Delores Handy word of the day

"in the forkass, temps will be..."

Banks, you make no sense

(To give some background, my credit is like many Americans' -- I have never paid a bill late in my life and all my accounts show as "paying as agreed," but I have a lot of debt.)

A few weeks ago, I tried to refinance my car, which is currently worth about 150% of what I owe on it. I tried for any combination of lowering the rate, extending the term, or taking out the full market value and getting cash back. I wanted to do this because we have a healthcare loan that's going to charge us horrendous retroactive interest if we don't pay it off by next month.

I got a bunch of letters saying the banks wouldn't refinance my car because of too much debt. As in, they were not willing to even let me use equity I already have in it and close out the old loan and have me make my exact same monthly payment that I'm obviously capable of making (or a smaller one) to them instead. They decided I was at too high a risk of not paying them, despite having never not paid a bill in my life.

On a whim, I decided to try opening up a credit card with a 0.0% interest rate for a year, thinking I could pay off my medical debt this way. This seems to be a much riskier move on the banks' parts, because the amount I could put on the card isn't backed up by anything and can't be towed away, plus it would be expanding my entire available credit since it wouldn't close out the old loan like a car refinance would.

The card and all its fine print showed up today. Not only did they approve me, but the limit is high enough that I could damn near put the car on the card, were that not a stupid financial move and questionably legal. I guess it makes sense that banks are counting on people to take forever to pay the card, thus eventually paying them a lot of interest, but still, it's odd. The same bank was not willing to close out my car loan and accept the same payment I'd been making for three years, but they were willing to give me almost as much money on a credit card with no interest and a 3% balance transfer fee. They're actually going to make less money off of me this way.

Spontaneous Celebrations isn't

Dear Spontaneous Celebrations:

While I have enjoyed each of the events I have attended at your facility and in the community, I have to disagree with you and state that while these happenings were plenty celebratory, they were not, in fact, spontaneous.

The Wake Up The Earth Festival, for instance, has been joyful to attend, but I must remind you that it was not in any way "performed or occurring without premeditation or external stimulus" or "preceding from natural feeling or native tendency without external constraint." While a lot of people who I encountered there might have benefited from a little less meditation, or maybe from paying a little more attention to their external stimuli, I still contend that this event on the whole just doesn't fit with these spontaneously googled definitions.

I have organized events in this city, and I know how much external constraint is required to get all those permits, and I know that the EMS and the police detail don't just show up out of people's native tendency (though too much showing of natural feeling could result in a patrol officer showing up). And all that advertising that I've been seeing for weeks now; it all has the same date and location on it. Clearly, this was planned.

You know what is spontaneous? Your staff updating your website. It's currently telling me the tentative date for the 2008 festival.


And for people planning to attend today's festival, be sure to take along some Festival Bingo Cards:

Download the .pdf of four different cards here. They should work at any Boston-area festival. Anything I left off? Let me know!

Baby album that's same-sex/single-parent friendly, adoption friendly, AND really funny and cool

One of my many projects that I never seem to get around to is to compile a list of baby/child albums that don't assume hetero parents, female parent giving birth, child joining the family at birth, family celebrating Christian holidays, etc.

I've run across a few that are pretty plain and don't assume these things, but they were so boring and minimalist that they weren't much different from just using a photo album or blank book. I'm still on the lookout for a book that contains prompts and creative ideas, but not assumptions. Generally when looking for such books online, they don't show every page, so you can't determine from the online listing that there isn't anything on any page that assumes or excludes.

For what it's worth, I'd recommend that families don't buy or use the assumption-filled books even if their family situation does fit into the default, because it teaches kids and the people who publish these things that other types of families are invisible. It's the same as how straight people are perpetuating homophobia if they don't speak up and point out the assumption when it's assumed that their spouse is a different sex, or biological parents are perpetuating anti-adoption bias if they don't speak up when it's assumed their child is biological -- just because an assumption is correct doesn't mean it isn't hurtful to other people.

This book, from Nerdy Baby, is inclusive and interesting:

The book uses science terminology as a workaround to avoid using stereotypical language without using awkward I-spend-too-much-time-in-Cambridge-or-Berkeley language. Pretty cool. The rest of the stuff on the site is awesome and hilarious too -- I especially like the prime-number counting poster, available with two ladybugs, three kitties, 41 pieces of bacon, or in a vegan-friendly version without bacon.