30 July 2010

From The Bronx!

I leave for New York tomorrow! Here's my worst fear version of the trip:

-I'm too fat for my seat, so they make me buy two, and I'm left with no money for the trip.
-While in New York I'm mugged by this guy.
-My assumptions about being able to confidently navigate the city are dashed when I try to walk to SoHo from the only subway stop I know how to get to and end up swimming into the Atlantic somehow.
-My big toe falls off.
-I see suspicious behavior but fail to report it and am arrested.

Here's my most awesome version of the trip:

-I'm being stupid about the seat thing.
-The time spent outside 30 Rock pays off and I meet Tina Fey who is so taken by me that she invites me over for dinner and fun. And she leaves her husband for me. And pays my student loans.
-At the Kelis & Robyn concert (which I'm actually going to) I'm allowed to perform "Konichiwa Bitches" with Robyn and "Bossy" with Kelis.
-I meet some other random but awesome celebrity.
-I'm invited to Chelsea Clinton's wedding.
-While singing karaoke at Sing Sing, I'm discovered and allowed to release an album solely consisting of cover songs of the 80s and 90s.
-I win the New York lottery and buy a condo and spend my new life volunteering at 826 Valencia in New York.
-My apartment is cleaned while I'm gone.

A few other notes:

Watch this video:


And this one


I'll hopefully update from New York... and post a picture of my new haircut. IT IS SHORT. Well, shorter than I've had it in years. Bye, Joetown!

23 July 2010

Some financial near-misses

Twice in the past week I've had small financial freak outs. A summary-

1) While in Des Moines, we ate at the Court Street Brewery. The restaurant itself was overpriced, but it was still decent. I had two "adult" beverages there- a beer, and a drink called "Georgia Jackass" which was a mix of non-alcoholic ginger beer and peach schnapps or vodka or something. For whatever reason, this drink is served in a copper cup. As seen below:

The approximate cost of this copper mug is seventeen trillion dollars apparently. We learned they were imported from the world's most famous copper producing nation- Turkey. Because of this, the restaurant demanded a credit card to hold in case I decided to steal this beautiful mug. I, of course, no longer have any credit cards because of that whole bankruptcy, so I gave her my debit card. I didn't steal the mug, and I received my debit card back with what I assumed was no problem.

When I got back to St. Joe I checked my bank account online on Wednesday, and what do I see but a $42 charge from the brewery on my account. After thinking I was crazy and subconsciously a thief, I assured myself that I hadn't stolen the mug. I hadn't. So I thought, "Maybe it'll go away because of... Jesus. I'm just gonna let Jesus take the wheeeeeel!"No, seriously though, I was going to just call them the next day.

It totally worked because on Thursday it was gone. Thank you, Carrie Underwood!

2) Then while I was in Des Moines I got a letter from American Family demanding money for the insurance on my house. You know, that house I haven't lived in almost a year? That house I haven't technically even owned since March? So, needless to say, I was super surprised to have received a letter asking me to pay insurance on a house I don't own! The letter also said they sent me a letter in May... also not true. I'm very confused. So I called my insurance agent who, while being a very nice person, often makes these little "whoops I forgot" mistakes. His response was just "Oh, yeah, I just need to call them, don't worry about it." It's not like he didn't know I don't own the house anymore. Whatever, it's taken care of.

This might sound stupid, but my tendency with both of these situations before the bankruptcy would have been to ignore it. Or forget about it. I remember clearly simply forgetting to pay my utility bills (and car payment... eek) when I lived in my house. I know "remember" and "forgetting" sounds funny, but I can remember now. Anywho, I'm happy with being more responsible. YAY!

21 July 2010

Embarassing Things Occupying My Time

I haven't blogged in far too long, and it is for several very important reasons. Or not so important, but several actual reasons.

1) NCAA Football '11 has come out for my beloved Xbox360. I've probably spent at least an hour playing it every day for a week. It's among my vices- I like sports themed video games. I budgeted some money for it this month, so I feel justified in enjoying it. Also, once the school year starts, I will likely never touch it for months at a time. That's what he said? Anyway.

2) A road trip with friends to scenic Iowa! We had, on a whim earlier this summer, decided to road trip to Des Moines where my friend Rachel's parents live. Free lodging! It was only, really, 24 hours in the city/area, but we jam packed them with fun. Here are some great photos to prove it:

Look! Cows! We really are in Iowa!

We also went to the roller derby while in Des Moines. It was a really fun time, and I met the love of my life, Mid-Iowa Roller jammer Lolli Pop Ya. I can't ignore a name like that.

There's a really cool sculpture garden in downtown Des Moines, and this was easily my favorite one.

We also trotted up to Ames, Iowa to see a butterfly house and giant outdoor/hot garden.

Amanda has an excellent recap of it all over at Constant Cravings, her vegan travel/tribute to K.D. Lang blog.

As far as financial news goes, no news is good news. I got a letter in the mail from American Family which, threatening tone noted AmFam, told me they were going to come after me about the insurance payments for the house I haven't owned in four months. It also claimed they had sent me a letter in May about it (really?). I called my agent who said, "Oh yeah, don't worry about that, I'll call them." So I'm assuming that's done.

