My thoughts on the bailout

Seeds of Our Demise 3 Comments »

Insofar as I can understand it, pretty much what this guy says. On a side note, I take the opportunity to point out in the comments that I still can’t understand the whole Enron thing. (Please don’t try to explain it to me. I’ve read stuff about it, had other people try to explain it — it seems to be something to do with energy, but Enron didn’t actually have power companies or nuclear plants or anything, they just seemed to have some sort of “thing” with energy that for a while people were willing to give them lots of money for. Well, I own seven manual typewriters; everyone has a ridiculous hobby they want to throw money at, I guess.)

I can say a couple of things about the mortgage end and the housing end, though. I’ve already mentioned I worked for a mortgage company for fourteen years, and thus this sort of thing is no surprise to me. And I was just a flunky, not a loan officer or anything. You just learn stuff about a business you work for for a long time, unless you’re really stupid (or the subject is Enron). After that, I worked for four years for a homebuilding company, one of the big ones. Like all the rest of them they made all sorts of stupid decisions based on predictions even I, a keyboard puncher who had always rented, could tell were insanely over-optimistic. When the axe came down on most of us I was so not surprised.

What I don’t understand, and never will, is how the big ones in charge who actually make these decisions (lend money to everyone! build a zillion inventory homes despite the ascendant anti-cookie-cutter-home fashion that anyone with HGTV on their cable lineup knew about! Etc.) came to their decisions. It sounds more like some sort of lemming-like mass hysteria gripped the industry. How embarrassing if true.


Moving No Comments »

I swear I didn’t choose to move to St. Louis because of this. I don’t drink that much… =O

Bloody Tuesday

Moving 1 Comment »

No, not election day, today — I made the mistake of going outside, getting in my car, and driving. I had places to go and things to do, but nothing urgent — I could have stayed nice and safe indoors and avoided all the people in Orlando who all apparently decided to double up on their ASSHOLE JUICE and get behind the wheel. Cars stopping in the middle of busy streets for no reason, people driving 23 miles per hour under the speed limit for no effin’ reason and then darting in front of ME because oh, they forgot, they wanted to turn left not right, cars darting out of side streets as if I were invisible, assrider assholes hitting their horns because I didn’t floor it the minute the light turned green (notice to impatient assriding assholes with overactive dick-on-horn syndrome: 1) my 1995 standard shift Toyota Tercel does not go from 0 to 50 in the space of one second and never will, and 2) that just makes me inclined to be even slower to engage my elderly gears). And then there were the weavers, who just can’t stand not to be in front of everyone, even though they are on the streets in a large metropolitan area and therefore there will always be someone else ahead of them.

Anyway, I got back home intact, and now I am on my ancient laptop, trying to get used to using it again as my major computer since I have decided to sell the snazzy, newish desktop in order to finance my move out of this hellhole. One of my tomato plants is starting to grow blossoms, but I might not even last as long as it take for the tomatoes to develop. I don’t know if I’ll be able to hold out here until spring — staying here seems so pointless now. The one remaining friend I had in the area seems to have vanished off the face of the earth (her phone is disconnected, I had no other way of getting in touch with her), and I just don’t have anything tying me here except a lease which more and more seems to be just more money down the drain. Then again, if I don’t find a job, I won’t be able to stay here anyway…

Stay tuned for more updates to my saga.

Just to say

Blargle, Moving 3 Comments »

I am making chili, which is one of the world’s easiest meals to cook, at least the way I do it. I usually use whatever chili spice mix catches my eye — this time Publix brand. Just chop up an onion and a little garlic, throw it in a big pot with some vegetable oil (I favor olive oil, you can use regular or extra-virgin), throw in a pound to two pounds ground meat (1.70 lbs ground chuck, it was on sale), a big can of diced tomatoes, two regular cans of red or kidney beans, cook. See, the weather, while warm, is overcast and somewhat gloomy — perfect chili weather. Well, it would be more perfect if it were cold, but if you wait until one of Florida’s random cold snaps to make chili then you are a stronger person than I am.

