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20070607 - Wet-Dry to the rescue!

Tuesday night C. and I planned to stay home, cook, and watch "All The President's Men" (a movie about Watergate), on DVD. Between cooking and watching the movie, I took the trash out, passing some 'handymen' looking guys in the hall, and some puddles of water coming from the two apartments next to ours. (We're in X, this was X-2 and X-4.) The guys look at me, but don't say anything, and hey, if this was something I needed to know about, they'd let me know, right? On my way back in to the building I hear the older guy say "Well I guess I'm going to have to call [the management company]."

We start the movie. About 30 minutes into it, there's a knock on the door. I don't think to look in the peephole, it's a friendly building. I throw open the door and am greeted by 3 burley plainclothes cops with badge/leather medallions around their necks.


They ask if we have water coming in? No, of course not we'd have noticed something like that. They point to the wall shared with X-2 and yes, yes we do. There are some small puddles of water coming in the base of the wall. They come in and look around. Almost nothing's on the raw concrete floor over there, so we tear up some Flor tiles and move a little bit of stuff. One cop remains a little bit longer than the others, so I ask him "What's the problem?" and can see he's not going to answer as I'm asking so I add after a half beat "...if you can talk about it."

"Use your imagination." (Thank you officer Friendly!)

So apartment X-4 has some 3 guys living there. We've occasionally seen them around, their front door has a second interior door and tiny entry foyer. They took in a lot of lumber and plywood when moving in. (It took us months before we were ready to build up our platformed area.) They've apparently completely blocked their windows out. Our neighbor in X+2 said he'd offered to help them with their garbage and even said "boy you guys sure do make a lot of trash" as they hauled a lot of black garbage bags out. They don't actually live there, they just stop by to water the plants. And apparently someone left the hose on. It's just a grow room, they've built an entire multi-floor cottage inside for their produce, stacked up and segregated so they can have a constant harvest. They had their own diesel generator, 12-volt electrical system, ventilation system, the foyer was actually a well sealed airlock. Most of the building had no clue, we'd just occasionally catch a whiff when the wind was blowing just right.

We spent much of the evening standing in the hall, giving beer to our neighbors, watching 15+ firemen squeegee water down the hall and out the door as various cops took pictures in the front door.

So here's what happened:
Someone left the hose on, or some elaborate hydroponics system broke, and the grow room (X-4) started to fill. It eventually had about a foot of standing water. Not so hard to do when you've made the place pretty well air-tight. The water started running into the neighboring apartments, X-2 and probably the space at X-6. The woman who live/works in X-2 runs a hemp-clothing/design website. She called [the management company] when she came home to about 2 inches of standing water in her place. The maintennace/plumber/emergency handyman and his sidekick arrived, got permission from [the management company] to enter the X-4 premises when there was no answer. Once they got in, he called [the management company] again to explain the state of affairs. They told him to get his digital camera from his car, go in and take 20 pictures, and only THEN call the cops.

The cops arrive and do whatever they do at the place, call 2 Hook-n-Ladder firecrews to come see, warn us about the water, and then generally stand around. One of the neighbors started to describe one of the guys who "live" there and the type of car he drives, etc. but the cops (plainclothes and undercover) don't really seem to care. HempClothes woman is given a quick, rubber-boots provided tour of the place by the cops. Ironically(?) she doesn't seem to really know anything about hemp growing or cultivation. We suck up 30 gallons of water with the aforementioned wet-dry vac. Neighbors mill around in the hallway. C. offers the shaken HempClothes woman a beer. Neighbors mill around in the hallway with beer. Fireman with back-pack vacuum walks around and sucks up water. Firemen squeegee water down the hallway. I apparently firemen are used to having too much water around and have a lot of clever tools for dealing with it. Cops take pictures at the doorway, eventually all the water's more or less cleaned up and everyone goes home.

Pretty big night, eh?

The next day the boys of 10 have been back. They're cleaning up, or grabbing whatever stuff of value is left in the place, but leaving it mostly trashed, with a building built inside it, the original loft stairs and railing cut apart in a couple places. And they're not in any apparent trouble or distress. Sheepish, at most.

For 3 days a barrel-sized garbage can sits in the hall, half full of wet marijuana leaves. Apparently even the youngest child today knows you don't smoke the leaves. "Your family so poor they smoke the leaves!" is probably a common 3rd grade school yard taunt. The wet leaves begin to decompose, so the hallway fills with the smell of rotting garbage and pot.

The plants aren't taken out and destroyed by an elite corps of skilled law enforcement officers, they're cleared by whoever got stuck with the cleanup duty. These controlled substance plants have been as controlled as Christmas gifts. Friends and co-workers suggest that were one to have received such a Christian offering, one could just grow it in the window without any fuss or worry. (The gifts also die when over-watered.)

The first way I understand this is that the cops have the evidence they need, then they just sort of let anyone clean up afterwards.

My current understanding: Maybe this really was a quasi-legit operation on the state level; as if the apartment was full of expensive china dolls. The cops were just there to investigate, discovered there was nothing illegal on their jurisdiction level, so they were just there to protect the premises and the valuable collection of dolls.

This is the paradox of marijuana in this country today. If the Feds don't know about it, sometimes it's OK. A guy growing medical marijuana is tried and sentenced without the jury being able to be informed what sort of operation he was involved in; three boys trash an apartment and flood the place, bringing all sorts of cops and firemen to the rescue, they lose their deposit.

