Monday, December 29, 2008

So long Sunny, We hardly knew ye....

Well, it was bound to happen. Sunny has passed on the the other side. She was good to me, and I tried to be good to her. But in the end, her heart just ground to a halt.

My 1997 Pontiac Sunfire is dead.

Just 459 miles short of 150,000, she crapped out on me Friday the 19th. Left me stranded on the side of 285, underneath the overpass that planes heading for Hartsfield land on. I had been to the Hawks game that night with a couple of my Brotha's, Money and Squash Nice. Not wanting to over-burden her, I only drove as far as the College Park Marta Station and took the train to Philips. After the game, I found Sunny just as I had left her, under the street light. But she was acting up. Making all kinds of racket.

"Please Darlin', just get me home. I'll take care you tomorrow, I promise."

I needed to get gas gas, and as I'm turning into the Exxon, she dies. I coast to the pump, pop the hood, and add some oil. I fill the tank, and she starts back up. I should have stayed in that lot, and had someone come get me then. But noooooo.

"She's always taken care of me before, she'll get me home again."

But it was not to be. I made it maybe 2 miles before a loud "POP" and all loss of engine power. I coasted to a stop under the runway. As I popped the hood, I knew she was gone. The 2 inch hole in her block gave it away. The piston stuck out like an arrow to the heart. She was gone.

She will live on though. She was an organ donor, so maybe a small piece of her can keep another Sunfire alive and well.

Goodbye Sunny. Enjoy the open roads of the great Interstate in the sky.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

It was a dark and stormy night...

No, seriously it was. I was listening to the aforementioned Coast to Coast AM during my route. At this point in my route, I go down a small hill and immediatly back up a larger hill, creating a sort of valley. Then onto a cul-de-sac and back down the larger hill. It was at this point, going down the hill, that a white flash of light flew by the front of my truck.

"What the ...." "Was that a ghost?" "Holy cow, I just saw a ghost!" "Wait a second, I don't believe in ghosts."

So I went on my merry way(after changing the radio station). And did not think too much more about it. Then, the next night the same thing happened, in the same place.

"Holy crap, this neighborhood is haunted." " Theres no such thing as ghosts"

By the third night, I was determined to either talk to this ghost, or find out what was really going on.

Well, he did not want to talk, since he was not real. What I found was that a puddle had formed in the valley of the hills. As I came down the hill, my headlights reflected off the puddle and up onto a tree that hung over the valley.
But the damage was done. I rarely listen to Coast to Coast anymore. Unless its about Chupacabra. I love Chupacabra.
(I would have made this post earlier, but I wanted to get the artwork exactly correct!)

Friday, November 21, 2008

All alone, late at night...

Well, before my run in with Bessie, I was going to tell y'all about the weirdest and best show on the radio. It's called Coast to Coast AM with George Noory. It airs in the middle of the night. And theres a reason for that.

This show is every crackpot, alien abducted, ghost hunting, conspiracy thorists' sounding board.

I started listening to this show because the guy who originally trianed me pointed it out. He thought it was hilarious. I agreed. So for about the first 3 months of delivering the paper, I listened to this every night. Each night has an "expert" on whatever topic. They usually have a book to sell, or a website to view. The thing is, for every alien abductee for me to laugh at, there is a JFK thoerist that I might really be intrigued by.

And that's how they got me.

I found myself not laughing as much. I began to think, "Wow, this dude might have a point". Or I would be really intrested in how the government is controlling the weather for its own nefarious reasons. Bigfoot could really exist. The Freemasons and Illuminati really are running the world. Chupacabra really were stealing babies. Mothman was real. That house down the street could really be haunted.

Then I saw it. And it changed my relationship with Coast to Coast.

I saw a ghost.

to be continued.......

Monday, November 10, 2008

Holy Cow....

So, I was going to use this post to follow up on my last post about Coast to Coast AM. But then this morning I had an........encounter.

In the year and a half that I have been doing this, I have come across my share of Nocturnal Creeatures. And I have run over most of them. (Look PETA, they are called accidents.) I have hit 3 deer and not killed a single one. Although my cars sport scars, its been ok. Nothing serious. I've run over squirels, I've clipped possums, and I even ran over someones cat. (The darn thing ran right out in front of me. Nothing I could do.) It lived as well. I had a run in with a bat that I will tell you about later. I even had a horse and rider appear out of nowhere, scaring the bejeebus out of me.

