badstar: (Default)
Dear World,

You fail at weather. I hate you.

No love,


Dear Baltimore,

You fail at snow removal. Monumentally so. I hate you.

Even less love,

badstar: (Default)
And by a past life, I mean high school and into college. (Only thirteen years ago, but it really does feel like another life.) But not much past that. Photography hung on the longest. Unfortunately, I don't think my camera works anymore- whenever I put a roll of film into it, it either winds it to the end immediately, or does so as soon as I snap the first picture. I loved that camera.

Painting was the other medium I was somewhat good at. I haven't painted since I took an intro to painting class in college- which I dropped mid-semester for a number of reasons, including the fact that I learned that I absolutely loathe working with oil paint. Let me tell you how much I hated it. Even in a very well-ventilated studio, it smelled like death. And then there was the need to use things like turpentine to get it off my skin- I really didn't like that. It kinda scared me when my plastic palette knife dissolved.

But please, give me acrylics any day and watch me do a little dance. I loved painting with acrylics, which was what I used in high school (mostly, when I wasn't doing water color or the rare thing with temperas which I wasn't a big fan of either, but I would take over oils any day and twice on Sunday.

I've been missing painting for a long time. Every now and then, I go to an art store and look at paint, brushes and canvas. I'm...I dunno, a serious nerd or something about color, I like just looking at all of the different colors of paint in the tubes. I have a favorite white paint- I did anyway, and I have no reason to think that it's changed. Titanium white, thanks. In high school, if you asked me my favorite color, I was very likely to answer "dioxazine purple" or "phthalocyanine green" (it kinda switched between the two) because those were the exact shades that were my favorite color at the time. Hell, I knew the names of many paint colors off the top of my head better than my art teachers, and was really picky. (Me: "Hey, Mr. Hoff, are there any more tubes of alizarin crimson in the supply closet? I just emptied this one." Mr Hoff: "Umm what crimson? Here, take this." Me: "That's napthol crimson. Any more alizarin?" Mr Hoff (looking at me like I've lost my mind): "What is wrong with you? I know this is art, but really, what is wrong with you?" Yes, that conversation actually took place sometime in my junior year.)

I do this, and I want to paint again. I get so ridiculously sad. The last couple of times I've done this, I've been close to crying. Yeah, it's kinda sad.

but I have decided once and for all that I am getting some paints. I found a set the other day that I want. Liquitex Basics 36 tube set, It was about $33 at the one art store near me. Then I came home and started poking around online. Yay for google shopping- I found the same set on Amazon for $27...and then I found the Liquitex Basics 48-color set for the same price on yet another website today. Needless to say, I am ordering it. Will probably start by picking up a sketchbook of canvas paper to begin with, and maybe some small canvas panels (which are very inexpensive, thankfully.) and will need some brushes.

I figure for a while, I'll probably just play around with mixing up bits of colors and seeing what I get. That used to be my favorite thing. I could get sidetracked for an entire class just mixing up new colors and trying them out on scraps of paper.

And that was before I even discovered interference paints.

I used to have sheets and sheets of paper with blobs and splotches of colors I tried out, mixed with other colors, thinned with water (acrylics make great water colors too!), dusted with salt and then scraped it off when the paint dried, I used to write down the combination of paints that I used to create the colors, and my best guess on the ratios so I could recreate them...why are you looking at me funny?

Ummm....anyway. Yeah. I wouldn't be surprised if I were to use up an entire paint set just doing that again.

At the art store yesterday, I also found this paper that looked like it was made from green leaves and felt like fine cotton. It made me think so much of Dionysus, I'm trying to come up with something I could do to have a reason to buy a sheet of the stuff. I kept wanting to go back to the shelf and pet the paper, it really felt nice. Um...yeah. Stop looking at me like that.

In other news, as I was leaving the apartment building today to run to 7-11, someone moving in next door had just put boxes and boxes of stuff out with a "free" sign on the sidewalk that they wanted to get rid of. I was one of the first people there, and really cleaned up. I snagged us an XBox with three controllers, a playstation with a controller, memory card, and a really nice carrying bag, a camcoder in a case with a tripod, a sewing machine, a Battleship game, an Italian language video course, a small lunch-sized cooler, a printer and a couple of candle holders, including one that looks like some sort of pewter-ish metal with grapevines all over it (Gavin and I have been discussing what to do for anthesteria). After that, we went down to the Harbor and were discussing, amongst other things, our former roommate, Dominic who we haven't heard from in a while. As we were going to check out printer cartridges at Best Buy, who did we run into? He's supposed to send me some information on census jobs- he just took the test for them and I guess was told they're still hiring. So...let's hope that the good things today continue to roll on.

