All posts by Tony

Hello! I'm Tony. I'm a Husband, Father, Friend, Blogger, Country Radio DJ, and proud Dance Dad. Faith, Family, and Technology...this is what matters to me and it's what I write about here.

The Cheaper Way To Watch TV

Ten years or so ago my wife and I made the decision for her to stay home with our kids.  We were only able to afford this by cutting expenses and adjusting our lifestyle.  One of the first bills to go was our cable bill.

I can’t remember what we were paying at the time but the current national average for cable is about $75.  That’s $900 a year! Quite a lot to be spending for television.

Cutting the cable cord was easy. In fact, the only time I missed it was when I couldn’t watch NASCAR because the races were only shown on cable channels.  Not really a big deal. I found other (and to be honest better) ways to occupy my Sunday afternoons.  I’m still a race fan just not as big of one as before.

Aside from missing live sports I see no downside to getting rid of cable. There is some good programming on over the air broadcast television. Plus, thanks to the industry going digital, you have more than just the 5 big networks from a decade ago.  In our area we have over 20 channels available for free.

One way to make cutting the cord easier is by utilizing some streaming services like Netflix, Amazon Instant Video, and Hulu.

Our family has both Netflix and Amazon.  We tried Hulu for awhile but didn’t care for it much. If you add up the $7.99 a month for Netflix with the $69 annual fee for Amazon (which includes free 2 day shipping on everything you order through them) our yearly television bill is $165.  More than $700 less that what cable would cost.

Having a streaming service has changed the way we watch television. We’ll watch entire seasons of great shows back-to-back with no commercials.  Best of all, we watch on our schedule.

Dexter, Breaking Bad, Sons of Anarchy, The Walking Dead, Weeds, House of Cards, Orange is the New Black… all great shows that we’ve streamed.  Sure, we might be a season behind the cable viewer but who cares?  We are saving a ton of money.

So how do you go about cutting the cable cord and stream programming to your television?  If you have a gaming console, like a Wii, you can use that. Some blu-ray players make it possible.  There’s also Roku.  In my opinion, the best and cheapest option is Chromecast.

You can get your own Chromecast for around $35 from Amazon.

Have you cut the cable cord? Was it easy for you? What tips do you have for others who are thinking about it?

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Patriotic or Just Plain Awful?

The 2014 NASCAR Nationwide Series season started with an interesting version of the National Anthem by Madison Rising.  It’s certainly different than any version I’ve heard before.  So different that I’m not exactly sure how I feel about it. In case you missed it here it is:

Some would argue they added a touch of creativity to a song we’ve all heard and sung hundreds of times.  Others would say that the National Anthem is one song that shouldn’t be messed with.

Lead singer Dave Bray, a U.S. Navy Veteran, had this to say about the band’s performance, ”Yes, we took some liberties, but we were already taking some liberties with it musically and melodically. We wanted to make it a rock song people could sing and enjoy. The reverence is still there, but it has sort of taken on the death march in a way. It’s very sullen and sung in a very sullen way. We thought it should be more of a celebratory rock anthem.”

So what do you think about Madison Rising’s version and performance of the National Anthem?  Cool? Different? Unpatriotic? Just plain awful? Let’s hear your thoughts?

In the event the version above left you needing to hear the National Anthem sung in a more traditional way this should do the trick:

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Working From Home

Technology is great… especially when it works AND works in your favor.  That was the case for me yesterday.

When I’m not actually on the radio I can do a lot of what I do for work anywhere I have a computer and internet access. So, yesterday, with one sick kid already home and another being sent home 3 hours early from school because of pending blizzard conditions, I took the opportunity to leave the office and finish my day working from home.

It was great.  I was able to be there for my kids yet, still keep up with work and not have to burn time off or have the next day be extra hectic. Most importantly for me, was that I didn’t have to add more stress to a coworker’s day by needing them to pick up the slack from my absence.

I have tried to set some rules on working from home.  If possible I only do it when it will benefit me and not the company I work for.  That way I don’t let myself feel I’m being taken advantage of.

When I work from home I consider it as being at work.  I wear my work clothes and avoid any distractions that aren’t always at my job. If I tried to work in sweat pants with Dr. Phil blabbering away in the background I could very easily get distracted and end up not working from home.

What about you?  Do you work from home?  How do you keep yourself focused on work so you get something done?  What guidelines do you have to make sure it’s a job benefit and not a job expectation?

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