Skip to content
October 25, 2017 / paulio10

Next Generation Money System

View story at Medium.com

I wrote a medium post about the Next Generation Money System.  Check it out.

Advertisements
August 3, 2017 / paulio10

Instant Mashed Potatoes

With the instant mashed potatoes box that I sometimes buy, the directions on the back has a “4 servings” option (which isn’t enough for two people) and an “8 servings” option (too much for two people).

So I averaged the numbers to get “6 servings”, and something very strange happened (besides being just right for two people):

The numbers worked out far better than the other sizes!

The other sizes all have “1/3” and “2/3” in many of the numbers, making you use 2 or 3 measuring cups for everything. All those fractions dropped away, and I was left with nice round numbers – fewer measuring cups.

I’ve known this for about 15 years now. They really should print this option on the box.

Funny company!

June 13, 2017 / paulio10

Advanced Trick for Capping Munzees

This article will probably only be useful to a very few (possibly none) of my followers who play the GPS based game “Munzee” on their phone.

Munzee, for those who don’t know, is an outdoor game where you hunt down QR codes (square-dots bar codes) that have been placed in public locations, often on light-poles or the backs of signs, and you scan them with your phone’s Munzee app – and receive points. A bunch of points, usually. Precious, yummy points! As of June 2017 I have 88,921 points (level 100).

There are many types of munzees people can put around public places, and different things can happen with some of the munzees (fire munzees can light other munzees on fire (and if you scan them you get more points), ice munzees can freeze you or you can get extra points, plant munzees can grow, etc.) There are a few munzees now that disappear and reappear, you have to get them only when they’re visible on the map, such as when the CEO of the company did not come in to work that day (a funny inside joke I guess). There are also virtual munzees where you only have to be somewhat near the location to scan it – no QR code required. Sometimes you’ll see those on a pond, just stand by the shore, click the munzee icon on the map, and click the scan button to capture (cap) it.

Munzee is a fun game that’s way faster and easier than Geocaching, if you’ve ever heard of that. The home base of Munzee is in Texas. You can even join teams, and get extra free stuff (like new munzees to place on the map yourself) if you meet group goals.

Anyway.

The advanced Munzee Capping trick I figured out is this:

If you’re approaching a location with a lot of people around and you don’t want to stand there like a dork trying to scan a QR code for 15 seconds, moving your phone around, craning your head, rotating your phone, whispering “come on….!”, and generally calling attention to yourself – there’s a way you can force it to scan in 1 second or less.

The trick is this: while approaching the QR code location (when you’re still 10-12 feet away), click the scan icon so it switches to “camera” mode, and hold your other hand about a foot in front of the camera lens, as if you’re trying to take a picture of your entire hand. You can aim it across your body so your two hands are horizontal in front of you, basically aiming the camera at your other hand without looking at it.  Keep holding it there while walking up … and when you get so close that the phone is the same distance from the QR code as it is from your hand, rotate the phone quickly to point at the QR code! It will scan instantly!

This works because your phone always does a handful of things to get ready to scan a QR code, before it’s ready to scan it.  It has to focus the lens – when the camera is first turned on, it has to sense how far away the center object is (center of the picture generally), then it has to adjust the focus to that distance, then (because it’s not exactly right) it has to focus in & out a couple times… all of this just takes too much time – precious seconds of embarrassment-causing frustration.

You have to get good at knowing where your phone’s focus is, in the space in front of the camera. Does your phone have its camera at the top, or middle?  Left side, right side, or centered?  Practice a little, looking at an object maybe 1-2 feet away and see if you can point your camera directly at it, so the object is in the center of the frame on the screen, not off to the left/right, or too high/low. Get used to your phone that way, see if you can “feel” that spot in front of your camera, so your hand positions it right every time. Position your hand at that exact spot while walking up to the QR code.

Using this trick you can now walk right up and BAM! scan that QR code. You don’t even have to stop walking. People looking in your direction won’t even know you did anything!

It’s a neat trick that I use upon occasion, like during Frisbee Golf season in the park that has a ton of Munzees along the pathways that I always like to visit.

