Is This Racist?

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I don’t know if this is a thing all over the country, or if it’s just a Miami-thing. It mainly takes place outside of small Cuban restaurants with tiny parking lots, and old medical/office buildings near Calle Ocho.

The other day, I visited a dentist office which was in one of these old medical buildings. The building only had about nine parking spots, in one of the tightest, most poorly-planned parking lots I’ve ever driven through. All of the parking spots were full when I arrived, so I waited a bit to see if any cars would leave. In only few seconds a new car showed up behind me and honked for me to get out of their way.

Of course, when that happened someone came down, got in their car, and left, in those few seconds and the dude behind me snaked my spot. It probably wasn’t some dude, it was probably a 90 year old hispanic lady, late for her appointment.

When I drove into the lot, I noticed an old Cuban man who was “guarding” the parking lot. He sat in his stool and would shoot the shit with whatever regulars and locals would come in and out of the building. I put down my window and asked where I could leave my car for just a few minutes while I quickly ran up to pick up some documents.

He asked me how long I was going to be there, a few times, like if he was trying to catch me in a lie. Once he realized I was truly just picking up some documents, he walked over to the VIP parking (probably where the buildings workers and tenants parked), unhooked the VIP chain that was blocking it and let me leave my car there.

When I came back down less than two minutes later the man undid the VIP chain once again for me to leave. He gave me multiple, very specific directions on how to get out, when all I had to do was back out, down a ramp. He made this process much more complicated than it had to be, but I made it out fine. Thanks old Cuban man!

After this experience I wondered if any other cities have these “parking attendant” security people. I’ve seen security in other places, but these old cuban men don’t really count as security. All they can do to stop any incidents is call the police on their flip phone, but any idiot on the street can do that.

After leaving the dentist building I went straight to Barnes & Noble, in Coral Gables. Where they also have a personal parking attendant, Tonto (as I call him). If you’ve ever parked behind Barnes & Noble in Coral Gables between the hours of 9AM and 5PM then you have definitely met Tonto. He’s the old man who looks like he was once an indian chief (or he used to look like that, until he cut his hair).

I think the reason he is there, working the parking lot at Barnes & Noble is because they built it on top of an ancient indian burial ground. I do not understand the point of him being there. Sure, it may scare away a few people trying to get free parking, but for the most part anyone can park there. You just have to be able to answer one simple question, “Where you going today?”

If you tell him you’re visiting Barnes & Noble or FedEx Kinkos, then guess what? You’ve won. And your prize is FREE PARKING in Coral Gables. Both stores have a front and back entrance. You can easily walk in one entrance and out the other and be on your way for hours of fun on Miracle Mile.

Also, don’t forget to get the stamp! When walking through Barnes & Noble or Fedex Kinkos you will find a stamp. Stamp your parking ticket or Tonto will be mad at you. His threat is that you will have to pay if you don’t get the stamp. But I have forgotten to get the stamp plenty of times and I’ve never had to pay.

I don’t even think he knows how much money to ask for. There is no sign that says, “Parking $_.00.” So, even if you don’t get the stamp, he will most likely let you off the hook, “This time!” (as he likes to say, but also every other time).

I also remember going to Cuban restaurants with my parents as a kid, and seeing the old Cuban parking lot guard. It was always an old man on a stool, doing crossword puzzles or some activity to let you know that he definitely wasn’t paying attention to your car. There was always a cone blocking the parking lot entrance, and after a quick stare down to make sure you were “OK,” the man would move the cone and let you park. Then he’d go back to his tall stool, and his game, not paying attention to anyone’s car. However, he would still get a dollar or a few dollars from each of the restaurant patrons.

 

If you don’t live in Miami and have seen this sort of thing, please comment below and tell me your stories. Also, what nationality are your parking attendants? Because 99% of ours are old Cuban men, I say Tonto is Native American, but I’m pretty sure he’s hispanic. He just has a nice tan from standing in a hot, sunny parking lot in Miami all day.

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AMAZON IS ALWAYS WATCHING… ALWAYS!

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You know how sometimes you’ll be looking at shoes or some kind of product online on your computer during the day. Then, later that night you’ll be on Facebook or some website and see a banner ad for the exact product you were looking at earlier, telling you, “You can save 10%, but don’t wait, order now!” But you don’t do it. Then the next day you look at the website again and that night the same banner ad pops up, telling you now you can save even more. That’s called “Targeting” and “Retargeting” in Advertising.

