Sunday, September 21, 2008

Is it?...........really?

I'm trying not to turn this into an economics blog - there are too many of those already. However, I must comment on this newest development before Monday morning. As your "guy on the inside" of the mortgage/credit/bank/financial....um....thing, I feel I owe it to you, loyal readers, to drop my thoughts into the collective bucket.

Monday is going to be a really big big big day. There's a lot going on in the House and Senate, and Wall Street is going to have some huge reactions to what's going on in the government sector. The big one is the Bush administration's "Bailout Bill" - if you have not heard about it, here it is in a nutshell: the Bill would allow the government to buy the crappiest of mortgages from banks, hold them for a while, then slowly return those debt-backed assets back into the marketplace. The plan is that this will serve two purposes: one, to remove those toxic waste (a real industry term) mortgages from bank's balance sheets and free up the capitol currently being set aside to recover the monetary loss those assets are causing, thereby returning some consumer/market confidence to those institutions. Two, to allow the market in general to recover until such a time where those high-risk assets are no longer quite as scary - part of the current problem is that there are more toxic waste assets than there are buyers. Supply and demand says the price falls, and people get scared.

Now, I was going to post a link to the bill itself, but in case you don't use a tabbed browser I'll post it here so you can refer back to it while reading. Here it is in full:

Section 1. Short Title.

This Act may be cited as ____________________.

Sec. 2. Purchases of Mortgage-Related Assets.

(a) Authority to Purchase.–The Secretary is authorized to purchase, and to make and fund commitments to purchase, on such terms and conditions as determined by the Secretary, mortgage-related assets from any financial institution having its headquarters in the United States.

(b) Necessary Actions.–The Secretary is authorized to take such actions as the Secretary deems necessary to carry out the authorities in this Act, including, without limitation:

(1) appointing such employees as may be required to carry out the authorities in this Act and defining their duties;

(2) entering into contracts, including contracts for services authorized by section 3109 of title 5, United States Code, without regard to any other provision of law regarding public contracts;

(3) designating financial institutions as financial agents of the Government, and they shall perform all such reasonable duties related to this Act as financial agents of the Government as may be required of them;

(4) establishing vehicles that are authorized, subject to supervision by the Secretary, to purchase mortgage-related assets and issue obligations; and

(5) issuing such regulations and other guidance as may be necessary or appropriate to define terms or carry out the authorities of this Act.

Sec. 3. Considerations.

In exercising the authorities granted in this Act, the Secretary shall take into consideration means for–

(1) providing stability or preventing disruption to the financial markets or banking system; and

(2) protecting the taxpayer.

Sec. 4. Reports to Congress.

Within three months of the first exercise of the authority granted in section 2(a), and semiannually thereafter, the Secretary shall report to the Committees on the Budget, Financial Services, and Ways and Means of the House of Representatives and the Committees on the Budget, Finance, and Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs of the Senate with respect to the authorities exercised under this Act and the considerations required by section 3.

Sec. 5. Rights; Management; Sale of Mortgage-Related Assets.

(a) Exercise of Rights.–The Secretary may, at any time, exercise any rights received in connection with mortgage-related assets purchased under this Act.

(b) Management of Mortgage-Related Assets.–The Secretary shall have authority to manage mortgage-related assets purchased under this Act, including revenues and portfolio risks therefrom.

(c) Sale of Mortgage-Related Assets.–The Secretary may, at any time, upon terms and conditions and at prices determined by the Secretary, sell, or enter into securities loans, repurchase transactions or other financial transactions in regard to, any mortgage-related asset purchased under this Act.

(d) Application of Sunset to Mortgage-Related Assets.–The authority of the Secretary to hold any mortgage-related asset purchased under this Act before the termination date in section 9, or to purchase or fund the purchase of a mortgage-related asset under a commitment entered into before the termination date in section 9, is not subject to the provisions of section 9.

Sec. 6. Maximum Amount of Authorized Purchases.

The Secretary’s authority to purchase mortgage-related assets under this Act shall be limited to $700,000,000,000 outstanding at any one time

Sec. 7. Funding.

