2010: My Year In Review

2010-roth-ira-conversion-rules-limitsAs I had promised in my previous post, I had been compiling a list of good and bad things that happened to me in 2010 and since I will pretty much be busy all day tomorrow, I thought I’d entertain you with that list right now.

First, let’s get the bad stuff out of the way (links included if applicable):

Food Stamp/EDD Payback. Back when things were getting down to the wire, Ann and I decided to take advantage of the state’s Food Stamp program and after much red tape, we were approved. And it was fine and well until we got a letter in the mail stating that we were under investigation for fraud. After all of the paperwork was completed, it was determined that we were never eligible and we had to pay all of the funds back—$4,000. In addition, I was apparently overpaid $200 from EDD so I have to now pay them back. That’s the first time I’ve mentioned that on the blog so yeah, the year has been even suckier than you previously thought!

– Coaching T-Ball Team. One would think that coaching your own son’s sports team would be a dream come true, right? That wasn’t the case with me when I was sort of coerced into coaching Anthony’s t-ball team as I would have rather have been Fan Dad and not Coach Dad for his first season of any sport. In short, my heart wasn’t into it and it was like wrangling a group of cats with ADHD. Also, Anthony lost interest about halfway into the season and has since turned his attention to golf—and I could not be happier.

– Putting Cindy to Sleep. I can still hear Anthony crying her name as I walked out the door with her in the cat carrier. I can’t say much more than I already have here. I still miss the old girl.

– Pneumonia. Both Ann and Anthony battled bouts of pneumonia this year which, whether you’re an adult or child, is just horrible. I thank [insert appropriate deity here] that I never came down with it and that I haven’t been sick in at least a few years.

– Alleged Dog Poisoning.
What would the end-of-year wrap-up be without mentioning my jack-wagon neighbors?

Now, the good stuff:

– My First 5k. I never thought it would happen but it really did, and I was beyond happy with my results and the fact that I stuck to my guns and finished—and ran the entire route.

– Background Acting. In my quest to try something different and make my mark in Hollywood, I tried my hand at background acting. Scroll to the bottom of this page for the shows I did and related posts.

– Bike Tour. In yet another of those I’m-gonna-do-it moments, I rode my bike in the 26.2-mile Long Beach Marathon Bike Tour in October and never felt better. It was my first and definitely not my last.

– Won an iPod nano. Yes, I actually won something this year! Read all about it here.

– Monte. Losing a pet is never easy but the healing process often involves starting over with a brand new one. That’s when Monte came into our lives.

– Anthony Loses First Tooth. We were waiting for the moment to arrive and when it did, boy, was it memorable.

– Won a Flip UltraHD Camera. Wait, winning two things in one year? Yeah, it happened and it’s briefly mentioned in this post.

I’m sure there are plenty more things but those are the ones that stand out the most. 2010 has definitely bought its share of joy and pain, and I get the feeling 2011 will have some of the same garbage but will be the year things start to turn around for everybody.

One can only hope…

2010: The Year That Just Won’t Quit

I guess it was about the middle of November when I decided that the major personal events in the year 2010 were pretty much at an and. What was left besides Christmas and New Year’s Day, right? As a matter of fact, I had started a list of events—good and bad—that I would post here when I had the time to do it (since Anthony and I are off until January 2nd and spending lots of time together).

But like clockwork, 2010 decided to kick me in the ass just one more time today—in the form of a Certified Letter.

See, with only a few months left on our lease, we decided to go back to the dealer to buy out the remainder of the lease and finance it for a lower monthly payment. And from what we understood as we left the dealership, everything was under control and the Escape would be ours.

Then we started to get the denial letters from various financing companies which is quite the norm but eventually, somebody will approve you. This time, however, things seemed a little off-kilter because at a time when we should have gotten the paperwork and been approved, we hadn’t yet.

I made a few calls to the salesman who had helped us on all of our deals since 2000 and he assured me that he would personally take care of the details. He had never let us down before and I had my full trust in him once again this time. But something went awry.

The approval/Welcome Letter from our new finance company never arrived but instead, today we got a Letter of Decision to Rescind from the dealership. That simply means that for whatever reason, they have decided to not refinance our `08 Escape and they now want it back.

Fucked, fucked, fucked I tells ya. I should have stocked up on the Vaseline because man, I’m continually getting screwed in the end this year.

So, in addition to the financing thing not working out, a call to my salesman today revealed that he and the Finance Manager are—wait for it—no longer working at the dealership where I had bought the Escape. So while he can do some stuff to help us, the situation is pretty much out of his control and now we have to deal with who’s left at Ken Grody Ford in Buena Park, CA, where I was a loyal customer since 2000 and purchased my share of vehicles over the years. Thanks for screwing us this time and when I turn over the vehicle and keys (should that be the case unless something miraculous happens real soon), I can guarantee that I won’t ever be back for any reason, except maybe to perhaps piss on your shrubs every now and then.

