Thursday, May 24, 2007

Playing the Market is like...easy and stuff

Okay so I found a new hobby. There's this site called It's a mock stock market for books, music groups, movies and television shows that may or may not get published, may or may not get a record deal, may or may not flop at the box office, you get the idea. So you buy shares of these projects, based on what percentage chance you think they have at succeeding. You get 5K worth of play dollars, and I'm up about 2 grand overall. You can hang on to your "stocks" as long as you like, and buy and sell as you please. It's pretty interesting to see if your predictions come true, and eventually if a band or book does get a contract, you stock soars. If not, worth nothing. Try it out! Maybe you'll buy what I have and my stock will go up!

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Friday, May 18, 2007

Short Story submitting

Sorry it's been awhile since I last posted...I was in Canada for a few days at a conference, which I may or may not post about. We'll see. But now that I'm back I am going to try to submit my latest short story to a few literary journals because they are just about to wrap up their reading for the summer. Most literary journals read manuscripts through the school year but not in the summer months, so if I don't get a few submissions in the mail by May 31, I'll have to wait until September. So I've been working on a story about gambling addiction with my writing group and it felt really solid to me after the last draft, so I'm researching a couple of places to send it to. I sent it to AGNI magazine (Boston University) today, and hopefully I'll send it to a few others in the next couple of days. I'll keep you posted on what the responses'll be interesting to see if I get any personalized letters or form rejections or wonder of wonders - an acceptance letter. Stay tuned!

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Wednesday, May 09, 2007

The Unasked Questions of "Lost"

Television week continues here on the blog, and since it's Wednesday, its time to comment on Lost. This show is a source of strife for many of its loyal viewers. There's tons of interesting stuff going on on the show but the lack of plot movement is sometimes glacial. The writers are so busy dragging out storylines that they sometimes forget that they started them in the first place. Now I know this is a prime time cash cow and they are trying to stretch it for as many seasons as possible, but when this starts to interfere with the believability of the plot and dialogue, then I have a problem with it. So:

Dear Lost writers:

Please acknowledge the fact that if a bunch of people crashed on a tropical island and eventually discovered that there were a bunch of OTHER people living on that island, who frequently kidnap, torture and belittle your fellow survivors, they will ask fucking questions. They will want to know exactly why you are on the island. they will want to know why the island does the things it does. Now I know answering all those questions would clue us in too much, but couldn't the Lostaways at least ask the questions and the Others not answer them? To me, that would at least make sense.

My favorite example of this kind of ridiculousness happened last week (SPOILER ALERT) when someone was asking Sayid what he thought Naomi meant when she said they found the wreckage of flight 815 with all bodies on board. Which would pretty much mean that all those on the island are dead. And Sayid says, "One thing at a time.", meaning, let me fix this satellite phone and get us off the island first. Uh, Sayid? If you're dead, it's not going to help you off the island. If someone were telling me they found my dead body somewhere I'd be hella interested in finding out more.


Tuesday, May 08, 2007

"The World is Being Fedexed to Hell"

In the words of my friend Dr. Stanley Goodspeed "The World is Being Fedexed to Hell." This quote is from "The Rock" which I saw again last weekend and I was glad I did, because I forgot how fucking awesome it was. But The Rock aside, I love this quote because it makes a whole lot of sense to me when I'm having a day like today.

Online bill pay - its supposed to make our lives easier right? Ha. Now that I'm in my own apartment I'm trying to set up all my bills for online bill pay so that my bill paying will be a) easier b) more immediate. I'm not the most organized individual in the universe so I tend to misplace statements, forget to pay them by the due date or write out checks and stuff them in envelopes, but forget to mail them. So online is the way to go, couple of clicks and the money gets there electronically. It should be so simple...

Pretty much the most important bill I have these days is my mortgage. So I logged on to HSBC to set up online bill pay. That day I logged in and setup my information, but for "security reasons" I couldn't set up a username and password. I was told they would send me a username and password via mail, and I had to use those to log in. So that month, I still had to use my statement and a check and a stamp to pay my bill. Now today, I brought the envelope with my temporary password to work. Only when I'm trying to log on, I realize the letter says that my temporary username was sent to me in a separate letter. Are you kidding me? This isn't fucking Raiders of the Lost Ark. If I wanted to go on a treasure hunt I would do it, but believe me, I don't want to go through fifty steps to pay my mortgage. Do they think they're making my account so much safer by mailing all this crap in separate envelopes? Maybe. But at the same time they're making it a lot harder for me to pay them.

Then there's Time Warner Cable. I set it up to pay online last month, but when I was done I didn't see a confirmation or anything. Ok....uh, so is my bill paid? Or is it set up and now I have to pay it? So a few weeks later I got an email saying my money would be deducted on a certain day. Great. Only today, when I logged on to pay this month's bill, I saw that my account was "deliquent" because I hadn't paid last month's bill. So now I had to fax the confirmation email I received to them to research. Great. How do I know that I'm going to be charged for this bullshit twice?

