Monthly Archives: January 2012

Dear Bank of America: WTF is your problem?

Corporate America has been doing its best to get my dander up and this week it’s at full mast. It started with Cumulus Media and KLOS (see my last blog post) and now Bank of America has thrown their hat into the ring. I already hated doing business with them, but my loathing has been accelerated to a whole new level this week.

I don’t bank with B of A and never will, but they hold both of my mortgages. The modification was a mixed blessing, like seeing your mother in law drive over a cliff in your new BMW (just kidding Mom). Happy to save our house, really unhappy that BOFA had any part in it. So here’s the deal. I get paid every two weeks. Mortgage is due once a month. Sometimes the two don’t coincide. Usually they don’t. Add Christmas and paying off our car (yes, much happy dancing when the pink slip arrived) to the mix, and January’s payment was a little late. Not 30 days, more like ten. We set up an automatic payment to be sure they got their money as soon as we had it. This was all done BEFORE the due date. One day late and the phone starts ringing.

Goldilocks (my wife): “Hello?”

BOFA idiot: “Can I talk to Mr. or Mrs. Owen?”

GL: “This is Mrs. Owen.”

BI: “Can you verify your address?”

GL: “You have our address, you have all of our information.”

BI: “Are you still living in the house?”

GL: “Seeing as how we’re paying for it, yes. BTW, we have a payment set up with you for next week. Why are you calling?”

I should interject here that the calls are automated until they are sure we are on the line, then one of their idiots picks up. No one looks at our account before they waste our time to see that we have, indeed, scheduled the payment. Exemplary customer service.

BI: “You haven’t made the payment yet. Can you make it today?”

GL: “Are you deaf or just stupid? (No, she didn’t say this, but I would have.) I told you the payment is scheduled already. It’s in your computer system. If I could have made it today, I would have scheduled it for today.

BI: {endless questions at this point. GL hangs up on her}

This does not happen once a day. They call six to eight times a day. I answered one day and only the picture of Karma pounding her fist into her hand prevented me from bringing the young woman on the other end of the line to tears. I’m pretty sure I could have done it. She sounded about twenty.

Finally, I had had enough. Thank goodness for caller ID. We always know it’s them. Says “Loan Admin”. I picked up the phone and went OFF:

Me: “First of all, no, I’m not answering any of your questions. Secondly, you WILL put me through to a supervisor RIGHT NOW! (At this point, Karma was waving pom poms and her sister Justice was doing some great high kicks).

BI: “Just a moment, sir.” (the Sir was a little snide, but I let it go)

Mr. Mobley, collections supervisor got on the phone. He got the other barrel.

Me: “Here’s the deal. Your company is calling six to eight times a day to collect our payment when we have already made arrangements. So here’s what’s going to happen. I’m going to start calling the Federal Trade Commission, HUD, the California Dept. of Corporations and any other government agency I can think of, and I’m going to report your company for harassment, EVERY DAY, until you stop calling us. I get home at 3:00, I have two hours to do nothing but make phone calls until they come down on you like a ton of bricks. Not that it will be anything new for BofA, your company has been sued numerous times for stupid business practices. If you don’t get my payment as scheduled, feel free to call and remind me. Until then, I don’t want another phone call.

Mr. Mobley did not cry (that would have made my day) as apparently, this is a common complaint from their customers. Duh! Maybe that should tell you something. He did say he could suspend the calls manually, but it would take twenty four hours. OK, we’ll wait.I thanked Mr. Mobley for his time and told him I expected I would be talking to him again

The calls stopped, then we made the payment. Bank of America is a  pimple on the Ass of the Consumer Banking Industry and the world would be a better place if they were removed with an exfoliating scrub. Unfortunately, most of their counterparts are just as lousy as they are. *sigh* Putting HUD and the FTC on speed dial for next month. Stay tuned…

Another Great Talent Assassinated by Corporate America (and I’m PISSED!)

Yes, I changed my blog theme. I hated gray type and it wouldn’t allow me to edit and keep black type. See? Don’t piss me off…

OK, this is not as timely as it should be, but I can explain. I get up for work at 2:30 am, so I don’t listen to late night radio anymore. Too bad, because I really enjoy Jim Ladd’s show on KLOS here in L.A. He jocks the way I write this blog; uncensored and full steam ahead with no apologies (no, he doesn’t use the F-bomb that I’ve heard, but it’s often implied).

