If I Had a Hammer (I’d Hit Myself On the Head) Redux

Feh. This past week or so has been a bit too insane partially thanks to more apartment repairs disrupting the daily routine. I didn’t sleep at all Monday night thanks to moving stuff around the apartment (and writing up a game review), so I was passed out by noon Tuesday with a Blu-Ray playing (yes, you should buy this) and a cup of coffee I somehow managed not to spill a drop of. It’s pretty hilarious to wake up all bleary-eyed with a cup of coffee in your hand a guy working on your wall about ten feet away and a subtitled Japanese movie playing. I think the poor plasterer was trying to figure out if I spoke the language or how I could watch a movie with my eyes closed, but I like to confuse people whenever I can. Mission accomplished!

Well, not really…

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There Goes The Neighborhood: Death of The American

Old American

There used to be five movie theaters within walking distance of my place, six if you wanted to hoof it along a nearby highway for a spell to hit a former drive in turned multiplex. Now there are a mere two movie theaters total in the entire Bronx area, which is a shame and a sham simultaneously. When it abruptly shut down last year, The American (which was originally a Loews theater before passing in to a few hands over the years) wasn’t exactly a grand theater. Well, at least it wasn’t for the last decade or two. But it was close by, cheaper than going into Manhattan and even if the movie you saw stunk, at least the audience could be somewhat entertaining and annoying as they tend to be when all one desires is to hear what’s on screen without any peanut gallery antics. Continue reading

This is Only A Test: Panorama Of The Soon To Be Vanished

Panorama Test

Well, there are a LOT of changes coming to the old neighborhood. Some for the better, some for the who knows what’s coming down the pike. I’ll post a longer photo-type essay on what’s taking place here soon. The preview pic above is a test to see how well my panorama photo skills are. All of the buildings on the left side of that pic will be gone for good soon so I’m making some memories before things get pulverized. Granted, the area desperately needed something done about the blight taking place over the past decade or so. But the manner in which it was done is spectacularly lousy for what few businesses hung on in the area despite everything.

More in a bit.

On Watching Paint Dry And Fortune Telling That Works


Well, the painter showed up this morning at 11:05, worked for eighteen minutes and left for lunch at 11:23 saying she’d be back to put down a second coat. That made me laugh because I was surprised the wall was even getting a second coat. I guess she had to put in those hours this week (or eighteen minutes followed by however long it took that second coat to be done. To my surprise, she actually did a decent above the call job for around here, covering much more than the area that was “repaired” on Friday. The whole wall and part of the other side was done (*shocking!*) and while that made me smile, I’m figuring it’ll be around three months or so when I’ll be having a serious case of deja vu.

You see, when I popped out of bed this morning I decided to carefully look at the plaster job from Friday that was now perfectly dry. Well, dry save for two streaks that signify water was still seeping into the wall. Argh. I have a photo here of the “vampire marks”, but can’t seem to locate my camera’s USB cable (all that moving stuff around and it’s been mislaid). My fortune telling skills (which aren’t real and not needed in any case) show that I’ll be placing a call soon to let the idiots in the office know that they’ve put another plastic bandage on a raging tumor. Fixing the root cause of all the trouble makes more sense (and costs less in the long run). But they prefer to think I’m a dope who doesn’t know and that them just showing up to do their minimalist wall-work on a semi-regular basis is all fine and dandy. You’d figure this would have happened some 20+ years back when there was a small flood here that required the first wall replacement, right?

Anyway, the painter popped back around 12:35 or so and I lost a bet with myself that she’d take lunch until 1pm. Anyway, a few minutes of mucking around outside the door and she came in to finish the job. That second coat went up in much less time and I was signing some paperwork by 12:55 with full realization that she or someone else would be back here before summer was over. Well, the ceilings here still need to be busted into for repairs in a few places so it may be a case of planned serendipity when all is said and done. Back in a bit. I woke up too early thinking the painter would be here at 8am and I need to get out of here and get some air, smacking myself in the forehead as i stroll around outside. Fresh coat of paint aside, it’s still a Monday to deal with (and a busy week ahead)…

When They Gave My Wall A Hip (And Other Not Tall At All Tales)

