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The Grover Beach Crack House

A long time ago, me and my bestie Jen-Wa The Destroyer lived in this place.

Home was where our hearts were and all

We moved in over a long rainy day almost entirely by ourselves after spending about two months living in what we affectionately called the Shell Beach Homeless Person Squat House, or the House that was Managed by a Sexist Insane Person. Or the House With The Stomping Elephant Psycho Neighbor upstairs. Or you know, our first home together. Anyway we got very very sick of sleeping in the same room or sharing a 1 bedroom 1 bathroom apartment for the rental price of a palatial resort so, we moved. Ideally we wanted to move up into San Luis Obispo but there wasn’t anywhere to live and being a college town it’s crazy difficult to get a house/apartment/shack there when you’re in your 20’s. Even when you’ve been living on your own since 18 (Jennifer) and 23 (me) respectively. So when we were at our wits end, a very kind elderly lady called us to come look at an apartment over at the Sunset Terrace.

The Gutter Trash Mafia’s first Christmas, taken in Bakersfield about a month before moving into our “dream home”

And how excited were we! The building reminded us of Los Angeles area 50’s styled apartments. We’d get a PARKING SPACE! There was a pool! If you stood on one foot and leaned this one direction and craned your neck you’d see the Pacific Ocean. There were windows and counters and light and TWO COUNT THEM BITCH, TWO BEDROOMS. It was a whopping 150-200 dollars cheaper per month. There was more than one set of washers and driers on the property. The carpet wasn’t fugly shag green. We thought this was going to be the best thing ever. And best of all no one would live underneath us.  Holy balls, it was like we were the Beverly Hillbillies.

Every bit of our happiness had a price and I ended up in this dump for 4 years.

Dump you say? Why would something so wonderful ever be a dump?

No offense to the landlords, who were very kind to us during our stint there at this hell hole but they were really too kind to a lot of our neighbors as well, to the point you’d THINK the damn building was built around these freakshows. For one there was the naked cat lady. I can’t remember her name now and she was pretty freakin’ nice but holy crap in a building where you’re not allowed pets, to have 3-5 cats at a time that you 1-don’t even try to hid and 2-have taken your screen out and allow them to wander in and out at all hours of the day, who bless their furry faces, just YOWL at all hours of the day… well that’s pretty extreme. And oh yes, the naked part….

Remember how we had a pool and I gotta tell you, pools are scarce on the Central Coast. I mean the ocean/beach is right freakin’ there. But having a pool saves you from all that driving and public restrooming and paying tourist prices for a simple day in the sun. Naked Cat Lady had a little spot next to our pool. It WAS fenced off and originally intended for people who like to line dry their clothes, but Naked Cat Lady built herself kind of a clubhouse back there with her little radio, a camper shell to store her special lawn chair in and god only knows what she was drinking but it was either Pink Wine or Scotch most times I saw her. She’d go in this little area and just get butt naked and lay out in the sun listening to the radio and drinking something god awful, with her cats any time the sun was out. Let me just remind you that Naked Cat Lady was about 70 years old. I’ll probably turn into Naked Cat Lady when I’m 70 but it was pretty disconcerting to always be talking to a naked lady surrounded by cats through a fence. When her kids came up to take her to her retirement home around the time Jennifer moved away, Naked Cat Lady “gave” me her fort back there because I’d always been nice to her and she knew I liked the pool area. I never used it because, that’s weird, but what a nice gesture.

If there had just been a Naked Cat Lady we would’ve been fine. But oh no the cast of characters at this place went much deeper. For instance there were the Truck Driving Lesbians down the hall from us. If you’ve read this blog for five minutes or more you know I LOVE me some lesbians. Except for these two who seemed to only have two activities in their life: beating the shit out of each other and getting the cops called on them and leering in an unflattering way at Jennifer and I when we’d go to the pool, do laundry, leave the house, not be wearing burkas, etc. There was one night I walked past their apartment to get to the laundry room and they were out there being all butch and smoking and drinking canned beer and I had sweats on and they were sort of slipping and I yanked them back up pretty quick. It’s rude to show people your butt crack or whatever. One of these gals says to the other one “Stuck up bitch doesn’t want us to see what she’s got.” Since I was about 10 feet away I heard the rest of the conversation. I just went about my business and put my laundry in only to find ALL of my wet clothes on the floor of the laundry room when I went to change over to the dryer. When I finally LOST my mind and told the landlord (we were so poor then, and the 1.50 it cost me to wash those clothes was lost and I only had enough change left to dry them and they were dirtier than when I put them in…) basically I just got handed a roll of quarters and told I was a nice renter. Also to stop walking by their house because they were trouble and “nice” girls like Jennifer and I didn’t want to get mixed up in “that.”

