Friday, November 13, 2009

Update

Closing in. No I am not talking about the Information Society song. I am talking about closing in on the end of Season 2.

Chris came over last week and we shot a a couple of things. Episode 1 is basically finished but it is coming up several minutes short (as are all the episodes). This means I am having to come up with new sketches to insert into the episode.

I am trying to get Chris to come over soon so we can get another couple of bits done.

Editing is going well (if not slow).

As a side note. I have submitted the show for a news story to the local Decatur paper. Maybe they will contact me. That might drum up some new interest.

I posted a new small bit of video to youtube (so check it out). It is from one of those 'extra' sketches to stretch an episode.

Friday, September 18, 2009

According To Whim... The Legend

Ok, I posted a comment to your final argument Chris, so read it.
Next to everyone else...

I just wanted to give you an update to According To Whim Season 2.
Things have been going slow but they have been going.

Chris and I shot the club scene last week and that leaves less than a page of shots to complete. Still quite a bit of editing but Episode 1 is almost done. Not sure if I will be able to get Chris' job scene done. I might have to just give the camera to Chris again since we can't seem to get together often enough.

I told everyone (who was listening) that I wanted to finish shooting by Ocotober 1st. I am guess that is not going to happen. Who knows after I get back in town Chris might free up some time and we can do this.

Either way, the majoity of the show is done so that is SOMETHING.

I'll Make Everyone Happy and STFU

by Chris McGinty

Although I’m falling into your paradox trap here – I do not argue the exact opposite of anything someone else argues. I actually wrote a blog about this on My Space, but whatever. I’ll give you the simple version of it. Truly unique thought scares people.

I’m not trying to say that I’m some sort of misunderstood genius. I actually have a pretty low IQ if the truth be known. What I have though is an unwillingness to accept a whole lot at face value. My roommates believe me to be some extremist right wing free market guy, so it’s funny that you’ve placed me on the far left. I’m giving you both the same argument, and you’re convinced that I’m at the extreme opposite end of each of your beliefs.

I will try to clarify my position, but you’ll have to really remove the partisan shades and read what I write.

I am simply looking for open-minded discussion of an issue. You’re right about one thing:

“…what I said were my beliefs and it was pointless to argue them because I wasn't trying to sway anyone…”

And here’s the sad fact. After reading your thoughts, I actually thought it would be pointless to post my beliefs, because they would be written to someone who can’t even step far enough out of his cocoon of beliefs to get some facts. And if for nothing else, about that I was right.

I liken it to Loren’s statement, “Universal health care is the ONLY way to go. Nothing else will work.”

But whatever. I’m sorry that so many people I know don’t get it. And I guess I’ll just shut the fuck up. Because my leftist hippie ideal world of businesses communicating for the good of profits and customer benefit is actually the right wing ideal of free market capitalism with moral restraint. According to you it can’t work because it’s leftist. According to my roommates it can’t work because it’s on the far right. So what the fuck ever.

You can all continue to believe that I’m just trying to piss on your parades, rather than considering for one moment that I may have done some reading, some listening, some viewing, and then sat down and thought through what I learned (you know, thought for myself, rather than blindly following.)

You’re all right: Nathan, Loren, Miguel, and all my other detractors; I just argue to be an asshole.

So I’ll stop being an asshole…

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Help Obiwan-Bush-obi youre my only hope.

Not mad. It's hard to hear you when you will argue for the sake of arguing (no matter what the topic you will find the opposing side and argue for it).

Ok. let's get on with it...

In actuality there are no human rights. Let's clear the air. No matter how hard you argue, the argument of 'rights' is simply one of philosophy. Rights can be given by a government's law, but there are no 'human rights'. Do you agree this to be an empirical fact? Let's move on...

Do you remember our scene in ATW season 2 where I argue that more benefits to the poor or unemployed only make them more comfortable and once you are living comfortably enough, why pursue a job? Same thing here. Not hard to put 2 and 2 together.

I don't want Universal health care, public or private, Obama or otherwise... remember I don't care that not everyone has healthcare.

I don't care how 'corrupt' the insurance companies are. I don't have anyway to defend it because it not a statement I have to defend. I don't care. I am not making an opinion on the matter... simple enough.

I doesn't affect me. It might in the future but it doesn't now. I go to the doc, get my checkups, get my blood pressure medicine, pay my copays and I am done. Isn't much, so I don't care. Will I care if I need something major down the road and it's really expensive? Maybe but I will need it so I will pay it. If I can't pay it I will simply do what Chris does, intend to do the best I can to pay and it and go on with life.

You say I am wrong when I say I believe most people don't care not everyone is covered... As much as I am forced to believe all the absolute truths that lay all around me on the interweb your polls are too close to close down my argument. I still believe people don't TRULY, HONESTLY care.

I still believe the government programs are run badly and nothing will change. Sure there are private businesses that are run badly too... THEY GO OUT OF BUSINESS (unless congress throws our money at them). Just because there are bad business in the private sector doesn't negate my statement.

Yes I was against private bailouts. Your point is useless.

Finally in your stunning study from the Lewis Cannon Group I can't comment properly cause I don't quite understand what it means. If you are saying the government program did financially better than the private program... who cares. I don't want to have to buy my insurance through the government.

Ok, your final statement REALLY REALLY either showed your RAVING liberal side or you were just trying to get attention.

If the insurance companies, doctors, and hospitals would sit in a field of sunflowers, smoked a peace pipe, dance around, hugging each other they would come up with a solution to ... 'just make enough to stay in business'. Ha! Go back to the 60's hippie!

As nice and liberal as it sounds, it's a crock. That's as much fantasy as Peter Pan. Get real.

I think we both know that the real issue is PUNISHMENT OF THE INSURANCE COMPANIES for making money.

If they want to make things more affordable (which they don't, that's just the guise for the power grab) they would just regulate health costs.

