18 Jul 2012 @ 8:51 PM 

This post is for people who have good spending discipline and do not have credit card debt.

The idea for this post came about after I got a letter in the mail from one of my credit cards informing me that they no longer issued credit cards to the state I live in (Utah), and that they would be closing my account. Never mind that I have stellar credit, and I have payed my credit card bill every month with this bank (BBVA Compass Bank). I think they realized that they were losing money off their credit card  where I got 5% cash back on groceries, gas, and pharmacies. I was getting $300 a year back from them, just for using their credit card to buy things I was already buying.

Free money, that’s what it is. Credit cards offer reward programs for using their credit card. I’m sure everyone is familiar with Discover who is probably one of the more familiar cards that do this (1% cash back). I personally prefer the rewards cards that give me cash, which can sometimes just be applied to my statement balance. This is opposed to say “Thank you Points” or rewards points for flying. Interestingly enough, Dave Ramsay has been quoted as saying that 75% of mileage rewards never get used.

Here is how it works. When you buy the things that you normally buy, you pay for it using one of these rewards cards. Each month, you pay your balance when it comes due. Its not costing you anything, and the credit card company is paying you to use their credit card. One key thing to keep in mind is that you must make sure that you are buying something because you would normally buy it, not because you are getting money back from buying it.

So I started searching the Internet looking for a suitable replacement for my beloved Compass Cash card. What I found made me realize that I had a pretty good deal that was not going to be replaced easily. While it can be a bit confusing, I believe that free money is worth a little organization. Below is the credit card setup that I have come up with for us:

REI Visa – Unlimited 5% rewards on REI purchases, 1% reward on everything else. Rewards accumulate towards my REI store dividend. REI can send you a check for your dividends if you don’t shop at their store

Discover More – Unlimited 1% cash back on all purchases with  changing limited 5% cash back catagories throughout the year

Penfed Platinum Cash Rewards – Unlimited 5% cash back on gasoline

American Express Blue Cash Preferred – Unlimited 6% cash back on groceries, 3% on gas and dept stores, 1% on everything else. This has a $75 anual fee which works for our grocery budget. If you spend $1000 in the first 3 months, they give you a $150 bonus which pays for the first two years of annual fees. They also have an AMEX Blue Cash Everyday card with no anual fee but only 3% cash back on groceries. There’s a spreadsheet  here (originally from Fatwallet) you can use to help decide which works better for you. You will have to copy or download the spreadsheet to edit it.

American Express True Earnings Costco –  3% cash back on gasoline (first $3000), 2% restaurants and travel, 1% on everything else including Costco. (No longer necessary as Costco will accept the other AMEX card we have.)

Capital One Cash Rewards Master Card – Unlimited 1.5% cash back on all purchases (1% on all purchases and an additional 50% of your annual rewards each year)

This is the setup that works for us. There are a lot of other rewards cards out there. Such as Target if you shop at their store a lot and Amazon.com if you buy from them. For those of you with good credit and can manage your money/budget responsibly, you are missing out if you are not taking advantage of these deals.

You will hear some people tell you that rewards programs are not worth it because they will make you buy more than you need. That’s where having responsible spending habits comes into play. We are already spending money, why not get money back for doing it? If you are a fan of the Debit cards, even if it has rewards associated with it, its not a good idea. Debt cards should not be used for anything but getting money out of the ATM machine. Debt cards do not offer the same levels of protection that credit cards do. For example, if someone gets ahold of your credit card information (such as through a skimmer), you are only responsible for a small portion or none at all of the charges that get made against your account. A debt card, your money is just gone. Also, many credit cards come with consumer protection such as extended warranties and rental car insurance, debt cards don’t give you this.

Another handy feature of using plastic instead of paper to pay for things is the ability to track your purchases and set up a budget. Each month, using financial tracking software (I use mint.com) you can download your transactions from the bank, have a category for each transaction, and see how you are spending your money. This is really handy if you are trying to stick to a budget.

So, if you are financially responsible and would like to get some money back from your regular purchases, you should check out some of these cards to see if they can help you get some extra savings. If you do choose to sign up for one of these cards please contact me so we can find a way for me to get a referral bonus for telling you about the cards.

