Jim Varagona

Category: carphotography

>I’m Giving Myself Extra Insulin Tonight…1 Year of DiabetoBlog

>

I actually missed my 1 year of DiabetoBlog by 6 days (“McGrath Didn’t Molest Me…Thank God” on 8/24/2005), but I’ve been busy taking pictures of cars and trying to find my way out of that business. To celebrate, I will cover all the bases tonight, and touch on a few from the past.

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Dirty Priest On the Loose

One of my favorite molester priests was released from jail this morning. Bryan Kuchar, who I mentioned in that McGrath blog linked to above, was a deacon at St. Joan of Arc, my grade school, while I went there for 1 year. My sister even had a Catholic school girl skirt autographed by him. The priests, especially the younger ones, took on almost a celebrity like popularity with us back then, which makes it easy for me to see how kids could get lured in.


The Archdiocese of St. Louis is shacking him up for a while until the Vatican tells them what to do with him. I suggest they put him to work teaching Sunday school after he makes his rounds in the neighborhood handing out leaflets that state he is a sex offender. I hope his god has a sense of humor. I’d like to see Kuchar go on television in place of his lawyer and swear to his god that he did nothing immoral. He was laicized, or dismissed from the priesthood, last February, along with the king of molesting priests, Michael McGrath, so it is interesting that the Archdiocese still takes responsibility over him like a mother to a child. I wonder what church’s homecoming is funding his hotel stay.
SNAP (the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests) was trying to get him locked up after his release and is actively seeking past victims that have yet to come forward. If that doesn’t work, they could probably more easily pin some kind of terrorism charges on him, because I know of this great prison in Abu Ghraib.

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More Fun with Ceiling Fans

Back in April, I mentioned that my wife and I battled it out with our upstairs neighbor through our ceiling fans. Our land lady installed at least 3 fans in this 2 family flat that use the same type of remote, so when you control one, you control them all. When we mentioned this to her, she giggled it off and said next time she puts fans in, she won’t make that mistake. I asked them to look into there being codes on the units to differentiate, but we have been put on the back burner indefinitely, so that they may build a fortress in our backyard to live in.

A few nights ago, after a long break in the fighting, suddenly our bedroom fan came under fire. I was relaxing in bed, reading about Counterculture Throught the Ages, when the fan turned off. The wife exclaimed “Oh shit!”, realizing what was to ensue.

After a few back and forth volleys, the gal upstairs turns both fan and light off, which makes even less sense. Please just simply flip the switch if you want neither. Don’t turn both off, leaving us with nothing, and hence even more to fight over.

Our neighbor was very persistent with the battle. To emphasize my anger I flashed the lights quite a few times. This did bring on a calm period at one point. We settled back into our bed and the insurgency regained its force. I was not willing to let her win this. The air doesn’t circulate in our room very well due to a badly placed vent, so we need our fan…damn it.

I told my wife to leave it to me and that I wouldn’t let her down. As I continued reading, I kept up with each flip of the lights and fan. I had it down to a science. Even after an hour of reading, after I set down my book, I kept up, half asleep, by memorizing the 4 button presses to regain the fan setting we enjoy.

This carried on for probably another hour, with bouts of sleep for myself in between the volleys, which were slowing down.

And then, it happened. I won. I woke up 6 hours later with my fan at its correct setting. I was the victor. And as stupid as it sounds, it felt amazing.

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Poopy Update

As an update to my last post, we waited two more days for our lawn to be cut. That was also after another call asking me to pick up my dog’s “dung”. Silly rabbit. If only they kept up with things. I did pick it up, and it finally was cut.

An annoying pile of trash, crap, junk, or whatever term you see fit was also cleaned up…well, kind of. Here are the before and after photos…

Before

After

As you can see, it looks a bit better, and we have to be excited about even slight improvement, like having a kid that doesn’t go in his pants in public as often as before. My only issue is that I still managed to find a grocery bag’s worth of broken glass in all of that crap, just by dusting the surface. I have to look out for my dog here, because dogs are curious creatures. Imagine if a toy of hers hit that pile of nonsense and she began to paw at it. This is what she could have encountered…

My advice is to never rent, and if you do, take lots of photos and document everything, even through blogging. Renting is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re going to get. Sometimes there could even be mice in them or broken glass and you have to end up in litigation.

