Sunday, December 31, 2006

The Thorn Parade

I had to do some Christmas shopping today (that's right, you heard me). Where is a nice place to go shopping on a Sunday afternoon? Why, Old Town Pasadena, right? I got of the freeway and then was jammed in traffic. At first I thought it was all the post-holiday shoppers returning presents, and then I remembered: Pasadena. New Years. Rose Parade.

I'm a moron.


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Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Wonderful Clip

Family Guy has a lot of pop-culture references. They did one last week and I think it might be a bit obscure. HBO played the original (with a different social statement) countless times, so I remembered it instantly and was proud of myself for knowing it. My question is, is this something that everybody knows?

Family Guy

(The reference is given in the comments.)


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Monday, December 25, 2006

Under Pressure

One of the things I got for Christmas was a blood pressure monitor. It probably wasn't a good idea for me to test it out during the stress of the holidays.

So basically I'm in "Stage 1 Hypertenstion". A major contributor to high blood pressure is "mental tension". Having high blood pressure gives me mental tension.


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A Christmas Mystery

Just what the heck are the characters from the Wizard of Oz doing in a Christmas parade anyway?

I swear, Christmas makes no sense whatsoever.


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Sunday, December 24, 2006

I think I'll miss this one this year

I think I know why it doesn't feel like Christmas.

Every year I have Thanksgiving at my cousin's house. On my way home, I listen to a CD of "Christmas Wrapping" by The Waitresses. And that launches the holiday season. I cannot listen to the song before Thanksgiving dinner; if it comes on the radio a day or a week before, I have to turn it off. Those are the rules.

Well I was in Jersey for Thanksgiving, so I didn't have the ceremonial launching of the holiday season. I have since heard the song on the radio, but it's too little too late.

Bah Humbug! No, that's too strong.


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Friday, December 22, 2006


I received a notice that I had a piece of Certified Mail waiting for me at the post office. This could have been one of many things: I ordered a gift for someone online from a small internet vendor, and it's possible they would have sent it Certified. Or maybe someone sent me a present. Or, most likely, I am trying to refinance my mortgage (with complications) and there could be papers requiring my signature. In any case, I thought it was important to pick it up as soon as possible.

This goes without saying, but it's not a great idea to go to the post office with only 2 more mail days before Christmas. It's hard to park, the lines are very long, and it's just not a fun place to be. But like I said, this was important. And what was this cruicial piece of mail? It is a "General permit authorization notification" letting me know that somebody wants to install a septic system 2 blocks from my mother's house in New Jersey, in a "freshwater wetlands transition area". I am listed as an "interested party" on the deed to my mother's house, so this guy was required by law to notify me.

Thanks for messing up my shopping schedule, Mr. Frey. By all means, if you want to dump your poop in the wetlands, knock yourself out.


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Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Reindeer Games

You know Dasher and Dancer and Prancer and Vixen
Comet and Cupid and Donner and Blitzen.
But do you recall the most famous reindeer of all?

Now wait a minute. If Rudolph is the MOST FAMOUS reindeer of all, why are we being asked if we know him? If he's the most popular one, then shouldn't the song go

You know Rudolph.
But do you recall Dasher and Dancer and Prancer and Vixen
Comet and Cupid and Donner and Blitzen?

I swear, Christmas makes no sense whatsoever.


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Tuesday, December 19, 2006

It's a Capitalist Life

Look, I like "It's A Wonderful Life".

But that beautiful ending is seriously flawed. George Bailey needs $8,000 to keep him out of jail, and all the townspeople gather together to raise the money to save him. But then a telegram arrives from London:


George needs $8,000. He's offered $25,000. So none of the efforts of the townsfolk really matter. In the end, the lesson of the movie is "it pays to have rich friends."


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Monday, December 18, 2006

Christmas lights

My car is now showing me the "check engine" light. The problem could be a loose wire someplace, or the entire engine might be ready to explode.

And when did my 3-year, bumper-to-bumper, all-expenses paid, worry-free manufacturer's warranty expire? About 6 weeks ago.


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Friday, December 15, 2006

The Mystery is Afoot

I don't think it's TOO uncommon for people to lose a shoe every now and then. Sometimes they fall to the back of a closet or under a bed or who knows where else. But it's probably rare that someone would lose one of the shoes that they wore to work, while still at work. Yet that's what happened to me.

As you may recall, earlier this week I had my foot frozen with liquid nitrogen. And it still hurts. I discovered that it's much less painful to walk without shoes, so while at my desk I have my shoes off and if I need to go some place close I just walk in my socks. But I wanted to go to another floor, so I figured I would be professional and actually put on some footwear. That's when I discovered I was missing one shoe.

