Monday, December 17, 2007

A Gemini's Mind

I usually have a ton of things I'm thinking about all at once during the day. I try to keep my thoughts organized into lists. Things I like, things I don't like, thinks I want to do, things I need to do, things I'd like to do, things I rather be doing when I'm doing things that I have to do... etc. So today, my mind is really in about 6 different places at once.

1)Due to my recent lack of employment because I was laid-off, needless to say I've been looking for a new job. I sent my resume to an unlikely place for me to be employed at and I did a telephone interview with the owner, but he was too busy to interview me in person during the week last week, so he said maybe Saturday. We'll, when I say 'maybe' that means to be "I'll work you into my schedule or I'll call". Neither did of these actions happened over my wasted Saturday waiting for the interview. I'm not sure if I now want to pursue this job any further because if the owner is not considerate and I have to depend on him for my pay, maybe that's not such a good place to work after all.

2)I need to finish those pillows for my mom. I'm going to visit on Wednesday and that would be nice for her to get those items back in a finished state as well as relieve my closet of the space these projects are taking up.

3) I think I may need to rework my resume because although prospective employers are reviewing it, they are not compelled to respond. I'm a seasoned, honest, hard-working professional and I am good damn it; reply-reply-reply! already. And if the revamping of my resume fails to get anymore attention than it already has, then I am also considering retraining because of my lay-off situation, but that is a scary proposition because I'm not sure if I can survive on less than half of my regular income during the training period. On the other hand, it's exciting to know that the opportunity to acquire new skills exists and maybe I can somehow get back to drafting, drawing or computer aided drafting, which I think would make me a happier person in the long run than just doing office work.

5)Circular saw acquired. What to do: I do not want the recycling to take over my patio area again, so I have to build a containment/collection unit to satisfy this need. I have a bathroom door that I intend on trimming to put up in my bathroom. I could cut wood for shelving in the main bathroom, too, but I think I'm going to use surplus shelving left over from my Ikea Husar collection.

6)I never realized how much Christmas sucks when you're an adult out of work. I want to give gifts, but with no serious money to buy anything, what the hell do you do? Banana bread. I think that's my answer for 2007. If you get a loaf from me, consider yourself 'special' because I don't make this stuff for just anyone.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Riding the orange spiral slide down

O.K., so I was laid off on November 6th and my company is going out of business on March 30th. Generally speaking, greed and fraud killed subprime lending. Wall Street investment banks put the brakes on all of their loan purchases because they wanted value from their investment and the ensuing credit squeeze is making everyone that's still sitting on an adjustable rate mortgage quite nervous. I am also one of those in that group of people, too.

Now, I read today in the OC Register that not only is greed and fraud prevalent in mortgage lending, but also in corporate real estate. O.C. Billionaire Igor Olenicoff, ironically the owner of the building I worked in for over four and a half years pleaded guilty to tax felony, has been convinced of lying on his taxes and paid 52 million in back taxes. He could face up to three years in prison when he's sentenced on April
14th. Link to the news article

I've been in the position before where I made a career decision in an economic stressful time. Actually, it's what lead me to move to Orange County in 1992. My step-sister(at the time) needed help with the rent, so I moved to Fullerton and rented a room from her for a little over a year. At that time, I was a bank teller and I moved right after Bank of America bought out Security Pacific National Bank, so many branches were consolidated and closed. There were banking professionals laid off all over the place. I chose to quit my Merchant Teller job in Rialto because I did not feel safe in that branch. I thought if I could work somewhere, anywhere but there, I'd feel better about being a Teller and working with money on a daily basis.

After being unemployed for almost two months, I was running out of money and getting nervous about Christmas which was about four weeks away when landed a temp to perm job the day after Thanksgiving thanks to BankForce. They called me up and asked if I could file, not realizing that I used to manually pay checks, and I replied, "Alpha or numeric?" Ninety days later, I was employed at my first real job with a salary and not just an hourly wage, decent benefits and... taadaa... chickenpox! My son brought them home from kindergarten while attending school in Fullerton.