Their chant of 'insurance insurance insurance' means nothing. It has nothing to do with the issue.

Insurance does not equal Healthcare. They are two very different things.





Why doesn't the government just drop all this other crap and focus on the 5% of (unwillingly) uninsured Americans? That’s what they KEEP GOING ON ABOUT but why add all this other stuff in there?

Free medical care for the poor, that's what’s it's supposed to be about (at least that's what Obama keeps saying).

Also, don't the poor already have free health care in Medicaid; why not just expand on it (if they feel they absolutely have to expand SOMETHING).

If that doesn't work, they can simply go into the ER and get free medical care. They don't have to pay that bill. They just walk in and walk out.


Oh man. Chris I know you love to argue for the fact of arguing but really most of the stuff in my original post was what I said were my beliefs and it was pointless to argue them because I wasn't trying to sway anyone, I was just stating what my beliefs were. Oh well, this will make a good next book I guess.

PS. While spell checking when spellchecker came to Obama the suggested word was Osama…
Hey… I report, you decide.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Walking and Chewing Gum – and – Typing and Thinking

by Chris McGinty

So I spoke with Nathan on the phone the day after President Obama’s speech. I had a lot of thoughts about the whole thing, and Nathan tried to sort of throw out what I believe to be “rhetoric to discredit” without any sort of factual or philosophical backing. My phone died, and I made the mistake of forgetting my phone charger. The last point we were on when I had to go was when Nathan asked me at what point healthcare was a “human right.”

Let’s see, in the US our inalienable rights are Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness. He’s right. As long as lack of healthcare doesn’t kill you, you still have life.

I called him back on a land line and pointed out the Hippocratic Oath, which is believed to have existed since 4 BC. Versions and variations of the oath are still used in modern hospitals. There is a loophole where if you give the patient a reference to a hospital that is better equipped to treat the patient, you can “get rid of them.” You cannot, however, outright refuse treatment in an emergency room. This is a law, and is therefore a right.

Maybe Nathan meant healthcare coverage wasn’t a human right, and this is where we get into the Blog that Nathan wrote at some point before I got home. I think his blog may have been some of the stupidest shit I’ve ever read. Well that’s not entirely true. The problem is that there is a lot of crap Nathan said while on the phone that never made it into the blog. So his blog sort of works if you didn’t hear the dumb shit he said on the phone. See Nathan, I told you my blog would make you mad, so let’s get going on this.

Nathan said over the phone that giving everyone coverage would just cause people to say, “Oh, I don’t need a job, because the only reason I had a job to begin with was to have health insurance.” And the result would be more people living on the taxpayers dollars.

Seriously.

I don’t even really know where to start here. I wish now that I had written the blog I was thinking through about: minimum wage and the new standard of two income households. It would make it easier just to refer you back to my thoughts on that while explaining my thoughts here. Now I’d just have to write a really long blog to get it all down. The problem is that if you write anything longer than a page and a half Nathan won’t read it.

So let’s deal with Nathan’s blog directly to start with and then maybe I’ll come back and deal with the phone conversation.

Point One – Nathan Doesn’t Want Obama’s Universal Healthcare: Whose universal health care would you be ok with? Adding Obama’s name was sort of unnecessary and suggests that you have a bias. Just saying. No matter how independent you claim to be, I think you’re still a Republican.

Ok, real points.

Point Two - Nathan’s Four Points: Nathan doesn’t care that not everyone has health coverage. Fair enough, because we still have it better than many third world countries. Nathan doesn’t want more government bureaucracy. Still fair, even if a bit vague. It presumes that we are creating more bureaucracy by accepting the reform plan, but it probably is so fine. Nathan doesn’t want more taxes. Who does? And I’ll deal with this later.

Finally, Nathan doesn’t give a crap about how corrupt insurance companies are. *rolls eyes* Yeah, whatever. It’s never affected him he says. *rolls eyes the other way* Because Nathan has never had to pay higher than reasonable premiums because of CEO compensation or the rising cost of health care because of unpaid treatments. If this ever does affect Nathan, Nathan will simply go to some other insurance company. And he probably will up until the point that he has a pre-existing condition that keeps him from doing so. But until then he can say, “It has never affected me.” This thin excuse for an argument might be good if he could say it never will; ever.

Point Three – Nathan Truly Believes that Most People Don’t Care that Not Everyone Has Healthcare: I truly believe that this is because most people think he’s imposing his own beliefs on the faceless masses through what’s known as presumption. So I typed in a search, and found a collection of nine polls from various sources on Pollster.com. They show a choice between controlling the cost of health care and insuring everyone. The polls are each stated differently, but give a choice between: controlling costs, expanding coverage, and unsure. Five of the nine polls are in favour of expanding coverage. The highest percentage in one poll for controlling costs rather than expanding coverage is 54%. So what does this mean? Here’s the thing, when qualifiers were thrown in to these kinds of polls that suggested that either controlling costs or expanding coverage could affect the polltaker personally and negatively the polls swung wildly. I personally believe that people are reacting out of fear.

Point Four – Nathan Thinks that the Current Administration is Blah Blah Blah, Votes and Power and Money: Again, Nathan is still a Republican.

Point Five – Nathan Doesn’t Think the Government Will Get It Right This Time: This is an interesting argument; not because it makes any sense, but because it makes no sense, yet is still widely used. The argument goes, “Look at the mess that the post office is. Look at the mess that welfare is. Look at the mess that Medicaid is. Look at the mess that Social Security is. Do we really want to pull our healthcare out of the private sector and hand it over to the government?”

This makes a weird presumption that the private sector always gets it right, and the government always gets it wrong. If not it's a false comparison. You can’t take the worst of government programs, compare them to the best private sector companies, and then go, “See!?!?!!!”

Back to the point of not wanting to pay more taxes. What of these bailouts? Whether you’re for them or against them, it wasn’t throwing more money at the post office, or at welfare, or at Social Security, or at Medicaid. It was, “Holy shit all these privately run companies are about to fail because they don’t know how to run themselves correctly.” Private sector.

