Saturday, October 18, 2014

Netflix vs Hulu Plus

For quite a few years we have lived without cable television due to the fact that it's too expensive. However, to fulfill my television wants and needs without cable, we purchased an Apple TV and have Netflix.

Netflix or Hulu, Netflix or Hulu...which service is better?  Well, today I'm going to throw my opinion into this often debated topic.


When we first subscribed to Netflix, we had both the TV and DVD service.  I used the DVD service a lot during the summer, but once school started it wasn't being used, so we cancelled it.  Luckily I cancelled the service before the infamous price increase, so it never bothered me.

I've always been happy with both the TV and movie selection that Netflix has offered.  There are many choices for Brandon to pick from, no matter what his age is.  And I love that there are choices that we can watch together, without me wanting to poke my eyes out with a fork!  Shows like Phineas and Ferb, and Ninjago can often be seen on our television.



I've found that when I watch Netflix, I tend to watch TV shows more than movies.  With a TV show, you can watch one, stop, and then come back.  I don't like doing that with movies...I have no idea why.  If you know me, you know that I LOVE the TV show Burn Notice.  All 7 seasons are on Netflix, along with the stand alone TV movie The Fall of Sam Axe, which tells the back story of that character.



On the occasion that I watch a movie, Netflix has many Disney options that are always fun to watch. Old school Disney movies like Robin Hood, Dumbo, Cinderella,Winnie the Pooh and Sleeping Beauty are on my list.

When we had cable, we would often watch HGTV and The Food Network.  Just last week I noticed that both channels have added many of their shows to the Netflix line up.  I was even happier when I discovered that two of my favorites were among the titles:  Restaurant Impossible, and The Property Brothers.




Needless to say, this discovery has left me EXCITED.  Now all they need to do is add one of the MANY shows with Bobby Flay on it, and I will never need cable again!



Netflix is constantly attempting to update their selection, providing customers with more recent movies and television shows.  As a customer, I appreciate that.  More often than not, once the most recent season of a TV series is on DVD it will pop up on Netflix.

Recently Netflix added a feature making it easier to watch the next episode of the TV show you're watching.  When the episode is over, it will automatically go to the next episode for you, unless you tell it not to.  For a fan of episode TV like me, this is a great feature.

I also love that the TV shows on Netflix don't have commercials.  There are no ads that play where a commercial would be if it was on cable.  I hate commercials.  When we had cable, this was the job of the DVR; fast-forwarding commercials!

Netflix has also found productive, and effective ways to use technology.  If there is a TV show title on my list that will have another season coming soon, I will receive a notice on my phone from Netflix.  If you're adding selections to your Netflix list from the internet, I've found that their website is very user friendly.  It is very easy to find all the possible titles of both TV shows and movies, and add those that you want to your list.  And since I'm anal, and a little OCD, I have the selections on my list in a specific order.  Netflix makes it easy for me to put the new titles in the order that I would like them to be in.

Just this week a fabulous announcement was made.  January 1st, the greatest TV show EVER will be joining Netflix:



A few years ago I watched EVERYTHING on the internet through the station's website (cbs.com, abc.com, etc).  The networks caught on that many people were doing this, and decided to play dirty by forcing you to provide your cable account information to be able to watch the episode online. Since I didn't have a cable provider, I was no longer able to watch many shows.  If I had cable, and access to a DVR, why would I want to watch the show in the internet when I could watch them over and over again on my DVR?  It makes no sense to me.

It's beginning to happen more and more.  The day CBS does this, I will have to purchase cable again. If I can't watch NCIS, NCIS: LA, and Survivor, I will die!  Ooo, it's beginning to feel like a conspiracy to force people back into purchasing cable!

Moving on...

Now on to Hulu Plus. Thanks to McDonald's and their annual Monopoly game, I won a free month-long trial of Hulu Plus. I had tried the 7 day free trial about a year ago, but wasn't very impressed.  I decided a month would give me a lot more time to investigate and learn more about this service.

Right off the bat I found one of my favorite shows that I no longer have access to due to the stupid cable account information fiasco:



I began watching the seasons that I've missed, and looked forward to discovering what other shows I could find.