I also finally ordered a copy of Fritz Graf's Apollo, so that should be here soon, woohoo!

Right at the moment, I'm feeling pretty good about things. The weather has been pretty good- it was amazing yesterday. Not quite as warm today but still nice enough that I went out wearing only a hooded shirt over my clothing. It's supposed to be in the 40's and 50's for at least the next ten days, according to the weather service.

Oh, and my mom finally called and has picked a date to try to come down to visit- the day before Easter. This is assuming that my sister doesn't go into labor (Oh yeah, don't think I ever mentioned, my sister's having another kid.)

Speaking of kids- I just recently finished my first-ever baby blanket, for Gavin's sister. I crocheted it from granny squares. It kinda looks like a quilt- will have to take pictures. And am now making one for my sister. But I'm knitting it.

I think that's it for now, this post is long enough, don'tchathink?
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For anyone who doesn't know...

It's a very limited area, and it just launched yesterday. Only running one route currently with two more on the way (no date given yet though). There are also two free water taxi connections.

It's free to use and the buses are supposed to be quiet and put out only half of the emissions produced by other buses. I'll be checking this out as soon as I can.

Speaking of public transportation...on a less happy note, I was kicked on a bus today. On the way to an appointment, I hopped on a 22 that was full of high school kids screaming, jumping around and wrestling in the aisles. There was one empty seat and a girl was sitting with her legs and feet all over tow seats, I asked if she'd mind moving so I could sit. She did, and immediately proceeded to start turning around, jumping on her seat, and in the process kicked me. She gave a very unapologetic "my bad" and I got up and moved towards the front of the bus, but I was still close enough to hear her commenting to the girls behind her that she "doesn't understand what that bitch's problem was". The screaming, of course continued even as I turned up my ipod loud enough that if I had left it too long, I would have damaged my hearing, the screaming of these high school idiots was still far, far louder- when I've got music that loud in my ears, and can barely hear it over the screaming of passengers, something is really, seriously fucking wrong.

You fucking kicked me, you inconsiderate little brat. You appear to be at least fourteen or fifteen- well beyond old enough to know that the fucking bus isn't a jungle gym.

Maybe next time, I'll just kick back.

When I got off the bus, I asked the driver why he let this all go on. His answer? A shrug and "Doesn't bother me." When I said that one of the jumping asstards kicked me, his reply was a too-unconcerned-to-qualiy-for-apathetic "Oh. Sorry about that."

I hate people. I hate the people in this fucking city. I hate the rampant lack of any shred of consideration for anyone. I hate the fact that asking someone not to scream in your ear or getting pissed off because someone just kicked you because they couldn't be bothered to sit in their gods-damned fucking seat is enough to warrant being called bitch, racist or any number of other names because no one can take a little responsibility for themselves or be bothered to give half a second's thought to the fact that they are not the only person on the fucking bus, and the world doesn't revolve around them and have a little courtesy for other people.

And everyone else just sits back and takes it. The next person to sit down beside that girl was a rather frail-looking older lady. She got kicked too, but as far as I could see, she didn't even flinch.

Rules are posted, but never enforced. Why do they bother? I mean seriously, why don't they put the ink and paper to better use? The rules of conduct are obviously meaningless and really just for show.

This is one of those things that makes me absolutely murderous. I can't tell you how close I was to punching someone. Yet another case of it being a really good thing that I have as much self-control as I do when it comes to my temper because if I didn't....bodies would be hurt and I'd probably be in jail.
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Okay, all my friends in Baltimore, has this ever happened to you, or am I just a crazy magnet?

Yet again, I am a racist because I committed the crime against humanity that is asking someone not to scream into their cell phone less than a foot from my fucking ear. Am I doing something wrong? Are there some bigoted connotations to "Excuse me but could you please lower your voice, you're right next to my ear?" that I'm not aware of? If so, someone do, please, fill me in on all the details so that I can avoid being so insensitive in the future.

For serious people, I am fucking sick of getting my head bitten off when I ask someone not to scream when they're less than an arm's length from my eardrums. Why in the fucking hell is this so unreasonable??? Seriously, just lower your fucking voice a little, that's all I'm asking. I'm not talking about people being a little enthusiastic about their conversation, I'm talking full-out yelling.

