually consider going on a real vacation when I take time off from the office. In fact, if you don’t count the different places that I travel to for work or the fraternity, then the last time I was truly on vacation was a trip to Orlando with my family when I was in sixth grade. And if I’m not mistaken, that would have been during the 1992 – 1993 academic year.

Scary, right?

For years now, my older brother has been asking me to consider going on a cruise with the entire family. That might be an option to consider in the coming year. Also, I’ve wanted to visit the true northeast of the United States since I was young – to check out Vermont and New Hampshire during the fall months and see the rolling forests change color. That might be fun for a weekend trip. And I have to admit – I did have a good time when I visited both New Orleans and San Antonio for fraternity events. They would both be great places to visit during a regular vacation where I’m just getting away to get away.

Anyway, that’s what I learned after spending 17 days out of the office during the Christmas and New Year’s Eve season.

Judge Janine Pirro Absolutely Destroys the Fake “Bridgegate” Scandal
January 12th, 2014 | Added to The State of New Jersey | 2 Comments »

While the national, liberal media trumps up a scandal-that-doesn’t-exist in New Jersey and everyone in this state who didn’t vote for Governor Christie acts like this is the biggest story to hit the state since Hurricane Sandy, those of us with independent minds and nonpartisan leanings continue to shake our heads at our fellow man. Not only is this not a scandal in any way, type, or form, but it’s disheartening to see people that we would otherwise consider intelligent individuals foam at the mouth because of the foundation-less bullshit that the biased media is spewing around Governor Christie.

Cue Janine Pirro.

Like she always does, Judge Pirro absolutely wrecked the foundation of sand that this false “scandal” lies on and exposed the real political motives of the New Jersey elite law enforcement group and the dirty, underhanded connection to the Attorney General’s office. And on top of that, she compares the Attorney General’s office and their reaction to this nonexistent bridge scandal in New Jersey to the biggest political scandal of our lifetimes (mark my words on that one, by the way) – the Internal Revenue Service being used as an attack dog for partisan politics.

Listen up as the Judge explains reality here, folks:

Now, for those of you who saw that the Judge works for FOX News and immediately you heard a little voice in your head saying, “Ugh! Of course they’re going to defend him,” you’re an idiot. You are the very type of brainwashed fool that the biased national media is thriving off of right now. And for you others who went into watching that video thinking, “I don’t care what this Judge says, Governor Christie almost ruined the whole of New Jersey because of this bridge thing,” well, you’re just a fool. Get with the program. It was a traffic jam caused by a dope in the Governor’s administration that he fired and took responsibility for in the process.

That’s called leadership, you dummies.

I know we haven’t seen leadership in our national and state politics for seemingly decades, but that’s what it looks like! But then again, I expect that if you went into this short blog entry and video with an already-biased view, then you either didn’t make it down this far or you’re currently foaming at the mouth. And for that, I pity you.

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