Monday, December 14, 2009

Tis the stand in the middle of the damn aisle.

Christmas is one of my favorite holidays in the year.  It's fitting that my two favorites are basically the opposite time of year - Christmas comes to break up the bitter cold and short days and gives us all something to look forward to. My other favorite holiday is the 4th of July because I get to blow shit up.  But I digress...

One thing I don't look forward to about the holiday season is shopping.  I try to shop online as much as possible and have the things I'm buying come to me, instead of hunting for it among the mob at the mall, Target, or wherever.  Unfortunately, I ran into a few circumstances where I was forced out among the masses this year, and had to fight my way through stores.

A little background about me - I typically don't mind being in public and dealing with people, except when it gets a little too crowded for my liking.  You know, those situations where I constantly feel my personal space is being raped and pillaged and thrown away like some mutant castoff.  That seems to happen a lot this time of year, along with a phenomenon I like to call, "shopping speed."

Shopping speed is defined as when someone is strolling along in the middle of the aisle so slowly that a 1 year old could crawl faster.  Not only do the people tend to go amazingly slow, but they also sprawl out into as wide of an area as possible so that nobody can pass.  Frequent establishments where you can run into people using shopping speed include the grocery store, any mall, and department stores, such as Target and Wal-Mart.

Why is it that people must come to a complete stop in the very middle of a damn aisle?  To me, it would be a similar concept as if I came to a complete stop in the middle of the interstate so that I could consult a map (more realistically, program my GPS), without any regard of those around me, just so that I could take care of what I needed to do.  Imagine what kind of havoc that would cause.

In grocery stores, why must people park the damn cart perpendicular to the aisles so that they're taking up the WHOLE DAMN AISLE?  Oh, I'm sorry, I forgot that I wasn't allowed to shop in your aisle.  I'll just go ahead and turn around and move elsewhere.

The thing I enjoy doing is when I get held up by someone that is going shopping speed is that, when they eventually wake up and go at a human pace, I purposely cut in front of them, and then return the favor of going at shopping speed pace, and block them off.  I usually get dirty looks and bitched at, but I just respond, "how do you think I liked it when you were doing this shit to me?"

I wish I could end the whole shopping speed thing, or at least be allowed to throw a large object at perpetrators to let them know what they are doing so they can come to their senses.  I tried once, but was told that was frowned upon as I was being blocked from throwing.  I was not happy.

I mean, is it really that difficult to move off to the side, out of the flow of traffic to figure shit out?  I mean, when I have one of my, "ooh, shiny" moments as I'm shopping, I don't just stop and sprawl out to block everyone.  I glance over while still moving, and walk towards the shiny thing and get out of the damn way.  People can keep walking, and not be held up by my "ooh, shiny," moment.  I tend to believe that the general public doesn't give a damn about how intrigued I am by this nice shiny thing, so why would I make them stand around while I figure out if I want to get it or not?  Maybe they should care, but I'd rather let them decide for themselves, rather than me forcing my will on them like that, just because I'm nice like that.

Shopping speed is just simply evil.  It's a very screwed up version of a traffic jam, caused by one putz that just decided to stop for no apparent reason. 

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Look at Me...I Sparkle

Since I've had some time in the past week or so to begin shopping for Christmas, I keep finding a theme everywhere I go.  People are addicted to this Twilight-shit.  I've never read the books or seen the movies, however, I do know a few people that have.

What I don't understand, is why are people so obsessed with sparkly vampires?  That just sounds gay.  It's like, "I'm a vampire, and I sparkle," if only you could hear me say that in my uber-gay voice.  It's much more effective.

Then we get on to the main theme where some girl falls in love with the sparkly vampire and wants to have sex with him.  Hmm... yes, it's a wonderful thing to teach the youth of the world - we should all encourage each other to screw dead people.  Like OMG, the vampire dude is Sooooooooooooo hot.  Right.  He's hot and sparkly, apparently.  Not to mention how he spends time for a while stalking her and watching her as she sleeps in her room.  That reminds me of a creepy Clay Aiken song (...if I were invisible...I'd watch you in your room).

