Monday, April 22, 2013
So as I get my ninja fortress ready for sale, there are a few big items that I need to finish, but can't do myself. One of these is to replace the iron front porch which is seriously rusting and looks, well, like sh1t. As I get quotes for this, it makes me think of Steve's reality distortion field.
Now, I know for a fact that iron is not expensive. If you wanted to buy some, the price they would quote you would be for a ton. It's not worth it to try to sell it by the pound because it's so heavy and so cheap that the only way to have a conversation without decimal points is to give a price in tons. (or maybe it's spelled tonnes, if you're british).
And yet, when I get quotes, the person will look me dead in the eye, and say with a straight face and number like "$4000", without registering any emotion. It's delivered with the same dispassionate matter-of-factness that they would say a word like "lemons", "mustache" or "oregano". As if their preternatural calm is supposed to make me believe that's not a lot of money for a day or two worth of work. A welder's reality distortion field? The jedi-mind trick doesn't work on me. I know these are the droids i'm looking for. And I don't care if you need an answer right away. My answer is: I'm getting more quotes.
Sunday, April 14, 2013
It took a lot of work to get my business from the planning stage to where it is now. I had to hire a web designer, find suppliers for the boxes, decide on territories that I wanted to cover and each step took more time and effort than I realized.
I think what I found just as useful as analyzing what others did right, is to figure out where it could go wrong. I found two companies that failed at this (one mom & pop outfit in florida, and another who bought a franchise from one of the big companies) and I decided to call them up and talk to them for a loooong time. I performed, in essence, an autopsy on their business so that I wouldn't make the same mistakes that they did. It was *very* informative.
In the end, I decided to launch my moving boxes business in palm beach county florida. I am also simultaneously launching a moving boxes business in washington, DC,
I was surprised at how little information there was out there on setting up this type of business. I did find some really helpful information on other businesses to model (interviews with Brian Scudamore from 800-Got-Junk and Tony Hsieh from Zappos) which had a strong customer service component to them.
Moving is such a stressful event that I think the only way to be involved in that business is to do things differently. I'm committed to bringing humanity back to the moving business. I meditate regularly and there is a Zen concept about loving as much as you can from wherever you are, and I think those mental and emotional attitudes will fit well with what I am trying to do.
At any rate, I also received invaluable help from a few other Mom & Pop independent moving box companies in other parts of the country. We communicate regularly either by email or through facebook. There is strength in numbers and bouncing ideas of them has been a tremendous help.
In case you found this website because you are thinking of starting a business like this, and want to ask questions, feel free to email me and I will help in any way that I can. Paying it forward. See you at the top :)
Wednesday, April 10, 2013
So, that will not do. If any of you are reading this and want to hook a brother up, please link to my www.elfboxes.com site. It would help me out a lot.
And obviously, if you are in the market for moving boxes, let me know. The site should be live and taking orders in a few days. thanks.
Monday, April 08, 2013
Because the boxes are strong and rigid, unlike cardboard, you can put your wineglasses on the bottom box, and your kettlebells in the box on top. One of the things everyone worries about during a move is breakage. These boxes are strong and secure enough to protect your most valuable belongings:
(in case you are wondering, this is my adorable nephew playing in one of the boxes)
I'm really happy to be able to launch this business with other members of my family. Moving is one of the most stressful life experiences that you will ever have. There are so many bad parts involved in the moving experience that I am glad we have found a way to improve one of them. As a small, family owned businesses I'm really stoked to be able to provide the kind of personalized service that I would want in a move. I'm dedicated to bringing humanity back to the moving experience, one box at a time. I hope you'll give us a try and that you'll be happy with the results. I'm not really sure what happiness looks like to you, but to me it looks like a cute kid in a funny hat, laughing inside a green box :)
So the company is called Elf Boxes, and website is www.elfboxes.com If you're looking to buy some moving boxes from a place like Uhaul or Home Depot, please check it out. I'm sure you'll be pleasantly surprised to find that it costs less to rent these boxes than it does to buy new cardboard boxes. Moreover, these boxes don't end up in a landfill after you use them. They can be used hundreds of times, and when they reach the end of their life cycle, then can be ground up and used to make more moving boxes.
