Wednesday, September 30, 2009

The Golden Hoard

You've heard of the show Hoarders on A&E? I think they could do an office version. Sorry for the poor quality of some of them. I was using the camera phone. There's actually a lot more, but it's in locked rooms so that visitors can't see.

Slightly Useless Lawnmower Project

I raised this up as the ultimate example of my Yankee* Ingenuity even if some people think it was a waste of time.

It all started when the pull start cord started to fray. I removed the bracket tethering it to the handle bar, shortened the rope and tied the handle back on right at the engine, the way a pull starter is supposed to be.

Then I got to thinkin'. That safety device on the handle bar, the small bar that you have to hold down or the engine shuts off, has been broken for a year. I stuck a lag bolt into the mechanism on the engine that this safety device controls. That makes it kind of hard to shut the engine off when I am done mowing the lawn.

Let's make a short story shorter.

I completely removed the safety device with the lag bolt stuck in it. Then I cut a piece of steel out of an old wheelbarrow that I have. Drilled two holes in it for bolting it on the engine block. Stole a switch from a broken Power Wheels ATV (Yes, I do need to make a trip to the dump. Thanks for asking). Cut a hole in the piece of steel and stuck the switch in. Hooked the wire from the safety device to the switch and ran wire from the engine block to the other side of the switch. And voila! I can now easily turn my lawn mower off.

*the good kind of Yankee

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Fabulous Movie Review©

Glengarry Glen Ross
The movie from the 80s with the title that doesn't make sense that many people had told me was good, but I was skeptical. That's how I've always thought of it. I decided last week to look into it a bit. A near 8 rating at IMDB and an all star cast of Al Pacino, Kevin Spacey, Alan Arkin, Alec Baldwin, Ed Harris, Jack Lemmon and Jude Ciccolella, President Palmer's chief of staff from 24.

The plot seemed a bit underwhelming to me as well. A bunch of real estate agents who sell vacation land complain about the bad leads they are getting.

So, after looking into it a little, Glengarry Glen Ross became the movie from the 80s with the title that doesn't make sense that many people had told me was good which has an incredible cast but a somewhat boring sounding plot.

Then I watched it a few nights ago, and it turned into a movie from 1992 with an excellent cast which humanizes salesmen and almost, almost elicits sympathy for them.

And now for the obligatory Simpsons reference. I would bet cold hard cash that Jack Lemmon's character, Shelley Levene, is the basis for the Gil Gunderson character. Oh, yeah, he is actually. I didn't know that until I just googled Gil Gunderson for a link to stick in here. And here I thought I was letting some big secret out of the bag. Whatta dope.

8 out of 10 (Very, very good)

Access Denied

I ate a ton of pistachios last night, so my right index finger is a little chewed up from opening the shells, which is causing my fingerprint authentication doohickey on my computer some trouble.

Fabulous Movie Review®

Eden Lake
A pretty decent suspensey thriller type movie without too many "oh COME ON" moments. Only one that I can think of, well, two, but it was the same type of moment. While trying to get away from people on foot while driving a car they crashed because they were driving recklessly in their haste to get away from people on foot.

7 out of 10 (Good)

Friday, September 25, 2009

Speaking of Land Cruisers

The ads a little old, but it might still be available. Anybody got the guts to embark on a real journey?

Simple, Really

I liken my current project at work to changing an outlet because someone wants white instead of beige.

First I turn off the power because otherwise messing around in there will get me hurt. This causes anxiety to others because they have things to do and they want to know how long the power will be off. A reasonable request and the answer is 'not long, it's easy.'

Once I get the cover off of the outlet I realize that the outlet box is broken and the only thing that's been holding the outlet in place is paint and some spackle. I have to do the job right. If not for the satisfaction of doing the job correctly, then simply for safety's sake. Nobody will see it, the little devil on my left shoulder says, but I will know it's there, I explain.

I go about cutting the nails that attach the remaining portion of the outlet box to the stud with a hacksaw or maybe a sawzall. Of course, the drywall gets damaged in that operation, so I enlarge and square off the hole in preparation for creating a patch.

