Sunday, August 10, 2014

Seven Things I Think...

Seven things I think....

  1. I switched from Comcast/Xfinity to Verizon Fios about 6 years ago for my cable television, phone, and wifi.  Since then, I've received Comcast literature in the mail at least weekly asking me to return to them.  Each year, I get a visit by someone from Comcast going door to door asking me to join.  I refuse, even if it's cheaper.  I had such a bad experience not only with Comcast's service, but their customer service, which is horrible.  Before Fios came into our area, we had no choice in our cable service, and, in my opinion, Comcast didn't seem to care about existing customers, resulting in complacency.  Verizon, initially cheaper, is now much more expensive than anything I ever paid for Comcast, but I will stay with Fios because their customer service is so much better than Comcast's (just my experience). And, yes, I've had to deal with customer service from both companies.
  2. I was pretty severely depressed last week, and while that can most likely be traced to the fact that the meds I was taking needed to be refilled (and, like a dummy, I allowed them to run out without having the refill in advance), I am amazed at how quickly I improved after my daughter came home from her week with her grandparents.  You might think that I would enjoy being on my own without her, but I really do miss the little girl when we're apart.  Whether that's a credit to her, or that I just prefer companionship of any kind, is not known.  I just know I was much happier with her being home.  The next two weeks, while she's with my parents, will be telling.
  3. We went to the Howard County Fair last evening, and I find it interesting to compare Howard's with Montgomery's.  While I grew up in Prince George's County, and went to that fair regularly in my youth, I began going to Montgomery's fair after meeting my wife (since she grew up there).  Montgomery's seemed to be so much bigger and fun than PG.  However, after moving to Howard County, and going to Howard's fair, I found it interesting how much more quaint and enjoyable it was compared to Montgomery's.  Howard's seems much smaller, and with the big Friday crowd, it actually seemed to me to be too small for the size of the crowd, which is the only downside I can see.  Montgomery, which also gets crowded on the weekends, seems to handle the bigger crowds better due to the size of the fairgrounds.  I still like the Montgomery County Fair, but, at least on a typical weeknight, I like the Howard County Fair better, due to the smaller size (though I might be biased).
  4. I consider myself a pizza connoisseur, and I like to try lots of different kinds and styles.  Some are fairly unique, but I really prefer a basic thin crust pizza (and I favor veggies more than meats).  My favorite pizza in the area is Ledo's, but the original Ledo pizza is better than the chains.  You can get the original at the "new" original location in College Park, across from the University of Maryland, just off of US 1, and at T.J. Elliott's in Bowie on Route 197.  We go to Station House in Fulton/Scaggsville, which is the best locally.  Other good pizza around the Columbia area includes:  Pub Dog, just off Dobbin Road is really good, especially their "smash dog" pizzas, which are two different pizzas smashed together like a sandwich.  Three Brothers, though a chain, is still one of my favorites.  They have a New York style pizza that is thin, crispy, and tasty.  J & P Italian Restaurant in Fulton is good, too.  I've tried a few others that are good, but not as good as the one's I've mentioned.  Some of the pizzas recommended by the "pros" just didn't cut it with me, though I should mention I've only met a few pizzas I didn't like.  Each of these is good, but just not as good as I had heard, including Facci, Coal Fire, and many of the chains, which just don't cut it for me (Domino's, Papa John's, Pizza Hut, and the like).  Honorable Mention goes to La Pizza Banca at the Laurel Shopping Center on US 1 in Laurel.  They are really good.
  5. I've been reading with great interest Julia McCready's Village Green/Town Squared blog recently about test scores and diversity, among other things, in Howard County's schools.  The important thing that so many people seem to forget, and I know this is greatly simplifying what Julia has painstakingly researched, is that Howard County has some of the best schools in the entire country.  If you're going to use test scores to determine how good a school is compared to other schools in the county, the ones that will be near the bottom of the list are still going to be some of the best in the country.  But there are better ways than test scores to determine how good a school is.  Check out Julia's blog.
  6. I've been watching a lot of Jimmy Stewart movies over the past few days.  Turner Classic Movies (TCM) had a "James Stewart" day featuring a bunch of his movies.  Stewart is, in my opinion, one of the greatest actors in American history.  From IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE, to REAR WINDOW, to MR. SMITH GOES TO WASHINGTON, to THE MAN WHO SHOT LIBERTY VALANCE, Jimmy Stewart has played many great roles and can make a good movie into a great movie.  He has starred versus many other wonderful actors, like John Wayne and his friend, Henry Fonda, and he more than holds his own.  He remains my favorite actor of all time.  I love this quote from him:  "I have my own rules and adhere to them.  The rule is simple but inflexible.  A James Stewart picture must have two vital ingredients:  It will be clean and it will involve the triumph of the underdog over the bully."
  7. A while back, our church, Grace Community, started a Saturday evening service to go along with two Sunday services.  The Sunday services had become overcrowded, particularly in the children's classes, as the church continued to grow.  In order to create more room, the church decided to add the Saturday service, and asked for volunteers among the regular attenders to consider moving to Saturday to open up room on Sundays for new people and families.  It worked.  I was one of those who moved to Saturday.  It was an adjustment for me, since I had always gone to church on Sunday.  But it was a nice change.  I am really enjoying it now, too.  The Saturday crowd seems very relaxed, and while Grace as a whole is more informal than any other church I've ever attended, the Saturday service really impressed me with how casual it seems.  This has had an effect on my Sunday mornings, as well.  I'm sleeping better on the weekends knowing I don't have to get up and go anywhere if I don't want to.  While I felt guilty about that at first, as if I was letting down God, I'm okay with it and actually prefer it.  Although it also means my mom-in-law wants us to come to her church on Sundays, since we don't have a commitment on Sunday mornings.  I have to convince her that moving to Saturday doesn't automatically mean I need to find another church for Sunday morning.  
Have a great evening, everyone!

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