Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Movin' on Up (To the Least Side)

    I am moving at the end of November back to the place I once was.  I am moving to an apartment with an identical floor-plan to the one that I had previous the place I live now.  Same floor-plan but in a different apartment complex.
    I absolutely love this floor-plan.  The only thing I have against it is that the washer/dryer connections are outside, in the storage room on the patio.  But all the other great things about this apartment (I'll try not to bore you with them) easily make up for this minor inconvenience.
    So, why did I move out of this best of all possible apartment worlds?  Well, let me tell you.  The complex that housed the floor-plan I loved, was practically a drug and crime den.  There were several clues that should have alerted me to this.
    First, when we moved in, the rest of the building was empty.  And there were many empty units around the proximity of it.
    Second, our apartment backed up to a creek, which was, we thought, a rather nice feature.  Unfortunately, on the other side of the creek was another apartment complex.  This complex had a mobile police station, a "cop Winnebago" if you will, that would be parked on the property overnight.  Why?  Because this complex had one of the highest crime and murder rates of all the apartment complexes in Dallas.
    And last, but not least, not long after we moved in, we obtained a washer and dryer.  While hooking up the vent tubing, we found a used crack pipe in the outlet.  Remember, the utility connections were located outside the apartment in the storage facility on the patio.
    Now, this may sound funny after reading all this but, this was not really considered a bad neighborhood.  For some reason, though, this tiny section of the neighborhood, encompassing these two apartment complexes, acted as some sort of haven for drug addicts and dealers.  A sort of town guild for the illicit drug profession.
    So, as soon as our 12 month lease was up, we high-tailed it out of there to the peaceful confines of Mckinney, a quiet, but fast growing community just north of Dallas.  And we have loved it here for most of the 4 years we've been here.  Only recently, about a year or so, have things begun to spiral downward from happiness towards despair.
    Most of the reason has to do with a major turnover of residents in and around our building.  While some of the new neighbors, like the ones right next door to us are very friendly and considerate, a good portion of them are loud, rude, and trashy.  While one or two bad apples don't spoil the whole bunch, they can sure make the apple cart smell rancid.
    So the great move adventure begins, as they all do, with the worst part of it all -- packing.  Man, I really hate packing.  Generally, because there is so much of it to do.  You see, the glorious Mrs. B is a bit of a hoarder.  Everybody has their vice.  This is hers. She keeps everything she ever gets under the premise that "she's going to use it someday."  Well, as we all know, "someday" rarely ever comes and if it does, the thing we kept is so old and out of style that we don't want to use it anyway.
    In her defense though, she has done a valiant job of trying to downsize.  It's just that it is not quite enough.  It is like the old adage of pissing on a forest fire.  But at least she's trying.
    Why am I telling you all this, you ask?  No reason really.  Just my way of procrastinating.  Which is my best vice.

Monday, October 18, 2010

They Should at Least Find You Handy

    Mark Twain once said, "Do something every day that you don't want to do; this is the golden rule for acquiring the habit of doing your duty without pain."  As much as I admire the wit and wisdom of Mr. Twain, I have failed to follow this sage advice for the greater span of my years on this earth.  Instead, I follow the tenet of "Life is too short to do anything you can pay someone else to do."  When I cannot afford to pay someone to do the painful act, I procrastinate expertly until a date arrives in which I can pay for it.
    Today, however, I actually broke this rule by performing a very unpleasurable action.  I worked on my car.  I didn't overhaul the engine or replace the transmission or anything like that.  What I did was really rather simple, but it was still something that I would normally put off until tomorrow.
    Ah, tomorrow, the perfect time to start any project.  That's the procrastinator's creed.  But I digress.
    The problem on my car had to do with a protective covering that is on the underside of the front of the car.  I am not really sure what it protects.  Perhaps it keeps rocks and other debris from flying up into the radiator or some other engine parts.  It also keeps you from scraping up the cross member on the car when you pull up too far when parking and scrape the underside of the car on the curb.  Which is how my problem came to be.  The pins or screws (whatever they are) that hold on the cover can get sheared off by the curb scraping, causing the covering to hang down and possibly drag on the road.  This is what happened to me.
    This really bugged me, so I decided to do something about it.  I had no idea what kind of pins were needed to reattach the cover or how much they might cost.  I decided to find a temporary solution.  Of course, being a Red Green fan, my first thought was to use the handyman's secret weapon, duct tape, to tape the cover back up.  However, the more I thought about it, the less effective it seemed to be.
    Then I had a revelation.  Tie wraps!  I could tie wrap it back into place.  This would be simple, cheap, more aesthetic than the duct tape, and the tie wraps would be strong enough to hold it; probably, dare I say it, stronger that the duct tape.
    So today, I grabbed my tie wraps and went out to examine the situation.  It turned out that I had to link together 3 tie wraps to get it to reach around the cross member that the cover attached to.  But I did it.  And it worked like a charm.  Funny how a little thing like this can really fill one with a sense of accomplishment.  I guess it is just one of the many blessings that God gives us in life.
    Speaking of Red Green, if you don't know this legendary Canadian comedian, Google him.  What?  Do I have to do everything for you?  Anyway, the title of this post comes from one of his sayings.  He says, "If the women don't find you handsome, they should at least find you handy."
    After today, I'd like to think that they would find me both.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Off the Air: Part III: The End is Here