I've always heard Hulu Plus advertise themselves as the service that provides current episodes of TV shows that are on right now.  I continued my search for said shows.  I'm 3 weeks into my free trial and I'm remembering why I wasn't impressed the first time around.  Unless you watch all the vampire TV shows, the shows about the Kardashians, all the prissy, rich housewife shows, America's Next Top Model, or most everything on Fox, there's not much of a selection for you.

I'm finding it difficult to find the shows that Hulu Plus offers.  Their website isn't nearly as user friendly as Netflix, and the actual channel isn't much more help.  I like when the service lists all the shows it has to offer, that way I don't have to try and remember what I would like to watch.

Hulu Plus has commercials.  Unlike Netflix, they will show 2 thirty seconds ads where a commercial would've been had it been playing on television.  The ads are promoting other shows available on Hulu Plus, which is how I know all the real housewife and Kardashian shows are available.  They are the same few ads replayed over and over again.  These ads are often inappropriate.  I don't like Brandon in the room when they come on because he's 7 and doesn't need to see women acting like sluts, women pole dancing, and women dressed like hookers.  I'm not kidding, these are "commercials" that are seen on Hulu Plus.  No thank you, disgusting.

The last thing I'm noticing about Hulu Plus is that it is constantly loosing its internet connection.  The show I'm watching will often freeze up, or even completely stop playing.  This rarely happens with Netflix, and I have no idea why.

It's obvious which service I prefer.  When the trial is over, I won't be continuing Hulu Plus.  For the needs of my family, Netflix has it all.


Sunday, October 12, 2014

Change Is Never Easy

...especially when you weren't looking for it to begin with.

The past 2 months have been a challenge...a HUGE challenge.  I thought loosing my job was difficult.  I was wrong.  That was the easy part!

After I obtained a new job, many decisions had to be made, and quickly.  Should we stay in Tooele, in a house we LOVE and commute into town so that we could stay in our fabulous ward and near our terrific friends, or should we pay more on rent and move closer?  After number crunching and much thought, we decided it would be best to move to West Jordan.  The next problem was our lease.

The beginning of August, right after receiving the new job,  I informed the property management people that we would probably be breaking our lease and moving, so they needed to get on the bandwagon and find someone to rent the house.  We didn't want to break the lease, but moving to West Jordan would put me 5 minutes away from work instead of almost an hour away.

The beginning of August I began packing.  By the way, I HATE PACKING!  Members from our ward came out the night before we moved and helped us load up the U-haul truck.  Saying goodbye wasn't easy.  The morning we left I put the last box into my car, and just stood looking at the front of our house...in tears.  I didn't want to go, plain and simple.  I wanted to unload the truck myself, unpack all the boxes, and continue living in a place I had grown to love, and go back to the job I loved more than anything.  Since that wasn't going to happen, off we went.

We now live closer to the Salt Lake airport.  I LOVE hearing the planes that are preparing to land. We also live across from a small airport that is used for flying lessons.  There are a lot of military helicopters in the area, and where they are the coolest thing to see flying in the air, they are SO VERY LOUD!  

I began training for my new job, and was looking forward to the new school year.  I was sad to move, but grateful for the new job that came so quickly and looked promising.  Well, it hasn't been the easiest transition.  We're almost 7 weeks into the new school year and job.  I keep thinking that things will get easier; and they aren't.  I seem to take 1 step forward, and 2 steps back.  I am busier than ever with things that, as a teacher, I shouldn't have to be dealing with.  I've developed an insane caffeine addiction...the people working at the gas station around the corner from our house practically know me by name, and I continue to gain weight.  Oh well, with all the stuff on my plate, who has time to exercise anyway?!?  No matter how much I remind myself each day to be positive and look for the good things in life, I'm just not happy.  I miss my friends, our old house, ward, and most of all...my old job.  I've been back to Tooele a few times since we've moved, and it's been too much for me.  I've had to avoid driving by the school while driving into Tooele.  We all knew each other's first names, what was happening in our lives...we were family.  I lost my family when I lost that job.  That is what hurts the most.