Anyway — I can’t wait until I’m moved out of here. I am so looking forward to moving to St. Louis. I’m not exactly a great decision maker, but this feels right. I’ve never felt that I belonged in this state, and I don’t know why I haven’t already left. (Actually I do — laziness, inertia, fear of change, etc.) For many reasons which I won’t get into now I have been on a long process of making myself realize that I’m a grown woman who is allowed to live her own life and do what she wants. If I have the means to go somewhere I can. I don’t live in Soviet Russia, there’s no one I have to check in with if I want to take off somewhere. Yesterday I decided to drive up to High Springs, a small town outside of Gainesville that I had passed through on a trip with a friend (one of those “friends” who turned out to be just another chain on my life, thereby hangs a tale I won’t tell) many years ago. The town itself turned out to be a bit of a bust, though maybe I shouldn’t go places in rural Florida on Sunday if I want to see anything be open. But the weather was nice — rather hazy — and the countryside along I-75 is quite lovely. It passes through that part of Florida that’s full of horse ranches, and there are hills and vistas and things. With any luck I’ll be able to take a few more of these little jaunts, just to keep my restlessness down to a minimum, until I am finally able to leave this state for good.

How did these people get into positions of authority?

Moving, Seeds of Our Demise 2 Comments »

Uh-oh… no sooner do I decide to move to St. Louis, MO, then I find out that some local governmental official types who are totally in the bag for Osama have decided to jump the gun a little and start threatening those who don’t think the O-man is the One, the Way, and the Light. Hey, people, wait until he’s elected God President, okay? Sheesh, some people just have to peek under the Christmas wrappings early.

Seriously, I’m not too worried. After all, everyone knows that McCain is going to win, and then people like St. Louis County Circuit Attorney Bob McCulloch and St. Louis City Circuit Attorney Jennifer Joyce will be too busy pissing their pants in thwarted rage to worry about people who don’t like their beloved one. Okay, really seriously this time: I might as well introduce myself seeing as how in a few months I plan to relocate to their state: Hi. I refuse to vote for Obama for the following reasons: he’s a socialist, a liar, a product of the notoriously-corrupt Chicago political machine, is too inexperienced and thin-skinned to be chief dog-catcher much less president of a country where he can expect at least someone somewhere to call him a fascist baby-killer, and he is running a racially-divided campaign even though he’s 1) half white, and 2) his African father shares nothing, not even tribal ancestry, with the African-American descendants of slaves in this country upon the back of whose experience he is attempting to ride into the presidency. And that’s just the reasons I can think of off the top of my head.

Pontius Pilate was a liberal

Seeds of Our Demise 11 Comments »

One thing I don’t see mentioned all that often about the liberal, progressive mindset, is their policy of just up and walking away from unpleasant situations, often leaving others to clean up the messes they leave behind. Confronting a situation head on is to be avoided at all costs, especially if doing so will result in the liberal, progressive person in question “looking bad” in the high-school-derived conception of “reputation” most liberals have.

Case in point: famous (in her own circles, anyway) Hispanic writer Alisa Valdez-Rodriguez is tired of paying a mortgage on a house that the current economic crisis has devalued, and tired of living in Arizona, which apparently refused to change its culture to please her, so she’s going to–

— Sell her house and eat the loss?

— Move and rent out her house, still paying the mortgage until the housing crisis resolves itself (as these things do) and her house goes back up in value?

No no no, that would be falling into the oppressive, capitalist trap! Instead, she’s going to Stick It To The Man and Show Them All — she’s going to just stop paying her mortgage (take that bank! I hope she writes a snarky letter and I hope they publish it in the newspaper to public ridicule) and move back in with her dad! I’m sure her kids are just thrilled.