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>Diabeto the Hermit

>I’ve been laying low as of late. After the power came back on, the DSL at our flat was turned off because we’re too poor. We are now attempting to reconnect through Earthlink and leave AT&T hanging. In the meantime, I am mooching off my parents’ connection.

I have been working for the past few weeks for one of those publications that helps you sell your vehicles. My job is as a “field photographer”, which means I drive around and take pictures of cars. Why this job still exists in the age of the internet and digital cameras, I have no idea, but it pays for now. And I told this to a customer not long ago, that he could simply take the photo on the digital camera he told me he had and upload it to internet that he also confirmed he had, to which he responded, “But this is so damned convenient!”

I called a customer in a location 35 miles from me, most likely the land of the Lord, to confirm his address, which wasn’t showing up on MapQuest (a godsend for this job). To clarify, I was already in his vicinity and calling, figuring that the street name would bring me close enough. The address listed was 1939, but on this particular street the addresses only went up to 959. Trust me I drove around to check. So I call this guy and say I am by 959 so-and-so street and ask where his location is. He tells me again “It’s 1939. Wait I’ll go outside to check again for ya. (PAUSE) Yep it’s real big out here under the sign with the name of the place, the phone number, and the address…1939. You can’t miss it.”

I ask for landmarks because this just didn’t make any sense. He tells me to go back to the main road in town and find a BP and an auto repair joint. I should turn in between the two and it’s a block away past some railroad tracks.

I follow his directions. Sure enough there was a BP and an auto repair shop at the beginning of the street I was on, but quite a few blocks back. I drove past the tracks and see the truck I was to shoot. This was the first building on this street with an address of 100. Right away I see his mistake. There was a big sign with the name of the place and its address, and underneath it was written “Since 1939”.

I deal with the public for the entertainment value.

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My daughter, Sadie, was really sick about a week ago. Whenever she moved, she would yelp. It was sad to watch. She was moping around. Days went by before she ate or drank on her own will. I resorted to giving her water through a syringe…a needleless one. We spent two separate nights at the animal hospital with the vets troubleshooting her. Guesswork costs a lot, especially for us po’ folks. She has been on two separate drugs and had x-rays done that showed nothing.

We are pretty sure she has
Aseptic (Sterile) Meningitis, which two of her brothers also have been diagnosed with. Apparently it will flare up from time to time, but can be kept under control with Prednisone. She takes after me with all the diseases and medication.
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In February, I blogged about mice in our flat. We caught 9 in a 2 day span, to which our landlady told me that “the key to urban living is to keep a clean place”. I bagged 4 of the nine and labeled them for her at the time. She kept them in our basement by her work bench. I decided to lay them to rest today in a dumpster, since they have molded over a few times within their Zip-Loc bags, and she wasn’t too concerned about moving them. I took some video which I hope to post soon, when our internet situation improves. In the meantime, check out this other cool mice video.

UPDATE (11/1/06): The disposal of the moldy mice…

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>Let There Be Light…and A/C

>The power was restored to our apartment around 9:30 this morning. I am grateful that we had a cool place to stay (with my parents), but nothing beats being at your own home. It just sucks cleaning up remnants of food that I didn’t save earlier on. Leftover peas, zucchini soup, and barbecued chicken stink to high heaven after sitting in a luke warm fridge for a few days. The peas were fuzzy too. I flushed most of the potent liquids down the toilet because that’s what I was raised to do when you don’t have a garbage disposal. The water pressure was sub par with the faucets sputtering before kicking in completely. I know that has nothing to do with electricity, but it shows how messed up things are around here. There was a massive water main break less than two miles from here, but I doubt that is the culprit.

Oh well. It’s good to be home.

*And as a response to a comment on my last post, my 200+ mile route for work involves weaving through the St. Louis Metropolitan area and beyond. We reside in St. Louis city, the epicenter of the chaos that ensued after the storm.

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>Ridin’ the Storm Out

>These are strange times in St. Louis.

