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Archive for August, 2004

“All my interest was on the Olympics”

August 31st, 2004 No comments

I handed over $495 to Mullins Apartments as a security deposit on my lease when I first moved in. Today, two years later, I received that security deposit back, minus no deductions, for the same amount of $495.

While most would consider that a victory (you really should have seen how “clean” the apartment was when I left), I don’t. When I was getting ready to move into an apartment, I was told that landlords were required to pay interest on security deposits. I made sure they wrote that on my lease when I was signing it two years ago. Not because the law wouldn’t have enforced it on its own, but because it’s hard to refute such a thing existed in the first place when it’s on paper.

Because the rate for the first year and a half was 5% (the law was subsequently changed to reflect market rates for the last half of the second year), we’re not talking about a small sum of money. It should come out to about $50. I called Mullins to ask what happened. Carol, the ostensibly kind but money hungry overseer of the Mullins apartment business, said she knew she had to pay the interest but must have forgotten.

That’s not exactly what she said though, it went more like “Oh, I knew about that, I was watching the Olympics when I did those checks and I must have forgotten on that one.” Yup, she must have forgotten only on mine. I wouldn’t think she purposely left off the interest in hopes of screwing over the tenants who didn’t know about the interest requirement. Nope, why would she do that. She obviously forgot while watching the Olympics.

Sorry, but that’s akin to forgetting to charge sales tax at a store. It’s something that is part of every security deposit return, just as sales tax is part of every transaction. The Olympics didn’t keep her from remembering the interest, shifty business practices did.

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Pay no attention to the narrow minded fools behind the curtain

August 31st, 2004 No comments

I really can’t stomach any of this Republican Convention. I watched about 10 minutes of it last night and felt a little acid build up in the back of my throat. The part I tuned in to was Jason Seahorn and his actress wife (so much of a celebrity that I can’t remember her name) were speaking to the crowd. The wife was reading verbatim off the TelePrompter as if she’d never seen the text before. For an actress, I’d expect more on the believability scale for something like that. But, what do you expect when you try to get an actress who is also a Republican.

The Pubbies are attemtping to moderate their message (so close to the election, who woulda thunk?). Arnie and Rudy were there to say “wow are we middle-of-the-road-everyday-Americans!” While in the meantime, the real Republicans are behind the curtain with earmuffs on while the Governator slipped in that abortions are OK and Rudy advocated gay marriage. The earnmuffs came off shortly after that and the September 11th credit-taking continued.

In their next attempt at accessing level-headed Americans, they brought out politic’s version of the Hilton sisters: the Bush twins. These two paraded themselves out onto the stage and made being Republican look fun to young people. C’mon, who wouldn’t think being anti-minority, war mongering, religion injecting, close-minded liars isn’t fun! They did everything short of flash their breasts for votes. And if they had, I think elder Barbara and maybe Dick Cheney would have had simultaneous heart attacks.

In a little preview for Thursday night’s speech, GW showed up on the video screen on stage to introduce his wife. He just happened to be attending a little league baseball game or the like, and players were frolicking behind him as he introduced his “I’ve done nothing beneficial since my husband took office” wife. Apparently she was allowed to take a break from baking pies for this Sunday’s church social to make her speech. She waved and smiled and took credit for her party on women gaining the right to vote and improving education. She pointed out she was related to the elder Bushes by marriage and gave Cheney a warm-up surge of adrenaline to make sure his heart was ticking by pointing him out to the crowd.

The whole idea of putting more moderate representatives of the party on display for the convention is kind of twisted. Yeah, it pulls in more votes, but doesn’t point out the religion-rooted, “compassionate conservative” views that essentially disenfranchise those who don’t buy into their catchy slang for discrimination. I’m completely fine with believing in a religion, the second you use it outwardly as the basis for your policies, I question your understanding of the Constitution.

