Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Around the world on drugs

Trying, perhaps in vain, to keep this blog relevant to the war on some drugs I've collected a couple of interesting links this week. Long time readers know that one of my pet peeves is the over-valuation of drug busts and this just crossed the radar via Slate, just how the DEA determines those values with a nod towards how podunk PDs tend to way overvalue marijuana.

From England, where they aren't afraid to admit the WOsD is a disaster, The Indepedent posts the lastest on the dismal failure of the prohibitionists' South American plan. The one thing we suceeded in doing was installing several anti-US leaders that rode to power on the public discontent with US drug eradication policies.

And finally, via Juan Cole, a rumor that southern Iraq is about to go the way of Afghanistan and become a poppy producing region. Could it be any more obvious that the drug war warriors have no interest in winning the war on drugs? They just want to make the problem worse so they can continue making billions on fighting it.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Just another lazy Sunday

My holiday is over, I'm back to work in the morning, so I spent the afternoon poolside today. It was hot outside but the water was still pretty cold so I stayed in for my 3 minute workout and didn't go back in. Still the sun felt good on my legs and the teenagers are endlessly entertaining. I never even cracked my magazine.

I'm starting to learn their names and sort of figure out the relationships. Mikayla and her little sister live in my building. They look almost exactly alike, hence my confusion on the age thing. I'm back to thinking 13 or 14 with a couple of 12 year olds thrown into the mix. The little sister is definitely leaning towards the 12 side, if even, but is precocious as shit. She has a tattoo on her belly, which I hope and assume is temporary, of a flaming eightball.

Mikala has a friend in the complex, Caddy, who's not as thin and gorgeous as the other two but she's more, shall we say, developed. She also knows way too much about sex not to be having it. Luke and Josh live here. Luke's parents are the overweight couple who are there, probably every day and the Dad, who's name is also Luke, I think, hangs in the pool all day long playing with the big kids. Oddly he seems to have a fatherly fondness for Josh.

There's another kid Scott, who is part of the core group. I think he lives here but I haven't figured him out yet and then there was the black kid, Amir who showed up late. They were thrilled to see him. He's definitely A-list and I think he may also live here. He has a little brother that the big kids ignore. I figure him to be about 10.

The boys are mostly all skinny, as in showing ribs lean, including Amir, who I swear had breasts. I mean so does Josh but he's the only one who's chubby. I've never seen a skinny kid with such pronounced protruberances. I blame it on the hormones they put in animal feed.

Anyway, three older boys showed up just before I left. JT and his posse. They were clearly in the upper age range. I have no idea who they are but JT was definitely A+ list. All of sudden, the whole pool scene revolved around him. This is a kid that's going to be lighting up parties for years to come. I didn't stay long enough to get a read on him, but I have a feeling I'm going to see him again.

I just hope it's not under the stairwell with Mikayla. I have a feeling the guy is something of an operator.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Lazy days

I know I haven't posted in a long time. I'm in one of my narcolepsy phases. I've been sleeping ten hours a day on these last couple of days off and today I spent the afternoon at the pool. They finally opened it up today.

It being the holiday weekend, it was rather raucous poolside but it was fun to watch the teenagers flirt and get a look at some of my neighbors. We're an eclectic bunch. Mostly parents with younger kids of various sizes, including one adorable baby. A very tall woman probably early 40s wearing a black bikini. A lot of overweight people probably in their late 30s. One young professional looking couple. One 20 something blonde who spent all of 20 minutes there, all of it on the phone. She oiled herself up and everything and then left as soon as her friend showed up. And then there was an older woman who came with a couple of young kids who called her mom. She and her friend who showed up a little later appeared to be close to my age and I swear they were lesbians. She's the only who talked to me in the three minutes total I actually spent in the pool. I thought the water was still a little cold.

