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!

New ideas in restaurantation: oxtail mania!

While finding a place to eat out on Thanksgiving, I noticed that all of the local high-quality restaurants included braised beef short ribs on the menu along with the obligatory turkey and a couple other items.

This may be a food trendy thing, not sure. In any case it’s good recession markup food. Do a decent job with a very, very cheap cut and 3) profit!

In that spirit I suggested to salome_st_john that we start an All Oxtail Restaurant for the next few hard years. We came up with some specialties:

“Okay sir, that’s two of the Mesquite Chipotle oxtails and three Buffalo Oxtails. Would you like some of our oxtail poppers to start?”

“and for dessert: flourless warm oxtail!!”

“This oxtailini…”

oxtail ganache and an oxtail coulis!

mango jalapeno jello oxtail salsa!

oxtail reduction on a bed of ox foam!

oxtail micropearls frozen in liquid nitrogen!

and reconstituted in lukewarm oxtail “broth”! with an aroma of oxtail “smoke”!

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.

Tuesday’s Children

I met with Bob at Kean today so I could order a new automatic clutch for his Whizzer. (No, really!)

The patio was packed with moms and babies because the new expensive baby food store was having a grand opening Halloween event.

“Expensive baby food store” falls short of the mark. “Pomme Bébé” looks at first to be a high-end salon, art gallery, and Apple Store in one spot. Whiteness gleams tastefully. Sheer ivory surfaces, smock-clad employees, menu of the day in the style of an ice cream store. They sell organic and otherwise perfect food for infants.

So as Bob and I ordered bike parts on the Internet and bullshitted and played with his dog Mancha, this river of super-rich mothers flowed. They were all 20 and perfect forever, and their babies were all 6 months old and perfect forever. The baby carriages themselves were worth more than my car. They stretch across the sidewalk and have racks and racks of toys clacking above their passengers. More than a few were double wides with twin skulls bobbling in them.

Mancha slumped on our feet in a heavily adoring way and we skritched him. My iced tea was good.

THE MOTHER OF ALL BUTTLES

The “health” “plan” from my last job has still not paid any of the claims from February to March of this year.

Today I got a bill from a collection agency for an $800+ charge, now with added interest.

A month ago I spoke to a “rapid resolution expert” at the health plan who was shocked, shocked at the lack of payment and pressed lots of buttons and told me it would be resolved in 30 days.

Nothing was done.

Today I spoke to another “rapid resolution expert” who was even more shocked and promised me a written response in 48 hours and resolution within ten business days. He gave me a magic string of digits which supposedly will make the collection agency back off.

Once again let me observe that I am at the very top of the privilege ladder here, and I’m getting reamed really hard.

Abu Risha, he dead.

This is a fascinating al-Jazeera news story about the new “U.S.-Friendly” Sunni alliance in Anbar, the now-dead sheikh supposed to have been in charge of the alliance, and the inevitable money and power game behind that show.

Part I riffs on Apocalypse Now in a very heavy-handed way, appropriately so.

Friday, and we’re still in Amman…

I just canceled two credit cards.

Zeroed out balance, they were crap ghetto credit, goodbye.

1) HSBC. Polite and pleasant operator transfers me to “win-back” guy. He talks too fast reading the script and is hard to understand due to an accent, but very nice. After two attempts to sell me back, including a fairly pathetic 2% cashback offer and waiving the membership fee, he folds and agrees to cancel it and send me written confirmation.

2) Juniper/Apple Credit. Same type of operator transfers me to win-back guy. He is a “relationship manager” which makes me think of Dr. Neil Clark Warren. He doesn’t try to give me any deals. Instead he first tries to sell me on how great the card is, and is not chagrined at all to learn that I have 8% less interest and ten times the limit elsewhere. Then he issues a warning: if I cancel the card, it could have an adverse effect on my credit rating! He says this once and I point out that closing the account after paying it off is probably not a minus. In a more ominous tone he asks me to reconsider because it could seriously be a negative MARK on my CREDIT RATING if i canceled. “Oh no you don’t,” I say. “Enough with the threats; that is not cool. Immediately cancel the account and send me written confirmation.” He folds too.

Nice bullying, Juniper/Apple!

whatever with that other rich criminal

I’d like to point out that Generalissimo Greg Haidl is Still in Prison.

Where he belongs. Because sometimes, even in Orange County, even when you’re rich as hell, even when your dad is an Assistant Sheriff, even when the Sheriff himself is a corrupt sonofa bitch and the D.A. is in his pocket, even when the arresting department is the Newport Beach P.D., even when you hire the nastiest legal team and private investigators and slime your victim, even when you plead mental illness and exhaustion, SOMETIMES YOU JUST HAVE TO GO TO JAIL FOR RAPING A DRUGGED FIFTEEN YEAR OLD GIRL WITH FOREIGN OBJECTS AND VIDEOTAPING IT.

Score one for Hattie Carroll.