But this morning was a first.

I was about a dozen papers from the end of my route, Tokyo Drifting down the last dirt road. I'm leaning down into the passengers' floorboard to retrieve the last few papers, when something catches my eye. I look up just in time to see a cow strolling down the road. Do you remember the end of O Brother Where art Thou, when the cow goes floating by on top of the house? Now I know what George Clooney felt like. "Bessie" was just out for a midnight walk. Needed to clear her head, I suppose. I was so astounded, I had to turn around and follow the heiffer, just to make sure she was really there. Sure enough, there she was, with bells on.

I followed her back up my route, for about five minutes. I even tried to get a picture, but it was too dark for my cell to see her. She wandered off into some guys yard, to graze I guess, and I went about my way.

Then a thought occured to me. Should I call 911? Was someone looking for this cow? Did she pose a threat to any other cars out at 3 in the morning? Would the 911 operator laugh at me for thinking a runaway cow was an emergency?

So, I didn't call. I left Bessie to her thoughts and cud. A girl needs space, you know?

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

For your listening pleasure....

How many other nightowls are out there? Anyone? Just me? Well, if you do ever find yourself cruising around at 3 in the morning, let me me tell you what late night radio has in store for you.

Now I'm not too interested in the "main stream" stations. If you've listened to Dave FM, Star, The Beat, The River, Q100, V103, Kicks et. al. during the day, then you know what they sound like at 3 in the morning. No, the low end of the FM dial, and especially the AM dial, come to life after dark. The freaks come out at night, as they say.

I have my favorites. Much to my liberal friends chagrin, I listen to Neil Boortz most often. WSB replays the days show from 2-5 am. While he gets off on some tangents, I do find him entertaining. Sorry, Money. I can't help, being a conservative.

On Tuesday and Saturday, you can hear some very good hip-hop on WRFG 89.3. Tuesday is Peas in a Pod, and it feeds my old school hunger. KRS, EPMD, Eric B. and Rakim keep me from falling asleep at the wheel. Saturday is the Remix. The hosts, DJ Cisco and Gerald Olivari, play alot more current stuff, but not the stuff you will hear on the Beat. This stuff is actually good. Also, Cisco and Gerald discuss politics from a more left leaning position, so it tempers the Boortz a little.

Can someone explain to me why I can not pick up 680 The Fan out of Atlanta at night, but can clearly get AM 1000, a sports talk station out of Chicago. That's right, I said Chicago. Now I appreciate Da Bears as much as the next guy, but how 'bout some local flavor.

And now for the, shall we say "colorful", shows. 1510 AM has a guy who calls himself "The Ole Trailblazer." This guy is a self proclaimed prophet of God. And he is country as the day is long. Just listen for a few minutes and you'll be speaking in tounges and taking up serpents. Good family fun.

And the one that takes the cake. The mother of all late night shows. Coast to Coast AM with George Noory. I could spend a week talking about this one. Have you been abducted by aliens? Can you see and/or travel to the future and/or past? Has the government poisoined your drinking water to keep the populace in line? Are you possesed? Are you a member of the Illuminati, Skull & Bones, Knights Templar, Priory of Scion, Rosecutions, Masons or any other secret society? If you answered "yes" to one or all of these questions, this is your show. Just to give you an idea, tonights show is Rosemary Ellen Guiley discussing ghosts, hauntings, cursings and demon Djinn. It's almost Halloween, you know? Last night was reincarnation research. You really can't go wrong with this show people. I highly recomend it. And check out if you have time to spare. The pictures alone are worth the trip. Next time I'll tell you how Coast to Coast scared the crap out of me. I'll give you a chance to check out the show first, then you'll understand better.

I don't know, maybe I should just get my CD player fixed.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Maybe they can tell....

Ok, so last time I told you all about my run ins with Johnny Law. It got me to thinking about why they "like" me so much.

