12 hours to liftoff, leak discovered in #8 internet pump

223/365 - my bank sucks

Some despicable creature used my (just re-created!) debit card number to buy $700 of whatever at a goddamn Wal-Mart in Morgan Hill, CA, causing the number to go dead just before I go overseas for two weeks.

This has resulted in yakety-sax with harmonizing sad trombone for the last two hours, including a conversation with my bank about Japanese addresses, two disconnections at critical parts of a discussion with them, a number of deadlines and minimum service times just exactly out of reach, use of the entire week’s supply of foul language, and a thing where I bumped my elbow on the door.

Rays of sunshine: my bank caught it and I’m not paying for this troglodyte’s Wal-Martery; I actually have money, it’s just going to be a bit harder to get at; I’m going to Japan, dammit.

That war on bank fraud? We’re not winning!

Car loan, or why we hate bankers

I bought a Ford Fiesta from Robins Ford in Costa Mesa on Friday, July 30. It’s a great car. The price was good. The salesman was helpful and intelligent and didn’t do car salesman B.S.

I had a preapproved loan from my credit union for 6.1%.

The finance guy worked me a bit for upselling on warranties and insurance products, but wasn’t very pushy. He then wanted to get the loan business. He told me he could get me 6% or better. He was going to work on this over the weekend.

On Saturday he called me and said “I got you 6%.”

A couple of weeks passed. I got a number of loan rejection letters in the mail from various banks. I got no approvals. I called him and asked if there was something I needed to sign additionally, and he said no, they would mail me.

A couple more weeks passed. I called him asking what loan I had, and when I should get the mail. I got voicemail and the call was not returned. Repeat twice.

I called Ford Motor Credit. They had no loan for my car or anything in my name.

I received mail from Chase Bank announcing that my loan had been approved and they’d given me a lower rate because I qualified for same. My rate: 8.39%.

I called Robins Ford and was told that my credit guy no longer worked there. I talked to a new guy. He was polite and professional. He said “look at your contract; whatever is on there is your rate.” He agreed that the whole thing was upsetting. He also said that it was possible to get the credit union to loan me at a lower rate and pay off this worse loan immediately, which was a good thought.

My contract (here’s the part that’s my fault) said 10%. Credit manager guy had literally waved his hand over this as if it was a formality, or some kind of placeholder. Burned.

I applied to the credit union for a loan to repay this one; it was declined due to excessive debt. Doh.

Meanwhile, it was time for me to make my first payment. I already had a Chase account paid by bank transfer, so I set this up for the auto loan also. The system rejected my information at first. I assumed I had made a typo, and tried again. Another failure. Looking carefully at my bank’s site, I saw that they now had a separate transfer number for electronic payments of this kind. I re-entered my bank info and now it was accepted. I paid the current bill and set up automated payments.

On the 22nd of September I got a late payment phone call from Chase. Looking at my account online, I saw that it said the following: next payment due date: 9/13. last payment made: 9/13. Account late. Amount due: my monthly plus a processing charge and a returned check charge.

I called Chase and a comedy ensued. The rep was very pleasant and professional. Together, we took a journey through madness and finance. It was clear that I had paid on the 13th, that the transaction was bollixed, and that a week later the computer decided that the transaction had not gone through and they were considering it a bad check. There was no late fee yet. I mentioned twice that this was during the time when Chase had an exceptionally bad I.T. disaster involving their loan systems, but he was silent about this.

I made my one-time payment with the rep on the phone, and he said he would get the bounced check charge remove.

Today, I looked at my Chase account. The account was now listed as overdue with a late charge. The last payment still said the 13th. And my new payment was listed as “in process.”

The bankers have mentioned recently that their feeling are hurt, that they feel bruises, that they are being unfairly vilified by the media and public servants. Why do we attack their large salaries? Why do we resent their guaranteed bonuses? Why are we insisting that the regulators regulate instead of sipping the bankers’ Scotch? Why do we fly into tantrums when their bold, risk-taking, disruptive innovations in finance blow up and kick shrapnel in our faces?