Tags Categories: Family, Misc Posted By: jason
Last Edit: 18 Jul 2012 @ 09 48 PM

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 15 Jun 2012 @ 7:39 AM 

I’ve been saving up for this one for a while, and I’ve decided to let it be known. While I realize that me writing this won’t change the world (I’m not that important), its just a good way for me to air my grievances. My wife thinks its a healthy way for me to let out my frustrations. There are some things that happen in big parking lots that really get on my nerves.

Parking in the fire lane

The red curb at the front of the store where you go in is painted red for a reason. You aren’t supposed to park there. Even if you are “just going to be a minute”. I don’t care. There’s a good chance you need the exercise to walk from the parking lot like everyone else does anyway. Despite what you may think, you really aren’t more important than everyone else. Not to mention, you are just causing congestion with an already crowded parking lot. How inconsiderate of you to stop in the middle of the driving lane so you can let someone out, and then pull over to the side making me and everyone else have to move around you so we can get where we need to go. Here’s why that curb is painted red and you aren’t supposed to park there. When Granny Shikelgruber falls slips on a puddle of water in the produce section because water leaked on the floor from the person keeping your produce looking fresh, and she breaks her hip, the ambulance and fire engine are both going to be coming screaming into that parking lot and expecting to park where your lazy but is waiting for your little Johnny to run in and “just grab a gallon of milk”. Now tell me, who really needs that parking space more. You because you are being lazy, or the emergency workers who need to be able to get in and out of the store quickly and easily.

I can remember when I was with Aurora Fire & Rescue, we went to a store. We went to park our engine in the “Fire Lane” only to find a UPS truck parked there. My engineer purposely blocked the UPS truck in with the fire engine to prove a point. When the UPS driver needed to leave, he had to come up to my engineer to ask him to move. Did the guy get the message, probably not. Another instance we were responding to a call in a big store parking lot where several cars were idling in the fire lane with their windows rolled down. My engineer applied the break and hit the gas as we drove by them spewing diesel exhaust in their car windows. While not responsible, it was funny.

I often want to just walk up to cars I see parking in the fire lane and say “Hey, when the fire department get a new Mercedes? Well, you are parking in the fire lane with that car so that must mean you are in a fire department vehicle responding to a call.”

Parking in the handicapped space

Again, another instance of you think you are more important than you really are. The parking spaces for handicapped folks are usually pretty well marked. These spaces are for people who have difficulty walking from the back of the parking lot. Many of them are veterans who have lost their mobility because they were protecting the freedom of our country. I should get some business cards printed up to leave a nasty gram on the windshield of cars I see parking in handicapped spots who don’t have a handicapped tag.

Taking up more than one parking spot

Another, I’m more important than you and I’m not thinking of anyone else but myself issue. Sensing a theme here? And why is it that these folks always tend to do this up towards the front of the parking lot? If you are such a terrible driver that you can’t even park a car, go park away from other cars or get some more practice before trying to integrate in with the rest of society. It just seems so inconsiderate to me that someone would park a car in a way that takes up more than one spot. This really upsets me when I’m driving around looking for that elusive spot, I get my hopes up because I see an open spot, and I find that someone has done this. Annoying.

Driving across the parking lot

When you drive down the road, do you ignore the little painted lines on the road? Maybe if you live in Europe, but guess what, this is America. We drive on the right side of the road and between the little painted lines. Why would you think that driving in a parking lot would be any different? We put rules and standards in place to make life easier, safer, and more predictable. When you decide not to accept the norms and rules of society by cutting off through the “vacant” part of a parking lot, those of us obeying the standards are the ones who have to avoid you. I’ve had to go on a motor vehicle crash in a parking lot because someone was doing just this, cutting across the parking lot and not pay attention to the flow of traffic. So yes, you can hurt somebody by once again, not thinking about others.

I was driving through the parking lot recently at our grocery store, driving down one of the lanes, when a guy in a big pickup truck towing a big boat was cutting across the parking lanes towards my lane. I of course didn’t stop, but he had to slam on the breaks and thew his hands up at me in frustration. Part of me hoped he hit me as I know someone driving a truck with a boat like that could afford to pay for the damages. So why again would this guy be upset with me obeying the rules?

