Tap To Go

LA Metro has a new system to pay for your ride. It's called Tap to Go. You get this card that's kind of like credit card, you load it up for the month and then when you get on the bus you just tap it on some type of reader and then you go. Seems simple enough.

However, I think a better name would be Try to Tap and No Go. Ok, not the catchest title ever. But what a disaster it's been in rolling this program out. It was supposed to start in January. So every month when we made the trek to buy the boy's ticket for the month, they would tell us we need to get Tap to Go. We reply "Sure, let's do it." And then they would say "Well, it's not quite available yet. But you really need to get one." Huh? Eventually a lady ordered the two cards for us (because you can't order them online yourself). Twenty some days later, they arrived in the mail. Twenty days just mail us two cards. I tried to go online to prepay them so the boys could use them. What a horrible website they have. I created an account, but for the life of me I couldn't figure out how to add the cards to my account so I could put money on them. This would seem like an important part of the process. Eventually, I gave up and sent a message to support. They are supposed to answer in 24 to 48 hours. It's been a week and I still haven't heard from them. So I decided to get brave and call the help line. Surprisingly the wait time wasn't too bad and I got a friendly guy who told me they created accounts for the cards when they sent them to us. Really? That would have been useful information to include with the cards! He emailed me the info so I could log into each card and fill it up. Apparently, I'm not allowed to put both of them on one account. So this thing that is supposed to be so easy, apparently isn't.

This is the government bureaucracy that wants to run my health care. I can't imagine that ever being better that what I have now. I know our health care system needs help. But I think we could do better by fixing what we have instead the major change that has currently been proposed. The government has a hard time figuring out how to get people to pay a few bucks for a bus pass - I can't wait for the problems I'm going to have trying to get them pay for a surgery or a hospital visit. Just the thought of it gives me nightmares.

Oh well, at least my boys can ride the bus. I guess that's something.


They Know How to Get You

We've just had the 'pleasure' of getting son #1's senior pictures done. Overall it wasn't too bad of an experience. He went for his sitting (which we had to pay for separately). A month or so later, the proofs showed up at the house. It seemed like there was about 500 different pictures. Wow! Most of them were pretty good and few were not. But the number of them was overwhelming.

As we tried to figure out what pictures we wanted, the number of permutations was astounding. The problem we had was there was no way to get the number of pictures we wanted in any of the standard packages. We basically just wanted one pic of most of them. We could scan the photos and make our own copies, but that's against the studio's policy. But it was nearly impossible to get the right package with the right mix of photos and the price of the packages just kept going up and up. We eventually had risen to a point of getting one of the premiere packages. Premiere includes a premium price too.

The package we had to go with to get what we wanted, was more than we really wanted to pay. We also had to buy more pictures than we really needed. I'm frustrated with the studio for their policy of them owning the photos of my son. We hired them to take the pictures. They photographed my son, it's his likeness. Why doesn't he own the images instead of them? I felt like they were manipulating the love of my son for money. It frustrates me that it worked.

I don't like being manipulated, for love or for money. I wonder if that must be a bit how God feels when someone manipulates the image or reputation of his son, Jesus, for personal gain. There's a lot of low-lifes out there that will do anything for money. Of course, you know that already. But some how we think when it comes to church and religion, we could never get taken in by someone like that - yet it still happens. Be careful. Make sure the church or charity that your supporting with your money, is using the money the way they say they will. Don't let them manipulate you.

Have you done your homework in this area? Are the organizations you support doing what you think they are doing? That's worth pondering about...


It's So Easy

I think this kid has the potential to be a great driver. He can already parallel park with no problem.


Kids' Rock

Funny parody on those commercials that take pop songs and make them into kids songs.

Video Link

[HT Terrace Crawford]



Expectations. We all have them. We expect certain things from the government. We expect police officers to act in a responsible manner. We expect companies to deliver a reliable product for our money. We expect our friends to be loyal to us. We expect the good guys to be good and the bad guys to be bad.

I recently went to get a hair cut. I had an expectation that the person cutting my hair would cut my hair in the way I requested. I expected that when she showed me how much she was going to cut off, that would be accurate. My expectations were not met in this case. She took off twice as much as I asked her too. Maybe we should require hair stylists to go to classes in measuring, that way they will know how much 1/2 an inch is. But I digress...

Most of us have had a time when our expectations were not met. Some of those experiences are rather benign, some are rather painful. Sometimes we set ourselves up for dashed expectations because we have unrealistic goals. For example, we might expect our fav sports team to never lose (that's what we cheer for, but can't expect that). Or we may have unrealistic expectations for our child's accomplishments.

I've recently talked to several different people who have felt their expectations of God were not met. But as I talked to them, it seemed to me that they expected God do what they wanted or what they thought was right. I understand this feeling. There's been plenty of times when I knew exactly what I wanted God to do. But does that mean God should do that? Is he bound to my wishes? What if I get a whole bunch of good Christians to pray for that wish? Should I have expectations that God will do it then? That's a truly tough question. Great thinkers have debated this for many years and will probably do so for many more. I do know this, God's ways are not my ways.... and that's a REALLY good thing.

Do you hold unrealistic expectations, especially ones with eternal implications? If so, what are you going to do about them? That's worth pondering about.


See ya

If you read blogs, you probably know about using a Feed Reader. You can subscribe to a RSS (Really Simple Syndication) feed from your favorite blogs. Then you can read them all from your Feed Reader, without all that hassle of entering URLs from all those blogs. Very handy actually. Two free readers are www.bloglines.com and www.google.com/reader.

Recently, I had just over 100 feeds in my reader. But some of them I just wasn't reading anymore. In some cases the blog had changed during it's life. Maybe the author had changed jobs and was now talking about something else that didn't interest me. In some cases, I had changed and just didn't care what the author the blog was talking about anymore. So these blogs were just cluttering up my Feed Reader with stuff I didn't care about anymore.

The easy thing would seem to be to unsubscribe and just quit reading those blogs. But somehow it seemed a bit harder than that. It was kind of like I was turning away from a friend or something. No, that's not quite accurate. Maybe it's more like was saying "I'm better than you and your blog is not worthy of me to read anymore." Hmmm, that's not really it either. It's kind of hard to describe. But it was weird.

Eventually, I did pull the trigger and drop several unread blogs. Some how I feel better because I got rid of some dead weight from my reader. My 'guilt' is gone. My feed reader is lighter. And now I'm thinking about getting rid of a couple of more.

It's weird how we become attached to something or to a routine. There's real truth in the old saying that we are creatures of habit. Changing our habits causes stress. While in this case it was fairly minor stress, other changes in our habits might have more severe results. I think this is part of what makes addictions hard to kick (certainly there are other factors too). This can also be what makes it hard for some folks to make a change in their life and take steps to improve. Whether that is healthier habits, mending a broken relationship, or even making a stand for God.

Are you allowing a routine to stop you from doing something that you REALLY need to do? That's worth pondering about.