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Thursday, September 16, 2004
My financial life has two different "phases" which I tend to drift back and forth between.

One Phase I like to call "Surplus". The "surplus" phase is great. It means I got a nice "cushion" in case of emergency, but I can still do just about everything I need, and most everything I want (the primary exception being a home purchase).

The other phase I like to call the "Request Direct Deposit Advance" phase. The RDDA phase is more of a "paycheck-to-paycheck" phase...actually...it's worse than that. The "cushion" is gonzo and this phase has me taking advantage of those lil loans that my bank offers to customers who use direct deposit, in order to cover necessary expenses. This of course leads to a weaker paycheck once it actually comes in...which generally leads to another RDDA. It's a vicious cycle...a "shame spiral" if you will.

For the past year or so, I've been really pretty good about this stuff and have basked in the glow of a prolonged "surplus" phase. Times have changed however. Lingering doctor's bills from my Knee surgery last spring, a new car payment, and a recent travel expenses have rocketed me into the RDDA phase once more and it's a fucking bitch to get out of.

I try not to let this sort of stuff get me down, I know it wont last forever and eventually I'll pull myself out of it, but it's still really frustrating.



Tuesday, September 14, 2004

Reno is a curious place. It's a place I've never really liked that much despite it being a city with plentiful opportunities for gambling and it's close proximity to several good ski slopes.

My mom loves Reno though and so I travel there every once in a while to visit her.

My mom.

My mom is an interesting, unique lady. She's always been a great and caring person...And put her heart and soul into raising her kids. Somewhere along the line she morphed into a hard-core conservative. It's probably the one thing that puts a real strain on my relationship with her.

This is not to say it's impossible to get along with people who have opposing political views with you. Healthy respectful debate is all fine and good. The things with my mom though, is that politics just create too much tension between us. At the end of the day I can only assume that we have so little respect for each other's opinions in this arena.

The basic idea here is that whenever I'm around her, I do my best to avoid political discussions of any kind. It just gets both of us angry.

Now...Cut to me waking up Saturday morning (the morning after I arrived in Reno) at her place. My mom walks in the room, turns on the radio and says, "I really need to listen to this....". Rush Limbaugh's voice fills the room.

"Fine" I think to myself. I don't mind listening to this for a lil while. Always good to get a fresh perspective, bla bla bla. An hour passes.

"So you wanna head out?" I say.

"Nah, I like to lounge around in the morning when I can. We'll leave in a little bit."

After another hour of Limbaugh we head out for a hike. It's a fairly long drive out to Donner Lake, and on the way we got to listen to Sean Hannity.

Finally the drive ends and we head out on our hike. Which was awesome. A beautiful sunny day, a brisk but mellow climb, and a fantastic view of Donner Lake from the high peaks of the Sierra Nevadas. We both agreed it was a very special place.

My mom changed the radio station to a country and western channel for our ride home. Upon our return we chilled out in front of the tube to enjoy some Bill O'Rielly, on the Fox News Channel.

At this point I was about to go crazy.

I mean...If the situation were reversed and she was staying with me, I'm pretty sure I wouldn't sit her down to 2 hours of the Al Franken show, followed by a special showing of Fahrenheit 911....Mostly because she'd end up shouting at various stereos and televisions all day.

The result of all this is that it tends to force me into a shell. I don't feel like talking about anything for fear that it might spark another pointless political word-storm.

My solution? Start changin the channel. I played the "guest card" and started taking over radio and television duty.


Everything else about the trip was good. I got to ride around on my mom's Vespa (which is basically a motorcycle...The thing goes 80 mph). Had dinner with my bro, and rented a bunch of movies. Good stuff.


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