Friday, May 02, 2003 at 16:13:45 (EDT)

Parteeeee People!! Partyeee People?
I've got to write shorter blog entries, something more like More Than Donuts, none of these extended meditations on stupid things I do to take up time. Okay here goes.

We currently rushing around trying to clean up this dump in preparation for our party tonight. This is the party that nearly no one we invited can make it. Perhaps it's because B began inviting people Tuesday night at midnight. Anyway, only a few select folks will be there at first. Others have promised to show up later, but I expect the later hour and the dangerous and seedy streets of my neighborhood may preclude people from making it here. Wimps!

Okay that was short but hardly interesting. If anybody out there wants to join us, lemme know. We probably should have waited until we had our proverbial shit together but since the smoking ban is in full effect now, we have no choice but to turn our pad into Party Central.

Posted By Jimmy Legs

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Thursday, May 01, 2003 at 22:19:28 (EDT)

I'm never quite so stupid as when I'm being smart
Now that I am over my cold, I finished up my day job early today and headed out to dig in the backyard. We're about to reseed and there's a lot of soil that needs to be broken up and moved around, since we dismantled the pathetic vegetable garden in the back. So I'm aerating parts of the yard, and digging out other parts to be lugged to the other parts. I'm also digging out as many bamboo roots as I can find. It is the scourge of a well-kept garden.

I'm digging away like I was in that kid's movie, sweating like a pig. Then I remembered there was a leak in the basement and I needed some JB Weld to patch it. The local hardware store would be closing soon, so I hopped on my bike and sped over to Adami. I couldn't find what I wanted, but bought something called plumber's epoxy, which was supposed to seal active leaks. I zipped back home and started to work, mixing the two parts together and applying it to the leaky pipe. It wasn't working.

The water kept dripping out. I set up a fan to get the putty to set faster. I took a hair dryer to it for about ten minutes, when suddenly it dawned on me: if I could find the valve, I could just shut off the water. The closest valve turned out to be on the hot water heater. I shut it off and the leak halted. Joy. I messed with the patch some more and left it to set. I dug some more in the backyard. I returned and turned on the hot water again, fearing that one of the upstairs neighbors would freak out (there are at least 6 people in this building who share the same tiny hot water heater). I turned the valve and some water dribbled out of it. No big deal, I thought. I checked the leaky pipe and it started dripping again. Oh well, I figured. I can work on it tomorrow when nobody's around. I checked the water heater. Water was still dripping from the valve. I turned the valve some more, somehow believing it would reduce the leakage. The leakage got worse. Much worse. The more I messed with the knob, the more water came out. It literally did that thing you see in cartoons, spraying out in my face. I managed to get it to where it was just leaking freely and stuck a bucket under it. I ran around like an idiot for a while, trying to think of something else to do. Finally, I prepared myself for the worst: I called the landlady.

She seemed characteristically unconcerned with my plight (it's not like she has to live in this dump), and said she'd try to get a plumber to come this evening. But she figured she wouldn't be able to get anybody to fix it until tomorrow. I cleared away all the band equipment, taking the guitars upstairs and moving the drumset out of the line of potential water torrents. I played with the valve some more. Little chunks of black stuff were coming out of the valve now. I realized this was probably the gasket. I could fix this, I thought to myself. But what did I know about gaskets? Were they a special size for water heaters? I gave up and decided to wait for the plumber.

I went back to the yard. It was growing dark now, so my digging seemed especially sinister. I dug to forget my basement woes. I threw myself into my work. I pulled every single muscle in my upper body at once. Those of you who know me may find this strange, but I am not in fact the tower of strength and sinew that I appear. Considering the most I ever do with my arms is work a pair of chopsticks, I'm surprised this didn't happen sooner. So I had to stop everything until the intense pain in my arms subsided. Luckily, Seinfeld was on.

I went back to the basement, glutton for punishment that I am. I looked at the bucket, horrified to find that it was totally full. It had been there for maybe an hour since I emptied it last. I devised a plan. I would run a hose from the leak to the drain pipe. Most drain pipes have a cap that can be removed for maintenance, so I though I could stick the hose into it and forget this whole irritating encounter. But alas, the entry point was too far for the hose to reach. The opening was covered with a panel from the circuit breaker box. I lifted it to reveal what was basically an open sewer. Now, for the love of Christ, I don't know why I did what I did next: I stuck my hand into it. I touched a substance best left undescribed, and recoiled. Now I know the reason it smells so bad in the basement during the summer. Yay.

That pretty much ended my inquisitive, problem-solving portion of the evening. I vigorously washed my hands. I went to the bodega and bought Corona, refried beans and taco shells. I whipped up some tacos and read The New Yorker. But alas, I had one more thing to attempt this night. I had to cut down part of a mulberry tree.

