Mailing letters

I walked inside the post office today to mail a PLA t-shirt (notice the link I put there, hoping more people might buy PLA shirts.) and a husband and wife were in line. They were both complaining to each other about the man outside who was using the mail machine. (Whatever that thing is called that lets you skip the human at the counter) Their complaint was that the man had way too much to mail and that he was getting insurance on every package. They went on and on about it. And they even started bitching to me about it, hoping I would be as upset as they were. And I yelled back, “OH MY GOD! A man has come to the POST OFFICE and he’s MAILING STUFF!!! What a HUGE FUCKING JERK!”

Wait no, that’s only what I thought. I said nothing and just ignored them, so they continued to rant to each other about the man who had the audacity to come into a post office and mail his letters. I bet they’re at home, lying in bed right now, still complaining about that guy. I bet they go to Starbucks and complain about people there ordering coffee. And then they stand in line at the bank, amazed that the people in front of them are depositing checks. There wasn’t even a bad line today. They should come in around noon when the line is out the door and everyone is whining to each other that there’s only 3 people working at the counter. Those people have tried to get me involved in their complaining too. I avoid eye contact and say nothing.

Go ahead, make fun of me for writing a complaining rant about ranting complainers.

Rent and Moving

Looks like on Thursday morning, I will be signing the papers and I can move into the new place. Some guy off Craigslist is going to help me with the heavy furniture. We should be completely moved into the new place by Sunday. Woo!

I was talking to Spessa earlier today about the increased cost of rent and I came up with the following excuses on why the increased rent isn’t a big deal:

  • I’ll be saving $13.00 per month on garbage pickup since it’s free there.
  • I’ll be saving $20.00 per month on doing my laundry at a laundromat, once I spend about $150 for a used washer and dryer.
  • I’ll be saving $41.00 per month by canceling my gym membership, once I buy an elliptical machine for a couple hundred bucks. (My current apartment is too small for one.)
  • Decreased power bill since I won’t be running a dehumidifier every other day.
  • My car will be paid for in just 4 more months! That’s $210.00 I won’t be paying anymore! Yeah, I know this has nothing to do with moving, but it’s still a good excuse for increased rent.

Here’s a big one, and I didn’t realize it until I joked about it to Spessa…I will save a few hundred bucks per year by not living next door to Warren the meth addict. That guy has actually cost me a lot of money. Here’s my damage estimate, from 2 years of living next to Warren…

  • $55.00 – bike I bought from Target stolen
  • $250.00 – car window smashed
  • $150.00 – car stereo stolen (from car theft)
  • $44.00 – cool 3,000,000 candlepower flashlight stolen (from car theft)
  • $40.00 – replacement bike I bought at a yard sale stolen (it’s a good thing I didn’t buy nice bikes)
  • $10.00 – lock to gate cut with bolt cutters to steal this bike
  • $15.00 – lock and chain on bike/bike rack cut to steal this bike

At various points during all this, I decide to beef up security for 2 reasons. One is that I really do like this apartment because it’s nice and it’s very cheap. And two, because it would be cheaper to periodically blow money on increasing security than it would to spend another $100 – $300 per month on rent. Here’s the increased security breakdown…

  • $60.00 – Motion controlled security lights in the back. There was NO light back there before, so I had to do some rewiring in the hallway, installed a new switch, etc. So $60 is about what I paid for all those materials.
  • $100.00 – Alarm system. With as many out of town trips as I take, an alarm system that could call me while I’m away seemed like a great idea. I think it also worked as a deterrent for Warren because he heard the door chime whenever it was opened and he was outside. And a few times I forgot to enter my code when I came home, so the alarm went off and I’m positive they had to hear that. Just from him knowing the alarm was there might have saved me from a break in.
  • $50.00 – new motion sensor lights. The old ones stopped working correctly so I had to replace them. Guess that’s what I get for buying the cheapest ones they had.
  • $30.00 – locking doorknobs for inside doors. I liked to keep my office locked when I was gone for more than a few hours. My hope was that anyone breaking into the house might not bother with the locked doors.
  • $30.00 – Miscellaneous security items. Such as window locks for the sliding windows, an extra lock on the back door, a new padlock for the gate since they cut the old one.
  • $100.00 – cameras. I set one up on the back patio area. The other I was going to point out the window at my car, but I never got around to it.
  • $40.00 – USB to video, to hook the camera into.
  • $50.00 – Security software – this is a neat piece of software that can handle up to a few dozen cameras. Whenever it detects motion, it starts snapping pictures and saving them in the computer and uploading them to Plus it was updating a single image of the patio area every 1 minute. It could also email any detected motion to me or send a text to my phone about movement. I loved messing with that software.

