Thursday, March 27, 2008

Just use the White Strips

I had my six month check up today. As always, my teeth are in great shape. I am blessed to have a really good mouth. That could also be directly correlated with how much I talk.

The hygienist always takes care of the crappy part of scraping and polishing. Normally, I see Shelia. We've become friends over the past eight years. Today I had Karen who while nice, wasn't as on top of things as Shelia.

She spoke to me a lot as if I were seven years old. "See that machine? We're going to be putting the x-ray thingy in your mouth. Are you ready to make your mouth really big?" Weirdo.

Halfway through, the dentist came over to give me his two minute blessing. He's ecstatic with my teeth, but made a recommendation "You may want to consider whitening your teeth at this stage since they are beginning to get a little dingy."

My teeth have definitely become more of an antique white than a true white, but hey, I deserve to have beautiful teeth. "Sure, let's look into that," I said.

When he left, I asked Karen about the price. "It doesn't cost that much."

They took molds of my teeth so they could...well, I'm not really sure why they did. Then Karen gave me a follow-up appointment to do the bleaching.

As I checked out, I told Robin, the receptionist I was making my teeth sexier. She laughed.

"By the way, what is the actual amount for the whitening?" I asked.
"$1500.00," she replied.

I think my exact words words were "Are you fucking kidding me?"

When I explained my surprise, she went back to speak with Karen. Robin came back and then apologized to me.

Needless to say, I canceled the appointment. As I left, I turned to Robin and said, "So what does a hygienist here make if $1500 is considered a cheap procedure?

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Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Feeding Frenzy

Ever watch a beagle eat? It's not pretty, but it's hysterical. This happens every morning and evening.
video

Saturday, March 15, 2008

(Not) Making the Grade

SIGH, we had our first test in Managerial Finance today. It was demoralizing to score the lowest grade in the class. Worse yet, it was open book. I totally cannot figure this shit out.

Luckily, there are three more tests and we get to drop the lowest of the four. I had hoped not to take the final, but that obviously won't happen.

Honestly, the professor is a great guy. He's brilliant, amazingly successful and a wonderfully nice person. I just wish I could appreciate what he is saying.

However, I cannot understand what the hell he is talking about. And he speaks so quickly and in such a monotone voice that it's tough to stay connected or take comprehensive notes.

What better way to bring you into my world than to have you experience it first hand. Remember, this is only 7 minutes of the class. I have to sit through 4 hours of this every week. (And don't tell me I am goofing off to take this. I just pushed one button and let the camera roll.)

video

It's clear I need to meet with him next week to get an introductory lesson the basics of Finance.

BTW, the video was taken with my new FLIP digital video cam. It holds 60 min worth of video and runs on two double AA batteries. So far, I love it.

And it's easier to work than Managerial Finance.

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Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Duty Free

Today I spent yet another day in Jury Duty.

Within 20 minutes of getting there, I along with 75 others, were pulled into a court room to be possible candidates for a murder trial. We were asked a series of questions on what might prohibit us to serve. Then met with the judge and lawyers individually to tell our excuses.

I indicated that going to work full-time and school full-time made it pretty difficult to serve. Between classes and trying to compensate for the missed work, I did not have 10 days to devote to murder suspects. (Obviously, I made that sound nicer.)

The time came to dismiss the first group of people...and I was completely skipped over. They got rid of the guy who knew the defendant's father, the 400 lb woman, and the guy missing an ear (I loved that excuse), but the lowly grad student stayed.

Then the attorneys began the process of moving people in and out of the jury box. (There are fancy words for these processes, but I can't remember them because they all sound to me like French cheeses.)

I began counting and realized there were 28 people ahead of me. No problem; I'll be fine.

The process begins...2 out-2 more in....1 out-1 in...2 out and replaced...three more. Every now and then, the judge would skip someone. Holy shit. They were exiting quicker than Governor Spitzer at the Mayflower. Pretty soon, the numbers between me and the jury box were in single digits.

Then the woman next to me got called in the box. SHIT; I'm screwed. More lawyer talk and the clerk goes up to the judge and they excuse another juror.

"Juror 493 come to the jury box." I look down at my badge. That's not me. The lady on the other side of me gets up. And with that the jury selection is done and we are free to go.

Damn luckiest guy I know.

I hate jury duty...with a passion. Before you get all civic duty on me, let me first point out that I've been called 7 times since 1993. Yes, SEVEN. Welcome to living in Washington, DC. You get called to serve every two years on the dot.

I find it an utter waste of time. I am not peers with any of the people being tried. It's appalling to me that so many people need to waste a day for this.

But worse is this shit in their jury duty movie about civic responsibility and being part of our rights and responsibilities as an American. (Soapbox coming, bear with me.)

I live in DC and for those of you who don't know it, I have no representation in congress. There are no senators for DC. We have a Delegate to Congress who can only vote in committees; she cannot decide on legislation. To put it another way, she has the same rights as the representative from Puerto Rico.

Did I mention I pay full federal and local taxes unlike Puerto Rico which does not?

We also can't make decisions for ourselves. The DC government creates a budget, which Congress has the right to change. The District government is not allowed to impose an income tax on suburban commuters who work in the city. Congress–officials you elect for your states–decide on my gun laws, my school laws, my crime laws and what my money should be used for in my neighborhood.

Hell, we couldn't actually vote for president until 1961.