For the purpose of the authorities granted in this Act, and for the costs of administering those authorities, the Secretary may use the proceeds of the sale of any securities issued under chapter 31 of title 31, United States Code, and the purposes for which securities may be issued under chapter 31 of title 31, United States Code, are extended to include actions authorized by this Act, including the payment of administrative expenses. Any funds expended for actions authorized by this Act, including the payment of administrative expenses, shall be deemed appropriated at the time of such expenditure.

Sec. 8. Review.

Decisions by the Secretary pursuant to the authority of this Act are non-reviewable and committed to agency discretion, and may not be reviewed by any court of law or any administrative agency.

Sec. 9. Termination of Authority.

The authorities under this Act, with the exception of authorities granted in sections 2(b)(5), 5 and 7, shall terminate two years from the date of enactment of this Act.

Sec. 10. Increase in Statutory Limit on the Public Debt.

Subsection (b) of section 3101 of title 31, United States Code, is amended by striking out the dollar limitation contained in such subsection and inserting in lieu thereof $11,315,000,000,000.

Sec. 11. Credit Reform.

The costs of purchases of mortgage-related assets made under section 2(a) of this Act shall be determined as provided under the Federal Credit Reform Act of 1990, as applicable.

Sec. 12. Definitions.

For purposes of this section, the following definitions shall apply:

(1) Mortgage-Related Assets.–The term “mortgage-related assets” means residential or commercial mortgages and any securities, obligations, or other instruments that are based on or related to such mortgages, that in each case was originated or issued on or before September 17, 2008.

(2) Secretary.–The term “Secretary” means the Secretary of the Treasury.

(3) United States.–The term “United States” means the States, territories, and possessions of the United States and the District of Columbia.


Now, let's break it down a bit because chances are you have no idea what that means. Here are some of my initial thoughts about this bill. Be aware the the Secretary listed in the bill is the Secretary of the Treasury: one dude. His name (right now) is Paulson.

Section 2.a - That just says what my intro gave you: the government will buy those mortgages from banks so the banks don't have to own them anymore.

Section 2.b.2 - or as I call it, Scary Item Number One. The last line is what worries me: "without regard to any other provision of law regarding public contracts." So the standing contracts laws (that arguably make contracts fair to all parties, or at least disclose the risks in a given contract) do not apply to anything covered by this bill. Total control outside existing law. Hmmm....

Section 2.b.5 - or Scary Item Number Two. "issuing such regulations and other guidance as may be necessary or appropriate..." That alone isn't too scary, but wait until we get into sections 4, 6, and 8. Just remember this point for now and call it up later.

Section 4 - Okay, so within 3 months of the first action under this bill, the Secretary must report to all those government groups in the Senate and House. What's wrong with that? Keep reading.

Section 6 - The Money. The Secretary has access to $700 billion dollars to work with under this bill. That looks like this: $700,000,000,000.00 and that's a lot of money.

Section 8 - The Very, Very Scary Section. Go back and read section 8 again. Go ahead, I'll wait. Decisions are non-reviewable and at the Secretary's discretion. No court of law or administrative agency may review them. No court of law. Ho. Lee. Crap. Bush to Paulson: "Here's seven hundred billion dollars. Go buy some really crappy mortgages that no one else is buying right now and if anyone asks what you are doing, tell them I said they can't stop you." So ask yourselves this question - if his actions are non-reviewable, why does section 4 say the Secretary must tell the House and Senate what they have done so far within 30 days of the first purchase? The House and Senate can't do anything about it if they want to! Paulson can say "so, here's what we have done. We now own $700 billion dollars worth of toxic waste investments, and I'm going to sit on them. Thank you and goodnight." and walk the hell out the door. Now, the argument that the Bush Admin is making is that if there is too much "politics" mixed into this bill or the actions of the Secretary, the whole proces will take months and we don't have months. That I tend to agree with. But making the actions non-reviewable by any law in the country is just scary. We might as well change Paulson's title to Mortgage God and let it go at that. I could go on here, but let's keep moving.

