Saturday, October 12, 2002 at 18:25:23 (EDT)

In which, I broach the subject of my nutty neighbor

So the roofer visited and assessed the problem: "Ah, it's ya neighbor, mon." He had this great Jamaican accent tinged with a British accent. I wish I had a cool accent. Sometimes I think after living in Brooklyn for a couple years that I've developed some kind of old school Brooklyn Accent, but I still talk through my nose too much. Like Manhattanites, I've noticed. People who live in Manhattan don't have the accent, not anymore, it's moved to the outer boroughs, and has been joined with all the countless other accents already here.

The roofer says that the nutty guy who owns the house next door has his drainpipe so screwed up it's pouring water into my bedroom. The neighboring houseowner, Marc, is a blog in of itself. He owns the place, but doesn't live there; the lower floors are actually bricked up to keep out the crackheads. He comes by once every week or so, disappears inside, whereupon we hear what sounds like him hitting stuff with a hammer. Then he leaves. I guess he's trying to renovate the house all by himself. He is in his late 50's, wears a beret and drives a rotting BMW from the 80's. I think Marc has, spiritually and literally, seen better days.

The drainpipe in question has been burning my ass all summer. It is missing sections, so when it rains, water spews out all over the place. The pipe itself is not connected to the drain built into the foundation, so water runs out all over the place, going everywhere, except into the drain. To combat pooling, Marc has placed a big bucket near the pipe, but not really under it. He has also taken a piece of sheet metal and tented it around the bucket and drain, in some effort to control where the water goes. The result is a highly controlled water flow ... into my basement.

Well, it's not really MY basement. Living on the ground floor apartment, we are the only apartment that has direct access to said basement and, although originally specified as space for all tenants' use, we're the only ones who ever use it. We store some stuff under the stairs, and we play music down there. I even bought a drumset on eBay to put down there. It never used to flood, until this summer, when suddenly water was flowing like the black gold at the opening of The Beverly Hillbillies. I complained to the landlady about it, but she of course did nothing. Today, I got to show the roofing guy the basement and whine about the leakage. I don't know if he has any power to help, but it felt good to show a 3rd party how I've suffered. I've rigged up a bucket, some towels and a bunch of cardboard boxes to staunch the water flow. But it still ends up getting the drums wet every time.

But now that we have water coursing down our walls, I think I'll finally be in the correct moral position to tell Marc to get his shit together. He's not a bad guy, he's just nuts. I'll elaborate on that later. If he would just fix his drainpipe, all my problems would be solved. Ideally, I'd like him to completely renovate his house, and then sell it to me! I know for a fact our landlady paid around 180K for this house, and his house is very much the same style, just in terrible disrepair. If ya don't know, 180K for a whole house in this part of town is nothing short of miraculous. Of course, our landlady had to do a lot of the renovation, but from the look of it, she, shall we say, cut some corners. Anyhow, I love this neighborhood, and I love these funny houses we live in on this block (if someone can find a house in the same style as mine, please let me know, I've never seen houses like this anywhere else in town). If I could buy my own apartment, I'd do it in a second. It's not perfect, but it has so many of the things I really don't wanna live without. It's basically 3 floors, with a garden, a weird homemade enclosed patio thing in the back, and it's near enough to the subway to make it tolerable (okay it's the G train, but whaddya gonna do?).

Man, I've been writing so much since I started this blog. I suppose I should archive soon, people may be viewing this on a dial-up account, something I pray I never have to do again. I posted several things just today, as I am hanging around the house and feeling kind of under the weather for some reason. Maybe it was all the Sing-Ha I drank last night. I need to conserve energy for the Shellac show tonight. I sort of dread the fact that we might run into our old roommate there. I really could do with not seeing him. He was always a nice enough guy, but when he dumped Annoying Roommate, he dumped B and I as well. He never communicates with us, it's like we were Disposable Friends. Or maybe he never liked us at all, we were just a means to reduce his rent. Worst of all, he stuck us with the leftover girlfriend, whom we never liked in the first place. That's the greatest insult of them all. We could be living with any number of people we actually like, but we're stuck with this freakazoid because there is some unwritten law that says the Dumper must leave the apartment to the Dumpee. Who knows? He isn't saying, and from the looks of things on his website, he doesn't give a rat's ass about what became of his ol' pals. Maybe I'll ask Steve Albini what he would do in this situation! It would probably get too drawn out and he'd make fun of me. Maybe I'll ask Shellac if they think God exists, like that Onion article.

Posted By Jimmy Legs

My favorite is the kitten who plays vibes

Saturday, October 12, 2002 at 16:54:43 (EDT)

In which, I've been living off of grass and the drippings from my ceiling
We live in a brownstone-type townhouse (but it's not brown), occupying the ground floor and part of the parlor floor. There are two floor above us. On the floor directly above us there are two rooms. The one directly above our bedroom is vacant, and has no plumbing of its own. Directly above this room is a tiny studio apartment (i.e., it has its own plumbing). V lives in this apartment. I haven't spoken much to him since we met him the night he got mugged. He was so freaked out he didn't even remember seeing us that night. I went up to ask him if water was running down his walls. I suspected that either there was a leak in the roof, or his sink was somehow leaking (the sink is on the same wall as our leak, in roughly the same area). Anyhow, he checked his wall and cabinet under the sink. No sign of any leakage. I don't know how the hell this happens. It must be a roof leak, but one that somehow circumvents his wall and goes to ours. I dunno if it is coming through the empty room above ours, tho I want to break in and check it out.