Studying and working in advertising, I learned a few things. The main thing I learned is companies are always watching. Especially today, with all of our “Social Media” they know exactly what we want, since they own all our info and data. I’m not talking about identity stealing info (even though they probably have that too). I’m talking about them knowing Our favorite products. What posts we comment on. Our favorite movies, books and tv shows. Who are friends are. Our birthday’s. And much more stuff about our everyday life. Companies know more about you than your best friend does, and that’s pretty creepy.

The other day, Amazon, which is one of my favorite companies, went beyond creepy. Just like most of you, I buy many things from Amazon. I like them because they do tend to leave me alone (although I’ve always imagined that they were secretly watching from the sideline, waiting to use all the data they’ve been collecting at some point).

As many of you Amazon shoppers do, I tend to leave my SHOPPING CART empty, but my SAVE FOR LATER completely full at all times (waiting for any time that I have some extra money to blow on stuff I really don’t need). I also use my SAVE FOR LATER to add-on an item or two whenever I have to buy something from Amazon. I know I get FREE SHIPPING with Prime, but it feels wrong ordering just one item. SAVE FOR LATER is also great, because you can check your cart ten times in one day and you’ll get price change notifications on items in your SHOPPING CART and SAVE FOR LATER, each time.

So, what did Amazon do that was so creepy? Last week, I woke up one day and started exploring on Instagram. After the first few posts I got a “Sponsored post” from Amazon. Amazon basically showed me a scrolling wheel of images featuring all of the strange items in my SAVE FOR LATER. I scrolled through the Amazon Ad collage and saw: BB-8 droid with Force Band (which has been in my cart for months), Resident Evil 7 (which I’m waiting for a significant price drop on), PStv, Star Wars Art Book and Westworld (the original movie). All items that have been in my SAVE FOR LATER for months, and are still there today.

Does Amazon think that I’m made of money? If I was, then these items wouldn’t be in SAVE FOR LATER, they would be in my SHOPPING CART, ready to be bought and shipped. SAVE FOR LATER is for wishers, the SHOPPING CART is for closers. I’m a wisher. It’s fine to put one of those items I’m wishing for in my ads, Amazon. But to make an ad with all my items is just creepy, and also it must be expensive for you.

Maybe it was the timing, I had just woken up and started my in-bed Instagram stroll to see what’s going on with my friends. Then Amazon pulls this move on me? Now I’m thinking wait, is this real or am I still dreaming? Is this some kind of nightmare?

Oh well, at least now I don’t have to feel bad for all the times I was able to get free stuff from Amazon’s mistakes (my Wii U, No Man’s Sky…). Thank you for everything Amazon, but please go back to the way you were and stop creeping. I’ll buy those items when I’m good and ready. I don’t even know if I want all of them. Some are just there so I don’t forget they exist.

Trump or No Trump, Life is Still Pretty Neat

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I decided to make a new learning today because I know many of you are sad to see O’Bama leave today.

This morning, I turned on the Today Show expecting to see my normal everyday Matt, Savannah, Al and the whole gang, but instead it was Matt and two strangers in Washington D.C. going on about our new president. It made me angry at first, but then I began to think of a few reasons why life is still pretty neat. And here are a few of those reasons:

 

1 Mister Ed on YouTube

I was listening to the Harmontown podcast the other day, when Jeff B. Davis started talking about Mr. Ed (the black & white talking horse show). I remember watching this on Nick at Nite or somewhere as a kid. Jeff was talking about how the show introduces the idea of a talking horse, but never explains it.

I went on YouTube that night and searched for Mr. Ed and found a playlist of all the episodes. Remember in Anchorman (the first one) when Ron Burgundy said “How now brown cow,” for his warmup? That came from Mr. Ed! Next time you’re feeling sad, watch some Mr. Ed on YouTube and that will cheer you up right away. Unless you’re a big time feminist, since the show is from the 60’s.

 

2 New Star Wars Movie Every Year, Forever

Whether Trump likes it or not, Disney is giving us a new Star Wars adventure each and every year, until forever. Along with 2-3 new Marvel movies each year, and of course Pixar, Disney Animation and live action remakes. Like Drake and Future said, “What a time to be alive.”

Of course some people are whiners, and will never be happy with all these remakes and reboots. The great thing about all these Star Wars movies is that they are made by Star Wars fans. All these directors that are chosen for the next movies grew up loving Star Wars, most of them were even inspired to become directors by Star Wars. It’s like fan fiction, but they have all the real toys and resources to use.