IT’S BECAUSE EVERY SINGLE DEAL WITH THEM IS A DRUG DEAL GONE SOUR AND WE GET OUR ASSES GRIFTED BUT GOOD, AND THE PEOPLE IN CHARGE OF THE GRIFT ARE WEIGHTLESS UNTOUCHABLE ARISTOCRATS WHO LIVE ON PLANET VEUVE-CLICQUOT AND WILL NEVER, EVER BE PUNISHED FOR THEIR CRIMES OR EVEN STOPPED FROM CONTINUING THEM.

But it’s a snappy little car.

Phrase of the day: Mall Intervention

Psychosocial Rehabilitation (PSR) Mall

The PSR Mall is a centralized approach to delivering services where the individuals served and the staff from throughout the hospital come together to participate in services. Malls represent more of a centralized system of programming rather than a reference to a specific building or certain location. Mall interventions are provided, as much as possible, in the context of real-life functioning and in the rhythm of life of the individual. Thus, a PSR mall extends beyond the context of a building or “place,” and its services are based on the needs of the individual, not the needs of the program, the staff members or the institution.

PSR Malls are designed to ensure that each individual receives individualized services to promote his increased wellness and ability to thrive in the world. All decisions regarding what is offered through each mall are driven by the needs of the individuals served. Mall services are provided in an environment that is culturally sensitive and strengths based.

Services facilitated through the mall include courses and activities designed to help with symptom management, personal skills development and life enrichment. The mall capitalizes on human and staff resources from the entire hospital to provide a larger diversity of interaction and experiences for all individuals in the mall.

In which the local police department provides amusement

Right after I saw Bob yesterday, he was pedaling home when accosted by Costa Mesa’s finest.

Picture Bob in a big straw hat, reflective bright yellow vest, riding a bike, towing a trailer on which there is a blue dog who is barking happily.

The cops decided he was the one who had just robbed a bank. Bob’s description of the event is below:

Uttered by a blue dog on a trailer and overheard by a passerby…In front of the trailered dog lay sprawled at gunpoint his unphased owner,muttering some bile ladden filth and saying things like “What the fuck” etc. long story short the dog confessed and both parties were released …..fuck me! what is it?break out the Kool Aid and jam for the fucking bridge??!! beyond Keystone we need pictures of me in bike outfit/bank robbery getaway outfit! later

Some days I can’t get enough of my town.

Today’s Unsurprising Costa Mesa news

Note for non-locals: Tony’s Place is a dive bar of a particular sort: a haunt of semi-retired felons. Most of them are over-the-hill cirrhotic carnie mumblers. This guy was apparently still sparky at the advanced age of 42. The last sentence is the best.

Man’s skull fractured by pool cue in bar fight
Fight in Costa Mesa ends with man hospitalized with bleeding in his brain

COSTA MESA – A 42-year-old Costa Mesa man was arrested on suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon, after a game of pool ended with a man going to the hospital with a skull fracture and bleeding in his brain.

William Marsh was arrested at Tony’s Place at 2054 Newport Blvd. in Costa Mesa after a disagreement over a game of pool around 10:15 p.m., said Costa Mesa police Sgt. Bryan Wadkins.

Marsh is suspected of hitting Christopher Colbert, 49, of Costa Mesa, in the head with a pool cue.

Marsh was arrested at the scene, Wadkins said.

Other patrons overheard the fight but did not see it, Wadkins said.

Across the tracks

To most people “Orange County” means my town: wealthy, white, beautiful, right-wing, vapid, with a great beach.

It’s a big place, though. There’s the most Mexican city outside Mexico itself, an entire Vietnamese town, hundreds of light industry and defense factories. There are also some very tough neighborhoods, gang wars, near-homeless poor in bad motels, skinheads, and lots of meth dealers.

Last night a 15-year-old girl was shotgunned in West Costa Mesa’s worst neighborhood. She was three miles from my house, which is in the safest reporting district in Newport. If that had happened here you’d all be seeing it on the news right now. There, it’s a squib buried in the Register.

We still have “the tracks” around here, even in Paradise. In Santa Ana it’s 17th street, and here it’s Newport Boulevard. Don’t live on the wrong side.