Project Fi

Some time ago I switched my cell phone service to Google’s Project Fi.  My first impressions, not surprisingly, were unrealistically positive.  Being that I am a fan of Google, and believing that Google can do no wrong, I knew that I could not write about them objectively without waiting until the newness and novelty wore off.  I think I have reached that time.

You may be wondering, “What is Project Fi?”  Rather than try to describe it, I recommend you Google it and read the plethora of descriptions already available all over the Internet.  I’m just going to get right into my impressions of it.

The primary reason for my switch was to reduce my phone bill.  I was with Verizon before, and I was not unhappy with their service.  I just do not like paying in excess of $70 every month.  In my opinion, that is a large phone bill.  I wasn’t really looking for an alternative.  I literally stumbled across a story about Project Fi by accident and loved the concept.  But how does their pricing work in real life?  They claim that their service is $20 per month for unlimited talk and text, and exactly $10 per gigabyte of data used, charged for just the amount you use.  If you only use 250 megabytes of data, they only charge you about $2.50 for it.  Well, it’s true.  My first bill with them was $34.59, paying for the first month’s 1 gigabyte of data up front.  My second bill, having only used .452 GB of data, the bill was $29.11 after they refunded the unused data cost.  My third bill was $28.73 (.413 GB used).  My bill has been cut to less than half what it was before.

Here’s the thing, I also use much less data than before.  I was on an account with 12 GB shared three ways, so there was no reason to conserve data.  My share was 4 GB, so I used it.  I was paying for it, so why not use it?  But with Project Fi, if I don’t use the data, I’m not charged for it.  There is an incentive to conserve.  An unintended side effect is a change in my behavior around my use of data.  If I don’t really need to use the data, I don’t because it directly costs me money.  A lot of the reasons I used data before I now wait until I get home, or on Wi-Fi somewhere.

Coverage is a huge factor in cell phone service.  The best pricing in the world doesn’t matter with poor coverage.  In this regard, Project Fi is inferior to Verizon.  Even though they use three cell services (Sprint, T-Mobile, and US Cellular) and Wi-Fi, I often find myself in areas where mobile data is not available.  This includes at my house.  However, I have Wi-Fi at the house, so that fills in that hole.  Actually, I don’t get any cell signal at my house at all.  Verizon is the only cell carrier that provides service where I live.  But with the Wi-Fi, that is not an issue.  The downside, if the power at the house goes out, the Internet will no longer work, so my cell phone will also stop working.  None of these issues cause the service to not work for my needs, but they are issues that have to be acknowledged.  If you live in a city, these issues will likely not apply.  I do live in the boonies.  As for areas where mobile data is not available, they are primarily in rural areas, and voice calls are still clear.  The only downside is it negatively affects being able to start navigation assistance with Google Maps.

One oddity with Project Fi is its limitations on handsets.  You have to use one of three Google Nexus phones.  That is not a con for me, as I wanted the Nexus 6P anyway.  This was just a really good excuse to buy one.  My experience with the 6P has been nothing short of amazing.  Everything about the phone is awesome.  It is a flagship phone with great system specs and no manufacturer bloatware.  It’s the plain Android OS with no fluff.  The phone is just fast.  I’ll never go back to a non-Google phone again.  The Samsung Galaxy 5 that I switched from is a good phone, but it was held back by a lot of Samsung and Verizon crap installed on top of the OS that could not be removed without voiding the warranty.  The Nexus line may be ending, but Google is replacing them with phones branded the Pixel and Pixel XL.  Time will tell if they are worthy successors to the Nexus lineup.  I hope they are.

Overall I am pleased with Project Fi.  It has its quirks, but it excels a few key points that truly matter.  The phones are the best of Android, the coverage is just passable, but the price is unmatched.  Where else can I get a sub $30 cell phone bill?  Nuf said.

Faithful Churchgoing Agnostic

Somebody I know recently found out that I am agnostic.  They asked me, “Why do you go to church every Sunday?”  That’s a good question.  I didn’t have a very good answer.  I just spouted off something about the social contact, of being around people, about friends and such.  It sounded good, but . . .

To be truthful, being an agnostic is probably worse than being either a believer or an atheist.  At least with either of those options, there is some solidity.  You know what you believe, and by God you can stand for it.  But agnostic?  What does an agnostic stand for?  It doesn’t have the same effect to stand on my soap box and proclaim, “I don’t know!”  Is there a God?  I don’t know.  If there is a God, can his/her nature truly be known?  I don’t know.  Can his/her name be known with any certainty?  I don’t know.  It just sounds lame.

Yet, every Sunday morning, I sit in church.  I listen to the message.  I am sometimes encouraged by it.  I mean, I’m not evil.  I appreciate good, moral values when I hear them, and I like to see people helping one another.  Christianity is full of good, moral lessons.  I don’t take issue with any of that.  I visit with the other parishioners.  I am friendly and cordial.  I go home.

In many ways, I envy the Christians their faith.  It makes a lot of things so much simpler.  And it provides answers to the oldest of questions posed by humanity.  “Why are we here?”  Even atheists have an answer, even if it’s that there is no purpose.  We are here just because we are here.  No more reason is needed.  But for an agnostic, it’s all unknown.  We could be here to build a relationship with a deity, the ultimate goal being to return to him in an afterlife.  Or we could be just a bunch of evolved biological organisms running around mucking everything up for no better reason than hormones.  Who’s to say which is true?

So, if I envy Christians their faith, why don’t I believe.  In some ways I want to.  In other ways I just can’t  In fact, people have tried to help me.  I understand their motives.  They’re worried about my soul.  I can appreciate that.  Not too long ago one of my friends tried a pretty good tactic.  He said to me, “You are not a mistake.  You are not an accident.”  Be careful who you use that line of reasoning with.  Because my response was, “I’m not so sure that is an argument in favor of God.”

