- Iron Man 3 is everything a summer blockbuster should be. It wasn’t an incredibly deep movie (although they did try to paint Tony Stark as having anxiety attacks from the events from The Avengers movie…). It has top notch actors. It had fun special effects. It was just entertaining at its core. As much as you’d hate someone like Tony Stark in real life, Robert Downey Jr continues to make him cool on the big screen.
- I’m super annoyed that wordpress.com blogs can’t embed anything or use frames. Only the wordpress.org sites allow it. You have no idea how many times I’ve tried to include a video or song, only to have it disappear when I preview the entry. I understand why they do it (security) but it’s still obnoxious. People don’t want to click links!
- But speaking of links… if you only click one on my entry, please click this one. It’s a CBS News interview with one of the Oklahoma tornado survivors. She reminds you of your honesty-is-the-best-policy grandmother (“Are you able to comprehend yet what happened here?” “I know exactly what happened here. Exactly”). But the end is so emotionally charged. For real. Go watch.
- Mortgage Servicing Rights are fun! Our lunch & learn this month was on MSRs. With every loan origination, there are two assets: the loan itself and the servicing rights to that loan. MSRs typically cost between 3 and 5 times the annual return and collect 25 points. So a mortgage with a 3.75% rate would yield 0.25% to the servicer and the remaining 3.5% to the investor/originator. On a $200,000 mortgage, that would be roughly $40 a month and the rights would cost between $1500 and $2000. The longer a servicer keeps the loan, the more likely they are to make a return on their investment. Theoretically, if you service a loan for less than three years, you lose money and more than three years, you make money. So basically, you’re looking for high LTV values with low rates since those loans are least likely to pay off or refinance. Now you know where your money’s going, homeowners!
- Microsoft announced their new Xbox One on Tuesday. Part of me is disappointed because they’re marketing it more as an entertainment hub than as a gaming system. But part of me is completely geeking out over a new Xbox and technology. The Wired article does an excellent job detailing the system from behind the scenes. And their video on the new Kinect is insane! It’s a 1080p camera that can read details as close as the buttons on a shirt. It uses IR too, so technically, it can read you (and up to 5 other people!) in complete darkness or complete light. They claim it can read the pigmentation changes in your face to determine your heart rate. A little creepy, a lot amazing!
Today’s going to be a good day. Work is holding biometric screenings for our new health insurance, so our group is jokingly “competing” to see who’s going to win with the best numbers. On top of that, we’ve been able to wear jeans all week and they’re having a two hour “Burgers & Beer” lunch for us to kick off Memorial Day. The inter-department fighting has already begun for my drink tickets.
Have a safe and excellent holiday! Let summer begin!
- I’ve been invited to a soon-to-be three year old’s birthday party. I’m guessing I’ll be one of the only attendees without a kid. And I’m 99% sure I’ll be the only single one there. But at least it’s at the Lazy 5 Ranch. So animals!
- 2013 is turning out to be pretty spectacular. I saw a baby panda, love my job, and made a good friend. My brother and sister in law moved closer, bought a house, both got new jobs they’re excited about, and are having a kid! My mom’s second book came out. Second half of the year… you better bring it!
- Marianas Trench is coming to Charlotte June 5th! Tickets are only $20 too (the perks of liking unknown Canadian bands in the Southern US)! Chances are, I’ll be just coming off of my June 1st Fall Out Boy high. So it’s perfect timing. I don’t even care that I’m going alone. I will
terribly sing my lungs out!
- I had a surprisingly good time at my mom’s book release party this past weekend. Normally, I hate social functions. I’m terrible at small talk. I usually have no interest in the conversation. But when the spotlight’s on someone else and I get to play dress up, let the fun begin!