Not returning shopping carts to the appropriate place

Bullet, my newish Nissan Versa, became a victim of this not long after moving to Utah. At the time, the car was a year or so old. Now, it sports scratches and a big dent across one side because of a rogue shopping cart. I want to thank who ever it was that was too lazy to return a shopping cart to the little cage that stores go to great lengths to provide for their customers to use for this reason. And if this laziness doesn’t cause a car to get dinged up like mine does, then it occupies yet another perfectly good parking space where I have to get out of my car, move the cart, and then pull into the spot. Normally, I just drive on to the next vacant space though. Don’t even try to blame this on the high school kids working for minimum wage out there collecting shopping carts.

Opening the car door all the way without looking

My parents bought me a new car, a 1998 Chevy Malibu, as my graduation present for finishing college. I really liked the car and did my best to take care of it. I can remember I was sitting in a parking lot one time after having spent the afternoon washing, waxing, and detailing it myself, when a car pulled up into the parking space next to me. The person in the passenger door opened the door all the way and whacked it into my driver door leaving a dent and chipping the paint. I was sitting right there when hit happened, with my window rolled down, and the person didn’t say sorry or anything. It made me really mad.

It seems there are people in this world who don’t value other people’s property. I make it a point to only open my door part way in a parking lot to make sure I don’t scuff the car next to me. My wife has a new car, and its already has some dings on it from the parking lot. We make it a point to park away from other cars because people just don’t pay attention.

Wow, if I get this worked up over parking lots, imagine how I feel about important things. Please think about others the next time you are in a parking lot.

Tags Categories: Misc Posted By: jason
Last Edit: 15 Jun 2012 @ 07 39 AM

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 25 Dec 2011 @ 9:07 AM 

Hey everybody. Hope this finds you all doing great.

2011 was another wonderful year for Wendy and I. We had a lot of fun and got to go see more new places. Its fun still being in the first years of marriage.

Wendy is still enjoying her job doing urgent care for kids. She works most evenings which means we get to spend time together during the day. Believe it or not, but I do mange to keep myself busy even though I don’t have a job. I just don’t see how families with both spouses working find time to get things done. This summer, Wendy got more interested in biking, and she joined me on some bike rides. I’m glad that she can share my joy in bike riding.

Speaking of bike riding, I had to buy a new bike this summer as my old one had frame issues I wasn’t aware of until a local shop pointed it out to me. After a lot of sweat and work, I finally was able to make it to the top of Little Cottonwood Canyon this summer riding my bike. Last summer I was only able to make it up part of the ride. It was a big accomplishment for me as I rode up the road several times a week. I was also able to do some bike riding with my neighbor this summer as well. It was fun getting to ride with other people this year. Enough about biking.

We spent another week in AZ this year to go see my beloved Cubbies at spring training. Wendy was able to go to a conference while we were down there so her job payed her way. Unfortunately this year my Cubs were abhorrent. I stopped watching baseball before the summer even started as I was so discouraged. To make things worse, I had to hear about the Cardinals winning the World Series. Ugh! Maybe I just needed to take some time off from baseball as I’m looking forward to next season already.

Later on in the Spring Wendy and I made a trip back to our homes to visit with family. We spent a few days in San Antonio, TX  (Wendy’s home town), and we spent a few days in Madison, MS (my home town). I’m pretty sure that is the last time I will cast my shadow on the state of MS as my parents have decided they are going to move out to UT. They are in the process of fixing up and de-cluttering their house so they can put it on the market come spring time. It will be nice to have family nearby. My parents have made three trips out to UT this year looking at homes and getting to know the area. They’ve also brought 3 trailer loads of stuff to put in a storage facility. Guess that means they are putting down roots. We don’t know when they will move yet, but they want to get their house sold first before that happens. Its a pretty big deal as they have called central Mississippi their home their entire lives.

