Monthly Expenses In Portugal Vs US

We’ve been living in Portugal now for more than eight months. Thought I’d throw some numbers together on what we pay for things here and what we used to pay for things in the U.S. Food is/was hard to quantify. Obviously it would be less here each month but I can’t give you a number. It’s also different post vs. pre covid since we would eat out a lot more pre-covid. Here we eat in a lot and eat out maybe once or twice a week. (I love cooking.)

In the states we had a single family home (four bedrooms, three bathrooms, basement, hot tub, garage) in the lovely Aspen Hill area in Rockville, Maryland. In Portugal we live in a condo (three bedrooms, two bathrooms).

Here’s what we used to pay in the US vs. Portugal. Costs are per month.

Utility Cost In US Cost In Portugal
Water $100 30€
Electricity & Gas $200 80€
HOA N/A 102€
Car Insurance $100 ???
Motorcycle Insurance $8 ???
Alcohol $223 120€
Property Tax $400 ???

Here are some caveats:

Electricity & Gas – Gas in Rockville was for hot water, stove, and heating. In Portugal, it’s just for hot water so it’s hard to quantify. Also when we got the hot tub in the states our electric bill went up a lot.

Alcohol – I’m factoring in going out and/or picking up a few six packs. I averaged my alcohol budget for two years in the states (average of $223 a month). In Portugal I’m estimating but I spend around 20€ every Thursday plus some extra here and there.

Car Insurance & Motorcycle Insurance – I do not have numbers for these yet as we still haven’t gotten my car or bike on the road yet. (See an earlier post but DO NOT COME TO PORTUGAL WITH CARS OR MOTORCYCLES!) Same with Property Tax as it’s a once a year thing here and we aren’t sure how much it will be but estimates are like 100€ a year.

Weird Things You Learn From Pregnant People

I haven’t had any friends prego in a while but every time I do I learn something new. Pregnant people get like weird changes in their bodies. Besides dietary restrictions (no sandwich meat, no sushi), constant peeing, and anything medical, there are just certain changes that are really scary or unpleasant. I’m glad I was never pregnant.

Anyway, I thought I would list all the strange things that I’ve heard from my pregnant friends on what goes on with their bodies.

  • Your fingers swell up so you can’t wear a wedding ring.
  • The baby sucks all the calcium out of you so your teeth and bones become weaker. A friend of mine said she got a lot of cavities while pregnant.
  • Your ankles and feet swell.
  • Weird hair growth.

More when I can think of them.

Sooo glad I decided not to have kids!

Things I Wish I Knew Before Moving To Portugal

There are quite a lot of things I wish I knew before moving here. The journey still isn’t over yet as we’re still not settled into a place of our own. We are days away from closing on our condo we bought in Lagos. Getting this far has been a really difficult journey.

I thought I’d write down some of my thoughts on this as this process isn’t for the faint of heart and it has definitely been depressing, trying, challenging, and downright draining. It feels like the universe is against this decision I made and it’s trying to tell me to abandon hope of this dream.

Here are some things I wish I knew before and how much I’m so depressed about this difficult situation:

  • Getting stuff shipped to Portugal is a VERY DIFFICULT PROCESS.
    • Bri flew back to the states on December 3rd to try to get all the paperwork we needed together, titles mailed, inventory, organization, timing, etc. He STILL wasn’t able to do it in THREE WEEKS!
    • Bri flew back a few days before Christmas without having much progress on getting our stuff shipped here.
    • We had to go to the Junta to get a special form like four times. The shippers fucked it up, the Junta fucked it up, and the Junta had very difficult requirements for people to meet.
    • We paid another $2,000 around January then another $6,000 in June just to get our stuff due to the shippers delays. All done I’d say we paid around $30,000 just to get our stuff here. Not worth it.
    • UPDATE 6/13/2023: We finally got our stuff on May 30th 2023!
  • You STILL need a US address for a lot of things!
    • Shipping is a big one as they need to mail back the certificado de bagagem.
    • Having your mail forwarded somewhere. The USPS won’t forward to Portugal!
  • You need some people in the US to help you!
    • My sister was able to help me with the certificado de bagagem as she can mail things and it gets there a lot sooner (and cheaper) than from Portugal.
    • Brian’s parents have helped us a lot along the way. Our mail is forwarded to their house. We still use their address for official things that need a US address.
      • Working with the embassy requires a US address.
      • Shipping stuff!
  • The dollar to euro kills you. The conversion rate varies and it makes A HUGE difference.
    • Another reason Bri flew back to the States was to move our money from our US bank to our Portuguese bank. You can do this online but it is a lot easier to do it by going to your bank. Quicker too. Our big condo purchase we had a budget; we have exceeded it since the dollar dropped so much in value by the time we hit closing.
    • Having a US credit card doesn’t help. I do minor things with euros (cash) but a lot of things I put on the credit card. It does a poor exchange rate and might charge extra since I’m out of the US.
    • I’m not sure what others do. It really is like playing the stock market on how much it changes cause it changes constantly.
  • When buying a house or a condo there are A LOT of taxes and fees. We are paying 8% of the price in taxes. There are also other fees the buyer (me) needs to pay such as 1% for the lawyer, a notary fee of 1,000€, registration fee of 250€, legal fee of 6,458€. All of these are on top of the full amount which is paid directly to the seller. No money goes into an escrow or anything like in the US.
  • Finding things can be difficult.
    • Sometimes you need to know the right things to search for in google. Example is finding carpeting. We are carpet people. In Portugal (maybe even Europe… and the US is starting to do this too) people like hardwood. Carpeting isn’t common. Finding a place that does wall to wall carpeting has been challenging. Turns out you need to google “custom carpeting” to find places that can hopefully do what they do in the states. We’re still not over this hurdle!
    • Finding a furniture place is proving to be a little difficult too. There are quite a few places that do “custom furniture” and it can be very expensive! We luckily found a few places like Marlo (in the US) that has furniture you can buy already made.
  • Without transportation, some things aren’t accessible.
  • Getting your cell phone switched was challenging. I wanted to keep my US number so I can keep up with friends and family.
    • When I originally arrived here I used my roaming which was $10 a day. Not ideal.
    • I bought a sim card for 15€ for a month with 6 gigs. Great deal!
      • Renewing this was a pain in the ass if I didn’t want to buy a new one every month.
    • I had to port my US number to another service (leaving AT&T). I needed to provide the latest bill, your account number, password, and all your information. I’m using iPlum (which turns out to be really shitty). This porting over process can take more than a week.
      • My US calls and texts are through an app on my phone (iPlum).
      • iPlum is charging me $108 a year for their service.
      • According to their Fair Usage Policy for Unlimited Plans “unlimited plans” are limited to 2,500 “credits” a month. Sending or receiving a text is a “credit.” Every minute you spend on the phone is a “credit.” I had to buy extra “credits” since I ran out last month and my service was going to be suspended. I bought $20 worth of “credits” which gives me 2,000 extra. It’s bullshit.
      • The iPlum app is a piece of shit!
        • Half the time I don’t know who is calling (I don’t recognize many phone numbers).
        • When someone sends a picture, I don’t know who sent it.
        • Sometimes I can’t even tell who sent the text message as it’s just a phone number.
        • It’s clunky as I need to touch many things and menus just to send a text or make a call.
        • I had to change my credentials since my phone is now Portuguese number and NOT US so it thought all my contacts where Portuguese numbers.
        • The calls drop sometimes and it’s difficult to hear. I have my volume to the max and I still can’t hear my uncle very well.
        • UPDATE 6/13/2023: I currently cannot text since iPlum has now required registration which I can’t prove that I’m an individual without paying a lot of money. It’s ridiculous.
    • Bottom line: be prepared for a few days of hardship and stress and don’t get iPlum. They’re a rip off and a piece of shit. I will be replacing them next year.
  • You get nickeled and dimed a lot when going through these processes. It feels like death by 1,000 cuts.
  • Don’t import cars or motorcycles over.
    • We did some research online and it felt like it was going to be a fairly simple process. It isn’t. We’re in the tenth circle of hell with this.
    • The government agencies (IMT) and Hyundai and Honda do not help you.
    • Your vehicles might need to be converted and it’s just a miserable situation. It isn’t worth it. Sell your shit. Let it go. Don’t bring it for the love of God.

I will be updating this post maybe from time to time. Many times I’m getting and got depressed about everything and it feels hopeless a lot. I wish I could go back in time and change some of my decisions.

So far I would change:

  • I would have sold/given away a lot more stuff and went with UPackWeShip or something similar.
  • I would have sold my car and my bike. It would have killed me because I love them but I would have.
  • I would have quit my job sooner in order to accomplish more in the states and have done more research before I went over so I could have been more ready for the bureocracy which is Portugal.

I miss my friends and my sister a lot.

Rubik’s Cube Cheat Sheets

Should have done this a long time ago… here are the algorithms I use to solve the various rubik’s cubes.


Note that I’m terrible at the 2×2. It’s my worst cube and I HATE solving it. Here are two algorithms I use:

R U R’ U R U2 R’

R’ U R’ D2 R U’ R’ D2 R2 B’


(bottom to get edge like +) F R U R’ U’ F’ L

(bottom to get edge properly positioned) R U2 R’ U R U’ R’ U’

(bottom to get corners properly positioned) L’ U R U’ L U R’ U

(bottom to get corners properly positioned) R U2 R’ U’ R U’ R’ L’ U2 L U L’ U L


(flipped edges) L R’ L’ R U’ R U R’

(other solve) R’ L R L’


(2 unsolved edges ====) Dr R F’ U R’ F Dl

(parody) Rw1 U2 Lw F2 Lw1 F2 Rw2 U2 R U2 Rw’ U2 F2 Rw2 F2

(parody corners) Rw2 U2 Rw2 UU2 Rw2 UU2

5×5 (and other odds)

I solve this one differently than what tutorials would tell you. The way I solve it only leaves me with one possible parody; the flipped edges one.

(flipped edges |||) LL’ U2 LL’ U2 F2 LL’ F2 RR U2 RR’ U2 LL2

Mega Minx

(to get the star edges; 1 flipped at 6 o’clock & 1 right at 11 o’clock) F R U R’ U’ F’

(to get star corner pieces; 6 o’clock & 8 o’clock will stay) R U R’ U R U2′ R’

(corners; 5 o’clock & 7 o’clock will stay) U 2 U2′ L’ U2 R’ U2′ L U

(corners pieces; piece on right will change; keep repeating until solved) R’ D’ R D

Social Distancing Game Night Links

We’ve been social distancing now for about three weeks. I really miss my friends. I was able to do facetime with a friend the other day and I really enjoyed seeing them. These times are hard.