Friday, March 30, 2012
Q: How do you eat an elephant?
A: The same way you eat anything, one bite at a time.
I'm 200+ pages into Good Calories, Bad Calories. It's 600+ pages with enough footnotes to give a NASA scientiest a hardon. It's drier than a box of saltine crackers, but very informative, albeit with a lot of science jargon. As someone without a background in science, it's hard to digest but not impossible. I don't have a background in finance either, but I managed to do really well in those classes in law school and can hold my own in conversations with PhD quants and economists. You can learn anything if you really want to. But you have to want it, it's not for dabblers.
Some of the things in the book are so contrary to the conventional wisdom that it's hard to believe, despite the science to back it up. (If you're worried about triglycerides, throw out that glass of orange juice and eat a steak instead) I had intended to read 20 books this year on my new e-reader, and so far this book is number two. I'm falling behind schedule, but I'll keep plugging away at this because I need to fully understand the science so that I can plausibly order a plate of ribs and claim that it's health food.
In case you think I'm exaggerating about the complexity of the science or the mind-blowing conclusions about nutrition, have a look for yourself:
Consider a porterhouse steak with a quarter-inch layer of fat. After broiling, this steak will reduce to almost equal parts fat and protein. Fifty-one percent of the fat is monounsaturated, of which 90 percent is oleic acid. Saturated fat constitutes 45 percent of the total fat, but a third of that is stearic acid, which will increase HDL cholesterol while having no effect on LDL. (Stearic acid is metabolized in the body to oleic acid, according to Grundy’s research.) The remaining 4 percent of the fat is polyunsaturated, which lowers LDL cholesterol but has no meaningful effect on HDL. In sum, perhaps as much as 70 percent of the fat content of a porterhouse steak will improve the relative levels of LDL and HDL cholesterol, compared with what they would be if carbohydrates such as bread, potatoes, or pasta were consumed. The remaining 30 percent will raise LDL cholesterol but will also raise HDL cholesterol and will have an insignificant effect, if any, on the ratio of total cholesterol to HDL. All of this suggests that eating a porterhouse steak in lieu of bread or potatoes would actually reduce heart disease risk, although virtually no nutritional authority will say so publicly. The same is true for lard and bacon." (emphasis mine)
Gary Taubes, "Good Calories Bad Calories"
It's like being told you are in the Matrix and nothing you've been led to believe is real. If it wasn't so serious, it would be farce:
Tuesday, February 07, 2012
Thursday, February 02, 2012
"Really? you had a boy? a baby one or full grown? a
teenager? that must've been painful!"
I don't know if it was a "bouncing" baby boy because no one dropped him, but he appears to normal in all other aspects. In fact, better than normal...exceptional! Very handsome. He looks strong too (a future jiu jitsu fighter? one can only hope).
Saturday, January 14, 2012
Saturday, December 24, 2011
Don't autocorrect me, Iphone. Yes, I meant "fisting" not "gusting". WTF is anal gusting
My beagle only wants to play with other beagles. Does that mean my dog is a racist?
At any rate I'm not giving up blogging, but I am going to start another blog where I talk about other things. I'm keeping it under wraps for now. Maybe I'll keep this around for old times sake, like the blind diabetic dog that you are too emotional to put down, even though you've already got a new puppy picked out. Or maybe I'll use both, like a high-powered Hollywood executive with a first wife and a mistress.
Thursday, December 16, 2010
Tuesday, December 14, 2010
My sister moved with her kids from South Florida to Wisconsin. They have never seen snow. Since they have never seen it, except in pictures, it must be a magical thing for them. But they live in Wisconsin now. I have a feeling that in a few years, they will tire of it and see it for what it is. Something cold, wet and annoying.
If you like snow, it's probably because you don't have to shovel it. My parking spot is behind my house, and you get to it by the alleyway. Last year at this time, DC suffered the worst snowstorms that have ever been recorded. Do you know how long it takes 4 people to dig out a car wide channel of snow that's 3 feet deep and an alley long --by hand? 6 hours!
