Sunday, September 25, 2011

September 25, 2011

It's still September, and I still live in Cap Hill, Denver. Yesterday (for about $100), I got to escape Denver in a rented 2010 Chevy Impala and return to my hometown of Colorado Springs. Rents are still cheap there, but the job market is still worse than Denver's. Due to the abnormally warm weather since the first day of Autumn, most of the local attractions that close for the summer are still open. The Manitou spring water is still available for free. But my trip to the Springs was mainly a business trip- as in rescuing personal items from the storage site I've had there since May 31. Most of my valuable items (computers, genealogy stuff, old photos, diaries, and winter gear) are now in my suddenly undersized room in Cap Hill. Noticeably absent is my wi-fi receiver (which may have never left 618 N Weber Street back in May), which is why I'm posting this blog from the main library Downtown. Normally, I might be inclined to call Century Link and get their $29.95 no-phone internet, but I'm not sure if I want to stay in my current residence after the beginning of next month (when the month-to-month lease rent is due again). Parking in near that building is as bad as it is in New York, as I found out last night. The 2 legged neighbors are fine, but I have a major problem with the 6 legged neighbors freeloading at my place (the bedbugs and roaches) and about 2 hours ago caught a four legged unwanted freeloader- a mouse, who was probably escaping from my neighbors' cats. But I would need a car to move all my stuff out of the Cap Hill rooming house- and it could be months before I could afford to buy another car.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

September 11, 2011

I didn't have internet access or a digital camera (or any camera) on this date 10 years ago, which is why I'm using alternative video/photo sources on this blog. And for the most part I would love to never remember again the horrors of what happened 5 miles from my residence on that date. I would love never to remember watching that horrible sight of the North Tower collapse live on WCBS-TV (which was the only commercial English language station not knocked off the air when that happened). I would love to forget the smells of death and the debris that came across the harbor. I would love to forget the endless funeral coverage and the media taunting by Osama Bin Laden, Al Qaeda, Hamas and their ilk. I would love to forget that one of the priests at the church I was a member of  in 2001 (St. Francis of Assisi in Midtown) died for the sole crime of administering last rites to an injured fireman.

Ten years later, I would love to ignore the event happening just outside the library where I'm writing this blog- a tribute and Beach Boys concert, in a city of 600000 that was never on Al Qaeda's radar. Sure, Najibullah Zazi lived in nearby Aurora, but instead of crossing Yosemite Street, he had to go back to New York to implement his terror scheme.

It's hard to believe that just over 10 years ago, I was an NYPD candidate (until some health problems and an ugly firing got in the way) who should have been there that day. Before September of 2001, no one ever thought the US would be involved in a deadly, undermanned Vietnam-type war in Afghanistan, or in another war in Iraq.

But all of that stuff did happen, and 10 years later, there is no waking up from this nightmare, not for the city of New York, not for those who died in the planes and at the Pentagon, and for the thousands of those whose loved ones died on that day.

Most of the readings for today's Mass (which I'm sure were the same at St. Francis as they were at Holy Ghost) had to do with forgiveness and healing. But if I can't forgive a scumbag politician who bribed my co-workers (and sent R-rated texts to a teenager), if I can't forgive another scumbag politician who fucked up the job market as well as some hookers, if I can't forgive various family members who ignored and virtually disowned me in my greatest time of need earlier this summer, and if I can't forgive my possibly dying sister who has just gone on another psychotic ego trip, how the Hell am I supposed to forgive a bunch of Satan worshiping terrorists who want to turn my longtime home into a nuclear wasteland and who succeeded in killing thousands of my neighbors 10 years ago?

Sunday, August 21, 2011

August 21, 2011

My long nightmare is over. After 2 lengthy stints of homelessness, I am now employed and housed. The 2 week break between the shelters was spent at a rooming house in the Cap Hill section of Denver. I moved back there this afternoon, with slightly cheaper rent and a much bigger 3rd floor unit with great digital reception. As my main computer is still in storage in the Springs, I don't know how good any wi-fi reception is yet- or whether I will end up going with the new phone company Century Link for service whenever my computer gets to Denver.

