1988.09.14 Treehouse In Westport CT Me Cropped Smaller

25 Years Ago, I Took A Chance


1988.09.14 - Treehouse in Westport, CT - me-cropped-smallerFor better or worse, today marks a quarter century since I left my 9 to 5 cubicle.  “Chip Chinery – Director of Communications at The Bank Mart”.  That was my handle.  I graduated with a degree in Psychology, worked as a TV cameraman, then as a banker.  That’s pretty much the natural progression.  But all along, what I really wanted to do was be a full-time, professional stand-up comic.

As those of you who have taken a leap of faith can attest, it isn’t easy.  There’s a saying, “Do what you love and the money will follow.”  Well, that makes a nice bumper sticker, but there are some bankrupt and homeless people who may disagree.

Fear of failure keeps most of us from taking a shot at what we really want to do.  This is especially true if you are used to eating every day and sleeping inside.  It certainly postponed my launch.  I thought, “What if it doesn’t work out?  THEN what will I do?”  For some people, it is easier to take the route of nothing ventured – nothing lost.  If you never try, you never fail.  After all, no one wants to be washed up at 23.

Comic Lives
I’d been working at The Bank Mart in Bridgeport, Connecticut for six months when I had an epiphany.  I shouted, “Today doesn’t suck.  EVERYDAY sucks!”  I loved the people, but hated the job.  So, I walked into my in-law apartment on the Housatonic River and pulled out a book I just finished about stand-up comedy called Comic Lives.  Looking for an answer, I closed my eyes, flipped through it and then stopped on a random page.  I asked for a sign to tell me what I should do.  Where my finger landed it said, “It

Read More
Netflix+one Month Free Trial Smaller

My Take: NetFlix Free 30-Day Trial


netflix+one_month_free_trial_smallerI usually run a little late to the technology party.  It’s a combination of not feeling the need for the newest gadget and my innate frugality.  Although I was born in the ’60s, my brain was set to The Great Depression.  “Waste not, want not” and all that jazz, flatfoot.

Twelve months ago, I finally bought an HDTV. Last month, I ended my 16 year laptop hiatus. My previous laptop had a whopping 80MB hard drive. That’s not a typo – 80 MEGAbytes. Just enough room for a Word document that says “I need to get a larger hard dri”.

And a couple weeks ago, I jumped on the NETFLIX train with a 1 month free trial.  It streams perfectly on my HDTV and laptop.  Who knew?

This was driven by my desire to do a li’l binge viewing of Breaking Bad, starting with Episode One.  I’d never seen the show but a lot of my friends are nuts about it.  Better late to the water cooler than never.  Besides, it don’t cost nuthin’, and I wasn’t watching much of anything else except Under The Dome.  Man, that show’s like LOST with a lid!

I also checked out a few of the NETFLIX documentaries, including The Queen of Versailles, who is the polar opposite person I am fiscally (although we have the same taste in rattlesnake lederhosen).  As I wrote about in “257 Channels and Nothing On”, it may not be worth $1,000 a year to watch Honey Boo Boo via cable or DirecTV with handy and inexpensive options like NETFLIX.


Up To $75 From Naked Juice


NYCmarathonBack in the 1900s, I ran the New York City Marathon in 4:10:00.  The winner did it in 2:15:00.  If he was so good, why couldn’t he go the FOUR hours like The Chipper?  It’s a marathon, not a sprint.  Ahhh… Classic Chinery.  At the time, I was juicing (the out-of-a-bottle or rind kind, not the baseball-player kind).

If you are a healthy Naked Juicer, there may be some money in it for you.  I don’t recommend lawsuits as a money making strategy, but if you are a Naked Juice patron, you could get up to $75 with proof of purchase, or up to $45 without proof of purchase.  This is from a proposed class action settlement.

You can file your claim at this website.  The direct link to the claim form is here. Thanks to readers Tim & Jack for the heads-up on this.  They said it takes less than a minute to fill out the form.  Keep those tips comin’!


Time Warner Cable & CBS’ Kerfuffle


TWC_CBS_logosTime Warner Cable and CBS are a feudin’.  Get a big discount off your bill NOW, before they make nicey-nice.

TWC blacked out CBS in New York, Los Angeles, Dallas, Boston, Chicago, Denver, Detroit and Pittsburgh.  TWC customers nationwide have also lost access to Showtime, The Movie Channel and The Smithsonian Channel, which are also owned by CBS.