I had a theory. I figured that at 2:30 in the morning, there are much fewer cars on the road. At the same time, there are probably the same amount of Peace Officers on duty as any other time of day. I mean, most crime happens at night, right? So there may even be more officers than during the day. To convince myself of this, I tried to think of all the patrol cars I see in daylight hours. I can't picture as many as at night. I see 4 or 5 some times. On a nightly basis. So that just means that there are less cars to divide each officers attention, which in turn leaves me, rather unluckily, as the focus of many of this city's finest. Sounds good, right?

Now I think otherwise.

I think they know. I think they can see how I drive once I am off the beaten path and onto my route all alone. I think there is an aura around my car that Police see as a billboard that says "LAWBREAKER". And you know what?

They are right.

Once I get onto my route, I have a complete and utter disregard for all traffic laws. Stop signs? Yellow lines? Speed limits? Whatever. I have no time for them. People need the news. The other night I counted the stop signs on my route. (Its lonely on the road, I had the time) On Sunday, my longest night, there are 56 Stop signs on the route. How many do I actually stop at? 30? 25? Not even close. Try none. That's right, not one single time. By the end of the route, there is one 4 way stop that I have run through 3 diffrent ways.

So before you even get to the countless time spent on the wrong side of the road, speeding and swerving while reloading papers, I've broken the law 56 times. And I think the cops can see it all over me.

Maybe I should change my evil ways. Maybe I should take my time and be an upstanding, law abiding citizen.

Naw, I need to get back to my bed.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

I smell Bacon!

Being that I work in the middle of the night, there are usually few cars on the roads with me. This means that any police officer concentrates on me that much more than usual. Police officers patroling the Square are looking just for me, I swear.

During my first stint with the paper back in 2004, I ran my route for 6 months, and only spoke to one officer of the law. And he did not pull me over. I was already pulled to the left side of the road, tubing a paper. I sat and waited for him to pass so I could continue. He stopped beside me, and asked what I was doing. The 250 newspapers stacked in the passenger seat gave me away, and he told me to continue, but to "turn on your high beams." I had my high beams on until he was coming at me, and turned them off for his benefit. "Yes sir" I said. Encounter over.

Fast forward to November of last year. I began my second stint here at the paper. From November to March, I was pulled over 6 times. SIX TIMES! Granted, each time I was technically breaking a traffic law. But give me a break, it's 3 in the morning and I'm the only car on the street.

I'm sorry I made a right hand turn on a red light on the square. I did not see the sign, honestly.

I'm sorry I was doing 51 in a 35. I was in a hurry to get back to my bed.

I'm sorry I was doing 47 in a 35. I was in a hurry to get my route started. (So I could get back to my bed.)

I'm sorry I was doing 44 in a 35. I thought I could get up to speed too soon I guess.

I'm sorry again for doing 46 in a 35. Yes, sir, you have stopped me before. Thanks for remembering. No, sir, it will not happen again. Yes, sir, thank you for the warning.

This job is costing me money.

And since the March, I have not been stopped. That's not to say that I don't constantly disregard traffic laws. I just don't do it anywhere near the Square. Now, as I pass the MPD doing 33 in a 35, I just wave and hope he can't see that I'm not wearing my seat belt!

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Pros and Cons....

Well, in my first post I explained how my job as a paperboy works. You may be asking yourself, "Why would he do such a thing?" Like everything else, newspaper delivery has its pros and cons. Or as they say in the elevator business, it has its ups and downs. I've never made an actual list of these, so we'll get through this together, OK? Here goes with pros. (a little rhyming never hurt anyone)

First off, it is a weekly paycheck. My high school guidance counselor would say you should not work just for money, you should do what makes you happy. Paying my bills makes me happy. So there, Mr. Guidance counselor guy.
Second, even though it is a part time position, it has pretty good benefits. Being able to take my girls to the doctor also makes me happy.
Thirdly, as opposed to any other part time job I might have, the hours allow me to not miss any home time with the ladies. If I was selling shoes or flipping burgers, I'd never see them. As it is, I'd just be sleeping then anyway. Plus, now I don't smell like a Jr Bacon Nike.
Fourthly(is that even a word?), aside from the 30 minutes I spend at the warehouse bagging every night, it's good ME time. I get roughly 2 hours to myself to sort out the events of the day, plan for tomorrow, or sing badly at the top of my lungs. (More on that in a future post)
Fifthly(I'm gonna stick with it), it's fairly easy. Once you run the same route say, 200 nights in a row, you can pretty much do it with your eyes closed. And at this time of night, sometimes you do! There is no strenuous labor, aside from dragging my 300+ pounds out of bed.
Sixthly(say that 5 times fast), being in a rural area, there's a great view of the stars on a clear night. Which, if I wasn't always in a hurry to get back to my bed, I'm sure is incredible.