There were a large parade of nuts moving in and out of that place. It was one of the 3 places I lived on the Central Coast that didn’t seem to do ANY kind of checks (I know because they never did a credit check on us, something us broke asses were so grateful for) on anyone who moved in. So there was a lot of moving out under the cover of darkness in trashbags in the building. So anyone that lasted a year seemed to be loved by the management, no matter what sort of assery was going on in the place. They installed Jen and I between two of the oldest, crankiest, biddies. One was just MEAN. She scared off trick or treaters, telling them that there was no candy and that Halloween was the work of the devil and gave me the dirtiest look when I walked out in costume to give these kids a candy bar. One was old as the hills and deaf as a box of socks. She actually was pretty cool once I sat down and talked to her or the time I helped her with her groceries. She told me “that old bitch next door has it in for you girls, don’t be surprised if the cops keep showing up here.” Sylvia was right, we had the cops called on us for a myriad of offenses in the  years Jennifer and I lived together. I can only think of two times we actually deserved it, one when we were getting ready to go out and probably had the radio up too loud in the living room and another time we DID have a band living with us for a couple of days (whoops, hey they cleaned the pool and the managers didn’t give a shit) but we had the cops called on us by this bag for reading in our rooms wearing headphones, watching the 10 o’clock news with the sound on, existing etc. We were nearing noise fine territory according to Grover PD, but one cop told me we lived next door to a crazy woman, she’d done the same thing to her last neighbor and oh hey my show on that radio thingy was pretty good. Bye bye Officer Joe, you were kind of cute by the way.

One day, after Jennifer moved to Boston, I snapped. Even though every other looney in the building was “allowed” to have pets because they moved in before the pet policy (WTF) they said I had to get rid of Lily if I wanted to stay. I’d been cat called by the mean ladies down the way one too many times during my 4 year stay. I didn’t need a 2 bedroom apartment to live in on my own. I’d had my electricity turned off by accident by our sweet old landlord transposing numbers of the latest asshat to move out in the middle of the night. One too many people ran into my car. One too many people had called the cops on me for breathing. I got really tired of the other sweet doddering old man who seemed to think I lived in his girlfriends apartment and kept trying to use his key on the door and almost destroyed my screen door when I started locking that too. I got sick of my own key not bloody working and having to get into my house through the window in my bedroom/finally computer room. Sylvia, my other crazy old lady neighbor finally  just put an upside down flower pot outside my window so I could get in. She got used to it like I got used to her watching tv at maximum volume until 4 in the morning. At least she was pretty cool in the end.

I moved out. I found another little dream home in my favorite part of the coast. I could walk to the beach. I could have a cat or 12 if I wanted. It was close to my girlfriend Kris’s work. I had a parking space. My neighbors were cool, and everything was going to be awesome… so I thought.

Getting ready to go to the Red Fox at the Crack House

The Jennifer Lentil’s going away party

Crack House birthday Party

Crack House New Years

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Dear City of Chico

Okay, I get it, we have a homeless problem. A pretty big one for such a cold place in the winter. And maybe I didn’t research my neighborhood carefully before moving into my apartment in a panic but it’s like a homeless hobo convention up in this bitch at the moment.

I live in a neighborhood that houses SEVERAL rehab centers, I didn’t realize that. County Mental health is a street over. We have a couple of different Vets assistance offices over here. The Blood Bank is across the street. I think Welfare is also down the street. And so is the DMV and you know what kind of people hang out at the DMV. I live right next door to a bike path that is poorly lit and also constantly vandalized, has the homeless and the druggies (no really I’ve seen the discarded crack pipes and syringes over there) hiding out in it during the winter months.

