Tag Archives: junk

Lame Adventure 446: Radiator Cover Gift Giving

Now that my father is no longer walking the earth this holiday season, my family is reduced to its essence: my siblings, Dovima and Axel, brother-in-law Herb (with a silent h), and my college student niece, Sweet Pea. There are also the animals: Dovima’s dog, Thurber, Fred, her geriatric fish (he’s 9; a year older than Thurber), and Axel’s two cats: Blackie, the feral guard-cat at work, and Bandit, the pampered, at home. Seven of the eight rate holiday gifts from me.

Sorry, Fred, you're screwed.

Sorry, Fred, don’t look so glum, but you’re screwed.

I am famous for saying:

Me: If I can’t get it online, you’re not going to get it from me.

I like fast. I like simple. If I must go to a store, as I did for my sister and Herb’s presents, I go at off hours when I know the crowds will be just the way I like them: anemic. After I exited The Grind on Friday, I blew into a store, found exactly what I wanted to get my sister and brother-in-law, paid, and was back out on the street in six minutes flat Toyota jumping for joy. Almost immediately, I suffered a flash of five alarm fire, heart attack-inducing panic. That was because I brilliantly left their gifts in a convenience store aisle when I absently put the bag down to pick up an eight pack of pocket tissues. Then, I walked away. I made it back to get their presents before the four second window of retrieval granted to preoccupied stumblebums had slammed shut.

On Saturday, I shipped my gifts to my sister’s house on the West Coast. I’ll wrap them during my upcoming visit. The gifts that I’ve ordered online are being shipped directly to her; how I’ve been sending my gifts for years.

Now that Trader Joe’s Brandy Bean season is over, and with necessity being the mother of invention, I rewarded my gift giving accomplishment with a bottle of port and a chocolate bar.

Happy holidays to me!

Happy holidays to me!

As I was entering my building with my treats, I noticed a tire pump outside the door.

Home is where the tire pump is.

Home is where the tire pump is.

I thought:

Me (thinking): My building: the gift that never stops giving.

Once again some nameless tenant, possibly the one who places the cardboard pizza boxes in the recycling can meant for plastic and glass, left this hand me down up for grabs.

Does this person also wear their shoes on the wrong feet?

Does this person also wear their shoes on the wrong feet?

If I were inclined to be Tightwad Incarnate to those near and dear, based on what tenants have left on my building’s radiator cover through the years, there are many offerings I could have given.  I occasionally photograph them. Pictured below is a selection. Often, there are books and magazines. Sometimes, appliances, including computer hardware. Once, a glove I lost was left there and once, I placed a glove I found on there. Hey, pay the good deed forward. With great regret, I did not photograph the samurai sword someone left in the trash a few years back, but that artifact from feudal Japan, or more likely, China via a Canal Street junk store, was not gracing the radiator cover.

This is the radiator cover as it is seldom seen: naked.

This is the radiator cover as it is seldom seen: naked.

Here it is with a trinity of plastic what the hells possibly produced by Acme.

Here it is with a trinity of plastic What The Hells possibly produced by Acme.

Acme what the hells.

Acme What The Hells. But anyone’s for the taking.

Currently, there's a soup pot someone no longer wants.

Currently, there’s a soup pot up for adoption.

And a calendar with both November and maybe December!

And a calendar with both November and maybe December!

In September 2012 there was an empty binder and card stock.

In September 2012 there was an empty binder and card stock.

A month later, there was the ceramic blob.

A month later, there was this glazed ceramic blob.

One summer there was The Mystery Box. It sat around for about a week screaming volumes about the lack of curiosity.

One summer there was The Mystery Box. It sat around for about a week screaming volumes about the lack of curiosity amongst the tenants.

These magazine paper wrapped boxes sat in the vestibule for several days last spring.

Magazine paper wrapped boxes that sat in the vestibule last spring. A few were taken by some schmuck or schmuck-ette addicted to clutter.

The annual Christmas tree that makes my friend Milton's heart melt as if it's a puppy. But I don't think it's up for grabs.

The annual Christmas tree that makes my friend Milton’s heart melt as if it’s a puppy. But I think taking it is theft.