- This week’s been painfully reflective. A conversation I had Monday became a lot more serious than I was expecting. So I’ve questioned every decision since then. Tuesday, I stumbled across this blog entry about learning something from every relationship that really hit home. Tuesday night, the New Girl season finale (still the best show!) was about mistakes, miscommunication, choices, and relationships. Finally, last night, The Office series finale kept with the theme. It’s always great to see shows go out on their own terms – it’s when the writers are at their best. But it’s also sad parting ways with people you feel like you know and relate to. The episode took place a year after the last previous episode, so it dealt a lot with everyone’s path, choices, and consequences. The ‘Nard Dog may have said it best… “I wish that you knew you were in the good ol’ days before you’ve left them.”
Is it bad that I thought about volunteering this weekend only to back out once I saw the forecast called for rain Saturday and Sunday? I love spending time with the dogs. But my girl is the only one I love enough to spend time with in the rain.
Ready or not video games and Iron Man 3… Here I come!
- I’m really enjoying running right now. I was doing 6 miles (2 miles on 3 days) a week until that became comfortable. I’ve been bumping one of the 2 mile runs to 3 miles each week. This week was 3 on Monday and Wednesday and I’ll get my 2 in this weekend. My schedule, along with the sunny late-spring weather, are great mood-boosters.
- I’m also really liking my job. The only one left in the office, I worked an hour and a half late yesterday, on the phone with technical support for a program we use. I hate working late and I loathe talking on the phone. Yet I left at 6:30 with a smile because it was simply fulfilling to figure out the problem I was having and tell tech support how to
do their job fix the issue.
- I need good, new TV shows. I don’t watch that many but it seems like they’re all gone now. House ended in 2012. The Office comes to an end in 6 days. Breaking Bad wraps up for good this summer. Glee is wearing out its welcome with a bloated cast and ridiculous story. The Following became terrible/laughable in a hurry. USA Network is still going strong with Suits and Burn Notice though! And New Girl is my jam… if people still say that.
- I would rather burn bridges or step on toes and wind up on my own, being passionate about what I believe in, than I would compromise for people’s (perceived?) flaws. To be fair, I would have no problem with someone having a problem with my flaws.
- My momma did good. I finished reading her second novel, Tidewater Murder, last night. I read the rough draft last summer and ripped apart the ending. Her editor eventually did too, so I like to think I’m smarter than a professional publisher. But Chope really reworked the story to make it a lot better once it finally hit the shelves. I’ll get your Amazon review up in a few days! I already gave you 5 stars on Goodreads. Oh… and Ivy’s still my favorite.
Heading back home this weekend. One of the neighbors is hosting my mom for a book release party Saturday evening. So I’m baking some cookies to bring, having fun dressing ridiculous for it, and introducing myself to anyone I don’t know as being in “the author’s entourage”. I’m such a passive-aggressive outgoing introvert. And then Sunday is obviously Mother’s Day.
So if you have a mom, tell her she’s doing at least a mediocre job at what she does. And if you are a mom, congratulations on being average or better!
- I don’t miss Facebook one bit. I deactivated my account almost three weeks ago just so I could concentrate on other things. Facebook is a great tool for a lot of things but sometimes, I feel like it’s better to unplug from the constant flow of information. Admittedly, I have no idea when almost anyone’s birthday is now…
- I do miss keeping a daily journal. I started reading through my journal from last year this past weekend. It’s fun seeing the ups and downs I was going through at any given time. Reading about how bad my job situation was helps keep things in perspective about how much I enjoy my current gig.
- My Mexican Hot Chocolate cookies have been an adventure. I couldn’t find Mexican hot chocolate to use in the recipe, so I winged it last weekend with Swiss Miss mix and wound up with the first picture below. Then the awesome Mexican/Spanish/Latino (Latina?)/Whatever-PC-term Escrow VP helped me find where to buy some for the potluck today. So my second attempt wound up a lot closer to the pictures on the recipe. They’ve been accepted into the Jerdan cookie rotation. Embrace the Matty Crocker persona!
