Saturday, November 29, 2014

Jerk Face

Good afternoon everyone.  As I watch football here with my brother's family (while the four of them are all diligently working on setting up their new phones), I figured that this would be a good time to tell you the story of how I found my new apartment...

As I've mentioned previously, a lot of people are moving to Austin, and this is creating a lot more demand than supply in the housing and rental markets.  I read somewhere that the apartment occupancy rate is now 98% here in Austin.  Anyway, when I returned to town in late October, I called the manager at my old apartment complex to see if they had anything available.  Being so close to the UT campus, I didn't expect them to have any vacanies, and indeed they didn't.  All that was available was a one-bedroom apartment in January, and that was renting for $899.00 a month.  The studio that I left in July at the same complex cost me $619.00 a month.  Even if a studio was going to be available, it would cost me $719.00 a month because all of the units are being renovated.  After searching extensively online, I came to the conclusion that my dream of living on West Campus again was futile.

When I started my search for an apartment away from campus, that's when I actually discovered how crazy the rental market is in Austin right now.  Any place that I saw advertised online was going to cost me at least $600.00 a month, and that's for places 5-10 miles or more from campus.  Being without a car, I also had to find something close to the UT or city bus routes.  During my search, I called my old complex two more times to see if anyone had backed out of their lease - no such luck...  For those of you who haven't been longtime readers of my blog, my old complex was a 15-20 minute walk to and from work, and I had the option of riding the campus bus home most of the time (the exception being when school wasn't in session).  My old place also isn't very far from the city bus routes either, but I digress...  Anyway, in the course of less than a month, a one-bedroom at the complex where a friend of mine lives went from $750.00 to $755.00 to $770.00 to $800.00.  I kid you not.  They're staying right on top of the market...  The best option that I had found had nothing available, and was making a waiting list for December.  Most places (evidently not all) now require a 60-day move-out notice (and don't all require 30 days???).  Anyway, I'm not sure how they didn't know what they were going to have available in December, and WHO looking for an apartment has the luxury of being put on waiting lists?  Anyway, a very frustrating process...

Then I decided to check into the offices of the apartment locators and realty companies on West Campus.  I thought there might be a possibility that they would know of properties that weren't being listed online.  In the past I've always hunted down my apartments for myself, but without a vehicle and with seemingly limited listings online (and likely just those of the more expensive places), I thought I'd take a shot.  This was about a week and a half ago...

So I go into an agency on West Campus the Wednesday before last, and the agent finds at least two vacant units that we can look at the next day.  On Thursday we visit the two complexes, and I KID YOU NOT..., BOTH apartments had occupants...  When we walk into the first one, the agent tells me that it might be a model unit...  The laptop has a cup of change sitting by it, there are posters on the walls, etc, etc...  I tell him to check the refrigerator.  The first thing that we see is a beer...  At least this place was neat.  When we opened the door at the second place, it was blatently obvious that the apartment had a tenant...  Realtors are awesome...  :)  But don't say that, because this only gets better...  So after he doesn't e-mail me on Friday, Saturday, or Sunday, I go back to his office on Monday during lunch (because I'm not very smart)...  He finds two more places for us to look at on Tuesday.  Fast forward to Tuesday...

