Monday, September 29, 2008

Oh, the Horror!!!

777 point drop today. Anyone else shaking in their boots beside me? Man, the economy is pretty shitty right now.

Speaking of horror, this past weekend, Jess and I got to go to a Sci-Fi/Horror convention here in town. It was pretty fun, mostly because of getting to meet some very nice people:

Jess was excited because she got to meet Wil Wheaton. Although most people who wanted to meet him was because of Star Trek, Jess was ecstatic because he is the star of her favorite movie - Stand By Me. It was really cool because at the time we got to meet him, we were really the only people in line and she got to ask him questions about the movie for almost 10 minutes. He told stories, "Feldman was a bastard", and just basically recollected what is was like to make the movie. It really was a special moment for Jess and I was so happy she got to meet him.

Autographed Stand By Me DVD

I also got to meet a couple of cool horror people. First, I got to mee Sid Haig, probably most famous for his Rob Zombie movies role of Captain Spaulding. He was pretty friendly and was telling some pretty funny stories while we were in line.

Sid autographed his picture. It says, "To Manuel, Shit the Bed."

"To Manuel - On Our Way to Hell!"

Finally, I also got to meet Michael Berryman who some may recognize from the original Hills Have Eyes or Weird Science. He has been in a ton of films because of his unique look. He was a tremendously nice guy and we talked for a while about the work he is doing with rescuing pit bulls. So nice!

Friday, September 19, 2008

Unbelievable Frustration

Last week I encountered a situation with my credit card that easily ranks as one of the most frustrating situations I have ever been my life. Let me explain how it happened.

Last Tuesday, I went online and bought some discounted gift certificates at this great Go Cart place I love to go to. They were offering $50 gift certificates for $25. I bought a total of 8, some for me and some for my father in law who loves to go too. Unfortunately, I had to but them one at a time as they did not allow you to buy in bulk. So, I made 8 transactions in about 15 minutes.

About a half hour later, I got an automated call from my credit card company wanting me to confirm the transactions as the multiple transactions alerted their fraud department. I told them I had indeed made the purchases and they told me I was free to use my card again.

Later that day, Jess stopped to get some gas on the way home from work. The card was declined, but she thought it might have something to do with the pumps as I hadn't told her of the phone call from the card company. After that, she stopped at Walmart to get some groceries. Once again, her card was declined, and embarrassed, was forced to use her ATM card. She called me and I informed her about the card and became frustrated that despite the phone call, it still didn't work. She called the credit card company and spoke to to someone who said she would personally remove the lock on the card.

Later on in the evening, we went to Fry's Electronics and once again, our card was declined. This time, instead of paying with another card, we waiting on hold to talk to someone and he said he would put the highest clearance on the card and make sure the payment went through. After about 15 minutes, our payment went through, but at this point, I was pretty livid. This was not over though.

Wednesday came and we had no problems with the credit card.

Thursday morning, we stopped at the gas station to top off before our trip. Again, our card was declined. I paid with another card while Jess called the company AGAIN. The guy said he had no idea why the card was declined as it looks good on their end, but he looked into it further. While he was still on the line, we stopped at Starbucks to get breakfast. He told us the card looked good, but we asked him to stay on the line while we made our purchase. Again - DECLINED. Jess said he sounded genuinely surprised, but at this point, I was beyond furious and cussed up a storm. I paid with another card and left while Jess remained on the phone with him. He said he couldn't figure it out, but would call us back once he looked into it further.

A few hours later, he called us while we were on the road and said we had to speak directly to their fraud department. They would ask us some advanced security questions and then could lift the hold. I called them up, waited on hold for a good while, and spoke to a lady. She asked me the same questions that we have been asked every other time. I asked her about this and told her I was under the impression we would be asked new questions to get the full clearance, but she just rudely said, "Sir, your card is fine now. I have put on the highest clearance." She had zero sympathy. So, I hung up once done and assumed it fixed.

About 4 hours into our drive, we had to stop for gas. Again - DECLINED. You can imagine my mood at this point. I called the fraud department right away and let the person I spoke to have it. She told me the last lady did NOT put on the highest clearance as I was told. This time, she asked me a bunch of new questions and assured me, the highest clearance was now on the card. I managed to get a thank you out of my mouth and prayed, this would be the end of it.