Well, at least I got to have a decent breakfast today. To wit:

Breakfast Not so hot deux 

Repair-wise, it was the predictable comedy of errors without the Greek chorus. Two plumbers (well, one plumber and one assistant) popped up at about 8:15 to reattach the legs to the sink and did so in a speedy six minutes. The not so funny thing was they were also supposed to fix the loose faucet that the previous plumbers removed and put back badly when they took the entire sink out and replaced it, “forgetting” to reattach the legs in the process. They were in the process of scooting away down the hall when I decided to check their work and found the faucet still loose. When they popped back in, one of them showed me the work order that only mentioned the leg job, which definitely didn’t make me feel any better. I noted that the inspector who was here two days back said the loose faucet would also be fixed and that years back the plumbers and other maintenance guys would go out of their way to double check what they worked on and would often mention they did a bit of extra work since they were already tinkering away down there. Not that this was “extra” work, mind you.

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Moving Day Is Not Much Fun At All…

Moving DayWell, I’m supposed to be downtown peeking at some fine tech products and such as I type this. Instead, after spending most of today moving a LOT of stuff around I’m about to go up a ladder and spend some time strategically taping a drop cloth from the ceiling around a bunch of stuff so it’s not covered in dust early tomorrow morning.

Whee. But at least another segment of this long apartment nightmare is getting taken care of. Of course, my somewhat limited enthusiasm about this will only last until I see that they didn’t do everything that actually needed to get done (as usual). If that leaky drainpipe isn’t finally yanked out and replaced (something the last few maintenance guys have said needs to happen), all the work they’ll do tomorrow will be a temporary and useless outside of some temporary visual appeal. It’s certainly not a pretty sight now, that’s for damn sure:

Wall-Eeek Yuck. it actually looks worse in person and there’s another section of the wall with a series of cracks in it I can’t seem to get a good angle on to photograph. It’s supposed to be a two day job (not counting the repainting part), but we shall see. In better news, those windowsill-grown mild peppers have been doing quite well, thanks for asking. The garlic bulb is just for size comparison because that pepper turned out larger that I thought and there are a few more that size that haven’t yet ripened.

pepper pepper and garlic pair of peppers

Alrighty, then. Back to work here. I do wish I were somewhere else a lot more fun, but this crap needs to get taken care of so I actually have a place to come back to that’s actually fun to live in.

A Not So Hot Time In The Old Town Tonight Is A Good Thing (Mostly)

home grown 

Those peppers I’m growing on the sunny window are starting to ripen nicely as you can see above and below. I tried one of the smaller ones earlier this week to see if it was hot and it wasn’t at all, which means I can go about the short work of thinking up what to do with a few of the larger ones. That one in the pic above is about medium-sized, by the way. I think I’ll keep it simple for a few of the bigger peppers. Slice the tops off, remove the seeds and stuff them with chopped mushrooms, a bit of garlic and maybe some fresh tomato sauce and herbes de provence, pop a bit of mozzarella cheese on top of that before replacing the top and baking them for about ten minutes or so.

not so hots

In other boring (but actually important) news, I got wind of some m-a-j-o-r changes coming to the area. As in all 38 businesses across the street and all the way around the entire square block needing to vacate by the end of the month (!!!) because the new landlord wants to tear everything down and replace it with one huge mega-building. Yikes. Although many of the shops are old, a handful of tenants seem to have been bought out last year (aha… that’s why the Chinese restaurant that’s been there for about 40 or so years shut so abruptly!). It’s certainly awful for the record shop that’s been here for 60 years, the wonderful family-run bakery around the corner and that T-shirt printer that’s been in the same spot since the late 70’s. Feh. It seems that time and greed marches onward and on top of the “little” people once again.

I’m going to shoot a few remembrance photos this week and maybe do a quick post on what’s leaving the area as the new owners seem to not even want to help get these people any sort of assistance in finding new locations. So much for small businesses getting a break in this big town. Boo.