If you want to try capping some Munzees, create an account for yourself at www.munzee.com. Then come back and scan this QR code to get you started! The game is free, and a lot of fun.

Munzee is a great way to get exercise, especially when the weather is nice. Just take a look at the map of the area around you and see how many munzees are all around you. I bet there are a lot.

May 20, 2017 / paulio10

No Energy today? Let’s fix that…

Do you have no energy, today?
Why is that?
Why don’t you have 10 times the energy you do, today?
You can.

There are forces within you that are fighting against the real you, blocking 90% of your energy.
What forces are those? Many of them are things you learned from your family when you were growing up.
Many of them are from our broken ass society and its strict guidelines and subtle mind-washing techniques
to convince you that you are wrong when you express things in a natural way for you, but that does not
fit into the predefined prearranged society limitations imposed decades and centuries ago in our
twisted ridiculous society.
Why do you put up with that shit, still.
Why do you think that you have to continue to accept the bullshit once you start to realize the
limitations all around you? You can reject them any time you want to!
Why don’t you do that today.
Your reward will be
* increased health
* increased energy
* increased simplicity
* increased accomplishments along the lines that are the most important to you, whatever that may be

All you have to do to realize it is
(1) work to live as a person with more energy and direction than the bullshit centuries-retarded society we live in
(2) pick out high-energy songs that you love listening to
(3) occasionally drink 2-3 alcoholic drinks and listen to your music, because it can fire you up.
BAM! Now you get it!

So how do you have more energy?

It’s time to schedule the things that are important to you.
RIGHT NOW write down on a single piece of paper the 3 most important things to you.
Next, immediately schedule those things on your calendar – get them done, don’t let it slip.
You should even begin one of them right now, immediately.
These are more important than the other things on your calendar.

BUT WAIT! You say that you can’t “accomplish” these items, they’re too big?
Oh, that’s easy.
The first step is to just WRITE DOWN the things most important to you – it can
be hard to define it sometimes, this is a really important step.
Don’t just leave it floating in limbo, in your mind, as a foggy dream. Write
it down. Write in vivid detail – what is it you really want.

The next part is actually easier, the act of actually doing the work; here’s how you do that.

Read the thing you wrote down, and break it down into individual steps that
you can accomplish. It may be such a big project that when you break it into pieces,
each piece STILL cannot be completed!
But then you take each of those pieces, and break them down again,
and eventually you get down to small achievable pieces of work that can be done by you,
or delegated to other people to do for you.

But what if you don’t know what the next step is?
That’s easy, the next step is to research what the next step is.
Another way to think of it: “how has ANYBODY EVER done that, ever, anywhere in the world?”
Get mad, and think to yourself, “if anybody ever did this, I can do it.
I will learn what they did and do it myself BECAUSE I FUCKING FEEL LIKE IT.”

Each piece of work should have at least one of these things:

  1. a task that can be accomplished by you in a single sitting, all at one time.
  2. research – when you don’t know how something works you should
    research it on the Internet and ADD MORE TASKS from that to your list.
  3. a task that can be delegated to someone else – ask them to work on it right
    away, if appropriate; you don’t check it off until they have completed it.
    That way you can monitor if they have done it or not, because they might forget.
    Bug them about it. They must get it done, or you take it away and make it happen
    some other way.
  4. When you don’t know how to continue, ask experts in your life.
    Research who is the best at this topic, and ask them.
    Research who has ever done this before? What business/company? Ask them how
    to do it, ask them for help. You will be surprised, they will not only be
    happy to help you, they will be impressed with you that you asked them about
    something that is so important to them!

When you feel really stuck, when you just can’t come up with any next-step and have no idea what to do,
the next step is BRAINSTORMING.

Creatively write FIVE THINGS you can do as the next step to get un-stuck,
FIVE WAYS to fix the problem stopping you. (or 3 things, at the very least!)
“But I can’t think of anything!” No, you can think of everything!
but you’re going to filter that “everything” down to a small set of 5 things
you could do next, as possible next steps.
If your mind tells you a crazy or unreasonable next step, write it down anyway
to clear your mind from that item so it is free to think of another one.
You can always strike out the crazy ones from your list later on.

