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By johnny (Wed Jan 27, 2016 at 10:22:12 PM EST) (all tags)
Went to court today. Capital One was suing me for nearly $1,700.

Which reminds me of a joke I made up ten years ago:

Q: What's the difference between Capital One and the Mafia?
A: Nothing.

Also, Marvin Minsky, writer's jello, grandfatherhood, maybe more if I can make myself write more.

Sometime around 2005 I got a credit card from Capital One. That was something in and of itself, as I had been on a rocky financial path since 1994 or so, really bad credit rating, etc, so nobody would give me a credit card, which was a bit of an inconvenience. But things started to get better in 2000 and by 2005 I was getting back on my feet. So when Capital One said they would give me one, with a really low limit, like, $300 or something, I said OK.

That went fine until I got laid off in late November, 2007, this marking the official beginning of what would become known as the Great Recession (wrongly dated to 2008 in most accounts) and by 2010 I was really close to losing my house; on 2 occasions it was foreclosed and auction notices were nailed to the big oak tree in my front yard. Managed to come up with the $$$ just in time to keep the house from being auctioned, but meanwhile all kinds of other bills went unpaid.

I had had, like, a $75 balance on the Capital One card which went up by $50/month, a la Tony Soprano-type loans, when I didn't make a payment on time. One minute late & you're fucked. So before you know it I owe them $300, $500, $1300, etc. And they're calling me all the time threatening to shoot me (well, not really shoot me), etc, and I tell them to go pound sand but I pay them $$ when I can, but it's swimming against the tide, the amount just grows and grows and then in 2010 I just stop paying them, I'm really really broke, and eventually they stop calling, like a bad toothache that just goes away.

Until about 2 months ago when I get a phone call, Capital One, the Freddy Kruger of banks, and they're going to sue me for $1,700 from ten years ago but they will settle for $1,200 and I say, "let me think about it & I'll call you next Tuesday" and they say "OK" but when I go to the mailbox there's a registered letter from the courthouse and they're suing me. So I say, "well fuck me."

Things are not quite so desperate in my financial universe, thank Fred, but I still don't have a spare $1,700 in my sock drawer to give Capital One (who, by the way, got $3.55 billion in bailout money in 2008. The fuckers.) So I was very nervous about this. I figure the magistrate is going to tell me it's a legal contract I signed & I gots to pay, even if the corporation is a scum bucket. I know it's not high finance to some people, I've got a brother who carries that kind of cash around in his wallet, but it's high finance to me.

I got there today at the appointed time today. Shaved, clean shirt, brushed my teeth, the whole thing. Made notes about what I was going to tell the judge (magistrate) etc, hoping to get whatever slack I could get. But the lawyers for Capital One didn't show up, so the magistrate found for me, I win, yay, and they can't sue me again. What a relief. 

Marvin Minsky  The legendary AI genius and computer scientist and mentor and teacher has died. In 2003, shortly after I had written a snarky essay in Salon about AI, in which I made fun of Marvin, I took a job at a small startup where two of my co-workers were Marvin's son and son-in-law. We used to work  in the garage behind Marvin's house, and Marvin sometimes wandered in & visited with us. I didn't get to know him well, but I became very fond of his children & their spouses and their children. I really like the Minskys. Marvin was an incredible guy and raised some incredible kids and I don't have anything to say about him now, snarky or otherwise, except that I'm sorry my friends lost their father, even though he was old (88) and they of course knew the day would be coming.

Writer's Jello. I"m working on another novel, which has been almost done for 8 months now. It's called Meekman Rising and it's a prequel to my Acts of the Apostles and Biodigital, set in 1975. I don't have writer's block, I am making progress, but it's so fucking slow, like walking through jello, it's so agonizing, this is my 5th one and it's not getting any easier. I always think it's going to be easier but it's just as damn hard. Why the fuck do I write novels? What the hell is wrong with me?

Grandfather Older Daughter gave birth recently to her second child, a daughter. Dear Wife & I and Younger Daughter have spent 2 long weekends with the family, one before new grandchild arrived and then again after baby was here. So I spent a lot of time hanging out with my grandson Spenser, who is 27 months old and talks in sentences and loves dinosaurs, jumping, and fire trucks. Recently he has taking to having his mother call me every day so Spenser and I can chat about dinosaurs, jumping, and fire trucks. Spenser's new sister doesn't say much. She mostly sleeps. But Spenser has become my favorite person to talk to on the phone. We converse at the same level.

So that's my HuSi update. I should come here more often.Must swim through the jello to get here, but I like it well enough.

< Western Time | Question? >
Claims small and large | 17 comments (17 topical, 0 hidden)
Gaiman on novels by iGrrrl (4.00 / 3) #1 Wed Jan 27, 2016 at 11:03:18 PM EST
He said you never learn to write a novel. You have to learn how to write the novel you're writing now.
"I honestly pity the stupid motherfucker who tries to talk down to iGrrrl" - mrgoat
Thank you by johnny (4.00 / 1) #4 Thu Jan 28, 2016 at 06:40:02 AM EST
That makes me feel better. Really.

She has effectively checked out. She's an un-person of her own making. So it falls to me.--ad hoc (in the hole)
[ Parent ]
Not sure if it helps by Herring (4.00 / 1) #11 Thu Jan 28, 2016 at 07:33:10 PM EST
But the couple of Gaiman novels I've read work well for the first 3/4 then read like he dashed off a "happily ever after(ish)" ending. Maybe I'm thinking of Stardust here particularly.

Anyhow, I have read johnny's books and liked them. Intrigued to see what's next.