To makes matters even more fun, the house in Tooele hasn't rented yet, because the property management company has been sitting on their butts doing nothing to get it rented.  So the landlords are mad at us, which I understand.  I'm frustrated because they've known about this since the beginning of August...plenty of time to find another family to rent it, in my opinion.  Moving back over the mountain has proven to be more expensive, too.  You'd think that making more money would mean you'd have more money....I should know better by now!  Since there's only 3 of us in our family, a ridiculous amount of money comes out of my checks so that we avoid owing money come tax season.  Medical insurance will begin to be taken out next month, and the price of that is going up quite a bit too.  (Again, thank you to Obama and his STUPID "insurance" idea) When that happens, I'll end up taking home less each month than I did when we were in Tooele!!

My health is also getting worse, and I'm now on another medication to hopefully give me better control.

I know that this was the right choice.  Of the 3 job offers I received that day, I know this was the job I was supposed to take.  I also know this is where we were supposed to move to.  What I'm struggling with is this:  WHY IS THIS SO DIFFICULT?  WHY am I so unhappy when I know this is where we're supposed to be?

 I'm tired of not knowing WHY we're here. WHY did this all have to happen to begin with?  WHY wasn't this entire issue worked out when those involved didn't want me to loose my job and fought to keep me at the school to begin with?  I have ideas about that one, but you'll have to ask me!!

I was happy in Tooele, making a difference, working with people I adore, at a school Brandon LOVED.  I was finally making friends, which is something that doesn't come easily for me.  We were in a house that, where it had flaws, on a whole, we LOVED.

AAAAUUUUGGGGHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I feel a little better now.  Okay, not really, but venting is always healthy, in my opinion!

I'll leave you with three quotes that I found.  These are easier said than done, but I'm working on it!









Trust me, I'm trying VERY, VERY HARD to remember all these things!



Wednesday, August 6, 2014

When God Closes A Door...

somewhere he opens a window...or two, or three, or four!

The past 5 days have been the most incredible of my life.  I have found myself feeling the deepest sorrow, and the greatest joy.  Friends I was aware of, and friends that have always been there, just in the background, have rallied around me to show their love and support in ways that I never thought possible.

Last Friday I found myself in a situation no one ever wants to be in:  needing new employment.  After spending a few hours crying, I gathered myself together and got to work.  I would much rather have curled up into the fetal position, crawled into bed, and eaten chocolate while watching Burn Notice, (especially since my marathon has yet to be completed!) but I needed a job, and quickly.

By Sunday evening I had applied for over 35 jobs in 4 different school districts.  As of yesterday morning (Tuesday), I had 3 interviews set up just for that day, which was amazing.  That was a first for me.  I was hopeful that one of these positions would pan out.

My confidence had been shaken to its core.  I was doubting my abilities, I was scared, and didn't know what I was going to do.  That's when the cavalry arrived.  Actually, that's when the entire ARMY arrived!  As word began to spread Friday about what happened, my phone started ringing, text messages started flowing in, and they didn't stop until Sunday night!  Friends and family wanted to know how I was doing, if there was anything they could do for me, and encouraged me not to give up.  I was blown away by just how many people took time out of their day to contact me.  One friend called me four times throughout the day on Friday, because she wanted to check up on me!

Friday afternoon as I began updating my resume and applying for jobs, I asked former coworkers for letters of recommendation.  Not only were they incredible about getting them to me quickly, but they were the most AMAZING letters I've ever received!  Tears flowed as I read what was written about me and what I have to offer as a teacher.  These letters lifted me up when I needed it the most.  To those of you who wrote them:  thank you will NEVER be enough.  I went from feeling like garbage, to knowing that I have value.

I had been going non-stop since Friday.  To add to the stress of everything in life, my car decided that NOW was the time to stop working.  We had taken it to be diagnosed on Saturday.  Some issues were found, and then Saturday afternoon, once we were home, my transmission began showing signs that it was dying.  When being put into reverse, and every time it would switch gears, it would buck.  Not just a small buck, I mean a HUGE, freak-you-out, jolt you forward buck.  Great, just great.  It's the scariest when it goes from 1st to 2nd, but it's enough to worry the average person.  I am scared to death of car trouble, so this hasn't helped at all.  This is the 2nd transmission my car has had, so to say I'm unhappy would be a huge understatement!

