Grinds my Gears II

April 2, 2010

Grindings…harder, drier and scratchier than any rusty or human nail across a chalk board. Or that rash you really need to get checked out. Neosporin has not worked and the WebMD symptom tracker says you should have worn protection or if you were younger and not a ¼ lifer you could have gotten the HPV vaccination. Either way, sucks to be you. In the mean time, while you are in the waiting room or biting your nails over your blood work, you can read about my moans and groans…what grinds my gears!

It grinds my gears quarter lifers have no sense of fashion, no clothing Mecca to shop at, no real idea what decade they reside in. The idea to look grungy is not Grunge. The Gap is long gone. Banana Republic and Old Navy are passé. And the whole idea of mix matching skinny jeans, 70’s bell bottoms, remake classic t-shirts, Justice pink, bling and the Polo horse for camp value…just is a recipe for a fashionista dictatorship to take power.

Bret Favre. He is the Achilles of football. As a student of the Classics, a football fan, gamer of fantasy sports, follower of the church of the Dallas Cowboys…I get it. He is Achilles. Go read the Iliad or rent that Brad Pitt craptacular “Troy” and you will see the parallels.

Remakes, prequels, sequels and any other digital, colloid product out of Hollywood. It would not be so bad if Bay, Spielberg, etc did not mess with the product, keeping a balance between fresh and old. If the new “Karate Kid” is now African American (Will Smith’s kid get $20 million for being related), should this summer’s block-buster, the A-Team’s Mr. T, (aka BA Baracus) be played by Seth Rogen? Not a race thing…just want to keep things in balance.

Lists. Quarter lifers have grown up with these. The internet and VH1 are really to blame. Hell, I am doing one right now! Argggh!

The environment. Mother Nature has been bitching to our generation for a couple of decades now. She is like the crazy whore reality show chick. Always wanting attention, you never know what she is going to do…and she drinks too much. I say we vote her off. I needs my SUV, wants my gallon of milk in a plastic grocery bag and I am sorry if my Nerf gun foam rubber bullets will not decay for 10,000 years.

Cell phone and digital cameras. If I wanted to see every college aged kid owned with Sharpie markers, every chick taking a pic of her thong in the mirror, every Mentos Diet Coke chugging moron…well I would combine Comedy Central’s Tosh.0, American’s Favorite Home Videos and produce it on the Playboy Channel. And none of that pussy, no one got hurt crap. If the cat got hit by the car, or the dude fell off the crane into a Calcutta tire recycling plant grinder…I want to see it.

Since I was in college I was hit during test cramming and internet term paper plagiarism with commercials for Girls Gone Wild. For ten years now those DVDs have given males the false hope, that chicks like this exist in infinite numbers at every party, club and Spring Break beaches. Okay, some girls like those viewed (numerous times) herd in great numbers on Bourbon Street. Yet, these morally corrupt documentaries have also taught a number of Quarter Lifer chicas to act like drunken, sex crazed morons. If you are 5’4” and 203 lbs…DO NOT SIGN ANY DOCUMENT, WAIVER, POWER OF ATTORNEY…EVER! Even in the New Orleans French Quarter. Finally, see above. Completing the triangle…everyone has a damn camera to document their own version of GGW. Which outside of the production values are just so embarrassing.

For the guys…razor blades. How many more blades, quantum laser guided, lube strips does it take to get a decent shave? Every time the Gillette evil scientists come up with a new one, the previous models go dull or disappear altogether. And the costs! Shit you know it is bad when I have to take up a card to the Walgreen’s and CVS pharmacists to purchase blades and nasal decongestant tablets. Cuz ya know…all meth lab owners keep a nice, groomed goatee.

The Emergency Broadcast System. Really folks? Really? This is gonna save you and I from impeding doom? If so, there should be a test of the EBS before the beginning of a broadcast day for the CW, Oxygen, E!, Hallmark, VH1, MTV2 channels or any CSI series.