I've never been a cold weather person. I love the beach, I love the sun, the sand, the water (the bikinis!). When I was in high school and college and my friends would take ski trips to Vermont, I would never go because...I hate the cold and I hate the snow. The idea of being outside all day and being wet and cold isn't appealing to me. But if you've never seen the snow, I guess it's magical. If you don't have to shovel it, I guess it is beautiful.
If it snows really hard here again, I hope I'm in Florida when it happens. I'd like to be watching it on TV, then going out to the pool with a towel and some sunscreen...I still hate the snow.
Tuesday, December 07, 2010
If you can't donate, pass this message on to a friend or family member who would be interested. WE NEED YOUR SUPPORT and we are grateful for any help you can offer.
You can learn more and make a tax-deductible donation online at:
Now the message:
A WORLD WITHOUT BLOOMBARS
Dear Friends of BloomBars,
In a matter of days, we may be facing a world without BloomBars.
No more guitar lessons for kids every Sunday. No more impromptu jam sessions among new friends at Cipherstock. No more open mics for high school students and other artists honing their crafts as poets, musicians, comedians and storytellers in a supportive, alcohol-free, all-ages space. And no more music wafting out of our double-doors into the streets of Columbia Heights, welcoming neighbors and passerby to share the experience.
Please take 3 minutes to make a tax-deductible online donation to BloomBars to help us prevent this from becoming a reality. BloomBars is calling on people like you, who believe that art can transform communities and change lives, to donate now and stay in our home!
How often do you see children as young as 5 performing at an open mic? Or youth at a Saturday night rock concert bonding with the musicians during sound check? Or high school teachers sharing their poetry at an event attended primarily by their (cheering) students?
How often do you see people from all over the city and world-- regardless of age, race, or income-- come together and give a stranger a hug after listening to local musicians?
There aren't many places where cultural, generational, and socioeconomic diversity come together in a physical space-- particularly not around the arts. The simple choice to provide an alcohol-free, all-ages space for learning, performing, and engaging with each other has had amazing effects.
Without your support today our ability to keep growing (and the doors open) is in jeopardy.
I’ve heard BloomBars called a “venue.” It is not. It is you. It is me. It is our community. And its future is not guaranteed. Please, help us continue planting seeds.
There are three things we ask of you:
1. Make a tax-deductible donation now! WE HAVE LESS THAN 57 HOURS TO REACH OUR GOAL OF $20,000!
2. Invite 10 friends to learn more about BloomBars on Facebook or via an email. We'll even make it extra easy: Here's a template you can use: http://www.bloombars.com/press-media/spread-the-word-in-2-clicks-email-template
3. Make the BloomBars logo your Facebook profile photo for a day.
We are counting on your support and your help in spreading the word!
Until Soon, Keep Blooming.
John R. Chambers
Chief Executive Gardener
Sunday, November 14, 2010
Saturday, September 25, 2010
Sunday, October 3 · 4:30pm - 6:30pm
|Location||BTI Dance Institute|
1515 14th St NW Suite 200 (near P St)
|More Info||The D.C. area's only Contra-Mestre direct from Brazil will be conducting a capoeira regional workshop at BTI Dance. Beginning students will learn basic capoeira movements and by the end of the workshop will be able to execute a combination of movements in sequence. Intermediate students are also welcome, and will learn a combination based on their level of experience.|
No prior experience is necessary. Beginners should wear loose fitting clothing and light footwear; advanced capoeiristas should wear traditional white capoeira pants and a t-shirt.
Come ginga with Contra-Mestre Bomba, Capoeira Barro Vermelho!
Email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information or go to
Monday, August 30, 2010
The key is to have all the right tools, like this mixing attachment that you put on to a power drill. Tools are awesome when they do all the work for you.
Here is the Living room window before. There were some repairs done to it, which is why there is new bare wood there. It looks better after painting.
Here is the living room window after. It looks cleaner, doesn't it? Well, except for that shitty looking radiator.