Section 11 - This section basically says that Paulson can name his price on these assets. On one hand, no one is currently buying them so that's sort of his right. On the other hand, what good is buying them from banks if they get to pay pennies on the dollar for assets that may (in theroy) be worth quite a bit later on down the road and/or when a few of these risky assets are packaged into an investment vehicle that includes more low-risk assets than high-risk assets? Sure, it restores market confidence, but would that short-change banks in the the future?

If you've stuck with me this long, you have realized that I only have tiny bits of information. I'm not an economist, and I don't clam to fully understand what's going on. But I have done some pretty extensive research and heard some pretty insitefull opions from actual economists, and it does raise some pretty important questions. All in all, we are living major history. The actions of and reactions to the government and Wall Street decisions tomorrow can have a huge impact on the global economy. I don't know if I'm so excited I want to barf, so scared I want to barf, or so sickened I want to barf. In any case, stay tuned!

PS: If this interests you at all, check out NPR's Money Blog to see/hear some really cool info, and subscribe to NPR's Planet Money Podcast on their site or at the iTunes Store (it's free). Adam Davidson has some AWESOME info broken down so it's easy to understand even without a Harvard Business degree. Goodnight......and good financial luck.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Yes, I still have a job. No, the bank is not going under. Yes, it's business as usual.

Have you been following the financial news? Crazy times! Personally, I'm pretty much done "making history" - I was on the forefront of the Sub-Prime meltdown, then I was on the forefront of the Credit Crisis, now I'm on the forefront of the Bank Disaster. Yay, me!

Since I'm an uber nerd, I've been filling my free time (what little there is) with news, blogs, and podcasts about the current state of our economy. If you are at all interested, NPR.org has some awesome info, and the podcasts at NPR.org/money are amazing - they give great info about the financial sector presented in terms that anyone can understand, even without a degree from Harvard.

Here's the bottom line: we are screwed. Through "toxic waste" loans (a real Wall Street term) being bundled into AA+ rated CDO bonds and sold to the national and international market, naked short selling running rampant on the stock market, creating new and high-risk loan packaged to fulfil the global hunger for American Debt Bonds, and the Republican "hands-off" and "zero regulation" policy surrounding the stock and investment market, the global economy is in a place it has never been before. A baaaaaaaad place.

I'm not going to bore you with specific details (unless you want info about something - comment and I'll post about it next) but realize this is Historic. Last night as I was falling asleep I found myself really wishing I had gone to college so I could go back for a masters or Doctorate in Finance/Business/Economics now. This stuff is amazing to me! I would totally be at home studying all this stuff - modern economic education is almost more complex that astrophysics.

Monday is going to be a big day. Bush is working to have a $700 billion bail out of the toxic waste mortgages: banks will be able to sell the crappy high-risk mortgages to a government vehicle created to take this crap, hold it for a few years to let the market and investor confidence return, then trickle that waste back into the market. In short-term, that's a good and possibly much-needed thing. Long-term this could be devastating. First, the government has never stepped into free trade this way: there is no prescience for this. Second, where do you thing that $700 BILLION dollars will come from? Johnny Taxpayer, that's where. I'm not adverse to paying more taxes if it means that the global financial market will continue to turn and other countries will continue to buy up rights to American Debt (hell, American Debt is what makes the financial world go 'round, to no small degree). But for Bush to get "credit" for this "fix" and then leave office and let the next President figure out where the money comes from is simply bullshit. It's a case of "spend now, get the money later." Oh wait - that's the Modern American Way.

So there you have it. Banks are going to stay in business, AIG will still be around (I won't address the dangers of allowing a company to get "too big to fail", or more literally "too big to allow to fail" in this blog), Bank Of America is well on their way to getting "too big to fail" with the purchase of Merrill Lynch, and stocks are coming back up. Until, at least, SEC Chairman Christopher Cox decides to make another boneheaded move and do something that fixes thing for three days and then makes it a million times worse.

God Bless America, and out ability to spend way outside our means in order to fund other countries who want to buy the debt we incurred purchasing the goods that those countries produced in the first place!