And after about 20 pages (or 10 minutes worth of movie time), you would think there's something better to do than just keep looking into each other's eyes.  And then I hear about the birth of some mutant weird half vampire, half thing that snaps the girl's spine thing (which also begs the question... how the hell does a dead dude get a girl pregnant?)... and some other weird vampire dude suddenly falls in love with it?  Ok, so the themes we're working with here are sexual orientation confusion, nechrophilia, and being a pedophile.  How is this a good book/series again?  Screwing dead people and babies is just not right.

So everywhere I go, this crap is all around me.  In the stores, there's Twilight everything.  Even fricking birthday cards.  On my homepage with latest news stories, it's "New Moon Tops Box Office."  At work, people talking about this crap.  All I will ever contribute to the whole Twilight talk is my uber-gay sounding, "I'm sparkly."

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

A Rant About Fees

For as long as I can remember, I've hated fees.  It seems that everything has a fee.  Unfortunately for me, it always seems that I'm always paying fees out to people, instead of having fees come to me.

For example...two apartments ago, I had a fee-happy experience.  When I signed the lease, they said they were crediting my first month, so I didn't have anything due until my second month.  It was detailed in the lease I signed.  Cool.  I like keeping money.  15 days later, I got my first of many "happy letters," from the apartment management saying that I had to not only pay my entire first month's rent, but all the fees that accumulated with it because I hadn't paid, and had to do so by the following day or be evicted.  Well yeah, you told me I didn't have to.  Did you read the same paper as me?  You made it a big point that I didn't have to pay the first month.

So after much fighting to start my living experience at that apartment, I ended up having to pay back the first month rent, which apparently the person wasn't authorized to credit in the first place?  They at least dropped the whole eviction threat and let me pay it back over time, being that I was under the impression that I didn't have to pay.  It's not like I'm some deadbeat that chose not to pay.

So then came more, "happy letters," saying that I had to pay off the balance of my money due, else I would face more late fees.  So they're now saying that they're going to charge late fees for having late fees.  Does that make sense to anyone?

Here's another common thing - the laundry card... I had to pay $5 to get the laundry card, and then pay more money to charge it up so that I could use the laundry machines in my building.  All I see this as, is paying a fee to pay a fee.  How productive.

When I was in the hospital, I had to pay a fee to see anything on the TV besides what was on the menu for the day.  Couldn't over $6,000 a day at least get basic local channels?  Instead I had to pay a $12/day fee to watch basic cable.  Fun.

Hell, even on closing day I got hit with a fee.  The seller magically decided that I should pay for the remainder of the oil that was left in the tank.  Of course, they wanted way more than what it was worth, but the closing attorney quickly fixed that.  It just seems asinine to me - when you trade in a car, you don't seek an extra $50 in trade value just because it's got 3/4 of a tank in it.  In the grand scheme of things, $200 worth of oil in a house that sold for $179,000... what's the point other than to piss me off?  Next time I buy a car and trade mine in, I'm going to tell them to give me more for the gas in my tank, just to see what kind of response I get.

Cox likes to give me fees.  Like when I moved, they said, "oh, everything will be free for moving your services because you're a valued customer on this plan of ours."  I get the bill 2 weeks later and they decide to charge me an extra $15.  I call them and ask about this extra $15 charge, and they said that, "yes, the installation of your services were free, but the technician did some extra work while there that wasn't covered."  My answer, "like what?"  "Well, in the notes it says that he installed an extra TV."  "I'd like to know where this TV came from, and how it magically works without a second digital receiver box, because I don't have either.  I own one TV, and all the tech did was climb his fun little pole, did a dance, and suddenly I had a signal in here.  I already pay too much for this crap because you have a monopoly in this area, and I'm sick of your company trying to screw me that much more."  "...I'm sorry. I'll make a note on your account and have billing correct it."

Bank of America is another horrid culprit of stupid f-u fees.  I pay my credit card bill online, so I know it's done on time, and where everything is standing.  The game they like to play is that I'll send in my payment on time, but not process it until it's late.  This happened a few times, so I got hit with their ridiculous late fee, and then bumped up my interest rate because it's now magically not in as good of standing.  So, I ended up fighting my way out of a situation that they created.  Not me.  I ended up closing that account, and spread the word about how horrid Bank of America is, and encourage anyone who has an account with them to go elsewhere.  I suggest your local credit union - you can typically earn interest on a free checking account, rather than being raped.