Now go and try them, one after another, until one of them actually works.
Start with most likely one first, or, just start with item #1.
YOU WILL BE AMAZED – one of these things will actually work!
In the unlikely event that you burn thru all 5 items and nothing worked,
you know a lot more now — make a new list; ask for help from an expert
or a friend or significant other, if you need to.

For example my wife said to me the other day, around 8PM:
“I can’t even exercise now, but I really want to.”
I asked her why she can’t exercise.
She said, “because it’s too cold outside, and I hate going to the yoga studio I was at;
I don’t like the people there; I don’t want to go back. Besides it’s getting late and I’m tired.”
I said, “there’s lots of other ways you can get exercise; name 3 more ways you can do it.”
She said “I can’t think of anything…”
So I went into Creative Naming Five Things mode.

I quickly listed out loud:

  • call 3 more yoga studios, arrange to go each of them, pick the best
    one, and stick with it.
  • do a google search for “exercise” and our city name. Call 3 of those and see if
    you can get a free session to each one.
  • Run around the living room and dining room 50 times, count it, and
    let our dog run with you, he loves that.
  • Take the dog for a walk in the park, and get him to run – let him off the
    leash, and try to keep up with him. If you get into trouble, so what,
    you don’t have to do it again, but you got exercise today.
  • Put on the biggest coat you can find (with 2 sweaters underneath) and see
    if you can ride your bike to the nearest park, take a picture, and come back again.
    I bet you can’t do it! I challenge you! That picture will be your proof!
  • Roll a 6-sided die to decide how many “sets” of 10 pushups you’re
    going to do (1 = 10, 2 = 20, 3 = 30, etc.)
    When you can’t do any more pushups, switch to leg-lunges.
  • Do 100 jumping jacks.
  • Look through our DVDs and find the old exercise videos we have –
    decide you’re going to go once-each thru EVERY DVD WE HAVE in sequence,
    just because you can! Prove that you did them ALL. One per day.
  • See if you can find a free exercise video on the Internet, and exercise to it.
  • See if you can find a video on the Internet with a hot exercise guy you can follow.
  • Find 2 or 3 songs that are total energy to you, that drives you to exercise harder,
    and pick your favorite exercise from the above things – go to it.

She was surprised by this, I don’t think she was thinking as widely as I was about exercise.

She ended up switching yoga studios, and riding her bike around the neighborhood.

If you don’t like something, don’t do it again after trying it once.
You might be surprised to find one of these is really fun, and you want to do
it over and over again.

Literally ANYTHING can be accomplished with these tricks and other productivity tricks
that you read in blogs, books, and other resources.

DON’T PUT UP WITH GETTING STUCK.

Sometimes anger can be a motivation force when used properly.
There’s destructive anger, and righteous anger. That second one is what you
want to practice if you can.

For example, with the situation where my wife did not want to return to the old yoga studio:
if I was her, I would have said, “screw that studio! I will never go back there ever again!
I will find 3-5 more studios, and choose a much much better one. I’ll show them.
Each time I go to the new studio I found, I will think about how much better this studio is
than the other one. I’ll tell the instructor specific ways that I’ve observed their studio
is better than my old one, to inspire them.”

Righteous anger can drive you forward, and is not destructive but constructive –
it motivates and empowers positive construction.

If other people ever tell you “NO, it can’t be done,” what they’re really
saying is that THEY cannot do it. And that’s fine. They’re losers, they are people who
always give up too easy. You’re not one of them anymore. You’re going to find
the answer, the way, to get the work done that you believe in, to make change in
this crazy world for yourself and for others. You uniquely have energy now, direction now,
to get something actually done in a world that has never experienced what
you uniquely are bringing to the table. Thank God you’re here.

In comparison to how powerful you’re becoming as you practice these things,
our society is relatively slow and limiting and stupid. I’m sorry you have to live here,
but you don’t have to bow-down to failure and limitation any more.
You know the secrets now. Stand up for yourself. It’s time.

