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Tuesdays with Mindy: Bank Transfer Day

As far as I’m concerned – the only thing positive to come out of the Occupy Wall Street Movement has been the reversal of a $5 Bank Fee by some of the major corporate banks across the country. If it takes all this movement and energy to reverse one $5 fee, our country is in worse shape than I thought.

It did motivate me to switch banks. Yep – we participated in Bank Transfer Day and moved our money along with 650,000 other people across the country. Here’s an article to prove it! We got quoted in an article that made it into the Credit Union times. We’re all fancy and shit! It pays to know journalists.ūüėČ

Moving our money was one of the few requests I noticed on signs and over the interwaves that actually made sense to me. Seemed doable. Was something that I actually had some time and energy for.

Our process started over two weeks ago. On our anniversary. We are working to get our car refinanced through On Point and had been in communication with them anyway, so it didn’t seem like too crazy an impulse to sit down with a banker on a warmish, sunny Sunday (our 6th wedding anniversary) and open up three accounts.

Then we spent the next week cancelling and re-routing our direct deposits and autopays. Made that much simpler by splitting the tasks down the middle. Dan took half and I took half.

Then, one day – we scooped all of our money out of one account and dumped it in another. Just like that. Closed down at least three accounts, still have one open with a few hundred in it until all those debits clear.

Moving your Money in Four Relatively Easy Steps:

1. Open up a credit union account (CUs ARE open on Saturday)

2. Reroute direct deposits and auto bill pays

3. Withdraw funds, close account

4. Deposit money in credit union

Sure – it took almost three weeks to accomplish the goal, but with the steps spread out over time, it wasn’t anymore difficult than tackling any other project.

The rewards are less tangible than the immediate impact I think many people were expecting to feel. Some of it was symbolic. Some of it was an honest interest in boosting the local economy.

For me – moving banks was a difficult and emotional decision. I’ve been with Washington Mutual since I was 16 years old and had my first job at McDonalds. My sister has worked there longer than she’s been married and manages a local branch. My brother and I both held decent, stable jobs there at one point in our lives. I remember rocking a Rodeo Grandma T-Shirt to school back when they were the voice of WaMu.

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Portland Streets Morph into Mario Kart

Pic courtesy of Bike Portland

Couldn’t help but share this video with folks this morning. If you love Portland, bicycling, and video games (or even just one of those things) you’ll be pleased to know that someone in the often times rather serious cycling community here has a sense of humor, as is evidenced by the following:

I hope the city doesn’t plan on removing them anytime soon. Although the snarky quote in this article on Kotaku in which the bicyclist takes the opportunity to dump on people who commute by car does take a little of the fun out of it.

As a whole, I’ve found the cycling community here to be very welcoming, and if it can gain some positive exposure (rather than articles about road rage and bicycle lane budget demands), that’s awesome.

What cracks me up the most is the banana – as that is a common snack handed out at many of the major bike rides. When we were at the Providence Bridge Pedal a few weeks ago – someone had dropped a banana peel on railroad tracks, and a bicyclist did slip and fall on it. Just like a real life Mario Kart.

There were even a few more banana peels dotting the road later in the ride. I like when art imitates life. Or vice versa.


Find more pics and comments here on the Bike Portland blog

Wolverine: Origins Movie Leak

wolverine36bCan’t say that I’m quite shocked about this. But as a fan of watching action-movies on the big screen, with sound effects and explosions and audience response…I decided to pass on the opportunity to see a crappy screener version of this flick on my lap-top. Especially since it lacks a proper score and visual effects. Really? Are people that desperate?

If folks can’t stand to wait another month, it’s on them. But I don’t support Fox, the FBI and MPAA going balls out to prosecute someone about this. And I’m pretty leery about the response from a geek site like Ain’t it Cool News ¬†although I do agree with quite a bit of what it has to say about the incident and it’s casting a negative-light on comic fans. You don’t see other genre films getting early-leaked and peddled around the net. Right? Am I right?

As a fan, I want to support X-Men films, and the best way to do that is throw my dollars behind them.

I am however, amused that this happened to Fox. After they pulled the crap move and leeched profit from Watchmen, this seems an appropriate kick in the balls to them. But in all other instances, where folks are claiming this was a PR stunt by Fox…I don’t see how or why. They don’t stand to gain much from the fake-release of an incomplete product, unless it’s really that good and they anticipate word of mouth and early reviews will generate buzz.

Frankly, I’m confused by their advertisement stunts for this film. I was seeing pretty long trailers for this movie on Fox about a month ago. Usually you don’t see TV ads until two or three weeks before opening. Are they really so concerned about this product that they would pre-leak it?

But the real question is – why would you watch an unfinished version of a film, anyway? And similarly, why would you read the incomplete, first draft version of Midnight Sun? Granted, I did the latter, but only because Meyer herself had posted it, claiming there would be no more versions.

Frankly – first drafts and rough cuts SUCK. I would rather pay money to see a crappy completed project than download a free version with all the wires and grammatical errors showing. To me, it’s not about piracy, it’s about common damn sense. Which apparently quite a few folks lack.

Much Love, Mindy C

Teen Response to Celebrity Violence

chris-brown-rihanna1I haven’t been following the Rihanna/Chris Brown beating very closely – but a blog I follow recently posted an article about teen response to the incident. Which is important to me – because teens are the market for Rihanna and Brown, and their reaction to these Pop idols violent interaction tells me something about what’s going on in the world. How our future is shaping.