Random Art: A Minor Cure For Some Major Madness…

A Bit To The Left 

Well, I was going to post more pictures yesterday of the kitchen, which has been partially painted despite a rather glaring repair omission that sticks out like two sore thumbs thanks to that fresh coat of paint. But this whole mess of ass-backward insanity that should have taken maybe a week or less according to This Old House rules has sucked up too much of my energy and is affecting my workload. Blech. Anyway, I’ll probably post some pictures in a few days, but here’s something to look at in the meantime. My poor mind is boggling over how such a straightforward job anyone else would do or have done in a specific order has gotten so surreal. Thursday should be interesting, as it’s when we see if the next guy who shows up to do some work actually figures out what the hell it is he’s supposed to do and gets it right the first time.

Kitchen Nightmares, Part Whatever: Everything AND The Kitchen Sink?

kitchen sink 001 (Custom) 

Wait, what? Hold on a minute. When last we left the nightmare, the inspector was here and mumbled something at the end of a long bit of other information about the ancient, sturdy and fairly indestructible sink (that’s been in the apartment since the complex was built back in 1939-40) needing to “come out.” My eyebrow went up, but nothing further was said about it and no one from the office called and told us to be prepared to maybe move stuff from the drawers and cabinet next to the sink, as it’s a big deal removal job. Guess what happened this morning?

kitchen sink 002 (Custom) 

Yep, a bunch of guys roll in here (as in everyone that SHOULD have in the first place), and some start banging away at the old wooden counter top next to the sink and another guy gets under that sink and start in on the pipes. Of course, I’m happy to see people working in that kitchen who seem to know what they’re doing. However… it would have been nice to know I should have l should have moved everything that’s not covered in plaster dust, tiny bits of wood, well-aged insect egg sacs and who knows what else. Wonderful, and unless there’s a new sink in and working by the end of the day, stuff will need to get gently dumped into the bathtub to be cleaned.

kitchen sink 003 (Custom)

Oh, and what’s this? They decided to remove the wooden counter ACROSS from the sink for some reason? Great. Now all my tableware and whatever else is in the cabinet below are covered in that crap as well. Which is doubly annoying because I cleaned out those drawers and washed everything about two or so weeks back. Yeah, it’s going to be a looooooong day, ladies and gents. On one hand, I shouldn’t be mad at all this because it’s all getting done. But the whole not being told what’s being done until it’s happening with no time to move stuff is kind of a pain in the ass.

Well, so much for a two day job. That and the place still needs a paint job. And the leak in the pipe in the back is back. And the bathroom needs to be done now that they’ve finally noticed the cracks in the wall that have been pointed out to them last year have gotten a bit longer. And so forth, and so on… Gyaaaaah.

Kitchen Nightmares VI: Wood Work and More Oddball Occurrences…

Now It's Dark, tooSo, they sent a carpenter today instead of a plasterer… but that was actually a good thing. It turns out that most of the fault lies in the overall incompetence, laziness and just not listening to what tenants are saying folks who answer the phones in the management office. According to the carpenter, they pretty much just sit around and talk about reality TV for the bulk of the day and those work orders they write up from half listening are often incorrect.

Which of course means workers showing up to do jobs with the wrong equipment or being thrown under the bus by the office because they have to deal with irate tenants who’ve been sitting around waiting for scheduled appointments that can’t be completed. There are also a bunch of newer maintenance guys and gals who aren’t very good at what they do because they’re still being trained, but there seems to be not enough of the old guard around to walk them through what they need to know. That’s how we get painted leaves and some sketchy plastering and painting jobs around here.

There’s a lot of other crap going on as well, but it all boils down to the folks who run this place wanting to keep making a profit even at the cost of current renters being given the shaft. There are also politics involved and a lot of it the usual dumb stuff that always results in the bad apples being rousted and roasted in public once their plans are foiled and the truth rises to the top. Noe of which I care much about because I just want my damn kitchen back to 100%. That carpenter made up a short list of stuff he saw that needed to be done as we chatted for about 20 minutes or so before leaving. Another call was placed to the office and they’re supposed to send what seems like the sole inspector they have in the complex here in a few days (Thursday) so he can take another look around. Yep, the notes I left are still up and will stay up so he can see what needs fixing. Hopefully this time stuff gets done right, but we’ll see. At this point, I’d be happy for at least an acknowledgement that the place is clearly in worse shape after what’s been going on, but again, we shall see…