Maybe you could argue that the private sector gets it right more often and that's reasonable, but the issue is that the insurance companies aren't getting it right. The basic business model for any insurance is that a group of people pay a certain amount of money into a pot and then money is paid out from that pot as needed. If a privately held insurance company cannot do the second part of that transaction, based on the signed agreement, then guess what? They ain’t runnin’ they shit right. Private sector.

And we’ve seen them flail. Here’s the sad part. The insurance companies would probably benefit from not only what Obama said in his speech, but also what the Republican rebuttal said. Because they said the same fucking thing. We need to cover everyone. They just want to go about it differently.

The Lewin group, whoever they are, published a study that proponents of Medicare have used to prove that the government does a better job of controlling health care costs, and the study shows that Medicare costs increase by 5.8% annually while private insurance costs increase by 7.4% annually. The only thing I actually care about in that statement is that medical care is significantly outpacing inflation. You have to go all the way back to 1982 to get a year in which the cost of inflation was higher than 5.8%

So how have they flailed to reduce costs? They’ve done co-pays, in-network doctors, reduction of covered health issues, and reduction of covered tests and procedures. In many other industries this constant revamping of the business in ways that profit the company, but do nothing for the consumer would cause the business to fail. But we have two choices as this industry goes. We can have health insurance, or we can risk getting sick and potentially dying. So they don’t have to care about how happy their customers are, because the customers have nowhere else to go.

If the insurance companies, the hospitals, and the doctors really wish to keep things as they are there is a very simple solution. It involves the insurance companies, the hospitals, and the doctors getting together and asking each other as well as the customer, “How can we keep everyone as healthy as possible, without going out of business?” The solutions that would come from those talks would fix the whole mess. The fact that those conversations haven’t happened is why we are where we are. And that… is your private sector hard at work.

Monday, September 14, 2009

A bedtime story

Waaay back, when I was five or six, my brother and I received a book of stories and poems from our snooty, uppercrust great aunt. Although published in the USA, it was definitely British in origin, with a number of stories involving colonial India and Africa, teatime, and full of words like "whilst", "colouring", and "realised". I credit the book for planting the first subcionscious seeds of my love for British storytelling and stiff uppper lippitude.

Several years ago, I rediscovered the book in a box of old stuff. I realized that several of the stories were just begging to have their endings re-written to make them a bit more interesting. I got around to doing three of them. Here is one of the improved stories. Enjoy!

Bernie and the Snowman
Bernie was a large St. Bernard dog who belonged to a little boy called Peter. One day, it snowed heavily and Peter decided to build a snowman.
Out he went and busily spent the morning building the snowman until his mother called him in for tea. Peter turned to call Bernie to follow him and what do you think? Bernie was jumping round and round the snowman and suddenly he charged at it and knocked it down!
"Oh, Bernie!" said Peter. "Look at what you've done!"
"Never mind," said his mother."You can build another one."
But, whenever Peter built a snowman, Bernie waited until he had finished and then knocked it down. Peter grew tired of of building snowmen just for Bernie to knock down, so he tried to think of some way to stop Bernie. Then he had an idea!
One Saturday, when the snow was still quite thick and when his father was at home, Peter told his father this idea and he agreed to help him. Peter's mother took Bernie for a walk whilst Peter built the finest snowman you've ever seen. As soon as Bernie cam back, he dashed towards it to knock it down.
But, this time, Bernie got a shock. The snowman growled and snarled and waved its arms about and began to walk toward Bernie! Peter's father was inside the snowman! He had put on some old clothes and Peter had covered him with snow, leaving just the face clear.
Poor Bernie didn't know what to do. Shocked and confused, he charged at the snowman with his sharp teeth bared. Peter's father only had time to utter a short "Aargh!" before Bernie's fangs ripped out his throat.
Blood stained the snow red as Peter and his mother ran into the house. You can be sure Peter never had any clever ideas after that!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Why I don't want Obama's Universal healthcare

1.) I don't care that not everyone is covered by healthcare. Sorry, it's the truth.
2.) I don't want more government bureaucracy.
3.) I don't want more taxes.
4.) I don't give a crap how corrupt or 'evil' insurance companies are. It has never affected me. Even if it did, I would simply go to some other insurance company.


Now for the debatable stuff:

I truly believe that most people don't care that not everyone has healthcare. I think the current administration is simply doing it for votes. votes=power=money

I don't think the government will get it right this time (like Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, Post Office). They will run a bloated, inefficient program. Wasting even more taxpayer money.
That's fine an all (the inefficient programs they are running) BUT this will be dealing with people health and lives, not letters, and money.

If they pass it. I see a republican congress and Presidency next election. Not only will you have the fencers turning their backs on the democrats but you will probably see a lot of retribution from the insurance industry. I am guessing they are powerful and they have lots of money to play against the democrats.



Finally:

I have realised that my silver lining (or protection) from the future money grabbing of ANY party run government is my Jedi Cannon. I have already done (and lined up) $4,000 in charitable work that will go against my taxes. I will just keep doing this to it's maximum each year.

Doodad indeed.

More like power anti-government weapon.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Walmart People


Ok, I have to plug this site:


Oh man, reminds me of home.

The site is a little slow, give it time to load, you won't be dissapointed.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Things I wish existed #1

Wow! My first ever blog post and it's a topic I stole from someone else's blog. Or, maybe not. After all, that guy's blog was about stuff HE wanted. Mine is completely different as it's all about ME. Anyway, on with my stupid wish...

Things I wish existed #1: A 24-hour movie theater.