That job turned into a ten year career and my last title there was "Custody Account Manager". That job forced me to gain a big picture view of and terminology related to investment banking, something I never even thought about before I got that job. After ten years and a change in ownership, I felt I hit a ceiling and the working environment was more about the numbers than the people, so I looked for my next job. I found it in a clients account and networked to get a position as the "Collateral Control Manager" of the mortgage company that I am laid off from.

I kind of had to laugh that the National Mortgage News reported a decline in mortgage job losses. Welp, if your industry killed off over 400,000 jobs, are there that many left to even take away? Just this week, Option One, Washington Mutual and Lending Tree announced job losses if not right out closures.

How low can we go?

Sunday, December 9, 2007

I hate winter.

I was born and raised in Southern California. I have lived here all my life, so anytime the temperature drops below 70 degrees, I'm cold. Don't laugh. A lot of other native Californians I know feel the same way.

Today was a day to dress like a psycho. As I left the house this moring to take my son to work, I was wearing Levi's, a shirt, a sweater, and my wool coat and gloves with sneakers. If the cold wind stopped blowing for a minute, you would have thought it was a warm spring day. I could feel the sun on my face warming my cheeks. The moment the wind started up again, I was chilled. I threw my hood up over my head and hustled over to the carport.

I decided I needed a drive down the coast to help clear my head after I dropped off my son. Down meaning south of where I live. I drove west to Jamboree and then south on PCH until Crown Valley Parkway. Along the way I saw that there were people in shorts, there were people in sweats. There were people bundled up like me in wool pea coats and sneakers and then some just walking around in a t-shirt and running shorts like it was any other day for them regardless of the drop in temperature. I saw shorts and sweat tops, I saw typical beach attire at newpoert for those playing volley ball at 10AM in the morning. As I made the left turn onto Crown Valley and climbed up the hill, I could clearly see the remnants of last nights storm deposited in white all over the San Gabriel and San Bernardino mountains. Just looking at it made me cold. I would say at this time, the snow is at about the 6000 ft level after the first good rain we've had maybe since August.

The sad thing is that it's only December 9th and it isn't truly winter until December 21st.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Mere Mortals 12/04/07

I went to the Silver Lake Lounge last night in support of my friend Mimi who plays bass for the Los Angeles-based indie band Mere Mortals. I got to catch-up with my friend about work, Thanksgiving, met the new guitarist and comment on the christmas lights they like to use for set decoration. Mimi said the new guys were probably nervous because this was their first show after joining. There were rehearshing almost everyday for six weeks to get up to speed.

I must say the new band members were sounding impressive. We treated to the old staples such as Reverberation (they always open theie shows with this one), 13th Floor, and Dr. South and new songs, too. I even saw Axel pick up an acoustic guitar once for this set - nice.

I sold one CD. You see, Mimi usually does this when she's not on stage, but since I'm there and want to sit down during the performance, working the merch table allows me to do that and allows her to perform and then help load out including her amp which is almost bigger than she is.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

A Good Breakfast... and more cooking

I saw this in my head while reading the newspaper's food section this morning, so I thought I'd make it for breakfast. What's this "it" you ask? It was a fried egg, two thin slices of tomato on a one piece of buttered honeywheat bread. I cooked it in one pad or Nucoa and seasoned the egg with Morton's Nature's seasoning. It gives food more flavor than just salt or pepper would. I could of added a piece of Danola ham, but I was out. I was out of tomato, too, for that matter, so after I dropped my son off at school, I took a drive over to Sprouts in Irvine and gathered some fresh ingredients for breakfast and dinner. I wish I lived in a more temperate climate so that the fruit and vegetable prices would not fluctuate so much because of the cold winter months. I bought lemons for .50 cents each. Why am I not growing a lemon tree on my patio?