So, assuming that I’m not forgetting anything, the total Warren has cost me is approximately $1024.00. That is a LOT of money that I spent during this past two years! It comes to $42.60 per month. That’s how much I pay to live next to this guy. And there’s no doubt in my mind that he’s responsible for the issues I’ve had with theft. It’s either him or its his friends. Not to mention the peace of mind that I haven’t had because of him. I’d love to buy a new car stereo (another Warren-related cost once I finally do it) but I can’t because if I do, there’s the risk of his posse breaking into my car again. I’ve had to deal with shitty local radio stations every time I get into the car because of him. I was going to skip getting the kids bikes for Christmas this year because they’d probably just get stolen since these people are cutting the locks. I can do that now! (I guess in this case, Warren would have saved me about $100.) And vacations are a little worrisome, knowing that Warren probably realizes that I’m out of town and he might decide to break in. It’d be so easy for him to break into my place without getting caught.

So I’ve got some serious plans for Warren, which I don’t think I should rant about in my journal. But I will have at least $1024.00 of fun with him. I just hope he doesn’t die from his addiction before I finish with him. Warren, prepare for a much more interesting life.

License plates, stolen bike

The amazing cellular antenna reception extender!

Cellular reception in the mountains of Idaho was a real bitch, but some antenna hax0ring fixed things right up. I’m back in Oregon now after 6 fun-filled days of Idaho.

Today I went to the post office to find a nice surprise – my Oregon license plates! After about 10 months of living here, I’m finally an official resident. Now people on the road won’t be able to yell, “Hey moron, go back to Illinois and learn how to drive!!!” anymore. They’ll have to stick to generic obscene hand gestures and stuff.

Not only did I get license plates in the mail, but I also got new checks for my checking account. I never bothered getting new ones since I only use checks to pay bills and rent and they never seem to care if I have an Illinois address on them. But a couple weeks ago they ran out so I had to order more and I put my new address on them. I’m feeling really Oregonianish today.

In sadder news, my bike was stolen a couple weeks ago. Right from my fenced in patio. I’m pretty sure kcochran did it since he let it slip that he’s been stalking around my house lately. I want it back, kcochran.

I’m now officially averaging one stolen bike per year. Last summer someone stole my bike from our deck. I didn’t really care too much about that one since I didn’t want to lug it to Oregon anyway. Plus I’d owned that one for 5 or 6 years. This one I’ve only owned for maybe 5 months. Luckily it was a very cheap bike so it’s not a huge loss. But it’s annoying that I have to DRIVE to the post office and everywhere else now.

And I can’t believe it got stolen from my patio when I never lock it up anywhere in public. I leave it sitting in front of the mall, at convenience stores, at Wendy’s, the bank, the post office, etc. I never lock it up. But the one place it finally gets stolen from is my fenced-in patio. At least they didn’t take off with the kids’ bikes. I’ve been padlocking the gate since that happened. Next time I’m going to buy a crappy old used bike from a thrift store instead of a clearance bike from Target. That is, unless kcocran decides to return it before I get around to buying a new one.


I just called the utilities in Illinois to get by month-by-month totals for 2005 taxes. My electric bill was insane last year. $382 in July?? $358 in September??