The water keeps running down the wall. It didn't really damage anything, but the paint is bubbling off the walls in the bedroom and in the bathroom on the ground floor. I finally got a hold of the landlady and she said she'd call the roofer, who should arrive soon. I'll say this for leaky walls: they give you the rare opportunity to clean under the bed and behind the futon. Whew! No matter what you do, cats will get hair all over your house.

Posted By Jimmy Legs

Saturday, October 12, 2002 at 16:22:19 (EDT)

In which, I speak far too seriously about comic strips

I just discovered that Berkeley Breathed has a website! He was the genius behind "Bloom County", my favorite comic strip of all time. There's only a few strips that ever matched its wit, namely The Boondocks, Zippy the Pinhead, and of course Doonesbury. Reading Bloom County in the morning papers during my youth had a cumulative effect on my way of viewing the world. Between this comic and other influences like George Carlin, I realized that humor didn't just have to occupy the realm of recreation, that you could actually change how people think with it. And Bloom County was more effective than those one-panel political cartoons, as they tend to simple embodiments of a particular issue. Bloom County built itself a whole world and a huge number of characters to inhabit it, without ever falling into the trap of 'normal' comics by being too self-referential. The Bloom County world existed as a stage on which Breathed aped the absurdity of our culture. As much as I love The Boondocks, it just isn't interested in this scope to the same degree. Doonesbury is always political but it doesn't have the heart Bloom County did.

Breathed's wit is sorely needed these days, for obvious reasons. I wish he'd start a blog, just we could know what he thought of The Current Unpleasantness. Sadly, all I've seen of him lately is a doubtless compensated endorsement for Salon Premium, and an entry in The Onion AV Club's recent article about the existence of God. Maybe if enough people bug him, he'll be forced to start producing the funny stuff again.

Posted By Jimmy Legs

Saturday, October 12, 2002 at 13:30:06 (EDT)

In which, A has a party

The party last night was fun. A is house-sitting in SoHo and had us all over to pretend we're wealthy socialites. I didn't see any bodegas in the neighborhood, but there were two gourmet food stores within two blocks of the place. Who knows, it was raining, so I may have missed others.

So we ate lots of olives and tried not to drink the Campari, which belonged to the rightful owners of the apartment. We were not successful. It's weird, I dunno if I'd appreciate it if I really lived in an apartment like that, but it seems the cool view out the window makes up for a lot of the apartment's shortcomings. Maybe that's how people in Manhattan can do it, they all live in tall buildings with something cool out the window. My view is of my backyard and some other backyards. That's okay, though, cuz I really like having the yard. But the SoHo apartment was not enormous, and its design was not architecturally stunning, either. It was most utilitarian. But it was cool, you had that view, you were right on top of all the stuff happening in the street (if it hadn't been raining, the street scenes would have been livelier still). I think hanging out there finally made me understand the allure of Manhattan livin'. I'm still totally devoted to the Mother Borough, but I tell ya, when I win that Lotto thing, I'm gettin' me a pad Downtown.

We left the party about 2:15, and went to the nearby station at Canal. There we sat for nearly an hour waiting for a train that Would Not Come. In that time, two trains showed up, much to our disgust. And traveling on the uptown track, there were 3 trains that passed through while we were there. What the hell is that about?! trains in Manhattan? Something sinister was afoot, no doubt. Finally, some guy, who also had been waiting forever, went to ask the guy in the booth upstairs what was up. He returned and informed us all that no A trains would be stopping there, that we had to go uptown to West 4th to get a downtown train, which was running on the line. Strange, since the train was running on the line at that point. We emitted a mass groan and headed upstairs. B talked me into taking a cab home. I hate taking taxis to Brooklyn, because a) you have to jump in the cab first so they can't refuse you, and b) no cab driver in America knows where Clinton Hill is. Most don't seem to know what Ft. Greene or Bed-Stuy is, either, so you're sunk either way.

We awoke this morning to find water running down our wall and into the bathroom below. I can't wait to find out how this happened.


Posted By Jimmy Legs

Hubcap & Decatur's Photo Album

Friday, October 11, 2002 at 18:22:19 (EDT)

In Which, I Recall Why I Didn't Move to Chicago

Shellac is coming to town again, and you should be as excited as I am. They are gonna remind us new Yorkers what rock music is all about. It shouldn't be all about aping your influences, it should be about building on them. I was at Manitoba's a couple weeks ago to se The Means, a totally rockin' outfit from Columbus, OH by way of Chicago. The band that played after them, Dementia 13, was a by-the-numbers 'garage' band and though they rocked on "Looking at You" by the MC5, they basically amounted to a pretty tight cover band. The lead singer even had that proto-mullet hairstyle that has short bangs but grows down to the chin the rest of the way around. Basically Joan Jett's hairstyle in the 80's. Now there was a time when I would have gone hog wild for a band like this, back when it was rare to see anybody taking the 'History of Rock'n'Roll' approach to music in the 90's. But nowadays, come on! Garage bands are everywhere, even Sweden (do they even have garages there?). Do not let it be said that I think bands like the Woggles, the Fleshtones and, at times, even Dementia 13 don't rock, but when I see stuff like that now I keep thinking, "Cool, but only if they could use this expertise for something more original."