Lame Adventure 359: The Idiot’s Response to Winter Storm Nemo

As many already know the Northeast was ruthlessly pummeled by an ugly winter storm with the adorable name, Nemo.

The facts of Nemo (chart from The New York Times).

The facts of Nemo (chart from The New York Times).

I woke Saturday morning, looked outside my Upper West Side brownstone’s window, and saw that the back yard was inundated with snow for the first time in almost two years. A tree that I had never seen before in my life was hanging on a fence.

Look closely, some romantic drew a heart in the snow on a table.

Look closely, some romantic drew a heart in the snow on the table at the bottom of this image.

I mentioned this mystery tree in an email exchange with my devoted reader, Mike G. He suggested:

Mike G. email: Tree may have come from Long Island. It was very windy.

Me email: Yeah, I was thinking Jersey.

Mike G. email: Wind was coming from ocean. Definitely Nassau County.

With the fallen mystery tree situation solved I decided to venture outside to assess the snowfall up close and personally. Unlike other areas along the Eastern seaboard, New York City escaped the storm with a mere dusting. Only 11.4 inches of snow were measured in Central Park, not what had accumulated overnight in the two abandoned shopping carts from my go-to market, Fairway.

The Lame Adventure method of measuring snowfall in Manhattan.

The Lame Adventure method of measuring snowfall in Manhattan.

As expected, life was relatively normal in my neighborhood, as normal as can be under a blanket of heavy snow.  Sidewalks were shoveled and West End Avenue was plowed.  There were also the obvious signs that dogs were being walked.

No one eat that.

No one eat that.

Children were sledding in Riverside Park.

Good time to be a kid with a sled.

Good time to be a kid with a sled.

The sky was clear and vibrant blue.

Good time to be the sky.

Good time to be the sky.

There were also some sorry sights including bikes buried deeply, piles of uncollected trash and vehicles that were plowed in.

At least the seat will be dry.

At least the seat will be dry.

Frozen bagged trash waiting for collection.

Frozen bagged trash waiting for collection.

Vehicles on West End Avenue manageably plowed in.

Vehicles on West End Avenue plowed in to a manageable degree.

Digging out this vehicle on a side street might induce a heart attack.

Digging out this vehicle on a side street might induce a heart attack.

It is unclear when the sanitation department will surface to pick up the piles of trash that were put out for collection Friday in anticipation of the regularly scheduled Saturday morning pick-up. A pick-up that has yet to happen. I can understand why trash is put outside on Friday even though the forecast anticipated this monumental weather event and it was the top story on every newscast, major and minor. There are times when the forecast is wrong, or the Armageddon-type weather event turns out to be flaccid. This robust storm’s forecast was one that the meteorologists nailed. Now, my neighborhood’s streets are strewn with mountains of frozen garbage buried deep in snow.

Partially buried trash for recycling.

Partially buried trash for recycling.

Buried frozen bags of trash are not such an unusual sight in winter, but what I find irksome is the sight of fresh garbage the neighborhood knuckleheads toss over the frozen garbage creating further clutter on city sidewalks.

"Get this mattress out of my sight now!"

“I don’t care that it snowed almost a foot! I want this mattress out of the house now!”

We just had an epic snowstorm that dumped nearly a foot of snow on the city. Is it really necessary to respond to it with taking out the esoteric junk lying around the apartment right now, this very minute?  The esoteric junk owners likely had this stuff for years already.

"Put this table out when the neighbor's aren't looking."

“Put this table out when the neighbor’s aren’t looking.”

What’s so traumatic about keeping it inside and out of sight another few days, or at least until trash collection returns to regularly scheduled programming? I’m all for de-cluttering, but I’m also capable of resisting the urge to hold off on doing my spring-cleaning until spring, or even holding off doing it until spring 2014. What’s the rush? Clearing out the clutter the morning after a major winter weather event strikes me as just Type A, for asshole.

"Hey look, I found Granny's old wheelchair! Put it outside or what?"

“Hey look, I found Granny’s old wheelchair! Put it outside or what?”

Lame Adventure 334: Lost and Found

Losing stuff is a daily occurrence in New York City and this is not just in reference to the propensity of subway riders losing their tempers in this congested metropolis.

An outraged response to MTA cheery self-promotion.