Here is the kitchen window before.
kitchen window after.
I also got out the heat gun (yes in the summer) and stripped some paint off the stairway railings to re-paint them.
This was a lot harder than it looked ("that's what she said!").
Sunday, August 01, 2010
Peta's Banned 2009 Superbowl Ad - Watch more Funny Videos
So you are surprised that the superbowl wouldn't run an ad that had a woman masturbating with a piece of broccoli? Really? That's news to you? You didn't see it coming (no pun intendend). It didn't occur to you that they intentionally wanted it rejected so that they wouldn't have to pay $20 million for a superbowl ad, but they would get millions in free advertising from the networks showing coverage about their "banned" ad?
Last week I saw a clip on the news about another publicity seeking moron. She is supposedly so intent on getting married that she set the date, booked the place (february 2011) and is now looking for a husband to meet and get married in less than a year. Is this woman an accountant? A lawyer? A human resources professional? Nope...surprisingly, she's in the entertainment business. Whaaaaa?!? An unsuccessful songwriter who's now on national television singing her sh1tty song about finding a husband. Lisa Linehan has parlayed this stupid stunt into a reality show, sponsorships and a media blitz. Way to go Lisa!
As for CNN and the other supposed news channels, I have news for you. We're fighting two wars and a recession. The nation is trillions of dollars in debt, the party in power in congress may change hands soon, there is a Supreme Court nominee who's fighting to get nominated etc. etc. etc. Why don't you use your bandwith for REAL news?
Saturday, July 17, 2010
Anyway, as far as earthquakes go, it was pretty mild. I actually didn't know it was an earthquake until I saw it on the news. It sounded and felt like there was a police helicopter hovering overhead looking for someone. I'm sure most people who are up at 4am and here what they think is a police helicopter outside would do the obvious like close down all the p0rn browsers on their computer, flush all thier cocaine down the toilet or throw more stuff on the pile of clothes hiding the dead hookers in the basement. But I did none of that. I just kept watching inane YouTube videos on failblog. Like this one:
Friday, July 09, 2010
Wednesday, July 07, 2010
the future and hijinx ensued. Although July 5, 2010 must've seemed like a meelyun years in the future, it was, in actuallity not that far into the future--especially when you consider that Michael J. Fox still looks like a teenager(a teenager that's married to his mom, but still...).
When I saw this I was saddened a little bit. Sure, flying cars are almost here, but it will be a long time before I commute to work in one. And WTF happened to hoverboards?
If there is anything that kept me going during the dark period known as the 1990s, it was the thought that within 10 years I would have one of these bad boys and life would be good.
We can put a man on the moon, but we still don't have hoverboards?
Tuesday, July 06, 2010
Now, a block away from that same bullet proof chinese place are a wine bar (with paninis!) and a new craft beer bar/restuarant, a brick oven pizza place, and a community arts center. Thank you gentrification!!!
Now, develepment doesn't happen uniformly everywhere. There has been an eyesore near the ninja fortress since before I moved in. A burned out shell of a building that once housed a jazz club, but currently houses mice when the weather gets bad.
Now that Gentrification has reached a certain point, even this burned out sh1t-hole is worth buying and fixing up into something nice. Gentrification = reinvestment in infrastructure. Get it?
So this former eyesore is being gutted as we speak and will very shortly (hopefully) look like this:
WELCOME FUTURE NEIGHBORS! If this place is a little to pricey for you, I have a nice fortress very near by that I'd be willing to sell you :)
(pic from capital city real estate)
Friday, June 25, 2010
It starts of slowly like an old man lowering himself into a bathtub and the running intervals get longer and the rest periods get shorter until you are running the full 5k.
So far it's been fine and it will help my cardio. Next week I'm also going to start doing 3 classes of muay thai a week (same night as my jiu jitsu) and a capoeira class that I started on saturday. I'm hoping to do a jiu jitsu tournment in August so hopefully the threat of someone kicking my ass will motivate me to work harder to prepare for it. Winning a medal is nice, but not getting your ass kicked and having it posted on YouTube is nicer.
