Sunday, May 22, 2016

My New Crashpad

I love what BBF is doing to the downstairs floor of my house in JC. It's a mother-in-law apartment, not really its own thing, but not part of the rest of the house, either. We're fixing it up for me when I'm home on weekends and holidays, and it's so cute I want to move straight back.

When I first saw the house, I could see from the outlets that someone had once had a kitchen downstairs. I've looked at three other houses on the same block, and other houses are two-family and do have an entire kitchen where my house now has a mini-kitchen.

I was inspired to build this from one of the AirBnBs I stayed in, which was only a small room, but so cleverly arranged I realized I could easily set up my ground floor to be my own in-law suite.

I was lucky--the AirBnB place had an electric hotplate, and installing that was part of my plan, until BBF called me one day and said "Did you know there's a gas valve right by your kitchen?"

I had a professional stop by and make sure the gas line was AOK and didn't need any maintenance. (Well, BBF is a professional, but I have a helpful heating professional who sorted out my heating system last year, and he stopped by to confirm everything was up to code and not broken.) This new was so welcome--I have gas burners instead of electric! I don't have an oven and I don't have a freezer, but this isn't really meant to be a full-on apartment. It's just my hideaway in Jersey City.

I don't have a final photo yet, but I'll get it next weekend when I'm home.

Sunday, May 08, 2016

New Stucco

I had a hard time getting anyone on the phone at the stucco repair place...until winter, and then it was easy.

They took the first nice days of Spring and repaired the stucco on the back of my house. It was complicated, involving getting the convent next door to open the gate to the backyard, but the stucco looks great.

Of course, now there's a leak on a window, and no one can figure out where it's coming from. There's always something.

Friday, May 06, 2016

All for $30 to $35 a Month, No Less

This ad ran in the New York Times classified section on September 15, 1895.

It took me a while to dig it up, but I'm glad I did. This is my house, the 121-year-old one I bought a year ago. 

A local history walking tour is happening on Sunday, May 15th. I'm sure they'll stop at my house, examine the words "Breadalbane Terrace" on the side of my building, and a docent will explain the significance and the story behind the block of cute houses. I wish I could be there, because I don't know why these adorable, historic row houses sit where they sit.

Wednesday, May 04, 2016

Daniel J on the Devil, 2016

Daniel still sang a bit about the devil, but not the way he used to. And he talked over the most embarrassing parts of my video. The footage from 1987, where he was worried about year 2k, he talked over his video monologue. "It's the future, Dan, it all worked out okay."


Saturday, April 30, 2016

A Rare Screening

Several months ago, during one of my trips home (I am dual-coast living right now, working in Burbank and still maintaining an active presence with house renovating, close friends, and man-friend in Jersey City), I dug out some Beta back-ups of my old Daniel Johnston footage from the late 80s and early 90s.

Then, about a month ago, I had a facility down Vine preserve lossless digital copies of the takes.

Was this the best way, I wondered? Or would it be just as easy to use the DV copies I'd made already, but had no idea where in my storage unit they were? Or would it make more sense to use the VHS originals? But then...they had continued to degrade since I'd converted them to Betacam in the mid-nineties.

In the end, the Beta back-ups worked out way cleaner than the last time I'd looked at the VHS tapes. I winced as I paid a small fortune to digitize material I'd previously digitized but couldn't find, but unless I flew home and dug through my storage unit, this was unavoidable on the timeline in question. Other offers to pay were nice, but I need a clean copyright to my own footage.

What didn't work out so well was my memory. I nearly missed the screening! It's tomorrow night, but I essentially have almost no concept of day or time or even year, because I like to inhabit my own little bubble of reality. Fortunately, FB reminded me, so I'll be attending this tomorrow night. I forgot to RSVP, so I might have to show an ID and point to the program description, but this should be entertainingly odd for a Sunday night.

Saturday, April 09, 2016

A Walk Around the Neighborhood

This morning, I stumbled over this great look at my neighborhood back home in JC. I was delighted to see my house in the first photo.

I'm more and more convinced that buying this house was a good move. The area is really pleasant and not overrun by wealthy speculators (yet, at least).

Saturday, April 02, 2016

Day Job

I'm the one who is female and not Amanda.

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Daydreaming for Off the Grid

I'm exhausted these days. I'm really not cut out for being in one spot every weekday, and given much of my life has been dedicated to avoiding routine and inter-office dramas, I doubt that surprises anyone reading this. My last job was about making comics from my laptop, sometimes involving circumventing firewalls in police-states. It's hard to go back to the world of meetings and dental insurance. It's hard to to cooperate with others when I'm used to running my own little ship in the world. But we evolve. We learn. It's all part of existing, I suppose.

But I still need breaks. I booked a short Grand Canyon rafting trip for early May. It's to finish up the Canyon. In 2008, I took the trip from Lees Ferry to Bar 10, and now I'm going to fly into Bar 10 and finish up all the way to Lake Mead.

I'm looking forward to it. There's no cell reception or Internet at the bottom of the Grand Canyon.

Of course, all my gear is in Jersey City. I'll have to bring it back next time I'm home.

Sunday, March 13, 2016

A Tolerable Habitat

A pal of mine at work, a young assistant editor, recently left the company to move back East. He left me a lamp, a nice antique perfect for my 1920s-era Hollywood actresses studio.

And BBF visited from JC. He installed curtain rods across the huge window in my apartment.

People should come and go more often! (And my friend Tracy offers to show up with a puppy...)

Sunday, February 28, 2016

Windmills in the Desert

A few days ago, someone asked me if the theme park we put up in Kuwait was still there.

"I'm sure it is," I said. "It was there before we got to it, and it's probably still there now. But the murals probably aren't maintained."

Then it occurred to me to dig around online.

I only found one photo on TripAdvisor, but that's how I learned the colors did not hold up to the Kuwaiti sun. But yes, June Brigman's art is still there, towering next to a shopping mall in Jahra, a monument, an anthem to a Quixotic cause.

Below is the park on opening night in February of 2009.