Monday, December 31, 2012

The last blog entry of 2012

This is the last blog entry of 2012.

Its about fifteen before midnight, and I'm sitting at home typing on the computer.  Anthony has to get up at 4:30 a.m. to go to work so he's in bed sleeping, and I wasn't invited anywhere for New Year's Eve.  I decided not to go out because I felt kind of lame going without him.  I'm not upset about it though.

The beginning of the year was kind of wacky, the end has been very quiet.  I don't think I accomplished a lot in 2012.  At least not some of the things I wanted to.  But, there have been years in my life where it was about learning and reflecting and 2012 was a year very much like that.

When my mom was alive, she'd make a prediction each New Year's Eve about what the next year would be like.  The prediction was always general, such as "an exciting year of changes" or "its going to be a difficult year".  She was right more often than wrong.

I have a strangely good feeling about 2013.  I don't know why, but I do.  I think it's going to be the best year I've had in a long time.

One thing I do know, is that I've posted on this blog more than ever in the last year and I've really enjoyed it.  So, you can expect more in 2013.  I'm averaging about 100 visitors a day now so it seems like the effort I've put in has been worth it.  Although I write it mostly for my own enjoyment.

Here's to an awesome 2013... not only for me, but for you too.  Happy New Year!

My last drive home from work for 2012 at Kolb and Speedway.
The mountains to the north are about 1/3 covered with snow.

2 shootings, 2 dead at Ten's Strip Club

One of the big news stories to end the year in Tucson is the shootings at Ten's Nightclub / strip club on Speedway Blvd.

Two people have died from two separate shooting incidents, a 32 year old and a 26 year old.

The incident has reminded me of the Candy Store strip club, which is no longer around.  The one time that I was called for jury duty (June 2011) since living in Arizona was for a case in which a man was accused of murder at the Candy Store.  I was dismissed from the case after the judge determined that I had too much prior knowledge of the case due to working in local media.

The Candy Store gained a reputation for being a dangerous place and had a history of violence and shootings.  Eventually it was shut down.

I have to wonder if the incidents at Ten's are going to put it in the same position that the Candy Store was in.  I don't go to strip clubs, but it's still unfortunate that any business is forced to deal with violent customers.  Can't people go look at boobies without worrying that they'll be shot?

I don't envy whomever gets called to the jury in those cases.  It's not easy to think of the accused as 'innocent until proven guilty'.

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Getting wet at Walmart Neighborhood Market

Tonight's trip to Walmart Neighborhood Market for the weekly grocery run reminded me of being a teenager.

I worked at Boogaart's Supermarket in Kearney, Nebraska while I was in high school.  I liked working there except when the weather was bad.  That grocery store required offering and usually carrying a customer's groceries to the car if they had more than one bag.  I started out there as a "sacker".  My job was to bag the customer's groceries and take them out among other things.  And, we would do it in the freezing cold, hideous heat, pouring rain, and blinding snow.

The reason tonight's grocery store trip reminded me of Boogaart's was because it was raining.  That meant getting from the car to the store without getting soaked, and getting back to the car after doing the shopping while pushing a car full of groceries that hopefully wouldn't get too soaked.  As a bonus, then carrying all of it from the parking lot halfway across the complex and up the stairs at the apartment.

I got through it without melting or ruining my hair.  And, I took a few photos.

Walmart Neighborhood Market at 22nd and Craycroft.
Its all shiny in the rain.

A roof leak being caught by this bucket at Walmart Market.
Ironically it was in the water aisle.

Keebler Cheesecake Middles cookies
The package suggests "Be a good cookie" and give blood.
I bought the cookies, they're pretty good.

Fruity Pebbles Treats
They're gluten free, which is apparently important when you're eating a brick of sugar.

International Delight coffee creamer singles - pumpkin pie spice, Heath, and Almond Joy.
Does anyone drink coffee plain anymore?

Rachael Ray oatmeal
Nothing says 'good morning' like having Rachael Ray stare at you while you're eating breakfast.

A visit to the remodeled McDonald's at Speedway and Craycroft

One of the stops during tonight's Sunday shopping was dinner at McDonald's at Speedway and Craycroft in Tucson.

An extensive remodeling was done on that location and it was just completed.

