Saturday, December 24, 2011

No. 0063 - Occupy Death Star

The eggshell has never been thinner for the government to walk on than ever. It seems like no matter what they do these day, someone or something or some group or some entity from all walks of life WILL be offended. Well embrace yourselves reader because I'm about to vent.

Why do I feel like I'm the only one who is paying taxes these days? Correct me if I'm wrong but doesn't the government requires me to pay more just to compensate for other people who doesn't? (Actually wait a minute, doesn't health care works the same way too? I think I'm onto something here!).

But wait, there's more. Last night I learned from NPR about who is going to pay for this two month payroll taxcut. At first I was going expecting them to say the "top 1%", you know, the evil empire ran by Darth Vader himself. And guess what, nope. Not Darth Vader, but the mortgage lenders. And guess who really ends up paying for it? Yep, the ones taking out the mortgage or refinancing (aka people like me). Here is the scenario NPR posed, a $200,000 home on a 30 year fixed rate of 4.25% will be effectively be paying an extra .1%, that equates to about $4000 (and that only pays for the next two months of payroll taxcut).

THAT'S IT! No more of this! We need to have a rebellion. Fuel up the Millennial Falcon because we are going to the Death Star. We will dock all of our spaceships on their docks, that will show them. We will harass all of the storm troopers. "Hey there, you know I have siblings too, but guess what, they don't look like me 'cause I'm NOT CLONED". Where's Luke? Where's the Princess? Where's Hans Solo? Someone should bring Jabba the Hutt too because I think this type of movement should fit pretty well with people (or aliens) like them. Now this is truly what I call the 99% (that's 99% of all living, breathing, crawling, sliming, tenacle-ly things). I can see how these movements are going to play out already. It will take us 6 rounds to successful overthrow the government (and then we'll go back digitally remaster the first three afterwards). Watch out Darth Vader, Palpatine and the rest of Galactic Senate, you may find your Death Star occupied real soon!

No. 0062 - Recessionopoly

Editorial Note: So I've outsourced my blogging to an unpaid (but highly valued) employee, Sarah Chow aka my wife. Please note that the first-person mentioned has been tainted with the writer's perspective.

I am a big fan of Monopoly. I've already developed two Monopoly inventions on this blog: Invention No. 0043: Monopoly Extended Play and Invention No. 0019: "Communist: The Game. So my natural instinct when I woke up on my own at 5:30 a.m. Saturday morning was to play Monopoly on my iPod. And my wife's natural reaction when she woke up to me playing Monopoly at that hour was to tell me 1) go back to sleep and 2) that game doesn't make any sense in today's economy anyway.

Actually, Monopoly is a perfect game for today's economic climate, given that it was first invented in the Great Depression. But I have to agree that some of the details for how to get rich in the game aren't necessarily relevant to the Great Recession. Which is why I'm proposing a few modifications to update Monopoly for today.

Recession Monopoly starts with everyone having property, with each property square having 3 mortgaged houses on it. The goal of the game? Have no mortgages. The first person to either pay off or discard all their homes wins. When you land on someone's property, you have to take their mortgage. And if you land on your own property, you have to take out a second mortgage.

In Recession Monopoly, borrowing money is easy and spending it is encouraged. Things will be a little more interesting with the Chance and Community Chest cards, too. They'll include cards such as "CEO parachute: collect 50% of all other player's cash and spend half a turn in jail"; "Invent an Apple iProduct: collect $500 from other players"; "Discover your investments are in European bonds: pay $750 to the bank"; "Sue for miscellaneous damages: collect $500 from the bank"; etc. And in addition to losing to the ordinary tax cards (which already go straight to the bank and not into the schools and roads they claim to), you can cash in big with a government bailout card (applicable only to the player already in the lead).

Would a game this painful be successful? It shouldn't be, but do the right thing for the economy: increase your consumer spending and buy it.

Friday, October 21, 2011

No. 0061 - Wife-Fi

Last week at the mall we walked past the Apple store and saw a line with about a hundred people in it. I thought, "did Apple decide to open up a club in the middle of the mall? ... oh wait, they are all Apple geeks waiting to buy the new iPhone."

Don't get me wrong: I think the iPhone 4 is a pretty awesome device. I mean, who doesn't want constant web access, GPS support and Facebook stalking at a push of an app. But who needs an iPhone when you have Wife-Fi!?