Obama…there I said it. I am tired of the name, the GQ covers, Fox’s bitching about liberal conspiracies, MSNBC bitching about Fox. That whole American Revolution experiment thing just did not work out. I have a feeling monarchy is going to make a big comeback.

Bonus!

What the hell? Spielberg, Harrison Ford, Lucas…you are thinking about Indiana Jones V? Fuck! That’s it…I am done, outta here. I would gladly have my gears grinded by taking an alien anal probe if the Martians would just take me away from this obvious pain in the ass earthly existence. The movies already rape me for $8 a matinee. They should at least take me to dinner or kiss me good night.

Alice: A Quarterlife Rolemodel

March 6, 2010

“Who are you”, said the Caterpillar.

Alice replied rather shyly, “I–I hardly know, sir, just at present– at least I know who I WAS when I got up this morning, but I think I must have been changed several times since then.”

This Spring Break, with Mr. Johnny Depp’s soon to be Oscar securing role in Mr. Tim Burton’s “Alice” I got to thinking about that long time fantasy character. Not Depp, Alice! I am totally 100% not gay. I mean Depp is cool and all that, but I am talking about Alice here. Okay, she is like 13 and I should not admit I was day dreaming about her, but I was seriously pondering her role in the big picture of the literary masterpiece and one of my favorite surreal Disney classics. Not to mention she just might be a pretty good role model for QL ladies.

Alice is the cute Victorian blonde bombshell that was the precursor to all dainty literary, movie or television English chica roles who lose their way only to find what they were really looking for was an altogether different way at looking at the world.

Ya, we know…the original author took some drugs, so did Alice, possibly had a thing for the Mad Hatter and do not get me on the whole mushrooms with “long stems.” By the way, what do you call a mushroom with a long stem…?

…A fun-guy! Get it? Fungi? Play on words…kind of thing…Ba da ba! Okay, not that good of a joke. Moving on…

This adventuresome Alice is a daydreamer, a fuss about rules, breaking them and a bit of a pain in the ass at times. Not unlike yourself…

And maybe or maybe not like the girls down the office hall in marketing, Alice (like you can) faces her challenges and shows real belly fire when she kicks ass behind the looking glass. That’s a mirror for those whose vocabulary is more text-ease than the Queen of Heart’s English. Like Alice…go ahead take a look in your mirror. Do you kick bootie on a daily basis? Are you all you can be ¼ life wise? Granted, Alice and you are not some she-Ninja video game icon, pop culture Lady Gaga or WNBA star. Alice is hip-heroine of times gone by when Xbox was a book. Pop culture was a hand drawn Disney cartoon. And the WNBA? Well no one still really cares about that.

You? You too can be one of the legions of QL hip heroines. And that is coming from me…a dude. I believe in ya! Go down the rabbit hole and follow the ways of Alice. Sum up…Have Alice-like Quarter Life Curiosity, Courage and Change.

First. I need to get this out there. Ladies, never, ever drink the punch. How Alice thought it was a good idea to swallow a potion with a note attached saying, “Drink Me” is beyond us. College frat guys would love a few more Alice types at their next kegger.

Despite this one tragic flaw, Alice has the three C’s:

Curiosity, Courage and Change.

Curiosity. Alice is as inquisitive about her new world as you all should be in the 20-somethings. What you think you know should be challenged, what you might have known will probably turn out to be somewhere in the gray areas of life. And what you could not have possibly even fathomed…well there is a wow factor when your curiosity about life pays off. Now some of you ladies might say this kind of trust in the world around you can lead to some sorrow and disappointment. Yet, on the other hand it can lead to great adventures through and on this side of your looking glass. And what is a little tragedy compared to the lessons learned leading to a triumph of QL proportions?

Word of caution. If you see a talking rabbit…do not follow it. You have eaten some bad sushi or the tequila worm. Curiosity sometimes kills the Cheshire cat.

