Monthly Archives: May 2009

WHY DO WE NEED THESE BANKS AGAIN?

WAMU is becoming Chase, and I’m reaping all rewards.

Go back with me a few months. Before Bush and company left office for good, lets say summer 08. The largest banks in the world are failing. They’re done. It’s over. Mass Hysteria time. When one toppled, it caused a rippling effect, pulling all the other predators with it. Lenders became debtors as all their debtors went belly up themselves. People were tossed from their worthless mansions. Things looked bleak. Kind of like they look right this minute.

Until the Government stepped in, pulled tight the reins of capitalism and said, “No More.” No more failing banks and homeless taxpayers. Well, no more failing banks. Then they gave the banks a bunch of money. Our money. One of those banks was JP Morgan Chase.

Now, I have been banking diligently with Washington Mutual, who for some reason have gone all KFC on me and reverted to WAMU, ever since I moved in next door to one. It was much closer than the B of A I used to go to, and certainly more convenient than Wachovia (walk over ya?) Bank.

Cut to Chase getting all that money again. They get billions, as do most of those institutions. Then they admit that they’re not going to start lending again with it. No no, that would restart the economy. And you guessed it, there’s a couple things Chase wants to buy real cheap before the economy starts up again. How about WAMU, and that Bear Stearns too? Yea, that looks good. Wow, you guys bought some pretty big banks there. What do you think CEO, are we good to start the economy yet?

“I would not assume that we are done on the acquisition side just because of the Washington Mutual and Bear Stearns mergers. I think there are going to be some great opportunities for us to grow in this environment, and I think we have an opportunity to use that $25 billion in that way and obviously depending on whether recession turns into depression or what happens in the future, you know, we have that as a backstop.” (actual executive quote)

Holy shit. They don’t even care anymore. They’re just fine telling us where to stick it. Too big to fail=DO NOT FUCK with us.

So back to me. I moved to Portland six months back. It has been hard. This was not the best time for a move to an economic quagmire of a community with double digit unemployment. I am still with WAMU, but every time I go in or online to bank, they’re warning us of this impending shift to the Dark Side.

WAMU is becoming Chase.

“I don’t want that to happen,” I always thought to myself going in. “That sounds bad.” Well kids it is bad. Really bad.

I guess I’m just frustrated that in these times, the largest institutions are getting our money in the form of bailouts, but still screwing us. I deposited a check right before going out of town. That check, apparently, bounced. The woman told me on the phone that she was not “allowed” to look at the check and could not tell me why it had been returned, with a $12 fee. I love that, a fee of $12 to not deposit a check. Nice.

So I kept using my debit card out of town, thinking I had all this money in the account. The card always ran, and I had no worries.Why keep checking on my account if I’m so rich?

See, I have what they call OVERDRAFT PROTECTION. This means that any purchase I make will be protected from an overdraft fee, as long as I deposit the money to cover that overdraft by the end of the day. If I am overdrawn the next morning, my last  purchase gets hit with a $33 fee. So I am protected from overdraft for exactly 24 hours. That’s a really shitty protection plan. 24 hours? Who am I, Keifer Sutherland?

What? It’s a joke people.

Come to find out, I have now racked up over two hundred dollars in overdraft fees because of this one mistake in my accounting. And the woman on the phone took off one, one, overdraft fee “as a courtesy.” How can I ever thank her enough?

To sum it up. I think it’s fucking terrible that our money is going directly to banks who have no intention of using it to the benefit of our country. They are using it for selfish reasons (re: buying more companies, STILL outsourcing jobs, and those famous fucking bonuses) and we, the citizens of this country and customers of these banks are suffering. Really suffering. But when I make a banking mistake and don’t check my account every day, they take $200 from me. And that’s not considered a crime. In fact, its a service, a courtesy.

Chase is a joke, I’m going to go to a community credit union somewhere who’ll treat me like a human being.

And to all of you rich-as fuck executives:

You’re still going to die someday.

And nobody likes you.

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When Enough is Enough

TV has one main problem with making and producing television shows. They don’t know when the hell to end them. It’s against the nature of television writers to stop telling the story they have spent the last five years (or more) working on. So TV ends up getting flooded with programs that were intended to run briefly, but became indefinitely continued for being so popular (Prison Break) or once quality staples completely run their course years before the series actually ends ( seven goddamn seasons of MacGyver?)

And I’m not talking about daytime shows, those aren’t the same. Daytime is supplied for the direct purpose of making every day the same over and over again, same court cases, same plot twists on soap operas, same guests on the View.

