A final word on the flood

My basement is dry. The parking lot at work is open. The roadways are clear. But not everything is back to normal. I didn’t get to take photos the other day on the drive along Horseneck Road, one of the more frequently flooded stretches in the area, but the scene was pretty depressing. Just about every house on the way had a tower of trash at the end of its driveway awaiting pickup. A whole lot of carpet has been rolled up for the garbagemen.

Even though the storm was over last Sunday night, the Passaic River didn’t crest until Tuesday, which resulted in my company shutting down for a day and a half. That’s when the road in front of the building completely flooded, and remained in bad shape until Friday. Even when we came back on Thursday, the water was high enough that we had to park at Target and cross the street. I didn’t bother with photos of my basement, because that really wasn’t anything special, but I did take some photos of the damage near Unigene:

TV these days…

Doesn’t TV just suck? No, I don’t mean that it’s not entertaining. I’ve got way too many shows I’m following at this point to not find it entertaining. But do you remember the days when a season began in the fall and went through to spring when re-runs would begin? And you got to watch the entire season in sequence, except with the occasional missed week for a sporting event or political speech.

These long breaks anymore are killing me. I don’t remember “Family Ties” ending episodes with the message that it would return in two months unless, of course, it was the season finale. I got to watch “Growing Pains” and “Mr. Belvidere” without having to figure out some convoluted schedule as to when episode 6 would actually hit the air. Because it was right after episode 5!

Yes, I’m just bitching because the wait for “Heroes” until tonight as been painful. I mean, the show delivers in spades. It’s probably the greatest thing on TV, but having to wait over month for it to continue is ridiculous. “Lost” already suffers from a slow enough pace, the two month hiatuseses… hiati… gaps are just painful. And in the meantime, they’re shuffling around promising new shows like “Thank God You’re Here” for new “reality” crap like “The Wedding Crashers”. Honestly, the Woman and I laughed at it, but we laugh at just about anything remotely humorous. Hell, we’ve been laughing at this skit non-stop since Saturday night.

What was I talking about? Oh yeah, “Heroes” rocks. Watch it…

Tab clearance 2007-04-20

I have other things to post about, but man do I need to clear some tabs first.

  • Fortunately, the Woman doesn’t read defective yeti, otherwise she’d have a new term to describe my most annoying trait: e-social.
  • Things I really want: This foosball table (thanks to kottke) and these http://www.kottke.org/remainder/07/04/13215.html“>glasses.
  • King of the Cul-de-Sac – holy crap, who would have thought “white boy rap” could be so funny? And I totally need that “Self-made Hundredaire” t-shirt.
  • As for the regular variety of rap, Snoop Dogg reminds us all that it’s still only OK for black rappers to be racist and mysogynist because, you know, they’re speaking from the heart, motherf***er. (thanks to kottke)
  • Things are not going well for Internet Radio, but you can check out The SaveNetRadio Coalition to see how to help.
  • Then again, after reading an interview with the head of an INDIE label, I’m not sure that I even want to help them. I reiterate my threat, that very soon I will just outright stop buying any and all CDs until that industry can figure itself out (I’ve already stopped buying DVDs).
  • But… but… violating copyright laws is exactly like raping a goat, isn’t it? Nice try again, Scott. I understand you like to make money without putting any work into it, who wouldn’t?
  • I’m just wondering if Kongo Gumi are going to have really cheesy, late-night commercials celebrating how their loss of a 1400 year-old business means crazy savings for you. “Our ancestors ran this business for a millennium before America was colonized, yet we screwed it up. How lucky for you! All temples must be sold!” (thanks to kottke)
  • I readily admit that I enjoyed the Microsoft “Wow” commercials, but “Mesmerized” commercial for Office 2007 is utterly brilliant. The rest of the series (which I still need to watch) is listed on istartedsomething. Of course if these videos had been done by Apple, they be praised long and hard across the Internet – since it’s Microsoft, you’ll see every flaw pointed out in comments.
  • And in case you missed the past decade of funny clips on the Internet, here they are.
  • Renée C. Byer won a Pulitzer this year for her collection of 20 photographs following single mother of 5, Cyndie Madsen, as she lost her 10 year-old son, Derek, to cancer. One of the most compelling galleries I’ve ever seen, I could not make it through to the end.
  • I won’t leave you guys on such a downer, please watch these bunnies over and over again until you feel happy again.

I’ll get back to my real life tonight…

Flood waters

Yesterday I had to park across the street from work because the Passaic River had blocked off our parking lot. A few hours later, those who had made it in gathered up everything and headed home as the river advanced further and further up the street. Of course, I didn’t bring my camera to capture the bizarre look of it all.

Today they didn’t even risk that much and shut down – except for those of us that could work from home. It’s days like these that I wonder why so many people want laptops from work. People seem to think laptops let you stay at home to work more often – but in reality they let you work more often when you’re at home. If you get my meaning.

The basement over here has long since dried up (well, there are a couple puddles), and my back is recovery from the continuous actions of fill wet/dry vac, lift to slop sink, and empty wet/dry vac. Try doing that about 50 times with 5 gallons of water each iteration – oh, and occasionally let the sink back up so that you have to carry the vac upstairs to the toilet. But considering the situation some people find themselves in after this storm, I’m not that bothered by it.

But you better believe I’ll be getting a sump pump installed one way or another this summer.