On Wednesday, I had finished a 200+ mile route for my new job right before the storm hit. I really just noticed the sky of black moving my way overhead when I made it to the office in West St. Louis County. I still had to finish some paperwork and make copies before I could leave. The only person left in the office was my supervisor, who was staying to collect my work. The strong winds came in pretty fast, but I still thought we had time to get out of there. Not even ten minutes after I arrived, the power shut down. I laughed and paced, because that’s how I cope. We waited for the elecricity to return, so we could finish the work. It did, but just enough to tease us. I kept looking outside at the business park I was in. Parts of trees and random trash were flying by. It was very amusing.

I don’t feel comfortable with severe weather in the county. For some reason, the city avoids serious damage and tornadic activity a lot more than the county around here. Anyway, the building I was in was talking. It was creaking and whistling to the point that I thought there was a good chance of my first tornado. My supervisor gave me a candle that smelled nice. I would have rather been at home though. My dog was there alone in a kennel awaiting my arrival. The supe had to make calls to find out procedure for what to do if the building were to blow away. We were told to go hang out in an office with windows. Seriously. Their reasoning was that the walls of that office were still made of cinder blocks unlike the rest of the building. I didn’t buy it, but I was simply going with the flow. It was only my fourth day on this job, so I wanted to make a good impression.

Then the rains finally came. I watched through the narrow windows at the cloud formations moving by fairly quickly and the sheets of precipitation dumping out. It was obvious the power wouldn’t come back anytime soon. The supe called the higher ups and communicated that we were going to run for it. It takes fine management skills to decide to leave once the rain hits. We did though. The walk to my car 30 feet from the door was enough to soak me.

The drive home was interesting. I had no idea what lay ahead or behind me. The rain in my path though, was enough to cut visibility down considerably. Half of the cars on the highway had their flashers on. Since I don’t trust my own driving, especially in weather such as that, I followed suit. Some of the vehicles swayed in the wind. I could feel the wind pushing my car, but it just added an element of fun to the drive. Most of the cars were keeping a safe speed and distance, so I didn’t have to worry. The shoulder did contain a few results of those that weren’t being so careful.

About halfway through my drive, the rain calmed down a tad. The sky turned a bright orange from the sun setting and the storm exiting. Fittingly, “Ridin’ the Storm Out” by REO Speedwagon came on the radio, so I cranked it up. I am always a fan of mood music, even though I hate REO.

When I got home, the blocks leading up to it were riddled with tree branches and sometimes entire trees. I noticed two streets blocked off entirely by single trees. Of course, considering my luck as of late, our power was out when I reached the homestead, and at this point two nights later, it still is out. Interestingly enough, people three doors down and on somehow have their power. Ameren, the utility company here, gave themselves a 3-5 day window to clean this mess up, but a storm earlier today just added more to their statistics. As I write this, 500,000 homes are without power in this area.

I took Sadie, my boxer, for a walk through the neighborhood since she had been cooped up in the kennel thoughout the madness. Trees blocked our path several times. At the corner of our block, a man’s shed had been torn to pieces and thrown all over the street. This was certainly the worst storm damage I have ever seen first hand. And it is easily the longest I have ever gone without electricity.

The first night, I tried toughing it out with the windows open to the breeze of the 90 degree night air. Sadie and I made it though the night while the wife worked the graveyard shift, but we smelled like blooming onions by daybreak and had a fine layer of greasy sweat on us. My wife made the decision for us to move in with my folks and that’s where I will rest my head again tonight. At least we aren’t camping out on our porch like some people.

Today when I tried venturing out for work, disabled traffic signals made for long waits at intersections. I drove past 4 gas stations before I could find one with power. This is insane. The storm today helped the heat wave dissipate for a bit while we wait on all of these shortages and outages.

The National Guard is in town now to knock on doors to check on folks and give out water and cookies. I guess that beats suicide bombers and living in the deserts of the Mid East. Witnessing giant camoflaged vehicles parading through the city was a strange sight for me. I saw two caravans as I drove around today. The boys were decked out in full uniform. That makes this official disaster control. It makes me feel special. I only wish we were staying in our darkened apartment so the Guard would offer us goodies and a chance to stay in an air conditioned building that they refer to as “cooling centers” in these parts.

So the question of choice in St. Louis has gone from “Where did you go to High School?” to “Do you have power?”

Strange times indeed.

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