So the recipe I'm going to try out is one for some sort of lemon bars I clipped out of the newspaper this morning. I have to make it with Nucoa because I can't have milk so it's questionable whether it will turn out O.K. or not. Sometimes it does, and sometimes I have to tweak it a little for my non-dairy life. It seems you're destined to live a bakery-deprived life when you cannot tolerate milk and that just somehow seems wrong to me.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

On Thanksgiving Day

So today is Thanksgiving Day; a time to celibrate what we have been blessed with and thankful for as another year goes by in our lives. The menu is supposed to be representative of the first harvest festival in October1621 held by settlers at Plymouth, Massachusetts (1). These same folks were the survivors of the Mayflower crossing in 1620. Turkey, corn and greens, I imagine.

This is my menu for Thanksgiving 2007:
cranberry gel
turkey gravy
mashed potatoes
baby peas and pearl onions
herbed sourdough bread

...and for desert...
apple pie
pumpkin pie

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!


(1)Pilgrim Hall - The First Thanksgiving

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

My .99 Cents Only Store is the shit...

Today's .99 Cents only shopping spree:

16 month calendar - "Lighthouses" MSRP $9.95
(2) cooling racks - (says Walmart on the label)
Hunt's brand Meat Spaghetti Sauce
Sugar in the Raw - 25 packs
Heavy duty foil - 30 ft
coffee scoop - Everyday Values
collapsible plastic organizer
clear blue recycling bags w/ draw string, 10 ct, 30 gallons

Friday, November 16, 2007

When was the last time you bought a new TV?

This blog was spurred by the fact that on October 1st, 2007, Best Buy pulled all analog TV's from it's store shelves and stopped selling them. See: Best Buy pulls plug on analog TVs.

When was the last time you bought a new TV? Do you have a high definition receiver? If you do, then well good for you. But if you do not, then I might suggest that you get one sometime in 2008. Why the rush? Well, it's because your big, boxy television set will be of no use to you after February 18th, 2009. This is the date mandated to be the cut-off point for your analog television signal. Without a converter set-top box or a television that can handle a digital signal, you're going to miss the boat.

Do you remember when they used to call TVs television sets? A set of what? I thought maybe it was a set because it had a received and an antenna, but I could be wrong. Now in today's world, the only people with antenna are those with the satellite subscriber service. When was the last time your friends talked about installing a big, bulky black wire mesh bowl of a satellite dish in the back yard? Personally, I've only seen one in my lifetime up close and that's because my father loved that kind of cutting edge stuff as much as I now do.

Probably in 2001, I think, I purchase a rear projection TV from Howard's as a Christmas gift to me. It was delivered on NYE, and for my first full day of use, I sat on the couch mesmerized by the sight of the Pasadena Rose Parade on my 47 inch screen.

This past summer, I got itchy for HD radio, but my son talked me out of it. So instead, I looked for a HD digital receiver set-top box to accompany my huge ass TV. I found one at Circuit City in Brea for less than $200. Took it home and hooked it up and again, it was that same gaze in my eyes of wondering how the make the picture so amazing.

What is going to top this, I wonder. The highest picture quality now available to the consumer is achieved at 1080i.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Los Angeles Water Patrol

On November 12th, KABC Channel 7, Los Angeles, had LA Mayor Villaragosa talking about water conservation and how the DWP, which is the major supplier for water and power in Los Angeles county, will be conducting patrols to advise residents about water conservation.

LA does have water usage rules. Did you forget? They are not as severe as other areas like New Mexico or Georgia, but it's important to know that:

1. You cannot water hard surfaces such as side walks, walkways, driveways or parking areas.

2. You cannot water your lawn during these times:
April 1st to September 30th - 10Am to 5PM
October 1st to March 31st - 11Am to 3PM

3. Allow excess water from your sprinklers to flood the gutters.

4. Use water to clean, fill, or maintain fountains unless it has a recirculating system.

5. Serve water in eating establishments until the customer asks for it.

6. Allow water leaks to go unattended.

In addition, LA residents are also encouraged to:

1. Fax leaky faucets and install an airator.

2. Use a broom instead of a hose to clean paved surfaces.

3. Shorten your showers and install a water restrictor.

4. Adjust your sprinklers to water the greenery only, not the sidewalks, street or drive way.

5. Run only full loans in your dishwasher and laundry machines.

The goal is to reduce the city's water usage by atleast 10 percent. If this can't be achieved, you better bet they will whip out the ticket system and fine you... you-you-you water waster.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

The job search is on

This is my first weekend knowing that on Monday morning, I have no job to go to. I was laid off on Tuesday from one of those subprime mortgage companies you've heard all the bad news about. Well, now that bad news has spread itself on my piece of bread and I'm not happy about it. Who would be happy about loosing their job anyway unless you absolutely freakin hated it.

The OC Register has few prospects for me. I don't like the fact that when I read an ad that is even mildly appealing to me, and my skill set semi matches the set they are looking for, the wage is grossly lower than mine was. ACK. You could say I was a sort of a person that wore a lot of diffferent hats - MERS Administrator/Specialist/Data Analyst and working with the Servicing's correspondence as well as in the end began to learn the customer complaints deskas part of Compliance, too, and performed the per diem interest refunds for new loans. I was somewhere between an operations unit secretary and a paralegal. So when I read an posting for paralegal, I'm under qualified but if I read a posting for a administrative assistant, I'm over qualified. It's frustrating to say the least. If there was a chance that a job in the financial servicing industry was available again, I'm quite squeamish about taking it note the experience with this company. I know I shouldn't be, but the industry won't bounce back from the credit woes for about two years - my prediction. All of the adjustable rate loans need to reset or cycle out and resolve, either by refi/payoff or FCL/REO.

So online, I've been hitting the EDD quite hard to glean information about employment opportunities through that website. I'd like to know if because of the industry I was laid off from, if there is any opportunity to get retained for one that at least I can get a comparable pay in. The site listed training classes from June? But I don't remember seeing one, again, with the same pay rate I was getting, so why would I even want to consider retraining if the prospects are low wage jobs?

So I'm continuing my search...

Saturday, November 10, 2007

The sky is falling

So now that I have all this damn ass free time, I decided that I absolutely hate my drop ceiling in the kitchen area and want to tear it down. I've been contemplating it all week. Actually, I've been contemplating it for a while, but only recently, have I made plans, like repairing the ceiling and replacing the light.

So after three days of semi-idleness, Saturday morning is the day I decide to tear it all out. I wake-up early, and start to remove the acoustic tiles. I started by the sink and worked my way out toward the frig on the other side of the room. So by the time I get to the last tile, my back is turned to the light fixture that is suspended in the middle of the room and I hear this huge crash behind me. I turn my head to see the light now positioned face up on the kitchen floor. I think of how many thousands of times I have walked under that damn thing and now that I'm so glad its gone. I still have to remove the railing, but the hazard is no more.

Once all the railing is removed, I have to patch the holes and then apply the knockdown texture to the ceiling area that never got any-thank you. Then I can paint. I'm thinking ceiling white and then after the cabinets get stripped, I'll pick a real color like egg shell or cream... something a tad warmer than the stark white I started with in each room. I'm looking at new products made out of portland cement and recycled colored glass for a solid counter top surface because I think a tiled one makes the room look smaller. I think it's called ice stone. Anyway, wish me good luck with the project. One of many that hopefully gets more into a completed state because we use the kitchen too much for it not to be nice and done.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007


The feeling of impending doom in the pit of my stomach finally occurred, as expected. Yesterday, I was laid off from my job. I worked for this company for approximately 4 years and 184 days, give or take holidays, sick days, and rare personal day. It also was the same length of time I have been in the mortgage industry. Not many left can say they worked there longer than I did. As my friend would say, I wore many hats. I was the collateral control manager at one time, the vault manager, a supervisor. I handled trailing documents, collateral files, credit files, imaging, shipping, document exceptions, notary, MERS, assignments, and in the end, customer complaints, per diem interest refunds, and correspondence processing for the Legal Dept. and Servicing. I set-up processes and defined systems, programs, and wrote procedures. I learned about things I would not have thought I would of ever needed to know, like FIPS, geocoding, census tracts, crystal reports, and more SQL queries than you can shake a stick at because for the most part, I was my own report writer, too.

