28 11 2009

Dreams can surprise at the strangest of times

But rarely do they stay remembered

For instance, last night

My dream gave me a fright

But those images are now dismembered.

– – – – –

I dreamed (saying dreamt seems so pre….verse….) last night about someone I met a long time ago.  They had gotten married, but only recently, and they suddenly had a child.  I somehow found this out while eating at the taco shack with former college roommates.  I guess the taco shack is a hub of information these days.  Only, it was also my house, in the dream.  We had a big front porch outside of the taco shack house, but I remember suddenly coming face to face with this guy that I had never really spoken with, but I was kind of intimidated by him.  AT FIRST.  Then, I brushed him off like so much lint from a blazer, and started repairing my bunk bed.

So.  I am reminiscing about some dumb dream I had that makes no sense and was probably brought on by too much food (or not enough food…?  Perhaps.) the day before.  Why does this seem important to me?  Because I remember it.  I usually don’t remember dreams (except for a few recurring ones throughout my life), but this one has managed to elude cerebral effacement  (Good band name).   I like this.  Effectually, it’s like I have been told a secret by someone who then died.  I am the only person who knows what happened at the taco shack (because I ingeniously hid the names from your eyes!), and I don’t plan on revealing what I think it means any time soon.  Oh, I know what it means.  Connecting the dots in this subconscious novella is a paint-by-flipping-numbers exercise to me.  But I’m on vacation, and you’re in consternation, and the taco shack will retain its information!

Hello, candy time!

Protected: Day of Days

26 11 2009

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You Win $5

22 11 2009

If you can tell me what the deal is with those enormous sunglasses that girls (and girlie men) wear.

Seriously.  I’ve got the serial number on this Lincoln set aside like cold pancakes at a slumber party.


The Spoken Words

19 11 2009

We had one of our better Two Stories Tall nights yesterday, as a couple dozen people graced our apartment with their presence and voices.  The gist of the thing, which we have held sporadically over the last 18 months that I have lived here, is that people read something aloud for the collective enjoyment of those present.  In college I had a few experiences of reading through plays, narratives and dialogues with friends and classmates, and I always enjoyed it.

This likely stems from how my dad used to read my brother and me Hardy Boys stories at night before bedtime.  I remember begging for another chapter, Skull Mountain (Dun, da-da-da Duuuuuuuuun), and the mud-covered license plate in the story about the signpost.  I remember my Dad reading other stuff too, but the Hardy Boys stories stand out to me a lot.  I hope I someday have kids that enjoy doing that as much as I did and do.

So, Randall transcribed (it took him hours) a Peter Wimsey mystery and delineated the various characters’ lines enough to be read by at least a portion of the people present.  It was a lot of fun.  We’ve had some fun TST nights before, but this one probably had the most people that actually wanted to be involved with it.  We had to draw names out of a hat to see who would get to read the parts, and people were noticeably disappointed and forlorn when they received none.  Thankfully, Randall also thought ahead enough to break up some of the narration, and others shared with those less fortunate.  And, when you add in the fact that one of our friends from the spring play Randall and I were in showed up from West Covina, you know it had to be a blast.  We heard voices and accents that probably should never see the light of day (most of those by me), but I think listening to a story with an audience is a commonly-enjoyed human experience.  We just don’t give it much of a chance these days.

And, speaking of things our society classifies as “just for children,” we also followed up the “Fantastic Horror of the Cat in the Bag” story with a Grimm Fairy Tale:  The Girl with no Hands.  (Or something like that)  You can find it easily enough online (it’s public domain), but the thing is just horrifically violent.  I mean, this poor girl has her hands chopped off by her Dad because the devil made him do it.  It’s ok, though, because she is pious.  Man, stories were different back in those times.  And, by “different,” I mean awful.

Of course, anything can become awesome when read aloud by the right people, and it’s safe to say that the right people were picked.

You just had to be there. (Mostly to taste Cory’s Cornbread and Randall’s brownies, the girls’ sweet potato bread, the other girls’ brownies, Cream Soda, more food……)

And, unlike that ghastly story, mine has a moral:  Go read to someone.  You should read to kids, friends, spouses, fiancees, financiers and chancellors.  Just don’t let the timeless tradition of oral regaling die out.  (I blame stupid internet…)

Eyeing the Knot

16 11 2009

The following is stolen from Eric’s blog. I liked it, and it sure beats that horrible video I just watched for the first time.  (note:  don’t post videos to your blog before previewing them for off-color humor and crass remarks.)

* * ** * * * ** * *

This week I did something I haven’t done in years: I wore a tie. The last time I did this was (if I remember correctly) at my friend Bryan’s wedding. I don’t count my wedding because, as my groomsmen can attest, Men’s Wearhouse gives you some sort of hybrid, slip-on tie.

I don’t particularly enjoy wearing ties. Sure, at times they do afford you a certain level of sophistication that can make you feel a lot cooler than you probably are, but they make me uncomfortably aware that there is something tied around my neck reminiscent of a leash. This is the first of a laundry list of grievances I have with ties. They also get in your way while washing your hands, visiting a urinal, brushing your teeth, and if there’s any wind at all. They can become ensnared in car doors, bushes/any sort of decorative floral arrangement, or the hands of small children or potential assailants. They also make me warmer than I care to be. They can be tricky to tie and take up precious time while you’re getting ready, even if you know what you’re doing.