I'm fairly young, but can still remember a time when there was no such thing as all the fees that most companies now charge.  What the hell is a baggage fee on airlines?  Is it assumed that people no longer need baggage, so bringing it along is a luxury?  I can maybe understand for excessively large or heavy bags, but common luggage that would carry peoples' underpants, shirts, and other necessities?  I guess I'll make it a road trip to Florida next year - sure beats the cost of flying.

I'd like for the day to come that I'll be able to live life without a dozen different companies trying to get a piece of me.  Maybe this is another reason the economy got flushed down the shitter?  People keep making shit up so that others magically owe them more money that they, themselves don't have?

Sunday, November 15, 2009

New Wiener Pill Causes Anal Seepage

It's amazing how many prescription drugs are advertised.  The thing I find funny are the side effects.  For example, a drug for allergies may cause nose bleeding, nausea, upset stomach, headaches, and runny stools.  But you won't sneeze anymore.  It's so worth it.

Another funny scenario I often think about is with Viagra or Cialis.  More in particular, "if you experience an erection for 4 hours or more, please seek immediate medical attention."  Here's how I can see that going...

So Bob was walking into an emergency room with wood.  He had taken Cialis 5 hours ago, and has had a boner ever since.  Since Bob paid attention to the commercials, he knew this was a bad thing, and not something that he should otherwise be bragging about.  He walks up to the check-in desk, and the receptionist says, "so what brings you in here tonight?"

Bob says, "well, I took some medication earlier today..."

Receptionist, "ok...what was it?  Are you experiencing some side effects?

Bob, "Umm... yes."

Receptionist, "what's the issue?"

Bob, "my little friend was only supposed to come out for a little while... he hasn't gone back yet..."

Receptionist, "...oh... I see..."

Bob, "it's been 4 and a half hours.  Normally I'd be happy about that, but I know that's not good because of the medication I took."

So what would the intake person mark as reason for treatment?  Excessive wood?  What exactly do they have to do if a guy walks into the ER with a boner that won't go away?  I guess there could be worse side effects, like anal seepage.

But back to my original point, why are prescription drugs advertising?  I remember not too long ago that there was no such thing as knowing about brand named drugs before going into a doctor's office.  I never had to ask my doctor if this certain drug is right for me.  He just prescribed a generic that was right for me, and I went on my merry way to get my drugs and get better from whatever it was that was making me sick.

Has anyone at least thought that this insane advertising might be contributing at least a little bit to why health care costs are nuts?  Viagra, at least at one point, was a primary sponsor of a NASCAR team.  That's not cheap.  I've seen several drug related commercials during Sunday Night Football.  Not cheap.  I'm sure billions are spent so that you can ask your doctor about the new way to treat your watery eyes, but might cause projectile vomit.  It's no wonder we're so drugged up.  Once you start on one medication, you need 4 more to treat the side effects.  I'd rather keep my watery eyes, thank you very much.

I Suck as a Blogger... Please Forgive Me

Holy crap.  I just saw that my last post was in September.  My apologies.

So the roller coaster is officially over, and I'm never getting on that one again.  It feels like one of those wooden ones that you feel like you're going to fly off the track, mixed with one that jolts your head around until you have that unmistakable headache in the back of your head.

High water came, and so did the closing day.  Fortunately, everything worked out, and I've been spending the past month or so getting settled into the house.  Closing day itself was rather anticlimatic.  After all of this crap that went on, I at least was looking forward to some fireworks or something.  Instead I got to sit in a room with an attorney and the biggest pile of paperwork I've ever seen.

The first 2 weeks after  I have a new appreciation for Lysol and 409.  They are my friends.  It was completely disgusting how the house was left.  Yes, I did a walkthrough prior to closing, but it was to the point where it's either deal with it, or the last several months were in vain.  It's like the people didn't own a mop, let alone a vaccuum.

Some minor demolition work was fun.  I ripped out a bunch of carpet and paneling.  Why the hell would entire rooms be done in paneling?  I'm not in a '70s porno, nor do I want to be.

The carpet appeared to be a grayish blue at one point.  It was more black and brown when I took it out.  Fortunately, there was perfectly good hardwood underneath, so I didn't have to immediately reinvest in more carpet.  I just had to let the floors meet my good friend Lysol, and all was well again.