You see, I'm one of those poor souls who, for my own reasons, has chosen to work the dreaded graveyard shift. The great thing about being a creature of the night is that very few others are out during these hours. This makes trips to Walmart a pleasure (well, as close to a pleasure as a trip to Walmart to buy soap, deodorant, and personal lubricant can be) because most of the unwashed masses, baby mamas, and participants in the "Jabbba The Hutt On An Electric Scooter" lookalike contest are at home sleping off their suppers of McNuggets and beer; leaving the store more populated with employees than with customers.

The bad thing about being a nocturnal beast is that very few others are out during these hours, which means that places which depend upon having butts in the seats (like theaters, restaurants, amusement parks, etc.) aren't open when there is a minimum number of butts up and walking around, looking for a place to sit. As such, my options for occupying my time at 3:00 AM are pretty much limited to pissing away said time online, watching crap TV, or going to Walmart.

Surely, there are enough 3rd shifters and insomniacs in the DFW metroplex to justify at least a couple of all-night theaters (don't put them all in Dallas, please). Then, I'd have a chance to see all of the latest "PG-13" and "R" rated blockbusters (more about why I can't do this now to be posted in a future blog if I get around to it). Because the theaters would be less crowded, some of their screens could also be devoted to showing the indie stuff, foreign films, and pretentious art house crap that people like me like to shrug at on our way to see "Explodinator IV: Revenge of the Dynamite".

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Happy days are here again...


Well, it's that time of year again. The time where Chris quits his job. Luckily this time he had two so only one will go. What does this mean? This means that Chris will be able to devote more time to working on creative stuff with me. This also means we will have time to play many more games.

It's a real pity that companies don't value their employees. They just see them as a disposable resource. Companies should take a look at an unhappy employee and say to themselves: 'this employee has been an asset to the company, what can we do to keep them?'
Oh well. Their loss, my gain.

Friday, August 21, 2009

This is interesting...

I ran across this neat app for websites called SnapVine. It's basically an answering machine you can build into your website and everyone can listen to it.

You click on Leave a Message by Phone and it gives you a phone number and code. You call it, leave your message and it shows up on the web app.

It has a very old school feel to me (like the Pubic Domain) but for everyone on the web (with a phone).

Anyway I added it to AccordingToWhim.com

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Every little bit helps?

Ok, here is a story of disgust, resolution, trail, failure, and eventually learning. All of which leads to basically a savings of 96 bucks a year.

I hate waiting for a haircut. Procuts is always so packed so I found a less packed hair place near work. I try to go and get there when no one else is there, in and out in a jiffy.

I have short hair. It's an easy cut; #5 on the top, #4 on back and sides, trim up sideburns, and square back. That's it. It take like five minutes to cut my hair so I hate waiting for that long to get seated.

Anyway one morning I went first thing when they opened. Apparently there were 2 people already there (one waiting). She said it would be about ten minutes then eight minutes later she says one of the people is running late and could I wait another thirty minutes...

That was the straw that broke the camel's back. I said no thanks and decided that was the last time i'd go there.

I have been wanting to cut my own hair for a few years now but I knew I'd have to get Candice's help so I had been putting it off. I finally bought a kit for 28 bucks with all sorts of stuff in it and we started cutting it at home.

On the second cut I decided to use the side/ear trimmer bit that would make the hair around my ears on the side shorter. Oops. It cut them wayyy tooo short. My hair looked really bad. Finally a couple of days later my boss trimmed up my rough looking hair (Candice couldn't bring herself to mess with it more) and it looked fine, no more mullet look.

I won't use that trimmer piece again and the next haircut I do will officially be 'free' since the first 2 cuts paid for the trimmer.

Sure it will save the me the cost of 6 haircuts a year which is only about 96 bucks, but it also saves on the time I'd have to wait and the wear and tear on a vehicle to go and get it cut.

Like not taking my shirts to the laundry anymore, this haircut economy will help (even if its only in the long run).

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Quotes – Nathan and Miguel, Read This Anyway

by Chris McGinty

Nathan is gone for the week, so I’m guessing he won’t be on here much. I guess it’s up to me to fill the screen with crap for him to read when he gets back. Perhaps. Quotes are always fun. Neither Miguel nor Nathan thinks so, but whatever.

Let me start with a quote from Nathan. This is his comment to my last blog. I include it here; because I don’t know how often people click the comments:

“You know Chris you have been going on and on for years making a career of telling me and Miguel that we never listen to you... you are right. Is that what you needed to hear?
“You were right, I needed to stop using credit.
“You were right, I needed to get a part time job to help pay it down.
“Heres the thing... I didn't want to... but you were still right.
“Now, let's turn the mirror onto yourself. You have been basically work 2 jobs for quote some time now. Have you paid off your debts?
“You should.
“You should get a 3rd job if needed. You should stop buying Dr. Pepper to save soooo much money.
“This is sound advice. It's easy to give good, sound advice.
“Not too easy to actually do it though, is it?
“Put that 'add-a-flvaour' in your Dr. Pepper and drink it!
“Peace out.”

Neat.

Before I respond formally, this is a quote column, so I’ll start by responding with this apt quote:

“Action is greater than writing. A good man is a nobler object of contemplation than a great author. There are but two things worth living for: to do what is worthy of being written; and to write what is worthy of being read.” - Ross Perot

Now with that crap out of the way, let’s deal with what Nathan said for a moment. Is that what I needed to hear? That I was right? No! Nathan, I knew I was right. If I wasn’t sure, I might want to hear it, just for confirmation, but I already knew I was right. I didn’t need to hear it.

I see a much bigger problem right now than your finances, or even my finances, but I think the problem starts with us. That’s what I’m writing about. I just thought I’d drag you through the mud, because you were acting like you were some innocent victim.

