Saturday, September 21, 2013

Thinking about it further.......

I think that young man was simply telling me what he figured I'd believe.  Telling me what I wanted to hear perhaps.  He didn't have any compelling reason to do that.  No reason I can see really.  I sure wish people would always be 100% candid.

We talked about that, remember? And the long walk across campus.

Last year I made a rather innocent decision that turned out to be the prelude to a period of personal disaster.  My life has changed more in the last 18 months than it had in the previous 18 years, and perhaps it would have changed that drastically if I'd done something different, but where would I have wound up?  Good question.

Summer of last year, I met this fellow who told he he couch surfed.  I ran into him yesterday, and it would seem he still does.  I didn't recall him well enough to be know who he was until someone called him by name.  He has a distinctive name, we talked.  He recalled different things from a long walk across campus than I did.  He asked me where the tulip trees are.  Off the top of my head, south side of Bascom hill, within 100 yards of the top, and after thinking about it, that is precisely where they are.  His memories of last years conversation, which lasted over an hour, were much more detailed than mine.  Is that a result of his youth?  The easiest way to find the tulip trees, after more thought, is not to look for the leaves, but to look for those smooth straight trunks with no branches and silver bark.  There are 3 of those trees planted in a row below the math building.

My conversation of yesterday with this fellow included him making the remark, "We talked about that, remember?", a number of times.  It's real hard to remember much of that conversation he never followed up on, when the follow up on my side worked out so poorly.  He is focused on doing something for somebody else and getting paid for it.  I was an am more focused on trying to do something where I work for me.  Writing is about the only prospect I have left in that direction.  He's young, and people like to by the labor of young people.  When I was his age I sold my labor in the same fashion.   Only now, I realize I could have gotten a lot more back then.

I found out who Wolfgang was.  He's a guy I knew from cab driving, and never knew he was a co-op type.  So, to the person who asked me if I knew him, yes I did.  I'd know him on sight probably, and if I ran into him we'd greet each other like old friends, ask how life was going, and move on in the direction we'd been going in before we bumped into each other.

The co-op continues to look different, as it empties out.  Most of it's contents are going into the drop box on the south side of the house (trash bin), and a huge amount is going into box's being staged to be put into storage into a roll off trailer body that will be put next to the building where the drop box is now.  I found out that the plan for the building is not known and there are a few proposals.  It will take a month's worth of meetings after the building is given over to the smoke and water abatement contractor for a final decision to be made.  Why a month's worth of meetings?  Well, maybe not a month, maybe 2 months.  That will mean that sometime in November or December they can begin contracting the job.  If the contractor is super fast and the job only takes a month, that would mean the house is out of business until Winter Semester of 2014.

Could the contractor fix the house in a month that time of year?  Unlikely.  The house is on a downward slope that is 20 or 30 yards long, in a real tight neighborhood.  Try to get a truck down that slope with materials in the winter?  If it's snowed or rained, or the neighbors are doing anything to block the way, it's going to be a real logistic headache.  I'd figure in an extra 6 weeks into any contract for that kind of headache during November and December, and January and February are nightmarish.  It's suddenly looking like Summer of 2014 is the earliest it could be finished.  Sigh.....

Thursday, September 19, 2013

I spent part of today packing up a house library

Many non residents went to Loth and helped today.  It would seem that's been happening for a week.  It was a good thing to do, even if all I did was mostly put books into box's.

Somebody asked me if I knew any people from the old days, and on Loth's facebook page is a comment by a girl named Alice Ogden-Nussbaum.  Her dad's name is Mitch, he lived in Loth in 1979, as did her mother, Genie.  I have not seen them since then, but I remember them being people who cared about the well being of the house.

The house has a huge collection of books, many of them being books that were simply left there when their previous owner's moved away.  Now I know why people get degree's in Library Science, a serious librarian would probably cull a lot of those books.  All those books have to go into box's and into storage while the house is rehabilitated.

There are a few things I can help them move, will help them move, and a couple of moving tools I own that will be very handy for doing it.  Experience really helps when moving a piano, and I've moved a number of them.

This fellow who was breaking up discarded furniture in the drop box outside borrowed my sledge hammer for a little while, and he broke it.  I told him how to put a new handle into it, but I will fix it myself.  If he gives me a new handle for it tomorrow, I'll use it, but I expect to buy one myself.  Fascinating fellow, he's a writer, he could teach me so much.  Many of the members are really interesting folks.  I wonder if they realize what an extraordinary group they are?  Probably not.  When I lived in Bag End none of us thought we were anything special, either individually, or as a group.  If I'm exceptionally fortunate, they'll let me share their company for a couple of years. 

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

How long does such an investigation take?

The very first place I ever lived in Madison, is a place on Lake Mendota about 3 blocks from the Memorial Union.  It caught fire recently.  In order for the insurance company to proceed with fixing the damage, the fire department has to finish their investigation into the cause.  There are many things in life I've never cared about, such an investigation is on that list.  Since I'd like to live there again, all of a sudden it's interesting.  So far, as of mid day today, no public announcement.

My interest in this place started a couple of weeks ago.  For some odd reason, a thought flashed through my mind, I wonder if I could get into Loth?  So, I drove over to the neighborhood, parked, and rang the doorbell.  This kid came to the door and took me to the kitchen where I met about 4 people who said come to dinner on Thursday, so I did, and that started the process of coming to a total of 3 dinners.  After the 3 dinners they have a house meeting, and decide if somebody can live there or not.  I was all set to attend the 3rd dinner and got an email from the house saying they'd had a fire and to get back to them in 3 to 6 months.

The more I've thought of it, in spite of the changes I'd have to make to my life, the more attractive the idea of living there has become.  And the more attractive living within a few blocks of campus has become.  I'd REALLY love to walk down to the Union with this laptop in a bag, sit at a table in the 2nd floor reading room, plug it in, and write. 