Energy songs I’d like to suggest:

Burn – Ellie Goulding
Monster – Paramore
I Just Wanna Live – Good Charlotte
Lips Like Morphine – Kill Hannah
Return to Innocense – Enigma
It’s Amazing – Jem
Let It Rock – Kevin Rudolf
Ladies and Gentlemen – Saliva
My House – Pvris
Crazy – Gnarles Barkley
Discotechque – U2
Hallelujah – Paramore
Volcano Girls – Veruca Salt
4 Minutes – Justin Timberlake & Madonna
Gimme Sympathy – Metric (I especially like the video of this one on YouTube)
Can’t Stop – Red Hot Chili Peppers
E.T. – Katy Perry
Always Up With You – Alphabeat
Never Let Me Down Again – Depeche Mode
Nobody Move, Nobody Get Hurt – We Are Scientists
Walking In My Shoes – Depeche Mode
Gone – U2
Its No Good – Depeche Mode
Strangelove – Depeche Mode
The Spell – Alphabeat
Hole In My Heart – Alphabeat
The Pretender – Foo Fighters
Under The Bridge – Red Hot Chili Peppers
One More Night – Maroon 5
Push It – Garbage
A Stroke Of Luck – Garbage
The Distance – Cake
World Comin’ Down – Billy Idol
It’s Nice To Know You Work Alone – Silversun Pickups
Meet Me Halfway – Black Eyed Peas
Missing You – The Black Eyed Peas
Spiderwebs – No Doubt
Just A Girl – No Doubt
crushcrushcrush – Paramore
Misery Business – Paramore
It’s Not Over – Daughtry
I Made It – Kevin Rudolf
You Made The Rain Fall – Kevin Rudolf
Trans Fatty Acid – Kruder and Dorfmeister remix / Lamb
Worth The Wait – We Are Scientists
Seventeen – Lady Tron

If you don’t like some of these songs, don’t listen to them, it’s fine.
But did you find one AMAZING song that completely blows you away?
Search out more songs from that band.
You might find more amazing songs by them, maybe you’ll buy the whole album;
or maybe you’ll hate all the rest of their other songs, they only had one good one.
Both of those situations have happened to me. It doesn’t matter.

What other songs/bands are like that awesome one you found? Listen to those next.
At least you found one good one. Services like Pandora, YouTube, Spotify, and Amazon
have ways to suggest new music that’s possibly “like” the one you just listened to –
great way to find new music.

Plus, their basic services are free — lack of money is no excuse to get started.

Music is medicine, it heals such a wide-variety of ailments we have today
within our emotional and mental bodies.

Where have you been?

You don’t have to love the songs I love. The songs above are my energy songs.
You can find yours if you want to. Find what works for you.
Don’t put up with small – make it BIG.

Nothing here is incremental. Go BIG. Stand tall and move forward.
Some weeks and months and years you feel like you’ve made no progress.
Others times you IMMEDIATELY step up and reach the next level.
This is true for music and healing, too.

What I want you to realize is:

  1. Nothing is TOO MUCH for you, it’s all OK, it’s all acceptable.
    You aren’t going to be hurt by any of it. You can listen to any music,
    absorb everything about it, like it/hate it, and still be yourself.
  2. There is a maximum amount of energy, and you can reach the end, at least in
    our physical world, and it’s OK to experience the maximum, it doesn’t hurt you.
    You don’t have to shy away from it and avoid it. It saps too much of your
    energy to shy away and hide from life. Step forward and experience it.
  3. This prepares you for ANYTHING that life can throw at you, there is nothing
    to be afraid of or apprehensive in any way, any more.
    You can see anything, know anything, do anything, communicate with anyone,
    partially thanks to the Internet.
  4. Have to give a speech in front of a crowd of people?
    What CAN’T you say? You can say anything. As long as you know it and mean it!
    No fear, because the fear can be all gone now, magically, mystically.
    Because actually it never existed, you just fell for a trick; but no more.