Anyway, I thought I’d share some cool websites we found to better connect us with our friends. These are primarily game websites since Bri and I are both big into board games. Here’s the list:

  • – This is Dominion online. We played this last night until like 3 AM. The free version just has the base set. It’s only like $5 a month. Totally worth it. One membership gets you all the Dominion sets as well as the ability to play with six people. You only need one membership for anyone to join you. It’s free to join.
  • – This is a free, virtual card playing website. They have Cards Against Humanity! They also have a bunch of other games you’d usually play in gradeschool like Go Fish.
  • – JackBox games are always fun! We started playing them years ago with friends. You play them with your phone. You can do them distance now as well. I recently played Drawful with coworkers. We shared his screen via Slack and all talked through Slack and drew on our phones. JackBox games do cost a bit of money though.
  • – A neat website you can play four player card games like Spades, Hearts, Bridge, and Pinochle.

I’ll update this post with more social distancing fun stuff when I find it.

Democrats Who Need To Be Primaried 2018/2020

I’m going to grow this list. I wanted a place which I could update to tell people (and remind myself) of the democrats who are just not on our side and who need to lose their seat.

This is a national list and I’ll try to update it with big votes in the coming months.

Name State Reason They Need To Lose Notes
Baldwin WI Voted for CR 1/22/2018; Voted for CR 2/9/2018
Michael Bennet CO Voted to reopen government 1/22/2018; Co-sponsored legislation to deregulate Wall Street 11/16/2017
Blumenthal CT Voted for CR 1/22/2018; Voted for CR 2/9/2018
Brown OH Voted for CR 1/22/2018; Voted for CR 2/9/2018
Cantwell WA Voted for CR 1/22/2018
Cardin MD Voted for CR 1/22/2018; Voted for CR 2/9/2018
Thomas Carper DE Voted for FISA reauthorization; Voted for CR 1/22/2018; Voted for CR 2/9/2018; Co-sponsored legislation to deregulate Wall Street 11/16/2017
Casey PA Voted for FISA reauthorization; Voted for CR 1/22/2018; Voted for CR 2/9/2018
Chris Coons DE Voted for CR 1/22/2018; Voted for CR 2/9/2018; Co-sponsored legislation to deregulate Wall Street 11/16/2017
Cortez Masto NV Voted for FISA reauthorization; Voted for CR 2/9/2018
Joe Donnelly IN Voted for CR 1/22/2018; Voted for CR 2/9/2018; Co-sponsored legislation to deregulate Wall Street 11/16/2017
Duckworth IL Voted for FISA reauthorization; Voted for CR 1/22/2018; Voted for CR 2/9/2018
Dick Durbin IL Voted for CR 1/22/2018; Voted for CR 2/9/2018
Diane Feinstein CA Voted for FISA reauthorization
Hassan NH Voted for FISA reauthorization; Voted for CR 1/22/2018; Voted for CR 2/9/2018
Heinrich NM Voted for CR 1/22/2018; Voted for CR 2/9/2018
Heidi Heitkamp ND Voted for FISA reauthorization; Voted for CR 1/22/2018; Voted for CR 2/9/2018; Co-sponsored legislation to deregulate Wall Street 11/16/2017
Doug Jones AL Voted for FISA reauthorization; Voted for CR 1/22/2018; Voted for CR 2/9/2018; Co-sponsored legislation to deregulate Wall Street 11/16/2017
Tim Kaine VA Voted for CR 1/22/2018; Voted for CR 2/9/2018; Co-sponsored legislation to deregulate Wall Street 11/16/2017
King ME Voted for FISA reauthorization; Voted for CR 1/22/2018; Voted for CR 2/9/2018 he’s actually an independent
Klobuchar MN Voted for FISA reauthorization; Voted for CR 1/22/2018; Voted for CR 2/9/2018
Leahy VT Voted for CR 2/9/2018
Joe Manchin WV Voted for FISA reauthorization; Voted for CR 1/22/2018; Voted for CR 2/9/2018; Co-sponsored legislation to deregulate Wall Street 11/16/2017
Claire McCaskill MO Voted for FISA reauthorization; Voted for CR 1/22/2018; Voted for CR 2/9/2018; Co-sponsored legislation to deregulate Wall Street 11/16/2017
Menendez NJ Voted for CR 2/9/2018
Murray WA Voted for CR 1/22/2018; Voted for CR 2/9/2018
Nelson FL Voted for FISA reauthorization; Voted for CR 1/22/2018; Voted for CR 2/9/2018
Gary Peters MI Voted for FISA reauthorization; Voted for CR 1/22/2018; Voted for CR 2/9/2018; Co-sponsored legislation to deregulate Wall Street 11/16/2017
Reed RI Voted for FISA reauthorization; Voted for CR 1/22/2018; Voted for CR 2/9/2018
Schatz HI Voted to reopen government 1/22/2018
Chuck Schumer NY Voted for CR 1/22/2018; Voted for CR 2/9/2018
Shaheen NH Voted for FISA reauthorization; Voted for CR 1/22/2018; Voted for CR 2/9/2018
Smith MN Voted for CR 1/22/2018; Voted for CR 2/9/2018
Stabenow MI Voted for CR 1/22/2018; Voted for CR 2/9/2018
Jon Tester MT Voted for CR 2/9/2018; Co-sponsored legislation to deregulate Wall Street 11/16/2017
Udall NM Voted for CR 1/22/2018; Voted for CR 2/9/2018
Chris Van Hollen MD Voted for CR 1/22/2018; Voted for CR 2/9/2018
Mark Warner VA Voted for FISA reauthorization; Voted for CR 1/22/2018; Voted for CR 2/9/2018; Co-sponsored legislation to deregulate Wall Street 11/16/2017
Whitehouse RI Voted for FISA reauthorization; Voted for CR 1/22/2018; Voted for CR 2/9/2018