Now for some full disclosure: I’ve had my moments in finance — let’s just say my credit is in the trash heap because of my own bad actions in the past where I’ve just quit paying. However, I own my bad decisions, I don’t blame them on the evil capitalist credit companies who forced all those Visas and Mastercards and student loans down my throat. I don’t write self-aggrandizing posts about how defaulting on my car loan made me some sort of champion of the poor. I walked open-eyed into buying a car I couldn’t afford. No one made me. I learned my lesson.

But liberal, progressive, always-right people like Valdez-Rodriguez never learn their lesson. They are the teachers, see — we are the ones who have to sit open-mouthed like baby birds and receive their regurgitated wisdom. They never see the real consequences of their actions, because they can always blame it on this ephemeral “oppressive, capitalist system.” But I worked for a mortgage company for fourteen years and I can tell you the bad facts, not the unicorn-dust wishes and fairy tears dreams of the liberals. The bad facts are this:

— Pressure to prove their non-racist bona fides notwithstanding, the fact that a Hispanic female has stopped paying her bills out of pique will only add to the perception that both Hispanics and females are both worse credit risks than WASP males. It won’t be stated out loud, ever, but it’s something “everyone will know,” just like “everyone knows” that African-Americans are also lousy bill payers, that Indians (from India) are incredibly annoying to deal with because they insist on arguing about every damn thing in the fine print, Arabs can’t seem to help trying to bargain the price of everything, the Chinese are extremely anal and tight as ticks, and so on. You don’t like it? TOUGH SHIT. This is the way people think, this is the way people always think, and none of your racial quotas and doublethink thought policing will change this fact about the mortgage industry and finance in general and human nature forever. Sure, the fact that mortgage companies and banks made loans to minorities with little or no credit, because they had a gun to their head called “bad publicity if you don’t.” That doesn’t mean they didn’t do it without qualms among the flunkies — i.e., the loan officers and underwriters who actually have to process the paperwork. But no one cares what flunkies think.

— This will, of course, just add to the present crisis. In fact, the whole system of unspoken-yet-known judgmentalism was a natural way of making sure stuff like what is happening now be kept to a minimum. You know what happens when you fuck with nature.

— Far from easing relations between the various races and ethnic groups in this country, the PC meddling by the Concerned Ones has only made things worse. Sure, the previous system was prejudicial, but you know what? It actually made things in the long run better for minorities. Having to prove they had good credit meant minority groups had to make sure they ignored the siren call of the “helpers” who promised an easy way into the mainstream, easy ways which usually meant more obligations than say a poor immigrant family could handle. It meant they had to work hard, not lay around waiting for a welfare check. It meant, eventually, that when they came back with good credit they got a good loan, because when the meddlers are kept out of it money talks and bullshit walks. And it meant that the reputation of the minority person’s minority group was therefore also improved. A rising tide lifts all boats (for example, the reputation of Asians as studious, hardworking, and thrifty is certainly an improvement over what people used to think of them).

But now that’s all screwed, or at least badly set back. Now somewhere there are African-Americans or Hispanics or what-have-you sitting in their overpriced houses whose value is currently halved, who can’t afford to pay the mortgage because they got an ARM and the rates shot through the roof and therefore so did their mortgage payment, who feel an increasing bitterness at the oppressive, capitalist, white Them who told them they wouldn’t have any problems, sure, go buy that huge, swollen home on your ten-dollar-an-hour wages. Thanks, liberal helpers, for clearing up this country’s racial problems overnight!

And lastly:

— If Ms. Valdez-Rodriguez thinks she’s going to get away scot-free from this “unpleasantness,” she’s got another think coming. For example, she’ll be hounded by first the bank, and then the collection agencies. Then she’ll find that a trashed credit rating means she won’t be able to get any credit. Duh! And she’ll find that she needs credit in this economy. Why am I renting out a $550 a month one-room apartment at the age of 45? Well, for one thing, I don’t have any relatives to leech off of like she has. She’d better hope daddy doesn’t get tired of her or her kid’s shit and throws her out the door. Having to be perpetually on the good side of someone, even a beloved family member, does things to a person’s psyche, though your mileage may vary. Maybe she’ll be happy but her kid will start acting out. Etc.

