Movie Review: 65

May 30, 2023

Do yourself a favor.

Find a free rental coupon for Redbox. Rent the 65 movie. Give the movie to your neighbors. When they are busy watching and wondering why in the living hell you gave them this piece of crap, steal their lawnmower. At least you will get a lawnmower for your efforts.

It was just that bad. It’s so bad it makes me cringe to have to remember the memorable parts to write about them. I just can’t. Gosh that was a waste of $5.99 and 90 minutes of my life. I could have watch Boston get their asses handed to them at home sending Miami to the NBA finals.

Just don’t do it.

Why are our home insurance policies so damn high in the Bay Area?

May 16, 2023

Glad you asked. Take a seat and read about the history of insurance reform in Texas.

Many years ago I was a consumer activist advocating for consumers with a construction defect in their new homes. I volunteered my time and money beginning in the mid 1990’s up until 2011. During that time I saw the Texas Legislature usher in home insurance reform with promises of lower rates and fair marketing practices. At the time Governor Rick Perry issued this statement:

“This comprehensive reform measure will stabilize the home and auto insurance market, rid the insurance industry of fraudulent practices and ensure Texans have access to fair rates offered in a competitive market,” Perry said during thesigning ceremony at a home construction site in Temple. “For some Texans that will mean significant rate discounts. For all Texans it will mean rate practices that are transparent and fair.”

That was 20 years ago. So how did that work fer ya cowboy?

In the beginning, or about in 2002.
In 2002 insurance rates was a huge campaign issue. Rick Perry won reelection promising to reform insurance, releasing the power of the free market to do their thing. Prior to 2003 insurance companies had to justify rate increases prior to raising rates. They also had to provide all inclusive policies covering fire, water, wind, storm etc. For consumers it made it easy to compare rates.

Then 2003 happened
The state decided to change to a file and use system where companies filed their new rates and started using the new rates immediately. The Texas Department of Insurance (TDI) could, after the fact, challenge the rate increases. TDI challenged few if any. They also let insurance companies offer just the basic policies that cover only wind, storm, and water events. Some how they let them adjust the cost to rebuild the home which in my case increased by 50% in one year causing the premium to skyrocket. They let the companies remove coverage such as foundation, water, and sewer damage but they didn’t have to adjust the premiums to account for the lost coverage. In my case I had to actually buy it back.

20 Years later
Just look at your policy. We are getting royally screwed. Premiums have skyrocketed. Companies have left the area. Deductables are so high you wonder why you have insurance in the first place! Again in my situation I eventually left USAA after they raised my premiums from $4000 to $5000. The cost to rebuild is over $440,000 making my deductible $8800!!!! I have documented most of the years from 2000 to just a few years ago. You can see that information below.

Politically speaking
Our State Representative Dennis Paul is on the insurance committee. You might want to ask what in the living hell he has bee focusing on besides insurance rates in his district. Maybe he is too busy protecting guns, praising god, and limiting the rights of gays.

My Premiums Before and After Insurance Reform of 2003:

2000: $783\year $500 deductible HOB policy all inclusive.

2014: $3800\year $4800 deductible HOA with foundation, water, and sewer optional

Historic Increases of my Premiums Since 2000:

2000$783.00$500.00 0.00%Before insurance became an issue
2001$862.00$500.00 10.00%Removed mold coverage but did not decrease premium
2002$1,060.00$500.00 22.90%Became an election issue
***2003$1,375.00$500.00 29.70%Includes a 7% reduction and use of HO-A Policies
2004$1,589.00$500.00 15.40%Insurance reform in 2003. Had to add back water, foundation and sewer coverage
2005$1,352.00$500.00 -14.90%No change in policy
2006$1,363.00$2,400 <1%Deductible increased
**2007$1,600.00$2,400 15.10%Rebuild cost 50% higher
*2008$1,900.00$2,400 18.00%Tier II classification
2009$2,300.00$2,400 21.00%No change in policy
2010$2,800.00$4,800 24.00%Doubled deductible.
2011 $4,800 No change in policy
2012 $4,800 No change in policy
2013$3,300.00$4800 No change in policy
2014$3,800.00$4,80015.00%No change in policy

*Reclassifying your home in a “tier zone”. This resulted in an 18% increase to my rates in 2008. The TDI had no comment when this was brought to their attention. Next year USAA could create yet another type of tier zone and the TDI will do nothing.

