Saturday, October 29, 2005

Death of a Thousand Cuts

Did you know that if you use an ATM and request money, but you are over your limit, your bank will not dispense the money, and they may charge you a "Denial Fee?"

In the article I linked to, the banks argue that there is a cost of operating the ATMs that they have to pass on to the customer. What they are hoping we forget is that when put those ATMs in, they told us it was cheaper than a teller. My bank, for instance, has a nice, large lobby, complete with seven teller windows. Only two are used. Thanks, ATM!

This denial fee is on top of the ATM usage fee, any off network charges, and any charges the other bank wants to stick us with. And don't forget your monthly service charge, if you have one. Slowly but surely, you and I could pay hundreds of dollars a year to use an ATM, and the banks make billions a year.

That's why I won't use an ATM.

Friday, October 28, 2005

As a little present to myself for paying off one credit card, I bought the first series of Clerks inAction figures (And charged it on the paid off card. I am a moron). I had been watching the auctions on eBay, but most of them started at higher price than I could get them from View Askew.

Which brings up the question: Why have a store on eBay that sells action figures for FIVE FRICKIN' DOLLARS more than the View Askew site, AND charge twice as much for shipping? The answer is: Because you can.

Which brings us to the second question: Why the FRAK does someone buy something on eBay for MORE than you can get somewhere else?

And I'm not buying the concept that purchasing from a comic store in Georgia that is not owned by Kevin Smith makes an item more valuable than one in Red Bank, New Jersey that is owned by Kevin Smith.


Thursday, October 27, 2005

Despite having my fingers and toes crossed, the Astros blew it last night. Jeez! Just when you get proud of them . . .

Good job, anyway, guys. Congratulations on making it to the Series. Next time, though, could ya win just one game?

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Faced with huge consumer outrage, the credit card industy is also facing some new legislation. Some Congressjerks are even on our side, and trying to limit interest rates and penalty fees.

And it's not just cardholders who are upset. Merchants are angry that credit card fees they pay are continuing to rise.

Most credit card companies charge you and me, for example, 23% on all charges we make. But they aren't done collecting fees! They charge the merchant who took our plastic money a fee of 23 to 50 cents for each transaction. And that fee continues to rise.

Let's face it. Using a credit card does nothing but make you poor, cut into the vendor's margin, and give the credit card companies a license to print money.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

The object of GWB's intense hatred

The Rams, like GWB (and many of you), hate the people of New Orleans. There's simply no other way around it.

That's right. The Rams have joined the Bush-NFL Coalition of Hate, or, as I have come to know it, The Newest Axis of Evil in the World. The oppressed the New Orleans Saints by a final score of 17-28.

But you know what's even worse? Knowing I am alone in my compassion.

Sure, there are people who are demanding Bush be impeached for some of his crimes. But where are they when the objects of their hated oppress the lowest of the low, the New Orleans Saints? They simply don't care for any issue that doesn't suit their limited agenda. They don't want to fight the real enemy on all fronts. That's why Cindy Sheehan hasn't joined the crusade to award the Lombardi Trophy to the Saints. And we're the poorer for it.

But not me! I will fight the Evil that is the Bush Administration wherever I find it! That's why I will continue to fight for making the New Orleans Saints Super Bowl XL Champs immediately, to symbolize our support of, and compassion for, the victims of Hurricane Rita! Who's with me?

Monday, October 24, 2005

Citibank is offering a Citi card that won't charge a late fee if you make a purchase every billing period. They are advertising it on TV, I can't find it on their website.

Let me see if I understand: As long as the amount you owe rises, they won't charge a late fee?"

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Ever since I've been on crutches, my main gripe was that I can't carry anything. While I was on two crutches, I carried my stuff in a backpack I use when I travel. Now that I'm somewhat more mobile, I wanted to use something easier to carry. I found my old briefcase from the tobacco company days, and emptied it out, and it works fine.

Now, all of that is the set up for this: I was storing some old stories that I'd written. One of them was "The Entellus Dilemma," in all is 80 page glory; complete with sub-plots I had forgotten about. But, since I wasn't going to rewrite the story, I trashed it. Also in the bag was an abortive novel based on my years working in a small grocery store. I called it "Let Me Out," after a Knack song by the same name. And yes, I realize I just dated both myself and this little novel.

I reread what I had written, and found myself intrigued by the idea again.


A couple of days ago, thanks to the folks over at Lockergnome, I discovered a free mind mapping program called FreeMind. I spent a few hours thinking over the characters, plot and other ideas, and think I might have reimagined the novel well enough that I could actually write it! Or, at least, start it.