Courage. This is one thing that Alice has deep inside. All she had to do was realize it. In the end she understands that she always possessed the mammaries to face the unknowns of life’s Wonderland. She went in headfirst into that rabbit hole. She faced the ridiculous, meaningless riddles of people and rules of society in her run in with the Mad Tea Party. (No reference to political activist group) Finally, she stood up for herself, played her cards right and denounced the trumped up charges against her from the Queen of Hearts.

Let’s put it into comparative context. Alice might be a metaphor for a recent graduate QL temp who jumps into a new job, has to put up with the fudge-faced policies and procedures of a messed up company. She is overworked, overlooked and underfed. The last part is because the firm’s partners always get the first pickens of Jason’s Deli sandwiches at meetings. She is usually stuck with the questionable tuna. At some point, the proverbial office crisis doo-doo hits the fan and some soul sucking mid-level manager blames her. Would you put up with this kind of crap? Alice would not and neither would you!

Change. You can start out one-way and end up on a completely new road to thinking, feeling and being. It is called in some therapy circles: maturity. Novel concept I know…little scary and way cool at the same time.

Alice starts as a child and then struggles with adolescent changes to become a mature young lady. Though it is with a dope smoking caterpillar and the tyrannical bitch ruler of Wonderland. Yet, who doesn’t have a few friends and a boss or mother-in-law like this? Alice shows us we must first get through the crazy parts of our youth (also counts for you twenty-thirty-something’s) in order to truly understand the wonders and responsibilities of adulthood.

Curiosity, Courage and Change.
Alice shows us that in coming full circle with our own growth takes curious thoughts and actions. She reveals courage is needed to face breaking and obeying some of life’s rules and to give meaning to “our” story…”your” image in the mirror. She gives us the sense that change is at the very core of us all and should be embraced as it comes with experience.

So there is my rant. Kind of a little advice column from a guy who once had a trip similar to Alice’s. Codeine and Red Bull. Whew!

Grinds My Gears! I

February 16, 2010

Peter Griffin is just another evolutionary development of the “Honeymooners” Ralph Kramden to decades later Homer Simpson. Going on its own decade, Griffin and “Family Guy” continue to escalate in popularity and influence. I foresee a time after George Clooney’s ascent to power as President, we shall have Peter Griffin as the eventual holographic leader of the Free World. Well, by that time…I imagine even the free parts will be subjugated by our insectoid overlords.

While the future era is unknown, the present is what counts. “Family Guy” knows its social stuff and so does the head of its so called family.

Peter used to have a small segment on Quahog’s local news channel. He got to rant and rave about what he found a proverbial pain in the ass. And now so do I…

You know what really grinds my gears?

Chicks without panties. Call me a man of convenience. But I don’t eat in truck stops, I pee standing up and I like my ladies to wear underwear. Plus, I already carry around antibacterial lotion. I do not need to carry a roll of paper towels and a bottle of Windex to use before I sit down on any chair.

Okay…biting the hand which feeds me. I remember the day when, “Then the broccoli must die!” It grinds my gears, how Seth MacFarlane’s “Family Guy” has turned maniacal, world dominating, evil Stewie into a pre-puberty pedophile and diaper wearing fan of canine bestiality with the dog Brian.

Hoodies. What are we all robbing 7-Elevens?

Vampires. True, they are the greatest horror characters of all time. But, no…Hollywood takes 90210, the Kardasians, Miley Cyrus and Nickelodeon to destroy Bram Stoker’s masterpiece. Except for the chick in Underworld. She was hot!

No one to blame but yourselves ¼ life peeps! The Biggest Loser versus Iron Chef. The idea of fattening up America and then capping them with a shame-fest into losing weight? Clap. Clap. Clap. Capitalism at its finest!

Quarter Lifers! Stop the madness in our generation. Tattoo art. I love that your name is Rosenfeld and you have a Polynesian tribal armband. Ladies, I love the butterfly on your left boob. Sad facts. Your tribal lexicon was needled by a guy who barely understands English let alone New Zealand dialects. You think your totem says “peace.” It probably means “Donde esta el bano?” And girls, it is cute, pink, and reminds you of Cancun. But, when you are a granny, your boobs looking like a billiard ball hanging in a tube sock…that butterfly will stretch out to look like a Jurassic pterodactyl.