First, I snuck into the neighbor's yard (under cover of darkness, you may recall) and started up the tree. In my back pocket was a fearsome folding saw. I climbed as high as I could considering it was dark and I had already started drinking. I looked up to the offending branch: much too far.

Then I climbed on the roof of the back patio bunker and attempted to reach the branch with my homemade cherry-picker. Part of me wishes one of my neighbors had witnessed me there, on the tarpaper roof, threatening a tree with several broomsticks taped together. I descended, morose that I had accomplished none of the jobs I had attempted this day.

Then I did what I always do when real life is too much: I surfed the Web. Unable to focus on the far more important matters of celebrity sightings or whether it's still cool to like the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, I surfed over to some DIY home improvement sites. And I found this: Fix A Leaky Valve, and at step 2: Use the wrenches to tighten the valve and see if that stops the leak.

Dear god, I am the stupidest man on earth.

The whole time I was freaking about the water spraying out of the valve, it never occurred to me that all my twisting of the knob might have been loosening the nut that holds it in place. It's not like I could miss it, either, it's a huge brass nut. I rushed to the basement with my slip-joint pliers and like that! the leak abated. Good thing, too, since the bucket was already spilling over.

The plumber's still gotta come for the first leak, but I have at least repaired everything else I had broken in the process. I didn't get to reseeding the yard, but that can wait another day. And as for the mulberries, I am thinking of just living with it, maybe putting up a canopy for the month of June. Or buying a flamethrower.

And somehow, I am more secure than ever that I could own a house. As long as I can keep my stupidity to a reasonable level.

Posted By Jimmy Legs

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Thursday, May 01, 2003 at 12:20:29 (EDT)

Great Green Globs of Greasy Grimy Berry Guts
So I got through yesterday without strangling anyone, only to wake up this morning to an imbecilic coworker who's upset that the Microsoft Office documents she had me post to the website "can be changed by other people." You ever find yourself doing your job only to discover that the people you've been working with don't have the slightest idea what they're talking about? I had to sit on the phone and explain to this person why Microsoft Office documents can be edited ("because if they couldn't be edited, nobody could ever create any documents!"). You'd think by this day and age people would understand the difference between a Word doc and a web page. I didn't think anybody was this out of touch, but apparently her whole department's up in arms over it. I always assume when somebody tells me to post something that they have their shit together first, that they know of the awfully explicit insecurity of Office documents, that they don't care that a malicious employee could theoretically take a file, alter its information, and then email it to somebody else claiming that it was legit. This, of course, would bring the company to its knees, halting several lines of international commerce, and would eventually bring about a second Dark Age.

But really, who does that? The balancing factor in big offices such as mine is the simple fact that everybody on one end of the equation is as stupid and clueless and the people on the other end. I wanna put a hit counter on the page in question to see if anybody goes to it. Cuz I suspect there are exactly two people who will ever spend any time there, me and the idiot who commanded me to post dopey Powerpoint files there.

But my heart will go on. Yes, indeedy. I'm feelin' better today. Tonight I'm gonna climb a tree and either a branch or my body will fall from it. See, the neighbor has a mulberry tree whose branches have been growing into our airspace. The result is gobs and gobs of gross berries that rain down on us through the month of June. It might be okay if these were the edible variety of mulberry. But rather these are the white kind that taste like dirt. Though humans don't like the taste, there are a few creatures that enjoy it, namely huge-ass houseflies. The beginning of summer has been filled with enormous swarms of flies coalescing in our back yard, as I try to furiously sweep away the evil fruit.

Well, I'm mad as hell and I'm not going to take it anymore! The removal of the offending branch will occur one of two ways:

  1. I stand on the roof of our rickety patio on a rickety stepladder, and I saw off the branch with a rickety cherry-picker saw I built out of a handsaw and some broomsticks, or
  2. The handsaw clenched in my teeth, I will ascend the tree like a rhesus monkey and saw the branch off myself.

The downside is that I can't do this in broad daylight. Oh no. I must wait until nightfall and then, ninja-like, go about my deadly business. My neighbor doesn't actually live in this house. It has been bricked up for at least 20 years, but he comes by every few days to pound nails and throw weeds in my yard. He doesn't look insane, but there's really no other explanation. A man in his 60's is, very slowly, attempting to renovate a crackhouse all by himself, armed only with a hammer and a saucy beret he likes to sport. But the man owns property, which makes him superior to all of us. From previous conversations I feel that he would be against my tree-pruning, but since the branch is growing out of his property, it's not legally his branch to cut. And since the landlady isn't the type to scurry up a tree, I get the honors.