My brother Chris and his wife Lisa left Virginia this year. Chris got a job back in California with the Air Force. They are back living where they were in Palmdale before they moved to Virginia. Chris will be teaching test pilots how to be test pilots. On their trek across America, they stopped in at our house for a few days. It was nice getting to visit with them.

During the summer, Wendy and I took a road trip out west. Yeah, I know, we live out west, but there’s more West past us. We drove through Nevada (Reno, you are a disgusting little town) and toured around Northern California. It was a fun little trip and we got to see some great sites.

Our big trip this year was a backpacking trip to SW Colorado. We spent 6 days on the trail in the Weminuche Wilderness. It was an awesome trip. Wendy said it was the most hardcore trip she had ever been on. It was a route that had been a dream of mine for several years. It was a tough hike, but we had a lot of fun.

We also made another short trip down to southern Utah to visit Zion National Park. We went in early fall so the temperature was perfect. There was a lot of beautiful scenery down there.

The week before Thanksgiving this year we flew to Tulsa, OK to visit with Wendy’s grandmother and more of her family. We had a great time. I think Wendy enjoyed showing me off to her family. Grandmom June is a wonderful person.

I’ve spent the last year and a half on the hiring list for Salt Lake City Fire Dept. I started as #13, but they only hired 8 people during this two year list time. I have sat at #5 since then. Unfortunately, the list is set to expire here soon, and I’ll have to test with them again. Its very frustrating as I am in a good hiring position, but the city budgets haven’t been conducive to hiring. Stupid economy. I’ve tested a couple of other times with other departments, but have had no success. I’ve decided its time to step up to wearing the big boy pants, and I’m going to go to paramedic school. Starting this January, I’m going to be taking a couple of classes (Human Physiology and Medical Terminology) at the local college for prerequisites so I can apply for paramedic school that would start in Jan 2013. I hope that getting this will help improve my chances of getting hired. I’ve also come to realize that I really do enjoy the medical side of firefighting. It will be a while before all of this happens, but I’m starting the process now.

As you can see  in the photo this year, we got an addition to our family. Her name is Daisy. She’s a German Shepherd/Lab mix, not quite a year old. Madie and her have become friends, and we’ve enjoyed having her around. Benjamin, the cat, was not so excited about our decision, but all the kids are getting a long peacefully now.

My parents are out here for Christmas. My brother and his wife will be coming in tomorrow. It will be a full house here at the Cotting residence, but its nice to be surrounded by family.

I hope this finds you all well and hope that the next year will find you even better.

Jason

Tags Categories: Misc Posted By: jason
Last Edit: 25 Dec 2011 @ 09 07 AM

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 07 Oct 2011 @ 1:01 PM 

Trip Photos

A while back, sometime in the late 90’s, I read about a place in Southwestern Colorado called the Weminuche Wilderness. Also known as The Backpacker’s Nirvana, it is located in the San Juan National Forest. I made my first visit to there in 1998 with a Philmont friend, Bill Sassani, where we did an overnight trip, and then drove around the area. I was hooked. I wanted to do more exploring in the Weminuche. I’ve made two more additional trips there since then. Once with Wendy in 2007 where we backpacked up the Valecito River. The other time with my brother Chris and a college friend Ramsey where we did some day hiking the week before my wedding in 2009.

There is an historical narrow gauge railroad that runs between the towns of Durango and Silverton called the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad (D&SNGR). It runs along the western edge of the Weminuche Wilderness and makes a few stops along the way. I read about how backpackers use the train to access the wilderness, and I soon decided that one day I wanted to make a backpacking trip that took advantage of the train.

In the book Hiking Colorado’s Weminuche and South San Juan Wilderness Areas, there is a hike described using the train to do a trip. The hike starts with the train dropping you off at the Elk Park stop, and then you get picked up at the Neddleton stop. Wendy and I decided to do the hike over 6 days and 5 nights..

Wendy had some additional time off outside of the planned hiking days so we decided to do some extra touring around. Our first day we drove to Telluride, CO where we spent the night at the Victorian Inn. From the door of the inn, you could smell a mouthwatering restaurant. It smelled like a steak place, but I wanted to have a steak at the end of the trip, so we decided to try another restaurant. The inn was located within walking distance of the main strip of town where the shops and restaurants were located. We found an Italian restaurant called the Telluride Bistro. I had the best chicken parmesan I’ve ever had before. After dinner we took the free gondola up to the ski area. It was a nice little moonlit ride up and back.