I don’t know why anyone would decide that a long piece of cloth around his neck is a good idea. It’s actually a brilliant piece of marketing. A quick Wikipedia search revealed that the necktie has its roots in the Thirty Years War when the French thought that some of the clothes of the Croatians were wearing were quite fetching. I lost interest after that, although I did go on to learn that I hope to someday sport an ascot. This would be mostly for the shock value, and what I’m guessing will be an increased chance of being handed a glass of warm brandy in front of a roaring fire in some lavish lounge. It also seems a safer and more comfortable option to dress up ones neck…


Chaseing: My Tale

7 11 2009

I’m sitting on the floor on this gray Saturday morning and eating cereal.  This state of serenity is in direct contrast to the rest of my week, which has been hectically delicious.  Besides job stuff (good) and bank stuff (awful), I’ve had some satisfying moments.  Filling out application forms for a job after you’ve gotten it makes not a lot of sense to me, but it did feel like I was writing my future down.  Speaking of futures, I don’t think Chase has much of one with me.  Here are my adventures with the new and improved WaMu: (it rhymes if you say it rhythmically)

About a month ago, my Dad gave me a heads-up to change my account before Washing Mutual officially discarded the last remnants of its old glory and became Chase.  By “change my account,” this is what he meant.  Washington Mutual had two free checking accounts.  Their standard “Free Checking” account, which I had been using since 2005, and a more recent account that went by the name “WaMu Free Checking” on the register.  While I at first thought my Dad had been misinformed, a quick look and a phone call confirmed that these two accounts did indeed exist.  The important part of this distinction is that, after this banking empire effects its transition completely to Chase (as it has now done), those with a simple “Free Checking” account will no longer be able to order new checks free of charge.  Those with a special “WaMu Free Checking” account, however, will still receive that benefit when Chase establishes its first galactic empire.

So, all I need to do, Dad says, is call Washington Mutual and ask to get my account changed into a “WaMu Free Checking” account.  This seems simple enough, and multiple people have told me that I can do this.  So, I give them a call.

It becomes quickly apparent to me that I am not really talking to “Frank” from “Caleeforneeah.”  Nonetheless, the customer service rep seems to know what I am requesting to have done.  I prolong the conversation for a minute or two just to subtly reiterate what it is I want done, why I want it (Free Checks!), and that I really appreciate the fact that “Frank” is going to do this and that is very nice of him thank you sir yes it is no problem at all thank you for calling Washington Mutual goodbye.

A couple of weeks later, I make a deposit in person at Chase.  Lately, I have noticed online that my account is now a “Free Classic Checking” account.  As I have no idea how this relates to the former two Washington Mutual accounts, I ask the teller if my requested change had taken place.  (When I talked to the rep on the phone, he told me the switch might take a week or so.)  She said, “I don’t think it did…mine says something different, and I made sure my account changed like that too.”

So, I asked, how can I go about getting “Frank” fired from his job in “Caleeforneeah” and my account made free as the days are short these days?  She suggested I go take a seat in their “lobby” (see: Chairs by those desks) and wait for someone more knowledgeable to help me.  I do so, and the next employee quickly informs me that, if the account has not been changed by now, there is no possible way to do so.  I believe her, but also mentioned my grievance with a certain rep (name of Frank) and his assurance that my account would be changed.  She suggests that I (surprise!) call their corporate phone number and ask for a supervisor and see if they have a record/recording of the call itself.  Since I happen to remember the date of the call, she seems hopeful that I might be able to get something done.

So I call the same number as I did a couple of weeks ago, and immediately ask for a supervisor.  After a minute or so of hold time (which was profusely apologized for by the new rep), I get a supervisor who clearly has no time for me.  Granted, I am asking for a likely-overworked telephone customer service supervisor to tell me why I can’t get free pieces of paper anymore, but I’m far beyond the actual purpose of the whole thing by now.  It’s the principle of the thing.  And speaking of principles, one of mine is that customer service people ought to treat their callers as civilly as possible, even if they are tired and busy and not in the mood to talk to Robert about his dumb little problem that is really insignificant.  It’s their job.

Of course, the supervisor says her hands are tied.  WaMu is dead, the phone recordings have all been purged (her word), and she has absolutely nothing to offer me.  I try to throw out an awkward sentence or two to the effect of “Oh, so I guess, even though the error was made on your end, you can’t really do anything” and “Yeah, I guess that you really only have my word that this conversation actually took place,” but it’s useless.  She is all but huffing and puffing me off the phone, and I have clearly reached the end of what I can accomplish through polite inquiry.  Having no desire to fly into a perhaps-justified indignant rage over free checks, I awkwardly thank her for her time, and hang up.

My day would have continued as normal, if not for the kicker:

Now that Chase is in charge of all my moneys and dollars, they have a new and improved rule on deposits:  Even if I go to the bank and make a deposit in person, those funds are not available until the next day. This is ridiculous.  I  understand their reasoning behind withholding part of a deposit made into an ATM, since they need to verify the amount, but what’s the point of keeping my money from me after I’ve gone to the trouble of depositing it?  In fact, do you know what this means?  It means, if I need to have that money on hand that same day, I have to cash the check for its full amount, then take the cash and deposit it into the account. Of course, they might hold that deposit too.  In fact, even if they don’t, it is clearly more advantageous for me to simply cash the check and walk out the door anyway.  Thus, Chase has clearly accomplished its goal.

Assuming, of course, that their goal is to make using their bank more cumbersome than just carrying around large sums of cash in the first place.

I’m gonna go buy a huge briefcase.

Hackey Pickshure

4 11 2009

This is a picture of the motley hockey crew we had last week.  (I’ll be back with more regular updates later this week — Work, you know.)