Thursday, June 02, 2005

two nights ago a car had its windows broken in. as far as i know there was no reason. i heard it happen. at first, i thought someone was having problems shutting their car door. so, they were slamming it. but there was a counternoise to it. inbetween each car slam was what sounded like a popper that people throw to the ground in order to make it explode. it took about 5 of each sound to make me get up and decide to investigate. i saw nothing. i didn't see the guys who did it, i didn't see what they did. as i was standing out there i saw the owner of the car come out, look at it and raise his arms as if to say "what the fuck is this?". later, the cops showed up. i was standing on the sidewalk and they ignored me. admittedly, i was four houses down from what happened. the cops unhooked their guns and advanced on the neighbor's house. after a bit, the cops went to the house of the car owner. i went to bed.
the next morning i arose somewhat tired, because i had been waiting until one a.m. in case the cops wanted to ask questions (plus, apocalypse now redux was on). so, i managed on my to work to look over and see the car that had had its windows bashed in. every single one of them was either gone or bent inward. i got to tell my co-workers the story. it wasn't until i was driving home and on my block that i noticed there were two cars that had all of their windows beaten the hell out of. right next to each other. i know that the time from when i heard the window beating begin to when i heard it stop was all of ten to fifteen seconds. two cars, all of the windows. i hoped that the instance was a targeted thing and that the owner of the cars would shut his mouth.
tonight i was walking and on my way back i met the man who owns the cars. his wife and two small children were outside watching him try to punch out the rest of the windows with a hammer and piece of wood. she moved away from me. wouldn't look me in the eye. i went to him to ask if the cops had caught the guys who did it. he didn't speak english. this family lives there four houses down from me and they can't communicate with their neighbors. a quiet family (now i know why). i know they will get nothing from the police if they can't speak english. i know that whatever the reason for someone to want to break their windows they will not get any satisfaction or justice. it's a shame.
but how do you speak with someone who doesn't understand what you're saying? i used body language to tell him i lived right down the block. i hoped that he understood that he could ask me for help. somehow, though, i ldoubt it. i am a good actor, but this was different. he looked at me as if i was going to belt him. and i see someone who doesn't necessarily need help with the windows, but may need help with where he and his family live.
i'm a sucker for strays. that's why i have a cat.
did anyone watch the daily show with jon stewart last night? he had some good quotes from criminals about how "deep throat" is not a hero but a very unethical person. pat buchanan was on board, so was g. gordon liddy (who was one of the arrested in the watergate breakin and said that deep throat should have reported his information to the law for a grand jury to consider indictment) and bob novak (who outed a CIA operative last year or so and is the only journalist to report on it who is not currently under subpoena. the CIA person was the wife of a diplomat who disagreed publicly with Bush about the so-called yellowcake uranium that Bush and powell claimed Iraq tried to buy from Niger. it turned out that the documents were forged in a very amatuerish way. it, also, turned out that the white house leaked the wife's name to novak as retribution, though it has yet to be proven in a court of law). awesome segment and very funny.

This is Why We Have So many Yardsales in Fresno

By the way, I think Marcel and I are having another yardsale at his place this Saturday. His street is doing their annual block sale, so we're going to try to get rid of the rest of our respective dvd collections. Will let you know if this changes.

Top 10 cities where paychecks go far
New survey finds cities where you get the most value for your salary, and where you get the least.May 23, 2005: 10:52 AM EDT By Jeanne Sahadi, CNN/Money senior writer

NEW YORK (CNN/Money) – Pride aside, it really doesn't matter how much you make, just so long as it goes a long way where you live.
Therein lies the rub for all those who seek glory and glamour – or just decent housing and a drink -- in the most fabled places.
A new report from looks at the relationship between salaries and the cost of living in 188 large metropolitan areas across the country to see where the gainfully employed can live and eat and still pad their bank accounts.
The living costs measured in the new Salary Value Index include housing, food, transportation, utilities and state taxes. The index also factors in an area's employment and job-growth rates.
What it does not account for are quality-of-life issues, such as culture, school systems and the weather.
So, financially speaking, the top 10 places where you'll get the most mileage out of your paycheck are:
New London, Conn.
Huntsville, Ala.
Harrisburg, Pa.
Tulsa, Okla.
Rock Island, Ill.
Troy, N.Y.
Corpus Christi, Texas
Schenectady, N.Y.
Las Vegas, Nev.
The top cities, found, have all enjoyed various forms of revitalization in the past several years since the cost of doing business is low and new employees are brought to town.
For instance, New London, a historic whaling port between New York and Boston, now serves as home to Pfizer's Research and Development headquarters.
Huntsville, Ala., a turn-of-the-century town, is home to various NASA programs.
If companies continue to find a city in the Top 10 of the Salary Value Index attractive, the cost of living could eventually increase along with salaries and employment opportunities.
But the draw of such areas is vulnerable if any major players pull out of town. A naval submarine base in New London, for instance, may soon close. If that happens, the immediate impact would be a higher unemployment rate, a decline in the cost of living and then in salaries, said Bill Coleman,'s senior vice president of compensation.
But long-term, he suggested, the city's appeal would depend in part on what happens after the base closed – whether, for instance, a corporation converts the space for some of its facilities, attracting new workers.
The worst places to stretch a dollar earned
Chances are, you easily might have predicted many of the worst places on the Salary Value Index without the aid of a calculator.
In any case, please refrain from serenading your tan and toned West Coast friends or your pale, neurotic Manhattan ones with a rousing rendition of "Nah, nah, nah, nah, nah, nah."
According to, the 10 least affordable cities for paycheck earners are:
New York
San Francisco
Stamford, Conn.
San Jose, Calif.
San Diego
Santa Barbara, Calif.
Bakersfield, Calif.
Los Angeles
Fresno, Calif.
And what of the often-overlooked middle child? According to Salary. Com, the cities that rank in and around the 50th percentile in terms of affordability relative to pay are:
Mobile, Ala.
Kansas City, Kan.
Fort Collins, Colo.
Sioux City, Iowa
Orlando, Fla.
Wherever you live, the challenge is to live within your means. To see if you are, click here.