Hand sanitizer. Okay. I just mentioned it. But, have we not moved on as a species to be able to wash our hands correctly? The answer is no. If you have ever been in an LAX airport men’s bathroom after a flight from Singapore has just arrived. You know how gross humans are.

Dollar menus. Just for the simple fact we might all be living off them soon.

February. Yep the whole damn month. Just pisses me off. The only thing that ever occurred of any value during this month is the strange occurrence of Mardi Gras. Has to do something with the Catholic Lent calendar being based on the lunar cycle. Come on…the month is so frigging lame they actually take off days from it every four years.

¼ Lifers having to have less while paying for more. You have heard it, “Lighter Portions or Sensible Dishes.” Sure TGIF we get it. Smaller plate, same or higher price, but YOU are doing ME a favor calorie wise. You’ve seen it. I just got a new jug of laundry soap. It’s “concentrated” now. Meaning you pay lots for way less and all in the name of eco-friendliness. What was most insulting was the label. “20% more than the 80 oz bottle!” Yes, this is true. I did get a 100 oz bottle. They were simply relaying a fact of volume measurements. None of it was for free. You’ve tasted it. Next time you put a Lean Cuisine in the microwave, check out the portion size. Not 10 oz, not 9 oz…maybe 8.75 ouches. It is the whole idea of taking one peanut out of the South West airlines peanut pack and the company saves $120,000 per year. Course they do not charge you $30 for each bag of luggage.

Bonus!

Quarter lifers are going to deal with the fiscal idea or sense of entitlement bailout. A bailout implies the boat is sinking and when you stop bailing, ploop, gurgle, bubble…cue Celine and the theme from “Titanic.” Yes, it was Titanic reference…but timely since Mr. Cameron just beat out his previous box office juggernaut cash wise. A least “Avatar” can have a sequel. We all went into the theatre in December 1997 knowing the end of that romantic cinematic abortion. And like our current world’s economy…it really grinds my gears the idea pushed on us…if we bail enough we might be able to stop the sinking of the “unsinkable” ship. And add insult to injury we still have to deal with the bubble of babies named Jack and Kate after the Titanic characters.

Guitar Zero

February 2, 2010

So, I feel like I am letting my generation down by not being able to play Guitar Hero. Whereas all of my friends – from actual musicians to those who wouldn’t know a beat if it bit them on the ass are able to pick up that Mattelish play axe and wail or fail, I just can’t even bring myself to participate.

When it first came out in 2005, I didn’t hold any contempt for it. In fact, I thought it was kind of an interesting idea. I mean, who doesn’t want to feel like a rock star? Besides, I was really feeling distanced from the video game genre of entertainment – I’m not a Lord of the Rings dork so I don’t like World of Warcraft and I am not suppressing a violent streak so I’m not into Call of Duty, either – so, the fact that anything from that direction interested me was kind of appealing in its own way.

I was at the mall and I saw it for sale in a shop window and decided to see what it was all about. So, I went to one of those game stores that, according to my sister, always have a particular aroma of teenage boy body odor to see what this thing was all about. I don’t know why, but previous to seeing it, I had thought it would be more like a self-corrective guitar-guitar. Like, you’d have a really crummy guitar that was hooked to the game some way, and you’d play with the song. If you’d mess up, it would tell you where and you’d fix it. Instead, this looked more like a musical version of those hand-held electronic memory games called Simon that were popular in the 1980s.

Essentially, that’s what it is. I decided then that it wasn’t for me. Not so much because I was terrible at Simon (which I really, really was – I get nervous!), but more so because I couldn’t see myself ever being happy holding that little plastic guitar. It seemed to cross the line from being a fake guitar player to just being a fake. To me, this sort of make-believe says something in my head said, “Oh, this is for little kids – not adult kids like me.” So, I went ahead and forgot about it for a little bit.

