Tuesday, January 23, 2024

State of the Ramblings: 19

I feel like nearly every State of the Union address by a United States president includes the declaration that the state of the nation is strong. Well, I'm not going to write that here. Sean's Ramblings has certainly slowed down over the years. After writing 85-100 posts annually each year between 2017-2021 (well down from the number of posts I wrote for the first decade of this blog), I wrote 71 posts in 2022 and only 64 posts in 2023. I write when I feel like I have something to share and have the time to write, both of which seem to occur less frequently.

Now that this blog is 19, I understand why I’m probably one of the oldest blogs still around. Maybe 10-12 years ago, there was an explosion of “mommy” blogs/bloggers. I remember getting frustrated that much of their content was sponsored. The ones that focused on their kids and kid-related products aren’t around anymore. Maybe it's because the money went elsewhere (hello Instagram and TikTok). More likely, it’s easy to share stories and pictures about new foods for toddlers, diaper explosions (well, not pictures for this one), cool strollers, or activities for 5 year olds. It’s not as easy to write when your kids get to middle school or become teenagers. Your kids don’t want you to share their stories, or you don’t want to share their stories. I’m not going to write about Individual Educational Plans or how my kids are doing in school. Sure, I might write about my 7th grader's recent break-up but that was because of the absurdity of the whole situation. If he was older and really in a significant relationship, that’s not something I would want to share or would be comfortable sharing. It’s not my story.

So what’s next for Sean’s Ramblings? Nothing. I think my quest for a writing award is over after the 2023 Pittsburgh City Paper's Best of PGH and Washington DC chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists contest debacles. I’d still love to get media credentials for a sporting event or awards show, but even if I get selected to be on the red carpet for the Grammys, I don’t have time to travel to LA for it. So I’ll just continue to write what I want to write about and when I have time to write. No big goals or resolutions. Just keep going and becoming the only blog around to turn 20. And then maybe a big celebration for 20…or 21!

(Any post about the number 19 must include a picture of the 19th US President, Rutherford B. Hayes. Did anyone ever call him Rutherford Hayes without the B? Or just Ruth? Photo from the White House website.)

Thursday, January 18, 2024

Seventh Grade Math

Up until geometry in 8th or 9th grade, math was probably my favorite subject as it came easy to me. That's why working with The Moose on his math homework can be somewhat challenging and frustrating. I generally know the answer but have trouble explaining it. Let's take a look at this recent homework.

Laurel charges $85 to groom a dog. Tuesday is her slowest day, so she offers a 15% discount if you bring your dog in on a Tuesday. How much will you pay if you bring your dog in on Tuesday to get groomed?

The instructions direct students to solve this program using the four-step proportion method. I have no idea what this means. My seventh grader insisted that the answer is $44.75. I tried to explain that this amount is nearly a 50% discount and that if you gave Laurel this amount, she would wait until you gave her more. While I knew the answer, I couldn't explain how to solve this using the four-step method. That's where the frustration comes in for both of us.

Let's take a look at one more question.

Kaden needs to buy a new screen for his iPhone. The screen sells for $164, and he has a coupon for 30% off. If Kaden received $100 for his birthday, how much more money does he need in order to buy the new screen for his iPhone?

Several thoughts on this one. First, why not just have "phone" in the question? Did Apple give the person who wrote this question an iPhone so that their product would appear? That's some unique marketing. Next, what did Kaden do with the $100? Does he have all of the $100 or did he spend some of it on apps or lunch? That seems relevant to this question. 

Just for fun, feel free to solve these questions and put the answers in the comments section below. If you get them correct, you can get a gold star!

Wednesday, January 10, 2024

If You Can Dodge A Beer Can, You Can Dodge A Ball

Watching football recently, I saw this Bud Light commercial several times featuring NFL Hall-of Famers Peyton Manning and Emmitt Smith.

At first glance, it’s nice that Peyton Manning bought a round of Bud Light cans for everyone.  Seems rather convenient that the bar has cases of beer rather than kegs, but maybe cans work better for this particular establishment.

Here’s my issue with the commercial. Smith and Manning are retired professional athletes and both (particularly Peyton) appear to have great arms. At the end of the commercial, they give each other a look. They aren’t going to gently distribute beers to the bar patrons. They are going to fire the cans like it’s a dodgeball game.