- Speaking of the Escrow VP and adventures, a group of us work folk was supposed to go to lunch Monday at Cabo Fish Taco. We drive all the way there only to find the majority of their kitchen in the side street being cleaned and the dining room completely empty. “Scheduled maintenance” had them closed Monday and Tuesday. While that was a bummer, we settled on Pinky’s Westside Grill as Plan B. I’ve been wanting to try it, so I was pumped. I had the White Trash Burger (provolone, spicy ranch, fried pickles, and onion rings… on the burger!) and it was delicious.
- Silver Linings Playbook came out Tuesday. So clearly, I had to buy it. It’s easily in my top two or three movies ever made. My favorite movies have somewhat broken, eccentric, left-of-center characters: Gene Wilder in Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, Kevin Spacey & Wes Bentley in American Beauty, Will Ferrell in Stranger Than Fiction, and now Bradley Cooper & Jennifer Lawrence in Silver Linings Playbook. They’re relatable to me. I’m not bipolar, have social issues, or battle depression. But my path isn’t the normal one most people take during their first 30 years. I’ve quit jobs to take risks. I’m single and have absolutely no problem with it. I have impossibly high standards for myself, I’m unreasonably stubborn, and I’m incredibly selfish. Yet I can acknowledge all of that and positively embrace every one of those characteristics. I like quirky, unique, characters with faults… because I’m one of them!
All you need to know about my weekend is this…
- Sometimes, all you really need is a weekend to sleep in, do nothing, and recharge.
- I’m going to be an uncle to a new nephew. Let the college football indoctrination begin! I also know his name which means it’s time for me to get to work on a nickname for him! I have a feeling it’s going to be hard to top FJ (noun – \ˈfēj\ 1. the future offspring of my brother and sister in law – called also Fetus Jerdan, feej).
- The rate of technology upgrades exponentially lowers the age you begin feel old. Read 10 Tech Frustrations Today’s Kids Will Never Have. We did dial-up Internet (and two phone lines!) in middle school. I’ve still got a Commodore 64 that would take floppy disks. We even had an automatic VHS rewinder because of how many trips we made to Blockbuster (Be Kind! Rewind!). I’m only missing the “pager” experience but everything else, I’ve crossed off of my “late 80s, early 90s” bucket list already.
- I have no idea how Charlie and the Chocolate Factory could be such an amazing story and the sequel, Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator, could be such a let down. After inheriting a chocolate factory, clearly the next step would be cover space travel, a floating hotel, and aliens… what? You lost me here, Roald Dahl! I’m reading Lightning by Dean Koontz now and it’s a super interesting story and concept.
- Speaking of books, Tidewater Murder is officially released into the wild! It’s on the Kindle and in paperback. If you buy it, not only are you supporting my amazing author momma, you’re supporting my inheritance. And since I currently don’t have children, my will is going to give my estate to my soon-to-be baby nephew. So do it for the kids! Support the arts and our future generations!
Another quiet weekend. Maybe some volunteering, maybe some video gaming, maybe some running, baking a test batch of Mexican Hot Chocolate cookies for a work potluck later next week, definitely some reading. Such a tough life!
- The explosions (bombing doesn’t feel like the right word…) on Monday at the Boston Marathon struck a chord with me that isn’t struck very often. Part of it, I’m sure, is that I just finished a 10K with close to 40,000 people entered in Charleston a little more than a week ago. The images hit close to home because my own experience for crossing the finish line were so vivid and recent. But another part is because a running blogger I follow (RunningWithKaren.com) posted her experience with the canceled NYC Marathon a short six months ago. And her guest entry yesterday was chilling. They’re extremely different circumstances but both marathons are now tied together by polarizing, highly emotional events.
- I’ve been mesmerized by this video (taken by The Boston Globe’s Steve Silva) because of the wide range of emotions. Sheer curiosity. Sympathy for the runners, volunteers, and victims. Amazement at how many emergency personnel instantly run straight towards the explosions. I’ll never fully understand people – good or bad.