Fast-forward some years, and I can’t forget about it. It’s at every, single social function I go to – especially if there are men there. It was even at my conservative, older boss’ Christmas party last year. There’s no escaping it.

It never starts out that way. There’s always this period at the beginning of the social function where people are talking and eating and drinking and interacting with one and other. Then, by about beer number four one guy will say something like, “Yeah, man, you know what I am really addicted to? Guitar Hero! I know, weird right?”

It’s not weird. It’s common. I know this because then the other men in the group will all start talking about it, too. Then when they are buzzing about it, someone will mention that they have never played Guitar Hero, and it’s on. Party’s over; Guitar Hero’s on.

Eventually, everyone has to be huddled around the game, or you’re that one weirdo that’s hanging out in the living room while everyone else is crammed into the den. When this happens to me, I try and stay as spectator-like as possible. However, there’s something about the adrenaline rush that “playing” metal can give to guys in their late twenties and early thirties (I’m on the cusp myself), and they want everyone to try it. Maybe it’s because guys in this age group are old enough to remember when video games were really lame, so there’s still some fascination factor just with the technology. I’m not really sure.

It is annoying, though – - and a little hard to escape.

Guitar Hero Head: C’mon. It’s a lot of fun and it’s not hard.

Me: No, thanks.

GHH: No one will laugh at you if you are bad! We’ll set it on easy.

M: No, let someone else have a turn.

GHH: C’mon, you have got to play this game! Just try it!

You know, it reminds me of those after-school specials where the kid is walking home from school and her friend invites her over and everything’s copacetic at first but then – WHAM! Drugs show up and the kid has to use every excuse in the book not to participate because her friends lay the peer pressure on her like a ton of bricks. I’ve never felt that same pressure when people actually offered me drugs, but I definitely feel it every time that little plastic guitar comes out. However, I think in that after school special, the kid actually runs out of the house and all the way home eventually. She tells her mom and guidance counselor and the drug-pushing children end up going to a special school for troubled youth. That’s not really an option for me, so I just awkwardly refuse until the Guitar Hero pusher remembers how much he likes playing Guitar Hero and decides to take another turn instead of bothering me.

It leads to all sorts of misconceptions, too. Since I have refused to play, I’ve heard everything about myself from, “Oh, Mankato’s really shy,” to, “Oh, Mankato doesn’t really like music.” Whoa – what? Who are they talking about? It’s like my refusal to play Guitar Hero has put me and my peers on such a different footing that they can’t see any of the real things about me. It’s a little jarring and a lot lame, and it makes me feel like an outcast to some extent. Like, I am worse than a traitor because at least traitors tend to understand what they are railing against.

There are some people who will actively argue with me the positives of Guitar Hero. One argument that I hear – often – is that it helps kids to be exposed to some music that maybe otherwise they wouldn’t have heard. Well, I think that’s a little bit false. Kids today would have heard Van Halen . . . on the oldies station. This way, though, they are hearing it, and it seems new. So, people my age can feel like their music is still young person music. So, there’s an indoctrination of youth with hair bands. (Which, by the way, I like some hair bands – I’m not a total defector.) I used to hope this Guitar Hero phase would pass quickly, but because of this I’m not holding my breath. You don’t even want to get me started on Rock Band.

Test change.

Finding Tech Zen

July 17, 2009

Okay my Quarter Lifer. It’s pretty much an either-or here. You are EITHER totally up to date, all about, cannot live without technology or you have entered a phase of life where you might just be falling a little bit behind, scared of the IPhone GPS function, off the grid totally, carpel tunneled texted out and just plain out of sorts with all that is tech. Still, I guess there is a third option. You might be totally, 100% happy with your inkjet printer cartridges’ lifespan, your cell minute plan, internet service provider and hardly ever use the vid and pic function on your cell. Yea right. That person does not exist. Red button, up, arrow left, green A.