Okay, so I'm done Financially Ranting for now. Does this interest anyone else? Or should I go back to my other trademarked Rants?

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

A humble apology.

It has been brought to my attention that my last post may have had misogynistic undertones.

And by "brought to my attention" I mean screamed at me in a fit of eye-vein bursting rage.

That was not my intent at all.

I love women. I think women are wonderful creatures and mothers are the most wonderful of all. I mean, who else cleans up poopy diapers, exists on 10 minutes of sleep a week, never gets any time alone, and STILL comes back for more of the same? No one, that's who.

I think women are capable of doing any job a man can and then some. Granted, they might not do it as well or get paid as much as a man, but they can do it! The poster to the left proves it.

To any Lesbinatzi Republicrats who misconstrued my message in my previous post, shame on you. Have you nothing better to do than to read between the lines of this humble blogger's posts? Please! You can bitch once the dishes are done.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

The more you know!

Public Service Announcement!
WARNING: you just might learn something.

I am a pretty amazing and awesome guy. That didn't happen by accident - it took years and years of training and education. Over the course of my life, I've learned some pretty important things. Big things. Life changing things.

I'm going to spend a few minutes dropping some Knowledg
e Nuggets on you all.
Some serious Knowledge Nuggets.
It took me the better part of my life to learn these things, but you can benefit from my extensive learning. I'm going to try to limit these tips to the ones that are most practical for every-day use. Enjoy.


Now, I'm all for equality, but dudes: you cannot nurse your babies!
Yes, women can do jobs that were formerly only achievable if you were a man, and right now as you read this some poor whipped sap is washing dishes or doing laundry or cooking dinner or one of the other woman's jobs, but
you cannot nurse your babies. I can't stress that enough. If you find yourself thinking "Hey, my wife is off somewhere earning a living so our family has already committed a huge affront to God's Plan for the Family, maybe I can nurse my baby."
No: you cannot.
I want you to bookmark this page and refer back to the above picture if you ever start having doubts about your ability to nurse your offspring. Do it now. I'll wait.



It's too early to start planning for a Zombie attack, right?
WRONG!
It's that kind of thinking that will get you and your family eaten by Zombies. It's what the Zombies want you to think. Zombies are even more scheming than terrorists or computer hackers or Republicans. Zombies are the single biggest threat to America, I assume. They are worse than abortion, the war in Iraq, working mothers, and brussels sprouts combined and divided by four. DO NOT let yourself fall into the group of a billion American's who aren't Zombie ready. Again, bookmark this page and refer to the above picture to plan your Zombie Defense Plan (or ZDP). Hold weekly Zombie Attack Drills with your family. Your neighbors might laugh at you, but who will be laughing when little Suzie down the street is having her brains slurped up by your Mailman.....who's now a Zombie. You, that's who.



There comes a point in everyone's life where they have to ask themselves:
What would I do for love?
Your answer should be a resounding
"Anything.



Except that.


I won't do that."

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Pshyeah

Remember? That one time? When I used to post? And, I used to, um, read your posts? And comment on them? Um, remember that?

That was awesome.


I'm going to TRY to get back to BlogSpot. I say "try" because I have about 10 minutes a day where I can do whatever I want. I love you guys, but I've got a lot of stuff to cram into 10 minutes!

Let's try to do a little update, shall we?

Work: I'm actually doing the job I was hired for now. I'm opening accounts, this month I'm getting out in the community to try to bring in some new accounts and create some "Points of Contact," I'm planning some pretty big stuff soon. All in all I like it a lot. However, my time as the "new guy" is coming to an end. I can't fall back on the "I don't really know what I'm doing" excuse anymore. I've got goals, and I'd damn-well better hit them! It's cool, having some structure and being challenged at the same time. The bathrooms are still horrible, but we won't get into that.

Home: The G and I have been trying a new sleep program for A, and it seems to be working......most of the time. Putting her to bed is only horrible for about 15 minutes instead of every hour (on the hour) all freakin' night. It's been pretty nice, and I think the G and I might be able to have an actual relationship again instead of co-workers. That sound horrible and it's mostly an exaggeration, but it has been pretty tough. With the Wee One sleeping a bit more (and in a better mood because of it) we actually get time to talk to each other and the stress level in our home has dropped. Not gone totally away, but then again Audrey isn't done with college yet.