    Television.  The scourge of modern society.  Once having given up this carnival of souls it seems odd that one would reenter the realm of what is affectionately referred to as "the idiot box."  But that is exactly what I did.
    It was about a year ago now that television once again invaded the sanctity of my castle.  Like many of my decisions, including the one that caused me to begin the off the air experiment, this one was partly financial.  You see, the NFL football season had started and I gots to watch my Cowboys.  Well, with no TV reception, this was a major problem.  I did manage to stream one game off the internet, but the rest of them had to be watched "off-campus."  Meaning I had to either barge-in at a friend's house and risk severing the tenuous bonds of friendship by making a nuisance of myself or go to a sports bar to watch the game.
    I chose the latter because I have so few friends as it is and the sports bar scene held the promise of better atmosphere, not to mention cute young waitresses in tight, sexy outfits.  This is where the financial part of the decision came in.  Because one has to spend money to hang out at a sports bar for 3+ hours and, because the irresistable Mrs. B tagged along, I found I was spending as much as $30 or more per game.  Since the NFL plays once a week, that's about $120 a month just to watch football.
    I decided, screw this. I mean, I like football, but come on.  I can get a really mamma-jamma cable package for $120 a month, and get to watch more than a football game every Sunday (think Skin-emax).  So, not wanting to feel like a complete failure after only 3 months of TV-lessness, and to still save some dough, I went for the cheapest basic cable package available.  This consisted of all the locally available channels plus WGN and Bravo.  Not much to get excited about, but at $20 a month it was a heck of a lot cheaper than any of the sports bars and still made the NFL and other sports available to me.  Of course, I had to give up the slatternly dressed waitresses.  But, hey, if I want to look at barely-dressed, hot girls, that's what the internet is for.  Right?
    The basic cable thing lasted until June of this year when, due to the World Cup (soccer) starting in South Africa, I had to get digital cable with DVR to be able to watch all the games.  A man's gotta do what a man's gotta do.  And so do I.
    Anyway, that's where we stand today.  I have become a television junkie again.  It is so easy to become spoiled by things like pausing and rewinding live television.  I mean, isn't that just the coolest?
    I know what you are thinking.  The experiment was a collossal failure.  No, I don't agree.  Back in the 80's, there used to be this college professor who hosted a 30-minute show about physics on the local PBS station here in Dallas.  His name was Julius-something I think and he had hair like Einstein and was obviously very passionate about his trade.  He would perform little experiments and then talk about the results.  Whenever he got an unanticipated result to an experiment, he would always caution the student that the experiment did not fail.  It was just that the parameters were not sufficient to acheive the desired result.  That is how I feel about this.  Well, ok, not really.  Actually, I got the results I wanted.  I lived without television reception for 3 months and got along just fine.  There was very little that I missed at all.  So, in that sense the desired result was acheived and the experiment a success all around.  The only failure was my inability, or rather my unwillingness, to keep the experiment going.
    Well, I think I'm starting to ramble a bit, so I guess I should end this post.  Besides, TNT is having a Law & Order marathon that I just can't miss.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Just Call Me Lazarus

    I'm back from the dead to report on what a pathetic attempt at a blog this is.  Not one post in over a year now.  Well, ok, it really doesn't matter, since no one but myself and God read it anyway.  But still, as the old Pink Floyd song says, I thought I'd something more to say.
    I just don't seem to find time to write anymore.  It cuts into my television schedule.  Yes, that's right, television and I have rekindled our devilish romance.  But I promise to write more about that later.  Or I should probably say sooner.  Because doing things "later" is what caused the extended period of inactivity on this microscopic slice of the information superhighway.
    So I promise (to whom, I have no idea; maybe just to myself) to write more often and let everyone know what the heck is going on with my now defunct "Off the Air Experiment", as well as other areas of my, oh so mundane, existence.
    Until then, keep those cards and letters (not) coming.