I took some pictures that you'll see below, but there were a few things that really stuck out.  There is a flat screen TV in the dining room.  It was showing an NFL football game.  There was a guy sitting in front of it loudly cheering.  He was approached at one point by another guy, who asked him if he was also homeless, and offered him money.  Turns out the guy cheering in front of the TV wasn't.  The TV is apparently a fun place for the homeless to meet each other at McDonald's.

The inside of the restaurant has several murals of various parts of the Tucson downtown skyline.  I didn't recognize it at first, but once I did, I thought it was pretty cool.

The most amusing part of the visit:  The leaking window.  Its the first time it has rained in Tucson since they reopened the remodeled dining room, and the east end of the front windows had a significant leak that was pouring water on the window sill and floor.  I hope the contractor or window vendor gave them some kind of guarantee on the installation.  Because it wasn't done very well.

Its a nice layout, and looks good inside.  Hopefully they'll locate a bucket to put under the leak.

The newly remodeled McDonald's at Speedway and Craycroft in Tucson

The front counter and menu board

The order numbers are shown on this screen above the front counter when the food is ready

A view of the McDonald's dining room including the flat screen TV.
The drink machine is on the left.

The McDonald's dining room.
This photo didn't come out a bit blurry and wouldn't have normally posted it, but I wanted to show you
the windows that had the leak... most specifically, the front window above the sign on the left.

The tray liner at McDonald's.
The Monopoly game was over in October, but they apparently still have some tray liners left over.
Maybe they're looking ahead to next year's game.

Wild for Peeps at Walgreens

This week's Sunday night shopping excursion included a stop at the Walgreen's at Speedway and Craycroft.

Anthony needed some nasal spray, but his real focus was on the clearance Christmas candy aisle.  In the rockstar fashion that is truly Anthony, he discovered Christmas themed Peeps there a few weeks ago and devoured boxes of them.  The fact that they are discounted only encouraged him to buy an armload more.

I had to remind him to get the nasal spray.  Some things are more important than nasal spray, like Peeps shaped like Christmas trees.

Driving west on Pima Street in the rain on the way to Walgreen's

Here's Anthony, who hates to have his photo taken, so he threw his hood up when I brought out the camera.
We're waiting in the rain to turn at Pima and Craycroft.

Anthony locks his car in the Walgreen's parking lot at Speedway and Craycroft on a rainy Tucson night

The Justin Bieber Brush Buddies toothbrush has been updated!
The original one had "Baby" and one other song.
The new one has "Boyfriend".

Here's Anthony with an armload of marshmallow Christmas themed Peeps.
Or as he likes to call it, "breakfast".

Hey Lucky, I have to pee

Lucky likes to stay in the bathroom unless both Anthony and I are home at the same time.

Unfortunately for him, that means every time I need to use the bathroom I have to displace him.  That wouldn't be so bad if I could teach him how to fetch me a roll of toilet paper.  At least he'd be more useful.

Lucky in the bathroom
Maybe he'd be more comfortable if I brought him a newspaper to read.

Lucky the alien dog.
Right after I took this photo, lasers shot out of his eyes.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

The changing of the furnace filters

Basic maintenance of a home sometimes gets forgotten when living in an apartment.

I spent half a day on Christmas dusting and vaccuming.  It occured to me that the filters hadn't been changed since maybe a year ago.  I realized it when I saw just how dusty the place gets very quickly.


Its recommended that filters are changed every three months.  If you have not done it before, they're really cheap (usually around a dollar a piece) and will help you have a cleaner environment.  The dumber part in my case... is that Ridgepointe provides replacements for free.  I just have to go to the office to request new ones.

Hopefully it'll get dusty in here a little more slowly now.

UPDATE - 12/30 at 2 a.m.:  One of the problems the heat/air conditioning has had for about a year is a random and rather loud rattling.  I discovered when I changed the filters that there is a little metal tube that had wiring inside of it, and it was positioned in a way that it rested on one of the filters.  A little screwdriver magic to reposition it and the unit hasn't rattled the rest of the day.  I'm a freakin' genius.

