Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Banks Suck

I opened a new checking account with a local bank about two months ago because of the great deal they offered university employees. Part of this deal was that I would get the service offered in their premium checking account and a waiver of monthly maintenance fees and a minimum balance as long as I was having some of my paychecks direct deposited into the account.
I just checked my balance online and see that last week they hit me for a $15 monthly maintenance fee, which is not supposed to happen. I called the toll-free number and got some call center person in Pennsylvania who said she had no record there of any special deal I was supposed to be getting. I called my school's human resources office and asked if the deal with the bank had been rescinded. The guy I spoke to said he was in charge of the employee discounts webpage and that he didn't see that bank on there and didn't recall taking anything down recently, but he didn't remember it being there anyway. I explained that the bank in question just had a big presence at the HR Benefits Fair earlier this month. He transferred my call to someone else's voice mail. Bump. deadend.
I just called the local branch of the bank and dialed the extension of the banker who opened my account. I figure she should be able to tell me what's going on. Of course, I got her voicemail as well.
I hate how businesses promise service to get your money and then once they have it treat you like crap. Fortunately for me (and unfortunately for them) I haven't yet done anything about moving my other financial dealings to this particular bank. I'm going to have to rethink whether I even want to do that now.

Update: Just got a call from my local banker who told me I will be getting the maintenance fee returned to me account and who also apologized that the mistake happened in the first place. She also told me how she will be fixing it.
Today's lesson is--
Local service=good. Big anonymous call center service=crap.

Monday, November 28, 2005

Sweet Spot

I discovered the sweet spot in Pong tonight. I was losing 13 to 6 in Pong on my little plug and play Atari game when I discovered the magic spot. I resisted the urge to move the paddle once I saw what was going on and came back to win 21-13.
I know winter is here when I start playing Atari.

Beware the Dollar Store

I have discovered why the last few things I have tried to bake have turned out marginally edible, at best. I bought a new set of measuring spoons at the dollar store a few weeks ago. They seemed kind of big when I used them, but I trusted that the amounts stamped into the metal handles reflected the actual capacity of each spoon. Silly me for trusting a label over my own eyes. I just dug up some of my old plastic measuring spoons and compared them to the new ones to find out that the new spoons are marked as half of their actual coapacity, so the spoon marked half a teaspoon is actually one teaspoon, etc. Now that I know what's going on I suppose I can use them and just remember about the sizing. Too bad about that batch of cranberry muffins and the pumpkin pie though.

Saturday, November 26, 2005

Let It Snow Let It Snow Let It Snow!

Ah, New England. There was a little scenic flurrying on the day before Thanksgiving, which was nice and festive for that extra bit of holiday flavor. And we woke up Thanksgiving morning to find snow on the ground and more coming down. A little early for that sort of thing for my taste, but I figured it would melt away by the end of the day. It hasn't. In fact, it's now Saturday afternoon and there's more snow falling on top of what's already there. Probably just enough to add that extra bit of slipperiness to all the walkways and sidewalks that no one really seemed quite ready to believe were going to freeze up and stay. The temperature is just around freezing and there's no wind, so it's not so bad as far as feeling cold goes. It just seems not long enough ago that I was watching my step on that icy driveway at the beginning of spring.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Happy Thanksgiving!

It's not Thanksgiving quite yet, but I haven't worked at all today so I'm thankful for that. I'm thankful for the fact that I had the day off with my girl and we went to see a Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire matinee. I'm thankful I will be spending tomorrow with my loved ones. I'm thankful that I stood up for myself and refused to be intimidated on this occasion. I'm thankful for my students who make my time spent teaching fun and worthwhile. I'm thankful I've got a comfortable place to live and a car that runs. I'm thankful for all the people I love and who love me back. I'm thankful for good health. I'm happy to be where I am. I'm thankful for this life I have.
I hope you all have a happy Thanksgiving day and much to be thankful for.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Weigh Away

If you're a guy, you most likely won't get this post at all so move along if you like.
If you're a girl/gal/woman/chick/female, you might understand this very well, unfortunately.
Because I opted not to shower yesterday I ended up going a full 48 hours without stepping on a scale. I honestly cannot tell you the last time that has happened. And the funny thing is, even though I ate out for dinner both nights, when I weighed myself this morning the scale was absolutely normal, at three pounds above what I think I'm "supposed" to weigh at max.
Now this is retarded on several counts. First, why do I weigh myself at least once, if not several times, a day? Does that make any sense? No, but if the digital display is within what I consider acceptable I'm fine and if not I will fret about what big pig I am. If it has gone down from the previous day, then I'm happy. If not, then I'm not.
Second, Why is it that no matter what I weigh, it is almost always three to five pounds more than what I think is acceptable? When I weighed more than this, my current weight would have fallen into an acceptable range. When I weighed five pounds less than I do now, that was three pounds more than I thought I should weigh. Does anyone else notice three pounds but me? Probably not. I'm forty years old, for crying out loud. I was like this in high school and didn't really dream it was going to be a lifelong situation. I know it's not just me, either.

