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Posts Tagged ‘Christoper Dunlea’

When faced with adversity all we can do is keep on keepin on.

When faced with adversity all we can do is keep on keepin on. photo: Christopher Dunlea

Before we go ahead and blame all of the above institutions our story first starts all the way back to Westmont.  Ultimately this is a tale of the American economy, financial system and the sad state it is in.  It’s summertime and as usual my work load at the college reduces quite a bit.  After five years this is a situation I have learned to deal with.  Last year I still averaged around 30 hours a week and my rent was significantly lower allowing me plenty of breathing room.  I assumed I would get the same amount of work load this summer and rightly accounted for such.  One does know how the assumption theorem goes…

I don’t know if someone at the office of Campus and event services dropped the ball or what, but we were at a ten year low for summer events and work was looking grim.  I was only picking up around twenty hours a week and at that point unemployment was worth more money than that.  A few interesting opportunities presented themselves for the summer for both travel and bettering my abilities as a chef. If I left there would be extra hours to go around for my other employees under me. The option to take unemployment seemed the most agreeable choice for everyone.

Summer1

Summertime is all about cutting loose and having a good time.  Photo: Christopher dunlea

Stoked, I took my leave the first week of June and things were good.  Bizarro and I went down to San Diego for a little jaunt (read about that in the “You cant relieve the past” blog).  I shot lots of photos and scored fun waves surfing.  Cooking wise I got to work a variety of events with a variety of chefs picking up all sorts of technique along the way.  I even tried some new things in my own kitchen and improved my fresh pasta game. Things were looking up.

And Fun I had...

And Fun I had…

In the midst of what was seemingly turning into a summer of epic proportions I was highly disturbed by a letter from the Unemployment office that my case was under review and all funds were to be withheld pending further investigation.  It was alright I wasn’t worried this sort of thing has happened before.  It was not my first rodeo with the Unemployment office. I am a seasoned veteran in the system working seasonal jobs for most of my life.  I had a little paper put away thus I wasn’t all that worried.

As it turned out the discrepancy was whether or not I worked for Westmont or Sodexo.  Of course with the amazingly fast (note my sarcasm) response time of a government agency this was not squared away till some time in early July.  Like I said I was doing alright and as long as the state began to pay out I would be fine.  Sure enough payments began finding their way into my EDD account.

In California you are not sent a check or given the option of direct deposit.  Instead they set you up with some type of prepaid debit card system with Bank of America.  The method is sort of convenient and sort of not, but its better then not getting any money at all.  I grabbed my card since I have had the same one since I began working for Westmont five years ago.  I went down to the atm pumped to grab some money and when I put the card in the machine said it was expired.  Sure enough the card had expired in January and EDD or Bank of America or both failed to send me a new one.

No worries I figured I would just call the bank and they would have me sorted out with a new card in a few days.  I have been a Union bank member for years and every time I needed a replacement card I always got one in about 3 business days.  Apparently things do not quite work that way at Bank of America, on the contrary actually.  Apparently if  wanted to get my card in three business days it would cost me an “expedited fee” of $10.  This may seem like a nominal fee, but for a person on a very fixed income, which unemployment is ten bucks is like two meals.  I was not about to fork across to meals to these crooks, especially when it was their fault for never sending me a replacement card.   Also  I am pretty sure one could ship something as small as a credit card for a lot less then ten dollars.

I fought with various representatives and a few supervisors all who did everything in their power to turn the tables on me and allow me to believe it was my fault for letting the card expire in the first place.  Of course it has been my experience that whenever a card of mine has a expired a new one was sent out to me in the mail before such date was reached.  One surely rep tried to tell me that I might have thrown it in the garbage by accident.  The nerve of them.  I know I am an “unemployed low life” taking advantage of the system and all but I still deserve the respect any other Bank of America client is entitled to.  After a two day battle I gave up and told them to just send the card regular mail (8-12 business days) cause it takes that long to ship a credit card?

Whatever, over it I cruised home to New Jersey to see my folks for a brief visit with the hope that when I got back my card would be waiting for me.  14 days later I still had not received my card.  Now it had been over two months since I had any income whatsoever and at that point I was completely broke.  Not knowing where to turn I went to our downtown branch of Bank of America here in Santa Barbara with the hope of getting some money.  Keep in mind that by this point I had around twelve hundred dollars in there.  The Bank could not do anything for me cause as it turns out although technically it was a Bank of America account being the fact that it was an EDD account gave me no bank privileges.

Besides myself I found my way into the office of the branch manager who was nice enough to call the situation in for me.  Guess what; the mother fuckers at Bank of America never took my request to have the card shipped out.  Finally I lost the battle and had to pay $15 to get MY MONEY sent to me via Western Union.  On top of that I had them finally ship my card standard mail.  Instead of being out two meals I was out three.  My rent was due and my hands tied.  Another case of where the rich get richer and the poor stay poor.  Welcome to America folks where that poem on the Statue of Liberty doesn’t mean shit.  That being the case I guess the Bank of America holds true to the nation it supposedly represents, rich first and poor last.

Over it and tired of fighting the good fight though I knew I was not alone in my plight I left the bank with a feeling of relief that I would soon have my money,  and be able to pay my rent and get a good meal in me.  The next morning I went down to Western Union only to find out that all of their Santa Barbara terminals were down and would not be up for 24 hours.  I thought Western Union’s motto was all about getting your money fast and easy especially when one is in a jam.  Let’s face it more times then not if you are getting money sent via Western Union it means you are in a jam.  Fucked I was forced to go into hustle mode where I managed to cover my rent and then some.  A day later Western Union was back up and running, I got my money and was back in the black.  No thanks to any of the aforementioned financial institutions.