Clean furnace filters

Dirty furnace filters
These stopped trapping new dust a long long time ago... in a galaxy far far, away.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Best wishes to the woman in apartment 30

Allison, the co-worker who lives in the same apartment building I do, sent me a text when she got home earlier tonight.  She usually gets home a couple of hours before I do and said that the older lady who lives across the way from me in apartment 30 was being paid a visit by paramedics and wheeled out on a stretcher.

The apartment 30 occupant is a nice woman.  I don't know her name, but she is always friendly, says hello when she sees me, and shuffles around with the help of a dark red walker.  She never remembers my name but always remembers Lucky's name.

A sign appeared on her door a few days ago that says "no smoking, oxygen in use".  It seems like an indication that her health is turning for the worse.

I noticed that a poinsetta sitting on her patio has fallen over.  I'll have to go sit it upright so it stays healthy for her return home.

Best wishes to you woman whose name I don't know in apartment 30.  May you have a speedy recovery.

Apartment 30 as seen from my bedroom balcony
Its the one with the stuff on the door on the bottom floor

Tucson winter weather photos on December 27, 2012

Its beginning to feel a lot like winter in Tucson.

Winter here isn't as extreme in some parts of the country.  But, when we're used to a cold day being 70... anything colder seems extreme.  We also had a little winter storm roll through this afternoon.

Driving west on Speedway between Kolb and Wilmot
Winter storm rolling in while the sun begins to set.
I took this photo while driving.  I live dangerously.

Steam rising off of a hot tub at Ridgepointe Apartments
I wanted to show you the kind of extreme winter conditions we face in Tucson.

A violated co-worker

One of my co-workers (I'm not sure who actually) had a 'violation' sticker on their side window.  I spotted it a few mornings ago in the parking lot.

These usually get stuck on cars at apartment complexes when a car is parked in a reserved parking space.


Violation sticker on a co-worker's car
I was humming the "Bad boys bad boys whatcha gonna do" Cops theme in my head when I took the picture.

Winter moon over Ridgepointe

A beautiful full moon over Tucson appeared in the eastern sky last night at dusk.

The photo doesn't really do it justice, but it was kind of cool looking over the apartment building to the east of mine at Ridgepointe with a palm tree in the shot.

Full moon as seen over Ridgepointe Apartments in Tucson.
I suppresed the urge to howl.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

History of a fallen lamp post - Part 2

I posted back in July about a light post at Ridgepointe near my apartment that decided it was tired enough to fall down.  You can read about it (and see the photos) by clicking here.

The lamp post has bitten the dust... again.

One of my neighbors had a few friends over for a party on Christmas Eve and I wonder if the lamp post was a casualty of their debauchery.  The lamp post was not the only clue, there was also a discarded cup and a water bottle that ended up in a bush nearby.

The cause of the lamp post's falling will likely remain a mystery.  But, once again, it needs to be fixed (along with three other lights that have burned out near my building).

Maybe the maintenance crew has some duct tape lying around.

The lamp post near my apartment that has fallen and can't get up.
The light still works, it's just much closer to the ground now.

A cup near the fallen lamp post

A discarded water bottle in a bush near the fallen lamp post

Monday, December 24, 2012

2012 flashback

Its Christmas Eve and I'm at work.  The company I work for doesn't make this a paid holiday and I don't take vacation days unless they have purpose (like going somewhere or having something to do besides sitting at home watching TV or recovering from getting run over by a bus).  A very small staff is here and there's very little to do since the Blend is in 'best of' mode this week.  So, I thought I'd post a look back at the last year.

2012 wasn't terribly remarkable but it wasn't terrible.  That was good enough.

January 2012: The Fox 11 goodbye party at Union Public House
I worked at Fox 11 for four months before returning to Journal in February 2012.
I barely got to know the group of people that worked there but two of the people pictured
(Karen in stripes, Marcelino in light blue) are now co-workers of mine at KGUN 9.

February 2012: In my new office at KGUN 9 with an Arizona Lottery swag bag
I won the goodies I'm holding thanks to Twitter.
And, I'm now the Executive Producer of a TV show.
Its the first time in my 25 year career I have the word 'executive' in my job title.
March 2012: Ed Asner on the Morning Blend
The TV legend sat in my office for over an hour after he was on the show waiting for a cousin to pick him up
so they could go have lunch.
A genuinely nice and funny man.
April 2012: David and Justin's reception
Two of my favorite people ever invited us to their party.
I don't wear those pants anymore because they developed a hole at one of the belt loops. 