And fricken [management company] pops the rent up $150 a month on us for the privilege.


"I compared my feelings about parenthood to Kafka's about marriage: that it's the single most important thing in human life, and that my standards for it are self-defeatingly high."
John Barth, Sabbatical

and a post card I sent to Sandwich Girl at McMurdo Station, Antarctica: Postcard

Post Script: And she did receive it, and she didn't learn til 20071214 who it was who sent it.

20060410 - Love and Home Appliances. (Why I love her.)

So it's time for a vacuum. I'd say new vacuum, but we haven't really had one that worked very well for a while. Tossed the big carpetty one in Rochester, have this little jokey one, slightly bigger than a dust buster thingy that also doesn't do much. This weekend we were in Lowe's and I was informed it was time to get a vacuum. And what model did we both like the most?

The ShopˇVac Hang-Up Wet/Dry Vacuum.
Hides out of the way, doesn't get underfoot, doesn't have nasty castors, doesn't weigh a ton, doesn't suck things into a visible vortex for your amusement and hefty price tag. Perfect for cleaning up after iterant carpenter's sons. And iterant carpenter's granddaughters.

We moved to San Francisco, too.

20050518 - Blobbies n stuff.

Jenny pointed me to some other blobbie things.

And we're moving to San Francisco inna couple of weeks.

20050105 - Feedback, or Spam?

From: "Impractical C. Michael" <>
To: Roymeo <roymeo (and-an-at-symbol) brokenoffcarantenna (dotterific) com>
Subject: vulgar


I'm not entirely sure if that is commentary about my blobbies, or was just some spam/virus email.


Such are the perils of being an artist.

20041223 - politics, overheard

"I am the ghost of Taxes Future. WoooooooOOooo"

"What, you're a Republican?"

20041201 - getting in on the christmas market

Just created some new products for Christmas!

20041130 - candy and drugs

There was a story on this morning's Morning Edition about lead in Mexican candy. Yes, LEAD.

In the story, someone officious made a statement about how it was impossible to control the importation of this candy from Mexico.

Now, I think the whole idea of "importing drugs from Canada" is pretty wacky. That people are getting prescriptions filled in Canada is good micro-economic money managing. I can save myself some money by being a wise shopper and going across the border. That states and other large organizations are doing this, or trying to do this, shows that our system is pretty well broken. When you start really considering the macro-economic picture, obviously the states' budgets are in deep trouble, having been hit hard by bad revenues from a bad economy, and both unfunded mandates and trickle-down libertarianism from the federal level. The US has a population of almost 300 million. Canada has a population 32 million. This isn't some ideal abstract efficient market, this is a very limited pool that everyone is running for in desperation. The system here is so broken that we can try to buy drugs from them, but we can't discuss fixing our system, especially not to some hopelessly pathetic socialized system, like the have in....uh...Canada. Of course it is OK to get some vaccine from Canada when half our supply is cancelled by the UK, where an American company was making the vaccine for the US, but we can't trust those other drugs from Canada....many of which are shipped from the US. Our system is broken. We're only trying to buy drugs from Canada because our internal systems of change are too closely tied to the drug companies. The importation of drugs from Canada is not a solution, it is an indicator of how incredibly screwed up things are here, and our complete inability to address the actual problems at the core.

But all that aside, if we are unable to control the importation of lead contaminated candy from Mexico, what makes anyone thing that we can control the importation of drugs from Canada, whether to protect us from counterfeit drugs or to stop actual prescription drugs from coming in?

20041123 - desktops

I've been trying to encourage myself to get out the drawing tablet and work on some image stuff by making desktop backgrounds of what I'm working on so i have to see it all the time and thus desire to work on it.

I just decided to put them online, just for the heck of it.

They're all too huge for most normal people, WUXGA (1920 x 1200), but if I make other sizes, I'll post those, too. Or if someone requests something less stupidly huge...

20041122 - curbing violence at sporting events

There's a lot of press lately for some basketball players and fans getting in trouble for having a row during a game. Cops are looking at video tapes and trying to figure out who to prosecute. Players are being given multi-game suspensions.

I have an idea for a way to help curb this sort of seems that a big part of the problem is the mentality of the modern sports player and fan: "We are fierce warriors!!!" and all that.

The sorts of stadiums that professional (and even semi-professional) events are held at have a lot of audio-video capabilities. Jumbotrons or whatever those things are. So, I suggest a subtle change to discourage this sort of behavior:

When players, fans, and/or coaches start acting like babies, start playing shaming audio and/or video. How many will continue to throw an adult tantrum during audio of a baby-crying or perhaps retro-samples of a stern mother scolding a child for throwing a tantrum? Who can continue to "act tough" with video of babies crying, monkeys throwing feces, children being spanked, etc. playing overhead? Perhaps a crosss-licensing deal can be made, so the next time players start shoving, everyone hears "Nap time for Teletubbies. Nap time for Teletubbies." There is little else that says, "You are not a fierce warrior!" more strongly than being compared to incoherent children's programming.

Of course some care would have to be made to make sure that the use of these is balanced.

Use the tools that are built-in to most modern venues for sporting events to shame these sports-dorks into acting like adults.

20041005 - kiosk article

My article about developing kiosk systems originally written for the MX Developer's Journal is now also featured on the Director Online User's Group.