No-stalgia

My carefree childhood, I was such a dork…

What is it about the past that we think was so much better? Why is it so easy to sit in a current rough patch and think “I wish I was back in such and such a time”? Was the past really that great?

I watched the CNN produced documentary “The Nineties” on Netflix last week. Despite living up to the “Clinton News Network” nickname (that man could do no wrong in CNN’s eyes), it did make me miss some of thatdecade’s better features.

The thing I miss the most is the popular music. I’m not up to date on the latest pop music, everything modern I listen to now is “weird” to most people. Most people meaning my wife, her opinion is the only one that matters. The rare time I do get to hear current hits I gag a little. At least in the nineties the mainstream was trying to be creative and make something people had not heard before. Now it’s just repackaged garbage from some other time and place. Just because that time was often the nineties doesn’t mean they do it well though.

Other features of the decade? Was it really that great of a time? I started high school in the final year of the decade, so my memories are a jumbled heap of childhood memories and silliness. Comparisons are easy to make though, one doesn’t need precise memories of events to remember that some stuff just plain sucked back in the day.

I definitely don’t miss dial-up internet. Yes, kids, there was a day when the internet wasn’t “on” all the time. You had to pay by the minute, and those minutes did not produce much more than a page or two of TEXT. Pictures? Come back after you have gone to the kitchen for a Surge and a bag of Cool Ranch Doritos. I remember the first time I heard of Ethernet, it was a mind blowing concept.you meqn the internet is always connected? You can watch movie clips on it?!

Cell phones? As a kid i only knew one person with a cell phone and it was corded and attached to a bag. You could not watch movies on it or play Candy Crush”. The only cool feature on a cell phone back then was “Centipede” which could be played on a black and green screen. You could play it for days though without charging the phone. My memory could be a bit skewed but I swear those phone batteries lasted for-ev-errrr (if you don’t get that reference, you’re killing me, Smalls).

The movies were better then. I mean, they actually had to try. CGI was limited to Star Wars (and it was bad), so Hollywood actually had to build sets and scale models. And aside from the epic that was Titanic, not every movie was a three hour highly involved action sequence. You could watch an hour and a half movie and then go about your day. After you returned the video cassette to Blockbuster of course. If you were kind you would rewind. If you were a jerk… Well…

You didn’t have to commit hours to sitting around binging on TV shows either. What was on TV was what was on, you didn’t get to pick, and you definitely didn’t get to skip commercials.

For some of us TV was called “Cable” which despite being roughly the same technology as today, was nothing like it’s current counterpart. There were no DVRs and no easy index channel which could take you directly to the channel of your liking. You had to wait for the preview channel to scroll through allof the channels and then manually get yourself to the show you wanted.

Most people had a VCR, which, if you had a degree in engineering (or nursing, as did my mom), you could program it to record something. But.It had to be on the right channel. It was largely just used for playing movies, not recording them.

If you didn’t have cable you had to stick to the old rabbit ears and a non-digital *gasp* signal. Which meant you got like six channels. You missed out on Nickelodeon, the beginnings of the Cartoon Network, and all the major 24/7 news channels.

Which reminds me:

The politics haven’t changed.

The 90’s was full of political scandals. But they seemed to move a lot slower than current scandals. Even with 24/7 news networks coming onto the scene the slower pace of information streaming (well, it was dial up, there was no “streaming” as we know it) meant that you could watch the news and not be suffocated in useless data. There was only so much new stuff to report so you could watch an hour and pretty much get it all.

I certainly don’t miss the outfits or the hairstyles. Except for the grunge. We can keep the grunge. Bring back flannel already!

What were we thinking? And she’s going to kill me. Also: Epic 90’s album cover material!

I will be happy once modern fashion gets out of its 80’s slump. That is a decade I am too young to be nostalgic for. Except for Reagan, who isn’t nostalgic for Reagan? There I go with the politics again…

I will probably always be sappy and sentimental, it’s just my nature. But closer inspection reveals that the past wasn’t really better than the present. Sure, I was a kid and responsibilities were fewer and stakes were lower. But if I were the me of today living then would I find it better? Probably not. How would I make money? How would I talk to you on this blog? How much smaller was the world back then?

It’s nice to think back on those days, but I’m content to see what the future will bring.

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Making Money Like A Millenial: DoorDash

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After my bad experience with PostMates, I was a bit hesitant to try DoorDash. But I am glad I did!

What it is:

DoorDash is a food delivery app which lets you use your own car and set your own hours.

