I had no idea that Jimmy Kimmel deliberated on small claims court cases on his show. In the latest installment, his sixth, Jimmy hears a case about a plaintiff who allegedly didn’t get the suits he paid for.
In the summer, I wrote a post about my indecision on whether to use the console reimbursement credit that my employer offers to all its full-time employees. Essentially, EA offers to pay you back a certain amount if you go and buy a new console. The amount during the summer was $150 but with the fluctuation of currencies, it’s now $140.
At the time, I was hesitant for a few reasons: many console games I can play on my PC, console-exclusive games weren’t a big draw for me this generation, and I was wondering if a new PS4 was coming out. Well since then, the new PlayStation 4 Pro did come out.
My reimbursement expires on December 6, six months after my initial employment start date, so I only have a few weeks left. This weekend, I discovered some additional information. Several retailers, like EB Games and Best Buy are offering a $50 credit towards a purchase of PS4 Pro if you trade in a console. I still have my Xbox 360 and the last time I used it was probably three years ago. So, if I use my reimbursement credit and Xbox 360 trade in credit, we get: $500 – $140 – $50 = $310.
Three hundred and ten dollars for a new PS4 Pro is a pretty good deal considering it just came out. I will aim to purchase a PS4 Pro on the weekend as such. I will admit I probably won’t rush out and buy a dozen new PS4 games but it will be nice to have. My goal is to eventually buy the PSVR system. It’s a bit expensive right now at about $600. I’ll wait for it to go down in price. In the meantime, the PS4 Pro will make a great game console, Netflix machine, and Blu-ray player.
Well, it wasn’t a great week for a lot of people, myself included. On top of what happened on Tuesday, I’ve been sick for about a week. I caught a last weekend and it really knocked me on my ass starting on Monday. I didn’t go to work on Monday or Tuesday and just muddled through Wednesday and Thursday. It was a long weekend here in B.C. so while we had three days off, I was basically a hermit, deciding to just stay in and rest up. I think I went outside once a day, each time only a short while to get food.
My nose is still runny and I still have a cough but I think I might be on the mend, perhaps ever so slowly. Monday mornings are fun in general but even more fun when you’re sick.
Perhaps it’s because I’m currently fighting a cold but I had a restless night and when my alarm did go off this morning I had no impetus to get out of bed. I did somehow manage to get up, get dressed, and dragged myself to work. Thankfully, it did not turn into a demanding day at the studio. I didn’t have to answer a lot of e-mails, no one was breathing down my neck for things, and I had no meetings to go. For the most of the day, I just sat at my desk reflectively, punctuated by moments of feeling helplessness. At one point in the day, I read a comment on Facebook, from someone I met at grad school. She is from Alaska, an ardent Clinton supporter, and someone who is proudly progressive in her views. She said she sobbed while watching the concession speech this morning. Whatever I felt today did not compare to what she felt. She was devastated.
This evening, I turned to talk shows for analysis, which I think can be just as enlightening as traditional news. First, there’s the always sharp and witty Triumph the Insult Comic Dog, who appeared on Stephen Colbert’s show for his thoughts on election night. As a side note, Robert Smigel, who is Triumph, appears less than a month after the death of his father, who was a famous and pioneering dentist. Lastly, there is the wonderfully thoughtful Seth Meyers, who was absolutely great with his political pieces during the election. His remarks on the election results were sincere and personal, and especially poignant when he mentioned his mother, who was so ready to see the first female US president.
Well, it’s time for bed and another day awaits us.
As I sit here trying to write this post, word fails me. I am struggling to type the words that can accurately portray what I’m feeling. Disbelief, shock, fear, and anger are all fighting their way through my body and mind. I’m having a difficult time accepting what happened tonight.
I lived through the George W. Bush years, which were disastrous. In 2000 and also 2004, I learned a harsh lesson that collectively, Americans are capable of being complete idiots and making terrible decisions. They voted for Dubya twice, the second time after he led them into Iraq for a senseless war.
I ask you to think about this. The US led war in Iraq caused close to 4,500 Americans to lose their lives and another 32,000 to be wounded. How many of those people voted for Dubya? How many of those who voted for him lost their own lives, lost a family member or friend in that useless conflict?
Now think about what dangers this new idiot will get the US into? How many lives will be affected by tonight’s terrible outcome?
I know I should feel sympathy for the Americans who tried to make the right choice tonight but I admit I have greater sympathy for the rest of the world who will now need to suffer this fool for at least four years.
Alright, I’m done. Fuck this.
Today Americans go to the polls once more to choose their president. Every four years the rest of the world just shakes their head, hoping Americans make the right choice, a choice that is so obvious that it boggles the mind that people are even voting for the other candidate.
Let’s not mince words. The rest of the free world has preferred the Democratic nominee for US President since at least when I was able to vote myself in my own country’s elections. The rest of the western world just prefers the saner and more progressive policies of the Democratic party compared to the tire fire that is the Republican party. As such, it’s just so frustrating to have to watch Americans every four years wrestle with what should be such an easy choice. Especially this election when one of the candidates is a complete clown.
I’ve said this before but I would entertain seeing how bad things would get under a crazy, unhinged right-wing US president. A president so unqualified they would be able to drive the country into the ground in less than a hundred days. Unfortunately, the United States has too much influence in the world. Their failures would directly affect the rest of the world. Their economy, their military, and their influence on the world is too great, so they must not fail.