Tuesday (yesterday) came and it was time to interview.  I got into my car and took Brandon around the block to a friend from church who was going to watch him.  Going around the block in my car was enough to make me nervous.  We were engaged in small talk, when my car trouble came up.  My friend offered to loan me her car for the day, which I couldn't believe.  I kindly said thanks, but no, and left.  I was 3 blocks away when my phone rang.  It was my friend.  She had been talking to her husband, and they insisted that I come back and use their car since I would be going to quite a few places that day and they wanted me to be able to focus on my interviews without the stress of whether my car was going to work.  So off I went in what I consider a luxury car, compared to mine; another unexpected and welcomed blessing.

My interviews went really well.  After the first one, at a public school in Salt Lake City for 5th grade,  I had an email on my phone asking if I could interview at another school that day.  So I ended up with a FOURTH interview! Wow.  My second interview was at a charter school in West Jordan for 3rd grade.  When I left that interview, I had been all but offered the position.  The 3rd interview was also at a charter school in West Jordan for 5th grade.  I had only been out of the 3rd interview for about 5 minutes when I received a phone call from the director offering me the position! I have never heard back from a potential employer THAT quickly!  The 4th interview, at a public school here in Tooele for 6th grade, went well, and I was home by about 4pm.

And then something monumental happened for me.  I've never had the opportunity to be able to think about the pros and cons of potential jobs.  I've only been offered one at a time in the past.  By 5pm, I had 3 of the 4 schools offering me the position that I had interviewed for!  I was STUNNED. I even had my phone ring 2 more times that night with principals asking for an interview, which I declined because I already had 3 great offers and A LOT to think about!  The people I interviewed with were very impressed with my letters of recommendation; so again, thank you ladies for helping me land three offers!

That night friends were all excited and curious about what had happened, and which school I was going to choose.  Instead of having a TON of  individual conversations about it, I figured I'd write a blog post so all my fabulous friends could satisfy their curiosity!  So, where will I be teaching?  In the end it wasn't that tough a decision to make.  I am a charter school teacher, and I LOVE to teach using Direct Instruction.  I will be teaching 3rd grade at.....




This school in is West Jordan, Utah, and they use Direct Instruction teaching methods, and teach the same spelling, reading and math programs that I've been teaching the past 3 years.  I am so excited to meet new teachers and students.  This will be a wonderful place to work.  Brandon is also very excited to meet new teachers and students.  He's even more excited that I'll be teaching 3rd grade.  He's in 2nd this year, so he knows that means I'll be nearby.


I want to take a moment to thank EVERYONE who has helped me the past 6 days.  Your support, no matter how you gave it to me, is recognized and appreciated.  Pep talks, sweet, uplifting comments, a listening ear, watching Brandon, letting me borrow your car, copying resume information for me since my printer doesn't work; HOWEVER you helped me, it won't be forgotten.  This journey has shown me just how blessed I am, and I love you all very much.  My heart is full, and I see the many ways my family has been blessed.  In the past, I've gone days, weeks, even months before landing a teaching job.  This all started last Thursday, and was over 5 days later.  

IN.CRE.DI.BLE




We don't know if we'll be moving to West Jordan or not.  From Tooele, it's a 45 minute drive both ways.  I hate commuting, so we will see what happens with that.  For now, I'm just so grateful for all the wonderful people I have in my life, and the blessings that have been given to us.

Training doesn't start for me until the 18th of August, so it looks like I'll be able to finish my Burn Notice marathon after all!!




Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Teacher Humor

This is the last week of summer vacation.  I can't believe it's already come, but it has.  As I prepare to go back into "teacher mode" next week, here are some funny quotes I found on pinterest about teachers.


This is exactly how I feel right now!









I did this just a few weeks ago.  Getting to the stores before everyone else was SO AWESOME!












This is how I feel right now!













#1, 2, 5, 8 are my favorites!