Ah, but I spy something in the wall cavity that looks like mold. I know that I can't leave that in there. It's a health hazard and just by glancing at it I am now subject to full disclosure if I should ever decide sell to sell my house.

A bigger section of the drywall is removed to facilitate cleaning the mold and that's when I discover the source of the moisture that is causing the mold. A slow but steady drip from a pipe feeding the sink in the upstairs bathroom. That has to be fixed, no ands, ifs or buts about it.

So, I repair the leak and begin killing the mold with a bleach solution but the studs start to fall apart as I wash them because they are almost completely rotten.

The wall is gutted and rebuilt, the drywall put back on, the joints spackled, sanded, primed and painted, the outlet hooked up and the new white cover is slapped on. Power is restored and all the affected parties say is, "What took you so long?"

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Cool Things I Saw Today

A deadly spider*.

A very rare Toyota FJ40 Land Cruiser**. I took a crappy picture, I know.

At first glance I thought this was a pile of scrap that a hobo had left behind until he could fetch his shopping cart, but then I realized, no, its a Puch Magnum***.

*not really, well, maybe if you are a fly.

**these things are rare. I've only seen a few live in person in my lifetime. Most are rusted out beyond belief. Those old Toyotas... One of my everlasting childhood memories is a guy we knew when I was around 7 or 8. He had one. It was wicked rusty (1982ish, the thing was only a few years old at that point) but it was cool. He had a beard and a cute wife. It may have been my first man crush. I think it was my first man crush. He had it all. Truck, beard, woman.

***Its a pile of scrap that some mechanically uninclined greeny hipster chained to a post until he can come back with his mom who has a car to pick it up because he fouled the spark plug and put it on craigslist.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

I Think There's Been Some Mistake

The downside of sharing Netflix with Z wife:

I don't think you understand, I didn't enjoy those movies.

Of course, he said knowingly, we know you would never watch movies like that, sir. Riiight.


Anthem by Ayn Rand
Too short. Good, but seriously, it's a short story.

Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand
Man. I felt like I've been reading this book all summer, but in reality its only been about a month. Eleven hundred pages. I was completely ignorant of what it was about before I started and I didn't know what to expect. It's great though. Everybody should read it.

There was an episode of the Simpsons, A Streetcar Named Marge, which featured the Ayn Rand School for Tots. I never got that joke, and I was hoping that reading this book would unlock the secret for me, but sadly, it didn't. If anybody could explain it to me, then I will be eternally in your debt. Actually, no, I won't be, but I will say thanks.

I see Atlas Shrugged in everything now. Most recently in Media magnate among the backers of Michael Moore's anti-capitalism screed. I like this quote:

Obviously, there is a little something ironic about Moore's cinematic screed against capitalism being backed in part by one of the country's richest and most avowed capitalists. Then again, Moore is nothing if not a paradox.

Um, no he's not. He's a hypocrite.


Report: Floodwall Lacks Adequate Protection Against Southsiders

*if you live in Richmond, otherwise not so much. Kind of like telling people Noble stands for No Brains Little Education. Funny to someone who lives in Somersworth, not so much to anybody who lives anywhere else.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Fabulous Movie Review®

In Bruges
I don't get the IMDB lovefest for this movie. An 8.1 rating?! Somebody explain it to me. It's apparently beyond my limited powers of logic and reason.

6 out of 10 (OK)

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Fabulous Movie Review©

The Ballad of Cable Hogue
Interesting movie from Sam Peckinpah. A romantic tragic comedy western. I daresay the first of that type I have ever seen and most likely the last. Peckinpah is usually known for the violence in his movies (The Wild Bunch, Straw Dogs) and I wasn't expecting a love story. I liked it though and if you are trying to get your wife to watch a western, then this is a good choice.

7.5 out of 10 (Very good)


Put a new starter in Z wife's van today. It was surprisingly easy to do. Twenty minutes of actual work. It's setting me up. The next repair is going to suuuuuck I bet.

