Thursday, July 31, 2008

Just in the Nick of Time

For you baseball fans out there today's trading deadline at 1pm had us all on pins and needles. Even made worse if you are a Dodger fan, for fear that the not-so bright Ned Coletti was actually going to think of trading someone or something for Greg Maddux. Yes, I agree his spot in the Hall of Fame is secure, but there are few things worse than an aging starting pitcher. Plus, the Dodgers already have an over the hill 2nd baseman and former shortstop. I believe in ageism when it comes to baseball.

But to the shock of many, it turns out by some chance of fate, Manny Ramirez will be wearing Dodger Blue for the rest of this season. I'm so excited about Manny. Who cares if he's a jerk? I think Torre can keep him in line for the 2 months we need him to play. Plus, if he hits a few homers while he's at it, perfect! We gave away very little for him. Boston is even paying the remaining $7 million on his contract. Andy LaRoche was a good prospect, but ever since he broke his thumb, Blake DeWitt has been fine at 3rd. Plus now we have Casey Blake until the end of the season.

I am worried about our outfield though. Ramirez can't run very well, and Pierre has a weak arm. Kemp and Ethier are good, but Ethier doesn't have the big bat. It will be interesting what Torre decides to do with the lineup. In my opinion he should just bench Andruw Jones for the rest of the season.

I cannot utter the words about where I hope the Dodgers end up at the end of the season. But I am happy that I'm a season ticket holder, first dibs on you know what. Yay!

Side note: My advice to Favre is show up for training camp and turn into a circus. I really hope he goes and plays for the Vikings.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Don't Worry...Just Be

For those of us who read/watch the news daily, it can sometime be too much for us to handle or even begin to worry about. This is precisely why I love today's article in the NYTimes about 10 things that we can rest assured about, check it out here.

I was inspired and decided to write my own list of things I am no longer going to worry about.

1. Ill-Fitting Clothes. Rather than stress out every time I put on a pair of pants that don't quite fit like they used to, I am going to toss them into my Goodwill bag and congratulate myself on my charitable giving. I will then put on an outfit I know fits and go on my merry way.

2. The "Big One". Its only fitting that today there was a 5.4 earthquake in Southern California, hopefully relieving some of the seismic pressure and therefore reducing the likelihood of a major earthquake. I do plan on putting together an emergency kit for my car and call it a day.

3. USC Football Season 2008. Seeing as we have been the #1 favorite in Vegas to win the BCS championship since the end of the last season, and the fact that there's no way we could lose to Stanford two times in a row, I am officially not worrying about Trojan football. Of course I might feel differently the day we play Ohio.

4. Nomar Garciaparra's playing career. My love affair with my fellow Whittierian(?) has ended. He's on the DL again, just like he's been for most of the season. I will miss Low Rider as his entrance song when he bats, but I just can't take the yo-yo anymore. I'm officially only rooting for guys under 35 without kids. Thanks a lot Mia Hamm!

5. Brett Favre's Future. This goes for you too #4. I lived in agony through that Giants game, and I couldn't even watch your retirement press conference. I hope you kick butt wherever you end up, but I'm done worrying about your injuries, falling off the wagon or your family in Louisiana.

6. Gas prices. They're here to stay and even if they've gone down a few dimes, it is time to stop worrying and just be proactive. My suggestion- do not buy a brand new car that runs on gasoline like I did. Everyday I feel more and more like I bought a laserdisc machine 2 weeks before the DVD player was unveiled.

7. The Presidential election. Wake me up when its November 5th. Enough said.

8. Cell Phone Cancer and All Other Random Diseases from Random Use of Objects. Who has time to calculate all the different things that can be killing us little by little? This week there was evidence that even the marble countertop in many kitchens give off large amounts of radon. Doesn't all of our clocks just start ticking away the minute we're born anyway?