From the moment I got the letter, I made several calls to the person listed on the letter and got no calls back after 4 hours. And because Hell hath no fury, Ann later called and demanded to speak with the manager, then handed the phone to me and within a few minutes I had him on the line. He was useless without his finance cronies there to help him.

So yeah, with only a few days left in this tumultuous year, it’s been decided by some otherworldly force that Ann and I need just a little bit more pressure placed upon us so that we may welcome 2011 with a handful of problems to contend with.

They can take the damn Escape. I really don’t care. It’s already cleaned out and everything. We’re just pissed off that it took so damn long to get any kind of response on the matter. But this gives us the chance to get into one of those crazy $0-down, $0-whatever, $199-a-month deals that many manufacturers are having now, which would be cheaper than what we’re paying on the Escape.

Do I have any good news? Yeah, sort of. We found a couple of used iMacs at the thrift shop the other day and bought one, then I went back today and bought the other one:

[Fuji] 003

The low, low price of $17 for both, plus another 20% off with a coupon, was a little hard to resist. The one you see here is in Anthony’s room and will be good for him to play some games if he pleases. It can access the Internet but it’s not connected. Besides, IE 5.1 tends to crash quite a bit anyhow. So even if he screws this up, we only spent $7 on the thing.

So there’s the good news. Aside from that, 2010, I won’t be too sad to see you go.

But hey, isn’t that what I said about 2009?

Merry Christmas to All…

diab

Yay verily, the merriest of holidays is now upon us. I just want to take a moment to wish all of my visitors, both new and returning, a very Merry Christmas.

I know I joke about exactly how many loyal readers I have here on ye olde blogge but I honestly do thank you all for stopping by, for adding your comments and hopefully, I hope you’ve enjoyed what I have done here over the last 6 years. I see no reason to stop as I get great satisfaction from doing it.

May Santa stuff your stocking with all the junk you wished for and may you dine on fine foods until the point of satiety. I am off for the week and if you are as well, enjoy your break from the office life and have some fun.

Because come January (at least for me), it’s back to the grind and you’ll be wishing you had another week of vacation.

Mele Kalikimaka, my friends. Time to hit the hay so Santa can stop by the house. I just hope Arliss doesn’t get all growly and attack the jolly old fat dude. I can’t afford a lawsuit right now…

EXCLUSIVE: UFO Seen Over Southern California?

cdef2LOS ANGELES, CA – After six straight days of precipitation that ranged from a light drizzle to a torrential downpour, southern California residents were left with one more thing to worry about besides flooded streets and potential mudslides: a possible UFO.

A bright, orb-shaped object appeared between a break in the thick, dark clouds on Wednesday and was seen all over the southland, prompting many residents to ponder its significance. While some were quick to dismiss the object as swamp gas, others were of the opinion that it could be something more sinister—or a sign from the heavens.

After briefly filling the sky with its radiant light, it quickly disappeared and the rain continued to douse the area. Residents we talked to described what they saw.

“I was, like, wow,” said a local high school student who stopped texting long enough to tell us her account. “I tried to take a picture of it but by the time I had my camera ready, it was gone. It was a total UFO. Wow.”

At Our Lady of Perpetual Motion Catholic Church in Redlands, parishioners gathered, prayed and discussed what they had seen. Many are already preparing for the worst.

“I think it’s a sign from God,” said Alicia Hernandez, a worshiper at the church for over 40 years. “Who knows what it means. With Christmas a few days away, I definitely think it’s a sign.”

“Big and bright” is how Hernandez and many other residents described the orb. Based on those descriptions, here is an artist’s sketch of how it may have looked:

orb

Local scientist Stuart Sellers could not confirm or deny that the object was foreign in nature but concluded that “we haven’t seen something like this in a while.” Concerned for the public’s safety, Sellers along with other scientists have devised a list of things you shouldn’t do if the mysterious orb returns to the sky:

  • DO NOT stare into it. While unsure of its composition, scientists worry that staring at the orb could lead to blindness.
  • DO NOT take photos of the orb. It’s just too bright and will melt your iPhone from the inside out.
  • WEAR protective eyewear when you see it next.
  • DO NOT try to shoot the object. The distance cannot be determined and bullets eventually return to earth.
  • DO NOT TAUNT the orb. It could get mad.

“We just want to make sure everybody is prepared and knows what to do,” said Sellers.

“And may God help us all…”

Stay tuned for updates.

Faceblog

As stated about a week ago, there’s been a lack of posts here due to simple negligence and the hustle and bustle of the holidays.

There was also one more part of that equation that needs to be factored in: that damned Facebook.

It seems that I had posted quite a few Status Updates that could have been satisfactory blog topics but instead, they were restricted to discussion with my friends on Facebook (most of whom I know personally). Not that that’s a bad thing but I think it’d be more fun if the entire world had access to them and could discuss them as they see fit.

So from this point on, I will refrain from that and only post small stuff there while keeping the big stuff here for all to enjoy. This will liven things up around here just a little bit, methinks.

It’s my Christmas gift to you, all three both my only reader. Because that’s just the kind of guy I am.