Thursday, November 29, 2012

Structure Fire

In continuing with the theme of destruction, this blog post is dedicated to a structure fire today at 2404 Garfield Ave SE, Albuquerque, New Mexico, 87106 at 2:30 p.m. on Thursday, November 29, 2012.

I was watering my plants outside and my neighbors started talking about, and pointing towards, a gigantic cloud of black smoke forming three blocks away. As soon as I saw the cloud, I started to run towards it to see what was going on and if I could help. After running 50 feet, I decided it would be a good idea to grab my camera, and my keys, so I could take some pictures and lock my house up.

From two blocks away, the heat from the fire became apparent. The roads were also crowded with onlookers. The entire atmosphere was that of a UNM Student Ghetto carnival.

I texted my friend Alicia one of these pictures, and then realized my other friends may be interested in reading about the fire, so I decided to write a blog post.

The emergency workers were trying to get everyone away. They said propane tanks were present and could explode. After this, I started walking away.

My neighborhood association president - Jennifer Simpson. Her house is just down the street from the fire, and I borrowed her hair dryer on the way back to finish winterizing my awesome single pained windows.

I have never seen the streets so crowded. The emergency service vehicles were having trouble getting it with all the traffic. I was on foot.

An artists rendition of an aerial view of the fire.

The most amazing thing to me was the number of cars packed into the area surrounding the fire. The only other times I've seen things so packed were during Isotope's baseball games, and maybe during Lobo football games. Even then, these side streets NEVER see that much traffic.

Hopefully no one was hurt, and the fire department was able to contain the blaze. After a few days, I may take some pictures of the rubble, being careful not to get too close or do anything dangerous.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Thanksgiving Dump

This blog post is about going to the Grant County Municipal landfill, or dump, at Thanksgiving, not some other form of a gigantic Thanksgiving dump.

My family and I spent a good portion of our Thanksgiving holiday cleaning out a bunch of crap from my uncle's house. He passed away six months ago, and his house is scheduled to finalize selling in a week. All that means we have to get the house ready to sell.

I look out and admire a sea of old tires.

For some reason, I found the way the sun was shining, and the bulldozer crashing through the garbage, to be sort of attractive and interesting, in a kind of dystopian, WALL-E, sort of way.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Short Term Kitchen Rental

Today a woman called me about renting my kitchen from 11:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. on Saturday. Her number was from the 732 area code. My buddy Efrain and I have been working towards putting my apartment up as a short term vacation rental, but we never discussed posting the advertisement yet. Additionally, I just woke up when she called.

The entire discussion was extremely confusing, but I was pretty sure I sold her on the rental concept by combining jokes and pleasant descriptions about my place. This is interesting, since I did not even know I should/could/am rent(ing) out my kitchen and place for five hour blocks. While we were discussing how far away my apartment is from "the university" she mentioned that she did some graduate work in an obscure humanities department. This, combined with her eastern seaboard accent and out of state phone number, prompted me to ask "Just to make sure, since I am somewhat confused by this entire conversation, that you are interested in renting my place in Albuquerque, New Mexico, on Princeton street?" She laughed, and said "No, I'm interested in renting someplace close by Princeton University." That sort of ended our discussion, but she did mention "But I'm coming to Albuquerque later this year, and your place sounds great! I'll rent it when I'm in town then."

She got my information by Google'ing "Princeton Kitchen Rental" and watching my YouTube video describing the kitchen in one of my rental units. This comes up on page two of the Google results for that phrase. I posted this video on June 13, 2009 and included my phone number in the video description.

Everything is in order to put my apartment up for short term rentals. I was waiting on two things, and both of those have been addressed. The first thing I was waiting on was the jets on my hot tub were messed up. My hot tub has since been repaired. The second is that I was concerned that my home owners insurance policy would not cover short term rentals, and (after confirming, in writing) my insurance will cover them. My buddy Efrain is ready to go on helping with the labor for a portion of the profits. An interior decorator minded medical doctor named Maggie gave me some suggestions on quick improvements to make (especially with regard to my bathroom) and I'm going to quickly address the easiest / biggest of her suggestions.

Coming soon: short term vacation rentals by Brian, on Princeton STREET (not Princeton, N.J.) in Albuquerque, New Mexico, U.S.A.

Friday, November 16, 2012

My Last Twinkie

Today I had my last Twinkie, (or four....) This was my last Twinkie in two senses, it was the last Twinkie I ate in my life, since I consumed it about 12 minutes before writing this blog post. It also may be the last Twinkie I ever eat, because Hostess seems totally unable to successfully deal with organized labor problems. Granted, Hostess has threatened this sort of action before, but it looks like they followed through with the initial stages of liquidation and have taken the necessary steps to scrap Hostess. As soon as I heard about this terrible news, I rode my bicycle over to the supermarket known as Ghetto Smith's to buy some.

It seems totally, totally ridiculous to me that the Baker's Union would rather scrap Hostess than grant concessions. I'm surprised that Hostess did not move all of their production offshore to take advantage of cheaper labor, and less hassle from unions in the United States. That's the lesson I learn from this bedtime story - avoid producing things in the United States that depend on relatively unskilled human labor. Then again, I have studied game theory and generally have not supported collective bargaining in the United States, since about the Industrial Revolution.

While going to Ghetto Smith's near UNM to buy my last package of Twinkies, I noticed that the display had only three boxes left...

...and one box looked like it had already been opened.

I have not had a Twinkie in about eights years. Mostly, this is because I do not want to be fat. The last time I actually remember eating one was as an undergraduate student, likely around second year of college (2004?) Despite that lapse in my consumption of cream-filled awesomeness, it makes me sad that the James Taggart types may be able to actually destroy Twinkies.

I realize that Hostess will likely sell off the Twinkie® brand, and I will be able to enjoy another delicious Twinkie, just under new ownership!

Twinkie delivery for my tenants

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Russian Project - Мой друг Олег

As many of my real-life friends know, I have been studying Russian for some time. As one of the many, many benefits of my self-employment, I now have the flexibility to take Russian 101 at the University of New Mexico. Russian 101 is almost all review for me, but the beginning is a good place to start, and that is the first Russian class in the Russian degree program at UNM.

For my class, I did a presentation on my friend Oleg Semenov (Олег Анатольевич Семёнов.) If you are a native Russian speaker, please excuse any of my errors. I am still learning.

Мой друг Олег
Brian Stinar

Это мой друг. Его зовут Олег Анатольевич Семёнов. Он высокий человек, и он блондин.
(This is my friend. His name is Oleg Son-Of-Anatoli Semenov. He is a tall man, and blonde.)

Он родился тридцатого июня, тысяча девятьсот восемьдесят третього года в Алмате, Казахстанне.
(He was born the thirtieth of June, in the 1983rd year, in Almaty, Kazakhstan.)

Мы стали друзьями когда Мы учились в аспирантуре. Сейчас он аспирант на факультете информатики (computer science).
(We started to become friends when we studied in graduate school. Now he is a graduate student in the department of informatics [computer science.])

Он любит ездить на Гавайи, в Miami и в Калифорнию, но он живёт в Albuquerque.
(He loves to go to Hawaii, Miami and California, but now he lives in Albuquerque.)

Это его сестра, её зовут Настя. она живёт здесь.
(This is his sister, her name is Nastya. She lives here.)

Это его мать - Ольга.
(This is his mom - Olga.)

и его отец - Анатолий. Они живут в Алмате.
(And his father - Anatoli. They live in Almaty.)