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Monthly Archives: March 2007

Just say no….to plastic bags

It’s funny how back in the day I used to call anyone who showed any sort of care for the environment a “hippie”, because these days I’m as big a “hippie” as almost everyone I know, and continue to move in that direction more and more.

For instance, I was very happy to see this news story today that San Francisco is passing a law to ban plastic grocery bags. Supposedly the ban would save nearly 450,000 gallons of oil each year from being used in their manufacture. I realize that is a literal drop in the bucket, but it’s something. I’m glad to see that some environmental causes these days can be marketed to garner the support of the “right wing” by pointing out how something can “reduce our dependency on foreign oil” (one of Mr. Bush’s favorite lines). Nothing more patriotic than that!

While none of my readers live in San Fran (that I know of), we can all take a similar step. Last year I purchased a couple of canvas bags from my local grocery store (Heinen’s) for literally a couple of dollars, and just take them in every time I shop instead of using up new plastic bags. And at Heinen’s, they actually credit you a few cents each time you use your own bags, so after a few visits to recoup the initial bag expense, you’re actually saving money. I also have a bag from Trader Joe’s which enters your name in a monthly raffle for free groceries every time you use it.

If you’re really cheap and don’t feel like shelling out a couple bucks to buy a reusable bag (hey, I’m famously cheap but even I bought some), some stores, such as our local Heinen’s, has a recycle bin at the store entrance where you can recycle your old bags. I’m not sure if all bags from all retailers are recyclable, but we save all of our bags at home and take them up there once a month. It’s very easy and doesn’t cost anything. I can only hope that other cities, such as Cleveland, will follow San Francisco’s lead and help push along global recycling efforts.

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Tax time

I used to look forward to tax time every year, and couldn’t wait to get all of my statements in the mail so that I could get my taxes done and wait for my big check from Uncle Sam. That was until I started investing more. Now, I tend to hold off until March, fearing that instead of receiving a check, I’ll be writing one. I figured that would be the case this year, but to my surprise, I’m actually getting a return. A whole whopping $55 from the Feds.

Unfortunately, I’ll be taking that return and adding a little extra to it to send to the gang down in Columbus, because I owe the state of Ohio. You win some, you lose some. I guess I should be happy though, because according to the financial “experts”, I came pretty darn close to “break even”, meaning that I didn’t give the government a big interest-free loan by letting them hold onto my big return for a year. I don’t imagine they were able to make much off my $55. Maybe someday, especially once I take on a mortgage, the government will get back into the habit of writing me those big checks like they do for a lot of other people.

My first police report

Today was a day of firsts for me as I filed my very first police report for menacing. It all started when I got home from work and the drunken seemingly unemployed asshole downstairs was rocking out like he enjoys doing from time to time (like on this occasion). I enjoy music, but not when someone else is playing it to the point where it shakes my floors. So we called the apartment maintenance department (for about the 6th or 7th time now) and they sent a guy out to tell him to turn it down, which he did. Seemingly a happy ending. But not quite.

About 10 seconds after maintenance guy leaves, drunken asshole starts pounding on his ceiling and yelling. It was hard to understand what he was yelling most of the time, but he remedied that by going outside and yelling at us through the porch screen door. Among the snippets I caught were him calling us “punks”, beckoning us to come downstairs so that he can “kick the fucking snot out of you”, and even going as far as to say he’d kill us, which was the pinnacle of his 30-minute temper tantrum, at which point we called up the police department, who were already on their way because the maintenance guy asked them to come out.

After that, there were no further problems, besides us being scared this psycho below us would live up to his word if he saw us. I’ve seen him before, and I know he’s seen me, but I’m not sure if he’s smart enough to put together whether or not I’m the guy that lives above him since there are three other apartments on the second floor. Either way, it’s not really something I look forward to finding out. So after a while, we decided to head out and go to the police station and file a report, so in case this psycho ever decides to actually do something, there will be a record of it happening before. In addition, we hope this gives us some ammunition in going to the apartment owners and having them evict this asshole, and if they refuse, give us grounds to possibly break our lease, which unfortunately runs through the end of the year, and find somewhere better to live. After filing 6 or 7 noise complaints with the apartment and now having a police report for menacing, I think that gives us more than a leg to stand on in court, if it were to come to that.

I Survived!

I am writing this to let all of my hundreds of concerned readers know that I am OK following yesterday’s earthquake here in Ohio. I was sitting at my kitchen table on my laptop with my headphones on, and then I heard a big bang and felt the floor shaking. I had assumed something big had fallen over in one of the bedrooms, or a nearby meth lab had finally blown up. It only lasted a few seconds, and I was left more confused than anything else. Some people in the building walked outside to look around, as I think no one knew exactly what had happened. I think the noise threw most people off of the idea that it might have been an earthquake. But 40 minutes later, one of the local news websites confirmed it was a minor 3.6 earthquake, with an epicenter just a little south of where I live. So apparently the meth supply of Northeast Ohio is safe, for now.