Shellac, of course, is a testament to this. They don't sound like anything that came before ('cept maybe some Scratch Acid/Jesus Lizard stuff), and they've positioned themselves in such a way that their music grows and changes organically. Christ, I sound like friggin' music critic. I will stop. Suffice it to say that Shellac is my favorite band, and glad am I that they are still together, allowing me to actually see them live on occasion. When I was in high school, pretty much as soon as I liked a band, they broke up: The Smiths, Husker Du, Joy Division. How refreshing to see a band that doesn't break up.

My only concern is that I can never think of anything to ask them. They always devote a large portion of their shows to answering audience questions, which seems nice of them until you hear how they react when they think of question is dumb. That's when it gets entertaining. But I've never had a question that hasn't already been answered somewhere else. I think I might ask Steve why he thinks he did so bad when he appeared on "Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me." But I'd rather ask Bob or Todd a question, cuz I think they get pissed when all the attention is on Steve. And no wonder, people always seem to think it's all Steve Albini's band, rather than Bob Weston's band, or Todd Trainer's band. That sort of divisive thinking is what broke up bands like 10,000 Maniacs and Miami Sound Machine. Don't let it happen to Shellac!

Bands like Shellac were the sole reason I ever considered moving to Chicago. Chicago has such a great music scene, I thought it must be a cool place to live. But from what I hear, Shellac rarely plays their home town. So right there is reason enough not to live there.

Posted By Jimmy Legs
Yahoo Groups Shellac Message Board

Friday, October 11, 2002 at 14:35:06 (EDT)

Hubcap & Decatur's Favorite Pastimes for Cats
  • Sit on Something New
  • Hiss'n'Swat
  • Whining for Absolutely No Reason
  • Pick Stocks Based on Where Hubcap Barfs
  • How Long Will it Take to Get Stepped On?
  • Window Screen-Hanging for Time and Height
  • Laptop Touch-Typing
  • Flying Insect Flamenco
  • Play Fighting/Seriously Fighting
  • How Far Can I Knock this Kibble?
  • "Scratchtasia"
  • Litterbox Discus
  • Sit'n'Stare
  • You Love Me, But
  • Cockroach Hockey
  • Nag the Humans
  • Toilet Sippin'
  • What's That Smell?
  • I'm Only Biding My Time
  • I Might Love You
  • Tough with the Stray Cats When There's a Door Between Us
  • I Hate You
  • I Hate Everybody
  • Rollin' in Filth!
  • The Unstoppable Invisible Mouse
  • Centipede Snacktime
  • Bite + Do Not Let Go
  • Bet I can Jump on That
  • Whoops

Posted By Jimmy Legs

Friday, October 11, 2002 at 14:18:21 (EDT)

Why can't I find a straight answer why our government is rapidly turning into a totalitarian state? They interviewed some schmoe who helped grant Bush his 'special powers' and he said something like "Well, we need to get the support of our allies on this Iraq thing, and this will help." Bwha?

Posted By Jimmy Legs

Thursday, October 10, 2002 at 22:53:01 (EDT)

Chef Boyardee rocks your lame ass
Whoa. I just checked out that Chef Boyardee site, and damn if I wasn't dead on. It has an opening Flash intro that feature anthropomorphic pasta pieces hanging out inside the can, cold chillin'. Then a scary spectral figure opens the can and swallows them whole, with some derivative thrash music playing.

This whole "It's not your father's Oldsmobile" thing needs a rest. It's sooo played.

Posted By Jimmy Legs

Thursday, October 10, 2002 at 22:41:50 (EDT)

In Which, I reveal my Million-Dollar Idea

B doesn't think this is a good idea, but joining the trend of companies poking ironic fun at themselves (Old Navy, Preparation H), I realized I was sitting on an advertising goldmine:

Why hasn't Chef Boyardee bought the rights to Fear's "Beef Baloney" and rewritten it as "Beefaroni"? People who'd never heard the song would think it clever and right in line with the sort of ampped-up "extreme" advertising we've come to expect these days. And people who actually know the song will think, "no shit, Beefaroni ... it IS cool!"

With a few skillful edits, I've managed to take what once was a crude meditation on brutish sexual imagery and turn it into a powerfully seductive ploy for a specialty macaroni and meat sauce dish. Compare below and see if your mouth isn't watering:

Beef Baloney (By fear)

She don't like fashions, she don't like phonies
She don't like junkies, she don't like druggies
She just wants my beef baloney

Beef, beef beef, beef baloney (x4)

She don't like salami, she don't want pastrami
She don't want a chicken, she don't want a roast
She just wants her double dose

Beef, beef, beef, beef baloney, beef, beef, beef

BEEFARONI (Arr. by J. Legs)

She don't like fashions, she don't like phonies
She don't like junkies, she don't like druggies
She just wants my BEEFARONI

Beef, beef beef, beef BEEFARONI (x4)

She don't like salami, she don't want pastrami
She don't want a chicken, she don't want a roast
She just wants her double dose OF BEEFARONI

Beef, beef, beef, BEEFARONI, beef, beef, BEEFARONI

Posted By Jimmy Legs

Thursday, October 10, 2002 at 18:32:37 (EDT)

In Which, House Votes to Give Bush Scary Iraq War Powers
This article makes me think of the end of Tron, when the MCP (Master Control Program) is bested by Tron and Jeff Bridges, but before he shuts down, he gives all his computing gusto to Sark ("All my powers are now yours..."). Sark then goes from a normal-sized program to an enormous behemoth with glowing eyes, and proceeds to worry Tron before he gets his gizmo-laden head split open. Sorry if I've just ruined a fine film for anyone out there.