9. Madonna & A-Rod. Okay I admit I don't really worry about either of them, but I'm really tired of having to hear all about celebrity woes day in and day out. Do people really care if K-Fed gets more money a month or if Brit Brit has extra access to her children? If only we worried as much about our own kids/relationships.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Skin Stories

Since I started this blog a little over a month ago, I have realized how difficult it is to come up with original posts and to avoid using this little medium as my list of complaints and rants. So I apologize to those of you who had hoped for more consistent posting, if anyone has suggestions please forward them along.

Today I read/heard about at least three different articles related to dermatology issues. As someone who has suffered through her fair share of these specialists, I have been to the worst and the best of dermatologists. I suffered from really bad acne starting at around 12 and peaking at about 15. During that time the majority of my doctors recommended the same routine, creams, stringent face washing, and random antibiotics. Luckily for me, I also had a mother in the medical field to supplement my treatment with facials at Georgette Klinger in Beverly Hills & birth control to help balance out my hormones and reduce breakouts. The facials were so awful that my mom would have to bribe me to go with lunches and new outfits. I just remember women with European accents digging into my pores and removing all of the dirt and grime accumulated in them at various levels of pain.

Finally my Dad, who has also had his fair share of dermatologists, found one doctor in all of Kaiser who was willing to think outside of the box. She put me on the very controversial medicine Accutane. This medicine was a classic case of gender discrimination, doctors would hesitate giving it to young women, because of the birth defects it caused, rather than assuming that women were smart enough not to get pregnant while taking this medication. I took it the summer between sophomore and junior year and watched as the extreme Vitamin A levels in my body caused the layers of skin to fall off. It was a bad summer since the medicine makes you very dry and peel and just horribly red.

Then in college, I found a dermatologist to the stars that a friend of the family had recommended. She was phenomenal, and rather than prescribing random antibiotics actually found out what kind I needed and told me to throw away all the fancy soap/masques/lotions and just use Cetaphil. This really revolutionized my idea of skincare and to this day I owe her the relatively few breakouts I have today. (Too bad she ended up on house arrest, because of unpaid taxes. And her husband committed suicide the day he was to be sentenced in court.)

There's an article in the New York Times today about how the medical side of dermatology is being overshadowed by the cosmetic side. No wonder this has happened as doctors can make 3 to 6 times more shoving middle-aged women with botox than dealing with acne or abnormal moles. At the same time the more doctors learn about melanoma and skin cancer in general, the more preventable it has become. And surprisingly at the same time we have a Presidential candidate who suffered from the disease, we might also find it being pushed aside in favor of cosmetic peels and lifts. What's happened to the Hippocratic oath?

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Debt: The American Way of Life?

The New York Times has recently started a series entitled The Debt Trap. It highlights stories of average Americans and their long and sad trip down the path of bankruptcy, ruined credit, foreclosure, unemployment, etc. and examines how America's fascination with material things and the banking industry has contributed to this expanding phenomenon. I found the article about Ms. McLeod heartfelt and emotional, and happy to see her take responsibility for the majority of her poor economic decisions. The question remains how is this situation prevented in the future, and I'm particularly concerned with my generation. How much does the average mid to late 20 year old know about interest rates (variable vs. fixed), what the APR stands for at the bottom of their credit card statement or how much of their salary they should invest in their employer's 401k? I'm afraid the answer might be a lot less than they should and only slightly more than their parents.

As home prices spiraled out of control over the past 5 years, the idea of owning a home seemed to be a very distant possibility, only compounded by my unwillingness to leave L.A. and its expensive real estate. I remember at my previous job doing economic research, my boss was shunned by many in the field for suggesting in 2005 that the balloon would bust and it would be bad. Three years later his predictions are held to be more than accurate, as foreclosures increased in the L.A. County 261% this quarter in comparison to 2007 figures. Although prices are decreasing my favorite economist Paul Krugman believes they have a long way to go before they stop. And as this may sound like my opportunity to begin my foray into real estate, the credit crunch may prove securing a home loan near to impossible.

