2010 April

April 2010

This weekend, I am going to my old college town of New Paltz for fun, pool, and hangin’ out oldschool.

Next weekend, I’m making the 4.5 hour drive to Newmarket NH for Free Comic Book Day and to trade in a whole mess of toys I don’t want anymore. And more fun.

The following Thursday, I’ll be heading to the city to sneak into a gallery and take some photos of nautically themed fabric arts for Splice.

Photos to follow.

A few weeks ago, I woke up with a weird mark cut into my arm. I don’t know where it could have come from, but I immediately recognized it as a rune, from my old days of studying that kind of thing. Eventually, I figured out that its symbolic meaning is that of ‘self-revelation’, so I took it to heart. The faded scar is still on my arm, and I still don’t know what caused it.

You may have noticed, if you give a damn, that April Annihilus Awesomeness stalled. Badly. Life gets in the way. Life, and about a half dozen really fucking awful attempts that drive you so far into the ground with embarrassment that it takes a Herculean effort to climb back to the surface. I am, however, up to the painting phase of Page 7 in Coptopus Issue #2 – that’s just about 1/3 done, which is exciting as hell. I have stalled, but I’ve also felt weird and disconnected and antisocial, and I’ve been unable to pinpoint exactly why.

I took a 4-day weekend from work with the intention of doing incredible things, but I spent much of that fighting with Toyota (details in the previous post) and getting nothing done but worrying. Shakti visited on Saturday, and we hit an Indian buffet, and played pool at a local place which I just discovered called Iron Willie’s, which sounds like a gay bar. It was actually very laid back and completely enjoyable. We messed with horny guys on Chatroulette, with the aid of Shakti’s ample cleavage, and it was a great day.

I cashed in my Disney Rewards Points for a free Hannah Montana 3/4 scale electric guitar, which I eagerly await in the mail.

I was also hired on by Splice Today to write about art & design, which is super exciting also. I’ve become a bit disillusioned with writing about the world of collectibles while being owed about $2100 in back pay, so I’ve scaled back that particular gig. It’s a great avenue into accessing galleries pre-show and interviewing people I like. I question whether or not BEING an active artist qualifies me uniquely for the position, or actually serves as a bias that will prevent me from being a good reporter. Does it prevent me from working in the perfect vacuum which art is supposed to be created in, or will this exposure to more artists and design influence me positively? ‘Those who can’t, write?’ Is that how it goes?

So many of the creators I really like are tremendously inarticulate, but excel so amazingly at the visual aspect of expression. Trying to read anything written by Ash Wood is like decoding a dystopian-future version of the English language, where verbs and spelling have been completely eliminated from the lexicon.

Maybe there are no correlations except for the ones I impose upon myself by worrying too much.

And, unrelated, but this is the most amazing thing I’ve ever found. I’m guessing that it’s worth at least $600 – $1000 in the right market.

Here’s the story :

Tree branch fell on my car during a snowstorm. Damaged the roof very badly. I called Geico, they made an assessment (and then re-made it, once I pointed out that they got some of the details wrong) and wrote me a check for repairs. The check had to be a 2-party check, with Toyota’s name on it, as I am still paying for my car.

I wanted to take my car to Curry Toyota, where I bought it, because it’s still brand new and I thought they could match up the paint and contours the best. I’ve had body work done at other shops, and it’s been awful. So, I take my car to Toyota, who inform me that the check is written out wrong, and that they’ll have to send it to some faraway land to get it signed correctly. They also notice a ding in the trunk, which was also caused by falling branches (which I have the photographs to prove). They tell me that they’ll get Geico to look at it again and adjust my check – don’t worry about anything.

I leave my car with Toyota, and I relinquish my check.

They do not handle the dent in the trunk, at all. They claim that Geico would not approve it, and neither party had the courtesy to call me and ask me if I wanted to go ahead on the repairs anyhow, or to provide evidence of the source of the damage. Instead, they just ignored it.

I get my car back, I pay for the completed repairs in full, with the understanding that I would get the check back once it is signed and I can deposit it in my bank account to make up the difference. A month passes, and the body shop guy cites ‘Jewish holidays and vacations shutting banks down’, which is a bullshit answer. I call, he says that he’s going to follow up, I am not called back. It is implied that Toyota lost the check.

I take things into my own hands and call Geico to see where the check is, and I find out that Toyota cashed it into their own bank, instead of giving it to me. So now, they have about $950 towards a $730 repair. Once again, someone dropped the ball.

I call Curry Toyota, and body shop guy tells me (after literally seven transfers, one of which I was cut off mid-sentence) ‘they’re all backed up, we don’t know what happened to your check yet’, so I tell him, check number and all, and that I expect an immediate refund to my credit card for the exact amount of the check. He says he’ll get on it right away.