Computer: Since I was horribly, horribly sick on Sunday and Monday, I was able to order an external hard drive and 7-port USB hub. Thank you, tax return! I know it's nerdy, but I can't freakin' wait until they come! I'll have a HD for media storage and data backup, and with the hub I won't have to unplug something every time I want to plug something else in. Plus Brent gave me another gig of RAM to tide me over until I can get my 4GB kit, so my already screaming computer it ever faster now. That's a good thing since we moved the TV to the back bedroom the computer had become the Media Center of our living room. I download the TV shows we have to watch (very few) and I have the stereo hooked up so iTunes plays on the big speakers. Awesome!

Car: I got all that crap done to my car (see my last post) and for a lot less than the dealership wanted to charge (duh!). All 4 tires, new front brake rotors and ceramic hi-performance pads, brake system flush, oil change, and 4-wheel alignment = $780 (vs. the $1400 they wanted at GM). Now I've got to find someone with a steam/carpet cleaner that has a hand attachment I can use for a day so I can detail the bad boy. It drives like a dream now! I don't get that shift in the front end when I take corners at 45 or feel that shimmy in the steering wheel when I get up over 75. Happy day!

Spiritually: Big happenings. I don't want to get into it just yet, but big, BIG stuff. I'm also trying to split my time between playing music at Sunday worship and working with Brent on the computer/sound system stuff. I filled in while he was in CA and I never realized how distracting it is! I figure I'll get good at it so he can take a week off and actually PARTICIPATE in worship instead of simply making it awesome for the rest of us.

So that's "lately" in a nutshell. Not a lot going on, but no free time either. I can't wait until the weather is nice again so I can go play golf. I think I really, really need a good cigar, a few beers and a nice glass of scotch after the last hole, and 18 holes of sun and relaxation. I think if I squeeze all my 10-minute slots for two weeks into one day, I can play a whole round of golf.

Oh! I'm in a charity Bowling Tournament next month. My work put together two teams (well, almost: we still need one more person on ours - are you a (passably) good bowler and free on May 3rd? We need another! It's for Junior Achievers and it's going to be a blast. I'm pretty excited about that.

In closing, I stumbled across the following video. Since then, Gina and I have played it at LEAST five times a day. I can't really say why it's so awesome, but it's so awesome. Enjoy.


video

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Faloopa Jones; you blockhead!

You know how everyone seems to crap on Charlie Brown? (not in a 2girls1cup* way - sick!) I feel a little like Charlie Brown today.

As you may know, I need to sell my Pontiac. Last week something happened where the ticker than makes noise when your blinker is on got stuck on. All the time. ticktickticktickticktick the whole time you are driving. It's quite annoying. I figured out (through calling a bunch of calling around is called the hazard switch assembly and it's a dealership-only part. Okay, that works. I called the dealership and they HAVE the part in stock, and it's only $29.99 plus tax! Awesome! I race over and pick it up, install it, and the problem is still there. ticktickticktickticktick the whole time you drive. Crap. Or in Charlie Brown language: AAUGH!

So I call Curt Warner Chevrolet (where I bought the car) and schedule an appointment to bring it in and have them look at a few things: (1) the ticker (2) the cigarette lighter doesn't work (I don't smoke but I do have a cell phone I'd like to plug in while driving) and (3) I'm getting uneven tire wear in the front and sometimes (like when I'm north of about 70MPH) I get a slight shimmy in the steering wheel. No biggie, says Carl at Curt Warner, bringer in at 8:00am Thursday (8:00 am???) and we'll take a look. Cool, thinks I, easy-breezy.