Anyhow, that article makes me imagine Bush, standing astride the White House, 50 feet tall, hands on hips and laughing ominously.

I just wish that sniper in DC would get his priorities straight.

Posted By Jimmy Legs

MP3s from an old Shellac show in Iceland! Shellac plays NYC this weekend!

Thursday, October 10, 2002 at 15:26:01 (EDT)

In which, I take it to the streets! Sort of.

I gave it a shot. I went up to City Hall for the meeting and I couldn't get in. Bloomberg's smoking ban is more popular than 'NSYNC right now. When I got off the train, I first realized I didn't even know which building was the city hall. I know the park, it's right around the corner from my old office (now a vacant lot on Vesey St.). But I couldn't figure out which building was the place to be.

I wandered around and found that one of the buildings is called the Tweed Courthouse. Imagine that! A courthouse named after one of the most famously corrupt administrations this city has ever seen. At least I assume it's named after "Boss" Tweed. Anyhow, I made my way down to what turned out to be the correct building, only to find the gate barred and a bunch of people milling around in front of said gate. I wondered if these were the people I'd read about on NYC CLASH's website, the opponents of the ban, fiesta souls who refuse to let this or any government take away one more of a rapidly depleting supply of liberty. I ran to embrace them.

But then I realized I was surrounded by people wearing stickers that read something like "Employees for a Smoke-Free Workplace." I recoiled in horror. Not only were these not the CLASH folks, they were the people's whose lives would be 'saved' should the ban pass, at my expense. I know, I know, I feel bad for these people who work, apparently against their will, in places that allow smoking. But I'm annoyed that this city has turned what once was an occupational hazard into a huge political issue. Is the job market really so bad that people who don't like it can't avoid working at smoking establishments? Where are these people finding their jobs?! Everyone I know (especially B) is dying to find a job at a bar. They long for the sulfurous stench to linger on their hair and clothes for hours, the Zen like filling and emptying of ashtrays, the trinkets like Schlitz-branded ashtrays and Bar-Name Emblazoned Matchbooks. Are my pals just lazy? Perhaps. But I am astonished to find so many people forced to work an industry that does not correspond to their own values.

Wait a minute. Neither does my industry. Why am I subjected to annoying cubicle-mates and bad jokes when I 'm in the office? Why must I join in singing off-key renditions of "The Happy Birthday Song" to coworkers with whom I am barely on a first-name basis? And why haven't I been given a raise in the last two years? All of these things are crippling my health, I can assure you. Yet somehow, the human spirit persists. Beckett was right.

So, back to the crowd outside the gates. The security guard was only letting people with green passes go in. I guess they were Press People. I walked through the park and watched some asinine press conference on the steps of city hall. People had posters that had pithy, insightful and catchy slogans like "Secondhand Smoke Kills." There was some poor college student dressed up as (I guess) "Mr. Butts" from Doonesbury, a walking cigarette, the satirical symbol of Big Tobacco. Actually, this guy's costume was a little too wide to really resemble a cigarette; this guy looked more like an enormous chocolate shake with a big happy face. His poster said "I [Heart] Secondhand Smoke." That doesn't even make sense.

I wandered over to the other side to see if they'd let me in there, as there didn't seem to be a crowd of any sort there. But the security guard on that side said the meeting was already too crowded, and only people who were planning to speak out at the meeting would be allowed in. I pondered this. If I stepped up to the mic I could get in. For a moment I considered it. I thought I could milk some mileage in the fact that I used to work in the substance abuse industry (okay, I was an Admin. Asst. but I often came in contact with helpful flyers about addiction). I could speak to the many persons I knew through that agency who, although freed from the perils of alcoholism, relied on the smaller vice of smoking to keep their frayed wits about them. How in a world gone mad, we'd all do well to take a step back and give a little room to our fellow humans. How the shared heritage of smoking is pretty much the last thing we have to bridge the gap between strangers ("Pardon me, got a light?"). To quote Eric Bogosian, smoking has become "The Last Neighborhood in America."

But I said to hell with it and went to Century 21 instead.

Posted By JimmyLegs

Thursday, October 10, 2002 at 10:49:39 (EDT)

In Which, I tell you what's Cool

So today is the City Council meeting to discuss the proposed smoking ban. I can't decide if I should go. On the one hand, I'd like to show my support for the pro-smoking side, but on the other, I don't think it'll do any good. I've never been to a city council meeting, though. It might be fun to see how it works. It might also be painfully boring, too. I remember in high school I went to a Board of Education meeting because they were threatening to cancel the music and arts programs due to 'lack of funding'. A ton of people showed up and it didn't do any good at all. People gave speeches and whatnot, but the Board never appeared to listen to anybody. In the end, they didn't stop anything, as a levy passed so everybody's taxes went up which is, of course, fine.

Anyhow, this smoking thing is so annoying. The anti-smoking factions have a millions perfectly valid reasons for being against tobacco. But as B puts it, "it's just not cool." That's really the only argument we've got. But it's better than anything else we have. If you don't know why it's important to allow smoking in bars (if nowhere else), I won't be able to explain it to you. Chances are, you've never been cool, and you will never know cool in your lifetime. I know I'm not cool, But I have an inkling of What Cool Is, or more correctly, What Cool Was. And you don't.