I’ve lost all patience, and it was all I could do to not start spewing profanities at this guy who kept on trying to talk over me instead of hearing what I was told by Geico, as I was obviously the only person who could handle the situation intelligently.

One illustration job lost my W2 and invoice and has not paid me months later, Toyota cashes my check into their own bank account, my blogging gig owes me over $2100 bucks, and something tell me that if people could manage their own shit, I wouldn’t have to be swimming through theirs all of the time.

I’m never going to be able to afford that unicorn.


4/19/2010 UPDATE : The fax of the cashed check came in from Geico, and it seemed to indicate that instead of returning my money to me (as originally stated), Toyota decided to keep it without telling me – because I owe them money for my car still.

I’ve made every single monthly payment on time. I live paycheck to paycheck, and I have very specific expenses coming out of different areas of my finances – bank, credit card and PayPal. The fact that Curry Toyota would just outright take money that they FEEL they are owed, and well ahead of the scheduled payment date, is unconscionable, and it’s throws my entire balance off.

When I talked to body shop guy Armand, he actually had the GALL to blame 9/11 for not being able to help me (in addition to phones not working, bank holidays, and any other number of excuses for being unable to get his shit together). I don’t know anyone in their right mind who is so desperate to save their own asses that they invoke a national tragedy to distract from their own ineptitude, but this guy did it. I told him that he, personally, was supposed to handle this entire situation, and that he fed me misinformation, and all he had to say for himself was ‘yeah’. No apology, no nothing.

So, Curry Toyota, you fucking suck a whole fucking lot. I’m glad this is finally over with.

It has been an absolutely miserable month for mail-order retail therapy. I have this thing where I don’t feel like I earn enough to really save anything, so I buy things to try to feel better about it, and then you shut up and leave me alone. I pay all of my bills. But it’s been a bad month for this kind of thing.

It starts with Batman car seat covers. I wanted to get a little something nice for my car after paying $700+ to get the roof-scar removed after the snowstorm / branch incident, so I ordered some Batman car seat covers. These, of course, were to match my Batman floor mats and Batman steering wheel cover. After excitedly waiting for these things to arrive, they appear and they’re made of stocking-quality nylon, stitched onto incredibly cheap foam material, with a Batman logo embroidered weirdly in the center. The material was already developing runs, and apparently, the Toyota Corolla has unnaturally malformed tumors for seats, because nothing was fitting anyhow.

I’m not sure how such cheap materials are supposed to protect the car from anything, but these were promptly returned for ‘not being as described’. My car is naked on the inside. My search for Batman shoelaces continues unsatisfied.

I accidentally placed two orders for the same two action figures from an import shop in CA, so when I realized this on the e-mail shipping notice, I just swallowed hard and decided that I’d sell the extra two as a set and earn a little bit of my money back. Why an experienced retailer would ship $140 worth of goods in a thin cardboard box, uninsured, and at Parcel Post rate, is beyond me. It took 16 days to reach here, and by the time it did, it was so crushed that the figures had actually been sprung from their packages. I battled over e-mail for the right to return these, which cost me an extra $10 in shipping for the negligence of the USPS and the retailer. So, don’t shop with HobbyFan. Their shipping FAQ page is a manifesto of dirty, dirty lies.

Finally, I ordered the first 5 appearances of MODOK from Mile High Comics, via eBay. When the order arrived today, two of these five comics were wrong. I mean, these are honest mistakes : ‘Tales of Astonish’ #94 instead of Tales of Suspense #94, and Avengers #112 instead of Captain America #112, but that’s nearly 50% of my order that they colossally screwed up because no one bothered to properly inventory what they were sending out. I’ve yet to hear back from them.

I know that I’m going about life the wrong way, in some way that I can’t understand, but these little things suck royally. Maybe it’s a sign that I should stop buying nice things for myself, or focus on something else, or that the laziness of businesses and employees has reached a sleepy, fever pitch – but this is a collection of annoyances that have clustered together to form a trifecta of suck that takes too much valuable time to deal with. I spend enough time at work fixing everyone else’s negligence.

Get it right, morons of the world.

April Annihilus Awesomeness : Day 7

April Annihilus Awesomeness : Day 6

Thank you, Heroclix.

April Annihilus Awesomeness : Day 5

April Annihilus Awesomeness : Day 4 (Easter)

Happy Annihileaster. Enjoy my hastily-done, 2 AM egg.

April Annihilus Awesomeness : Day 3

I call this one ‘Nothing Left To Annihilate’.

Annihilus : 4/2/2010

Some of you may know that I have a small project in which I draw a portrait of a person that I meet every day. While I have not met Mr. Annihilus, I think that this is what he would look like. And say. And krackle.

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