Tuesday, May 31, 2005

RE: Tower Listserv Morons who comment way too much

For you dumpster diving naysayers, rest assured. Various cities have been passing laws that prohibit anyone from taking from any bin put onto the curb. In short, the law says that if the bin is put on the curb, then its contents belong to the company that picks it up. It shouldn't be too long before Fresno adopts this law. Top fine for anyone caught is $500 as of right now. Perhaps, some of you would like to petition your council people to pursue this. This is a law set into force by the recycling companies that have contracts with the cities. So, calling whoever ours is might work too. I don't back it, but I thought you might like it.
As for Gordon complaining about someone coming 125 feet onto his property to steal from his dumpster, I can only ask what the selling price is, because I don't know of any property within the Tower that has that kind of driveway.As for the CRIME WAVE, last night I was an audio witness to all of the windows being busted out of two cars parked under a streetlight in a span of 10 seconds. By the time I got to my sidewalk the criminals were a block and a half away and accelerating. Pretty damn impressive. I'm pretty sure without seeing anyone's crime sheet that it was a targeted thingy. Today, someone tried to tell me that the second car showed some time later in the same condition, but I counted the number of blows and it added up to the number of windows wiped out.
I have lived in my house for two years now and never been approached by the Neighborhood Watch. And last night there were representatives of only three houses on the entire block who stepped out of their houses to check on the noise. When I told my backyard neighbor about it today, he responded by telling me that the Neighborhood Watch Captain had quit. And he didn't know what was happening with the Neighborhood Watch.That's news to me, since those who have condemned me for not being a joiner have also told me that they would pray for me. But they can't be bothered to tell me that a loose knit "militia" organization is now defunct.
I have nothing against groups that want to be on the lookout for things that go bump (or blam or scream or shatter) in the night (or day). I do my part without knowing these groups. I think that a resident's first responsibility is to his or her safety within the home. Second, his or her responsibility is to the visible community. And when I am standing on my sidewalk and wondering what the hell that loud banging was and no one else is out there wondering with me, then I have to think that we as a neighborhood within the Tower (or anywhere for that matter) are lacking. If anyone can give me the number or direction to go in which to find out who is in charge of my Neighborhood Watch I would greatly appreciate it. I think these things can work so long as no one decides they're "in charge" and everyone must bow to their beckoning. Which is what I gathered was happening to my little pod.
Now, as for the service y'all think you're not getting at our local establishments. I agree that it is not what it used to be. Today I waited almost 5 minutes before the Livingstones bartender got me my beer. But she was new. The other bartenders will have my beer in front of me within 4 minutes. The last time I ate at the Landmark I had to get up from my table and let Giselle know that I'd been waiting for over 15 minutes. But I've been to Chili's and Sizzler and the Outback and many other places (on somebody else's dollar, baecause they are places I would rather not frequent) on the North end of town and had to undergo the same amount of waiting time. I don't see any difference in dining experience here or there. I think the only time I receive topnotch waiting service is at Denny's. And if Echo wants to leave, good. The owners were very snooty within the restaurant and out of it. I met them at Arthop and other functions and they had elite dripping out of their noses onto the placemats (which, at Arthop, tended to be paper). pretty gross. The 609 moving to the strip between Sequoia and the Tower is very groovy. Hopefully, Sequoia will get a clue about how to treat their clientele and any others who walk in. The wait staff is cool (but predictable in their immediate "today's special is...". at least at Livingstone's or the Landmark they would ask you what you'd like before the spiel about how to make them more profit for their money ala the "specials". specials are cool, but don't need to be the immediate focus), the managers are not.
I don't know if Geoff tried hugging at the Revue again, but it must be accepted, because I was given a serious full-body hug by a very nubile woman not long ago and it lasted a bit (though not as long as I would have liked) and nobody complained. Or if they did I didn't hear them and nobody pulled us apart. Until she did. That bitch.
Anyway, Eric writes from New Jersey (as if his voice counts anymore). He's bought a mansion and is raising his children in total isolation from each other. They eat breakfast together and then are forcibly separated until the next morning. His wife is nowhere to be found. She left one day (allegedly for New York) and they haven't seen her since. It's rumored she's dancing for Greenwald. I could cite sources, but...they're still close friends. Plus, I've still got Eric's tuxedo. If I f**k up, he'll have me buried in it. He's got friends, too.