Mount Sutro: An Electronic Periodical

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An Evening of Firsts

by Archived Article (2001–2014) Help

Please take note that the events depicted in the following story took place recently, are true and while many of the details are a matter of public record the names have been changed in order to protect all parties involved.

I was driving around downtown planning on heading to the bar for a pint or two before heading home for the evening when I decided to ring up my friend Samantha and see what was up with her. She answered the telephone and I identified myself. Her reply of "come over now" was abrupt; her voice laced with subdued panic.

I arrived only a minute later and came inside wondering what was wrong. I had never really heard Samantha sound the way she did on the telephone and I was concerned.

"Mark and Andrew are in jail," she finally says before walking into the kitchen to finish doing whatever she was doing just prior to my arrival. It was obvious she had a lot of nervous energy. Apparently over the course of the past few hours she had been talking on the telephone with friends, cleaning her apartment and doing other busywork in an attempt to steer her mind away from what was going on.

Mark had dated my good friend Mary but had a few issues of his own, including but not limited to cocaine addition, a decent case of alcoholism and some anger and other emotional management issues. While the lot of us enjoyed Mark, his issues were ever-present and more and more problematic. Being the good friend I try to be I remained mostly neutral to the complaints of Samantha whom he lives with and the others who made seemingly valid concerned observations. My own opinions seemed moot to the situation since I was his friend but contact was often peripheral.

Andrew was somewhat new to the picture. Now dating Samantha, I had recently told her I approved of him; something I had never done with previous boyfriends of hers. While it was true I did not know Andrew extremely well, I do have a tendency to make quick and accurate character assessments so as long as I am not interested in the person myself. Andrew is simply a very easy person to get along with. He is extremely compassionate and very caring to those who are his friends. I suppose that was one of the first things I noted about him. He can have the tendency to get defensive prematurely which I believe has caused some physical altercations in the past, but in the end is fairly stable emotionally. The less exposure to his family the better.

"What? What the hell happened," I prompted immediately.

As she told the story my emotions varied and when she was done with the tale, I realised a lot of things about one of my friends. In the end, the fact of the matter was that due to one person's drunken stupidity another was in jail through literally no fault of his own. And he was probably going to be in for a long time.

Andrew was awakened by the sound of someone knocking on the apartment door. Samantha had already left and gone to work, while Mark slept soundly on the couch. To his surprise Andrew found the Orlando Police Department at the door wanting to ask questions and conduct a search. Naked and wrapped only in a sheet, Andrew asked the officer if he could dress while Mark awoke to answer questions that were now apparently directed more toward him as a resident of the apartment.

At some point during the wee morning hours, Mark allegedly thought it would be a good idea to break into the church across the street, vandalising property, stealing food collected for the homeless, breaking into several church-owned vehicles and busting open some fire extinguishers. In his drunkenness, however, he apparently failed to note the trail he dragged from the scene of the crime, cross the street, into the apartment building, through the door and right to the very couch where the criminal, until that moment, slept soundly. Next to him and in plain view of anyone standing in the doorway to the apartment were fire extinguishers, food and bibles.

Andrew had violated his probation a good two years ago by failing to complete a drug course related to his cannabis and paraphernalia charges and also some costs of supervision associated with his probation. He had planned to turn himself into jail once he had gotten all of his owned probation monies together, but this situation would prohibit him the chance to make that gesture. Once dressed, but still without shower, he asked the officers if he could smoke a cigarette, "because it is going to be my last for a while." And indeed he was arrested as well, but not before Mark attempted to pin his marijuana on him. The police decided to throw away the pot and focus on the crime they came to investigate and to incarcerate Andrew on the violation of his probation while they were at it.

The two of them now in jail for the afternoon, Samantha nearly evicted from her apartment and the rest of us left wondering what the hell Mark was thinking, Samantha and I spent the evening watching movies and drinking beer together.

Several days later we found out that Andrew was scheduled for a hearing at which time it would be likely bail would be set. Given the nature of his arrest, it was uncertain whether he would have to spend a few months or a few days on the inside, but this new information was a great relief for Samantha. While they had only been dating for a month or so, they had really started to find a connection. Apparently Andrew felt the same way because he had his own mother call Samantha in order to share information and help keep each other sane. What guy would want his mother and girlfriend to chat outside of his presence?

Samantha had already received some money from Andrew himself via a neighbour and friend who was around during the arrests. After determining his eligibility for bailed release was established at the afternoon hearing, she and I made plans to go bail him out of the Seminole County Jail where he had been moved to after the arrest. I picked her up from work and we went back to her apartment so she could shower, change and finish up a few things before we played our "get out of jail" card. I sat with a Newcastle watching The Shawshank Redemption all too amused of the irony.