So now it's Tuesday, and when we meet, my agent hands me a piece of paper.  When we looked at the occupied apartments the week before, I was never handed a piece of paper.  This paper had the names of the apartment complexes, the addresses, and the monthly rents written on it.  It also had about four typewritten lines at the top of the page.  I skimmed the lines, and my eyes came to an ABRUPT HALT after reading the fourth line, which basically said..., "Be prepared to pay the equivalent of a month's rent for your deposit.  Please let your realtor know if this is a problem..."  An $800.00 deposit for an old $800.00 apartment in Hyde Park - yes, I was ecstatic...  Oh, I forgot to tell you that I had seen a video of this apartment the previous day, which at least proved that no one was currently living in the apartment...  Anyway, when I brought it to my agent's attention that this was indeed a problem, he assured me that I could contact the other West Campus realtors to confirm that this was standard.  Even if that's the case, wouldn't you want to let your client know this up front???  Chelsea, Bryn, Monica, Cecily..., I wouldn't get treated like this in San Marcos, would I???  :)  I've heard of paying a full month's rent as a deposit when renting a house, but for a one-bedroom apartment???  Anyway, then my agent makes a phone call, asks the person on the other end of the line if we still do "look and lease," and now the deposit has been magically reduced from $800.00 to $500.00.  Hmmmm...  I informed my agent that with the first month's rent, and the deposit, and the utility depsoit, etc..., that the amount was too high, and I walked away FUMING...  Take me to a pair of already occupied units, try to charge me an $800.00 deposit...  JERK FACE...    NOTE:  I'm stealing the term "jerk face" from my friend Brandi, and I totally plan on using it all the time and making it a household term within the next year...  ;)

So now I'm back on campus, angrily pondering what's next in my apartment search.  I decided to uselessly call my old apartment complex for the third time, and the manager informs me that nothing has changed - he tells me that no one else has backed out of their lease for the spring, and that he still has the remodeled one-bedroom available for $899.00 in January.  As I sat there and stewed after we hung up, I realized that things have changed since the end of October.  I thought that I'd SURELY have an apartment by now, and suddenly January isn't as far away as it once was.  The unit at my former complex is expensive (a jump from $619.00 to $899.00 for me), but I've learned that's in line for a one-bedroom on West Campus, especially with the renovation.  I am also completely comfortable with the complex and its surroundings, and it's still extremely convenient.  So after talking to my friend and my brother to make sure that they could jointly deal with hosting me for another month and change, I pulled the trigger and called my former apartment manager...

As we sit here, I have a signed lease on a one-bedroom West Campus apartment that will be mine shortly after the start of the new year.  I also just saw the Texas State Bobcats defeat Georgia State 54-31, giving my alma mater a 7-5 record and likely securing a bid to our first bowl game as an FBS school.  Have a great football weekend and don't be a jerk face...  ;)

  

Friday, November 28, 2014

We're Even

Good afternoon everyone.  I hope that you enjoyed your Thanksgiving yesterday.  I had a very nice afternoon with my family (which I'll talk about a little more in the future).  When it comes to our football picks, Joey and I are now even in the standings.  I have one more win than Joey, but I also have an extra loss.  This is possible because Joey has two more ties than I do.  I wish that our records were better, but the .500 mark isn't too far out of reach, and we're still more than 2 months away from the Super Bowl.  Without any further ado,. here's Joey...



Regular season college football is coming to an end, so most of my seven picks will come from the NFL.  I do have a few college picks though...


Joey's Lucky Seven (5-2 Last Week, 41-47-3 Overall)

Utah St. (+9) @ Boise St. - Aggies are best kept secret in Mountain West...
Nevada (-10) @ UNLV - This is a revenge spot - UNLV took the cannon last year.  Coupled with a disheartening loss at Hawaii, the Rebels have mailed in the season...
Arkansas St. (-21) vs. New Mexico St. - NMSU hasn't won a game since Week 3...
Browns (+3) @ Bills - We haven't checked the weather report, but the Browns are the surprise team in the NFL.
Cardinals (-1.5) @ Falcons - Falcons may be leading the NFC South, but game management by the coaching staff is in question...
Saints/Steelers (Over 53) - Neither team's defense is very good...
Vikings (-2.5) vs. Carolina - Bridgewater is having a good rookie season and this game is winnable...


As we get to my predictions, you'll notice that I threw a pair of college bets in there this weekend, just to spread my losing out.  You'll also notice that I like a lot of totals.  We're also sticking with the random girl from Vegas after coming off the winning week..




