Monday, June 29, 2015

The Greatest Insult And A Turn To The Dark Side

Believe it or not, I do my homework before I write a post.  I gather the pictures I want for it.  I look into information relevant to my blog story.  This post was supposed to rather lighthearted and funny in a juvenile way.  However, as I was looking for information, I found something that took this story in a very different direction.  Let me start at the beginning.

This blog post was originally going to be about the greatest insult I ever directed at someone.  It was simply going to be called, "The Greatest Insult I Ever Hurled."  Frankly, it's about this kid that annoyed everyone.  He always had to try be the center of attention even though he was so damn uncool.  He acted tough, but would never throw a punch, even to defend himself.  I have, honestly, never met another person like this in my life.  Even the adults hated this kid. 

Here's a true story.  One adult had heard so much about this kid, that he specifically kept an eye on him when a group of us kids were together, just to see what the other adults and kids were talking about.  He told me that after watching him, he now understood what everyone meant.  Namely that this kid brought trouble upon himself.

Now, if you have noticed by now, I have not used his name or even a fake name.  There is a reason for that.  And you will find out why shortly.  I will just use the designation, "----" instead of his real name.  So here's what happened that lead to the greatest insult.

The year was 1992.  "----" thought he was great at everything.  Music, sports, whatever.  Since he was white, and thought he could rap, he was all about Vanilla Ice a few years previous.  Yes, this Vanilla Ice.

"----" was running his mouth again and said something incredibly stupid. 

Another kid, Mark, asked, "----" have you ever been cool in your life?"

That's when I said, "Oh yes, "----" was cool..... and then Vanilla Ice went out of style."

That's when everyone fell down in laughter for the next minute or two.  The truth is I'm not good at quick comebacks, but this kid made it too easy.  I had heard so much about Vanilla Ice from this kid, that it was like shooting fish in a barrel.  And that's why everyone else thought it was so funny.  They knew exactly what I was talking about.

But what happens to a kid like that?  What becomes of the greatest douche I have ever met?  Well, I looked him up and found that he's a registered sexual offender.  That's right.  He was found guilty of 4th degree felony sexual assault (incapacitated victim.)

I mean, he had a criminal record before that, and I knew about that stuff.  It was minor stuff like driving without a license, giving a false name to an officer, dealing in stolen property.  But he was also found guilty of stalking which is not so minor.  But in looking over all his arrests, it just seems like his behavior has escalated with each arrest.  And I have to wonder all the things he did that he wasn't caught for. 

In the end, I had a lot of mixed feeling on whether I should use his name, a fake name, or initials on this blog.  However, I don't feel like it's my place to play town crier though.  He is listed on the sexual offender website(s.)  So if someone is looking specifically for him, they will find him.  Or if he is in the neighborhood of someone, he will show up in the database.  Frankly, I don't need to add to his misery.  For his entire life he has done nothing but bring misery to himself.  Honestly, he has reaped what he has sewn.

Monday, June 22, 2015

Hood Problems: Part 3, Lost Drawers

This is the third part of my Hood Problems series.

Here is part 1:

Part 2:

When I get sent to apartment complexes to perform maintenance work, there is one thing that is more certain than death or taxes.  That is garbage.  Or more correctly, I would say litter.  Lots of litter thrown carelessly everywhere.  In the hood, I found a staggering amount of soda and alcohol bottles.  That's nothing new.

However, at each apartment complex I always find something odd.  I remember the first time I found an adult diaper half buried in a corner of a complex.  I have found a semi truck tire hanging near the dumpster one time.  However, the hood complex I was at had something that made me shake my head.  Drawers.  And not just one.  I found a surprising number of drawers underneath cars in the parking lots.

No, not those type of drawers.  Men's underwear.  However, since I blog on blogger, I am not allowed to post sexy images, so I have to post the closest thing I can.  But you get the idea.

This lead me to thinking, "Why are there so many drawers on the ground?  How can guys lose them at this kind of rate?"  Well, it may have something to do with how they wear their pants in the hood.

And before anyone says, "That's racist!," please know that every adult male I saw at that complex had his pants like that.  Every one except the probation officer who was there to check on one of his "clients."  He didn't wear his pants like that.  But every adult male who lived there did.

Of course, they could have been cast aside by Underpants Gnomes who realized there was no way they were going to make a profit off them.

But anyway, let me get back to being a bit serious for the story.  My day is boring.  Extremely boring.  Even my bosses know this, and let me listen to my I-pod all day.  So when something as weird as drawers hidden underneath cars shows up, it brings a bit of excitement to my day.  It just makes a great story to tell your co-workers during an otherwise boring day.  It also makes a somewhat good blog. 

Friday, June 19, 2015

Hood Problems: Part 2, Retaliation

Here is Part 1:

This past week I was assigned to perform maintenance duties at an apartment complex in the hood/ghetto.  Yesterday, I was told to get off the property, and just leave by my staffing supervisor.  This is what happened.

I started work on Tuesday at the Oakhurst Apartments in Tampa.  When I was picking up trash I saw a repairman replacing a window.  I later learned it had been shot out.  On Wednesday when I was running heavy equipment a shootout happened at the complex.

I'm not sure why there was beef, but this was the fourth time there were shots fired at the complex.  However, this time someone shot back at the car that drove by.  It seems that there were ongoing problems between the guy who lived there, and whoever kept driving by and shooting at him and/or the complex. 

Anyway, the security cameras around the apartment complex caught video of the guy shooting back at the car.  Needless to say, he ended up at the Hillsborough County Jail that day (Wednesday.)  That pissed off his homies, and they blamed the management and workers for "snitching" the shooter out. 

