Saturday, February 12, 2005 at 19:56:53 (EST)

Love is all around Bones

Posted By Jimmy Legs | Non-PermaLink
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Friday, February 11, 2005 at 15:18:22 (EST)

And the wisdom they will sell us
I've got the bug again. The real estate bug. Upon hearing that some friends of mine recently sold their apartment for nearly twice what they paid not 3 years ago, I was reminded what a good idea it is to own property in this town. Having spent some time researching this, I am also reminded that this town is friggin' expensive. No duh. I long ago entertained notions of buying a place right here in Clinton Hill, possibly even this very house in which I reside. But nearly every square foot of space in this 10-block area has soared to astronomical prices in the last couple of years. I hate the way that average prices for neighborhoods I like always seem to stay just a little out of my reach.

I should point out, if you don't know me personally, that I'm holding out for a whole house. I know it'll be a major hassle as opposed to getting a condo/coop, but it's really the only thing that's gonna do it for me. I've been looking around and have found several properties that I can very nearly afford. Well, that's assuming I can get my roommate to come along, and convince some other folks to move in as well. That would make it fiscally possible, but unfortunately I can't tell the mortgage lenders "Hey, don't worry, I got some friends moving in who'll chip in on the monthly payments." No, they want me to be able to furnish the cash myself. This makes things a lot more difficult of course. I can't really afford anything myself, of course, barring an incredible, unforeseen raise and promotion at work that doubles my salary (I guess it could happen, I mean, people get struck by lightning and stuff too).

Here are some of the lovely houses that I can't even begin to afford (no I am not making this up):

All of these places are way out of my price range. WTF?

So I'm kind of stuck unless I can get some other folks to go in on a place with me. I've discussed this with a couple of people, but it's far from a reality at this point. There should be some kind of online dating-type service that pairs people up who want to buy property but can't do it alone. Is there perhaps a subcategory on

I'm Looking for:

[ ] Friendship
[ ] Dating
[ ] Long-term relationship
[ ] Co-Signers on a Loan for a brownstone in Clinton Hill Equidistant from both C and G Trains with New Mechanicals and Finished Basement

Sigh, someday my prince will come ... ?

Posted By Jimmy Legs | Non-PermaLink

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Thursday, February 10, 2005 at 16:28:23 (EST)

The ink is black, the page is white
Well, I've just spent several hours trying to find a Halftone Solution, only to realize that the answer lay in the first thing I tried. Back in my print shop days, I used to mock the enormous Linotronic machine we had installed on my computer. It's an imagesetter, an ancient technology that can print on either photographic paper or film, and was used to produce the positives for the offset press, which was an even older technology. It seemed convoluted and useless to me at the time: it was basically a tiny photo developing lab which produced black and white prints after passing through tubs of emulsion and developer. Most of what was being produced was all-text brochures and flyers. With the advances in laserjet printing, there was really no need for the thing. In fact, when I first started working there, it had been so long since anybody needed it (or possessed the knowledge of what it was for) that its sole use was to produce banners. Yes, because the photographic paper came on a big roll, people in the company would commission cheery birthday or retirement slogans and request that they be extruded on this machine. I don't even wanna think about how expensive that photo paper was.

But those things are good for one thing: they can convert graphics into perfect halftones like nobody's business. It didn't come up often at the job, most graphics were simple line art (clip art actually, bleah). But every so often somebody needed a photograph to be printed, necessitating the imagesetter. It could make a very high resolution halftone, at magazine-quality levels, and it would do this automatically. And for this I came to love this hulking beast of equipment.

So why am I all abuzz about halftones again? Now that I'm getting into screen printing, the issue of halftones once again rears its ugly head. Anything that I want to print that's not a solid black and white image must be converted to halftone so it will transfer properly. I know how to artificially create a halftone in Photoshop, but when I'd print it out on my inkjet printer, it looked lousy, far too fine a dot for the relatively large-scale screen (which, for the record is probably no better than 55 lines per inch, if that means anything to you). Other people must have had this problem, right? After several days of research, I'm not sure. I have yet to find anyone on the internet asking the same question I had, namely "How do I produce good halftones for screen printing with a home computer set up?"

There probably is some infallible solution out there (anybody?) but in the meantime I went back to the halftone function in Photoshop and with some tinkering produced a halftone that is of the correct resolution and prints fine on my inkjet printer. The image above is just an example, the real thing looks much better. Now I just have to figure out what image to put on our record!