It took a very long time, but I now have a permanent job with a certain automotive warehouse north of Denver. My temp job with Randstad's Denver office lasted 2 weeks, and I've already exceeded the number of hours and days worked with the new job. The supervisor was nice enough to let me store my bags in the office when I was staying at the Denver Rescue Mission. Interestingly enough, that warehouse is the first non-temp job I've ever held in Colorado. Randstad and all my Springs jobs were temporary, and technically I don't know if I was ever considered an employee of GCA. I never got paid for their orientation last month.

While as far as amenities, the Denver shelters are much nicer than their New York counterparts, the admission and bed policies would probably be illegal in New York. Just because one signs up to stay at a shelter like Denver Rescue Mission, there is no guarantee that person will even get a bed. A shelter forcing people out on the streets because there are no alternative beds would be mucho illegal in NYC. Indeed, the New York ACLU would howl about it and the city would end up housing people in an overpriced hotel or in Rikers (if they did something illegal to get kicked out of the shelter). And someone has not been checking who has been getting to the Denver shelters. There was a joint Denver PD/FBI/ICE raid on the Denver Rescue Mission last Tuesday (August 16). The local media ignored this 3+ hour raid, with the probable exception of KCNC, because I spent over an hour that night trying to e-mail them camera phone photos (below) of the raid taken from the 2nd floor of the Mission. After I posted about it on Facebook, my former roommate (from 1993) Vince Shovlin loaned me money to get out of the shelter, and I haven't been back since Wednesday morning. (Between Wednesday night and this morning, I was staying at the Denver hostel I first stayed at when I arrived in Denver nearly 3 months ago.) Several others never returned to the Mission, but that's because they are in jail- or in one case, a mental institution in Pueblo.

I guess the last 3 months have shown me who my real friends are. I didn't expect any help from my New York friends on this, but I did get support messages from them on my voice mail and on Facebook. I sure as hell didn't solicit Vince for money (I haven't heard from him in years until Wednesday), but I was offered the money and now have housing because of it, in addition to my first paycheck, which probably won't clear my account until next week. I definitely wasn't expecting moral support from other homeless people when I was kicked out of Samaritan House and when the Denver Rescue Mission was full, but I managed to get it. Apparently some people are praying for this semi-broken 39 year old former Brooklynite. And I don't know how or if I could ever thank them.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

July 27, 2011

I have been out of the Samaritan House shelter for a week now- but given my employment status, I don't know if that will last past next week. On July 19, I got a text from a driving job I applied for 2 weeks ago, inviting me to their new hire orientation. I attended the event, which was held Friday the 22nd at the Hampton Inn near DIA. I was told I was hired and that I would get my new work schedule within 2 days. I even listed this employer on my lease. Monday- no call from the company, so I called the emergency number in the employee handbook. They refer me to one of the recruiters, who said she doesn't handle scheduling, and that someone would get back to me. That was over 48 hours ago. Assuming I am still employed (which is highly unlikely considering that this company has ignored my calls), I will not get my first paycheck until August 12- 9 days after my next rent due date. So I can look forward to the lottery line at Denver Rescue Mission again in a week, or else pay the $11 for the FREX bus back to Colorado Springs (where most of my belongings are still in storage) and invest in one of those tents along Fountain Creek.

Tuesday, June 07, 2011

June 7, 2011

It's like 2008 all over again. A New York politician I personally despise gets caught in an X rated scandal, I am financially forced to move from a cheap residence in Colorado Springs, and as of last night, I am in the shelter system again. Thanks to a couple of social service agencies, I have an address to give potential employers and a place to store my clothes and other items. I even have a free health clinic to go to (which has done more to remedy the skin problems than Peak Vista ever did in the Springs). But the shelters here in Denver are a lot less organized than in New York. There is no city agency monitoring them or putting shelter people in programs. Indeed, due to the lottery system they use by who shows up, there is no guarantee a homeless person will even get a bed. I spent most of last evening shuttling between 2 shelters trying to find out which one I would sleep in. Since I am definitely not the only one in that situation, I would strongly advise Denver drivers to avoid Park Avenue West of Broadway between 5PM and 8PM because of the mass migration of people trying lotteries in both shelters.

At this point, I am stuck in this nightmare until I can earn at least $250 in income (the minimum required for the SROs I've contacted here in Denver, which average $110 a week plus deposit). I am currently enrolled in the Denver Workforce Center, the St. Francis Center employment office, at least 8 temp agencies, and have applied for at least 20 other jobs. But for now, I have an address, 2 phone numbers which for now I can access for free, storage in 2 cities, and enough of a food stamp balance that I could afford a months rent in an SRO were it legal to use them for that purpose.

