Monday, May 24, 2010

MB Presents: The Newest Winner Of The Fred Phelps Award

It's been a pretty weird night for me. Shall I give it to you in timeline format? I think I shall.

Sunday, 23 May 2010: 4:00pm:

Sundays at the Carson Station are always weird for me, and especially so when that Sunday is the day after the last day of the gig. But I have plans for the day, and money to make. So right about now I'm wandering downstairs to the cabaret to partially tear down my kit. Only partially - I'm helping Dean host jam night tonight at the Twisted Spoke, so I don't really want to tear it all the way down, only to put it back together then tear it down again. So I'm just taking the drums and cymbals off my rack. I'll come back after dinner and load up the truck.


All-you-can-eat-pork-ribs night is a favorite night for me at the Station's restaurant. I invited my 'caretaker' Sara to join me, but she never showed. Oh well, her loss. Maybe she didn't read the message I left for her on Facebook. Either way, she missed out on some pretty good ribs.


Dinner's over, now load up the truck and get over to the Spoke! Did I ever mention to you that my truck looks like it's grown antlers when I'm driving around with my fully-assembled rack in the back? This will come into play later. Now go set up at the Spoke, dumbass!


Jam night starts, and look who shows up! Sara, along with Alexis, her girlfriend Crystal, and their pal Matt. I choose to be tactful and not bring up dinner. They leave after about half and hour, claiming hunger. They look like they don't have the heart to tell me they're leaving, and I tell them that it's okay, and while they say they'll come back afterwards, I say that it's okay if they don't, that I was glad that they came out for a little bit anyway. They never did come back, by the way.


Jam night has just concluded, and I have a conundrum on my hands. You see, my next gig doesn't start until Thursday night at John Ascuaga's Nugget in Sparks. I probably won't even be able to check into the hotel until Wednesday night. Which leaves me with a few days' downtime. I've made arrangements to stay with my friend Jazmyn and her kids, but I have no clue as to the safety of the neighborhood in which she lives. So I decide to run down to Sparks and drop off my gear at the Nugget, just leaving it backstage until Wednesday when I can set it up.


I'm driving through the southern end of Reno when I see 'sex lights': a cop ahead of me has pulled some poor schmuck over. I drive on by, right on the posted speed limit of 45mph. A Washoe County Sheriff's vehicle is watching the incident as I'm driving through. I figure that he's curious about the strange metal contraption on the back of my truck, and he wants to check it out, as is his wont. I turn off Virginia on to South McCarran Boulevard, and within a few blocks he pulls up behind me and turns on his lights. Nothing new for me, because while I've never been popped for a moving violation in my life, I get pulled over a lot. Such is life when you work nights in bars. He comes around, and I greet him casually and ask what the problem is. His reply knocked me for a loop:

My license is suspended!

WHAT THE FUCK? I ask him if he knew why, and he says he doesn't have access to that information, just that my license was suspended. He asks if I was in the process of moving, and I explained that I was. My insurance was current, as were my driver's license and vehicle registration. But according to the officer, my license had been suspended in January for not having insurance. Seeing that this just wasn't the case, he advised me to go to the Nevada DMV and show proof of insurance, and that would clear things up. He noted that I was driving normally, acknowledged that I was stone-cold sober (when am I not?), and sent me on my way, advising me that if anyone else pulled me over to tell them that I had already been made aware of my situation. He even told me where the DMV office in Carson City was. Give that man an extra donut - with sprinkles on it.

I finally get to the Nugget to load in my gear, only to find that for the first time in about a year, Security has actually bothered to change the codes on the doors leading to backstage. I alert them to the situation, and they most helpfully take care of my problems.

Monday, 24 May 2010, 1:15am:

I make it back to Carson City, and boy am I pissed off. What the fuck is going on here? Sitting in the Station's parking lot, I go through my stack of insurance proofs, and there's a neat little history of mine there to be had - a new card every six months. There's my last card for Nevada - October 2009 to April 2010. There's the fill-in card I got when I (quite happily) switched our State Farm Insurance account to our old agent in Port Angeles - Jan 2010 to April 2010. And there's my current proof - April 2010 to October 2010. With smoke coming out of my ears like a fucking smokestack, I realize just what's happened, and who is to blame for this conundrum. Dear readers, I give to you the latest winner of the Fred Phelps Award For Dumbest Humanoid On The Planet: Christina Kantrud, State Farm Insurance Agent, and her staff.

We have a history with this idiot and the idiotlings that work under her. About ten or eleven months ago, as Joy and I moved into our tent-trailer, we received a rather severe penalty from DirecTV for not having returned their equipment to them in a timely fashion. This penalty was incurred all of two days after terminating service with them, which was also the same day that the FedEx box arrived, the FedEx box DirecTV sent us to return their equipment in. This unfortunate incident took several hundred dollars out of our bank account, money that wasn't there to begin with. So, while we fought DirecTV over it and told our bank that this was their fault and not ours, we informed the other people we do business with that automatic withdrawals from bank account wouldn't be possible right now, and that our bills would be paid on a strictly cash-only basis. Ms. Kantrud and her staff were made aware of the situation, and agreed to cancel automatic withdrawals from our bank account. A few days later, I went in to the office to make my payment, only to find that it was unnecessary to do so - the automatic withdrawal had already been made. I asked the little girl behind the counter a simple question, quoting Ellen Ripley from Aliens:

Did IQ's drop sharply while I was away?

This was the exact same person who smiled and said she'd cancel the automatic withdrawals just a few days before! Hello? Anyone home? I reminded her of the problem with my bank account with DirecTV, and she blanched, admitted her mistake and offered to fix it as soon as possible.

One month later, it happened again. And the next month. And the next month. And the next month. We started a new account with a different bank, gave them that information, and told them to make automatic withdrawals from that account.

What happened the next month? Same ol' same ol' - they pulled from our old bank account!

In January, we informed them that we were moving back to Washington due to Joy's health, and going back to our old agent due to gross incompetence. We even filed a formal complaint with State Farm Insurance about the sheer negligence of Kantrud and her staff, their utter ignorance of our requests. Well, I guess she got some payback on us. And she probably did what she was supposed to do in the process. Never mind that we would be continuing our SFI account (albeit with a better agent in a different state), her office sent a letter to the Nevada Department of Motor Vehicles that we no longer had insurance. Therefore, my license was suspended.

Well, now it's our turn for payback. The DMV will more than likely revoke the suspension pending my showing them continuous proof of insurance. And Joy will be calling our SFI agent in the morning to let them know what a bunch of fuck-ups Ms. Kantrud and her underlings are. And following that phone call, State Farm's home office will be receiving another blistering complaint from us about shoddy service from an agent with a history of similar problems with us.

Well, here's to Ms. Kantrud and her staff of twatlings - the latest winners of the Fred Phelps Award For Dumbest Humanoids On The Planet. May God have mercy upon your souls. If you have any that is.

And one last piece of advice for the sad sorry lot of you: McDonald's is always hiring......

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