So that’s why every four years, the world gnashes their teeth, hoping Americans don’t do anything stupid. I was a young teen during the last few years of the Cold War. Not once during that time did I believe the world might be headed towards the apocalypse. Tomorrow though, I believe Americans hold the fate of world in their hands. We are at one of those clear and distinct junctions in world history, where a single wrong choice could lead to the end of civilization. I wish that were hyperbole but it unfortunately is not.
May we all have another opportunity to gnash our teeth again in four years time.
On Friday evening I returned from work after a long week, eager to relax and begin my weekend. Before going upstairs to my abode, I check my mailbox. There’s a letter from MBNA, one of my credit card issuers. I have a MasterCard from them, one of the best rated cards for rewards. The envelope is thick, full of documents, and there is a hard piece of plastic inside, the exact shape of a credit card. This is odd since I never ordered another card from them.
I get upstairs and inside my apartment. I open the letter to reveal a Visa Infinite credit with my name on it plastered to a letter. I read the opening paragraph and it basically says, “here’s your new Visa card.” Inside, I start to freak out a bit and worry. I never applied for a Visa card. Why did I get this? I quickly rifle through the rest of the envelope and there several standard looking pamphlets in there, all relating to legal speak for privacy and such. I don’t look through the rest.
My immediate thought is that someone has ordered this card on my behalf and was waiting to intercept it or steal it from my mailbox before I could get to it. This actually a technique that identity thieves have used in the past. I call MBNA straight away to find out how this application went through and to cancel the card.
I have to wait about five minutes but I get a live customer service rep on Friday evening, which I feel thankful for. I explain to her that I have this card that I never applied for and I believe I may be a victim of fraud. Incredulously, she says that while no one would fault me for thinking like that, the new Visa Infinite was indeed meant for me and no one filled out an application for it. In fact, there is no way to get the card with an application.
The lady explained to me that my current MasterCard is being phased out and will cease to work on December 1. All such cardholders, like myself, are being switched to Visa Infinite cards and that’s why I received that card in the mail. I was slightly stunned by the news because such a big change was never communicated to me in any form, neither mail nor e-mail. I could only blurt out a “what?” The lady sorta just sighed and admitted that they had received many complaints about how this was poorly communicated to cardholders.
Adjusting to news, I then said that MBNA had done a terrible job letting people know of the change. How could this be the first indication that this was happening? Like the getting the new card in the mail, is the one and only communication this is happening. The rep sounded sympathetic with me and went on to explain that the card remained a no-fee one, the rewards remained the same, and that my balance would automatically transfer over to the new card once it was activated (thereby deactivating my MasterCard).
I thanked her for the info but again strongly disagreed with the way this was communicated. Knowing that I wasn’t a victim of fraud, I thanked the rep for her time and concluded the call. Poor lady, it wasn’t her fault this decision was made but I imagine she was getting calls like this all the time.
So is this really a big deal? Well first, I’ve never heard of a credit card issuer changing thousands of cardholders en masse from one network to another, especially without warning. At the very best, they could have sent an e-mail or a letter in advance saying hey, we’re about to do this, there’s nothing you can do about it, but at least you know in advance. They did no such thing.
On the surface, this may seem to have no impact since the terms are not changing at all and since Visa and MasterCard are the two biggest networks anyways. There are subtle but big ramifications for me possibly. First, is that there are indications that for Visa, paying at Walmart does not yield a merchant code that falls under “groceries” or “supermarkets”. This is important because for this particular rewards card, I get 2% back when I buy from groceries or supermarkets. For better or worse, I frequently buy from Walmart and if the merchant code changes under Visa, I miss out on that 2% reward, instead it goes down to 1% back.
Second, and even worse, Walmart and Visa are locked in a massive battle of wills in Canada. Essentially, Walmart Canada has started to stop accepting Visa cards in this country due to payment processing fees. It’s quite possible in a few months, I won’t be able to use this new Visa card in Walmart. Previously, Walmart was the place that I used this card the most and the store where I received the highest percentage of my rewards. If that happens, I would probably cancel this card and look for a new card, a MasterCard again, that offered the same rewards.
Conan is in NYC this week for a visit as he returns to the city that launched his late night career. Canadian and actor Ryan Reynolds visited Conan last night as a guest on the show. They did a skit together which you can see above. It runs a bit long but the payoff at the end is well worth it. Like what did they say to their wives at the end of the day?
It’s the beginning of the month and like every month, I check my bank accounts to see the measly amounts of interest I’ve received from the banks. It’s quite sad to see how little money we get from interest. On the other hand, it does keep my mortgage payments more than reasonable.
As I was checking on my financial things, I did a few back of the napkin calculations and it dawned on me that I could come pretty close to paying off my mortgage. About two years ago, I did the same math and back then I could take a decent chunk off but I wasn’t close to the whole amount. Now, let’s get something straight, I’m not saying that if I could just put my hands into the crevices of my couch, I’d have enough change to pay off my mortgage. I’d have to liquidate all my holdings in RRSPs, TFSAs, bank accounts and such to put towards my mortgage. Even then, I think I’d be still short somewhere between $10-20K. I’m not sure because I’m not sure how much my mortgage is right now. While $10-20K might seem like a lot, I don’t think it is, so the reality of having my home paid off might not be a dream. Sure, it’s a hazy possibility but at least I can see avenues to making that happen.
Of course, having all your equity tied up in your home is risky. I can imagine the day where I pay off my mortgage and I have exactly $10 in the bank account and every other penny I’m worth is invested in my apartment. There’s no emergency fund, no rainy day piggy bank to draw from.
I’ll revisit this topic a year from to see if there’s any progress. I only hope nothing absolutely stupid happens next Tuesday which would lead the world into an apocalypse where mortgages don’t matter anymore.