As we were getting ready to leave Samantha showed me the stolen Contemporary English Version of The Bible that she found in her apartment. She showed me in the back where someone had noted certain passages. One of the noted passages was Revelation 2:10 which reads as follows: "Don't worry about what you will suffer. The devil will throw some of you into jail, and you will be tested and made to suffer for ten days. But if you are faithful until you die, I will reward you with a glorious life." Spooky. And then it was time to go. We got into my car and headed north toward the jail.

I had assumed even before embarking on our journey that bail bond agencies would be littered about the jail area such as they are around the 33rd Street Orange County Jail. As we drove past the John E. Polk Correctional Facility there were no such businesses visible. Only a closed flea market, the County Emergency Operations Centre and a dozen car dealerships welcomed us to southern Sanford. We went ahead to the jail itself to get some assistance from the guards as far as where we might be able to obtain a bond. I parked at the door to the main facility entrance and we walked inside.

Jail is not a pleasant place. I have been to both of the local County jails here in Central Florida during the course of my duties as the firm/legal administrator of a local law firm. I can only imagine how different it is for special guests of honour who do not get the picture ID "V" badges that say "attorney" on them. We were told by the guards at this location that the building next door, central booking, there was a list posted of local bonding agencies. After making several telephone calls we were told to come down to an office nearby to complete the paperwork, present the $150.00 USD in required funds and generally learn about the process we were initiating.

From the sound of the woman on the telephone, Samantha and I had already concluded the bonding agent was going to be... interesting. After being greeted by her little dog at the door that had been run over by a car at some point, Ann invited Samantha and me to sit down. Ann is a Southern-accented Caucasian woman in her early fifties with large curly blond hair, is of average height and is overweight. Our expectations of this experience were not only fully met but significantly exceeded. I did not think it was possible for a human being who is not under the influence of cocaine to talk so much. Her chattering combined with the overly loud television tuned to the Court TV network was only tolerable for the amount of time we had to endure it for she was going to be setting Andrew free. I was particularly ready to leave when she asked a rather direct question on our opinion of the comments made by President Bush on same-sex marriages. My rather carefully worded response received a nod of approval and we were on our way.

"Call me at this number in thirty minutes and I will give you an update," she told us whilst handing us a few of her cards each.

Driving around with nothing but time I spotted a billiards hall and we decided to check it out. Ever walk into an establishment and become the zebra walking past the pride of lions? Between the high school jocks, wannabe punks and thugs and several other amusing groups of people, this place was definitely not for us. We did have a brief good time playing games such as "pick the person most likely to be... a closet homosexual, a drug peddler, a pimp daddy, etc." Samantha made the call and was told Andrew would not likely be released for an additional three hours. I chugged my beer, Samantha left hers and we got the hell of that place as we now had a lot of time available.

We ended up stopping at a bookstore before simply heading back to her apartment to sit and wait. We picked up his favourite cigarettes, some beer and other assorted welcome back accessories and then made our way back to the jail with the intent of getting there prior to his release.

To our surprise as we pulled into the parking lot there he stood, solitary and shivering in the cold. Samantha jumped out of the car and leapt up upon him, nearly forcing him to lose his balance all together. After making a quick stop at his mothers to say hello and pickup a few incidentals, we returned to the apartment to trade stories of the past days and generally just have a good time.

"This was some interesting evening," I remarked as a pressed play on the VCR to continue watching Shawshank. "An evening of firsts for sure."

This whole experience really strengthened the relationship building between Samantha and Andrew and in many ways between Andrew and me. The three of us make an interesting team and I for one am happy to have gotten reacquainted with my old friend and to have made such a nice new one. Physical Attraction Report

by Archived Article (2001–2014) Help

After having seen it linked in multiple locations I finally decided to take the Physical Attraction Report for the hell of it. As is generally the case in tests such as this varying from highly scientific to those typically found on LiveJournal my results were hardly surprising. Here are a few excerpts.

Your photo choices suggest a man over 40 is probably getting a little old for your tastes. You seemed interested in dating younger men between 20 and 25 but did have some older tendencies as well. Blond hair, dark brown hair, wavy hair, short hair and straight hair were other strong selections.

Some may call one of your types "Pretty Boys," but all you know is that they're gorgeous. The combination of classic good looks with small noses, beautiful eyes, and full lips is hard to resist. These guys tend to be clean shaven, have clear skin, and get good hair cuts. They're taking good care of themselves so they can be "pretty" just for you! [Well, you and the 1 in 3 men (33%) that are also after them!]

Another of the "looks" that you consistently noticed has been described as "The Boy Next Door." He has an open face, with big eyes, and a big grin. He has a youthful or boyish quality that will follow him throughout his life. Typically this look is associated with light brown hair, a close shave, and blue or hazel eyes. These guys convey a warm, trusting impression, but watch out for that mischievous side! Our studies find that about 1 in 5 men (18%) are especially attracted to this youthful look.