One of the only TV’s with news on at the Princeton Club the other day was the one with Fox News on. In an entirely unveiled show of support for GW on a “news” station, they spoke with a professor of politics of some sort about his veiws of the protests in NYC. He pointed out that the media was doing something called “mainstreaming” their coverage. He said all they did was show shiny happy middle class people protesting, using only language allowed on Nickelodeon. The rest, of course, were irregular people, whose opinions should have been covered more extensively to show that only freaks, weirdos and misfits have opinions against GW. In reality, he said, only 10-15% were middle of the road, “regular” people, protesting against the convention. Wow, apparently the other 80% (of an estimated 200,000 people) do not count. You should only pay attention to the 10-15% of “regular” people who were protesting and the other 80ish % don’t count because they’re not normal anyway. Good thinking.

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Pin the tail on the donkey

August 22nd, 2004 No comments

I went to the Wisconsin State Fair with Ross a couple weekends ago. It was a Friday night, but wasn’t too hard to find parking. We ended up in a neighborhood just past the freeway, saving $5-8 on parking.

Here’s a gallery of the pics I took.

I’m used to seeing trashy type people there, but for some reason this year’s was worse. There were mullets and cut-offs a plenty, with a few undersized shirts being worn by oversize people, thrown in for good measure.

I didn’t have any stand-out food, unless you count the cream puff. However, the cream puffs, by definition, are stand out. I paid attention to how they actually make the fatty treats, and was slightly surprised how simple it was. I appears to be basic pate-a-choux batter, with whipped cream and sugar as the filling. They took 3-4 quarts of heavy cream at a time and dumped them into white buckets and added some sugar. Attached to those buckets, via a hose, was some sort of aeration unit and a spigot for the cream to come out of. I guess that’s how you mass produce whipped cream.

One thing that bothered me about hte cream puff area was the removal of an entrance that I’m sure confused many. You used to be able to enter and exit near the area you pay for the cream puffs, which is also near the outside cream puff pick-up area of years past. This year that area was exit-only and guarded by at least three minimum wage workers (high school girls in this case). I didn’t see the blue sign saying “Exit Only” on it as I walked over to get inside, and was immediately turned away with force. Two girls stuck their arms out to create a human barrier and both said “You can’t enter here sir!” as if their life depended on it. Make the sign red and blue and put it 20 feet away so people actually realize it’s exit only before getting attacked, or just make it a regular door like it was in the past.

There were lots and lots of people wearing political buttons. It was REAL easy to idenfity idiots that way. You just had to look for the Bush//Cheney pin on their shirt. I guess you could also identify them by bibles in their hands, bulges from weapons in their pants, or the wool over their eyes.
In the little stretch of exhibits outside the main exhibition hall there was as booth set up for Republicans to congregate. They were selling t-shirts, and all of theme were very classy, and reflective of most Republican’s way of thinking (yup, just watch me stereotype). The shirts outlined America’s priorities quite simply: Jesus, USA Freedom, George W. Bush. I’m not sure how those all relate, but they must otherwise they wouldn’t put it on a shirt. The next couple shirts I was impressed by were both along the same theme. They were geared towards the outdoorsmen and bullies among us. The first produly said “If a Democrat asks you what your sport is, tell them it’s Kickin’ Ass (the last two words capitalized for no apparent reason, as even fishing isn’t Fishing). The second shirt simply said “Sportsman for Bush! There’s no limit on democrat this year!” (yes, Democrat isn’t capitalized in this one, yet it’s capitalized in the other one – looks like only the intelligent people are voting for Kerry). I realize a two party system is important, but I didn’t realize the sporting enjoyment of one party depended on the death of the other. The guy selling the shirts started to tell me the prices; I looked at him like he was crazy and walked away. After that, I walked around with a Kerry button on for the rest of the night.

I saw a pro-life booth there as well. A basket of small plastic fetuses caught my attention. They were being sold for $.50 and had no obvious use, so I asked the guy standing there what they were for. He had no clue, yet he was selling them. I know if I was selling something, I’d probably know what it is used for. Do you have a use for a small plastic fetus? I’d like to know if you do. I think they were just for mocking people who are pro-choice (like myself). It’s probably comparable to traipsing around campus with dead baby pictures. Maybe “god” wanted them to make fetus dolls. Now that I think about it, you couldn’t tell if they were dead baby fetuses, or regular living fetuses.

