Thursday, May 29, 2008

The largest irrigated crop in the United States is grass.

I went out to the Neptune Avenue stop on the F to pick up a guitar I bought. (I have a thing for $50 guitars.) I've never been right there, a stop before the aquarium. First thing I came across was a strip mall. I kinda love strip malls. They make me feel like I'm on the road. I didn't grow up around anything like that, so it's still a novelty. This one, and I can only guess it's a very New York trait, seemed more dense than others I've seen. The stores were narrower. There was a Radio Shack. Across the avenue were stores with Cyrillic writing on them. The Guitar was in what seemed like a Russian Jewish housing project. It was a nice complex, stuck in another era. The guy to open the door for me to find his whole family; young son on couch watching TV, wife at desk by the window, older son in the kitchen, extremely furnished. I expected more of an office/ebay business type of environment.

I tried to pay close attention to the neighborhoods the F train cut through. There are a lot of places to live in this city. I don't think I would mind living out there. No idea what it would cost, but, relatively speaking, it can't be too much, right? This question is consistently on my mind with the revolving corporate owners and upscale upgrades happening around me. There are two bushes in large pots, one on either side of the building entrance. They are putting a laundry room in the basement. The gas station on the next block was removed last month. The most entertaining of the recent changes is the metal trashcan enclosure with the hinged doors on top. I walked out that first night to find about a dozen rats on top of it wondering what the fuck happened, and how do you get to the trash now? I threw the small bag of trash I was taking out at them, and continued on my way. When I returned home late that night, I could hear all kinds of squeaking and banging in there. They had found their way inside.

I had UPS destroy a package of mine, and it has sent me on a little journey into the UPS customer service black hole. After a week of failed attempts to get someone here to either pick this thing up, or make an on-site inspection, or just do something, (one guy told me I could just leave it on my porch for the driver to pick it up. I told him I didn't have a porch, and if I left it outside, it would either get stolen or eaten by rats.) the 4th or 5th person I talked to told me that they probably wouldn't even need to inspect the package since it's only a $100 claim. But here's how it works: The claim is paid to the shipper, the package was shipped from a UPS Store, that makes the UPS Store the shipper since all UPS stores are privately owned, and if I don't hear from anybody in five or six days, the claim was probably issued, and I have to get the money from said UPS Store located somewhere in California.

We had a couple nights that may have spoiled us a little. Bands with people that can actually play. Actual trained musicians. All kinds of horns and bowed string instruments. At the end of the Beirut show, there were about 20 brass and reed instruments littered all over the stage. It looked really funny. The next night, The Silver Mt. Zion Memorial Orchestra (I think there's more to the name, but that's all I can remember) lived up the their name, and the next day we wondered if their classically trained string section was the result of the Canadian government putting more into arts funding than the US.


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