Archive for January, 2007

WANTED: One Cushion

When I headed out for work today, the weather was warm (warm enough that I considered shedding the inner lining of my coat). It was sunny and what the weatherpersons would call “mild.”

Which means that when I reached the bottom of the stairs, I was not expecting ice.

Yeah, that’s right, you know where this is going.

Needless to say, I ended up flat on my ass, my keys skitting across the ice and coming to rest alongside my car. At least they managed to make it there without coming to any harm. So in short, yeah, I’m a little bit sore.

The silver lining

Well, at least one good thing resulted from the mirror coming off in my hand: Today somebody came by and replaced my windshield. :)

I tell ya, having full glass coverage was the single smartest thing I ever did when I bought car insurance.

Signs you shouldn’t have gotten out of bed today.

There are times when you should recognize that the Fates don’t want you to leave the house. Here are some things that should have made me stay at home this morning:

  1. I overslept by two hours.
  2. My uvula was swelled by about 100%, making me practically choke every time I swallowed.
  3. When I tried to unlock my car, the weather was so cold that the door lock was frozen (though all of the other locks on the car were fine), so I had to climb in from the passenger side.
  4. I tried to adjust my mirror—only to have it snap off in my hand. I’m now driving with no rear view mirror until I can figure out how to reattach it in this freezing weather or find a friend with a warm garage that will allow me to work on it. Maybe I’ll just take it into a shop and pay somebody to do it; at least then I can’t screw it up.

If any of these things happens to you when you wake up, take the hint and just go back to sleep until the next day. You’ll thank yourself later on.

New Photos: Waterfront Series

I went down to the waterfront of New London the other night so that I could take some long exposure photos. After nearly getting arrested by someone I believe was a Homeland Security officer because I was trying to take photos of the Amtrak station, I moved on to less… offensive… subjects. The result of that is shown here:

All photos taken with a Canon AV-1 on Kodak Gold 100 film.

I am Man: Hear Me, uh… pound nails

On Friday (my Saturday, for those of you keeping track) I headed back to my old stomping grounds in the New Haven area because I needed to get to the tax department and pay off my car taxes so that I can renew the registration on my car by February. While I was there, I went to the ever-so-awesome IKEA because they had a specific item I was looking for: one of those magnet strips that you put up on your wall and hang your knives on it (they make a kitchen look so… sophisticated). Target had one, but I didn’t like the way it looked and it was three times the price, so I waited until I was going to be in IKEA territory.

IKEA is one of those stores that you have to be careful entering, because not only will you find what you’re looking for; you’ll find about five hundred other items that you need but didn’t realize you needed. I also bought two new pillows for the bed and a new bookshelf, which I had been telling myself I was going to buy but was wary of spending all that money—they had exactly the one I was looking for, and it was only twenty bucks so I snatched it right up. I was THIS CLOSE to buying a nice big bit of artwork to hang in my living room, too, but I couldn’t justify spending seventy dollars for a low-quality reprint on canvas of a photograph that just wasn’t original (it was admittedly beautiful, though; if only it wasn’t completely mass-produced). Plus, I promised myself when I moved into this place with its enormous amounts of wall space that I would put my own photography on the walls, and that’s what I’m going to do. But it goes to show just how dangerous it is to enter IKEA.

It’s like that with two other stores for me, too: bookstores and Best Buy—it doesn’t matter what I’ve gone in there to buy, unless I’m very careful, I’ll pick up at least one other item. While I was on my way to West Haven on Friday, I was listening to Talk of the Nation: Science Friday on NPR, and heard the host talking with a guest named Neil deGrasse Tyson, who is the director of the Hayden Planetarium. He had this book out called “Death by Black Hole” that sounded completely fascinating to me, and so I stopped by the Barnes & Noble near my old apartment and picked it up. And also, I picked up Stephen King’s book “On Writing,” which I’ve been telling myself to read for ages now, since I fancy myself an amateur writer.

So by now, you’re probably wondering what all this has to do with the subject. Good question, dear reader. One of the funny things about items purchased at IKEA is this: they never provide mounting hardware. The bookshelf I bought came with a little strap that you attach to the top, which then gets attached to the wall so that the bookshelf doesn’t come toppling down at the wrong moment. Not a bad idea, I thought to myself. Here’s the funny thing, though: It came with a screw to attach the strap to the bookshelf—but no screw to attach it to the wall. How odd. Likewise, the knife strip came with no mounting screws at all.

So today, before I could install all of this hardware, I had to make a trip to Guy Heaven: the Home Depot. Basking in the glow of power tools and taking in the scent of sawdust, I made my way over to the hardware section and picked up a small box of drywall mounts and a box of fifty drywall screws. Seriously. They don’t come in anything smaller than that. Granted, the box only cost me four bucks, but I only needed three of them. While I was there, I picked up a small pocket level—after all, wouldn’t want that knife strip to be crooked. So it appears that the inability to buy only the thing I intend to buy extends beyond books and electronics equipment. Go figure.

So I spent a portion of my evening screwing things into walls. Makes me feel like a real man.

2006 Wrap Up

Gosh, I just don’t know what to say. It feels like each year seems to move by faster than the last, and I’m just not sure what I can do about that. We just can’t seem to stop the steamroller of time—and nor would we want to—but it just seems to remind me of all of the things I have yet to do.

But this post isn’t about that. This is a wrap-up.

What was 2006, if a reminder of how much things can change?

I stated that 2005 started with a whimper and not a bang. 2006 wasn’t much of an improvement, but I have to say that it made up for it as it went along.

What was so special about the start of 2006? Well, not much, really. Except that from the beginning of the year to the end, things just… improved.

In the spring I got another raise. This one was far better than the last, and it went a long way toward improving the things that were lacking in the year before. I managed to start improving on my finances, slowly but surely, and it wasn’t such a black hole for me, which goes leaps and bounds beyond what I had been dealing with before. I changed jobs in the middle of 2005 (not companies but jobs within the same company, which was a huge adjustment), and in 2006 I was able to really capitalize on this new position and really make it my own. This was reflected in my new salary, and it made me feel not only that I was on top of things but that my higher-ups recognized this, and that went very far in helping me realize that my time wasn’t wasted.

I wrote last year of a friend that I thought I had lost. She surprised me in May of 2006 by contacting me out of the blue, saying that she felt like things didn’t feel right without me in the picture. As much as I can hope that things can stay the same, I acknowledged the same feelings and we attempted to repair some of the damage. I can’t say that the hurts that were caused are fully healed and in fact may never be, but we can only hope to improve my moving past what was, and heading into the new unknown. I believe that person is reading this post, and all I can say is that while I don’t believe that things will ever be what they were before… perhaps we can get past it and make something new out of it.

The latter half of 2006 is what really clinched the positive stuff for me. In late August, I moved much closer to my job, and while it was a pretty risky and scary thing for me to do, it was definitely and without regret the best thing I could have done. My commute dropped from an hour to about ten minutes, and along with this came more sleep, fewer worries and less wear and tear on my car (which, with more than a hundred thousand miles, could definitely use some breaks). Along with this came less rent, a smaller electricity bill and smaller car insurance payments, all of which had directly to do with an increased sense of relaxation in my life. This was coupled with a change in shifts at work, which meant more money and an impact on the same.

So, with all of these positive things to take with me, I look forward to 2007. I got my kiss at midnight (well, in a sense), so perhaps things will start to turn upward romantically as well, which, at this point, is the one thing I could really hope for. :)

I wish all of you (well, all five of you that read this) a safe and happy two thousand seven.

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