Jan – $275.22
Feb – $236.58
Mar – $177.09
Apr – $297.86
May – $200.61
Jun – $296.66
Jul – $382.84
Aug – $213.71
Sep – $358.06
Oct – $83.18
Nov – $163.58
Dec – $115.56
TOTAL $2800.95

Illinois Water:
Jan – $22.46
Feb – $25.10
Mar – $19.82
Apr – $17.18
May – $19.82
Jun – $17.18
Jul – $22.46
Aug – $22.46
Sep – $19.82
Oct – $19.82
Nov – $14.54
Dec – $14.54
TOTAL $235.20

I’m suddenly so grateful that I’ve moved into this nice little apartment where my electric bill is averaging $50 per month and my water is paid by the rental company. My electric will go up a little in the summer here because of central air. But there’s no way it’ll end up at the levels I was at before. Guess it pays to not heat and cool 3 levels of house. (The basement wasn’t by choice, the air ducts just leaked all over the place down there.)

Police blotter

Dec. 14th, 2005|03:56 pm: I’m reading the Albany newspaper and in the police blotter it shows this: “GANG GRAFFITI – Gang graffiti referencing the music group Insane Clown Posse was discovered Monday on the West Albany High School and Memorial Middle School buildings. A student has been referred to the juvenile department for for criminal mischief.”

I’d just like to point out that I pointed out the Juggalo Street Crew issue in my journal almost a month ago! At least I can now do my laundry feeling safe, now that the JSC is safely behind bars.

Weird thrift store guy

Dec. 6th, 2005|01:04 pm: I was in Burger King on Sunday, eating lunch with the kids and I noticed that Carol of the Bells was playing throughout the restaurant. That made me smile. And if you don’t know why, you should listen to this.

Today I went to the post office, then the other post office, then Wendy’s for lunch, Goodwill in hopes of finding a cheap dresser (no luck) and some other little junk shop down the street from Goodwill. The owner talked to me nonstop during my entire 15 minute visit there. He just rambled forever. I would ask him the price on something, he’d tell me, and then he’d go right back into whatever thing he was rambling about. Soon after arriving in the store, he says, “I’m sorry about it being so cold in here, but a man tried to kipnap one of my girls the other day which you probably read about in the paper…” And 5 minutes later he finally got to some kind of conclusion on how that related to their furnace being broken. Which I don’t even remember.

He gave me a nice deal on the books, though. Nine books for $3.00, since that’s all the cash I had on me. Oh yeah, that’s another thing. He said they don’t take credit/debit cards anymore because identity theft is a big problem these days and once somebody did something with credit cards that cost the store thousands of dollars. Or something like that. So their brilliant solution was to stop accepting credit/debit cards forever. Hearing him ramble about identity theft was even funnier than the attempted kidnapping/broken furnace story. I plan to go there again just for the extreme story telling.

A Few November Entries

Nov. 22nd, 2005|09:40 am: I was bored all day so I ended up picking up the kids from their after-school thing about 30 minutes earlier than normal. Speaking of that place, it’s pure madness there. A thousand wild kids running all over the place with only a handful of high school aged kids keeping an eye on them all and a few random adults scattered around. They were doing some kind of Thanksgiving feast and the kids really wanted to stay for that, but we had to wait for it to start so we sat down at a table and played dominoes for 30 minutes. Then went to the gym for the feast – turkey, corn, mashed potatoes, milk, pumpkin pie and a few other random things I couldn’t identify. So even if I’m going to be completely bored this Thanksgiving, at least I got a small thanksgiving feast!

Came home, did homework, ate, played video games/Legos. I think the thing I’ve missed most about having my kids for the past year and a half is not being able to do homework with them. Even though I had them on all the holidays, I never got to do any homework with them during all that time. It’s even more fun now than it used to be since Emily’s homework is getting more advanced. I’m going to be screwed once they get into high school and start surpassing my own knowledge.

I built a really cool Lego windmill. It towers about 4 times as high as the rest of the buildings in their Lego town and it spins on it’s own, powered by battery. I built an identical tower next to it with a shaft between the two which spins a bunch of random gears on the front of the 2nd tower while the windmill is running. I asked Payton if it was an okay Windmill. He responded, “Are you KIDDING?? This is the best windmill I’ve ever SEEN!”

Nov. 22nd, 2005|01:59 pm: I’m in a parade picture! I was scrolling through all of these pics, looking for the kids and I end up finding myself, walking alongside the float as I talk to Payton…

Hopefully zoomshare allows hotlinking, but probably not.