My wife and I recently have been house hunting. I had yesterday off from work so I decided to drive around to check out some of these places that our realtor sent us. Here I am at the first house as I'm peeking in through the windows like a burglar to see what's inside. Lo and behold, there is a SKELETON hanging in the middle of the garage. Then my logically brain kicks in and thought "I wonder if this place has central AC? ... TO THE WIFE-FI!" Speed dial the wife at work and BINGO - MLS listing. After a short discussion of my assessment of the property with my wife, then on to the next place. I ended the call saying "oh yeah, by the way there is a skeleton hanging in the middle of a dusty garage."

Now when you have a GPS that has been out of date for the last 2 years like mine, you would find Wife-Fi very useful too. Considering the next place that I was going to check out is a spanking new home, the street was probably paved yesterday. So I speed dial the wife again, and BLAMO! ... turn by turn directions to my next destination. Can you just feel the sheer awesomeness of this invention yet?! I mean, does your GPS or iPhone say "I love you!" or "see you at dinner!" every time you turn it off? (Oh and let's not also forget the live traffic report update feature as well. "How's the I90 doing? Are the Bruins or Red Sox playing tonight AGAIN! because that usually means gridlock" Very cool feature.)

When you think about it, Wife-Fi really is a simple invention. All you need is a phone and a wife. It is safe to use because you don't have to push any buttons while driving or look into any screens at all. Just a simple speed dial and you're there; instant spousal IT support. I love my Wife(-Fi)!

Monday, May 23, 2011

No. 0060 - Sarah "The Wife"

I think marriage is rather a genius invention. Two people coming together, sharing everything, co-habitating, co-cooking, car-pooling and etc. etc. I honestly think the global energy crisis can be solved if more people would get married and live together just because life becomes so much more efficient that way. But I don't want to talk about the invention of marriage, I want to talk about . . . Sarah "the Wife".

We actually address each other by that title. Everyday I come home and I would say "hello Wife". Sarah would reply "Husband?!" I'm not bringing this up to be sappy but really, marriage is great. Why? Well for starters, my wife Sarah always spoils me. I asked her to stop but she won't. She would always try to pull a double-reverse-psychology on me. Say it is dinner time and she doesn't want to have pizza. Then I would ask what would she like for dinner. She will stick to neutrality like a snapping turtle onto a fish. After much interrogation of non-option from her part, I'd say "let's have Chinese". Then she'll say "yeah, let's have Chinese" with that enthusiastic smile that she always have. Me, being wishy-washy as I always am, would then say "nah, lets do pizza". Then my sweet wife would say "YEAH!! we haven't had pizza for a long time! I know a place". The inconsistency of enthusiasm is usually what gives it away but I don't always pick up on it. It isn't usually until afterwards or during dinner when she only eats 1/3 of a slice. I would then point out "uh, so I guess you didn't want pizza huh". Then she'll be like "yeah". You see what I'm talking about? It's like she is conning me into doing something that she doesn't like just because she knows that's what I want. Who does that? Nobody but Sarah "the Wife".

One thing that really drew me to her in the first place (besides her stunning beauty and quirk) is her brain. I'm not speaking from a standpoint of a zombie but her mind is truly one of beauty and smarts. I can always take my petty spelling questions to her and she would never judge me. She would proof read my stuff all the time. She knows I hate to write formal business emails to lame people like the United Airline or the postcard printing place, so she'll just do it for me. Besides being a quick-witted-beauty, her brain is also very accommodating. Before we were dating, she doesn't listen to NPR 'cause she said it was boring. Now she forces upon herself to listen to it all the time just so that she can bring interesting stories home to tell me about. Now that we've been married for two months, we religiously listen to Wait Wait Don't Tell Me and she would totally slaughter me on Listener Limerick Challenge (I can never get those things!).

Sarah "the Wife" is truly one of the best invention that ever happened to me and am glad that I get to be Patrick "the Husband". I love her dearly. I just would like to point out that while I was writing this blog, Sarah woke up several times, smiled, snuggled closer, said something incoherent and went right back to sleep. Isn't that just pure adorableness?!

PS - Sweetie, I'm sure there are a handful of grammatical errors in this piece, you don't judge right?