Jul 27, 2010

Money Matters

Lets face facts here, I am not a financially responsible person.  In fact, I am diametrically opposed to such a title.  If there were a title for a guy like me, it would be really long and take up too much space, include a few swear words, and in general could be summed up with something simple like this: I am completely incompetent when it comes to matters of money. 

D, on the flip side, is ridiculously meticulous with the ledger books.  I'm not sure how she got this way, really.  From the horror stories of her past financial dealings, I don't know that she was really much better than me.  But some how, some way, she grew up in this area. And now, at any given time, she can track our finances to the penny.  And she does it all with a pencil and paper. 

So, given these two examples, of financial greatness and fiscal incompetency, its really a wonder to me that she ever trusts me with anything financial.

(Que the dream sequence chimes as we fade to the scenario of a few days ago....)

There I was, getting ready to run a few errands with Ben and D asked me to stop by the bank and, (a) deposit a check, and (b) withdraw twenty dollars.  Seemed simple enough at the time.  And like most people on earth, we have more than one account.  So she specified which account she wanted it in and which account she wanted the twenty to come out of (which was the same account; again, simple enough). 

So I put on the charm, flashed my winning smile, and reassured her that her worries were for naught, and I would make sure and put everything where it was supposed to go.   The boy and I then left, check in hand, and went to the bank.  I pulled up, went to the ATM, inserted my card and found myself taking a pop quiz.

"In to which account would like to deposit this check?"

Since when did going to the ATM involve multiple choice questions?  And of course, the accounts are labels by nothing but numbers.  It might have well asked, "What is the square root of 432,444,541,937?"

So I panicked.  And I made my choice.  I thought, for the moment, I made the right choice.  I so overwhelmed by the task at hand, and then so relieved I had made the "right" choice I completely forgot to get the twenty out.  So I had to re-insert my card and start a new ATM transaction. 

"From which account would you like to withdraw twenty dollars?"

Another multiple choice question. This time, though, for some reason that is unknown to the universe at hand, I didn't even balk at the question and simply made a choice (which, in hind sight, was the wrong one).  And I moved on to take Ben to a promised dinner of just he and Dad.

It was about five  minutes later when there was a thunderstorm of activity in my brain that said, "Hey stupid, you are really stupid!!"  I then found myself looking at the receipts from the two transactions and realized none of the numbers matched the consectutive transactions like they should have. 


Now, in theory, this really should be a simple thing to fix.  Hop on the internet, log on to said bank web site, and make a few balance transfers.  Boom!  Done!  No hastle!  Right??


Remember, that was nothing more than a theory; and as we all know, theories are often proved to be wrong.  Like mine just above.  For the one who does everything twice its a lot more complicated than that, and the tone in her voice as I described what happened told me all I needed to know.

Funny how these things work really.  In a rather abrupt and somewhat unfinished feeling closing to this post, I'll end by saying this:  D is quite the accountant.  And I owe my generally good financial situation to her and her alone.

So for that, I'll take the grumpiness when I manage to send things a fowl in the banking department. 

Jul 17, 2010

The Great Two Wheeled Dilema

I have been wrestling with this post for a few days, and in the interim, I simply posted some fluff regarding stupid commercials. Now, however, its time to actually say my peace about a particular subject.

About, oh, 12 years ago I purchased a motorcycle, a 1994 Honda Shadow VT600CD. A simple and fairly entry level bike with an engine size of 583 cubic centimeters. In the world of motorcycles this is considered a small bike. And really it is. With just me on it, it’s a nice ride. With a passenger, though, it really begins to lag. But I am generally the only rider, and I am really quite content with it for now.

For a bike that is 16 years old it’s in great shape, and quite honestly, a lot of fun. So for the next few years I rode the heck out of that thing. I commuted to work, I went on Saturday rides, and I was all over the place.

Then I moved to Humboldt County. I had no one to ride with and slowly I rode less and less. And eventually, the cost of a little maintenance got in my way and I garaged the thing.

Fast forward six years to the present. My good friend Dean, after making some life changing decisions, decided he wanted to get a motorcycle. His wife was supportive and soon the purchase was made. I know what some people may be thinking, something like, “Oh my! Those things are dangerous! He’ll kill himself!!”

To these nay-sayers, I say, “*%#* off.” In actuality, there is just as much chance as any accident happening to me or anyone else, as soon as I wake up in the morning. Are there some inherent dangers to riding a motorcycle? Well of course. But as long as one is responsible, and takes the proper safety precautions, it can be an extremely enjoyable thing to do.

And so I began the quest to get my bike in running condition. It’s been a rather lengthy process, but overall, hasn’t been too bad. In the meantime, Dean had to opportunity to ride north into Washington with a friend, and he took it.

The other day, I got a phone call at home from Iver. It started like this, “First off, I want to assure you that Dean is OK.” This, for everyone’s reference, is not the way you want any conversation to start. Long story short, he had a pretty good wreck while in the area of Longview, WA. He has been in the hospital with a little bit of internal bleeding because of a lacerated spleen. He has been recovering, and is scheduled to come home today, and spend some time recovering.

Now comes the question I have: Will he ride again? There are going to be a slew of people who are going to be stopping by to see how he is doing, and then will turn around and tell his wife and say, “I just knew he shouldn’t buy a bike. You’re not going to let him ride anymore are you?” And to those types of people, with that particular attitude, again I say, “%#*& off!”

There are a dozen things we do every day that could kill us. And lets face the honest truth, at any given time, under any given circumstances, getting into a vehicle accident is a simply a possibility. But if it’s something a person enjoys, then let the person alone to his own devices.