You can't inspire people with facts
- Small Gods

[ Parent ]
Thank you, and by johnny (2.00 / 0) #12 Fri Jan 29, 2016 at 05:38:35 AM EST
The novel-in-progress concerns several of the main characters in Acts of the Apostles & Biodigital. Those books are set around 1995, and the new one is set in 1975, when several of them were children or adolescents.

Glad you liked the other books. Can I persuade you to post a review (or reviews) on Amazon/Goodreads, if you haven't done so already (and apologies if you have & I've forgotten. . .)

She has effectively checked out. She's an un-person of her own making. So it falls to me.--ad hoc (in the hole)

[ Parent ]
I used to say by Kellnerin (4.00 / 1) #17 Fri Jan 29, 2016 at 09:05:13 PM EST
after I switched industries, that making books is a solved problem, whereas with software we seem to make it up each time.

That of course ignored the fact that my role in the book-making tended to come after the hard part was over.

"Plans aren't check lists, they are loose frameworks for what's going to go wrong." -- technician

[ Parent ]
Statute of Limitations on Debts: by ammoniacal (4.00 / 3) #2 Thu Jan 28, 2016 at 01:01:04 AM EST
State: Massachusetts

Written contracts: 6 yrs
Oral contracts: 6 yrs
Promissory notes: 6 yrs
Open-ended accounts (including credit cards): 6 yrs

"To this day that was the most bullshit caesar salad I have every experienced..." - triggerfinger

Also by Dr Thrustgood (4.00 / 3) #3 Thu Jan 28, 2016 at 02:56:30 AM EST
In most countries and states, completely unreasonable charges like that are a big no-no.

Like, $1,700 from a $75 bill? No wonder their lawyer didn't even bother showing up.

If anything like this happens again, given that it's 10 years ago, offer them $100 in full and final, and if they try to negotiate, stick to your guns. If you want to show willing, maybe counter-offer $110 or $120. The important bit is to document the ever-living fuck out of this.

If they refuse and still take you to court (which I'm kinda surprised isn't a correspondence-only affair for stuff like this), you can show that you've made reasonable efforts to cover the balance plus interest. No-one's going to side with them asking for 3*balance, let alone 10 or 20 times!

And their admin costs? They can go fuck themselves; any staffing costs associated with your account are just a regular cost of doing business, and if they don't like that, no-one's forcing them to keep running their business.

The fuckers.

[ Parent ]
Thank you by johnny (4.00 / 1) #5 Thu Jan 28, 2016 at 06:49:52 AM EST
I should have done more homework on that subject before walking into the courtroom.

What my plan was, was to ask their lawyer to explain to the court exactly how that amount had been arrived at.

She has effectively checked out. She's an un-person of her own making. So it falls to me.--ad hoc (in the hole)

[ Parent ]
They were never going to show up by Phil the Canuck (4.00 / 4) #7 Thu Jan 28, 2016 at 08:02:14 AM EST
The whole thing was a ploy designed to scare you into paying up.  Some percentage of people will pay up, or at least pay something, because they are scared of going to court.  

[ Parent ]
Yes, I was was kinda expecting that, and by johnny (4.00 / 2) #8 Thu Jan 28, 2016 at 08:59:05 AM EST
there was a little old lady there, white hair, frail, walking with a cane for Pete's sake, at least 75 years old and looking very nervous. She was the other Capital One mark, and she looked terrified. Her "trial", which lasted about 1 minute, was before mine, and when the magistrate explained things to her I knew I was going to be in the clear unless some lawyers ran in the door all breathless, like in a John Grisham novel.

But even though I had expected it was a ploy to try to scare me into paying up, it did scare me. Just not into paying up.

She has effectively checked out. She's an un-person of her own making. So it falls to me.--ad hoc (in the hole)

[ Parent ]
Time for a class action by anonimouse (2.00 / 0) #13 Fri Jan 29, 2016 at 06:01:50 AM EST
Filing frivolous lawsuits when plaintiff is fully aware they can't win.

One wonders if you could earn substantially more than $1700 back, or get their lawyers disbarred.

Girls come and go but a mortgage is for 25 years -- JtL
[ Parent ]
i'm fairly certain by aphrael (4.00 / 1) #14 Fri Jan 29, 2016 at 02:17:07 PM EST
that there's a clause in his credit card contract which requires the use of binding arbitration to cover such disputes, and that that binding arbitration is specifically structured to prohibit class actions.
If television is a babysitter, the internet is a drunk librarian who won't shut up.
[ Parent ]
Fucking banksters by georgeha (4.00 / 2) #6 Thu Jan 28, 2016 at 07:39:14 AM EST
I'm glad you won.

Maybe in your case, as Carlin would say by georgeha (4.00 / 1) #16 Fri Jan 29, 2016 at 07:29:28 PM EST
unfuck the banksters.

[ Parent ]
You should also have asked for costs by anonimouse (4.00 / 1) #9 Thu Jan 28, 2016 at 09:50:13 AM EST

Girls come and go but a mortgage is for 25 years -- JtL
Good stuff on the credit card by Scrymarch (4.00 / 1) #10 Thu Jan 28, 2016 at 10:21:49 AM EST
Good luck with the jello. Unfortunately I hear there's always room for it, but maybe that means there is room behind your wading self as well ...

Iambic Web Certified

they wanted you to do some activity by dev trash (2.00 / 0) #18 Tue Feb 02, 2016 at 10:43:43 PM EST
Get the debt live again.  And you called their bluff.

Claims small and large | 17 comments (17 topical, 0 hidden)