Friday, February 3, 2012

A Road Better Traveled

There are people that you come across in your life that make you re-evaluate your long-established practices and methodology. If you are smart, you surround yourself with them as they will challenge you, inspire you, help you be better at what you do, and most importantly, not give up hope for this world.

A few years back, my wife and I were lucky enough to befriend such a person named Delilah Snell—a kind-hearted purveyor of great ideas and a shepherd of goodwill, with an infectious belly laugh that could liven up a mortuary. Delilah was a wealth of information as I was, at the time, hoping to help bring a Farmer's Market to either the Second Street Promenade in Downtown or the train station parking lot located (conveniently) right across the street.

At the time, Delilah owned and operated a wonderful eco-friendly store located on the corner of North Main Street and Buffalo here in Santa Ana. If you were driving too fast on Main Street, you would most definitely miss it. I likened giving my neighbors directions to her store to navigating one's way through The Lost Woods in the original "Legend of Zelda"–up (Main), left (Santa Clara), down (Broadway), left (Buffalo). Alas, just like days of old, even with these simple directions, many still got lost.

But like all hidden gems, this store was one worth hunting for. In a pre-Pinterest time where online crafters were just getting started with Etsy, The Road Less Traveled Store was years ahead of the crafting trend and doing it the old-fashioned brick-and-mortar way.

Meanwhile down the street, Downtown Santa Ana began blossoming again with new restaurants and Brave New Urbanists occupying a series of loft developments. And as the demographics began to oh-so-slightly shift, the need and desire for unique retail began to grow—and this store's destiny became clear.

At the end of 2011, Delilah began packing up her store on North Main Street and returned to her Second Street Promenade roots (having previously worked at the Gypsy Den many years before).

On February 1, 2012, Delilah reopened her now pedestrian-friendly store with much success with endless possibilities for awesomeness to come.

The Road Less Traveled Store's new location offers more space for workshops, increased inventory, new partnership opportunities, as well as a symbiotic relationship with the existing Cal State Fullerton Grand Central Art Center.

In time, this store will help inspire others to create—not only at home with crafting, but also new stores and ideas in this retail-starved area of Downtown Santa Ana.

The Road Less Traveled Store

125 North Broadway-C, Santa Ana, CA 92701
Phone: 714.836.8727

Tue - Sat: 11:00 am - 6:00 pm
Sun: 11:00 am - 3:00 pm

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Goodbye AT&T DSL

I remember back in 2006 when we first moved to the lofts, getting our Internet up and running was a top priority. From switching our billing addresses, setting up service appointments, and all of the other fun things that come along with moving, Internet was key in getting our new home up and running.

At the time, Adelphia Cable was the sole Cable Internet service provider and boy did they suck ass. From their customer service down to their network infrastructure, everything was terrible.

In the coming year, Adelphia ended up filing for bankruptcy and Time Warner took over servicing the neighborhood, but that transition was pretty rough for us as our Internet turned from terrible to just plain crap.

Fed up with our lousy Cable Internet, we signed up for AT&T "Elite" DSL at a promo rate of $20/mo for the first year, jumping to its standard rate of $35/mo the second year.

At first, we were getting pretty solid download speeds and all was good in the universe. But as time went on, things once again turned to crap.

Thinking it could be a wireless issue, I plugged my computer directly into the router, which did help a bit, but overall, didn't do much when it came to gaming on the Xbox/PS3 or worse, streaming Netflix movies.

A few weeks ago I was chatting with a neighbor and they were telling me how happy they were with their Cable Internet service from Time Warner after switching from AT&T U-verse. I looked up TW's prices online and found that their standard rates were not only cheaper than what I was paying with AT&T, but also allowed for more bandwidth.

Seeing that my AT&T DSL account wasn't on a contract and I wasn't getting anywhere near the download speeds I was paying for, I decided to give Time Warner Cable another shot, five years after first leaving them. The saddest part of all was when I called AT&T and told them I wanted to cancel, the thought of "business retention" never crossed the operator's mind!

Below is a screen capture of my previous AT&T DSL speeds and my new Time Warner Cable download speeds. From 1.33Mbps down to a whopping 25.21Mbps–it's a shame I've long outgrown my porno-downloading days.

As for pricing, get this–I'll be paying $180 LESS/year AND it looks like I qualify for a $100 cash card for telling them why I switched!

With Internet connection speeds this good I have no reason to not blog in 2012!

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Back in the Saddle

Remember me?
It's been a while hasn't it.

I made a promise to myself I'd come back to writing this year and to continue with this story.

Happy 2012 and see you soon!