Meanwhile I found out my old house has already been rented. The idiots at Time Warner, who screwed up every single bill I ever got from them, even screwed turning off the service. I knew the woman who took the cancel order was incompetent. I had to tell her to take my new address and sure enough she forgot to put in some order along the line and it was still listed as open. The good news is I got somebody in customer service who knew what they were doing and it was easily cleared out and I'm going to get 30 bucks back from them. I think they owe me more between all the screwed up bills. Someday when I feel like dealing with the box of paper I carried over I'm going to figure it out and make them pay me. The amount of money won't be worth the trouble but it's a matter of principle.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

No place like home

I'm almost afraid to say it out loud so as not to tempt the Gods, but I'm loving this Mcpartment. I took a a deliberate cruise around the entire periphery by foot last night and I've decided I have the best location in the place.

The complex is actually on a ridge, which with the Venturi effect would explain the good air circulation. But the difference in the noise level is what I found more interesting. At the far end there's one point where you can see and really hear the highway. The sound is much more subdued on my deck. In fact, I've been noticing the sound of the train is more muffled than it was at my old place and I'm much closer to the track here. I'm thinking it's the tree buffer on this side.

Anyway, the place is comfortable, really efficiently set up and easy to keep clean. Not to mention it seems to be cheaper to run. I was a little worried when I took the place because it's all electric. I got my first bill today and it was $18.32. That's less than I paid at the last place and I have an electric hot water heater here. Not to mention how much I'm going to save on water bills. I was paying almost $40 a month for a flat rate at the old place. I'm on a meter here and my first water bill was for $6.42. I can live with that.

Meanwhile, I'm reassessing the neighbors. It turns out the local cop actually lives the next door and that young girl I saw him with all the time must have been his daughter. She disappeared and I've seen him with a woman of more appropriate age that I assume is his wife. He says hi to me on the stairs. He calls me ma'am.

I also think I was wrong about the teenagers that hang around the building. They are definitely not 12. I got a better look at them today when they were fooling around on the sidewalk, checking me out while I checking them out. I'm guessing between 14 and 16 years old now. There was a lot of hormonal exchange going on and they were talking about their friend's bands and used the word fuck a lot. But Jebus, they sure do look young to my old eyes.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Media Bytes - Noho Edition

It was such a beautiful day that I played hooky yesterday - again. I actually put this post together because I'm trying to make it a Sunday feature at the poliblog but once I had all the links I realized the one theme that emerged is that I partied with every one of these people at some point in my life and it seemed to fit here better. So here's a little mini-tour of my debauched past.

Don't let the scary videos fool you. Angry Johnny is one of the nicest and most unpretentious human beings I've ever met. Relentlessly creative. Endlessly prolific in many media. Check out his website and have a look at his art. Nothing pretty about what comes out that twisted mind, not even his music, but he's a true original and one my favorite people. Sometimes I really miss those glory days when we all hung out at his studio, aptly named Hell.

The Drunk Stuntmen and I don't go nearly as far back as Angry and I do, but they're are really dear to me. The lead guitarist and the bass player and I have had some wild times in days gone by. If you like their stuff, there's lots more.

I spent some time searching for my old pals. A lot of them still have no internet presence but not so for my friend Chris. I still find it funny that I knew him for about two years before I figured out his band was famous. Here he is singing backup with Neil Sedaka and the whole band on Conan O'Brien.

I really wanted to find a video of one of my oldest friends, Tom McClung and he's playing keyboard on this Archie Shepp piece but you can't see him. Steve McCraven is on the drums but you can't see him either. That the only video that turned up under either of their names on YouTube. I suppose I shouldn't be surprised. I'm not sure Tom even knows how to use a computer.

Otherwise, I spent a long time looking but most of the searches came up empty. I did find this band, who changes members a lot but Dave, the lead singer of the Equalites and I go way back. And I've spent some quality time with Boo, the drummer standing next to him. Needless to say, it wasn't about drinking at their parties.

And there's Jaya the Cat. I wasn't exactly friends with these kids. They were my upstairs neighbors about 10 years ago but we became friendly. Probably because I never complained even when they were praticing at 2:00am. And they were really awful when they first started out.

