Saturday, August 28, 2010

Hells Bells

AC/DC doesn't have shit on this.

Two weeks ago I started the Kettleworx program. As many of you know, I'm not really a fan of Jillian nor her methodology. I was in terrible pain most of the time I did the workout (which was nearly 60 days straight) and though I had some results, it wasn't enough to make it worth it. BF actually ended up with a knee injury the only time he did the program with me that later resulted in surgery. He is THE most physically fit person I know which makes it SCARY that it could injury him. I consider myself lucky.

My experience with Kettleworx has been dramatically different. Don't get me wrong, its definitely kicking my ass, but in a very different way. It pushes you so hard, yet doesn't cause the same intense pain that the Shred did. I still can't complete three sets but my muscles are feeling so good (in a worked out hard kind of way). It requires a day of rest in between each day and its a six week program. I am walking a mile and a half the days I don't work on it and the days I do, I walk a quick half mile after to stretch. I think I am going to remain on week one until I can complete each sections three sets before moving on to week two. The coolest part is that its a different workout each week so you don't get too accustomed to anything or bored. So far a big thumbs up!

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Monster of the Week-Zombies

Zombies are awesome. Seriously. As a self described movie nerd, I could name a ton of movie creatures that I love to watch but it’s hard to beat the classic Zombie movie. For a long time, I regarded 28 Days and 28 Days Later among my favorite “newer” Zombiesque fun fests but the times, they are a changing. Aside from the blood and guts glory, especially in the grocery store scene, few things top Woody Harrelson’s SnoBall fueled freak out in Zombieland. Little Monkey liked it so much that she gave a copy of the movie, with an accompanying Twinkie, to Kevin for Father’s Day. Funny stuff.

Recently, Zombieness reached an all new level of greatness:

FOREIGN LANGUAGE ZOMBIE MOVIE. When we first heard about Dead Snow, it wasn’t even out yet. When the DVD was released, I could hardly contain myself, Zombie Nazis in the snow? Are you freakin’ kidding me? I was not disappointed. The ways to illustrate disembowelment reach epic proportions in this feature. I highly recommend it.

Now Brad Pitt is going to give the Zombie genre a turn. What is the Apocalypse coming to? I for one am stoked, and ready with my popcorn.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Doing The Right Thing, Part 1

This issue has spawned such debate in my house that I feel compelled to write about my most recent experiences when I have tried to do the right thing and it has backfired. This post is about number three on that list, one and two now having to be put on the back burner so I can just figure out now what the hell to do about this one, my most immediate issue.

When I started out a few days ago, I was certain someone with the corporate office would address the issue because it’s just bad advertising for them any way you look at it. After being belittled via email this morning for several hours by a realtor and consequently a broker she forwarded the email to, I am stunned to know this is perceived as acceptable behavior by grownups. Easily, they could have ignored me and said nothing. That didn’t happen. Another option would have been to decide to do something as human beings on the planet we share for no other reason than they are professionals in the region and maybe, just maybe, I would refer them out to any and all that I know for potential business opportunities. Alas, that did not happen either. What started at 7:42 AM this morning had ended at 10:19 AM where I have to reiterate, in a second request not to contact me again, that it’s against the stalking laws in this state to repeatedly harass someone in this state. She called me “unprofessional” because I dared contact another agent of the same company and office about an abandoned property. She called me “illogical” because I couldn’t possibly understand why she and the broker in that office didn’t care about this one bit.

Well, Mindy, this one is for you.

Feast your eyes on this gem of a property in my neighborhood:

It has been like this for a couple of weeks and a few days ago someone graciously towed in a wrecked car and parked it out front. Now, while that may seem strange, clearly they know that no one in that house is going to complain, nor would the realtor who left it in this mess. SO, doing what I think most people would do, I email the corporate office for ReMax. All franchises are governed by a larger corporate umbrella, yes? They graciously dig around and find that he worked out of the Richardson, Texas office and is no longer with them as of the 23rd of last month. She tells me I can file a complaint with the state board and they will handle the “unauthorized use of their name” on their end. Taking that info, I then do a search for “Richardson, Texas ReMax office” and come up with a link for this office. When you click the “Find A Realtor” button, you get a drop down list of realtors. The second lady, I am thinking by her photo, seems perfectly nice. She is listed as a “foreclosure specialist” and I have made the leap that this was a foreclosure and would hope an owner would know what was being done to their property. Bingo. Along with the email string I have from corporate (so she would have that information) and a photo of the property, I send her the following:


I contacted the corporate office regarding this property. Can someone in the office take a look at this? The grass is two feet high, kids are trying to break in and now there is a wrecked vehicle parked out front. By Oscar's sign still being in the yard, it’s very bad advertising for you. I don't know if it’s a foreclosure or an owner is involved but if someone could just clean it up it would help I am sure. I didn't want to contact the police or the state if someone could just take the house over. Thanks.


At this point, I am thinking she has read the previous correspondence with corporate, identifies an opportunity for herself if a realtor left the area abandoning houses and would want to generally make sure her office isn’t reflected upon poorly.