Progressive Sources

Something that I had forgotten to blog about in my lessons learned from the election 2016 was all the progressive media that I now listen to instead of the hallow,corporate-owned, corrupt, in-bed-with-wallstreet MSNBC. Here’s a list of my favorite progressive heroes and independent media I trust and that I draw strength from:

  • Jimmy Dore – The one and only. I met him in Philly. Listen to his stuff religiously.
  • The Humanist Report – Hosted by Mike Figueredo. Good progressive and political commentary on the latest news.
  • Redacted Tonight – Hosted by the amazing Lee Camp. Every Thursday they do a live taping of Redacted Tonight in DC. Lee Camp was also in Philly along with John F. O’Donnell. He’s the only quazi-celebrity to make it to my quotes page.
  • The Young Turks – Been a fan for a while now. I used to watch Cenk Uygur on MSNBC a while ago. His tone and political views got them to fire him (same fate for Ed Shultz). But I’d watch TYT for election results during the primaries since we were all on the same side (Bernie) and they give it to you straight.
  • Let The Madness Begin – Two awesome dudes who do short progressive vlogs talking about the latest in politics.
  • Debbie, The Sane Progressive – This woman is awesome. She rants and raves about Bernie and the progressive movement and what the democrats do, etc. I also met her in Philly and she gave me a hug.
  • Secular Talk – Just started to listening to this guy, Kyle Kulinski. Very knowledgeable dude.
  • Democracy Now! – I actually don’t watch Amy Goodman as much as I should. They cover the most important topics on the show and have great guests.
  • Cabin Talk – Claudia Stauber, who I saw in Philly but I met her a few weeks back at the Take Back Democracy DC rally, talks the latest in Bernie, progressive politics, etc.
  • Progressive News – Hosted by Tim Black. Awesome guy. I met him at the Take Back Democracy DC rally. He was also in Philly with Black Men For Bernie. I don’t watch him as much as I should.
  • The Trews – Russell Brand’s youtube show. It’s pretty good. I catch it from time to time. Always complaining about republicans.

Wow, I got quite a list of progressive heroes!

I also listen to Best Of The Left podcast from time to time.

Another few dudes to add to the list are:

  • Greg Palast – He does investigative journalism and documentaries especially in the areas of election fraud, where he’s an expert. I met him in Philly. He sat on one of our posters! Catch his latest documentary, The Best Democracy Money Can Buy.
  • David Sirota – I follow him on twitter. He’s a REAL journalist with the IBTimes.
  • Jordan Chariton – He’s with TYT Politics. I would follow him on twitter but he tweets too much! I love him anyway.
  • Jeremy Scahill – I follow him on twitter. Co founder of the Intercept. I’ve been following him for years. Big into our military involvement.
  • David Shuster – I’ve been following him for years as well. Tells it like it is. He was on MSNBC for a while.
  • Edward Snowden – Of course!
  • Julian Assange – Wikileaks. Keep fighting!

But don’t think I don’t get MSM as well. I still check Google News to get my fill of corporate owned MSNBC, Fox News, CNN, etc news. I read a lot of articles everyday.

Curing World Hunger

The United Nations put a price on solving our global food crisis (world hunger). The price is around $34 billion a year (in 2008 it was $30 billion a year).

Put that number in prospective… in 2015 the military budget was $598.5 billion which is almost 20x more than it would cost to provide food for all the food insecure people on the planet.

Even if we weren’t to cut anything from our military or any other budget, we could still cure this problem and be a hero to all the world. (Just imagine how much respect we’d get if WE helped that many people.)

The population of the United States was 318.9 million in 2014. Assuming about half the population pays taxes that’s 159,450,000 who pay taxes. If we were to raise taxes to fund the necessary $34 billion a year to cure world hunger, we’re looking at a tax increase of $213.24 a year. That’s roughly $0.59 a day!

I think solving food insecurity in the world is worth another 59 cents a day I have to pay in taxes.

Not So Good Things About Hillary Clinton

If you know me, you know I Feel The Bern and am a Bernie Sanders supporter to the very end (even going so far as to write his name in if he’s not the Democratic nominee come November). And I know it’s not Bernie’s style to go on the attack as he’s never run a negative campaign ad in his life. But since Hillary is going on the attack against Bernie, I thought it well to attack her a bit.

So here’s a list of stuff I compiled that do not paint Hillary Clinton in a good light. I believe she’s very corrupt, wrong for our country, and here is proof.

Verizon Wireless “Surcharges”

Isn’t it bull s**t that we have to pay “surcharges.” They’re getting to be ridiculous. These “surcharges” cost me $13 a month. My Verizon bill is almost $200 for two phone lines, 700 minutes, unlimited text, and 6 GB of data on one phone and unlimited on the other.

But these “surcharges” go up every month it seems.