**Using a different system to determine the cost to rebuild a home. 
This resulted in an increase of 50% in the cost to rebuild my home, and a 15% increase in premiums. This new cost to rebuild the home was based upon a “new” method created by USAA. 

***Removing protection. USAA changed to an HO-A type of policy making sewer, water, and foundation damage optional to save money for those who do not want or can’t afford the coverage. Unfortunately, when they removed the coverage, they did not reduce the rates. When I added the coverage back into the policy it resulted in an 29% increase.

Let’s just admit it. Greg Abbott is a Texas sized racist asshole.

May 2, 2023

This is who he is. Admit it.

What an asshole. What a truly crippled, Texas sized, rotten asshole of a human being. It’s bad enough Texas Governor Greg Abbott loves guns more than our families. It’s bad enough that he enjoys owning the libs by posing with guns so big it would topple him off his wheelchair if he actually shot it. It’s bad enough that he signed a gun sanctuary bill after the killings at Santa Fe. It’s bad enough that he can’t even offer thoughts and prayers after mass shootings for fear of being ridiculed.

And now after another 5 human beings, including another 9 year old kid, were killed with a gun Abbott gave to the shooter, he had to reach down into his bag of racist dog whistles to post a heartless tweet :

I’ve announced a $50K reward for info on the criminal who killed 5 illegal immigrants Friday. Also directed #OperationLoneStar to be on the lookout.

Abbott is still mad about that tree that put him in a wheelchair many years ago and he has taken that anger out on Texans ever since. Our families are not safe at schools, Walmarts, churches, dance clubs, concerts, parades, etc, etc. Our home insurance, electricity, college tuition, taxes, and the cost of living in this shit hole state has skyrocketed making Texas the 7th worst state to retire in. We lead the nation in mass shootings and yet he does nothing but sit on his ass.

Unfortunately over half of Texans have no problem with him. It doesn’t seem to matter that under his watch 19 children, 9 year old children, were slaughtered at school. It doesn’t matter to them that 27 Christians were slaughtered at church in Sutherland Springs, or 5 police officers were killed in Dallas by a shooter with an AR15. It doesn’t matter to them that they froze their asses off when the grid failed. They don’t care. They put him back in office.

So fuck Greg Abbott and everyone who voted for him.

Best priced Crawfish in the Bay Area?

March 13, 2023

If you like crawfish there are a number of places to eat and eat all you can eat. As always remember that when eating crawfish wash your hands BEFORE you go to the bathroom. Here are the best opportunities:

Carlos Beer Garden. All you can eat (AYCE) on Thursdays and Saturdays 6PM-9PM. $30. Carlos Beer Garden has been around since 1978. Great garage bar. Always a fun place to hang outside, grab a beer (or more) and enjoy a burger. Crawfish crowds usually are big so you might want to get your tickets early.

Floyd’s Seafood. 5 lbs for $25. It’s been my experience the crawfish are on the larger side. Call to verify. Locations are in Webster and Pearland.

Barge 295. The old “Turtle Club”. Happy Hour 2-6PM Monday-Thursday 5 lbs for $24.95, 3 lbs for $16.96 1 lbs for $5.95. AYCE for $29.95 on Tuesday from 5-9PM. Great place on a floating dock on the lake in Seabrook.

Cabo Clear Lake. Sunday special. 8 lbs for $38 1 lbs for $7.99. Another place on the lake. I haven’t been there yet but my neighbors love the place!

Bo-Shay’s Cajun Smokehouse in Baycliff. Sundays 5 Lbs for $24.95. I have not been there. They have a big variety of menu options.

There are other places in the area but the prices above are the best! I’ll update as other locations start bringing their prices down.

Why I switched from AT&T to T-Mobile and haven’t looked back

February 22, 2023

OMG how much can AT&T suck?