So I’m surfing the net for another reason and I read that Cumulus Media (big, heartless corporate monster) cut Ladd loose in October, along with 26 other folks. Nice timing, right before the holidays. Corporate America sucks again. Jim Ladd is a rock radio icon. He’s been in the business for forty years, longer than I’ve been listening to rock music. Tom Petty’s “The Last DJ” album was inspired by Ladd. That’s a pretty big testament to the man’s chops.

So what happened? Jim Ladd promotes something call “Free Form Radio”. That means he picks or lets the listeners pick the songs he plays, not some corporate stooge armed with computer printouts and market studies. “Theme of Consciousness” was awesome as Ladd had listeners pick songs based on a single word or idea. “Head Sets” was an entire show dedicated songs that sound great in headphones. I heard music on his show I had NEVER heard before, and I was a mobile DJ for twenty years. The man is a THINKER and nothing scares the hell out of corporate America like someone with their own mind.

So, first of all, a great big WTF? to KLOS and Cumulus. Are you guys fucking crazy? Ladd’s show led his time slot in Arbitron ratings (according to my research) and isn’t that what you want? I mean, he still played commercials and that’s where the money is. Hello? Is anyone home? (picture me pounding on the head of some corporate stooge, aka Biff Tannen and George McFly) What a bunch of idiots. If I was a sponsor on KLOS, especially late night, I would have pulled my ads immediately. I’m not a sponsor, but I AM a listener… Correction, I WAS a listener, for the last 35 years. As of the writing of this blog, I am changing my radio presets. I’m done. There are plenty of places to hear classic rock. I’ll miss Mark and Brian in the mornings, but I’m considering them collateral damage in the war on corporate stupidity. I will be writing them a farewell letter. I think it’s only fair; they didn’t fire Jim and I don’t expect them to quit in protest. Gotta pay the bills. However, they need to know that the company they work for has cost them a loyal listener. Like from day one. Yep, I was there when they started and I’ve listened to them every since. Not like they’ll miss me. They don’t even know me. It’s the only recourse at my disposal.

BOTTOM LINE: First, the Good News: Jim Ladd is slated to start at Sirius XM this month on a daily show. Yeah! Now for the bad news: Our society is hurtling toward mediocrity. “Don’t Stand Out; Conform” is the message being blasted into our senses. Pop artists all look and sound the same. Authors find a formula that works and write it to death. Thank goodness for the Indie authors, musicians and film makers who keep pushing the envelope. Corporate America manages to buy some of us out. Let’s face it, if one of the big six calls tomorrow and offers me five million dollars to write their way, I’ll sell out. I have kids to get through college. I’m pretty sure I’m safe, if for no other reason than the title of this blog. Oh, and I tend to put the word FUCK in most of my blogs. It works like stooge repellent.

A Quick Formatting Trick

If you are formatting your book for Createspace or another print on demand service, this trick can save you time and aggravation. I know, not my usual type of post, but I write whatever comes to mind, and this is where my brain went this morning.

I use headers in my books. Left (even) page is the title of the book and right (odd) page is my name. I don’t want the headers to print on pages with chapter headings as it makes the page look cluttered and out of balance in MNSHO. Now, I can insert section breaks and suppress the header and all of that crap, but it can be a pain in the butt. Instead, I simply blank out the header with a graphic rectangle. In Word, go to View-Tool Bars and click on the Drawing Tool Bar.

This is what the Drawing Toolbar looks like at the bottom of the screen.

Click on the little rectangle, place the cursor where you want it, click and drag large enough to cover your header. HINT: make the rectangle big enough to cover the entire top of the page, then you can just copy and paste it wherever it is needed and you won’t have to resize it.

At this point you will notice a big black line around the rectangle, not exactly the look we were shooting for. Double click the rectangle and a dialogue box will open. The “Fill” choice is white by default, leave it that way. Under “Line Color”, click the drop down arrow and click “No Line”, then click OK. The rectangle is still there, but it is invisible when you print or convert your MSS to a pdf file. With the rectangle selected, you can hit Ctrl-C to copy and Ctrl-P to paste on whatever page has unwanted headers.

You can use this trick to block out anything in your original that you don’t want to show later when it is printed, like dedications, drawings/photos or odd notes without changing your page layout or spacing.