Coach's Lucky Seven (4-3 Last Week, 42-48-1 Overall)

Oregon/Oregon State (Under 67) - Some inclement weather may help me...
Florida/Florida State (Under 53) - Gators don't score much...
Bengals (-3.5) @ Buccaneers - Cincy better hope they cover this one...
Redskins/Colts (Under 51) - Shouldn't be fireworks in this matchup...
Broncos/Chiefs (Under 50) - Chiefs are tough at home...
Chargers (+6.5) @ Ravens - A little wishful thinking maybe???
Patriots/Packers (Under 58.5) - Dicey weather expected at Lambeau...


And that's what we have for the weekend.  Have a great football weekend!


Thursday, November 27, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!  I'll be giving you some pretty big posts soon because I no longer have to search for an apartment.  The apartment search is officially OVER!!!  :D  Joey and myself will be back tomorrow with a our football picks for this weekend.  Have a Safe & Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Friday, November 21, 2014

Criss-Cross Applesauce

Good morning everyone.  By the time that I end up hitting the 'publish' button, it should be at least an hour since I made my last post.  If you haven't read it yet, you should really rush back and check out 'Stay Tuned.'  Joey and I both went 2-5 on our football picks last week, so there's a very good chance that we'll end up finishing somewhere between 0-7 and 7-0 this week...  If you're here to catch up with what's been happening in my world, then you're in the right place.

I can say with very little hesitation that the reason that I haven't been posting much is that I've been waiting to get settled into a new place before I once again fill the internet with my wisdom.  I find it very difficult to come here and type while I'm looking for a place to live.  It's that feeling of guilt that I shouldn't be on here while I'm apartment hunting.  Today I received my second paycheck since I returned to work, and I recently learned that there might be a few apartments available close to campus.  After doing a pretty extensive online search of what's available for rent in the greater Austin area, I can confidently say that I would once again like to live close to the UT campus/downtown area.  The time saved commuting to and from work and being close to the heartbeat of Austin outweighs the more expensive rent in my opinion.  To this point in my life (somehow I just set this keyboard on italics, and I'm not going to spend any more time trying to change it back) I've always relied solely on myself to hunt out my future home, but I wasn't able to get any leads on apartments within the vicinity of campus until I met with an apartment locating company this past week.  Thursday was actually a very interesting day for me as I was shown two vacant apartments that are both currently occupied.  Yes, you read that right - the agent picked up keys, drove me to a couple of separate units at completely different complexes, and both apartments are still being lived in...  :)  However, I'm still holding out hope that I'll find a place to live that's close to campus.

In the meantime, I have some amazing friends that are putting me up (putting up with me) and are housing my belongings.  If you only had any idea how much I hate imposing on people and hate feeling helpless...  I am so grateful to have people that are looking out for me while I get resettled in Austin.  Rents continue to rise throughout the city as more and more people flock to the ATX, and yet it's still difficult to find a place to live.
Some unexpected and completely amusing material for this post came to me tonight as a result of staying here with my friends.  In elementary schools throughout our nation, sitting with your legs crossed is no longer referred to as sitting "Indian style."  For quite some time (as I discovered tonight - wow, I see that the normal print has returned), sitting in this position has come to be known as "criss-cross applesauce..."  I can be pretty creative (okay, the italics are back now), but I kid you not - criss-cross applesauce...  OH, and it continues with "spoons in your bowl" (to get the exact positioning just right).  I'm dead serious right now...  It's probably the hardest that I've laughed in quite some time.  The entertainment didn't stop with the new knowledge from my friends Brandi and Chad - being very wise, I decided to post about this in a facebook status.  That's where my friend Amanda introduced me to, "Tootsie roll, lollipop, we've been talking, now let's stop..."  And evidently the kids love this...  Yeah...  :)  

Okay, so since I'm not making any football bets now that I'm back in Austin, Chad is letting me help sabotage his fantasy football teams in addition to giving me a place to stay.  If you're unaware, I decided against fielding any fantasy football teams this year since I'd be making wagers, which would get me into sufficient trouble of its own accord.  Now I get to live and die through the football games based on the teams that Chad and Brandi are fielding, and on the Steelers inability to beat teams like the Bucs and the Jets.  Don't get me started...  I should also mention that as I'm typing this, I have two cats and a dog proofreading my work (we're going to blame the italics on them)... 