Who are we kidding...I don't hide the candy I eat at all.  I eat it in front of them!!!




Isn't this the truth!





















Saturday, July 19, 2014

30 Days of July, 2014: Day 19





Let's face it; we all have them. Certain things in life that make you want to scream, pull out your hair, or slap the person sitting closest to you! Journey with me today to discover my top 5 pet peeves in life.

#5:  Cleaning the bathroom/No toilet paper


I HATE CLEANING BATHROOMS! I have hated it for as long as I can remember, and will probably hate it until I'm dead. I don't know what it is that makes me despise this chore so very much, especially since a dirty bathroom isn't exactly a pleasant place to be. My skin just crawls at the very thought of it.


While we're talking about bathrooms, how many of you hate this? If you see the roll is empty, or near empty GRAB ANOTHER ROLL FOR THE NEXT PERSON!! There's nothing worse than be caught without this; and it's even worse if you're in a public restroom! I've learned to check for toilet paper before I use the restroom because this bothers me so much!




#4:  "Vaguebooking"


How many of us have either seen, or are culprits of doing this? When vague status updates come up, I ignore them because they drive me crazy! Who wants to scroll through their Facebook feed just to find this stuff? What's even more annoying is when friends give in and ask what the vague post was about, and the person STILL doesn't give any information!




#3: Slow music in church


Okay, let me clarify this. I have major issues with songs that are meant to be played fast, but are ALWAYS played slowly. The songs that drag on for what seems like an ETERNITY, and make you want to poke your eyes out with a fork because you wonder if they are ever going to end! Those of you who go to church know EXACTLY what I'm talking about and are laughing. As a pianist, it's my job to watch the chorister, and to play at the speed they are conducting.

I've heard the phrase "conducting is just waving your arm". I HATE THAT PHRASE, because it isn't true. Conducting music is a talent. Unfortunately, most people don't have time to learn it for church purposes. If I'm playing for a chorister who doesn't really know what they are doing, and are conducting slowly when the song needs to go faster, I will take off and play the song at the speed it should go! It's also annoying when you have a conductor who knows what they are doing and then you have a pianist who doesn't pay attention and plays slow....so frustrating!!

Here's an example of a song that is often played WAY TOO SLOW. In this clip, it is played perfectly.





#2:  People who use horrible grammar

This pet peeve hits home because I'm a teacher. The incorrect use of the English language is something we see more and more. Facebook and text messaging encourage this with their use of acronyms. People have become lazy, and simply don't care anymore. It's very frustrating.

I've always taken pride in my ability to spell and use the language correctly. There are certain words and phrases that I use wrong even today; no one is perfect! But I always try to speak using proper grammar.

Below are a few pictures that simply made me laugh out loud. These are probably the biggest "offenders" of words that are either spelled incorrectly, or actually said wrong.




Just this week, Weird Al released a song title "Word Crimes" that parodies how people use words and phrases wrong. On a side note, I'm so proud of the fact that I have NO IDEA what this song is. I've read articles about how horrible the lyrics are to the original song, and even Nick was stunned that I was listening to it...until he realized it was Weird Al!





#1:  Bad drivers

I don't know of anyone who can say that bad drivers don't make them want to pull out their hair! We battle bad driver's every single day on the road. If you can't follow the rules of the road, don't drive on it.


If the speed limit is 40mph; don't drive 30mph. People who don't drive the speed limit are dangerous, and very frustrating. Either drive, or walk to where you're going if you're going to drive slow enough that I could run beside you and be going faster than you!

Blinkers are our friend, and people should use them more often.

Tailgating is probably the worst thing you can do while driving. It is my biggest driving pet peeve. If I am in the fast lane, and I'm already going 5 miles over the speed limit, and the cars in the next lane are going slower than I am, don't expect me to move over for you! Not only do you put everyone else in harms way, but you look really stupid driving really fast, only to sit at the red light up ahead!


This is EXACTLY what I do if you are tailgating me! Is it any safer than tailgating? No. But I won't let you intimidate me into driving faster because you are a jerk!




So, there are my top 5 pet peeves!


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