No, this won't be a blog about John Woo's 1997 adventure flick starring John Travolta and Nick Cage.

It's going to be about the events of the last few days in 2007.

I was running late for work last Sunday. When I drove up to the office, I was looking for a parking space nearest the employee entrance. Figured it would save some time. I found a space across the street from the building, nearest the press. Its just a skip and a jump to the entrance. No money in the meters on Sundays! Woo Hoo!

Later that night I returned to find that some had smashed out my passenger's side window and RIPPED out the dashboard portion of my truck to relieve me of my car stereo.

The newspaper office, it seems, borders on a rough side of town. A side of town that is conveniently near an area where homeless people and naredowells typically tend to hang out. And as it happens, there's also a bit of a rough neighborhood on the other side of I-37, which also runs near our office. Given that information, we tend to experience a lot of break-ins year round.

I'd never been broken into. I've only heard it happen to dozens of people around the building. The circumstances steaming from the fact that we don't really have a single, monitored company lot. We're forced to park in these pay lots that are scattered all over the place. Only on weekends to do have the availability of parking in a single lot which is monitored by the company security officers. They do a good job and are always around to lend a hand, but their reach only extends so far.

I had parked next to a building, where at night, it gets a little dark. And I should have known better. I've been nervous about parking ANYWHERE other than the company lot on weekends, Hell, any day. But given that I was running late, I figured I'd keep the car close. Apparently, it wasn't close enough.

The thieves bashed out the passenger's side window, spilling glass all over the front seat and the foot well. They tried to use part of a Philips head screw driver (just the shaft, sans the handle) to unscrew the plate that covers the radio and also houses the air conditioner controls, the cigarette lighter and the air vents. When it proved to be too much work, they just jammed the screwdriver into the first available opening and RIPPED OUT the covering to access the stereo. Chunks of it remain, along with the screws they could have easily removed to access it. Having done that they CAREFULLY removed my stereo, making sure to keep all the necessary wires in tact.

I'm only speculating, mind you, since all I found upon inspection was the ripped out dash, the partial screw driver and the mounds of glass. Here's a photo of what I found.

The aftermath.

Our security personnel were as helpful as they could be given that it didn't happen on company property. They even took pictures for me so I could have for insurance purposes. The police showed up and took my report too. They told me I could call the CSI's to come and dust for finger prints, but that it would take about 2 hours or so for them to arrive. Probably shorthanded, I imagine. And really, what kind of manpower are they going to employ for a stolen car stereo?

I should mention one thing that's going to make me look like a fucking idiot. My car stereo was the kind that has one of those removable face plates that render the stereo useless when not attached. Did I remove it that night? No. Had I previously? Yes. Have I been eating paint chips and did they cause me to have a momentary lapse of reason for me to have left it on? Its possible. Of the hundred or so times that I've parked in different areas near the building, I always knew I was taking a risk by not removing it. And given the randomness of the act, I guess I also got a little complacent, thinking it might never happen to me. But it did.

I also knew that by not parking in the company lot, which is available to regular employees ONLY on weekends, I would be at greater risk of having something like this happen to me.

And being that this is I Rant Therefore I Rave, I shall now up the rant.

I shouldn't have to say it, but I'm pissed. Really pissed. For a couple of reasons.

For starters, I'm a little strapped for cash right now. So there's absolutely no way that I'm going to spend the over $200 it's going to take to have someone come out and replace it. More like over $300. I don't want to have to put the trash bag over the door and duct tape it. I'm just not going to. Not just because it's ghetto, but because I won't be able to see out of it and it's going to make that incessant flapping noise when I drive. So I'll just layer on the jackets, put on the gloves and go about my business. Until it rains. Christ.

What really gets my goat is the police presence down here is just a fucking joke. How so, do you ask? Well, let's try this. Several weeks back, I'm coming to work and I park at a meter. It was 10 minutes till 6 pm, the cut off for all meters downtown. After 6 pm, parking is free. My guess is that there are these roving bands of meter maids who have nothing better to do than to hand out citations for something as petty as 10 MINUTES. By the time I remembered that I hadn't put money in the meter, I returned to my car to find A CITATION had been neatly placed under my windshield wiper. Yet as soon as 6 pm rolls around, the police presence grinds to a nearly silent halt. I say nearly silent because if it weren't for the fact that we're about two blocks from the Alamo, we probably wouldn't see them at all. And they guard the Alamo like someone was going to run off with it.

That being said, if they guard that fucking landmark so freaking well, couldn't they send a little help our way to curb the constant rash of break-ins? And if they're going to be as tyrannical about parking meters, shouldn't that reflect itself in making sure that the people who PAY TAXES into law enforcement and city affairs get some justice when some idiots like the ones who have broken into our cars do so?

I'm not counting on ever seeing my stereo again and, frankly, on anyone ever being caught for that same crime. In fact, I'd be surprised if anything is done to curb the break-ins. Just this morning I saw another pile of broken glass in the pay parking lot I stashed the car in. There are piles of glass all over the place, in and around the areas by the office.

I think I have to take my case to a higher authority. Maybe the publisher of the paper or some city official. Someone has to do something.


A new year

Well, here we are in 2008. Wow. 2008. Two more years and we'll be in Arthur C. Clarke's 2010: The Year We Make Contact, sans all the advanced technology and communication with an extra terrestrial intelligence.

Still, I think 2008 is going to be a great year. I can feel it in my bones. Now, don't get me wrong. Its going to be filled with plenty of challenges and, sometimes, strife. What makes a difference is how you deal with it all. I spent a lot of time last year not dealing with challenges in the right manner. I'm getting to old to continually dodge shit. I can be a kid at heart and an adult in mind, right?

I hope 2008 is ready for me.


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