 

3 O’Bama Gets a Break

Although I’ll miss seeing Barrack O’Bama in the White House, at least he finally gets to be retired, and play basketball with other old dudes like Shaq and Charles Barkley. He can finally catch up on everything he missed these past 8 years, like Breaking Bad, Stranger Things and even the Kung Fu Panda Trilogy (which began in 2008, when he took office).

 
It doesn’t matter who the President is, we still live in America and America is Great the way it is.

Also, if these 3 reasons don’t cheer you up maybe you should buy some Ice Cream or Nana Puddin’ from Ferdi’s Ice Cream

 

P.S. This song’s for O’Bama:

 

Addiction

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This week I realized that I had an addiction to Tetris (on my iPhone). I’ve had Tetris on my iPhone for years, but it wasn’t until a few months ago that I had to play each and every day. The past few years I would play a few games every once in awhile and try to break a million points. You’d think once you finally break a million, you won’t need to play the game anymore. However, that wasn’t the case. Once I finally broke a million I quickly found out I needed to do it again.

It got to the point where anytime I had a free minute I would be playing Tetris. And that free minute would easily become 30 or more minutes. At work, watching TV, in my bed. These are all acceptable places to play iPhone games. It wasn’t until two nights ago when I was driving home from somewhere and thought, I’ve driven this road many times, I could totally play right now. I didn’t end up playing while driving, because I’m not an idiot, but just having the idea of playing Tetris while driving scared me. So, I played one last game in my bed that night before finally saying RIP to Tetris on my iPhone.

I still have Tetris on my iPad, plus the only game I have for my Pokémon Game Boy Color (which I stole from my friend’s little brother back in High School) is Tetris. This definitely isn’t the end of Tetris for me, but I will try to keep it off my iPhone for as long as I can (that can be a few months, days, I may even download it back on my phone later today).

This is how it goes with most iPhone games and me. I download a game, play it for a while until I get super addicted and then finally delete it because it’s ruining my life. Another game I had to delete was Crossy Road.

I once saw my nephew playing Crossy Road, so I decided I should download it and beat his high score. Crossy Road is just a boxy Frogger. I don’t know how these people got away with it, but they literally got frogger and drew boxes over everything, and now they have millions of dollar for it. The only difference between Crossy Road and Frogger is that you don’t have to be the one character every time. The more you play the more characters, icons and costumes you unlock.

I remember the day I got rid of Crossy Road, I was playing over and over and I kept dying with low scores. I finally died and looked up at the real world for the first time in what felt like hours, but was probably only a few minutes. When I looked up the world looked distorted and I thought, I have enough vision problems, so I instantly deleted Crossy Road.

Maybe I should have been an architect, because I love Tetris (it’s basically the same thing).

If you find yourself addicted to a game or app on your iPhone just delete it and see how much better your life will become. Ever since deleting Facebook and Facebook Messenger from my iPhone back in February I still haven’t re-downloaded them and my life is 100 times better for it.

Black Fuzzy Dice

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I am not a horrible person, but I do have a pair of black fuzzy dice hanging on my car’s rearview mirror. Why did I have to start that sentence withI am not a horrible person”? Lately, I’ve noticed other cars and drivers with fuzzy dice on their rearview mirror, and most of them look like the type of people I don’t want to be associated with. I won’t go into what type of people they look like, but I’ll tell you it does rhyme with minimal.

Have you ever seen a car on the street with fuzzy dice on the rearview mirror? Maybe not since the 1980’s, but when you do end up next to one of these drivers the first thing you do is lock your doors. Then, you think to yourself, does this make me racist?  

Why do I keep the dice on my mirror then? I have to. I learned how to drive with them about 15 years ago. And if I took them down it would be weird not to have something obstructing my view. Also, I like keeping other drivers on their toes, give them a little scare. They see the dice first and freak out, but then they see me and may think, he don’t look so bad.

Another reason I have to keep the dice is so it’s easier to spot my car. There’s only so many makes, models and colors of cars. What if I happen to park next to or near a car that looks identical to mine? I’ll know mine is the one with the black fuzzy dice, but also I have a clicker that only works for my car.

Where did these black fuzzy dice come from? I bought them on a weekend field trip to Sawgrass Mills Mall with my mom back in middle school. A friend and I bought them together (or my mom probably bought them for us, because we were young and poor), because we thought they would look sweet on our BMX bikes. And guess what? They did look pretty sweet on our BMX bikes, so sweet in fact that I had to move them to my mom’s van when I first started driving. From there they went to my Ford Focus (my first car), then my X-Terra (second car) and now they’re on my Jeep (new car), but it may be time to finally retire these black fuzzy dice.