The balance between the desire to be either totally tech or a little less so is hard to maintain. The Buddha said the root of all mankind’s sufferings is desire. Do you desire more techness or more inner peace. The pace of a Quarter Life gal and her guy pal does not lend itself to much evenness on the quest. Some see everything in Best Buy moving too fast. For others the internet connection is never fast enough.

Let us do a quick quiz so you can find out your techie nightmare or nirvana. Just a few questions on your level of savvy or needs.

No matter your age you should be familiar…sort of with this older term. What does acronym CD-ROM stand for?

If you said Compact Disc Read-Only Memory then you also have probably heard of Fortran and Basic. Does not mean you are a geek. Does not really mean anything except you have a brain and use it. Congrats.

Do you know what CGI means?…

Wrong. Michael Bay could not take a morning piss without it, but it is not ‘computer graphic blah, blah. Harry Potter’s five o’clock shadow is hidden by Common Gateway Interface. If you knew that then you are officially an uber geek and you need to get off this website and back to cleaning out your keyboard of Cheeto crumbs. Sorry that last part was uncalled for.

Do you have a shoe box or drawer crammed full of various battery chargers, USB cords or a billion of those square little black cubes you plug into the wall? Did they go to devices you no longer even remember owning?

If you answered yes (which you so did!) you are not alone. Tech tip: throw it all away. Do not even think about recycling it. The earth can take another one for the team. If you hesitate here you will put it in the trunk of the car with every intention of packing it to the nearest Special Olympic drop box and recycling your old cell phones. But, it will never make it there and just cause you further frustrations. A clutter free computing life is a balanced life. Plus, all they do is ship that electronic shit over to Bangkok for some 11 year old boy to sweat shop tear it up for the precious metals like gold from the connectors to lead from the batteries. It is sort of like Dell’s version of Slumdog.

Let us move onto the lightning round. Yes or no.

1. Have you gone over your cell plan minutes more than a baker’s dozen of times?
2. Do you not even bother reading your cell phone statement or bill?
3. Have you ever been texting so much that after you picked your nose, you did not flick or wipe the bogey away clearly…it ended up on your device and you kept typing?
4. Do you consider any computer over three years old as good as an 80’s Commodore?
5. Do you know what a Commodore was?
6. Have you ever considered your high score more important…so important that you passed up on sex?
7. Let’s forget about internet porn. Yea, like ignoring the reason for the widespread spread of the tech age, but let us pretend. Have you ever masturbated to clip art?
8. Do you still write checks?
9. Do you have scary dreams about losing passwords, phones, files, etc?
10. Do you speak in acronyms and texting-ese?
11. Do you think there is someone able to watch you from your computer? Tom-Tom…
12. If so, have you ever covered up your monitor with a towel or blanket?
13. Do you believe there is a passage in Revelations about the end of the world having something to do with iBooks and Barnes & Nobles?
14. Do you order your pizza using the online function?
15. And do you use the online pizza tracker where you can see it cook and check the status of its delivery?
16. Would you rather have a phone that just takes and receives calls…no camera please?
17. Would you like to spend time on a holodeck? Again, do you know what a holodeck is?
18. Are worried more about biological or computer viruses?
19. Does your phone, laptop or plasma define you or are you the type of person who hates people who are defined as such…and dammit don’t they try and show it off. Always the big game over at their place. Check out this file exstention on my 3G. It looks so like a chocolate bar, but sexier. The restraining order says fifty feet…blah, blah, blah.
20. Are avoiding doing anything…ANYTHING…by surfing and reading this article?

You know…it does not matter how you answered. And I have to admit after typing and editing it…I got no words of techie survival wisdom for you. Like a religion…and trust me, technology is so a religion. We must find our own paths. Whether you are going techie Zen to the chubby golden dude at your local Chinese restaurant, find meaning in web conspiracies, get help desk support from that young Judean carpenter or feel the Force…find some sort of balance and live a real life, not an electronic Quarter Life. Plus my hand is so tired of typing on this crappy keyboard. Also I have a cell call coming in…G2G or Gots 2 Go!

