Monthly Archives: July 2011

Strange Bedfellows of This Economy

Finance Fridays are a bit scarce today, just like the money for our federal budget.

Overheard between two sales people in the Financial District:
“Yeah, I was calling on a lead and the guy said his computer was down and IRS agents were in the office. Then he said “I gotta go, the police are breaking down the door!”

Overheard at Starbucks:
“So do you think I should sell or just say fuck this shit and raise sheep in Montana?”

Overheard in the bathroom stall of the ladies room of my office building:
“So I was telling Brittany, you have to go to this club because the guys are soooo hot” – FLUSH. Why do people talk on the john?

Overheard in line getting a sandwich for lunch:
“I don’t know why I have to pay child support. They don’t act like my kids.”

Yes, our financial woes are wide and varied. I’m lucky all I have to deal with is finding a new place to live. Let us pray that someone in Washington can be a grown up or we are in for more hurt and personally, I’m sick of “Please Sir, may I have some more?” Gruel sucks.

The Perils of Bay Area Moving

Well, I have to move. The condo I was renting was sold at auction so I am moving on the 13th. I must say that I am an organized mover. 97% of everything I own goes in a box, wrapped, labeled and waiting to be shipped out. I have nothing but odd looks for the people who leave their packing until the last-minute. You find them running about on moving day, shoving things into boxes like a squirrel burying nuts against the winter frost. Yeah, these people just toss things into boxes, bags, and small totes in a willy-nilly fashion. They are as strange to me as life on Pluto, which is still a planet in my book.

As I made appointments last week to view places, my mind went back to a similar situation twenty years ago when my friend and I were looking for a place to live. I remember this one huge complex in Burbank. It must have had about 100 units, looked like a bunker, and we were shown around by some heroin-skinny headbanger who assured us of the “rockin’ parties” and how all the tenants were “totally bitchin'”. Ummm, we aren’t interested in your parties or your bitchin’ tenants. We are interested in peace and quiet. Needless to say, we didn’t move into that place.

I’ve had interesting and equally frustrating experiences this time around. There was the tiny mother-in-law unit that was billed as 650 sq. ft. but was more like 450 sq. ft. I would have to go outside to change my mind. There was the over-priced, ancient and crumbling apartment in the Temescal district of Oakland that had no parking and the hallways smelled like a mixture of sauerkraut and curry. There was the “watery” apartment building in Walnut Creek. It appeared to have been built in the 1960’s and hasn’t been updated since. Situated at the end of a cul-de-sac, the heap has been mouldering in apocalyptic splendor since Nixon was in the White House. I drove around their parking lot and noted that most of the cars looked like they came off the set of The Road Warrior. I can tell a great deal about the flavor of a complex by the cars and their condition. $1,100 a month for that? No thank you.

I saw one flat I totally loved. A Victorian apartment building with hardwood floors, built-in’s, parking, washer/dryer and a safe neighborhood. The rent was a great price but it seems faxing in my application at 7am Monday morning, after seeing it on Sunday afternoon, was good enough for the number two spot. The landlord said he takes the applications in order. I should have hunted down a Kinko’s but didn’t know it was a race. Stupid me. Life is a race. However since the other party saw the place at 10am and I was there at 2:45pm, conceivably they could have beat me in the Kinko’s sweepstakes anyway. If this person fails to come up with the deposit, then I get it but I’m not holding my breath. Fate is a fickle mistress.

I have also received two replies from Craig’s List ads, claiming to be either missionaries traveling to Malaysia or London and offering me the keys to their apartment for a low rent price. This scam has been going around for years and is akin to the lottery/Nigerian Prince/millions of dollars stuck in a bank scam. I stopped answering “too-good-to-be-true” ads though now perhaps I will just so I can collect scam responses. It might be a way to while away time while I find a place.

I have two more places to look at after work today in the Lake Merritt area. Wish me luck! Hopefully they won’t smell like bad food.

Asshat Bikers On BART – A Lesson In Humility

The general rudeness of people never ceases to amaze me. Last week I was on the BART train at rush hour. BART has rules about bicycles. Either they are only allowed in certain trains or are not allowed at all during certain hours or one certain lines unless they fold. There is a large sign that says NO BIKES when that rule is in effect.

So here we were smashed into a full car when this self-entitled asshat pushes into the car with his full size racing bike. You can tell this guy rides and rides a great deal. In addition to the riding ensemble of helmet, racing shirt, Lycra shorts with package enhancement and gloves, he was wearing the special clip shoes. You see his bike doesn’t have regular pedals, it has these nubs that “clip” into the bottom of the cyclists shoes. This dude was no Clueless Clara. He rides. He rides all the time. He travels on BART all the time. He knows the rules but he doesn’t care. The rules don’t apply to him and his huge bike.