On 4/16/2017 I gave a super good eulogy for Frank P. Falewicz, the father of my wife,
at a church full of people I sort of knew, and many I didn’t know.
But I didn’t care. I just did it. I only had minimal preparation
(I typed up some quick bullets in a text file on my phone a half-hour before).
It was easy. Nothing to it. I worked hard to get to this point.

Dare your life to give you a challenge! Don’t let life be boring!
May life rise up and meet your new-found energy level!

You can reach this point if I reached it. Because why not?
I was born, once, like you. We both lived a number of years, and we know the
things we know and can do the things we can do.
I was such a shy child, painfully shy. But not anymore.

I know that you can do everything I can do.
It just takes practice, training, self-drive to learn the things it takes to
do whatever you want to do, you feel you need to do, in this world.

Don’t just fall back to the usual – TV, movies, games, wasting time on the
Internet, etc. Understand that those are things that can calm and heal you.
They can be medicine. But don’t spend ALL your time on those things.

Use them judiciously.

You have important work to do.
————

April 25, 2017 / paulio10

Getting Used to Being Wrong

In life, if you aren’t regularly wrong or at least unsure, you aren’t doing new things; you aren’t exploring and learning.

In school they teach you that everything has 1 right answer, and if you don’t get that right answer you’re wrong, and wrong is bad.  Wrong is worth zero points, and zero points makes you fail your test, fail your paper, fail your class.

But what I’ve noticed is, the older I get the more easily I get used to being wrong, and it doesn’t mean it’s the end, sometimes it’s just a hiccup as you continue your journey.

When young, most people’s self-worth is tied to seeing themselves be right/wrong, succeed/fail. When they get older, they often find they can separate self-worth from success/failure.

For many people, when they are young they’re easily embarrassed, and embarrassment feels bad, and so they try to avoid it.  When older, they realize embarrassment can be funny, or at least non-painful, and that everyone around you has been there; so it’s not so embarrassing to be embarrassed.

If you can practice being OK with being wrong, the world opens up to you.  You can learn anything, by starting at the beginning, being wrong a lot, and learning it that way – then you’re right, on something totally new, maybe that other people around you never learned.

If you can be OK with being wrong from time to time, you have an ocean of new success in your future.  You can learn the things rich people think about, and how they do what they do – and choose to do a portion of that, if you want, for your own success.

If you can be OK with being wrong, other people can’t control you by making you wrong.  Because you’re wrong, and it’s OK.  You don’t get angry. You don’t lose control of your emotions and thoughts.  You can’t be steered or goaded into different directions of action/thought/feeling/decision.

Schools should stop teaching that there’s only one right answer.  Wrong is not failure, it can actually be a step on the path to success. Those who are the most successful have made way more “mistakes” than those who aren’t. It’s really true.

January 28, 2017 / paulio10

So Much Crazy in This World

If you ever feel like maybe you’re crazy, and are worried about that, I’d like to relieve your mind a little bit.

The world around us is crazy. Observe it carefully, and you can’t help but come to that conclusion – crazy. Almost nothing works right around here. So many things are arranged in a less-than-optimal fashion, so much senseless waste, wars between people who are all very good people, it’s ultimately needless, and yet, there it is.

The question is, how well are you able to navigate the Crazy? Can you keep standing up, when being pummeled by Crazy from all sides? Are you able to sleep at night? Resilience and calmness can seem impossible at times; and yet, those are some of the greatest things you can strive for, in Crazy circumstances.

My latest “crazy” experience

My latest “crazy” experience was somewhat off the charts this past week.

My wife and I bought a property to fix and sell in the middle of last year, and it took a lot longer and cost more money (of course) than we originally expected.  It took so much work – but we finally finished everything around September, and put the property on the market.  And it didn’t sell until this month, January.  Which was annoying, but OK. We still made money on the deal.  But the first step when receiving the money was to pay back the loans for the purchase of the property.

Earlier this week I had to wire transfer US$120K from our normal bank to the “other” bank, the one that loaned us the money.  Over there we have a checking account we never use, and the loan account. I called that bank to get the wire instructions – because I didn’t want to carry a cashier’s check for such a large sum between banks; it didn’t feel right to me. I wanted to do the transfer quickly, electronically.  What I didn’t realize was that when the bank said “wire it to your checking account,” they meant because the checking account has a different account number than the loan number. I thought they were the same number (I didn’t know).