Prior to this, the company and it's investor were my clients. I networked to get into this job and now it's basically gone because the funding faucet was turned off yesterday. No fundings means no job for me.

So now what? Well, I have a few things I want to get done this week around the house. I'm working on my budget, I have to make a doctors appointment while I have my medical insurance and I'm networking again to see if my friends can get me a job, too. I will temp again, if I have to, but all in all I'm in better shape than most financially. I am hopeful because right now, the doom is gone and hope and looking forward is all I've got.

Monday, October 29, 2007

My week in hell

I don't know if you've ever experience a hacker intruding your home network before, but I have. They did it on a late Sunday or early Monday morning and then grabed the passwords for the two accounts I was logged into... ebay and gmail. Nice, huh? I was in the process of posting items for sale and this happens. So it took me 8 days to regain control of my computer network and my two accounts, but everything seems to be O.K. for me. Unfortunately, I can't say the same for the two people that may have been defrauded on ebay in my name for computer equipment I did not order. I'm going to reccomend that they contact the FBI and the US Department of Justice since the hacker is located in Italy. How do I know this? ebay sends emails with IP tracing each time account info is changed.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Small Kitchen Appliances

I enjoy cooking and if I can utilize any kind of kitchen implement while doing so, this makes me happy. I don't know why it does, it just is how it is and because I know this of myself, I relish being in my own kitchen and cooking. I have had the opportunity to cook professionally and only when I used the industrial tomato slicer, the lettuce corer or the grill scraper was I really happy. Now at home, I've found the ease of use and magic small appliances. This blog was spurred by me locating my coffee maker which resides in the only lower storage base cabinets in my kitchen. These two doors hide the fact that I have what I consider to be a small collection of small electric kitchen appliances. Let's inventory the collection:

1. toaster
2. microwave
3. ISC convection cooker
4. toaster oven
5. full size food processor
6. electric mixer (comes with 6 attachments)
7. rice cooker
8. coffee maker
9. ice shaver
10. crock pot
11. blender
12. juicer
13. George Foreman's original Lean Mean Fat Reducing Grilling Machine
14. B & D small chopper

Eventually, storage permitting, I'd like to also purchase:

1. electric knife - for those times when carpel tunnel and carving meat don't mix
2. ice cream maker - I'd magically transform into the sorbet goddess of OC
3. Thunder Stick Pro - I saw this on an infomercial while on a business trip and I found myself drooling after it was over. Thank god I was alone in my hotel room when this occured... how embarrassing.
4. any one of those rotissere type cookers - because A)I miss having a KOOKAAROO's in OC, and B) slow cooked meat braised in it own juices is THE BEST.

... now back to making that pot of blueberry flavored coffee my new gf introduced me to on Friday. Thank you DH.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Excel should be marked obsolete.

Why hasn't Bill Gates retired Excel and made it obsolete by now? Viva la Access!

Sunday, October 7, 2007

A Sunday Dialog with Andy

I ventured out of my humble Southern California condo on this beautiful sunny Sunday morning in October to find that from the time it took me to take my son at work by 10AM until I returned to my home, someone had broke a beer bottle on the sidewalk between the greenbelt and the parking lot. On purpose or not, this inconsiderate ass left it there where it shattered, splintered and created a potential hazard for all who had to pass it... the glass shards waiting to create havoc on the unsuspecting resident. Needless to say, I was mad that I was presented this mess when I turned the corner to walk back to my condo unit. I walked around and over the broken bottle a few times as did the lady who was also doing laundry from unit number 12, but she did not make any effort to clean it up. So I figured if no one will do it, I will. I waited until my last load of laundry was coming out of the dryer and I gathered my broom and dustpan from my patio area and cleaned up the crap someone else should of done.