PS – If you went with that whole Force thing, then maybe an uber, duber geek you may be. Yea I did it in Yoda passive tone of voice.

Foreclosure Rocks!

May 15, 2009

So it finally happened. After more than a year of not making a single mortgage payment for our condo, my wife, Jana, and I foreclosed. Sure, I tried saving it at first. When selling the condo straight out didn’t work I opted for a short sale, when the short sale didn’t work I tried for a deed in lieu, and when that failed I tried burning it to the ground, eventually… I just let it run its course. I know what you’re thinking, “That’s retarded, why would anyone want a foreclosure.” Let me explain, at the time my wife and I were newlyweds. We were more or less convinced to purchase the condo by our parents. Apparently, it’s the next logical step after marriage — get married, buy a home, settle down, have kids, focus on your career and waste away in suburbia. It’s funny how you have these grand plans as a new couple — sailing around the world, living in a hut in Costa Rica, joining the Peace Corps. Let me tell you, purchasing a house will end those dreams REAL quick.

Jana and I bought the condo at the height of real estate costs, I’m talking literally months before the crash. This was about 3 and a half years ago. With the help of our parents, and practically selling everything I owned (including my Gameboy DS), we purchased the 2 bedroom condo for $130,000. We literally had 1 day to “pick” our home. So, we drove around Orlando on a Saturday afternoon with our family, looking for a place to buy. Jana and I looked at 3 condos, most of which were in the ghetto. We settled on the one we thought was “least” in the ghetto. Turns out we were wrong. The previous residents sawed holes in the walls to “mount” their big ass speakers. I wish I could describe how awful it looked. Lucky for us, that was the least of our troubles.

After a few months of living there we had several issues. Our neighbors were literally an abusive single mother on one side, and a drug dealer on the other. Throughout the day we heard the mother screaming at her kids and throwing stuff against the walls, we prayed it wasn’t the kids themselves. During the night our condo was often frequented by addicts who had our condo mixed up with the drug dealer next door. I didn’t like Jana walking around the neighborhood at night at all. There were often fights in the parking lot, and I was consistently approached by crack heads wanting to borrow my phone and scream at their baby’s mama for an hour wasting my minutes. We were living the dream!

Six months passed and enough was enough. We couldn’t handle living in that hell hole any longer. It was time to sell. Unfortunately for us, the Orlando real estate market was crashing harder than the coke fiends next door. We started out trying to make a little bit of profit. Which is the whole freaking idea of purchasing a home rather than renting in the first place! I’m just a little bitter. With no bites, we kept dropping the price. Eventually, we just wanted to break even, but that wasn’t working out so hot either. Finally, we purchased one-way tickets to Hawaii 6 months in advance and gave ourselves an ultimatum. Hopefully we sell within 6 months, if not, “Oh well, we tried.”

For those months we refused to purchase anything for the condo. Instead, we focused on getting rid of stuff. Selling furniture on craigslist, donating extra clothes to the homeless, dropping stuff off at Goodwill, and just throwing away excess goods. By the end of the 6 months, our condo was stripped down to the bone. As it turned out, we had an interested buyer. The buyer was willing to purchase our condo for about 5 thousand less than what we owed. We figured we would eat the 5 grand and count our losses. We were lucky to have anyone interested at this point. The buyer signed the contract and we packed our car with luggage. It was a week before the inspection and Central Florida received a heavy dose of severe thunderstorms and flooding. So much rain that a portion of our ceiling caved in. It was damage due to leakage from the exterior, the condo associations problem, not ours. We attempted to have it repaired by the Home Owners Association as quickly as possible. After all, that was what we paid them $300 a month for. They were extremely uncooperative. One thing led to another, the inspection failed, and our buyer backed out. Oh happy day. By this time we were already traveling across the country before flying out to Hawaii from California. I think we were actually on the road in Oklahoma at the time. We were presented with 2 options; drive back to an empty condo in the ghetto of Orlando, or continue our adventure to Hawaii. I like to think we chose the better option.