Look, I understand this is a commercial, but let's try a little experiment. Go to a bar with a friend and buy a round of Bud Light cans. Then, as hard as the two of you can, start throwing them at people or just anywhere around the place. Let's see how long it takes before someone fights you or the police get called!

Thursday, January 04, 2024

The Light Bulbs Journey

My second blog post in 2024 is about ordering light bulbs online and the adventures in getting them delivered. This is the type of hard-hitting, investigative post you expect from Sean's Ramblings! A few weeks ago, two light bulbs in our dining room chandelier burned out. Yes, please feel free to sing along to the chorus of the Sia song. (Seriously, I want to try singing this at karaoke someday.)


With it being the holiday season, it seemed much easier to purchase the light bulbs online instead of going to a store. I ordered the bulbs from Target on December 16th and figured they would arrive several days later. Since you’re reading a blog post about this, you know that they didn’t arrive several days later. Here’s the journey:


Tucson, Arizona: December 17 at 3:38pm - Package is in transit to a UPS facility.


Tucson, Arizona: December 18 at 2:00pm – Your package was not received at the UPS facility as originally scheduled. There may be a delivery delay.


Goodyear, Arizona: December 18 at 2:27pm – Origin scan.


Goodyear, Arizona: December 18 at 9:57pm - Departed from facility.


Hodgkins, Illinois: December 21 at 5:10am – Arrived at facility.


Hodgkins, Illinois: December 21 at 12:32pm & 12:58pm – Unload scan. Location represents a scan within a UPS facility.


Chantilly, Virginia: December 22 at 2:29am – Arrived at facility.


Chantilly, Virginia: December 22 at 8:15am – Processing at UPS facility


I live in Northern Virginia, so this seemed like a good sign.


Springfield, Missouri: December 26 at 9:44am – Location represents a scan within a UPS facility. We’re sorry this package has experienced a sortation delay. The package has been rerouted to the correct destination.


I live in Northern Virginia, so this did not seem like a good sign. I also learned the word sortation. I knew flotation but not sortation.


Springfield, Missouri: December 26 at 9:02pm – Location represents a scan within a UPS facility. Revised delivery date.


Springfield, Missouri: December 26 at 9:50pm – Departed from facility.


Lenexa, Kansas: December 27 at 1:47am – Arrived at facility.


Lenexa, Kansas: December 27 at 4:23am – Departed from facility.


Earth City, Missouri: December 27 at 8:40am – Arrived at facility.


Earth City, Missouri: December 27 at 12:49pm – Departed from facility


Louisville, Kentucky: December 27 at 5:36pm & 6:07pm – Arrived at facility.


Louisville, Kentucky: December 28 at 2:54am & 3:24am – Departed from facility


Roanoke, Virginia: December 28 at 12:19pm – Arrived at facility.


Roanoke, Virginia: December 28 at 4:34pm – Departed from facility.


Chantilly, Virginia: December 28 at 8:23pm – Arrived at facility.


Chantilly, Virginia: December 29 at 6:34am – Destination scan.


Chantilly, Virginia: December 29 at 7:41am – Loaded on delivery vehicle.


After all of this, I received the light bulbs on December 29th and this was the result:

With the light bulbs traveling thousands of miles over nearly two weeks, I'm amazed that only one lightblub was broken!

Monday, January 01, 2024

Wayne Gretzky and Kenny Pickett

Happy 2024! To celebrate the new year, I'm bringing back PAWRA or Pittsburgh Athletes with World-Renowned Athletes. On Sunday, the Steelers defeated the Seattle Seahawks 30-23 in Seattle. After the game, hockey legend Wayne Gretzky met up with Steelers quarterback Kenny Pickett. 

Gretzky is in Seattle for Monday's Winter Classic game between the Las Vegas Golden Knights and Seattle Kraken at T-Mobile Park, home of the Mariners baseball team. I actually had no idea the Winter Classic was taking place in Seattle until I looked up why Gretzky might be in Seattle. Apparently, Gretzky golfed with Kenny Pickett and his dad back in March. I guess that they enjoyed the round together enough for Gretzky to seek out Pickett after the Steelers win.

Have a happy and healthy year!

Photos by Brooke Pryor on Twitter and the Steelers' Facebook page.