Well, the rest of our trip went off without a hitch. It was good not to have to deal with the card issue while on vacation. On Sunday, we drove home and halfway through, we stopped to get gas. As you can guess, once again, it was declined. I has Jess make the call as there was no way I could be civil to whoever answered the phone. The guy she talked to said he could not see any problems with the card as it looked all clear to him. He told her he would put on the highest clearance (how many times is that now?) and it should work from now on.

Well, it has been 5 days now and our card still works. I can't imagine the gasket I would break if the card failed again. I hate now that every time I use the card, I get scared. Jess and I use our card for EVERYTHING. We carry no cash or checkbook. We put everything on our card and then pay it all off at the end of the month. Not having a card that works is not acceptable. What sucks about this is usually when a company screws you, you can get something free for your troubles. But really, what can a credit card company give you? They aren't going to lower your balance. Lowering an interest rate doesn't help as we never have a leftover balance. We use our card for the points, but it would take a LOT of points for it to actually make a difference as we save up points for huge things like plane tickets(We are flying to DC on them). So, all we can do is bitch about it. Jess wrote a 3 page letter to them expressing our anger. We asked for a response from them to make sure they got the letter and to see what action would be taken for this confusion, but nothing yet after 3 days. We shall see. I can honestly say though, this was the maddest I had been in as long as I can remember. Madder than anything has made me at my current job. Just furious. The thing is, I appreciate them looking out for us. Fraud is rampant. But, after I confirmed I made those purchases, that should be it. Don't make me call multiple times only to get told the same thing over and over. Don't make me suffer the embarrassment of a declined card in front of a bunch of people. I hope it is over.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Back with pictures a plenty!

Well, I am back. Back from our family reunion, back to the blogging world, and back online(my modem died and I had to get a new one this afternoon). As stated earlier, we had a family reunion this past weekend on the Central Coast of California in the small, beautiful town of Cayucos. We have been going there for years and we decided it would be the perfect place to hold a reunion of the family. Enough with the talk as there are plenty of pictures!

Ah, pretty.

Morro Rock in all its glory

Cayucos flowers with Morro Rock in background

The Cayucos Pier View Suites. 6 suites and our family had all of them.

In Morro Bay, we go visit the animals.

Hi up there!

My sis and cousin...

There was a lot of Rock Band played...

Family pictures...

Yes, I really am that mature...

End it with a ton of sunset pictures...

Monday, September 08, 2008

Just a quick note...

Just wanted to write a quick note to tell you I won't be around posting or commenting until next Monday. Life has been pretty hectic lately. The end of last week was damn busy and then we were gone all weekend until this evening out of town for the funeral for GG. Tuesday and Wednesday is all I have to catch up because on Thursday morning, we leave out of town for a family reunion on the beach. I'll have plenty of pictures of that. Until then, see you all in a week...

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

In Memoriam

Today our world lost a wonderful person. Today, we lost Agnes Bart, or GG as we called her. She was Jessica's great grandmother and she passed away today, one month from her 102nd birthday. So, I guess you can say she lived a long and wonderful life. She really was the sweetest person I know/knew and I am blessed and lucky that I was able to have her part of my life, something I would have never been able to do if I hadn't joined Jessica's family. It really is a double edged sword because although you hate for someone you love to go, the last couple years of her life were difficult for her as she wa sin so much pain. I guess that happens when your body is over one hundred years old. She shall be missed....

Here is Jess and I with her this past Christmas...

Monday, September 01, 2008

California State Fair 2008

Sorry I haven't posted in almost a week now. I last posted on Wednesday night which was the 4th night in a row. Thursday night we were at the State Fair and then the long weekend hit and well, just never got around to do any posting. So, sorry about that!

As mentioned above, Jess and I went to the California State Fair on Thursday night and spent a few hours there. For the most part, it was the same stuff as every year. We did manage to pick up some fun t shirts geared towards Mexicans, some new bedroom sheets that we had bought before and loved, and some jewelry cleaner we couldn't figure out how to say no to. I thought Jess was trying to convince me to buy it while she was really trying to get me to be the bad person and say no. In the end we bought it, but at least it works well, right?

We didn't take many pictures, but here ya go...
Me, driving to the fair

Jess taking a self portrait

I'm eating a fried White Castle burger. Yes, fried.

Close up of the burger. Hold on while I go get the defibrillator...

Jess with her BBQ corn

The booth where I got my fried burger. As you can see, they fry a bunch of different food.

Look who Jess saw at the fair!