Once I do get settled into my own place, I do plan on summarizing my Las Vegas (and Reno) experience, and you'll probably get many more pieces of the life that I've lived as we move forward.  I'll also start incorporating the experiences and wisdom of my friends into my blog entries again once I'm back to doing all of my entries on a computer.  This post is being done on a computer and not on my phone, which is the reason that it's being typed so much faster and with added mystery italics...  

Well, it's 1:00 a.m. here now and I'm pretty tired (oops, I did it again), so I'll let you begin your weekend.  Let me thank you once again for following along, and apologize to you for the limited entries lately.  This post is actually going to be the one that puts my little blog over 80,000 total views - pretty cool...  :)  Have a good one and I'll see you soon...
   

Stay Tuned

Good morning everyone.  It should be just after midnight here in the ATX if I time this up right.  I'm going to give you some football picks from Joey and myself, and then I intend to immediately begin another blog entry, one that will encompass several topics.  I thought that this would happen last weekend, but I think that I just feel guilty about taking the time to write here while I'm still apartment hunting.  Anyway, let's get to our picks, and then I'll embark on a second entry.  



Joey's Lucky Seven (2-5 Last Week, 36-45-3 Overall)

Not much commentary this week - been busy eating big steaks...  (So naturally I post the lasagna photo)  Here's my best seven...

Boston College (+20) @ Florida State
Western Michigan (+1.5) @ Central Michigan
Louisiana-Lafayette (-10.5) vs. Appalachian State
Louisiana Tech (-13) @ Old Dominion
UCLA (-3) vs. USC
UNLV (+10.5) @ Hawaii
Colts (-14) vs. Jaguars

Good luck with the top seven and may all your tickets cash...


And before you get enraged and start writing letters to the editor, I did not limit Joey's word count because he went 2-5 last week.  Actually, someone else very near and dear to us also went 2-5 last week...  Since I did go 2-5, I'm going to spare Gabby the shame of being here for my picks again, and instead I'm going with the photo of the random girl from Las Vegas (since all of my selections seem to be random recently)...



Coach's Lucky Seven (2-5 Last Week, 38-45-1 Overall)

Titans (+11) @ Eagles - Indicative of my level of respect for Mark Sanchez...
Patriots (-7) vs. Lions - Pats at home with red hot Brady...
Packers (-8.5) @ Vikings - Let's go with another sizzling team...
Bears (-5.5) vs. Buccaneers - Hopefully the Pirates met their win quota for the month...
49ers (-9) vs. Redskins - Disarray for the visitors and a playoff dogfight for Frisco...
Redskins/49ers (Under 44) - I pretty much want the Redskins to mail this one in...
Jaguars/Colts (Under 50.5) - Looking for another low-scoring Jaguars matchup...


And that's it for this entry my friends.  I'm going to post this, and then I'll be right back with some more words.  Have a great football weekend, and/or stay tuned for another entry very shortly...


Saturday, November 15, 2014

Chilly Saturday

Good morning everyone.  In a move that is definitely visionary for this blog, I am actually going to post football picks before the majority of games have been completed.  For those of you who aren't here for the football, I'll try to get a more diverse post typed up for you tomorrow.  The high here in Austin today is supposed to be 51 degrees, so yeah, yuck...  Joey and myself both had winning records here last week, and Joey is 10-3-1 with his selections over the last 2 weeks.  Without any further ado, here's Joey...



It's time for the lucky 7 of Week 11.  C'mon, daddy needs a new pair of shoes.  Okay, onto the picks...