It's been gone about an hour now; I have no idea what happened to it.

UPDATE: Brad hid my shoe. I'm not crazy after all.


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High Finance

I know this will sound strange, but it's true; I may be in escrow but I'm not sure.

I've been wanting to refinance my mortgage for the past 2 months, but it's very confusing trying to compare rates. How much extra money do you want to pay up front to get a lower rate? Will you refinance in 2 years? 5 years? 10 years? Never? Does the term escrow apply if it's just a refinance? It makes my head hurt. I called back one banker around 11:30 this morning and told him I had started the loan application he had given me, but I didn't understand parts of the form and wanted him to sit down with me to go over it. He said "that's fine, but you need to come over RIGHT NOW. We just got an announcement that rates will be changing at noon and they may be going up." Maybe he was playing the used-car-salesman trick.

The next 45 minutes were kind of a blur. I raced over there and he started asking a bunch of questions I had no answers to. "What are your annual property taxes?" "I don't know. $100? $10,000?" I have no idea. Fortunately he was able to look up most of the information for me and we got a "rate lock" submitted before noon. I don't even remember what that rate was.

Your credit score is important, although I'm still not sure exactly how it helps/hurts you. He asked me if I paid my bills on time. This is like the dentist asking if you floss; of course you lie. I did concede that I may have missed a bill every now and then. (Understatement of the year.) He ran my credit report, and I told him I felt like I was at the doctor's office waiting for test results. He told me my score was "all right". It's not good, it's not bad, it's all right. Which to me is not good.

So it seems that the rates did change while we were filling out the application, but they actually dropped a bit. The thing is, I'm not sure what they dropped to. It may not have been the interest rate that dropped, but the bank processing rates that changed. I don't know.

We finished the application and he told me just needed approval and I'd get a bunch of paperwork in the mail in about 3 days. I'd also be contacted by an appraiser. I never saw a loan summary. I never signed anything. I do not know how many points I am paying to get the rate. I do not know what the loan fees are. I do not know if I'm actually in escrow or not.

These seem like things that most grown-ups would know.


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Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Mister Ten Below

I'm going through my second treatment to get a plantars wart removed. Since it didn't work the first time, the doctor is being "more aggressive". Today I got the liquid nitrogen freeze-blast on it and you would not believe the pain I am in. It has a sort of non-stop painful tingling feeling to it. I want to move my foot toget rid of the itching sensation, but when I do it stretches the skin which causes more pain. I should be able to walk on it "normally" in another day or two.


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Monday, December 11, 2006

Stinky Film Festival

I went to the "First Glance Film Festival" in Hollywood this weekend, where a friend of mine had a short. Great film, he's the next Scorses, blah blah blah... The interesting thing to me is what happened before the films started.

I was one of the first people in the theater (natch). We had a group of about 15 people and I knew we needed to hold quite a few seats. I sat down, tossed my jacket over a few seats... and smelled B.O.

Now you know the problem with BO: you can never tell if it's you. I hadn't smelled it before I sat down, but I had been wearing my (light) coat all night. Had the coat been protecting me from my own odor all this time? Or was it one of the people in the row in front of me with the BO?

I didn't want to take any chances. As more of our people came in and were holding seats, I left for the men's room where I ran into my Guest Of Honor Director friend. Fortunately, he was on his way out so he didn't see me 10 seconds later trying to bathe in damp paper towels while sniffing my pits. But I couldn't smell anything, so I was thinking maybe it was my jacket that stunk.

I went back in the theater where our seats were being shuffled around a bit and my jacket got handed down a few seats. I discreetly tried to give it a snort; nothing. Now that I was 5 or 6 seats away from the people originally sitting in front of me I couldn't smell anything, so I am convinced it was them, not me.


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Wednesday, December 06, 2006


A couple months ago, I went to the doctor to have a plantar's wart removed from my foot. I know, gross. I wore an acid wrap on it for a week, then went back to have it frozen off. It hurt. More than a bit. And it didn't work. The nasty thing is still there. So I went back to the doctor yesterday and he told me "yeah, it doesn't always work the first time, we'll try again. I had this one woman who had to go through 28 treatments to get hers removed, then finally went to UCLA Medical to get chemo on it."

28 TREATMENTS??!! CHEMO? Oh, I don't think so.

I'm wrapped up again and it sort of hurts to walk (the skin is extra sensitive as the acid burns through my flesh) and next week I go in again for the deep freeze.


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