That's part of the reason this whole thing reminds me of the war-in-waiting. In both instances, the proponents pitch the argument at a level of such incredible simple-mindedness, it leaves the opponents with their mouths hanging open. The idea that the smoking ban is to help protect people who work in bars (how many people is that, really?) is pitched at about the same level as Bush sneering, "We're going to rid the world of Evil." Uh, wha? From the get-go, any thinking person knew this latest international conflict wasn't going to be as simple as Good Guys vs. Bad Guys, But that's how the Bush Administration is proceeding. And I'm not really exaggerating. Obviously, the notion of total world destruction is probably a little more pressing than whether I can smoke when I go to Freddy's, But I gotta take them in the order of which one affects me first.

So should I go to this City Council meeting? They say it could drag on for hours, But since I'm working from home, nobody will really notice my absence, I guess. It all just seems so pointless now. I'm will to bet nobody on the Health Committee is Cool, and we KNOW the Mayor ain't Cool. One thing about the UnCool is they know how to get into positions of power. I'm afraid the closest thing the Cool can claim and leadership achievement is the election of Jesse Ventura, a dubious distinction at best. I think the act of voting for Ventura was probably cooler than the fact of him actually being in charge, But the point stands.

Ugh, I guess I'll go. I won't be able to live with myself if I don't. This is pointless. Maybe I'll light up in the meeting room.

Posted By JimmyLegs

Wednesday, October 09, 2002 at 12:58:35 (EDT)

In which the privileged class stops pretending to be humble

The Bush administration keeps getting more bullheaded with each passing day. Now even the CIA's best efforts report that Iraq isn't gonna attack the USA, unless provoked. Well, Bush intends to do just this. Everybody's so snowed on this, I can't believe it! Cultural Amnesia has us thinking that Iraq attacked us in the past, like during the Gulf War. Uh, hello? Iraq invaded Kuwait. Last time I checked, Kuwait was not the 51st state. It's just a place that has oil and poor people. Bush Sr. sent in some guys in ugly desert-camoflague to 'liberate' these people, and they were so grateful that two of them shot some Marines the other day. Yes, you're welcome!

Saddam Hussein is probably not a nice guy. He's killed a lot of people, But so has George Bush. And if it could be proven that he is working up something fierce the only right way to handle it is an international coalition. And it has to be a majority situation. The idea of the US ever acting alone is just about the worst thing I can imagine in terms of our future standing with the rest of the world. But Bush doesn't care, because he is so convinced he's right, and that "We're the Good Guys," he won't even pretend to act like he cares what the world thinks.

It will be historically embarrassing if George Bush, our most embarrassing President since Ford, becomes some kind of World Dictator. And it will prove in the extreme how super-rich, well-heeled children really can do whatever they want and suffer absolutely no consequences. People are always ready to give him another chance, cut him slack, give him the benefit of the doubt. I've never seen anything like it, except perhaps for the scene in Quiz Show when the subcommittee that has just grilled Herbie Stempel (a Jew) in a harsh way, shows peculiar deference to Charles Van Doren (WASP), even though they both have taken in part in the then-shocking quiz show rigging scams.

On, some polls related to Iraq are showing promise. The country seems divided about whether or not we should go in and oust Hussein. The most recent polls shows fewer people in favor of it, But statistically it doesn't mean much. Yet. Another poll asks "Are we winning the War on Terrorism, losing it, or is it a draw?" I think that's hilarious. "Sorry, boys, we're calling it a draw. Everybody go home." Awwww...

Posted By JimmyLegs
The EPA report on secondhand smoke is false

Wednesday, October 09, 2002 at 11:48:26 (EDT)

In which, I find myself disgusted by things people do


I think Annoying Roommate got lucky last night. Ewwww. Sorry, it's not fair But the idea of what went on in there is highly repellent to me. When you get to know somebody well, it's difficult to imagine not knowing them at the depth to which you are accustomed. And when new people meet that person it's hard to imagine their ignorance. We're looking at the same person, But the other guy doesn't know how she can't take care of herself, how she whines about things in hopes that somebody else will solve her problems, how she wants to be a pitied creature, But accepts too much money from her parents for that to work.

Most of the time I don't really mind her. But she's always a good target for any displaced aggression I have at a given moment. It doesn't do any harm; she is so oblivious, she steadfastly refuses to notice that anybody dislikes her. Maybe that's the best way to go through life. George Bush does a good job of this. Grr, I don't want to think about politics! But I can't help it.

I keep conflating the Iraq thing with Bloomberg's smoking ban. Both smack of government gone awry, spinning towards dictatorship. The whims of the King define our daily lives. So There.

Posted By JimmyLegs
Dustinland, amusing comics

Wednesday, October 09, 2002 at 00:56:03 (EDT)

In Which, I get riled up But don't actually do anything
Now for my first real post using my new blog script! I was gonna keep doing this site the old fashioned way, editing the index page and re-upping it any time I had new material. But since soon I will be returning to my company's newly-relocated offices, I figured I should come up with something I can access without the boon of ftp access. At first I thought I'd go back to using Blogger, which I had done for a while in the past. But that thing irks me. As does LiveJournal, Diaryland and the lot of we'll-do-it-for-you blog services. So I went to good ol' Matt's Script Archive and downloaded the ancient guestbook script package (circa 1996). After tinkering around with it for the past 24 hours, I think I finally got it where I wanted it. I know dick about CGI and Perl, But after I messed with the code for a while it started to make sense. I know if I don't look at the code for a week I will forget all I've learned, But for now I gotta say CGI is a lot more forgiving than Javascript, the only other scripting lingo I'd ever bothered to explore.