For me this was another situation where I managed to fall into shit and came out smelling like roses.  If you read here regularly for me such is a common situation.  I can only imagine how fucked someone with out half the luck I have would have been.  If I were you I would boycott Bank of America and Western Union cause both to me are inferior services whom do not deserve your patronage.

So what did I do in the end? I bought a new bad ass suit of course. After all no matter what situation life brings you isn't it best to do it well dressed?

So what did I do in the end? I bought a new bad ass suit of course. After all no matter what situation life brings you isn’t it best to do it well dressed?

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Hollywood21115

How is it that the month of March has already thus come upon us?  It seems to me like I was just getting finished with Bizarro’s and my birthday weekend, which happened the first week of February and now I turn around and it’s March.  Where did the time go? What happened?  Hmmmmm…..My friends and I used to always joke about how days would get away from us.  Now I guess I have moved on to entire months, maybe even years.

The Chris’ Birthday Bash

ChrisBday4It was suppose to be a one night drinkers take all kind of party of Feb 6th.  Instead it rolled into two solid nights of Wild Cat mayhem.  This was an important year for the two of us.  Bizarro was turning the big 30 and I had planned to announce my semi-retirement from the Santa Barbara party scene.  It has been a great run, but I am pretty sure there is more to life then partying, casual sex and getting completely obliterated and I feel it is time to find out just what that is.  I have had a long and fruitful run starting from when I was 13 years old back in Manasquan, New Jersey being held upside down for a keg stand by a dude twice my age to prove I could hang with the big boys.  Since then I have been mixing it up with both friends and randoms all over the world.

There have been fun times, sad times, pathetic times and then the times I just can’t remember, mostly the latter.  At 34 I am starting to feel my age and I think my body is telling me to seriously give it a rest.  I always said that once my drinking began to affect my health and subsequently my surfing I would slow it down.  Plus I sort of liked some of the positive effects in my day to day not being drunk, sick and hungover had to offer.  Finally since Heather and I are giving things yet another go and a major part of our problems was my excessive social agenda stepping away made sense.  Of course Lisanti can’t live with all work and no play.  That being said I have limited my party appearances to just a handful of times a month and stay on the more sober side when I do.  So far so good.  Better to go out on top then found a bloated dead body lying face down on the sidewalk somewhere in a puddle of your own piss and vomit.

Surfing

NewJetty22415_1

Photo: Christopher Dunlea

I don’t really know whats to be said here that hasn’t already been done in detail in the surflog. El Nino started out strong bringing heaps of perfect angled WNW swell that basically lit up everything in this area.  I even got a session at Sand Spit.  Unfortunately I was stuck working most of the time and was only able to half utilize the swell on offer.  Then it pretty much went flat for the back half of the month.  For a very thorough look at the month of February in my surfing life click here.

Some early month point action.  Photo: Christopher Dunlea

Some early month point action. Photo: Christopher Dunlea

Work
I have come to the realization that I hate the act of working in general.  Sure, I especially hate my job, but I don’t believe that matters as much as the fact that I hate that I have a job.  More then anything I find it quite absurd that I have to strictly adhere to a schedule that has been forcefully imposed upon me against my will.  I don’t really feel like I need to be at work from 12-8:30 pm five days a week.  Honestly I could get the job done in like five hours.  Why can’t I come in at 1 some days or if the surf is going to be better mid day come in at like 10 am, prep out all my shit, leave and come back at like 3?  Its just asinine in my opinion.   Yes I understand that one has to have order and conformity in the work place.  Unfortunately my surfing schedule and my working schedule so rarely coincide with one another.  Fuck work!!!

Maybe I would be more jazzed if I actually made some real money and got to live the “good life” so to speak.  I don’t make shit.  I have way too many responsibilities for my pay grade and most days of the week am directly in charge of anywhere from 10-30 employees.  On the weekends I am the infallible boss.  I do all this for less money then my superior pays to get his car detailed each week.   I should just go get a second job so I can be less poor and then I wont have to worry about fitting in surfing cause there just won’t be anytime for it at all.  Then again the second job would put me in a higher tax bracket and in the end I would probably have less take home.

There was a time in this country about 50 years ago where almost everyone made a real living wage instead of just 25% of the population like it is now.  I swear one of these days I am either going to cash out and disappear to someplace with good waves, cheap living and no crowds or go postal and start taking heads.  Blaaaaaaah!!!!!  Fuck it, I will just commit kitchen seppuku with my 7″ boning knife.
SeppukuBesides that I don’t really know if there is anything more to really say about the month of February except that its fucking over.  Looks like El Nino has decided to quite on us along with the entire North Pacific.  With some luck there might just be a few fun wind swell days here and there.  For the most part I am looking at six months of shitty south swells, long gas and money burning drives to either Malibu or Jalama and of course absolutely terrible Emma Wood.  The only upside is with te coming of May and the end of the semester approaching I have only two more months till being laid off for the summer.  The downside to that: absolutely no money.  I may have to suck dick for crack and then sell that crack…happy March everybody!!!!

Whoot, Whoot,  small, shitty windblown Emma Wood for the next six months!!!!!  Photo: H.Rayburn

Whoot, Whoot, small, shitty windblown Emma Wood for the next six months!!!!! Photo: H.Rayburn

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