I take my car in at 8:00 am and Audrey does great in the car the whole way there - oh yea, I'm watching Audrey today while Gina's at work. We give Carl the keys and Gina's Mom Carol picks my and Audrey up: since they live a few blocks from the dealership we decided to go play with Grandma while my car is being worked on. At about 10:30 I finally get a call from Carl. "Are you sitting down and do you have a pen and paper?" Carl says to me. Crap, I think to myself. Here's the breakdown that Carl gave me:

  1. The lighter won't work because the whole assembly is shorted out and keeps blowing the fuse. To replace it is $84
  2. The ticker isn't the part I tried to replace, nor is it the wiring harness, nor is it the fuse, nor is it the celluloid. It's a short in the Multi-Function Arm: the lever that sticks out of the steering column and controls the blinker and headlights. Since you have to rip the whole steering column apart to replace it, that's $357
  3. The front brakes are down to 1mm of pad left - and that's bad. Those need to be replaced and the rotors need to be resurfaced for $287
  4. Also on the brakes, the brake fluid is due to be replaced, and the current stuff is looking dirty and cloudy. To drain, clean the lines, and refill the fluid is $110
  5. The tires are unsafe. The front ones are so bald there is cord poking through and the back ones might be okay in the dry summer, but in the wet spring, Carl is actually surprised I've been able to keep my car on the road. All four tires are $520
  6. The front end suspension is fine (I was afraid that was the problem) but the car need an alignment. That's $80
So all told, we're looking at about $1430 parts and labor (plus tax) to get all that fixed at the dealership. The ONE silver liner is that the Multi-Function Arm is covered by the Extended Warranty I bought with the car - that one only costs me $100 out of pocket. I guess the other good thing is that it's going to be easier to sell since I can advertise New Tires! New Brakes! New Brake Fluid! Front End Just Aligned! Transferable Extended Warranty - Still Good Until May 09 or 25 Thousand More Miles! That will be nice, I suppose.

Looks like my brand new credit card I got for emergencies will carry a balance right away.....

Anyone want to buy a 2004 Pontiac Grand Am?


*ps - if you don't know what 2girls1cup is, DO NOT look it up. Trust me, you don't want to see it. It's one of the most disgusting things on the web, and not in a good way!

Saturday, March 1, 2008

And you thought YOU were having a bad day!


I just read "Million $$ Baby."

It's the short story that "Million Dollar Baby" was based off of. I've never seen the movie.

Reading the story made me feel like that guy on the bike up there. It was really well written, but I think it's got to be one of the most depressing stories I've read in a long time.

Speaking of reading, if you read my lovely wife's blog (over on....dum dum DUUUMM!....MySpace) you know that we decided to give up TV for Lent this year. It's been pretty great! It made us realize how much time we not only waste watching TV, but how much we waste watching TV we don't even really WANT to be watching. Do we really need to watch Mythbusters, even though we've seen that same episode 50 times? Probably not. Or when we spend 45 minutes flipping through the 13 channels we get because we can't find anything good on, but still don't turn the TV off. Yea, that was us. You know what we do instead? We actually TALK to each other! It's so strange! I love it! :) Oh, and don't worry: once the new Good Shows come back on (The Office, HIMYM, 30Rock) I'll just download them and we'll watch them after Easter.

So between not watch TV and getting a ton of new books given/loaned to me for Christmas and my birthday, I've read more book from Jan 1st '08 through today that I think I did from Jan 1st '07 through about August. I've read some real winners, and some real stinkers. Here, in no particular order, are mini-book reports on those books:

The Books I've Read This Year
by
Faloopa Jones

  • Blaze by Stephen King writing as Richard Bachman. Stephen King wrote this book way back when Carrie just came out, and tried to release it as Richard. Richard's publisher wouldn't make it, so it sat in a trunk for just over 20 years. Last year he found it again, made some minor updates, and released it. It's awesome: more like Shawshank Redemption that the traditional "King" horror books. It's a tribute to Of Mice And Men, and I really enjoyed it.
  • Winkie by Clifford Chase. When Gina told me her friend recommend this book about a teddy bear that comes to life and is tried as a terrorist, I thought it might be pretty good. It wasn't. It was wordy and boring. The story jumped back and forth from the trial to Winkie's life, and while the trial parts were funny, the rest sounded like it was written by a menopausal woman who was very, very bitter. I did not enjoy this one.
  • Heart-Shaped Box by Joe Hill. Bree got me this horror book for XMas and it's not on the list of the top 5 creepiest books I've ever read. Then G read it and said the same thing. It's about an aging rocker who collects items of the occult. He buys a suit on the internet that is supposed to come with the ghost of the owner. The story gets scary in chapter two and keeps going until the last page. It was great - I want to get some of Joe Hill's other books now.
  • A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess. The version I have is the complete - when it was first released in the US, they (and the film) cut out the last chapter, which changes the whole tone of the book. This one was really cool to read because Burgess created a fictional slang that the main character uses to narrate. It takes a while to learn to understand it, but it's well worth it.
  • Cotton by Christopher Moore. A boy is born to a black family in the south in the early 60's - but he's got white skin, blue eyes, and blond hair (his Father was an Icelandic sailor who had been passing through). The funny thing is that that's about normal for the book. It covers his adventures growing up, and actually had me laughing out loud more than once. Very funny read, but not just a light comedy book: it was really well written too.
  • Tommyknockers by Stephen King. I hadn't read this one in over a year, so I thought I'd revisit it. It doesn't disappoint.
I feel like I'm missing at least one if not two more but I can't recall, so either I'm making that up or they wern't worth noting. In any case, 2008 has already been full of some pretty sweet books. I can't wait to start on the rest - I have three more (and Gina has about 5) that I haven't read, but the smallest of mine is 657 pages, so I've got to be ready for a long one before I start. I'll keep you posted.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

There's a reason they call it a MANacure!


I have yet another Tale of Creepy Things People Do - although this one isn't at all about a bathroom.

Have you all noticed that old working-class guys don't seem to EVER clip their nails? It seems like if you are between 65 and 80 years old and do/did a job that kept your hands dirty all the time (landscaper, mechanic, steel worker, etc) it's totally okay to NEVER clip your nails - even if they are about a foot long and so yellow it looks like you pasted Freetos Corn Chips on your fingers.

It's just scary! Long, jagged, yellowed claws flying toward my own hands, clutching a fistful of stinky bills to put into your savings account FREAKS ME OUT! And the thing is, most of them have tons of cash in savings. It's not like they can't afford the $2.49 for a pair of clippers.

Is this just one of the things that I can look forward to when I get old? Is it your right as a oldie to never clip your nails? Can I add that to the List Of Things That Are Going To Rock When I'm Old? Said list includes:

  • Leering in an uncomfortable manner at young, cute girls.
  • Telling long, boring stories to anyone who comes within three feet of me.
  • Lamenting about how things Used To Be all the time.
  • Spending fifteen minutes looking at a menu while the waitress waits, before ordering dry toast.
  • Being able to tip $.15 on a $35 tab.
  • Using racial slurs and not having it held against me.

Seriously: I can't wait until I'm really, really old.

I've got to go back to work now. There are old men with long fingernails waiting for me.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Bring Me My Rubber Boots!

Yet again, I don't really have a Blog today. But it's been too long - I have to post SOMETHING. I mean, crap: there were a few of you who actually checked here even though it's like a million years from one post to the next. And that's down from 2 or 3 posts a day for quite a long time!

So here you are again, reading my blog and wondering "What kind of crap is The C going to bestow upon us today?" The answer is: I'm not even sure yet.

How about more Public Bathroom stories? Here's a new rant:

So I have a new PB™ (or Public Bathroom) issue today. It seems sort of sublime, the way it came up, but I have to share with you - my Faithful Reader.
It starts with my iPod. No, I didn't pee on my iPod. But I DID transfer all my This American Life podcasts to my Nano and I've been listening to them in the car on the way to work. One of the episodes I listened to was "David and Goliath" and the last Act (if you listen to TAL you know it's always three related acts) was a 10-minute reading by Dave Sedaris about people that poop in department stores. Yep. That's right. I can tell you first hand that his whole segment is true, but that's another blog entirely. Anyway, it pointed out that people make a lot of money talking about experiences they have either (1) in PB™'s, (2) while dealing with PB™ actions like pooping and urinating, and (3) in some non-PB™ place while dealing with a PB™ activity. I want on that gravy train (or not - sick!)