And if anyone thinks that all this nightmare is due to any chemical problems I have (I don't have any), or due to Bush's handling of the economy, or because I would prefer this over living in an apartment, then they should expect a Howard Newman-esque response in return.

Friday, June 03, 2011

June 3, 2011

I am temporarily settled in Downtown Denver. I don't know where I will be living next week yet. I have sporadic access to the internet (although unlike last week, I'm not paying $62 a month for it anymore). Otherwise, I would spend time commenting on the death of Dr. Death (Jack Kevorkian) and the ongoing internet scandal involving the Weiner's weiner.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

May 28, 2011

About 72 hours left before I have to move. So much for having my own apartment- what's the point of having your own place if you can't afford it? What's the point of moving back to your hometown if you can't find or maintain work without a car? (See May 11 blog as to why I no longer have a car.)

Barring a financial miracle, I will probably move to Denver next week. The job market is significantly better there than in Colorado Springs, and unlike Colorado Springs, most potential employers can be accessed by foot or by public transportation.

I just can't wait for this nightmare to get over with.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

May 11, 2011

At this point, I'm still unemployed. I received some expensive news on my 1994 Oldsmobile 88, and due to the repair costs being more than all my viable assets, I had no choice but to sell the car- which I was able to do in under 3 hours on the Colorado Springs version of Craigslist.

So goodbye, car #9. I don't know how long it will be before I can afford another one. I had the Oldsmobile for 3 years and 9 months, about a month less than my longest owned car, a 1986 Chevrolet Nova that also happened to be my first car.  My first 4 vehicles were able to be driven away when I sold them- the remaining 5 had to be towed away. All 9 vehicles I've owned have been driven in New York City- indeed, all 9 were driven on the BQE and the Long Island Expressway. But cars have changed a lot since the late 1980s. Gas was about a fourth of what it is now. Airbags weren't standard until the mid-1990s (and the Oldsmobile was one of only 3 vehicles I've owned that even had an airbag). And it is a lot more expensive in other costs to own a vehicle now. Most of my cars were cheap to repair. The ignition problem on the Olds will cost about what I sold it for, $325, because of a computerized chip in the ignition key (something no other vehicle I've owned ever had). But unlike my 1992 Skylark, my 1990 Taurus, my 1988 Caprice, and the infamous Chevy van (that died on me 3 days after I purchased it because the dealer forgot to add oil to it), that Olds will probably be running again. But I have had to sell all 9 of those vehicles due to extreme financial difficulties. After 18+ years, my finances and job situations still aren't stable.

Saturday, May 07, 2011

May 7, 2011

This might be the last blog I post for a while. I haven't been employed in a while. My car has stopped working again, and I don't have the money to fix it. Indeed, I don't have much money left since the last car repair and May's rent. I have 2 bills due next week (utility and phone/internet) and not enough money for both. At this point, I don't know where I will be in June. The last time I was this bad off (about 3 years ago), I ended up in a homeless shelter. But that was in New York. I don't even have that option here in Colorado Springs, especially since the city's main shelter (a converted motel at 8th Street and Cimarron) is court ordered to shut down due to conditions that are probably minor compared to other places (and shelters) I've lived in.

And tomorrow happens to be both Mother's Day and my 39th birthday. As if I don't have enough to be depressed about......

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

March 29, 2011

A lot has happened since my last blog. 2011 has roared in with a lot of turmoil. The turmoil in my personal life so far this year includes the loss, gain, and loss of employment, health problems (involving skin infections I never had to deal with when I lived in NYC), and lost friends. I lost several friends to paranoia, one friend to Kregeritis, and another to a heart attack- at 28. Unfortunately, Jeff Braverman's surviving family is still struggling over his death, and to be honest, they need the prayers more than he does.