So here I am, standing, mashed by the door and the handlebars of his bike keep poking me in the peesch. OK, this is really on my last nerve. I pull out my iPhone and post about it on Facebook because that’s what we do now to deal with the stress of self-entitled asshat’ s on public transportation. I posted that if those handlebars poked me one more time, that bike owes me dinner.

Then my friends in cyberspace started egging me on. “You should tell him that. I totally dare you.”, “OMG; I am totally in on that dare. Go Dre! Go!”, “Do it!!” Hell, with all this Facebook support, I pulled up my big girl panties and turned to the poking offender.

“Excuse me, are you aware that bikes aren’t allowed on the train at this hour?” The asshat just stares at me with a blank “WTF” look. I continue, “Because if the handle bars of your bike poke me in the peesch one more time, that bike is buying me dinner.” I refer back to my phone that just updated, “or jewelry. My other friend said jewelry”

The asshat looks like a carp. His mouth is opening and closing but no sound is coming out. The people around in the close train confines are staring at him like he is an exhibit in the zoo. One lady had this terrified expression on her face like this bike dude was going to start flinging poo any minute now.

He stammers “Whaaa.. Are you posting this?” “Yeah, on Facebook.” I reply. “Your behavior and lack of consideration for others is really rude.” The train pulls up to West Oakland station. He stumbles out near smacking “please don’t fling poo on me” woman with the wheel. He stumbles getting onto the platform. The train applauds. The old man opposite me smiles and gives me a thumbs up.

Attention Self-Entitled Asshats: This world is not just about you. Try having a little consideration for those around you. Otherwise you may get on the wrong side of “Public Shaming Girl” and it’s an uncomfortable place to be. Ask the biker asshat. I think he wet himself. My job here is done.

Whack-A-Doodle Wednesday – Readers Suggestions

So today for Whack-A-Doodle Wednesday I have decided to give you a selection of the strange and bizarre that have been forwarded to me by readers (as well as another slice of Hawaii).

The first is from Mer, who knows I’m a Disney fanatic though not as much as this guy is.,0,3003319.story
Now I have three tattoos (none of them Disney related) and I have no problem with tattoos per say but I think this is taking things a bit far and I’m not talking about the ink. I’m talking about the obsession and the violence and the creepy.

First clue dude, you cover your body in Disney character themed tattoos.
Second, you fill your house with Disney memorabilia.
Third, you can’t hold together a relationship because no woman can be better than Disney.
Conclusion? Dude, you have a major psychological problem. This is evidenced by you assaulting your girlfriend at the “Most Magical Place On Earth” and then trying to weasel out of it saying you were just trying to talk to her. Yeah, because that kind of level-headed thinking involves violence.

I hope after this guy serves time in jail that he gets his feet glued to a platform in Small World and has to listen to that song for a decade straight.

I also have received reports of a New York City pet store banning drunks from buying puppies (which I think is a good idea. If you can’t drink & drive you certainly shouldn’t buy a puppy), some kids in Cleveland complaining that teens beat them up and robbed their lemonaide stand (that just sounds like normal behaviour for Cleveland but…) and an Angry Bird that keeps diving at people’s heads, talons extended (protecting her nest – no reports of a slingshot have come to light).

To wrap things up in the news of the whacked, I will give you another tidbit from the 50th State. I know, what could possibly be whacked about Hawaii? Aside from the 8″ long stinging centipedes which guidebooks tell you won’t kill you however the only cure for their painful sting is to stay drunk for three days there is Dog the Bounty Hunter and “the pineapple kid”.

No, the kid wasn’t made of pineapple! You see, I was at the airport on my way home. I found out you had to put your carry-on bags through another x-ray to scan for certain kinds of produce you were not allowed to take off the island. Pineapple is one of them. Now if you buy a “pre-approved, pre-packaged, pre-sprayed for bugs” pineapple, you are golden. If you are smuggling rogue pineapple you picked in someone’s backyard you have a problem. Well this kid had a pineapple. He had it… dressed up. Yeah, it had a baby shirt on and it was in a blanket. It was his buddy or baby or strange obsession because his Mother makes him dance “I’m a little teapot” for drunk relatives. I don’t know the background but I do know it wasn’t an approved pineapple. We was going to have to either (a) chuck it in the bin or (b) eat it before getting on the plane.