Posted By Jimmy Legs

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Wednesday, April 30, 2003 at 09:32:30 (EDT)

I don't care about this world, I don't care about that girl
I think this is gonna be one of those days wherein I despise everything and everyone. It's already shaping up that way. My annoying roommate sent me and email to ask me to call the landlady and get somebody to spray for bugs, because she saw one (1) centipede roaming around the living room. Later today I'm supposed to have a "chat" with a friend of mine that will probably end badly. I'm still kind of sick, plus I seem to have made B sick as well. Idiots from my job are writing to remind me not to capitalize the word "and," something I have never done.

And George Bush is trying to make us forget how important finding weapons of mass destruction was to his whole war-in-Iraq campaign. Now the story is that we're looking for evidence that Iraq had at one time or another the tools to make WMD. So now if we don't find anything, it will still prove that Bush is right. This is how they work, putting these new ideas into play, acting like they were there all along. It's like how they introduce new characters on "The Sopranos": suddenly some guy shows up and everybody's like, "Hey, it's Richie's kid! It's Carmela's second half-cousin!" I guess Bush figures if it works on TV, then it'll work anywhere. So nobody forget: before the war, the administration heavily touted the physical presence of WMD in Iraq, and now they're trying to downplay this. They're leaving it open, though, so as not to look even stupider if somebody does find something. A UK spokesman said finding WMD now would be a "bonus." Hooray.

Also, I just got some coffee, so it'll be at least 20 minutes before I can tolerate this planet.

Posted By Jimmy Legs

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Tuesday, April 29, 2003 at 16:59:57 (EDT)

I'm the chairman of the Bored
I forgot to tout this more highly, Ben and Jerry's is giving away free ice cream today. Go get it, folks. I'd get some myself, but I am still ill, and would only favor a Hall's-Eucalyptus flavored cone right now. Oh yeah, Baskin Robbins is also giving it away until 10PM tonight, but I don't know where any are around here.

Posted By Jimmy Legs
Free Ice Cream until 8PM
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Monday, April 28, 2003 at 12:00:00 (EDT)

Post Mysteriously deleted; that was my weekend
Note: I swear I posted this, but it is nowhere to be found. Perhaps my illness is causing me to hallicucinate blogging. Now that's lame.

What can one say about the past two days? There was boozin'. There was floozin'. There were long walks through unfamiliar neighborhoods late in the night. There was supposed to be a guy dancing around in his underwear, but we were too drunk to remember to ask for it, just as he had foreseen. There was general disregard for one's well-being. M got lucky.

Friday was the party with all of B's old college buddies, including Josh, who was in charge of procuring huge cans of cheap beer to keep things going. I had already been out with J&M, so maybe that had something to do with how drunk I was. Or maybe it was the Screwdrivers I kept drinking. I started calling them "screwballs" at some point, a good benchmark for where I was at. A lotta fun people there, just enough theater and IndyMedia folks to make it interesting. Josh was trying to get me to do tequila shots with him at some point, but I demurred. I think this was wise on my part, considering how it ended up for him.

Saturday is kind of a blur. The only thing I accomplished during the day was trying to use the Quattro to make a multitrack recording. I love having this device to make digital recordings (no tapes! limitless tracks!) but it's still a pain in the ass. By the time I was finished it was already time to go to another party. So I headed out, noting that I felt less than spectacular. I met M at BAM and we went up to some bar named Sweet & Vicious for some theater people's birthday party (sometimes I believe theater people are born in litters). I have no idea what to say about this bar, because a) it was dark as fuck, and b) there were so many people crammed in there you couldn't see if the place was on fire (they had a nice back patio, but alas the door was locked, which is probably a super-duper fire hazard). So we couldn't find anybody we recognized so we ended up seeking out a pro-smoking bar in the area. We walked all the way up to the 119 Bar, so pleasantly out of place with the Union Square/Gramercy Park surroundings.

There we proceeded to sit and drink and talk until 3 in the morning. I don't know how that happened except that we possibly lost a couple hours while waiting in line for the toilet. We got the inside dope from the bartender that when the smoking ban starts getting enforced in May, there may be hope after all for us night-owls. But I'll believe it when I see people lighting up after April 30.

Anyhow, the result of the weekend is that Sunday I woke up with a cold. I think I'm still sick now, but I'm full of Ny-Quil so I can't be sure. M came over and we spent the day recording some of our songs. I didn't realize how exhausting it was until we were done and I took to bed rather early. My sleep was plagued with nightmares concerning naming my band. It's been a big discussion of late, but in the dream we had decided to call the band "BMT", named after the old Brooklyn-Manhattan Transit agency. In some ways it's not a bad name, even while conscious, but in the dream people kept confusing our band with Manhattan Transfer, which may explain why no band has used the name yet.

Posted By Jimmy Legs

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