Now, myself and my fellow staffer Robert, had nothing to do with this.  We were both running heavy equipment at the time of the shooting, and never heard the shots.  However, in "The Hood," a prison mentality takes place, and it doesn't really matter if we had anything to do with it or not.  We were considered "snitches."  And in prison, snitches get stiches. 

On Wednesday night I sent a e-mail to my staffing supervisor a list of my concerns.  While I was out working on Thursday she called me and said that I could leave the property if I wanted, and she would back me up.  I told her I would stick it out the rest of the week.

However, in-between that phone call and the next time I talked to my co-staffer Robert, something serious happened.  A car pulled up with friends of the guy who was in jail, and they started smack talking and making threats.  They were going to get even with the people who snitched out their guy, and since Robert and I were the most visual workers there, we were first on their list. 

Robert got on the phone with our boss, and let her know what was going down.  He found me, and said we needed to go, now.  Just drop our stuff, don't worry about getting our paperwork signed.  Just get out.  Since Robert took the bus, I told him to just jump in my car, and I would drive him home.  And that's what we did.  Afterwards, I called my boss, and let her know that we were out of there, and that I drove Robert home, and we were both safe. 

I have to say, I am really impressed with my boss.  She knew she would take flak from those above and below her, as well as the apartment complex manager.  And I also have to give her credit as she said she was not going to send anyone else back there.  Period. 

It almost seems surreal to write this story out.  What we encountered showed a complete lack of respect for human life.  They get mad so they shoot at people, and even after the police are called, they still want to shoot at people who had nothing to do with their situation.  It's really beyond belief.  This incident was just the pickle on top of a crap sandwich that was working there.  There were so many irritating things that happened during those three days, I am just flabbergasted.  All I know is that, the next time I am offered an assignment, I am going to check the map a little closer before I accept it.  I don't want to end up in the middle of a war zone. 

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Hood Problems: Part 1, Strangers With Candy

I work as a maintenance man for a staffing company.  As such, I get sent to all sorts of properties across the Tampa Bay area.  I have been at upper class apartments, student housing, new, old, and all across the board types of properties.  However, this past week I went to the ghetto of ghetto apartments.  They were located in a bad, old section of town, and the entire place was Section 8 housing. 

Usually apartments will reserve part of the complex for Section 8 housing, so they can get some of that wonderful government money, but this was the first complex that I had been to that the entire place was Section 8 housing. 

On my second day I noticed a ton of children running around unattended.  After I thought about it, I remembered that school let out last week.  The problem I noticed is that all the kids were six years old and younger.  I saw a pack of four girls, all of them three years old and younger (yes, younger) running around the complex all day without any parents watching them.

I noticed a theme in that, if the kids could walk, they were left to go on their own with no supervision.  Frankly, I'm shocked by that.  I've seen pit bulls take better care of their young.

What really got me was something that I just had to write about.  Hence, the name of this particular blog.  This little girl came up to me and asked me if I knew where to get some chips.  This immediately flashed me back to my childhood where I learned about Stranger Danger and Strangers With Candy.

Not only was this hammered into my head by my teachers and parents as a kid.  We had McGruff the Crime Dog warning us in PSA's about Stranger Danger.

Now, my readers are of all sorts of ages, but even my older readers can remember some of the black and white PSA's warning of Strangers.  Schools and PSA's teaching about strangers goes back many, many decades.  So did this one just miss the boat, or is there just a "don't care" attitude that goes on there?

I wish I could have gotten ahold of her Mom, Grandmother, whoever, to let them know what happened.  But like I said, I never saw one parent watch or keep their kid in line. 

Let's be honest under worst case scenario, some stranger could have told that little girl (who may have been three or four years old) that he knew exactly where to get chips and to come with him.  And who knows if they would have ever found her body after that? 

I just feel that there's a lot of blame to go around.  But the way parents treated their kids around that place borders on neglect.  I just wonder if any of those kids will have a chance in life or will they be living in the same Section 8 housing when they are adults?

(That's not all that happened in my adventures in the Hood.  Stay tuned for Part 2.)

Monday, June 1, 2015

New Pedal Day: Biyang Flanger

This is my fourth review of a Biyang pedal.  So far, all of them have exceeded my expectations.  It's amazing that pedals that are so affordable not only match up with the higher priced BOSS pedals, but I think they are superior in quality and sound.

I wasn't sure if I should get a Flanger however.  I have had the same DOD Flanger for fifteen years.  I chose it because I could get the perfect sound for the solo in Lit's "Miserable."

The one thing about it though, is that, it is bright.  But that's okay because I like bright.  However, when my amp is set bright, and my pickups sound bright, well, adding a bright flanger to the mix is a bit of overkill.  The other problem is that, it was a one trick pony.  It could do that one song well, but not really any others.

However, for the price, I had to try the Biyang Flanger.

Again, it doesn't disappoint.  The one thing is does really well is adding a deep flange to metal songs.  If you've ever heard Dimebag Darrell play "This Love" off of Panteras' "Vulgar Display of Power," you can really hear his Flanger pedal cranked up.  This pedal does exactly that sound.

It can also sound exactly like the intro to "Come as you are by Nirvana."  It's a very deep flange without being muddy.  I also like how it's very versatile with the four controls.  So you can really play with the controls until you find something you like.  And you really do have to play with it quite a bit to dial in your particular sound.

So overall, the Biyang Flanger is a great pedal to add to your pedal-board.  Right now I think the BOSS Flanger is running about $99.  The Biyang is half of that, and sounds better.  So, if you are thinking about getting a Flanger, get a Biyang.  You'll be glad you did.