- With all of the bad though, it’s amazing how good a solid run can do you. I picked back up a casual running schedule this week. Four miles so far with another four to six on tap this weekend. The weather and sunlight certainly helps the mood too. And to think… someone at work asked me on Monday after the marathon news broke if it would stop me from running. Hardly. I saw a quote on Facebook that was spot on:
If you’re trying to defeat the human spirit, marathoners are the wrong group of people to target. – Mighty Brighties
- Our company switched insurance companies and open enrollment is going on this month. Sure, it’s cheaper. Sure, there are more options. Sure, they listened to the employee suggestions. But excuse me while I take a completely selfish minute to complain about how annoying it is for a healthy individual with an HSA account that will now have to close one account down (which I’m not 100% sure on how to access that…), open a new one, transfer the money into the new account, never use it for the 2013 calendar year, and probably have to do the entire process all over again next year when my employer switches companies again. Ugh! #FirstWorldProblems #SelfishWhinyHealthyWhiteBoyProblems
- I am in total fanboy mode this week. Fall Out Boy’s album Save Rock and Roll came out Tuesday. When I got home from buying the CD (they still make those?), I listened to the whole thing while reading through the liner notes (they still make those?). I listen to it going to and from work in my truck. I listen to it at least once on my iPod at work each day. And despite my money-saving oath to not buy over-priced, secondary-market tickets, I broke down and paid $84 (in addition to a ridiculous $12 for shipping charge and $16 “convenience fee”) per ticket for two tickets to the show in Charlotte on June 1. But dammit, I’m going to have an amazing time there!
I’m going into full grownup mode this weekend. I need to sit down and figure out this insurance junk Saturday. There’s a strong possibility I’m going to tweak some Roth IRA investment money and look for my mountain land too. Then Sunday, I might be heading to Raleigh to help my brother, sister in law, and FJ (Fetus Jerdan) pack up and move.
At least the weather will be gorgeous!
- Tuesdays are busy, busy, busy in April! On the 2nd, my dad was in town to visit and see my apartment during his annual trip back to the “Lower 48.” A week later on the 9th, San Diego spent a night in town on her way back to DC. The 16th is a dentist appointment. And the 23rd, a friend has a flight out of town, so she’ll be here then too.
- I won the Bridge Run
among our family members! I ran the 10K in 1:10:13. Nothing fast but not bad for not having run since January. It was my 6th in a row. On a side note, the female winner (32:17) was faster than female wheelchair winner (37:10) almost by 5 minutes. That’s crazy to out run someone on wheels! To put it in perspective, the male wheelchair winner (25:59) beat the male winner (28:05) by over 2 minutes.
- Speaking of which, Insanity does not help for long distance runs. I’m sure my endurance was fine but I could hardly walk Monday and Tuesday. Going up and down stairs made me want to cry. Definitely made a mental note to run before any more races.
- I’m in a “Buy something big” mood. I blame my family. During his stay, my dad showed me some of the land and houses he’s scoping out in SC for his retirement place and I got jealous. First, there was an amazing piece of land with a huge stream running through the property, which is exactly what I want. Second, it’s in the Clemson area, which is where I want to be. And then my brother & sister in law just bought their first house in Columbia, SC this week. I haven’t seen it but word on the street is that it’s pretty snazzy for it being their starter home. Even if it is in Columbia, SC. I’m happy for all involved. But I want my mountain property even more now!
- I’m supposed to be getting a raise! After only 9 months! And it’s a bigger raise than I’ve gotten at all other jobs combined. So the list of positives at this job keep growing longer and longer.
It’s a quiet weekend for me. Between the running last weekend, San Diego during the week, and working late most nights, I’m just crashing on the couch this weekend to hit the reset button. I’m in a Master’s pool at work, so I’m sure I’ll watch more golf this weekend than I’ve ever watched in my life.
Hope the weather’s as beautiful for you this weekend as it’s supposed to be in Charlotte!