It turns out the condos in our community are currently selling for $40,000. That’s $90,000 less than what we paid. We could buy 3 of those condos now for less than the price of what we paid for one. Had we sold our condo, we would still owe more than double the amount of the selling price. Foreclosure was by far, the best option. I gladly accept 7 years of bad credit over paying $90,000 on a condo I don’t even own. I guess some lessons you learn the hard way. Mine and Jana’s venture in to the world of real estate and purchasing a home was one of those lessons. Next time, we will shop for a house a little longer than 1 afternoon, and we’ll really make sure it’s a wise decision and a great location. We don’t plan on making the same mistake twice.

We continued making payments on the condo for our first few months in Hawaii, until tax season rolled around. Since Jana and I had both worked contract jobs the previous year we owed Uncle Sam a lot of money, and our soul. We stopped paying our mortgage to afford taxes. Unfortunately we had to continue paying the monthly (and worthless) $300 HOA fee. After more than a year of no payments our condo finally foreclosed last month. It was truly a happy day. In fact, it rocked!

Let’s Talk About Sex

July 21, 2008

It was the pre-opening night viewing, and Silver City was flanked by a mob of fans dressed to the nines: high heels, dresses, baubles, and gloss. The moment the red, velvet rope swung down from its shackle, they began strutting their way to the front and entered the theatre, licking their chops hungrily not for the Bulk Barn candy stashed in their purses (though it was a deliciously sneaky way to beat the system!) but for a long-awaited visit from Carrie, Miranda, Charlotte, and Samantha. Sex and the City was back, and I had front-row seats.

Before launching into what I actually thought of the film, I feel the need to say a significant something about the background of the television show, and the lack of attention this history has been given in a variety of reviews about SATC: The Movie. Like so many film adaptations, it really helps to know where a story comes from in order to understand how it went from one form of media to another. [Read more]

WTF for Friday, May 29th 2008

May 29, 2008

  • Mixtape
    Sometimes when someone has a crush on you, they’ll send you a mixtape, to give you a clue.
    Pop it in the deck
  • Chapuline
    Do you know what a Chapuline is? You will now.
    DIG IN!

Did MTV Kill the Video Star?

May 1, 2008

You can barely find them on MTV, VH1, and MTV2, and they’re starting to be phased out on Fuse. The music video has taken a back seat (well, more like it’s been gagged, blind folded, and crammed in a trunk) to reality shows, celeb-reality crossovers, wannabe celeb-reality crossovers, and Flavor Flav. So the music video is no longer in the mainstream, but does that mean it’s dead? Or can we find it, un-gag it and prevent it from going the way of Billy Batts in Goodfellas?

[Read more]

The WoW Crack!

March 2, 2008

Sometimes reality just gets too real. Everyone needs a little relief from the stress of everyday life, and I’m not talking about Xanax. I’m talking about WoW! That’s an acronym for the World of Warcraft for all you noobs! Its way better than crack or whatever else you weirdo’s in RL (Real Life) are addicted to!

I know you have been contemplating the idea of joining the fantasmical world of Azeroth for some time now, but you’re afraid of what other people may think. It’s okay! Everybody is doing it! Now you’re asking me, “If your friends jumped off the dam in Loch Modan, would you jump too?” Hell yeah I would! In fact, I already did!

Now that you’re obviously convinced that the World of Warcraft is right for you, I’ll go over the basics for the ULTIMATE ESCAPE FROM REALITY!!! (You should have read that last line with a booming voice roaring like thunder through the halls of Ironforge). First, you will need to purchase the game. It would be wise to pick up the expansion pack too. Also, there’s a $15 monthly charge to play. I know what you’re thinking, “Dude, I just dropped 80 bucks on the game and the expansion pack and now I have to pay $15 a month!?” Bear with me; I too was once a non-believer. [Read more]

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