The incident left my day colored with ideas of basic personal responsibility. I commented to my friend Andy from Myspace, a former peace officer and a straight up all-around good guy who frequently has his ire up on things that don't make a lot of sense and the injustice of the world and brings his views to light in his blogs. Below is what transcribed in today's writings in what I have entitled, "A Sunday Dialog with Andy".

Dear Andy,
Don't you wish being human came with an instruction manual sometimes? Maybe then we could avoid all the war, poverty and stupidity in the world. O.K., I'm stepping off of the soapbox now. It's all yours. Hope you're having a great Sunday - annaZZZ
From Andy:
My fave response when some one asks me how I am doing is and likely always will be Everyday above ground is a good day. It is not original, I stole it from a movie along long time ago but I find it fitting. A space friend of mine that I am very fortunate to virtually know recently sent me a response where the basic response was wouldn't it be great if life came with a manual. It would Annazzz it would. Thank you for relinquishing for a couple minutes the soap box to me. Can you imagine how scared we are the moments after our mothers give birth to us. We are no longer in the warmth and comfort of the womb. Then there is this whole bright light out of no where thing. Did you ever stop to think about this? They say when you die you walk into a bright light well I believe that, because when we are born we are forced into the bright light of the delivery room. Maybe the light at death is nothing more than the light of rebirth. Deep huh? I can do that every now and again. I remember very little I was taught in school. That is not any teachers fault either. We get the basics like math, science, English (I missed the day they taught speling), and finger painting. What if we were, at one point in time, given a code of conduct or life manual? It would be required reading and must be issued world wide. It would not stifle creativity or create robots but it would give us lifes basic ettiquette. First thing would be how to treat others and respect them and yourself. Race would never be mentioned because it would be a non factor in life. We would open doors for each other and not persecute different believes but learn from them. We might have to get rid of some perceived religious staples like not tolerating homosexuals and such but I think God probably never said that in the first place. Probably whoever brought that idea up was a repressed homosexual themself. We would learn to learn and love instead of tolerate (a word I personally detest when used in some contexts), hate, and fight. Wars could go away with basic life ettiquette rules. Our differences are what make humans so wonderful. We would learn basic finances. Credit does not equal free. The life manual would also lead us eradicate the credit companies that tell people they will give them credit when it is obvious they already over-extended. We would find in our book that patience is indeed a great virtue. We would learn to work to live and not live to work. If we did that we we be home with our loves and divorce would likely reduce because we have more quality time to keep the family foundation strong. We would spend more times with our kids to anchor this wonderful book of life. Creativity would be better because we would not be so work concious which would get rid of bad TV, music, and Movie sequals. The book would tell us simple things to that often get forgotten today like bungee jumping is a silly risk, corn is useless because it comes out the same way it went in, the Christmas message has been long lost, Happy Days was a good show, the music in your car may not be what the car next to wants to hear pounding in their ears, tube tops are a bad idea, the flute is an instrument sadly missing in rock music, making a sex video with someone is never a good idea, random acts of kindess are always amazing, men have no need for nipples, reading is a great way to pass time, so is conversation, holding hands can be romantic than sex (you may not always be able to bump uglies but holding hands on the beach is priceless), life is not a SIM, and finally telling someone bless you when they sneeze. Some of these ideas are goofy but it is my way to say that while life can be very serious it is a great idea to be goofy from to time. I wish we had this book but who would write it? I have some ideas. Thank you Annazzz for putting this seed in my head today you rock.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007


Sometimes I think I would be a sell out to the beauty industry if I glamored up my look completely and went all-girlie all the time. You know who I'm talking about. Women with the latest in clothes, hair perfectly quaffed and make-up a mile thick so it doesn't melt off of their face during the day. Manicures and pedicures weekly because heaven forbid a nail gets chipped. Do men really find that attractive or has it become the acceptable norm?

It seems to me if you do go that route, you aren't presenting yourself honestly. Make-up can camouflage minor flaws, girdles can hide a few pounds, wearing certain cuts and colors can either make or break a look. What happens when you strip off the facade and you're standing naked in the light of day? Can you live with your own reality without all the props?