In the past, families' wealth laid mainly in their home and other real estate purchases they made. The equity was used to finance education for their children, improvements to the property and even pay for unexpected events such as medical crises. With home equity eroding and the prospect of owning a home for renters becoming a distant goal, I wonder if my generation will be able to accrue true wealth. At the same time, my need for new clothes, shoes, dinners with friends, drinks after work, and trips abroad never seem to subside. I can only hope my reading of the economic tea leaves will bear fruit in the long run and I too will be able to climb out of the Debt Trap once and for all.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Stay-Cation #1

Last week I headed to the Bay for what seemed like a vacation, but was inevitably a whirlwind of activities. As a result, I slothed through the entire week at work and made it to this past weekend, firmly deciding to have what my local news channel calls a "Stay-Cation". What this involves is what other people call staying home and vegging out, but this funky little hybrid word makes me feel cool when I stay home. Here's a short breakdown of what I did on my first stay-cation.

Friday evening after work, I headed out of the office to eat at a new eatery in the middle of Downtown L.A., by the name of Rocket Pizza. It was good pizza, thin-crust, and the Amstel Light was crisp and refreshing. The only thing I wasn't too happy about was the large Caesar that had about 10 pieces of lettuce in it. After, it was off to Bar 107, a rare drinking hole in LA, where you can order Colt 45 and Schlitz Malt Liquor (not that you would want to). My bearded friend ordered a Guinness and after finishing it found a lemon seed at the bottom of the glass. Seeing as he had already downed his drink, he was forced to deal with the bacteria he might have imbibed. But he wanted to ensure this didn't happen to someone else so he showed the bartender who responded with "That's awesome!". 'Nuf said. (Cheap parking note: Free at all meters after 6pm, but if you get there before, try parking on Los Angeles St, there are usually open spots, but be careful after dark.)

Saturday was not terribly interesting either, but I did go see the same movie half of America saw...Space Chimps. I'm only kidding, the Dark Knight, lived up to its hype, it was dark and it was sad to watch Heath on screen for the last time, but I did have a few issues with the film. First, Batman's voice is very odd, a friend of mine thinks it might be strep, I'm worried it might be more serious like a growth on his vocal chords. Maybe he should have Alfred book him an appointment with an Ear, Nose and Throat specialist. Also, did anyone else notice that it seemed like the movie was over, just to have it restart for the last 30 minutes? I was getting ready to head out of the theater, when I realized there was another story arc just beginning. All in all, two thumbs up, but I prefer my comic book movies with slightly more humor.

Sunday though was by far the best, because I visited my favorite summertime spot in all of L.A., the Hollywood Bowl! It was great to see all of the urban hipsters out of Silver Lake, and WeHo to watch the Feist and eat their organically grown food from Whole Paycheck. I particularly enjoyed the opening act Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings, she rocked it out! For those of you who haven't partaken in the Bowl I suggest you buy some tickets (they're cheap!) , pack up some dinner and a few bottles of wine and enjoy one of L.A.'s true gems. One piece of advice is to park at Hollywood & Highland to avoid stacked $20 parking. Take the shuttle ($3 roundtrip) or walk (1/2 mile) to the Bowl and on your way back buy a Starbucks for the road, validate your parking and pay $2 (for the first 4 hours).

I can't wait until Stay-Cation #2- I think this will include a trip to the Griffith Park Observatory and maybe a beach...but the unplanned nature is what is important so I'll leave it up in the air.

Side note: For those of you (like me) who love Starbuck's holiday menu and wait for the drinks to show up in November, most of them will make you a Peppermint Mocha (or whatever else you desire) if they still have the syrup on hand! Who knew? It only added to my perfect evening!

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Christmas in July

It is my 2nd favorite time of the year tomorrow...any guesses? Nordstrom Anniversary Sale of course! The best sale, because rather than things being on clearance like in most sales, this is the stuff for fall that is hot now and will go up in price after the sale is over. I haven't missed one Anniversary since 2002 and I'm not about to start now. I will be with the crazy masses at 7:00am tomorrow when the doors open at the Grove. Now let's take a look at what's hot this season and what I think should be left behind (in my humble opinion).