What was Loth like when I lived there before?

There were a couple of Iranian's who lived there, a brother and sister.  They came from a privileged family, part of the Shah of Iran's aristocracy.  These days if you said Shah of Iran, most people would say, WHO?  Back then, there was this guy called the Shah who pretty much ran Iran, he was buddies with the American military, and the middle east was a fairly quiet place.  The sister attended East High School, I don't recall her name.  The brother was a Math major at the university who claimed he was a Marxist revolutionary.  He lead Marxist study groups, and went around the house demanding new people attend these study groups.  I told him I wasn't interested, and he told me he'd see to it that people wouldn't like me as a result of my refusal to attend.

My thinking then was their parents shipped them off to the United States, to prevent the Shah's secret police from making them disappear for being anti government.  I'll bet the guy is a big shot at an American insurance company or something like that these days.  He should be just getting ready to retire.  I wonder if he's ever told his colleges at work about his Marxist study groups?  Probably not.

I recall a little of a single Loth house meeting.  The primary issue was noise and partying.  There was this guy from up north someplace who was small, about 5' 5".  He liked playing the music loud and throwing parties that mostly only he came to, in the living room.  There was a guy who lived directly upstairs from the living room who was tall, well over 6', and he objected to the noise keeping him awake.  The little guy claimed that unless the music was obnoxiously loud he couldn't have a good time.  I don't recall a result. And this has brought back a number of Co-op memories that I haven't thought about in many many years.

The first time I ever seriously shared a room was in North Campus Co-ops, in a house called Bag End.  I shared a room with a fellow from St. Louis named Rob Tanaka for a year.  We were the odd couple for sure, he was a 4.0 student, and I had a job and wasn't a student.  He lived in the bottom bunk and I lived in the top, and we were pretty good friends.  The houses in North Campus were set up in 4 halls, each hall had 2 singles and 2 doubles, room selection was on the basis of seniority.  Now that I think of it, there were 2 housemates I should have married while I had the chance.  A lady from New Mexico named Sue, and a conducting major (music) named Doug.  All in all, the finest group of people it's ever been my privilege to share a building with.  The bathrobe Doug gave me for Christmas finally self destructed a couple of years ago, I failed to read the hint into the gift at the time.

Xanadu had a huge living room that adjoined a big dining room, and was a huge open dance floor when the ICC Halloween party was held there every year.  These were big parties, 100's of people would show up.  Not long after one Halloween a fellow showed up at a house meeting who wanted to throw for profit beer parties, he was a friend of somebody.  Steve Lurie spoke most eloquently and his words came back to me when I was remembering that Loth house meeting over the living room parties mentioned above.  Steve said, "This is my home!"  He went on to say a lot about he didn't want drunks doing what drunks do where ever in our house, but the "This is my home!" comes back to me over and over.  First, last, and always, it's home.  Needless to say, we did not approve those for profit beer parties.  And Xanadu was a home, 364 days of the year, with the exception of Halloween.  We had no choice about that either, it was decreed by the ICC (Inter-Cooperative Council).

I now feel remiss about that Loth house meeting of years ago, but it's consistent with me in a house meeting.  I should have stood up and been counted and sided with the tall fellow who wanted to be able to sleep.  At house meetings I usually avoid taking a side or a stand, as it's not worth somebody not liking me.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Is this the answer to my question of the last few posts?

13 or 14 years ago, I met an internet predator.  Yes, unfortunately I met this monster in person.  What was this person like, and what happened to him/her.  Him/her?  Yes.  On the internet and even here in person, this man claimed the identity of a woman.  A caricature for sure.  I'd be willing to bet that those silicon injection breasts are a real health hazard by now.

Now, after looking this he/she biker up on the internet I find he/she was the subject of a restraining order in 2001.  The petitioner was his/her (I don't want to get sued but look that person up and see what she does for a living).  He paid everybody who ever helped him out by crapping on them.

This guy was a biker, complete with biker ink.  He was a very small man, about 5'6".  The biker logo tattoo on his right shoulder was covered with white tattoo ink, but you could tell it was an over painting job.  When he came here, somebody he'd been staying with in Texas drove him here, and dropped him off at the door.  I suspect they were delighted to be rid of him, and since he was gone they were spared any further troubles from him.  He spent a lot of time on the internet looking for his next victim, but it was too close in time, he couldn't find anybody quickly enough to move directly on to a next victim from here.  Where was he, last I knew?  In Florida living with his mother.

Where was he a biker?  Miami, Florida so he claimed.  Did he speak of violence like you see on TV?  Yes, he spoke of beatings, crime, and all kinds of delightful stuff.  Was that a club you can't really quit?  Yes it was.  Where was he from originally?  Boston.  Was his name really Willow?  Nope.  He never changed his name.  On his drivers license it said William Richard X III.  X?  Yes, I'll leave it to anybody with enough ambition to fill in that X with the real last name, but given the modern internet it's an easy X to fill back in.  What was his relationship with his bike club?  I'm pretty sure they'd love to find him to this day, but I don't know and don't care.

All I know is here he took great delight in causing as much trouble as he could, all the time.  Once he was gone, I breathed a sigh of relief, and went on with my life, and mostly forgot about it.    I'm sure he was hoping a judge would award him possession of my apartment, with me responsible for the rent and utilities, it didn't work out that way.  The judge gave him a day to pick up his things, and he came and picked them up that day.  The end.  Until now.  If people want to discriminate against me in housing because of this, there is nothing I can do about it.  All I can do is say, I'd forgotten about the whole thing until I started researching me on the internet and it's one of the reasons I keep to myself and am VERY CAREFUL about who I accept as friends.