New Yorkers lose their cats.

Anyone seen Chester? Did you look under the sink?

New Yorkers lose their socks.

Sock Monster by the kids at PS 9. (Nice to know where the tubes I lost in the 80s went.)

Sometimes I draw the short straw and I’m the loser on the subway.  Once on my way home from The Grind, I did not lose my temper, but I did lose my umbrella.  This happened while I was sprinting across the 14th Street subway platform to transfer from a local train to the uptown express.  While doing my anemic Usain Bolt impersonation, I unwittingly dropped my umbrella, but speedy me did manage to hop onto that express train just before the doors shut.  The reward for my victory was reaching my stop three minutes and seven seconds faster and arriving home a helluva wetter.

Recently I thought I had lost a book, but fortunately, my pet puppet goat, Bill E. had it.

“I’m on page 103.”

Last week, I sliced my right index finger.  I have no idea how this injury occurred, but I realized that I have now lost my chance to seriously pursue a mid-life crappy-hand modeling career.

“Let me see.”

More often, I’m the one that finds another’s loss lying in the street. Sometimes someone’s loss is my gain, such as when I found a dollar entering the 72nd Street subway station.

It pays to ride the subway.

I applied it toward my replacement umbrella.

Just this week I noticed a tie, a pair of gloves, and a potato.

Tie.

Gloves (flattened by cars).

Spud.

I am sure the rightful owners wondered:

Rightful owner:  Gee, what happened to my [tie, gloves, potato]?

Then, there is stuff that someone no longer wants so they purposely leave it out in an act of passive aggressive charity.

One of a kind combo — microwave in chair.

Recently, I saw a sofa complete with detachable feet, a pair of men’s boots (people in New York are big fans of leaving shoes out), and some mats that I first thought might be for yoga, but upon closer inspection I ascertained better suitability to absorb car grease, or possibly candidacy for residence in a landfill.

Sofa with feet detached.

Leather boots going elf-toe route.

Mats. Next stop can to frame left.

I kept a close eye on the sofa.  First the detachable feet went missing, then the entire sofa itself.  I suppose what is one person’s trash is another person’s treasure, especially if you’re someone that treasures bed bugs.

I agree.

Considering the recent epidemics of these pests in Gotham City, I steer clear of street swag.

There are also some distinct intentional dumps of stuff, stuff that the former owners have decided must go so they just toss it in the street willy-nilly to sound as irritating as former Secretary of Irritation in the Shrub Administration, Donald Rumsfeld.  In this case I have seen chair casters and last year, a movie-style popcorn popper filled with greasy unpopped corn kernels.  It was as if this machine got ditched in mid-use possibly because the original owner has severe A.D.D. or was just a typical Type A orifice – no, not thinking the ear canal.

“I feel detached.”

Degrading departure.

Another New York City specialty is wild trash.  Wild trash is trash that is not in a bag that’s deposited in a trash can awaiting pick-up. This is untamed garbage at its most feral. Newspaper is a popular breed of this type of refuse.  If sidewalks could read, New York’s would be the most literate in the country.

Public health announcement courtesy of the pavement.

Although this has yet to make the evening news, urban wildlife out here is suffering an obesity epidemic.  Who wants to peck at dry seed out of a feeder when the pizza is so abundant in the street?  That would really be bird-brained.

Pizza party!

Notice how both the pigeons and the sparrows completely ignored the pencil — not a writer in the flock.

Finally, there’s what I call the hit and miss style of dealing with wild trash.

Side by side.

NASA can fly a vehicle to Mars but we’ve yet to equip a banana peel with a spring mechanism allowing it to bounce off the eater’s head into the trash can.  Now that would be progress.

Lame Adventure 294: Trees and Trash

New York City takes countless punches for being too expensive, too crowded, too loud, too rude, too dirty, too etc., etc., but as I was recently strolling in my Upper West Side neighborhood at magic hour and I saw this majestic Dogwood Tree in full bloom in front of me I thought:

Me (thinking):  This is why I love my city!  It is the best!

The kind of tree I'd want to date and bring home to my family -- if their homes had higher ceilings.