As you may know, I now work for a branch of GuitarPedal+CowSound and it's great. However, my branch is inside a Fred Meyers store and we use a bathroom that is public and used by GP+CN employees, Fred Meyer employees, and anyone else that needs to pee. In other words, a total PB™. Here's my newest issue with said PB™ - pissing on the floor directly next to the urinal.

Sometimes you miss a little. That happens. However, there are NOT times where you "accidentally" pee two liters of urine on the floor directly underneath the urinal - it just doesn't happen that way.

Today was rough. I had a 8:00am-9:00am conference call that I had to take at the office. Then, my normal shift started at 9:45am. That's not enough time to drive home, do anything, and drive back in Morning Rush Hour Conditions. So I was stuck there from 8:00am until at least 9:45am. My shift was over at 7:30pm. Yep - that's right: eight in the morning to seven thirty at night. And today was really hard, for reasons I'd not like to get into right now.

At about 5:45 I took my last break. I had to pee, so I made my way to the PB™ do, well, you know. I did most of my business, and happened to look down part of the way through. That's when I realized I was standing directly in the center of a puddle about three feet in diameter. A puddle directly under the urinal. Now, there are two urinals in this PB™, both of which are off-set in an alcove. To the best of my observation, here's what happened:

√ Some dude comes into the PB™ and has to pee.
√ He starts to pee into the left urinal.
√ He thinks "whoa! this 90˚ corner looks like it needs some pee!"
√ He pisses into the corner, and the pee bounces off the corner into the rest of the room.
√ He finishes peeing, and probably doesn't wash his hands.
√ Fifteen minutes later, I have to pee.
√ Ten seconds into my pee, I realize I'm standing in a puddle of stranger's pee.
√ I start to think about how no matter how much I wipe my feet, I'm tracking a stranger's pee into my house when I get home: even if it's only a few molecules.

Isn't that awesome? I'm thrilled! As if I didn't wonder who's pee got into what is now my house/car/work station/local supermarket before I even occupied that space, now I have North Portland Stranger's Pee on my shoes. Know what? That's never gone. I can wash my shoes in bleach and 1,000˚ water and I'll STILL know that at some point some stranger basically peed on my shoes.

And now I'm off to bed. Do we REALLY know what goes on in the factory that makes our 600-thread count PIMA cotton sheets?

do we REALLY know??



oh yea - and the Presidential elections are coming up. While I don't necessarily support Clinton, that pic was too funny not to post. LoLz.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Dang, even I fell asleep!

I'm boring now.

As you may have noticed, I haven't blogged much lately. There are two reasons for that: (1) I have a job where I actually have to do WORK while I'm there, and (2) I'm totally boring now so I have nothing to blog about.

Since I now work at 70'sGuitarpedalCowsound, I have to edit the stories about work because of secrecy policies and whatnot. So my stories of work would look like this:

Last Tuesday this ______ came up to my work station and told me ___ needed to _____ some ____ out of ___ _______ and move some of it over to ___ _________. The problem was ___ didn't have ___ ______, ______, or _______ and the BSA says I can't do ANY of that without at lease one______ of ____. Luckily _____ could ___ for ___ and I was able to process the first _____. I still couldn't ____ the _____though, so ___ left all pissed off at me. Later on ____ came back for something else and was cool about it and had ____ ________ so I did what ___ wanted and ____ left happy. It was a pretty cool deal!

See? While that's cool for a MadLib, it's not great for a blog. Especially since I can't even really tell you what part of speech the missing words would be. Lame.

And that's about all I do. I go to work, come home and play with Audrey for a half hour or so to give Gina a break, then it's time to get Audrey ready for bed. Once we FINALLY get her to sleep, I've got to go to bed myself so I can be up for work the next day. That's really about it. not much to blog about, right?

At least I still have my crazy Chinese signs to play with. Here's the one for today:


That's right:
it's not "Trash," it's "Unrecycling."