But they went on to some measure of success and I see they're based in Amsterdam now. This band seems to have changed members as well, but I'm pretty sure that the lead singer is still my old neighbor Geoff. By the way, Jaya the Cat really did exist and she was real sweetie. I spent more time hanging around with her on the stoop than I did with the boys.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Pinball wizard

I got up early this morning and I really meant to post here before noon but it was such a beautiful sunny morning. The air was cool and the sun felt so good on my little deck that I sat in it and basked like a cat instead of blogging. Then of course I got caught up in politics. I've been blogging up a storm at the other four blogs. And I'm still unpacking and settling in so I lost the afternoon on chores.

I think I've done a thousand loads of laundry by now. I've had to wash every single thing I own. I don't even own that many clothes anymore but of course I make new laundry all the time as well so it never ends. I've been going to the laundramat nearby because I have so much and it's faster there. The place has been taken over by a lovely Oriental couple who appear not to speak much English but it's clean now and well maintained. More importantly, they have a working pinball machine.

I run errands between the wash and dry cycles but I come back ten minutes early to pick up the clothes so I can play the machine. It doesn't work well by any means. The flippers are weak and the ball always gets stuck when the bonus ramp and the extra ball features activate but it doesn't matter. It's really easy to roll over. I haven't put more than fifty cents into it yet.

It's called Capt Hook racing baseball or something. I haven't been able to figure out what the theme is supposed to be. It's definitely the good Captain on the cabinet but it seems to have nothing to with Peter Pan. It has road scenes on the digital graphics but it has a lot of baseball sound effects. It keeps asking me to break a window and ride the ramps.

I haven't been able to figure out where the windows are. In fact I haven't bothered to figure out most of the gates. Like I said, it's so easy to roll over that all you have to is keep the ball in play and I only have ten minutes to spend. I've been exploring them though in my many trips to the place and I almost got a multiball today although I don't know how I did it. I'll have to pay more attention next time. I love multiball. I'm good at it.

In the meantime, I'm just going for the score. I left a respectably high number and a free game behind when I left today. I have a feeling the owner is going to play it before he leaves. He was pretending to play Pacman but he was definitely scoping out my game. As he should.

I'm not great, but I'm a really good pinball player. It's a dying art but just damn, I love the game. I've played it all over the world. My very favorite was the machine I played in Sevilla, Spain. There was a bar down the block from our hotel and it had Fish Tales. I know that machine like the back of my hand. I was the only woman in the place when I walked in and man, the boys were giving me the evil eye when I started playing but when I rolled that puppy -- they were standing around with respect.

Pinball. It's not as good as being a great pool player -- which I'm not -- but it's a still a skill that will win you friends in foreign lands.

[graphic via]

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Home improvement

I think I figured out why I was feeling so bad. I'm pretty sure I was having an adverse reaction to the new brand of blood pressure meds I got last time. I was feeling fine until I took them and I didn't take any today and I'm already feeling much better tonight. I ended up going to the old pharmacy and paying them full price for a prescription because my insurance won't pick up the co-pay because I filled it at the new place. But it will be worth it to find out if I'm right.

Meanwhile, I'm still enjoying the new Mcpartment. The neighborhood teens come out and play on the street in the evening. They look to be about 13 or 14, they may be 12, it's hard to say but they're very cute. There's 3 girls and about 4 or 5 boys. They kick a soccer ball around, and practice their skate boards and generally flirt with each other.

Half of them have these new sneakers with the wheels in the back. They're always sliding down the sidewalk and doing little tricks with them. It kind of looks like fun but I think my sidewalk skating days are over. I'm sure I'd end up with my face planted on the pavement if I got a pair.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Fire away

Sorry I didn't show yesterday. I was feeling really bad last night and I'm still not feeling so great today. I think it's a little virus on top some of muscle strain. I'm such a sissy when I feel bad, I slept for hours in the afternoon and then tossed and turned all night. In any event, I'm glad I didn't waste my time watching the History Channel's documentary on hippies. Acoording to my listserv friend Paul Krassner it was a real hit piece, kind of like an episode of The Sopranos.

Meanwhile, I was wondering what I smelled burning in the air all day. Turns out it was Florida and Georgia. Yikes.

Monday, May 14, 2007

A losing battle in the WOsD

Under pressure from the US, Mexico declared war on the drug dealers. They're losing. Badly. The new leader, Calderon, is doing the macho swagger and declaring the government won't give in but the only thing the escaltion of that war has done, is strengthen the cartels that didn't get busted.

