The Mayor Of E Street Is Dead

Late Father (circa 2006)

Three weeks after the doctor declared him terminally ill with less than six months to live, my father died from lung cancer at his trailer home in Sacramento County on Sunday night. After smoking for 30 years and not smoking for 30 years, the last six years was difficult for him after having half a lung removed, chemo therapy, several extended stays in the hospital, and a two-month stay with me (part 1, part 2 and part 3). The battle was finally over.

My relatives gave me a lot of grief over the last three weeks as I refused to take him in. A massive guilt trip that I was an irresponsible son, threats to call the cops on me for elder abuse, and accusations that I stole $7,000 USD out of my father’s checking didn’t make me budge. (If I was such an irresponsible, abusive and thieving son, why did they want me to take care of him in his dying days?) I followed my father’s instructions to leave him in the care of his neighbors as he wanted to die in peace at home.

My father was the mayor of E Street in the trailer park that he called home. Everyone knew him and he knew everyone. This was small town America that he grew up in and wanted to die in. As I became the de facto executor of his estate—he left no will—and had control of his bank accounts (relatives are much nicer now that I have his money to spend), I started learning who my father really was as neighbors and friends talked to me.

My favorite story was my father buying a $40 USD crock pot for $15 USD at Wal-Mart. He already had a nice crock pot and didn’t need another one. When he heard that the heating element in a neighbor’s 20-year-old crock pot had finally died, he took the new crock pot and gave it to her. He then went out to get another crock pot. When I came up to visit one weekend and mentioned that the $5 USD crock pot that I got on Black Friday at Wal-Mart years ago finally died, he gave me the new crock pot.

He also became the center of a semi-illegal recycling center (the trailer park shut him down). One neighbor brings home old vending machines to dismantle and disposes at the county dump as part of his business. My father takes all the materials from the dismantled vending machine, saving the neighbor a small fortune in dumping fees. The metals were separated into different bins for recycling, which earned my father a small income for his work. The wood from the dismantled vending machines and pallets from another neighbor were given to a different neighbor for free to build chicken coops at $400 USD a piece. Anything that he couldn’t use or recycle went into the trailer park dumpster. My father did this to help his neighbors and keep himself busy.

As many people told me over the last few days, he was a good man and neighbor.  As my father and I did with my mother’s ashes in summer 2004, I will be taking his ashes up to Idaho to be buried with his family this summer.

Is Black Widow The New Dana Scully?

I had serious doubts about “The Avengers” movie that came out this past weekend, from the heroine showing ass on the movie poster to the Farmer Insurance commercial. After months of relentless hype, I thought the movie would fall short of the high expectations that we come to expect from a Joss Whedon movie. I’m happy to report that the movie was much bigger and much better than the hype.

Although the Hulk (Mark Ruffalo) stole the show, I was more intrigued by Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson). She carried her own in a room full of male superheroes who were more eager to get into pissing matches with each other than save the world. With a clever mixture of feminine wails and kick-ass mastery, she overcame every opponent except for the rampaging Hulk.

Black Widow bears a remarkable resemblance to Dana Scully (Gillian Anderson) from “The X-Files” with her bomber-red hairdo and intense eyes. Something I kept thinking about while watching the movie. Although Scully was never much of a physical ass kicker, she made that up with her brilliant application of scientific principles to unknown phenomena. I’m hoping that Black Widow will get her own movie now that “The Avengers” broke the box office records. Marvel fan boys need another intelligent woman to idolize.

The Unsinkable Titanic II Direct From China

Clive Palmer, an Australian billionaire mining magnate, is planning to build a $500-million USD  replica of the Titanic that was sunk century ago. Although nearly identical to the ill-fated ship, the Titanic II will have diesel engines to replace the coal engines, a bulbous bow and other modern features below the waterline.

The ship will be built in China, which has never built a luxury cruise liner as most are built in the European shipyards, and the Chinese navy will escort it from United Kingdom to New York City on it’s maiden voyage in 2016. Not sure how the British and American navies would take to the Chinese navy plowing the North Atlantic waters.

Although the new ship shouldn’t sink this time, a norovirus infection can doom a cruise ship faster than any rogue iceberg.

If you can’t wait for the maiden voyage of the Titanic II, check out the 2010 direct-to-DVD movie, “Titanic II,” from Asylum Studios. The ending is somewhat predictable.


Website Changes Spring 2012

Every once in a great while I need to make significant changes to this website. As usually happens, due to circumstances beyond my control, I had to make some of the new changes for 2012 much sooner than I had expected.

Old Domain

The personal domain that I had for 15 years will be renewed for one more year before being abandoned for good.

The .ws domain started off at $5 USD per year when the .com domain was really expensive (now $15 USD per year). When the renewal price jumped to $25 USD per year, keeping an underused domain that no longer fits my current business strategy became an annual expense I no longer wanted to pay for. Becoming a profitable business requires eliminating as many expenses as possible.

After setting up the new subdomain (see below), a 301 redirect was put into the .htaccess file and the old content was deleted. I’ll be renewing the old domain for another year as Google recommends that you keep control of your old domain for at least six months to facilitate a smooth transition between old and new websites. Most of the search results are pointing to the new subdomain now and you can still click through the old links.

New Subdomain

I was getting 80+ spam comments per day with Asian logograms after publishing a blog post about Rick Santorum. Who knew that he had so many Asian supporters making and selling fake luxury handbags?

After two weeks of cleaning out the spam folder, I turned off comments to that particular blog post. (I also started turning off comments for other blog posts that were getting too many spam comments.)  Everything was fine for several days, and then I couldn’t write any blog posts with the default editor. My WordPress installation was broken and maybe hacked. Not a good situation.

Since I was planning to move the website off the old domain to a new subdomain on the domain that hosted my author website, where I also have my writing blog on a different subdomain, I decided to go ahead with that part of the plan. WordPress made this ridiculously easy. Exported the content from the old installation, set up the new installation and imported everything in. After some minor adjustments and tweaks, I had the website running on the new subdomain within a few hours.

Please update your bookmarks with the new address:

Cleaning Up

I’ll be cleaning up the website as I compile the blog postings into free ebooks over the next year. That’s roughly 500 pages of material over a 15 year span, some of which was written a few years before the word “blog” became common place. The blog posts I write today are 500 words or less. Some of the older blog posts rambled on for 3,000 words. I might keep them intact or break them out into separate blog posts. Everything will be tagged and categorized correctly.

If you find a problem, send email to webmaster at cdreimer dot com.