When I hover over the ? on my bill, a bubble appears which explains their surcharges

It states:

Verizon Wireless Surcharges – Includes charges to recover or help defray costs of taxes and of governmental charges and fees imposed on us by the government. Other Charges and Credits – includes charges for products and services, and credits owing.

So it’s the governments fault? I see. The government charges too much in taxes so they need to pass that onto their consumer. Makes sense.

But wait. It turns out they don’t pay taxes! What the f**k? They actually make a s**t ton of profit and still pay no taxes. They even get money back from the government!

At least they create jobs right? Nope. Turns out, their tax breaks don’t even create jobs.

It’s such bull s**t. I think I’m going to start to complain. Why should I pay more to pad their bottom line even more than it is now when they pay nothing in taxes? I pay taxes! You pay taxes! Why should we pay more of “their taxes?”

I’m fed up with this country sometimes. It’s bull s**t.

Spread the word.

Why America Shouldn’t Be Considered A First World Country

Everybody thinks the US is a first world country. However some things in this country make it less than great. I think that America isn’t really a first world, but somewhere between second and first. We show a lot of the same behavior or characteristics of a country that isn’t first class. Here are some examples:


We’re way behind a lot of other countries who are not first world; like Cuba. The Affordable Care Act did great things but we’re not there yet. Every citizen isn’t guaranteed healthcare yet. Our life expectancy (#51) and infant mortality rates (#50) are still higher than a lot of other countries. Even some which we consider worse.

Women In Power

According to the Inter-Parliamentary Union, the US is 80th in the world in women in parliaments. There are only 20 senators who are women and 79 (or 18%) are in the house of representatives. We still haven’t had a female vice president or president. Even the Philippines has had a women president.

Incarceration Rate

We’re number one in prisoners per capita at 716 per 100,000 population; behind Russia at 490 per 100,000 population. We blow Mexico out of the water. They only have 209 per 100,000 population. We’re less than 5% of the population yet we have almost 25% of the prison population of the world. First world countries start around 100 on the list, but we’re number one in incarceration rate.

Birth Rate

We still have a lot of kids in this country which isn’t like a first world country. And it’s really funny too. Other countries have a lot of incentives for their citizens to have kids, but not in the US. We don’t even get paid maternity leave. The only thing guaranteed for us is under Clinton’s FMLA; and that’s unpaid.


We have the highest number of guns per capita (and the highest gun deaths). We have 88 guns per 100 people and 10 gun deaths per 100,000 population. Switzerland is behind us with less than half our number (45.7 per 100 people).

Income Inequality

We’re not doing well here either. We’re worse than countries like Egypt, Niger, Iraq, Iran. Even India and Ethiopia have better income equality than we do. Our gini coefficient is at 40.8.


The United States is always high when it comes to military expenditures. We’re number one in defense spending. In fact, according to the World Bank, we spend 4.2% of GDP on military. We’re in the company of all third world and below nations. The UK, only 2.4%.

Tesla Car Fires

I’m not getting how news of the third Tesla Model S has sent stocks plummeting and people skeptic about electric cars. I’m doing some math here to try and illustrate why this shouldn’t be such a big deal.

According to Tesla, there have been around 20,600 Telsas sold (including the Roadster; around 2,500 Roadsters were made). 3 Teslas have caught fire… So 1 out of 6,867 Teslas have caught fire.

According to the US Beureu of Transportation Statistics there are 254,212,610 registered passenger vehicles on the road as of 2009. According to the National Fire Protection Association, 152,300 vehicles catch fire per year… So 1 out of 1,669 cars catch fire each year.

I was attempting to find how many new cars catch fire per year but I wasn’t able to find that data as this may seem to some comparing apples to oranges.

I still feel safer in an electric than in a gasoline powered car. We shall see if the NHTSA launches an investigation and what they find.

Janny’s Review Of Motorola Droid Razr HD

Motorola Razr HD

I finally decided to upgrade from my Droid Incredible. I had that phone for over three years and it took a long time for me to finally decide to upgrade. It was the best phone I had in my entire life and I do miss it. However it got slow and had quite a few bugs…

Anyway, this blog post is my review of my new phone; the Motorola Droid Razr HD. I decided to go with the middle child of the Razr’s… it’s between the regular Droid Razr and Droid Razr HD Maxx. I was back and forth on phones at first… I was between the Razr, Razr Maxx, Galaxy S III, and the new HTC Droid Incredible.

So I’ve had this new one for about a week now. It’s pretty cool so far. Having the Incredible first helped. The learning curve was very little. I was able to figure out stuff pretty quick.

The tricky thing was getting my apps onto the new phone, which was why I was hesitant to upgrade in the first place. I actually put an ad on Craigslist for porting over the progress in my one app, Paradise Island. After hooking up with this one cool guy, he was able to root my husbands old Droid Incredible and his new phone, the Samsung Galaxy Note II… he was able to get his progress in his island… After I got my new phone I hooked up with him again and rooted my old and new phone and was able to port over my island.