So today I'm still working on getting fully settled in.  Most everything is done, but there are still about another 10 boxes that need to be unpacked.  I'm looking forward to not doing this again for a very long time, if at all.  Hopefully I'll be loaded to the point that I can actually hire other people to do this stuff for me.

Oh, and by the way, Cox Communications sucks, in case anyone was curious.  I literally moved within the same city, and not only lost my phone number because they don't transfer numbers to different service areas, but I also lost my e-mail address.  What the hell?  How in the hell did I lose my e-mail address just because I moved?  The e-mail address didn't move.  I'm sure it's still on the same server laughing at me now because I can't access it anymore.  Cox' response: "there's nothing we can do about it.  It's gone when you move."  I still have the same service, same account and everything!  That's the most asinine, cockamamie bull shit I've ever heard.

So yes, I admit that I suck as a blogger, being that it's been over a month since my last post.  Please forgive me.  I'll be back more frequently - I promise.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

The Roller Coaster That is Buying a Short Sale Home

So I'll start at the beginning.  I've been trying to buy a house for a few months now.  I had a purchase and sales agreement approved by the seller in April.  I knew going into it, that it is a short sale.  Of course, I asked how far in the process the bank is with it, and the seller's agent replied, "there's already been a negotiator assigned to it."  Great.

So I decided to go ahead with the offer, because I like the house, and it shouldn't be too painful - there's a negotiator already assigned to it.  So the seller accepted my offer, and then said, "ok, now we're going to get the process started with the bank..."  WHAT?!?!  "Oh, the negotiator is for the family in the home, the bank hasn't received anything yet."  WHAT?!?!?  There's the first giant drop on the roller coaster, and so I have to get ready for a long, long ride.

So a few months pass without much of anything going on.  Mostly just some conversations between me and my agent... catching up on small talk and the lack of progress the sellers are having.  In the middle, we looked at a couple of other homes that may fit what I'm looking for, just in case.

So September comes, and it's like the bank magically woke up.  Not only did they wake up, but now they act like I'm the one that's been holding up progress since April...we'll get to that shortly.

I got word from my agent that the bank officially approved the sale, so I could schedule inspections and the appraisal.  As soon as I got off the phone with him, I had those two things scheduled.  Cool, moving right along.

So I had the window to do inspections, etc. and got them done during the second day of the window.  So moving forward, my loan application gets submitted to the underwriters.   The underwriters approved me, but has a contingency for the house - a gasket on the furnace needs to be repaired.  Ok, I can get that done.  I schedule that to be done, get it done, and get the proof that it's been done, and it goes back to the underwriter.

That brings us up to last Friday, when the selling bank (who I will leave nameless... **Cough Countrywide Cough**) decides that they think I'm dragging things out too long and that we have to have closing done by the following Friday, or else they'll back out and make me lose everything I've put into the transaction so far..  Normally, having a week to do something isn't an issue, but closing a home is a royal pain in the ass that involves about a million and a half different people that all have to agree that I am able to buy this house.  Getting all of my paperwork to these million and a half people within a week, to be on time to close by Friday is a major feat of insanity.

So my mortgage originator called me on Friday... My roller coaster ride so far was only the one giant drop, and was pretty docile since then... Talk about a calm before the storm.  Here's where the insane loops, drops, stalling mid-air, etc comes in.

The mortgage originator delivered the news to me on Friday morning rather calmly, saying that, "basically, everything has to be wrapped up today if we're going to have a shot at closing by then."  Holy crap.  "The underwriter has had this thing for a few days, and I called him to see if he'll finally just approve it so that we can move on and get the other signatures, and he said he's still reviewing it."  Holy crap.  "He did mention that he needs a written statement on letterhead from the company that repaired the furnace - that the statement and photo provided aren't enough."  Holy crap.

The conversation lasted about 15 minutes where we laid out a gameplan of what I needed to do and what he needed to do, then we broke out of the huddle like Jordan and Pippen and tried to make a miracle happen.

I did my stuff as quickly as I could, while at work, on the clock (that was nice, I neglected some of my work duties to take care of my stuff - a small victory for a whack-a-mole).  The mortgage guy did what he could to speed things along, and give the other parties involved in the signing of my paperwork that it would be coming, and need it turned over as quickly as possible.  We kept updating each other every hour or so, and ended the day not quite as far ahead as we hoped, but had made good progress.