Senator Kohl’s milk barn was there again, hawking cow juice for $.25 a glass. You can’t go wrong with that. I’m not sure if they break even on the operation or not, as $.25 a glass ($.125 if you take the half-off coupon into consideration) is probably pretty close to retail price on milk at a grocery store.

The midway was its usual carny infested waste of money. I was happy to see Bobo there again, as I don’t remember him being there last year. They had some “pay $1 to see a freak” tent, where ther was apparently a 12″ woman or something along those lines. The people paying the $1 seemed to think their money was well spent, but I opted out.

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New digs

August 22nd, 2004 No comments

Here’s some pics of my new place so you know what I’m talking about below.

I’ve been in my new apartment for about 20 days now, but I still have a decent little pile of bags to be unpacked sitting in my dining room area. I’m in dier need of a desk to put my computer on and a kitchen table to put more crap on.

I was all set to move in at lelat a couple days earlier than August 1st, based on what the place told me, but I got a call a couple days before that which was slightly unsettling. Apparently the person living in my apartment before me was having difficulty findind someplace to move to and they were wondering if I really had to move in when my lease said I was moving in. Of course I had to, that’s what I was paying for.

Things were seemingly sorted out, and I was told I could come in July 31 to pick up my keys. I was given a welcome packet of sorts, and the keys and told my apartment should be all set. When I opened the door, I was greeted by the smell of paint and two painters. They hadn’t finished painting wince the other guy moved out. And, apparently the other guy moved out only minutes before I got there as he made a brief appearance walking through and the painters told me that was him. I thought that was kind of odd.

I didn’t care too much, as I just wanted to drop a couple loads of things off and I was at least able to do that. I came back later that night and did at least three loads of laundry and two loads in the dish washer while I cleaned the place up to live in.

My parents came up on the first to help me move some stuff and drop off the dresser I’m using. We picked up a blanket for my bed, which I used as a sleeping bag that first night because my bed hadn’t been dropped off yet.

The next day my bed was dropped off. I had shopped for my bed a couple weeks earlier, and settled on a $1,000 (yeah, $1k) model from Verlo. I guess that’s extremely expensive, but it’s pretty darn comfortable and has a 12 year warranty on it or so. I’ve had no problems getting used to sleeping on it.

The sofa is a Dacora “chocolate” brown leather sofa. It looked pretty long in the store, but fits just about right now that it’s in my liviing room. It’s really comfortable as well. I decided to finance it over 2 years because Steinhafels had a no-interest deal going on, and why not stretch out paying things when it doesn’t cost you anything. I got a cocktail table (apparently they’re not called coffee tables anymore) and an end table as well. They’re kind of a reddish brown, and see to go well with the sofa.

Check out the pics here and let me know which ones I should blow up to put on my walls.

It’s really convenient to have the washer/dryer right in my apartment. Doing laundry at my old apartment was frustrating and tedious because I had to go all the way to the basement to do it, pay $.75 for each load, and then hope it dried on the first try. Now, I can do laundry all night, pay less than $.75/load and do it all without leaving my apartment. How exciting!

I’ve never had a dishwasher before, but I’ve quickly learned how convenient it is. I don’t really do a load a day, but it’s great to make a big meal and throw all the dirty stuff into it and have it come out clean an hour later.

I went and cleaned up my old apartment on the 8th, and that was quite the treat. Let’s just say it wasn’t as clean as I thought it was. At least it didn’t really start out that clean. I figured the best I could do was clean it up to the condition it was in when I got it. As far as I know, I did that. I guess we’ll find out if that’s true when they send me my security deposit back. They’re supposed to pay me interest on the deposit (like 5.5% for the first year), yet somehow I think Mullins is going to just skip the interest part unless I complain. Would that surprise you that a landlord would do such a thing?

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