So I enter the text in a web page, and it automatically writes to the main blog page. I'll still have to archive manually, But that's okay, as I don't plan to do it often.

Meanwhile, I am trapped upstairs as Annoying Roommate is wooing a lad on her tiny ugly couch in the living room, and I shan't desire to see that. Part of me wants to run down there and tell her, "Get out! She's really, really irritating!" But then the other part of me think, "Maybe they'll fall in love and move in together, somewhere far, far away, so me and B can have this joint all to ourselves and the cats. When Annoying Roommate got dumped by her boyfriend, Emotionally-Unavailable Man, she said she was moving out. That was 6 months ago. Alas. We have many friends who have expressed a great desire to take her place, But she won't budge. We even placed a bounty on her head, spreading the word that anyone who can force her to leave can have the room. But this resulted in a lot of references to that episode of the Brady Bunch in which the kids tried to make the real estate agent think the house was haunted. But nothing more was heard on this subject.

Posted By Jimmy Legs

Wednesday, October 09, 2002 at 00:01:13 (EDT)

In which, I test my new blog script
Since Earthlink can't handle personal freedoms, I think I'm gonna host this blog from my old Frognet account, which I have had since, um, 1995! Ah, those were the days. Anyone remember Mosaic (from whence Mozilla gets his name)? They still make Mosaic, I guess, But they never updated it to accept later forms of HTML. This is fascinating, innit?

Posted By JimmyLegs
Inspiration for this hacked blog script (thanks Stega)

Tuesday, October 8, 2002 3:18 PM

In Which, New Yorkers buy into the Propaganda without thinking

A rousing discussion on the Straphangers Message Board. I just came up with this response which I feel I must post here (mostly cuz it goes on so long):

okay, while secondhand smoke is not healthy, I think most people think it is worse than it is, based on a big study performed by the EPA several years ago. But I've read that many in the research industry have decried its conclusions, namely because they released them *before* the study was actually complete.

The World Health Organization later commenced its own study, But its results were not touted highly, mainly because the WHO was disappointed to find that SHS was shown to be far less harmful than the EPA's study.

in fact, in tests at restaurants in which there was smoking going on, the study found that the most harmful particulate matter in the air was fumes off a steak sizzlin' on the grill! what are we gonna do, boil our steaks?

smoke can be a nuisance. it can be harmful at high levels. why hasn't the city ever bothered to adopt building codes related to smoking (or are they present But not enforced?). if you're in a bar with good ventillation, there should be no problem. if you're at a place like the Alibi in Ft Greene, however, you're going to walk into a cloud of smoke that's been hanging around since the place opened.

bars have liquor licenses. Why not have smoking licenses? that would quickly separate the wheat from the chaff in terms of which bar owners would fork over the cash for the permit, and then the city would make a little money from the deal.

they bend over backward to keep people drunk, But we're just gonna ban all smoking because our mayor thinks it's 'stupid'? whatever happened to republicans wanting to minimize government interference in people's lives? wasn't that supposed to be their one rdeeming quality?



Tuesday, October 8, 2002 11:03 AM

In Which, I rag on nonsmokers
Morality/health aside, if you frequent bars, you see a lot of smokers. They may be a minority in the overall population of NYC, But just looking at bar patronage, they are the majority. I've never seen a bar peopled by more nonsmokers than smokers, except in dumbass California.

So why is every snooty nonsmoker jumping on the bandwagon for Bloomberg's Total Smoking Ban? They're not at the bars now. The smoke's keeping them out! I get so pissed off when I hear them grouse about smoke, and express their admiration for Mikey and his plan to make bars solely places of alcohol addiction. It is very easy to support something that has nothing to do with you. Oh, I support the rights of Afgan women to not have to walk around with bags on their heads, But what the fuck do I really know about it? Were Americans surprised to learn that when the US 'liberated' Afganistan, the Afgani women didn't simultaneously drop their veils and hold a wet t-shirt contest?

So you nonsmokers will forgive me if I don't drop my cig and start sucking on something else in appreciation of your armchair efforts to save my life and my bartender's life. And although I feel if this ban passes, it will undoubtedly damage the city's persona and its already-shaky financials, some people say it will bring out the folks who always avoided bars due to the smoke. Well GOLLLLLY! I can' wait to meet these daredevils!

You remember that scene at the end of Casino? When DeNiro is talking about how the casino ain't what they used to be, and there's that frightening shot of blurry, chubby, sweatsuit-sportin', moon-faced, corn-fed midewesterners approaching the casino floor in a wondrous daze? That's how I picture the scene here, The Day After. Oh, I can't wait!

Smoking does not make you cool. Smoking does not make you uncool. Smoking means you, for whatever reason, cannot work up the energy to give a rat's ass about your health, or, to a much lesser extent, the health of those around you. The city government wants to hold you accountable for this action, even though Nature will ultimately do a better job at it. Why can't the nonsmokers feel good about that at least? Us smokers are all gonna die soon enough, just wait it out!

Life will suck in New York if we can't smoke in bars. Fuck restaurants, I don't care what they do in there. But bars and smoking kind of go hand-in-hand, no? What will clubs like Smoke do? "Welcome to Smoke, please note, there is no smoking ... in Smoke." Or Circa Tabac? They'll have to change their name to "Circa Corndog" is people still expect to suck on something unhealthy inside. Maybe they'll be tobacco speakeasies, But what I really fear is the rise of indoor 'smoking cubicles' as seen at the Houston ariport: a 12 foot long plexiglass box packed with smokers, the tiny chamber filling up almost opaque.