Straight/skinny jeans are back again! For the past few seasons its been these on one side of the spectrum and wide leg on the other. Seeing as I believe I'm wayyy too short to rock the wide leg pants I will be purchasing one more pair of straight jeans this season, hopefully not as low-rise as the ones I currently own. I think maybe a grey pair like these will work just fine. The one thing I have to owe to skinny jeans is they enabled me to wear flats. I never was one to think flats were cute, until I became a substitute teacher and that was literally all I wore. Which brings me to my next must-have for fall...

The pointy-toe flat! This flat is fun and functional and although can look a little witch like depending on how pointy and what color you get, its an all around winner for pants. I have never been one to rock the skirt with the flat (again height issues), but I think it could be pulled off especially if tights or leggings are involved!

I have been trying for the past few season to find the perfect slouch boot to pair with tights and skinny jeans. It is a mission not for the faint of heart, but I think this year might be the one I finally get my hands on a fabulous cognac colored pair similar to these on the left, but with maybe a shorter heel so I can last in them all night. This may just be me, but whenever I wear high boots over my jeans I feel like Trinity from the Matrix and I just want to kick some butt!

And now for my least favorite trends I'm sad to see are still popular for this fall.

1. The open-toed boot. Doesn't this defy the very nature of the boot to keep your foot warm when its cold? To me it looks like a boot that once had a front, but you broke your toe and had to cut an opening while it healed.

2. The ugg. I love wearing my uggs in the winter as much as the next person, but uggs are not cute no matter how many pairs Jessica Simpson has. I will never forgive Oprah for the day she put them on her favorite things for Christmas. It was the only holiday season I worked at Nordstroms and the entire 2 months these shoes were the bane of my existence. Plus, they're a slipper meant to be warm either for surfers after they get out of the ocean or in cold places, not on the Promenade in the middle of September.

3. Anything by Juicy Couture. Hands down my least favorite designer and the one I've never been able to explain or understand. First, the majority of their line is velour sweatsuits with Juicy written on the butt in jewels. A) those jewels have to be uncomfortable when you sit down B) these sweatsuits aren't made for working out, just shopping. Finally, every woman who I've ever helped wearing this outfit is for the most part evil, with several plastic surgery issues and has bad taste in shoes (can we say really high cork wedges with one leopard print strap across?) Now they're starting on the kids young with Juicy for girls (awesome tweens with hot pink velour sweatsuits with juicy across their butt...classy).

Not to worry my male friends out there, the Anniversary Sale is for men as well. Not that I know what's hip for you guys, isn't it basically still a pair of Seven Jeans with a RVCA shirt? Boys clothing sooo boring. I don't know if I'll be able to sleep tonight with dreams of Nordy's flying through my head, but that will be even better as I won't miss my 5:30 am wake up call.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

The Sky is Falling or Is it?

I'm starting to feel like I'm living in some sort of strange alternate universe. First, the news lately has just been out of control. Freddie and Fannie are in trouble, but Paul assured me yesterday that they'll be okay. And at least they're doing what they're supposed to and as a result we, as taxpayers, must also do our part to help them out. The one good thing about all of this chaos in the mortage/banking industries is that I feel I'm finally learning the ins and outs, because of the sheer amount of news coverage.

Next, over the weekend Brett Favre started rumors he might want to play again next year or un-retiring. I'm starting to feel like my relationship with
my #1 favorite quarterback is like a ex-boyfriend who I loved and mourned over, who keeps coming back only to crush me all over again. Last season it was so rough to watch the Packers get thisclose to the Big Game to lose to the Giants at Lambeau. I couldn't even watch the Super Bowl this year and had to escape to Disneyland to forget that day. I love Favre and want only the best for him, but I don't know if my fragile football psyche can handle it.

Then, of course there's IndyMac and this morning on local news they showed the people in line at the Encino branch waiting to withdraw their funds. Some of the individuals they interviewed really scared me. There was one lady screaming about how this is the Depression all over again. Another was convinced that this was a political plot by the Democrats spearheaded by Schumer to scare everyone and create even further animosity for the current administration. All of it just made me a little uneasy, because I know how few people actually read respectable news outlets and how heresy passes for most as the truth.