Joey's Lucky Seven (4-2-1 Last Weekend, 34-40-3 Overall)

Temple (+11) @ Penn State - Penn State is one of the worst Big Ten teams but seems to get a lot of credit.  The offense is OFFENSIVE!!
Nevada (+2) @ Air Force - The Wolfpack have been a quiet team all year.  Two more wins in conference and they have a chance at the title...
Arizona State (-9.5) @ Oregon State - This team has a legit chance to be PAC-12 Champion and if things go right could make the final 4 playoff.
Mississippi State (+8) @ Alabama - Number one team in the country getting more than a touchdown.  Next Please!!!!
Georgia Tech (+3) vs. Clemson - They still run the ball better than any team in the country and the D is starting to show up...
Saints (-7) vs. Bengals - No one is better at home than the Saints and no one is worse on the road than the Bengals.
Colts (-3) vs. Patriots - Hopefully this game is a shootout (Vegas has the total at 58).  Whoever has the ball last wins, so I'm taking the home team...


That does it for my seven picks.  Again we will skip New Mexico State - lol...  Good luck and may all your parlay cards cash.


As Joey and I both ascend closer to the .500 mark, I'm going to stay true to form and just pick NFL games once again this week, and since I had a winning record last week, I'm going to stick with Gabby and the beer purse...  :)  Also, if you focus really hard, you might notice a theme with my picks...



Coach's Lucky Seven (4-3 Last Week, 36-40-1 Overall)

Eagles/Packers (Under 55) - It's going to be very cold, and thus difficult to score 55...
Seahawks/Chiefs (Under 42.5) - Chilly temperatures will affect scoring in K.C...
49ers/Giants (Under 45) - It's not going to be hot in New Jersey, and the offenses will follow suit...
Vikings/Bears (Under 46.5) - There's a rumor that it's going to be really chilly in the Windy City...
Browns (-3) vs. Texans - I wouldn't mind getting this one wrong, but the team from Houston is visiting the first place team from less than tropical Cleveland...
Redskins (-7) vs. Buccaneers - I just have a feeling about this one...
Steelers/Titans (Under 47) - Low temperatures equal low scores on Monday night...


This blog post should be covered in icicles...  :)  Have a great football weekend and I'll see you soon...









Sunday, November 9, 2014

Where We're At

Good afternoon everyone.  I found a few minutes and thought that I'd take this opportunity to catch you up on where I'm at currently.  I've been really stingy on the blog posts (not to mention social media, my personal life, etc...) lately, but you have to remember that in the past 25 days I've driven from Las Vegas to Reno, driven from Reno to Austin, and got my old job back at the University of Texas at Austin (and have now worked 8 days).  I am in the process of crashing at the 3rd different place now as I look for an apartment here in Austin.  Have I mentioned that I have some INCREDIBLE friends?  To catch you up on the apartment search, my studio on West Campus was $619.00 last year.  My old complex doesn't have anything available until January, and that's a one-bedroom for $899.00.  Like I said, I'm looking for an apartment here in Austin...  I would really love to live on West Campus again for its convenience to work, so I may exhaust all options (call every complex and/or knock on every office door) before I settle for something farther away.  Lightning commented on my football picks post earlier today about what I'll be writing about here and when, but y'all are going to have to have a little patience with me.  Okay, we all know that dealing with me requires a lot of patience...  :)

And that's pretty much where we're at right now.  I'm about to squeeze a little bit of sleep in and around some football, so enjoy the rest of your football Sunday and have a great week...

Later & Later

Good morning everyone.  Pretty soon I'll be doing this entry after all of the games have been played.  As things stand, 5 of Joey's 7 bets have been decided.  Better late than never???  Okay, Joey is batting leadoff again, and I'll play catch up with our records at another time.