Monday, October 7, 2002 7:49 PM

That's More Like It
Just saw this chart on

Ya know, I think I felt that moment in July, when our nation's satisfaction levels reached their nexus. Spooky.

I can't wait to see it after Bushy gives his little speech.



Monday, October 7, 2002 7:40 PM

In Which, I get nervous about war
There are a lot of stupid people in this town. You can't deny it. You take one subway ride and you will see several acts of pure stupidity. Some of these acts may committed by stupid persons who are close to you. Maybe they are committed by you. But despite the mind-boggling number of stupid persons in the city of New York, there are more smart people here than pretty much anywhere else. That doesn't make us immune to doing stupid things en masse (voting for Bloomberg), But at least most of the time you can understand the logic that went into such moves.

The rest of our great land, however, is people with really, really, stupid folk. For definitive evidence to that end, please consult It keeps track of national polls on hot topics, like Bush's Approval Ratings, and whether we can handle both the "war" on Terror as well as the "war" on Iraq, should it come to that. In general, the polls lean squarely towards the we'll-believe-anything-you-want-George crowd.

At least there is ample support against Bush's bizarre "regime-change" tactics in NYC. Hmm, what need is a regime-change in the USA.



Monday, October 7, 2002 5:34 PM

In Which, I ponder how technology and the proliferation of old scams
Visit this site to get a "Laptop for $25!" Didn't some East-European country completely fall apart because like every single person in the country was tied into a pyramid scheme? That's what the laptop thing is, you have to buy their eBook, "Net Success". I bet the long and the short of their expertise involves telling you how to set up an ugly website and entice people with the promise of fancy laptops if they buy the book.

I admit it, when I was a lad and low on cash, I fell for one of those "Stuff envelopes and make Ca$h!" ads in the local paper. First I send a SASE for more info. I receive a flimsy flyer telling me lots about how great money is, But precious little about the actual business. I send them $15. Eventually I get one more envelope from them. Inside is a white copy of the same flyer and badly typed letter explaining that money is made in this program by photocopying said flyer a million times, placing ads in newspapers around the country and awaiting people to stupidly send you money, just like I had done. This is the business equivalent of a virus, it doesn't produce anything, it only consumes and destroys.

It's sad when things prey on the weak and the stupid. But then again, whoever heard of preying on the smart and quick?



Monday, October 7, 2002 10:27 AM

In Which, I complain about my cushy job
Ah, Monday! Back to work, maintaining boring websites for people who don't give a damn. This is my last week as a full-time telecommuter. Alas. Next Tuesday I'll have to wake up early, get cleaned up and head for the subway to work ... Downtown. I haven't worked downtown for over a year. How strange. Since my building got demolished on 9/11®, I've been either working from home or traveling a hour to beautiful Weehawken, New Jersey. If you've never been, oh you must go. Actually my biggest fear this week is that I'll be forced to go back there for some reason. Like to put my name on a stapler or something. I have absolutely nothing in the office that I need, there's not even a CPU for my use there anymore. I'm totally portable nowadays.

The boss says we'll still be able to work from home somewhat, But we'll be expected to have a presence in the office. That's so stupid it makes me retch. To begin with, our department is strictly computer-related. We are all about websites and web-based applications. Short of the occasional meeting (which could be done by conference call anyway), there's no reason to go into the office. We're completely internal, there's no 'clients' outside of the company to meet. But there's always a stigma with telecommuters, that we're somehow slacking off all the time. Surely, we get to work in raggedy clothes, and I haven't taken a shower before 2pm in months, But I've actually found I work more at home than I ever did at the office.

And this may be the pernicious thing about telecommuting: you're always on call. I start working at 9 and at 5 ... well, who knows. Sometimes I just can't justify stopping just because I would if I was at the office. I've saved the commute and since it is, in theory, so easy to stop, I often have trouble doing it. I can assure you, once back in the office, my day ends at 5 (and maybe even earlier than that).

Good stuff about going back to the office: several friends of mine work in the Financial District, so we can get back to hanging out at the John Street Bar after work! Also, and this is the best part: Century 21! Yay! Okay, it's not the greatest store in the world, But now and then they get cool stuff in and it's cheap cheap cheap. They always seem to get those Steve Madden shoes in, $50 a pop. Not bad, especially in a town like this that eats up shoes.

On September 11th, after I spent most of the morning trying to get the hell out of downtown, my guilty little secret is that my first concern was not so much about what was going on, But how it would affect my access to Century 21. In the following days, some thoughtful reporter did a piece on the damage to the store.

But now it's back, though I haven't seen much there lately I like. It's always way too crowded. That's why it's important to work nearby; you can dash over at 10 AM on a Tuesday when nobody's there. But that's the downside of my new office: it's in the World Financial Building.

How the hell am I gonna get over there? I guess if the did me any good at all I'd be in luck. But now that the 1 train is safely back in Manhattan, it does this Brooklyn boy no good. I take the , probably to Broadway-Nassau, But maybe the Chambers St station would be preferable.



Sunday, October 6, 2002 6:50 PM

In Which, the merits of self-blogging are debated

I'm already over the hill in this web design business. I've been struggling all day with this stupid page, just to get it to do some very rudimentary things. Here's a fascinating tidbit: in Cascading Style Sheets, later commands override earlier ones! Just imagine your day's work being based around hundreds of such little factoids and you have an approximation of my job. Of course actual web engineering is one of the least aspects of my job, But being the one that the fewest number of people understand, it's always the aspect they expect to be done immediately. After all, transparency is our middle name!