Monday came along, and still awaited the "clear to close," from the underwriter.  It finally came at 2 p.m.  YAY.  But wait, there's more.  That just ended the first loop, now there's another 4 before closing day.  Oh crap.  So it now had to go to another underwriter.  WHAT?!?!? Another one of these bastards? "This one should be much easier to get through - the first one tends to nitpick."  Ok...I'll believe you once bastard #2 has signed it.  4 p.m. - "The second underwriter has signed off on it, so now it has to go to our closing department in [Guam]."  Holy crap.  "I'm going to drive it up to [Guam] tomorrow morning to help expedite that." Holy crap, and thanks.

So Tuesday comes along,  and my mortgage guy drove about 2 hours to get to the main office and drop off my papers so the closing department can give their stamp of approval.  That, apparently, took them all of a few minutes.  Wow, something quick?  From there, it went on to the bank's attorney.  At this point, I have now decided that I have a strong dislike for attorneys.  This bastard sat on my paperwork from 9:30 a.m. until 4:00 p.m., fully knowing that all he had to do was put his happy little scribble on it, and that it's needed TODAY so that I can get my HUD stuff done on time (they require up to 72 hours before closing).  Oh crap.

The closing department then went on to process everything and get the HUD stuff submitted.  Thank you to those that stayed late to do it.  Screw you, to the bastards that put me, and these kind people in this position.

Closing is scheduled for Friday.  Come hell or high water, closing is happening.  I just love how the selling bank decided that it's a good idea to attempt to screw me for waiting, in good faith, for 5 months, just because they legally can.  Friday marks the end of the period I had after receiving the approval notice to do inspections, etc.  So, they, in their infinite wisdom, decide that it's a great idea to continue to jerk me around, just like they have been since April.

So the roller coaster ride is still not over.  I would say Friday was probably the worst day.  Every few minutes, my mindset went back and forth between, "Oh, shit, I'm screwed..." to "It's looking ok..."  That went back and forth about 10 times in that one day.  Monday, was about 4 times.  People at work thought I was bipolar.

Moral of the story: Don't buy a short sale unless you REALLY love the place, or unless you enjoy torture.
Second moral of the story: Don't write a blog while in the middle of a bunch of shit, because otherwise you'll end up with a long, rambling thing that would likely lose readers' interest by the time you see this line!

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Asshole Wants to Kill Off Pandas!

One of my favorite animals ever is the giant panda.  For as long as I can remember, I've loved everything about them.  I find it incredibly sad that they're endangered because they happen to be from an area that's increasingly developed by people.

There are roughly 1,600 giant pandas in the world now, and British asshole Chris Packham says that we should just stop trying to save them because, "Here's a species that, of its own accord, has gone down an evolutionary cul-de-sac."

Before this outlandish series of comments that Packham made, he was a little known (at least here in the US) conservationist, located in the UK.

Packham went on to say, "I reckon we should pull the plug. Let them go, with a degree of dignity ..."

In the words of George Lopez - Fuck You Puto.

How would you like it if a bunch of people took over your home and said we should just pull the plug on you, and let you go with some dignity?  It seems like your career has hit an evolutionary cul-de-sac - you can only get some kind of attention by vocalizing an amazingly stupid idea of killing off a popular species, especially in terms of conservation.  For the millions that are spent on pandas, how many hundreds of millions or billions are made for the conservation effort?

Maybe people have gone down an evolutionary cul-de-sac... we use resources faster than what can be replenished.  Maybe whales have gone down an evolutionary cul-de-sac - they can only live in water.  Maybe cats and dogs have gone down an evolutionary cul-de-sac - most rely heavily on people.  Does that mean any of them should be killed off?  No.  It just means that each adapts to the environment they're in.  People are adapting in ways to at least slow down use of fossil fuels.  Whales know how to live in the ocean.  Cats and dogs have adapted to the home life with people.  Pandas have largely adapted to life in captivity, being that's where a large majority of them now reside.

So if Chris Packham were to...say lose his house and be relocated to the mountains in China, how well do you think he'd do?  I can guarantee that a wild Panda would outlast him.