And folks – it doesn’t look good.

On a personal note – I’ve experienced male violence in my life – from a trusted family member. The escalation was not necessarily provoked by myself, but I understand that something I said resulted in this important male figure choking me.

But I don’t EXCUSE that behavior. Violence is NOT the necessary result of a verbal altercation. Domestic violence is certainly not excusable in my book. I don’t excuse this person’s behavior, and I don’t believe that I brought it on, or that I need to take responsibility for his actions. He’s a grown ass man – just like Chris Brown. He can be forgiven, but he will not easily regain trust. Trust is earned, like respect. And physical violence, for me, shattered those elements of our relationship and it has taken years for us to get back on good ground.

Certainly – I see where teens understand that verbal fights CAN turn violent. But it doesn’t mean they SHOULD. And it doesn’t mean Rihanna deserves to be beaten.

Who does, really?

Ultimately – hitting someone, choking them, slapping them, kicking them…well now, that’s a choice. Many people get through life without ever making the choice to resort to violence with loved ones. If you make a choice to beat someone, to hurt them physically – you have to live with that. You can’t deny your choice. You can’t BLAME someone else for your own actions. No one MAKES you hit them – no matter what they say. It’s your fist, your arm, for body. So – live with that, and deal with it.

But the tendency for those young men and women in the article to deny that Chris Brown made a choice – that disturbs me most of all. As if the details of the beating aren’t horrific enough:

This links to the written affidavit of the incident.

Here’s a video with visual interpretation of the affidavit:

It’s hard to piece together what someone might say which would stimulate the response of another rational human being biting their ears and fingers. That’s pretty fucked, no matter how you look at it. I will be interested to see the April 6th proceedings for Mr. Brown. Unfortunately for him – upholders of the law probably aren’t in his listening demographic.

Much Love, Mindy C

Costumes in Real Life: Heroes and Villains

It seems odd that twice this morning I should be reminded of the impact costumed heroes and villains have on our lives. Not in a metaphorical way, but in real blood and guts instances. Yes, actual people dressing up as comic book characters. But in these cases, some are heroes and some are villians.

jokerThe first example is not so cheery: Soldier dressed as the Joker killed in standoff.¬†Apparently this is not the first instance since The Dark Knight was released in theatres last year in which people have sought to portray this character for their own malicious purposes. One was a young girl attacking a teacher while¬†wearing Joker make-up.¬†Another is a young man dressed as the Joker trying to beat up a former girlfriend’s current boyfriend. These were all located for me at this blog, and I’ve been unable to find anymore examples of¬†comic book villians¬†high-jacked for violent real life intentions¬†in my own brief internet searching. But I would be interested to know if this dressing as a villian and committing real world crime is a recent phenomenon due to the increase in popularity of comic book movies, or if this has been happening since the early days of Superman.

On a much lighter and heart-warming note: A firefighter dressed as spiderheroSpiderman rescued a child in Bangkok. And in a whole other part of the world, two years ago Рa young boy dressed as Spiderman rescued a one year old girl from a burning building. And a pizza delivery man dressed as Luke Piewalker came to the aid of a mugging victim in 2006.

Is this the result of comic books becoming mainstream? Of the increasingly ravenous popularity of superhero movies? Real people dressing as heroes and villians performing feats of rescue and plots of crime, not just in the United States, but across the globe..

If the result of ordinary folks dressing like superheroes and saving the lives of others, is that we have ordinary folks dressing like villians and killing or hurting others…is that a welcome trade off? Do we cease a successful element of pop culture because it encourages imitation in positive and negative ways? And how intriguing is it that we are asking this question – the same question posed by books like Watchmen and Marvels. Do superheroes create supervillians? Or are heroes a response to villians existing in the first place. Hhhmm.

What would Alan Moore think about these examples? What would Stan Lee have to say?

How about you?

Much Love, Mindy C

Portland Says: Plug It In

So, I was surprised to drum up this fancy piece of information this afternoon will scanning through my RSS Feeds. I suppose that’s one thing that I’ve always loved about Portland, the city’s ability to look towards the future. And/or copy California/Seattle.ūüôā

I’m not unaware of the fact that what PGE REALLY wants…is to corner the market on what they see as a potential future revenue stream. I’m also aware of the extra “burden” Priuses place on the grid. Like I’ve countered before…investing in sustainable energy sources is the best way to ensure this burden is not TOO GREAT.

It’s unfortunate the government has just put the TWO YEAR pause on building any new Solar Power Plants. Of course, the Right is blaming the Dems, and the Dems are blaming the administration. I don’t care whose fault it is…if people could just stop being fucking idiots and plan for the future a little bit, the world would be a better place. Maybe. Sort of.

Despite all the bitching and moaning of people here in Portland, I think P-Town has done a great job in preparing for a future where gas prices are $4.50 a gallon. The future is now.

We have awesome transportation systems, which are being expanded as I type. A few of the biggest projects are the MAX expansion from Clackamas to Portland State University and the Columbia River Crossing bridge expansion between Vancouver and Portland…which will hopefully include some kind of light rail option (or rapid bus transit).

Also of note is Toyota’s unveiling of plug-in hybrids set to roll out in 2010. I wish I could say that my freakin’ Prius will be paid off by then, but such is not the case. *Shrug* So, we’ll see what happens. Oh, and I guess John McCain can write out that check to the engineers at Toyota, if he really wants to embrace new technologies.

Or maybe hire this guy before he dies. Or both of them do.

Much Love, Mindy C


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