(Warning: The first half of this post is mostly bitching. Skip towards the end for game and movie talk.)
Getting into my new house is taking longer than expected. Amazingly enough, the only obstacle I’m dealing with at the moment is $3.00 worth of fees. In the piles and piles of documentation I’ve given the mortgage people, the one thing that’s given them pause is the fact that my garbage bill accrued $3.00 in late fees over the course of 1 year and 4 months. My other three lines of trade are spotless and I’ve never, ever been late with the rent at the last two places I’ve lived. But I have been a little lazy with my $16/month garbage bill, so obviously lending me umpteen dollars is a dubitable gamble even if the loan is secured by a house of greater value. Well, whatever; my mortgage broker says he can massage the lender into ignoring that single blemish.
Heritage Realty (of Pullman, WA, for any curious googlers) tried to screw me again. It was especially underhanded this time. I had to get them to fill out some “verification of rent” form and, in this document, they noted that my account was in arrears. I was, of course, incredulous. When I asked why they wrote that, the girl produced a letter that said they had not received payment for the month of April. “Why didn’t you notify me?” I asked. She said they did, that they had mailed me that letter. Liar!
Fortunately, I know better than to trust these dishonest people: Every month I come down to their office in person to give them the rent check. I do this so I can get a signed and dated receipt (usually in the form of a photocopy of the check with a handwritten note from their staff). Paranoid enough for you? Anyway, I ran back to the apartment, snatched April’s receipt and showed it to their managerial person. Here’s where they really ticked me off. I’ll try to present the exchange as accurately as I can remember it:
“So here’s a photocopy of the check that your staff made, and here’s your employee’s signature and the date. That red ‘received’ stamp is yours too.”
“Uh huh.” She scrutinizes the paper for nearly twenty seconds, obviously suspicious.
“You can see the date on the check is the same as the date your staff wrote on it. April 3rd.”
“Mm.” She’s sure it must be a forgery. She just can’t figure out how I made it in less than ten minutes. “And this check was good?”
“What? Yeah, of course. I checked my bank statement; you guys never cashed it.”
“Well you should have made sure of that.”
“That’s not my responsibility.”
“It is your responsibility to make sure your checks clear.”
“What? I guarantee there was enough money in that account. I did everything I was supposed to to pay you.”
“That’s not what I’m saying.”
“What are you saying? That I’m supposed to make sure your paperwork is in order?”
“No. But you have a responsibility to make sure your checks are clearing.”
“So I’m supposed to monitor my account and notify you if you’re late cashing my check? That’s ridiculous. All I’m required to do is give it to you on time and make sure there are sufficient funds–”
“You’re not understanding me.”
“You do realize I’ve been living in a flood damaged apartment for six months, right? Which I’ve repeatedly asked you to fix. And you’re criticizing me for being irresponsible? This is not my fault.” By this time I was livid and Brett touched my arm to remind me to calm down. (I wanted a witness there in case they tried to destroy my only copy of the receipt.)
“Forget it. It was a joke.” Really? Why would you even joke with someone who knows, who has documented proof, that you’re screwing them? I’m nearly certain she only said this because she realized how absurd it sounds to blame a tenant for the landlord’s incompetence in losing a rent check.
I asked them to correct what they’d written on the form and they eventually complied. We had to wait ten minutes though while the managerial hypocrite did something in the back office. And then, when they finally gave me the form back, they acted as though they were doing me some huge favor by not committing fraud. Heritage Realty (of Pullman, WA) is, by far, the worst company I’ve ever had to deal with.
Incidentally, after this event they started showing my apartment in the mornings. On the notices, they requested two hours instead of one and a half as they had before. A couple times they cancelled the showings and only notified me afterwards.
Okay, so I saw a bunch of new movies (well, new to me) during my fifteen days of non-blogging. Here are my pico-reviews: Wild West Comedy Show (good; the documentary aspect makes the two bad comedians bearable; Caparulo was great), The Hoax (decent; surprisingly lacking in depth, but entertaining), Lars and the Real Girl (very good; might be too schmaltzy for some people, but I liked it), The Happening (horrible; I’m convinced Shyamalan deliberately set out to make this a bad movie, and I say that as someone who actually liked every movie of his from the Sixth Sense on), The Incredible Hulk (awesome), Be Kind Rewind (mildly bad; surprisingly disappointing; I liked the premise and the Jack Black/Mos Def pairing), Walk Hard (good; loved the music in it), Futurama: The Beast with a Billion Backs (awesome; as good as the first movie, loved the old-timey black & white intro).
Speaking of Beast with a Billion Backs, a bunch of us got together for a screening of it at Adventures Underground on Tuesday night. I brought the projector and my laptop, Logan and Amanda provided everything else (including pizza). We used a different wall as the screen this time; I think the picture had a diagonal of about 14 feet. Worked well. We had to wait for some people to show up, so we watched a season 2 episode of Code Monkeys before the actual feature.
Got (and played) a few new games recently: Pandemic, Ticket to Ride: The Card Game, and Metropolys. Pandemic is really novel; not so much for its mechanics, but because it’s truly cooperative. You work with the other players to cure these four diseases and prevent outbreaks. We lost our first game, but only because we ran out of player cards one turn before we could cure the last disease. (BTW, the diseases in the game are named after their colors. In the rulebook, they have an illustration with the caption, “Here we see an outbreak of black in Algeria.” I don’t know if that’s intentional, but it’s funny in a not-sure-I’m-allowed-to-laugh kinda way.)
Ticket to Ride: The Card Game is good. It’s more like the board game than I’d have thought possible. I like the addition of the “train-robbing” mechanic (which lets you deprive other players of a particular color). Points are more secret in this than in the board game though; it’s pretty hard to tell who’s winning until the game ends.
I liked Metropolys, though not as much as Brett and Amanda. Everyone but me seemed to prefer it to Manhattan. It’s sort of a bidding/secret objective/path-planning game. It’s a little hard to describe. I need to play it more to figure out how much I like it.
We had a couple big Risk games recently. Jones won Mission Risk and I won a six-player Global Domination game. It was epic. On my last turn I was supposed to receive 135 reinforcements.
Oh, and I picked up the Dungeons & Dragons 4th edition Player’s Handbook. There’re hundreds of better-written reviews and analyses of it on the web, so I’ll just sum up my opinion very briefly: Initially, I was repulsed. Making tieflings and eladrin core races (while eliminating gnomes and half-orcs) seemed retarded to me, but I’m getting used to it now. Splitting the wizard spells into easy powers and more-complicated rituals was really clever. And I love that humans now get +2 to any single attribute (main reason I never played ‘em before). The multiclass restrictions are lame. Overall, I think it’s turning into a simplified tactical wargame with a much thinner veneer of mechanics aimed at actual roleplaying. Which is okay, I guess. That’s fun for a while. People interested in real roleplaying are probably using more sophisticated systems anyway.
Yeesh, this was a long post.