Faces known scientifically as "Ecto-Mesomorph" repeatedly caught your eye. Men express this type in two ways. One version has a rectangular face shape that is long and narrow. The other type's face shape is often compared to a diamond, because it is wide at the cheeks and then has a sharply angled jaw. All Ecto-Mesomorph men have striking chins that are prominent and squared-off with a crisp line at the base. This is one of the most idealised male face types and can be found on most movie and music idols. It can hold either bold masculine features or more delicate handsome features, or some sexy combination of both. These men also tend to have lean and muscular builds when they're young. About 57% of other men especially prefer men with this face type.

The type of body you seemed to especially like is scientifically called an "Ectomorph," which is a fancy way of saying you like "skinny" guys. He has a long, narrow frame and look good in or out of clothes. Since these guys don't get as much attention as the football jocks, he'd probably be surprised to know that for you skinny is sexy. His shoulders may not be broad (and are probably a little bony, so you won't want to rest your head on them indefinitely). But he has long, strong arms to wrap around you. These men make up around 3% of the single population. Keep your eyes out for signs like long necks, Adam's apples, pointed chins, and relatively long upper bodies compared to legs. At about 5'10", they tend to run about 130 pounds.

Looking at over 10,000 men in your age group who have taken the test, about 17% are attracted to the same types you are. You have a more open and accepting view of what makes a man handsome than a lot of other guys your age. In the test, you didn't pick the most "popular" men, but instead seemed to focus on your own personal tastes. This doesn't necessarily mean that looks are less important to you than to other men. You simply have a unique set of criteria and keep your eyes open for special qualities that make a man, who may seem ordinary to most, extraordinary to you.

Other highlights of likes:
  • Sometimes, you like younger men, by a good gap
  • More unique than "mainstream" appeal
  • Thin, angular faces with a classic or refined look
  • Very attractive Black/African descent men
  • Glasses and the sophisticated and smart look that goes with them
  • You appreciate how sexy someone very lean or slender can be
  • You prefer guys with smooth chests, with little or no chest hair
Perhaps this is why I am single; the above-described men are not interested in someone like me.

Unsecured Debt

by Archived Article (2001–2014) Help
Can someone please explain to me why anyone with property would place a second mortgage upon it in order to get a loan advertised to pay off high interest debts? For the love of God people, credit card debt is not worth losing your house over. While I am sure the system is abused by some, bankruptcy procedures are in place to protect you in a financial crisis. It absolutely boggles my mind that people would get a Ditech, GreenLight or another similar loan and risk losing the most valuable asset they probably have or ever will. Stupid, stupid, stupid.

Items of Note

by Archived Article (2001–2014) Help

I have been meaning to write out several stories based on current events that I think may be amusing to the general public but I have been rather lackadaisical with it. They will be coming soon however. In the meantime here are some items I just wanted to briefly mention.

  • Gas Prices
    What the hell is going on at the gas pump? I dumped nearly $20.00 today to fill my just-shy-of twelve gallon tank. Luckily for me my 1994 Honda Civic EX will take that tank of regular unleaded fuel to around 350 miles, but still the prices around here are getting ridiculous. The average as far as I have been able to ascertain from driving around the Orlando metropolitan and surrounding areas must be somewhere around $1.71 per US Gallon. I would be very curious to hear comments from those around the country (and world for that matter) with regard to your local gasoline prices, so please reply with those.

  • ATM for Books
    Whilst dropping off some friends at the Orlando International Airport so they could embark on a vacation to outside Denver, Colorado, we happened upon an invention we had yet to lay eyes upon: an automated book-dispenser. The touch-screen interface allows the end-user to browse through or search a limited selection of best selling fiction and non-fiction paperback and mass market books and make purchases using cash or a credit/debit card. Upon payment the machine spits out the book much like a snack or beverage vending machine. If you find yourself at the Orlando International Airport, take a walk past the W. H. Smith Books Company store and find this machine outside of it.

  • Free Online PDF Conversion
    If you wish to create professional documents in the ever popular Adobe Portable Document Format (PDF) but do not wish to shell out the money for a conversion utility I recommend an online product that does the job quite well and is free of charge. BLC Technologies' free conversion tools allow you to submit files to be converted to PDF or HTML formats and also decode PDF into more usable Microsoft Word, HTML, plain text and image formats. After submitting your documents you will receive an e-mail with the resulting file attached. The conversion was perfect for the Word files I made into PDF's and they arrived at my mail box quickly. Check it out:

  • A Word from Our Sponsor
    Though I am still redeveloping my business website, I am currently in the process of starting a local advertising campaign for my services: professional yet inexpensive web hosting, domain name registration/management/renewals, on-site support/training and consultation. I will be specifically targeting small local businesses, artists, musicians, bars, pubs, cafes, art galleries and similar organisations. It is my belief that after being involved with the local downtown community for many years I can best support these artists and businesses by providing necessary services at a cost that is more than manageable. I have already received support from a local small business and an artist who are now going to be developing their online presences with me. I will be producing some fliers and hope to make a name for myself in the community. If you would like more information on my services or would like to get some business cards and fliers for your business or gallery, please let me know. Thank you.