That's a pretty good list. Now for the bad news:

First, the hours. While I also listed this in the pro section, it is a Con as well. You just can't acclimate your body to sleeping for 3 hours, waking up and working for 2-3 hours, going back to sleep for 2-3 hours, waking up and working a normal 9 hour day, then rinse and repeat. Eventually, much to my supervisors chagrin, my body just says "forget it, I'm not getting up on time today. Stay asleep, Big boy." Then the boss calls at 2:15 to see where you are. On my way, that's where I am.
Second, the days. This is a 7 day a week, 365 day a year job. No weekends, no holidays. As a matter of fact, EVERYONE gets a paper on holidays, so they are actually more work. Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, yeah for Thanksgiving! (have you seen the day after Thanksgiving paper? Yeah, I get to put those ads in there.) This means no weekend trips out of town, much less a real vacation.
Thirdly, people can be pretty anal about their newspapers. Don't let them get wet, accidentally toss it in a ditch, miss the paper tube or any other such gross violation of human decency. And God forbid you don't give them a paper on any given night. Wow, the mouths' on some people!

That's about it on the Con side. Now, before you start asking about high gas prices, we get a weekly stipend to cover gas, so it's all good. Although I do run through tires pretty quickly.

Anywho, that's a decent list off the top of my head. If you can think of anything to maybe add, let me know. Unless they are Cons, it's hard enough to get out of bed already.

I'm going home now, it's past my bedtime.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Welcome one and all

Hello, and welcome to Newspaper Nights. This is my little corner of the web to broadcast my life as a paper delivery guy. A friend of mine has a blog covering his job as a pizza delivery guy, and while reading his ups and downs, I realized that I had some stories to tell as well. Whether or not anyone reads and enjoys them remains to be seen, but I suppose I just need to write things down.

First, lets start with a little background and how this job works. I have been back delivering papers for going on a year now. I say "back" because I did this once before for about the last 6 months of 2004. It has its pros and cons, but we'll cover that later. Right now, here's how it works. I arrive at the warehouse at 1:45 am to get my papers for the day. I get my mail covering the previous nights misses, any new starts or stops, and any of my houses that are going on vacation. After pulling my alotment of papers for that morning, I move to my table to bag each individual paper. If I have arrived early enough, I put together the days inserts. See, the paper does not come all put together. No, just the headline, Metro and Sports come at 1:45. The Living, Classified, Cars, Jobs and any advertisements are delivered earlier in the day, and have to be added to the headline. (This is one of the Cons we will discuss later) The put together papers have to be folded together and put into a plastic bag. Said bags are thrown into a cart. Once each paper is bagged, they are loaded into my car. Then the real fun begins.

As the week progresses, so does the number of papers I have to deliver. I run a pretty small route. Monday-Wednesday is about 80 papers, Thursday is close to 100, Friday and Saturday about 110, and around 150 on Sunday. Also, the actual papers themselves increase in size as the week goes on. During the week, all of the nights papers will fit in the passenger side of the car, but by Sunday, the sheer size and numbers fill the entire inside of the car, front and back seat.

My route is in rural Locust Grove, Georgia. It is 54 miles from the warehouse until I throw my last paper, the another 10 back home. Monday-Friday takes about 1 1/2 hours to deliver, while Sunday takes right at 2 hours. Add the time I spend bagging and loading, it equals around 2-3 hours a night, 4-4 1/2 on Sunday. Roughly 22 hours a week.

So that's how it works. Pretty vanilla right. Not always. I'll share the good stuff in my future posts. Thanks for suffering through this first post, it gets funnier.(and weirder)

Coming up on Newspaper Nights:
Deer (and other roadkill)
Late Night Radio
My complete disregard for traffic laws

Stay tuned....