But no, we can't do that in this city, we continue to make a spectacle and a headache of ourselves and accuse those who would rather not spend the day with ringing ears of hating black people. Dammit, do you really think I'd just sit there and smile if you were white???
badstar: (fixing to do somethgn stupid)
So on the way back to the office this afternoon, I was sitting there in the car minding my own business when a woman went up to the intercom and started trying to get ahold of the driver.

After a minute or so, she finally asked all and sundry if the intercoms work because there was a guy up in the front of the car masturbating.

How nice. She was getting off the train at that stop, and there were no MTA cops in sight, so I meandered up towards the front of the car, keeping my eyes as straight ahead as I could and still figure out who it was- sure enough, there he was with it hanging out for the world to see- made a note of his description as best as I could while avoiding looking directly at the guy and hopped off at the next stop and onto the front car to tell the driver.

When I got off the car, he was sitting there in the seat, not looking like he was interested in going anywhere- I would almost describe his posture as lounging, from what I could see out of the corner of my eye. From the time that I got off the one car and onto the other, and the driver closed the doors, only a few seconds had passed, so I figured he would still be on the train.

Let the driver know, she radioed someone who told her to not go anywhere and to keep the doors closed and that the police would be on the way.

Took the police forever to get there- almost twenty minutes, but they eventually showed up, asked me to come back to the car and identify the guy.

He wasn't sitting in the seat where I had seen him. Walked to the end of the car...the guy must have made a quick exit, because he wasn't there. There were only a few people there and the one detail I had made sure to make a note of because I could see it from the back and without having to get a direct view of his er, activities, was his shirt- it had a fairly distinctively-colored plaid pattern. There had only been a very few other people on the car before -maybe five of them, and I recognized all of them, he was gone, so the police left for the train to continue.

A man and woman sitting in the car asked what it was about, I told them. The woman initially freaked out and started yelling about how gross it was and asked if the guy was still on th car- I informed her that he was gone, which was why the police left. The man asked me if that was all it was about, some guy whacking off on the train. I said that was what it was about, and this guy had a fit and started yelling at me about making him late for work and how I sholdn't be such a prude and I should just turn my head and not watch and let the guy have his fun.

Uhhh...excuse me???? I yelled right back at him that I was going to work too, and that I was late so don't bitch at me about being late for work, and no I wasn't just going to turn my head because what if the guy decided to do more than just sit there and play with his dick? The guy just kept going on about how I made him late for work and I'm such a prude bitch who should just mind her own business and he wasn't hurting anyone so what do I have to complain about?

Seriously, the guy was probably just getting his jollies on being seen in public, but you never know. A few years ago, I remember an incident on a bus where a guy suddenly started doing much the same thing- except he kept it in his pants, but he was clearly handling himself by way of his pockets- and then he stood up and started rubbing up against people who were standing. The guy ran before police could be called.

Yeah, I'm not going to wait for something like that- or worse- to happen.
badstar: (ten of wands) there's this pizza place near me- close enough to see it from my bedroom window. (No, I won't say which place it is because that would be publicizing information a bit too close to my home address. If I know you and you know whereabouts I live and want to know what place it is so you can avoid it or whatever, feel free to message me)

So this place...their pizza is really good. Their subs are good too, but their pizza is some of my favorite. And they're open late. So it's good and convenient. Oh, and pretty cheap too.

Well, in theory. See, they seem to have a problem with sticking to the advertized pricing. I swear, they try to charge me a different price every time I get a pizza- and we almost always get the same thing. Sometimes they charge full price to get a topping on half the pizza, sometimes they charge half price. Sometimes the price includes one topping, sometimes it doesn't. Doesn't seem to matter what the menu, or the signs in the window say, it all seems to be at the whim of whoever's taking the money.

Today I called up to order a pizza to pick up. I thought the price before 330 was 6.99 for a large cheese with toppings extra- that's what the sign in the window says anyway. They tell me it's 7.99...but that includes one topping. Okay, fair enough, includes one topping and the sign in the window does give the pricing for a *cheese* pizza. So I ask for a sausage pizza with half tomato and half onion. I'm expecting about ten dollars with tax.

I go to get the pizza and the person running the register- who is the same person who took my order- tries to charge me like $16 for the freakin' pizza. She breaks it down- 8.99 for the pizza, $3 each for the onions and tomatoes.

Ummm...excuse me?

1. You told me that the sausage pizza before any extra toppings was 7.99. Also, this is what your menu says, for a large pizza picked up before midnight, cheese plus one topping.

2. Your price for toppings is...well, clearly you pulled this from your ass. Because event chargign me full price for both toppings, that should be $3 total, according to your menu which says that an additional topping on a large pizza is 1.50....this is completely in addition to the fact that I'm getting those toppings on half the pizza and you can never seem to make up your mind if you're charging full or half price for a half-pizza topping.