So I went in to the closest retail outlet of my normal bank during my lunch break. This branch happens to be inside a grocery store. I told the manager I wanted to initiate a wire transfer. “Oh you can’t do that here” was the response I got, which confused me. “Our branch is closing down, you’ll need to do that at a stand-alone branch.”  I asked, “when are you closing?” to which the manager replied, “not until the end of March.”

I  just stood there for a good moment, pondering this.  It sounded kind of crazy, I have to admit.  “You can’t send wires, even though you’re still a fully operating bank branch, and you’re not closing for 3 more months?” I asked. “Well, yea, we were supposed to close in 2 weeks, but the central office extended us until end of March.” …But didn’t grant you the ability to send wires, when you clearly have customers that need to send them.  Alrighty, then.

So, on to a stand-alone branch. A quick google-search as I hopped in the car; I drove about 5 miles to a branch I hadn’t used before, because I knew it was near the restaurant I wanted to eat lunch at. Now it was 15 minutes after noon, and I was starting to get hungry. Every branch is equal to every other branch, right? I should be able to wire money from one that I’ve never been to.

I went inside and asked to send a wire transfer. They ushered me quickly into an office to fill out the paperwork, which I did; and they said they’d send the wire right away.  “The money should be there within an hour, if you check your other bank’s account after work you’ll see it went through.” Happy with myself, I left and went to lunch; then I drove back to work.

After 5PM when I got off work, I checked the other bank’s account online – no money had arrived. I started to get worried. Something’s wrong! Don’t panic…. failed wires usually get sent back to the originating bank, right?  So I logged into my normal bank account where the money came from – and, no money there either.

I immediately drove to the bank with the loan, and sat down with a more senior employee and told them my issue. “Yea, I don’t see the money has arrived yet, what account and ABA did you send it to?” I told him the details. “Oh, you gave them your loan number, you can’t do that.  Wires cannot go directly to loans. They must go to a checking account.”  My stomach sunk down a bit, inside of me.

Oh no.  That’s my fault then, I didn’t know that. I wanted to make a loan payment of $120K, but apparently I’m supposed to transfer it to the checking account, then pay the loan from there!  My bad.  “OK, what do I do now?”  “You have to go back to the originating bank and have them re-send the wire to the checking account.”

“But I logged in online and checked my account, the money didn’t go back to them either.” “Well, the money is not at our end. The wire would have failed, and the money would go back to the originating bank. Check in the morning, their online systems will probably update over night.”

Sigh.  It’s now 5:50PM. The other bank is closed for the day. I could not find any branch that would still be open beyond 6PM, within a distance that I could get there in time. So I guess I’m done for the day. That sinking, out-of-control feeling was getting stronger.

I think you can imagine what was about to come next.

Realization and Personal Challenge

I needed to go home and prepare dinner, and eat it; without feeling sick to my stomach that $120K of cash is missing now.  I needed to get some sleep, and not stay up worrying all night long. I needed to not stay up drinking all night, because I have to work in the morning! The money is gone from every bank account that I control, and I can’t do anything about it until tomorrow.  $120K is a LOT of money!

In that moment of realization, while driving home, of what the next 12 hours were going to be like, it hit me – this is a test.  This is a test to see if I can be relaxed and calm and keep my cool, despite a powerful wave of fear welling up, brimming on the edge of my mind, ready to take over my brain.  It’s happened before – that out-of-control, can’t eat anything, sleepless-night syndrome. I think it happens to everyone at one time or another. I just didn’t want it to happen to me, despite the circumstances.

When you think about it, this is one of those situations where I literally CANNOT do anything about it until tomorrow. So I knew there was absolutely no reason for me to be waylaid by fear and anxiety.  Put it aside until you can do something about it. I should save all my fear and anxiety until tomorrow, it’s only needed after I’ve taken every step possible and the money is still missing.  …That can’t actually happen, right?!?