You can read the failure in the numbers. There are more hard drugs crossing the border while the Mexican government is burning down pot fields and the violence is so bad now that the locals are afraid to leave their homes.

Could it be any clearer that in the war on some drugs, the drugs will always win?

Sunday, May 13, 2007

God has spoken

I'm not Catholic but I collect icons of the faith and I follow news about the Pope. I used to like the last guy. He was so mellow and I figured him to be a closet cannabis consumer but this new guy is harsh. He's so not humble. He comes across as smitten with his own holiness and very judgemental I think.

He's in Brazil right now trying to drum up some love among the faithful. He had a message for people who engage in premartial sex and for drug dealers. You're all going to hell. Somehow I don't think he won over many converts in Rio with that spiel.

Sunday morning video

I finally found some time to cruise through my Rumbler blogroll last night and via the inimitableVelociguy, I ended up at Rube's joint and picked up this video. Of course I would have ended up there anyway since Rube's is the last on the boy list.

On another note, for those of you who didn't get a pithy comment from me, I wrote a lot of them that didn't take. I hear Haloscan crapped out for a while yesterday but I had trouble even at other blogs so maybe it was my computer being cranky. Those of you who didn't get one will just to have to imagine my witty remarks.

Anyway, it's not really a funny issue but the video made me laugh and it is good advice for anybody who posts to the net, even if you never show your underwear.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

There's no place like home

I'm working on taking some photos. This is a picture of my deck. It's not huge or anything but it is a lot bigger than it looks in the photo. It really makes the apartment worth the money.

I spend a fair amount of time out there now but I can't wait to be moved in so I can spend a whole lot more.

Cops on pot

I was going to post this last night but literally fell asleep sitting up at the keyboard. For a long time. Long enough to have a dream about riding a pony down a beach being chased by my ex-husband. Who knows what Freud would do with that but anyway, this story would be funny if it wasn't so irritating. A cop in Michigan used confiscated marijuana that he shook down from some hapless users and made a big batch of brownies with it. He and his wife then apparently ate the whole batch and freaked out when they started getting high.

The Agitator has the audio from the 9/11 call. That's the funny part. The irritating part is the cop will be not be charged with anything. He's going to get away with stealing evidence and using the drug. He had to resign but no criminal charges will be brought.

You can be sure if some local kid had done the same, he would be in jail for a long time. Just another day of our injustice system keeping us safe from drugs.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Caught in the Crosswire

I know I've been promising photos but the weather hasn't been that great for it. The fog was like pea soup this morning but the sun finally came out and I got this shot of the view from my deck. I love being able to see the sky again. The moon has been rising right in that same place lately.

I like this place. I'm actually moving in and spent some time unpacking boxes. I found a lot of stuff I haven't seen in two years and forgot I owned. That was after the two days I spent trying to get a working land line phone. Actually the phone worked fine yesterday, they just gave me the wrong number. The only reason I even figured it out was because some telemarketer called me and was indignant that I accused him of misdialing.

After he hung up, I checked it out and he was right. I had some other guy's service. The tech had to come back three times to get it right. He came this morning first thing and called me up and said everything was fine. But when I tried to call myself with the cell, it was still the same wrong number. Then he comes back and he calls me again, and says it's fixed. But it's not. Then he tells me it's fixed but I just can't use my cell phone to call it.

Well, that didn't sound right even to a technodope like me so I checked it out with the family and found he was wrong. It was so not fixed. They finally got it right late this afternoon. The good news is I got to keep my old number so those of you who have it, it's still good.

Meanwhile, I have to wash all my crockery before I put it in the cabinets so I tried out the dishwasher today. Happily it was easy to figure out and it seems to work well. At least it didn't leak or make any unfortunate noises and the dishes are all clean and sparkly looking. Of course, now I have to go figure how to organize the cabinets and put the stuff away. It's a big job this moving in stuff, but I'm making progress. Slowly.