I have had to sit on the sidelines, watching with great envy as my friend spent his weekends riding around the north coast. My bike is coming home from the shop, hopefully today, and will be in perfect running order. And I have to admit, I hope this doesn’t sour my friend on motorcycle riding.

I know it won’t be my decision, I know I don’t want to be some sort of influence that is contrary to what ever he and his family may decide.

But I can still hope, can’t I?

Jul 16, 2010

The network is pandering crap to my kid.

Anyone with a child will know exactly what I am about to complain about.

I'm talking about all these stupid products sold on television stations like Nickelodeon or Cartoon Network.  For example, I just watched a commercial for what is called a Fushigi Gravity Ball.  This is used for the "sport" of contact juggling.  What, pray tell, is contact juggling?  Well, lets refer to you tube.

The first time I saw something like this was watching the Jim Henson movie Labyrinth (which, by the way, is a great movie and I recommend it to anyone who is a fan of Jim Henson's work).  I myself have attempted this little feat, to no avail.  Either its really hard to do, or I just suck (I would tend to lean toward the latter on this one).

But these blasted commercials make these things look like its a perfectly natural and easy process to make this sphere appear to defy gravity.  And of course, it can all be yours for the most affordable price of 19.99, plus shipping and handling. Do I really expect the boy to be able to acquire one of these crazy items and actually pick it up and simply start wowing the crowds?

What about Floam?  Anyone familiar with Floam?

Looks pretty neat, huh? Its all good in commercial format. But lets look at the reality of the crap the are pandering to little kids across the world:

I'm pretty  sure if my kid opened that sticky, slimy mess on Christmas morning, after paying anywhere from 10 to 30 bucks (plus shipping and handling of course) I would be pretty pissed off.

I don't exactly remember these types of commercials being played when I was a kid (although I'm sure they were there).  But what bothers me is watching the glitter in the boy's eyes as he sees something incredibly cool on one of these commercials and I have to be the one to tell him whatever the wondrous product is, its crap.  Lucky me. 

Now, on a further note, I watched a commercial last night for these little pasty things to attach to your boobs to giver yourself an instant lift.  And of course, they are only ten bucks, plus shipping and handling.  But wait!!  Act now and they will double the order!  That's 20 pasties for the price of ten!  I too could have a more supportive look and a little cleavage. 

Lucky me.  Perhaps its time I started reading more often.

Jul 11, 2010

Revitalization and the Social Network.

Over the last couple of months, I have come to a realization:

Facebook has been completely detrimental to my blogging.

Over the course of about two years, I was a routine blogger. I had not a care in the world about posting; indeed, I would type out a post like a musician plays the piano. Imagining the letter keys to be the ebony and ivory of a keyboard, posts on various and sometimes completely random subjects would find there way into the blogosphere in much the same way as a piano concerto fills a concert hall.

But suddenly, and unexpectedly, I thought I had lost my voice. No matter how I tried, I simply couldn’t get myself motivated to actually post something. Surprisingly, I can actually pin it down to one event that caused such a tragic decline in something I really enjoyed: the creation of my Facebook account.

Social networking is, in and of it self, more invasive than the crab grass in my lawn outside. It’s in everything. You can access it from any computer on the planet with even the slowest of internet connections. My android phone has an app for it that makes it even easier to post status updates on the go. Even my XBOX 360 has a link, so I don’t even have to get up off my couch and look for either my phone or the laptop.

Really? Have we, as a society really made our lives this fricking easy? Now don’t get me wrong, I enjoy the social aspect of Facebook, and firmly intend to make use of it in the future. I really like the way it’s made it so easy to reconnect with friends from my past with whom I have lost contact over the years.

Sadly, a quick post here and there to the status bar became a regular and easy process, and I suddenly felt as though I had nothing important to say. Or at the very least, I was feeling quite redundant.

So Facebook became the regular thing, and D constantly made fun of me for being part of a social network she classified as a “juvenile” endeavor. I won’t even get into the fact that my Facebook page has been overrun with Farmville and Vampire Wars postings (all because of her). I’m pretty sure most of my friends completely ignore anything I post because of the sheer volume of these games by Zynga. But that is really a whole other subject in and of it self. Lets get back on track.

So I have attempted, here and there, to revitalize my blogging. And I rarely post to Facebook anymore anyway. And even when I do, my posts simply disappear in a deluge of Zynga game spam about mystery eggs and vampiric assaults. Yeah, I know that sounds crazy, but it is what it is.

(Case in point: as I am typing this I received an email from Zynga letting me know I received a mystery gift from a person on my friends list.)

Then, the other day, I noticed my dear friend Iver managed to do exactly what I have been kicking around for months, he started posting again. Yes, I admit, some amount of jealousy ensued. And why not? I have been wanting to do exactly the same thing for a while now, but to no avail. But its not just the fact he managed to post something, it’s the fact he somehow linked it to his Facebook profile.

Is this perhaps the perfect union between a love/hate relationship with Facebook and my long lost friend, my blog? Perhaps, only time will tell. As it stands, I have set so many goals for myself and very few of them have I actually accomplished (OK, lets be honest, if my goal was to sleep more, I might have accomplished that one).

So, here I go again. back into the blogosphere. There will be more to follow. Now, if I can just figure out how I can get this post to show on my Facebook profile....

****Small udate****

Getting this to post to my facebook profile has not been the easiest thing in the world to do (no thanks in part to IT, who has blocked Facebook from the county internet).  I'm working on it.  Really, I am.
Related Posts with Thumbnails