The only financial issue upcoming is that I still haven't paid my car's property tax. I'll just have to make a sacrifice some upcoming month (and maybe harass my parents for a little help) to pay it. I just completely forgot about it, and I remembered it in the shower yesterday, the place where all good thinking happens for me. I usually just pay it with me tax return, but the return this year was miniscule unfortunately.

Oh, and I leave for New York in ten days :)

12 July 2010

A Rant

When I was young, MTV had this incredible pull on my psyche. I clearly remember staying up late and watching 120 Minutes or Headbangers Ball, and, back in the day, when The Real World was actually real (and compelling television). I have long since mourned the loss of The Real World as legit television. People who go on it are far too aware of the brief fame/notoriety the show will give them, so their behavior cannot be seen as anything but camera whoring. Even in the 90s I tolerated when TRL ruled the airwaves because, sometimes, a band I would like would go on there to promote an album. I always thought Carson Daly sucked a little bit, though.

Then, as MTV evolved into not-so-real reality shows and celebrating being rich and obnoxious (two polite terms for the girls on My Super Sweet Sixteen), I grew much more indifferent than anything. "Really," I said to myself, "it's not like this is the lowest possible denominator. It's bad, true, but it could be worse."

Then MTV released its most horrifying and offensive show to date.

The Hard Times of RJ Berger.

Allow me to summarize the concept: every cliche about high school in the history of ever. Every cliche about fat people, nerdy people, jocky people, everyone really balled up into one show. But this show, you see, has one incredibly hilarious difference that, clearly, makes it worthy of our time.

RJ Berger has a huge penis.

Wow. Groundbreaking television work here. You might say, "Well, you know, it could happen." And you're right. It's entirely possible that a high school student with a huge dong would happen to have his pants pulled down near center court of a basketball game and expose his gigantic manhood to the entire school. Then, all logic and reason fly out the window, and you wonder if it would be likely that every conversation for the rest of this kid's like would center around his penis. Because that is what this show asks us to believe.

RJ had friends before this- two fat (but, God forbid, not too fat) people, a boy and girl, who are awesome stereotypes. The girl is a horny obsessive, and finding out RJ's schlongadilly is big just sends her right over the edge. The boy is, like all teenagers, hilariously obsessed with achieving sexual intercourse. What well developed, interesting, and imaginative characters, MTV. Really, all they need now is some racism and...

Oh, the show mentions that a Japanese woman's mouth isn't big enough for his penis. Oh, okay, they've got it all covered then.

This show is actively bad for people to watch. I am stupider for having endured part of several episodes. It's sort of how I feel about teaching a lot of the time- we get asked to do all kinds of things outside of what we might normally do as teachers. I ask myself each time if what I'm being asked to do is good for kids, and if it isn't, I try my best to make it as such. But when something is bad for kids, I feel powerless to stop it (I see you, No Child Left Behind). I feel powerless to stop stupid bullshit like The Hard Times of RJ Berger, but I sure as hell can complain about it a whole bunch.

09 July 2010

LeBrandon James

Breaking news, loyal readers. LeBron James is leaving the Cleveland Cavaliers to play for the St. Joseph Mustangs. Maybe during his time in St. Joe he will enjoy the same delicious, ripe ass avocados I have enjoyed from HyVee.

Those avocados are, guaranteed, delicious. And ripe ass. Don't forget how ripe ass those avocados are.

I did, indeed, go to the grocery store this week. On Tuesdays HyVee does a bunch of "Tasty Tuesday" specials. I think I blind myself to think those deals impact me because they don't really. 95% of the specials are for things I don't buy/need. The only deal I took advantage of was three bags of shredded cheese for $5. I needed cheese, but I couldn't over look that ripe ass deal. Sorry, just used to saying that now. No big deal, though, because I came in $50 under budget at the grocery store for the month. I know normal people probably go grocery shopping more than once a month, and for a while I tried that too, but only getting paid once a month and living by myself really lends itself to that kind of shopping. And it's already a third of the way through the month and I still have a bunch of food.

I also made this purchase as an admission of aging.

Actually, let's talk about the LeBron James crap. It has nothing to do with money, but whatever. Listen, I get that he is the best player in the NBA since Jesus, but the rigmarole surrounding his defection from Cleveland is insane. As a Royals fan, I know what Cleveland fans must feel. Several years ago the Royals traded Carlos Beltran, who was awesome, for Mark Teahan and John Buck. Not even. Neither of them even play for the Royals anymore. Sure, John Buck just made the All Star team, but it's a fluke. John Buck is no Carlos Beltran. Anyway, reactions to LeBron vary wildly depending on who you support. As someone who isn't a huge NBA fan (as there is no team near me... is Oklahoma City closer than Chicago or Denver?), I feel like this has disaster (or as Beyonce might say, "disas-tuh") written all over it. Three super star players on one team could have a bunch of personality issues. And they don't have a proven point guard. Not to my liking at least. I sort of hope it implodes. He should have stayed in Cleveland. Because, at the end of the day, at least they're not Detroit! THEY'RE NOT DETROIT! They will, however, have to find something new upon which to base their economy.