Telluride, CO

Next morning, during our free breakfast at the inn, we overheard some other guests referring to some snow coming in the next few days. The weather report I had seen earlier referred to a chance of snow, and these folks were talking about inches accumulating in Telluride. It was something to consider. We headed out towards Silverton. The drive between Ouray and Silverton is hands down my favorite drive in the country. Its a beautiful mountain drive that puts you up along sheer rock walls, with beautiful views, colorful mountains, and old mining ruins. Its a windy road that is just fun to drive, so it can be hard to look and drive. We took our time getting to Silverton stopping to read signs and take photos. We ran into some rain along the way too, a precursor to the upcoming days.

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Categories: Family, Misc, Vacations
Posted By: jason
Last Edit: 07 Oct 2011 @ 01 01 PM

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 09 Sep 2010 @ 9:42 PM 

Last month Wendy and I took a backpacking trip to Glacier National Park in Montana. We had planned to go there around this time last year, but instead we had our wedding. The plan was to take two days to drive up and two days to drive back while spending 6 days and 5 nights in the back country. Beforehand we did two shakedown hikes to help get us ready for the trip. Both trips were 3 days 2 nights. One was in Uinta Wilderness and the other was in American Fork Canyon. This was also our first time to take Madie with us, and she really enjoyed the trips.

When we left town, we left Madie, our German Shepherd, at doggy day care at Dogmode. She seems to really like it there, and we have been impressed with how well they treat the dogs. We drove all the way to Missoula, MT the first day by interstate. That took most of the day and left us with about another three hours to get to the park. More importantly about the day, according to Wendy, it was Wendy’s birthday! She opened gifts and had cake a couple of days earlier to celebrate.

The next day, we toured around Missoula a little. Missoula is one of the bases where the National Forest service keeps some of its smokejumper wildland firefighters. I was particularly interested in this and was excited to get to see the base. There was a college intern there that was taking care of the visitor’s center and gave us a tour.

This is the base for the National Forest service Missoula Smokejumpers

After driving around town a little more, we headed on to Glacier. We bought a National Parks annual pass earlier this year and used this to get into the park. Once inside we headed to the West Glacier visitors center. I have to say, I was not impressed at all with the visitor’s center. It wasn’t very big and it didn’t display much information. Even the gift shop was just a small room. We later discovered that the newer larger visitor center was on the East side of the park. From there we headed over to the backcountry office where we got our permit for staying in the backcountry. A number of national parks have gone to a backcountry permit or reservation system to help regulate the number of visitors to areas of the park. This helps with overcrowding issues that have been happening in national parks.

The sign to the entrance of Glacier National Park on the West Entrance

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Categories: Family, Misc, Vacations
Posted By: jason
Last Edit: 18 Sep 2010 @ 10 40 PM

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 04 Apr 2010 @ 7:11 AM 

I just finished drafting my fantasy baseball teams for 2010. I use Yahoo Fantasy Baseball. It’s free and I like the way their site works. Last year, I did terrible. I came in dead last in my rotisserie league (I was beat by a guy who didn’t even manage the team after the season started). I think my main problem was that my first draft pick was Jimmy Rollins, a former MVP, but had a horrible year that year. I did better in my head to head league. My team got to the finals and was beaten in the final match, so I got second in that league.

This year, I wanted to do better. I bought a couple of fantasy baseball magazines and watched the fantasy baseball 404 on mlb.tv. I also resided not to pick Cubs players for my team. I always pick them because I think they will do well, and I need to realize that they while maybe good players on the team, are not so great compared to the rest of baseball. The Cubs haven’t won a world series in over 100 years, maybe I should think about that. I also took some advice I read about not relying on rookie potential. It may be cool to land that next star that no one else took, but that won’t win you the league. However, Nelson Cruz worked for me last year, and this year I picked Jason Heyward fairly early on.