I got DSL yesterday and it rocks. 7mbps – my cable in Illinois was a mere 3mbps. Not that it really matters. I think once I hit 256kbps or so, I stop noticing much difference. But at least now I’m more likely to be able to talk on my Vonage line and download stuff from Bittorrent at the same time. It sure beats the approximate 20kbps I’ve been getting through my cell phone connection for the past 3 weeks.

I also moved everything from my laptop to the desktop computer, which is much faster. All this speed is crazy! It’s so nice to have my Launchcast back, especially since I don’t have a radio in the house, except for my clock radio.

Nov. 24th, 2005|09:31 am:

Convenience store girl: Looks like you’re getting a little pre-Thanksgiving snack!
Me: Actually this is the entire Thanksgiving feast here!
Convenience store girl: ….. Oh.

Thanksgiving feast

So far the appetizer (Nutter Butters and milk) is delicious!

Nov. 26th, 2005|08:29 pm: Went to see Harry Potter 4 this morning. The kids had already seen it but I hadn’t. Definitely the best one so far. Before the movie we went to Goodwill and got some kitchen stuff – a toaster, bowls, a lamp, some glasses, etc. I still need pots but they didn’t have any that I wanted. This afternoon we went to downtown Albany for a Christmas parade but since the Albany Visitors Association doesn’t bother updating the times in the brochures that you get from the visitors center, we missed it by 2 hours. But we got there in time for the Christmas tree lighting.

Lit candles, sang Christmas carols, lit the tree, walked around the mall for awhile, visited an art show, stopped by the Book Bin to pet the cats, went to a magic store, came home and played tons of Ratchet & Clank. We’ve all become addicted to that game again.

Before the Christmas tree lighting And it’s lit Weird electrical box sculptures Cat & kids

In other news, my new camera phone sure seems to take really great pictures. Oh yeah, I finally finished that Mark Twain bio that I started over a month ago. And I started on War of the Worlds. Pretty amazing book, considering it was written in the late 1800’s.

Nov. 26th, 2005|09:02 pm:

Two things I seem to see a lot of in Albany so far, aside from rain and fog – dogs in the back of trucks and rampant CB use. There’s actually a place called “CB World” here. And so far I’ve seen two different trucks that have stickers in their back windows, displaying which CB channel they hang out on. To still be a CB enthusiast just seems…weird to me. Not that I have any room to talk about being weird. But the last time I saw a truck or car advertising the driver’s CB channel was in 1996 – when I lived in Albany.

And I think having your dog in the back of your truck is usually illegal, isn’t it? It must not be around here because I see a lot of it. In the picture above, it was freezing out and the dog was pacing the truck, it’d lay down for a second, then get up again and pace some more. I think it was just too cold to lay down. Poor guy.

Nov. 3rd, 2005|10:50 am: Worked all day, then picked up the kids from school. We went to my motel and hung out for a few minutes. Emily asked which room I was in when we pulled up and I told her. Then she tells me which room number I was in over Spring Break and which room I was in when I got them for Christmas. They argued where to eat for awhile and finally decided on Arby’s. I wasn’t sure where it was so we drove around town for awhile until we spotted it. Then we went by Target to see if the new Xbox 360 was out yet so we could try the demos. It wasn’t. Went to the mall for awhile and played in Radio Shack and then a video game store. Back to the motel for 30 minutes or so to watch The Simpsons and do homework. Took them to their grandma’s house at 6:30pm. Overall, it was a very successful first official day with my kids.

While I was at the mall, I spotted some Verizon cell phones and decided to go back and look at them after I dropped the kids off. I ended up getting a new cell phone with Verizon since the T-Mobile coverage in Albany is completely unbearable. Only problem is that this new phone doesn’t offer bluetooth internet to my laptop computer, even though the sales guy assured me that it would work. I could take it back, but I really need Verizon in this town. Plus Verizon works much better in Idaho. I might just keep the internet plan on my T-Mobile phone. Sucks, though, because now I can’t sell my old T-Mobile phone on Ebay.

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