neighborhoods

Quarantine diaries: Week 7

Day 43: Today is Monday, and I wasn’t going to write anything today as there’s nothing going on today. The construction is moving along nicely next door. The buildings are framed, and the crews finished work around 2pm. This meant I was able to work on some longstanding photography projects and reward myself with a pizza. The only thing I didn’t do was reach the Leasing Office as their phone number didn’t seem to be working, and they didn’t immediately respond to email.

Meanwhile, the major story over the weekend was President Trump “sarcastically” telling reporters to ingest disinfectant to cure the virus. I was going to post a reaction… but I just couldn’t. Not because of politics, but because both the Autism Moms™ and the anti-vaxxers (along with other purveyors of quackery) had apparently hailed him as their new savior. I get their desperation, but I simply can’t wrap my head around that level of malicious stupidity. I just can’t.

Day 44: Tuesday, and I was woken up by the riding mower rather than the still present heavy machinery. On the plus side, the landscaping team and construction crew kinda drowned each other out at times. Fortunately, they were both gone by 3pm, so I could start working on this and other blog posts.

Also this morning, the Orange County Economic Recovery Task Force (OCERT) had a meeting presenting a number of initial guidelines for the reopening of theme parks – which they said could be as early as July (some possibly earlier depending on their size), and while the details have not been fully ironed out yet, this is still a promising start.

Day 45: I had a dream this morning that I was woken up by my alarm, but that’s silly. I was woken up for real when my landline in the other room started ringing. It was a wrong number… but it was still 20 minutes after my alarm was slated to go off, so that’s progress.

Unfortunately, our state and local government is NOT making the opposite of “progress.” Not only is Gov. Desantis announcing that he’s “reopening” the state on Monday morning, but OCERT’s latest meeting basically punted all reopening decisions to the individual parks. Meanwhile, the White House is doing nothing yet still somehow managing to embarrass themselves doing it. Am I surprised by this? No, but I’ll probably be extremely disappointed come November…

Day 46: It rained almost all morning, so work next door didn’t start until after 10am then stopped for lunch at 11am. On the plus side, the building is largely framed (still no discernible roof) and the grounds around it are starting to look like they could become a parking lot at some point.

Desantis is moving forward with his plan to “reopen” retail and restaurant businesses within the state (except Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties). This is good news for ICON Park and Disney Springs, but the plan makes no mention of when gyms, movie theaters and theme parks could reopen.

So, if the state does (partially) reopen, then we’re no longer “quarantined!” That means I can finally close this document and leave the apartment and do stuff… like, um, I don’t know. Maybe, I’ll go back to bed…

 

Categories: apartment hunting, Baltimore, Canton, Coronavirus, florida, Health, neighborhoods, Orlando, politics, Williamsburg | Leave a comment

Quarantine diaries: Week 6

Day 36: Today is Monday. Not that it makes a huge difference, but it is.

There is no real news to speak of on my end. Yeah, some protesters are making asses of themselves in public and some governors are bloviating about “reopening their economies,” but while the first is simply ignorance, the second is pure partisan pandering designed solely to score political points.

Who cares if a few thousand more people lose their lives, there is money to be made! They’ll get people killed, and they don’t care. More importantly, they’ll get their base killed, and they don’t care. They. Don’t. Care. Period.

Day 37: It was a relatively quiet morning. I’m guessing they are finished (or mostly finished) with the heavy machinery next door. They’re still working, but mostly with quieter tools. Unfortunately, a riding mower is still a riding mower, but they appear to be saving the hedge trimmers and weed whackers for tomorrow. Thank goodness for small favors.

Day 38: Not quite as quiet out there today, but there is no news on my end. Sure, some beaches are open (with restrictions) and some states are planning on letting some businesses reopen… but “analysts” say that Walt Disney World may not reopen until sometime next year.

IF that’s true (and it’s a huge “if”), I may have to close up my Disney blog a bit early then, which is a shame since I probably won’t be able to move before 2021 even if I wanted to (and I do). I continue finding new properties to pine over online ($190k “fixer” in East Baltimore which sounds too high… but it is waterfront in a desirable neighborhood – oh, and everything else in that building is $400k or higher), but my chances of actually being able to move into them are extremely slim.

Day 39: Yep, another quiet day noise wise… heavy vibrations, but relatively light on noise. I may have to add another day just to fill this post out. I’m kidding, I’m far too lazy to do that.

I saw an article on MSN about “stay-at-home” jobs yesterday, and I was going to do a post about it… but, since the story has been online for three days, they probably don’t need my feedback on it. Besides, it gives me a chance to work on other projects (like laundry), secret projects (it’s not a secret if I tell you what they are), and, possibly, other important tasks that even I’m not aware of… or I’ll just take a nap once the noise dies down.

