Snow Daze: Be Careful What You Wish For, Folks

snow_daze1 (Large) 

Whee. 20+ inches of snow and counting, but I’m not counting. According to the smiling weather folks on a few channels who seem to be inordinately cheery about all that white stuff outside blowing around and sticking to anything moving or motionless, it’s allegedly supposed to stop around midnight or so. But that also means a more of those dopes who weren’t out today (from my window I saw a few too many people “driving” sideways or walking in the streets while a car or two slid sideways past them) will be out tomorrow because they know no better than to stay indoors with something (or someone) warm and toasty. Oh well.

snow daze2 

I didn’t venture out other than to check the mail only to find out that post office motto really is not true at all, but it seems we may need some more milk after all. So I get to be a dope myself for about ten or twenty minutes, but I do need that cow juice to go into the coffee I’m making that’s required to keep me going though a job I need to plow through that’s due before Sunday is done. Thankfully, the supermarket is less than a block away and the folks who run it live in the area. Then again, I need to step outside for some frozen air anyway, as stir craziness will occur and the dope crashing here who smokes indoors when he shouldn’t (and needs to quit) is going to get a paper hatchet to the head otherwise. Hey, paper cuts can be pretty damn painful, you know…

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.

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.

READS: When A Closed Book Is The Best Thing In The World

huntington 001 (Custom) 

I’d been meaning to visit the sometimes appointment-only Huntington Free Library and Reading Room about a half-hour walk my place for some time, but I’d always found myself a bit too busy to get over that way. That is, until I found out there was a new library that was going to replace the older building next door that was formerly home to a rather large Native American artifact collection. That new building won’t be built for a while, but getting the chance to see and pore over a bit of area history was something I’ve been wanting to do for quite a while. Thanks to TLH setting up an appointment on Monday via email, we popped in today at 10 sharp and stayed about two hours chatting with caretaker/tour guide/author Tom Casey, a man with a encyclopedic knowledge of the history of the area and a ton of other things.

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What to Do on Those Dog Days of Winter…

Paper Saint BernardWell, it’s already snowing outside, but it’s a light snow so far. Things aren’t expected to get “serious” until later tonight, but I’m prepared to go home and hide under some blankets at the drop of a hat. I’m thinking a nice long sleep will do me some good, but my backup plan for any restlessness might involve making my own rescue dog just to keep my hands busy (and warm, should the heat go out).

Yeah, you know you want one of these paper Saint Bernards for yourself. Go print one (or a few) out and get busy trying to put it together. Er, BEFORE you soak yourself in that brandy you bought yesterday (or will buy today at some point). Better to do your paper-crafting while sober, as you don’t want to lose any digits to slippy scissors or end up with a pile of crumpled paper mistakes instead of that cute and easier to care for doggie in that pic to the left…

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…