I was with AT&T when they were called Houston Cellular with the flip phones, then Southwestern Bell, then finally AT&T. That was decades of loyalty. That ended last year when I moved to T-Mobile and although there are a few hiccups, I haven’t been happier.

I had Uverse TV, AT&T Internet (only 50mps) and 4 cell phones with unlimited text, data, and calls. I now have T-Mobile Cell service with unlimited texts, calls, and data. T-Mobile paid off the balance of my phones. I have T-Mobile 5G Home Internet which is at 300 mps and I have YouTube TV. T-Mobile pays for my Netflix and gave me Paramount+ and Apple TV for a year.

Comparing Costs
With AT&T my TV and Internet service was just fine. It did everything I expected it to do which is connect to the Internet for email and browsing and let me stream movies. Cell phone coverage was fine and pretty much free from problems. For all of this I was paying $420/month.

After I switched to T-Mobile and YouTube TV I am now paying $260. $177 for T-Mobile Cell and Internet and $83 for YouTube which includes $14 for HBOMax. Total savings of $160/month.

Comparing Customer Service
What is the difference? Customer service. When I call T-Mobile a person answers in about 2 minutes, takes my info, then forwards the info to someone who will solve my problem. They are local to Atlanta, Georgia and have been excellent the few times I needed them. With AT&T I once was on hold for over 3 hours and then they hung up on me, multiple times. This wasn’t a one time event, it was multiple times. It was the most frustrating, cussing, yelling experiences I ever had in my life. T-Mobile is just so much better.

Comparing Service
T-Mobile has its issues as did AT&T. My service in Blanco Texas when I have a cabin is spotty, but adequate. There are a couple of dead zones in the area although I haven’t really noticed much. Internet service is much faster than AT&T and less expensive. YouTube TV provides all the channels I need, in fact way to many and even with the additional services of Netflix (paid for the T-Mobile) and HBOMax it is still very inexpensive. The user interface needs to improve but I am happy with them. I no longer have to rent AT&T equipment and handle an extra remote. YouTube TV requires only the TV remote and it syncs with my surround sound system automatically.

Bottom Line
The bottom line is that I am saving $160 and I am getting better service and better customer service. What can possibly go wrong?

The real cost of contact lenses.

January 24, 2023

Last year I bought 8 boxes of contact lenses for about $110.00. They lasted me two years since I only use one lens in the right eye. This year I was pricing the cost of 8 boxes of Acuvue for Astigmatism. The cost is now over $200. Most of the online companies advertise a low price of about $110.00 for 8 boxes plus another $160 for “insurance, fees, and/or processing”. It’s hard to imagine what kind of fees and insurance cost more than the actual price of the lenses but that is where we are.

Here is a list of companies and their prices. Some actually fold in their fees into the cost.

Vendoradvertised pricefeesReal price
Web Eye Care$115.92$112.44$228.36
EZ Contacts$239.60$0.00$239.60
Contact Lense King$111.92$135.84$260.71
Glasses USA$111.92$160.00$278.96$110.72$169.92$290.59
Discount Contacts$303.92$0.00$303.92
AC Lens$303.92$0.00$303.92

Damn lizard. GEICO raises premiums by over 50%

January 13, 2023

I can’t wait to see my homeowners renewal. That will come in another post.

A few years ago I dumped USAA after being an ignorant loyal customer for over 20 years. They raised my home insurance by over 25% and I had to start looking. You can look at the increases from 2000-2015 here. I eventually found a new policy that was actually better and much less expensive. I also gave GEICO a look for my auto insurance for a lower rate and to take advantage of the USAA Subscriber Savings Account.

USAA has a savings account for all insured members. When you leave the insurance portion of USAA they send the balance of this account to you after 6 months. At that time mine was one $12,000. I gladly left and built a patio in the back yard. If you are currently a USAA member you might want to call them and ask about your “Subscriber Savings Account”. It is different than the yearly check they send you based upon their activity over the year.

Back to GEICO. GEICO has been a pretty good insurance company until now. There is absolutely no way to justify a 50% increase in premiums. Nothing changed on my side. Of course GEICO is using inflation as their reason to increase premiums. It’s a fad. I think it is bullshit.

So I’m off to look for better coverage. Again.

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