I feel like this is a perfect test for me. So much of my life has been wrapped up in unreasonable fear and self-doubt, early on in my life, and I’ve overcome so much of that, it hardly comes up anymore. A couple decades ago, if I “lost” $1000, I would feel a tremendous amount of fear and hatred and anger; but I’ve come a long way in recent years in being able to manage my life activities and keep myself calm in the face of Crazy events, so many times.  Now, 120 times that amount of money was “lost”! It’s almost unfathomable to think about.

But I managed to do it!  I didn’t blurt out the horrible events of the day when my wife got home an hour after me. I spent my time preparing the meal that I had so carefully planned out, I bought many different types of foods that you can eat with chopsticks, so we could both practice using chopsticks, something we’ve wanted to get better at this year.  I designed and printed out an amusing “Chef Paulio Menu” for the 5-course meal I had planned, and put it on the dinner table. It was meant to be a bit of a joke from a very fancy dinner we had one time that was very expensive and took almost 2 hours to eat all the courses. The 5-course meal I was planning consisted of: celery with cream cheese (cut into bite-size pieces), salad with raw mushroom slices (to be dipped in ranch dressing), egg drop soup (super easy to make, and delicious – look up a recipe on the Internet; not a chopstick item, I know, but good nonetheless), a ribeye steak that I spiced up, cooked, and cut into bite-sized squares; and lastly, for dessert – raspberries that I rolled in sugar and arranged nicely on a flat plate.

So you can see, life had an opportunity here to ruin my special evening. This was a surprise for my wife, all she knew was I was going to make dinner; she didn’t know all of the preparation I was going through. I could easily have scrapped the whole thing and gone thru the Taco Bell drive-thru, she would have never known the difference. But I didn’t want to do that. I can choose to have a nice meal with my wife, right?

So we had a really great dinner, and talked about whatever she wanted to talk about; I managed not to think about the lost money except briefly maybe one or two times. After dinner, while we were doing the dishes, I told her what had happened with the wire-transfer, and what I was doing to fix it in the morning. I laughed it off, just one of those Crazy things – stupid banks, you know? And I’m glad I said it that way and then changed the subject, so she wouldn’t worry very much. We both try hard not to hide anything about money from the other person; I think our relationship is a lot smoother because of that, overall.

We watched a couple TV shows that night, which was nice and relaxing, as I managed to barely not think about things too much.

We went to sleep – and I successfully banished all bad thoughts and feelings from my brain all night long! I managed to keep them from grabbing on to me and torturing me, somehow.

The Next Day

The wave of bad feelings hit me when I groggily woke up the next morning at 6AM.  But I still couldn’t do anything about it – banks don’t open until at least 9AM.

I got dressed and went to work – ah, work, such a nice distraction because of all the mental energy it requires.  At 10AM when a number of meetings had ended, I drove immediately over to my main bank, to get them to find the money and re-send the wire. This time I went to my favorite branch where I knew the people who worked there, they’ll be able to help me I’m sure.

When I got there I explained everything to the manager. We sat down and she went to work figuring out what was going on.  It turns out she could not make any changes to the wire, since she had not sent it – there are safety mechanisms within the bank to keep one employee from affecting changes to other employee’s financial activities, such as wire transfers, probably to protect against fraud. Banks have to cooperate with lots of fraud rules & regulations, more and more every year, to prevent many specific problems from happening – problems that must have actually happened, I would guess, at some point in the past.  Rules and regulations help protect against bad activities, but have a nasty side-effect of preventing innocent people like me from doing what we rightly need to do.

She told me that the money had not yet arrived back at this bank.  Sigh.

I got out my cell phone and called over to the destination bank.  They said they would look into it and call me back as soon as they could.

My bank manager made some phone calls to find out what more she could do, but eventually told me, “once they reject the wire, it will come back to us; then you will have to go over to the branch you sent the wire from, and re-sign the paperwork there, because I’m not allowed to make any changes from here.”