So the mirror on me. I started one of the essays saying, “I’m single and loving it, I’m broke and hating it, and I’m Swedeswitzerstan and neutral about it.” Exact quote, almost. I will actually turn the mirror on me in one of the future columns, but it’s not going to be the same thing, because I’ve done the whole thing. I’ve worked three jobs simultaneously, I’ve paid down debt, and I even stopped drinking Dr. Pepper for a couple of weeks once because I had enough money for rent and no more money coming in until after it was due. But that’s not really my issue. We’ll deal with me later. For now let’s look at some other quotes:

“If you can't stand a little sacrifice and you can't stand a trip across the desert with limited water, we're never going to straighten this country out.” - Ross Perot

“Chains of habit are too light to be felt until they are too heavy to be broken.” - Warren Buffett

“Anyone who stops learning is old, whether at twenty or eighty. Anyone who keeps learning stays young. The greatest thing in life is to keep your mind young.” - Henry Ford

“It is well enough that people of the nation do not understand our banking and monetary system, for if they did, I believe there would be a revolution before tomorrow morning.” - Henry Ford

“There is one rule for the industrialist and that is: Make the best quality of goods possible at the lowest cost possible, paying the highest wages possible.” - Henry Ford

“I don't get high, but sometimes I wish I did. That way, when I messed up in life I would have an excuse. But right now there's no rehab for stupidity.” - Chris Rock

“I just get things done instead of talking about getting them done. I don't go out and party. I don't smoke, drink or do drugs and I'm not married, that leaves a lot of time for my work.” - Henry Rollins

“So, one way or another, I found myself in a few movies. I take it seriously when I'm on the set, but I don't take myself seriously as an actor.” - Henry Rollins

“I sometimes fall into the trap of doing what I think I should be doing rather than what I want to be doing.” - Bjork

“It's funny how the hippies and the punks tried to get rid of the conservatives, but they always seem to get the upper hand in the end.” - Bjork

“I had a really good childhood up until I was nine, then a classic case of divorce really affected me.” - Kurt Cobain

”I started being really proud of the fact that I was gay even though I wasn't.” - Kurt Cobain

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Credit Crunch Nathan… The Denial

by Chris McGinty

In 2003, Nathan and I had a discussion about his debt. This was five years before I heard of Dave Ramsey, but I already had many of the same ideas as said Dave person. I won’t even get into what Dave Ramsey has said about these debt management programs, because I know that I’ve already advised Nathan against it.

I’ve pretty much stopped believing that anyone will ever listen to a word I say though. This goes very deep in fact. Miguel and I were discussing my writing the other night. It was an offshoot discussion of this blog. In our private group, I asked about promoting this blog, and all the other work we do. Miguel had an alternate take on the idea of promotion.

He asked, “Is it that we’re not getting people to our work, or is it that we’re not producing anything that people are interested in?”

Basically, he believes that it will do no good to promote our work, because no one will be interested. He believes that my sense of humour isn’t aligned with the rest of the world, and unless I’m willing to use more dick and fart jokes in my work, I will not appeal to most people no matter how I promote.

Put another way, I don’t say what people want to hear, and so people don’t listen. Interesting, huh? Nathan is still convinced that the credit card companies are to blame for what’s going on right now, even after I wrote a very clear, and funny if you understand more than farting dicks, piece about personal responsibility. Nathan points out that in a mere 4.5 years (really, that’s it?) he’ll have all the credit card companies paid off, and boy, will they have learned their lesson (the companies, not Nathan.)

So jumping back to the start, in 2003, Nathan and I had a discussion about his debt. My suggestion was to stop purchasing with credit cards, make cuts to his lifestyle, and get a part time job until he could get a little breathing room by paying off one or more cards. The result of this was us starting a part time business, which strangely was mostly funded by credit, and after we overextended ourselves, and Nathan quit his full time job (making the act of starting a part time business negligible to its original intention) the business failed. This was halfway through 2004 when it was finally all said and done. 4.5 years ago at the very least, probably closing in on five. But you see the parallel right? If Nathan had simply stopped purchasing with credit cards (which he has to do now anyway) and made cuts to his lifestyle (which he’s had to do anyway) back in 2004 when the business was officially done with, he would have no credit card debt now.

But none of that was what he wanted to hear. And people don’t listen to what they don’t want to hear. The way he’s doing it is better, because he’s sticking it to the man, oh yeah!

They already have your money, Nathan. And again, I know that’s not what you want to hear. Sometimes it’s the stuff we don’t want to hear that’s the best things for us to hear. I truly hope that your debt management program works, because if it’s the only way that you’re going to do what is best for you then I guess it’s better late than never.

And 4.5 years from now, if everything has gone as it is supposed to, I hope you don’t get back into the revolving door of debt, and say, “This is only to keep my credit score up, and I’ll be so much smarter about it this time,” because people are never smarter about anything when they’re using it as a justification for their actions.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Let Me Slip Into Something a Little Less Mainstream

by Chris McGinty


Ok, I think I’ll take a quick break from solving the world’s problems. I worked forty hours over the weekend, so I haven’t had a chance to cause a comparable amount of problems yet. Can’t make things lopsided you know.

I watched “Ghost World” tonight. It was quite good. It’s based on a comic book, which I guess the truth is, I’ve never heard of until now. It stars this person named Thora Birch, who I guess the truth is, I’ve never heard of until now. The interesting thing about Thora Birch is that she looks nothing like herself, not if you think she looks like the Enid character. You search pictures of her, and you can tell it’s the same person, but it’s just kind of not her. And I guess the truth is, I’ve never seen anything she’s been in until now. There’s a whole subsection of pop culture that I was unaware of, and it revolves around this actress somehow.

The movie also stars Scarlett Johansson and Steve Buscemi, both of who I’m familiar with, and both of who are in movies that have influenced me creatively recently. Johansson is in “Lost in Translation” which is a great movie with a great soundtrack. I seem to be the only person who thinks so, but whatever. I got the feel of an hour and a half long music video, which clearly appealed to me. Buscemi is in “Living in Oblivion” which I watched earlier this year, after seeing a small portion of it years ago. It’s funny movie about trying to shoot a movie. Yeah.

I sort of want to shoot a movie. Yeah.

