I generally try to stay away from political topics but I’m getting hammered by this one from all sides so I gotta vent.

The whole gay marriage thing. Sigh. What do you say, right?

I could go into a rant longer than I care to dedicate time to and discuss my feelings on how I support people and any alternative lifestyle they can come up with as long as I’m free to do my own thing. I could further go into the fact that everyone should be treated equal regardless of race, color, creed, or sexual orientation, but then, I don’t see a Straight Pride parade running down Broadway every year, and somehow I don’t think the Million Man March would have gone over so well if it was oriented toward caucasian interests. Do I think minorities push their interests and get away with it far more than they should? Sure. Am I against their rights to do that? No, as long as I get that same right.

So here I sit, in the middle of Portland, OR, where a county-level decision was made to start granting same-sex marriage licenses. People lined up around the block on the first day and now they’re renting out auditoriums to perform mass amounts of ceremonies.

I don’t understand a lot about this whole thing.

I don’t understand why a decision even needs to be made on this at a governmental level. If I want to go marry my cat, I should be able to. Okay, maybe we don’t go that far, but you see the point. It’s my business who I want to marry, and the separation of church and state should dictate that I can do that without legal interference. Sure, there are a couple exceptions to the rule - I mean, we need laws to stop things like inbreeding and genetic issues from cropping up - but by and large, that should be wide open.

I don’t understand why some people feel that gay marriage will destroy the meaning of marriage or remove any sanctity from that institution. Can someone tell me a definition of marriage that doesn’t involve two people who love each other forming a union? Isn’t that what these people are trying to do? Isn’t that the purpose of marriage?

I don’t understand why the county made the decision to go about this without consulting the public. If you’re going to change county ordinance or create new rules, we have this system in the US called “democracy.” That means to change the rules you have to do what we call “voting.” None of that seemed to happen, but here we are.

I don’t understand why it’s such a huge issue right now. It wasn’t until really recently I even heard all the hoopla about this whole thing. Why’s it such a gigantic case? I mean, it’s a presidential campaign point. Gimme a break, people. It’s not like it’s assisted suicide or anything. Heh.

I just… don’t… get it.

So, anyway, to all the gay people who wanna get married, you go for it. Good luck. It’s a free country.

That said, try to spread yourselves out while doing it. Just like I don’t want my city to be labeled the “Catholic capitol of the US” or the “Caucasian capitol of the US,” I don’t want to be labeled the “Gay Marriage capitol of the US.” The “Rose City” was quite enough for me, thanks.

I have no choice but to use E*Trade in my online stock dealings. My employer goes through them for stock option grants and the employee stock purchase plan. I, though, have an account with another, more friendly brokerage, where I keep my primary account.

Every time I get stock stuck in my OptionsLink (a subsidiary or something of E*Trade) account, I have it transferred to my preferred brokerage.

Normally that goes smoothly, but this time they’re taking their own time, and it’s gotten out of hand. Thus, I present an open letter to E*Trade, in response to their customer service representative asking for five business days to respond to my transfer status inquiry: Dear E*Trade:

As you requested up to five (5) business days to respond to me, and today is the sixth business day, I am writing you back to follow up.

If you have not yet heard back from your transfers department, please pass this along to help put it into perspective from a customer’s point of view:

I currently HATE E*TRADE. I hate you guys. I hate everything about you. If I could get away from using you at all, I would, and the only reason I HAVE to use you is because my company has some sort of deal with you and OptionsLink and I can’t change that.

Why, you might ask, am I so irritated? I could list any number of reasons, but they all come down to customer service.

The E*Trade web site, from the beginning, is geared more towards the user who actively participates in online trading, who sort of knows something about stock trading already. (This may not be the case, but that is my perception based on the options available and navigational structure.) I am not a heavy trader. I have stock in my company, but I require an entry level sort of service or guidance.

I was able to muddle through and find the transfer request information, but you only seem to be able to transfer INTO E*Trade, not OUT. To transfer OUT, I have to fax you - FAX! - a letter, then wait an arbitrary number of business days for my stock to transfer - get this - from OptionsLink to an E*Trade brokerage account, THEN from that account to my preferred brokerage. At no point in the process am I alerted to the state of my transfer; I am kept in limbo and have to keep checking back and hoping the transfer has completed.

