Maybe you’ve seen David Cronenberg’s film Scanners, you know, with the exploding heads? Well, I thought my head would explode as I was trying to juggle four instant messenger conversations at the office on Friday. When did work get so insane?
Naturally, when I spotted this item in the Vermont Country Store catalog, I was nostalgic for simpler times.
“A pace that lets you think.” Hmmm, I really need that — no, maybe we all need that. I don’t know about your job, but my days lately are fractured by so many meetings that there’s precious little time to sit at my desk and get work done. Doing things at a pace that lets you think would be luxurious.
I’m sure that many of you remember typing your work and then distributing it to people on paper; for you youngsters, it was once commonplace. It might be fun to buy a typewriter and send some work around that way. We could all benefit from a pace that lets you think.
What sort of backwards place is Bethlehem, anyway? Yes, backwards.
The Albany suburb is known for its excellent schools and well-heeled residents, the home to doctors and lawyers and such — but to that, I say, “WTF! Who closes the dump on a Friday?”
It’s not really a dump. The town transfer station collects your waste and dispatches it to landfills and recycling centers. This is not Albany, where you just put a ratty old couch on the curb and it disappears overnight. No, in Bethlehem you drag it to the
dump transfer station and pay them to make it go away.
De-cluttering a house is hard work, and lately my car has made many trips to a local storage facility and the
dump transfer station. Too many trips to the storage facility and not enough to the dump transfer station, if you ask me, but that’s another blog post.
So, if you’ve ever filled your vehicle with crap and found that there’s nowhere to put it, like in Alice’s Restaurant, you know what I mean. Except in this case it wasn’t Thanksgiving, the
dump transfer station was closed because it was FRIDAY.
Again, I ask you: what sort of backwards place is Bethlehem, anyway?
Nobody’s interested in hearing another opinion about the UAlbany bus donnybrook — especially not from some dopey blogger — but what really caught my attention was learning that there are 12 security cameras on a CDTA bus.
Well, that’s a fun fact!
Think about it for a second. You’ve probably been on a city bus, now imagine 12 cameras keeping an eye on such a small area. One’s probably on the driver and one or two may point outside, but inch-by-inch, is there anywhere with more video surveillance, besides a bank?
The takeaway: CDTA has their eye on you — and that doesn’t make me unhappy. I ride the bus occasionally, and not through Albany’s finest neighborhoods. If cameras make the bus safer, add even more.
Still, it seems interesting. Is there that much trouble on these buses — and are the security cameras a precaution or a reaction?
A co-worker told me something interesting after learning I was a volunteer fireman.
He lived up in the hills in Rensselaer County. “Oh, yeah,” he said, “I always donate to the fire department’s fund drive. Everybody knows if you don’t, they won’t show up if you have a fire.”
I just shook my head. “Fund drive or no fund drive, if you have a fire, you won’t believe the number of firemen and firetrucks that show up. They’ll be coming from all over.”
It’s true. In the suburbs and country you don’t get that many serious fires, so when there is a real fire it’s a pretty big deal — and the response is sometimes out scale with the incident. It’s different in the city, where paid departments have set manpower.
These days a lot of volunteer fire departments are having trouble recruiting members. There are a lot of reasons for this, not the least of which are the demands on a member’s time due to better training standards. But society has changed too, and people aren’t volunteering or joining organizations the way they once did. There’s a good book about this called Bowling Alone that looks at these changes in our civic involvement.
Even still, you can be sure there will be loads of firefighters if your house actually catches on fire, even if you don’t write a check for the fund drive. But if your basement needs to be pumped out…
The orthodontists where I sent my kids are at it again with their Halloween candy buy back program.
Here’s how it works: patients receive $2 for each pound of candy they bring to the braces factory. As an added incentive, for each pound collected the orthodontists donate $2 to a scholarship fund. That’s nice — they’re putting $4 per pound behind this.
But wait a second, look at this:
Candy will be donated to the Capital Region Food Bank
So let me get this straight: candy is bad for our patients, but it’s OK to give it away at the food bank to kids who are too poor to afford braces.