Joey's Lucky Seven (6-1 Last Week, 30-38-2 Overall)

Duke (-3) @ Syracuse - Everybody is betting Duke, but they are the better team.
Notre Dame (+3) @ Arizona State - Nobody is playing Notre Dame, and they are the better team.
Louisiana Tech (-3) @ Alabama-Birmingham - This has been my sleeper team all year.  7-1 against the spread.
Rice (-10) vs. UTSA - Rice has a good offense, sometimes the D just doesn't show up.
UTEP (+7) @ Western Kentucky - Some teams just take longer to gel than others.
Lions (-2.5) @ Dolphins - Lions will not give up 37 points to the fish.
Packers (-7) vs. Chicago - Packers had a week off and the Bears D is really, really bad.

That's it for my 'Lucky Seven.'  I'll leave off New Mexico State - they have not won since Week 2 and I don't see them winning this week either.

And now it's my turn.  We haven't utilized any of Gabby's good karma for a while, so let's go Contreras...  :)




Coach's Lucky Seven (3-4 Last Week, 32-37-1 Overall)

Packers (-7) vs. Bears - Joey might get one right.  KIDDING...  Bears haven't been able to fix their leak recently...
Steelers (-4) @ Jets - Big Ben is hot, Jets are not...
Steelers/Jets (Under 47) - Jets O is stuck in neutral, umm..., nonexisent...
Falcons (-2.5) @ Bucs - 56-14 Falcons last time if I remember correctly...
Cowboys/Jaguars (Under 45.5) - A pair of good defenses...
Denver (-11) @ Raiders - Peyton has no snow in this forecast...
Panthers/Eagles (Under 48) - Carolina D & Sanchez to thank for this...


And that's it gang.  I'm still catching up here, but I'll try to do better on the blog.  Have a great football Sunday...  :)




Saturday, November 1, 2014

Blame It On Halloween

Good evening everyone.  Got some late football picks for you.  I could blame it on Halloween, but it's really not Halloween's fault...  When I messaged Joey this morning about his picks, I got an "oops..."  However, I still haven't picked seven bets, and will be doing so after I enter his selections for this week.  I also hope to get our records up to date afterward.  I'm still doing fine in Austin, staying with some awesome friends and watching some UT football as I type this.  My brother and his family made a huge trek here from San Antonio today to hang out with me, and then I took a long nap for much of the afternoon.  Without any further ado, here are Joey's picks for you.  I'm sorry that it's too late for you to act on Joey's selections, but life isn't always fair...  :P  Live from the Palace Station Sportsbook & Casino, here's Joey...



Joey's Lucky Seven (3-4 Last Week, 24-37-2 Overall)

Duke (+3) @ Pittsburgh
Boston College (+4) @ Virginia Tech
Air Force (-3) @ Army
Middle Tennessee State (+4) vs. BYU
Kansas State (-12) vs. Oklahoma State
Colts (-3) @ Giants
Cardinals (+4) @ Cowboys


And it's my turn...  Just for Joey we've got the shiny Bobcats helmet.  Texas State 37  New Mexico State 29 - Eat 'Em Up, Cats...  ;)



Coach's Lucky Seven (2-5 Last Week, 29-33-1 Overall)

Cardinals (+2 1/2) @ Cowboys - Dallas lost to Redskins, and are iffy at QB this week.
Browns (-6 1/2) vs. Buccaneers - Browns hosting one win Bucs in chilly Cleveland.
Eagles/Texans (Under 48 1/2) - Texans have good D and not much passing.
Jaguars/Benglas (Under 43 1/2) - Jags also play D and don't score much.
Chiefs (-9) vs. Jets - Jets take woeful QB play to tough Arrowhead environment.
Chargers (+2) @ Dolphins - Miami getting too much credit here...
Patriots (+3) vs. Broncos - Chilly weather and Brady getting points at home...


And that's it folks.  I still need to get completely settled in, and then I'll have a lot more blog posts for y'all.  Remember to set your clocks back an hour before you go to bed tonight.  I hope that everything is going well in your world and I'll see you soon...  :)