Confronted with the fact that he was going to be forced to either abandon/kill or consume his little friend was melting his brain. This emotionally unstable eight year old was having a fit in magnificent fashion. I should say this was a sugar pineapple. It is wee and not a giant Dole-style pineapple.

Other people offered to eat it for him if they could find a knife or a machete but that just made things worse. Part of me wanted to film this and stick it on YouTube where it would be guaranteed to receive millions of hits and make me an internet celebrity. The other part of me felt bad for the goober who obviously has other problems aside from playing pineapple dress-up. As I passed through the line I saw the kids mother talking to him. I pictured a story about taking the pineapple to a ranch to live with other pineapples so he wouldn’t be lonely. Dad was taking to pineapple away and the kid was waving.

He may have thought that pineapple was going to a ranch but we all know it was compost time. I wonder if they got the clothes back and told him the pineapple wanted to run naked and free. I kind of hope they did.

Did You Know Hawaii Is A State?

It’s easy to forget. I mean they are in line with Mexico rather than the Mainland, they are half-way to Japan, they have tropical beaches and views you will never find in Norwalk, they eat a purple paste made out of a huge root, they think Spam is the equivalent of sliced bread, they have more hot men than you can shake a stick at, they have their own lingo, and their drivers licenses are more colorful than some foreign currency I’ve seen.

Let’s face it, there is no State on the Mainland that has the beauty, weather, tropical beaches and drinks that Hawaii does. Not even the jewel of beaches, Newport, can compare. Sure, the beaches of Newport are deeper but the water isn’t warm and crystal blue, the sand doesn’t feel like sugar and the people aren’t as nice.

There are times you forget you in still in the United States. One of the differences is the speed limit. It’s SLOW! I guess if you live in Jurassic Park but don’t need to run from a T-Rex, you just aren’t in a hurry to get anywhere. Top speed on the freeway is 55. Speed on the highway is 45 for the top speed, 40 for the slow lane. Our 40 MPH zones are 30 there. Just take the California norm and chop 10 MPH off of it and you have Hawaii. Traffic is only really an issue in the main cities so the pokey speed in the middle of nowhere is a foregn concept for Mainlanders especially those of us from California who are psychotic speed demons.

I found people happy, helpful and upbeat. So different from the brain-dead people I left behind in the Oakland airport. You see, I flew out of Oakland on Hawaiian Airlines. I checked in on-line, had my boarding pass, paid for my bag and thought all I would have to do would be to drop my bag at TSA and skip over to the security line. LOLOLOLOLOLOL! Whew. No. I had to go through the line at the counter anyway, under a HUGE sign that said “WITH BOARDING PASS”. Fine. No problem. I have a boarding pass. Another sign proclaimed if you didn’t have a boarding pass, you needed to check in at the kiosk. Well, I was held up for 2 minutes because three parties ahead of me couldn’t read.

“Oh, no, we don’t have boarding passes. Yeah, we heard you say this line was for people with boarding passes but we figured you didn’t mean us.” Really? If that wasn’t bad enough there was the smell that Terminal One seems to have acquired. I tried not to think about it since I was on my way to Hawaii but it reminded me of Wal-Mart. Yeah, that mixture of polyester and despair.

Once we boarded the plane, I figured all my problems were over. Well, the DVD player I paid $15 for had none of the movies listed on the Hawaiian Airlines website. So after settling on the best of the lame, I was tossed my free breakfast. This was so gross I wouldn’t feed it to my dog. In fact, I don’t even think a dog would eat it. I think it was eggs. It was hard to tell. They “egg” portion was hard, rubbery and cut into strips. Mixed into this was slices of bologna. Oh and there was a pre-packaged chocolate chip muffin that I didn’t eat. I was told I could have a chicken Caeser salad for an additional $10. No thanks. I’m sure the people in First Class were having a lovely Eggs Benedict with tiki drinks and first run films, while back in steerage we had to deal with gruel.

Five and a half hours later I see a large green mass rising out of the ocean. Sparkling waters, white beaches, palm trees, warm air. You know, suddenly my crappy eggs or stupid line people didn’t matter so much anymore.

Next time: Stinging Centipedes and Killer Toy Dogs From Hell

Coming Home

Hmmmm wonder if I will be stopped for all the weird fruit I’m smuggling… Umm, protecting… Liberating! Yeah that’s it! All the weird adventures start on Friday!

Returning in three days

With tales of the Islands, why lily-white people need to stay out of the sun and the Taco Bell dog guy I saw on the beach. Thrill to tales of the giant stinging centipede! Cheer our hero as she drinks her way around Waikiki for your fun and amusement! Sleep secure in the knowledge that stupid people exist in all parts of the world.

First blog will be Friday!