I came to discover this transfer process because I was told that a transfer takes UP TO 5 business days. At the 10 business day level I became concerned. I was told that “things were behind, but everything should be done in 5 more business days.” I waited that length of time, and it’s still not done. I contacted you via your web site. I did get a timely response from you (which I appreciate) that told me to wait up to ANOTHER 5 BUSINESS DAYS. I have now waited A MONTH for a simple transfer to happen, with no status update during that time other than “WAIT.”

I am very frustrated with this whole situation. Obviously I am not in a financial position occupationally, so I hesitate to say that a transfer is a “simple process,” but considering that this must be a common thing that occurs daily, I also hesitate to say I have some exceptional circumstances which would require so much additional time.

Please let me know what the status of my transfer is and when EXACTLY I can look forward to seeing it completed. This is beyond nuts.

Thanks, -T

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Jenn and I went to three different houses this past weekend to see if there was anything worth buying.

There wasn’t.

The first house was far too small with poor use of space. Good condition, nice neighborhood, but that’s about the limit. The second and third houses were beautiful but were backed right up against a major road. Standing outside, I could barely hear what Jenn was saying standing five feet away. Crazy.

Thus, as usual, the search continues. I’ve been at this for a month now and, aside from the one that got away, I’ve got nothing. A little disheartening, but even more generally annoying. I’m in for the long haul.

I’m not much for kids, regardless of whose they are, and this weekend found me at Jenn’s niece’s sixth birthday party, so there really wasn’t a huge smile on my face.

It took place at Jenn’s grandma’s house in the trailer park out in Canby. Actually it wasn’t at her house, but at the community center at the “hub” of the bustling retirement community.

The first stop was actually at the house to visit Jenn’s grandma’s new dog. Jenn’s cousin and wife moved to Hawaii and were unable to take the dog with them so they left it with Grandma. It’s a silly pug dog named Anchor (Jenn’s cousin and wife are both in the Navy).

Anchors
Away!

I don’t really like dogs, but this dog was cool. Absolutely out of control. No way could I have let it into my house, but it was fun to play with while we were there.

After that we headed across the street to the community center where the festivities were beginning. The festivities consisted of Jenn’s sister cooking take-and-bake pizzas and me sitting and waiting for something to happen. Kids (and their parents) slowly drifted in, Jenn’s relatives started showing up (Jenn’s dad had to show me the cop car - er, Ford Crown Victoria - that he bought… yet again confirming that I hate American cars) and the party was underway.

Once some pizza had been pushed in our faces, gift-opening time rolled around. Seeing as how this was a six-year-old’s birthday, the more kids that showed up, the rowdier the guest of honor became until eventually she was actually climbing on the table with the presents. Her mom told her to get down, at which point, just before opening gifts, a small tantrum was thrown.

A gift is a gift, man, just don't climb on the
table

Gifts were opened, yada yada yada (yes, you can yada-away the details of a six-year-old’s birthday), and then it was game time. Rather than pin the tail on the donkey, they had two games. The first, for the boys, was “Pin The Tail On Spirit The Horse,” you know, from that movie. The second game was something like “Pin The Horn On The Pussy Pink Unicorn” for the girls. I’m not sure about you, but even for a girl’s game, it was pretty gay.

Gayest. Game.
Ever.

And thus went the party. Nothing really happened of import. I think Jenn’s uncle’s face says it best:

boredboredbored

And that, as they say, was that.

The evening really improved as I went to a hockey game and watched our asses get beat six to one. Does it get any better than that? I didn’t think so.

Anyway, all that, combined with the failure house hunting and my altogether too stressed out situation at work had my weekend all screwed up. Hopefully yours was better than mine.

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Tomorrow Jenn and I will be going to check out three more houses and see if anything compares with “the one that got away.” They all seem reasonably promising, I’ll just have to remind myself not to go in with any preconceived notions.

In the meantime, my parents, who haven’t actively been looking for anything in particular, seem to have found their ideal townhouse out of nowhere and my father is now trying to figure out how to get them into it as soon as possible. I’m happy for them, but I continue to be aghast at the idea of moving out of a disconnected house into a situation where you’re going to have neighbors. Just this evening, Jenn and I were laughing in our room when the guy next door started pounding on the wall. Apparently we were being too loud or something (of course, his alarm will go off and wake us up on the weekend at 5:30a, so his opinion doesn’t hold a lot of water with me). I think they’ve forgotten what that’s like. Oh, well. I guess this is one of those situations where you let them make their own mistakes.

Either way, I’m happy for them, but at the same time, I’m pissed off that I’ve been totally searching for a while now and haven’t had any luck, while they just stumble across their dream home. Where’s my dream home?