There's also been a lot of political turmoil. Some of it could have been predicted with the Republican wave last election day. But the current turmoil in the Middle East is what will affect world history more than any union attempts to convince public opinion to support their attempts to milk more money out of a broken and overtaxed economy. Tunisia and Egypt are free of their autocratic leaders, and there is civil unrest in Bahrain, Oman, Yemen, and Syria. The biggest news in the Middle East right now is the civil war in Libya. Muammar the wacko (I won't print his surname here because there are at least 4 conflicting Arabic-to-English spellings of it in various media sources) is fighting to keep power after losing the eastern part of Libya to insurgents inspired by the revolutions in neighboring Tunisia and Egypt. After the Arab League and EU "discovered" that Muammar was targeting civilians (I guess they forgot what his agents did over Lockerbie in 1988), they lobbied the UN to approve a "no-fly zone" over Libya. President Obama used the resolution as an excuse to supply most of the airpower to enforce the no fly zone. This has caused some weird shifts in the US political dynamic. Conservatives are split on Obama's actions, as are the various tea party contingents. Many Democrats are calling for Obama's impeachment over enforcing the UN resolution. And Obama is making a poor case as to why the US is even involved in Libya. But if anything, Obama should point out that we are finishing an action that Reagan should have completed in 1986. If Reagan had bombed Muammar the Wacko into hell during the 1986 bombings, we could have been spared the Pan Am bombings, various terrorist attacks, and the buildup of a chemical weapons program that was only stopped when Muammar saw the damage that the US Army did in Iraq in 2003.

George Soros and the wacko leftists are at it again. Soros is using his non-profit Media Matters organization to plot a "guerilla warfare and sabotage" against News Corp and Fox News Channel. While I think that one of the big 4 networks should be out of business (mainly because the FCC didn't do its job in 1993), I diasgree with the Soros war against Fox, especially since Fox is no more biased to the right than MSNBC and NPR are to the left and has certainly not done anything illegal other than tear Soros's worldview to shreds.

First of all, Fox News Channel is a cable channel. The FCC has little influence over cable, except to dictate competition and rates bargaining. While I tend to agree with news coverage on Fox News more than I would on ABC News or MSNBC, I do have some issues with Fox News's management ideas. While I know of various web sites that stream CNN, Fox has done everything in its power to shut down sites that try to stream its news. Why? Not everyone has or can afford cable. And why should any commercial network (Fox News, USA, Spike, or any of the over-the-air networks) charge to transmit their programs onto cable on the first place? What the hell are these networks doing with their advertising revenue? And are they so broke that they can't live off that? And if Fox News gave a damn about trying to have as many viewers as possible to watch their "fair and unbiased" news, they should do an end-run around cable by making Fox News and little-watched Fox Business available as subchannels on every over-the-air Fox affiliate in the country.

If Soros wanted to use his powers to destroy a network/media company that actually has violated the public interest (the modus operandi for the FCC), he should go after NBC. Soros probably won't since NBC's news divisions are closest in line to his worldview. But NBC never got punished for the most egregious violation of public interest in my lifetime- the Dateline report where producers tried to prove GM trucks were explosive by rigging explosives on a truck and passing that off as a fuel tank defect. Sure, the NBC News president (Michael Gartner) was forced to resign, but NBC News is still on the air. Dateline NBC is still on the air. And NBC received no fines or sanctions from the FCC for staging the GM story. Meanwhile, CBS got fined $550000 for an accidental nipple flash during the 2004 Super Bowl. How the hell is that a bigger violation of the public interest than anything NBC News has put on the air over the last 20 years? And I still haven't forgotten the "Syracuse Peacock" incidents from March of 1997, when a Syracuse grad employee of WNBC (NBC's low rated flagship station in New York) made threatening calls to the Brooklyn College Excelsior student newspaper concerning my articles that mentioned his pathetic excuse for an employer.

General Electric was so upset with what NBC was doing to its image (and its profits) that they sold NBC to Comcast last year. Comcast now controls the largest collection of cable systems in the country and 3 over-the-air broadcast networks (NBC, Ion, and Telemundo). Since most liberals hate media monopolies, why aren't they crying out over this illegal (under most FCC rules) media combination?

Getting slightly off the NBC tangent, I have replaced the Windows 2000 system that was installed on my Dell in favor of a Linux-based OS called Ubuntu. Trying to figure out Linux and trying to re-learn UNIX (the MS-DOS for Linux) for the first time since 1997 should be a fun challenge between job searches. This is the first blog I've composed in a completely non-Windows format- using Ubuntu 10.10, Leafpad, and Ubuntu's generic version of Firefox. But then, I have used Firefox's Windows version for most of these blogs between 2005-2010. And if I can master these new programming languages, there's another thing to add to my resume.