Bill pay isn't this hard on every site, but it sure is getting funny. On my credit card sites they had me pick out an image from an array of pictures...stuff like high heeled shoes and plastic lawn chairs and beach balls. I pick my image and then pick a phrase to go with it. If that image and phrase does not show up when I log in, I'm on somebody else's page, I guess. But I would guess when I saw the name Miffy Mifferson, that might clue me in too. But whatever.

Here's the bottom line guys. Make online bill pay easy. Allow people to create usernames and passwords that work that day. Allow people to pay the bill that day or the next business day - don't wait until the bill due date to deduct the money. And for christ's sakes - don't offer online bill pay if you're gonna half ass it. I may have to start buying stamps again.

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The Tudors

Since it's television week of Jenn's blog the next post I'm doing is about "The Tudors" on Showtime. This series is a look at Henry VIII - you know him as the fat bastard who broke from the Catholic Church so he could marry and divorce as he pleased and also the guy who beheaded his wives. Which is why I like the poster Showtime chose, with Jonathan Rhys-Meyers surrounded by his bejeweled (yet headless) wives.

This show is interesting. Like I said, most of us know Henry VIII as a big fat bearded guy, but this show focuses on some of the earlier years, when he was young and virile (suppoosedly he was) and I like seeing the betrothals, betrayals, plague, worries about producing an heir, and scandal that the show focuses on. I read "The Other Boleyn Girl" by Phillipa Gregory a few years ago which focused on a lot of the desperate Henry was for a male heir, and how far he was willing to go to get a wife who would give him one. And thats what I like best about this show so far as well - Henry's wives. Katherine of Aragon is everything a queen should be, regal, giving, forgiving, but yet she has only provided Henry with a daughter. He won't visit her bedchamber anymore, and I am not sure if she couldn't give him any more children or if he just didn't think she could and stopped trying. Anne Boleyn seems calculating and ambitious - but also had her entire family pressuring her to win and keep the king's affections with I think is interesting. King Henry slept with her sister first, but soon tired of Mary Boleyn, and began pursuing Anne. As we all know, she eventually got him.

So if you like history and scandal graphic sex scenes (this is cable after all) check out the Tudors.

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Monday, May 07, 2007

Grey's Anatomy - What Happened?

I think I'm going to do a couple of posts about TV shows this week, because I'm invested in a few and I have mixed feelings about some of them these days. First case: Grey's Anatomy. I got into the show in it's second season and once I was, I was hooked. Sure' it's kind of stupid and unrealistic but at times it's very funny, at times it's very dramatic, and its full of people that are supposed to be my age and are navigating their way through the same life issues that I am so I can relate. That is what was so good about this show. They were good at showing how hard it was to do well at work, to learn from the ground up and make mistakes and have the courage to come back in the next day and start over. The show was good at showing late twenty-somethings trying to figure out how to balance work, life, love and friends. It was good at a lot of things...I can't think of them all right now but I'm not the only person that feels that way because you could say "McDreamy!" on any street corner on any city in America right now and I guarantee you everybody will turn around and be like "where's Patrick Dempsey? I don't see him."

But lately, I've been disatisfied with Grey's. The biggest even I'm annoyed with is something that I lot of viewers are annoyed with (I'm a geek, I read bulletin boards) - George and Izzie sleeping together. Part of it has to do with the fact that these two are friends and have never ever shown any signs of romantic inclination towards one other. I understand that sometimes friends hook up, but see you've got to have some kind of transition - no matter how slight- to convince the viewers that there may have been something there all along. That's what the other part has to do with. This plot seems so contrived it's ridiculous. Sure everybody at this hospital is sleeping with everybody else...this is what happenes on shows that have long runs on tv. everybody jumps into bed with everybody. But seriously? don't we have enough people having affairs at this hospital without dragging George and Izzie into it? It seems like bed-hopping just for the sake of bed-hopping and that annoys me. If these friends and co-workers are going to have an affair (and it is since George is married) I want to see some reasons why.

I'm not a show quitter (usually) so I'm not jumping ship yet, but I really am tired of the current path of things on Grey' the writers should really figure out where things are going in season four...and it's my hope that they steer this ship back to what makes Grey's the show it is.


Thursday, May 03, 2007

This Guy Should Be Taken Outside and Shot

According to the above article, this judge is suing his dry cleaners for 65 million dollars to cover a pair of lost pants (which aren't really lost) and a bunch of other whiny bullshit. It's no wonder that the system is so fouled up, with jerks like this taking up a court's time. My favorite part is how the guy thinks he's entitled to money to cover a rental car to drive to another godamn dry cleaners. Petty as it seems, I would even understand if he wanted to sue over the $1000 for the cost of the suit, but even that doesn't fly since apparently these people offered him a settlement. And seriously, if this guy can afford all these thousand dollar suits, he doesn't need 65 million, or money to rent a car to drive to the godamn dry cleaners. And this guy is a judge, so you'd think he'd know better. I'm usually not one to be judgemental and finger-pointy, but I'd be all right with it if this guy lost his job. Jerk.