Finally, the New Yorker magazine cover and the back and forth that has ensued over it for the past 24 hours has really made the wheels start turning in my head. I still have yet to decide personally
how I feel about it. I do see how its satire but also how its offensive, and feel its more of a question about how smart/analytical the masses are. But if that's the case, aren't I being a bit presumptuous that Americans won't get it? Maybe everyone should be held to a higher standard, rather than accept the dumbing down of ideas for mass consumption.

In one happy section of my post, I would like to wish Brian Austin Green Happy 35th Birthday! He played my 2nd least favorite character (after Andrea Zuckerman) on my favorite childhood show, BH 90210. I can't believe he's only 35, especially considering everything his character went through on the show you would expect him to be at least 45. After watching your best friend kill himself, graduating early from high school, cheating on Donna, starting a club above the Peach Pit, becoming a drug addict and finally getting married, that was a lifetime worth of experiences! I am going to rent Season 1 of B.H. this weekend and entertain myself while I wait for Chicken Little to stop worrying about the Sky.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Not as smart as I thought I was

There are a few things I pride myself on. One is that I've done my taxes every year since I turned 16 and that I actually learned how to fill out a tax form in the 4th grade. As an economics major, I like to be able to understand the basics of supply and demand, and since I went to school prior to the obsession with computers (i.e. Excel) I did all of my problem sets by hand. In graduate school, statistics became my pride and joy, just ask me to do some linear programming or queuing analysis and I will smile and wink. But for all of that I still can barely figure out how to get my loans repaid under the College Cost Reduction Act of 2007.

This little gem of legislation passed last year and grudgingly signed by the President wrote off loan debt for people working in public service after 10 years. It also allowed them to pay no more than 15% of their adjusted gross income on loan payments. Sounds great, right? But since it is a government program there are inevitably a million loopholes and forms one needs to fill out to qualify. Let me break down what I've learned so far:

1. Your loans have to be in the Direct Loan program. Most people don't know this, but there are two programs for federally backed student loans. One is $$$ straight from the Feds (Direct Loans) and the other is
$$$ from banks the FFEL program. Schools would prefer to use banks, because often they receive kickbacks in exchange for shuttling their students to their preferred lenders. Most of us as undergrads and even graduate students check off whatever lender is listed on the form and don't think twice about it. But as it turns out having loans directly from the Feds has its benefits, for one its the only way to get them paid off by the government if you decide to dedicate yourself to public service.

2. You can consolidate into the Direct Loan program from the FFEL program, but only if you've tried other FFEL options and they weren't up to par. Fortunately, the fact that FFEL doesn't offer the public service payoff is good enough reason for you to reject them.

3. If you consolidate while you're still in the grace period for your loan, you lose your grace period! Luckily I read this right before I submitted my application. Instead of being able to wait 6 months after graduation I would have to start paying in 60 days!

4. Getting married is not a good idea. The amount you pay on your loan increases if you get married, because they add-in the spouse's income. This means you'll probably end up getting a lot less forgiven by the Feds, depending on how much you make and how much you owe in loans.

5. Congress has not figured out what will happen when the government has to make good on its promise to pay off the loans in 10 years. It may turn out you have to pay taxes on the amount that was forgiven, but experts are saying right now they will probably fix this before 2017 and for the most part you'll pay less in taxes than what the govt. forgives.

Now here's the sad part. I was working for a federal budgeting agency (who shall remain nameless) when this piece of legislation came up for a vote. Even in the middle of it all, I still did not understand all the nuances of what the program was about or what it entailed to become a part of it. And now even after reading a breakdown of it by a legal scholar, I'm still barely keeping my head above water. Good news for Sallie Mae, bad news for the rest of us out to change the world one non-profit/government agency at a time.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Traveling in the 21st Century

I never really analyzed how much more difficult traveling by air has become since 2001. But everytime I see a pre-2001 movie I'm reminded of the ease by which we once traveled. Sure we always had to go through the metal detector. But anyone could go through, even those without tickets. You could pick people up at the gates rather than waiting for them at the baggage claim. And although parking in the white zone was still a no-no, there was metered parking and a lack of voraciousness displayed by current Airport Police. Actually the first time I think I was ever racially profiled was at the airport not too long ago, when I was pulled over twice for no reason! The first time it had mostly to do with a long haired and bearded passenger in my passenger seat. The policeman didn't even look at me, he pointed at said passenger and we pulled over. The second time had more to do with the fact that I didn't have plates on my 1-month old Subaru. This was the guy that really got under my skin, the conversation went along these lines.