Posted By Jimmy Legs | Non-PermaLink

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Wednesday, February 09, 2005 at 13:45:37 (EST)

Pass the mic
Lacking in much else to talk about, I suggest visiting Daily Heights, a new blog about Prospect Heights. So far Andy has been voraciously posting stuff about the neighborhood and its surrounding areas with a fervor of which I am quite envious. Also he also has the writing talents of Noise Footprint's Heather as well, not to mention a good message board. I had been wishing somebody would create a similar site for Clinton Hill, but upon reflection it seems there is much more going on in the Propsect Heights area these days than in my own neck of the woods. Maybe it's because Clinton Hill already reached saturation levels for attention in the last year or so. Since its 'discovery' most of what's been going on around here is little more than the real estate feeding frenzy that afflicts every neighborhood as it becomes 'safe' enough for mass consumption.

Not that Clinton Hill has become that much safer; in fact, a couple of my friends were recently mugged at the corner of Green and Washington, generally regarded to be a safe area. The good news is their attackers have been caught and are currently being brought to justice, much to my surprise. Prospect Heights, still very much rough around the edges, is finally beginning to renew itself with new commerce and an influx of people who have a desire to ferret out all that there is to do in the neighborhood, not just treat it like a place to put their stuff while they spend all their time in Manhattan. This brings up an interesting point: as these neighborhoods continue to reshape their personalities, I am finding less reason to go to Manhattan at all. I'm still glad I live fairly close to the Island, but I'm not entirely sure why that is anymore. If this trend continues, perhaps the really remote neighborhoods of Brooklyn could begin to garner their own cachet. By this logic I should stop looking for properties to buy around here and just buy a big cheap house in Marine Park now and wait for the hipsters to arrive!

Posted By Jimmy Legs | Non-PermaLink

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Monday, February 07, 2005 at 11:29:10 (EST)

Can't breathe til I suck you dry
First of all, this just sucks. Bush is trying to scrape together some money to quell his enormous deficit by cutting a lot of domestic programs while leaving the door open for ever-more military spending (not to mention the dough he needs to make his lame Social Security plan work). What a big fat cock.

In other news, has anybody done their state tax return yet? There's a new section in this one, at least I think it's new. It's the Sales & Use Tax, and it states that if you (as a New York resident) purchased anything in or out of New York State and did not pay sales tax on it, you must add it to what you owe the state and send it in with your tax return.


So everybody, no matter what, if you purchased anything (ANYTHING) over the internet in the past year and did not pay sales tax on it (isn't that like half the point?), you are supposed to figure this out and pony it up on your tax return. Are they fucking kidding me with this shit? So if I purchased, say, a fine digital camera from an online retailer based in Tennessee, because the product was bought for use in New York, I owe sales tax to New York. Of course, New York had nothing to do with the selling of said camera, but they're asking for sales tax anyhow. Why? To punish residents for seeking goods and services elsewhere. Now, if you've somehow already paid sales tax on an out-of-state item, you don't have to pay it to New York. Oh joy. But you do have to fill out some form detailing all of this. That is so totally fucked up.

I had been hearing about this but I didn't believe it. Or, more specifically, it seemed like it was just aimed at people who buy cigarettes over the internet. Bloomberg has been pretty active on that front, sending sales tax bills to people who bought smokes from New York Indian reservations. But that's apparently not good enough for the state, so they're extending it to out-of-state purchases that avoid sales tax. What will be the benefit of buying online if you can't avoid the sales tax? Will I have to declare the bottle of Kaluha I bought at the Duty Free Shop at the airport because I didn't pay sales tax on it?

So is anybody actually going to do this? Even if you've bought a pair of moccasins from the LL Bean catalog you're subject to this new rule. Looking at the specifics, the chutzpah of all this is absolutely infuriating. For instance, you are also subject to the tax if you have a service performed on a property outside of New York, and then bring that property into New York for use in the state. My friends were fixing up their apartment and had their oak closet doors refurbished by some Mennonite craftsmen in New Jersey. Theoretically, they now owe tax on the varnish job that was completed out-of-state. How in the hell can the state get away from this? They want to make money on goods and services merely because the stuff resides in the state. Does this mean if you bought an inflatable sex doll in Ohio last year and then brought it with you when you moved to Brooklyn you now owe sales tax to New York even though it was purchased over the internet from Bolivia? I'm just sayin'.

Somebody, please tell me I'm reading this wrong. Tell me it's not as bad as all this!

Posted By Jimmy Legs | Non-PermaLink
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Week of February 6-12, 2005

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