Anyway, on to cool stuff:

  • Basically everything my old phone (Droid Incredible) had that was cool.
  • It has unlimited number of “pages” (desktop screens). They are always to the right. To the left is phone management and settings.
  • The GPS (Google Maps) is awesome. It loads right away unlike my old phone. It takes a few seconds to get your location and destination.
  • I have three browsers: Chrome (came with the phone), FireFox, and Dolphin. I could download these on my old phone but they’re awesome on my new one.
  • It’s a bigger screen.
  • I can unlock and go right to text message, wherever I was before, phone, or camera… no waiting.
  • Front facing camera.
  • It’s light weight and durable.
  • It always has phone, people, apps, text, and camera.
  • The user community is amazing. I can google any question I have and someone has run into the same issue and has a solution.
  • BATTERY LIFE IS AMAZING SO FAR. So glad I didn’t get the Maxx. I can already not put my phone on the charger for two days and be perfectly fine.
  • It tracks data use and you can turn off Mobile data.
  • Loud ring tone. Which is a great and bad thing. At work I need to put it on vibrate since the lowest level of volume is a bit loud.
  • Movie quality is amazing. Youtube videos look awesome.
  • My emails look amazing since it does HTML email… however it still doesn’t load copy & pasted images. It also creates a vertical scroll sometimes depending on the message.
  • Internet speed is awesome since it’s 4G LTE.
  • The speakers are loud! This is really good for getting calls or watching video in semi-loud places. You can actually hear it!

Not So Cool:

  • The email client isn’t the easiest to understand. In fact, I don’t even know how to get to drafts yet. And the settings are hard to find and understand.
  • The settings in general are kinda hard to understand at first.
  • Connecting it to the computer the first time didn’t work. It wanted to install this Motorola software that ended up not working. Since I got the phone rooted, it comes up as two drives, which is exactly what I want and expect.
  • The weather thing didn’t work until I added a city to it.
  • Connecting to WiFi was a lot easier with my old phone. I didn’t need to know the Security thing.
  • There’s no way to clear all in your notifications.
  • I can’t get Skype to work (which is a problem with Skype and not the phone)… I need to figure out better video conference software… anyone have any suggestions?
  • The calendar isn’t as easy as it was in my old phone.
  • Not sure how to change my avatar on texts yet.
  • Desktop still doesn’t rotate.
  • The keyboard doesn’t have the quick keys on the asdfghjkl; like it did on my old phone. It’s taking some getting used to and I need to hit space then backspace to add a period/question mark after my sentence.

Now I have my phone rooted… I still need to figure out cool things I can do with that. I also have an app that should keep the root should I decide to upgrade to the next version of Android.

But all in all I’m loving the new phone so far. Everything’s fast. My island is doing well. It’s good. I’d give the phone 9/10.

How I’m Better Off Than I Was Four Years Ago

With this question about “are you better off than you were four years ago”, I thought I’d blog about how I am better off than I was four years ago.

Here’s a few examples of how my family is better off under Obama:

  • Obama helped my Aunt Ruth by bailing out the automotive industry. Without that, my Aunt would have lost her health insurance.
  • Obama extended unemployment benefits, which helped my mom.
  • The Cash For Clunkers program helped Bri’s parents trade in their old van for a Honda Civic.

Note that this is just a list of what Obama has done that effects me personally. He’s also done a lot more that’s good for our country such as federal support for stem cell research, killing Osama bin Laden, overturning Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, bills for veterans, signed START, overturning Bush’s deregulation for endangered species; the list goes on and on. Almost every area that you can think of, Obama has done something about.

I’ll probably blog again a little closer to the election with other stuff that matters.

2009 Firearm Statistics

– 11.5% of homicides by firearm
– 30 homicide deaths by firearm
– population: 21,262,000
– homicide deaths by firearm per 100,000 population: .14

– 32% of homicides by firearm
– 173 homicide deaths by firearm
– population: 32,731,000
– homicide deaths by firearm per 100,000 population: .53

– 29.9% of homicides by firearm
– 188 homicide deaths by firearm
– population: 81,799,000
– homicide deaths by firearm per 100,000 population: .23

– 1.8% of homicides by firearm
– 11 homicide deaths by firearm
– population: 128,057,000
– homicide deaths by firearm per 100,000 population: .01

United Kingdom
– 6.6% of homicides by firearm
– 41 homicide deaths by firearm
– population: 61,827,000
– homicide deaths by firearm per 100,000 population: .07

United States
– 60% of homicides by firearm
– 9,146 homicide deaths by firearm
– population: 307,007,000
– homicide deaths by firearm per 100,000 population: 2.98

Statistics from United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (2009 data)

Totally Harassed By Unknown Numbers Update I

After my previous post, this harassment didn’t stop. I received calls again at 2:51, 5:22, 6:37, and 8:23; with another call today at 11:40.

As I explained, I had spoke to Verizon yesterday and blocked a few of these numbers. I got this app on my phone, Call Control, which lets you block three numbers for free (then you have to pay for the pro). I also blocked another number with Verizon.

All those numbers again, plus a new one:

  • 561-463-5521
  • 443-419-2016
  • 443-816-1645
  • 216-282-5522
  • 877-874-5811
  • Restricted

Bri was actually able to call them yesterday. They are some education service that finds a school for you (for a fee)… much like Education Connection. Bri was able to get their location and a persons name (just in case we need to file a restraining order). Their PO box (if you’d like to spam them, please), is the following:

PO Box 515381-67004
Los Angeles, CA 90051-6681

We’re compiling all the information (when they call, what numbers, what’s said, etc) and will be filing a law suit if this does not stop.

Totally Harassed By Unknown Numbers

I don’t know what really to do about this issue. It started yesterday afternoon, I got a call from a 443 number that I didn’t recognize. I decided not to answer it. They called twice but didn’t leave a message. I basically ignored it.