Then, I just happened to turn away from this gorgeous blast of nature in the heart of Gotham when I got smacked upside the head by a tree behind me that was blooming in its own Big Apple snarky-style way.  A way that played into the typically negative New York City stereotype.

The fugly rude tree.

The casual observer might look at this image and think:

Casual Observer (thinking):  Are you smoking crack?  There’s nothing blooming on that tree!

I say:

Me: Take a closer look.

Are those barren branches decorated with trash?

Do you see? Here, take an even closer look.

An original way to pursue ad space: hang your ad off these branches?

Yes, this tree’s branches are blooming with trash bags.  One with the message, “Thank you,” and the other is from my go-to grocery store, Fairway.  Why these bags are hanging from these branches is a mystery to me.  Considering that the population of Manhattan Island is 1,585,873 (2011 data) and there are 69,467.5 persons per square mile, odds are good that on a land mass so dense with humanity, undoubtedly including many slobs, the naked eye is going to see a lot of crazy stuff – including shopping bags that somehow end up tangled in tree branches.

Possibly an exuberant sanitation worker overshot his garbage truck twice and these bags got caught in the branches or maybe a pigeon ate a steroid and dropped these bags to show off?  Does anyone else have an opinion about how they got there?  I suspect these shopping bags are going to be hanging around throughout spring and well into summer.  That’s okay with me. When I need to avoid ogling suspended litter, I’ll just focus west on that  Dogwood Tree — until it sets off my allergies, makes me sneeze my head off and I revise my thinking about how wonderful it is.

Lame Adventure 278: New York Hospitality

This weekend, my buddy, Coco, celebrated her birthday, a relatively innocuous one since this year’s ended in a three, not a digit from the trinity of dread — zero, five or nine.  We settled on a plan to meet at 6:30 at an Italian restaurant we frequent in Greenwich Village. This gave me time to run a quick errand before hooking up with my pal.

When I returned to my sanctum sanctorum to pick up Coco’s birthday gift* and head downtown, I noticed that The Trash Phantom had visited my building while I was out.  The Trash Phantom is That Wily One that leaves  junk prominently displayed within close proximity of the trashcans without putting said junk actually inside the trashcans.  The Trash Phantom must deem this junk as having value to some schnook passing by in this neighborhood, where the average resident earns $80k.  I do not earn anywhere near $80k, but I also have standards and an immense fear of athlete’s foot. Therefore, this pair of purple plaid rain boots from The Eyesore Collection stuffed with an umbrella near my building’s trashcans had zero appeal to me.

Eyesore Collection Rain Boots. Look for them in the finest neighborhoods on Manhattan's Upper West Side.

Considering the massive bedbug scare that plagued Gotham City in 2010, I’m very skittish about most junk I see on the street.  Yet, I suppose if it was a pillowcase stuffed with gold doubloon, my skittishness would instantly evaporate and I could easily access my inner pirate.

Regular readers of Lame Adventures, all three of you, may also recall that The Trash Phantoms have left outside my Casa de la Shangri-La fedoras, office furniture, and my personal favorite, an odd looking stuffed fish that reminded me of a tennis ball, possibly because when it was put out for grabs the timing coincided with the US Open tennis tournament and I had tennis on the brain.

Back by no demand, odd looking stuffed fish that reminded me of a tennis ball.

As usual, I wondered about the mentality of someone that would leave a pair of rain boots and an umbrella out for the taking.  Did this person think they were being altruistic, were they ambivalent about chucking rain boots that they knew were still in decent or possibly never worn condition, or were they someone with such advanced attention deficit disorder, they were distracted by a low flying sparrow, and completely blanked on their intended task, dumping the rain boots in the trash?

A few years ago a Trash Phantom left a vacuum cleaner out on West End Avenue.

Adopt-a-vacuum-cleaner.

They attached this note that I thought was responsible.

Sincere sounding adopt-a-vacuum-cleaner note.

Possibly The Trash Phantom of the Rain Boots could have done something similar:

Umbrella – like new.  Rain boots. Woman’s size [whatever].  Never Worn.  Have strong purple plaid aversion.  Please rescue.

*Coco’s practical birthday gift from me — a harmonica and a Mars candy bar – obvious useful objects my fashionista cohort would never think to give herself.

Perfect for the woman that loves Chanel.