May 2012: Bringing Lucky home from the Humane Society.
Anthony and I adopted a dog that is a joy to have around... when he isn't shedding or hiding in the bathroom.
June 2012: Cosmic Bingo at Casino Del Sol
Anthony and I went numerous times to the late night bingo fun fest on Saturdays...
including the first evening we ever spent time together.
The casino discontinued Cosmic Bingo during the summer of 2012 after a five year run.
July 2012: My 46th birthday
I wanted to eat this cake that Anthony baked for me without a fork or plate.
The worst part about turning 46 is that I'm not quite old enough yet for the senior citizen menu at Denny's.
August 2012: Tucson International Airport
I visited the airport once this year to pick up a candidate who flew in for a job interview (we hired her).
This was the closest I came to a vacation all year.
In retrospect, I should have brought a suitcase and let it go around the carousel a few times to make it seem authentic.
September 2012: Space shuttle Endeavor flies over Tucson
The space shuttle flew very close to the KGUN building and I took a few photos.
This picture was featured on the home page of the website for about half a day.
October 2012: Arizona Wildcats basketball game
I went to my first ever Arizona men's basketball game on Halloween night and sat in the second row center court.
In a tragic moment, I was so far from the concession stand I didn't get a hot dog.
Regret can be an ugly thing.
November 2012: The tire with the slow leak.
The passenger side rear tire on my car developed a slow leak in September.
I still have to air it up every morning with this little air compressor because it goes flat every 24 hours.
I haven't replaced the tire yet.  Those things are expensive.
I also paid off the car loan in November after six years.
December 2012: A bacon sundae at Burger King.
Anthony and I ate dinner on a Sunday night before going to the grocery store, a common ritual this year.
I ate a bacon cheeseburger, he ate a bacon sundae.
That sentence describes our relationship perfectly.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Wafflers, sliders and a lumpy purple ass

A trip to the grocery store today (Walmart Neighborhood Market) brought the usual oddities that I always manage to capture in photos.  We went to the 22nd and Craycroft location.

Anthony was in kind of a weird mood when he went.  I attribute it to a bacon sundae sugar rush that he was having from an earlier stop at Burger King.  Consequently, I didn't get as many awesome photos as I usually do.  But I scored a few.

Barefoot Bubbly champagne
(this picture turned out terrible, I have kicked my own ass for that)
I'll bet it tastes like feet.

I haven't needed one of these since 1995.

Ecce Homo candle.
I think the candlemaker is suggesting that Jesus is gay.

I could have used this candle for luck when the Powerball jackpot was $570 million a few weeks ago.

Ball Park beef sliders
I thought Ballpark just made hot dogs.
My curiosity as to whether they plump when I cook 'em made me buy these.

Eggo Wafflers
It says 'no syrup needed'.
Apparently they haven't met me.

I managed to catch a photo of an unusual looking rear end at the cash register.
It was fascinating to look at... it appeared that there was a person fighting to get out of the back of the purple pants

Bacon sundae at Burger King

Anthony and I went on our usual Sunday shopping extravaganza today.

Our first stop was at Burger King at Grant and Craycroft because I hadn't eaten any dinner.  I ordered a Whopper Jr. combo, and Anthony asked the woman at the register if they still had the bacon sundae.  That's what he ended up ordering.

Personally, I think bacon only goes with three things:  Meat (as in on a cheeseburger), eggs (as in an omelette or with scrambled eggs), and on a salad.  I've seen it on other things recently like donuts.  But, this is the first time I've seen a bacon sundae in person (and not on a poster).

This is the same Burger King location that Anthony found a long hair in his french fries earlier this year.  I suspect he felt that the sundae was a safer bet than a combo meal.

Behold, the photos of the bacon sundae:

The bacon sundae at Burger King
Bacon on top of ice cream with caramel and fudge sauce

Anthony opens the bacon sundae
(Note: In this photo and the ones below, you'll notice we're in an empty restaurant)

Anthony opens wide (ok, kind of wide) to try the bacon sundae

Anthony eating the bacon sundae

Would you like some bacon sundae?

The empty Burger King dining room