Saturday, September 29, 2007

The weekend's here...

The weekends here and I think I must have been stressed out during work this past week because I have been sleeping most of the day - Saturday. I woke up at 4AM from falling asleep on the couch. I did a few entries on Yelp, then fell back asleep on the couch watching TV. I woke up and I was hungry. Go figure. I had a bowl of berry burst cheerios with vanilla Westsoy Plus and went back to sleep. I woke up again and I was hungry. This time I found herbed goat cheese and garlic crackers and ate half of the cheese clod. And Hey! I did not go back to sleep this time. I channel surfed away from the DYI and the comedy channels because you know I have to watch "So I Married an Axe Murderer" when it's on not only because it's a funny movie, but because Anthony LaPaglia was in his prime them - mmm mmm mmm. Damn Italians - always have a soft spot for them in my heart and I don't know why. He was gorgeous in his 30's - but seriously, I don't know what happened to his physic nowadays because by me reading his bio on, I learned he's three years older than me. Ouch. Why do men allow themselves to get chunky and so out of shape? It's so unhealthy.

Friday after work, I went to Ikea in an effort to locate an adequate replacement for the cheesy pine and chipboard cubes screwed to my wall resembling CD racks. Next to my awesome large screen TV and stereo cabinet, the organized CD racks look like something that a high schooler would have for storage. The pine cubes appear quite emaciated just not substantial enough to stand against the other furniture in the room.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Black Wednesday

"Black Wednesday" was the phrase that someone used at work two days ago. It's one of those days that you can predict the impending doom of the A.M. scheduled mandatory corporate meeting. I can't go into detail specifically where I work because I'm one of those beleaguered employees of "that" financial sector that gets all of the bad news and finger pointing now-a-days. Let me tell you, there is nothing wrong with subprime home loans when you can afford the home you bought and are actually able pay your payments and on time. Whats wrong with subprime is that people on many different levels took advantage of the situation and now it's just ugly. It's ugly for the homeowner who needs a loan, but has glitches in their credit. It's ugly for the companies who originated and bought pools of these loans because now the properties are all being devalued due to massive waves of default. It's ugly for the workers of the companies that were abruptly let go, laid off, or had the office doors closed and locked behind them at the end of the day. I read somewhere today while reviewing a news article about HSBC's Decision One closings it's doors that about 100 companies have had a similar fate this year and more are to come due to the subprime woes. I'm sitting tight because right now a good job in the mortgage industry is hard to find but as each day goes by, I still have this heavy feeling of doom in the pit of my stomach.

Monday, September 10, 2007

More thoughts on Florida

This is what I wrote to a gf at work about my trip to Florida.