So I come full circle.  Why do I, an agnostic, go to church every Sunday?  I go because I’ve always gone.  I go because I really do need to get out and socialize with people.  I go because I have friends there, friends that are at least partially decent individuals, who care about me.  I go because I fear being wrong.  What if God is real?  Where better to find God than in his house?

South Park Political Correctness

For a long time I have been a fan of South Park.  I love how nothing is off limits.  They will mock anything and everything as long as it’s funny.  I admire that.  Well, I just finished watching every episode they have released to date.  The last season is the reason for this post.  They took aim at the whole Politically Correct (PC) movement.  It’s awesome.

It’s no secret.  I hate political correctness.  That’s one of the reasons I am a fan of Donald Trump.  Don’t get me wrong.  I don’t like Donald Trump at all.  Not even a little bit.  He is a brash, egotistical, self-serving ass hat.  I know what people may think of that description.  I cleaned it up a lot before posting it.  But I am a fan of Donald Trump, because he says what he thinks, Political Correctness be damned.  I have a lot of respect for that.  And in that vein, I intend to make more posts to this site, the goal will be to voice some opinions that will not be popular with the PC crowd.  But such is my right according to the 1st amendment.

Here’s the thing about the Political Correctness movement.  They will proclaim people’s right to free speech.  But they don’t really believe in it.  It’s just lip service.  They only believe in free speech that agrees with their own views.  If your view differs from theirs, your words are labeled hate speech and they want to shout you down, stifle you, or outright silence you.  Well, this site, humble as it may be, is my platform to voice my opinions, and voice them I will.  With any luck, I will piss off a lot of Politically Correct people.  So, if you are a proponent of Political Correctness, go hide your Cheerios now.  I’m about to piss all up in them.

Oak Ridge Apocalypse

So, anyone that likes zombies may like to read a free zombie book.  It’s available at  The author is posting a new piece every week on Sunday.  I have it under good authority that there will be six pieces for Dusk of Man: Part One, and approximately another 12 pieces for Part Two.  And here is a small piece that won’t be posted for some time.

      Wayne drove slowly down the exit ramp into the rest area.  He was watching for movement and didn’t see any.  He carefully wound his way through the cars toward the building that promised vending machines and restrooms.  He took one last look around before killing the engine.  They climbed off the bike and Wayne pulled out the shotgun.  He noticed, with approval, that Misty had also pulled out her pistol.
      “Let’s see what we can find,” Wayne said, leading her towards the building.  He got to the doors and waited for Crystal to catch up.  “You ready?”
      “Yes,” she answered.
      Wayne pulled the door open and they stepped inside. There was a row of vending machines all down the left wall.  On the right were the entrances to the restrooms and a giant map of Tennessee with a big  ‘You Are Here’ star marking the rest area.
      “Let’s eat,” he said, heading for the vending machines.  As soon as the words were out of his mouth they heard the tell-tale moan of a zombie coming from the women’s restroom.  They whipped around in time to see it come shambling out of the lady’s room.  It had been a young woman in her mid-twenties.  It was wearing a dress that looked too big around the middle, and it had a huge dried bloodstain in its midsection.  Something was hanging out the bottom of the dress, and Wayne thought it looked like intestines, but it was dragging something behind the zombie.  He realized why it didn’t look right.  It was not an intestine, but an umbilical cord, and the thing being dragged behind her was the fetus.  It looked like it was about a month premature.  The dress was so loose around the middle because she had been pregnant when she died and turned into a zombie.  He could tell by the way her dress hung that her stomach, which had been inflated to the size of a beach ball, was hanging loose from where the baby had dug or eaten its way out.  She kept coming, and the thing at the end of the umbilical cord squirmed, unable to stand, but wanting to feed just as much.  Wayne registered all of this in a matter of seconds.  He turned and watched realization dawn in Misty’s eyes.
      “Crystal, stay back,” he said and brought the shotgun up.  He shot the woman through the side of her head.  The shotgun blast was deafening in the small building.  His ears were ringing from the blast.  She went down in a heap, but the baby still squirmed behind her.
      “Let me have the handgun,” Wayne said, motioning for the Ruger.  Wayne took it and aimed at the fetus’s head.  He fired a single shot, stilling the baby.  The pistol shot amplified the ringing in his ears.  He looked over at Crystal and she was holding her hands over her ears.  “Okay, about those vending machines,” Wayne said.  Crystal removed her hands from her ears and nodded.  They walked back over towards the vending machines.
      As Wayne’s ears stopped ringing, he heard more moaning, lots of it.  He looked out the back doors towards the woods behind the rest area.  “Crystal, we gotta go!” he yelled.  There were hundreds of zombies coming out of the woods.  They ran back out the front doors toward the motorcycle and saw zombies coming from everywhere.  Wayne got the shotgun back in his pack and jumped on the hike. Crystal climbed on behind him as he started it.  A group zombies were in the way of getting out.
      “You’ll have to shoot while we move,” Wayne yelled.  “Be careful not to drop the gun.” Then he shot forward and rode through a gap between two zombies.  He headed toward the fewest number of them.
      “Remember, the head,” he called back to Crystal.
      “I got it,” she called back.  She was holding on to Wayne with her left arm and had the Ruger in her right.  Wayne picked a group of three zombies and accelerated towards them.  The gun went off in his ear.  She hit one of them in the chest, not a kill shot, but it put the zombie on the ground.  Before she could shoot again, they collided with the other two. One of them got thrown to the side.  The other got a handful of Wayne’s shirt, but before he could get dragged off the bike the gun fired again.  Wayne saw the zombie grow a third eye and its hand fell limp off him.

Oak Ridge Apocalypse: Dusk of Man