Then starting at 8:03 this morning, I get a call asking for a “Vanessa”. I said they have the wrong number and hung up. It wouldn’t stop after that. They called again at 10:17, 10:23, 10:31, 10:42, 11:24, 11:31, 11:35, 11:58, 12:06, and 1:50.

They call from various numbers and sometimes their number is blocked. Two of the numbers I looked up. It seems they’re some company asking if people want to go back to school or something. It’s a total scam and complete bull shit.

Around 11:30 I texted Bri about it. He said that I should call the police. He did for me and they said to call Verizon, my carrier. They weren’t really helpful as they suggesting downloading an app that blocks numbers and blocking them with Verizon. I did both and haven’t gotten a call yet.

Here are the numbers that they call from (besides unavailable):

  • 561-463-5521
  • 443-419-2016
  • 443-816-1645
  • 216-282-5522

I’ve tried several times to speak to these people. I asked them to please stop calling and remove me from their list… the other times, they just hang up on me.

Good The Dems Have Done, Get Out And Vote! Nov 2 2010

As promised, my list of achievements the 111th Congress and Barack Obama have accomplished:

  • American Recovery & Reinvestment Act of 2009 (the stimulus) – tax credits for home buyers, making work pay, etc
  • Patient Protection & Affordable Care Act (health care reform) – ends lifetime caps, no denial for pre-existing conditions, etc
  • Student loan overhaul – cuts out the banks or the middle men saving over $63B
  • Increased fuel efficiency standards – 35 MPG by 2016 when it was originally by 2020
  • Overturned the EPA (Bush) ruling that California couldn’t set it’s own MPG regulations
  • Allowed federal funding for stem cell research
  • Expanded the federal hate crimes bill to sexual orientation or gender identity
  • Dismantling of nuclear weapons and limiting when they can be used
  • Withdrew troops from Iraq – did so three months before the planned timeline
  • Equal pay for women
  • Two Supreme Court Justices – two women
  • Car Allowance Rebate System (cash for clunkers) – statistics say increased fuel efficiency an average of 9.6 MPG or 61% for cars turned in
  • Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform & Consumer Protection Act
  • Increased federal regulation of tobacco
  • Set fuel efficiency standards on trucks and vans for the first time
  • Tax incentives to hire the unemployed

In these times we’re living with a global recession of this magnitude, of which experts have claimed would take generations to clean up, you have to admit they’ve done a lot of good with the bad hand they were dealt.

I’ve felt that extreme dislike for the Democrats; extreme dislike for Obama. But I realize, this list, this blog post, I could go into so much detail of each item and it would seem endless; and I’m sure I’ve missed some. These are just highlights. If you go into specifics about these, you really do see a great picture of the grand things Obama and the Democrats have accomplished in just two years time.

If I may ask, give them two more years. If after two years, things are still hellish, then vote them out. Putting the Republicans back in office would spell disaster for this country (as we’ve seen), and this time, it’s worse. There are so many extreme candidates in this race like Sharron Angle, Ken Buck, and Rand Paul. Lord knows what our country would look like if they get power.

Regardless, I plead with you, like I have before, go out and vote tomorrow, November 2, 2010. Even if you’re 100% discouraged by anything and everything, just go. Every vote matters and every vote counts. This nation is too hurt to sit this one out. Get your say. No one can stop you. There’s nothing to fear.

Janny’s Review Of Droid Incredible

I’ve been playing around with the Incredible for about a week now. I got it earlier than it was released and got a pretty sweet deal (two Incredible’s for around $300). I signed another 2 year deal with Verizon for 700 minutes, unlimited text, unlimited data, etc for about $180/month for two phones.

I took pictures of everything on my flickr.

After having it for a week, I have to say, this phone does rock. Here’s a list of stuff that’s cool and what’s not.

Cool Stuff:

  • Android Market has tones of apps. Pretty easy to use interface too.
  • It’s FAST. I mean FAST. It’s probably faster than my internet connection at work.
  • It knows which direction I’m facing! It’s that precise.
  • The traffic on Google Maps is awesome. It has like all the roads, even the Pike and 28! You can also zoom in and out with your fingers. It also has satellite view.
  • It got a lot of information from Facebook. Once it recognized the name, I was able to port over their information (even their avatar) on my phone.
  • The camera is pretty cool. Here’s a picture I took: Dimitri At His Desk
  • The five desktop screens. I’m worried I’m going to run out of room for my shortcuts and widgets.
  • The desktops are cool. I have mine set on a phone one with water that I can tap. There are lots more downloadable on the Android Market.
  • The GPS on this thing is AMAZING. As you’ll read, I have a compass app which pinpoints my precise location. It also knows what direction I’m facing. I’ll never be lost again.
  • The browser is pretty brilliant. You can zoom in and out with your fingers. It resizes everything for easy viewing.
  • The icon on the top shows new messages and emails, which is nice.
  • It has a pretty loud ringer. That’s what I hated about the Voyager, it was too soft.
  • It’s light weight. It’s lighter than the Voyager. It fits naturally in your pocket and hands.
  • Getting and placing calls takes getting used to. If your face isn’t near your phone during a call, it recognizes that and it pops up a screen with talk time, end call button, and phone pad. It also says what city the phone is registered on on Caller ID.
  • Good software to read pdf, doc, xls is really good. I wouldn’t want to write a paper on the phone but I probably could.
  • The app Note Everything, saves stuff to the card so I can easily get it from the phone via USB or card reader.
  • I can easily send more than 1 picture at a time.
  • Of course, multitasking!