Anyway, so far it's still feeling like the right move. This is a photo from the landing at the outside stairs. I'm happy enough.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Won't you be my neighbor

Well, here's part one of what is sure to become an ongoing series on my new neighbors. Already in less than two weeks I've met more neighbors here than I had in two years in the old hood. Which would be three that I actually talked to. There's a nice couple downstairs on the end who were the first to speak to me. Dorrie I think her name is and Ollie is definitely his name. They appear to be German or maybe Dutch, although they don't speak with an accent - they just have that look. They're transplants from Albany and have two adorable tow-headed kids that remind me of my own daughter at that age.

Yesterday, I met the little old lady that lives directly under me. I guess I'm not making too much noise because she said she didn't realize I had taken that apartment. Of course, I suspect she's half deaf anyway. She looks to be in her late 80s but she's very active. People are always coming to pick her up and take her somewhere and she's always well dressed. She didn't tell me her name.

Otherwise, I've formed a nodding acquaintance with a couple of younger girls who have noticed me sitting on the deck as they walk in. One of them looks to be Hispanic or maybe a lighter skinned black woman. She appears to be in the military unless she just dresses occassionally in camo and combat boots for the fun of it. She's not around much but when she is, she's always on her cell phone and it seems she has a torrid love thang going on with one of the local cops. He's forever stopping by on patrol and she hangs in the window of his cop car for long periods of time. There's also one really attractive young thing who drives a God-awful rattrap of a car that leaks oil and sounds like a tank. She's a snot though. She carefully avoids eye contact and just the way she walks around telegraphs her high opinion of herself. I would guess by the hours she keeps, she's a waitress.

I also seem to have a state trooper living in the building next door. The car is often there at the end of the day. I haven't seen him yet but it certainly makes the neighborhood feel safe. A feeling that was reinforced by the garage that somebody left open for days with a really expensive bike just sitting there in public view. That wouldn't have lasted two hours anywhere else I lived, even in Noho.

Otherwise, I've just been observing from the deck. There's a whole cadre of walkers who make the rounds in the evenings. One odd couple, a really muscular white guy a shaved head and a heavyset really black skinned woman are regulars. There's a few other nondescript overweight women who make the tour alone at certain times. One in particular stands out because she walks in clogs and her shoes squeak. There also seems to be a prepondence of muscular guys with shaved heads around. They all kind of look alike but I'm pretty sure there's at least three different ones.

The other thing that stands out is the dogs. This is a pet friendly community and they take that seriously here for sure. There are dozens of dogs. Big one, little ones, fat ones, skinny one, some people have two or three. I haven't spent enough time on the street to meet any of them but my favs from afar are the Golden Retreiver and the two little Scottie dogs. I expect I'll meet some of them once I work some time into my routine to start walking myself.

It's just a name

Prohibition has just hit a new low. The latest crisis taking up your tax dollars in the statehouses of America is the new drink called Cocaine. No, it doesn't actually contain any drugs but the legal authorities are working overtime to take it off the grocery shelves simply because they don't like the name. This idiocy is nationwide.

But of course they're doing it "for the children." Our oh so concerned nanny legislators feel that the drink is "glamorizing" drug use and we all know the best way to solve a problem is never even mention it. No telling where this trend could go. Isn't there some kind of creme to relieve the pain of aching arthritic joints called Ice? Not to mention all the popsicles with that use that word in their name. That's a drug too you know.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Best laid plans

Oh man, what a day. For some reason I couldn't into LOS last night but I managed to compose a post this morning that I was going to post. In fact I had three posts ready to go but when I had to move my computer I somehow managed to reboot it and I hadn't saved the drafts. I really hate when that happens.

Then the laptop has been sluggish so I decided to finally install a spyware program. The trouble is the cursed McAfee wouldn't let me do it so I had uninstall all that and on and on. It wasn't the way I expected the morning to go.

In any event, it's been a long day and I lost my post so the neighborhood news is going to wait another day. I'll be back later.

Monday, May 07, 2007

Who knows where the time goes...

Posting was nonexistent was weekend because I had an influx of family visitors, including my mother who I haven't seen in years. I had to double down on the tranqs for that one and as a result I literally fell asleep sitting up at the keyboard last night which is not that good for your back by the way. It did however make for a tranquillo visit and it was nice to see my Sis and my nephew.