There are times that I wonder why I bother with mainstream anything, which I know is sort of a silly thought, because I like a lot of mainstream things. I think I just sometimes get more enjoyment out of things that aren’t made to appeal to the largest audience possible. I’m not sure if that’s a good or bad thing. I just know I’m not going to question it too much as long as I’m entertained. I guess I just feel a sense of profound regret when I watch something as good as the movies I’ve mentioned here, and realize that I did in fact sit through Transformers. I’m glad I learned my lesson with the first one. Yes, I thought the first Transformers was good, but comparatively…?

Just excuse me. I get in these moods sometimes. I get over it soon enough. I’ll probably have a Seth Rogan fest by the end of the week.

Until then here is some music that you all should probably like, even if you don't.








Get a playlist! Standalone player Get Ringtones

Monday, August 10, 2009

Credit Crunch America... The Result

As of the first of the month I will be on a debt management plan. I am using a company that basically negotiates an APR with the credit card company on your behalf and send the payment to them (via auto draft from my checking). This will cost me 50 bucks a month (or 2,700 for the life of the program IF I don't pay it off quicker).

This reduced the APRs for all 4 cards by about 3/4 (except BOA which SUCKS BALLS).

It's a 54 month plan. The cards will be paid off in 4.5 years (or faster if send additional payments).

It will not affect my credit rating (well only a small amount).

So all fur credit cards are going to loose a ton of money because of what THEY did.

Oh well.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Money Advice from an (not an) Economist

by Chris McGinty

[Note: It's funny that you announce Wade joining the group when the subject has my name and my alter ego's name.]

I've thought about the economy frequently over the years, both national and personal. Money is sort of a hobby for me. Let me say this to start. I'm broke and deeply in debt. There are any number of my critics who have asked me why it is that I know so much, allegedly, but I'm still a financial failure. In their minds I think they believe this makes me less capable of understanding how money works.

To that I'll simply say, I'm twice divorced, but if I give you the advice, “Don't fight about money or cheat on your spouse if you want your marriage to stay together,” it's still valid advice. Money troubles is the number one cited cause of divorce. Therefore, I write today not to pick on Nathan for being a bad consumer, but to lower the divorce rate; or at the very least to knock money troubles out of the top spot.

Let's define, for a moment, living paycheck to paycheck, since it's widely agreed that that is what most Americans do. The base idea here is that you get your paycheck, you pay your necessities (food, clothing, shelter) and maybe indulge yourself a little if there's anything left. When your next paycheck rolls around you have no debt, and no money left over. I bet there are quite a few people who wish it was that tidy.

On either side of that Utopian view of paycheck to paycheck, there is a discrepancy between your paycheck and your spending. If you're lucky, you make so much that you couldn't spend it if you tried. You party 24/7 and have three drug habits, and yet there's still money in your bank account.

It doesn't normally work that way though. Usually what you save ends up getting used up for extra expenses. Many people perform this process in reverse, and if done right it does technically work. It's not the best way, but it works. This is where you borrow money to cover the extra expenses, and then perform the same function as you do when you're saving. You're taking so much off the top to handle emergencies, albeit emergencies you've already fielded rather than those you're anticipating.

This is such a complicated issue that it's hard to tell which way to go from here. It's like it needs to be a Choose Your Own Adventure. If you want to know why Nathan is a bad consumer, go to page 40,000. If you want to know why Ross Perot should have been president, go to pages 1993-2009.

When Bush started the bailout train (oh yeah folks, Bush is dancing the Cha Cha at the front of that one, and Obama has his hands on Bush's hips, and is dancing right behind him) I was reminded by economists who were for the bailout that I'm not an economist, and that's why I didn't understand why it was so important that the bailout go through.

It was a historic time because all economists were unified in their belief...

What? You mean they weren't. But if the reason I was opposed to the bailout was because I'm not an economist, and therefore didn't understand the far reaching... wait... Do you think that was - gasp! - false logic?

Well to all those economists who told me I didn't know what I was talking about, I only have this to say: “Don't fight about money and don't cheat on your spouse. You're not a playa like me, so you don't understand the far reaching impact.”

Here's the thing, for years there have been notable politicians, and even Ross Perot, who have said that we can't continue to borrow into the future. It'll wreck the economy they said, and here we are now with the economy wrecked. And that's why Nathan is a bad consumer, because he didn’t vote for Perot.

Nathan went into debt at some point and never came back out, like many of us, and like our country. I'm probably morally even worse off because I'm in debt to friends and family, including Nathan, who will probably demand full repayment after this criticism. Morally I’m worse off, but we’re both just as far in debt. Let's look at this for a moment Nathan.

The truth is that the bulk of my debt to you is the computer you got me into, so that I had the ability to help you with the ton of video editing that we've had to do over the last five years, and my portion of the business.

Any money I've borrowed since then I've paid in a timely manner, but what if I didn't? What if I borrowed $100 at the start of the month, paid it by month's end, but at the start of the following month I needed that $100 again, because I didn't have it to pay you back really? What if this continued on? I might always pay you back, but for all intents and purposes, I'm in debt to you for $100.

How long would it be before you said, “I can loan you $95, because I need to start seeing some of this money come back,” especially if you had always said, “Hey, I can lend you up to $500.”

You would start thinking, “If he ever has to borrow more than the $100, it would probably get stuck in the same loop.”

How quick would you say, “I know I said 500, but I won't be able to do that now?”

This is what's happening with the credit card companies. Your credit rating is not a measure of your financial responsibility. It's a number that will hold up in court if you claim discrimination: “Our decision to not loan money was not based on race, sex, income bracket, or what side of town the plaintiff lives on. Look, their credit score was simply too low.” Why do you think some employers use credit rating as a hiring tool? Just say "hire" in that sentence where it says "loan money" and "skill level" where it says "income bracket."