I can come up with post ideas tomorrow…

 

Update: They posted a shorter version of their “stay-at-home jobs” list (from 27 down to 20) after I posted this with a reworded headline (and a few substitutions). Oddly enough, the original story is still up right next to it. (4/24/20)

Categories: apartment hunting, Baltimore, Canton, Coronavirus, florida, Health, holidays, neighborhoods, Orlando, Williamsburg | Leave a comment

Photos: Walking in Baltimore

Categories: adventures, apartment hunting, Baltimore, Fells Point, Inner Harbor, neighborhoods | Leave a comment

Unsuccessful apartment hunting

As you can tell from the headline, I spent my one and only day in Baltimore apartment hunting. I visited several places with all sorts of rude and borderline ableist treatment, but for the sake of space, I’ll only focus on one.

It was a nice-looking building on the north end of Fell’s Point with nice freshly painted mural on its side. The neighborhood was clearly deteriorating and there was a lock an electronic lock on the door, but no number on the keypad for the leasing office. However, I did call the number on their huge sign, and was asked

“Um, noo, you need an appointment to see our units.”

“I have one.”

“Are you suuure you have an appointment? Because I have my calendar app open and it doesn’t show an appointment for a tour today.”

I couldn’t say this on the phone with her, but that question REALLY irritated me. “Hey, crazy, could you bother someone else? I’ve got more important things to do.

She then whines about having to do this, grills me on “exactly” who I spoke to and when… and then sighs exasperated, reluctantly agreeing to meet me in “half an hour.”

Nearly an hour later, she finally shows up all smiles as if nothing was wrong (I get she probably was busy, but that kind of tardiness just smacks of disrespect), but that’s not even the worst part. She puts the code in, tells me to wait in the lobby and brings out her colleague – who was presumably in the office the whole fucking time.

She literally could have called him at any time in the past hour and asked HIM to do the tour, but, no, she pulls him out as a “bodyguard” (a phenomenon I’m sadly used to) against the crazy no-appointment lady with the beard who THINKS she has an appointment but clearly doesn’t. In other words, my smiling, friendly guide has been forced into dealing with a total wack job!

In truth, I was actually going to leave at the 45-minute mark. As finding people to “take over” my last lease taught me (coincidentally also in Baltimore), people who don’t show up for apartment tours within 15 minutes of their appointed time generally didn’t show up at all. However, I got an important message on my phone, and I decided to answer it and when I was done the agent was standing behind me.

As I said above, it’s a nice-looking building with lots of curb appeal with small, cheaply furnished model that was far pricier than the size, furnishings, or deteriorating neighborhood suggested. Fortunately, the bodyguard agent was quick to point out was already being held “for a friend of the owner” (how convenient).

However, tellingly enough, neither of them gave me the standard Resident Information Form either before or after our tour with no mention of being put on their “wait list” – even if it was just as a courtesy. They did seem unusually happy to see me leave though, and (despite wasting an hour waiting for them) I was equally happy to be out of there in less then ten minutes

 

Categories: Ablism, adventures, apartment hunting, Autism, Baltimore, Fells Point, neighborhoods | 1 Comment

Things I miss about Baltimore

Obviously, my recent trip back to Baltimore for the Maryland Film Festival didn’t go as well as I had hoped. It did remind me of some of the reasons I left Charm City so in that regard it wasn’t a total loss. However, for the sake of fairness, I’ve decided to compile a brief list of some of the things I miss about Baltimore.

 

  • Walkability – I could walk from my apartment in Bolton Hill to movies/theatre in Station North or restaurants on Charles Street. Not to mention coffee shops at both ends of UB and Light Rail/Circulator to downtown/1st Mariner Arena – sorry, “Royal Farms Arena” – and a quick walk to Metro Subway to get to the zoo.
  • Landmark Harbor East – Okay, so it was super expensive (like everything else in the neighborhood) and a pain to get to from Bolton Hill, but it was newer, cleaner and in far better condition than The Charles – plus they had a wider variety of indie/mainstream films (Orlando theaters only show mainstream movies).
  • Station North – Sure the already sketchy area has lost some of its artistic cache when two of its biggest draws – Everyman and Single Carrot theatres – moved out (the former to downtown and the latter to Remington), but this area is constantly growing and changing from the Maryland Film Festival to Annex’s “Chicken Box” to the upcoming Motor House theatre complex and the energy that comes from having both MICA and the Baltimore School of Design as neighborhood anchors.
  • Inner Harbor – Dining at Harborplace, coffee at the Barnes & Noble and movies at the Science Center – all without the crowds usually associated with downtown tourist traps. Okay, the National Aquarium is usually crazy but otherwise it’s pretty quiet…except immediately after an Orioles game.
  • Entertainment/Events – Pick a weekend and there is bound to be SOMETHING going on there somewhere – from daytime events SoWeBo Arts Festival and Olde Tyme Christmas to nighttime entertainment like “Final Fridays” and “Constellation Thursdays.” It was my JOB to cover them – all of them…which was why I had no life.
  • Connectivity – Like the first point on this list, Baltimore is easily assessable to other cities on the East Coast like D.C, NYC and Philadelphia via its convenient downtown Amtrak station. Going beyond the Eastern Seaboard? The city’s Light Rail line connects directly with BWI airport making getting into and out of the city a snap.
Categories: Baltimore, Bolton Hill, editorials, Inner Harbor, ramblings, Station North, writing | Leave a comment

Film Fest 2015: Friday (Part 2)

I got to the light rail stop on Baltimore Street around 4pm and when I got to the ticket vending machine I could hear an old black man singing Bob Marley slightly off key to himself coming up from my south. As I’m putting my money into the machine I can literally feel him breathing on my neck.