For some reason the city runs the homeless “undesirables” out of downtown around the holidays. It usually starts around Halloween for the trick or treat things they do down there for the kids. Then there’s the Christmas Preview and the other various things that go on around here for the holidays. I get it, we have a giant Christmas tree and kids everywhere and you probably don’t want to see these people all up in your holiday photos. For the moment all of the most famous homeless folks, including the Die Guy live on my block. It’s cool, I get it, rent is expensive, shit sucks, you feel the need to tell everyone to die when they walk by.  But I can’t say it makes the Man in my life feel very safe for me to be out doing my thing, walking back and forth etc.  He’s actually pretty freaked out about it, especially since one of the rehabs on our block seems to have installed a smoking section outside with lawn chairs and ashtrays. Especially since most of the people using this space aren’t clients of the rehab center, they’re just the other random boxes of crazy that stumble off our bike path.

Honestly I don’t mind where I live in town so much. It drives Ben absolutely nuts that I walk everywhere and basically give no fucks about what goes on around here. I think most of our hobos are harmless and I honestly worry more about college kids and my own neighbors than I do the guy having an disagreement with a lamp post or the one dude that seems to talk to cars. (What the fuck, I talk to things that can’t talk back to me all the time? That’s not that weird.) I just wonder if we’re doing anything to help the people who are truly BROKEN here instead of just shuffling them off to one area of town or another. Because some of these people are clearly unemployable and from what I’ve heard from my friends over at the Studio Inn Lounge, they basically just let them out of our local “looney bin,” with 50 bucks and the number to the Jesus Center when they pick them up. I realize this is a pretty common problem in the country, but it makes me sad, as I see it every single day when I’m heading to work.

 

p.s. I know I already blew National Blog Posting Month. Sue me.


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creepy pool guy

I live in an apartment complex with a pool. It was one of my only requirements besides being pet friendly when I was looking for a place here. Last summer it was full of kids and such and that’s expected. This year when it’s full of kids, it’s usually my friend’s children.

This year the pool has pretty much been empty the majority of the time. Except for Creepy Pool Guy. He’s earned this name by only using the pool when I get in it.

oh hi there

Like without fail, no matter what time of day I go down to the pool between 10-20 minutes later this dude will be coming in and asking me “Do you mind if I join you?”  First of all its a community pool, just use the damn thing and leave me alone. You don’t have to ask me if I care if you’re out there. I don’t have the right to care. If you’re that annoying to me, I can go back the hell up to my apartment where I came from. The only thing I mind is that you’re talking to me when I clearly have headphones on and am reading a book. Go swim. Shut up.

I know, I sound like a total bitch, but seriously more than a friendly head nod or a “hello,” hastily mumbled as you walk by is too much conversation for me and a stranger when I’m in a bathing suit or relaxing. Everyone knows, public pool rules state, pretend everyone else isn’t there!

After establishing that I could care less if this dude is at the pool that he also pays rent to be at, he will swim for about 10-15 minutes and then start talking to me again. “Whatcha readin?” is a popular one. “Just a book.” is usually the answer which would shut most people up, because again social cues dictate that I don’t want to talk to you. “What’s it about?” About this time I’m considering going back up to my apartment because it becomes obvious that CPG wants to chat. “It’s just a chick book. Romance stuff.”

“Oh cool.” He’ll get out of the water and then take a chair a little too close to mine. There are 35 freakin chairs out there and he’ll pick the one like two chairs down from me, every time.

“Well yeah, I wasn’t going to be out here for very long so…”

Thanks for the update champ. I still don’t want to talk to you.

His other favorite attempt at starting conversations with me is “Is that an adult beverage you’re drinking?” Cue me mentally strangling him, because if it is, who cares and if it isn’t who cares? Who cares if I’m drinking swamp water?

Usually I’ll tell him its water just to seem as boring as possible. I’ve pretended not to hear him because of my headphones but he’ll wave to get my attention. And this ONLY happens when I’m alone down there. He never comes out when my friends are here or when Ben is around or when any of the other residents of the apartment complex are also at the pool when I am. Just when I am. Even at 8 in the morning after a run, he’ll come down and get in. I don’t even know what apartment he lives in but obviously it has a window view of the courtyard.  I never even see him in the water when the pool is completely empty.