I'd also like to take a minute and pimp my friend Amanda's blog Constant Cravings. She's a vegan food blogger, and the blog has a travel focus as well. Aside from all of that, she's my friend, and that requires you to read her blog. The ice cream featured in her most recent post makes me want to leave my apartment and go get some ice cream. What more can you ask for? Click on her ads too. And mine. Don't forget the ad clicking. It's my favorite kind of clicking.

02 July 2010

I heard she eat one cracker a day

I have a financial decision to debate, and I'm curious for your feedback. It relates to the $50 a month I pay my apartment to park in the underground parking garage. When I mention that it costs $50 to park in the garage, people have two opposite reactions:

"Oh, completely worth it"


"That's ridiculous. What kind of complete and utter moron would pay for that"

Me. I'm that guy. But, in this money saving time, I am faced with the decision of whether or not this $50 is completely necessary each month. I thought a list of pros and cons might help:

-Security. It's the biggest pro. See, if you didn't know, the catalyst for this whole financial fallout was having the home I owned robbed. It traumatized me in ways I didn't know I could be traumatized. Among the reasons I picked the apartment where I live is that there is card access to enter the building. The security of not parking outside is very comforting.
-Not dealing with weather. I never have to scrape. My car is comfortably cool in the summer and appropriately warm in the winter. I don't have to worry about hail damage. That's pretty awesome.
-Not having to deal with the general populous. My building has several commercial ventures on the first floor, and I get to avoid talking to people because I bypass that floor. Okay, maybe this reason makes me an asshole, but sometimes it's nice to not be forced to talk to strangers. STRANGER DANGER.

-Cost. Like I said, it's $50 a month. That simultaneously feels like nothing and a lot. I just pay it with my rent, so it doesn't feel like I'm paying anything extra. That being said, my rent payment goes down to $550 without the extra $50, so that's awesome.
-Damage. The parking spaces are ridiculously tight, and for most of my time in the building that has been okay. Until recently. Over the past few weeks the world's largest SUV has started parking in the spot next to mine. I recently discovered this on my car door

Yeah, it's a scratch. To be honest, I don't even know if it came from the aforementioned SUV, but I don't like the odds. The parking lot, like the rest of the building, has these huge pillars everywhere, so the parking situation is tight at best.

I'm personally leaning toward the pro side. I know it's $50, and I could spend that on new underwear and khakis for the school year, but I just value the security far too much. I know other people in the building who park outside, and none of them have ever had problems with their cars out there (I don't think at least), but I'm not sure I'm willing to risk it.

Last week I house sat for my parents while they traveled to scenic Branson, Missouri. I took this picture of two of their dogs and now shamelessly post it because it's adorable:

Awwwwww! We can say it together. "AWWWWWW!" I received three bottles of wine from a winery in the Branson area as payment, and I feel this is an appropriate payment indeed.

Moving back on track, I've received my July paycheck. I've also received my summer school paycheck. This is exciting and worrying all at once. See, I'm stupid, and I saved the budget I made for July on my school's server. I guess I could go in there and get it, but I think I'll just make a "for now" July budget and get back on it with August's paycheck. I'm already doing fairly well, I think, because I had ample opportunity to spend a bunch of money already and I haven't. I haven't had fast food yet either. I know it's only been three days since I got paid, but I somehow feel accomplished anyway.

The real highlight of the past several days, though, is the summer school paycheck. I have officially purchased my plane tickets for vacation! I have only ever flown Midwest because their seats are wide and they give you a fresh baked cookie on board (and they're SO GOOD!). This time, though, because I'm flying on a weekend, it was crazy expensive. Isn't that illegal or something? "We know a lot of people are flying today, so let's jack up the price." Shouldn't they lower the price because they don't need as many people to make their profit margin... or whatever. Listen, I clearly know absolutely nothing about this stuff. Anyway, I'm flying American Airlines because they were the cheapest by almost $75 to the next closest, and well over $100 cheaper than Midwest.

I'm terrified I'm going to be one of those people you hear about on the news who is too fat for his seat and gets thrown off the plane because he was so pissed at how he was treated. I picked my seat on their website, and I made sure the seat had an adjustable armrest. They say the arm rest is for their passengers with "physical challenges." I never quite thought of my weight as the part on Double Dare when kids shoot slime at each other on Nickelodeon.

Anyway, I'll be in New York for a week, and I can't wait! I know we're doing a movie in the park one night, and that will be fun! And cheap! I'm going to try to keep this trip on the cheap as often as possible. I do have a few museums I want to see, but I'm also going to try to keep those cheap or free if possible.

And, as a final note, I should mention that I feel like a dick asking you to click on those ads. I certainly appreciate the support, but I feel like a sellout and an asshole. So, if you don't want to click them, don't. But if you don't mind, I appreciate it. I made some okay money already off the clicking. I'll be happy to click some ads on your blog if you want me to.

No, but seriously, click on an ad.