But back to that trashed credit. All those calls from the credit companies offering to increase your rate? Say good-bye to those. She’ll be lucky to keep the cards she has. Though I’ll bet you an announcement that she’s cutting up her Visa and stopping payment will come next. You know, stuffing your money in a sock under the mattress isn’t as efficient as you think it is.

Another thing: she’s a writer, so she gets royalty checks, right? In other words, she gets paid. Watch the screams hit the roof when she finds her income being garnished. You think Uncle Sam won’t get personally involved in Little Miss Wash-My-Hands’ mortgage follies? There’s taxes in them thar houses. These are usually handled by putting them in escrow, but if no one’s making the house payments, how will the government get its share? Well, from the bank, but — if I were the bank I’d already be on the phone to the IRS. But that’s just me.



Seeds of Our Demise 7 Comments »

Complaining that Sarah Palin came off as stupid while being interviewed by Katie Couric, the talking kewpie doll of network tv, is like complaining that George W. Bush is stupid because he pronounces nuclear like “nukular.”

Here’s a picture of the cockpit of the plane Bush learned to fly. Kinda more complicated than my Toyota Tercel, but I’m on the intardnet every day, bet I could learn to get that thing off the ground in, oh, never.

(Click for larger. Geniuses.)

And just to close this out — how many of us keyboard wizards know how to kill and dress a moose? (Hint: that doesn’t mean dress the corpse up in your grandma’s wedding dress.) But hell, it won’t play on CNN, so let’s all cry Doom! Doooooom!

Another message?

Moving 3 Comments »

I think Florida is trying to tell me something…

I opened my sliding glass door to take advantage of the slightly cooler (70s), lower-humidity weather we’ve been having here. I took a deep breath of the delightful midmorning air, scented by my pot of fast-growing herbs and tomato plants… what the hell is that smell???

A dead squirrel is currently bloating up right outside my patio screens, under the shrubs. Even my cats seem disgusted. I know who the culprit is… my next-door neighbors have two cats also, but they let them run around outside. I think the male cat is trying to make friends with Xena, my younger cat. Unfortunately she hates all other cats and goes into danger-murder wail mode whenever she sees him. Ah, romance.

Update: maintenance has been called, and they will remove the odoriferous ex-beastie. See, that’s why I rent.

Back on the bread line

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Hi kids! Well, yesterday was the last day at my job. Monday I get to start the wonderful fun of looking for another job, or temp assignment, or something. Yays. I sure do hope I can stick it out around here until April. Well, the fact that I don’t have enough money to get up and move right now does help.

Just to review: I am moving out of Florida, ideally as soon as my lease is up, which is at the end of April. Goal: St. Louis, MO. Somehow I am going to have to pry the costs out of that out of the cost of living. Any contribution you can make will help. LInks to Paypal etc. are to the left…

Marking time

Blargle, Moving, Seeds of Our Demise No Comments »

If I had thought about changing my mind about moving out of Florida, this would have got me re-enthused. Alcee Hastings is one of those corrupt Florida politicians that just won’t go away, and now he reveals that he’s another crazy, PDS-inflicted loser. And no one but us bitter, gun-clinging (guess now that means I have to buy a gun), Bible-pounding right-wing warmonglers will call him out on it. Because we’re RACIST.

In personal news, I went to bed early last night because I had a stomach ache. I have no idea… I’m hoping it was just one of those things. And I do feel better already; in fact, I finally got around to doing the rest of my laundry. I have to go put everything in the dryer now. And I’ve already started sorting through my clothes; I plan to get rid of all but a small set of outfits. I always end up wearing just the same five things over and over again anyway (yes, I wash them between wearing!), and I have all these “oh, that’s cute and on sale” items that I never wear anymore. They probably wouldn’t fit my fat rump anyway.

Off to the laundry room.