Police Officer: I pulled you over, because you don't have plates and you tried to merge into the next lane.

Me: Yes, officer I didn't want to park so I moved over a lane. And I bought my car 2 weeks ago, so I still don't have plates. (Not to mention, the DMV has 90 days to send the plates!).

Police Officer: What nationality are you? (As he peruses my license)

Me: Officer, why is information necessary?

Police Officer: Uhhhhh.....Well....I just wanted to be able to pronounce your name. (Clearly backtracking from previous line of questioning)

Me: Its pronounced Moan-Heh.

Police Officer: Well Ms. Moan-Heh, be careful and have a nice day.

Well now they've added another pain to air travel. Paying for checking in your luggage. I still don't understand why the airlines chose this rather than encouraging people not to check by giving them a rebate or free drinks for carrying on their luggage. Plus at barely 5 feet I find it discriminating to force short people to pay just because they can't physically put their carry on in the bin. Not to mention it is also gender discrimination, because us females tend to have makeup, hair products and the like that are over the 2 oz. limit and wouldn't all fit in a quart size bag forcing us to check bags (lest we rather look like a Yeti on our trip). How about age discrimination? Old people can't be expected to carry their bags with them everywhere, think about how many times they go to the bathrooom! There has to be better ways to cut costs/increase revenues than prey on elderly, short, females.

This weekend I'm headed to the Bay and I will attempt to carry on in preparation for what will now become my future (I'm way too cheap to pay if I don't have to). I wonder what they're going to do when everyone shows up with carry-on baggage and the room in the overhead compartments are full. I'm sure that will do wonders for on-time flights and the amount of lost luggage.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Back in the Saddle Again

I apologize for the recent break in blog posts, but my new job gave us a fabulous 4-day weekend to enjoy. I had lots of fun with my friends, ate way too many burgers/hot dogs, and tried to stay cool in my oven of an apartment. A slight recap on some interesting stuff I noticed over the past few days.

First, how about them Dodgers? After winning their 3rd series in a row (Angels, Astros & Giants) we're back at home. At only 2 games below .500, my boys in blue seem to have turned a corner. Not to mention, my #1 favorite player Nomar has returned from the DL. Here's to hoping he'll play on Thursday when I go to see them battle the Florida Marlins. I don't know if its Joe Torre finally making a difference, but I'm looking forward to the second half of the season. It was great to see them beat those good for nothing GIANTS yesterday!!! (BTW- What's with the Giants and chubby players, Bengie Molina needs to work on his gut.)

As for politics, it seemed like a pretty mellow weekend. John McCain's trip to Mexico and Columbia was completely overshadowed by the rescue of the hostages from the FARC. I can't wait until the made-for-tv-movie on Lifetime about Ingrid Betancourt comes out! I'm sure Angelina Jolie will play the lead in the Hollywood version, considering she's our most "ethnic" looking actress these days. This morning my heart jumped into my throat when I heard Obama's plane had to make an emergency landing in St. Louis, but it seems that it was just normal mechanical problems. Finally, my favorite economist Paul Krugman has another excellent take on why the economy has tanked recently and whether its fair to blame President Bush, check it out here.

And finally on a sad note, is what Bean calls the Summer of Death. He has been keeping a running tab on how many people (mostly famous) have already died this summer. I've been shocked to see the number of shootings that have taken place all over the Southland. Even in my very own Ye Olde Friendly Town a woman was shot in her home yesterday. Plus, the Amber Alert was after a guy shot his ex-wife in the face and took off with the kid to Mexico. I feel like everyone is trigger happy these days. Good thing we have the genius Supremes to read the Constitution and interpret it from the point of view, of slave-owning Aristrocrats 230 years ago, surely they knew what's best for us in the 21st century.