The dice are in horrible condition. When I bought them they were black, now they are grey-ish from years in the hot Florida sun. They are no longer a working pair of 6-sided dice. They are now 1, 2, 2, 4, 5, 5 dice. I’ve lost a few dots along the way.

What’s the first thing someone does when they see my black fuzzy dice? Anytime someone gets in my car for the first time, they slap my dice (probably the reason for missing dots). Other people slap the dice anytime they get in my car. And the most annoying people slap them over and over as I drive somewhere. I can deal with the obstruction of vision, but when you slap them you’re just adding new blind zones and making it easier for me to crash and kill us both.

I will retire these dice soon if (1) someone buys me a brand new pair (I saw some nice Mickey dice in Disney, but they are a bit smaller so I haven’t bought them yet), (2) someone steals them, if they are stolen I will have no other choice but to retire my fuzzy dice, (3) or if I happen to buy some dice myself (which is probably the least likely to happen).

So, next time any of you are in Sawgrass Mills and you happen to see some sweet fuzzy dice or some other rearview mirror ornament that might look swell on my Jeep, go ahead and buy them for me. You may even get a free ice cream or Nana pudding.

Also, order some ice cream and nana pudding, I got to pay my bills somehow…

Debate Night: Part II

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Last Sunday, I was tricked into watching the second Presidential debate. How did I get tricked into watching a debate? I’ll tell ya. On my way to a birthday celebration I stopped by my friends’ new home to gift them some special coffee beans, because I am a great friend! We had some magical coffee and I helped them organize the house a bit (or maybe just watched them do that while drinking my coffee).

When it was time for me to leave they told me to return after the birthday celebration to watch the debate, and I said, “only if we can also watch Westworld episode 2.” I came back for the debate with beers and I was fed delicious food, but I got no Westworld episode 2. I had to wait a whole extra day until Monday night to watch Westworld episode two. Luckily Westworld is not at Game of Thrones status yet, or it would have been spoiled.

The debate was stupid. Just two grown ups acting like little baby kids. Each candidate would begin with “He/she said this…” then the next one would go saying, “Uh, I never said that, but you did say this…” and on and on it went for two whole hours! It was stupid and I didn’t learn a thing about either candidate during the whole thing.

Donald would say things like, “She’s a liar,” or “She’s a thief,” but would never explain why. And Hillary would say words, I’m just not sure what they all meant. Both candidates would try to talk the most when it wasn’t their turn. That’s why this second debate needed not one, but two moderators to try to stop the candidates from speaking out of turn, which did not work out very well.

They were featuring some hot tweets on the screen, so I immediately began tweeting to try and get featured on TV. Here’s some of my better tweets from the debate:

 

 

I began tweeting too late, because once I began they took down the Twitter feed and replaced it with, WATCH THE DEBATE ONLINE, even though if you’re seeing that message it’s too late, because that means you are already watching the debate.

The one thing I did learn during this debate, because I was guilty of it too, is that the only reason anyone watches these debates or any other live event on TV is to have an opinion to share on social media. Any time there’s a  live event is on TV, your social news feeds get filled with people talking crap about any little thing they notice (which is exactly what I did on Twitter that night).

I heard there’s supposed to be another debate, and I for one will not be watching it. In fact, I’ll boycott it if anyone tries to make me watch it. I don’t have to watch it, I already voted. And in case you’re wondering, the answer is YES! I did vote [Fill in the Blank], and I wrote “OBAMA” in the blank. If we all write OBAMA as our fill in the blank, then he can win! Yes We Can, everyone! #OBAMA2016

Also, in case you missed the debate, we all know who the true winner was last Sunday night…

#BONEZONE

Hey, Ken Bone! Why you gotta be so rude to Wreck-it Ralph… #debatenight

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Another Non-Learning

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Hi World,

I’ve been busy the last few weeks making ice creams and drawings and playing Madden, trying out Overwatch when it was Free for the weekend, then buying Overwatch when it was on sale this week. So, now I have no learning for you to read (that’s fine though, you can get your work done instead and go enjoy your weekend sooner).

I do have 3 Learning concepts in the works and hope to finish writing all three in the next two weeks. Did you hear that? If you’re lucky you’ll receive 3 new learnings in just 2 weeks…

What? That’s like 1.5 learnings each week! That’s fantastical!
Stay tuned for more.

If you’re missing the learnings I have the perfect remedy for you… Ferdi’s Ice Cream and Nana Pudding!

Buy my ice cream!

 

Thanks,

See you later or see you never…