I didn't think I would like Capoeira, but it's fun. Sorta like a cross between yoga and break dancing. Georgette said that Capoeira looks amazing when it's done right, but it doesn't look that way when I do it. Still, it's a great workout. The next day you are sore in muscles that you didn't even know you had. The class is near my house and the instructor doesn't speak english, but with my "monkee see, monkey do" skills I manage it.
Tuesday, June 15, 2010
I normally wouldn't be caught dead in Northeast DC (because it's not the safest area in DC and if you wander around there at night, you may literally be caught dead there), but I braved the rains, winds, junkies and hipsters and stayed up later than I should of on a school night, but it was worth it. I hope I can catch them on the their next US tour. In the meantime, I've got a cool T-shirt.
Tuesday, June 08, 2010
Thursday, May 20, 2010
Well, I have been busy with work, the house, jiu jitsu, being the worlds greatest boyfriend etc, but not so busy that I couldn't have written if I really wanted to. The problem is that I didn't want to. I don't want to come here and make a big pronouncement like "I'M BACK B1TCHES!!!" because I felt like writing today and maybe I'll feel like writing tomorrow, or maybe I'll just make a sandwhich and ignore this blog like a petulant child pushing away that bowl of tater tots because, although he still loves tater tots, he's a big boy now. If your wondering where I'm going with this, that makes two of us. See you guys later, unless I don't. Zen much?
Wednesday, May 19, 2010
Before: Not bad, just too...white.
After: I like how the doors at the end stand out now.
Monday, January 25, 2010
Someone asked me if I was going to keep doing jiu jitsu until I reached black belt. I don't know if I'll want to devote another 8 years or so to that goal, but I'm not as good as I want to be yet. Maybe in a couple of years I'll be where I want to be and find a new hobby. But jits is complicated and people keep inventing new moves all the time. I've heard from others that 10 years ago, no one played half guard, but nowadays there's people who specialize in butterfly guard, half butterfly, rubber guard, the 50/50 guard, X guard etc. Maybe it's sufficiently complex that you could do it forever and never master it? Or maybe working in an office means that I need some kind of physical activity to keep myself grounded. And there is nothing more physical than trying to rip someone's arm out of their socket when they are bigger than you and don't want to get their arm ripped out of it's proper socket. Just a thought.
Also, I started watching Lost recently. I don't want to be one of those annoying people who watches Lost and talks about it constanlty, but it's not bad (it would be much better if they killed off Charlie and Michael, who are incredibly annoying though). I think I find it tolerable because I can watch it on Netflix and not obsess about the cliffhanger endings. I can just go to the next episode and watch what happens. I am on Season 2 now, but I hope to be fully caught up by the time the final season comes on so that I can watch the last season with the rest of you losers...err, I mean dedicated fans. In the spirit of comraderie and fanship, here's a low-budget video re-cap of the first few seasons of Lost in 5 minutes. It was done by a guy and his extended italian family. All scenes were shot in his living room and basement. The special effects are pretty low-budget (and hysterical).
Monday, January 11, 2010
The difference between someone who bats .200 and someone who bats .300 is an extra zero on the end of your paycheck. That's a lot of money for such a small difference in performance. When there is so much money at stake and people keep expecting feats from sports athletes that are, literally, not humanly possible without steroids, it is not surprising that athletes will resort to that. The surpirsing thing is that most of the people who use steroids are not professional athletes. They are weekend warriors in the 30s looking for an edge. For them, it's not about money, it's about winning. And if you decided that winning is more important than winning fairly, then I guess you can justify all kinds of things like insider stock trading, rigging a presidential election, creating a mortgage apocalypse, or getting the government to bail out your sh1tty car companies. Maybe steroids are just a side effect of a winner-take-all society?
Sunday, December 27, 2009
The blizzard that hit DC was the worst in recent memory. Almost 2 feet of snow. I have been in DC for almost a decade and whenever the weather man says 4-6 inches of snow, it usually means an inch of snow, so when they said 18-24 inches of snow were expected, I didn't believe it.
