Getting penalized for being competent

Well that’s bullshit: program funded by $110 million federal dollars will provide up to $50,000 of relief to homeowners stuck in underwater mortgages; under specific conditions, none of which demonstrate the ability to be financially responsible much less competent at all

There’s no sugar-coating it, my home’s been underwater for the better part of, since I’ve lived in it.  The house was purchased in 2004, the value of the home rose a little bit for each of the first three years, and then the housing bubble popped, and the values of homes sunk faster than Yahoo stock.  My life was in a way different place back in the day, but I remember getting the first letter that stated that my home no longer had any equity that could be borrowed from, and as far as I know, that hasn’t recovered, even to this very day.

Needless to say, I’ve become very attuned to the concept of underwater mortgages throughout the years, and I should feel fortunate that my household has been in the minority of most underwater homeowners, and that we’ve always been able to pay the bills every month, and have been able to maintain good standing with all home expenditures throughout the years.  We’re actually getting to the point where the mortgage is practically whittled down to where we might be able to even hit a break-even point, with the underwater estimates.

At this point, a push is a win, and Jen and I can brush ourselves off from this failed gamble and figure out the next steps in our lives.

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I’m with the angry Italian

Fat story made thin: Italian man angry with Emirates airlines because they’re not doing anything to dissuade his dissatisfaction with having to have sat next to a morbidly obese man on a nine-hour flight

I’m aware that this story is one that of an insufferable, apparently entitled individual, trying to cash in on a no-win situation from Emirates, but I’m also not a perfect person either.  I’m on the side of the angry Italian.

I fly a lot, as my six readers very well know.  I’ve enjoyed the luxury of the occasional surprise upgrade when I played the standby game, but way more often than naught, I’ve suffered the indignity of having to sit next to undesirable people.  And I wish it were the people with babies, or the blabber mouths, or the people that often come to mind when people think of undesirable seat neighbors.  No, I’m talking about the people who don’t know what a shower is, or had been living at the airport for days, or sometimes both.  People who try to dominate the armrests or any and as much space as they can, because they’re just that selfish or greedy.  

And then there’s the fat people.

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Happy trails, Turner Field

Sandwiched in between two hectic weeks between two, two-week vacations were a lot of catching up on sleep, catching up at work, catching up on home maintenance, and my favorite, catching up on paying bills.  In spite of the fairly busy schedule with not a lot of free time, there was one thing that I felt very strongly about wanting to do: catch one more game at Turner Field.

Now I’ve made no secret of my general disdain for the Braves organization and their pursuit of cash-greener pastures in Marietta.  I’m still disappointed that the Braves failed to lose 100 games for the second straight year in spite of superior draft positioning.  And I still feel disgust every time I read anything about blatantly transparent greed and corruption involving the development of ScumTrust Park.

But this is a time to set all those loathsome feelings aside, and to take an evening to enjoy a place where I’ve spent countless nights watching baseball, at various points of my baseball fandom.

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Irrational anxieties

Normally, I don’t often state my travel plans, fearing for jinxes or security vulnerabilities involving my home or belongings.  But lack of brog, etc, etc, no worries about anyone reading this until way after the fact.

But I’m going to Korea in a few days, and I’m undoubtedly excited to visit the Motherland, but at the same time I feel a tremendous amount of anxiety and concern for the home I’m leaving behind while I’m on travel.  Some of them are valid things to worry about while I’m away like my outstanding assignments are in good places for my co-workers, the health and well-being of those I care about, the safety of my home and my dog.  Or the perpetually escalating tensions between North and South Korea and the United States’ involvement, leading to some military firepower demonstrations from all sides this fucking week of all times, seem like something to fret a little bit about.

Some are less valid, like that I’m perpetually forgetting something, and no matter if I make lists, check and recheck the things I’m packing, I always feel like I’m forgetting something.  I mean, all I really need is clothes, toiletries, my passport, comfortable footwear, cell phone and my camera, and I should be mostly all set.  But I stare into my suitcase, and I’m 100% convinced that something critical and important is being forgotten, and it’s going to drive me nuts until I’m at the point where it would be too late anyway.

But the most irrational of anxieties I feel, is the feeling of FOMO (fear of missing out) of all the things that will inevitably be happening in the States while I’m away.  Like, I’m going to Korea, and visiting the country where my parents are from; I’m going to see all sorts of new and amazing things, historical, cultural and whatnot, and there’s a part of me that’s butthurt because I won’t be able to indulge in television shows like American Horror Story or Luke Cage when they’re fresh and new, and I’ll be two weeks behind when I get the opportunity to indulge.

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Relevant versus thorough

My first thought when I heard that Marlins pitcher Jose Fernandez died in a boating accident was “holy shit.”

My next thought was wondering if there were any drugs or alcohol involved.

Typically, I’m the kind of guy that likes to write about my feelings about particular topics, often waxing poetic about guys like Jose Fernandez, professional athletes capable of extraordinary things like striking out everyone they face.  In that regard, I’m not really that different from most people who like baseball and enjoy writing on the side.

The thing is, far too often, I’ve seen instances where people are reported dead, and then immediately eulogized as these tragic losses of life, often under veils of innocence, external faults and no wrong doing on their own parts.  In the case of athletes, stellar statistics or professional achievements are cited, like Fernandez’s 2013 National League Rookie of the Year honors or the extraordinary number of strikeouts he’s amassed in his career.

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Failing at failing

When the Braves started the season 0-9, I thought “oh man, this is the year.”  This was the year I would sit back and watch the Atlanta Braves drop 100 games, and I would feel some sadistic satisfaction that the organization that chose to deliberately flip the bird to all their collective fans in exchange for dirty money, would watch large numbers of said collective fans shake their heads in not mad, just disapproval.

I felt good when they finished the month of April at 5-18.  I felt even better when they finished May with a record of 15-36, with more than twice the losses than they had wins.  Things were even looking good when the Braves hobbled into the All-Star break at a paltry 31-58 record, a putrid win percentage of .348.

Now a .467 winning percentage is nothing to really boast about, but that’s what the Braves have played since the All-Star break, and at the time I’m writing this, they’ve gone 29-33 since the break.  They’re sitting at 60-91 with 11 games to play, and even a .467 team would have difficulty in going 2-9 and securing the unholy 100-loss season. 

The math simply does not favor the failure.

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Things that made me think Europe is overrated

One thing that lots of people do that I think is a little obnoxious, is thinking that the way things are done in America are all flawed, and that they are undoubtedly and unmistakably better in other parts of the world like Europe or Asia.  I’m not going to pretend that America does everything right, but spending lengthy times abroad is an easy way to make comparisons, and discover that America sure gets a lot of things pretty damn right, and often.

European airports.  I challenge any person who loves to bitch about how chaotic, hectic and for whatever reason that doesn’t imply veiled racism “difficult” Atlanta Hartsfield-Latoya Jackson Intergalactic Nail Emporium and Hot Wings Shack Airport, to spend a day waiting for a flight in a European airport. 

Including last year, my frame of reference includes airports in Paris, Brussels, Amsterdam, Berlin and Milan, and all of them suck, compared to Atlanta Airport.  And it might be home to me, but Atlanta Airport is far from the best airport in the United States.

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