Getting started:

DoorDash was super simple to sign up for. I gave them my address and some other info, they did the standard background check, and they sent me a handy little bag and a card to use for orders.

I then downloaded the app, activated my card, added a bank account and headed out the door for my first deliveries.

General experience:

The biggest difference between DoorDash and PostMates right out the door was the use of zones. DoorDash breaks up the area into zones, you select a zone to work in and you stay in that zone for the entire time you are running orders.

When you first begin your Dash you will notice that it’s already trying to direct you somewhere. This was a little confusing to me until I looked it up. This is DoorDash’s way of trying to help you find a busy spot. It’s a little less intuitive than the shading used by Uber and PostMates, but it was still helpful.

I began to drive towards the hotspot and before I could get there, I got an order.

It doesn’t just notify you in the app, it sends you texts! Which can be a little overwhelming honestly. If I have the app running, I’m going to know when an order comes in. I don’t need a dozen reminders!

One of the first things I noticed when the order came in was the “Amount Guarantee”. Like the other services I have run, DoorDash guarantees a minimum for each order you deliver, but unlike those other ones, DoorDash tells you up front what that amount is. Also unlike those others, it doesn’t just have a blanket minimum, the amount changes based on various factors like miles for the delivery, expected wait time, etc.

When you accept the order you just navigate to the restaurant and slide at the bottom of the app to show you have arrived.

The app pops up with a list of things in the order and tells you whether or not you are expected to place the order and pay, or just pick it up. In my limited experience it appears that fast food places like Steak ‘n Shake are the former, while places like Cracker Barrel are the latter.

Orders can get pretty complicated, thankfully these are usually the pick up only variety. I didn’t have to remember to ask for salsa!

Get your food and check the items. Swipe that you have done the pick up and the app will tell you where you need to go. It will also give you delivery instructions like these:

Deliveries are also easy, just navigate to the location, drop off the food, and swipe delivered. After that you just drive near another hot spot and wait for another delivery to roll in.

The only hard part of the whole thing was when two orders came in at the same time. I felt a little bad making the first person wait while I picked up the second order. The app had me drop them off in the order picked up, but it added several minutes to the delivery time.

The experience was great, I didn’t have to drive all over the world like some of the services. I was able to stay within a 10 mile radius of my house, which was a gas saver.

How Much Money Are We Talking Here?

In short: WAAAAAY more than PostMates.

I worked 11-1:15ish and then 4-6:30, made 6 deliveries, and was able to earn about $50.

General Tips:

Work the lunch and dinner hours.

Make sure you have enough gas.

Don’t be like me and find a beautiful piece of furniture, send a picture to your wife, have to stop work, go rent a truck, and bring it home. That really cuts into your bottom line.

Use the bag they give you, it keeps that food warm in bad traffic. And it alerts the restaurant who you are so you don’t have to keep saying “Hi, I’m a DoorDash driver!”

Be warned: they expect you to make 25 deliveries and work at least two weeks before you qualify for Fast Pay. So unlike the other money making schemes, you will have to wait a week for your money. That is the only pitfall to this app though.

Bottom Line:

$10/hr minus a little for gas isn’t great money, but it’s comparable to Uber and it’s still over minimum wage. Unlike Uber, you can use any old beater car, and even a motorcycle (or moped, for you hipster types) if you wanted. And you’re not dealing with drunk people. So for spare time money making this is an excellent choice.

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Making Money Like A Millenial: Postmates

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Once again, it’s been awhile since I did one of these. Last week while looking through employment sites and Craigslist I found Postmates. I had heard about it on Scott Pilgrim VS The World, at least I think that was it, and some other show and discovered it had finally arrived in Jacksonville.

I was eager to try it out as it seemed a bit more fun than Uber Eats and I could use my better gas mileage vehicle for it.

What it is:

Postmates (Use code:FL-RBKTW to get us both a bonus!) is a delivery app that allows you to deliver virtually anything to someone who orders it on the app.

Getting started:

I found a Craigslist ad which directed me to the Postmates site. All you have to do is answer a few questions about your license, agree to a background check, and download the app to your phone.

After initial sign up Postmates will send you a prepaid Visa card which you will use to purchase ordered items. You will have to receive it and activate it before you can get to work, but the whole process is relatively quick. I signed up on a Wednesday and was on the road the following Tuesday.

General experience:

When I first signed onto the app I noticed it looked a lot like the older Uber app, complete with bonus areas highlighted. And just like Uber, once you actually arrive at the area, the bonuses mysteriously disappear.

Now you see it….

Now you don’t.