Not So Cool:

  • I can’t figure out how to pull up my contacts while in a phone conversation. I needed to yesterday. I had to hang up, pull up the number, then text it.
  • If you have your mail sync with your phone, if you send or delete a message, it won’t save it in Yahoo Mail. It doesn’t put the message in the trash upon delete and there’s nothing in my sent folder in Yahoo from any email I sent with the phone.
  • I haven’t figured out a way (I don’t think there is one) to save individual texts. It has it in a long conversation, which is nice since you can see what was said, but I can’t delete individual texts, I’d have to delete the entire conversation.
  • Android Market has a lot of repeat apps… they may have over 50,000 but how many of them are actually unique?
  • Some of the cooler apps cost money where as online they are free.
  • The FaceBook App needs some work. It limits what I can view on people’s profiles. Nor does it have events yet. It would be cool if it automatically put events in your calendar.
  • Maybe I just haven’t figured it out yet, but the Google Maps needs a layer for gas stations and food and stuff.
  • Maybe it’s a bug in the widget but it doesn’t show the sun until around 11AM on my phone… it’s still the moon.
  • It asks for birthdays in my contacts, but it doesn’t notify me of birthdays or anything, so that’s pretty useless.
  • The keyboard is quirky and takes some getting used to. I added a few words that weren’t words and I’m not sure how to delete them from the library. I (as well as Brian) often does a “.” instead of a space. I miss the Voyager full qwerty keyboard with actual buttons.
  • Not all apps rotate when you turn the phone. The desktop doesn’t even rotate. YouTube videos have to be viewed horizontally.
  • I couldn’t figure out the camera at first. I didn’t know how to take a picture. Then I tried the bottom button, and that worked. That’s the only thing I use that button for. You can use it to maneuver screens but it goes in the opposite direction you’d expect.
  • Battery life isn’t so great. But if you get the Task Killer app, that saves a lot. Before I had that, my battery would barely last a day. Now it lasts until I put it on the charger at night.
  • Figuring out the ringer is kind of annoying. It only has three modes (which are called profiles): Normal, Vibrate, and silent.

Apps I Downloaded:

  • 10001 Cocktails (Which came in handy in OC… I looked up some drinks and ordered them. The bartender was impressed!)
  • Advanced Task Killer Free (A must! You have to get this in order to close your apps. If not, your apps will run in the background sucking up resources and batteries.)
  • Air Horn (To make as much noise as we can!)
  • Bubbles (Just a goofy application to create bubbles and pop them.)
  • Compass (VERY precise. Gives you longitude and latitude as well as the address  of where you are. It identifies EXACTLY where I am.)
  • DrunkBlocker (So I don’t accidentally call people when I’m drunk.)
  • FlashLight (Pretty cool, so you can see where you’re going.)
  • Google Sky Map (Awesome app!)
  • MeetroDC (So I know when the next trains are coming.)
  • Moon Phase (Tells what phase the moon is in and when the next full moon is.)
  • Note Everything (A notepad kind of thing which also has a white board.)
  • Shazam (To identify songs.)
  • Twidroid (For Twitter.)
  • Urbanspoon

Basically, the phone is awesome. Totally worth it. It took a lot of getting used to. It took Brian an hour to figure out how to get my ring tones and it took a long time to figure out how to customize the desktops. I’d give the phone an 8.5/10.

The Recent Passage Of HCR In 2010

Unfortunately I don’t have much time to write about this since work has been real busy. I just wanted to say a few things about the bill.

I don’t like the whole thing. I’m not in love with it. I don’t like a lot of stuff that’s in it. Having said that, I do believe it’s the best we can do right now and if I were a member of congress, I would have voted for it. I wanted more in the bill like a lot more regulation on insurance companies and a robust public option (let alone ANY public option). But like Kucinich and other progressives, I had to put those wants aside and realize this bill is the best we can do now.

People who won’t compromise get in the way of democracy. The entire Republican party basically refused to compromise. They couldn’t see the good things about the bill like no exclusions on preexisting conditions and adults can stay on their parents health care until 26. Even Bart Stupak wanted to vote no on the bill unless Obama issued an executive order for no funding on abortion (which that was assumed in the bill anyway… I guess Stupak just needed it underlined and in BOLD).

Stupak did compromise and he did vote for the bill (to which he does deserve a thank you). Republican’s couldn’t and I believe they’re on the wrong side of history yet again.

Now, what I’m scared of is people not knowing or realizing that this bill helped them, just like how some people don’t realize that Medicare is a government run program. I’m worried that those teabaggers will not realize that when they get sick, their insurance company can’t drop them like they used to before this bill.

I’m also worried that when (big IF) the Republicans regain power in 2012, they’ll get the credit for the bill when it takes effect in 2014 (kinda like Obama took credit for the new GI bill which Bush passed). I’m also worried that they won’t get the bad rep for NOT supporting it.

I do hope that progressives won’t give up on wanting a single payer universal health care system like the other first world countries. Nancy Pelosi declared HC solved. Progressives don’t think so. I just hope they don’t give up the fight. I know I won’t.

Enough ranting… I also wanted to point to a good resource about information about the bill: . It’s a bipartisan site with lots of good stuff.