And much fun was had by all

A big time congratulations to my friends Joe and Nicole on their nuptials this weekend. They are such an adorable couple, and we had an awesome time at the celebration – thanks for including us in both the official and unofficial festivities. I think we can safely assume that my score of 95 points for “Bizarre Love Triangle” is some sort of karaoke record. A record that shall stand, unless I decide to try “It’s the End of the World As We Know It (And I Feel Fine)” again.

I’m glad the weather held off until yesterday to dump a crapload o’ misery on us, so that your day could be beautiful (even if it was indoors anyway).

A war of concession

This afternoon I was mopping up some of the excess water in the basement to keep things dry. An hour later I had the wet/dry vac working again to try to keep up the pace. Not much later I had abandoned the back portion, safe in the knowledge that nothing worthwhile could get wet. Eventually, the Woman and I were clearing the remaining cardboard boxes out of the tiled area which was finally being overrun. By late evening I found myself standing in the only dry area, fighting to save the appliances from the water surging from yet another new angle. As the slop sink began to back up from the excess sediment being picked up with the water I realized there was nothing left to concede.

So everything is off the floors, electrical cords are safely propped on high, random pieces of cardboard have been thrown down for absorption and I’m nursing some bruised muscles and pride. All I can do is hope the dehumidifiers at least keep the air a little dry and cringe at the thought of vacuuming up half an inch of water in the morning. It’s pretty amazing that the wettest day in 30 years happens just over a year of living in our house that has drainage problems.

And yes, I’ve spent plenty of time today reading about sump pumps and how to install them. That sledgehammer isn’t going to swing itself, you know…

Monkey kicks ball, fun ensues

It’s amazing how much fun and frustration can come from a game that involves a single click of the mouse button. In spite of my failure to answer Jonson’s challenge, at least I can turn around and mock the rest of you as you spend your Friday night’s try to break my personal record of 4095 meters. I also issue a lesser challenge to best my weakest kick of 98 meters. Enjoy!

UPDATE: My personal best currently sits at 4414. Two have beaten me. Sorry Chris, but your puny 4412 means nothing!


Have I mentioned indexed before? No? Clever site, and the best use of index cards since that presentation on the Civil War you had to do in 4th grade. Seriously, who can remember all of those battles? Jessica Hagy uses simple Venn diagrams, charts, and graphs to represent the interaction between the various elements of life. But it’s far less geeky and far more fun and interesting than that may sound.

She’s posted a lot of great ideas, but her tribute to Vonnegut so perfectly summed up my own feelings I felt I finally had to link to her. Enjoy!

So It Goes

One summer back in high school I decided to go on a reading rampage. It was my last free summer – before I would start working regular jobs that would limit my days of just lazing about. That summer I immersed myself in the worlds of Shakespeare, Orwell, Kipling, Huxley, and others. But one book stood out amongst all of them: Slaughterhouse-Five, or The Children’s Crusade.

To say that it was different would be an understatement. When people would ask me what it’s about, there’s really only one line that can describe it: Billy Pilgrim became unstuck in time. How else do you explain the story of an American soldier, captured by Germans in WWII, survived the bombing of Dresden, went home to marry and start a family, was put in an intergalactic zoo to be observed mating with an adult film star… oh, and he experiences all of this in different sequences thanks to the Tralfamadorians and their concept of non-linear time? Like I said, it was a different book…

This novel introduced me to the style of absurd writing. It introduced me to the concept of antiheroes. It introduced me to dark comedy, self-referential narration, plant-connects, literary choruses, and metafiction. Even though I had wanted to write for some time, reading Slaughterhouse-Five opened my heart and mind to what and how I wanted to write. That’s not to say that my desire was to copy the style of the book, rather I started to recognize my own voice as it matched the absurdity of what was inside. I realized that tearing apart the world and recreating it in your own bizarre image was the best way to show how beautiful it is no matter how much tragedy you must wade through to get to it.

Even though I never met the man, Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. had a great influence on the fine, well-adjusted individual that turn into the smart-assed writer posting immature snippets for your enjoyment. Over the next few years into my formative college days, I started reading every book of his I got my hands on: Player Piano, Breakfast of Champions, Cat’s Cradle (my personal favorite), Mother Night, Sirens of Titan… They were all magnificent. Everything he wrote was exactly what I wanted to read. Even analyzing his novels was fun – I wrote 2 or 3 term papers on his books and enjoyed the process of digging deeper behind the scenes of such a great writer.

Right now I probably sound like a schoolgirl gushing about her favorite band and how adorable the lead singer is, but many of us have complete strangers who manage to have a profound impact on our life. This isn’t hero worship; there is no idolization here, rather a deep found respect and admiration. Kurt Vonnegut is the writer I wish I could be and a major reason why I continue to write this blog and consider other outlets for my attempts at creativity.

I don’t know how to wrap this up, other than saying that there are far greater tragedies in life than the death of an 84 year-old man, no matter how great of a writer he was. Vonnegut himself would be the first to accept the news of his passing with graciousness and a slight turn of a phrase – at which I seem to be failing spectacularly. Personally, the news still managed to touch me more than I might have expected for someone who I only knew through his work. I guess that shows just how much his work managed to touch me.

So it goes.

Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. 1922-2007

Tab clearance 2007-04-11

I have over 30 tabs open right now – I really need to be doing this at least once per week.