When you have a high credit score they start to look at the other numbers. How long have they had this debt? Is it creeping up or down? Do they owe more than they make in a year? Can they borrow more than they make in a year? And if they don't like the answers, they will bust out with the terms you agreed to (yes, that you agreed to) which includes the clause that more or less says, “If we predict a bankruptcy we're going to raise your interest rate, and with it your minimum payment, so we can recover as much as possible while you're still in the phase of just keeping up with it long enough to get in the house, before you just get tired and file.”

The best thing for both consumer and country is to just stop borrowing, and start paying it back. All economies involved will be better for it.

I still have plenty to say about our economies, but this will be all for now.

Join me next time when I either turn to page 725 to deal with why the recent raise in minimum wage is fixing the wrong problem, or as I take on the subject of trickle down economics, which gives more information to the higher numbered pages, so the editor can go through and give some of that abundance of information to the lower numbered pages.

Chris and Lewis Cannon

Oh yeah,
I had Wade join the blog.

On to other things...
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oJJvEiUgz20

The end gets cut off a bit (the closing screen lasts a little longer). I will have to fix that.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

A Quick One Before I Head Off to Work

by Chris McGinty

Yeah, that guy does resemble me in more than one way. It looks like he’s better built though. Using my deductive reasoning, I’m thinking I’m probably smarter, you know, cos he looks better. Well, sort of. I mean, I’m cuter, clearly, but…

Listen, I haven’t watched it yet, because I don’t know when and where to watch it. Do you own it? Can I borrow it? Why haven’t you watched “Living in Oblivion” yet? I’m sure it’s not as true to life, but it does deal with some of the issue one faces when making a movie, even when one has financial backing.

Also, I haven’t watched it, because like with money, I’m great at managing time, but only when I have more coming in than going out. Speaking of which, while I’m at work tonight, I’m going to write my next blog which will probably be titled, “Why Nathan is a Bad Consumer and Why His Current Credit Card Dilemma is All His Fault and Why the Fuck Isn’t Miguel Posting, Oh Yeah, Because He’s Miguel and While We’re on the Subject, I Got a Notification of Your Last Blog, Did You Fix Something? (Part One),” although that’s a working title.

In case you skimmed past the title, I asked a direct question in there. Answer it. Oh, and I recently looked up the rule for passed and past. If passed is the verb, like “I passed the library on the way to the book store,” then, well you see. Where as if I say, “I drove past the library on the way to the book store,” well, again you see. The verb there is drove, so well, you see. It means I have to go through much of my writing and check myself.

Alright, going to work now.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Why haven't you watched American Movie yet?

I am telling you this is an awesome and somewhat familiar feeling documentary about Mark Borchardt, a very familiar character (ahem) who aspires to make movies. I won't comment on his likeness to Chris...


but needless to say its very interesting and somewhat inspiring and equally sad as well. Go check it out.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Just got screwed over by the credit card companies

1.) Nathan has NEVER defaulted on anything.
2.) Nathan has made late payments on credit cards less and 5 times EVER.
3.) Nathan's credit score is in the top 5% of the nation.

This is how Bank of America (and in their own way Chase) made me into the typical bad consumer through no fault of my own...

DATELINE: June. Chase Manhattan sends Nathan a notice about both his Chase credit cards reducing his unused credit balance by a total of 10,000 (on 2 different cards).

DATELINE: July
Nathan: 'Oh my, my current 6 month APR special on my Bank of America card is expiring August 1st. I better get ready to transfer balances to make sure I keep in good standing and ensuring I am not paying too much in interest. First I'll just call Bank of America and see if they can reduce my interest so I don't have to actually transfer my balance off their card.

Bank of 'O'merica: Sorry we can't do that but can we suggest you try out our debt consolidation 'gold option' of credit. It's not a credit card, it's a loan that has an end in sight!

Nathan: Awesome. That would help greatly. I'll do it!

Bank of 'O'merica: Sorry although you have a 742 credit rating and are complete good standing and have had only one inquiry on your credit in the last 2 years you have too much credit card debt to get this loan.

Nathan: Too much credit card debt to get the 'get out of debt credit consolidation loan'? I no understand.

DATELINE August 1. Nathan gets a letter in the mail that reduces my available unused credit limits by $21,000.

...

Facts:

1.) Nathan cannot transfer any more balances because there is no available credit to do so. I am stuck with the prime rate + percent on all credit cards now. These range from 14% - 27%

2.) Nathan did nothing to initiate these reductions in his credit limits.

3.) Nathan initiated the 'let me help myself' process. He did not get into shit then try to claw his way out, he was being proactive.

4.) Through no fault of his own Nathan is now stuck and is forced to make some dramatic decisions.

5.) In the end I feel Bank of America and Chase will pay for what they have done becasue THEY pushed me into this situation.

6.) I have been responsible for more than 18 years with my repayments and would have continued to happily pay my debts and all the interest and fees if this did not happen.

7.) Bank of America and Chase have recieved more than 25 billion each in bailout money...

8.) The simple matter of the fact is that I am a nothing to these companies and my collapse means little to nothing to them.

I tried so hard and WAS a good consumer and this happened to me.

Friday, July 31, 2009

Grinning Evilly He Started to Type

by Chris McGinty

Let’s see, Nathan started this blog on the 27th and it’s now the 31st, so it’s been civil for four days now. I think that’s a record, though admittedly, I didn’t sign in until yesterday.

You brought this on yourself, Nathan. I was just going to mention the new Tron movie, and then go back to sleep. Nope. You had to beat me to the punch, so I had to go look for something else to write about, and oh boy did I finded it.

I know finded isn’t a word, but sometimes I have to write what I hear in my heeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee….

So I went over to Nathan’s Skipping Frog Blog, which you can finded here: http://skippingfrog.blogspot.com/

On July 13, 2009, Nathan asked, “Is it wrong to be afraid of the current administration?” and then went about the business of explaining how the government makes us pay more and more taxes a little bit at a time, until now with all the sales taxes and such, the average American pays something like 50% of their income in taxes.

