On Transitional Furniture

Our Lack table, which my wife already owned when I moved in with her in 2003, is sitting in our living room, surrounded by "real" furniture. We even paid to move it from Baltimore to Los Angeles this year. I dunno, it's just ... functional? Decent? It's never really occurred to us to replace it.

Posted on December 17, 2014 at 12:57 pm 0

On Hacks for the Worst Airports in America

@Derbel McDillet you walk out of Pittsburgh BETWEEN statues of Franco Harris and George Washington! Truly makes you proud to be an American.

Posted on November 26, 2014 at 11:45 am 1

On Hacks for the Worst Airports in America

If you're flying into/out of LA, you might look into Burbank Airport instead of LAX. It's in Valley, though not, like, crazy deep into it or anything, and is closer both as the crow flies and in terms of driving time to lots of parts of the area. Plus it has no jetways, so you get to walk down wheelie stairs onto the tarmac like the glory flying days of yore! The downside is that Burbank has a lot fewer flights, so the times are sometimes less convenient, and they can be more expensive. (I'm not flying at Thanksgiving, but am at Christmas, and sadly will be doing LAX instead of Burbank.) If you are doing LAX, consider using the FlyAway bus instead of driving: http://www.lawa.org/FlyAway/Default.aspx $8 each way, and there are routes to four different spots within the area, including Union Station. Takes special bus lanes on the highway so gets there a bit faster than driving, though you have to wait for it to go around the whole terminal loop. You could also consider waiting until 2021 or whenever the train finally gets there.

Posted on November 26, 2014 at 11:43 am 0

On How To Get Our Belongings of Questionable Worth Across The Country

My wife and I just moved from Baltimore to LA. We moved from a 1400 square foot 3-bedroom house to a 850 square foot 2-bedroom house, and we hired a moving van so we were paying by the pound, so we purged purged purged so many things before we left -- lot's of clothes, books, furniture, etc. Made almost $1,500 selling things, believe it or not, which we needed, because the move wasn't cheap. We paid for a full-service moving van, which is to say, movers at both ends, and a tractor-trailer that drove across country with our stuff without us, and packers for the breakables in Baltimore (they won't insure things they don't pack themselves). The movers cost $6,857.73, including cash tips at both ends. The drive across country, which took eight days, cost about $1,250, which includes the gas, two nights in hotels, and meals out pretty much every day, including treating the friends and family who let us stay with them on non-hotel nights to dinners and lunches. It wasn't cheap but it was still insanely stressful, and I wish you luck in doing it, and packing things yourself at one end, and having a baby in tow!

Posted on November 24, 2014 at 7:30 pm 0

On Let's Manage Our Subscriptions

@jfruh PS this is a pretty great resource to see what's streaming on what services: http://www.canistream.it/

Posted on November 24, 2014 at 12:29 pm 1

On Let's Manage Our Subscriptions

Hulu Plus and Netflix are not really the same thing at all, though! Hulu Plus is for shows that are on right now, so you neither have to watch them right when they're on nor pay for cable/a DVR. You get (most) current broadcast shows a day after they air, and usually the whole current season, and sometimes previous seasons. Netflix is for binge-watching older shows, or older seasons of (a very limited number, in my experience) current shows, plus random movies that you never really expected to find because you mostly wrote off Netflix as a movie service years ago. We pay for both, because $7.99 a month apiece is still a *lot* less than the cable we'd probably end up paying for if we didn't.

Posted on November 24, 2014 at 12:28 pm 0

On How To Get EU Citizenship, Country By Country

This is just one data point, but I had a friend whose parents immigrated to the US from Italy as young adults; she told me that she was able to get an Italian passport but her younger siblings were not, because her father had become a US citizen between her birth and the birth of her younger sister. In practice I wonder if her younger siblings could've done it if they had jumped through more hoops. Another potential backdoor: Spain recently declared that, to atone for kicking all the Jews out in 1492, Sephardic Jews can get Spanish citizenship. Since the time period is so long, you obviously don't have to be able to trace your ancestry back to a specfiic Spanish Jew, but you do need to show that you're a member of a Sephardic synagogue of good standing, as my wife and I quickly discovered (her father's father's side of the family are Sephardim from Panama, but it's not enough). Meanwhile, my great-grandfather was a Hungarian Jew who immigrated to the US -- I wonder if that would count as "Hungarian" for the current government's standards (not that I have any real desire to learn enough Hungarian to get the passport).

Posted on November 20, 2014 at 4:06 pm 0

On A Follow-Up on the Uber $362 Car Ride Story

My problem with "oh you agreed to 9X surge pricing so you should've known" is that with none of these apps do you learn what exactly is being multiplied by 9 until after the fact. There's no meter, so who knows? If it's something you do regularly, you start to get a sense of it, but I've taken Uber around baltimore and never paid more than $10-15 and so I can see being surprised.

Posted on November 6, 2014 at 5:16 pm 2

On Checking the Transactions

I always find it slightly unnerving that the "location" of airline charges is usually their corporate HQ. United charges always show up as being made in Chicago; Southwest charges look like they're from Dallas.

Posted on October 21, 2014 at 10:33 am 0

On It's Heating Season In New York City

@garli everyone here said "Oh, you don't need window units in LA," which is clearly false and we were very glad we bought window units.

Posted on October 20, 2014 at 2:25 pm 0