This year, I picked two teams again. One rotisserie and one head to head. I also picked another one as an experiment that I will outline later. The leagues are 12 team leagues. Yahoo uses the 5×5 format which keeps track of the following stats.

Batting:

  • batting average
  • runs scored
  • RBI
  • HR
  • stolen bases

Pitching:

  • wins
  • saves
  • strikeouts
  • ERA
  • WHIP

Yahoo fantasy baseball lets you have 10 position player positions and 8 pitcher positions. I also have 5 bench positions.

So for my first team, Splinter_hands, it is a rotisserie league, and my head to head team is blister. Don’t ask me where I got the names of the teams from, I’m horrible with being creative. This year Yahoo added an additional position to the position player group, another util spot. Yahoo also added another pitcher position. I was not aware of this until half way through the draft.

My draft picks are as follows:

Splinter_hands (7th draft position):

  1. 1B Prince Fielder
  2. P Roy Halladay
  3. SS Derek Jeter
  4. P Mariano Rivera
  5. OF Jason Heyward
  6. 3B Adrian Beltre
  7. P Josh Beckett
  8. P Heath Bell
  9. OF Ryan Ludwick
  10. IF Placido Polanco
  11. P Jorge De La Rosa
  12. P John Lackey
  13. OF Carlos Gonzalez
  14. C Benjie Molina
  15. IF/OF Mark DeRosa
  16. OF Brett Gardner
  17. P Clay Buchholz
  18. OF Juan Pierre
  19. P Andy Pettitte
  20. P Joba Chamberlain
  21. P Phil Hughes
  22. OF Austin Jackson
  23. IF Troy Glaus

Blister (5th draft position)

  1. OF Ryan Braun
  2. OF Matt Holliday
  3. IF Kevin Youkilis
  4. 2B Robinson Cano
  5. P Mariano Rivera
  6. OF Jason Heyward
  7. P Josh Beckett
  8. IF Gordon Beckham
  9. SS Elvis Andrus
  10. C Bengie Molina
  11. IF/OF Mark Derosa
  12. OF Ryan Ludwick
  13. P Jorge De La Rosa
  14. P Tim Hudson
  15. P Jon Rauch
  16. IF Placido Polanco
  17. C Yadier Molina
  18. P Clay Buchholz
  19. IF Maicer Izturis
  20. P Joba Chamberlain
  21. P Phil Hughes
  22. P Derek Lowe
  23. P Mark Buehrle

I feel better about this year’s teams than last year. I plan to rotate through my pitchers more on my head to head team. In previous years I had more luck in being able to hold just a couple of good starters and pick matchups that I liked each day to acquire pitchers each day. However, I just saw where I won’t be able to do that as much as Yahoo has put a 6 player a week acquisition rule in place. That puts a damper in my strategy. I wasn’t expecting to have great starting pitching picks as I would just choose each day who I thought would win. I’m going to have to keep an eye on the free agents and see if I can’t hold down some better pitching and just draft one pitcher a day for match ups.

I’m excited to be doing my fantasy baseball this year. I know I spend way too many hours looking over all the numbers and keeping an eye out for better players to get, but that’s just part of the engineer in me liking to analyze numbers I guess.

So the third team I drafted I am experimenting with pitching. Typically, hitters are picked in the first round, and hitters continue to dominate the picks for the first few rounds. Pitching tends to be picked later on. I thought I would take advantage of this. Since there is no innings pitched limit in head to head,  I loaded my team with pitchers and plan to rotate them through on the days of their starts. I did however take hitters on first two rounds as they were top tier hitters, and I need some hitting production to compete at all. I’m not too concerned if I win this one, but I’m curious what kind of position I can get in the end if my picks are focused on only half of my stats (pitching) that I need to win each week. Here’s the results of my draft:

bud_selig_is_evil (7th draft position):