I thought about my job, all the work I was going to miss today; after being here for over an hour already, I was going to have to drive about 8 miles to the other branch, sit there for an unknown amount of time waiting for the money to be “returned” to the branch, so we could do everything over again.  A money-reboot. This could take all day. I’m so lucky I work for a flexible company, but now I would have to call my boss to explain I would probably be out for another few hours. I kind of snuck out at 10AM without telling anyone; which is usually OK, as long as I make up the time later on.

Before I had a chance to say goodbye to my favorite bank manager, my cell phone rang.  It was the other bank manager – and, good news!  They didn’t reject the wire because… the loan department did the right thing!

When the loan department saw the money wired in under a loan account number, instead of rejecting the wire like they often do, they were holding the money until they could verify with the customer (me) that I wanted to pay it towards the loan! They would be happy to reject the wire, or pay the loan, whatever I wanted. I said yes, please pay it towards the loan – and so they did.  “You should see your loan balance change online by the end of the day,” the confident voice on my cell phone informed me. I was so happy, I thanked him profusely.

I told my bank’s manager the good news. That’s why the money wasn’t sent back, we both realized. They were holding it, to find out what I wanted to do.

Whew, what a relief. Eventually, the right thing happened from my point of view. The Crazy was now over. I drove back to work.

Conclusion

The world we live in is crazy. So, if you and I are also a little crazy, that’s not so unusual; it doesn’t make us stick out, instead we uniquely fit right in. The people around us are kind of expecting it from us, actually…. I think everyone needs to have a certain amount of “crazy” just to function in this life!

So don’t feel bad about it at all. It’s like a game: can you maintain your own emotional control, mental sanity, during the Crazy times? Because they come and go; they won’t always be here. Like waves of an ocean, they go away, and then come back again.

Actually, I think you and I fit right in.

Welcome to Crazy Town, population: everyone.

 

November 28, 2016 / paulio10

10-year battery smoke detectors are horrible

We bought two smoke detectors that boasted a 10-year-battery for our house about 2 years ago, and installed them in place of the old yellowed-plastic ones that our newly purchased home came with. This house was built in the 1980’s, but it was new to us about 2 years ago.  The theory with 10-year-battery smoke detectors is: all smoke detectors really only last about 10 years, so having a 10-year battery means you never have to replace the battery – just replace the whole smoke detector around the 10 year mark. Easy, right?

Well, 2 years into owning these units, the one in our master bedroom started beeping non-stop for no reason at 2AM, the shrill piercing sound blasting us awake from a sound sleep.

I took the unit down from the wall (after fetching a chair I could stand on) and tried pressing the one and only button this thing had (labeled “test”) to turn it off, but it wouldn’t stop beeping. I single clicked it, double clicked it, held it in for 30 seconds, nothing would shut it up! And, there was no battery compartment to open, this was a completely sealed unit – because, of course, when you have a 10 year battery in a 10 year smoke detector, there’s no reason the owner would ever need to pull out the battery, right?

So I took the continuously screeching smoke detector in my sleep-induced state to the other end of the house, into the garage, found a hammer, and smashed it into 1000 tiny fragments with a single blow.  It stopped beeping just as I felt a plastic shard zipping across my cheek at high-speed.  I hit it over, and over, and over, and over, as my brain said, “you really should be wearing goggles to do this”.  I paused for a couple breaths and then I hit it some more.

Then I went back inside and staggered back to bed.

The next morning, being super irritated at how dumb this product was, I went upstairs to check on the other one that I had bought at the same time.  As I pulled it off the wall to look at it, it started beeping!  And beeping and beeping.  It would not stop.

I had to smash that one with a hammer, too, right next to the stringy electronic remains of the first one spread out over my garage floor that I hadn’t cleaned up from the similar violence a few hours earlier. I only hit this one 5 or 6 times and tossed the biggest piece into the trash can. I mentally scheduled a trip to the hardware store for noon time as I swept out the garage.

These companies don’t really understand the real purpose of the battery door – to have a way to make your alarm SHUT UP IMMEDIATELY.  I am the owner, I command you to stop waking up the neighbors and scaring my cats, dog, family members, and hurting my ears, right now.  Without a battery door, the second most important feature of the smoke detector is missing.

That is why I will never buy another sealed 10-year battery smoke detector again.