Free money

December 13, 2007 at 10:18 pm (Money)

I got my “kicker” the other day….58 bucks. The kicker, as it is unfortunately called, is a unique Oregon requirement that the government return the difference to taxpayers, when tax revenues exceed projections by over 2%. It is actually a pretty reasonable thing for government to have to do, especially when you ignore the fact that it cost the state 23 million dollars to print and mail the checks. It is a Republican’s nocturnal emission so I hate loving it, but 58 bucks is a lot of money to me. I can’t wait until December 27: while sitting on my parent’s couch, my pay rate will go up by 60 percent. Yeah. My friend got almost 500…guess that’s what I get for being an underemployed grad student in 2006.

I also got a notice recently of some class action settlement involving overcharging for international credit card/ATM transactions. I spent approximately 130 days abroad since 1996, when Visa et al began scamming their customers (oh wait, they admitted no wrongdoing. They just set aside a few billion “to avoid the expense of a lawsuit.”). The guidelines give you a few options: itemize every transaction and get an audited refund, go for the $25 “quick return” (recommended if you spent less than a week overseas), or the middle option: estimate time and purpose of your trips and get an refund based on some algorithm of normal expenditures, which is in turn based on some State Department computer model. I am opting for this method.

The problem is the estimation parameters are way too vague. They give you 4 options: you spent time overseas for: leisure, business, visiting relatives, other. You did this: frequently, sometimes, occasionally, rarely. Well, I went to Costa Rica for 10 days, which was clearly leisure, but the balance was when I lived in Australia. Is that “other?” I have no idea which category that fits into. But since I don’t feel that I am actually entitled to one penny from this class action, I am going to roll the dice and seen how much I can milk it. Does anyone have any advice?

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Christmas Trivia

December 4, 2007 at 8:18 pm (Trivia)

Who was Rudolph’s father?

(Yes, I mean Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer.  It is a slow night here at jalalablog HQ.  You should have been here a few weeks ago when I watched It’s The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown.  What a miserable prick Charlie Brown was.  “Hey kids, here’s a misfit loser who hates life and has no real friends…happy holidays!”  In the modern world he would shoot up a high school)

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Things

November 29, 2007 at 11:02 pm (Money)

I got the job I have been pining over for the past 11.87 months. It took the better part of a year, but I will finally be performing job functions and receiving compensation commensurate to my interests and qualifications. Yay me. I am starting to compile a list of Things I want to buy once January 17 arrives, and I get my first paycheck at my new salary. I actually start working December 27, but since I had a previously scheduled vacation, I won’t actually report to work until Jan. 2. A New Year, indeed. And what better way to make a splash at a new new job than by taking a few days off?

Item number one on my list of Things is a new set of brakes for my bike. I ride my bike nearly every day, unless it is REALLY raining, which despite our reputation out here, isn’t that often. You know how a cable is usually comprised of many small wires wound up together? (like how the Golden Gate Bridge is suspended by one 2 cables, each made of 128 cables, each made of 128 smaller cables?) Well my rear brake is functioning by ONE of those cables. If you saw the street I ride down at rush hour, you would appreciate how close to death I have been for the past month.

Item number two is a new set of headphones. The MILF who sits next to me at work lets me use her computer on Fridays when she isn’t there, (my computer almost qualifies for Antiques Roadshow) and I have extended that permission to include her headphones, which are identical to my factory-issued IPod buds. I had no idea how much mine totally suck. I guess blasting Ministry while running on a treadmill over 3 years will do that.

Item number 3 is a completely new wardrobe. I am coasting on old Christmas presents and Goodwill gems. You remember that Seinfeld joke about men and their underwear? I used to think that was a joke.

Item number 4 is I am going to start using my heater. I have actually already indulged in that luxury, and will just put the next bill on my credit card. Yeah bitchez.

Item number 5: no more Safeway brand condensed soup for lunch. In fact, my diet will improve dramatically across the board. Basically, I am just looking forward to not worrying about whether I can afford cheese when I go to the store.

Item number 6: Skiing! We already have snow! Full tank of gas, here I come!

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Quote of the day

November 29, 2007 at 10:27 pm (Quote of the day)

“She’s leaving shampoo here now?”

-The first thing I said after I got out of bed this morning

I mean seriously, what’s next, a fucking toothbrush?  Dirty socks I can understand, I mean that might be an accident, but this strikes me as a major unilateral escalation.

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Cats that look like Hitler

November 17, 2007 at 1:57 pm (Humor)

You heard me.

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A Mi Manera

November 1, 2007 at 11:10 pm (Random)

I still get emails every week from sitemeter detailing my traffic stats on this blog. Despite the fact that I am not nearly as blogtastic as I would like to be, I still appear to have some regular visitors. I appreciate that, I really do. It’s been a crazy 6 weeks or so, so here’s a brief summary. Since mid September, I have

– Traveled across the country twice, including a vacation with the ‘Rents, where we stayed in a cabin in West Virginia frequented by Robert E. Lee after The War. Here is photographic evidence that these places still exist, from our living room:

cimg0134.jpg

– Gone to Vermont, had a reunion with many of my college friends, and watched one of my best friends get hitched

– Hosted a few buddies for a weekend of utter debauchery, in which we (read : I) caused significant property damage at an undisclosed location. Don’t worry guys, he has been back for almost a week, and hasn’t noticed. So at this point, it happened in the Safeway parking lot, as far as I am concerned.