Friday, November 18, 2005

What Really Matters aka Slacker's Guide to Entrepreneurship Part 2

Last night I was IMing with my sis and I told her about the sudden business meeting I had scheduled with a new potential client. I love that her first reaction was "What are you going to wear?" because that was my first reaction, too.
It might be the result of all those years I spent in Japan and the conclusion I finally reached-- that at least 80% of every judgement of competence there was based on looking the part. I know I know what I'm doing when it comes to translating and understanding Japanese business practices. I don't always know what kind of look that is supposed to translate into. So I went with black wool pants, a fine ribbed and cabled blue-gray-ish wool sweater and black mid-heel boots. And I wore make-up, including lipstick. Have to put on the game face once in a while. I was aiming for looking professional, but not austere or imposing. Suppose if I wore $500 suits I could charge people $200 an hour like a lawyer does, but I don't have the wardrobe for that. And if I did I'd be spending what I make on the wardrobe anyway, so it's all the same really.
Does any of this have any bearing on the kind of impression I made or in anyway supersede or overshadow my qualifications? Probably not, but in my mind it does. Anyway, I'm back home in my sweat pants and ought to stop with this nonsense and get cracking on prepping an estimate for this client.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

GAH! aka The Slacker's Guide to Entrepreneurship

Geez, why does everyone have to be busy at work when I'm so excited and have such cool news? I've just been contacted by a big local company that I know does business in Japan and I'm meeting with them tomorrow morning to see if I may be able to provide them with some translation and consulting services. Of course, if I wasn't the lazy ass that I am I would have knocked on their door and let them know about what I do, but I am a lazy ass so they had to find their way to me. Then again, I'm not in any kind of rush and building the business up slowly by word of mouth isn't such a bad idea either.

Monday, November 14, 2005

The Web Has Brought Us So Much

Are you bummed because the Numa Numa kid regrets his worldwide lip synching fame? (I kind of am.)Well, if you are or you aren't, and just in case you're craving some lip synching entertainment and want to see two Chinese guys wearing the red counterparts to Hurra Torpedo's blue track suits, check out The Dormitory Boys. As a teacher, I really ought to encourage them to study more and stop playing around with that webcam so much, but they're entertaining and they aren't in any of my classes, so what do I care?
I particularly like the roommate in the background who uses the computer and ignores them. Nice touch!

Friday, November 11, 2005

Eureka! I Have Found It!

We will interrupt this day of extreme slacking for an important service announcement--
Everyone once in a while people googling for "Portugeuse fisherman's sweater" visit this blog because of a post I wrote back in March. Every once in a while I do some searching for it myself since it was the first thing I ever knitted. Well folks, today I found a link to a site that sells that very same Candide Portuguese fisherman's sweater pattern. It looks kind of boxy and slightly dorky now. If I ever made it again I'd definitely make some variation on it, but I always thought the way it laced up at the neck was kind of cool.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Rant-- Skip it if you aren't in the mood

It seems like everytime I get ready to settle in and enjoy some free time to play music or knit or do something else I like, I end up having to deal with divorce and custody bullshit instead. I swear I must have put off divorcing him for as long as I did because I knew he would be as big of a pain in the ass as he is.
Screw it. I'l do what I need to do and then I'll play my bass anyway.

Monday, November 07, 2005

Hurra My Beating Heart

I'm so excited about this!!!!

Sunday, November 06, 2005

Tom Colleta Plays the Best Theremin Ever

Well, he also is the only person I've ever seen play the theremin, but he still rocked it hard.
You know sometimes when work just seems to be beating down on your head you have to beat back with a little bit of imbibing and some very loud rock music. I had the chance to do that last night at Station 319 in Somersworth. Sis and I went to see our buddies in Hotrod Fury, who delivered a soul satisfying set of surfy rock goodness. They make me wonder why you would ever need more than three people or a singer in a band. They were followed by Jupiter 2, who I have never seen before. They weren't what I expected, but I mean that in a good way. Their website claims they are "punk rock from Uranus". Sounds about right. The band was tight. The guitar was blazing. The frontman (the above mentioned Tom), well... let's say he has a lot of energy.
I really don't go out as much as I might, but that makes it really fun when I do. And they also pour really huge drinks for $4 there at Station 319.
Alright, time to get back to that Property Rights clause I was working on...

Saturday, November 05, 2005


The problem with working part-time in three unrelated fields is that occasionally all three demand my attention at the same time. Juggling two at a time doesn't seem so bad. I like the variety. But throw in a software licensing contract to be translated by Tuesday on top of learning how to run a business and administering and writing quizzes and it gets to be a bit much. And it would be a bit much even without the paralegal course work to deal with. At least the translation job is a step in the direction the paralegal certificate thingy is supposed to be taking me in.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Hands On MBA?

I've recently started working with my uncle to learn how to do the books for his store so I will be able take charge of that end of things when he goes down to Florida this winter. The mechanics of the bookkeeping are pretty straightforward and not all that interesting, but working with my uncle is. He shares a lot of his business philosophies and strategies with me. Probably not what they teach in school, but much more practical I bet. He has been in business for over fifty years, so I figure he knows what he's talking about.
I like working with family. My sister works for my father now, too. It's a little funny that it took us this long to finally get around to helping with the family businesses, but I guess at this point we all appreciate what a privilege it is to work with people you know, love and trust.
Anyway, if you're looking for a nice men's suit or some sportswear, come see us.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Speaking of Meat

I already thought this site was cool, but now this recipe for Alligator Spaghetti and Bacon ("Courtesy of the Louisiana Fur and Alligator Advisory Council") makes me think it's REALLY cool. I've never seen a recipe before that starts the list of ingredients with three pounds of alligator meat. Kind of awesome.

Trick or Treat

Ozzy and the Pirate Fairy as they set out for a night of looting. The Pirate Fairy seized five and a half pounds of candy booty! Now the trick is to keep it away from me so it doesn't end up on my booty.