Just like Uber or Lyft, the app dings when you get an order. You accept the order and navigate to the location. Be careful of the directions though. My first order was in the mall, and instead of taking me to the food court, the app sent me to the front entrance.

‘Twas actually on the south side of the mall.

The pickup experience is a bit different than either delivery services I have done, Uber Eats and plain old pizza delivery. With both of those the order is already prepared (in theory) and all you have to do is pick it up and deliver it. With Postmates you have to go to the store and place the order yourself.

As you can see above, the orders can be simple, or they can be very specific. Accuracy is key.

Once you place your order, you take a picture of the receipt, receive the items, tap “Pickup Complete” and then you are directed to your drop off point. Navigate to the drop off and deliver the items, with a smile of course.

Once you drop it off, click “Drop off complete” and you’ll get a message about how much you made for that delivery. This notification isn’t always instant. I had one take ten minutes. And from what I understand the tips don’t always show up for a few days.

Orders took about 30 minutes to complete. The quickest was a drive thru, but since I had to drive a distance to get there (without being paid) the speed of the pick up didn’t really matter.

How Much Money Are We Talking Here?

Well… I will be honest here. On a Tuesday night, during “Prime” hours, I worked 2.5 hrs, drove a total of 31.2 miles and made a whopping $10.91. After calculating for gas, I estimated my wages to be $2.50/hour. That’s pretty abysmal.

Maybe with tips and working weekends it would improve? I kinda doubt that. Postmates is new in town, so people may not know about it yet. And with a ton of other services out there, it’s not likely that they will be jumping on that bandwagon anytime soon.

General Tips:

Just like all the other apps, if someone tells you they are going to tip in the app, that’s code for “don’t expect a tip.”

Know your area. I had been out of town for six months and as a result I was a bit hazy on the locations of some things, like places in the mall.

Be prepared to travel all over town. Unlike Uber or Lyft, there is no function to travel to a particular location. So you just kinda wander wherever the orders come. For me, this meant turning down an order in the opposite direction that popped up right as I was ready to head home.

Bottom Line:

Maybe as an add on to both Uber and Lyft (though three apps at once gets cumbersome) Postmates would be a profitable venture. And maybe in a bigger city where people know about it. And a place where people tip. But around here, Postmates is just not profitable as far as I can tell.

I will give it another go and see what happens, when I am not unemployed and in need of real money.

Perhaps I will be pleasantly surprised.

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Dearest Millennials, A Letter From an Older, Wiser Millennial

“… you are weak, flaccid and unable to handle life’s normal circumstances (like the loss of a political race).”

The Desolation of Your Ideas

Dear millennials,
Post-post-modernism has failed you. Your parents have failed you. Your professors have failed you. You’ve been spoon fed ideas your whole life and no one has taught you to defend yourselves. As such, you are weak, flaccid and unable to handle life’s normal circumstances (like the loss of a political race).

You would do well to embrace the concept that truth is objective and not based on feelings. When you embrace this truth you won’t need safe spaces or days off to cry when someone opposes you. All you will need is a strong defense of truth as you perceive it.

While your perception of truth is subjective,  truth itself is not. Thankfully for you,  in most political matters these days it matters not if you are wrong as long as you can defend your perspective. A strong defense keeps your ideas alive and at play in the world, curling up in the fetal position and crying merely makes you look childish and ignorant.

Stop crying and brush up on your Marx, go read Engels and Nietzsche. Study the life of Che and not just his portrait on your t-shirt. Compare what you read with reality. Make up your own minds about the ideas of these morons. Realize that most of what they spout is feelings-based and indefensible. Understand that this is why your professors couldn’t teach you to defend it.

Then go out and study some real economics and social theory based on objective observation and reality. Read Bastiat, read Rothbard, read Henry Hazlitt, read Adam Smith and John Locke. Read people who took painstaking time to study reality and craft theory that could be tested and tried and found true (or false).

Configure your own perspective based on your observations of these theories, then formulate defenses of your perspective based not on feelings but on objective measurements and your subjective interpretation of the data.

If you create a reasoned defense of your views, I promise you you’ll never need a safe space. You’ll never need a day off to cry about election results. You’ll never fear the ideas of others no matter how absurd they are.

Instead, you can be bold, you can change the minds and hearts of others. You can make the world “a better place” or whatever it is that you younger people are trying to do these days. You may never have your utopia, but at least you will have some people who understand you and want to help you get that much closer to it.

Stop the temper tantrums and pick up a book or three.

Sincerely,

An older millennial who’s sick of being lumped in with you snowflakes.