– Met a girl, who I am starting to like a lot. Actually, I started to like her a lot a few weeks ago. I will not repeat my previous mistake and alert her to the existence of this blog, so stay tuned for potentially juicy updates.

– Voted yes on Measures 49 and 50, unlike Liza, who loves Philip Morris and hates impoverished children, and therefore voted no on 50 (sorry, that was an anonymous dig on the afforementioned New Girl.)

– Discovered my new favorite band: the Gipsy Kings, who are singlehandedly going to reinvigorate my interests in guitar playing and Spanish speaking

– Had an interview for the job I have been eyeing since I got my masters degree 10 months ago, and am now a “finalist.” Pretty soon I may not be able to bitch about my perpetual lack of money and professional gratification anymore. I eagerly await that day, and so should you.

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It’s official

November 1, 2007 at 10:42 pm (Music, Portland)

Portland has finally been completely overtaken by hipsters.  Open mic bluegrass night at the Alberta Street Pub, my bar, is over, and has been replaced by traveling shitheads from Witchita and Minnesota who frequently employ accordians and clarinets.  God help me.

I realize this probably isn’t the best way to break a nearly 2 month blog silence.  I just can’t believe my only mid week solace has been co-opted by a bunch of 23 year old Radiohead wannabes.

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The science of football polls

September 16, 2007 at 11:06 am (Sports)

I have an idea for West Virginia: they should lose a game.  Maybe then they will go up in the polls; repeatedly winning by large margins seemingly only results in them dropping in the AP poll.

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C-Span…Grr

September 13, 2007 at 9:00 pm (law, Rant, society, Television)

I pay 14 bucks a month for basic cable. I get the networks, football without static, public access, and a few randoms line E!, Discovery Channel, and C-Span. I have heard about the concept of a la carte cable, where you pay only for the channels you will actually watch. When that happens the American Revolution will finally be over. I know that I end up watching crap I wouldn’t otherwise, on random weekday nights. Exhibit 1: The Scrubs Rerun Network (which probably has another name). Exhibit 2: The Girls Next Door. I originally thought it was a documentary on Why The Terrorists Hate Us, but it is apparently a real series. Exhibit 3: I am watching C-Span. Check that, C-Span Two.

Why? Because the tag line on the bottom of the screen says “Cable TV must allow a la carte content rules.” OMG! I am so excited. Except they are talking about bandwidth limitations that prevent effective nationwide deployment of Wireless Enhanced 911 Services. Huh? Who cares about 911? I just want ESPN and Comedy Central.

I went to the FCC website to view the agenda from Tuesday’s meeting. I don’t see anything on there about me not having to stream pirated Jon Stewart monologues. But I am smart, so I used thinking and decided that the following agenda item is what I am after:

Implementation of the Cable Television Consumer Protection and Competition Act of 1992; Development of Competition and Diversity in Video Programming Distribution, Section 628(c)(5) of the Communications Act, Sunset of Exclusive Contract Prohibition (MB Docket No. 07-29); and Review of the Commission’s Program Access Rules and Examination of Programming Tying Arrangements.

But that is item 5! This thing just started; it will be hours before they get to the good stuff! Why is C-Span resorting to sensationalism to attract viewers? I don’t know what irks me more, that they blatantly lie about what is being discussed to make it seem interesting to channel surfers, or that it works. I am still watching it.

In related news, the Family and Consumer Choice Act of 2007 has in fact been introduced in Congress. Thank you, Janet Jackson’s nipple.

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Thou shalt not covet

September 11, 2007 at 8:46 pm (Random)

…thy neighbor’s vacuum? My gay friend B has one of those bagless vacuums. You know, the one you see on TV with the film noir commercial, starring some handsome young British chap who supposedly invented the thing. I got a demo a few months ago, and it was impressive. Exactly the kind of vacuum you would expect a gay couple to have in their Pearl District condo.

I decided recently it is time for another Surge Against Cat Hair: a nearly futile endeavor with the old clunker my mom gave me 4 years ago, which pretty much just blows the stuff around. I thought I had a perfect solution, when the following email exchange took place:

Me: Can I borrow your vacuum?

B: I don’t know, I would hate to have to track you down and kick your ass if something happened to it.

Me: thinking (Oh B, there you go bringing up my ass again. I guess I started it, when I told you I needed some strong suction on my carpet)…yeah dude, I’ll try and treat it with respect.

B: Sorry bud, if it was an old Hoover I’d part with it.

Me: … Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s vacuum?

He was serious! I couldn’t believe it! Let’s recap here: this guy I know won’t let me borrow his vacuum because he is afraid I am going to break it. Think about that before you start ragging on me for my vacuuming habits next time (you know who you are).

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