Hope everyone had a fabulous 4th of July! I'm already counting down the days until my next 3-day weekend for Labor Day. 56 days to go!

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

My New Job Goal

So I used to think it might be cool to play for the Dodgers making millions. I mean I don't really need to play, look at our one game wonder, Jason Schmidt, who is getting paid $47 million to recuperate. (Check out this harsh, but true critique of my boys in blue.) But seeing as I quit softball in 9th grade, that isn't much of an option.

Well how about actress? They seem to make quite a lot of money despite horrible movies. Reese Witherspoon makes $15-20 million per movie. I'm sure I could pull off ditzy blonde in law school for at least Legally Blonde 3, 4 and 5. But then again, I don't know how qualified I am to do that either.

I've got it, I will become a talk show radio host! Rush Limbaugh is being paid $400 million over the next 8 years. Far more than Schmidt or Witherspoon. The exertion level is pretty low, all one needs to have is a mic, a really annoying voice, and a point of view to champion while making several baseless accusations about the other side. It can't be that hard right? No research needs to be done on the facts, and you can even take some time off to get addicted to drugs and come right back. As long as you have a top law firm retained for slander lawsuits, you're set.

I have to admit prior to starting my career I will have to actually try and sit through some talk radio. I tend to listen mostly to NPR in my car and as far as print news/information rely on the NYTimes and the WSJ. I attempted the other day to make it through an entire segment of a popular libertarian/conservative radio talk show, but was forced to turn it off for fear of instant migraine. I find it amazing how popular these shows are. Why waste your precious time listening to one or two persons very slanted, and narrow view of the world? Wouldn't your time be better served listening to both sides and making your own decisions? I have difficulty dealing with any extreme point of view, because neither of those sides really want anything to change or get better, what they want to do is complain.

I must look for an extreme position to start sending out to radio stations here. How about vegans should be force-fed eggs, because its un-American or homeless people should be sent to Europe to deal with the loss of population there? Any other suggestions?

Tuesday, July 1, 2008


I was going to write about something a bit more intelligent, but seeing as I spent more than a few hours of my life dealing with the evilness that is Charter I must vent now. Cable TV is one of the great monopolies and evils left in modern day life. I wish I could do without them, but the idea of watching only channels 2, 4, 5, 7, 9, 11 and 13 (yikes UPN!) just doesn't seem like a doable option.

First, they really don't want you to pay them. I have tried paying Charter for 2 months, but my online account will not log on. I've tried resetting the password and user id twice to no avail. And since I was trying to save a tree I no longer receive paper bills. Every time I speak with one of their customer service reps, they ask me the most ridiculous questions e.g. "Was the person you spoke with in technical service?" I don't know! All I know is they said they reset my information. Don't they have logs of when you called last and who you spoke to? Next time I'll ask for their position description and resume.

Second, they don't care if their service works. A little over 3 months ago I signed up for internet from Charter. Its faster than DSL and the only company I hate more than Charter is Verizon (they didn't send me a bill for over 6 months!). The internet was at snail speed for the first 6 weeks and after a total of 4 service calls, no one could tell me why it wasn't working. Each of the guys would come out and look at the wires and call the guy who had come out before. The conversation would go like this:

Service Guy: "Heyyyy. Did you come to Acacia last week? What's wrong with it? Yeah it looks like everything is cool. I don't know why they f****ing called me out here. Aight, I'll put in for further maintenance.

Finally, I found one customer service guy who for whatever reason actually wants to do his job well to figure out how to get it fixed.

But the worst is probably there blatant lies. The prices quoted on their website are totally different than the ones online, and unless you ask for the package they won't automatically give it to you. I was also told I would get OnDemand only to find out that it wasn't available in my area.

I guess I could switch to Satellite, but that seems like a lot more work, plus who wants all of their tv on East coast time? I really hope that technology catches up with cable soon, and we can all say goodbye to their monopoly on bad service and high prices.