  1. 1B Mark Teixeira
  2. OF Ichiro Suzuki
  3. P CC Sabathia
  4. P Felix Hernandez
  5. P Mariano Rivera
  6. P Josh Johnson
  7. P Heath Bell
  8. P Wandy Rodriguez
  9. P Clayton Kershaw
  10. P Ryan Dempster
  11. P John Danks
  12. P Randy Wells
  13. P Jorge De La Rosa
  14. P David Aardsma
  15. P Carlos Zambrano
  16. 3B Adrian Beltre
  17. C A.J. Pierzynski
  18. IF Placido Polanco
  19. IF Micer Izturis
  20. OF Brett Gardner
  21. OF Juan Pierre
  22. OF Cameron Maybin
  23. IF Troy Glaus

Now if I could only get Yahoo to make an Android app for fantasy baseball like they did for the iPhone

Tags Categories: Baseball, Misc Posted By: jason
Last Edit: 04 Apr 2010 @ 07 11 AM

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 21 Dec 2008 @ 12:00 PM 

Well, if you were to believe the sensation of liberal media news, that’s what you would think. Last night there was a Continental Airlines airplane flight 1404 that skidded off the runway at Denver International Airport (DIA). No one was killed and all the injuries were minor. One trauma red from what I hear, the rest were yellows and greens.

It’s really hard to determine how bad the incident really was. The news media will do its best to sensationalize the whole thing. Its not as if the plane was careening down the runway doing cartwheels with body parts flying everywhere and flames shooting hundreds of feet in the air, but they want you to believe that so you’ll watch their news, up their ratings, and get more sponsors. Its all about money to these folks, not responsible news reporting.

Yes, the plane did skid off the runway, its not in millions of pieces, but its never going to fly again. Some photos from 9news.com. From what interviews with officials are saying, it seems that yes this was an emergency for sure. The passengers were evacuated with emergency procedures and the plane did catch fire. Kudos to Denver Fire Dept’s ARFF team. It sounds like they had a good working fire when they got on scene.

I was working that night and my company sent some ambulances to Denver for mutual aid. It was a Mass Casualty Incident (MCI). We tuned in to the mutual aid radio channel for Denver Paramedics to listen to the traffic. It sounds like they called in a few different agencies to help with transporting patients from DIA and for back-filling for their regular call volume. There was a bit of confusion at first in determining where patients were being transported, but that was corrected shortly. Denver Health hospital is the zone master for Denver. This means that when hospitals are on divert (the emergency room is full and not accepting patients because it is unusually busy) or during an MCI, the ambulance transporting calls to the zone master where they determine which hospital to transport to. This makes sure that one hospital isn’t overrun preventing best possible care for each patient needing care. During an MCI, hospitals are contacted by the zone master to determine how much of what they can handle. Having one person controlling patient destination helps keep everything more organized.

From listening to the radio, it sounded fairly well run. I can’t be for certain as I wasn’t there. I know I got excited when I heard on our radio that two of our ambulances were headed emergent to DIA. I immediately thought there must have been an airplane wreck. I was disappointed I didn’t get to go, but it sounds like I didn’t really miss much.

Well, hopefully  that is the quota for airplane catastrophies for DIA for a while.

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Categories: Misc
Posted By: jason
Last Edit: 14 Apr 2013 @ 06 43 AM

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 15 Dec 2008 @ 12:43 AM 
 

#75

 

Ever since I resigned from my job with Aurora Fire Rescue, I’ve been trying to get back on to a fire department. My latest endeavor is West Metro Fire Rescue

Starting earlier this year they opened up their applications for entry level firefighter. I tried to get on with this department when I first moved out to Colorado, but never got anywhere with it. They have the most difficult physical test of all the departments I’ve tested with. Their test isn’t difficult in the elements that you have to do, but your score is weighted based on your time. This means you have to go as hard as you can to get as low of a time as possible to get a better score. I got a 90% on the test, which is much better than the last time I did it.  I was really happy with that score. Last time I did it I barely passed somewhere in the low 70’s.  This time I had really trained hard to try to get a good score. The written test, I scored a 79. Not as good as I had hoped because I thought I knew almost all of the questions that I answered. Careless mistakes is all I can figure. The oral boards I had never done with this department. When I finished the oral board, I felt really good. I never feel good coming out of my oral boards.