Meanwhile, I have to work today and tomorrow so posting is still likely to be a little light but I'm making progress in moving into my new little home here. I hope to at least take a couple of photos in the next day or two and catch you all up on my new neighbors. And there's a couple of drug war stories that I want to visit. I'll be back but probably not until tonight.

Friday, May 04, 2007

Forget the drano - just give me a lighter

I've been meaning to post this story that Chickie was kind enough to forward to me.

Maintenance workers responding to a complaint about a clogged toilet at the Palace of Justice, Spain found 30 pounds of hashish caught in a pipe was responsible for the blockage.

The drug-filled drainage pipe was located Friday in a restroom used by prisoners inside the building that houses courtrooms and jail cells, in the Spanish enclave of Ceuta on the coast of Morocco.

AP quotes the Interior Ministry office in Ceuta as saying that the drugs were stored in dozens of small bags in a basement pipe leading from the jail cell area.
You have to wonder how and why 30 lbs got into that pipe. Was it from hundreds of defendants who dumped their stash before going into court or was it some enterprising dealer who figured out how to deal to the outgoing prisoners from inside the courthouse? I would think that would a good market.

God knows, I would want to unwind with a little puff of Moroccan black after spending the day in front of a judge....

No place like home

Good morning friends. Sorry I haven't been posting here in the last few days. I've had to work some but mostly I've been absent because I'm doing something entirely novel. I'm actually moving into this new apartment - as in unpacking. I'm also spending a inordinate amount of time wandering around looking for my keys and glasses. The orientation is so different here, that I have to retrain my ingrained patterns from the last place. I haven't established a place to keep things yet and I find myself turning in the wrong direction when I make coffee in the morning. The place is deceivingly big. It takes a long time to walk around the periphery and in some ways it actually has more useable space than the old place that was hundreds of square feet bigger.

But I'm settling in slowly. It's a long process because everything I own has to be detoxed from the mold and I have a lot of storage space so it's taking a while to figure out what makes sense. I also keep forgetting where I put the few things I've stored temporarily. I never used the cabinets at the old place so it's like relearning the whole storage process again.

Overall I'm liking the place a lot. First and foremost it's lovely not to be assaulted by the dampness when I walk in and the light and the air exchange is surprisingly good considering it only has windows across the front. The place is surprisingly comfortable temperature wise. I've been through a couple of really hot days and now going through a couple of cold days and I haven't had to turn on the heat or the AC yet.

I sort of miss being able to walk to the convenience store but there's plenty of opportunities to walk around the complex and I'm certainly getting more exercise already just from having to walk up the stairs to get into the place. I was a little worried that would be cumbersome, especially bringing home groceries but it hasn't been that bad and it's worth the tradeoff for the better view.

The only thing I seem to really miss are the birds that used to hang outside of my window while I was working at the computer. I don't really see that many here but there's certainly plenty of them around. The place is surrounded by woods so you can hear the cacophony of competing songs in the mornings. And I love being able to see the moon and the stars from the deck. I didn't have a good view of the sky at the old place.

Overall, I'd say I'm happy enough and I think I'm going to like it here. Meanwhile, stay tuned for the neighbor rundown. I'm starting to figure out who's who around here.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Rest in peace Tom Poston

I hadn't heard he died but Kevin Hayden has a gorgeous tribute post to one of my all time favorite character actors.

I loved him on To Tell the Truth and on every other show he did afterward. I had no idea he married Suzanne Pleshette in 2001. I wonder if they fell in love when they did the Bob Newhart show together for all those years?

He was 85. I guess his career was pretty well over but I'm going to miss him all the same.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Should public school teachers be drug tested?

There's an active poll going at right now asking this question. Obviously, since I don't believe students should be tested, I'm certainly not in favor of testing the teachers. No one should be tested unless there are performance based issues and clear evidence to suspect substance abuse is affecting performance or safety. Otherwise it's a clear invasion of privacy. It's none of the state's business what you do with your own time.

In the 24 hours since this email arrived and the results have gone from 20% no, to 44% no. Go forth and vote before the poll closes.