13 November 2007


Hehe -- one of the funniest things I have seen all day is the lolcats translation of the Song of Solomon. Give it a glance -- worth the click, in my very humble opinion.

And while you're there, why not translate a few chapters yourself?

04 November 2007

A letter to Mortgage Company A

We have been trying to get a little mortgage issue straightened out for about the past three months, ever since receiving a check for $679.00 for overpayment of our home insurance premiums. Took us a while, but we finally got it resolved. I was a little peeved that I was the one who had to do the work to give Mortgage Company A their money back, but I work at a call center, so I know that complaints are no fun for anyone. Nevertheless, I did want to make my displeasure known, so I wrote this. The names have been changed to protect my hinder quarters from a lawsuit. Enjoy.
Sunday, November 4, 2007

To: Mortgage Company A
From: luaphacim

Re: Returning Funds Withdrawn in Error from Escrow Account
Account Number: 123456789
Name: Mr. and Mrs. luaphacim

To Whom It May Concern:

The following events have transpired over the past few months, resulting in almost immeasurable consternation for both me and my lovely bride of two years, seven months, and twenty days. I appreciate your attention to this matter and hope that it can be brought to a quick resolution.

On July 9, 2007, we bought a home, taking out an FHA loan from MORTGAGE COMPANY A to do so. It is a nice home, with plenty of room and some pretty good amenities. For instance, the sellers threw in a free refrigerator which, unfortunately, leaks like a diabetic racehorse. However, as we do not believe in looking gift refrigerators in the mouth, we are quite satisfied with our purchase.

At our closing, $679.00 was taken from our closing costs and paid to INSURANCE COMPANY X as our first year of premium for our home owner’s insurance.

On or around July 18, 2007, a withdrawal of $679.00 was made from our MORTGAGE COMPANY A escrow account and sent to INSURANCE COMPANY X for our first year of home owner’s insurance, leaving our escrow account with a negative balance. Since we had also paid for our first year of insurance at closing, this was a double payment. I do not have a degree in finance or anything, but I suspect that this is not supposed to happen to an escrow account. Ever.

On August 6, 2007, INSURANCE COMPANY X Insurance sent us a check in the amount of $679.00 to reimburse us for overpayment of our premiums. Naturally, since we did not know that MORTGAGE COMPANY A had made the erroneous withdrawal from our escrow account, this caused us some degree of confusion and concern. My wife and I made several calls to INSURANCE COMPANY X in order to find out why this check had been sent, and we eventually found that one of the checks had come from MORTGAGE COMPANY A.

We made a number of efforts to communicate with our local MORTGAGE COMPANY A personnel about this error, but they repeatedly told us that they would have to “wait to hear back from the national office,” or some such thing. Please do not take this as a complaint about them, though – they were very helpful with a number of things. Just not this one, really.

On September 1, 2007, MORTGAGE COMPANY A sold our souls home loan to MORTGAGE COMPANY B, which is a company dedicated to a diverse workforce and the good of humanity and so forth. At least, that is what I have gathered from being on hold with them for nearly an hour and listening to their never-ending loop of propaganda recordings.

On September 13, 2007, we received our MORTGAGE COMPANY A annual escrow account disclosure statement informing us that we had an escrow balance of -$132.76. At this point, we realized that something was seriously screwy with our account at your company. We were not sure whether the negative balance had been transferred over to our account with MORTGAGE COMPANY B, so we waited to see our next statement from them.

Our next MORTGAGE COMPANY B statement showed a positive escrow balance, so MORTGAGE COMPANY A clearly needs to receive the $679.00 to reconcile our account. We have therefore enclosed a check in that amount.

At your earliest convenience, please send us a letter stating that:

• You have received the enclosed check
• Our account with you has been reconciled and no further payments will be necessary

Please send this letter to:
Mr. luaphacim
1234 Main St
Someplace, KS 65432

If we do not receive this letter within a reasonable period of time, we will request a stop-pay on the enclosed check because of failure to render services. In other words: we mean business.

In addition, in consideration of the significant amount of time and effort my wife and I have expended because of MORTGAGE COMPANY A’s error, I would like to make the following demands as compensation. I understand that I will almost certainly not receive any of these demands, but it makes me feel better to demand them, so please humor me.

• A service fee of $30.90. My wife and I have spent well over six hours trying to resolve this problem, and I would like to think our time is worth at least minimum wage.
• A bag of microwave popcorn. This is useful and necessary for the watching of movies in our new family room area with the track lighting. Did I mention that our new house is totally sweet?
• A year’s worth of free rides on a Shetland pony, preferably one named “Buck.” This is a humorous name for a pony, and I think you will agree that pony rides are inherently awesome.
• U.S. military intervention to stop the genocide in Rwanda. Seriously.
• A George Foreman Grill. My doctor says I am obese, and I hear that George Foreman Grills are a great way to become magically skinny.

Please submit this list to your compliance department for consideration and so that they can laugh at my pitiful efforts to be recompensed for my valuable time, which could have been spent writing a magnificent novel or learning Japanese or on something equally edifying. I could probably make empty threats about reporting MORTGAGE COMPANY A to the Kansas Office of the State Bank Commissioner, 700 SW Jackson Street, Suite 300, Topeka KS 66603-3714, but I think we both know I am not really too serious about this, so I will not do so.

Eagerly awaiting your response, I remain your humble servant,


01 November 2007


I spent a number of very fruitless hours wrestling with a computer system several weeks ago. Basically, I was trying to see whether the new dividend scale would crash our system or not (the answer was yes it would -- surprise, surprise, surprise).

While waiting for the system to cycle forward (a process that takes anywhere between 30 seconds and three minutes per transaction), I tried my hand at some extemporaneous poetry. I had been reading Madam Murasaki's Tale of Genji that week, and I was curious about what kind of poetry I would be able to compose at a moment's notice, since that is one of the things Genji is so renowned for (besides being indescribably beautiful and unfaithful to every one of his innumerable paramours, but that is beside the point).

It's kind of tricky, because most of the poetry is highly allusive and layered with naturalistic images, and I am familiar with neither Japanese poetry nor Japanese nature imagery. I did, however, make my poems two lines long, which is more or less what Genji does in the novel, too. So that's something, anyway.

Here are a couple of the poems I came up with between cycles. Please note that they are not very good.

Waning, cloud-cloaked rays of sunlight, dim at day's end,
Promise that tomorrow will hold sufficient troubles of its own.

Squirrels scuttling through overgrown grass-
Neglected lawn teems with life.