Meanwhile, I'm trying to decide if I should host this blog on blogger, like I used to. It has many convenient aspects, But then again, why should it matter? Am I so dumb I can't open up a web page and add and subtract? Stega would never do that; she uses a hacked guestbook CGI script to post her thoughts to her site. I think she does LiveJournal, too, But it's secondary. The point is, even people with only a tenuous grasp of the concepts of HTML (c'est moi) can build and maintain their own pages.

When the WWW really got going, everybody thought it was gonna be the great leveler of society. Suddenly, any schmoe would be able to create websites as good as any multinational corporation. There something kinda Marxist about the whole thing. But then the AdMen got at it, and now companies even try to sell half-wits free software! And it has the rest of us thinking that the big companies know something we don't know.

But they don't. They can hire the best & brightest, and lord knows, they've hired people a lot more knowledgeable than I, But they really don't have anything over on us. Case in point: the RIAA has been flooding P2P networks with spoofs, mp3s that are in some way compromised so people will throw up their hands and cry, "An imperfect mp3??! Well, I never! I'll never download another piece of music again. Not even if my niece in Cleveland wants to send me a recording of her harp recital! If she does, I'll turn her in!"

That's a pretty dumbass way of handling things. I wonder how much cash the RIAA is blowing on trying to stop P2P, when they could make a world of difference simply by lowering their prices. If CDs were less than $10 a pop, I'd buy em all the time.

I'm getting off-message here. Bottom line is, I think I'll keep doing this myself. At least until that, too, is against the law.



Sunday, October 6, 2002 3:45 PM

In Which, I complain about cats and children
I slept badly last night. You'd think I'd be better at it, what with the years of practice and all. I woke up at 5 AM and could not fall asleep. Then I noticed I hadn't seen Decatur since we got home. So then I became consumed with irrational fears about an untimely demise for said feline. So like a complete dope I spent the next hour combing the apartment for this animal. I knew I wouldn't be able to sleep until I knew where she was. Finally, I looked out in the backyard and she came prancing up to me. I have no idea how she got out. Then she didn't want to come inside. I guess both pets and children are like this, you expend tons of energy worrying over them, only to have them show no capacity at all to appreciate this effort. In short, sorry mom & dad!



Sunday, October 6, 2002 3:19 PM

In Which, I embrace the 'Fold-Or-Die' culture
I rode the Folds Up! bike rider yesterday for the first time. It's an event sponsored by Times Up!, an enviro group that attempts to make this a less toxic city. Well, good luck with all that.

The ride was fun, though I was concerned about my ability to keep up with the herd. My bike is an ancient all-steel Raleigh, while nearly everyone else had newish, high-tech models. I think they took things slow for the benefit of us less athletically-inclined types.

The ride itself went all through downtown, over the Manhattan and Brooklyn bridges, and ended at the Hub Station, a bike station on the west side. My favorite part of the day was yelling en masse at any car that honked or came close to knocking on the bikes at the Hub Station. At some point some big tour bus with Florida plates tried to turn down the tiny street where the Hub Station keeps its pedibikes, a logistical impossibility. All the bikeheads starting yelling "What are you nuts!" and "Don't even try it." To which the driver responded with, "Hey, fuck you asshole," and flipped us the Bird. You never saw people so happy, they were so happy to be engaged about the subject of where motorized vehicles belong.

The whole experience was like taking one particular set of opinions I have about something (irritation with cars, love of tiny-wheeled bicycles, sweating), and have those values suddenly embodied in thirty people who feel the exact same way about it. This happens all the time, But it's the particular unlikeness of this view that I find remarkable. After riding my little bike around for a year, I still don't know anybody else who rides folding bikes, and even my full-size bike-riding pals don't seem to get it about what makes these things so cool. I think they think I'm just nuts.

Anyhow, I talked to the only other guy who had an old Raleigh there, it was actually a model that's smaller than mine, and older. He was cool, But a total gearhead. I only got about half of what he was talking about in terms of bike parts. A Brompton (Rolls-Royce of the folding bike set) owner said he had talked to this guy a few weeks ago at Central Park, But the gearhead had no memory of it. I commented, "Well, he probably remembers the bike, if not the owner." I got a laugh But I think I offended the guy, even though I spent most of the day gushing about his bike. Truly, if you have the means, I highly recommend picking one up. I just wish somebody's rip off the design and sell it for $100. Then I'd get one.

I was riding high on a crest of self-esteem when I left the Hub Station, so I rode my bike home. I had come up on the subway, which was a painful experience. It may be a folder, But damn, it weighs a ton, and even when folded it's pretty unruly. I think it might actually take up more space when folded than when not. This is why new folders are so superior, they really have amazing folding technology. The Brompton excels at this. My Raleigh Twenty basically folds in half, and then you're done. I did find a way to wheel it around on it's back wheel But this started to really beg the question of why I own a folder in the first place. At any rate, I decided it would be easier to just ride back to Brooklyn rather than hump it on the train.

The ride home was kinda rough. I think I tapped out on energy long before I left the Hub. So it was rough going (especially on the bridge, which is really the only place you find such grade), because I was so tired. But I ended up getting home pretty quickly and then I turned around and went again (sans bike). Today I'm feeling a little worn, But not so bad.



Week of October 6-12, 2002


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