“Do you mind? I’m trying to do something here.”

“Ain’t no-one gettin’ yo way, I just here to collect my change from dat ‘chine chu at.”

“Could you at least find somewhere else to stand?”

“Wha day hell wrong wit chu, boy?”

Perfect, now I have to explain a disease I was never officially diagnosed with to someone who more than likely only “asked” that as an insult. I collect my ticket AND my change (since I had to get back somehow) from the tray and crossed over to the northbound track as my “friend” ranted on.

“Bah,” he said waving his hand dismissively as he continued up the street. “Nah wooomah nooo cryyyyy.”

The train arrives. I get off at Mt Royal and head into the Barnes & Noble where I accidently insulted the barista working there while trying to make small talk. I try to come up with a way to apologize and/or explain when the manager appears, and asks what I want to drink. When I tell her, she cuts me off with a giant smirk saying:

“Decaf? Oh darn, we are compleeeetely out of decaffeinated beans. Looks like you’ll have to go SOMEWHERE ELSE for your beverage! Sorry about that, have a nice day.”

“Yes, I will,” I said ignoring her retaliatory display.

We BOTH knew there is no such thing as “decaffeinated beans,” but I might as well let her think she “won.”

Besides, my film was in 20 minutes, I could just head to the venue and find a seat…which was a pretty good idea as said screening was nearly sold out (something I take partial credit for). Fortunately, it was only an hour long and I found myself in the shortest Chipotle line I’d ever encountered in Baltimore.

With that formality out of the way, it was time to get back (yes, the room was turned this time) and hammer out my thoughts on my second film and rewrite the review from this morning. This was going to be a long night…

Categories: adventures, Baltimore, Bolton Hill, festivals, Inner Harbor, light rail, movies, writing | Leave a comment

Film Fest 2015: Friday (Part 1)

Note: I missed the first full day of the Maryland Film Festival due to a delayed flight. I was supposed to see my first show at 7:15 that evening, but I didn’t land at BWI until 9:45pm so my coverage is a tad abbreviated – particularly since it was cheaper to leave on Sunday (actual last day of the festival) rather than Monday.

 

I found the tent village at 10:05am after dealing with a disappointing breakfast in the hotel restaurant and a particularly demanding – and entitled – homeless woman at the Circulator stop on Fayette St. If I had time, I would have stopped at the McDonald’s next to the village and gotten a REAL breakfast, but I was there to get tickets not to eat.

Tickets prices have gone up since my last visit from $10 up to $12, but there was a “3 for $30” promotion that I didn’t notice until after I already purchased my FOUR tickets. Though I will say the volunteer at the festival tent was friendly even if I had to explain to her the times and venues to her so she could explain them back to me. How do I keep getting into these stupid sitcom-like situations anyway?

I arrived at the Walters Art Museum about a half hour before my first movie was set to start and took 15 minutes to write down everything that happened to me today before putting away my notebook and heading inside to the auditorium…just to find the film would be “delayed” (not the word I wanted to hear) due to “minor technical difficulties.”

The program, started about 10 minutes behind schedule, but since there was no “host” the film started immediately. I won’t get into my thoughts on the film here, but I fell asleep twice during its 104 minute runtime.

I walked down Charles St towards the Inner Harbor looking for someplace to have a nice lunch. I didn’t want fast food or a food truck, but an actual sit down meal so I was disappointed when the time on the check from Pizzeria Uno was only “1:37pm” – I still had nearly three hours until my next movie!

I took the Circulator back to the hotel, but the room wasn’t turned yet. I considered going down to the pool while waiting for housekeeping for come by, but it was too cloudy/breezy to swim so I stayed put and struggled through my first review until it was time to leave for my second screening.

Categories: adventures, Baltimore, Charm CityCirculator, festivals, Inner Harbor, light rail, movies, Station North, writing | Leave a comment

Photos: Star Spangled Spectacular

These are some photos from the Inner Harbor portion of the event. I didn’t have time to visit the Ft McHenry or Martin State (that was the one I really wanted to go to). If you have pictures from either of these events, please feel free to send them to me (note: I need at least six to justify a post).

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Categories: Baltimore, Inner Harbor, photography | Leave a comment

Artscape (misc photos)

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Categories: art, Artscape, Baltimore, Bolton Hill, festivals, photography, Station North | Leave a comment

Artscape (Saturday afternoon)

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Categories: art, Artscape, Baltimore, Bolton Hill, festivals, photography, Station North | Leave a comment

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