So yeah, I'm a little bitter that so many days are gone from my life for this privilege. They want to decide on my schools, by all means, decide on the criminals as well.

The one positive side is that this will be my last DC jury duty experience. Within two years, Larry & I will be moving out of DC. In my book, it's easier to move than it is to fight.

And DC will never get the right to vote. After all,
the District of Columbia Voting Rights Amendment is voted on by...you guessed it...Congress.

Saturday, March 08, 2008

Weekend Update

The Tomato Fairy
The tooth is out! Corey lost it the other day and as expected, he insisted his vegetables be delivered as he slept. His moms convinced him that the tooth fairy preferred to bring cash and he seemed pleased with the silver dollar the next morning.

Stop or Yield
Some of my classes have been frustrating, but after two weeks, I still have no idea what I'm doing in Managerial Finance. My head has never been one for forward yields & interest rates or bonds & securities, so this class is just killing me. I am struggling to grasp such concepts as why the consumer price index helps measure inflation and the growth rate of dividends.

This is one of our problems for the week:
Determine both the yield-to-maturity and the yield-to-call for an 11.75% (payable semi-annual) US Treasury bond that matures in seven years, callable in two, and is priced at 115.17 per $100 par. Which yields should an investor expect and why? WTF?

I told Larry my answer was $500.

"How did you get that?" he asked.
"That's how much we pay our financial advisor a year to figure those things out."

Luckily, the class has four open-book/open-note tests. Maybe I'll be able to pass that way.

What's in a Name?
A sales person called the other day. "Can I speak with Steven Washington ____?"
ME: "I am Steven _____ but my middle name isn't Washington."
HIM: "Really? The phone directory lists your middle name as Washington."
ME: "Don't you think it would be weird for me to live in Washington if that was my middle name?
HIM: "Hey, I just make the calls. I didn't name you."

Tone Deaf
I renewed my phone contract this week and got a new cell. For the first time, I am able to download ring tones. Damn, is that cool...and making my cell phone bill slightly more expensive. I've wasted a good couple hours surfing through various songs in search of my perfect ring tone.

Do you realize how personal a ring tone is? This reflects who you are to the world every time the phone rings. I'm struggling to find a song that works well and won't humiliate me if it rings on the Metro or accidentally in class. It would be awkward to be in a room with our CEO and have my pocket scream out "Will the real slim Shady please stand up, please stand up, please stand up?" or "Is my body too bootylicious for ya?"

Contest time!
More (cheap ass, custom-violating) shit from Vietnam. Help me pick a ring tone.

A couple thoughts to keep in mind:

1. I've picked four individual rings already so don't choose one of them.
2. I love 80's, pop, rock, and alternative music. PLEASE don't choose opera, industrial heavy metal (sorry Sarah), blues, hip-hop, new age, etc.

3. I'm gay and I love my life but let's try to avoid the stereotypical stuff: ABBA, Barbra, Celine, Pet Shop Boys, Ricky Martin (yeah, dude, you're gay) and the Village People. And as much as I enjoy Broadway tunes, those are out as well.

4. You can suggest as many songs as you want.

My life is in your hands people. Be kind.
By March 30, I will announce the winner.

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Saturday, March 01, 2008

Who Says You Can't Go Home

The first CD I ever bought was Bon Jovi's Slippery When Wet.

I was always a mixed tape guy. I'd borrow other people's CDs and create my own mixes. Then I'd load them into my car stereo or Walkman.

In 1986, I was going into my sophomore year of college. Although I didn't have a CD player, everyone in my freshman dorm did and I realized that I could just mooch off my roommates until I was forced to buy my own player.

I walked into Record City and bought Slippery When Wet, my first 80's rock CD...complete with long box packaging that has since gone out of style. Bon Jovi has always been one of my best memories when it comes to music.

22 years later that memory became a reality.

Thursday night, I went to the Bon Jovi concert at the Verizon Center. I was fortunate enough to get hooked up with tickets through one of the study group members. Scott was taking his daughter to the show and asked his connection if there were any extra tickets. A week later, he apologized profusely, saying that he couldn't get tickets to sit with him & his daughter but he had scored three tickets for Stephanie, Rebecca and me...

in the freaking sky box!

There is nothing like 80's rock when you are in a sky box stocked with beverages to revert you back into a 16-year old. We nearly pissed our pants with the lavish arrangements and great views. (Scott later called from the 13th row to say he was sitting next to Pat Sajek, but whatever.)

Daughtry opened the show. His talent is incredible. He did the standard songs from his new CD, along with a cover of "One" from U2 and some harder (and slightly annoying) numbers. After 40 minutes, he left while the roadies prepared for the main act.

The band entered the stage at 8:30 and played for 2 hours and 20 minutes. It was an incredible journey from as early as "Runaway" to "Bad Medicine" to "Blaze of Glory" to "Lost Highway". They sounded incredible and gave an amazing show.

I sang and dance through every number. It amazed me at the number of people at the box level who sat through most of the show. But not me, I was hooting and hollering the whole time.

The next morning, I was exhausted, my voice was gone and my arms we're aching from the "Raise Your Hands" number in which I lifted my arms every time during the chorus.

Jon Bon Jovi has become a true performer in every sense of the word. The three of us agreed that we'd go back the next time they came into town.

However, I'd definitely take the next day off.

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