I need to take a minute to politely ask a few prime time shows to pack it up, quit it, cut it, wrap it, let it go. Enough is enough. Spare us already.


If you’re still watching this show religiously, hats off to you. I tried to love this show, really I did. I spent days-days-watching this show. Even in Thailand, Annie and I were sucked into six hours of season two. But enough is enough.

There was nothing wrong with an originally single season proposal going to two or three seasons long. The show was red hot. Questions remained unanswered, pulling the plot into newer and crazier places every turn. It could go bad at any time, but it would get soooo good again. “Seriously.”

It’s a drug people. An opium of sandy beaches, blue ocean water and mystery. A very interesting premise complete with every little addicting plot line flashing back to such storied lives, you wanted to know everything about everyone and you couldn’t get enough!

And then they killed off Charlie.  I didn’t like that.

Really though, it got to that point where you knew they were just making it up as they went along. It lost a big part of it’s legitimacy. I don’t like stories that string us along with no end in sight. Only the X-Files gets away with that, and even then I dropped out of that show before it was done.  Lost is absolutely lost on me. Oh, the island disappears now? Time travel now? Fuck off.



The original BBC version brilliantly spared us after only a handful of episodes, because any more would have literally killed us with awkwardness. Which is what Steve Carrell is still doing after five years straight.

It goes like this: The Office (USA) sucked the first season since it was a line for line rip off of the original. Everyone knows this. But, I propose that the series actually found a very funny and good-natured footing in the second season and rode it all the way through the third. Now the episodes are getting just a wee bit out of hand, dispelling a lot of the “documentary style” authenticity ( emotional bits) the show goes for.

Also, there’s no more story. 1)Jim and Pam are basically married, so that story arch is DEAD/DONE/FINITE! 2)Jim and Dwight have zero of the animosity they once had 3)Dwight is no longer obsessed with the position of assistant regional manager, nor is Michael obsessed with hating Toby. 4)Michael Scott has had two girlfriends, has quit, come back, worn disguises, all of that shit.  All the relationships are played out. Pam’s not even the effing receptionist anymore. C’mon. It’s over. Let’s call it a day already.


Hear me out. I love the Simpsons. I do. Once, it was one of the funniest shows on TV. No scratch that. It was the funniest show on TV. A cornerstone of modern television comedy. But it’s been 20 years now. Nobody will be as good as the Simpsons in the mid 90’s, not even the Simpsons.

Watching a recent episode, approximately the 425th in their time, brought it all to a head for me. I realized that the Simpsons are now essentially a mixtape of former plots and jokes spread at random to avoid suspicion. Every gag was eerily familiar, though maybe character roles were reversed or the trigger for the gag different. But there was no mistaking the obviousness. It’s time for the Simpsons to realize enough is enough.

Let’s remember the good times, please. Let’s just all bask in that first decade of brilliance, where the jokes felt bold in their irreverence and new in their brashness, resounding over and over again. I could still watch those old ones every day till I die. That would, in fact, not be enough. Mostly, I just want those memories unsullied by new sleek digital animation, re-worked (poorly) opening sequences, and recycled plots. I want my Simpsons, but not like this.

Today’s episodes are not the same. This show should have ended years ago. Make more Futurama. That still has some life in it.

It’s either you or CSI, I don’t have time for two multi-series franchises. And they just got Laurence fucking Fishburne. Who you got?

I think you’re through Law & Order.

Reality TV (all of it)

Remember when reality TV was kinda cool, like Cops or Wild and Crazy Kids?

The only thing this stuff is good for nowadays is reality clip time on The Soup. Reality TV has run it’s brief course, it needs to be dumped. I don’t know anyone, ANYONE, who watches reality TV. Where are they getting the audiences to justify Groomer Has It and Farmer Wants a Wife? Please. Stop it. This isn’t reality. You know it isn’t.

The worst is the trend of scripted reality shows. I mean, fake reality TV? Did I get that right? They want us to think these are real people, but they tell us they’re not. But we’re supposed to think they’re real. But they’re not. But they are. But they’re not.

This is known as the logic vacuum. It sucks out the sensible pieces of thought to leave the viewer in a stupidity spiral. This can last anywhere from 30 minutes on a Wednesday night to three hours or more on a sunny Sunday afternoon of reruns.

Stop watching fake reality TV. And REALLY stop watching the reruns. There’s a whole actual real world out there. Go to it.

-Charlie

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Films and Records?

If anyone follows this blog, you may have noticed that nothing has been doing here for about a month. Why is that? I was so stoked about actually writing things down and swearing on the internet. It felt powerful. I felt powerful.