Florida was alot like California in some respects. You need a car to get anywhere you want to go. Some areas are nice and some are not so nice. They have a Highway 1 like our PCH which sometimes goes near the ocean or the beach and is also called the Dixie Highway or A1A - which is free. They also have a toll road called the Florida Turnpike which works like the Fastpass here and which I think is bigger than the regular freeway called the I-95 that goes north and south the entire length of the state. Going to Miami is like going to LA for us. Going to the Florida Keys is like going to Catalina for us, except you can drive or boat to the Keys. Going to Worth Avenue in Palm Beach is like the Rodeo Drive of south Florida. I stayed in West Palm Beach, which was nice and old and safe. The hotel I stayed at was actually located in the historical district which also had a sprinkling of art, restaurants, and antique shops.. The hotel was cute, clean and cheap and everyone was really nice to me. It had a sushi bar and a yarn shop across the street - how perfect was that? They have tons of bars and gambling everywhere. Down the street from where I stayed, there was the Palm Beach Kennel Club, aka greyhound racing nightly and they also have a huge poker room. They have legalized gambling on the indian land there like in California, too. I saw the 5 story Seminole Hard Rock Casino where Anna Nicole Smith died - that was off of the turnpike during the drive to the Key's on Thursday. I ate conch fritters (it's a local shellfish) when I went to the Holiday Isle on Islamorada. Oh, because it's so hot most the time, some bars stay open later than 2AM. I also located a Super Walmart . It was open 24 hours a day and included a full grocery store inside. (An amazing thing to people in Southern California where they have been just about banned everywhere they tried to open one.) I went to the Keys on Thursday (my friend drove), kept it local on Friday and picked-up guides of the Palm Beach Visitors Bureau and had dinner at a wonderful Cuban restaurant down the street from the hotel on Dixie Highway. On Saturday, OT got up real early, had breakfast at McDonalds, gassed up the rental car and I drove four hours north to St. Augustine. I really liked it there. Oh yeah, the one thing I do not like about Florida is the humidity. When I came out of the airport on Wednesday night to locate my rental car, I fest this big blast of hot air and then I began to sweat immediately and I did not stop until I got back into the airport to leave - it's that humid there. They have these kidney disease billboards all over the place, so I bought water to drink which I rarely ever do here in fear of becoming sick and dehydrated. It was a nice trip. If I get to go again, I'll stay in St. Augustine though. I don't know what it is about that city that draws me to it, but it feels like home.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

The top 10 reasons why I love summer...

The top 10 reasons why I love summer...
1. The best fruit is in the summer (strawberries, watermelon, peaches)
2. I can watch the beads of sweat roll down my nose
3. A holiday in the beginning, the middle, and the end
4. I hate being cold
5. Arnold Palmers (AKA iced tea and lemon aide mixed together)
6. BBQ
7. Vacations
8. The less clothing, the better because it's so hot.
9. Baseball
10. Getting alittle color on my normally pale skin tone.

Saturday, September 1, 2007

Random thoughts from Florida

*I went to Florida during the hurricane season - I must be nuts, but it was quite cheap.
*I got to check off a few items on my places to see list on 43
*merge lanes marked on the freeway - love it
*people actually driving the speed limit
*you can buy a big bag of indian river grapefruit for $1 at the roadside fruit stand
*you can buy a big bag of indian river grapefruit for $1, and all the fireworks you could ever want at the roadside fruit stand
*you can buy a big bag of indian river grapefruit for $1, all the fireworks you could ever want, and a shellaced head of a dead baby aligator at the roadside fruit stand ( I could go on...)
*how many styles of licenses plates does this state have anyway? Gees... a ton.
*every place you look - bar bar bar bar bar and oh, look! another bar.
*Open 24 hours A day SUPER Walmart. (For those Californian's who are not familiar - it's got a full grocery store inside, too, as well as the regular merchandise and the pharmacy.) Now that's some crazy productive 3AM shopping right there.
*Never saw the atlantic ocean before - but now I have.
*Four story dry dock for boats? - crazy man, crazy.
*I didn't know Florida had so many pines trees - this is cool.
*whaddya mean it's a four hour drive to St. Augustine? I'm still going.
*I wish this hotel room had a microwave.
*I'm leaving tomorrow and now my body is now on east coast time? That's annoying.
*Thank you for driving me to Islamorada on the Florida Keys for lunch . Conch fritters - YUM!
* BUDS - I saw the billboards all over Palm Beach. (I did my best Rudy Huxtable impression every time I drove by the billboard.)
*CityPlace reminds me of Fashion Island. Kinda.
*You can gamble on a boat, or you can gamble near a moat, or you can gamble on some dogs, or you can gamble at the biggest fricken Hard Rock Casino I've ever seen.
*travel wench is an awesome wench. If I could hug her, I would. (AKA the Hertz Never Lost GPS System)
*Heart Rock Sushi has good saki... good enough to take away the rum headache I acquired after eatting my conch fritters at Holiday Isle.
* Ft. Lauderdale did not impress me. I might even say "ick".
* I climbed to the top of the lighthouse. 212 steps. OMG.
*St. John's got the biggest combination swap meet and farmers market I've ever seen.