When I call her on all this, she tells me that she'll reduce the base price of the pizza to 7.99 as if she's making some grand concession. No, bitch, you're going to charge me what you told me the price was originally, which is what is printed on your menu. And if absolutely nothing else, you are going to charge me the menu price for those toppings. She then, again as if it were such a grand concession, said that she would charge me $1 each for the toppings.

Oh my god. These people. It's insane.

Gavin- Next time I want pizza, please, please PLEASE remind me not to go there. The pizza at Michelangelo's and at the crack wings place is just as good. So we'll have to wait for delivery...I'll live. I don't want to deal with these people anymore.
badstar: (i'm a genius)
Dear Bitch,

What the holy fucking hell is your major malfunction? Do you really expect to sit there screaming on the train and not have someone ask you to lower your voice? Nevermind that you were yelling for several minutes before I finally turned around and asked you to please lower your voice when clearly, no one else would, and the train driver didn't really care. The rest of the world is not the staging grounds for your screaming dramas about your boyfriend cheating on you. If I can hear your every word halfway down the train on top of my already loud iPod, you're invading my space and everyone else around and it is beyond reasonable to expect you to lower your voice.

And don't you fucking dare call me a racist for asking you to lower it either. If I didn't hear you screaming, I never would have turned around. I had no fucking clue what your skin color is, and even if I did care what color your skin was, all I would have to do is keep staring straight ahead and never look at you. But no, you drew the attention to yourself. You made an embarrassing spectacle of yourself. You are the fucking obnoxious bitch here, I don't care what your skin color is, I don't care what your issue is, I am not fucking oppressing you by expecting you to act like every other decent person on the train- you did notice that nearly every other person on the train was black too, right? I had no problems with them. Why? Because they weren't screaming their fucking asses off.

You don't get to play the racism card to excuse your unfuckingbelievably ridiculously juvenile behavior. Your behavior is not a race issue, it's equally unacceptable from anyone. I've seen better-behaved screaming two year olds.

So, in short, shut the fuck up and take some fucking responsibility for your atrocious attitude and behavior. you're not acting like that because you're black, you're acting like that because you're a raving bitch with no courtesy to speak of.

The thing that gets me is that this isn't the first time I've been called a racist for asking someone to lower the noise. When in the hell did it become acceptable to expect the entire world to put up with your screaming/yelling/insanely loud uh...whatever it is that masquerades as music because of your fucking skin color? and no, I don't find this sort of thing acceptable from anyone. It's not an issue of race, it's an issue of having a little decency when being out in public. Oh my holy fucking gawds.

And I've only ever seen this in Baltimore. In similar situations in New york City, Philadelphia, Dallas and Lancaster that I remember, people either ignore you, mumble a vague apology or just tone it down a bit, no one's ever screamed racist at me for asking to lower their voice. I don't fucking get it.
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After a couple more days existing in Baltimore and overhearing more conversations about Obama, I have another thought...

While I understand the massive historical significance of electing a black man to office...

For pete's sake people, the pigment in his skin isn't what's going to get the job done.

Additionally, to the three or four people that I've overheard saying that he's "not black enough" and that we need someone with darker skin- the fact that his skin is a little lighter than yours isn't gonna hinder his ability to do the job.
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I called up the Baltimore Tattoo Museum today hoping to talk to the same guy that did my previous work about a new found out that he only works Monday-Thursday, which I can't do.

Guess I'm going to have to go down there and check out some other portfolios.

To anyone on my list who's had work done at the Tattoo Museum, other than Dave Sobel (he's hte artist I was trying to get ahold of) who do you recommend there? Have any pictures of work? Yeah, like I said, I plan to check out portfolios and all that, but I'd like to hear from people I know too.
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I've found the area right around the Washington Monument here in Baltimore to be an interesting place for as long as I've lived in Baltimore. It sits in Mt Vernon, at the intersection of Charles and Monument streets, only a few minutes walk from my apartment.

The first thing I had ever noticed there was the Mt Vernon Place United Methodist Church, which is a rather striking building, one of only a few Gothic buildings in Baltimore (the link says three, I could swear there are four or five) The coloring of the church is considerable greener than the picture on the linked page where it looks very yellow.

So this church first grabbed my attention, and then I started actually walking through that area regularly when I moved to Calvert street in 2005, then I noticed the park around the monument, the architecture of a lot of the buildings facing the park and various other interesting details, including the brick-paved street.