But, I don’t know. Nothing has really been peeking my sarcasm of late. I’ve been working a little more, but that’s no excuse really. I’ve just stalled a little.

Plus, I keep thinking about the actual content on this blog. Why am I calling it Records, if I don’t review records? Why don’t I review records? Why this and that.

So I am going to try two things. One: I’m going to title it Films & Records as you see above. Two: I’m also going to review records.

Don’t worry. I’ve done it before, I know what I’m doing. I’ll also keep up on TV and other stuff too. We’ll see. Hope this explanation hasn’t run too long.

Now——————————————————————– Films & Records!

Film: Star Trek

I finally saw this, hoping to avoid first weekend crowds, it was us and all the old nerds. Guys and ladies about forty five or fifty five,  all saying the catchphrases along with the movie and laughing at all the little in jokes. One guy behind me even said,”That’s him all right,” after Karl Urban recited McCoy’s famous “Dammit I’m a doctor…” bit half way through. These were the hardcore fans, the ones who grew up on this and Philip K. Dick. The ones who could tell you every original episode’s title, plot, and alien babe that Captain Kirk nailed. And they loved it. And so did I.

The plot is just as much a confusing, impossible-in-every-way scenario as any other film in the Star Trek series. It involves time travel, an alternate reality, and Red Matter, which creates black holes. Nice.

The opening is an amazing introduction, full of action and special effects right off. The characters are all recognized accordingly, with Spock and Kirk meeting as adversaries at first. Turns out Spock created the infamous “Kobiyachi Maru” test that Kirk, and only Kirk, bested-by cheating. They’re all, “you cheated.” and Kirk’s all, “So?” It was awesome.

Oh yea, there’s a bad guy in this movie too! And he’s pissed. Seems he’s from the future and is a little ticked at our boy with the pointy ears over a destroyed home world. Hence the never even attempted to be explained magic red ball of 4 Dimensions. Gotta love those Trek’s.

In the end, Kirk finagles his way into the captain’s chair in less than a day-and after getting marooned on Hoth. There’s some yelling and warping and we get a sorta not as climactic as I had expected ending and the promise of sequels galore. It’s a whole new Trek

And now a rant for those who hated this movie for continuity sake alone: It’s just in my nature to like how different talents, whether they be film directors or comic book writers, take on well established franchises. There is nothing wrong with that. You have to recognize that franchises older than shit will eventually be tweaked. If they weren’t, you would have stale, lifeless installments of the same old shit that everyone thought was boring ten years ago. I give you Deep Space Nine and Voyager. They were boring. At least this movie is not boring.

Best parts- The ensemble cast. No superstar names here thank you. Chekov steals the show, Bones is awesome. Spock and all that. Well done. And the FX were top notch. I, for one, admired all the Enterprise updates.

Lame parts- Our ominous time traveler (no Spoilers here) just happens to be in the ice cave Kirk  haphazardly runs into, even though this individual knows of a federation outpost a mile away? Why the Hell is he in that cave? Also, the romantic subplot was kinda stupid. And forced. And unconvincing as much as it was disingenuous to the characters involved. But I guess thirteen year old girls gotta go to the movies too.

Record: The Decemberists – Hazards of Love


I live in Portland. So do the Decemberists. I’ll review their album Hazards of Love. It’s their second on a major label. After selling the fuck out with prog opera The Crane Wife, in 2006, bespecaled songwriter Colin Meloy and the group return to tell more intertwining and cryptic tales of love, and I assume, it’s hazards. By way of ROCKING OUT!

I’ve been listening to the Decemberists for some time, and each album seems to swell again and again, until there’s almost no room for all the orchestration and harmonics packed into the space. All that big studio money wouldn’t pay for a quiet or bleak album. No, this is the kind of money that buys electric guitars! All the instrumental oddities are allowed their cameo’s but for the most part this is the most straightforward musically speaking album yet.

Basically the album is one long road of transitioning from one song to another with preludes, interludes, reprises, and a four part title track. Four parts? That’s dedication. The band travels along this road dutifully, albeit with heavy steps. The shame is that they used to fly like trapeze artists.

All in all, it’s an enjoyable listen in a very generic way, but I can’t help feel that the charm of the Decemberists, the harkening to olden storytelling methods complete with olden instruments, is set aside for the elongated and Rock Band arena fodder.

There’s hooks out the ass yes, and good moments that resemble the Decemberists in some fashion. It just now sounds like they are trying to sound like something, rather than just sounding like it. Ease it up Decemberists. I know you’ve got it in you. Just relax and think back to Castaways and Cutouts. You can do it. I’ll still be here when you feel like being yourselves again. Promise.

-Charlie


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