After shoveling snow for six hours, I was finally able to get my car back into the driveway. My back was killing me from being bent over for six hours ("that's what SHE said!!!"). So it's good to be in florida for a little bit to recharge my batteries.
I almost didn't get here since my original flight was cancelled and Delta (worst airline ever) re-booked me without consulting me (or using common sense). I don't know if you know about geography, but if you draw a line from DC to Miami, the shortest route does not involve going through New York City. And to top that off, they booked me a flight that would involve me flying into NY via JFK airport (in Queens) and flying out of Newark airport (about 1.5. hours away, if you don't hit traffic). I have no idea how I was supposed to get from one airport to other...maybe Delta has some kind of teleportation machine?
I spent the next 48 hours trying to call Delta and the line was always busy. Busy at 10 am, busy at 1opm, busy at 4 am. I got through 4 times and three of those times I was hung up on. I repeat DELTA IS THE WORST AIRLINE EVER!. When I finally spoke to a person (in Mumbai, of course), he assured me that there were no flights available to Florida before Christmas. Since this wasn't an acceptable option, I spoke to a supervisor who got me on a flight which magically appeared.
Florida has been relaxing so far, except for the family drama which changes every year, but never ends. It's like being in an episode of Lost except that the crazy people with hidden agendas are your family.
I did have a fun time yesterday though. I went to an alligator park in the everglades and learned the proper way to wrestle an alligator, and also how to survive in the swamp if you are stuck there without an airboat. If civilization collapses in 2012, these may be surprisingly useful skills to have.
I'll be back home on Tuesday, then I have to get my place ready for a new year's eve party. I am hoping all the snow is melted by then since I don't plan on doing any shovelling. Party because my back doesn't like shoveling snow and party because someone stole my snow shovel. Welcome to Columbia Heights!!!
Sunday, December 06, 2009
Plus, in an odd way, I feel like this makes me a real jiu jitsu player. I don't think I would consider someone a real boxer if they've never had their nose broken, and in a strange way I don't think you've spent enough time on the mats to consider yourself serious about jits until you've caught some kind of nasty skin deasease (or torn an ACL). It's been about 3 weeks now, so I think I will try to go back next week and start to ease my way back into it.
In other news, I think next year I will test out my heating system BEFORE the first really cold day. As one of my summer projects, I changed the regular thermostat for a programmable one and never bothered to test it. When it wouldn't turn on yesterday I assumed the problem lay there ("that's what she said!"), but it turned out to be something completely unrelated. After a trip to home depot to find a voltage tester and a few hours of opening up walls, switchboxes and outlets, I found the problem. The switch for the emergency shut off was bad. So I was able to fix it pretty easily by installing a new switch. It was good that I found it in time, because I was freezing my butt off and I was about an hour away from rigging up a ghetto contraption straight to the furnace using an extension cord and some pliers if I couldn't get it going. There's 4 hours of my life that I won't get back. Grrrrr....which is better than Brrrrrrr...
Thursday, November 26, 2009
Dr: No...that's not bursitis. That's an infection...a really, really bad infection. Do you know how it started?
[I wanted to say that it hurt during class, so I did what I normally do when I am injured: ignore it and keep practicing, but I thought that would sound ridiculous]
Me: who knows how these things happen? I blame the republicans...
He wanted to cut my knee open right then and there, but since I'm squeemish about blood and needles, he put me on a strong antibiotic and said to come back in a couple of days. After a couple of days the thing didn't look any better (he thought it looked worse, and it still hurt like a mofo) so he cut it open and drained out the fluid.
Normally I would be happy to get some vicodin around the holidays, but I was in so much pain that I couldn't even enjoy it. After a day or two though, I feel a LOT better. My knee still looks like a weasel took a bite out it, but now I can walk almost normally. I hope it will be better by next week. There's a tournament I wanted to attend when I get back in town, but right now I'm in the wrong weight class (no, I'm not fat, I'm just either a little too short for my weight or I need to start doing a lot steroids).
ANYWAY. Flying out tomorrow, so Happy Thanksgiving everybody.