In defiance of this stupid idea that kids shouldn’t have candy on Halloween, I decided it was time for a gesture: full size candy bars. That’s right, no of “fun size” nonsense at my house this Halloween.
It’s my sincere wish that none of this candy ends up at that orthodontist office — and by the way, if you ask me, there is nothing fun about “fun size” candy bars.
When did Halloween become about teaching children not to eat candy? I’m sorry if it means you have a few extra brackets and bands to fix this week, but save your lessons for another day and let children be children.
If you really want to stop the little darlings from munching on chewy treats and ruining the tooth scaffolding, charge the parents a pile of money to fix the damage. That might work.
Yes, it’s oh-so fun to pick apples, isn’t it? Apple picking has become the go-to fall outing around here. And why not? It’s the perfect family activity — and hey, single gentlemen: if you want to impress that lady friend, nothing’s better than a trip to the orchard.
But you know what? Actually picking the apples doesn’t take very long, unless you’re pulling them off the tree with your mouth (which I don’t recommend) or doing it blindfolded.
We stopped at Indian Ladder Farms Saturday for some apples, and because dogs are not permitted, someone had to wait in the car with the Scarlett and Maddy. I volunteered for the picking duty and my objective went from take your damn time to get it done as fast as possible.
It ended up taking me longer to pay for my bag and walk to the trees than to pick the apples; I was done in less than five minutes. Look, I’ve spent plenty of time strolling through the orchards enjoying the beauty and bounty of fall. Sometimes you just want some apples.
My wife says to me, “There’s poop on the front lawn again.”
And says I, “Human or canine?”
Look, in the burbs, letting your dog shit on someone’s lawn is the ultimate anti-social act. I’m quite sure people are peering from their windows when my dogs squat on their lawn, so I don’t just pick up the poop, but go though elaborate kubuki-like moves with the poop bag to make it obvious that I’m cleaning up.
Not everyone feels this way.
Lately we’ve found quite a bit of dog poop on the fringes of the lawn. Hopefully it’s just that dog walkers are lazy and not making a statement about me and my stupid blog.
Well, thanks to science, now you can figure out which dog pooped the poop. Several companies, like PooPrints offer DNA testing of dog sh*t with the aim of matching man’s best friend with your worst enemy. — in fact, according to the New York Times, there are Brooklyn apartment buildings using this technique to identify tenants whose dogs foul the elevators and hallways.
Great idea — but the problem? How exactly will you get a DNA sample from your neighbor’s pet to establish a match? If you live in a community strictly controlled by a neighborhood association or in a New York co-op, yes, you could require members to submit poop samples, but in the suburbs it’s a squishy proposition. Literally.
So, how does one collect a DNA sample from the suspect dog in a typical subdivision? Maybe let the Canine of interest lick your face and then swab your cheek — or sneak into their backyard to collect a sample?
I don’t know — they make it look so easy on CSI Miami. It would probably be easier — and cheaper — to just accept that sh*t happens.
Americans were so outraged with the Ferguson grand jury decision that many of them actually tweeted about it.
If only we’d had Twitter during the Vietnam war and the civil rights movement. Who knows what would have been possible with so many people sitting on their couches blurting out their opinions to nobody in particular.
The roads around my house have never been more dangerous. More cars, greater speed, less focus on driving — it’s all made things very tough on pedestrians.
I’ve complained about the lack of sidewalks in my end of town, and years ago the powers that be claimed they would be doing something about it. Well, years later the powers that be acted. For the past few months, a crew from the Town of Bethlehem worked to lay down nearly a mile of beautiful new sidewalk. This fills in a gap that now allows you to travel all the way from Delaware Avenue to Route 9W without walking in the road.
It may not seem like a big thing to have a sidewalk, but this has already made me safer. For years I’ve run on the road, usually before dawn, and while I’ve done so with reflective gear and a very bright headlamp, it always feels dangerous when a car passes.
I’d say this is better for drivers, too. Now they won’t be startled by some nut out running on the road at 5am, distracting them from their eating, drinking coffee, texting, folding newspapers, reaching into the back seat, smoking pot — whatever. Yes, the aroma of weed often wafts out from passing cars at that hour.
Now, if the motorists can manage to stay on the road, I have nothing to worry about.