I’m sure its all a coincidence but still… creepy.


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tired as heck

This is me every day about 5:30pm

I knew what I was getting into when I came up here to run a radio station. The damn thing never closes. It always needs SOMETHING which is fine. I’m good with that fact. I love what I do, more so now than I did when I first came up here. I’m doing more and more of what I want to do and can hear the results when I turn it on.

That being said, I’m tired. We’ve entered the busy season. And by that I mean it’s seriously busy. I do not get a full day off until April 17th. That’s cool too but it’s just the end of the pay period and everything seems stressful. Buying cat food, getting gas, eating.  When do I have time to do laundry or clean house or do anything but try to fall asleep and do it all again in the morning? I know I should really make myself do those things the  minute I get home but lately it’s been a sea of 12 hour days and after hearding wet cats for 12 hours the last thing I want to do is sort clothes or take out the trash. What I want to do is call Happy Garden for a delivery of chow mein and then pass out. But calling Happy Garden will have to wait until pay day at this point.

 


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15 days to go

Awww young Shane Mcgowan

I’ve heard The Pogues “The Boys From County Hell” a million times back at the World Famous McCarthy’s Irish Pub back in my adopted home town of San Luis Obispo, CA.  From the old shite juke box you could beat for credits a 1019 Court Street to the newer location, this song will come on.

Why not? Its an awesome bit of Irish fare that I am glad to share with you this morning.

I’m deep in the midsts of planning my St Patrick’s Day party which won’t be as raging as in years past but what can you do? Times and locations have changed… my heart has not. It’s worth a shot anyway.


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i just want you back in my head

My goodness this has been a busy weekend.

Friday night I saw Jeremy in Pontypool over at the Blue Room. Great play. Jeremy was fantastic. I actually forgot I was watching someone I knew while he was on stage.
Saturday I judged a battle of the bands.
Yesterday Ben and I went to watch the Seahawks game over at the End Zone, until this REALLY OBNOXIOUS broad just ruined the whole day for us so we went home before the 4th Quarter. I was PISSED but the Seahawks won anyway, so really? After that we hung around the house. Ben has been helping me organize the kitchen and I swear it almost looks as good as it did before I had anything in it. So to reward him, I made my famous green bean cassorole last night.
Neither one of can drink milk and we’ve been drinking Almond Milk at the house which gave dinner a neat flavor actually. It doesn’t thicken like regular milk though so I think I am going to add some potato soup next time I make it… You see because HE LIKED IT. I win at food. Actually I love cooking for Ben because he does like everything I make. If he doesn’t, he seems to do a good job pretending to and always has seconds.
We also watched U2 “Rattle and Hum” on tv and basically just chilled.
This is a busy week for me as well. I have the Kottonmouth Kings tomorrow night, Danzig on Wednesday and Turkey Bowling on Thursday. Plus I’ll be working my ass off to get ready for Thanksgiving. Wheew.
Still trying to finalize my plans for that weekend. I do want to go to the Central Coast but don’t know if its possible and I haven’t spent an extended period of time with my family since last Christmas so we’ll see.


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nights

Last night Ben and I went to Chronic Tacos and then for drinks at the Bear and the Banshee with our friend Sarah.

This is us at the Bear

The funny thing about pictures of me, I rarely smile even when I’m having a great time. And last night was one of those great times. We were very silly, wandering downtown Chico, laughing at random stuff. It was good.

Sometimes things being simple is really awesome. Life got a little complicated back in San Luis Obispo at the end. Nothing I wouldn’t have worked out and nothing I didn’t work out but sometimes it feels like I was supposed to come here. Maybe for work. Maybe to save a friendship that could’ve gone really wrong if I hadn’t made the jump. Maybe to help someone find the person they were supposed to be with. I never know why. But it’s pretty good here most of the time, when people aren’t trying to blow up my apartment or I’m not thinking of making the cat get a job.

Now if only my maid would show up and clean my damn house…when you work 10 hours a day, five days a week, you really don’t usually feel like cleaning house on your day off.