Toward the end of May, I posted a longish note pissing and moaning about my housing prospects for the coming year. There’s good news and bad news. The good news is that management proposed a reasonable deal and the bad news is that a reasonable deal is not, for me, sustainable. Nonetheless, it’s less than the opportunity costs associated with moving, so here I stay.

Based on their advertising, I had anticipated the new rent to be about 122% of my present rent, right about the amount where I might be able to find a new place of similar size* where the lower rate would pay for the move over maybe two years. There’s lots of ifs there. But management proposed a new rent of only 104.5% of my current rent, bringing the charges up to the lower mid-range for the neighborhood. The property manager was no better at negotiating than I am; he sounded so relieved when I indicated I was interested.

I should check their web site to see if they’ve come down in price there as well or if they’re rationalizing this as an “unimproved” unit.

Still, “the large print giveth and the small print taketh away;” I wanted to read the rental contract first. It was pretty much the usual: The tenant has no rights beyond what the law demands we recognize and we don’t admit to recognizing all of those rights either unless we’re dragged into court where we’ll also try to collect all our legal expenses from you whether we win or we lose. I don’t believe I’ve ever signed a lease that offered anything different. I trusted the previous management company more than these folks but the previous company was, in fact, somewhat more obnoxious with their leases.

So this is not a sustainable deal. It won’t do in the long term and even the medium term demands action. The new rent means that nearly all of my income goes to rent, even factoring in this year’s virus money. But I’m a geezer. “Long term” may easily have a somewhat different meaning to me than to you.

* A smaller studio apartment might pay off the moving expenses sooner, but I’m still encumbered by too much stuff to actually fit into one. Maybe next year.

The Blood is at the Doorstep

This documentary by Eric Ljung may be a look in the rear view mirror but if you have an hour and a half, you’ll find it worth your while. There’s a lot to unpack and, as a former political activist, I’m left with some questions that the filmmakers did not choose to explore though they touched upon a few of them. This is not a criticism but rather a recognition that the politics of community organizing can be complicated and historical. You’re not going to get it all in 90 minutes.


The Blood is at the Doorstep is a story about one family’s quest for answers, justice, and reform after Dontre Hamilton is shot 14 times and killed by a Milwaukee Police Officer responding to a non-emergency wellness check.

“Filmed over the course of three years in the direct aftermath of Dontre’s death, this intimate verite documentary follows his family as they channel their grief into community organizing in an attempt to reset the narrative. Offering a painfully realistic glimpse inside a movement born out of tragedy in what the Hollywood Reporter calls ‘a clear-eyed film that finds hope within terrible circumstances, and strength
within heartbreak.'”


They are ubiquitous…


“In a veritable firework display of digital self portraits, hundreds of quaint, embarrassing and dread-fully disturbing selfies were arranged in a unique short film composition. Single photos, artistically reworked, consolidate to form a ghastly grin that outshines the abyss of human existence.”

This video was by Claudius Gentinetta, posted on the Random Acts Vimeo channel. Vimeo labels the video as “mature” for a few blink-and-you-miss-it sex acts.

Cosmic Corruption

Much to my surprise, I liked this video very much.

My Dad started out as a broadcast engineer at some of the major Chicago radio stations back in the 1920s.* This included doing remote broadcasts from places like the Aragon Ballroom. One time while putting up with some of the very acidic rock that I was listening to, he remarked, “I’ve spent my life getting rid of feedback and distortion, and now…”

What Jack Henry Robbins does here with this video is, visually, something akin to the modulated feedback and distortion about which my Dad had been complaining. Think of it as a sort of a synthesia, maybe.


* My Dad’s call sign was W9GS. It’s been recycled by the FCC and, last I looked, is now assigned to an electrical engineer (IIRC) residing somewhere in the wilds of Indiana. He seemed very pleased to have it. As well he should.