You know what? Yes. That’s my answer.

If we understood what the government is, we shouldn’t be afraid of the government at all. Because the government is supposed to do what we say.

Grinning evilly he switched gears suddenly.

Nathan, how much do you pay each month in interest to credit cards, car payments, and your mortgage? What percentage of your income is that? Just curious. How much less are you living while having those kinds of payments drag you down?

But I don’t want to blame Nathan entirely here, or any number of us who are living just enough above our means that we’ll never have true financial freedom. I want to point a few fingers at big business, and how it is that we view jobs. Ignoring taxes for a moment. We go to work. From our labour we get a small share of the business, and the business gets a share, as well, called profits. The odd thing is that there probably isn’t a huge discrepancy between a business’s profit, and how much it paid out in labour. When a business shows no profit, there’s actually a huge discrepancy in favour of the workers.

So why is it that so many businesses thrive, and the workers don’t? Well we don’t profit do we? How long would you stick around at a job if you heard that they were never sure they were going to make their payroll each month, and you might not get paid next paycheck? Yet many of us live paycheck to paycheck. Why?

The government isn’t really doing this to us. We’re doing it to ourselves. We don’t make these companies behave. Visa hasn’t been affected by any of this economic downturn shit, because they’re set up to where the bank that issued the card is often responsible if the bill doesn’t get paid, because the bank wanted to use the Visa logo on their card. These are the same banks that don’t want to make unsecured personal loans, and that’s all a credit card is, an unsecured loan.

And we still keep shelling out our hard earned money to interest. A house I get because it maintains its value mostly, but that’s about it.

Further, there is a reasonable margin of profit for anything we ever buy. This profit margin pays workers, and profits the companies. Anytime we pay over that profit margin, we hurt ourselves, because the companies won’t drop their prices unless they feel they have to.

It’s estimated that a new car loses 20% of it’s value the moment it’s driven off a lot. So tell me, what percentage of your income is that 20% depreciation? A three year old car is typically just as reliable, and only depreciates at about 7-12% a year.

What I’m saying is that buying something when we want it, rather than when we can afford it, hurts us, and possibly worse than the government’s misguided appropriation and spending of taxes.

Disney promotes Tron Legacy...

This is the most AWESOME promotion ever! Their promotion for the movie was to open a temporary 'Flynn's Arcade'!!!!!


Thats MY ARCADE!!! Arg!


Here's the article here


Thursday, July 30, 2009

ChrisMcG-I-NTY-5's First Blog.

by Chris McGinty

Alright, checking in here. It’s me, Chris. Nathan wanted to do this blog with Miguel and me. Let the good times roll.

Nathan’s blogs so far have been brief commentary on things such as movies, movie commentary, and church. So I’ll go a little similar, you know without all the conservative paranoia.

Speaking of which, I was in front of a TV yesterday that ate some bad chicken, and was puking up Fox News. My only question is why does every other story suggest that there needs to be some sort of legislation to fix whatever paranoid notion the story is railing against? Aren’t conservatives against government intervention?

I’ve seen two movies recently, both very good in their own way. The first was “Run, Lola, Run” which I’ve wanted to see since it came out a decade ago. This movie is absolutely worth watching. It’s even worth reading the subtitles. The second was “Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog.” All I have to say about this one is Joss Whedon. Very funny. It stars Neal Patrick Harris, Nathan Fillion, and Felicia Day. As I understand it, it was shot just for something to do during the Writer’s Strike, and was released directly to the internet for free.

Onto my recent reading. I read “The Tales of Beedle the Bard.” It was a very easy read. The stories were ok. What made it interesting was the “commentary” written by Albus Dumbledore, because it gave it the same feel as her other two companion pieces to the Harry Potter universe, as in, it gave a feel of entertaining reference material. I’m about halfway through “Extreme Paranoia: Nobody Knows the Trouble I’ve Shot” which is a novel based on the Paranoia RPG.

Finally, Miguel and Nathan you may find this article interesting. It’s about a huge auction of Hollywood props. What I found interesting is that a lot of movie production is leaving California in favour of states that will give them better tax breaks.

http://edition.cnn.com/2009/SHOWBIZ/07/28/hollywood.prop.sale/index.html?eref=edition_entertainment

That’s it for me today.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

The turd that is 'The Happening'

Saw the movie The Happening or should I say 'The Crappening' the other day.


Wow.


I like Zoe Daschel. She's not that great of an actress, but she is very likeable. But even her inclusion in this steaming pile could not make me like it.


1.) Bad acting (I mean BAD)

2.) Turd of a story

3.) Crappy ending


Candice was guess that M. Night Shamla-lama-ding-dong was under contract with 20th Century Fox to do one more film and he rushed to get it done. I think I agree. I would have been pissed if I would have paid good money for that.


Hollywood is so full of a-holes

I was watching the special features of Watchmen and there are a few featurettes about the comic book and when it was made and what it was about etc...

The production people talked about how the comic book was taking place in a time of crime filled cities and corrupt government. They just couldn't let it pass without getting on their little soapbox... they started talking about parallels between the Nixon corrupt goverment with the Bush corrupt government.

Am I the only one who NEVER hears anything (outside conservative radio) about how corrupt the Clinton government was from ANYONE?

When is this world going to be perfect and people are going to be honest about whats going on in the world instead of skewing things and pissing on everything they don't agree with?

I blame Jimmy Carter.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Rock N Roll Church

The wife and I are Church Shopping and we visited a church that was more like a rock concert than anything else (I guess this is so because I have never been to a concert). When you walked in, loud 'rock type' christian music was blairing; there was a full band, dramatic lighting, and even smoke. It had a very concert vibe going as well (I am assuming). Anyway the wife likes it so I might be going to a concert every weekend.

Oh yeah, and the youth pastor is Loren's 'good twin'