What I didn't notice until more recently- and I'm not actually sure when I first did- was that the monument and even more so, the park immediately surrounding it on Charles and Monument streets have a very different "feel" to them from the immediately surrounding area.

Gavin and I had been talking for a few weeks about walking around there some night, and finally on Friday night we did. I made a somewhat earlier dinner than normal, and then we wandered out, grabbed dessert at XS (yay for my favorite place being just around the corner!) and then down to the monument where we sat at one of the little tables on the north arm of the park on Charles street and had our chocolate lasagna (think layers of devils food cake alternating with layers of chocolate and white chocolate whipped cream and chocolate ganache frosting. Yeah.)

After that, we wandered around the park. It's not big, it's four small patches of land to the immediate north, south, east and west of the monument with the street splitting in two to go around them, meeting in the middle in what essentially becomes a traffic circle going around the monument itself. Each little patch of the park has a bunch of trees, some sculptures...the east and west patches on Monument street are sunken a few steps off of the street, there are a couple of fountains, tables chairs and benches.

We spent some time in each bit of the park, first eating dessert in the north, then went down to the south where Charles street turns back uphill after a very sharp downhill block, leaning over the railing of one of the fountains until my ribs hurt too much from leaning on the railing, then moved over to the eastern bit, walked briefly around there, and then moved over to the western bit where we spent most of our time that evening, sitting on the edge of one of the fountains.

We ended up spending over three hours around there, largely discussing 1. religion 2. our relationship and 3. ourselves. I had a lot of "Am I really having this conversation???" moments (nothing bad, I was really happy, just a lot of things that I had never really thought about until recently, and stuff I never would have expected coming up and coming out.)

But through all that, the one thing we kept coming back to was talking about the place itself, how radically different it feels just stepping into the park, and how the street parts around each bit of it, and how it just seems to be shifted ever so slightly off from the rest of the city, as if the park had been built when the city was a nicer place and stayed in that time while the city changed around it. It's kinda eerie, very other-worldly- it's even like that during the day, but the difference at night is so much more can see cars driving by thirty feet away, but it almost seems like their driving in another world that borders the park, with an invisible barrier to separate. Noises, even close ones, just seem so far off and I kept almost expecting to see a shadow of a ghost or something similar flit on by and I just felt like I wasn't quite all there.

We're definitely going to go back and spend some more time around there.
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Hey folks in the Baltimore area...Anyone want to go out to dinner on Sunday evening? It's my birthday and I've decided that I feel like going to either Zodiac or XS. Both are on Charles Street, Zodiac is a block north of Penn Station, XS is a block south. Zodiac has meat, vegetarian and vegan, XS has meat and vegetarian, though I don't think so much vegan besides salads.

XS is so kind to put their menu up online if you'd like to take a look: (they also have a gallery of food pictures of you scroll down a little.)

Anyone interested? Have a preference between the two? Let me know.
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We WOULD be getting 35 MPH winds on the day I'm going to the eye doctor, wouldn't we?

Someone turn off the damned fan! *shakes fist*
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Hey folks...I'm looking for someone with a car and some lifting ability to help me out at some point in the next week or so...

I'm getting a computer from iMac, and if you know anything about those things, they weigh about fifty pounds (computer plus CRT monitor in one...woohoo!) and I need to get it home. Obviously, taking it on the train is NOT an option.

This would need to happen on either a Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday around 8am- preferably not Thursday, but it's not that big a deal, or anytime on Friday...or before 5pm on Monday. Unfortunately, this can't be done on a weekend due to the appropriate people to get the computer out and take care of all that stuff not being there on the weekend. I would need to be picked up with the computer at my office in Hunt Valley and be taken back to my house in Baltimore city. I will supply some gas money for your trouble.

Drop me a comment, phone call or email if you can assist.
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I need to eat salmon more often. Mi piace molto!

My (very late) lunch consisted of a nice slice of grilled salmon with a sweet orange-ginger glaze and some spinach-feta pasta salad. Yeah, odd combination I know but SO yummy.

One of the many bargain-lots type stores in Baltimore city is going out of business and therefore has everything really cheap. I just picked up 4 bottles of dish soap for $.88 each, plus two bundles of a dozen dish rags for the same price. I forget the name, but it's on Lexington, the west end of the block where Lexington crosses liberty. So if anyone is looking for cheap housewares...there ya go. From the looks of it, they just recently started the sale. I could be wrong, but the place still looks fully-stocked.

I am going to make beef stroganoff for dinner tonight...woohoo!


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July 2013



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