This ain’t your problem.  You paid for programming – you should get programming or money back.  Last year, DirecTV and Viacom were in a similar spat.  I don’t know what TWC will give you, but last year I got $80 off my DirecTV bill.

As President Obama’s former chief of staff Rahm Emanuel famously said, “You never want a serious crisis to go to waste.”  I’m not sure where missing Under The Dome or Dexter is on the crisis spectrum, but if you don’t call TWC, you are leaving money on the table.

Watch the first minute of this video to get my take on DirecTV and Viacom’s hissy fit:


The Password Is…


PasswordOddCoupleThe one sheet o’ paper you should fill out for your heirs is one with all of your usernames, passwords, and security questions to all the websites where you have assets.

You especially want to do this for loyalty programs such as frequent flyer mile, rental car and hotel point accounts.  Those miles/points can be worth thousands in free flights, rentals and stays.  Heck, use them to bring in family members in for the funeral.

As Airfarewatchdog reported, the left hand does not know what the right hand is doing regarding inheriting frequent flyer miles.  Airlines’ policies vary from charging to transfer miles to saying the miles are forfeited on death.  Some airlines contradict their policy in practice.  They won’t give you a straight answer.  So don’t ask.

Sign into the deceased’s account and use their miles/points.  Just like how Aunt Millie could sign into her own account and get a plane ticket for you, in your name while she was alive, you could do the same for yourself after she passes.

Related topic: AwardWallet is a handy service that organizes hundreds of loyalty reward programs into one place.  So you can see exactly what you have where.  You can track also track other people’s accounts.  I use it to track my accounts as well as those of some family members.  It’s pretty handy.  Click here to try AwardWallet.

Living Will DNR Tatt

A Will is NOT a Living Will


living_will_DNR_tattAs most people know, a Will tells those you left behind who gets what – of your stuff.  A Living Will is completely differnet, or different.  Thanks spellchecker.

A Living Will is the document that speaks for you when you are incapacitated, telling loved ones and medical personnel what you would and would not like done to and for you.  On hospital TV dramas, there is always hoopla around someone having a “DNR” – a Do Not Resuscitate order.  The DNR is in the Living Will.

Personally, I don’t want to be trapped in my body.  I don’t want to think of the next day’s post overnight, then blink it out like The Diving Bell and the Butterfly guy.  My greatest fear is that I will be locked in my body, unable to communicate, and somebody turns on an I Love Lucy marathon on my TV.  Oh, kill me.  Seriously, pull the plug!  “Vitameatavegamin?”  Oh sweet baby Jesus, take me now!!

Read More
Nicholsonshining Small

Trustees Gone Wild!


nicholsonshining-smallIf you set up a Revocable Living Trust, make sure you choose a Trustee who will actually carry out your wishes.  This sounds obvious, but some Trustees go rogue.  Get a load of what a friend of mine went through.  (Names have been changed to protect the innocent.  Just like on Dragnet… or some other TV show that hasn’t been on the air for 40 years.)

Joe’s aunt (Auntie Jane) had a Revocable Living Trust.  As you know from a recent post, she set this up so her assets would avoid Probate completely, passing easily, and tax-free to the beneficiaries she named in her Trust.

Auntie Jane had no husband or children.  20 years ago, she named Joe’s cousin Biff as the Successor Trustee – the person in charge after she died.  Biff would tidy up her affairs and disburse the inheritance to the beneficiaries.  Auntie Jane passed away.

Her Trust clearly stated that “only non-beneficiary Trustees may be compensated.”  Because Biff was a beneficiary, he would not get paid for tidying up her affairs.  This is common.  Most family members who are given the position of Trustee think of it as an honor and/or a duty.

Well… Biff didn’t like that idea, so he hired an attorney on the Trust’s dime to “advise” him.  The result: Biff started charging the Trust $65 an hour for his time, ultimately

Read More

Death Week – Get A Living Trust


If you own a house, you should look into forming a Revocable Living Trust.  It can save you tens of thousands of dollars.  Your heirs will thank you for it.  And, you’ll look pretty smart from the grave!

Here’s my video on this fun topic from a few years ago:

> Probate Shortcuts – By State or click here, choose your state, click Probate Shortcuts
> Allowable Probate Fees – California
> Use a Revocable Living Trust to Avoid Repeating Probate in Several States
> LegalZoom & Nolo can also help

Page 9 of 31« First...«7891011»2030...Last »