This isn't the whole story of course. All of this was preceded by the thing a husband dreads the most: the frantic phone call from Z wife. Yeah, starters never go bad in the driveway. Luckily she wasn't too far away and the tow only set me back $60. The starter, however, was $150. Ouch. No top shelf vodka for Z wife this week.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

More Useless Comments

Not one, but two useless comments. For one line of code. For one line of code that is self-evident to, I assume, anyone alive.

'return to overview page
'redirect user to the overview page
Response.Redirect("overview.aspx", False)


Trying to search for Electras.

Ah, ok, I tried 2007. Sweet. I'm 33 again.

Ed Begley Jr RC

Powered by your own sense of self-satisfaction*

*Simpsons reference

Monday, September 14, 2009

Friday, September 11, 2009

Not Once, but Twice

"wife has decreed it must go"

"Wife says it needs to go!"

Why make your wife the scapegoat? If you really wanted to keep it then you would.

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

I forgot to mention about Kings Dominion

They are building a new coaster called The Intimidator 305. The "305" stands for how tall it is. Can't wait. Three hundred feet high, almost a mile long, and 90 miles per hour.

a link for the curious.

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Dominion of Kings or Dominion of the King?

Z wife and I went to Kings Dominion Sunday sans kids. To me that means one thing: roller coasters. It was a great day. Not too hot. Not too crowded. I've never been there before, so here are my impressions of the rides (mostly coasters).

  • Dominator - the best coaster there. Floorless. We went twice and the second time was in the dark and we spent the extra 20 minutes or so in line required to secure a front seat. Worth it. Nice big initial drop and smooooth. Long too. I didn't feel like it was over too quick.

  • Drop Tower - "The largest drop ride in North America, a 305-foot tower of thrills that promises daring riders a 272-foot descent at 72 miles-per-hour! This adrenaline-pumping adventure simulates the sensation of skydiving." I've never seen Z wife so scared at anything non-snake related. It was wicked awesome.

  • Volcano: The Blast Coaster - a launch coaster, you go from 0 to 70 in a couple seconds, which I wasn't expecting, and it is a pretty cool ride, very fast, but its over pretty quick and, at least while we were there, it was a hellacious line.

  • The Hurler - my favorite of the three wooden coasters. The only one that didn't knock the wind out of me and it was pretty fast comparatively, but that might have just been my perception because we sat in the front seat.

  • Ricochet - a "wild mouse" coaster, think the old Galaxi at Canobie Lake, but smoother, faster, and just better.

  • Rebel Yell - would have been much cooler if the still ran the cars backwards...

  • Grizzly - the other wooden coaster. I need to try it again. I got the wind knocked out of me about halfway through which ruined the rest of the ride.

  • Shockwave - cool because its the first stand up coaster I have ever been on.

  • Back Lot Stunt Coaster - 0 to 40 in about 3 seconds. Pretty neat, but if the line is long...

  • Anaconda - nice and smooth like a good steel coaster should be. Plenty of upside down moments, but I was a bit bored with it. The drop is 144 foot, but its not steep and the top speed is only 50.

  • Avalanche - simulates bobsleds. Different and fun.

Fabulous Movie Review©

Catch-22 I read the book and loved it, and I didn't go into this movie expecting it to live up to the book. They never do. Even a brilliantly executed book-based movie has to leave out certain bits just to fit within the 2 hour constraint. Catch-22 The Movie! is no different and I didn't have a problem with that in theory. However, in practice the movie is very disjointed and is lacking a good narrative. It's just a collection of moments from the book with not much to link it all together. In fact, if I hadn't read the book I really wouldn't have known what was going on. Especially the end.

5 out of 10 (Could be worse)

Monday, September 07, 2009

Get a Pair

I've always had one rule about craigslist ads, ignore the ones without a picture, but I have two rules now. I will now ignore the ones where the seller is blaming his wife for having to sell.

"Kids say keep it and the Wife says it has to go! It's posted so you see who has the last word"

Either lie about your reason for selling it or show some testicular fortitude and don't sell it, but don't blame your wife. Have some self-respect/dignity.