This week I got my score for the oral boards and I scored somewhere in the low 70’s. This puts me #75 on the hiring list. I’m sad that this is my ranking. I want to leave my current job and get on with a fire department really bad. West Metro is a great department, and I would love to work for them. The hiring list is good for 2 years. Normally, I would think OK, I have a chance. But with the economy in the tank like it is now I don’t really think I have a good chance of getting hired. I don’t know how much hiring is going to go on if departmetns are not hiring to expand, but just to replace retirees.

I think what disapoints me the most is that once again, my life is still going to be on hold. Driving an ambulance, I don’t get paid much of anything. Basically all I can afford to pay for is food, rent, gas, and my car payment. There’s really not much I can do with my life. I rent a room in a house from a friend of mine. I really want my own home so I can have a dog and do what I want with my house. I have nothing to show for what I’ve done so far. I’m 32 years old and still living like a college student. Its very depressing to think that this is the best I can do when I know I’m capable of much more. My girlfriend lives in Salt Lake. She enjoys where she is living and I enjoy where I am living. She has more to keep her in Salt Lake than I have keeping me in Denver. She enjoys her job and I am sick of mine. If I can’t ever have a fire department job here, then there is nothing that can really hold me here. Getting a fire job for me is more than just getting a job, its about being able to start living my life the way I want to.

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Categories: Misc
Posted By: jason
Last Edit: 14 Apr 2013 @ 06 43 AM

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 13 Dec 2008 @ 8:39 PM 

Well the week started out kind of different. Its nice to get some variety as my job is boring me to death.

My regular partner wasn’t able to get into work for the first day of the week as he was stuck at an airport from bad weather. So that left me without a partner for the day. I manged to keep my self entertained. I went on a blood draw for a DUI. I didn’t realize it at the time, but it was the person who had hit one of our ambulances that evening. My old partner was on a scene when this guy hit the side of her ambulance. Cops were already on the scene and saw it happen. The crazy thing, is the guy who hit the ambulance tried to drive off. The Cops ran him down on foot and pulled him out of his car to put him in custody. Thankfully no one was seriously injured, but my old partner had some pretty bad back pain as a result.

The next day, thankfully,  my partner was back. We had one call that was interesting. Our patient had had recent knee replacement surgery and had fallen. When we got there, his artificial knee was sticking out of his skin. It looked as if the stitch had ripped open. It reminded me of that scene from the Terminator when Arnold cuts open his hand to show the guy that he is a cyborg. We used the KED to stabilize the injury. Its a shame that we don’t have anything really good for stabilizing this kind of an injury.

On another note, I was talking to a friend of mine this week that works for one of the other agencies. He was transporting a non emergent patient. They stopped at a stop light when two guys opened up the back doors to their ambulance and they threw a guy in who had been stabbed. My friend told his driver to go emergent to their trauma center. The guy who was stabbed was a big guy who was sweaty and bloody, so he was difficult to get up on the bench seat. His driver was driving like a mad man throwing him around the back of the ambulance. Come to find out the guy who had done the stabbing was trying to run the ambulance off the road to finish the job. They finally got the hospital. Lesson learned, lock your doors.

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Categories: Misc
Posted By: jason
Last Edit: 14 Apr 2013 @ 06 43 AM

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 11 Dec 2008 @ 8:27 PM 

Today, Google announced that they have taken their web browser, Chrome, out of Beta. I know there are concerns about privacy and whatnot, but I still really like Chrome. It has been my default browser for a while now. Its much faster to load the program and then to load pages than the other browsers out there.

Before I was using Chrome, I was using Opera, as it loaded the fastest. Before that it was Mozilla Firefox, and I was using that back when it was called Phoenix and Firebird. I had become a big fan of Mozilla there for a while, but my tastes have changed. I was using Thunderbird for my email client. Now I am using Gmail. I was using Mozilla’s Sunbird/Lightning for my calendar. Now I use Google Calendar. I’m just not the fan of Internet Explorer. My company makes us use it to interact with our scheduling software. That is the only time I use it now.

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Categories: Misc
Posted By: jason
Last Edit: 14 Apr 2013 @ 06 43 AM

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