See, my mistake today is assuming a lot of things.

What proceeds from there is a repeated tirade of emails from her, then the broker she gets involved. At first, as she in every email continues to state “I don’t know how you got my information,” I give her credit for being slow and try to explain as slowly as I can how I came by choosing her. After the third time when she starts basically saying I am an idiot for contacting a realtor and not a broker in the first place (like I am supposed to know this automatically???) it dawns on me that she has not read one single thing I sent. She quickly evaluated that I did not want to buy one of her properties and wants me to bug off. She and the broker tell me not to “threaten them with the cops” which is hilarious because now two professionals are sending me emails like they are in some gang and they are going to bust my knee caps. I politely explained that it wasn’t a “threat” but merely I assumed (here I go again) that someone would ReMax would want to take care of the issue willingly, without me reporting them to the city or the state board.

Another mistake on my part.

Now it occurs to me to check with someone and verify I did what would be expected in the situation or  probably MORE than I should have had to? Someone that is a realtor? Oh yeah! Karen (albeit a different agency and out of state) gave me her advice. This is what she said:

You are right. I am always first to be contacted on site cuz of Abbott. I get that! For every contact that does not pay, I get several that do, so it's a numbers game all independent agents should grasp. She is an idiot - EVERYBODY who contacts me is a potential client, whether it be today or ten years from today. She needs a prospecting 101 class.

As for the property - You did the right thing. It was uberkind of you, and absolutely understandable because it affects you and your family.

Every county and city, if you are in city limits, has a manager, whom should be available through their website, who should take your email and had it to the right person. It is against city, county, state health codes to allow a property to go unattended.

As for the realtors role. Every realtor who lists a foreclosure, agrees to maintain the property, even at his or her own expense, to be reimbursed at closing. If you get no help from the officials, which would be hard to believe, then you can send me the address. I can find the bank who has the note, and they can tell me who is responsible, and I can put you in contact with that person. It would be my pleasure, cuz, well, see paragraph 1. :)

Maybe I am not losing my mind but I now have to file a complaint formally with the state, call several city offices and wonder what happened to courtesy and kindness in our country. I could go mow the grass but then what happens to the sign? I didn’t put it there and what if the ReMax gang sends someone to bust my knee caps when I touch their sign? This property does not border mine nor is it in front of my house but I still have to see it every day and it’s now attracting vandals in the form of ignorant teens. It does affect me, even if that office doesn’t care. My boyfriend, having spent several years dealing with the worst of humanity in all the places the Army can send you, thinks this solidifies his "keep your head down and don’t get involved" mentality. I have tried to raise my kids to be activists, to care when there is a wrong and seek to fix it. Huge dilemma in this house today.

So, I pose a question to each of you, if this was happening on your street, how would you handle it?

Good Stuff

I don't know if anyone else is ridiculously hooked on Persons Unknown but I just can't stop watching it and wondering how it will end.  Hands down its the best depiction of true psychological warfare I have ever seen.  When cast members incorporated lines from one of my favorite poets, I thought I would post that here as it reminded me how great that poem really is.  If you haven't seen it yet, I would recommend it for any sci-fi/fantasy/weird X Files type fans there may be out therE BUT you MUST watch from the beginning.


THERE is a wolf in me … fangs pointed for tearing gashes … a red tongue for raw meat … and the hot lapping of blood—I keep this wolf because the wilderness gave it to me and the wilderness will not let it go. 
         There is a fox in me … a silver-gray fox … I sniff and guess … I pick things out of             the  wind and air … I nose in the dark night and take sleepers and eat them
 and hide the feathers … I circle and loop and double-cross. 
There is a hog in me … a snout and a belly … a machinery for eating and grunting … a machinery for sleeping satisfied in the sun—I got this too from the wilderness and the wilderness will not let it go.

There is a fish in me … I know I came from saltblue water-gates … I scurried with shoals of herring … I blew waterspouts with porpoises … before land was … before the water went down … before Noah … before the first chapter of Genesis.

There is a baboon in me … clambering-clawed … dog-faced … yawping a galoot’s hunger … hairy under the armpits … here are the hawk-eyed hankering men … here are the blond and blue-eyed women … here they hide curled asleep waiting … ready to snarl and kill … ready to sing and give milk … waiting—I keep the baboon because the wilderness says so.

There is an eagle in me and a mockingbird … and the eagle flies among the Rocky Mountains of my dreams and fights among the Sierra crags of what I want … and the mockingbird warbles in the early forenoon before the dew is gone, warbles in the underbrush of my Chattanoogas of hope, gushes over the blue Ozark foothills of my wishes—And I got the eagle and the mockingbird from the wilderness.

O, I got a zoo, I got a menagerie, inside my ribs, under my bony head, under my red-valve heart—and I got something else: it is a man-child heart, a woman-child heart: it is a father and mother and lover: it came from God-Knows-Where: it is going to God-Knows-Where—For I am the keeper of the zoo: I say yes and no: I sing and kill and work: I am a pal of the world: I came from the wilderness.